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Adam Brody as James Potter II. Lovely chapter image courtesy of socal @ the dark arts.

As James continued to leap around the compartment like a four year old that had just been told he would never have to eat vegetables again, I stared down in horror at the list.

Did I really just say yes to that? Oh am I supposed to do this? I’m not a daredevil, I’m actually the complete polar opposite of one. I’m a Hufflepuff for a reason! Sure, I’m clever like a Ravenclaw, and my best friend is a Gryffindor, but I’m shy and quiet and while I get along with practically everybody, I only have one true best friend.

Hufflepuffs don’t befriend Peeves the Poltergeist or “pants” professors! We’re the house that’s quiet and indifferent, the house that always goes unnoticed; known for it’s peace and acceptance. That’s exactly why I’m in Hufflepuff; I go unnoticed, for Merlin’s sake!

I’m not the kind of person that can complete this ‘Hogwarts Bucket List.’ That’s something that attention-seeking students or insane daredevils do.

I looked back up at James very quickly. My face must have been the expression of up-most horror at that moment, because he swiftly sat down across from me and took my hand.

“I was just kidding! I’m not going to do it! It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I can’t!” I frantically explained. He sighed and looked me in the eye.

“Hallie, remember in third year, when I fancied Danaka Rosewood?”

Of course I did. How could I forget? Danaka Rosewood, at the time, was in sixth year, making her a good three years older than me and James. She was a white-blonde Gryffindor girl with an enormous chest and not a single brain cell.

James, thirteen years old at the time, had a huge fancy over Danaka, along with most of the male population at Hogwarts.

“Yeah, I remember,” I answered, smirking at the memory of James drooling over Danaka from across the Great Hall.

“And then you convinced me to go and ask her out? You said that even if she said no, that at least I tried and I wasn’t left wondering what could have happened,” James continued.

I nodded reluctantly, confused as to where this was going.

“So I asked her out....And she still said no, but it wasn’t so bad,” he said.

I snorted, “Oh, please. She laughed in your face, nailed you in the sprouts, shoved your face in mashed potatoes, and stomped away.”

“That’s not the point!” James sputtered indignantly, his face reddening at the memory. “Hallie, if you don’t try to do the bucket list, you’ll always wonder what could have happened if you did. You need to at least try and then you’ll know for sure. And Hal, you can do anything!” he assured.

It was an overkill, but James had me there. I couldn’t go against my own advice by refusing to try.

“Ugh, fine. I’ll try it. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to like it, or that I’ll finish it,” I muttered.

“‘Atta girl,” he smiled, clapping me on the back and leaning back into his seat as the compartment door slid open.

In walked a large number of the Weasley Clan. Leading the crowd was Fred Weasley. As a result of his father being Caucasian and his mother being African-English, his skin was a natural bronzed color. He had black, spiked hair and a broad build.

“Hey, James, the other compartments are full, so we have to sit here.” He greeted his cousin before turning toward me, “Hey, I don’t recognize you, gorgeous. You new?” he asked, sliding down next to me and casually draping a thick arm over my shoulders. I felt my cheeks heat up and I looked toward James for help.

James sat up straight. “Freddie boy, you know Hallie, she’s been my best friend since first year! And back away, she’s off limits,” he snapped. Fred stared at him strangely before turning to look back at me again, but closer.

“Oh, ho ho!” he said, finally seeming to recognize me. “It’s Williams! You look different than I remember!” His shadowy grey eyes landed just below my collarbone. Scowling, I crossed my arms over my chest.

Yeah, so I had blossomed a bit over the Holidays. Everyone did sooner or later! That didn’t give guys an excuse to be complete perverts and feel like they had to right to stare.

James sent a warning glare towards Fred, who stuck his tongue out and reluctantly pulled his arm back. Distraction from the awkward moment came in the form of Rose Weasley, who entered the compartment after Fred, her bushy auburn hair tied back.

