Third Time's a Soul Bond?

BY : Wilde_Guess
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Ron
Dragon prints: 3717
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter franchise, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 6, "The Hogwarts Express," where Ron catches a train, makes a friend, and…

"Ron, wake up." accompanied Dad's shaking my shoulder to wake me up.

I sat up quickly, barely missing Dad's head as I did.

Before I could truly get panicked, he said, "Nothing's wrong, Ron. I just wanted to see you off when you left for London, if not seeing you off at the station. But Dispatch called me in for a biting Wok in Wokking half an hour ago. Bit of a mess there. It's almost half-five, so I decided to wake you up before I left."

"How quickly do you have to go in?" I asked.

"I'm already behind the time now. But not by much, so no worries. I do need to Apparate in as soon as I hug you good bye and wish you good luck, though."

I hugged him and said, "Thanks for waking me, and for seeing me off somehow. I'll be sure to write Mum and you as soon as I can."

"Good luck, Ron. If we don't go to Romania to visit your brother, I'll see you at Christmas."

"Thanks, Dad" I replied. He walked out of the door and closed it behind him.

It was half-five in the morning of September first. Dad woke Mum and me up earlier because of the biting wok. But everyone had to get up to get ready for the drive to London. It was about a four-hour drive, but Mum was taking no chances! We had to leave by six in the morning in order to be sure of making the station by 10:30, just in case there was traffic in the City.

I had showered the night before, and had slept in only my t-shirt and boxers. I quickly dressed, even putting my trainers on though we normally didn't wear our shoes in the house. My next task was to get my trunk out to and in the car without anyone noticing. The Twins were still in the bathroom, Percy was still packing the last of his books, and Ginny was still debating in her head whether she might be happier just going over to Luna's and going back to sleep.

I could levitate the trunk just fine without it, but I activated the feather-light charm on the trunk anyway, and took it all the way out to the car in one go. Mum had left the boot unlocked, so I pushed the button, opened the lid, and moved my trunk smartly into the boot. After cancelling the feather-light charm, I closed the trunk, and went back into the kitchen. Mum hadn't started breakfast, so I grabbed the basket and went out to the chicken coop. Fourteen eggs later, I decided that this morning's fry-up was definitely "scrambled," and went back to the house.

Pandora Lovegood, with a very sleepy looking Luna in tow Apparated to the back landing just as I was coming around. I said, "Let yourselves in. With the two of you, I need four more eggs. If you can start some streaky bacon, sausage, or something? I haven't seen Mum yet." I handed them the basket, un-tucked my t-shirt, and went to fetch the last of the eggs.

Returning to the kitchen, I gave the additional four eggs to Luna and Pandora, who were helping Mum. I checked the fridge for the three split sandwiches I had made the night before, and the two bowls of potato salad. Seeing that they hadn't been tampered with, I took them out, and loaded them in the picnic basket I had borrowed from Pandora the week before for the train ride. Right after I did that, Percy came through with his trunk.

I helped Percy load his trunk into the boot, and went back inside. Pandora gave me the picnic basket and said, "I finished packing it for you. In addition to the sandwiches to share and potato salad, I've set two plates of your favourite appetizer…"

"Don't bother being subtle, Pandora – Lucky Boy knows just as much as we do. I'm guessing that the one plate for me and whomever has some wasabi on the side?"

"Yes. I've seen your friend, and I've packed for the two of you. You'll want to get it into the car. I've keyed the basket to your magic. You know how to unkey it once the Twins can't mess with it."

I carried the basket out to the boot right as the twins were loading the last of their two trunks. I placed the basket on top of the lot, and closed the boot lid.

With the last of the baggage loaded, we sat down to a quick but filling breakfast. With Dad having topped the petrol last night for Mum, we left the driveway at 6:00 in the morning for London King's Cross Station.

As we got on to the A30, I thought that Mum was either a very good actor, or that sometimes she just missed things. An Anglia 105E is not a roomy car at all, and a purely Muggle one will hold five people only if the three in the back are children. Mum and I were up front, I was up to help her navigate. Percy, Fred, George, and Ginny were in the back, with Lucky Boy being particularly friendly by stretching across their laps. No one was crowded in back, and only Ginny could still count as small. For all the fretting Mum did about the flying booster charms Dad put on the car, the expansion charms on the back seat and the boot just went past her. Maybe that was part of why Dad told her about the flying charms.

