Chapter 1 : Our Time Now
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I proudly admit that I have spent every night for the entire weekend discussing Quidditch with my best mates (and roommates), Phillip Finnigan, Roger Thomas, and my cousin Fred Weasley, who are all almost as crazy about the sport as I am. I say 'almost' because they all eventually need to sleep before me when we talk. I can go on for hours about plays, professional and pretty much anything else I can think about that’s Quidditch-related.
Okay, I’m lame and I admit it, but at least I’m passionate about something, which is what my Uncle Ron always says when Aunt Hermione reprimands me for getting in trouble so often from falling asleep in class or creating new plays when I should be taking notes and getting caught. I don’t what she’s still so upset about. It’s gotten better since fourth year when I would get in trouble every day. That probably has something to do with the fact that I started really noticing girls and so I have had my attention on them. When they’re sitting in front of you in class, it’s easier to pretend you’re listening than when you’re drawing a play diagram.
However, it might have had a wee bit to do with the fact that Mum personally threatened to revoke all my Quidditch privileges until I graduate if I don’t do well on my O.W.L.S.... Bloody exams. I was so bloody scared of her threat that I spent the first month of the summer reading ahead in my text books and the first week of school in the library.
It was pretty hilarious seeing Dad and Uncle Ron’s reaction to that. Aunt Hermione seemed pretty pleased, however.
Oh, if I didn’t tell you before, my dad is the oh-so-famous Harry James Potter who smote the evil Dark Lord Voldemort and saved the world (twice) and my mum is Ginevra Molly Potter, who is also a Weasley, which makes me related to half the school at this point, considering I have five uncles and four aunts. It’s really hard being Harry Potter’s son, though, because I’m always living in his shadow. I do look a great deal like him, but I got Mum’s eyes.
Having his eyes would have been a dead giveaway for everyone because of the distinct color. Fortunately for me, Albus was graced with both his hair and his eyes, so he gets most of the attention. At least I don’t look THAT much like Dad. I would prefer to live in Mum’s shadow anyway. She did play professional Quidditch after all, and now works as a Quidditch correspondent to the Daily Prophet… whatever that means. At least it has something to do with the sport!
So, back to why I’m not feeling tired… I try to remember the night before, but the last thing I remember is Phillip saying something about the end of…
BLOODY HELL!!! I’m graduating today! I jump out of bed panicked, and trip over my half-packed trunk falling hard on my arse and swearing as I rub my eyes clean of sleep. I frantically reach up on my nightstand and grab my clock to check the time. 9:32 I relax a bit. Graduation doesn’t start until noon, so I have plenty of time to get ready and pack. Well… I'll at least dump the rest of my stuff unceremoniously into my trunk as I have last-minute conversation with my mates.
My tumble caused Phillip to sit up in bed an throw the sheets off wildly. "Waz gonin on?" I smirk at his disorientation, despite my own mere seconds before.
"Phillip! Hurry! We're going to be late for our Transfiguration N.E.W.T.!" He jumps up, then takes a similar spill to mine and sits up as best he can with his sheets tangled in his legs. Realizing we are not, in fact, late for an exam he flips me off with one hand while rubbing his eyes with the other. Being the good friend I am, I laugh at his predicament as I head to the bathroom.
I’m going to miss this school, but I think Professor Chang, the Charms teacher, is going to be happy I’m gone. I don’t know the whole story, but she seems to have some personal vendetta against my dad and mum that she has now passed on to me. So, for the past four years, she has been a nightmare. It’s a good thing I’m brilliant at Charms, otherwise I don’t think I would have survived. Sometimes women don’t make any sense…
I’m not really a morning person, but a panic attack when you’re tired is definitely one way to completely wake yourself up. I take a quick cold shower and get ready to go down to breakfast. Phillip, woken up from my gracious gift of panic attack and dirt-eating fall for himself, glares as he dresses himself for breakfast.
"Mate," he finally asks groggily. "Why are we awake right now?"
I am, if you didn’t already guess, never up at 9:45, dressed and awake at the same time when it's not a school day. I’m surprised myself, but sometimes miracles do happen… even when they’re as lame as waking up early.
I ran my hand through my damp hair to mess it up some more. Apparently I look a lot like Dad’s father when I do that, but I like the way my hair looks like when I get off my broom and running my hair through it all the time is the easiest way to get that look. It’s not like I can carry my broom around all day just to get that wind-swept look… believe me, I tried in fifth year. I almost got my broomstick confiscated after a few incidents involving water balloons mysteriously falling on students in the entrance hall. I had nothing to do with it… at least that they can prove. The caretaker still swears he hears my voice in the entrance hall every day just because I wore my Dad's old Invisibility Cloak during the whole mess.
Phillip and I leave our dorm and head to the Great Hall for breakfast. The Gryffindor common room is empty and the Great Hall is almost deserted, except for a few other seventh years graduating today who look like they had a similar adventure this morning as Phillip and I did. An awesome idea pops into my head while I’m staring at my flatware and shoveling eggs into my mouth and I look over at Phillip.
“Oh, no…” he warned me suddenly. “I know that look. Can you not take a break today!? We’re graduating, for Merlin’s sake!” He has every right to react this way. My ideas are usually brilliant and always trouble, but I couldn’t just NOT do this.
