Chapter 6

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And So It Begins, God Help Us All, Part 2


Calvin rocketed out onto platform nine-and-three-quarters, colliding with a boy in a yellow and maroon shirt who was passing by. They tumbled to the ground in a heap of arms, legs, and startled cries. The boy looked up, wiggling his toes to see if they still worked, and his eyes widened.

“Calvin?” said Dean.

“Dean?” said Calvin, still lying where he’d fallen.

“Calvin!?” Dean said again, only louder.

“Dean!?” cried Calvin, matching him for volume.

Calvin!?”

Dean!?”

CALVIN!?”

DEAN!?”

“CALVIN!?”

“DEAN!?”

“Hey, how’s it going?” asked Dean mildly.

“Alright,” replied Calvin, shrugging. “You?”

“The same.” He looked around. “We should probably get up.”

“Oh. Yes.” They picked themselves up from the ground, brushing their clothes off. “Man, everyone’s so tall. All I can see are legs.”

“The train’s that way,” said Dean, pointing over his shoulder. “Come on, I’ve already got a compartment.”

They made their way through the forest of people, dodging around legs and carts. Suddenly a man sped right between them, panting heavily, and tripped, losing a shoe. He got his balance and kept running, ignoring his one bare foot.

“Huh,” said Calvin, bending down to pick up the boot. He examined the piece of footwear wordlessly, then turned to Dean, holding it out. “I got you a shoe.”

Dean looked around the floor for a moment, then walked a meter away and grabbed something from down near his feet. He returned to Calvin, holding out his hand, and said, “Got you a rubber band.” They traded items and continued on towards the Hogwarts Express.

Dean’s compartment was all the way at the back, so they walked along outside the train beside the cars, where students were sticking their heads out the windows and talking to people on the platform.

“Here we are,” said Dean, entering the last car. They walked down the narrow hallway, sidestepping groups of congregating students, and entered the last compartment on the left. A sandy-haired boy with blue eyes was sitting next to the window, and turned as they entered. “Oh, this is Seamus,” said Dean, gesturing to the boy.

“Hello,” the boy said with a grin. “Seamus Finnigan, glad to meet you!”

“Calvin,” replied Calvin, groaning inwardly. More people? How many do I have to meet!? “I’ll just leave my stuff here,” he told Dean. “There’s someone I promised I’d meet on the platform today.”

“Alright, I’m going to stay here. If I go back outside my mum might find me again and try to suffocate me with hugs,” Dean said with a shudder. Then he looked around the floor near Calvin. “Where’s your trunk?”

Calvin glanced down, then to each side. Then behind him. Finally, he looked up. “There it is,” he said, pointing to the luggage rack above the seats, where the gleaming brown trunk sat beside a worn green duffel bag.

Seamus twisted around to look up at the rack. “How’d it get up there!?”

“Magic,” said Calvin. “What else? Hold on a sec.” He pulled out his wand and climbed onto the seat, reaching up to tap it against his trunk. “Sit down and shut up,” he told it, then pocketed his wand. “I’ll see you in a bit, Dean. Nice meeting you, Seamus.” Then he left the compartment, hopping off the train onto the platform. “Where can I guy get some peace and quiet around here,” he mumbled.

“Peace?” said a voice to his left. It was one of the redheaded twins from before.

The other one walked out from behind the first, making it look like he’d split in two. “Quiet?” he said, aghast. “Now who would want-”

“-a silly thing like that?” finished his brother, eyebrows raised. “We saw you watching in awe-”

“-as we disappeared before your eyes. What be your name-”

“-spiky-haired first year?”

“Calvin,” responded Calvin, wondering how they did that.

“I’m Gred,” said the one on the left.

“And this is Forge,” said the one on the right, pointing to the first one. ‘No, wait-”

“-I think we messed that up. I can’t go hogging-”

“-both our names.”

They turned back to Calvin. “The friend you were with-”

“-with the black hair. He wasn’t-”

“-he couldn’t have been-”

“Who?” said Calvin, looking back and forth between them.

“Harry Potter,” they chorused.

“Who’s Harry Potter?” asked Calvin obliviously, tilting his head.

