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Chapter 4 : Chapter 4: Back to Hogwarts
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I spent part of the ride on the Hogwarts Express sharing a compartment with some of my relatives and was really enjoying myself. However, as the ride went on, they all ended up leaving the cabin one by one to go find their friends they hadn’t seen all summer. I’ll admit I was ready for some quiet time, but it also made me realize that I really didn’t have any friends. Before it never bothered me because I was never sure who was truly trying to be my friend and who was only interested in me because of my dad, especially since it was mostly the latter. Now however, it made me feel a little sad. It felt like I was truly missing out on something wonderful.
‘This is ridiculous,’ I thought to myself. ‘I am definitely going to try to change the way I am around people this year. I’ll start by trying out for the Quidditch team and then go from there. I will remain cautious of course, but if it turns out that no one likes me just for me, then I can at least say I tried. I just hope that there is someone at Hogwarts who can just like me because I’m Al, not because I’m Harry Potter’s “look-a-like” son.’
The compartment door banging open brought me out of my reverie. My brother James and my cousin Fred walked in talking excitedly about something. Upon seeing me, they suddenly got quiet.
“Hey Al, I know you hate mingling with the crowd on the train, but do you think you could let us have the compartment for a while? Fred and I have some things we need to discuss that don’t concern you or anyone else. We only need about 30 minutes to an hour. Is that okay?”
I thought about it for a minute and figured if I was going to start changing the way I deal with people anyway, I could surely handle leaving the compartment for 30-60 minutes. “Sure,” I replied. “I’ll be back in about 45 minutes or so.”
“Great! Thanks bro! I owe you one!”
I grab my book, my wand, and some money and head out into the corridor. Most people are in compartments so it isn’t as crowded as I expected it to be. A few people greet me kindly and I return the greeting. I continue to walk along looking for the trolley feeling pretty good about myself, and then it happens….
“Look!! It’s Harry Potter!! He’s on the train!! Can I have your autograph, sir? Pretty please?”
I look behind me to see what looks like a first year girl sprinting down the corridor after me. I can only assume that I passed by her compartment and she got a glimpse of me through the window. I stop walking, take a deep calming breath, and turn to face her.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not Harry Potter. I am his son Albus. I know I look a lot like him which is why you thought it was him. Please quiet down before a crowd unnecessarily forms.”
The little girl stared at Al, making him feel a very uncomfortable. Finally she spoke.
“Wow… Okay, I see the difference now. I’m sorry Albus; I should’ve noticed you aren’t wearing glasses. Everybody knows that Harry Potter is blind without his glasses, so he always wears them. Please forgive me; it won’t happen again because I know better now.”
Albus smiled, “Of course I forgive you. You aren’t the first person to make that mistake and I’m sure you won’t be the last. Please go back to your compartment now so I can go back to what I was doing.”
“Sure thing! Thanks Albus!”
I turn around and continue my search for the trolley. I can definitely use a snack right about now. I notice that I do feel pretty good about how I just handled myself with that little girl. However, I realize that some things will never change and it only strengthens my resolve to keep my ‘problem’ and ‘new spell’ a secret for now. I only hope it lasts as long as I need it to. For now though, I’m not going to worry about that. What I need right now is junk food.
Aryela sat alone in her compartment on the train reading a book. The fact that she was alone did not surprise her seeing as how she didn’t have any real friends to speak of. Her entire summer was spent going to different events with her mum and socializing with her “friends” there. Unfortunately, those “friends” were mainly the kids of other movie stars like her mum and they were mainly interested in sucking up to the right people and name-dropping so they could get their foot in the door to the movie star world. Ary was not the least bit interested in becoming a movie star, but she had to be there because it was important to her mum. As much as she longed for a true friend who was only interested in her and not her mum’s fame or her status, she would rather be alone than having to pretend all the time.
I figured I might as well use the many hours on the Hogwarts Express to refresh my memory on the many things I learned last year. I don’t want to fall behind after I worked so hard to catch up. I know I didn’t have much time to myself over the summer to read and review, and it wasn’t like I could take my magic books to all of the events I had to go to with my mum. The fact that I was a witch had to remain a secret because I didn’t want to jeopardize everything my mum had worked so hard for all these years. I didn’t want to be the subject of some major scandal that could ruin mum’s career, and the fact that I was a “freak” witch could make me just that.
