Author's Notes: Here is my spin-off story about Jack and Corbin. These two have totally run off with my muse. This story will have a little more introspection…at least it seems like that to me as I am writing it. The theme of this story is accepting oneself. So it's the old boy meets boy, boy and boy don't get together due to timing/issues, boy gets boy story. :-)
I am going to go back to when Corbin and Jack are young and have scenes about every year or so until they start dating. I wanted to give them both more of a back story. It's a bit more Corbin's story than Jack's but the story will switch back and forth between POVs.
The title is from one of my current favorite songs by Howie Day. I don't know that it really has any link to the story line but I like it. :-)
The First Meeting
The thirteen year old boy clutched the battered suitcase tighter in both hands as he looked hopelessly around the station. His ticket said Platform 9 ¾ but there was no such thing. How could there be? What was he going to do? His parents had already left him. There was no way he could get back to Glasgow on his own. He didn't want to go to Hogwarts anyway. Not if there would be more freaks like him there. Magic was the work of the Devil. He started to feel sick. What was he going to do?
"We've only got a few minutes! Come on!" A woman in a long dress urged a man and a boy along through the bustling station.
"No Bartleby has ever missed the train, Jack won't be the first." The man answered calmly as they walked by the boy. "Now you have got all your potions supplies, right?"
"Course I do, Dad."
Potions…wasn't that one of the subjects on his schedule? Corbin looked more closely at the three. They were all wearing robes…like that old man who had come to his house. They'd have to know where the platform was. Corbin followed them, trying to watch where they were going. They stopped in front of a wall.
"This one of your classmates, Jack dear?" The woman had noticed him.
"No." The boy, Jack, looked at Corbin closely. "Are you a first year?"
"Umm…it's my first at Hogwarts." Corbin desperately hoped he hadn't been wrong about the potions comment.
"And you don't know where the platform is?" The tall woman asked, smiling warmly at him, "Don't worry, we'll get you there."
"Not from a wizard family?" The blond man asked, taking in Corbin's clothes and his luggage. Corbin shook his head.
"It's just this way." Jack said, "It leaves at 11, we can't miss it. You just walk through there." He pointed.
"The wall?" Corbin said, looking at the other boy to make sure he wasn't joking.
"Yeah, you'll go right through. Honest."
"Jack, you might want to use the train ride to fill your new friend in on the important things." The man said, nodding solemnly.
"Oh. Right." Jack looked at Corbin's suitcase. "Right."
"Honestly, when Moony finds out what you did to Snivellus – Hey Bartleby." A black-haired older boy with glasses paused to greet Jack as they passed in the train corridor.
"Hi, Potter." Jack nodded.
The taller boy, Corbin noticed a Head Boy badge on his robes, and his friend looked at Corbin briefly, seeming to size him up in a glance – Corbin cringed internally - and then moved on.
"But Moony won't find out." The other, more handsome, black-haired boy laughed. "Because if you tell him-"
The voices grew softer as Corbin followed Jack down the corridor. In every compartment were children, younger and older than he was, doing spells, petting their frogs, or cats, with owls hooting in cages. Corbin had never been on a train with such strange passengers.
"Here's a compartment." Jack opened the door and sat down. "I didn't see any of my friends, but I'm sure they'll find me. I just realized we've not been properly introduced." He held out his hand. "Jack Bartleby. Third Year Gryffindor."
"Corbin Hill." Corbin shook Jack's hand. "I'll be Third year too, only…not really."
"I thought you looked my age. Why didn't you come for first year?"
Corbin remembered the day his Hogwarts letter had arrived. His parents had been horrified to find out their son was a freak. Jack was watching him with friendly brown eyes.
"My parents didn't want me to. Only then weird things started happening. And…then Headmaster Dumbledore came to our house and said it'd be best if I came to Hogwarts."
"Accidental magic, I used to do that too." Jack nodded sympathetically, "But Dumbledore really came to your house? That's wicked cool!"
Corbin remembered his parents' faces and couldn't speak.
"I'm sure it's been difficult for you…all the new things…learning about our world. Diagon Alley would be strange…I'd imagine…going there the first time if you'd never known it existed."
"Diagon Alley. Where you get your school supplies. And your wand. You have got a wand, haven't you?"
"No." Corbin shook his head.
Jack swore under his breath then smiled reassuringly. "Well, it's not a big deal…really."
"All right." Corbin knew his new friend was lying. He looked out the window at the scenery flying by. They were going north. He wondered where the school was, if he would be able to walk home from there. He didn't want to be around all these strange children who wore long robes.
"It's only….the thing is…some people….in our world, they don't like wizards and witches who aren't…pureblood. It's silly…but…well…there's rather a war on and…well, until you have a wand, you better stick close. And…um…avoid anyone whose last name is Lestrange, Black or Malfoy. Except Sirius Black, he's all right. He's in Gryffindor too."
"Lestrange, Black and Malfoy." Corbin repeated. "All right."
"I bet you'll get sorted into a house at the welcoming dinner tonight. There are four houses. Gryffindor, that's the best. But I suppose everyone thinks their house is the best. And Hufflepuff. They're nice, a bit thick but loyal. Ravenclaw, that's where all the really studious people go, they're not much fun. Slytherin, well…you won't get in Slytherin. Everyone's pureblood there."
"Is that really so important?"
"To some people."
"And there's really a war going on?" Corbin hadn't heard anything about a war – but then he'd never heard about magical people before he'd gotten his letter.
"Yes…The Death Eaters…they want to kill muggles, that's what we call non-magic folk, and muggle-borns, like you. They want only the pureblood wizards to remain."
Corbin thought it was just his luck to be an outcast among outcasts. And to find out there were others that would like to see him dead. The door to the compartment slammed open and Corbin jumped.
A tall, skinny young man stood in the doorway, a prefect badge on his robes. "Bartleby, I was just looking for Potter…have you seen him?"
"He was going that way, Lupin." Jack pointed down the corridor.
"Mm." The other boy answered, looking distracted. "Thanks." He let the door close and a second later, Corbin watched as one of the black-haired boys they'd seen earlier ran into Lupin and threw his arms around his waist, pulling him close. The black-haired boy pressed his open mouth against Lupin's. Corbin stared in shock.
"That's Sirius Black. He and Lupin are going out."
"Going out?" Corbin asked as the two older boys moved away from the door, still kissing.
"Um…together, dating?" Jack tried again. "You know…muggles must have a term for it. Muggles do get married too, don't they?"
"Not two boys." Corbin said, shaking his head, trying not to imagine what the thump in the corridor was from.
"No. It's wrong." Corbin said vehemently.
Jack looked at Corbin and then shook his head. "Muggles are certainly strange."
"It's unnatural." Corbin declared.
"Not in our world." Jack said lightly. "I hope we can still be friends."
"You…you're like that?" Corbin asked, staring at his new friend in shock.
Corbin shifted uncomfortably. It was unnatural. His father and mother had told him that when they'd caught him kissing the boy who lived next door when he was nine. Kissing boys caused you to go to Hell. But Jack seemed nice. Even if he was a wizard.
"Well…I'd still like to be friends." Corbin said finally, aware the silence had been growing.
"Brilliant." Jack grinned.