She knew she couldn't just stand there any longer. From sleeping on the bench to the caged owl to the deep stare of confusion that was blanketing her face, she was beginning to attract attention. Deciding to test her theory and prove to herself that she was not actually going crazy, Effie took the handle of her cart and began to walk to Platform 10. Although she was trying to keep her eyes ahead of her and focus on reaching her destination, she couldn't help but notice that she was still receiving stares. When she walked by, people would glance at her and let their eyes linger for a second before looking away. With her mirror still in her hand she snapped it back open wondering if she possibly had drool on her face from sleeping. When she found nothing, a small resentment grew in the bottom of her stomach. These people were only paying her attention because she was pretty. She had always hated people who were only liked for their beauty, the reason why she hated Fleur when she first read the books. Hushing her internalized misogyny and reassuring herself that pretty people deserve respect, she tried to become distracted.
Not that she didn't enjoy being pretty. She loved it. But something in the back of her mind kept nagging at her and not letting her enjoy the stares.
They never would have stared at you before.
In an attempt to avoid being vain, Effie ignored the looks and convinced herself that they were staring past her. She'd hate to be one of those people who becomes beautiful and gets full of themselves. She continued to reassure herself internally that it is what's on the inside that matters.
Effie came to a stop at the end of Platform 9. She took a big gulp as she looked at the wall between Platforms 9 and 10. Remembering her books, she leaned her cart against the wall and leaned onto it as she pretended to be searching for something in her bag, still feeling the stares of a few boys around her age piercing into her back. A long moment stretched on and Effie began to feel alarmed.
What if I was wrong? What if it doesn't let me in and there is some wizard staring at me right now angry that I'm blocking the entrance? What if I'm still ordinary?
Her doubts faded away as another thought flew into her head.
What if I can't get in because they are still looking at me?
She found out the answer to her last thought soon enough when a loud crash a few paces down averted everyone's attention from her and the wall let her pass with no problems. Effie swerved her cart fast, barely avoiding the sprinting body of a little boy who had been too distracted chasing after a flying origami bird to see her coming. She strategically maneuvered her cart a few more times before finding steps to board the train.
Releasing an exaggerated puff of air, Effie hoisted her trunk onto the train and swiftly grasped her owl's cage before beginning to move down the aisle. As she passed compartments, she took a mental note that most of them were empty. A brief glimpse out the window to her left showed a large clock with the hour hand and the minute hand pointing at the six.
Jeez. No wonder the train is empty it's 6:30 in the morning.
She was about to curse herself for waking up that early but then remembered that if she hadn't waken up, she'd probably still be asleep on the bench in front of a station of strangers. She also realized that she could use her extra time to prepare herself for what's to come and figure out how she ended up where she was.
Newly appreciative of her boarding time, Effie slid into a small compartment towards the end of the train and laid her trunk on the seat in front of her to see its contents. Neatly packed into the trunk was three school robes, multiple sweaters in varying grays, five pairs of tights, four black thigh length skirts, an assortment of undergarments that Effie noted were slightly sexier than her usual ones (which wasn't a hard to accomplish feat as she shopped for undergarments at the same place as her grandmother), six pairs of gray and black knee high socks, two neutral colored jackets, and a longer black puffy coat. Along with her clothing was a large stack of books that she assumed she'd be needing for her classes, parchment, ink, quills, and a wand.
She carefully lifted the wand out of the trunk, delicately examining it in fear of breaking it. Effie was no wand expert, but what her inexperienced eyes could tell her was that the wand was light, around eleven inches, and made from some kind of dark oak. She fiddled with it for a moment before her excitement got the best of her and she decided she had to try it. After a moment of contemplation, Effie decided that a test spell that would do the least amount of damage would be Lumos. After all, how could the ministry expel her for just wanting to see? Making sure to be careful with her wand movement, she cast her spell.
Immediately the tip of her wand glowed brightly and lit up the compartment and the surrounding area. She was impressed but the light was starting to bother her eyes that had still just begun to adjust to being awake.
Very quickly she flicked her wand again. "Nox."
The light swiftly went out and Effie smiled proudly down at her wand. She closed her trunk and lifted it up into the storage area before sitting down and opening the cage of her owl. The brown owl blinked up at her expectantly before she lowered her forearm to its level and it stepped onto her. She brushed a finger over its side and smoothed its feathers while it made a grateful hoot.
"What's your name," she questioned the owl as if expecting it to respond to her.
The owl turned its head and tapped its beak on the side of the cage. Right under the spot where it tapped was a sign that read, Buffy. The owl then hooted and turned back to her almost impatiently.
"Buffy, huh?" She questioned again. "That's a very pretty name."
She reached into a small box attached to the cage filled with small brown pellets. Taking one between her fingers, Effie held it up to Buffy who accepted it gently before fluttering back into her cage and closing it behind her.
Effie released a small giggle that sounded surprisingly girlish. "Smart bird."
Suddenly remembering the books, she searched her small satchel and pockets for money of any kind. Coming up empty, she sunk down further into her seat with a huff, worried thoughts flowing through her head.
What can I do if I have no money? How will I afford Christmas presents or House themed clothes?
Suddenly she shot out of her seat and reached into her trunk. Skimming her hand across the bottom, she felt and grabbed onto a bunch of scattered coin shaped objects. Luckily enough for her, when she retracted her hand she found a small pile of galleons shining up at her. Filled with excitement she quickly scribbled a note of explanation on a piece of parchment and flung open the door to Buffy's cage.
"To Mom and Dad, okay? You know where they live?"
The bird looked up at her with confused eyes and gave a small head shake. Effie was about to give her home address to the owl when she was hit by a wave of realization.
"Buffy in this," she paused for a moment, "world, are my parents here?"
The bird gave another small head shake in confusion and rubbed its beak softly against her arm as though trying to comfort her. Effie lowered her head into the outstretched wing of her bird and began to sob.
She was more alone than she ever thought. She had finally gotten her dream, but at what cost?