Chapter 3 : Three
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Second Year: September 1st, 1972
Platform 9 ¾: Hogwarts Express
As Told By Jennifer Potter
“Can you please go look for Sirius? I have to go find a good compartment,” James begged me after we soon ditched Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle William. "We'll never get a good compartment at this rate if I have to look for Sirius too."
Aunt Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well and neither James nor I wanted her to see us off because she would be much better resting at home but she had insisted.
I exhaled deeply, rolling my eyes. “Fine. I’ll go look for Sirius just because I need to look for my friends too,” I agreed, slightly reluctantly.
I didn’t like the possibility that I would have to face Sirius’s intimidating parents. When we waved to him goodbye at the end of last term, his parents looked scary.
James threw me a wide grin and he gave me a quick, fleeting hug before flying off into the crowd. I could barely hear his parting words, “Thanks Jen!”
The moment James disappeared, I started looking around the platform. My eyes met several students and adults whom I knew but no Sirius.
“Jennifer!” I heard a familiar voice behind me. Whipping around, I caught sight of Andromeda Black rushing towards me with a smile on her face.
I immediately brightened up and hurried to make my way to her. “I didn’t expect to see you here!” I cried joyously as I gave her a big hug.
As we pulled apart, Andromeda threw me a familiar smile and said, “Well, the ‘rents are making me and Bella say goodbye because it is Cissy’s last year. It’s Reg’s first year so it was ‘important that the whole family was there’.”
She put the last words in air quotes but even with the easy going smile and the nonchalant tone, I couldn’t help but feel queasy.
Bella… Bellatrix Black, now engaged to Rodolphus Lestrange.
“Oh, so Bellatrix is here,” I said in an unnaturally high tone. “Is Rodolphus Lestrange here as well?”
Andromeda surveyed my expression but said all the same, “No, he’s not here but she is. Did you want me to go get Sirius?”
Though my instincts screamed yes, for Andromeda to fetch Sirius while I firmly planted my feet here away from Bellatrix Black, logic told me that it would be hard for Andromeda to find me again in this mess of people, and I had promised James I would find Sirius for him.
Sighing and accepting the inevitable, I shook my head. “No that’s alright. I’ll go back with you to get Sirius. Or at least I’ll stand slightly away so I can gesture to him. It’d be hard for you to find me again.”
Andromeda nodded, an encouraging and understanding smile on her face as she took my hand and pulled me through the crowd.
While I let Andromeda take me, I tried to mentally calm myself to the best of my abilities.
His parents had let him stay with us during the summer, hadn’t they? That must mean that maybe his parents would be-
My mental ramblings came to a stop as the Black family came into view.
The House of Black had many, many different branches and people who belonged on it. There were the ones like my mother, who had been distantly related to Sirius and his parents but a pureblood Black all the same.
Then there were the Blacks, the roots to the entire family tree. Orion and Walburga, Cygnus and Druella, Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa, and finally, Sirius and Regulus.
They were the Blacks and nothing could have made my blood run cold than meeting the eyes of the Orion Black.
I was further than 15 feet to them, where their trunks were being pulled behind them by house elves and where the adults had been speaking to a boy who looked remarkably similar to Sirius.
Fate was funny in ways. In a crowd of people, where I could easily have been the smallest person on the Platform, I met Orion Black’s eyes, even if Andromeda had already let go of my hand and started to make way towards her family.
Orion Black’s eyes were identical to Sirius’s and I could easily see where Sirius had inherited his good looks from. Though he had his mother’s haughty expression and perhaps some of her traits, his looks were all Orion Black’s.
And those piercing grey eyes were even more intimidating on Orion Black than it was on his son. I could see the message plain in his eyes; he had seen me with Andromeda and he obviously recognized me somehow.
He wanted me to approach them.
Taking a deep breath, I started making the painful journey towards the family. Sirius had not yet spotted me, his back turned towards me as he listened to his mother, most likely mentally cursing her as he did.
I also made myself a mental note that I was never doing another favour for James again, especially one that involved Sirius and his parents.
The adults, by then, had noticed Orion’s lack of attention and all of the Blacks had turned to me.
