I'm not dead! I've just been busy… and lazy. And lacked inspiration and stuff… Well, here comes chapter 6! ^^P
Chapter 6 – Heading for Hogwarts
Raenef spent the next few days helping the wizard children and Mrs. Weasley to clean the house. Not that the young foreigner was able to help very much; not only was he terrible at cleaning, but the many mysterious things and creatures in the house terrified him. The first day cleaning, they cleared the living room curtains from doxys, fairy-resembling little monsters. Even though Raenef was armoured with Doxycide (doxy spray) which he used generously, one of them managed to bite him.
The next days of cleaning passed without much problems. However, Raenef found the other youths' behaviour quite strange; whenever someone from the Order came for a visit (it was hard not to notice, since the spooky portrait began to scream every time someone rang the door bell), Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George and Ginny tried to eavesdrop on them. They can't really hear anything, with the painting shrieking and all, can they? the demon lord thought every time it happened.
At dinner about a week after Raenef had arrived at Grimmauld Place, he heard Mrs. Weasley say: "I've ironed your best clothes for tomorrow morning, Harry, and I want you to wash your hair tonight, too. A good first impression can work wonders."
Ron, Hermione, Fred, George and Ginny stopped talking and looked at Harry, who was not looking very at ease, Raenef noticed.
"How am I getting there?" Harry asked Mrs. Weasley.
"Arthur's taking you to work with him."
"You can wait in my office until it's time for the hearing", mentioned person said.
"What's a hearing?" Raenef asked.
"I performed magic outside of school even though it's not allowed, so now I need to attend this hearing", Harry explained shortly, being very nervous about the subject.
"Oh... Good luck!" Raenef smiled. Harry only managed to nod and make a grimace.
"Professor Dumbledore doesn't think it's a good idea for Sirius to go with you, and I must say I –" Mrs. Weasley continued.
"– think he's quite right", Sirius interrupted.
"When did Dumbledore tell you that?" Harry asked.
"He came last night, when you had already gone to bed."
"Who's Dumbydoe?" Raenef asked, wondering who was influential enough to decide whether Sirius would accompany Harry or not.
"He's the headmaster!" Ron, Hermione and Ginny groaned simultaneously, tired of the stranger's bad memory.
"Oh... Yeah! I remember him now, nice old guy with a strange name. And he was here yesterday? I wanted to thank him for letting me attend his school", Raenef sulked.
"Thanks for dinner, I got to wash my hair", Harry mumbled and left the kitchen.
Did I say something wrong again?
Harry returned from the hearing at lunch time the following day with happy and relieving news; he had not been expelled! Even though everyone had told each other not to worry, Harry was going to be fine, everyone seemed very relieved that the hearing had gone well.
The rest of the summer holidays passed quickly. Now that the house was more or less inhabitable, Raenef had more time to focus on school work. Not that he had the discipline to read the literature very much, but he managed to learn quite a few spells from his fellow school mates, who were often willing to help him.
He had also tried to perform demon magic (more specifically the Black Arrow, since that was the only spell he knew) without success. That was natural, since he was in another world and hence needed to know the whole spell, not just the name of it, for it to work.
The list of books did not arrive until the very last day of the holiday. With them also came the notes that Ron and Hermione had been made Prefects – not that Raenef understood what that meant, but it seemed to be a great honour. Mrs. Weasley even arranged a small party.
A scarlet banner hung over the overflowing dinner table, exclaiming:
RON AND HERMIONE
"What's a prefect, anyway?" Raenef asked the Weasley twins.
"Prats", Fred snorted, not very helpfully.
"They're students who get to take house points from other students if they misbehave", George explained. "They get to patrol the school corridors, lead the first-years to their dormitories and such."
"Two students per house are chosen in year five -"
"- normally the most capable ones -"
"- so why Ron was chosen exceeds our mentalities."
Raenef decided it was time to continue to mingle, not wanting to mock Ron. He helped himself to a second portion and spent the rest of the evening listening to Ron's overly detailed descriptions of his new broom ("You can fly on cleaning supplies?").
The next morning was chaotic. Everyone ran around the house, last-minute-packing, and there seemed to be some trouble about their escort, or the guard, as Hermione had called it. Raenef was unsure why they needed guards, but guessed that the evil wizard dude – Voldie-something – could plan to attack Harry. He felt it may be a stupid thing to ask, but a few minutes later when he passed Harry's room, he heard Harry ask the same question:
"Guard? We have to go to King's Cross with a guard?"
