Hogwarts Gakuen Episode One, Enter the Heroes!
Or, Click-clack, Clunk-swoosh-thump, Thunk; where Click-clack is the sound of the railroad tracks, Clunk-swoosh-thump is the sound of a door being unlatched and opened, and Thunk is the sound of a door closing.
Harry had never ridden on a train before; he found the rhythmic sounds, the back and forth motions to be soothing.
Laying idly on one of the benches in his so-far solitary compartment, stroking Hedwig's feathers and absently denying the urge to take a bite out of her, Harry closed his eyes and realized that he found this was the most peaceful experience he had had in living memory.
"Hey mate! Mind if I join you, all the other rooms'r full!"
Harry looked up to see a tall boy with violently red hair, freckles, and an unstoppably enthusiastic expression lugging his trunk into the compartment; something about his person smelled spicy to Harry.
"Uhh…" Harry started, but was cut off.
"Thanks mate!" the red-head proclaimed loudly, "M'lousy rozzers o' brothers didn' want to sit with me, bein' an 'ickle firsty' an' all,"
The red-head forcefully jammed his trunk under the bench across from Harry, which Harry noticed looked like it was accustomed to such rough treatment.
"I'm Ron Weasley, who're you?" Ron said, looking eagerly over at Harry, then frowned.
Harry, his small frame laying across the bench, wearing incredibly scruffy jeans, t-shirt, sneakers held together by duct tape, and glasses held together by duct tape, his right arm crossed over his chest, with Hedwig perched on that arm, Harry frozen in the act of stroking her with his left. What Ron appeared to be staring at, however, were the scars. An extensive network of scars ran up and down Harry's forearms, though Ron didn't really have the experience to recognize what had caused them, and there was a large mass of pale flesh along the right side of his face.
"Mate, you alright?" he asked with concern in his voice and on his face.
Harry opened his mouth to respond, but-
-the door slid open again, and a young girl stepped in.
"Hello," she said briskly, "Have any of you seen a toad? Neville Longbottom has lost his."
Harry and Hedwig just stared, while Ron looked thoughtful for a moment. Harry was staring at the girl's hair. It was somewhat long, falling to just below her shoulders, but was incredibly bushy, and probably would be substantially longer if straightened out. To Harry, it was the most incredible hair he had ever seen; it looked, and smelled, delicious. Harry's mouth started to water.
"Nope," Ron abruptly and cheerfully interjected, "Can't say I've seen any toads. I'm Ron Weasley, who're you?"
"Hermione Granger," She said politely, and reached out to shake hands with Ron, then turned to Harry.
"And you…" she began, before trailing off as she took in his scars, and the somewhat glazed look on his face.
She leaned in closer to better inspect him, and her hair fell forward around her shoulders, within a bare two dozen inches of Harry's face. A trickle of drool escaped Harry's mouth, and the girl frowned thoughtfully in concern.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
Harry opened his mouth to respond, when-
"I heard Harry Potter is on this train," drawled a deliberately cool and aloof voice, a voice attached to a blond boy flanked by two young walls of meat, "Have any of you seen him?"
"There's no way the Boy-Who-Lived would hang out with you even if he was here, Malfoy!" Ron suddenly shouted.
Malfoy sneered at Ron, smelling to Harry of an obnoxious, greasy scent.
Ron glared at Malfoy.
Malfoy snorted, a disgusted sound, then looked back over at Harry and Hermione.
"Anyways," he said, "Before I was unfortunately distracted, I was asking for names?"
"I'm Hermione Granger," Hermione replied courteously, extending her hand to shake, "You are?"
"Draco Malfoy," he drawled, "My cohorts are Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. I don't recognize your family name." Crabbe and Goyle both smelled rough, and vaguely familiar, though Harry could not place it.
He had not yet reached out to shake Hermione's hand.
"I should think not," she said, slightly confused, "I'm the only Granger I found in the magical genealogies for the last 234 years."
Draco's expression shifted ever so subtly, in a manner that somehow managed to convey both condescension and a snub, before he turned to Harry.
"And you are?" he inquired around Hermione's confused and somewhat offended expression, moving around and raising a curious hand towards the owl resting on Harry's lap.
Unfortunately, just then their train car struck a slight irregularity on the track. Slight irregularities struck at speeds in excess of fifty miles per hour, however, tend to result in less than slight jolts for passengers, and just as Harry was opening his mouth to respond, they were all violently jerked about.
