Chapter 3 : Until We Meet Again
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~Wait for it
~They say it
~Requires patience it
~Takes time it
~Involves work it
~Needs you to strive it
~Wants you to take it
~Wait for it
‘Write me! Write me, Lily Evans, or I swear I’ll never speak to you again!’ Joey yelled shrilly from the platform. I leaned out of the window of my compartment on the train and grinned.
‘I’ll owl you, Joey Taylor! Owl you or die trying!’
Joey was running beside the train as we slowly chugged away from platform nine and three quarters. She blew me a kiss and I blew one back, grinning and waving like mad.
‘See you for Christmas!’ I yelled. ‘Don’t forget me!’
‘Bye! Bye! Bye! Goodbye, Lily Evans!’ She gave up trying to keep up with the train and slowed to a stop. I could still see her waving in the distance as the station grew smaller and smaller.
‘Bye!’ I called back, waving. When the station disappeared, I leaned back into my seat and sighed, closing my eyes.
I was nothing short of scared. The only people I knew out of the hundreds that were probably on that train were Jessica and Nick, and somehow I couldn’t picture myself hanging around with those two. Besides, I’d done some reading, and had read most of my set school books, which I had picked up in Diagon Alley. Which, might I add, was the coolest place I had ever been. Me and Joey, and, unfortunately, Jessica, had spent the day exploring it, meeting up with our parents for lunch. Jessica and I had opened accounts at the Gringotts bank. We had bought our school supplies. I even had my own wand; willow, ten and a quarter inches. Dragon heartstring.
Well, back to the books - along with my set book list, I had picked up a copy of a rather interesting looking volume called Hogwarts: A History. Through this I had learnt that Hogwarts had four houses; Gryffindor, for the brave and ones that valued friendship and courage and such; Ravenclaw, for the studious, witty and organised; Hufflepuff, for the loyal and trustworthy, hardworking and, from the sound of it, air heads; and Slytherin, for power hungry, sly and cunning folk. Slytherin didn’t sound like a very pleasant house, and I didn’t particularly like the sound of Hufflepuff, either. Gryffindor sounded the nest, although I supposed Ravenclaw didn’t sound too bad. But I was very sure that Jessica Mornington would be a Hufflepuff. Nicholas was a Ravenclaw, but that didn’t mean she would be, did it? She looked like she’d never picked up a book in her life.
I was disturbed from these thoughts, however, when the door to my compartment slid open and four boys ambled in, talking loudly.
‘- did you see the look on her face?’
‘- almost had smoke coming out of her ears...’
‘- probably thought it was the train or something...’
They didn’t seem to notice I was there, so I cleared my throat quietly. They suddenly realised my presence. Two of them jumped.
‘Oh, sorry - we didn’t realise you were in here. We just usually sit here, that’s all. Are you a first year?’ one asked. I nodded, my voice failing me.
‘We can go if you want. We just like to have a compartment to ourselves and every other compartment has someone in it. Do you mind if we stay?’
I shook my head and stood to leave, but one of the boys grabbed my arm. I turned and looked up into his face. He had deep, blue eyes shining behind a pair of round glasses, and incredibly messy black hair.
‘You don’t have to go. Sit back down. Unless, of course, you particularly want to go somewhere else,’ he shrugged, releasing my arm. I sat back down, and so did the boys. The one who had grabbed my arm took the seat next to me.
‘My name’s James Potter,’ he said.
‘Lily Evans,’ I said quietly.
‘My name’s Romeo Mercutio Benvolio Tybalt -’
The boy sitting next to the one rambling off half a dozen names elbowed him sharply before smiling at me. He had light brown hair and a tried face.
‘You forgot Juliet,’ he told the boy before turning to me. ‘His name is actually Sirius Black. He just has an identity crisis every now and again.’
Sirius Black grinned sheepishly. He had a neat head of black hair and friendly grey eyes. I gave a small laugh, and the tired-faced boy introduced himself as Remus Lupin.
‘My name’s Peter,’ said the fourth, smiling shyly. He was rather round, blonde, and had watery blue eyes.
‘We’re second years,’ James told her conversationally. ‘We were all really scared at first on our first day, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.’
