Chapter 3 : My Transition into a New Era and a New Year
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And I've been taking chances,
I've been setting myself up for the fall,
I've been keeping secrets,
From my heart and from and from my soul.
Lover to Lover - Florence & the Machine
How did this even happen?
This is what I ask myself as I'm running along the streets of London carting a huge trunk behind me.
It should have been impossible for me to be late for the train, as I had been staying with Penny (a person who glorifies timeliness) for most of the summer. I don't think she's ever been late to anything. Apparently she was born on the exact date her mother was expecting her, right at midnight. Right on time. Eerie isn't it? Pretty uncanny.
I was nearly two weeks late. Stressed my mother out quite a lot apparently.
But I had decided to not stay at Penny's the night before. I had a valid reason of course.
I just HAD to take up my brother's offer to let me spend the night at his new flat in London before I met Penny at the platform to board the station.
The only chance I had to possibly be late for the train, and I took it.
And the sad thing is, I saw this coming from miles away, even without the vision.
My brother Henri was one of my best friends, but he's just as bad as I am when it comes to tardiness.
The clock outside the station read 10:59 as I rushed through the doors, shuffling past muggles in the busy atrium of King's Cross Station. The seconds were running out for me. I ran straight past the first eight platforms before coming to the brick wall between the two signs that read 9 and 10. I didn't pause, running straight through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4, praying that for some reason, the train hadn't left the station yet.
I shoved my way through all the Wizarding families, who were all crowded around the huge cloud of billowing steam.
"Charlie!" A voice called. I looked for the source. It was Aaron's dad, Mr. Harvey. "How are you? I would hurry if I were you, the train's pulling out as we speak!"
I swore. "Thanks Mr. Harvey! I'm on it!"
"Please Charlie, It's Ed! See you around! Good luck with school!" He said, winking and waving as I sprinted towards the train, which was now appearing to be picking up speed behind the steam, which was thinning.
I weaved through the crowd to the edge of the platform. I caught a glimpse of Penny on the train from a compartment. Her eyes were frantic, waving me down. "Charlie Delacour! You are SO late!" She shouted. She was not happy with me.
I swore again, as people from the train and the platform were now acknowledging my predicament, including Fred and Aaron from the same compartment as Penny, who were laughing their heads off.
I ran towards the back of the train, where I threw my trunk onto the small little balcony thing on the very back of the caboose, where the train attendant was standing.
"Move over Simon!" I said, walking along with the increasingly fast train, before grabbing onto a pole alongside the iron railing, and hoisting myself onto the back of the train in a very unladylike fashion. I caught a final glimpse of Mr. Harvey laughing from where he stood with Mr. and Mrs. Potter, as I pulled myself up with one final grasp as we left the station.
I was in pretty much the most awkward physical condition of my life on that back platform, and Simon the attendant was backed up against the edge of the railing because of my pertruding trunk and of course, me, holding onto the railing with one arm for dear life as the train really picked up full speed, the wind tugging against my ponytail. I untangled myself from the pretzel I had gotten myself into, and pulled myself up into a standing position.
I brushed as much of the dirt and dust from the track off myself as I could, thanking Simon in the process for all his help.
"It would do you good to arrive on time to the station miss." He advised.
"No kidding. Thanks for that refreshing advice. I'll be off to my doom now, my friend is going to kill me. "
He raised his eyebrows, like he wanted to say something snarky like 'no shit' but refrained out of politeness.
I grabbed my battered trunk and opened the heavy duty door with little difficulty, once again no thanks to Simon.
I made my way along two corridors until I reached the one that Penny, Louis, Aaron and Fred were occupying.
I reached for the door, ready to slide it open, then Penny beat me to it.
"CHARLIZE DELACOUR!" She yelled. "Where on EARTH have you been?"
"Oh, you know, Morocco, South of France, China. The better question is where I haven't been..." I laughed nervously, trying to edge past her to no avail.
"I specifically told you not to be late, and what happens? YOU'RE LATE! I knew I shouldn't have let you out of my sight the day we leave for the train. 'She'll be fine' I told myself. Of course you're not! Look at you! You're covered in grease and dirt! How did you even get on the train?!" she rants.
"Jumped onto the caboose." I say casually, finally slipping past her to sit next to Aaron, who has his face in his hand, shaking with laughter. Louis is also hiding giggles behind his shirt sleeve. Fred is the only one not hiding his laughter.
Penny glares at him. He just keeps on laughing, as Penny's glare really isn't intimidating at all. "Well at least you're okay." She humphs, giving me a tight hug.
"Thanks Penny. I'm sorry." I apologize.
"That was bloody amazing." Aaron says, laughing. "Your face when you saw that the train was leaving was hilarious."
"I'm sure." I say sarcastically, sitting down across from him, putting my feet up by his knees.
"It was." Fred agrees.
"Shut up Freddie."
"You shut up."
"No, you shut up."
"No, you shut up."
"Seriously? You guys are doing this again? This happens like every time you disagree. You two are so immature." Penny says, cutting us off and rolling her eyes.
