Chapter 1 : Chapter One: The One In the Beginning
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"Why, oh why, did I decide to do this?" a young witch wondered, standing between platform nine and ten of King's Cross Station in London. It had taken her a lot of effort to get there, but at the moment it appeared as if it had all been for nothing. In her hand, now pinkish and numb with cold, she clutched a thick piece of paper that almost felt like parchment. Tracing the slightly uneven sides of the ticket with her moist fingers, she questioned how on earth she was supposed to get to platform nine and three quarters. Out of all the things her tutor had fussed about: the right shape of a bottle of frogspawn, the right width of the scales and the like, she seemed to have forgotten all about the right directions. Because of her long search for the station, her auburn hair had become frizzy from the soft rain outside. Clinging desperately to her cat's carrier and to the trolley, she watched as dozens of Muggle students passed her in a hurry while their parents gave instructions, not always lovingly. Laughter and shouting created a comfortable chaos all around the platform, but the lone girl standing in the middle felt anything but relaxed.
Of course when her English friend had asked if she was interested in spending her last year of education at the most famous Wizarding school in all of Europe, she was basically bouncing off the walls with glee. But now, standing on a crowded platform, the idea of spending a whole year away from home evoked some slight fear in the girl. The knot of apprehension in her stomach seemed to grow larger with each moment that passed; it didn't help that every single person on the platform was a stranger to her.
"Excuse me, mi-" she said, trying to stop a woman passing
by, only to be ignored. "I'm sorry, Sir? Can you tell me where-?"
Everyone boarded their own trains hastily, paying no attention to the freckly witch trying to catch their attention. Cursing colourfully, she didn't bother to care about the other kids who roamed around and asked their parents what those nasty words meant. By the time the third mother in a row covered up her son's ears while uttering a shocked "Good gracious", the girl had paced up and down the platform at least twice already and had figured she wouldn't catch the train anymore. Within exactly ten minutes until it would depart, and as she hadn't even found the right platform yet, she would not be able to get everything on her trolley inside in time. The witch grunted and kicked the nearest wall; her foot got stuck.
"Well, I never…” she looked around; no one seemed to take notice of her. Carefully, she grabbed her cart and leaned further into the brick wall. While stumbling over her own two feet, the young redhead nearly fell into what seemed to be a station within a station: platform nine and three quarters, at last.
She cursed to herself saying, "Blimey! Where is Lily now?" as she anxiously bit her lower lip, trying her best to look cool and collected. A small puff of smoke emitted from the polished, red, steam locomotive, which in all her near dread, she failed to admire. Insecurely stepping towards the train, the young woman looked over the mass of students and barely paid attention to dozens of faces that all looked the same and yet different at the same time. She was about to turn on her heel, go back to wherever these people exited the station, when she heard someone calling out to her, trying to make their voice heard over the chattering students.
Spinning around a bit too rapidly, judging by what sounded like cracking bones, the girl was able to spy Lily Evans storming her way enthusiastically. The witch dropped the carrier on her trolley, causing the cat to hiss viciously, and hugged her friend when she finally reached her.
"It's so good to see you!” Lily said with a sparkle in her
brilliant emerald eyes.
"Sure is!" the witch replied and grinned slightly while her anxiety finally seemed to vanish to the rainy skies above. Jokingly, she poked Lily in her arm, "It's not like London is that big. Even I couldn’t get lost here!"
Lily laughed at the comment melodiously, her nose wrinkling in disbelief. After all, Lily knew everything about her friend's sense of direction
which, according to her father, she simply didn't have.
"Its great to finally be here," the witch continued, now staring at the bright red train with butterflies prickling her insides. The Hogwarts Express, she thought as she caught a glimpse of Lily nodding her head vigorously. Where the roof of the platform ended and manmade became nature, Morgan could see how the heavy rain had created ankle deep puddles.
The father of a high-strung and obviously muggle-born boy kissed his son goodbye, but did not know where to leave the platform and decided to simply walk outside, next to the rails. However, when he opened his umbrella, the wind blew it inside out, resulting in the man becoming soaked. Laughing, one of the older students cast an instant-dry spell on him when he darted back under the roof.
"Come on! We'd better go inside and find an empty compartment so we can have a proper chat," Lily suggested and started tugging the girl's robes, pulling her along. They zigzagged between groups of students about to board, and trunks plastered with stickers of famous Quidditch-teams, but it seemed as if they weren't exactly going anywhere. Having a hard time keeping up, the witch was about to yell something to make Lily slow down, but she was interrupted by a voice that was deep with want-to-be maturity.