‘Sirius even felt comfortable enough to go swimming in a freezing cold, dark, deep lake that happens to be the home to a giant squid in the middle of the night.’
‘Hey, I did not! James pushed me in!’ Sirius Black protested.
I smiled. These boys seemed quite nice.
‘What house are you in?’ I asked.
‘Gryffindor,’ James said proudly. ‘We’ve won the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup for twelve years in a row.’
‘With no thanks to us,’ Sirius snorted.
‘Come on, James makes up for all the points we lose,’ Remus pointed out. ‘Through Quidditch and getting good marks in everything.’
Maybe Gryffindor wouldn’t be as good as it seemed, if these four were always losing points. Yet if it still managed to win... Working up some courage, I decided to join back into the conversation.
‘Which meant, that if you didn’t lose points on top of that, you could be winning by a whole lot more,’ I told them. ‘Wouldn’t it?’
‘We have a smart cookie on our hands, James.’
James seemed to search my face for a moment before smiling and leaning lazily back in his chair.
‘Excellent point. Except, we don’t get anything more if we win by lots of points. Therefore, what’s the point in restricting our pre-teen rebellious urges when we don’t need to? As long as we’re leading, we can have as much fun as we like. If we were to fall behind in points then, yes, we would look out for how many we lost. But technically speaking, I doubt that shall happen.’
I smiled admiringly at him for a moment.
‘That,’ I said. ‘Is a good point.’
‘So was yours,’ he shrugged. ‘Who knows, Lily Evans. Maybe Gryffindor will have somebody else keeping our total up this year.’
I could feel my cheeks go pink. I could feel James still watching me and turned away. My eyes fell on Sirius.
‘So, Romeo Mercutio Benvolio Tybalt -’
‘Don’t forget Juliet,’ interrupted James with a grin.
‘Sorry - Romeo Mercutio Benvolio Tybalt Juliet. Do you read Shakespeare, or is that just a one off?’
‘Probably just a one off,’ Remus grinned, watching Sirius think of a smart answer.
‘Shakespeare?’ he asked, a moment too late. ‘Who’s Shakespeare? I made up those names!’
I laughed again. These boys definitely were amusing if nothing else.
‘Yeah, and I’m Helga Hufflepuff,’ James cooed in a ditzy voice.
‘You told me yesterday that you were You-Know-Who!’ whined Sirius.
James and Remus rolled their eyes.
‘I always say ‘and I’m the Queen of England’. Who’s You Know Who?’ I asked. Sirius blinked at me.
‘You don’t know who You Know -’
‘Are you a muggle-born?’ James interrupted.
‘Yeah,’ I nodded. ‘Are you guys all full wizards?’
‘I am,’ said James. ‘And Remus is. Peter is a half-blood. Sirius is a half blood too, but he lives with muggles.’ He leaned back, hands behind his head, and closed his eyes.
‘Cool,’ Sirius muttered. ‘Yeah - I didn’t know who You Know Who was either. Sorry, it’s just that he’s so big, you forget that not every one knows about him.’
‘You Know Who is a Dark wizard,’ James explained, not opening his eyes. ‘His real name’s Voldemort, but most people are too afraid to speak it.’
‘He’s not the worst wizard ever, but he’s bad. And he’s getting worse. A few people dead every fortnight. No one can catch him. They reckon if they don’t get him under control soon he might get worse and worse, even worse than Grindewald,’ Sirius rattled, taking a bite out of a chocolate bar he had produced. I had no idea who Grindewald was, but nodded. As if he had read my mind, James opened his eyes and looked at me.
‘Grindewald was another bad wizard. He was defeated in 1945.’
‘By Dumbledore,’ Peter added. I jumped slightly. I had completely forgotten his presence. He seemed to have blended into the wall he was so quiet.
Just then, the compartment door slid open and another two boys walked in. One was blonde-haired, had cold eyes and looked several years older than me. The other one had greasy hair and dark, beetle-like eyes, and looked to be a second year, like the boys.
‘Got yourself a girlfriend, Potter?’ sneered the greasy haired one. I narrowed my eyes at him, slightly nervous. I’d stick up for myself, but I didn’t really want to cause trouble.
