A/N: I must admit, I like this chapter because we get to move away from Hogwarts, which I feel is replaying a lot. So this should be a lot of fun, with a bit of an edge of seriousness too. Just enjoy please!
~*~ Chapter 21 ~*~
On the first morning of the Easter holidays, anyone would be happy enough to find myself, my sisters and the boys in a carriage of the Hogwarts Express. We were going away from Hogwarts to Devlin’s home for two weeks.
“Whereabouts do you live, Devlin?” Kenny asked, intrigued as to where she was going. My sisters and I myself were deeply excited as to where we would be going, for us, we hadn’t really stepped outside of Newcastle, then to go to London to shop and up to the highlands in Scotland for school was an immense impact on our lives. But to go some place where we hadn’t heard of, was also deeply unnerving.
“Just on the outskirts of London… you’ll love it! It’s not where I really live, but my parents have some work there to do… hopefully we’ll be able to go to my real home later, which isn’t far from where we’re stopping first,” Devlin explained, leaning back in his seat, definitely poised in heaven.
My eyes lingered on Devlin for a moment, watching him as he gazed out of the window, the passing countryside blurring into a mixture of colour that you would find on an art pallet.
I gazed at him for sometime, wondering about his life. Maybe the time to indulge in all of my friends’ lives will be during these two weeks of freedom; no work seemed like bliss to me and to the others.
In the carriage were Eleora and Madison and along with Kenny were now reading quietly to themselves. I also saw Eleora fidget with her music player a couple of times - she was glad to have the song lyrics blast their way to her ears for she couldn’t play music inside the walls of Hogwarts.
On the floor by my feet were Sirius and Todd playing wizards chess. For a couple of minutes I watched the game with much interest. Todd was easily beating Sirius and with the smug look on his face, he seemed to take in the gloating experience to lift his ego to pride. Sirius’ face was contorted with concentration, but surprisingly took out Todd’s queen with a blow from one of his knights… Todd looked crest-fallen.
Beside me was Halden. He seemed to be nervous as to be going to Devlin’s home, I wondered this, but the only unsettling reason I came to was the fact that he had never been there owing to be the son of Harry’s enemy.
Now that Malfoy senior and Harry were colleges and were working together as old friends would, I could see in Halden’s eyes that he was still unnerved by the experience of going to his foe’s territory. Of course, Halden and Devlin had patched things up at school, but would everything from there make a difference in the real world?
I squeezed Halden’s hand for comfort and he gripped it tightly back. We both looked out of the window together, realising that after Easter we would have three months left of our first year of Hogwarts.
All the memories came back to me quite abruptly; some good and some bad. But I knew they would stick with me for a long time, and whether that be a good or bad thing, only time would tell.
“Anything off the trolley, dears?” Asked the trolley lady who brought around snacks for hungry students. I remembered only having cereal for breakfast, so I got up and went to see what was available.
“I’m buying whatever anyone wants… my treat!” Devlin proclaimed, and so nearly bought the whole trolley, making the people in the carriage happy as well as making the elderly women have a bright smile once she left.
And so, our time to relax had dawned on us and I knew that everyone present would love it. For at that moment, no one wished to be anywhere else, but with the people they wanted to have fun with…
“Good afternoon, sis? Where you up to now?” Kenny had just come in from work and had walked over to me as I thought on what to write next. She scrolled up to the top of my page and read through what I had written so far on this chapter.
“Make sure you don’t miss out anything. I loved that break…” Kenny pointed out, smiling slyly. “Tea? Coffee?” She asked as she stepped into the kitchen and began boiling the kettle.
I raised an eyebrow at her, reminding her that I didn’t drink either and then I reminded her that neither did she. “Madison and Eleora are coming over later, that’s why I’m doing the kettle a work out!”
Both of them drunk tea as Kenny and I didn’t. We stuck to hot chocolate, but even that had lost its taste on me. For reasons I will say at a later date, but soon Madison and Eleora appeared at the house and all three of my sisters sat around me, pointing out and reminding me of specific things which happened at this Easter holiday.
And soon my writer’s cramp became unfurled and I began to write again, in as much detail as my sisters’ gave me. Thank Dumbledore for these wonderful beings… wouldn’t know what I would do without them…
It was about five o’ clock in the afternoon when the train pulled into platform nine and three-quarters in King’s Cross station. There weren’t that many people going home for Easter; that was usually Christmas and Summer holidays. But I just couldn’t wait to see civilisation again. Well, civilisation to what I was used to anyway.
