I used @koolkid4ever, @sophieviollet and @argyle-and-your-smile. I wasn't sure about tense or POV, so I did present, first person. I hope that's okay :) Also, I may make more sets for the other suggestions so I could be on the look out for more inclusions!
Train ride to Hogwarts.
I stand at the edge of the platform, eyes closed, the soft, grey smoke from the train billowing around my face. It caresses my cheeks, a warm, benevolent hand beckoning me onwards towards another year.
My eyes snap open. Danika, my step-mother, calls me with a slight tinge of concern to her American twang.
“Don’t stand so close to the edge,” she says softly, ushering me back into the swirling crowd of potential travellers that mill about.
My fingers close tighter around my trunk handle. I’m about to begin my fifth year at Hogwarts; I’m hardly a child and yet Danika coos as if I had just learnt to walk and might yet fall over on my newly extended legs.
“I’m always on the edge” is the indignant response I manage to shoot back at her.
She tilts her head sideways and bites her lip in the endearing, if slightly stupid, way that she always does.
“Don’t I know it,” the witch sighs.
Whilst Danika’s attention is momentarily taken by another parent, I move away and glance up and down Platform 9 and 3/4. As always at this time, there are a great many people. They push trunks, some old and battered, reflecting many years and generations of use, some are new and shiny, with bright hinges and glossy leather. My trunk falls into the former category; coloured a faded and worn grey and covered with peeling travel stickers, this was the trunk that my mother took with her on her post-Hogwarts world tour. She gave it to me the day after I received my acceptance letter, telling me that perhaps it would bring me as much luck as it brought her. Perhaps, also, she meant for it to be a substitute for her own self, saving a very busy editor the trouble of actually seeing her only child off at the train station. She has never been here at the start of school, not once. She is not here now and I am not surprised.
After a moment or two of waiting, offering polite smiles of greeting to the vaguely remembered faces of last year’s first years, the Hogwarts Express gives an impatient whistle, calling all of us to hurry and begin boarding. Both Danika and I had turned our heads at the high pitched sound and we turn back to one another now, a small, almost reluctant, smile on her face.
“Well, I guess that’s you,” she says.
“Yeah,” I nod, looking down at the ground; this goodbye is always somewhat tedious, caught been the realms of sweet family sentiment and complete awkwardness.
Danika gives a small cough and then says, her voice slightly husky, “your dad wanted me to tell you have a good year and that he loves you very much.”
I bet the ‘very much’ is an embellishment on Danika’s part, if indeed she hasn’t invented the entire sentence; my father is a man of very few words, believing that unnecessary speech is counter-productive and extremely complicating. He goes to work very early, which is why he can not come now, but I don’t really mind so much; he will write, I am sure, at some point during the term. It upsets Danika though, I think. She has no biological children and a strong motherly instinct, something that has been working to change the very non-touchy-feely family dynamic that my father and I had developed after his split with my own, less capable mother.
I give Danika a hug goodbye, an action I’m not prone to, but I know she appreciates it. Then, dragging my trunk, I make my way to the train and step on board, waving a final farewell as I do so. I am one of the last people on the train, which leads to the inevitable lack of carriage space. I walk past one which is full of other Slytherins; glancing inside I see the unmistakable white-blonde hair of Ichabod Malfoy; despite our house affiliation, I refuse to sit through at entire trip with him. He sees me staring and his already icy gaze hardens, as if trying to freeze the door in an attempt to bar my entrance. I give him a smirk and then walk away, making no effort to do any thawing.
I come to one of the last few compartments on the train and, thank god, there are seats. I manage to open the door, force my trunk through (entering at an awkward angle, the sides momentarily become lodged in the frame, but it is nothing some violent jerking won’t fix) and flop down next to the window. Sitting opposite me is Alice Turner, a Gryffindor from the year above me, whom I have come to forge a friendship with. She smiles at me and I grin back, glad to have found someone I can tolerate for the long journey.
“Good holiday?” she asks.
“Yeah, can’t complain,” I shrug noncommittally, “You?”
She nods, her long brunette plait twisting down her neck and over her shoulder like the world’s most non-threatening snake.
“It was pretty good,” she says, “no magic though, so it’ll be nice to get back to it.”
I understand, even if I can’t empathize; I would be lying if I said there had been no illicit practicing of spells during my break. I turn my head slightly and notice that I have completely missed another person in the compartment: Elle Carney is sitting up, looking as perky as always, grinning at me from ear to ear. To be quite frank, I’m impressed at the restraint it must have taken her to not talk so far.
“And how were your holidays?” I say with an indulgent smile.
“Great, thanks Cass,” she replies and then she goes into mass detail about what she did.
I nod along, not really sure if I’m listening, contemplating how much of her I will be able to stand before I feel the need to go outside to take the air. It’s not that I don’t like her; she’s incredibly likable and most people seem almost adore her, but I do find her exuberance and unwavering optimism a little overwhelming.
“Don’t you think this is going to be the best year ever?” Elle says finally, “Can’t you just feel it?”
I look at her and, for a minute, decide that I too shall be overcome with positivity.
“You know, I reckon you’re probably right,” I say sincerely, “This year is going to be something!”