A/N- More bad writing! YAY! But I'm pretty much obsessed with this story. I've wanted to write it for a while. This fic will ONLY be train journeys TO Hogwarts. I may make a sister fic in which the charries actually go to school (or possibly one over Summer Vacation). Maybe.

I am not trying for humor in this story. I figured out in "If You Couldn't Get Caught" that I'm not so good at it. I am, however, trying to get the tone of conversation I have with most of my male friends. Forgive me if I fail. I'm not a good writer. That's why I'm on fanfiction.

The title is a line from the song 'City of New Orleans', but the plot is otherwise unrelated. I just like the way those words sound together. Sue me. (Actually… on second thought… DON'T! PLEASE!)

NOTE TO SELF: FINISH AUTHOR'S NOTE

Disclaimer: Noone ever reads these things. I BETTER NOT GET SUED JUST CAUSE SOME LAWYER COULDN'T BE BOTHRED TO READ MY A/N! Oh. Haha… Um… "I don't own Harry Potter".

Rhythm Of the Rails- Chapter One

Anxiously, Lily boarded the train, her trunk right behind her. Everyone else seemed to know each other already. Girls and boys alike were greeting each other, hugging, and finding themselves compartments. Lily felt lost and confused. She bit her lip and hung her head.

'I should never have come.'

Then she brought her face up. What was it that her mother had said to her?

'I am an Evans', she thought to herself, and drew herself up straight. She almost marched herself up to the first compartment door, and, before her newfound confidence deserted her, knocked.

A pretty face appeared at the door.

"Yes?" asked a black haired girl with piercing blue eyes. Her mouth was twisted into a dark smile, made darker by the purple lipstick she was wearing.

"I-I'm Lily Evans," said Lily tentatively. The girl gave her a bored, scornful look. "I was wondering if I could… sit with you." She ventured, putting on her brightest smile. The other girl laughed out loud.

"You? With us?" asked the girl. Lily blushed as she heard voices tittering inside the compartment. "Dream on!"

The door slammed in Lily's face. Her shoulders sagged and her lip trembled. She turned from the door and found herself face to face with a red haired boy with bright brown eyes.

"You didn't just go ask Bellatrix Black if you could sit with her, did you?" he asked, sounding intensely amused. Then he grinned. "Cause you really don't look like a prospective Slytherin."

"S-slytherin?" she asked, her voice faltering. He caught the expression on her face and beamed.

"A Muggle-born! It seems we have more than just our hair in common. Here. You can sit with us." He opened the door to some seats grandly, ushering her in.

"Ladies. Gentlemen. Alex. I present miss Lily Evans." Lily saw two curious faces, both of them male. A boy with light, feathery brown hair was draped over a seat. He stuck his tongue out at Lily's new friend. Then he turned to Lily.

"Pleasure to meet you Lily. My name's Alex. Contrary to popular belief, I am actually male." He informed her, standing up. Lily had to lean her head back to look up at him. He laughed at the expression on her face. "Yeah. They think I'm an extra terrestrial because, apparently, there's no other way I could be this tall."

"It can't be Giant's blood! You'd be fat." Said a blond boy, grinning up from the seat across from Alex. "I'm Jacob."

Lily smiled and turned to the red head that had found her. "And you are?" she asked.

"Ethan Marcus Eleanor Simon Cordus von Rochow," he told her, bowing.

"Can I call you Eleanor?" she asked, grinning up at him.

"You want to sit here, right?" he replied, glaring at her kindly. She pretended to think about it.

"Yes. I think I do… Eleanor."

Ethan grinned in spite of himself and helped her lift her trunk into position. He did so with a quick spell, which left Lily wide-eyed.

"Never seen magic before?" he asked. Lily shook her head and he explained, "You'll pick it up soon enough. I'm a Muggle born – that means neither of my parents have magic- and look where I am now! A regular-"

"Boaster?" interrupted Alex lazily. "That's nice and all Ethan, but I hardly think that as second years we can claim to have any astonishing magical prowess."

Jacob rolled his eyes. "They do this a lot. They are, according to them, very good at 'witty' banter." Lily laughed and sat next to Jacob while Ethan tried to force Alex to give him some space on the seat opposite.

'Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all' she thought as she watched Ethan and Alex argue about how much leg room Alex really required.