“Hi, James,” she waved politely. “Hope you don’t mind if we sit here, all the other compartments are full. Oh, hello Hallie!” She sat down next to James, grinning widely. I smiled at her politely.

The next people in were Albus and Lily Potter, James’s younger siblings. Al looked a bit different from his older brother. His hair was smoother and he had emerald green eyes unlike James’s brown ones. Lily was a typical Weasley, with flaming red hair and freckles.

James groaned at the sight of his siblings but was nice enough not to kick them out of the compartment.

Unlike him, I quite liked his brother and sister. Albus was sort of like me, although he was a Slytherin, he was more subdued and nicer than James. He only had a few close friends and was a major bookworm. He sat down next to Rose, who was in the same year as him.

Lily was wild and crazy, taking after James. She was opinionated and popular. Even though she was only thirteen, she had a whole line of guys after her, much to James’s displeasure. Lily was nice to me and I actually liked her a lot. She looked up to me in some ways, and sometimes asked me for advice. She was the closest thing I would ever have to a little sister.

“Hallie!” Lily called, smiling at me happily. She came to sit next to me, shoving her older cousin Fred down the bench and squeezing in between us. James sent a smirk at Fred, obviously happy that his slag of a cousin couldn’t make any more moves.

The rest of the train ride was quite boring; James and Fred seemed to be having a silent conversation with their eyes, only Merlin knows what about. Lily chattered on about her life, telling me about the annoying boys that stalked her, and whispering about some Ravenclaw named Anthony Grant, whom she had a crush on. Rose and Albus were discussing a novel in their own little world.

But all I could think about was the Hogwarts Bucket List, which I had very stupidly just agreed to trying.

How was I supposed to spend the night in the Forbidden Forest when I was afraid of the harmless spiders in our dorm room? (I had deemed my roommates honorary spider-killers, you see.)

How was I supposed to fly over the castle on a broomstick and participate in a midnight Quidditch game when I can barely even stay on the broom as is? (I’ve have a lot of bad experiences with broomsticks. I just can’t seem to master the whole “balancing” thing).

How am I going to scream like a banshee in the library (which is practically my second home) without getting a detention and ruining my perfect record? Not to mention I might be banned from the place, resulting in me losing one of my safest havens.

And how on earth am I going to snog a bloke from each house in one day when I can’t even hug a guy without blushing noticeably (excluding James and relatives, of course)?

It was inevitable ― if I was going to do the Hogwart’s Bucket List, I would fail.

And probably die.

I sat silently the rest of the train ride, thinking about how insane I was for letting James talk me into doing this. My imagination was in overdrive, playing out hundreds of horrible scenarios that involved in me either being humiliated, getting critically injured or murdered, or the worst ― getting detention.

After several long hours, the train lurched to a stop. I sighed in relief, my focus finally shifting to the excellent feast that would be waiting in the Great Hall. James grabbed my hand and we wove our way through the crowd of students to the carriages.

After an equally boring carriage ride, we arrived inside the entrance hall. The night was clear, even though it had been pouring rain and overcast back in London. I envied the first year students, who would have a peaceful and enjoyable ride across the lake.

This instantly triggered memories from my first year....The rain had been falling fast and hard; I was sharing a boat with James, who I had just met, and his cousin Fred. Fred had pushed James into the water, who then pulled Fred into the water with him. They attempted to climb back into the boat, resulting in our boat, with me inside of it, flipping over and sinking. As if we weren’t already soaked enough from the buckets of rain....

Due to a lack of extra boats, we ended up having to sit on the very back of Hagrids boat, which was already crowded enough with just him in it. We then had to enter the castle sopping wet. Oddly enough, it’s one of my fondest memories.

Since James was in Gryffindor and I was in Hufflepuff, we parted and sat at our different tables. It was only required that we sit at our assigned tables during the Sorting, but at all other meals students were free to sit wherever they wanted to. It was to promote a new effort called ‘inter-house relationships’. Since there was so much unhealthy competitiveness between the four houses before Harry Potter saved the Wizarding World, they’ve tried to unite the students more to help prevent future wars.

