I was tackled to the ground in a bone-crushing hug, but I didn’t care. Not in the slightest.
Eventually my need for air became important so I dug my way out of the pig pile in our cabin. After I had sat up and refilled my lungs, I looked down at three teenage bodies that were now lying on the ground.
“I missed you guys… England is so boring sometimes” I decided to tackle them in my own hug, and they gladly hugged back.
“Look at you Jack, all tall and buff. Where’s my scrawny next door neighbor?” I smiled at the boy closest to me.
Jack King had short dark brown hair and equally brown eyes. He was tall now, taller than when I had last seen him a year previous, but his ever present grin had not disappeared, and still seemed to be smiling at everything in the world. His clothes were also the same, mismatched hand-me downs from three older brothers. He stood up and hugged me properly, my face now equal with is shoulders.
“That’s what happens when you disappear for a year Marycakes” Jack grinned at me, before leaning down to help up Lucy.
“Mary Gaunt. Why would you ever cut your hair? Your beautiful, long hair” Lucy’s warm brown eyes looked into mine.
“Glad to know that’s the first thing you have to say to me after a year of not seeing each other”
“Oh Mary, you know that’s not true.” She proceeded to hug me again, rocking back and forth “I missed you more then you could ever imagine. Harlem is no fun, every other girl is a bee-otch” Lucy laughed at her sad Mean Girls impression.
Even though we were all raised in the magical world, we still entertained ourselves with Muggle movies on hot summer nights. Most of the movies we saw ended up becoming sources for funny quotes, seeing as we only watched comedies. Lucy smiled at me. Her brown hair was down in its full wavy glory, and her tan skin almost glowed compared to my skin, which seemed to always be pale, even when I stayed at Lucy’s house in Florida the whole summer. This English weather wasn’t exactly helpful either.
She was wearing a dress, in typical Lucy fashion, and beamed at me again before turning around to look at the last person on the floor. His long legs were twisted into a position which must have been painful and his arms were spread across the floor.
And he was sleeping.
“Damn Lurch, you think you could stay awake for five seconds” Jack smirked at the sleeping body before jumping on top of him.
“HOLY MOTHER OF! King you better watch out!” Antonio Lurcher yelled at Jack. We called him Lurch for short, seeing as his last name was Lurcher and he did such a good impression of the Addams family butler that we couldn’t resist. His spiky brown hair was the same, as were his brown eyes. His dark skin hadn’t changed, except possible gotten darker. He was looking at Jack quite viciously. Jack didn’t seem to notice though, as he was looking up and Lucy and I in a way that reminded me of a puppy.
Lucy must have been thinking the same thing because she enthusiastically- and sarcastically I might add- praised him “Wanna treat? Wanna treat?”
“It was on W.W.E. and right when we were watching it Louie tackles me! So we spent the rest of the day practicing. And now I got to use it!” Jack and his brothers had a certain fondness for the Muggle wrestling channel on the tevelizion, or maybe the telelizion? I’m never quite sure.
Before I could respond, I was picked up and twirled around in a hug. When Lurch put me down, he began to tickle me.
“Stop! No! Stop! I’ll eat you! I will! Don’t test me! I’ll do it!” By then all three of them had ganged up on me and were holding me to the ground.
“I’m sure you would Marycakes. But right now I don’t think you’re in the best shape to be threatening to eat people. Especially the people trapping you.” I distantly recognized Lucy’s voice.
You see, I’m a pretty strong witch. I might not be the best student, but Mom always told me that some witches and wizards are just born powerful. But when someone starts to tickle me, I’m as weak as a baby. Therefore when Lucy learned of my weakness, she informed Jack and Lurch and now they were always ganging up on me.
“Bullies” I gasped, struggling to get free.
“Is there a problem here?”
All four of us looked up. We must have been quite the sight, the four of us lying on the ground, disheveled and in a pile. I recognized one of the two boys as Scorpius Malfoy, and he was looking at us quite strangely.
“Mary Gaunt, right? You’re staying with the Potters?” Scorpius reached his hand down to help me up. “This is Finley Nott. He’s a friend of mine and Al’s. You wouldn’t want Al to come in here and see that you can’t keep yourself in a proper position would you?” I looked at Finley Nott. He had dark hair that covered his eyes. From what I could see, which wasn’t much, his eyes were a cold grey. He was catlike, like he could slip away at any second and no one would be able to find him.
“Hello there. My name’s Lucy Martin. I’m new here, a friend of Mary’s from school in America. I’ll probably need someone to show me around the first few days. Maybe you?” And the flirt monster was back. She was fluttering her eyelashes, the same way her mother taught her, and smiled at Finley Nott.
I might have a slight problem with referring to people by their full names. Don’t judge.
“I might be able to help.” He smirked back at her.
“I think I might be sick” Jack faked puking, but quickly stopped when Lucy turned to him.
“Tony Lurcher, and this is Jack King. We’re also friends of Mary.”
“What you have a fan club or something Gaunt?” Finley Nott sneered. It took me a few seconds to realize he was talking to me.
“Wouldn’t you like to know!” I quite cleverly retorted.
“Mary that doesn’t even make sense.”
“Do you think it matters? He’s confused! Run!” I pushed past the two boys, dragging Lucy with me. As we ran down the hall, many students peered out their cabin doors. I’m not surprised. I know if I saw four strange looking children running down the hall I would.
Nah, I’d probably keep doing what I was doing.
By the time we got to the end of the train closest to the driver, we were all out of breath. There weren’t any sports at Harlem. There isn’t much space in the middle of the city. Luckily, there was an empty cabin. Strange really, how there always seemed to be an empty cabin at the end of the train. We all proceeded to stumble in and collapse on the floor into a deep sleep.