“C’mon you guys! We don’t want to keep Ginny waiting!” Harry yelled from near the wall barrier connecting this magical world to the Muggle world beyond.
Harry had joined us on the train, Ginny had got on the train last night, (or that’s what he said anyway… Devlin said she “flooed” back, whatever that means) and had gone to their home to make preparations; whatever they were as well.
With his hand gestured towards the wall, Harry let us past by him, our heavy trunks rolling behind us, mine and my sisters kittens mewing to be released from our tight clutches.
“Mind them little bundles of fluff don’t find Arnold… they’ll have him for breakfast tomorrow morning otherwise…” Harry said, heading inclined to our kittens who were now safely packed in a large wicker cage that they could all sit in.
I cast Devlin a confused glance, but he shook his head at me, indicating to us that we had to see for ourselves as to who this Arnold actually was. Soon, Harry had lifted all of our trunks on to two trolleys. “Let’s get outta here!”
We followed him through the compact station, bumping into people who were too busy to notice us as they chattered away on their mobile phones (a Muggle device enabling you to communicate to other people through a mouth piece once you have typed in a specific number). We eventually made it outside, the London sunshine glistening over the tops of tall buildings, casting long dark shadows, making it surprisingly chilly.
“Here we are… hop in all of you.” Harry gestured to a black car, it’s windows tinted so no one could look inside as it rode upon the dark roads. Harry hopped into the front next to the driver, who smiled pleasantly up at him.
Behind him were two rows of seats, the boys let my sisters and I get in first, and then they jostled in, sitting themselves opposite us. Devlin looked over my seat and tapped the drivers shoulder: “How’s it going -”
But he was cut off by the driver, who just waved at him, but still smiled all the same. The smile lit up the drivers glittering golden eyes. I smiled to myself. Once our seatbelts were safely fastened and the trunks were placed in the boot, the driver began to drive the Ministry car through London square, stopping every so often to let people cross the road, or at a set of traffic lights which was where we were now when I asked Devlin something.
“Is the driver really who I think it is?” I pondered curiously, trying to look over my shoulder observantly but all too secretly so as not to attract the driver’s attention as well as Harry’s. I looked up at the roof mirror and saw to my displeasure that the driver was looking into it also. His golden eyes caught my blue ones and my air froze all around me, but he gave me a hearty wink and then he was able to drive on.
“Sure is, April. You wouldn’t expect my father to get some old codger from the Ministry to drive us to our location, would you? Oh no, he trusts this driver expectantly… he knows everything to do with where we’re going,” Devlin explained, again averting his eyes to the outside scenery.
The rest of the journey went extremely quiet. I didn’t like the quiet, but it was a peaceful quiet, sometimes interrupted by Eleora humming to a rock-ballad through her earphones; she had also reluctantly let Sirius lend one of the earphones so he could listen to the music.
Soon the car rolled out of the busy London area and on to the more silent countryside. We passed small streets, where I could hear children playing in the streets enjoying their holiday. I wanted to be like them again so badly, that I was almost jealous of their perfect lives.
Then the car halted suddenly. The driver pulled back the gear-stick into reverse and the car began to go backwards awhile, until it stopped again. He put down the hand-brake and turned off the engine with the keys.
“We’re here!” Harry said excitedly. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been here… it’ll bring back some memories I tell you…” He followed the driver out of the car and helped him heave the trunks out of the boot.
The boys clambered out and then let my sisters and I out of the car too. The area around us was at the top of a street - an old London street where the houses had been designed to look old-fashioned, like in Victorian times. The fact that this hadn’t happened, made the street look, well, just plain old.
There was a skip outside one house and few bin-bags dotted about the place. The lampposts were rattling in the high wind coming over the hill that dominated the daunting shadow that surrounded the place. A wooden gate clanged in the breeze, as my teeth chattered.
“C’mon, let’s get inside quickly. Ginny might’ve made tea already…”
“You’ll be lucky!” Harry turned on his feet, red in the face. Behind him was Ginny, arms crossed. Her face had a frown over her brow and her long red hair was set back into a knot. An apron was over her day clothes and a strong smell of bread came through my nose from her.
“You look lovely today, dear…” Harry said in compliment, bringing her into him by wrapping her arms around her waist and tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. He kissed her lightly on her cheek.
“That won’t work with me, Potter! You’re the one making tea… I’ve been on my feet all day! And you’re late! What were you doing? Taking a detour I should imagine…” Ginny was then stopped by Harry placing his lips over hers and she was absorbed into his forced gesture of love.
