Chapter 1 : Meeting the Muggle
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It started the summer after fifth year. It was about two weeks into the holidays and James was already bored out of his mind. The novelty of being at home had worn off and the longing for the banter of Hogwarts had begun. All of his friends were busy or away leaving James with no company but his family.
His best friend and cousin, Fred was working in Uncle George’s shop, helping him to create new magical pranks. James would have loved to join him but Ginny said under no circumstances was he old enough to be experimenting with George. Uncle George had tried to convince her but being her brother; he knew when enough was enough.
‘Sorry, mate, I don’t think we’re going to get around her,’ George apologised. ‘She threatened me with a bat bogey hex if I asked again.’ George shuddered.
James’ friend and roommate Ryan Lynch was home in Ireland so he couldn’t visit him. The fourth member of their group, Thomas Wright was gone camping with his family. He was muggle born and the idea of sleeping in a non magical tent on the cold, hard ground baffled James, Fred and Ryan. Tom had just shrugged and said it’s what muggles do.
Even James’ cousin Dominique was away. She was spending the summer in France with her mother’s family. Surprisingly, Fred, Dominique and James were the best of friends. They were all the same age and had bonded at a young age over their mutual love of pranks and Quidditch.
‘Mum, I’m bored,’ James whined flinging himself on the couch next to Albus who was reading. Mum looked up from the article she was writing and gave him a withering look.
‘Honestly, James, how old are you?’ she asked. ‘Do you expect me to entertain you? Why don’t you and Al do something?’
‘I’d rather not,’ Albus called out without looking up from his book. ‘No, I’d rather not,’ James snapped in a pathetic attempt at a retort. Ginny rolled her eyes at her sons. She was used to them fighting. The brothers often got on quite well but they had been spending too much time together recently so their patience for one another was wearing thin.
‘Can I go into Diagon Alley?’ James asked cautiously. This was what he was waiting to ask in the first place. Fred had owled him that morning to see would James meet him during his lunch break as he had something new from the shop to show him. James hoped it would be something they could use to prank once they got back to school.
‘No James, I have too much to do to be bringing you to Diagon Alley.’
‘I can go on my own.’
Ginny laughed. ‘Not a chance, Jamie. Sixteen is too young to be going to London on your own.’
Typical; James was expecting this. He felt as though his parents had no perspective of age. When they were James’ age they were fighting dark wizards every second day. His dad was only a year older than him when he went on the run and killed Voldemort. James very much doubted there was anyone telling them they were too young.
‘I’m not a child,’ he countered.
‘I know you’re not. But you’re not an adult either.’
‘You’re the worst.’
James stormed out of the house then. He didn’t really know where he was going as he had no plans. He made my way towards the village of Godric’s Hollow. The Potters lived in a house that was invisible to muggles and other wizards unless they knew of its existence on the outskirts of Godric’s Hollow. Harry said it was for their protection due to his line of work. Personally, James guessed it was to keep the press out. Harry would never say that though. He liked to pretend he isn’t famous.
James reached the village rather quickly and found he was at a loss for what to do then. He passed the church and graveyard where his grandparents were buried. He made my way to the far side of the village where the statue of his dad and his parents stood next to the small cottage where they lived. The house can only be entered by a certain few people. His dad is one of them. He goes down there every now and then and just sits there. Sometimes he spends hours there. James had once asked his Mum what he does there when he was younger and she said he thinks about life. He had brought James there a few times. He never knew what to say or think when he was there.
James would never visit the house alone. As far as he was concerned it was his Dad’s territory.
Eventually, James ended up in the muggle part of town. He didn’t often go there as he preferred to stay in the wizarding area where things were more familiar. There was no official line dividing the muggle area and the magical one. The muggles didn’t even realise their town was split in two.
The muggle part of town was a lot busier. People casually strolled down the street in the afternoon heat stopping to chat with neighbours and friends along the way. The cobbled street was lined with quaint looking shop fronts on either side; a newsagents, a butchers, a library and a pub. People were sitting outside the local café enjoying the sun.
James felt out of place. He had lived in Godric’s Hollow for his whole life yet he rarely ventured into the muggle area. The odd person would give him a strange look, probably wondering who he was while others smiled politely at him. He knew he didn’t belong there.
Eventually he arrived at the small park. He sat down on one of the benches in the shade. A few children were running around while their parents watched them idly. James used to come there often when he were younger. His dad would take them and he would make up elaborate imaginary games for them. One day Lily would be the princess who needed saving from the evil dragons played by Al and James. Another day they would be the Hogwarts founders, running around casting pretend spells on one another.
Something suddenly hit me on the back of the head snapping him from his memories and bringing him back to the present. James jumped up from the bench to see what it was. A bright green ball about the size of an orange had hit him. James picked it up and examined it. It was a disgusting colour. What muggle sport required the use of a ball that small?
‘Fancy throwing that over here?’
James whipped my head around to see who was calling to him. When he saw her his breath was taken from him. His heart started beating wildly.
