Part 5- There Is A Season (Turn, Turn, Turn...)
"Do you suppose it'll ever stop snowing?" James asked as he walked alongside Remus across the snowy grounds of Hogwarts in the middle of February.
"I don't know. It's been snowing for, what, three days now? At least it's lightened up enough to walk around the grounds. Being cooped up in the common room was driving me crackers." Remus answered, his robes gently swishing through the snow.
"Me too." James replied, snuggling his neck further into his scarf to keep himself warm. He sighed and smiled; his warm breath became a small cloud that faded after but a moment. He yawned and felt a sudden wave of sleepiness wash over him.
"Don't go dozing off on me now James, we still have to wait for the others to get here." Remus said, trying not to yawn himself.
It was only four in the afternoon, but the sky was darkened by snow clouds and their turkey sandwiches they had eaten not too long ago was starting to work its wonders. James and Remus went to sit on a log on the edge of the forest, James trying to force his eyes open. Remus brushed the snow out of his way before he sat down, while James just sat down and ignored the fact that after a few minutes he could not feel his lower body.
What exactly was keeping Peter they were unsure of. Raven was undoubtedly fighting with Lily over some petty thing and Sirius was probably playing chess with a Hufflepuff in the Great Hall. Peter, on the other hand, could have been doing a half a million things. Probably sleeping at this point in time, James thought with a snort.
"Well they better hurry up or I'm going back to the common room to sleep by the fire." James replied and folded his arms in front of his chest to keep himself warm since his cloak was not keeping him as warm as he had hoped.
"Oh now, don't go doing that! You'll spoil all the fun!" a familiar voice reasoned with James from behind him.
James whirled around to see Sirius standing there with a smirk on his face. Sirius had his scarf wrapped so tightly around his neck that James found it hard to understand how Sirius wasn't choking, and Sirius sported two pairs of gloves. How he could move his fingers was beyond Sirius's two friends that were sitting before him on a dead tree that had toppled over.
"Finally decided to show up, did you?" Remus asked sarcastically with a lop-sided grin.
"He's here, isn't he?" another voice replied, and Remus turned to see Raven standing there. James didn't even bother to look, he knew who it was. "You two get so impatient so quickly. Impatience is going to kill you." Raven shook her head.
Raven looked reasonably warmer than the three boys by her. She had a thin black blanket wrapped around her shoulders just under her cloak and she sported a headband her sister had sent her. The headband, in all it's maroon and gold glory, covered the part in her hair just behind her bangs, went over her ears, and under her free-flowing hair that she had left down to help keep her neck warm along with her scarf.
"I'll give you a knut for your headband." Sirius offered before chattering his teeth for emphasis.
"Not happening." Raven shot back. "I'm freezing!"
The boys just blinked at her for a while with stupid looks on their faces. While James and Sirius continued to ponder the sanity of their friend, Remus snapped out of it and began to gaze across the frozen lawns.
"What's keeping Peter so long?" he asked, looking around for any sign of his shorter, chubbier friend.
"He might have got lost again." James replied with a yawn. He sunk deeper into the comforting warmth of his cloak with a smile.
"Could be- oh, wait, here he comes!" Remus pointed towards a small figure that was coming over the top of a hill looking very windblown.
"What kept ya, buddy?" Sirius hollered just before Peter tripped and went toppling down the hill he'd been running down. "Besides your feet?" Sirius muttered to himself before he rolled his eyes towards the sky.
Peter pulled himself up out of the snow and hobbled over to them. "Hagrid asked me where I was going, so I had to stop and talk to him for a while to make it sound like I was just out for a walk." He answered breathlessly, holding his side as if it were splitting in pain.
"Come on guys, let's find what we're looking for before we all freeze!" Remus put in, getting up off the log he sat on beside James and jogging off.
Sirius shrugged and followed behind Remus, the others following him. Setting off through the snowy landscape of the Hogwarts grounds near the edge of the Forbidden Forest, the five combed the edge of the woods with their eyes. Wary of their fellow students also out on the grounds engrossed in snowball fights, snow angels, and snowmen, they pretended to be having a race.
"I'm going to win! I'm going to beat you, Remus!" Peter was hollering until Raven cuffed him upside the head.
"Honest Peter, be a little more obvious, why don't you?" she hissed angrily.
"Is it that time of month?"
