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Chapter 2 : The Hogwarts Express
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And that rather beautiful girl is Rose Weasley :) Image by wolfy_and_co (now !Siren) at TDA!!
‘You shouldn’t let him get to you like that, Rose’, I hear Elise saying.
‘Your face looks red.’ And with that she laid aside her mirror, took out her Witch Weekly magazine, and started to read an article on ‘Love Potions; Saviour or Scam?’ I rolled my eyes inwardly at her shallowness, and looked at Elise for support. She was staring at Dominique, her eyes wide and disbelieving as she watched her turn a page, looking appraisingly at her nails, smiling quietly to herself, and continuing to read.
‘Him? Good looking!’ I try to make an uncaring, dismissive ‘Pfft’, but it ends up becoming more of a raspberry-type sound. More of a ‘Pffrrrrrttpp!’ I turn away, pretending not to care, but in fact listening to their entire conversation.
‘He is a bit, isn’t he?’ I hear from one of the twins.
‘Absolutely!’ agrees the other, giggling.
‘Have to agree!’ Lily! My own family!
I turn again, giving myself whiplash in the process, and say, in the haughtiest voice I can summon:
‘Ugh. Muggle filth. Their opinions can not be trusted, you think, sir?’, causing the entire carriage to erupt in laughter. I continue, without betraying a hint of a giggle ‘I do rather think that they should be schooled separately, so they can not taint the blood of our ancestors with their unclean hands. I should not be surprised if the magical blood were SEEPING out of us every second, merely from associating with these... these...people.’
By the time I had finished, we were approaching Hogwarts, so I told Lily and the twins to look out of the window to catch the first glimpse of the castle. Much pushing ensued, ending with Lily at the front, the twins next, and Elise and I furthest from the window, desperately trying to crane our necks enough to see a corner of the castle. I remembered, just in time, that we weren’t yet changed, so Elise and I ran to the girls bathroom to get into our Hogwarts robes.
It seemed like many people had had the same idea as us, the queue extending almost to the end of the carriage, so we decided to go back to the compartment.
I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to manage to get changed in the compartment, the doors being glass and all, but Elise, needless to say, had one of her (not) bright ideas.
If we took it in turns to change, Dominique, Elise and I, then we would manage to form a wall of defence around the one changing, so that no-one could see them. I had to admit, it was one of her brighter ideas (compared to the time she decided to redecorate the girls’ dormitory. Turns out there’s a spell to stop you doing exactly that, and we couldn’t remove the red paint from our hands for weeks...)
But by the time we got back to the carriage, Dominique had already changed. Turns out she doesn’t mind people seeing her half naked. What a thoroughly lovely thought.
Anyway, Dominique was already changed, so she, Lily, Sophia, Alexia and I formed a wall around Elise as she changed. This passed without a hitch, though she thought there might have been a farmer in his tractor, who stared at her and did a double take as the train passed him. Then it was my turn. It was all fine, until I was changing from my T-shirt into my school shirt. My T-shirt was off, and I was struggling to get the buttons of my regulation white school shirt undone (Mum is so anal about things like that, she always does up laces and buttons before packing things), when who would come back for Round II of the Malfoy/Weasley showdown, but Scorpius Malfoy himself.
As soon as he’d come in, Dominique immediately pulled away from the wall of defence, and was, in a second, by his side, leaving a HUGE gap, through which he could quite clearly see me, wearing only a school skirt and bra!
He looked into my eyes for a second, then, in the pretence of clearing his throat, laughed, a sharp snort of a sound. I stood, transfixed, without remembering that I was not covering myself at all. I remembered this, and pushed my shirt a little higher, so as to cover up my bra, blushing an even deeper shade of red than I had been before.
Elise, oh dear God bless Elise, said calmly,
‘Right, Scorpius. No boys allowed in girls changing rooms’ To my surprise he seemed to agree, and with a curt nod in my direction, and no acknowledgement to anyone else, left. I slid down the window, into a crumpled heap at Elise’s feet.
‘Thanks’, I whispered, almost silently. She patted my head like I was about five. I didn’t really care. I was a million miles away, in the Land of Deep Deep Embarrassment.
