Xyrus shook his father’s hand, as they stood on platform Nine-and-three-quarters, alongside his best friend, Zane Windsor. Zane was in the process of saying a rather emotional goodbye to his family, awkwardly extricating himself from his younger sister’s hug. At this, Xyrus snorted; Even though Zane was eight years older than Willow, he still was somewhat pushed around by her.
Cyprus Quinn raised a single, perfectly arched eyebrow at his son, a small smirk playing on his lips, “Something you find amusing, Xyrus?” He asked.
Xyrus shrugged slightly, his father’s smirk perfectly mirrored by his own lips, “Not at all, father.” He replied, voice dripping with sarcasm. “Just… it would seem that our dear friend Zane has a hard time saying no to a child that barely reached his hip.”
“Indeed.” Was all Cyprus said, before pulling Xyrus into a brief hug and bidding him good luck and farewell. Xyrus watched at his father apparated away. With a sigh, he gave his trunk and owl, Lucifer, to the baggage handler for the Hogwarts Express. He then leaned up against a pillar and waited for the Windsor’s to finish their far too sappy farewells.
As he waited, both Xyrus’s thoughts, and eyes, drifted. As he idly scanned the crowd, he noticed the young Malfoy heir--whose name currently escaped Xyrus, the two had met once and Xyrus had labeled Malfoy an arrogant prick--standing next to a young, black haired girl. This lead to him wondering if Lucius had already arranged a marriage for his son. Xyrus shuddered at the thought.
Zane flicking Xyrus’s ear brought him back to reality, “Come on, Xy.” Zane whined, “fixing” his perpetually perfect hair. “Train leaves in like… now.”
Xyrus only rolled his eyes and followed his friend onto the train. Hoping that they could get an empty compartment, without having to threaten anyone. In his eyes, it was far too early to be threatening anyone. Despite it being two minutes to nine, Xyrus was bone tired, having not slept the night before due to excitement.
As luck would have it, the duo found an empty compartment, Xyrus almost cried out in joy, as he flung himself, long coat and all, onto the seat, wrapped his long coat around himself and tried to sleep. Only to be interrupted by yelling and the compartment door slamming open and closed. With a groan, Xyrus sat upright ready to give a thorough tongue-lashing to the person who dared to disturb his attempt at sleep.
He stopped as he saw the girl who’d been standing by Arrogant Prick at the station. She was clearly a pureblood, as signified by the ring on her middle finger, and etiquette demanded that he be polite and speak to her. Sometimes Xyrus really hated society.
“Good morning, Miss…” Xyrus said, plastering a pleasant expression on his face and lightly cocking one eyebrow.
“Evelyn Black.” The girl responded, with the same formality, though her expression was much less forced than Xyrus’s.
“Then I bid you a good morning, Miss Black.” Xyrus said, taking her hand and lightly brushing his lips over the back of it, just as he’d been taught to do. Letting her hand go and righting himself, he added, “My name is Xyrus Quinn, and that blond fellow over there is Zane Windsor.”
Zane stood and took her hand, repeating my earlier motions, “A pleasure, Miss Black.” He said with a smile.
The two began talking, still formally, but it was a conversation. Xyrus, of course, feigned interest. He nodded whenever he was cued to, he flashed a smirk here and there. He looked up when a small girl, with short curly hair, walked by their compartment. Their eyes met for a second before she turned and left. Xyrus simply raised an eyebrow at her.
* * * * *
Needless to say that Xyrus was impressed when they got into the Great Hall. Despite the fact that he came from a pureblood family, magic of the scale that was displayed by the ceiling was incredible. Though, he had to admit that he was a little underwhelmed by the Sorting Hat. It was just a dingy old hat sitting on a stool.
Evelyn nudged him in the side, drawing his attention, “What house do you think you’ll be in?” She whispered to him.
“Slytherin.” He muttered back, “And you?”
A grin split Evelyn’s face, “Oh definitely Slytherin.” Somehow, Xyrus had no doubt of that.
Professor McGonagall, stood at the front of the room, next to the Hat, and gave us instructions about how when she called their names, they needed to come sit on the stool and get sorted. Yadda yadda yadda. Xyrus basically tuned out everything past that, only listening for his, Zane’s, and Evelyn’s names.
