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Chapter 6: First Year: Playing and Potions
Come on Peter. Come on.
I silently pulled back the curtain and pushed my head around the side. There was silence as I strained my ears to hear the sound of feet hitting against the wooden floor. There was nothing.
Where are you, Peter? We’re going to be late.
Sighing, I retreated back into the hidden room. I had no idea what the room was originally used for but due to the long, dusty table that was placed in the middle and the surrounding suits of armours all holding swords, James had proclaimed that it was obviously a sword fighting room. And had then proceeded to pick up a sword and attack Peter. I’ve never seen Peter move so fast.
Obviously, I’d picked up another sword and dared him to a duel. Before turning and aiming at Remus instead, who ducked and rolled out of the way in one swift movement. In my defence, I couldn’t have known that the sword Peter picked up was ridiculously heavy and therefore was dodging our blows my running round the room dragging the sword on the floor behind him.
Yes, James may have got a little ’too animated’ and yes, Remus did end up picking up another sword for his own protection. Yes, it may have turned into a full out war – but there was no need for Peter to trip out of the room and run away.
Well, unless you count James chasing him with his sword held high screaming; "Fight!"
Or Remus and I following James in the same manner. And in all fairness, it would have probably worked out if we hadn’t run into McGonagall. She wasn’t too happy. Two weeks of detentions for ‘unruly behaviour with potentially life-threatening items’. Pssh. Over-dramatic.
We got an owl sent home for that. Peter got a reply from his dad requesting that he apologise to anyone he may have ‘intimidated’ whilst running through the corridors with a sword. McGonagall personally made sure Peter fulfilled this request and unfortunately the majority of the Slytherins said they had felt ‘personally threatened’. Idiots.
Remus had got a reply the next morning from his parents. He didn’t say what was in the letter, but he looked ashamed and ended up apologising to the teachers. My mother sent me a lovely letter, stating that if I wanted to play with Muggle weapons then she could arrange for me to get some extra practise during summer. Somehow I doubted that I’d be the one holding the weapon, more likely I’d be the one running away.
James got his letter three days later. Crouch looked extremely smug as the owl landed, some of the Slytherins looked over with grins plastered on their faces; all expecting a howler. Their smiles all turned to looks of disbelief as James opened a package to find four boxes of plastic swords and armour with some handy tips on specific movements. Apparently Mr Potter had found it hilarious. Typical.
After finding the first passageway in January, we’d spent the majority of our free time looking behind every tapestry, painting and curtain.
However, this was more difficult then it appeared. As sometimes a door would pretend to be a wall, sometimes the paintings would scream if we went near them and the suits of armour seemed to keep moving. Also, I admit we looked slightly suspicious tapping every wall we passed and hopping from stone to stone in case there was a trap switch – James’ idea of course. This meant that quite a lot of our ‘spare time’ was spent in detention.
I sighed and perched against the table. Peter’s late.
We’d planned it perfectly so that everyone would be leaving the Great Hall after breakfast. Peter was the bait. It was payback for them bullying Peter at every chance, for Cissy telling her ‘dear Lucius’ that I was allergic to garlic – so the Slytherins threw it at me whenever they could – and simply for them being Slytherins.
The curtain was ripped back suddenly and I jumped to my feet. Peter nearly collapsed into the room; his face beetroot red as he gasped for breath. “T-The-they’re com-ing.”
I nodded and pushed him away from the door. My hand became damp as I touched his sweaty back. Gross. Peter seemed to regain some of his normal colour as he leant on the table. He’d lost weight over the last couple months and could slide into the portrait hole a little easier, but he was still really unfit. Does his mum feed him every hour? Merlin.
I heard the faint sound of feet hitting the floor and got into position. It wasn’t a complex spell – it was one of the simplest my dad had taught me. But it would be enough.
I held my breath as several pairs of shoes and green-rimed robes ran past. They’d only gone a couple metres when I slipped my wand from behind the curtain.
“Ignis Flammei.” I whispered. A small blue spark shot from the tip of my wand to the hidden fireworks on the other side of the corridor.
Three. Two. One.
The spark had hit the fireworks with a triumphant sizzle and they started to explode. Yet these weren’t normal fireworks; James had assured us that these were special tracking fireworks. And he was right. They seemed to sense the Slytherins gaping and turned to face them. Only Lucius had the sense to move immediately; leaving his friends behind. The others weren’t far behind though as they all ran down the corridor being chased by the exploding fireworks; learning what it was like to be the prey.
