Platform 9¾

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Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Just keep breathing. Passing out would not be a good thing.

Eleven-year-old Olivia Stewart was desperately trying to control her emotions. Kings Cross Station bustled around her. She felt safe pushing her trolley between her parents. Roy Stewart had one hand on his daughter's shoulder while Miranda Stewart eyed the trolley as Olivia struggled to maneuver it through the dense throng of people. Olivia had insisted on pushing the trolley herself. She was headed to Hogwarts, which meant she would be away from her parents for months and on her own. Pushing the trolley herself felt like a step forward toward independence. At least that's what she was telling the butterflies in her stomach.

"We're quite early, Miranda." Roy was speaking to his wife of fifteen years over Olivia's head. Roy spoke calmly with a sweetness in his voice. Miranda eyed the large clock face above her.

"There is nothing wrong with being early. She'll get her pick of compartment this way," Miranda replied smoothly. Olivia smiled to herself. Her parents tended to do that, talk around her that is. There was no malice or ignorance in her parents' musings, and if Olivia wanted to be a part of the conversation all she had to do was speak. But today, of all days, she took comfort in her mother's efficiency and her father's calm acceptance of that efficiency.

Olivia gripped the bar of the trolley even tighter. She had been so excited to go to Hogwarts, looking forward to it more and more this past summer. But that excitement was replaced with useless anxiety when she woke up this morning. Questions flooded her anxious mind. Have I forgotten to pack anything? Will I find a seat on the train? What if the barrier doesn't let me through?! How will I make friends? Olivia was an adventurous girl, loving to explore the coastline and investigating the plants of her father's many gardens, but she was relatively alone in those adventures. Her family's small cottage home was on the outskirts of St Andrews in Scotland. There were few neighbors and even fewer children, none of which were her own age. She never felt deprived, growing up without children her own age. But the lack of companionship left her feeling like she was about to take a test she hadn't studied for. How in Merlin's name was she supposed to make friends on her own when she had never done it before?

"Ah, here we are." Her father's deep tenor voice pulled Olivia out of her anxious thoughts. They were standing some meters away from the barrier wall between platforms 9 and 10. Olivia swallowed, her throat suddenly dry. It doesn't hurt. Granny said it's like walking from the kitchen into the dining room. Olivia's paternal grandmother had been kind in her understanding of Olivia's trepidation and repeatedly told her only grandchild that she would be fine.

"Right, I'll go first darling, to show you how it's done. Then you'll follow along with Daddy." Miranda's smile was brilliant.

"Yeah, sounds good." Olivia's voice sounded breathy to her ears. She felt her father give her shoulder a soft squeeze. Miranda turned on her heel and without a second glance walked briskly through the barrier. She disappeared faster than Granny's raspberry bun cakes at Christmas. Olivia swallowed again.

"See, nothing to it." Her father's blue eyes that matched her own twinkled at Olivia. She offered him a timid smile. "Let's go, shall we?"

Olivia turned her face back to the barrier. She squared her shoulders and aimed her trolley at the wall. "Here goes nothing," she said quietly, more to herself than anything else. Olivia started walking, then broke into a soft jog. Her father never lessened his grip on her shoulder. His warm strong hand grounded her anxious mind as she raced headlong into the seemingly solid wall.

In the next breath, Olivia was standing next to her mother. She dug the heels of her trainers into the polished floor to stop her momentum. She had made it, she was on Platform 9 3/4. The Hogwarts Express gleamed in front of her. They were almost 45 minutes early for departure, just the faintest wisp of smoke was escaping the train's engine as it warmed up for the journey to the castle.

Olivia took a steadying breath. A smile brighter than the sun broke out on her freckled face. If she could jog into a wall, she could make friends and have a great first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. ~ J. Austen

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

"Make sure you eat three meals a day, don't forget to feed Mori, remember you have to push the button on the wash two times before it works, is there anything else I'm forgetting..." Morgan looked at her father, who looked back at him with tears in his eyes. She could feel the tears welling up in hers. She grabbed her things and started walking away from the train willing to leave everything regarding Hogwarts and magic behind. 

