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Chapter 1 : Meet The Potters
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Welcome, readers, to my first ever one-shot! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I just thought I'd take a quick break from my two novels to have a go at something shorter and sweeter. So sit back, have a hot chocolate and a jaffa cake, read, enjoy, and most importantly, let me know what you think in a review!
Meet The Potters
Mr George Evans was a patient man. Even as a child he was the only one out of his three brothers who could wait until after the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day to open his presents. He had a calm, cool demeanour, and rarely got into a frenzy about anything. That was probably the reason he kept his thick mane of hair well into his fifties (though granted, it had turned from red to white in his late twenties).
He was a tall, thin man who wore reading glasses and smoked a pipe, and seemed to be always reading the newspaper. He liked the crossword puzzles mostly, sometimes the odd game of Sudoku. Sometimes he’d even read what was actually going on in the world.
It was a very sunny day, the day before the meeting. George was sitting in the back garden on the bench beside the bed of petunia’s and lily’s (he had to plant both or else it could have been seen as favouritism), reading the morning newspaper, as usual. George’s idea of reading the newspaper was to glance at the headlines and look at the pictures.
May 4th 1979 – Conservatives Win General Election, England Gets Its First Female Prime Minister
She was a sort of harsh looking woman, the new female Prime Minister. George even said so to his wife.
“Geraldine, isn’t that woman a bit harsh looking?”
Mrs Evans, who had been planting some Forget-me-not’s opposite to where her husband was sitting, glanced over to the newspaper he was holding up.
“Yes, I suppose she is,” Geraldine agreed absent-mindedly.
The Prime Minister almost reminded George of his own mother, even if the new Prime Minister was a good deal younger. The harsh facial features, the determined eyes and the look of someone you would do well not to cross. Granny Evans (as she had been known since her first grandchild had been born almost thirty years ago to her eldest son, Harold) was to arrive at the Evans’ house at six o’clock that evening and stay with them for two weeks. During the summer months, she was passed around her three son’s houses – it was now George’s turn.
Geraldine, who did not hold the same patience and composure as her husband, had been running around the house making the necessary preparations for the arrival of Granny Evans. She changed all of the sheets on all of the beds in the house, even those in Lily and Petunia’s rooms, even though her two daughters had moved out quite some time ago and those beds lay idle ever since. She cleaned the house from top to bottom, shampooed the carpets, washed the windows and even had George re-paint the kitchen. Geraldine needed to make sure that Granny Evans couldn’t find a single thing to criticise her about.
Finally, when the house was as clean as it ever was, she turned to the garden and began doing the work she most enjoyed. George did notice, however, that Geraldine seemed to be rushing the gardening, and treating it as a chore more than a hobby. He wanted to tell her to calm down, that his mother really wouldn’t care what the garden would look like, but then he really didn’t like lying to his wife.
When the phone rang, George was courteous enough to answer it and leave his wife to her panicking. As soon as he picked up the phone, a voice began chatting before he’d even finished the word ‘hello’.
“Father,” his eldest daughter, Petunia, said very business-like, “What time is Granny due in at this evening?”
“Hello Petunia, dear,” said George calmly, actually taking the time to greet her, “How are you?”
“I’m very well,” said Petunia, “Vernon’s got a new job at Grunnings, you know. Apparently they’re going to be paying him very well, which is good because we hope to buy a new house soon, the flat really is quite small if we want to have children…”
Petunia and her fiancé, Vernon, lived in a flat in London. She was twenty-four years old, and had a sensible head on her shoulders. George didn’t worry about her in the slightest and was quite happy to hear her talking about settling down and having children.
“Anyway, what time are you expecting Granny?” Petunia pressed on, getting to the point.
“I’m collecting her from the station at six o’clock,” George answered.
“Six – that’s fine. Vernon and I may come for dinner tomorrow, is that alright?”
