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Disclaimer: Only Ashley and her family are mine.

ashley.
By Radcliffe_PotterFan319

Chapter One
Here In This Diary


The only thing that matters is just following your heart
and eventually you'll finally get it right.

- "Here in this Diary" by the Ataris


“Hey, Ashley, how was your summer?”

I should have known the moment I looked up to see who was talking to me that my sixth year at Hogwarts wasn’t going to go as smoothly as I thought it would go. I mean, O.W.L.s were done, my older brother was finally growing up (being a seventh year and all, maturity had to start kicking in), and I was more then sure that the year would go by uneventfully, which was my favorite type of year. Honestly, drama was not on my list of top favorite things.

However, that first day on the Hogwart Express, sitting with my best friend Taylor Kaplan, my uneventful year immediately was eventful. Really, that was sort of disappointing when you thought about it.

James Potter was the son of the famous Harry Potter. During our first year, that was all James was really known for at first. We all would gawk at him, knowing that we were in the presence of a legacy. But then James surprised us all. Expecting him to cling to the whole “My dad is Harry Potter” thing, he went off and made a name for himself. Now, he was just James Potter, mischief maker and Quidditch star of Gryffindor. Trust me, him and his friends could get away with just about any prank. From destroying common rooms, to turning the Great Hall into a garden, they had it all covered. And James was Captain of the Quidditch team. He played chaser and was absolutely amazing (even I knew that and I was never big on sports). Girls wanted to be his girlfriend, boys wanted to be his friend.

But James wasn’t really that big headed, as you would think he would be. Sure, he acted like it, but he really wasn’t. It was more of a confidence that just radiated off of him. And while you would still think he was obnoxious, you then had to see the way he treated others. If they weren’t Slytherins, everyone was his friend. And even if he wasn’t sure of your name, he was willing to stand and talk as if he spent every afternoon talking to you. He was a nice guy. The few girls that have gone on dates with him claimed him to be funny (duh) and very sweet.

My history with James Potter wasn’t very big. We both were sorted into Gryffindor six years ago and we both have shared the same classes for five years. I’ve been potion partners with him twice and I helped him out with History of Magic homework just last year when Quidditch and the constant pile of homework were keeping him up until four in the morning. And we both were in the Slug Club, because his father and my grandfather were pretty famous. Our conversations never strayed from school work, Quidditch, or gossip about teachers. We weren’t friends, but we were nice enough to each other.

I mean, I am a rather quiet person. I don’t like commitment, which is why Taylor is the only person I really trust. I mean, we have other friends, too, but no one can tear me and her apart. Doing well in school is important to me, but not my number one concern. I don’t like sports or green vegetables and I’m rather fond of chocolate and writing. Really, I want to be an editor for the Daily Profit after school. That would be amazing. But anyways, I always figured it was my personality that really kept James Potter and I from being too close.

He was popular and out spoken, I was quiet and well, distant. I mean, sure I have a sense of humor and all, too. But you know how it goes. I used to have a small crush on James Potter, back in first year. He’s adorable with his long black hair and hazel eyes. Hence the reason why the girls love him. But me? I had told Taylor that I wasn’t pretty enough for him (which she argued against, but she’s supposed to). I’m not really stunning, if you know what I mean. I have brown hair, though there are red highlights when the sun hits it. And my eyes are a dull brown. My skin isn’t flawless (though I don’t have a condition either) and I’m not the skinniest person alive, either.

Of course, I was sure James didn’t choose his friends by what they looked like. His best friend, Robert Finnegan wasn’t a looker at all. And there were girls he talked to all the time that could do with a few highlights and some make up (but nothing too drastic).

Anyways, it was because all of this that I was shocked when James Potter had opened the door to my compartment I was sharing with Taylor and another girl by the name of Anna Tink and stuck his head in, directing a friendly conversation starter right towards me. He didn’t even seem to realize that there were two other girls in the compartment; though I was very aware that James was all alone.