The twin’s looked at each other. “Brother-mine, you don’t think-”

“-he doesn’t know about Harry Potter?” Then they launched into the tale of a boy who, from a very young age, was defeating evil wizards every other day, rescuing princesses from castles, tricking dragons away from their caves to take their treasure, saving villages from demons, baking the most delicious pies the world had ever seen, traveling to places most people have never even heard of and even those who have heard of them can’t pronounce their names, taming giants and keeping them as pets to guard his house, riding a broomstick out to space to catch a shooting star, and so on.

When they’d finished, they stood there, arms crossed, nodding in unison. “Yep, it’s true. That boy you were with-”

“-he defeated the great Ogre King before his eighth birthday.”

“Before his seventh, too,” added the other twin offhandedly.

“Oooooh,” said Calvin, as if he finally understood who they were talking about. “That Harry Potter. Of course I know who he he is! We met in Diagon Alley after he fought a rampaging dragon that had somehow gotten loose from Gringotts.” The twins’ eyes widened. “After that, we went to get ice cream, only Florean said there was a problem and the ice cream wasn’t cold enough. So you know what Harry did?”

They leaned in closer. “What’d he do?” they whispered conspiratorially.

“Why, he tracked down an ice elemental and wrestled it over to the ice cream parlour! Told it that if it didn’t cooperate, he was going to punch it into the sun. Needless to say, we got our ice cream in short order. It was fabulous.”

“This is big,” said one of them, glancing at the other.

“We have to go-”

“-spread the news.”

“Sorry to run-”

“-but you know what they say-”

“-rumors wait for no opportunist!”

They hurried off into the crowd, yelling, “Lee! Oy, Lee, you’ll never believe-”

“-what we just heard!”

Calvin watched them as they met up with a boy with dreadlocks, and began telling over his story, no doubt with countless embellishments. That was actually-

-a lot of fun.

Wait, why did I-

-just do that?

Their speech patterns-

-are stuck in my head!

Ahhhhh-

-hhhhhh!


The train was going to leave in four minutes, and Calvin still hadn’t found Hermione. He wouldn’t have cared too much normally, only she’d looked so happy when he’d said he’d meet her here that he would feel bad letting her down, and she was the only girl he’d ever enjoyed talking with.

He was about to give it up as a lost cause and head back to Dean when he spotted a familiar head of bushy brown hair off in the distance. The crowd shifted and he lost sight of her, but he pushed through the river of bodies in the direction he’d seen her heading.

“‘Scuse me, coming through!” he yelled, elbowing legs out of his way. “Man with a mission here, make some room! Hey! Watch where you’re stepping, that’s my favorite right foot! Oof.” Someone backed into him, and he fell onto his backside. “Alright, that’s it, people. No more Mr. Nice Guy. This is a job for,” he pulled out a deep red mask from his pocket as he climbed to his feet, slipping it over his head. It took a few seconds to get the eyeholes situated correctly. Finally, it was on comfortably, the attached cape reaching down to his lower back.

…Stupendous Man!” he announced, extending a fist into the air, his other hand on his waist. “Mere pedestrians are no obstacle to Stupendous Man’s stupendous intellect! Stupendous Man, defender of liberty and justice, ascends a nearby waffle-stand for a better look,” Calvin narrated loudly.

“Oy, kid, get off my stall!”

An enormous science-experiment-gone-wrong attempts to dislodge him from his perch, but the whirlwind wonder climbs quickly onto the rickety roof of the bulbous being’s evil establishment!”

“Get down here!”

With an incredible inhalation, Stupendous Man draws a deep breath, readying his lungs for the trying task to come!”

“I’ll call security, don’t think I won’t!”

HERMIONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

Across the platform, dragging her trunk along and wondering worriedly if the boy she met at the robe shop had forgotten all about her – after all, she thought to herself, it had been a month – and she was going to have to sit alone all the way to Hogwarts, Hermione Granger heard the call. Surprised, she turned around, trying to locate the source. She saw a figure with a crimson mask and cape on the roof of one of the stalls, trying to evade the hands of the stall’s owner as he grabbed at him. “Calvin?” she said to no one in particular.

Back at the scene of the confrontation, Calvin hopped over the man’s latest swipe and yelped when his foot went straight through the rooftop. He heard a creak. A crack. A snap.

“Uh oh,” he said, right before the entire precarious structure fell apart around him, the roof teetering and then going down to the right, dumping him unceremoniously onto the back of a passing wizard.

“GET BACK HERE, YOU LITTLE RUNT OF A DISASTER!”

