Date: 1st September 1988
Location: Hogwarts Express
"Excuse me?" A girl poked her head round the compartment door.
Harriett placed her finger on her place, closed the book that she was reading, and looked up at the girl who had interrupted her.
"Yes?" Harriett replied, a little annoyed, she had reached her favourite part in her book.
"Sorry. My friend Martha has lost her cat. The cat is black with white paws, and is called Mittens. I was just wondering if you've seen him." The girl said, peering down at Harriett's book.
"Um, no, I haven't sorry. I'll keep an eye out for him." Harriett replied, subtly turning her book over, so it was face down.
"Oh, okay." The girl looked up at her. "I'm Alice by the way. Alice Woodburn. What's your name?"
"Harriett. Harriett Potter."
"Ooh, are you related to Lily, James and Harry Potter?" Alice asked.
"Yeah, they're my family." Harriett asked, looking out the window. The train had just sped past a field of cows.
Alice sat for a moment, watching Harriett with her mouth hanging open.
At that moment, another girl pushed past Alice (who was still standing in the doorway) and sat herself down on the seat opposite Harriett. She was carrying a cat just like the one that Alice had described, and had already changed into her Hogwarts robes.
"Oh, hello. Look, Alice, I've found her! Well, Carl found her in his compartment, but at least she's okay." The girl stroked the cat on it's head, and looked between Harriett and Alice.
"Awesome. So, this is Harriett. Harriett Potter." Alice said, sitting next to the new girl.
The girl also watched her with her mouth hanging open, until she frowned and tilted her head on it's side.
"I know you. You went to live with your aunt and uncle when your parents died." The girl said.
"Yes." Harriett replied, looking out the window again.
"My name's Martha. This is Mittens. Although, I suppose Alice already told you about me losing Mittens?" The girl told Harriett.
"Yeah, she told me." Harriett replied monotonously. She didn't want to talk to anyone, especially not about her family.
They sat in an awkward silence for a few moments, as the train continued to make it's speedy progress towards Hogwarts.
"I suppose we'd better get back to our compartment." Martha said, standing up with her cat firmly in her arms. "You'd better get changed." She added before leaving the compartment.
"See you later." Alice told her, before following Martha out.
Harriett stood up and pulled her robes out of her bag. She glanced out at the darkening sky before drawing the curtains shut.
"GRYFFINDOR!" The Sorting Hat shouted, the person who was wearing it gave it back to Professor McGonagall, and scuttled off to the Gryffindor table.
Harriett watched the next person trip up the step as they went to find out their house. After the long train ride, the first-years had to battle across a lake in the torrential rain, then stand around in a classroom, soaking wet. They had then entered the Great Hall with all eyes on them as they gathered at the front of the Hall. Harriett glanced over at the Hufflepuff table, as the person who had tripped up the steps sat down to loud cheering.
"Ellen Nutmeg!" Professor McGonagall called.
The ginger haired girl who had been shivering next to Harriett made her way up to the stage, took the hat from the Professor and sat on the stool with it on her head. It was silence for a few moments as the hat decided where to put her. Harriett was about the survey her surroundings for the hundredth time, when the hat shouted it's decision (RAVENCLAW!), making her jump.
Harriett gulped, a low murmur had begun around the Hall, and a few people were straining to see her. Almost automatically, her feet carried her to the front, and up the stage. Her hands took the battered hat that was offered to her, her feet took her to the stool, and sat her down. She placed the hat on her head, shaking uncontrollably and trying to avoid all the eyes that were trained on her.
"Hmm..." She heard a small voice in her ear say. "Interesting. I wonder... Quite clever, friendly, but courage I see most... Maybe... GRYFFINDOR!" The hat shouted the last part out to the rest of the Hall, and a loud applause responded.
Harriett gave the hat back to Professor McGonagall, and took a place at the Gryffindor table. Several people patted her back and a tall ginger student shook her hand.
Once the last student had been sorted into Ravenclaw, the Headmaster stood up, and held his hands up for silence.
"Welcome!" he said. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!"
He sat back down, everyone cheered and clapped, Harriett raised her eyebrows at the boy sitting opposite her, he laughed and raised his back in response.
"Alex Wood." He said, leaning across the table to shake her hand. "Oliver Wood is my twin brother." He pointed down the table at another boy who looked remarkably similar to him.
