Disclaimer: We do not own Harry Potter.
'Daddy!' What if I can't pass the test? Will they send me straight home if I can't? Do I get another try?'
Skander Desford looked down at the youngest daughter tugging on his trouser pocket with a distraught expression across her face. 'What test, Siobhán? What are you talking about?'
'Bríd said they make you take a test and if you couldn't turn a teacup into a cauldron that they would simply send you home!' Siobhán tried to pry his fingers away from the trolley's handle.
'There's no test,' Skander assured her calmly. 'Bríd's just having a laugh. Don't you go and believe every little tale she tells you or she'll have you convinced that centaurs can fly and kappa live in the desert.'
'What do I have to do to be sorted, then?'
Skander ruffled her frizzy, chestnut coloured hair fondly, 'All you must do is put on the Sorting Hat. That's all you have to do. The Sorting Hat does the rest of the work.'
'What if I'm not sorted at all? What if the hat doesn't sort me?' Siobhán kept at it as they followed after her mother, two older sisters and younger brother. 'What if the hat says I'm not magical enough for Hogwarts, Daddy? What if I'm a squib?'
'You are plenty magical, Siobhán. No one removes all the cat's hair without being magical enough.'
'What if Griánne really did that and we all just thought it was me?'
'I promise,' Skander stopped the trolley between platforms nine and ten and turned to the anxious little girl, 'you are not going to be sent home. You will be fine. Howgarts sent you your letter and Hogwarts doesn't make mistakes. You ready?'
Siobhán nodded and stared at the brick wall just as two other people disappeared through it. Father and daughter broke into a trot straight towards the wall. They didn't slow back to an even walk until the brightly scarlet Hogwarts Express came into view.
'There they are, Mummy!' A little boy with an uncontrolled mop of brown hair pointed at Skander and Siobhán as they came into view.
'Emmet, careful! You're going to knock over Bacchus!' And older girl scowled at her younger brother as she steadied the rocking cage and tried to sooth the angry Barred owl inside. 'Mum, can I go now? Pleeeease?'
'Not yet,' the blonde witch replied calmly, fielding the question for the fifth time in as many minutes.
'But Lee has something in a box and absolutely everyone's seen it but me,' Bríd scowled, tucking a few loose bits of her ash-blonde hair behind her ear, the rest controlled neatly in a plait down her back. 'Fred and George can't see it before I do! Mum, please.'
'Bríd Desford, stop asking right this instant or you will not be given any money for chocolate frogs. You will wait with the rest of us for your cousins. You can see whatever it is Lee has once your on the train.'
'Deirdre, where's Gráinne?' Skander asked as he stopped Siobhán's trolley besides the one in front of his wife.
'I'm here, Daddy,' Gráinne popped into view from behind her trolley, two chocolate brown plaits swirling out as she spun around, the longhaired cat in her arms clawing to get away. 'I didn't do it on purpose!'
'Gráinne, that's the third time you've turned that poor cat purple this summer.'
'At least I didn't make her hairless!' Gráinne defended herself at the expense of her twin. Siobhán looked terrified up at Skander and he sighed.
'You're going to be fine, dear.'
'Mummy, can't I go too?' Emmet jumped off of Bríd's trunk and ran to Deirdre. 'I can take Siobhán's place since she's too scared to go!'
'Three more years until you can go to Hogwarts, Emmet,' Deirdre shook her head, ignoring Siobhán's indigent exclamation of 'I am not too scared!' and glancing around the platform. 'Here they are now, Skander.'
A family of five brunettes, all looking just as harried as the six of them, was making their way through the families littering the platform. 'Sorry we're late. Kain forgot his Prefect badge and we had to go back.'
'Ohhhhh, Kain, I bet when Professor Dumbledore finds out, he'll take it right away and give it to someone else!' Bríd teased her older cousin, who just stared down at her as if he, a fifth year Prefect, couldn't be bothered with his lowly third year cousin. Rolling her eyes, Bríd turned towards her other cousin. 'Aria, did you see what Lee had? He had it in a box! Have Fred and George seen it yet?'
'Yes! Lee was trying to make Angelina Johnson hold it when I passed them! It's a giiiii-gantic tarantula. It was as big as Lee's hand!' Aria gushed, her Gryffindor sweater wrapped tightly around her to keep the chill of the September air from hitting her skin. 'When does Ravenclaw have their trials?' Aria gestured at Bríd's broom.
'I don't rightly know,' Bríd admitted. 'I need to find Roger Davies on the train to ask him. I mean, I know I've got my spot back, but they still have to be all fair and open it up to everybody. It's a bunch of rubbish, it is.'
'I want to be a beater just like Bríd!' Gráinne skipped over with her purple cat and both the older girls huffed in annoyance at being bothered by a first year.
'First years can't play quiddich, Gráinne,' Bríd told her. 'And you can't have a broom until you're a second year. Plus, you don't even know what house you'll be in.'
