Lia let go of her luggage with one hand and ran it through her raven-black hair as she searched the platform for the best place to load her luggage. Being new to Hogwarts this year, she was determined to hide that fact as much as possible. Due to her parents’ apathy, she had not been exposed to many people who would have been able to recognize that she was a Muggle-born witch, until this past summer when she got her Hogwarts letter in the mail. People may have called her a wide range of names, but Lia was not afraid of anything. She would not let her parents stop her from getting an education, even if it wasn’t exactly the type of education she had envisioned.
Nevertheless, she had researched everything she could about Hogwarts, magic and wizard/witch culture, studying textbooks to make sure she was caught up on the material she had missed in the 3 years that she should have been spending at a school for witches like her.
Lia spotted a girl with curly brown hair and petite features struggling as one of her trunks rolled out of the carriage she was trying to put it in. She walked over, seeing that the carriage was half-empty and could fit her own luggage. As she neared the girl, Lia put down her trunks.
“Having trouble?” she asked wryly. The girl turned to her, her hair fanning out in a brown curtain.
“Yes! These stupid trunks are too heavy for me to shove all the way in, so they keep falling out,” she said, frustrated.
“Let me help,” Lia said, relieved that the first interaction she was going to have with a possible classmate was one she could handle. She lifted the trunk with ease. After being pushed around and beaten up during her younger school years in London, she had realized that the only way to survive was to fight for herself. So she had taught herself how, taking lessons from the martial arts expert a couple streets down. As a result, she was strong, fast, and capable of pretty much anything involving physical activity. And the boys who had previously left her bloody in an alleyway after stealing her money were suddenly the ones avoiding her on their way home.
The girl stared at her incredulously after Lia finished loading both of their trunks within a minute. “How did you do that so easily?”
Lia blushed, uncertain how to react. “I…uh, exercise,” she finally went with, cringing on the inside but still slipping her mask of confidence back on.
The girl laughed. “Well, thank you for helping me. I’m Hermione,” she stuck out a hand for Lia to shake.
Relieved, she took her rather small hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’m Lia,”
Hermione smiled. “Do you want to sit with me on the train?”
“I’d love to,” she said back, surprised that Hermione would invite a complete stranger to sit with her. But Lia knew that every ally counted, so she never even considered saying no.
They got on the train, Lia cautiously carrying her pack of supplies past the doors. The doors closed, the steam from the engine clouding the windows. As they went by the various enclosed sections of seats, Lia could hear the laughter and shouts of Hogwarts students seeing each other for the first time in months. She wondered if she would be able to find a group of friends that she could miss over the summer.
“This is our section,” Hermione said, opening the door. Lia stepped in after her and looked at the unfamiliar faces that were now staring at her. Lia was suddenly on guard. She shifted her feet slightly and realized her body was automatically going into a fighting stance.
“Everyone! This is Lia,” Hermione announced, beaming. “She helped me load my luggage, so I invited her to our section,”
“Hi,” Lia said awkwardly, raising her hand slowly. She wondered if she should offer to leave, since no one was saying–
“Oi there,” two redheaded boys said simultaneously with a nod.