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Chapter 1: Me
This beautiful image is by phoenixn @TDA
I stare at myself in the mirror.
Ugh. I look a wreck.
My jeans are crumpled and I couldn’t find a clean shirt, so the one I’m wearing has a coffee stain on it. My hair is one massive birds nest - it’s sticking up all over the place and I can’t even seem to tame it with magic…and I lost my Sleakeazy's Hair Potion last week. There are dark bags under my eyes and my skin is pale and sickly looking.
I also have a giant pimple on my nose. It makes me look like a witch.
Yes, I realise I am a witch, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I was meaning one of those ugly, green skinned witches you read about in muggle children’s story books. The kind that kidnap children and cook them in their fireplaces with butter.
Honestly. I don’t know where muggles get these ideas from.
“CHARLIE!” the delightful woman I’m forced to call ‘mum’ hollers from downstairs. “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING UP THERE? YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!”
I’m already ten days late for school, thanks to her. She insisted on dragging me along to New Zealand for Great Aunt Matilda’s 100th birthday. Not only is New Zealand the most boring place in the world, but I was forced to endure old Matilda showing me the most disgusting photo’s of my parent’s wedding.
Blurgh! Old people in love makes me want to vomit.
Actually, anybody in love makes me want to vomit. I hate it when you see an annoyingly cute couple, snogging each other all over the place. It’s disgusting!
“CHARLIE!” Mum screams, making me wince. Merlin, that woman’s got a pair of lungs on her. She should take up opera singing. Except then I’d have to dig myself a hole to live in, because I couldn’t stand the shame. “GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW, OR I’LL HAVE TO DRAG YOU MYSELF!”
“ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT!” I scream back. “DON’T GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST!”
Yes, I know. That wasn’t the most creative comeback. It’s waaaay to early in the morning to think. Usually I’d still be in bed, snoring my head off.
Unfortunately, today is my first day at Hogwarts.
I can see your confused expressions from where I’m sitting. Trust me, I’m just as confused as you. And, before you ask, I am not eleven years old, like most kids who are about to go to Hogwarts for the first time.
I’ve been home schooled for all my life. When I was super little, I went to this community preschool where some idiotic kid decided to grab a pair of scissors and chop of all my hair. Honestly, it wasn’t that big of a deal - I hardy had any hair in the first place - but my crazy, overprotective parents had a psycho. It was so embarrassing.
Well, it was probably embarrassing. I was only like two though, so I can’t really remember.
My poor excuse of a mother decided that all children were dangerous and that they were a bad influence on me, which is absolutely ridiculous - how can one two year old be a bad influence on another two year old? From then on, I was practically a prisoner in my own home.
When I was nine, a girl my age moved across the road from us. I tried to make friends with her, but my mum freaked out (typical) and made the other girls family move away. I can’t even remember what her name was. It was something a bit stupid like Sage or something. I mean, really! Why would you name you child after a herb!
Where was I…?
Oh, right. So, when I turned eleven, mum announced she and dad would be home schooling me. I was very upset about this. I kicked and screamed and threw the toaster out the window (which I later regretted because I have a piece of toast with peanut butter and honey everyday for breakfast) and told mum I hated her. However, I soon came round to the idea of being a social outcast (yes, I’m weird. I prefer the company of books to other living beings.) Then, just a couple of weeks ago, mum gave me a surprise announcement for my seventeenth birthday.
I was going to Hogwarts.
That was sarcasm by the way.
I pretended to be all super excited, because it had always been my dream to go to a real school and have friends that weren’t books or a certain fat cat called Bernard, but now…now I was quite happy being the anti-social weirdo. But did that matter to my lovely parents? Nooo. They thought they were giving me some huge treat, shipping me off to Hogwarts for my last year! And I didn't want to make a fuss, so...here I am.
I have no people skills, thanks to my parents.
If I’m out shopping and a cute boy so much as looks at me, I faint.
If a stranger tries to talk to me, I run away. (Hello? Stranger danger.)
And if someone annoys me, I hex them. (I can pull of an amazing Bat-Bogey Hex.)
Of course, I couldn’t exactly tell my oblivious parents about my extreme social issues and how I so didn’t want to go to Hogwarts. The only reason I’d even got in to the bloody school is because some girl in my year dropped out or something, and a spot opened up.
