Chapter 3 : Chapter Three
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His room was all packed up and nearly looked as if no one occupied it at all. His mother loved him with all her heart, but when he was gone, Noah’s bedroom became an excellent guest bedroom. Either that or a good room for his little sister to take over during sleepovers. His family was a long line of Muggles. Noah just happened to be the lucky freak who blew up a few lamps on accident and was sent off on a train to a magical castle where blowing things up was normal.
"Noah!" His mum sang from downstairs. "Come on darling, it's already around ten o'clock and we still have to stop for a quick bite to eat!"
"Coming!" Noah said, taking one last look around his room. It wouldn't be the last time he saw it, but it was always sad to leave home for nearly an entire year sometimes. Sure, there were always holidays, but most of the time he spent those with the Weasleys and Potters. "Well, I guess that may be changing this year," he mumbled to himself before he lifted his trunk behind him to drag it down the stairs.
"Wait!" Noah's little sister shouted at him as she hobbled down the stairs after him. She broke her right leg playing an awful game of rugby a few weeks back. Otherwise, she looked almost exactly like Noah. Only, she was thirteen and the differences were her slightly longer haircut and she had...well...she had she parts. "Are you leaving right now?" She asked while only making it halfway down the stairs.
"Well, in five minutes or so. So get ready," Noah said. He was looking at his watch and then he looked back up to his sister. She had a guilty expression on her face. "What is it?"
She twirled her hair a little and bit her lip. "I-I'm not going," she stammered. "I have a game today."
"What are you going to do? Sit on the bench?" He asked, slightly annoyed. As he was thinking earlier, he was hardly home and he hardly saw his family. She pulled back and looked down at the stairs beneath her, thumping the large cast on her leg against the base of the step she was on.
"It's a part of being included with the team," she said quietly. He regretted his comment, but he didn't have much time to apologise properly either.
"Listen, I'm sorry, kiddo, but I've really got to head out—"
"Wait! Before you go, I have something to tell you!" She said quickly, her bashfulness forgotten. He felt the need to say something witty; that if she came they'd have plenty of time, but Noah decided against it when he looked at his watch again.
"Well, it's about what I heard the other day. About...it was about your world." She motioned for him to step closer to her so she didn't have to say it too loudly. Noah was concerned, so he took his trunk down the remaining bit of the staircase and skipped a few steps up to her. "I was sitting on the bench during my last game," she started, whispering so quietly in his ear that he had to strain his hearing, "and I heard some people like you talking. At least I think they were like you. They were talking about Hogwarts. That is the school you go to, right?"
He nodded his head and felt her wobble under the sudden movement and he grabbed hold of her elbow. When she regained her balance, she continued.
"Well, they were talking about something happening this year. Something that may cause trouble at Hogwarts this year." She pulled back and looked at him. His expression never changed. Things at Hogwarts were always strange, even at its most normal times, and his Muggle sister wouldn't understand something like that. However, she did seem thoroughly worried about it.
"I'll keep an eye out," he promised quickly. He kissed her forehead and turned to head back down the stairs. "Stay out of trouble and I'll see you sometime during the holidays or after term!" With that last call, she waved goodbye, wished him well, along with warnings to be safe and stay out of trouble himself.
By the time Noah slid into the passenger side of his mother's black SUV he completely forgot about what his sister told him. At the current moment, he was a little more worried about seeing Molly for the first time all week and how their relationship would progress from there.
"Are you feeling all right, sweetie?" His mother asked, not taking the risk of looking away from her rearview mirror until they reached a crosswalk with a few children crossing her path.
"What?" Noah snapped out of the small conversation between Molly and him he was having in his head and looked at his mother. She was a small woman and the vehicle looked more like it owned her rather than the other way around, but otherwise he inherited the rest of his traits from her. "Oh, no," he said quickly once he realised what she said. "Guess I'm just beginning to miss home all ready," he added to satisfy her question.
