Chapter 1: Prologue
Jade's eyes darted nervously around the platform. After Jake, her older brother, had walked her through, he'd vanished, saying he had something to check on, leaving his first year sister fidgeting as she waited for the train. There were people everywhere, milling this way and that with trollies loaded with luggage and cages. Her toad croaked at her and she started at it puzzled for a minute before getting a determined look in her eyes and heading for the train.
She found an empty compartment and set to work struggling to get her heavy bags into the bins overhead. Someone spoke to her and she started.
"Hey, are you uh, are you Jake's kid sister?" she turned and saw a skinny kid, her age, a little taller, with dark messy hair and a pair of thick square glasses. She nodded, pushing her own glasses up, her wand bobbing behind her ear.
"Yuh huh! Do you know my brother?" she wasn't sure how he could, he clearly hadn't been sorted yet.
"Nah. But he knows my sister, Jane, so I know what he looks like and I saw him wander away from you earlier. Your family's half blood right?" He winced "Sorry, doesn't matter, that was rude. I'm John, John Egbert-Crocker." he extended his hand, grinning widely.
"Ohhh! You must be Jane's brother! She's really pretty! I'm Jade Harley!" she shook his hand. A new voice joined the conversation.
"MInd if I sit in here?"The voice was low, and came from a lanky blonde kid slouching in the doorway. "I'm Strider." He nodded, his eyes hidden behind a pair of sunglasses.
"Jade, Jade Harley! You're a first year too, yeah?" she grinned at him jovially, and he seemed somewhat taken aback by her chipper attitude. He nodded.
"Yeah. My older brother goes here though. Folks were pretty surprised when both their kids ended up in magic school. They're both muggles. What're the odds, right?" he smirks under his shades and hefts his bag up into the bin with ease, looks at the trunk Jade is struggling with, and heaves it up easily. He turns to John. "Who're you?"
"John Egbert-Crocker, say is your brother called Dirk by any chance.?"
"Yep, that's him."
"Oh!" Jade piped up. "Our brothers are friends! My brother's name is Jake English." he tilted his head at the names. "Halfbloods. Same magical mom, different muggle dads." she shrugged.
"Works for me. First name's Dave, by the way."
"Thanks for helping me with my trunk, Dave! It's not that it's too heavy I'm just a little short."
"Room for one more in here?" yet another new face leaned in, the girl raising her dark eyebrows at Dave. "Well fancy meeting you here, Strider. And to all else who do not already know me through older siblings, I'm Rose Lalonde, soon to be Ravenclaw." She nodded succintly and stowed her things, and sat down in the available seat, next to John. He grinned at her sloppily.
"Hi! I'm John! You sound pretty confident about your sorting."
"Good to meet you. And I suppose, I simply value knowledge above all else. Plus, my entire family has been in Ravenclaw for generations." She shrugged. "Where do you all think you'll end up?"
"Well, my sister's in Slytherin, and so was most of my family, but I dunno... I don't feel much like a Slytherin." John shrugged easily.
"My brother's in Gryffindor so I guess I could end up there, that's where a lot of us end up, but I'd be okay with anywhere! I'm sure the hat knows where I belong!"Jade grinned and gave a cheesy thumbs up.
"I don't think I got the brains for Ravenclaw. Probably end up in Gryffindor or something."
The rest of the train ride passed in companionable silence and the occasional chatter or tearing of a sweets wrapper. Eventually the train chugged to a stop and the first years were all shuffled over to the lake. The four newly minted friends climbed into the same boat. Jade stared off in the direction of the carriages, an expression of vague fascination on her face. The other three followed suit, and Rose raised an eyebrow.
"Jade, can you see the invisible creatures pulling the carriages?"
"Are they meant to be invisble? My brother can see them too." John and Dave shrugged.
"Indeed. I can't see them myself. I simply know they're there because I find mysterious creatures any matter of fascinating. There is specific criteria that determines if you can see them. They're called thestrals." Rose intoned lightly, as the boat shoved off from shore and headed for the castle
"What's the criteria?" Jade furrowed her eyebrows at Rose.
"Well, how do I put this delicately? Thestrals are thought of as neutral creatures of death. To see them, you have to have seen someone die." She gave Jade a sympathetic smile.
"Oh, okay. That makes sense. Jake and I both saw my grandfather die."
"Oh jeez, Jade, I'm sorry!" John said, frowning at her.
"It's okay. Death is just another part of life." she offered them all an easy smile and lifted a hand to check that her wand was safe behind her ear.
Eventually the boats came ashore at the castle and the first years were herded into the crowded hall and lined up for sorting. The ceremony began, kids shuffling up to the stool one by one.