--

By the time the candy trolley had arrived, Lily felt closer to this group of boys than she had ever felt to Petunia. Not that that was very difficult. They were entertaining and nice. They had also explained many of the Hogwarts quirks to her. She felt like she knew the castle already, though she had never seen it.

"So anyway, you can't enter the girls dorm, cause the stairs turn into this ramp thing and-" Ethan stopped himself. "Oh wait… haha… you're a girl. Nevermind." Lily smiled, and then pretended to look offended.

"Why Eleanor, you hurt me so! Do you not think of me as feminine?" she asked, fluttering her eyelashes seductively as she tried to stop herself from giggling. Ethan looked pensive for a second, but before he could reply the trolley lady threw open the sliding door.

"Some sweets Ladies and Gentlemen?"

"And Alex." muttered Jacob, earning himself a kick in the shin.

As Lily looked on, all three boys bought almost everything on the trolley, explaining each sweet to Lily as they purchased it. She goggled as they piled up the sugary junk food on the little jutting table by the window, praying that it wouldn't break under the weight.

Still, she was quick to accept all the amazing candies they offered her, sampling each one thoroughly, and pausing to marvel at the moving picture on her Chocolate Frog card.

When she had tried almost everything they had given her, Ethan finally said, "Judging by the way you can pack it away, Lily, I would say that you were the very opposite of feminine."

"On the contrary," retorted Alex, "Just because a girl knows how to eat, it doesn't mean she's not-"

"There they go again," sighed Jacob. "Try these. Bertie Bott's Every Flavored Beans. Only… watch out. You can get some pretty nasty flavors."

Lily looked at the bag with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. "Why eat them if they're gross?"

Jacob blinked. "Yeah. You're definitely a girl. Only a girl would actually think of something like that." Lily stuck her tongue out at him and grabbed a bean.

"I'll take that as a compliment." She informed him in her best 'snooty Lily' voice, biting into the bean. She made a face. "Ugh. Strawberry. I was hoping for blood." She laughed at the horrified expression on Jacob's face. "I'm kidding idiot!"

"An extra terrestrial and a vampire. Could our group get any weirder?"

Only then did it go slightly wrong. Her wonderful train ride was marred. Looking back, Lily was unbelievably thankful that she had this particular encounter had not happened right after her one with Bellatrix. She would have left the train screaming for sure.

James Potter stuck his head into the room. He grinned at the boys, and tousled his hair.

"Hi!" he said by way of introduction, "I'm James. James Potter. I've come to meet everyone on the train. I've already met the prefects, who were all annoyed because I interrupted their precious prefect meeting, and some girls who wear really weird makeup and my friends here, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black," the boys peeked in quickly,, waving to the others, "Oh… and.. um… Peter. That's you're name, right?." He asked a blond haired boy who had joined the others.

James beamed up at the older boys.

"I'm Lily," Lily ventured.

James looked at her for a brief second, before asking, "Who are you guys?" The boys introduced themselves, and, for the first time since she had encountered Bellatrix, Lily felt ignored. She was comforted by the fact that the boys did not seem to be enjoying James's incessant badgering, though it didn't help much. He'd snubbed her!

It didn't stop there though.

"I'd stay with you so you didn't have to spend time with the likes of her but…" James began, gesturing at Lily. He was interrupted by a shocked grunt from Jacob and stopped, rethinking his sentence. "I have a lot to see." He finished hurriedly.

"Annoying tyke," said Jacob airily, leaning back in his seat. Lily couldn't help but smile. At least someone was one her side. But it was, she told herself, a virtuous smile. After all, it wasn't very big.

"Lily, you're beaming." Ethan told her. She immediately stopped smiling. "Oh! Is Miss Lily in love?" he asked teasingly. Lily looked at him, her mouth dropping open in amazement. Then she fell off her seat, laughing.

Alex shook his head at her. "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, Lily. You should read more Mark Twain."

"I do not like James Potter!" she told them all, brushing herself off carefully and reseating herself.

Jacob cuffed her lightly, "Say that another hundred times and maybe we'll believe you."

"I don't like James Potter. I d-" started Lily, but Jacob interrupted her.

"I wasn't serious!"

A/N- Tada! For all of you who are upset with me for not updating my other fics… I'm truly sorry. I haven't been around much- I went to Kiev and Holland and the States… and I've had BUCKET LOADS of homework. Anyway, this story just came right out of me. The others will come… eventually. :D

Reviews are my loves. –hint hint-