Off For the Holidays
“Blimey, where is it? It has to be here somewhere!” I dig through my pile of junk in my trunk, carelessly throwing everything onto my bed… and onto Lily as well. Not that I noticed at the moment.
Lily pops another one of her Every-Flavored Beans into her mouth, grimacing at the taste before brushing one of my socks off her face.
“Ewgh, tripe. I haven't had that one since I was eight.” She pauses for a moment before sighing loudly at my lack of reaction to her words. “Cecilia, are you even listening to me? Or are you just going to rummage through that trunk all afterno—whoa!” She barely dodges large box of chocolates I toss over my shoulder, now made lethal at the frightening speed I threw it at in my hurry to empty out my trunk.
“Sorry!” I call over my shoulder absentmindedly, hurling something else hard over my shoulder. Whatever it is, I'm sure Lily is perfectly capable of dodging it. And if she isn't… well, I guess I'm perfectly capable of carrying her to the Hospital Wing?
I hear a clang behind me as the object collides with the bedpost and then another sigh from my dear best friend. “Blimey, Cecilia! What exactly are you looking for?” she asks, scrutinizing my endless searching. “You're making an absolute mess!”
“I know, I know! Sorry, Lily!” I say apologetically, now deciding to throw my stuff to the side instead. “I'm trying to find an old birthday present.”
Well, specifically my wishing scarf. If it even exists, that is. I have a feeling I must've thrown it in here while I was packing way back in August. Ye-up, I'm that absentminded sometimes.
“Oh, alright then.” Lily places her box of jellybeans down on her nightstand and scoots to the edge of my bed on her stomach. “Then while you're searching oh so intently, answer this.” She dodges my Astronomy book by mere millimeters (Oops, so much for throwing my stuff to the side…) and continues, “What do you want for Christmas?”
I pause in my digging for a moment to look up at her. “Aren't Christmas presents supposed to be surprises? Hence the whole wrapped up gifts thing?”
I turn back to my trunk and whaddya know? The bloody scarf is right there in front of me like it Apparated there or something. I wrap it around my neck excitedly.
“Yes, I found it!”
Lily pouts at my apathetic reply. “Well, it's your first year at Hogwarts! I mean, I do know you pretty well after living with you for four months, but it’s easier this way!”
“Nobody else seems to have that problem, Lil, seeing as the large majority of Christmas presents remain surprises,” I point out.
But then again, she's Lily. I shrug and shut my trunk, not bothering to throw my belongings back in. I'll magic them in later, no problem.
“Well, it's doesn't matter anyway,” I finish absently. “I won't even be here over the holidays.”
I glance over my shoulder just in time to see Lily's jaw drop an alarming length. “WHAT?” she exclaims aghast. “Your first year here and you're not even staying for Christmas holiday with us?”
“Yeah, sorry, Lil.” I turn around on my rear to face her completely and reply, “I got an owl from my mum yesterday telling me to come home this afternoon. Beats me as to why.”
“What a coincidence! I'm headed home for break as well!”
Lily and I spin around only to find none other than Sirius and James standing right in the dormitory doorway.
James prances up to our beds, grinning broadly. “Which is brilliant because now you and Sirius can ride the train home together!”
And that's called brilliant? Maybe in some alternate universe, James.
James opens his mouth to say something else about the apparent brilliancy, but is promptly silenced by Sirius with a superb whack across the shoulder. “What's so brilliant about that, you git?”
As Sirius ruffles James already messy hair, our eyes connect for a moment. I notice his gaze travel down to the scarf wrapped around my neck and then back to my own. His head tilts and eyes narrow curiously before looking away. And right then, just the thought of him looking at my scarf reminds me…
I never did find out what Sirius said that day at Quidditch tryouts.
“What are you three whispering about?” Lily asks curiously.
I see Lily glancing back and forth from Sirius to James and then back to me before I interject quickly, “I was just telling them about how I need to meet up with one of our family’s housemaids at the edge of Hogsmeade for Side-Along Disapparation.”
“You have maids?” Lily asks in disbelief.
“You're going to Disapparate?” James exclaims simultaneously with widened eyes.
“Of course,” Sirius replies as if the answer to the former question was dancing naked in front of their faces, which it sort of was. “The Vances are like pureblood royalty. Why wouldn't her families have servants?”
Truly, Sirius, with that tone of voice, you are most definitely the epitome of all pureblood princes. But yeah, given the fact the Lily is such a history buff, that was rather obvious.
Lily gives me an approving nod. “Blimey, I’m impressed. What else do you have at your castle? Personal chefs? Your own Quidditch field? A pool the size of Hogwarts?”
“Yes, yes, and no, I can’t swim,” I explain with a sigh. It always made me uncomfortable talking about my family’s vast inherited riches. “And it's Side-Along Disapparate, James,” I finally answer. “Disapparating under-age is illegal, remember?”