“Awww, Phil! Come on! It’s our last day, ever, here. Don’t you want to make it memorable?” Phillip looked at me skeptically. He loves causing trouble as much as I do (and that’s a hell of a lot), but, like I said before, he had every right to be reluctant.
“I dunno, James. I mean, what if they don’t let us graduate?”
“They’ll let us graduate!" I scoff and nod my head towards the staff table. "I don’t think Chang could handle another year with me!” Phillip just laughs at this knowing that we both have made her life miserable since she started singling me out third year when she started the job.
“So what’s the plan then?” I smile at my small victory and explain my genius plan.
Five minutes later Phil and I are being dragged out of the hall by the necks of our shirts by Neville… I mean Professor Longbottom. Both of us staggering, laughing too hard to stand up straight and I notice that Neville’s lips are twitching slightly upward. We had really done it this time! Making Neville laugh has always been the biggest accomplishment of any prank my friends and I ever pulled.
Even if he did know my parents, Neville was always stiff when it came to pranks. Apparently he was always on the butt-end of them when he was in school, coming mostly from the Slytherins. That fact is also part of the reason for why some of my relatives were so angry with Albus when he told him 1) that he was sorted into Slytherin (though Dad seemed okay with it, so Al wasn't too upset) and 2) that he had acquainted and befriended one Scorpius Malfoy. I Malfoy's dad was probably responsible for a good bit of Neville's humiliation, along with most of the Slytherin house, but that’s another story.
Anyway, Neville was obviously holding a smile back and that just makes me feel completed for the year. As hard as it was to make the man smile, I feel very accomplished when I do.
Neville drags us into his office and sits us down at his desk.
“Just what exactly was that?” he inquires in a threatening tone. A hint of amusement is masked on his face, but his voice is as stern as ever. He waits for us to answer and when we don’t he adds, “I guess I shouldn’t have expected more from you. But why exactly did you have to make all the forks in the hall chase after Professor Chang?”
I can see his composure start to break, but he turns away from us before he can’t hold it anymore. Phillip and I look at each other with victorious grins a fist bump as Neville starts to pace. “Well you know I can’t really give you detention, as it is the last day you’ll be here.” Phillip and I look at each other knowingly. There really wasn’t anything he could do about it… or so I thought, before I hear his next statement. “Seeing as I know both of your parents, they’ll be hearing about this and punish accordingly.”
Damn. I always get in trouble for my pranks, but why didn’t he just give us detention or something? I would gladly stay another day than to face the wrath of my mother… Damn. I look to my left and Phillip’s face reveals he seems to share my sentiments. We leave Neville’s office silently. Both of our mothers had terrible tempers, but hopefully they will find it as funny as we did.
An hour and a half later, Phillip, Roger Thomas, Reid Williams, Fred Weasley and I all leave our doorm and head down to the Great Hall for the graduation ceremony. We are seated alphabetically, so I'm not close to any of my mates. Too bad Finnigan doesn’t start with a “ph.” I'm half a Weasley! Couldn't I sit near Fred and Reid for that?
After all the names are called, the diploma’s awarded, and all the Heads and the Headmistress made their speeches the class of ’24 throw our hats and cheer.
I walk proudly across the Great Hall clutching my diploma and look to my parents beaming. I realize I’ve never seen them look at me so proud, at least, not because of school. Al and Lily have always outshone me in that area. At least I can kick some major arse on the Quidditch pitch. I’m one hell of a chaser, not to sound cocky or anything… okay, maybe a little, but I have some reason to be. My brother plays beater on the Slytherin team and he’s okay, but Lily… well… she’s not the greatest at Quidditch. I’m going to leave it at that because her temper is almost as bad as Mum’s… almost. I’ll admit that she becoming a better player, however.
In any case, Mum and Dad have always been proud of me for Quidditch, but actually graduating is something that even I was starting to doubt would happen. I’m not terribly stupid, but I’m also not one to go out of my way to study when there are Quidditch plays to plan or a girlfriend to attend to…
Speaking of whom, where is she? She… the love of my life: Meredith Elaine Blount. Is that not the most incredible name you have ever heard? Well, I think so. I haven’t spoken to her today, which is very odd, and I haven’t seen her since last night, which is also odd (I was, admittedly, asleep until they got to 'n' on the roster during the ceremony).
I search for her around the hall and finally spot her, looking more beautiful than ever, talking to her parents. I've met them before, but never since we've been together. She has assured me that they will still like me, but I’m still nervous about meeting them… as her boyfriend. We’ve been friends for years and started dating October this year.
Now that I think about it, exactly a year ago I was a completely different person, mostly because of my girlfriend. All my friends will tell you, that as the most popular guy in school with my looks (yes, I’m very attractive, apparently), humor (I don’t really think I’m that funny… well, maybe only when it comes to pranks), and athletic ability (need I say more?) I have had girls falling all over me.
They will also tell you I’m not the best judge of character and am sucker for a pretty face and while I would have been offended a year ago, I completely agree with them. Meredith was the only person who didn’t swoon at the sight of me and her friendship and constant reminder to me that I'm not, in fact, the greatest thing in the world have kept my feet on the ground most of the time.
I owe my sanity to Meredith because if she hadn’t been there, Julia Carter would still be walking all over me like she had for eight months. The story there is a bit embarrassing, but how it happened allowed both me an Mer to change for the better, even if it was painful.
It all started with a letter…
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