Draco lurched towards Harry, hand extended.
Harry lurched towards Draco, mouth opened.
Gravity asserted itself, reversing the car's movement, and applying inverse force to what had jolted them about in the first place.
Draco spread his arms, while leaning back to maintain his balance, his hand pushing further towards Harry's face.
Harry moved his torso backwards, his limbs and head forwards to maintain his balance and remain on the bench and help Hedwig maintain her perch. The force of the jolt also snapped his jaw shut.
Right on Malfoy's extended right hand.
"YEEARRGH!" the blond shouted, jerking his hand out of Harry's mouth, revealing a bloody wound in the meat of his palm.
Harry slumped back onto the bunch, a coppery, slightly greasy, and quite strong flavor pervading his mouth as he swallowed. A subtle feeling of… something began to spread throughout his body, emanating from his stomach. Dimly, he was aware of words, shouting really, around him, but found himself to be rather lost in the odd sensation that, apparently, was brought about by Malfoy's blood. The sensation passed rather quickly, however, and after a few moments, he blinked, and returned his attention to the world around him, to discover Ron muttering imprecations about 'slimy-haired-ferrety-gits' under his breath. When Harry sat up, however, Ron broke out of his quiet tirade to look at Harry.
"Hey mate," Ron said, his voice down to a more normal volume for a change, "You alright? You spaced out there right after that bump; did you smack your head or something?"
Harry opened his mouth to respond, when-
"Hello there, I'm Anthony Goldstein," a young blond smelling of Ivory and Gold said as he stepped into the compartment, "And my compatriots here are,"
"Terry Boot," a dark-haired boy smelling strongly of nothing in particular said as he moved up to flank Anthony
"Michael Corner," A black-haired boy smelling of old stone said as he moved up on Anthony's other flank.
"And these lovely young ladies are," Anthony continued,
"Mandy Brocklehurst," A stout young brunette girl smelling of copper, gold, sand, and strength, said as she entered,
"Morag MacDougal," an already-developing black-haired Scots girl wafting a strong odor of metals, wood, and stone said with a moderate brogue as she moved into view.
"Lisa Turpin," a slender blond girl smelling strongly of strength and lightly of copper, gold, and sand, said as she stepped out from behind Goldstein.
Harry gawked at them, not quite sure how all six had managed to cram themselves into the room, and on top of that, the mélange of assorted smells was confusing his nose and mind, especially since none of the scents seemed to be particularly weak or strong.
"Ron Weasley!" Ron roared cheerfully, making the now-numerous occupants of the compartment wince, "Pleased to meet you!"
Ron then attempted to shake everyone's hands all at once.
"I'm Hermione Granger," Hermione said while watching Ron somewhat warily.
Harry was too busy trying to figure out how nine people had managed to fit in the compartment, especially when only three of them were seated, to introduce himself at the moment.
"We're checking around to see if any of the other firsties are from either craftsman families, or interested in such work," Goldstein said, "How about you lot?"
"Perhaps," Hermione replied, "But I really would need some time to acclimate myself to the curriculum before I consider engaging in any extra-curricular activity."
"Any of the rest of you?" Goldstein asked.
"Sorry mate," Ron said, "If you want a Weasley who makes stuff, it ain't me."
Harry was still staring. Hedwig was also staring. The assorted recent entrants to the compartment stared back. Harry opened his mouth to respond, and belched. Loudly. Everyone in the compartment except Harry gained a slightly queasy expression as a rather pungent odor permeated the compartment, even Hedwig.
"Oookay…" Goldstein said, "I guess we'll be leaving then."
Everyone except for Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Hedwig shuffled out of the compartment. Harry's face flamed with embarrassment.
Harry laid back and closed his eyes, desperately trying to fight down his blush, consciously relaxing the assorted muscles in his body, unfortunately, as a side effect knocking Hedwig loose. The owl, somewhat disgruntled, fluttered up to roost on the luggage rack. Harry tried desperately to settle his substantially disrupted nerves.
For several long minutes, Harry found himself in blessed peace and quiet, but it was eventually broken.
"Um," Hermione said, Harry opened his eyes and turned to look at her, "I never did get your name?" She ended it clearly as a question.
