The noise level on the train rose steadily as more and more children arrived, bumping luggage down the aisles, sharing sweets, and chattering excitedly to their friends in English, filling in the news of the long summer holiday. Klaus had, of course, arrived at the station well in advance, and was comfortably settled in the corner of the compartment, his luggage neatly stowed. He was reading a book on hexes that his father had given him; he would be expected to demonstrate proficiency at the Christmas holidays.
Another wave of students passed the door to his compartment, pausing at the doorway before deciding that there was nothing worth stopping for within. Klaus hoped that he would get to keep the compartment for himself, but he wasn't sure if the train would be full. Perhaps if he concentrated on his reading, nobody would talk to him, though judging from how loud the other people on the train were, there wasn't much hope of that.
The whistle blew. The train would be departing soon. Klaus would be glad to arrive at school; all this travel was very unsettling.
The compartment door opened again, and Klaus stubbornly did not look up. He turned a page in his book.
"Excuse me, I'm terribly sorry to disturb you," said a voice, "But the train is awfully full, and the only other seat I could find was next to a girl with a toad, and I justcouldn't, now could I? So I've come to share your compartment. I'm starting my first year. Are you new, too?"
Klaus refused to look up from his book. "Ja."
"Lovely! So you don't know anyone, either, but now we'll know each other! My name's Dorian." A small hand intruded between Klaus and the page, and he admitted defeat for the moment, giving the hand a brief shake as he lifted his head to glare at the interloper, who had shockingly blond hair, in a mess of curls all over his head like a little girl's. He blinked. "Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach," he said.
Dorian was leaning over and looking at his book. "Is that German? Are you from Germany?"
Wasn't that completely obvious? "Ja," he said again, pointedly.
"I've never been to Germany," Dorian said. "Are there a lot of German people at Hogwarts?"
"Most German wizards and witches attend Durmstrang," Klaus said.
"Why didn't you go there?"
"My mother wished me to attend Hogwarts," he said.
"My mother went to Hogwarts, but I never knew until this year," Dorian said. "My father's not magic, just her. He always said she was a witch, but I thought it was just an expression. Then I got my letter, and Dad said I could go here instead of Eton if I liked, and I thought it sounded like great fun, so here I am!"
Did the English never shut up? Klaus sighed. He had a feeling this was going to be a long journey.