Chapter 5 : Five
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Summer before Third Year: June 20th, 1973
The Potter Manor
As Told By Jennifer Potter
“I don’t think you thought through this very carefully. James, Sirius, and Lily in the same house for two weeks? That’s not a very good idea,” Marlene told me cheekily with a smirk.
I just glared at her.
It was the morning of the third bloody day that all nine of us were at Potter Manor and already I wanted to rip my hair off.
At lunch of the first day, James and Lily got into a deeply heated argument after James performed the Softening charm on the chair he had been sitting on.
Lily was completely against using magic, admonishing James for using Magic and taking advantage of the fact that the Ministry is unable to tell who had performed the piece of Magic.
Right before dinner later that day, Lily, Marlene, and I accidentally walked into James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter planning their next big prank, resulting in more Lily Lecturing and several complaints from Sirius.
Out of annoyance that Lily had interrupted their “epic prank planning”, Sirius “accidentally” spilled some of his water onto Lily’s lap as he walked by her the next day.
Lily had been fuming for nearly half an hour afterwards and made a comment to James and Sirius about how “immature they were” and how “Sev would never do anything like this”.
This had resulted in deep indignation on both James and Sirius’s part, leading to a full-blown argument that nearly lasted for another half an bloody hour.
I was surprised that Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle William hadn’t stepped in yet to stop the arguing. As much as they liked Lily, they didn’t usually do well with people insulting or bad-mouthing James or me.
“I don’t know how I can survive this. If the three of them don’t buckle down, then I think I’m going to cry,” I sighed heavily with a pout.
Marlene threw her arms around me and said comfortingly, “Don’t worry. They’re not going to kill each other.”
“Are you sure about that?” I asked her sceptically.
“Your Uncle used to be an Auror, didn’t he? He wouldn’t let that happen under his rooftop,” Marlene reassured me as the two of us waltzed outside where Lily, Dorcas, and Mary were crowding around what looked like a letter.
“What’s up?” I asked curiously. I took a seat on the grass in front of Mary, as Marlene sat beside me.
“Carol Dowell’s family had been attacked by Death Eaters!” Mary exclaimed, thrusting the letter towards me. She bit her lip nervously.
“WHAT?!” I gasped as I quickly smoothed out the letter, shocked beyond belief.
I hope you’re doing well and this might be a bit of a surprise to hear from me. I know that you’re staying at the Potters so I was wondering if you could possibly do me a favour.
Last night, my family and I were attacked by Death Eaters.
We were enjoying a nice night in before they came barging through the door, scaring the wits out of my family.
I could only thank my lucky stars that we live in the countryside, and thus no Muggles witnessed, and thankfully, my parents weren’t hurt.
I didn’t know nearly enough magic to defend against them but all of the spells thrown by the Death Eaters brought the attention of the Ministry quickly enough, as they were shouting horrendous curses left and right.
I didn’t get a warning from the Ministry for my weak attempts at Petrificus Totalus and Expelliarmus because it was self-defence.
What the Ministry did tell me, though, is that they want it to be kept a secret.
My parents have subscribed to the Daily Prophet because they liked to be informed and the attack wasn’t anywhere mentioned in the Daily Prophet.
I can only guess that the Ministry is trying to make it all seem like it isn’t that big of a deal, but it was.
One of the Death Eaters’ masks fell off accidentally when my dog started biting him and he looked like the older version of Avery, you know, the Slytherin in our year.
That’s why I’m nearly 110% positive that they were Death Eaters. I’m staying at Beverly’s house and I described it to her parents, who are thankfully magical; they knew that Avery senior was a Death Eater, or at least one in training.
Mr. Borris works at the Ministry so he said that he would try to help us all because this isn’t something that I believe should be kept a secret, but he doesn’t have quite a lot of influence over this, as he works in the Department of Magical Transportation.
He said, however, that Mr. Potter does have a lot of influence, even if he is retired at this age.
I hope it wouldn’t be too much to ask if you could show Mr. Potter this letter and ask him to help. I’m currently staying with Beverly and my parents have relocated, temporarily, to Australia, where we have some family.
I’m sorry for ruining your summer with this horrible news, but it would mean the world to me if you could help me out with this one favour.
