Chapter 2 : September 1st
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Gorgeous chapter image by kate @ Tda! Thanks hun.
Gabriel slowly trudged through the rain, even though his trunk was getting wet and his trolley was starting to skid on the wet concrete.
He passed platform after platform in a kind of haze, until he reached platforms nine and ten, and the familiar brick wall that separated them- and unknown to muggles- lead to platform nine and three quarters.
He sighed quietly. It would be the last time that he would ever come here to board the Hogwarts express. Strangely, he had no feelings about it. Neither good nor bad. It was just one of the many things that would come to an end, this being his seventh and final year.
No more measuring for school robes or fussing over the numerous school supplies and books. The maids should be happy, he thought dryly, but would he?
His fingers tightened around the smooth, wooden handle of the umbrella. The steady streams of drizzles were developing into a downpour. He held the handle of the trolley with unnecessary force. It would take some maneuvering on his part to keep both the umbrella and the cart steady, but if it came to the worst, he figured he could live without his clothes and school supplies.
With an intake of breath, he rushed forward at the solid brick wall. He was hit with the force of the rushing wind driving the water against his face and matting his hair to his head but he didn’t have time to worry about it.
Get through it. Get through it, he repeated in his mind. He was only inches away. At first glance, it would have looked as though he had slammed face first into the wall, but his trolley slid through easily with him behind it.
When Gabriel slowed himself to a stop on the other side, he finally closed the battered umbrella. The scarlet engine seemed shrouded, mostly due to the billowing smoke that encircled it and the mist from the rain.
The wind ripped at his chest through his light and slightly damp shirt. He grabbed his trunk and lugged it on the train without waiting, pushing through several parents who braved the rain to say their goodbyes to their children. Some of them muttered angrily at his rudeness but he made it point not to look at those pathetic people.
A wave or warmth hit him when he entered the train. He welcomed it fully as he lazily dragged his trunk through the corridor to find a compartment. Not really an empty one, as they were all partly empty, but one with people that didn’t annoy him. Most students wouldn’t be returning this year, he guessed, considering everything that was happening. He had insisted to return to school for his final year. What did he have to fear? Let the cowards stay home. Like that could be safer. At least the school should be quieter, he thought grimly. The train gave a jolt and he steadied himself, it was finally moving.
“Gabriel!” A girl’s voice shouted his name, causing him to stop and look around. His friend Pricilla was waving at him madly from a compartment he had passed. He turned around and made his way in the opposite direction to join her. She would just come after him anyway if he didn’t.
“What’s the matter? You look a bit weather-worn,” she asked, smiling widely and staring curiously at his disheveled appearance. She reached out a hand to brush his shoulder but instantly withdrew it and cleared her throat.
“I’m fine,” Gabriel replied while looking past her and into the compartment. Severus Snape sat, a book in his lap but his eyes glazed, obviously not reading.
“Lo Severus,” he greeted politely. He wouldn’t exactly call Severus a friendly person, but they got along pretty well. They shared a dorm from the time they were eleven, but Severus usually kept to himself. This suited Gabriel well because he wasn’t much of a talkative person himself, but over the years, he had garnered a form of respect for the silent Slytherin.
When Severus did talk to him, Gabriel found that he was actually a very intelligent person and after a while- Severus would disagree- he saw them as friends.
Severus merely gave him a small nod in acknowledgement and returned to staring into space.
Gabriel frowned. He had hoped Severus’ mood would have at least improved over the summer. But, it obviously hadn’t, which meant that incident still bothered him.
He tossed his dark hair out of his eyes and side-stepped Pricilla to put away his trunk, missing the way her smile instantly faded. He sat down in the seat opposite Severus and slid into a comfortable position, searching for something to say to improve the mood up his unfriendly friend. The rain pounded against the window but he did his best to ignore it.
He opened his mouth but didn’t get time to say something as he was dragged up forcefully by his elbow.
“Shit, Gabriel! Don’t sit, we have to go,” Pricilla said frantically, dragging him out and leading up to the front of the train. “I forgot about the meeting!”
He sighed wearily and watched her brown hair swaying in front of him. He had wanted to chat with Severus but he had completely forgotten about the badge that demanded he ‘associate’ with certain idiots.
