Chapter 1 : The Revival of Chivalry
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The pain rippled through my body before I even had the chance to register what was happening. My lungs ached to the point where I could not breathe.There was no time for me to scream. Not a single moment for me to focus on the situation at hand and breathe. My only hope was being found by someone wandering the woods, but at midnight there was hardly a chance.
There came a point where my lungs could no longer resist not breathing in the cool autumn air that pressed down upon me as I lay among thick tree stumps and soft grass. I choked on my own fear and swallowed the air around me in huge gulps, silently praying a scream would surface from somewhere deep inside me.
My breaths became ragged almost as soon as my body remembered how to breathe, making my chest feel on the verge of explosion. While I concentrated on breathing, dark spots began to dance in front of my vision, blurring the already dark night.
As my senses began to dull, the urgency to scream suddenly overtook my need to breathe, and a scream exploded from my lungs. I screamed until my throat had gone dry and my vision was almost completely gone. I only saw one thing before the world fell silent and black, causing the pain to subside instantaneously, a pair of eyes the colour of silver lowered down over my face.
My lungs felt compressed as the world swirled and every fiber around me felt as though it were crushing my body. I squeezed my eyes shut in a vain attempt to keep myself from feeling dizzy.
Blood was rushing to my brain in waves, not helping the dizziness that consumed my head. Colors whirled around the insides of my eye lids as I tried to stop the spinning of my mind. Voices started to fill the air around me; the first hint that I was near my destination: Platform 9 and ¾.
“French girls are always hotter than American girls,” A deep voice stated slowly as if he were speaking to a child.
My eyes sprung open at the sound of my trunk falling clumsily to the floor. Fingers colliding with my sides, I reached out to steady myself on the nearest solid object, which just so happened to be a person. After a few moments of staring blindly at the spinning room, my surroundings began to clear up.
I was standing in the middle of a crowded platform with multiple pairs of eyes fixated on my face. An uncomfortable feeling -- one similar to that of a caged zoo animal -- bubbled up inside me, so I swatted the dark curls from my face and glanced down at my combat boots.
“Bloody hell,” I glanced up at a boy with raven colored hair. “Are you sure she isn’t French?”
He was slouched against a trolley with his arm lazily thrown over the stack of balanced trunks. Brilliant grey eyes slid from my shoes to my nest of dark hair. A smile hung crookedly on his handsome face as he straightened up.
“Stop being such a prat,” A girl with vibrant auburn hair murmured from her position atop a trunk. Her fingers gracefully moved a piece of hair from her face before she bounded to her feet.
“You must be Perri,” The girl with the bright hair stated.
I nodded. “Well I’m Roxy Weasley,” She grinned at me, revealing a pair of brilliant white teeth. “This prat,” She motioned towards the boy with raven hair. “is James Potter.”
James put a hand to his heart. “I’m hurt, Rox.”
“You’ll get over it,” Roxy waved him off as she grabbed my hand and pulled me towards a larger group of people.
As if our presence was felt, a woman with hair the same color as Roxy’s turned towards us. “Perri, dear,” She smiled brightly at me. “I’m Ginny Potter. We’re so excited to have you staying with us for the next two years.”
“Thank you for having me,” I said politely, smiling at her warm features.
A man with a striking resemblance to James materialized next to Ginny, wrapping his arm around her waist as he did so. I blinked quickly and tried to wipe my sweaty palms onto my jean shorts. No matter how many times I tried to mentally prepare myself, meeting the savior of the Wizarding World was slightly more nerve wracking then I had imagined.
“I’m Perri,”I introduced myself in a small voice. “It’s nice to meet you Mr. Potter,” I said, taking his hand when it was extended towards me. If he was disgusted by my somewhat slippery hands he did not show it, saving me from the task of burying myself under the train tracks.
“It’s wonderful to finally meet you Perri. Please call me Harry,” Harry’s smile was just as warm and inviting as his wife’s; it was no wonder people were so infatuated with the “power couple of the century”.
