Chapter 1 : Chapter 1: Meeting of Legends
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Chapter one: Meeting of Legends
It was a relatively warm day, September the first 1971. A family of three hurried along the platform of King’s Cross Station, a black haired boy with brown eyes, looking well cared for, along with his parents, a tall man almost identical to him, but with a smattering of grey in his black hair, and bright blue eyes rather than brown, and a woman with attractive, regal features and thick, dark hair, stood either side of him, half pulling, half carrying him along, a trolley with a trunk and a large tawny owl bouncing along behind them.
“We’re late,” Charlus Potter said urgently. “It won’t do you any good to be late for the train on your first day.”
“Charlie!” Dorea Potter chastised. “You’ll make him nervous!” James had been watching his parents argue like this all the way from his home in Kent. It was like watching a very fast pair of beaters smashing a bludger to one another.
“I’m not nervous,” he piped up. “We’ve still got…” he checked his watch, “five minutes,” he finished quietly. “We should probably run though.”
“We are running Jamie,” Dorea reminded him. “Here we are…” They were standing just in front of the barrier between platforms nine and ten.
James’s parents hadn’t told him much about Hogwarts-they said they wanted it to be a surprise. So what they were doing staring at a brick wall was utterly beyond him.
“Urm…” he said slowly, but his mother interrupted him.
“No time Jamie,” she said quickly. “Charlie, you go first.” Charlus nodded and strode forward. James thought he must’ve blinked, because his father had just disappeared before his very eyes. “Right, come on,” said Dorea, gripping James’s arm so tightly it hurt and dragging him and his trolley towards the solid brick wall.
Well, James thought to himself. Mothers finally gone mental. It seemed they were both going to slam into the wall, but as they reached it, they simply carried on straight through, reappearing on the other side, on a platform next to a gleaming scarlet steam engine.
“Wow,” whispered James, awestruck. He was unconsciously clinging onto his mother’s arm as he looked around, wide eyed at the platform they’d gotten to. An elegantly wrote sign bore the legend ‘Platform Nine and Three Quarters.’ People, nearly all of them witches and wizards, were milling around, waving goodbye and greeting their friends.
Not that James had any friends to greet-his parents owned a fairly large manor house far from any villages or towns, so there were no children anywhere near his age for miles. Privately, he felt particularly nervous, although he’d never tell either of his parents that.
“This is it Jamie,” said Charlus Potter, who was standing waiting for them. “I’ll help you get that trunk on the train.” He took the trolley gently from his son and wheeled it over to the red train. A young woman, with fiery red curls, was yelling at two twins, who appeared to be her brothers. They had brown hair as opposed to their sister’s violent red.
“I mean it Fabian,” she said menacingly. “If we get one more letter home, I’m not covering for you again. Mum and Dad will kill you.”
“Ah lighten up Molls,” said the first twin, apparently Fabian.
“Yeah, we’ll be good. It’s our O.W.L year after all,” the second twin added.
“And you’d better belief it, Gideon,” she replied, jabbing him sharply in the chest. “I’ve got to go, Mum’s looking after Bill and I don’t know what she’ll say if I’m late.”
“I can do an impression?” suggested Gideon, chuckling. Molly’s yells at her brother were drowned out by the crowd as Dorea ushered James on.
“Was that Molly Prewett?” Charlus asked curiously.
“Weasley,” corrected Dorea. “She married that nice boy Arthur, they have a son,” she explained. “They were her brothers I think. Gideon and Fabian, right pair of trouble makers Minerva tells me.”
“They’ll have their work cut out competing with James,” smiled Charlus, ruffling his son’s hair affectionately. “Remember son, hex as many Slytherins as you can, once you follow your parents into Gryffindor.”
“I was in Ravenclaw sweetheart,” Dorea reminded him. “But we’ll be proud of you whatever house you’re in,”
“As long as it’s not Slytherin,” joked Charlus. James laughed with his father-he knew he wouldn’t be in Slytherin-he wasn’t cunning or anything. “You’d better get on board,” his father added, leaning down and hugging his young son. “Have a great time son.”
“We’ll see you at Christmas,” Dorea said, her voice slightly muffled.
“Bye James,” said Charlus, as James hugged him. "Don’t duel anyone until you can win, and don’t let anybody wind you up. Actually, don’t wind anybody up,” he corrected himself, grinning.
“Be good James,” warned his mother, kissing him on the cheek. “Have fun!” she called as he jumped on the train. He dragged his trunk and owl into an almost empty compartment-everywhere else appeared full. The only occupant was a gently snoring, sandy haired boy, whose rather shabby trunk indicated his name was R.J Lupin.
Shrugging, James plonked himself down opposite the boy and rummaged in the pocket of his jacket for his copy of Quidditch weekly.
