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Staying Afloat by nednedned
Chapter 1: Reunions, Rubber Ducks, and Chicken Wings.
^Amazing chapter image thanks to onlyInevitability@TDA!
I groaned and rubbed my eyes groggily as Dad waltzed into the room, throwing open my curtains and blinding me momentarily. “Get up Lia! It’s September the first!”
Even though I slept quite a bit the night before, I was exhausted. You could say that I wasn’t exactly a morning person. In fact, this is the first year that Dad didn’t resort to pouring a bucket of water on my face to get me up.
“Whassamatter – Daad! Why did you wake me up so early?” I mumbled, still half asleep.
Dad smirked at me. “Its quarter to ten, you goof.” With that, he left my room to wake up my brother, Ryan.
I fell unceremoniously onto the floor in a heap. Quarter to ten? Now that jolted me out of my sleepy state. I wasn’t even packed! Yesterday evening, I had convinced myself that for once, I would get up early and pack for Hogwarts in the morning. The truth of the matter was that I was just too lazy to do it the night before.
Amelia Rayne Finnegan, you have one hour to pack, get ready, and eat breakfast before going to King’s Cross. GO, GO, GO! And with that terrifying thought, I started racing around my room, flinging everything in sight into my trunk.
Ryan glanced in my room with mild interest, leaning against the doorframe. He was already dressed and ready to go. “You didn’t do anything to prepare beforehand, did you?”
Stupid neat freak brother. “Not exactly,” I panted as I whooshed past him, lunging for my beater’s bat. “Not all of us pack our stuff a few weeks before school even starts!” I threw it into my fast-filling trunk.
Ryan just shook his head and pulled out his wand. He was going to be a sixth year this year, and was actually going to be of age in a few days. He had been using magic discreetly the whole summer. It wasn’t as if he would get traced, because one could assume that it was just Dad doing the magic.
He waved his wand and my belongings flew into my trunk, arranging themselves neatly and thus allowing my trunk to shut with a click. He sauntered out of my room, down to breakfast, calling over his shoulder. “Might want to get ready quickly Lia, don’t want to have a repeat of when we had to jump onto the already-going train that one year.”
I grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and went to the bathroom. After the quickest shower even taken known to man, I dressed quickly and analyzed myself in the mirror. Long, brown hair that went down to my waist, brown eyes that couldn’t be bothered with makeup, and a slightly muscled frame from Quidditch. Pretty ordinary.
Ryan and I were both in Gryffindor like dad. I was entering fifth year while my brother was preparing for sixth. We looked a little alike, though if we were apart it would be unlikely that anyone would make the sibling connection.
I grabbed a piece of toast and joined Dad and Ryan near the entrance, lugging along my trunk. Dad smiled and grabbed both of our hands and after the horrible suffocating sensation, we had apparated into a nearby alleyway to King’s Cross. Wouldn’t want to freak out the muggles.
Dad grabbed my trunk for me and we three started walking to the station. I really did love Dad. As a single worked hard to make sure that Ryan and I were doing alright. It was just the three of us; Mum left when I was just a baby. Dad won’t tell Ryan and me why - and believe me; we tried to get it out of him.
We made it through the barrier and Ryan and I turned towards Dad.
“See Dad, its 10:50, ten minutes to spare!” I smiled proudly after looking at the giant clock. Ryan just shook his head and snorted.
“Listen, you two, I have to leave quickly, I have some extra work to put in today…” Dad trailed off, clearly feeling bad about leaving abruptly.
“It’s alright Dad, Lia and I are fine”, said Ryan, trying to reassure Dad. He had to put in extra hours to make ends meet these days. He really worked hard.
We said our goodbyes to Dad, and then Ryan and I parted ways to search for our respective pals.
I barely had a chance to look around before I was ambushed by a whoosh of red curls.
I grinned. The hyper one was one of my best friends, Rose Weasley – genius extraordinaire. One of the reasons I wasn’t worried about the OWLs was that I knew Rose would be keeping a hawk-like eye on me to make sure I studied the whole year.
“Nice to see you too, Rosie! How was your summer?” I asked the redhead. Rose was dressed in a sundress and wedges, with her hair held back by a flowery headband. I really didn’t know how she had so much time in the morning to make an effort.
