Platform 9¾

Grace Holloway made her way through King's Cross, with her trunk full of school supplies, looking for Platform 9 and 3/4. She arrived at the conjunction of platforms nine and ten, and looked around for a sign. She didn't dare ask one of the guards, for fear of looking foolish. She hung around, watching for any possible wizards.

Eventually, she saw a black haired boy, with glasses, follow a family come up to the platforms. The boy looked out of place. She heard the father say, "Well, there you are boy. Platform nine- platform ten. Your platform should be somewhere in the middle, but they don't seem to have built it yet, have they? Have a good term." She heard the family of three laugh, as they drove away, and she felt very sorry for the boy.

She walked over to him, and asked, "Hello, are you looking for Platform 9 and 3/4 too?"

"Yeah," he replied, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, "Do you know where it is?"

"Sorry, I have no idea. Are you a first year too?"


"I love your owl, what's it's name?"

"Hedwig. She's beautiful, isn't she?"

"Yes, she is. Oh! I completely forgot to introduce myself. I'm Grace Holloway."

He looked a bit nervous, but said, "Harry Potter."

"Nice to meet you, Harry." Grace smiled, and stuck out her hand.

"Same." Harry said, giving a small smile. They shook hands.

Grace looked around, and spotted a family headed in their direction. "Who are they, I wonder?"


"The family of redheads over there." She said, pointing to a large family of redheads.

"I wonder if they're wizards."

"We'll see."

They could hear the family as they got closer, "-packed with Muggles of course-"

Grace could see an owl on top of one of the several trunks the family had. "Grace, they have an owl! I think they are wizards." Harry said.


The family continued talking. "Now what's the platform number?" The mother asked.

"Nine and three quarters!" A young girl said, who was holding the mother's hand. "Mom, can't I go?"

"You're not old enough, Ginny, now be quiet. All right Percy, you go first."

They saw what looked like the oldest son march toward the barrier between nine and ten. A large crowd got in the way, and neither were able to see where the boy went. The boy had disappeared by the time the crowd dispersed.

"Did you see where he went?" Grace asked.


The mother was talking again. "Fred, you next."

"I'm not Fred, I'm George," one of the twins said. "Honestly, woman, you call yourself our mother? Can't you tell I'm George?"

"Sorry, George, dear."

"Only joking, I am Fred." The twin went. The other twin told him to hurry up, and the first twin was gone in the blink of an eye. The other twin followed after, and he was gone as well.

"Did they just-" she started, but cut off when Harry walked towards the mother. Grace followed him.

Harry said, "Excuse me."

"Hello dears. First time at Hogwarts? Ron's new, too." The woman pointed to the remaining son. The boy was tall and thin, with freckles, big hands and feet, and a long nose.

"Yes." Harry said. "The thing is- the thing is, we don't know how to-"

"How to get onto the platform?" The woman asked kindly.

Harry nodded, and Grace said, "If you would tell us, please?"

"Not to worry. 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, that's very important. Best do it at a bit of a run if you're nervous. Go on, go on you two, before Ron."

"Er- okay." Harry said.

"Thank you ma'am." Grace said.

"No need to sat ma'am."

Grace smiled. "Do you want to go first, or may I?"

"You can go, if you'd like, Grace."


She walked toward the barrier, with her trunk right behind her. She came up to wall, closed her eyes, and continued walking. When she opened her eyes, she saw a scarlet train, a sign that said Hogwarts Express, and crowds of people. She walked a little further, and waited for Harry. Harry came through, running.

"Hello again."


"I think we made it."

Harry smiled at her.

The platform was very smoky, and there were animals everywhere. Students leaned out of the train's windows to say their goodbyes. The two continued down the platform, and both saw a round-faced boy with whom Grace thought was the boy's grandmother.

The boy said, "Gran, I've lost my toad again."

"Oh, Neville," the old woman sighed.

Looking around some more, they saw a boy with dreadlocks surrounded by a small crowd.

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

The boy opened the box's lid, and many people screamed and yelled as a long, hairy leg poked out.

The two pushed through the crowd to find a compartment. They found one near the end of the train. Grace went first, easily getting her trunk on the train. She gently took Hedwig from Harry, and put her on top of her trunk. Harry went next, heaving his trunk through the train door. Harry tried to lift it twice, and both times, dropped it on his foot. Grace had tried to help, but she was unsuccessful.

The redheaded twins were back, and one asked, "Want a hand?"

