As the train departed from the station, leaving his grandfather behind in a cloud of steam that billowed from the engines, Marius took a deep breath as he refocused his attentions from expressing his disgust with Mr Gillenormand to the business of starting school. He was on his own at last. He had been expending so much of his energy on being as difficult at home as he possibly could, that he had not given as much consideration as he otherwise might have to the fact that he was suddenly on his own amongst a few hundred strangers who were to become his schoolmates. Yes, it would be fantastic to be able to control his magic at last, to be able to weave the spells he saw his grandfather using without a second thought, but the thought of suddenly being surrounded by nothing but unfamiliar faces was a nervous one for the young boy who had grown up largely within the Gillenormand family home and around those who had known him from babyhood.
Still, Marius was not going to be able to stand here in the corridor of the train for the whole journey of course, so he had better go and find a place to sit and get to know some of his fellow students. A prospect that filled him with no small amount of trepidation. He had not interacted socially with many other children before, with the notable exception of his older cousin Theodule. Theodule’s mother – Marius’ aunt – as well as Mr Gillenormand, thought the boy was wonderful. Marius privately thought he was an insufferable idiot. He would be at Hogwarts too, a fact Marius could hardly forget when last summer’s major news had been the seemingly never-ending celebrations sparked by Theodule winning a place on his house quidditch team. Not to mention his cousin’s smugness upon receiving a new broom and lots of gifts in his house colours of black and yellow.
Theodule was going into his fourth year at school and Marius hoped that their paths would not cross often. They wouldn’t have classes together at least, but hopefully they would also be in different houses. Marius understood that students spent most of their free time in the house they were assigned to based on their personalities. He couldn’t imagine anything worse than being in a house full of people like Theodule. That is, unless it was the horrid realisation that being placed there meant he had been judged as having a personality that resembled Theodule. Better to avoid him as far as possible, Marius resolved. And that, in the first instance, meant finding others with whom to pass the journey to school.
He began to move along the corridor of the magical steam train, trying to glance into carriages and assess their occupants as he went without looking as though he were obviously peering. Better not to seem strange or impolite before he’d even started school. As he went, he passed by groups of older students, laughing and joking as they were reunited after the long summer holidays, all seeming perfectly at home in this situation, unlike him. Rather than setting him at ease, seeing so many people appearing to be quite at home in the situation only made Marius more fearful that he would never be able to be so comfortable around these strangers. Eventually, he came to a carriage with only two other boys inside, both of whom looked to be around his age. The fair-haired half of the duo was lightly drumming his fingers on the window ledge, gazing out of the glass as they pulled out of the station. The other was a thoughtful looking boy with chestnut hair and round glasses, who seemed to be emptying the contents of his bag out, pulling out what looked like sandwiches and several books in an attempt to find something at the bottom of the pile. They didn’t appear overly terrifying and so, summoning his resolve, Marius slid open the carriage door. “Excuse me, would you mind if I….?” he trailed off, feeling suddenly shy under the stare of the blonde boy who turned his attention from the window to the new arrival.
“Of course, come and sit down” the boy with glasses replied, moving some of his books from the seat to make a place for the new arrival to sit down. “Another first year?”
“Yes. I’m Marius. Marius Pontmercy”, giving his surname a proud bit of emphasis. It didn’t seem to elicit any reaction. Perhaps these boys were not as knowledgeable of current affairs to have heard of his father and be impressed at the name.
He was on his own
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