"You have to go to King's Cross with a guard", Hermione corrected him.
As I thought.
"Why? I thought Voldemort was supposed to be lying low, or are you telling me he's going to jump out from behind a dustbin to try and do me in?"
"I don't know, it's just what Mad-Eye says, but if we don't leave soon we're definitely going to miss the train..."
Right then Mrs. Weasley chose to gather everyone downstairs. Raenef hurried down, before Harry and Hermione would run out from the room and notice him. So there's probably no danger to go outside the house, it's just Moody who's overprotecting. Phew! I think I'd die if that Voldie-guy suddenly attacked us.
They left the house in groups. Raenef was with Mr. Weasley, Ron and Hermione in the second group. They were going to the train station, and Raenef could hardly contain his excitement and manage to wait quietly; after all, this would be the very first time he left the spooky headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Just his new clothes were rather interesting (Mrs. Weasley had wisely enough bought him a few sets of Muggle clothes when she had purchased his and the other's school literature in Diagon Alley the previous day, so that he would not attract unnecessary attention).
The strange new world surpassed all of Raenef's expectations. The ground was grey and hard. There were lots of large, metallic objects that moved very fast – they even had people inside! ("They're gonna eat us!" "No! Take it easy, they're just cars, a kind of vehicle.") Mysterious poles of metal grew on the hard, grey ground. All the people wore strange clothes. And there was noise everywhere. Everything in this world was so different, so exciting, that Raenef had to stop and stare at it all the time (the others almost had to drag him all the way to King's Cross).
The train station was the most crowded place the Demon Lord had ever visited. The whole place was noisy, and many people looked like they were in a hurry.
"Which train are we gonna go with?"
"The Hogwarts Express at platform nine and three-quarters", Ron grinned, walked to the barrier between platform nine and ten, and disappeared.
"Just lean against the wall and you'll fall through", Mr. Weasley explained.
Soon enough, Raenef, Hermione and Mr. Weasley followed Ron into the secret, magic platform. They found group one, consisting of Harry, Mrs. Weasley, Moody, Tonks and Sirius (Tonks was disguised as an old lady and Sirius was in his dog form. Raenef found it totally amazing that they could change their appearances, and wished he would learn that too, one day. He did not know why Sirius would want to be a dog right now, but guessed it had to do with Harry's or the Order's security). Soon Lupin, Fred, George and Ginny joined them, and it was time to say goodbye.
"Well, look after yourselves", said Lupin, shaking everyone's hands. "You too, Harry. Be careful."
"Yeah, keep your head down and your eyes peeled", Moody advised them. "Especially you, Raenef. Try to blend in, don't get yourself in trouble. And don't forget, all of you – careful what you put in writing. If in doubt, don't put it in letter at all."
"It's been great meeting all of you", Tonks said. "We'll see you soon, I expect."
A whistle sounded, and the students who were still on the platform began to hurry into the train.
"Quick, quick!" Mrs. Weasley urged. "Write... be good... if you've forgotten anything we'll send it on..."
"Thank you so much for everything", Raenef said before stepping inside the train.
The young Demon Lord was too occupied investigating the mysterious noisy vehicle to notice that Fred, George, Hermione and Ron walked away. In fact, Raenef himself was already on his way to get lost inside the train when Harry and Ginny said that they were going to find a compartment.
There were people everywhere; every compartment was full. Raenef could not help noticing that many of their fellow school mates seemed to stare at Harry. Oh right, he's famous... But shouldn't they be used to him after four years? Or is everybody who's ogling first-years?
When they reached the very last carriage they met a boy in their age who Harry and Ginny seemed to know.
"Hi, Harry. Hi Ginny... everywhere's full... I can't find a seat..."
"What are you talking about?" Ginny said, looking inside the nearest compartment. "There's room in this on, there's only Loony Lovegood in here-"
Neville looked quite uncomfortable and mumbled something vague. Raenef wondered why and looked inside the compartment, too. A girl was sitting alone in there, reading a magazine.
Ginny laughed and said: "Don't be silly, she's all right." Then she walked in. Harry, Raenef and a still nervous looking Neville followed.
