When I joined Andrew here in Godric’s Hollow, one of the first things that I did was purchase a bike. The school that I work at is just too far to walk to, but not far enough away that I feel justified apparating there. I’m not really a fan of apparating frequently. It’s good when you have to go a long distance in a short amount of time, but I’ve never really cared for it. Thus the bike. It cut the walking time in half, and the path to the school was nice and scenic.
My ride was my me time. My time to think. Unfortunately, that day all I could think about was my obnoxious new neighbor. Maybe he wasn’t actually new. I honestly had no idea how long he had been living there for. I have never really paid attention to what goes on in that house, and the hours I’m out make meeting new neighbors a bit awkward. I leave for work before most people in order to set up for the day before the kids arrive, and I come home before everyone else. I’m still just as exhausted as Andrew is when he gets home several hours later though. Normally I take a nap for an hour or so before tackling any grading I have to do, cleaning, and then cooking. Occasionally I’ll fit in some reading during that time slot.
Maybe his name sounded a little familiar, but it mostly just sounded ridiculous. He seemed so sure that I was going to recognize it, but I was still drawing a blank on who he could possibly be. He had to be just out of Hogwarts. Immature kid. I had recently turned twenty-two.
I was so wrapped up in thinking about him that I didn’t notice the squirrel that was sitting in the middle of the road until it was just inches from my front tire. I let out a stream of profanities as I abruptly squeezed the brakes. My bike lurched to a sudden stop, propelling me forward and then back. The squirrel just gave me a look of disdain, flicked its tail at me, and slowed scampered away. “Hate you.” I muttered as I started to pedal again.
Prongs Primary was my first teaching job. It was a bit intimidating, as not only was it a new experience, but I was also in a new country. Education was entirely different here, but I thought I was doing a decent enough job. At least I was with six year olds. Six year olds are at about the same stage no matter where they live. I had been starting to worry about whether I would ever find a teaching job when Andrew had come to me about moving.
Andy is three years older than me, and had been accordingly busy for the past three years with his job. Between his busy schedule and a lot of traveling, and me being in college, we hadn’t spent much time together in years. We’re close though. Even if we hadn’t been able to spend much time together, we still spoke weekly, and Andy always sent me a little something from his travels. He’s my big brother, and he’s always been looking out for me. When we were growing up, it was sort of just the two of us. There weren’t really other kids around for us to hang out with, so Andy and I spent a lot of time together. He looked into schools before he even came to me with the suggestion.
London or the suburbs seemed like an obvious place to live. After all, that’s where the office that he works at is. But it wasn’t an option for us. Andy and I are farm kids. We grew up on a corn farm in Iowa, except for summers. We’re okay in the city for periods of time, but we’re not meant to live there permanently. No, Andy only looked into smaller communities. And when he found out that Godric’s Hollow had an elementary, grammar, whatever school that was looking for a teacher, he knew that he had found the place for us.
I think Dad understood when I told him about our decision. He had been surprised, of course. I don’t think any parent ever expects to hear that his two kids are moving to England together. But he’s always realized that Andy and I are a bit of a package deal. At least, that was the reason that I gave for the move. Wanting to be close to Andy. But he’s my dad. He knew that that wasn’t it, and he knew exactly what my other reasons were. We didn’t have to talk about it. I don’t think he could blame me.
The school finally came into view. It’s a few miles from where I live in the village. It still strikes me as odd to say that I live in a village. I don’t know how long it will take before I truly get used to Britishisms. There really aren’t that many people living in Godric’s Hollow, but there’s a lot of space. I guess the building that the school is in used to be a house until it got blown up. Something to do with that Voldemort guy. He was a big deal here in England some years ago, but he never really bothered us in America, so we never really learned much about him. There were some mentions in history, but he was so contemporary that we didn’t really bother with him. The name of the school comes from the guy who used to live in the house. Prongs. Honestly, I wonder what goes through the minds of people around here when they name their kids. Prongs, James Sirius… I’d blow up my own house if my parents had named me Prongs.
My first order of business wasn’t actually work-related. I was going to do work things, I promise, but there was something more important that I had to do first. After securing my bike to the rack in front of the school, I made my way to my classroom. It still makes me grin being able to say that. My classroom. Because I’m a grownup. A grownup whose first task of the day was to plunge my head into the fireplace.
“Mel? Mel?” I called, looking around the living room that was now appearing before my eyes. A form stirred on the couch.
My best friend opened one eye before throwing a pillow at my head. Fortunately, I wasn’t actually there, so she only succeeded in setting one of her throw pillows on fire. “Are you insane?”
“Why does everyone keep asking me that today?” She was the second person today, and only the second person that I had interacted with today as well. “What are you doing? It’s what, ten? Ten thirty?”
Mel moaned as she pulled her blanket up higher. “Maybe for you. It’s called time zones.”
Oh. Right. Oops. “Sorry.” I mumbled. “Should I tell you about my hot, pain in the ass neighbor later?”
She perked up at that. “Hot?”
“Yeah, but you missed the important part of that sentence. Potter is the biggest pain in the ass known to mankind.” I brushed frantically at my short, black hair. I’ve only had it cut like this for a few weeks, and I’m still getting used to having it so ridiculously short.
