The Journey From Platform 9 3/4

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Rain closed her eyes and sighed. How was she supposed to get to Hogwarts if she couldn't find the train?

"— packed with muggles, of course —"

Rain's eyes flew open as she overheard the phrase. The speaker was a plump woman who was talking to four boys and one girl, all with flaming red hair. If there were any other doubts, they vanished at the sight of their owl.

"All right, Percy, you go first."

Rain pushed hard to gain momentum with her trolley. "Excuse me." Rain interrupted.

"Hello, dear." The woman greeted. "First time at Hogwarts? Ron's new, too." She pointed at the youngest boy, who waved at Rain. He was tall, thin, and gangling, with freckles, big hands and feet, and a long nose.

Rain smiled sheepishly. "Yes, ma'am. But I don't know how to..."

"How to get onto the platform?" She finished kindly, and Rain nodded.

"Not to worry." She encouraged. "All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don't stop and don't be scared you'll crash into it. Here, watch the twins. Fred, you next."

"I'm not Fred, I'm George." Said the boy. "Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother? Can't you tell I'm George?"

"Sorry, George, dear."

"Only joking, I am Fred." He winked at Rain. "Hurry up, George!" One after the other, they ran towards the barrier and disappeared.

Rain's eyes widened.

"Go on, dear. Go now before Ron." The plump woman instructed.

Rain gripped her trolley tighter and moved slowly towards the brick wall. At the barrier, Rain shoved her trolley and it slowly rolled through the wall. Rain hesitantly put her hand against the bricks and was pleasantly surprised when she didn't feel anything. She watched, astonished, as her hand went through the wall. Another step forward moved her onto a bright platform separate from the one she just came from. A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, eleven o'clock. Rain looked behind her and saw a wrought-iron archway where the barrier had been, with the words Platform 9 3/4 on it. She had done it.

Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every color wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to one another in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and the scraping of heavy trunks.

The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging out of the window to talk to their families, some fighting over seats. Rain pushed her cart off down the platform in search of an empty seat. She passed a round-faced boy who was saying, "Gran, I've lost my toad again."

"Oh, Neville," she heard the old woman sigh.

A boy with dreadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.

"Give us a look, Lee, go on."

The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms, and the people around him shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg.

Rain pressed on through the crowd until she found an empty compartment near the end of the train. She unwound Amity from around her neck and put her down on the cushioned seat. Then she started to shove and heave her trunk toward the train door. She tried to lift it up the steps but could hardly raise one end and twice she dropped it painfully on her foot.

"Want a hand?" It was one of the red-haired twins she'd followed through the barrier.

"Yes, please," Rain panted.

Thunder and Lightning || Fred WeasleyWhere stories live. Discover now