Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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Whispers followed me as I walked on the platform, dragging my trunk behind me, "Is that Aspen Powells?" I heard one girl say. But regardless of this, I held my head high, refusing to listen to them. I knew it was going to be like this, I knew that they would whisper and ask questions. After all, I was Hogwarts's ex-golden girl returning after three and a half years.
It was in the middle of third year. I was at the top of my year's social food chain. Everybody loved me. They would take my advice without second guessing it, they would copy my style choices. Girls wanted to be me, blokes wanted to date me. But then, I didn't come back to school after winter break, people sent me owls, asking where I was. Even people I didn't know, it was like they were lost without me. Their letters stopped coming after a month or two but it took the rest of the school year for my closest friends to stop owling me. They had given up. Yet, here I was. Back for seventh year with the rest of my classmates. There was bound to be gossiping.
I boarded the train, after putting my trunk on the luggage car that had been added in my first year. The train was pretty empty so far, seeing as it was only about eleven thirty and most people arrived at eleven forty five so I went to my favorite compartment, the second to last one at the end of the train. I was all alone, so I stared out the window of my compartment, fiddling with the hem line of my navy blue dress.
I didn't realize it then, but twenty minutes had passed and swarms of crazy hormonal teenagers were boarding the train. The door to my compartment slid open, causing me to turn my head. "Hey, mind if we share?" A girl asked me, she had light golden-brown hair that fell in perfect waves, much like my own, expect mine was dark brown. She had a porcelain complexion and pretty blue eyes and you could hear hints of French in her voice. Dominique Weasley, my best friend when I attended Hogwarts, the one who wrote me every day for seven months after I disappeared. Behind her were her cousins, James Potter, Freddy Weasley, Roxy Weasley and Louis Weasley. Along with my old friends, Ally Longbottom, Megan Wood, Danny Hansen and Bradley Finnigan.
Suddenly Dom's eyes became very wide and the smile that had been on her face, showing off her perfect pearly white teeth dropped. "Oh my god. Aspen, is that you?" Everyone shut up and snapped their heads up, looking at me.
"Hi ya." I said. Great way to great the people you haven't seen since third year Aspen!
No one said anything, it remained completely silent for what must have been three minutes before Freddy broke the silence, "Long time no see." I smiled a bit at this, I had missed him after I left. He and James were always pranking people, living up to their name sakes and it always made me smile. I was a sucker for a good prank.
James pushed past Dom and sat down across from me, and the others quietly followed. All sitting down and starrng at me. Merlin this was getting creepy. We stayed in that awkward silence with everyone's eyes burning holes into my head until the train started moving and it began making that click-click noise. "I'm guessing you're wondering where I've been." I said, looking down at my feet. Oh look at that, The blue nail polish is chipped on my pinkie toe.
"No shit." Roxy piped up. Oh that's my Roxy, blunt as ever.
I sighed, and looked up at them. "I've missed you guys since I left you know."
"Yeah, I'm sure that is why you responded to our letters. Every single one of them. Oh wait, you didn't." Dom said, clearly pissed off at me.
"Dom." James said in a warning tone.
"I know I didn't, and I'm sorry. But I didn't want to respond until I knew what was going to happen."
"What did happen?" Freddy asked.
"Yeah, mind telling us why you dropped off the face of the sodding earth for three and a half years?" Dom quipped again, her tanned arms crossed over her chest. "Mind telling us why you didn't write us when we all thought you were fucking dead?!
"I'll tell you. Just promise you won't freak out." I told them and they all stared at me, curious as to what I was going to say. I took ones last deep breath, I had been waiting to tell them this since December nth, 2018. "In winter break in third year, I collapsed on my bedroom floor. My parents took me to St. Mungo's and I became the only wizard or witch in history to be diagnosed with Leukemia, a kind of cancer, you know like muggles get? I went under treatment and my parents got me a tutor in the hospital to me what everyone was learning back at Hogwarts. All my hair fell out and I ended my treatment in April of last year, my hair is back and my parents decided to send me back to Hogwarts for my seventh year. So, here I am." I finished my story. They all looked, to say the least, stunned. "I didn't write you back, because I was afraid that I was going to die, there was really good chances that I was going to live. I had a one in twenty chance of surviving. I didn't want to give you false hope, just like I didn't want anyone to give me false hope. And guys, please don't tell anyone else. I don't want everyone knowing." I explained to them, looking at Dom the entire time.
