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Chapter 11 : Chapter 10-Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts
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I know a lot of you are anxious to see more of Snape and Hermione, and believe me, it's coming. I just really need to establish this other plot line in order for the part of teh story with them to work.
Also, I'm a little concerned that some will view some of my characters as cliche trio carbon copies, which they may have been somewhat when I started this several years ago (and was a lot younger and not as experienced as a writer). Just be aware that I have written things into the story that have nothing to do with the trio, just bear with me. This isn't the most substantial chapter, but it is a needed one.
Now that I've yacked on long enough, here is the next chapter! Enjoy!
Chapter 10-Gotta Get Back to Hogwarts
Jake couldn’t sleep. He looked at his alarm clock for the billionth time. Not even a minute had gone by since the last time he checked it. He sighed. There was still another hour until he would be able to get up and get ready to leave for Hogwarts. He cast a glance to his roommate Tom. His companion was snoring like mad, perfectly content and fast asleep. As much as Jake couldn’t stand Tom, he was envious of him at this moment.
But I get to get out of here. He reminded himself. I can sleep later, on the train or when I get to the school.
The train. He wasn’t sure how he was going to handle that. One of the workers in the home, Ms. Sutton, was going to be taking him to Kings Cross station to get the train. However, when he had gotten his school things, Professor Snape instructed him on how to get onto platform 9 ¾ . He had a feeling that Ms. Sutton’s instructions did not say anything about that platform, and he doubted that she would just leave him there. All he could hope for was that the school would send someone there to meet him.
Jake turned over again, and forced his eyes shut. He should at least try to sleep.
Ms. Sutton was a woman in her mid-forties, somewhat pretty, though hardened by a tough life. Jake sighed as he rushed to keep up with her briskly moving form. She was nice enough, but stern and punctual. They entered Kings Cross. Jake almost ran right into his caretaker as she halted abruptly.
“Now,” she muttered to herself, pouring over a piece of paper, “What platform is you train on again? It doesn’t seem to be on here.”
“Ms. Sutton,” Jake interrupted. “I think I could find the train by myself.”
Ms. Sutton looked affronted. “I think not! You are under my care, and I am not leaving until I know that you are safe on that train. There will be no disappearing children on my account!”
The pair weaved through the crowd. “I think it’s around platform nine or ten,” Jake told his elder. “Maybe we could ask someone there.”
Though Ms. Sutton’s face did not seem to agree with Jake’s remarks, she did not verbally object. Jake’s heart was pounding; there had better be someone from his school there to ask. He checked his watch. It was only 10:30. Surely there would be someone. Most sensible people are always early to catch a train, or at least that is what Ms. Sutton had said twenty times in the past hour.
They approached platform nine. There was no one that looked remotely like they were going to Hogwarts. Jake gazed at platform ten with much of the same results. He felt his heart sink.
Ms. Sutton approached one of the employees stationed on the track. He was a young man probably in his late teens. “Excuse me, sir. Do you know where the train to Hogwarts is?”
He scoffed at her. “’Ogwarts? What the ‘ell is that, lady? A sausage factory?” He laughed at his own joke.
Ms. Sutton straightened up. “Excuse me! Sir, where are your manners?”
“Prol’ly on the next train to ‘Ogwarts!”.
Ms. Sutton huffed. “I will be talking to your superiors about this!” she exclaimed, only to receive an apathetic guffaw in reply.
“Children these days,” she muttered. “Don’t you turn into that,” she warned Jake, “you’re one of the good ones.”
“Thank you ma’am.” Jake replied. Ms. Sutton pulled him into an uncharacteristic sideways hug.
“I should be mad at you for implying I’m old, but you’re trying to be polite, so I can’t.” She sighed, looking around. “I guess we should wait and see if there are other people from this school of yours. Your train doesn’t leave for another half hour, we have some time.”
She led Jake over to a bench with platform nine in its sights and the pair sat down. Jake couldn’t help but fidget with worry. What if no one shows, what if this was all a scam? He shook his head. Of course it was real, he had gone to that Diagon Alley place, he had had ice cream there with that professor, they couldn’t have just made that up. And this whole wizard thing completely explained why he never fit in with most of the regular kids.
There was one, he recalled, that had actually been his friend, his best friend. His name was John, but everyone called him Jack. He too had some trouble fitting in because of the strange things that happened around them, and as such he and Jake were drawn to each other. But that was years ago. Only after about a year or two of friendship, Jack was adopted by a nice older couple. Jack had said he would write, and he did at first. But after a while the letters came less and less frequently, and eventually they stopped altogether.
“Jake,” Ms. Sutton broke through his thoughts. “I think I heard those people over there say something about Hogwarts.” She pointed to a group of people heading towards platform nine with large trunks similar to his own. “The school is called Hogwarts, right? I’m not getting it confused with something else?”
“No, Hogwarts is right.”
