Chapter 2 : Looking Lost
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Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters you recognize, they are all Jo’s of course.
I really think parents should consider more deeply the things they say to their children right before they go to bed. It is a sensitive time, to say the least. The child is about to enter that time of day where they are left with nothing but their thoughts. The time when they consider the different aspects of, not only their day, but of their entire life. I’m not saying that this time applies only to children, I’m sure it is an experience that affects most people, if not all. But children and young adults rarely have the expertise and knowledge to separate effectively the good thoughts from the bad; and conquer the bad conclusions they make. I’m not very good at this.
The last thing Mum always tells me as she says goodnight is “I love you.” Please don’t get me wrong, this is a very comforting thing to hear. I know many kids would probably do anything for even one parent to tell them that and truly mean it. And I know Mum means it. And I know Dad loves me too, though he rarely says it to me. But I cannot help but think that he loves Rose more. There just seems to me more affection in his voice when he tells her goodnight. I often try to convince myself that I’m being paranoid about the situation and unfair to my Dad, but I’ve never been able to actually believe that.
I wish they would say something else before leaving me to all my thoughts. Mind you I think the “I love you” from Mum is great and the “Sleep well, buddy,” from Dad is alright, I want to do something more.
I’m would prefer them to ask, “How do you feel, going to bed tonight?” Then finally they would give my the opportunity to get things off my chest, I could finally claim some of that Gryffindor courage and tell them how I feel like a failure.
But, at the same time that question terrifies me. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have the composure to look them in the eye and tell them how lost I feel. They would probably go on and think they were terrible parents, and they really aren’t. Maybe it’s me who’s terrible?
“ROSE WEASLEY! WE”RE GOING TO BE LATE! IN THIS UNIVERSE, NOW MEANS NOW!”
I was alone in my room, minding my own business, and sitting on top of my neatly packed trunk when Mum’s earsplitting orders rang through the house. I knew there was going to be no response from my older sister, and I’m pretty sure Mum knew it too. It was only 10:00 so there was no way Rose was going to be awake for at least another twenty minutes. My sister likes to do this thing where she wakes up ten minutes before we have to leave, when it takes her at least thirty minutes to get ready. There was a soft knock at my door and Mum entered with freshly folded laundry.
“Here, hun,” she said, handing me some robes that were still warm from being dried. “I washed an extra pair of robes for you.” She was a tad red in the face from yelling though she had restrained her hair by pulling it back.
“Thanks, Mum,” I answered, taking them from her and opening my trunk, glad to see that there was still an extra bit of space; I never like to pack my trunk to its breaking point.
“We’re going to try and leave in about twenty minutes,” Mum went on as she headed back into the hall. Keep dreaming, Mum. “That is if your sister ever gets out of bed.”
“Rose still isn’t up yet?” Dad came up the stairs now, looking as thought he had just gotten up himself. A beard that didn’t suit him was beginning to grow over the lower half of his face. “I thought your mission was to come up here and get her up.” Mum exhaled angrily.
“If you’re so clever, why don’t you try then?” she asked, gesturing to my sister’s door and dropping some of her laundry. Dad smiled confidently.
“Rosie would do anything for me,” he declared, before knocking very softly on the door. Keep dreaming, Dad.
“Rosie, you awake?” he asked, gently, the affection I mentioned before coursing through his voice. He waited, but there was still no response. Mum shuffled forward, shoved the laundry into Dad’s hands, and hammered on the door yet again.
“ROSE! IF YOU ARE NOT UP IN…” Finally, a voice came from the other side of the door.
“Jeez, Mum,” Rose called out, yawning through her words. “Keep your shirt on, will you?” Dad snickered, and Mum glared at him.
“Hugo?” she called down the hall, and I dutifully came to the door. “Your father and I are going to go finish up some more laundry. If your sister doesn’t come out in five minutes, let us know.” I nodded to Mum and Dad was grumbling about the laundry as he followed her down the hall and then down the stairs.
After exactly four minutes had passed, I went over to Roses’ door myself and knocked quietly.
“Hugo?” Rose called, recognizing my timid knock. I cleared my throat before speaking.
