Chapter 1: The Train

An 11 year old boy with blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing a white t-shirt, a tan jacket, blue jeans, and running shoes pushed his cart full of random stuff he recently bought. As he did so, he looked around him. There were people milling about. Adults and kids alike. However, the kids seemed to be the only ones getting on the big red-ish train sitting on the solo tracks. This train was no ordinary train. It was magical, and it was currently at platform 9 ¾ quarters. Most people would be confused at the platform number, but those with magic know how to find it. All you have to do is run straight at a particular pillar that sat in between platforms 9 and 10. If you choose the right pillar, you'll go through the pillar instead of it going through you. Speaking of which, a boy with black hair and circular glasses came running out of a wall after some ginger twins. The boy was wearing a red long sleeved cotton shirt, tan pants, and black shoes of some sort. He looked around in awe, and that made the blonde snort in amusement. However, he didn't have time think on the topic as he arrived at the train.

"Do you need some help?" asked a bushy brown haired girl already wearing her school robes.

"Aye," the blonde replied, "I could use a bit of help with all this. Not exactly full of muscles after all."

"A simple 'yes' would have sufficed," the girl said with a raised eyebrow as she began helping the blonde move his stuff into the train, "What is your name anyway?"

"The name's John Constantine," the blonde replied, "and you?"

"Hermione Granger," the girl returned as she held out a hand which John shook. As soon as they had loaded all of John's stuff he lead them to an empty compartment where he began storing his stuff. When he was done he sat down and pulled out a lighter.

"You do know smoking is bad for your health right?" Hermione asked in a worried tone.

"Aye luv," John replied, "This is just my lucky charm. Helped me out of a fair amount of scrapes the past few years. You gonna sit down or do you intend to stand there like a statue?"

"I already have a compartment," the girl smiled, "Thanks for the offer though. Nice to meet you John. See you later."

"Imagine I will," John said before he looked a window as he flicked the lighter open and closed.

Meanwhile, with the boy in the glasses…

The boy pressed on through the crowd until he found an compartment near the end of the train. The compartment already had a boy in it. Said boy was flicking a lighter open and closed absentmindedly. He put Hedwig inside first and then started to shove and heave his trunk toward the train door. He tried to lift it up the steps but could hardly raise one end and twice he dropped it painfully on his foot.

"Want a hand?" It was one of the red-haired twins he'd followed through the barrier.

"Yes," Harry panted, "Please."

"Oy, Fred!" the ginger yelled, "C'mere and help!"

With the twin's help, the boy's trunk was at last tucked away in a corner of the compartment.

"Thanks," said the boy, pushing his sweaty hair out of his eyes.

"What's that?" asked one of the twins suddenly, pointing at the boy's
lightning scar.

"Blimey," began the other twin, "Are you-"

"He is," said the first twin. "Aren't you?" he added to the boy.

"What?" asked the boy in confusion.

"Harry Potter," chorused the twins.

"Oh, him," said the boy, "I mean, yes, I am."

The two boys gawked at him, and Harry felt himself turning red. Then, to his relief, a voice came floating in through the train's open door.

"Fred? George?" a woman called, "Are you there?"

"Coming," they called back, "Mom."

With a last look at Harry, the twins hopped off the train. Harry sat down next to the window where, half hidden, he could watch the red-haired family on the platform and hear what they were saying. Their mother had just taken out her handkerchief.

"Ron," the mother said, "you've got something on your nose."

The youngest boy tried to jerk out of the way, but she grabbed him and began rubbing the end of his nose.

"Mom," Rob said as he wriggled free, "geroff."

"So," said a voice near to Harry, "You're Harry bleedin' Potter."

Harry turned to look at the blonde kid and saw that the kid had stopping flicking his lighter open and closed.

"Yes," Harry said slowly, "Who are you?"

"Name's John Constantine," John said as he leaned back in his seat, "Demonologist, exorcist in training, and soon to be wizard."

