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We're finally where we want to be, Hogwarts. Sorry it's been so long, I got caught up in swim team two-a-days and then the break closure. Hope you enjoy my ramblings. And as always I'll own the genius that is Harry Potter when Voldy grows a nose.

That morning the Burrow was in total and complete chaos. It was actually rather amusing. It seemed none of the Weasleys really got the concept of planning ahead, but I wasn't all annoyed, just more assured that wizards were really just like muggles, except for the magic of course. And so I just chatted with Ginny as Mrs. Weasley chased her sons around the house asking if they has everything. Soon enough though everyone was ready and all of us piled into a Ford Angela, that definitely should not have fit the eight of us and all of the luggage that had been shoved in the back, but somehow we all fit comfortably. I attributed it to magic, and my excitement grew as I thought about what all it could do and how I would soon be learning how to do those things.

We arrived at King's Cross Station at quarter till eleven. As we hurried through the crowded station searching out platform 9 3/4 (could there really be such a thing?) I heard Mrs. Weasley complain about how the platforms were just full of muggles.

It was then that a boy with ebony black hair and emerald green eyes walked up and asked, "Excuse me? But could you...um...tell me how to get onto the platform?" His eyes flashed down in a slightly embarrassed manner. I was struck with the feeling that I knew him, it was those eyes and the messy hair that I could tell wasn't purposeful but simply wouldn't stay flat, they just seemed so familiar to me. But I had no time left to ponder that as Mrs. Weasley quickly answered the boy and herded us through a brick wall. The boy, Harry, and I looked at each other a moment before shutting our eyes tight, and continuing forward. We expected to slam into a wall, but when we still hadn't hit anything and opened our eyes, we found ourselves standing on a platform labeled 9 3/4. There were people everywhere in all manners of odd dress, and an old-fashioned scarlet steam engine entitled the Hogwarts Express. As Mrs. Weasley hugged her children and Harry lugged his trunk towards the train (I really didn't get wizards they seemed to have no common sense, that morning I had seen Mr. Weasley lugging trunks around, but I had put a simple charm I had found in one of my texts on mine, making it feather-light and easy to carry),  I took a moment to stare in awe at the small part of my new world I was seeing.

It was then that I caught sight of a slightly chubby boy searching frantically around the ground for something, and then I heard him call out, "Trevor! Where are you? Oh, how can a toad have gotten so far?" Looking around I spotted a toad underneath a group of luggage carts. I quickly walked over and scooped him up, and when I turned to look  for the boy  I saw him looking downcast being chewed out by a woman who appeared to be his grandmother.

Knowing the train would be pulling out soon I quickly squeezed through the crowd of parents and said, "Excuse me, but is this your toad?"

He looked up in confusion, probably at my accent, before exclaiming, "Trevor!" His grandmother gave him a small shove and he said, "What? Oh...Thank you so much I'm Neville Longbottom." He quickly added hopefully, "Is this your first year at Hogwarts too?" He finished hopefully.

 I smiled warmly and said, "Yep! I'm a first year as well, I'm Ashley McDonald,"

He looked at me with a mixture of awe and confusion on his face before asking, "Are you American?"

I replied somewhat cautiously, "Yes, is that a problem?"

He shook his head as he said, "Nope. Totally wicked actually."

A smile spread across my face from both happiness and amusement and I asked, "Would you like to sit with me on the train?" A smile big enough to match mine appeared on his face as he nodded. I turned my head as I heard the train's breaks hiss, and Neville's grandmother quickly hurried us and our luggage aboard. We stood waving goodbye as the train pulled out of the station and then turned to begin the search for a...um...a...oh yes, a compartment.

We had no luck finding an empty one, but as we searched I spotted Harry and Ron, and waved eagerly to them. Ron's was less than enthusiastic still slightly put out by beating him at chess the night before, but Harry waved kindly back at me.

Near the end of the train we found a compartment that appeared empty, but when we opened it there was a girl with brown, frizzy hair with her nose buried in a book. She looked up at the squeak of the door and seeing Neville was completely befuddled by what to say I asked, "Do you mind if we join you in here?"

She smiled and said, "Not at all."  As soon as we sat down the girl held out her hand saying, "Hello, I'm Hermione Granger."

I reached out and shook her hand saying, "I'm Ashley McDonald," and nudging Neville slightly who looked at me slightly puzzled I continued, "and this is Neville Longbottom."

