- Chapter Two -
Friends, Prefects and a Couple of Enemies
Glancing left and right as they went, James and Sirius moved along the train, occasionally pausing to peer into compartments as they passed.
James spotted the group of giggling Hufflepuffs again and glanced once at the group playing Exploding Snap. But neither Sirius nor him stopped long enough to pay the students much attention.
A little further up the corridor, they passed a pair of Slytherin sixth-years, who were cackling nastily at a small, mousey boy with a pointed nose. The boy was clearly a first-year and, as they drew closer, James nudged Sirius in the ribs.
"Look. Who's he?"
Sirius' dark head whipped around. "Who?" he whispered, his eyes darting fruitlessly around in front of him.
"There." James pointed as discreetly as he could in the direction of the small boy. "That first-year. The one with the Slytherins. What do you think he's doing?"
Squinting in the direction James was pointing, Sirius studied the boy's face.
His forehead creased.
He'd never seen the boy before, but the Slytherins were clearly taunting him. Sirius recognised the anguished movements of the boy's hands, the way he looked anywhere except up at his tormentors. "Looks like he's in a state."
"What do we do?"
Sirius pondered the question. His wand felt heavy in his pockets. They should probably help the boy...
"What are you two doing?" A sharp voice echoed around their section of the carriage. "You shouldn't be blocking up the corridors."
James and Sirius turned. The girl who had spoken was very tall. And she was clearly older than them. A large bronze letter 'P' sat on a badge emblazoned with the Ravenclaw crest; she was evidently a prefect.
James felt his face burn. "Er... We were... We were just..."
The prefect raised one eyebrow and looked down at them both, her dark eyes sceptical. "First-years shouldn't be getting up to mischief."
Beside James, Sirius spoke up. His voice was bold and cocky, without a hint of alarm. He addressed the girl as if she was his equal or just another speck on the wide horizon of Sirius Black.
"Mischief?" he asked, imitating the girl's expression. "We weren't getting up to mischief. Why would first-years like us be involved in mischief, for Merlin's sake?"
The girl looked very taken aback. She opened her mouth once to argue, closed it again and stared at Sirius with her eyes wide.
Sirius threw her a flirtatious smirk, pushing his hair back for the thousandth time that morning. "I'm Sirius. What's your name?"
James had to hand it to him, Sirius was a genius.
The prefect was completely bewildered. She gaped at Sirius for a good thirty seconds (James counted), apparently unable to believe what she was seeing.
Then she blushed and fiddled with a strand of her dark hair. "Oh... I'm Vivian. Vivian Roberts."
Sirius gave her another smile. "Well, it was very nice to meet you, Vivian." He poked James in the side to indicate that they should start backing away. "Hope your day goes well. You have very nice hair, by the way... It's very sleek and- and dark and- and... shiny."
Vivian blushed even harder.
"See you around." Then Sirius seized a fistful of James' robes and dragged him back down the corridor.
They ran as soon as they were out of sight, stumbling past the compartments, both doubled up with silent laughter. When they reached their own compartment, James pulled open the door and collapsed onto his seat.
Sirius slumped down next to him, shaking with mirth. "Damn, did you see her face?"
James groaned and clutched his stomach. "I can't believe you flirted with her! What the hell? That was... that was blimmin' brilliant!"
Sirius looked very obviously pleased with himself. He shook his head a couple of times, steadied his own laughter and leant back with his head against the wall. "Cheers, mate. But did you honestly see her face?"
This time, James answered him. "Oh, Merlin, I did! She went so red, it was like she was on fire. And you told her she had nice hair." Unable to control himself, he burst out laughing again and choked, "Nice - blimming - hair!"
Sirius let out a roar of appreciative laughter. "I hope we can do that again. Pity we didn't get to rescue that boy, though. Or spy on the rest of the prefects... But maybe someone else'll take on those Slytherins for us."
"Yeah," said James, still grinning as he wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes. "I hope we meet that prefect again. She's got the hots for you, mate! Just you wait and see."
Just then, the compartment door slid open and a girl with long red hair came in. She had clearly been crying. Her green eyes were teary and pink, and she sniffed as she moved to a seat and sat down opposite them, her face turned to the window.
She did not appear to have noticed James or Sirius.