"Demonologist?" Harry almost laughed, "Oh come on. Those are just things told to us to keep us in our place. Even if they're not, there has never been any actual existence of such things."

"I used to believe the same as you Harry," John said grimly, "But then one possessed my sister. Once something like that happens, you become a believer."

"Where's Percy? asked the ginger woman from outside the train mother acquiring Harry's attention again.

"He's coming now," said one of the twins when he saw his older brother heading their way.

The oldest boy came striding into sight. He had already changed into his billowing black Hogwarts robes, and Harry noticed a shiny silver badge on his chest with the letter P on it.

"The P means he's a prefect," John said as he too looked out the window, "Really just a posh name for pricks."

"Can't stay long, Mother," Percy said. "I'm up front, the prefects have got two compartments to themselves-"

"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of
great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."

"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the other twin. "Once-"

"Or twice-"

"A minute-"

"All summer-"

"Oh, shut up," said Percy the Prefect.

"How come Percy gets new robes, anyway?" asked one of the twins.

"Because he's a prefect," said their mother fondly. "All right, dear, well, have a good term. Send me an owl when you get there."

She kissed Percy on the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins.

"Now, you two," the mother said sternly, "this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you've… you've blown up a toilet or-"

"Blown up a toilet?" one twin said defensively, "We've never blown up a toilet."

"Great idea though, thanks, Mom," the other twin grinned.

"It's not funny," the mother said sternly, "and look after Ron."

"Don't worry," one of the twins teased, "ickle Ronniekins is safe with us."

"Shut up," said Ron again. He was almost as tall as the twins already and his nose was still pink where his mother had rubbed it.

"Hey, Mom, guess what?" one of the twins said suddenly, "Guess who we just met on the train?"

Harry leaned back quickly so they couldn't see him looking. John snickered at that as he continued watching.

"You know that black-haired boy who was near us in the station?" the other twin asked, "Know who he is?"

"Who?" the mother asked confused.

"Harry Potter!" the twins said in unison.

That's when the little girl spoke up.

"Oh, Mom," the girl begged, "can I go on the train and see him, Mom, oh please…"

"Sounds like you've got a girlfriend," John snorted to Harry's annoyance.

"You've already seen him, Ginny," the mother said kindly, "and the poor boy isn't something you goggle at in a zoo."

"Is he really, Fred?" the mother asked as she turned back to the twins, "How do you know?"

"Asked him," one of the twins said proudly, "Saw his scar. It's really there… like lightning."

"Poor dear," the mother said sympathetically, "No wonder he was alone, I wondered. He was ever so polite when he asked how to get onto the platform."

"Never mind that," one of the twins said, "Do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?"

Their mother suddenly became very stern.

"I forbid you to ask him, Fred," the mother said sternly, "No, don't you dare. As though he needs reminding of that on his first day at school."

"Do you though?" John asked Harry to which Harry shook his head.

"You're lucky mate," John said honestly before he returned his attention to the conversation outside. However, the conversation had ended already and not a moment too soon either. Reason is, the train began whistling indicating it was time to get on board if your going to Hogwarts.

"Hurry up!" their mother said, and the three boys clambered onto the train. They leaned out of the window for her to kiss them good-bye, and their younger sister began to cry.

"Don't, Ginny," one of the boys said, "we'll send you loads of owls."

"We'll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat," said one of the twins.

"George!" the mother chided.

"Only joking, Mom," George assured her.

The train began to move. Harry saw the boys' mother waving and their sister, half laughing, half crying, running to keep up with the train until it gathered too much speed, then she fell back and waved. Harry watched the girl and her mother disappear as the train rounded the corner. Houses flashed past the window. Harry felt a great leap of excitement. He didn't know what he was going to but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind.

The door of the compartment slid open and the youngest redheaded boy came in.

"Anyone sitting there?" he asked, pointing at the seat opposite Harry, "Everywhere else is full."

Harry and John shook his head and the boy sat down. He glanced at Harry and then looked quickly out of the window, pretending he hadn't looked. Harry saw he still had a black mark on his nose.

