Rusty Keys and King's Cross

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Dan stood, staring at the rusted key laying in the grass. He had heard of portkeys before, and he had watched his father use on to get to work once, but Dan himself had never touched one. He shifted nervously, and his mom, like always, took the reins of the situation.

"Alright Dan, now I've used portkeys many times, and I know exactly what you need to do," she launched into a speech about making sure he didn't lock his legs, and any fear Dan had quickly turned into annoyance. His mother had a tendency to drone on, and yet somehow every word she said sounded as if she was a bad actress reading from a script. Dan almost interrupted her, but he didn't want to start an argument, especially when he was about to leave for ten months.

"-and you know that the ministry itself put the charm on this particular portkey, so it's probably twice as reliable, don't you think?" Dan's mother looked at him expectantly. He was tempted to inform her that the government itself can't charm objects, and that whichever employee did charm it was probably an average witch or wizard at best. Instead, in the interest of avoiding conflict, he flashed a smile.

"Yeah, definitely Mum. But I think it's getting a bit late," he gave a more concerned grin, and Mrs. Howell glanced at her bronze wristwatch.

"Oh! Quickly, now, Kneel down," she yelped, grabbing Dan's wrist and yanking him down with her.

"On my count," she glanced up and Dan gave a small nod to show he understood.

"One..." Dan pulled his trunk closer to him, making sure he had a tight grip on it.

"Two..." He breathed in deeply, not sure what he was preparing for.

"Three!" He hardly had time to let out his a breath, when suddenly, the world around him was gone. It was replaced by a gut-wrenching feeling in his stomach, as if it was the only part of him that had any intention of moving. The world around him was a blurred, headache-inducing  mess of colors. He shut his eyes tight and tried to ignore the chaos in and around him. After an eternal three seconds, he landed, his shoulder slamming into concrete below him.

At least the portkey is over. He thought to himself, as a sharp pain throbbed on his shoulder. Next to him, his trunk was laying, knocked over, and the owl was screeching from its cage, loud as ever. His mom rushed over to him and began to do basic pain relief charms, pausing to lecture him about the importance of safety with portkeys.

"What would I do if you had broken something? Lenio. I'm no good at healing, you know. Sanadum minima. You could be very seriously injured right now!" Dan sat up, shaking his head.

"I'm fine," he insisted, rising easily to his feet. A dull pain settled into the top of his left shoulder, making him doubt his mother's healing abilities even more than she did. He peered behind her to see that they had landed in a parking lot just in front of King's Cross. People were flooding in and out of the doors, like bees swarming around there hive. Dan had been at Kings Cross a few times, enough that he remembered the constant movement that surrounded it.

"We really need to get going, anyway," he said, trying to subtly roll his shoulder back, so his mom wouldn't try to "fix" it any more than she already had. She nodded, staring in the distance, as if she was only vaguely aware of her son talking to her. Suddenly she shook her head, as if waking up from a dream, and glanced at her watch.

"Right, right. We need to go now, Daniel, let's go," she announced, grabbing his wrist and practically dragging him to the doors. She yanked his trunk from his hands and plopped it on a trolley, followed by the cage, with the ever-screaming owl. They raced through the building, waking as fast as they could without drawing too much attention to themselves. Dan wished he had more time to look around King's Cross, but he figured that would have to be a pleasure for another time. They instead ran through the beauty, taking no time to admire the curved ceiling with light pouring in, or the systematic trains, and systematic people getting on them. They finally reached the space between platforms nine and ten. Dan's mom didn't take any time to relax. She walked straight toward the wall, and just before disappearing behind it, she gave Dan a small nod.

"Come on, Dear. Just walk right into the wall." She walked right through it, leaving Dan alone with his thoughts

Dan hesitated. He tried to assure himself that he had no idea what he was afraid of, that it was all just first day nerves. But deep down, he knew better.

Dan Howell had never had a friend.

He had people he liked more than others, and some that he hung out with during the inevitable neighborhood parties, but never a good friend, never a best friend. The person he talked to the most was his brother, who was two years younger than him. He didn't even care enough to wake up and say goodbye. Dan knew that wasn't a bad thing at home. He had been homeschooled by his parents, who didn't want to send him to a muggle school to learn the basics of reading and math. They were worried that he would get confused between the magical and muggle worlds and lifestyles. Dan thought he would much rather be confused than alone.

What terrified him the most was his hope. He couldn't help but think that this was it, his opportunity to make real friends. He wanted it so much, but he tried to shut it out of his brain.

Best not get my hopes up. He decided, then he walked, uneasily, into the unknown.

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Hello everyone! How did you like the new chapter? I think I am going to stick to this format, around 1000 words per chapter, so let me know what you think. I'm pretty new to this, so criticism is accepted and appreciated! :)

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