Chapter 1 – The Hogwarts Express
Title: In which we meet James Hobson
Author: James Hobson
Characters included: James Hobson, Verity Thomas, Desdemona Wraxton, Loretta Squab, Petra Weintraub, Richard Hobson, Minerva McGonagall, Stephen MacDougal
Summary: James Hobson boards the Hogwarts Express and catches up with the other characters
“Study hard, Son, and mind your professors.”
“I shall.” James Hobson pulled his trunk from the boot of a Rolls-Royce Phantom parked outside King’s Cross Station and gazed up at his immaculately dressed father. “Give my love to Mother and Dick, and please thank Lord Wharton for the use of his car.”
“You should send him a note yourself, Son.”
James hesitated, knowing that his father would have trouble understanding the difficulty of sending post through the Royal Mail from Hogwarts. “Yes, you’re right, of course.”
“It wouldn’t hurt to write to your mother and me a bit more often, either,” Richard Hobson said, adjusting the lapels of his son’s swallowtail coat as he spoke. He rested his hands on his son’s shoulders. “We are both very proud of you. Now go make us prouder still.”
The father and son shook hands, and the blond boy lifted his trunk and walked toward the station. Before opening the door he looked over his shoulder at his father and shouted, “I’ll write as soon as I can!”
James made his way past businessmen, laborers, soldiers, sailors, and other students, and smiled to himself. None of these people, none of these muggles
, had any idea that there was a hidden terminus between platforms nine and ten. For a moment, James entertained the idea of deliberately walking through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4 in full view of some disreputable-looking muggle, but quickly discarded the idea. It wouldn’t do to cause trouble before the semester even began. He gave a casual glance about himself and quickly stepped through the barrier, into the wizarding world.
He was later than usual; the platform was very crowded. Groups of older students had gathered and were talking boisterously of their summer holidays. James shook hands with Stephen MacDougal, one of the Chasers on the Ravenclaw quidditch team. Here and there anxious first years were saying farewell to equally anxious parents. Most of the witches and wizards had tried to blend in with the muggle population on their way through the city, but James realized that on the whole they would have done just as well in their wizarding attire—one father was dressed in brilliant cricket whites, and he’d topped off his ensemble with a bright red fez. His wife’s immense sombrero fell off as she embraced their daughter. James passed the tearful family and approached the Hogwarts Express.
“Hobson, is that you?” James turned to face Minerva McGonagall, one of Gryffindor’s prefects, and a chaser on the house quidditch team.
“Hello, Mac, how were your hols?”
“Fine, Hobson, fine, but were you able to get any flying in this summer?”
James looked down. “A bit.” Minerva arched her eyebrow.
“Well, I did try, but it wasn’t exactly easy sneaking out of the house in the dead of night, what with the night staff and the hounds and all. Besides, one time I’m sure one of the village folk saw me. I had to stop.” The older girl made a disapproving noise.
“So am I to guess that you’ve been made quidditch captain, then,” James asked.
Minerva brightened. “Yes, I have. And you’d best get on your broom once or twice before trials if you want to remain our seeker.”
“Actually, I don’t.” James had to stop himself from laughing at his older friend’s shocked expression. “I was a good seeker, but not a great one. I’d rather try for chaser if you don’t mind.” Minerva considered. “Aye, we’ve an opening there, and I think one of your yearmates might have the makings of a seeker.”
“Oh? Who’s that?”
“Miss Wraxton? You’re not serious?”
Minerva’s eyes narrowed. “James, I’d never imagined you to be a chauvinist.”
“No, not a bit, but…it’s just that she never struck me as someone who’d want to play quidditch at all. Croquet, perhaps, but not quidditch. But who knows? Maybe she’ll surprise me.”
“Indeed. But you’d best board the train. It’ll be moving soon.” James looked about himself, and indeed the platform was nearly empty of students. Only parents, in their eclectic muggle dress, stood waving at the train.
“Right, see you at school, then, Mac?” Minerva inclined her head, and James, trunk in hand, jumped aboard the express. He passed several full compartments, and made his way into the hindmost coach where a group of four girls were gathering trunks from the floor of the corridor. He recognized two of his housemates, Verity Thomas and Desdemona Wraxton. James had shared classes with both girls, but was on familiar terms with neither. The third girl was a Ravenclaw—Somebody Squab? The fourth was a stranger.
“Hello, Miss Thomas, Miss Wraxton. Ladies.” James bowed slightly as he spoke. “I hope I find you well?”
“Hardly.” Verity’s voice was hard. “That cow, Rubella Leeks, just threw us out of our compartment.” The train gave a lurch and began to move.
“Brilliant,” complained the Ravenclaw girl. “Now the train’s pulling out and we’ll never find enough room for us all to sit together.”
James looked through the glass in the door to his left. He opened the door and said, “This compartment seems to be completely empty. Would you like it?”
“Rubella. Is such. A prat
!” Verity stamped her foot. “She didn’t need our compartment—she threw us out just because she could.”
James nodded. “She’ll do that, I find. Shall I help you with your bags, ladies?”
“Thank you, James, that would be lovely.” Desdemona swept past him into the empty compartment. The other girls followed as James arranged their trunks on the luggage rack. When the girls’ bags were safely loaded, James hefted his own.
“Have a pleasant journey, ladies. I’ll see you at the feast.”
“Oh, come now, James.” Verity slid aside on the bench. “There’s room for you in here.”