A few hours into the journey, the trolley cart arrives outside my compartment. I realize I haven’t eaten since breakfast, so I open the door and get a few things. As I’m paying the lady, I notice a boy with black messy hair and probably the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen waiting for me to finish so that he can get something as well. The boy looks vaguely familiar to me, but I can’t place where. When I’m done, I look up, politely smile at him, and return to my compartment. Once back inside, I begin eating my pumpkin pasty and go back to reading my book.
Albus finally found the trolley at the rear of the train. When he got to it, he patiently waited as a girl was getting some treats and paying for them. When she finished she looked up and smiled at him before turning back into her compartment. He politely smiled back and proceeded to purchase his treats. When he looked at his watch, he noticed that it had only been 15 minutes since he left, and he promised James he’d be back in 45 minutes. He had his book but now needed someplace quiet to read. Most of the compartments he passed were noisy, but he noticed that the girl who had just bought treats before him had a compartment to herself. He figured it was worth asking if he could sit in there for about 30 minutes or so and just read his book.
I knock on her compartment door and slowly open it a bit. “Excuse me, but would you mind if I sit in here and read my book for about 30 minutes? I promised my brother he could have our compartment to himself for 45 minutes and it’s only been 15 minutes since I left. I promise I won’t disturb you.”
Without looking up, she replies, “I don’t mind, go ahead.”
I take a seat on the opposite end of the compartment and take out my book. After about 15 minutes of reading I glance up at the girl whose compartment I am sharing. She looks vaguely familiar to me, but I can’t place where I might have seen her before. I go back to reading my book. After finishing the chapter I’m on, I look at my watch and see that it’s been over 45 minutes, meaning I can go back to my compartment now. I stand up, thank the girl again for allowing me to share her compartment, and head back to my own. I know I need to put my robes on soon and make sure my stuff is ready to come off the train.
A few minutes after getting my treats from the trolley and settling back into my book, I heard a knock on the door of my compartment followed by it sliding open and a boy asking if he could sit here and read for 30 minutes. I think he said something else, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I told him that I didn’t mind without even looking up from my book due to the fact that I was right in the middle of a particularly good part. I peeked at him a bit later and thought I he looked like the boy that sat in my compartment last year, but I couldn’t be sure. I went back to reading and sometime later I heard the door open and close again and I knew that I was once again alone in my compartment. I finished the chapter I was reading and changed into my robes so I would be ready for when it was time to get off the train.
When the train pulled into the station, I got off and headed to one of the carriages that were waiting for us. I felt a little better about this year than I felt last year. I wasn’t ‘the new girl’ and my work load was going to be much easier since I only had to take 3rd year classes instead of trying to play catch-up like I did last year. I still don’t really know that many people and I have no idea who is sharing the carriage with me. They appear to be younger than me so I am guessing that they are 2nd years and they are all wearing Hufflepuff robes. They spend the entire ride up to the castle pretending I’m not there and just talking to each other. It’s during this ride that I decide to get to know some of my housemates this year, at least casually, so that I might eventually have a friend someday. I will make sure they are not like my “star friends” though. It is bad enough I had to deal with that phoniness all summer.
As I walk into the Great Hall, I decide to sit by Rose since I get along best with her compared to my other roommates. As I approach the table, she waves to me and motions me to sit down. It is a good feeling to at least pretend like I belong, if only for the feast. Rose and I share some small talk and soon the sorting of the 1st years begins. During the sorting I look around at some of my housemates whom I have never really paid attention to before. The first person who catches my attention is the boy who was sitting in my compartment on the train. ‘Huh, I never knew he was a Gryffindor,’ I thought to myself. Well, at least I know now that there is at least one other person in Gryffindor house who actually likes to read, other than Rose, of course. I also watched some boys down the table goofing around and joined in cheering the newest members of Gryffindor house. The food was awesome just like I remembered, and the bed was just as comfortable as I was exhausted and went right to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and got ready early. Before I left my bed, I took out my wand and silently cast my Aural Amplifico spell to make sure I’d be good all day. I decided to sit in the front of all my classes so I’d be able to hear better in case the spell failed at some point. I figured if I sat in the front from day one, it wouldn’t look strange if I had to because I couldn’t hear as well. Besides, that was a secret I wasn’t ready to tell yet anyway, so my plan seemed perfect. I headed down to breakfast early with a small hint of excitement for my new year at Hogwarts.
Albus awoke early for his first day of classes. He was excited about starting Ancient Runes as well as trying out his new Lensus Correctum spell at school. He whispered the spell just in case anyone else was awake. He did not want anyone else to know what he was doing or it might give his secret away. Once everything came into focus, he got out of his bed and got ready for breakfast and the day ahead.
