Chapter 3 : Home Sweet Hogwarts
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I don’t like trains. There are only two possible things that one can do in a train; fall asleep or stare out the window. Falling asleep most often than not results in one ending up on the compartment floor and staring out the window at the blurry countryside as it zips by makes my head hurt.
I, being the smart, logical human being that I am, came up with an alternative; reading. I know. Gasp. Shocking. Katie, reading. Totally unheard of.
Well, in my defense, I wasn’t reading yet. I was sitting my compartment watching the people on the platform. We usually arrive early to avoid the press and stuff.
“Write to me,” Nikki had said tearfully as she’d hugged me tight. It was Dad’s turn when she’d led go of me.
“Don’t get in too much trouble,” he’d said, knowing well that I wouldn’t get in any at all. Mum had said goodbye to me at home. Apparently it was too early to make herself present in public or some bullshit like that. She did give me a large sack of money. It was fine by me.
When people had started to arrive, I’d rushed into the train, waving a hasty goodbye to Nikki and Dad. I’d been sitting here since.
I watched as a young couple fussed over their child. First year, no doubt. I remembered my first year. It was before Dad got elected to office. Mum had actually come to see me off, telling Nikki to take care of me, tearfully telling me to write every week. It was weird how fast things change.
I was brought back to me senses by a loud noise just outside my compartment. I got up and slid the compartment door open. In toppled a flurry of clothes and brown hair. I shrieked and jumped back as the person landed, just missing my feet. I stared at the stranger on the floor, cheeks flaming.
“Hi,” he said from the floor. I stared. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. Actually, I probably had, but I just didn’t recognize him. That is the downside of having only one friend at Hogwarts. Especially if that friend happens to be your sister.
“Umm… are you okay?” the guy asked, sitting up. That’s when I vaguely recognized him. The shaggy brown hair was rather familiar, as were the brown eyes. I was staring into the eyes of Tate Dorsett. I vaguely remembered Pippa talking about him at the cafe. And damn, was Pippa right. The boy was hot. And I, being the complete spaz that I am, said this:
“Get away from me!”
Tate stared at me in confusion, slowly getting to his feet. My face was on fire. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had burst into flames.
I'd die, of course.
But I could be the ghost of that crazy flaming-head chick.
I could haunt the compartments of the Hogwarts Express and everything.
Maybe I could befriend Moaning Myrtle.
“I-I’m sorry, did I do something wrong?” he asked politely. Katie, breathe. Just breathe.
“No,” I said shortly. And that was that. We stood there, staring at each other. To my utmost relief, Rose’s head appeared behind Tate’s shoulder. She took one look at me and decided to get a hold of the situation.
“Tate! It’s been so long,” Rose said easily. Tate looked behind him and smiled at her.
“Hey, Rose,” he said easily, turning around fully. I saw Pippa next to Rose and she was grinning madly at me. When she caught my eye she winked discretely at me, shooting me a thumbs-up.
“How was your summer?” Rose asked, walking easily into the compartment and stowing her luggage overhead. Why can’t I be like that?? Why did I have to have a complete freak out just because a cute guy was in my presence?
Note to self: learn to be more chill.
I bet there's some sort of pill for that.
Remind me to look into it.
“Oh, it was fine. And yours?” he asked. I stopped listening at this point, mumbling something about the bathroom before exiting the compartment. I all but ran to the lavatories. Once I was locked safely inside, I took deep breaths, not quite sure what had just happened.
So a cute, no, hot guy talked to me and I screamed at him like a crazy bint. Great, just great. Groaning, I slid down to the floor. This was a bad idea. I should’ve just made Mum and Dad get me a home tutor. How am I supposed to survive this year without Nikki?
Her face popped up in my head, and I wanted to cry. Her beautiful blonde curls and clear blue eyes. I missed Nikki and Dad. Heck, I even missed Mum! I was sixteen years old and here I was, locked in the lavatories of The Hogwarts Express because I was too afraid to face my own peers.
