I smiled as the middle-aged woman ran shrieking across the sitting room at me and embraced me in a huge hug. I patted her feebly on the back as I struggled to breath, my face somewhere around her chest.
There was a chuckling noise from somewhere behind her, and I was released for long enough to see a grey-haired man with a huge smile on his face.
"Mum, Dad, I've missed you so much!" I squealed. Dad looked at me disapprovingly. "You sound French" he said gruffly. I raised a single dark eyebrow. "Understandably, as I've been there for nearly two years" I pointed out reasonably.
I had been living in France, teaching history of magic and ancient runes, for the last few years. I'd only arrived back in Ireland, my home country, this morning. I'd come back as I had been offered the job of my life: history of magic teacher at Hogwarts, my old school. I know, exciting.
When people list exciting careers or subjects, history of magic never seems to be there. But for me it most certainly was. I could probably blame my muggle parents for it; my mum was a museum curator and my dad a historian. And this was the chance of a lifetime; only twenty, and about to become a full time professor!
"Only twenty, and about to become a professor!" Mum squealed. Wow, it really was amazing how she could read my mind. "Group hug!" she squealed, hugging me again. Dad patted my back awkwardly from his place in the hug.
We finally separated and mum rushed off to get us all tea and cake. It was amazing how much my house felt like home, considering I hadn't been there in months, and would be leaving the next day. But I was going to Hogwarts, my home away from home.
Most of the best years of my life were spent there. I was sorted into Ravenclaw, along with the girl who became my best friend, the flame-haired Rose Weasley. Together, we passed our OWLS, swam in the black lake, played quidditch, got lost in the halls at night and passed our NEWTS. See, even nerds have fun. Rose now worked in the ministry of magic, and was head of the international affairs section.
We saw each other quite regularly, but not as much as I would have liked. She worked crazy hours. She seemed to be run off her feet despite her secretary and four assistants, not to mention the other fifty or so people she had to boss around. Pretty impressive, she's only twenty!
Anyway, mum returned with the tea and cake (homemade iced carrot cake, with marzipan carrots, if you're wondering), and we all sat down to tea. We discussed my new teaching post, and then the conversation moved towards the inevitable.
"So dearie, any news on your love life? Any handsome French beaus to introduce to us?" She winked at me. I shifted awkwardly in the deep couch. My feet didn't quite reach the floor and I ended up sinking deeper.
'No mum" I whispered softly, taking a sip of my tea. She looked crestfallen. "No grandchildren yet, then" she said sadly. I choked on my tea and had to be rescued by dad, who whacked me on my back.
I stood just outside the gates of Hogwarts in the dark, a small leather suitcase in hand. I gazed at the castle in awe. It looked totally stunning, even without most the windows being lit up. I hadn't seen it in years, but I knew the sight so well. Ah Hogwarts. Hoggy warty Hogwarts.
You're probably wondering, what is a relatively sane woman doing standing outside a castle at nearly seven o'clock? Well, I missed my train. It's self explanatory really.
I only moved from my position when my legs started to go numb. Scotland, even in late Summer, was just too cold to be outside in for too long. Especially when you were used to warm, Mediteranean climates.
I moved slowly towards the castle, trying to ignore the buffeting of the wind against my cloak, which was doing its best to blow up like a sail and send me flying towards the black lake. I finally made it to the huge double oak doors at the front of the castle. I hesitated in front of the doors before placing my suitcase on the ground and knocking.
I heard the noise reverberating through the entrance hall of the castle. There was no answer. I waited for nearly five minutes before knocking again, louder this time. There was still no reply. It was a week until term began, so I could expect no students, but I had been told that there would be someone there to let me in.
I leant forward to knock on the door again, but it opened suddenly. I nearly toppled over but thankfully managed to stay upright, mainly due to the male chest I had crashed into.
My face was planted somewhere just below his shoulders. He must have been well over six foot. I was only 5'3". I struggled backwards, blushing crimson.
Only to stare into the eyes of a god. Big, gorgeous brown eyes.