“Rose,” I answered, quietly. “Mum told me to tell her if you hadn’t come out in five minutes.” I paused. “I really don’t want to do that, considering the color of Mum’s face just about matches Dad’s hair. So if you could just come out that would be…” I really didn’t think she would listen to me, she rarely does, but suddenly the door opened and Rose bustled into the hall. Rose may have gotten Mum’s brains, but she looks a lot like Dad. Her hair and eyes are the same color and she has the same long nose. At this time, her red hair was around her head like a cloud, but I knew it would be styled expertly by the time she was done in the bathroom. She greeted me with a faint smile before going into the bathroom and shutting the door.
I shrugged, feeling as though I had done my job, and went back to my room, checking my watch. It was now ten after ten. With a lot of luck Rose would be done getting ready by ten thirty, but then she would have to pack. Most of her packing was probably completed, but her room is always such a mess that she has to go over the whole room again to check for items she might have missed. Me? I’ve been packed since the day before yesterday, and I mean completely packed. Being prepared eases my nerves like nothing else does.
Just to be sure, I went to my closet and peeked inside, making sure I had packed everything I wanted. Of course I had packed everything properly. One of my best skills is avoiding forgetfulness. As I walked around my room, I couldn’t help but catch sight of my reflection in the mirror near my window. As I mentioned before, Rose looks rather like Dad, and I know that makes him happy. I truly don’t know which one of my parents I look like; I suppose I’m some kind of blend. My hair is brown like Mum’s and I like having it short because if I leave it long it bushes out like a messy bird’s nest.
My eyes are brown but the shade does not match either of my parent’s eyes. Thankfully last year I went through a growth spurt and put on a few much needed inches. I’m built like Dad was at my age, tall and lanky, but unfortunately most people look at facial features when they look for family resemblance. My nose is my own, and I have ears that still persist to rather stick out. I don’t really look like my parents. I suppose I just look like me.
I heard the bathroom door open fifteen minutes later and I opened my bedroom door to see Rose go back inside her room. In response, I decide its time to take my trunk and guitar downstairs. Now it’s usually my life’s desire to blend in and stay out of the way but I don’t like going to school without my guitar. It really doesn’t help me blend in when I troop around the Hogwarts Express with a big, pain in the butt, guitar case on my back. But, I never have been to Hogwarts without my guitar and don’t plan on starting now. I lug the trunk and guitar down the stairs and plunk them by the front door.
“All set, Hugh?” Dad asked as he stumbled towards the stairs with clothes in his arms. He doesn’t wait for an answer, but just heads up. Now I know something like that shouldn’t bother me. Dad really doesn’t have to wait for an answer to a question like that; he knows I’m already packed. I’ve never not been packed or ready to go. Mum came out of the kitchen a few minutes later to coax me into eating something before we leave. I finally agreed and I followed her into the kitchen and helped myself to a bowl of cereal. Mum always has to talk me into eating in the morning, because I usually never do. I know they say that breakfast is the important meal of the day, but I am just never hungry in the morning and the very idea of food is unappealing. However, even since I fainted in my first year, Mum is convinced that I do not eat enough. I have not fainted since that day, but Mum continues to badger me anyway. I eat some of the cereal and proceed to push the rest around with my spoon.
“You’re finishing that cereal,” Mum orders, as she prepares some toast for Rose to take in the car when we leave. I reluctantly ate another bite, but then Dad came into the room, with something behind his back. I knew he was angry because his ears were slightly red.
“Did you forget to pack something?” he asked me, as I took the spoon out of my mouth. I shook my head in response; I really never do forget anything. Then Dad pulls out what’s behind his back and he reveals my broomstick, as perfect and gleaming as the day he bought it for me. Oh, no. He still expects me to bring my broomstick? What on earth for? I didn’t answer him, so Mum answered for me. My parents do this an awful lot.
“Ron, what does he need his broomstick for?” she asked, as though reading my mind.
“I bought him this broomstick,” Dad answered, exasperated. “It still looks brand new. Even though he’s not going to play on a team, he can still have fun with it, can’t he?”
“Excuse me,” Mum snapped, putting the toast on a plate. “I believe that we bought him the broomstick, Ron. And clearly he left it in his room. If he wanted to take it, he would have taken it.”
“I still think he should take it. It’s just sitting upstairs not being used.”