When they finally reached the designated compartment, Pricilla dragged open the door loudly, earning stares from the numerous pairs of eyes. “What are you all gaping at?” she demanded fiercely. Gabriel always thought she had a terrible temper for such an attractive girl. Her round face, blue eyes and thin lips made her look innocent, but everyone knew she was far from. Her temper was explosive
“Ahh, Monte. Finally decided to show up have you,” James said coolly, looking up from a long piece of parchment.
Great. This is just what I need, he thought miserably.
Gabriel immediately straightened himself up and glared at the boy.
Oh how he hated him, from his ridiculous sticky hair to his large feet. James Potter had always been an annoyance to him since their first year by just being alive. He hated every inch of his skinny, narcissistic arse and his over-inflated ego which had only increased with passing years.
“Planter,” he said in a bored tone, examining the room. “My name is pronounced Monté, and I hadn’t been aware that we had a schedule.”
“Well, that’s not surprising. You aren’t aware of many things are you, Monte.” James stressed the mispronunciation of his name and sneered at the flash of irritation on his face. “And the name is Potter.”
“Well I’m certainly aware that you’re a thick headed wanker,” Gabriel said coolly, fixing the collar of his shirt while watching James’ expression.
“Why you great piece of-”
“James!” Lily scolded immediately, finally speaking up from her place beside him, her head girl badge gleaming importantly on her chest. “You’re head boy now, stop acting immature.”
Gabriel watched as James bristled at her annoyed tone directed at him. “What! He started it, not me. He called me… a Planter. You all saw it right?” James looked expectantly to the other prefects that were in the room but they just looked at him as if he was crazy.
Lily raised an eyebrow at his open mouth until he closed it with a sigh and pushed his glasses further up his nose with his index finger.
“Please have a seat…er…”
“Gabriel. Gabriel Monté,” he replied slowly, still gaping at the way Lily Evans affected Potter to the point of submission.
“Okay Gabriel, sit down so we can continue,” she said kindly while flashing him a smile. There were two seats free by the window where he and Pricilla were supposed to sit. Pricilla plopped down quite huffily and her body looked rigid.
Gabriel sat down after and tried his best to look attentive while giving James a smug look. James took a deep breath and carried out roll call for all the prefects (Gabriel’s name was mysteriously left out). He and Lily then took turns in explaining the different duties of the prefects.
Gabriel kept nodding his head at intervals and did a great job of pretending to be interested, but they might as well have been talking about prefects having to shower once a week to conserve water to bathe Hippogriffs on the weekends. He didn’t hear a word.
Inside his mind a plan was forming. Planter seemed like Lily Evans, and though many people didn’t know it, Severus did too. When Severus and Lily had their spat, he became even more sour and irritable if it was even possible, but more than that, it really upset him.
Gabriel looked at his knees and allowed his lips to curve upwards, not noticing Pricilla watching him out of the corner of her eyes. This could prove interesting.
They droned on for what felt like an eternity and Gabriel studied Evans’ face for a while. Admittedly, she was nice looking with her smooth skin and green eyes. He’d give her a six out of ten.
“Okay that’s all. You may all go now and don’t forget. Being a prefect is an honor, so please don’t abuse your privileges and be ethical in every decision you make.” Lily smiled warmly as everyone filed out. James stood behind her, still looking flustered.
“I’ll be right there Pricilla, go on with without me,” Gabriel whispered through barely moving lips at her curious glance. After looking at him for a moment, she got up without a word and walked out.
It was time to put plan ‘Pudding-free’ into action. He had wanted to name it plan ‘Destroying Planter most heinously and viciously because he’s a prick and he stole my bloody pudding in first year,’ but he felt it didn’t quite do it justice.
He stood up slowly, giving his hair a tussle. Planter was outside talking to another prefect but no doubt waiting for Evans to annoy the living daylights out of her in the short walk to her compartment. He made sure to cough loudly to capture his attention.
Lily turned around and smiled. “Yes?”
He smiled shyly while looking at the ground. “I er…I just wanted to thank you for sticking up for me today. It was very kind of you.” He faked a nervous laugh and kept his eyes on the ground when he felt her eyes on him.
“That’s alright. I know how Potter can be sometimes, believe me,” she said with a laugh. She was one cheerful person wasn't she? He gave a short laugh and then looked up at her, slowly meeting her eyes. He heard her hold her breath from his close proximity and he flashed her, what he would like to think, was his most charming and wide smile in the history of his life. He had a feeling his face would hurt tomorrow from the strain.
