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Chapter 2 : Approaching Hogwarts
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I look up, Albus, Rose, Hugo and Lily are all staring at me, in a kind of awkward yet intrigued way. Like I'm the most interesting thing since sliced bread. But I'm not. I'm just Tom. All pasty white skin, mouse brow hair, standing at the glorious height of five foot two and skinny from malnutrition. I'm a spitting image of my Dad, except for my eyes. His were brown and mine are bright blue (don't know who they came from) when I hit puberty, girls are going to be falling all over me because of my eyes. Oh dear, I've been rambling in my head, again.
Lily says to Rose, "I thought only those with magical blood could get through the barrier?" Rose looks at me, her bright eyes burn with such intensity I'm surprise I don't combust on the spot. "Yes thats what I thought too, according to Hogwarts, A History, the barrier onto the platform has similar charms on it like the ones on Hogwarts. So either ol' Tom here is magical and didn't know it or something seriously weird is going on." I should really pay more attention to what goes on around me because I swear Rose just said I was magical!!?!?!?! "So, what is Hogwarts? Like what do you do there?" I am gaining more confidence now, I look at Hugo and, oh god, there it is again...the 'gum-on-shoe' look. Am I that strange? He hasn't said anything since I entered the compartment. Like he read my mind, Albus smirks "don't worry about Hugo, he's our resident family odd-ball." "I AM NOT, ALBUS!" Holy cow, I think I've gone deaf. Maybe if I am deaf, I won't have to listen to Mum rant and rave and John yell at me when I finally get back. I wonder if I can get him to yell again? "Hey Hugo, why are you the resident weirdo?" I can barely contain my laughter, he looks like he's about to explode! Rose and Albus snigger, Lily frowns. "I am not weird, I am not an odd-ball, nor a squib or anything like that! And I will NOT be the token Hufflepuff!" Hugo growls, looking livid now. That was too easy, I guess that confirms it. Note to self: gingers are a firey lot.
"Whats a Hufflepuff?" More weird words, these magical folk are an funny bunch. Albus finally takes his eyes off Hugo to look at me. "Its one of the houses at Hogwarts. Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff were founders of the school and each house has special entry criteria. For example, Rose here, is in Ravenclaw because she is too intelligent for her own good. My brother James is in Gryffindor because according to him, he's brave but he's just a big-headed quidditch dork and I'm the first Potter to ever be place in Slytherin because I'm brilliant and cunning" "Blow your own trumpet much, jeez Albus" snorted Lily. "And a Hufflepuff," Albus continues, sneaking a look at Hugo, "is someone without anything going for them." He explodes into laughter at the look on Hugo's face.
I wonder what house I would be in? I don't think I'm any of those things? Does that mean I would be in Hufflepuff...does that mean I nothing? What am I saying, pfft, I'm not magical. Calm down Tom. I wonder what they learn at Hogwarts? Wait, what was that word Albus said before, about a big head? Quidditch? Was that it?
"Whats quidditch?" This magic stuff is quite exciting actually. If only...
'It's only the best sport ever! Its on broomsticks and its really dangerous but so exciting! Dad says I have inherited his and Mum's flying skills so I can't wait for tryouts!" Lily said this so fast I don't think she even took a breath between words. She starts going into extreme detail that I switch off. I don't mean to be rude, but my attention span just isn't that long, and this trip is far more exciting than broomsticks. And I'm not the most coordinated person out, what with the constant fear of face-planting, so sport just isn't for me.
What the..? I'm sprawled on the compartment fall with a face full of blond hair, who has blond hair? I struggle to untangle my legs from this mysterious person, oh, mysterious boy by the looks of it. Rose lifts me to my feet as Albus lifts this new blondy to his. "Thats twice today that I've high-fived the floor with my face, new record" I announce to whoever is listening, Lily is by the look upon her face. Torn between hilarity and gum. "Sorry Tom, this is Scorpius. Scorp, this is Tom, our secret stow-away, muggle friend" finishes Albus. He just said FRIEND. Oh well maybe this won't be so bad at all. "Muggle, you say? Well Tom my friend, you're in luck. Because today is the day where I will take you under my Malfoy wing and show you the ways of the wizard. It all began last year when"Scorpius is cut off by Rose "Shut up Scorp. He thinks he's funny, but he's just full of rubbish. Typical arrogant Slytherin" she smirks. I think I like Rose (as a friend, not in that way) because as we've already established thanks to Hugo, gingers are unpredictable.
The train is slowing down. Has it been that long already? Albus and Scorpius have gone. Oh no, if we're here, what do I do? Where do I go? Oh I wish I had my stick to go with my cape so I would fit in better. I even wish I had Lucy...almost. Rose must notice the look on my face, as she stands up and drags me out of the compartment. I look back, when did Lily and Hugo leave? What if I get in trouble? Oh no I am going to get in so much trouble and I bet magic people have scary detention. Hey, thats a funny looking horse.
I say this thought out loud to Rose, her face becomes even more concerned. "You can see thestrals?" "You mean those funny black horse slash winged looking thing? Yeah...can't you?" She slowly shakes her head. "Only people who have seen death can see them..." "Oh, well that makes sense then" I comment, Rose looks torn, a zillion looks flash across her face but she doesn't say anything. Its quite pretty, in a morbid way, this thestral creature. "TOM!" "Wha...oh sorry Rose, I get lost in my own world some times." She holds her hand out for me so I can jump into the carriage. As soon as I sit down, it moves off. Oh, it smells like damp straw and feathers at the same time, and maybe the slight metallic taint of blood...weird.
"Ow!" Rose poked me in the ribs. "You really do zone out, don't you?" She laughs. I nod, "it's my escape." "You're one interesting muggle, Tom. Look, thats the castle, that tower over there is the Ravenclaw tower. Thats the Forbidden Forest. And that is the headmistress..."Her voice and face drain at the sight of a terrifying looking woman. Strict and cat looking, she says "Miss Weasley, into the Great Hall if you please, Mr Smith, follow me."
I am so in the toilet now.
For a magical castle, its quite dark in some places. Not at all like the fancy ones you see in pictures. "Keep up, Mr Smith" says the Cat Lady as she speeds up the stairs."Sorry Miss" I say, not all that sorry. My legs simply aren't long enough to keep up. I see something move out the corner of my eye. "Did that lady just leave her picture?" I'm shocked, so I pause to get a better look. My god, they're ALL moving. Now they talking, hmm more like yelling abuse because I'm staring. Whatever, I've heard worse. "Yes, yes. Magical portraits tend to be magical and move, now hurry along, we haven't got all day." Condesending much Mrs Cat Lady? I make to carry on up the stairs but fail when I realise I'm literally up to my knees in the step. This certainly is a day of firsts when it comes to going through objects that are meant to be solid. "Um, I'm stuck." Strict Cat Lady turns around and marches back down towards me. Woah, she look terrifying from this angle. Really old too. I must look scared because I swear her face softened a bit as she pulls my out with ease then proceeds to drag me the rest of the way. Probably so I don't get stuck again.
"Your mother isn't very happy with you Tom, but I think you are already well aware of this fact. Hippogriff." Hippogriff? We climb onto some stone steps, rising in a spiral motion, more magic I guess, this is getting to be a bit too much as the woozy feeling from before returns. "My Mum is never happy with me, Miss." I state, now I am terrified, I hope she isn't waiting for me at the top of the stairs. I start shaking, fear is overwhelming me as when come to a stop.
When Cat Lady opens the door, what I see inside I not what I expected.
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