Chapter One: The Empty Compartment
"It's no use, there's nowhere to sit" Rose said with an annoyed huff.
It was true, the train was full and compartments were now filled with students, young and old. Albus looked around to see if there was anywhere with space and he spotted his older brother, James, darting into one of the compartments. He decided to follow his brother inside, pulling Rose with him.
James blocked his brother with his arm, "Um, no offence Al, but I was hoping to catch up with my own friends," he said. The compartment he was in had several other third year Gryffindor's.
"But there is nowhere" Albus replied in protest, "Can't me and Rose just stay with you for a bit?"
But James wasn't budging, "No, go and find somewhere to sit, you'll just have to be less of an unsociable git"
With that James pulled the door across before Albus had a chance to reply. He turned to face his cousin but she was speaking to two other girls, presumably first years. Albus sighed; things weren't going his way so far.
Rose turned to her cousin, "These two say they have a spare seat in their compartment, you don't mind if I go with them do you?" she said the last part with genuine remorse, as if she knew she was doing something wrong.
"Sure, go with them, I'll just find somewhere and sit down" An annoyed Albus replied.
He turned around walked down the aisle, hoping to find anywhere that had a spare seat. James was right; he was just going to have to make conversation with a random student. Somewhere towards the back of the train Albus saw his cousin Victoire sitting with her friends, there was a space in that compartment, but it would be pointless asking, she was a seventh year, and head girl.
So Albus continued until he found a compartment with space, it was right at the back of the train and it contained a nervous looking, short, mousy haired boy.
He knocked on the door and the boy faced him with a look of terror on his face. "Hello" Albus said in as reassuring voice as he could manage, "Can I sit here, everywhere else is full"
The boy nodded slowly and looked down as Albus entered. He sat in silence for a good few minutes before he finally looked at him. It was then that Albus realized that it was up to him to initiate conversation.
"I'm Albus, Albus Potter" he said, offering out his hand.
The boy reluctantly shook his hand but quickly withdrew. "I'm…I'm...Bertie, I mean Albert, well my real names Albert but everyone calls me Bertie…Bertie Hadham…" He said in a quavering voice before proceeding to stare at the floor again.
Albus was keen to continue talking, he wasn't prepared to spend an entire train journey in silence. "So are your parents magical?" he asked.
Bertie shook his head, "No, they're…what do you call them?" he asked.
"Muggles" Albus replied with a smile. "So you're muggle-born, my Aunt Hermione is muggle-born too"
That didn't seem to reassure Bertie, who merely gave a slight nod of his head to show that he understood.
Scratching his head Albus tried to keep going, "Were they surprised?" he noted the confused look on Bertie's face, "Your parents I mean"
"Oh, yeah they were" Bertie said, "A great big man came to our house and told me that I was a wizard. My little brother threw a fit and the man gave him a bag of sweets, he seemed nice…"
Albus smiled to himself, "Hagrid…" he felt like he was getting through to his new acquaintance, "Did he take you to Diagon Alley? To get your books and a wand?"
Bertie smiled at last, "Yeah, that place was really cool"
At that point there came a knock on the compartment door, it was James. He walked in and sat down next to his little brother.
"Getting on alright Al?" he said "Nice to see you're making friends!" he continued with a point at Bertie.
"Yeah, this is Bertie" he replied. "What are you doing here? Friends abandoned you?" he asked, tongue firmly in cheek.
James grinned, "Can't I make sure my baby first year brother is ok?" he said sarcastically.
Albus rolled his eyes, "Well I'm fine so you can go if you want to" he said hopefully.
Noticing his brother's discomfort James kept pressing, "I hope you're not feeling nervous at all, I hear the Slytherin common room is really cold and damp".
"Shut up James! I wont be in Slytherin!" Albus shouted, he stood up to face his brother.
James laughed out of the door and back down the train, he shouted back, "Whatever you say Al!"
Slamming the door behind him Albus slumped back down. Bertie looked at him nervously, it was clear he didn't understand what had just happened.
"Sorry about him" Albus said quietly.
Bertie leaned in closer, "What was he talking about? What's Slytherin? Is it bad?" he asked.
