The Sugar Quill
Author: PiperX (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Platform 6 at Baldwych  Chapter: Part One
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A/N: This story takes place the summer after GoF. I'm not going to rehash what happened during the school year. I'm certain we all remember it quite well.

Thank you to Zsenya for taking time out of her busy schedule to be the awesome beta reader that she is!

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

It's probably not physically possible to do what Harry does in this story, but lets not test it. Kids: do NOT try this at home.

 

Platform 6 At Baldwych

Part 1

As the train thundered through the underground tunnels beneath London, Dudley Dursley peered down the car at the blue-haired woman sitting by the door. He slowly raised a small tube to his lips. Hastily, he blew a puff of air, which projected a tiny, moist wad of paper straight into the mass of blue hair. Grinning maliciously, Dudley glanced quickly at his parents.

They hadn't noticed. They were too busy arguing.

"I don't know how people can stand to be in these things," Petunia Dursley was saying as she wrinkled her nose. "They're so loud and God only knows who sat here last."

"Now dear," said Vernon Dursley irritably, "We just have to make the best of it. It's only a ten minute train ride."

But Petunia remained tense, "I just don't see how a brand new car could suddenly not want to start. It's impossible. It's mighty suspicious if you ask me." Her angry eyes flashed to her nephew, Harry, who was sitting several seats back.

Harry stared back without saying a word.

Vernon sighed. "I told you dear, the problem was perfectly ... er, normal. The starter was bad. The car is hardly new. Why, we've had it for over two years..."

Petunia tutted, "What kind of car breaks down after two years? Why can't that company of yours buy you a decent car? Honestly, I don't know why you don't complain. I bet Mr. Johnson's company car doesn't break down after two years."

Vernon frowned. "It's a perfectly good car! What do you know about cars anyway?"

As the Dursleys continued to argue, Dudley tore off another small piece of the napkin hidden in his pocket and put it in his mouth. He looked over at the blue-haired woman who was quietly reading her book. Slowly, Dudley raised his hand, which concealed the straw, up to his lips. He blew a quick puff of air and watched as the spit wad flew through the air only to be swatted away by a rolled up newspaper held by his cousin, Harry.

Dudley glared. "Bugger off," he hissed.

"Make me," Harry hissed back.

Dudley narrowed his eyes at Harry, obviously trying to appear threatening. Harry raised his eyebrows, as if daring his cousin to make a move. Dudley thought for moment but decided against it.

"You're boring," he said and leaned back in his seat. He tossed the straw carelessly on the floor and looked around for something else to distract him.

His parents were still arguing.

"I don't know why we have to go all the way to London," Petunia said in a whiny voice.

"The letter said..."

"I asked Mrs. Pratchett... You know Mrs. Pratchett, she lives in that cute little mauve house with the lavender shutters on Evergreen Drive."

"Yes, yes..." Vernon said impatiently.

"Well, Mrs. Pratchett's boy is just a year younger than Dudley and she didn't get any letter like this."

"That doesn't mean anything, Petunia."

"Well, why didn't she get a letter telling her to come to London for some vaccine?"

"Maybe they're going alphabetically..." Vernon offered, although he didn't seem convinced of the explanation himself.

"They didn't even explain what this vaccine is."

"I'm sure they'll explain it all to us when we get there, dear. It was an official letter from the NHS."

"Well, I don't like it. It's downright-" Petunia fell silent as all the lights on the train flickered and went out. It seemed that all the electricity in the car had been cut off. It was suddenly very dark. The only light came from the emergency lights by the door.

The train lurched. It was not receiving the electrical energy it needed to run.

Vernon peered out the window. "What is this? A power outage?"

The train crawled along the tracks, and they could just make out flickering lights from a station ahead.

Petunia blinked. "That's not a working station. What do they think they're doing? They must have a load of incompetents driving this thing."

Indeed, the train was pulling up to a long-abandoned platform that was filled with old dusty boxes and bits of garbage. It looked like no one had been there in years.

But there were people there now. A dozen wizards in long cloaks and masks were spread throughout the station intently watching the train. There were several torches fastened to the support beams.

They were Death Eaters.

Espying the dark wizards, Harry dropped to the floor to keep from being seen through the window. Heart pounding madly, he fumbled in his pockets for his wand.

Dudley stared at him, utterly bewildered.

His annoyed aunt eyed the masked wizards in the station. "What is this?"

His Uncle looked from Harry to the masked wizards, who were now surrounding the train, and nervously muttered a few curse words.

The train creeped close to the entrance of the tunnel before it finally stopped.

Many confused Muggle voices could be heard coming from the other cars.

"Is there something wrong with the train?"

"Why are we stopping here?"

Harry frantically scanned the windows and doors. There was no way out; they were surrounded. He quickly crawled to the front corner of the car, pointed his wand to the floor and yelled, "Reducto!" Suddenly, the floor where Harry's wand was pointed began to disappear.

The blue-haired woman couldn't decide which scene was more exciting, the masked figures on the platform or the sudden appearance of a hole in the floor.