Thanks a lot, drop-out girl. You’ve just made the next year of my life a living-hell. No exaggeration.
“CHARLIE PARKER!” Mum screeches, sounding like one of the ugly, big-beaked birds that likes to hang around our backyard. “IF YOU ARE NOT DOWN HERE IN TEN SECONDS…”
“I’M COMING!” I shout.
That woman needs to learn a lesson about patience. Something she has none of. Hmm. That’s obviously where I get that particular trait from.
Because all my school stuff has already been sent to the school, all I grab is a small backpack covered in cute buttons and patches which is stuffed with my emergency supplies (ie: chocolate, paperback books, chocolate, hairbrush, chocolate, wand and-oh! Did I mention chocolate? It’s a wonder I’m not fat.) Then I shove my feet into a pair of cute Hello Kitty vans, which I could just not resist buying, and trudge down the steps, trying to make myself look as gloomy as possible. There’s still the chance mum will decide she can’t live without my cutting humour and general amazing-ness for a whole year, and won’t make me leave.
Mum is standing at the bottom of the steps with her hands on her hips and a cross expression on her face. The sight of what she’s wearing makes me glad I’m using the floo-network to get to Hogwarts. Sometimes I wish mum would make an effort to look a little more…normal. She’s wearing flamboyant pink robes and a headdress decorated with swan feathers. Underneath the robes, she’s wearing fluffy slippers.
What is it with old people and refusing to dress like muggles? One of the (only-and no, I’m not a muggle hater) good things about non-magic people is that they know how to dress without looking like they come from the eighteenth century.
When I reach the bottom of the stairs, a moody scowl on my face, mum instantly begins fussing. “Oh Charlie, can’t you look after yourself a little better?” she sighs, combing my knotty brown hair with her fingers, and tut-tutting at the sight of my coffee stained shirt. Coffee. Something I could use right now incidentally. “It’s your first day of school!”
I shrug. “My alarm didn’t go off.”
Ha. Big fat lie number one. I totally disabled my alarm last night; hoping mum would sleep in and forget all about hurrying me off to school.
Mum sighs dramatically. “You’re a beautiful girl Charlie. I wish you’d make a little more effort to make yourself presentable…”
“I do make an effort!”
Lie number two. I found these jeans lying on the floor and just shoved them on. It’s not like anyone is going to notice me, anyway. I’ll be the weird outcast who has no friends. By now, everyone in my year will have formed their little cliques.
Mum kisses me on the forehead. I wrinkle up my nose, trying not to look too disgusted.
“Time to go, darling,” she says, and hands me our little pouch of floo powder, ushering me into the living room. I stare into the big, stone fireplace, which was built big enough for about three large men to stand in at the same time. My dad is this giant guy - he’s six foot five and is all solid muscle. Everyone’s terrified of him, but he’s the biggest softie. He can’t even kill a spider - if he sees one in the house, he’ll scream, stand on a chair and call out for help.
Yep, my family is weird.
“Have fun, won’t you darling,” Mum says as I step slowly into the fire, feeling like I’m about to cry. Urgh. I am not going to cry. I, Charlie Parker, never cry. And I’m not going to start now.
“I will,” I whisper, which is lie number three. No way in hell will I be having any fun. At least Bernard will be there for moral support.
Mum gives me one last sloppy smooch which I try to appreciate, as I won’t be seeing her for ages.
Nope, still can’t appreciate it. Parents kissing you…it’s just too gross.
“We’ll see you at Christmas,” Mum says, and her eyes are all watery. Brilliant. Now she’s really going to make me cry. “I love you.”
I close my eyes so I don’t start bawling my eyes out. “I love you too,” I say, before pulling out a big handful of floo powder, dropping it into the green flames and shouting; “Headmistress McGonagall’s Office!”
Then there’s a huge whooshing sound in my ears, and I’m gone - flying through space and time and dimensions and…whatever. I don’t really know how the floo network works, and I’m not a big fan of it. I learnt how to apparate last year, but there’s some ridiculous rule that you can’t apparate into Hogwarts. Pfft.