I held a hand up to my mouth to hide the snigger and backed back into the room. Peter grinned when he saw my face; the plan had worked. “Come on then. We better get up there.”
Peter took a deep breath and nodded as we both walked to the corner of the room. There was a small button beside the fireplace which was the same colour as the wall behind it. Peter reached out and pressed it, the wall slid open and a ladder dropped down.
I let Peter go first; he was the one to find the button in the first place. Besides, this way I could push him along to hurry up – he normally took his own time. And time was something we were short of.
“Pete! Come on! Hurry up!” I yelled from below.
“I’m-nearly-I’m… nearly… I’m nearly-there.” Peter gasped, his sweaty hands slipping off every bar of the ladder.
“Come on.” I scowled at his sweaty back, “they’re going to be there soon! I don’t want to miss it!”
Peter merely nodded in response, his eyes focussed on the door hatch above us whilst beads of sweat ran down the side of his face. For a moment I wondered what Regulus would make of this situation.
I smiled slightly as I imagined the look on his face if he saw me pushing a fat kid up a ladder. He would have laughed. I would have joined in and then Dad would have stormed in. Told us off for ‘misbehaving’ when we could have been working. Like always.
I sighed at the thought of Regulus. He had been so distant over Christmas; we’d always been close. I’d always looked out for him.
“Ah! Peter!” I snarled. He had just slipped off one of the ladder poles meaning that his bum hit me in the face, Nice.
“Sorry.” He mumbled, quickly grabbing the next bar and pulling himself up. The ladder definitely wasn’t the quickest escape when Peter was involved. I sighed again when I saw his face was bright red.
“Right. Just hurry up will you? Open the hatch.”
Peter nodded and reached up to slide the door open. He put a hand on each side of the gap to pull himself up and after much hefting – and pushing from my side – Peter lifted himself through the door. I climbed up quickly behind him.
“You alright?” I questioned; Peter was breathing heavily again. He nodded and pushed the rock covering our exit out of the way. I slid through the gap first and once seeing the coast was clear, helped Peter into the hallway. We were just a corridor away from the Great Hall. I clapped Peter on the back and headed towards the hall whilst I attempted to hide my grin at the faint sound of yelling.
Nobody really noticed our entrance; everyone was too busy talking to their friends or eating. Though one of James’ friends, Jack Hopper, nudged the boy next to him and gestured in our direction. The small group of Sixth Year Gryffindors turned to look as we passed. James and Remus were sitting at the other end of the table, both failing to hide their grins. James was nearly bouncing out of his seat.
“Did it work?” he asked immediately.
I nodded and slid onto bench. Peter nodded as well and collapsed into his seat; the bench sank as his weight fell on top of it.
“Did what work?” a snooty voice asked, his body casting a shadow over the group.
“Crouch!” Sirius yelled cheerfully, “to what do we owe the pleasure?”
I bit my lip whilst James and Peter attempted to stifle their laughter. Sirius grinned at them, happy for the attention.
“Did what work?” he repeated. His eyes glinting dangerously as he took in Peter’s sweaty appearance. “I’ll give you three seconds to tell me what you’ve done this time or you’ll all be in detention for the rest of the week. I will not let Gryffindor lose any more points because you four deem yourself practical jokers!”
Crouch took a deep breath to continue his rant when a loud screech stole his attention. Two brown owls, one with a smudge of white in his chest, were flying towards us at speed. Both owls were sharing the weight of a large package; the weight of which seemed too much for the small of the owls who was dipping towards us at incredible speed.
Sirius ducked instinctively and James followed suit. Luckily, my senses were still incredibly sensitive due to the full moon three days ago, so I had more warning then the rest. Peter remained oblivious to the situation so I pushed him down onto the bench on our side of the table. Crouch wasn’t so lucky.
“Argh!” he yelled as the smallest owl swooped lower; causing the package to hit Crouch in the face. His arms span in comical circles as he attempted to regain his balance and he nearly did, before the owls turned back round to land and hit him again.
With a loud yelp Crouch fell backwards, onto the table which was currently covered in the food for breakfast. I winced as the squelching sounds of food and the smashes of plates hitting the ground attracted the attention of the hall. I grabbed Peter and pulled him upright at the same time James and Sirius came back to the surface of the table.
