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Chapter 7: First Year: Summer Holidays
I grunted as his arms clasped around my shoulders and pushed me to the ground. My knees hit the wooden floor with a loud smack and my hands reached out to prevent my face doing the same. My neck jarred from the unexpected impact and I had a second to comprehend what had happened before the hands moved; ready to make their next move. It was war.
I twisted to grab hold of his waist and saw a quick glance of dark hair and grey eyes before, using all my strength, I pushed him to ground. He seemed to be expecting it and quickly rolled out of the way so my arms grabbed at thin air. Suddenly he was up and darting towards my head, pushing me back to the floor. I lifted my leg to trip him so he tumbled down with me. He tried to wriggle away whilst I held him down. It was his speed vs. my strength. I went to hold his arms down but was a second too slow because he tucked his head under my arm and slithered out from under my body.
It was over in a second. He pushed off from the floor and had me in a headlock with an excited giggle in my ear, I knew I had lost. “Reg,” I wailed.
Another giggle answered me as he slowly slid off my shoulder and sat on the floor next to me. I looked up at him scowling but couldn’t stop the grin sliding onto my face as I watched his grey eyes already lit up with excitement and a big smile stretched across his face. His previously neatly groomed hair was now messy and sticking up. “What?” he grinned.
I looked at him for a second before dating forwards and dragging him to the floor where I ruffled his hair and tickled him until he squealed. “M-mu-m s-says w-we’ve got t-to go dow-wnstairs-s.” he spat out between his laughter.
I sighed and pulled away from my younger brother. “Why? I saw her this morning. Merlin, what’ve I done now?”
Regulus shrugged and stood up, offering both hands to pull me up. I sighed and stood up, before turning to Regulus with a smile. “Race you.”
I didn’t wait to see his reaction and took the pounding feet on the stairs as a sign that he was following me. We were both out of breath by the time we reached the second floor and just as I was about to jump onto the last flight of stairs, Regulus pushed me into the wall and jumped in front of me. I laughed and ran after him. He reached the door to the dining room at the same time as me, so I stuck out my foot so he tripped into the room. But once again, he was too fast and pulled me down with him.
We were on the floor once more, laughing, but before I could resume my tickling from before – a low cough interrupted us. Both of our eyes widened at the same time in realisation of where we actually were. I jumped off Regulus and pulled him up beside me, wincing slightly as I noticed his shirt had been torn in the scuffle.
I raised my gaze to look at the other people in the room. My mother was the closest, her dark hair pulled into a bun. Aunt Druella sat beside my mother, her mouth slightly ajar as she stared at us. My father was at the other side of the table, a bottle of fire whiskey close by. Uncle Alphard was leaning against one of the walls, wincing slightly as he predicted how my mother would react. Andy was sat in the centre of the table with a hand pressed to her mouth as she tried to contain the giggles. Cissy, who was sat next to her, darted between looking at us and whoever was standing behind her father.
Uncle Cygnus’ eyes were narrowed and he slightly shifted to the side to reveal, with my stomach tensing, Bellatrix. It was a family meeting; they were all there. I could only thank my lucky stars that there were no other guests present; how could my mother explain that the pureblood princes were playing at Muggle fighting?
“What do you think you’re doing?” My mother asked in a clipped tone. Her eyes narrowed into slits as you looked me up and down.
I shrugged, annoyed how Regulus seemed to shrink under her gaze. “Playing.”
“Playing?” My mother repeated, her voice scathing. “And do you think that playing is the correct way to behave, Regulus?”
Reg’s eyes widened slightly and he took a step backwards. “N-no.”
“Do you think that you’re not too old for playing?”
Regulus turned to look at me desperately; I took a step closer towards him. “I-I s-suppose.”
“You suppose?” Mother glared. “Well if you’re not sure then I suppose you’re not old enough to attend Hogwarts. Perhaps you would be better suited with private tutors? Where you’ll be under our supervision until you’re of age, hmm?”
“No!” Regulus gaped, “I want to go to Hogwarts – please! I want to go to Hogwarts.”
My mother laughed shortly, no humour evident in her eyes. “Well, it’s good that I don’t care for what you want, isn’t it?”
Regulus’ mouth snapped shut and he looked at me with pleading eyes. Yet before I could say anything, my father snorted. He held up the empty fire whiskey bottle to his eye and yelled, “Kreacher!”
