Chapter 2: Reputations
The summer breeze blew through my hair whilst my foot tapped impatiently on the ground. I’d been waiting for Andy for nearly an hour. ‘Meet me at the top of the hill at two’ he had said to me. Well it was nearly three and he was nowhere to be seen. I sat down on the grass and rolled onto my back. I closed my eyes and soaked in the sun. It was rare for England to have a good summer, and everyone was making most of the sun while it lasted.
I must have dozed off because next thing I knew it was four o’clock and Andy was sitting next to me, pulling out some grass with his hand and chucking it back down. I sat up and rubbed my eyes.
“When did you get here?” I asked him.
“About half hour ago,” he replied simply.
I rolled my eyes. “And you didn’t wake me?”
“You looked like you needed the nap,” he said, grinning at me.
“Well I have been waiting for you since two, you know.” Time keeping was never one of his best traits. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
Suddenly his grin disappeared. His right hand held onto his left elbow and that’s when I noticed the bandage around his arm. My eyes went wide. Was he hurt?
“Are you ok? What happened?” I asked, panicked.
He nodded, “Yeah, I just... I need to show you something.”
Nothing could have prepared me for what he showed me. He unravelled his bandage and slowly I started to see an image, a sort of mark/tattoo on his pale skin. The image started off a skull, a skull with a snake coming out of its mouth. The snake was moving, almost as if it was alive.
I jumped up and looked down at him in horror. “What the hell did you do?” I asked him, my voice so small and quiet, it was trembling with fear.
He stood up too and took hold of my hands. I tried to free myself from his grip, but it was like iron. “Listen, it’s a good thing-”
I snorted. “What? Is it a good thing that you’ve become one of
his followers? Are you insane? Have you completely lost your mind?!”
A look of anger crossed Andy’s face. “The only insane people are the ones that don’t see that he’s the only one talking any sense. This Ministry is letting all sorts practice magic, soon enough everyone will have a wand. Hell, they’ll even let Muggles in our village!”
“Are you listening to yourself?” I asked, shocked. This couldn’t be Andy speaking, surely he didn’t actually mean it.
“I did this for you!” he adds a tone of desperation in his voice. “I did this for us... Look when the Dark Lord will rise to power it will be better to be with him, not against him. You might not agree with his ideas now, but you will see. I’ll show you what he showed me.” His hand holds onto my chin and he lifts my face up to his. His tone is softer, calmer and almost reassuring. “Hey, I know you think this is crazy, but I promise you, nothing will happen to you, to us.”
I wanted to believe it. I wanted to believe him so bad. I wanted to believe that nothing would change that just because he was now a Death Eater he was still the same Andy he had always been. But, how? His good reputation seemed to have shattered into a million pieces right in front of me.
“He kills innocent people...” I muttered.
Andy shook his head. “None of them are innocent.”
I looked straight at him, to see if he felt anything, to see if the Andy that I knew was still in there somewhere. For a moment his expression was blank and emotionless. Then, his eyes warmed and pierced through me. I melted inside, the same way I melted every time he looked at me that way.
“Amy, I’m doing this for you. To keep you safe, to keep us safe.” His voice was so calm, it made me want to believe him.
“Will they make you kill people?” I asked.
I realise now, how naive and innocent my question must have sounded to him.
“They’ll make me do what they think is right,” he replied.
I looked down at our hands locked together. Could I overlook this side of him? Could I still stand by him knowing he was a Death Eater?
“I don’t want you to get hurt,” I whispered.
Yet, how could he be so sure?
“I don’t want you to hurt people,” I added.
He took a few minutes before replying to me. “I won’t hurt anyone that doesn’t deserve it.”
I knew it sounded wrong, I knew I should have run away right at that moment, tell him it was over and never speak to him again. But Andy, apart from my Mum, was the only person I ever talked to in this village. How could I bare to lose him when I had nothing else? If I lost him, I would be completely alone. Fear swept over me. I didn’t want to be alone. I saw what loneliness did to my Mum, how sad she used to get from time to time, how she used to lock herself in the bedroom and cry whilst I banged on the door begging for her to come out. I didn’t want that to happen to me.
