Chapter 2 : Exchanges
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September first would always find them standing together on platform 9 and 3/4 and this year was no exception. People were coming in from all over the country to see their children of to school, tearful goodbyes were being exchanged and last minute advice was given. The two teenagers were walking side by side, with an eldery witch and wizard, who's kind faces gave away the pride they were feeling to be escorting the boys off to school.
But the two boys weren't brothers by blood, although their closeness wouldn't suggest otherwise. James Potter was the son of the witch and wizard escorting them, as you could tell from the messy shape of his black hair,which resembled that of his father, though his was already gray with old age and started thinning. His hazel eyes and long, elegant nose were his mother's contribution. Sirius Black however, was another story. The tall and dark haired boy belonged to one of the oldest pureblood families the wizarding world had ever known. His parents, Orion and Walburga had raised their boys, Sirius and Regulus with traditional beliefs and taught them to hold in contempt those who's families weren't as "pureblooded" as theirs. Regulus had absorbed this information and these teachings as if they were food,water and air. Sirius however, had learned at a young age that people weren't as simple to catalogue as pure blooded and traitors. His family had seen from an early age his defiance starting to grow but they knew that once he was sent off to school and sorted into Slytherin he would come around.
Sirius Black became the first member of the ancient house of Black to the sorted into Gryffindor, making the relationship with his parents even more difficult. He sought solace in his Hogwarts friends, especially James Potter, whom he had come to regard as his brother and who's family had "adopted" him right in. So it came as no surprise to Mr. and Mrs. Potter when late one night, last summer, their "son" showed up at their doorstep, telling them about how he had decided to run away and had been disowned, even blasted of the family tree by Walburga.
It was from that day that the Potters became four and Sirius and James were like brothers, even more so than before.
Sirius' grey eyes were searching the crowd looking for somebody. He smiled and elbowed James as he saw the people he was looking for. Remus Lupin, their friend and 6th year Prefect was already with Peter Pettigrew as the two of them were saying goodbye to their parents. The little group made their way across the platform to meet the other two families.
"Mrs. Lupin, Mrs. Pettigrew, lovely to see you!" Mrs. Potter said and smiled, and her voice was welcoming and warm and you could feel the kindness of the woman who spoke.
"Mrs. Potter, always a pleasure!" said a small and mousy woman, Mrs. Pettigrew to be exact.
"We hope the boys weren't too much trouble when they stayed over last month." a sandy haired woman, Mrs. Lupin said.
"Oh nonesense! It's never trouble to have all of our boys together. If I didn't have to stop them from blowing the house every other day I'd actually have time to start feeling my age," Mr. Potter said and the group laughed. The sound of thei voices seemed to have attracted the attention of another, smaller group and Sirius could see to his right his family. No, his former family, who had come to see Regulus off.
Although they were looking in his direction they made no sign of recognizing him and Sirius rolled his eyes and looked away. Apparently they didn't know who he was so they weren't worth his time.
After the final goodbyes were made the four boys got on the train and procedeed to search for a compartment. Most of them were full, but James quickly spotted the one in which he wanted to sit.
The compartment in question wasn't empty, but occupied by two girls. One of them was sitting with her legs tucked underneath her and going through a magazine, stopping from time to time to move pieces of her long, dark hair from her eyes and the other was furiously looking for something in her bag.
"You know Lily, it is September first and tehnically the first day of term, so just use your wand you silly old witch." the girl said without looking up from her magazine.
The girl called Lily sighed and took out her wand without as much as turning to her companion. Accio. A hair elastic flew into her hand and she happily pulled her auburn hair away from her green eyes.
"Honestly Mary, brains like that you'll make Head Girl next year." she said as she sat down. Again, Mary didn't bother looking up but merely stuck her tongue out at Lily before turning another page. Her reading was however interrupted by the sound of the compartment door.
"Good morning ladies!" James said and flashed them his most "charming" smile.
"Oh hi James." Mary said. Lily however didn't make any sign that she had seen them coming in. The boys proceeded to place their bags in the spaces above the seats and arrange themselves in the compartment.
"Potter, did I say you could sit with us?" Lily asked and rolled her eyes.
"Well, in all fairness, I didn't ask. I just thought you know, us 6th year Gryf's, we should stick together."
Lily merely rolled her eyes again, making a mental note to refrain herself or else her face might stick like that forever.
"James, you do realise that Daisy and Linda are somewhere around here right? Go sit with them, I'm sure they'd love it."
Sirius and James shuddered at the mention of the other two 6th year girls. They weren't all bad to be fair, but they were a little too girly even by the boys' standards. Compared to Lily, who had taken out her Potions book and was scribbling notes on the side, (a habit which, as James remembered with distaste, she had picked up from another boy in their year, Sytherin Severus Snape) and Mary who was trying to figure out the meaning of some symbols in the article she was reading, they could've been in Muggle Middle School.
James had been relieved, so to say, although he would never say it out loud, when Severus Snape had called Lily a Mudblood at the end of last term, effectively ending their 6 years of friendship. This closeness she had with him always made James feel uneasy, especially after Christmas break last year, when a particularly nasty prank, which had made 5th year Prefect Lily Evans yell at him in rage, made him decide she would be the one he was going to spend his life with.
It came as a shock at first when she didn't agree on a date at first, especially because what James wanted James usually got, but now he was faced with a dillemma. How will Lily agree toi marry him if she would rather date the giant squid?