"Hey, Ron," said a familiar voice from the doorway.

"Listen," said one of the twins "we're going down the middle of the train. Lee Jordan's got a giant tarantula down there."

"Right," mumbled Ron. John could see the twitch that Ron did involuntarily when Fred or George said the word spider, and that caused him to frown a bit.

"Harry," said the other twin, "did we introduce ourselves? Fred and George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother. See you later, then."

"Bye," said Harry and Ron. The twins slid the compartment door shut behind them.

"Are you really Harry Potter?" Ron blurted out.

Harry nodded.

""Oh… well, I thought it might be one of Fred and George's jokes," said Ron, "And have you really got… you know…"

He pointed at Harry's forehead.

Harry pulled back his bangs to show the lightning scar. Ron stared.

"So that's where You-Know-Who-" Ron began.

"Yes," said Harry, "but I can't remember it."

"Nothing?""said Ron eagerly.

"Shut it ginger," John warned, "The topic your on is not one that anyone should have to recount."

"It's alright John," Harry assured John Constantine.

"I remember a lot of green light, but nothing else," Harry admitted to Ron.

"Wow," said Ron. He sat and stared at Harry for a few moments, then, as though he had suddenly realized what he was doing, he looked quickly out of the window again.

"Are all your family wizards?" asked Harry, who found Ron just as interesting as Ron found him.

"Er… Yes, I think so," said Ron slowly, "I think Mom's got a second cousin who's an accountant, but we never talk about him."

"I can imagine," John snorted, "Being an accountant has got to be dreadfully boring."

"So you must know loads of magic already," Harry reasoned.

The Weasleys were clearly one of those old wizarding families the pale boy in Diagon Alley had talked about.

"I heard you went to live with Muggles," said Ron. "What are they like?"

"Horrible," Harry said automatically before he revised his response, "Well, not all of them. My aunt and uncle and cousin are, though. Wish I'd had three wizard brothers."

"Five," said Ron. For some reason, he was looking gloomy. "I'm the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I've got a lot to live up to. Bill and Charlie have already left… Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy's a prefect. Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they're really funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others, but if I do, it's no big deal, because they did it first. You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I've got Bill's old robes, Charlie's old wand, and Percy's old rat."

Ron reached inside his jacket and pulled out a fat gray rat, which was asleep.

"His name's Scabbers and he's useless," Ron said, "he hardly ever wakes up. Percy got an owl from my dad for being made a prefect, but they couldn't aff… I mean, I got Scabbers instead."

Ron's ears went pink. He seemed to think he'd said too much, because he went back to staring out of the window.

"What about you?" Ron asked John in order to change the subject.

"I'm a half-blood," John replied, "My dad's a preacher, and my mum's a witch. You can imagine his reaction when he found out."

"What was his reaction?" Ron asked confused.

"You ever hear of the Salem witch trials?" John asked grimly.

Harry and Ron both shook their heads.

"Here's the short version," John explained, "The people of Salem were god-fearin' folk. They believed that magic was the tool of the devil and that witches consorted with the devil. My dad was just as devout as them, and so he was torn. Torn by his duty as a preacher and his duty as a husband. On one hand, he's supposed to burn her alive and on the other hand he's supposed to protect her. However, when my sister was possessed by a demon the preacher did all he could to exorcise to monster, and so did my mum. In the end they had do combine their unique skills in order to draw it out. To my dad's shock that worked. From then on he's been a bit more accepting, but he doesn't like it when my mum uses magic for everyday chores. He requested that she reserves it for dealing with demons and the like."

"That's… dark," Harry gulped.

"What happened to your sister?" Ron asked.

"Last I heard she joined You-know-who in the war," John replied.

"I thought she was not that much older than you or at least in her twenties," Ron said.

"She's about two decades older than me," Constantine said as he pulled out his lucky lighter again, "Never met her, but my mum told the story… in the form of a journal. She died when she gave birth to me. My dad always blamed me for it, and still does."

"Why didn't you say his name?" Harry asked curiously.