I looked down the benches at the Hufflepuff table before spotting my four roommates. They were all really nice, and we got along well, even if we weren’t really friends. I hurried down the side of the table and sat down next to them.

“Oh, hello Hallie!” greeted a girl named Cassie Moore. She was a positive girl that was always energetic and sweet. I’d never seen her angry and I don’t think anybody had ever seen her cry. She’s got caramel-colored curls and bright amber eyes. She’s just that kind of girl that’s there to cheer you up whenever you need to be encouraged, and is so blameless nobody ever wants to hurt her.

“Hello, Hallie! How was your summer?” asked Danielle Wood. She was a curly-haired brunette with chocolate brown eyes and a splash of freckles across her nose. She was known for being an excellent Quidditch player, rumored to be the best Seeker at Hogwarts in centuries.

“It was great!” I answered, nodding at Cassie and Danielle. My other two roommates, Grace Peters and Olive Winters, appeared not to have noticed my arrival. They were whispering to each other and looking over to the Ravenclaw table. I followed their gazes and my mouth dropped open in awe.

Sitting at the Ravenclaw table was one of the most handsome blokes I’d ever seen. He had a head of lush shiny brown hair, with windswept bangs that reached the tips of his long eyelashes, and a fit build. His skin was clear and suntanned, and his greyish blue eyes were dazzling and happy. He was laughing with some other seventh year Ravenclaws.

I examined him, searching for a flaw, but I couldn’t find one. He was perfect.

Glancing around the Great Hall, I saw a great load of other girls staring over at him.

“Who’s the new guy?” I asked, absentmindedly biting my nail, not being able to tear my gaze away from him.

“He’s the new transfer  student,” my roommate Olive Winters piped up.Olive was an unusual girl. I didn’t know why she was a Hufflepuff, she was more like a Gryffindor. She loved to stand out. In fact, last year, she died her normal chocolate brown hair to a bright, cherry red just to get attention. Olive was also a gossip queen. She is the niece of the famous reporter Rita Skeeter, who is well-known for being a major gossiper. Obviously she inherited her aunt’s most renowned trait.

“What’s his name?” asked Grace Peters. Grace had huge blue eyes that bugged out slightly, but nevertheless, she was quite pretty. She liked to be a part of things. She clinged to Olive a lot, wanting to be “in” on all the latest rumors and gossip. She had straight blonde hair (that she usually curled into long ringlets) and high cheekbones. She could be quite ditsy at times, but she was decent.

“Lucas Taylor. He goes by Luke for short,” Olive said, drumming her red nails on the wooden table top. “His dad used to work in Scotland as a wand maker, and he home-schooled Luke. but business wasn’t good, so he decided to move over here and he open a shop in Diagon Alley. Luke decided to try and go to Hogwarts for his last year so his dad could focus on his shop.”

I looked over at Olive curiously. She was fluffing up her reddish-brown locks and applying some ridiculous cherry red lip stain that coordinated with her hair. “His mom is a Muggle, so he’s a half-blood. He’s an only child,” she continued.

“Um, how do you know all that?” I asked, my eyebrows furrowing together as I looked at Olive.

She rubbed her lip stick in and pinched her cheeks for colour.

“I’m Rita Skeeter’s niece. I know things,” she said, not tearing her gaze away from Luke, who was completely oblivious to the vast amount of stares he was receiving. He accidentally looked over toward the group of girls sitting at the Gryffindor table gaping shamelessly at him and jumped in his seat a bit. All the girls hastily turned away and pretended nothing had happened. Luke looked a bit wary but returned to animatedly talking to the other boys at his table.

Headmaster Flitwick, a little man with a high pitched voice, hoisted himself up on his stepping stool to look over his podium. He pointed his wand at his throat and started to speak as if into an invisible microphone.

