Chapter: 1 - The Hogwart’s Express
Title: Entering into Platform 9 ¾trs
Characters included: Minerva McGonagall, Christian Peters, Petra Weintraub (NPC’s)
Summary: Christian leads his friend Petra onto the platform and introduces her to Minerva. The three take stock of other students preparing to leave for Hogwarts.August 29, 1938
Time Magazine, USA
"Historians may well look back upon last week as a turning point in U. S. foreign policy. Europe's jitters had communicated themselves to Washington so forcefully that President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Hull agreed the moment had come for another warning to Herr Hitler. Accordingly, Mr. Hull took to the air with a speech, short-waved to Europe, in which he elaborated his thesis of international 'order under law.' His sharpest point: 'In a smaller and smaller world it will soon no longer be possible for some nations to choose and follow the way of force and for nations to choose and follow the way of reason.'"
September 1, 1938
King’s Cross Station, London England
Petra was scared.
Since arriving at the home of Christian’s parents she had managed so well to keep up a good front, appear the homesick but excited student. She had spoken of missing her aunt, of having only stayed with her in Scotland for a few weeks before coming to London to take the Hogwart’s Express to school. It had been only a few days, but his parents had been polite and understanding and did not press her for details of her own parents and family. They had politely shook her hand as she stood, watching Christian load his trunk above hers on a trolley to wheel into the station.
But now, now that she was surrounded by so many people, speaking so quickly, and moving about so fast, she was no longer so sure of herself.
“Is thees station alvays so croowded, Christian,” she asked as she took his arm and allowed him to guide her into the mobs of commuters milling about King’s Cross Station.
Her companion, a sandy blonde boy of sixteen, tapped her hand gently as she clung to him, and pushed their trolley forward. They made slow progress towards platforms nine and ten as he maneuvered their trunks around people and benches. “Just a typical morning commute,” he reassured her. “Not that different then the last time I boarded the train for school.” He paused between the two platforms. “Here we are.”
“Vere is here?” Petra looked around. There was Platform Nine to one side, and Ten to the other, but no sign of this so called Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
Christian, too, was looking about, checking to see if anyone was paying them more mind then they needed. Unsurprisingly, few spared a glance for the pair. To all outward appearances they were a brother and sister, waiting to catch a train to meet family. Indeed with her own blonde hair, cut also short in the modern fashion, Petra did look every bit his sister, were it not for her dark, nearly black eyes. Her mother’s eyes, she thought every morning as she dressed, inspecting herself in the mirror.
Pulling Petra with him, Christian pushed the trolley forward and slipped through the barrier onto platform nine and three quarters.
Petra let out an audible gasp as they moved through the apparently solid stone barrier and into the open, her eyes looking quickly up at the gleaming red train, the Hogwart’s Express. She quickly regained her composure, as Christian coughed lightly and tugged at her arm.
The platform itself was nearly empty. The conductor stood to one side, conversing with the driver. A few parents and students moved about, loading trunks, saying the first of goodbyes and looking for schoolmates.
Petra looked as confused as she had amazed. She looked to Christian to explain.
“We’re very early,” he said, looking up and down the platform. “Most students arrive about half an hour before departure, not two hours.”
Petra was confused. He had been so insistent they get here as early as possible this morning. “But vhy then,” she began to ask.
“I wanted to be sure we could get settled on the train before too many people arrived,” he said kindly. “I did not think you would take too well to a large crowd and lots of questions about your school in Austria.”
This was true. The less people asking about home the happier Petra was, and the easier this train ride would be. Of course, once they arrived at Hogwarts, things would be still be challenging; she could not dodge questions forever there.
Finally Christian found the someone for whom he had been looking. Leaving their trolley under the care of a porter, Christian guided Petra down the platform to a rather severe looking girl presumably also of sixteen.
“Minerva! How good to see you,” Christian said, reaching out to take the girl’s hand and shake it gently. The girl turned to face them, a red badge gleaming on the front lapel of her muggle dress.
Minerva’s dark hair was pulled back in a tight braid, and she wore a pair of square glasses, which gave her a very learned appearance. She was dressed in a muggle dress, and looked rather uncomfortable in it. Petra would have guessed her to be the same age as Christian.
“Christian,” she said smiling slightly, her tight lips barely turning upwards. She looked pointedly at Petra. “You didn’t tell me you had a sister.” She paused. “But you can’t be starting Hogwarts, you hardly look the age of a first year.” She quickly looked back at Christian.
Petra felt her heart leap into her throat again.
“This is Petra, Minerva, my pen pal from Austria.” He smiled widely and stepped back a bit to perform the introduction. “Petra, this is Minerva McGonagall, prefect in House Gryffindor, and a very good friend of mine.”
The two girls took each other’s hands politely, but neither spoke to the other.
“She’s here to see you off then?” Minerva asked, her scotch brogue even.
Christian ran his hand through his hair quickly, a nervous habit Petra had noticed the first time she shared dinner with him and his family. “No,” he started, “not quite. She’s transferred to Hogwarts now, you see.” Minerva raised an eyebrow, and fixed her eyes on Christian. He continued, “She lives with her aunt now, in Scottland, so they thought it best for her to attend Hogwarts then, rather then travel all the way back to her school in Austria. She will be in third year.”
“Well then,” Minerva said, smiling. “Welcome to Hogwarts, Petra.” She looked back to Christian. “And it is very good to see you again, Chrisitan. I would love to hear more of your summer holiday, but if you will excuse me, I need to check on the prefect’s compartment at the front of the train.” She nodded politely to them and passing between them moved up the platform.
Christian looked at Petra and grimaced. Petra looked back, a bit whiter then she was when they were dropped at the station. “That did not go so bad,” he said finally, and taking her arm, lead her onto the train.