"Whose name?" Constantine asked.

"Voldemort's," Harry replied.

That caused Ron to gasp.

"What?" Harry asked.

"You said You-Know-Who's name!" said Ron, sounding both shocked and impressed, "I'd have thought you, of all people-"

"I'm not trying to be brave or anything, saying the name," said Harry, "I just never knew you shouldn't. See what I mean? I've got loads to learn... I bet," he added, voicing for the first time something that had been worrying him a lot lately, "I bet I'm the worst in the class."

"You won't be," Ron assured him, "There's loads of people who come from Muggle families and they learn quick enough."

While they had been talking, the train had carried them out of London. Now they were speeding past fields full of cows and sheep. They were quiet for a time, watching the fields and lanes flick past.

Around half past twelve there was a great clattering outside in the corridor and a smiling, dimpled woman slid back their door and said, "Anything off the cart, dears?"

Harry, who hadn't had any breakfast, leapt to his feet, but Ron's ears went pink again and he muttered that he'd brought sandwiches. Harry went out into the corridor.

He had never had any money for candy with the Dursleys, and now that he had pockets rattling with gold and silver he was ready to buy as many Mars Bars as he could carry - but the woman didn't have Mars Bars. What she did have were Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs. Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life. Not wanting to miss anything, he got some of everything and paid the woman eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts.

Ron stared as Harry brought it all back into the compartment and tipped it onto an empty seat.

"Hungry," Ron remarked, "are you?"

"Starving," said Harry, taking a large bite out of a pumpkin pasty.

Ron had taken out a lumpy package and unwrapped it. There were four sandwiches inside. He pulled one of them apart and said, "She always forgets I don't like corned beef."

"Allow me," Constantine said as he grabbed the sandwiches.

"What are-" began Ron as Constantine pulled out a roll of paper which had some sort of symbol scribed on it.

"This is a little trick I learned after I ran away from home," Constantine said as he clasped his hands and closed his eyes while his eyes rolled back.

"Ne hunc cibum in quisquiliarum transform deorum," Constantine said right before a flash of light erupted. When the light had ebbed away, in the place of the sandwiches were four boxes of Pizza from Papa Johns.

"It always changes to American pizza?" Ron said amazed.

"Nah," John said as he opened a box, "It's random. Pizza just arrives before something good happens. Usually it's just actual good sandwiches like hamburgers or PB&Js."

He the pulled out a slice and bit into it. As he did so his eyes rolled up into his head, but this time in satisfaction.

"Tastes like the real deal too," John said after he swallowed a piece, "Good thing is, it doesn't make you fat. It keeps the same amount of nutrition that the food it used to be had. All that changes is the taste, look, and smell. Bloody useful when living on the streets. Prison too."

"You were in prison?" Harry asked shocked as he bit into one of his candies.

"No," John said shaking his head, "I learned this trick from another practitioner of magic. Magic isn't only for those born with magic in their blood. Its for muggles too. I know a muggle girl that uses magic by speaking sentences backwards. However, our magics are entirely different. While ours is fairly straightforward, theirs requires random stuff like symbols circles like the one i just used and chants."

"What are these?" Harry asked Ron, holding up a pack of Chocolate Frogs. "They're not really frogs, are they?"

He was starting to feel that nothing would surprise him.

"No," said Ron. "But see what the card is. I'm missing Agrippa."

"What?" Harry said in confusion.

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't know," Ron said in realization, "Chocolate Frogs have cards, inside them, you know, to collect… famous witches and wizards. I've got about five hundred, but I haven't got Agrippa or Ptolemy."

Harry unwrapped his Chocolate Frog and picked up the card. It showed a man's face. He wore half- moon glasses, had a long, crooked nose, and flowing silver hair, beard, and mustache. Underneath the picture was the name Albus Dumbledore.

"So this is Dumbledore!" said Harry.

"Don't tell me you'd never heard of Dumbledore!" said Ron. "Can I have a frog? I might get Agrippa. Thanks."

