Chapter 1: The Girl of Sterling Manor
The definition of wanderlust is a strong desire to travel. Grandpa says I was born with such a desire to move around and go on adventures, he joked that they should change my name to Wanderlust Blackwood because of it and because it was less weird sounding than Puck. Grandma would just laugh and shake her head at us. But they indulged my wishes to travel.
For years we traveled across the globe constantly. We never stayed in one place too long, but they made time to teach me. Well, Grandpa did. He taught me what he learned when he went to school for the muggles wherever we went. Canada, America, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Germany, you name it and I’ve been there. My favorite was Romania because of the dragons there. Of course, I never got to actually see one up close, but I saw some from a great distance. It was really cool but when I was nine, we moved back into Sterling Manor, Grandma and Grandpa’s home. A poor move on their part since I’ve been stir crazy since then.
“Puck, be careful and keep up! We don’t want you missing the train,” Grandma tisked as she pushed her way through the crowd of muggles.
So it was a good thing that I was going to Hogwarts. Nothing like going away to a magic school for a year to quell my need to travel . . . at least for the first month or so.
“Come on, kiddo, you just gotta mow them over,” Uncle Hamish said with a grin as he gripped my cart, his large hands enclosing around my much smaller ones, and helped me push the cart holding my belongings, including my trunk, my eagle owl, Merry, and all the magic necessities that Hogwarts required I have.
I felt giddy the closer and closer we got to platform 9 3/4. It would be my first time I would get to travel without my grandparents and I would finally get the hang of my magic and not have any accidents when my emotions got a little out of hand.
Just as we came between platform 9 and platform 10, I saw a flash of red hair disappear into a wall. Grandma and Grandpa lead us over to the wall and, when they were sure no one was looking, allowed me and Uncle Hamish to run through the wall. It was a rush and I smiled when we reached the other side, the other side being swarmed with witches and wizards.
“Alright, come on kiddo, I can’t keep my parents waiting on the other end, so let’s get your things onto the train, okay?” Uncle Hamish questioned as he ruffled my short honey brown curls.
“I still don’t understand why Grandma and Grandpa take me to the train themselves,” I huffed, blowing a curl out of my face.
“You know that Hogwarts makes them sad. They burst into tears when they saw your Hogwarts letter,” Uncle Hamish sighed as we approached the beautiful, scarlet train. “They don’t mean to, Puck, but they’re trying to get passed what Hogwarts reminds them of. Now come on, let’s get your things onto the train.”
“It’s okay, Uncle Hamish, I can do it,” I said with a grin, swatting his hands away from the cart.
“Are you sure, kiddo? Your trunk isn’t exactly light,” Uncle Hamish said with a raised brow.
“And I’m not a little weakling. I can load them onto the train, I promise, Uncle Hamish,” I said.
“Alright then. Before I go, give me a big hug! I won’t be able to see my favorite niece for a year!” Uncle Hamish grinned, trapping me in a bear hug and leaving slobbery kisses all over my face.
“That would be sweet if I wasn’t your only niece,” I said, laughing my very un-lady like, abrasive laugh which startled several of the witches and wizards around us, before hugging Uncle Hamish back. “But wait-I’m coming back for Christmas, aren’t I?”
“Wellll, Nala wants to take the family on a trip to New Zealand, tour the country and what not, and she wants to take Grandma and Grandpa too,” Uncle Hamish said sheepishly as he pulled away.
“And I can’t go?” I retorted.
“We thought it best for you to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas since you don’t really have friends your age. Nala says to make up for it, as soon as you get out for the summer, we’ll take you to Romania to see the dragons,” he said.
“We do that every year.”
“Yes, but this time you’ll actually be able to go around with the dragonologists,” Uncle Hamish added with a grin.
“Really?! No joke, I get to go around with them?” I asked excitedly, bouncing on my heels.
“Yes, we’re still working out some safety precautions, but you will be able to be with the dragonologists while they work.”
“This is great! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I squealed, jumping up and down, only to be settled down when Uncle Hamish ruffled my hair again.
