Sirius was stood in the hallway saying goodbye, "I wish I didn't have to go."
"We know dear," Andromeda smiled. "Ted will take you to the station – but be careful not to be seen with him. I don't want you being disowned as well." Andromeda laughed bitterly.
Sirius sighed. He looked down at his new second cousin, "she's beautiful Andi. You guys did good."
"Thanks Sirius," Andromeda smiled.
"Be careful – won't you?"
"Of course. You too by the way. I know what you are like!" Andromeda grinned.
Sirius nodded before picking up his rucksack. "I love you Dromeda – you really are my favourite cousin."
"Well it's kind of slim pickings but you're mine too," Andromeda smiled. "Uncle Alphard is coming to visit – you better get out of here unless you want the whole family to know that you visited the family outcast."
"You'll write?" Sirius asked.
"Of course," Andromeda kissed him on the cheek.
James had had a great time with his family over the Christmas holiday. Nancy, Dorian, Doreen and little Cynthia had come to visit on Christmas day. They'd all grown up so much. Doreen was in her first year at Hogwarts. She'd been sorted into Ravenclaw. James had barely seen her but he knew that was because the eleven year old had spent most of her time in the library. Nancy had grown more eccentric since leaving Hogwarts. James had heard her talking about several things that he was pretty sure didn't exist. "Have you made any friends in Ottery St Catchpole?" Mrs Potter asked.
"Oh yes. Molly and Arthur have been great. There are also several other families that have been incredibly welcoming." She turned slightly pink. "They've all been so helpful and friendly."
"Oh that's good," Mrs Potter smiled, "and at the ministry?"
"Oh yes – everyone has been amazing. The whole department are awesome. Whoever thought magical transportation could be so interesting."
Mr and Mrs Potter smiled kindly, "and how are you Cynthia?"
"I am great!" the small girl smiled as she danced around the room.
"How old are you dear?" Mrs Potter asked, already knowing the answer.
"SIX!" Cynthia told them excitably.
James smiled, thinking back to that day. He was sat in a ministry car with his parents on the way to Kings Cross. It was time to return to school.
Eileen looked at her son as he packed up his things, "are you sure you don't want me to take you?"
"No thank you," he answered in a strained voice, "I'm fine going with Lily and her family."
"If you are sure. It would have been nice to take you," Eileen sighed. "Do you want me to get rid of it?" She pointed to the black eye her son currently had. Snape reached up to touch his face and nodded. He didn't want people to know that his father hit him. "I'm going to miss you Sev."
"I don't know why you don't just leave him," Severus asked.
"It's not as simple as that. He's my husband and he's just angry. It's my own fault. I wasn't exactly forthcoming about being a you know…"
Severus sighed, "that's just an excuse." He pulled his back pack over his shoulder, "I've got to go."
"I love you son," Eileen whispered.
"I love you too."
Remus and his mother Mary were stood on the platform, "I'm going to miss you Remus."
"I know. I'll miss you too mum," Remus replied.
"You will be careful, won't you?" She looked worried.
"Always. I promise," Remus hugged her.
"Good – because I don't think I could face losing you," Mary looked close to tears.
"I know mum," Remus held her tightly. "I promise, I'll be home before you know it."
Marlene was stood just slightly further up the platform, "I'm glad you got the day off to bring me to the station."
"So are we dear," Alicia McKinnon told her daughter.
Marlene looked up at her parents. They were a very handsome couple. They were younger than most of the parents on the platform but they had a maturity that was unusual at their young age. Mr Andrew McKinnon smiled at his daughter, "be careful. I don't want any owls telling me my daughter is in the hospital wing again."
"Yes father," Marlene laughed.
"And have fun Marley," Alicia smiled. "Before you know it, the year will be over. Make the most of it."
"I will mum," Marlene said as she jumped on the train. "I love you mum, dad."
"We love you too," Alicia said as her husband nodded his head.
Alice and Frank were already sat on the train. They had arrived together. Augusta Longbottom had brought them. Augusta and Frank had spent Christmas with Alice and her family. It had been a lovely time and Alice wasn't quite as scared of Mrs Longbottom anymore.
They sat in the compartment that they were saving for their friends, talking and holding hands. Marlene joined them and smiled, "so how was Christmas?"
"Good thanks," Alice replied. Frank merely nodded happily. "Yours?"
"It was fantastic. Mum and dad took the whole holiday off work. It was amazing. I don't remember the last time they've gone two weeks without stepping into the ministry."
Alice laughed, understanding completely. Her father Ignatius was exactly the same. He was the head of the department of misinformation and he seemed to work every hour he could regardless of the fact they didn't need the money.
"Have you heard from the others?" Alice suddenly asked. She hadn't received a single letter over the Christmas break.
Marlene shook her head.
Peter had had a terrible Christmas. His parents had tried to put him on a diet. He was starving. He barely said goodbye to his parents. He was quite angry with them, "we're doing it for your own good."
"My own good? You're starving me for my own good?"
Mary walked up to Peter, "hey Pete – shouldn't we get on the train?"
"Yeah – sure thing Mary. See you mum, dad." They walked away leaving Mr and Mrs Pettigrew feeling very sad.
They quickly joined their friends on the train. Their compartment was always a tight fit. James was sat by the window opposite Alice and Frank. Sirius was sat with Felicity in his lap. Felicity had brought Molly along. Molly was happily talking to James about the wedding they had both attended over the holiday. Marlene was sat with her arms crossed trying to look anywhere but at Sirius and Felicity. Peter and Mary joined them, "I hope the trolley comes soon – I'm starved."
"You're always hungry, Pete!" James laughed, happy for an excuse to leave his current conversation. Molly was boring him slightly. They'd had fun at the wedding. They'd even kissed but he wasn't interested in her. She was pretty but he liked someone else.
The compartment door opened and everyone turned expecting to see Kate, Remus or Lily but they were surprised to see Terry Hamman, a Gryffindor fourth year with blonde hair and striking blue eyes looking back at them. "Hey guys," he said to the group before turning towards Marlene, "Marlene could I have a word in the corridor?"
Marlene nodded, getting to her feet and following him out into the corridor. The group watched her go. "I wonder what that was about," Mary thought allowed.
"I heard a rumour – he fancies her," Alice informed the group. Sirius' eyes shot up at the word fancies. He watched the two Gryffindors in the corridor. He could only see their silhouettes through the frosted glass. Felicity tried to get his attention but he barely acknowledged her as she kissed his neck.
Kate, Will and his new girlfriend Rebecca were walking down the train looking for their friends. "Where the hell are they?" Kate complained. She spotted Lily but she was sat in a compartment alone with Snape so she decided to keep looking for the others. Will and Rebecca's friends had completely vanished too. They talked slightly about what they had done over the holiday but Rebecca was very shy. Kate sighed in relief when she noticed Marlene stood outside a compartment talking to a fourth year. "Hey Marley! Are they in there?"
"Yeah – hey Kate."
Kate walked into the compartment and her brother and Rebecca followed her in. Will automatically started up a conversation with James and Sirius. Kate looked around the compartment, "bluming heck this compartment is full." She then turned to Rebecca and tried to make polite conversation.
Several minutes later Marlene returned to the compartment. "Well?" everyone asked expectantly.
"Well nothing – he just asked me out on a date is all," Marlene laughed.
"Yeah – that's no big deal is it?" Alice asked sarcastically. "He's only like the hottest fourth year!"
"He really is – isn't he?" Marlene laughed.
"It's his eyes," Kate smiled.
Sirius sat quietly as the girls talked about Terry Hamman. He quickly realised he didn't like it.