I hope to see you well and soon,
“Oh my goodness…” Marlene murmured when we finished the letter. “Attacked by Death Eaters...”
“And Carol is a Muggleborn…” Dorcas said with a worrying tone.
Immediately, I jumped to my feet, my heart pounding quickly. “Come on; we need to find my Uncle William.”
“UNCLE WILLIAM!” I hollered at the top of my lungs as the five of us quickly rushed inside the house. “UNCLE WILLIAM, HELP!”
I found my aunt and uncle in the study, right as they were rushing out.
“What is it?” Aunt Elizabeth asked anxiously, checking me over. “Are you alright?”
I shook my head quickly. “No, I’m fine. Uncle William, look at this! This came from Carol Dowell for Mary earlier. She’s a Muggleborn Ravenclaw in our year.”
I thrusted the letter towards Uncle William, right as James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had come running over, looking out of breathe.
“What happened? You okay?” James asked breathlessly.
I nodded. “I’m fine; Carol Dowell’s family’s been attacked.”
“What?” Sirius asked with wide eyes. “By Death Eaters you mean?”
Mary nodded, her face set in a grim frown. “Last night. The Ministry went over and sorted it out but they told her to keep it a secret.”
James snorted derisively. “She was attacked by Death Eaters and they asked to keep it a secret?!” he said harshly.
“How does she know they were Death Eaters for certain?” Remus asked, his own worried expression alight her face.
This time, Marlene explained, “One of their masks fell down when her dog started biting him and Carol said he looked like an older version of Avery.”
“Well, Avery Senior is definitely a Death Eater,” Sirius said with a low and dangerous voice. “I heard the adults talking about when they came over.”
Uncle William heaved a heavy sigh as he handed the letter back to Mary. “Harrison Borris isn’t wrong; I can definitely go talk Gawain Robards because he’s the Head of the Auror Office, but Nobby Leach isn’t going to be easy.”
“But Leach is our first Muggleborn Minister for Magic! Surely he must be with us,” I frowned.
“Nobby has a lot of pressure from the other Heads and his Senior Undersecretary. I’ve been persuading him to get rid of his Senior Undersecretary for ages because I’m almost positive that he’s against us,” Uncle William explained grimly.
“Harrison Borris is a good wizard, isn’t he?” Aunt Elizabeth asked worriedly. “Not that I doubt his or Mildred’s competency at Magic but maybe Carol would do better here with us.”
Uncle William shook his head at Aunt Elizabeth. “No, don’t worry Lizzie. Harrison and Mildred are fantastic. They have another son now whose training to be an Auror so Carol should be perfectly fine at the Borris’.”
He turned back towards us and gave us a weak smile. “Be on your toes, girls. Jennifer, please don’t stray too far. I know you might want to show them the scenery further out but please let one of us or Pinks accompany you. James, the same goes for you. I need to get to the Ministry.”
I nodded, despite not liking the idea of having one of our house elves following all of us around. It would be terribly boring for Pinks.
“Will you be back for dinner?” Aunt Elizabeth asked as all of us trooped over to the nearest Fireplace where Uncle William was preparing to leave.
“I expect I will be a bit late; Nobby Leach isn’t one to be persuaded easily but Gawain should be on my side,” Uncle William said before shooting all of us a reassuring smile.
He tossed the Floo powder into the grate and said in a loud and clear voice, “The Ministry of Magic.”
Aunt Elizabeth sighed as Uncle William disappeared. “Well, that’s that. Do you want me to prepare some tea?”
“Yes please, Mum. And some pastry if you could,” James said eagerly.
Aunt Elizabeth smiled before nodding. “Boys, come with me. Let’s leave the girls in peace,” she said gently before ushering the boys all towards the direction of the kitchen.
I let out a huge sigh as us five girls collapsed onto the couches in the living room.
“I can’t believe she was attacked,” I sighed heavily. “Poor Carol! What a way to spend the summer.”
“The Ministry is barking mad for expecting Carol to keep this a secret,” Dorcas frowned. “I’m not sure why they asked to keep this down when all of the other attacks have been published.”
Lily suddenly said, “Haven’t you noticed?”
I raised my eyebrows; up until now, I hadn’t noticed that Lily had been unusually silent.
