Platform 9¾

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Leaving the Nest (Pt. 2)  PV   Ruby Cazares   Fin 

Saturday: September 1, 2018
10:00 am

Working their way through the sea of people at King’s Cross Station, Andrew and his family skipped past the overhanging screens of Departures and Arrivals, knowing that the train they were looking for would not be displayed publicly. Following the directions that had been instructed to them (after checking and re-checking to make sure they were correct), the Vances made their way through the station as briskly and unsuspiciously as they could, searching for one platform marker in particular…

Assuming the map-reader position, Stacy – the eldest of the three Vance siblings – led the pack and held onto Andrew’s ticket for constant reminder, as she navigated the rest of her family towards the platforms. “Platform 9 and three-quarters” – so it said on the Hogwarts Express ticket that Andrew had received in his letter from Hogwarts, though Stacy didn’t dare say it out loud, in case other Muggles around might overhear her.

Well, we’re here. Platforms 9 and 10,” Stacy announced, standing in front of one of the dividing brick-and-mortar columns that were lined in a row between the two platforms.

Mr. Vance halted the trolley that contained Andrew’s belongings, raising his eyebrows skeptically at the column, before exchanging puzzled glances with the rest of his family. “We just run right into it?

That’s what they said,” Stacy affirmed with a shrug. “They” being the Hills, family friends of the Vances that had delivered Andrew’s letter and dropped the news of him being a wizard, exactly five months ago. The Hills had helped to prepare the Vances for the start of Andrew’s first year at Hogwarts, and they had relayed thorough instructions as to how they would gain access to the platform. Not that the Vances didn’t want to doubt the trustworthiness of their good friends, but still…

The Vances hesitated. Running full-throttle into what appeared to be a solid brick wall was ludicrous, from a Muggle’s point of view. Even Andrew, who had been to Diagon Alley and witnessed his own performance of magic, was nervous as he began to picture what the worst case scenario would be: If he ended up crashing into the wall and injuring himself, he would look like a fool in front of a crowd of Muggles. That was one way to draw unwanted attention to himself, if he wanted to conceal the fact that he was a wizard. All the strangers around him would think that he was crazy! Lunatic!

His heart pounded, fearing as time ticked by. Every second that passed, it was one second closer to the train’s departure. The Hills had emphasized its importance – Andrew couldn’t miss the train. If only the Hills were here, right now…

Unbeknownst to them, the Vances weren’t alone. Sooner or later, they would encounter other Hogwarts students and their families that would have to pass onto the hidden platform, especially since today was the start of the school term. Those that took notice of the Vances would see a man, woman, and three children – one of them (the middle child, Andrew) coughing and sniffling, looking obviously sick from a cold – standing next to a trolley, attempting to act as casual as they could while loitering around the platform division, although their uneasy glances betrayed them as they stared at the unseen magical barrier, struggling to muster enough courage to enter through it.

Stamina: 7 | Evasion: 8 | Strength: 5 | Wisdom: 10 | Arcane Power: 4 | Accuracy: 6
Keen EyeComponents

Leaving the Nest (Pt. 2)  PV   Ruby Cazares   Fin 

Ruby was not accompanied by her parents on this important day. They had work to do – they were busy people. It wasn't a new thing, and it didn't bother the young girl. After all, she had basically grown up without them, and hadn't really expected them to take her today. No, instead she was with three of her cousins – her favourite ones, the ones she had spent the most time with over the years. Their parents (her aunt and uncle, a former Hufflepuff and Gryffindor respectively) were the people who stepped in to take care of Ruby most of the time. They were kind, fun people, so she didn't mind at all. Besides, now she could spend more time with her cousins. They were her best friends and basically her brothers – they even called each other siblings, at this point. The three boys were older than Ruby, and were already in Hogwarts by now. One was a Ravenclaw and the other two were Gryffindors, and they were the most fun, awesome people she knew. They were mischievous, as well. Formerly, the Ravenclaw had done the plotting while the Gryffindors carried it out, but over the years they had become comfortable in every role, sharing all the parts amongst themselves. By now, they had also "educated Ruby in the art of mischief", as they called it, and the four of them were partners in crime.

