Chapter 1 : A Home From Home
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A Home From Home
Beautiful Chapter Image by milominderbinder@TDA
The solid brick wall separating the platforms loomed closer and Ivy felt her breath catch in her throat with both nerves and excitement. She paused and considered the wall, absentmindedly started biting her fingernails; a bad habit she’d had since she was young. Something about walking through a solid brick wall still didn't sit quite right with her, even after the thirty something times she must have done it. Her nerves had only increased since Lily's Uncle Ron had told her the story about the barrier closing on him in his second year, causing him to almost break his neck. Mr Potter had later told her he was exaggerating but it hadn’t quite stopped her apprehension.
“So are you going to get on this train today, or are you just going to stand there deciding if this wall is going to let you through?” An amused voice came from behind her. She turned to see her mum smiling knowingly at her. Ivy wondered, not for the first time, how her mum could be so completely at ease with the wizarding world when she spent so little time in it. At times Ivy was sure her mother was more adjusted than she was herself, and she hadn't ever performed a spell. She hadn’t ever felt the magic inside flow right through her fingertips and burst out of her wand, making the impossible happen. Yet from day one she had taken everything in her stride. She was pretty amazing as mums went, Ivy decided with a smile.
“Come on, we'll do it together, like we always do.” Her mum wrapped a reassuring arm around her shoulders and gently pulled her out of her thoughts and towards the barrier. After a quick glance around to check no one was paying them any attention, they slipped through the magical barrier and onto platform nine and three quarters.
As Ivy passed through the solid wall she felt all her trepidation wash away. She couldn’t keep the smile off of her face as she looked past the scarlet steam engine waiting patiently for its passengers, and down the platform packed with people. A cloud of smoke rose slowly from the front of the train and drifted out, hanging in the air just above the heads of the babbling crowd. Students were hugging and meeting up with friends while others were exchanging goodbyes with parents and siblings. Shut securely in their cages, dozens of owls were hooting and ruffling their feathers, clearly disgruntled by the din. The whole place was literally humming with an excitement so strong it was tangible. It could all mean only one thing. They were going home.
Ivy slowly pushed her trolley further along the platform, manoeuvring carefully amongst the small crowds of people and silently wishing she'd put a weightless charm on her trunk before leaving the house as her muscles began to protest. Being able to perform magic at home was still something she had to get used to. She pulled sharply on the handle as a cat ran straight into her path followed closely by an irritated owner, causing some unused stomach muscle to join in the chorus of complaints. For what must have been the hundredth time Ivy considered joining Lily in some of her Quidditch practices to get fit, but then quickly dismissed the idea. Ivy and exercise just didn’t get along.
As her eyes scanned the clumps of people bustling along the platform she spotted Harriet Jones, a fellow Gryffindor seventh year, holding hands with one of the Ravenclaw beaters, Simon Brown, if Ivy wasn't mistaken. She wondered idly what her best friend would make of the news that one of her Chasers seemed to be ‘fraternising with the enemy’ as Lily liked to put it. If there was one thing Lily took deadly seriously, it was Quidditch. Ivy gave Harriet a small, almost sympathetic smile as she passed and the girl waved back, her cheeks filling with colour.
Finally, Ivy’s eyes found what she was looking for; a familiar blonde and red head stood chatting in amongst a much larger group of people she knew with varying degrees of closeness. Casting a glance around the group as she pushed her trolley toward them she saw Hugo Weasley and Jimmy Wood stood together. Hugo noticed her and gave a small wave while Jimmy sent his usual nod in her direction. She smiled back at them but didn’t dare let go of her trolley to wave, knowing she’d almost certainly lose control of it. Instead, she looked back towards Lily and Alice who had spotted her and were now grinning goofily at her.
Ivy's stomach gave a sudden clench as she smiled back at Lily. A wave of guilt washed over her as the fragmented memories of what she'd done flashed through her mind. She bit her lip, ashamed at the fact she’d kept a secret from her best friends.
