A/N – 'Seven Days' is the title of a group of short ficlets that I've written about important days in Lily Potter's life. The first, rather appropriately, is her first day at Hogwarts, and the second should be up shortly. I hope you enjoy them, I thought this was an original idea, and please give me constructive criticism – what you liked, what you didn't, my characterisation and so on. Sorry to be long-winded – read. Enjoy. :o)
The First Day
She could feel the cold brick at her back, and sighed. So this was Platform 9 and ¾, this was the place where every witch and wizard who had passed through Hogwarts' famous doors had stood, and marvelled. Lily was sure that they'd marvelled, because of the chattering groups of friends, the enormous red steam engine anxious to be off, the cats mewing piteously as they stared with hungry eyes at the owls, haughty in their cages – it was, in a word, marvellous.
Lily was pushed forward as her mother and father stepped through the barrier. Following them was Great-Aunt Addy, the Evans' family's only witch. Well, at least until now. Lily Evans was not an ordinary little girl. Her neatly plaited pigtails and freckled face may have seemed innocent enough, but Lily Emmeline Evans was a witch.
And not just any witch. She was a witch about to start her very first term at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Needless to say, she was very excited. So, for some unknown reason, were her parents.
"Now let me look at you," fussed her mother, tweaking Lily's plaits and ignoring the embarrassed noises coming from her daughter's general direction. "I can't believe my little girl's going away to school! All grown up...you won't need your old Mum anymore," she said sadly, stepping back a little. Mrs Evans was soft and scented, her blonde hair always worn in a loose bun that hung at the back of her neck. Lily couldn't imagine a world without her mum. Or, for that matter, her mum's bacon sandwiches.
Rolling her eyes, Lily gave her mother a hug. "Don't be silly, Mum. Besides, you'll see me soon. I'm not going away forever...just until Christmas."
Mr Evans was looking rather taken aback. He hopped smartly out of the way as a rather tall and gangly boy tried to catch what seemed to be an escaped bat. Lily tapped her father on the shoulder, and he raised his eyebrows. "Well, Lily, pet. Looks like you'll be in safe hands. All seems very...er...organised," he added, staring in some alarm at a girl whose hair had just turned a rather gruesome shade of green. Lily stifled a laugh, and gave him a bone-crushing hug. "I'll miss you too, Dad. Keep safe."
He grinned into her hair, and kissed the top of her head. "I will, darlin'. You're a clever girl, you know that? You show them wizards how it's done." Mr Evans took Mrs Evans' hand, and they both stood looking at her, their faces glowing with pride. Lily turned to Aunty Addy.
"I'll...er...owl you when I get there," she said, rather nervously. Addy had appeared in their lives the day she received her letter for Hogwarts, and had been tutoring Lily in the ways of the wizarding (and witching, said Addy, we didn't transfigure our bras into beetles for nothing) world. There was still an awful lot Lily didn't know, but Addy had assured her that even those who came to Hogwarts from old magical families wouldn't have much of an advantage. Besides, it would be all the more fun for Lily, as there was so much she still had to find out!
"Oh, I don't think so, flower. You'll be having far too much fun to write me a letter," said the old woman kindly, her green eyes shining. Lily felt yet another surge of nervous adrenaline, and grabbed the handle of her charmed trunk (Addy had made it temporarily feather light) with clammy hands. What if she didn't make any friends? What if everybody hated her, what if she didn't fit in?
An ear-splitting horn sounded, and suddenly the chaotic scene changed pace from enthusiastic hellos to frantic goodbyes. Lily kissed both of her parents again, hugged Aunty Addy and clambered on to the train. She managed with some difficulty to open the nearest window.
"Goodbye! Send my love to Petunia, goodbye!" she yelled, realising that up and down the train hundreds of children were doing the same thing. For a moment she saw her family's smiling faces, and then they were gone.
Lily Evans was alone.
This would be interesting. She took in her surroundings with some trepidation, half-expecting the walls to start talking, or the carpet to change colour. So far, everything seemed to be disappointingly normal. She was standing in a corridor, lined with doors. Some were open, with people spilling out, calling to friends, throwing robes and small gifts. Some were shut, and from outside she could see distant shadows through the cloudy glass. Swallowing hard, Lily decided that the best plan of action would be to dump her trunk somewhere then go and look for some other first years. Addy had told her that the best place to meet people was on the Hogwarts Express, and she intended to be brave about things, be confident.