She stuck with that answer and the rest of the trip was made in silence. She only broke it to ask if he wanted anything to eat while she stopped at a drive-thru and he said he'd get something from the trolley. The relationship he had with his mother wasn't all that bad. It was just that things became very awkward when she remarried two years ago to a man she never wrote to Noah about and surprised him with a new stepdad when he came home over the summer holidays that year.
It wasn't that he didn't get along with his stepdad. The man just seemed a bit odd. He tried everything he could to be really cool, even to the point where it became stressing. Noah didn't always like sticking around him though. His real dad was still in Australia, where they left him over twelve years ago because he wouldn't follow along to England with them.
The awkward moments between him and his mum were due to the fact that she felt, somewhere deep down that she had wronged her son. Noah assured her hundreds of times that as long as she was happy he didn't care what she did, but something was still strange between the two of them.
"We're here." She said. His mum stopped the car and turned to face him. It wasn't exactly as cheery as most goodbyes were, but he knew it'd be better to say goodbye to her there instead of inside. Inside King's Cross, he would only end up going through nine and three quarters and spending the rest of the time with his friends. His mum didn't mind his magical abilities, but she didn't feel comfortable about knowingly hanging around a lot of people like him.
Noah reached over the seats and gave her a kiss on her cheek.
His mother was taken by surprise at first, but then she composed herself and smiled widely. "I love you too, son! Are you sure you're all right?"
"Just peachy, mum," he said with a meaningful grin of his own. Then, with an awkward giggle or two, he shut the door and dragged his stuff along the paved lot and straight into King's Cross.
"Mum, I just want to get onto the train!" Lily Potter whined as she tugged at her luggage that was bundled with everything else on top of it. This was including her genuine, one-of-a-kind Firebolt 2000 from the Holyhead Harpies team. Long story short, it once belonged to her mother. Though it was an older model, it was still wicked fast. Technically she wasn't supposed to be carrying it around at Hogwarts, but she figured she could at least fly around the fields during free time if she couldn't actually play Quidditch.
"She doesn't seem worried at all about the Giant Squid initiation test I told her she'd have to pass before she even makes it to the castle." James informed his mother as he passed her on his own. Lily's eye twitched once before she stamped her foot and began to yell at him.
"There is no such thing, James!"
"Believe whatever you want, but you'll regret it later!" James then left ahead of everyone else when he saw his friends, Addie Sanders and William Troy. He straightened the Prefect’s badge on his Muggle shirt and trudged along.
"I bet he doesn't realise I've watched all of my family members go into Hogwarts before me and none of them have ever done a Giant Squid initiation test! There really isn't a Giant Squid initiation test, is there?" Lily asked, slightly panicked as she looked at her parents with hope.
"Of course n—" Ginny started.
"Well, that's because not everyone has the same test, Lily." Harry broke in. "Look at me. My test was against a snobby little git who tried to coax me into a house I really had no interest in at the time. I passed didn't I? They change it every year though, and this year it must be the Giant Squid again. Too bad about the last first year that failed that test when I was in school..."
Ginny swatted his arm but couldn't help but laugh at her husband's gentle humour. Lily, however, didn't take it so lightly.
"I didn't study!"
"You're not spending your weekends at Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's house anymore, Lils." Harry grinned.
"Don't worry," Albus chimed in, "at least you didn't have to fight off a dragon before the train even reached the castle. I took on the whole thing by myself!" Then he too ran off to see some friends crowding around a mutual friend's new owl.
"I don't remember anyone ever talking about these tests!" Lily cried, near panic now.
"That's because no one is allowed to tell the first years until the day of school. That way, they worry about not studying before it." Lily's Uncle Ron said as he suddenly came in from behind her mum and dad. Hermione had the same soft laughter Ginny did when her husband joked, but Hugo looked just about as terrified as Lily did.
"Honestly, you two. There's no point in scaring them. Lily dear. Hugo. There are no such tests. Just worry about having a good head on your shoulders when you're sorted, and you'll be fine," Ginny confirmed as she continued to hold on to Lily in the crowd of rushing people.