"Hi Alex. I'm Harriett Po-"
"Potter, I know." Alex interrupted, grinning at her. "It's okay, it's only because your family is in one of my mother's books. Greatest Wizarding Families or something like that."
Harriett frowned, and Alex was about to explain when food appeared on the table. The shining golden platters filled with meats and vegetables of all varieties, huge jugs filled with different coloured liquids, and a delicious smell immediately washed over Harriett.
Harriett filled her plate with an assortment of food, and poured pumpkin juice into her goblet. She, and everyone around her, tucked into the meal. A comfortable chatter filled the hall, mixed with the sound of clattering cutlery.
"So, Harriett" the ginger haired boy who had shook her hand earlier, looked down the table at her. "I'm Charlie, and that's my brother Bill." He pointed to another ginger haired boy sat further up the table. "I've always wanted to know, have you seen Harry since... that night?"
A few more heads turned in her direction to listen to her answer.
"No, no, I haven't." Harriett replied, avoiding all the gazes by becoming suddenly interested in a piece of carrot on her plate.
"Oh." Charlie replied, "well, I hope you have a nice time here, and I'll be around if you need me." Charlie turned back to his friends, and immediately joined their conversation about broomsticks.
"Alex?" Harriett looked up at Alex again, but Alex was not sat in his seat. "Alex?"
She stood up and looked around the hall for any sign of Alex.
"What's the matter?" A blonde haired girl asked Harriett.
Harriett sat back down to look at the girl. "I'm looking for Alex. Did you see where he went?"
"Uh, no I didn't, sorry." The girl answered. "By the way, my name's Emily. What's yours?"
"Harriett." She replied, still looking around for Alex.
"Oh, yes, of course. I know who you are. My father told me that I'll be in the same year as you, because you're in Greatest Wizarding Families." Emily told Harriett.
"Oh, right..." Harriett replied absent-mindedly.
At that moment, Harriett spotted Alex coming back down the Hall towards her.
"Alex!" She exclaimed as he sat down. "Where have you been?"
"Just went to find the toilets. Why? Were you worried about me?" He grinned at her, searching through the puddings that had just appeared.
"No, I just wondered where you went, that's all." Harriett replied, blushing slightly.
Harriett pushed open the door to her dormitory. It had her name engraved on a plaque, with the names of four other girls and a sign saying "first-years" also hanging on the door.
"Hello?" Harriett said uncertainly as she peeked round the door.
She spotted her trunk, bag and owl placed on one of the beds and made her way over to it. She sat gingerly on the edge of the bed and looked round the empty room. Seeing as she had no idea who the other girls were, she couldn't go and look for them, but it was only a moment before the door burst open.
"Harriett!" the two girls from the train shouted, they ran over to her and hugged her from both sides.
Shocked, Harriett watched the other two girls who had just sat on the edges of their own beds, casting nervous glances at each other.
"Um, okay..." Harriett gently extracted the girls' arms from around her neck, and they immediately jumped on to the ends of their beds, surveying the surroundings.
"Hm, nice room." Alice said thoughtfully.
"I agree." Martha nodded, letting her cat out of his wicker basket. "There you go, Mittens, good boy." She muttered.
Harriett turned to the other two girls, "So, what are your names then?"
"Hi, I'm Harriett." Harriett told them, offering them smiles.
"Alice!" Alice piped up, who was beginning to unpack her trunk.
Martha sat for a moment, before saying dreamily, "I'm Martha."
Alice suddenly suspended her unpacking to look at Harriett. "Harriett, what book were you reading on the train?"
Harriett leant across the bed to her bag, and pulled out the book that she had been reading, presenting the title to everyone in the room.
"Falling Free..." Katniss read, "What's that about?"
"It's a Muggle book that was published early this year by Lois McMaster Bujold, my aunt bought it and told me that I should read it on the train." Harriett told the other girls. "It's about this genetically modified human race which has another pair of arms instead of legs. It's basically about their battle against these people who are trying to kill them, and this engineer falls in love with one of them." Harriett looked up at their blank faces. "It's very good, but confusing at times, although, that was a really bad explanation."
"Hm. I think my mum read something like that once."
Harriett looked around the room at her new friends, truly believing that she belonged here.