Chapter 139 : The Sixth Brother
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Between his dad commenting on practically everything they passed and Ginny whining about how unfair it was that she was the only one not allowed to go, Ron couldn’t wait to find a compartment.
In front of the barrier, Fred and George tried their usual spiel of convincing their mother they were the other, before the disappeared through the wall. Ron was waiting impatiently for his turn, when a hesitant voice diverted his attention from the seemingly plain wall.
Ron watched as his mum turned to the boy, with Ginny looking on curiously. „Hullo, dear. First time at Hogwarts? Ron’s new too.”
Ron eyed the boy closely. His clothes were far too bulky for him. Even Ron’s fit him better, and they were all second-hand – or fifth-hand, depending on how many of his brothers had worn them before. The boy looked around his age. Maybe he would be in his year? Duh, the question about how to get to the platform suggested he hadn’t been there before.
Ron nodded politely at the other when he was introduced, and then watched as the dark-haired boy broke into a run, and disappeared where he should have collided with a solid stone wall. It never ceased to amaze him. When he saw his mum’s encouraging nod, he, too, started for the barrier.
On the other side, as soon as he saw the scarlet steam engine, every other thought was wiped from his mind. He’d seen it before, of course, but he would be actually boarding it only minutes from now. Ron pushed his trolley over to where his dad and Percy were standing, Percy already in his uniform with his new prefect badge pinned on so no one could possibly miss it. Hopefully, I’m never prefect and act like that.
The twins were nowhere to be seen, they’d most likely already found their friends to catch up. Ron positioned his trolley there just in time to catch sight of the dark-haired boy, who looked at the train with an expression of complete awe on his face. Definitely his first time, then, Ron mused. But he too felt his anticipation grow even more, as he took in the mood. Students saying goodbye to their parents, with pets and luggage everywhere, the noise of the steam engine as background sound and smoke billowing over the heads of the crowd.
“Ron, I’ll just take your trunk to the luggage car, shall I? Oh, and there’s your Mum and sister,” his dad’s voice interrupted his thoughts.
Ron nodded mutely, still soaking up the atmosphere on the platform. Having grown up in the magic world, he knew some of the people around by sight, but he hadn’t actually met a lot of them. There had always been his brothers or Ginny to play with. During the last two years, with Bill in Egypt, and Charlie, Percy, Fred and George off at Hogwarts, he’d badgered his mum about boys his age. The answer had always been the same, the only magical children either lived too far away, or she wouldn’t want him to associate with them, or one had a grandmother who apparently was very protective of her grandson.
“Oh Ronnie, your first year! How can you be eleven already?” Not again, Ron thought, resigned. He couldn’t count how often he’d heard that, when they had bought his wand, when they had bought Hogwarts robes - one new set! - or when his mum had helped pack his trunk the day before. He endured the hugs, awkwardly trying to comfort her. But Ron had to draw the line when she actually whipped out a handkerchief to wipe his nose.
“Mum!” he complained loudly.
Just in time, Fred and George came leaping out of the train, and thankfully Molly Weasley was distracted enough to leave him be for the time being. They claimed to have met Harry Potter, but he dismissed it as just another of their jokes.
When they said their final goodbyes, Ron managed to get away with promises of writing a lot, and because of the twins taking another jibe at Percy, and something about toilet seats. Ron was now hopping from one foot to the other, wanting nothing more than to board that train.
“So where do we sit?” Ron asked as he followed the twins down the aisle, when they were finally on the train, which was quickly gathering speed.
“'We'?” George asked, sounding scandalised.
“Who said you’re sitting with us?” Fred chimed in in the same tone. “We’re not sitting with first year midgets.”
“Off you go, make some midget friends,” George added.
Heaving an annoyed sigh, Ron continued on his way. Just great, of course most compartments are full. He encountered some other students on his journey through the train, some seemingly going back and forth and whispering excitedly to each other. Ron paid no mind to it, however, he was more interested in finding a spot to sit.
Finally, as he went with the throng of students, he happened across a compartment with only one occupant. Weird, he thought, entering nonetheless. His face broke into a grin when he recognised the boy from earlier.
“Anyone sitting here? Everywhere else is full,,” he said.
The other boy invited him in, and then Fred and George were back again, talking to Harry Potter as if it was no big deal.
Had they been serious earlier? Of course he knew who the that was, Ginny had insisted on hearing that story so often he practically knew it by heart. The twins were gone as fast as they had come, leaving him all alone with The-Boy-Who-Lived.
“Are you really Harry Potter?” Ron blurted out, still unable to grasp it, and Harry affirmed that.
He couldn’t stop himself as he asked for the scar, and gaped at it. Then, he remembered his mum’s words not to badger the ‘poor boy’ with questions, and looked away hastily.
Ron couldn’t believe it. He was sitting with Harry Potter. THE Harry Potter. Over chocolate frogs and talking about magic and Quidditch and meeting a very bossy girl, they bonded on that train ride.
Ron found it strange The-Boy-Who-Lived knew so little about magic, but was glad to fill in the blanks. He was making friends with a celebrity. Him, Ron Weasley. Though, he reminded himself, I should probably stop thinking of Harry by his full name if this friendship thing is supposed to work.
Harry and Molly’s exchange, and Ron's question after the scar and a seat are from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, UK paperback edition, pg. 104, 108 and 110.
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