Chapter: 1 - The Hogwart’s Express
Title: A Select Society
Characters included: Desdemona Wraxton, Nanny, Charles Wraxton, Minerva McGonagall, Verity Thomas, Richard Thomas, Fergus Moore, James Hobson, Loretta Squab, Petra Weintraub, Christian Peters (italics are NPCs)
Summary: The summer finally ends. Desdemona finds a seat on the Hogwarts Express, the possibility of a place on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and a new friend.
The morning of September 1st dawned to find Desdemona Wraxton lying wide-awake in her narrow bed at the top of a fashionable townhouse in Mayfair. She had been awake for several hours, unable to sleep on this day of days – the day she was to return to her personal fairyland. Desdemona felt the urge to spring out of bed and make sure one last time that her trunk was packed, that her wonderful scarlet and gold uniforms were laying neatly pressed in their place, that her new books had been placed carefully in the trunk, that her most prized possession, a new Silver Arrow 3 broomstick, was wrapped in brown paper and cushioned in the bottom of the trunk. But the girl restrained herself. If you get up, Nanny will hear you and chastise you again. There is little point in making her angry the last day of holiday. She’d been telling herself the same thing since she’d woken up. Desdemona resigned herself to continuing to wait and began reconstructing Hogwarts in her head. From the Potions dungeon to the Great Hall to Gryffindor tower and her scarlet canopied bed at the top of a spiraling staircase, Desdemona could remember every detail, every moving staircase and hiding door. She had been practicing all summer.
Two long hours later, Desdemona found herself being bundled into a smart, bottle green traveling suit by her fractious nanny. Her younger brother Charles was sitting on the floor of the nursery crying slightly. “No want Desi go. Me want Desi here.”
Desdemona tried to answer him comfortingly but squeaked in pain instead as her pincurls were ruthlessly undone. “Ouch! Nanny, please don’t pull so hard.”
“You need to look like the young lady you are to see your parents before traveling today. These old plates of meat can’t stand as long as they used to.” The old nurse deftly arranged the curls and pinned a green hat at a jaunty angle into Desi’s dark red hair. “There you are, dear,” she said as she spun Desdemona around to see herself in the mirror.
“Nanny! My hair looks like Shirley Temple!! Take it down, please?” She cried.
“You look like a proper young lady and not like a little urchin running around in the streets. Your mother likes to see you looking like the Hon you are.” Desdemona made a face, but she did not protest anymore. Instead, she gave her slightly sticky brother a hug and kiss, checked one last time to make sure her Silver Arrow 3 was in its place, and pulled her white gloves on. Just a few more hours and then no more Muggle clothes for a whole year! Or at least until Christmas holiday.
Nanny hurried Desi through a cursory farewell to her parents who, as usual, forgot which school she attended. Father simply nodded at her and told her to make sure she didn’t completely lose her hunt seat over the term. Mother kissed her and asked to send her regards to “Miss Cheltenham” and to make sure she practiced dancing. Desdemona curtsied, promised to behave, and escaped unscathed. She practically danced to the car until Nanny barked at her to behave like a young lady or get back to the nursery for the year.
“Sorry, Nanny,” she replied as she began walking with the perfect posture and head carriage as Princess Elizabeth.
Desdemona fidgeted as much as Nanny would allow as the big black car crept towards King’s Cross. If only I could fly my broomstick. I would have been there in a flash. She nodded patiently as Nanny used the time to repeat the many rules of acting like a young lady, few of which were applicable in Hogwarts.
“Yes, Nanny.” “No, Nanny.” “Of course, Nanny.” She interjected when Nanny paused to draw breath. Her mind was reconstructing the exact layout of the Herbology greenhouses.
At the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10, Nanny embraced Desdemona briskly and issued a few last minute maxims before unbending for a second. “Take care of yourself, dear heart. And be sure to send me an owl tomorrow morning so I don’t worry that your train didn’t make it. Let me know if you need anything at all.” Desdemona hugged Nanny around her ample middle.
“I promise. I shall write every week. And you must tell me what funny things Charles is doing.” And with that, Nanny spun around and disappeared into the crowd: she didn’t believe in drawn out goodbyes anymore than she believed in children staying up after seven in the evening. Desdemona watched the familiar large figure go, than turned to face the platform’s barrier. She grinned hugely and pushed her trolley straight through to Platform 9 ¾.
Pushing her way through the crowds of Hogwarts’ students and wizarding families, Desdemona kept an eye out for fellow Gryffindors, especially members of the Quidditch team that she wished to join. There was her yearmate Verity Thomas who grinned at her while surrounded by family. Desi grinned shyly at Verity’s brother Richard who was a Gryffindor Chaser and very handsome. She noticed the boy who had played as Seeker last year though the rumor was that he wished now to play Chaser as he was too tall really to be an effective Seeker. Hobson was his name. He didn’t see her but was chatting with a Ravenclaw Chaser. And the Keeper, a dark third year named Fergus Moore with whom all the girls in her dormitory were in love. Desi kept her eyes wide, grinning a bit at how odd and uncomfortable everyone looked in Muggle clothes.
“Ah, Desdemona,” a familiar Scottish voice said.
Desdemona looked around to see her Prefect, Minerva walking towards her. “Good day, Minerva. I am very happy to see you!” She smiled at the older girl who looked terribly odd in her old-fashioned Muggle dress.
“I am glad to see you made it to the station. Have a nice holiday?”
