Disclamer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any of the AVPM references in this.
Chapter One: Goin' Back to Hogwarts
It was a cloudy sort of day on September the first (actually January the 6th, but shh, it's September now). The sun peeked out from behind the clouds at random intervals. The breeze was cool, but not unpleasant. One couldn't have asked for a better day, weather-wise, to go back to school.
As a black-haired girl manoeuvred her way through the parked cars at King's Cross, a particularly strong gust of wind whooshed past her. She looked up at the sky. In the distance, dark clouds were forming, but she wasn't worried. She glanced down at her watch. She was half an hour early for her train. By the time the clouds reached London, she would already be on her way to Hogwarts.
On the other side of the station, another girl was pushing her trolley towards the entrance. She was thin, with long brownish hair. She looked around with a wild excitement in her eyes, stroking her pink and purple pygmy puffs through the bars of their cage. In her excitement, she didn't seem to notice the weather changing around her, all too keen to get into the station and get onto the platform. Hogwarts was waiting, and she was in a hurry to escape the Muggle world.
Platform Nine and Three Quarters was relatively quiet, considering the time. The black-haired girl pushed her trolley along, taking in the sight of the magnificent steam train that would soon take her home. She sighed contentedly and made her way towards the end of the train, where she, looking around cautiously, pulled out her wand and levitated her trunk and owl cage into the compartment. She then went inside, sat down by the window, closed the door and looked out, waiting, watching for people to arrive.
As it neared 11 o'clock, more and more people began to appear. The girl on the train watched as a boy with glasses and a red-headed family made their way onto the platform. They were closely followed by the girl with the pygmy puffs. This girl made her way down to one of the end compartments as well, passing by the black-haired girl's compartment, before doubling back. The black-haired girl paused for a moment before standing up, walking out of the compartment and opening the door, as if inviting the other girl to come in. The brown-haired girl hesitated for a brief moment before taking her up on her offer.
"Hi," the brown-haired girl said, sitting down opposite the black-haired girl.
"Hi," the black-haired girl replied, readjusting her black rimmed glasses.
"I'm Megaheart Leviathan."
"Megaheart?" the black-haired girl raised her eyebrows.
"Meg, for short," Meg shrugged, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Her purple pygmy puff tried to poke its head through the bars of the cage. "These are my pygmy puffs: Fred and George. George here doesn't like being stuck in a cage." She poked the pygmy puff gently back into the cage and said soothingly, "It's okay, George, I'll let you out as soon as the train starts moving."
A sudden patter overhead told them that it had started raining. The black-haired girl looked down at her watch. Seven minutes until the train left the station.
"I'm Outlandish Sharpspear, but most people just call me Tan," the black-haired girl introduced herself, watching Meg throw a robe over the pygmy puff cage in attempt to quell their excited squealing.
"I think we've met before," Meg said, looking up. "We may have sat next to each other during a Quidditch match last year, I think."
"Oh, yes, that's right. You're in Gryffindor?" Tan asked.
"Yes," Meg nodded. "Where dwell the brave at heart."
An announcement suddenly came over the magical speakers saying that there were only five minutes left until the train departed, and that all trunks were to be stowed neatly in the compartments.
Tan looked out of the window and up at the ceiling of the station, where rain was pouring down as if it hadn't rained in a long while. "Really bucketing down out there, isn't it?"
Meg nodded again. "I heard there was a dry spell, so this rain will be good. You know, for the garden and all that."
Tan shrugged. "I wouldn't know. I haven't been in the U.K. all summer."
"Oh, where were you then?" Meg asked curiously. She blew a piece of hair out of her face, then, getting frustrated at it, pulled a hair tie off her wrist and put her hair up into a ponytail.
Before Tan could answer, however, their compartment door was flung open to reveal a girl with dark-brown hair, holding a basket in one hand (where a furry face was peeking out beneath the covers), drenched from head to toe. Behind her, a trunk (also sopping wet) was laying unceremoniously in the middle of the corridor.
"Oh, hi," the girl said, trying to brush wet hair out of her eyes. "Sorry, I didn't know anyone was in here. I'll just go…"
"No, don't be silly," Meg leapt up. "You're most welcome to come and sit with us."