“If it bothers you so much, why don’t you just return it to the store, I’m sure they would still take it back.”
“He still wants it!”
“No, he doesn’t! You want him to want it!”
I slid out of my seat and went back to my luggage by the front door. I realized that with the argument I could avoid eating the rest of me cereal. Mum and Dad like to do this; answer for me. I suppose it makes sense, I rarely answer for myself, so they often like to do it for me. I would have happily just taken the broom to satisfy Dad. At least then he would be a little proud of me. I sat down on my trunk again, and drum my fingers mindlessly against the wall. Dad stormed out of the kitchen a few seconds later, the broomstick still clutched in his hand, and muttering under his breath. Clearly he had lost the fight. He went up the stairs wordlessly and when he came back down, the broom was no longer with him. I hung my head miserably, mad at myself for causing a fight between Mum and Dad. Dad must have noticed my sad expression because on his way back he spoke.
“Sorry,” he said gently, scratching at his beard. “I just thought you would want to take it with you. Maybe practice a little bit.” And there it was. The sound of disappointment in my father’s voice. It isn’t obvious, and he really is not one of those fathers who is mean about the shortcomings of their children, (or pretty much just me.) Dad is not one of those psycho parents who push their kids towards things they don’t want to do. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t disappointed that I don’t do the things he wants me to do.
“Its ok,” I replied, quietly, shuffling my feet. Then I told a lie. “I really do like it, it’s nice.” I don’t think he believed me. I sure as heck didn’t believe me. I mean what kid leaves an awesome broomstick that they like at home? Dad gave me a little smile in spite of my feeble lie and the Mum told him to get back upstairs to see how Rose was getting along.
I still felt bad. It’s not even like I’m a rebel child who refuses to go along with the wishes of their parents. Rose has gotten a bunch of detentions in her time and has had furious arguments with both Mum and Dad. She can have a terrible temper when she gets worked up. But even so, they seem to have more respect and understanding of her because of this. I have never fought with my parents; I’ve never really fought with anyone before apart from some simple squabbles with Rose. I don’t know how to fight with someone, and confrontation is one of my greatest fears. There would be something almost thrilling about defying my parents, but I am in a different situation. I’m not refusing to fulfill my parent’s expectations, it’s just that I can’t. I would give anything to be the son they expected, but I just can’t do it.
The last minutes at home were exactly as I expected. There was Rose howling about how she knew she had forgotten things and about how toast was not a full or satisfying breakfast. There was Mum wrestling the car keys out of Dad’s hands, no matter how many times he tried to summon them back into his own. And then there was me, quiet and docile while this raged around me. Finally at 10:40 we were all piled in the car, Mum thankfully in the driver’s seat, on our way to King’s Cross.
Dad kept on grumbling about how he had driven to King’s Cross many times without an accident. I remember when Rose and I were young Dad tried to convince us that other cars were honking at us because they wanted to compliment his good driving. I may not have gotten Mum’s brains, but it isn’t hard to read the looks of anger and the rude gestures coming from other automobile operators.
But in Mum’s capable driving hands, we reached Kings Cross with just under ten minutes to spare. I must admit that crossing through the barrier between platforms nine and ten used to worry me. I figured the barrier would also realize that I had very few wizarding skills and I would simply slam into it. However, that was never the case and it wasn’t the case this time either. Rose and Dad went first and me and Mum followed. And there it was, the Hogwarts Express. The scarlet steam engine was belching copious amounts of smoke over the platform, and it seemed quite eager to be on its way.
It didn’t take long to find the Potters; it never does. They are a big, loud family of five that is constantly surrounded by people wanting to say hello, or simply to just shake hands with them all. As our two families first reached each other, very little greeting went on. Uncle Harry was off to the side with a hand on the shoulder of his oldest child, James. It looked as if James was getting told off for something, because he was looking disgruntled. Aunt Ginny was talking to Al and Lily, perhaps scolding them for assisting James in whatever he had done. Mum was busy talking to Rose about her class schedule and Dad was laughing at the fact that Draco Malfoy was almost completely out of hair.
“At least the Weasley men can hang onto their hair,” he commented loudly, though I think I was the only one who heard him. Knowing my luck, I’ll probably be bald by age twenty.
