Chapter 2 : First Year - The Beginning (Part II)
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Author's Note: Harry Potter world, characters and canon information in this story belong to J. K. Rowling. Everything else belongs to me.
Please note: I will write whatever story in whatever year I feel like writing, and when posting, the years will be kept in proper order. This means you may have to skip around to find the most recent chapter, rather than assuming it is going to be the very last one.
“Are you sure you’re all right?” asked James worriedly. He hovered around Sirius anxiously, rubbing his knuckles and looking guilty.
Sirius wiped a streak of blood from his nose, glancing as it stained the back of his hand. It had also stained his dress robes, and when he looked down and saw that, his temper immediately flared. “Are you sure you won’t end up in Slytherin, Potter?” he said angrily, ripping his tie off.
“I did warn you,” said James fairly, trying to defend himself. “It isn’t my fault you were too bloody stupid to listen.”
“Nevermind,” Sirius grumbled, having no response. James was right; he’d been warned. Though he rather thought he had the right to say whatever he wanted to say. He certainly wouldn’t be the first or last to use the word.
He ripped the buttons of his stained, lacy dress shirt apart and pulled it off, leaving it in a bloody heap on the floor, and then climbed onto the bench to reach his trunk in the rack above. After a moment, he pulled out his school robes, narrowing his eyes at his companion as he did so, because he would get in trouble for the shirt, and it would be all James’s fault.
But it was hard to hold it against James. The boy was impossible to hate.
Sirius had always shined brightly, the star of his family, the noble heir. He’d always been confident and expressive and independent (sometimes to the point of getting in trouble). But then he looked at James, and James outshone even him. James was more lively, more friendly, more confident and more arrogant. Sirius was slightly jealous, and he resented James quietly for being everything that he was supposed to be.
Deep down, Sirius didn’t really mind that he’d get in trouble for ruining his best dress robes, it wasn’t important at the time, and he resented James for that, too. He would have minded yesterday, before he met James.
“At least I got you out of those girly dress robes,” James observed after a moment, as if reading his mind. He, too, began to change into his school uniform and he offered a smile.
“I suppose,” admitted Sirius, buttoning up a blissfully plain, normal white shirt. He glanced at James, who was already rolling up the sleeves on an exact same shirt. Already, Sirius felt a sense of belonging come over him - in these clothes, that everyone would wear, he didn’t feel so different. He looked like a normal boy, not a pampered (in James’s words) snot. In such a plain outfit, he felt like he could be anybody.
But he was a Black, he reminded himself. He sat up a little straighter, tried to look more impressive. He didn’t want to be anybody. If he wasn’t a Black, then he was a nobody.
“These robes are cheap,” he announced, holding up a sleeve. “I’d almost rather wear the dress robes. My parents had a fit about the uniform. They even wrote to the headmaster about it.”
James rolled his eyes. “You really think you’ll go to Slytherin?” he asked after a minute.
“You really think you’ll go to Gryffindor,” Sirius countered with narrowed eyes. The friendship he and James had struck up hours before seemed history. It was now a battle of who was more arrogant, who was cooler and who was better.
The only thing was that James didn’t seem to care, or even seem to be trying. He was simply better. It was infuriating.
Sirius’s suddenly hostile attitude didn’t bother James at all. He simply smirked and pulled out a comic book, which Sirius glared at with great interest (for he had only ever had proper toys as a child, boring things like chess sets), and he didn’t talk to Sirius again for the rest of the train ride.
“This way, please,” shouted a gruff voice.
They were crowded onto the train platform, which was outdoors and miserable. It was already dusk. The sun was setting behind the mountains and trees, and the silhouette of the castle was barely visible. Sirius longed to join the older students in the warm, enclosed carriages.
“Firs’ years, over here to me!” the voice shouted again.
Sirius stuck close to James, despite the fact that they weren’t talking. James led the way to a massive hairy man, holding a lantern and helping young students into boats. Sirius glanced back again at the warm carriages and pulled his cloak tighter around himself and leaned forward.
“I’m going to take a carriage,” he said in James’s ear. It was almost a challenge, a dare, or maybe even an attempt at showing off.
James turned quickly, forgetting that he wasn't speaking with Sirius. “You’re barking,” he said, trying not to shiver. The lakeside was breezy. He crossed his arms, trying to look nonchalant about it.
“No, I’m not,” said Sirius. “Its freezing. Look at you. I’m not going to spend an hour crossing this windy lake in a sodding boat while the rest of the school gets to ride in a nice, enclosed carriage!”
With that, he turned and strode purposefully towards the cluster of older students. After a moment, he heard quick footsteps behind him. Sirius turned to see James smiling reluctantly back at him. It made Sirius feel good inside, both the smile itself, and the fact that James was following him.
They shoved their way through the crowds of older students, looking for an empty carriage that they could take without being seen. Unfortunately, they were all looking rather full. Sirius was just beginning to feel like it was a stupid idea, and was beginning to wonder if James thought the same (though James never said a word) when he spotted Narcissa and Lucius climbing into the last carriage. They were Prefects - they’d had to make sure nobody was left behind before they headed towards the castle.
