Chapter 2 - Journey
A car pulled up outside the Houston International Airport, and out stepped Sarah, followed closely by Theresa. “We’re finally here!” Theresa said excitedly. “I get to go to AMI!”
“Bye, girls,” Mrs. Wilcox shortly. As Theresa and Sarah watched, the car sped off. Sarah took Theresa’s hand and led her through the frantic crowds toward their destination, which she had visited five times previously. “You have your wand, right?” said Sarah.
Theresa patted her back pocket. “Yeah.”
“Good. See that one black tile?” Sarah pointed to an abnormal spot on the soiled white floor. “Step on it and think, ‘Flight 51.925.’ Got it?”
“Got it.” Theresa walked up to it, her brand-new shoes squeaking, and got on. In a moment, she disappeared. Sarah grinned, shifted the weight of one of her many suitcases to the other shoulder, and followed. She reappeared in a busy terminal, with wizards and witches all around. But Theresa was nowhere to be seen. “Theresa?” she called.
“Over here, Sarah! I made a new friend! Bye!” Theresa yelled.
Sarah smiled, thinking how quickly her sister could make friends, and how different the two were in that aspect. It had taken Sarah weeks to finally find a best friend, and that had been Hallie. Soon afterwards the two had met Keladry, and since then the three of them had been inseparable. Speaking of which…Sarah headed to the section of the plane where the three of them always sat. Keladry Sanchez was already there, waiting, her short, light brown hair curving over her ears and her eyes directed down at her pen and paper.
“Hi, sorry I can’t say, student council has to meet in the back,” she told her. Keladry nodded, barely taking her eyes from her own spiral notebook. Both Sarah and Keladry loved to read and write. Sarah dropped her stuff and hurried towards the back, where a couple other people were.
The meeting started soon after the plane took off, and ended soon afterwards. As sixth-year class president, Sarah had been required to attend, but she thought it a complete waste of time, since the student body president had only given a short speech on student council responsibilities. Sarah had probably heard the exact same thing on numerous occasions. She started to head back to her seat, and on the way passed Shakira Rodriguez. For a reason unknown, and probably more than one, the tall girl with light brownish-reddish curly hair and honey eyes that flashed repeatedly stuck out her foot in Sarah’s path. Sarah was not too big on watching where she was going, instead liking to keep her head in the clouds, so she didn’t see in time. The next thing she knew, she was sprawled across the aisle and Shakira was in her seat, watching with mild interest.
“Still not good with coordination?” she said, sarcasm dripping like the honey of her bright eyes.
Sarah ignored this with some difficulty. She just got up and kept walking, pretending like people weren’t pointing and laughing at her from all over the plane. By the time she reached her seat, Keladry and Hallie were already talking about it. Hallie had arrived after Sarah, and that had probably been because of her little sisters, Kylia and Ryli. Hallie had shiny brown hair, with bangs, that fell just beyond her shoulder blades. She was skinny and a bit tall for her age of sixteen. Today she was wearing jeans, a T-shirt that proclaimed the name of her favorite singing group, the Weird Sisters, and a wrist full of bangle bracelets. “What’s going on, Sarah?” she asked as Sarah sat, trying to hide her reddening face. “People are telling us you tripped over your own feet.”
“Unless Shakira stole my feet, that isn’t true,” said Sarah. “She has hated me since—what—second-year? It’s so not fair.”
“You remember why, don’t you?” said Keladry, looking up from her writings. “It all started when you beat her out for second-year class president.”
“And every class after that,” said Hallie.
“Oh, sure. That’s the reason?”
“Yeah, it is,” said Hallie. “Deal with it. Sarah, you got any good books over the summer?”
“No, but I’ve been writing on mine. You wanna read?”
“No thanks. I need to finish up my Charms essay. I went out of the country, remember? I never got any time to myself.”
“Where did you go again?” asked Keladry.
“France. It was awesome. And guess what!” She sounded especially excited.
“What?” Keladry and Sarah both asked at the same time.
“Wait, I can’t tell you. I totally forgot. The French Ministry of Magic asked us not to mention it until it was released to the public, or something like that. Sorry.”
“I hate it when you do that,” said Keladry, going back to her notebook. “Like, ‘Guess what? Oh, I can’t tell you.’ You do that all the time!”
“Sorry, I can’t help it. I get all excited, but then…I just can’t. Don’t worry, we’ll probably find out tonight at the opening ceremonies.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. Then Hallie took out her Charms book, and Sarah took out her own notebook and began to write. The hero was taking her in his arms…
Argente arrived at L’oeuve de Marina at two-thirty in the afternoon. Madame Meran had brought her in the car that the orphanage owned; now, it was time to go. For a moment, Argente stayed in the car, wishing she didn’t have to go, that her caretaker could come too, and something could be arranged. In that moment, Madame Meran got out and opened Argente’s door for her. “You didn’t have to,” said Argente, stepping out lightly. Her silvery blonde hair draped over her back. “I’m going to miss you.”