"What? What is that supposed to mean?" Raven asked, a genuinely confused look gracing her features. She was still too young to understand what that meant, and it seemed Peter had no idea what he was talking about either.
"I don't know, actually. I guess that's what I get when I listen in on my father's conversations without really understanding." Peter smiled sheepishly.
Raven chuckled and kept on jogging. She and Peter got into a playful shoving match as they jogged along. Sirius made a move to get out of their way, but he regretted it almost instantly.
"Ouch!" Sirius exclaimed as he tripped over something and fell face-first into the snow. "I think I've broken my ankle." He groaned.
"Nah, you'd be screaming your head off." Remus replied.
"Thanks buddy." Sirius said, wiping gently at the single tear that had fallen out of one of his eyes. "I knew you'd be supportive."
"I think you've stumbled upon what we've been looking for, Sirius." Raven said, chuckling lightly at her own pun. "Sorry. Couldn't help it." She told Sirius as she saw his angry glance.
"I could have been hurt!"
"Could have." Raven said offhand as she began digging around the place where Sirius had tripped. When she had uncovered the object, a bright smile spread over her features. The others smiled as well, and Raven giggled. "Well then. There it is."
Peter sighed and blew a piece of hair out of his face as he lay on the lawn of Hogwarts, staring out over the lake. He watched a stone go skipping across its glassy surface, courtesy of Sirius. Another stone hopped along behind it- James had thrown it. Peter rolled his head onto his left forearm to look at Remus, who sat beneath a tree reading a book. Raven sat beside Remus with a pile of daisies in her lap, which she was weaving into a hair band.
"I've got a joke for you." James spoke up just before he threw another stone at the lake. "This Seer is working in the muggle world as a fortune teller. Everyday these pitiful muggles come to her to listen to her tell about their futures. She starts to get tired of it, you know.
"Then one day this ugly, filthy, dirty muggle comes into her shop. She decides to have some fun with him, so when he asks for his fortune, she knows exactly what to say. She sits in front of her crystal ball and pretends to call on spirits and all that.
" `Tell me what you see!' the muggle said.
" `I see London...' the Seer replied, looking into her crystal ball.
" `Yes! I live there!'" James said this with a low, manly voice.
" `I see France...'" James faked a girlish voice.
" `I know a girl there!'
" `I see someone's underpants!'
" `Why, that's amazing! I just bought some new underwear yesterday!'
" `Might be white, might be blue...'
" `They're red, actually.'
" `Might be full of muggle poo.'"
"You have too much time on your hand if you're coming up with jokes like that, James." Remus said, cocking an eyebrow and staring at James over his book ("Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"). His face split into a smile when James turned to him and took a deep bow.
"Actually, my brother-"
"There! I'm finished!" Raven smiled, holding up her hair band of daisies. "Ugh!" she groaned as it fell apart in her hands. "They never stay together long."
"Here, let me give it a go." Sirius sat beside Raven and took the daisies. He set to weaving while the others began to chat and lounge around in the grass.
"Hey Sarah!" Raven exclaimed, waving at her friend, who was standing a good way away.
Sarah waved back merrily, her strawberry blond hair swishing around as she did. Gloria was standing beside her, and waved back just as eagerly even though her own name hadn't been called out. Lily was missing from the scene (which she normally would have been in). Peter figured she was in the library looking for another book that had self-turning pages.
Later that week, when reality came back to them, the friends began the treacherous walk to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ever since Sirius had got stuck in a step, it had been a true test of knowledge to remember which step it was and where it was on each day of the week.
"Hey, Sirius, have you gotten the plans all drawn out yet?" Raven asked as she skipped over the step. "We'll be needing them soon."
"Almost finished them, actually. I have a few more-" Sirius started, a light shrug traveling through his shoulders. He motioned to the sketchbook that was on the top of the books he was carrying under his arm.
"This is so exciting!" Peter bounced up and down with a smile.
"Just what is so exciting?" an authorities voice asked from behind them.
"Nothing, Professor McGongall. Just talking about this summer." Sirius answered with a slight groan tracing his voice as he continued his way up the stairs, not even bothering to look at the professor behind him.
"Yeah, we're going to go catch Cornish Pixies." James added with a mischievous grin on his face as he tried to stifle a light chuckle.
"I'm sure, Mr. Potter." Professor McGonagall replied tightly before she herself turned to go to her own classroom.
