Well that was an unexpected reaction to chapter one. It seems you guys found it interesting as I woke up this morning to nearly twenty emails.
In answer to nahte123456 The details for Kings Cross were in the welcome pack included with the acceptance letter. I apologize for not making that clearer. As for the Parseltongue issue that will be revealed later but I can say that canon is involved here. Reviews like yours are great because they make me think about what I'm writing and strive to do better.
I still don't own Harry Potter otherwise I'd be writing all day instead of working to pay the bills.
Dylan the Rabbit. xx
The Silent World of Cassandra Evans.
2. Train Rides and Trust Issues
It had taken nearly four weeks to get to Cardiff travelling on foot and mostly in darkness, avoiding all possible human contact due to her new obsession with personal security. She definitely did not want to be found by anyone. Not when they were so close to acheiving their goal of a new and potentially interesting little venture into the world of magical education at the witch school. She still didn't trust that this wasn't some elaborate ruse to lead her into a trap by the authorities but what had finally decided the girl to risk it was the opportunity to learn.
Cassandra Evans loved learning new things. She knew that she was behind in her education as normal schools were filled with teachers and healthcare professionals who would all want to have contact with her guardians and that was not something that she just could not provide no matter how many times she gave them the big green puppy dog eyes. Those people would not forget their duty. Libraries were a slightly better option but could still be dangerous if she visited one in particular too much and that was a shame because to her books held their own peculiar brand of magic. To lose herself in an unfamiliar world laid down by a skilled hand, be it fiction or fantasy or history or mathematics, to simply indulge herself in the glory of written word was to find an unending source of joy. It was just a shame that she didn't get to do it more often. It was easy to get books. She could borrow, lift or outright steal those but keeping them was another matter, they were heavy and cumbersome, they took up space and weighed her down and the really rare ones were dangerous. They could be traced. They got you caught. So having access to a library full of rare magical books that she could read with impugnity. Oh yes. That could make her risk a great deal.
So here she was sneaking past the platform guard on to Cardiff Station in the half light of the morning and hiding herself in the shadows to await the first commuter train to London. At six thirty five precisely as the automated door was just closing Cassandra slid into the second carriage at the furthest end from the guards van and looked for a good spot to sit. As gifted as she was at avoiding prying eyes a train was not exactly a great place to be if you wanted to not be noticed and she spent the entire four hour journey on tenter hooks as she attempted to play dodge the guard. It was, therefore, with a great deal of relief that the nervous young girl managed to slip beyond the barrier and out of Paddington Station into the dirty, crowded streets of London. It didn't help that she had to spend the next two days trying not to get arrested for vagrancy or picked up for shoplifting as she tried to keep herself and her python fed while at the same time trying to pick up some extra clothes for the school year. She didn't know much about where she was going but in her experience the winter was always cold anywhere in Britain and it was better to be prepared.
The cafe at Kings Cross was a great place to sit and observe as it gave an excellent view of both platforms nine and ten. She was nursing her rapidly cooling second cup of terrible coffee and checking the Hogwarts instructons one last time when out of her peripheral vision she caught sight of a large group of strange looking, red headed people approaching the wall between the two platforms. Suddenly interested she cleaned her grimy lenses and focused as one by one the ginger family walked straight at the wall and ... disappeared. Rising from her seat and nodding her thanks to the grease stained waitress she gathered her bag and sauntered almost lazilly to stop a couple of feet in front of the barrier. With a quick glance around the girl then shut her eyes and strode quickly and confidantly straight at the wall. And didn't stop.
When her eyes adjusted to the new reality Cassandra looked about her at the crowds youngsters running in and out of the garishly robed older people and laughing and shouting before they came to rest on the Hogwarts Express. She gazed in wonder at the great shiny red steam engine and it's old fashioned pulman carriages and for the first time since receving her acceptance letter she felt her excitement start to build. This was it she was really going. For how long that would be was yet to be decided as she had no uniform, no books, no supplies other than a couple of pads of paper and pack of ballpoint pens and not even any idea if the school fees had been paid. Well however long it was she would do her best to make the most of her opportunity. A whistle blast brought her musings to an end and she realised that it was time to board.
Making her way past fidgeting children trying to escape the tearful embraces of their parents she reached the edge of the platform and walked the length of the train until she found a relatively empty compartment and swung herself in. The girl had no desire to engage in any awkward non conversations with the other children and so tucked herself right up in an unoccupied corner, placed her bag on the seat next to her and removed her latest acquisition, a book on the ancient Druidic religion of Wales, and as the train pulled away she began to read. It wasn't long before the first interruption occured in the form of one the red heads she had seen entering the platform.
"I heard that Cassandra Evans is on the train. Have you seen her?"
She looked up at the boy with a glare and swept her messy hair out of her eyes. His face went white and he pointed rather rudely at her.
"The scar. It's you. Wow. Can I touch it?"
Cassandra slapped his advancing hand away slipped her own hand into her pocket feeling for the switchblade while she gave him one of her fiercest looks. The rude boy, realising that he had angered her, quickly backed off.
