And So It Begins, God Help Us All, Part 1
Normally, Calvin would have stayed as far away from his schoolbooks as possible, but this was a special case – after all, they were books about magic.
“I’ve literally got my own spellbook, Hobbes!” exclaimed Calvin from where he lay on his bed. “The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1), by Miranda Goshawk,” he read out loud. “Wow, I’ve never been so excited to read a book before that didn’t have a picture of a guy in a cape on the front.”
“Just open it already,” Hobbes said, rolling his eyes.
“I mean, I can learn actual magic from this book! Real magic!”
“Either you open it, or I eat it, take your pick.”
“I wonder what kinds of spells this book has – it says it’s the ‘Standard’ book, so there must be other types.”
“I’ll give you three seconds before I am forced to take action,” said Hobbes, rolling his jaw to loosen it up. “One.”
“Do you think there’s a spell that allows me to shoot lasers?”
“Or fly? I’ve always wanted to fly.”
“-HEY, give that back! Okay, okay, I’ll open it! Sheesh,” muttered Calvin, cradling the book against his chest and glaring at the tiger next to him. “Can’t I savor the moment in peace?”
“Not when that moment lasts five minutes, no,” answered Hobbes, flexing his claws.
“Fine, I’m opening it, see? It’s open now. No mauling.”
They looked through the first few sections together, laughing at the funny names of the spells, ooh-ing and ah-ing and wowthat’ssocool-ing at what the spells were said to do. The first time they came across one of the book’s black-and-white illustrations, they just watched it in silence for a couple minutes.
“Man, comic books would really benefit from magic,” Calvin said, watching the moving picture of a wand spouting water from its tip into a cauldron.
Hobbes snorted and flopped onto his back. “Only you could discover that an entire magical world exists, see a woman turn into a cat, go on a shopping trip in said magical world, read a book about how to perform magic spells, and then have the first thing you think of applying magic to, be the comic book industry.”
“Hobbes, the world already has people who think about important things! If I don’t come up with a multitude of completely inane uses for magic, who will!? Actually, I doubt I’m the only muggleborn – that means a wizard born to non-magical parents – who thought of something so mundane when first exposed to magic. Dean would probably suggest some magical addition to West Ham’s uniforms, or something.”
“Who’s Dean?” asked Hobbes, propping himself up on his elbow.
“He’s this awesome guy I met at Diagon Alley – and he’s apparently obsessed with football.”
Hobbes made a face. “Sports?”
Calvin shrugged. “I know, he’s not perfect. But he didn’t bring up the fact that I was American like everyone else did and he joined in when I started a screaming match, so that’s major points in my book. Besides, I figured the more people I got to know while I was there, the less effort I’ll have to put into ‘making friends’ once we get to Hogwarts. Sort of a head start.”
“I know your mom made you promise to make more of an effort at being social, but I had no idea you’d take it this far,” said Hobbes, eyes wide in astonishment.
“Hey, I reckon since I’m entering a whole new world-”
“-A whole new wooooorld,” echoed Hobbes dramatically.
“-I might as well take the opportunity to change my approach to some things. Oh man!” Calvin said, realizing something. “I forgot to introduce myself to the shopkeeper! I was going to start doing that! This ‘change’ thing is harder than I thought.”
“It usually is,” Hobbes nodded sympathetically. “But look at it this way – in this whole new world, you have a new, fantastic point of view. These people you’ll be meeting don’t know you yet, so whatever you choose to show them of yourself will be the ‘real you’ to them. And their expectations will make it easier to continue acting the same way, so make sure you enact this ‘change thing’ in the right direction.”
“Thank you, Dr. Hobbes. I didn’t know you were licensed to practice yet,” said Calvin sarcastically.
Hobbes, now sitting up against the wall, leaned forward and pursed his lips, pretending he was peering over the tops of a pair of glasses. “And how does that make you feel?”
Calvin sighed loudly and looked off into the distance. “Like I’m under a lot of pressure, honestly.”
“I see,” responded Hobbes, scribbling away on a nonexistent notepad. “Please, tell me more about this ‘pressure’ you feel you are under.”
“You know I’m not really good with people, buddy,” Calvin said, sliding his hands under the back of his head and studying the ceiling. “I just can’t relate to most people, and I guess I’m worried the ones I met today, even the ones I got along with, will get annoyed with me after a while, and just…”
“Just what?” prodded Hobbes, miming pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
“Just…decide they don’t actually want to be friends with me.” He looked at Hobbes and gave him a weak smile.