Harry opened his mouth to respond, and-
"Hey mates," a young male voice said, as the attached boy stuck his head, and his spiky odor of hawk and falcon, into the compartment, "Puddlemere United or Holyhead Harpies?"
"CHUDLEY CANNONS ALL THE WAY!" Ron roared in response, startling everyone in the compartment save himself.
"WHAT?" the boy roared back, "THAT LOT OF TWIG-BENDING QUAFFLE-DROPPING WOGS? YOU MENTAL? PUDDLEMERE ALL THE WAY"
"OOHHHH" Ron roared, fire blazing in his eyes, "YOU'VE DONE IT NOW! NOBODY BAD-MOUTHS THE CANNONS AROUND ME!"
He leapt to his feat, as his hair lit on fire, and he chased the shorter boy out of the compartment and up the train.
Harry and Hermione sat there, stunned.
"Oy," another boy, smelling of grass, sweat, and rubber, said, sticking his head into the room, "What were they on about?"
"Sports?" Hermione said uncertainly, as much question as answer.
"Thanks!" The boy replied cheerfully, then pelted down the corridor after Ron and the other boy.
"MANCHESTER UUUUNIIIITEEEDDDD!" He screamed at the top of his lungs.
Hermione slammed the compartment door shut before they heard what he decided to proclaim with the second breath of his run.
After a long moment of stillness, Hermione slowly moved away from the door, and carefully sat herself down on the bench Harry was not occupying. A few blessedly peaceful minutes passed in the compartment, and Hedwig fluttered back down to Harry, who stroked her gently, as much for his own reassurance as hers.
"I do hope Ron and those other boys are not so predisposed to condescend to those who do not share their predilection towards athletics."
Harry looked at Hermione, confusion written all over his face. Hermione's face shifted from somewhat nervous to slightly afraid.
"Where I used to go to school, the boys who were good at sports… well, they weren't very nice to other people," she said, her voice clearly strained at the though of speaking poorly of another.
Harry opened his mouth to respond to her statement, but-
"Anything from the cart dears?" a kindly looking grey haired witch asked, her own scent overwhelmed by the food-odors coming from the cart.
"Oh!" Hermione remarked, leaping to her feet, "I've left my moneybag in the other compartment," and she scurried off around the elderly witch and her cart.
Quietly moving across the compartment, Harry looked over the cart uncertainly.
"Muggle-born dear?" the elderly witch said kindly.
Harry nodded self-consciously.
"Well," she said, "I'd recommend you either try a bag of Bertie Bott's every-flavored beans, or one of these," she held up a moderately large package, "It has a little bit of everything."
Hedwig, currently perched in Harry's hair, hooted definitively towards the package, and Harry pulled out some silver to pay for it. The witch smiled at Harry pleasantly, and by the time Hermione had returned with her money-bag, he was seated on his bench again, sorting through the package's assorted contents.
"What do you have that's sucrose-free?" Hermione asked the witch respectfully.
"Sucrose dear?" The witch said, "Whatever would that be?"
"Refined sugar," Hermione responded promptly, "Processed from sugar cane via.."
"Cauldron Cakes dear," The witch said bemusedly, "No extra sugar added."
"Thank you ma'am," Hermione said respectfully, and made the purchase.
For a while, they sat quietly, eating their purchases, or in Hedwig's case, eating Harry's purchases.
"Uh," Hermione said, "I still haven't gotten your name…"
"Hello?" Hermione called after, at length, nobody entered the compartment. Harry's nose, however, was quite aware of the earthy, organic scent that had rolled into the compartment.
"Hello?" a small quavering voice asked, "Has anyone in here seen a toad?"
"No," Hermione said, "Still haven't found it yet Neville?"
"No," The voice said disconsolately, "Trevor's still missing."
"Right," said Hermione officiously, "I'll come along to help you again."
And with that, she hopped up off the bench, walked out the door, and-
-Slid it shut. Harry closed his eyes, and enjoyed his make-shift dinner with Hedwig, who crooned to him soothingly. This time, he had almost an entire half hour of privacy, and managed to finish his meal, stowing the trash from it in an unused grocery bag in his trunk, before…
"Pardon me," a polite, east-European accented voice followed its pretty young owner and her scent of blood and chemicals into the compartment, "I'm Lily Moon, I heard there was an exceptionally intelligent young Muggleborn on the train, bearing the name Granger. Would that happen to be you?"