“Oh, right.” James nods understandingly. “Well, then this whole thing is still brilliant because with you two-love birds gone, I get to spend all break alone with Lily!”
A bold move, Potter. But only one flaw. He completely forgot that Remus and Peter were staying at school for the holidays as well, not to mention the remaining half of the school.
“What do you mean?” Lily protests with an almost unbearably red face.
Adorable. How is she going to keep her crush on James a secret with this act? Then again… how could James not notice?
Time to give them a little nudge. “Exactly what he said, Lil, “I say in a deliberately loud voice. I give James a meaningful grin and continue, “All month alone with James. Having, y'know, some… fun together, if you know what I mean—”
“Ahh!” Lily clutches her head, staring at me with eyes that clearly shrieked TRAITOR. “What are you talking about, Cecilia? Why would I ever want to do that!”
I turn away from her, innocently ignoring her protests. “Please, Lily, you know you want it.”
“She's lying, she's lying!”
“To be aloooone with James.”
“Liar, liar, liar, liar, liar!”
“Really, Evans?” James asks with a surprised, yet hopeful look in his eyes.
“Um… ah, I mean…” Lily stammers out. But just when I think she's finally at a complete loss for words, she suddenly blurts out, “Forget about me, what in the world are you guys doing up here anyway?”
Ahh, the ol’ change of subject technique, eh? Clever move…
Hold on a second.
“Wait, she's right!” I turn to the two boys and demand, “How did you two get up here? What happened to the stone slide?”
According to Hogwarts, A History (Yes, I've read it. So sue me.), boys aren't supposed to be able to get up to the girls’ dormitory. One foot up the steps and the stairs would transfigure into a steep stone slide! Well, supposedly at least.
Sirius snorts at my words. “Do you really think a stone slide would ever prevent us from getting up here if we wanted to?”
James, seemingly recovered, continues off Sirius proudly, “It was rather simple, really. We just levitated each other up to the door.”
True, that is pretty simple. Sad how the previous Hogwarts Headmasters didn't think of this. Then again, not even I would think any pair of blokes would be so desperate as to levitate each other up here. Oh, did I say desperate? I mean, er, clever.
“Simple. Yeah, simply brilliant,” I reply dryly. “You might as well have gotten your brooms and flown up here. Much less conspicuous.”
I tap my chin, suddenly remembering something. “Hey, that reminds me. What exactly did Sirius do to Rize to make him like him so much? You never told me what it was.”
James burts out in laughter.
Ignoring Sirius' loud face-palm, he replies, “Well, you saw Sirius' little Bludger trick on the field, right? During our first tryouts, we also had a scrimmage. Rize and Sirius were on different teams and blah, blah, stuff happens, until finally Rize's Seeker is about to catch the Snitch. You can probably guess what happened next. A Chaser tried to score one last time and Sirius blocked it with the Bludger so hard that the Quaffle actually flew across the field and into Rize's hoop. And, well, in the end, even though the Snitch was caught, Sirius' team won the game.”
My jaw drops as I look from James to the now terrifyingly huge mass of ego radiating from Sirius' body. I promptly close my mouth and mutter, “That's just pure dumb luck.”
“Hey, you know first-hand how many of your goals I blocked,” Sirius retaliates. “Are you really in a position to even think that?”
I fold my arms. “You only blocked the two at the beginning, right? And I did end up scoring after all!”
“Well, that's all fine and dandy since my team ended up winning the scrimmage in the end anyway,” Sirius points out smugly. “It's not like one or two of your goals made any difference.”
I roll my eyes exaggeratedly. “Oh puh-lease, that doesn’t mean a thing. You weren't even there when they won! You were running those bloody laps with me!”
“Well…!” Sirius pauses before waving a dismissive hand and responding, “This argument is pointless. We all made it on the team anyway, didn't we?”
Even though Sirius and I practically killed ourselves running those death laps around the field, Rize couldn't afford to kick us off his A-List for the team. Poor bloke. Now he's going have to deal with me and Sirius every single match, not to mention every practice too. Then again, with Sirius and I competing for points every chance that we get, Gryffindor is probably going to be over-flowing with goals during matches, so he shouldn’t complain… Well, maybe a little.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Lily interrupts, not wanting us narcissists to bask in our glory too long. “While you Quidditch geeks talk about your oh-so-amazing achievements for the millionth time these past few months…”
At this, we all give her guilty grins.
“Don’t you have to pack, Cecilia? You’re leaving this afternoon right?”
I glance at the trunk-full of clothes scattered across my bed and curse, “Bollocks, I forgot!”
“Later this afternoon? That's pretty early,” James remarks as I scurry around the room picking up my belongings, “What could be so urgent that your mum would make you come home before everyone else does?”
“Really,” I look back at him and shrug, “I haven't the slightest.”