The first girl called up was Evelyn. Despite her outward appearance of calm, she nervously wiped her palms on her robes, before she gingerly sat on the stool. Once on her head, the hat snorted and Xyrus nearly laughed. “SLYTHERIN!” The Hat called.
As Evelyn passed Xyrus muttered, “Now there’s a shocker. Miss Black is in Slytherin.” That earned him a playful smack on the arm, as she went to go sit at her table. The Slytherins were all smirking, as they should be, they got the first new student.
After that, Xyrus tuned out, until McGonagall called a name twice, “Rose Carlisle!” There was a pause, before McGonagall tried again, “Rose Carlisle!”
There was a hushed whisper off to his right and the girl that Xyrus had seen on the train was walking towards the stool, cheeks flushed with what he assumed to be embarrassment. She sat and as soon as the Hat touched a curl of her hair that refused to lie down, it screamed, “HUFFLEPUFF!” McGonagall was looking at the Hat as though she thought it defective.
The girl, Rose, rushed down the stairs, towards the other Hufflepuffs. She caught Xyrus’s shoulder as she passed, but he paid her no mind. He would let it slide, and she didn’t seem to notice.
Once again tuning out Xyrus waited for his name to be called. It seemed but a moment before he heard, “Xyrus Quinn!” With a grace born of training and practice, he strode up the stairs and sat on the stool.
Hmm, the hat said in his mind, You’re quite clever, could be Ravenclaw. Yes. Creativity, a thirst for knowledge, and- Xyrus mentally cut off the damned article of clothing. Oh yes, he thought, I’d just love to spend hours of my life needlessly traversing stairs just to sleep. No thanks, Hat, but I’d like to go places. My dreams are bigger than school. I have designs on so much of the world-
“SLYTHERIN!” The Hat bellowed. Xyrus smirked and calmly sauntered off towards the Slytherin table, sliding onto the bench next to Evelyn. He looked up and made sure to catch Zane’s eye, his look said ‘You’d better get your ass over here.’ Zane’s look said, ‘I’m tired of standing.’
Rose gazed around the bustling platform in front of her. Being told to run straight towards a wall was one shock, but in no way had it prepared her for the sight in front of her.
Parents in long flowing robes talked to their children who had trolleys carrying large trunks in front of them. The screeching owls and clearly upset cats being drowned out by the sheer amount of noise coming from the people all around her.
“Holy shit,” came a voice from behind her. Rose turned around to see her mother looking apologetically at her father before looking back around them. Rose felt the same, though she didn’t dare voice it. There was just so much.
She jumped as a body collided with hers. Looking down, she saw a small blonde girl smiling back at her. “Sorry, Sorry!” the girl said, “Just you're kinda blocking the entrance.”
Rose and her parents quickly jumped to the side, apologizing profusely. A short, slender woman stood beside the girl now, also smiling. “You are perfectly fine. I would suggest getting her things on the train, however; it is leaving in five minutes,” the woman said, proceeding to steer her daughter towards one of the handlers.
Rose glanced back at her parents, who gestured for her to follow. She did, knowing they were behind her. Approaching the man, she removed the carrier with her cat and her robes before turning back to her parents.
They smiled at her, but Rose could see her mother tearing up. She knew that face too well. She stepped forward into the waiting hug, careful not to squish her poor cat. When she pulled away after a minute, her mother had tears on her face.“Stop crying mum, or I’ll start,” they all chuckled at that, knowing it was 100% true.
“Stay out of trouble, Rose,” her dad said, pulling her into another hug, “study, make friends, write to us. Okay?” Rose nodded, releasing herself and stepping towards the train.
She wiped her eyes quickly and said her final goodbye before hopping on the train quickly. She tried not to feel guilty about rushing away, but couldn't risk more tears.
As Rose started down the hallway, she saw the short blonde girl she had run into earlier talking to another blonde-ish girl in an otherwise empty compartment. Debating with herself for a moment, she walked up to the doorway and knocked quietly on the frame, seeing as it was open.
They turned towards her, the smaller one smiling. “Hello again,” she said, “We haven't properly met yet. I’m Riley.” She nudged the other girl, who responded with equal, if not more enthusiasm.
“And I’m Angel,” she grinned, approaching Rose. That grin faltered a bit, however, when she saw the girl’s red eyes. “Sweetheart, have you been crying?’ She asked, taking another step closer.