There was a loud crack and the house-elf appeared at his side. Kreacher flinched slightly as my father pushed the empty bottle into his hands. “More.” My father demanded, before raising his head to look at us. “Leave the brat alone, Walburga. He’ll go to Hogwarts – I can’t stand anymore of his whining.” My mother opened her mouth to retort when my father slammed his glass on the table, causing it to break into shards. “That’s my final word, Walburga.”
My father’s dark eyes flashed dangerously and my mother opened her mouth once more. I put a hand on Regulus’ shoulder; knowing that he’ll sneak into my room tonight. He always felt safer with me when our father’s yells and our mother’s screams echoed around the house.
My mother turned to face the rest of the family who had been watching the scene unfold. “Druella, Alphard, take the boys to Diagon Alley and after buying their equipment and books for next year, bring Regulus back here for his lessons.”
My aunt and uncle nodded at her order whilst Bellatrix frowned. “Please, Aunt Walburga, I can take the boys.” Bella looked over at me with a strange glint in her eye. That can’t mean anything good.
To my relief, my mother shook her head. “No Bella, thank you for offering, but you and your sisters have other plans for today.” Bellatrix tilted her head curiously whilst Andy looked apprehensive. “The LeStrange family have been kind enough to invite all three of you for afternoon tea. Rodolphus is especially keen to see you, Bellatrix.”
Bella’s eyes widened in understanding and a look of desperation passed over her face. “Aunt Walburga, please don’t-”
“Your parents and I have already discussed this at great length. Toujours Pur.” My mother stated. Bellatrix closed her mouth and nodded slowly; her eyes focussed on the carpet. “The Malfoy family will also be making an appearance,” she continued, looking at Cissy who beamed in response, “and the Rosier family.” My mother added, looking at Andromeda; who frowned and looked despairingly at her parents. “You will wear your finest gowns and be on your best behaviour, understood? Your father, Cygnus, shall be accompanying you.”
Slowly everyone in the room nodded in response to her summons. My father was too distracted with another bottle of fire whiskey that Kreacher had given him.
I swallowed, readying myself for the question that had been on my mind throughout her orders. “If I’m not coming back with Regulus, where am I going?”
Her grey eyes locked with mine and her lips pushed into a thin line. “The Potter family have requested you to stay with them. Of course I refused, but I am beginning to realise that you are like an illness – spreading your wayward beliefs and corrupt personality on others.” Her eyes lingered on Regulus. My stomach tensed as she spoke and I saw Uncle Alphard shaking his head from the corner of my eye.
“I expect the LeStrange family’s presence at this house will be more frequent, and it is best if you are not here to show them your abnormalities. We don’t want to give Sansa LeStrange the wrong idea! Until then, I have no choice but to separate you from influencing your brother and cousins. Kreacher, make a bag for Master Sirius; he may be gone a while.”
Although part of me was ecstatic that I would be living with the Potter’s and away from my family, the other part was gripped with fear. Regulus. They’ll make him listen to the lectures on being a pureblood. I won’t be there to tell him, to protect him. They’re separating us for a reason. Even at Hogwarts I could owl him. Regulus.
Bizarrely, I was faced with the sudden notion that I didn’t want to go. I couldn’t leave Regulus behind. My mother seemed to recognise this and as Kreacher re-appeared back in the dining room, she handed me the bag with a malicious grin. “Druella – I think you should be going now.”
Aunt Druella nodded, “girls, Samson has left some suitable gowns in the Foyer. Wear those. I’ll see you tonight.” My cousins nodded at their mother and walked to the fireplace. Andy lagged behind to speak to me, but was herded away by her father.
I locked with her gaze as the flames engulfed her body, and immediately felt slightly reassured at the promise in her eyes. I’ll watch out for him.
“Mum, I’m home.” My voice echoed around the house as I pushed open the front door. Kaitlyn smiled and followed me into the hallway. “Mum?” I called out again, there was no answer.
“Aren’t your parents in?” Kaitlyn asked. “We can always go back to mine – Mum said she’d take us to the park, if you want?”
I smiled at Kaitlyn, her chocolate brown hair hung round her face in ringlets and her cheeks were stained red. “Really? I haven’t been to the park in ages! Did they build the new swings?”
Kaitlyn nodded, “and there’s a new slide. Jimmy Eeteen says that Mr Jacobson heard they were going to build a roundabout. But Katie Smith says that it’s not a roundabout, but a climbing frame – and her mum works for the council, so I reckon she’s truer. Though Bertie Gill argued that all the big boys persuaded the council to build a football pitch – and lots of the village have said that we should have one so we can all have a village match.”