“Oh. Um. Hi. It was, uh, great,” I practically choked on my words and felt my face flush almost immediately as I tried to shake off my shock, “Yours?”

I already knew how James Potter’s summer went. He had been in the paper in early August. It wasn’t unheard of for the Potters to be in the paper, but James had been busted (by Muggle cops no less) smoking gillyweed and drinking firewhisky at a rather rowdy party in London. It was hosted by some seventh years he was friends with and the neighbors had called the cops because they were being extremely loud at two in the morning. Needless to say, it did not go over well.

“It was fantastic, at first,” James said, giving me a knowing smile. I let myself laugh a little.

“Oh, yeah,” I said, lamely.

There was an awkward pause. Anna and Taylor were watching us carefully and James was shifting from one foot to the other. I tried not to stare at him too much: he was tanned from the summer, his hair a little shorter then the last time I saw it, and he had begun to get that more mature, older look about him.

“Well, I’ll see you at the feast,” James finally said.

“Alright,” I said, quickly. My heart was finally beginning to slow down a little.

“Um, I’ll, uh, save you a seat, alright?” he added, backing out of the compartment, the door sliding shut a little bit.

“Oh,” the shock returned, “Um, sure. Okay.”

And then James was gone, leaving me to sit and listen to Anna and Taylor squeal about how cute he is for the rest of the ride.

Okay, like I said before I was quite distant. I didn’t really trust people and I really avoided relationships with them at all costs. Taylor, who was very bubbly and eager, was the reason I had any other friends at all. The reason for it was because my mother walked out on my brother, and I when I was eleven and my dad left my mom after I was born. Mom had left nothing but a note saying that she couldn’t deal with it anymore. Dad left nothing. The Fall after my mom left, I went off to Hogwarts with only a hug goodbye from my grandparents and a different feel towards people.

Sure, I’ve had boyfriends. Well, once. Back in forth year, I went out with Joseph Montgomery. We dated into the summer, but then he went on vacation and I broke up with him because I didn’t like committing while he went off and had some fun. It was really an unfortunate thing, I suppose. My brother, Landon, always said that I was going to grow up to be married to my job and then probably die alone. It was sort of heartless of him to say, but I always knew a part of that was probably true.

Anyways, my guard was instantly up. And when we got to the school, Taylor and Anna dragged me towards James Potter where he was saving me a seat, as promised. But there was only one seat that meant Anna and Taylor were going to be sitting elsewhere and I’d be stuck in an awkward situation with him. So I pretended not to see the saved seat and followed them to an emptier area. Taylor was angry at me. And I mean, she didn’t talk to me all through the Sorting and then for the first fifteen minutes of dinner. But then she squealed, grabbed my arm and pulled me towards her.

“He’s staring at you, Ashley!” she said and then giggled.

Me, being the stupid person I can sometimes be, turned my head and sure enough, James Potter was staring at me from down the table. Rose Weasley was sitting in the seat he had originally saved for me. When he noticed that I saw him staring, he quickly turned away, a flush in his neck and started laughing at something Robert was saying.

After leading the first years to the common room, I went to my own dormitory and got ready for bed. Taylor and Anna weren’t stupid enough to talk about James Potter with his ex girlfriend, Jessica Bradbury, and her best friend, Megan Manchester in the room. But I went to bed that night feeling completely confused and very nervous.

To calm my nerves, I took out the book that I had found in my grandmother’s room at home. It was her diary. When I found it, I felt as if I was supposed to read it and so I took it. But the time was never right.

____


I was named after my grandmother, Ashley Marie Cooper (though I have the last name of Volpe). She was the first witch in our family but we were always very, very close. You know, she wasn’t really the type of grandmother that baked cookies and all, always talking about her grandchildren in her knitting groups. My grandmother was always very active. She was very involved in the ministry up until three years ago, when she finally decided to retire after my grandfather took up a position on the school board while managing his business.

