Ever since I can remember, I have been going to Platform 9 and 3/4 to see a fresh batch of cousins leave for Hogwarts. Even the years I can’t remember, there have been a worried cousin or two sent off on that steaming, scarlet express train, ready to be Sorted into a house at Hogwarts, with a new room and new robes, with new friends to make, and new lessons where they can use their new equipment in their new lives.
For years, it didn’t worry me. Of course, I couldn’t really remember the first few. Then, I gradually realised that with every September, I was losing more and more family to that mighty and wonderful trap.
Like I say, it didn’t worry me at first.
When I was one, it was the last time the whole batch of Weasley cousins were a) born, b) all in junior school still (or at least not at Hogwarts) and c) together. It was the first and last time none of the entire set were THERE.
When I was two, Mum and Dad and James and Albus and I all went to see Teddy Lupin off to his brand new life. His grandmother looked so proud as her small grandson went off to Hogwarts to get sorted into Hufflepuff; gain immense popularity through his clever appearance-changing talent, braveness, boldness, laid-back attitude, and heroic parents. He went on to graduate into Auror school where everyone loves him still.
When I was three, it was just the same cousin again (Ted may not be an official cousin by blood, but he’s a better cousin than Lucy and Molly ever were). I didn’t notice, of course, because I was too busy running around crying and making a fuss to notice when the giant train pulled out of the station.
When I was four, Victoire Delacour-Weasley was going along as well. Her parents – Uncle Bill and Tante Fleur - were there, beaming with pride as their gorgeous golden-haired girl stepped nervously onto the train with Teddy leading her by the hand, beaming out the window together and waving to Nana Molly and Granddad Arthur (who had come to see their first grandchild off).
When I was five, it was still just those two leaving, but this year, Vic and Ted were arguing. Victoire had gone on to become a Ravenclaw, and although the two argued a lot, they were still the best of friends. She would later go on to continually date and break up with Ted from fourth year onwards, and they were ‘on a break but still friends’ until her graduation, when she became Mrs. Victoire Lupin-to-be.
When I was six, Fred and Molly were sent off too. Most of the family turned up this time, and I had to cope with Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey taking hundreds of photos and cooing and fussing over their perfect child, while Uncle George pressed thousands of pranking aids on his son and Aunt Angelina lectured him one last time on good behaviour. They were led off, rather happily, by Vic and Ted into their new lives: they became a pranking, laid-back Gryffindor and hard-working, rule-loving Hufflepuff respectively. Let’s just say that it was not The Boring Set (Uncle Percy and Aunt Audrey) who were the least proud.
When I was seven, this was when it hit me. The worry, and the full realisation. Because this time, it was James and Dominique going off into the unknown. James Sirius Potter, my older brother, prankmeister and joker… he was going off, to become a Quidditch freak with a love of pranking, in Gryffindor. Mum and Dad couldn’t have been prouder. He, along with my feisty Ravenclaw cousin Dom, formed a fast foursome with Molly and Fred, house and age differences aside.
This was the year it all seemed to really become clear for me, because a good half of my family were gone now, returning briefly twice a year and then in the summer for our Camps… where some of us younger ones started to be a little left out as they talked all things Magical, although fortunately I still had Hugo, Al and Rose. Teddy had got his OWLs at this point – he had failed none, and got two O’s. They all KNEW stuff, important stuff that we couldn't even dream of.
When I was eight, Roxanne and Luna Scamander’s twins were sent off. Roxie looked a little uncomfortable at going with the Freak Twins, but they were nice enough, and fortunately she quickly found other friends within her dorm. As a Gryffindor prankmaster and Beater at age eleven, I suppose that does help. However, I was going to miss Roxanne, with her fun sense of humour and silly streak.
When I was nine, Albus and Rose were sent off along with all the other six cousins still at Hogwarts. This was the send-off that hurt the most. We had been inseparable for years now, the four of us; Hugo, Rose and Al were my best friends. They were fantastic people, and two-thirds of my best friends had been torn away. Rose was the older sister I never had, who looked after her other new Gryffie buddies; Al was the magically-powerful, bookish, fun but not as prank-orientated as James, older brother! I was now left with my BEST best friend – Hugo was slightly more best than the others, but we were still ridiculously close through all of this - and one other cousin who was no longer at Hogwarts.
Nope, nobody had been thrown out, but Teddy had officially graduated, passing through Hogwarts and out the other side. I was pleased he had done so well, but his completion of this fantastic rite only seemed to emphasise our incompetence, and made me feel even more sullen that we couldn’t go yet - as if Rose and Al’s leaving and meeting new people (Scorpius Malfoy, mainly – he was, surprisingly, in Gryffindor) did not already emphasise that enough.
Now, I am ten. Here to see off Louis and Lucy (the two most boring cousins we have – nice, but desperately boring and unfortunately the closest to our age).
Me and Hugo have officially been abandoned – the left-behinds from all the clever Hogwarts students. But this year, we are not going to act like the silly milksops who have been left dripping behind their mothers’ aprons. Oh no.
“This year will be a year of freedom,” I said to Hugo, “and I really want to do loads of useful things this year. No more sulking… now it’s just me and you, we are going to use these last twelve months for ourselves, so we can have it better than the other lot, before going off and making chaos at Hogwarts next year – we’ll be preparing for it all this one!”
Oops, did I just say that out loud? Because it’s all too true… and nobody should know.
*A/N: Hey guys. This is an idea I have been thinking about loads recently – just can’t get it off my mind! So, I decided to write a prologue… and the first chapter is already coming on to me.
Not sure where it is going, but I hope you like the idea J
Chapters will be longer than this, but this is just a prologue, so it’s shorter :)
Edited 29/1/12 & 5/2/12
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