I laughed, “but Bertie threatened to start playing football against the shop windows, so everyone’s agreed that he needs a football pitch instead.”
Kaitlyn giggled as I pushed open the door to the kitchen. It was an odd sight – the normally sunny kitchen was cloaked in darkness. The blinds had been pulled down and the lights were on instead. Both mum and dad sat round the table which was covered in pieces of paper. Dad was running his hands through his hair whilst mum bit her nails. “Mum? Dad?”
They jumped out of their seats in an instant. “Remus? We thought you were playing with – oh, hello Kaitlyn.”
“Hello Mrs Lupin. Hello Mr Lupin.”
Mum stepped forward, blocking the table from view whilst dad quickly gathered all the papers into a bundle. “What are you both up to then? It’s a lovely day – why aren’t you out playing?”
“We were,” I shrugged, my eyes straining to make out the headline of the Daily Prophet whilst Dad was throwing it into the drawer, “but it’s really hot and we thought we’d have an ice cream. Do we have any?”
Mum smiled and ruffled my hair. Dad walked over, “’fraid not, chap.”
“Oh. Okay, never mind. Hey, do you mind if Kaitlyn’s mum takes us to the park? I haven’t been in ages and there’s always an ice-cream van there.”
Mum and Dad exchanged glances. “Well there’s no need to bother Mrs Kerr. I can take you both – ice-cream is my treat.”
I looked at Kaitlyn and exchanged a grin. “Why don’t you go put on a hat, Remus? It’s hot out there and I don’t want you getting sunstroke.”
“Don’t ‘but mum’ me, Remus John Lupin. Kaitlyn, do you have a cap to take with you?”
“No, but I never burn anyway – so I’m fine without one.” Kaitlyn responded.
Mum smiled and raised her eyebrow. “Well Remus has a spare cap – will you wear it for my own peace of mind? And some suncream? I don’t want to return a red tomato to your mum tonight.”
Kaitlyn giggled, “okay, Mrs Lupin. Oh! Can I have strawberry ice cream? I tried chocolate last time and it wasn’t very nice.” Kaitlyn wrinkled her nose.
I turned to Kaitlyn with my mouth hanging open, “I love chocolate! It’s the best combination ever - chocolate and ice-cream! How can you not like it?”
Mum and Dad both laughed. “Not everyone is as much of an addict as you Ree. You’ll be bouncing off the ceiling all night.”
“That would be so fun!” I laughed.
“It would be!” Kaitlyn nodded. “Imagine if you could fly – then we could fly anywhere we wanted, and I could come visit you at the hospice!”
Mum laughed, though it was slightly forced. Dad immediately jumped in, “Charlotte? Shouldn’t you take the kids? After all, we don’t want all the ice cream to go, do we?” He grinned at the look of horror which spread over our faces.
I took Kaitlyn’s hand and dragged her up the stairs. “Come on! We don’t want all the chocolate ice cream to go!” Kaitlyn giggled in response as I desperately sought for my two caps. I found the green one at the back of my wardrobe but the second one seemed to have disappeared. “Here,” I handed Kaitlyn the green cap, “you can have this one. I’ll go ask mum if she’s seen my other one.”
I ran from the room and took every second step on the way down the stairs. By the time I reached the kitchen I was out of breath. Yet as I was about to push open the door, I heard my parents arguing from inside. Intrigued, I leant closer.
“-write again. They can’t pass this legislation, they can’t! How in God’s name is he ever going to find a job? He won’t even have any normal qualifications, so he couldn’t even get a job in this world.” Mum whispered anxiously.
“Dumbledore-” Dad interrupted.
“Never mind Dumbledore. I know he said that it would work out, but how can he know that?” She paused, through the gap in the door I could see my Dad pulled her into a hug. “He’s just a boy. Why did this have to happen to him? Why us? Why can’t it have ever happened?”
I’d heard enough. My lips pressed together as I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. The feelings I desperately tried to keep hidden rose to the surface. Why did it have to happen? Why did they have to have me as a son? They’d be much happier with a normal son.
I backed away from the door slowly. If they didn’t have me around then they wouldn’t have to lie to everyone anymore. Mum wouldn’t have to keep pretending that I’m getting worse and Dad could just be a normal man at the Ministry.
