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HP stories following Canon after HBP >> Nothing Gold Can Stay by Luna26

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A/N: So this is my new fic. I like it alot. If you're diggin it, leave a review or PM me. If you have a suggestion/constructive criticism, leave a review or PM me. If you wanna tell me I suck and to not quit my day job... yeah. Don't do anything. Go read something else. Tons of love and kisses to Anna for inspiring the name. Thanks and enjoy, love Elle.

Disclaimer: I don't own Hogwarts. I'm borrowing it from JKR. Also, "Nothing Gold Can Stay" is by Robert Frost. Just sayin'.

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down today
Nothing gold can stay.


Chapter One: 4; A number Together, A Number Apart.

My mother is always telling me to be nice to my sister. She’s always telling my sister to be nice to me. I insist it’s a lost cause; my sister and I haven’t been nice to each other in years. But I remember, all too well, a time before all this; before we were just nice to each other, before we were just icily polite. I remembered when we were best friends.

We made each other whole; we were complete opposites, but we wanted to be just like each other anyways. When we were young, we were inseparable. We insisted upon dressing the same, having the same hair styles, getting all the same toys and exclusively associating with the same people- and they happened to be the only other girls on our street.

Margaret Ley lived above us in our old, Victorian duplex with her grandmother and father. Her mother had died when she was only a year old, and her grandmother had become her primary caretaker thanks to her father’s instability after the loss. We’d never met her father, despite the countless hours we’d all spent at the Ley household, being fed cookies and other goodies by the caring and protective Mrs. Ley, her grandmother. Despite the unhappy background, Margaret, called Greta, was always smiling and giggling. She has plain-faced with pale, clear skin and untamable, dark golden curls. My sister always imagined her to look like Queen Mary I must have, beautiful and regal. I always laughed at her when she said this; Greta wasn’t queenly at all. Queen’s were dignified, poised, graceful; Greta was clumsy and never stopped talking.

If you asked me, our friend Almira Williams was the real queen. Almira spoke in a quiet but commanding voice. She was the dignified one. She was fun, but she was never silly or spontaneous, and only ever really spoke around us. She worked like clockwork, and everything was even and measured for her, from the way she moved tot eh way she breathed. I didn’t know if this was her natural way, or if her mother’s strict upbringing that made her that way. Mrs. Williams was a strict, divorced lawyer, and instilled her daughter with severe morals and all the skills she thought would best prepare her for the real world.

So I guess I should explain about my sister. We’re identical twins, so of course we look the same; same heart-shaped faces, same straight brown hair, same big green eyes. Same freckles across our cheeks and the bridges of our noses- same slightly pointed noses for that matter. But that was where most of our similarities ended, really. Guinevere, called Gwen, is my sister’s name, and she was, and will always be, boy crazy. When we were younger, she would endlessly recount her fantasy life; a teacher, until she got married, after which she quit to be a stay-at-home mother for her already named four children. I was sick to death of the story, and usually ignored her when she ranted about it. She was hardworking, and over-achiever to the highest degree. My mother thought she was fantastic, at least, most fantastic than me and my brother Atty. She was, in short, a princess.

My name is Charlotte, called Izzy. My parents, Joe and Katherine, are both writers. My mother named Gwen and I are famous heroines of Arthurian legend, and my father named our brother Atty, short for Atticus, after Atticus Finch, his favorite fictional character. I never fit the princess role. I was a tomboy when I was younger; I preferred baseball to Barbies, and the idea of dresses made me sick even then. I went to a different school than Almira, Greta and Gwen; my aptitude for science got me placed in and institute for the gifted. What they say about all geniuses being troubled, well, my classmates and I were living proof. We started fires and explosions, disrespected our teachers. Some of the older kids smoked in front of the building. My first cigarette had been my last, but I was still was the neighborhood mothers and home-bodies considered a bad influence.

Despite all this, Almira, Greta, Gwen and I were friends; closer than friends. They were my family, through out everything that happened. The summer that my dad moved out for the first time, Gwen and I went to stay with Greta. When Greta’s dad went into the hospital, she turned to Almira, Gwen and I. When Almira had fights with her mother, she would turn to us. We were always there for each other. We hung out everyday, even if it was just sitting in the park staring at the sky. I miss it, almost anyways. Things were perfect; that is, until we turned eleven.

That was when our letters came.

