Chapter 6 : September
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Nora and I were standing on the platfom, close by a compartment of the Hogwarts Express laughing at Stephan’s joke about Jack and the Beanstalk. He always found something funny about muggle fairytale version of magic.
Stephan was a tall, blonde haired blue eyed boy with a charming smile and a sweet sense of humour. He didn’t always hang out with the rest of the Gryffindor boys of his year but being dorm mates they were often seen doing homework or playing a game of chess together.
We were talking to him waiting for the rest of the girls to arrive.
“NORA! CAPRI!!!” Right on queue. We both turned to see Emma pulling her trunk behind her. She hugged both of us when she reached us.
“Hey girls! Hey Stephan!" Emma grinned at us, "Where’s Lily and Kate?” she asked looking around making her golden curls bounce about excitedly.
“Dunno, haven’t seen them yet” I answered.
My strict control over my actions slipped for a second and I scanned the crowded platform for a familiar face. I wondered if he was already on the train...
“Hey!” A voice came from behind us now startling me. Emma looked over my shoulder as Nora and I turned again to see who it was.
“There you all are! I’ve been looking all over for you!” the red-head smiled.
As usual Lily was already dressed in her Hogwarts uniform. A shiny silver badge flashed on her robes.
“Oooooh! Hello Ms. Prefect!” said Nora smiling at the newly elected prefect.
“Congrats Lily! We knew it’d be you!” I smiled at her.
Lily couldn’t stop grinning as she hugged each of us in turn.
Emma handed us all little wrapped boxes. It was a start-of-the-year ritual with her. She gave us small presents she picked up whenever she went on vacation with her parents. Mostly they were souvenirs or perfume or some magical trinket that was always a treat. She often said it was insurance in case she forgot our birthdays. I pocketed mine to open later thanking her for the gift.
“THERE SHE IS!” a loud voice said in my ear making me jump. But before I could turn to see who it was a strong arm was wrapped around my waist and I was lifted up kicking and screaming.
“Put her down Black!” yelled Lily. She loved to yell at James and Sirius.
I was suddenly thrown over his shoulder and found myself looking at a rather gorgeous butt. Dammit.
“Don’t worry honey, I’ll return her in roughly the same condition!” Sirius said.
Nora just laughed as Sirius carried me away with me screaming at him to put me down.
“Relax Capp!” he laughed as he put me down. Remus held me as I nearly collapsed from the head rush.
“Thanks Remus” I said turning to him in an attempt to ignore my kidnapper and noticed a familiar silver badge on his robes too.
“Hey! You’re the other Gryffindor Prefect? Congrats Remus!” I hugged him and he smiled politely.
“Thanks Cappie, good summer?”
He nodded politely again.
“Hey Capp!” James smiled at me. He always had a smile that made girls blush and although he reserved his best for Lily, she was never impressed.
“Capp look what I got in Diagon Alley, it’s an eagle tattoo!” Sirius said beside me.
“Really Sirius? That’s wonderful!” I said sarcastically without looking at him.
“Yeah it is! Damn I wish we didn’t have a rule about no tattoos while at Hogwarts then I could get a permanent one”
I rolled my eyes.
Sirius put his arm around me and pulled me close to him.
“How are you kiddo? Feels like we haven’t talked forever!” he said flashing me with his famous grin. My anger boiling within me kept my head clear.
“Really? Well I guess I didn’t feel time pass by because I had a lot of fun with my cousin and his school friends. Man those boys are hot!” I put on a dreamy face.
“Wow! you had a busy summer Cappie” said Peter with a dirty smile.
I silenced him with a look. James and Sirius just laughed.
“Well I gotta go boys! Nora wanted to introduce me to this guy to help me out with History. Urgh I hate History! Hopefully he’s cute, that’ll make it more interesting” I wiggled my eyebrows.
“Wait wait!” Sirius put his arm around me again and steered me toward him once more.
“What Sirius? What is it?!” I said trying to control my voice as it rose in irrational anger.
“There’s someone I want you to meet”
Oh. Just. Great.
I tore my eyes away from his face and looked ahead and saw a girl standing there with a bright smile. Her long straight blonde hair fell to the hips of her slender figure.
I swallowed the exclamation words that came to my mouth.
“This is Ania” he beckoned her forward, “She’s my new girlfriend” he added to me in an undertone.
“Ania, this is Cappie” he introduced a tongue-tied me to the blonde.
“It’s Anastasia actually, nice to meet you Cappie!” she smiled and held out her perfectly manicured hand. I shook it politely.