So Andy and I made a pact. I would overlook him being a Death Eater if he never, ever talked to me about it. I would pretend it wasn’t there, I would pretend that he wasn’t one of Voldemort’s followers and that he wasn’t hurting innocent people. I would pretend he was still my Andy and that nothing had changed. The fear of being alone and without him was just too much to bear.
The journey to Hogwarts seemed to drag on forever. The boys asked me a lot of question and in return they told me everything I needed to know about Hogwarts: the dormitories, the ghosts, the teachers and the students.
I was slowly starting to agree on the Slytherins being evil, but I could tell their view was biased.
We were about half way through our journey when the carriage door opened and two girls walked in. The first, I recognized immediately as being Lily Evans. She had fiery red hair and big emerald eyes. She was every inch as beautiful as James said she was. The picture really did nothing to show off just how pretty she was. Lily was quite petite but had just the right amount of curves. She was already wearing her school uniform. Her shirt was tucked into her black skirt that fell to a few inches above her knees. Her red and gold tie was tied neatly around her neck and her hair was sleeked back into a tidy ponytail. She looked every inch the way a role model Head Girl should look like.
Behind Lily stood a tall blonde girl. She was quite tanned, obviously having been recently on holiday. She had long platinum blonde hair and thick black eyeliner around her hazel eyes. Her uniform wasn’t as prim and proper as Lily’s. She had clearly rolled up her skirt and her shirt was messy and not tucked in like her friends’. Her tie had been tied around her neck more like a scarf instead of a tie and she had shimmering skin colour tights on her legs. Her long blonde hair reached the bottom of her back, skimming her bum. She was also very thin, and her height only accentuated her long skinny limbs. She wasn’t as beautiful as Lily who was a natural beauty, but nonetheless she was quite pretty too.
The girls didn’t seem to notice me at first. They both scowled and glared at the boys.
“Potter you do remember this is meant to be the Head’s carriage not the Marauder’s carriage, right?” Lily asked him, arching her eyebrows.
“Of course, Evans,” James replied simply. “But since I found the new girl,” he pointed at me. “Remus and Peter helped bring her bags here, and Sirius copied all my key sets this morning, I could hardly stop them.”
James had lost her at ‘new girl’.
Both girls made Remus scoot over. Lily beamed at me and the other girl smiled pleasantly.
“Hi,” she said. “I’m Lily Evans.”
The blonde girl sat down next to Lily. “I’m Steph Richards.”
“I hope they haven’t been bothering you,” Lily stated before glaring at all four boys.
“No, they haven’t,” I replied. I didn’t understand what the girls had against the boys, they seemed nice to me. “They’ve been very helpful actually. They told me about the houses, our lessons, dormitories and generally how the school works.”
Steph snorted. “What? Really?” I nodded. She gave James an impressed face. “Taking your job seriously then, Potter? Haven’t planted any stink-bombs in the Slytherin carriages this year?”
Sirius laughed. “Good memories,” he said. “Sadly no Richards, this year James-y here banned us from doing so. So instead of stink bombs I used a good old school method.”
Everyone stared at Sirius with a wary look.
“What did you do?” James asked, putting both hands on his face.
“I conjured a skunk,” Sirius replied proudly.
I seemed to be the only amused one. I snorted before I could stop myself. Everyone looked at me. “What?” I asked innocently. “Am I not meant to find that funny?”
Sirius was looking at me carefully, probably not expecting me to actually laugh.
Lily turned on Sirius. “Seriously Black, some people would think you’d have grown up over the summer.”
“I know Red, but hey, I live to disappoint,” he replied to her, in a very careless manner.
This only seemed to infuriate her more. “Black, don’t call me Red!”
“Red, don’t call me Black.”
James nudged him. “Leave it.”
Sirius seemed to obey immediately. James got up and walked over to the food table. He picked up a few sheets and turned around. “Evans we have to go through Prefect duties, do you want to do it now, or after the feast?”
Lily looked at him slightly shocked for a few seconds. “Um... now is fine, I guess.”
She got up and joined him at the other end of the carriage.
Steph sat closer to me, her curious eyes taking me in. “So, Lils told me you were home-schooled?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yep, I lived in a small village, all the kids were home-schooled. My Mum just randomly decided to make me go to Hogwarts this year, God knows why.”