Harry turned over his card and read:

ALBUS DUMBLEDORE

CURRENTLY HEADMASTER OF HOGWARTS

Considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon's blood, and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Professor Dumbledore enjoys chamber music and tenpin bowling.

Harry turned the card back over and saw, to his astonishment, that Dumbledore's face had disappeared.

"He's gone!" Harry said shocked.

"Well, you can't expect him to hang around all day," said Ron. "He'll be back. No, I've got Morgana again and I've got about six of her... do you want it? You can start collecting."

Ron's eyes strayed to the pile of Chocolate Frogs waiting to be unwrapped.

"Help yourself," said Harry. "But in, you know, the Muggle world, people just stay put in photos."

"Do they? What, they don't move at all?" Ron sounded amazed, "weird!"

"People would say the same about brick pillars which are actually portals to another location," Constantine said as he picked up a chocolate frog.

Harry stared as Dumbledore sidled back into the picture on his card and gave him a small smile. Ron was more interested in eating the frogs than looking at the Famous Witches and Wizards cards, but Harry couldn't keep his eyes off them. Soon he had not only Dumbledore and Morgana, but Hengist of Woodcroft, Alberic Grunnion, Circe, Paracelsus, and Merlin. He finally tore his eyes away from the druidess Cliodna, who was scratching her nose, to open a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.

"You want to be careful with those," Ron warned Harry. "When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor… you know, you get all the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a booger flavored one once."

Ron picked up a green bean, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner.

"Bleaaargh…" Ron said with a disgusted expression, "see? Sprouts."

They had a good time eating the Every Flavor Beans. Harry got toast, coconut, baked bean, strawberry, curry, grass, coffee, sardine, and was even brave enough to nibble the end off a funny gray one Ron wouldn't touch, which turned out to be pepper.

The countryside now flying past the window was becoming wilder. The neat fields had gone. Now there were woods, twisting rivers, and dark green hills.

There was a knock on the door of their compartment and the round-faced boy Harry had passed on platform nine and three quarters came in. He looked tearful.

"Sorry," he said, "but have you seen a toad at all?"

When they shook their heads, he wailed, "I've lost him! He keeps getting 83 away from me!"

"Piece of advice mate," Constantine rolled his eyes, "Put a bloody GPS tracker in the nasty thing. That way you can find it easily instead of wailing when you don't."

"He'll turn up," said Harry kindly as he gave a glare to John who was busy eating a piece of pizza.

"Yes," said the boy miserably. "Well, if you see him…"

At that, the boy left.

"Don't know why he's so bothered," said Ron, "If I'd brought a toad I'd lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can't talk."

"I have a feeling that the rodent brought you," Constantine said with a frown as he looked at the rat.

"What do you mean?" Ron asked.

"It's probably thing," John said dismissively as he chomped down on some more pizza. As he did that, Ron looked down at his lap.

The rat was still snoozing on Ron's lap.

"He might have died and you wouldn't know the difference," said Ron in disgust. "I tried to turn him yellow yesterday to make him more interesting, but the spell didn't work. I'll show you, look…"

He rummaged around in his trunk and pulled out a very battered-looking wand. It was chipped in places and something white was glinting at the end.

"Unicorn hair's nearly poking out," Ron said nas he prepared to do his spell, "Anyway-"

He had just raised his 'wand when the compartment door slid open again. The toadless boy was back, but this time he had a girl with him. She was already wearing her new Hogwarts robes. It was Hermione Granger. The first girl Constantine had met when he arrived at the train

"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one," she said. She had a bossy sort of voice, lots of bushy brown hair, and rather large front teeth.

"We've already told him we haven't seen it," said Ron, but the girl wasn't listening, she was looking at the wand in his hand.

"Oh, are you doing magic?" Hermione said interested, "Let's see it, then."

She sat down. Ron looked taken aback.

"Er," Ron said nervously, "all right."

He cleared his throat.

"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow," Ron began slowly then finished quickly, "Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."

He waved his wand, but nothing happened. Scabbers stayed gray and fast asleep.