“All of the attacks before have been on wizarding families who have ‘tainted’ their magical blood by associating with Muggles and Muggleborns or for supporting them. The attacks on Muggles are also published because we have no connection to those Muggles at all, besides occupying the same living space. This is probably one of the first, if not the first, time that a Muggleborn witch’s family has been attacked, even if Carol is only our age,” Lily explained patiently.
Mary said slowly, “So what does this mean?”
“I think what Lily’s getting at is that because Carol’s a witch, it’s now personal. It’s a statement that Voldemort is going to attack anyone that he thinks is unworthy, even if he or she holds a wand,” Dorcas said heavily.
I sighed again. “I can’t believe it’s so serious already. But why attack Carol’s family? I don’t understand why they chose Carol above anyone else.”
“It probably has something to do with Avery. If his dad is the one that attacked them, then Avery’s probably the one who told him,” Marlene reasoned.
Mary answered, “I suppose so. You girls know how I’m fairly close with Carol. She told me last year that Slughorn relocated Avery to work at her table after he and Mulciber cheated too many times in Potions from Snape.”
“Sev let them cheat?” Lily hissed, narrowing her eyes dangerously.
Lily obviously didn’t like that idea, though I can’t be arsed to argue with her. Frankly, it seemed like just the sort of thing that I’d expect Snivellus to do.
“Well, he probably wouldn’t want to look bad in front of his friends,” Mary suggested.
Marlene shook her head. “Nope, I don’t think so. It’s not like Snape really minds, does he?”
“What do you mean?” I frowned.
“Well, no offense at all Lily, but think about it this way. He wasn’t bothered at all about what happened to Robbie Mitchell and said to Lily that he had it coming, didn’t he?” Marlene started.
Lily sighed. “Yes, but Marls, I told you. He didn’t-“
“And,” Marlene interrupted, “he’s been putting up with all of Avery and Mulciber’s horrible bullying and sometimes participating. I don’t know about his own personal moral compass but he obviously doesn’t mind his friends’ bad behaviour. And even if he does mind, it’s not like Snape tries to do anything about it, does he?”
Lily fell silent at Marlene’s argument. I inwardly marvelled at how she came up with such a good argument against Snivellus though I didn’t believe that he had a personal moral compass.
I observed Lily, though as we all fell into a thoughtful silence.
This subject had been something that all of us had been avoiding. Dorcas, Marlene, and Mary had also stated many times that they wanted to address Lily’s friendship with Snape.”
As her best friends, all of us only wanted the best for Lily.
I just wasn’t sure that the best for Lily was to be associating herself with Snape.
Mary didn’t think that we should push Lily about Snape, as he had been her first friend. Dorcas agreed but voiced her worry that Snape would become a bad influence.
Marlene didn’t think that Lily could be swayed to the bad side, but while she thought that Snape wasn’t worth Lily’s time, she didn’t think that it was worth arguing about.
Marlene believed that they’d fall out on their own, and Dorcas seconded that opinion.
I, on the other hand, didn’t like not talking about Snape to Lily.
All of us were best friends, undoubtedly. It was hard to choose one girl out of the four that I would name as the one I was closest to because I loved them all in different ways.
The thing about Lily, though, was that though I loved Lily, our personalities tended to clash, as exemplified by our first meetings.
There weren’t many things that we argued about. Of course there was always the whole debate about Quidditch. It wasn't that Lily didn't like Quidditch; it was more of the fact that Lily didn't see why the entire school was so engrossed with the sport.
The one thing we always argued about, however, was boys.
Not boys that we fancied, but more as the boys who were our friends, or cousin, in my case.
Conversations about James, Sirius, and Snape usually ended badly, and it took a lot of reminders that Lily Evans was a brilliant best friend to suppress my anger and frustration.
We were explosive, the two of us together. And one day, the both of us are going to explode and neither of us is going to realize what happened.
Suddenly, the world seemed about ten times darker than before as the thought of Carol Dowell being attacked by Death Eaters drifted back into my mind.
Summer before Third Year: June 30th, 1973
The Potter Manor
As Told By James Potter
“Prongs, you sure this is a good idea?”
“Why wouldn’t this be a good idea?” I demanded quietly. “Keep quiet now, Moony or else we’ll never hear what they’re talking about.”