Shoving her trunk on to a nearby luggage rack, Lily made her way down the corridor. She passed several compartments before peering into one and seeing someone else peering right back at her. Lily jumped slightly in shock, as did the girl on the other side of the glass. The other girl then smiled, and Lily grinned. Perhaps everything would be alright. Then the door opened, and she could see the other occupant.
Both had the all-too-familiar mixed look of excitement and terror on their faces, and both were wearing normal – Muggle – clothing. Lily immediately identified them as female first years, and breathed a sigh of relief. At least now she'd have someone to talk to.
"Hi," said the first girl, who was now sitting on the nearest seat. She stuck out her hand, and Lily shook it. "I'm Arabella Figg, and this is Charlotte...what was your surname again?" she asked the other girl, pulling an apologetic face.
"Charlotte Happleton," said Charlotte Happleton, not looking in the least bit bothered. Lily also shook hands with her, and smiled politely. "I'm Lily Evans. How d'you do?" she said.
The three giggled at the formality, and Lily sat opposite the other two. Her first impression was that Arabella seemed familiar and Charlotte was rather sweet looking, with straight dark-blonde hair and brown eyes. The seats were extremely soft, and she ran her hands over the plush velvety fabric. Charlotte offered her a sweet of some sort, and Lily took it. Bertie Botts – she couldn't read the rest. Not wanting to look stupid, she popped the sweet in her mouth without looking. Arabella's jaw dropped.
"Definitely a Gryffindor. I've never met anyone who just reached into a bag of Bertie Botts like that."
Lily paused, her teeth resting on the surface of the bean. Gryffindor...they were supposed to be brave, weren't they? Throwing caution to the wind, she went ahead and bit into the sweet anyway.
"What's so bad about raspberries?" she enquired. Charlotte shrugged, and leaned over.
"She won't tell me. I got a strawberry one," she said in a stage whisper. Arabella grinned, and grabbed the packet.
"Well, Lily Evans, you're either a Gryffindor or a Muggle-born like Charlotte here," she said knowingly, tapping the packet. "Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. And they mean every flavour. I swear I ate a sock flavoured one once, it was horrible, all cottony..."
Lily and Charlotte both stuck out their tongues, and the conversation continued in that vein for quite a while. Lily discovered that Charlotte liked animals, was an only child, had been a vegetarian since the age of seven, and, like Lily, was a Muggle-born, so had very little idea what was in store for her. She also discovered that Arabella was from a magical background, could touch her nose with her tongue, had an older brother and wanted to be an actress.
Now the topic had turned to the ever popular subject of houses. Addy had told Lily that usually the house you wanted to be in, you ended up in. Unfortunately, Lily had absolutely no idea which she preferred. They all had their good and bad points. Hopefully, Arabella, as their resident know-a-fair-bit, could fill both Lily and Charlotte in.
"Matthew's in Slytherin. That says it all, really." Arabella leaned over and chanced a Bertie Botts. Matthew was the infamous older brother, and Arabella didn't seem overly fond of him. "Their house colours're green and silver, and they're meant to be ambitious."
It was then that Lily put two and two together, and recognised her companion. "You were the girl on the platform, with green hair!" she exclaimed, and a scowl flickered across Arabella's face. Her hair was still curly, but a rather more normal shade of brown.
"Blast Matthew. He thought it'd be funny to do my hair in Slytherin colours, when he knows I want to be in Ravenclaw," she said.
Charlotte grinned. "I wish I'd seen it."
"I thought my dad was going to fall off the platform," said Lily. "He probably thinks you're mad."
"Huh, Matthew's the mad one. Anyway, Ravenclaw. They're witty and pretty and clever to boot. That's why I want to be one," explained Arabella, chewing reflectively on a sweet.
"You forgot modest," said Lily, exchanging another smile with Charlotte.
"Who wants to be modest? The other two are Gryffindor...brave, headstrong...and Hufflepuff...loyal, friendly..."
"I want to be in Hufflepuff," said Charlotte, firmly. Lily privately wished that the Sorting Hat would just decide for her.
"Arabella," she ventured, "D'you know how the Sorting Hat works?"
