“Hello, nice to meet you! My name is Matthew Wickfield.” Matthew had vaguely guessed the identity of the girl in front of him. He extended his hand, offering a handshake.
“Hermione, Hermione Granger!” She took the offer and shook his hand.
They carried their luggage and then entered the train.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? I mean, we didn’t know of anything about the existence of the world filled with magic before, yet here we are!” Hermione said, “When the prefect came and introduced Hogwarts to me, I was amazed! There must be many things we are not familiar with yet in this world.” She adds.
“Yes! How amazing could it be, huh?” Matthew replied.
When he talked with Hermione, he didn’t even think about the book anymore.
“What saddens me is, if I go to Hogwarts, it means I will be away from my parents for seven years. To be honest, it made me cry… I hope my parents won’t worry that much about me when I’m in Hogwarts.” Hermione said, “Of course, remembering those are sad… but I have moved on. How can I be the best witch in the future if I keep crying over it? I’ve read all the textbooks while still in the Leaky Cauldron.” She continues talking to Matthew, with her tone changing each time the topic she talks about changes.
Matthew found this cute, but suddenly he was hit with a realization. He remembered his parents in this world.
He might only have been in contact with them for less than three months, but he feels there might be more to it lingering deep inside his heart. He never once thought about them while he was at Leaky Cauldrons.
“Am I too cold? Am I emotionless?” He asked himself.
This is not right, he thought. Even if he tries to remember their faces and names, he can’t come up with anything inside his head. He only remembers something vague about a British couple; he can’t even recall their faces and how they look…
There is also the home he stayed at in Northampton for three months; he can’t remember anything about it besides the lawn that he loves to lie on.
“Wickfield?” Hermione sounded somewhat dissatisfied when he called Matthew, “Are you listening?”
“Ah… sorry, I was just a little lost in my thoughts.” Matthew apologized.
“Ah, I see; anyway, do you know anything about which house you will be assigned to at Hogwarts? I have inquired about it; I hope I get assigned to Ravenclaw. The Minister of Magic, Minister Millicent Bagnold, graduated from there. People say she is the best minister of the century. Of course, Hufflepuff is not that bad either, but I think if I got assigned to Gryffindor, I might just drop out. What do you think?” Hermione asked Matthew.
“…” Matthew didn’t know how to reply to her, so he just nodded.
Fortunately, they found an empty box after all that. Matthew helped Hermione with her luggage while getting inside.
“This train is really spacious!” After organizing the luggage, Hermione looked around and said, “Compared to the train from our world, it is hard to imagine such a train would have this kind of space.”
Then she gently put the cat in her arms on the ground, “Well, Crookshanks, you can freely move around.”
The big cat rushed straight to Matthew’s suitcase as soon he left Hermione’s arms. His target is the toad inside the bag outside the suitcase. He sniffed it roughly, then realized the frog was not something to be eaten.
The toad croaked in return.
“Is that toad your pet?” Hermione asked.
“Yes! I think they are cute.” Matthew replied.
“Well, you got a unique taste…” Hermione glanced at the toad, then looked away, “I never considered buying a toad in the first place. At first, I wanted to buy an owl, but I saw Crookshanks… He is so beautiful, the witch said he had stayed there for a long time. No one wanted him; how pitiful….” Hermione said while looking at Crookshanks with a sad expression.
Matthew looked at the cat; he could never associate the cat with the word beautiful… “Your taste is also very unique!” He thought to himself.
Then the door to their box slides open, and a boy stands there.
He pointed to the seat next to Hermione, “Is that seat taken?”
“No.” Hermione said while shaking her head and then making some space for the boy.
“Thank you!” The boy replied.
Matthew glanced at the boy, who was around the same age as him and Hermione. He got a slightly round face, he was tall, and he was thin. He was dressed neatly in his robe and looked quite handsome.
“Are you also first-year students at Hogwarts?” The boy asked while organizing his luggage, a suitcase, and a cage with a snowy owl inside it.
“Yes.” Matthew and Hermione said in unison.
“Wow! What a coincidence!” The boy smiled, “My name is Neville Longbottom; I’m also a freshman at Hogwarts.”
“Neville Longbottom…” Matthew said unconsciously.
It’s hard for Matthew to associate the boy in front of him with how he remembers Neville previously as a timid and forgetful man.
“Have you ever heard of my name?” Neville asked Matthew.
“Sorry, it’s just I’ve heard of the Longbottom surname before.” Matthew explained, “My name is Matthew Wickfield.”
“And my name is Hermione Granger!” Hermione adds.
Neville stood up and shook both of their hands.
“Are you from a family of wizards?” Hermione asked curiously at Neville.
“Yes, our whole family are wizards.” Neville smiled
The way he smiled resembled how Matthew remembered Neville from his previous life.
“May I know their name and jobs?” Hermione asked enthusiastically.
“My parents are both Auror who works for the Ministry of Magic. They are both great wizards!” Neville said proudly.
“That’s awesome!” Hermione then continues to explain what an Auror is to Matthew, “An Auror is the equivalent of an elite policeman in the Muggle world.”
“Are all of your family members graduated from Ravenclaw?” She asked.
“No…” Neville shakes his head, “Our whole family graduated from Gryffindor.
The smile on Hermione’s face was gone; she glanced at Neville for a while before keeping some distance from him.
After that, the box they are at suddenly just becomes quiet.
Matthew smiled and asked Neville, “Neville, may I ask of Ms. Augusta Longbottom? How is she related to you? I seem to have heard her name somewhere.”
“That’s my grandmother!” Neville replied. Then he hesitated for a while before he continued, “She died in the 1940s, not long after my father was born…”
“I’m very sorry for asking.” Matthew said while feeling uncomfortable.
“It’s nothing! Don’t mind it.” Neville replied while smiling.
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