“Welcome back, students of Hogwarts! And just plain welcome to those who are joining us this year! We are truly pleased to have you all here. I’d like to start off by talking about how imperative it is to study for exams and to try your hardest at everything you do here at Hogwarts....”

I zoned out during the speech. It was time-consuming and tiresome, all about doing our best and achieving goals. It was the same old speech every year. There were also announcements of even more things the care-taker, Filch, had added to his 856 page long (and counting) banned items list.

The Sorting was even longer than I remembered. I occupied myself by staring more at this new kid, Luke, and listening to Olive whisper more things she knew about him to anyone who would hear it. Among that information was his favourite colour, favourite Quidditch team, and other pointless details. Finally, the feast began and platters of food appeared before our eyes.

I forgot about Luke Taylor for a few minutes as I focused on the superb food before me. Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with gravy... steamed vegetables with pasta and creamy sauce... cranberry sauce and yams... it was all so delicious. I ate and drank my fill before slumping back in my seat, content with the feast.

Finally, the dinner was over, and the crowd of students lazily and sleepily found their way to their dormitories. In the entrance hall, before I followed my roommates down to our basement Common Room, James stopped me.

“Who was that guy you were staring at during the feast?” he asked me urgently.

I had to pause for a few moments as I was still thinking about the marvelous tastes of the feast, but then I remembered Luke.

“Oh, you mean Luke Taylor? He’s the new transfer student,” I told him, grinning slightly as I pictured him and his tousled shining brown hair, his deep blue eyes, and his muscular biceps. Hey, just because I’m a shy, nearly anti-social Hufflepuff doesn’t mean I don’t notice when someone’s fit!

James’s mouth was frozen in a hard line. “How do you know him? Do you fancy him?” he asked.

I stopped smiling at James’s stern expression, which I had very rarely seen on him before. It looked like the time he found out Lily had snogged a boy last year.

“Merlin, James, I’ve never even talked to the bloke before! The only reason I know about him is because of Olive Winters, who happens to be the largest gossip in the school, and knows everything about everyone,” I snapped, looking up at my tall best friend. He didn’t appear convinced and said nothing, his chocolate brown eyes boring into me.

I sighed. “Seriously, James? Anyway, what’s your problem with the thought of me fancying a bloke? I’m not your little sister; you need to stop getting all ‘older brother overprotective’ of me.”

Again, he didn’t reply. I had rarely seen James like his, and I sighed, reached my arm up, and put my hand on his shoulder. James was just used to being a protective older brother and cousin. He was always like this with Lily or Rose.

“James, I don’t fancy Luke Taylor. Besides, you know me. I’ll probably never even work up the courage to talk to him. Okay? Good. I’m going to my dorm,” I told him, starting to walk away.

James grabbed my hand before I could get very far. He returned to his usual self and smiled at me.

“Okay, I guess I believe you.” he said.

“Swell. Now can I go?” I asked him, thinking longingly of my comfortable four poster bed waiting for me in the dormitory.

“Yeah. But one more thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Tomorrow we start the Bucket List. Be prepared.” He smiled mischievously and headed off, leaving me standing in the entrance hall with my mouth hanging open and a sudden nervousness filling me.

I was no longer tired, but wary. The world seemed to be crashing down on me this year; how could I, Hallie Williams, ever be adventurous? It just wasn’t me. I was booky and happy to be so. I knew James was only looking out for my sanity when he invited me to to do this, but I wasn’t so sure he knew what he was doing, either.

I watched as James Potter disappeared from sight up the many moving staircases and chewed my lip.

I had a funny feeling that life at Hogwarts was going to change from then on: A funny feeling that maybe, just maybe, my seventh year at Hogwarts was going to be one to remember.

Hey everybody! Did you like the new chapter? I’m really interested to hear your thoughts, so please review. I will always reply to them!
Please read + review, and thank you very much to readers and reviewers! Also, thanks to nextgenoration (NGseries from the forums) for being a fantastic beta!

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