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The Problem With Potter by We Are Padfoot and Prongs
Chapter 6 : Chapter 6: THe Train and The Furious Packing
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8

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It's short.  Sorry.  You can thank Bella Bug and Mischeif_Managed18 that I'm updating at all.  Bella Bug for staying with me and making me feel guilty about not updating when I know she's waiting and Mischeif_Managed18 for leaving a comment spree that really motivated me to get my butt in gear.  Go read their stuff, it's awesome!!! Anyway, enjoy and I'm not JK Rowling.



When I woke up, James was still asleep with his arms around me. I managed to pry them off and blushed with embarrassment at all I’d told him and how I’d cried in front of him. I blamed the Firewhiskey. Stupid Black, spiking the stupid punch. I did my best not to think about it and held in more tears as I quickly got ready for the train. I would retrieve my things, then Apparate back to Hogwarts after the funeral. I’d live on my own now.



I waved my wand and my clothes flew into my trunk neatly and it floated after me. I took a moment to look back at James, still asleep in my bed. For a second, he looked beautiful in my eyes as a tiny ray of sunshine fell on his face, illuminating him. Then he stirred, and I scampered out of the room, banishing that thought. This was James Potter after all; I’d hated him for 6 and half years and I wasn’t about to stop now. Something ought to be constant in my life.



But you didn’t hate him last night, whispered a tiny, traitorous part of my brain. He was nice and kind and sweet and you poured out your troubles to him. He held you and comforted you. He made you safe.



I shrugged off these uncomfortable thoughts and hurried downstairs, leaving my trunk in the Entrance Hall with the others to be carted to the train while I had breakfast.



I was in the middle of my toast and chatting to Mary, Marly, and Alice when he walked in, ruffling his hair sleepily. I froze as James’ eyes raked the table, stopping on me. The expression in their depths was unfathomable, but made me feel vaguely ashamed of myself. Then the moment passed as his eyes continued on and found his friends. He ambled over to them and slid into the bench next to Sirius.






I looked reproachfully at Alice. “My full name isn’t Lillian and my middle name is Katherine, not Rose.”



“Oh, is it? I never did know that!” exclaimed Marly.



“ANYWAY,” interrupted Alice. “You zoned out. It’s almost time to go. Come on.”



We trooped out of the Hall, pulling on our cloaks, and chatting about the party.



“So, did you get your revenge?” asked Marly.



“What? Oh, that.” No, I was distracted about the news that my father was dead. “Nah, I decided that I was too nice for that.”



Marly looked at me reproachfully. “Come on, Diggory needed to be shown who’s boss!”



“Leave her alone Marly.” The quiet order came from Mary. We looked at her in surprise. “What? Nobody really deserves that, even if they did it first. It’s not worth it and it ends up eating you from the inside.” She shrugged. I’m pretty sure I would have stood there all day, flabbergasted at such wisdom from Mary, but just then Filch started calling everyone to the train and we were swept on by a crush of people.



The train ride passed in a blur. At first, I tried to lose myself in the everyday concerns and triumphs of my friends, but I couldn’t concentrate on them. Marly told me that a boy had kissed her, but I promptly forgot who. I couldn’t call the color of Frank Longbottom’s dress robes to mind, though Alice must have described them a million of times. He’d danced with her all night. The number of glasses of punch Mary had drunk on a dare flew out of my head. All I could think about was the reception awaiting me when I reached home.



Eventually, I excused myself, muttering an excuse about Head Girl duties. They didn’t seem to notice anything off in my voice, which I made sound regretful and sorry to leave. In truth, I couldn’t wait to get out and away from everyone, even my best friends. They waved cheerfully and continued a discussion of Ashley Millwen’s dress. I felt a slight guilt surge within me at the fact that I could now lie so easily and that they would believe me. I was changing into a person I wasn’t sure I wanted to be.



I gently slid the compartment door shut and took off towards the back of the train.  I spent the rest of the time on the little platform outside the very last car, sitting with my legs dangling off the end over the tracks and my right arm wound around the railing. My breath puffed out, leaving a smoky trail towards Hogwarts, my safe haven. Only once did anyone find me.



“He’s upset you’re not talking to him you know.” I turned to see Remus standing behind me.



 “Who?” My voice was a bit croaky from disuse.   I cleared my throat.



He walked over and sat next to me, holding the left rail and gazing back the way we’d come. “James. He’d never tell us of course, but I’ve known him for nearly 7 years now. He’s in a pensive mood. I don’t know what happened after you two left, but he seemed to think he was getting somewhere and he lost whatever you two had.”



I stared at the trees flashing by with hard eyes, though I felt my stomach twist with guilt. “What we had was the result of me being drunk and upset. It was nothing more. How could it be?” I turned to stare into his eyes. “I’m so confused Remus.”