“Alright, be good. If not, I’ll make sure Nala sends a howler,” he grinned before pulling me into one more quick hug. “I’ll miss you, kid.”
“Bye, Uncle Hamish,” I mumbled into his shirt before pulling away.
We saluted each other, an age old tradition between the two of us, and he left. I grabbed the handle of my trunk in one hand and Merry’s cage in the other and began to haul my belongings onto the train. It probably would be difficult for a normal 11-year-old but I’ve spent most of my life packing, unpacking, and carrying around a trunk of my only belongings in the world. It may have also helped that Grandma placed a light as a feather charm on them.
I found an empty compartment and set Merry on the seat before swinging my trunk up into a corner compartment. Then I grabbed Merry’s cage and placed it by the trunk, running my fingers over his feathers one last time before hopping down.
“Um, excuse me, do you mind if I join you?”
I spun around and saw a rather skinny boy with unkempt black hair and emerald green eyes hidden behind circular glasses standing in the doorway with his trunk and a beautiful snow owl in their cage.
“Oh, not at all!” I said with a grin. “Would you like some help?”
He nodded, giving me a hesitant smile, before handing me his owl. I gently placed the new owl next to Merry. I watched them interact for ab it, making sure they could tolerate one another before hopping back down to help the boy with his trunk. However, before I could assist him with his trunk, an older red haired boy appeared in the doorway.
“Want a hand?” the redhead asked.
“Yes, please,” the boy said, struggling with his trunk.
“Oy, Fred! C’mere and help!”
The twins grabbed the other end of the trunk and with the three of them working together, they managed to put away the trunk.
“Thanks,” the dark haired boy said to the three of us, pushing his sweaty hair to the side so it didn’t fall into his eyes.
Upon doing so, he revealed a peculiar mark on his forehead. I recognized it as a scar, but not just any simple scar. It was shaped like a lightning bolt and I’ve heard plenty of stories from Uncle Hamish about one boy with the exact same scar. I bit back a grin and resisted the urge to jump up and down at the fact I was meeting the Harry Potter. Granted, he was a baby when Voldemort disappeared, but he was a still famous.
“What’s that?” one of the twins asked, pointing at Harry’s scar.
“Blimey, are you-”
“He is, aren’t you?”
“What?” Harry questioned, looking a little confused.
“You’re Harry Potter, aren’t you?” I asked.
“Oh, him-I mean, yes, I am,” Harry said hurriedly then started to turn red when the twins started to gawk at him. He then quietly sighed in relief when a feminine voice came in through the open door of the train.
“Fred? George? Are you there?”
“Coming, Mom,” they chorused before hopping off the train with one last look at Harry.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Harry! I’m Puck, that’s with a P by the way, Blackwood and it’ll be my first year,” I said pleasantly and held out my hand with a grin.
“It’ll be my first year too,” Harry said and hesitantly shook my hand, as though he thought my hand would shock him like one of those silly little muggle toys. “Um, Puck?”
“Yeah! My mom was kind of a huge fan of Shakespeare and no one was there to stop her from naming me after the mischievous spirit in one of his plays. At least it’s not something you could easily forget,” I said with a small chuckle before releasing his hand. “If you don’t mind, I’ll be back in a bit. I want to explore a little before the train starts moving.”
“No, no, go ahead, I’ll just stay here,” Harry said.
I waved him goodbye before ducking out of the compartment and wandering down the hall of the train. The compartments on this car of the train was mostly filled with firsties judging by their appearance and natural fascination with the scarlet train. But I did run into this boy with dreadlocks and a pet tarantula he kept in a box. He seemed nice enough. I think his name was Lee. Something I’ll keep in mind should I be sorted into his house.
It wasn’t long before the train started to move. I headed back to my compartment and saw Harry sitting by the window, so I took the seat next to him. Before I could engage him in a conversation, however, the door to the compartment slid open and another redhead came in, this one younger than the twins.
“Anyone sitting there? Everywhere else is full,” the redhead said, gesturing to the seat across from Harry.
