Platform 9¾

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One Small Step  Solo   Closed 

When Mara first arrived in London two weeks ago, it took her a full day to get used to the overwhelming mass of humanity that buffeted against her from all sides. The people, the buildings, even the noises felt alien to her. It was quite a leap from her sleepy Irish hometown.

Which is where she should be heading right now with her parents, instead of off to some crackpot school of “magic.”

Please don’t make me go,” Mara begged for the umpteenth time, burying her head into her papa’s midriff. “Please, please, please.”

Though her eyes were screwed shut, she could practically feel her dads, Ben and Aidan, exchange a meaningful glance above her head.

“Mara.” Papa’s warm hand settled on her unruly head of hair. “Look at me.”

“No.” She squeezed even tighter.

Ever since Mara got her Hogwarts letter several months ago, things had been different. Well, if she were being honest with herself, her life started going downhill ever since she started exhibiting signs of magic in the first place: her fathers pulled her out of her town football league, and she caught them – more than once! – having whispered conversations behind her back. The three of them used to share everything...

Mara felt like she had shamed them in some way. All of this magic stuff wasn’t even under her control!

“Hey, Pumpkinhead,” said a voice in her ear. Mara shifted her head to the side just a smidge to meet her kneeling dad’s gaze. (Mara loved that nickname, which not only referred to her mass of red curls, but also to Aidan’s favorite character from his beloved “Sandman” comics.) Her dad tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “What are you so afraid of?”

What was she afraid of? What wasn’t she afraid of! Being a freak, being bad at being a freak, not making friends, being bored in classes, being cut off from technology, being away from her dads for so long, having to give up her dream of space travel...

Instead of all that, she said sulkily: “I dunno.” She fiddled with the sleeve of her robe. “Being miserable like you were, I guess.”

Aidan chuckled regretfully and straightened his long legs. He threw a somewhat chastened glance at Ben, whose raised eyebrows conveyed a wordless I-told-you-so. “You’re a much better fit for Hogwarts than I ever was,” Aidan said with a half-smile.

“But how?” Mara protested. “I don’t know anything about magic because you never told me about it. I’ll be so behind the other students–”

“Most of whom know even less than you do,” her dad interrupted. “Many of these kids are full-on Muggleborns, having had no exposure to magic until they got their own Hogwarts letters.”

The Hogwarts Express emitted a warning shriek, and the bustle around the Ashlador family intensified. A bolt of loneliness struck Mara to her core.

In a quiet voice, she said: “Won’t you miss me?”

“Oh, Mara,” said her papa. “Every day!”

“The house will feel impossibly empty without you, Pumpkinhead,” her dad chimed in.

It occurred to Mara that this separation was probably going to be hard for her dads as well. “Are you...are you gonna be okay without me?”

Aidan laughed and took Ben’s hand, grinning. “I think we’ll be okay. It’s all a natural part of growing up, Mara.” A surge of magical families scurried around the platform, and Mara wondered if her dad knew anyone from his days at Hogwarts. As though reading her mind, Aidan caught sight of an important-looking, bespectacled wizard standing with his wife and son a couple meters away, and his face paled. He dropped his hand and abruptly patted the wand in his pocket, earning a puzzled look from Ben.

Mara frowned, uncomprehending. But Ben was already picking up where Aidan left off. “Mara, this is just the next stage in your exciting– albeit unconventional!– schooling,” he said excitedly. “You’re going to get to learn that special wizard chemistry– what is it called again, Aidan?”

“Potions,” supplied Aidan.

“Potions!” continued Ben. “It’s like a whole new type of science, darling. And Astronomy! That should feel familiar to you. I bet you’ll love exploring the stars from a witch’s perspective.”

“Or arguing with the professor over it,” Aidan muttered.

Mara stayed silent. She supposed she was interested in at least dipping her toes into some of these subjects– as long as she didn’t become too immersed in the magic school’s backwards way of thinking.

Ben wasn’t quite done expressing his enthusiasm for magic. “Mara, we just ran through a solid brick wall. Isn’t that fascinating?”

Mara harrumphed. “It broke my brain.”

“Your brain–” Ben tapped her forehead– “is capable of comprehending incredible things. And you are capable of so much more than you realize.”

The platform was quickly emptying out, as the students boarded the scarlet engine and disappeared from view. It was time. Ben gently pried Mara’s arms from around his waist and kissed her on the cheek.

She placed her hands on the luggage cart and tried to hide her trembling lip. “What if I’m total rubbish at all of this?”

Aidan’s eyes sparkled with tears as he hugged her tightly. “We love you no matter what,” he said, voice slightly muffled. “Be proud to be yourself.”

Both her fathers were gazing at her with such warmth, Mara could practically feel it suffusing her veins. Maybe that’s magic… Feeling slightly more confident and– she couldn’t deny it– slightly more excited, Mara took her first steps towards a new and wonderful life.
Last edited by Arc Perscivious on 10th June 2019, 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Inactive for 1 month

"So much universe, so little time."
Strength: 6 | Agility: 10 | Control: 7 | Stamina: 7