A small smile formed on her lips. Even if those five were trouble in it's purest form, they were very humorous- even McGonagall couldn't deny that. She stepped down and felt her foot sink into the brick of the staircase. Damn steps.
"POTTER!" Professor McKinnon shouted angrily as she wiped her glasses clean and placed them back on her face, dismayed to find they were still hard to see through. She tried to brush the tea off the front of her robes.
"Yes, Professor?" James asked innocently as he looked up from his work, a wry smile on his face and a glitter of mischief dancing in his eyes.
"Detention!" McKinnon hollered angrily.
"Err- Professor?" Sirius asked, raising his hand uneasily.
"It's- it's the last day of school, Professor... how is James supposed to serve his detention if he's not even here?" Sirius pointed out, trying to hide his grin. "Besides, I think gluing your teacup to your desk is hardly worthy of a detention. After all, you did get it off your desk... even if it did spill all over you."
Raven propped her book up and sank behind it, her face red from the effort of trying not to laugh. Her face split into a large grin and Peter smirked from where he sat beside her. Raven could see Remus on the other side of the classroom trying not to laugh.
"I don't care, Black! He'll serve it first thing next year!"
The year had flown by all too quickly. Christmas had whirled by and Halloween had gone by before anybody could blink. Nothing exciting had really happened other than a few good jokes they had played and that time that Professor Niles had inadvertently turned his classroom (and Robert Actine) stunning neon green.
Finals had been the pitfall of the year. Every student (other than some very studious Ravenclaws, Sirius, and James) had panicked about them and spent two weeks cramming in the library. Peter had barely slid by, Raven had passed, but not by a great amount, and Remus had gotten pretty high marks. Sirius and James had passed with flying colors, and Lily had come in just behind them as highest in the class.
It was the last class before summer holidays and everybody couldn't keep still no matter how hard they tried. The hot air was making them sweat because of their heavy uniforms but everybody still had a dreamy look on their faces. Their first year was over, and the next year they could return without having to worry so much about being shoved into the walls and being called "little kids".
Sirius (James, really, but Sirius took the credit because he was the only one who remembered what James had said) had come up with the (in his opinion) excellent idea of Raven, James, Remus, and Peter staying at his house for a few days so they could all catch a few pixies that resided in the woods beside his home. They had readily agreed and promised to ask their parents the moment they got through the front door of their own homes.
Lily was slightly reluctant to go home and see Petunia. She didn't mind seeing her parents, but her older sister was something she dreaded seeing within twenty-four hours. She curled her upper lip in disgust as she thought of Petunia- with her stringy blond hair that hung to her bony shoulders and her buck teeth that could have put someone's eye out. Returning to the beautiful Irish countryside, however, would be even more exciting than it had been before Hogwarts. After all, now she knew where to look for a few of the magical creatures her mother had told her didn't exist.
The only one who seemed near reluctant to go home was Sirius. He did seem anxious to have friends over, or go somewhere rather than stay at his own residence. It was puzzling to most, but to Raven and James, who had known the spirited black-haired boy since their toddler days; it was nothing to think about. Sirius had always been like that, and so they pegged him as a very social person.
When the bell rang, they all sped out the door, knocking each other out of the way in their race to get to the common rooms before anybody else. The Ravenclaws won that race because Natalie Prewitt was one fast girl and because their dorms were much closer to the classroom than the Gryffindor dorms that presided up in one of the towers of the castle.
The Hogwarts Express wouldn't be taking them home until the next morning, but the excitement of leaving was already brewing in the air. The muggle-borns didn't understand why the pureblood kids were so ready to go home. Hogwarts was simply wonderful, but if they really strained themselves hard enough, they could come up with the conclusion that Hogwarts was merely school to them. Whatever was outside the school grounds that they saw over summer break must have been even more glorious than the twisting hallways and high stone ceilings of the castle.
The next morning came all too soon for Lily. Her alarm buzzed loudly, and she swiped at it angrily, forgetting that it was very last morning in the castle for her until the next September. But she remembered clearly when Gloria shook her.
"Come on Lil, we've got to make sure we have everything before we get on the train!" Gloria exclaimed brightly as though getting up at such an early hour meant sleeping in for five to her.
Lily groaned and pushed her bed curtain the rest of the way open. "I don't want to go. I think I'll just lay in bed and hope none of the professors notice me." She plopped back onto her bed.