“Run like the wind, my valiant steed!” yelled Calvin, wrapping his arms around the man’s head in an effort to stay on. The man, having no idea what had just landed on him, unable to see, and hearing the sounds of chaos all around, raced away, clawing at Calvin’s arms and screaming.

“Ow! No oats for you tonight,” Calvin scolded, dropping off the man’s back and onto a passing bench. The man continued his flight of fear and confusion, and was instantly swallowed up by the crowd. Calvin let out a sigh, removing his Stupendous Man uniform and stuffing it into his pocket. “Well, that didn’t go as planned.”

“No plan survives contact with the enemy,” Hermione said brightly, dragging her rather large trunk up beside the bench.

“Hermione!” he exclaimed, jumping down. “I found you!”

“No, I found you, because you bellowed my name out to the entire platform.” She looked at him sideways. “Did you actually just knock down someone’s stall trying to look for me?”

“What?” said Calvin, feigning surprise. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about. Someone as mild-mannered as me would never do something like that!”

“I hardly think that ‘mild-mannered’ describes you, Calvin. And you really shouldn’t destroy people’s property, it’s not right.” Calvin hung his head. “But thank you,” Hermione added quickly. “I do appreciate it.”

He smiled widely at her, then nodded towards the Hogwarts Express. “We’d better board, there’s only-”

Calvin was cut off by the shrill cry of a whistle, and then a booming voice announced, “LAST CALL FOR THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK TRAIN TO HOGWARTS.”

“…As I was saying. Come on!”

They weaved their way through the crowd, and Calvin helped lug her trunk onto the train. Dean and Seamus were nowhere to be found when they got to the compartment. Together they shoved the trunk up onto the luggage rack, and then Calvin stuck his head out the window as the train started moving.

The compartment door slid open, and a gangly redhead stepped in. “Anyone sitting there?” he asked, pointing to the space opposite Hermione.

She shook her head. “Nope. I’m Hermione Granger, and you are?”

“Ron Weasley, brother to the twin terrors. Oh, you again,” Ron said, noticing Calvin.

You haven’t see the last of me!” yelled Calvin out the window, shaking his fist at the people on the platform as train rolled out of the station.

The redhead grimaced. “Maybe I’d be better off just sitting outside in the aisle.”

“Oh, you two know each other?” said Hermione, looking to where Calvin was pulling himself back from the window.

“Yeah,” said Ron, lifting his trunk onto the seat and plopping down next to it. “We met outside the platform. He was doing stretches right before he ran at the pillar like an utter madman.”

“Hmm,” said Hermione, furrowing her brow. She looked back at Ron. “You’ve got a spot of…dirt, right there on your nose,” she told him, pointing to the tip of her own nose.

Ron grumbled and rubbed his sleeve against the offending spot. “Hey Calvin, where’s Harry gotten to?” he then said, asking after the saner of the two.

Calvin smacked his forehead – actually smacked it. Hermione cringed in sympathetic pain. “Ouch. Oh, right! I was going to go look for him after I got on the train! I hope he made it okay. I wonder if anyone asked him for a ‘Harry Potter autograph?'”

Hermione blanched.

Ron choked on absolutely nothing. “He’s Harry Potter!?”

“Well, his name’s Harry Potter, but does he actually embody everyone’s concept of who Harry Potter is?” mused Calvin. “I’m not sure. Am I really Calvin, or is it just what people call me? If you call a rock a leaf, it doesn’t make it a leaf – but is it even any more of a rock, really? Maybe that’s not a very good example, because those two things are so basic.”

“Actually,” said Hermione, looking very interested, “that’s talked about in Aristotle’s Metaphysics – he writes that ‘It is correctly described by the name of its form, not by that of its matter. What is produced is a house or a man, not bricks or flesh.’ And, as Jean-Paul Sartre said, ‘Existence precedes essence,’ which I think means that something is defined by whatever traits people attribute to it.” Then she tapped a finger against her chin thoughtfully. “Hmm, I guess Aristotle was an existentialist. Oh, you should probably go find Harry,” she said to Calvin. “I’ll come with you.”

They looked at Ron, who shrugged and said, “Eh, why not.”

“That’s the spirit!” Calvin said happily. “Just shrug and go along with it! Works wonders for me. Now, onwards!”

“The only thing I’m ‘just going along with’ is you, mate,” said Ron, getting up. “What do you have to shrug about?”

Calvin shrugged.

