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Chapter 2: First Year: Settling In
The female prefect walked ahead as she led the First Years to the Gryffindor common room. Her hair swished as she walked and her laugh echoed in the hallway as she responded to Mary's question. Yet, every so often she quickly glanced back to the male prefect who'd briefly introduced himself as Crouch. His hair was perfectly groomed with his dark hair was gelled neatly to the side. His glasses were perched on the top of his nose whilst his eyes seemed to be permanently narrowed.
I watched, intrigued, as he scowled at everything other than the female prefect - his eyes roamed over her as if she didn't exist. James hit me on the arm and gestured towards Crouch who'd shown a moment of weakness and glanced at the female. I grinned and James wiggled his eyebrows.
"Is she your girlfriend?" I inquired innocently, my voice echoing slightly in the old corridor.
Crouch flinched and his eyes darted to the girl ahead; she seemed to have not heard Ė or at least was attempting to pretend she hadnít. "No," he said stoutly.
James coughed and looked at the prefect with a large grin. "Do you wish she was though?"
Crouch's face burned red and the female prefect seemed to pause in answering Amelia's question. "No," he choked.
I couldn't help myself - I was high on the excitment of Hogwarts. "Sounds like denial to me, eh James?"
Jaes grinned, his hazel eyes shining with mischief. "Sure does Sirius, maybe heís confused. Have you asked her out?"
"No," the prefect gritted teeth, "not that it's any of your business."
"Then why are you blushing?" I asked curiously, tilting my head to the side. "Did you used to go out?í
"Wait, Sirius. Maybe he did ask her out," James pondered, "but she turned him down?"
"Yeah, that'd make sense. Why did she turn you down?í"I asked.
The prefectís blush seemed to have reached his neck and his hands slowly screwed into fists. Yet, he refrained from answering and instead sniffed loudly.
"Were you best friends?" James continued.
"Or were you just a distant stalker?" I added helpfully.
"Did you speak to her a lot?"
"Were you friends with her friends?"
"Did you even know her at all?"
"Enough!" Crouch snarled. "Enough!" His hands shook with one fist curled around his wand. "When I want to be questioned on my love life, Iíll ask for it. But I certainly donít appreciate some cocky first years trying to gain some credit in front of their peers by embarrassing me! Havenít you already made a nuisance of yourself enough tonight? Professor McGonagall has already given you both a warning! No! Donít smile at that! It is not an achievement to be proud of!" The prefect glared at the grins James and I were giving each other. "We are nearly at the common room, do you think you have the self-preservation to stay quiet until we get there?"
Silence followed his words and Crouch nodded with an air of superiority. The female prefect sped up her pace whilst the red head, Lily, scowled in our direction. The Bones girl rolled her eyes, Mary smirked at the prefect, and Remus and chubs- Peter - were both glancing at us; trying to hide their grins. The silence ticked on, until suddenly;
"So are you going to ask her out again?" James asked.
"ARGH! FOR THE LAST TIME I-"
"Mr Crouch, I believe there will be an explanation for you screeching like a bumbling banshee, when you should be leading these first years to their rooms?" Professor McGonagall inquired, appearing from the shadows and coming to a stand by a painting of a monk playing the trumpet.
"I-these-brats-boys will not be quiet and follow my orders." Crouch stuttered. "We would have arrived at the common room a while ago if these two would stop asking inappropriate questions!í he replied haughtily.
The professorís eyes narrowed as she observed James and me with a calculating expression. "Mr Black, Mr Potter, I would've thought after receiving a warning earlier this evening you would have seen fit to behave in the proper manner." Her spectacles flashed dangerously. "As you appear to have not taken that warning seriously and have delayed the rest of your housemates from reaching their common room - I believe that you will be seeing me after your classes tomorrow for your first detentions. A record, Iím sure." Professor McGonagall added dryly before pausing. "Mr Crouch, Miss Williams - if there are any further incidents then don't hesitate to inform me. I expect to see you at breakfast tomorrow to hand out the new timetables."
The Prefects nodded hastily and hurried us along the corridor; Crouch giving both James and me a pointless poke in the shoulders to speed us up. James looked like he was about to continue when we abruptly stopped in front of a painting of a rather large lady.
