A/N: Hey Guys!
I haven't written anything in a good long while, but this story was one I've been waiting for inspiration to write. And here it begins.
I'll try to update it regularly, but I know I'm a little sporadic when it comes to updates. I'll aim for once a week.
Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer - It is sadly Ms Rowling, and not me, that owns this world and all it's characters, much as I wish that wasn't the case.
I glanced at Petunia one last time, almost scared of the venomous look she gave me. She was skulking behind my mum and dad, shooting nervous glances at the people in cloaks that surrounded her. Well, she meant them to be nervous, but I knew better. They were wistful.
"Oh, sweetheart, we're going to miss you so much!" My mother blubbered for the hundredth time, clutching at me as though it was going to be the last time she ever saw me. It did feel that way – ever since I got my letter to Hogwarts, I'd been both afraid and excited. I was leaving my parents, but I was going somewhere magical.
"Make sure you're careful, and that you write to us every three days, at least," Dad chipped in, ruffling my long, red hair the way he always did. He blinked at me with watery emerald eyes, and I felt my own, an exact copy of his, well up with tears.
"Oh, look, Lily, there's Severus!" Mum exclaimed, pointing towards my best friend, who I hadn't noticed lurking a few families away, looking a bit lonely, despite the fact that his mother was standing beside him. She looked as though she'd rather not be there. I chanced a glance at Petunia, whose lip was slowly curling as her eyes focused on the one person in the world she hated more than me. My heart sank.
"Tuney, can I talk to you a minute?" I asked, seizing her hand and tugging her a few metres away from my parents. As soon as we were out of earshot, she tugged her hand back as though she was scared she might catch something from me.
Her gaze was frosty at best. "What?" she demanded flatly.
"Aren't you going to say bye?" I mumbled timidly.
"Bye," she responded, in the same dead tone.
"Petunia, I know you wanted to come to Hogwarts, and I know you're angry at me…"
"That's not true!"
"I know it is," I reminded her gently. Her glare was suddenly so cold I shrank back a step.
"I know Professor Dumbledore didn't send you a letter too, and I'm sorry, Tuney, I'm sorry!" She moved to walk away from me again, but I caught her hand and held on tightly. "Listen, maybe once I'm there – no, listen, Tuney! Maybe once I'm there I'll be able to go to Professor Dumbledore and persuade him to change his mind!"
"I don't – want – to – go!" she heaved her hand away from me and backed up a few paces. Her eyes blazed with fury. "You think I want to go to some stupid castle and learn how to be a – a…"
I blanched, waiting for the next words, watching her eyes scan my soon – to – be schoolmates. "You think I want to be a – a freak!"
My eyes stung with tears again. "I'm not a freak. That's a horrible thing to say."
She rounded on me, her eyes glittering with malice. "That's where you're going. A school for freaks. You and that Snape boy… weirdos, that's what you two are. It's good you're being separated from normal people. It's for our safety."
I looked at my parents, examining other families with interest, marvelling over the scarlet steam engine. Then I looked back at Petunia, who was glaring so hard it must've hurt her face. I scowled.
"You didn't think it was such a freak's school when you wrote to the Headmaster and begged him to take you!" I spat.
The colour rose in her cheeks. "Beg? I didn't beg!"
"I saw his reply, it was very kind."
Her voice dropped to a hiss. "You shouldn't have read – that was my private – how could you - ?"
My eyes twitched in Severus's direction of their own accord. Petunia gasped.
"That boy found it! You and that boy have been sneaking in my room!"
"No – not sneaking – Severus saw the envelope, and he couldn't believe that a muggle had contacted Hogwarts, that's all! He says there must be wizards working undercover in the postal service who take care of..."
"Apparently, wizards poke their noses in everywhere!" Petunia growled, so aggressively that a nearby woman turned to stare. "Freak!"
Without a backwards glance, she stormed off towards our parents again, and this time I didn't try to stop her. I kept my head down and stubbornly fought the tears that were threatening to spill over my eyes.