"No, no, I don't want to interrupt," the girl shook her head, sending water flying all over them. "I'm so sorry!"
Tan stood up as well, and silently moved past them to grab the girl's trunk. She levitated it into their compartment and gently prised the basket from the girl's hand. The creature inside hissed, but didn't come out.
"You guys didn't have to do this and be so nice, and I'm sorry, the rain really caught me off guard," the girl said frantically, looking anywhere in the compartment except at the two people sitting opposite her. "And the buses were taking forever to get to the station, so I thought I would miss the train."
"It's okay, you're here now," Meg said kindly. "Here." She pulled out her wand and a wave of warm steam came out of the tip. She used this to dry the girl's clothes, although it did fog up her glasses. She took them off and cleaned them on the cloth used to cover her cat.
"I know your face!" Tan said suddenly. "You're - "
Before Tan could say who she thought the girl was, however, the girl blurted out, "Excelcy Feilddragon!"
There was a brief pause, where no one said anything, then Tan broke the silence. "I was going to say Jem, but if you're going with Excelcy now, that's cool too."
"No, sorry, I don't know why I said that," Jem pushed her glasses up. "I'm Jem. Jem Feilddragon."
"Slytherin?" Tan asked.
"Slytherin," Jem nodded to confirm.
"Great, how did I get stuck in a compartment with two Slytherins?" Meg rolled her eyes, but then smiled, to show that she was just joking.
Tan snorted, and Jem let out a smile. The engine of the train rumbled to life, and within a minute, the train had departed King's Cross. As soon as they left the shelter of the station, the rain came down hard and fast, pelting at the windows, making it hard to see the city outside. Meg unlocked the cage holding her pygmy puffs and let them out, where they wandered up and down the compartment, careful to steer clear of Jem's cat, which had also been allowed out of its basket. Tan's owl hooted in a dignified sort of way as it watched the smaller creatures.
As they reached the countryside, the clouds parted and the sun's rays absorbed all traces that suggested that it had been raining. Meg stood up to open the window slightly, letting the cool air into their compartment. She sat down again and pulled Fred the pink pygmy puff towards her, petting him on the head.
"Wonder when the Trolley Lady's gonna get here," Tan wondered aloud. "I'm hungry!"
"I'm hungry too," Jem said. Now that she was dry and less disoriented, she felt much more comfortable sitting in a compartment with these two people whom she only knew by sight.
"Hey, Tan, you were saying something before about not spending the summer in the U.K.?" Meg brought up.
"Oh, yeah," Tan absentmindedly picked at a hole in her cardigan sleeve. "I don't know if you guys can tell, but I'm not from around these parts."
Meg and Jem exchanged glances, then said at the same time, "Accent."
"Totally gives me away, right?" Tan grinned. "I'm a transfer from Australia," she explained. "The Aussie Wizard School hasn't been exactly established yet, so all us wizarding folk over there have to be home-schooled, but then my parents decided I should be sent to the best wizarding school in the world, so yeah, that's why I'm here at Hogwarts. Been here ever since my third year."
"Third year? Wow, I'm starting my third year this year," Jem said.
"It's a good year," Tan smiled reminiscently.
"I'm a bit worried about the classes though," Jem bit her lip. "I mean, I'm starting Divination and Care of Magical Creatures, and I've heard that Hagrid likes to…" she paused, glancing at the other two worriedly, before giving caution to the wind and continuing, "he likes to…bounce people. Is that true?"
Meg burst into a fit of hysterical laughter. Tan couldn't stop grinning, no matter how hard she tried.
"It's true!?" Jem was shocked. "Does he actually get people to sit on his lap and say 'I'M GONNA BOUNCE YA'?"
"YES!" Meg laughed even harder still. Tan was hugging her side, giggling silently. Jem looked at the both of them in disbelief, before bursting out into laughter as well.
Five minutes later, when the compartment door slid open to reveal the trolley lady, the three girls had tears streaming down their faces.
"I'm gonna bounce ya," Jem hiccoughed, laughing and crying at the same time.
