Serafina Finnigan.

Who the hell names their child that? I mean, other than, obviously, my parents. Who are obviously complete morons. Because, let's be honest here, my name sounds like a character in a children's book. And the worst part is?

They're announcing it in front of the entire Great Hall. Everyone in Hogwarts will hear my name when they call me up to be sorted and they will laugh. And I'll forever be pegged as that girl with so silly a name that no one could even be friends with her. Maybe they'll laugh so hard they won't hear the sorting hat and they'll just send me home and claim the sorting hat just couldn't find a place for me.

That was all I could think about as I stood in my living room, my arms crossed over my chest in irritation as my family tried to maneuver my small house with my massive trunk sitting in the middle of it. My Dad's best friend's son, Alec, sat on the trunk, looking irritated as he studied the book in his hands.

"I can't believe you didn't do your summer homework before today." I said, smirking, and Alec didn't even spare me the glare I thought he would have bothered with.

"You just wait," He mumbled tiredly, rubbing at his eyes in fatigue as he struggled to keep his gaze on his book. "Until you've got summer work. And then I'll just laugh and laugh and laugh while you work on the train."

Alec was a full seven weeks older than me, and one year ahead of me in Hogwarts. He'd lorded it over me ever since he'd gotten his Hogwarts acceptance letter: he was right on the brink of being too young for his year, and there'd been some question on whether he'd be my year or ahead of me. And, of course, we could have called the Headmistress and talked to her about it, but both Dad and Dean were such lazy lumps when it came to these things that we'd decided it'd be easiest to wait out. And Alec had been irritating ever since.

Alec looked a lot like his dad—the dark skin, the dark hair—but had uncommonly light eyes for someone of his coloring: his mom's bright blue eyes, and his lack of height made me sure that someone noticed he was not only Dean Thomas's child, but Monica Selwyn's as well.

"You'll have summer work then too, genius," I retorted, but Alec ignored me in his new too-superior, holier-than-thou way, and I rolled my eyes, stepping on top of then over my trunk and moving into the kitchen, where most of the people in my house spent most of their time. Of course, having a teenage brother sort of ensured that he spent most of his time in the kitchen, and since it was a generally acknowledged fact that he was the good child and I was the not-so-good, people usually gravitated towards him.

"Hey kiddo," Dean said cheerfully as I walked into our equally tiny kitchen which was jam-packed with people: my god-father, Dean; his wife, Monica; my own parents; and my brother. Five people. And considering that my kitchen is, no joke, about thirty square feet (not as big as it sounds, by the way), that's a lot of people.

"You excited to start school?" Monica asked me, and I nodded, forcing a fake smile. I was not excited to start school. But Monica was nice and so was Dean and my parents were nervous enough about sending me off to school. I didn't want to add to that. "What house do you think she'll be in?" Monica asked my mother, who looked thoughtful for a second before Dad turned to Dean.

"A galleon she's in Ravenclaw." Dad offered. I scowled at him. I wanted to make this easier for him, not make him so comfortable he was willing to bet on his baby girl's house.

"Nuh-uh, Gryffindor. And two galleons," Dean scoffed, and I raised my eyebrows.

"Slytherin," Wes offered from the table. "And I'm up for two galleons." I shot him my angriest glare, before sighing heavily.

"At least no one said Hufflepuff," I mumbled, and my mother put a comforting hand on my back, glaring at my father, Dean and Wes.

"We all agree your smart, Princess," Dad said helpfully, and I smiled shyly.

"We're just not sure whether you're super hero smart, super villain smart, or just pompous smart." Wesley added, and I scowled at him again, my eyes narrowing. "And my vote is still for some mix between villain and pompous."

"Yeah well, at least we know you're none of those." I shot back, and Wes scowled back at me. "I'm surprised you even made Gryffindor."

"Definitely Slytherin." Wes confirmed, smirking and using the arrogant tone I hated so much. "Just as pompous and snobby as all the kids there."

"As long as you're not there it's my kind of house," I growled at him, and my mother's hand on my back slid up to my shoulder, squeezing me a reminder. I couldn't be stupid.