"What is going on?" Vernon demanded angrily.

But before Harry could answer, the air was penetrated by screams coming from the other cars.

The Dursleys instinctively slid close to each other.

"They're here to kill me," Harry said in a low voice, "and maybe you, too."

The Dursleys stared at Harry, too petrified to move. The screams were now laced with cries for help.

The Death Eaters were searching the cars.

Harry surveyed the sizable hole he had managed to make in the floor and slipped inside it.

He motioned to his family. "Follow me!"

They stared at him, unable to move.

"Let's go!" Harry said more urgently. "You don't want to be here when they come."

The Dursleys hesitated for a moment until Vernon looked towards the door. One of the wizards was coming towards their car.
"Let's go," Vernon whispered and all three Dursleys slipped to the floor and scrambled feet first into the hole Harry had made. Petunia easily slid through, followed by Vernon, and a panicked Dudley squeezed in close behind.

A voice directly outside the door shouted, "Alohomora!"

Dudley ducked his head into the opening just as the doors of the train car slid open.

One by one, they descended down the deep hole to the pit underneath the train between the cold steel rails. Harry was crawling towards the front of the train towards the darkness of the tunnel. Slowly but surely, Petunia, Vernon and Dudley creeped along behind him hoping they hadn't been spotted.

Hysterical crying and gruff voices could be heard from above.

They inched along the length of the driver's cab to the front of the train. Harry came to the edge first. He crawled up and out from under the train and, being careful to remain hidden in the shadows, stood up to survey the platform. He carefully peered around the corner. There were four Death Eaters standing on the platform, watching the exits. The others were obviously inside the cars, searching for him.

He leaned down to check on his family and came face to face with his Aunt Petunia. She was very pale and shaking as Harry helped her up. His Uncle Vernon, who wasn't looking much better than Petunia, was right behind her. Vernon got to his feet, being careful to remain well hidden in the shadows.

There was just Dudley left.

Harry crouched to see under the train. Dudley was only a few feet away but the front of the car was very close to the edge of the pit. Despite a rigorous diet the previous year, Dudley still weighed twice what he should. It would be a tight squeeze for him.

Unsuspecting passengers continued to scream and plead for help above them.

"Come on!" Harry hissed in a low voice.

Vernon knelt down next to Harry. "Come on, son. You can do it!"

Dudley struggled to squeeze out of the pit but only seemed to wedge himself in tighter.

"I can't..." he cried as his eyes filled with tears. "Don't leave me here!"

Harry's heart beat faster and he began to get angry.

Vernon coaxed his son gently. "You can do it, son."

Harry slipped back underneath the train next to Dudley, and grabbed him by the shirt in the most threatening manner he could muster. "You will do this, Dudley! You don't have a choice! Now get moving!" Harry started pushing him forward as Dudley strained to pull himself out from under the train.

The Death Eaters' low voices and the passengers' cries seemed closer than ever.

Harry and Dudley strained and pushed as inch by inch, Dudley got closer to being free.

Vernon continued to encourage his son. "You're almost there..."

Harry, however, was not nearly as patient. "Go!" he ordered Dudley.

Dudley sucked in his chest, strained every nerve and gave a great heave. Just as he rolled out from under the train, an excited voice cut through them, "He's under the train!"

All the blood drained from Harry's face. He yelled to his family, "Run!"

Vernon, Dudley and Petunia ran into the dark tunnel, with Harry following close behind. It seemed like no time until Harry felt the first curse whiz by his ear. The tunnel was dark but it was also very narrow. There was no way he could avoid being hit. "Go!" he yelled to his family. He turned around to shoot a spell behind him. "Impedimenta!"

The masked wizards who had now gathered at the entrance of the tunnel ducked to avoid Harry's spell. Harry quickly shot off another one. "Impedimenta!"

This time, it made contact. The wizard who had been hit stumbled and groaned. But Harry was still sorely outnumbered. Feeling his way along the wall, he ran deeper into the black tunnel as fast as he could without tripping. As he fled, he twisted and turned to dodge the curses that flew at him from behind. He turned to attempt a shielding spell but only had time to duck out of the way of an incoming curse. Unfortunately, in the process of dodging one curse, he rolled directly into the path of another. The stunner hit him square in the back. Harry fell forward and hit the concrete floor and knew nothing more.

 

A/N: Yup, I am an American and I have never even been to Europe much less seen the London Underground. Could you tell? The only experience I had to draw from in writing this story is my limited time in the New York City Subways. So I enlisted the help of some wonderful SugarQuillers. Big thanks goes to Matt Wooding and PJ Babington for providing essential information about the Tube and its inner workings. There is no Baldwych as far as I know. It's just a play on Aldwych, which seemed to be a good station to pick on. I also found some really nice websites devoted to the fascinating history of the Underground and all those creepy, abandoned stations. As a result of my research, I've developed a great desire to visit London and take one of those museum tours through the Underground.

Hopefully, you're anxiously waiting to hear what happened to Harry so I'll get on with the story.

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