Chapter 3 : Chapter Two: Potters and Weasleys and Malfoys... Are Annoying
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“Conan! Conan, would you hurry up all ready!?” I looked over my shoulder to yell back at the lean blond haired boy walking behind me, pushing a trolley loaded with a large brown trunk with a wicker basket on top of it. Geez, he was so slow. It’s not like his stuff was heavier than mine or anything. He was probably just gawking at his surroundings again.
“Okay, sorry!” he replied, shooting me an apologetic look laced with pleading and speeding up. I rolled my eyes and turned my attention back to weaving my way through the crowd and ignoring strange looks from people. I suppose I couldn’t blame them; I had a large owl in a cage who squawked angrily whenever the trolley bumped, which was quite often. Didn’t these Muggles know how to fix things? They may not have magic, but they should at least be able to make smooth floors in their train stations.
Then I came to a sudden halt and Conan almost crashed into me. I gave him a warning look and inspected the very solid-looking wall that we were supposed to pass through in order to reach platform 9 ¾. I then noticed Brent, who leaning against a nearby brick wall with his arms crossed casually over his chest and a smug grin on his face.
Oh, joy of all joys. For once in his life my brother had decided to be punctual.
“Hey, kiddos!” Brent sauntered over to us. He was twenty-one and a newly instated Junior Auror, as he constantly bragged about to anyone who would listen and was not a Muggle. God, he was annoying.
Conan smiled warmly up at my brother, who was 6’ 3”. I don’t know why I didn’t get some of that height. “Hello, Brent!” Brent shook Conan’s hand roughly and then pulled him into his chest and gave him a noogie. Conan laughed, his hair messier than it had been few seconds ago. I needed to get that boy a brush or something.
“Aren’t I going to get a hug from my one and only little sis?” Brent asked piteously after releasing Conan from his death-grip. I gave him a look of loathing- he knew I despised physical contact- and he grinned widely. “I’m going to take that as a no. Well then, let’s go through the wall, already; I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for. Teddy wants you lot to meet his family.”
I consulted Dan before walking through the wall. I gave him an owl treat and assured him that it wouldn’t be long until he was able to fly again. He gave me a dubious look but didn’t try to peck my fingers off, which was always a good sign.
And so the three- four, if you count Dan, and five if you count Conan’s new kitten Hoenheim- of us passed through the wall between platforms 9 and 10, entering the utter pandemonium of platform 9 ¾. A giant scarlet steam engine was waiting to take off and there were tons of people moving about in groups, calling to one another and pushing trolleys similar to the ones Conan and I had in tow. Before looking for Teddy, we hung back for a moment because Brent wanted to talk to us privately. We managed to find a somewhat secluded area behind a pillar. Conan and I stood against the wall with Brent facing us.
“Peyton, make sure you check your blood sugar every few hours. You know the spell, and Conan knows it too in case you faint or something. Make sure you check before and after eating, and before and after strenuous activity. Like climbing the stairs; those things are killer… Thank God first years can’t join the Quiddich team, or I’d have that to worry about too.” Brent looked very serious as he said this, though his mouth twitched at the bit about the stairs, and I was forced to admit to myself that he was a responsible older brother, despite the fact that he acted like an idiot most of the time.
I nodded, resisting the urge to roll my eyes for his sake. “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” The same thing I always said when he fussed over me. I hated being fussed over; I could take care of myself just fine.
Brent gave me a quick nod. Then he turned to Conan. “Now, Conan, I have no idea how you’re going to be Sorted into the same house as my little sis, but if you are, look out for her. If, and the possibility is high, you do not get Sorted into the same house, the good news is that at least one family member of Teddy’s will probably be with her. Also, since there are house-integrated tables and classes, you should be able to stick to her pretty well.” Brent clapped both of us on the shoulders and then brought Conan and me into a huge bear hug.
I made a face into Brent’s dark shirt. He was so blatant. Brent was positive that I would be Sorted into Gryffindor- whatever that was- because that had been his and my parent’s house, and Conan Hufflepuff, or possibly Ravenclaw; again, whatever they were. But he didn’t have to be such a jerk about it. And then there was also the fact that this was physical contact, which, as I have previously established, I hate.