Dom bit her perfect bottom lip that was covered in her favorite light pink gloss, it was called Perfection and she has had it since second year. her eyes found the shiny silver charm bracelet that hung on my right wrist. It had nine charms on it. It was a birthday present from all on them back in third year, just a few weeks before I left. Everyone had given me a charm. A unicorn from Bradley, a smiley face from Freddy, a robin from Danny, big ben from James, an Eiffel tower from Louis, a letter A from Ally (for Aspen, not Ally), a star from Megan, a handbag from Roxy, and finally a heart from Dom with my name engraved on it. "I wore it you know. Throughout my treatment, I wore it."
That seemed to be enough to win Dom over, because she gave me a small smile. "Were all really glad your back Aspen." She said.
"Totally." Megan and Ally said at the same time. Even though all five of us girls were pretty close, Megs and Ally were best friends and Roxy's best friend was in Hufflepuff, while Dom and I were best friends.
"Yeah, we've missed you little A!" Freddy said, slinging his arm over my shoulders. I smiled as he used my old nickname. I was pretty short at five two and Freddy never forgot to remind me of it.
"Without you, its been so weird." Roxy said, giving me a huge smile.
"And after Danny took your place as chaser Gryffindor has sucked." Bradley said.
"Hey my team does not suck!" James said.
Just as Danny said, "Oi! Don't blame this on me, Bradley!"
"Shut up you idiots!" Dom interrupted, "I want to fill Aspen in on everything that has happened while she has been gone." And so it began, Dom started talking a mile a minute about everything that I had missed since I had left. It was a lot. Dom was a huge gossip and decided to tell me every detail.
She was in the middle of describing a break up between these two Ravenclaw kids, "And then he said-" When our door opened.
"Oh my god, its true!" A voice said, which caused me snap my head in the direction it was coming from. Brown eyes met my green ones and the speaker's voice had dirty blonde hair. "What they've all been saying! Your back!" It was Zander, my boyfriend at the time I left school and James's best friend. I was actually only dating him then because Dom set us up, but I'd had my sights set on a different boy back then. I kind of still do.
"Hi Zander-" I began but I was cut off by Zander's lips crashing into mine. I was too stunned to do any thing. But lets just say it felt like a raccoon was fucking attacking my mouth! Then...it stopped.
Zander was lying on the ground, his nose bleeding and James was standing over him, shaking his fist. "Don't you ever touch her again you little bastard." He growled. Holy shit. Then, insanity happened. Everyone started yelling at each other at once.
"JAMES! YOU FREAKING IDIOT! AUNT GINNY IS GOING TO MURDER YOU!" Dom yelled.
"FUCK THAT HURT!" Zander screamed, holding his nose.
"Holy crap!" Danny exclaimed.
"I'M GOING TO MURDER HIM FIRST!" James screamed, pointing at Zander as Bradley held him back.
"If you murder him your going to be sent to Azkaban, James!" Megan pointed out.
"Not to mention my dad will take points from Gryffindor!" Ally added.
This my friends, is my life. "WOULD YOU ALL JUST SHUT UP?!?!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, silencing everyone in the compartment, along with some little second years walking in the corridor outside. "Now, James, why to fuck did you punch Zander?!"
"Oh right, you don't know Aspen." Dom said, sitting down beside me, releasing her death grip on James's arm. "Well, a little something kind of...happened after you left."
"A little something my ass." James said, looking into my eyes. "He called you a bitch, said he hoped you were dead and then started dating Michelle from Slytherin even though you hadn't been gone two days!" He said.
Holy freaking nargels, I'm going to kill him. Not because of the short time it took for him to get over me, not even the fact that he started dating the trashy girl in school, not even that he called me a bitch. But saying he hoped I was dead while I had fucking cancer. That, my friends is crossing the freaking line. No, scratch that. Not just crossing it but freaking running over it and stomping on it and freaking hoping the line goes to hell. And damn it, he was going to pay.
