Disclaimer: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling.
Nice to Meet You
Angelina Johnson's stomach gave a powerful lurch as the whistle on the Hogwarts Express blew. Her dad put his arm around her shoulders, smiling down at her. "Nervous?"
"A bit," she admitted, her voice sounding high to herself. She'd been looking forward to Hogwarts for years, so it had come as a bit of a shock to her that she should feel so apprehensive about actually boarding the train. "Excited, though, I --"
"Mummy, I want to go!" The wail cut through the Johnsons' farewells like a knife, and the three of them turned see a large family, every member of it sporting flaming red hair, standing nearby. Four of the five boys had trunks, and the youngest child, a girl, was clinging to one of her brothers.
"Oh, Gin, don't. We'll be back before you know it!"
This only made the girl cry harder, and one of the other brothers -- the twin, Angelina realized, of the boy who was being drenched by his sister -- knelt down next to her and whispered something that made her giggle in a watery sort of way, allowing the other twin to gently pry her off him.
Angelina saw her parents give the harried looking head of this red-haired clan a sympathetic smile, which she found she resented somewhat. Surely she wasn't as much trouble as six children. The woman smiled back, quickly, and then turned her attention back to her sons. "Fred, what did you tell her?"
"George, what did he say to your sister?"
"Just that we'd write, Mum."
Both statements were made in a tone of practiced innocence, and their mother looked supremely unconvinced. One of the twins -- Fred? -- caught Angelina's eye and grinned at her just as the train's whistle blew again. This time, when her stomach lurched, it had nothing to do with the noise or her nervousness.
Her parents hugged her tightly. "Have a good term, Angie," her mum said fondly, kissing the top of her head.
"You'll write?" Angelina asked a little worriedly.
"As often as you'd like."
With one last hug from both of them, she boarded the train, hauling her trunk into an empty compartment where she could wave to her parents. The red-haired family had got on the train as well, and she heard the mother shout, "Make sure Fred and George stay out of trouble, Charlie!"
The two youngest children waved and called good-byes from the platform as the train pulled away, and Angelina watched her parents disappear before leaning back in her seat.
"You're a Cannons fan?" The voice startled her, and she looked up to see the red-haired twins poking their heads into the compartment.
"What?" she asked, immediately feeling doltish.
One of them pointed at her trunk, where a Chudley Cannons sticker had been placed at a haphazard angle.
"Oh, yeah. Well, the trunk's my dad's, actually, but I like them, too." She felt as though she were babbling and heat came to her cheeks. A simple 'yes' would have done.
"Cool, us too," the other twin said.
The first one stepped into the compartment to let a group of older students walk past. Then, when she thought the two of them would leave, he stuck out his hand, which she shook cautiously. "Fred Weasley," he introduced himself. "And this is George. We're twins."
"I could tell," she said a little weakly. "I'm Angelina Johnson."
"Are you a first year too?" the further twin -- it must have been George -- asked.
She nodded. "You two are?" They didn't seem nervous at all, though if they had two older brothers at Hogwarts, why would they be? They probably already knew what House they were going to end up in. To test that theory, she asked them.
"Gryffindor," they answered in unison.
"We're hoping," George added circumspectly.
Fred flashed a grin at his brother and Angelina felt her stomach drop to her feet once again. So it was Fred who had the cute smile. That was one way to tell them apart, at least. "What about you?" he asked her.
"Oh, I don't really have any clue," she said, blushing honestly now. "I don't know anyone, so I'm not hoping to get sorted anywhere particular."
"You know us," George informed her, as if they were great friends and this were the most obvious thing in the world.
For the first time that day, her nerves eased a little. George's tone was completely unpatronizing and Fred was nodding vigorously in agreement with his brother.
"Bet you're in Gryffindor," Fred said confidently. "You look like a Gryffindor."
"Our whole family's been in it," George explained.
"So we should know," Fred added.
Angelina wondered if they always talked this much and this quickly. She suspected the answer was yes.
"Going to try out for Quidditch?" Fred asked her.
She gave him a puzzled look. "I thought first years weren't allowed."
"Oh, they aren't."
"But we're trying."
"Charlie -- that's our second oldest brother -- he's the team captain --"
"-- so we think maybe he'll let us, just for a laugh."
"Not that he'll actually let us on the team."
Angelina felt her eyes beginning to cross from the effort of looking back and forth between them. "I think I'll just wait until next year," she said, feeling, absurdly, apologetic that she couldn't measure up to their audacity. It wasn't as though she had anything to prove to them. She didn't really know them...though, as Fred cracked a joke and she laughed, she realized that she might be a bit disappointed if she didn't get sorted to Gryffindor. In fact, she might be quite disappointed.
"Well," George said, "I think it's time to check on Percy -- make sure he's staying out of trouble?"
"I think you're right," Fred agreed, a roguish gleam in his eyes.
The two of them said good-bye to her and left the compartment, and just as Angelina was settling in to look at her school books, Fred popped his head back in. "Nice meeting you, by the way," he said, that lopsided grin still on his face. "I hope you're in Gryffindor."
"Me too," she replied, returning his smile. As he disappeared, Angelina couldn't help but think to herself that her years at Hogwarts were off to an excellent start.