Chapter 1 : Why Are You In A trunk?
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I was sitting on my creaky old bed in the orphanage, trying to meditate. I don’t actually know how to meditate, but hey, it pays to try. My best friend, Lily Evans, is great at meditation. She sits on her bed in the school dorm just humming away to herself while her legs are twisted into truly unnatural positions.
Lily is good at everything. She told me that she did it to consider intelligent questions like ‘what is the point of living’ and ‘why do I fancy James Potter so much.’ She still hasn’t agreed to go out with him, despite being madly in love with every bit of the guy. I’m not exaggerating here, Lily can have quite a dirty mind. I think she’s being a bit stupid actually. I mean, the boy likes the girl, the girl likes the boy too. What could be simpler? They could have such a romantic love story. As long as they call their first born child Marlene, after me. Or maybe if it’s a boy I’ll allow them to consider Malroy (purely for the child’s sake, of course. Wouldn’t want him getting teased now, would we?).
I sighed at my own thoughts in exasperation. I was such a stereotypical 'dumb blonde.' I couldn't even meditate properly! Useless. Maybe my parents died from a heart attack caused by me telling them the capital of France was Washington. They died when I was six years old. They died from ‘something’ apparently. What do people generally die of? I didn’t really understand what had happened at the time, until I woke up in this place. I don't miss them; the only memories I really have of them are how strict they were.
I realised that my legs had pins and needles in them, so I groaned and stretched out, promptly falling off the narrow bed and into my half packed trunk.
“Ow!” I swore, just as a little girl called Sophia wandered in, sucking her thumb and holding her teddy in a strangling grip. I’d kind of taken Sophia under my wing since her arrival. Her parents had recently been killed in a car crash, but the other kids teased her because of her thumb sucking problem and her obsession with marmalade.
“Why are you in a trunk?” she asked, her soft brown eyes looking huge in the dim light. I grinned at her,
“Well I was meditating and then I fell off.”
“What’s the trunk for anyway? Why is it called a trunk and not a suitcase?”
“That,” I replied, standing up with difficulty, “Is a very good question, my little banana boat.” Her thumb came out of her mouth with a loud slurping noise,
“I’m not a banana boat, I’m a carrot boat!” she protested, “And answer my first question.” I considered how to break the news to her that I was going away for the rest of the year.
“Well…I have to go back to school in about twenty minutes.”
“Oh. Ok, I’ll see you at tea time then." she started to wander out when I stopped her,
“Actually…It’s a boarding school,” I said regretfully. Even though I wasn’t regretful. I couldn’t wait to get back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But you know, the empathy thing was supposed to placate people. Or is that sympathy? Sophia span around, looking alarmed,
“But who can I eat marmalade with, then? Mr. Mushroom will miss you!” tears started to well up in her eyes and I felt a whole lot of guilt. I pulled her little frame onto my lap and hugged her tightly,
“I’ll miss you too, Mr. Mushroom,” I spoke to her teddy, “But one day I’ll be a grown up and I can come and take you away from this place and the other mean teddy bears who tease you and are horrid,” I promised. Sophia smiled,
“Do you pinky swear?” she asked, holding out her little finger for me to solemnly shake with my own pinky linked through it,
“Pinky swear.” She slid off my knee and waved once before scampering back to her dorm. She’d probably lie on her bed drawing for the rest of the day. I watched her go, silently, before turning to my trunk. With a quick scan of the room, I retrieved all of my scattered belongings and stuffed them into the battered box. It was time to go.
“MARLS!” Almost as soon as I stepped onto platform 9 and 3/4 I was hug tackled from behind by a ball of red hair and green eyes . Well, not a ball actually, more like a stick?
“Lily!” I yelled back, beaming, “I’ve missed you so much!" I hugged her tightly. She smelt like vanilla ice cream as she laughed,
“I’ve missed your daftness too. Did you get my letters?”
“Every one of them. I would have answered, but you know how closely they watch us there. I’m so sorry about what Petunia said to you, hon. That’s terrible.” Lily’s eyes welled up with tears and I hugged her comfortingly.
“I just don’t know what I’ve done wrong,” mumbled Lily, “I’ve tried so hard to be a good sister. I never meant to hurt her though,” she sighed, “ Anyway, how was your summer? Not too boring?” I shrugged,
“Just the usual. I practiced meditating again!” I exclaimed happily.
“Oh, yay! Now we can do it together! Did you remember to clear your mind of all thoughts save one?”
“I sure did. And I had a remarkable vision in which you actually agreed to go out with James as you secretly want to.” Lily slapped my arm and blushed,
“Shut up!” she hissed, glancing around. Out of the blanket of fog that was surrounding the station came two very familiar people; our fellow Gryffindor friends, Mary MacDonald and Alice Harbour. I noticed that mary had dyed her hair black.
“Ahoy there Mazzy-Azzy!” I hailed them cheerfully. The two were such an unlikely pair of friends; Mary was very emotional and sarcastic, while Alice was on the quieter side but with a feisty temper. Still, they were never seen without each other. They both grinned back at me and wandered over, dragging their trunks.
“How are you guys?” asked Alice, “Good summers?”
“No!” I replied dolefully, “I lost my favourite pair of socks."
“Oh what a tragedy,” grimaced Mary. I tried to save her fail of a grimace in my memory forever.
“You look like you’re about to throw up, are you ok?” Lily asked innocently. Mary scowled,
“Fine. No-one ask how our summers were then.”
“We were just about to-“ I began but Alice cut across me,
“Never mind her. She’s just had some bad news over the summer.
