AN: The text in bold has been directly borrowed from Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone
1st September 1991
Neville Longbottom was irritated. The stupid toad his uncle Algie had bought him had run away twice since they had come to Kings Cross.
To be honest, he was not that fond of Trevor, but he didn't want the poor toad to get injured amongst all the students on the platform. Holding Trevor tightly in his hands, Neville entered the compartment in which he had placed his luggage earlier. As he prepared to sit down, the door slid open, and Neville turned to look at it.
A bronze skinned boy stood in the doorway, with a large black bag slung on one shoulder and a trunk at his feet. He was about the same height as Neville, if not slightly taller, and had long black hair atop his slightly chubby face.
"Hey man, is there space here?" the boy asked casually, nodding towards the empty seat in front of Neville.
"Uh, yeah. Come in," came the timid reply.
The boy gave a small grin, before dragging his trunk inside, while still hanging on to the black bag on his shoulder. Neville noticed the peculiar shape of the bag, which the boy kept standing beside him when he sat.
"Neville Longbottom," Neville said offering his right hand to the newcomer; this caused Trevor to jump out unnoticed.
"Your frog, mate," pointed the boy towards the now escaping Trevor.
"Oh no, Trevor," Neville bent down and scooped the errant amphibian. "It's a toad. My Uncle Algie gave it to me," he explained sheepishly.
"I think it wants some humidity," commented the boy, before turning to remove a weird looking water bottle from his bag. He poured some water on the floor underneath the compartment window before turning to Neville
"Here, try this. I think Trevor might like it." Giving a small shrug, Neville let his toad down in the small puddle and was surprised that it didn't jump out.
"Oh yeah, I'm Mark. Mark Smith," the boy said shaking Neville's hand. "You're from a wizarding family?" he enquired.
"Yeah, I'm a pureblood. What about you?"
"I'm a first-generation wizard," the boy replied, referring to a rarely used term. Neville inferred that Mark seemed to dislike the word muggle and wisely didn't comment. He decided to ask a safer question
"So what house do you think you'll be sorted into? I guess I'll end up in Hufflepuff," he sighed, wording out the anxiety that had gripped him ever since he'd gotten his acceptance letter.
"You don't seem to happy about it," observed Mark.
"I'm not a talented wizard," commented Neville, before continuing, "My Gran thought I was a squib until I got my Hogwarts Letter."
"What about your parents?" inquired Mark. Neville got distinctly uncomfortable, and Mark realised that they must not be present in his life.
'Great. The one time I decide to not gleam and I fudge it up,' Mark thought inwardly. He immediately sought to correct his mistake.
"It's alright if you don't tell me. It's none of my business"
Neville nodded weakly at this and turned to look at Trevor to mask the uncomfortable silence.
Mark decided to change the topic to something safer instead.
"Do you know if owls make good pets? I considered getting one in Diagon Alley, but Professor McGonagall informed me that there are school owls available at Hogwarts if I need them."
Neville seemed to get more comfortable at this and answered.
"Yeah, they're quite intelligent. They're different from their non-magical counterparts in many ways. Our owl Harrold is very well behaved. You shouldn't have any trouble with them in a non-magical neighbourhood if they deliver letters in the dark." he said in an informative tone.
Mark noticed that Neville was actually quite intelligent and perceptive under his nervous and shy exterior.
"That's good. I'll let my Dad know so that he can get an owl to send me any updates from home"
Neville seemed surprised at the fact that Mark had taken his advice with seriousness. His attention again shifted to the black bag and his curiosity spilt out of him.
"What's in the bag?" he asked.
"My guitar," came Mark's reply. Seeing the blank expression on Neville's face, he explained, "It's a musical instrument."
"You play music on it?" Neville asked, now intrigued.
"Yeah," Mark confirmed, before smiling. "Wanna hear?"
"Now I don't want to hear a single complaint about the two of you from Professor McGonagall this term." Molly Weasley seemed to drone on to her twin sons.
Ron sighed. Even on his first day of Hogwarts, his mother seemed to have forgotten about him after entering the platform. He was used to it. Looking at his younger sister Ginny, he smiled.