I paid my actions no notice. Burden. I took another step. Lies. And another. Threat. And another. Secrets. And another. Outcast. And another. Wolf. I reached out and opened the front door.
Burden. My feet hit the gravel. Lies. There was a slight breeze which rushed through my hair. Threat. My arms swung in time. Secrets. My chest started to burn. Outcast. My muscles ached and moaned. Wolf. I pushed myself faster and further than ever before.
The thoughts span round my head, why couldn’t I be normal? I was in the woods now, the tall trees blocked out any of the remaining afternoon sunlight. I noticed that the running was beginning to feel easier – I could jump from root to stone with ease. I was going faster than ever before – why should I ever stop? Faster. I’m a wolf. Faster. I’m a reject. Faster. I’m nothing. Faster.
I wasn’t quite sure where I was going, nor where I was running from. I only knew that I needed to run – to breathe. Yet no matter how fast I pushed myself, nor how much I tried to convince myself otherwise – the same thought kept circling within my head. I just want to be normal.
It was raining. The hot sun from what felt both minutes and days before had long gone. I had no idea where I was, but it was cold. I tucked my arms inside the thin t-shirt in an attempt to keep warm.
I deserve this, I thought to myself, I’m different – I shouldn’t be allowed to stay with everyone else. They’ll all hate me for it in the end.
Although I was focussing on my parents, the images of my three friends, James, Sirius and Peter briefly filled my mind. Don’t fool yourself, Remus. If they knew the truth about you then they’d run away screaming. You don’t belong with them.
I’d reached an opening in the woods; the trees parted slightly for me to see the sky – the wolf must always see the moon. It was dark; the stars covered by black clouds – the summer sun feeling like a forgotten memory. Water ran down my face and plastered my hair onto my skin. My thin clothes hung heavy upon my frame and my trainers squelched with each step.
I collapsed by a tree trunk which was slightly sheltered from an overhanging branch and rested my head onto my knees; desperately trying to ignore the shivers running down my body. I was tired, yet almost wishing it was full moon for the warmth of a thick coat and the freedom of my mind. My eyes were heavy as the rain pounded around me.
I jolted awake with the realisation that it had stopped raining. I was leant against something hard and uncomfortable. It was cold, very cold. There was sound around me, though I couldn’t make out what it was. Something was holding my arm. Something else was shaking me.
Blearily, I opened my eyes slowly. The first thing I noticed was a dark beard. The man’s lips were moving but I couldn’t make sense of the words. His eyes were brown, but flecked with green. One hand was on my chest whilst the other was on my neck. I shook my head to clear my thoughts.
“Remus. Remus – look at me please. Remus!” the man demanded.
I coughed, my eyes focussing on the familiar man above me. “Dad?”
He visibly sighed with relief and let out a heavy sigh. “Remus,” he choked, pulling me into his chest and wrapping his arms around me, “oh God, you’re okay.”
I felt myself shiver and Dad immediately pushed me away whilst he pulled of his coat and wrapped it around me instead. “Why Ree? God, why did you run away? Y-You’ve been gone hours – we’ve been looking for you everywhere! The whole village is out looking – it was Kaitlyn who suggested the woods. It’s been-why?” He choked again and took a deep breath, before placing both hands on either side of my head and looking me in the eye. “Why’d you do this, Remus?”
“I-I… thought that if I went away then you wouldn’t have to lie anymore.” I whispered quietly, my cheeks burned as I realised how pathetic I sounded.
“And you thought running away and making your mother and I go out of our wits was the way to achieve that?” Dad questioned, one eyebrow raised.
I bit my lip as shame filled me. “I didn’t think… about that. But you would have got over it and… and then you would be normal – like if you had a normal son.” I muttered quickly.
Dad’s eyes flashed with an emotion I couldn’t decipher. “Now you listen to me, Remus John Lupin.” He said sternly. “You. Are. Normal. There is no difference between you and your friends – you just have an extra… gift once a month. Don’t you dare believe you’re inferior in any way – is that understood?”
He’s wrong. I bit my lip to keep the thought in and slowly nodded. Dad’s shoulders relaxed slightly.
“Don’t think this is over. But I think it’s a good guess that your mum will be having kittens if I don’t find you soon so we better head back.”
I nodded but couldn’t stop the laugh which burst from my mouth when Dad caught me unawares and swung me over his shoulder.
“Dad…” I whined. He responded with a deep, throaty chuckle.
“What?” he said innocently, “I can’t have my boy running off again, can I?”
