Sense of Belonging

Chapter 3

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).




Glancing around her room, Isabelle went through her mental-checklist once more to be sure she wasn't forgetting anything important. Even if she did, her mother would mail it to her or drop it off personally at the school. She needn't worry, Narcissa had said the night before, she would love Hogwarts and quickly find it a second home.

Despite her fight to join Draco in his first year at the magic school, Izzy was still worried about the change. The classes, the schoolwork, none of that concerned her. But what about making new friends? Where would they be sleeping? The food? There were so many unanswered questions, things she couldn't find the answer to even after reading Hogwarts: A History twice already. Nervously fixing her hair once more in the mirror, she moved back to her bed where her bag lay. Hogwarts robe? Check. Money for emergencies? Check. Her brand-new wand? Check. Her book –

"Isabelle, sweetie, ready? We must get going before the platform becomes too crowded." Narcissa's voice drifted in from the doorway to her daughter's room. Iz quickly stuffed the book into her bag, hoping her mother hadn't seen it, and turned to her with a small, nervous smile.

"I think so. Do you think I'll really like it there, Mother?"

"I know that you and your brother will. You'll be top of your class, you'll make many new friends –"

"But what if no one wants to be my friend? Or, or what if I'm not sorted into Slytherin and they all hate me –"

"That won't happen, sweetie. And you'll know a few more people than your brother. A couple families from your father's work have children who are also attending Hogwarts for their first year, so there will be a few familiar faces and friends. But I have no doubt that you will make some new, wonderful friends in Slytherin. Now, we must get going. Come," Narcissa gave her daughter a reassuring smile before leaving the doorway. After one last glance around her room – and grabbing her hair brush, which she most certainly needed to tame her wild hair – Isabelle followed her mother down into the front foyer. Draco and her father stood there waiting with their two trunks, Lucius looking impatient.

"We're ready. Isabelle, don't forget your owl." Once Iz had a hand on Russet's cage, she took hold of her mother's with the other so that they could apparate to the platform. Glancing at Draco, who was carrying his own trunk and holding their father's hand, Iz took a deep breath to hold while they magicked their way to the train station.

Arriving at the back of Platform 9 ¾, both Draco's and Iz's eyes widened at the sight of the Hogwarts Express. The giant, crimson train sparkled, the smoke rising from its engine, drifting over the assembling crowd. There were a mix of people milling about, some in the familiar wizard clothes and others in strange Muggle clothes.

"Awesome!" Draco exclaimed excitedly.

"Why do we need to ride a train to get to Hogwarts? Why can't we just apparate there on our own?" Izzy asked Narcissa, a lot more people than she had expected to be on the platform. She could already see the first few train cars were filled with students, some even hanging out the windows to say their goodbyes.

"It is just part of the experience, sweetie. Plus, there's a train car just for the Slytherins and snacks. Just stick with your brother, it'll be alright." Following Lucius, the Malfoy family moved toward one of the train cars near the end to drop off their trunks. Iz was overwhelmed with the amount of people and the loud cacophony on the platform. Beginning to fall behind, carrying Russet and her small carry-on bag, she almost walked right into a short, blonde-haired girl. Barely dodging in time, the girl just continued on without looking back, following a tall, strict-looking woman who was speaking what sounded like French.

"Isabelle? Come on, we have to say our goodbyes," Narcissa called back to her, looking slightly uncomfortable as they were surrounded by obviously Muggle-born families. Distracted once more by a parade of red-haired siblings, Iz hurried over to the rest of the Malfoys.

"– for the candy, for both you and your sister, you are in charge of it. Understood?" Lucius handed Draco a small pouch of presumably money, a hand on his shoulder looking proud. "Remember what I told you – you are upholding the family names. No fraternizing with any –" he glanced around a second before saying more quietly, "undesirables. Make me proud, son." Draco nodded with a determined and confident look on his face before giving his father a hug goodbye.

"Time to go, Isabelle. Have a wonderful time, help your brother if he needs it – no pranks – and know that your father and I are only an owl away. Write us any time. We love you," Narcissa kissed Iz's forehead before giving her a tight hug. The dark-haired daughter held back her tears, knowing it was a public place and such emotions were not appropriate. She stepped away to let her mother say goodbye to Draco. Turning to her father, he gave her a small, quick hug without any other encouragement.