He looked at me steadily for a minute, then faced the tracks again. I watched his profile. “I’m sorry about your father.”



I gasped, my breath hitching. I felt tears pour out and freeze on my cheeks. “So am I,” I whispered. “So am I. They’re both gone now. So gone.”



He glanced at me with a calculating look in his eyes. “So is that why you were off this year? You came to school sad.” I nodded, wiping at my streaming eyes with my sleeve. “I’m sorry about your mother too then.” He paused. Then, “Do you want me to come to your father’s funeral? So you can have someone there?”



I considered it. How comforting it would be, to have someone’s shoulder to cry on. “Please,” I whispered. He held out his arm and I scooted over into his embrace. I could feel that it was completely platonic: the kind of hug an older brother gives. I laid my head on his shoulder as we gazed at the receding countryside.



After about 10 minutes, I let him go and he stood up. As he opened the door to the train, he turned back and looked at me with soft eyes. “You should tell them you know. They would be there for you.” He disappeared into the train and the door slid shut.



I stared after the trailing smoke from the smoke stack on the engine and tried to build up my barriers again.






With 10 minutes to spare, I returned to my friends’ compartment, falsely complaining about the length of meetings with a smile. They welcomed me back, detailing what they were doing for break as I quickly changed into Muggle clothes. I didn’t hear their plans.



We hugged goodbye at the station and I walked out through the barrier with my trunk, wondering if Tuney had bothered to send anyone for me. When I walked out, Mrs. Jenkins, our kind old neighbor, was waiting with a hug and condolences. I buried my head in her shoulder and cried, letting myself be 5 years old again, with a knee scraped on the sidewalk outside her door. She would always let me into her house to give me a band-aid and a cookie. She was like my grandmother.



We drove home, talking of innocent things. (I lied about my classes of course. Mrs. Jenkins, like everyone else, thought I went to a boarding school.) When we reached her house, I got out and retrieved my trunk from the backseat.



“Thank you Mrs. Jenkins,” I said.



“”You’re very welcome honey. And if you ever need anything, you just come right on over, okay?” She looked at me with kind hearted concern.



I swallowed a lump in my throat. “Of course I will.” I waved goodbye, dragging my trunk next door across the lawn.



Opening the door cautiously, I peered inside. The coast seemed clear, so I went in, turning to close the door behind me.



“So.” I flinched at the razor blade sharpness of that voice, the jagged piece of ice that replaced the kind, caring words of my older sister. I turned to face her, cringing as though expecting blows. “You came back.” Her voice was steadily growing louder, a sure danger sign. “You have some nerve to come back around here when it’s your fault he’s dead! It’s all your fault, I’ll never forgive you! Ever!” Her voice rose to a shriek and she even drew back and hit me on the ‘ever’. “You don’t live here anymore!” I ran past her, crying, and up to my room, slamming the door.



I launched myself on my black and white bed paisley patterned spread and tried to hold back more tears. I traced the patterns on the duvet, opening my eyes wide and not blinking, trying to dry out my eyes. Suddenly, I surged to my feet. I ran past Petunia, down to the basement. I ran back up, now carrying folded up cardboard boxes and a couple suitcases. I ran back down and hauled my trunk, too angry to do everything by magic. It felt good to work. But by Merlin, I was going to be ready to get out of this house as soon as possible, with its bad memories and the feeling of an unexploded bomb between Petunia and me.



I opened the suitcases, throwing open my closets and dumping clothes in with wild abandon. I looked at the chaos and sighed, taking time to fold and organize my clothes so they would fit. I went into the bathroom, sweeping what toiletries I’d left here into a bag. I returned to my room, packing all my knick knacks, everything from my desk, and anything else in there not necessary for me to live for the next 3 days.



I ran downstairs with another box and ran into the kitchen. I pulled out the dishes, taking half the plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. I took one cookie sheet out of four and the second smallest pots and pans.



“What do you think you’re doing?” screeched Petunia behind me.



I whirled to face her, my hair whipping around. “I’m taking what I need to live on my own, since you’re kicking me out.” My voice hissed out, lashing like a whip. She drew back, shocked. I’d never talked to her like that before, but I was stretched way past the point of breaking. I wasn’t in the mood to be nice. I turned back around, moving through the house and taking my fair share of everything. Neither of our parents had had a will.



At last, I’d packed up all the boxes with what I needed to survive and I returned upstairs. I sat on my bed and looked around my room, bare except for the packed boxes. And that, more than anything else, made me want to curl up and cry. I was leaving this safe haven for a world unknown and that was scarier than any Dark Wizard.


Thoughts people?  I'd love to hear 'em!!!

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