Disclaimer: JKR = Harry Potter World. Ash = Laney Becks.
End of story.

stunning image by .Candy @ TDA

It’s the day I’ve been waiting for all summer.

September first.

Typically, when I walk into the living room, Netta is sitting there knitting yet more pairs of socks. I heave a sigh that I am sure her hearing aids will never pick up, and throw myself onto the little love seat, newspaper in hand. Just for something to do, I flip open The Daily Prophet and scan through the first few pages.

“Laney dear, feet off the cushions please,” Netta croaks. That’s pretty much all she does.

Croaks at me.

Oh, and knits. She might as well be a carnival attraction: The Amazing Knitting Toad-Thing.

I stare blankly at her for a moment and then lift my feet off the sofa so that they hover right above the cushion. She contemplates me for a moment and then grins, as if she’s suddenly remembered something.

“I’m almost done with these footies! You can wear them on the ride to your little school.”

Little school? More like enormous castle. Oh, and I’d like to keep my friends, thanks. So no more frilly socks.

“Uh, thanks Netta,” I mumble, standing up.

“When will little Dora be here?” Netta asks. Must she refer to everything that’s important to me as ‘little’?

“It’s Dara,” I say pointedly. “And she’ll be here in a few minutes, so I’m going to go get my trunk.”

She smiles vaguely after me as I head up the stairs into my bubbly pink room. I want to throw up every time I think about it. I despise pink.

Pink causes world hunger. I am convinced of this.

I gather my trunk and cat, Presto, who hisses at me when I throw it by its tail into the carrier.

That isn't abuse...is it?

I heave my things down the stairs, starting to get a bit antsy for my best friend's arrival. Dara always picks me up and takes me to the train station on September first, seeing as Netta was nearly trampled at Kings Cross Station when she was eleven and now refuses to go near it. Well, except for first and second year when Dara and I weren’t friends yet. She was a wreck.

Even so, the way she coos at me when I try to get on the train is embarrassing.

Every year, Dara side-Apparates to my second house with her mum and then we all side-Apparate to Kings Cross. Mrs. Valentin is like a second mum to me. For some odd reason, she likes my sense of humour.

She’s one fantastic mum. Also, probably a sadist if she likes my jokes.

I chuck my things outside, cat carrier and all, and go to say my good-byes to Netta. Ugh, awkward.

“Erm, I’ll be going then...” I mutter with a short wave.

She smiles and tosses me the finished socks. “Have a good term!”

Then before I can make an escape, she traps me in a hug that smells like old perfume and says, "I love you, Dearie."

I grunt, detaching myself from her frail arms, and walk out the door, ‘accidentally’ chucking the frilly socks in a bush, wishing Dara would just get here already and put me out of my misery. As if in answer to my prayers, the second I am outside, there is a small ‘pop!’ and Dara and her mum appear.

“Laney!” she squeals, sprinting towards me. She throws her tiny arms around my shoulders in a full on bear hug.

“Dara!” I laugh over her head. “I can’t breathe!”

“Oh, right!” she says, dropping her arms. She beams at me.

“Er, how are you?” I ask and immediately regret it as I watch her face fall.

“I’m...” she begins.

“Never mind!” I recover quickly. “Hullo Mrs. Valentin,” I say, turning to Dara’s mum.

“Cheers, Laney,” she winks. “Shall we get a move on, yeah?”

I nod and hoist my trunk and cat carrier upright. I look up at Dara who seems to have just put on ‘the happy face’ for my benefit and chew on my lip. Saying the wrong thing is pretty much my native language and I seem to have been speaking it again.

“Right then,” nods Mrs. Valentin, grabbing our shoulders. “Er, don’t you want to hold onto Presto? He looks a bit...” she trails off.

I glance down at the carrier where Presto is cowering in the corner, looking absolutely mortified.


“Right, let’s go then.” With a rush, Mrs. Valentin turns on the spot, and we’re suddenly being pressed through time and space.

I open my eyes to see that we are standing right outside the barrier. Obviously, we’re supposed to be acting inconspicuous, but Dara looks extremely ill after the uncomfortable sensation, as she always does. For some reason, I don’t find Apparating unpleasant. I actually kind of like it. Masochism is one of my favorite past-times apparently.