"Stop," She ordered, frowning, and I turned away from my brother and mother. How was I supposed to survive the stupid trip over to King's Cross if I couldn't be in a room with four other people in it? "Don't be rude to your brother, Sera," Mom commanded in her sternest voice. "And don't be rude to your sister, Wes." I rolled my eyes and pulled out of her grip, turning away and moving back into the living room and heading up the stairs to my bedroom. I couldn't stand my brother—he was an annoying prat. All those stories about big brothers and little sisters, having them be all supportive and protective: I had no idea what they were going on about. And had they met Wes, they'd be just as confused.

"Serafina Finnigan, do not—" I tuned her out, sighing heavily as I closed the door to my bedroom behind me and leaning up against it. I knew I was being a brat, I knew it, but I was too nervous about starting Hogwarts and too irritated with the concept of being in the same building as my brother for ten months of every year for the next four years (he was starting his fourth year) to be able to do anything about it. Also, I couldn't help but remember the huge going away party that Wes had gotten to throw before his first year, to say goodbye to all his muggle friends. I'd just had to come up with an excuse and pray they didn't research it too hard.

I stayed up there for a few minutes before I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. "Fi, it's time to go," Alec told me quietly, and I sighed heavily before grabbing my shoulder bag off my bed and opening the door. Alec offered me a sympathetic smile and I forced a smile back nonchalantly. Everything was going to be fine. Alec wouldn't let Wes kill me, or vice versa. All I had to do was make it onto the train.


Three hours later, I was half-way through my book, enjoying the beautiful day going on around the train as we rattled over the train tracks. I'd gotten a compartment all to myself, and I was simultaneously delighted and disappointed. I wanted to have friends to get me through the next seven years—but I also really wanted to be left alone, just at the moment. I'd probably just make friends with the girls in my dorm room, though, so I didn't even bother on the train.

Until, of course, two boys (rudely) opened the doors to my compartment and slipped inside. I glanced up at them, surprised, as they slammed shut the doors, breathing heavily. One of them just leaned against the door, staring out the clouded glass into the train's hallway, obviously looking for someone, and the other sank into the seat closest to the door on the bench opposite me. He glanced at his cousin before his gaze flickered to me and widened. I opened my mouth for a moment to ask who they were and what they were doing here, but the one sitting shushed me frantically, before leaping across the seat to clap his hand over my mouth. I scowled and whacked the boy's arm with my book, causing a loud smack sound and gaining myself the other boy's attention. He turned to stare at me and his friend, before he grinned ruefully at me. Sorry, he mouthed, and I saw a blur of blond hair pass the door. "Louis!" Some girl screeched. "I'm going to kill you! I cannot believe you told Domi about Teddy and me!"

"Vicky, it's not that big a deal," Some boy told Vicky. That voice sounded familiar—Teddy Lupin, that quidditch captain I'd seen talking to Wes who'd introduced himself extremely politely. He'd even told me to try out—do to the fact that almost their entire quidditch team had graduated the previous year, he was allowing first years to try out. And Wes had rudely shot him down, making a joke at how miserable I was at quidditch. Thanks, big bro.

A brown blob popped up beside the blond one through the clouded glass. "First off, they're all going to find out anyway; second, it's not like we were being top secret; and third, Louis is your little brother. He's genetically programmed to annoy you." Teddy continued. "Just like how Al and James are always going at it," He tried to make it better with an example, but I sensed that he wasn't helping.

"James Sirius Potter! I'm telling your mother!" Vicky screeched, and the boy holding my mouth shut winced, seeming frightened. The blond boy across from us now, shook his head seriously. I glared at him from my captive position, my arms now crossed against my chest, my gaze venomous. The blond boy looked truly sorry for my apparent abduction, but the kid actually holding my mouth shut was obviously just worried about Vicky telling his mother.

"Don't tell Gin, Vic." Teddy was practically begging. "She'll throttle James. And I'm vaguely fond of the kid." The boy holding me hostage brightened a little and I stomped on his foot: he pressed his face into his shoulder, muffling an oomph noise. The boy across from us sniggered and I glared fiercely at him, and he stopped immediately, looking serious.

"Yeah, well, that'll teach them to use Extendable Ears on us!" Vicky, or Vic, or whatever her name was, was obviously pissed off. "George swore to my mother that he wouldn't give them to the kids anymore! I'm going to kill him!"