Mel shot up at that, apparently having forgotten about how early it was for her. “Potter? As in James Sirius Potter?”
The hell? “How do you know my pain in the ass neighbor’s dumb name? I mean, I know he thinks that he’s pretty hot shit, but how do you know more about him than I do?” Well, so far all she had proven was that she knew his name, but it seemed like Mel knew more than that. And she was still doing pretty good, having never met him. I hadn’t even known his name until what, half an hour ago? Mel didn’t even live next door to him.
“How do you not know James Sirius Potter’s name? Especially considering where you work.” Mel let out a frustrated sigh when I just stared blankly at her. “Cee, you idiot, you’re working in the Potter’s house. James and Lily Potter.”
My face contorted. “He’s married? How is that even possible? The guy can’t be more than nineteen, max.” Someone hadn’t wasted any time. And if he was married, then why had he been so skeevy around me this morning? Merlin, I was going to have some jealous wife pounding down my door soon, wasn’t I? I wondered how likely Andy was to go along with it if I asked if we could move.
Mel’s face met her palm. “Please tell me that you aren’t teaching those kids history. James and Lily Potter are dead, genius. They were Harry Potter’s parents. You know, the Chosen One, the savior of wizarding kind where you are. The Boy that Lived. Any of those ringing a bell? The guy that defeated Voldemort. Tell me you know who Voldemort is.”
“Who-de-mort? I’m kidding, Mel!” I added quickly, as she looked like she was about to Avada Kedavra herself. “Of course I know who Voldemort is. I’m not that hopeless. But I still fail to see where Potter fits into the picture. You said that James guy was dead. The one that I met was dead annoying, but very much alive.”
She rubbed tiredly at her eyes. “James Sirius Potter is the son of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley Potter. Also known as the grandson of the people who died in the place where you work.” Exactly what I wanted to hear. What were the odds of me being haunted by equally annoying ghost ancestors of Porch Potter?
“Why is it called Prongs Primary then? Their names were James and Lily, right?” I had never heard of anyone managing to get Prongs from either of those names before. Maybe it was a British thing. They did have the strangest names for some things. I fail to understand how we can speak the same language, and still have completely different names for stuff.
“I think Prongs was his nickname or something. I don’t know! I’m not an expert on the Potter family, you just know nothing about them, which I still don’t understand. But anyways, back to James. Do you think you could set me up with him?”
I nearly fell to the ground from laughing so hard. “Set you… Set you up with him?” Another howl. “Mel, I wouldn’t wish the guy on my worst enemy, let alone my best friend. He’s an arrogant creep. I found him passed out on my porch this morning. It smelled like something had crawled inside his mouth and died. And even if he was even relatively less annoying, he also happens to be living in England. And you happen to be living nowhere near England. It’s called time zones.” I fired her own words back at her, smirking proudly.
“Fine, fine.” She brushed me off with a hand as she fought back a yawn. “But do you think that if he shut up and wasn’t obnoxious that you might be willing to have some fun with him? You did say he’s hot. I bet he’s a really great kisser, and you’re in need of-”
My eyes narrowed in a glare. “I don’t need anything, especially not anything coming from a guy, and definitely not anything coming from James Sirius Potter. I happen to be doing just fine, Mel.”
“I’m sure you are, I’m sure you are, babes. You’re a strong independent woman and all that jazz. You go, girl. I’m just saying, even strong independent women are in need of a rebound every now and then.”
Why am I friends with this girl? Why? Is this what I get for waking her up at an ungodly hour? I get to listen to her making the stupidest suggestions known to mankind. “I don’t do rebounds.” That meant having to think about what I was rebounding from. “And I’d rather eat Andy’s socks than kiss Potter. But enough of me. How are you? What are you doing sleeping on your couch this morning?”
Mel gave me a dirty look. “I’ll let that go because I’d rather share my misery with you. I had to move to the couch because I couldn’t sleep in my room. The walls in this place are made out of tissues or something. And my roommate decided to have her boyfriend over last night. You know, this would have never happened if you hadn’t ditched me for Crumpet Land.”
If I hadn’t moved here with Andy, I would undoubtedly be living with Mel right now. And if I was living with Mel, then she wouldn’t have to deal with the friend of a friend of a friend that she lives with. I know the girl must have a name, but Mel only ever refers to her as The Roommate, or My Roommate, so I’ve sort of forgotten her real name. “But if I hadn’t left you for Crumpet Land I would have never gotten to meet James Sirius Potter!” I retorted, grinning.
She wiggled her eyebrows at me. “Oh, you mean James Sirius Potter, your little English stud muffin?”
I shook my head and wrinkled my nose at the thought while laughing. “Go to sleep, Mel. Maybe I’ll talk with you again later.”
“Later Mrs. Potter.”
“Seriously, get some sleep. You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“I know exactly what I’m saying!” Mel protested. “Now, you go visit Jamesie...”
“Bye Mel.” I said firmly before I pulled my head out of the fire. Mel was my best friend, and I knew that she was only looking out for me, but she had no idea what she was talking about. While James Sirius Potter may be hot, I was so not interested, and I never was going to be.
And those were not going to be my famous last words.
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