"It's gold, I tell you. Absolute gold," Tan managed, clutching the stitch at her side.
Meg couldn't make any words. She was still too busy giggling away.
"Would you like me to come back later?" the Trolley Witch raised her eyebrows at the sight before her.
"Yes, please," Tan said, before snorting again as she heard Jem repeating 'I'm gonna bounce ya'.
The compartment door slid shut again, and Meg howled with laughter, setting the other two off again.
When all the giggles had finally subsided, Tan turned to Meg and asked, "So what you are you going into this year?"
"Fifth," Meg replied. "O.W.L.s," she rolled her eyes. "Not fun."
"No, not," Tan groaned. "I'm going into my seventh, so I'll be the same with N.E.W.T.s. Also not fun."
"But it's still going to be a good year, right?" Jem spoke up, stopping Meg and Tan from being pulled under by the thought of stressful exams. "I mean, we're all still going to have fun, right?"
"Hell yes, we are!" Tan punched the air.
"I don't know about you, but I don't think I've ever clicked quite so quickly with someone as I've done with you two today," Meg said truthfully.
Jem nodded. "I was a bit worried when I accidentally opened the door earlier, but I'm glad I did."
Tan smiled. "Yeah, I'm glad I met you guys too. Even though we've only known each other half an hour, it feels like I've known you my whole life."
"I think this is a cause for a celebration!" Meg said. She scooped up her pygmy puffs and twirled around the compartment.
"Oooh, I'll go and get some snacks then, shall I?" Tan stood up and walked over to the compartment door. She put her hand on the handle. "Pumpkin juice? Cauldron Cakes and some Chocolate Frogs?"
"Sounds good!" Jem said, nodding.
Around a minute after Tan left to find the Trolley Witch, Jem settled back into her seat, grabbed her cat, hugged him around the middle and asked Meg, "You're not from England either, are you?"
"No," Meg shook her head. "Scotland."
"I thought so! It's the accent," Jem explained. "How inconvenient it is for you to travel all the way down to England to take the Hogwarts Express back to Scotland."
"Oh, I don't mind," Meg shrugged. "I quite like these train rides.."
"Yes, me too," Jem agreed. "Me too."
They fell into a comfortable silence, speaking here and there of things they had in common - the United Kingdom weather, mutual places they had visited, classes they were looking forward to…
The countryside that flashed past the window was getting wilder and wilder as they journeyed north, and with each hour passing, the sun, sometimes covered by clouds, sometimes not, was soon beginning its descent.
"Wonder where Tan is?" Jem said out loud when the lanterns turned on. "She's been gone an awfully long time."
"Maybe she got lost," Meg shrugged.
"How do you get lost on a train?" Jem frowned. "You don't think something's happened to her, do you?"
"She probably fell asleep or something," Meg said. "Time zones."
"Oh, yes, that's true," Jem nodded.
The two of them began to get into the school robes and putting their pets back into the cages and basket. The compartment door slid open and Tan entered, her arms laden with food.
"I am so sorry!" she cried, dumping the sweets onto an empty seat. "The line for the Trolley Witch was so long, and it was really humid up there for some weird reason, and it made me really sleepy, so I fell asleep!"
"Why did no one wake you up?" Jem asked concernedly.
"I suppose they were afraid that if they did, I'd set off an automatic curse or something," Tan shrugged, handing around some Cauldron Cakes.
"An automatic curse?" Meg's eyes widened as she accepted a cake. "You can do that?"
"Don't tell anyone," Tan said darkly. "But yeah, it happened with some Slytherin seventh-year last year. Sent a second-year Hufflepuff to the Hospital Wing. So everyone's a bit careful now, I guess." She rolled her eyes. "Idiot Slytherin dude. We're trying to show the school we're not as awful as everyone thinks, and he goes and does that."
"I remember that, actually!" Jem said. "The Hufflepuff was in my Herbology class! He didn't show up for weeks after that. What happened to him exactly?"
"Jelly Legs Jinx," Tan replied before taking a bite of the cauldron cake.
"But didn't he know that the counter-curse was just Unjellify?" Meg tilted her head to the side.
Jem and Tan stared at her.
