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 The Express

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Belle Monnet

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PostSubject: The Express   23/11/2016, 11:56 pm


Belle took a deep breath, then stepped onto the landing of the train. This was her second year at the esteemed University of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but she'd transferred from its French counterpart, Beauxbatons. All her friends were from the ladder, but at a mere 22 years and caring for an elderly parent, Hogwarts proved the more affordable alternative moving forward. She'd made a few friends here, though. Just not enough to say she felt at home.
The aisle was tight with bustling bodies. Everyone seemed to be scrambling to snatch a seat next to friends or acquaintances. She heard chitchat about the amiable weather, summer vacations, and term schedules. Wuthering Heights, a well-known fictional novel in the muggle universe, was squeezed up against her breast as she shimmied down the train, peeking into compartments for empty seats. A few rows down, she was alarmed by the sight of a massive Bengal tiger at the foot of one of her peers. When she went by, it lifted its massive head and pierced her with a pair of eyes that felt nothing if not downright predatory to Belle. They were cognizant, mindful - as if human. It unsettled her. She knew the tiger's name was Rajah, and it was attached at the hip to a student whose family's standing with the Ministry was the only reason the animal was allowed on campus. Glad no other such exceptions had been made in her last year at Hogwarts (and hopefully not this year, either), Belle put her head down and hurried out of the tiger's line of vision.

A chatty Ravenclaw girl named Jamie Tonkins hailed her to a near empty compartment, and Belle felt her chest sink a little. Jamie Tonkins followed her around whenever she got the chance, bombarding her with useless information and uncomfortably intimate factoids about herself. Belle didn't dislike Jamie - not at all... but she had rather hoped to get some reading in. Romance novels calmed her when she was feeling a little on edge, and the first day of school had a funny way of doing that to her sometimes. It was impossible to read around Jamie.
"Belle!" the girl cried, and Belle greeted her with a big hug. "Come in, sit with me!"
"Hi, Jamie. How was your break?"
And that was it. Belle was unable to escape for the next hour, and resigned herself to focusing on being a good listener.



Belle , 22 yrs. , muggle-born. Ravenclaw.

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Tiana Broussard
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PostSubject: Re: The Express   26/11/2016, 2:13 am

Tiana was one of the Hufflepuff prefects charged with the responsibility of shooing relatives and loved ones on their way so first-year students could say their final goodbyes and board the train. Partners lingered the longest. Often she'd find a new couple with their foreheads and hands glued together, dramatically promising to write often. To her they looked like lovesick parakeets. She couldn't entirely hide the expression of discomfort on her face. When most her tasks were completed, a pair of high heels carried her away and through the train. As she went by, she subconsciously glanced into each compartment to make sure all was in order. Few disturbances actually provoked her intervention, though. She heard some childish name-calling, but she didn't stop. She was a busy woman, and she had bigger fish to fry.

In a more isolated section of the train, an orange tail flashed past a window. That was Jasmine Qasim's compartment, and receiving a warm welcome from the woman and her bad-tempered guardian was a privilege Tiana had earned by tedious trial and error. She'd known them for two years now, but master and cat seemed to have to readjust to socializing again, even with old friends.
She sucked in a big breath, then approached confidently. The occupants of the compartment looked up in unison. The Hufflepuff was once again struck by Jasmine's beauty - the sun-kissed skin, waterfalls of black hair, piercing hazel eyes, violent as the tiger's were. Jasmine was usually a mercurial friend, but this time she beckoned Tiana with a warm smile.
"Hello, Tia."
Tiana stepped inside. Rajah's massive tail swung across the compartment. As with all cats, this meant he was annoyed.
"Hi, Jasmine. Do you mind?"
"Not at all." The Slytherin sat up to welcome her in.
Tiana packed her bag overhead and sat. "How are you? How was your summer?"
"Oh, it was okay. The Ministry is up to its knees in complaints, and my father leaves for weeks at a time to assist the aurors. It's a nightmare out there. They say Ministry officials were affected, perhaps even Hogwarts staff."
"Have they caught anyone?"
"Only a handful of people, but it's hard to spot them."
"Do they have any new targets?"
Jasmine frowned. "Unregistered animagi, werewolves, vampires, dragons, and other magical creatures."
"Have they succeeded yet?" She was almost afraid to ask.
"A Ministry judge sentenced a werewolf to death just a week ago."



