Chapter 4 : Running Into Walls
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Obeying her plead, Hagrid stopped short. Grateful, Lily slowed down and eventually halted right next to him. She let out a quick laugh, thinking of what her mother would do if she were there. They'd probably have already lost her. Luckily, though, both her parents had had to work, and they had bid their goodbyes that morning.
Lily looked up at Hagrid curiously. The enormous man was fishing through his numerous pockets for something, leaving her trunk rested against a wall with a bright pink cat carrier on top of it. Catching her breath again, Lily walked to it and poked her fingers through the holes in the cat carrier and stroking the soft, fluffy white fur of the kitten her parents had gotten her. The kitten, Jynx, purred happily.
"Foun' it," Hagrid's rough voice broke the transe Lily had been in, causing her to jump. Pulling her fingers out of the carrier, she turned to him, her eye immediately catching sight of the object he'd been searching for: a long, plain ticket. She grinned.
"I bes' be off now," he drawled, looking down at Lily. "You can get 'ere on yer own, ay?" She nodded eagerly as he bent down to give her the ticket, which she grasped firmly.
Quickly, Lily's eyes flew to the paper in her hand. In the background, she heard a faint crack but disregarded it. She had just read over the platform number - 9 3/4. That couldn't be right, could it? "Hagrid, this-" But when she looked up, Hagrid had gone.
Confused, Lily stared down at the ticket. Maybe this whole thing really was a joke. There couldn't be a Platfrom 9 3/4! Maybe she had been fooled, and right now some cruel boys from her neighborhood were laughing over it. Or maybe, just maybe, it wasn't?
Clinging desperately to that thought, Lily scanned the area for someone who worked there. Finally, her eyes rested on a guard that seemed half asleep on a bench. She quickly shoved through the passing crowd and head towards the collapsed man. A few days ago, she would have been shy and quiet, but learning of her powers had given her newfound confidence. Determined to find the platform, she marched the last few steps and drew to a halt in front of him.
"Muh help 'oo," the guard grumbled sleepily, taking in a view of Lily. Apparently, he though an eleven year old girl wouldn't be much trouble, for in a mere second his eyes snapped shut again.
"Yes, I need to know where Platform 9 3/4 is?" She tried her best to sound older and more serious, but it was a difficult task due to the fact that her heart was fluttering and she was worried about if the magical world was all a fake, despite the magic she'd seen Hagrid do.
Sure enough, the next words to come out of the guard's mouth were full of sarcasm and cruelty. "Lil' girl, go find your mummy and leave the guards to their jobs." Lily was about to retort and tell him that he had been sleeping when she'd arrived, but then the full extent of his words hit her. No platform?
She let out a groan. The guard eyed her wearily before scooting a bit away and squeezing his eyes tightly together again. Lily didn't care. There was no platform, no Hogwarts, no magic. Unless, the guard simply did not know of any of it.
That was it! She nearly screamed with joy and she actually did do a little dance. There was a platform, a Hogwarts, and magic! She had seen it all! How could she be so dumb? Of course they wouldn't let the platform be seen to anybody, it did, after all, lead to a magical world! Chiding herself for her stupidity, Lily grinned and took off again. If anywhere, the platform would be between Platforms Nine and Ten. She just had to figure out how to get in.
For a while, Lily just sat on the bench nearest to where the platform would be, stroking Jynx abstentmindedly and scanning the crowd for anyone who looked magical. It took several minutes for her to realize that a boy around her age was leaning against a wall, staring straight at her. For a moment, Lily just stared back. The boy was cute, much cuter than the fat, greedy ones at her old school. He was tall, but not too tall, and very skinny. He had black hair that attractively stuck up, very messily. He wore glasses that seemed to frame his chocolate brown eyes perfectly.