“Nope,” I said, popping the P as Harry shook his head.
The boy quickly sat down and stared out the window.
“Hey, Ron,” the twins appeared in the doorway of the compartment. “Listen, we’re going down the middle of the train-Lee Jordan’s got a giant tarantula down there.”
“Right,” Ron muttered.
“Actually, he’s moved more down the line last I saw,” I said, getting their attention. “Terribly sorry, I never introduced myself. I’m Puck Blackwood.”
“Oh, we never really introduced ourselves either. We’re Fred and George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother. See you three later, then,” and with that, the twins left, sliding the door shut behind them.
“Are you really harry Potter?” Ron blurted out as soon as they left but Harry was nice enough to nod his head. “Oh, well, I thought it might be one of Fred and George’s jokes. And have you really got-you know . . .”
He pointed to Harry forehead. Harry pulled back his bangs to show Ron the lightning shaped scar, in which the redhead stared at. His expression was similar to when the twins were gawking at him earlier, like he was something you stare at in a zoo exhibit. Really, did any of these Weasley boys have manners? It’s not polite to stare.
“So that’s where You-Know-Who . . .”
“Yes, but I can’t remember it,” Harry said.
“Nothing?” Ron asked.
“Well, if the books are right, Harry was only one at the time-just a baby. Really, it would be surprising if he remembered anything,” I offered.
“Well, I remember a lot of green light, but you’re right, I can’t remember nothing else,” Harry said with a nod of his head then quickly changed the topic. “Are all your families wizards?”
“Er-yes, I think so. I think Mom’s got a second cousin who’s an accountant, but we never talk about him,” Ron said.
“Not all of my family. My grandma is and so is my uncle, Uncle Hamish and his wife, Aunt Nala, but my grandpa is a muggle. My cousin Sonya is finishing her final year at a Witch institute in America. and her brother Gunnar is attending a wizarding school also out of the country. They adopted a muggle toddler, Jaya, last year. I guess you could say I have a nicely mixed family,” I said with a grin.
“I heard you went to go live with muggles. What are they like?” Ron asked, leaning forward in his seat a little.
“Horrible-well, not all of them. My aunt and uncle and cousin are, though. Wish I’d had three wizard brothers or a wizard uncle and a witch aunt,” Harry said.
“Five,” Ron corrected him, looking a little downtrodden at the fact. “I’m the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I’ve got a lot to live up to. Bill and Charlie have already left. Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy’s a prefect. Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they’re really funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others, but if I do, it’s no big deal, because they did it first. You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I’ve Bill’s old robes, Charlie’s old wand, and Percy’s old rat.”
At the mention of the rat, Ron reached inside his jacket and out he pulled a fat gray rat, one of it’s front paws was missing a finger. The fat thing was sleeping heavily.
“His name’s Scabbers and he’s useless, he hardly ever wakes up. Percy got an owl from my dad for being made a prefect, but they couldn’t aff-I mean, I got Scabbers instead,” Ron said, turning pink at the ears.
Harry, to smooth over Ron’s embarrassment over not having a lot of money, told us of his life with the Dursleys, his aunt and uncle and cousin, and how he never had money until a month ago and he was forced to wear Dudley’s old clothes, his cousin, and his relatives never gave him a real birthday present.
“. . . and until Hagrid told me, I didn’t know anything about being a wizard or about my parents or Voldemort,” Harry said.
Ron and I gasped at his name. Harry truly must not have known anything about what happened that night on Halloween ten years ago if he could say his name. The only people I knew who said his name were muggle borns who weren’t taught growing up not to say his name or the really brave (which translates to Uncle Hamish. He did fight against him in the first Wizarding War after all).
“What?” Harry asked, looking at us weirdly.
“You said You-Know-Who’s name!” Ron exclaimed, torn between being shocked and being impressed.
“No one says his name unless they’re muggleborn or really, really brave,” I added on.
“I’m not trying to be brave, though, saying his name. I just never knew you shouldn’t. See what I mean? I’ve got loads to learn,” Harry said. “I bet I’m the worst in the class.”