So within a matter or seconds, my fist made contact with Zander's face and blood came gushing out. What can I say? I have a mean right hook. That is what you get when you grow up with seven older brothers who are all muggles, you learn to fight the muggle way. "Go to hell." I told him as he got up and ran out of the room.
"Damn girl." Dom said, popping her bubble gum. "You've gotten stronger since we last saw each other."
"Thanks." I said with a smile.
A knock came on our compartment door and a boy with sparkling green eyes that could rival my own, wire rimmed glasses like his father's and black messy hair like his father's and older brother's. Al Potter. "You guys do know that Zander just ran out of here with blood running down his face and-ASPEN!" He exclaimed. Before I left I was pretty tight with Al. He ran into the compartment and wrapped me in a hug.
"Yeah, I missed you too Al. Now, try not to strangle me!" I said, patting his back.
He gave a little laugh and released me. "Sorry Aspen. Just missed you." He said, ruffling my hair from up at his six-foot frame.
The train stopped a little while later the train stopped while I was standing, causing me to fall into James's lap. I blushed a little, "Sorry." Okay, so I may or may not have a thing have for James Potter. Fine, I've kind of been in love with him since we met when we were five. But I must say I'm pretty damn good at hiding. We lived down the street from each other. When I was five I had started really obvious signs of magic and Ginny Potter noticed it and explained it to my mother, while James had explained it to me. He told me everything about it, about Diagon Alley and the ministry of magic. But the thing I cared about was Hogwarts. Sometimes he would bring out his cousin Victorie and his god brother (or is it cousin? I always forget) out and they would tell me about it. I would ask random questions like if they had my favorite kind of ice cream or if they had my favorite movies there. I was very disappointed when I found out you couldn't bring movies to Hogwarts.
"It's okay." James said as I stood up, giving me a small smile. Oh merlin, that boy should not be allowed to smile like that! Cause I'm pretty sure my heart just melted, in which case I'm going to die because of my melted heart. And then everyone is going to be crying at my funeral because I had just survived cancer and then James will be thrown in Azkaban because he made my heart melt, therefore murdering me. Thus, he should not be allowed to freaking smile like that!
The second we stepped off the train everyone started running for cover. Because it was raining. Not just raining like a nice summer rain or the kind that keeps you inside on a winter day with some hot coco while you watch it and hope it turns to a nice, slow-falling snow. This was the kind that if you were out in it for two seconds you would be soaked to the bone, the kind that came along with thunder and lightning and the kind that left the ground muddy for weeks. All the girls in our group were screaming and running for cover, and the guys were following them. But I didn't. I stopped right there. Not caring if my uniform was getting soaked. "What are you doing?!" James called.
I turned my head, "I haven't felt the rain in three years!" I told him.
"What?" He asked.
"The last time I felt the rain on my skin was when I was in third year. It feels amazing." To show this, I decided to raise my face to the sky and twirl around.
"Your crazy, woman!" James exclaimed, shaking his head, but he was smiling.
"I know!" I said, grinning.
"Come on! I'm hungry!"
"Fine!" I called and started walking towards him. And of course, because I am so freaking clumsy, I feel on flat on my face. Damn it. Within a matter of seconds James which made my ankle hurt a little less.
"Are you okay, Aspen?" He asked me, "What hurts?" James looked really worried. Like, he cared about me. Wait, could he like me? No, Aspen, he is one of your oldest friends. He cares about you, just not like that. But, I really wanted him too. Oh, how I wanted him too. I wanted him to love me, like I loved him. But I knew that would never happened. It was James and I. I was the last girl at Hogwarts James Potter would ever want to date.
I bit my lower lip, "M-my ankle." I said, pointing to my left ankle.
"Do you think you can walk on it?" He asked.
I shook my head, "I don't think so. But maybe if we just give it a few minutes, it will be fine." I insisted.
"No way. If we stay here for a few more minutes, you are going to get sick. I'll carry you up to the carriages. It's not that far, and I've gotten stronger since back in third year." Before I could protest, he picked me up in his arms. Oh merlin, he had gotten stronger since third year. I don't know why I hadn't noticed it before. He had huge muscles.