“Oh, it was great! Hanging with all of the cousins, as usual.” Rose was the daughter of two of the most famous people in the wizarding world, and had a whole load of extended family. Almost all of the Weasley kids were in Gryffindor.
We were gossiping excitedly about the coming year when the other two 5th year Gryffindor girls came skipping up to us. One with piercing green eyes and silky blond hair, and the other with envied tanned skin and glossy brown locks. Grace Roberts and Maya Vasquez, respectively.
“Rose! Lia!” screeched Maya before enveloping both of us in a hug and pulling Grace in as well. Maya, to say the least, was a loud one with confidence to match. She danced around us happily.
“I am so happy to be back! If I had to stay one more day with the extended family and constant talking in Spanish, I would’ve died.” She looked at us dramatically. Maya’s parents were muggles and lived in Spain, and were completely surprised to learn that their only child was a witch.
“I missed you guys,” said a quiet voice. We all turned towards Grace, smiling. She wasn’t one to be particularly loud, aside from when she was really angry. Then you had to watch out for flying objects.
“Gracey, now I was wondering where you got off to!” A loud voice called her name, and we turned around to see the Gryffindor 5th year boys – Luke Roberts, Albus Potter, Scorpius Malfoy, and Caleb Wood.
Luke slew an arm around his twin sister as the rest bounded up to us.
“Alright, you lot?” asked Albus, looking at all of us. Wow, I thought to myself. It might be just me, but Albus Potter has really cleaned up this year. It was true. He had evidently been practicing Quidditch all summer and had the muscles to match. His green eyes seemed brighter than before, and he kept running his hand through his messy black hair.
Maya caught me staring and elbowed Rose and Grace. She raised her eyebrows. I changed the subject quickly.
“So, anyone go nargle hunting this summer?” I invented wildly.
Nargle hunting? Rose promptly slapped her hand to her forehead while everyone else stared at me like I had grown a third arm. Thankfully, just then, the train whistle blew and the Hogwarts Express was getting ready to go.
I was the only one who hadn’t loaded my trunk and bags onto the train, so everyone helped me put them in our compartment and we settled down for a rather crowded ride – we definitely had tried to stuff too many people in. Eight people! It didn’t matter though, as it happened every year, and so far no one had died from suffocation.
I ended up stretched out on Luke and Caleb’s laps; there was no seat room. Scorpius had to end up sitting on the floor, right at the feet of Rose. She didn’t look too happy about it. I snorted inwardly.
See, Scorpius and Rose had this thing going ever since second year. Once they realized that they were supposed to be rivals, they always had it out for each other. Well, Rose mostly. She worked hard to beat Scorpius at every test and be one step ahead of him. Scorpius, however, just took the opportunity with a light heart and always enjoyed teasing Rosie every chance he got. Half of the reason was because he liked her and wanted her attention – it was obvious. The other half was that it was just hilarious when she got mad at him – this went for everyone else’s favourite part as well.
Whoops. Shouldn’t say that. *gets back into best friend mode*
I snapped out of my inward monologue and turned towards Maya and Grace to see what they were doing. They were stretched out on the seats beside Rose and were doing quizzes from old Witch Weekly issues. Bleh. I flipped around and looked at my “seats”. Luke and Caleb were looking at me amusedly. Caleb did an exaggerated wink and pointed towards Albus and sniggered.
“Didn’t think we’d miss that one, did you Lia? Nargle hunting? Really?” They both smirked.
“Erm, well, y’know, just tried to make conversation, never hurts…” My feeble attempt at an explanation failed. My head snapped up suddenly. What if they told him? They were exactly the kind to do so, probably for a “laugh”.
“Luke Roberts and Caleb Wood, if you even try to mention this to anyone, I will not hesitate in revealing to the entire population of Hogwarts the photographic evidence from you know when where you know what happened” I started. I didn’t need to continue, as their faces turned as white as sheets and they started making frantic whimpering noises. Oh dear.
So what really happened on you know when? Well, that is a story for another day.
I’ll say this though: If you ever feel like seeing what happens when you mix large amounts of fire whiskey, rubber ducks, and the two biggest ladies men of Hogwarts – don’t.