I giggled when Devlin faked to vomit behind his parents. “Sure love… whatever you want to think,” Harry said. Ginny smiled and picked up a trunk and walked back up the hill. Harry then turned to Devlin: “You wouldn’t mind putting the kettle on when we get in?” He pleaded. Devlin huffed, but he agreed in the end.
Harry then picked up two trunks and then rolled them behind himself and up the hill. The driver had also taken two others. The ones left, Todd, Halden and Sirius picked them up and carried them and followed Harry’s feet.
The hill wasn’t that high, but with trunks following you, I wasn’t surprised when the boys were complaining of backache when we came upon Harry again. He had his wand out and looked as though he was tapping the air.
He smiled incredulously and then a black strand came unfurling from his wand and began to wrap itself around an object that hadn’t been seen by us before. Devlin gloated his father’s pride for him. Before us; from ground to sky, appeared a house. It was tall and quite dirty by the looks of the grimy windows. The colour of it was black and the feeling I received from it was what I had felt when I first caught glimpse of the street - but worse.
“Welcome to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place!” Harry explained in high pride. He opened the door for us to enter the domain inside. The boys went in first, not wanting to look at the building from the outside, but wanting to explore its interior. My sisters went in after, cautiously at first, but then soon adapted to it once the boys pulled them through a door down a long hallway.
I remained where I was outside, even if it was cold. The house was daunting; yes, just like the whole area. It was as though I was living here again for some odd reason, like I had been here before…
“Anything the matter, April?” Harry asked curiously, his eyes lingering on me. I had almost forgotten that he was still stood there. I shook myself away from the exterior of the house and my eyes searched the hallway briefly. I then shook my head at Harry.
He stepped inside, waiting for me to follow. And then it dawned on me. I had been here before, but not in my own memories I don’t think, (then again, I might’ve been here before in a past life), but in someone else’s. Snape’s memories…
“Have you put that kettle on yet?!” Ginny yelled from upstairs of the house. Harry looked around nervously but kicked his son under the table. Devlin groaned and kicked his father back.
“Hey! What was that for?” Harry complained, rubbing his shin feebly.
“She asked you to do it first, I’m not your slave father… no matter how hard you want to dream that. And besides, you kicked me first, so there!” And he stuck his tongue out at him.
Harry got up from the table that we were all sitting at in the dining room. He went passed Devlin and jostled his son’s hair; Devlin scowled angrily and tried to flatten his hair again, but in failure. Harry went over to a burning fire, a pot hanging over the flames. He filled the pot with cold water and then hung it back over the fire, resuming his seat at the table.
“Harry!” It was Ginny’s voice, but if it was just Harry being pig-ignorant or hadn’t heard her shouting for him, none of us could contradict. She sounded angry as though she had been shouting for him for a long time.
“Harry, Ginny’s calling you…” someone said from the door. We turned to see Remus standing there, bowler hat on his shoulder as he leaned into the door frame. Harry shot an evil look at his friend in a way that said: “Way to kill the mood!” But jostled past him and ran up the stairs to see what she wanted.
Remus joined us at the table but then got up when the pot began to whistle indicating the water had come to boil. “Anyone want tea?” He asked us. Eleora and Madison along with Todd and Devlin raised their hands for a cup. Eleora; when she received hers, added about three teaspoons of sugar. Sweet!
“They’ll be a long time, by the way,” Remus pointed out, setting down his own cup of black tea. It smelled strongly of coffee beans for some odd reason, for coffee and tea were totally different things. “What’s for dinner?” Remus asked, as he went to investigate the cupboards.
Devlin shrugged as he stirred the milk in his tea, the black liquid suddenly going to a light brown colour. He sipped it; cringed, and then remembered to add a teaspoon of sugar.
“Why don’t you make your oh-so famous Shepard’s Pie, Remus?” Todd suggested, getting up and running down a set of stairs. Remus turned bright red but waited for Todd to return. “When I was here this Summer, I took the liberty of asking mum to keep some vegetables fresh…” He dropped a bag leaden with carrots, onions and broccoli.
“The mince will need to be thawed out though,” he added, taking two packets of minced-beef from behind his bag; it’s state frozen solid. “We’ll help you out, Remus,” Todd said finally, also plonking a huge bag of potatoes on to the table. We nodded in agreement.
Remus smiled pleasantly and then chuckled. He rolled up his sleeve and then put down his bowler’s hat on the table. “Let’s get started, shall we?” He said, taking the spuds to the counter and with a peeler, began grating the skins off them.