I’m not sure how long I stayed sunken into my thoughts, maybe around thirty seconds, maybe half an hour, but whenever that was; I was disturbed by Elise shouting out;
‘What?’ I asked, imagining Scorpius to have brought more friends to have a look at me half naked, turning to face the door, but seeing no-one there, I looked out of the window again. We had stopped at the Hogwarts end of the journey, and I was still minus a shirt! I buttoned it up as quickly as I could, and threw my robes on over it, my tie knotted loosely around my neck. Dominique had already left the compartment, but the twins and Lily were waiting patiently for me to be finished, their faces a mixture of surprise and confusion. I could almost see the thoughts going through their little heads ‘Do all girls at Hogwarts act like that?’ And the sad fact is, we do. At least all my friends do.
I motion for them to leave the compartment before Elise and I, and they do, Lily staying behind a bit to whisper in my ear,
'It was quite funny though, wasn’t it?’ I growled, under my breath;
‘Lily Luna Potter. There may come a day when I find what just happened funny. Unfortunately for you and anyone else who brings it up until that day, that day is not today.’ I was surprised at how angry I sounded, and backtracked quickly, changing the subject at her hurt face ‘I have to go now, you’re going by boat with Hagrid, and I’m going in the carriage. Good luck, I hope you’re in Gryffindor!’ I watched as she rushed off into the crowd of first-years, to find the huge figure of Rubeus Hagrid in the middle of it all, and greet him with one of her famous smiles. She’s really quite pretty, though she won’t admit it. Have all the ickle firstie boys after her in no time. Ickle firsties. That’s what Peeves, the poltergeist, calls first-years. Two years, and he’s already rubbing off on me. Dearie dearie me.
I’m shaken from my mind-tangent by Elise, who points me towards a carriage already full of all my best friends. This is going to be one hell of a year, Scorpius Malfoy or not.
‘Victoire? Victoire?’ I see a hand waving in front of my face and make to bite it, shocking the owner into withdrawing it, but within a second it’s back again. ‘Victoire Elizabeth Weasley, would you listen the hell up to what I have to say?’ I feel a sharp slap on my hand, which finally wakes me up from my daydream. I was wondering what it would be like if Teddy and I did get married... whether we’d have kids, and a little cottage in the countryside, like Mum and Dad had when they were first married. Shell Cottage, it was called. Now we live nearer to the Burrow, Grandma and Grandad Weasley’s house, but we still go to Shell Cottage in the summer sometimes... Teddy and I could live there... GOD! Sorry about my daydreaming, all the Weasley women have it. Feel free to shut me up at any time. Anyway, back to listening the hell up.
‘Yup?’ I say to the disembodied hand, which has identified itself as Roxanne’s.
‘Molly and I were just talking about this year.’
‘Right.’ I say, completely mystified.
‘And how it’s our last.’ Molly continues.
‘Really? I had no idea.’ I reply, disinterested, intending to go straight back to daydreaming about cottages in the countryside, when my attention is caught by a single word. Party.
‘Wait wait wait wait; what’s this about a party?’ I ask, now genuinely interested.
‘Well, we were thinking, since I’m Head Girl now...’
‘WHAT? YOU’RE HEAD GIRL!’ I exclaim, all thoughts of a party lost.
‘I was going to tell you before, but I wanted it to be a nice surprise...’ Molly stopped short as she had the wind knocked out of her by the force of my hug. ‘Whoa, Victoire... thanks.’ She hugged me back, and as I sat back, restarted where she had left off.
‘During the holidays Dad was telling me about this thing they had during the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. They called it a Yule Ball.’
‘A ball?’ interrupts Roxanne. ‘Isn’t that kind of old fashioned?’
‘Exactly.’ Molly replies. ‘Deliciously so. We’ll all wear full-length gowns, and we’ll make it a masked theme, so that the masks only come off at midnight. Do you love me or what?’ I squeal excitedly.
‘Yes! I love you so much! Promise you’ll let me do the decorations, please please please!’
‘Of course!’ she replies, her excitement matching mine. ‘Would I trust anyone else?’
