King's Cross station bustled with activity on a Sunday morning, September 1st. People thronged to and from the ticket booths and trains, shouting at each other as they did so. Liam and Larkin Andrus were no exception.
"I'm soooo sore from all those trains, Lu. I don't know why we agreed to do this" Larkin complained, shoving her heavy trunk off the ten-thirty express and onto the concrete platform with a loud clunk.
"Because it gets us away from MY mom and YOUR dad for the year" Her companion replied in a tight voice as he tried to heave his own trunk off the train to no avail.
"Oh, for heaven's sake" Larkin said exasperatedly, grabbing a handle of the trunk and giving it a good yank. The trunk fell to the pavement with an even louder clunk that hers had, and lay still.
"Thanks" Liam said as he re-adjusted his glasses and hopped off the train, looking around the station. As he looked, he noticed all the neat and… british people thronging around. He hated to admit it, but the two of them stuck out like a sore thumb.
Liam realized he had forgotten something when a loud hoot came from inside the luggage compartment, Liam face-palmed and scrambled back onto the train, coming back a moment later with two cages.
"Here Larkin, I got-" Liam looked around for his companion, realizing she had disappeared.
"Lark?" He called, suddenly feeling very alien as passerby looked at him oddly. Between his American accent, the two owl cages, and the haphazardly taped glasses, he was a sight.
"What are you doing?" Larkin's voice came from behind him. She appeared from around a barrier, flipping her long brown hair over her shoulder as she pushed two trolleys over to him.
"I was just, erm…Yeah" Liam replied, handing her the cage of her owl. Calcifer, Larkin's snowy owl, made a happy hoot of appreciation. He put his own owl, a small burrower he hadn't named yet, onto his trolley, flinching as she gave him her best glare.
"Honestly, Lu. You can't flinch every time your bloody owl looks at you" Larkin said, putting her trunk on her trolley and beginning to walk away.
"How many times have I asked you not to call me that in public?" Liam said to her back.
"Three hundred and eighty nine" Came the reply. Liam fixed his glasses and looked at his owl, trying not to flinch.
Liam and Larkin stood in front of the platform marked 9/10, staring at the blank stone.
"Well, this is a magic school…" Larkin said. "Maybe it's a magic barrier"
"It's like, a quarter to eleven" Liam replied. "Get a move on"
Liam took a deep breath and stepped forwards, pushing his trolley. Slowly, he inched closer to the barrier until he could almost touch it. Then he reached out a hand and poked the wall, expecting to feel cold stone. When his hand met nothing but empty air, he kept moving forwards.
The impact of the wall never never came. He just kept going forwards until a new set of sounds met his ears, different than the ones before.
Liam opened his eyes, his jaw dropping. Right in front of him lay a whole new station, packed with people. A scarlet steam engine was waiting, belching steam over the crowd.
"Whoa" He heard from behind him. He looked around to see Larkin coming out of the barrier behind him.
"Are we actually, like… Seeing this?" Liam asked. Larkin slowly nodded, mouth hanging open. The two made their way to the luggage compartment, handing their trunks to the porter and taking their backpacks and owls with them.
"Is this crazy, or what?" Larkin asked as they boarded the Hogwarts Express, going down the hall looking for a compartment.
"Definitely crazy" Liam replied. The two found a compartment and sat down, promptly bursting into laughter.
"If my dad could see us now" Larkin said, wiping her eyes.
"What would my mom say?" Liam replied. The two laughed harder.
Finally, they sobered up and looked out the window at the packed platform. The conductor called all aboard, and the engine began to hum louder. Liam scanned over the crowd, then stopped as he felt someone watching him.
"Hey, look" Larkin said, gesturing to the crowd. A man was staring at the two with an odd expression on his face. He had untidy black hair, and eyes so green that they were noticeable even from the train.
"Who is he?" Liam asked.
"I don't know, but he looks really familiar… Maybe he's in one of our books" Larkin replied. They watched as the man stopped looking at them to kiss his red-haired daughter on the head before she dashed on the train. Then he went to stand with a small group.
"Hey, doesn't that whole group look familiar?" Liam asked. Larkin looked, nodding. The train began to move, picking up speed as it pulled out of the station. Larkin pulled out one of their school books and engrossed herself in it. Liam just stared out the window.
Some time later, the compartment door opened to reveal the same red-haired girl that had been kissed by the man on the platform.
"Hello there" She said shyly.
"Hey" Liam and Larkin said in unison. The girl seemed surprised.