“That would be the understatement of the year,” muttered Mary darkly before being pulled away roughly by little Alice.
“Mary’s dyed her hair black,” I observed, “I wonder what I’d look like with black hair.”
“Like Sirius’s twin sister,” Lily answered, just as the boy himself ambled round the corner with his hands in his pockets. He grinned happily as he saw us and was about to say something but I’d already screeched,
“SIRIUS!” causing Lily’s owl to squawk in alarm.
“Well I wonder who that is,” commented Sirius, “Could you make any more noise, McKinnon?”
“Yes, I could if you wanted me to actually-“
“Pretend I didn’t ask that last one.” I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Hi Sirius,” smiled Lily perfectly. Her teeth are so straight. I wonder what toothpaste she uses. “Where’s the rest of the gang then?”
“Buying chocolate frogs,” he grimaced. It was a better grimace than Mary’s. That’s because it actually was a grimace.
“I hope they’re buying me some. I am poor, you know!” I smacked his arm, “Buy me more jewellery for Christmas! A girl can’t live without jewellery, you know, and all I currently have is an elastic band,“ I was still nattering away when Lupino Supremo, Poo poo head Potter and Peter Pan bumped into us. Otherwise known as The Marauders; the most awesome people in my life. Next to Lily. And then maybe Mazzy-Azzy come third. Anyway, they are pretty cool friends. They give me chocolate.
“Remus, James, Pete!” I called, “Say hello to me and give me your chocolate frogs!” They grinned at us and started eating again,
“No,” munched James, “Oh my god these are so delicious; the chocolate just melts in your mouth and trickles down your throat-“ I turned to Peter, my little adopted son. I don’t know why I’ve adopted him, he just looks really cute and small next to the other guys. He needs a bit of motherly love.
“Son,” I addressed him seriously, “You wouldn’t want your mummy to starve now, would you?” He raised his eyebrows,
“How do you know?”
“I am a mind reader,” I actually kept a straight face. Doubt flashed across Peter’s face and then he laughed,
“They don’t exist!” I put an arm on his shoulder,
“Ah my young boy. You have much to learn. You are currently looking at that girl over there and thinking she is pretty.” Peter blushed and chucked a chocolate frog in my face, which I caught easily thanks to years of Quidditch training. Remus looked at the platform clock and coughed,
“We have 2 minutes and 45 seconds to get on the train, guys. 5 seconds have gone throughout the time it took me to tell you this. The doors close at 2 minutes. Run?” We ran with our trunks to the closing doors. Lily had the bright idea of jamming her trunk in them to stop them from shutting completely, and we all scrambled in, falling on top of each other and giggling hysterically in a heap. Well, the boys were doing 'manly giggling'. Apparently.
We’d managed to nick a compartment all to our special selves, and were now chatting amiably about the summer and something to do with a Quidditch World Cup. I wasn’t particularly interested in Quidditch; I just knew how to play it. I looked at Lupin who was lazily watching us all with quiet amusement. He had got quite a nice tan over the summer. Well, when I say tan I mean that he didn’t look dead anymore and only half dead. He was also taller and seemed a lot surer about himself. His sandy hair was ruffled messily and I couldn’t help but think that he looked quite nice. Very nice… A slight blush rose up my cheeks. I startled myself. I couldn’t believe that I had actually just been checking out a boy. I never thought I would have had the confidence to do that again. I’ve had too bad an experience with boys.
I was distracted from my shocking relevation by Peter who was opening and closing one of those little muggle cocktail umbrellas. He has this thing where he purposefully breaks old supersitions like stepping on cracks, walking under ladders, opening umbrellas inside. All of that stuff. It's quite amusing.
“We are sixth years woo hoooooooo!” sang Sirius tunelessly.
“Opera standard, Sirius, mate! Bravo! You could kill you-know-who with your voice alone,” poked James.
“Aw, come on, admit to singing it with me back on the platform just to frighten those first years!”
“Never!” James acted astonished.
“Sixth year, and still Petunia won’t accept me,” muttered Lily to me sadly. I patted her arm a little clumsily in an attempt to cheer her up.
“Oooh! McKinnon and Evans sitting in a tree…” gibed James in a lame attempt at humour.
“Cabbage off,” I snorted.This could be a long journey.
We were back in our cosy sixth year dorm, involved in a vigorous pillow fight which I, of course, was winning.
“Catch me if you can!” I screamed, jumping up and down on the bed and flailing my pillow about wildly, catching Lily on the back of the head. She yelled and chucked her water at me, splashing it all over my face.
“That’s cheating!” I spluttered, trying to get off the bed. Mary tackled Lily from behind and somehow got the duvet over her head, wrapping her up like a mummy. Lily shrieked and thrashed about as we laughed and I toppled off the bed onto her.
“Let’s build a den!” suggested Mary loudly and we all laughed in agreement.
“A den! A den!” I danced around singing. Dragging our blankets and pillows onto the floor we arranged them into a tepee over one of the beds and pushed and shoved our way inside. Alice started reading out various facts about her new pet fish at home and we all pretended to listen for a while. Did you know that fish are 100% edible?
Eventually the others drifted off to that mystical land of dreams otherwise known as sleep and I watched them breathing peacefully. It was really strange how people went to sleep. It's almost like you die every night then come back to life again in the morning.
But not quite.
A/N Please review! If you've read this far then i must be doing something right! :P
Edit 17/4/12- A few things changed thanks to my more than amazing beta, Naida! <3