She seemed to understand the thought on his mind, and her crying face briefly gave him a comforting smile. She would be left all alone with their mother for a whole year, with none of her older brothers for company.
"I need to get on the train Mum," Ron said a bit loudly, trying to get her attention. She turned to him and frowned, before taking out her handkerchief
"Ron, you've got something on your nose." Ron tried to jerk out of her way as she approached, but she grabbed him strongly and began scrubbing on his nose as if it were a dirty plate.
"Mom - geroff." He finally wriggled free.
"Aaah, has ickle Ronnie got somefink on his nosie?" said one of the twins, taking advantage of the fact that their mother's attention had now shifted.
"Shut up," said Ron, angry at the stupid teasing of his brothers
"Where's Percy?" said their mother.
"He's coming now."
Ron's third oldest brother came striding into sight. He had already changed into his billowing black Hogwarts robes, a shiny red and gold badge with the letter P pinned on his chest.
"Can't stay long, Mother," he said in his usual pompous tone. "I'm up front, the prefects have got two compartments to themselves —"
"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy?" said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. "You should have said something, we had no idea."
"Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it," said the other twin. "Once —"
"Or twice —"
"A minute —"
"All summer —"
"Oh, shut up," said Percy, clearly irritated.
"How come Percy gets new robes, anyway?" said one of the twins.
"Because he's a prefect," said their mother fondly. "All right, dear, well, have a good term — send me an owl when you get there."
She kissed Percy on the cheek and he left. Then she turned to the twins.
"Now, you two — this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you've — you've blown up a toilet or —"
"Blown up a toilet? We've never blown up a toilet."
"Great idea though, thanks, Mom."
"It's not funny. And look after Ron." Molly seemed to add, almost as an afterthought.
"Don't worry, ickle Ronniekins is safe with us."
"Shut up," said Ron again. He was almost as tall as the twins already and his nose was still pink where his mother had rubbed it raw.
"Hey, Mom, guess what? Guess who we just met on the train?"
Ron was getting impatient, and almost missed the exchange.
"You know that black-haired boy who was near us in the station? Know who he is?"
"Who?" Molly finally asked, irritated at their antics
"Oh, Mom, can I go on the train and see him, Mom, oh please. …" Ginny piped, her crying paused.
"You've already seen him, Ginny, and the poor boy isn't something you goggle at in a zoo. Is he really, Fred? How do you know?"
"Asked him. Saw his scar. It's really there — like lightning."
"Poor dear — no wonder he was alone, I wondered. He was ever so polite when he asked how to get onto the platform."
"Never mind that, do you think he remembers what You-Know-Who looks like?"
Molly seemed to get very protective at this, more than she had ever been of him, noticed Ron
"I forbid you to ask him, Fred. No, don't you dare. As though he needs reminding of that on his first day at school."
"All right, keep your hair on."
The train blew its whistle, prompting Ron and the twins to clamber on the train. Ron turned to wave at Ginny. She was laughing at George's joke about toilet seats while running to keep up with the moving train, her tears forgotten.
As the train left the platform Ron started to search for a compartment, anxious about his first year at Hogwarts.
The train swayed as Hermione walked through to the next carriage. She had just finished exchanging pleasantries with three first-year girls like her- Mandy Brocklehurst, Sally-Anne Perks, and Megan Jones.
Hermione had been extremely anxious regarding her lack of magical knowledge and thus had decided to introduce herself and assess all the fellow first years on the train. As she neared the next compartment, she could hear faint sounds of guitar playing from within.
She slid the door open and looked at the view inside. Two boys her age were seated near the window, one blond and the other black-haired. Two older boys, this time redheads, dressed like her in Hogwarts robes seemed to be half standing with a leg folded on the seat underneath.
The black-haired boy who had in his hand the guitar she had heard was the first to notice her entrance, and immediately stopped playing.
"Hello?" He half-greeted half-asked her, alerting the others of her presence. They turned and stared in an enquiring gaze.