Crouch looked murderous. He pushed himself off the table and glared at all the other students in the Great Hall who were pointing and laughing at the Head Boy. Barty slowly turned to face us; egg white slid down his ketchup-covered face and bread crusts were sticking out of his collar. His white shirt was covered in spilt orange juice and circular ‘Magic-O’s’ were stuck to his jumper. His hands shook with rage and his blush deepened to a scarily purple colour.
I looked at him in silence; I knew what it was like to be segregated from everyone else. James and Sirius were bright red with laughter with James wiping away tears from his eyes. Peter was chuckling quietly; his eyes darting between Crouch and the two chortling black-haired boys opposite.
Sirius attempted to take a deep breath to calm himself to no avail. “Blimey Crouch, if you wanted some breakfast so badly you could’ve just asked,” he spat out in between his gasps for breath. The laughter in the hall increased. Crouch’s eyes narrowed dangerously in Sirius’ direction.
Suddenly, the laughter reached a deafening level. Crouch looked round to see what was causing it now; he didn’t have to look far. At that moment, the group of Slytherins we had pranked earlier had run into the hall.
All of them were red and gasping for breath. Behind them, the fireworks sparked colourfully; but it was not the fireworks which had got the hall’s attention. The group of Slytherins looked murderous as pink goo covered them from head to foot; most of them also had feathers stuck to their uniforms.
The goo and feathers were due to James and me. Peter and Sirius were supposed to set off the chase whilst we readied the trap. James had wanted to add swelling lotion to the goo but I’d only just managed to persuade him not to.
Lucius Malfoy growled and his eyes swept the hall until the rested on his. “You!” he snarled. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks, but the closer Malfoy and his cohorts got, the larger they appeared. He wouldn’t have. Not after I spoke to him.
I turned to face James suspiciously and was met with his mischievous grin. “You added the swelling lotion?” I growled.
He had the decency to look slightly ashamed before his eyes widened at someone behind me.
“I’m not going to even ask.” Professor McGonagall said sternly, her lips were pursed into a tight line and her eyes were narrowed in anger. “30 points off Gryffindor and detentions for you four,” her finger hovered over us all, “for three weeks. Starting Monday.”
I suppressed a groan with some difficulty, Peter’s shoulders slumped and Sirius jabbed his bacon with his fork angrily. James, however, looked extremely pleased. Typical.
It wasn’t hard to figure out why; it was the same reason the large parcel had been delivered. The same reason why large parcels had been arriving from his parents all week. Tomorrow was a Saturday. The 29th April to be exact. James’ twelfth birthday.
Professor McGonagall’s eyes narrowed even further and she pursed her lips as she looked at him. “Shouldn’t you boys be going to your lessons whilst I once again sort everything out? If I hear any more points have been taken due to you four by the end of the day, then I will make sure you all have detentions tomorrow.” She sniffed. “Yes Mr Potter, even if it means we miss Gryffindor’s qualifying match for the final.”
I don’t think any of us have ever seen James move so fast. By the time we’d caught up with him, we were nearly at the Potions classroom. By the time Peter had arrived, the Potions door was open and a large stomach appeared through the frame, announcing the arrival of Professor Slughorn.
“Well come in, come in – we’ve got a tight schedule today.” His voice boomed down the corridor as we filed into the classroom. He pat many students on the shoulder as they past and shared a joke with Lily. His gaze followed Sirius who was making his way to his usual seat; for some reason Slughorn looked disappointed.
After the scraping of chairs and the thuds of bags being dumped on the floor had settled, Slughorn coughed loudly to get the class’ attention. Lily and Severus were on the front table; the only sign of a mixed-house pairing. The rest of the Slytherins were huddled together on the right side of the classroom whilst the Gryffindors sat to the right. Peter and James were behind Lily, Sirius and Amelia were behind them, and then Mary and I were on the back table.
Slughorn coughed again and Sirius finally stopped whispering to Amelia; he had made it his mission to make her laugh during class.
“Today we will be making a very complex potion for a First Year. So pay close attention and be warned, you may find this potion in your Potions exam at the end of the year.” Slughorn boomed. Lily stopped fidgeting; her sole focus on the Professor. “It is of course the Forgetfulness Potion. You will find the ingredients on page two hundred of your books and the instructions,” he flicked his wand, “are on the board. You have two hours. Begin.”