"Oh, now, that's just unnecessary." Teddy said flatly. "George is a natural-born prankster. Your mother is a natural born lecturer. He would tell your mother whatever it was that was necessary to get her off his back and then go back to whatever it was that he wanted to do." The blond hair from outside the window stormed away and I saw something like a hand run through what I assumed to be Teddy's brown hair before that followed the blond away from us. My captor gave it a moment before releasing me.

"What the bloody hell was that?" I demanded, smacking the boy's shoulder. I glared at him fiercely while he just scowled back at me, rubbing his shoulder.

"Sorry," Blond-boy apologized, sounding sincere, and I turned my cold glare to him.

"What the bloody hell was that?" I repeated angrily. "What is wrong with you? Who does that?"

"We're really sorry," Blond-boy apologized again, still sounding sincere.

"Oh, shush, you'd do it again in a heart beat," Black-haired-boy said in irritation, and I punched his shoulder again. "Stop doing that!" He exploded at me.

"Next time don't hold me freaking hostage!" I shouted back, and the doors opened to reveal the prettiest girl I'd ever been immensely jealous of. She had blond hair like Louis's, and her eyes were a searing blue. She was tall—almost six feet, I'd guess—and she was almost as angry as I was. "What is wrong with you guys?"

"Serafina?" Teddy asked in confusion, his eyes on me. "Serafina Finnigan? Wes's little sister?" Teddy was in shock, and Blond boy, the girl, and black-haired-boy all turned to stare at me, absorbing my name and relationship to Wes. Before, of course, the girl remembered the task at hand.

"Hah, got you!" The girl yelled triumphantly to blond boy.

"Please don't kill me—" Blond boy begged, grabbing me and pulling me to my feet to stand in front of him. I wheeled around and punched Blond boy's shoulder.

"You don't even know my name and you've now held me hostage and used me as a human shield!" I cried indignantly. "Stop it!"

"What the fuck is going on in here?" Wes groaned from the doorway, and I turned around, my gaze flaming as I met my older brother's gaze. I had no idea how long he'd been standing there, watching us all completely flip out, but he was now looking thoroughly confused. "Oh, shit, which one of you pissed her off?" He asked, looking extremely irritated.

"James held her hostage—" Blond boy began, earning himself a scathing look from black-haired-boy.

"You're the one who used a girl as a human shield," Black-haired-boy interrupted. "That's just sad, Louis. She's your sister, not a raging bull." He grinned evilly. "Of course, they do look a bit alike..."

"James Potter!" Vicky screeched at black-haired boy, before Teddy put his arms around the girl's waist to hold her back, and Wes, recognizing my anger, reached out and grabbed my wrist, tugging me towards him. "You are such an idiot!"

"I'm really, really sorry," Blond boy repeated what seemed to be his mantra of the day, his panic seeming to fill the entire compartment. "I didn't realize you and Teddy were talking about... what you were talking about," his ears turned red, and I stopped struggling against my brother to frown at black-haired-boy who was, as far as I could tell, James Potter. Sex? I mouthed, and he nodded, confirming my suspicions, and I grinned, before remembering I was supposed to be beyond angry. Wes's grip on my arm was still strong though, so I just shot him my most searing glare. "I really, just thought it funny?" Blond-boy tried.

"Are you retarded?" James demanded of his friend in a hushed tone, his gaze irritated. "You must be. How do I know more about apologizing to your sister than you do? Because you are bungling it up big time, cuz." I frowned at this nickname. Were James and Blond boy cousins?

"You're an idiot." Vicky had stopped struggling long enough to just glared scathingly at Blond boy, who I was fairly sure was Louis. "Legitimately, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to deal with having a brother this stupid."

"By not killing him." Louis offered helpfully. "By forgiving some mistakes so you would win sister of the year award." He tried frantically, and Victoire's gaze softened infitesimally before she pulled away from Teddy and stormed between him and Wes. That girl sure did a lot of storming out of places.

"You ready not to kill them yet?" Wes asked me, his tone mocking, and I turned to him, my eyes blazing. He raised his eyebrows, and I glanced at his wand. He could probably out-jinx me any day of the week. It so wasn't worth the effort to try to duel him. I nodded heavily, hanging my head in defeat. I so hated to lose.

"James, Louis, apologize for..." Teddy looked hopelessly confused. "Using her as a human shield?" Wes frowned at the boys, but said nothing, instead glancing at me, plainly pissed off he had to get off his ass to stop me from beating someone up.

