Chapter 4 : Vanishing Charm
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I awoke the next morning when the bright morning light hit my face. I rubbed my eyes and pulled myself up to sit on my bed. Casper, my cat stretched on my lap and yawned.
Lily sat in front of the large mirror combing her long mane of dark-red hair already dressed in her pristine uniform. Nora, in her bathrobe on my left was sorting through her clothes.
“Hey Capri” she spoke to my tousle-haired reflection on the mirror in a rather amused voice, “Hurry up! We have to go down to breakfast and get to class on time”
Huh. My mom would love her!
I climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom.
Once we were all ready we went down to breakfast carrying our bags and in my case, backpack. I fell behind while I was checking that I had everything we needed for Charms when I heard loud laughter behind me. Three boys in their long black robes passed me on their way to the Great Hall. The fourth boy walked beside me.
“Morning Jill!” he grinned at me.
I smiled back as I recognised the eyes.
“Hi! errm...” I hadn’t been paying attention to his name when he got sorted last night.
“David,” he smiled and finished for me. His now familiar grey eyes were alight again.
I blushed under his gaze as we headed to the Great hall.
David sat in front of me during our classes and with me and his friend James at Herbology. We didn’t talk much after our meeting at the Entrance Hall but he seemed pleasant enough.
At potions I sat with Nora because Lily sat with Severus. Nora was good at Potions. She was a half blood and her father had taught her about basic potions when she was young.
She was a kind faced girl with lovely chestnut brown hair that hung in soft curls behind her shoulders and warm brown eyes that crinkled when she smiled. She offered to helped me understand the new subjects. I had to admit, once I got over the initial shock of the unbelievable nature of magic it wasn’t so hard (with a little effort) to keep up with the rest of the class.
David was seated with James stirring their potion and when he ladled some of it I saw that it was a light blue colour.
I looked at our potion while Nora was reading the instructions in the book to see what to do next. Ours it was still dark blue despite us having done everything right.
“Nora...?” I whispered
“Mmm?” she still had her nose in the book.
“Isn’t the potion supposed to be lighter than this?”
“Yeah” she said offhandedly and added a few more drops of leech juice running her finger along a line of the text.
The potion turned lighter but still not as light as expected.
“Maybe a bit more,” I suggested, “David’s seems to be lighter.”
At this she looked up distracted.
I pointed blatantly again at the boy.
Nora laughed, “Did he tell you his name was David?”
I nodded and my brain was now catching on.
“Capri, that’s Sirius Black. He gave you a fake name!” she was clearly amused.
“Ah well I guess I had it coming! I gave him a fake name too!”
Nora laughed and added more leech juice so the potion was a perfect periwinkle blue.
A week had passed since I discovered I was a witch. Lily and I were good friends and through her I became friends with Severus who was very much ahead of both Lily and I in academics.
They were both from the same neighbourhood and since they discovered each other they had spent most of their time preparing themselves for what awaited them at Hogwarts. Severus liked mostly to show us the many spells he was learning during his free time. At first I thought he liked to share information but soon I became convinced he was intent on boasting. I kept this to myself though since Lily was very close to him.
He wasn’t open and friendly as Lily was but he was civil at least. So I owed him the same.
As the days passed not only was I learning subject matter, I was also learning key facts about surviving in the magical world and more importantly within Hogwarts walls.
Gryffindors and Slytherins were like the Montagues and Capulets.
They didn’t get along so there was no use trying. If there was a friendship between a Lion and a Snake it was frowned upon so they had to ‘keep it under radar’
Much like Severus and Lily.
Filch was a neurotic caretaker who would love to find an excuse to punish you and report you for detention. Sneezing in front of him is a strict no-no because he would interpret it as mocking him.
He despised practical jokes (much like myself) and would not rest until he found a way to have you in detention on a perfectly good Saturday afternoon.
Peeves the Poltergeist was a terrible shock. He was a menace to all those including me who were not... I repeat not, fond of practical jokes.
The Gryffindor boys loved the laughs but heading back to the castle from herbology to get away from the rain only to be hit by a hundred wet water balloons or Mud Pellets from the joke shop was not my idea of fun!
There were so many staircases at Hogwarts. I found it very hard to learn the shortest way to classes, and if that wasn’t enough... the staircases moved!
They freaking move!
Unicorns and Mermaids were real!... Oh and so are Dragons! OH YEAH THEM TOO!
Nora and I were becoming very close. She was my guide to the new world and I was beginning to consider her my best friend.
We sat on our beds in the dormitory talking most of the time. I wrote to Aunt Agatha every week because she wrote to her parents weekly and we sent the letters off together. After the first few times I became accustomed to Owl Mail. Being a half blood, Nora knew my world as well as this new world well and so knew exactly what I needed to know when I looked lost.
Emma was the beauty of our year. She had a pretty face framed with thick golden locks, coral pink lips and blue crystal-like eyes. She was a rich pureblood but didn't come off as spoiled. In fact she was was positively endearing. Emma had a very happy-go-lucky attitude and nearly always had a spirited bounce in her step.
Lily was pretty in a very different way. She had deep fiery red hair that made it impossible for her to enter a room unnoticed. Her emerald eyes were always lit up and her smile was wide and warm. She was cute and hyperactive at times. She was one of the few students who naturally got excited at the prospect of homework! While she often came across as bossy and rule-abiding, she was also very caring and generous.
Kate was the quiet, kind hearted girl of the dorm. She was very happy to be left alone and read from a large collection of novels she’d brought with her. Like Emma she was a pureblood which made me curious of their version of literature.
Did they even have a genre called Fantasy? If so what would they have written about?