"Yes, please," Harry panted.

"Oy, Fred! C'mere and help!"

With the twins, Harry was able to get the trunk on the train. "Thanks," he said, pushing his hair out of his eyes.

"What's that?" One of the twins asked, pointing at a lightning shaped scar on Harry's forehead.

"Blimey," the other said, "Are you-?"

"He is," the first said. "Aren't you?"

"What?" Harry asked.

"Harry Potter," they chorused.

"Oh. Yeah, I am."

The twins gawked, and Harry blushed. A voice came through the train door.

"Fred? George? Are you there?"

"Coming, Mom."

They looked back at Harry, then hopped off.

Grace had put Hedwig on one of the seats, and pulled both trunks into an empty compartment. She waited, and Harry came in and sat down next to the window, across from her.

"What was that? How did they know who you are?"

"I'm famous in the wizarding world. An evil wizard named Voldemort killed my parents, and tried to kill me too, but failed. No one knows why."

Grace sympathetically listened. The family that brought you here, are they relatives?"

"My aunt, uncle, and cousin. They're horrible."

"They are. They treated you horribly. I'm so sorry you're stuck with them."

"What about you? You were all alone."

"Oh. The rest of my family aren't magical. I asked if I could be dropped off. I promised I'd find the train, and if not, to call them."

"You must be pretty responsible then."

"Thanks." She said, giving him a small smile.

The compartment door opened, and the youngest son, Ron, came in.

"Anyone else joining you two?" He pointed to a seat across from Hedwig. "Everywhere else is full."

"Go ahead Ron." Grace said.


Once again, the twins were back. "Hey, Ron. Listen, we're going down to the middle of the train- Lee Jordan's got a giant tarantula down there."

"Right." Ron mumbled.

"Harry, did we introduce ourselves? Fred and Ge did we introduce ourselves? Fred and George Weasley. And this is Ron, our brother. See you later, then."

All three of the younger students said, "Bye." The twins shut the door behind them.

"Are you really Harry Potter?" Ron blurted. Harry nodded. "I thought it might have been one of Fred and George's jokes. And have you really got- you know..." He pointed at Harry's forehead.

Harry pulled his bangs back to show the lightning scar. Ron stared, while Grace took a quick look.

"So that's where You-Know-Who-?"

"Yes, but I can't remember it."

Eagerly Ron asked, "Nothing?"

"Well- I remember a lot of green light, but nothing else."

"Wow." Ron stared at him for a bit, but soon stopped.

"So what? Sure he stopped an evil wizard, but still. Being famous isn't always good for people." Both boys gave her blank looks. "Fine. Ron, are all of you family members wizards?"

"Er- yes, I think so. I think Mom's got a second cousin who's an accountant, but we never talk about him."

"What's wrong with being an accountant?" she mumbled to herself.

Harry asked, "So you must know loads of magic already."

"I heard you went to live with Muggles. What are they like?"

"Horrible- well, not all of them. My aunt and uncle and cousin are, though. Wish I'd had three wizard brothers."

"Five." Ron said gloomily. "I'm the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I've got a lot to live up to. Bill and Charlie have already left- Bill was Head Boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy's a prefect. Fred and George mess around a lot, but they still get really good marks and everyone thinks they're really funny. Everyone expects me to do as well as the others, but if I do, it's no big deal, because they did it first. You never get anything new, either, with five brothers. I've got Bill's old robes, Charlie's old wand, and Percy's old rat." Ron then pulled a fat, grey rat out of his pocket. "His name's Scabbers and he's useless, he hardly ever wakes up. Percy got an owl from my dad for being made a prefect, but they couldn't aff- I mean, I got Scabbers instead."

"So what if your brothers have done a lot of cool stuff? Make your own path, be your own self. Fred and George did that- they became jokesters instead of aiming for the ranks. And money issues- I'm sure many of the students going here have that too. I'm from a non-magical family of seven, money's tight."

Ron looked a little thoughtful, and Harry nodded in understanding. Harry even told about his life, how he was forced to wear Dudley's old clothes, and never getting birthday presents. Ron cheered up, and Grace's sympathy kept raising for Harry.

"... and until Hagrid told me, I didn't know anything about being a wizard or about my parents or Voldemort-"

Ron gasped.

"What?" Harry and Grace asked.

