Mother hugs daughter, and daughter hugs back, and daughter steps into the train and goes looking for a compartment.
"Sit with your cousins," said his mother, and "you don't have cousins," said his father, and "the train's a great place to meet new people; Tad and Zach'll probably be very reassured to think there'll be a couple friendly faces in their year, but if they have any sense at all they won't want to hole up with people they already know," said Timothy, who was wearing a prefect badge and seemed to think it made him as good as a parent.
He is doing what Father said, of course. He doesn't have any cousins and he is sitting alone and has pulled out his wand and is swishing it around trying things because most people aren't very creative at eleven and perhaps there are ways to usefully harness impulse magic beyond learning it in class (and he knows he'll excel at that, so he doesn't exactly need to start studying.)
She's definitely not a not-cousin, so "you may," he says importantly, and waves his wand around - everyone gets sparks or lights or something the first time, why not every time...
"So the dominant theory of how accidental or impulse magic happens is that kids are - don't know, brimming with magic, and since they aren't using it it builds up and then when they're emotional they spontaneously do magic, and the spontaneous magic stops when you start doing trained magic because you're using your reserves instead of letting them spill over. But that's stupid, doesn't make any sense, because grownups who are in prison or pretending to be Muggles or something don't do magic for a long time and I've never heard of accidental magic happening to them, so I have this theory that instead there are different ways of doing magic and once you start doing one you unlearn the others and impulse magic's one of the others and no one's ever noticed because you start learning properly at eleven and most people are stupid at eleven and wouldn't think to try."
"Yeah so that's evidence there are at least two. Sooooo maybe there's more."
He actually looks at her for the first time. "Huh, fair enough." And then more formally, "it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Minor Finis Way."
"Maybe you don't automatically unlearn it, but you lose it over time - that would suggest that someone who didn't start potions at the same time as they started wandwork would find it harder to do, or vice versa, are there societies that do one but not the other and were surprised when contact was made that both were possible? Was there ever a year of students who missed potions for six months because of some dungeons disaster, were they slower to learn - no, that's hopelessly confounded..."
"Could be. Has anyone tried relearning impulse magic - yeah, I'm sure someone has, somewhere..."
"No. Aaron - that's my next-older brother - said he sometimes did - he loses his temper way more than me, he did a lot more impulse magic in general - but I don't know if he was directing or predicting, know what I mean?"
"You shouldn't have to, even if it's emotion-powered strong emotions don't all have to be 'losing your temper'-flavored. But yeah, makes it harder to study usefully."
"I think I could also be characterized as intellectualizing things and I still did a fair bit? Maybe different kinds of intellectualizing things."
"Coming up with theories about how everything works and then getting distracted by them - they tend to sort of branch and have a lot of implications and be more interesting than whatever I was doing -"
"...from being sad or homesick or stressed about my parents fighting? I guess?"
"My dad is the only person I've ever met who thinks like I do, I'm going to miss him a lot. I'm really excited and really proud and I'm going to do amazing things but I'm definitely going to be homesick."