Albus Severus Potter leaned out the window of the Hogwarts Express, his green eyes searching for his family on the platform. The train started moving, and he grinned and waved to his parents and sister as they disappeared from view. His untidy black hair, which was just like his father's, became messier as the train sped up. Albus' eyes glowed. He was off to his first at Hogwarts.
"Come on!" His cousin and good friend Rose Weasley tugged on his sleeve. "We should go find a compartment."
The two made their way down the train, pulling along their trunks and the cage that held Althea, Albus' snowy owl his father had given to him for his 11th birthday. They passed dozens of full compartments until they reached one with James, Albus' older brother, and three of James' friends.
"Hi, James!" Albus said, relieved to have found a familiar face. "Could we sit here?"
James glanced at his friends. "Um…no. Find your own compartment; we have things to discuss that you innocent children shouldn't hear."
"We're only a year younger than you!" Albus protested with annoyance. "And you have room!" he added, motioning to the empty spaces.
"There aren't any empty compartments," Rose said quietly.
"Keep going back, there'll be room," one of James' friends said.
Albus and Rose looked at each other. "Fine," Albus said shortly. His brother was so insufferable at times.
Albus and Rose continued down the train. In the final car, Rose said, "It's no good; everywhere is full."
As if on cue, a girl suddenly poked her head out from a nearby compartment. She had curly blonde hair and bright green eyes greatly reminiscent of Albus'. "We still have some room, if you'd like to sit with us," she offered with a smile.
Rose sighed thankfully and smiled back at the other girl. "Thank you!"
Albus and Rose stowed their luggage and Althea before they sat down next to each other. Rose was seated next to the girl who had invited them in. The blonde girl was sitting across from another girl, but this girl had dark, wavy hair and brilliantly blue eyes. Across from Albus was a blond boy who appeared very out of place and nervous, his blue-grey eyes staring out the window of the car.
"I'm Aries, and this is my friend Iris," the blonde girl said, motioning to the girl across from her. "And this is my brother, Scorpius."
The boy briefly looked from the window to Albus and Rose, nodding politely before gazing out the window again, his eyes slightly blank as though he was not actually seeing the landscape as it passed by. Albus suddenly remembered Uncle Ron saying something about a Scorpius before they boarded the train. Albus struggled to remember, but could not think of anything specific that Ron had said, except that he asked Rose to beat him on every test. Albus grinned; Rose probably would.
"I'm Rose," his cousin said, breaking Albus out of his thoughts. "And this is my cousin Albus."
"Are you two just starting at Hogwarts?" Iris asked.
Albus and Rose nodded.
"Iris and I are starting our second year," Aries said. "But Scorpius is a first year, too."
"Are you nervous about the Sorting?" Scorpius asked suddenly. "What if it puts me in the wrong house? What if I don't like the house?" he continued, more to himself than anyone in the compartment. A look of horror suddenly crossed the boy's face. "What if mum doesn't like the house I'm in?" He put a hand over his mouth and shook his head. "Oh, no, oh no!"
Iris laughed quietly as Aries consoled her brother. "There's nothing to worry about—I haven't heard of the Sorting Hat being wrong. Anyway, you'll be with Iris and me, no doubt. Our whole family has been in the same house."
"That's just it!" Scorpius exclaimed, appearing even more frightened than before. "What if I'm not? I'll be a laughingstock…a failure…father would probably disown me…"
"He would not!" Aries exclaimed as she sat back in her seat and sighed. "You're hopeless, you know that?" She turned to Rose. "I mean, you aren't worried about the Sorting, are you?"
"No-no…" Rose stammered, surprised by the question. "I don't think I am, at least. I mean, my parents were in the same house…but I'm sure the Sorting Hat will make a good choice."
"See?" Aries said. "You're absolutely right. It isn't like you have to go and fight a troll or something."
Iris laughed again. "The only thing to be nervous about the Sorting is having everyone watching you…and especially Headmaster Darcy. He never blinks, that man. He's creepy."
Scorpius moaned and Aries rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, Scorpius, really." Aries suddenly turned her attention to Albus. "Are you worried?"
Before Albus had a chance to answer, a bang, a crash, and loud voices erupted in the corridor. "Serves you right, doesn't it?" Albus' heart jumped in surprised when he recognized the voice as his brother's.
"Shouldn't be a Slytherin, eh?" one of James' friends said.
Albus heard someone mutter something, and James and his friends laughed. "But your Head isn't here now, is she? Can't take away points for something she didn't see."
