Today was the day. The day she was dreading, but it was far too late now to complain with her new school supplies bought and loaded.
She could still see her mom from out the train window, flanked by the two auror guards that had escorted them to platform nine and three quarters. Paula Crock, at age 48, was a worn woman, one of the few Askaban survivors who had somehow managed to wait through a five-year sentence without being driven insane by the constant touch of the dementors.
Her mother was very much sane, but not unchanged. If she could look into the haunted depths of her mother's eyes, Artemis knew that under all those layers of regrets that took root during her sentence, there was a new steadfast determination to change, to make their life better. And she admired that.
What Artemis didn't admire was being thrust into some wizarding school by the force of her mother's pleading eyes. And not just any wizarding school; it was Hogwarts, a school so entrenched by auror influence that she could already imagine their suspicious stares tracing her every step, every day, everywhere under the excuse of witness protection.
But there's a smile on Paula's aged face when she finally located the bundle of blond hair peeking from the train window. "Artemis!" She called.
Grudgingly, Artemis pulled down the window. "Yeah?"
"Please Artemis," Paula began, rolling her wheelchair towards the train. The aurors respectfully stay at a distance, giving the two a bit of privacy for which Artemis was thankful. She leaned out of the window to inch closer to her mother's voice.
"I know you're angry, but please do try to understand. This will be the new start for you, an opportunity for a life no one in our family has had. You won't have to move around every month and no one, I mean it Artemis, no one will make you do anything you don't want to do."
Artemis bit her tongue, stopping a particularly nasty comment about being forced to attend Hogwarts, but she knew it wasn't fair. Ultimately, it had been her decision.
"…Yeah, okay," she muttered noncommittally.
Pride shone from Paula's face, and a beaming smile temporarily chased away the dark shadows that usually clung around her like a depressing shroud. She reached up, gripping Artemis's hands tightly one last time. In the distance, the conductor gave a warning whistle.
"This will be good for you. Trust me, Artemis!"
Paula let go as the train began to move and Artemis pulled away her hands safely behind the window She smiled for her mother, waving goodbye, but after she retracted into the train, the smile faltered and transformed into a scoff. "That's what you always say."
An unfamiliar laugh from behind caught her by surprise – she wasn't alone. "You never know, keep an open mind."
There was a boy leaning on the compartment door, blue eyes staring with amusement from under his neatly combed black hair. He's already in uniform: standard wizarding robes with a red trim and a golden lion decorating his chest. He's also short, easily mistakable for an unsorted first-year but with all the easy-going confidence of an upperclassmen in the smirk on his lips.
Artemis raised a brow at the kid, gathering every inch of superiority and belonging she could fake. "What are you doing here?"
"Just looking for a seat, everywhere else is full. Mind if I join you?"
"And what if I do?"
The boy grinned, "Then you'll just have to be terribly bored until someone more inconsiderate comes along and decides to join a near empty compartment for the lovely company of an unsorted student."
"Wait, how do you know I'm unsorted?"
He chuckled again, already slipping into a seat opposite to Artemis. "I didn't, you've just said it. A bit old for it though, aren't you? Chocolate frog?"
Artemis reluctantly accepted the candy that's placed into her hand and didn't even bother to respond to the first question. Candy was a luxury neither parent often allowed her often, so she handled the decorative box in her hand with care. Tentatively, she opened it and slipped out the trading card advertised on the box. The image of Rowena Ravenclaw stared at her, sending a knowing wink and tilting her head up. Artemis followed the trail, looking again at the Gryffindor boy.
He was focused downward now, texting away on a cellphone. She shot him an odd look.
"I thought mobiles didn't work in magical locations?"
"It's a special model," he explained without even looking up. "Experimental, and the reception fluctuates sometimes, but it works. Oh, watch it, your frog's going to escape."
It was too late when she looked down. The frog from the box jumped up, getting away to cling to the glass of the window during her moment of shock. The boy also took advantage of her shock. He stretched across the table, pulling Artemis towards him to quickly snap a photo of the two.
"We'll laugh about this one day," he said with a smirk, pocketing his cellphone and prying the frog from the window to put it back in her hand before heading out the compartment door.
Artemis, mouth still gaping, barely had enough coherence to remember to grip the frog. The chocolate frog croaked, wiggling in her hand. Hogwarts was beginning to appear as odd as she expected it to be.
A/N: This was in my pile of "stuff I will probably never finish" as my interest for the YJ fandom is sinking at an alarming rate (it ran into an iceberg made of anime feels, fandom drama, and hiatuses) but I'm putting this up here for anyone who is interested since I remember a few people asking about it. This is actually an epically long monster of a fic, but I lack the will to write more of it at the moment :C
If you are really interested in seeing more snippets/art from this universe, check my profile for a link to my yj-hogwarts-au tag