"Actually, I think I should just stay, Mori will miss me too much and–" Her father cut her off.

"Ah ah ah," Her father pulled her back towards him and the train, "you're going to take this opportunity to learn who you are and what you can become, Honey I know you're gonna be fantastic. Don't worry about me or Mori, we'll be fine, and you can...what was it called again, to send letters?" He asked thinking hard about what it was.

"Owling dad, I can send owls," A laughing sob came out and she wrapped my arms around his neck, "I don't wanna leave you, Daddy, you've been there with me all my life." 

"I know sweetie, I know, but now it's time to let you go out into the world and discover things for yourself, even if it is without me." He hugged her and kissed her forehead pushing her curly hair behind her ear. 

Morgan nodded and turned towards the train away from her father. She took one step, then another, and another. Her hand wrapped around the cold metal of the railing and she looked back at her father, there were tears streaks down his face, and a tear fell down her cheek. Morgan held out her arm and formed her hand into a thumbs up.

Morgan's father laughed and put one up as well, their own form of goodbye. I love you, she mouthed to her father as she walked onto the train. I love you too, he said back to her. She looked away from her father for the last time and walked inside the train. She looked around the inside at the details of the walls, and cabins. Out of the window, she saw a red-haired girl with her parents and smiled. Morgan then went on to pick a compartment, somewhere near the back, but it seemed like the train went on for forever. 

Morgan sat down in the next one she found and sat near the window. 

"Hogwarts, and magic, and flying, I can't believe that all of this is real. I'm really going to be a witch." Morgan giggled at her own words and rested her head against the cold window smiling.

I came, I saw, I made it awkward...

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Olivia felt herself being shuffled over to a bench on the platform by her father. She couldn't stop staring at the large train in front of her! Olivia had never seen a train this close before, much less ridden one.

"What do you think, darling?" Her father's question sounded so simple yet Olivia's brain struggled to form a response.

"I think I'm going to faint before the day is out," she whispered, but still wore a permanent smile and look of fixed wonder in her eyes. "You never told me the train would be so cool!" She turned that look of wonder onto her parents.

"Wait until you see the castle," replied her mother wistfully. Mirada had been judicial in preparing her daughter for her education, explaining school work expectations and best study practices. But the sheer magic of it all was what Miranda most remembered about her first year at Hogwarts, having been adopted by Muggles at the young age of three. While Olivia had been raised in a magical household, Miranda wanted her daughter to experience some of that discovered magic for herself.

"Would you like us to wait with you a while, Livi? We are still a bit early." Roy looked at the clock above the train. There was still at least 30 minutes until departure and the platform was only just now beginning to swell with people.

Olivia eyed the compartment windows. Most looked empty but she spied a head of dark brown or black curls in one of the windows close to the end of the train. It was hard to tell from the distance the exact color, but that meant there were other people on the train. And that gave Olivia the confidence to step onto it without the help of her parents.

"Thanks, Dad, but I think I'll be alright." They pushed Olivia's trolley close to the very end of the train where station workers were starting to load student trunks and belongings.

There were some rushed words of confirmation that yes she had indeed packed everything. Olivia hugged both her parents tightly.

"Send us an owl once you're settled," Miranda whispered in her ear.

"I will." Olivia beamed at her parents. "Right, I'm off then." She hugged them again quickly before stepping up onto the steps to take her into the train. She spun on her heal and said with thick emotion, "I love you."

Miranda's eyes looked a little misty. Roy responded for them both with, "We love you too, Livi-lou." With a short wave of her freckled hand, Olivia turned quickly back and started walking toward the end of the train.

Olivia tried to take in details of the train, but was still reeling a bit from saying goodbye to her parents. She would miss them and Granny so much.

Olivia stopped outside a compartment. Inside was the curly-haired girl she had noticed from the platform. Olivia was anxious to make some friends, to feel a little less alone on this journey. Before she could lose her nerve, she knocked lightly on the compartment door and slid it open slightly.

"Hello," she said timidly. She hoped she didn't sound too scared. But the girl looked young enough to be a first year. Maybe she was a little scared too? "May I join you?" Olivia stood in the train corridor, her head poked into the compartment, waiting for the girl's response.

Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. ~ J. Austen

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Morgan jumped, startled by the sudden voice coming from behind her. She turned her head around to see the red-haired girl, whose hair she realized was more orangey than she initially thought. 

"Y-yeah of course, there's plenty of space, kinda too much for little old me." Morgan smiled at the girl hoping her nervousness wasn't so obvious. She started to take in the features of the girl, her blue eyes, the freckles practically covering her face, they all fit her perfectly. 

"Do you happen to know when the train is going to leave? I'm new to the whole Wizarding World thing I guess, it seems pretty exciting I guess, pretty sure my dad and I almost got left in....what is it called again?...oh! Diagon Alley, yeah that place is always so busy and everyone is dressed so differently, and I am so sorry, I've started going on my rambling sprees again." She felt her face started to get heated up and put her head down focusing her thought on one thing at a time. Morgan stood up and held out her hand awkwardly, her hand shaking a bit and a little sweaty but not too wet.

"I'm Morgan Stratton, but my dad calls me Winnie or Nona because my middle name is Winona." Morgan grinned and swept a few strands of hair that fell into her face when she stood up. 

"What's your name?..." She asked hoping the red-haired girl wasn't put off by her nervous first impression.

I came, I saw, I made it awkward...

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Olivia winced a little inwardly as she startled the girl with her presence. Not the best start to a first impression but there was still hope as the girl smiled and invited her into the compartment. Olivia slid inside and shut the compartment door behind her. She plopped herself down on the sit across from the girl and immediately sank back into the plush cushions. At least the long journey to the castle would be comfortable in a physical sense.

Olivia listened to the girl's speech but realized she was rambling a little. She sounded just as nervous as Olivia felt! This immediately put Olivia at ease. There was solidarity in shared awkwardness as her granny liked to say. Before Olivia could comment on the girl's rambles, she was standing in front of Olivia with her hand put out.
"I'm Morgan Stratton, but my dad calls me Winnie or Nona because my middle name is Winona."

Olivia returned the girl's smile. She liked the name Morgan and Winona sounded so pretty, like the babble noise a brook made. When she asked for Olivia's name, the slender red head put her hand in Morgan's with a firm squeeze and said, "I'm Olivia Stewart, it's nice to meet you!" And she meant it with her whole heart. This was the first person roughly her own age that she had ever met. Olivia swept her hand toward the girl's former seat inviting her to get comfortable. "I think the train should be leaving in the next 20 minutes or so. Mum got me up ridiculously early this morning." Olivia laughed a little as she remembered her mother bursting into her small bedroom at the cottage with great fanfare that it was time to get ready. "Are you a first year too?" Olivia assumed so since it sounded like she and her dad had never been to Diagon Alley before and something about being new. She was burning with questions and so badly wanted to make a friend, but the last Olivia wanted to do was scare her off with her over-zealousness.

Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. ~ J. Austen

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Morgan sat down across from Olivia looking at her bright blue eyes, they reminded her of the ocean she and her dad used to visit during the summer. The summer's spent with just the three of them, her, her dad, and her dog Mori. It was always so much fun. She hoped she would be able to go back and spend summers with them soon. 

Morgan nodded, grinning, "Yes I am, I'm quite excited, there are going to be more students than just us right? That would be a little awkward." She chuckled at her own comment. Looking around the compartment, starting fiddle with her sleeve, a telltale sign that she felt nervous. Morgan noticed Olivia didn't talk much, certainly not as much as she did. 

"Have you ever umm...done magic before?" She asked, ending the question with a whisper, not knowing anything about it besides what she managed to find in a few books left in the house left by her mother, that her dad happened to keep. Morgan looked at the girl hoping she had some type of information to give her about this new world she was entering. This new world she let take her by the hand and sweep her away in all its gloriousness.  

I'm sorry for this being so short, I've been pretty busy recently and don't know when I'll be able to respond, I'll try to get back to you as soon as I can though. 

I came, I saw, I made it awkward...

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Olivia watched Morgan sat down. She had to force herself to not stare awkwardly at Morgan's curls. There were so many! Olivia wondered idly if it was hard to take care of. Olivia's own slightly scraggly mop of red hair never stayed where she put it. The North Sea air gave her a frizzled look most days.

