The train station bustled with people heading to work or off on their own adventures. The trains themselves puffed steam from their chimneys, either beginning to pull out of the station, or waiting for the conductor. Conan stood off to the side, his baggage clutched in his tiny hands as he stared up at the platform numbers, eyebrows scrunched up as he reread the number.
“Platform 9 and 10….but where’s 9 ¾?” Conan muttered.
Perhaps he just couldn’t see the platform number because of his height? If only his parents hadn’t left so quickly… He thought back to the crowd of fans and editors alike chasing after his parents the second they got into the station.
“Have fun Co-chan!” Yukiko had cheered from behind the crowd, tiptoeing to wave above the crowd. Conan had heard his father yell something as well, but the outcries from the editors were too loud for him to hear.
He scratched his head, a tiny, lopsided grin on his face. They might not be around much, but they were still his parents. He would always miss their antics.
“Hello boy, are you lost?”
Conan looked up and faced a tall man. By the looks of it, he was probably a security guard. His bushy mustache wiggled as he talked and his hairy brows furrowed, yet his eyes were gentle and looked at Conan almost kindly.
“Mm! Um, I can’t find Platform 9 ¾?”
The man frowned.
“Platform 9 ¾? No such thing here, are you sure you aren’t lost?”
Oh, right. Muggles.
His eyes darted through the crowd, face beginning to sweat at the predicament he’d landed himself in, and then he saw the boy with broken glasses and-- is that an owl?
“N-no nevermind, I found my friend.” Conan threw on a quick, shaky smile before he darted off towards the boy, ignoring the man’s attempts to continue the conversation.
The closer he got to the boy though, he noticed the ancy way his head swiveled around, thin form hunched in itself as his grip on the cart he held tightened, knuckles bonewhite. The way his clothes seemed to sag against his bony body, and how thin his wrists were. The most peculiar thing about him though, was the lightning scar on his forehead.
The boy practically jumped out of his skin as he let out a yelp. His wide, green eyes seemed to shake as they finally landed on him. Conan tilted his head and blinked. Did Conan startle him that much or was he really out of it?
“Um, what did you say?”
“Oh, sorry, just a habit.” Conan said, “Are you going to Platform 9 ¾ too?”
He didn’t think it was possible, but the boy’s eyes widened even further. “Y-you’re a wizard too?”
“I guess,” he mentally rolled his eyes before continuing, “Do you know how to get to the platform?”
The boy bit his lip and shook his head. Conan sighed and ran a hand through his fringe. What now?
Then, his head snapped up. Conan tilted his head as the boy motioned for him to follow as he weaved through the crowd. Despite the boy going first, Conan managed to get himself beside the front of the cart, since he only had to carry his large suitcase (thank god it had wheels).
And then he saw them.
A family with fiery red hair, as if they had dyed it. But no, it wasn't their hair that caught his attention, it was the owl in their cart, with luggage similar to the boy beside him. So that’s what caught his attention, Conan’s eyes drew towards the boy, who’s attention was focused on the large family, green eyes unwavering.“...you’re not old enough Ginny, now be quiet.” The plump woman scolded the only girl in the group, who in turn crossed her arms and huffed. His attention turned towards the elder boys, who he assumed would probably be the ones who were heading to Hogwarts. How were they going to get to Platform 9 ¾ when it didn’t exist--
Conan watched, eyes large as small dinner plates, as what seemed to be the eldest of the children held his chin high and marched into the goddamn wall.
Perhaps he saw it wrong. After all, he was a foot shorter than the boy, not to mention passengers at that time had decided to swarm this particular area. So what if he saw through a gap between legs? It wasn’t as if--
Another red-haired boy jumped into the wall and disappeared, shortly followed by his twin. Conan let a slow breathe out of his nose. Right, magic. Although, he still wondered to himself. What if it was a hologram? Perhaps a trick of light? A magic trick?
