Harry and Hermione arrived together to ride the Hogwarts Express. It wasn't something Harry generally'd done - and he quickly found out that everything looked different with a coating of snow. Mountains and dunes, the magic of trees sparkling with ice and snow.
Hermione was there, too, but she was reading. Even Ron had managed to be halfway asleep. And Neville was frantically trying to shove more Potions Lore into his brain. As in, that wasn't even the textbook he was reading...
And it would have been a quiet trip, except that Hannah and Susan had sashayed into the room, with Luna trailing behind.
Everyone looked up at them, of course.
Susan crossed her arms and sniffed, "Ernie decided to have a contest."
Susan and Hannah grimaced, before neatly sitting on the benches. Luna shut the door with a bit of a bounce to her step. She seemed unbothered, but Luna generally was hard to rattle.
"What kind of contest?" Ron asked, before really thinking about it.
"He wanted to know who could break wind the loudest." Hannah said, her mouth pursed. "Some people have no class."
"Break wind?" Harry asked, "Are they sticking their heads out the side of the train?"
"I wish," Susan groaned. "They are emitting loud emanations from their hindquarters."
Luna said, with a dreamy smile, "It turns out that erumpets and humdingers detest the smell of rotting eggs. We decided to leave before they befouled our entire ensemble."
Susan laughed, not unkindly, "More likely the boys'd have killed us."
The Hufflepuffs were nice compartment dwellers, having small conversations.
Luna looked out the window, same as Harry himself did. He knew better than to ask what she was thinking.
Harry amused himself by thinking of giants in the snow, and then of tactics, how you could use snow as both a weapon and as a shield - and better yet, as a shroud, concealing your movements. It was the sort of battle that would be suited for medieval fighting, with castles - like Hogwarts.
It didn't work at all when you had wards, of course. Wards, and ward breaking, led to quick and messy battles, where the defenders would pour out like bees from a disturbed hive.
[a/n: This was originally written with the Slytherin girls tromping in (save Millicent, who'd started the contest). I like that one better, but the Slytherins are far too canny to openly display changing allegiances. Even with Malfoy not there.
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