"Oh. Ummm. Yeah. Sorry. It's just that I'm so excited to meet you. You know. The girl who lived and all that. My name's Ron by the way, Ron Weasley."
She nodded briefly and turned back to her book hoping that he would get the hint. He didn't.
"So do you remember anything about it? You know, when Vo ...V ... He gave it to you. When you beat him?"
She sighed heavily and looked up with a little confusion and quite a bit of malice evident on her delicate features and wondered if she was actually going to make it to the school gates before she was expelled. She was usually pretty mild mannered but this bloody moron was really starting to get on her wick now and her fiery Welsh temper was threatening to make an appearance. The day was saved by a bushy brown mane of hair attached to an impossibly short young, buck toothed witch entering the cabin.
"Have you seen a toad? Neville's lost his toad and we need to find it. Have you seen it?" The round faced blonde boy behind her looked rather sheepish and came hestantly inside.
"His name's Trevor."
Cassandra regarded the pair carefully. The boy looked painfully shy but harmless and the girl, interestingly, had a largish book sticking out of her pocket. If she was going to be forced to interact with people on this train ride she could probably do worse and besides they might keep the ginger idiot occupied so that he wouldn't keep talking to her and risking her boot in his arse. She sighed again, closed her eyes, held out her hand and concentrated on the picture in her mind of a fat green toad.
"Bloody Hell." Exclaimed Ron as the errant amphibian came shooting into her outstretched palm.
She gave Trevor the toad a little tickle under his chin and handed him off to the shocked looking Nevile.
"Is that all you know how to say young man?" The bushy haired girl looked speculatively at her noticing her shabby, dirty clothes, messy hair and broken glasses and the foreign looking book open in her lap and seeming to come to a decision nodded to herself and held out her hand.
"Thanks for doing that, it was very kind of you. I'm Hermione Granger and this is Neville Longbottom."
"This is Cassandra Evans, the girl who lived." Ron seemed to have remembered his big boy words. Unfortunately.
She glared at him while lightly shaking Hermione's hand and motioning for her and the boy to sit before returning to her reading. Out of the corner of her eye she could see the girl perching opposite her, glancing over and fidgeting while pretending to read her own book. She was obviously itching to ask some godawful question that she wouldn't have the answer to even if she could speak. Oh well, she thought, let's just get it over with. Hopefully the girl was a big enough gossip that she wouldn't have to go through this again. The next time Hermione glanced up she found the other girl looking at her with a raised eyebrow and a questioning, if resigned, look on her face. She took the opening.
"Are you really her? Cassandra Evans I mean."
She nodded cautiously.
"I've read all about you in Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. I have to say I'm impressed that you could do that summoning spell and to be able to do it wandlessly and wordlessly. That's realy difficult. Like Fifth year stuff difficult"
"You're very quiet aren't you." Hermione suddenly looked a bit worried. "I ... I haven't upset you have I? I know I can go on a bit, my Mum says that ... "
While she was chattering about what her Mum had said to her Cassandra reached into her bag and retrieved a pad of paper and one of her pens and started to write;
You haven't upset me but I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about. What's with all this girl who lived stuff? By the way I'm quiet because I can't speak. No voice box or vocal chords.
Having finished her little missive she passed it to Hermione and sat back to watch the girl's reaction.
"Oh my God. I'm so sorry. I had no idea. You must think I'm such an insensitive cow." Hermione was extremely embarrassed and bright red by now but being who she was just ploughed on anyway even asking more questions before realising that Cassandra still couldn't answer her. "I'm such an idiot. I don't suppose you can sign can you? My cousin's deaf and my family all learned so that we could communicate with him. Why are you grinning? Mmmmph ..."
Cassandra placed her hand over the short girl's mouth and stared into big, warm chocolate coloured eyes before giving a firm nod and then moving her fingers to sign out the words;
You know you have a problem with verbal diarrhoea right.
Hermione grinned back at her and nodded enthusiastically.
By the time the journey was half over two more boys, Dean and Seamus had joined them and they had a few more visitors including an incredibly rude and arrogant boy with slicked back blonde hair and his goons who she had simply pushed back out into the corridor before slamming the compartment door in their faces. That she did this without moving from her seat had stunned and impresed the five others in the carriage beyond measure. Unfortunately the noise woke her python who lazilly uncoiled himself from around her shoulders and peeked out from the confines of her hoodie. All the other occupants screamed and jumped back into their seats as the constrictor came out to investigate what all the noise was about.
"What the hell is that?" Shouted Ron.
"He's her short tailed python." A visibly shaken Hermione translated her signs. "Aparently his name's Shortcake and he's a sweetie." Not my opinion I'm just quoting her.
"Sorry lovely boy. Did I wake you?"
"Yes. What's all the noise about?"
"Just some unwanted guests. Go back to sleep Shortcake I'll wake you when we get there."
"Oh dear. It seems that we've created a bit of a stir."