I couldn’t even focus on Sirius’s amused expression or Regulus Black’s curious one, as Bellatrix Black’s sneer and Walburga Black’s calculating eyes were all I could think of.
Instinctively, I stood up even straighter than before and thanked my lucky stars that Aunt Elizabeth had forced me into those extensive manner classes given to young pureblood girls.
She had been right when she said they’d be handy one day.
By the time I had reached the entire family, I was certain that I was trembling.
Knowing that I shouldn’t speak first, I stayed silent. My eyes quickly darted to Sirius, who was still looking like he was doing his hardest not to laugh at me.
That bloody git.
“What’s your name?” Walburga barked. Oh my Merlin, she’s so flipping scary.
Whatever colour was left on my face must have drained out immediately with her words.
“Je- Guinevere Potter, ma’am,” I said, changing my mind at the last minute. It would be better to use real names, as nicknames might not bode well.
“Who are your parents?” she asked again, her eyes focused on me.
From a close up, I could see that she was not a real beauty. Walburga Black did, however, have a sort of charm and certain foreboding charisma that made it impossible to call her any negative names.
And there was the fact that you didn’t want to know what could happen to you if she ever caught a whiff of those negative words.
“Charlus and Dorea Potter, ma’am. They had passed away due to dragon pox,” I replied as firmly as possible.
I resisted the urge to kick Sirius; he was still looking like he was about to piss himself from laughing.
“Dorea Black?” Orion suddenly asked and I cast my eyes towards him, careful not to look him directly in the eyes. Without meeting his eyes, however, it had been impossible for me to gauge his reaction.
I nodded, feeling thankful for the first time in my life that my mother’s maiden name had been Black. “Yes, sir.”
Though Andromeda’s entire family had stayed silent, Bellatrix had still been sneering at me the entire time.
At the mention of my mother, her sneer became less pronounced, though I was sure that it would return the moment I told them what my house was.
I prayed to Merlin that they didn’t ask.
“So what was it that you needed?” Walburga said impatiently, sending a look to Orion that I didn’t quite catch the meaning of.
“My cousin James and I were just looking for Sirius to share our compartment,” I said, dispelling the fear that I was feeling out of my voice.
Being timid and shy and scared wasn’t an image I liked to present to Orion and Walburga Black and certainly not something that I’d care to let Bellatrix Black know.
“Just the three of you? What a quaint little group,” Bellatrix finally drawled.
Oh Merlin's beard…
I resisted the urge to cringe. The way she was talking reminded me of a way I’d talk to a baby. I knew that I couldn’t lie to her; it wouldn’t do to lie.
“I was actually looking for some of my other friends as well,” I said, glancing her way so as to make sure that it didn’t seem like I was ignoring her, no matter how much I wanted to.
“And who are little Guinevere’s friends?” Bellatrix continued to ask, not losing that baby tone of hers. I noted silently that Narcissa was gone, as Andromeda, shooting her older sister warning looks, was alone.
“Marlene McKinnon and Dorcas Meadowes,” I replied, having enough sense to not mention Mary and Lily.
I prayed to Merlin that they also didn’t ask who else would be with us, as I had no idea whether Sirius had let his family know that he was best friends as well with Remus and Peter, both half bloods.
Walburga visibly bristled at their names; the McKinnons and Meadowes had long been known to be the Gryffindor type of pureblood, no matter how powerful of a pureblood family they were.
“Gryffindors. Are you a Gryffindor?” Walburga demanded.
I considered, momentarily, whether I should mention that I had almost been sorted into Ravenclaw and Slytherin before deciding that saying that would seem too much like I was kissing up to their arses.
“Yes, ma’am, I am,” I told her, trying not to sigh.
Whatever slightly positive regards they had of me must have flown out the window at that moment.
“Hm…” I could hear the disapproving tone in Walburga Black’s voice.
Yes, I was a genius.
“Let them go, Walburga. Regulus can find Evan Rosier himself,” Orion said with a tone that meant no arguments. “At least Sirius has enough sense to be close friends with purebloods, even if he chooses to be acquainted with half-bloods.”
