“Sam, can’t we just pick any empty compartment? My legs are starting to hurt.”
“No, Blaine. Remember that people sitting in the compartment on the first train to Hogwarts will be friends for life. Fact!”
Blaine and Sam had spent more than ten minutes to look for a decent, vacant compartment. There were several compartments with available seats for them, but so far they couldn’t find a decent one – at least not to Sam’s standard. Sam carefully selected it because he believed in the theory saying “people sitting in the compartment on the first train to Hogwarts would be friends for life. Fact!” But really, it wasn’t a fact. It was just a groundless claim. Although Blaine couldn’t help but suspect it might be true: Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, Cooper and his best friend Brody, his father and Sam’s father…
So he just agreed to let Sam take a peek into every compartment deciding who would be suitable to be their eternal friends. However, after leaving a compartment filled with shrieking laughter that scarred Blaine’s ears for a good couple of minutes, the pain searing in his shins tempted him to give up and let the destiny choose his everlasting companions.
But before Blaine spoke out his idea, his blonde friend had finally stopped in front of a compartment. He nodded at Blaine seriously as if saying, this is it.
Once Blaine entered the compartment, Blaine was surprised to see Sam’s chosen companions. He didn’t know what exactly to expect of Sam’s taste of friends; he just pictured them to be very friendly and enthusiastic, and maybe a bit dorky like Sam and himself.
Instead, he spotted two strikingly different boys sitting side by side.
The first boy sitting by the door fit Blaine’s image of Sam’s choice. He was tall and large in built, with a sunny smile radiating from his face. Blaine was particularly pleased when he noticed a worn-out pack of Exploding Snap cards peeking out of a backpack next to the boy, indicating that he liked the game as much as Blaine and Sam did. Blaine inwardly sighed in relief because wizards who enjoyed playing those cards that much were usually fun to be friends with. Blaine decided that he liked this boy already, seeing his brown eyes were bright and warm, exuding joy that gleefully welcomed Blaine and Sam.
The other boy, on the other hand, was the exact opposite of what Blaine had expected. He was lithe and rather tiny like himself, but his piercing, cold blue eyes, which silently judged the two new companions before returning to an old-looking book clutched in his long fingers, sent chills all over Blaine’s body. The air around him was frosty and rather standoffish, as if he didn’t like there were more people crowding him.
It was like seeing a fusion of summer and winter all at once.
As much as Blaine liked winter, he really had no intention to look into that chilly gaze again. So Blaine picked the spot in front of the smiley boy and found him grinning wider. Blaine replied his smile as Sam slid to the space next to the window.
“Thanks for letting us sit here. I’m Sam and this is my best friend, Blaine. Really nice to meet you,” Sam offered his hand to the boy sitting in front of him. The boy shook Sam’s hand and showed a small smile, but he didn’t say anything. He glanced at the boy next to him.
Noticing that, the tall boy hastily took Sam’s hand and shook it, “That’s cool, mate. We’re glad we can have company. I’m Finn and this is my step-brother, Kurt.” An uncomfortable pause ensued for a few seconds, before Finn started talking, “We had this family gathering last night. He drank something strange and he lost his voice.”
Sam winced at that. He was reminded of his 11th birthday a couple of months ago when he accidentally drank a voice shrinking potion meant for his loud uncle. “I got my voice back in the morning, but it still sucked when I couldn’t say anything at my 11th birthday party.”
Every young English wizard received an acceptance letter to Hogwarts when they reached the age of 11, so 11th birthday in the wizarding world was a huge deal.
“I like my 11th birthday party, that was the best day ever!” Finn gushed enthusiastically. “I wish I could turn eleven every day so I can have amazing parties all the time.”
Finn, who turned out to be very talkative, started sharing about his 11th birthday party. Kurt’s father ordered a cake so tall it matched his height. Finn lunged at it the moment he saw it. He beamed brightly when he recalled the feeling of his body covered with cream and cake crusts – Kurt’s body shuddered a bit at this. Fortunately, his mom and Kurt had baked him a three-layered cake, which tasted ten times more delicious than the cake on his body, so he still had a birthday cake. He also received so many presents it took a day to unwrap and an extra room to store all of them.
Finn also told how Kurt’s birthday went. Even though Kurt was born in summer, his favorite season was winter. All furniture in the house had been charmed white and enchanted snow was falling in the room. They built snow man and had a snowball fight inside the living room before having lunch. Then they ate Kurt’s birthday cake which was a charmed frozen cake that melted into iced but warm milk the moment it went into mouth. “I forgot what it’s called, but that stuff was totally awesome! I ate three pieces and–“
“Wintry Clement Delight!” Sam suddenly blurted.
