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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

You say you don't need love, I say you ain't so tough

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

Somehow, they had all managed to make it on to the Hogwarts Express in one piece. Well, relatively speaking, since Ryszard had been in a fight with Mabel, as soon as he’d arrived on board. It was enough to spoil the rest of his day, but the boy refused to let someone like her get him down. They would just have to either avoid each other for seven years, or deal with it when they finally got to Hogwarts.

 

Ryszard was not one for avoiding things.

 

Sliding into a compartment farther down, he was surprised to see Xenia and Radueriel sitting snug in the space. He wasn’t too familiar with either of them, but their misadventures at Pre-Hogwarts Primary had been enough to get him acquainted with the two, and they had earned some of his respect - even though it was given begrudgingly. It was these thoughts that caused him to step into the compartment, and carefully slide the door closed behind him.

 

”Xenia, Radueriel,” he said, nodding at his new companions. Being kidnapped and sped away to Romania had a way of bonding people, and that’s exactly the kind of camaraderie Ryszard shared with Xenia. Radueriel, on the other hand, had fairly impressed him with his food stealing skills. It reminded him of Sarah and her soap stealing abilities. He was really picking up quite a number of friends.

 

Or as Ryszard liked to think of them: his associates, his comrades. He really knew how to pick ‘em.

 

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Xenia Lupu-Haidei

In the back of her mind—not even that far back, but far enough for her not to think about it daily—Xenia had known that she would have to attend Hogwarts eventually. Pre-Hogwarts Primary had been preparing them all for their inevitable Hogwarts career, and yet the full weight of her future existence at Hogwarts hadn't really hit her until she had arrived at Platform 9 3/4 and was staring at the Hogwarts Express like the metallic beast it was. Girl versus steel, or whatever the hell it was that that thing was made of.

 

Xenia had woken up that morning with a plan. In actuality, the plan had been formulating since she found out Hogwarts' rule regarding pets, but that morning had motivated her even more because this was the day. This was the day that her plan would be seen to fruition—and she was damn certain that this plan would be seen to fruition. Gathering up Midnight, Blackout, and Luna, Xenia stuffed the cats into a suitcase her father had enchanted to be more spacious from the inside that would also give the three cats the ability to breathe.

 

Anton and Papa had agreed to help her with her marvelous feat, but that wasn't to say that they didn't find it utterly hilarious, and adorable, the lengths that Xe was willing to go to so she wouldn't be separated from her cats.

 

The crowd surrounding the Hogwarts Express made her feel slightly nervous, as though someone would sniff out the secret she'd been trying to keep in the suitcase. The secret that, if one listened close enough, they could hear the faint meows and purrs from within. Once goodbyes were said, and hugs and kisses had seen their proper amount of time, Xenia boarded the Hogwarts Express hurriedly. At the sight of the first open compartment her eyes landed on, she ducked in with her things and pulled her cat- suitcase along behind her.

 

To her surprise, the boy she'd seen from over the summer during her family's trip to Oxford had already, apparently, claimed this compartment as his own. Well, too bad. Xenia had already put her metaphorical flag in the ground and declared this place hers. She refused to find another compartment. And, in fact, this boy was perhaps the most tolerable person she'd known at Pre-Hogwarts Primary. "Rad, is it?" She asked, soon becoming distracted as she pulled her things into the compartment and slid the door shut behind her. She sat down, pushing curly brunette hair out of her eyes, and opened up the suitcase to reveal her three cats meowing up at her.

 

"Take her," Xe demanded, handing Luna over in Rad's hands. "You've gotta pretend she's yours. I need all three of my babies with me at Hogwarts."

 

When the compartment door slid open, Xenia's head twisted around just in time to see Ryszard squeezing his way inside the compartment. Before Ryszard could even properly set his belongings down Xenia grabbed Blackout's whole body and softly pushed her into Ry's chest. "Here. You're both helping me out with this."

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Radueriel Benson

All Rad wanted, more than anything in the world, was a kitten to call his own. He’d visited Magical Menagerie during his single trip to Diagon Alley that summer, but Andromache had set strict rules for his time in the pet store. The only condition under which he was allowed to go inside, she told him, was that he didn’t come out begging her to take one of the animals inside home. So he’d gone in and seen the owls, the toads, and-- yes-- the cats. And though it tested his will to his very core, he managed to leave and say mum to his Mum. He had thought, however, that this might have been a test, that if he went in and came out and was perfectly good, his mother would reveal a cage she was hiding behind her back and say, “Congratulations, my sweet boy, here’s a kitten just for you!”