We both looked over at Roxanne, who had been silent until this moment.
‘What?’ she said, noticing our stares.
‘Um... nothing.’ I started, ‘Are you alright?’
‘Yeah, I’m fine...’ she lied, her face going through a mix of emotions, as if fighting an internal battle, before she blurted out; ‘Full length dresses? Do I have to wear one?’ She looked exasperated, but glad that she had said what had been on her mind.
‘Look, Roxie, we don’t even know if there’s going to be a ball, after all, I haven’t even mentioned the idea to McGonagall yet, she might say no, so don’t worry your little head about your dress!’ At this, Roxanne looked relieved, settling down to discuss our respective summers. I went back into my daydream, occasionally nodding or mm-ing.
I say goodbye to Rose, as she promises to save a space for me at the Gryffindor table, and make my way through the throng towards Hagrid, shaking off the Limpet Twins as I go, and eventually finding myself at the front, right in front of the giant man who all the others were terrified of. I’ve grown up with Hagrid, but I’m sure that if I hadn’t, I would have been just as terrified as the others. He’s at least ten feet tall, and is about four times as wide as a normal man. He has a huge, bushy brown beard, streaked with grey, and hair to his shoulders. He’s wearing a giant moleskin coat, and boots the size of baby whales. I have the oddest urge to hug him, the one familiar face in the crowd, but restrain myself ‘You’re at Hogwarts now’, I strictly tell myself ‘In front of complete strangers.’
Hagrid motions for all the first years to make their way to the edge of the lake, where about twenty boats are moored, small wooden things that I’m sure would only hold two people at a push. Hagrid has his own boat, magically reinforced so that it isn’t reduced to driftwood as soon as he sits in it. He says, in his gruff, booming voice,
‘Alrigh’ now, ge’ in, two ter’ boat, Hurry up now, we don’t go’ all day.’ He claps his hands, the size of dinner plates together, and all of the first years are so shocked by his movement that they scurry into a boat, pairing up with the first person they see.
I sit in the nearest boat to me, behind a nervous-looking boy who turns to look at me when I sit down, and then pretends he wasn’t looking when I smile at him. He mumbles words I can’t hear under his breath, and I look towards Hagrid for instruction. He walks along the bank, pushing each boat quickly into the water with not so much as a grunt, the boats slipping into the lake soundlessly, rocking from side to side. He came to our boat, and, with a smile and a twinkle of his black eyes, pushed our boat in, and I’m not sure whether this is true or not, but I think it was a little more gently than the others. Our boat slid into the water, the unnamed boy’s knuckles whitening as he gripped the sides so tightly that, if he had Hagrid’s strength, he would have crushed it easily.
Now, let me just take a moment to say that, when I imagined coming to Hogwarts, I imagined a gently bobbing boat, so that I could enjoy the beautiful scenery as I slowly made my way to the castle. Well. I’ll give you four major reasons why that is not happening.
1. This boat is more violently rocking than gently bobbing.
2. I can’t see, let alone enjoy the beautiful scenery as it’s pitch black and in the middle of a rainstorm
3. I swear I just saw a TENTACLE come out of the water about a foot from my boat
4. The guy in front of me HAS A SERIOUS FLATULENCE PROBLEM. I mean seriously, this guy should see a doctor. I am DYING. Somebody help me.
Thankfully, it’s only a few minutes until we get to the castle, and I jump out of the boat as quickly as I can, sprinting to Hagrid’s side and standing to attention, ready for whatever came next. I looked up at the black silhouette of the castle against the stormy grey sky, towering above us majestically. Hagrid started to walk towards the castle, and I followed, leading the group of first-years up a slight hill to a large mahogany door. The door swung open, seemingly of its own accord, to reveal a large entrance hall, and an exceedingly short man I recognised as Professor Flitwick, Deputy Headmaster, with a white beard and hair, and wearing a green pointed hat and matching robes.
