Makoto Naegi stared at the ginormous train towering over his head. Waves of panic started to fill his body. He turned around to get support from his family, only to remember that he was there alone. Actually, a strange man had accompanied him to the train station. He claimed he worked at what would be Naegi's new school and that he would take him to the train station. Only when he and Naegi arrived, the man vanished leaving Naegi alone and terrified.
He fingered the acceptance note in his pocket. The paper read,
"Dear Makoto Naegi,
We are delighted to inform you of your acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Usually children develop their magical abilities at the age of ten years, but it seems that your skills blossomed at fifteen. On September first we invite you to study with us at our beloved school. Attached to this letter is a package containing materials which we have covered for the past couple of years. A tutor will be sent over to catch you up."
The letter then went on to name all of the materials he needed for the upcoming school year. Naegi was basically sent into lockdown this summer, choking down knowledge so he wouldn't be a too behind. Somehow, he managed to grasp all the materials from years one through four and would be able to join all of the other fifteen year olds in their fifth year.
Children all around him were starting to file onto the train. He was pushed and shoved and cursed at while he just stood there, gaping. After a minute or two of staring, he mechanically hoisted his stuff up and began to walk towards the train. Everyone else seems so confident, he thought. And look at me, I'm a nervous wreck just getting on the train to go to school. He realized how ridiculous he was being, and shoved the feeling of despair down deep inside his body. I just have to look at the positives.
Once he threw his stuff into a designated area filled with all the other student's personal belongings, he stepped onto the train with a light, timid step. His hands started to tremble as he walked down the aisle of compartments to sit in. Suddenly, he felt as if he was suffocating. The walls were too close and every face was unfamiliar and menacing. He looked, somewhat desperately, for a compartment that was unoccupied. But, almost every single one was filled with at least one body. If only I didn't wait outside for too long because I was scared.
Finally, as he started to reach the back of the train, he spotted an empty space. He celebrated silently in his mind, thanking gods or fate or whatever for giving him this opportunity. He almost dove into it to secure his spot before anyone else could arrive to take it from him. He sat down on the plush, red velvet seat and let relief flood over his body. He set down a small carry-on bag, filled with materials he wanted by him at all times, next to him. He rummaged through it. Inside was his wand, a couple of books, a picture of his family, and a couple of pens and pencils because he wasn't sure how great he would be with a quill. He pulled out The Standard Book of Spells (Year 4) because he was still a bit shaky with all of the year 4 information.
He was buried in the book, moving his lips in an attempt to pronounce the spells correctly and waving his wand slightly to get the motion down. As he was studying intently, he barely even noticed the girl with blue hair approach the compartment.
"Um, excuse me," she said. Naegi didn't even flinch. "Excuse me!" she repeated a bit louder. Still, there was no reaction. "EXCUSE ME!" she basically screamed. Naegi shot up startled. "I'm so sorry to bother you but eve…" she stopped abruptly. "Makoto Naegi? Is that you?"
"Sayaka Maizono! I haven't seen you in such a long time! Well, I mean I've seen you, but not like this!" Sayaka used to go to school with him, until she turned ten and transferred schools. Then he only saw her on television when she went on summer tours or produced a new album. He couldn't have imagined that she was actually a witch, and that she would remember his name. "Wow, I can't believe I ran into you here of all places, and that you would remember my name."
Her face softened a bit. "Of course remember you. We went to school together for like five years or so."
"But, I mean, everything you've done since we stopped going to school together. I-I was positive that a superstar like you wouldn't remember me."
She looked hurt. "Why? Do you think I'm a terrible person who can't even remember her classmates? Do you think I'm so obsessed with fame that I couldn't remember names?" An apology danced on his lips and shame hit him like a truck. "Ha! I'm just kidding! I understand where you're coming from." She smiled and giggled at him. "Hey, do you think I can sit with you?"
"Yeah, no problem." She took the bench directly across from him. She squinted at him, like she was sizing him up. "S-so, uh."
"Oh, I don't mean to look at you funny, but I swear I haven't seen you at Hogwarts before. I'm not trying to be rude but…"
Naegi cut her off and explained his situation to her. The two of them then proceeded to catch up. Sayaka told stories of her career and her time at Hogwarts. Naegi talked about life at home and old friends. They caught up as the train lurched out of the station, and then throughout the rest of the ride. It seemed way too short to Naegi as the rain pulled up to the station in front of the school. He gazed out of the window at the school. Sayaka told him about its majestic nature, but that didn't even begin to explain it. His breath was taken right out of his lungs, and he probably wouldn't have gotten off of the train if Sayaka hadn't tapped his shoulder.
They both had forgotten to change into their robes. They pulled it on over their street clothes while they sprinted towards the place where the carriages would take them to Hogwarts. Through the chaos, Sayaka asked "So, what house are you in?"
"Oh, uh, the headmaster told me that he would sort me once I arrived. What house are you in?"
"Well, the hat said I could be in either Gryffindor or Slytherin, but I chose Gryffindor," she pointed at the crest on her robes. "I think it suited me." Naegi nodded knowingly. He held out his hand to help her into the carriage. As he grabbed her hand, it sent shivers up his spine. He became hyper aware of her hand on his. Something like disappointment stewed inside him when her fingers unclasped from his. He was about to follow her in, when a boy with spiky red hair cut him off and leaped in. The vehicle rocked wildly, like it was going to tip. "LEON!" Sayaka scolded.
"What?" the boy Leon asked, a sly grin pasted onto his face.
"You could have killed me!"
"No, I would never kill you."
"Whatever." Through her anger, Naegi could spy a playfulness in her voice. After she got tired of being angry at him, she smiled warmly. Naegi really needed to get into the carriages to get to school, he couldn't miss his first day of some magic school which he was already an outcast in. He tried to carefully step in the carriage, as to not ruin the moment between Sayaka and Leon, but he just slipped and fell into it, hard.
Leon burst into uncontrollable laughter. Tears even started to form at the corners of his eyes. Sayaka tried to suppress a smile while she asked if he was alright. He grunted unconvincingly. An equal mixture of embarrassment and pain shook him while he stood up and took a seat. He sat in between Sayaka and a beautiful, almost porcelain, Ravenclaw girl with purple hair. Across from them was Leon, a blond boy from Slytherin with a permanent scowl etched into his face, and another Ravenclaw girl who was a bit infatuated with blond boy.
The carriages pulled off and started their journey towards the school. Naegi's nervousness had returned. It almost swallowed him whole. He was starting a magic school with barely any friends and limited knowledge of the subjects he was to study. He would never be ready for this moment.