- From the Outside -

- AlwaysPadfoot –


Disclaimer: Anything you recognise is not mine :(

AN: Thank you for all those that left a review! I hope everyone enjoys the next chapter!


Chapter Two - Family Grudges and the Promise of Toilet Seats

"Andrea."

I shifted in bed, too comfortable to be disturbed by the call of my name. It had been the best night's sleep I'd had since Charlie left a week ago. Not only because I missed him and I was suddenly uncomfortable by his lack of presence, no. Ginny had become a more common problem at night. It seemed that she sought comfort from me more than she did her parents and she often woke me up in the middle of the night to crawl into my bed. Generally she was upset by Charlie's absence but she'd also voiced her fear of losing Ron and I when we went to Hogwarts.

Bloody hell! Speaking of Hogwarts -

"ANDREA, YOU NEED TO BE READY TO LEAVE IN FIFTEEN MINUTES!"

Shit. I shot out of bed and straight into the bathroom. Today was the first of September, today was the first day of the first year of Hogwarts and I was still in bed.

Unbelievable.

I showered and changed in record time and made sure that that everything was packed before pocketing my wand and throwing some stuff into a smaller bag for the train. Then I stopped, glancing round at the room that had been mine for little over four and a half years now. On the far wall there was a smear of blue paint from when the twins had attempted to redecorate my room the summer before they started Hogwarts. Piled high on my bookshelves were countless books about Dragons and Quidditch alongside a broken sneakascope and overstuffed Norwegian Ridgeback. Generally stuff I couldn't fit into my trunk lived there.

On the bed lay the cuddly toy Peruvian Vipertooth and I sighed in frustration. I hadn't packed it and I completely had the intention of not taking it but I felt somewhat overwhelmed so I tossed it into my trunk before I could stop myself. It was Charlie's old one and shockingly it was still in good shape considering it had had seven years of use out of it previous to me.

I shut the lid and locked it up in case I decided I wanted to change what I was taking once again, something I'd done several times in the last two weeks.

I approached the hatch to the main house and pulled it open, lowering myself into the hallway below. I needed someone to help me get my stuff down.

"Fred! George!" I yelled.

"Bloody Hell Andrea!" Fred's head popped out from the twin's room down the corridor, covering his ears with his hands.

"How loud do you want to shout?" George asked.

"Are you trying to shout to France?"

"More like America, Fred."

I hated it when they alternated like that; it was like tag-teaming. I scowled at the both of them before they simultaneously grinned.

"Could you two get my trunk down please?"

"Sure thing." Fred raced up the ladder so he got the easier job and was less likely to have my trunk crush him. "Bloody hell. Andy, what on earth is in this?"

I ignored him and stood well back as George got underneath. I watched them struggle for a short while but after several disaster tries the trunk was now on the landing.

"FRED! GEORGE! ANGELA!" Aunt Molly shouted so loud that I was sure if America hadn't heard me shout, then they will most definitely have heard her.

"Coming," we chorused together. I closed the hatch to my room and began hauling my trunk downstairs, closely followed by the twins.

"Come on, Andy."

"Chop, chop."

"The Hogwarts Express waits for no one."

I was too tired to think of a witty enough reply so I settled on telling them to shut up instead. It didn't work but they did turn their attention to Percy instead. Percy was sat at the breakfast table already dressed in his Hogwarts robes; his shiny Gryffindor Perfect badge already pinned smartly to his chest, Fred and George took this as the perfect opportunity to wind him up before Molly reappeared from wherever she was and told them off.

Taking seats either side of the fifth year red-head, the twins picked up a banana muffin each in perfect synchronisation and smiled at each other.

"What's the P stand for again, Percy?"

"Penguin?"

"Pony?"

"Pineapple?"

"I know, I know. Its prat, isn't it?" George grinned lopsidedly as Percy's ears turned as red as his hair. I could tell he was desperately trying to ignore them but I was pretty sure he wouldn't last much longer

"That's it, George, it has to be prat," Fred smiled.

"Percy the Perfect Prefect Prat."

I stifled a snort, taking my own banana muffin from the kitchen table and pretending to be uninterested.

"I'll have you know that I was selected to be a prefect because I am a responsible and hardworking Hogwarts student." Percy finally retorted, clearly unhappy with the twins constant joking. Fred and George stared at each other blank faced for a long moment before they burst into tears of laughter. It was at the moment Percy's ears turned bright red that Molly entered the kitchen; Ginny was trailing behind her looking awfully upset.

