T W O
Rori was at it again. Her mother had said her goodbyes before she crossed the bricked column to platform nine and three-quarters. Now, she was carrying her crate with the trolley, her white cat companion curled on top of it. She was feeling quite happy to return to Hogwarts, despite the dread that was now present because of the return of You-Know-Who. She kept walking amongst the platform, looking for her friends. Amidst the flood of families greeting their kids, Rori found Susan Bones hugging her aunt.
"Susan!" she yelled enthusiastically when she saw her. Susan turned to face her and smiled widely. And with another quick hug and a shake of her hand, she parted from her aunt and now was running to hug her. The embrace was short-lived, cut off by the sound of the train whistle announcing its impending departure.
"Let's hurry, before it leaves us behind" Susan said. She grabbed Aurora and twisted their arms together. Mingled, and helping each other with their crates they ran to the trains entrance.
"-to Hogwarts! Leaving to Hogwarts! Students inside!" they heard the diver yell as they entered the train.
"Blimey, I missed you too much, Rori" Susan said while they made their way through the train, looking for an empty compartment.
"I've missed you too, Suz. I missed Hannah as well, have you seen her?- Oh look, this one " Rori pointed to their left, and they placed their crates in the storage boxes above the window. Rori's cat, Armstrong, jumped out from it and up into the couches, next to her.
"Not really, she's probably out with Ernie and the other prefects" Susan said, seating besides her. Rori frowned.
"Oh, I right! Totally forgot about that" she said while rolling her eyes "Jealous much?" she said and Susan turned red and looked down.
"Aurora! No! I've told you like a million times, I don't care for Ernie" but her tone, the pinky cheeks and the overall awkwardness she oozed gave her away.
"Yeah, right" Rori said knowingly. She remembered all the times Susan and Ernie talked to each other like Hannah and her weren't there. Chatting and laughing and just outright flirting.
"Well, what about you and Draco?" Susan shot, but Aurora cracked up. Her loud laugh filled the compartment. A second later, between whistles and smoke, the Hogwarts Express was off.
"What? You're like the only non Slytherin person that can stand him, and you're muggle-born and all. I don't get it" by this time, Rori stopped laughing, yet a smile stayed on her face.
"Sure, yeah, that doesn't mean I have a thing for 'im" she chuckled one last time while the image went through her head. Draco Malfoy, the self-proclaimed muggle hater and her? Of course, Aurora considered he wasn't as bad as they made him out to be and she felt quite a lot of sympathy for him. She saw right through his bad boy persona, all she could see was a very troubled kid who just wanted to fit in. Plus, there was the Potions incident. But, hell, she wouldn't even consider him as friend. He was just a misunderstood bloke who just wasn't that bad.
"The fact that you even talk to him is weird, Aurora. After all the crap he's said. About, you know-"
"-mudbloods. Yes, Susan, I know, but what can I do? I just think he's misguided. Besides, the perception that all Slytherins are evil is stupid. We should be better than that, we should give them a chance" she said and she was passionate about this topic. The reason was perhaps much deeper than Draco Malfoy.
"Yes. I know. You keep saying that but I can't, sorry. Especially not in this times" Susan said. Suddenly, she felt a bit embarrassed. Of course Susan couldn't trust Slytherins after what had happened to her. Susan's whole family had been murdered by none other than Slytherins. Death Eater Slytherins. How could she give them a chance?
"I'm sorry. You're right, Suz, sorry. It was stupid of me-" she started.
"Oh, no! It's fine, love. I wish I was as selfless as-"
"Anything from the trolley, dears?" the trolley witch said as she passed through their compartment, interrupting Susan.
"Some chocolate frogs would be lovely, thanks" Aurora said, reaching for his robe pockets to find some sickles. She took a couple out and gave them to the witch. In return, she gave her three packs of chocolate frogs and a kind smile, and got off.
"Take one. Like the old days, remember?" Aurora handed Susan a box. She thought back to the first time she'd taken the train, all scared and lonely, until Susan sat next to her and offered her a chocolate frog. Like that, they'd become friends, and then they were magically sorted together in Hufflepuff. After that they were almost inseparable. Her, Hannah, Susan and the eventual intrusion of Ernie or Justin. The Huff-crew, they had called themselves, dumbly. Very dumbly. Then, they'd all joined D.A. together and after that, their friendship was sealed.
"How could I forget!" she said while opening the package and quickly putting the whole chocolate frog on her mouth. They both cackled.
"What did you get?" Rori asked. But Susan could speak, so she showed. In big golden letter it read: Bertie Botts "Oh, cool. He's the wizard from the every flavour beans, right?"
"Susan Bones?" a third-year Ravenclaw appeared from within the corridor. Susan turned her head quickly, caught off guard. The blond freckled girl stood in the compartment entrance.
"Mnmm?" was all she could mutter with her mouth still full. Rori contained a giggle.
"Professor Slughorn asked me to deliver this to you" she said, shyly. She handed Susan a piece of scrolled parchment tied in a purple ribbon. As soon as her job ended the little girl ran out of sight, leaving the two girls perplexed in their seats.
"Slughorn? Is that Umbridge's replacement?" said Aurora, sick to her stomach at the name that came out of her mouth. She hadn't hated anyone as much in her life as she had Dolores Umbridge. Luckily, they had taken care of her last year. Well, they'd helped.
"I s'pose. D'you reckon I'm in trouble?" said Susan, but Rori quickly dismissed the idea.
"We haven't even arrived yet, Susan. Open it, go on!" she said, now very curious. Susan untied the violet knot and stretched the parchment to read.
"Dear Susan, I would be delighted if you would join me for a bite of lunch in compartment C. Sincerely, Prof Horace Slughorn" she read, with a slight confused inflexion in her voice.
"That's weird, what does he want from you in his compartment?" Rori said. Susan shrugged.
"Dunno. I guess I should go, just in case" she said a bit worried. Aurora nodded, understanding. Susan left with a sutil wave, leaving Rori and Armstrong sitting quietly. She opened a chocolate frog and it leaped away into the opposite couch. Merlin's card shined in the box.
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