To run away is not glorious, but very healthy ~ Russian proverb
Morning on the 1st September 1970 brought new hope to Amelie. Over the past few days, she had spent a lot more time than usual by resting her favourite oak tree, allowing her subconscious to sort through the utter chaos and confusion that had entered her life. Her cogitations and musings, together with the ample amount of sleep-time she had been giving herself (now that she did not need to rise at the premature time of five-thirty every morning), had finally strengthened her resolve to end the stupid charade she called a life.
Her parents, who had not said a word to her since “the incident” – apart from the odd beating or two at the wand of her so-called father – had refused to take her to the station. Amelie, being far too proud to beg, tagged along with her aunt, who remained tight-lipped and stony-faced. Annette Avery had pretended to appear extremely disappointed at her niece’s actions, though very crudely. To Amelie, it could not have been clearer that she was nothing short of thrilled that her elder sister had had her life mucked up yet again.
Drusilla and Agrippa, who were now fourth and second year Slytherins, were not so reserved about their emotions. Forever tired of being shunned into the shadows (albeit due to their own infantile conduct), they both presently wore gleeful expressions. Neither of them had passed the chance to thank their cousin, shooting her snide remarks, glad to be able to finally be able to do so without being reprimanded by their family.
All in all, by the time eleven o’clock had arrived, Amelie was sitting contentedly having found her own compartment. Gazing out of the large window, she found that she felt a buzz of excitement coursing through her veins. After all, she was going to the best school of witchcraft and wizardry there was.
Tapping her feet subconsciously, she glanced at the platform below. With ten minutes left until departure, it was teeming with bustling parents and teenagers, some looking around frantically, others engaged in seemingly intense conversations. Parents were sobbing; children’s looking flustered and embarrassed by the show of what they thought was unnecessary emotion. Amelie found it all quite endearing and heart-breaking; beyond anything she wished that her parents would stick by her like that, shower her with love and kisses and endless attention. ‘Damn the lot of them,’ she thought bitterly, turning away from the stomach-churning scene with a huff.
The minutes ticked by, and Amelie stared blankly outside, not trying to comprehend anything, just savouring a few last moments in this no-man’s-land she had put herself in. Before she knew it, it would all be over, and, for good or for worse, her life path would be clear.
With a jerk, the train began to slowly creep forwards, the platform slipping away as it gained speed every second. Amelie watched in amazement as an old boy of around nineteen or so with a mop of brown hair ran, waving, trying to keep up with the train, though falling back through the force of his laughter. For a second, she tried to imagine that she was the girl that the boy was waving to, but couldn’t manage to work out how she was meant to respond to it. Would she laugh? Cry? Or be angry at the fool he was making of himself? After all, surely you shouldn’t want to be seen dead running after a train when you were as old as he was.
Maybe an hour had passed, maybe two, Amelie did not know. All she knew was that at one point in her long journey, a voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Excuse me, is it okay if I sit here?”
Amelie turned, breaking away from her thoughts to see a girl with rather dishevelled, vibrant crimson-coloured hair and astonishingly bright emerald coloured eyes looking straight at her.
Determined though she was to throw her old, snooty self away, she found it somewhat arduous. Somehow, she managed to give a feeble smile, not feeling altogether used to the presence of a girl who she could actually befriend. ‘Look what you’ve done to yourself, you idiot! When did you let yourself become so bloody anti-social?’ This girl had done nothing to her, and yet she was already thinking of being remote and cold.
Deciding to take up the challenge and show her true colours, she spoke up.
“Sure, take a seat…Is everything alright?”
“Thanks,” said the girl, plopping down into the seat opposite. “Er, no… it’s nothing. Just this, erm… boy was sort of teasing me– I had had to duck between these two older students to lose him. I think they might have been seventh years.”
Amelie bit back a laugh, trying hard not to come across as apathetic to her newest acquaintance and possible-first-friend. “Sounds like you’ve got yourself an admirer already!”