The crowd thinned and he could once again see the mother. It seemed like the fourth boy had gone in while the crowd moved, and now there was only one left. The boy beside him decided that it was time to go, as he shuffled over to the woman, just before she could guide her last son into the nonexistent wall. Conan was still salty about that.
“Um, excuse me.” The boy said.
“Hello dear,” the plump woman’s eyes drifted towards his cart, then seemed to look the boy up and down before offering him a warm smile, “First time at Hogwarts? Ron’s new too.”
Conan looked up at the gangly boy. If he thought Harry was tall, then this boy must be a giant (he refused to admit it was because he was short).
“The thing is-- we don’t know how to, how to-- “
“Get on the platform?” The woman said, but paused. “Wait, we?”
Her gaze found Conan’s own, and she frowned. “You must be mistaken dear, only eleven year olds and up go to Hogwarts.”
“Um, I am eleven.” Conan said, his small face set in a small frown, verging on a pout.
The woman startled, her face set into a small frown as she took in his tiny stature.
“Deary, are you sure?”
What a pain, this is the third time this has happened. He was this close to just strapping a sign on himself screaming “Eleven Year Old! Stop Asking”. The woman dropped it and instead gave him a soft pat on the head, as if she were reprimanding a child.
“Very sorry dear. Anyways, all you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms 9 and 10. Don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it, that’s very important. Best do it at a run if you’re nervous.”
The woman motioned her hand towards the barrier and smiled at Conan. He frowned, not sure why he was going first but might as well. He didn’t want the actual children to get hurt, in case the “magic” was faulty.
Conan took in a deep breath, held his suitcase in front of him, and practically sprang at the wall, his little feet sprinting as fast as he could. His eyes had shut at some point, waiting for the crash against hard brick and for a bruise to form on his body--
However, nothing came. He was only five feet from the wall, it should’ve stopped him ten seconds ago. His eyes flew open, and was greeted with a bustling platform. There were parents sending their children off onto the train, or saying their last farewells. Adults talked and gossiped, forming theories of what would happen to their children or how they would do in their classes. Conan took note of the abundant amount of cats, who were either cuddling up to the humans or were off to the side. One cat in particular had decided to lounge on a girl’s luggage, hungry eyes slitted as they stared at a small owl in the cage beside it. If he didn’t know any better, he thought the owl might have been frantically trying to get his owner’s attention before all that was left of him was bones and feathers.
A quiet gasp came from behind and he turned back towards the wall. The boy from before, with the broken glasses, had gotten past the barrier (probably just now) and was staring up at the sign that read "Hogwarts’ Express, 11 o’ clock" along with an iron arch behind them, where they had come from with "Platform 9 ¾" etched into it. The boy seemed to drink in everything he saw, continuously mesmerized by the steam train, painted a bright red. Not an obnoxious red, but one that seemed to come from those American Christmas movies. The steam from the engine wafted through the air. It smelled of charcoal, and yet there was something masking the scent, like a barrier.
Conan tugged at the boy’s pant leg. His gaze snapped from a woman talking to her grandson from a window back to Conan, as if he just realized he didn’t come alone.
“We should get on the train before there’s nowhere to sit,” He said.
“Oh, right.” Harry jerked his head, as if he were trying to nod but something held his head, trying to stop the movement.
The two made their way across the platform. It seemed like he was right, most of the compartments had already started to fill, some full to the brim. Conan knew firsthand how much trouble children could be, and how loud they were. (He was friends with the Detective Boys after all.) But the children here seemed so much...louder. There was one compartment where a couple of girls talked loudly and laughed, something about a boy and a recent beauty spell for a crooked nose. He’d rather live with Sonoko than be in that cart. A few carriages down there was a group of first years crying for their parents, while two other older children covered their red faces.