“You won’t be. There’s loads of people who come from Muggle families and they learn quick enough,” Ron reassured him.
“And I’m sure if you need help with anything like history, Ron or I could help you out. But I’m sure most or all of the first years will be learning things like wand movements together since we’re only allowed to buy our first wands when we become 11-year-old, or when we get a letter from a wizarding school, it depends on which comes first,” I said, my eyes flickering towards the window to see fields of green, home to many cows and sheep.
We chatted for awhile longer until we were interrupted by a loud noise outside the compartment. The door was slid open by a smiling older woman with a cart filled with all kinds of treats.
“Anything off the cart, dears?” she asked kindly.
I immediately jumped off my seat, pulling my pouch of coins Grandma gave me from my jean pocket and practically ran to the cart, not hearing Ron mumble something about sandwiches or see Harry run right after me, his pocket rattling with coins. The last time I ate was breakfast and I was so excited that I couldn’t really focus enough to eat all of it. All I had was two slices of toast and a slice of bacon, not exactly enough to feed a growing girl.
I grabbed handfuls of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes, and Pumpkin pasties since the cart was filled with only sweets. Harry bought a little of everything and when we walked backed into the compartment, carrying our sweets, Ron just stared at us in amazement. Harry and I shared a look before shrugging and dumping our candy onto an empty seat together.
“Hungry, are you?” Ron asked.
“Starving,” Harry replied while I just stuffed a Pumpkin Pasty into my mouth.
During this time, Ron pulled out a lumpy package and inside were four homemade sandwiches. He picked one up and pulled it apart before making a face.
“She always forgets I don’t like corned beef,” he said and I made a face at that. I absolutely hated corned beef. Grandpa tried to give me some out of a can and it was gross. He tried to make it better, saying it was better not in a can, but the canned menace ruined corned beef for me for life.
“Swap you for one of these,” Harry said, grabbing a pasty from the pile. “Go on-”
“You don’t want this, it’s all dry. She hasn’t got much time, you know, with five of us,” he said,
“Just give him the bloody sandwich and take a pasty,” I said, tossing a pasty at his face.
The three of us indulged ourselves with the candy, completely forgetting about the sandwiches. We talked animatedly, sharing stories and cracking jokes. The first time I truly laughed, it startled them so bad they jumped. Then they started to laugh themselves.
Harry grabbed a pack of Chocolate Frogs and inspected it while Ron laughed at me when I bit into a bean with red and yellow swirls and made a face. Ketchup and mustard, how lovely.
“What are these?” Harry asked, holding up the weirdly shaped Chocolate Frogs pack. “They’re not really frogs, are they?”
“Of course not! It’s chocolate shaped like a frog. Not even a world of magic would find eating a frog live appetizing,” I said after I spit out the bean and thoroughly scraped my tongue against the sleeve of my shirt.
“See what the card is, I’m missing Agrippa,” Ron said.
“I’ve got about three of him back home and about a million Merlins,” I said.
“Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know-Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them, you know, to collect-famous witches and wizards. I’ve got about five hundred, but I haven’t got Agrippa pr Ptolemy,” Ron said, eyeing the Chocolate Frog Harry had.
He unwrapped it and picked out the card. I huffed when he got Albus Dumbledore. I have at least six of him the last time I counted my cards. I just barely started to collect them after Sonya came home last summer and gifted me with about fifty Chocolate Frogs. My collection was nothing compared to Gunnar. I swear he has almost all of them and at least ten each.
“So this is Dumbledore,” Harry said as he examined the card.
“Don’t tell me you’d never heard of Dumbledore!” Ron exclaimed.
“Ron, he never even knew he was a wizard until a month ago. By the sound of it, he’s at least heard of Dumbledore, which is more than what muggleborns know,” I said.
“Right, sorry. Can I have a frog? I might get Agrippa,” Ron said and caught the Chocolate Frog I tossed him. “Thanks.”