“Mary? Hey, Mary, you have to get up” I groaned at the poking going on along my arm. I looked up, my eyes bleary from sleep, and saw the face of Lily Potter looking down at me.
“Lily? What’s going on? Why are you in here?” I rubbed my eyes.
“We’re almost at Hogwarts, I was just going to the loo and I saw you in here. You need to get your stuff on” She helped me stand up.
“Oh, shiz muffins. Thanks Lil. I’ll just wake them up and we can get ready.” I kicked Lurch a few times and he stirred.
“Um. Who exactly are these people?” Lily looked at the sleeping bodies on the floor.
“Oh right, they’re my friends from home. They came to England to go to school with me. Not completely sure why or how, but they did. Anyways, thanks, but we should probably get ready.”
“No problem. See you Mary” Lily walked out into the hall.
Jack suddenly yelled.
Which made Lucy fling her arm into his face.
Which made Lurch groan and sit up.
“Time to get ready!”
Lily looked at us once more with the what-the-hell-are-you-doing look before heading down the hall.
Our cabin was a mess of clothes and other strange things (like Jack’s pet lizard Neil) as we struggled to get ready. There wasn’t a uniform at Harlem, or even a dress code. They said that they thought we should be able to express ourselves freely, but I think that the crazy old principle Mrs. Kinky (oh, the name that kept me awake through hours of her lectures) was just too lazy to get a uniform together. In the U.S. there were quite a few magical schools, eight I think, pretty spread out across the country. I went to Harlem since my older sister Casey did, but my older brother Tyler and my younger sister Kelly went to Salem. Anyways, we were always wearing whatever we wanted, but more than once I had seen a few kids still wearing their pajamas, and no one even cared. I had freaked out when Lily told me about a uniform, because I was sure I would lose it, but Lily said there wasn’t really anyway I could.
When the train came to a stop, we all stuffed our bags with our belongings randomly and hurried off the train. A little guy far too short to be legal was standing there, talking to Al.
“That’s her right there Professor. I’m guessing the people with her are the other students you were looking for.” Al pointed to me and waved me over.
“Oh my cheese and rice that is not okay” Lurch shook his head at the little man.
“Hello you must be Mary Gaunt, Lucy Martin, John King, and Antonio Lurcher. I’m Professor Flitwick, your charms professor.” The little man speaks, what a mystery.
“Yes sir. I’m Lucy. I’m sure that we’ll be able to keep up, though I heard that the Hogwarts curriculum is very rigorous.”
Lucy is, more than she would like to admit, a nerd. She was always doing my homework, though I always used the excuse that we took the same classes so it wasn’t like she was doing any extra work. In fact, when I was eleven I turned in a paper in my own handwriting and the teacher gave me a detention for not doing my own work.
“I’m not sure of that Ms. Martin. But I’m to take you into the castle to be sorted before the first years since you older and you’d stand out.” Flitwick turned and started to walk away.
“Are we supposed to follow him?”
“I dunno, probably”
“Well then go”
“Midget man. Midget man. All hail the midget man.”
We turned to Jack.
“So sorry. Let’s go” and Jack led the way. We got in a carriage being pulled by two rather strange looking horses.
“Whoa man what’s driving these things?” Jack looked like he was staring into space, but his eyes were looking at the horses.
“Are you blind? Do you not see those horse things?” I turned to Lucy and Lurch to laugh, but they looked at me like I was the crazy one.
“Ah yes. Thestrals are what you see Ms. Gaunt. I’ll explain on the way.” Flitwick directed us onto the carriage, where we sat down and looked expectantly and the little man.
“Well, Thestrals are a type of magical animal that only people who have seen someone die can see. I’m guessing you’ve seen someone pass Ms. Gaunt?”
“Yeah, my grandmother. They look real creepo that’s for sure.” I glanced out the window at the strange looking beasts.
Soon enough we had reached the castle. Get that. A castle! Casey will be so jealous it’s not even funny.
BUT IT IS!
It seemed to glow in the dark of the night and I sat there for a second with my mouth hanging open before Lucy pulled me along.
We got into the castle and yet again my mouth was hanging open. Oh shiz muffins this is great! Flitwick showed us to a little room to the side away from where all the other students sat at tables according to their house. In the room there was an old floppy black hat that I could swear had a face.
“This is the sorting hat. It’ll determine the house you’re in. You’re up first Ms. Gaunt.” I looked at Little Man like he was insane, but Lurch pushed me towards the stool. I picked up the hat tentatively and put it on my head.
Ah… interesting… a Gaunt… well it’s fairly obvious what house you belong in…
“Jesus, you don’t need to yell” I saw Jack rub his ears.
Well, can’t say there’s much of a surprise there.
“Mr. King, you’re up next.”
Jack stepped toward the hat and placed it on his head, and he sat there for a minute or two before it yelled “HUFFLEPUFF!”
Jack slid toward me in a depressing version of the electric slide.
“Yellow always did look good on me.” He winked at me.
Lurch was sorted into Gryffindor, and Lucy into Ravenclaw. After Lucy had been sorted, looking rather smug, Little Man led us into the “Great Hall”, which is what he called it, but it looks a whole lot like a cafeteria to me. I saw Al at the Slytherin table, and galloped toward him. My friends randomly plopped themselves down at their tables and I swear I heard a chorus of “Rub-A-Dub-Dub” from the Hufflepuff table. I squeezed in next to Al.
“Oh god, that hat creeped me out. I hope I never see it again.” Al laughed.
And just my luck a tall guy who looked like a teacher came in with the hat in his hands.
I swear it winked at me.
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