He had used to like it...back when he was home. Autumn was a season of cool breezes and light jackets, apple cider and colorful leaves. It was a great time to play outside, and to look around at a beautiful world.
At Hogwarts it was a good time to get your pants scared off by all kinds of magical beasties. Halloween decorations were scary enough in the MUGGLE world, but magic opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Even jack-o-lanterns could be scary when they turned to watch you as you walked by. Pretty much all the decorations could move by themselves if they wanted to, and they made Jake jump just about once a day. Then he sometimes got laughed at, and that was as bad as the scares.
That wasn't even the worst part. Halloween decorations may have been scary, but they didn't really hurt you. There was a ball coming up... A halloween ball. Jake still remembered the mask-erade that he had come wrongly dressed to the year before, but it wasn't just because of the embarrassing costume mistake. The nightmares that had followed were of fire and giants, and the time of year made him remember that first terrifying experience he'd had in this very school. Another ball was coming, just weeks away, and Jake was sure something bad was gonna happen. Something even worse. Flint, the worry-eater that Alan had gotten him for his 12th birthday, was very full. Right now, Freddie and Flint were keeping each other company in his backpack. Close at hand, even if they were where nobody could see them.
A fun activity would really come in handy right now.
Flag-making seemed like a great choice. It did have art in it. And making a flag just seemed fun. They always had flags at Quidditch games. At first Jake had been really excited. He could make a flag to wave for Alan! Alan's first quidditch game was coming soon, and Jake was both worried and excited to see it. Alan was so brave, and even though you might not know it when you first looked at him he was truly a Gryffindor lion. Now he was a Quidditch player and Jake wanted to cheer him on! But then he found out that they couldn't make just any flag. No, this task was more specific than that.
They had to make a flag about their origins.
Jake knew what origins meant. It was where you came from. What he didn't know was how to make a flag about his origin.
What did that even mean...? Sure, Jake knew what country he came from: England. But lots of the kids came from there. That was everybody, not just him. He knew what country his mum had come from, and his dad, but that didn't really mean anything to him. It was just a place they came from. They were from there, he wasn't. It wasn't his origin, it was theirs.
Jake looked down thoughtfully at the blank canvas. A blank page could be so many things...he knew that well. Over the summer, he had been relieved to find that his ability to draw had begun to return after months away, his head plagued by frightening images. A light had seemed to come back into the world after his birthday party, and then he had drawn and drawn - making up for lost months.
The flag could be anything, but Jake just didn't know WHAT.
Maybe his house was his origin. Or his bedroom. When he thought about where he came from, that was what he thought of first. Or maybe it was Wiltshire. It was where he'd spent his whole life, after all. Wiltshire, which felt so far away from here. Jake would often watch the owls fly and try to imagine just how far away it was - how long it would take them, flapping and flapping all the way back to that land where there were no balls that could hurt you, no fires, no mosps, and no danger. Feeling a little bit homesick, Jake thought of grass and trees and parks.
As Jake took some art supplies - crayons or colored pencils would be best, because it was what he was best with - he pondered the question some more. The more he thought about it the more he knew. He wasn't quite sure how, but sometimes you had to just feel things.
His origin was Wiltshire, but it wasn't just. His origin was a life before magic, before castles, before friends. It was everything Wiltshire was - everything he was. Everything he used to be. He remembered what everything had felt like then. It was then that the picture popped into his mind. And then the boy began to draw.
Flags weren't just like any drawings, flags had to look like flags. With an image in his head, Jake got a green crayon and a blue one. Brown, black....that would do it. He liked colors a lot, but he had never seen more than four colors on a flag.
As he drew, Jake didn't look up to see what anybody else was drawing. Normally that would interest him, but his attention had been captured. The world around him faded away until it was just him and the rhythmic motions of his crayon. Slowly, he let the picture in his head become real.
It took him a long time, and he was careful. The little Hufflepuff sat focused on his paper, putting a knuckle to his lip as he stared down. He was moving more slowly than many of the other kids, but he wouldn't rush. Rushing would ruin the whole thing. He didn't want to ruin it. At first it had just been a flag - a fun thing to draw and wave around. Now it felt like a whole lot more. Now it felt like a piece of himself. Maybe he did have an origin, after all.