Chapter 1 : Fix it All
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Not really, but all I can hear is some trashy eighties song playing too loudly on the radio. There’s occasionally a car horn, or the annoying tick of the indicator, but the absolute lack of dialogue is almost painful. I wish she would say something. Anything. Ask me if I’ve remembered my wand, or if I’m excited about being Head Girl. She doesn’t ask, of course. She remains silent.
My arms are folded tightly over my stomach - I’m wearing jeans and a plain black t-shirt with navy converse, comfortable clothes for the long trip. My hair is tied up and I’m not wearing much make up. Her hands are gripping the steering wheel as though it’s a lifeline. Her knuckles are white. Either she’s angry or nervous. Probably nervous.
It’s blatantly obvious that she’s uncomfortable, what with the death grip on the steering wheel and the flat refusal to acknowledge my presence. Usually she would at least attempt to get me talking, but today it’s as though she’s scared to. Not that I really care. I lean back in my seat and close my eyes, taking a few deep breaths and silently praying that this year, my life will change.
That maybe I can fix it all.
“Have a good term.” And there it is. The first thing my own mother has said to me since we left home an hour ago. We’re standing on the sidewalk by the car outside the station. I’m awkwardly holding up one end of my trunk and my owl cage, and I have a strong urge to roll my eyes and walk away. However, after all this time I’ve become pretty good at controlling my urges. Most of the time.
“Yeah,” I say blankly. “I’ll see you in a few months.” I don’t meet her eye, though I can feel her gaze burning through me. I turn but don’t make it very far before she calls out.
“Harmony!” I spin back to face her, unsure of what to expect, and then, “I love you.”
This time I can’t restrain myself. I let out a short laugh and roll my eyes as I turn away again, not looking back as I enter the station. With some difficulty, given my small stature and excessive luggage, I locate a trolley and haul my possessions atop it, then make my way to the barrier. I don’t hesitate in the slightest before going through, and as I enter Platform Nine and Three-Quarters I let out a long sigh. The whole atmosphere seems to change, like before it was heavy and oppressive and I couldn’t breathe properly, but now it’s light and comfortable. I make a beeline for the train.
There are people everywhere. I narrowly avoid being run down by a flock of exuberant second years. It would be cute if it wasn’t so damn annoying and if I wasn’t struggling with a trolley that probably weighs three times what I do. Polly screeches and I take a second to collect my thoughts and calm her down, muttering through the metal cage that in a little while we’ll be home. She hates the holidays almost as much as I do.
I make it onto the train basically unscathed, though exhausted from the physical labour. I muster up my remaining strength and haul my trolley onto the overhead storage rack, then open Polly’s cage and let her perch on my fingers.
“I’ll see you at Hogwarts,” I murmur, stroking her charcoal-grey feathers softly before opening the window and watching her fly away, through the high-ceilinged station and outside into the bright daylight. I all but collapse onto the dark red leather seat closest to the window, heaving out a sigh and closing my eyes. For the second time this morning, I pray for change.
As it draws closer to eleven o’clock the train steadily fills up with students, and I know it’s just a matter of time before somebody bursts my bubble and invades my privacy by entering my compartment. I can only hope it’s not a bunch of high-pitched, gossipy fifth years.
Sure enough, just as the final bell sounds, the heavy wood and glass door slides open. I glance up and my eyes land on Fred Weasley. Tall, muscular, dark-skinned. Captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team.
Could be worse, although Fred Weasley always means James Potter.
“Hey, Harmony,” he grins widely and his friendliness toward me takes me by surprise. “Mind if we join you?” I shake my head and he enters the compartment. It soon becomes obvious that not only has he brought his cousin James with him, he’s also brought Dominique Weasley, April Thomas and Dartanian Foster. All of whom are seventh year Gryffindors. All of whom are frustratingly affable and easy-going. None of whom I now personally, despite having shared living quarters with all of them since I was eleven years old.
I keep my eyes averted, choosing instead to stare out the window at the brick wall outside. James sits opposite me and I just know that eye contact in this situation would be futile. He generally takes that as a sign that I’m into him. Which I most certainly am not. A discreet glance alerts me to the fact that he has changed dramatically over the holidays. He’s much taller. And much more attractive. Wow. The kid has nice eyes.
And that jaw line.
Stop. My God. So the guy is ridiculously good looking, that does not change anything. He is James Potter and no matter how many times he asks you out, the answer is always no. That’s the end of it.
A lively conversation starts up. I pull out a book and commence reading. Hours pass but the noise levels within the compartment do not waver, and there is no sign that they soon will. Having been subjected to this kind of situation many times before, I can easily identify each person’s voice as they speak. These people are quite literally the life of the Gryffindor common room.
I wonder what that makes me.
The conversation goes from quidditch, to the summer holidays, back to quidditch, then to some quidditch match they all went to in the holidays, then to April’s mum’s new job, then to the upcoming start of the quidditch season. I don’t listen intently until I start hearing snippets of conversation about what they all expect seventh year to be like. Curiosity piqued, I keep my eyes fixed on the book but listen hard.