We slide as nonchalantly as possible through the barrier and into Platform 9 and 3/4.

“Right then, I’ll be going,” says Mrs. Valentin with a sigh. “Sorry I can’t stay and see you off, but I’ve got to Apparate to Manchester and meet...” she trails off as her eyes flicker to Dara who looks away almost angrily. “Well, goodbye, love.”

She turns and disappears through the barrier.

“Dara... I —” I begin, but she cuts me off.

“Can I meet you on the train?”

“Eh... what?”

“I’ve got to go find Pat Jenkins and rearrange her face.”

I laugh. “Why?”

“The bloody second year never returned my hair beret to me last year. Stupid Hufflepuffs...” Dara mutters, craning her neck around.

“Ha, all right,” I say, wondering how someone as small as Dara could ever appear intimidating. Then I remember the bacon plate flying through the air directly at my head and nod. She nods back and disappears through the crowd.

I head towards the train and suddenly collide with a tall, golden-haired girl. My trunk splits open and I am showered in hundreds of pink socks.


“Sorry Becks!” It’s Chaz Jacobs and she is smiling at me with those creepy, intense eyes.

“Erm... hi,” I mumble, trying my best to make it clear that I am not accepting her apology. I emerge from the ocean of socks and thrust mounds of them back inside my trunk. She kneels down beside me to help.

“Do you get cold feet?” she asks, raising her eyebrows at the trunk bursting with frilly socks.

I glare at her.

“Eh — you need any help?” she seems a bit uncomfortable now. Good. Nice people should feel uncomfortable sometimes. They’re just so... nice.

“No,” I say, sitting on my trunk and trying to buckle it shut. She smirks and leans down anyway to snap it closed for me. Unbelievable.

I stand up and look away, annoyed. “Uh, right then. I’ll — er — see you at school.”

She nods. “All right.”

I watch her as she heads off towards a group of giggling seventh years looking a bit put-off and can’t help but feel a little sorry for the way that I acted to her (a first). She is just so damn nice. Why do people have to be nice? Am I being punished for something?

I’m suddenly wishing Dara hadn’t run off to break some second year's nose, because it’s a bit uncomfortable walking around by myself after half the school has just seen that I carry about three hundred pairs of socks around with me. They probably think I’m some champion sock-collector now. Though only a very bad sock-collector would solely stock up on one colour. So I’m that crappy pink sock-collecting girl now.


I board the train with more than seven minutes to spare and start searching for an empty compartment to claim. One by one, I slide open the compartment doors to find yet another one full of people. By compartment number six, I’m grumbling to myself.

“Really, people!” I say under my breath as number seven appears to be occupied. Not bothering to check in any more compartments, I heave my things to the very last one and slide the door open.

There’s a girl sitting in there. Her ginger head is in her arms and her trunk and owl cage are thrown carelessly onto the bench across from her. At first I think she’s sleeping and am about to curse her for being so inconsiderate in taking up an entire compartment, but then I realize her whole figure is heaving and shaking.

I can feel my whole being seize up as I realize with terror, that she’s crying.

I look around awkwardly, wondering if I should clear my throat, or even just leave. But I don't have time to do either, because a second later she looks up.

My eyes pop and I nearly trip backwards at what I see. Her face is covered in blotchy spots, her eyes are stark red, puffy, and bloodshot, her lip is quivering, and she’s... she’s... she’s Rose Weasley.

Never in my four years of Hogwarts have I seen Rose Weasley cry. And trust me, girls at Hogwarts are always crying. Except for me, of course.

I hesitate, then realize my mouth is hanging open, and close it quickly. She’s now glaring at me, which is not helping me to recover. That’s another thing Rose Weasley never does: glare.

“Surprised?” she asks, her voice breaking. I feel like using Accio to summon my own voice, I’m at such a loss for words.

“I...er....Well, yes,” I say finally. Random encounters with emotions always make me a bit jumpy.

“Figured as much,” she snaps, redirecting her stare out the window. I feel the train start to move from under me.

“I guess I’m just too ordinary for some people. Anything I do that’s not law-abiding or educational just has to be a right shock.”

I toy with leaving right then and there to get myself out safely, but decide, as she is my roommate, that I should probably offer her some guidance before she commits a murder.

“Are — are you all right?”

This was obviously the wrong thing to say.

