Harry was anxious. He paused, glancing at his watch. He knew better than to pace, to annoy his uncle. It was very easy to annoy his uncle where Harry was concerned, even though he had been ignoring Harry’s presence for the past month, ever since Harry had learned about his magical inheritance. Harry knew that this was just a temporary reprieve from his uncle’s ire, occasionally broken by his uncle’s ranting that there was no such thing as magic, that there had never been any such thing as magic and that there never would be any such thing as magic. This world was a normal, logical world, according to his uncle, not a crazy, immoral world filled with…with…the m-word.
Instead Harry gulped down another glass of water and checked his trunk again, making sure that he had everything. He knew he was becoming rather obsessive about checking his trunk, but the contents represented his ticket out of this room, out of his life with the Dursleys. After checking the contents for a final time, Harry lugged it down the staircase, making sure not to create too much noise. He didn’t want to give his uncle any reason to deny him his ride in the car.
He carefully placed his trunk in the back of the car and sat in a seat to wait. It wasn’t very long before his relatives piled out of the house and into the car, with Dudley wearing a long, dark overcoat to hide his pig’s tail. Harry chuckled quietly at the sight. His aunt and uncle had tried their best to get rid of it, but they had failed, resorting to hide it. Dudley hadn’t been outside of the house for the past month, and had chosen to camp out in front of the television.
“What are you laughing at, freak?” Dudley asked.
“Nothing,” Harry quickly said, and turned his head to face the window.
Harry watched the changing scenery, passing by rows of houses that looked exactly the same. He sighed. Even though he hadn’t been completely happy during his 10 years of life here, at least he was used to it. Now he was walking into a world he knew almost nothing about, save that his parent s had belonged to it. There, he was famous for something he didn’t remember. There, he was famous because of the death of his parents. There, he didn’t know anyone, except Hagrid.
This is not to say that he wasn’t excited. He was just apprehensive as well. Nothing wrong with that, he told himself.
They arrived at the station at half-past ten. Harry hurriedly opened the trunk of the car and took out his trunk. He then started lugging it into the station, looking around at his surroundings. The station was packed. His uncle followed him in and when Harry paused for a break, he gleefully said, “There’s platform 9 and there’s platform 10. There’s no platform 9 ¾. They don’t seem to have built it yet, eh?”
Harry ignored his uncle, but inside he was panicking. His uncle was right—Harry couldn’t see a sign saying 9 ¾. Harry looked around and cast back to his memory of Hagrid’s visit. Had he mentioned how to get onto the platform? Did he have to tap the bricks like Hagrid had done to get into Diagon Alley? He looked around the station again and noticed that his uncle had left. Ah well, he hadn’t really expected his uncle to say goodbye to him.
Other patrons streamed past him, a blur of colours. Harry decided that his best course of action would be to find a guard and ask him. Maybe platform 9 ¾ was in some out of the way place. That could be it…
Nope, it wasn’t, and the passing guard that he had stopped had been annoyed at him. The guard had never heard of Hogwarts and when Harry hadn’t been able to tell him where in the country it was, the guard had taken to thinking that Harry was just pranking him. After that Harry didn’t bother asking about platform 9 ¾. It probably wouldn’t have done any good, anyways. Also, he wasn’t used to talking to strangers, so Harry wasn’t about to push his luck and have the man be angry with him.
Meanwhile the water that he had consumed this morning in an attempt to settle his stomach had passed through his digestive system and Harry was feeling the need to go to the washroom. Harry didn’t want to go to the washroom without first finding platform 9 ¾, but his bladder wasn’t giving him any choice. Harry quickly set off walking, dodging through the crowd of people and awkwardly dragging his trunk along behind him. He hadn’t walked very far before he realized that he had no idea where the washroom was. He stopped and looked around, trying to see any signs indicating where the washroom was. No luck.
He decided to once again stop a guard, only to have it be the same guard he had stopped before. Only good manners stopped the guard from walking away once he recognized who had stopped him, and Harry was glad. He was very nervous, alone in an unfamiliar place.
“Excuse me, please. Do you know where the washroom is located?” Harry asked quietly.
The guard looked down at him and quickly uttered instructions. He then walked away without a second glance. Harry was irritated by the guard’s attitude, but his bladder reminded him of his previous mission, so Harry started to hurry towards the bathroom.
It had taken him longer than he thought to get to the bathroom, mostly because the crowd didn’t take kindly to someone hurrying through with large luggage and a snowy white owl hooting at them. Harry almost got lost, but then he saw the small corridor that the guard had said led to the washrooms. By the time Harry got back to platforms 9 and 10, he only had a few minutes to spare before 11.
Harry didn’t know what to do, so he decided to simply sit down on his trunk and observe the others around him. Surely he couldn’t be the only wizard in this station. Perhaps if he watched closely enough, he could see strange occurrences, or hear strange words that could only make sense in the wizarding world. It didn’t work. Harry got up off his trunk and proceeded to wander between platforms 9 and 10. Maybe he would get lucky and it would magically appear for him.
But nothing happened. 11 o’clock came and went, and Harry walked out of the station feeling strangely abandoned. He hadn’t been able to find the platform. The train had left without him. Left without him…
What if there wasn’t a train to catch?