Eleora and Madison went to go and chop up the potatoes once their skins had been shed, leaving the rest of us to handle the other vegetables. With a knife, Halden began peeling the carrots of their rough skins, passing them to Sirius so he could chop them up into smaller chunks.
Devlin began to pull the stalks of the broccoli apart and in doing so, got tiny green leaves on to his clothes. Todd passed Kenny and I one onion each. I peeled the orangey-brown peelings off the vegetable, as did Kenny, and then I cut mine in half with a knife.
The smell hit my eyes like a thousand needles and it stung badly. Even the others could smell the strong smell of the onion. The tears leaked from my eyes uncontrollably but it didn’t phase me and I carried on chopping up the onion.
Kenny, on the other hand, kept sniffing throughout the entire process of chopping up her onion. Her eyes ran like rivers down her cheeks. She sniffed, but she was enable to wipe her eyes, because the smell of onion on her hands would start a fresh wave of tears again.
Devlin found this very funny, but was caught out of his laughing when Kenny flicked a piece of onion into his eyes. Now that was funny! His eyes streamed madly, but had to ask Remus to see if any onion was still left in his eye. Todd; by this time, was on the floor in fits of laughter.
Once the vegetables were done, we mixed them all together. The mince had been thawed out, so Remus chopped it up quickly and placed it into a large glass cooking tray. We had to wait for it to turn a mild shade of brown before we could add our labour. The vegetables.
“I wonder where your father’s got to, Devlin?” Remus wondered, walking towards the door to step out into the hall.
“I don’t know, and I wouldn’t like to know, to be perfectly honest. But if you want to find out, then go right ahead, I’m not stopping you… unless you want to be scarred for life.” Devlin had said this with a straight face, but Todd was laughing highly behind him.
Remus gently closed the door and resumed his place by the oven. He cast a nervous glance up at the ceiling, and then sighed. I wondered thoughtfully, but my mind raced back to the kitchen when the timer went to check on the mince.
It’s colour had turned a brown colour, so Remus took the glass tray out of the oven and Todd tipped the mixed vegetables into the meat. Remus mixed the meat and vegetables together, adding colour to the meat made it look more appetising. He then placed everything back into the oven.
We sat at the table for an hour until Remus reminded Todd to go and get the cheese from the fridge. When he came back, Remus handed him the grater. “Seen as you haven’t done anything… you can grate the cheese!” Remus patted his shoulder, but Todd happily grated the cheese, stealing some for his rumbling stomach.
Remus, armed with oven-mitts, took the mixed concoction from out of the oven and placed it on the top of the work-top. With the mashed potatoes he simply flattened it over the mixed-up food; the fluffy-whiteness of the potato contrasting well with the dark meat and colourful vegetables.
Todd handed over the bowl that he was grating cheese into. Remus gently sprinkled the cheese over the potato, creating the most exquisite piece of art in the whole world of food alone. It looked simply delicious even if it hadn’t been cooked to its full extent yet.
“Another half an hour or so, and then it should be done,” Remus informed as he closed the oven door, hopefully for the last time for this evening. It was now coming on to seven o’ clock. “Todd… there didn’t happen to be any sweet-corn in the pantry, was there?”
Todd shook his head in a confused manner, but Remus answered it simply enough. “I usually add sweet-corn… I thought there was something missing. Oh well… Devlin, Todd… please lay out the table for everyone, please? Thank you.”
Devlin took out from a kitchen drawer a white tablecloth and laid it over the table. Todd put a candelabra in the middle of it, just so that it wouldn’t fall off over any of the edges. Devlin placed eights plates down for my sisters, myself and the boys. He then placed one at the head for Remus, and two down at the opposite end for Ginny and Harry.
Todd followed Devlin’s shadow and began placing cutlery next to the plates. The knives on the right side and the forks on the left side. Once they were down, Devlin began to follow Todd and placed a glass next to each plate for drinks.
Remus then joined in at the end and gestured for everyone to take a seat. He placed three new candles in the candelabra holes and then brought out the Shepard’s Pie from the oven.
He took a serving spoon from a drawer and scooped generous portions out to everyone’s plates. Once going around everyone once, he asked if anyone wanted anymore. Only Devlin and Todd raised their hands; everyone else said they would see by the end of their first portion.
Remus sat down at the head end of the table and with a click of his fingers, the wicks of the candles ignited with flames so bright that it made the dining room be cast into darkness. Or was that part of Remus’ magic also?
“Wow! What smells so good in here?” Harry asked as he opened the door to the dining room. I saw Devlin look up from his plate and cast a look up at his father. He gulped and put down his fork.