I was sixteen and homesick.
Suddenly, anger took the place of sadness. What was wrong with me? Was I really that much of a wuss? I pushed myself up, swallowing the lump in my throat. I could do this. I glared at my reflection in the mirror. This was the first time I’d truly be away from home, with no Nikki at Hogwarts anymore. It was high time I stopped hiding behind everyone. I was just going to get through this year; I was going to breeze through it like I did this every day.
With new resolve, I tucked my hair behind my ears and straightened my top. With one last glare at my reflection, I unlocked the bathroom door and stepped out…
Only to trip on my shoelace and land flat on my face.
Did I say I’d breeze through?
Because, really, stumbling works too.
“Katie-cat!’ was what I was greeted with when I returned to my compartment. I stopped dead at the door and stared inside. My compartment was… full. Completely full, save a seat by the window. For the first time in my Hogwarts career, people (other than Nikki and her friends) were going to be riding to Hogwarts with me.
Rose and Pippa were on one side of the compartment. Scorpius was seated by Rose’s legs on the floor. Alec and Albus were on the other side, stuffing their face with sweets.
“Hey,” I greeted awkwardly, still standing at the door. I wasn’t really planning on moving, but then I remembered the bathroom episode. I am proud to say that I strode into the compartment without tripping/stumbling/losing balance.
I breezed in.
Then the train gave a quick jolt and I went crashing into Scorpius on the floor.
I know, brilliant right?
“You okay?” Scorpius asked me, untangling his limbs from mine. Alec and Albus, who were laughing in the background, were being scolded by Pippa. Rose was on her feet, helping me up.
“Ow,” I said, touching my head. It was already beginning to swell from my previous fall and now it was throbbing.
Rose pulled me to my feet and placed her fingers where I was touching my head. I almost jerked back at the sudden contact, but she’d already removed her finger.
“It’s swelling. At least we know you aren’t concussed,” Rose informed me. The compartment was spinning slightly and I took a seat next to Albus by the window before I passed out or something.
“Why is it that every time we meet you fall and hit your head?” Al wanted to know.
“What’re you talking about?” Alec asked curiously. I looked up in surprise. All four of them were looking at us curiously. I figured he’d told them about the art opening. Not that the event was of great importance or anything, but it would certainly be a funny story to tell when conversation topics were scarce. But, then again, there probably wasn’t ever a time when they had nothing to talk about.
“That, Alec, is another story for another time,” Al said mysteriously.
“I want to know!” Pippa exclaimed.
“I bet you do,” Al grinned, popping a chocolate frog in his mouth.
“Oh, stop being so pompous, Al!” Rose said. And then they bickered. It was rather amusing actually, especially because Scorpius refused to take sides since Al was his best friend and Rose his girlfriend.
“I’m dumping your arse!” Rose proclaimed. The look on Scorpius’s face was priceless.
“Now, let’s not be hasty-“
“If you agree with her I’m dumping your arse,” Al said loudly. Silence fell and we all stared at him. He sighed.
“You know what I mean,” Al mumbled. As fun as this was, I think it was time I revealed what the oh-so-interesting story was. And so I began. I was surprised at myself. I never was much of a public speaker; as you may have guessed. It wasn’t as embarrassing as I thought it would be, though. They laughed at all the right places and I felt myself smiling.
“Don’t forget the part where you said my eyes were pretty,” Al said when I’d finished. Immediately, heat rose in my cheeks.
“I was concussed!” I protested.
“Which made you speak the truth,” Al pointed out.
“Oh, shut up, Al,” Pippa said good-naturedly.
“Hey! What about my eyes?” Alec asked. My lips twitched as Scorpius and Rose rolled their eyes at Alec.
“Your eyes are pretty too, Alec,” Al assured him.
“It’s not you I want to hear it from!” Alec cried.
“I’m hurt,” Al said, clutching his heart melodramatically.