Tiana , 23 yrs. , muggle-born. Hufflepuff prefect.

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Rapunzel Brockhoff

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PostSubject: Re: The Express   30/11/2016, 2:27 pm

Rapunzel hopped onto the train, Pascal, her two-year-old panther chameleon bracing himself on her dainty shoulder. She was well-known by the entire school, partly because she'd gone missing as an infant, but mostly because she was also the Minister for Magic's only daughter. While any other woman might have taken advantage of their status, she sometimes even forgot she was as good as royalty at Hogwarts. Everyone knew who she was, and hoped to talk to her at least once - not just for her popularity, but also because she was one of the nicest girls anyone had met.
As she past people on the train, she waved at them and greeted them by name. People were often shocked they recognized her, but she had a knack for recalling faces. In her world, everyone was special. Every new encounter was enriching and educational.

But there were two people who were most anxiously awaiting her return to Hogwarts, as they themselves never left. Anna and Ariel were loitering in the hall. They always traveled back to London exclusively to ride the train with her. It appeared they had flown, because each were clutching their Nimbus 2015's (Ariel's had been a gift from Anna). Both were clad in tight riding pants, boots, and hearty winter coats, auburn and flaming red hair windblown, cheeks slightly ablush from the chill. Anna spotted her first, and hurried over.
"Punzy!"
They threw their arms around each other and jumped around. Other students had to skirt around the pair, some rolling their eyes. This happened every year.
Ariel was next. "'Punzel," she greeted, and as the 5'4 Rapunzel was no match for her 5'7 friend, Ariel hugged her and lifted her little heels off the ground.
Rapunzel gave a happy squeak and grabbed both their hands. "How are you both? How was Christmas? We were so sad you couldn't make it this year. Dad really loves that Danish tart you make, Anna, and Mum thinks you're just the nicest, Ariel."
Ariel shrugged. "We figured while no one was around we'd practice our Quidditch, you know? Christmas isn't too big a deal to us."
"Yeah, and now we're going to kick Slytherin's butt!" said Anna.
Rapunzel put her hands on her hips. "Well one of you better. I don't care if it's Gryffindor or Hufflepuff anymore."
"We don't care either," said Ariel. "So long as we can finally wipe that smug look off Jasmine Nassar's face."
"She's insufferable," said Anna, as the three headed into an empty compartment.
"She's not that bad," Rapunzel was starting to say, when a massive hand grabbed the door in front of them. They whirled around to find Gaston Roussel towering over them. Gaston was one of what Ariel called the "Slytherin jerks" - the one with the foulest reputation. He almost never smiled, and there was always this chilling, predatory look in his eyes. He'd been violent with male students in the past, caused gruesome injuries to opponents on the Quidditch field, and female students routinely accused him of harassment. His favorite targets seemed to be Rapunzel, and the new Ravenclaw, Belle Monnet.
"You're going to beat Slytherin this year, are you?" he rumbled at them.
Ariel straightened up in front of him. "That's right. If Anna can't, I will."
Anna nodded fervently.
"And who will you be rooting for?" he asked Rapunzel.
"Oh - I don't really take sides, y'know?"
That was when Naveen Russo and Clayton Buchanan appeared behind him. "Ladies," said Clayton.
"Could you guys stop mentally undressing us and move on?" barked Ariel.
"We said we'd find Adam," Naveen mumbled to the Slytherins.
"When are you going to go on that date with me, Brockhoff?" asked Gaston forcefully.
"Oh," said Rapunzel, flustered. "Uhm... I -"
Ariel took Rapunzel's shoulder, turned her around, and forced the compartment door open from under Gaston's hand. Anna got in Gaston's face.
"Really, Gaston, don't you know how to ask a lady out politely? Geez."
"Do I have a shot?" Clayton was chuckling. At this point, Naveen rolled his eyes and left.
"No!" snapped Ariel, and the girls closed themselves in the room. Gaston didn't find this half as humorous as Clayton did. He glared into the compartment until his fellow Slytherin urged him onward. When they were gone, the girls exhaled.
"What a jerk."
"I know, right?" said Anna, all puffed up.
"He is awfully persistent," said Rapunzel, frowning.
"You're not ever going to go out with that ass, right?" asked Ariel.
Rapunzel shook her head quickly. "Of course not!"



Rapunzel , 21 yrs. , pure-blood. Hufflepuff.

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