Sirius winced as he ran at the wall between platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station, half-expecting a painful impact. However, he passed through the barrier harmlessly and appeared on Platform 9 ¾. He brushed his wavy black hair from his face as he let out a sigh of relief. The young boy then stood in awe and the large crowd around him. Hundreds of students were bustling around, their parents giving them last orders and farewell hugs before they boarded the scarlet steam engine. Sirius felt a bit empty as he saw a mother kissing her son good-bye, and seeing the son run off with a group of friends.
Something suddenly impacted him from behind, causing him and his trolley to fall over. Sirius hit his head on the hard stone floor, and his vision became blurry as he fought back tears of pain. Above him, he saw a figure with dark hair. "Oh, no," he muttered.
"Oh, Sirius, I'm so sorry." Sirius' vision cleared, and he gave another sigh of relief when he saw Andromeda standing above him, holding out her hand to help him stand. "Are you all right?"
"Thank goodness it's her," Sirius thought, taking her hand and getting to his feet. Andromeda was by far Sirius' favorite cousin—and quite honestly the only family member of his that he even liked. "I'm fine, Meda. Sorry, that was my fault, I shouldn't have been standing there."
Andromeda laughed. "I did the same thing when I first came here. And guess who ran into me." She nodded to a young woman who had just come through the wall. The woman looked much like Andromeda, except that she had what appeared to be a permanent frown on her face, and her eyes did not show the kindness that was present in Andromeda's.
Sirius shuddered slightly as he watched another of his cousins, Bellatrix, ushering her youngest sister, Narcissa. "I'm glad you ran into me," Sirius said under his breath. Andromeda laughed again.
"Cissy, go on, get on the train, and good luck with your O.W.L.'s!" Bellatrix said to Narcissa. Narcissa's hair was as pale as Bellatrix's was black. Narcissa waved to Andromeda and Sirius before Bellatrix gave her a little push towards the train. "Go on, Cissy." Bellatrix turned toward Andromeda and Sirius. "Meda! Get on the train!" she called harshly.
Andromeda rolled her eyes. "I don't need you telling me what to do. You aren't our mother."
Bellatrix glared at her younger sister. "I'm supposed to get you safely on the train…now go!" Bellatrix's eyes fell to Sirius, who gulped. "You too."
If Sirius had been braver, he would have said something about her not being his mother as well, but his older cousin frightened him to no end. After all, she was an accomplished and powerful witch. Sirius had yet to be Sorted.
The entire Black clan had been put in Slytherin as far back as anyone could trace. At least, only Slytherins were on the family tree. Anyone who did anything that contradicted the pureblood Slytherin way was blasted right off of the family tree and disowned. Sirius was determined to be the next burn mark on the "Noble and Ancient House of Black" tapestry. He hoped that he would be put into another house…any other house, he wasn't picky…but he feared that he would be doomed to Slytherin.
Andromeda tried to help Sirius find a compartment on the train. They passed Narcissa about halfway back in the train, sitting with her two best friends. Narcissa smiled and waved at them as they passed. Sirius felt the sudden urge to sit with them, desperately wanting to be with someone he knew, even if they weren't the closest of cousins. "Can I sit with you?" he asked Andromeda, knowing the answer full well.
"You really want to sit with a bunch of sixth and seventh years? You need to meet people your own age, Sirius." Sirius sighed heavily. He never liked meeting new people. This was partially due to the fact that nearly everyone he had ever met was a complete git. And he was related to most of them. "What about here?" Andromeda asked, halting in the train corridor.
Sirius shook his head. "Someone's in there."
Andromeda sighed, almost seeming annoyed. "Sirius, look at him! He's all alone, I'm sure he'd be glad to meet someone."
"Oi, Black!" A young man waved from a nearby compartment. "We're having a bit of an Exploding Snap tournament in here, and I need someone else to beat."
"You did not beat me, it was a draw!" a smooth, but irritated voice said from inside the compartment.
"You're just a sore loser, Malfoy," the young man said, and he ducked as a red spell suddenly shot from inside the compartment. "All right, all right, it was a draw, I admit it. Can't you take a joke?'
Andromeda laughed and put her hands on her hips. "You're going to need to look for someone else, Warrington. Exploding Snap is my game."
"Is little Meda afraid?" Warrington asked in a baby voice, sticking out his lower lip.
Andromeda laughed again. "Why should I be afraid of winning?" She turned back to Sirius. "Go on," she said, motioning to the nearly empty compartment nearby.