Finally after about two minutes passed the chattering and lecturing stopped and everyone realized that they were together. Mum was hugging Uncle Harry, Dad hugging Aunt Ginny, and Rose was waving to James and Al while she gave Lily a one armed squeeze. I didn’t say anything, and I don’t think any of them really expect me to anymore. I find it hard to think of things to say when I am just with one person, so here it felt nearly impossible. I just figure the things I could say are not as important as the things they are already saying to each other.
When I was about to start my second year at Hogwarts the Potter/Weasley clan had met at the station in the same fashion; me standing by amd watching. I remember this year so clearly because someone else’s mother stopped by me and asked me if I was lost. So apparently, even when I’m standing right next to my family I still look lost.
I was brought away from my flashback when, happily, Uncle Harry acknowledged my existence by calling,
“Good holiday, Hugo?” I just nodded because Lily had just pulled on his hand to ask a question.
Uncle Percy appeared, walking from the opposite direction, with Aunt Audrey on his arm. I’ve always felt a kind of affection for Uncle Percy. I know he had some kind of falling out with the family during his younger years, and he never seems to fit in with the rest of his family. Though he can be rather annoying, I can certainly understand not fitting in.
“You all better get on the train,” he said, gesturing to the Potter kids as well as to Rose and me. Dad rolled his eyes. “Molly and Lucy are already on board,” he declared rather pompously, straightening his glasses. Aunt Audrey nodded in confirmation.
Well of course they’re already on the train. I may be prompt and efficient, but Uncle Percy is never on time. And I mean never. He is always, always early. I swear if we got to the station at five in the morning, Uncle Percy would already be there ready to inform us happily that he and his family had camped there for the night.
But Uncle Percy was quite right because the whistle on the train blew. Aunt Ginny gave her children final lectures while Uncle Harry beamed at them. Dad rumpled my hair a little bit and told me to have a good year, and went to hug Rose who he picked up as he did so. Mum kissed me on the cheek and told me to write her if I needed anything.
Then we all piled on the train. James and Rose disappeared instantly to find their friends, while I stayed with Al and Lily to wave to our parents. Once they were out of sight, Al cracked his knuckles and said,
“Better find out what Ricky and Scorpius are up to.” I was hoping that Lily might stay with me, but as I arranged my guitar case more comfortably on my back she said happily,
“I’m supposed to meet some of the Gryffindor girls,” she smiled, pushing back some of her dark, red hair. “You’re welcome to come, of course.” Lily has always been my buddy, but it’s not tough to notice that we are on totally different paths. Unlike me, she is smart as a whip in the classroom, and missed out on the Quidditch team only because she didn’t make quite as many goals as the others trying out. She’s really good though and will probably make the team soon.
“I think I’m going to go hunt Glen down,” I admit, smiling back.
“Still hanging out with that Glen?” she asked ruefully, and I nodded. She gracefully shrugged away her displeasure and kissed me on the cheek. “I’ll see you later, alright Hugh?” She disappeared down the hall and when she was halfway down she was hailed by some friends and entered a compartment. I put my trunk with the others, but kept my guitar with me as I began the painful process of finding a compartment. I prefer to get to the station early so I can pick out an empty compartment for myself. I know this sounds pathetic and really sad, but I hate having to ask people if I can join them. Unfortunately for me, most of the compartments seemed full. Perhaps Glen had managed to get one.
Glen Saunders. How do I even begin to explain Glen Saunders? I suppose he is my best friend, but in a lot of ways he isn’t a good friend at all. He certainly spends more time with me than anyone else, but he is like magnet for trouble. He has blonde hair that is the color of lemons and he is pretty much an idiot. Even though he is an idiot, he has a lot of friends, which is a common trend I’m realizing. People who do loads of stupid things manage to have a lot of friends. Example: James Potter. Ok, that was probably a little harsh, and why I largely keep my opinions to myself. James could pummel me within an inch of my life if he wanted to.
Anyway, Glen has this issue with his mouth. He never knows when to be quiet; he jumps in at the worst possible times. I first noticed him when he told Professor Ramsey not too politely to “sod off” in the middle of class. If Voldemort suddenly returned and had a wand to Glen’s head he would probably tell him to “stuff it.” And then he’d die.
It was then I wondered what kind of friend he would be.