George assured her that it was of course fine that they come for dinner and that it was always a pleasure to see her. He just wondered, as he put down the phone, how he was going to break the news to his already stressed wife that she would have to cook dinner for five. These thoughts were pushed out of his head as the phone rang again.
“Hi Dad!” a much cheerier voice greeted him than the first – his youngest daughter, Lily. Lily was sensible too, though she was bubbly and more impulsive than her older sister.
“Lily, how are you love?”
“I’m great, Dad!” she cried happily, “You’ll never guess what!”
This wasn’t good. George could sense it wasn’t good.
“I’m getting married!” she exclaimed.
George almost dropped the receiver.
His daughter – his Lily – was getting married to a boy he’d never met before. And at only nineteen years of age!
Yes, this definitely wasn’t good.
“Could you run that by me again?” he managed to choke.
“James proposed! I’ve told you about James loads of times, I’m really sorry you haven’t had the chance to meet him yet…”
Yes, George had heard all about James Potter. In fact, he’d heard all about him since Lily was only eleven years old. Lily, unlike anyone else in the family, was a witch and had gone to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to be educated. Every Christmas and summer she came home with fascinating magical objects and strange potions that George found most interesting indeed. However, she also came home with complaints about that one boy who was making her life a living hell – James Potter. He was a “bully”, a “toerag”, an “idiot who was in love with nothing more than himself." Then, at Christmas of her seventh year, she returned with the news that she’d fallen for the bullying toerag.
George was not pleased.
He was even less pleased when she announced that she was moving in with one of her friends, Mary, who lived quite near to the Potter boy.
“…so I was thinking, maybe James and I could come for dinner tomorrow and you could get the chance to meet him!” Lily finished off excitedly.
“Alright then,” George found himself saying.
“And would it be okay if James brought his family along too? I’d like you all to mix,” said Lily.
“Y-yes, I’m sure that would be fine,” said George.
When the conversation had ended, and when George had hung up the phone, he had to sit himself down at the kitchen table and do some breathing exercises he’d once seen someone do on the television. His little girl was getting married. There was nothing he could do to stop it – Lily was very headstrong and once she had her mind set on something, there was little anyone could do to change it. And so, it was time to meet the Potters.
This meant that George now had to break the news to Geraldine that she had to cook dinner for four more people.
Granny Evans was not in a pleasant mood when George picked her up from the train station. Not that Granny was ever in a pleasant mood, but this time she was even less pleasant than usual. That ‘anorexic’ ticket inspector was apparently ‘ignorant as manure’ and the train went far too fast for her liking.
“What if a cow had wandered on to the tracks?” Granny whinged in her stereotypical old woman voice – the one that sounded like she’d swallowed a frog – while George drove her home from the station, “The train wouldn’t be able to slow down in time! Poor bugger wouldn’t stand a chance now would he?”
No, George reckoned the poor bugger wouldn’t stand a chance, but if the cow was stupid enough to wander out of its field and onto the train tracks, perhaps it deserved to be slammed into next week.
Geraldine was hysterical by the time George and Granny Evans arrived home. The house was, in George’s view, absolutely spotless, though he was sure his very cynical mother would find something wrong with it. Geraldine was already preparing the dinner for the looming meeting of their future son-in-law’s parents. He just hoped they liked roast beef as there were two cuts of it ready to be cooked, and three apple pies already made.
“Geraldine,” Granny Evans greeted her daughter-in-law, “I hear you’re letting Lily get married.”
Of course it was Geraldine’s fault Lily was marrying some random boy they’d never met. Heaven forbid it could have been Precious George’s fault, or even Lily’s fault! No, everything that went wrong had to be down to Geraldine. Famine, war, murder, recession, you name it, it was Geraldine’s fault, according to Granny Evans.
Granny’s eighty-six year old face looked as old and wrinkly as the day Geraldine met her almost twenty seven years ago. She hadn’t changed at all – she still wore the same oversized glasses; she still had white fluffy hair that stood out at all angles on her head; she still seemed to always wear the colour purple. More importantly, she was still an old bat who criticized everyone around her.