Severus was flipping through the book and Lily leapt towards the Potions cupboard before any of us noticed that Slughorn had finished talking. “Shall I get the ingredients?” I asked Mary quietly.
She nodded and carried on turning the page whilst glancing at Amelia; obviously having daydreamed through Slughorn’s introduction. “It’s page two hundred.” I whispered as I stood up; Mary smiled in thanks.
The cupboard was crowded with students attempting to grab the correct ingredients. With a deep breath, I pushed myself into the crowd. An elbow hit me in the stomach, some hair was flicked in my face and with a grunt and a shriek, I was pushed into a girl with red hair.
“Oops! Sorry Lily, here,” I offered her my hand.
Lily smiled and took my hand, “thanks Remus. You’d have thought that over the years someone would have thought to enlarge the cupboard.” She mused before groaning in despair. “Eurgh. I’ve dropped the bat spleens.”
I scanned the floor but found no spleens. “They were in a jar.” She sighed as she looked back at the crowd, “they must have rolled into that.”
I laughed quietly at the look of determination on her face. “Well I need to go get ingredients for Mary and me, partners?” I offered her my hand, grinning.
She laughed and took it as we headed back into bustling group of students in the cupboard. We were both pushed and shoved in different directions, but I kept held of her hand and pulled us towards the shelves in the corner.
“Right… Lily, you get the bat spleens and I’ll get the rest. Do you need anything else?”
“Sounds like a plan.” Lily replied. “Nope, just the spleens.”
“Tadpole tail… Newt’s eye… three spiders legs… Chicken blood.” I ran through the list in my head, double checking I had all the ingredients when Lily popped out from the crowds, clutching two jars of bat spleens.
“Got them.” She grinned, placing the jars onto the ingredients basket. “Have you got everything?” I nodded. “Right, let’s go.”
I laughed as she took a deep breath, grabbed my hand and jumped back into the crowd. After what felt like several long minutes of being pushed and prodded, we were finally pushed out of the crowd and back into the classroom.
Lily laughed and dropped my hand. “Right, I better go get started.” She spun round and before I could give her any warning, she shrieked.
“Oops! Sorry Lily! I didn’t mean to!” James spluttered.
“You didn’t mean to?” She shrieked. “The spleens were in the jars, James. Why did you take them out, if it wasn’t to throw them all over me?”
“I-I heard you needed some spleens so I thought I-I’d-”
“Pour them over me?” Lily took a deep breath. “James, I get it. You don’t like me. I have no idea why or what I did, but can’t you just leave me alone instead of attempting to embarrass me at every opportunity?”
“No, I-I-I didn’t mean…” James trailed off at the look Lily was giving him. She sighed and pushed past him towards Severus, who was glaring at us with loathing.
James looked defeated as he returned to sit beside Peter. Since Lily’s birthday in January, James had constantly been trying to make up for how he acted. It soon became obvious; however, that James wasn’t used to making up to someone. The weekend after Lily’s birthday, James handed Lily a parcel of three expensive jumpers that, in James’ words, you can wear instead of the horrid one you got for your birthday.
That didn’t go down too well. A couple weeks later James then tried to make up for the jumpers by giving her a book on Potions… for children aged 5 to 7. ‘So you can catch up… due to living with Muggles.’
So far every attempt to make it up to her had ended up with Lily disliking James even more. Much to Sirius’ amusement; somehow I had a sneaking impression that Sirius was behind the idea of James giving Lily a bowl full of maggots to help her get over her ‘disliking’ of them.
I shook my head at James and went back to my table where Mary had set up the cauldron.
I used to like flying. So did Sarah. When we were younger Mum used to take us to this field in summer. The field was surrounded by massive trees; all entwined together making the field invisible to anyone who didn’t know of its existence. The grass was covered in pink and yellow flowers where Mum used to set up the picnic whilst Sarah collected some flowers to give to her. Sarah used to run up to me with a toothy grin and hand me her bunch of flowers so that it would look like I’d been picking them for mum as well.
After the picnic Dad would swing us off our feet and carry us over his shoulders whilst mum’s laugh would echo in the breeze. The summer sun shined directly on our patch of paradise and I was sure that my parents were the best parents in the world. Dad and Mum would pretend that the afternoon was over and that it was time to go home.