The day had finally come when Ruby would be joining them in the school she had heard so much about. Coming from a pureblood family, there had been no doubt about the fact that she would one day go to Hogwarts, especially since signs of her magic had been very prevalent from a young age. What was not so certain for her family, however, was what house Ruby would end up in. Her parents were a Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and most of the family – including the girl's parents – were strongly biased against Slytherins. Ruby had been repeatedly told "Slytherins are evil" all throughout her childhood, and when she had been taught some basics of magical history, her parents had carefully eliminated or forced others to eliminate anything good about Slytherins. Why? Ruby still wasn't sure. That was something else for her to figure out. However, she was a very logical person, and she had reckoned that a house that was as evil as that one supposedly was wouldn't exist in a school… one intended for children. Therefore, her parents' efforts had only fuelled her curiosity, and she had eventually persuaded her aunt and uncle (the ones she was currently with) to retell the history of the Wizarding World… correctly. After that, she had had to pretend to believe her parents' side whenever they prompted a reaction from her in response to Slytherin house, but, secretly, she felt like she would be sorted there. Ever since the truth had been revealed, she had felt a connection to the house.

Cunning, clever, ambitious, determined, self-preserving, shrewd… those were all words that definitely described her. Could she have finally found somewhere where she belonged? She was certainly adventurous enough to be a Gryffindor, but she didn't go out of her way to be chivalrous and help others unless it benefitted her. Hufflepuff just wasn't right for her. Ravenclaw, on the other hand, was a house that she also felt connected to. She truly had most, if not all, of the traits of both Ravenclaw and Slytherin. In that case, it might come down to a choice. Her parents had instructed her on what to say and think to get into Gryffindor, but she intended to completely disregard that. She wanted a home, and she had the feeling that Gryffindor wasn't entirely right for her, even if it was close. Her cousins had assured her that they would still love her no matter what, and they too thought that she would make a good Ravenclaw or Slytherin. Perhaps she was too ambitious and determined to not be a Slytherin, but she would find out when the time came. No matter what, her thirst for knowledge – her love of learning/gaining information – would take her far.

They walked into the station and Ruby felt a small surge of excitement. She had been allowed to accompany her cousins to the platform in previous years, but this time she would be joining them. The four students maneuvered their trolleys quite easily, and didn't encounter any trouble – one year, one of the boys' trolleys had tipped over, and that hadn't been any fun. They were currently about to enter the platform when one of the Gryffindors, the younger of the two, announced quietly, “There's a lost firstie over there – a Muggleborn, no doubt. Who wants to take this one?” By that, he meant "who wants to help this one", as the brothers had encountered many nervous first years that hadn't known how to enter the platform.

A look was exchanged. “I can, I've gone through here enough times, as well,” Ruby said. “Besides, he'll be in my year. I might even make a new friend, you never know. Would someone mind taking my stuff, though?” The others nodded as a response – there was no need to doubt that she could handle this. If they all went, it would probably be too overwhelming, so that was why only one of them would be doing this. Regarding her stuff, her uncle stepped in to help, as all the others had things of their own. “See you on the other side, then,” the Ravenclaw said with a smirk. Ruby smiled at him, waved, and watched them all make their way through.

She turned to the boy and his family – she knew it was him she should help because he was the only one that looked to be the age of a first year, and if his family was magical then he'd be on the platform by now. The slightest hint of a smirk appeared on her lips, but many people wouldn't notice it. His things on the trolley were recognizable enough as magical, and he and his family probably wouldn't look quite as confused if he wasn't trying to get to a platform that didn't seem to exist. She walked over. The way she moved was normal enough to her, but it was elegant, smooth, and silent, and she was constantly straight-backed. Her appearance was pristine – no hair or fold was out of place, and her clothes were impeccably clean. For years, she had been trained to constantly look her best, and that wasn't changing now. Everyone had an aura, an air that followed them, a certain presence. Ruby's was able to be sensed easily. It was one of sharp intelligence, quiet confidence, and strong ambition, determination, passion, and power. It all blended together to make something that lots of people couldn't entirely pick apart. It was something that came naturally to her and she made no effort to change it, as it didn't cause her harm and didn't reveal anything about her that she wouldn't necessarily like others to know.

