Narcissa Black was calm, collected and confidant. After all, even eleven year olds with the benefit of her heritage have nothing to fear – in any situation really. She knew what to expect, more or less. Despite not being the oldest of her sisters, she knew what was going to happen. Hogwarts (and magic) was in her blood. Plus her blood was pure and, as a Black, there was no question of house. She would be in Slytherin – just like Bellatrix. Just like her parents. She would excel without too much effort in her studies and, when combined with the status of her blood, this would soon help her develop the reputation she was trained from birth to achieve. At Hogwarts, as in any other setting, she would be the most desirable, the most pure and most worthy of special attention of all her peers. She was born to it, raised to it. Her right was to work a little to maintain her name and from then on find her life was charmed.

Knowing all of this to be fact, she apparated (alongside her Father) to the station a few weeks after her eleventh birthday feeling little but calm expectation. The station was busy, but not yet packed. Of course, her family had arrived in time to make sure Miss Black would be sat with the right sort – 'start as you mean to go on' so to speak. Her Mother had already found her friend Lady Greengrass. Well, that is to say, Lady Greengrass had noticed her Mother's apparition with her two sisters.

"Darling! How are you? Good summer? –and the girls, growing up lovely I see" The lady in question was squealing to the more reserved Mrs Druella Black – who in turn fielded the questions, and reciprocated, with great dignity.

"Probably a good job she spoke first… your mother's pride would never allow her to come gushing over like that" her Father muttered, hooking Narcissa's arm through his and steering her with practiced ease through the crowd. Narcissa stifled a giggle, glancing back at where her Mother and sisters were trapped in the Greengrass woman's gossipy clutches. Father and daughter navigated the crowd gathered on the steamy platform. Mr Black, nodding gravely to his peers, teased his daughter's slight nerves from her with more wry observations and sarcastic cynicism. He could feel the barest tension in the small fingers resting on his forearm and was proud; she was carrying herself like a princess, already drawing honour to the family name.

Narcissa was something of his pet. His youngest child in age, she also had the sweetest temper of the three. Bellatrix was bold and loud and completely hooked on his wife's convictions. Narcissa was equally proud, kinder and perhaps even showed more dignity in her quiet expectation than Bellatrix did in her shrieked demand. Andromeda was still young yet, but seemed slow to learn the dignity of her name. Andromeda and Bellatrix grated on each other and their chance of separation at term time was a relief for the whole household.

….

Time passed quickly in the swirl of steam and the chatter of the crowd. The house elves had deposited the girl's trunks earlier in the day so after a brief and fond (but, of course, dignified farewell) Narcissa followed Bellatrix onto the train. Waving out of windows was clearly not a decorous act and the two ignored the students who hung their torsos out of the carriages to shout last goodbyes or messages about forgotten quiditch jerseys and owling when they arrived. They made their way to the front of the train, where the atmosphere in the carriages was far more sedate.

"You'll be alright Cissy. I'm going to sit with the fourth years. Potential Slytherin first years are up at the very front, I'll see you at dinner." with a quick peck on Narcissa's cheek, Bellatrix was gone.

Heading in the direction her sister had gestured Narcissa moved forward. Unlike a lot of the students, she wasn't dressed in overtly muggle clothing, just enough to blend in with the crowds if necessary. She wore black jeans with a slight flare, black pumps and a draped top of dark green – that was precisely modelled to resemble robes.

Moving forward with the perfect poise drilled into her from birth (which was not difficult as the train had yet to set off on it's rocking way) she glanced in windows until she recognised some of the occupants as her own age group. 'Ahh there's Knott…haven't seen her since her mother's party' she thought to herself. Sliding the door open, she stepped in and nodded to the occupants. Smiling around, she took the seat between Helena Knott and the door.

"Narcissa, good summer?" Helena asked turning to her and drawing more attention from the other occupants.

"Yes thank you. And everyone else…?" Narcissa opened the conversation gracefully, smiling across to the other students.

There were murmurs of agreement. She recognised most from the various social gatherings held by the elite throughout the season. Although not really of an age where she attended other family's balls, there were always picnics and charitable events, even the occasional birthday party. Those she did not recognise could usually be placed by their family's colouring or some other prominent feature.

Conversation developed and Narcissa paid attention, anyone in this carriage would of course be a member of the elite and so her family would approve of friendships made here. As well as Helena, there was a seemingly kind and intelligent girl who made the odd light hearted comment, now and then provoking chuckles. She was called Carlotta and Narcissa smiled across at her encouragingly (she did seem a little shy). Apparently some cousin of the Malfoy's, Narcissa gathered she could be cultivated into a useful ally, as well as genuinely warming to her.

The rest of the journey passed quickly, Narcissa, after the first hour of chat, choosing to take out her book and read a while. She'd discovered a nice guy who was related to the Macnair's, a Greengrass called Jillian and a younger relative of Bellatrix's crush Lestrange. She felt that was enough networking for a while and knew Bellatrix would no doubt steer her back if she set a foot in the wrong friendship direction.

Moving to the back of the train to change into her robes later on, Narcissa smiled mildly at the students she met in the corridors. She didn't want enemies and besides, who knew which house these students may end up in. There was no reason, she could see, to blank them as the other elitest students did. The elder Slytherins she saw on their way back from changing often seemed inclined to snarl at the 'blood traitors' and 'commoners' of other houses. Sure, Slytherin was the best house for her but all had decent qualities and they were all here to learn.

Straightening up her new uniform, Narcissa made a promise to herself that house would not matter to her. She may not be at liberty to be friends with all these people, but she wouldn't hate them for their house. Many pure blood lines ran in Ravenclaw and Gryffindor and some even in Hufflepuff. Narcissa wasn't going to cause trouble by ignoring the status quo, but she'd treat everyone fairly. It was the only gracious thing to do – and she had been raised to be a setter of standards.