I crept up behind the wall that blocked me from the view of the girls who were gathered in our East Wing sitting room with the boys crouched behind me. I resisted the urge to stick my head out to look at the girls.
“… and Honeydukes! It’s absolutely amazing!” came the ecstatic voice of Jennifer.
I nearly snorted. Honeydukes was brilliant but it had nothing on Zonko’s.
“How come you’ve been to Honeydukes before?” said the puzzled voice of Macdonald.
“Because Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle William took James and I there. And James had some of their chocolate last year for some reason so he gave it to me,” Jennifer explained.
I ignored the exasperated looks thrown at me from Padfoot and Moony.
It wasn’t my fault that I had to share some of that brilliant chocolate with Jen after we discovered our first secret passageway out of the school!
“Lily, you would like Tomes and Scrolls. It’s this specialist bookstore there and it’s simply fabulous,” came the voice that sounded like Meadowes.
I had to raise my eyebrows at this one. I turned back towards my friends just in time to catch Padfoot mouthing, “Nerdy Evans.”
Smirking at him, I nodded with agreement.
It wasn’t like being a nerd was bad, but that was just so Evans-like to be interested in a bookstore first.
“Is it anything like Flourish and Blotts?” Evans asked excitedly. “I simply love Flourish and Blotts. They have so many selections there!”
“Well it was established in 1454,” said McKinnon nonchalantly.
“And you knew this, how?” Jennifer voiced my amazement at McKinnon’s knowledge.
I could practically hear McKinnon’s scowl as she replied, “My mum told me.”
“Oh I miss your mum. She was ever so pleasant the last time I met her,” said Macdonald wistfully.
McKinnon replied, “Ah, well, you’ll see her soon enough. She wanted to invite you all back over to ours after these two weeks but I’m not sure how well that would work out with your parents.”
Evans sighed. “I wish I could but I can’t. I’ve got a math class to take in July.”
Blinking furiously, I turned to Moony and asked quietly, “What? What class?”
Moony shushed me, shaking his head as he nodded towards the sitting room.
“A class again? Honestly, Lils. You’re a witch, not a Muggle. You don’t need to take so many classes!” Jennifer cried with dismay.
“I’m a Muggleborn, Jennifer,” Evans said slightly snappishly. “How stupid would I look when people know that I can’t do basic Algebra?”
“What’s Algebra?” McKinnon asked as confused I was. It sounded foreign, Algebra did. “And who cares? You’re taking Arithmancy anyways. That’ll just confuse you if you learn the Muggle way.”
“Yeah, you bullied all of us to take Arithmancy,” Jennifer muttered bad temperedly under her breath.
Once again, I raised my eyebrows. I hadn’t realized she had been so unwilling to take Arithmancy.
The last time she talked to me about choosing classes, she was reprimanding me for not taking it that I ended up taking it to appease her.
What the hell?!
I resisted the urge to turn back and tell Moony “I told you so”.
Clearly, eavesdropping was a good idea. I learned so many bloody things in the span of ten minutes!
Such as the fact that the girls can never seem to hold one topic for too long.
And the fact that Jennifer didn’t want to take Arithmancy.
And that Evans was really a nerd.
“Arithmancy is good for you, Jennifer. It opens a lot of options up for the future,” Evans reiterated tiredly.
“I know that. That’s why I told James to take it. But I don’t need options,” Jennifer said nonchalantly.
What! What the hell does that mean?
Meadowes asked, “What do you mean, Jen?”
“I mean that I don’t want to work after Hogwarts. Maybe I’ll take up a small post at the Daily Prophet but I want to get married,” Jennifer answered nonchalantly.
“Why on Earth would you not want a job?” Macdonald asked, her voice laden with confusion.
“I dunno. Aunt Elizabeth never worked and my mum never worked. I’d rather just stay at home and tend to the family,” Jennifer answered.
“But don’t you want independence?” Evans exclaimed.
“Like don’t you want to be free of your husband at least in some way? If you have a job, then at least you have something that you can control and something that isn’t taken over by your husband. I mean, why stay at home and just watch the house while the men do all the work? We’re capable, aren’t we?” Evans said passionately.
That was the first time that I felt drawn to Evans, weirdly enough.