Lily scowled and blushed, mean whilst looking slightly horrified at the thought. After all, boys were disgusting. Amelie let out a pleasant laugh, starting to feel comfortable in the position she was in. “I’m Amelie, by the way. I guess you’re a first year too then?”
“Wha – oh! Yeah,” The girl shook her mane of red hair, trying to push back the horrid thoughts of possibly having a stalker before even having reached the school.
Feeling the tension, Amelie asked, “You nervous?”
Lily bit her lip. Upon receiving her letter, she had felt almost dazed. Having always been a rational child, she had always believed in witches and wizards as things of fantasies. She was always more logical: asking for explanations behind everything, reading books, finding out interesting things. Even as a child, she hadn’t really believed in the existence of Santa Claus (‘who on Earth could travel the whole world and give presents to people in one night? Goes against all the laws of science’). At first, she had thought that maybe it was some sort of sick joke from her sister Petunia, who was prone to doing such things, being the girl she was. Shortly afterwards – once her common sense had returned, she realised that, clever though Petunia was, she would not have gone to such lengths to single her out. And then, of course, there was her disposition upon her receiving the letter.
Though the two were never the best of sisters, due to the obvious presence of sibling rivalry at that age, they had never really hated each other. They would talk civilly one minute, and be sharpening their nails the next. Petunia was only a couple of years older than Lily, and felt as if her status as “the oldest” was not given enough credit. At the same time, Lily hated being treated as the child, when less than two years younger than her sister (and, in her opinion, considerably more mature than when her sister was her age).
Lily’s acceptance letter had abruptly torn apart any sort of relationship she and Petunia possibly had shared. Overcome with jealousy, her sister now refused to even acknowledge her presence, forcing herself to believe that Lily was a freak, so as to cover up her own feelings on the matter. Petunia had started treating her sister, whom she would once join with in playful banter, with a sneering indifference; avoiding her like the plague. It had been much the same all summer and Lily found herself wondering whether any school was worth what little relationship she had with her sister, and found it disconcerting. Never having been a self-conscious girl, she had always spoken what was on her mind without a second-thought – and now here she was, feeling worried because Petunia of all people, was mocking her. Since when had she ever taken her words to heart?
With these thoughts, she decided she couldn’t care. Her sister was pushing her aside willingly, and her stubborn pride would not allow her to grovel at her sister’s feet. As the summer passed and the tension between the siblings increased, Lily had found herself wishing to be at Hogwart’s already – anywhere away from Petunia.
“Sort of,” admitted Lily. “See, I didn’t really know anything about magic or Hogwarts ‘til I got the letter…you should have seen the looks on my parents faces! They were so pleased! One of the Professors came and explained everything – took me into Diagon Alley and everything. I’d never seen a place so interesting before! I bought Hogwarts: A History too, to see where I’m coming too. It seems fascinating.”
Conveniently, she forgot to mention about her sister. There really was no point in it, seeing as they didn’t act like sisters anymore.
“The name’s Lily, by the way, Lily Evans.”
Amelie smiled pleasantly at her – she felt safe saying it – friend. Having been a pureblood, she had heard a lot about the book and the school. The book, of course, was said to be quite a boring read, but she wasn’t going to shun someone for being… alternative. (Mentally, Amelie applauded herself on her fantastic choice of word) Regardless of that fact, though, she didn’t want to let anything on about her background. Not yet, at least.
“Er, so - are you French, by any chance?”
Amelie refrained from scowling as her newly formulated plan was virtually thrown out of the window.
“What makes you say that?” she asked, wincing soon after as she noticed the sharp tone in her voice. Luckily, Lily hadn’t seemed to have noticed.
“Just that… I mean, well, Amelie is the French version of Amelia… or Emily.”
Amelie shrugged, donning her nonchalant façade, hating herself for it. Hadn’t she only just promised herself that she was going to stop with the whole Ice-Queen thing? Yet another part of her told her that she didn’t want to let on too much about herself so soon…“Well, my mother was born and brought up in France as a child, and her parents were French, too. My Dad was English, though.” Deciding that that was enough about her past and parentage, she changed the subject. “You know… if you find Amelie a mouthful you can try calling me something simpler.”