“Of course I’m not all right! Do you think think I’d be in the last compartment, bawling my eyes out over some boy if I wasn’t —”

“What boy?” I ask, my attention grabbed. She grinds her teeth, and looks out the window again, an angry tear falling fast and hard down her cheek.

“Desmond,” she says finally.

I nod, turn around, and slide the door shut. I know exactly what to do. After three years of friendship with Dara Valentin, if I know anything at all, it's how to deal with a bad breakup.

I lift both our things onto the racks and take a seat.

“Tell me everything,” I sigh.

She sniffs. “I’m sorry, Laney, you know, for — for snapping at you like that.” She looks genuinely embarrassed. “That — that really wasn’t very polite of me.”

I nod, resisting the urge to say that I do that all the time. At a time like this, my presence must be as calm as a waveless lake. Or something. “It’s fine.”

I’m suddenly wondering why I hadn’t ever been friends with this girl: She could be mean. This is a rare find. Of course, a truly mean person would never apologize for being impolite, but it is definitely worth investigating.

“Now tell me,” I say.

“All right,” she sniffs. “He asked me if I would go out with him last term... I d-didn’t even want to! But I agreed because I — I wanted to prove that I could have a boyfriend. Everyone’s always saying that I’m too concerned over grades and rules and — and I don’t even know why!”

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“All right, I know exactly why. Because I am too concerned over grades and rules. I guess I just wanted to show everyone that there’s more to me than that.”

“So, you agreed to go out with him... then what?” I prompt.

“Well, I didn’t see him all summer — if I ever brought a boy home I think my dad would set me afire —” I laugh. “So we wrote letters and it was just starting to get sort of old. He kept asking to meet me places or come to my house even though I told him I couldn’t. I knew it was heading towards this b-but I n-never th-thought it would b-be this b-bad.”

Her face flushes with sadness again.

“Just a few minutes ago, he s-said that I was th-the most pathetic girlfriend he’s e-ever had. In front of everyone.”

It’s quiet while she cries again and I look out through the grey and rain-streaked window.

“He’s a thick, arse-headed, prick,” I say and she looks up gratefully. “But you’re an idiot.”

Her face falls into a hurt expression.

“W-what —" she starts.

“You’re an idiot because you need to be stronger. Do you not realize that you’re just giving him what he wants?”

She looks confused and I sigh.

“If he called you out in front of half the school, then he obviously wanted to embarrass you. And by sitting in here and crying over him, you’re letting Desmond win.”

She blinks.

“I — I didn’t even...”

“Yeah,” I say. “Look, you just need to move on. Bounce back, Rose. Don’t be weak.”

“You know, Laney, you really are good at this type of thing. You’re honest. That’s what people need. Honesty, not sympathy.”

I give a sort of smile. It actually kind of feels good to stretch these muscles. Hm, I think I’ll continue.

“What a moment,” I say, still beaming to high heavens. She seems a bit freaked out now. “Aren’t you a prefect? It said on my letter from Hogwarts that you were our girl prefect this year... Shouldn’t you be in the prefect’s carriage getting instruction?”

Her face and ears become instantly radish red. “I — I... W-well, the thing is... I.... yes, I should be in the prefect’s carriage.”

I begin to laugh. “Rose Weasley, crying, snapping at me, and ignoring prefect duties! Never thought I’d see the day...”

“Hey!” she says, laughing. “I had a lot on my mind!”

Suddenly the door slides open.

“Rose! Where the hell have you been?” It’s Albus Potter, standing there, his green eyes flashing, his glasses askew, and his untidy black hair just as madly untidy as ever.

He looks at me, then Rose, then back to me again. Apparently, finding Rose Weasley and Laney Becks laughing together is hard to believe.

“Are — are you alright?” he asks Rose, taking in her tear streaked face, and ignoring me as usual. Even though I’ve been on the House Quidditch team with Al since second year, he still doesn’t know I exist. I suppose we’ve just never run in the same crowd. But then again, he is brilliantly smart, a tremendous wizard, and a Potter child. He probably just doesn’t have time for people as average as me.

Though, I have always preferred Al over his older brother, who is a complete beefhead at best. While not near as good looking as James, Albus always made up for it in his personality. He was the likeable one, Albus. The one everyone wanted to know.