As I was walking to the Great Hall for breakfast, I couldn’t help but notice things I had never seen before. For instance, I never realized how much detail there was in all the pictures on the walls, as well as the statues and carvings in the stone on the walls. I entered the great hall and sat down at the Gryffindor table. A few people sat at the Gryffindor table, including the girl whose compartment I sat in on the train. I never knew she was a Gryffindor, although I didn’t really know too many people in the house unless they were related to me, since I mostly kept to myself. She seemed nice enough on the train though, so I make a mental note to say ‘hello’ to her if I see her in the common room.
When I get my schedule from Professor Longbottom, I see that I have my first Runes class today! I just have to get through Potions first. Ah well, could be worse. I could have to wait until Friday to finally see what Ancient Runes is like.
Rose and I have been potions partners since we were 1st years, and this year is no exception. I can’t wait to see what kinds of potions we’ll be brewing this year. Professor Jonas wasted no time in starting us off on our first potion of the new school year. Today we were brewing a simple cheer potion, designed to make someone feel happy if successful. Rose already had the ingredients written down and had gone off to fetch them from the supply closet. In the last two years I never understood how she always had the stuff written down so quickly. I just thought she was that far ahead in the book and already knew ahead of time. While I was waiting for Rose to get back to the table, I took a moment and looked around our classroom. Most of the other students were busy copying the ingredients down from the list that Professor Jonas had written up on the board. I didn’t remember ever seeing anything written on the board before, but I wasn’t sure if I just couldn’t see it very well or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Rose always seemed to be one step ahead of everyone else and with her as my partner there wasn’t much I had to worry about in potions class. Rose’s return to our table brought me back to the task at hand and we spent the rest of the period creating an excellent cheer potion. Soon after our potion is finished, the class period ends and I am off to my first Runes class.
As I walk into the Ancient Runes classroom, I notice that I am one of the first ones there. I notice several notes on the board that Professor Bell must have put up, and decide right away that I will sit in the front of the room for at least this class just in case my spell doesn’t work properly and I still need to be able to see the board. I walk to the table in the front of the classroom, set my things down, take a seat, and pull out my Runes text while waiting for class to begin.
Slowly other students begin entering the room. There aren’t very many people in my class and it seems that most of them are in Ravenclaw. I turn around in my seat and continue browsing through my book when I hear someone next to me.
“Excuse me. Is anyone sitting here?”
I look up from my book to see the girl from the train. “Nope,” I replied.
After she sat down and took her stuff out of her bag she said, “Thanks! I don’t think we’ve actually met. My name is Aryela or Ary for short. What’s yours?”
“My name is Albus or Al for short.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Al.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ary.”
‘Well she seems nice. She also didn’t seem to know who I was, nor did she mention my dad at all!’ Al thought to himself as class began, trying not to look surprised.
I find Runes to be very interesting and am definitely happy that I chose it for my elective. Ary seems nice as well. It is refreshing to meet a Gryffindor girl who isn’t into gossip or just plain talked non-stop. She’s very quiet and attentive in class and will probably make a good study partner, at least for Runes.
The rest of my classes are pretty typical and uneventful. After classes were over, I drop my bag off in my room and head down to the great hall for dinner. As I enter the hall, I see Rose waving me over to sit next to her. So far it has been a good day and sitting down to dinner with my favorite cousin will make it even better. She stands up and gives me a big hug as I get to the table and we both sit down to eat. I then notice Ary sitting at the end of the table all by herself.
“Rose, why is Ary sitting all by herself down there?”
Rose shrugs her shoulders, “She always sits by herself at meals. She doesn’t really talk much to anyone. How do you know her name anyway, Al? I don’t ever remember you talking to her or about her before.”
“I met her in Ancient Runes today. She is the only other Gryffindor in my class and my table partner. It surprised me to find out she’s a Gryffindor. I don’t remember her being sorted with us or even seeing her before this year.”
“That’s because she arrived at Hogwarts last year. And you probably never saw her because she spent most of that year studying and getting extra help since she was learning both first and second year stuff at the same time so that she would be caught up with the rest of us. Besides, it’s not like you do much other than read yourself. You’re usually pretty much in your own world most of the time and not really one to socialize much,” Rose replied.
“Rose, you know very well why I don’t go out of my way to hang around lots of people. You try looking almost exactly like Harry Potter and see how many people want to be your friend just because of that. I have yet to meet anyone who simply wants to be my friend because I’m me. I have been used too many times to trust anyone. I don’t think there is anyone on this planet who can truly understand how I feel. I know this is going to sound awful, but there have been many times when I hate the fact that I resemble my dad so closely. Do you have ANY idea how many times I have been called Harry? I wish I had come here from somewhere else and no one knew who my father was. Ary’s lucky, you know. She doesn’t have to worry about that stuff since no one here really knows her. I envy her for that.” I say, staring at Rose while feeling quite agitated, and then turn my attention to my dinner plate.