Before I could be introduced to the rest of the Potter/Weasley clan, the train’s whistle let out a screech and steam billowed out around our feet. With a sudden urgency families began bidding their goodbyes in a flurry of hugs and unwanted kisses.
“James, help Perri bring her trunk onto the train. It’ll be leaving any second.” Ginny said quickly, giving her son a quick kiss on the cheek.
“And they say chivalry is dead,” James said with a quick bow before grabbing hold of the other side of my trunk and pulling me off into the general direction of the train.
I smiled back at Ginny before allowing James to pull me onto the bright red train. I felt as though I was stepping onto the Polar Express only instead of my destination being the North Pole it was an enchanted castle somewhere in the rolling hills of Scotland.
I let James lead me through the ever busy train cars, the two of us peering into
compartments in search for an empty one.
“Oi, you two!” Roxy called to us from a couple compartments down, waving her hands wildly above her head.
“And she wonders why I don’t like to be seen with her in public,” James muttered only loud enough for me to hear as we stumbled past Roxy, or so he thought.
I giggled as Roxy smacked James on the back of the head with a rolled up copy of Witch Weekly.
“Ow Rox, there is no need for violence!” James groaned, grabbing my shoulders and putting me in front of him, as if my 5’7 figure was going to protect him in any way. He had to be at least six inches taller than me.
“Don’t use me as a shield,” I squealed, squirming under his grasp.
Before Roxy could take another swing at James a hand appeared above her head, snatching the magazine from her grasp. A boy with dark brown hair that spilled over into his eyes was leaning against the doorframe, the magazine lifted above his head. His grey eyes watched with amusement as Roxy tried to reach her weapon.
“Finn,” Roxy screamed as she balanced on her tip-toes in a vain attempt to reach her magazine.
“I do not condone the beating of other students,” Finn said in mock seriousness.
Roxy pouted but retreated to one of the plush looking seats, folding her arms stubbornly over her chest.
“I’m Finn Wood,” The boy with the tousled hair grinned.
“Perri Grey,” I smiled back at him and placed myself on the seat next to Roxy.
“What an accent you’ve got,” He laughed, tossing himself into the seat across from Roxy and I.
“I think I could say the same about you,” I pointed out, suddenly aware of how different my accent was from their own.
“Me?” Finn asked incredulously. “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
“You sound just as weird from my side as I do from yours,” I shook my head and leaned back into the seat.
The train sped through fields of towering grass, forests, and over small hills and mountains. Finn and James taught me how to play Exploding Snap, a card game that never made its way over to America. Over a pile of sweets the four of us played game after game.
It was after a few chocolate frogs that the house system at Hogwarts was explained to me. Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Four houses that held students with the same magical talent but different personalities. All three spoke of Slytherin with disdain dripping from their voices.
I learned that there were only two Slytherin’s that held the family’s respect; Albus Potter--because he was their own blood -- and Scorpius Malfoy -- an unlikely companion of Albus’s who had gained their respect under the oddest of circumstances.
By the time the sun had set I had taught the trio the basic rules of poker. They were enthralled; soon enough chocolates were our bets and sweets were our winnings. Candy was being exchanged erratically between the four of us.
“We’d better get changed,” Roxy declared, pulling in a rather large pile of sweets towards her. “Finn, James,” She pointed towards the door.
“Why do we always have to leave,” Finn pouted as he stuffed a chocolate frog into his mouth.
“Because we’re ladies,” Roxy said primly, holding her nose high in the air.
“Ladies my arse. I’ve seen the way you throw punches -- ow, Rox.” He grunted and rubbed his upper arm. “See! You just proved my -- ow, okay! Relax woman, we’re going.”
In a swirl of motion we exchanged our shorts and t-shirts for pressed white blouses and grey skirts. Roxy pulled on a pair of knee socks just as the doors slid open. Finn and James returned already dressed in their uniforms.
“Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?” I asked, trying to pull on my patterned black tights and falling onto the carpeted floor. The almost translucent black tights that had a darker floral print scattered across the legs were now tangled around my legs.