But Grandma Ashley always had a moment for me. She took me to lunch once a week during the summer and after my mum left, she and my grandfather had immediately took my brother and I in, unable to believe that her daughter would just abandon us. She was, most definitely, my best friend. And she was always ready to laugh with me, even when we didn’t understand what they other was saying or meant. It was just a connection I’ve had with her for my whole life.

This was why I nearly died when she passed away a week into summer vacation. It was odd, really, and completely unexpected. She hadn’t been sick or even tired; she just kept going taking on projects for the school and such. She even helped my granddad with his company (which had discovered some very useful antidotes to popular poisons, giving me involvement in the Slug Club). But one morning, she just never woke up. I had gone in to check on her when I found her, screaming for my grandfather.

I went two weeks before I talked again. Four before I smiled. And, believe it or not, it was James Potter that made me smile.

I guess I should mention that my granddad is close with Hermione Weasley. He never liked how House Elves were treated. He joined SPEW the moment he heard of it and was a very, very active member in its meetings and events. Thus, he was close with James Potter’s aunt. I had gone over to their house for dinner with my granddad one night, my brother complaining as he tagged along. James and his brother and sister just so happen to be there, too. Harry Potter was off on some mission for work and his wife had gone along.

“The kids are all out back by the pool if you two would like to go back out there,” Hermione had said to us, kindly. She knew we just lost our grandmother, of course. Ron Weasley, her husband, was standing right behind her.

“Thanks, Mrs. Weasley,” Landon said and then nudged me towards the door, whispering, “I don’t want to listen to them talk about any of that SPEW shit. Go!”

I had given him a look before I made my way towards the glass door at the back of the house and slipped outside. Landon followed close behind. James, Albus, and Hugo Weasley were all in the pool. Lily Potter and Rose Weasley were sitting on the edge with their feet in. They all paused and looked up, surprised, as we shut the door behind us.

“Ashley, Landon!” James greeted, smiling that heart-stopping grin. Albus greeted us in a quieter manner. He looked much like his brother, only he had his father’s eyes and glasses. His hair was also messier and he was a littler more bony and skinny then James was.

“Hey, James, what’s up?” Landon asked, grinning, as he walked to the edge of the pool. Neither of us wore our suits or had even thought of bringing them. I was a little disappointed because I loved to swim and the pool looked so nice and refreshing. I followed Landon closely, feeling shy and very awkward.

“Nothing much,” James shrugged and grinned again. My brother was in Ravenclaw, but he was a big Quidditch fan. Because of that, he and James had a sort of friendship going on that I never really understood. They were enemies only in sport, but even then, they would laugh and pat each other on the back while out on the field. It made a lot of Gryffindors angry, but James would then score a few goals and their anger was always quickly forgotten.

The evening had gone by slowly. I spent the majority of my time with Lily Potter, who was a few years younger then me, and Rose Weasley who was just one year younger then me. We got along well enough, but my guard was up higher then ever before after my grandmother’s passing and neither Rose nor Lily tried to push me anymore then I was willing to. When dinner was served, conversation revolved around the House Elves at Hogwarts. We all listened with bored expressions while the adults talked, though I saw Mr. Weasley roll his eyes more times then not and his wife threw him annoyed looks that clearly stated that she didn’t like his attitude towards her program.

It was after dessert, the hour getting late, when James came over to me. I had been sitting at the kitchen table, three seats down from the adults. I wasn’t sure where everyone else went and I didn’t want to be around them anymore anyways.

“Hey,” he said, not smiling for once.

“Hi,” I replied with a sigh.

“I’m really sorry about your grandma. It’s gotta be tough,” he pulled out a chair and sat down beside me.

“Thanks,” was the only response I could think of.

“If it helps, at least you got to know your grandma. I mean, I know Grandma Molly, but it’s like, only half, you know? My dad lost his parents when he was one years old, so of course I never met them either,” James offered a smile now and I looked down at my hands.

“Sorry,” I muttered.