"Are you sure that's a real spell?" said the girl unimpressed, "Well, it's not very good, is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard - I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough - I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you."

She said all this very fast.

Harry looked at Ron, and was relieved to see by his stunned face that he hadn't learned all the course books by heart either.

"I'm Ron Weasley," Ron muttered.

"Harry Potter, said Harry.

"Are you really?" said Hermione, "I know all about you, of course - I got a few extra books. for background reading, and you're in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."

"Am I?" said Harry, feeling dazed.

"Goodness, didn't you know, I'd have found out everything I could if it was me," said Hermione, "Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around, and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad..."

Hermione then got up to leave, "Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad."

She then stopped before she left the compartment and looked at the boys, "Hello John. Nice to see you again. In any case, you three had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."

And she left, taking the toadless boy with her.

"Whatever house I'm in, I hope she's not in it," said Ron. He threw his wand back into his trunk, "Stupid spell. George gave it to me, bet he knew it was a dud."

"Judging by the way he messed with you earlier," John said grimly, "I'm not surprised."

"What house are your brothers in?" asked Harry.

"Gryffindor," said Ron. Gloom seemed to be settling on him again as he continued, "Mom and Dad were in it, too. I don't know what they'll say if I'm not. I don't suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me in Slytherin."

"That's the house Vol-, I mean, You-Know-Who was in?" Harry asked.

"Yeah," said Ron. He flopped back into his seat, looking depressed.

"You know, I think the ends of Scabbers' whiskers are a bit lighter," said Harry, trying to take Ron's mind off houses. "So what do your oldest brothers do now that they've left, anyway?"

Harry was wondering what a wizard did once he'd finished school.

"Charlie's in Romania studying dragons, and Bill's in Africa doing something for Gringotts," said Ron. "Did you hear about Gringotts? It's been all over the Daily Prophet, but I don't suppose you get that with the Muggles. Someone tried to rob a high security vault."

Harry stared.

"Really?" Harry asked intrigued, "What happened to them?"

"Nothing, that's why it's such big news," Ron said, "They haven't been caught. My dad says it must've been a powerful Dark wizard to get round Gringotts, but they don't think they took anything, that's what's odd. 'Course, everyone gets scared when something like this happens in case You-Know-Who's behind it."

Harry turned this news over in his mind. He was starting to get a prickle of fear every time You- Know-Who was mentioned. He supposed this was all part of entering the magical world, but it had been a lot more comfortable saying "Voldemort" without worrying.

"What's your Quidditch team?" Ron asked.

"Er… I don't know any," Harry confessed.

"What!" Ron looked dumbfounded, "Oh, you wait, it's the best game in the 86 world…"

And he was off, explaining all about the four balls and the positions of the seven players, describing famous games he'd been to with his brothers and the broomstick he'd like to get if he had the money. He was just taking Harry through the finer points of the game when the compartment door slid open yet again, but it wasn't Neville the toadless boy, or Hermione Granger this time.

Three boys entered, and Harry recognized the middle one at once: it was the pale boy from Madam Malkin's robe shop. He was looking at Harry with a lot more interest than he'd shown back in Diagon Alley.

"Is it true?" he said coldly, "They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?"

"Yes," said Harry. He was looking at the other boys. Both of them were thickset and looked extremely mean. Standing on either side of the pale boy, they looked like bodyguards.

"Oh, this is Crabbe and this is Goyle," said the pale boy carelessly, noticing where Harry was looking. "And my name's-"

"Malfoy," John practically snarled, "Draco Malfoy."

Ron gave a slight cough, which might have been hiding a snigger. Draco Malfoy looked at him.

"Think my name's funny, do you?" Draco sneered, "No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasleys have red hair, freckles, and more children than they can afford."

He turned back to Harry.

"You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter," Draco said as he held out his hand, "You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."

"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks," he said coolly.

Draco Malfoy didn't go red, but a pink tinge appeared in his pale cheeks.

