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The Rules of Hufflepuff

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Rule 1: Always be kind

 

Harry wasn't used to riding the train. Sure, there were times when he did, but they were rare and the last time he did so he could barely remember. Not that he minded of course. If it was important he would have surely remembered such a thing, but alas, the trip seemed like a fog had washed over a field and one could barely see their hand just inches in front of their face. He did remember his aunt and uncle being quite furious but that was everyday, so he wasn't sure if that part of the memory was particularly new. If anything, he was just rambling to himself and should focus, instead, on what was ahead.

The train was quite nice. A large, maroon train on an odd sounding platform in a busy station that was also in the middle of no where. Sure, you'd be Somewhere at the beginning, King's Cross Station, but after passing through the large barrier between Muggle and Magical, one could say that they were No Where. He was quite glad that the nice redheaded lady with her swarm of younglings were around when he was so kindly dropped off by Hagrid, or else he was sure he'd miss the train. 

Harry looked away from the window and the passing landscape when he heard the door to the compartment slide open and a familiar mop of red hair appear on the other side. He looked a bit sheepish and shy, so Harry tried to put on his friendliest smile to try and ease the other boy's worries.

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

"No, that's free. You're welcome to sit there, if you'd like," Harry said. He was glad he didn't put anything of his on there. He would have, though, if he had anything big enough that couldn't fit in the area above him.

"Thanks." The other redheaded boy gladly sat down, caving into the plush green seats of the train compartment. By that point a pair of twins popped up in the doorway, the same twins that helped Harry with his trunk. He wondered if they possibly forgot something.

"Hey Ron." They said. "Listen, we're going down the middle of the train -- Lee Jordan's got a giant tarantula down there."

Their brother mumbled something under his breath that Harry didn't catch, not that he was trying to. He tuned out as soon as he noticed that both of their attention was towards their youngest, so he politely turned away so that they'd have a private conversation. He only tuned back in when his name was called.

"Harry, did we introduce ourselves?" one of the twins asked. Harry shook his head. "Fred and George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother." They showed a hand towards the boy, Ron, sitting across from him. "See you later, then."

The two redheads were off, being waved off by the two first years sitting in a nearly empty compartment, an awkward air between them. It was Ron who broke the silence.

"Are you really Harry Potter?" Ron asked, more like blurted out, to the other red head.

"Yeah, are you really Ron Weasley?" Harry asked back, raising an eyebrow, though he hit himself internally for not holding his tongue. If Uncle Vernon were here, he was sure he'd get severely punished. Maybe an hour or two in the cramped closet he called a room.

"Er, yeah... Sorry... I thought it might be one of Fred and George's jokes... And have you really got -- you know..."  Ron pointed towards his own forehead, though he looked at Harry's instead.

Harry didn't really understand the big deal with a simple head wound. Yes, he did apparently gain it after battling a big baddie when he was just a child, but he was sure it wasn't just him who did it. How could a one year old child just simply look innocently (maybe even fearful???) up at a man who was so many years older than him, and manage to defeat someone much more powerful?

But Harry allowed himself to entertain Ron Weasley, just a little, and pushed back the thick red locks that covered the gnarly scar that covered nearly all of his forehead. He could memorize each line that crossed along his skin after so many years of staring at it as a child. The many zigzags that overlapped one another, making the entire thing look like a white storm had been frozen in place on half of his forehead. He remembered getting pitying looks from parents and curious stares from children his age or younger when the unruly mop didn't nearly graze his eyes; when the scar of his past that reminded so many in this world of his parent's sacrifice wasn't covered by hair.

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

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

Ronald looked extremely surprised, if the wide eyed look on his face didn't prove it. "Nothing?" He seemed almost eager to here that small tiny detail about him. Harry wondered if it was because he was famous...

"Well -- I remember a lot of green light, but nothing else," Harry admitted. Ron gave an exclamation of what seemed to be admiration and starred at him for a few moments, though he seemed to realize what he was doing was making Harry uncomfortable, so he looked away as soon as possible.

"You look a lot different than I thought you'd be..." Ron said. He tugged on his own red hair, which was only a few shade's lighter than Harry's own. "You could almost pass for a Weasley. You're eyes're just a bit different..."

Harry made no comment.

"Are all your family wizards?" he asked finally. He had noticed how large of a sibling pile Ronald Weasley seemed to have, so he wondered if there was an even larger extended family as well. He knew his family had no such thing, though that didn't mean anything to other families, of course. It was always polite to ask.

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

That started a conversation that was both extremely gloomy and interesting at the same time. Harry enjoyed talking to Ron, who he hoped felt the same talking to him even with the fame status that his name carried, and he hoped that the two of them would become great friends. They had talked a little about school, even after the trolley woman left with bits and pieces of her merchandise missing and the two redheads began swapping treats. 

They weren't interrupted for a while until there was another knock on their compartment door and they noticed the round-faced boy that Harry recognized when he entered the platform. He looked heartbroken, nearly in tears as he wrung his hands in front of him.

"Sorry, but have you seen a toad at all?" The boy was distraught once he saw their heads shake 'no'. "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"

"He'll turn up," said Harry, who felt bad for the boy in distress.

"Yes," said the boy miserably. "Well, if you see him..." He turned to leave, but as if a force that wasn't his own pushed Harry up, the redheaded Boy-Who-Lived quickly caught the blonde's attention.

"I'll help you look for him, if you'd like." He didn't know where any of that came from, but there was a small part of him that didn't really like the oh-so-familiar face of distress and fear on the pudgy boy's face, an expression that Harry had so often wore and was sure he'd feel better if he had someone out there who'd help him when he needed it. Probably one of the reasons why he had felt so happy being with Hagrid, who had done just that only weeks ago.

"You won't mind if I was gone for a few minutes, would you Ron? I'll come right back, I promise," Harry directed this towards his new friend, who seemed a bit annoyed but agreed and continued to nibble on some of the Bertie Bot's Beans that they had bought earlier. Harry grinned, apologizing quickly, before darting out and dragging the boy (who he quickly learned was called Neville Long-something later {his last name was a bit mumbled so he couldn't get much of it, not that it really mattered}) with him, looking for a toad along the train cars.