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The Alberry’s house was big, like a rambling ranch dressed as a cottage. They had a nice backyard full of fruit trees. But the best spot to play was the front yard.

 

The front yard had a tall tree with multiple important parts, including quite a few sitting places, swinging branches, and lookout spots, and this was where I found Katie the day after Hagrid’s visit.

 

“Arina!” she called. “Come on up!”

 

I tried to smile, wondering how she would feel when I told her the news. I couldn’t tell her which school I was going to, but I had to tell

her that I was changing schools.

 

Despite the fact that I thought Katie had written the Hogwarts letter, Katie Alberry was still my best friend. We played jokes like that all the time.

 

Once I was comfortably nestled in between some of my favorites branches, where I could relax and not have to worry about falling (not too much), I started.

 

“Katie, I have something to tell you.”

 

Katie looked at me and nodded, like she knew I had been about to say that. Best friends know these things sometimes.

 

“I’m changing schools.”

 

“Where to?”

 

“I- I forgot.” I hated lying to her, but what else could I do? I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

 

“What does the school specialize in?” There was an odd gleam in Katie's eyes.

“Just, er, school, you know.”

 

“Oh, nothing extra special?”

 

“Like what?”

 

“The arts, or medicine, or, even magic? I don't know." She said with a delicate laugh. She had hit the nail on the head, but I couldn’t tell her. She was playing her cards carefully, but I wasn’t sure why.

 

I pretended to laugh along with her. Katie’s laugh almost sounded fake too.

 

Suddenly, I thought I knew. No! Could it be? Was it true?

 

Katie’s eyes grew alight, and her long blond ponytail started swinging. “Oh, is it the one called Hogwarts or something? Or was it Wogharts? Warthog, that’s it!” Luckily, there was a school called Warthog school nearby. We had always laughed over it together. Lucky escape for her. But still...

 

Katie looked me straight in the eye. "Are you going to Hogwarts?" She didn't correct herself.

 

I nodded.

 

“My brother goes there too! When did you get the letter? Who came to talk to you? Dumbledore?” She squealed, dropping to the ground with a thump that made me wince and giggle at her agility.

 

“Yesterday! That’s where he went? No, a man named Hagrid! Oh, I’m so excited!” I exclaimed, answering all her questions, and climbing down sedately.

 

Wow. It was amazing. I was incredibly happy.

 

It was perfect. We would see each other much less often of course, but at least now we would know where each other were. I felt satisfied. Complete. Except-

 

“Did- did you get a letter?” I asked Katie. She shook her head. I felt awful. Here I was, imagining Hogwarts and learning magic, and everything, and she, she was being happy for me, even though she would have to return to normal school- Muggle school. That word sounded strange and unfamiliar in my thoughts.

 

"But never mind that, let's enjoy our time together while we can." Katie spoke cheerfully, but I knew deep down inside she was jealous, and admired her for her bravery.

 

I grinned and nodded. And enjoy it we did, with sleepover after sleepover, writing stories and songs, playing board games, and eating candy until dawn.

 

After that lovely month, I found myself on platform 9 and 3/4. Even I did not know how I got there.

 

Goodbye home.

 

Hello Hogwarts.


A/N: Okay, so I know that was an extreme coincidence, but I couldn't bear to separate them. In the books Harry didn't have Muggle friends, and maybe Hermione did not either. Or Muggle-borns just drifted away from their old friends, but I couldn't let that happen. This was just an extra chapter for fun. Now I'll get to the exciting part: Hogwarts!

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