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Cottage Neighbours by AlexFan
Chapter 1 : Winter Holidays
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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“Lily I can’t believe you’re actually going away for Christmas this year,” Dorcas whined from where she was sprawled out on her bed, her head hanging upside down. I gave a sigh of regret and finished folding the last of my sweaters into my trunk.

“I know, I know, I really wasn’t planning on it,” I sighed as I closed the lid of my trunk with a loud click. I gave a tug on the handle and steadied myself as the trunk flew off my bed and swung through the air before I managed to set it down on the floor.


“It’s your last year, why on earth would they make you spend it with Petunia in a cabin in the middle of the woods?” Dorcas asked, she rolled over and planted her chin into her cupped hands, frown still in place.


“It’s supposed to be family bonding time to strengthen our relationships, and hope for a miracle to strike and for Petunia to stop hating my existence,” I said running a hand through my hair. “She might very well murder me and bury my body somewhere in the woods.”


“I wish I could at least come,” Dorcas said.


“I mean I would let you except you can’t behave yourself around Petunia and I don’t plan on being at war with her the entire time that I’m there,” I said, giving Dorcas a knowing look.

“Good grief, so I got into one fight with her one time and suddenly I can’t behave myself,” Dorcas said with frustration. I couldn’t help but grin back at her.


“Let me just refresh your memory, Petunia’s hair was so tangled they couldn’t even untangle it at the salon so she had to chop it all off, her room was half destroyed, half of my clothes went missing, and she was ready to start throwing knives before mum walked in,” I said with a raised eyebrow.


“Okay fine, but if she does anything too out of line, send an owl and I will bring my fury down on her and teach her a lesson,” Dorcas replied. She swung her legs around and hopped off the bed. I shrugged on my jacket and wrapped my scarf around my neck securely. My mittens and my hat in one hand, the other holding my wand as I levitated my trunk down the stairs. Dorcas closed the door to our dorm with a quiet click before hurrying to catch up with me down the stairs.


“You’re not going to wear your cloak?” Dorcas asked as we made our way through the empty Gryffindor common room and out of the portrait hole.


“Are you kidding me, Petunia would leave the minute I showed up looking even mildly magical and then who would I have to take me home,” I said with a snort and a shake of my head. Dorcas huffed from next to me.


“Your sister is honestly so ridiculous about the smallest things like you would rather be cold than use a cloak to keep yourself warm,” Dorcas said as we descended a set of stairs. We stopped and waited as the stairs started moving with a lurch, hands on the rails to keep our balance.


“I know, but it’s a small thing to do so I honestly don’t really mind. It’s the big things that I can’t help that she has a real problem with,” I said with a sigh. The stairs finally stopped moving and we continued down, we took another set of stairs to get back onto the original path we were on before the stairs had moved us to.


“I heard James and Sirius left for the winter holidays a couple of days ago,” Dorcas said nonchalantly. I kept looking forward, acting like I totally couldn’t see her trying to look at me out of the corner of her eye. Ever since the start of the year, Dorcas had been dropping hints about James, or James and I constantly after finding out that we were both Head Boy and Girl. I didn’t know whose agenda she was pushing but I had a sneaking suspicion that she and Sirius were up to no good planning something.


“That’s great, they can finally start misbehaving after all of these months of inactivity,” I replied with a grin.


“That’s true, I’m surprised they managed to stay out of trouble for this long,” Dorcas said. “But anyway, don’t you want to know where they went?”


“No, not really, as it probably won’t have any influence on me anyway,” I replied but of course Dorcas acted as if I had said the exact opposite and started talking over top of me.


“I’m so glad you have such interest, because as a matter of fact, James and Sirius are also off to stay at a cabin that James’s parents own, isn’t that funny,” Dorcas said loudly, as she spun around and continued walking backgrounds without missing a beat.


I picked up my pace and flicked her on the forehead before speeding past her. Dorcas spun herself around and hurried to catch up with me as I turned down an empty corridor. “There are plenty of places to rent cabins in the United Kingdom, Dorcas,” I said as we passed by a painting that started yelling obscenities at us.