“You’ll like it,” she said, smiling. “Hogwarts is like our second home. You’ll get used to it in no time.”
“I hope,” I replied.
Suddenly, Sirius stood up and sat on the other side of me. “Richards, you’re not boring her with useless questions are you?” he asked.
Steph glared. “So what if I am?” She turned to me. “As much as they all seem like perfect gentlemen at the moment, trust me, they are far from it.” I found it hard to believe her. “James is Quidditch Captain and used to bully – Don’t give me that face Black, he did – He used to bully Slytherins.” She glanced over to him. “He seemed to have matured though, let’s hope he has. I don’t think Lily would be able to take another year of constant arguing with him over everything. Not like the other three are any better. Peter always encouraged James, Remus sat by and did nothing and Sirius, well he started it most of the time.”
“We’re not deaf, you know,” Remus retorted at her, looking at her through his book.
She turned to face him with an innocent look. “I’m sorry, am I saying anything that isn’t true? Afraid I’m ruining your little reputation
Remus didn’t reply. He glared and went back to his book.
“Well, that’s your opinion Richards,” Sirius added.
“It’s the school’s opinion, Black.”
“How about we let Amy make up her own mind about us?” he suggested.
Steph shrugged her shoulders. “She’ll agree with me soon enough.”
It was like I was caught between a war. On one side were the boys and their seemingly perfect reputation and on the other two girls who were telling me all these stories. They hardly seemed like the type of girls to make up a story like that. I could guess that there was right and wrong on both sides of the argument.
“I guess if what Steph’s saying is true, then I’ll just have to see if you guys prove her right or wrong.”
Steph smiled. “Seems reasonable, doesn’t it Black?”
“If this is a challenge, prepared to be slaughtered Richards!” Sirius said before shaking hands with Steph.
I could tell they were all friends deep down. As much as the girls seemed to ‘hate’ the boys, it all really looked more like a front.
“So onto the important questions,” Steph started. “Boyfriend?”
A smile tugged at my lips. I looked down at my hands, thinking of Andy. “Yeah, but he’s back home.”
Her smile widened. “Ooh, tell me all about him! Is he handsome, I bet he is! Countryside boys are always so charming. How old is he?”
“He’s one year older,” I replied.
“How long have you been together?” she asked with a dreamy sigh.
“It was a year last week.”
I cringed a bit.
“What does he look like?” she pressed on.
I saw Sirius roll his eyes at her. “Why don’t you stop being so nosey?” he asked her.
“It’s fine,” I replied. “He has dark brown messy hair and dark eyes. Really high cheekbones, um...”
She winked at me. “Sounds like Prince Charming! What’s his name?” she asked.
“What a cute name!”
“Seriously, Richards, I thought you said these were meant to be the important questions?” Sirius asked, looking thoroughly bored.
Steph was about to answer him when Lily called her over. Apparently, being the new Gryffindor Prefect and Head’s Girl’s best friend meant you could get to choose whatever duties you wanted.
“Don’t listen to Richards,” Sirius whispered to me. “We’re really not that bad.”
I smiled. “I’m sure you’re not.”
“Let’s just hope you’re not a Slytherin,” he added.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because then I’ve just lost Richard’s challenge,” he replied simply as if the answer was obvious.
My eyebrow rose. “What, you’d bully
me if I was a Slytherin?”
“Bully is such a horrible word,” Sirius commented. “Pester and annoy sounds better.”
“Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m not going to easily let you bully me,” I told him.
His eyes seemed to sparkle. “Oh, really?”
I nodded. “I’m quite handy with my wand.”
It was like I acted on complete instinct. I don’t think my reflexes have ever been this quick. I saw Sirius reach for his wand out of the corner of my eyes and in a matter of seconds I had stood up, whipped out my own and tied bandages around his ankles, wrists and mouth. He tried to stand up and fell flat on the floor with a loud thud. Remus and Peter both looked at me shocked at my quick response. Sirius seemed to find it funny, he was laughing through the bandage. I could see Steph and Lily looking amused from the other end of the carriage whilst James looked utterly confused.
“I like her,” Lily said whilst Steph nodded.
Sirius managed to use his tied hands to take the bandage away from his mouth.
He looked up at me with a mix of amusement and respect.