She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. She had long, light brown hair scraped back in a high ponytail. Her large eyes were a deep shade of blue and were framed by long dark lashes that almost touched her thick yet perfectly shaped eyebrows. She had a heart shaped face with a small nose littered with a light dusting of freckles. Her lips were plump and parted slightly to reveal a slight gap between her front teeth.
‘Eh – what – but – ca – hi,’ he stammered. James mentally chastised himself. Had he lost all functioning speech capabilities? The girl looked at him curiously. She raised one eyebrow and the side of her mouth quirked upwards.
‘Hi,’ she said. Even her voice was beautiful. ‘I’m sorry I hit you. Could I have my ball?’
‘Eh… sure,’ he said handing her the florescent ball. ‘Funny colour that.’
She narrowed her eyes at him and her mouth twitched yet again. ‘It’s a tennis ball,’ she said in an amused tone.
‘Ah, yes,’ James said rather dumbly. ‘I love tennis.’ The girl’s mouth broke into a grin.
‘Really?’ she smiled. ‘I was playing over on the courts but my partner had to leave. Fancy a game?’
‘Sure,’ James said before he could think about it. Now he was going to make a fool of himself playing this muggle sport he’d never even heard of.
He had never been able to play any muggle sport. He had tried. On the rare occasions when Harry made them visit his horrible muggle relatives the boys would always make Al and James play football. They’d stand around awkwardly as Dudley’s horrible offspring would laugh at them for not knowing how to play. They thought the Potter’s were weird for not having mobiley fellytones or a compute machine thing. They laughed at them for a good hour the time James and Al had attempted to play on their gamebox that hooked up to the telly box.
‘Are you coming?’ the girl smiled at James snapping him out of his thoughts. He grinned widely at her and started following her.
‘So what’s your name?’ she asked casually. ‘I think I’ve seen you around before. You live outside of town, right?’
She knew who he was. That meant she’d noticed him before. Merlin, why hadn’t James seen her before?!
‘Yeah, I do. I’m James. James Potter.’
‘I’m Alana Carroll.’ Alana. What a beautiful name a perfect name for the Goddess, thought James.
‘You don’t go to the local school, do you?’ she asked.
James shook his head. ‘No, I go to eh… boarding school in Scotland.’
‘Wow, what’s that must be hard; being away from your family for so long.’
‘Not really,’ he shrugged. ‘I have my friends and all of my cousins are either in my school or they went there at one point’
‘That’s really bizarre. That your whole family goes to the one school.’
‘My family on both sides has been going there for generations so I never thought it was weird.’
‘Boarding school must be so much more exciting than regular school,’ Alana said wistfully.
James shrugged. ‘School is school no matter where it is.’ Alana laughed. Merlin, she had a gorgeous laugh. James had caused that. He didn’t know why but that thought seemed to fill him with happiness.
Something started buzzing in the pocket of Alana’s jeans. She took out a fellytone and read something quickly. ‘I’m sorry James, I’ve got to go.’
‘No tennid today then?’ he asked.
Alana raised an eyebrow. ‘Tennid?’ He could feel his cheeks reddening. Now he’d gone and made a fool of himself in front of her.
‘Can I have your number?’
‘Uh, I don’t have a fellytone…’
‘Fellytone?’ Alana said confused. Was that the wrong word? James wracked his brains for the correct word but he came up blank. Now he’d gone and made a fool of himself in front of Alana.
‘Telephone number?’ she said slowly. ‘You don’t have a phone.’
James shook my head. Alana looked at him curiously. ‘Why don’t we arrange to meet again? Like people did before phones.’ James agreed hastily, willing to do anything to see her again.
‘Let’s meet here tomorrow at half past two?’ suggested Alana.
‘It’s a date.’
He did not just say that. It is not a date. It is two people who don’t know each other – ‘Great, a date!’ Alana said grinning at him. ‘I’ll see you around James.’
James was in shock for the rest of the afternoon. He felt like he was floating. He couldn’t stop thinking about Alana. Her smile, her hair, her laugh… Everything about her was divine.
‘What’s wrong with James?’ Lily hissed at Al at dinner that night. James was staring into space pushing peas around his plate, lost in thoughts about Alana. Al shrugged. ‘He’s been like that all afternoon.’
‘I know that face,’ laughed Mum. Lily, Al and Dad all looked at her curiously. ‘He’s met a girl,’ she stated simply. Lily and Al started laughing.
‘Mum, you’re not in Hogwarts with him,’ Lily explained. ‘James has a new girl nearly every week and I’ve never seen him like this.’ Mum and Dad exchanged glances.
‘I can hear you all, you know,’ James said.
‘Then tell us, is it a girl?’ demanded Lily.
‘Where would he even meet a girl, Lil?’ Al said. ‘We’re nowhere near anyone our age who isn’t related to us.’
‘I’m not telling you,’ James said.
‘He has met a girl!’ squealed Lily excitedly.
‘No I haven’t!’ James said frustrated now.
He got up from the table. ‘Dad, could I talk to you?’ James said quietly. Harry gave James a knowing look and followed James into the living room.
‘What is it, Jamie?’ he asked once James had closed the door.