Chapter 1 : Chapter the First, In Which Our Characters Are Introduced
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Chapter the First, In Which Our Characters Are Introduced
"Oi! Perkins! PERKINS!" Not even on the train yet and they'd tracked me down.
"Oi yourself, Forge," I called back. "Where's Gred?" I added when he'd reached my side. Fred and George Weasley were my best friends, and had been for nearly 15 years now.
"Probably being lectured by the bigheaded boy. We, erm, fixed his badge you see,"
"Blimey, Perce got Head Boy? We'll never have any fun now." I groaned. "Why didn't you, I don't know, poison him or lock him in a pyramid or something?"
"We tried, but mum caught us," George said, popping up beside his brother.
"Ah, Gred, nice of you to join us," I said, hugging him.
"Speaking of Mum, she wants to talk to you, say goodbye and all." George said, indicating where his mother stood a few feet away. I grinned. I knew what she really wanted. It was time for the first semi-annual 'be a good influence' chat of fifth year - the next would come straight after the winter holiday. For some reason Mrs. Weasley thought that I was a good influence on the twins, that I was never a part of their immature pranks and that I could help to keep them out of trouble. It was probably because I'm a girl. The truth is, I usually at least helped in the planning of the pranks, I was just better at not getting caught.
"Hullo, Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley," I greeted warmly. "Percy," I added in a somewhat darker tone of voice, I never did get along with him in school.
"Oh, Julia, dear, just the person I wanted to see." I smiled as I noticed the pin proudly displayed on Percy's robes. "Bighead Boy."
"Julia, dear, do keep an eye on Fred and George this year, won't you? Keep them out of trouble and all. I'm sure with you by their side they'll get wonderful O.W.L.s," she smiled at me, a nice contrast to the sneer Percy was sending my way.
"Please, Mother, Perkins is just as big a problem as Fred and George. But don't fear, I'll keep them in check." Ugh. Did I mention that I really hate him?
"Take care, Julia," Mrs. Weasley said with a smile and a hug, ignoring Percy's comment. As I walked away from Mrs. Weasley I walked straight into the only Gryffindor I ever hated. Oliver bloody Wood.
"Perkins," he greeted in his low Scottish brogue.
"Wood," I replied through gritted teeth.
"You look nice,"
"I'm surprised you noticed, what with me not being quidditch related and everything," I said and brushed past him towards Lee Jordan.
"Harsh, dontcha think?"
"Perkins, I know you broke up, but you can't be civil?"
'Broke up' was an understatement. The bloody wanker broke my heart and stripped me of my dignity. He and I dated, briefly, despite the 2 year age gap, during his 5th and my 3rd year. Everything was going wonderfully, or so I thought. Oliver and I are really very similar people; both intelligent, athletic, fiercely competitive. We got along really well and we were happy. Or maybe I should say that I was happy.
One day about four months into the school year and 7 into our relationship Oliver went down to the quidditch pitch for one of his stress-relieving flights. I followed him and sat in the stands, watching, waiting. Finally, after a couple of hours he landed, hard, and eventually noticed me in the stands. Quickly I made my way down to the pitch where he stood waiting for me.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded almost angrily.
"Looking for you obviously." I said my long black hair whipping wilding in the winter wind as it blew around the pitch.
"Nothing's wrong," he insisted. He really could be quite emotionally crippled sometimes.
"That's bollocks and you know it," I insisted. He turned and looked me in the eyes. His eyes, his beautiful chocolate eyes, were unusually absent their sparkle.
"I - you," he took a deep breath, nodded in defeat, and continued. "A lot has happened-is happening-to me this year. You, the captaincy, OWLs,"
"Those are good things, Oliver. Where's the problem?"
"The problem is that it's too much! I can't do O.W.L.s and win the Quidditch cup for Gryffindor and train so that I can play for Puddlemere someday and give you the attention you need, deserve, all at the same time. It's too much, Julia. I'm only one person!" I started to stand, trying to understand what he was saying. Oliver Wood admitting he couldn't handle something? "If it comes to a choice between you and winning the championship, I…" he trailed off and averted his glance.
"You what? Oliver Wood what are you saying?" I demanded, eyes narrowing and teeth clenching. I was starting to get the picture. After all, only one thing on that list was expendable.
"Julia, I really like you, but if it came to a decision between keeping you and quidditch well," he trailed off, unable to look me in the eye.
"You, what, you'd choose QUIDDITCH?!" I screamed.
"Yeah." He muttered. What. The. Hell.
"Well, let me make that choice even easier for you, Mr. Quidditch! Go win your championship and leave me the bloody hell alone!" I screamed, tears streaming down my face. He looked at me apologetically. And then I, well, I gave him my best right hook, called him a buggering, wanking prat and stormed off, leaving him standing there staring after me, and my ego bruised. I mean, who the bloody hell picks a stupid Quidditch championship over their GIRLFRIEND?! The whole school knew within a week. I was so humiliated - the girl who was dumped for Quidditch. After that I stopped going to games, it was just a reminder of how low I ranked on the priority list.