“I will miss you too, Argente,” said Madame Meran. The two stood there awkwardly, wondering what sort of farewell would be appropriate. Then Argente embraced her only friend at the orphanage, which she was leaving behind for nine months. Then they broke away, and Madame Meran climbed back into the car. “Goodbye, Argente. Have a good year,” she said. Argente waved until the car was out of sight, and then she headed up to the seemingly deserted dock. At first, she ran into something invisible, and then she moved over a couple of paces. She ran her hands over the invisible wall and finally found the doorknob. She twisted it and opened it. On the other side was a port bustling with activity, with stands selling tickets to Beauxbatons students who had lost theirs and other students towing trunks brimming with magical supplies. Argente grabbed the handle of her own trunk and headed for the giant ship that was docked in the harbor. The word BEAUXBATONS was emblazoned on the side in blue letters, and students were boarding. Argente searched the docks for her friends, Isabelle and Charity, and couldn’t find them until she spotted two identical heads sticking out of the crowd. These weren’t her friends, however; these were Isabelle’s twin older sisters, Jeanine and Jessica.
“Isabelle! Charity!” Argente called. Through the crowds emerged a tanned girl with shoulder-length brown hair and hazel eyes and a girl with long curly black hair and ice blue eyes. The former was Isabelle Layletta, and the latter was Charity Teske. “Aren’t you ready yet? Let’s board the ship!”
“It’s the twins,” grumbled Isabelle. “They’re forcing me to carry their stuff for them.”
“Just leave it. They can’t use you like that.”
“They deserve it, Isabelle,” said Charity. “They have been mean to you since you picked me up.”
Argente took Jeanine’s trunk and Isabelle took Jessica’s, and they crept them back over to the twins, who didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Then, leaving them there, they and Charity ran far away, just within earshot. “I’m boarding! Goodbye!” yelled Isabelle. The twins turned, and the three girls saw shock written all over their faces when they saw the trunks and them disappearing into the overbearing crowd. “Thank you, Argente. I needed to do that,” said Isabelle once they were walking up into the ship.
“That was really funny,” giggled Charity. “We should do that more often.”
“True,” said Argente. “We should find a cabin without windows. You know how seasick I get.”
Isabelle and Charity both nodded quickly, eyes wide. They both remembered their second-year trip to Beauxbatons. It had not been pretty. The three of them headed to the waiting ship, where they said hello to all of their old friends. “Hi, Max,” said Isabelle, waving to a tall boy with straight hair and a smile. He waved back to her. “Maximilien Wiseacre is the best-looking boy in school. Too bad he’s a seventh-year, or I’d have the courage to talk to him.”
“What was that you just did then?” asked Charity.
“That was saying hello. That’s different.”
Both Charity and Argente rolled their eyes. “How long have you liked him?” asked Argente. “Probably since third-year, correct? Isabelle, stop kidding yourself, the way you act around boys probably gives it away.”
“How? How do I act around boys?” asked Isabelle, sounding a little panicked.
“Like a puddle of goo,” Charity answered.
Isabelle folded her arms across her chest. “I do not.”
“Whatever you say,” said Argente, looking over at Charity. The two girls immediately started cracking up.
Isabelle was not pleased with this. “Please don’t. I know I can get a little…boy-crazy.”
“A little?” asked Charity.
“All right, a lot, but you can too!”
“I don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a boy,” said Charity.
“Yes you have! Don’t lie,” said Argente. “Everyone’s liked someone.”
Argente and Isabelle both thought hard for a few seconds. “Wow, she’s right,” Isabelle said. “She hasn’t ever liked someone. Well, I know you have, Argente.”
“All right, who?”
“You liked Max too, didn’t you? And…it was only last year! See? I’m not the only one.”
“Fine, sure, sure,” said Argente quickly. “Here’s a good cabin. Should we go in here?”
The other two agreed, and the three of them put their things down in the cabin and sat on the seats. “I wonder what this year is going to be like,” Argente thought aloud. “Last year we took our O.W.L.s, next year we take our N.E.W.T.s, but what do we do this year? Is it just another year?”
“I guess,” said Isabelle. Charity nodded.
“I guess,” Argente repeated softly. She looked at the walls, grateful there wasn’t a window, and began to wonder. What were they going to do this year?
“Here we are,” said Mrs. Lenoxson. “Catherine, honey, you look after yourself. And Dante, watch after your sister.”
