Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

Chapter 7- Return to Diagon Alley

“Alright, here’s the list of things you need this year.” Mrs. Blake said, handing the lists out. “Now, here’s the deal- Mr. Potter, Mrs. Lupin and I are going to the ice cream parlor to wait for some other people. The Alley isn’t too crowded today, and I trust you all know your way around. Raven, you’re to look after Lily today.”

“Yes, mum.” Raven answered quietly, looking down at the ground.

“I beg your pardon, Mrs. Blake, but I’m not a little girl.” Lily said.

“I know that, Lily, but I’d prefer that you all stick together today, alright?” Mrs. Blake said in a tone that wasn’t too harsh, but still said ‘what I say goes’. “I’m responsible for you today.”

“Remus, take this and get some new robes, dear.” Mrs. Lupin said, digging into a bag that was tied onto her belt, pulling out a fist full of galleons and putting them into her son’s hands.

“You kids behave! Meet us at the parlor at one!” Mr. Potter called as he went with Mrs. Blake and Mrs. Lupin into the parlor.

Sirius turned and sighed. “Well then, where to first?” he asked, a small smirk on his lips.

“I don’t feel like lugging books around just yet, so let’s skip Flourish and Blotts until later.” James replied, looking around and stuffing his hands into his pockets. He was still eating a Wizard Pop (which he had snatched from Sirius when he hadn’t been looking), and his glasses were glittering in the sunshine.

“Sounds good to me.” Remus said.

“Alright. So… where do we go then?” Raven pulled her list out of her pocket and looked it over. “Looks like the only other places we need to go besides Flourish and Blotts are the Apothecary, Magical Menagerie, and Madame Malkin’s before we go to… Quality Quidditch Supplies!” Raven exclaimed, a large smile on her face as she bounced up and down a few times. “Yeah… so… um… where do you want to go first, Evans?” she asked awkwardly.

Lily, undoubtedly shocked that Raven had even addressed her, shrugged with wide-eyes. “It doesn’t really matter to me, I suppose.”

“How about Madame Malkin’s?” James asked, taking off his glasses and cleaning them on his robes.

“Okay.”

“What do you suppose Peter’s up to?” Remus asked Sirius, who was walking along beside him. “Think he’s accidentally drank something poisonous again?”

“That was pretty funny.” Sirius chuckled.

“You think it’s funny that your friend drank something poisonous?” Lily interrupted.

Sirius and Remus looked at her quizzically. They glanced at each other briefly and then Remus answered her in a polite tone.

“No… I suppose you would have had to have been there to understand. See, it wasn’t all that poisonous- not like it would kill you or anything. It just makes your skin turn purple and magnetic. He was stuck to the knight armor for four hours.” Remus cracked a smile.

Lily blinked at him. “You’re all odd.”

“Proud of it.” Sirius remarked.

Lily shook her head, but couldn’t help but grin.

“Aha! A grin! Congratulations lads- we’ve gotten a grin!” Remus said, and then turned to shake Sirius’s and James’s hands. “You too, Raven.”

“You’ve fallen off the deep end, haven’t you?” Lily asked.

“Just trying to be friendly.” Sirius answered. “But if you don’t want- “

“No! That’s perfectly alright!” Lily answered quickly, thinking of the things they might do to her if they weren’t being friendly.

“I thought you hated us.” James pointed out, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

“I…” Lily started nervously as Remus, Sirius, and James eyed her.

Raven stood behind James and Sirius, shuffling one foot around and staring at it, her arms crossed in front of her. Her brows were narrowed in thought and she bit her bottom lip as she stared at her foot. Mrs. Lupin’s words echoed in her head. “Don’t let her get you down. Try and be her friend.” She snapped out of her trace and strode forward.

“Break it up boys. Come on now, let’s not fight today- nobody’s in the mood. We’ll get our things and have a few laughs- let’s forget we’re fighting, all right? Let’s just have fun.” she piped up, pushing the boys away from Lily.

Lily was astonished.

“Close your mouth Evans, you look like a dead fish.” Raven smiled at her. “Now, let’s get to the robe shop before school starts.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Raven, what’s gotten into you?” Sirius asked a few hours later, wide- eyed as they waited for Lily to get out of the restroom at Flourish and Blotts.

