Chapter 1- Announcements
'Students, please be quiet!', an exasperated Professor Longbottom shouts over the din of the Hall. Now that the Sorting is over, everyone is waiting for the feast. And not very patiently. 'Before we move on to the feast, I have an announcement to make!' The chatter dies down to occasional whispers and relief floods Longbottom's pale face;he has never been good at controlling the students.
I look at my friends surrounding me. James, my eldest brother has a look of sheer boredom on his face. Being a seventh year, he thinks himself so 'cool',which is not helped by the fact that everyone else thinks he's 'cool'. Apart from sensible people, like myself and my other brother Albus. We both know he's an idiot.
Rose has a dreamy look on her face, but then she often does these days. This is the look she wears when thinking about Scorpius Malfoy, her future boyfriend. Late last term, Scorpius told me he liked her, and asked me if I could tell her. I said no way. Maybe this is a bit harsh on Rose, but if he can't even ask her out, they will breaking up in seconds. Rose doesn't like men who can't do anything themselves, which she gets from her mum, my aunt Hermione. As the Malfoys aren't exactly abundant in charm, I gave Scorpius a little help. But he obviously had enough to catch her eye, so he should manage fine. Rose Weasley don't just crush on any boy. Especially if he is in Slytherin.
Albus is sort of vaguely interested in what our headmaster has to say, but is glancing round at the other tables, looking for Robert Green, a fifth year Hufflepuff who is currently dating my best friend Elsa Hudson. Al has had a grudge against Green since day one,which was not helped by Green then starting to date Elsa. Al is as in love with Elsa as Rose is with Scorpius. Goodness, boys are useless. Why don't they ever say what they feel? Al is probably hoping Green has spontaneously combusted. That way he won't have to deal with him.
Hugo is the only one staring avidly at Professor Longbottom.
'What do you think the announcement is?' Hugo whispers to me. I tell him that I don't know, maybe another corridor out of bounds for some unknown but usually sensible reason. Dad told me he once went down an out of bounds corridor, but was almost eaten by a three headed dog. So I always tend to listen when corridors are out of bounds.
Hugo nods and turns to face the staff table.
This year, we don't appear to have any new teachers, but I notice an empty chair where my Potions Professor, Eagle, should be sitting. At the far end of the table sits the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Gold. Gold came last year, after Dans retired. Her lessons are very interesting, but anything is better than Dans' old lessons. Especially after I fell asleep in one particularly boring lesson on the counter curse of the JellyLegs charm. Dans obviously didn't like me too much after that, and found any excuse to deduct points or give me a detention.
Next to Professor Gold, and muttering to her, is none other than my aunt and Charms teacher Professor Sophia Weasley. She married my mum's brother Percy, and now teaches around 8 of her nieces and nephews. Unfortunately, this does not stop her giving us buckets of homework. In fact, I think we get a bit more.
The Headmaster clears his throat again and hundreds of eyes turn to look at him. It is so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
'This Christmas,' he begins, 'we will be holding a ball to celebrate, well, Christmas.' He smiles sheepishly and looks around the students surveying him with open mouths. 'So everyone partner up, but, it is girls ask boys! Welcome back, and tuck in!' He smiles, then sits down, obviously pleased that he has made the announcement without any interruptions. Then he starts talking to the Ancient Runes Professor and the hall is suddenly covered in food.
But, although the teachers are tucking in, most students are still looking at Proffessor Longbottom in shock. A ball? Girls ask boys? Wow.
Hugo seems to decide to worry about it later, as he tips a lot of chicken drumsticks(what else?) onto his plate and starts eating quickly. I decide to take his silent advice and look around for the lamb stew and dumplings. When I have loaded plenty into my dish, I begin eating. Goodness this is good.
Al is talking to Hugo about the upcoming match for the Chudley Cannons, against the Winbourne Wasps, now coached by Ludo Bagman. Hugo seems convinced that the Cannons have a chance is this years league. Yes, they may have flattened the Hougton Hawks, but then everybody does. The Hawks have been bottom of the league for 20 years. Aunt Hermione said Uncle Ron was like this as well.
'Lil, can you pass the pumpkin juice?' I turn to the voice of Teddy Lupin. His electric blue hair is longer than usual, with a slight tuft of green at the front. I pass the jug over and he pours a glass for his girlfriend Victoire, then for himself. She blushes, which makes Teddy blush. Teddy is 17 now, and has been going out with Victoire for 3 years. Yet they are acting like a bunch of first years.
'Always the gentlemen, Teddy!' I tease. He sticks his tongue out at me and flicks his wrist. The jugs of pumpkins juice hovers, floats over to me, then, before I can do anything, empties it's contents over my head. I feel the sticky juice trickle down my hair and face, dripping off my nose and matting in my hair.