I frowned lightly and stood up, yanking up the tights as I did so. The tights should have been put on before my skirt but, alas, nothing can ever be that easy. Giving up on perfecting my tights I threw myself back onto the seat.
“Haven’t you ever heard of a hair brush?” Finn winked at me and nodded at my head of messy curls.
“What’s wrong with my hair?” I asked innocently with wide eyes.
“It looks like you could hide a small animal in there, love,” Finn patted my hair gently.
“How else am I supposed to ward off unwanted suitors?” I asked before nodding at his own head of messy curls. “Mine’s not nearly as bad as yours.”
Finn shoved his way onto the seat between Roxy and me, using Roxy as his back rest and my legs as his ottoman. “I’ll have you know that it took a lot of effort to get my hair to look like this,” He scowled, his hands crossed over his chest like a small child.
“I didn’t know that rolling out of bed and walking out the door took so much effort.” Roxy cooed with a pinch of Finn’s cheek. “You poor baby.” Finn frowned and attempted to poke Roxy in the eye with his finger, but his attempt was sabotaged by Roxy’s re-acquired magazine.
“Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll buy you a comb for your birthday,” I told Finn, nudging his foot with my hand. “A comb is what society uses to tame hair.”
Finn sniffed indignantly and ran a tanned hand through his curly locks which, contrary to our current conversation, were quite captivating. “Combs are not manly.”
“If everyone’s done studying Finn’s hair we should probably get off the train before it leaves with us still on it,” James smirked from the doorway, his hand leaning casually on the handle of his trunk. His previous silence had made me forget that he was still in the compartment.
I turned my back to the group as I pulled my trunk down from the rack above the windows. “Oh wipe that smirk off your face, James Potter. You’re just jealous that we’re not as interested in your sex-hair.”
Roxy squealed. “I’m so glad we get to keep her!” Her trunk in one hand and my hand in the other she dragged me passed as glowering James.
I smiled at James and tugged on a piece of his hair. “Sex hair is a lady killer,” I whispered with a wink before Roxy tugged me out of the compartment.
A large castle loomed ahead of the thestral-drawn carriages. Even though a thin mist blanketed everything in sight the large outline of the castle was still apparent. My face was pressed evenly to the glass window, my eyes drinking up my surroundings as we bumped along the dirt road.
Little lights bobbed up and down on top of the glass like surface of what Roxy told me was the Black Lake. I found it rather odd that first years were shepherded into small boats and rowed across the lake. The carriages were much more appealing to me, considering that boats had never really been my cup of tea.
“I hope you’re enjoying the view of utter darkness,” Roxy teased from the other side of the carriage.
I turned my head briefly only to poke my tongue out in her direction. My face returned to the cool glass and my eyes refocused on the string of carriages ahead of our own; the carriages were slowly winding up a rocky incline.
Rain began to splatter the windows, softly at first, but soon it was pouring and my view of the castle became even more blurred. “What happened to the pretty weather?” I asked no one in particular, tracing the path of a rain drop as it slid down the window with my littlest finger.
“Welcome to Scotland, love.” James pulled me into his side, resting his arm over my shoulder.
Roxy laughed. “I hope you packed your wellies because rain is Scotland’s specialty.”
I raised an eyebrow. “My what?”
“Your wellies,” I shook my head. “Erm...boots you wear in the rain.” Roxy clarified at my look of confusion.
“Oh,” I nodded my head. “Wellies. I’m going to have to remember that one.”
“What do you call them back at home?” Roxy asked curiously.
I snorted. “Rain boots.”
“Rain boots,” Roxy repeated. “Well at least no one can be confused by the name.”
The carriage jerked to a stop. I peered out the window into the heavy rain and then pulled the hood of my cloak up over my head. With a small hop I jumped from the carriage and onto the muddy ground, sending a wave of dirty water onto the feet of everyone around me.
I moved to the front of the carriage to avoid being stepped on by whomever was exiting the carriage next. A small head nudged my shoulder and I reached out to stroke the nose of the thestral who had pulled our carriage.