Then, letting us go from his uncomfortable embrace, Brent started looking around for Teddy. I hurriedly brushed myself and Conan off- that boy would just go around looking like a ragamuffin if I let him.
Apparently the nineteen-year-old Hogwarts graduate had informed Brent that he would have purple hair, so Brent was merely glancing around, looking for the bright color that would signal Teddy’s presence.
“I don’t see him…” Brent put his right hand over his eyes like a visor and scanned the busy platform, searching for his friend. “Well, too bad. You’ll just have to get on the train without seeing him.” I was silently cheering at this development. “He’s probably off somewhere snogging Victiore, anyway.” Whoever Victoire was. Oh, wait. Hadn’t Teddy mentioned her before…? I hadn’t really paid too much attention to his ramblings, but I did hear some stuff. It’s hard to forget a fancy name like that.
Brent’s claim was apparently correct, because a second later some black-haired kid raced past us over to a group of people with mostly red hair and exclaimed, “Hey! Teddy’s back there. Just seen him! And guess what he’s doing? Snogging Victoire!”
Brent smirked, looking smug. “Looks like I was right.” However, the boy wasn’t finished with his exclamation.
“Our Teddy! Teddy Lupin! Snogging our Victoire! Our cousin! And I asked Teddy what he was doing-“ At that point I stopped listening. I didn’t really want to hear about Teddy’s snogging excursions, as exciting as they might be.
“Well, that must be one of those kids Teddy mentioned,” Brent said, helpfully pointing out the obvious. “I wonder which- OH! God, I’m an idiot.”
“So you finally admit it,” I said, utterly emotionless. Brent made a face but did not reply.
“That’s got to be one of Harry’s sons. Just look at that hair! He’s, um… I know Harry told me about them once… er… James! Yeah, that’s it! James. Harry’s also got Al- that’s Albus, I remember that because Albus Dumbledore was the headmaster of Hogwarts back during the second war when I was just a baby- who should be in the same year as you guys, which is first, of course, and Lily, who is still too young for Hogwarts. I think James is in second. You lot should be friends.” That was a lot of information, but I managed to process it fairly well, though I had the vague mental image of steam billowing out of my ears as gears grinded in my mind.
Conan nodded vigorously, excited about making friends, but I made a skeptical noise. “I’m not sure I want to be friends with a kid who interrupts people while they’re snogging.” Brent grinned deviously, and I eyed him suspiciously. That look always preceded something bad.
“Why? Do you plan on snogging people and don’t want to be interrupted?” I scowled at Brent, who merely grinned back at me.
“No. I meant that it means he’s-“ I never got to tell Brent what it meant James Potter was, because the train whistled loudly, cutting me off mid-sentence. Brent looked harassed and unceremoniously pushed us on to the Hogwarts Express, handed us our trunks, and thrust Dan’s cage and Hoenheim’s basket into our arms.
“Write, learn, have fun, and don’t be mean to Professor Neville. He’s cooler than he looks,” Brent said quickly, then looked up as the train whistled again. “Bye!” And with that, Conan and I went off into the train to find an empty compartment, dragging our luggage behind us and cradling the vessels that held our animals.
It took us a while to find an empty compartment because we were practically the last ones on the train, but we did, thank God; I wasn’t much for socializing. I could see Brent leaning against the cement pillar we had talked behind as I looked out the compartment window after having put our luggage in the storage area above the seats. Brent was tall and lean, with dirty blond hair that looked annoyingly stylish despite the fact that he practically never combed it. He was constantly flipping it out of his grey eyes, which were exactly like mine, except that they were often twinkling with mischief. Then I heard some weird noise outside our compartment, and the door slid open noisily.
Standing behind the door was a kid with a messy shock of black hair and bright green eyes. He looked apologetic as he noticed Conan and me sitting across from each other.