"Hi, Luna, is it okay if we take these seats?" said Ginny. The girl called Loony or Luna stared at Harry and nodded. "Thanks."
All of them placed their trunks in the luggage rack and sat down. Luna watched them with interest, especially Harry. Perhaps she's a first-year, too...? But she doesn't look like she's that young.
"Had a good summer, Luna?" Ginny asked, apparently trying to start a conversation.
"Yes", Luna answered, still looking at Harry. "Yes, it was quite enjoyable, you know. You're Harry Potter."
"I know I am", Harry said, looking a bit confused.
As Neville chuckled, Luna turned her gaze on him instead. "And I don't know who you are."
"I'm nobody", Neville said.
"No you're not", said Ginny sharply. "Neville Longbottom – Luna Lovegood. Luna's in my year, but in Ravenclaw." She turned to Raenef. "Neville's in the same house and year as Harry, so you'll see each other a lot."
"We are? Who're you?" Neville asked.
"This is Raenef Lee, he's home-schooled, but is going to Hogwarts this year. He's fifteen, like you."
Dumbledore had in a letter described a made-up past for Raenef. Raenef Lee was a wizard from a wizard family who had chosen to teach him magic at home, since Raenef was a slow learner and his beloved parents wanted him to learn magic at his own pace (Raenef had been a bit offended at the slow learner part, but figured it was a good explanation why he did not know many spells). However, Raenef Lee wanted to try to go to Hogwarts this year. He had not decided for how long he would stay.
Since Dumbledore wanted to keep an eye on him, he had decided to place Raenef in Gryffindor, where he would be near Harry, Hermione and the Weasley children, that will say those who knew about both the Order and Raenef's real identity ("- and I suppose that you would like to stay close to your friends anyway" the headmaster had written). He explained the disregard of the sorting with saying that Raenef Lee's family were old friends with the Weasley family, and since no one knew for how long Raenef Lee wished to stay at the school, he might as well be placed directly in Gryffindor, where all the Weasley's were ("- so that you will not feel all alone.").
So Ginny explained the made-up history of Raenef for Neville, while Raenef tried to look like he was not surprised (read: terrified) of normal wizard things like moving portraits, ghosts, and chocolate that behave like frogs.
"Raenef, huh? That's a strange name", Neville commented.
"Well uuh, my parents like to have things their own way." As if Longbottom's a normal name! I mean, his name's Long... Bottom. Like, a drawn-out butt.
Silence filled the compartment for a while. Luna continued to read her magazine (it was upside- down, Raenef noticed), and Neville tried to prevent his toad from escaping.
"Guess what I got for my birthday?" ha said a few minutes later.
"No. I could do with one, though, I lost the old one ages ago... no, look at this..."
Neville dug into his schoolbag and pulled out something vaguely plantlike. It looked kind of gross to Raenef; grey, a bit pulsating and covered with boils.
"Mimbulus mimbletonia. It's really, really rare, I don't know if there's one in the greenhouse at Hogwarts, even. I can't wait to show it to Professor Sprout. My Great Uncle Algie got it for me in Assyria. I'm going to see if I can breed from it."
"Does it – er – do anything?" Harry asked.
"Loads off stuff! It's got an amazing defensive mechanism. Here, hold Trevor for me..."
Raenef watched interestedly as Neville handed Harry his toad, grabbed a quill from his bag, and prodded the pulsating plant.
Its reaction was unbelievable. The boils – the very many boils – squirted out some kind of disgusting, stinking slurry which splattered over the whole compartment. Everyone got drenched in the green mimbletonian sludge. Raenef had fallen of the seat in surprise, and lay now paralysed on the floor, shocked.
Then the door slid open. A beautiful girl with a hair that reminded Raenef of Eclipse's – long, raven-black and shiny... god, he really missed Eclipse – was standing in the doorway.
"Oh... hello, Harry. Um... bad time?" the black-haired girl said, blushing slightly. As if it was her that was drenched in this smelly goo...
"Oh... hi", Harry said.
"Um... Well... just thought I'd say hello... bye then." The girl closed the door and disappeared.
As soon as she had left, Ginny made the grime disappear, to everyone's relief. But Raenef could not help to think that Harry looked kind of miserable.