He didn’t have long to read it, however, as just as the train was moving out of Kings Cross, and as James waved frantically at his rapidly shrinking parents, the compartment door opened and two more boys came in, making a rather loud noise as they did.
“Stop FOLLOWING me!” yelled the taller of the two, a rather handsome, arrogant looking boy with thick black hair carelessly framing his face.
“I’m not!” insisted the smaller boy, this one round faced and slightly podgy with watery eyes. “There’s no free compartments!” he whined.
“Yeah well neither is this one,” hissed the dark haired on. He turned to James. “Mind if I join you and sleepy?” he asked, grinning.
“Feel free,” chuckled James. “He’s not gonna wake up any time soon, I could do with the company.” He stuck out his hand. “James Potter.”
“Sirius Black,” the taller boy replied, shaking James’s hand. “I’d introduce you to him,” he added, nodding towards the plump, watery eyed boy, “but I’ve got no idea who he is.”
“I’m Peter,” squeaked the plump boy quickly. “Peter Pettigrew. And I don’t need you to introduce me,” he added, glaring at Sirius. Sirius merely shrugged and sat down opposite James.
“You can stay if you like,” James said cheerfully. “The more the merrier.” Sirius didn’t look like he particularly agreed, but didn’t say anything. Peter looked almost overjoyed to be accepted, and sat down next to James. “Anyone play exploding snap?”
They played the card game without incident for quite a while, until Peter messed up, causing his eyebrows to burn off with a colossal bang, coating him in soot. The sandy haired boy, Lupin, jumped awake.
“Morning sleepy head,” said Sirius, grinning and ruffling his hair. “Nice of you to join the land of the living.” Lupin mumbled something incomprehensible in reply.
“I’m James Potter,” James said quickly, holding out his hand. Sirius and Peter both introduced themselves.
“R-R-Remus Lupin,” yawned the sandy haired boy. “Oh, you’re playing exploding snap?”
As it turned out, Sirius was brilliant at exploding snap-despite his claims he’d never played it before.
Halfway through their second game, they were interrupted. They’d just pulled out of the city and the industrial landscape had been replaced by green fields and trees. It was beautiful.
Almost half as beautiful as the girl who’d just walked in and sat down. James had to fight his jaw dropping. He was only eleven, but he’d never seen a girl so pretty. Her eyes were emerald green, and perfectly almond shaped. Her flowing red hair framed her delicate face perfectly.
What the hell was wrong with him? He shook his head slightly, trying to rid himself of the confusing thoughts. He decided to do what any eleven year old boy would do in his situation.
Which was to ignore her as best he could and try to be as funny as possible with his new friends, of course that would charm her, why wouldn’t it? It was then he noticed her companion-a greasy haired, hook nosed boy with pale skin and a miserable expression.
James didn’t like him.
The pair of them were muttering about something, when James heard the words “You’d better be in Slytherin,” from the greasy haired kid, who he’d kindly christened ‘Slimeball’ in his head. In the future, James would admit that the following conversation got him off to a total disaster. He didn't seem to think all through it, and found himself disapointed when the girl left-although he didn't complain about slimeball.
“See you later Snivellus!” Remus shouted as they left, and the four boys roared with laughter.*
“What a miserable git,” Sirius chuckled. “He could really use some shampoo.”
“Did you see the size of his nose?” Remus laughed. “He should keep it out of other people’s business.” The others nodded in agreement. James was keeping fairly quiet-he was still smitten by the red haired girl.
“And the girl!” piped up Peter. “Snivellus insulted you, she had no right to be annoyed the miserable-”
“Pretty girl though,” interrupted James quietly. Sirius wolf whistled, and James threw a chocolate frog wrapper at him.
“Woah, only joking,” grinned Sirius. “Though whatever house I’m in, I hope they’re not in it,” he said fervently. “What about you two, where are you two wanting to go?”
“I’ll probably be in Hufflepuff,” said Peter gloomily. “My Uncle Stanley keeps telling me I’m a right pillock.”
“I got that impression,” muttered Sirius quietly, so Peter couldn’t hear. James managed to disguise his laughter behind a cough. “So Remus,” said Sirius loudly this time. “What about you?”
“Well, my Dad was in Ravenclaw, and my mother was in Gryffindor,” he replied. “So either of them would be good.”
“Personally, I just hope we’re all together,” Peter commented.
James couldn’t help but feel the same-it’d be a shame to break up the already forming friendships blossoming between them.
They passed the rest of the time eating the mass of food James and Sirius had bought from the trolley, playing more games of exploding snap and generally messing about. In fact, they barely noticed that they were approaching Hogwarts, and when a prefect warned them to put their school robes on, they had to do it so quickly that Peter fell over and knocked a tooth out on the compartment door.