“And it’s Capri, nice to meet you too. Are you new to Hogwarts? I don’t think I’ve seen you around” I was suprised at my fluent conversation with her.
She laughed in a chiming voice.
“Oh no I’m not joining, I live in Wales".
Oh thank God!
"I just came to London for the summer to visit my uncle. I’m going back next weekend,” she continued.
Ahh. Explanation! This is what kept him distracted! Jerk.
We both smiled at each other awkwardly not knowing what to say.
Thank Merlin, the whistle blasted right then saving me.
“Oh I better get on the train! It was really nice to meet you hope you enjoy the rest of your time in London” I said quickly, smiled then turned on my heel and walked off.
Sirius didn’t call me back this time because no doubt his mouth was otherwise occupied with a personal goodbye for Ania!
For some reason I was seething when I got to our compartment.
Nora was sitting with Kate and Emma and all three of them laughing at something Kate was telling them.
I dropped into the seat next to Kate.
Nora read my expression and smiled.
“I take it meeting with Black didn’t go well?”
I breathed deeply and exhaled impatiently. “I need a boyfriend, like right now!”
All three of them stared at me and then laughed.
“Ok, sure!” Nora said rummaging in her bag. “Lemme just get my wand and we’ll get to business, do we have a preferred eye and hair colour?”
They all laughed again.
“Green and brown,” Emma suggested.
“Nope, green and black is way better!” Kate commented.
Nora smiled at me waiting for me to say something.
“Welsh girls are stupid right?” I said aloud just venting.
“Oh come on, let it go. She’s not going to school with us. You know it ends right here on the station” I loved my best friend’s ability to knock sense into my head when I was delusional.
“Yeah,” I fell silent.
But that wasn’t what bothered me. It was the fact that I knew he chose to spend all his time with her, who he’d known for barely two weeks, over me who’s spent a lifetime with him. He couldn’t spare the time to write to me because he was busy fawning over Ms. Welsh!
The rest of the train ride passed slowly while we shared our own summer memories. Lily joined us after her patrols. Since I was a friend of both the boys and the girls I wasn’t usually restricted to one compartment, but this train ride I had no intension of joining Black and his crew.
I was beginning to feel quite hungry when I heard the lunch trolley coming along the corridor.
I picked up my purse, walked along the corridor to the trolley and waited for the younger kids to finish picking up their sweets.
“Five Pumpkin Pasties and a bag of Bertie Bott’s, please” I said and the rosy-cheeked witch smiled at me.
“Right away, dear”
“Five chocolate frogs, please.”
I looked up at the voice and stared into a pair of gorgeous green eyes. They were lighter than Lily’s but just as bright. The corner of his mouth was twisted upward, he was smiling. Wow... Emma was right!
“Hey” he said with a small nod at me.
“Hi” I breathed losing my voice. How was it possible that this gorgeous human escaped my notice for the past four years?
“You don’t remember me do you?” he kept smiling.
Oh God! What had I done that had imprinted me in his mind?
I shook my head innocently.
“Third year? Well your second year... Diagon Alley? You stole my Potions book from Flourish and Blotts on a dare?”
Oh my God! I did! That was him?
He laughed at my wide-eyed guilty face. How did he even know that?
I swallowed. “Err... Sorry?” I looked at him hopefully. He laughed again.
“What did you get for the dare? I assumed there was some sort of bet?” He asked me.
I blushed, “Well my friend bet that he would jump in the lake naked if I stole a senior’s book!”
He laughed. “Did he deliver?”
"Umm yes, in fact he did!”
“Here you go dear,” the witch handed me my food and I paid her some gold.
“Well done,” he commended, I supposed it was for the dare.
I bit my lip. “Thanks? So I guess I owe you a Potions book...”
He laughed again, it made him look cute.
“Well since I’m now in sixth year, I have no real use of a third year Potions book. Maybe you can make it up by paying for my Chocolate Frogs,”
“Oh sure!” I opened my purse again.
“I’m kidding,” I looked up at him and he was smiling playfully again his eyes alight. He turned to the witch and paid her and the trolley moved on to the next compartment.
“It’s Capri, right?”
“Yes,” I nodded secretly pleased that I hadn’t been invisible to him.
“Well, I’ll see you at school Capri,” He turned to leave and I had to seize the last chance I had.
“Wait...” He turned back to me slowly a knowing soft smirk in place.
“Umm... Well,” I stalled trying to word the question better.
No. There was no way. He knew my name and I didn’t know his. I didn’t even know what letter his name began with. I sighed and looked at him.
“What’s your name?” I cringed.