I never liked the idea of women working. It wasn't an issue of equality, but rather that it would only needlessly tire them out.
Either way, they were thrown with the duties of watching the house or taking care of the family that it would be better if the men just worked and did the hard labour of earning the money for the family.
Mum had once told me that I should never voice these opinions to females unless the-said female was someone close to me, but I had always believed it was true; Jennifer probably believed the same, as she was a Potter and my kin, who had heard me voice this opinion for ages.
However, the way that Evans was voicing her opinions so enigmatically made me feel like I was a stupid git for thinking that women shouldn’t have to work.
Hearing her talk like so drawn me into her, and hell, I wasn’t even looking at her!
“Of course we’re capable, but…” Jennifer said, trailing off.
Then Evans started speaking again, and I nearly lost control of myself. “It’s about equality, Jen! Just because men may be physically stronger doesn’t mean that they’re mentally stronger! Artemisia Lufkin was the first woman Minister for Magic and she was such an accomplished and amazing woman! Why stand in the backgrounds and let men step over us when we can stand up and fight for ourselves? Of course, I want my family to be the priority but I don’t think you should rule out the option of working, Jen. You always need to have that option ready, just in case,” Evans finished her passionate speech.
I was so overwhelmed by what Evans had said that I missed Jen’s next words entirely.
I was too focused on what Evans said and how it was such a wonder that I hadn’t recognized her fiery and independence spirit that so resembled my own mum when Mum really gets into it.
Never had I thought that Jennifer was beneath me but it had never registered to me either that Jen wasn’t less capable than me at all.
Don’t get me wrong; Jen was brilliant and smart and the absolute best cousin I could ask for.
She was a hard worker, logical, sensible, and reasonable. Never had she been harsh unless it was directed at Snivellus.
Jennifer was the best catch ever for any bloke out there.
Likewise with Mum, I had never thought her to be beneath Dad, as I looked up to them equally and I knew of the love and respect that passed between the two of them.
Mum was the first person that I ever came to really admire.
Even Dad, being the Head of the Auror Office and going through the pains of losing his younger brother, couldn’t match up to Mum.
Mum was someone that always had a kind word. She hated being harsh and disliked the idea of being detached and cold. Mum didn’t like misusing House-Elves and loved to “order” them to rest for as long as possible when they were under less than the best condition.
She also didn’t stand for the blood purity rubbish, even if she still held some of the pureblood values such as believing Magical ways were better than Muggle ways, such as transportation.
It had been Mum who had first taught me not to judge people by their blood status but rather by their behaviour and character.
But all the same, it had always been Dad who had been the Head of the House, hadn’t he? He made the decisions and he decided what was best for the family.
I knew there were strong women like McGonagall who would kick your arse if needs be and there were women like Madam Pomfrey that were just so admirable.
Yet, no, I couldn’t ever say that I had ever had this level of respect for women as I did now hearing Lily Evans talk.
When she voiced her beliefs that women could do anything, I believed her.
I believed her that if they wanted to, they could fly a broomstick to the bloody moon and back without oxygen.
It was almost ridiculous, how in the span of one minute, Lily Evans managed to make me respect women more than the two most important women in my life, Mum and Jennifer.
That had been the first time that I realized how fierce Lily Evans could be when it came to the things she believed in, and it wouldn’t be the last time that I was in awe by Lily Evans.
I frankly didn’t know much about Lily Evans.
I didn’t know her favourite colour, or her favourite food. I didn’t know her quirks or her pet peeves. I didn’t know much about Lily Evans at all.
But what I was sure at that moment was that Lily Evans was an intellectual, independent, and fiery girl with a strong temper.
She would never be able to be with someone like Snivellus, as Padfoot, Moony, Wormtail, and I had previously joked.
That idea seemed so ludicrous, horrifying, and gut-wrenching at the moment.
Lily Evans would never be able to be with someone like Snivellus who not only didn’t appreciate anyone of her heritage and loved the Dark Arts, but also didn’t appreciate her independence and intellect.
Many times before had I heard Jennifer complain about how possessive Snivellus was of Lily Evans and how creepy Snivellus was, and never before had I paid it much attention till now.
Snivellus would never do because he wasn’t her match or her equal.
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