“Morning, Finchley,” Lily greeted Ivy with her surname as she so often did as she approached. ‘How are you on this fine morning?’ Ivy quickly shook away the feeling of dread creeping over her and pulled up her trolley next to the girls. Stepping around it, she met Lily halfway to give her a hug. She couldn’t stop her stomach giving another sharp twist though, making her feel slightly nauseous.
“Why I’m not too bad thanks, Potter. How about yourself?”
“Simply marvellous darling.” Lily replied pulling back and grinning widely at her before turning her attention towards Ivys mother. “Hi, Miss Walker,”
“Morning, girls,” her mother smiled warmly at her two friends. “And please, Lily, for the thousandth time, just call me Melissa.”
“Hi Alice,” Ivy whispered to her blonde friend as she gave her a tight squeeze.
“I’m sure you girls only saw each other yesterday,” a new voice said, filled with quiet amusement. "And, if I'm not mistaken, I saw Sparks leave our house rather early this morning." Ivy let go of Alice and looked up to see that Mr Potter had come over with his wife and was currently bent in front of her trunk fussing over her snowy white barn owl, Sparks, as he so often did. He looked around at them with a playful expression in his eyes, his round glasses perched on the end of his nose as always. Ivy smiled at him sheepishly, knowing she'd been rumbled.
"Harry, you know as well as I do a lot can happen in one night," Mrs Potter said seriously, although her eyes danced with humour. "Whatever Ivy was telling the girls at five o'clock this morning must have been very urgent."
Ivy bit her lip. When she had woken this morning to repack her trunk she realised she was missing her favourite red cardigan that she had worn at Lily's the previous day. It had felt very important at the time to check that Lily found it and packed it for her, but now she wasn’t so sure why. Of course Mrs Potter would have found it and sent it to school for her.
"Five o'clock! Ivy, what were you doing writing to them at that time?" Her mum said disapprovingly.
"I'd forgotten my cardigan," she filled in lamely with a shrug as Lily and Alice burst into a fit of giggles behind her. "I’m really sorry for waking you Mrs P."
"Don't panic, it didn't wake me. Harry only saw it as he had to nip into work this morning."
"And you probably did us a favour waking Lily up," Mr Potter added. "We get nothing but grief for doing that."
"Hilarious, Dad," Lily said sarcastically rolling her eyes.
“So, all ready for your final year?" Mrs Potter asked fondly. "I can’t believe it’s come around so quickly. It only seems like days ago we were dropping Lily and Alice off for their first year.”
"I was just saying the same to Ivy this morning," her mum said. "Six years has flown by."
"Now I know how my mother felt when she dropped me off for my final year," Mrs Potter continued just as Ivy felt a tug on her jacket.
"Come on, me and Alice got the full version of that story this morning," Lily said pulling her to one side. "They won't miss us." Ivy reluctantly turned to join the two girls to one side, half of her still wanting to hang back and listen to what Mrs Potter had to say.
"They do actually have a point though you know, I can't believe this is our last year at Hogwarts," Alice said wistfully, her pale eyes gazing around sadly at the students milling about. "We really need to make this year count you guys, make it a good one."
Ivy nodded, feeling the same. The exciting prospect of finishing school and heading out into the real world in just ten short months also filled her with sadness. Hogwarts was a home from home and she would miss so much about the castle. The thought of not ever returning to the common room or having a meal in the Great Hall or even learning a new spell in class made her wish she never had to grow up and leave.
"We will, don't worry," Lily reassured them both. "I'm sure Alice will be stopping us every five seconds to take a photo anyway, aye Ive?" She continued with a sly smile to which Alice blobbed her tongue out in response. Photography had been Alice’s obsession since receiving a camera for her birthday a few years ago.
"Well, that's mature."
"Ooh, don't forget Alice, we have a Head Girl amongst us now," Lily teased. "We'd better not put a toe out of line this year. We don't want a detention!"
“Are you going to tell on us?” Alice asked, a broad grin filling her round face.
