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Chapter 1: Chapter i
Picture by me! Banner is of Christian Coulsen and Ingrid Bergman.
Chapter image is Lana Turner.
The steady click of the brisk, buisness-like footsteps echoed around the station. Everyone seemed to have a place to go, a place they needed to be. The station had a slightly grim, run down appearance, which accurately reflected the feelings outside.
It was 1938, before the Great War by almost a year, but yet Europe had the feeling of being closed in upon. This claustrophobic feeling was only added to by the great mounds of snow fast building up outside.
Of course, to the magical people in the station, this meant nothing. All that was necessary was an extra coat and a warming spell.
I looked around, frankly amazed by these people that had things to do, places to go and people to meet. In my twelve short years of life I'd known only luxury and relaxation. This constant activity was new to me. It felt strange to spy in on the activities of the other classes.
A woman tugged at my hand with her own gloved left hand. Her right hand was over her face, clamped tight around her nose. I could make out the cream silk of a handkerchief, and the red of her lipstick.
"The smell is revolting" she hissed, tightening her hand around my own. Her nails dug sharply into my wrist, but the pain was softened by her gloves. Her sharp, dark eyebrows pulled together over her emerald eyes as she glanced around. Her tightly pressed blonde waves bobbed slightly as her head turned.
"Robert, hurry up over there" she called over her shoulder to an aged man in a suit, our butler. He was carrying my suitcases. . Mother's comment was hardly necessary, he was keeping pace easily.
Mother's black skirts swished from side to side as she walked, and I wished that mine would do that too. I wanted so much to be like her, back then. She was so beautiful and elegant, while I was just twelve. People said I was starting to look like her, but I was still only young. I couldn't wear lipstick or rouge or heels.
My own hair was done in a perfect imitation of hers, in the newest fashion. Diamonds glinted in my ears, just like in mother's. I wore an emerald green silk dress that matched my eyes perfectly. As far as preparation goes, a twelve year old can't be much more prepared for her first day of school.
Robert was carrying the contents of my entire extensive wardrobe, along with several hat boxes and an owl in a cage. All were monogrammed in gold with my initials : C.G.L.M, standing for Cecelia Grace Lomovtsev Melikov.
My family was from Russia, although they moved to England three years ago. Now, we lived in a mansion in a large country estate. I was an only child too. From that, you could probably tell I wasn't around other children much. Sending me to Hogwarts wasn't much to Father's liking. He wanted to get me a tutor.
Mother said the countryside was far too dull for children, and for her. She liked dinner parties and the theatre and dancing. The only people who ever came to the house were men in suits to talk buissnes. Father liked his new job in the ministry and his dull work associates. Mother didn't.
I wasn't quite sure how to act around children, as I was an unsocialized only child, so boarding school was going to be a challenge. One that I was sure I would excel at, none the same. My family always succeeded. It was the good breeding and excellent blood.
I raised my chin slightly as I walked and forced myself not to look around. I had to act with dignity and grace.
Mother stopped in front of a wall. It was grubby and the brick was chipped in many places. Mother clasped my hand tighter in her own and led me straight towards the wall, and right through it.
On the other side, people milled everywhere. The place was filled with children pushing and shoving and acting like animals. Mother, Robert and I headed straight for a huge scarlet train pulled in at the station.
When we reached the train, there was silence for a moment. Robert placed my cases on the train while Mother and I watched. Our goodbyes were awkwardly formal. We embraced in a formal manner and then I shook hands with Robert. I stepped on to the train, said "goodbye", and set off, luggage in hand.
I found a compartment around halfway down the train that was almost empty. A boy was just going in, pulling his suitcases. I only saw his back. His was a few inches taller than me, with pale skin and black hair. The battered case bore the initials T.M.R.
I watched him, trying to judge whether he would be the type I would want to sit with. I could tell that he was probably a first year like me, but other than that I wasn't sure.
Finally, he finished lifting his case up and turned around enough for me to see his face.
I was shocked by how handsome he was. His face was pale, with large silver eyes. He looked cold and haughty, but very, very handsome.
"Hello" he said in a smooth voice, raising an eyebrow at me. I responded with a haughty look and asked if I may join him. He nodded his assent and moved forward to take my cases. He put them up in the overhead rack for me while I moved in to and straightened my skirts.
I had barely flattened them out before more voices came from the door. A pretty brunette girl and a brown haired boy were at the doorway. The girl wore a stunning red dress.
"Knock knock" the boy said with a wink. He put the girl's cases and his own up, before turning around. We all seated ourselves around the table in the compartment. I was beside the first boy I had seen, with the other two across the table.
We made introductions, starting with the newcomers. The boy's name was Oswold Wearce and the girl beside him was Diana Hendson. Both were surnames I recognized from father's work. Good, respectable, pureblood wizzarding surnames. I said my name and then we all turned around to look at the other boy.
I was struck again by how cold and handsome he looked. I couldn't wait to find out what his name was.
"Tom Riddle" he said finally.
I looked into his face and I thought the name suited him perfectly. His face was impassive, it gave nothing away. He was a riddle.
We all started to chat together about what house we wanted to be in. Slytherin, of course. We were all agreed. I was glad. I would have hated to have to hate this mysterious boy for being a Gryffindor.
"My father would never forgive me if I ended up anywhere else" Diana drawled. Oswold nodded, Tom remained impassive.
"What about you, Tom?" Diana asked, leaning closer. She opened her huge brown eyes wider as she gazed at him.
The little devil! Ten minutes in and she had already decided that he was hers.
Tom looked at her. "Suffice to say, I will be in Slytherin" he said finally. His voice was the kind of voice that doesn't make mistakes, that is never wrong. He continued to look at Diana, and she pulled back, as if only now realsing that she had been moving forward across the table towards him.
I couldn't blame her. He was magnetic. There was just something about him, something everyone could feel.
We were disturbed by an old lady with a cart at the door of our compartment. "Hello, dears" she squinted at us through her glasses. "Anything for you?".
I bought a couple of packets of boiled sweets for us to share. We laid them out in the centre of the table on an opened packet.
I twisted the empty wrappers between my fingers as they talked, admiring the bright colors. I was thinking just how perfect we all looked together. We all had pale skin, aristocratic features, and contrasting hair colors. I thought how we would probably be friends for a long time to come.
When it started to get dark outside and it was clear we were approaching Hogwarts, we decided it was time to get changed. Tom and I took our robes from our cases and went out into the hall to search for bathrooms in which to get changed.
We had gone most the way along the corridor when we were forced to stop by a group of older boys. Gryffindors, I could tell, because of their ties.
They stood in the middle of the corridor, blocking our way. There were four of them, probably fifth or sixth years. Tom stepped forward. I tried to put my hand on his arm to stop him, but his shook me off. Tom glared at them.
"Move please" he said snottily. There was a shocked silence for a few moments. Tom continued to glare fiercely. His face was scary like that. They moved back, almost like it was subconscious. They watched us pass in silence.
"Thank you, Tom" I said. He nodded and continued on ahead.
And so began our friendship.
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