“It’s alright,” James shrugged and then put a hand on my shoulder, comforting me in a way that no one seemed to have thought of before. Sure, my dad would hug me and even Landon, but no one touched me like I was breakable and like they were trying to take my pain away. This made me look up at James. He grinned wider, “Can you believe they’re talking about freeing the House Elves? I mean, Aunt Hermione won’t even let Mum and Dad think about getting one. And trust me, Mum isn’t the greatest when it comes to home cooked meals and Dad is no better.”

“Yeah, my granddad is completely helpless, too,” I nodded, thinking about the dishes in the sink and the burnt grilled cheese we ate last night.

“It’s insane. But hey, maybe I’m just lazy,” he smirked.

“Maybe,” I shrugged.

There was a pause, “You know what I want to do?” he asked, after a moment.

“What?”

“I want to do something crazy. Something that will blow my mind,” he was thoughtful, but completely serious. I just stared at him and his hazel eyes focused on mine, “You can do it with me, come on.”

“What?!” I was startled.

James didn’t give me much of a chance. He grabbed my wrist and then dragged me from my chair. He took me up the stairs into a bedroom. Looking around, I could only assume that it belonged to Rose. It had frilly bed sheets (though the bed was unmade), posters of famous Wizards and a rather large amount of books. James went straight to the window and started climbing out. I pulled away from him.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I have something to show you,” he said, grinning madly.

“Out on the roof?” I asked, nervous. James shrugged.

“Of course. Look, it’s going to be fine. It’s not so crazy that you’ll get arrested or anything, I promise. It’s just something to get your heart rate going. I swear its good for you. Don’t you trust me?” he looked at me through his long eyelashes, waiting for me to answer. I just stared at him. James and I weren’t friends. We only talked when we needed to. But now he was asking me if I trusted him? My head was spinning and I felt a little sick. I put a hand on my stomach, but the other was reaching out to James’s hand that was waiting for me.

No, I didn’t trust him, but something made me want to do this.

I clung to James’s hand as we walked along the roof. I could hear my brother entertaining the younger kids, their laughter traveling up to us. I was holding my breath out of nervousness. This was not safe and this wasn’t me. I kept thinking of me falling and breaking my neck. I don’t think my grandfather could take another loss. And yet, I kept going. The heart from James’s hand comforted me and his frequent looks over his shoulder encouraged me.

“Alright, here we are,” James said.

I looked over the edge. The pool was directly under us. It seemed so far down and I immediately took a step away from the edge. James, however, had a look on his face that was blazing with excitement. He looked over at me, still clinging to my hand.

“My dad made me get down last time I tried this last summer,” he told me, as if that was supposed to make me feel so much better, “On the count of three?”

“We’re jumping?!” I nearly yelled it. James shushed me, putting a finger to my lips and nodded. He tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear for me and grinned. His other hand was still holding mine.

“One. Two,” he grinned at me and I found myself getting ready, “Three!”

I screamed as we jumped and when I hit the water, realizing I was fully clothed, my mouth filled up with water. When I resurfaced, I coughed, but realized I was still holding onto James’s hand. I let it go quickly as I got the water out of my lungs. But when I saw James’s face, right next to mine, grinning, I had to grin, too.

And then I laughed.

It wasn’t just a small giggle either, it was a loud, happy, overwhelming laugh that made me nearly drown because I couldn’t keep myself afloat. I remembered James pulled me over to him and helping me keep my head above the water (he is, after all, over six feet while little me is around five-three). He laughed with me, grinning at his wonderful work of making me laugh for the first time in weeks and helped me to the edge of the pool where he lifted me up and sat me on the edge where I laughed some more. I couldn’t stop now that I started and I knew that our siblings were watching us very curiously and somewhat amused.

Later, my grandfather would yell his head off at me for pulling such a dangerous stunt, but I would go home and lay on my bed, laughter coming easily once more.