“What do you mean?” Raven asked, looking at her book and then back at Sirius. “If you mean about this book, I know it’s not like me to walk around reading about…” she looked at the cover, “the Italian Renassaince, but-”

“He means you’re being all nice to Evans when she’s the one who wanted to rip us to shreds last year.” James said with a shrug. “We don’t get it.”

Raven rolled her eyes and sighed. “I figure this: if we’re nice to Evans, maybe she’ll be nice to us. I don’t like to fight with other Gryffindors. It takes time away from torturing Slytherins. But… you know… maybe it’d be cool to have her for a friend.”

“Cool? Raven, are you drunk?”

Sirius flinched. “I think she’s went batty.”

“Actually, she has a point.” Remus pointed out.

“And that would be?” Lily asked as she emerged from the restroom.

“Umm… it takes a big dog to weigh a thousand pounds?” James answered.

Lily shrugged and turned to go to the Magical Menangerie with Raven (Raven needed a new bird because her little brother had let her other one out the window only a week after school was out.) Raven gave a little wave and a sarcastic grin to Sirius as she walked past him.

“Can’t you control her or something?” Sirius asked James, motioning to Raven with his head.

“She’s practically your sister for crying out loud.”

“Whatever, Sirius. Look, let’s just be nice to Evans today and have a good time. By school everyone will have forgotten about this.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Why are you being so nice to me today?” Lily asked suddenly as Raven poked at an owl.

Raven turned to her and knitted her eyebrows together. She bit her bottom lip and then stepped down off the stool she had been standing on. She sighed.

“I don’t know… it’s something Mrs. Lupin said I guess. I just… Lily- I don’t like fighting with you all the time. I mean, the first time we fought was over some stupid thing and it just kept going… we never really got to know each other… so I reckon that if I try and be nice to you that we could… that we could get along or something.”

Lily studied her shoes. She hadn’t been expecting that answer.

“Can we start over then?” Lily asked after a quiet moment. “It’d be much easier than trying to keep going from where we are now.”

“Sure.”

Lily shuffled her feet and Raven bit her bottom lip again. Raven finally outstretched her hand. Lily looked up and took her hand, a small smile on her lips.

“Raven Blake.”

“Lily Evans… this doesn’t mean we’re automatic friends though- we just have a clean slate, alright?” Lily asked, still shaking Raven’s hand.

“Right.” Raven smirked.

When they stopped shaking hands, Raven picked out another raven. She paid for it and went with Lily back to Flourish and Blotts to find the others. Lily helped Raven name her new pet along the way- over the summer Lily had read a lot of poetry, and she told Raven about a certain poem she had liked.

“Nevermore? That’s a good name. I like it. I’ll call it Nevermore.” Raven looked down at the bird. “Nevermore…” she whispered to the creature, which cocked its head to the side with curiosity.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Brooms…” Sirius said, practically drooling as he pressed his nose against the glass of Quality Quidditch Supplies.

“Yes, that’s what they look like.” Lily agreed with a smile. As of the moment, she and Sirius were getting along fairly well and she could afford to be sarcastic with him.

“No- you don’t understand! They’re brooms.”

“Brooms. Yes, we’ve covered that.”

“No! You can’t just say it like that! You have to get some emotion in there! It’s more like… brooms.” Sirius smirked at her.

“*Brooms*.”

“Exactly!”

“However you say it- let’s get in there and get our brooms!” James beckoned them towards the door of the shop.

“He always has to ruin my fun.” Sirius told Lily, who giggled in reply.

“My older brother works here.” Raven said.

“Barry?” Sirius asked as he admired the Nimbus 1500s lined up against the wall.

“Yeah…” Raven said, tracing her fingers along the wood of a broom.

“You kids over here talking about me again? Better be good stuff.” A voice said from behind Lily, which caused her to jump.

Lily turned to see a tall wizard wearing plain black robes looking at Raven and Sirius. He had extremely curly hair and he had brown eyes instead of Raven’s gray ones. He was smiling and wiping his hands on a rag he was holding.

“Hi Barry.” Raven smirked.

“You still have braces? Bummer.” Barry frowned at his little sister. “So… you’re all here for new brooms, eh?”

“Well duh.” James chuckled, and Barry gave him a noogie.

“How many brooms do you guys need?” Barry asked, letting go of James and heading to the register, where he stood behind the counter.

“Um… Lily, are you getting a broom?” Raven asked the redhead beside her.

“No. Next year.” Lily blushed.

“Four then.” Raven told her brother.

“Alright… how much money do you have?”