"Where on Earth have you been? Most students returned a while ago." The slightly obese woman frowned, her painted eyes roaming over the crowd. "Password?"
"Godric." Williams answered. The big woman nodded and the portrait swung forward to reveal a large circle opening. "Well, go on," the prefect gestured towards to hole.
One-by-one we all slowly clamoured through the entrance. I managed to catch Jamesí eye as Peter went through - it was a slight tight fit. Smirking, I climbed in afterwards.
The first thing that I noticed was the red and gold covering every surface. There was a large fireplace on the right wall that was surrounded by some ruby seats and a comfy-looking sofa. Dark, wooden tables were placed sparingly around the room with stacks of scarlet and gold cushions stacked beside them. Tapestries hung from every wall and two staircases led in different directions on each side of the back wall. The room itself felt like a welcoming fire; protruding heat and light.
It felt homely, yet a distant cry from the House of Black. Immediately I envisioned my house; the dark corridors, the menacing portraits, the elf heads nailed to the wall and the serpant coating on every item. Kreacher and his looks of loathing. My cousins and their strict rules. My parents. I swallowed loudly.
What will they say? Will Mum take me out of Hogwarts? Will they not let me home in the holidays? Will Dad even notice? What will they say to Regulus? What will Bella do?
The thoughts bounced round my head; blocking out the Prefects' welcoming speech. Before I could fully come to, I was pushed up one of the staircases towards the dormitory; the girls going to the right stairs whilst we climbed the left.
I shook my head in an attempt to focus on my surroundings and immediately saw James winking in my direction. He turned back around to face the common room; full of older students talking to their friends.
"Hey, Crouch, you didnít answer! Are you going to ask Williams out or are you scared sheíll turn you down, again?" James inquired loudly.
Crouchís face turned a deep beetroot colour and the common room erupted into laughter.
"BED NOW!" Crouch roared.
I lifted the trunk lid to find some pyjamas, desperately attempting to ignore the feeling that had been in the pit of my stomach since we arrived in our room.
I felt bad; I had stood on those stairs and laughed with everyone else at the poor Prefectís discomfort. I knew what it was like to be the outsider. To be made a fool of, for everyone else to know that you were different.
Yet, I'd laughed. All because I wanted to fit in. I felt really bad - yet noone else seemed to mind. Sirius had snorted and clapped James on his back for his quick wit, whilst Peter had squealed with laughter and turned red when he struggled to breathe.
The girls had already gone to their dorm; except for Lily who was still making her way up the stairs and responded by sending James and Sirius a withering glare. And I laughed.
I felt really bad. Ashamed. Iíll apologise in the morning, I decided, perhaps James and Sirius will as well. Maybe they feel as bad as I do. However, I soon became slightly doubtful, as they both pulled out their wands and proceeded to have a Muggle sword fight whilst Peter clapped along enthusiastically. Brilliant.
Giggling, they both fell to the floor in defeat. Sirius having pulled on a pair of dark green pyjamas which looked expensive; James wore a similar pair, except in red.
Momentarily, I felt self-conscious in my torn, grey pyjamas which were a little short on the leg Ė there was no point buying new ones when they would probably be destroyed by the following month - however this moment passed when I saw Peter shyly pull on his.
They were different. His trousers were extremely long and were rolled up at the bottom; patches had been sewn over most of the gaping holes - yet some were still on show. His top was yellow and much too small; his stomach looked like it had a tendency to hang out where the material couldnít reach and its arms looked like they were cutting off his blood circulation.
He turned back round; his chin raised defiantly whilst he lowered his eyes and bit his lip. When I didn't say anything, Peter hesitantly raised his eyes and caught my own. I smiled reassuringly and he slightly smiled back.
Thankfully neither James nor Sirius laughed - instead both choosing to stare.
"What do you reckon your detention will be?" I asked quickly; hoping to distract them from Peter. Fortunately, it worked and they both turned to face me instead. Peter sighed in relief.
"I donít know," James answered. "I doubt it'll be anything too bad Ė weíre First Years and technically school hasnít started yet. My dad got detention once; he said that he just did stuff like tending to the Herbology plants. But, then again, we haven't done Herbology yet - so they won't make us do that."