I grabbed my own Chocolate Frog and my card had Nicolas Flamel, an alchemist who was over six hundred years old and that was good enough to get him in a wizards trading card set. I already had a card of him but, surprisingly, Gunnar didn’t. I suppose when I have the time, I could get Merry to mail it for me.
“He’s gone!” Harry exclaimed, looking at the card in astonishment at the fact Dumbledore was no longer on the card.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be back later. He just can’t be around all the time, y’know?” I asked and popped my Chocolate Frog into my mouth while stuffing my card into my pocket.
“No, I’ve got Morgana again and I’ve got about six of her,” Ron moaned before turning to Harry. “Do you want it? You can start collecting.”
Harry took it and I bit back a laugh as Ron went back to eyeing the Chocolate Frogs.
“Help yourself,” Harry said.
“Well in that case, I’m grabbing a handful before you can take them all,” I said, grabbing several packs and separating them from the giant candy pile.
“But in, you know, the muggle world, people just stay put in photos,” Harry said.
“Do they? What, they don’t move at all? Weird!” Ron said, sounding amazed.
“Right? Not even their paintings of people move! I just about freaked out the first time I saw one,” I said.
Harry continued to eat Chocolate Frogs and by the time he was done, had his own little collection of cards. Deciding to switch it up a bit, he grabbed the bag of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. I snickered under my breath at the thought of him getting something gross like dog hair or pond scum.
“You want to be careful with these. When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor. You know, you get ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but they you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a booger-flavored one once,” Ron said then picked out a green bean and copied what I did earlier with the red and yellow bean. “Bleaaargh-see? Sprouts.”
Time went on and we continued to snack on the treats. When our conversations grew more subdued, I found myself staring out the window for small periods of time, watching as the field become wilder until they turned into woods with rolling hills and rivers making their way through the woods as smoothly as possible. My wanderlust craved to be able to go out there, climbing trees and running alongside the rivers. But I was on my way to Hogwarts in a giant metal contraption. At least I could do some adventuring at Hogwarts. I’ve never wandered through a giant castle before.
A round-faced boy knocked on the compartment door before sliding it open. He looked like he was ready to burst into tears he was so upset.
“Sorry, but have you seen a toad at all?” he asked and when we shook our heads, he started to wail. “I’ve lost him! He keeps getting away from me!”
“I’m sure he’ll turn up,” I said with my best comforting smile.
“Yes, well, if you see him . . .” the boy said miserably before leaving.
“Don’t know why he’s so bothered. If I’d brought a toad I’d lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can’t talk,” Ron said, looking at the rat sleeping on his lap.
“You don’t know him! For all you know, he could really love toads or it could be a beloved family pet,” I said, semi-glaring at Ron as I threw a Cauldron Cake at his head and grinned when it hit its intended target. “But you’re right about Scabbers. I’ve never seen a rat act like that before.”
“He might have died and you wouldn’t know the difference,” Ron said, a tinge of disgust in is voice. “I tried to turn him yellow yesterday to make him more interesting, but the spell didn’t work. I’ll show you, look.”
He dug through his battered trunk until he pulled out his wand, a poor, old, battered thing that was chipped in some places and what looked like unicorn hair peeking out at the end.
“Unicorn hair’s poking out,” Ron said for Harry then raised his wand . . . just as the door opened again. Seriously, is it some rule that people have to keep barging in here every other minute?
The boy looking for his toad was back, this time with a girl already in her Hogwarts robes with brown bushy hair and large front teeth. She had this air about her that was confident not in physical skill, but mental. If she is really smart, maybe she’ll get in Ravenclaw.
“Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one,” she said in a bossy tone of voice.
“We’ve already told him we haven’t seen it,” Ron said a little rudely, but she wasn’t listening. Instead, she was staring at Ron’s wand.
“Oh, are you doing magic? Let’s see it, then,” she said, completely forgetting about her mission and sat down by Ron.
