All Aboard the Hogwarts Express
Two days after we went to Diagon Alley, we went to St. Mungo's for our weekly visit to Mum and Dad. It was hard to see them, like it always was, but I wouldn’t trade these days for the world. A lot of people don’t really know what a fate worse than death is, other than a cheesy line the bad guy says in the epic battle scene. But I do.
It was as if they had been Kissed. While they may be here when we visit every week (when we’re not at Hogwarts), they’re never really here. Although I knew they’d be happier, I still dreaded the day they would leave me, leave us, forever. I also knew that no matter how much I tried to bury that fear, that day would come, and there was nothing I could do about it. There’s nothing I could do now, nothing I could have done then. The only thing I can do is honor them and their legacy, stay focused on my studies so that I would be more than ready for Auror training. Voldemort may be gone but there are still Death Eaters out there. Every once in a while there’s an article in the Daily Prophet about an attack on Muggle families. I may not be able to do anything to the monsters who did this to us, but when am able to do something, I’ll make sure that no monsters can do this to anyone else until every Death Eater is in Azkaban or dead.
When we got back home I went up to my room and got my art supplies before setting myself up on my window sill. I thought I only bought one sketchbook at Scribbulus’ but I must have gotten two. Whatever, more to draw. Maybe I could use one as a sketchbook and one as a journal. I thought I’d start with the smaller one. In the light I realized that there was an inscription on the back. T. M. Riddle. Maybe I bumped into them at Flourish and Blotts. It was very crowded. Maybe the journal fell into my cauldron during all the shuffling and shoving of going through the store. Oh well, sorry Mr. Riddle, but my new drawing hobby thanks you for your contribution to my right of creatively expressing myself. As I readjusted my legs on the windowsill, the Calla Lily fell out of my hair. It’s fitting isn’t it? Now that I knew what I wanted my first drawing in my new sketchbook to be, I picked out the necessary colors and moved the rest to the side. I bent my knees so that I could use my lap for stability.
The great thing about drawing was that you didn’t have to think, think about things you didn’t want to think about. The only thing that matters is shading the soft texture of the spathe, the precise detail of the spadix. The only thing I had to think about was what to put in the background...and why my picture was disappearing. The Calla Lily bled into the page until there was nothing at all. I turned page after page to the end of the book, nothing. I scanned back to the beginning, nothing. My eyebrows crinkled as I turned to the page I was on originally. How strange.
Just as suddenly as my drawing disappeared did someone’s handwriting suddenly appear. You’re very talented, but why did you pick that flower? Most girls would draw roses or daisies. If you don’t mind me asking. At first I was startled that my sketchbook was talking back to me. I didn’t realize that who ever Tom was had enchanted it. Thank you, I don’t mind. They’re my mother’s favorite flower. She even named me after them. I watched as my words slowly disappeared from the page. I traced my fingertips on the dry parchment. Well, you must be a uniquely beautiful girl to be named after such a uniquely beautiful flower. I felt my cheeks burn slightly. I don’t think so, I’m only twelve. What do you know anyway? You’re just a book. His reply came a little faster this time. Books know lots of things, Miss...
...Longbottom. Callalily Longbottom. Everyone calls me Callie. So what do I call you? Sketchy the Sketchbook? The book ruffled a few of its pages. Could books get offended? Technically this is my journal you are using as a sketchbook, so no, you may not call me Sketchy the Sketchbook. My name is Tom Riddle. I drew another flower, this time smaller. Nice to meet you, Tom.
The days turned into weeks until it was September 1. Time ticked by faster than I thought it would, or at least it felt that way. The morning passed much like the year before. Nev still hadn’t packed, Trevor was MIA and if we didn’t hurry we would be late.
Eventually we made it to the Hogwarts Express. Nev and I said our goodbyes to Gran and went to find an empty compartment. We found Hermione, reading of course, in a compartment towards the back. It was almost eleven o’clock and there was still no sign of Ron or Harry. They’d better hurry or they’re going to miss it. We caught up on each others summers while we waited for them to join us.
When there were still no Harry and Ron twenty minutes after the train started the long journey to Hogwarts Hermione decided to search the train for them. They must be here somewhere. They were probably with the rest of the Weasley’s or getting into trouble with Malfoy. Either way I’m sure Hermione could handle it.
I pulled out my journal, as I have a lot this summer. Even in this short amount of time I could see an improvement in the details of my drawings. Tom has helped me a lot. I guess you could say that over these past few weeks Tom has become both my muse and my critic.
I began to draw the landscape as it drew by. On the Hogwarts Express I take it. I drew a cloud around his words before I responded. Yeah, I just wish it didn’t take so long. I sighed and leaned my head against the window. Well, they do say that great things comes to those who wait…
Next thing I knew, Hermione was telling us to change into our robes as we were almost there. Time always seemed to fly by when I was drawing. There was still no sign of Ron or Harry, I hope they weren’t getting into too much trouble. As we were getting off the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station, Nev tripped on the steps, which made me to bump into him and fall on my arse.
