Chapter 14 : Fourteen: The Start of it All
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Let's die young or let's live forever
Don't have the power but we never say never
Sitting in the sandpit
Life is a short trip
Music's for the sad man.
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever,
-Youth Group, Forever Young
Sirius told me the whole story as we sat at dinner that evening. Ever since he had been sorted into Gryffindor, his family had been disappointed in him. They shunned him and beat him over the simplest things. That night had been the worst ever. He’d got into a little argument with his brother Regulus and his father had stepped in and taken Regulus’ side. Sirius had finally run out the door and apparated straight to the Potters’ which was his second home. Mrs Potter assured him he could stay with them as long as he needed. The Blacks viewed the Potters as the biggest bunch of blood traitors to disgrace the wizarding world, so the Potters were only too happy to do anything that would make them mad.
Christmas day wasn’t quite the same. I got a load of great presents, including some jewellery from each of the Marauders, which I thought was quite nice. But I guess sitting beside the tree with James, Sirius and the Potters wasn’t quite the same as lying under the branches and breathing in the Christmas Tree scent at home. I would have thought that Sirius would be miserable for at least a while, but he seemed to be having the time of his life. He and James caused havoc all day long. Five days later, the day before New Years Eve or New Years Eve Eve as James called it, we were sledging in the Potter mansion’s grounds.
“Watch out!” Sirius yelled with a big grin on his face as he zoomed down the hill in an old muggle sledge. There are some muggle things that wizards simply can’t improve, and I guess this was one of them. I was showered in snow as he sped past the place on the hill where I was standing wrapped in my warmest jacket, scarf, gloves and hat. I somewhat resembled a marshmallow.
He slowed to a halt at the bottom of the hill and immediately jumped out and ran back up, the sledge following him up, having been bewitched with the Locomotor spell. James jumped into his own sledge and sped off down the hill.
“Sirius, James, Lily!” called Mrs Potter. We were quite far away from the house but I could make out her shape in the back door of the Potter mansion. For someone who usually had such a calm and quiet voice, she sure could sound a lot like a foghorn when she wanted to. We all looked up and James’ sled slowed to a stop.
“Yeah?” James yelled back. I could just about see another figure behind Mrs Potter, slightly taller than her but not tall enough to be Mr Potter.
“Remus is here!” she replied. “He needs to talk to you!” I muttered a spell and pointed my wand at James’ sled. I climbed in the back and tapped the sled twice on the side. It started speeding along the flat ground towards the mansion. Sirius saw what I had done and followed suite. As we drew up outside the back door, laughing and tumbling out into the snow, the expression on Remus’ face made us stop dead in our tracks and our smiles melted away.
His face was pale, but not like it sometimes got which made him look unwell; he looked sad and scared. The skin around his eyes was red and it was clear he had been crying. People like Remus don’t cry. They’re the strong, secure ones that look after other people when they’re crying. His hair was messier than usual and his clothes had obviously been thrown on in a hurry. It was only nine a.m. (we’d wanted to get outside before the snow melted) so it was really very early to have visitors which showed that it must be something urgent. Mrs Potter was still in her dressing gown, and she disappeared off once we had all got to our feet.
“Moony, what’s wrong?” asked Sirius with concern. Remus folded his arms across his chest.
“You might – especially Lily – want to come inside for this.” We followed him back indoors and into the living room, exchanging nervous and worried glances between us. Remus sat down in an armchair and we three sat in a sofa opposite him. “I’m not sure how I’m supposed to tell you this . . . I mean, it really shouldn’t be me, but I thought . . .”
“Remus, what’s the problem?” I asked, getting more anxious by the minute. He bit his lip.
“Jazz got back from America last night and . . . when they went into the house . . . there were . . . death eaters inside and . . . they killed her entire family.” The tears were streaming down his face now. I gasped and felt my eyes water faster than ever before. I blinked away the tears threatening to spill. The expressions on Sirius and James’ faces were of horror and shock. We sat in silence for such a long time.
Jazz, my best friend, was dead.
Needless to say when the New Years Eve ball rolled around we all shut ourselves up in our bedrooms and refused to come down. Remus was invited to stay for the rest of the holidays and he accepted. He only knew about Jasmine because he’d sent her an owl to say ‘Welcome back to England’ but he’d gotten a reply from the Ministry of Magic who were at the house at the time.
So I was definitely right when I thought this was going to be my most interesting Christmas holidays to date. Just maybe not in the way I expected.
None of us knew what to do. We didn’t allow ourselves to smile or joke, because it seemed wrong when one of our best friends was lying, lifeless, six feet underground. We wasted away in our rooms, greeting each other in the hallways when we passed but never having conversations. Mealtimes were the worst. The Potters tried to get conversation going but failed miserably and we ended up spending mealtimes in silence too. From time to time I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks without warning, but most of the time I just felt hollow and empty.
Finally the day arrived when we were to return to Hogwarts. We threw our suitcases into the back of the ministry car, climbed into the extended back seat and drove to the station in silence. That was the most miserable Christmas holidays I ever had in my life.
A/N: I have nothing against Jazz. The Death Eaters killed her, not me! It's not like you can choose who lives and dies. Otherwise the world would be a much happier place.
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