I ran a hand through my hair, trying to get used to the new length. Gran had chopped about five inches off, and it hung crisply just below my shoulders. My dark bangs still hung in my eyes, and all the birds’ nests were gone. The bare skin that my school skirt exposed was covered in goose bumps, so I tugged my wool knee socks higher past the tips of my boots.
Was it always this fucking cold?
Currently, I was waiting for the train to pull up to the station. I must have royally annoyed my grandparents over the break, since they had dropped me off early that morning – putting forth an excuse that they were going “antiquing.”
The rest of the break had been pretty uneventful – aside from the haircut. Mostly I just spent it moping in my bedroom and forcing Jack to cuddle with me at night. I ignored my grandparents' efforts to talk, my grandmother's home cooked meals and my grandfather's jokes. I didn't come to the phone when my brothers called and when Peter came for lunch, I excused myself to my room.
So here I was, waiting on the train. By myself. I eyed the corridor, noting the small café-bar type restaurant where parents often had a “last meal” with their children before shipping them off. Currently, there were only a few groups of families so the restaurant wasn’t too busy.
Making the decision quickly, I lugged my trunk towards the front door and pushed in. Quickly, a hostess threw my trunk with the rest of the students using only a flick of her wand. Nodding at her kindly, I slowly approached the bar. Technically, I was of age.
Something had changed in me, after New Year’s. I had stopped being so morbid, and decided to take a page out of my brothers’ book. Instead of being “Mopey Hopey” now I was “Doesn’t Give a Fuck” Hope.
“Doesn’t Give a Fuck” Hope or in short hand, “DGF” Hope, did not give a fuck about having a drink before hopping on the train back to the adolescent hell that was Hogwarts. Though I was missing a counterpart – Henry had Hardy, Hardy had Henry, which made their rebellious natures a little more acceptable – I figured that was just a minor detail.
“One butterbeer, please,” my voice sounded light and childish. I pushed my hair out of my face, missing its normal insanity. Nursing it for a few minutes before finishing it off, I imagined what this would be like with a few more people.
“Well, well, well,” a voice caught my attention as I heard someone approach behind me. I felt a body slide into the seat beside me. “You have the right idea.”
Next to me sat a tiny girl with white blonde hair that cascaded down her back in messy waves. A Ravenclaw scarf was wrapped intricately around her tiny neck, and multicolored bracelets jangled down her skinny arms – they seemed a combination of handmade and vintage pieces. She quickly got the attention of the bartender and ordered herself a butterbeer.
“Hi!” she cheerfully quipped, turning to me – sticking out her hand. “I’m Celena.” I felt my head tilt carefully, but slowly stuck my hand out.
“I’m new,” she sighed. “Doesn’t that suck?” She looked at me with wide, electric green eyes that almost made me fall out of my seat.
“Could be worse,” I motioned to the bartender for another butterbeer. “I’ve been going here for years and no one even knows who I am.”
Wait, she giggled? I turned towards her in confusion. “Why are you new?” I saw her cheeks redden.
“Well,” she paused, “my mother says I’m quite an extraordinary witch. I used to attend Beauxbatons, but an unfortunate experiment with a new smell led to me completely exploding my dorm bathroom. I was kicked out, but Dumbledore took me in. He told me to be more careful, I was likely to get into some trouble with that if I didn’t keep myself under control.”
I nodded, listening quietly.
“So…” I wondered how to word what I was about to say. “You’re kind of a klutz?” I watched her nod and decided that I liked this girl, immensely.
A few Butterbeers later, we hopped on the train feeling not quite so sure of our footing. This was fine, because it’s not like I was ever 100% sure of my footing to begin with. The Butterbeers simply made me a bit more confident. We grabbed an empty compartment and began to get settled for the journey.
“So you like it here?” Lena asked me, toying with her hair. I ran a hand through my now smooth hair.
“Not really,” I replied honestly and she laughed.
“I can’t blame you for your honesty.” She smirked, and placed her forehead up against the glass window. “I’m kind of excited to be in a co-ed environment though. Beauxbatons was all girls, and they were just so bitchy.”
I thought for a minute, wondering what it would have been like for me to go to an all-girls school. No Marauders would be wonderful. However, being surrounded by girls who were like Tabitha would be a living nightmare. I’d take annoying teenage bad boys over Tabitha-clones any day.
“The guys are overrated.” I was coming off gruff, and I could tell. Poor little ol’e me, I thought ironically. Got my heart stomped on by the same boy who’s stomped on the majority of broken hearts in magical England – what made me so special?
Umm, that he tried and tried to get you to be his girlfriend and you adamantly refused? The thought rang in my head and I pushed it aside.
“Totally overrated.” I repeated my point. Lena looked at me strangely and I thought that maybe I should warn her – if she ever wanted to fit in she’d probably need to change compartments immediately.
“It’s not that I’m interested in any guys,” she explained. “I’m actually like totally in love with this older guy who lives next door to me.” I attempted to feign interest – though the word “love” made my eyes water. Lena took my silence as a means to continue. “His name’s Xeno, and he’s… well he’s really kind of a weirdo.” She blushed and I realized she really did love this guy. “His parents are total hippie anthropological wizards. They travel all around the world studying different magical creatures so he’s home alone a lot. His bedroom is across from mine and at night he’s always typing away on this ancient looking typewriter.”