I remember that day with intense clarity, straight down to the detail that Gwen and I had worn matching yellow shirts and jeans. Greta looked like Heidi in a blue jumper over a blouse, with pigtails, and Almira, in her brown skirt and white tank top, had been discussing with us the plan for our upcoming summer reading project. It was late August, and we were all situated on the grass in the park, behind the co-op, as night approached. With school looming ahead, she’d taken it upon ourselves to begin planning out our work together.

Things got quiet for a few moments, in a spooky way, and I shivered as a sudden cool wind blew from the east. Then, the sounds of wings flapping came, and four brown owls swooped overhead, dropping a letter in front of each of us. At the time, we were all bewildered, and I was the first to open mine. It read:

Dear Miss Winston,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Term begins September 1st. Please find enclosed list of all necessary supplies.

Sincerely,

Professor M. McGonagall

And that’s where the trouble began. Gwen and I weren’t surprised; Atticus was a wizard, and had been at Hogwarts for two years now. We were all muggle born. Almira, years later, had looked up her own father to find that he was where she’d obtained her magical skills. Greta, however, had been hiding the same secret as Gwen and I; she came from and old, pureblood family. We all glanced up at each other nervously, and soon after, the issue of houses came up.

Gryffindor; brave, talented; Almira immediately decided she’d fit in there. I was pretty sure she would too. Slytherin; ambitious, cunning; I guess it was a dream of Greta’s, to be cunning, so she hoped for that house, despite it’s bad history. Hufflepuff; loyal, honest; For some reason I figured I’d end up there. I’d heard about its reputation for having a bunch of screw ups. And finally, Ravenclaw; wise, clever; and of course, Gwen, who thought she was just the oh-so cleverest, insisted she’d be there.

So, of course, there was a problem from the start. We all insisted that our house of choice was best, and that the other should all concede to end up there. Almira and Greta had been in a screaming match over their deep house rivalry. Before summer ended, I’d threatened to move into the attic four times due to Gwen’s new obsession with being the quintessential Ravenclaw. Just as it was getting out of hand, things quieted temporarily.

Our dispute was silenced by ambiguous agreement the week before term started, so we all sat together on the Hogwarts express that first day, and rode in the same boat as we crossed the majestic lake to the even more majestic castle. We stood close together until Professor Flitwick separated us into alphabetical order. Still, Gwen and I were right next to each other. We hugged each other tightly before we entered. We were both trembling with fear; we knew that, if were sorted into different houses, things would get worse. And we both knew what the other was thinking; neither of us was ready to grow apart.

Greta’s sorting came up fast, as her last name started with a L.

“Ley, Margaret,” Flitwick called. Greta looked up, as if she hadn’t been paying attention.

“It’s Greta,” she whispered to Flitwick as she passed. The whole hall heard it anyways and laughed. Greta turned red, but sat on the stool as the hat was placed over her eyes. In nearly no time at all, it has made its decision.

“HUFFLEPUFF!” it called. Greta hopped down, looking let down. She glanced at the yellow-and-black clad table before her, and took a seat at the end with another first year, looking mildly defeated. She smiled at Gwen and me though, making my nerves lessen a little.

The next of us four was Almira. When she was called, she walked dutifully to the bench, and sat, staring evenly at the crowd before her. Only her eyes betrayed her nervousness. The hat was placed on her head, and I had to stifle a giggle; she looked ridiculous, so dignified and prideful, with that ratty thing falling over her eyes. It remained there for a very long, torturous moment, until finally,

“RAVENCLAW!” it called. Almira let a small, cat-like grin slip out even though she hadn’t gotten into her Gryffindor; Ravenclaw was second-best to her. She took a seat at the table next to a third year boy with blonde hair and a wild grin. She smiled at him very coyly, something uncommon for Almira. I watched the exchange with Gwen and we traded confused glances as the Ravenclaw pair began to cat quietly.

Gwen was the next of us to be sorted. When they called her name, she got so pale, her freckles nearly looked black. I smiled as reassuringly as I could and nudged her forward, trying to control my own fear. Gwen seemed to compose herself, and half-wandered to the stool, stopping almost abruptly to wave graciously to the crowd. I imagine what must’ve been running through her mind; Oh my, my fans. They do love me. The hall exploded with laughter once again. I had to bury another giggle. My sister was such a dweeb.

The hat wasn’t on her head five seconds before it yelled out “SLYTHERIN!” To this day, I wonder if the hat had observed her display and immediately coined her as the pompous, over-ambitious know-it-all she is. I just wish I had.