Sarah and I would laugh and refuse to move, Sarah’s hand clasped tight inside mine. The sun would shine behind us and her pale hair looked like a halo around her cheeky face. It was only then that mum and dad would swap amused glances and pretend to leave without us.
Sarah and I would giggle and fall to the floor in protest; my little sister secretly glancing at our parents to make sure they hadn’t left. Then out of nowhere my parents would laugh and tickle us until we admitted surrendered. Mum would wave her wand and their two hidden broomsticks would fly from their hiding spot. Sarah clamoured on with Dad whilst I sat with Mum. Her hands wrapped around my waist as we flew into the sky. The air would rush through our hair, my Mum’s laughter in my ear. I was safe.
That was before the accident. Before Dad had to get two jobs to afford my Mum’s care. Before Dad sold their broomsticks to pay for the funeral. I returned to our field just once since it happened. It was winter. The flowers had been dead for months. The grass was covered in the grey slush of icy snow. The trees were bare, tall and threatening. My paradise disappeared the day my sister’s hand left mine.
A loud screeching noise brought me back to my surroundings. We were on the Quidditch pitch and it was the last the lesson on Friday.
Madam Hoolis was stood with her arms crossed, her whistle in her mouth and her broom on the floor beside her. In front of her were twenty broomsticks; the Slytherins on one side, the Gryffindors on the other.
It was the only lesson where both Sirius and James got points for being well behaved. By this point, the class had reached a certain level of flying ability; today we would be learning about flying in high winds.
Madam Hoolis blew her whistle once more and everyone climbed onto their brooms; a signal I seemed to have missed. I took a deep breath and carefully lifted my leg over the stick. Don’t break. Don’t break. Please don’t break.
I could imagine the looks of joy on the Slytherins faces if it snapped in two; I’m sure Malfoy would have told them to keep an eye out for anything he could use against me. Especially after this morning.
With a sinking feeling, I saw Snape look over; his eyes narrowed in glee as I lowered myself onto the broom. I let out a sigh of relief as the broom stayed steady in the air, and although I couldn’t be certain, Remus looked relieved as well. James and Sirius were too focused on Madam Hoolis.
She smiled slightly as she took in their eager expressions; Sirius’ legs were braced to take off and James’ broom seemed to vibrate with anticipation. She shook her head and blew the whistle again. With a feeling of dread, I pushed off the floor and into the air.
The wind felt the same as it did when I was little, the sun still shined in face and the broom still reacted in the same way. But this time there was no laughter in my ear, no shrieks of Sarah when Dad taught her to dive and no hands wrapped round my waist to keep me safe. The best part of flying had gone and I was now left with the fear the broom would snap and the memories of the accident.
I squeaked and grabbed the broom tighter as two figures whizzed past where I was sat stationary. “Come on Pete! Fly! It’s easy!” One of the voices yelled. The other one laughed in response.
James and Sirius flew like it was second nature and I idly wondered that if it never happened, would I be able to fly like them?
James swerved to the right and Sirius cut him off, laughing. Another figure passed me, much slower than the first two. It was Remus. Although he’d never flown before our first lesson, he had learnt remarkably quickly and despite not being as fast as Sirius or as confident as James, he could fly reasonably well.
“Are you alright, Peter?” Remus hovered in front of me. I nodded and smiled, they thought I was useless. Remus gestured to where James and Sirius were now racing each other, and I nodded in agreement.
Remus turned and started to fly towards them and I followed, wobbling slightly as I flew. To everyone else it looked like I was scared of flying, in reality I was scared the broom couldn’t hold my weight.
The Slytherins were right, I was fat.
But as I flew closer, the smile on my face struggled to stay hidden as I saw that I wasn’t the only one having issues. Amelia was only a metre off the ground, one toe still touching the grass; she shrieked as the broom rose a little higher. Lily and Mary were doing much better.
Lily looked slightly nervous and was gripping her broom a little too tightly whilst Mary held her other hand for support. Mary could fly really well, perhaps better than James; not that she would ever admit it. But what gave me the most joy was Severus Snape. He was amongst the Slytherins and gripping the broom like his life depended on it. His body was flat against the stick; his legs wrapped round the end whilst his nose rested on the wood.
Snape looked murderous as he muttered under his breath whilst his eyes darted from side to side. Something that James and Sirius didn’t miss.