"You're from America, aren't you?" She asked. They nodded in reply, and the girl turned bright red.
"Erm, can I sit here? Just for a while?" She asked, almost so quiet they couldn't hear her. Larkin patted the seat next to her, moving Calcifer's cage onto the floor.
"I'm Lily… Lily Potter" The girl continued after a moment. Larkin gave a violent start, nearly dropping her book.
"So your father is-"
"-Harry Potter, yeah" Liam looked at Larkin, who was waving her hands and mouthing words. He neither knew the knew the significance of having Harry Potter as your father, nor really wanted to. Larkin would tell him soon enough, and not in her cryptic hand messages.
"It's kind of weird, having a famous dad and all" Lily said, staring at Larkin's frantic gestures. "What are your parents like?"
Liam and Larkin exchanged glances.
"My dad married his mom, so we're sort of like step siblings" Larkin said, now avoiding Liam's eyes.
"We came here from New York" Liam finished off. Lily's eyes went wide.
"I know all about the muggles we have here in England, but I don't know anything about America. Will you tell me what it's like?"
Larkin was about to say No, but Liam cut her off.
For the next hour, Liam entertained the youngest Potter with stories about New York and the states, and in return she told them all about her family; her two brothers, her aunt and uncle, and her multitude of cousins. She was just beginning a tale from her parent's days at Hogwarts when the compartment opened again, revealing quite a few of the family members she had mentioned.
"Al! James! Look who I met!" The eleven year old shrieked when she saw her older brothers, who were impossible to mistake, they looked like spitting images of their father on the platform.
"Mind if we sit, mate?" The older one asked. Liam shook his head and scooted over, his owl joining Calcifer on the floor. As James and Albus sat down, another red haired girl and her equally ginger-haired brother scooted in, crowding next to Lily.
"I'm Larkin, and this is Liam. You must be the family your sister has told us so much about" Larkin said nervously, squished all the way up to the window.
The others introduced themselves. James, Albus, Rose and Hugo.
"They're from America, Rose, remember your Mum telling you about her holidays there?" the girls began to chatter on, the older kids staring awkwardly at each other.
"So, erm… How about those Chudley Cannons, eh?" James said, looking around. Larkin and Liam looked at him blankly, and Albus snorted.
"James, why don't you try liking a team that's actually good, instead of listening to uncle Ronald?" He asked. James' ears went pink.
"Just because mum played on the Harpies, doesn't mean I have to like them, Al"
The two brothers got into a heated argument over something called Quidditch, which left Liam and Larkin cross-eyed.
A distraction was finally had when Rose jumped up, nearly upsetting Lily and Hugo, who had been leaning on her.
"There's Scorpius! I have to go say hello. Bye all!" And then she was gone in a wave of red hair.
"Bloody unhealthy, her liking a Slytherin" James grumbled.
"I think it's romantic that Rosie likes him even though he's the son of Dad's mortal enemy" Lily sighed. Larkin and Liam once again looked on, completely lost.
"We should go see about Teddy and Victoire, I heard from Molly junior that they were snogging in the prefect's compartment" James said.
"Nice meeting you all, see you later" Albus finished, grabbing Hugo by the scruff of the neck and dragging him out as well.
"Uh…" Liam said as the door banged shut behind the Weasley/Potter clan.
"You can say that again… What the hell is a Chudley Cannon?" Larkin asked.
"Good question" Liam replied, ruffling his cropped brown hair and fixing his glasses.
"Where's your letter, Lu? I want to read it again" Larkin asked, picking Calcifer up and replacing him on the seat. She poked an owl treat into the owl's cage and the snowy hooted in satisfaction.
Liam handed her the embossed parchment and she scanned it quickly.
"Why do you have to read mine?" Liam asked, folding his arms.
"It's not my fault that you let mine fly out the window coming from Aunt Tessa's"
"What was I supposed to do, jump out of the window and catch it?"
"That would have been good for a start"
arkin re-read the parchment, studying the emerald ink.
Dear Mr. Andrus,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All the arrangements have been made for you to come to King's cross station in London, England. On September 1st, you will board the Hogwarts Express and continue your journey. All your school affects have been purchased and sent to your Aunt's house in Manchester.
Looking forwards to your attendance,
Minerva M. McGonagall. Deputy Headmistress.
"It's almost hard to believe we actually did this" Larken said quietly.
"I know" Liam replied. "Hey, it's getting dark, we should change" True to his word, the sky outside had begun to turn purple in the growing dusk. They got their robes out of their backpacks and changed quickly, donning the black school robes.