Messy black hair fell over a slightly tanned face. A long, narrow nose ended above lips that were smirking slightly at my predicament. I recognized the face almost immediately, even though I hadn't seen it in a few years.
He had been a couple of years ahead of me in Hogwarts. When he was in seventh, I was in fifth. While I was a Ravenclaw, he was in Gryffindor. He and his cousin, Fred, had been the biggest pranksters of their generation. As well as the schools biggest players. Well, James was slightly better than Fred. By that I mean he was slightly
less of a player.
Fred and I have an interesting history. I slapped him once. It was probably my proudest moment.
In Hogwarts, they were legends. Their god-like looks and famous families couldn't have helped, either.
I don't remember ever having a conversation with either of them, but everyone seemed to know who they were.
When I thought about it, I faintly remembered hearing something about James becoming a teacher at Hogwarts. Which was really weird, as who would let a total trouble maker be in charge of discipline? Whoever did must have been mental. A child in charge of children?
All these thoughts flew through my head as I stood there with my face lodged in his toned chest. I jumped back and started apologizing profusely, fully aware that I was blushing.
He grinned slightly and reached out an arm to help steady me. I thanked him embarassadlly and he grinned. "Anytime, love" he said with a wink, and reached down to grab my suitcase. I blinked in surprise; for a moment there, it had sounded almost.. suggestive. I shook my head slightly and followed after him.
During my thinking, he had grabbed my case, closed the door with his wand, and started up a corridor. I had to run a bit to keep up with him. Hogwarts corridors were just as cold as it was outside. Which was freezing. As in, I could see my breath as I jogged to keep up.
He started chatting as he marched ahead. "I'm James Potter, by the way. I teach defence against the dark arts. Sorry I'm walking so fast, but it's too cold to stand. And you must be…?"
"Euanthe Calvert, but call me Anthe" I answered. Yup, my name is Euanthe. And you were wondering why I didn't mention it before. It's ancient Greek, meaning "flowery". Oh joy. I suppose that's what happens when you let people like my parents pick baby names. But if it was my choice, I would probably be even worse, so I can't really complain.
There was a slight silence as James ingested the information. He turned around slightly to look at me, and then stopped suddenly, causing me to almost walk into him. "Eutanthe?" He asked in surprise. "As in, Ravenclaw student, couple years younger than me?".
I was completely taken aback. "Anthe. But how do you remember me?" I asked in surprise.
"It's the name" he admitted. "I remember you giving Fred history of magic grinds in sixth year, even though you were way younger. And of him complaining when you actually made him do work. Apparently, you're the only tutor who didn't end up sleeping with him after."
Fred Weasley. Worlds biggest manslut. And yes, I gave him grinds, even though I was two years younger. Poor guy just never could get his mind around goblin revolutions. A revolution... involving goblins
"But I can't believe it's you, you look so…. different" he said, his eyes sweeping up and down.
Merlin. Why did everyone I hadn't seen since Hogwarts react that way? It was like they couldn't keep themselves from commenting on the fact that the once flat-chested Euanthe had grown. A lot. Shame I hadn't gotten a bit taller, too.
I used to be short and nerdy looking, with a shy disposition that showed on the outside. I'd grown way more confident since living in France. I was still a nerd, though. That would never change.
I never have worn glasses though. The optician in France said I had amazing eyes. I like to think that he meant eyesight, and ignore the suggestive comments that came afterwards. Oh those opticians...
Anyway, I had changed a lot. My hair was longer and darker( it was now quite a dark brown, rather than mousy, and almost to my belly button. Which was an inny, in case you were wondering). My eyes were dark brown and my skin was deathly pale, despite my time in france. I was a teeny bit taller than before, nearly half an inch. That's a half inch I'll always be proud of.
I smiled back as brightly as you can when someone is still eye-scanning you after a nearly a full minute. If it was anyone other than the legendary James Potter, you would call it creepy. And even though it was James Potter, it was getting pretty close.
He finally coughed and looked away, thanks to my quickly vanishing smile. He took off up the corridor again abruptly, leaving me to half jog behind. Curse my shortness. I would have been dying of overheating by then, had it not been for the fact that the corridor was so so cold.
