Harley Potter was late. The one day she had been looking forward to most in the entire year had finally arrived, but here she was, hurriedly shoving robes, scarfs, many pairs of odd socks and any other strewn possessions that had been abandoned around her borrowed room into a huge suitcase. She had overslept, and the Train was going to depart from the station in just over an hour, and she wasn't even in London yet.
She had been staying at the Weasley's house, with one of her closest friends Rowen and her family for the entire holiday (which she was hugely grateful for- her aunt and uncle weren't the most welcoming and friendly of relatives to put it lightly). Whilst it had been great fun for mostly all of it, there had been an unsettling event that had occurred during the peak of summer, which one of Rowens older sisters had been directly involved with. It had been a worrying time and everybody seemed to be on edge, but Harley tried to push it to the back of her mind as much as she could, thinking the sooner they got back to school the better. No large, fire breathing steel plated dragons could get to them there, thank heavens. She forced the metal clasps shut, grabbed her wand and headed downstairs with her owl, Headwig under her arm. Rowan was already downstairs, alongside all of her many siblings, tucking into a hearty breakfast of pancakes alongside every topping you could imagine, accompanied with plates of sausage and bacon. Rowan looked up at her and beamed, her red hair curling round her shoulders, already trying to escape the braids she had hastily twisted in an attempt to control it.
"Harley! I thought you would never come downstairs. You do realise we are going back to school today don't you?"
"Of course I realised, I just overslept thats all. It was a accidental mistake." Harley said, forking pancakes onto a chipped china plate.
"Of course of course. Im surprised Hedwig managed to remained unharmed in his cage after you half ran, half fell down the eight flights of stairs just then!" Rowan said, loading her plate with another four sausages.
"I can never understand how you can eat so much. I've only eaten two and I'm full already." Rowan's only younger brother George said.
"Im hungry. Plus, I need food to concentrate on my many future lessons in which I have to pay attention to." Rowan replied.
"Paying attention? Thats certainly new. Last thing I recall about your academic endeavours Rowan was that pretty beastly set of exam results we got sent at the beginning of the summer. What were they again?" Mocked Flynn, one of the older twin Weasley sisters. Grace, the other, laughed loudly.
Rowan glared. "Don't remind me. I'm going to have to face the wrath of every teacher when I get back. I'm half dreading it actually. Snape in particular, even though I cant see how she can physically hate me any more than she does already."
"We still have detentions from her carried over from last term. We "temporarily borrowed" some of his precious purple smoke root powder to make some homemade fireworks. They were pretty brilliant though so it was worth it. We even got Anguis Malfoy and her petty friends to smile, even though she did seem a lot happier when we got caught." Said Grace.
"Yes, I remember that. Spent hours cleaning that mess up from the corridor floors." Said Phillipa, the third oldest, crumpling her nose like she always did at the thought of any of her younger twin sisters foolish comedy acts.
"Oh lighten up Phillipa. Just because you're head girl now doesn't mean you can't have a laugh. They were pretty cool." Said Rowan. The twins grinned at each other.
Harley smiled. It was moments like these that she loved, but hated in parallel. There was no doubt in her mind that the Weasleys were some of the most kindhearted and generous people she had ever met, but their ginger hair, dustings freckles and their tight family bond was a constant reminder to Harley that she had no real relatives of her own. The jagged lightning scar on her pale fore-head throbbed in a dull, aching beat every time she thought of her parents, and the feeble traces of memory she recalled of them. Dimpled cheeks. A soft cotton jumper. Flashes of faces from time to time.
Harley quickly swallowed her feelings and re-focused her attention on the conversation underway which had quickly changed subject: Quiddich tryouts for next term.
"I mean, if Flynn and I get knocked off the team this year that will be a first. I would love to see any Gryffindor willing enough to challenge the schools best beaters-"
"Best? I wouldn't push it that far." Scoffed Phillipa, cutting her off mid sentence.
"Thats rich, coming from the girl who has never played competitive Quiddich in her whole life!" Said Rowen, finally placing her knife and fork down.
The twins burst into laughter. Phillipa scowled at them both. Before she had time to come back at them, Mr and Mrs Weasley entered the room, hauling several brown leather bags in both arms.
'Right then, are we all quite finished?" Said Arthur Weasley, the children's father, in his calm voice. "Flynn, you've left your wand upstairs, thought it was probably best if I bought it down for you. It might come in handy as you do happen to attend a school with the words "Witchcraft and Wizardy" In the title." he added, placing a dark brown, chipped dogwood wand on the table beside her hand.
"Are we all ready to leave? Harley, do you have everything? Rowan, please try and do something with your hair before you get to school, it does look like you've crawled through a hedge backwards. And try and control that owl Phillipa, its knocked over my parsley once today already!" Exclaimed Molly Weasley, bustling round the kitchen pointing at several things with her wand at the breakfast table which proceeded to clean and put themselves away.
Hermes, the owl Molly was referring to then burst into the kitchen, landing directly onto Graces head. "Why we got another bloody owl is beyond me! Get it off, Flynn do something!" She yelled. Flynn shrieked with laughter in response.
Harley tucked in her jumper, brushing away the crumbs and adjusted her glasses, feeling giddy with nerves and excitement. As much as she adored the Burrow, she was finally going to where she felt the most at home.
"Are you ok Harls?" Asked Rowen.
"Couldn't be better."