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Chapter 38

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Chapter 38
The Express
As Albus watched Platform 9 ¾ slide away, he leaned back in the seat, wondering what the following school year would be like. Within seconds, James popped his head into the train compartment and said “Why ya’ so grim? The worst that could happen is you could be devoured by a three-headed dog… among other things.”
Albus glared at his brother. “Come off it, James. Half the things dad told us were just stories, and you know it! Scary stories and stuff, you know?”
James chuckled. “Yea, probably. Either way, they may have been scary for you, but I thought they were great!”
Albus raised an eyebrow at his brother, a habit he’d picked up from watching some old muggle television. “Great? I remember the look on your face after he told us the story about the cave and the Inferi.”
James’s face slightly paled. “Yea, well… anyway, you want some of this?” He held up a bag which undoubtedly contained quite a few types of candy.
Albus pointed toward the seat opposite him and said, “Take a seat.”
James sat down and dropped the bag on the small table in the middle of the compartment. Upon closer examination, the bag held a few chocolate frogs, several packages of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor beans, and some other assorted candies. Out of another bag, James pulled out a bottle of water, a small cup, and his wand, before filling the cup with water.
“Hey,” James said, “Watch this! It’s a spell Nicki Finnigan taught me!” He put on a mock serious face, pointed his wand at the water, and said “Eye of rabbit, harp string hum. Turn this water into rum!”
Albus watched, suspicious of his brother’s spell… up until the point the contents of the cup exploded in his brother’s confused face. “Well, that was… impressive.” Albus laughed.
James looked up at his brother, a bewildered look on his face. “Excuse me a few
minutes, I’ll be right back.” James stood up, and stalked out of the compartment. A few seconds after he left, he heard his brother yell, “FINNIGAN!”
Albus laughed as his brother left. Nicki Finnigan was a third year, like his brother,
and as he had heard it, a prankster. An extremely pyrotechnically inclined prankster, at that.
Albus returned to his earlier thoughts and worries. What if he was put in Slytherin, no matter how much he begged the Sorting Hat otherwise? His father had told him that personal opinion could change the hat’s decision, but could he really be certain? What if he was meant to be put in Slytherin? What if...
Albus was interrupted, yet again, by the compartment door sliding open. This time, it was Rose Weasley’s head who poked in.
“Hey.” She said. “Mind if I come in? Sitting in an empty compartment wasn’t exactly what I would call an interesting start to the next seven years of my life.” She spotted the bag of candy. “Can I…?”
“Go ahead.” Albus said, motioned to the bench his brother had recently vacated, and chuckled. Rose and he had been hanging out for years, ever since they were little. In all that time, Albus had never seen her turn down an opportunity to eat. Yet, some how, she was still one of the skinniest people he knew.
Rose picked up one of the chocolate frogs, grabbed the chocolate before it could hop out, and ate it. Afterwards, she picked up the card inside the box and exclaimed, “Hey! I’ve got Dumbledore!”
Albus looked at the card. It read “Considered by many to be the greatest wizard of modern times, Dumbledore is particularly famous for his defeat of the dark wizard Grindelwald in 1945, for the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood and his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicolas Flamel.”

He laughed at the card. “That was my dad’s first card! Lucky!”

Rose laughed with him. “You want it? Make it a Potter tradition?”

Albus considered taking the card, shrugged, and said “All right. Why not?” He leaned back, stuffed the card in his robes, and opened up a pack of Every-Flavor beans. He took one out of the bag, popped in his mouth, and immediately spit it back up.

“What was it?” Rose asked, the smile slowly fading from her face.

Albus coughed a few times a few times, before responding. “Ugh…earwax.”

Both the children immediately starting laughing, right as James, his face still covered in ash, poked his head in and said, “We’re almost there. You might want to get ready, Albus. By the way, hey Rose. Long time no see.” James backed up, closed the door, and walked off. A few minutes later, the train started to slow down, and Albus and Rose eagerly packed what they had taken from their bags back in. They, along with a few hundred other children, teenagers, and young adults walked out of their compartments, ready to face whatever the new year had to offer.





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