So as Gwen took her seat, Flitwick called my name.

“Winston, Isolde.” I felt my stomach drop.

“Isolde,” someone behind me sneered. I made a face at a girl behind me, then marched forward as bravely as I could, determined not to tremble. I sat on the stool, stumbling a little but remaining upright, thankfully. I tried to smile, but I have a feeling it looked more like a grimace. The crowd before me was vast and intimidating; every eye was on me. I gripped the seat so hard my knuckles turned white. Then, the hat was over my head and I was in darkness. Oh crap… I thought fearfully. Then, there was a whispering, somewhere in my mind. Soon, it became clear and I was acutely aware of what was happening; the hat was rifling through my thoughts. Stop that, I commanded mentally. The hat laughed.

Hmm… spirited, this one is, and hardheaded. You must learn not to challenge everything, miss Winston. You’re bright, no doubt about it, and talented… your brother is as well, if I remember… But you’re not a Ravenclaw… no, only one place for this one…. The hat’s final words were out loud, so loud I almost jumped.

“GRYFFINDOR!” it howled. I almost gasped out loud. I was a Gryffindor?

I looked at the gold and scarlet table. The students had erupted in cheers. It was a wonderful feeling. I took a seat next to a lanky second year, who grinned crookedly down to me and introduced himself as David. He shook my hand, and I dazedly told him my name was Izzy. His eyes were the absolute clearest blue I had ever seen. I ripped m gaze from him as I became aware of someone else next to me. A soft-featured redhead sat to my right, smiling shyly. She was in my year, I recalled.

“Hi, I’m Izzy Winston,” I introduced myself, smiling.

“Hello. I’m Kathleen Cray. Nice to meet you Izzy,” she said in a thick Irish accent. I smiled again. This wouldn’t be so bad.

I glanced around me during the feast, and met Gwen’s eyes. She was seated with several very haughty looking first years in her house, and as I smiled at her, she turned away quickly, her eyes flashing. I felt something lurch inside me as she flipped her hair over her shoulder and said something to someone beside her; already, she was changing.

The first weeks of Hogwarts were a blur, and I hardly saw Gwen, Almira or Greta at all. And then weeks turned into months, and eventually it was time for the term to end and for me to go home. That summer, I spent most of my time fighting with Alice and staying Almira’s place to escape her; she had turned into such a girl, and a snotty one at that. And all she could talk about was how her house had won the Quidditch Cup, but how Gryffindor must’ve cheated to with the House Cup. I must’ve spent a hundred family meals with white knuckles to keep from punching her.

Five years slipped by. I fell away from Almira and Greta almost completely. David and KC were my sole companions most of the time, with the occasional addition of our friend Lawrence, his sister Lorraine, and guitar-obsessed Athena. I spoke to Gwen only when necessary. I barely mustered a smile of wave at Greta’s and Almira in the halls. It felt alien at first, but now it felt natural.

Our fifth year at Hogwarts approached, and things had hit a boiling point. I finally moved out of the room I had shared with Gwen up until last summer, and spent most of the time in my new attic room. Things had never been perfect between my father and mother, but the fighting increased exponentially over the summer. I became extremely familiar with the words “separation” and “divorce”. This only added to the tension between Gwen and I. She had her friends over all summer too. Most of them were American, perfect and slutty just like her. They all made me sick.

Almira had her own life as well. The third year she’d met on that fateful first night was now the love of her life, or so she supposed. Arthur LaBrake was always all over her, all day, everyday. It was disgusting. I hate public couples. She didn’t seem to have much more than Arthur, though; sure, she had a few girlfriends, but I never picked up on anything more than a friendly acquaintance.

Greta was a misfit in her own right. In all our years, I never saw her with another friend except some Latino transfer student. It was sad, really; everyone walked all over her. I didn’t mind Greta; she was a great pianist now, and I loved music. But I couldn’t take her optimism, not these days anyways. I barely spoke to her

On September first, my mother and father had the largest argument I had ever seen. Atty and I rode with dad to the floo station, and he alone accompanied us to the platform, as Gwen and my mother went separately. Atty bid me farewell and caught up with a few other seventh years. I made my way onto the train alone, thankful for the solitude as I slipped into the last available compartment. I sat there, staring out of the window, waiting for David, when who should pop into my compartment?

Gwen.

TBC...

A/N K ya'll, how ya feelin' it now? I feel like it;s and improvement, The other chapters will be edited and reposted (the ones I;m keeping anyways...)


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