Desdemona grimaced, “It was nice when we were in the country as I could practice flying, but London is horrid.”
“So you did get some flying practice in. I heard a rumor last year that you wished to have a trial for Seeker.” Desdemona ducked her head shyly. “I am Captain this year so I’ll note you down and tell you when trials are.”
“Thank you so much, Minerva. I shall fly my best.”
“You’d better.” The older girl smiled at her again and moved on to break up a nearby knot of arguing students.
Desdemona struggled fruitlessly to lift her trunk off of her trolley. The trunk wouldn’t even begin to move until a male voice said above her, “Need a hand, Wraxton?”
Desi looked up into Richard Thomas’ big blue eyes and reveled in hearing his voice referring to her so familiarly. “If it would not be a problem, I can not manage to lift my trunk onto the train.”
The older boy smiled again, and Desi found herself smiling tentatively back. “Not a bit of problem. We Gryffindors have to stick together. That and my sister tells me you might come out for Seeker this year.” Desdemona nodded, struck speechless that this seventh year student, even if he was the brother of her friend, knew about her aspiration. “Well, you’ve the right build for it, Wraxton. I’ll hold my thumbs for you. Calling over a sixth year to help, Richard lifted Desdemona’s trunk into a compartment at the end of the train.
“Thank you so much.” The two older boys grinned, Richard winked, and they marched down the hallway to another compartment.
Desi sat down on the leather seat and stared out of the window in a daze until her Ravenclaw friend, Loretta burst into the compartment, “What? Were all the other compartments full, you had to pick one at the end of the train, Desi?”
Desdemona smiled up at Loretta’s good-natured and unorthodox greeting. She looked like she had come to the station in a rush. The dress under her overcoat was rumpled as she took it off and flopped onto the seat across the compartment. “Quite fine, thank you, Loretta. I had a wonderful summer. How have you been?” As Loretta told about her summer and ate her sandwich and apple, Desdemona removed her gloves and hat, setting them carefully on the bench next to her. It was probably a bit too early to change into robes, but Desi couldn’t wait to don the gold and scarlet of her House once more. Desi smiled sympathetically at Lori’s travails and watched as she fed the adorable Liealia bits of her sandwich. Just as Loretta finished her story, a strange blond girl caught her eye passing the compartment. “I wonder who she is?” Desi said thoughtfully. The two girls looked at each other for a second, both their thoughts apparent.
Loretta slid open the glass door of the compartment, “would you like to sit with us? We have plenty of room.”
The blond girl looked startled then nodded, “That would be very nice.” She sat down next to Desi in the compartment as Liealia sprawled across nearly all of the opposite seat. “What a lovely cat,” she said. “Which of yours is she?”
Loretta smiled proudly, “Liealia’s mine though she thinks I’m hers, of course. I’m Loretta Squab, third year Ravenclaw. This is Desdemona Wraxton. She’s Gryffindor.” All three girls shook hands, smiling.
“I am Petra Weintraub. I shall be in the third year.”
Desdemona cocked her head as Petra spoke, “Are you a transfer student then? You sound as though you are German?”
Petra shook her head, “Austrian, but I now live with my aunt in Scotland.”
“Why did you move-“ Loretta began to ask, but she was cut off by Desdemona who had noticed that the blond girl seemed nervous about the intended question.
“Do you know which House you want to be in?” Desdemona asked as Loretta looked at her in dismay.
“My friend Christian is in Ravenclaw. I would like to be in his House, I think. Then at least I would know someone.”
“Christian Peters?” Asked Loretta, blushing faintly.
Petra nodded, “We have been pen pals for several years now. It is nice to know someone in a strange place.”
“But now you know us too.” Desi said, putting her hand on Petra’s thin shoulder. “If you are in Gryffindor, I shall show you around. We would not share classes, of course, as I am second year, but I should not abandon you to the mercies of my housemates.”
“And if you are in Ravenclaw, you’d be in all my classes. I suppose Liealia would sleep on your bed sometimes too.” Loretta said, nodding at her cat who had woken up and was delicately sniffing Petra’s skirt.
Petra smiled shyly, her first real smile since sitting down. Loretta and Desdemona returned the smile as Liealia butted Petra’s hand with her head, demanding a scratch. As Liealia received her tribute, the young witch pushing the food trolley stopped outside their door.
“Would any of you girls like some pumpkin pasties or candy?”
Desdemona jumped up immediately and purchased several pasties and some Chocolate Frogs. “I have been waiting all summer for this. Nanny believes that children should only have bland, smooth food to help develop their digestion.” She took a huge bite of a pasty. “This is wonderful!” Handing pasties and chocolate around, she finished her pasty, reveling in large bites and the lack of adult supervision. As she swallowed her last bite, an idea came to her. “I know!” Desdemona said quickly. “Let us make a pact. Even if you are not Sorted into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, even if you are Sorted into Slytherin, Petra, we shall be friends and study in the Library together, and eat breakfast together, and you shall not just have a boy as your only friend. Wonderful though he certainly is.” She added, glancing at Loretta.
“Oooh, yes. Definitely!” Loretta said excitedly. “And hopefully you are good at Astronomy because Desi and I are hopeless. But Des shall help with Charms, and I with Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology. And if we find others that are worthy to be added to our select society, they shall be allowed to join.”
Petra smiled at the other two girls as she nodded, “This sounds wonderful. I do like stars so perhaps I can help. I should like very much.”
“Now we just need a name,” Desdemona said thoughtfully.