Oh Merlin, and there it was.
My eyes darted to Sirius; he had now dropped the amused expression and was now trying not to scowl at his father.
So his parents definitely know that he’s friends with Remus and Peter.
“Off you go, boy,” Sirius’s uncle Cygnus said with a small sneer that reminded me of Bellatrix’s.
Without warning, Sirius grabbed my hand and tugged me away from his parents so fast that I hardly had time to said goodbye.
Though it was probably for the best, as I was not quite sure how I would say goodbye; a traditional curtsy was out of place.
“Sirius, wait,” I breathed loudly as Sirius continued to drag me through people, two House elves with his trunk following close behind. “Oh my MERLIN, SIRIUS!”
I was out of breath as Sirius finally stopped. I noticed the scowl on his face had all but disappeared as he looked like he wanted to laugh at me.
“You’re out of shape, aren’t you?” Sirius finally laughed, taking his trunk from the two house elves that squeaked and bowed low to him.
Now that I was safely out of distance of the rest of Sirius’s family, I could finally notice the several eyes that had been darting to the House elves.
We had several house elves in the Potter Manor, but never had Aunt Elizabeth ever allowed our house elves to be carrying our trunks.
Things were clearly done differently in the House of Black.
“If you weren’t a Gryffindor, then my parents might even have considered you as a potential future wife. Definitely not for me but one of my other male cousins in the House of Black, maybe,” Sirius said casually, waiting for me to catch my breath.
I frowned as I straightened up. Though I knew that in pureblood families (all except for ours and probably the McKinnons and Meadowes family), a spouse was chosen by the parents, I hadn’t gotten the impression that Orion and Walburga Black liked me at all.
“Are you sure? They looked like they hated me,” I told him pointedly.
Sirius shook his head. “Nah, they’re like that to everyone; my mum and uncle probably like you the least but you had their approval, somewhat. Aunt Druella probably liked your manners as she didn’t comment on anything, and being half a Black is good enough to my father.”
“But I still can’t marry you,” I joked, nudging him as the two of us made our way onto the train.
Sirius snorted. “No because you’re still a Potter; Father might be prepared to overlook that and convince Mother to have you marry me, if it ever gets to that in the future, but the fact that you’re a Gryffindor screws it all up.”
“Oh no, whatever shall I do?” I said sarcastically.
The notion of Sirius’s parents arranging a marriage for him was still a foreign concept, no matter how long I had been acquainted with the idea of it.
The first time he had mentioned it to me, it had taken me a good ten minutes to get used to the fact that eventually, Sirius's wife would have be chosen for him.
I thanked my lucky stars that Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle William weren’t like that.
There was a pause of silence before Sirius asked, “So have you got over what happened this summer yet?”
Immediately, my relief that he was a friendly face in the midst of scarily intimidating people dissipated as I glared at him.
Giving him a quick shove, I tossed my hair behind me and flounced away with one last filthy look thrown at him.
“At least you didn’t spend the entire summer being ignored,” I grumbled bad temperedly as I had finally found my four friends in a compartment on Hogwarts Express.
Alice and Emmeline had popped by earlier but left at the, unfortunate, lack of space.
Marlene, who had been completely engrossed in braiding Mary’s hair, looked at me in surprise. “What do you mean, being ignored?”
“Sirius, Remus, and Peter came over during the summer. They were with us while we were at our summer vacation home in Southern France and the entire time we were there, I was completely ignored! It was too bad none of you girls could have come with me,” I said, throwing Lily a significant look.
Since our rough start last year, the two of us had become extremely close.
Now, as long as we agreed to disagree about certain boys in our year, we were completely comfortable with being as brutally honest as we wanted to.
We had both discovered that the two of us were fairly similar in some ways, our love for Charms being one.
Lily rolled her eyes. She said, “I told you, Jen. My mum wanted me to take some courses for me to learn some regular Muggle work. It hadn’t been a bad idea, really.”
