Looking back at the beginning of the year, the fact that it rained heavily on September 1st seemed to have set the mood for what was to come. The mad dash of getting onto the Hogwarts Express, trying to avoid being soaked and stepping into puddles, as luggage was brought on, as families said goodbyes and students moved to find their friends in the dry, warm train compartments of the familiar dark red train. Mark yawns as he stares out the window, waving again to his parents as they stand cuddled up underneath a large red umbrella.
He smiles as his mother sends him a kiss, feeling the train jolt before the compartment door slides open. He turns to find his best friend stomping inside, his hood drenched with rain. “Did you not check the weather before you left this morning?”
“To be fair,” Jackson shoves his luggage up top, slides his backpack onto the floor and plops onto the booth across from him. “It wasn’t raining when I left this morning. It only decided that it was time to downpour when my mom parked ten blocks away. It’s nuts out.” He turns to the window, waving to both his mother and Mark’s parents. “You haven’t seen Jen yet?”
“Nope.” The train begins to leave, the two of them waving madly before sitting back and laughing with each other. They had met over Christmas break during Jackson’s first year, Mark had elected to stay at school while his parents traveled around Europe. Being a year older, Mark had found the lost first year in the Great Hall, eating alone and sat down to strike up a conversation. They became fast friends and inseparable before break was even up. “Shouldn’t you be looking for her? You know, as the boyfriend and all that.”
“Merlin help whoever you date,” Jackson shakes his head, stripping the wet hoodie off, hanging it over the luggage bar. “They’ll be lost somewhere, asking if anyone’s seen their Quidditch player of a boyfriend and where will you be,” Jackson slides open the door, looking up and down the hallway, “sitting on your ass, waiting around.”
“No, I would be looking for them. I wasn’t aware I was dating Jennie.”
“Nah, that’s - shut up.” Jackson disappears down the hallway, Mark turning back to watch as the countryside flies past him.
Rosie flicks through the textbook of her lap, unable to stop herself from seeing what is in store for this year’s lessons. She listens to Jisoo as she hums softly, as she takes out her school uniform and Rosie tucks her legs underneath her better. She pauses on a spell, tracing the wand movement example before looking up at her best friend.
“Will you be back before we get there?”
Jisoo turns with a smile, “I’m not sure.” She closes the curtains before getting changed and Rosie turns her attention back to her spell book. “But I will be there in the Great Hall for the welcoming ceremony, so you won’t be eating alone.”
Rosie looks back up to find Jisoo already dressed, her Prefect badge shining brightly underneath the lights of the compartment. “Look at you!” She teases, standing up to play with the badge. Jisoo slaps her hand playfully, checking her reflection in the window. “What’s got you so …. Did you get a boyfriend over the summer and haven’t told me?” She watches Jisoo pause - too long of a pause to cover up - and Rosie gasps. “Who?!”
“Rosie -” They turn when a knock comes at the door and Rosie takes in the black haired man dressed in Hufflepuff robes and a matching Prefect badge. Rosie turns with an eyebrow raised, sitting back down onto the bench and pulls her legs back up underneath her. Jisoo opens the door, smiling shyly, “I’ll be right there.”
“Hi, I’m Rosie!” She laughs as Jisoo groans, “I’m really good at Transfiguration so don’t hurt her!”
“Thank you Rosie.” Jisoo rolls her eyes, “Rosie, meet Jinyoung. Jinyoung, meet my very annoying best friend who forgets that I’m now a Prefect and still top of the class in Defense.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jinyoung smiles before taking Jisoo’s hand shyly. “We should go to the meeting before we’re late.” Jisoo nods, throwing a wave over her shoulder before the door slides shut behind her.
Bambam sighs as he stares out the window as he watches the sun get lower and lower. It hasn’t stopped raining, meaning the grounds around the castle are going to muddy for the next few days - but at least they’ll get to take the closed carriages today instead of the open ones. He turns to find Ten laying on his stomach on the seat across from him, talking softly into the cat container that faces him.
“I can’t believe your mother finally got you a cat.”
“I told you she would give in eventually.” Ten laughs, wiggling his fingers through the bar, “you’re just jealous your mother won’t get you one.”