“Oh, um, sorry... I didn’t mean to-“
“It’s fine!” Conan assured him, seeming slightly unsure of himself. This was the first magical child he had ever met besides me. Sure, he had seen some kids in Diagon Alley when we had gone shopping, but he insisted that it hadn't really counted. He had had a field day in the book shop there, and had fallen in love with the little white fluffy ball of fur that was Hoenheim at the pet shop. I had merely made a face at the rats and walked out to go check out the store with Quiddich stuff in the window.
“Well,” the boy said, biting his bottom lip, “We’ll just go-“
“Actually, can we sit here?” a confident female voice chimed in from behind the green-eyed boy. Conan nodded vigorously and a red-haired girl made her way in the compartment from around the boy. She sat down next to me after stashing her luggage above the seats next to ours. She motioned for the boy to do the same. He did so and Conan offered him the window seat. The boy nodded gratefully and sat down.
The girl looked at me, then Conan, and then me again, and then spoke. “My name is Rose. Rose Weasley.” I dubiously eyed the hand that she had offered me, looked into her deep brown eyes, and then slowly reached out and shook her hand. I had a strange feeling about this girl. I still remembered what Teddy had told me about her. Well, I sometimes listen to him. But don’t get the wrong idea.
Conan also shook her hand, smiling warmly at her as he introduced himself. “I’m Conan Hicks.” He then glanced at me and, figuring out that I wouldn’t introduce myself, added, “And this is my friend, Peyton Suskind.” He knew me so well. Which, of course, was annoying.
“Nice to meet you, Conan. Peyton,” Rose said, nodding at each of us in turn. The train began to move forward slowly and Conan looked around excitedly. He was practically bouncing up and down in his seat, a habit of his that I had never managed to break. I had introduced him to bookmarks, though, and stopped him from constantly dog-earing the pages of books.
The boy with black hair was staring out the window, looking slightly melancholy while watching an older version of himself walk next to the train, waving as he did so. That man… he looked strangely familiar. That hair, the glasses… Wait! No, it couldn’t be! Was that my brother’s boss, Harry Potter? I’d seen him once before when Brent had been instated as a Junior Auror and Harry had come to our house to congratulate him. He had seemed like a nice man; he had an honest, open face and hadn’t mentioned how short I was.
The train picked up speed and the man fell out of sight, as did Platform 9 ¾. I spoke for the first time. “Who was that?” The boy was jerked out of his reverie, and he turned to face me.
“Oh, just my dad,” he told me, clasping his hands in his lap.
“Does your dad have a name?” I asked, a little more scathingly than I had intended.
The boy looked startled. “O-Oh, yeah. It’s Harry.”
“Potter?” I asked, hoping I was right. I hated being wrong. About anything.
“Yeah!” the boy looked surprised. “How’d you know?”
“My brother’s a Junior Auror. You’re dad’s his boss,” I informed the green-eyed boy.
“Does your brother have a name?” Rose asked me, eyes narrowed dangerously like a cat. I blinked, a little startled. Then I regained my composure.
“Yeah. Yeah, he does. It’s Brent,” I told her, unable to keep a slight smile from creeping up the corners of my mouth. The girl seemed to pick up on my half-smile and smiled back. I decided not to ruin the moment by telling her that I wasn’t interested in making friends.
I then turned back to the boy. “Then that makes you Albus, right?” The boy nodded, though there was question in his eyes. He appeared to be a little frightened of me, though, and did not voice his inquiry.
I rolled my eyes. “Teddy told Brent about you and Brent told us.”
“You know Teddy?” Rose asked. I didn’t feel like talking anymore, so Conan picked up the conversation. I settled back into the red seat.
“Yeah. He comes around to check up on us sometimes. He’s really cool.”
“Yeah, I know!” Albus said, and the two smiled goofily at each other. Apparently they were kindred spirits. Maybe now Conan would bother him instead of me.
Nah, that was too much to hope for.
Then, another disturbance in the corridor distracted me. The compartment door slid open for the second time and a large, surly-looking kid with tan skin and dark eyes unceremoniously tossed a small blond-haired kid into our compartment. The large kid then dropped what I could only presume was the other kid’s luggage on the floor and, after nodding politely to no one in particular, he exited the compartment, sliding the door shut behind him. After the initial shock of the strange development had worn off, Conan, Albus, Rose and I turned our attention to the boy who had been roughly chucked into our presence.