§§§

I was terribly nervous as we pulled in to the car park by King's Cross Station some four hours and twenty-five minutes later. There was a magical parking section almost on top of the station doors that was charmed to appear to Muggles as being full of busses and police cars. On most days it was. On Hogwarts Express days, though, magicals who had cars such as us, or the Muggle parents of Muggle-borns with a special parking pass on their windshield that let them see through the illusion would use it for relatively convenient parking. Even in London, there was only so far you could walk carrying a largish trunk with a caged owl before people started to notice.

After parking our old Anglia, Mum sent Percy and the Twins to fetch three trolleys. The Twins would share one as they always had, and Percy and I would each have one.

While waiting for the trolleys, and hoping we didn't miss Harry, I decided to ask Mum something that always bothered me once I thought about it, but never thought to ask about in three lifetimes. "Mum, why do we make such a spectacle when we go into Platform Nine and Three Quarters? Doesn't it risk breaking the Statute of Secrecy?"

"Not at all, Ronald. When I was a third year, there was a Muggle-born first-year girl who didn't get the full tour from the Hogwarts Teachers. There used to be signs hung just like the magical car park, that were only visible to us magicals, but they had been taken down by the Ministry the year prior. Without the signs or the tour to help her find the platform, she missed the train. Even worse, she and her parents were robbed and almost killed. To make things even worse still, the Ministry tried to blame HER for being robbed.

"You must not have noticed that I always put light Muggle-repellent charms and Muggle-only notice-me-not charms on all of our trolleys. Not only do the Muggles not notice stuff like owl cages, but they just ignore us or head the other way none the wiser. If you're not magical, you won't really notice that we're there.

"If I walked up to someone looking lost and told them 'I'm a witch looking for Hogwarts Stragglers,' they would be scared. If I asked a Muggle by mistake, there would be a serious problem. But, with the spell work driving the Muggles away, and the lost magicals hearing us blather on about all the Muggles, Platform Nine and Three Quarters, and Hogwarts, plus seeing Hermes and Lucky Boy in their cages this year, any Muggle-borns will flock right to us.

"I rounded up THREE Muggle-born first years the first year I brought Bill, and another one each for Charlie's and Percy's first year. All five of those Muggle-born students not only made the train instead of missing it, but they have all remained friends with the Weasley their age that helped them on the train."

I thought for a moment. That would explain why Bill made those Muggle-born friends of his who he went off with to hire on with Gringotts as a curse-breaker. That also explained Charlie's friend Joe, who he worked with at the Dragon Preserve in Romania. And that would be the only way that Percy would have made friends with Penelope Clearwater.

Mum wrapped-up her explanation. "The teachers have gotten better, but they still miss one or two somehow once in a while. Until the Ministry puts the signs back up, you do what you can."

Mum finished just as Percy and the Twins showed up with the trolleys. We loaded up, and I almost didn't see Mum's charm work. She was not only a witch, but an illusionist as well.

So, our merry band of Weasleys trooped into the station, hoping that ten minutes would be enough to get four Weasleys and possibly one Muggle-born or Muggle-raised straggler onto one train. I was pretty sure at least one was out there, and if he was, I really didn't want to miss him.

Lucky Boy sniffed at my picnic basket from his cage. I told him "Wait a while. I'll set you a snack once we're on the train and moving. Your appetite is worse than mine, and I don't even know where I put it all." Mum, meanwhile, put on her show about the station being "packed with Muggles, of course" and asking Ginny what platform we were looking for.

As Ginny answered "Platform Nine and Three Quarters! Mum can't I go?" a boy approached us at almost a run. But he was not just any boy. For the first time in thirty-eight years, I saw my first true friend with my own eyes.

Of course, he was also eleven, scared he would miss the train, and had no idea who I was. First meetings can be funny things. I was hoping that I hadn't bollixed this one up. I walked towards him, waving him towards me as I did. He walked up, pushing his trolley along with him. I asked him "Hogwarts first-year?" He nodded shyly.

I answer, "Cool! Mum's routine worked. I can help you get on the platform and the train if you want?" He nodded, giving me a lop-sided grin and blushing slightly.

I continued as Harry and I walked towards my trolley "I'm probably more nervous than you, really. I grew up in the country just outside of Ottery St. Catchpole, which the Muggles call Ottery St. Mary; and Mum home-schooled us. So, you're the first guy my age I'm actually getting to make friends with!" I grinned at Harry, and he grinned back.