“There, doesn’t it feel better after saying it out loud?” Hobbes smiled back at him, dropping the psychiatrist act.
Calvin’s smile grew, and he let out a real sigh. “Yeah, actually it does.” Then he rolled over to face his best friend. “Doesn’t mean I’m not still worried about it, though.”
Hobbes shrugged, pressing his lips together. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. I believe in you,” he said, leaning close and looking deep into Calvin’s eyes, who reached up to shove the furry face away.
“Aw stop it, you’re makin’ me blush.” Then he yawned, stretching. “I can’t believe it’s only seven-thirty – I’m whipped.”
“You wanna turn in for the night?”
“Are you kidding?” said Calvin incredulously, hopping off his bed. “I’m not changing that much. Come one, let’s go stuff ourselves with sugar and horse around till dad does his ‘I’ve had enough’ yelling face.”
“Oooh, I haven’t seen him do that face in a while. Last one downstairs starts in the negatives next time we play Calvinball!” Hobbes said, leaping over Calvin and racing for the bedroom door.
“Hey, no fair!” complained Calvin loudly, diving and grabbing the end Hobbes’ tail.
The laughing tiger just continued out the door and down the stairs, dragging Calvin behind him like a gravitationally-challenged kite.
The next few weeks passed in much the same way, with lots of book-gazing (which confused his parents greatly), worrying about making friends, sugar, and goofing off. Calvin thought September 1st couldn’t come fast enough, but on the fated morning he was having second thoughts.
“I don’t feel too good, mom, I can’t go,” he groaned, pulling his covers over his head.
“Don’t be silly, Calvin,” his mom said, standing over him. “If you’re late, you’ll miss the train – you have to get up.”
“I can’t. I’m sick,” he mumbled, burrowing deeper into his covers and pulling his pillow over his head.
“It’s just nerves, sweetie. Come on, I made breakfast for you, and your dad’s waiting downstairs to say goodbye before he heads off to work.”
“Tell him to leave. I’m not going,” mumbled Calvin.
“What about all those people you told me you were going to meet at the train station? They’ll wonder where you are if you don’t get up.”
“They’ll forget about me soon enough. I doubt they really wanted to see me anyways,” he mumbled.
“Oh, stop this, Calvin! You’re going, and there’s nothing you can say to convince me otherwise.” With that, she yanked on his covers, pulling them off and letting them drop to the floor.
“Yaieeeee!” Calvin yelled, scrambling for the covers. “Don’t do that!”
His mother raised an eyebrow and put her hands on her hips. “It’s the mattress next, if you’re not dressed and downstairs in five minutes.” Then she turned and left, heading back downstairs.
“Fine. Be that way,” he mumbled.
“Sheesh, Calvin,” said Hobbes, prodding the spiky-haired boy’s curled-up form with a paw. “You haven’t had the Morning Mumbles this bad since the first day of third grade.”
“No talking. Too early,” mumbled Calvin grumpily, sliding onto the floor like a waterfall of molasses.
Once he was in the kitchen, though, munching on a piece of toast and downing a glass of orange juice, he felt much better. When he finished breakfast, he even cleared his plate and brushed all the crumbs off the table and into the garbage. His mother smiled and wiped at the corner of her eye with a finger.
“My little boy’s growing up,” she said quietly. Calvin succeeded in not making a sarcastic comment, allowing his mother this small thing before he left for just about the entire school year.
When an owl arrive at the living room window with a tiny package tied to its leg, his mother rushed to let it in, not even remembering to complain when it swooped in and landed on the arm of the couch. Calvin untied the package, and the owl immediately took flight, looping around and right out of the window.
“It’s…a piece of candy.” He held it up so his mom could see it. It was small and round, pale yellow in color. “I thought I was going to get a ‘Portkey’ to take me down the block from King’s Cross?”
His mother frowned. “Maybe that’s coming in a bit. I’ll be in the kitchen, let me know if another owl comes so I can say my last goodbye to you.” Calvin rolled his eyes as his mother tried to hold back tears. She turned and walked to the kitchen, grabbing a tissue, and he could hear her blow her nose as she disappeared from sight.
“What’s that you’ve got there?” said Hobbes, walking over to him.