Fortunately, they found an empty room near the end of the train. The boy started to put his owl into the window, and Conan climbed onto the train. One problem though. He couldn’t get his baggage onto the train steps. There was no ramp for him to drag it up, and there was no way he was going to be able to lift it up higher than two inches. It seemed like the boy was also having trouble, Conan frowned as at that moment the boy dropped the cart onto his toe, again.
“You two want a hand?” It was one of the red-haired twins from earlier.
“Yes please,” they both said, the boy panting through labored breaths.
“Oi Fred, c’mere and help.” The twin yelled to the side.
With their help, their luggage was hefted into the carriage and into their respective compartments. Conan had just pushed his own suitcase beneath the seat when he heard one of the twins say, “What’s that?”
He stood up and looked close at where the twin was pointing. The lightning bolt. It was normal for them to be surprised, but he thought their reactions were a bit...much. They seemed speechless, mouths agape like fish out of water.
“Blimey, are you--?”
“--Harry Potter?” The twins finished each other’s sentences.
The boy stared. “Yes I’m him-- I mean, I am.”
If it was possible their jaws would’ve dropped to the ground, one of the twins pointed a finger at him as they looked at each other, astounded.
The boy-- er, Harry-- seemed to go red the longer they stood there, in deafening silence, until they were called away by their mother. Conan watched them go, a little frown on his chubby face.
Harry sat down at a window seat, his arms crossed as he watched the red-haired family continue to speak with each other.
“Are you a celebrity?” Conan asked and sat down in front of him.
Harry shrugged. “Yeah, I guess. Hagrid says it’s because I survived the killing curse or something.”
Oh, he’s someone who works at the school. Helped me get familiar with magic.”
Conan hummed in thought. “A teacher from Hogwarts came to help me as well. He said something about me being a “good Ravenclaw”. I’m not sure what he meant by that though.”
Then, there was a loud whistle and the train had begun to move. Both Harry and Conan looked out the window, watching the platform go by as they began to build up speed, but neither of them had someone to wave goodbye to.
“Where were your parents?” Conan turned back to Harry, who had stiffened at the question.
“I don’t have any.” He mumbled, his hands gripped at the cushions of his seat.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Conan muttered, before he could stop himself he continued, “How did they die?”
Harry’s lips pressed into a thin line, gaze determined to burn the carriage floor. “Voldemort killed them.”
His eyebrows furrowed, but Conan thought it was a bit much to ask anymore questions. He’ll have time to figure that out later.
They sat together for a bit, until there was a knock at the carriage entrance.
Ron, the youngest red-haired boy, stood with his limbs tangled together.
“Mind if I sit here? Everywhere else is full.” He said.
“Oh, that’s fine.” Conan gestured for him to take a seat.
He sat down beside Conan, but his eyes had kept darting towards Harry.
Their compartment door then slid open again. The twins’ heads popped in as they grinned wide.
“Hey Ron, Lee’s got a giant tarantula down the middle of the train. We’re gonna head there.”
“Right,” mumbled Ron.
“Oh, right, Harry and uh…” The first twin trailed off as they looked at Conan.
“Edo-- Conan-- Conan Edogawa.”
“Right, Fred and George Weasley. And that one’s Ron. Alright, see you later.” And they left, sliding the compartment door back closed as they did.
“So you’re actually Harry Potter?” Ron blurted out.
Conan raised an eyebrow. “What’s so special about Harry Potter?”
“How could you not know who bloody Harry Potter is? He’s the Boy Who Lived, that's what he is! The only person to ever survive the killing curse.”
Harry’s face grew redder with each word Ron spouted.
“So the killing curse is usually potent?” Conan asked.
“The killing curse always works.” Ron harrumphed.
So that’s why everyone scrambled around the name and mark. Conan stared at Harry's scar, who shifted under his gaze. He quickly looked away.
