Chapter 1 : An Awkward Intro, A French Monarch, and A Row
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This isn't what it looks like, I swear. And this isn't how it was supposed to happen. I was a good girl. A good little Indian girl who was going to excel in all her NEWT classes and graduate Hogwarts at the top of her class and marry a respectable brown bloke from a good wizarding family and have two girls and one boy and become a world-renowned Healer. In that order. That was The Plan, The Plan that my mum and dad had been drilling into my head since the ripe old age of two.
And it’s not like I really resented The Plan. I mean sure, it was a little inconvenient, what with not being able to decide my future and stuff. But it worked for my mum, Parvati Patil. She’d had her fun at Hogwarts, but after that she pretty much followed The Plan exactly. And her life has turned out pretty damn great. She’s a really successful Healer, and has a great husband and two kids: one wildly gifted girl, and a mildly tolerable boy. So I wasn’t trying to be some angsty, defiant teenager rebelling against cultural norms. Like I said, I’m a good girl.
And yet here I was, standing inches away from a ridiculously good-looking white boy in a cramped, musty broom cupboard wearing nothing but my sensible undergarments and a large purple tee. Here I was, gazing deep into his just-visible bright brown eyes and hoping he wouldn’t see the formidable sweat stains forming on my shirt. He was staring intently into my eyes, whispering words that I couldn’t possibly make out over the bongo-like beating of my heart. Yeah, it was just that cliché. But alas, the exciting scene I've just described can be found nowhere in the many subsections and clauses of The Plan. This little incident, I'm afraid, was completely unscripted. And by Ganesh, it would be the end of me.
But I should backtrack a bit, yeah? I mean, you've just seen the event that will become my death wish, once the rents find out. The least I can do is tell you about the months that led up to that fateful night...
"Oi! Shiv! Shi-iv! SHIVANI PATIL!" roared Adele Knightley, my best mate. I could just barely make out her shocking pink hair in the throngs of magical folk at Platform 9 3/4. Yes, it was that time of year again, and my last year, thank Shiva. As always, Adele and I were going to sit together on the train and swap lunches, my rice and veg curry for her pasta salad. It was tradition. Only, this would be our very last time on the ole' Hogwarts Express. As much as I hated the school, I would really miss the little stuff like the ride there. And I loved all the crazy rituals me and Adele had. I met Adele on this very train when I was but a scrawny First Year. Adele was tall and blond and told off a boy who was making fun of my upper-lip hair growth. She was my hero. On the way there, we made up a very elaborate handshake, traded lunches, and became best friends.
"Adele!" I squealed, giving her a great big hug.
"Hello my little samosa!" she said, kissing me on the cheek. Her blue eyes contrasted sharply with her now short, pink hair. "Like the new hair? It's so anti-The Man, innit?"
I nodded, rolling my eyes. Adele was very anti-establishment. It didn't matter what establishment; if The Man was preaching it, she was against it. She also changed her hair every year so she wouldn't get too "mainstream." Today she was wearing a light blue “Save the Elves” shirt. “You know Dele, house elves were liberated years ago, soon after the Second Wizarding War.”
“Yeah, but it’s vintage! I got it on sale. Plus,” she whispered, “the fight isn’t over yet. The black market is alive and well Shiv, alive and well.”
I smirked. “Right. Come on then, let's get a compartment before they all fill up.”
"Not yet! We haven't done the Super Special Extra Secret Shiv-dele Handshake!"
"Really, Adele? We're Seventh Years, for Ram's sake. We're a bit old for this," I pseudo-whinged. Adele just stuck out her hand and smiled.
Adele and I were nicely sprawled out in our compartment when there was a knock at the door. The heads of two tiny, timid First Years, a boy and a girl, popped in. "May we sit here?" chirped Boy.
Without even looking at them, Adele snapped, "Fuck no! Now, be gone before I hex you munchkins!" Adele can be intimidating.
"Adele C. Knightley!" I cried, "There was no need to be so harsh. They're scared out of their minds anyway, and then some pink-haired--"
"See, that's your problem Shiv, you're always thinking of others. You should revel in the power of being a Seventh Year!"
"Power?" I said, arching my right brow, "Isn't that soo 17th-century French monarchy?"
Adele couldn't help but laugh at my spot-on imitation of her. Soon we were both giggling like mad over something about the First Year peasants rebelling against Queen Adele and sending her to the guillotine. Our happy little daydream was interrupted, however, by a commotion in the hallway.
"What's going on?" I said.
Adele just looked out the door window and shrugged. "Looks like James Potter and his gang of Rabid Followers." Sure enough, I could see the tall, dark-haired boy surrounded by a group of girls. But he didn't look especially happy with the attention; in fact, he looked... distraught.
"Nah, something's going on!" I said, opening the door just a crack.
I immediately regretted that decision.
"Bloody hell, Veronica! The fuck are you doing with that pointy-chinned wanker?!"
"Don't call him that! Scorpius is really sensitive, aren't you Scorpy?"
"Sensitive?! Scorpy?! Bloody fucking HELL!"
"I'm sorry James, but I can't do this anymore. Scorpy gets me. He understands my feelings."
“Feelings?! What’re you talking about; you and I loved making fun of the poor saps in the advice columns, the ones who shared their feelings. And now you’ve gotten all sentimental and crap?!”
“That was then, Potter. I’ve changed. I’ve matured. I’ve moved on. And you should too.”
"So we're done, yeah? Two years? Over?"
There was an awkward silence. "Fine then, Veronica. I hope you and your little friend there get married and have lots of sensitive, pointy-chinned babies."
Adele and I had been listening to this little exchange in fascination. Suddenly, the door opened and in walked the aforementioned tall, dark-haired boy. James Sirius Potter.
"Can I sit here?" he asked wearily, "I was gonna sit with Veronica, but..."
"No, you--" Adele began, but I quickly interrupted her. "Yeah, have a seat."
He slumped down into the seat, cradling his head in his hands and muttering a stream of curse words under his breath. It was weird to see this normally carefree Quidditch captain looking so... broken. Even though I was in Ravenclaw and James was, of course, in Gryffindor, we had a lot of the same classes. And he was always the one behind every prank, joke, and laugh in class. Seeing him looking all sombre and upset was just unnerving. Adele and I glanced at each other, unsure of how to deal with the situation. Luckily, we didn't have to. Regaining some composure, James looked up and smiled weakly.
"Hi Adele and um,..." He paused, looking at me quizzically.
Damn. He doesn't even know my name.
"Shivani," Adele added quickly.
"Right. Shivani. I knew that." He grinned. And I laughed, I couldn't help it. Even in his post-break-up, dishevelled state, even though he'd basically insulted me, I still thought James was really... hot. He was almost six feet tall. He had his dad's dark hair, but in all other respects, he was a Weasley. He had those brilliant brown eyes that could look sparkly or totally intense, depending on the situation. I'd never actually um, spoken to him, but I knew he was a really funny, never serious kind of guy. Basically, he was as far away as a guy could be from The Plan. And maybe that's why I was so fascinated by him.
“But really, I remember you, Shivani. You were in my Potions class last year, yeah?”
“Yeah.” I replied, smiling.
And your DADA class, and your Transfiguration class, and your Charms class…
The sun was just above the horizon now, casting a golden glow across the Scottish sky. I’d seen it six times already, but today it just looked different, more sacred, almost. James and Adele were looking out the window too. The compartment was silent, but there was no need for words.
"So," James said, finally breaking the silence, "ready for our last year?"
A/N: ok, so there's my first attempt at fanfiction! let me know what you think; i love encouragement, constructive criticism, etc!
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