As Neville blushed in embarrassment they shook hands and Hermione said, "Pleasure to meet you." Then tucking her book into her bag she asked, "You don't sound British, where are you from?"

Far less cautious than I had been, figuring that I was sure to meet some people who would hate me solely for my nationality, I threw all caution to the wind and said, "I'm from the States." Thankfully it seemed Hermione was quite alright with that and we continued our journey north.

During the next few hours Neville and a girl, Susan Bones, who had joined us in the car told Hermione and me all about Hogwarts and other varying topics in relation to the wizarding world. And eventually the topic landed on what house we hoped we would be sorted into that night. Susan said that she liked all of the houses except for Slytherin of course, but was fairly certain that she would be a Hufflepuff.

Neville said sadly, "I'll be lucky to get into any house, my whole family thought I was a squib for years."

Which I quickly threw out saying, "Any house would be lucky to have you Neville, I'm sure you'll do splendidly wherever they place you."

To which his downcast eyes turned up and he smiled nervously asking, "You really think so?" I smiled brightly and nodded, I would really have to work on his self-confidence.

Then all eyes turned to Hermione as she began, "Well, it seems to me that Gryffindor is the best, but Ravenclaw sounds good too." Neville and Susan made sounds of approval, and I smiled slightly but not as warmly as those who knew me well would have expected. This was simply because...well...I wasn't too fond of Hermione. And I know this sounds hypocritical, but I found her to be a bit of a know-it-all. I mean I was rather smart but I didn't enjoy flaunting my intelligence as she did. I found that if you thought yourself smarter than others it created only disdain and a certain hatred towards the ideas of others. But my internal ramblings were cut short as all eyes turned towards me, silently asking my opinion on the matter.

Quickly gathering my thoughts saying, "Well I'm sure any of the houses would be lovely."

They all just stared at me for a few moments before Susan said, "And I'm sure you will give any of the houses hell." I smiled brightly and gave her a slight motion of thanks, because the way they all had been staring at me you would have thought I'd told them that Hitler was the greatest thing since peanut butter.

I was saved further when an older, grandmotherly looking woman opened the door and asked, "Anything from the trolley dears?" ***

I quickly leaned close to Neville and asked, "Why on Earth is there a trolley on a train, and how on Earth did they fit it?"

He looked at me in complete confusion for a moment before he started chuckling and said, "The lunch trolley Ashley," pointing towards the cart piled with candies.

I blushed a deep shade of red saying, "Oh.." (I had been thinking the kind of trolleys one found in say San Francisco, that people rode on) which resulted in a fit of giggles from Susan and Neville.

After we had all eaten a fair share of sweets, Neville's smile vanished as he searched his pockets saying, "Oh no, I've lost Trevor again." So we quickly split up and searched the train for a toad named Trevor. About a half hour later I returned to the car seeing Susan comforting a clearly distraught Neville. But the atmosphere in the car quickly changed as I entered handing Neville his toad, once again that day.

About an hour after night had fallen we pulled into a quiet train station, all dressed in the black robes of Hogwarts. I started to pull done my bag from the rack above the seats, but paused when a bodiless voice informed us to leave our luggage on the train and that the school would bring it up. I pushed my bag back to its resting place, but not before pulling my wand out and tucking it inside my robes. The four of us stepped out of the train car and down onto the platform into a chaotic rush of excited students. We each pondered which way we ought to go, but turned when we heard someone calling for first years and headed that-a-ways. We emerged into a group of jittery students who I assumed were other first years. I stood stunned a moment looking up at the largest man I had ever seen, but right then Harry and Ron walked up. Harry easily and happily greeted the the large man, before turning to greet me. So i quickly disregarded my surprise and introduced Ron and Harry to Neville, Susan, and Hermione, but based on the slight looks of disdain on Ron and Hermione's faces it was rather obvious they had already met, and it wasn't the most pleasant of meetings.

We were quickly herded into a fleet of small boats, and as soon as everyone was seated they began across a lake with a shining, obsidian surface. And off in the distance were the shining lights, and tall turrets of what I  could only assume to be Hogwarts castle.

***Direct Quote from Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone J.K. Rowling

There we go Ashley has finally arrived at Hogwarts. Now the only question is what house will she call her own. Please review.
 

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