Olivia laughed with Morgan at her comment. "I'm hoping so!" Almost as in response, shadows moved past the compartment door indicating more people on the train. Morgan fiddled with her sleeve and Olivia's eyes watched the movement. Olivia was wracking her brain for a conversation topic when Morgan spoke again. The question puzzled Olivia. Done magic? It was becoming very obvious that Morgan didn't know much about the wizarding world.

"Well, no," said Olivia gently. "We're underage so we shouldn't be doing intentional magic outside of Hogwarts." Olivia said it as kindly as she could. She didn't want Morgan to feel at all awkward or silly for asking the question. "But you know," she said cheerfully, "my granny loves to tell a story about when I was 2 years old. She says I was so put out that my mum wouldn't let me have a raspberry cake that I made the cake hit my mum in the face!" Olivia laughed at the memory. "But that's different, children that young can't be sent to Azkaban for making sweets fly at there mother during a tantrum." Olivia eyed Morgan carefully, trying to make sure her story was comforting. "Did you ever make anything happen when you were little that your family couldn't explain? Maybe like me, when you were angry or frustrated?"

Olivia could hear the train coming to life. She didn't have a watch but she would bet the train would start moving soon.

Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. ~ J. Austen

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Today had gone off to a flying start.

Piper's dad had shaken him awake at some ungodly hour to start getting ready to leave. Gabrio had a gig that evening, and, as much as he'd wanted to wave his son off, there was no way he could risk making a bad impression on his new employer. So, with the missus off at the lab already, the obvious solution was to drop his 11-year-old son at one of the largest train stations in London to fend for himself for a few hours.
Piper had heard the regret in his voice when his father had told him the plan. Piper also hadn't been too worried. A few hours at a train station to finally make a start on Dorian Grey? Sounded great to him.

There weren't any cafes on platform 9 3/4, as it turned out, so he'd made camp at a Costa somewhere near the magic pillar his father had pointed out. They'd had a good hug, some tears were shed, and then Piper was on his own.

Minutes turned into hours much faster than they had any right to. It was just as Piper had purchased his third hot chocolate of the day that he heard a clock chiming 11 o'clock.

The number had rang around in his head for a moment. Eleven. Eleven o'clock. Seemed important. Hm.


The next five minutes of Piper's life involved a rather spectacular vault over a coffee shop chair, an undignified sprint and a smack into the wrong pillar. Getting more nervous by the second, he'd reassessed the pillars and, choosing the correct one, made a beeline for the train.

No time to admire the steam-powered beauty in front of him- instead, he dove onto the train with seconds to spare. In the weeks before this day, he'd stressed a lot about this part. Choosing the compartment. He'd made careful plans to avoid barging in on an existing friendship group or a bunch of much older students.

Those plans went out the window pretty quickly now he was here. Piper was done trying to beat his luck for today. Instead, he knocked on the door of the first compartment that seemed relatively empty- only a ginger and a brunette.

He took a breath, then opened the door and gave his best hey-I'm-a-nice-normal-person grin.

"Hey, is it cool if I sit here?" He said, then immediately regretted not taking time to fix his manically windswept hair.

(Hope you guys don't mind me jumping on your thread; I can leave if you want!)

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Morgan laughed at Olivia's story about flying cakes, tears started coming to her eyes, she couldn't remember the last time she laughed this hard around someone her age. 

"Flying cakes! Olivia! I didn't know you were so violent," She said laughing. Finally ending her laughing session ended she thought about Olivia's question. "There was this one time, I was about 7 or 8, I couldn't find my favorite toy in the world, it was a Black Widow superhero figurine, I  was beside a bookshelf, threw my arms down and started screaming. All the books on the shelf flew off and I think I may have broken a vase, that part is vague. I ran to tell my father scared that it was a ghost or something you know? And that was when I first discovered magic; and anything about my mother..." Her voice trailed off as she finished her sentence and a frown started to form. She tilted her head down so her hair covered it. Crap! Now I've made the atmosphere awkward, nice going Morgan! She thought to herself and quickly put her head back up smiling. Morgan was about to speak before she heard a boy's voice. 
"Hey, is it cool if I sit here?" He said, then immediately regretted not taking time to fix his manically windswept hair.
Morgan looked at the boy from his ruffled hair, down to his shoes, he looked pretty cool and Morgan was always willing to make new friends, new to being around people her age. She turned to Olivia and shrugged making a face that said, he-doesn't-look-too-bad-to-me.