'Ravenclaw, obviously! Just like you! And just like Mum and Dad and Uncle Vincent and Aunt Sheila and Cousin Kain. I want to be in Ravenclaw just like everyone else!' Gráinne was practically exploding with excitement to get to Hogwarts and be sorted into Ravenclaw, a far cry from her twin, Siobhán, who was still clinging to her father and unsure if she were at all magical enough for Hogwarts.
'Oi! What about Gryffindor?' Aria poked her, proudly puffing out her chest to show off the rich maroon and gold sweater.
'Well, I wouldn't mind being in Gryffindor if I had to be, I guess. But I want to go to Ravenclaw! "Wit beyond measure is Man's greatest treasure!"'
'Round up, you lot. Everyone named "Desford" over here,' Vincent Desford called to his children and nieces and nephew alike. Siobhán looked up at her uncle, her hand still firmly locked her with father's; Gráinne nearly knocked Emmet as she clamoured as close as possible. Kain only looked vaguely interested, mumbling something about needing to meet up with the other Prefects. Aria and Bríd rounded out the group and, once all seven were as close as possible, the goodbyes began. Ciel, the youngest of the cousins, started crying as his sister and brother were both given pocket change enough to buy two or three sweets each.
Deirdre handed out the same amount to Bríd, Gráinne and Siobhán as Emmet looked on enviously.
'Can't we go too?' Emmet asked, looking at Ciel. 'I want Chocolate Frogs too!'
'You don't go to Hogwarts to get Chocolate Frogs, Em,' Skander smiled and reached out to ruffle his hair. 'We'll stop on the way home and get you and Ciel a few Chocolate Frogs, alright?'
Emmet nodded, but still looked longingly as the Hogwarts Express.
'Have you got everything you need?' Sheila straightened Kain's Prefect badge. 'All your books?'
'Yes, Mum,' Aria said, waving excitedly at Fred and George as they passed with a short, black haired boy wearing wire-rimmed glasses that she didn't know. 'You checked our trucks three times this morning. I think we have things we don't need.'
'You both have your permission slips for Hogsmead?' Sheila turned to Aria.
'Yes, Mum,' Kain and Aria answered together.
'Alright, you two,' Vincent put a hand on his wife's shoulder. 'Go put your trunks away. And come back afterwards!'
Kain and Aria hurried away with their luggage and owls towards the train. Kain helped Aria life her trunk up before lifting his own. They strapped the owl cages into the special cage holders and spoke to a few friends before slowly wandering back to their family.
'Don't loose Aibell, Gráinne,' Skander warned, pointing at the still-purple Maine Coon cat in his daughter's arms.
'Daddy! I won't loose Aibell!' Gráinne rolled her eyes and hugged her cat. 'And even if I did, Aibell's smart enough to find her way home.'
'Regardless,' Deirdre smiled, 'do not loose her. Your grandmother would be very upset if you lost your birthday present.'
'I won't,' Gráinne sighed, snuggling her face into the cat's neck. Aibell made an annoyed noise and batted at Gráinne's nose with her paw.
'Mam, stop it!' A short, sandy haired boy knocked into Gráinne's back as he tried to sidestep his mother's hand. Gráinne glared at him as he walked away and readjusted the grip on her cat.
'Come on, girls,' Skander drew Gráinne's attention away from the boy. 'Let's get your trunks on the train, shall we?'
With Skander's help, the trunks were packed away in record time. Siobhán clung to Skander, looking like she wanted to cry, as Deirdre hugged Bríd and then Gráinne. She held her arms out to Siobhán, who dropped Skander's hand and ran to her mother.
'You're going to be alright, darling,' Deirdre kissed her hair. 'You're going to love Hogwarts. I promise.'
'I'm going to miss you and Daddy,' Siobhán said tearfully.
'I know. We're going to miss you too. We'll right you as often as you want.'
'Dad needs his hugs too,' Skander joked and both Bríd and Gráinne jumped on his at the same time. 'Love you, my wild girls.'
'Love you too, Daddy.'
'C'mon, Siobhán,' Skander smiled at her. 'I need my quiet one too.' Siobhán joined the hug willingly and Skander kissed all three of them. 'Okay. Onto the train, girls. Everyone have everything? Nothing let behind?'
The girls shook their head and gave their aunt and uncle quick hugs as well before joining their cousins in shuffling onto the train. Kain waved at his parents a last time before heading up the train to the first compartment where the Prefects were gathering. Bríd and Gráinne waved and shouted final goodbyes excitedly out the window and Aria, always the mother hen, squeezed Siobhán's shoulder reassuringly as they waved while the Hogwarts Express pulled out of King's Cross.
Welcome to the Harry Potter universe of Thalia and Peri! Mmmkay... So! One of my besties, Peri (aka gryffindoranime), and I are working on this story together and I'm super excited about it. We hope you like it!
Thanks for reading and, please, tell us what you think - good or bad!
Love, Thal and Peri