"If I have to come over here again, I'm owling Mom." He said flatly, before slinking off, and I rolled my eyes. I was not scared of my mother, or my brother. Mom just had classic guilty-parent syndrome, a symptom of playing favorites with my easy-to-manage older brother instead of moody me. She wouldn't get angry. Dad would though—and I hoped that Wes wouldn't catch on to that.

"Whatever, Louis is the one who did that and he already apologized." James said in annoyance. "And she's now punched us both hard enough to bruise, so I'm not apologizing for the kidnapping thing." Teddy blinked at James before nodding and glancing at me.

"Don't beat them too badly, please. I'd hate to have to tell Ginny her kid was beaten to a pulp by Wes's little sister." He said flatly, and I glared at him.

"I have a name." I said grumpily.

"You do. And it's very, very silly, so I'm not going to say it at the risk of laughing and making my threat sound less threatening." Teddy acknowledged, and I glared at him icily. "Fine, Serafina Finnigan," James snickered behind me, "please don't beat up my various relations-to-be at the risk of me having to tell Ginny Potter that her children were beaten up." Teddy said formally, and I rolled my eyes, a smile climbing onto my face.

"No promises." I informed him, and he sighed heavily, gently pushing me back inside the compartment and closing the doors. I turned to the boys, glaring, before I stalked past James and resumed my seat beside him, picking up my book. I read about a sentence before realizing that neither boy had any intention of leaving, as far as I could tell. "Can you guys leave now?" I asked pleadingly, setting my gaze on Louis, who seemed to be the far more civil of the two. He'd at least tried to apologize.

"Well, you see, we never quite got around to getting ourselves a compartment." Louis said slowly, looking at me just as beseechingly. "And now each one's filled with annoying people." I smirked.

"This one does seem to have it's fair share, yes," I agreed in a demure voice, and James elbowed me. I elbowed him back, harder.

"Please," Louis begged me, flat out. This was pathetic.

"Oh, don't be pathetic, Louis. This is just sad." James scolded, voicing my thoughts exactly, and I scowled at him for the millionth time in the last ten minutes. I ran my hand through my hair, considering my options. Maybe I could somehow make friends with only one of them—Louis, preferably. James just seemed like an arrogant dolt.

"Louis, you can stay," I decided in my best lofty voice. "James has to go." Louis grinned at me, recognizing that I was making fun of James, but James just shoved my shoulder. I couldn't tell if he didn't understand I was joking or if he just didn't find it funny.

"No!" He protested. "I'm not leaving just because some girl says we have to." He retorted, leaning back in his seat and crossing his arms across his chest. "If you don't want to be around us, you leave."

"I was here first!" I replied, glaring.

"Your face is going to get stuck that way." James informed me pleasantly. "Of course, that would be an improvement." I punched his shoulder again, earning me narrowed eyes but no more.

"This is and was my compartment. Give it back." I murmured angrily.

"No!" James said finally, and we both glared across at Louis, whose glare had flickered into a tired grimace. He sighed looking at us both in turn before he finally met my gaze, looking apologetic for the thousandth time since we'd met.

"He's not going to back down, you know." Louis warned me. "He's stubborner than anyone I've ever met."

"You've only just met me. I'm quite stubborn." I reassured him. And I grinned. "And nice use of the word stubborner." Louis grinned back, earning himself a kick in the shin from James.

"I try." Louis reassured me. "And quit it," He mumbled to James, red coloring creeping up his neck as his friend/cousin (I still hadn't figured out which) gaped, open-mouthed at him. "She's nice. I don't care if you're being a right prat. I was in the market for a new best friend anyway." He was joking now, but James still looked just as surprised—until a flicker of understanding, followed by a slow, ashamed head shake.

"Already your bestie?" I asked, putting my hand on my heart and grinning when Louis blushed hugely, turning scarlet now. "I'm honored, Louis. Well then, I guess you're my bestie right back." I put my hand up and gestured to James, pretending to be secretive. "We might have to ditch this guy, though."

"Oh, Christ, Louis." James groaned, covering his eyes with his hand. "This is humiliating." I frowned at this—I had no idea what he was talking about.

"What?" I asked after a moment, turning to James and frowning. He sighed, turning to me to glare.

"You're a little bit of a dolt, you realize." He said flatly, and I blinked for a second before I punched his shoulder. "STOP DOING THAT!"