I came, I saw, I made it awkward...

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Piper froze when they seemed to hesitate.

God, he'd come at a bad time, hadn't he? They were probably in some deep discussion about their biggest secrets, or... or dead pets or something, and he'd come barging in with his stupid smile and the worst sense of timing in the history of Hogwarts.

Or, he thought as he watched the brunette turn to her friend with a shrug, maybe they just wanted to check with each other before inviting a random stranger into their compartment. He really hoped that was it.

In any case, he was a little grateful for the extra time before he had to talk. He was still very much out of breath from sprinting all the way here. He kept smiling, trying not to show his exhaustion.

The moment of silence probably wasn't as long as it seemed in his head. Even so, his overly chatty nature took over as he began to feel awkward.

"I'm Piper, by the way. Piper Sanchez. First year. Are you first years? You look like first years. I mean, no offence if you aren't- you don't look that young. I just kind of assumed." Piper finally managed to stop himself talking as his mind caught up to what he was saying. "Um. Should I go, or..?" He let the question trail off, not wanting to sound like he was forcing himself on these poor people.

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

Olivia laughed with Morgan. Olivia had been called many things in her short life, but "violent" was not one of them.

Olivia listened intently as Morgan shared her story of not finding her favorite toy. She wanted to ask what kind of toy a "blackwidow spiderfigurine" was, but didn't want to interrupt. Morgan seemed to trail off after mentioning her mother. Olivia wasn't sure what to make of that, but as she took breath to respond, she felt the train lurch gently. They were off! Olivia returned Morgan's smile, hoping they would have a good journey together.

Olivia was startled by a boy's voice at the compartment door. He was asking if he could sit with them. Olivia returned Morgan's look of he looks alright to me. Olivia's red hair swayed as she turned back to the boy, taking the breath to invite him in, but he was talking again.
"I'm Piper, by the way. Piper Sanchez. First year. Are you first years? You look like first years. I mean, no offence if you aren't- you don't look that young. I just kind of assumed." Piper finally managed to stop himself talking as his mind caught up to what he was saying. "Um. Should I go, or..?"
Olivia stifled the giggle of nerves she felt coming up her throat. It would be rude to be seen giggling at the boy's ramblings.

"No, please, join us Piper." Olivia gave her biggest smile yet. More people! Granny will be so proud when I owl her about this! "I'm Olivia Stewart, it's nice to meet you. And yeah, we're first years." Olivia turned her smile to Morgan, hoping she didn't mind answering the question for them both.

Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. ~ J. Austen

Here Goes Nothing  Closed 

"Sweet, thanks!" Piper plopped down on the plush seat, unable to contain a delighted smile. It looked like his luck was finally turning around. He waited for the other girl to introduce herself before continuing.

Happy that everything was sorted out now, Piper gave himself a moment to relax with a contented sigh. "This is so cool. We're on a literal steam train." He gazed around at their surroundings. It was only a simple compartment, but it was strangely charming.

Ooh. Charming. He'd have to use that later.

"So, what's up with you guys? What kind of stuff do you want to do when we get there? I'm pretty pumped for charms, myself, though it sounds hard as heck."

Piper was making an effort to talk about wizard-y things. This was the first time he'd ever been able to talk to people his own age about magic, and he was determined to make the most of it, even with Wilde's masterpiece peeking halfway out of his bag and screaming to be read.

A thought suddenly occured to him as he watched London blur into a collage of fields and countryside out the window. He rummaged around in his jacket pocket for a moment, brow furrowed, before he triumphantly pulled out a small bag. "Oh, hey, I have some mini brownies left over from Costa. You want some? I had a tonne of hot chocolate earlier, so I'm good without 'em."