Chapter 5 : Scarlet and Toads
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A huge thanks to claudiaandizzy, Starkidgleek, Lana, KxxDxx, DracoM4eva, and the always amazing Gin-gin06 for reviewing Chapter 4. It means a lot. :)
I looked in the mirror. I was looking at the same bushy-haired, freckled girl I had looked at not so many months ago, but I felt so different.
So much had changed. I was no longer going to be that girl who got picked on for being a know it all. I was something more. I was a witch. I had a place to belong. I figured out that piece of me that had always been missing. I was finally Hermione Jean Granger as she was meant to be. I hadn’t ever been happier.
I hadn’t ever been more nervous either. It was September 1st. The start of term. The day we were making the trip to King’s Cross station from which I was to take a train to Hogsmeade Village and from there me and the rest of the first years would take boats to the castle.
Reading all the extra books this summer had really paid off. I knew so much more than I would have going into it completely blind and I learned so many interesting facts. Hogwarts A History was by far my favorite of all the books I had read this summer, and that was saying something.
I didn’t just read these extra books either; I had already memorized all of the required books for the year. Well not memorized word for word, but enough to know the information inside. I hoped beyond hope that because I didn’t have a magical background , that knowing everything would be enough.
I made my way down stairs to the kitchen, where my father was preparing a feast. I took a deep breath before making my way into the kitchen, I knew my mum would be a mess knowing that today was the day.
My mother was holding a steaming cup of tea and staring out the kitchen window. My father was next to her rubbing her back and talking quietly to her, though I was unable to make out the words.
“Mum… dad?” My parents turned around, my mother nearly spilling her tea in the process.
“Oh honey!” My mother set her tea down on the counter and swooped over to embrace me in a hug.
“Mum, mum it’s okay. We still have breakfast and the car ride. We can say goodbye there.”
“I know, it’s just that I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold myself together then.” She gave me a sad smile and another hug before finally letting go. She sighed, “I suppose we better eat breakfast so we can load your trunk into the car and get moving.”
I nodded and went to my place at the table. I loaded my plate with food though I wasn’t really hungry and just sort of shuffled my food around with my fork.
I still couldn’t believe today was the day. I feel like I just found out about everything and that it would still be months until anything happened or that I would wake up and everything would be a dream.
Breakfast flew by with little conversation and next thing I knew, I was sitting in the back of the car watching London come into view. It was now or never. We parked our car and made our way to the station. We found a trolley and loaded my trunk onto it as I pulled the most recent letter from my bag.
In the letter, there were directions explaining how to get to the platform as well as my ticket for the train. I didn’t quite understand the train ticket, as it said “Platform 9 ¾ ” I didn’t think there was any such thing until I read through the letter several times. It explained to us that we must walk straight through the barriers between platforms 9 and 10.
Apparently the wall wasn’t really a wall and it would lead us to the platform. We had to be as inconspicuous as possible. I dressed in normal clothes, with my robes packed on the top of the trunk so I could change on the train, and we had to make sure that we didn’t draw attention to ourselves while getting to the platform.
We made our way through the station until we finally found platforms 9 and 10. I took a deep breath and positioned myself to line up with the platform. I almost moved towards the platform but my mother grabbed my arm. I looked up to her and she gave me a weak smile.
“I’ll go with you.” She said and put her hands on the trolley as well. I smiled to myself and nodded.
We both faced forward and began to walk at a steady pace towards the barrier. We looked both ways and made sure no one was looking then took faster strides the last few steps.
I shut my eyes, still expecting my trolley to hit a wall but a second later I heard my mother gasp and a second after that, heard my father gasp behind us. I slowly opened my eyes and let out a gasp myself.
We were standing near the back of a rather large platform. A huge sign hung above us that read “Platform 9 ¾”. Owls swooped over head and several children ran around with their parents, most pushing a trolley of their own. It was noisy and somewhat smoky as I realized the source of the smoke. The biggest and most gorgeous steam engine stood in front of us. It was scarlet and black in color and a plaque on the front read, “The Hogwarts Express”.
I felt a jitter of excitement and smiled to myself. This was the beginning of everything. The start of my new life.
My parents and I began making our way down the train and my father helped me load my trunk onto the train in the luggage compartment. I opened it and grabbed my robes, telling my parents I would change and be back quickly.
It didn’t take me long to find the bathroom and I changed as quickly as possible into my robes. I made my way back and found my luggage again to place my clothes into my bag. I grabbed my coin purse and put it in the pockets of my robes, along with my wand and a book. I jumped off the train and wrapped my arms around my mother.
“I promise I’ll write.”
“Oh honey, I know. I know you will. You’ve always been good about that kind of thing. I look forward to each letter I get from you.” She let go so I could hug my father and I wrapped my arms around him, unable to hold back the tears.
