Toby and Harper

For the Hogwarts Contest!

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1. Day 1: Monday

"Harper!" My mother calls me from downstairs. I sigh, already knowing what she wishes to speak to me about.

I take the stairs slowly, stalling.

"Harper!" She calls again, more forcefully.

I quicken my pace.

"Mother?" I respond. The shuffling of feet in the kitchen answers my question, and I follow the sound of pots clanging.

"Harper." My mother sighs when she sees me, and hands me an envelope. "Your letter came."

My breath catches in my throat. "The letter?" I ask, my fingers gingerly picking at the seal on the envelope. 'Hogwarts' was stamped into the glue.

My mother nods. "You leave tonight." When I don't move, she gestures towards the stairs again with a pot. "Go and pack! I mean it!"

I'm awaken from my daze and I scurry up the stairs. I should have known this day was coming. I throw my letter on my bed. You can't be the granddaughter of a famous wizard and not expect to go to wizard school. But, what if I don't want to go? What if I wanted to do something else with my life? See other places? My body falls onto my bed. That's not an option anymore. I have no alternative.

Attempting to cope with my new circumstances, I mope over to my closet and pull out a suitcase. It's old, and dirty, but I have no other, so I lay it in front of my dresser. I pull out a few pairs of pajamas, and some socks. Laying them carefully in the bottom of my suitcase, I bite my lip, holding back tears that threaten to fall. I don't know why I should be crying, I was never one to get upset. But this sudden change of events hurts me. There was no preparation, no warnings. I wipe my eyes. It'll get better, I promise myself. It can't be so bad.

Time passes quickly, and in what seemed like five minutes, I'm in my mother's car. She's driving fast, and I don't speak. There's nothing to say.

We arrive at the station in nearly 10 minutes, with my mother's careless driving. She wraps her arm around my shoulder, but I shrug it off. I don't want her comfort.

"You'll be great." She whispers, gripping my shoulders tightly.

I nod, not entirely listening. I see a boy in the distance. I know I've seen him before. Where, I can't seem to remember. But his face is strikingly familiar. He sees me, and I know the moment our eyes meet he's feeling the same sense of recognition

"I'll be right back." I say to my mother. My tone seems dream-like, almost unreal. It's lost all of it's recent bitterness.

She only nods, but then seizes the opportunity to run to her friends. I recognize them, she's introduced them to me many times. They are my grandfather's friend's children. In other words, their grandparents went to school with my grandparents. My mother doesn't tell me much of that time. She began living shortly after it. She says it was a time of darkness, but my grandfather stopped many bad things from occurring in the wizard world. But she says, almost always with a look of sheer pain in her eyes, the price was many great wizard's deaths.

I return my focus to the boy coming closer to me. His smile is almost blinding, and his eyes are like diamonds compared to the other people walking by me in the train station. Yet, my mind still remains blank, and I cannot recall in my memory where he is from.

"Toby." He says when we meet. "I'm Toby. I recognize you from somewhere, but I can't--"

I nod. "I know how you're feeling. I'm Harper." He extends his hand to me and I take it.

We stand awkwardly for a moment, but in a matter of seconds, my mother is by my side, smiling like a mad woman.

"Harper! You remember Toby! He was at your grandfather's funeral. You see, his father was like a son to your grandfather. Taught him everything he knows. Toby, here, is practically a cousin to you."

I try to hide the disappointment I feel inside, but as soon as I see Toby's face sadden, I allow myself the same privileges.

"You must sit together on the train!" She exclaims, and grabs a trolley whose owner has abandoned it. She places my baggage tenderly inside, and looks to Toby, who has his trolley next to him. "Perfect." She says, cheerful as ever, which only makes my hatred towards her greater.

She guides us to a post in between platform 9 and 10. "Go ahead!" She nudges us forward. Toby, being a seasoned Hogwarts student, doesn't blink an eye before running his cart right into the wall. He disappears.

I sigh, I've been told of this wall many times, so shock is not a reaction I face here. I nod to my mother, and push my cart through also, closing my eyes, because fear was something that was present. I end up on the other side and see Toby waiting for me. He smiles and I move a little quicker to catch up to him. We unload our bags and return our trolleys.

Now is the moment. I run to my mother, once again appearing quite bipolar, but I like to think of my sudden emotion changes as just part of being a teenager. Toby shakes hands firmly with his father, an attractive man, with shining blue eyes and curly brown hair. His mother next to him looks very plain in comparison. She is thin and appears frail, but Toby obviously does not take this into consideration, for her crushes her into a hug, and kisses her on the cheek.

I bite my lip, feeling quite alone, after having said goodbye to my mother, I have no father to wish farewell to. He left my mother after receiving news of her pregnancy. I cared not about him, as he proved he did not care about me, yet, I did feel a twinge of sadness for not having a fatherly figure to remind me to be careful, and not to talk to boys.

After our goodbyes are said, and our parents are out of seeing and hearing range. Toby lays a hand on the small of my back, protectively, and guides me to the train. He snakes my bags out of my hands, and holds his, and mine, in his free hand.

I look at him, slightly alarmed at his sudden flirtatious attitude towards me. "Toby." I say, and immediately he removes his hand. I regret my decision almost immediately, because his warmth felt comforting, even though it felt so wrong at the same time. Nevertheless, I reach for his hand and return it to it's position on my back. He smirks.

We take an empty compartment towards the front, and he puts our bags above our heads. We sit on opposite sides of the compartment, so I tuck my feet underneath me, and pull my sweatshirt tighter around my torso.

"Ready?" He asks, reaching to me with his hand.

I smile and take it. "Ready as I'll ever be."

Then, within a moment, the train begins to move in a forward motion, and startled, I move to sit next to Toby. I lay my head on his shoulder, and fall asleep almost immediately.

When I awake, the train has stopped, Toby has vanished, and we are at Hogwarts.

Day one of my nightmare has been completed.

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