“You’re also creepy,” Alec said.
Their argument went on for some time. Rose, Scorpius and Pippa started a conversation about Quidditch opposite me. Quidditch was something I’d never really been interested in so I turned towards the window. I watched the blurry scenery for some time before I realized that my head wasn’t pounding. My book was lying on the compartment floor among the mountain of sweets the boys had been eating from.
I was curled up in my seat beside Al with my head resting against the window. My eyelids began to feel heavy and, before I knew it, I was asleep.
I think I knew I was dreaming; or some part of me did anyway. I was in the Great Hall, alone. The Hall was empty save the four long house tables.
“Worthless,” a voice echoed through it. I couldn’t place where it had come from.
“You’re not your sister.” That was definitely my mum’s voice. I turned and she was at the doors. Nikki appeared next to her.
“I’ll always be better,” she said sweetly, gazing at me with her beautiful blue eyes.
“You can never be one of us,” Pippa said, appearing next to Nikki. I think that last one hurt the most. I knew my mother favored my sister and I knew I wasn’t her. But I thought I might actually be making friends. Actual, real friends for the first time in m life.
“You’re not enough, Katie.” It was Rose this time, with Scorpius smirking at me by her side. Then, suddenly, the Hall was full of people. People who were laughing at me; pointing and mocking.
“Katie-cat,” I heard Al’s voice. What was he going to say? What could be worse?
“I know,” I said, not wanting to hear what he had to say.
I shut my eyes against the laughter, blocking out their faces. Stop. I wanted it all to just stop!
My eye’s snapped open and I realized I was still in the compartment on the train. Everyone was staring at me. Rose and Pippa were the first people I saw. Their faces were filled with concern, nothing like in my dream. Scorpius was looming over Rose, looking slightly hassled. I flinched when I remembered his smirking face.
“Katie-cat,” Al’s soft voice broke through to me. The moment it did, the unusual silence I was hearing was gone and I could once again hear the chatter of students walking up and down the train and the noise of the train’s wheels on the tracks.
“Katie, are you okay?” Rose asked, touching my arm. I looked down at her red-painted fingers on my hand, which was balled into a fist. I was clutching Al’s shirt with both my hands as though my life depended on it.
Immediately, I let go and scooted away from him. They were all staring at me as though I was going to combust any moment.
You’ll never be one of us.
I was an idiot. I wish I had more confidence in myself, in who I was, but I didn’t. I was normal; normal wasn’t enough to be one of them. It was when I felt my heart drop to the floor that I realized just how much I wanted to be one of them. I wanted friends. Friends who made me laugh. Friends who, for just a moment, could make me be, well, me.
“Katie?” Pippa asked cautiously.
You’re not enough.
I didn’t want this. Not now; not ever.
“I’m fine,” I said. The tone of my voice surprised me. It was flat, blunt and held no trace of the gratitude that I felt towards them. I was punishing them for something my own subconscious had cooked up.
“Katie…” Rose began cautiously. “What did you dream about?”
I said nothing. Instead, I looked out the window and the scenery zipping by. I could feel the train slowing down.
I turned back to them.
“I’m fine,” I said again, smiling slightly. This was the one upside of being in spotlight; the ability to speak blatant lies so nonchalantly, as if there wasn’t a purer truth in the world.
“Really. It was a dream. Just a dream,” I assured them in the calmest voice I could. I know they didn’t believe me, but they pretended to. Rose and Pippa moved away, each reaching for their trunks to find their uniforms. Scorpius was talking to Alec. Albus…
Albus was staring at me in a way that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.
He was silently calling me out for being a liar.
What did I do?
I smiled brightly and waved.
You see, this is one of the many reasons that I hate social situations.
A/N: This was just sort of a filler. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Also, I've got the next chapter written, but I'm blocked from there so if you guys have any ideas for the coming chaapters, please leave me a review. I'd love to hear from you!
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