"Hey, Evans!" Lily stopped briskly and pulled her friend's arm so hard the latter had trouble finding her balance. "Had a good summer?"
Both Lily and her friend turned around to see who was talking. Now in front of them were four boys, apparently the same age as the young women. Two of them were wearing a very smug look on their faces, while the other two appeared only mildly interested.
The one who had spoken, as the gleaming copper badge pinned to his robes clearly said, was the Head Boy. His hazel eyes were hidden behind a pair of glasses, but his arrogant expression couldn't be concealed by anything that wasn't at least a few sizes bigger than the sun. On his left side, there was a rather small, stocky boy; who looked somewhat tense and didn't really seem to fit in with the rest of them. An aristocratic looking chap stood on the right side of the Head Boy; his black hair hung casually over his face, like he had no worries whatsoever. Behind him, there was a lad that actually looked a lot more mature. His eyes were light although the true colour couldn't really be told for sure from the girl's position and a few curly locks of reddish hair were sticking out of place. There was something unnerving about him, but she just couldn't put her finger on it.
While the red-haired witch was observing the group of wizards in front of her, Lily's face had turned paled slightly and there was no doubt she was sneering at them.
"My summer was very nice, thank you very much. It still would have been that way if I hadn't seen you, James Potter," Lily answered, scoffing, and her friend threw a quick glance towards her. Grinning discreetly, the girl was proud of the nippy retort Lily had come up with.
"Right, Evans. Your summer might have been okay before you saw me, but now it’s perfect!" James replied quickly, holding his hands up as if waiting for applause to come. The witch could feel how Lily tensed next to her, a blank expression of suppressed anger on her face.
"Who's your friend, Evans?" Potter continued before Lily could even open her mouth to give another nasty reply, which would have been bound to come. The witch could feel all eyes linger on her, but she didn't care that much anymore now she knew who they were. Left from James was Peter Pettigrew, the odd duck among them, while on the right stood Sirius Black, who had made being the biggest girl magnet in Hogwarts a full time job. Behind them, there was Remus Lupin; the only boy of the quartet who, according to Lily, had brains to begin with. From the stories she had heard from her best friend, the freckled witch was sure she knew enough of their reputation to make her loss of interest in the wizards in front of her legit. There must have been a valid reason for Lily’s description of them to have included several rather colourful expressions, which ranged from arrogant morons to conceited gits.
"She happens to be a friend of mine who will spend this year in Hogwarts with us," Lily snapped at him, squeezing the witch's arm so firmly it felt like it would fall off, "And about that ridiculous remark about my summer you made, there's only one thing I can say to you: the day I am happy to see you, James Potter, is the day I'll see Flitwick square-dance naked on the bar of the Three Broomsticks!"
"I didn't know Flitwick could square-dance!" the wizard laughed.
"Err, Lily, you're bruising me arm," the witch whispered to Lily in her trifling Irish accent, trying to pry herself away from the firm grip her friend had on it.
"I think we should get on the train..." she added, just to make sure Lily wouldn't do anything she might regret later.
"Of course. You're right. Let’s go!" Lily said briskly, picked up her things and left the witch before she fully understood her friend was going. The witch shook her head and, after picking up her cat’s carrier, followed.
"See you later, girls!" she heard James Potter's cheerful voice behind her. The witch heard Black say something to his mates, but couldn't fully understand what. Not that she cared one way or the other.
Lily rapidly dragged the witch into the train, claiming it would depart any minute. After dumping their trunks, their quest to find an empty compartment became complicated, as most of the students had found their seats at least ten minutes ago. The look on the new Head Girl's face was so unbelievably scary, the witch figured it would be safer to just follow and keep quiet. Angrily, Lily pushed open compartment doors, causing a couple of younger students to jump up in fright, and she followed, keeping a safe distance. When Lily finally sat down, the witch took a seat opposite her and looked at her patiently. It seemed as if the Head Girl was eating a gruesome-tasting Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean - perhaps Brussels-sprout or something equally as horrible.
"Morgan, I just can’t stand him. How can anyone be so... so... UGH!" Lily said, clearly frustrated and with her hands in her hair in aggravation. Her friend could even see her foot tapping vigorously, which was something Lily only did in extreme situations. She thought about it for a moment.
"I can see what you mean..." the girl named Morgan said, trying to calm her friend down a little, but evidently failing miserably, "Is he really worth fretting over?"
"And I can't believe he made it to Head Boy! Now I have to work with him every day!" Apparently, Lily wasn't really listening. Trying hard to keep a straight face, Morgan glanced at her. Laughing would only anger her even more, and that was something one really didn't want to experience every day.
