Remus heard the footsteps and voices approaching in the corridor before he saw the boy. For a moment his heart beat faster and he felt panic rising up inside him; he squeezed his eyes shut and breathed deeply. It's okay. A quick glance at the dark glass window of the compartment showed him the outline of a group of people outside the door. The voices were louder now, and he made out the words as he turned back around to watch the parents standing on the platform. It's okay.

"But I don't want to sit in here!" This was the boy, and he was angry. "Come on, give in and let me sit with you all!"

A girl answered him, "Stop making a scene. Go on now, everyone knows firsties sit with each other. Time to bond and all that. No, come on, stop being a ninny. I'll see you at the feast."

Receding footsteps, and the boy calling after her. "Narcissa – Narcissa!"

A pause. Remus swallowed hard. It's okay. And then the compartment door banged open and Remus turned, heart thudding, to see the boy. He was black-haired and tall, and he entered with his back to Remus as he dragged in a large, shiny black trunk. He spoke before he looked at Remus, as he was lifting his trunk into the overhead compartment.

"Sorry to barge in on you like this, mate, but my cousin Narcissa, you know, she won't let me sit with the seventh years, and there's really no arguing with her when she's like that – believe me I've tried – anyway, she's my only cousin at school now, I wish I'd been here with her sisters though, Bellatrix and Andy, they're much more fun – do you have any family here?"

"N-no." Remus, whose two closest friends were his parents, had never know anybody to talk so much.

The boy finally turned around, after successfully shoving his trunk into the compartment. "Ah, who needs family anyway. My little brother –" He broke off as he saw Remus's expression. "Are you all right?"

Now, that was a question worth thinking about. No he wasn't all right. Full moon in six days, his first ever away from his parents, away from the chains and enchantments on their basement. Remus was terrified. But then this boy seemed nice enough, and at least he wasn't sitting alone anymore.

"Yes, fine." He tried for a reassuring smile, but the expression felt odd on his face, so he dropped it.

The boy seemed to accept this. "I'm Sirius Black, by the way."

"Remus Lupin."

"Glad to meet you. So, like I was saying, my brother Regulus gets hold of a bag of dungbombs the other day…"

And Remus was content to listen and stay silent as Sirius talked the hours away.