Chapter 1 : The First of September
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A Reminder to my Friends: Thank you for letting me put you into a story, it's going to be so much fun to write! I know that your characters may seem a bit different from yourselves, but remember, it's a comedy. I've got to play it up... you know... just a tad! Hee hee...
The First of September
Silver tendrils of mist hung low on that morning of September the first. Abnormally chilled, spontaneous gusts of air marked the unusualness of such a morning, for Septembers had begun much in the same way as the next for many years leading to this particular one. It was as if the weather had suddenly grown bored of its usual routine, and had decided to do something about it, namely to bring a cold spell upon a remote corner of England's countryside. And yet, that seemed not to be the reason for this first day of the ninth month to be marked above the others that had occurred before it. Perhaps it was really too early to tell, being but the sixth hour of the day. Although, in the years before, wizarding and muggle neighborhoods alike were abuzz with activity and preparations for–most–a new term, at that precise time. However, on this somewhat momentous morning, the Heathermyre household was silent.
Clutched in the hands of the eldest Heathermyre sibling was a wadded corner of a quilt, the minority of which was twisted and tangled around her legs in a viper-like fashion. The majority had puddled to the floor during the night. Had it been pulled back to its rightful place upon the bed, it would have been revealed that the face of the quilt was bedecked with an assortment of domestic felines, tea kettles, and floral arrangements. The skin that the absence of blanket exposed rippled with gooseflesh in the cool air that flowed through an open window. Her slightly-strawberry-blonde hair clustered in a jumbled mass around her head and tickled the tips of her tiny ears. When awake, her eyes were blue flecked with bits of grey. This was Amber Heathermyre.
On an adjoining trundle to her right, with absolutely no blankets at all, lay another girl. She had a more petite build than the former, and was slightly taller, measuring several centimeters more than the other. Her cheeks and nose were dotted with freckles, and her dark chocolate hair pooled messily about her face.
Lizzy Rossman and Amber Heathermyre had been the closest of friends since before they could remember. Though their loyalties lay with different Houses, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, they had remained close throughout their schooling.
"Remind me not to stay overnight right before school starts," the brunette mumbled bitterly as a shrill cry suddenly rang out from the far end of the house. She prodded the blonde until dazed bits of blue teased into visibility from beneath her lashes.
"What?" came the groggy reply.
"Your mum's up," she explained impatiently.
"What time is it?"
Lizzy glanced at the luminescent clock that sat menacingly near their heads. The neon letters undeniably read 6:15. She relayed this information to Amber, who shot up into a sitting position with a disbelieving moan.
A stout witch with hair at a shade that fell between distinguishing her as a brunette and a blonde appeared in the doorway, beaming. "Good morning, ladies," she said whilst tugging upon a cord that caused the blue shades to be raised and unwelcome light to stream in. Lizzy shielded her eyes, wincing at the shriek emitted by her friend.
"Close them! Close them!" Amber beseeched.
Her mother grinned devilishly and flatly refused, much to their dismay, although she seemed to be satisfied that they would not return to their slumber, and so turned and left. "We leave in one hour!" she announced over her shoulder, then proceeded to awaken her next victim.
Lizzy shivered, wondering as to why and how she had survived such a chilly night in the absence of blankets. It had always been a constant battle between the two of them for possession of it, so she shrugged indifferently and trotted into the bathroom to brush her teeth.
With one glance at her reflection, she groaned and helplessly attempted to tame her hair, thrusting her fingers through it in vain. She glared at it with an expression of utmost disgust and plucked her toothbrush from where it had been lain upon the counter top. With a despondent sigh in mourning for her warmth-less night, she brushed the soft bristles over her gums and let the minty foam do its work.
Amber had not moved neither right nor left when she re-entered the room, nor, did it seem, had she twitched so much as her little toe in the entire quarter of an hour she had spent prepping herself for the day. Lizzy unwound the towel from atop her head, letting dark chocolate strands fall to her collar bones, and gently prodded her friend with her index finger. After receiving no response, she released a fit of giggles and jabbed sharply into the blonde's shoulder. "It's September first, Amburger, we've got to go to Hogwarts!" she teased, knowing of Amber's sensitivity to being addressed as such.
With a bit of coaxing, she was able to guide her in the direction of the bathroom and shut her in until she would realize her location. Satisfied, she pulled on a pair of her most fitting jeans–they hung with a bit of looseness about her legs, just as she liked them–and a layered top. The brunette made one last stop before a mirror to examine her appearance, and decided upon gathering her locks in a tail at the back of her head and securing them with an elastic–of which she held clutched between her teeth until she had fixed her hair into perfection.