Harry shook his head. The little voice in the back of his head was wrong. It was. Hagrid had assured him that the train to Hogwarts would leave the station at platform 9 ¾ on September 1st at 11 o’clock. He was sure of it. Wasn’t he?
How can you be sure that Hagrid is worthy of your trust?
Harry didn’t know exactly why. It had been a feeling. He had felt that Hagrid was his friend—his first friend that he could remember. He hadn’t had any friends while living with the Dursleys. No one wanted to associate with the boy hated by Dudley’s gang and he was a delinquent. Besides, Hagrid had told him that he knew his parents.
But what if he only told you this to get you to trust him?
Hagrid wouldn’t do that to him—would he? Harry didn’t think so and what would Hagrid have gained from keeping him from boarding the train?
While Harry had been having his internal debate, people had been going about their business around him, like he was just another object in their path to be avoided. He got a few curious glances, but nobody questioned him until one lady came up to him.
“Are you lost?” she asked, and startled, Harry looked up.
“No, I’m fine.” But he was far from fine. Now that he had missed the train, what could he do? He thought for the slightest second of going back to number 4, Privet Drive, but then the thought of the ridicule he would receive put any further thought of this course of action out of his head. He had had enough of the torment the Dursleys had put him through these past 10 years.
Any further thought was interrupted for the moment. “Do you need any help?” the lady tried again. Harry looked at her and saw that she was only concerned. He decided quickly that he wanted to get away from the station. His feeling of despair was growing by the minute, although his feelings were too muddled for him to realize what the feeling was.
“D-do you know where the nearest park is?” Harry asked. He had always felt that nature had a soothing presence, and the woods would give him the time and space he needed to sort out his mind. The kind lady nodded and pointed down the street. “Two blocks that way and turn left. You’ll see it in no time.”
Harry thanked her and started to walk, lugging his trunk behind him. He decided that he would have to get rid of the trunk as soon as possible, for it was a hassle to transport.
There was a cool breeze that seemed to follow him as he walked through the crowded streets. Even with it, the crush of the crowd almost overwhelmed him, for he had never been around so many people at once. He was relieved once he reached the quiet solitude of the park, and quickly found a shady tree to sit under. Once sitting, he closed his eyes and began to think.
He had already eliminated the possibility of going back to the Dursleys, what else could he do? Harry looked at his trunk. Was there some way to contact these… these wizards? Hagrid had told him that there were others like him, who had grown up with muggles and he hadn’t mentioned them having any problems finding the platform. Maybe it was just him. Maybe he was a muggle.
Maybe this magical world is just a hoax.
Harry shook his head. It didn’t make sense that all that he had experienced a month ago was fake. It had seemed so real!
Maybe Hagrid lied to you.
Harry thought that this was highly unlikely, but if it was so unlikely, then why did his mind doubt Hagrid’s integrity? Harry thought back to his previous conversation with himself.
Your feelings towards Hagrid are based on your relief at being free from the Dursleys.
Could this be true? Harry had been extremely happy to find that he could be something away from the Dursleys. But Hagrid had bought him Hedwig when he didn’t have to…
But he didn’t tell you how to get to his Hogwarts.
That was true.
Maybe you don’t belong in the magical world.
If that was true, then why had Hagrid taken the time to take him to Diagon Alley? Why had Harry been able to purchase a wand?
Maybe you aren’t magical enough to find the platform.
Harry opened his eyes. It could be true. The feeling of abandonment he had felt earlier as he had left the station again welled up inside of him. This new world had judged him, and found him guilty of not possessing enough magic. His parents’ world- what could have been his world- had raised his hopes and then dashed them just a month later. Harry felt tears coming to his eyes and rapidly blinked them away. He didn’t want to cry. He hadn’t cried in a long time. He wouldn’t cry now.
He pushed his emotions down. He would show them, all of them, those who had cruelly dashed his hopes. He would become a great muggle. And he would forget all about the magical world.
Yes, that is a good plan. A very good plan. We’ll show them…
Harry stood up and began to walk away, but not before he had released Hedwig.
“Go,” he whispered to her, “Fly away girl, you’re free. I won’t stop you.” But she just looked at him with those eyes, silently saying to him, “I won’t leave you.” Harry stared back, silently thanking her.
Then he turned and walked away from his trunk, Hedwig flying above him. He left her cage, his school books, his wand. He didn’t need them and he didn’t want them.
As he walked away, an integral part of him shielded itself, shutting it down and hiding its presence. Harry felt nothing.
Far away, in the mystical Hogwarts, a turbaned professor finished with the final preparations for his class tomorrow. The back of his head throbbed with pain, but the professor knew better than to complain. There was nothing anyone could do for him. He paused, considering this pain. It felt different, coming in short bursts.
He couldn’t have realized the reason for this, for the presence he shared his body with had never before had the chance to be happy, to be gleeful about something. The spirit had only ever been this gleeful before when events had occurred to his satisfaction. The past 10 years hadn’t been kind to this spirit.
Professor Quirrell resisted the urge to rub his throbbing head and continued on with his work.