Ruby was also constantly analyzing, calculating, and observing. Nothing went unnoticed by her, and she paid complete attention to her surroundings. This helped her get the maximum amount of information out of every interaction and all that she did, and she would remember it for a long time, writing it down in her notebooks to reinforce that memory and make sure she had a record of it. Analyzing the boy and his family only took a few seconds, but she could think about what she had just learned later. Right now, it was important for her to speak and explain why she had approached them. “Hello to all of you,” she began with a smile. She fully understood the importance of first impressions, and she was sure that she wouldn't screw this one up. “My name's Ruby Cazares. Would you like some help getting onto the platform?”

Leaving the Nest (Pt. 2)  PV   Ruby Cazares   Fin 

Apart from the crowds, the Vances spotted what appeared to be a “family” – a man, woman, three older boys, and a girl – approach the column where the platform was supposedly said to exist on the other side. With their suspicions raised, the Vances stood nearby, watching intently – and blinking with surprise – as one by one, five members of the family passed through the column, disappearing into the wall. It was an alarming, yet astonishing magical feat that sent a wave of relief coming from the Vances, now that they had witnessed the act firsthand.

So it was true then – Andrew’s nervous fears subsided somewhat. The Hills were right. All they had to do was walk (or run) into the wall, and – hopefully; he didn’t know for certain, without experiencing for it himself – they’d find the platform on the other side. At least now, Andrew was a little more assured of the fact that the act wasn’t impossible, that yes, it could be done, although he was still tense about the possibilities of what could go wrong. In logic, all the Vances had to do was to copy after the others, and they figured they’d make it through all right.

But one member of the family – the youngest one, the girl – remained behind. Noticing the Vances, she approached and greeted them. Right away, they were impressed by her quiet air of confidence, as well as her proper lady-like manner of appearance and courtesy. With friendly smiles, the Vances received her warmly, although Andrew’s reaction was a little more sluggish and drowsier – due to his cold – compared to the rest of his family.

Hello, young Miss.” Mr. Vance gave a slight nod to the girl respectfully.

She introduced herself as @Ruby Cazares, and seemed to be extending an offer of help, regarding how to access the platform. At this point, it wasn’t difficult for the Vances to sense that Ruby could tell it was their first time around.

That would be much appreciated.” Mr. Vance accepted the girl’s offer with gratitude. “We haven’t exactly gone through walls before.” He chuckled nervously, exchanging glances with the rest of his family. “First time for all of us.

Are you also at Hogwarts?” Mrs. Vance spoke up cheerily, directing her gaze at Ruby.

Mr. Vance clasped a hand on Andrew’s shoulder, targeting his middle child for Ruby to meet. “This is Andrew.” He beamed with a humble note of pride. “He’s our wizard of the family.

Wishing he could be more expressive and talkative in front of the new girl; Andrew mustered a docile smile at Ruby. “Hi,” he croaked, shamefaced. “Sorry, I’m sick.” He figured he might as well be up front about it; in case the girl might take his silence and precautionary distance (not wanting Ruby to catch his cold) the wrong way.

And this is Stacy, and Kyle.” Mr. Vance clasped a hand – each one onto the shoulder of his daughter and youngest son, respectively – drawing them on either side of Andrew as the three children were squeezed together – pulling weird faces at their father’s interactive display – in front of Ruby.

Brother.” Kyle tilted his head towards Andrew, announcing his sibling relation, to Ruby.

Sister,” Stacy added after Kyle, summing up the siblings' relation for Ruby. “We’re all together.