And the huge green eyes didn't exactly hinder him.

“Yes, Al, I’m fine,” she says, smiling at him. He seems genuinely relieved. That’s another thing I'll think I'll give him, he really cares for Rose.

“I punched the son-of-a-” he begins, furiously.

“Al!” Rose says. Al really isn’t one to swear a lot (compared to the other fifth year boys), probably due to the tight ship Rose holds him in, so this has to mean he’s furious.

“Rose — he — I —” he splutters.

“It’s all right,” she says, soothingly. “I’m not upset anymore. Laney just helped me get over it.”

He looks confusedly at me. I raise my hand in awkward recognition.

Something about the way he looks at me then, eyes reflecting some lost thought, makes colour burn on my cheeks.

"You're a Gryffindor Chaser, aren't you?" he asks politely.

"Yeah." It's all I really feel like replying with.

"Well, thanks for talking to Rose," he says, and he gives me a lopsided grin that makes me feel so suddenly self-conscious and clammy.

Grabbing composure, I nod. “Anytime. I have to find Dara so I’ll — I’ll see you at school, Rose.”

She smiles at me. “Thanks, Laney.”

I stand up, pull down my trunk and cat carrier, and move towards the door. For a moment, Albus looks at me, and then he slides aside to let me through.

I'm halfway down the corridor when I hear, "Laney?"

I turn around to find Albus poking his head out his compartment, looking at me.

"Yes?" I reply.

He awkwardly holds out a feather quill. "You forgot this."

I hurry down to him and say, "Oh, sorry," reaching for the quill. When he hands it to me, we both are staring inadvertently at the floor.

"Well, er, see you around then," he says.

I nod and we part ways, me still gripping the quill. And for some reason I can't shake that I know I didn't leave this quill behind. It isn't mine.

I head along the corridor searching for Dara. I wonder what she’ll say when I tell her I’ve just made sort of friends with Rose Weasley....

When I’m by compartment fourteen, a girl pokes her head out.

“Can I — Oh, sorry, I thought you were the trolly,” she says, blushing. I recognize her as third year, Lily Potter. Her hazel eyes dash to the floor and she tucks a lock of wavy red hair behind her ear.

“Right,” I say. “It’s fine.” She looks uncomfortable, nods, and slides the door closed again.

Now I’m grinding my teeth. Where the hell is Dara? I’m starting to get really sick of always looking for her. I swing upon a door to find the girl in question, snogging Derek Jones, the sleaziest Hufflepuff ever sorted. I dive in.

“Pat Jenkins my arse!” I screech, grabbing a handful of her shirt and tearing her off of him.

“EURGH!” Dara splutters, tripping.

“Shut it!” I say angrily.

“Oi!” Derek retorts, wiping his mouth. “Let her go!” I round on him.

“Don’t you tell me what to do, you idiot wanker!” I bellow. He looks horrified.

I push Dara aside and whip out my wand. “Tergeo. There, your mouth’s clean of my friend. Now go find your next victim and devour her face face! Or his!”

Looking more than a little shaken by me, Derek shoves past us and out of the compartment. We take a seat in silence while I stare coldly at Dara.

“Really, Dara? Really?” I ask, my arms folded. She looks on the verge of tears. God, not again.

“I’m sorry, Laney! I was going to find Pat —”

I raise my eyebrows.

“Really, I was! And I found Derek in this compartment and he — he lured me in! I swear!”

Now she really is crying. So many tears in one day. I swear I might be developing a very serious rash.

“Look Dara, I get that you’re having family problems right now but that doesn’t give you the right to vent your feelings by snogging every boy in sight!”

“You just don’t understand! My parents are getting a divorce! They d-don’t even c-care about me anymore!” she bawls. And now we have progressed to bawling. This is definitely not my day.

I stare at her with a harsh expression on my face. “You don’t think I understand? You...don’t think...I...understand? How thick can you be? Do you not get that I’ve never had parents? Ever? Ever, Dara! And you think just because yours are breaking up, you have the right to think you have the biggest problems in the world!”

“I’m so sorry, Laney. I completely... I’m sorry.”

“Yeah,” I say. “Look, just don’t do it again, okay? Not unless you really like the guy.”

“I promise,” she says.

It’s a few hours before we’re back to normal but once we are, it feels just like old times again.

