Jan 19, 2021 7:33 PM
where you ought to be
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Hogsmeade Station looks to be on the outskirts of a little village.  The train platform is small and dark, with the sun well and truly set by now, so it's easy to spot the bright lantern as it approaches - not from the direction of the village, but by a dark forest path leading the opposite way, and being carried by Mr. Hagrid.  He whistles, loudly, to get the children's attention, and calls, "First years over here!"

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She smiles, standing up straight as the first years gather around - daring, even, to slip to the front and wave a bit. "Hey Hagrid!" she calls.

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He grins indulgently and stoops down briefly.  "Made it okay, I see," he says warmly.  Then he straightens up and resumes his calling.

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"You're friends with Mr. Hagrid?" whispers Neville, who looks a bit intimidated by him.

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"Yeah," she whispers back. "He's really nice. I stayed with him over the summer."

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"Follow me!" he calls once everyone's assembled, and leads them down the dark path by which he came.  It's a few minutes before they see anything more interesting than trees and shadows, but then they come upon a vast still black lake, reflecting the distant yellow pinpoints of light that are the windows of the Castle Hogwarts, on the opposite shore atop a high cliff.  There are little boats clustered by the near shore, that look just like the one Hagrid took Harriet away from her aunt and uncle in.

"Four to a boat," Hagrid calls.  "They'll row themselves across once everyone's in."

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Four's enough for her, Neville, Hermione, and Ami - she glances at her friends to confirm they're all also thinking of getting in a boat together.

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"Oh, good, I was hoping we could stick together," Hermione says.

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"Yeah!" Ami walks over to make sure the boat stays steady while everyone else climbs in.

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Harriet grins at him, sitting near the front.

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Neville and Hermione climb in side by side behind her.

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And Ami gets in last, settling in to wait the boats launching.

His gaze keeps drifting to Hogwarts.

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Hagrid, who's standing up straight in a boat to himself, turns toward the castle, stomps one foot formally, and calls out, "Forward!"

The boats depart - it's a bit of a lurch getting them un-beached, but then they move swiftly, smoothly, and silently over the water.

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Harriet grips tightly to the boat's edge, a bit uneasy, but -

Hogwarts is fascinating.

She - feels odd, at the thought of talking into the silence.

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The cliff looms, stark and straight and almost vertiginous, as they approach.

"Mind your heads!" Hagrid calls as the boats make their way toward and through a curtain of ivy hiding a wide but low-ceilinged passage under the cliff.  (Hagrid himself has to sit down in his boat and hunch.)

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She ducks down a bit lower than she probably needs to.

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The pass under the cliff leads to an underground harbor, and the path Hagrid leads them along away from the harbor leads to the Hogwarts lawn.  They emerge next to a wide dirt road that leads to a wide flight of stone stairs and a pair of wide wooden-and-iron doors.  Opposite the road from them are a group of empty and apparently-horseless carriages - apparently the non-first-year students got here by a different, faster route.

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Hagrid ascends the stairs swiftly, and knocks three times, BOOM BOOM BOOM, upon the wooden doors.

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She hops up the stairs after him, not really less nervous than the other students, but somewhat less affected by it.

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The door creaks open, inward, apparently on its own, revealing a tall thin witch in emerald green, whose eyes scan across the gathered students.

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"Professor McGonagall," Hagrid says formally, standing up a bit straighter.

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"Mr. Hagrid," the woman replies.  "No problems?"

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"No ma'am," Hagrid says, shaking his head.

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"I'm glad.  I can take them from here."

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Hagrid nods, and enters through the wide double doors as she steps aside for him.

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