George wondered vaguely how she would react to meeting this James Potter.
Petunia and Vernon arrived at midday, sharp, the following day. Vernon, a large fellow, wore a navy coloured suit and had his hair combed to one side. He was a respectable man, Vernon, though George couldn’t help but notice that he had the personality of a rather boring pencil.
Petunia, dressed in a knee length pink skirt and white blouse, helped her mother to prepare the dinner. Geraldine was in even more of a frenzy than she had been the day before. Granny Evans sat in an armchair in the sitting room, with her walking stick in her hand, interrogating Vernon Dursley.
“What is it you do then, Vernon?” Granny Evans shouted, pointing the walking stick at him. She shouted everything due to her partial deafness.
“I work in a drill company –”
“Speak up!” she yelled.
“A drill company, Mum,” George said loudly, noticing just how relieved Vernon looked that he was jumping in to the conversation.
“Yes, turns quite a good profit –”
“That’d turn quite a good profit I’d imagine!” Granny Evans interrupted Vernon, not knowing that he was actually speaking.
“Y-yes it does,” said Vernon weakly.
George decided he could take no more of his mother and joined his wife and daughter in the kitchen. Petunia spoke about her wedding plans non-stop, and George remembered his other daughter who was due to be married – of course, Petunia didn’t know of Lily’s engagement. She wouldn’t be happy at the revelation. All of the attention would be taken away from her.
As if on cue, the doorbell rang. George felt a mixture of dread and anxiety in the pit of his stomach. He had no idea what these Potters were going to be like.
“Get the door please, dear,” Geraldine demanded. George walked, as if in slow motion, to the front door, took a deep breath and opened it. There stood his youngest daughter beaming up at him, her green eyes sparkling. She threw her arms around him, and George melted immediately. These daughters of his had him wrapped around their little fingers.
“Dad!” Lily cried, “It’s so great to see you!”
When the broke apart, George noticed for the first time the young man standing beside her. He was much taller than her, with very messy black hair – too messy, in fact. He was the exact opposite of Vernon Dursley. He wore glasses, though George didn’t really see the point in this, as they were so lob-sided, he doubted he could see anything through them. He was wearing a red t-shirt and a pair of jeans and a grin almost as big as Lily’s.
“This is James, Dad,” said Lily, grabbing James by the arm and pulling him forward. James held out his hand.
“Nice to meet you, Mr Evans,” he said pleasantly. George shook James’s hand and stood aside to let them in. James Potter did not seem in the least bit nervous to be meeting his future in-laws for the first time. In fact, he was acting as if he knew them already. How could he be so relaxed?
“My parents should be along in a minute or so,” James explained as George led them into the sitting room where Vernon was still trying his damndest to have a conversation with Granny Evans. Perhaps for the first and only time in his life, he was actually happy to see Lily. It took the attention away from him, allowing him time to sprint towards the kitchen.
“Lily,” Granny Evans barked, “You look thin.”
“Hello Granny!” said Lily pleasantly, giving her grandmother a kiss on the cheek while ignoring her ‘thin’ comment, “This is James – I’ve told you all about James before, haven’t I Granny?”
“No you haven’t,” Granny Evans snapped, “Nobody ever tells me anything!”
George had told Granny Evans about James Potter, as had Geraldine and Petunia, though the three all had quite different views on the boy. Geraldine maintained that Lily had a steady head on her shoulders, and if she loved the Potter boy, he was probably a very nice young man. Petunia regarded him as nothing more than a ‘freak’, though she’d never met him. And to George, James Potter would always be the ‘insufferable prat’ (to use Lily’s own words) his daughter complained about every summer.
So to say that nobody told Granny Evans about James Potter was nothing short of a fib.
“So…” Lily began, “Where’s Petunia?”
George led the way into the kitchen, where Petunia looked as if she was sucking on an extremely bitter lemon at the site of her younger sister. Lily smiled, and although it was extremely strained, George admired her for making the effort.