“Rose Weasley?” she asks, incredulously. I had just finished telling her the events of earlier.

“Bollocks! I didn’t even know she was capable of fancying someone. She is so uptight...” she says thoughtfully.

“No,” I say, shaking my head. “Don’t say that, because that’s exactly why she did it. She told me her reputation really gets to her sometimes. I think she wishes she were different. Give her a break.”

If Dara looked surprised before, then that was nothing compared to her expression now. “Becks! Are you standing up for someone?”

“Dara, I stand up for you all the time, you’re just too busy snogging to realise it. And yes, I guess I am.”

“So, does this mean you are friends with someone now?” she asks, a mischievous glint in her chocolate eyes.

“I’m friends with you!” I say defensively. "Which I'm actually starting to reconsider a bit!"

She laughs, and ignoring my previous statement, “Well obviously, but you haven’t actually made a friend since second year!”

“Fred Weasley and I have always been close.”

“He’s a boy, Laney. And you’re only ‘close’ with him because he’s a Wimbourne Wasps fan.”

“Good taste, he has,” I say reminiscently.

“Not the point, Laney,” Dara says dully. “Look, you needed another girlfriend —”

“— Don’t say it like that, Dara —”

“ — to hang about with! You know I’m always busy in other classes and with — er — various boys. You’ve always had classes with Rose anyway! This’ll be good!”

I shake my head, irritated. She is blowing this all out of proportion. “Slow down, Dar. All I did was give her some advice — something I do with lots of people at one point or another — it doesn’t mean we’re best mates,” I say automatically.

She shrugs. “All right, Laney. I won’t hold it against you. I just think it’s a good thing that you and Rose are friends now —”

“Acquaintances,” I correct her.

“Fine. Acquaintances,” she says, rolling her eyes. “It’ll give you someone else to talk to besides Wimbourne Wasps freak —”


“— and myself.”

Two and a half hours pass until we finally arrive at Hogsmeade Station. My legs and back are aching from sleeping in an awkward position for the past hour and I’m hardly excited for the feast.

“Come — on — Laney!” Dara huffs, trying desperately to detach me from my hold on the bench rail. “You — can — sleep — after — the — feast!”

“No!” I whine. “I’m tired now!”

With a surge of strength she manages to pull me off of the bench and I tumble onto the floor.

“Bloody hell, Dara!” I yell, my eyes watering in pain. Her hand flies to her mouth.

“Sorry!” she says, bending down to help me up.

After I’m fully recovered (and in a slightly better mood in fear she might hurt me again if I’m not) we take our things and head down to the carriages. Most are occupied by the time we get there, and I see Rose Weasley, Al and James Potter, and Dominique Weasley (a snotty sixth year Delacour-Weasley who happens to be friends with James. Told you there are a lot of those Weasleys) hopping into the second to last carriage.

“Becks!” Fred Weasley comes dashing up to me, his arms spread open. His dark hair is messily wind-blown from running. I hear Dara sigh from next to me. She's never liked Fred.

“Fred!” I say, giving him a hug. “You hear about the match last Saturday?”

“Against Puddlemere United?”


“Yeah! It was fantastic, can you believe we won? And then the —”

“— the catch of the snitch? That was wicked! And —”

“Not,” Dara says loudly, “that this isn’t really entertaining for all of us, but we need to get in that carriage before it leaves without us.”

She stalks off towards the carriage leaving Fred and me smirking.

“Someone woke up the wrong side of the cave this morning, didn’t they?” Fred says jokingly.

“I HEARD THAT!” Dara screeches from inside the carriage.

We look at each other and burst into laughter.

Author: And that's a wrap for chapter two! Dunzo! In this chapter, you sort of get to know dear Laney a bit better, and learn and bit more about her friends and the way she feels about essentially everything around her. She's very selfish, but we live and learn, eh?

I hope you liked this chapter! I'd love to hear your feedback, so please take the time to leave me a short review!

Once again a big fat thanks to Ellerina. Annie, you're my hero. This chapter would still be in its early form (AKA fetal position) if it weren't for your amazing edits!

Now I suggest all you readers go grab yourselves some smoothies because I am drinking one right now and it is the bomb dot com.

All right. BYE!


Track This Story:    Feed


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!