“Well, I’ll see you around then,” he said after a moments pause. He lowered his head again and walked past her to see Planter glaring at him from by the door. Oh, yes, revenge was indeed sweet.
He was still in Evans’ range of view so he remained silent. He sneered at James and watched the veins throb in his neck. Clearly, if his veins could speak they would definitely curse him into a million pieces.
Gabriel walked confidently back to his compartment, leaving behind a stunned Lily and an irate James. He also missed the throttling gestures that James was making with his curled fingers.
He slid open the compartment doors. Pricilla and Severus both raised eyebrows at his smug look but it was gone in a flash. It was replaced with excitement mixed with delight at the mound of treats that lay in a bag in his seat.
Immediately, he rushed and picked it up, rummaging through the sack of sweet goodness. “Those things will kill you,” Severus said indifferently.
“Oh, not me, blame Pricilla for your untimely demise.”
“Cilla, you shouldn’t have,” he said happily without looking up at her. A smile softened her features.
“Don’t be silly. I know how much you love sweets. By the time I got here, the food cart was already here. I knew you would miss it, so I bought them for you.” She stared at him going through the sweets like a child on Christmas day. She would have gladly bought him all the bags in the world, just to hear him call her a pet name like that.
“Gabriel, sit down like a human would you,” she teased. He sat beside her, unwrapping caramel after caramel and throwing them into his mouth without hesitation.
Pricilla merely smiled beside him, watching him close his eyes to savor every creamy chocolate. He opened his eyes and they caught Severus, once again, book in lap but not reading.
He slowly pulled out a small chocolate wrapped in pink paper. He bit into it, bursting the middle flowing with pink filling and grimaced. “Yuck, I hate this flavor.” He spat it out, wiped his mouth and stood up.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know. Gabriel, where are you going?” Pricilla asked shrilly.
“I need to get a chocolate to replace this one. Do you think the food lady got far?”
“But you’ve got a whole bag!” Severus said, actually looking surprised.
“No, I’m sure she has to stop a lot more. I’ll do it for you,” Pricilla offered meekly.
Before he could say no, she whipped out past him and down the corridor. He smiled to himself and sat down, finally having Severus alone. He popped the strawberry that he had spat out back into his mouth. Like he could ever hate a chocolate, he scoffed inwardly. Pricilla should have known better.
From the moment he came back, his ‘plan’ weighed heavily on his mind when he looked at Severus. He thought about not telling him but that would be disastrous if he were to find out. Telling him could also be unwise as Severus might be hesitant to use Lily, even if it was a plan to get back at Planter. Although he wouldn’t exactly call what he was doing ‘using’ her, but everyone has their opinions.
He took a deep breath. “Severus?”
“I have something to tell you.”
Severus looked up at him curiously. “What is it?” he drawled.
Severus growled like a feral animal and narrowed his eyes. He looked quite scary and Gabriel would have been a little frightened if he made a sudden move.
“Good. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on. We both hate him, do we not? We both wish for him to wake up with hot coals in his pants, do we not?”
Severus looked confused.
“He’s a common problem to both of us and I have a plan…to get back at him.”
Severus’ eyes lit up. Gabriel expected to see conflict on his features but instead, Severus looked positively thrilled. “What is it?”
Gabriel hesitated. It would be tricky to work Evans into it effectively without offending him, but he had to try.
“Potter is arrogant, he’s full of himself, and to the untrained eye, he would seem virtually untouchable. But he’s not. He has a weakness. His one debilitating flaw. Lily Evans.”
Gabriel whispered her name but he had the feeling that Severus would hear it even if someone whispered it during a quidditch match from fifty feet in the air. Not that his hearing was that good, he was just crazy like that.
He started to look murderous so Gabriel carried on quickly, but choosing his words carefully.
“Look I know she was your friend and it’s…it’s a shame what happened but think about it this way. Potter gets annoyed whenever someone even stands next to her. He would probably have a heart attack if she started to be friends with someone he hated. Especially me of all people.”
He took a breath when Severus didn’t look ready to pounce anymore.
“He will become jealous and more stupid than usual. He’ll do all sorts of brainless things and Lily will start to get fed up with him. She’ll realize what an idiot he is and he’ll have no chance. Not that he has one now, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Gabriel inhaled and leaned forward to Severus as if conducting an extremely secretive business deal.