"That is, if you manage to keep your head on your shoulders after facing the Giant Squid!" Ron and Harry said at the same time. In turn, both wives scolded their husbands and laughed heartily. The laughter subsided when they reached the scarlet train at last and Lily tried to get on without saying goodbye.
"Hold on a second there, darling." Harry said while pulling out his wand to enchant her trunk and other belongings. "I've got your trunk, now you come here and hug your good ol' mum and dad properly." After Lily hugged both of her parents, a fellow first year walked by with wide eyes and pointed right at the family of redheads and Potters.
"That’s—you're—they're—you're—you're Harry Potter's daughter!" Said the very educated child as he ran off to tell a rather round, fat friend.
"Guess I've got to get used to that now that I'll be around people I don't know, huh?" Lily sighed. It was people like that kid who made her first year much less exciting. She knew they'd expect her to be some great Gryffindor like her father and company, but her older brother Albus was a Slytherin. The only reason he wasn't forgotten about was because he was the first Potter ever to be sorted there. If Lily were a Slytherin, the wizarding world would think the Potters were just making a bad brew of children. Anything else and she'd just be some other smart kid in Ravenclaw or whatever the heck a Hufflepuff was.
Harry knelt down on one knee, almost identical to what he did two years previously with Albus, only he kissed her cheek first.
"Be sure to write to us every day!" Ginny called out while Hermione told Hugo something about telling Professor Longbottom hello from the Weasley family. The train whistle sounded and everyone who wasn't on the train scattered in a hurry to board before they were left behind. Lily waved goodbye to her parents until she could no longer see them. What she missed, as the train turned around the corner, was the look the rather large family shared with one another of concern.
The train was loud and roaring on the outside, but inside Lily and Hugo found their walk to the nearest compartment very easy.
"So tell me," Hugo said once they walked into an empty compartment and placed the remainder of their things they carried up on the racks where their luggage magically appeared. "Do we really have to pass an initiation test?"
The compartment James was in was very full. In fact, he was sure if one more person were to come in the trolley lady would send them all out to find somewhere else to sit. He wouldn't have to worry much longer about how packed the compartment was, however, because soon he and two of his other friends would be leaving for the Prefects’ meeting.
Albus was sitting by the window in full conversation with Fred and Lucy, while Rose, Will and Dominique were talking about what it would be like the following year if Rose were a Prefect. The only other person in the room was one of James' best mates, Addie Sanders, who was contently staring at him with a warm smile. She, unlike James, was already wearing her Gryffindor robes and had the brand new Prefects badge pinned right below her left shoulder.
His plan was to surprise her and Will with his accomplishment, but she was ready to go and boast to the world about hers. Not that James really minded, but she really couldn't believe it when he showed her his. Ever since then, however, Addie couldn't seem to stop staring at him.
"Don't you agree, James?" Dominique asked, turned away from the conversation Rose and Will were having with her. When he didn't answer right away she tried again. "Don't you think Rose would make the perfect Prefect next year?" She asked with wide, hinting eyes.
"Um, yeah," James hesitated, looking from Rose to Dominique and at Will who was giving the clear heads up to agree. "If that's what the Head Girl believes, then yeah. Definitely." Dominique turned and looked at Rose with a very 'I told you so' pose.
"See? I told you people already saw you in a leading position," Dominique assured her.
"Yeah," Fred jumped in, "but that's just the nice way of saying that we all think you're an insufferable know-it-all." He high-fived Albus and Lucy broke into a fit of giggles.
"Take that back, Fred Weasley!" Rose threatened. That was as far as the threat reached because just then the compartment door opened and Brandon Nelson peeked his head in just far enough so everyone could see his Head Boy badge above his Hufflepuff badge.