“Piece of candy,” Calvin replied nonchalantly, looking at the yellow circle in the palm of his hand. Then he sniffed it. “Lemon flavored, far as I can tell.”
Hobbes scrunched his brow. “What’s it for?”
“I think it’s supposed to be something called a Portkey, but I’m not sure how a sucking candy is supposed to get me to London, even if it is lemon flavored.”
“What? But then how am I going to figure out how to use it to get to London?”
“Eat it,” Hobbes repeated.
Calvin looked at his best friend warily. “Look, Hobbes, if I eat and it and-”
“Eat it,” interrupted Hobbes, staring at him.
Hobbes placed a paw on Calvin’s shoulder and stared him calmly in the eye. “Eat. The candy.”
Calvin looked down at the candy. He looked up at the tiger standing next to him. Then back to the candy. Then back to the tiger. Then back to the candy. “Ah, what the heck.” He popped the candy into his mouth. “Hmm, it’s not bad.”
Suddenly, Calvin experienced a sensation not unlike a hook being placed slightly behind his navel and instantly tugging him forward. The world seemed to spin, everything blurred together, and Hobbes’ hand on his shoulder was the only thing he was sure was real. Oh, and also the delicious lemon flavoured sucking candy in his mouth. He knew that was real. Real good.
Then he stumbled, hard pavement appearing with no warning beneath his feet. His knees buckled, and he fell onto his hands, disoriented. He looked sideways to see Hobbes spread-eagled on his back, eyes shut tight.
“Can someone stop the room,” the tiger said sickly. “I’d like to get off.”
“Oh, Calvin, I forgot to give you the sandwiches I ma- Calvin?” But the living room was empty, save for an expensive-looking wooden trunk with four brass buckles on the front. She glared at it suspiciously, then walked off to look around the rest of the house. When she got back to the living room, the trunk was gone.
They stopped momentarily, just outside of the train station.
“This is it,” Calvin said, looking up at the entrance.
“The apocalypse,” agreed Hobbes gravely, nodding.
“What? No, I meant I’m finally going to Hogwarts, fuzz-butt. Finally going to learn magic.”
“I know,” said Hobbes, “I was merely stating what that meant for everyone else.”
“Shut up and get in the trunk,” Calvin said, grinning wryly.
“Oh, the indignity!” exclaimed Hobbes, leaning over to look inside as Calvin opened the back section of his trunk. “You’re sure I can survive in there, right?”
Calvin gestured for him to hurry up. “The shopkeeper said so, so yes. Come on, it’s ten-forty-five already, and I want to get a good seat, not to mention find all the people who I told I’d see at the train.”
“Oh, so you get to be picky about your travel arrangements,” said Hobbes, crossing his arms. “Well I guess now we know who wears the shorts in this relationship,” he then chuckled, climbing in. “Let me out the second we get there, okay?” the still-chuckling tiger said, dropping to the bottom of the trunk-space. Calvin slammed the top down with more force than was strictly necessary.
“These are pants, actually,” Calvin said smugly. “And I only had to roll them up twice.” Then he wondered if Hobbes could hear him from within the trunk’s magically expanded storage space. Man, I really don’t know anything about how magic works. He looked up at the entrance to King’s Cross and dug the ticket Professor McGonagall had given him out of his pocket. “Platform nine-and-three-quarters, eh? This should be interesting. I wonder how they managed to hide an entire platform – sounds difficult.” Then he glanced at the trunk beside him. “Ah, who am I kidding.”
Calvin strolled forward into the station, glancing around. He spotted a guard to his left, and walked up to him, hands clasped behind his back. “Excuse me, good sir,” he said as politely as possible. “Is there any chance you could point me to platform nine-and-three-quarters?” He looked up at the guard innocently.
The guard looked back at him, nonplussed. “Doesn’t exist, boy.”
“Hmm, well what about platform eight-and-seven-twelfths?”
The guard stared at him, clearly not amused. “No.”
“Look, boy, there are no platform with any sort of fractions on the end of the number, so you can stop asking,” the guard said, clearly annoyed.
“I see. Thank you, sir,” Calvin replied brightly. He heard the guard mutter something about ‘them bloody americans’ as he skipped away. Yeah, so they definitely don’t employ undercover wizards here, that’s for sure. Wonder how muggleborn first-years are expected to find the platform then. Seems like a system flaw to me.