“It hurt,” he protested as they disembarked the gleaming red engine. “You shouldn’t laugh!”
“It was funny,” said Remus fairly as James and Sirius howled with laughter. James felt that was an understatement-it’d been utterly hilarious in his mind. Their laughter was cut short, however, by the enormous shadow that was suddenly cast over them. James swallowed and looked up nervously. A wild, fierce looking man with a tangle of wiry black hair and beetle black eyes stared back at him.
“Yers mus’ be firs’ years,” he said cheerfully. “I’m Hagrid, the gamekeeper here. Follow me now!” he boomed, and the other first years scurried towards him. “You must be a Potter?” he asked James pointedly.
“Yes sir,” squeaked James nervously. He could feel himself blush-how did this giant know who he was?
“Call me Hagrid,” Hagrid replied. “I knew yer father see,” he explained, patting James on the back so hard his knees buckled. “Wen’ ta school with him,” he said, nodding sagely. “Anyway, best get yers to the boats,” he said bracingly.
“Boats?” squeaked Peter nervously. “I can’t swim.”
“Well don’t fall in?” suggested Sirius. That, thought James, was looking like it might be easier said than done. The rain was starting to fall quite heavily, and the wind had been howling for hours. They were right in a storm. His confidence was hardly inspired when he saw the boats-tiny little paddle boats that looked absolutely ancient.
“Well Peter,” said Remus solemnly. “It was nice knowing you.” Peter didn’t respond-merely squeaked in fear. James felt quite sorry for him, and was privately very glad that his parents had taught him to swim, though he wasn’t sure how much good it would do him if he fell into the whirling maelstrom that was now the lake.
“Rough night,” said Hagrid cheerfully. “Alrigh’, four te a boat now, hurry up or we’ll miss the feast!” The mention of food seemed to spur the first years on, and soon the four boys were crammed into one of the tiny boats. A short distance away, James could see Slimeball and the red haired girl in a boat with a round faced girl and a vacant looking blonde boy. He found himself wondering whether the giant squid was real or not.
“Do we have to row?” said Sirius indignantly. “I don’t want to row!” At this point Hagrid tapped his own boat with a flowery pink umbrella (James looked several times, it definitely was an umbrella) and the little fleet of boats moved off in unison, over the stormy lake. Peter was looking pretty green.
“Look on the bright side,” James shouted over the wind.
“What?!” snapped Peter. “What bright side is there to this?” he yelled as the boat rocked ominously as another large wave hit it.
“It can only get better?” suggested Remus, who, apart from gripping the side of the boat very tightly, looked completely unperturbed by the swirling, crashing, freezing water surrounding them.
“Small bloody comfort,” Peter replied. “Wow…” he said softly. The others turned around, and James felt his jaw drop. Even silhouetted by the storm, Hogwarts castle looked magnificent, and slightly ominous.
“Bloody brilliant,” said Sirius softly. He seemed the most awestruck out of the four. “I’ll never forget that as long as I live.” The boats continued on under a rocky shelf, which they had to duck under, into a cavern. It was a relief to get out of the rain, that was for sure. They disembarked beside a ledge and clambered up a flight of stairs into what appeared to be the entrance hall. A rather stern looking, black haired witch with emerald green robes was waiting for them.
“Got the first years for ye’, Professor,” Hagrid said cheerfully.
“Thank you Hagrid,” said the witch curtly. She turned to the students. “I am Professor McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress, head of Gryffindor house and transfiguration teacher. In a few moments, I will lead you into the great hall, where you will be sorted into your houses. For those of you who don’t know, the four houses are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.” There was a murmur of interest, particularly from the muggle borns in the crowd. The witch stalked through the great double doors at the end of the hall, and James got a glimpse of an even larger room, full of students.
“She’s scary,” Peter remarked quietly. “Wouldn’t want to cross her.” Lupin nodded fervently, and while James privately agreed, he couldn’t help but catch Sirius’s mischievous eye.
“James? James Potter?” said a familiar voice. James spun around, and found himself facing a boy with a round face and short, curly hair. “It is you,” he said, grinning.
“Frank Longbottom,” said James brightly, shaking the boy’s hand. “I haven’t seen you in years. How’s your folks?” Charlus Potter and Graham Longbottom, Frank’s father, worked as Aurors together under Mad Eye Moody. James and Frank had been close friends when they were younger, until the Longbottoms moved out of London.
“Fine, all fine,” Frank said, smiling. “Mum still worries, but you know how it is.” James grinned and nodded, but his reply was cut short by McGonagall’s return.
“You're to come through now,” she said briskly. The babbling from the first years ceased, and they followed the deputy headmistress into the hall. It was like nothing James had ever seen-the ceiling appeared to open to the heavens themselves, candles floated in mid-air, gold and silver plates lined the tables. James had seen magic throughout his life, as well as riches, but never had he seen them combined so breathtakingly.