It dawned on my that maybe that was why James was so nice to me earlier today and why he wanted to sit next to be at the feast. Maybe, just maybe, something changed between James and I that night and now, he wishes to be friends. Or maybe he thinks I’m some sort of secretly reckless person that will break nearly any rule given, just never been caught. That idea worried me a little bit and I hoped to Merlin that that wasn’t the case.

It had been that same night that I found the worn leather diary that was now sitting in my hands. The inside cover read This Diary Belongs to Ashley Marie Cooper, my grandmother. My grandfather has been in his study doing some last minute reviews on this report he had written up to send to the Ministry. I was missing my grandmother and sunk into their bedroom, shutting the door quietly behind me. My grandfather wouldn’t be angry about me being in there, I just wanted to be alone and in the quiet for as long as possible.

I turned on a light by the bed and looked at some pictures of my grandmother at her wedding day. She had married young, only four or five years older then me. Sure, she looked happy and bright. Her hair was a reddish brown, just like me. Though her eyes were a light blue and her face was shaped differently. She was also taller then me, but incredibly skinny in a natural way. Of course, her body changed after she had her babies and she was always a little plump (in a healthy way) for all the years I had known her. She seemed more alive and carefree then me, too.

It was funny how I was named for her and only sharing a name (and not even the last name at that) and a shade of hair. I looked more like my mother then my grandmother and she was the woman I had never known.

Closing the drapes on my bed, I opened it to the first page, the first date, and lit my wand so I could see clearly.

2 September, 1974

I can’t believe I’m back at Hogwarts already and starting yet another diary. Really, it seems pathetic that I’m still ranting about my problems in a book. I should at least find one that can talk back. This is the magical world after all. I might not have such luck in the Muggle world, but here . . . ha, I wonder what my mother would say to that? She thinks this magic stuff is crazy. Fascinating, but crazy. And my dad! My God, his face would be absolutely fantastic to watch. Oh, I miss them already.

Anyways, yeah, I’m back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And wow, I missed it this summer! I missed my friends and my classes. I even missed my homework. Okay, I wouldn’t go that far. But hey, this year can’t be so bad. I have free periods and no O.W.L.s to worry about. Though Lily is already worried about N.E.W.T.s. She says she needs to try harder because she’s Muggleborn, but so am I and I apply myself just to the proper level.

But whatever, I’m hoping this year is uneventful and easy.

And since James Potter finally is going to lay off asking Lily Evans, my semi-friend, if she would go out with him, this year should be quiet (though Lily has not yet been informed that James is going to leave her alone). I mean, no more angry fights in the hallways or rushing love-struck boys to the hospital wing. It’s going to be nice and smooth. James with find someone else to stalk and Lily will be able to live her life in peace. It’s going to be amazing and I am definitely looking forward to it.

Speaking of James Potter, get a load of this:

So, it’s the first day of classes and Lily and I are sitting in Transfiguration waiting for McGonagall to start the lesson. Out of no where, James and his friend, Sirius Black, plop down in the row in front of us (Peter and Remus had their usual seats in the back). They faced us, backwards, and gave us grins. Lily always said that Sirius had a crush on me, but turns out he was fonder of Theresa Davies in Ravenclaw. I saw them sitting together at the breakfast this morning and they looked quite cozy.

“Hello, ladies, how goes it?” James asked easily, but he wasn’t drooling in Lily’s lap like he usually was.

“Oh please, Potter,” Lily rolled her eyes, her temper already rising. I wanted to tell her to take a chill pill. Our other friend (the one that was the reason I was close with Lily at all), Marlene McKinnon, rolled her eyes and ignored the situation by turning her back on us and smiling at her new boyfriend.

“We’re great,” I said, trying to be polite.

“Glad to hear it,” James gave me a smile that he usually only saved for Lily. I was a little taken aback by the force of it and how my knees went a little weak, even though I was sitting quite firmly.

“How was your summer?” I asked, so suddenly that I was shocked that I even said it. Immediately, I was blaming the smile. You know how there’s always something about a boy that makes you say more then you want to? Yeah, that’s just what happened. Apparently, Lily’s anger makes her immune to James’s powers.