“And without him buzzing around and being a pest to her, it would be a right bit easier for an old friend to redeem himself, and, she’ll have more time. Time to think about the things she doesn’t have anymore. The people she misses. Decisions she might have made too hastily. And with a handsome Slytherin putting in a word for said friend all the while, I’ll say that’ll improve his chances.”
Severus had looked outraged at first, but his expression slowly changed into thoughtfulness (though still a little outraged). Gabriel could see the conflict now, readable on his face like an open book. A rare sight.
Whatever his answer or thoughts would have been, he didn’t have the time to discuss them because Pricilla had returned. Gabriel tried to convey a look that meant ‘we’ll talk later’ but judging from the way Severus raised an eyebrow, he may have just looked constipated.
“Here, I found you a lollipop instead,” she said brightly, shoving it into his hand.
“Thank you,” he replied.
Even though Pricilla was their friend, Severus was a very private person. There were some things he just didn’t want people to know. Gabriel could relate. He knew Severus better than anyone could imagine. He wasn't even aware if Severus himself knew. Because when the nights were cold, and long, and unbearable, he wasn’t the only one up, unable to sleep, mourning lost treasure.
Pricilla stretched and cast her blue eyes out the window and sighed dreamily. “I can’t believe this is the last time we’ll ever be aboard this express,” she said softly.
“You, who always complain about wanting to be finished with school, is sad about it,” Gabriel said skeptically.
“We’ll, there’re certain things I’ll miss,” she replied in the same quiet voice not taking her eyes off him.
“Oh? Like what?” Gabriel smacked his lips around the lollipop and looked at her.
Pricilla flushed and looked at her knees. “Things that I’ve grown accustomed to, people that I’ve become used to seeing everyday…What about you Gabriel? Won’t you miss it?”
Would he miss it? He hadn’t even given thought to what he wanted to be when school was over. It was just one of those things that seemed far away only to sneak up on you. School was easy. School was- minus the loads of homework and rules, and depending on what you did- fun. But it wasn't permanent. Their petty priorities would have to shift when they went out in the real world. School sheltered them, but not forever. He supposed he would miss it. It had been a part of his life for seven years.
Pricilla looked to him expectantly as if waiting for something. Severus was rigid. He had been silent the whole time though Gabriel noticed the way his fingers gripped the book and his eyes focused on one spot.
He exhaled and gave a short nod. “Yes, I will. For some, Hogwarts is like a home. A place to look forward to coming. Leaving it… will be hard for some. But I’m sure it’ll be alright. There is always somewhere for us.”
Severus’ knuckles turned white from the pressure he was applying to the book and Gabriel smirked. Pricilla looked awe-struck and Gabriel casually popped the lollipop back into his mouth in a self-satisfied manner. His friend would be okay, but every time he looked at him, he thought of Lily. And every time he thought of Lily, Planter’s face appeared. And when he saw that face he would growl.
The rest of the journey past quickly, much to Gabriel’s pleasure. He spent it eating sweets, patrolling the corridors with Pricilla at periodic intervals and trying not to look at the sheets of water cascading down the windows. Would it never end! Severus or ‘Mr. Zombie’ as he now appropriately named him was annoyingly quiet and Pricilla kept shooting him what she obviously believed to be furtive glances. He made a note to explain what furtive meant to her at a later occasion.
The train screeched to a halt at the Hogsmeade station and Gabriel watched as the rain still drizzled against the window as he slipped into his robes. Severus lethargically closed the unread book and sighed. Pricilla had already changed and was fixing his sleeves that she insisted, were ruffled.
Severus grabbed the cage with his owl and exited first, no doubt to catch a many glimpses of Lily as he could. Gabriel dragged down his trunk and pulled it, Pricilla following closely behind him. The patrolled the train as instructed to make sure everyone got their belongings together and were off the train before it left.
The chilly night air assaulted his face as soon as he stepped out. He heard Pricilla shivering beside him. “I’m freezing,” she said through chattering teeth. “Look, there’s Severus by an empty carriage, come on.”
Gabriel adjusted his green and silver scarf around his neck and followed Pricilla. When they reached the carriage he held out a hand to help her climb in. She smiled gratefully and slid into the dark interior.
Something caught Gabriel’s eye and he held out a gloved hand without having to look around. The winged horse nuzzled his hand, its lifeless eyes showing no reflection. “Hello my friend,” he whispered, “we meet again.”
To be continued~
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