“Only you would refuse a vacation at the Potter’s vacation home in France to go to a summer class where they teach you English,” Dorcas scoffed, raising her eyebrows. “If it weren’t for the fact that it was absolutely mandatory that I attend my great aunt’s celebration for her hundredth birthday and I’d be shot out of the house if I didn’t go, then I would have agreed in an instant.”
“I couldn’t believe all of us were busy though!” Mary said with wide eyes as she cautiously felt the braid that Marlene had done behind her head. “Even Alice and Emmeline were busy! That seems too impossible yet it’s true.”
“I know!” I sighed with relief that someone else noticed this. “My Aunt Elizabeth was worried when I told them that none of you girls could go; she thought I was a complete loner with only one friend or something until James cut in and set her right.”
“Wait, so you aren’t a loner?” Marlene interjected.
Scowling, I threw a liquorice wand at her as she and the others laughed at my expense.
“No but really. Lily had her English class, Dorcas had her great aunt’s birthday, Mary was gone with her family on vacation, Marlene, your older cousin was getting married, Alice’s great grandpa died so it was hardly appropriate, and while Emmeline might have rejected me simply because we don’t know each other too well, I know that she was at some Ministry-sponsored program for Hogwarts students,” I listed off, ticking each of them off with a finger.
Lily frowned and said, “You know, now that you say it like that, I can’t believe we were all so busy that we couldn’t even have arranged a day to see each other before the day we went to get our Hogwarts things after the letter came.”
“You have no idea!” Mary nodded fervently. “This entire summer because I couldn’t do magic and I wasn’t around magic at all, I was almost positive that the magic had been sucked out of me until I got the Hogwarts letter again.”
“As if that could happen!” I scoffed, dismissing the idea. “You’re brilliant at Herbology! Who else could be so brilliant at Herbology?”
“Alice is pretty good at Herbology,” Marlene shrugged. I rolled my eyes; that hadn’t been my point, though I knew it was true.
Before anyone could reply, the compartment door slid open.
I blinked in surprise as I saw James and Sirius standing there.
“What do you need?” I frowned. Seeing James reminded me of how much I hated him at the moment for throwing me into the deep end to meet Sirius’s parents.
“Do you have any more galleons on you? Bloody Sirius and Pete had a bet to see who could eat more chocolate frogs at one time and… well, you get the point. We want more food but Remus and Pete didn’t bring much and we already spent the galleons Sirius and I brought,” James explained quickly, his eyes darting to everyone in the compartment, and settling on Lily just a moment too long before he snapped his eyes back to mine.
I rolled my eyes.
They would be able to finish of all the food they managed to buy with Sirius and James’s pocket money, which was not small, for either boy.
Sirius may have a terrible home life but his parents were definitely all about the image. This was proven by the way that he still had tasteful robes and the literally the best of everything even though he was scorned for being sorted into Gryffindor.
No matter how much they hated what he does, his parents still don’t want him going around in robes less than the best custom tailored ones and definitely not without galleons so that he was ‘poor’.
It was supposedly not good for the image, and after meeting them, I could see for myself how exactly that was true.
I did get up, however, and finished my money bag from my trunk.
Tossing the whole thing to James, I said, “I know exactly how many galleons, knuts, and sickles I have in there so you better pay it all back to me. And if I see that you have damaged my money bag the least bit, I’m going to hex all of your bits off, James Potter.”
“Bloody hell, something’s gotten into you,” Sirius muttered with a frown as James took a look inside my money bag.
James’s face, which had lit up with excitement at my money bag, immediately sobered when he saw my dark expression.
He clearly wasn’t forgiven yet for basically ignoring me the whole summer. I must have had bored the house elves to death with my constant chattering.
And the fact that he threw me into the deep end with Sirius’s parents was even worse.
“Are you still upset?” James asked warily.
“Why’d you ask that, mate? Now she will be upset,” Sirius hissed, whacking his best mate on the back of his head.
At this point, Marlene couldn’t help but snort. “So we heard that you boys ignored Jennifer the whole summer while you were all off vacationing,” she mentioned casually, throwing me a wink.
That wasn’t all why I was upset but I could go with that.
“Technically not my fault. Mum and Dad did tell her to bring someone,” James reasoned with Marlene.