The three stayed in silence for a few moments, neither of them sure what to do. Conan leaned against the glass, his thoughts drifted to the Detective Boys. Conversation had flowed so easily with the children, he wondered what they were doing now? Perhaps Genta was hungry for eel again, and Mitsuhiko was probably either scolding Genta or looking for a new mystery. The young boy was always so curious and bright. Ayumi most likely had made a new friend at this point, or was trying to drag Haibara into playing soccer with the three in Conan’s place.
“So, you’re a muggle?”
Conan’s head swiveled back to the children, who’s eyes were on him.
“Oh, yeah I guess.” He said.
“Well don’t worry, I can teach you everything about the wizarding world,” Ron’s chest puffed out, “Just follow my lead and you’ll do fine at Hogwarts.”
Both Harry and Conan locked gazes before bursting into laughter (Conan just chuckled).
“Hey I’m being serious here!”
The three ended up talking about Ron’s family (five brothers was quite extensive, not to mention a younger sister) and more about Harry. He felt bad for these children. Ron’s family seemed to be struggling financially while Harry had most likely been abused, or at least neglected. The way he talked about never being able to properly celebrate his birthday or unable to own new clothes spoke volumes. Conan never remembered his birthday either and never cared to celebrate, but perhaps he should start being more grateful to Ran for always remembering.
At some point they had grown quiet, just enjoying the silence of company as they all watched the city fade away and the countryside grow. The greenery in the UK was mostly pastures, and there was more livestock here then in Japan, less forestry.
Loud clattering outside the compartment door alerted Conan, and he jumped out of his seat, startling the other two (Ron had been playing with his rat, Scabbers while Harry was content with just staring out the window). He slid back the compartment door, just as a woman held out her own hand, as if to open it herself. The woman blinked owlishly at him, but regained face and smiled at him.
“Anything off the cart, dearies?” She motioned to said cart beside her.
Conan walked into the corridor, and saw mounds and mounds of organized, strange treats. There were things called "Every Flavor Beans" and "Drooble’s Best Blowing Gums", not to mention chocolate frogs (his mind wandered to the children at Diagon Alley).
“Wow, which ones are you getting, Conan?” At some point, Harry had stood behind him and was also gaping at the strange treats.
He decided just on a Pumpkin Pasty, Fizzing Whizzbees, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. Conan paid the woman three silver sickles before going back inside and sitting down. He frowned when Ron had looked down at his lap and just stared at a lumpy package.
What’s that?” Harry asked as he sat down, spilling the pile of candy he bought beside him.
“Mum packed me lunch,” he shrugged before unwrapping it to reveal four sandwiches and picking one apart, “She always forgets I don’t like corned beef…”
Harry and Ron proceeded to throw the sandwiches aside (Conan wrapped them back up and tucked it beside him) and bulldozed their way through Harry’s treats. Conan merely watched, chewing on his pasty every now and then as he let the boys talk about which treat tasted best or what chocolate frogs were.
It took a while before their carriage window went from fields and pastures to forestry and trees. Conan wondered whether they’d allow camping in the forestry, perhaps there was something in magic that dealt with herbs or plants? Over the summer he had read over some of the textbooks, although he had yet to finish "The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection".
Ron had been (poorly) attempting to turn Scabbers yellow when a knock came on the door. A round-faced boy stumbled in, a bushy haired girl following.
“Have you two seen Neville’s toad at all?” The girl said. It reminded Conan of Sonoko, except this girl had more elegance than the other.
“No, we haven’t.” Harry said, but the girl seemed to zone in on the wand Ron held.
“Oh, are you practicing magic?” The girl sat herself down beside Harry (what happened to looking for the toad?), intent on butting in, “Let’s see it then. Go on.”
Ron looked nervously at Conan, who just gave him a reassuring pat on the back, before he uttered out, “Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow. Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.”
As Conan expected, nothing happened.
“Are you sure that’s a real spell? Well, it’s not very good, is it?” The girl said with a pleased smile. “Nobody in my family’s magic at all so it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter. I’ve learned all my books by heart, of course, I just hope it’ll be enough. Oh, I’m Hermione Granger, by the way. Who are you?”