“What a strange name for a school,” Ms. Sutton muttered. She and Jake made their way over to the people they had spotted. “Excuse me,” Ms. Sutton called out to them. A woman, probably the mother of the group, turned around.
“Yes? Can I help you?”
“I sure hope so,” said Ms. Sutton with flustered relief. “I’m in charge of this boy here.” she placed her hand of Jake’s shoulder. “He’s supposed to be catching the train to Hogwarts, but we haven’t got a clue as to where it is. I thought I heard-”
The woman smiled, and cut Ms. Sutton off. “Yes, I can help you. In fact, I’m bringing my children to the train now, we could bring yours as well.”
“Why thank you, but he’s not mine. I work at the foster home where this boy lives.”
Jake could feel the heat rise in his face. He knew that Ms. Sutton hadn’t done that intentionally, but it was embarrassing to be introduced to people as the kid with no home.
“Ah,” the woman said, though much to Jake’s delight she didn’t really seem to understand what Ms. Sutton had said. She turned to Jake. “I’m Mrs. Cook, Martha Cook. You must be a first year.” Jake nodded. “My children are all older; I don’t know how much you’ll see them. But they-” She gestured to empty air and shook her head. “They must have gone…er…run off.” She turned again to Ms. Sutton. “I can get him to the train, if you’d like.” She continued, gesturing to Jake.
Ms. Sutton smiled. “Thank you very much, that would be wonderful.” She bent down to look at Jake. “Have a good year at school. Don’t get into any trouble.” She pinched his cheek, stood up, and walked away, turning around once to wave goodbye.
Mrs. Cook waited until Ms. Sutton was completely out of sight before turning to Jake. “Now, let’s get to the train, shall we?”
Jake had a rough idea about how they had to get to the correct platform from Professor Snape’s description, but he was still amazed that you could actually walk through the wall. The sight that greeted him on the other side was incredible, much more than he could have imagined. The bright red train before him glittered, and there was a buzz of people swarming around. His mouth fell open.
He heard a laugh beside him. “Pretty impressive, huh?” Mrs. Cook asked. Jake nodded. “Would you like some help getting your things on the train?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind, that would be great.”
A minute or so later, Jake was standing next to his trunk on the train, Mrs. Cook on the platform. “Do you need anything else?”
“I think I can take it from here. Thank you.”
Mrs. Cook smiled. “Don’t mention it. Have a good term!”
Jake smiled and began to drag his trunk down the corridor.
There were more people on the train than Jake had anticipated. He had hoped to find an empty compartment, but all the ones he had been to either were full or had one person saving seats for their friends. His trunk was insanely heavy (due to his pewter caldron no doubt), and he really didn’t want to drag the thing up and down the corridor much longer.
Jake arrived at the last compartment in the car. He glanced in, and saw a girl about his age engrossed in a book. Her dirty blonde hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail to keep it out of her hazel eyes. She had a look of forced plainness about her, though she still was quite pretty. Kind of like Cinderella, Jake thought. The door was shut, so he knocked on it to get her attention, and slid the door open a crack.
“Hello,” he began somewhat awkwardly. He wasn’t used to talking to people his age. “Is there any room in here?”
The girl smiled meekly at him, marking her place in the book and placing it on the seat next to her. “Sure, I’m not waiting for anyone.”
Jake stowed his trunk away and sat opposite of the girl. They looked at each other uncomfortably for a minute before succumbing to unconscious giggles. “Sorry, I’m not that good with this sort of thing, you know, talking,” Jake admitted, the blood rushing to his face once again.
The girl smiled again, though this time a bit more confidently. It seemed that she was getting more comfortable around Jake. If only I could say the same. “Don’t worry, I haven’t had much experience with that either.” She looked sadly down at her hands, now crossed in her lap. “I haven’t got any friends, really.”
Instinctively, Jake reached over to grasp her hand, to try and comfort her. But at the first motion, she jumped, startled, and pulled as far away from Jake as she could while still sitting on the seat.
Jake held up his hands like he was being robbed. “Sorry, I-I didn’t mean to scare you.” He cracked a smile. “I told you I wasn’t good at this sort of thing.” The girl let a smile come to her face once more. Jake held out his hand, though this time clearly to shake hands. “My name’s Jacob Baxter, but I go by Jake. What’s your name?”
She took his hand. “I’m Emma Hurtz. Well, technically it’s Emmaline, but only my father calls me that.” There was a certain tone in her voice when she said the word father that indicated they probably didn’t have a good relationship. But he had known Emma for all of five minutes, so he didn’t want to pry.
“Nice to meet you Emma.” Jake gestured towards her discarded book. “What are you reading?”
Emma sighed. “Poems by Emily Dickinson. My father gave it to me.” She made a face. “Honestly, have you ever read her work? The woman’s mental!”
Jake chuckled. “I think I may have run across her once or twice in the library.”
Emma looked confused. “You’d actually read this rubbish voluntarily?”
Jake looked down sheepishly. “I don’t really have any friends either.”