"Egbert-Crocker, John!" the headmistress called out, smiling, her voice high and even. John practically jogged to the stool and sat down, where the hat was placed over his head.
Hmmmm another Crocker. But are you a Slytherin? No, no I don't think so. Loyal, hard working, you could be a Hufflepuff but, hmmm. There's a boldness than you that belongs nowhere else but...
"GRYFFINDOR!" the hat roared out, and the Gryffindor table errupted into applause, whooping and shouting. John rushed off to their table, grinning and waving, Jake waved him over and he sat down. A few names later, Jade was up. She took a deep breath and smiled as she say down. The hat slid over her eyes.
You have a different name than your brother. You are similar though, headstrong and confident and with a fierce love for those you care for. But there's something else in here, A strong logical moral compass. A thirst for knowledge of the workings of the universe. You belong in....
"RAVENCLAW!" the hat declared. Jade grinned broadly and rushed to the cheering Ravenclaw table. An older boy with spiky blonde hair, sitting next to a girl with neatly coiffed hair waved her over, shouting something about how he saw her with his brother. She sat down beside them, easing into conversation easily. Rose was the next of the four to be called. She walked to the chair with a neutral expression and an air of confidence.
Ahhh, a Lalonde. I could announce you a Ravenclaw right now, but I feel something else. You're more... competitive. There's a determination, a desperation in you, to know everything using any means possible. I could put you in Slytherin. You would fit just fine. Pureblood, witty, self assured. No? Well if you're that stubborn about it...
"RAVENCLAW!" Rose nodded and walked over to her sister, who was whistling loud and jumping up and down while Dirk stared at her bemusedly and ruffled Rose's hair. Jade grinned and offered Rose a hug. The last of the new group of four was Dave, who slouched his way up slowly.
Another muggleborn in the same family? How very strange. But you're not a Ravenclaw. No, you're smart but you don't care. but you are headstrong, and loyal, and a little bit arrogant. Which leaves you in...
"GRYFFINDOR!" Dave shrugged and nodded and headed to the table where Jake and John were sitting, flopping down beside them. Jade caught his eye from the adjacent ravenclaw table and waved madly, sending him a thumbs up. He chuckles.
The rest of the evening is passed with speeches and eating and laughing and people getting acquainted. jade befriends Rose, Roxy and Dirk quickly, her bubbly personality making her instantly likable. Jake decides to take John under his wing, so to speak, and while Dave think they're both doofuses, he decides he likes their company. At the end of the feast, everyone heads off to their dorm assignments. When Jade and Rose arrive in the dorm they share with two other Ravenclaw girls in their year, an elegant looking girl named Kanaya and a short tanned girl named Aradia, all their stuff is on the foot of their beds. John and Dave share a dorm with an awkward stuttering kid named Tavros who hardly seems to belong in the house, and an angry short kid named Karkat who yells more than seems necessary.
It's going to be an interesting seven years.
Chapter 2: Next
After a time skip of a few years, our fifth and sevenths years meet up before the school year begins.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The small Strider household was a bustle of activity during the last week of August. Somehow, that ended up being the house a loud group of friends ends up gathering in to prepare for school the following year. The English-Harleys were the last to arrive.
Dave and Dirk were bickering idly about what Quidditch position Dave was best suited to, since he'd decided to finally, in his fifth year, attend try outs. Jane was in the kitchen, baking, as always, while Roxy hovered nearby trying to steal the frosting, and laughing at the boys out in the living room. John was strongly in support of Dave becoming a fellow chaser for their Quidditch team. Rose simply watched them all with a raised eyebrow, in between reading chapters of a thick book. There was a burst of noise as the door opened and Jade charged in, followed by a bemused Jake.
"Guess who got fifth year prefect for Ravenclaw house!" she shouted, pumping a fist in the air triumphantly, her grin wide.
"Aw yeah, that's my favorite underclassman!" Dirk hooted back, rushing over and pulling Jade, who had not grown much since first year, all things considered, onto his shoulders for a victory lap. Even Dave grinned a little and joined in the cheering, after taking a moment to glare at his brother suspiciously. Rose smiled demurely.
"My my, Jade, you've become quite the social butterfly. One of our star beaters, some of the highest marks in the house, and now prefect. Congratulations. I promise utmost sincerity when I say I am honored to be your best friend." By this time Jade had dismounted from Dirk's shoulders and rushed Rose with a hug.
"Awwww thanks Rose! Honestly, you're so much better behaved than me I'm surprised it wasn't you!"
"Nonsense, you're too smart to get caught and everyone loves you, regardless of house. Except maybe the few people you've hit a little too hard during a match, of course." she answered with a chuckle.