The boy had now stood up and was brushing himself off lightly. He had pale blue eyes, platinum blond hair, and a strangely blank expression for someone who had just been thrown.
He then seemed to notice our presence and, with an utter lack of emotion, he spoke.
“You have really messy hair. Did a cat attack your head or something?” This strange statement/inquiry was apparently directed at Albus, though it could have just as easily been directed towards Conan, who indeed looked as if something had either attacked or nested in his hair.
“Well, I can see why that kid wanted to get rid of you,” I told the boy, who turned to face me.
“You’re really small,” he said, hands now in his pockets. “You have a condition or something?” I clenched my fists, my knuckles turning white. My size was a… sensitive issue, in case you haven’t guessed.
Conan decided to intervene with his annoying kindness. “Hello! My name is Conan Hicks. What’s yours?” The boy swung around to look at Conan. He seemed to scrutinize Conan, and then, after what seemed like forever, he responded.
“Scorpius Malfoy. What’s it to you?” Rose let out an audible gasp, her hand flying to her mouth.
“My father told me about you!” she said in a tone of voice that made me think that what her dad had said wasn’t what you might call “nice”. The boy, who I suppose I should now refer to as Scorpius, didn’t even bother to acknowledge Rose’s outburst and instead moved over to inspect the wicker basket in which Conan’s kitten Hoenheim was currently housed.
“I’m Albus Potter,” Scorpius glanced up as Albus said this, but then returned his attention to the basket, “And that’s Rose Weas-“
“I can introduce myself, Al, thank you very much. I’m Rose Weasley,” Rose cut in, narrowing her eyes at Albus with practiced authority.
“And that’s Peyton Suskind,” Conan said, once again taking liberties and introducing me.
“What’s in here?” Scorpius finally asked, poking the basket. I could hear Hoenheim’s pitiful mewling coming from inside his wicker prison.
Conan seemed a little unsure of what to do. “That’s my cat. Er, you can let him out if you want…” he trailed off lamely and I rolled my eyes to the ceiling. Rose was still glaring at Scorpius, who was now fiddling with the latch on the basket. He opened it and Hoenheim sprung out, meowing loudly. I’m sure he was yelling angry kitty words that, if translated into English, would be quite insulting. However, I am happily not learned in cat-speak.
Hoenheim, named after some ancient alchemist Conan had read about, was a white fluff ball, which is what I refer to him as, of a kitten with baby blue eyes and a nose for adventure. He had already become mortal enemies with Dan, learned that fire is very, very hot, and that the gnomes that lived in my garden were not at all pleasant.
Scorpius studied the kitten with interest. Well, it was kind of hard to tell if he was interested or not, but that’s what I think he was. I guess that he could have been contemplating different ways to eat the kitten, but…
“He’s a cat?” Scorpius finally asked, having stared at the cat for longer than most humans would. “Looks more like a giant cotton ball with eyes or something.” Conan pouted.
“Yes, he’s a cat! His name’s Hoenheim.” Scorpius blinked, rubbing Hoenheim under the chin with a finger. The kitten purred loudly, closing his eyes.
“Hoenheim?” he repeated, only half questioning. Conan nodded.
“Odd name,” Rose commented mildly. Conan looked crushed and she immediately added, “But it’s a great name, really.” Conan, of course, cheered up in about a millisecond and smiled brilliantly at her.
Albus, who had been sitting quietly up until this point, asked if Scorpius would like to sit down. Scorpius slowly looked Albus up and down and then nodded gravely, gingerly taking a seat next to Conan as if he were afraid his sitting down would cause the compartment to spontaneously combust.
“So, what houses do you think you guys’ll be in?” Albus asked excitedly, leaning forward.
“Slytherin,” came the immediate answer from Scorpius, surprising all of us.