Even though I was supposed to be “doesn’t give a fuck” Hope, as Lena described Xeno, I pictured Sirius in his place and me in Lena’s. Looks like the Butterbeers weren’t as helpful as I had thought.
“I’m pretty positive he doesn’t know I exist though.” Her voice sounded sad, and her eyes looked out the window at the now blurred landscape. I thought about what Sirius had said to me months ago.
“That’s probably not true.” She looked up at me and I continued. “You don’t really blend in,” I motioned to her hair and tiny, colorful demeanor. “I’m sure he notices you more than you think.”
“You think?” She sounded hopeful.
We spent the remainder of the train ride trying to sober ourselves up – neither of us wanted to make the first impression of being trashed at the feast. When we reached the Great Hall, I pointed Lena to the Ravenclaw table and waved her off. Then, taking a deep breath I stumbled over to the Gryffindor table.
I sat towards the end of the table, closest to the exit. I felt someone slid into the seat next to me and begged it not to be anyone who I had the “pleasure” of seeing over Winter Break. Taking a quick peek, I realized it was Frankie Holland – my Potions partner. He was a quiet kid, with shaggy, dirty blonde hair and dark brown eyes. He was tall and fit – I was pretty sure he played Quidditch. Other then that I knew nothing about Frankie.
Which was all sorts of wonderful, in my personal opinion.
“Hey Hope, how were holidays?” He asked, as Dumbledore began his speech. Since we were in the back of the Hall, we could catch up without getting in trouble.
I scanned the Great Hall, because as much as I would like to deny it – I had to see Sirius. I didn’t want to talk to him, but I wanted to see him. See what he looked like. Remind myself.
Cause myself more pain?
When did I become such a masochist? I wondered. Seeing Sirius would just make me more depressed but for some reason I needed what I had lost thrust in my face.
A loud laugh was, of course, the sign. He sat in between James and Remus, with Peter sitting across from them. A tall, skinny blonde girl sat next to Peter and seemed to be hanging off every word that dripped from Sirius’ mouth. I can’t say I was surprised, and in a way I was glad. He had moved on – and not back to Tabitha. He looked gorgeous, which wasn’t a surprise. His hair was falling in his face chaotically and he looked like he didn’t care. Or more correctly, he looked like he didn’t give a fuck.
Sirius Black did not look heartbroken.
He did not look upset.
He did not look like he spent the last few days rethinking each action of the last few months.
He looked great.
I wished that I could be fine with that, that I could move on. But I felt my heart rising into my throat and knew I had to get out of there. I mumbled a quick goodbye to Frankie and made my way to the dorms.
I could hear someone walking behind me towards the Gryffindor tower, but I didn’t turn around. I didn’t want to take the chance that it would be someone asking how my break was. When I finally got to the Fat Lady’s portrait, a gruff voice behind me shouted out; “Hold the door.”
James Potter was walking behind me up to the portrait. James Potter had been following me all the way from the Great Hall. Lovely, creepy. Can’t wait to see how this is going to turn out. Maybe if I could just get to my dorm room before he said anything this would be fine. Maybe he didn’t even want to say anything to me. I decided that I just wouldn’t turn around, and would keep walking to my bed.
“Your hair looks nice.”
Your hair looks nice, I repeated in my head. James Potter just complimented me. I swirled around quickly.
“Oh, James, you don’t have to do that.” I waved my hands around awkwardly.
“Do what?” He asked, furrowing his eyebrows and glaring at me. Now, that was the James Potter I knew.
“You don’t have to compliment me like that.” I blushed. “I don’t think you, like, owe me anything.” I began walking towards the staircase.
“What you think I pity you?” James walked up to me and grabbed my arm. “You’re so focused on everyone’s negatives that you can’t even consider that I may just be nice?” He paused, and his arms dropped down to his sides. “I’m nice, Hope. I’m a nice guy.”
I stared at him blankly.
“I’m a good guy,” he continued then stopped. “I’m a decent guy and I was trying to say something nice to you. As a friend. You need friends, you know. You can’t just shut yourself off from everyone.”
For a moment, I didn’t know what to say. Then, it came to me.
“I don’t get you.”
James smirked. I bit my bottom lip and then slowly smiled at him.
“I don’t get you either.” He paused again, clearly thinking over what he was considering saying. “Hope, I…” He stopped again and I looked at him carefully.
“You what?” I poked him in the shoulder. “Seriously, what’s going on with you? You’re acting weirder than normal.” I laughed. He looked like he was about to burst.
“Your hair looks really nice, Hope.”
“Yeah, thanks James. You already said that.” We were standing so close together that I could feel him breathing. “Is everything oh…”
He leaned forward and kissed me before I could finish my question, and my eyes grew to the size of saucers.
This was going to be an interesting term.
Ah! It's been so long! I know this is short but I was having some trouble getting back into the swing of things. Reviews please, let me know what you think!
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