"You said You-Know-Who's name!" Ron said, both shocked and impressed. "I'd have thought you, of all people-"

"I'm not trying to be brave or anything, saying the name-"

"It's just a name. There have been many evil people- Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini- people still say their names." Grace put in. "Oh sorry, I interrupted, go ahead."

Harry smiled. "Like I said, I'm not trying to be brave, I just never knew you shouldn't See what I mean? I've got loads to learn… I bet. I bet I'm the worst in the class."

"I doubt that Harry." Grace said.

"Yeah, like she said. You won't be. There's loads of people who come from Muggle families and they learn quick enough."

"Speaking of magic- do you two know any?" Harry shook his head, and Ron shrugged. "May I try some?"

"Go ahead."

"Thanks." She pulled out her 14½ inch, phoenix feather core, and hawthorn wand. She also opened her trunk and pulled out a few spellbooks. She picked up one, and put the others on her trunk. She flipped through the book, and the flying spell grabbed her attention. "I think I'll try this one- the flying spell."

"Try it." Harry encouraged.

"Wingardium Leviosa." she said, making the swish and flick motion with her wand. Scabbers, who was sitting on Ron's lap, was the poor recipient of the spell, and flew around the compartment. "Ooh- sorry Ron, I didn't think Scabbers would fly."

"That was amazing! Do it again!" Ron said. Harry had watched her in amazement. She did, this time, gently lifting the remainder of her school books off of her trunk. Grace also unlocked Ron's trunk with "Alohomora." After unlocking Ron's trunk, Grace put her wand behind her ear.

Around half past twelve there was a great clattering outside in the corridor and a smiling, dimpled woman slid back their door and asked, "Anything off the cart, dears?"

Harry jumped to his feet, Ron's ears went pink, mumbling about sandwiches, and Grace stayed in her seat. Harry bought several of everything, and Ron stared, while Grace went back to reading her books.

"Hungry are you?"

"Starving." Harry said, taking a large bite out of a pasty.

Ron had taken out a package with four sandwiches in it, and said, "She always forgets I don't like corned beef."

"Swap you for one of these." Harry said, holding a pasty out. "Go on-"

"You don't want this, it's all dry. She hasn't got much time, you know, with five of us."

"Take it Ron." Grace said, not looking up from a book. "You'll be grateful for it."

The boys ate through the treats.

"What are these?" Harry asked, holding up a pack of Chocolate Frogs. "They're not really frogs, are they?"

"Doubt it." Grace mumbled.

At the same time, Ron said, "No. But see what the card is. I'm missing Agrippa."


"Oh, of course, you wouldn't know- Chocolate Frogs have cards inside them, you know, to collect- famous witches and wizards. I've got about five hundred, but I haven't got Agrippa or Ptolemy."

Harry opened one, and said, "So this is Dumbledore!"

Grace had finally put her book down. "Who?"

"Don't tell me that neither of you have heard of Dumbledore! Can I have a frog? I might get Agrippa- thanks-"

"May I see when you're done Harry?"

"Sure." Harry read the back of the card, and Dumbledore was gone when he flipped it back over. "He's gone!"

"Well, you can't expect him to hang around all day. He'll be back. No, I've got Morgana again and I've got about six of her… do you want it? You can start collecting."

"Help yourself. Grace, I'm sorry, I completely forgot about you. Would you like any?"

"Yes please. Hey Ron, did you know, in the Muggle world, people don't move in the photos?"

"Do they? What , they don't move at all? Weird!" Ron said amazedly.

Grace took several frogs for herself, and put the cards in her trunk. As Harry picked up a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Grace asked, "What are those? They look like normal jelly beans."

"You want to be careful with those. When they say every flavor, they mean every flavor- you know, you get all the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a booger-flavored one once." Ron picked up a green one, looked at it carefully, and bit into a corner. "Bleaaargh- see? Sprouts."

The boys had fun eating them, Grace declined the offer. The countryside flew past, and woods began to appear.

There was a knock on the door and Neville came in. He looked like he was about to cry. "Sorry, but have you seen a toad at all?" All three shook their heads, and Neville wailed, "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!"

"He'll turn up." Harry said.

"Try looking under your seat. It's dark under there. He might be there." Grace suggested.

"Thanks." he said, still miserable. "Well, if you see him…"

Before Grace could say anything else, Neville left.

"Don't know why he's so bothered. If I'd brought a toad I'd lose it as quick as I could. Mind you, I brought Scabbers, so I can't talk." Ron said.