I turned in my seat to find Harry leaning against the wall near the door. He had his head held low, but shook off the quietness now lingering over the room and went to sit in his place at the table. He cast a look to the empty space next to him… Ginny’s place. Her plate was also full of food.
“Will Ginny be joining us, Harry?” Remus asked quietly. Harry quietly shook his head, sadly may I add.
Remus got up from his place at the table and took the untouched food away from Harry’s eyes. “Maybe I should take it up to her?” Remus pondered, looking at Harry from the door.
“No, she’s asleep, Remus. But thanks for making this food, it’s wonderful!” Harry smiled, as he took a sip of water to drench his dry mouth. Was it just me or didn’t he want to talk, or was he unable? What had Ginny wanted to talk to him about? I also noticed that Devlin had stopped eating, which was so unlike him.
Remus placed the food that was on the plate back into the tray of untouched Shepard’s Pie. He then resumed to his second helping. I leant back in my chair and observed everyone else. I mouthed: “What’s up?” to Devlin, but he simply shook his head, his eyes inclining to the flames of the candles.
My eyes wandered to where Harry was sitting and I seemed to have an inkling that he had lost his appetite. The food had been delicious, and I would’ve praised Remus for his excellence, had it not felt like a bad time. Was Ginny’s talk a settlement of bad news?
Soon, Harry gave up on rolling his food around his plate with his fork, but settled on quietly sipping his water from his glass. I hated him being quiet, it wasn’t Harry’s demeanour to be like this.
The candles were half-way down their wicks once Remus spoke up suddenly. “What did Ginny want to talk to you about, Harry?” He asked, as he gathered up the plates to dump them in the sink to be washed up.
Harry looked up from the table. His chin had been resting on his hands which had been locked together; his eyes just staring at the grains she deeply etched into the wood. His eyes were bloodshot as though he had been crying, but I knew Harry wouldn’t cry. He’s too strong for that.
He sniffed. “You know what I told you at Christmas, Remus…” Harry began. Remus turned on his heel away from the sink and took Harry’s features in carefully. Remus alone looked completely abashed and sorrowful looking. “Please, don’t look at me like that, Remus… it makes me feel worse!”
“Sorry, Harry. Please continue…”
“There’s no point in continuing, Remus! I’ve obviously made it blatantly obvious that she’s lost it! This is the third time it’s happened! There’s no point in continuing with trying, for it’s never going to succeed in happening!” He yelled, slamming his fists into the table. The candles jerked, one falling on the tablecloth. Flames erupted over the glorious sheet.
Harry chucked his water glass over the flames; the blaze settling slightly, the embers could be vaguely seen. The room became quiet, but was suddenly broken by sobs coming from Harry. He was crying…
Remus rushed over to him and comforted him in a brotherly hug of comfort. “There, there, Harry. There has to be some other way… you can’t quit if you and Ginny both want this. If you want to succeed, try and try again…”
“I can’t try again… even she thinks it’s pointless to keep on trying! It fails her strength and she can’t cope with depression…” he cast a downward glance at Devlin, at which only I and Remus saw.
“I still think you should try again, Harry. Maybe go and talk to someone other than myself and the others, if you get my drift…” Harry nodded at Remus’ statement. He patted Harry on the back. “You still have my support, but maybe; just maybe, you need a way to stop this from happening…”
“Dad…” Devlin spoke up from the table. Harry looked down at his son, wiping away his fallen sadness as he did so. “Is mum all right? Has she lost -” he halted at seeing the fallen look on his father’s face. “Again?” It was strained and full of pain that it hurt me to just hear it.
Tears rolled down Devlin’s face, which sparked off Harry again. He walked over to Devlin and bent down in front of him, taking him into an embrace.
“Yes, it has happened again, my son. It will be lost forever now… the hope, the dream, the love…” Harry then plucked up his son’s chin and smiled into the eyes which were so like his. “If I don’t keep on trying… for your mother’s sake…”
And that night sparked off the nights of which the mysteries of the lives of the boys began. But to invade on such private matters, began to daunt my mind. To bring on such sadness such as I had seen that night, hurt myself also.
But I wanted to find out, but something kept on pulling me back to asking such things. I just didn’t want to see sadness like that again. This night started off more mysteries… along with the presence of the house being part of someone else’s memories…
A/N: Awww! I feel so sad now. I liked writing this chapter, but there’s going to be about two more showing what else happened during this Easter vacation. And then two more after that, marking the end of year one. Please review!