"Er...Matthew said you just put it on your head and it just...decides. Like magic, I suppose."
"I hope we all end up in the same house," said Charlotte, her voice wistful. Lily thought it would be a shame if she had to start from scratch all over again...besides, she liked these two just fine.
"Well, we all get on. Perhaps we will," said Arabella, sprawling comfortably on the seat.
The train sped on, and the girls found plenty more to chat about. As the daylight faded and the voices quietened, a feeling of apprehension started to settle. Arabella ceased tapping her foot to some internal beat, and Charlotte became very quiet. Lily, in a fit of nerves, ate a disturbingly off-white Bertie Botts. It turned out to be potato flavour, and she had to open the window for some fresh air before her stomach would settle.
Just then, the door swung open and an unfamiliar head poked round. The boy was a few years older than them, and had fashionably styled brown hair. He was also, quite frankly, the most handsome boy Lily had ever seen in her life. Charlotte seemed to perk up, and Lily would have turned to give her a silent thumbs up if she wasn't completely transfixed. Arabella, however, wasn't.
"What do you want?" she said, sourly. The boy leaned over and ruffled her hair, smirking when she pulled away.
"Just to come and see my darling little sister," he said, standing up straighter. "I wondered if your hair had recovered in time for the Sorting. We'll be arriving at Hogwarts..." He paused to check a strange looking wrist watch. "...any minute now. Shouldn't you be in your robes?"
Arabella clapped a hand to her mouth, and grimaced. "Sorry," she said, turning to face Charlotte and Lily. "I completely forgot."
"To think, Arabella wants to be in Ravenclaw."
"Get lost, Matthew."
Ah, so this was Matthew. Lily felt her stomach lurch when he glanced quickly from her to Charlotte.
"Oh, you've made some friends then. That's odd."
"Get lost, Matthew," Arabella said again, through gritted teeth. He held up both his hands in apology, and closed the door without saying a word.
"See how mean he is?" said Arabella, mostly to herself. Charlotte and Lily seemed to have been temporarily struck dumb. Arabella flicked Charlotte on the shoulder, annoyed. "He may be mean, but he's right. Grab your robes, they'll go spare if we're still dressed like Muggles."
Lily blinked, and realised she'd have to fight her way back along the corridor to get to her trunk. "I'll just be a couple of minutes," she promised. Arabella and Charlotte were too busy fighting a losing battle with their stiff buttons to pay her much attention, and she slipped out into the hall.
It was insane. Ducking and dodging, Lily managed to reach her trunk, not before catching a squealing rat in mid air. There was a crowd of people in various states of undress around the luggage rack – Arabella obviously wasn't the only one with a bad memory.
"Where are my shoes? Has anyone seen my shoes?"
"This stupid sleeve won't...oh dear."
"My robes are pink. Why do I have pink robes?"
"Now my hair's all fuzzy."
"Some of us don't have any trousers. Please make way for the trouserless...have pity on the trouserless."
Lily smiled at the last comment, and finally got hold of her robes. Slipping them on over her normal clothes she decided to change into her white school shirt in the compartment. As she turned around, she hit her head on something - on someone, to be exact.
"Ow," she said in surprise, momentarily dazed.
"Sorry!" called the someone, already making his way back through the crowd, presumably to his own compartment.
"It's alright," she called back, smiling. "I'm only slightly concussed," she muttered.
Safely back in the compartment, Lily quickly changed into her shirt and grinned at the others.
"What?" said Charlotte, worried. "Is my collar strange?"
"No, it's...we're starting Hogwarts! We're witches!" Lily exclaimed, her face one big smile.
Arabella smiled back. "Spiffy."
If the air was cold, Lily didn't notice it. She and Charlotte had been separated from Arabella in the rush to get off the train, and so had been crammed into a rowing boat without her. Now they were moving across the lake towards a castle that wasn't so much fairytale as enormous. Craggy was a word that worked well.
"Look, there she is," said Charlotte, pointing to one of the other boats and waving. Sure enough, a small, curly figure waved energetically back. Lily responded, and felt a rush of warmth. Already, she had someone to wave to. Two someones, if Charlotte counted. Except of course, Charlotte was sitting right next to her so waving at her would be pointless...Lily took a deep breath. She was still very nervous.
