On September the first, a cherry red steam engine beckoned from the tracks of a certain platform 9 ¾ . Around it swarmed a crowd of wizards, their bodies pressed up against each other as they pushed to board the train. Students were beaming with excitement: either at finally going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry or at the opportunity to get away from their parents.
Ophelia Green stood amongst the pulsing crowd, her eyes staring straight at the scarlet locomotive. For her, there were no parents to say goodbye to. Her father had been absent since her infancy and her mother…well, her mother had more important things to think about, she supposed. Now, all Ophelia had to do was to get through the damn-
"Crowds," cried a stout woman with a headful of wiry ginger hair, "It's impossible to find anyone in this mess! Now, dear, I know your mother isn't here, so I thought I'd send you off with a little something…"
"Thanks very much, Mrs. Weasley," Ophelia's eyes smiled with genuine gratitude as she accepted the paper package from the older woman's small hands. She had enough money to pay for a snack on the train, but she loved Mrs. Weasley's cooking and appreciated the gesture immensely. After a quick but heartfelt goodbye, Ophelia made her way through the thinning throngs of people and boarded the Hogwarts Express. As usual, she tripped on the step.
As she made her way down the corridor, she came across faces which she recognized from the years previous. There were a few former seventh-years who had chosen to repeat the year. To her right, it looked like Cho Chang and Neville Longbottom were sharing a compartment with Luna Lovegood and…she couldn't see the others through the frosted glass. She continued on to find somewhere to sit until a voice called her name from behind.
"Hello there," smiled a bushy-haired girl who Ophelia knew as Hermione Granger, "Have you seen a boy with red hair and a Firepants Hex on him?"
"D'you mean Ron Weasely?" Ophelia, of course, knew him because his parents were friends with her mother. Hermione nodded and rolled her eyes in jest.
"Sorry, just got on the train. Haven't seen anyone but you," she grimaced apologetically, shrugged and left Hermione muttering about looking somewhere near the food trolley. Further down the train, Ophelia was just beginning to get frustrated with the lack of space when a door opened and a very handsome, very familiar blonde head emerged. It turned around and regarded her with calculating gray eyes which were slightly more sunken and shadowed than she remembered.
"Green," he addressed her.
"Draco," she replied, "I didn't know you were re-"
"Look, it's my dad that's made me. Got a problem with that?" His upper lip curled in what Ophelia knew was a defensive expression. She told him, with her eyes downcast, that she hadn't meant to offend him. He set his jaw.
"S'okay," he mumbled. After a little silence, he added, "So…your family didn't call on us this summer…"
"Well, with your family's current reputation-"
"You couldn't risk yours. Yes, I suppose…" Draco jaw was clenching and unclenching rhythmically. Poor Draco, Ophelia thought, having to deal with his mother leaving. Even he doesn't deserve-
"My mother sends her regards to yours, though," he sniffed as he sidled past her to walk down the corridor in the opposite direction. Her eyes followed him sympathetically, knowing that what he'd said was a lie. Still, she went on in the search for a compartment. Soon enough, she came across one which was empty, save for one girl with spiky, shoulder length hair. Ophelia suddenly grinned broadly and threw open the door.
"Sorry, this one's taken." The girl's voice was absent; she didn't even bother looking around.
"Ah," Ophelia arranged her face into a frown, "I guess I'll just have to-"
But she was interrupted by a gasp as the girl turned.
"Oaf!" The girl cried out her best friend's nickname. The friend in question replied with an involuntary squeal.
"Marieke!" The two soon-to-be seventh years embraced while bouncing up and down. They had not heard from one another at all since the overly eventful previous year. At the thought of the past school year, a shadow fell over Ophelia's face.
Marieke saw it.
"This…this year's going to be wicked! We're at the top of the food chain, Oaf!" The taller girl said as she sat Ophelia down. While looking directly into her eyes, Marieke spoke.
"I know you don't want to talk about the…what happened last year, but I swear to Merlin: if you don't stop thinking about it I will Obliviate it out myself!" Ophelia offered a weak laugh. However, it grew louder and more genuine when Marieke pulled a face which she always thought resembled the backside of a Blast-Ended Skrewt. Soon the two were both slouched against the seats, clutching their stomachs and nearly crying from laughter.
"Y-you know, hahaha, there're a lot of positions that have to be filled now…"
"Hahehehargh, I bet you hope we get a few cute teachers," Ophelia wiped a happy tear from her eye as Marieke swatted her playfully.
"Well, Oliver Wood's been gone forever, and now Roger Davies too! Who's left to ogle?" Marieke asked. Ophelia smirked to herself. Marieke caught it and groaned in mock frustration.