She giggled and clapped her hands with merriment as the owl flew through the open window and landed on the chair gracefully. I smiled and wiped away some of the leftover paste which was smeared over her lips.
“Okay mum, I’ll get it. No – don’t pet the owl mum. Remember what dad said? The owls don’t like it when you pet them.” I reminded her with a small smile. She giggled again and clapped her hands once more.
I pushed myself off the groaning seat and walked towards the owl slowly – hoping to show my mum the correct way to approach an owl, rather than running at it screaming whilst flapping her arms as she had taken to doing with Bellah, her old owl.
The owl was a deep red with a white chest. I’d seen it before, arriving at Hogwarts nearly every morning. It was James’ owl. He remembered. I thought happily. It was nice to know that someone still did.
The owl, named Rufus, carried a letter and a large green package. Intrigued, I opened the letter first.
Happy 12th Birthday!!
You’re so lucky to have a birthday in summer; well that’s what mum says anyway. I don’t agree because if your birthday was in term time then we’d all be there to celebrate. But I guess you’ll be spending the day with your parents and sister – but they would have sent your presents to Hogwarts anyway. So I’m sure I’m right that having a birthday at Hogwarts is better than one in the holiday.
The paper was slightly scrunched and instead of James’ handwriting another person had carried on the letter instead. It was much neater and written in an old-fashioned cursive font. It was obviously Sirius.
Sorry about James. Mrs Potter is telling him off for being rude – though he is right, it would be really fun if we were with you! I’ve been here for about two weeks now, but I’ll tell you everything when we see you – oh! Yeah – can you come to James’ house either tonight or tomorrow? James had organised with some of his friends in Sixth Year (well Seventh Year now) to come over. We’ve written to Remus as well. You’ve got to come! It’ll be fun!
Anyway, the present’s from both of us. Hope to you later and have a good birthday with your family. I remember when Regulus was around Sarah’s age – not fun! Good luck with that.
Sirius (and James).
I smiled as I noticed some small tears in the paper where James and Sirius had obviously fought to write. They couldn’t be further from the truth, though.
I looked around the cluttered kitchen. The bin was overflowing with takeaway boxes again. There were two buckets full to the brim with clothes that needed ironing. The white floor was covered in stains, as was the table and chairs. My mum sat in the middle of the room, her grey hair decorating her pale face and sunken brown eyes.
“Peee-terr,” she wailed to get my attention. “Peee-terr.” Mum was pointing to the window where the regal owl had just flown through on its way back to the Potters.
“Yes mum, it’s an owl. You like owls, don’t you?” I walked closer to my mother and sat close beside her, she tilted her head and studied me curiously. “That was James’ owl. You remember James? He’s the one with messy hair that I told you about. Sirius is staying with him at the moment as well. Do you know why they came?”
I looked at her desperately for some hint of recognition, she clapped and giggled again. “It’s my birthday today, mum. It’s my twelfth birthday. Do you remember what you used to do on my birthday? You’d spend all night baking me a chocolate cake, because you knew it was my favourite. But then you’d also make a smaller plain one because Sarah didn’t like chocolate cake. And then we’d go out to our special place and go flying-”
“Enough.” I didn’t hear him enter and spun round to face the door on instinct. Dad stood in the doorway, his tall figure filling the entire gap. His arms were crossed and his features were twisted into a deep scowl. “Enough Peter. Stop speaking to her like that.”
I gritted my teeth. “Like what?”
“Like she can understand a god damn thing you’re saying!” Dad roared, stepping into the room. “When will you get it through that thick head of yours? She. Is. Not. Coming. Back.”
“Yes she is!” I yelled back. Mum had placed her hands over each ear and was quietly whimpering. “Just because you gave up on her, it doesn’t mean that I have to as well. She understands what I’m saying – she does!” My voice shook slightly, “I-I promised Sarah.”
Dad froze and his eyes immediately sought out Sarah’s portrait which still hung on the wall. “Don’t- just don’t, Peter. Look,” he paused and walked over to me uncertainly with a slight limp, “it doesn’t dwell to think of the past. It’s gone, Peter. Just- Agatha, don’t cry. Aggy, it’s just me, it’s Tim and Peter. Shh, you’re okay.”
Dad knelt on the floor and pulled mum into his arms. Her whimpering had increased into wails and tears were now running down her face. It didn’t take much to upset her anymore. “See, we’re just talking. Look at us, Agatha. See – it’s just me. Look at Peter, see, he’s fine as well.” Dad frowned as he noticed the unopened green package still clutched in my hand. “What’ve you got there, Peter?”
