James Potter and the Whomping Willow

James Potter is looking forward to his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, following in his Mother and Father's footsteps. Follow James in his adventures with Remus, Sirius and Peter in this fan fiction set before the famous Harry Potter series.

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2. Gnomes

Nearly ten years had passed since the Potter's second child had been stillborn, and little had changed. The houses in Godric's Hollow remained much the same, and there was no evidence any thing had happened in the Potter household. The bird still sung outside Mr Potter's window every morning as the sun streamed in over the road, lighting up the brass number 12 on the front door. The only noticeable difference was that the welcome mat faded over the decade that had passed. 

Pictures of James still rested on the mantelpiece above the fireplace, but they were no longer of an adorable toddler. The framed pictures now showed an eleven year old James, wild hair flopping fashionably over one eye. In recent years, James had began to take after his Mother's slim figure and pale skin, though his kept his Father's dark, unruly hair. James wore glasses from the age of seven too, taking after neither his Mother nor Father in that respect. The glasses, unlike many other people, suited him nicely.

James woke to the thin crack of summer sun that shone through the gap in his curtain, falling onto his face. The sizzling sound and the salty smell of frying bacon wafted up the stairs, seeping under James' bedroom door. As he stood, stretching, the curtains opened, revealing the near empty street. An old woman hobbled along the path with a gnarled walking stick. James watched as she turned down an alley and out of sight. Yawning, James began to follow the scent of breakfast.

"Good morning James." Dorea Potter smiled as her son came down the stairs. "Breakfast?" The bacon flipped itself over in the pan as she spoke. James nodded, sitting down at the family dining table. The table looked as if it was on it's last legs- but it had done for years. The only thing preventing it from completely toppling over was an enchantment Charlus had put on it many years ago. 

Charlus walking into the dining room just as the eggs scrambled. The bacon had finished frying and was now dishing itself up onto the three plates. Picking up a mug of tea on the side, Charlus nodded at his son. 

"I'm de-gnoming the garden today, James." He announced, digging into his plate of bacon, eggs and toast. "Fancy giving me a hand?" 

James wiped his mouth free of egg with the back of his hand. 

"Sure." He looked up at his Dad and smiled.

                                                                                                               ***    

James sighed as his Dad took a sip from his third cup of tea. 

"You said we'd do it after you finished your tea. Two cups ago."  He moaned

Charlus dropped his mug into the sink, and it immediately began to wash itself up. "Ok, ok. Come on then."

They walked out into the garden. It was nowhere near as well-kept as the front, and at least twice the size.  The grass was nearly waist height in places, whilst barely growing in others. The perfect habitat for the common garden gnome. 

Against the far wall lent a barely used, shiny bike that James had asked for his birthday three months earlier. 

"What do you want with a muggle toy like that?" His Father had replied. "You could have a sneakoscope, or a love potion, or any number of proper toys." 

"But Dad," James protested. "All my friends have got a bike." It was true- at the muggle primary school James attended, a bike was an acceptable and common present to receive. 

On the other side of the garden lay the remains of an old enchanted car Charlus had bought after leaving Hogwarts. It was far beyond repair now, as half of it was scattered across the garden amongst the grass. 

"We're looking for the holes the gnomes live in." Charlus explained. "Like this one." James knelt down beside the hole. 

"I can't see anything." James complained. 

"Not yet. But..." Charlus put a hand into the hole, pulling out a gnome that was gripping onto his finger with tiny, razor-like teeth. "They've got quite a bite on them. Once they've attached themselves to you, they're pretty hard to get off again." James watched as his Father spun the gnome round his head, the release it suddenly. The gnome spun over the fence, into the distance with a small scream. "It gets easier after the first. Stupid creatures, they are. Come out to see what's happening, only to be thrown over themselves." Charlus turned to see a small gnome waddling over through the grass. "You take this one." 

James cautiously approached the gnome, then grabbed it by the leg. he swung round his head as his Father had done. The gnome flew into the air- but landed a measly two feet over the fence. 

"Never mind. Try to get more spin on it next time." Charlus recommended. 

For a while, James concentrated on the gnomes. After a bit of practice, he managed to get it as far as his Father, then a few feet further. 

"Dad," He threw the gnome as far as he could, before turning to Charlus. "When am I going to get my letter?" 

"I don't know, maybe a few days? It's around the time I got mine." Charlus recalled as he shook a particularly stubborn gnome off his hand. 

"What if- what if I don't get a letter?" James asked nervously. The gnome finally let go of Charlus, falling to the ground with a thud. 

"Don't be silly. Of course you'll get a letter. I did, and so did your mother. You're a pure-blood that comes from a whole line of Gryffindors. You won't be the first to break this tradition." He reassured James, who didn't seem convinced. 

"What if I don't get into Gryffindor?" James said suddenly. Charlus turned to him and frowned. 

"Of course you will. No son of mine is going to any of those other houses." Charlus paused, then added under his breath, "Least of all Slytherin."

 

 

 

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