“Living up to your names quite literally aren’t you Longbottom’s.” I whipped a strand of hair out of my face as I looked up, glaring at that stupid Malfoy smirk I knew would greet me. “Shut up Malfoy!” I helped a blushing Nev up and shoved Malfoy’s shoulder as we walked past him, Dumb, and Dumber. I guess smirks must be getting contagious, I thought as one creeped onto my face.
Three. Two. One. “Ahhhh! Wait until my father hears about this! This isn’t over Poison Ivy!” My smirk grew as we continued our way to the Great Hall ignoring him, Nev giggling beside me. Talk about a great start to a new year.
When Dumbledore raised his hands to silence the Great Hall there was still no sign of Ron or Harry. Now I was starting to really get worried. No amount of troublemaking could keep Ron away from food, especially the Welcoming feast. Ron could also be thoughtless at times, but I didn’t think he’d miss his little sister’s sorting. Something happened, but what? “There better be a good story for this one.” I said hiding my concern with annoyance.
The feeling in my stomach grew when Professor Snape got up from his seat and left the Great Hall with his black robes billowing behind him. It got even worse when he came back during the feast only to take Professor McGonagall with him. Fifteen minutes after that Professor Dumbledore left the Great Hall as well. What’s going on? Hermione, Nev and I could no longer pretend that we weren’t worried. Where was Harry and Ron?
Professors Snape and Dumbledore returned during dessert, closely followed by Professor McGonagall. Well, they didn’t look like anything too awful happened, like the return of Voldemort the Parasite. Well, Snape looks like he has a parasite attached to his butt cheek, but then again he always looks that way.
“Stupid Potter! Who does he think he is? That just because he’s the Boy-Who-Lived that the Statute of Secrecy doesn’t apply to him? My father knows everyone who’s anyone in the Ministry. Apparently Potter got a warning about using magic in front of Muggles over the summer. Now this? I’d like to see Saint Potter weasel his way out of this. I bet that after today he’ll be the Boy-Who-Was-Expelled.” I knew that annoying voice anywhere. I also knew that he was raising his voice on purpose as he gossiped like girls with his Slytherin buddies just to get a rise out of me, knowing that we were less than three feet away. What I didn’t know was what the bloody hell he was talking about.
Secrets and rumors spread like Fiendfyre at Hogwarts, so it wasn’t long before we heard the newest topic of the rumor mill, but I desperately hope that it wasn’t true. I mean what are the chances that Harry and Ron somehow got their hands on a flying car? Unfortunately I knew that with those two, anything was possible.
We found familiar black and red mops trying to get past the portrait of the Fat Lady. “There you are! Where have you been? The most ridiculous rumors - someone said you’d been expelled for crashing a flying car-” Like always Hermione beat us to the punch. “Well, we haven’t been expelled,” Harry rebutted. My eyes widened and I looked at Nev who was mirroring my expression. “So what? Are you saying that you did fly here?” We asked in simultaneous disbelief. Hermione took a deep breath, but Ron interrupted her knowing exactly what was coming. “Skip the lecture and tell us the new password.”
“It’s ‘wattlebird,’” Hermione said agitatedly, “but that’s not the point-” Her words were cut short as the portrait of the Fat Lady swung open and there was a sudden storm of clapping from everyone who beat us to the common room. “Brilliant!” Lee Jordan yelled. “Inspired! What an entrance! Flying a car right into the Whomping Willow, people will be talking about that one for years-” They crashed into the Whomping Willow?
“You crashed into the Whomping Willow!” I yelled. Ron and Harry weren’t like me. If they got injured it would really hurt them and that Willow could really pack a punch. Fred and George made their way over and said, “Why couldn’t we’ve come in the car, eh?” Ron grinned sheepishly as his face started to match his hair. Pompous Prefect Percy didn’t seem to find it so funny as he tried to make his way over. Harry nudged Ron in the ribs and nodded in Percy’s direction. Sensing a future death by lecture he let out a fake yawn, “Got to get upstairs-bit tired,” he said before they made their getaway, Nev following them to get the whole story. Hermione and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes, “Boys.” Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em, I sighed as we made our way up the staircase to our own dormitories.
As the other girls got settled for bed, I found that I still wasn’t tired, so I grabbed my journal and went back downstairs. The common room was practically empty except for a couple students (probably 5th or 7th years) getting a head start on their studies. I sat on a couch facing the fireplace, legs tucked in underneath me, journal on my lap. Hi Tom. I wrote and watched as the ink bled into the parchment and disappeared. Hello Callalily. I rolled my eyes even though I knew he couldn’t see me. Didn’t I tell you that you could call me Callie or Lily. It took a few minutes for him to respond. I looked up as a sixth year left the common room. That is your name and that is what I will call you. I sighed, sometimes it was hard to remember that he lived in a different, much more formal time period. Although moments like these reminded me. I shook my head and just let it go. Instead I talked to Tom and drew the fire until my concentration slowly slipped like my head onto the pillow. The last thing I remembered was the flickering of the flames and a faint hiss.