“Er… how about Amy?”
The new name shifted something, creating a comfortable atmosphere between the two girls, and allowing them each a smile. Amelie had a new identity: one she was determined to use this time to be herself, and not what she needed to be. She had a feeling that somehow, that as long as she managed to hold on to the friendship of this girl, maybe things would turn out alright.
The hours that went by passed with each sharing stories and talking jovially. Amelie felt content, happy to finally be able to talk to someone. Of course, she didn’t sit down and tell the details of her past, but she could talk to this girl without worrying about how she said every damn thing that came out of her mouth: if they were ‘proper’ enough for a ‘young lady’ to say them.
The food trolley came and went, and the girls enjoyed eating the chocolate frogs, the pumpkin pasties and the every flavour beans – Amelie found Lily’s reaction to wizarding things quite amusing.
“Don’t muggle pictures move?”
“Muggle?” Lily looked up with a questioning look at her friend.
‘Ah, the simplicity. This is actually quite endearing.’
“People who can’t do magic.”
Lily’s frown straightened out in understanding. “Oh! No, they don’t. They stay put…”
“My, that’s odd. Aren’t they boring?”
“Well, no. Some pictures are actually quite interesting. Captures the moment, you know? For moving pictures we have video cameras, but they aren’t as good as normal cameras. All of this magic stuff is just so strange and new to me…”
Amelie, sensing her friend’s apprehension, gave a comforting smile. “Don’t worry; you’ll be used to all of it soon.”
Lily returned the smile, just starting to feel more comfortable with herself when the compartment door flew open with a bang, making her jump up in shock.
“En guarde, you manky piece of dilligrout.”
Amelie raised a dignified eyebrow, turning her neck around as she sat serenely in her seat.
“Er…” Three boys stood in the doorway, each with their wands brandished. The main perpetrator, who oddly had his wand merely centimetres away from Amelie’s petite nose, was a black-haired bespectacled boy, who suddenly looked quite discomfited under Amelie’s intimidating gaze. He quickly withdrew his wand from under her nose, raising his arm to scratch the back of his neck in obvious discomfort.
“Er… awfully sorry,” he began remorsefully. “We saw some Slytherins come this way, and one of them was bullying this boy so we thought we’d go save him. Wrong compartment, it seems.” His eyes searched around the compartment and glittered mischievously as they fell upon Lily. “Or maybe not! My name’s James Potter! We meet again!”
Lily, who was standing behind Amelie, groaned. Before the boy could say anything though, Amelie let out a shout as she noticed something she wished she hadn’t.
The two remaining boys were a bit taller than James Potter, one with neat straw coloured hair and incredible brown eyes. The second profile was less welcome - she could tell who it was from a mile off: the elegant black hair, royal nose and those fathomless grey eyes that were staring so intently into hers …
“You,” she whispered, not at all happy.
“What are you doing here?” They both shouted in unison. Amelie had leapt up to her feet, wand drawn.
“Get out!” She was no longer acting pleasant or calm. Her smooth black hair whipped around her shoulders as she spat the words out, her anger embedded deep within syllable that she spoke. How dare he invade her carriage? – The stuffed-up prick.
“Well, I see you’ve changed.” He commented approvingly, leaning casually against the doorframe, looking down at her. “Our little spat over the summer helped you along, did it? Glad my nose was of such great use…” His grey eyes sparkled with ill-disguised amusement as the corners of his lips were twitching into something that looked suspiciously like a smirk. Amelie found, as her blood began to boil, that she didn’t like it in the least.
“Oh,” she found herself smirking too, despite herself. He really did like to stick his foot in it – the bloody bastard. “Glad, are you? You won’t mind another round then? ‘Cos that crunch I felt last time was oddly satisfying.”
Black opened his mouth to answer, but was cut short.
“You’re an Avery?” The bespectacled Potter boy looked at Amelie with distinct wariness.