The rat was snoozing in Ron's lap. "He might have died and you wouldn't know the difference." He said in disgust. "I tried to turn him yellow yesterday to make him more interesting, but the spell didn't work. I'll show you, look…"

Ron rummaged through his trunk, and pulled out a very battered-looking wand. "Unicorn hair's nearly poking out. Anyway-"

Ron had just raised his wand when the door slid open again. Neville was back, but he had a girl with him, and she was wearing her robes.

"Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one." She sounded a bit bossy, and had a lot of bushy hair.

"We've already told him we haven't seen it." Ron said. The girl wasn't listening, she was looking at Ron's wand.

"Oh are you doing magic? Let's see it then."

Grace gently moved Hedwig, and the girl sat down. Ron looked taken aback.

"I think Grace is better than I am." he said, pointing at Grace.

"Go ahead Ron." Grace said, blushing.

"Er- all right."

Ron cleared his throat.

"Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,

Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow."

He waved his wand, but nothing happened.

"Are you sure that's a real spell? Well, it's not very good is it? I've tried a few simple spells just for practice and it's all worked for me. Nobody in my family's magic at all, it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it's the very best school of witchcraft there is, I've heard- I've learned all our course books by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough- I'm Hermione Granger, by the way, who are you?" she said, very fast.

Grace looked at the boys, and saw a stunned look on their faces. They looked at her, and she shrugged.

"I'm Ron Weasley," Ron muttered.

"Grace Holloway. Nice to meet you Hermione." The girls shook hands.

"Harry Potter." Harry said.

"Are you really? I know all about you, of course- I got a few extra books for background reading, and you're in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century."

"Am I?" Harry said, looking dazed.

"Goodness, didn't you know, I'd have found out everything I could if it was me. Do either of you know what house you'll be in? I've been asking around, and I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad… Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad. You three had better change, you know, I expect we'll be there soon."

Hermione and Neville left.

"Hey Grace, that girl seemed like a talkative version of you." Ron said. Grace shrugged and started to put her books back in her trunk. "Whatever house I'm in, I hope she's not in it." He threw his wand back in his trunk. "Stupid spell- George gave it to me, bet he knew it was a dud."

"What house are your brothers in?" Harry asked.

"Gryffindor." he replied gloomily. "Mom and Dad were in it, too. I don't know what they'll say if I'm not. I don't suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me in Slytherin."

"What's so bad about Slytherin?" Grace asked.

"That's the house Vol-, I mean, You-Know-Who was in?"

"Yeah." Ron flopped in his seat, and looked depressed.

"You know, I think the ends of Scabbers' whiskers are a bit lighter. So what do your oldest brothers do now that they've left, anyway?" asked Harry.

"Charlie's in Romania studying dragons, and Bill's in Africa doing something for Gringotts. Did you hear about Gringotts? It's been all over the Daily Prophet, but I don't suppose you get that with the Muggles- someone tried to rob a high security vault."

Harry stared. "Really? What happened to them?"

"Nothing, that's why it's such big news. They haven't been caught. My dad says it must've been a Dark wizard to get round Gringotts, but they don't think they took anything, that's what odd. 'Course, everyone gets scared when something like this happens in case You-Know-Who's behind it. What are your Quidditch teams?" Ron asked them.

"Er- I don't know any." Harry confessed.

"Same." Grace said.

"What! Oh, you wait, it's the best game in the world-" Ron went off explaining all about it.

He was explaining some of the finer points of the game when the door opened again. Three boys entered. Harry seemed to recognize the lead boy. The boy was pale, with very blond hair. The boy was looking straight at Harry.

"Is it true? They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?"

Grace stood up before Harry could say anything. "What's it to you?" she said, crossing her arms.

"Who are you?" The pale boy looked confused.

"Grace, and I asked first."

"I wanted to see who he was."

"And you've seen him. Now, shoo." She uncrossed her arms and made a shooing motion with her hands.

"No, I don't think I will. Crabbe and Goyle will keep you from doing so."

"Your lackeys? Oh, I don't think so." She pulled her wand from behind her ear, and pointed it threateningly at the trio.

"What are you going to do? Shoot sparks at me?" he asked, but looked a little afraid.

"I do know some spells." she said.

"Oh really?" he replied.

"Yes. Stupefy!"

The pale boy was hit, and the two bigger boys looked at her fearfully, and dragged the boy away.

She turned back to Harry and Ron, putting her wand back behind her ear, and smiled. "Now, what were we talking about?"