“It was very good, thanks for asking. What about yours?” James asked, looking directly as me. For a minute, I thought he seemed to have forgotten that Lily was even there. She was staring at him open mouthed, shocked. I was a little shocked too.

But what girl wouldn’t like a little attention from James Potter? He was, after all, gorgeous with his dark hair and hazel eyes. He had that lean, strong Quidditch body and that stunning smile. Oh, and how his hair was so naturally messy. Besides, his little habit of running his hand through his hair was sort of adorable. Not that Lily would admit it. She wouldn’t even admit the boy was attractive without being threatened or tortured.

“It was great,” I answered James with a quick look at Lily.

“Good, I’m glad. I’ll see you later, alright,” he grinned again and then he and Sirius stood up and went to their usual table with Remus and Peter.

Lily and I didn’t get to discuss what happened until after class because McGonagall entered the room and suddenly, Lily was all ears, James Potter forgotten. I, however, was very aware that he was behind me.

After class, however, Lily remembered. We were walking down the corridor towards Potions (she had a glass of that pineapple stuff Slughorn loves in her bag). We were nearly done with the walk, having discussed homework and options for spreading it out neatly so we have some personal time to relax. Lily stopped walking and turned to face me while Marlene went off to snog her boyfriend before class.

“You know he was doing it on purpose,” she said.

“What?” I was confused.

“Potter,” Lily said matter-of-factly, “He’s going to pretend to be interested in you so that I get jealous and give in to him. Don’t fall for it, Ash, you’ll only get hurt.”

“I wasn’t falling for anything,” I said, defensive.

“Yes, you were. He’s always giving me that smile and it’s almost impossible to resist. I know exactly what it’s like and you were caught off guard. He could have asked to make love to you and you would probably have agreed,” Lily was talking in her smart person voice. You know, the one she uses when delivering the proper answer in class? I always found it a little annoying, when Lily was being a know-it-all. I found it annoying went she was scolding me, too, like she was my mother.

“I’m not shallow,” I said, insulted now.

“I know you’re not. Just be careful,” Lily smiled and then started walking again.

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if Lily was just watching out for me or if she felt like I was easy. As if one smile from a good-looking boy could leave me tripping over myself in embarrassing ways. It did, after all, only happen once and I had learned my lesson. But then I wondered if she was jealous. Now, I’m completely confused. Maybe James was just being nice? I bet he was.

It was me, after all, who had been there after O.W.L.s last year when Lily and James had that rather big fight. Things had been quiet around the school since the Marauders were busy studying for O.W.L.s (probably on Remus’s orders). But when James finished terrorizing Snape and James was left to wander the halls alone trying to decide whether or not to apologize to Lily for being so horrible and attention seeking, he found me.

Lily has a habit of making me feel a little crappy and well, after she went off on James, she went off on me because I collapsed on my bed in the dormitory while telling Marlene how incredibly grateful I was for finally being done. Lily had one more O.W.L. and I was being too loud for her taste and she threw a fit. Of course, she was already in a bad mood because of James and Lily always did have a very quick temper.

So I left the dormitory and wandered the corridors for a while. It was then that I had run into James, who was quite upset with himself. He confessed that he can’t help but be stupid and horrible and when Lily is around, he’s even worse. We talked for hours about his relationship with Lily and finally, I asked him if it’s really worth it. At first, James said yes but when I asked what he really knows about Lily, besides her temper and dedication to school, James realized that he knew very little.

And with that, he promised to try and move on.



A/N: So this wasn't supposed to go up for a few months, but you know what? I figured since I'm trying to make a comeback and my other stories aren't coming along so great, I'd post. :) That and after losing my front tooth and ending up with 7 stitches in a cheerleading accident, I needed something to look forward to.

But anyways! I want to know what you think. Is it cute? Stupid? Funny? Clever? Do you like Ashley? Is she annoying? Do you want to see something special in this story? Anything, I'd love to know. :)

Love,
Carolyn!

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