"Oh. I was just visiting all the carriages and introducing myself." She seemed to have focused back on her objective.
"I'm Hermione Granger, Muggle-born. Are you first years too?" she spoke in a rapid tone.
The blond boy seemed dazed at this, but the two redheads grinned at each other mischievously. She noticed they were twins.
"Fred and George Weasley, third years, at your service," they said simultaneously. "Nice to meet you Hermione Granger, muggle-born"
Hermione realised they were teasing her and she was about to retort when the black-haired boy intervened
"Nice to meet you, Hermione. I'm Mark Smith, and this is Neville Longbottom. We're both first years as well," he nodded to the boy seated in front of him, who seemed to have come out of his stupor.
"Uh, hi," he offered with a weak smile, trying to hide his earlier awkwardness.
Hermione took this as an invitation and came in to sit beside Neville. She nudged one of the twins on her way in forcing him to sit fully. The other one tried to mirror his collapse in an exaggerated manner.
"Are you Muggle-born?" she asked the boys, not having gotten an answer earlier.
"Yeah" answered the boy named Mark. The other three shook their heads.
"We're Purebloods," the twins chimed in together.
"Have you read any of our textbooks?" she asked, almost as if she had trouble controlling her questions.
"Yeah I did skim through most," Mark supplied; he had actually finished reading all of the books on his list and had gone back to buy more, but he didn't like to boast in front of others.
"Really?" Hermione seemed excited by this. "I've read them all too. I've actually memorised all the textbooks. What do you think about-" she continued in her enthusiastic tone, which seemed to match the Express in its speed.
Neville watched in amazement as Mark seemed to be able to keep up with her questions, and noticed his irritation with the girl slowly growing underneath his exterior.
He turned and shared a look of incredulity with the twins, who were barely containing their laughter. They were both cool according to Neville. The four had talked about pranks and rock music, or as the twins had called it, 'crazy music' for the past couple of hours, before the girl Hermione had entered.
Well actually Neville hadn't said much, but the other three had treated him as equals. He wondered if he might actually have some friends at Hogwarts.
"-well, I need to get going now. Nice meeting all of you." Hermione seemed to finish, pulling Neville's attention back to her. He smiled at her with a small nod, and she left the compartment, sliding the door closed behind her.
"That was interesting," remarked Mark in a deadpan voice. An unspoken silence followed for a moment before the twins started roaring out in laughter. Mark gave an amused chuckle before joining in, and the sheer absurdity of the laugh caused Neville to succumb too.
'Yeah, Hogwarts will be fine,' thought Neville, smiling at his new friends.
Ron watched as the Hogwarts Express pulled into Hogsmeade station. He had just finished changing into Bill's old school robes, which still were a bit short for him, not fully covering his sneakers. He looked at his new friend Harry Potter, dressed in brand new robes which fit him.
Harry Potter. Ron still couldn't fully believe that he'd met the boy-who-lived, let alone shared the whole train ride as friends.
He wasn't at all like he'd expected, all small and dressed in shabby, ill-fitting clothes. At first, he had thought that it was some sort of strange muggle fashion, but from what Harry told him had surprised him. It turned out that the great-Harry-Potter had not actually lived a great life at all. He hadn't even known he was a wizard!
Ron remembered Harry standing up for him when Malfoy had offered his friendship to Harry while insulting Ron's family. He knew then that Harry was going to be a great friend to him, and he only hoped he could match him.
He saw the bushy-haired girl walk past their compartment. Ron recalled the girl- Hermione Granger overwhelming him and Harry with her bossy questions when she had visited them earlier.
That had hit Ron really hard. A girl who didn't know she was a witch until a month ago somehow now knew more about magic than him.
He was now more scared of Hogwarts than he'd been before; could he live up to Bill's genius, or Charlie's skill? Even annoying as he was, Percy was disciplined in a way Ron could never hope to match, while the twins had huge reserves of talent and confidence hidden behind their humorous antics.
A voice echoed through the train: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."
Ron grew nervous at this. Would he even be sorted into Gryffindor? What did fate Hogwarts hold for him?