I shrugged and opened the package. It was a red jumper, looking as if it had been taken straight from Madam Malkin’s, and three bars of chocolate, each boasting of different flavours for every bite. I’ve never had anything new before. Even the takeaways were the last picking from the day so were sold at a cheaper price. “It’s from James and Sirius.”
“Why’d they give you them? I swear to god, Peter, it better not be pity. How many times have I told you about telling people about our money? I’ve-”
“It’s August 12th,” I interrupted quietly.
Dad opened his mouth and stared at me for a moment. “Damn Peter – look, I’m sorry. It just skipped my mind. I haven’t well – your gift-”
“It’s alright. Don’t worry about it.”
“No, Peter. It’s not alright. God damn it – it’s your eleventh birthday and I haven’t even-”
“It’s my twelfth.” I interrupted again, biting my lip as I looked at my dad. Dad opened his mouth once more and I suddenly came to the realisation that I was tired. Of his excuses. Of his promises. Of him always leaving me to deal with mum. I sighed. “James and Sirius have invited me over to their house. Can I go? I’ll be back for the weekend.”
Dad sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Sorry, Peter. But I need someone to look after your mum – Sherry’s gone away for the summer so I can’t even call her over.”
“You could look after her.” I replied stubbornly, and then carried on before he could respond. “There’s enough baby food in the cupboards for her and Mr Chan said he’d drop off the leftovers from the shop each night in payment for cleaning his windows last week. You never phone in sick and we haven’t been on holiday since before the a-a-accident. They owe you time off!”
Dad opened his mouth to retort and I already knew the answer was a no, so I cut him off once more. “Please, Dad. Summer’s nearly over and I haven’t even been outside unless I’m picking up takeaways or groceries. I’ve taken care of mum all summer – and I don’t mind. I really don’t. But please just let me go.”
Dad’s shoulders seemed to shrink as he looked around the room in desperation. He looked at mum for a moment then looked at Sarah’s portrait. He sighed again. “Fine. Call it your birthday present – but be back for Friday – deal? I’ll sort out work, but I have some… meetings that I have to go to on Friday afternoon.”
“Really?” I jumped up with a grin stretched across my face. “Can I go? Can I really?”
“As long as you’re back for Friday – promise me, Peter. I can’t miss these meetings.” Dad looked at me seriously.
“I promise!” Then I did something that I hadn’t done in years, I ran up to Dad and hugged him tightly. “Thank you.”
Dad patted me on the back awkwardly. “Right – well go get your stuff then.”
I grinned and ran to my room which I used to share with Sarah, pausing only to kiss my mum on the head as I passed. “Alright, Aggy.” I heard Dad speak to mum behind me, “you like carrots, right? Come on Aggy. Eat up.”
It wasn’t that bad.
“Damn, James. What did you do?” A startled voice asked from the doorway. Jack’s mouth hung open as he looked around the room.
“Erm… nothing?” I replied hopefully, whilst stepping closer to Sirius to hide some of the evidence.
Behind Jack came two, loud laughs. The owners stepped around him, their red hair shining in the sunlight. “And we thought you were joking, Jack. Bloody hell Gid, don’t think even we’ve done anything this bad before.”
“I was thinking the same thing, Fab. Kind of makes our achievements look a little dull, doesn’t it?” Gideon said whilst picking up a shard of a vase. “Though if we did something like this mum would’ve had our necks.”
Fabian snorted whilst investigating a collapsed table. “Never mind mum, imagine if Molly caught us.”
Gideon made a face and shook his shoulders. “Fair point – if Molly caught us… we’d be dead within the hour.”
“Especially now she’s pregnant again.” Fabian continued. “She’s always easier to wind up when she’s pregnant.”
“Though to be fair,” Gideon argued, “that’s probably more to do with Billy screaming all the time. Why would you have another baby if your other one’s only a year old?”
“Think Billy’s nearly two now, Gid.”
“Really? But he-”
“Guys!” Jack interrupted, rolling his eyes as he looked at his two friends. Gideon and Fabian both grinned and turned to face Sirius and me. Jack shook his head, “now, are either of you going to tell me why Mrs Potter’s back room looks like it just exploded?”
Sirius and I swapped guilty looks. It wasn’t one of our best ideas. I looked around the room with a wince.