James and Addie stood up abruptly, unsure of what to do in the presence of the higher authority. Dominique sighed and said, "I'll see you later, Rose. Then we'll talk more about next year, OK?" She placed the rest of her belongings and treats with her luggage above and followed the other three out of the compartment.
"Hello, Brandon," she said once they were in the hallways of the train and shut the compartment door. "I didn't realise that you were appointed Head Boy or else I would have come to say hello a long time ago." She added with her most sickly sweet voice James recognized as the 'there's no chance of that ever happening' voice.
"I'm sure, Dominique." Brandon said, not bothering to turn around. It was apparent to James in his previous years at Hogwarts that Brandon always had a little thing for Dominique, but his mess of brown hair and as-tamed-as-magic-would-allow acne were no match for what remained of Veela blood in Dominique. "It was announced in the letter you received over summer who was Head Boy, but I suppose you must've forgotten or jus—"
"Excuse me!" Addie interrupted. "But er, where are we going exactly? Are we going to some secret huge gigantic room in the train that I've heard about? Where are the other Prefects? And where—"
"I'm sorry?" Brandon turned around and raised an eyebrow at the much smaller girl. He was a very tall boy, nearly a head taller than James, but that wasn't saying much in Addie’s case, who stood unknowingly dumbfounded before him.
She spoke again, but this time faster. "It's just that someone once told me that all the Prefects met with the Heads on the train in some big elaborate room where they hold their meetings and pass out duties and everything! I mean, I've never seen this room once since I've been riding the Hogwarts Express, but that doesn't mean magic doesn't hide or conceal it somehow. You see, magic has this curious way of hiding things and I—"
"Oh! No, no!" Brandon was a bit overwhelmed and looked at James for help. James placed a hand on her shoulder and that immediately calmed her down. Addie's face turned an instant shade of red and she looked down at her shoes and decided they were very interesting to look at for the rest of the conversation.
"There are a few rooms like that, yes," Brandon said calmly after a moment or two of silence.
"But not for us, you silly girl," Dominique sneered. "We are just here to make sure you know to watch this hall from now until departure, along with the next carriage. That is all, and we have to tell you not to let anyone escape their compartments as we come closer to Hogwarts, as there have been troubles in the past with not getting off in time." Dominique winked at James and he knew she was directing her comment towards his father.
Addie looked up fiercely. Her bashful, unexpected persona ended the moment Dominique called her a silly girl. James knew she had a temper and she didn't control it well, but she luckily kept her mouth shut for the remainder of Dominique's speech.
"That is all." Dominique ended and then turned around, forgetting Brandon was right behind her and running straight into him. "Will you please move!" He shifted to the side and allowed her to pass by. He gave Addie and James a look as if to say, "I'm sorry about that, guys," and then went off to follow Dominique to do whatever the Head Boy and Girl do.
Addie and James were left in the aisle by themselves. When she still didn't say a word, James broke in with, "So, are you OK?"
She huffed and crossed her arms, making her robes look a size or two too small.
James looked at her for a moment, trying to take her seriously, and then began to laugh. Addie giggled, too. Neither one of them were very serious people, and neither one of them knew what Professor McGonagall was thinking when she appointed them their roles. Either way, they were role model students in a strange sort of way.
"You'll have to get used to her, Addie. She's a lot like my Aunt Fleur, who only used to get along with Uncle Bill and my dad for the longest time before she decided to, er, adapt the rest of our families into her life. Dominique takes after her mum, that’s all." James reassured her after the two had calmed down slightly.
Addie was still smiling and a hint of laughter was still in her eyes.
"Eh, they probably just go around gathering all of the Prefects just so they can tell them to patrol hallways, like what we're doing now," James pointed out.
"Do you think we'll patrol together often?" Addie asked, turning her head so she could see him behind her.
"We are both in Gryffindor," he reminded her. Addie blushed and turned around.
"Oh. Yeah." She said and then jumped a little right as a compartment door slid open next to them. "WHOA!" She jumped right into James and he caught her before she knocked both of them over.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."
