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Chapter 1: Entertaining Muggle Boys and the Definition of a Square Root
My story starts in a locked toilet.
The reason it started in a locked toilet on the Hogwarts Express was because there were too many people on the train and, like every year, I get jumpy because I can’t find Lily or Fliss and I find myself in here. The toilets were small but they were calm and quiet, and people have better things to do at the beginning of the year than use the toilet. This is where I found my best friends. They found me in here in first year, cowering from the masses.
“Ophelia, you in here love?”
That’s me, Ophelia. Ophelia Meadows. Bit of a weird name but everyone in the wizarding world has a weird name so I don’t stick out too much. When I go out with my mum into the muggle world I get funny looks, so I mainly stick to places I know is predominantly full of wizards.
“Yeah, give us a second.”
She waited patiently for me to unlock the door and open it slowly. When I had opened it fully, I saw her sitting on a sink, smiling sympathetically at me. She jumped down and engulfed me in her arms.
“How are you?”
I loved her hugs. She was like a mother to me at Hogwarts and was always looking out for me. I cherished the warmth of her arms before we let go and she ruffled my already messy brown hair.
“Not bad, sugar. Not bad.”
Fliss is my best friend. She’s over half a foot taller than me and skinny as anything, though not for want of eating. Her blonde bob usually has some kind of colour in it, and her nose ring made a lot of students nervous, but she’s harmless really. Apart from if you call her Felicity, her full name – she’s definitely not harmless then.
She linked my arm and we walked out of the bathroom together.
“Where’s our compartment?” I asked as we walked to the back of the train. She looked through every compartment window as we passed them, but pass them we did.
“At the back. I think Lily said something about the guys invading…” I nodded and became silent.
“So how was your summer? Your letters left gaping holes, you know,” she asked, curious.
“Nothing exciting. Sat inside and read most of the time. And I did the best I could with my letters, considering I live right in the countryside.” And the Muggle countryside at that – nothing ever happens. My mother is a Muggle, and my father was a wizard – but I don’t talk about him.
“You boring shit. Should’ve come round mine, you know where it is on the floo!” she grinned, whacking my arm lightly. I smiled. “But seriously, you should have. I was completely bored all summer, you have no idea. Jess and Paul were on this cruise thing so I had to entertain myself.”
Jess and Paul were her parents. They have a very relaxed relationship, as you can tell from the way she doesn’t call them mum and dad.
“I found a few cute Muggle boys in the village that seemed to have slipped under my radar,” she winked suggestively.
“Fliss!” I gasped scandalously, covering my mouth with my hand for added effect.
“Oh shut up, prude,” she poked her tongue at me. I laughed a little.
A loud roar came from the back of the train that made me jump.
“That’s just Sirius,” Fliss said, completely fine, dragging me to the source of the noise. “You know what he and James are like.”
The compartment door opened slowly and Sirius stuck his head out sheepishly. His elegant black hair flowed in slight waves to his shoulders, and his eyes gleamed cheekily. Same old Sirius, only he was about four or so inches taller.
“Hey girls. Sorry about the loudness, Ophie, James stole my last Chocolate Frog,” he said, putting on his best puppy dog eyes.
“It’s alright Sirius,” I smiled, “I’ll get you another one when the Food Trolley comes along.” He grinned in relief and barked with laughter, dragging both of us into the Compartment.
“Ophie and Flick are here!” he announced to the occupants, who were Remus, James and Lily. I idly wondered why Peter was always later than us, but my mind couldn’t stay focused on it as soon as I saw Remus.
He’d changed. Six weeks ago, he was a nerdy, tall, awkward, shy werewolf. And I suppose he was still a werewolf, so that hadn’t changed.
His hair was a dark shade of blonde and longer than it had been – it curled round his ears and he had to flick his head every so often to get strands out of his eyes. He was pale, as always, and his cheekbones seemed to be even more prominent. His eyes were still a familiar shade of grey. He was still tall, that much was obvious even sitting down, but he suited it now; he’d filled out and didn’t look awkward like last year and the year before, as if he’d been stretched on a rack prematurely.
