Chapter 2 : Badges
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September 1st arrived soon after but for the first time since I started Hogwarts my father wasn’t going to see me off. I felt terrible for leaving him alone, because he hardly ever moved out of his chair, especially not after a match. No matter how strange my father was acting at the moment, he always tuned in on the radio every time a Quidditch match was played and he would feel even worse afterwards. If my mother had still been alive, I wouldn’t have worried so much about him, but when I left for school he would be all alone, except for when our neighbour visited the house a few times a week to check up on him and make sure he ate and was still breathing.
Lily awoke me from my worries when she gave me a hug, a least I thought it was her as the only thing I noticed was a mane of red hair. Her parents were standing behind her with a grumpy looking Petunia at their side. Petunia was Lily’s sister, a nasty piece of work who refused to even look at me when I stayed over for the summer holiday after 3rd year. The only time I had ever heard her voice was when she muttered ‘freak’ to me when I arrived.
“Hello Mr. and Mrs. Evans,” I said casually, after Lily had finally let go off me. I gave Petunia a polite nod which she returned with a snort. I ignored her and turned my attention to Lily who was gleaming with the same pride as I had when I got made captain. Then I noticed the badge.
“You got head girl – AND DIDN’T TELL ME,” I was sure the whole of china heard the last part, but Lily looked guilty, which she should be. I had written a 2 feet long letter on how happy I was to be captain, how I wanted to shove it in James’ face and who I thought would be perfect for the team. She had replied with a congratulation and some other random stuff – nothing had been said about her being head girl.
“I wanted to make it a surprise,” I snorted at Lily’s excuse “Anyway; I hope you had a lovely summer. You should have visited. Mum, tell her she should have visited,”
Mrs. Evans had the same red hair and green eyes as Lily, and even though she was in her 50’s I didn’t think she looked older than 35.
“We missed you terrible dear, please come over in the next holiday,” the woman smiled caringly, the same way I imagined my own mother would have done.
“I most certainly will, Mrs. Evans,” I probably wouldn’t be able to as I couldn’t leave my father alone on Christmas or New Years Eve.
Lily said her goodbyes to her parents and attempted to hug Petunia who pulled back. The scene looked rather ridiculous as Petunia was leaning backwards and Lily was standing with her arms straightforward – like one of those zombies. Lily gave up in the end though and we went to find a compartment before they were all taken.
You had to be bloody quick if you wanted an empty compartment on the Hogwarts Express, I think some kids turn up 45 minutes before to insure one, but in the end it doesn’t matter as you always end up sitting with someone you dislike. In second year I sat with a bunch of Slytherins until Lily saved me, for the second time, and the other years I have sat with James and his friends. It is not that I do not enjoy their company (I’m on the Quidditch team with two of them so I have to socialize with them) it’s more Lily and James in the same area that is bothering me. The relationship between Lily and James (or the lack of) is rather one sided. Lily abhors James while he worships her, so obviously there is always a lot of tension with both of them around. This year was no different.
We found the boys already seated at the back of the train and already in the middle of a conversation.
“Hello Lads,” I greeted, making sure they noticed the extra shiny badge on my t-shirt. I had worn it since I got it, and when my father noticed it (after a week of wearing it) he grinned and patted my back, and then he returned his attention to the dirty spot on the wall.
“I think I’m going blind,” the boy sitting by the window joked, holding his hands up to his eyes dramatically. After a kick in the shin by the boy opposite him he got serious again, and continued “Congratulation Effie. I always knew you would get it … except when I knew James would get it,” The last part was added when James who was sitting opposite him glared.
“Thank you Sirius, I expect to see you at the tryouts,” Lily and I sat down as I said it.
“Tryouts? I have been on the team nearly as long as you,” Sirius looked confused.
“In deed you have. But what if one of the first years happens to be a natural talent? I need to make sure my team is the best, so it out with old and in with the new, unless the old turns out to be better,” I explained. Both Sirius and James were sitting with their mouths open. I couldn’t resist smirking, until I noticed it.
“Bloody Merlin, what is that?” I asked and nodded towards the badge on James’ chest. Lily followed my eyes and screamed.
That would be everyone’s reaction if they knew James – he was simply not head boy material. He enjoyed a good prank, he got into detention, he rarely studied and he was the most immature guy I had ever met – Sirius was a close second. Who in the name of Quidditch would allow him to be head boy? Was Dumbledore losing his mind?
“Damn, I actually had money on you, Remus,” I nudged the boy sitting next to me. He looked worn-out and paler than when I had last seen him, but I didn’t ask about it.
“Came as a shock to us as well,” Peter who was sitting next to Lily said. Peter was one of those odd fellows who somehow fit in; he was even shyer than Remus (Who wasn’t shy, but preferred to stay quiet) but was always there to cheer you up when you needed it.
“Who did you bribe?” Lily asked in a suspicious tone. She had her arms crossed over her chest and shifted her stare from James’ face to the badge on his sweater.
“What? I did not bribe anyone. It just seems like Dumbledore has finally come to his senses and has seen the potentials in me,” James told her. Lily grunted, while the rest of us had trouble keeping from laughing.
“If you are lying to me, James Potter, I swear I’ll behead you and use your head as a quaffle,” That was probably the best threat Lily had ever come up with and I promised myself to reuse it.
“Now that we are on the subject of Quidditch,” I turned to James “Does this mean you won’t be joining the team this year. You’ll be greatly missed,”
“Of course I’ll try out for the team, why wouldn’t I?” He looked at me confused.
“You are head boy now, and with N.E.W.T coming up you won’t have time for Quidditch.” Apparently I had been the only one thinking so, but Lily seemed to agree.
“Being head boy is not just an afterschool activity, it’s a full time job, and we will be giving extra homework this year to prepare us for the exam. I agree with Effie, unless you have more hours in a day than us mortals, I cannot see how you’ll be able to fit Quidditch practises and matches into your schedule.”
James looked at us perplexed, opened his mouth to say something but closed it again, then opened it again but was cut off by Sirius.
“You cannot throw him off the team,” He looked at me accusingly.
“Technically I’m throwing everyone off the team until the tryouts,” I corrected him.
“But, you cannot deny him a spot if he’s the best seeker trying out,” Sirius had raised his voice. This was not the way I wanted to start out as captain, being yelled at by the keeper and hated by the seeker.
“I’m captain, and if his schedule is not flexible then he isn’t the best,”
“Schedule and talent is not the same! James could still catch a snitch even if he missed out on a few practices,”
“If a player does not attend practice, it shows lack of team spirit, which is the main ingredient in a team sport,”
“Shut up both of you, you’re acting like two first years,” Lily told us, and when we both felt foolish enough she continued, “Beside, if Potter did not bribe anyone, then I suppose we have a prefect meeting to grace our presence at. As well as Remus,”
She is going to leaving me alone with Sirius and Peter, great.
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