‘Shove it, Snape,’ James spat, crossing his legs.
‘Going for the younger ones now, are we? And the rumours. All along the train, they’ve been saying she’s a muggle born. Daddy won’t like that, will he, Potter?’ the blonde one smirked coldly.
‘Daddy can take a hike. And she’s not my girlfriend. But if she were, I’d say she was a much better choice than those two-faced bitches you date, Malfoy,’ James growled.
‘Ooh, sticking up for her, but she’s not your girlfriend? Who is your girlfriend, then? She must be getting jealous.’
‘What do you care? You obviously don’t seem to get along, so why should you be concerned with who he chooses to date?’ I asked the one called Malfoy coolly.
‘Shut up, mudblood. Noone asked you.’
What happened next I was never entirely sure. All I knew was that none of the four boys I had originally shared the compartment with seemed to like whatever he had called me. Sirius’s, Remus’s and Peter’s faces contorted with rage, whereas James lunged at Malfoy, grabbing the collar of his Slytherin robes and slamming him against the door.
‘What did you call her?’
Snape’s eyes flicked from the looks on the boys’s faces to the door. He didn’t seem to want to mess with them.
‘I called her a mudblood,’ Malfoy leered at James, who punched him in the face. Malfoy looked surprised, but took up glaring at James as he pulled open the compartment door and shoved him out into the hallway. Malfoy fell over his own feet onto the floor.
‘Ten points from Gryffindor, Potter - for questioning a Prefect,’ he sneered.
‘School hasn’t began yet, Lucius Malfoy,’ James said icily, pushing Snape out after his comrade. ‘If it had, I’d be speaking to McGonagall about you being stripped of your Prefect’s badge. For prejudiced discrimination and use of foul language against a fellow student. Now get the hell out of here.’ With that, he slid the door shut and fell back into his seat, positively seething.
I got the impression that anyone who messed with James Potter wasn’t up for an easy time.
‘Stupid slimy Slytherins,’ he muttered.
‘What did he call me?’ I asked meekly. James grumbled something incoherent, so Remus decided to explain.
‘He called you a mudblood. Which is a really foul name for someone born into a non-magical family. It means dirty blood, and it’s a really spiteful thing to say. Probably the most offensive thing anyone could call someone. Usually only Slytherin slime like them use it.’
‘I used to get it all the time,’ Sirius told her, still frowning fiercely. ‘Even though I’m not a muggle-born, but they didn’t know that. But you show them that you won’t put up with it, Lily. You let them walk all over you then you might as well go back home, because you’ll get it everyday for the rest of your time at this school.’
‘You’re pretty quick with the retorts, Evans,’ James told me once he seemed to have calmed down.
‘I was fine then. You guys were already putting them in their place. I don’t know how I’d be on my own. In the past I’ve always done it as a team with my best friend. She was great at coming up with pranks; I made them work. I guess on my own I wouldn’t be half as good. I’m a teamwork kind of person.’
All four boy’s seemed to brighten up when I mentioned pranks.
‘Did you say pranks? We love pranks. Me and James came up with some beauties last year. And we had some good ones as a group, too,’ Sirius added, seeing Remus raise an eyebrow.
‘We should change into our robes,’ James said suddenly. I must have looked slightly alarmed, because he grinned at me.
‘We’ll go outside while you change call us in when you’re done, then you can go out while we get dressed.’ I nodded, and all of the boys filed out of the compartment to stand in the aisle.
I quickly pulled off my sweater and slipped into a T-shirt before putting on my robes. Then, running a brush through my hair, I called the boys in, making for the door.
‘You know, you can stay if you want,’ James grinned, and I gave him a mock horrified look before smirking as I pulled the door shut.
‘Get your mind out of the gutter, James Potter.’
I decided to have a stroll up the corridor and see if maybe I recognised anyone. After all, if the whole wizard thing was a secret, who knows which of my friends from school were magic? Walking up the corridor, I ran into a girl who looked about my age, who was having a heated exchange with Snape, whom I recognised from our compartment.