Amber joined the remaining Heathermyres and Lizzy at the breakfast table sporting her usual casual attire as she stifled a wide yawn. Her mother greeted her with an exuberant 'Good morning!' whilst her brother, only twelve years of age, stared fixatedly at a strange-looking muggle device, engrossed in the primitive technology. She examined the screen over his shoulder, watching bemusedly as his thumb whirred against a large button which seemed to cause–what appeared to be–a yellow-looking rabbit to spontaneously combust in a violent flurry of lightning. "Tim... what is that?" she inquired curiously.
A strangled cry of displeasure escaped his lips. The rabbit looked to have died.
He sighed, his eyes never leaving the contraption. "It's a Gameboy."
"Where did you get it?" she demanded.
"Dad bought it for me."
"What purpose does it-" she was silenced by a stern look shot across the table from her mother– who was summoning a platter of pancakes spotted with chocolate chips– that plainly meant "don't ask." Lizzy choked back a grin.
The two girls immediately huddled together at one side of the oval-shaped table, nibbling at corners of their pancakes and sipping orange juice.
"You seem excited to go to Hogwarts this year," Amber commented with a nervous glance at the clock that hung upon a wall of the dining room.
"Yes, well," Lizzy's eyes sparkled innocently, "loads of people to talk to again... besides, we don't want to miss the train."
Amber grinned, reminiscing upon her friends' joy as they had each been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Lizzy being no exception. She worried about the Gryffindor at times, though, wondering just how she managed to maintain such a vast social life, hoping that it wouldn't get the better of her. How different they were from each other, she marveled.
But had the train even been relevant to what she had asked?
She blinked. "Sorry." Amber tended to dwell too much upon her past at times, this appearing to be one of them.
"Lizzy laughed. "Okay, then... Anyway, don't you want to go back to Hogwarts?"
"Well, yeah..." In truth, she adored the castle, still captivated with it, almost as though it were all a dream, with its secrets and spells and loquacious suits of armor. That morning, she was only able to listen with one ear as her friend chattered on about some new craze sweeping through the country known as a fellycone. Apparently, a fellow Gryffindor by the name of Hannah had described it to her.
"Er, mum? Isn't it getting a bit late? I mean, can we, er... leave soon?" she interrupted.
Leslie sighed huffily, downing the last drops of juice in her glass. "Yes, yes, of course. What time did Diane say she was stopping by?"
Diane? Lizzy mouthed.
The stout witch was quicker to notice her query. "Sarah's mum."
The mother of Sarah Gilnor was the only witch known to have a licence for driving a vehicle, (legally), and so it was only deemed natural that she be the one to take them to Kings Cross Station each year.
Lizzy, Amber, and Tim hauled trunks and animals alike through the doorway an down the front walk. The sun seemed to have hardly risen, and a pair of startled crickets ceased their 'chirrupping' as the youngest Heathermyre traipsed across the dew-ridden lawn to avoid his elder sister and her companion. As a sudden fit of giggles erupted from them, he started in alarm, then realized that the subject at their mercy was of no interest to him. Unless, of course, they were discussing him. Though he doubted it. He pulled the Gameboy from his pocket only to find a shadow leaning over it.
"That won't work on the Grounds, you know," Amber commented cooly. He prepared to retort his reply when she stalked off. No doubt she longed to disassemble the perplexing bit of plastic.
It was another quarter of an hour before Leslie spotted the green automobile coasting through the neighborhood. The front-side window slowly lowered to reveal Diane, who called, "Everyone ready?" With the aid of a bit of magic, everyone was seated comfortably in the car's interior with room to spare. First Lizzy, then Amber, had climbed to the row of seating furthest back.
"Hey!" called Sarah, whose blonde curls bounced excitedly. "You missed the most awesome party last night! We went in the Jacuzzi and turned Spencer's chess pieces against themselves..." she grinned. "Totally wicked, man. But Fiona kept us awake all night-"
"I did not!" protested a girl with short ebony hair to her right. Her almond-shaped eyes glittered with mirth beneath a pair of dark-rimmed spectacles. Beside her sat her sister, smiling broadly, her raven locks cropped slightly longer than Fiona's, yet not by much. Elaina Tang murmured a hearty greeting to the newly-arrived additions to the throng, the blonde beside her proceeding to do the same.
"Sarah stepped on my glasses," Elaina explained, casting a mock-glare at the exuberant Slytherin, who was fingering her own ocular-devices innocently.
"Hm, well-" She averted her eyes in jest.
Jenni laughed. "Good job, Sarah."
"Soo... anything interesting happen lately?"
The circle of six had much to discuss during their ride, yet conversation soon dwindled to silence at a set of particularly nasty bumps protruding from the roadway beneath them. Each, in turn, began to stare absently at the blurred scenery until someone suggested bothering other drivers by waving ecstatically at them–the results of which seeming more satisfactory when the recipient of their salutations was male.
Fiona blew a stray hair from her eye as she loaded–with difficulty because of her height–her trunk upon the spare trolley before her. Her feline companion wove about her ankles and batted at the laces of her sneakers. Giggling, she bent and readjusted the scarlet satin ribbon tied loosely in a bow at the back of her neck. "There." She stood to admire it. "Isn't that better, Chisana?" She scratched a bit of its ebony fur and scooped her into her arms.