“Alright, alright Finnegan! We’ll stay quiet… though you can’t keep us from laughing!” Caleb guffawed and Luke promptly fell off the seat and onto Scorpius’ poor head…
Chaos ensued as everyone tried to set themselves straight. Magazines were flying everywhere, an exploding snap set exploded all at once, and Luke accidently set his hair on fire with his wand. At that moment, the door opened as the trolley witch came with the sweets, and everyone fell out into the aisle.
I will never get tired of these nutters.
“Guys, keep your voices down, McGonagall is glaring!”
Two heads started bashing against the table repeatedly. We all glanced interestedly at Maya and Luke, who were never really known for their patience. Mind you, the sorting was stretching out a bit this year. I was rather hungry as well.
The last first year was sorted into Slytherin after ages and Flitwick cleared away the sorting hat and the stool. McGonagall began a loooong speech – no concern for the supremely hungry – and when she was finally done, plates upon plates of dishes appeared at the house tables.
“FOOOOOOD!” chorused Rose, Maya, Grace, and I. We promptly started piling our plates with mountains of mashed potatoes, chicken wings, pasta, garlic bread – you name it!
Us girls descended into a happy food-induced haze as we worked our way through the feast. By the way we ate, we should have been morbidly obese, but we were lucky. I had Quidditch to keep slim, Grace and Maya had fast metabolisms, and Rose had a strict running schedule every morning to keep in shape. So really, we were all good. Couldn’t say the same for our digestive systems though.
The guys all stared at us. Really, now. They should have been used to it, as it had been like this for the sixth year running.
“You’re really gonna eat all that?” asked an astounded voice. I looked up from my beloved chicken wings and realized Albus was staring at me. Blimey. I had forgotten in the heat of the moment when the food came that he was sitting across from me. Welp!
I hastily wiped my face with a napkin and attempted to look like a normal human being. “Well, err, you see, the start of the year feast is pretty fab and all, with all this food… especially CHICKEN WINGS!”
Kill me now. I probably had a frenzied look on my face.
Damn you, chicken wings.
I looked at Albus’ plate and he had a modest-sized portion of everything. Sensible guy.
“Mind you, I probably will be so full I wont eat anything days after…” I was still prattling on. Wont anyone tell me to shut my mouth for once?
This never used to happen before! Albus was a regular bloke; I would never get all weird in front of him before. I just considered him as Rose’s cousin, plus our group always hung out together. I mean I had gone out with guys before, though none made my brain go all fuzzy and prompted my vocal cords into overdrive.
I had to face it then. I had a maaad crush on Albus Potter. The guy who considers me to be a mental patient from my weirdness.
This is gonna be a fun year.
I was still ranting, though…
“Though the breakfasts are pretty awesome, I mean pancakes! Gotta love pan-OW!”
My crazy rant was cut off as I was biffed in the head and had an arm flung around my shoulder. Albus’ older brother, James, had plunked down beside me.
“So, Finnegan! Quidditch tryouts next Saturday! Be there or be square… not that you’ll have to try out again or anything – just show up to work with the new prospects. You too, Al!” He gave an impish grin and then turns to Caleb to tell him the same thing.
The Gryffindor Quidditch team consisted of only six players at the moment, since the third chaser position was left vacant after Roxanne Weasley left last year. James was the captain of the team, a position I hoped to get after he graduated in two years. He was also a chaser. Dominique Weasley, a sixth year like James, was the other. She and I got along quite well as we were the only two girls on the team. Fred Weasley, another sixth year, was James’ best mate and was a beater. I was the other. Our keeper was Caleb and the seeker was Albus. We were the only Quidditch team at present time without any seventh years on the team. But who knows, that could change at tryouts. There were plenty of seventh years flexing their fingers to get on the team before graduating.
Now back to Albus. Let me tell you, when it was hot outside and Quidditch practice was on and the guys, including Albus of course, took off their shirts, now that-
“OW! Why does everyone keep hitting me?!”
I rubbed my head with a grimace as Maya, Grace, and Rose excitedly pointed towards the new plates on the table – dessert. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
This is the first chapter to my first HP fan fiction story! I hope you liked it – please, please, please review? :)