He felt Emma take his hand. Apparently she was alright with contact if she initiated it. “Then maybe we should be friends.”
Jake looked up at her face. She was giving him a timid smile that made him feel all gooey inside. “I’d like that.”
Suddenly there was a shout outside their compartment, and the two sprung apart. The door flung open. Another young boy their age was standing there, beaming. “Jake? Jake Baxter? It’s me! Jack!”
Jake stood up, flabbergasted. “No way!”
Jack rushed towards his friend and enveloped him in a friendly bear hug. “Yes way!”
Jake took a step back. “I was just thinking about you earlier.” He suddenly remembered where his thoughts had been going in regards to his long lost friend. The joy of the reunion was suddenly beginning to fade. “Why’d you stop writing?” he asked, praying for a suitable answer so they could get on with their lives.
The new boy looked around awkwardly. “It was hard to find things to write about. I was living in a whole new world, this world. My adoptive parents were magic, see, they spotted it in me. They thought they saw it in you too, but they weren’t sure, and Mum got in an accident soon after and money was tight, so they had to give up on the idea of possibly adopting you too.”
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Fate had interceded and prevented him from having a home, a real home, years ago. “Wow…”
“We didn’t know for sure that you were magic, see? I couldn’t risk telling you things if you weren’t, and it got more and more difficult to hide it. That’s why I stopped.”
Jake smiled. “That’s alright. Here, do you have a place yet, why don’t you join us?” He paused, glancing at Emma, who seemed to have shrunk to half her size with her eyes pinned to the ground. “Is that alright with you Emma?” She mumbled an affirmative reply, and Jack sat down next to his old friend.
Introductions were quickly over and done with, and Jake noticed that Emma was much more reserved with Jack than she had been with him. The two boys spent most of the long train ride catching up, while Emma split her time between her book and gazing out the window. Occasionally, Jake noticed, she cast a look in his direction, and it was one of hurt. She must think I lied to her about the friend thing.
He wanted so badly to talk to her, to make things right. But Jack was never one short of words, and he felt that this was a conversation that was meant to be just the two of them.
Finally, the train began to slow. An announcement came on to leave their baggage on the train, that it would be transported for them. As soon as they were instructed to being to disembark, Emma shot straight for the door without as much as a goodbye or a glance. I’ll never understand women, Jake thought to himself. He and Jack stuck together as they squeezed through the throng of people.
“Firs’ years! Firs’ years! Righ’ this way!” a loud voice boomed.
“That’s Hagrid,” Jack whispered to Jake as they approached the source of the voice, a large hairy giant man. “He’s a teacher and keeper of the keys, or something like that. Mum and Dad say he’s a pretty neat bloke.”
As the first years were herded down a path, Jake kept getting glimpses of Emma through the crowd. She stayed on the fringes, head bent, talking to nobody. Once he tried to move in her direction, but as soon as he got close, she scooted away. Jake let her go for now, there would be time to talk later.
It was a clear night. The stars shone down upon them, and the nearly full moon beamed in the ebony air. Jake had never seen the night sky so well, removed from the constant light of the city. He had never gone on any of the home’s occasional outdoor excursions; he’d have much rather have stayed behind and read.
“Look!” Hagrid called out. Jake almost jumped a foot in the air thinking there was some strange animal approaching. “There ‘tis! Hogwarts!”
Jake looked up at the castle in awe. He knew that he was going to a special school, but this was more than he ever could have dreamed of. It was like something right out of one of his books! They continued walking until they reached the shore of what must have been a giant lake.
“No more’n four to a boat!” Jake heard Hagrid call out from the front of the pack. He gingerly stepped onto the little wooded boat, grimacing. He had never been off dry land before.
He looked around uneasily. “Shouldn’t we have life jackets on or something?” he asked, his voice full of trepidation.
Jack laughed. “These boats are perfectly safe. Besides, the giant squid will help you if you fall in.”
Jake felt the blood drain from his face. “Giant squid?” he squeaked.
Another boy climbed in the boat, and the conversation died down. He looked around at the other boats, trying to locate Emma. He finally spotted her several boats down. The giant man, Hagrid, walked over to the boat. “To many ‘n here. One o’ yers got to get in another boat.”
Emma stood up. “I’ll move,”
Jake saw Hagrid smile in the moonlight. “Thank ya, lass.” She began walking over to the only boat with any room left in it-their boat.
So much for giving her space. She clambered into the wooden vessel and sat down as far away from the others as possible, looking like she was curled into a ball. Jake wanted to say something, but his mouth wouldn’t let him. His teeth were glued shut as soon as the boat started moving, and he couldn’t force his mouth open again until they reached land.
He looked up in awe once again at the castle as they disembarked from the boats. The group entered through large wooden doors. Jake was mesmerized by everything around him, there were so many amazing things that he could hardly register them. This is it, he managed to think as they started to make their way up a large staircase. This is Hogwarts!
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