"Hello? Earth to Perkins! The train is about to leave," Jordan said bringing me out of my reverie.
"What d'ya reckon she's daydreaming about?" I heard Fred ask.
"Oliver," Lee and George responded in unison.
"Oh," Fred muttered oddly.
"Actually I was daydreaming about seeing little Ronikins in his boxers," I butted in, smiling at the surprised reaction on the boys' faces.
"WHAT?!" They cried.
"Nothing, boys. Let's get on the train please." I laughed as I pushed them towards the scarlet steam engine that was to ferry us off towards yet another year of mischief, no matter what Percy and Mrs. Weasley thought.
"So boys, what was with the motorcade?" Lee asked once we'd found a compartment. The Weasley's and co had arrived at King's Cross in what appeared to be ministry driven cars.
"Dad got them,"
"Probably had something to do with Potter,"
"Potter?" Now he gets ministry cars too?" I asked in awe. Was there anything that boy didn't get? Ok, bedsides things like seeing his family on Christmas and being with his parents…and now I feel like an ass, way to go Julia.
"Perkins, where do you keep going off to in that strange little mind of yours?"
"Huh? Oh, nowhere too important."
For about ¾ of the ride the four of us sat, playing exploding snap, gobstones and various other games. We also started planning our start of term prank, putting itching powder in the Slytherin robes, probably. Anyway, about ¾ of the way to school the train jerked to a stop and the lamps flickered out.
"What just happened?" I asked, freaking out a bit. I never did like dark places, especially when I knew something was definitely wrong.
"We can't be at the school, not yet," Lee said, his voice serious.
"D'you reckon we've broken down?" George asked.
"Can a magic train break down?" Fred countered.
"Dunno, can't see anything out the window," Lee replied. "C'mon boys, let's go check it out,"
"NO!" I screamed as I heard the compartment door slide open.
"What Jules? What's wrong?" One of the twins - I couldn't tell them apart in the dark - asked, sounding panicky.
"You can't all leave me here! Not alone! NO WAY!" My voice was filled with terror.
"George, Lee, you guys go see what's going on, I'll stay with Jules and make sure the boogeyman doesn't get her." Fred said with a laugh. He was making fun of me, I couldn't believe it. My goddamned moment of need and my best friend was making fun of me.
"Ok," Lee responded, his voice sounding hesitant. The compartment door slid closed behind them and I was left alone, in a dark compartment with Fred Weasley. Under any other circumstances this would be sketchy to say the least.
"Thanks, Fred," I whispered.
"Yeah Fred?" my voice was meek, timid, not like me at all.
"Are you alright, love?"
"No," I whimpered. It must have gotten really cold since the train stopped because I could see my breath and it looked as if the window was icing over. Suddenly, the door slid open again. Thinking it would be George and Lee I looked towards the sound, but my friends were not the sight that met my eyes. There was a, a creature. Everything was cold, very cold, and I felt as if I'd never be happy again. All the bad things in my life were running through my head. Then, breaking through the cold and the fear I felt warmth encapsulate me in the form of Fred's strong arms. I felt him wrap his arms protectively around my shivering body. I don't know if it was because of how terrified I was or because of just how safe I felt in his arms, but when Fred touched me I felt a jolt of energy in the pit of my stomach. I could feel my face flush in the darkness and I was suddenly in a very awkward situation. I stumbled out of his arms and sat as far away from Fred as possible. The tears that had been threatening began falling silently as I huddled on the seat, hugging my knees. Meanwhile, the door closed and that thing, whatever it was, went away - and thankfully so did the images running through my head.
"Julia? Julia, what's wrong?" I didn't respond. After a few minutes the lights came back on and the boys came back into the compartment.
"What was that thing?" Fred asked.
"Dementor," Lee said.
"The bloody ministry put Dementors around the grounds 'cause of Sirius Black." George explained. "Oi, what happened to her?" he added, noticing me shivering in the corner of the compartment.
"I-I dunno, she freaked," he replied, looking at me tenderly.
"C'mon Fred, let's go check on Ron and his friends, and Ginny," George said, eyeing his brother suspiciously as he dragged him out into the hall. Checking on Ron and Ginny was a secondary goal obviously, but I was too distracted to care.
"Julia, love," Lee said cautiously as he sat next to me. He placed his hand gingerly on my shoulder and I turned towards him, a look of sheer terror painted on my tear-stained face. "Julia, what's wrong? The lights are on, the dementors are gone," I didn't respond, I just shook my head, closed my eyes, and turned back towards the window. And that's how I remained until we reached Hogsmeade station.