Rose sat there for a minute looking at Albus trying to decide if she should tell him what was on her mind. She knew that Ary had a lot more in common with Al than he knew, but she also knew that Ary would never talk about her mom because of her own desire to be unique. As badly as she wanted to help her favorite cousin, she didn’t want to betray Ary’s trust, so she simply gave her cousin a quick hug to let him know she understood and would be there for him always. He nodded and they both continued eating in silence.
After we finish dessert, I look at her. I know she understands what it’s like to have famous parents, since her mum and dad are the other two-thirds of the “Golden Trio”, but at least she didn’t look exactly like either one of them. Her face resembles her mum but she has the trademark Weasley red hair. She leans in, turns her head toward me, and softly whispers.
“Yes, Al. I do know all of the troubles you’ve been through and was there with you through all your heartache. I truly hope that someday you will find someone outside the family who you feel you can trust with both your head and your heart.” Then with a bit of a chuckle, she adds, “Besides, if you think about it, the world is such a big place that I’m sure there are people out there somewhere who actually have no idea who Uncle Harry is.”
With that comment I can’t help but smile. “I have no doubt that you are correct as always my dear cousin, and believe me, I am looking forward to the day that I can leave this bubble we live in now and actually meet some of those people.”
After dinner, Rose and I head back up to the common room to get started on our homework. I didn’t expect to actually have homework on the first day! As we enter the common room I see the notice on the bulletin board…
Gryffindor House Quidditch Team Tryouts
Open to Gryffindors who are at least in their SECOND year (NO Firsties!!)
Saturday, September 16th at 12:00
We are trying out all positions this year. Please write your name, your year, and the position you wish to try out for below by 12:00 on Friday, September 6th. After we know how many are interested in trying out, more information about tryout day will be posted.
Please direct all questions to Roxanne Weasley, Gryffindor Team Captain.
After reading the notice, I immediately put my name on the list for Seeker. I see that a few people have already signed up as well, but none for seeker yet. At this point I’m not really too concerned whether I make the team or not. I just want to see how well I do against whoever else tries out, plus I know James will finally quit bugging me about it. I then go over to the table to begin my homework.
As Ary sat in the Great Hall eating her dinner, all she could think about was how well today had been so far for her. She finally felt comfortable with her abilities and that she had finally caught up to the rest of her classmates. Even her new class, Ancient Runes, seemed like it was going to be interesting and just enough of a challenge. She managed to sit at the front table in all of her classes so far and even officially met the boy from the train, Al, who also happens to be in Gryffindor.
I glance down the table from my seat and see Rose and Al. I figure they obviously know each other. I almost get up and go sit with them, but then I notice Al looking agitated and Rose looking upset. I decide to just mind my own business and finish my dinner so I can get to the library and start on my homework. As I get up to leave I see Rose and Al leaned into a hushed conversation and am glad I decided not to interrupt them.
Once I get to the library, I pull out my books and prepare to start my homework. I have to write an essay on the Wolfsbane Potion and, for Runes, my assignment is to read chapter 1 and translate the runes at the end of the chapter. Since I started reading my Ancient Runes text immediately after I purchased it in August, all I really need to do is review the chapter and write out the translations. I finish my Runes work in about 30 minutes and move on to my Potions essay, which takes about 90 minutes for me to complete.
As I’m writing my essay, I overhear one of the other students talking about Quidditch tryouts. I don’t know much about Quidditch other than it’s a Wizarding sport and very popular at Hogwarts. It’s still early when I finish my homework, so I go find a book on Quidditch so at least I’ll know what everyone’s talking about.
I didn’t realize that Quidditch was such an exciting sport, and it’s played on brooms! I really like flying and used it as a temporary escape last year when things got really stressful. The more I read about Quidditch, the more I want to see an actual match. I definitely won’t be missing any this year! I check out the book and make my way back to the common room.
The common room only has about 15 people in it when I arrive. Some people are doing homework while others are just lounging in front of the fireplace. I see the notice on the board about Quidditch tryouts with quite a few names written on the sign-up sheet. Since there isn’t anything else of interest posted, I head up to my room to get ready for bed, read some more of my book, and happily put my first full day back at Hogwarts to rest.
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