"Oh my god." I said as he started walking. When we reached the carriages, there was only one left and I saw that there was people inside. James opened the black carriage's door and helped me in. I saw that there was three other people inside and I instantly recognized them. Tegan Chang from Ravenclaw and Lucy Cusack and June Alessi from Hufflepuff. They all looked at me. "Well hi." I said.
"Oh merlin, is that you Aspen?" Tegan asked.
"I think it is, Tegan." Lucy said.
"Totally, she looks the same, just older." June added.
"But, I thought she dropped off the face of the earth!" Tegan exclaimed.
"Obviously, she is back!" Lucy said, pointing to me.
"I'm right here!" I exclaimed.
"Sorry." The three of them said at once.
James climbed into the carriage then. We all rode in silence to the castle, Lucy, Tegan and June all shooting glances at me. But I didn't pay attention to them, I just starred out the window. I had missed these grounds, its hard when your way, knowing that all you friends get to be here, but you don't. But I was back, after three years of dreaming about coming back to this place, it was finally happening. I had missed everything about Hogwarts. The feasts, the ghosts, learning everything about magic, all the insane drama that goes on, hell I had even missed Peeves! And thats pretty amazing seeing as I was the target of at least of half of his pranks for three years.
After ten minutes we pulled up beside the castle. Tegan, Lucy and June quickly got out of the carriage. "Why don't we do a piggy back this time?" James asked, I was slightly disappointed that I wouldn't get to ride in his arms again but I nodded. He stepped out of the carriage and I climbed on his back.
Just before we entered the entrance hall, I got a glimpse of tiny little lanterns on the boats carrying the first years across the black lake. They were probably getting soaked, which wasn't much different from my first year when the giant squid (who Dom and I have dubbed 'Alfred') decided it would be a fantastic idea to tip all of our boats so all the people in our year walked in soaking wet. People still talk about it. We made our way up the stairs and into the great hall.
"Whoa." It felt like I was seeing it for the first time, in all its shining glory. Above us, we could see the rain falling and lightning flashing across the sky, lightning up the empty blackness, followed quickly by thunder so violent it shook the great hall, and I held onto James a little tighter, hoping he remembered how afraid I was of thunder storms. Rain I could deal with, whole thunder and lightning thing, not so much.
"There they are!" Ally cried, pointing at us from Gryffindor table. James walked over towards them, they were sitting where seventh years always sat during the sorting, closest to the teacher's table. If anyone else dared to sit there, they were as good as dead as far as the seventh years thought. James set me down next to Bradley and then sat down next to me.
"Ugh! Why the fuck do we to wait for the stupid little first years to get sorted to eat?!" Most people would expect this to come from James, Freddy, Louis, Danny or Bradley who are all seventeen year old blokes that play quidditch and practice twice a week. But no, it came from Dom, who has to most...colorful language out of all of us. I missed her so much.
"I love watching to sorting!" Freddy said, clapping his hands together like a four year old. Yes, these are my friends. Scary, isn't it that I actually spend time with these people willingly? I have always had a theory that they drug me into liking them. Which is actually not that far-fetched of an idea when you've met them.
"That's it, no more sugar for you Freddy." I told him and everyone gave a small laugh. We all waited as the first years came in, watching and making fun of how small they were. I still can't believe that was me six years ago.
Its then that I noticed it, that the it wasn't Professor McGonagall sitting in the middle of the table, it was Professor Longbottom. "Wait, Ally, your dad is headmaster now?" I questioned.
"Yeah! Didn't you hear about it? It happened like two years ago." Ally said, twirling a lock of her silky, curly dark brown hair.
"No." I shook my head, looking up at the table again.
"How did you not know? It was all over the newspapers." Louis said, "Even my grandparents in France heard about it."
"Because I'm muggleborn and my mum didn't let me get the daily prophet while I was sick." I told him. No one else in our group was muggleborn, Roxy, Fred and Danny were all pureblood while the rest of them were half-blood. It was sometimes hard because they didn't know about muggle things like I did since all of their parents were magical. Like I would mention a muggle band and they would get all confused. But I have this theory (I have a lot of those) that my mum met a dark haired wizard and got pregnant from him but didn't tell my dad. It's because the rest of my family is blonde and has blue eyes, but I have wavy dark brown hair and green eyes. But two of my grandparents have those features, but my theory could still be possible!