Blaine and Finn stared at him like he had said that he found grindylows pretty, but Kurt nodded in amusement. “You know it?” he wrote on a piece of paper after he put his old book away.
“My dad is a bakery owner,” Sam explained. “Your birthday cake is one of the most complicated cakes ever. It takes 23 spells and 76 minutes and 15 seconds to make it. Fact!”
“I thought Kurt said it was baked with ice or something,” Finn frowned in confusion.
Blaine copied Finn’s expression, “How are you supposed to bake with ice?”
Sam lengthily explained some information he knew about the cake and Kurt supplied them with what he had learned from books and his mother. Soon, Kurt and Sam conversed – Kurt showed Sam his note – about baking and cooking spells, practically ignoring Finn and Blaine. Blaine sensed a hint of jealousy that his best friend could hit it off easily with a boy that came off unapproachable at the first sight. Even though he was thankful that Kurt was actually a bright kid, Blaine found it grating that he didn’t understand anything about what Sam and Kurt had been spiritedly talking about.
Thankfully, Finn flatly mumbled, “I hope we’ll stop talking about cake. It’s making me hungry.”
“Okay, enough about cake, how was your 11th birthday, Blaine?” Kurt wrote as he blushed, clearly just realizing that he had neglected his two other companions.
“I’m technically still 10 years old,” Blaine admitted. “My birthday is on Halloween day. I’ll be eleven years old in 2 months.”
But Blaine told him how he spent last night at a party his parents were holding for him. He spent the night talking to his family members who congratulated him for being ready for Hogwarts. His aunts and uncles shared their experience when they went to the school. A heated argument broke when everyone started to brag how their house was the best at Hogwarts.
“Ooh, talking about houses, which house do you want to go to?” asked Sam brightly.
Finn readily answered, “Gryffindor. My parents were Gryffindors, too, so I want to be in their house.”
Kurt wrote, “Ravenclaw.”
“His mother was a Ravenclaw,” Finn equipped.
“My dad was a Slytherin, but my mom was a Hufflepuff,” Sam said nonchalantly. “I’m fine with either, or Gryffindor. As long as it’s not Ravenclaw,” Kurt threw him a wounded look so Sam further explained, “I mean, that is a really cool house, but I don’t like studying,” he paused, “No, scratch that. I hate studying.”
Kurt stared at him in amusement while Finn laughed me too before asking Blaine, “What about you?”
Blaine contemplated a bit, “I don’t care that much, but my parents will be proud if I get into Slytherin.”
Since the second Wizarding War, Slytherin had been attempting to restore their reputation to avoid being stigmatized about the house’s relation to dark magic. And the revamp worked exceedingly well, considering from what Blaine had heard from Cooper about how Slytherin won the House Cup and had highest O.W.L and N.E.W.T scores nearly every year. Every time his father heard of this, he would smugly say he was proud of his house and hoped one his sons – read: Blaine – would follow his steps.
“I don’t think you’ll fit in Slytherin, though,” Sam stated a bit grimly. He knew how much Blaine’s father wanted him to be in Slytherin, “I bet you are a Gryffindor, just like Cooper.”
Finn sat up, “Hold up. Gryffindor Cooper? You mean Cooper Anderson, the Gryffindor seeker?”
“Yeah, he’s Blaine’s older brother. You know him?”
Kurt gasped loudly.
“No, but I feel like I do. Kurt never shuts up about Cooper; he is a huge fan of him.” Finn started grinning at Kurt who shot him a warning look, “Although Kurt’s dad suspected he drank a dangerous poison he made, I thought the reason he lost his voice was Cooper. Last week Kurt read some news about Cooper being recruited by the Pride of Portree. Then he couldn’t stop babbling about how purple would look good on him, or how his smile on the paper was so bright it could cure cancer…”
Finn’s mouth was clasped under Kurt’s fingers. Finn started licking Kurt’s palm. Kurt quickly pulled his hand and wiped it on Finn’s shirt. Finn started laughing at Kurt’s expression as Kurt pulled his wand and pointed it at his palm. Blaine and Sam stared at them in amusement for different reasons.
Sam knew Cooper was quite popular at school, but he didn’t expect Cooper to be that popular people outside the school could know about him, too.
Meanwhile, Blaine pondered if he had misheard what Finn said about Kurt, ‘did he really make and drink a dangerous poison?’
“So, will Cooper take the offer?” asked Finn after he had stopped laughing.
Blaine shrugged, “He is still considering whether to join a quidditch team or a band. I think he will pick either that will give him more fans.”
“Blaine, your brother is the best looking man in Great Britain. Whatever career he chooses, he will always have many fans,” Kurt showed his note with earnest expression. Finn sneered.