I feel the whirling begin to stop (thank god, I was about to puke) and suddenly crash onto a hard stone floor; face slamming into the ground.
I struggle to sit up, coughing up soot and rubbing at my eyes. I think the main reason I hate travelling by floo powder is because I always forget to close my eyes.
Stupid, stupid me.
“Good morning, Miss Parker.”
I stand up and immediately to see a tall, bony woman sitting at a large desk, using a fancy quill to write a letter on parchment.
She doesn’t reply, but fixes me with a stern look, so I take the opportunity to look around.
I’m standing in one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever seen. It’s circular, which makes me think I’m at the top of a tower somewhere, and the curved walls are lined with moving portraits, smiling and winking at me as I look at them. One immediately catches my eye: a portrait of a man with a long beard and hair, half moon glasses and twinkling blue eyes - the legendary Albus Dumbledore, the best Headmaster Hogwarts has ever had.
If Albus Dumbledore is hanging on the wall…this must be the Headmaster’s office. Which means the woman I just said ‘hi’ too is Headmistress McGonagall.
Great start, Charlie.
I told you I have no people skills.
I realise I’ve been gazing randomly into space when I see McGonagall staring at me with a slightly impatient look on her face. I feel myself blushing. “Sorry, Headmistress,” I say quickly. “I sort of…zoned out for a while there.”
McGonagall makes a ‘hmphing’ sort of noise. “I can see that, Miss Parker,” she says in chipped tones. Boy. It would not be good to get on this woman’s bad side. “Now, you’re arrival here at Hogwarts has put us in the most awkward situation.”
Jeez, thanks a lot.
“We don’t usually allow seventh years to come here for their final year, unless they have attended Hogwarts for the full seven years. However, the Ministry has…decided that it would be best if we made an exception for you, Miss Parker.”
I can tell by her tone that she doesn’t approve of the Ministry’s decision. I don’t blame her. I don’t approve of it either. Maybe I could get on this woman’s bad side, then get expelled…
Nah. I’m way too much of a coward, and not afraid to say it.
“It also does not help that you are ten days late for the start of term and have missed the sorting.”
I frown at her in confusion. “Sorting?” I ask. That sounds bad. What are they going to do - sort the bad nuts from the good nuts, like on that muggle movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? What happens to the bad nuts - do they get thrown into the metaphorical incinerator?
“Surely your parents have told you about the sorting,” McGonagall says.
I shake my head. “Nope.”
McGonagall sighs in exasperation. “Each year, our new students get sorted into four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin.”
Ohhhh. That’s what she meant. I’ve heard quite a bit about the houses, of course. I know that the famous Harry Potter was in Gryffindor, and that the evil dead dude, Lord Voldemort was a Slytherin. My parents never told me what they were in, because they felt the need to exclude me from normal society.
“Each house has their own common room and dormitories,” McGonagall continues. “You eat with your house, take classes with your house and study with your house. The people in whichever house you are selected for become your family.”
“So…which house am I in?” I ask curiously. Knowing my luck I’ll get dumped into Slytherin.
McGonagall stands up and strides over to one of the many shelves the fill the room. She picks up a disgustingly old, frayed hat. I wrinkle up my nose in horror, wondering why the Headmistress has this mouldy old antique in her office, and what it has to do with my sorting. I don’t have to turn it into a gerbil or something, do I? Transfiguration has never been my strong suit…I prefer subjects where you can get your hands dirty, like Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology.
“Put this on,” says McGonagall, dropping the gross hat onto my head. Well, you just did that for me Headmistress…I resist the urge to rip the hat off my head and stomp on it.
I look at McGonagall. “Now what?”
I swear she smiles a little. “Now, you wait,” she says.
So I do. And then suddenly…that bloody hat begins to speak!
“Hmm,” said a small voice in my ear, and I jump about a mile. Bloody hell, I was not expecting that! “Strange…very strange. You love adventure, I see…have an imagination as well…but have never been around others. Odd, very odd…”
Is a hat calling me odd? Well, that’s a bit offensive, don’t you think? I mean…it’s a hat, for god’s sake!
“…kind by nature, but very awkward around strangers…oh my goodness, this is difficult…”
Awkward around strangers! I am not awkward around strangers!