Once they'd got off the train, a large man called Hairgid, or Hamgird or something similar had called for all the first-years. He'd then taken them in a line to this small fleet of boats, and Lily had seen her first real magic. Aunty Addy hadn't let her do any spells of her own, it wasn't allowed, and any spells Addy did were...unspectacular. Silently drifting across a ghostly moonlit lake was nothing short of spectacular, and all the first years knew it. Lily and Charlotte had fallen into whispered conversation with their fellow boaters, Timothy Quirrel and Amelia Highton.
"I don't see why we have to go across this lake, it's jolly dangerous," sniffed Amelia, looking disdainfully down her rather perfect nose at the murky water. Timothy seemed quite in awe of her.
"I t-think it's all rather at-tmospheric," he stammered.
"Quite right," said Lily, feeling immediate sympathy for the boy. The boat stopped.
"Firs-years, this way," called Hamgird, his voice booming in the anticipatory silence. Amelia squashed a spider that had hitched a lift in their boat beneath her dainty foot, and Lily nudged Charlotte. Amelia obviously noticed, and fixed them with a cool stare. "I don't like spiders."
"You know, they're a lot more scared of you than you are of them," tried Charlotte, who had winced at the crunching sound.
"I'm not scared of them, Happleton. I just don't like them," replied Amelia, before picking her way carefully over the mud an grass to join Hairgid.
"Come on, Happleton," whispered Lily, and Charlotte giggled.
"Right, now yeh've all made it teh Hogwarts, I'll leave yeh in the hands of Professor McGonagall," finished Hamgird. "Good luck," he added, smiling beneath the formidable beard. Suddenly he didn't seem quite so large and scary. The woman standing behind him, however, did.
"Thankyou, Hagrid." Hagrid. Right. "Now, if you'll follow me, the other students are waiting in the hall. Get into a line and stay in a line," she said, somewhat sharply. Lily glanced over her shoulder and saw poor Arabella, looking somewhat abashed. They'd have plenty of time to catch up later.
As the line of first-years made its snaking way up to the large wooden doors, then into the stone entrance hall, then along a few corridors, Lily began to despair of ever finding her way around. She could have sworn the eyes in the paintings followed her, and started to say something to Charlotte, but McGonagall silenced her with another pointed look. Her mind was racing so quickly that she didn't have time to take in the roaring fires, the fine art, the cosy looking classrooms, the interesting smells; all Lily could think about was the Sorting.
After what seemed like years, the line stopped in front of a large pair of solid looking doors. McGonagall turned, and smiled. It was a frightening smile.
"Remember, the entire school are watching, including Professor Dumbledore. You are to be on your best behaviour. That means no talking, no screaming, and definitely no fainting. When I call your name, you will approach the stool and place the Sorting Hat on your head. You will then join your house at their table. Is that clear?"
Someone said 'Yes', followed by 'Oh, sorry!' and McGonagall sighed. Then she opened the doors, and despite herself Lily gasped.
It was beautiful. As they walked between the tables, the house tables, Lily tried to take it all in and failed. She was aware of the stupid smile on her face, and couldn't help craning her neck to look at the decoration on the ceiling. Suddenly a wisp of cloud crossed what she had mistaken for a painting, and she gaped. It was magic. Candles floated in mid-air, everyone was dressed in wizarding garb, and then she was standing still and watching as an old and grubby hat was placed reverently upon a stool. With a loud ripping noise, the hat cleared its throat, and started to sing.
'I'm a hat with many talents,
The Founders gave them me.
I'll put you all where you belong,
That's my job, you see!
The Sorting Hat will help you,
To find your life-long friends.
Is it Ravenclaw or Gryffindor,
Where your journey ends?
Perhaps Hufflepuff or Slytherin,
Will suit your personality.
I'll tell you now where you should go,
First-years, listen to me...
Gryffindor is for lions,
Brave and bold as brass.
Ravenclaw the raven,
For minds as sharp as glass.
Hufflepuff for workers,
Who will always love their friends.
And Slytherin for ambition,
They'll go to any ends.
So step right up and try me on,
I'll put you with your kin.
My song now has ended,
And your adventures will begin!'
Everyone cheered, and Lily clapped, barely believing her own eyes. Before she knew what was happening, 'Cross, Kelly' had left the security of the line and put the hat on her head. Within seconds it had screamed 'HUFFLEPUFF!' and the table on the far left was cheering. 'Dingle, Russel' was soon sitting with his fellow Ravenclaws when Lily almost bit her lip in half.