Albus shrugged, "It's a Hogwarts house, there are four of them. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Basically my whole family has been in Gryffindor and James has been going on all summer about how I'm going to be sorted into Slytherin"
There was a nervous look in Bertie's eyes; perhaps this information had made him more anxious about the school. He leant back into his chair and stared out of the window.
"Does it matter what house you're in?" he asked
Albus shrugged in response, "My dad doesn't think so…"
"Who's your dad?" Bertie asked curiously.
In a quiet voice Albus replied, "Harry Potter"
Another knock came from the door, Albus feared it was James again but was relieved to see a kind looking witch pushing a trolley of food down the corridor. He stood up and opened the door.
"Anything from the trolley dears?" she asked
The trolley was full of delicious looking sweets, pasties and sandwiches, a paradise for a young and hungry wizard: Chocolate frogs, Every Flavour Beans, Pumpkin Pasties. Albus was spoilt for choice but gave a quick glance to Bertie who was looking the trolley with a confused expression.
"I'll have two chocolate frogs, two pumpkin pasties and two boxes of chocoballs please" he asked, handing over a couple of gold coins.
He sat back down and handed half of the wares over to Bertie, who eyed them suspiciously.
"Are these wizard sweets then?" he asked
Albus nodded, "You'll have to watch the chocolate frogs, they tend to jump around a bit" he said as his friend carefully opened the packaging.
Bertie glanced at him, "Jump around?" he said nervously.
"Don't worry about it too much" Albus replied
So Bertie proceeded to open the box containing the frog and, unsurprisingly, the contents leaped out and hopped around the compartment. Its' would be consumer attempted to catch it but it eluded him.
The door of the compartment slid open revealing a blond haired, slightly freckled girl, already wearing her Hogwarts robes, stood in the doorway. She rolled her eyes at the scene in front of her, grinned, and pulled out her wand.
"Impedimenta" she said clearly while pointing her wand at the frog. There was a flash of blue that caused the frog to slow down mid jump and was now floating in the air. The girl stepped up and grabbed it before handing it to Bertie, who was rather red in the face at this point.
He looked up at the girl, "Thanks…" he said hurriedly before returning to his seat.
The girl smiled kindly, "No problem" she looked towards Albus, "Making friends already Al?" she asked with a smile.
"Yeah" he replied, "Thanks Victoire"
Victoire walked out of the door but turned back into the compartment, "It took James much longer to get talking to people, you'd be surprised just how shy he was in his first year" with that she closed the door behind her and briskly walked away down the train.
After a few moments of quiet Bertie piped up, "Sister?" he asked, he was holding the bottom half of a chocolate frog at this point.
"No, cousin" Albus replied, "There are quite a few of us at Hogwarts. That one was Victoire, she's in her last year, and has just been made Head Girl"
Bertie stared at the door wistfully, "She seems nice"
Albus smirked slightly, "Don't get too attached" he said teasingly, "She has a boyfriend"
"Oh, I didn't mean…" Bertie replied, now red in the face. His attention turned back to the chocolate frog box, he put his hand into it and pulled out a small card. Turning it over his eyes widened as he read the name. He looked up at Albus opposite him, "Potter…Harry Potter..." he said quietly, "This is your dad isn't it?"
With a slight inclination of his head, Albus responded, "Yeah…that's him"
Bertie read the long description on the back of the card; it detailed all of Harry Potters achievements. Surviving the killing curse, youngest seeker, killing a basilisk, winning the Triwizard Tournament, and defeating Lord Voldemort. A list of things that Bertie simply didn't understand, but he understood this much, whoever Harry Potter was it was obvious that he was an incredibly famous wizard.
Just as Bertie was about to get lost in his thoughts the door of their compartment opened for the third time in the journey, the curly ginger hair gave away the fact that it was Rose. She had changed into her Hogwarts robes and had a broad grin on her face, she then took a seat next to Albus.
"Hi Al, you ok?" she asked, Albus nodded, "We're so nearly there, I cant wait any longer" she tried to suppress her excitement.
Albus noted this, "Calm down Rose, we're still over an hour away. What happened to those girls you were with by the way?"
Rose sat up, "Oh they're nice, it's just that we'll all probably be in different houses anyway so I thought it was ok to come and talk to you for a bit"
By now Bertie had guessed that Rose was yet another cousin but assumed that this one was in his year.