A few minutes later Freddy was whispering, "Ravenclaw. Definitely a claw." Dom and James nodded.
"I'll put three gallons on him being a Gryffindor." Megan said.
"No way, I'll bet my money on him being a Hufflepuff." I said.
"How much?" Freddy asked.
"Ten gallons sound good?" Everyone else nodded.
"HUFFLEPUFF!" The sorting hat shouted.
"Damn it Aspen! How do you always do that?" Ally said, shoving ten gallons my way. It was a little game we started up back in second year. We would bet on which house a first year would be in. I had only played it two times but I had won both times. I had a certain skill in reading people.
"And that students, concludes our sorting this evening. I hope all of you first years have a wonderful time in your houses. They are going to be like your family for the next seven years after all." Professor Longbottom said, "And now...we dine." Automatically food appeared on the tables and we all dug in.
I went straight for lasagna, my favorite. None of us talked for a good five minutes, all stuffing food into our mouths. "This is so good!" Dom moaned between bites of chicken leg. When she said it, it showed off her half-eaten food.
"Ew, Dom! That was something I could have lived the rest of my life without!" I told her. She just stuck her tongue out at me.
We were in the middle of desert when someone tapped me on the shoulder, causing me to spin around. I came face to face with an ice cold milkshake. HOLY FREAKING FUDGE THAT FELT LIKE I GOT BITCH-SLAPPED BY AN ICEBERG!!! I opened my eyes to find Michelle Parkinson and her little Slytherin minions, Jackie Holden and Hope Ravies. Purebloods and pure bitches. Haha, I made a funny! Alright, you guys can stop throwing tomatoes at me now! Milkshake and tomatoes don't mix very well!
"That's for surviving cancer, bitch." Michelle hissed. I mean seriously? How much more stereotypical can you get?!
"THAT IS IT!" I screamed, jumping up and ignoring the shooting pain in my ankle as I did so. "I LET YOU PICK ON ME BACK IN FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD YEAR BECAUSE I KNEW YOU WERE JUST DOING IT BECAUSE YOU WERE JEALOUS! BUT THAT IS FINAL STRAW!" I yelled.
"What are you going to do Powells?" She said, the trademark Slytherin smirk on her face. "Give me cancer?" Michelle said, mock-scared.
"Shut up." I warned, clasping my wand.
Michelle gave another smirk, "Make me." She said, crossing her arms over her chest which was actually pretty good considering how much she was revealing.
I could have cast a spell, I could have punched her, I could have bitch slapped her. But what did I do? I picked up a piece of lasagna and threw it at her. And she screamed bloody murder.
Before anyone knew it people were shouting, 'FOOD FIGHT!' Like in cheesy muggle movies and everyone started throwing food at each other. I watched as Dom, Ally and Megan dove for cover under the Gryffindor table (brave my ass) and Bradley, James, Freddy, Louis and Danny started throwing food at everyone else. Chaos had erupted and the teachers were doing nothing to stop it. I'm pretty sure they all learned a long time ago not to get in the middle of a teenager filled room where everyone was armed with food.
It probably lasted ten minutes before Professor Longbottom broke it up. "OKAY! EVERYONE BACK TO YOUR HOUSES NOW! MISS POWELLS AND MISS PARKINSON TO MY OFFICE NOW!" He shouted. I was so screwed. Everyone began walking out of great hall. And I slowly made my way to Professor Longbottom's office.
Twenty minutes after the food fight ended I found myself sitting in a plush red chair in front of Professor Longbottom's huge desk. "Explain yourselves." He said calmly, I guess you had to be calm when you had the Wotters attending your school.
"Michelle threw a milkshake in my face and then told me she was sad that I survived cancer!" I yelled.
"Is this true Michelle?"
"Absolutely not, Professor." She said in a sugar coated voice. Merlin I hate that girl, "I wasn't even aware of the reason Aspen had left Hogwarts. And I just want you to know, Aspen, that I would never say such things. But perhaps you are making that horrible story up about me is that you have a need for attention and wanted everyone to look at you." Michelle patted my hand.