“Jason Rhodes” he said still with his twisted grin.
“Thanks Jason” I said blushing.
“For sparing me from a prank to get even”
He shrugged. “You’re welcome”
I was feeling giddy and was dangerously close to saying something stupid. So I decided to take my leave.
“I’ll see you in school, then.”
He nodded and without a second glance I turned and walked over to my compartment and collapsed into my seat. Wow.
School started on a Thursday morning and we all headed down to breakfast early.
I sat next to Nora. While she put eggs onto my plate pulled my hair back into a ponytail and picked up my timetable.
Double Transfiguration with Ravenclaws. Luckily I had brought my transfiguration book down with me so I needn’t go back up to get it.
Nora, Lily and I all took the same subjects. Lily also had two extras: Muggle studies and Divination.
Emma took Magical Law and Ethics and Kate took Modern Magical Languages, which was a study of magical beast and being languages including Gobbledegook, Prime Elvin, Mermish and Bathhelda (the language of a clan of Norwegian dragon keepers).
With a sudden thought I looked up and scanned the Ravenclaw table but I couldn’t find Jason. So I settled to eating my breakfast while Nora unrolled her Daily Prophet. Despite the news becoming more gloomy and dark by the day she continued to get it delivered.
Once we were done with breakfast we all headed to Transfiguration together. For fifteen minutes Professor McGonagall impressed upon us the importance of OWL preparation and then proceeded to teach us the theory behind transforming matter though states, solid, liquid and gas.
After an hour of trying to turn a cube of metal into silver liquid, the bell rang. I dropped my slightly putty-like blob of metal into the box and we headed to History.
There was no sign of the Gryffindor boys at History. They hardly ever showed up for History, even Remus who usually was the more studious of the four skipped History liberally. The lesson was boring (something about Mermaid's war against their registration and tagging) and I welcomed freedom when the bell rang and hurried out of the class with Nora.
The hours passed and blended into days. A week from start of term the summer weather disappeared completely and the rain started to fall from the grey gloomy skies.
Our first Hogsmeade weekend was no exception.
We sloshed through the mud, in our boots holding our raincoats and large umbrella’s against the harsh rain. The letters we carried to the Post Office was soaked though and the clerk at the desk hung them up on a line to dry like clothes while the owls in the rafter's slept peacefully.
"Sorry miss, no owls are flying out today in this weather!" he said shaking his head at the downpour.
Nora, Lily and I then decided to go to The Three Broomsticks to get away from the rain but it was so fully packed that we couldn’t find a table. So instead we headed to Madam Puddifoot’s despite my constant stream of objections at the possibility of seeing Derek there.
My strain of thought however got disrupted when I saw three familiar faces buying sweets from Honeydukes on the way. James and Remus were packing a large rucksack with all manner of sweets while Peter pocketed his own purchases.
“Hey!” I waved to them when we were close enough for them to hear us over the rain. James’ hand jumped to his hair as it always did when he saw Lily.
“Where’s Sirius?” I asked the trio.
James and Remus exchanged a glance and Peter giggled like a girl.
“He didn’t quite finish the homework he was supposed to do so Professor McGonagall has him in her office finishing the two essays right now!” said James.
“Yeah yeah, he’s been slacking off with homework,” Peter agreed stifling a grin.
“Oh, I bet he’s not too happy with that” I said.
“Thus the candy,” James held up the nearly full bag.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of Sirius’ face right now.
“Hey Lily,” James gave his best dazzling smile.
Lily shook her head, “Save it, Potter”
She then dragged us toward Madam Puddifoot’s without another word and I waved the guys goodbye.
A warm welcoming fire was blazing inside the coffee shop and since it was much secluded shop it didn’t have as many customers. Lily was a tea person. She ordered her favourite ginger tea. I ordered a hot cider with a cinnamon stick and Nora asked for her usual hot chocolate.
We had a typical girl’s day out. Many people think Lily is all about studies and rules but she’s quite fun with her friends in her comfort zone. We were soon joined by Kate and Joslyn, a Ravenclaw fellow fifth year.
After spending most of our day in the coffee house sheltered from the rain, chatting and discussing anything and everything, we decided to head back to Hogwarts through the downpour that still hadn’t stopped so we’d have time for a hot shower before dinner.
The rain beat down hard upon us as we trudged through the mud holding our coats and umbrellas tightly. Filch yelled at us for messing up the Entrance Hall he'd just cleaned but then got distracted when Peeves started a water balloon fight with some third years, again. We took our chance and ran for the common room.
