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Chapter 6 : Secrets Are Tailored Trouble
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All our secrets they are tailored trouble
Draped loose now around your hips
Your spotless instincts are valid
-Taking Back Sunday
It was August thirty-first, and to say the least, I was pumped. I had not seen the Marauders in an entire two days (which had become a rare occurrence over the summer); we had left my house after staying there for three weeks, and went to Remus’. We remained there for two weeks, before I was ushered home without explanation. When I got home an owl from Sirius was already waiting for me. He had told me to meet at James’ house, after three days passed.
I had never had such an exciting time. The fact that my parents had even let me stay at boys’ houses was incredible, but the things that happened at James’ house were even more so. I had never lived in an entirely Wizarding Residence before (besides Hogwarts, which one could hardly belittle by calling a residence.) Not that James’ house was small; on the contrary, it made for great games of hide-and-seek and other fun, childish games of the sort.
We stayed there for the remaining month of summer, except for the end, when my mother called me home to go shopping and pack for school. I had a sneaking suspicion that had she not, I still would have been sent home by the Marauders. Those boys were up to something, and I needed to find out.
I became more suspicious when I saw them two days later at Diagon Alley. There was Peter, James, and Sirius, but no Remus. The Marauders obviously did not see the oddity in one of the members being absent, or at least did not let on to it. And I couldn’t help but wonder, was their seeming indifference to keep me from finding out the truth?
I was still pondering this later on, as I was purchasing the required books from Flourish and Blotts (which were plentiful this year, a wonderful omen for the O.W.L.s). And later still went I went into the Quality Quidditch Supplies store and bought a new broom for the Quidditch season, as well as a polishing kit.
I flooed back home from the Leaky Cauldron, after stopping to have a Butterbeer. I arrived into my house, clumsily stumbled out of the fireplace and looked up to see my frazzled mother. "How are you, dear?" she asked, running a hand over her slightly wrinkled robes.
"Fine, mum," I answered.
Two days after that found me at August thirty-first, not at all packed, and not at all ready to go.
"Anna, are you ready to go tomorrow?" called my mother from downstairs, using the new name that I had recently demanded to be called by.
"Of course, mum," I chimed. I looked around my room at the mess. My school robes, the uniform that went under the clothes, as well as my Quidditch robes were haphazardly tossed into my ebony trunk. My school books lay open, a few pages already torn, next to the trunk, begging to be put in. Other important school-like things were in random, unknown places around my room.
I only knew where my wand was because I had secretly been practicing in the night. My parents were none the more knowledgeable, and I was improving while everything else got rusty with their magic over the summer. I had only caused a few fires, and one very minor explosion to the next house over.
"Anna," Jason said from my doorway. "You shouldn’t lie to mum about that."
I raised my eyebrows at him and smirked. "Because you don’t lie to her as well? I seem to recall you telling me about all those drunken nights at Hogwarts, or do I not?"
Jason stuck his tongue out at me and continued onto his room, which was in the attic; after he had finished healing training, our mother had turned the attic into a full apartment for Jason, so that he never had to really live with us if he didn’t want to, and could start to save up for his own home with the meager salary that St. Mungo’s offered the starting Healers. He had long since moved out of it, but he often came back to visit.
It wasn’t until the next day, at nine o’clock when I was violently shaken awake by my brother, that I realized that I still had not packed my trunk. I spent far more time than I had to spare, hunting around my room for clean pairs of knickers and socks that needed to go to Hogwarts with me. When I had extracted the last of my belongings from the corners of my room, it was twenty minutes to eleven.
"Anna, get downstairs. Now! You’re going to be late!" I heard my mother’s usually soft voice screech.
Obviously there was no time for a shower. I looked down at my clothes, a pair of black sweatpants and a fitted red t-shirt. I thought that I looked more than presentable. I made a mad dash to the bathroom (which wasn’t that far; in fact, the door to the bathroom was directly next to mine) and brushed my teeth, getting minty froth all over my mouth. I quickly washed off my face.
I threw my curly, bed-tangled hair into a ponytail and ran back out. I stopped in my room long enough to jam my wand into my pocket and drag my heavy trunk down the stairs.
"Don’t call me that, mum!" I protested loudly as I made my way, exhausted and stressed (and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock) into the kitchen. I slipped my feet into a pair of my flip flops, which were already sitting right by the door, before heading out the door.
I stood outside waiting for my mother for nearly a half a minute before she came out shaking her head in disbelief. "We floo, dear," she reminded me, making me feel as if she was talking to long-term patient at St. Mungo’s.