James and Lily looked at each other before exchanging a worried look. I guessed the sorting hat had never taken this long to sort someone into a house. I’d been sitting on that stool for ten minutes, and the so called talking hat hadn’t uttered a single word to me. I was starting to doubt whether it was just a very dusty old hat.
Excuse me, who are you calling old and dusty?
It took me a few minutes to realise that was the hat talking to me.
I thought. But you are taking your time.
You have a very complicated mind,
the hat said to me.
I always thought I was quite simple minded,
The hat went silent one more time. I looked over at the two Heads and upon noticing my worried face they both tried to give me reassuring smiles. We were in the Headmaster’s office. I had never seen anything like it. The office was simply full of magical artefacts and paintings. It appeared to be a treasure chest and everywhere you looked you would be able to find something new and precious. Dumbledore seemed to fit in perfectly in the design of his office. His robes had the same articulate and fancy design that recalled the many objects around him. His Phoenix which he called Fawkes stood proudly next to him, watching me with its curious bird eyes. Dumbledore had a simple smile on his face, he didn’t seem to be bothered by the amount of time the hat was taking with me.
Don’t worry, I’m almost done.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. About time.
The reason I’m putting you in this house isn’t because it suits you, but because I want it to change you and I hope that you will let it change you.
Before I could argue and ask what any of that meant, the hat shouted ‘Gryffindor’ at the top of its voice. Both James and Lily were very pleased and I even saw a little sparkle in Dumbledore’s eyes.
“Very well,” he said. “We have our new addition to Gryffindor.” He flicked his wand and my plain black tie changed into red and gold. “Your belongings will be taken to your dormitory and you shall find everything after the Feast. Welcome to Hogwarts, Miss Jones.”
I nodded and walked out with James and Lily.
“Wow, I’ve never seen the hat take this long with anyone!” James said as soon as we left the office.
“What did it say to you?” Lily asked me.
I shrugged. “It didn’t really say much to me at all.”
My instinct was telling me to keep that last part to myself.
“Did Potter go through the school rules with you?” she asked.
“Not really,” I replied truthfully.
I think I heard Lily mutter, ‘typical’ but James seemed to just ignore her.
“Well, some basic rules are not to wander the school at night, stay out of the forbidden forest, don’t attack any other students-” Her eyes fleeted towards James. “-Attend all your lessons and do all your homework. I’ll go through the rest with you tomorrow, I don’t want to overload you with information.”
I could tell Lily was a bit of a goody-two-shoes. She liked to stick to rules and liked other people to stick to them too. Now that she was Head Girl, I could tell that she was probably going to make sure the rules were enforced. James, on the other hand, apparently had a trait for rule-breaking.
Is that why Lily didn’t like him?
My question would remain unanswered for now.
We reached the Great Hall after turning various corridors and flights of stairs. I knew I would definitely need a map, or guide to get around this school. There was no way I could remember where to go. All the corridors looked the same to me.
The Great Hall was really something else and definitely lived up to the word ‘Great’. There were four long tables in the room whilst at the other end was the teacher’s table. The ceiling resembled a starry sky, a few shooting starts bouncing from corner to corner of the room. Candles were hanging in mid air a few feet above the students. It looked so beautiful. All the students were happily chatting and eating away, the first years resembling my face a lot. I would have stared at the ceiling in awe all day if Lily hadn’t nudged me and shown me the way to the Gryffindor table. She scowled a little as she saw that Steph was sitting with the rest of the boys. I guessed they never used to before.
Sirius was the first one that saw me coming and beamed at me. I returned the smile. He patted the seat next to him and I made my way over to it. James sat in between Remus and Peter whilst Lily sat next to Steph, giving a ‘what the hell’ look as she took her seat.
“Why are we sitting next to the Marauders?” Lily hissed at her.
There was that word again. Marauders.
What is that?
Steph shrugged her and stuffed her mouth with food, avoiding a reply. Lily simply glared at her.
“A Gryffindor then?” Sirius asked, whilst stuffing his plate with more pumpkin pie.
“Seems like it,” I replied.
His eyes met mine and he seemed genuinely happy.
Here's chapter 2! I hope you like it :) i love feedback so you're more than welcome to leave any reviews! My Andy is actor Eddie Redmayne