Hi! There are two things I'd like you to know before you read this:
1. English is NOT my native language and I was basically taught by the Internet.
2. I wrote this in the middle of the night while sitting on a bus to Paris. So there might be some 3-am-logic in this.
Now that I've gotten this off my chest: Please enjoy :D
"Shouldn't you find a place to sit down while we are on our way?"
Alex flinched and turned around to see who had just spoken to him. He knew he'd eventually get in trouble (he was Alexander Hamilton, for God's sake), but he hadn't planned on it happening so soon.
He recognized the man in front of him to be George Washington himself. He was one of the most famous men in the modern-day American Wizarding World, being especially known for single-handedly defending the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from an entire Werewolf Clan.
"Of course, Sir!" Alex quickly answered. "It's just, there's so much to see on this ship! Although, I don't know if you can really call it a ship, it looks much more like a train to me, now that I can see it from the inside."
Washington raised an eyebrow. "I can see why you're curious, but it's gonna be a long trip to Britain-"
"I know, Sir, almost a day, if I'm correct." Alex fidgeted with his hands. "I don't really like to be out on the water, but I thought, this exchange program was a good way to get to know, you know, more.
Before Alex could decide whether he should add another "Sir" to his words, Washington already started speaking again.
"What do you mean? Did you not like Ilvermorny?"
"I, uh, actually I was homeschooled. I qualified for the exchange by writing an essay about Native American Magic, specifically from the Caribbean. My father," Washington noticed how he almost spat out the word, "Came from Scotland. He went to Hogwarts, so my Mum told me to go there as well if I was given the chance. My name is Alexander Hamilton. ...Sir."
Washington wanted to ask something, but Alex seemed a bit uncomfortable and he didn't want to pressure him into an unwanted conversation. He had heard of this boy, though he had expected someone older. But then again, Hamilton might just be a little small for his age. Small and scrawny.
"Well, Mister Hamilton, I look forward to teaching you. But you should really find a place to sit, or else you're gonna have to stand the whole time."
Alex frantically nodded and saluted. He then made his way across the corridor, leaving a slightly puzzled Washington behind.
If he wanted to find a place to sit, Alex figured, he'd eventually have to start opening cabins to see if there was still some unoccupied space. Additionally he decided, he could just begin with the cabin he was standing in front of right now.
He took a deep breath, raised his hand to knock, and-
The door swung open before he'd even touched it. A dark-skinned boy, easily a head taller than Alex, peeked his head out.
"You the guy who just talked to Washington?"
"Uhh, yes?" Alexander was too confused to say anything else.
"You didn't tell him about Lafayette, didya? I swear, if you told him about Laf, then I-"
"I've never even heard of this 'Lafayette' guy!" Alex got frustrated. "I'm just looking for a place to sit!"
"You know" Another voice from inside the cabin. "It might contribute to the overall status of secrecy if you stopped saying his effing name, Herc."
The voice's owner appeared at the door. He was taller than Alex as well (but then again, who wasn't), wore his long curly hair in a ponytail and had at least a billion freckles on his face.
He eyed Alex for about two seconds, then he pulled him in.
"You seem fine, you can sit with us!"
The other guy (Herc? What a strange name!) quickly closed the door. He still seemed to be suspicious, but Alex didn't really notice. His entire attention now belonged to something else.
Inside the cabin were four seats. The freckled boy sat down on one of them, one apparently belonged to Herc, and one was empty. Well, empty in a way: at least half of it was occupied by two giant bags.
A blue jacket hung between this makeshift wall and the window, which caused the fourth and last seat to be more or less hidden.
As much as a construction this monstrous could hide anything.
"Is it safe?" Something, or rather someone with a very strong French accent emerged from under the jacket. He too had dark skin, his frizzy black hair was tied together in a ponytail and he wore clothes that seemed to be slightly too small.
"Sure, Laf," Herc sighed.
"Qui est-ce que c'est?", the French guy asked, even though nobody seemed to understand him. Alex saw his chance to finally make some friends, and he wasn't going to let it slide.
"Je m'appelle Alexander Hamilton, à votre service." He gestured towards all of them before looking at the French boy again. "Et tu es cet 'Lafayette', c'est vrai?"