“It’s not actually the night sky,” commented Sirius. “There's a spell to make it look like that.”
“Oh, did you read Hogwarts, a history too?” Peter asked.
“No,” said Sirius airily. “My Uncle Alphard told me,” he explained. “It was the only thing he told me,” he grumbled.
“Shush,” hissed the red haired girl pointedly. “McGonagall.” Sure enough, the black haired witch was looking at them with a very severe glare.
“Thank you,” she said curtly. “Now, when I call your name, come and sit on the stool. I will place the sorting hat,” she said, holding up the most ragged hat James had ever seen, “on your head, and it will sort you into your houses. Now then…” She paused, and glanced down at her list. “Avery, Gordon,” she called. A rather weak faced boy with nasty looking eyes stalked up to the stool. McGonagall dropped the hat on his head. As the seconds ticked by, James noticed a silver haired, silver bearded man glancing ponderously into the little crowd of first years. He nudged the nearest person-Remus in the ribs.
“That must be Dumbledore,” he whispered excitedly. Remus glanced up, and nodded.
“It is,” he muttered. “I have his chocolate frog card.” As Remus spoke, Dumbledore’s eyes travelled over the pair of them. He smiled slightly, and James could swear he flashed them a wink.
“SLYTHERIN!” bellowed the hat suddenly, causing James and Remus to flinch horribly. The table to the far left of the hall cheered wildly-they must be the Slytherins. Maybe it was James’s imagination, because of all the Gryffindor propaganda his father had spoon fed him since he was a small boy, but they looked a miserable, nasty bunch.
“Aylesbury, William!” McGonagall called. A timid looking boy who looked as though he’d barely reach James’s shoulder stumbled forward, the hat falling over his eyes, and quickly sorted into Hufflepuff. “Sirius Black!” was the next name on the list. Sirius cursed, and James crossed his fingers. The hat seemed to be taking forever to decide what to do with him, and James could swear he was whispering something frantically under his breath.
And then, finally-
“GRYFFINDOR!” the hat cried. There was a moment of stunned silence, before the Gryffindor table burst into applause. Yes! Thought James, grinning despite his own upcoming sorting. A boy named Howard Bode became a Ravenclaw, and then McGonagall called another name.
“Evans, Lily!” The red haired girl went nervously forwards, but the hat was barely on her head before it pronounced her a Gryffindor. James couldn’t believe his luck-Slimeball’s cursing made the moment even sweeter.
Slowly, the little crowd of first years begin to thin out, with both Remus and Peter heading into Gryffindor alongside Sirius and Lily. Finally, it was James’s turn. Nervously, he sat on the stool and had the hat dropped on his head, resting on his glasses.
“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “This is nice and easy. Hot headed, brave, loyal…You’re the perfect GRYFFINDOR!” James heard the hat shout the last words to the whole hall. Grinning, he strode confidently towards the Gryffindor table, accepting the hi five from Sirius and plonking himself down between him and Lily, who seemed determined to ignore them both.
“Pleased?” James muttered as Severus Snape was called up.
“You have no idea,” Sirius replied. “Don’t let them put it on him!” he added as Severus put on the hat. “He’ll ruin it with all the grease!” James snorted with laughter, and they were both treated to an icy glare from Lily.
As it turned out, Sirius needn’t have worried-the hat had barely touched Snape’s head before proclaiming him a Slytherin. “Knew it,” Sirius said darkly. “If he doesn’t turn out bad, I’ll eat my house elf’s tea towel.”
“He’s a nice boy,” hissed Lily angrily.
“What is he, your boyfriend?” enquired Remus, who was sitting opposite with Peter.
“No,” Lily said, blushing furiously. “He’s just a friend.”
“My mother said that about her last affair,” commented Peter. Sirius gave a bark of laughter that caused half the great hall to stare at him. Lily rolled her eyes and began to stare fixated on the wall, indicating to James that their conversation was over.
McGonagall carried the little stool with the sorting hat back down the hall, the sorting now finished. At the head of the hall, Dumbledore got to his feet.
“Welcome!” he said. His voice was gentle, but somehow seemed to exude power. “Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say, but I daresay if I say it now, when you are all on such empty stomachs, you won’t listen to a word I’m saying. So for now, dig in!” As he spoke, the plates around James filled up with food-Peter looked like he might faint.
“Well take my dog and turn it into a teacup,” Remus said slowly. “I haven’t seen so much food since…well, I haven’t seen so much food.” James laughed-he had three new friends, an enemy and a girl to lust after. He could see the next seven years being very eventful.
*Taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter 33, The Prince's Tale, Page 539
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