With a swift glance back at her parents, Iz carried Russet into the train, following her brother through the crowded passageways. After a moment they reached an open carriage without individual compartments. Everything looked expensive; there were chandeliers on the roof, drapes over the windows. Many of the students already occupying the carriage wore silver-and-green school robes. Following Draco to an empty section, she quickly sat down to take everything in. The open compartments quickly filled as the warning bell rang for the train. Izzy scooched over to sit at the window, Draco sitting next to her but keeping an eye out for something.

As the final call rang for students to board the train, a pair of heavier-set boys sat across from the siblings. Draco greeted them like old-friends, but they had only met on a few occasions before today. Both pure-blood sons of their parents' friends, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle had frequented the Malfoy parties as children. Neither very intelligent nor fascinating, Isabelle had no interest in interacting with them. Draco, on the other hand, enjoyed their company as they followed him in whatever he said and wanted to do.

"Crabbe, Goyle, good to see you. Starting at Hogwarts this year as well?" Both nodded silently but seeming happy enough. "I can't believe they won't let First Years play on the House Quidditch teams. I wanted Father to protest that rule and let me at least try out, but he said it wasn't important enough. I think that…"

Iz tuned her brother and his conversation out, instead taking in the other students in the carriage. Many looked familiar, surely from other pure-blood and old magical family gatherings. A couple, already wearing their Hogwarts robes, proudly wore badges that read "Prefect" on it. By now, as the train began to pull away from the station, everyone began to settle and take their seats. Izzy continued to people-watch, focusing on the seats behind Crabbe and Goyle where a group of girls were sitting. She recognized the one, a quiet girl by the name of Daphne Greengrass. The dirty-blonde-haired girl seemed bored by her company, rolling her blue eyes as one of the others continued talking nearly non-stop about something she had bought the other day. Iz couldn't remember the annoying girl's name but thought it had something to do with flowers.

After a few more minutes of eaves-dropping on other people's conversations and staring out the window at the passing scenery, she momentarily tuned back into her brother's conversation.

"– and I can't believe that they won that game, the Cannons can't even play –"

"Draco?" Iz interrupted the conversation, not interested in her brother's obsession with the regional Quidditch teams. "May I have the money Father gave you for snacks? I'm going to go explore the train."

"Just wait until the cart gets here, Izzy. There's nothing else to see on the train, Father said so, it's just filled with Mudbloods and other /undesirable/ people. Didn't you bring a book or something?" Rolling his eyes, trying to appear cool to his new friends by bossing around his little sister. However, Draco's tone did not sit well with Isabelle.

Annoyed but not wanting to fight in front of new classmates, she gave him a look before grabbing her bag as the boys returned to their conversation. Reaching in to pull out the novel, she hesitated, realizing it might not be acceptable to read it in the Slytherin car. She hadn't realized when they were at the bookstore but she had accidently bought a copy of a Muggle book, a simple romance story set in a large Muggle city. This was her third time re-reading it in the past month, fascinated by the descriptions of Muggle contraptions and their ways of living. She still had a lot of questions and didn't understand all of the words, but the storyline was intriguing and adventurous so she enjoyed it. At the same time, she hadn't told anyone – not her mother, nor her brother – that she had it, keeping it a secret for fear they would take it away from her. Sighing and placing her bag down once more, she looked to Russet to provide some entertainment. After petting him for a while, he fell asleep in his cage, content. Her stomach now growling and no candy cart yet in sight, she looked back at her brother and interrupted him again.

"Draco, just give me my half of the money. It's boring here and I want to see the rest of the train." Holding out her hand expectantly, she gave her brother a no-nonsense look. Still wanting to appear cool and in charge, Draco turned away from his new friends' curious looks and narrowed his eyes at Izzy like his father would at home.

"The cart will be here any minute. Can't you just wait?"

"I don't want to wait. I want to go and get candy and explore the train a little. Please move."

"Well, Father gave me the money so I'm in charge of it. And I say we are waiting until the cart gets here."

"You're not Father, you can't tell me what to do. Now /move/, Draco." Grabbing Russet's cage and her bag, she stood up in the aisle. Draco, obviously upset at having his word undercut by his own sister, gave her a look before sitting back down. He returned to his conversation with the other boys, ignoring Iz as she waited a moment more for him to give her the money. Realizing he wouldn't at this point, she took her owl and walked out of the Slytherin carriage.




What will happen next? Who will Izzy meet on her adventure through the Hogwarts Express? Stay tuned!