"No, Oaf, no. No matter what you say, Draco Malfoy is not my cup of tea, thanks very much."
"Well, I admit he's a little…boyish. But that hair!"
"Those eyes! Yes, yes," Marieke giggled, "I've heard this from you every day of my life, so shut up!" And they collapsed into a fit of giggles once again.
Hours later, the train arrived at Hosmeade Station. Marieke and Ophelia bickered good-naturedly as they collected their baggage and made their way to one of the carriages. Marieke was scrutinizing every aspect of her appearance, as she was wont to do, while Ophelia scoffed and told her she was obviously Confunded. Marieke, she constantly said, was one of the most beautiful girls she'd ever seen. Who wouldn't want her shiny blonde hair and Asian features? The first thing Ophelia ever said to Marieke was that the combination made her look like a faerie princess, and it was completely true. Ophelia wished her mother was Korean and her father was Dutch. Instead, her father was plain old English and her mother was German.
At this, it was Marieke's turn to scoff.
"What's wrong with that? At least you can speak a whole other language!"
"German? Who wants to speak German? Ach, ich werde mit den Kartoffeln sofort kommen!"
„Ooh, say it again!" Marieke laughed. Ophelia laughed too, while she shook her head. Soon they chuckled themselves into a comfortable silence, with Ophelia watching the black, reptilian head of the thestral pulling the carriage.
"You are all very brave. As I look at you now, I see the faces of people who have seen more than they should…more than anyone should. Many of you were involved in the events which occurred in this school last year, and those of you who were fortunately did not have a part surely know of them. But still, all of you come here to seek knowledge, to find friendship, to ready yourselves for a world which most of you have already had to face. For that, I thank you and take pride in your presence here. So, to conclude…students, faculty and staff: welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
Riotous applause followed Headmistress McGonagall back to her seat at the front of the Great Hall. From her own seat at the Ravenclaw table, Ophelia could see McGonagall's hands gripping the folds of her robe with white knuckles. She turned her head to the Hufflepuff table where Marieke, surrounded by newly-sorted first years, sat with a strange look in her eyes. Ophelia knew why. Amidst all the destruction and violence of that night, the two witches who had barely acknowledged each other previously, had stayed together through fear and torture. Painful memories fled at the thought of that bond forged at wandpoint. Ophelia, however, had her jaw and hands clenched rigidly throughout the entirety of the opening speech. Only after the meal when she saw her blonde friend's head turn back to the podium did she dig her bitten fingernails out of her sore palms. McGonagall was back up, standing tall as she spoke.
"I hope you enjoyed you first meal of the school year. Before you all retire to your beds, I wish to make a few announcements. Firstly, I'm sure you all know that this year, Muggle Studies has become a mandatory subject. In order to cope with the large number of students new to the class, another professor will be joining our Professor Hobbesly. Please welcome Professor Jamelia Morton!" Polite applause answered the small, willowy woman who stood to wave at the students. Her sleek mahogany hair was pulled into a complicated knot at the back of her neck, which was colored with tattoos. She sat down again as McGonagall signaled for quiet.
"We also have new professors in the subjects of Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions. To our potions post, please welcome Tobias Flamel!" Another round of applause sounded, slightly louder this time, as a tall and bespectacled man with curly hair smiled from his seat.
"And let me introduce Professor Kingsley Shacklebolt, who will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts!" The Gryffindors drowned out the end of her introduction with their cheers. Shacklebolt replied by nodding his bald head before sitting back down.
"And finally, taking over my old post as Transfiguration teacher…Professor Lucius Malfoy." The claps which met this announcement were accompanied by scattered gasps and whispers. There was even a hiss from the Hufflepuff table. Ophelia stayed silent as Draco's father stood with utmost dignity, his white-blonde hair falling over a black robe that must have been very fine once. His long, straight nose immediately gave him away as an aristocrat as it pointed proudly above the students' heads. For some reason, the thought of him eating or sleeping, things Ophelia had seen him do before, seemed totally incongruous with this straight-backed, steely-eyed man. He gave a small, polite nod and returned to his seat amongst the whispers which would not diminish.
"Thankt you all for your attention. Now, seeing as supper is over, I expect you to have a good night's rest before classes tomorrow. Once again: welcome."
A deafening scrape of feet and benches echoed throughout the Great Hall. It took Ophelia a minute to finally stand, as she was lost in thought. She followed her fellow Ravenclaws to their common room, laughing and talking with her peers. After learning the password (Athena) and speaking to a portrait of a knight with a greyhound, the Ravenclaw common room was revealed. Ophelia rushed in the first years, eager to find rest in her four-poster bed by the window.
The following chapters will be written in Ophelia's first-person perspective.
Tell me what you think!