All in all I loved my dorm-mates. I felt a pefect fit amongst them, a first for me.
For Gryffindors it really didn’t matter if one was pure blood, half blood or muggle born. But Slytherins made everything about blood status, or so we heard from Severus on the rare occations he joined Lily and the rest of us for dinner.
We shared the common room with five Gryffindor boys of our year.
James Potter was a tall bespectacled boy with unruly black hair and hazel brown eyes. He was very talkative and extremely friendly. He had made friends with nearly half the house in his first week! Always with him was ‘David’ and Remus a studious, tall gangly boy with dark brown hair and innocent eyes.
Peter and Stephan were also often hanging around with the aforementioned trio. Peter was quiet but enjoyed laughing out loud at a good joke every now and then which always tended to suprise everyone.
Stephan was smart, tall, blonde haired and blue eyed. He was friendly but liked to be alone, since he had a love for books only Kate could match. Stephan was very good at Astronomy judging by how he always completed his charts well before the period was over leaving himself free of homework.
Sirius was loud, intrusive and annoying. He had a habit of sitting next to me on the couch whenever I was reading a book by the fire and asking me a hundred questions about what I was reading. The first few times I complied but as he continued to do so it got a little annoying, which I later realised was his intention.
We never talked of anything personal so he still had no idea that we were neighbours.
He said he found me amusing, I could understand that. I was unpredictable, true to my name. I was initially extremely quiet that Sirius said he thought he’d have to pay me to talk but once I got comfortable a bag of galleons could not shut me up.
He also often flirted with me. Then again he flirted with a lot of girls. Even for an eleven year old he was a charmer!
He had a very unique charm that even after a month you didn’t quite get used to.
I knew that most of the turmoil in a girl’s heart could be vouched for by those infinite gorgeous grey eyes. It was so easy to get lost in them and for a moment you weren’t quite sure if you’d been completely sucked into the unknown.
He smirked at me whenever he was talking to me and I lost my train of thought.
He loved to say, “You were saying?”
And when he did, I loved to narrow my eyes giving him an expression that said “Get over yourself!”
Apparently it only took one line from me to make all that charm vanish into thin air. Just one.
One Saturday afternoon I sat as usual on the couch by the common room fire with my Potions book open on my lap.
James, Sirius, Remus and Peter walked in through the portrait hole all laughing insanely. I rolled my eyes at them and returned to my book.
“Hey Jill!” Sirius said in his usual cheery mocking tone.
“What now David?” I said without looking up from the book.
“Oh please, isn’t it time you let that one go!” James said aloud to both of us as he sat on one of the armchairs closer to the fireplace. Sirius ignored him and came to sit by me.
He rested his arm on the couch and smiled waiting for me to get annoyed and look at him.
I stubbornly kept my eyes glued to the book.
“What you reading, Jill?” his voice held all the evidence of suppressed laughter. i could almost see that smirk of his plastered on his face.
I held up the book wordlessly so he could read the cover.
“What’s it about?” he said to my lack of response.
“It’s about a cure for intolerably annoying boys. I’m thinking of where to find puppy dogs’ tails for this potion!”
Remus laughed looking up from his wizard chess game with James. I wondered if he recognised the reference. I’d seen a few wizard chess games by now but it was still bizarre how the chess pieces just moved around on their own.
“You scrunch your nose when you’re annoyed,” Sirius laughed.
“So?” I snapped.
“Nothing” he said clearly happy now that he knew I was irritated.
“You laugh funny too! Like a monkey! We heard you the other day, all the way out in the boys dorm,” He laughed again.
I shut my book with a loud SNAP.
As usual this was his favourite part, when I say how annoying he is and walk off. Sirius was grinning again and I would have done anything to wipe that smirk clean off his face.
“Oh yeah?” I turned to face him on the couch, “Well you scream like a girl!”
“What?” he was still amused.
“You heard. I said, you scream like a girl!”
He laughed openly. “When have you ever heard me scream?”
It was my turn. I cross my arms and smirked. “When you got your Hogwarts letter!”
The moment when the boy’s face froze and the smirk playing on his face vanished immediately I knew I would remember that face for years to come.
The three other boys in the room were all staring at us.
“I didn’t scream when I got my letter! What are you talking about?”
“Oh please, you didn’t do this?” I made my voice ridiculously high “ YESSS! OH MY GOD! I’M GOING TO HOGWATS! YAYYY!”
Before he could stop himself he asked me. “How do you know that!”
James burst out laughing. “You did that when you got your letter?!”
“Hey!” Sirius turned to him. “I didn’t think I would get in! They were ready to send me to Durmstrang!”
“Ooh!” comprehension dawned on James but continued to laugh.
Probably another school by the sound of it but I’d have to find out later.
I was still too busy smirking at ‘David’.
“How do you know that!” he said impatiently turning back to me.
“Duh! You’re twelve, I’m eleven!”
Urgh. I rolled my eyes.
“You live in No.12... I live in No.11”
“Ooohhh” his mouth stayed the shape of an O long after the voice had vanished. So cute! I gave him half a smile.
“You’re my neighbour!?” he asked in a disbelieving voice.
“Why didn’t you say anything before?”
I shrugged. He smiled.
I smiled back.
With that his cockiness, pick up lines and charming smiles vanished.
He explained later that as neighbours we could only be good friends and nothing more. Before I had a chance to say "Boy! that is ALL I want!" he went onto explain how awkward it would be for us being neighbours if "The whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing didn't work out" He explained all this during a very casual conversation over a bag of Bertie Bott's beans while I stared at him flabbergasted!
Charm had vanished.
Four years later.... I wish there was a way I could take back that Saturday afternoon.
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