“What are you doing here?” Petunia asked nastily.
“I’m here to see my parents,” Lily narrowed her eyes. The way she referred to them as “my” parents showed that she no longer considered Petunia her sister, merely the girl who came from the same mother.
James Potter was apparently bright enough to notice the tension, as was Vernon. Standing beside one another, George again noticed just how different his daughters’ choices in men were. James was tall and thin; Vernon was small and dumpy. James had absolutely no facial hair; Vernon sported a very bushy moustache. James had a wand sticking out of his back pocket; Vernon had a cigarette lighter. George didn’t dislike Vernon – he could tolerate him on a good day. But this James wasn’t to be trusted. George could feel it.
When Lily was twelve years old, she returned from Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays, crying. George had picked her up from Kings Cross station and she ran to him, her face almost as red as her hair.
“H-he c-cut it off!” Lily had sobbed in his arms. At first George was extremely worried as to what this person had cut off, but then he noticed that Lily was no longer wearing her usual two braids down each side of her head, but just the one on the left hand side. The right clump of braided red hair was in her shaking hand. “He cut my hair!”
She was furiously angry – Lily always reminded him of Geraldine when she got angry. They had the exact same emerald green eyes that would narrow so much, they’d practically disappear.
“Who cut it, Pet?” George had tried to soothe her.
“P-Potter cut it!”
She’d pointed to a boy, who looked slightly afraid as George glared over at him. The boy had clung on to a taller man (who George assumed was his father) and they disappeared.
And now she was marrying that boy.
Two years after that incident, she’d complained that the Potter boy had pushed her best friend, Severus, into a squid-infested lake. Now George didn’t only consider Potter a bully, but dangerous too. If he could just push another boy into a lake recklessly, who knew what else he was capable of?
In her sixth year he had snuck into her dormitory over twenty-six times and stolen ten different items from her including a shoe, a quill, a book and (rather disturbingly) underwear.
And in her seventh year, she’d announced she was in love. What had happened in the meantime was a complete mystery to George.
George was sure he had her under some sort of spell. Lily insisted he was a changed man. George pointed out he had a homicidal tendency. Lily said he didn’t really mean to hurt Severus by pushing him into the lake, just to embarrass him. He’d cut her hair, George insisted. Lily said he was just being a typical little boy, and anyway, it had grown back straight away when she’d taken that potion.
Another knock on the front door disrupted George from his thoughts.
“That’ll be my parents,” said James, now looking nervous for the first time since he’d arrived. Lily rushed to answer the door, and George heard her greet her future in-laws with even more warmth than she shown him, her own father!
“Mr and Mrs Potter! Come in!”
George, with all of the stealth and smoothness he could muster, poked his head around the door to peek into the hallway and catch a glimpse of these so-called Potters.
They looked fairly normal. They were wearing what Lily called “Muggle” clothes and showed absolutely no indication that they had raised a complete psycho for a son. Mr Potter was tall, just like James. He was balding, save for a small bit of white hair at the back of his head, and wearing a brown jumper and beige trousers. His wife was far smaller than him, with black hair and a very kind face.
Lily was hugging a third person, who George could only guess was James’s brother. The man was quite tall, though not as tall as James, with very long black hair that George found himself disapproving of already. He wore very baggy clothes that wouldn’t look out of place at a rock concert. Although he couldn’t remember Lily ever mentioning that James had a brother, he had to assume that this person was him.
“Padfoot!” Lily was saying, “So glad you could make it!”
George had no idea what kind of name ‘Padfoot’ was. What kind of parents would call their child Padfoot? It the occurred to him that this could be some sort of nickname, but George never really approved of nicknames ever since he’d been christened ‘Ginger Georgie’ by his older brother at the age of five.