‘- hanging around with the likes of you -’
‘- watch how you talk to me, Figg -’
‘- take a hike! I don’t care! Oh, sorry!’ she said, when she backed into me accidentally. Snape probably recognised me, because his eyes narrowed maliciously. What I didn’t expect was for him to turn around and leave without saying anything. What I did expect was for him to shoot some insult at me, but he didn’t. He left.
‘Idiot,’ I muttered under my breath. The girl that had been arguing with him smiled at me.
‘He is so annoying! I’m Bella, by the way. Arabella Figg.’
I analyzed Bella as I shook her hand. She had wavy black hair that fell just below her shoulders, and green eyes that were slightly darker than mine. She had a friendly smile, and her manner seemed nice enough. And she didn’t appear to like Snape, which was something we definitely had in common.
‘Lily Evans,’ I told her.
‘Oh, you’re the muggle born, right? They’ve been talking about you up the train. They said Lucius Malfoy came back from your compartment with a black eye, very wounded pride and a slightly different view of muggle borns.’
‘Well, the black eye was courtesy of James Potter. All I really did was tell him to mind his own business.’
‘Well, it takes a lot of guts to stand up to Lucius Malfoy, girl. You’ve earned my respect.’
‘Somehow I don’t think I would have been quite as confident if I didn’t have four Gryffindor boys on my side,’ I said honestly, knowing only how true it was.
‘Still,’ she laughed. ‘Anyway. What house are you hoping to be in?’ she asked as we subconsciously made our way back to my compartment.
‘Gryffindor, I guess. Although Ravenclaw doesn’t sound too bad,’ I shrugged.
‘I’d like to be in Gryffindor. How awful would it be to get in Slytherin? Just having to put up with Snape and Malfoy would be bad enough!’
I grinned at her and knocked on the door to my compartment.
‘Finished yet?’ I yelled through the door.
‘Unfortunately, yes. You’re too late,’ grinned James, pulling back the door. Bella and I walked in.
‘This is Arabella Figg. Bella, this is James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.’
‘Hello,’ the boys chorused.
‘Hi,’ said Bella shyly.
Although the boys had swapped seats, the only remaining places were still both next to James. Sighing, I sat down next to him, and Bella sat on my other side. As she did so, a very loud and rude noise was emitted.
‘Bella!’ accused Sirius with mock disgust. All four boys cracked up laughing and Bella stood up to reveal a whoopee cushion.
‘You guys!’ I giggled.
‘What?’ asked James innocently, staring down at me with twinkling eyes.
‘Stuff you, Potter,’ I grumbled jokingly. He pretended to be offended.
‘Take that back!’ demanded Sirius, playing along by pretending to wave an imaginary sword around.
‘Fine. Unstuff you,’ I laughed.
‘Ooh she’s good!’ squealed Sirius, howling with laughter. ‘She is so good!’
Remus said something and he and Sirius fell into a deep conversation regarding come-back queens of the century.
James shook his head in amusement.
‘You’re not bad, Lily Evans. Not bad at all. Not many one-up James Potter.’
‘So you said before,’ I said musingly, sticking a finger through the cage of an owl that seemed to belong to one of the boys. The bird hooted softly and nibbled my finger. It was a lovely deep crimson red, almost the colour of blood. And it had bright yellow eyes and a shiny bronze beak.
‘That’s Garnet,’ James told me, leaning forward in his seat.
‘She’s pretty,’ I told him.
‘She’s very pretty,’ he agreed, but he was staring at me as he spoke. I blushed (nasty habit of us redheads) and self consciously tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear. He watched me a moment longer, then leaned back again.
‘I got her for Valentines Day from Sirius,’ he laughed. ‘She’s supposed to be the perfect owl for sending letters to your beloved. Do you think he has the hots for me?’ James asked me seriously, although I could tell he was trying not to laugh.
‘Oh yes,’ I agreed. ‘It is extremely obvious that Sirius has a crush on you.’
He smiled wryly.
‘I’ve never used her for her designated purpose,’ he said quietly, staring deeply into my eyes again. I blinked and looked away from his eyes.
‘I can imagine Sirius had something rather devious in mind when he gave you that owl,’ I invented, not knowing what else to say.