“I think he should wait for another offer or just be a singer. I mean, nothing’s going on with that team apart from McCormack and her famous son,” Sam remarked.
“Yeah, and they only won the League, like, twice. Just tell him to wait for a better team,” then Finn shrieked something that he clearly thought the best idea ever, “Who knows if he can get one from Wimbourne Wasps!”
“Wait,” Sam held his hand at Finn, “Are you a Wasps fan?”
“I am. Hold up, are you…?”
They stared disbelievingly into each other’s eyes from a few seconds. They also shared the same amazement expression. Blaine winced when they exclaimed loudly while bouncing giddily in their seat.
“Me too! Man! It’s so cool! I found a fellow Stinger in my first train!”
“Whoa… I can’t believe it…”
“Bro, this is awesome!”
“Awesomest thing ever!” Finn and Sam high-fived.
Blaine scrunched his nose in disgust, “First of all, the correct form is ‘the most awesome’, Finn. And second of all, am I really stuck with two Wasps fan now? This is vile!”
“He’s an Arrows fan,” Sam stage-whispered at Finn and Finn made a gagging sound.
“How can you like them?” Blaine jeered unbelievingly. “They’re just a bunch of barbaric players and their fans are rowdy.”
“That we are,” Finn high-fived Sam again.
“Look, Blaine. They’re eighteen times League winners. Fact!” Sam stated.
“And twice semifinalists in the European Cup,” Finn added.
“And they play better than Arrows. Another fact!”
“No, they don’t!” Blaine hotly recalled the famous 1932 match against Vratsa Vultures in details. However, when Blaine described the thick fog and heavy rain, Finn and Sam started making buzzing sounds.
“Ugh, shut it you two,” Blaine gave up. He should have known it was no use to talk to thickheaded Stingers anyway. Finn and Sam high-fived for the third time before they chatted about their favorite Wasps player. He then turned to Kurt, “What’s your favorite Quidditch team, Kurt? If you say Wasps, I’ll leave this compartment and never talk to you again forever.”
“Quiberon Quafflepunchers ©” Kurt smiled.
“Is that a new team?” Blaine asked after racking his brain to remember that name. But there was no team called “quafflepunchers” in the League.
“Nah, it’s a French team,” Finn supplied.
“Ooh, I remember them! They’re the guys with flashy moves and pink robes right?” Sam asked.
Kurt blushed and nodded.
“What about in the Britain and Irish League?” Blaine asked consistently. “Don’t you have any favorite team?”
Kurt shook his head, “I never watch any of it.”
“Wha-? How could you?” Sam asked sharply, it was clear he felt scandalized.
Finn chuckled. “Calm down, dude. Kurt is French, so he only watches French League.” Kurt nodded solemnly.
“I thought you said his mother was a Ravenclaw? Why did a French student apply to Hogwarts?” asked Sam with a heavy sense of confusion in his voice.
“So Kurt is half-French?” Blaine guessed.
“No, he’s full-French. It’s kind of complicated,” Finn frowned. It was clear he was confused too, “His mother was born in France and moved to England. Then she went to Hogwarts and got into Ravenclaw. Kurt was born in France, too, and he also moved to England. Now he is going to Hogwarts and hoping to get into Ravenclaw as well.”
“I can tell you the complete story later when I get my voice back,” Kurt promised.
Suddenly, their compartment slid open and a friendly looking woman’s face popped from behind it, “Some snacks and sweets, dear?”
Blaine and Sam jumped to their feet and looked for their favorite snacks. Blaine decided to buy a box of chilling chocolate and Droobles Best Blowing Gum while Sam picked a box of popping peanut and three boxes of chocolate frogs. After the door was shut back, they realized Finn and Kurt didn’t buy anything.
Suddenly Blaine was reminded of his brother’s tale about his friends whose families were poor; they couldn’t afford new robes and books, or even some small snacks on the train. Maybe Kurt and Finn’s family didn’t have any money. But his thought was erased when he remembered Finn’s story about their delicate birthday cake and checked Kurt and Finn’s clothes which looked nice – Kurt’s even looked really expensive.
Nevertheless, Blaine still offered them his chocolate and gums. Finn excitedly picked one piece of chocolate and grinned at the chocolate’s coldness. Sam also shared his popping peanut which made the chocolate taste even better and soon their compartment was filled with popping sounds. After his third piece of chocolate, he realized Kurt was eyeing them; his expression was amused.
“Would you like some of this?” Blaine politely offered.
Kurt shook his head as Finn said with his mouth full, “He doesn’t like British sweets.”