“Oh piss off!” Dorcas yelled at the painting and turned her attention back to me with a huff. “I keep forgetting that painting is here, it’s bloody annoying being hollered at when I’m running late for class. Anyways, wouldn’t it be so romantic if you two ended up staying near each other?”


I rolled my eyes as we turned down another corridor, went down the stairs, and the doors to the Great Hall came into view.


“No Dorcas, it would not be romantic, it would probably be extremely awkward, and painful, not to mention unlikely, all this land, and you think James and Sirius are going to end being in a cabin near mine,” I said with a roll of my eyes. The Great Hall was full of students eating breakfast, trunks were sitting next students on the bench, or behind them blocking aisle space.


I found the closest empty space at the Gryffindor table, grabbed a bagel, buttered it as quickly as possible and then headed back towards the exit, Dorcas in tow.


“Oh come on Lily, it would be so cute, the two of you would get to spend all of your time together, get to know more about each other outside of a school setting. Even Sirius isn’t that bad once you get to know him, and as a bonus, it would piss off your sister immensely,” Dorcas added with a wide grin at me. It was taking all of the effort that I had to keep the corners of my mouth from spreading into a smile. But Dorcas caught them twitching anyways and shoved a finger in my face with an “AHA!”


It would be hilarious to see Petunia’s eyes bug out of her head once she realized that James and Sirius were both wizards. Especially after she no doubt tried to flirt with Sirius.


“I never thought I would see the day when you would be singing the praises of Sirius Black of all people,” I said as we stepped out of the castle doors and into a foot of snow. The minute we stepped outside, a light wind started to blow around us, sending a shiver through my shoulders as my body heat seeped out of me. Dorcas had her own warm cloak wrapped around her and gave a twirl to rub in my face the fact that I was sacrificing warmth to make my sister happy.


Within minutes, the hand holding my bagel was frozen, I shoved my bagel into my mouth as quickly as I possibly could to free up my hand so I could warm it up in my mittens.


“I have never hated Sirius Black, that was all you, I was just being supportive,” Dorcas said as we headed towards one of the horseless carriages that would take us to the train station. Dorcas had spent days asking why I wouldn’t just apparate to London, but I had no idea where I would apparate to that would keep me out of sight from muggles. Once we were seated inside one of the carriages, my trunk secured by my feet, the carriage gave a jerk and then began to move in the direction of Hogsmeade Station.


I turned back to Dorcas as the wind picked up and blew my hair into my face. I tucked as much of it behind my ear as I could before saying, “Please don’t tell me that I’ve been keeping you from hanging out with Sirius.”


My stomach clenched with guilt as it occurred to me that if Dorcas got along with Sirius, then the only reason why she hadn’t hung out with him all these years, was because I found him so incredibly annoying.


“Don’t worry Lils, it’s not as if Sirius and I are best friends or anything, and besides I hang out with him lots,” Dorcas said, her ponytail had blown over one of her shoulders, her nose slowly turning red from the cold wind.


“When do you hang out with him?” I asked. The carriage gave a bump that sent me flying into the air for a second before settling back into its smooth rhythm. I held onto my seat as my heartbeat picked up before settling back down.


“Whenever you’re busy doing whatever it is you do when you’re not around,” Dorcas said with a shrug. “He’s really not as bad as you think he is.


“I don’t think Sirius is a bad person, he was just so fucking annoying when we were younger, but I don’t mind him as much anymore,” I said as the carriage slowed down and came to a stop in a line of other carriages, all of them carrying students waiting to get on the train heading back to London.


“Mhmm, and your opinion of James has raised quite a bit as well I can see,” Dorcas said with a wiggle of her eyebrows. I couldn’t help the blush that rose to my face, Lately, I seemed to have been doing quite a lot of that whenever James was brought up. Dorcas, bless her heart, had picked up on it and took any chance that she could to make me turn as red as a tomato.


Sometimes she did this around James.


Do you know how awkward it is to explain to James why you’re suddenly looking as if your head is about to explode just because your dear dear friend Dorcas has mentioned that you like James? Thank Merlin James never thought of it as anything other than friendly affection. Not that it was anything other than friendly affection, so I didn’t really have anything to hide now, did I?


