Chapter 9: In the Wake of Dawn Part II
The train had begun to make its departure slowly. Ron had at some point made it to their compartment. The quartet sat and laughed together in what seemed like a happy little group of friends. Neville and Susan knew better though. They knew that Ron and Harry were just being civil at the moment. A lot had happened in the last five years. A lot for a group of eleven year olds.
Soon after the first meeting between the families of the Order, Harry, Susan and Neville started to visit the Weasley home. Harry started hanging out with the twins more often than the other children. One day, Fred and Harry pulled a prank on Ron. It was particularly cruel. It had been planned by Harry's companion, but no one knew that except the trio of misfits.
The prank had included a trip to Knockturn Alley and a nest of rather poisonous spiders. The trio had blamed the appearance of the army of spiders on accidental magic, because Ron accidentally bumped into Harry and broke his glasses. In actuality, Ron had said something that Harry's companion and the trio didn't like, and the trio of children got back at Ron.
None the less, Ron had started to dislike Harry from that day on. A sort of rivalry started between the two of them. Ron saw Harry as his greatest foe, and Harry saw Ron as an insignificant insect. The tension in the compartment was thick, but that didn't stop Susan or Neville from trying to make their first train ride to Hogwarts as pleasant as possible.
"What house do you think you'll get into?" the red haired girl asked.
"I want to get into Gryffindor. The family's been there forever. I want to uphold the tradition." Ron said with pride. Everyone chose to ignore the fact that he currently had two family members in a different house.
"I want to get into Hufflepuff. My entire family has always been in that house!" Susan exclaimed happily, but then frowned when she saw Neville and Ron snicker. "What?'
"Hufflepuff, really?" Ron asked. Neville took a calming breath.
"To be honest, I'm a little worried that I'll be sorted into Hufflepuff," Neville let out his fears. "I just want to make my parents proud."
"Hufflepuff is a great house that has produced several successful wizards and witches! Right Harry!" Susan put Harry on the spot.
"Some of my family's most famous witches and wizards were sorted into Hufflepuff," Harry said complacently. Susan nodded whole heartedly beside the dark haired boy.
"So, Harry, what house do you want to be in?" Susan asked with genuine curiosity. The other two boys looked at Harry with curiosity as well. They all knew that Harry's mother wanted him in Ravenclaw and his father wanted him in Gryffindor. Harry had never expressed any interest in any one particular house.
"To be honest I'm not sure," Harry said glancing up at Susan. The soft spoken but fiery girl wouldn't take that answer.
"No, really Harry, what house do you want to be in?" Susan asked again. Harry was annoyed with being on the spot in critical moments like that.
"I was thinking Ravenclaw or Slytherin," Harry said finally. At the looks of the faces around him, Harry followed with, "Let me explain first. I know that my mom wants me to be Ravenclaw and my dad wants me to be a Gryffindor, but let's face this: I'm not boisterous or bold enough to be a Gryffindor. I chose Ravenclaw, because I feel like I need to be around a more…study intensive environment. And we all know that I'm going to need that if I want to have a career within the Ministry I'm going to need to study hard and have others help me. The only reason I want to be a Slytherin is because I want to see the look on my mother's face when she finds out that I got in the house of snakes."
Neville started to nod with understanding. Ron was a little more reluctant to agree with Harry, but he couldn't deny that Lily Potter's reaction would be one for the ages. Susan however wasn't pleased.
"Harry, believe it or not this is a pivotal moment in our lives. You don't want to have to regret something in the future just because you wanted to make your mom angry." Susan explained. Harry was always surprised by his friend's keen intellect and wisdom.
"I know, but it's not like that's going to happen anyway. The last five or so generations of Potter men have been Gryffindors. I just thought that it would be funny." Harry said with false guilt. Harry wanted nothing more than to be a member of the house of snakes. To be a part of a great lineage; to be a part of his companion's lineage.
"It would be funny, though," Neville said from his seat. He popped a chocolate frog in his mouth as he spoke. "I mean, how often to we get to see Lily Potter freak out over her son."
The quartet laughed together. Some of the funniest moments they had together was when they bashed on their parents. It was nothing ever bad. There was an unspoken line that none of them ever crossed. Lily though was the one they made fun of the most, just because she was one of the most overprotective people the quartet had ever met. She would freak out over the littlest of things.
One the groups favorite stories was about the time the twins pretended to accidentally stab Harry. They had spread strawberry jelly all over his shirt. Lily was so upset with the twins that she had banned Harry from visiting the Weasley's for nearly three months. It took another four months for Molly and Lily to see eye to eye after that. That was the first time Lily had gone after the twins.
The event was an endless source of amusement for all of the children. The twins still swore that they almost died. Harry didn't like that event though. It made Lily annoyingly suspicious of the twins, so when they were sorted into Slytherin she had banned him from being alone with them. That also annoyed his companion. It had put a damper on his plans, but an obsessively protective mother was not enough to stop him from getting what he wanted.
That was one of the things that Harry most admired about his companion. He was never afraid of going after what he wanted. No matter the consequences. A small prod at the back of his mind brought Harry from his thoughts. His companion was trying to tell him something. Harry opened his mind to his companion.