“Oi! Snivellus! You know you’re supposed to fly, right? Not leech onto it.” James yelled as he shot past the Slytherins.
“I’m not sure James. Perhaps with all the grease, he might just slip off!” Sirius yelled back, laughing. Remus had stopped flying and was watching them with apprehension. Lily looked angry and seemed to be struggling to remember how to turn.
Sniv-Snape eyes were narrowed in dislike, “just because your parents had to pay someone to teach you how to fly, doesn’t make you any good Potter.” Snape snarled angrily. “Why? Were they embarrassed to have you as a son that they had to try and make you good at something?”
James’ eyes widened momentarily before his neck started to go red. “What did you say?” James snarled, his wand now clenched in his hand.
“I said you’re an embarrassment!” Snape shouted back. James paused in the air for a moment before nodding and shooting forwards towards Snape. He was only metres away when Remus, who seemed to of been anticipating James’ next move, and Sirius, who was faster than James, grabbed his arms to stop him. I was the next to arrive; we all knew what Snape was trying to do.
“James, don’t!” Remus said sternly. Sirius nodded, looking at James – though his eyes kept darting to where Snape was landing.
“You heard McGonagall. If any more points get taken then we all miss the Quidditch game tomorrow. You’ll spend your birthday in detention with McGonagall.” I hissed quietly.
The thought of the Quidditch obsessed professor being forced to miss Gryffindor’s qualifying match to be in detention was enough to scare anyone. James nodded and took deep breaths; Snape had hit a nerve.
The whistle blew again and Madam Hoolis was calling us in. She seemed to have missed the entire conflict due to trying to persuade Amelia to take her foot off the ground. We landed with a thump; Remus and Sirius still holding onto James.
The Slytherins disappeared fairly quickly, leaving the rest of us to put the brooms back in the shed. Sirius and Remus were obviously trying to distract James by talking about the match tomorrow. Lily was walking with Mary and Amelia behind us whilst glaring at James’ back. I was about to join in the conversation when a squawk distracted me.
It was a grey owl, an owl scrawny owl called Bellah. It was my mother’s owl, one of the only items that belonged to Mum that Dad hadn’t been able to sell.
I held out my arm and she landed heavily with a small piece of parchment tucked inside her claws. “Thanks Bellah.” I murmured, it hooted quietly in reply.
The others were looking at us with some curiosity and I couldn’t think of any excuse to not open the letter then. With a sigh I opened the parchment, silently wishing that Dad hadn’t written anything about Mum.
Your mother was insistent that I send you this today. She wouldn’t eat until I agreed.
I opened the smaller piece of parchment with some trepidation. It was a drawing, to most it would just be a page of scribbles, but I could see the pink and yellow flowers amongst the pen. I could see how the brown lines were the broomsticks and with a big lift in my chest, I saw a small number four in the corner. She remembered. Even if Dad forgot.
It was the 26th of March. Four years since the accident.
“Hey Peter, I didn’t know you had a little brother or sister.” Mary remarked as she looked over my shoulder. The others frowned as she pointed to the picture.
I nodded. How could I explain that this picture wasn’t done by a younger sibling, but by a middle-aged witch? How I could I tell them that they were actually looking at my mother’s drawing?
“Yeah. Her name’s Sarah.” I paused, thinking of that day in the field. My paradise before it crumbled. “She’s five years old.”
Best. Birthday. Ever.
There are those birthdays which at the end of you thank your parents for the presents and the day out and then you tell them it was ‘the best birthday you could ever have’ just to make them happy. But really you’re thinking, I wonder how I can top this next year.
Then there are those birthdays where you collapse onto your bed, exhausted. To wake up in the morning and feel that twinge of regret that you went to bed early and missed hours of your birthday. So then you’d get upset until your parents said that today could be your birthday as well. Then they’d buy you new presents and plan a whole extra day of fun.
There are those kind of birthdays, but then there was this birthday.
The. Best. Birthday. Ever.
I’d been awake since two, but Remus had grunted that I wasn’t allowed to wake him up. And for once, Sirius had agreed. Peter was silent, just staring at the picture his sister drew. I mean… really? It’s just a picture. It’s not even that good. Just a bunk of scribbles in different colours. He’s never even mentioned a little sister. Like…ever. I bet he made her up. I bet he drew the picture himself and then just got the owl to deliver it… to get some attention. I mean… it’s my birthday!