“Just enough for one of the Nimbus 1500s.” James said, digging in his pocket and holding a handful of galleons in front of him.

“Same here.” Sirius and Raven answered at the same time. “I’ve been saving for a long time.” Sirius continued.

Remus blushed. “I have enough for a Nimbus 1000.”

Barry looked thoughtful as he handed out the newly purchased brooms and took the money. When he came to Remus, he looked especially thoughtful.

“You Remus?” he asked.

“Yes.”

Barry disappeared into the back room, leaving Remus looking confused and holding a palm full of coins. Remus looked a little down, his eyes glistening just the slightest bit. Was Barry refusing to sell him a broom? He didn’t think he could take that.

But Barry returned with a broom- not a Nimbus 1000, but a Nimbus 1001. Remus’s eyes went wide and his jaw dropped. He gulped and looked up at Barry, who was at least twice his size and not somebody you would want to call Brillo-Head.

“I… um… can’t afford that…”

“Yeah, you can. Your friends chipped in a while ago. For a surprise.” Barry smiled and exchanged broom for money with Remus.

Remus looked at the others, who had smiles on their faces. James was whistling and Sirius was admiring the ceiling. Raven shrugged at him and winked. Lily was the only one besides Remus who hadn’t been in on the scheme, but she too wore a smile.

Maybe they weren’t so bad after all.

“You guys… you shouldn’t have…”

“Consider it an early birthday present.” Sirius answered.

Remus smiled. He looked down at the broom in his hands. “Thanks. This is awesome, mates. You’re brill.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Oh yuck!” Sirius exclaimed as James sat down with a bowl of raspberry and blueberry crunch ice cream topped with butterscotch syrup. “That’s the most revolting bowl of ice cream I’ve ever seen!”

“Well you’re not the one eating it, now are you?” James asked, digging his spoon into the disgusting looking concoction.

“Gross…” Remus said as he sat down with his own bowl of vanilla topped with sprinkles, looking at James’s bowl.

“Can’t I just eat my ice cream?”

“I don’t know… give it a try.” Sirius said, curling his lip in disgust.

“Lily, what are you doing?” Raven asked with a chuckle, watching Lily make what looked like an origami bird out of a napkin.

“Waiting for my ice cream to be ready.”

“Ah.”

“That’s cool, uh, Lily.” Remus said, motioning to the bird she held in her hand with his elbow.

“Thanks, uh, Remus.” Lily answered, mimicking him with a grin.

The table was quiet for a while.

“Like my new style?” Sirius asked, balancing a spoon on his nose.

Lily was so busy laughing that she didn’t notice Mrs. Blake was ready to take her home until Mrs. Blake shook her shoulders gently. Lily smiled, grabbed her coat, and awkwardly said goodbye to the others, whom she wasn’t sure if she was ready to call friends or not. That would require some serious thought for a week or two.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Shoes… shoes…shoes… aha! Shoes! Okay… brush…” Lily was rummaging through her room and looking for last minute things before she headed off to the train station, or, more particularly, Platform 9 ¾.

“Hey, Freak! Don’t even think about borrowing my clothes!” a voice shouted.

“I won’t Petunia!” Lily shouted back, not in the mood to fight. She only murmured to herself, “I wouldn’t want to. I don’t like clothes like yours… the blinding red sweater that has giant violent violet puff balls on it gives me nightmares.”

She checked her trunk over once more, happy to see she had everything she needed. Her most prized witching possessions were deeply packed under her clothes, such as her wand. She sighed and checked to make sure all of her books were there just once more.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

Meanwhile, quite a bit away on another side of England, James Potter was digging through his desk drawer. He carelessly tossed things over his shoulder, hitting his still sleeping friends that lay behind him with small objects and parchment. Having found what he had been looking for (an Erase- It-All eraser he had borrowed from Raven), he went over to his window.

“Oy, Raven!” he called out his window, looking at the window straight across from his that belonged to Raven.

Raven appeared a moment later. “Good morning to you too.”

“Found your eraser. Here- catch!” James tossed it to her.

Raven stretched out her right hand and caught the eraser with ease, not even really caring to look as she caught it. She thanked him and disappeared into her room again. A moment later, James heard a crash and then saw Raven hopping past her window backwards on one foot, holding her toe. There was another crash. James chuckled and shook his head before turning to look at his friends. He raised a brow.

Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Remus Lupin were still sleeping in the background of James’s room. They had packed all their things the day before, and had spent the night at James’s, since he was closer to the station. Sirius was snoring very loudly, and if James didn’t know better, he would have thought Sirius was doing it on purpose.

“Will you stop snoring?” James asked, leaning back in his chair, the side of his head balanced on three fingers supported by his elbow on the desk.

“Yes mother.” Came Sirius’s groggy reply.

“Get up or I’m eating breakfast without you guys!” James threw a pillow at Sirius, but Sirius deflected it, and if flew off him and hit Remus.

“Hey! What’s up with the rude awakening?”

“Sorry Remus.”

“Now I might as well get up…” he sighed and got up to stretch. He tripped over Peter and went crashing to the dirty floor of James’s room.

“James, have you seen my jar of broom handle polisher? You borrowed it last.” Raven asked from her window.

James whirled around in his chair and looked around the room. “Yeah, right here.” He found the jar and picked it up quickly, tossing it to her with talent born of years of practice.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Raven! Could you come down here for a second?” a voice called from somewhere in the Blake household.

“Be right back guys.” Raven ran downstairs and into the kitchen. “Yes mum?”

“Your father and I have to go into town, it’s an emergency. The Ministry needs us. I want you to go over to James’s house and the Potters will take you to the station. You be a good girl and have a good year at Hogwarts.” She kissed her daughter on the head and was out the door before Raven could even stutter.

“Okay then.” Raven said to the closed door. She turned to go up the stairs, but then a thought struck her, and she turned to address the door again. “That’s pointless- the Potters work for the Ministry too!”

Raven hurried up the stairs to her room, breezing past her sister’s room and ignoring the fact that her little brother was screaming that he wanted cereal. Raven closed her door behind her and looked into James’s window.

James was being inquired about who would have to sit where in the car. Four preteen boys, two older sisters (Mya- Sirius’s older sister, and Samantha- James’s older sister), and a parent driving didn’t seem to be comfortable seating arrangements to anybody.

“Will we all fit in your car?” Remus asked James as he ran his fingers through his hair.

“Hope so!”

“Probably not.” Peter said, sitting up and scratching the back of his head. “With my luck I’ll get mashed against the window and won’t be able to breathe.”

“Don’t worry Peter, we’ll come to your funeral.” Sirius chuckled. “Pessimist.”

“Hey boys! I hate to break up the party you have going over there, but we’ve got a problem!” Raven was beginning to explain the situation until she was interrupted.

Mr. and Mrs. Potter came running the James’s door. “Sorry kids, but we have to get down to the Ministry right away, something horrible has just happened. You’ll have to walk to the station. You better be going now, breakfast is on the table. You better eat it on the way, it’ll take you a bit to get there.” With that, they were gone.

“Is that what you were talking about?” Peter asked Raven, his hair all over his head and his pajamas wrinkled.

“Yep.”

“How do you suppose we get our trunks there?” Remus asked.

“We could use the Shrinking Charm.” James suggested.

“Okay, I’ll go do that.” Sirius said.

He soon returned with a handful of miniature trunks. He put his own in his pocket, smiling, happy that he knew what he was doing for once. Reading charm books over the summer turned out to be a good thing once in a while.

“Look out over there, I’m pushing my trunk over!” Raven called.

She was hooking her trunk onto the (very strong, magical reinforced) line that hung between James’s room and Raven’s room-, which they so often used to send each other things when they were lazy or when they wanted to visit each other without their parent’s knowing when they were grounded.

“Okay!” Remus sighed and waited for the trunk to come.

The trunk sped quickly towards Remus, and his eyes went wide. The trunk wasn’t going to stop when it was supposed to- it was going too fast.

“Uh… Remus? MOVE!” Sirius tackled Remus, and the trunk went zooming over their heads and out into the hall.

“Hmm. Well. I’ll have fun explaining that to Samantha.” James smirked. He turned to the window. “Nice aim, Raven!”

Raven was sliding over on a clothes hanger, but she wasn’t stopping either. Soon she had joined her trunk out in the hall, amazed that she hadn’t broken anything.

James and Sirius gave the “oo that musta hurt” look. They all rushed into the hall, and Sirius just stared down at the un-moving Raven. “I think you killed her!”

Raven shot up and sat there smiling at them. “I’m fine, actually. It was fun! I should try that again sometime.”