Ivy sighed dramatically, “If you guys are going to break the rules, I’m afraid you’ll leave me no choice.” Her tone was deadly serious.
The girls looked at each other in silence for a few moments before cracking up with laughter.
"Oh, you guys are going to make it impossible for me this year aren't you?" Ivy groaned.
“Of course not," Lily said a little too innocently.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Alice added with a grin still plastered on her face.
“I’m going to be the worst Head Girl ever aren’t I?”
“Of course you aren’t,” Lily laughed. "I remember when me and Alice found you on the train before first year though; you were sitting in that compartment with your robes on clutching your wand like someone might take it away from you. Now look at you, all grown up and Hogwarts Head Girl,” she finished wiping a pretend tear from her eye and Ivy couldn’t help but feel a rush of gratitude at the pride in Lily’s tone.
"Are you ever going to let me forget that?” she cringed, running a hand through her mass of wavy hair. "It was okay for you pair; your dad was a professor and you already had two brothers there, along with other numerous family members." She added, pointing at the girls in turn. Ivy knew the two of them had been best friends long before she met them. They had actually come together on their first day, even though Alice technically didn’t need to get the train as she lived in Hogsmeade village with her parents and sister. After much whining though, her parents had finally agreed that she could stop with the Potters the night before and go on the train with the other kids instead. Somehow the first year experience had turned into an annual thing and both Alice and her sister Claire went on the train.
“You think knowing my dad was a Professor was a good thing? God, it made me so nervous, I thought everybody would hate me for it!”
"And you really can't count James and Al. They weren't that bothered whether I was okay or not." Lily added.
"Weren’t bothered?" A new voice came from behind them, feigning offence. "Did you hear that Al? Lily thinks we didn't care about our darling baby sister."
Ivy froze, still in shock from the sudden jolt her stomach had made as James was talking. She silently prayed she had misheard him as ribbons of anxiety took hold of her.
"James! Al! What are you guys doing here?" Lily said in disbelief, pushing past Ivy to give her brothers a hug. No matter how much the girl complained about them, Ivy knew better than to take any notice. She loved her brothers.
Turning around slowly with Alice, Ivy found herself face to face with a couple hand in hand, and the person she wanted to see least in the world right now.
The couple consisted of James Potter and his fiancée, Élise Beaumont, looking like they'd just walked off a fashion shoot, as they always did. James stood in a pair of dark blue jeans with a slim fitting white shirt tucked into them. His jet black hair, as messy as ever, gave the impression he'd either just got off his broom or had simply not ever bothered to use a comb. Ivy had a strong feeling the small blonde girl holding his hand was responsible for his attire these days. Before she had come on the scene, Ivy could only ever remember seeing him in school robes or an old faded Puddlemere top.
Élise offered a stark contrast to him, yet she was equally as beautiful. With a petite frame and bright blue eyes, she looked similar to Lily's cousin Victoire, although seeing as their mums were sisters, it wasn't all that surprising. The halo of golden hair that tumbled flawlessly down her back reminded Ivy of the princesses from the Muggle fairy tales her mother used to read when she was little, meaning Ivy's self-confidence dropped a good few notches when she was around. The girl was the epitome of perfection, and Ivy couldn't help feeling slightly envious of very little effort it seemed to cost her.
“Zey came to see you off, of course,” Élise answered Lily in her heavy French accent.
“Ruth was supposed to be here too but Al said got held up at work,” James informed them. For what felt like the thousandth time since she had arrived at the station, Ivy’s stomach dropped at the mention of Al’s girlfriend. She was definitely feeling more ill by the second and she wasn’t entirely sure how many more surprises she could take. Her head was spinning. “And then Rose and Scorp wanted to come but the Healers say Rose is to close to her due date to Apparate and Scorp is too frightened to leave her.” James continued, although Ivy was only half listening. “She’d only have come up with a reason to hex him by the time he got back.” He smirked before adding, "Wuss."