“Oh, hey, Harry!” he called out, spotting the black-haired boy pushing a cart laden with luggage, and on top of it a cage containing a large, snow-white owl. Harry smiled in apparent relief and wheeled his cart over to where Calvin stood by platform ten.
“Hi, Calvin,” Harry said, pulling back to stop his cart from rolling right on past the spiky-haired boy.
“Woah, that owl is white. It’s beautiful, Harry,” Calvin said, admiring the creature. The owl hooted happily, as if understanding that it was being complimented.
“Her name’s Hedwig,” Harry said, grinning. “Hagrid got her for me as a birthday present.”
“Good deal. Do you have any idea how to get to platform nine-and-three-quarters? Should be called platform nine-and-a-half, but anyways, the train leaves in,” Calvin looked up at the large clock situated above the arrivals board. “Nine minutes.”
“I was hoping you’d know,” said Harry, scratching the back of his head. “Honestly, I was starting to panic a bit before I heard you call my name, wondering if I was in the wrong place after all.”
“No, this is definitely the place. Let’s see if we can spot any…Ah, there!” Calvin pointed to a plump woman heading towards them from the direction of platform nine, a veritable crowd of redheaded children trailing behind her.
As the family got closer, they heard the mother say, “Now, what’s the platform number?”
“Nine-and-three-quarters!” said the smallest readhead and the only girl, holding the mother’s hand. “Mom, can’t I go?” the girl asked, looking longingly at her brothers as they wheeled their carts along. Calvin and Harry watched as the family stopped in front of the pillar between platforms nine and ten. The mother of the family finished saying something to the oldest-looking boy, and he push his cart toward the pillar, marching confidently closer and closer to the brick pillar.
“You don’t think he’s going to-” started Harry.
“Is he actually about to just-” said Calvin at the same time.
“-run into the pillar?” they finished together, watching in surprise as the cart and the boy disappeared from sight.
“He just disappeared,” said Harry.
“Walked right into the pillar and poof, gone,” agreed Calvin, shaking his head in wonder. “Did you see him tap a certain brick?”
“I was thinking the same,” said Harry. “But no, I didn’t. He just kept on going until…he wasn’t there anymore.”
The plump woman turned to another of her sons, who Calvin realized looked identical to the one standing on her other side. “Fred, you’re next,” she said.
The boy looked at her, taken aback. “I’m not Fred, I’m George. Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother?” he said with righteous indignation. “Can’t you tell I’m George?”
“Sorry, George, dear,” his mother apologized.
“Only joking, I am Fred,” the boy grinned at her, then strolled off towards the pillar. His twin yelled at him to hurry up, and he broke into a run, disappearing a second later. The twin followed on his heels, and then there was only one boy with a cart left.
“Quick,” Harry said, turning his cart around, “let’s go ask them what on Earth they’re doing before they finish and leave.” Calvin nodded, and together they pushed the cart fast enough to get there before the last redhead started toward the pillar.
“Um, excuse us,” said Calvin apprehensively. He hated talking to adults.
“Hello, dears,” the woman said warmly. “First time at Hogwarts? Ron’s new, too.” The last of her sons was tall and thin, with a long nose and freckles dotting his face.
“Hi Ron! I’m Calvin, and this is Harry,” Calvin said, jerking a thumb in Harry’s direction. Harry waved.
“Hi,” replied Ron awkwardly, starting to raise a hand in greeting, and then halfway through deciding not to and dropping it limply to his side.
Harry turned back to the mother. “We were wondering, how, exactly, you get to platform nine-and-three-quarters?” he made it a question only at the very end. “I mean, we saw your other sons, but-”
“Oh, not to worry,” she said, waving away the rest of his sentence. She pointed at the brick pillar. “All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don’t stop and don’t think about crashing into it, that’s very important. Go on, go now before Ron.”
“Alright,” said Calvin, looking over at the pillar. He began doing some stretches like school had them do before gym class every time.
“Thank you,” said Harry to the woman. He glanced at Calvin. “What are you doing?”
“Stretches,” Calvin answered, as if it were the most normal thing in the world to be sitting on the floor of a train station trying to reach one’s toes. “Wouldn’t want to strain a muscle running through a brick pillar, of course.”
“Of course,” Harry said, smiling slightly. He was beginning to realize that things like this were normal for Calvin.
“I don’t really think you need to,” Ron spoke up, eyeing Calvin dubiously. “It’s only like, four meters.”
“Best to be safe,” Calvin said seriously, getting to his feet and starting running in place, bringing his knees up as high as possible.