Well...I am, but that's not the point.
“…there’s only one place to put you,” continues the hat. “GRYFFINDOR!”
The hat shouts the last word out loud and this time, I definitely see McGonagall smile as she pulls the now silent hat from my head.
“Well done, Miss Parker,” she says. “You are now a member of Gryffindor - my own house, as a matter of fact.”
Hmmm…I’m not sure that’s a good thing, actually. But at least I’m not in Slytherin.
“So…what now?” I ask finally.
McGonagall goes back to her desk and hands me several pieces of paper. “Here is your timetable and map of the school. You will find the Gryffindor Common room here,” she says, tapping a section of the map with a long, bony finger. “The password, which you will need upon entering, is Billywig. The other students are currently at class, which will give you time to settle in to your dormitory. However, you will be expected to attend all classes tomorrow.”
I nod. “Okey dokey.”
Oh god. Did I seriously just say that?
Yeah. I’m so not a people person.
McGonagall gives me a look. “You’ll find all your belongings have already been brought into your dormitory,” she says. “And Miss Parker?”
“There’s something else you need to know. The girl whose spot you’re taking, Victoria Heron, well, she is…”
I wait for her to say what this drop-out girl is, but she doesn’t finish.
She suddenly clears her throat. “Victoria Heron was a Gryffindor, too. You’ll be taking her old spot in the dormitory.”
I nod, not yet sensing anything weird about the mysterious drop-out girl, Victoria Heron. “Cool,” I say. “Can I go now, Headmistress?”
McGonagall nods. "There's just one more thing," she says. She looks up at the ceiling, like she's praying to Merlin or something and calls; "Sir Nicholas!"
Who on earth is Sir Nicholas?
My question is answered almost immediately as a silvery ghost wearing a particularly large ruff materializes out of nowhere. I let out a shriek of horror and stumble backwards into the wall. Another sign of how little I have had to do with the wizarding world - I have never seen a ghost in my life.
"This is the ghost of Gryffindor, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington," says McGonagall, peering at me through her spectacles. "He will be showing you to your common room."
I look at Sir Nicholas, already feeling nervous.
"Pleasure to meet you," he says, bowing low. I just jerk my head awkwardly, as I can't honestly return the compliment.
"Off you go then, Miss Parker," says McGonagall briskly. "And Charlie?"
I look up at her, surprised that she had used my first name. "Yes, Headmistress?"
Good luck? Why would I need good luck?
I guess I'm about to find out.
"So, what do you think of Hogwarts so far?" Sir Nicholas asks, drifting eerily along beside me.
I peek up at him nervously. "Um...I don't really know. I haven't exactly been here very long."
Sir Nicholas beams. "You'll come to love it eventually!" he says. "And I hope you'll help Gryffindor win the house cup?"
"Er...yes, of course."
"Excellent, excellent," Sir Nicholas mutters, as we climb what feels like the hundredth flight of stairs. I find myself wishing this castle wasn't so big! I just know I am going to get lost, the first chance I get.
"And this is where I leave you," says Sir Nicholas importantly. "This is the entrance to the Gryffindor common room."
There is a large portrait of a very fat lady blocking the entrance.
I bite my lip nervously and look up at the ghost of Gryffindor. "Thank you very much," I say politely. "You were very helpful, honestly!"
Sir Nicholas smiles. "Glad to be of assistance," he says, taking another bow. I can't help but notice that his head wobbles slightly on his neck. Hmm. Interesting. "If you ever need any guidance, feel free to find me!"
"I will do," I say, nodding. And with that, Sir Nicholas drifts through the wall opposite, and disappears. And I am left alone. I turn to the portrait blocking the entrance. “Erm…excuse me?” I say, feeling a bit ridiculous talking to a painting. Back home, we don’t have any wizarding pictures on our walls. Mum brought this muggle camera and got really into muggle photography, coz she’s weird like that.
The fat lady looks at me irritably. I wonder how long she's been hanging there. “Can I help you?”
“Well, you’re kind of blocking my way,” I tell her, hoping I don’t sound too rude. “It would be really handy if you could, you know, move.”
The lady gives me another appraising look. Then her eyes widen. “Oh!” she says. “You’re the new girl, aren’t you? Did you get sorted into Gryffindor?”