Though the snout of the thestral was hard with only a thin layer of skin covering the bones from the outside air; I didn’t mind the feeling. “You can see them?” Finn asked from behind me.
“Unfortunately,” I turned away from the creature with a final pat to the head. “Death has its own agenda.”
While the thestral itself was beautiful, a kind of beauty that was far different from that of a unicorn, the remembrance of why I could see it was heavy on my heart.
Finn nodded his head in agreement, looping his arm through mine.
I didn’t question Finn. The pain of a broken heart was something I knew all too well, and some things were better left unsaid. There was no doubt that someday I would have to discuss what had happened, maybe even with Finn, but today was not that day, so instead I kept my mouth shut.
Only when we were safely hidden inside the walls of the great castle did I pull off the hood of my cloak. Water dripped down the fabric and splashed onto the already wet floor. The rustle of cloaks and the hollow sound of shoes moving briskly down the corridor filled the room until it reached the top of the cathedral ceiling.
“Miss Grey,” A withered old man stood to my right, a cat with matted fur twisting around his legs.
I smiled at Finn and removed my arm from his. “I’ll save you a seat at the Gryffindor table,” Roxy squeezed my hand gently as she walked by, a wink flashing quickly in my direction before she disappeared into thick crowd of students.
“If you would follow me,” The man wheezed feebly.
I followed a good distance behind him, not wanting to accidentally step on the tail of the cat that trotted along next to him. Hunched over slightly he moved faster then I would have thought someone in his condition could achieve.
We didn’t stop until we reached a gargoyle with wings outstretched. I peered around, expecting to see a pair of grand doors.
“Excus--” I was interrupted by a sudden grating sound of stone against stone.
The gargoyle had started to spin upwards, revealing a spiral staircase that seemed to reach infinite and beyond. Mouth agape I stumbled towards the staircase as the old man prodded me forward with a bony finger.
“The Headmistress is waiting for you,” I took one last look at his wrinkled face before I ascended the stairs.
A pair of heavy wooden doors blocked my path once I reached the top. I raised my fist to knock on the door, but I was interrupted by a woman’s voice. “Please enter, Miss Grey.”
I inched my way in, closing the door behind me. I was motioned to take the seat opposite of the Headmistress's. “I presume the four houses were explained to you?”
I nodded my head. “Yes, mam.”
“Alright, very good.” From a shelf to our right she grabbed an aged looking hat that had been patched and re-sewn in various places.
Maneuvering her way around the desk she placed the hat on top of my head. I blinked in confusion. Before I had a chance to open my mouth a voice spoke inside my head.
An American...hmmm. I can’t say I’ve ever had the pleasure of sorting someone from across the Pond. Why so far from home? My thoughts were blank. I was too surprised to say anything at all. You are daring; decisions you make usually benefit others over yourself. Though you may not always feel courageous you are capable of much more then you know. I think you will flourish most in...GRYFFINDOR!
The Headmistress hurried over and took the hat from my head. “Very good. Now if you may proceed to the Great Hall we have first years to sort before the night begins to get too old.”
I slipped into the seat between Finn and Roxy just as the first years began lining up to be sorted. Roxy grinned at me. “I told you so,” She mouthed.
The rest of the sorting ceremony was a complete blur. I stared at the grains of the expansive wooden table until the same image reappeared when I closed my eyes.
Somewhere between names that began with ‘k’ and ‘z’ my eyes traveled towards the ceiling. A tiny gasp escaped my open mouth.
Roxy’s gaze followed mine. She grinned. “Isn’t it beautiful. Its bewitched to look like the sky.”
She was right. Dark clouds ominously swirled above us. Not a single star could find its way through the heavy layers of clouds and pelting rain.
Before I could utter a single word the dishes and goblets in front of us filled themselves. I felt my mouth watering at the overwhelming aroma. James laughed and handed me a fork. “Knock yourself out.”
I cursed under my breath. “There really is a Heaven on Earth.”
AN: Thank you, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter just as much as I enjoyed writing it(: BIG, BIG thank you to my brilliant beta mammateej. She's simply amazing! Any thoughts or opinions? xx
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