The freckled boy whistled, and Herc crossed his arms. "No fair!", he said. "John and I don't speak French!"
Ah, so now Alex knew all of their names. Despite this, he wished there had been a proper introduction, and he was also still standing in the cabin while everyone else had taken a seat.
He pointed at the bags on the half-empty seat. "Can I…?"
John immediately sprung to his feet to go and help Alex. The latter was impressed. While he himself was barely able to lift any of the bags, John didn't seem to mind the weight at all.
However, when he stored their luggage away, John's sleeves fell back and revealed his arms. Alex gasped when he saw the long, deep scar that began about an inch below John's wrist and disappeared behind the fabric of his black jacket. John noticed and quickly covered his arm again, looking embarrassed. He then pretended nothing had happened, and Alex did the same, taking a mental note to ask John about this in a more quiet moment.
After they had all sat down again, John cleared his throat.
"I am John Laurens, in case you wondered. Uh, your name was Alexander, right?"
"Alexander Hamilton, that's what he said to me, at least!", Lafayette interrupted before Alex could say anything. "And to answer your question: Oui, je suis Lafayette. That's what everyone calls me. My actual name is-"
"Waaaay too long for anyone to use, or even remember", Herc laughed. "My name is Hercules Mulligan, but my friends – and by 'friends' I mean those two idiots – call me Herc. I am Irish, but my family moved to America when I was a child."
"You still are a child!", Lafayette remarked, but Hercules ignored him.
"My mother's a witch, she's pretty happy that I get to go to the same school that she went to when she was younger. She was a Gryffindor, y'know. Hey, do you think I'm a Gryffindor too?"
Alex didn't know much about the different houses of Hogwarts. Gryffindor was the Bravery house, right? He joined John and Lafayette and told Herc that yes, he'd surely be a Gryffindor.
"After all, you didn't even let me in because you thought I had talked to Washington about Lafayette-… Hey, speaking of, why was that?"
Lafayette grinned widely.
"I am not supposed to be here. I went to Beauxbartons, but I heard great stories about America, so I smuggled myself to New York."
"He dressed up as a girl, can you imagine?" John laughed, and Hercules added:
"He didn't even have proper pieces of clothing when he arrived at Ilvermorny! Just like that, he took it upon himself to find the school. At first, he pretended to be a lost exchange student, and nobody could really talk to him since he only spoke French. It was a disaster, but it was hilarious."
"So of course, they found out pretty quick", John continued. "But what could they really do at that point? He had already charmed half of the teachers – and I mean that in an entirely metaphorical way –, so they let him be for about two months. He learned English faster than you can imagine, and we became friends. Actually, Hercules was his first friend, because they were roommates, I think. I joined a little later, but that doesn't really matter, because now we're super close!"
Alex noticed how John's eyes lit up with excitement when he talked about his friends. It made him feel strange: On one hand, it emphasized how alone he'd felt since his mother's death, but it also gave him hope. He liked this weird little group, he liked everyone in it, and he was desperate to prove that he too was worthy of their friendship.
"But if you were more or less an official student, why all of… this?"
"Ah, you see," Lafayette continued, "Ilvermorny is a bit overcrowded at the moment. Some parts are being rebuilt, the security systems get renewed to match today's standards, so there are some very powerful wizards at work. They can't allow the students to disturb them, which is why they made this exchange program with Hogwarts, right? This is the reason for Herc and John to be here.
Me on the other hand, they were going to send me back to Beauxbartons, but I sneaked-"
"Yeah, that. I am pretty good at that by now. I ran away again, and the others helped me to get in here." He finished with a content smile.
Alex waited for something more. "And…?"
The French boy looked at him in confusion. "And what?"
"And what are you going to do now? They probably already know that you are not where you're supposed to be, and they will come looking for you.
Your name is not on the official list of students who will get to Hogwarts, which means-"
Alex noticed the worried (and terrified, in Lafayette's case) looks on their faces.
"Which means that we have to convince them to let you stay with us."
He felt determined.
Then, the cabin door opened.
"I am looking for someone called 'Lafayette', is he here?"
I love writing Hercules. He's awesome.
Specials thanks to my lovely (anonymous) co-author, who helps me with plot, worldbuilding, and character profiles.