Making their way in front of the column, the Vances waited for Ruby’s instructions. They already had a pretty good idea of what to do, since they had seen Ruby’s relatives enter before them, but any last-minute tips and advice regarding the platform-accessing procedure were always welcome. Plus any reassurance that they weren’t about to collide with anything solid would help ease their worries.

I suppose I’ll go first,” Mr. Vance recommended himself (as a test subject), standing ready with the trolley in his hands. He was a Muggle, and had the most “weight” (in terms of himself and baggage) to lose, should the outcome be…undesired. If he could make it through the wall, then no doubt the rest of his family should be able to enter through, as well.

Stamina: 7 | Evasion: 8 | Strength: 5 | Wisdom: 10 | Arcane Power: 4 | Accuracy: 6
Keen EyeComponents

Leaving the Nest (Pt. 2)  PV   Ruby Cazares   Fin 

@Ruby Cazares Since I don’t know when you’ll post (I reckon you’re busy – no pressure), I’m going to include my would-be ending for Andrew here, just to get it off my chest. Once you’re able to reply, I’ll delete this post and make any changes accordingly to Ruby’s actions.

*:・゚✧*:・゚✧

After successfully passing through the barrier, Andrew and his family made it onto the platform in one piece. A few steps forward, and their eyes were immediately drawn to the big red steam engine that had been described to them by the Hills, clearly indicated by the gold-lettered sign on the nose of the train that read “Hogwarts Express”. Once they had loaded all of Andrew’s belongings onto the train, the Vances huddled together to say their goodbyes, telling Andrew that he would be back soon for Christmas, and handing him a packet of cough drops to take with him, for his cold.

Oh, my little wizard-baby.” Mrs. Vance squeezed her son tightly, smothering his face with kisses and reminding him firmly, “Be safe, alright? Never go anywhere alone. Make sure you’re with someone at all times, only those that you trust, okay? Send us a letter once you get there, as often as you can. Every day, alright? We want to make sure nothing’s happened to you. Don’t forget.

I won’t,” Andrew replied.

Mr. Vance wrapped his son in for a bear-hug, planting a kiss on Andrew’s forehead. “You’ll be alright, son. If anything happens, let us know. If you don’t like it, tell us. We’ll get you out of there and bring you home.

Thanks, Dad.” Andrew’s voice choked as his eyes became misty. He knew there was no reason for him to be crying. It was a momentous occasion; he ought to be happy and celebrating. And he was happy, deep down, but this platform was the threshold, the dividing rift. Once he stepped on board that train, it would be separation from his family, maybe not forever, but three months felt like a lifetime from now. The weight of it was overwhelming, and his emotions didn’t know how to process it, except express it through tears. Andrew wiped his eyes dry with his sleeve, retaining a sad smile.

Love you guys.” Andrew hugged his two siblings as Stacy and Kyle squeezed their arms around him tightly from either side. “I’ll tell you everything, I promise,” he assured them, particularly Kyle. “You won’t miss out on anything, alright?

Once they released their hold from him, Andrew’s family walked him over to the doors of the train, watching and saying their final farewells as he boarded the train, and following alongside the train as Andrew found his seat inside one of the compartments. Spotting his family through the window; Andrew and his family waved their farewells, keeping their eyes on one another, with Andrew’s family standing watch to ensure that the train was safely on its way, as the Hogwarts Express disembarked from the station.

Goodbye, London. Andrew thought wistfully to himself as the scenery changed, fleeting away from King's Cross station and into the green, hilly countryside. In a way, his family seemed to be more excited for him going to Hogwarts than he was. Then again, Andrew was the one who had to experience the transition, from familiar homeland to stranger destination. But knowing that he had the full support of his family gave Andrew a boost of confidence and encouragement, enough to settle his fears for now, during the first leg of the relaxing journey. And pride, knowing that he had come this far. With the high of excitement he felt, he could make it anywhere. Next stop, Hogwarts.

— FIN —

Stamina: 7 | Evasion: 8 | Strength: 5 | Wisdom: 10 | Arcane Power: 4 | Accuracy: 6
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