Lily led Padfoot and the Potters (although Padfoot could have been a Potter, George reminded himself) into the kitchen where everyone else was now assembled. Even Granny Evans had risen from her chair to get a good look at the Potters. George could tell that Petunia was just dying to say something nasty, as she had her lips pursed together like she always did when she was trying to hold her tongue.
“Mum, Dad, this is Mr and Mrs Potter,” Lily smiled.
George shook their hands politely. They seemed like nice, normal people – not the sort of people who would call their son Padfoot. George had thought his wife was completely off her rocker when she wanted to name their first born ‘Petunia’, but he let that one go after he got to choose Lily’s name. Geraldine smiled warmly at the Potters and welcomed them to their home and asked them if they’d like a drink.
“This is my grandmother,” Lily started.
“Oh yes, leave me ‘til last, what’s new?!” Granny Evans growled and then grabbed the glass of sherry Geraldine had been handing to Mrs Potter. “My arthritis is playing up, I’ll be in the living room!”
With that, Granny Evans left the quite crowded kitchen.
“And this is Sirius,” Lily introduced the boy George was sure he’d heard her call ‘Padfoot’. “He’s an old friend from Hogwarts.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr Evans,” Sirius Padfoot grinned and shook George’s hand. Perhaps ‘Sirius’ was an even stranger name than ‘Padfoot’.
Mrs Potter helped Geraldine with the dinner, while James, Sirius and Lily chatted amongst themselves in the back garden. Vernon and Petunia looked hugely uncomfortable with the whole situation, so stood in a corner and looked on the events as outsiders. Mr Potter tried his best to strike up conversation with George.
“A marvellous house you’ve got here, George!” Mr Potter cried excitedly, “I see you have one of those television things I’ve heard about!”
“Erm, yes, we do,” George replied. Nobody had ever been in shock at his television set before. He wasn’t sure how to react to it.
“What’s this?” he asked, picking up the receiver of the phone. George felt that it was going to be a long day.
“…so then I said to the Minister, ‘Minister, I’m sorry, but I just don’t agree, I think the Hogwarts brooms should be able to go higher than fifty feet!’ And then the Minister said –”
“Dad,” James cut off his ever-babbling father, “Nobody wants to hear this story.”
The tension had been building up throughout the day and Mr Potter felt as if he had to speak to fill the awkward silences. Vernon and Petunia looked as if they were going to be sick. They had barely touched their dinner and sat at the table merely as a formality. Geraldine looked genuinely interested in what Mr Potter had to say, and George was surprised to find that he was interested in what Mr Potter had to say. He’d always been fascinated by the wizarding world. He did, however, want to remain on the good side of his eldest daughter, so he remained impartial on the outside.
“Well said, James,” Granny Evans agreed, “Broomsticks and potions – it’s just a load of claptrap!”
George could see Petunia fighting a triumphant smirk.
“Mother,” George muttered, “Please, be polite.”
He knew he’d pay for telling off his mother later on, but thankfully she did not start an argument at the dinner table.
“So, we should get talking about weddings then!” Geraldine said, trying her best to change the subject.
“Yes!” Petunia and Lily exclaimed at the same time and then glared at each other.
“I think she was talking about my wedding,” Petunia said nastily.
“No, she was talking about my wedding –”
“Nobody cares about your freak wedding.”
“Petunia!” Geraldine cried, “We have company!”
“They’re nothing but freaks, mother!” she protested, “I’ve tried to be nice –”
“When exactly? When did you try to be nice? When you were standing in the corner shooting daggers at everyone else?” Lily snapped, “You’re unreal, Petunia!”
“Okay, Dad, maybe we should talk about brooms again,” James said quickly, and Sirius let out a bark of laughter.
“You’re just jealous,” Petunia snarled, “Jealous that my fiancé has a real job.”
“Oi! I resent that!” James butted in. George admired his courage. He knew far better than to get in the middle of an argument between Lily and Petunia.
“Oh yes, I’m so jealous of your fat, hairy, boring, lazy fiancé!” Lily cried sarcastically.