“Okay, yeah, you definitely don’t need to be doing that,” said Ron.
“I’m going to go run into a pillar now,” said Harry. “See you two on the other side.”
“No, no, no, no, no,” Calvin admonished, rushing over to Harry. “You’re doing it all wrong. It’s,” he cleared his throat and rolled his shoulders a couple times, turning to face the pillar. “I’m going to go run into a pillar now,” said Calvin darkly, voice low. “I’ll see you two-” he whirled around, knees bent, one hand outstretched before him, angling down, palm facing the ground. As he came to a stop he locked eyes with Ron, staring at him intensely. “-on the other side,” he growled, gritting his teeth at the last word. Then he whipped his head back around and sprinted towards the pillar at full speed, screaming a wordless battle-cry of rage at the top of his lungs.
Several seconds of deafening silence followed Calvin’s disappearance.
Ron turned to Harry. “Hate to break it to you, mate, but your friend’s stark-raving mad.”
Harry, who’d been staring at the place where Calvin had disappeared in shock, burst out laughing. “Yes,” he wheezed, clutching his side, “but you’ve got to admit, he’s also stark-raving hilarious.” When he got his breathing under control, he looked around. “I’m next, then?” Ron’s mother nodded, looking at her son worriedly. “Don’t worry, ma’am, it’s not contagious. I think.” Then he pushed his cart as hard as he could, shoving off the floor with his feet again and again, building up speed. “To Narnia through a wardrobe, to Hogwarts through a pillar of bricks,” he muttered under his breath as he neared the pillar. No matter that he’d already seen four other people run through it – he was almost positive he was going to just bounce off painfully. He shut his eyes a cart’s-length away from certain impact.
Harry felt a whoosh of air and opened his eyes. In front of him was an entire platform, crowded with people, a large scarlet steam engine waiting on the tracks. The noise was a mix of owls hooting, cats meowing, people talking, and about a million other things. The smell was of smoke, undoubtedly the smoke from the train that billowed up out of the engine’s smokestack, gathering to hang lazily overhead. The multitudes of people bustling around the platform were wearing all different colors of robes, shirts, sweaters, dresses, pants, other items of clothing, and every kind of hat imaginable. Harry spotted a brightly-dressed witch with a classic pointed hat conversing with an old man in a tuxedo, a large sunflower stuffed into his lapel. To his right stood a group of three middle-aged men dressed in orange, turquoise, and gold robes respectively, each with a matching hat shaped like a weeping willow tree.
Over by a stall selling newspapers, a collection of men and women in striking white robes covering every part of their bodies from the chin down were chanting eerily in unison, saying, “We who come for news, come today. We who come for news, come to stay. We who come for news, shall not pay,” over and over again, all the while shuffling steadily closer to the stall. The man behind the stall was sweating nervously, his gaze flitting back and forth between the ones on his left and on his right, looking torn between staying to defend his newspapers and running to avoid possible death. As Harry watched, the man chose the latter, scrambling over the back counter of the stall and running as fast as his legs could carry him, not stopping even when he lost a shoe.
“Rubber bands! Git yer rubber bands!” yelled an ancient-looking witch about three feet tall, hobbling through the crowd and flinging handfuls of completely ordinary rubber bands in every direction. “Only five galleons a rubber band – it’s a steal!” she screeched, shoving a bunch of rubber bands into a young girl’s face. The girl burst into tears and backed away, wailing and spitting out rubber bands.
Harry looked around, but couldn’t spot Calvin anywhere. He pushed his cart forward, thinking he’d just get on the train and worry about finding his friend after he got settled. As he approached a large golden kiosk, the owner rang a bell on the counter enthusiastically and hollered, “Sunken treasure unsunk just for you! Step right up, we’ve got treasure up the wazoo! You there, boy!” he said, pointing at Harry. “Good morning – ahoy! Don’t keep walking, stop right there, we’ve got jewels from everywhere!”
“No thanks,” Harry said, hurrying on.
“Wait, don’t leave, I’ve got just the thing!” the man pleaded as Harry rolled his cart past. “How bout a magical, cursed, golden ring? The stone is black as a night out at sea, wait- where are you going, just listen to me!” Harry walked a little faster, weaving haphazardly through the throngs of people until the man’s cries faded.