"Go. That's an order, young man," Andromeda said, suddenly resembling her older sister, except that she cracked a smile at the look Sirius gave her. Andromeda headed to the compartment Warrington had invited her to.
Sirius took a deep breath and poked his head inside the compartment with the pale boy. "Can I sit here?" Sirius asked.
The boy turned quickly, his eyes wide with shock. "Here? With me?"
Sirius' brow furrowed. "Yes. Here. With you." He smiled at the nervous boy, who watched him in astonishment as Sirius sat down across from him. "My name's Sirius—what's yours?" he asked, throwing his hand out to the boy, making him jump. Sirius tried to keep from laughing at the boy's odd behavior. The boy was even more nervous than Sirius was!
"Remus," the boy said quietly, shaking Sirius' hand very quickly before leaning as far back in his seat as he could.
Sirius sniffed at his underarm. "Do I smell or something?"
Remus looked surprised, then laughed. "No, sorry, I'm just…"
"Shy," Sirius finished. Remus nodded.
A boy with black hair poked his head into the compartment. "These seats free?" he asked, ruffling his hair.
Sirius shrugged. "Yeah, I suppose so." Remus looked a bit fearful. Sirius wondered why Remus was acting like this. Perhaps he was like Sirius—maybe he didn't get along with his family either. Maybe he too didn't have any friends.
The boy with messy hair sat down next to Sirius. "I'm James, James Potter," he said, holding out his hand to Sirius.
Sirius shook it. "I'm Sirius, and this is Remus." James nodded to Remus, who appeared very happy that James didn't try to shake his hand as well. Remus gave a small "thank you" smile to Sirius.
"Just starting at Hogwarts?" James asked the two after a moment of silence. Sirius and Remus both nodded. "I'm so excited," James said. "I can't wait for broomstick practice—I'll probably be the best in the class. Not to brag or anything," he added, ruffling his hair again. "I've just been flying for years."
Sirius and Remus exchanged a bemused look. James was quite obviously bragging.
"What house do you think you'll be in?" James asked, trying once again to start a conversation.
"I don't know," Sirius lied. He didn't want to admit he believed he would be in Slytherin.
James turned to Remus, who thought for a moment before answering. "I'm not sure…I hope I'm in Gryffindor, though."
"Me, too." James leaned back with his hands behind his head.
Someone knocked quietly on the door to the compartment. James opened it, revealing a small boy who was fidgeting nervously. "Umm…are there…can I sit in here?" he asked.
"Why not?" James replied, making a motion to the seat across from him. Remus gave a sort of little moan that Sirius was sure only he had heard.
The little boy had to jump a little to get onto the seat. He bounced up and down nervously. "I'm Peter Pettigrew," he suddenly spouted out.
James chuckled. "I'm James, and this is Sirius and Remus," he said. "We're first years."
"So am I!" Peter said excitedly. "Did any of you read your books? I should have, but I didn't…I hope I'm not behind…"
"You're be fine," Sirius interrupted. "I have a lot of cousins that have come here, and none of them read anything beforehand." Peter seemed to calm down a bit. But Peter's calm translated into a silent compartment until the four ordered food from the trolley. Remus didn't have any money, but Sirius insisted on buying him a few chocolate frogs and licorice wands.
Each one kept reading their chocolate frog cards aloud as they ate their candy. "Let's see…here's one I don't have—Cornelius Agrippa, 1486-1535. He was a wizard imprisoned by non-magical folks for his writings. Poor guy…" James popped a few Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans into his mouth as he finished. "Yuck! Earwax and dirt!" he exclaimed.
"Gorgan Stump, 1770-1884. He was a Minister of Magic way back in 1811…think we'll need to know that for any of our classes?" Peter asked.
"Here's someone I don't want to meet—Herpo the Foul, Ancient Greek. First known creator of the basilisk." Sirius shivered. "Just look at the guy."
"I've got Headmaster Dumbledore!" Remus suddenly exclaimed. "Wow, I didn't know he'd done all this…nine uses of dragon's blood…defeating Grindelwald…"
About twenty minutes and five pounds of candy later, the train began slowing to a stop. Remus looked downcast. "What's wrong, Remus?" Sirius asked.
"I…this was fun. It was like having friends," he said quietly, looking at his hands. Sirius felt great pity for him. He felt the same way. One glance at Peter's face told Sirius that he also didn't have many friends, if any at all. James looked around at the glum three, flabbergasted.
"Like having friends? Seems to me that you have at least three, Remus."
Remus looked a little surprised. Sirius felt the same.
Then for no reason at all, the four burst out laughing. Sirius laughed the hardest. He was going to like Hogwarts.