Harry and Ron looked shocked. Ron's mouth dropped open.

"You just stunned Draco Malfoy!" Harry said, looking at her disbelievingly.

"Yup." Grace sat back down in her seat. She pulled her robes out of her trunk.

Hermione came back and asked, "What has been going on?" She had seen Harry and Ron looking shocked.

"Grace stunned Draco Malfoy." Harry said.

Hermione raised her eyebrows. "I thought we couldn't learn that spell until fifth year."

"We can't." Grace replied simply.

"You've met Malfoy before?" Ron asked Harry.

Harry explained their meeting in Diagon Alley.

"I've heard of his family," said Ron darkly. "They were some of the first to come back to our side after You-Know-Who disappeared. Said they'd been bewitched. My dad doesn't believe it. He says Malfoy's father didn't need an excuse to go over to the Dark Side."

"'Join the Dark Side, Luke.'" Grace quoted. Harry and Hermione laughed, but Ron looked confused. "Just trying to stop the tension."

Ron looked at Hermione, "Can we help you with something?" Grace kicked Ron. "What?"

"Rude. Hermione?"

"You'd better hurry up and put your robes on, I've just been up to the front to ask the conductor, and he says we're nearly there. Grace, you'll be in trouble before we even get there!"

"I was defending Harry. I could tell Draco was going to say something horrible sooner or later, so I prevented it. Well, I'd better get changed, see you two later, Harry, Ron." She grabbed her robes, and stood up.

"Bye." Ron said.

"See you later Grace, and thanks."

"No problemo." she said, grinning. "Come on Hermione."

"All right- I only came in here because people outside are behaving very childishly, racing up and down the corridors. And you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know, Ron?"

Grace and Hermione left. "Do you know where the restroom is?" she asked, holding up her robes.

"Sure, follow me." she started walking toward the front of the train. "Grace, I really hope you aren't expelled before term even starts."

"I doubt I will. I'm pretty sure other students have done worse."

"Well here it is." she said, pointing to a door.

"Thanks Hermione."

"Your welcome. Did Draco really start it?"

"Yes, he did."

"All right."

At that moment, a voice echoed through the train: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train, it will be taken to the school separately."

"Well, see you later then." Hermione said, when the announcement was done.

"Later." They waved, and Grace went through the door to change.

A few minutes later, Grace stepped out, and walked back to the compartment. She made her way through the crowd and met up with Harry and Ron again.

"Hello again."

"Hey Grace."

The train slowed and finally stopped. People pushed their way out of the train, and onto the platform. The air was nippy, and many of the students shivered in the cold. A lamp came bobbing over the heads of the students, and Grace saw Harry recognize the voice.

"Firs' years! Firs' years over here! All right there Harry?" A large man's hairy face beamed. "C'mon, follow me- any more firs' years? mind yer step now! Firs' years follow me!"

"Come on!" Grace said, grabbing Harry and Ron's arms, and dragging them closer to the large man. The first years followed Hagrid down a steep, narrow path. No one spoke much. Neville sniffed once or twice.

"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts ina sec," the large man called over his shoulder, "jus' round this bend here."

There was a loud "Ooooh!"

A great, black lake had appeared, and on top of a high mountain on the opposite side, a vast castle's windows shone.

"No more'n four to the boat!" he called, pointing to many boats down on the beach. Harry, Ron, and Grace were followed by Neville and Hermione.

"I can get in a different boat." Grace said.

"It's okay." Hermione said.

"How about this," Grace suggested. "Harry, Ron, and Neville go in one, and Hermione and I will find another?" The other four nodded in agreement.

Grace and Hermione got in another boat with twin girls.

"Everyone in?" the large man shouted, who had a boat to himself. "Right then- FORWARD!"

The boats moved all at once, gliding across the smooth dark surface of the lake. Everyones silently stared at the castle as it grew nearer and nearer.

"Heads down!" the man yelled as the first boats reached the cliff; they all bent their heads, and they went through a curtain of ivy, which seemed to take them to an underground harbor, presumably under the castle.

"Oy, you there! Is this your toad?" the man asked when the boys got out of their boat.

"Trevor!" Neville blissfully cried, holding out his hands.

The students clambered up a passageway after the man's lamp, coming out onto smooth, wet grass in the shadow of the castle. They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded in front of a huge, oak front door.

"Everyone here? You there, still got yer toad?"

The man raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the door.

AN: This took me a while... I had fun writing though.