“Yeah, all four of us could come, and there are so many of you lot. Why did you all ditch her, then?” Sirius interjected quickly before Marlene, or any of the other girls, could speak.
“SIRIUS!” I reprimanded, not wanting Lily, or anyone else to get upset over his words. “I clearly told you they were all busy!”
The look I gave Sirius obviously didn’t make him feel sorry enough as he just shrugged nonchalantly and said, “Sorry lady Guinevere but ‘tis true.”
“What is ‘tis true is that this lady will be kicking you in the balls if you don’t leave,” I threatened Sirius, though a small smile played at the edge of my lips.
A year now and he still hasn’t given up that nickname.
It wasn’t even a nickname, considering it was longer, more of a mouthful, and my actual name.
Not to mention, in the back of my mind, I registered how my name sounded a lot more pleasant coming from his mouth rather than Bellatrix’s but I glared at him all the same.
James opened his mouth to protest but I quelled him with a look.
The longer he stayed in here, the more risk there was of Lily exploding and I actually liked the idea of having a best friend and I liked the idea of not having to be mad at her on principle because James was being a bloody idiot.
“Fine. Let’s go, Padfoot,” James shrugged nonchalantly. “See you later, Jen-Jen.”
With that, they swiftly exited, leaving the others to immediately turn to me with questions.
“What was up with the whole ‘lady’ thing?”
“You know I saw that smile you gave Black.”
“Padfoot? What in the world?”
I held my hands up, distracted with the questions. I gave them a teasing look as I said, “Ladies, one at a time.”
Laughing, at their response, I calmed myself down and answered their questions.
“James has been calling me Jen-Jen since we were little. It’s a ridiculous nickname but it’s affectionate. And Sirius has gotten it into his head that because he’s special, he gets to be the only one that calls me Guinevere, hence the nickname. As for Padfoot, I don’t know. During vacation, one day out of the blue they just started calling each other that. Sirius is Padfoot, James is Prongs, Remus is Moony, and Peter is Wormtail. And Lily, I have absolutely no idea what smile you’re talking about. I did not smile at Sirius.”
“Why would they create nicknames for each other?” Marlene wrinkled her nose in confusion, jumping the gun at my answers.
I shrugged and expanded, “They were all excited one day about something and then James said he had a brilliant idea at the dinner table before ushering them all away. Next day, they’re all calling each other by those nicknames. It drove me mad till I figured out who was actually who.”
“Maybe it’s for a prank…” Mary mused. “Like how they managed to turn all of the Slytherins’ hair scarlet and gold on the day of the Quidditch final.”
Dorcas slapped her thigh in amusement. “That was bloody hilarious! Davis’ face when he realized that his entire team had scarlet and gold hair and they were playing against the Gryffindors for Quidditch!”
Marlene nodded and replied, “I agree. Those boys are idiots but I have to say, those pranks are good. It’ll never be on us because we’re Gryffindors and Jen’s best friends, but they are pretty funny.”
As the other girls continued to talk about the possible things that might happen this year, I didn’t miss Lily’s hissed whisper in my ear.
“Jennifer Dorea Potter. I know what I just saw. You are one of my best friends- no don’t argue!” Lily immediately said as she saw my face, no doubt ready to argue that Snape was probably her best friend… bah! “Don’t argue about that now! I saw that smile you gave Black.”
“It was nothing! I don’t fancy him if that’s what you’re getting at,” I hissed back.
“I bloody hope not! Because Wayne Robinette broke up with his girlfriend during the summer and I thought you’d like to know,” Lily said triumphantly.
“WHAT?! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO EARLIER?!”
Author's Note: I apologize, first of all, for spending too much time on September 1st. I will rectify that! Also, I have new chapter images, if you want to go check them out! :)
*very important note for Canon-lovers like me: I did change Dorea Black's relation to Sirius because it wouldn't work so well for Jennifer and Sirius to be so closely related. The Blacks are a huge family (I always imagined them to be like House Lannister in Game of Thrones), so this made sense to me for them to be connected with other pureblood families, the Potters included.
Please leave a review and let me known what you think!
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