Conan’s head spun as he listened to her rant. And he thought he was bad when he solved a case.
He heard the girl take a quick, deep breath in, and he decided that perhaps he should help Neville, the round-faced boy.
“I’m going to go help Neville, I’ll see you guys later.” Conan said as he slipped off his seat. The girl’s eyes furrowed and turned to Neville, who only gave her a nod. Her eyes seemed to shine as she began to bombard Harry with questions.
The last thing he saw before he left the compartment was the boys’ betrayed faces as the door slid closed.
“So, Neville was it?” The boy nodded. “Where’d you last see your toad?”
“W-well, when I first got onto the train.” He said.
Conan rubbed his chin in thought. “It’s possible you could have left him at the train station. Can you take me to your compartment?”
Neville shuffled his feet, but led the way. They went through the compartments in mostly silence, besides the occasional loud chattering from students in their own rooms and the rumbling of the engine. Conan kept his eye out for any signs of a toad, any neutral colors on the gaudy carpets or slight movements beneath benches.
Then, a compartment door swung open with a slam. Neville jumped backwards, only to tumble into Conan which ended up with both of them on the floor. Conan rubbed at his head, sending the sheepish boy a deep frown.
“Well if it isn’t the mudblood.”
There stood the boy from the Madam Malkin’s, except this time there were two other boys flanking his sides. They reminded him of those grunts from those American cartoons, with their large exterior and ignorant faces.
“Malfoy-san?” Conan said, before standing and helping Neville up onto his shaking legs.
"And is that loon of a woman of yours here as well?" Draco said, all high and mighty. Conan could hardly believe this was the boy who begged for mercy when his mother forcefully glomped him into an embrace, which was only released because she was making a scene, again. Perhaps his confidence came from his two bodyguards? Most likely, but despite Conan's stature compared to them, his watch and sneakers would come in handy in a 3v1 (He didn't trust Neville not too faint at the sight of a fist.)
"Ah, my aunt was dragged away from her fans and husband's hunters." Conan stated with a shrug.
The four wizard children gave him a blank stare. He could see the way Draco was twisting the story in his head (Strange child.) while Neville looked as if, for lack of better words, a cat had caught his tongue.
"H-hunters?" Neville dared to ask. Conan was slightly impressed that he just didn't speak at all throughout this ordeal.
Draco’s eyes snapped towards Neville, who only withered under his gaze.
“Longbottom, thought you’d be associating with mudbloods throughout the year, but I guess I thought too high of you.” Draco sneered, before splitting into a smug grin, “Wouldn’t want you ending up like your parents, would we?”
Neville seemed like he was about to burst, tears already building up in his eyes as his hands clenched at his robes.
“Hey, leave him alone.” Conan said, his hand on Neville’s back as he stood between the two. He narrowed his eyes at the blonde.
He didn’t know what happened to Neville’s parents, but the way he reacted said nothing good. From the way Neville flinched and shook like a newborn doe, it didn’t sound like they were dead, but if they were and Malfoy was just rubbing it in his face….
“And what are you going to do about it?” The two boys at Draco’s side crossed their arms, “You going to fight us?”
“No,” Conan said, his face darkened, “But insulting someone for what happened to someone’s family is low. Their life might not be yours, but that doesn’t mean you should be using their hardships as something against them.”
“You can’t tell me what to do.” Draco stepped closer to him, their height difference painfully apparent, “You’re just a mudblood, and I’m a Malfoy.”
Conan just shook his head.
“I’m not telling you what to do. If anything, I don’t care.”
His hand wrapped around Neville’s wrist and he led the trembling boy with him, past the brutes. He could feel their gazes burning into his back.
He stopped and turned around, ignoring the way Malfoy flinched.
“You might be a Malfoy, but you’re just like the rest of us. Human.”
And with that, Conan and Neville continued down the hallway.