“Daddy. I’ll miss you guys. I’ll come back for Christmas of course. It won’t be that long and I’ll write all the time. I’ll do my best and study hard.” I said to him, not knowing how much he could make out as I could hear the strain in my voice and several of my words were cut off as I took a deep breath. The train whistle blew and I knew that meant it was time for me to get on. I jumped on and waved goodbye to my parents.
I walked down the aisle of the train a bit and came across an empty compartment. I made my way inside and looked out the window to see my mother and father standing about 10 feet back waving at me.
My father had his arm around my mother’s shoulders and my mother’s eyes were glistening with tears. I wiped my own tears away and waved to them as the train began to move away from the station.
Before long I grew bored and figured I would try a couple quick spells. It wasn’t possible to do it at home, underage magic is forbidden outside of school. I pulled my book out and finally mustered up the courage to tear a page halfway down, cringing as I did so. I pulled my wand out and said the mending spell, “Reparo”. I was amazed as the page mended itself before my eyes. I grew excited and tried the unlocking spell, “Alohomora” after locking the compartment door and was extremely happy when it unlocked. I made my way to the seat and sat down, pulling out my book and smiling.
A noise sounded from behind me and I turned to see a boy with a round face poking his head into the compartment through the door.
“I—I’m Neville.” He managed to stammer out, “Do you mind if I sit in here?” He asked, gesturing to the compartment.
“Not at all!” I squeaked out. He gave me a grateful smile and sat down across from me. “I’m Hermione by the way.”
“Nice to meet you Hermione.” He said, and turned his head to look out the window. We sat silent for a few minutes before I decided to break the silence.
“So, are your parents magical?” I asked, my own curiousity getting the better of me. I always wondered how often “muggle borns” came through Hogwarts. The question seemed to shock him. A look of pain flashed across his face.
“Well, yeah. I… I suppose they are. Or were. I mean they aren’t dead. They’re just not doing so well. They were brilliant once. My grandmother is the one who’s really raised me. She was so disappointed when I didn’t show great promise like my father and mother had. She didn’t think I was magical. She feared that I wouldn’t be accepted here. When I got my letter she nearly cried in excitement. She was so proud. She bought me a toad when we visited Diagon alley and I— hang on. Where’s Trevor?!”
“Who?” I asked.
“Trevor!! My toad! I must have lost him somewhere!” His face scrunched up and tears formed in his eyes. I jumped up from my seat.
“We can split up and look for him. I can go right, and you go left, we’ll check each compartment and everywhere else then meet up here.”
He sniffed a few times and finally nodded his head. “Yeah, okay.” He slowly stood up and made his way out of the compartment and to the left. I made my way to the right and began the search.
It was slow going. The members of each compartment seemed to either laugh at me or give me blank looks. I made some small conversation with people from other compartments, asking what house they were in (there were 4 houses, a fact I had learned by reading) and asking which they thought was best.
I hoped that I made it into either Ravenclaw in which everyone was known for their smarts, or Gryffindor in which everyone was known for their bravery. The only house I had a strong aversion to was Slytherin. The whole lot of them seemed to be cunning and sly. Some, deceitful and others, merely arrogant.
One compartment had a group of students who, like me, were wearing plain black robes. My heart skipped a beat as I saw the blond boy. Sitting there next to a small girl with short black hair. My heart dropped as a smug look appeared on his face. She was saying something about Slytherin. Of course they’d be in Slytherin.
I asked about the toad and felt my face grow red, blushing beyond control. The girl laughed and made some snippy remark which I chose to ignore. The boy laughed and I turned on my heel to go down to the next compartment. Taking a deep breath before entering.
I slid the door open to find a red-headed boy with a wand raised and a black-haired boy sitting across from him looking curious.
“Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one.”
The redhead responded, “We’ve already told him we haven’t seen it.” Huh that’s odd, I thought Neville was going the other way… I found myself staring at the wand. He looked as if he were about to do magic.
“Oh, were you trying some magic? Let’s see.” I sat down across from him and waited.
He looked taken aback. “Er— okay.” He cleared his throat.
“Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,
Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”
(Rowling, SS Pg. 105)
Nothing happened and I shot him a quizzical look.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell? Well, it’s not very good, is it? I’ve just tried a few simple spells myself but they all worked. I found it rather odd actually, I mean no one in my family is magical so it was a bit of a shock, getting my letter. Exciting of course, but still shocking. I was so excited I took the summer to read all the books we had assigned to us, along with a few others, just in case. I hope it’s enough.” I sighed to myself. “I’m Hermione by the way, Hermione Granger. What’re your names?”
“Ron Weasley.” The redhead muttered.
The other smiled and turned to me, “Harry Potter.”
Wellllllll, what did you think?! Next chapter shall be amazing 'cause she's actually at Hogwarts! Yay! :) PLEASE review and let me know your thoughts. What did you like, what do I need to fix, what did you hate, what do you want to see, what do you NOT want to see, all that good stuff. Please review, it keeps me going. I honestly need it.
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