“Well, Vic told me that she almost studied herself to death just to pass her NEWTS.”
“Yeah, but Dom, let’s be serious. Vic really isn’t that smart.”
“You know Henry, from last year? He told me he didn’t study at all until the day before his first exam, and he did really well.”
Ha. I remember that Henry bloke. He was a Hufflepuff, and though academically high-achieving, he was, in every other sense, hopeless.
“Henry’s and idiot,” James throws in. “Dart, you’d be really bloody stupid to take advice from him. Anyway,” he says loudly. “You kids can do whatever you want, but I am going to be a good, responsible student this year.” They all snicker and I feel my eyebrows pull together, because James Potter may well be the polar opposite of responsible. Sure, his grades are almost as good as mine, but the kid is a proud Marauder. Last year he tried to flood the Slytherin common room, just to get a reaction out of his younger brother. The year before, he was the dictator of an April Fool’s Day prank so dangerous that he nearly got half of Gryffindor expelled.
“Not joking, guys,” he says. “Head Boy has to be, you know, reliable and stuff.”
Oh, sweet Merlin, let him be joking. Please let him be joking.
My head snaps up and I ask, “You’re Head Boy?” I try to keep the despair out of my voice and I must succeed at least a little because he smiles from ear to ear as he nods.
“Yep,” he replies cheerfully, and for a few seconds I can’t break eye contact. Suddenly the next year doesn’t look as straightforward as it did a few minutes ago.
“I heard you got Head Girl, Harmony. Congrats.”
It amazes me that Dom can be so friendly toward me, when in six years of sharing a dorm with her I’ve never really extended the metaphorical hand of friendship.
“Thanks,” I say, giving her a small smile.
“So, uh, you two are going to be sharing a bathroom, right?” Fred asks, his eyebrows dancing around his face. I return to reading my book.
“Piss off,” James says in good humour.
It’s all well and good to joke about it, James Potter, but seriously. We’re sharing a bathroom. A bathroom, sir!
I take five minutes to change into my robes before we pull up at Hogsmeade. I wait until everyone’s gone before even attempting to retrieve my trunk, and I nearly break my arm and slip a disk in the process. I dump it on the platform with Polly’s cage before I hear someone shouting my name. I turn quickly around to see Hagrid waving wildly, standing tall above the sea of students.
“It’s great ter see you,” he says when I reach him, out of breath and hair tousled from all the pushing and shoving.
“You too,” I reply, smiling up at him.
“Alrigh’, we’ll just round up these firs’ years and get ‘em on the boats up ter the castle. Alrigh’, James?” Apparently James had sidled up next to me in the throng, because when I turn my head, he’s standing there, all tall and handsome like.
Hagrid grins and takes a deep breath before beginning the yearly call.
“Firs’ years, follow me, please. Come on, now. This way.” His booming voice echoes around the station and sure enough the first years, small and shy as they are, start to timidly come forward. James and I help encourage them, pointing them in the direction of the boats. It’s tiring and mundane, but finally the platform is empty but for me and James, and Hagrid waves us goodbye from the last boat.
It’s just a little bit on the cool side, and I pull my robes a bit tighter around me, crossing my arms over my stomach as we walk toward the Heads’ carriage. We walk in silence, of course, and James steps aside to let me in first.
I climb up and he follows and again I find myself sitting directly opposite an incredibly attractive James Potter, trying not to think about his jaw line, and trying not to look into his eyes in case I turn to stone or go up in smoke or something. He’s staring at his hands, though, which is weird because this is James Potter. Son of The Legendary Harry Potter, Hero Of The Second Wizarding War And Saviour Of The Entire Universe And Everything That Ever Existed, Holy And Unholy, And Witch Weekly’s Sexiest Man, Fifth Year Running.
James is the most confident guy at Hogwarts. He’s the one who climbed atop the Gryffindor table last year to sing the school song, with a ridiculous amount of bravado. Not only is he totally self-assured, he is also one of Hogwarts’ biggest players. Dating dozens of girls, none of whom have objections. No one turns down James Potter.
It started in third year, when he asked me to go to Hogsmeade with him. I politely turned him down, and since then I have continued to politely turn him down, because it never lets up. Although I do try my utmost to be polite, when he’s harassing me every day, that trademark smirk on his face, declaring - often in very crowded settings, that I will one day be his girl, it does get rather annoying. I have, on occasion, threatened to hex him, and once I grabbed him by the collar and told him to stay the hell away from me if he valued his life, but he doesn’t take me seriously. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m so short. Or maybe he’s just a raging misogynist. Maybe both.
He must have asked me out a hundred times over the last few years, but I can never bring myself to say yes.
Especially not now.
Thanks for reading... tell me your reaction in a review. Please. I beg of you. Review. It'd make me incredibly happy. And hang in for revised versions of the next couple of chapters... they may be a bit cringeworthy and pathetic at the moment but I am working on that. X
Just another quick edit. Hope everyone had enjoyed this chapter, read on, lovelies. X