‘Oh, of course he did. He made sure everyone knew it was my owl. Then he started to ask to borrow her all the time, which I agreed to. I didn’t get suspicious until I had all these extremely irritating girls coming up to me and thanking me for chocolates and roses and such, and that they recognised my owl and how silly it was of me to send them anonymously when everyone knew my owl. I then nutted out that Sirius had been sending ‘love from your secret admirer’ letters to all the girls he knew I disliked with my owl. Rather ingenious plan.’
I was amazed at his attitude towards it. If someone had done that to me, I would have been slightly annoyed.
‘Do you fancy any girls?’ I blurted out.
‘Oh, here and there my male hormones take over and I seem to fall head over heels in love with a girl, but it usually wears off after a day or two. But the next time it happens I’ll be swearing that it was completely different to last time,’ he laughed, shrugging. ‘Stupid fantasies. I’m really too young to be thinking about that very seriously yet. But I’m a people person. I either hit it off straight away with someone, or not. I rely on first impressions, and most people believe I’m an excellent judge of character when my love life isn’t concerned.’
‘What’s my character, as you see it?’ I asked him smugly, crossing my arms and leaning back into my chair. He quickly accepted the challenge.
‘Well, when I first met you, I saw an individual. You’re different. Friendly, fun-loving, responsible. You have values and stick to them. You were slightly worried because it was your first day, and you were muggle born and didn’t know much, but there was something else. Another reason why you felt unsure about going to Hogwarts. I don’t know what that reason was, but there was one. What was it?’
I gaped at him for a moment.
‘I’m leaving a friend behind. A very close friend, that I spend practically every minute of my days with. And now I’m not going to see her hardly ever.’
‘How about you?’ he asked. I stared blankly at him.
‘How about you? What did you think about me?’
‘Oh.’ I thought for a moment. ‘When you first walked into the compartment, I wasn’t shy, like I thought I would feel. Because you boys brought a comfortable aura with you. I was a bit scared still, though, because you were older and I didn’t know you. When you grabbed me by the arm and told me to stay, I... I don’t know. I felt like... like I had known you all my life. As if we were old friends.’ I laughed. ‘I know it sounds silly, but that’s how it felt. Right about now, I think you’re smart, popular, funny, respected...’ I scanned over him, as he listened intently. ‘You play sport...’ He nodded. I decided to try and go deeper, like he had done. I searched his eyes, looked back at his entire manner and reactions, the way he spoke...
‘You have a lot to live up to,’ I said slowly. ‘You act like you don’t really care what others think, but deep down, you really want respect. Sometimes, you wish you were someone else.’ Whoa, I thought to myself. Where had that come from?
His eyes had slowly widened as I had spoken that.
‘You are very intuitive,’ he said finally, as if he had been searching for the right words and had been unable to find them.
‘So were you,’ I shrugged.
‘You... were easy to read,’ he said eventually, then shrugged as well.
‘So. What about me, you two?’ Bella piped up, after watching us both intently for a few seconds. She had a mischievous glint in her eye and although I hadn’t known her long I could sense that she was going to give me a hard time about James once we were alone.
‘Ooh! Let me do it! Let me do it!’ Sirius squealed, joining back into the conversation.
‘OK then,’ Bella said, bracing herself for something ridiculous.
‘Right. You are really, really hot, and all the guys think you are really, really hot. You look great in hot pants and miniskirts, and in low cut or spaghetti strapped tops and dresses. And if Sirius Black asked you if you would maybe want to do something together sometime, you would most definitely say yes,’ he rattled off smoothly.
‘Slick, Sirius - slick,’ James murmured as Bella laughed.
‘I don’t know about the first part, but you couldn’t have been more correct with the second part.’
Sirius, looking extremely pleased with himself, smiled lazily and leaned back, closing his eyes. Bella and I hi-fived each other just as the train came to a slow stop.
We all moaned good-naturedly and gathered our things. James and I were last out, just behind Bella - who was talking animatedly to Sirius.
‘Nice meeting you. Hope to se you in Gryffindor,’ James whispered in my ear before walking out the door. I smiled and followed him out.