"What's up with her?" James murmured to Sirius, as the girl gave a small hiccough and dissolved once more into tears. She wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her cardigan, apparently not in her school robes yet.
"Dunno. Maybe her boyfriend ditched her."
"D'you think she has a boyfriend?" As miserable as the red-haired girl was, he couldn't help noticing that she was extremely pretty.
Maybe she did have a boyfriend... Maybe they should comfort her... Maybe they should-
The compartment door slid open again, and both James and Sirius turned around.
The girl by the window, however, didn't. Her blotchy face was almost touching the glass and James could see her almond-shaped eyes reflected in the rain-washed window.
A boy, the same age as the girl - a first-year - had entered, a boy with overlong, slightly greasy black hair and a long, hooked nose. Although he was young, his shoulders looked ever so slightly hunched and his skin was sallow. He had, unlike the girl, already changed into his school robes.
James and Sirius exchanged glances.
Spotting the girl in the corner, the boy hurried over to her and sat down in the last empty seat. He evidently knew the girl, for she glanced up at him as he sat down, before turning back to the window.
"I don't want to talk to you," she said, her voice tight and constricted.
The boy looked surprised. "Why not?"
The girl hiccoughed again. "Tuney h-hates me. Because we saw that letter from Dumbledore."
James, who hadn't particularly been listening before, felt his ears straining. Dumbledore? This girl knew Dumbledore? And who on Earth was 'Tuney'?
The boy beside the crying girl gave a small but unmissable shrug. "So what?"
"So she's my sister!"
"She's only a-" Catching himself just in time, the boy seemed to realise that what he'd been about to say was tactless. Luckily for him, however, the girl was now too busy trying to wipe her eyes without being noticed to hear him. "But this is it. We're off to Hogwarts!"
James noticed that the boy seemed just as eager as he and Sirius were at the thought of going to the school.
The girl, though her eyes were still red, failed to repress a small smile and the boy, clearly encouraged by the flicker of light, pressed on.
"You'd better be in Slytherin."
James could not contain himself. He looked around at the pair of them, his eyes full of contempt. "Slytherin? Who wants to be in Slytherin?" He turned and appealed to Sirius. "I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
But Sirius didn't smile. "My whole family have been in Slytherin," he said, his tone much more sombre than before.
James was very surprised by this, but he tried to make light of the situation. "Blimey, and I thought you seemed all right!"
A grin spread slowly across Sirius' face. "Maybe I'll break the tradition," he said, hoping very much that this was true. "Where're you heading, if you've got the choice?"
As though lifting an invisible sword, James held his arms above his head. "'Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart'. Like my dad."
The boy next to the crying girl made a small, slightly disdainful noise and a bubble of anger rose in James' throat.
"Got a problem with that?"
The boy sneered, his lip curling. "No. If you'd rather be brawny than brainy-"
Sirius' voice cut across him. "Where're you hoping to go, seeing as you're neither?"
James burst out laughing.
The girl, her green eyes narrowed, sat up very straight, and glared at James and Sirius with obvious dislike. She got to her feet and the boy followed suit. "Come on, Severus. Let's find another compartment."
Sirius nudged James and together they imitated the loftiness of her voice. "Oooooo..."
James grinned and stuck out his leg to trip the boy as he passed. "See ya, Snivellus!"
The compartment door slammed shut momentarily, before it was opened again by a plump little witch, pushing the food trolley.
"Anything from the trolley, dears?"
Sirius leapt to his feet, clearly starving. "You bet! Chocolate frogs, James? Pumpkin pasties? Cauldron cakes?"
Pulling out his money-bag, which was even fuller than usual as James' parents had paid him to stop him bringing his broomstick to school, James handed Sirius a couple of Galleons. "I'll have whatever. I'm not too fussy. Let's just get some of everything."
Sirius grinned. "Sounds good to me," he said, turning to the witch. "We'll take four pumpkin pasties, twenty chocolate frogs, a couple of cauldron cakes..."
The witch began to pile the food on an empty patch of seat between them.
Here's the second part of the first chapter, under its original title. I took the dialogue between Snape, Lily and co. from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and I wrote it from memory, so I'm sorry if it wasn't entirely accurate.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below! :)
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