"I'm Bertie" he blurted out, his face immediately going a shade reminiscent of the girls name.
Fortunately Rose took it in her stride, "It's nice to meet you Bertie, I'm Rose Weasley" she offered her hand, which Bertie rather gladly shook
"Are you Albus's cousin?" he asked
Rose nodded, "Yes, have you met any other of our relatives then?" she continued.
"Just a couple" he replied with a slight smile.
"James came in earlier, so did Victoire" Albus took over.
"I saw Victoire earlier too, haven't spoken to James yet though" Rose said.
Albus scoffed, "Lucky you…" he spat
Rose sighed, "Don't worry about him Al! You'll be in Gryffindor just fine, trust me!"
Bertie looked at the two while they continued their conversation. It was curious for him, to listen to two people who had grown up in this world he was about to step into. All the talk about houses and strange sweets only felt like a scratch on the surface compared to the rest of the magical world. This particular train of thought was broken when the blonde haired Victoire knocked on the compartment door, mouthing the word "robes" at them before she walked away.
"We must nearly be there!" Rose squeal excitedly. "I'm going to find the other girls and leave you to get changed" she waved at them as she left the room.
"Excited?" Albus asked
Bertie frowned, "I guess so…"
The train pulled into Hogsmeade station not long after that, the long journey having flown by. The doors of the train opened and a booming voice rose above the excited murmur of the students.
"Firs' years!" the voice said, "Firs' years over here! Everyone else, to the carriages!"
The source of the voice was a hulking lump of a man, ten feet tall at least. A bushy beard concealed much of his face and his shaggy hair fell down the back of his head. He stood at the end of the platform holding a large lamp.
From within the crowd of people Albus spotted Rose and, pulling Bertie with him, walked beside her. She didn't acknowledge his presence, instead she continued talking to two other girls.
As soon as they reached the man Albus immediately knew who he was, "Hello Hagrid" he said with a grin.
Hagrid grinned back at him, "Ello Albus, you well?"
"I am, thanks Hagrid"
Bertie stared at him, not fazed in the slightest, "You took me to Diagon Alley in the summer!" he said enthusiastically.
Pondering this Hagrid replied, "Did I?" he stroked his beard, "Oh yes! Bertie isn't it?"
"Evening Hagrid!" another voice shouted, James had just walked past.
Returning the welcome briefly, he turned back to the group of 40 or so first years who had now gathered around him. They all looked rather anxious, dressed in their black, ill-fitting, robes.
"Righ', follow me down to the boats" he said as kindly as he could.
The boats were small and wooden, with no oars visible. It was three students to each boat and Albus made sure he shared with Bertie, a serious looking blonde haired boy took the third seat.
As soon as everyone was seated the boats smoothly left their moorings and glided across the large lake. The castle itself quickly came into view, though it was difficult to miss. Looming above them atop a hill, the lights in the windows appearing like stars in the sky. Amazed gasps and chatter filled the air as the young students too observed the school.
An excited "Wow" came from Albus's left, clearly Bertie was as amazed by the sight as everyone else.
Soon the boats pulled into a small covered harbour, with Hagrid leading them out and up a long set of stone paved stairs heading up the side of the mountain. At the top of the stairs was a courtyard in the middle of which was a fountain, which threw out a steady stream of water. They were led into a small entrance hall, in front of a large pair of ornate wooden doors.
A small, well-kept wizard stood ahead of them at top a box. He had greying hair and a pair of glasses on his nose. Hagrid walked up to him and gave him a curt nod before continuing on into through the doors, the students tried to catch a glimpse of what was beyond them as he went through.
The small wizard spoke, "Welcome to Hogwarts young witches and wizards!" he spoke in a high pitched but soft voice. "My name is Professor Flitwick and I am the deputy head of Hogwarts School" he coughed slightly, "Now, in a moment I will lead you through these doors and into the Great Hall. Once you are inside I will call you up one at a time to be sorted into your house, they are Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff"
A quiet chatter broke out as the students tensely discussed which house they would be in.
Flitwick coughed again and the students were silent once more, "While you are at Hogwarts your house will be your family, you will earn house points for good deeds and lose them for bad ones. At the end of the year the house with the most points will be awarded the house cup". He glanced back at the doors and took a deep breath. "Now if you would like to follow me"