The cream rug which had previously been pristine and running along the length of the room, was now creased with a small rip running through the middle from when Sirius had tripped over the fireplace stones and got his foot caught under the material. There was also a large purple stain at one side of the carpet and splatters of orange stains along the rest from when I fell into the wooden table, which promptly collapsed, and sent my blackcurrant juice falling onto the rug with me only just managing to catch Sirius’ pumpkin juice before it all fell onto the white material.
“Oh for god’s sake.” An exasperated voice came from the other doorway. Remus looked at the room with his jaw open and he slowly shook his head. Peter stood beside him with his eyes wide, looking more and more anxious as he took in the mess. Behind them was a tall, dark-haired man who looked slightly bemused.
“Bleedin’ heck, Jack.” Frank Longbottom laughed, “I thought you were exaggerating.”
“James, I told you this was a bad idea.” Remus scolded. “Your dad said he’d take us to the field when he got back! Why, in God’s name, did you think it was a good idea to play Quidditch inside?”
“Wait,” Gideon chortled, “you played Quidditch-”
“-inside?” Fabian continued, laughing.
“It was a good idea at the time.” I said defensively. “But Sirius wanted to practice playing Beater… and the bludger got a little out of hand.”
“You let a bludger free in here?” Frank stated with his mouth open.
“Yeah – but I hit it too hard and it went into the ceiling.” Sirius reluctantly pointed to the smashed glass pane in the conservatory roof.
“Then it bounced off in my direction – but I was diving after the Quaffle and-” I gestured towards the broken table and spilt juice.” Jack looked slightly dumbfounded.
“So instead it hit the cabinet.” Sirius looked at the eight broken vases and the fallen cabinet.
“But then it went for me again, so Sirius managed to get there first and hit it away.” I said, before adding sheepishly, “and… er…into the desk.”
Frank and Peter stepped closer to the broken desk as Remus bent down in an attempt to collect some of the pieces of ripped paper which littered the room.
“We caught it though.” Sirius bit his lip. “Though the only thing big enough to properly catch it were the,” he pointed to the curtains which were hanging off the poles, “curtains.”
One of the curtains had been tied into a knot where the bludger was now encaged. “We were only gone a couple minutes.” Peter whispered.
There was silence for a moment whilst the Seventh Years all looked at each other, before Frank, Gideon and Fabian burst out laughing. Jack looked to be struggling between laughing hysterically or crying. “Your parents are going to kill me.” Jack moaned, “I was supposed to be looking after you all.”
“We don’t need looking after!” I retorted indignantly.
“Obviously.” Jack said dryly, whilst gesturing around the room.
“Why didn’t you just play Chasers? Why bring Beaters into the game if there were only two of you?” Fabian asked curiously.
I exchanged glances with Sirius who reluctantly nodded. “Well,” I stalled, “Moore and Entwhistle have left Hogwarts now…”
Gideon and Jack swapped looks whilst Frank snorted. Remus rolled his eyes and Peter laughed quietly. “And?” Fabian pressed.
I sighed. “And… that means that there are two openings in the Quidditch team. Chaser and Beater.” I looked up at the amused Seventh Years. “I play Chaser and Sirius plays Beater.”
“So you think you two can fill our slots?” Fabian continued with a smile in his face.
“Why not?” Sirius asked stubbornly.
“Well are you any good?” Gideon asked.
“Course!” I responded. “We’re great!”
Gideon and Fabian shared a grin before turning to face us again. “Well, you’re in luck – guess who just got made captain.” Fabian clapped Jack on the back, who promptly groaned.
“You’re captain?” I yelled. “Well then you can just put us on the team!”
“No.” Jack replied.
“Because that wouldn’t be fair – and I’d need to see you fly with the team first anyway. At try-outs.”
“We can go flying now! Most of the team is here anyway.”
“Ed and Sally aren’t.” Jack stated.
“So? Frank or Remus or Peter can fill in! Please?” Jack shook his head and was about to respond when Sirius interrupted.
“We promise to not make any more mess.” Sirius smiled innocently, whilst Jack warred with himself over the temptation to get us out of the house.
“Fine. But you’ll have to try out like everyone else with Sally and Ed. Before you ask – I’m not calling them over. Sally’s on holiday with her family and Ed is looking after his little sisters – one of them is in your year, I think. Amelia Bones?”
“Yeah, she’s in our house.” I nodded. “Amelia could come over.”
“Yeah, but they should spend some time together, don’t you think?”
