Chapter image by !batman.
I had just kicked my brother under the table. We were having breakfast; it was the morning of returning to school and my brother just so happened to tease me about my new prefect position the whole morning, laughing about it constantly.
“What the bloody hell was that for!” he howled, an angry expression crossing over his face.
“Hiba!” Mama hissed, probably hearing our commotion. She appeared out of the kitchen with her hand on her hips. “What did I tell you? Your cousin is sleeping upstairs, and you two might wake him up. Stay quite!”
I rolled my eyes, I felt like a kid being scolded. My cousin Hassan was going to stay at our house for a few months, possibly a year, until he found his own place. In other words, Mama had insisted him to stay with us - she seemed to adore the bloke.
“Mama, if I wasn’t mistaken, Ali here had been teasing and mocking me the whole morning, and you didn’t say anything to him!”
“Shh!” Mama hissed again. “Now you two hurry up with your breakfast, your father will be coming soon to drop you off!”
When Mama left, Ali sent me a cheeky smirk, sticking his tongue out at me. I groaned, rolled my eyes, and got up. I might as well have my trunk ready downstairs for Baba to take when he arrived to take us to London, rather than stay a minute longer with my prick of a brother.
I had kept my prefect badge in my pocket, rather than pin it on my clothes. I didn’t know if I was going to survive this year anymore. I just couldn’t be a Prefect. It was too much work, too much stress, and worst of all, too much attention – which was appalling for me.
Fifteen minutes later, Baba had arrived to take us. While he and Ali were taking the trunks to his Muggle car (we always went to London by Muggle transport for safety), I was saying my goodbyes to Mama, who had me held in a death-clenching embrace, tears evident in her eyes.
“Mama, you always cry when we leave. We’ll be seeing you soon.” I told her, but inside me – I knew I was going to miss her and Baba too, regardless.
“Insha’Allah, Hiba dear,” Mama said in a tearful smile. “You better take care of yourself there; it’s not safe anymore with this Dark Wizard on the move. And study hard, do your best!” She told me for the hundredth time.
I nodded, hugging her one last time. She squeezed my hand before moving to Ali next. The first thing I heard her tell Ali was “behave yourself” before hugging him. I smiled, shaking my head, and followed Baba outside into the car.
Kings Cross station was busy, as usual. I tried to look among the many heads in the crowd for my closest and only friend at Hogwarts, but I didn’t see any sign of her. My brother, from beside me, immediately spotted his group of friends, and jumped in enthusiasm as he went to greet them. I rolled my eyes, and smiled at Baba.
“That brother of yours goes crazy when those friends of his are around, not even a goodbye from him,” he chuckled knowingly. After all, it’s a normal coming from Ali. “Well Hiba, I think it’s time I go, otherwise I’ll be late for work. I would’ve stayed really, but as you know I’ll run late.”
I nodded understandingly and hugged my Dad. He kissed me on the cheek and told me to take care of myself and concentrate on my studies as it was my last year at Hogwarts and therefore very important that I studied hard. “And keep an eye on Ali, last year he had enough detentions and this year he might be worse, even though I warned him.” he added, eyeing Ali who was standing and laughing with his friends . I nodded again, and hugged him one last time, before he left.
As I watched my dad leave, I sighed, and turned around with intention of walking to the Hogwarts Express, until I felt a pair of warm hands cover my eyes. I chuckled, I knew all too well who this would be, my friend Jillian Quirke. “Jill, I know it’s you!” I voiced out.
Jill let go of my eyes and starting laughing and hugged me. “Oh Hibs, I missed you so much!”
She was the only one who called me “Hibs”, as she was the one who made up that nickname. I smiled at her; she hadn’t changed much, only grown taller a bit. She still had the same light brown hair, which she always tied in pig tails. She was still the cute looking girl I knew, with the light freckles on her face still evident, and her duck-like features.
She was the only girl in our dorms that was actually nice to me in First Year, and we had immediately become friends. The other girls in our dorm were far too different to consider us friends. They found us weird, me for my head-scarf and Jill for her inelegance. Jill never considered the fact that I wore a head-scarf strange; instead when I first talked to her, she asked me why I wore it, rather than make assumptions of why I wore it. She also had always defended me if someone ever made a rude comment on my Hijab, or anything else for that matter, and I did the same for her.
“I missed you too Jill!” I told her. “I was looking for you everywhere, but couldn’t find you.”
“Oh, yeah. I was running late, and we only just arrived.” She smiled, and I chuckled at her knowingly. She was usually late for everything, but then again, so was I. “Hibs I think we should go in the train now, before we miss it like we almost did last year.” I nodded in agreement, remembering how last year we were busy talking and hadn’t noticed the train’s doors were almost about to close, until someone yelled at us to get inside the train immediately.