They exited the compartment as the train finished rounding a corner, and headed down the aisle.

Calvin poked his head into the first compartment they passed. “Anyone named Harry Potter in here? No? Okay, thanks,” he said, sliding the door closed. “Next!”

He slid open the door of the next compartment. “Do you happen to have a lightning bolt on your forehead? No, not on your finger- oh, now that’s just uncalled for.”

“Oo, I want to do the next one!” said Ron, racing over to the closest compartment and pulling the door back. “Hey, anybody in here have, uh…messy black hair?”

“What?” said a confused voice from within.

“Lemme handle this, Ron.” Ron stepped back, blushing furiously, and Calvin took his place. “Alright, if one of you recognizes me, raise your hand.” A pause. “Wait, how do you all recognize me, I have no idea who you are!”

“You look a bit different without the mask on, but I’m pretty sure you declared yourself to be ‘Stupendous Man.’ Right before you exploded some guy’s stall.”

“Oh, you saw that?”

“Mate, everyone saw that,” said Ron from behind him.

“Well, you’re not Harry Potter,” Calvin addressed the student inside, “So I’m going to have to take my leave now. Have a nice ride!” He quickly shut the door and stood there, biting his lip. “Man, I need to get a better disguise than the old mask-‘n-cape.”

“If the teachers end up hearing about this, you could get in trouble, Calvin,” Hermione said worriedly.

“Been there, done that, got the t-shirt,” Calvin replied, waving her off and heading towards the next compartment down the aisle.

“I’d be taking this more seriously if I were you,” she said, slightly offended.

Ron stepped past her to follow Calvin. “You’re definitely not him, Hermione. And you should be thankful for that. I know I am.” They caught up with the psychotic, spiky-haired muggleborn as he was sliding open the door, Hermione’s cheeks slightly pinker than normal.

Ron poked his head into the compartment above Calvin’s. A round-faced boy was sitting on the right side of the compartment, across from a dark-skinned boy and a boy with sandy hair. The round-faced one was petting some manner of amphibian that rested on his lap.

“Has anyone seen a Harry Potter?” Calvin said. “I’ve lost one. Oh, hi, Dean. Hi, Seamus,” he nodded to the boys on the left.

“Hey, Calvin, sorry we disappeared. Neville here had lost his toad, so we helped him find it,” said Dean, gesturing to the round-faced boy. Neville smiled sheepishly.

“No worries,” Calvin replied. He entered and walked over to Neville. “Can I touch it?” he asked excitedly, looking down at the toad.

“Uh, sure,” Neville said with enough surprise that Calvin guess no one had ever asked him that before.

“Woah, he’s cold!”

“Yeah, toads are cold-blooded animals,” answered Neville. “So they don’t regulate their body temperature internally like we do – to raise it, they have to soak up heat from the sun, or more likely from sun-heated stones.”

“I did that once,” said Ron, walking in to stand beside Calvin and look at the toad. “It was great, at least until my back started aching from lying on rocks.”

“Are we going to stand here all day chatting, or are we going to go find your friend?” a voice said from right outside the compartment.

“Who’s that?” Dean asked, leaning forward to try and see into the aisle.

“Hermione,” said Ron, rolling his eyes. “We’re coming, Hermione, keep your hair on,” he called out to her, turning around and grabbing Calvin by the arm. “Come on, mate, before she starts telling us off for leaving someone waiting.”

“Ah, he’s got me!” Calvin cried, pretending to be dragged out by Ron. “You’ll never take me alive!”

“Stop, drop, and roll!” yelled Dean after him, laughing.

“Mate, that’s for when you’re on fire,” Seamus told the short-haired boy. “I should know.”

Harry wasn’t in the next compartment they checked either, or the one after that, so they went to the car beyond theirs.

“Harry! There you are, we’ve been looking for you for hours!” Calvin sighed loudly, crossing his arms and shaking his head.

Harry, who’d been sliding back the door of a compartment, stopped and dragged his trunk over to them with one hand, the other holding Hedwig’s cage. “We only pulled out of the station like ten minutes ago, Calvin. Seriously though, this train is packed, I couldn’t find a seat anywhere!”

“We’ve got a compartment all the way at the back,” said Ron, reaching out to take the owl cage from Harry.

“Thanks,” Harry said gratefully.

“I’m Hermione Granger,” said Hermione, sticking out her hand.