"What?" Meg said a little self consciously. She touched her face, dabbing slightly to check if she had any chocolate on her face.
"How do you know the counter-curse?" Tan asked.
"Isn't it just common sense?" Meg said. "Just like you shouldn't wear jewellery around a NIffler?"
"Well, everyone knows that one," Tan said. "But Unjellify, that's on a whole new level."
As Tan began to get changed into her robes as well, Meg and Jem got all the trunks down and assembled them by the door. When the train came to a stop, they followed the crowd out onto the platform. Tan stood on tiptoe to look around them, and was a little disappointed she was unable to see Hogwarts from where she was. She did see the shadow of Hagrid though, and, catching both Jem and Meg's eyes, grinned at them.
"I'm gonna bounce ya," Jem mouthed. Meg snorted and tried to control her laughter.
The three of them got into the same horseless-drawn carriage and was thankful that no one else had followed them into it. As the carriage trundled its way up the path towards Hogwarts, Meg sighed happily.
"It's good to be home," she said.
"I've missed Hogwarts," Jem added. "I can't wait to eat at the feast and -"
"Again, I'm sorry I brought back the food so late," Tan blurted out.
"It's fine, Tan, you can stop apologising," Meg patted the elder Slytherin girl's arm.
"- and lay in my bed and visit Hogsmeade and even attend my lessons," Jem continued as if the other two hadn't said anything.
"Oh, it's going to be your first year visiting Hogsmeade, isn't it, Jem?" Tan asked.
"Yes, I'm so excited!"
"You're going to love it," Meg said. "We should go out for a Butterbeer when we're allowed out!"
"Good idea! I love Butterbeer," Tan closed her eyes contentedly.
"You gonna fall asleep on us again, Sharpspear?" Meg nudged her.
"No," Tan smiled, but her eyes were still closed. "I'm just thinking about how fun-filled this year's going to be with you guys."
"I'm a bit sad that we're going to be split up in a bit though," Jem said. Meg looked at her questioningly. "The House tables," Jem elaborated. "You'll be off at the Gryffindor table, won't you?"
"Oh yeah," Meg's face fell. "That's okay. I'm sure we'll see each other around the castle, and don't forget that Butterbeer…"
"You guys getting sappy on me?" Tan opened her eyes.
"You were the one getting sappy first!" Meg said mock-defensively. "Thought Slytherins were all hardcore and didn't show emotion."
"Well, these ones do," Tan shrugged. She glanced at Jem, who also shrugged.
"I was kidding," Meg smiled. "I know Slytherins aren't robots."
"Good," Jem said. "Cos that's a misrepresentation, right there."
Their carriage came to a stop outside the front steps.
"Well, here goes," Tan said. She hopped out first, holding the door open for the other two.
They made their way up the steps together, and across the Entrance Hall. They came to a stop at the Great Hall doors.
The four House tables were not there. Instead, there were many smaller circular tables scattered throughout the Hall.
"What the -?" Meg commented.
"Good evening," Professor McGonagall appeared before them. "You will notice that the House tables are no longer there. That is because we are trying to incorporate inter-house unity. For this reason, you can sit with anyone you like at any table you like. Please walk in the Great Hall in an orderly manner, thank you."
Jem, Meg and Tan looked at each other. Tan's mouth was open slightly. Meg's eyes were sparkling. Jem looked excited. She grabbed the other two's hands and pulled them towards a table towards the left side of the Hall.
"This is the most exciting thing that's ever happened this year. We don't have to split up after all!" she said.
"It's a sign," Meg said. "It's a sure sign that this year's changed for the better. And I'm a firm believer that it's started because I sat in that compartment with you guys."
Tan held up an empty goblet and gestured for Jem and Meg to do the same. "Here's to finding each other, and to a good year!"
They all said "cheers" and clinked their empty goblets. From that moment on, Jem, Meg and Tan were inseparable. Though different in age, location and House, there are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and getting to know each other in a compartment of the Hogwarts Express is most definitely one of them.
This was written as a celebration of one year of friendship (and one year of the creation of a group chat!).
I will probably be updating it with details of Jem, Meg & Tan's adventures at Hogwarts. xxx