"I think I grew since I last tried these on" Liam said, his hair sticking out in all directions as he pulled his cloak over his head.
"Do you think this is a joke?" Larken asked, pulling out her pointed wizard's hat and holding at arms length like it was a cockroach.
They put in a lot of effort for just a joke" Liam replied. "Either way, we'll see what everyone else is doing, then do it"
"When in Rome" Larken said, laughing as she brushed out her brown curls with a small pink hairbrush.
Soon, the train slid to a stop and students began piling out of the Hogwarts express, landing on the frigid platform. A sign above their heads identified it as the village of Hogsmeade.
"Firs' years this way!" A booming voice yelled over the crowd. Larkin and Liam pushed their way over to where a giant man was standing, a bunch of others their age crowded around him.
"Hagrid!" Lily Potter piped up.
"Ello there, Lily" The Giant called Hagrid replied.
"Look Fred, Dad wasn't lying-"
"-I knew he wasn't, Remus" A pair of twins with bright red hair said, switching out sentences.
"Gor, spent all my life chasing yer idiot father an' 'is twin outta the forest, looks like I'll be doing the same thing with you two" Hagrid boomed in a slightly annoyed tone.
"Wicked" The twins said in harmony.
"Hi, Hagrid" A quiet, dreamy voice from Liam's right came. He turned and saw a blonde girl who seemed to be staring out into space.
"Ello there, Sybil. How's yer mum?"
"Much better, now that the wrack spurts have gone away, she should be back tomorrow"
"Yer Pa will be happy to see yeh both" Hagrid replied. With that, the clump of first years and Hagrid began to proceed down a path to the edge of a large lake, where a small fleet of boats was waiting.
"Four to a boat" Hagrid called, getting in one and filling it up completely. Larkin and Liam found a boat on the edge of the fleet and got in, followed by Lily and Hugo.
"Hi again" Lily said brightly, practically vibrating with excitement. Larkin mumbled a reply, and Liam kept his mouth shut, wondering how they would ever get across the lake, considering no one had been handed out oars.
"Ev'ryone in now?" Hagrid's voice boomed. "Right, FORWARD!"
With a lurch, the boats began to draw through the water, moving quickly across the inky surface. Lily jabbed Hugo in the side.
"Look, I think I saw a ripple! Maybe we'll see the giant squid! Al and James both saw it on their trip over, keep your eye peeled, Hugh!"
Liam and Larkin exchanged glances.
They rounded a bend, and a giant castle loomed in front of them, effectively drawing gasps from the students. Bright lights shone out on the water from every window, making it truly and magical sight.
"Wow" Liam breathed. Larkin grabbed his hand, holding it tightly. He squeezed hers back, eyes still glued to the castle.
The boats drew to a halt by a small pier guarded by a boathouse. The students disembarked as their crafts came into contact with the wood of the dock.
Liam and Larkin's boat was the last to unload, Hugo scrambling off first. He reached out a hand to his cousin, who, in her excitement to get up to the castle, slipped on the edge of the damp wood boat and fell in the water.
Hagrid strode over to where Lily was now struggling to get back on the dock, spluttering and shivering. He picked her up with one hand and dropped her on the dock.
"What am I going ter do with yeh? You Potters, always have to do things alike. Yer brothers fell in too on their boat ride. I'll have one helluva time explainin' this ter yer mum" Lily somehow managed to giggle and shiver at the same time.
Liam climbed out of the boat, careful not to repeat the same mistake of falling in the icy water, then reached his hand out to Larkin, who stepped on the edge a little precariously.
"Caref-" Liam managed to start before Larkin's feet slipped, dropping her into the water and pulling his after her.
They hit the water with a loud splash, Larkin shrieking loudly. Liam tread water, trying not to get hit by Larkin's flailing limbs. They too were plucked out by the giant gamekeeper, left to shiver in the biting cold air.
"An' who're you lot?" Hagrid asked, peering down at them.
"I-I'm L-Liam, and she's L-Larkin" Liam tried to say through his chattering teeth. Whispers went around the gathered students when they heard his accent.
"Right, well then. Up to the castle" Hagrid boomed, beginning to stride up a set of steep steps leading up the cliffs to the castle itself.
"How'd w-we manage to d-do that?" Larkin chattered, rubbing her arms.
"I have n-no idea. L-let's hope we never have to d-do this again" Liam finalized, joining the pack heading up to the castle.
Liam's last thought as he dripped up the steps was that he was thankful it wasn't raining.
Two seconds later a heavy downpour began to fall.