Great, now I’m lost. Where in the world did the Hogwarts Express go? He couldn’t see anything but more people scurrying around him. He noticed a bored-looking man leaning on the counter of his own kiosk, staring at the high ceiling and whistling tunelessly. Harry rolled his cart over to the man, planning on asking for directions, and cleared his throat. The man blinked, flicking his gaze to Harry. When he saw he had a potential customer, he perked up.
“Hello there, and good morning,” the man said brightly. “Welcome to Gerard’s Stall Counter: where every dozen is a baker’s dozen!”
“Oh,” said Harry, “what do you sell?”
“Dozens of things!” said the man, flashing Harry a glowing smile.
“What sort of things?” said Harry, intrigued despite himself.
“Why, dozens, of course,” answered the man, still smiling.
“What’s that mean?”
“Well it means we sell dozens, doesn’t it?” The man’s smile faltered for a moment, clearly confused by Harry’s apparent confusion.
“But dozens of what, exactly?”
“Oh no, we don’t sell What here,” the man replied. “That’s over at Albertsons & Sons What-Wear.” He pointed over to a brown wooden stall a little ways away, where seven men stood motionless behind the counter, faces blank and eyes staring straight ahead, all sporting the same brown winter hats. It looked like they were wearing woolly sleeping bags instead of clothes. “They don’t seem to be getting much business these days, though. I wonder why.” He turned back to Harry and spread his arms wide, smiling again. “So, is there anything you’d like?”
“I’d like,” Harry said, getting just a little bit aggravated, “to know what you sell, but you won’t tell me.”
“As I said before – we sell dozens!”
“Dozens,” Harry repeated with absolutely no inflection whatsoever.
“Yep! Twelves! Well, thirteens, actually, because of the ‘baker’s dozen’ motto. Would you care to buy some?”
“You sell the number twelve?” asked Harry, face screwed in utter bafflement. “What’re they made out of?”
The man behind the counter blinked. “They’re not made out of anything – they’re numbers.”
“You can’t just sell a number, you have to actually give something to the person!”
“Of course! We give them thirteens.”
“But if it’s not- nevermind. Look, I’m trying to find the Hogwarts Express, could you just point me in the right direction?” Harry asked, exasperated.
“Certainly!” the man said happily. “Just head that way,” he pointed to Harry’s left, while looking off to the right.
“Er, thanks,” said Harry, opting to head in the direction the man was pointing. Just then the crowd parted, and he saw the Hogwarts Express not ten meters in front of him. He glanced at his watch. Two minutes to eleven! Cutting it close, Harry.
His cart rolled along in front of him, and as he neared the train a whistle’s cry cut through the air, and then a loud voice boomed through the platform. “LAST CALL FOR THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK TRAIN TO HOGWARTS.”
Harry hurriedly lifted his trunk off the cart, then looked at Hedwig’s cage. “Great, How am I going to do this?”
“Want a hand?” said someone to his left. He turned, coming face-to-face with one of the red-haired twins.
“Don’t go giving away your hands, George,” said another voice to Harry’s right. “You’ve only got two, and god knows I’m not giving you any of mine. Maybe we can take one of Percy’s…” It was the other twin – Fred, Harry remembered their mother calling him.
“You’re George,” said the first twin, grabbing Harry’s trunk and lifting it onto the train. He then turned to his twin. “You must be mixing yourself up with me.”
The other twin took Hedwig’s cage from the cart and stepped onto the train. “I keep doing that, don’t I – it’s hard to tell two people apart when they’re this good looking.”
“I hear you,” the first one said sympathetically, hopping up after him and picking up the trunk. He looked down at Harry. “Come on then-”
“-or the train’ll leave without you,” his brother finished. “And then what would we do-”
“-with all this luggage?” said the other. “Besides selling it, I mean.”
“Right. Thanks,” Harry said, boarding the train.
As soon as his feet left the ground, the train began to move, slowly pulling out of the station. They passed the twins’ mother and younger sister, who began to cry as they waved and yelled their goodbyes.
“Cheer up, Ginny, we’ll send you loads of owls!” one of the twins said.
“And a Hogwarts toilet seat!” said the other, giving her a thumbs up.
“George!” their mother screamed, but they were almost too far away to hear, now.
“And one of Percy’s hands!” screamed back Fred. Then the train rounded a corner, and they were out of sight.
This is it, Harry thought, moving into the train proper. Excitement was building in his stomach as the train picked up speed. I’m on my way to Hogwarts.
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