"Hehe, whatever you say! Now then! Everyone gets a bigggg hug!" she punctuated this statement by rushing at Dave and hugging him tightly. He rolled his eyes, but smiled and returned the gesture, resting his arm on top of her head.
"Relax, Harley. You saw me like three days ago. Although I do think you shrunk since them." he smirked down at her. She laughed and shoved him.
"Oh shut up, Strider. You're too tall for your own good. Plus being short makes it easier for me to sneak into the kitchens. I hear you're trying out for the Quidditch team finally!"
"You heard right."
"Well, in that case, I look forward to kicking your ass!" she stuck her tongue out at him before turning her attention to John with a grin and a hug.
"Hey you! Where's Jane?"
"Where my sister always is. Baking. Also I trust you making prefect will not affect your solemn oath to keep your mouth shut about my Zonkos stash?" John grinned at her.
"Of course not! People gotta have fun sometime! Plus, I'm not your prefect anyway!" she offered him a cheesy wink and wandered off to find Jane.
When she entered the kitchen, as she should have expected, Jane and Jake were making out against the refrigerator, while Roxy politely escorted herself out, rolling her eyes and grinning at Jade. Jade coughed loudly.
"HELLLLO person in the room." she called, exasperated. Jake and Jane pulled their faces apart, Jake looking smug and Jane looking embarrassed.
"Oh golly, Jade, I'm sorry." she fretted, smoothing her hair.
"Nah, it's okay! I just wanted to say hi, I think I'll leave you two alone now." she nodded and left the room, opting to flop onto the sofa in an empty space between Rose and Dave. Dave shifted slightly, sitting up straighter, earning a smirk from Roxy and his brother, who were sitting across the room discussing something about the Ravenclaw head of house and the Muggle Studies teacher. He watched Jade from the corner of his eye, under his shades, as she leaned on Rose's shoulder and asked about what she was reading.
The two girls talked quietly. Dave tore his gaze from Jade's face after a moment, only to notice Dirk and Roxy had stopped speaking, and were just staring at him with menacing grins on their faces. His long standing crush on Jade was a source of much amusement for them. It wasn't his fault. She was so bubbly and happy and likable and sharp as a tack and terrifyingly strong and in shape for someone that small. When they became friends first year she was always waving at him in the halls between classes and sitting by him when they had lessons together and smiling all the time and hugging people. She smelled like flowers.
"Okay okay, okay everyone!" Jane calls, walking out of the kitchen, Jake's hand wrapped around hers. "Since we're all here we should probably get going! There are 8 of us so we should go through the fireplace two at a time! So get a buddy and let's get shopping!" she clapped her hands together.
John bounced up from his place on the floor and crooked an elbow towards Rose.
"M'lady?" he grinned the cheesiest grin ever. Rose smiled and nodded.
"Why not. I was going to ask Jade, but I'm sure one of the Striders would have beat me to the chase anyway." she smirked and looked from Dave to Dirk. Dave said nothing and Dirk chuckled and raised an eyebrow at Roxy.
"Ready?" he asked.
"As alwaysssss." she drawled playfully.
"Well, Harley, looks like you and me are the only two left without a partner."
"Indeed it does. However will I cope with being stuck with you?" she grinned and stuck out her tongue, poking him with her shoulder before standing and offering her hand to help him up. He took it, and two by two the grou went through the fireplace and descended on Diagon Alley to prepare for classes.
I'm gonna try to keep this pace of updating every day, or every two days at least, for now! Read and review, hope you're enjoying it so far! <3
Diagon Alley was abuzz with activity. Students, and future students, and their families and friends milled around the shopping district, getting ready for the upcoming school year. That said, the uproar of the Striders and Lalondes and English-Harleys and Crocker-Egberts pouring out of the Leaky Cauldron did not add much to the already boisterous atmosphere. Jade had wrapped her arms around Dave's left elbow during the trip and continued hanging from it now, grinning up at him as she dragged him towards Flourish and Blott's. Dirk thought bout giving chase, and hassling his little brother in an attempt to make him finally grow a pair and ask out Jade, but stopped when a hand caught is.
"Come on, let's take off while everyone's still paired up so it won't look suspicious."
"Oh, smart. Right, let's go." Looking around and making sure none of their friends was looking, he intertwined his fingers with those of the person holding his hand and they turned, heading off towards Florian Fortescue's ice cream parlor. The old man twinkled as they walked in, used to the secretive couple coming in before the school year started. They took a seat in a back corner.
"What'll you two have this time around." the old man said with a grin.
"I'll have two scoops of orange sherbert, one scoop of vanilla, and top it all with whipped cream." Dirk told the man, handing him the small menu back.