"Right, right," I muttered as I tried to push my trunk along. My mother sighed and took pity on me. With a quick sweeping motion, my trunk was floating inside the house again. I ran in after it and in a frenzy my mother threw Floo powder into the flames of our large, brick hearth. I tripped in my rush to the fireplace, and knocked my head on the brick. I stood, holding my head and moaning. My mother made a noise somewhere between a groan and a growl.
I didn’t pay attention and she said something, and before I knew it, I was spinning, and spinning. With plenty of clumsiness, I stumbled out into what appeared to be a dark alley beside King’s Cross Station. Upon a closer look, I discovered that it was exactly that. My mother made me drag the trunk again because of all the Muggles around.
When I finally reached platforms nine and ten, it occurred the me that I could have gotten something to roll the trunk with. I shook the thought from my head, as it only frustrated me. I stood, slouched, and with my trunk tipped up so that it was taller than me. I growled at the wall, the trunk, and my mother, who had left back home in a frenzy, after Flooing my trunk to me. (A task that she did not trust me with, and with good reason.)
"Need some help there, my little damsel in distress?"
I turned around to see Remus. I could honestly say that I was really, really, really happy to see him.
"Please," I groaned. And with three minutes left before the train departed, Remus and I burst onto platform nine and three-quarters, each holding one end of my trunk. The crowd was mostly gone and students on the train, but what was left of a crowd dispersed as Remus and I went charging through, straight for the train. He helped me heave the trunk onto the train and then I followed him quickly (as I could) down the long corridors of the train. It had already begun to move from the station.
Finally, Remus stopped and smiled. "This is where me and the guys are sitting." He slid the door open and pulled my trunk in for me.
"What’s hangin’, love?" Sirius asked. He was leaned up against the wall and had his legs stretched out. Peter’s lap just happened to be in the way. I noticed a large gash across his face.
"Sirius, who’d you get into a fight with?" I asked, nodded toward his injury.
"Giant werewolf," he told me. "Don’t worry, I won though."
James was looking at Sirius as if he had done something as stupid as swallow a hoard of angry wasps, Peter was somewhat imitating James’ face, and Remus looked absolutely scandalized.
"What’s with the overreactions to Sirius’ ego?" I shook my head all four Marauders. "No one looks at me that way when I make wild proclamations; it must be cause you lot like me better."
"Where do you think you get it from?" James said; his face had quickly gone back to it’s jovial, smiling self.
"I always thought I got it from-"
The glass, sliding door to the compartment slid open and in slipped Lily Evans. Oh, how lovely.
"Oh, you lot are in here," she quipped. "Don’t mind if I leave before your egotism and stupidity catch."
Evans was gone quicker than she had come. All five feet seven inches, one-hundred and five pounds of her swished her non-existent hips and she left with her nose in the air.
I couldn’t decide between running out and picking a fight with Evans before we even got to the school, and scolding James for liking the monster from the black lagoon, (a.ka.- Lily Evans.)
"James, how the hell do you like that?!"
"Don’t you guys remember?" James said dreamily, as he stared at the doorway in which Lily Evans had just left.
"Er, no," said Remus. James looked around at Remus, Sirius, Peter and myself as if we were all hopeless.
"Well, then . . ." he said.
It was his First Year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it was destined to be a good one. He had grown up around magic his entire life, he had a good name (not that, that mattered at all), and he was a personable boy; easy to befriend.
He had wandered from his parents, wanting to get a good look at Platform nine and three-quarters. He loved watching the older students converse and show off their proficiency at difficult spells. He looked on in idolization, hoping that he too could do that one day.
As James wandered, one particular group of students caught sight of him. With nasty grins on their faces they came over and cornered James. "Like that, little man?" said a particularly large student with a green trim around his robes.
James, oblivious to the dark nature of magic that had just been performed, nodded eagerly. "You bet! Am I going to learn how to do that at Hogwarts?"
The boy raised his eyebrows and smirked. James fleetingly thought that his smile made him look a bit scary. "Maybe not at Hogwarts, but if you get into Slytherin, kid, there’s a definite chance."
"Slytherin!" James said nastily before it registered in his brain that he was surrounded by many older students who not only knew more spells than him, but dark magic as well. "Why would I want to be in that house?"
"You got a problem with Slytherin, little trash?" asked one of the other boys who were flanking the ringleader.
"Hold on," said the boy who originally spoke. "You look familiar, kid. What’s your last name?"
"Potter," James told the older boys.
All the boys sneered. "Potter. A blood-traitor. I should have picked up on that hair. Your family has been a bunch of blood-traitors for centuries."
"Thank you," James said proudly.
"That was not a compliment," snarled one of the older boys.
All three older boys had cornered James, all at least a foot taller than him, and were holding their wands out to him threateningly.
There was a small cough heard from behind and a calm voice said. "Is there a problem here?"