I grabbed my trolley and started pushing it alongside Harry's. I told him "Look at the second pillar back between tracks nine and ten." He looked just as the last of the Twins ran through and vanished.

I continued, "That pillar is a doorway covered with an illusion whenever a magical train is running. This is the only magical train platform for all of London. Let's run at it! I'll go first, and you follow right behind. My mum and sister will be behind us, so it's all good."

I built up speed and pulled ahead, hearing him keep up behind me. As I passed through to the platform, I heard Harry come through behind me and slow down. I let him get next to me again and started talking.

"Wicked, huh?" I asked.

Harry nodded in breathless astonishment, his head on a swivel. I suggested, "If you want us to sit together, we should walk towards the rear of the train. The closer ones always fill up first." He nodded with a blush, and we both walked to the second carriage from the end, which was still quite empty.

I suggested, "I can carry our animals and the picnic basket into our compartment while you catch your breath. Then, we can work together getting our trunks up the steps one at a time." Harry nodded, and handed up his owl.

"What's her name?" I asked.

"Hedwig" he answered.

"Pretty name for a pretty owl" I replied. Hedwig barked in approval and Harry blushed again, grinning all the while.

I went to the second compartment down from the vestibule and found it empty. I set Hedwig's cage on the left parcel shelf and went back.

I came back for Lucky Boy, and Harry asked his name. I answered "Lucky Boy. There's a story behind it I can tell you later." Lucky Boy and his cage went up on the shelf next to Hedwig.

The next trip saw me carrying the picnic basket. With it stowed away, it was finally time for the battle of the trunks. We got Harry's first, carrying it into the compartment in one go. We slid it under one bench seat and went back for mine. We got it on and slid under the other seat. By that time, we were ready to set down for a few moments.

No time like the present for introductions, I decided. "By the way, name's Ron Weasley."

I extend my hand and he shook it, answering "Harry Potter."

This time, we both blushed, and I felt a jolt like a spark of static electricity.

Despite promising myself that I wouldn't, I asked, "Do you have, you know…"

He lifted his fringe, showing the scar. His grin was more nervous than before. I gasped, "Wicked," my mouth getting away from me again.

But I guess I got lucky. The "nervous" went away. The grin remained, possibly happier than before.

I told him, "We need to get off the train for a second and tell my mum 'bye.' When I introduce you, do you want me to give your last name, or just 'Harry'?"

"Just 'Harry' will be fine," he answered.

We got off the train, finding Mum and Ginny barely half a carriage down. We walked up to them and I said, "Mum, Harry and I helped each other get our stuff on the train. Harry, this is my Mum, Molly Weasley. Mum, this is Harry."

Harry reached out his hand to her. She shook it, and then surprised both of us by taking Harry into a light hug. While doing this, she gave a sharp glance at Ginny silently suggesting that little girls who wanted lunch wouldn't ask Ronnie's new friend where he left his family name.

When Mum let Harry go, Ginny blushed beet-red, but held out her hand and he shook it. "Ginny Weasley, Harry. It's nice to meet you. At least you won't go hungry on the train, providing Ron and his crazy Kneazle don't eat it all first. Ron's a good cook, but a better eater!"

"Ginny! I'm not that big of a pig" I retort.

"MRROW" added Lucky Boy from my shoulder.

"Ron, I thought I asked you to keep Lucky Boy in his cage," Mum said, while shaking her head.

"We forgot to ask him to stay in his cage, Mum. We both know that cage has no door."

Lucky Boy meowed again, holding his paw out toward Harry. Harry shook it gently, saying "I'm Harry. Nice to meet you." The Kneazle purred loudly twice, and disappeared.

"Back in his cage" I announced as Harry started looking around for where Lucky Boy vanished.

Percy and the Twins chose that moment to walk up and say their goodbyes to Mum and Ginny. Percy had already changed into his uniform, complete with Prefect badge. "Can't stay long, Mother," he said. "I'm up front; the prefects have two compartments to themselves…"

Fred and George started to take the piss from Percy. Mum and the train whistle stopped them cold.

"How come Percy gets new robes, anyway," one of the Twins asked.

I retort, "Because there's only one of him, and two of you."