Vernon stood up at this, his fat face red with anger. “How dare you, you little freak!”
James stood up at the same time and drew his wand, fiercely protective of Lily. George admired him for it, though was slightly afraid of what he was planning to do with the wand. This was the boy who cut off his daughter’s hair after all.
“D’you want to retract that, Fatty?” James growled.
At this point, Petunia and Lily were screaming insults at each other, Vernon was roaring at James, Geraldine was trying to calm her daughters down, Mr Potter, like George was watching the scene in shock, and Granny Evans and Sirius remained in their seats, laughing their heads off at the whole situation.
“ENOUGH!” Mrs Potter cried and grabbed James by the ear, forcing him to sit back down. “James Potter you are a guest in this house! This is no way for you to repay Mrs Evans for her lovely dinner. Now APOLOGISE!”
“I – I’m very sorry Mrs Evans,” said James, clearly terrified of his mother. George reflected on just how easy his life would have been if he’d had two sons, not two daughters. Sirius and Granny Evans continued laughing, while Petunia and Lily were now separated by their mother.
“Girls, you’ve never embarrassed me more than you have today! Can’t you just get along for once in your lives?” Geraldine cried, with tears in her eyes.
“No,” Lily and Petunia said at the same time.
“Well then just shut up the pair of you!” Geraldine screeched, “And clear the table, it’s time for dessert!”
Dessert was eaten in complete silence. Whatever George had expected from this dinner, it wasn’t a complete showdown between his daughters and future sons-in-law. After a few moments, George engaged Mr Potter in idle conversation, while Geraldine and Mrs Potter spoke about a particular recipe that Geraldine just had to give her before she left. Then Granny Evans and Sirius began talking about the state of the economy, and George couldn’t help but feel amazed that his mother actually liked Sirius. He was just about the last person on this planet George imagined would get on with his very difficult mother. James, Lily, Vernon and Petunia remained silent.
Lily and Petunia were always like this. If it wasn’t Lily stealing the attention from Petunia by becoming Head Girl at Hogwarts, it was Petunia getting one up on Lily by securing a serious boyfriend first. But when two events collided, such as their engagements, that meant war.
When the washing up was done, which was very quickly considering Mrs Potter used magic to do it, Lily and the Potters decided that it was time to leave. They went through the formalities of thanking George and Geraldine for their hospitality and left with a ‘we should do this again’, even though neither parties ever wanted another episode like the one they’d just experienced. Granny Evans hugged Sirius goodbye to everybody’s shock, and George could swear that he heard her sigh ‘if I was fifty years younger…’ after him. He tried not to be too disturbed by this, but that’s hard when your eight-six year old mother fancies a nineteen-year-old man.
When Vernon and Petunia left, and Granny Evans went to bed, George and Geraldine relaxed in the living room, thankful that one of the most tension-filled days of their lives was finally over, and was never coming back.
Six months later…
George looked at the two pictures on his mantelpiece, one of Lily on her wedding day, the other of Petunia. They both looked absolutely radiant, and George felt a surge of pride every time he looked at these pictures. They were his girls and always would be, and even though they fought every now and again, he loved them very much.
The ringing of the phone disrupted George from studying the pictures, and he went to answer it.
“Dad! You’ll never guess what?!”
It was Lily.
This time, he did drop the receiver, but picked it up again quickly.
“I was thinking James and I would come around on Sunday for dinner to celebrate? And maybe I could bring Sirius and his* parents?”
George couldn’t see the problem. They had no other plans, so he agreed that he’d see them on Sunday. He hung up, and then turned to look at the pictures again – but then the phone rang. Again.
“Dad? It’s Petunia,” came a very familiar business-like voice, “Vernon and I are coming around for dinner on Sunday…I’m pregnant.”
George hung up the phone without a word.
And he prepared himself for round two.
I know, it's kinda stupid, but please review!
*His refers to James's parents, not Sirius's. (2.Jan.09)
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