Rose just smiled back at her and placed her hand near the mesh part of her cat’s bag, because she was starting to get restless. “Not anymore. And I’m Rose. Lovely to meet you both.” The girls looked at her skeptically for a moment, but then invited her into their conversation about the sorting. Apparently, they both had older siblings who had told them different awful stories about what sorting was. Rose honestly didn't think either was true.
Drawn to the scenery outside, Rose sat beside the window, letting her thoughts drift to the sound of the two girls laughing about their siblings.
Before she knew it, Angel was tapping her on the shoulder with a smile. “We’re gonna go get changed into our robes. You coming?” Rose voiced an affirmative and grabbed her bundle of robes, setting her cat back in its bag and zipping it up. She followed to other two down the train to the changing compartments.
As they walked through a particularly quiet car, she saw a small girl talking stiffly with two boys. She glanced away quickly as one of them looked up, getting nearer to the girls in front of her and joining into their loud laughter as Riley finished a particularly funny story about her brother blowing something up in Potions and the howler (whatever that was) their mother sent him because of it.
* * * * *
Rose had to actively remember to keep her mouth shut as she gazed around the Great Hall; otherwise, she’d be gaping like a fish. The word ‘Great’ did not even begin to describe this room. It’s size alone was spellbinding (Hah. Hah.), but combined with the ornate carvings, floating candles, and large, brilliant banners? It was fantastic.
The woman who had introduced herself as Professor McGonagall cleared her throat from her spot in front of them. “As I call your name, you will come up here and place this hat upon your head. It will determine which house you will be sorted into. You will then take a seat at your respective table.” Her voice sounded loudly across the near silent Hall.
Riley, who had sidled up beside Rose without her noticing, leaned in to whisper, “I knew he was lying about having to do a dance,” and after a moment, “what house do you think you’ll be in?”
Rose turned to her, shrugging. “No idea,” she whispered back, “I barely skimmed through Hogwarts: A History, so I know next to nothing about, well, anything.” Riley’s eyes widened in understanding.
“Muggle-born?” she asked, completely innocently. Rose nodded and looked back to Professor McGonagall, who was reading the first name on the list.
“Evelyn Black,” she called. The small girl Rose had passed in the compartment earlier was making her way up the stairs immediately. She sat on the stool slowly, allowing the hat to be set upon her head.
The old thing had barely settled onto her dark hair for a second before, “SLYTHERIN!”. There was an uproar from the table draped in green, and Evelyn made her way down the stairs again with a smirk on her face.
As Rose watched her sit, she got caught up in admiration of the brilliant decor that lined the walls. Anyone near a table had large banner portraying the house’s mascot. As she was in the midst of wonder why Ravenclaw’s mascot wasn’t a raven, she felt an elbow jab into her side and a whisper right beside her.
“You’ve been called Rose,” it said. Rose whipped around to see Riley smiling at her. She smiled back quickly and rushed up to the front, feeling her face heat up as the realization that everyone was watching her. She sat on the stool nervously, hoping beyond hope it wouldn’t take too long. Thankfully, her wish was granted. In fact, the hat hadn’t even gotten completely on her head before, “HUFFLEPUFF,” was yelled loudly.
She hopped off quickly and rushed down the stairs. As she near the table full of grinning people, she felt the nerves begin to fade away. A few older students welcomed her warmly before turning back to the front.
Rose made an attempt to tune things out for a while, looking around some more. Everyone at her table automatically seemed extremely kind to her, which was strange. Not that she minded, of course not. It was just strange.
Her thoughts were cut-off by another name being called. “Xyrus Quinn,” McGonagall said loudly. Rose glanced up to see who could have such a strange name and saw the dark-haired boy she had seen with Evelyn on the train earlier.
He sauntered up to the hat, keeping his face expressionless. The hat was placed on his head, and though it took a moment, the result seemed inevitable. “SLYTHERIN,” it bellowed after a moment, which caused a smirk to slide onto Xyrus’ face. He hopped off the stool gracefully and headed over to the cheering table to join Evelyn.
Rose looked to her other side, to see the Gryffindor table. She could just make out Riley and Angel, who were sitting side-by-side and giggling. She grinned at Angel when she looked up. The blonde grinned back widely and gestured up to the front of the room where a bearded man dressed in flowing silver robes was approaching the intricately carved podium.
Maybe this wouldn’t be too horrible.