‘Do come in, first years!’ he squeaked, excited. ‘Miss Lily Potter, I do believe?’ he asked me, his high voice quivering with excitement. ‘Seems like only yesterday your parents were passing through these doors for the first time!’ He trails off, a misty look appearing in his eyes. ‘Anyway.’ He snaps out of his trance ‘Give my best to them.’ He then addresses the entire group of first years, ‘I hope you shall all enjoy your time at Hogwarts, right this way please!’ I run slightly to keep up with the crowd, surging forwards, and through the oak doors to what I knew to be the Great Hall, where I was faced with a sight that I had imagined for years, since even before James had come here. A flight of steps descended from my feet, at the bottom of which were four tables, from left to right; Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, from which table I received smiles and thumbs-up from many family friends, and Slytherin, all of whom seemed to be sizing all of the first years up with sneers on their faces. I recognised Scorpius, but quickly averted my eyes, becoming hugely interested in the patent black leather pumps I had bought with Mum in the Muggle shoe shop in the town. When I looked up again, I realised that Scorpius too was looking down, and his ears had turned bright red. Odd. Anyway, back to the Great Hall. At the end of these tables was the staff table, stretching along the width of the spacious room.
Hagrid went to take his place at the end of the table nearest Ravenclaw, on the far left of the room, next to a ghost I only assumed could be Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher, from what I had heard from James and Albus. Next was Professor Sinistra, of the Astronomy Department, and next to her was Professor Trelawney, who seemed identical to my father’s description, other than the grey streaks in her mess of brown hair. She was having a conversation with Neville, or Professor Longbottom as I suppose I must call him now, but his nervous eyes were flitting about the room as if he wished he could be sat next to anyone else. Next along from Neville was the Headmistress, Professor McGonagall, and next to her, an empty chair I assumed Professor Flitwick would occupy, once he had finished with the Sorting. My attention was drawn to the front of the hall by a loud clearing of a throat. I looked to see where the sound was coming from. A black, pointed wizard’s hat. Right.
Then, the hat opened its mouth (Brim, hats don’t have mouths), and began to sing. Could my life get any madder?
When this school was but a house,
This hall was but a room,
Of an evening, four friends would sit,
And an idea between them began to form.
When they were gone, unable then,
To teach, their sole ambition,
They would found, to help their race,
A school, and its one mission
Would be to teach, to pass the knowledge,
Of the magic they possessed
To the children of their children
And to all the rest.
Each would have their favourites
For a quality they prized
Until Ravenclaw, the cleverest
Of all of them advised:
‘If we choose our students
Divide them for their traits
We shall help them to decide
Their respective fates.’
Ah! shouted Slytherin
Eager to disagree
How shall we choose the students
When there are other teachers but we?
At that they sat in silence,
Thinking of this
When suddenly Gryffindor rose
And Slytherin’s complaint did dismiss.
‘This hat!’ he cried, and in a flash
He whipped me off his head
And placing an enchantment in my fibres
Said ‘He shall choose instead’
So put me on
I’m rarely wrong
And I’ll tell you
Where you belong.
Do you belong in Gryffindor?
Where they are strong and brave.
If those daring, true, and ne’er afraid
Is the company you crave.
Or are you more at home with those
Who are cleverer than the rest?
Ravenclaw’s students must always
Strive to be the best.
Or is Hufflepuff your true home?
Where they are just and kind
If you are good and loyal
Your kinsmen you shall find.
Or if you are very cunning
And prize pure blood above all
Then with the wily Slytherins
Stand proud and tall
Now here we are
You’ve heard my song
Place me on your head
Learn where you belong.
At this the Sorting Hat was silent, its brim closing and a look of deep thought coming onto its face. Professor Flitwick cleared his throat, and, standing on a stool, began to call names
A scared-looking girl walked up to the chair, sitting down as Professor Flitwick placed the Hat on her head. It was silent for a moment, then, opening its brim, shouted
Cheers erupted from the Hufflepuff table, many people standing up and welcoming the smiling May Arnold to her place. Next was ‘Ackerley, Stuart’ (Slytherin), and then ‘Bell, Alexia’. She looked terrified, shuffling up to the chair and tentatively sitting down. It deliberated for a few moments, before calling ‘Ravenclaw’. Alexia told me first choice was Gryffindor, like her mother, but Dad told me the Hat takes your choices into account, so I suppose she must have subconsciously wanted to be in Ravenclaw, like her father. Sophia was next, and she became the first Gryffindor of the year.