“Oi, you leave my Goddaughter alone,” Mr Potter said as he came over to greet his two sons and soon to be daughter-in-law. Ivy had stopped paying the rest of the group any attention however; she was too busy building up the courage to take a peek at the third person to arrive. Albus Potter.
She glanced up at the boy who looked very much like his older brother on the surface but was so different in personality and found that his startling green eyes were already drilling into her, full of awkwardness. Her heart sank as she realised her last grasp of hope was gone. He remembered everything, despite the abundance of alcohol that had been in his system.
Embarrassment and shame came crashing over her once again and she looked away quickly, feeling a prickling heat in her cheeks. As she tore her gaze away from the emerald, she found herself face to face with a pair of ice blue eyes instead. Alice raised her eyebrows a little, just enough to let Ivy know she had seen everything. Ivy shook her head a little, silently pleading with her eyes and was relieved when Alice gave a small nod of her head and turned away. That was one good thing about Alice: she was patient. Ivy would have never got away with that if Lily had seen her.
Ivy tuned back into the conversation to find the group were still discussing Rose and Scorpius. She laughed along with the rest of them but couldn’t concentrate properly as she felt Al’s gaze back on her, trying to get her attention. She ignored it though and kept her eyes fixed determinedly on James.
“Are you guys about ready to get on the train?” The welcome interruption from Hugo came as he slid into place next to Alice. “It’s ten to. You really should get your trunk on, Ivy. Jimmy’s just sorting his out now.”
Ivy looked up at the huge clock on the wall that confirmed Hugo was right and turned back around to her trolley where her trunk was waiting for her.
“Here, let me help you with that,” said Albus quietly, trying to nudge her arms out of the way.
“It’s fine; I can manage,” Ivy huffed, not wanting to be alone with him. She wrapped her arms around the large trunk and heaved it up with some difficulty. She really regretted not adding the weightless charm now.
Albus looked down at her with amusement replacing some of the earlier anxiety in his eyes. “If you’re sure,” he smiled, moving out of the way so she could get by.
“I am,” she replied as sweetly as she could manage, trying hard to keep the struggle she was feeling out of her voice as she manoeuvred herself towards the train. Her grunts were very unflattering but she felt a strange sense of achievement once she reached the door. She could still feel Al watching her, making her feel uncomfortable. She could only guess he wanted to talk about what happened but she wasn’t in the mood to deal with it right now. She just wanted to forget about it.
“Ivy, in here,” a voice called. She looked down the corridor to see Jimmy’s head stuck out of one of the compartments a little way along the train. “Let me help you with that,” he added and she smiled gratefully at him as he met her halfway and took the trunk out of her shaking arms and into the compartment.
“Thanks, Jimmy,” she wheezed as she followed him inside and collapsed on a seat. “How are you anyway?”
“Not too bad, thanks,” he answered as he pushed Ivy’s trunk easily on to the rack next to his own. “Looking forward to getting this year’s season underway!”
“Of course you are.” Ivy rolled her eyes. Quidditch was all the boy was interested in. “You still think you’ll keep the title this year even though Lily’s been made Gryffindor Captain?” she asked.
“Nothing will steal that cup away from Ravenclaw,” he replied confidently and Ivy smiled in return. Their little group was certainly in for an interesting year with two Quidditch captains so determined to win. A knock on the window made them both jump.
“Are you two going to come and say bye to the parents?” Lily mouthed at them through the window.
“We’re coming,” Ivy shouted back, seeing the small smile on Jimmy’s face as he looked out of the window towards Lily.
“What?” he asked as he caught Ivy staring at him.
“Um, nothing, are you ready?”
“Yeah, come on. Let’s go,” he stretched as he walked out of the compartment. Ivy followed him with a small smile on her own face. They were in for an interesting year for sure.
AN: Hi everyone! First of all, thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate it and as always it would mean the world to me if you could take the time to leave your thoughts in the box below.
I want to say a massive massive thank you to Sian, (nott theodore) for not only beta reading this for me but also supporting me and encouraging me to post. I can't thank you enough!
Finally, anything you recognise will belong to the amazing JK.
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