Seriously. The corridor was all foggy with my breath.
We walked (aka he walked, I ran) in silence. We went along a corridor, right, left, left again, straight, up a flight of stairs, and right again. I'd forgotten Hogwarts was so big. It just went on and on.
I was concentrating so deeply in keeping up that I barely noticed when he stopped outside a door. It was pure fluke that I didn't crash into him and didn't end up lying dead on the floor.
The door was plain oak with a dull brass knob. Which meant it wasn't used much, I reasoned. There seemed to be nothing extraordinary about it. Just a plain old door. Late nineteenth century, my annoying book-like brain supplied. Other people beat up dark wizards or save people. I can tell you how old a door is.
He turned to me and grinned. Merlin, his grin is amazing. Its one of those infectious ones that makes everyone else grin, and hope that its grinning at you. Tough luck, everyone else. He's grinning at me
He pulled me out of my thoughts by placing my case on the ground with a loud thud. "This is you" he said, gesturing at the door. "And that's me" he added, pointing to a door further along the corridor, the one next to mine. "We're neighbours. Just knock if you want anything. Company, drinks, comfort… I'm available all night long" he added with a wink.
My neighbour is a pervert
. I know almost no one else the castle, there may well not be anyone else in the castle, and my neighbour is a pervert. A very good looking one. A very very very good looking one. But still.
I didn't quite know how to respond to that. I looked at him blankly for a minute. He sighed. "Offer still stands, anyway. The passwords "Summer's over" but you can reset it if you want. 'Night. " He walked off towards his room. He did one of those massive yawn things where you stretch your arms over your head and your shirt inadvertently ends up riding up, revealing your amazing tanned back and fabulous muscles. Not that I noticed.
I turned back to my door before he could catch me staring. I said the password and dragged my suitcase in after me. Lights instantly flicked on, in the form of a few small oil lamps. The room had rough stone walls, floors and ceiling, with a couple of deep set windows along one wall, and, thankfully, a fireplace. I could tell that the room was a lot older than the door. It was probably at least seventeenth century. There was a thick lair of dust over everything and a musty smell in the room. It certainly hadn't been used for a long time.
There was a huge four poster bed at one end, set in an alcove with heavy moss green velvet drapes. Other than that, there was a matching chair and a small table and dresser, all mahogany. The furniture was lovely, late seventeenth century probably.
One of the walls was covered by a huge tapestry of dragons attacking villages and carrying away villagers in their claws. I had to suppress my brain to stop it going into analyzing mode. Still, sixteenth century and Flemish.
There were two doors at the other end of the room. I abandoned my suitcase by my front door and went to investigate. The first one squeeked slightly when it opened, revealing a small but very nice office. A door on another wall of the office presumably led to the corridor. It was lit (or would be, if it was bright outside) by a single tiny slit window.
The walls were covered, top to bottom, by empty bookshelves. Lucky I had enough books with me to easily fill the shelves. A heavy old desk sat in the middle with two chairs. They were the kind of chairs that you would have to be very brave to sit on, as they looked ready to give way at any moment. I touched one of them cautiously and the air filled with dust. It wobbled dangerously.
I made a note to myself to put a reinforcing spell on them before sitting down.
I went out back into the bedroom and through the other door. It led to a small bathroom that had nothing any more modern that the 1850's in it. Seriously. The bath was a huge white marble affair that reminded me slightly of a coffin. In a good
way. The toilet was a massive porcelain affair and the sink about the size of a small table.
I went back into the room, rubbing my eyes and yawning. My rooms looked wonderful, but I was way too tired to look around any more. I fell into bed, still clothed, and pulled the blankets over me (they matched the drapes, all dusty velevt). My head hit the pillow, and my last thought was that I hoped the gas lamp went out, or at least didn't set the tapestry on fire. And then I fell asleep.
Thank you for reading! Please please please review, it would mean so much to me. If you have any comments or constructive criticism I would really love to hear it. Banner by me, by the way. It's one of my first ever tries! Please please please review.