Running Backwards Chapter Two (2015-03-31)

I was going to vomit. Okay, no. I wasn’t really going to. But it felt like it. Don’t get me wrong, I was still as happy as ever to be going to Hogwarts. But nerves twisted up inside me, a dark knot in my chest and a sharp tangle in my throat. Hogwarts was magic and magic was amazing; but magic was also dangerous. Magic meant logic didn’t work, meant horrors beyond the laws of physics. Magic meant my two decades of experience in another life wasn’t enough of a safety net, and the fall would be so much worse than not getting perfect marks on a primary school math exam.

But surely it meant something? Maybe… maybe the reason why I remembered my past life is because of magic. Maybe that was my accidental magic–because I don’t remember doing anything else fantastical, but I had been a pretty mellow child. And surely my karma was still decent enough, right?

Second-guessing would get me nowhere. And, at the very least, I had two years before things started getting weird. Moreover, Harry’s first three years had been dangerous for him but for everyone else it had been… well, not safe–considering the troll and the basilisk and the dementors–but survivable. And survivable was good enough for me. As long as I didn’t do anything over wrong, or interfere with canon, I would survive.

It’s these kinds of thoughts that make me nauseated.

My mum was the one to bring me to King’s Cross–it was only fair, since she couldn’t go to the Diagon Alley trip, and my father had to begin preparations for his actual students–and followed after me with a quiet, amused smile. Which quickly slid into shock as I forcefully shoved my luggage cart at what she thought was a normal stone pillar, only for it and me to disappear through to platform 9¾. She composed herself quickly enough, because in the half-minute it took her to join me she was back to her normal calm smile.

The Hogwarts Express really was beautiful–a gleaming red which brought to mind candy apples and Christmas, all childhood nostalgia and warm glows. Families were bustling around saying their goodbyes, some returning students meeting with their friends. There were so many people and so many voices and it was too much. Suddenly, I felt my physical age too keenly–I was an eleven year old leaving home for an extended period of time. My confidence faded and I turned to cling to my mum, face pressed into the soft cotton of her dress.

She threaded her fingers through my hair soothingly. Another woman nearby spotted us and cooed, “First year? Some of them get like that, it’s perfectly normal. Soon enough they’ll be dashing away as quick as they can. My eldest is in her third year already, she’s already gotten on the train. This here is Arthur, it’s his first year too.” The woman gestured to the boy next to her, dark skin lightly flushed with embarrassment. I couldn’t help but match it, since my clinginess was literal and, thus, worse.

“This is Rey. This shyness is a surprise to me, he was practically bouncing off the walls to get here,” My mum responded for me, and immediately my preemptive homesickness was cured. Arthur and I met each other’s eyes and in that moment, powered by shared mortification, we became friends without saying a word to each other.

“Okay, mum! Rey and I are going to go on the train now.” Arthur blurted, beginning to push his cart towards the boarding areas.

“Bye, mum,” I murmured with one last hug before trotting after Arthur, thankful for the escape. When I caught up to him, I couldn’t help but sheepishly introduce myself, “So… I’m Rey Chason. Rey is short for Reyniero. Uh. I was just a little overwhelmed, you know? I’m a muggleborn so it’s my first time seeing everything.”

Arthur snorted good-naturedly, “I’m Arthur Ellis. The platform stops being so exciting when you’re dragged along to drop off your sister. I guess it’s just weird to be boarding the train for once, instead of just watching it leave.”

We helped lift each others’ trunks onto the train, exchanging small talk all the while. He was a halfblood and wanted to know what it was like growing up in the muggle world, and vice versa for me. It was a little difficult since, without knowing what to ask, we were mostly exchanging random tidbits about our lives, but it was nice. Looking for a compartment wasn’t too difficult, though we did avoid the ones that already had groups of older students. We finally happened on one that only had two other kids who were either our age or not much older than us.

The boy was the one to offer us seats when we poked our heads in, even getting up to help us with our trunks, which was awfully nice of him. The girl asked us for our names, a little blunt but not unkind. We answered, repeating the usual light introductions to our fellow passengers.

“And you?” Arthur asked, in turn.

“We’re both first years, though we both grew up in the same village so we already know each other. I’m Stephanie Fawcett,” she said with a sharp grin and a toss of her hair.

The boy’s smile was much softer, but just as bright. With how friendly both of them were, it looked like this would be a pleasant, relaxing trip. That is, until he said, “I’m Cedric Diggory,”

Damn it. So much for not interfering.

~

A/N: I guess I didn’t get to Hogwarts yet. And yes, now OC has a name! Reyniero Chason. Also, Arthur Ellis is based on this random video game character. S. Fawcett is mentioned in the books as also having grown up in Ottery St Catchpole like Cedric. I chose Stephanie because… uh, the theme is royalty. That is, Reyniero means “ruler’s advisor” and Arthur and Cedric are names of historical(/mythical) kings. Stephanie means crown.

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