"Noah?" James asked in surprise. He looked in the compartment and saw no one else was in there. "Why aren't you with Molly? I didn't think things actually ended with you two."
"No, we're still together. I'm off to see her right now actually," Noah sighed. James didn't know if he should take his comment as a good or bad thing. Addie suddenly extracted herself from James' arms, realising where she was, and then she brushed her robes off.
"Right," she said officially. "You shouldn't be running off anywhere. We'll be at Hogwarts soon and you need to get into your robes!" She said promptly. Noah chucked and pulled on his robes to show her he had them on already. "Oh. Right. Well then you can't leave this carriage!"
Noah lightly pushed past her and James out of the way with a large grin and turned back to look at them.
"Nice one, Addie," James smirked. She punched him in the arm and continued to go forward.
"Come on, oh mighty great one. We have to check the next cart." James laughed and then he led the way in front of her.
"Oh ha ha! Aren't we original! Mighty Great One!"
The second carriage wasn't as calm as their first one, unfortunately. It must have been the carriage all of the first years decided to sit in because everyone was going from compartment to compartment as they were looking for friends or siblings. One first year was even looking for a lost sock!
Girls were huddled together in a shared compartment while boys were in another so no one would see the other change, but others were still undressed and doing everything imaginable with their wands.
"What are we s'posed to do?" Addie asked, her own wand out as if she was defending herself against a group of Dementors.
James lowered her wand arm and opened the nearest compartment door.
The compartment of first years who decided their robes weren't important at the moment hurried to their feet and started rummaging through their luggage bags. One girl even began to cry. Instead of apologising, James and Addie left them to change and went for the next compartment. The same sort of threats continued all along the row, making boys laugh and girls panic, while others stared blankly at them in their already changed robes. Addie had a blast, telling one lot that if they didn't get changed and in their compartments soon, Hogwarts would absolutely refuse to sort them and make them work in the kitchens all of term.
When they reached the end, the havoc died down and there was only one compartment left. It was Addie's turn to come up with the first year's demise, but when she slid open the door James heard her say, "Oh," and then she tried to turn around.
"What is it?" He asked, pushing past her. He immediately saw what it was. Lily and Hugo were completely dressed and ready to go, but what he also noticed was that their compartment was completely full as well. He recognised two of the seat occupiers as his brother Albus, who managed to sneak his way over to the compartment after they left, and another one of his cousins, Roxanne. Other than that, he didn't recognise any of the girls, who seemed to be ogling at him religiously. There was one boy whom he thought may be a second year, and he recognised him to be Joseph Bartly, but he couldn't be sure.
"Hi, James! Addie!" Lily chimed, in a very good mood. Hugo was sitting next to Albus and the kid that might be Joseph, and all of them were continuously making the girls squeal and giggle. The kid who may possibly have been Joseph was trying very hard to make Lily laugh at one of his jokes about some troll and a gargoyle, and it seemed to be working. Albus took no heed to it, but James stared at him for a while until Addie spoke up.
"We were just making sure you all were changed and ready to go. We'll be arriving at Hogwarts soon!" She exclaimed, very enlightened.
"That's good," Lily said, "because Joseph told Hugo and I all about how there is no initiation test. None that he could remember anyway. Isn't that right, Joseph?" she asked him merrily.
Joseph sputtered for a moment under the pressure of James' intense staring. "Um! Yeah! Then again, I said, not that I remembered, Lils—I mean Lily!" Addie found the situation all too humorous and began to laugh and soon all of the first year girls stopped their own hysterics and glared at her. Apparently, due to Addie's size, they thought she was just some first year girl who was coming in trying to steal their amusement.
"It's OK, Joseph," Lily assured the young boy, with a quick glance at her brother, "he's just being stupid, that’s all. Don't be afraid of him. He still goes to bed every night by lullaby."
"Oh?" Joseph perked back up and then smirked right at James. James blushed but glared at his own sister.