He smiled at me and I smiled back, glad to see his slightly crooked smile hadn’t changed along with the rest of him.
Remus was my other best friend. Fliss has been friends with James since they were tiny – old wizarding families like to mix their children young – so when Fliss decided she wanted to be my friend as well I ended up spending a lot of time with the Marauders, and Remus and I got along instantly. We had a shared passion of books and actually getting our work done on time.
“Ophelia, we were looking for you!” Lily said worriedly, grabbing my arm and pulling me into a bone-crushing hug before sitting me in-between her and Remus. “Were you in those toilets again?”
Lily is another best friend. Yes, pretty much every friend I have is a best friend – we’re a very close group, alright? We’re in the same dorm but really only started hanging out properly a year or two ago. It took her that long to get over us having to spend time with the Marauders every day, considering her hatred of James (she’s still totally in denial about her love for him though).
Fliss folded her legs up underneath her and made herself cosy on the floor, leaning by my legs. Sirius sat next to James on the other side, shaking his head at Fliss.
“What?” she asked.
“There’s a seat up here,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“We go through this every time, Sirius. I like sitting on the floor. And that seat’s for Pete, however late he may be.”
“So how was your summer, Ophelia?” Lily asked me, “and where’s Persephone?”
Persephone was my kitten. I thought the name was pretty cool when I found it, looking through a book of names in the Library. Apparently it means Goddess of the Underworld. My mum’s into Muggle folklore. I got her about a year ago when she was tiny. She’s basically independent, but always loves a cuddle from me or from any one of my friends that’s around and she can find food for herself fine as the grounds have birds and stuff and the House Elves in the kitchens love her and feed her scraps. She’s predominantly white but has a small, black dot of fur on her back leg and her collar is plain black with a simple tag that says Persephone Meadows, so people will know that she’s mine if she gets lost in Hogwarts and I can’t find her.
“Exploring. Don’t worry, she always comes back. And my summer was fine. I read a lot…”
Lily and Remus exchanged strange looks, but I bowed my head to pretend I couldn’t see them and played with Fliss’ hair, which had blue in it this month.
“Fliss spent her summer in her mansion entertaining Muggle boys from the village,” I said with a smirk, and she turned round to whack my hand but I ducked just in time, smiling cheekily at her.
“Fliss!” Lily gasped scandalously, but she was actually being serious. Lily Evans disapproved strongly of any sort of physical relationship without strong emotional feelings behind them, like all of Fliss’ relationships. The boys whistled approvingly.
“Who was that lovely guy I met half naked when I turned up uninvited on your doorstep about three weeks in?” James asked amusedly.
“I think that was Lewis…” she said, struggling to remember, a small smile on her features. “Did he have blonde hair or was it rather dark and reddish?”
“Dark reddish I think. Really muscly,” James laughed as Lily gaped at them.
“Yeah, that’s Lewis. Met him a couple of years ago. ‘Course, he was an awkward adolescent until this summer, that’s why we’ve just been friends up until this point. You guys should come round one summer and meet him, he’s lovely.” Fliss examined her fingernails with a wistful smile on her face.
“That’s great, let’s meet one of your shags,” Lily glared, huffing. “It’s so undignified, Fliss. Seriously, people think you’re a whore enough as it is.” Fliss grinned.
“I don’t care what people call me Lils, you know that. And anyway, if I want to shag people it’s my life. Personally I don’t think I could live without sex.”
“Hear hear!” Sirius yelled with a devilish smile on his face. I rolled my eyes at them and yawned.
“Tired?” Remus asked me quietly whilst the others engaged in a loud, annoying conversation about whether sex was important or a good foundation for a relationship.
“Just a little, as always,” I smiled, “Hello.” I was very, very pleased that Remus smelt like he always smelt. This was good and reminded me of awkward Remus, so the new hot Remus didn't distract me.
“Hello,” he grinned, “how was your summer?”