“Er-alright,” he said then cleared his throat. “Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”
He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers remained asleep, gray and all. I bit my tongue to keep from laughing at the silly spell. Was it even a spell? Whoever told him that must have lied, especially when it was so specific to Scabbers.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell? Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Nobody in my family’s magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard. I’ve learned all our books by heart, of course, and I just hope it will be enough-I’m Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?”
Hermione spoke very fast and perhaps a little bit of a show off. Sure, I’ve practiced some spells too, simple things that Uncle Hamish and Grandma showed me, even a few hexes from a book Gunnar bought me last year. But she did mention that she was a muggleborn, so I guess she assumed magic would come easily to people like Ron.
“I’m Ron Weasley,” Ron mumbled, a little put off by Hermione’s personality.
“My name’s Puck Blackwood,” I said pleasantly, smiling at the girl to be nice since apparently Ron wasn’t going to.
“Harry Potter,” Harry said.
“Are you really?” Hermione asked. “I know all about you, of course-I got a few extra books, for background reading, and you’re in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century,” Hermione rattled on.
“Am I?” Harry asked, no doubt being so overwhelmed over the fact he’s one of the most famous wizards alive and only knowing about within the last month.
“Goodness, didn’t you know? I’d have found out everything I could if it was me,” Hermione said. “Do any of you know what house you’ll be in? I’ve been asking around, and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best. I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad . . . Anyway, we’d better go and look for Neville’s toad. You three had better change, you know. I expect we’ll be there soon.”
She stood up and left, taking Neville with her. I breathed out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding in. Hermione sure was something. Yeah, we’re 11-year-old witches and wizards, but Merlin, did anyone have manners? Or sensitive to those who, you know, lost their parents in a horrible way? What if Harry didn’t want to read about himself? What if he just wanted to be a normal kid (well, as normal as you can get when you’re a wizard) and not this great hero who defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named when he was a baby? Honestly, Grandma would have cuffed them all on the ears if she heard them speaking this way to Harry.
“Whatever house I’m in, I hope she’s not in it,” Ron said before tossing his wand back into his trunk. “Stupid spell. George gave it to me, but he knew it was a dud.”
“What house are your brothers in?” Harry asked.
“Gryffindor. Mom and Dad were in it, too. I don’t know what they’ll say if I’m not. I don’t suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me in Slytherin,” Ron moaned, his gloom from earlier coming back.
“That’s the house Vol-I mean, You-Know-Who was in?” Harry asked.
“Yeah,” Ron groaned.
“Slytherin’s not that bad,” I piped in, getting an incredulous look from Ron like I was juggling all the sweets while reciting a monologue from one of Shakespeare’s works. “Slytherin’s not all that bad. You’re not the only one with relatives who went to Hogwarts. My uncle was a Slytherin and he’s like the best guy I know! He always sneaks me out of lessons with my Grandpa to take me to get treats with my cousins or go adventuring. In fact, he seems more like a Hufflepuff or a Gryffindor, but he was a Half-Blood in Slytherin! Just because you’re in Slytherin doesn’t mean you’ll end up an evil wizard.”
There was unease between me and Ron (the prejudice git), so Harry decided to switch to another topic.
“You know, I think the ends of Scabbers’ whiskers are a bit lighter,” Harry lied. “So what do your oldest brothers do not that they’ve left, anyway?”
“Charlie’s in Romania studying dragons, and Bill’s in Africa doing something for Gringotts,” Ron said and I refrained myself from jumping up and demanding where I could send letters to Charlie to penpal him. There was, after all, only one dragon reserve in Romania and Charlie might be one of the dragonologists I would be around during the summer. If not, it would be nice to chat with someone over dragons. “Did you two hear about Gringotts? It’s been all over the Daily Prophet, but I don’t suppose you get that with the muggles . . . someone tried to rob a high security vault.”
“Right, I heard my grandparents talking about it with my uncle this past week,” I muttered, remembering when Uncle Hamish came running over one morning with the newspaper.
“Really? What happened to them?” Harry asked.
“Nothing, and that’s why everyone’s still talking about it. Who would go to the effort of breaking into a bank like Gringotts and not take anything?” I questioned and Ron nodded in agreement.