"I think there must be a reason for that," Lily's head snapped up from her hands abruptly to look at her friend with a glare, so Morgan continued quickly, "I mean, I doubt Dumbledore would name him Head Boy for no reason," she ended gently, opening the door of the carrier to let out her cat, which jumped straight to Lily's lap.
Absent-mindedly, she started scratching the kitten behind her ears, still rambling about James Potter's annoying behaviour. For the first in a long while, Morgan felt happy and she let out a sigh, though not an exasperated one.
"Its great to see you again Lils, you have no idea how much I've been looking forward to this," she interrupted Lily, who was still muttering darkly and cursing the Potter-boy with many colourful words which Morgan had never expected to hear coming out of Lily's mouth. Smiling a bit sadly, her friend's expression changed rapidly.
"I can only imagine." Then she asked, "Were your parents as difficult
With a jolt, the train started moving and a wave of whitish smoke passed the windows before rain ran down the window. The Irish girl shivered.
"Even worse... It took me three months to convince them that I won't be wasting me time here," she said, remembering all the fights she had had during the past few weeks, "But now I'm here, I don't have to think about them for an entire year!" Morgan finished happily and made Lily laugh.
"That’s my girl!" she exclaimed, "So what's up with you and-"
Again, Lily wasn't able to finish her sentence when the door slid open and James popped in his head. A relieved beam spread across his face.
"Here you are!" The head disappeared again and the girls could hear how he yelled through the passageway, where soon a plump witch would appear with a candy-cart full of sweets which muggles could only dream of, "They're here!"
Faster than a niffler who had just spotted something shiny, the compartment filled up with four more people: James, Remus, Peter and Sirius. Lily looked like she was about to burst and watched with satisfaction when Morgan's cat jumped down from her lap and hissed at the guys viciously, crouching down, ready to jump up and scratch their eyes out.
"CAT!" Morgan growled warningly and grabbed it by the scruff of the neck before it could do something that would change the compartment into a bloody mess.
"You named your cat "Cat"? Now that's original!" James sneered, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Even Lupin couldn't help but to snigger, as did the other three.
"Yes, I did. And if you're parents had been as smart as me, they would have called you Scumbag," she replied simply, with a hint of a sneer on her face. The subject "CAT" was something she couldn't take any wise-guy comments on. Obviously, James hadn't expected a reply like that; the expression on his face was more or less locked in surprise. Whether it was from shock or to prevent him from chuckling out loud, Remus had clasped hand over his mouth, while Sirius was sniggering openly. James shot the latter, whose laugh sounded more and more like a bark the louder it became, a nasty scowl. Ignoring them, Morgan put Cat back in her carrier; it hissed at the boys one last time and tried to struggle out of her grip, but Morgan knew better than to let her go. The minute she had bought it, the animal had earned the name CAT, which was short for "Crazy All Through”, by nearly amputating her father's leg. Not that the witch had minded though; her father, just like her mother in many ways, was a thick-skulled muggle if she had ever seen one. They completely denied the existence of magic in every way, even if that required sending their daughter away from their guests for a while and ignoring the fact steam was magically emitting from her ears.
James turned to Lily, the arrogant look on his face slightly whipped away.
"I would love to get to know this new friend of yours, but I believe you have forgotten we are supposed to get instructions in the prefect’s carriage," he walked outside with a minor angry look behind his glasses. Blinking a couple of times, Lily looked at him with her big green eyes before she smacked her forehead.
"Oh, no..." she mumbled, "I had completely forgotten about that."
"Why do I get the feeling this isn't going to be good for me?" Morgan leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms, gazing from her friend to the passage where James was still waiting.
"Uhm... Well," Lily started, getting up from her spot by the window reluctantly, "You see, Prefects and Head Boys and Girls have two compartments for themselves in front of the train. I don't think I need to leave you alone for a long time, just..."
"You are bailing on me on my first day?" she raised an eyebrow, but eventually put on a well-played, insincere smile. The witch knew how much the responsible status of Head Girl meant to her friend, "You just go, or you'll make a bad impression. I'll just grab a book or something."
"Thanks," Lily smiled, not sure whether or not Morgan was being frank with her but leaving nonetheless, "You're the best!"
On a trot, the pair left until the girl was left alone with the three other boys, who all looked at her with mild curiosity. However, the black-haired boy soon lost interest and instantly got followed by the small Peter, the compartment became quiet.
"You bet I'm the best..." she muttered, turning her back on them, and dug up a small muggle omnibus by Yeats from her damp jacket's inside-pocket, "Tch."