I sighed and fidgeted as I waited for the clock to hit 6 o’clock. Sirius said that six was a good time to wake up on your birthday and that Remus couldn’t disagree. I sighed once more, loudly. Perhaps if I yelled or something then they’d all wake up and I could just pretend that it was a nightmare? Yeah! That’d work!
I took a deep breath, preparing to yell when I calm voice interrupted me.
“I swear to Merlin, James. Don’t you dare get Crouch in here this early – we’ve got enough detentions this term.” Remus said slowly, his voice slightly muffled by his pillow.
“But it’s my birthday.” I whined.
A chuckle came from Sirius’ bed. I grinned and I even heard a snort come from Peter’s bed. Remus was not a morning person.
“Come on Remus.” Sirius laughed, sitting up. “We’ve all been awake for ages anyway. James has been sighing every minute to make sure.”
“You’ve been awake all this time? Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, shocked.
Sirius laughed. “It was funny.”
“Argh! I’m up! Will you two just shut up?” Remus glared from his bed, his eyes narrowed.
I grinned. “Peter! Presents!”
The stairs were full of students making their way to breakfast by the time we’d finished unwrapping the presents. I’d got new clothes and new stuff for school – the boring stuff that parents give you so they feel like something educational is in there. As well as that complementary book which will never be read – though Remus looked interested in it, so I gave it to him. And then Peter seemed to look at one of the pairs of shoes a lot, so I gave him a pair.
Then there was the fun stuff. A square of plastic which stuck to a wall or door and let you see into the room. Some Puddlemere United team posters – including a Erik Daniels figurine, some chocolates which made your head grow to twice its size, some gum which made you bounce along the ceiling, the new WizKidz record and the best present of them all; the Jetlight 290. It had only been released a month ago – much to the despair of all those who bought the Cleansweep 180. It was super-fast and I’d heard that there were only a 100 in Britain.
Sirius and I just sat and stared at it. If only they let First Years onto the team then Gryffindor would definitely win if I was playing.
By the time we’d got ready and gone to breakfast, the Quidditch team was leaving the hall. “James! Happy Birthday mate!” Jack Hopper clapped me on the book. He was a sixth year Gryffindor who played seeker. I’d grown up with him due to my parents pushing me onto nearby Wizarding families; they felt guilty I was an only child.
“Cheers Jack. Do me a favour? Win the game, alright?”
Jack laughed loudly and clapped me on the back once more as he rejoined his red-haired friends before following the team out the doors.
I hardly tasted the breakfast and Sirius nearly dropped his pumpkin juice down his robes in our rush to get good seats at the pitch. We needn’t have rushed though as Jack had saved us some seats, with a piece of parchment left on one of the seats.
‘Cause it’s your birthday. So don’t get cocky.’
I laughed and took our seats. The pitch was just beginning to fill up and I realised with a sense of dread that everyone else had painted their faces or made banners.
“Sirius! We ha- oh! Cheers mate.” Remus rolled his eyes as he handed over our house scarves that he’d obviously picked up. Sirius grinned as he wrapped the scarf round his neck, before scanning the area curiously.
“Be right back.” Sirius whispered. I frowned and watched as he approached some Fifth Year girls. They were laughing and one of them reached into their bag to hand him something.
“Peter,” Remus’ voice brought me back to the seats, “so there are two chasers, a beater and three keepers. Right?”
I snorted whilst Peter replied. “Close, but not quite. There’s three chasers; they throw the quaffle into those three hoops at each end. Then there’s a keeper who guards their hoops against the other teams chasers.” Remus nodded in understanding. “Then there’s two beaters who hit the bludgers at other players so their team can have an advantage. And finally there’s the seeker; he has to catch the snitch – it’s worth 150 points and as soon as it’s been caught then the game ends.”
Remus frowned, “so if you catch the snitch, you win? What’s the point of the other players then?”
I shook my head, really? Quidditch was simple! “No, if you catch the snitch the game ends – it doesn’t mean you win! You win if your team gets the most points!”
“Ohh.” Remus nodded his head in understanding just as Sirius returned, grinning mischievously. “What did you do?” Remus asked immediately, looking round for any explosions or shrieks.
“Nothing.” Sirius grinned. “Just persuaded those girls to give us their lipsticks.”
“Lipsticks?” Peter asked slowly.