Fred and I meet eyes and start laughing.
This year is going to be brilliant.
"Welcome all new students and old students to Hogwarts. Now that you have all been sorted and fed, we have a few reminders and rules which I must give out." McGonagall says later on at the feast.
I'm sitting with Penny on my right side, Louis on her other side, and Fred and Aaron sitting across from us. I'm officially stuffed, having devoured basically everything in sight at dinner, having a jolly old time with Penny and the guys.
After a long train ride catching up with Penny (which only took thirty minutes as we saw each other one day prior [hey! a lot can happen in a day! thirty minutes isn't that long!]) and watching the guys be idiots, we rode up to the castle where the feast was waiting.
All the little first years were sorted, and now it was time for the rules to be stated.
"First off, I would like to notify first years and our more seasoned students that the Forbidden Forest is therefore Forbidden, always has, and always will be." I look over to Aaron and Fred. We always hope she'll forget that one. "Next, a complete list of the two hundred and seventy nine banned items is posted on the door to Mr. Filch's office. Students found in possession of such items will have them confiscated and a detention assigned.
"Also, this year Professor Humprey would like to place a blanket ban on all Hufflepuff related jokes, as they disrespect the dignity of Hufflepuff students."
I look over and see that Aaron and Fred don't look happy at this either.
Fred takes a piece of paper from the pocket in his robes and crumples it up into a ball angrily, throwing it down on the table.
"I assume you students will acknowledge this, and not take part in jokes about ANY houses." She looks over to our section of the table. Probably to stare down Tanner Wood.
He's always making fun of the Ravenclaws, calling them nerds and stuff. He's sitting not too far off.
"Now, prefects will you please..." This is where Penny goes to corral all the little first years while the rest of us tune out and take our dear time to get up to our nice warm beds.
Penny's head girl this year, ran around the house squealing for a good five hours when she got the letter. So now she "REALLY can't get involved in any of our shenanigans period", as she so blatantly put it.
The rest of us have a bet that the first person to get her to 'betray' her head girl status collects ten galleons from the rest of us.
I'm definitely going to win, being her best friend. Although Louis is pretty determined too.
As silly as those two are, they just need to get together already and admit that they're in love with each other. And that's coming from me, who's just about as romantic as a tractor.
"See you guys in a bit." She says, getting up from the table. "Head girl duty calls."
She's too cool for us now I guess.
"I am NOT too cool for you guys. And I'm not a nerd!"
Oops. I guess that was out loud.
"A cute nerd though." Louis pointed out.
Penny's face turned beet red at that point. "Er.. thanks. That's very sweet of you to say."
"No problem." Louis replies with a big smile.
"Oh will you two stop flirting so we can get on? It's quite grotesque and you look stupid." I interject.
Penny blushes even worse, but Louis just laughs, brushing it off. "Oh, just relax, Miss-I-don't-believe-in-feelings. It's not like we were making out in front of you."
Penny just leaves, shaking her head, blushing and smiling like a lovesick dog.
The rest of us leave shortly afterwards, trailing out at the back of the group of people heading towards Gryffindor Tower.
"Man, this rule about no Hufflepuff jokes is Bull." Fred comments on our way out.
A couple of fourth year Hufflepuffs glare at us from in front of us.
"I know!" Aaron agrees. "We spent all that time making up brilliant jokes and now we can't even use them!"
"Do you still have the parchment they're written on?" I ask. "I need something to entertain me in Transfiguration. I still can't believe that I got into the NEWT level class."
"Yeah, I have it right here." Aaron says, taking the crumpled ball of parchment from his pocket. "Well, you're actually pretty smart. And at least me and Louis will have that class with you."
"Oh joy." I say somewhat sarcastically.
"That's right." Louis says. "It's going to be awesome. You're taking Potions with us right?"
"Yes. That's the one class Penny can't stand to be partners with me in." I say.
Aaron chuckles. "Why, because you're better than her?"
"No. Apparently, I'm too impulsive." I explain.
"That just makes it more fun!" Fred exclaims.
"Well, I'll be Penny's partner." Louis volunteers.
"Really? Why would you want to do that?" I ask completely sarcastically.
"Yeah, why turn down the three of us?" Fred asks, slinging his arms around me and Aaron.
"I already agreed to be partners with David Wood from Slytherin, so Aaron and Charlie are going to have to be partners. We're all going to share a table though, right guys?"
"You don't want to be partners with me?" Aaron asks incredulous. "I'm hurt. After all we've been through..." He sighs dejectedly.
"I'm sorry, mate. You know how much stuff we got into last year. We barely scraped up Acceptables. Slughorn's just a pushover. Otherwise we wouldn't even be in this class." Fred explained.
"Like that stuff is not going to happen this year." I say, rolling my eyes.
"That's right Charlie. This year is going to be brilliant. Because now we're seventh years, and we can get away with more stuff." Fred said, winking.
Yup, us griffies are the bomb. Just don't let us near the explosives.
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