Her attention snapped from Black to the boy next to him, her mouth wide, feeling almost too incredulous to speak. Upon finding her voice, she noticed that it had risen to a dangerous pitch, and felt rather pleased about it. The effect this simple act had on the boy was quite shocking. Lily found herself quite amused as he held his arms up above his head, cowering from her wrath.
“He’s a Black! You don’t seem to mind hanging with him! Why do you care if I’m an Avery? He’s more of a Black than I’m an Avery, anyway! It’s not really like they want me anymore thanks to Prince Pompous over here!”
Turning to Black, she continued, “Bet you and your Mum had a great laugh, going over how you got me to embarrass my whole family all in one night. Went and had a party, did you?! Leaving me to get sodding beat by that git! You’re all as bad as each other, you lot are! Now get the bloody hell out of my way!”
Roughly passing the three stunned boys, she sprinted down the corridor, feeling a strong mixture of anger and misery. She had said more than she had wanted to. Was it so wrong for her to be able to start afresh? Couldn’t she, too, lead a life away from evil, twisted people with sick minds and perverted ideas about the world? Knowing from the constricted feeling that she had in her throat that she was about to break down, she thrust open the toilet door, clutching her shaking arms against the sides of the sink as she cried for the first time in three years.
Looking at herself in the mirror, Amelie saw a shadow of what she had been. Her dark eyes were puffy and red from crying, and yet she didn’t feel pathetic or weak. She felt oddly comforted that for once in her life she could show her emotions, to herself at least: feel what she wanted to feel. She realised she was no longer Princess Avery, the little pureblood from heaven, but her own person.
As she let a smile come onto her lips, she remembered her father’s words to her…though he had said them all those years ago; they were recorded deep into Amelie’s memory. She doubted that she’d ever forget that day. “Don’t let anyone take that smile away from you, Amelie. Be who you want to be. Make wise choices – not easy ones. You’re a clever little witch; I’ll always love you.” She remembered the roughness of her father’s face as she hugged it to herself, wishing he’d never leave. It was now her turn to truly shine: to be the witch that she was meant to be. Hogwarts was her new home and frankly, she couldn’t care less about how she was going to be treated in the summer. It would probably be terrible, yes, but it would be a pity to let it get in the way of the freedom she would gain in this castle.
She remembered her father, and the moments she had shared with him. More than ever she wished that he was here now, sharing the moment with her. Watching those parents on the platform in King’s Cross had brutally shown her how alone she was, and yet, somehow, remembering him, she felt her resolve grow stronger. She had to break away from her family.
Wiping her tears and washing her face, she headed back to the compartment, where she thankfully noted that the boys had gone. Lily gave her a warm smile, explaining that she had shouted at them and sent them off for annoying her friend, whacking the boy with the glasses hard on the head as he had opened his mouth to say something.
Amelie, regretting that she had been indisposed to see the scene first-hand, laughed heartily, and found that she quite liked it. Perceiving that there was not much time left until the end of the train ride, the girls’ changed quickly from their muggle clothing into their robes, each wondering what colours they would be wearing the next day.
As the two stepped onto the platform and joined the rest of the first years, they felt a thrill of anticipation and excitement. The castle stood, looming over them magnificently; the first years gaped in awe as they were moved closer towards it by the boats, overwhelmed by the magical feeling of it all.
“Well, this is it!” said Lily from next to her.
With a smile, Lily turned around to look at her friend. “Come on, let’s go!”
Amelie returned the smile, and raced her friend up to the castle, already eagerly anticipating finding as many secret passages as she possibly could before the end of her first week.
Ok so here officially ends little Amelie. Hope you liked her. I do! Hehe, but that may just be because I thought of her. Some background on Lily and the Marauders, too.
Next chapter is a GOOD deal longer. I tried to shorten it down, but it just looks right so I’m going to leave it long. Should keep you all entertained for a while at least… *grins cheesily*
Please don’t forget to review! Any favourite quotes? Ways I can improve? How amazing you all think I am? *winks* x