He decided that this would be the year to make or break their relationship and settled into a more comfortable position by her side, much to her distaste.
The ride to Hogwarts was coming to an end, they could tell by the trees thickening and the mountains appearing in the sunset. They had all changed into their school robes and were waiting to get off the train, while Sirius was busy making a lot of noise about how hungry all the amount of junk food he had eaten had made him. Mary smiled at him in an affectionate way. She would never understand what Lily's problem was with these boys, who were both immature and wise beyond their ages. But nevertheless, Lily was her own partner in crime and she could never try and force her to change her mind.
They got off the train and made their way to the magic carriages waiting to take them to the castle. Hogwarts was visible in the distance, majestic and a little intimidating. But it was home to it's students and in some cases a better home than they ever had. It received little scared children and when it was done with them they were fully grown adults, more confident and capable than they ever thought they could be. Hogwarts took children and made them people. Perhaps that was the real magic of the place. The character bulding process.
The Great Hall was decorated in the spirit of the new school year, with House decorations hanging above each table, with the teacher's in their best robes and the students, well, most of them, on their best behavior. In the center of the table stood the man whom James and Sirius regarded as the greatest man to have ever walked the grounds of the school, Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster and mentor, the man who knew everything but let on nothing about it.
He stood up and watched the tiny first years as they grouped together and waited, so close to each other that they could've formed a whole. He smiled at them, but his eyes had a sort of regret in them, maybe because in 15 minutes they would all be sorted and this close group would dissappear forever. He sometimes thought about how it would be, if they never grew to understand how people were different by name or by status. The man cleared his throat and the Hall went silent.
"Good evening my dear students and fellow teachers. Welcome to the start of a wonderfulnew adeventure." A little boy waiting to be sorted whimpered and became scarlet in the face when everybody looked at him. Dumbledore smiled and continued. "Before we begin our sorting I have only one word of advice for our new young ladies and gentlemen. Always remember that great people are great people. The rest are just, population. Now if you will all please, let the sorting begin."
A stern witch with glasses and her hair in a tight bun came forward.
"When I call your names you will step up to the front; you will place the Sorting Hat upon your heads and then sit at the the designated tables..."
Sirius was already starting to feel sleepy and by the looks of it so were his three other friends. He vaguely registered the names of the first years. Adams, Collins, Dylan... . When at last there were only a couple of more first years remaining the doors of the Hall suddenly opened and Sirius jumped at the noise and was awake at last. The groundskeeper, Hagrid, was standing in the doorway smiling at Dumbledore, but he wasn't alone.
Sirius could see the figure of a girl hiding behind him, with rosy cheeks, obviously from their sudden entrance. Her smile showed that she would've much rather just slip in unnoticed.
"Good evening Hagrid! I trust you had no troubles with our guest."
"No sir, no problems at all!" he said, looking proud of himself. Dumledore motioned for him to wait as the Sorting Hat placed Vince, Emily in Hufflepuff and then stood up to address the students once more.
"We have the honour of welcoming to our school miss Sophie - Elise Bouvier, a transfer student from the Beauxbatons Academy in France. She will be completing her final two years of school here with us. Miss Bouvier, if you will please place the Sorting Hat on your head, we will find you your new place immediately."
The Hall was all eyes as the stranger placed the hat upon her head, looking extremely uncomfortable with all the attention and closed her eyes. Finally, the Sorting Hat yelled "Gryffindor" and the table exploded in applause.
She made her way towards the table as Professor McGonagall followed her and motioned for her to sit in between Lily and Mary.
"Miss Evans, Miss MacDonald, this is Miss Bouvoir and she will be sharing your dormitory as of right now. I'm sure you two will make her feel most welcomed" she said and turned on her heels and left.
"Hello, my name is Lily and this is Mary."
The new girl smiled and spoke in what was a surprisingly clear British accent "It's lovely to meet you both, I'm Sophie - Elise, but you may call me Elise."
Introductions were made all around the table and Dumbledore stood up again.
"And on this note, I have one last thing to say. Dig in!" and food magically appeared on the tables.
The girls and Remus, Peter and James were making small talk while they ate, or rather the girls were making small talk with Remus and Peter while James was shamelessly trying to flirt with Lily. Sirius kept quiet while he ate, observing Elise. Because of his upbringing he had to first study people before letting them closer to him. It wasn't something he was proud of but living with his parents taught him it was better safe than sorry.
"My mother is British and went to Hogwarts," she was saying "and my dad works with the Ministry. He's french. He was sent to England to help out in some affair or another and here I am." she said and smiled.
She seemed okay, and the others were trying to make her feel welcomed. Eventually the focus shifted from her to the other students and teachers and they started giving her tips on who was okay and who should be avoided (Slytherins Sirius thought and internally rolled his eyes). He was observing her now, seeing her skin was naturally rosie, even without the blush that had crept her cheeks earlier, that her hair was chocolate brown and even though it appeared to be tied up in a messy bun it was actually quite elaborate and she must've spent some time to make it look like this. He saw her make up was minimal, but when she caught his eye, he saw she had warm eyes, eyes that smiled and made it hard for him to look away.
It lasted for only a second and that was it. James had gotten bored while Lily was busy ignoring him and had turned to him and the moment was lost. A smile made it's way to the corner of his mouth.
Hello stranger. It was going to be an interesting year.
AN: Hello everybody, again! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy this. This chapter reminded me of a quote by JKR "Whether you come back by book or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home".
Disclaimer: Anything you recognize isn't mine.
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