Harry and Hedwig both shook their heads.
"Ah well," Lily said, "Perhaps I will find her on the return sweep. Thank you for your time."
The girl nodded her head politely, and left-
-shutting the door behind her. At this point, Harry was getting antsy, wondering if the entire train was going to come parading through his compartment at some point or another. He also was not sure when he had started thinking of it as 'his' compartment, but he was starting to hope that everyone would leave him, and 'his' compartment, alone.
It was, however, not to be.
"Oy, You!" A brash but feminine voice barked, "You a girl?"
Harry looked up at the doorway, shaking his head as Hedwig nodded hers. In the doorway stood three girls, one who was far too large and muscular to be an eleven year old girl, but somehow clearly was, and smelled like a rather robust cut of meat, the second a blonde who seemed to believe that clothing only came in the color 'Pitch Black," and somehow smelled of the color; the last clad in pale white, possessed of dark hair, piercing icy eyes, and smelled of hoarfrost and spearmint. The lot of them looked at least as belligerent as Harry's aunt Petunia each, and together were almost terrifyingly imposing, freezing Harry in place.
He even felt colder.
"Pah," The muscle-girl said, "Another pathetic waste of space."
Hedwig rumbled threateningly at the girl, spreading her wings and glaring.
"Yours then, is he?" The girl said to the owl, "We'll leave him be for now then. But," she suddenly wheeled her eyes upon Harry, "My name is Millicient Bulstrode, and you remember never to cross me, scrawny little wusses that cross me tend to break."
As she spoke, the aura she gave off intensified, so much so that Harry could not help but grin in response. She smelled nutritious.
"Perhaps not so spineless after all," she said, and then snorted, "I'll keep my eye on you."
With that, she spun on her heel, a surprisingly graceful move for one so stout, and stalked off up the corridor.
"I'm Pansy Parkinson," said the slip of a girl who had been completely concealed behind her, and as Millicient's odor faded, he could detect a weak scent of some sort of cloying flower, "I don't think you're much to look at, even if you impressed Millie," she said before following the much larger girl.
"I am Daphne Greengrass," The white-clad girl said, her tone unutterably cold, "I do not care who you are."
She gracefully turned and began to practically glide away.
"And I am Tracy Davis," The last girl said, "A name you'll be hearing a lot in the future, believe you me."
-and the door shut, though Harry did not see how it was closed, and he was alone again.
He attempted to stave off the paranoia, fighting a battle to resist the certainty that his entire year was laying siege to him, really, he did try to fight it off, but then…
"Evenin'," a thick Irish lilt rolled into the room, followed by a fiery-haired young Irishman, while a dark-skinned young man, a cute young brunette, and a matched pair of rather exotic looking Indian girls in Saris looking on from the corridor.
"I'm Seamus Finnegan, an' me, Thomas, and the lovely ladies were watching most o' our year comin' down here ta' the end o' the car, so we get's curious, and I says, 'well why don't we ask the good man at ta' end of the train what kind o' party he's havin' down here that near 'nough everybody sees th' need to visit?"
Harry, now suffering from the beginnings of a mental meltdown, and overwhelmed by the wildly divergent mixture of scents now pervading his olfactory facilities, just canted his head to the side, his jaw hanging in confusion. The girls giggled at his response, while Thomas, the dark skinned boy, just inclined a polite but inquisitive eye at Harry. Harry's jaw worked, trying to produce sound, but his mind was not behind the motion, so nothing came out.
"OY!" a loud voice sounded from behind the crowd at the entrance to the compartment, "Who're you lot blocking the way?"
Ron Weasley worked his way through the crowd before slumping onto his seat across from Harry, breathing somewhat hard, and looking back towards Seamus.
"Seamus Finnegan," The Irishman said.
"Dean Thomas," The dark-skinned young man said politely, "And you would be?"
"Ron Weasley," Ron said, then looked pointedly at the girls.
"Lavender Brown," The brunette said.
"Padma," The first of the Indian twins said,
"And Parvati Patil," The second one finished.
"Pleased to meetcha," Ron said, "Now could you push off? I've just been chasing McMillan and Finch-Fletchley all up the train, and I'm knackered."
Seamus laughed before answering,
"Right mate," he said, amusement written all over his face, "See you at the feast then," and turned to leave.