 

This was a pipe dream, a fantasy which remained unfulfilled.

 

So he was off to Hogwarts, the summer now over, bearing nothing but a sketchbook and a slightly wounded heart. His father refused to come to the station to say goodbye, and instead the two men had shared a stiff yet oddly tender handshake in the Oxford apartment before Andromache Apparated the two of them to London. Their goodbye had been more drawn out, Rad torn between wanting to stay here with a mother he loved very much (but who wouldn’t get him a freaking cat), and a marvelous future wending in unseen routes before his very eyes. As it often does, the future won; catless and teary, Rad had boarded the Hogwarts Express and found a compartment to claim his own.

 

In his brief solitude he settled into the leather of the seat. Propping his sketchbook up on his knees, he started to draw something he’d never done before: a portrait of his mother. Later on, maybe, he’d wonder why this was a subject he treated with reverential trepidation. For now, he was only concerned with the shapes and lines needed to outline her face. He didn’t get very far before the compartment door slid open, revealing a not unfamiliar frame. Rad snapped the sketchbook shut and stood as means of greeting. “Xenia,” he said, friendly as he could manage. He’d seen the girl at Pre-Hogwarts Primary all summer, but had only really met her when her strange queer family came to Oxford.

 

Sitting back down, he watched as she hauled her suitcase inside and closed the door. He was about to ask her a question, any question, the first appropriate bit of small talk he could conjure to his tongue, when she opened her luggage and revealed three mewling, precocious cats. Rad’s mouth slid into a slack-jawed ‘o’ that slowly transformed into an upturned grin. “Oh my god,” he said, all pretensions melting away in his awe of the creatures. Before he could say anything else, Xenia had picked up one of them, a beautiful grey cat, and forced her into Rad’s hands. He latched onto the cat, who scrabbled around and landed a few good scratches on his arm before settling in his lap. “What’s her name?” he asked, and then finally what she said made it past his foggy delight. “What do you mean? Do you need me to lie?”

 

Xenia had no opportunity to answer him. The door to the compartment slid open again, and another recognizable face appeared. This time it was Ryszard, a firecracker boy who made Rad nervous. Sure, they’d maybe bonded a little over an illicit snack adventure, but that trip to Romania had been his fault, hadn’t it? The newspapers said it was a kidnapping, but Rad knew better. He too received a cat, and Rad looked on incredulously at Xenia. “What the hell do you want us to do here?” he asked, scritching the one he held gently on top the head.

Edited by Radueriel Benson

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Ryszard Althaus-Valerio

There were many things that Ryszard had expected from his first trip on the Hogwarts Express; in fact, the young boy had even drawn up a list. It was meticulously detailed, and numbered from one to hundred. It graciously included everything from taking over the whole train to gorging himself on enough sweets to put him in a comatose state for the rest of the ride. What it certainly didn’t feature was this. Not in a million years had Ryszard expected to find a cat shoved into his arms without the slightest bit of warning.

 

”What?” He repeated, as he held onto the cat. He tried not to drop it, but he was more worried about the feline simply jumping out of his hands and spooling out onto the floor. Ryszard would be lying if he said he didn’t know how to handle such animals, considering the twins had adopted a pair of cats only a few months ago, but it seemed like the only way to get out of...whatever this appeared to be.

 

Ryszard indicated the other boy, agreeing with his question. “How do you...” he trailed off, looking down at the cat in his hands. He had a firm hold on the creature, doing his best to keep the claws far away from him. “I don’t know how to take care of cats, Xenia,” he said in monotone, and moved his shoulders, as if he was about to throw the cat at its owner. “What’s this one’s name, anyways?” He asked, frowning down at it. He couldn’t simply keep calling the cat an ‘it’ in his head.

 

“What are we helping you out with?” He asked, then, repeating Xenia’s words from when he’d entered the compartment. He felt like he had missed some part of the conversation; a vital part. The door was firmly closed, thankfully, but Ryszard still hadn’t made it to his seat. “Why did you even bring all three cats with you? Where are you going to keep them?” The thought of trickery didn’t bother Ryszard, but it was the idea of getting caught and sitting duck for the rest of the year that had him on tenterhooks.

 

”Do you even have a plan here?” He fired off, as the questions in his mind started mounting up. As far as he was concerned, there was only so much they could do by simply winging it.

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