"Oh, honestly!" Aries exclaimed angrily, her eyes narrowing. "That Potter and his friends are horrible bullies. They think they're so great." Albus fidgeted nervously in his seat. "But stupid Potter never gets into trouble—you can't touch the son of the Boy-Who-Lived, can you?" Aries continued with a scowl.
"Picking fights with individuals in the corridor," Iris added. "One against four is hardly fair. He's a bloody coward."
Aries stood, drawing her wand. Iris followed suit just as the compartment door opened. "Ah, Aries Malfoy! What a pleasant surprise," James said with a grin. Scorpius shrunk in his seat as though hoping that everyone would forget he was there. Which apparently worked as James did not seem to see anyone except Aries and Iris.
"Get out of here, Potter!" Aries ordered, a few red sparks shooting from her wand as Iris raised her own wand a bit higher.
"As pretty and evil as ever, I see," James commented nonchalantly, his own wand raised to Aries' face.
"If you don't get out of here on the count of three…" Iris began threateningly.
"What, a bloke can't—." James cut himself off as his eyes dropped to Albus and Rose. "What the devil are you two doing in here?"
Aries, Iris, and Scorpius all looked to Albus and Rose in shock. "You know him?" Iris asked, looking slightly disgusted.
Albus glanced over at Rose, who looked completely bewildered by everything that was going on. Albus suddenly began feeling the same disgust that Iris was showing. One, he was in a compartment of, apparently, proud Slytherins. Two, he was surprised to realize, he enjoyed their company. And three, his brother was a complete git. He had always known that, but he had not realized how biased and egotistical he was. Albus got to his feet.
"We're here because you told us to go away, and they invited us in," Albus said with as much venom as he could muster, which was probably a pathetic amount, but his brother still appeared completely shocked.
"I didn't say convert to the Dark Arts, I said find your own compartment!" James exclaimed. Aries' eyes narrowed menacingly, and more sparks flew from the end of her wand. "Come on, you two," James said, turning away. "Oh, but first." He suddenly pointed his wand at Aries again and muttered something. But Aries was ready, and she blocked the hex, and then she flicked her wand as she breathed a jinx. James was suddenly hanging in midair as though from an invisible rope around his ankles.
Albus found himself laughing wholeheartedly along with everyone else in the compartment, including Rose. James' friends tried to tug him down with no avail. Aries lazily gave another flick of her wand, and James fell to the floor on top of his friends in a heap.
"I'll tell Professor Longbottom!" James said as he got up. "And he'll tell Headmaster Darcy!"
"You'll tell them what? That you were beaten by a girl?" Aries said with a smirk. James muttered something incoherently as he and his friends ran out of the train car.
Aries and Iris sat back down. Albus also sat down as soon as he realized that he was the only one still standing. He also quickly put away his wand, which he had not even noticed he had drawn. Albus felt his face flush as he realized that he had just pulled a wand on his own brother. He was going to be in a lot of trouble when James told mum and dad.
"So how do you know Potter?" Aries asked, breaking the silence.
Rose looked nervously at Albus. Albus folded his arms and looked down at his lap. "He's…um…unfortunately…he's my brother." Albus heard a squeak that he swore came from Scorpius.
"Your brother?" Iris gasped. Rose now shrunk in her seat, much as Scorpius had down when James had entered the compartment.
"Well, you're a right bit better than him, I can say that," Aries said, looking at the door and twirling her wand in her hand. "I suppose you'll probably be in Gryffindor too, though," she said with a sigh. "That'll be a loss."
"I guess you know Longbottom too, then," Iris said. Albus nodded. "He and Professor Malfoy are all that stands between an all out war between Slytherins and Gryffindors, I think." Albus was unsure if Iris was joking or not.
Rose suddenly spoke up. "Malfoy? Does your dad teach at Hogwarts?" she asked curiously, looking from Aries to Scorpius.
"No, our mum does. Well, our birth mother," Aries added. "She and dad split up about six months after Scorpius was born." Scorpius looked at his hands, almost embarrassed. "Stop it, Scorpius; they keep telling you, it wasn't because of you!" She turned back to Rose, still shaking her head. "She kept around though—she practically lived at the Manor anyway, so it was almost like they were still married. She even kept the name Malfoy instead of going back to her maiden name. But then dad got back with an old school girlfriend of his."
"She hates me," Scorpius muttered.
"Pansy does not hate you!" Aries countered before continuing her story. "We haven't seen much of mum since dad remarried. Pansy does hate her, though, probably because she knows that dad still loves her." An awkward silence settled over the compartment.
"Professor Malfoy is great," Iris said finally, breaking the silence. "You'll like her, I think," Iris said to Albus and Rose. The silence returned.
"Shouldn't we change into our robes?" Aries said, looking out the window. "I think we'll be there soon."