Some melted chocolate spilled onto Finn’s chin. Kurt rolled his eyes at that, pulled a handkerchief in his breast pocket and gently wiped the chocolate. “Thanks, little bro,” Finn responded.
Kurt then nudged Finn’s arm and nodded at a backpack next to Finn.
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot,” Finn said after he gulped.
He pulled out a box and put it onto Kurt’s lap. Kurt opened it and pulled out some good-smelling bread. Blaine felt his mouth water and he could hear Sam’s stomach rambled. Finn noticed this, then he announced, “I know that thing smells yummy, but trust me it tastes yucky.”
Kurt good-naturedly rolled his eyes and took a bite of his bread.
Blaine and Sam exchanged their glance before focusing on Finn who was dealing with another box. Finn stretched his arms, showing Sam and Blaine the inside of the box, “Try this. I may be biased, but I swear these cookies are the best in the world.”
Sam and Blaine muttered thanks before taking one bite. They switched glances again.
“Wow, this tastes really good,” Blaine announced as he finished his cookie.
“Yeah, it does. Can I have some more?” asked Sam drooling over the cookies.
Finn cackled, “Sure. I have three other boxes here. If I run out of cookies, I can just ask him to bake me some more,” Finn nudged Kurt’s arm fondly.
Kurt swallowed his last bite of bread and shrugged. He reached a transparent flask filled with dark blue liquid and finished it in one gulp.
“You made this?” Sam asked with a full mouth. Some cookies crumbled to his lap.
Kurt looked at that disapprovingly before nodding, “My mom taught me how to bake.”
“Wow, this tastes really good,” Blaine took another cookie before realizing he just said the same thing twice.
Kurt smiled sweetly and Finn bragged his little brother as the best baker ever. Sam stated that his father was a great baker, so he couldn’t easily agree. They bantered about who the best baker was before breaching into other topics: sweets, food, toys, and many other things that made Blaine feel he had known Finn and Kurt for a long time.
Finn was genuine and very upbeat. He would talk with wide smiles and bright eyes. When he didn’t talk, he would listen attentively with the same smile and the same eyes. His funny confused face might show up once in a while when he didn’t get Sam’s joke or Blaine’s reference, but apart from that his expression was pretty much summery all the time.
On the other hand, Kurt was sarcastic and more laid-back. And he was one of the most expressive people Blaine had ever known. Even when Kurt only wrote short sentences, his expression made it up for him. He could hear the way Kurt said “Yes” with different tones by looking at his face. But most of the times, when he just listened to the other three boys, he smiled softly with breezy stare, like a soft wind in a winter morning.
It was interesting to see how these two contrasting people became step-brothers, and now would become Blaine’s friends, hopefully, for life, because he liked them already.
After the three boys finished their two boxes of cookies and all their snacks, Kurt swished his wand. Blaine and Sam watched in amazement as cookie crusts on the boys’ clothes and on the floor swirled together and flew outside the window.
“Neat,” Finn whistled.
“Did you just use non-verbal spells?” Blaine wondered.
“Wow, Kurt. That’s awesome. How did you do that?” Sam eyed Kurt’s wand.
Kurt nodded, “I can perform simple spells non-verbally. I hope my voice will return when we learn more complicated spells.”
“He has been learning spells since he can talk,” Finn informed them.
“My mom taught me that. She really cared about my education. And she was a great teacher.”
Suddenly, the compartment door slid open again. This time, a face Blaine glimpsed in the “shrieking laughter” compartment showed up.
“Hey, mates. Is it okay if I change my robe here? I got kicked out of my compartment because the girls wanted to change,” said the boy while rubbing his Mohawk hair. Blaine noticed Kurt eyed the gesture frowningly.
“Sure!” Finn answered brightly, clearly pleased to see a new face. “I’m Finn. This is Sam, Blaine, and my step-brother, Kurt.”
“Thanks! I’m Puck,” Puck offered his fist to Finn who bumped his fist excitedly. Sam and Blaine joined in, too, but Kurt shook Puck’s fist. Puck was clearly amused at the gesture, but he didn’t dwell on it. He slid the door close, “By the way, you have to change, too. We’ll be arriving at Hogwarts in five.”
They changed into their robes while chatting about Hogwarts. Puck said he wanted to go to Gryffindor and he fist-bumped Finn again. While the train was pulling to a stop, Puck left them and returned to his compartment. Blaine led the way with Sam, Kurt and Finn following him closely behind. Once they got off the train, Blaine took time to take in the figures of his new friends.
When he grumbled as Sam couldn’t stop looking for the “perfect” spot, he didn’t imagine he would have these two intriguing new companions.
He was glad he could make friends with these people.