After a nice long hot bath I put on a purple woolly sweater and my favourite pair of jeans, dried my hair out with my wand and took my Potions book down to the common room. I found Potions an interesting subject to read although the ingredients for most of them always threw me.
Nora and Lily were already there seated by the fire. Lily sat on the carpet sewing something bright orange and purple by the look of it. Nora was reading a muggle novel (Austen was a love we had in common) in one of the armchairs by the fire.
I sat on the large couch next to her armchair and propped open the book on my knee. The room was warm thanks to the fire. I was halfway reading through the Lentigular Potion to cure muscle cramps when the portrait hole opened and James Potter walked in with Remus and Peter. They were dripping wet and headed straight to their dormitories. I wondered if Sirius had finished his essays by now.
Just then the Portrait opened again and Sirius climbed in.
I smiled warmly. I missed him, we hadn’t talked properly since we got back to Hogwarts.
“Hey, Cappie” he said cheerily. He walked over to the couch and sat beside me. Nora looked at us over the top of her book and returned to it when I gave her a look.
“Are the guys back yet?” he asked looking at me.
“They went up to the dorm, they’ll be back once they’ve changed into something dry,” I replied.
Sirius yawned and put his arm around me. I smiled as I read my book.
It was a while before I noticed he was humming. I looked up at him. He was relaxed, slumped against the backrest of the couch.
He stared into the fire absent-mindedly smiling to himself. It was an unusual smile... as if he’d achieved something, something he had been waiting for. I wondered what it was that made him so glad.
His hand held my shoulder, holding me close to him. He was warm unlike us who had been weather beaten, still humming and smiling.
I tilted my head against his shoulder. Although we hadn’t done much, the day had drained me and I was tired. The collar of his shirt had a small dark strain as if a speck of brown dust had rubbed against it. The skin on his neck had a light sheen of sweat, I noticed so did his forehead. The firelight glistened upon it. I wondered if he had run up the four floors from McGonagall's office.
“Did McGonagall like the essays?” I asked him after a long minute.
“Hmm?” he snapped out of his trance and turned to look at me.
“The essays?” I reminded him.
He looked blankly at me, “What essays?”
I saw Nora look at us over the top of her book again.
“The essays you were doing for McGonagall, remember?”
How much of short term memory loss did he have?!
Sirius’s brow furrowed. “What are you talking about, Capp?”
“James said you didn’t go to Hogsmeade because you didn’t finish the Transfiguration essays and McGonagall made you stay behind to finish them” I said a little puzzled.
“Oh...right! yes those essays!” he said, his confusion cleared and he put on a grin, “they’re all done!”
One of the things about being a best friend is that you know when they are lying to you, even if it was for your benefit.
Everything fell into place in one horrifying moment. His unaccountable absence from the Hogsmeade trips he wouldn’t miss, his light hearted jovial mood, the stains on his collar, the sweat on his brow and the fact that he lied to me.
The sudden wave of emotion I felt was overwhelming me. My gut twisted horribly inside me. I didn’t know if I felt heartbreaking pain, anger or betrayal. All I knew was that I had to get out.
I stood up suddenly and the Potions book fell onto the carpet with a loud thud. Sirius' hand on my shoulder had dropped to his side. Lily, Nora and Sirius were all looking at me apprehensively.
I clenched my jaw to hold back the tears and marched out of the common room.
“Capp? Cappie wait! Where are you going?” Sirius’s voice sounded nervous.
Nora’s book closed with a snap behind me and I knew she was not far behind. Once I reached the Entrance Hall I ran out the front doors back into the rain.
“Cappie! Cappie wait!” Nora called after me. The pellets of water soaked me to the bone in seconds as I ran aimlessly and came to a stop in the middle of the grounds.
I heard Nora's feet trudge the muddy ground and come to a stop just behind me. She put her hand on my shoulder gently.
Failing to support myself alone, I turned and collapsed onto my best friend. I was just shocked and hurt and my silent tears became part of the rain.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t notice,” Nora said sadly as she hugged me tightly trying to share my pain.
“I just... I can’t believe it.” I bit my trembling lip.
Sirius had enjoyed his first time... with someone he may not even remember in the future and he sat there in our common room beaming. Not knowing how much his happiness killed me.
I wanted to run away from the thought, to escape it. To fall asleep and be blissfully ignorant of the pain, of the memory that came with the September rain.
Summer has come and passed the innocent can never last, Wake me up when September ends...
Here comes the rain again falling from the stars, drenched in my pain again becoming who we are...
As my memory rests but never forgets what I lost, Wake me up when September ends…
~ Wake Me Up When September Ends by Greenday.
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