"Boys, Andrea, stop irritating your older brother." She generally scowled in our direction before going to shout for Ron to come down.

How on earth did I get dragged into that? All I'd been doing was sitting eating a banana muffin; for once I was totally and utterly innocent.

"Don't worry, Andy, she's worried about squeezing everyone in the car," George said vaguely reassuringly.

"Of course, she wouldn't have to worry about that if you hadn't just appeared five years ago and never left," Fred winked at me. I rolled my eyes this was their typical joke for me. That they were even poorer now than before.

"It flies; it definitely has room for one more person," I said bluntly. It was at this point that Ron dragged his battered old trunk into the kitchen. It had been Bill's before he used it just like mine had been Charlie's.

"I don't know; it might be a squeeze," George smirked.

"I could have had a Comet 360," Fred mused.

"A Nimbus in fact," George added.

"Ickle Ronniekins could have had a new trunk and wand." Fred was only joking, but Ron was going to take that dead seriously. The youngest Weasley boy glared at me as Aunt Molly returned calling for us to get our trunks into the car.

I managed to get outside first; Percy's trunk was already packed into the boot but that didn't surprise me. Besides my trunk slid in quite nicely to the extended boot.

"I cannot believe your father is making me drive this contraption." Molly was complaining to someone behind me. I was at least glad she was going to driving it instead of flying the bloody thing. It was just unfortunate that I ended up squashed between Fred and George.

"Hey, cousin," George grinned as he trapped me next to Fred.

"Fancy a -?" Fred began but I interrupted him.

"No I don't want a canary cream or a tongue-ton toffee or a blood pop or one of your surely-not-safe, still-in-testing sherbet sticks, okay?"

The twins looked blankly at each other for a short moment as if they were communicating silently and I shrank back into my seat slightly, anxious for them to retaliate.

"Three."

"Two."

I made a lunge for the door but George looped his arms around my waist and before I knew it Fred was tickling me into submission. I yelled, trying to squirm out of their grasp.

"STOP IT!" I gasped, reaching out for the door; desperately searching for the car door handle.

"Say that we're the best, most brilliant twins ever," they chorused.

"NEVER," I yelled so loud that Ginny heard and came over and rapped on the window.

"Move over, Mum told me to get in the car," she told us as she opened the door.

"You'll have to wait GinGin, we're teaching our little cousin a lesson," Fred grinned, continuing to tickle me.

"No! FRED! GEORGE, STOP IT NOW."

"Say it!" Fred increased his tickling by a large degree and I squealed. I was so going to kill them for this.

"Say it and we'll stop," George smiled.

"ALRIGHT." I yelled stopping struggling, "Alright, you guys are the best, most brilliant twins ever," I breathed as they finally let me go.

I scowled when they let go of me, scrambling out from the middle of them and folding my arms across my chest when I settled on the other side of George. Ginny finally was about to get in when Ron elbowed past her and climbed in next to me. Great, I was about to say something but Ginny beat me to it.

"Urgh, Ron, why do you have to be such a prat?!"

"GINNY. Get in the car and stop irritating your brother." It was Molly's voice that had interrupted her; Ron looked ever so smug as Ginny got into the car, angrily slamming the door. Percy got the front seat and Molly got into the car next to him looking thoroughly frustrated.

"Right, has everybody got everything?"

"Actually Mum - I think we've forgotten the kitchen sink," Fred smirked. It certainly felt like it, what with the five of us squished up in the back here. I was sure I could sense Molly roll her eyes from here; she put the car into gear and we set off.

On our way to Kings Cross I had to explain a couple of concepts to Aunt Molly about driving one of which made me slightly terrified about travelling much further with her at the wheel:

You cannot travel on the right hand side of a normal road.

By the time we pulled up outside the station, I had been almost ready to pay to walk the rest of the way and that wasn't only because Aunt Molly seemed to not understand the rules of the road. No. Fred and George hadn't stopped telling awful knock-knock jokes, Ron kept complaining, albeit quietly, about how people were going to make jokes about his second hand stuff and Percy and Molly didn't stop talking once.

Of course, I was sat right in the middle of everyone, so consequently that made it a hell of a lot worse.

I clamoured out of the car and the twins went off to grab trollies. Anxiously I looked up at the clock on the station building; we had twenty minutes. This was going to be cutting it extremely close. It was weird that as we waited, Ginny, who had only just in the last two weeks turned ten, slipped her hand into mine. I didn't want to make it obvious so I simply squeezed her hand lightly.