He shook the offered appendage. “Er, nice to meet you. Harry Potter.”

“I’ve heard,” she responded. “I read about you, you know, in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.”

“Even I haven’t read about me,” said Harry, looking mildly interested. “What do the books say?”

“There are a lot of conflicting points, but they all agree that you’re a powerful wizard who saved the wizarding world in it’s darkest hours,” said Hermione frankly, sounding as if she were quoting from the back of one of said books. Which she probably was.

“Oh,” Harry responded. “Well, I haven’t even done any magic yet, so I don’t see how they could know I’m a powerful wizard.”

“Really?” said Hermione, frowning. “I’ve tried a few simple spells just for practice and it’s all worked for me. Of course, nobody in my family’s magic at all, so I was ever so surprised when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard – I’ve learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough. Well why are we standing here in the aisle? Let’s go sit down. Here, let me help you with that,” she said, taking Harry’s trunk and starting off back to their compartment at the end of the train.

” I – you don’t need – I can-” started Harry. Hermione continued into the next car, humming to herself. “…Thanks.”

“Just let her, mate,” Ron said, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Oh, I met your brothers, Ron. They helped me get my stuff on the train.”

“The twins?” said Calvin, perking up. “I met them too! How do they always finish each other’s sentences so perfectly?”

“We’ve been trying to figure it out for years,” Ron told him. “I think it must be an identical twin thing.”

I want an identical twin,” said Calvin decisively.

“No thanks, one of you’s more than enough,” said Ron, looking scared at the thought of another Calvin running around.

“Shouldn’t we be following Hermione to the back of the train?” Harry interjected.

“Oh, right,” said Ron, hefting Hedwig’s cage and starting walking.

“To the bat-compartment!” yelled Calvin, running back the way they’d come, arms spread out to his sides and singing, “Na na na na, na na na na, na na na na, na na na na, BATMAN!”

“He’s a bit of a nutter, isn’t he,” observed Ron.

“Well, I think he’s loads of fun,” Harry said, stepping through the door between the cars.

“Like a barrel of monkeys,” answered Ron sarcastically.

“Oh come on, let’s keep him,” Harry said good-naturedly.

“Fine, but I am not taking him out for walks at five in the bloody morning.”


About five minutes after Calvin’s stomach started rumbling and he realized that he forgot to take the sandwiches his mother had made him that morning, they all heard a clattering sound approaching the compartment from out in the aisle. Then the sound stopped, and a short, smiling woman wearing an old-fashioned apron slid back their door. “Anything off the cart, dears?” she said.

“Depends, what’s on it?” asked Calvin curiously, mindful of his rumbling digestive system. The smiling woman started listing a dozen candies and sweets that Calvin had never heard of. He turned to Ron. “Any of those good?” he asked the freckled boy, who had started salivating as soon as the first food item was mentioned.

“Chocolate Frogs, definitely. The Pumpkin Pasties too, and the Licorice Wands – Cauldron Cakes aren’t bad either, and Drooble’s Best Bubble Gum is fun. Oh, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans if you like surprises.”

Harry ended up buying some of each of the candies Ron had recommended, and the four of them ate their way through the pile of treats, with Hermione participating only by trying a single Every Flavoured Bean. It turned out to be wax flavor, and after that she opted to stay away from wizarding sweets.

“You got lucky, actually,” Ron told her, opening a Chocolate Frog packet. “George swears he had a booger-flavoured one once.”

“That’s absolutely repulsive,” Hermione replied, pushing away the bag of Bertie Bott’s.

A while later, when Ron’s long and enthusiastic explanation of the finer rules of the wizarding sport Quidditch started winding down, the compartment door slid open to reveal three boys standing in the aisle.

Mo?” exclaimed Calvin, his skin paling, eyes wide as the waistline of a sumo wrestler who’d eaten another sumo wrestler for breakfast every day of his life.

“What!?” said Draco Malfoy in confusion, turning to look where Calvin was staring. “That’s Crabbe.”

“O-oh, of-of course,” Calvin stammered, holding a hand to his chest. “You almost gave me a heart attack, Crabbe. Don’t do that.”

The thickset boy with the wide face who’d been referred to as Crabbe looked back and forth between Draco and Calvin, utterly bewildered. “Do what?” he said blandly.

“Nevermind. Hey, Draco, what’s up?”