Realizing that she was falling for someone she did not even know, Lily shook her head vibrantly. It took another few seconds for her to realize what exactly was on the boy's luggage rack: A large, black trunk with the word 'Gryffindor' engraved in it, a wired cage with a beautiful snowy white owl sleeping peacefully in it, a long, almost plastic looking broom with words Lily couldn't read etched into the side, and a long robe that fit Hogwarts' requirements exactly scattered under the owl's cage. It was obvious that this boy was a wizard. And one that knew his way around, too. Lily grinned and strode over to him, abandoning her things by the bench.
"Hogwarts?" She smiled as she spoke. This boy looked fun, much more fun than the cruel, sneering ones she had grown accustomed to, and she wanted to set the right impression with him.
He grinned. "You're the girl Remus was talking to!"
It took Lily a moment to register what he said, but when she did she let out a small gasp. This was one of Remus' friends from Diagon Alley! Why hadn't she noticed before? Because you were too busy admiring him, a small voice said inside her. Lily ignored the voice. "I prefer Lily."
Another grin flashed across his face. "Just call me James." He stuck out his hand, waiting for it to be shook. Lily willingly obliged. "James Potter. You're muggleborn, right?"
Lily's smile turned to a scowl. Hagrid had told her of the wizards who hated muggleborns. Mudbloods, he had said, was the insult. Her eyes darted to James' trunk. She had read in Hogwarts: A History! that Gryffindors were supposed to be noble and brave and accepting. "Not that it matters," she finally answered thinly.
"Oh, no! Of course not," James replied rather quickly. "No, I don't care about that kind of stuff. That's the Slytherins."
The smile returned to Lily's face and she gave an inward sigh of relief. "So, can you tell me how to get to this platform?" She wanted to change the subject, but she also wanted to know. It couldn't be long, now, before the train would depart.
"Oh, sure," James replied. "It's easy. You just take your cart and-" But he broke off, a sly grin creeping slowly up his face. "OI! REMUS. OVER HERE!" he shouted, waving his arms wildly at someone behind Lily. She whipped around, her hair slashing James in the face, only to see two worried looking boys rushing towards them, carts in tow. One of them, the one in front, was Remus Lupin. He was fast. Lily guessed that his long legs and lanky figure helped him with that. His shaggy hair and battered clothes streamed behind him, along with another boy who ran much slower. He was a bit shorter than Lily, and had mousy brown hair that looked like he hadn't combed it that morning.
Shaking her head again, she stepped aside just in time to retreat from the charging boys' path. They burst through the crowd and halted just where she had been standing mere seconds before. The shorter boy bent down and out his hands on his legs, panting slightly, while Remus just stared down at him. "Oh, come on, Peter. It's not that bad."
The boy Lily now knew to be Peter glared at him. "Easy for you to say, you could probably run all the way to Hogwarts without breaking a sweat!" Shaking his head, he turned to James. "We ran all the way here. Have we missed it yet?"
James laughed. "The train doesn't leave for another fifteen minutes, you idiots. You could've just walked here!"
Peter scowled. "What? Are you serious? I can't believe you, Remus, making me run the whole way here!" He glared, once again, at the shaggy boy.
"Oi! It was your idea in the first place! 'Hurry up, Remus, we'll miss the train!' Well, we didn't, did we? Though," his face took on a wistful look, as opposed to the one of hilarity he had just recently been supporting. "We did manage to lose your mum, though. She would make us even later!"
Both the other boys chuckled, and even Lily couldn't help but let out a giggle at how funny the scene looked. The girlish noise seemed to have spurred the attention of the boys, for they all gave a startled jerk and turned to face her. Peter's face turned red as he gave a small squeak and James ran a nervous hand through his hair. Remus eyed them both with displeasure before averting his gaze to Lily. "Hey! It's you!"
Lily smiled again. "I wouldn't have guessed!" Peter and Remus laughed, but James stifled his and turned to the redhead. She could tell he was scanning her and she felt very uncomfterable. Finally, his eyes returned from her black belt and to her vibrant green eyes.
"Peter Pettigrew," the third boy nervously introduced himself as, sticking out a sweaty hand. She took it and stated her name, yet again.
"Now will anyone tell me how to get to the train?" By now, her voice was exhasperated. Her eyes darted back and forth from each of them before settling on James, who opened his mouth to speak, yet again.