“Why?” Conan asked, eyes wide with interest. He was absolutely obsessed with the houses of Hogwarts. He had done all sorts of research on the founders and everything. I, however, merely knew that there were four, as you may have guessed from my earlier confusion about Brent’s house talk. From living in the wizard world, though, I had gotten the faint- well, it was actually overwhelming, but I’m trying my hand at sarcasm- impression that Gryffindor= good and Slytherin= bad. Other than those facts, I was in the dark. I figured I’d learn about them when I got to Hogwarts, and up until now that strategy had worked pretty well.
Scorpius didn’t answer for a second, but then spoke. “It’s the family house. I’ll be in Slytherin, no doubt about it.” There was an awkward pause until Rose decided to speak up.
“Well, I-I’m aiming for Ravenclaw, no matter what my dad says. That’s the house for the intelligent and the clever,” she said proudly, though there was more than a hint of uncertainty in her speech.
“And obviously not for the humble,” Scorpius said with an unnerving lack of emotion. Albus snorted loudly and Rose glared daggers at him.
Then there was another clattering in the corridor outside the compartment and I desperately hoped that it wasn’t another kid come to intrude upon us. I could only take so much socializing before I exploded into a zillion tiny pieces of Peyton.
However, it turned out to be a motherly-looking witch pushing a trolley with a various assortment of sugary snacks loaded onto it. She smiled warmly and asked if we wanted any. Conan shot a look in my direction but I ignored him as Albus bought enough sweets to last a normal human around ten days.
To say that Albus Potter was a messy eater is an atrocious understatement. It’s like saying that Brent was a little smug, or that Conan was a little hyper. Albus literally shoveled the food into his mouth, his cheeks puffing out like a deranged chipmunk or something. Who would have thought that the kid had it in him?
“W-Well,” Conan said in an attempt to continue the earlier conversation, though he was finding it hard to ignore Albus gorging himself. Rose was staring at Albus in disgust and tore her eyes away to look at Conan as he spoke. “I think I’ll probably be in Hufflepuff.” Albus nodded, swallowing and wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve.
“Yeah, you’re really nice and stuff.” So that excluded Hufflepuff from possible houses that I would be Sorted into.
“What about you, Peyton?” Albus asked, looking disturbingly like Conan while at the same time utterly different. Same wide puppy dog eyes, different hair and eye color.
I blinked at him. Conan once again came to my rescue. I would thank him, but…
“It’s really hard to tell. She’s smart, but also brave, and uh, yeah…” Conan trailed off. So I was going to be in Ravenclaw –I think that’s what Rose said- or some house for brave people? Was there no house for people who didn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of overexcited idiots? Because that’s definitely where I belonged.
“What about you?” Conan asked Albus, whose face fell. Conan immediately apologized, but Albus dismissed his apology by waving a candy wand in Conan’s direction.
“Well, I hope I’ll be in Gryffindor-“ Albus began, but Scorpius cut him off.
“And why would you want to be in Gryffindor? It’s just a bunch of conceited fools getting themselves into trouble,” Scorpius rolled his eyes, showing some sort of emotion for the first time. Albus looked stricken.
“It is not! My dad was in there, and my mum too! And my older brother! And my aunts and uncles!”
Scorpius’ mouth twitched upwards a little. “Like I said.” Albus was obviously scandalized, and immediately protested.
“T-That’s…!” He looked around, momentarily at a loss, and then threw a chocolate frog from his pile at Scorpius and it hit the blond boy’s face right between his eyes.
Scorpius crossed his eyes to try and see the frog, which was croaking indignantly at being thrown, and Albus giggled a little. Rose made a face, while Conan looked utterly shocked at the sudden display of violence.
Then Scorpius picked the frog off his forehead and stared at it as it squirmed violently in his grip. “I don’t know how people can stand to eat these things,” he finally said. “I mean, do you really want some chocolate amphibian hopping around in your intestines?” He made a face, though there was a touch of humor in it- once again dazzling us with emotion- and offered the frog to Albus, who accepted it graciously and placed it back in its box.
I rolled my eyes. I really, really hoped that these people weren’t going to become my friends. But, of course, when has anything ever worked out that well for me?
That’s right. Never.
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