"I see that this room has everything sorted out now, so I guess we'll just be going!" Addie said quickly, pulling James by the back of his robes out into the hallway and then sliding the door shut behind them. "Your sister is very pretty, James. At least you don't have to worry about no boy ever liking her."
"Why would I worry about some boy liking her? I've gone out and specifically bought potions from my Uncle Ron and George's shop to keep guys away from her! She's twelve, for the love of Godric!"
"Oh come on," Addie smiled and then pulled him by the hand. It was odd, he thought, that the slightest touch from him made her face flush, but she could touch him at will without anything happening. "We're done here now, and the train will be stopping soon. Let’s go back to our compartment."
Some girl Noah didn't know sat in the carriages pulled by Thestrals to Hogwarts with him. They were the only two, and she tried to start conversation with him, but he didn't feel like speaking at the moment. His little meeting with Molly on the train didn't go exactly as he planned.
He was sitting there in a compartment by himself, wondering when the best time to speak to Molly would be. She had completely ignored him at King's Cross, and he didn't see her board the train. It wasn't until they were nearly at Hogwarts that someone knocked on the sliding door and let themselves in. It was Luke, one of Molly's best friends, and he didn't look too happy.
"Meet me in my compartment. Four doors down." He told him, and then with that, he left. Noah didn't say anything to stop him, but he didn't get up right away either. When he did get up and out of the compartment, James and Addie were waiting outside for him. It wasn't until then did he realise that Molly might actually want to talk to him. He was genuinely excited to see her and apologise for everything he did the week before.
When he opened the compartment Luke told him to be at, Molly was sitting in the corner, next to her two best friends, Luke Matthews and Avery Masters. They were sitting right next to her so Noah had to sit across from them. Avery was reading, or cowering, behind a book while Luke was trying to look as big as he could while staring Noah down.
Noah watched him with curiosity as he sat down, and then looked right at Molly, who looked as if she were fighting tears and scared at the same time.
'Listen, Molly, I'm sorry about—"
"Noah, I think it's time you and I broke up." She said flatly. Her voice was faint, yet neither one of her friends moved. He had the feeling this was planned between all three of them.
"What? But, Molly, I—" he tried to speak. He tried to put sense to her words, but she closed her eyes and a tear ran down her cheek.
"Enough, Noah. It's clear that you and I don't have the same interests as one another, and that's not healthy in this relationship. I—I think it's time we split up and that's final."
Noah opened his mouth to argue, the smile on his face from moments ago long forgotten. He gave up and slumped in his chair. There was nothing more for him to say. Apparently there was nothing more for her to say either, because Molly stared out the window and avoided looking at him.
"I think you should leave," said a small voice that cracked. No one bothered to see who it was but Noah. It was Avery, peeking at him from her book and biting her lip. Her glasses were rammed tightly onto the bridge of her nose so they wouldn't fall off as she read, and her mousy brown hair hid most of her face. Noah looked at her, then at Molly, who still refused to look at him.
With one last look at Luke, he stood up and opened the compartment door. Then he turned back to look at all three of them. His anger had got the better of him, which didn't happen often, and he looked right at the back of Molly's head.
"I hope you know," he spat, "that I meant what I said that day, Mols. And I always will, too. I love you, and if you don't love me back that's fine, because no one asked you to. Doing this? Well it's just foolish, but whatever makes you happy I guess is fine with me. Just remember what I said, and don't let it bite you in the arse when it's too late!"
He heard her sigh and then he slammed the compartment door shut behind him, huffing off back to his own compartment.
"I know that you're not the kind to start friendly conversation, but I thought I'd let you know that we've arrived," said the girl who had been sitting with Noah all along. She seemed very annoyed, and before waiting for his response, she stomped out of the carriage.
"Well," Noah sighed to himself, "that's two women I've manage to piss off in one evening." He climbed out of the carriage and looked before him to see his old home. He smiled faintly and walked straight on to the castle doors.
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