"It doesn't work that way, Lily!" Sarah sighed as she stuffed one of her cloaks into her trunk. "Come on now, Professor Dumbledore will be here to lead us down to the train in an hour!"
"Ugh..." Lily pulled herself up and walked over to her wardrobe.
The door opened quickly and then closed rather loudly, causing them all to snap their necks to look at whoever had just bustled into the room. It was Raven, a huge smile plastered onto her face, walking jauntily over to her trunk.
"Good morning everybody! I was wondering when you'd be getting up." Raven said, motioning to Lily.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Lily asked angrily, her red hair dancing over her eyes.
"It means you sleep like a log." Raven replied happily. "Anyway, Gloria, Sarah- this summer, do you think you'd be able to come out to my house?"
"I suppose I could." Sarah replied. "I'd have to ask mum first, though."
"I realize that. Gloria, what about you?"
Gloria was biting down on her lip. It was the first time anybody had really seen her out of her normal, so-bubbly-it-gets-irritating-at-times personality. She looked a little thoughtful and cautious as she answered Raven.
"I don't know, Raven. My family's kind of... trying to stay at home while this Voldemort wizard is running around."
"Are you serious? He's not that dangerous-"
"Raven, I've heard things. I've seen things... But, the point is- this Voldemort guy you don't think is dangerous- he murdered another family a few weeks ago." Gloria answered, looking downcast.
Raven's eyes glistened with tears. "I'm sorry, Gloria. I thought the Ministry had him taken care of. Honest, I did. You don't have to come over if you don't want to-"
"Who's Voldemort?" Lily piped up.
"He's... he's..." Gloria began. "This really evil wizard. He's... starting to gain power, you know. Like that Grindewald fellow. He's murdering all these mixed families- even a few of the older families that won't help him. I tell you now- he's going to get more powerful and soon people will be too scared to speak his name." Gloria sat on her bed, tears streaming her face. "He's going to start killing more people-"
"Don't talk like that, Glory!" Sarah said, sitting beside Gloria and putting a supportive arm around her shoulder.
"No, it's true Sarah! I know!" Gloria sobbed. "I know..."
"Just how do you know?" Lily asked, trying to be supportive. "You could be wrong. Maybe this Ministry that Blake talked about will get him and lock him up or something."
"No, they won't!"
"But how do you-"
"Just give it a rest, Evans!" Raven snapped. "Just leave her be! You don't even understand your Potions work- I doubt you'd understand this, alright?"
"I'm just a much part of this world as you are!"
"No, Lily- you don't understand- I just- never mind. You never listen to me anyway." Raven shoved her trunk towards the door. "I hope you start feeling better, Gloria." She said before she slammed the door.
"Duffer." Lily muttered under her breath to the door.
It was some time later that Gloria had composed herself and had went into the common room with all the others. Lily looked on as Potter, Black, Blake, Lupin, and Sarah all crowded around her with sympathetic looks and gentle words of comfort. Now Lily hated Blake and her stupid friends more- why wouldn't they tell her what was going on? Were they like the Slytherins- obsessed with bloodlines?
The portrait door swung open to reveal Professor Dumbledore, of whom nobody had seen much that year since he had been learning the details of becoming Headmaster rather than teaching them Transfiguration (that was now McGonagall's job), with a bright smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. All commotion in the room came to a halt when he entered.
"Students, it is now time to board the train. Please leave your things here; they will be attended to while you walk to the train. No need to worry about anything being left behind," he put in as he saw James eyeing his trunk nervously. "If anything is forgotten, we'll mail it to you by Owl Express. Now, follow me."
The walk to the train was shorter than Remus had expected. Since it was all down hill it went by much faster (at least it seemed), and it did go much faster towards the bottom once Tyler Ashton tripped and made a bowling effect with everyone else. Poor Tianna Bert was at the front of the line, and therefore, the bottom of the pile.
The ride home was joyful. After all, James had managed to snatch the compartment eighty-six, the compartment they had came to Hogwarts in, before anybody else could even think about numbers. They were the first with a compartment and were the most comfortable as the train began to move. But Lily was still roaming the corridors of the train, looking for a place to sit. Sirius noticed and waved to her when she walked by their compartment.
"You can sit here if you want."
"I'd rather pass, thank you. My blood's not right." Lily snapped, and headed off to see if she could find Gloria and Sarah.
"Wha...?" they all chorused.