“Third time I’ve been asked,” I said, “and it was rather dull. I should have gone out, really.”
“Shame, you should have come round, mum and dad were away for a lot of the summer…they went to Italy, you know, the villa we inherited. Sort of like a second honeymoon.”
“That’s lovely,” I beamed, noticing he had a book in his lap. “What are you reading?”
“The Ancient Pyramids,” he stated, reading the cover, “It’s about the Pyramids in Egypt and the Pharaohs and magic in that time. It’s fascinating.”
“Sounds really good,” I said enthusiastically. He grinned.
“It really is. When I’m finished, you can borrow it if you like.”
“Thank you.” We shared a small smile and I looked at my hands nervously, feeling my cheeks heat up.
Suddenly I could hear loud scratching noises, and a small meow.
“Is that Persephone?” he asked, pointing to the door. I got up and slid the door open, and Sephy meowed loudly once more, before strutting in with her tiny tail up in the air and perching herself on Remus’ lap. Lily and Fliss and even James and Sirius aww-ed at her, before carrying on talking.
“Hey there, Sephy,” he cooed softly, stroking the kitty behind her ears. She purred contentedly, closing her eyes. I giggled.
“Ophelia, I love her, I may have to steal her,” he said mock seriously.
“No.” I made my face solemn and he laughed at me. His voice had gotten deeper; I could hear it had dropped a few octaves.
“Okay, how about I just get visiting rights?”
“Hm…I can deal with that.”
I curled my feet up beneath me and stroked Sephy on Remus’ lap absent-mindedly. We generally call her Sephy, because Persephone can be a bit of a mouthful sometimes.
“Ophie, the Food Trolley’s coming!” Sirius yelled, shaking me out of my reverie, “you promised me some chocolate!” I rolled my eyes and stood up, taking a few coins out of the purse in my robe pocket. He squealed like a girl and stood up, following me out of the Compartment.
“It’s one Chocolate Frog, Sirius,” I sighed melodramatically, shaking my head at the boy. He puckered his lips and made the bottom one tremble a bit, and suddenly his eyes were becoming moist.
“Please, Ophelia, I’ll love you forever,” he said miserably, his eyes becoming damper. My heart broke.
“Oh, Sirius,” I said affectionately, reaching up on my tiptoes to ruffle his hair. He beamed angelically at me and all of a sudden the tears disappeared.
“You’re too good at that, it’s rather frightening,” I commented as I approached the Food Trolley, him trailing behind me.
“I know,” he said smugly, winking at a girl who was just buying some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans in Ravenclaw. I thought I knew her vaguely, though for the life of me I can’t remember where. Maybe Defence? She smiled back, but not a crazy fan girl smile, before nodding at me and sashaying off in the other direction.
I bought Sirius a Chocolate Frog as he stood staring after her, probably confused as to why she didn't drool over him the second he locked eyes with her.
“Who was she?” he demanded of me when I had paid, “she nodded at you, she must know you.”
“I know her from somewhere but I can’t remember where,” I said truthfully, a little embarrassed. I handed over the Chocolate Frog to him and tried to force myself to remember. Her name begun with an M, I’m pretty sure of it…
“Find out for me please,” he whined, unwrapping his chocolate and biting into it.
“You want some?” he offered as he removed it from his mouth, all gross and wet. I curled my lip up in disgust.
“I’m good. Thanks.”
He shrugged, before shoving the whole lot into his mouth. “Your loss,” he said through the chocolate, his words slurring and muffled.
How very mature of him.
“Anyway,” he said once he had choked down his chocolate, “how are things?”
“Good, thanks. They’re good. Your things?” I deflected quickly.
“Oh,” he said with slight surprise, “mine are good too. Awful holiday, though. Got kicked out of the Black family for good.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said after a second, not really sure what to say. Sirius and I weren’t incredibly close before the summer, but he had no qualms talking about his problems to people.