Charlotte gave her arm a squeeze, and Arabella seemed to be trying to wink at her. Staring straight ahead, Lily somehow mad her way to the stool without tripping. Grabbing the hat, she felt a sudden burst of euphoria. Your adventures will begin...eagerly awaiting the hat's decision, she jammed it on to her head.
'This one's easy,' came a jaunty voice in her ear. 'You were born to be a GRYFFINDOR!' The last word was screeched to all in the hall and the rowdiest table in the Great Hall erupted into catcalls and applause. Lily grinned and floated her way over to an empty seat. People she'd never met before clapped her on the back, and she felt like she'd come home.
It wasn't long before 'Figg, Arabella' took the stand. Lily crossed her fingers and toes underneath the table and was rewarded with a 'GRYFFINDOR!', the Sorting Hat barely touching Arabella's hair. Lily joined in with the cheers and Arabella thumped down next to her friend, grinning wildly at everyone. While the next few were sorted ('SLYTHERIN!' 'RAVENCLAW') she hissed in Lily's ear. "The floppy thing didn't even give me a chance to argue for Ravenclaw! Not that I mind, now we're in the same house. So, what did you think of Amelia? I saw her in your boat. She's ever so rich, dahling," drawled Arabella, in a very good imitation of Amelia. Lily giggled and then raised her eyebrows.
"Look, she's up next."
Amelia held the Sorting Hat a few inches above her carefully coifed hair, and smiled winningly when it screamed 'SLYTHERIN!'.
Arabella and Lily roared like true Gryffindor lions when Charlotte was sent to join them, after what seemed like an eternity.
"What was it saying?" asked Lily, intrigued. Her friend just smiled mysteriously and tapped her nose. Arabella rubbed her stomach.
"You'll be starving for a while yet," said Charlotte sagely, and Arabella groaned. There was still a very long line, but, to be fair, it was dwindling fast. 'Lupin, Remus', 'Pettigrew, Peter' and Potter, James' made up the rest of the Gryffindor first years, and all three were greeted happily by the girls. Peter and James told them, between cheers, that they too had met on the train, and James added, with a mischievous grin, that he was sure he and Lily had bumped into one another before. Lily laughed when she realised that he'd been the cause of her momentary concussion, and Charlotte said they'd have to get him back somehow. Remus Lupin seemed a little quiet, but smiled a lot, and in Lily's opinion he had a very pleasant smile.
As 'Yenn, Cobalt' became a Hufflepuff, Arabella and James let out identical sighs of relief.
"Finally," she said, rolling her eyes skywards.
"Food," James added, poised to strike.
Professor Dumbledore stood up, and tapped his goblet, eyes twinkling. Lily had already assessed the famous Headmaster, and thought he looked very nice, rather like the grandfather everyone wished they had.
"Firstly, and most importantly, I'd like to welcome all the first-years to our school. May your days be prosperous and..."
Hundreds of heads turned. McGonagall's snapped up like a spring, and the large doors creaked open.
"Yes?" said Dumbledore, mouth twitching. Lily thought he was trying not to smile.
"Er..." A boy with black hair and a rather messily fastened cloak stepped through the doorway. "...sorry I'm late?" he ventured, walking forward a few more steps and tucking his shirt in.
Professor McGonagall was next to him in two seconds flat. "Explain," she said curtly. Everyone's heads swivelled back to the boy.
"I'm 'Black, Sirius'. Think my Dad told you I was ill...having my bones reset...I broke most of them when I fell off a roof, yesterday?" he said, looking to Dumbledore for support.
McGonagall snorted. "There will be no falling off roofs at Hogwarts, I hope?"
"Hopefully not, I think I've got the hang of balancing now, thanks." McGonagall's lips were a thin line. "So...am I too late?" enquired the boy, rocking back on his heels, oblivious to the fuming Professor in front of him.
"Not at all, dear boy. I think we'd best sort you, so Professor McGonagall can immediately remove some House Points," said Dumbledore, eyes twinkling once more.
So Sirius Black entered Hogwarts, immediately became a 'GRYFFINDOR!' and received the loudest cheer of them all.