Effie's thoughts consumed her for another two hours before the movement along the aisle made her snap out of her sad trance. Standing outside of her compartment and peering down at her was a peculiar looking blonde girl.
The girl herself was not peculiar. She had all normal features that certainly wouldn't stand out all on their own and long dirty blonde hair that fell around her waist. It was the clothes she was wearing that really drew Effie's eyes. She wore a furry blue t shirt with red polka dots and a pair of light pink trousers paired with a bedazzled beret and hot pink sunglasses with no lenses. The ensemble was so mismatched that Effie knew almost immediately who the girl in front of her was. Even if she couldn't have figured it out from her outfit, the upside-down Quibbler in her hand was a dead give away. Luna Lovegood.
Luna peered down at Effie like she was crazy which made Effie struggle to hold in a laugh. She was the crazy one? Luna slid into the seat in front of Effie in the compartment and sat staring at her for a few minutes. Finally when Effie felt too uncomfortable, she decided to speak up.
She immediately slapped herself internally. Luna has no idea who she is. Nobody has any idea who she is. She struggled to quickly come up with a plausible story. She could be a transfer student from Beauxbatons. Or a home schooled student. Or maybe she just learned about magic. What about no story? Effie was not a good liar and there's no way she could remember the details of anything she came up with in the moment. Even if she could fool Luna, she couldn't fool the entire school.
Just be mysterious, she thought to herself.
Luna, she knew, would never pry too much. She'd be curious, sure, but she'd probably make up her own story of how Effie came to Hogwarts. In the mean time she'd probably be happy just to have a friend. Effie decided to stir up some conversation, hoping to break the uncomfortable silence that had stretched over the compartment yet again.
"I'm Effie. Effie Jordan. I'm new."
Luna looked at her questioningly.
"If you are new, Effie Jordan, then how do you know my name."
Shit. Effie internally panicked for a moment thinking of a response. Suddenly remembering her favorite book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Effie's eyes frantically searched the compartment for any of Luna's items with her name on it while her face struggled to show no emotion. Coming up empty, she flashed what she hoped to be her brightest smile up at Luna.
"How could I not know the name of the daughter of the man who edits my favorite tabloid?"
Luna looked at her with a raised eyebrow before her face relaxed and she smiled back at Effie.
"You read the Quibbler?"
Effie felt bad for manipulating Luna but she knew she had to do whatever she needed to survive.
"Of course! I love hearing stories that are out of the ordinary."
"Well then Effie, what year are you in?"
"Um," she contemplated for a moment, considering how old Luna looked compared to herself before assuming around a one year age difference. "I'm new so I don't know. I'm 13 though and you look a bit younger than me."
"I'm in my second year."
"Oh, so that makes me in my third."
"Harry Potter is in your year."
Effie gulped. She was really here. She was in her favorite book. She was living through The Prisoner of Azkaban. Which meant...
"I expect we'll have some unwelcome visitors on this train ride."
Immediately after she spoke Effie wanted to cover her mouth. She never should have said that she looked up at Luna panicked for a moment only to realize that Luna wasn't looking at her. Walking down the aisle outside their compartment was a bushy haired girl with large front teeth, a tall red haired boy with a long nose and excessive freckles, and a thin, scrawny looking boy with messy black hair, glasses, and a small lightning shaped scar in the center of his forehead.
Each of them made eye contact with Effie as they passed by, ignoring Luna as though she weren't there. The messy haired boy's eyes lingered longer than the others and Effie broke eye contact first. She looked away from him and back onto Luna who was now back to staring at her.
Just loud enough for the three to still hear as they walked past the compartment and down the aisle, Luna asked, "What were you saying about unwelcome visitors on this train ride?"
Although Effie couldn't see it, the boy with the lightning scar had stopped to listen to her answer. Effie smiled, trusting her new friend. Besides, what harm could Luna do?
The compartment fell back into silence but a more comfortable one this time. They didn't speak again until the train started to move.
Luna turned to Effie and voiced her thoughts out loud. "How do you think they are going to sort you? Will you be with the first years?"
"God I hope not. That would be embarrassing."
"Where did you do your education before?"
This was the question Effie had been dreading. She knew she probably wouldn't have to take all first year classes since she basically lived through them by reading the books but she didn't know what she was supposed to say about her prior education.
"Do you mind if I don't talk about it? It's kind of a sensitive subject."
Luna nodded and didn't press her further.
"What house do you want to be in?"
This was something Effie had definitely thought of. Her online Buzzfeed quizzes had never given her the same answers. Because of her terrible grades, she had never thought she'd be a Ravenclaw. Maybe she'd be different with magical subjects. She wasn't sure about Hufflepuff because she had never been much for friends, but maybe Hogwarts would be different since she already considered all of the students her friends. She'd really never had any opportunity to be brave or caring from her lack of friends and activities but everything was about to change. All that she hoped, was that she would not be put in Slytherin. Not that Slytherin was a bad house, she was just afraid of it.
"Any of the houses really. Whatever the sorting hat thinks is best."
Luna nodded in agreement and began to ramble on about some animal called a Flibbergash that Effie was almost positive didn't exist even in the Wizarding world. The train ride continued smoothly. Neither of the girls got anything off of the trolley but they both exchanged polite greetings with the witch.
Towards the end of their journey, the train came to a sudden halt and the lights went out.
Luna turned to Effie, "We can't possibly be there yet. Is this what you were talking about earlier?"
She was answered by a swift nod. Effie frantically searched through her memories for her happiest one. She doubted that dementors would go after her, but she wanted to be prepared just in case. She thought of a lot of memories from when she was younger. Her third birthday with her parents, which none of her classmates attended. The first time she rode a bike, she hit a curb too hard and flew over the bike handles. Getting her first pet, a cat that hated her guts and continuously mauled her with its claws before her parents were forced to sell him.
Finally she decided on a memory. Her sixth birthday. The first time she ever read Harry Potter. Instead of leaving for recess with her classmates, she had stayed behind in the classroom by herself. A book from the small reading shelf to her left had caught her eye as she held it up to the fluorescent lights to read the title. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She stuffed it into her bag and brought it home with her, finishing it all by the end of the day. (*Theif*) Her parents rushed out to the book store that night and bought her all of the series as a gift. That was the happiest she thought she had ever felt.
Suddenly the air surrounding the two girls became cold. A feeling washed over them; a feeling of dread. They both felt as though there was not an ounce of happiness in the world. A large bony hand inched slowly towards the door of the compartment, its owner a dark eerie figure under a tattered wispy cloak. When it opened the door, Effie was ready for it.
She faced it head on, looking into the ibis hidden behind its hood. With a strong stance, she stared it down just as she had imagined doing many nights in her bedroom. She spoke to it firmly, trying to keep her voice calm and steady.
"He isn't here. Move on."
But the dementor didn't move on. It stared back at her as if it knew she were out of place. Not willing to risk herself or Luna receiving a dementor's kiss, Effie whipped out her wand and pointed it right at its hood. When she spoke, she tried to sound threatening.
"I will not ask again."
Key word: tried. It came out in a bit of a squeak, but it still sounded slightly frightening. This time the dementor moved closer.
Effie concentrated really hard on her chosen memory and didn't waiver with her stare. She took a deep breath before casting the spell, refusing to let herself fear what would happen if she failed. She was not the Chosen One. No Lupin would save her.