"I'd be careful if I were you, Potter," he said slowly, "Unless you're a bit politer you'll go the same way as your parents. They didn't know what was good for them, either. You hang around with riffraff like the 87 Weasleys and that Hagrid, and it'll rub off on you. Same goes for traitors like John Constantine and his hag of a mother."

That is when John constantine charged at Malfoy, but both Ron and Harry held him back.

"Don't you ever speak about my mother like that again you prick!" John snarled, "You do, and you'll regret it. Mark my words Malfoy, mark my words."

"You're mother is as much of a blood traitor as the Weaslies," Draco sneered.

That is when Ron lost his cool, but when Harry looked at him he just stood back.

"Say that again," Ron said, his face as red as his hair.

"Oh, you're going to fight us, are you?" Malfoy sneered.

"Unless you get out now," said Harry, more bravely than he felt, because Crabbe and Goyle were a lot bigger than him or Ron.

"But we don't feel like leaving, do we, boys?" Draco sneered, "We've eaten all our food and you still seem to have some."

Goyle reached toward the Chocolate Frogs next to Ron - Ron leapt forward, but before he'd so much as touched Goyle, Goyle let out a horrible yell.

Scabbers the rat was hanging off his finger, sharp little teeth sunk deep into Goyle's knuckle - Crabbe and Malfoy backed away as Goyle swung Scabbers round and round, howling, and when Scabbets finally flew off and hit the window, all three of them disappeared at once. Perhaps they thought there were more rats lurking among the sweets, or perhaps they'd heard footsteps, because a second later, Hermione Granger had come in.

"What has been going on?" she said, looking at the sweets all over the floor and Ron picking up Scabbers by his tail.

"I think he's been knocked out," Ron said to Harry. He looked closer at Scabbers and added in disbelief, "No… I don't believe it… he's gone back to sleep-"

And so he had.

"Malfoy happened," John said as he pulled out another piece of paper and spread it on the floor where he gathered all the trash.

"What are you doing?" Hermione asked confused.

"Stick around and you'll see," John grinned.

He then got into the pose he did before as he prepared to say his new spell.

"Ne hoc purgamentum facti sunt pulvis, pulvis et auferet, et succendam," John chanted and that's when all of the wrappers and crumbs he could find turned into the dust. The next second later, the window opened and all of the dust blew out the window.

"What kind of magic is that?" Hermione asked in surprise.

"It's basically muggle magic," John explained as he picked up the piece of paper, "I don't know many of the spells, but I know a fair amount."

"You've met Malfoy before?" Ron asked Harry once they explained everything that happened.

Harry explained about his first meeting with Draco in Diagon Alley. John on the other hand stayed silent.

"I've heard of his family," said Ron darkly. "They were some of the first to come back to our side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said they'd been bewitched. My dad doesn't believe it. He says Malfoy's father didn't need an excuse to go over to the Dark Side."

He turned to Hermione, "Can we help you with something?"

"You'd better hurry up and put your robes on," Hermione said sternly, "I've just been up to the front to ask the conductor, and he says we're nearly there. You haven't been fighting, have you? You'll be in trouble before we even get there!"

"Scabbers has been fighting, not us," said Ron defensively as he scowled at her, "Would you mind leaving while we change?"

"All right I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors," said Hermione in a sniffy voice obviously hurt, "And you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?"

Ron glared at her as she left. Harry peered out of the window. It was getting dark. He could see mountains and forests under a deep purple sky. The train did seem to be slowing down. He, Ron, and John took off their jackets and pulled on their long black robes. Ron's were a bit short for him, you could see his sneakers underneath them.

A voice echoed through the train, "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."

Harry's stomach lurched with nerves and Ron, he saw, looked pale under his freckles. They crammed their pockets with the last of the sweets and joined the crowd thronging the corridor.


Latin to English:
hunc cibum in quisquiliarum transform deorum - Let this garbage transform into food of the gods.

2. Ne hoc purgamentum facti sunt pulvis, pulvis et auferet, et succendam - Let this trash become dust, and blow the dust away.