“We could make it into a game.” Remus said. “Whoever can get the farthest down the hall wins.” He looked at the others, who seemed to be thinking of rules for the game.

“We’d better get going now- it’s 10:45!” Peter exclaimed as Sirius handed Raven her now miniature trunk.

And so the five twelve-year-olds went sprinting down the stairs, Sirius tripping on the last step as he went. He pulled himself up and was out the door before anyone could start to say “floo powder”.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Have a nice year, Freak.” Petunia snapped at Lily as Lily drug her trunk out to the car.

“Don’t worry, dear sister. I’ll even bring you back some frogspawn if you’re that interested in my lifestyle. It tastes good on toast.”

Petunia shrieked and went to go hide in her room. Mrs. Evans just smiled after her screaming daughter, bade her a good day, and helped Lily with her trunk. Mr. Evans was jogging to the car, keys in his hand.

“Don’t worry about ‘Tunia, love. She’s just afraid of what’s different… your father and I expect you to show us some good tricks when you get back from school, alright?” Mrs. Evans smiled.

“I will as long as Potter and his friends don’t mess it up for everyone.” Lily smiled- her words had been sarcastic.

It was actually pretty odd to be speaking of James in such a fashion. She still sounded as though she hated him and his friends, but it seemed like they were a little bit friendlier with each other than they had been the year before. Maybe they could become friends… Lily stopped herself from thinking about that. They had to get past this stage first and get used to not yelling at each other. Being friends would have to wait for a while. One step at a time… no matter how slow the steps were.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* ~*~*~

“Which way?” James asked, out of breath once they reached the corner three blocks down.

“Left! Left! Go left!” Raven shouted as she and Sirius came sprinting up, Remus slightly ahead of them. “We only have eleven minutes!”

The others began running again, but stopped when the traffic started.

“Oh no…” Sirius groaned.

They all were horribly impatient as all the cars went lazily by, obviously unaware that they were making four wizards and a witch awfully angry and unable to make their train in time. Once the stoplight went on, they sprinted across the street, and were practically flying down the sidewalk, pigeons taking to the air out of fright of the passing children.

They were going so fast and running so late that they had no time to stop for anything. Sirius had knocked down an unsuspecting muggle boy his age, a woman, and a very old dog. Remus had managed to clear a bench in the park, and keep going while shouting apologies out over his shoulder to the man who had been sitting on the bench and lost his toupee once Remus flew past. He fumbled with the toupee and placed it on the head of a giggling infant as he flew past.

“We’re not going to make it!” James exclaimed as they passed a clock in the middle of a square, which read 10:50.

But they kept running, even if they were beginning to lose hope and tire from the running. They were now half way to the station, and to come so far and then quit was ridiculous. Besides, they still had ten minutes.

“RIGHT! GO RIGHT!” James screeched, hurrying past a few people in the crowd.

They kept running, past cars, people, dogs, knocking over random things and screaming out apologies as they kept on running towards Kings Cross Station. Sirius was panting heavily now, like a dog about to pass out.

“There! There’s the station!” Remus exclaimed, pointing to the station in the distance.

There was no reply, only the turning of directions that would lead them to the station. Remus’s heart sank as he saw the huge crowd filing through the station.

“Move! Move! We’re about to miss our train!” Sirius shouted, pushing people out of the way as he ran towards platforms nine and ten. “Get out of our bloody way!”

“Good way to make friends there, Siri!” Raven shouted over the crowd.

“I’m not concerned about that at the present time, Raven!”

“There! There’re the platforms!” Remus said, pointing out the brass numbers nine and ten.

“I’ll go first!” James exclaimed, sprinting towards the barrier.

Nobody argued, and formed a sprinting line after James, going through the barrier one after the other. They all toppled through, falling on top of each other. They looked up to see the scarlet Express chugging away, slowly beginning it’s journey.

“Come on!” James said, straightening his glasses and getting up along with the others and sprinting after the train.

Remus had never run so fast in his life. His breathing was coming fast and shallow, and his legs were moving so quickly that they were a blur. And if it was possible, James was running even faster.

They caught up to the train, right up to a door that allowed someone to board. James jumped up, and swung on the bar that you could hold while boarding, and went right into the train. He reached out and pulled Remus into the train. Remus and James in turn pulled in Sirius, who had leapt in a desperate move, as he was losing energy and slowing quickly. James and Remus had caught him by the arms and drug him in.