“Narcissa!” he shouted, and broke into a run. James jogged behind him with his hands shoved into his pockets, huddled against the wind.
“Sirius!” said Lucius. Narcissa turned in suprise.
“Sirius, what are you doing?” she demanded. “First years take the boats.”
Sirius doubled over and gasped, clutching a stitch in his side. “I didn’t want to,” he said between breaths.
Lucius chuckled and looked at Narcissa. “He’s too good for that,” he said approvingly. Sirius ignored him. Narcissa had been dating Lucius Malfoy for a year now, and while the rest of the Blacks approved, Sirius was still trying to figure out whether or not he liked the pampered boy.
(Lucius seemed to take this personally, and had made it his personal mission to be nice to the Black heir, to try and get on his good side.
Sirius wondered if he might simply want a share of the Black fortune.)
Narcissa pursed her lips angrily. “All right,” she snapped, grabbing Sirius’s arm. She didn't think she could get away with leaving him in the cold, anyway. “Get in.”
Sirius climbed into the warm carriage and sighed in relief. James started to climb in after him but Lucius pulled out his wand.
“Hold it,” he said, pressing it into James’s chest and effectively stopping the boy. “Who are you?”
“James Potter,” said James defiantly.
“No,” said Narcissa briskly, shoving Lucius’s wand away. They both climbed into the carriage, and then she turned and looked down at James in a snooty way. “We don’t associate ourselves with blood traitors. Toujours pur, Sirius!”
James stuck his jaw out angrily. His eyes flickered to Sirius’s, and it was then that Sirius found himself making his first major choice, the first he’d ever made in his entire life thus far. Everything was always laid out for him at home, and he’d never encountered a conflict like this. He narrowed his eyes at his cousin.
“Come on, Narcissa, it’s freezing outside!” he argued. “He’s a pureblood!”
“He’s a blood traitor,” said Narcissa in disgust. “Nearly all of the Potters are. You will stop arguing with me now, Sirius, or I will write to your parents! You should be ashamed for even talking to this boy!”
Lucius made to shut the carriage door in James’s face. Sirius pushed the older boy’s arm aside.
“We can’t leave him out here by himself,” Sirius snapped angrily.
Narcissa seemed infuriated at her young cousin’s defiance. He seemed weak to her - the Blacks have hearts for nobody but their own. She didn’t have the patience to deal with his deviance, and so she snapped at him, “Then you can get out and join him!”
Sirius glared at her for a moment. Lucius looked uncomfortable. Outside, James shivered.
“Forget it,” said James loudly. “I don’t even want a ride, if that’s how they are. I’d rather freeze.” And he grabbed his trunk and began dragging it down the road.
Sirius watched him go for a moment, and then he leapt out of the carriage.
“You’re an idiot, Sirius Black,” Narcissa shouted, and she slammed the carriage door shut angrily. The carriage took off immediately, blowing past Sirius, and past James who was walking ahead, like it was nothing.
When they were gone, James turned and looked back at Sirius. Sirius’s fists were clenched, and he stared unhappily back at his fellow first year. James backtracked and stood beside him.
“Now you really will get in trouble,” he said, looking guilty.
“I don't care,” said Sirius defiantly. “I don't.”
(A little bit, he did.)
“I told you you weren’t like them,” said James evenly. He wiped his sleeve across his runny nose and shivered against a mild breeze. “Aren’t you glad?”
Sirius clenched his teeth together. “That’s just Narcissa,” he spat angrily. “We’re not all like her. She’s the worst. Except for Bellatrix.”
(And his great aunt Elladora, he thought bitterly, who beheaded a house elf right in front of him once, and scarred him forever. And his cousins' parents, who disowned Andromeda.
Sirius thought that Andromeda, perhaps, would not have denied James a ride on the carriage.)
“I suppose,” James sighed and peered at Sirius carefully, and then shook his head. “The boats are gone,” he lamented after a moment, pointing. They could see the other first years silhouetted in the moonlight, and they’d just shoved away from the shore.
Sirius groaned and kicked his trunk angrily. “I’m sorry,” he snarled, feeling foolish. “I thought it was a good idea.”
He knew he’d be in trouble at home - Narcissa would certainly write his parents after what he'd done. He wasn’t even sure what had compelled him to stay with James instead of with Narcissa. He glanced at James, and when their eyes met, he knew James recognized his worry (though he tried to hide it with all his might).
Patiently, James pursed his lips. Sirius thought he’d be mad, but he only patted Sirius’s shoulder consolingly.
“It was a brilliant idea,” he said cheerfully. “I thought we'd be very clever arriving in a carriage! But I guess we better start walking, or we’ll be late for our own sorting. Come on, then.”
They jogged and ran and dragged their trunks with difficulty, and when they were out of breath, they walked the long road to Hogwarts. They kept an eye on the boats that floated across the lake parallel to them. They tried to keep up so they wouldn’t be left behind.
They didn’t talk much, except when James wondered aloud if it would be strange for a Gryffindor and Slytherin to be friends, and when Sirius sighed because he knew it would always be, and he secretly wished it wasn’t that way.
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