Glen is good for me for a lot of reasons. If I stick around him, people see him and don’t pay me much attention. He also sticks up for me and does a good job watching out for me. However, when he causes a mess I usually get some of it on me. The Potters and most of the school don’t like him because he once insulted James. I know that doesn’t sound too bad, but insulting James is just not something people do at Hogwarts. Once you get on the James’ bad side, you’re on the entire school’s bad side.
I continued my search for a compartment until I reached the very back of the train. The last compartment was nearly empty accept for one girl sitting by the window. I summoned whatever sort of courage I had and slid the door open, hoping the girl was nice. She looked up as I came in and I suddenly realized that it was Connie. My Connie. I tried to back out of the compartment again, but my guitar case had turned horizontally and it stopped my progress.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, not quite sure what I was apologizing for.
“It’s alright,” Connie assured me, pushing a reddish-brown curl out of her face. “You can stay, it was getting kind of lonely anyway.” I nodded in thanks and clumsily sat down in the seat across from her, pulling the guitar with me. I wondered instantly what she was doing alone. She must have read my thoughts because she said, “I’m waiting for someone.” I nodded dumbly.
“Oh! You play the guitar!” I looked up in surprise; I was not used to people speaking to me with such enthusiasm. I couldn’t answer. All I could think about was that Connie Bishop was talking to me. I didn’t think she remembered the kiss under the mistletoe, honestly, why would she? She had already kissed five other boys that day. Maybe she kisses five boys every day!
“How long have you been playing?” Wow. Most of the time when I’m quiet, and can’t come up with an answer, people just leave me alone. They usually don’t continue to talk to me.
“Awhile,” I managed to answer in a strangled voice. “I’m not very good though.”
“Well you’re already more talented than I am,” Connie admitted, blinking her long eyelashes. “I’m just awful with music.” I really wanted to ask her about the kiss.
“I bet you’re better than you think,” I replied, hoping it didn’t come out as lame as I feared.
“It’s alright,” Connie went on, looking at my guitar almost enviously. “I’m good at other things.” She looked straight into my eyes as she added. “You’re sweet to say that though.”
Her eyes were green; an almost mystical green. She was wonderful. What kind of sixth year Ravenclaw spends her time talking to fifth year Hufflepuffs who carry around guitars they can’t play well.
“What’s your name?” she asked me next and it’s really pathetic that I had to think about the answer. Once I had decided that Hugo was indeed my name, the compartment door slid open and James Potter himself walked in. His attention was on Connie, but it was tough for him not to acknowledge that his cousin was in the room. He gave me a surprised look before addressing Connie by saying,
“Hey, Connie. Been waiting long?” Connie shook in response, and smiled another of her brilliant smiles. I looked up at James and knew that the moment between Connie and me (the moment I had probably been imagining) had been shattered. James reminds me a lot from Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Grandma Granger used to show Rose and I movies like those when we went over to her house. James is good looking, he’s arrogant, and the whole town thinks he’s a hero. (In this scenario the town is the school.) The women swoon over him and the guys would most likely switch places with him. The only difference is that James is a lot more charming than Gaston is, and more clever as well.
I was secretly hoping that Connie would be immune to his charms; his good looks, and his confident ways of speech. But it was him she was waiting for. I wish she would wait for me.
“Hugo, come here for a second.” James called me over. I gripped the handle of my guitar case and went over to my cousin. He leaned to my ear and whispered, “Piss off, will you?” It wasn’t really mean the way he said it; there was only a hint of a threat attached. However, it was also a request I wasn’t about to deny. If James told me to throw myself off a bridge I probably wouldn’t have the nerve to say no.
“Bye Hugo,” Connie called after me as I went back into the hall and slid the door shut behind me. I heard Connie laugh about something James had just said and I knew that James’ charms had come into effect.
But she had said my name…my name.
I headed down the hall to continue my compartment search. I suppose it’s possible for a quiet, clumsy boy to win the heart of a pretty, popular girl. But a quiet, clumsy, boy without a spine? He doesn’t have a chance at all.
Well there you have it! Chapter Two! I hope you are enjoying my take on the Next Generation and I would love to hear from you in review form! If not, good luck with the start of school everyone and I’ll see you once the queue opens up again.
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