Ron waved absently at the retreating mob, and Harry joined in, then both relaxed back onto their benches, going silent, save for
The sounds of the train, which after a few minutes were overcome by-
Harry groaned internally, now certain that this train was destined to be anything but peace and quiet, and somewhat certain that there was a plot amongst the other first years against his sanity. It was at times like this that he wished Hedwig were a bit more durably built; if he tried to sweep her into a bone-crushing hug, it would actually snap her fragile avian bones. Hedwig, seeming to sense his distress, bent over and rubbed her cheek against his, and Harry sighed out some of his stress.
"Greetings," a voice said over Ron's snoring, "I am Blaise."
A moment of silence passed, as Harry inspected the baggy-clothed, dark-haired child in front of him. There were two similar, but subtly distinct scents emanating from the child, and Harry was confused; between the loose clothes, and the dark hair hanging over much of the child's face, he was unsure as to whether he was looking at a boy or girl.
"I will see you around, Harry, Ron," The child said, and then departed-
-closing the door behind him or her. Harry blinked. Well, that wasn't too bad, he thought to himself, before glancing at the still-snoring Weasley across the compartment from him. He was barely as loud as Ron's snoring. After a few moments thought, Harry decided he would try to follow the red-head's example and catch some more sleep. He didn't really have much success; he was not accustomed to trying to sleep while someone else was in the same room as him, much less snoring, or snoring as loudly as Ron did.
This time, perhaps an hour passed before he was interrupted.
"Konnichi-wa," A pleasant girl's voice entered the cabin, followed by a cute young blond girl with an odor of flowers, paper, and clean, and wearing an unusual white robe tied off around her waist.
"Hello," came a second girl's friendly voice, preceding a strawberry blond young woman in who smelled to Harry like milk and something else he was uncertain of.
"Hi!" said an extremely perky and cheerful third girl as she entered as well, "We've been going up and down the train, meeting all the other first years, I'm Sally-Ann Perks, who are you?"
"Mbwgfwdle?" Ron said as he roused from his nap, blinking at the three girls, then blushing slightly as he wiped the drool from his face.
"He's Ron Weasley," The second girl said, "We've met before, my Aunt and his Father both work at the Ministry. I'm Susan Bones."
Ron nodded vaguely in response to her, before Harry and Ron both turned to face the first girl.
"I am Hannah Abbot," she said very politely, and bowed slightly towards them, "I am very pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Uh," Ron said with confusion and sleep muddling his voice, "We're very pleased to meet you too."
Harry opened his mouth to echo Ron's sentiments, but was cut off by a young boy's voice.
"Hey hey hey!" The voice called from just up the corridor, "I'm taking bets on which hour and which minute of the hour we arrive on, any takers?"
"Nott-san," Hannah said in a mildly reproving tone, "Gambling is not an appropriate activity for those of our age."
"Yeah yeah," Nott said, waving her off with one hand, "Anyone else interested?"
Ron looked speculative, but did not really get a chance to respond.
"Didn't you hear what Hannah said, Nott?" Sally said, "No gambling!"
Nott looked at her scornfully before, having noticed Ron's speculative expression, turned towards him, and opened his mouth to speak.
"BAKA!" Sally screamed, and, pulling a hammer from somewhere, smashed Nott upside the head with it, sending him careening back up the corridor, away from the compartment.
"Right!" She said, turning to her companions, "We'd better go after him to make sure he doesn't try to do stupid stuff anywhere else! Nice meeting you guys."
And with that, she led the other two away, Susan waving a friendly goodbye, Hannah sketching a short bow in farewell.
Harry blinked. At least there hadn't been any aggression directed at him this time. In their own way though, those girls had just as much potential to be scary as Millicient and her friends, but they didn't seem to feel the need to make a point of it. Harry wasn't sure if he preferred it that way or not; it was nice that they weren't pushing him around, but at least with Millicient and the others, he knew where he stood. His train of thought continued around to the other people he had met so far on the train, trying to figure out where he stood relative to whom, trying to discern their assorted motivations and goals.
He really didn't have much to work with; some of them had barely spoken within his presence, and body language only went so far, but he tried to deduce as much as he could. These considerations held Harry's thoughts for most of the rest of the ride, as Ron fell to sleep again. Eventually though, they began to approach the station in Hogsmeade, and Harry followed the rest of the students in disembarking.