"Yeah, Bella did that once but she said she had more detentions with some bumbling oaf who wouldnít be able to find his way out of a maze with a map." Sirius mimicked a high-pitched girlís voice with some distain. "I think heís the gamekeeper - so maybe itíll be something with the animals?"
"Well something like that'd be fun." James replied, "It better not be really dull like cleaning or writing lines." James rolled his eyes and opened his mouth, before closing it abruptly and turning to face Sirius again. "Did you say Bella? As in Bellatrix Black?"
Peter gasped dramatically and even my eyes widened. Bellatrix Black's name had been in the Daily Prophet a lot recently. It was a name that the adults said whilst shaking their heads and rolling their eyes.
She'd only left Hogwarts in the previous year and had already used her family's contacts in an attempt to make Muggle-hunting legal, to make sure no muggle-borns could play Quidditch professionally and had reportedly started to turn to dark magic.
Most of the rumours had been hidden by my parents; not that I'd have taken much notice - my nerves of starting school seemed to have made my transformations more painful and my wolf-form was becoming more distressed; meaning I was taking longer to recover.
Sirius glared at the floor for a moment before slowly nodding. "Sheís my cousin. But- I Ė I mean, Iím not like her. Iím not much like any of them. I-I-í Sirius stuttered before closing is mouth; looking too uncomfortable to carry on. I pitied him slightly; I knew what it's like to want to hide a part of you. Peter seemed to feel the same and looked away to find inspiration for a different topic.
James, however, was frowning at Sirius, and in turn Sirius was glancing apprehensively back at him. James bit his lip and his eyes scanned over Sirius' pyjamas. "Does that mean Ė do you know much about the rumours?" Sirius actually looked to physically deflate and smiled in relief, James tilted his head and continued. "My parents wonít tell me much. They keep saying itíll work out Ė so do you know much? About that wizard, Voldemort?"
I frowned; the name was familiar but I couldnít place it. Peter looked like he was trying to remember where he heard of it, as well.
"Not much." He paused, noticing James' disbelieving expression. "My family didnít tell me much either incase I repeated anything when I came here." Sirius snorted and pushed his dark hair away from his eyes as he realised that he was doing exactly that.
"But, yeah, thatís his name Ė or at least what heís calling himself. You must of heard the rumours about what heís been saying? About the mud-ggleborns? From what I understand, heís trying to find followers and I think the ministryís a bit worried about it; donít really know why." Sirius shrugged, his eyes distant and a small line appeared between his brows. "Heís just another wizard off his rocker. Heíll pass, just like the others."
James nodded slowly, "I thought itíd be something like that." There was silence for a short moment whilst we all pulled out our clothes for tomorrow. James obviously preferred noise and turned back to face us with a grin on his face. "Did you see that greasy haired kid's face when he got hit? What was his name again?"
Sirius sniggered quietly. "Yeah! Perfect aim - if I do say so myself! Erm, Spiverness, wasnít it?"
"No, thatís not right. Wasnít it Snivellus?"
"That sounds right," Sirius agreed. "Are you going to try out for the Quidditch team next year? I canít believe we have to wait a whole year!"
"I donít know - Iíve never flown a broom before,í I replied. "Donít we get lessons?"
"Youíve never flown before?" James looked gobsmacked. "But Ė youíre not a Muggle-born - are you?"
"Nope, Half-blood." I smiled at Jamesí and Siriusí looks of complete confusion. "My parents just didnít think it was that important." Compared to turning into a werewolf.
James shrugged in disbelief whilst Sirius turned to Peter. "What about you, Peter?"
"Erm - I used to," he replied meekly. "I havenít flown in about four years though. My parents couldn-uh-are too busy."
"Oh." Sirius responded; unsure at how Peter suddenly lunged towards his trunk and started burrowing. "Well-"
The door slammed, interrupting Sirius, and revealed Crouch. He was stood in the doorway with his wand out, looking murderous.
"Why in Godricís name are you still awake? Lightís out was nearly an hour ago and your continuous mutterings are keeping us all up!" However, I noted, the corridor outside was silent with the odd interruption of a snore. "Get to bed, now, before McGonagall hears of this." Crouch snarled threateningly.
Peter yelped and dove into bed. I also headed towards my bed; trying to make up for my behaviour previously that evening. James looked like he was about to argue but Sirius nudged him and rolled his eyes. James grinned and they both reluctantly pulled the curtains around their beds.