“Yes, Mum,” Dante said dutifully. His main responsibility at school was never schoolwork or his own safety, but the safety of his sister. He knew Mrs. Lenoxson was worried about her younger daughter’s well being, and she had a right to be. Dante had gotten through his first-year with nothing to show but a slew of top marks and almost certain guarantee to be a prefect in four years. Catherine, however, had never amounted to anything but an average student and, with some teachers, a troublemaker. Dante didn’t blame her for tangling with the Potions professor, Snape, or with the Divination teacher, Trelawney, but she even made trouble with all the new teachers she got, like the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts, which had been refilled every year since they had arrived. Her first teacher had been Professor Moody, who had been remarkable in keeping Catherine under control, but had eventually turned out to be a madman in disguise. Her second had been Professor Umbridge, but he didn’t mind her making that one mad either. Every one since then had been either mean to extremes or very, very shy. Most recently, she had scared away Professor Wilma Mahogany, who was currently in St. Mungo’s under the impression that she could talk to turtles.
“Bye, Mum, love you,” said Catherine, pecking her mother on the cheek. Dante followed suit. With a last wave, Mrs. Lenoxson set off, leaving Dante with Catherine. “I’ll find my friends, and you find yours,” Catherine said immediately, shoving Dante’s owl’s cage back into his arms. He shrugged and rolled his eyes, and then set off to find his friends.
It wasn’t long before he spotted them, waiting outside the train, which was blowing stacks of smoke. His group of friends was original in that it had a member from each House. He was the Gryffindor, of course. Matt Bourden was a Ravenclaw. He had dark brown hair, and he rivaled Dante in the spot for top of their year. In fact, after they had gotten their Apparating licenses that summer, they had had a little competition against each other, trying to see who could Apparate to more Apparition spots faster, with Saige and Holly cheering them on. Holly Holbrook was a Hufflepuff with spiraling strawberry blonde curls and calm blue eyes. She was very quiet, and hearing her voice was a privilege. She was also very shy, and she didn’t get close to people easily. The last member of the group, Saige Morgan, was a Slytherin. She wasn’t like most of the Slytherins, though. She had black hair, piercing blue eyes, and far from being shy like Holly, was wild and adventurous. Dante knew who to go to when monotony was starting to take its toll.
“Dante! You made it,” said Matt.
“Finally. Where have you been?” asked Saige.
“Mum was giving me the typical take-care-of-Catherine talk. Hi, Holly,” he said to the only one who hadn’t spoken. Holly just smiled, which was her usual greeting.
“Train’s filling up. We better go,” said Matt. He led the way to their usual compartment, where they dumped some of their stuff to mark their spot. Then Dante and Matt left for the prefect meeting.
“Head Boy?” Dante asked Matt, an eyebrow raised.
“Yes, I was made Head Boy. You don’t have to be so surprised,” he said. “Saige was when I told her.”
“I know why that was. Saige is Head Girl.”
Matt stopped. “What? Saige slacks off all the time!”
Dante shrugged. “Is it my responsibility to interpret Dumbledore’s every decision? I just heard from her last week. I’m surprised she didn’t tell you.”
“Me too. But I’d rather not have to make all these speeches to the fifth-years. I know I didn’t envy the Head Boy last year or the year before.”
“Well, good luck, Matt, because we’re here.”
Matt paled a bit and led the way in. Dante entered after him.
After Saige and the rest of the prefects had gathered, Matt took role. Before he had a chance to speak, Saige stood. “All right, welcome to another year at Hogwarts, and welcome to all you new prefects. As you know, I’m the Head Girl, Saige Morgan, and this is Matt Bourden, the Head Boy. I’ll go over prefect duties first…” And she launched into a long speech that Dante felt sure Matt could never have pulled off. At last, when she was finished, she said, “Anything you’d like to add to that, Matt?”
“Um, no, not really. I think that about covers it all,” said Matt.
“All right. You’re dismissed, everybody. Have a good train ride until we get there.” Everyone filed out except Dante, Matt, and Saige. “Well, did I make a good first impression as Head Girl?” asked Saige.
“You mean as Head. Matt didn’t even do anything!” Dante laughed.
“Yes he did. He…he, well…he took role.”
“And I’m sure he’s very proud of himself,” said Dante. “Listen, Saige, you’ve got to ease up on the reins a little.”
“No, that’s fine, I don’t mind,” said Matt quickly. “You just keep on doing what you’re doing, Saige.”
Saige looked at both of them, and then laughed, her soft black curls obscuring part of her face. “You two are too much. Come on, let’s find Holly.”
The three of them went back to their compartment, where they had a game of Exploding Snap where, surprisingly, Holly won.
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