He was not mistaken. In the few seconds that this exchange between the girl and her snake had taken the four boys had fled the cabin and could be heard up and down the carriage screaming and yelling about parseltongues, pythons and snakes on the ... that wasn't a very nice word ... train. Hermione on the other hand sat mesmerised glancing between her and Shortcake.
"You're a parseltongue." She stated. At Cassandra's confused face she tried again. "You can talk to snakes."
She nodded slowly with a guarded expression.
"That's really rare Cassandra. Like super rare."
She had the feeling there was more to it than just being a rare gift and gestured for the girl to continue.
"Okay so historically speaking all the wizards who had this ability were sort of ... dark ... you know ... evil. That's why the boys all ran out of here screaming and stuff. Not that I believe you're evil. I think you're nice actually. Super nice. Oh I've got some eggs in my bag do you think your little friend would like one. They're ever so fresh I just got the from the farm shop this morning and do you know what else they had there. Mmmph ... "
The delicate hand was back over her mouth again and the spakling green eyes were alight with amusement as Cassandra smiled at her, moved her bag and patted the seat next to her. They fed Shortcake the eggs and then she pointed at the book in Hermione's pocket and raised a quizical eyebrow.
"Oh it's called Hogwarts, a History. Would you like to read it with me?"
At Cassandra's nod of affirmation they settled in for the rest of the ride. She smiled to herself thinking that she had just made her first ever friend. Okay the girl was a bit of a wierdo and a fully fledged nerd with a bad case of word vomit but she knew that she wasn't exactly a prime catch herself. What did slightly concern her was the possible consequences of her being this parseltongue thing as it did seem to upset an awful lot of people. She wondered just how many of them would be avoiding her when they arrived and whether or not she actually cared. She had Hermione and they would be just fine.
Upon arrival at Hogsmeade the two witches disembarked and Cassandra's fears were realised as they seemed to have an invisible force field around them that ensured everyone tried to stay as far away as possible. Hermione drew her attention to the huge man shouting at them from the far end of the platform.
"Firs' years. Over here firs' years." He stopped in his tracks as he caught sight of her. "Oh my if it isn't lil' Cassie Evans. You don't 'arf look like your mum."
She smiled hugely at him and hugged as much of him as she could get her arms around. She was prepared to love this big oaf just for saying those words.
"Come on then into the boats. Only four to a boat now."
Cassandra and Hermione had one to themselves. It was more evidence that her gifts were not appreciated by anyone but them. Not that they minded really. They were having a lovely private boat ride with lots of interesting things to see while the bushy haired bookworm kept up a running commentry straight from the pages of Hogwarts, a History but even she shut up when the castle came into view. They simply sat side by side in the small craft and held hands while they gazed in awe at the magnificent building. Cassandra decided that if this was what having friends was like she wanted a lot more of it. Of course Hermione had to ruin the moment by speaking.
"Oh no. Cassie. What if we're not in the same House? Do you think they let you choose? I don't want to go in a different House to you that would be just awful wouldn't it. I'm sure they'll let us choose. We'll have to ask ... " She tailed off as her friend simply squeezed her hand, put her chin on her shoulder and looked deep into her eyes. "Right. We'll be fine."
The great hall at Hogwarts had never been so quiet for a sorting. The magnificence of the place seemed lost on the majority of the first years as they huddled together as far away as possible from the scruffy black haired witch at the centre of the line holding hands with her buck toothed friend and looking apprehensively at the ragged old hat on the stool. There was some subdued applause as the first few students were guided to their House tables and then it was her turn.
As she disappeared under the hat it immediately started talking to her.
"My my. But aren't you an interesting little thing. Smart enough for the Claws, loyal enough for the Badgers, brave enough for the Lions and sly enough for the Snakes. Although it doesn't seem like any of them are going to exactly welcome you with open arms now does it little Miss parselmouth."
"Hermione says she's going to be in Gryffindor. That's where I want to be."
"You know this isn't actually a negotiation don't you dear." The hat chuckled. "Still your courage will probably see you through. Perhaps the old man was right on this occasion. Very well then ... "
She headed to the table that the Deputy Headmistress indicated in total silence and sat at the closest end to the teachers table and furthest from the rest of her new Housemates who all now seemed to be climbing over each other in their haste to get away from her. She didn't care. There was only one person's opinion she was interested in and in a few minutes said person sat demurely down next to her, flicked her insane bushy mane back and gave her a toothy grin.
"Told you. Nothing to worry about."
Sat in his throne at the head table Headmaster Albus Dumbledore looked gravely at the young green eyed witch and wondered how in Merlin's name the girl had managed to get this far after his interventions. Well she may be here for now but without a wand she surely wouldn't last long. He gave a grim smile and started to make his plans
Reviews are always appreciated but not necessary. I'm not going to hold you guys to ransom over them.
Good? Bad? Leave your thoughts although you can always PM me with ideas, suggestions, comments if you want. Dylan the Rabbit. xx