Noelle Lemieux rolled over in bed. She grabbed the clock on her nightstand, 7am. Heaving a sigh, she resolutely threw her covers off. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she looked around the room she had inhabited for 15 years, except the times she was away at school. Today was the 1st of September, her last morning waking under the Parisian sun for the next nine months. Why was her father making her do this? She didn't want to leave France, or Beauxbatons. She hated the idea of going to rainy England to attend Hogwarts. She glanced at her trunk. Usually it was filled with pale blue silk robes, but now it held heavy black ones.
There was a knock at her door.
Her mother walked in. "Reveille-toi, Noelle! (Wake up!) We need to leave in 30 minutes!"
Her mother bustled around the room, closing Noelle's trunk.
"Maman....do I really..."
Her mother cut her off. "Oui, Noelle. No more arguments! You know Papa and I have to go to America for now. You can still come here in the summer."
She knew it was useless to argue, and that there had to be a better reason than that.
30 minutes later, she stood in the parlor, her trunk beside her. They were taking Floo powder to the Leaky Cauldron, some pub in London. From there, the British Ministry of Magic would ensure that the ambassador's daughter arrived safely at Hogwarts. She grabbed a handful of powder, and tossed it into the fireplace.
"The Leaky Cauldron, London, England!" she called, stepping into the emerald flames.
It was a long time before she stopped spinning. Throwing her hands out, she braced herself for a fall. After she picked herself up, her father appeared out of the flames with her trunk, followed closely by her mother. As they dusted themselves off, a short man called,
"Mr. and Mrs. Lem-yooks?"
Her father responded, "Oui, we are Monsieur and Madame Lemieux."
He pronounced the last name "Lem-yoo". The man blushed.
"Ah yes, of course." He took Noelle's trunk and said, "Follow me."
Brushing the remaining soot from her cloak, she hurried to catch up.A car idled at the curb. Everywhere she heard noise. People taking faster than she could mentally translate. A new panic struck her; she could speak English, but not enough to keep up with these people! Gripping the handle of her owl's cage, she ducked into the car behind her mother.
Within minutes, they had arrived at King's Cross Station. When she got out of the car, a trolley was waiting at the curb. She followed her parents through the crowded station. When they reached Platform 9, her father turned to her. He handed her a ticket and a small bag filled with gold coins.
"Here is some money for fun. Try to have a good time, ma chère."
He kissed her twice on each cheek, and her mother followed suit.
"Au revoir, Noelle! Send lots of owls, and make lots of friends!"
She clung to her father briefly. Then she drew herself up to her full 5'5", and spun on her heel. Platform 9 ¾.....where is it? She muttered to herself. She turned to ask her parents, but they were already gone. Feeling more panic, she searched up and down the platform. No Platform 9 ¾. Then she saw a group of teenagers walking past her. They walked directly into a barrier and disappeared. She took a deep breath, and followed them.
Suddenly, she found herself surrounded by young witches and wizards. Everyone seemed to know each other. Swallowing nervously, she boarded the train. All the compartments in the front of the train were full of laughing boys and girls. She walked to the end of the train, peering into each one. The very last compartment held only one occupant.
"Excuse-moi, may I sit with you?"
At the sound of her lilting accent, the boy in the compartment raised his head. His skin was pale and his dark hair was slightly stringy. His dark sloe eyes stared at her for a moment. Then he shook himself.
He pulled a knapsack off the seat across from him. Gratefully, she sat.
"Are you new? You don't look like a first year." He questioned.
"Oui, I am new, but I will be a fifth year. I am coming from Beauxbatons."
He smiled. "My name is Severus, Severus Snape."
"Enchante Severus, I am Noelle Lemieux."
They shook hands. She settled back in her seat.
"You look nervous." He stated.
"Is it that obvious?" He laughed.
"You'll be fine. Everyone, well, most everyone is pretty nice."
She sighed in relief.
"Tell me about France. Is it nice there?" he questioned.
She found herself taking until well after the train had left the station, only stumbling a few times on her English. Severus corrected her, but he wasn't rude about it.
"How are the classes? What are they like?" she asked.
He opened his mouth to answer, but then the door slid open. Some of the teenagers she had seen on the platform walked in. Snape snapped his mouth shut.
"Well, well...if it isn't Snivellus....with a girl!!"
A tall skinny boy with glasses smirked. The boy behind him laughed, and came into view. Noelle caught her breath. He was gorgeous. Dark silky hair, tanned skin, clear grey eyes. Snape turned bright red and jumped to his feet, pulling out his wand. He was too late. The boy with the glasses cried,
Without thinking, Noelle leapt to her feet, and flung her right hand out.
The boy with the glasses turned, shocked, and then the spell hit him. He fell to the floor next to Snape. She turned toward the other boy.
"Try it." He said with a smirk.
"Non. You did nothing."
He looked surprised. "You're new."
"Oui. Now take your friend and leave."
She turned her back on him, tending to Snape. He still stood there, with his chin to his chest. She pointed her wand at him.
He pulled his friend to his feet and dragged him out of the compartment.
Noelle turned back to Severus. "Innervate."
He stirred. "Where did they go?"
"I got rid of them. Who are they?"
He plunked back onto his seat, and pushed his stringy hair behind his ears.
"James Potter and Sirius Black."
"Why did they attack you?" she questioned.
He chuckled. "On the train last year, I hexed them both, pretty badly. They were just getting me back."
Noelle laughed. "They will probably hex me now too, n'est-ce pas?"
He laughed. "Watch your back!"
The rest of the journey passed quickly. All too soon, the train was grinding to a halt. Severus glanced at Noelle. She was pale and shaky.
"You'll be fine. Come on."
She followed him off the train.
"See that giant man over there?" She nodded. "Go wait with him. He'll take you to the castle."
She looked at him desperately. "Why can't you?"
He looked flattered that she wanted him to stay. "You need to be sorted. Don't worry, I'll see you inside."
She nodded. He squeezed her hand, and slipped away through the crowds.
She made her way to the giant man.
"Excuse-moi, I am new."
He peered down at her. "You must be Noelle. Dumbledore told me about you. Stick close. Firs yers! This way!"
The giant man led them all down to a dock where dozens of small boats waited to take them across the lake. They swiftly moved across the lake, and into an underground harbor. She climbed out of the boat and stood on shaky legs. She followed the first years up a stone staircase. A tall imposing woman waited at a set of double doors.
"I am Professor McGonagall. Soon you will enter, and be sorted into your houses. Your house will be your family while you are here at Hogwarts."
Noelle's mind raced. Sorted? Houses? At Beauxbatons, you simply lived with the students that were in your year. How were you sorted?
"Noelle Lemieux! First in line please."
She pushed her way through the crowd.
"You will be sorted first, as you are a transfer."
Noelle nodded slowly. The doors flew open, and she and the first years followed McGonagall into the hall.