The door slammed again; announcing Crouchís exit and I turned under my covers to face the window; overhearing James and Siriusí muted conversation. A slither of the moon was shining in the sky. 6 days, the moon seemed to shout, you have 6 days. I sighed, it didn't matter how hard I tried to fit in, I couldnít escape the wolf.
I'd been awake since dawn, just lying in bed, thinking. My cheeks were cool to the touch, but they burned with embarrassment from within; James and Sirius had brand-new pyjamas that seemed to scream wealth. Remusí were normal though he looked like he'd recently had a growth spurt. And then there was me.
I was wearing a top my mum had made me when I was 8; she had brought new material and spent weeks learning how to sew; I didnít have the heart to tell her I hated the colour yellow. So I wore it for her and she beamed every time she saw me wearing it. When I grew too large for it, she still grinned. When I started to stretch the seams, her eyes still lit up. And after the accident, I couldnít throw it away. My trousers were rolled up several times at the bottom of each leg; they belonged to my Dad. He always seemed more giant than man to my younger self. I, well, I didnít exactly get the height gene.
Stupidly, I decided to bring those pyjamas with me for familiarity. It was only when I started pulling on my too-small yellow top, clearly handmade, and too big trousers that had been covered with patches of yellow material to cover the holes, that I realised how tatty they really looked. I'd never minded until I turned to see the others, and all I could think was why didnít I throw them away? Remus smiled, was it out of amusement? Or worse, pity?
I shook my head and caught sight of Sirius beginning to wake from the corner of my eye. It was an amusing sight, he sat bolt upright with a groan. "Iím up, Iím up!" Yet when no one responded he opened his eyes a fraction; his face furrowed in confusion. Sirius coughed with embarassment with the sudden realisation that he was at Hogwarts and discretely slid out of bed.
James seemed to sense movement around him and loudly groaned; signalling that he was awake. James' eyes flicked open and a beam slowly stretched across his face; looking the image of excitement. Remus, however, was dead to the world. Sirius looked at James and then to me; his eyes had a hint of mischief.
Sirius reached over to James' bedside table and grabbed his alarm clock. Keeping low, Sirius muttered at the clock with his wand in his other hand, whilst sneaking closer to Remusí bed. Sirius tapped the clock another time and quickly set it on Remus' pillow before slowly retreating back. Thirty seconds later, the alarm went off.
A loud shrill horn bounced around the walls of the rooms and a sleeping Remus leapt into the air, his eyes wide with fear and a yell escaping his lips.
Remus' hair was stuck in all directions, his breathing coming out in heavy pants and his arms raised in defence. James laughed first, before Sirius joined him and then me. Our laughs echoing round the room whilst a moody Remus glared at us, before eventually seeing the funny side and his lips twisted into a smile.
Crouch, it appeared did not see the funny side, as Sirius didnít know the counter-curse to stop the wailing, it continued to echo, forcing a very angry prefect to storm into our room.
"What the hell are you playing at?" Crouch's eyes froze with horror as he glared at us all. "Itís quarter to eight! You should all be dressed! Argh! Silencio!" The prefect screamed at the clock and the screeching immediately fell into silence. "Get. Dressed. Now." Crouch seethed.
His ears and neck burned red as his glasses flashed dangerously; he still clutched a wand in one hand which was emitting small red sparks. Deciding that the safest option would be to follow his orders, the four of us leapt into action. Just minutes later, we had all hastily dressed and were being frog-marched to breakfast.
I was nervous; I'd dressed at such a speed that I hadnít had time to stuff more paper at the top of my hand-me-down shoes and groaned as I felt myself slipping out of them. Remus shot me a sympathetic glance whilst James simply looked confused.
"Oi, Narcissa!" The blonde prefect, Malfoy, yelled down his table. "Looks like your cousinís got a new pet; part pig, part porcupine!"
Evidently, my hair had rebelled in the night and was now sticking up in all directions. My cheeks burned and my eyes began to itch at the unwelcome attention; seeing this made Malfoy laugh harder with the inclusion of his close friends.