“It’s alright, couldn’t wait to get rid of the arseholes,” he said jovially, but it was obvious that it went deeper than that, and he really was sad. I looked at him sceptically, and his face fell. “Okay, I do miss Regulus. But what do I do? He’s gone evil. He’s joined that Voldermort’s side like the rest of my family. There’s not much I can do now.”
“But you miss him,” I stated simply. He nodded. “Talk to him? He can’t always have been Pureblood manic.”
“He wasn’t. We were a lot alike actually, before Hogwarts. He…he said I was a shame when I got into Gryffindor. A shame on the House of Black.”
“You’re not a shame, Sirius,” I said gently, placing a hesitant hand on his shoulder. He looked at the floor, then shook his head and grinned at me.
“Thanks, Ophelia. Anyway, let’s get going.” He hugged me tightly and grabbed my hand, dragging me back towards the compartment. When we got there he opened it and ran inside, laughing. I raised my eyebrow at him and took my place next to Remus, who was contentedly stroking Sephy.
I rubbed my eyes as everyone started off their conversations again, and turned back to my lovely kitten, who was completely ignoring me and vying with me for Remus’ attention. Damn cat.
“I think she likes you more than she likes me,” I joked as she rubbed her face against his hand. He chuckled and stopped short when I yawned widely, unable to contain it.
“You’re really tired, Ophelia,” Remus said quietly, looking at me sadly, “you look like you haven’t slept in a week.” He didn’t know how close to the mark he was.
Damn. I thought the purple under my eyes wasn’t very noticeable. Maybe I should wear concealer?
“I’m alright,” I insisted.
He didn’t seem satisfied with my answer.
“Look, just lean on me and try to sleep, okay? I’ll look after Sephy for you for the moment, and the guys won’t cause World War Three without you.”
I rolled my eyes but did as he said, and settled myself comfortably on his shoulder. Before I knew it, I had curled my whole body right into his side and he’d moved his arm from in-between us so it wasn’t obstructing us anymore, but to round my frame. I closed my eyes and inhaled his scent. It was so familiar.
“Sephy doesn’t need to be looked after; she’s independent…” I trailed off, before letting myself drown in his amazing scent and his touch and finally floated off into a dreamless sleep.
I woke up when the train stopped. I jolted awake at the feel of the brakes pulling, and forgot where I was for a moment, completely disorientated. I wasn’t at home, was I? This was far too comfortable.
“Good thing you changed into your robes beforehand,” I heard someone chuckle, “we’re here now.”
I rubbed my eyes and suddenly my eyesight was in focus. Remus’ face was grinning down at me. I smiled sleepily back at him.
“Come on Ophie, we need to go get a carriage before those bloody Fifth years think they have a right to use all of them!” someone yelled at me, grabbing my hand. Fliss pulled me through the compartment doors and Lily grabbed onto my other hand, laughing. Last year we had a problem getting a carriage because the Fifth years, then the Fourth years, spread out so much hardly anyone else got a carriage. The boys followed us, looking at us strangely as we ran, Remus carrying Sephy and Sirius cooing over her and stroking her behind her ears. She loves male attention…
“This one’s free!” screamed Fliss, dropping my hand and diving for the nearest coach, which some Third years were heading for. She stopped at the door and hissed at them, and they got so frightened of her they almost ran to a different carriage. Lily and I giggled as Fliss beamed proudly. We sat ourselves in the carriage and not too long afterwards the boys joined us. I noticed Peter had arrived.
“Hullo, Peter,” I said kindly. “How are you?”
He smiled shyly back and stammered, “Hi Ophelia, I’m okay thanks. You?”
“I’m okay as well, thanks.” I smiled back and we fell silent. The carriage started to move.
Sirius had taken possession of Sephy, not that she minded much.
“I love her even more than last year!” he announced, stroking her head with his thumb tenderly.
“What a Kodak moment, Sirius Black, holding a kitten,” Lily laughed. Remus, Fliss and I joined in, but Sirius and James sat there with confused faces.
“What’s a Kodak moment?” Sirius asked, puzzled. Lily sighed.