Remus, who had been following the conversation with a look of boredom was suddenly intrigued. “Why?”
Frank frowned. “Well they haven’t spent much time with their little sister since their mum.”
“Their mum?” Peter questioned.
“Well, she died last Christmas – didn’t Amelia tell you?”
I frowned and swapped astonished looks with my friends. I vagualy remembered Amelia looking slightly pale - Remus had menitoned it a couple times, but we'd just shrugged it off. Peter spoke first, “what did she die of?”
“Die of?” Gideon looked confused and his twin looked at us with a similar expression. Both seemed to be missing Jack’s eyes widening with panic. “Well, she was murdered. It was in the prophet – Susan Bones. You must have heard about it. She was head of Law Enforcement – it was believed to be the work of one of Voldemort’s supporters.”
“Voldemort?” I tilted my head to the side. “Isn’t he that guy who doesn’t like muggle-borns?”
The Seventh Years all looked astonished as they looked at us. “Surely you know abo-”
“Guys.” Jack interrupted suddenly. “That’s up to their parents – though I’ll mention it to the Potters.”
“But what-?” I asked.
“No, James.” Jack said firmly, with the distinct expression of someone trying to brush off a topic. “That’s up to your parents to explain. Now step back – we’ll see what we can fix.”
I was about to argue when I caught Remus in the corner of my eye. He was looking extremely serious as he shook his head. Sirius gestured to the door and I followed. Peter was biting his lip and glaring at the floor.
The Seventh Years were crowded around Jack, each sending looks to where we stood. Jack was shaking his head furiously. Eventually they moved away and took place in the room.
Gideon smiled, “right. Stand back or be prepared to be hit.” Fabian laughed behind him and the tension decreased slightly.
I watched as Jack effortlessly pointed his wand at the table, the broken legs rose into the air and re-attached themselves onto the wooden top before floating back to the floor. Fabian pointed his wand to the ceiling and the shards of glass rose slowly and pieced itself into the roof. Fabian flicked his wand again and the lines around the smash started to disappear.
Gideon was levitating the cabinet back into place. Then with another swish of his wand, the vases reformed one by one and flew into place. Frank was frowning at the desk; he’d flicked his wand several times so that the papers were neatly stacked on the table, yet no matter how many spells he tried – the gaping hole couldn’t be fixed.
Soon, the room was restored to order whilst we stood gaping in the doorway. I was used to wizards being able to do magic so quickly and skilfully – but Jack, Frank, Gid and Fab are still at Hogwarts!
“Right – well that looks fine. James, you’ll have to come up with some excuse for the hole in the desk and get Dondie to look at these stains in the rug – I’ve lifted most of it, but I’m sure the house-elf will be able to get rid of any remaining evidence.” Jack said, running a hand through his hair. “Let’s just get you out, ey?” Jack smiled.
“Right. James, come do some Chaser drills with me – we’ll see how good you are. If you get on the time you’ll be playing with Sally and me.” Fabian grinned.
“And Ed’s the other beater, Sirius. But Jack’ll play for today, so you can get some practice?” Gideon nodded at Jack.
“I guess the rest of us will just show off our amazing flying skills then.” Frank said dryly at his friends.
They laughed, “you got it in one, Franky-boy.”
We left the room to collect our broomsticks. I looked at Fabian as he walked and couldn’t stop the thought crossing my mind, I bet I’m faster.
Well.. that was a slow update wasn't it? It's been a... month? Sorry! Not only have I had to fill out a 'missing' form for my muse... but I got sent on one of those 'intensive revision' courses with no internet by my parents. -_-
Have you seen the wonderful new banner? What do you think?
I'll go back and edit this chapter soon - I haven't really got signal here (I'm now on holiday) but have just enough time to post the chapter! :)
Oh! So First Year is fully finished now - if summer counts as First Year? Anyway, the aim was to give you a fair introduction to each character throughout their first year a Hogwarts. Now, I'd love some advice - should I carry on giving each character roughly 1,700 words each OR should I start giving one character more focus per chapter? For example, three of the characters might have 400 words each and then a fourth character would have around 5000? So there would be more focus on each character?
I don't know - so please give me some advice on what you'd prefer! :P Thank you all so much for supporting this story so far with your reads, reviews and favourites. It means so much that you like this story!
Okay - I'm rambling... see you in the next chapter! (Or if you leave a review in that box down there.. then I can reply.. *hint hint* ;) )