I turned and started to walk towards those in red and gold rimmed robes. Yet none of the others moved and I swivelled my head to see Remus, James and Sirius glaring at the Slytherin table with great distaste. I felt a small smile tug at my lips as I recognised the mischievous glint back in Sirius' eyes. Crouch, seeing this, put a hand on Siriusí shoulder and led him towards the Gryffindor table.
"Stay." Crouch ordered sternly, though he eyed Malfoy with open disgust. "Just eat and collect your timetables. Donít give McGonagall any more reason to dock our points before term has really started. Okay?" He glared at each of us until we all nodded in agreement; James and Sirius albeit slightly more reluctant.
The Gryffindor table was full of food, the tables seemed to creak and groan under the weight of the full dishes. Each dish contained a certain type of food. And every table contained hundreds of different dishes. There was every type of food imaginable; bacon, muffins, eggs, toast, croissants, bagels, cereal, porridge and much more. Additionally, on each side of every tray were two glass jugs decorated with a golden boar head, full to the brim of different types of juice.
Sirius and James both raised their eyebrows in amused surprise before shrugging and settling on the nearest bench. Remus looked as overwhelmed as I did, but catching my eye, he gestured to the table and we joined the two dark-haired boys whose heads were bent together with muted whispers whilst sending the occasional glare to the Slytherin table.
The vast amount of food available was overwhelming; I couldn't choose what to eat first and ended up grabbing everything and anything close, almost fearful it would disappear at any moment. Once my plate was bulging with a bit of everything, I looked up to see that the others were just eating a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal. My plate seemed to beckon my eyes and I felt a motion of shame sweep through my body.
There was a loud guffafle and I fearfully dragged my eyes to look at the green-rimmed table. Malfoy was pointing to me, laughing. Some of the other First Years who were sat near him were standing on their chairs to see how much I had piled onto my plate.
I felt the sudden urge to be sick and nibbled on a slice of dry toast, found underneath all the piled bacon and beans. I blinked furiously and was extremely grateful when the food disappeared minutes later; signifying the end of breakfast.
Professor McGonagall was slowly making her way up the table; handing out timetables as she passed each year group. One girl looked close to tears as McGonagall handed her timetable to her with a shake of the head.
Why would you be upset? Just cause you canít do a subject. Really? If she wanted to do it that bad, then why didnít she just learn the stuff before her last exam? Stupid.
"-and then weíll pull and heíll go flying." Sirius whispered excitedly, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"What?" I shook my head, turning to face my new roommate.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Whereíve you been?" He gestured to Malfoy. "Anyone who goes soppy every time they look at Cissy needs their head checked. I suggest we simply help him find the hospital wing."
Sirius grinned innocently and I found myself grinning back. I know mum said to behave, but why is it so hard? Plus Malfoy keeps making the tubb-Peter go red, which is pretty embarrassing.
I snorted. "Right Iím in! Whatís your plan?"
"Something simple that they canít blame us for. Crouch is right; we donít want to lose Gryffindor any more points. Nothing that would harm him seriously either, otherwise Cissy would write home so fast Iíd-" Sirius trailed off into silence, and looked up to the ceiling with his brows furrowing into a frown.
I waited for him to continue but he seemed to have forgotten that I was sat next to him. There was a sharp cough to my left and I looked up to see the stern professor looking standing over us with one eyebrow arched.
"Hello," I said innocently.
She sighed and handed me a piece of paper. "Your timetable, Mr Potter. And yours, Messers Black, Lupin and Pettigrew. I see your first class is Charms with the Slytherins." Her lips pursed as she looked at each of us carefully. "I better not hear of any misconduct or your detentions tonight will be extended. Is that clear?"
"Clear as crystal Professor, but if I do say so myself thereís no need to sound so-" OW! Remus kicked me under the table. Hard. I glared at him and he responded by shaking his head slightly. Oh, right, weíre trying to not dock any points. I forgot.
The professor seemed to sense this and her eyes narrowed. "For your detention you shall meet me outside these doors at 5pm. No later." Her eyes flickered to Sirius. "You as well Mr Black."
Sirius' timetable remained untouched on the table. He was still looking to the ceiling and frowning; McGonagall's face seemed to soften slightly. "Mr Black, have you received a-?"