The train was gaining speed quickly, and Raven was now coming in short bursts of speed. She was barely keeping up, and she wouldn’t be able to do it much longer.

“Come on Raven! Hurry!” James shouted, stretching out his arm for her.

“Give me your hand!” Sirius hollered over the sound of the train wheels speeding along the track.

Raven reached out for it, but fell short.

“Hold onto me James!” Sirius told James.

James shrugged and held onto Sirius’s hand, digging his heels into the floor so he wouldn’t slip when Sirius leaned out the door. Peter held onto James, and Remus held Peter with one hand and a pole with the other. Sirius leaned out the door and stretched his hand out to Raven.

She caught it, and they pulled her in. “Well, let’s find our compartment.” She suggested breathlessly as she ran her fingers through her horribly tangled hair.

The others shrugged, and Sirius took a bite of his strawberry tart.

“Hey guys! We were beginning to worry about you!” Gloria exclaimed, walking up to them from out of nowhere and hugging each of them. “I thought you all missed the train!”

“You have no idea…” Sirius murmured, and James shoved Sirius’s tart into Sirius’s mouth. “’Ey! Whaf wah tha foh?”

“Why were you guys so late?” Gloria persisted.

“We- err- had some difficulties getting here.” Peter said, receiving an elbow to the stomach from Remus. “What? It’s true!”

Gloria left to go sit with Sarah and Lily, who were in another car (what Gloria was doing in a different car they never knew, and they also never knew how she got into another car while the train was moving.) Remus, Sirius, James, Raven, and Peter all began to look for an open compartment to no avail. Sighing and shrugging, James suggested that they go see if compartment 86 was open.

To their surprise, compartment 86 was empty. They went in and Sirius took all of their miniature trunks, set them in the middle of the floor while they all stood up on the seats, and turned them back to their normal size. Peter, clearly amazed, studied his trunk closely as if it had sprouted some sort of life form.

“Any moment Peter. Any moment.” Raven said.

“Any moment what?” Peter asked, looking at Raven with a puzzled expression.

“Any moment it’ll open up and bite your hand off.”

“I think we should get a name plate for the door.” Remus said, raising his brows.

James narrowed his eyes and bunched his brows together. “Huh?” he asked, bending his neck as if to get a closer look at Remus. He set his elbows on his knees. “Why?”

“We’ve only sat in this compartment so far. You’d think after three trips on this bloody train we’d have gotten a different compartment by now. I say we put a name plate on the door.” Remus replied.

“We could do that. We’d have to wait until we go home… or one of us goes home for Christmas.” James said, setting his head in his right hand and gazing out the window intently. “Could be fun.”

“Not as fun as these!” Sirius exclaimed, digging into his bag with a huge smile.

Sirius pulled out a large rectangular object and opened it, letting its contents spill onto his lap. He passed the contents around, smiling as his friends gasped, “ooed”, and “awed”. He looked at a few himself, grinning and looking back at the others occasionally.

“Wait until we put these into action, eh?”

“Wait until you put what into action?” Samantha Potter asked from the doorway, looking down at her little brother and his friends, who were hurriedly hiding something behind their backs. “Ugh, never mind- just as long as nobody goes missing any body parts. Anyway… James- I thought mum told you to remember all your things?”

“She did. What of it?” James asked, squinting at his sister.

“I’ll tell you what of it- you and your friends left your owls and all that at our house! I’m not in the least surprised that you did remember your broom.” Samantha motioned her head to James’s trunk, which had his broom strapped to the top of it.

“Oh no… poor Aristo…” Sirius muttered, tugging on his hair.

“Aristo?” Samantha asked, cocking a brow.

“My cat!” Sirius answered.

“Don’t worry about your stupid cat, Sirius. That’s what I came to tell you- since Mya and I are such caring people we brought all of your animals here for you. No need to thank us- you’ll owe us favors later.” Samantha smirked and held up a large picnic basket, which had clearly been enlarged with magic.

She opened the top and pulled out Sirius’s calico cat Aristo, Raven’s raven Nevermore, James’s owl Fido, Remus’s owl Neptune, and Peter’s toad Toadflax. Samantha rolled her eyes when she watched the littler kids greet their animals lovingly and left. Mya Black, however, smirked at her brother and left. A rare occurrence that was- Mya smirking at Sirius, and if left Remus a bit suspicious, but he shrugged it off and let Neptune flutter up onto his shoulder.

“So, here’s the plan…”