“Sure,” Ten turns to look at him. “Maybe you should wait until you’re out of school, that seems more likely.” Bambam rolls his eyes, dropping his head back and looks back out the window. “Oh, are you going to sulk the rest of the trip? Or do you want to pet Louis?”
“I would like to pet Louis.” Bambam pouts, before moving over to the other seat. He leans down, cooing at the small kitten inside. “Hi kitty,” he sticks a finger inside the cage, giggling as the cat purrs, rubbing his head against him.
Lisa searches through her backpack, pulling out the homemade cookies and opens the bag carefully. She sticks her hand in, happy to find that they’re still somewhat warm and takes out one before breaking it in half and chewing on it slowly. She looks around the packed room, everyone talking at once about their summer vacations before holding out the bag towards Seulgi who lights up when the smell reaches her nose.
“Your mom is the best,” she takes the other half, taking a bit. “God, so good.”
“She is,” Lisa says as she pops the rest into her mouth. “She was sad that you couldn’t come stay for a bit this summer.”
“I wanted to!” Seulgi turns to face her, tucking her leg underneath her. “But then my mom and dad wanted to go away for the part of the summer, so we went and somehow a weekend trip turned into three weeks of visiting family. And by the time I got back home, I saw your letter and couldn’t go.”
“All of that just to miss my mom’s baking.”
“Of course,” Lisa says, closing up the bag and putting it away carefully. “I’m so excited! Look at the textbook for this year,” she pulls out a large, brown leather book and runs her hands over the gold lettering. Seulgi drops her head down onto her shoulder, watching as Lisa shows her the textbook.
Jennie laughs loudly as Irene immediately drops the candy all over the floor of the compartment. She sighs, waving her wand and cleans it up, “that’s not funny Jen.” Irene flops onto the seat across from her, running her hands through her hair. “Go buy me another one.”
“No,” Jennie laughs. “I brought you ice cream when we went shopping for our school stuff, go buy yourself some more jelly beans.”
“I just bought myself some jelly beans." Irene sighs, "where's your boyfriend, he'll buy it for me."
"No he won't."
"Sure, the loser does the winner's homework for a week." They shake on it and the best friends burst into laughter the longer the handshake goes on. "You're gonna lose Irene."
"Doubt it," The compartment door slides open, the two Slytherin girls turning to look at the intruder. "Jackson! Perfect! Can you go get Jen some jelly beans?"
"Yeah, of course. Do you want anything?" Jackson pulls out his change, already counting the amount out.
"I'll take some jelly beans too." He nods before disappearing, Irene turning to find Jennie sitting there with her jaw dropped, "homework for a week, Kim."
"That was dirty!" She laughs, holding her hand out for a high five. Jackson comes back in, passing out the candy before sitting down onto the seat.
"I thought we would all sit together,” Jackson says, relaxing back into the seat.
"Then where's your stuff?" Jennie laughs, popping a jelly bean and cringes at the sour taste, “gross.”
"It’s with Mark."
“Okay, but our stuff is here.” Jennie points up, “and I really don’t want to move it.” They share a look before Jennie settles back into her seat, “just hang out here for a bit so Mark isn’t alone the entire train ride.”
“Alright,” Jackson nods, taking a bean and gags as the girls break out into laughter.
The Great Hall quiets down as the Headmistress steps up to her podium. The entire room turns their attention to the older woman, heads craning as they wait for Headmistress Lee’s welcoming speech.
“Welcome back everyone,” she says with a warm smile. “I hope that the summer vacation was enjoyable and peaceful, a nice few months away to relax and prepare yourself for another year at Hogwarts. I am very excited to see everyone, including our first years and hope that this year brings you knowledge and joy.”
“We have been discussing for a few years now about holding our own. Less on the side of being dangerous, especially the way the old tournament was held, and more of a test of how well our students work under pressure and together. The Hogwarts Tournament is what we are calling it, simple but effective. It is open to all years and there will be a classroom on this floor of the castle where you can put your name into if you wish to enter.
If you do not wish to, that is fine. This is not mandatory.” Headmistress Lee smiles, “I will let you all get back to your dinner and the gossip I know is waiting to be poured out of you with this. I wish you all an amazing year, especially to those just joining and to the ones that will be leaving us in June. Good night.”