“My dad says it must’ve been a powerful dark wizard to ‘round Gringotts. ‘Course, everyone gets scared when something like this happens in case You-Know-Who’s behind it,” Ron said then changed the topic rather quickly. “What’s your Quidditch team?”
“Er-I don’t know any,” Harry said a little sheepishly.
“What! Oh, you wait, it’s the best game in the world! What about you? Please tell me you have a Quidditch team!” Ron said, looking at me.
“Of course, my cousin Gunnar is a fanatic when it comes to Quidditch and he just had to drag me into it. Personally, I like the Appleby Arrows, but Gunnar is trying to get me into the Falmouth Falcons. As if I’d like those brutes,” I scoffed then caught Harry’s confused look. “But I guess we have to explain a few things first to Harry, Ron.”
Between Ron and I, we took an hour telling Harry about the amazing sport that is Quidditch. He told him about the positions in the teams, the four balls, and took turns telling about Quidditch games we’ve been to. The thing is, we didn’t exactly get to finish and move onto another subject when, of course, the door opened up with new people. Three boys entered and the boy in the middle was hard not to know, or at the very least, know his family name. Judging by his extraordinarily pale skin, hair, and the air of superiority he carried around, he had to be a Malfoy. The two around him were thickset and looked like your average bully, whether they were a wizard or muggle.
“Is it true? They’re saying all down the train that Harry Potter’s in this compartment. So it’s you, is it?” the pale boy questioned Harry.
“Yes,” Harry said, staring warily at his bodyguards because I’m positive that’s what they truly were.
“Oh, this is Crabbe and this is Goyle. And my name’s Malfoy, Draco Malfoy,” the boy said.
Ron coughed to hide his snigger as I did the same to hide my giggle. If it were any other person, I would have thought Draco was a cool name, but the way he looked at us just ticked me off. Wherever he’s put, I definitely did not want to be in his house.
“Think my name’s funny, do you? No need to ask who you are,” he sneered, looking at Ron. “My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford.”
I hardened my gaze and stood up. “You better watch who you speak to when I’m around, Malfoy.”
“And you would be . . .?” he drawled, his voice grating on my ears.
“Puck Blackwood,” I said evenly.
“I’ve heard about you, you’re the mongrel those Sterling’s pitied and took in,” Malfoy sneered, acting like the name Sterling was poison on his tongue. He turned to Harry, ignoring how I shook with rage. “You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”
Malfoy held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but, thank Merlin, he ignored it.
“I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks,” Harry said coolly.
Malfoy did not take too well to that. “I’d be careful if I were you, Potter. Unless you’re a bit politer you’ll go the same way as your parents. They didn’t know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraffs like the Weasleys, that Blackwood, and that Hagrid, and it’ll rub off on you.”
Harry and Ron joined me in standing against the boys invading our compartment. My hand slowly creeped towards my wand that I kept up my sleeve like Sonya showed me should I find myself in a tight spot. With my track record, I needed to keep it there 24/7.
“Say that again,” Ron practically growled.
“Oh, you’re going to fight us, are you?” Malfoy sneered.
“Unless you get out now,” Harry retorted.
“But we don’t feel like leaving, do we, boys? We’ve eaten all our food and you still to have some,” Malfoy said, one corner of his lips quirking upwards into a mean smirk.
Goyle reached out for some of the candy by Ron. Ron jumped towards Goyle but he didn’t even touch him when Goyle shrieked. I grinned at the sight of Scabbers, who was finally awake, biting on to Goyle’s knuckle, protecting the pile of sweet he was napping in. But it fell when, still bellowing, the big brute swung his hand around a few times until Scabbers flew off and slammed against the window. The three ran off soon after and I stopped myself from pulling out my wand. Seconds later, Hermione came in, most likely from the noise Goyle was causing.
“What has been going on?” she demanded as Ron picked up Scabbers by the tail.