Draco ignored his greeting, instead smirking smarmily in Harry’s direction. “I thought you were him, when we were in the robe shop. Everyone’s saying it’s true. Wrestle any dragons lately, Potter?”

Now it was Harry’s turn to be confused. “What!?” he said, as Calvin tried to cover up his own laughter.

“Sorry, Harry, that’s probably my fault.”

You started that rumor?” asked Malfoy, eyebrows rising up like a pair of balloons accidentally released by a toddler. “I thought he was your friend?”

“He is,” Calvin replied. “That’s why I did it. Besides, it’s hilariously unbelievable anyways.”

Draco studied him with a curious expression. “You’re all right, Calvin,” he said grudgingly, before quickly adding “…for a muggleborn.”

“You’re all right too,” said Calvin with a shrug.

“…For a git,” added Ron truthfully.

“What’s this, another Weasley?” retorted Draco. “My father-”

“No, actually,” said Calvin, interrupting the blond-haired boy. “He was ‘another Weasley’ eleven years ago – give or take. Now he’s just a regular ol’ Weasley.”

Draco stared at him in disbelief for a moment, then turned to Harry. “Is he like this all the time, or just with me?”

“You learn to roll with it,” Harry answered, grinning.

“Or get rolled over by it,” said Ron, smiling despite himself.

Hermione, who’d simply been watching the curious dynamic of the strange relationship the new boy seemed to have with Harry and Calvin, spoke up. “I’m sorry, who is this?” she asked, gesturing to Draco.

“Dra-” He glanced at Calvin, who was watching him expectantly. Draco rolled his eyes. “Fine,” he muttered. He looked back to Hermione and said, “The name’s Malfoy. Draco Malfoy.”

Calvin applauded loudly. Harry laughed. Ron looked at them like they were crazy.

“Did you just reference James Bond?” said Hermione.

“What?” said Draco.

Calvin and Harry were both cracking up now, and Calvin promptly fell onto the floor, whooping and slapping his thigh.

“I’m just going to leave now,” Draco said, eyeing them cautiously. He turned to Hermione. “Trust me when I tell you that if you at all value your sanity, you should definitely find different friends.” His eyes flicked back to where Calvin was lying on the floor, wheezing. “And you should probably find a new compartment, too.” With that, he slid the door closed.

As Calvin picked himself up and he and Harry both caught their breath, Ron looked at Hermione. “Maybe we should take his advice. Even if he is a stuck-up weirdo who gels his hair.”

Hermione just shook her head silently and went back to reading her book.

“What’re you reading, Hermione,” said Harry, leaning over to look at the contents.

“It’s Hogwarts, A History, and it’s really quite interesting – you should give it a read. Who knows,” she said wryly, looking pointedly at Calvin as he sat back down. “You might even learn something.”

Calvin waved a hand at the proposal, swatting it away. “Sorry, I only read the classics.”

Hermione blinked, intrigued. “Really? I don’t care for Shakespeare, but I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, Call of the Wild, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and bunch of others and I loved all of them, even if Lord of the Flies was a bit gruesome. I don’t quite understand some of Snowball’s motives, either, and John Thornton’s death came as a bit of a shock to me. That poor dog! What’s your favorite?” she asked Calvin, who’d been waiting patiently while she talked.

“Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie,” he responded seriously. “But only if my dad does all the voices.”

“That…sounds like a children’s book,” said Hermione.

“Oh, believe me, it’s very nuanced. And never the same plot twice, though I wonder how that works.”

Hermione just shook her head and went back to reading her book. A few minutes later she stood up and exited the compartment to go to the restrooms. When she came back, she announced, “I’ve just been up front to ask the conductor, and he says we’re nearly there. You three had better change into your robes, and quickly.”

Sure enough, as soon as they’d finished pulling on their black school robes, the train began to slow down. A cool female voice echoed through the train: “We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes’ time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately.”

The train turned a corner and, though it was starting to get too dark to see much, the four of them could pick out a gigantic, sprawling shape at the top of a hill in the distance.

“Hogwarts,” Hermione said matter-of-factly.

“Hogwarts,” Ron gulped nervously.

“Hogwarts,” Harry breathed reverently.

“Why’s it called Hogwarts, anyway – that’s just a combination of a synonym for pig and those disgusting skin-bumps that toads have,” stated Calvin offhandedly.

“Shh,” said Harry, still gazing out the window. “You’re ruining the moment.”

Next Chapter >


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