"That's bullshit and we both know it." I told her, tugging my hand away from her evil grasp.
Professor Longbottom sighed and murmured something like, 'Never should have agreed to this.' and then told Michelle that she could go and that he would be in contact with her. She skipped out of the room, but not before saying to me, "Really Aspen, I'd like to help you. In fact, I know a great professional that deals with cases like, you."
"Die in a hole." I responded and she just blew me a kiss and left the room. "She did do it you know!" I told Professor Longbottom.
"I'd like to believe you Aspen, I would, but some things just don't add up. Like, how would Michelle know that you had cancer?"
"Ever heard of extendable ears?" I quipped and he gave me a warning look.
"Aspen, I'm going to have to give you two detention, even if she did say those things, you still threw lasagna at her. Although, I'm also going to be giving her the same amount of detentions." He assured me. And I decided not to argue because I couldn't deal with another detention. "I'll contact you about when and where your detentions will me taking place, okay?" I nodded, "You may go then."
When I got out of the office, and somebody. James Potter to be specific. Just the love of my life, waiting for me. No big deal. Just kidding! OH MY MERLIN HE IS WAITING FOR ME! COULD HE LIKE ME? WHO WOULD EVER LIKE YOU ASPEN?! SHUT UP VOICE IN MY HEAD! I AM TOTALLY LIKED! Yes, I have conversations with the voices in my head, its cause I'm boss. Deal with it bitch.
I gave him a weak smile and he just lowered himself so I could climb onto his back. We didn't talk at all and I just looked around the corridors, smiling when we passed the one Bradley accidentally lit on fire when we were in first year. He sucks at charms, just like his dad.
James set me down on the floor in front of the fire, next to Dom and Ally. "What happened?" Dom asked, not looking up from painting her nails.
"Lets just say I hate your dad, Ally." I said, crossing my arms over my chest and pouting. As much as I hated the fact that I had detention, I was so glad to be in Gryffindor common room. It's where I belonged. I know, I know, cliché much Aspen? But its true, no matter how cliché.
"That bad?" She asked.
"He gave me two fucking detentions! I swear I have to worst luck on the fucking face of the fucking planet!" I exclaimed and a few second years looked up from their game of wizard chess, "Oh like you've never heard a swear word before!" I snapped. When I get pissed off, I get really pissed off. No wonder Dom is my best friend. Were both mentally unstable! I know your probably thinking that Dom isn't that crazy. But you haven't seen Dom in the morning or after a break up or jealous. When that happens, world war three is about to happen. And I haven't seen her PMSing or drunk. I really should get a therapist.
"That sucks, Aspen." Dom said.
"Tell me about it!" I groaned. Eventually, us girls said goodnight to the boys and went upstairs to get ready for bed. I was the first one done with my face washing so I changed into a black tank top and cotton pajama shorts and a pair of UGGs, because all five of us always go sneak down to the kitchens and get some warm cookies and milk down there.
I was walking around the room, looking at all the posters on the wall. There was a few of hot pro quidditch players and wizard bands. Also, there was some of us with the guys. I smiled at one of us on the last day of first year. And then, I came across something.
Carved into the wall were four names, Dom Weasley, Ally Longbottom, Roxy Weasley and Megan Wood. Underneath was written, best friends for ever. My smile grew even bigger when I saw what was underneath that. We will never forget you, Aspen Powells. I guess I was never forgotten. Merlin, I love my friends.
Author's Note: I hope you guys like the first chapter of this story! I got the idea in the shower the other day and just had to write it! I really hope you guys liked it and I would LOVE it if you would comment it on it! It really means the world to me and you can say anything! Even if you say, 'Cool story dude!' its awesome to get them! And I can totally take constructive criticism if you have ANY! Also, I'm american so if you could spot that, I'm sorry and I'm trying to get in the mind of a british person, but it can be sort of hard for me! Plus, I'm not a cancer survivor myself (but my friend is) so if I mess up on any of the facts, I'm very sorry! Please leave a review! I'll love you!
P.S. If I have offended anyone with this, I'm very sorry!
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