'Teddy!' I shriek. He looks absolutely horrified.
'Lil, it wasn't me, I promise!'
'Who was it then?' Our argument and my shriek seemed to have caught a lot of attention and lots of heads have swivels in our directions, a few people laughing and sniggering.
A particularly loud snort draws my attention a girl sitting down the table from me. She smirks at me and twirls her wand between her fingers. Diane Middles. I quickly apologise to Teddy, who just squeezes my hand, tears falling fast down my cheeks,as I realise the real culprit.
Rose seems to have figured it out too, because she stands up and leads me towards the doors, pumpkins juice dripping from my hair. As the doors close behind us, I hear a gasp and a thud of someone falling on the floor.
I'm so embarrassed, first evening back, and Diane Middles has already managed to embarrass me. I think that pretty much ruined my chance of finding a date. Even if there was anyone I liked, there is no way they will go with me now. When people see me they see the daughter of Harry Potter, the slightly geeky girl with bright red hair who is James Potter's sister. His sister, not an independent being who can think for herself.
Up a flight of stairs, down a corridor, behind a tapestry, the maze of tunnels and corridors Rose leads me down seems never ending before we reach the Prefects bathroom. Rose turns on the taps, then heads over to Gryffindor Tower to get me some fresh robes. Just this makes me so grateful have Rose as a cousin, a friend.
I watch the streams of blue, red and green water gush out the taps, and after the last traces of pumpkin juice are gone, I feel like myself again. Maybe this year it will be different. Now that I am in fifth year, classes will get harder, people will begin to notice me. Maybe this year I won't be James Potter's sister. Maybe this year I will be Lily Potter, not somebody else's sister. Oh my goodness I sound like my mum. She said she felt exactly the same when she was at Hogwarts.
Should I tell her about this? Nah, probably not. Last time somebody informed my family of the continued harassment of Middles to me(when she put me in a Vanshing Cabitnet and I went missing for two weeks), my Grandma Weasley came in to speak to the Headmaster. Only, she knew Professor Longbottom as a boy, so she couldn't shout at him, so chose to take it out of Diane herself. I am surprised Diane bothers me anymore. I think Grandma Weasley almost pierced her eardrums.
I arrive back at the Common Room about 35 minutes later. I can hear the chatter through the portrait hole, but when I enter, everything goes silent. Eyes watch me, searching for anything that they might have to spread rumours with. The speed gossip travels around this school is rather depressing really. I just ignore this and head over to my best friends, Elsa and Hannah. They have saved me a seat by the fire, and, by the looks of it, some chocolate mousse(my favourite).
'Hey, Lily.' Hannah smiles at me. Elsa gives me the chocolate mousse and I tuck in quickly.
'So,' I say casually, 'what happened after I went?' Hannah opens her mouth but is silenced by Elsa.
'Well, obviously one particular person found it immensely funny, Diane of course, and a few others joined in.' She watches the expression on my face carefully. 'But they quickly stopped after Diane was hit with a particular hex.'
'Well, Teddy said it was him, but I didn't see any light come out of his wand. The stream of light came from the Ravenclaw table. He obviously wanted us to believe it was him though, so I didn't say anything. But, everyone at the Ravenclaw table was looking at though someone had let off a Dung-bomb. You know, that look they all seem to manage when rule breaking is going on. Except one, that fifth year Sebastian Trill. He was halfway out his seat, wand raised. When he noticed a few suspicious glances his way, he turned as red as a tomato and sat down again!' This particular bit of news interests me. As a girl, I obviously have to ask someone to the dance;I can't go on my own! No self respecting girl goes to a party alone. So I thought maybe Trill. I do keep catching him looking at me every now and then.
I am glad it is a girl ask boy; it saves the boys the trouble of trying to ask us. Boys are just too lazy. Also, it would mean that David, a perfectly nice but extremely annoying third year Griffindor would try to ask me. He has asked me out on numerous occasions, but I have refused every single one. But that doesn't stop him. So, I will simply not ask him and poof, problem solved(I hope).
Elsa clucks her tongue knowingly, and I blush. I fake a yawn, then head up to the dorms. On my way, I see Teddy.
'You ok Lily?' He asks, looking up from the long piece of parchment in his hands.
'Yes, thanks. Sorry for accusing you. And thanks for hexing Diane.' I wring my hands guiltily, but feel better when he grins wolfishly.
'No problem. Anytime, sister.'
I continue up to the dorm and flop onto my bed. I am the only one up here, and it is so eerily quiet. I turn my head to look out the window. The autumn sun is setting over the hills surrounding Hogwarts. Everything is turned a shade of orange, peaceful and calm. My pyjamas are soft and warm, and my eyelids are feeling very heavy, and soon I am falling asleep, watching the orange sun disappear from view.