The boys turned around and James caught sight of a girl that looked to be his age standing there. She was fairly tall for her age, just a bit chubby, but had the most gorgeous, emerald green eyes and long, flowing red hair.
James stood, fascinated. The older boys however were not as caught. After a quick, whispered conversation. They looked at her and said in a nasty voice, "Mudblood!"
After spitting at her feet, they walked away, forgetting about James.
James, whose heartbeat was turning back to normal after the terrifying encounter went up to the girl. "Thank you so much for saving my life. Those guys are bad news," he told her. "I’m James Potter."
"Lily Evans, your welcome, and I could tell." She smiled and offered her hand to James. "I’m a Muggleborn."
"I’m a blood-traitor," James announced with pride.
"But that was before she turned bitch," I explained, sighing.
"Yeah, but I can’t help but believe that side of her is still there somewhere." James smiled.
I shook my head and turned to Sirius. "Can’t you do anything about him."
"I wouldn’t even if I could, love. He’s way more arrogant and destructive when he’s trying to impress Evans."
I was about to ask if anyone had a deck of Exploding Snap when the young witch that pushed the lunch trolley stuck her head in. "Anything off the trolley, dears?" she asked, as always.
"Hell yes!" said Sirius, jumping up and already pulling coins from his pocket. Not one person in the compartment was far behind him.
Hours later, we had almost arrived at Hogwarts (at least, the voice on the P.A. system told us so) when the compartment door slid open yet again. This time, a boy of medium height entered; he wore Hufflepuff robes and a Head Boy badge.
"Remus, I didn’t see you at the Prefect meeting," said the Head Boy, looking stern.
"Shit!" whispered Remus, not one to usually swear. "Er, I swear, I completely forgot. I’m so sorry, Aaron."
The Head Boy rolled his eyes. "It’s alright Remus, chill out." He crossed the compartment in a few strides and held out a couple papers to Remus, holding a quick whispered conversation. "You’ve got patrolling duties tonight, Remus. Sorry, mate, but you weren’t there to pick so you kind just had to take what was left."
Remus nodded. "Well, it’s my fault. Later, Aaron."
Aaron nodded at the boys in the compartment, as way of saying goodbye, and smiled at me quickly before leaving.
"That’ll be you next year, Moony," Sirius said.
"Who’s Moony?" Remus asked, stressing every syllable that came out of his mouth.
"I don’t know," Sirius said, quickly catching on. "I don’t actually know why I said that." His eyes quickly looked towards me and then shot back to Remus.
"You guys are acting really weird," I told them.
"What d-do you m-mean?" stuttered Remus. I eyed him suspiciously. The other boys looked nervous, though not to the point that Remus was.
To be honest, I was offended, and that didn’t happen easily. These boys had been best friends since their First year, and I became their friend only a year later. I never minded when they just hung out by themselves; I had other acquaintances in my own year that I occasionally talked to. (Very, very occasionally.)
What upset me was the apparent magnitude of whatever secret they were keeping from me.
With my face scrunched into an annoyed position, I got up and walked straight out of the compartment without saying a thing. I wandered around the train for the last five minutes before I came across the kid who was, apparently, Head Boy.
"You alright?" he asked me.
I nodded. "I’m fine. I just needed a little break from all the testosterone."
Aaron, the Head Boy, laughed. "Sometimes we all do. You had a good summer, I hope?"
"Yeah. And you?"
He nodded. "My older brother got his girlfriend pregnant and they both had to drop out of Auror training, but, other than that, it was pretty swell."
"Ouch," I said. That sounded like it had to suck.
"Nah, it’s worse for my brother than me," Aaron told me. "My parents are just a little more watchful of me now."
The train began to slow down, and then came to a complete stop.
"Well, that’s my cue," Aaron said. "I’ll see you around?"
"Yeah," I answered, and went back to find the Marauders. Aaron was nice, maybe a little too dull for me to spend a lot of time with, and made me want my Marauders back.
"Anastasia!" I heard someone call. I knew immediately that it was Sirius. Not only from his voice, but he was the only person who still insisted on calling me Anastasia.
I ran to him and the rest of the Marauders. "Guys, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten angry like that; you guys have the right to keep whatever your secret is from me. If someone knew every little inner workings of your brain, it’d drive you mad and I-"
Remus cut in. "We owe you an apology too. I should have told you a long time ago; in fact, you'll be the first person I actually tell, since this lot found out on their own and-"
"Come down, mate. You're rambling," Sirius said. Then, he turned to me. "We'll tell you later tonight."
I wasn’t a very observant person, but over the past few weeks, I had gathered that whatever the secret was, it belonged to Remus. I gave him a warm smile, as well as the rest of the guys, and yelled, "Last one to the horseless carriage is a giant squid!"
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