“Honestly, you should have taken Muggle Studies you two…” she muttered, crossing her arms. “For those of you that don’t know, Kodak is a type of film processor. They make photographs. It’s like a picture perfect moment,” she explained.
“Well, I am picture perfect at any time of the day,” Sirius bragged.
“Apart from in the mornings,” Remus smirked, “and when you’re singing.” He winced theatrically. “You sound like a dying cat and pull really strange faces.”
“That hurt, mate,” Sirius said sadly, wounded.
“Truth hurts,” James snickered. “You can’t sing to save your life. And you really do screw up your face all funny, like you’re trying to work out why the square root of 2 is irrational.”
We were all silent, looking at him strangely.
Did James just say something smart?
“When the hell did you get smart?” Remus asked, utterly bewildered.
“Well, Victoria had some Maths books from Muggle Studies during the summer, and I got bored…” he admitted, his cheeks going red. Victoria was his little sister, in year four now.
“You were bored, so you read?” Sirius said, appalled.
“That’s very admirable of you, James,” Lily said lightly, “well done.” His cheeks went even redder. Sirius pulled a face.
“Thanks,” he muttered.
There was a moment of silence, before Fliss asked, “What’s a square root?” Her face was still completely confused. We all roared with laughter at her. She huffed and sat in the corner.
The carriage stopped. We all piled out, and walked and chatted until we made our way into the Great Hall, where we sat down somewhere at the back.
“How long do you think Dumbledore’s speech is gonna go on for?” Sirius asked, straining his neck over the table to see the staff table.
“Dunno mate,” James said, discreetly pinning something on his robe. Well, what he hoped was discreet. In fact, everyone in the vicinity noticed and turned to look at him, and I could see he was mentally cursing his lack of discreetness.
“What’s that?” Fliss suddenly asked, grabbing a fistful of his robe and bringing it close to her eye for inspection, making sure he couldn’t squirm away. “That looks like…but no…no way…who the hell did you steal that off of?!”
It was a Head Boys Badge. I looked at Lily’s robe and saw a similar badge pinned on at the right side of her robe. Her face was in shock. James was completely red.
“I didn’t steal it, Dumbledore sent it to me!”
The Marauders looked around interestedly, and all burst out laughing when they saw James’ badge.
“Seriously mate, did you and Remus plan this or something? Did you take his badge in some silly attempt to get close to Lily because you knew she would be Head Girl?”
“No, no! That’s not it, it really isn’t,” James stuttered desperately as Lily’s face changed from shock to anger.
“It’s his badge, I’m still a Prefect,” Remus intercepted, trying to avoid an argument. “He really is Head Boy.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Well done mate! Always knew you’d get it,” Sirius said whole-heartedly, clapping him on the back.
“Well done James,” I said quietly, smiling at him. He grinned back.
Remus nodded. “I’m really proud of you James. This is your chance to show people that you can be responsible. Dumbledore’s given you a massive opportunity here.”
“I know he has Moony. I really am going to try,” James said earnestly. I think even Lily was surprised by the tone of his voice. I know I certainly was.
“How did you get him to give it to you in the first place?” Fliss asked, astounded. “I mean, it’s not like you’re exactly Head material, you know? No offence.” She grinned apologetically.
“I don’t have a clue, he just sent it to me and the letter said something like proving yourself and all of that.”
“Students, settle down!”
McGonagall stood up and the First Years were already at the front of the Hall. The Sorting started, and I watched intently, keen to scope out any new Gryffindors. Although my scoping out of new Gryffindors was less noticeable than Sirius’.
“Woo! Go Gryffindor!”
“Sirius, do you have to shout so loud?” Lily whispered irritably, pulling him down onto the benches for the third time by his collar.
“But its tradition!” he whined as a short blonde haired boy joined the Gryffindor table, blushing like mad.
"He'll be Slytherin," Remus whispered to me, pointing to a large, seemingly unafraid boy standing in line. He was curious, if anything else, looking round the Hall in wonder. I appraised him for a moment.
