"Mum! Mum, it's fine, stop touching my hair!" I say, fighting back Mum's hands.
"Oh, sweetheart, I am so proud of you." Mum looks at me, tears in her eyes. "Oh, go get on that train!"
I smile despite myself and somehow get my trunk to the bottom step of the train. I pull with all my might but can't get it the rest of the way up.
"Do you need help?" a boy's voice asks. A round, freckled face framed by shaggy brown hair peeks around my trunk.
I size him up. He has a metal leg. Weird. "Sure," I say. "Thanks." The boy helps me get my trunk up into the train.
"I'm Hiccup, by the way," the boy says, holding out his hand. "Stoick and Vahallarama are my parents.
"Merida," I reply. "Elinor, that lady over there, she be my mother. Father's too busy to see me off. Pleasure, Hiccup."
"Pleasure," Hiccup replies absently as he wanders off down the hall.
I have just met the most amazing girl ever. Wow. That hair, and those eyes... just wow. I am startled by movement of the train, and to avoid being run over by a horde of students bustling through the halls of the train, I find a compartment which happens to have Merida and two other kids, a boy and a girl. The girl has impossibly long hair and the boy wears an incredibly cocky smirk.
"Hiccup!" Merida says. "This be Jack and Rapunzel. They're my friends."
"Friends?" snorts Jack. "I don't know about that. We've known each other for like five minutes. Friends," he mutters, chuckling softly to himself.
Rapunzel, however, is very enthusiastic. "Hi, what's your name?"
"Hiccup," I say. Jack snickers. "Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third." Jack roars with laughter as Merida tries to cover up her giggles. I blush a bright red. I'm an embarrassment just like Dad always said.
Poor Hiccup. Oh, poor Merida. She can't see that clearly he's already besotted with her. He's been staring at her with these puppy dog eyes since he got in here. We're going to have so much fun. Jack's just being a stickler, although he is pretty funny.
"So, what house are you all hoping to be in?" I ask, leaning forward and running my hair through my hands. All three if my compartment companions stare at me blankly. "You know, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin?" Still no reaction. "C'mon, didn't you guys do some reading about Hogwarts?"
Jack laughs. "Reading? Why would we read?"
Mildly offended, I scoff, "Because reading is fun, that's why. So, which house? Gryffindor is mostly for brave sorts, Ravenclaw for smart ones, Slytherin is for ambitious, cunning types, and Hufflepuff is kind of for friendly kids."
"Gryffindor, then," Merida says. "Sounds great to me."
"Er, probably either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw," stammers Hiccup.
"Are you guys for real?" Jack chortles. "Slytherin for sure. How bout you, Punzie?"
I wrinkle my nose at that. "Ravenclaw."
"Oh, stuck up then, I see," Jack drawls.
"She is not," growls Merida, surprising me. She gets to her feet.
"Now, now, let's not fight," Hiccup says, also rising and holding out his hands.
"Take it back!" Merida snarls, her fists clenching. I shrink back, afraid. This is not what I thought life outside the tower would be like.
"No." Jack is defiantly crossing his arms.
"Ahhhh!" And with that ferocious battle cry, Merida tackles Jack.
Okay, so I may be kind of stupid, but I was not expecting Fiery Redhead to tackle me. And I'll admit, it kind of hurts. Merida punches me repeatedly.
"Get off of him!" Rapunzel shouts, pulling on Merida. All right, she isn't stuck up, just sweet, but if I say that I'll be admitting defeat.
Footsteps pound down the hallway of the train and our compartment door slides open, but Merida does not relent. There is a loud gasp.
"Oooh, you guys are going to be in so much trouble," says a girl's voice. "I'm telling a prefect." The door slams.
"Please tell me that's a good thing, Rapunzel," says Hiccup.
"Nope, sorry. Very bad actually. Merida, please get off Jack." Merida finally does and I massage my face. Dang, she punches hard. She glowers at me. "Alright, we have about thirty seconds to act like we're best friends and like we haven't been fighting," Rapunzel says. Thirty seconds, however, is reduced to three when the door slides open and a mousy boy stands before us, a young girl behind him.
"What's going on?" the boy asks in a nasally voice. "I was told there was fighting."
"No fighting, sir," I lie. "Merida DunBroch here is deathly allergic to bees- as am I- and she saw one on me and was getting it off." I must be very convincing, because the prefect turns away and leaves, the little girl close behind him.
When they're gone, we all look around at each other. Rapunzel starts laughing in relief, and pretty soon we're all laughing.
A hand is suddenly placed in front of me. "Friends?" Merida says apologetically.
Slowly, I shake her hand. "Friends."