“No,” I says irritably. “I’m just randomly standing at the entrance to the Gryffindor Common room, waiting to get in. Coz I roll like that.”
Note to self: never try to sound gangster again. Especially when talking to magical paintings.
“Well, deary, you need the password to get in,” says the fat lady. “Otherwise you’re going to be standing there for a long time.”
“It’s Billywig,” I say.
“That it is,” replies the fat lady, and swings open, revealing the Gryffindor Common Room. I step through the hole in the wall to find myself in a comfortable looking room with squashy armchairs and a large fireplace. The walls are decorated with many scarlet tapestries, each depicting something different: ferocious looking animals I have never seen in my life, witches and wizards on broomsticks and wizards wearing long robes and hats, their wands outstretched. I can imagine myself curled up in one of those armchairs with a good book, Bernard curled up in my lap.
Bernard! I almost forgot about my gorgeous fat cat! I wonder if he’s waiting for me in my dormitory…
I see two sets of stairs leading up into the tower. I head up the one labelled ‘Girls Dormitories’ and keep going until I reach the room belonging to the seventh year girls. Then I take a deep breath, and push the door open.
I’m standing it yet another circular room with five beds around the walls. Each part of the room is personalised according to the girl that sleeps there. I immediately see my stuff piled on top of the bed directly opposite, including Bernard, who is meowing pathetically inside the cage which he only just fits into.
“Aw, poor baby!” I say, hurrying over and letting him out. “Did mean old McGonagall not let you out of your cage?”
Bernard starts purring loudly and kneading my knees like I’m a mound of bread dough. I stroke his warm fur and he rolls over on the bed, allowing me to rub his white belly. I immediately feel more relaxed and more at home, and am eternally grateful that you are allowed pets at Hogwarts.
I push Bernard away from me and stand up to look at my space. My face instantly falls in irritation. The girl who was here before me, Victoria Heron, didn’t even bother to pack up her stuff before she left, the dumb blonde! Sitting in photo frames on the nightstand and plastered all over the walls above my bed are pictures of an extremely pretty blonde girl, posing for the camera. The blonde girl (who I’m guessing is Victoria) is everywhere. She’s smiling sexily, (you can tell she knows she looks sexy, too) she’s arm in arm with a group of friends, who are all staring at her in admiration, and she’s fluttering her long eyelashes and giggling. But the pictures that catch my eye are the ones of Victoria, and the boy who is clearly her boyfriend, judging from the fact that she tends to be kissing him in most of the pictures.
Victoria’s boyfriend is really handsome.
And I’m not just meaning hot, or sexy, I’m meaning really, super, amazingly good-looking, almost in an old-fashioned sort of way. He has dark brown hair that is very messy and dark eyes to match. In most of the pictures he’s smiling, and his smile lights up his whole face…
And suddenly, I am jealous of the mysterious Victoria Heron, for what she has and what I never will. I look away from the photos, wondering if I should take them down, not that I have any of my own to replace them with. But if Victoria wanted these photos, surely she would have taken them when she left?
I look back at up at the many smiling Victoria’s, and decide I can’t stand her staring down a me. I climb back up onto my bed, and start to take them down. I’ve only removed about a quarter of the pictures when I hear the door opening. I immediately turn around, curious to see if the person coming into the room is one of my new roommates.
Sure enough, a dark haired girl is standing there, staring at me. She is also very pretty, but in a different way to Victoria. She has short, spiky hair, pale skin and is wearing a lot of eyeliner.
“Oh…hey,” I say, immediately feeling awkward. “Erm…I’m your new roommate. My name is…”
But I suddenly trail off, because the look on this girl's face is scary. She opens her mouth to speak, and when she does, her voice comes out as a horrible growl.
“Get the hell away from Tori’s stuff, you FUCKING BITCH!” she screams. Then, before I can react, she’s run towards me and pinned me to the bed, fingers around my neck.
I knew I wasn’t a people person, but I really didn’t think I was that bad.
A/N: Hey everyone!
So, I was writing my other fan fic when this idea suddenly sprung into my mind, and I just couldn't get rid of it! So...here it is. I really hope you enjoy and please please please remember to review!