"Okay, like I was saying, it's easy! You just run straight at the middle of nine and ten and then-"
But Lily cut him off. "You honestly expect me to believe that? I run into a wall?"
Remus opened his mouth to reply, but he too was cut off. Only this time, it was by a loud, panicked meow. Startled, Lily spun around, her hair once against whipping James' faced. He growled in pain, but it was lost due to the shriek of anger coming from Lily. A poor, greedy looking man was standing by her cart, his hand on Jynx's cat carrier. "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?" The man's eyes went wide with shock and, in an instant, he had dissapeared into the crowd. Lily ran towards her cart and tugged it back over to the boys. She stroked Jynx soothingly while they stared at her.
"Nice temper, eh?" James was grinned when Lily looked around, so she guessed it was him who said that. Still sore from the attempted theft, she just scowled.
"Will you just tell me how to get in there," she snapped, glaring at him.
Remus, sensing her displeasure, took a weary step back. "It's like we said, just run through the barrier. Watch Peter."
With another heavy sigh, Lily grudgingly obeyed. She took a step back and watched as the handsome boy leveled himself with the center and then took off, straight at it. She gasped when the cart and wall hit, but they just continued through. Surprised, Lily glanced around the station to see if any muggles had noticed, but apparently none had. She stared at Remus. "Is that what I do?"
He grinned. "Yup. And I think you'll be able to figure it out from there." Lily nodded and took a deep breath before turning so her cart faced the wall. After positioning it so it was exactly centered, just to be sure, she held her breath and began to run. Jynx gave a loud, worried, mew but Lily ignored it and continued to run. It seemed to take ages for her to cover that little bit of ground, but when she felt the cart slow and merge with the wall, she let out her breath. However, when she saw what lay before her, she drew it back sharply.
There, right in front of her, was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. It was a large red train with the words 'Hogwarts Express' sprawled across the front in pearly white letters. | It was maginificent. Letting the air out once more, Lily grinned and pushed her cart away from the wall. Soon, James and Remus had appeared and joined Peter, talking rapidly about what they thought Hogwarts would be like. Lily glanced at them before turning and heading a different direction. Slowly but surely, she made towards the train, making her way onto it.
A group of friendly girls that looked a bit older than Lily passed her and smiled. Lily smiled back and gave a feeble wave. Already, she prefered this world to her other one. Still smiling, she made her way up onto the train and down the hall. Almost all of the compartments were already full, some with mean looking older students, others packed to the brim with younger ones.
Just as she was passing the compartment where the boys were in, Lily heard a crash. She had been staring into the compartment fondly. Peter had an extremely surprised expression on his face, and Lily could easily see why, as his hands had turned bright yellow. James looked like he was about to bust a gut from laughing so hard, and his seat was littered with funny looking objects and bags with the same Zonko's logo on it, but Remus had a dreamy expression on his face. Lily guessed that he was the subject of another of the objects.
There was also another boy in the compartment. This boy had long hair that was darker than James', and a half sullen, half amused laid expression on his face. He was sitting near the door, examining a strangley discoloured box fondly. Lily wondered if this was another friend of Remus', or if they had just met him.
She smiled and continued on. That booth looked lethal. Laughing silently to herself, she had almost reached an empty compartment when a loud cackle filled the air. She spun around quickly, coming face to face with Jynx in her carrier. Quickly, she edged away from her cart to see who owned the cruel laugh. It didn't take long. Standing right before her was a group of different sized, mean looking people. At the front was a tall girl with long black hair that reached her waist. She looked about fifteen or sixteen. To her right was a girl who resembled her very much, only with longer hair and much paler skin that resembled white. She looked to be in Lily's year. On the other side of the first girl was another first year, only this time a guy. He was tall and very pale with bottle blonde hair. Standing right behind those three were two rather large looking boys who Lily thought looked very scary.
She looked up at them, fear swelling inside her. The younger girl smirked. "Hello, Mudblood."
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