I waited nervously for my turn. Then, finally, after ‘Parsons, Jennifer’, a blue haired girl had become a Gryffindor, it was my turn. I took a deep breath, walking silently up to the platform and gingerly sliding onto the stool. I closed my eyes tightly, waiting for the drawling voice to speak into my ear. Though I had been expecting it, I still jumped when it began to speak, slurring over the words like it had honey in its mouth.
‘Ah, a Weasley-Potter mix, I see. Great wizarding families, indeed, great parents. Not many can live up to Harry Potter as a father, I hope he is well, send my regards to him and your mother.’
Great. I can’t even talk to a hat without it sending its love to my parents.
‘Hmm... Bravery, loyalty and daring, all Gryffindor traits, I see... But also great intelligence, a thirst for acceptance, and a quick temper... Where to put you?
‘Where are you going to put me?’ I thought with as much conviction as I could at the Hat, willing him to hear me.
‘Now, now’ he said into my ear ‘Has there ever really been any doubt of that?’
I let out a sigh of relief, just before he opened his brim and, talking to the room now instead of me, shouted for all to hear:
The Gryffindor table stood as one, shouting and cheering so loudly that Professor McGonagall had to shout to calm them, and I ran towards the table to sit next to Rose, knowing I was blushing so deeply red I probably resembled a beetroot, but not caring a bit.
I stood with the rest of the house and screamed my head off as Lily came, blushing, to join our table. She ran straight to me and hugged me, looking so happy that I thought she was about to burst into tears. She took a seat in between me and Rose, beaming at every Gryffindor who leaned over to get a better look, or ask her questions about Uncle Harry. Takes me back to the Feast on my first evening at Hogwarts.
I was sitting on the Hogwarts Express, in a compartment with Albus, when James poked his head in the door and asked if Al wanted to come meet his friends. Albus stood up to go, and so did I, but James shook his head and said ‘No, Rose. Strictly guy time.’
Guy time. I sat in the compartment alone, sulking at my... alone-ness. My lip was stuck out at a very attractive angle when I saw someone coming into the compartment. Someone with white-blonde hair and a pointed chin. I recognised him immediately from the platform, and stood up to offer my hand. Scorpius just stood there, before extending his and shaking my hand firmly, once. He looked at me with a look that was half appraising, half sarcastic. I withdrew my hand and looked down, my cheeks darkening.
‘I’m Rose’ I said, not moving my eyes from my feet.
‘I know.’ he said back, seeming to enjoy the embarrassment I was experiencing.
At loss for what to say, I countered again ‘You’re Scorpius.’
‘Unsurprisingly, I know that too.’ This was the moment I chose to look up. I was surprised to see he was smiling, a crooked smile which made him look years older than eleven.
‘Well then. I’ll see you around, Rosy Posy.’
‘Please... don’t call me Rosy Posy, no-one does...’ I muttered, resuming my former activity of looking at my feet.
‘Ah.’ he interrupted. ‘But I do.’
And with that he walked out of the compartment, just in time for Albus to come back in, smiling dazedly. I started;
‘Al, you’ll never believe what just happened...’, before I was cut off by Albus speaking
‘Oh, Rose, I just came in to collect my stuff. I’m going back to James’s compartment. See ya.’
'See ya?' I asked myself incredulously. 'Since when does Albus Potter say ‘See ya’? He’s always been my best friend; we made mud pies together for crying out loud! We spent half our summers sitting outside Fortescue’s ice cream parlour, him eating peanut butter, the crunchy kind with extra peanuts and me having raspberry ripple! And now he’s turning into a James-clone who says ‘See ya’ and needs ‘Guy time’! I mean, WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?' That's a very long brain-sentence.