"And the lady?"
"One scoop a strawberry ice cream, one scoop of cherry ice cream, and a scoop of cotton candy, topped with whipped cream, a cherry, and plenty of sprinkles. Pink ones." Roxy beamed and returned her menu.
"It's kind of a miracle no one has caught us yet."
"Well Jade has."
"Yeah, but she's not going to tell anyone. We're safe for now." he offered her a crooked grin and leaned across the table, brushing a lock of hair out of Roxy's face.
"Why exactly are you so insistent on keeping this a secret?"
"Because I cannot bear to have our fellow Ravenclaws rub third year, the year of the Hogsmeade Christmas shopping disaster, in our faces. I could not take an 'I told you so' about everyone who said we were secretly in love with each other. Also, it's kind of funny."
"That's true, it is kinda funny. It's cool, s'long as I don't hafta share you."
"You're more than enough woman for me to handle, Rox, don't worry." he winked at her, pulling his shades down to do so.
Outside in the bustling square, Rose and John headed to the Magical Menagerie shop, chatting amicably about disguise magic. Rose and Roxy had previously shared the family cat, but Friggling had been quite old and died the year before. Roxy had gotten a kitten soon after, whom she had named Herbert, but Rose had yet to invest in a new pet.
"I still say you should get an owl, they're wayyyy more practical than cats."
"But I'm not getting a pet for the functionality, I can use the school owls for that, or a friend's owl. I am getting a pet for the companionship, and cats are infinitely more personal than toads, rats, owls, or any other of the small animals students seem to keep as pets despite them not being listed on the short list of accepted creatures. In fact I've actually done the proper research into gwtting what is needed to own a Kneazle/cat hybrid, as they are allowed and are even more loyal and intelligent than normal cats."
John rolled his eyes at Rose, but offered a smile her direction, shaking his head, as they walked into the shop.
"You take everything way to seriously, Rose."
"I beg to differ. I simply am giving the investment of my time in a living creature the thought it deserves."
Her eyes scanned the shop, heading to the back where the wall of cats, Kneazles, and hybrids were kept. John followed along, slightly slower as he got distracted by an impressively large toad that was croaking the tune to a Weird Sisters song. Rose had focused her attention on a rather fluffy Kneazle hybrid, with long white fur striped with grey and black, and enormous green eyes. The animal mewled at her from behind the bars of the cage and rubbed it's nose against her fingers, purring. Rose offered an uncharacteristically wide smile to the creature.
"Excuse me, ma'am?" she called to the shopkeeper. "I was wondering if I could purchase this cat."
"Well, he seems to have taken a liking to you, so as long as you understand the responsiblities of owning a Kneazle hybrid, I don't see why not." the woman smiled warmly and tapped the cage open, pulling him out. As soon as she handed the cat to Rose, he began purring loudly, and nuzzling her cheek with his face. Rose giggled, and John watched from a distance, enjoying seeing his rather uptight friend enjoying herself a little. The shopkeeper gathered a kennel for the cat and took Rose's money, and the two headed out to pruchase the rest of their supplies.
"I think I'll call him Ignotus. It's suspected the Peverell Brothers are the brothers in the famous story of the Deathly Hallows, and I've always loved that tale."
"Haha you're such a dork!"
"Says the boy who can ramble for hours about terrible Muggle movies."
"Yeah yeah yeahhhh. Whatever, we should catch up with the others. Before my sister and Jake get bored and go find an abandoned alleyway somewhere."
Rose let out a laugh and nodded, heading in the direction of Quality Quidditch Supplies, the most likely place to find Jade, Dave and Dirk at least.
"Daaave you need speed AND agility to be a chaser, not just speed. Plus stability so you don't fall off! Don't forget who's gonna be the one aiming bludgers at you!" Jade giggled, dragging Dave to the other side of the Quidditch supply store. The small Ravenclaw was ecstatic her best friend finally wanted to try out for the Quidditch team and had been babbling excitedly about brooms ever since. Dave didn't mind much because she was paying attention to him as opposed to his older brother, who had vanished off to parts unknown to do who knows what.
He had to admit, the idea of Jade Harley flinging a bludger towards him was a little daunting. She'd tried out as a third year for her house's team and his brother said she was one of the best beaters any of them had ever seen. Which was disturbing, considering Jade was just over five feet tall with the personality of a particularly enthusiastic puppy dog and a penchant for wearing flowers in her hair.
"Why are you so insistent I get a broom? I might not even make the team, and I can just order one if I do."