“Yes, well, his pranks are actually funny now, instead of embarrassing some poor sod in front of the entire student body, he’s stopped picking on people, and he did such a good job of being Quidditch captain that Dumbledore made him Head Boy,” I said with a sniff and looked forwards as the carriages slowly emptied of students.


“You’re telling me that you paid enough attention to Quidditch that you noticed that James did a good job,” Dorcas said, planting her elbows on her knees as she leaned forward. I didn’t like where this conversation was going if Dorcas kept poking at this topic, I was going to say something, she was going to end up twisting my words, and I was going to wind up wanting to die from embarrassment.


“They won the House Cup, it wasn’t a big leap to make Dorcas, come on now, I’m not an idiot,” I said. The carriage before us moved forwards and the students in it got off before it rolled away, back towards Hogwarts. My carriage moved forward before coming to a halt. Dorcas stepped down first and helped the small door open for me as I leapt out and levitated my trunk with me.


“If that’s what you want to keep telling yourself then go ahead,” Dorcas said, and then she grinned mischievously at me, before declaring loudly enough for several people to hear, “I’m just surprised you noticed how well James did considering your eyes were glued to his arse all of last year.”


I slipped and almost slammed my forehead into my own trunk out of shock. The people that were hanging out of their compartment windows looking around snickered at my misfortune as I clapped a hand over Dorcas’s mouth.


“You can’t just go around saying things like that, what if somebody hears it and tells him,” I hissed at Dorcas. She licked my hand and burst out laughing as I yanked it back with a loud squeal and frantically wiped it on my pants.


“At least you’re not denying it,” Dorcas said with a smirk as we boarded the train. We walked down the cramped hallway, looking into every window that we passed until we found an empty compartment. Dorcas waited until my trunk had been stashed overhead and we were properly seated before she started in on me again.


“I don’t know what you and Sirius are planning but I’ve got my eye on you, I do not like James Potter as anything more than a friend, so you two can stop playing matchmaker,” I told her from my spot against the window.


“I didn’t say anything about having any romantic interest in James, you got there on your own,” she said, and I gave a sigh of frustration. As if everything that she was implying hadn’t been pointing in that direction at all. Thankfully, the Hogwarts Express let out a long whistle, and I used that as my cue to shove Dorcas out of the door and send her packing off of the train. She jumped outside and turned to face me as I stood in the doorway.


“But I’m telling you, Lily, wouldn’t it just be great if you and James were staying in cabins that were near each other during the holidays. Maybe if you spent some time with James, you would finally come out of your denial and snog him senseless like we all know you want to,” Dorcas said. I rolled my eyes at her and shook my head.


“I spend plenty of time with James, what do you think we do for Head duties. Besides, what are even the odds that out of all of the places James and I could be vacationing, we would end up in the same place together,” I said with a laugh at her.


“Would you like me to do the actual calculations for that?” Dorcas asked with a raised eyebrow, I was about to say no when she added, “Because I can owl you my work if you really wanted to know what the odds were.”


“If you get that bored during the holidays, then sure, go ahead and owl me your work. I’m sure Petunia will just be ecstatic to check it for any mistakes,” I said with a laugh. It would probably be the only thing even approaching normal that I would be able to talk to Petunia about.


“Just a heads up Lily, it’s a lot likelier than you think it is,” Dorcas said innocently. The smile was instantly wiped from my face as I narrowed my eyes at her.


“Dorcas what did you do?” I demanded loudly as another whistle pierced the air. There was a last-minute rush of students onto the cart that flattened me against the wall but my gaze never wavered from Dorcas’s. She had a particularly devious look on her face, her lips pursed in a way that said she was hiding something from me


“Have a nice holiday Lily, I’ll see you when you get back,” Dorcas yelled back with a wave of her arm and then she turned and walked back towards an empty carriage that was about to leave for Hogwarts.


“DORCAS WHAT DID YOU DO?!” I hollered at her at the top of my lungs just as the door in front of me slammed shut and the train began to move out of the station.

a/n: i know the holidays are over but i couldn't resist so here we are bois

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