An image of a room lofted into his mind. The room was grand and elegant. The walls were a soft beige color with black detail work running along the top of the walls. There was a small table with two chairs that matched the walls in the corner of the room. Next the table was a bookshelf filled with old and obscure books.
There was also an armoire that was hand carved delicately. The style matched the four poster bed frame that housed a bed too good for a king. The bed was draped in black and silver linens of both cotton and silk. Harry was awed by the image of the room. It was an image that his companion showed him often. It was like a promise of things to come. A small taste of the things that Harry would have in the future. That was what his companion said at least.
The image of the immaculate room floated around Harry's mind for while. Harry never understood what his companion was trying to say when he conjured the room. Harry wasn't allowed to dwell on it for long, because Neville jumped up in a panic. The laughter that had continued while Harry thought was cut off by the look of horror upon the Longbottom heir's face.
"You guys," Neville said shakily, "Trevor has gone missing! I have to find him!" Before anyone could say anything, Neville tore out of the compartment in a clumsy rush. Harry looked around a little confused.
"What just happened?" the green eyed boy asked.
"His great uncle gave him a toad as a gift for getting into Hogwarts," Susan explained.
"Why a toad?" Ron asked. Susan only shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the compartment to look for Neville. Harry found himself alone with the youngest Weasley boy. Harry continued to look at the book that he had been looking at since the beginning of the train ride but hadn't really reading it. The silence was very poignant.
Ron suddenly threw himself up and was about to leave the compartment when Fred and George threw open the door and dove in and somehow managed to get the door closed in one fluid motion. Fred pushed Ron back into the seat and sat next to him and laid his head on top of Ron's and started to snore. Ron's face turned a deep red. When Ron tried to shove Fred off of him, Fred punched him in the arm. George sat down next to Harry and pretended to read over his shoulder. Harry didn't bother to even ask what was going on.
Moments later a bushy haired girl forced the door open. Harry immediately felt his companion's mood sour. The girl must have been a Mudblood, if his companion was reacting that way. Harry gave George an annoyed glance. George remained stone faced. Harry could see that Fred's fist's were clenched tightly, because his knuckles were turning white.
"Uh, hello," Ron was the only one that really acknowledged the girl in the doorway.
"Are the two of you aware that the toad you had actually belonged to a boy?" the girl said, ignoring Ron. She was glaring at George.
"You have Neville's toad?" Harry asked then smiled falsely. "Neville just left to find it. It's a good thing that it was with the two of you. Otherwise, some undesirable might have hurt it."
"I assumed that Neville would be with you." George pulled a fake smile as well. "Fred and I came looking for you the moment we found him. We wouldn't want anyone to do something unscrupulous to the poor thing."
"When Neville comes back he'll be very glad to know that you found him," Harry laughed.
"Don't think you can fool me," the bushy haired girl said angrily. "I saw what you were doing to it. I don't think that Neville would like to know that the two of you were trying-"
"Neville!" Harry and George exclaimed together. Neville paled when he saw the twins and Harry together.
"Harry, they need to leave now! What if your mother finds out that you're with them?!" Neville said in quite a panic. Susan's face was also pale, but she seemed to have taken it better than Neville did.
"As long as she doesn't find out, we will be okay. Right, Neville. Neville, look at me." Susan suddenly became very serious. "For the love of all that is sacred, do not ever utter that we saw Harry with the twins. His mother would flay us alive."
Neville visibly gulped and nodded his head. Then asked the question that he and Susan had been wondering since they arrived. "Why are the two of you here in the first place?"
Feeling left out, the bushy haired girl spoke again. "I saw them hexing a toad that looked like the one you described. It looked like it was in a lot of pain."
Neville, Susan and Ron all looked shocked at what the bushy haired girl said. Suddenly, Neville pulled out the ultimate weapon, a dungbomb. Susan immediately stepped back. Three horrified faces stared up at Neville.
"Now, Neville, don't do anything drastic. Put the dungbomb down." Harry tried to reason.
"Neville, the only thing we did was try and change its color, or turn it into a miniature dragon when you touched it but that was it!" George said half shielding Harry with his body. Fred chose this moment to get stop pretending to sleep.
"Neville, think about what you are doing. If Harry has to go through his first day at Hogwarts smelling like a dungbomb, his mother will have our heads. Especially the one who set the dungbomb off."
Neville's laughter unnerved everyone in the compartment. "If I tell her it was the two of you, then I won't be in much trouble at all would I?"
"I don't mean to add fuel to the fire, but that was very Slytherin of you. I'm actually quite proud," Fred said while pulling Ron in front of him. George was nodding furiously.
"I thought so too," Neville smiled sheepishly. "When I told Sirius that, he said that it was very Black of me. But enough about that! Hand me the toad or you all smell horrible."
"Someone remind me to hex Sirius the next time I see him," Fred said as he pulled Trevor out of his robes and handed it to Neville. When the eleven year old went to grab the toad, Fred grabbed the dungbomb out of his hand and tossed it out the compartment window, where it exploded outside of the train.
"I blame this on you Harry. You just had to tell him that he was related to Sirius." Susan said from outside the compartment. The group of old friends laughed about the situation, but the bushy haired girl seemed to know that the twins had lied. Her eyes never left the twins.