"Ravenclaw," I said simply.
His name was called and the Sorting Hat was placed on his head. After a moment, the brim of the hat opened and yelled, "RAVENCLAW!"
The Ravenclaws clapped and I turned to Remus smugly. He rolled his eyes.
"Okay, what about her?" He pointed to a jumpy blonde haired girl in line who was a head shorter than everyone else. "She reminds me of you."
"Why?" I asked, confused.
"Because she's adorably short," he smirked. I hit his arm lightly and stared at the girl for a moment.
"Gryffindor," we said at the same time. He grinned at me.
The girl went up to the Sorting Hat and put it on her head. Almost as soon as it sat on her hair, it screamed, "GRYFFINDOR!"
We all clapped loudly and Sirius was the loudest again, and Lily had to drag him back by his collar once more. Everyone in the vicinity snickered.
The Sorting finished and Dumbledore stood up. He looked the same as ever; very majestic. His beard seemed to have gotten longer, and it was more than tinged with grey. He seemed troubled, that much was obvious, but he was smiling at us all, peering over his glasses.
“Welcome back, old students. Welcome, new students. I just want to say a few words before we all eat.”
His tone grew serious. His smile disappeared.
“Dark times are upon us. By now you all must have heard of a person called Lord Voldermort. Although nothing will hurt you whilst you are inside these walls, I want each and every one of you to remain alert, and be safe. Look out for yourself and for each other. It is inadvisable for a student to wander around the castle by themselves. And, most importantly, if you see any unsavoury activity, please bring it to my attention or to your Head of Houses attention at once.”
With that, his smile appeared once more.
“And now, we eat.”
I heard gasps from the First Years as food magically appeared on the plates in front of us. Sirius and James let out what can only be described as a battle cry and dug in immediately, piling their plates to the top. I carefully avoided looking at them eating and picked a jacket potato loaded with beans and cheese and begun to eat slowly. Lily chose the same as me but with tuna, whereas Remus went for a wide selection of different meats.
He eats a lot of meat near the Full Moon. Or right after. Was it near Full Moon, or had it just been? I’m normally very in sync with the Moon but when it’s the holidays, I forget easily. I’ll ask him later.
Fliss, as always, grabs whatever she can get her hands on and eats almost as wildly as Sirius and James. Peter is somewhat in-between.
“You eat like pigs. It’s disgusting,” Lily commented off-handedly, raising her fork to her lips.
“Food is wonderful,” Sirius boomed, “without food everyone would die.”
“Well obviously,” Lily said sarcastically, “but it’s not like it’s your last meal, you don’t have to eat so fast…and so much.”
“Oh shush Lily,” Fliss said, accidentally spraying mashed potato on us. “Whoops, sorry!” She grinned and swallowed, and Lily and I wiped it off in revulsion.
“Eurgh,” I said, “that’s disgusting, Fliss!” She winked at me and I ignored her, finishing my dinner and making a point of being as neat with my food as I could.
When the feast had finished, we took a slow walk back to the Gryffindor Tower.
“Anyone know the password?” Sirius asked as we stopped by the Fat Lady.
“Turkish Delight,” Lily said, smiling. “Dumbledore set all the passwords to his favourite sweets this year, I think.”
“What’s a Turkish Delight?” Sirius asked, confused. We all laughed at him. He glowered. “I’m going to bed.” He pushed through us and into the Common Room, and stomped up the stairs to the boys Dormitories.
“I think I’m going to petition Dumbledore to make Muggle Studies compulsory,” Lily sighed, shaking her head. “Well, let’s get going Ophie, Fliss. See you boys in the morning.”
“Bye guys,” Fliss and I called, waving to them as I followed Lily up the stairs.
“Bye!” they all called out back. Smiling, I shut the Dormitory Door on their laughter.
Okay, so I really disliked the prologue and now this is the first proper chapter. I've done some editing/tweaking and stuff. I've got quite a lot of chapters written for this so they should be up pretty soon-ish. Thanks for reading! :)