Elaina watched her sister with a small smile playing at her lips. Her own pet was none-so-playful, and had moodily attempted to stuff itself inside of a tiny crate, but with little success; there seemed to be no room at all for his hind-quarters. The tip of his tail twitched jerkily as Elaina tentatively put her hand toward 'the beast' to stroke her, though he merely aimed a swipe in her direction. She tickled the pads of his feet and forgave him; he was likely to feel stress in the presence of so many beings at once. With one last lingering glance at Chisana, she pried the reluctant Cletus from his crate and sat him back inside facing the station. That way, she deemed, he would be less likely to fall and get rolled upon by the wheels of the trolley. Cletus merely narrowed his eyes and attempted to deny that he much preferred being able to see.
Elaina slumped against a thick cement-and-brick post, pensively surveying the–slightly blurred–bustle of Kings Cross. Endless streams of muggles flocked about, never suspecting the entirely different world that lay right beneath their noses. How very ignorant they could be! She couldn't understand her friends' infatuation over their culture in the least bit.
Moments later, Jennifer, a fellow Ravenclaw, joined her, glancing about in her own jittery, silent way. Of course she was pleased to be returning to Hogwarts, there was no doubt about it. For when on holiday, she could not enjoy the enormous lake of which lay nearly in the middle of it. When she had first arrived, three years prior, she had received a terrible shock, discovering the mer-people that the Lake was rumored to abundantly house were not, in fact, quite as lovely as she had envisioned them; rather the opposite, in fact, being native to Scotland. All the same, she loved them and spent the majority of her unscheduled time at the water's edge.
"Thinking about the merpeople again?" Elaina asked brightly.
Jennifer's cheeks reddened a shade darker than was usual, but admitted defeat. When did her mind wander to something other than her aquatic friends?
Amber had fallen into a silence once more in which she only half-listened to what was being said to her. The remaining half could then perhaps be divided into quarters; one quarter responded with nods and smiles directed toward the speaker whilst the other observed what was perhaps happening slightly above their shoulder. In this case, however, it seemed as if the larger portion was to but put to use in the category of watching. Her poor friends' attempts to reach her were all for naught, as the thoughtful Ravenclaw seemed to be in a world of her own.
"Have you seen them yet?" asked Jennifer worriedly. She glanced about the station, as if somehow she had forgotten something.
"No," Amber replied. She, too, seemed to be searching the throng.
Elaina started as the gleaming scarlet steam engine let loose a shrill whistle. Fiona and Sarah laughed openly, and Lizzy clutched a hand to her chest, her eyes wide.
"Well," sighed Amber resolutely, "then we'll just have to leave them behind." Fear that they all might miss the train gripped at her chest. The others stared at her for a moment, then shrugged, finding no other solution.
The Hogwarts Express was slowly inching forward as they spoke. Panic and mayhem seemed to set about the friends as they jumped aboard, hauling their trunks after them. They were aided by a flustered-looking girl with bushy brown hair, sporting a Prefect's badge upon her chest.
The group lay in an exhausted heap the Prefect scolding them sternly.
Sarah circled her eyes heavenward behind the back of Hermione Granger and giggled silently. Jennifer and Elaina both shot her looks of dismay whilst Lizzy seemed simply amused. Amber, however, seemed to be the one whom the brunette had directed her muffled wrath, and so had the disgruntled Prefect's gaze locked in her own.
"...should be more careful, and-"
"I suspect they got it the first time, Hermione," came an amused chuckle from above them. Simultaneously, the tangle of students averted their gaze to the speaker. His emerald green eyes glittered mischievously back at them, through round, black-rimmed spectacles. Sarah fell utterly silent, her lips frozen slightly parted in mid-laugh. Her own blue eyes flickered first to the lightning bolt-shaped scar etched roughly upon his forehead, then to his disheveled raven hair and along his skinny frame. Then she recovered, and grinned. "Hey Harry!"
Harry muttered something under his breath that sounded strangely alike to 'Stalker,' and stared at her with a bemused expression plastered across his features. "Er, hullo..."
"Sarah Gilnor," she supplied heartily.
The blonde beamed and Harry focused his attention upon Hermione. He seemed slightly unnerved by the unblinking stares all directed upon him by six fifth-year girls, and began to feel that it would have been best to stay out of the matter entirely, wishing he had not uttered a single word at all.
Hermione tugged at her hair distractedly. "Oh, well, I thought..." She trailed off helplessly. "Have you seen Ron?" The two elder Gryffindors looked about oddly.
"Hermione, he's with the other Prefects, where else would he be?"
She gaped at him. "Oh... right..."
Still seeming to be utterly dumbfounded, Harry ushered her away, leaving a mound of giggles behind them.