“Yeah! For face paint!” Sirius replied as if it was the most obvious answer.
I nodded and grabbed one of the lipstick tubes from Sirius hand. “Woah. So you… like… you actually spoke to them?” They were Fifth Year Girls!
Sirius nodded, looking a little smug. My eyes narrowed as I twisted the lipstick tube. Game on.
I dived at Sirius, who seemed to be expecting it and only managed to draw half a red moustache before he was drawing on me. It was war as we rolled on the floor; determined to cover the other with more lipstick.
Suddenly, the crowd roared with delight and Sirius and I leapt to our feet; the match was starting. The seven, red Gryffindors entered the pitch from one side whilst the blue Ravenclaws entered from the other. Our cheers were lost in the mass so I bent closer to Sirius to yell in his ear, “next year. That’s going to be us!” Sirius nodded vigorously.
The strangely loud whistle went once more and the game was off. Adam Daulet; a strangely optimistic Hufflepuff was doing the commentary for this match.
“And they’re off! Ravenclaw’s Mercer has the Quaffle! To Clay! To Chang! Chang looks like he’s going to score and –no! Blocked by Gryffindor’s keeper; Gideon Prewett. Looks like his twin is keeping an eye on that Quaffle as Fabian Prewett catches the Quaffle.”
The Gryffindor’s roared around us whilst the Ravenclaws booed.
“Prewett has the Quaffle- and he dodges Clay to pass to Wright – Moore – Prewett – Moore –Wright and Sally Wright goes for the hoops and SHE SCORES! 10-0 TO GRYFFINDOR!”
The Gryffindors yelled with triumph, as did Hufflepuff who had chosen to support us after their embarrassing defeat at the last match.
“Moore has the Quaffle again and –Ah! Clark’s bludger is aimed perfectly and Ravenclaw are in possession of the Quaffle once more! Clay- Mercer –Chang- Mercer and… RAVENCLAW SCORE! 10-10!”
The game was moving at a fast pace, if you blinked then you could have missed a major moment. Peter was whispering to Remus as he asked questions about the game. The Gryffindors roars when we scored and moans when we missed filled my ears. Mary was pointing to the players whilst talking to Lily. Stupid. If Lily wanted to know about the game then why didn’t she ask me? Hey! Maybe I can make it up to her by telling her about Quidditch!
Another roar filled my ears and I turned to face the match once more.
“Gryffindor score again! 90-80 to Gryffindor!”
It was an evenly matched game. Mercer made some incredible dives but was quickly blocked each time by Macy Moore. “And it looks like Hopper has seen the snitch!” The stadium went deathly quiet as all eyes focused on Jack; even the chasers stopped playing.
“King is on Hopper’s tail. It’s a race to the snitch! They’re side by side now! Hopper’s reaching for the snitch, but so is King! And… Hopper catches the Snitch! GRYFFINDOR WINS! 240-80 TO GRYFFINDOR!”
The crowd went wild as we were all pulled in separate hugs. Some of the older students were clamouring down the stairs and onto the pitch. Gryffindor was in the final. Camera flashes were going off and red streamers were falling around us.
Lily was holding a camera which was whisked out of her hands as she was pushed towards our group. “Smile!” Someone yelled.
I stood next to Lily with Remus, Peter and Sirius while Mary and Amelia were stood by Lily. We were all laughing, even Lily wasn’t glaring at me. The flash went off and the moment was captured.
Poor James. He never quite gets it, does he? So what did you think? Can you imagine them checking every painting and running through the corridors with swords? Potions? Quidditch? How about Peter? - You will eventually find out about the accident - I promise! :P
Now, I think that's the end of First Year! I could so easily write 20 chapters per year... but as each chapter is usually around 6000 words... and I'm writing this up to the Battle of Hogwarts... I don't think I'll have the time! :O So I'm more picking random bits, if that makes any sense?
Please, Please, Please Review! You've no idea how much a review can make my day! Oh! And for the person who asked, James isn't wearing glasses yet. He will, I'm not ignoring that. But it's due to a circumstance which you are yet to read.... Mwahaha ;)
Oh! (Really sorry for the ridiculously long Author's Note!) Thank you to the Last Marauder for leaving such amazing reviews which really made my day! And... if you fancied reading a Tonks/Remus then I've posted my latest WIP 'Playing at War'! (Shameless Plug! ;) )