"Because, Daaave, it's better to have your own! Brooms are magical objects after all, and while it's obviously not as strong as like, a wand, they bond to their owners! Plus, don't be stupid, you're obviously going to make the team, the Gryffindor team is attrocious except for John, my brother, and that weird kid with the red mohawk."
"Yeah! But anyway, I've seen you fly, Dave, you're totally gonna make it! Plus if you have a brom, we can practice together!" She beamed at him and tugged on his sleeve again. He rolled his eyes playfully but followed after her, going to look over the Nimbus brooms.
"I know jackshit about brooms, you know that right?"
"Yeah I know! But that's okay, I know a lot! Dirk has a Firebolt, but he's the seeker. Firebolts are fast and agile but they can be kinda jumpy, you'd want something smoother I think?" she blinks her big green eyes and looks up at him and he shrugs. She rolls her eyes and looks around. "Oh! A Nimbus Hurricane might work well for you!" Dave glanced at the dark colored broom with silver metal details.
"Looks good to me." He picked it up, feeling around it a little.
Just as they headed to check out, Jade got distracted by a pair of bright green Quidditch goggles, and John and rose walked through the door.
"Hello Jade, Strider." Rose said evenly. John grinned and waved.
"Oh! Hi John, hi Rose! Ohhh, rose, did you find a Kneazle?" Jade leaned down, smiling at the creature. The cat eyed her warily "He can probably smell Becquerel. I wonder if I shrunk bec they would let me bring him to school."
"Jade, I uh, I don't think it's legal to shrink house pets." John raised an eyebrow and Jade shrugged.
"Are you advising our fine Mr. Strider in what kind of broom he should use?" Rose inquired, looking around the store.
"Yep! He's gonna try out for chaser! Gryffindor could use him. No offense John!"
"None taken, you're right. We sucked royally last year. You guys kicked the shit out of us every game we played you. You're scary with that bludger, Jade."
"I try, hehehe! Hey, have either of you seen Dirk, or any of the others?"
"No, actually, we assumed Dirk would be here with you and Dave." Rose said with a shrug.
"If he's not with you guys he's probably with Roxy still, which means my sister and your brother are off somewhere shoving their tongues down each other's throats."
"Ewwwww." Jade laughed, crossing her eyes and sticking out her tongue.
"I'll tell you one thing, me and John's roommate definitely wants to jam his tongue down Harley's throat."
"Oh godddd don't remind me about Karkat's weird crush on me. I see him at prefect meetings and he just stares at me and then shouts if I say hi and it's really weird. He's lucky my brother hasn't tried to injure him. He's so protective, it's dumb. I'm probably more capable than he is." the petite girl rolled her eyes.
"Speak of the metaphorical Devil." Rose laughed, pointing outside. Jake and Jane were walking towards the shop, his arm tight around her waist.
"Would you look at that! The gang's all here! Well, all except the older Strider chum and the lovely older Miss Lalonde. I suspect she's dragged him into a bookstore somewhere. Shall we depart en masse to try and locate the rest of our comrades?"
The group shared an eye roll at Jake's weird vocabulary before nodding in agreement.
"Actually, Jake, I think I remember Roxy saying she needed new robes, they might be at Madame Malkin's." Rose piped up.
"Ah, then let's head over there then. I am in need of a few new ties anyway." Jake said jovially. The group trickled out of the Quidditch store and off towards the portion of Diagon Alley more devoted to clothing and school supplies than fun but not strictly necessary items.
"Oh, there they are!" Jade piped up, pointing out Dirk and Roxy, walking side by side from Madame Malkins to a nearby bookshop. "Diiiirk!" she called loudly, waving. He nodded and smiled and the two started back towards the main group.
"Hey squirt." he said, ruffling Jade's hair. She beamed and Dave grimmaced at them while Roxy watched him bemusedly.
"Does everyone have everything?" Jane asked, glancing at the time on the delicate silver watch she always wore. There was a chorus of nodding and general ascension.
"I guess we should head off them, rest up for the new school year. Uh, I think Dave and I left our car at your house, right Harley?" Since the Striders were muggleborn, their house wasn't hooked up to the floo network, but the English-Harley household wasn't very far away.
"Uh, yup! So you can floo back with me and Jake!"
The groups drifted off, taking turns with the few fireplaces in the Leaky Cauldron to get back the their respective houses. When they arrived back at the Harley-English house, Jade gave both Dave and Dirk enthusiatic hugs goodbye before rushing upstairs to put her things together for school in a few days time. Dirk shook his head at Dave as they got in the car.
"You're gonna have to tell her eventually kid. She's pretty, she ain't gonna stay single forever."
"I have no idea what you're talking about' Dave muttered, crossing his arms as they drove away.