It took me a moment to pull myself together again, and then I returned to my parents. I didn't so much as glance at my sister as I hugged them goodbye and boarded the train as quickly as I could.
I wandered down the corridor slowly, my head bowed, glancing into every compartment to see if it was empty. None of them were – the best I could manage was a carriage with three boys who looked my age sprawled across the seats, chatting and laughing noisily. Sighing, I slid open the door, and picked my way past them to curl up in the corner by the window, pressing my forehead against the cold glass. None of the boys paid me any attention.
"So then," one of the boys was saying loudly, managing to hold the other two as a captivated audience. "My dad tried to park the car, which was actually the most hilarious thing I have ever seen! It took him about ten tries, and he was swearing under his breath the whole time. I swear, he nearly killed a muggle lady."
I glanced round to see that it was a boy with round glasses and messy black hair who was speaking. The other two were dark haired as well, one very handsome, who was grinning appreciatively at the story, the other quieter, tired and peaky-looking. I turned back to the window as the train began to pull away, giving my parents a half-hearted wave as I passed them.
"Blimey, James, I'd never have gotten in the car!" The handsome boy said, laughing.
"Yeah, well, thing is, Sirius, it was that or a fifty mile walk. I had no real choice," James was laughing along as he answered. I felt my eyes burn with tears again, and fought them once more.
"What about you, Remus, how'd you get here?" Sirius asked the quietest boy.
"Floo network," he replied cheerfully. "My dad doesn't know how to drive."
"Neither does mine," James pointed out, and both boys laughed.
I tuned out, unwilling to listen to more of their happy conversation when I was feeling so miserable. Rain drops were spattering the window outside, and I watched the soggy scenery without really seeing it, thinking mostly about Petunia's expression, as her bitter words rang in my ears. It was getting dark before anything happened to snap me out of my despair.
The compartment door slid open again, and in walked the very last person I wanted to see. Severus. He was wearing his school robes already, and I couldn't blame him. They were nicer than his muggle clothes by far.
"I don't want to talk to you," I told him, the lump in my throat making it difficult to get the words out.
"Why not?" he asked, moving to sit down beside me.
"Tuney h-hates me. Because we saw that letter from Dumbledore."
"So what?" he shrugged. I turned to glare at him.
"So she's my sister!" I hastily wiped the escaping tears from my cheek, and I missed what he'd just said in response.
He smiled at me cajolingly. "But we're going! This is it! We're off to Hogwarts!"
I nodded, and I couldn't help but give a tiny smile at the thought. A glimmer of excitement washed through my sadness.
"You'd better be in Slytherin," he told me seriously.
"Slytherin?" James – the – storyteller butted into the conversation, his eyebrows raised halfway up his forehead. I didn't even think he'd noticed we were there. "I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"
He was asking the boy called Sirius for his opinion. He looked a bit morose. "My whole family have been in Slytherin."
"Blimey! And I thought you seemed all right!"
Sirius lounged back on his seat, grinning. "Maybe I'll break the tradition. Where are you heading, if you've got the choice?"
"Gryffindor," replied James with no hesitation. "Where dwell the brave at heart, like my dad."
Severus snorted slightly.
"Got a problem with that?" James rounded on him.
"No," Sev sneered, "If you'd rather be brawny than brainy."
"Where're you hoping to go then, seeing as you're neither?" shot Sirius rudely. James gave a great shout of laughter, and I stood up, glaring at the both of them with intense dislike.
"Come on, Severus, let's find another compartment."
Sev stood to follow me, and James and Sirius did imitations of my voice that sounded ridiculous as I left. I looked back in time to see James stick his foot out to trip Severus. My jaw clenched in anger.
"See ya, Snivellus!" Sirius called after us, as Sev slammed the door, hard. I huffed in exasperation.
I barely knew James, but already I was positive that I didn't like him and I never would.