“I think he’s knocked out,” Ron said to us, ignoring Hermione’s question and looking closer at Scabbers. “No, I don’t believe it-he’s gone back to sleep!” He looked at Harry. “You’ve met Malfoy before?”
And Harry proceeded to tell us his one other encounter with Malfoy at Diagon Alley.
“I’ve heard of his family. They were some of the first to come back to our side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said they’d been bewitched. My dad doesn’t believe it. He says Malfoy’s father didn’t need an excuse to go over to the dark side,” Ron said darkly and, suddenly remembering Hermione was there, turned to her. “Can we help you with something?”
“You’d better hurry up and put your robes on, I’ve just been up to the front to ask the conductor, and he says we’re nearly there. You haven’t been fighting, have you? You’ll be in trouble before we even get there!” Hermione said.
“Scabbers has been fighting, not us,” Ron scowled.
“If they tried anything more, I’d have laid them out on their arses,” I huffed, folding my arms over my chest.
“Would you mind leaving while we change?” Ron asked rudely to Hermione then turned to me. “Uh, you too?”
“All right. I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors,” Hermione said stiffly as I grabbed my robes from my trunk.
“We all are children on this train, I don’t see your point,” I said, spinning on my heels to see Hermione still looking like someone peed in her cereal.
I walked out passed her to find somewhere to change. It was towards the very back of the train did I find a place and quickly did so. As soon as I was finished, the train started to slow down so I walked/ran back to my compartment and when I was a few ways down, a voice echoed through the train.
“We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes’ time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately.”
I slid the door open and joined Ron and Harry in stuffing our robe pockets with the last of our sweets. I bid Merry goodbye then joined the crowd of students in the corridor. The train finally came to a stop and people were rushing to leave the train and go onto the dark platform. Despite the chilly night air, I took a deep breath of it and grinned. The cold air felt good in my lungs, much fresher than the air from the train station.
“Firs’ years! Firs’ years over here! All right there, Harry?”
Way over the crowd of students was a very tall, very big, and very hairy man holding a lantern. Remembering our conversations from earlier, this must be Hagrid.
“C’mon, follow me-anymore firs’ years? Mind yer step, now! Firs’ years follow me!” Hagrid called out.
All the first years stumbled after Hagrid in the dark, our only source of light being the moon and his lantern. Hagrid lead us down a dark and narrow path that was, unfortunately, going downhill so more than one kid tripped over their feet or something they couldn’t see. No one talked, the only sound coming from Neville who was sniffing every now and then.
“Ye’ all get yer firs’ sight o’ Hogwarts in a sec. Ju’s round this bend here,” Hagrid exclaimed over his shoulder and his voice carrying to the very last first year.
The path stopped at the edge of a large dark lake. It was so still, I would have mistaken the water for glass but the boats at the edge ruined te image of glass. But the real beauty was the castle across the lake. It was extremely big with several towers, a lot of floors, and beautiful architecture from what you could see of it.
“No more’n four to a boat!” Hagrid yelled, pointing to the boats bobbing in the water.
Harry, Ron, and I climbed into a boat together and was soon followed by Hermione, who stayed a little closer to me than the two boys. I didn’t mind, but Ron certainly did mind sharing a boat with her.
“Everyone in? Right then-FORWARD!” Hagrid yelled and instantly the little boats started moving towards the castle.
The boats carried us across the water, through a wall of ivy on a cliff which doubled not only to look pretty, but to hide a tunnel that lead straight to Hogwarts’ front door. When the boat ride was done, we climbed out onto a ground made of rocks and pebbles.
“Oi, you there! Is this your toad?’ Hagrid asked Neville as he was checking the boats.
“Trevor!” Neville exclaimed, taking the toad into his hands.
We walked up a path, once again lead by Hagrid’s lantern, and made it to the nice, green grounds of Hogwarts. Everyone got more and more excited when we climbed up the steps and reached a large, Oak door.
“Everyone here? You there, still got yet toad?”
I was bouncing up and down on my heels beside Harry, watching Hagrid knocked three times on the door. The door swung open.