They all met up outside Kings Cross to a great sense of déjà vu, The Weasly's turning up just in time, all trunks, bundles, cages and chaos. Mrs Weasly fussing over everyone, it was just like old times.
Harry dear, have you got everything, all your books, and all your clothes?
Harry grinned, no matter how old he got Mrs Weasly would always see him as that young boy she first met all those years back. He felt a great surge of warmth and love, and disguised the need to blink away sudden tears pricking his eye by returning her embrace with a fierce hug.
‘Thank you Mrs Weasly, yes, I have everything I need, thank you.’
Mrs Weasly stepped back beaming, tears in her own eyes, appreciating the returned affections from a boy she loved as one of her own.
‘Hello Mr Weasly,’ Harry said clearing his throat a couple of times first, turning to greet the man standing next to her, shaking the offered hand equally as warmly.
‘Hello Harry, everything all right?’
‘Yes Sir, everything is great.’
They held the grip and eye contact just for a second or two longer, conveying as men do their affections for each other, before both clearing their throats and looking away.
Ginny, with Hermione, both pushed their carts passed them all, both unashamedly dabbing their eyes and muttering ‘Men!’ not so quietly under their breaths.
Ron stepped up grinning,
‘Barking mad that one, I tell you, Hello Harry’
Harry could not remember when he felt happier, light of heart and mind, he wanted to laugh out loud, he was so happy. A whole year at Hogwarts, a normal school year with his only worry the N.E.W.Ts (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests ) the following June. They turned and walked to towards platform 9 ¾.
This must be what it felt like to have a family, a real one, parents that loved you and brothers and sisters that jollied and joked as they walked along. Harry laughed out loud when he spied Fred poking his head out the back of George’s and giving him a cheeky wink before slipping back. Many muggles gave them strange looks; after all they must look quite a sight, but were in too much of a hurry to give them more than a passing thought. Seeing a ghostly head on the other hand would be quite another matter so Fred was keeping out of sight until they got onto their platform.
‘Here we are, platform 9 ¾’ said Mrs Weasly.
‘George you go through first’
George sauntered up to the pillar and with a quick look round, walked straight into it, disappearing from view.
This was the magic gateway to platform 9 ¾ unknown to muggles they had to be careful to not draw attention to themselves, disappearing into brickwork would certainly cause a stir.
Harry and Ginny went next, pushing their trolleys through the gateway first; then standing, savouring the moment they went through hand in hand.
Ron, oblivious to the romantic opportunity, lost in the memory of his first time, went through at a run, Hermione, with another muttering of ‘men!’ Walked through with the serenity and calm she felt a 7th Year student should display, inside however her tummy fluttered excitedly and her mouth could not fight the smile that cracked her serene expression.
On the platform it was all hustle and bustle, the Hogwarts Express was alongside, smoke and steam puffing from its engine, guards were helping out, lifting trunks into the many carriages that trailed behind, getting ready to be off exactly at 11:00.
Crowds of students, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, dogs, cats and friends, filled the platform along its length, the noise of their general conversation, shouts of recognition as friends met again, shouts of annoyance as dogs chased cats through the legs of all, the cry of owls in their cages, all a hubbub of familiarity that washed over them all.
Harry and co stopped just to breathe it all in, wanting to enjoy every second of their return to Hogwarts.
Harry inhaled the familiar smell,
I am really going back, he thought.
He became aware that it was getting quieter, slowly the noise died away to a deathly silence, all eyes had turned towards them.
Harry, Hermione, Ron, George (with Fred poking his head out alongside his brothers) and Ginny, all looked at each other wondering what they should do, becoming uncomfortable under the silent gaze of so many people. Suddenly one person started to clap, quickly followed by another and another, until soon everyone was clapping and cheering. It went on and on.
‘Better get on the train you lot otherwise this lot will miss it; I doubt anything can stop this train leaving at 11:00’ said Mr Weasly,
Walking down the platform, the clapping and cheering still going on, hearty slaps on the back and shaking of hands for them all. Harry and his friends started to enjoy the popularity, this must be what it feels like to be a star. Spotting Neville hanging out of the window, waving wildly, the gang clambered aboard and walked through to a long carriage with bench seats facing forward and back along its length filled with familiar faces.
‘Thought that must be you lot, with all that commotion outside’ Neville said, greeting them all with handshakes and hugs, ‘come on in, we’re all here.’
They made their way down the carriage seeing all the familiar faces smiling back, shaking hands, hugging, waving to those further away. They couldn’t help but see all those faces that were not there, bringing lumps to their throats, taking the edge off happy re-unions. Everyone had had the same thoughts as they had boarded the train so they all started busying themselves, giving their old friends time to collect themselves and regain their spirits.
The whistle blew, last goodbyes were yelled out the windows to those staying behind on the platform and with a loud explosion of steam the engine pulled forward, carriages began to roll and they were off to Hogwarts.
They heard a loud cheer behind them, from one of the carriages, getting louder and louder as other carriages joined in. Harry looked at Ron and their excited spirits returned, surging up through their bodies as they both let out a cheer, echoed by their friends and fellow students, yelling out all their grief first, replaced with their excitement and sheer joy at returning to school. George let off some fireworks that whizzed around the carriage with sparks and bangs as they started taking their seats for the long journey to Hogwarts.