Next thing I knew we were hurrying along Platform Nine and Ten, approaching the barrier as quickly as we could.

"It's the same every year of course, packed with Muggles," Aunt Molly complained. Part of me wanted to point out that it would make sense for there to be Muggles around but I refrained, mainly because she had been interrupted by a skinny, messy-black haired boy with broken glasses and emerald green eyes. Anyone with a good pair of eyes knew that the boy was Harry Potter - you could see his scar under his fringe. I decided I wouldn't point it out because as soon as other people noticed that it was Harry Potter he would be swamped by people and I didn't fancy fighting my way through a crowd just to get on the train.

"Excuse me; I was wondering maybe whether you could help me. I need to -" he began.

"Get onto the platform? Of course dear, Ronald's starting this year too," Molly interrupted; what am I? Non-existent? I sighed as Molly made Percy go first to show Harry how to get onto the platform.

"Fred, you next."

"I'm not Fred, I'm George; honestly mum."

It was in fact Fred not George but clearly Aunt Molly was too stressed to notice or care right now.

"Oh, I'm sorry George," she apologised.

"I'm only joking; I am Fred," he grinned before zooming through the barrier closely followed by George. Aunt Molly scowled at them before turning to Ginny and me.

"You two better go next; I'll follow through after with your trolley Andrea," she explained. I nodded and without another word Ginny and I followed the twins through onto the platform. The platform was, as it was every year that I had been here before, absolutely packed with packed with people and noise assaulted me from every angle.

At the platform edge stood the Hogwarts Express, steam billowing across the floor and tracks. I was so glad to finally be getting on the train after all these years of waiting.

"Ginny dear, let Andrea get her trunk into the storage compartment," Aunt Molly called Ginny over from behind so I collected my trunk over disappeared down the platform to load up my stuff. A round faced boy almost tripped over his own two feet in front of me and a hawk like woman with a large red handbag gave him a steely look.

"Neville Frank, do be careful," she scorned him. I followed their conversation all the way to a luggage cart until they disappeared to search for someone called Trevor... I think. When I got back to the Weasley's they were discussing Harry Potter; apparently the twins had figured it out, which didn't surprise me. Ginny was in tears now and part of me felt very sorry for her being the youngest of the family.

"Don't worry Ginny, we'll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat," Fred grinned. Aunt Molly looked distraught; it wouldn't be the first time.

"I'll write," I told her.

"Oh Andrea, so boring. Don't worry though, Gryffindor will convert you soon enough," George jibed. I rolled my eyes, meeting Aunt Molly's gaze for a moment before the train whistle broke across the platform. I climbed aboard behind the twins; Ron and Percy had already both boarded before Fred. We waved goodbye to Aunt Molly until the platform was out of sight.

I took a breath; I was finally on the way to Hogwarts.

Unsure of what to do I followed the twins down the corridor as the train started; I mean I couldn't really see the point of finding someone to sit with, we probably wouldn't end up in the same house. As we passed the compartments I didn't notice a single empty one; they were all full of students chatting away about the summer holidays and the upcoming school year. Next year I would be one of those students; right now I was just some short, scruffy girl who would soon be wearing robes that bore no colour thus tying me to no house.

The twins just had to stop and annoy Ron, who coincidently had snapped up a seat with Harry Potter, in the first half of the train.

"Oh hey there Harry, we didn't introduce ourselves earlier, I'm Fred, this is George, and that is our cousin, Andrea," Fred introduced himself. I eyed Ron cautiously, who was grimacing slightly.

"Sorry we can't stick around, Lee Jordan has got a giant tarantula further down the train," George grinned. I wanted to laugh out loud as Ron paled slightly, but I refrained as I flashed one last smirk at Ron as the twins started to leave.

"Get lost, Andrea," Ron mumbled.

"Let's hope that spider doesn't get lost either shall we?"

I grinned and happily made my way after the twins, seeing Ron's face drop had been priceless. The possibility of having a spider within hundred metres of him would probably freak him out for the whole journey. With that thought in mind I couldn't even frown slightly when George turned around and spoke to me as we approached their compartment on the train.

"Look, Andy, you need to go find other first years."

I blinked a few times, I knew he was right really and it just wouldn't be right if I just sat with people I considered to be family. With a small nod I disappeared in the opposite direction in hope that I might actually find someone decent to sit with and maybe, if I was lucky, someone who might be in the same house as me.