I noticed that when we entered the train, the amount of people staring was considerably less than it had been the previous years. After 6 years, people were bound to be used to seeing my hijab by now. The only ones staring at me with terrified expressions this year were the first, second and some of the third years – as they were not used to seeing it. Everyone else either just glanced at me or didn’t care, especially the seventh and sixth years, as by now they’ve stared at me enough to bother doing it again. I was possibly known around the school as “the girl with the thingy on her head”, meaning I was probably known by almost everyone by that term. This didn’t mean I was popular, it just meant that I had a lot of attention in the negative light. I sometimes felt like I was an intruder, an outcast.
Jill found an empty compartment and dragged me in it with her. As I was about to settle, I suddenly remembered that I was a Prefect. In other words, I had to go to the Heads compartment for the meeting. Jill obviously didn’t know this, as I didn’t tell her yet.
“Erm, Jill,” I started, watching her as she carried her trunk up. “I have to go to the Heads compartment.”
After Jill put my trunk up as well, she turned to me. “What?”
“I have to go to the Heads compartment.” I repeated.
“Go to the Heads compartment? Why, do you need to report someone? You should’ve told me, I would’ve immediately reported whoever the stupid wanker was!”
“No, it’s not for that...” I turned red.
Jill noticed this, and raised an eyebrow. “Hiba,” she gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. “You have to meet someone, right? You’ve been seeing a guy and you never told me, how could-“
“Jill!” I cut in sharply, “Are you out of your mind? I told you I would never and I can’t engage in these relationships, and which guy do you think I’d see that accepts my hijab regardless? The Giant squid?”
“The giant Squad isn’t a human, Hibs.” Jill stated randomly. I looked at her sharply. “OK, OK. I know you wouldn’t do that, that’s why I was surprised. But then, why are you going there?”
I sighed, and took out the Prefect’s badge and handed it to her. She observed it quickly, and looked back at me. “How could you become a Prefect in Seventh year?”
“Long story.” I shrugged, taking the badge from her and putting it back into my pocket.
“Wait, you don’t have to tell me. I know! It had been stolen, hasn’t it? So Dumbledore was supposed to give it to you two years ago, but some bimbo bribed him into giving it to her instead! Yes, that’s why, isn’t it?!” Jill looked angry, but at the same time pleased with herself, as though she had just figured out how to prevent the Killing Curse.
“No one stole it Jill,” I sighed and chuckled at her conjecture. “Look I’ll tell you later, but now I have to go. I won’t stay there for the whole train ride of course, so I’ll be back soon.”
“You better be!” she told me before I left the compartment.
I stood in front of the Heads’ compartment nervously. I didn’t want to go in there. I didn’t want to be a Prefect. I stood there staring and the compartment’s slide for five minutes, until I heard footsteps coming from my right. I didn’t look at who it was, I felt sick and like puking. The footsteps suddenly stopped and stood beside me. Whoever the person was stood in silence for a few seconds, and then spoke.
“Erm, are you going to go in?” it was asked nervously, coming from a deep, yet at the same time gentle, voice - meaning it belonged to a male’s. I glanced at the person in question, and discovered it to be one of those Marauders, Remus Lupin to be more precise, judging by his tall figure and dusty brown hair that went over his left eye, covering that white scar that crossed his handsome face.
I went even paler at hearing his question, and this time I did think I was going to puke. I stumbled a bit and held the wall from falling. I could hear Lupin coming by my side, looking at me timidly.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his expression serious. I didn’t answer him, and he looked at like he was hesitating with himself about something. “Umm, do you need a hand?”
“I feel sick.” I blurted out unexpectedly. I was surprised with my own self. What made me speak up?
After my outburst, I saw him immediately dig into his pockets, as though look for something. I raised an eyebrow as I saw him take out a chocolate bar. He quickly unwrapped it and handed me the bar. At my questioning look, he said, “Eat it, it helps.”
I stared at the chocolate bar in his hands with uncertainty. He was a Marauder, should I trust him? What if this was some prank? Despite my hesitation, I took the chocolate from him with reluctance, and took a few bites. Only after a few seconds, I immediately felt a bit better, and I could stand up without feeling like I was going to puke.
I stared at Lupin with surprise. “Thanks,” I said quietly. “I feel better.”
He nodded with satisfaction. “Glad to help.” He smiled and then turned around and quickly entered the Heads’ compartment. For some reason, I felt like he was afraid of me or something, judging by the fact that he quickly left me out here and entered. But I shrugged it off, it wasn’t like I never received this attitude from others, and at least he helped me – which surprised me. I never knew a Marauder would actually come and help a person, let alone a ‘weird’ Ravenclaw girl. Despite this simple gratitude from Lupin, my opinion on the Marauders still didn’t change.