And now, exactly two years from that day, I’m sitting at the Gryffindor table, looking down to where Albus is, sitting with James and the rest of the Marauders: Take II, James being the original James Potter, Sirius Black being the utterly GORGEOUS (Yes, I did need to capitalise that) Darren Thomas, the bookish but still hot Remus Lupin (Ew, it’s weird having those thoughts about Teddy’s dad...) being Oliver Spinnet, and the clown who nobody knows quite why they’re there, Peter Pettigrew, is Fred Weasley, my own cousin. Though I doubt Fred would sell them out to any Dark wizard. Actually, he’s just like another Darren, but not such a ladies man.
They form an odd group, slightly dysfunctional but still the most popular guys in their year, James and Darren being the epitome of cool. At the moment, Darren seems to be telling a joke, everyone’s laughing as he almost puts Albus’s eye out with one of his exaggerated hand gestures. His grey eyes are sparkling, and a stray strand of black hair is falling out from the small ponytail at the nape of his neck. You would think ponytails would make him girly, but his sort of has a sexy pirate kind of feel to it. Lily leans over to me, smiling, and whispers,
‘You’re thinking about sexy pirates, aren’t you?’
Lily’s great. If I mention a Muggle film that I’ve seen at Grandma and Grandad Granger’s, or through the television that Grandad Weasley owns, no one else knows what I’m talking about. Except Lily. We’ve spent a couple of summers now, sprawled across the Potter’s mahoosive sofa, watching film after film. Chocolat was one of Lily’s favourites, but personally I loved all the Disney cartoons, of all the Muggle fairy stories Mum and Uncle Harry used to tell me and Lily as bedtime stories when we were young. James, Hugo and Albus would have fallen asleep, tired from hours of running around, but Lily and I would make sure we were awake to hear the very end of every story. Sometimes they would read from the old fairy tale book that Mum owned, but more than often they would make them up themselves, adding bits here and there. And we weren’t the only ones fascinated. Dad used to love them too, constantly asking questions.
‘Yeah.’ I answer. I am so thinking about sexy pirates.
I keep looking at the Marauders, until eventually Darren catches my eye, winking and nodding at me, earning him a swift elbow in the ribs from both sides, Albus and James. I look straight at Albus now, until he looks guiltily down, colour coming to his ears. I know we’re both remembering the same thing.
I had got off the Hogwarts Express, onto the platform, and followed Hagrid to the edge of the lake, where the boats were moored, buoyant with the excitement of finally coming to Hogwarts. I had a grin on my face that nothing could wipe off. Or so I thought.
I was at the front of the queue, quickly sitting down in the closest boat, ready for a partner. Albus walked straight past me, looking at me for a second then shrugging his shoulders in an imitation of apology, and taking off after a sandy-haired boy into a boat at the other end of the line. By this time the smile had disappeared from my face. I couldn’t even enjoy the view of the grand castle when I had just lost my best friend.
My memory skipped forwards to my Sorting, the hat shouting ‘Gryffindor’ and my relieved smile. Albus looking down to his hands, already seated, without saving a seat for me. I held back tears and walked to a place at the opposite end of the table, sitting in between Elise and Victoire.
A lot’s changed since then. I barely speak to Albus during the holidays, and even less in school time. He’s still friends with the sandy-haired boy: Patrick Finnigan, son of Seamus Finnigan, my dad’s old school friend. But he’s not friends with me any more.
I was only wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown, at the bottom of the staircase to the Gryffindor girls’ dormitories.
‘Please!’ Albus pleaded, literally on his knees in front of me. ‘I didn’t mean to ignore you! I just... James is...’ he trailed off, looking at me, doing the puppy dog eyes I’m usually so susceptible to.
‘James is what?’ I asked, unsmiling. I had been about to forgive him until his last two words.
‘James is... cool.’ He finished helplessly, shrugging with his head on one side.
‘And I’m not? Thanks Albus.’ I started to walk up the staircase and Albus, stupidly, started after me. As soon as he set a foot on the staircase, it turned into a giant slide, and both he and I slid down, landing in a pile at the bottom of the stairs. He started to laugh, but I, not seeing anything funny about the situation, stood up, dusted myself down and climbed along the railing up to the girls’ dormitory without so much as a backwards glance. Which was good. Because if I had looked back, he would have realised that I was crying.
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