"No, not yet." he replied sharply. Yet, almost like an unheard signal had echoed through the building, the sky was suddenly full of birds carrying packages of items that had been left at home. There was a loud hoot and a large, black eagle owl flew through the windows and dropped a sealed envelope into Siriusí open palms.
He stared at the thick, ivory letter facing him, his eyes still furrowed. Sirius swallowed, grabbed the letter by its edges and pocketed the envelope like nothing had happened. Sirius smiled at the Professer innocently, but the mischievous glint was back in his eye. McGonagall seemed to sense this. "Perhaps you'll meet me fifteen minutes earlier, Mr Black?"
He sighed dramatically but nodded slowly so the Professor moved away. What in Merlinís name was that about? Sirius pushed off from the table. "Well? Are you coming?"
I nodded and climbed off the bench, Remus and Peter following close behind. We reached the massive oak door at the same time as the Slytherins, and Sirius, obviously trying to keep his mind off a certain topic, gestured me towards a metal stand with rope looped around the hook.
"Releshio," Sirius whispered. At once the rope came undone from the stand and fell to the floor. Peter gasped in amazement and clapped his hands in excitement. Not to be outdone, I remembered a spell my Dad used to get the snotty Muggle girl out of the water after I accidently pushed her in.
"Extenshio!" The rope slithered along the floor, remarkably resembling a snake, and reached the other side of the door Ė just as Malfoy strut through the hall with his nose held high; meaning he didnít see the moving rope.
I released the spell with a large flourish and the rope popped back together. Malfoy's eyes widened momentarily as his feet got tangled under the thick rope. He struggled with his arms flailing before crashing spectacularly onto the cold floor. There was a satisfying crack; Malfoy looked up to reveal a small puddle of blood on the stone floor that was pouring from his crooked looking nose. His blue eyes were cold and his lips formed a snarl.
Around us, the Slytherins gasped, the Ravenclaws laughed, the Hufflepuffs whispered and the Gryffindors hooted. Many of the older years clapped us on the back as they stepped over the spluttering prefect and headed to their lessons; most looked back with a snort.
Sirius and I swapped astonished gazes; neither of us planned for that to go so well. With a bewildered laugh, we stepped over the Malfoy; who was still tangled within the rope. Behind us, Malfoy let out a shrill shout. "You rotten little-"
"Mr Malfoy, I do not appreciate any kind of foul language in the corridors at Hogwarts. Set an example - you're a prefect!" Professor McGonagall stood over Malfoy as she made the ropes disappear with a flick of her wand. "Five points from Slytherin for aggressive behaviour."
Thank God we got out of there; sheíd have had us in detention for the rest of the week! I looked at Sirius and Remus who both looked like they were thinking along the same lines.
We'd just reached the classroom when the red-haired girl from the day before stepped in my way. "I hope youíre not going to do that often," she rolled her eyes at our innocent expressions. "I saw you, so donít try to deny it. Class hasnít even started yet, and you've already got a detention. I donít want Gryffindor to come last; so you better buck up your ideas!"
"Whatís it to you?" Sirius replied furiously. "Go join your slimeball pal in Slytherin if itís that much a deal!"
The greasy-haired boy approached us, his black eyes flashing angrily. "Donít you dare speak to Lily like that!"
"Sev, leave it. Theyíre not worth getting in trouble for." Lily sighed, tugging him away.
He followed Lily immediately but glanced back over his shoulder maliciously, "-wouldnít expect anything different from a Black anyway."
Sirius' eyes widened and he stepped forward, his neck burning red. Remus reached an arm around Siriusí shoulders to pull him back, Peter squeaked and cowered against the wall, and I raised my wand.
"Pardon me for lateness," a squeak came through the gathering crowd.
A small wizard who was clutching his sides, pushed through the children. His eyebrows lifted as he took in the situation with Sirius and I pointing our wands in the Slytherin's direction.
"We donít tolerate magic in the corridors boys." The small Professor squeaked. "You were told this last night. Five points from Gryffindor."
The red-head sighed and scowled in their direction. Somehow I knew McGonagall would be hearing about this. Brilliant.
A/N: Me Again. Hello :) Sorry for the delay - life got in the way!
Quick note: Yes, I am planning to follow the boys right through their Hogwarts years and beyond!
I hope you enjoyed it, and would you mind feeding that little gray box below? He gets hungry :/ Til next time :)