Mum finished with "Boys, behave. Get on the train. We each kissed Mum and hugged Ginny in turn. Percy sprinted forward a few cars before getting on to walk the rest of the way inside the train. Fred and George got on two cars ahead of us. Harry and I went back to our compartment and opened the centre window to be able to hear outside the carriage. We waved at Mum and Ginny as the train started moving. Ginny chased our compartment, waving as she went, until we were moving too fast for her to keep up. Harry and I finally sat down again.

"That's two I got over on the Twins today. Doesn't happen that often."

"What do you mean?" Harry asked.

"Simple. Mum has put on the act you saw in the platform area every year since my oldest brother, who graduated two years ago, was a first year. She charms the trolleys so actual Muggles stay away and don't notice. Only lost first-years who can't find the platform will notice us. She got three stragglers for Bill, and they were the best of friends all seven years. My next oldest brother Charlie, who graduated last year, got one. The two of them work together in the Dragon Reserve in Romania. Percy got Penelope Clearwater for his first year. They've been friends ever since, and I think they might be working up the nerve to start dating soon. I've met you, and you're a great guy. The Twins were left out, for once. That's one.

"I'm your friend, Harry, not the scar's or the fame's. But while I'm sure the celebrity crap got real old real fast, it is there. And unlike Mum and Ginny, Fred and George, and Percy come to that, won't even know until we're sorted! That's two." Harry and I both laughed over that.

"Is your entire family magical?" Harry asked.

"Mum has a second cousin who is a Squib, but he drifted away. A Squib is the opposite of a Muggle-born. They are born to a magical family, but don't have enough magic to use. Some families get along and keep in touch with Squibs born in their families. In other cases, the Squibs drift away since they can't do any magic, and in other cases, the families run their Squib relatives off. Some Dark families were actually rumoured to kill any Squibs born to them.

"But yeah, Mum, Dad, six siblings, two post owls, one familiar and me. All magical, along with all of our relatives I know of, other than Mum's second cousin who works as an accountant somewhere."

"So, you must know loads of magic already then" Harry said sadly.

"Cheer up, Harry!" I answered. "I know some, but not as much as you might be thinking. And my circumstances are a little different from most. I'll teach you what I know, and we'll both learn the rest together. No magical kid is allowed to get their first new wand until they're accepted to a magical school, which here in the UK is the year where you are eleven before September First like us. While some wizard kids get their first wand as an 'heirloom' or 'hand-me-down' like my second wand, you don't really start learning magic until you get to school. So don't worry. If you study hard and pay attention in class, you'll do just fine. After all, your Mum was Muggle-born, and she had the highest grades overall in her year, along with getting all Outstandings on her NEWTs and being Head Girl the year she graduated."

"You know about my Mum?" he asked.

"I've studied both the Grindelwald and Voldemort wars for years as a hobby. Mum had me write book reports on the subjects to improve my English and writing. Since she was home-schooling all of us kids, she had us study stuff we were interested in where she could. Your Mum and Dad both fought against Voldemort."

"You aren't afraid to say Voldemort's name?"

"No, Harry. He's defeated, at least for now. Most people ARE afraid to say his name because he was the first Dark Wizard criminal to actually put a Taboo on his own made-up name. A Taboo is a spell normally usable only by governments, and even then, they have to have a warrant and can only use the spell for a limited time over a limited area. The Taboo spell detects when a particular word is said, and pinpoints on a map where the word is said. If the wizard or wizards casting it are strong enough, it can even break through unplottable wards, though not a Fidelis Charm.

"This is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights in the UK, and just about anywhere else. So, only the more repressive dictatorships even think of using it, at least as far as governments go.

"Voldemort was able to get his Taboo working on his made-up name at least part of the time. He would go out with his Death Eaters to murder some of the people his Taboo 'caught,' allowing some of those people to 'escape' and spread the word.

This got people so scared that they refused to call him by his name. Headmaster Dumbledore uses Voldemort's name whenever talking about him either because he refuses to believe that Voldemort had at least a partial Taboo working, or because he is the only wizard Voldemort ever feared, and wasn't worried even if he believed the Taboo was working.

"Back to your mum, despite everyone celebrating your survival, it was just as much your Mum who saved you as it was you surviving. To be sure, in order for whatever your Mum did to take, you had to be fairly powerful. But at fifteen months, you were likely doing little more than 'accidental magic.' While your Dad was considered a magically strong wizard, his specialty was Transfiguration, where your Mum was much stronger in Charms, Runes, and Potions. And it would be in Charms and Runes where you would find the means to generate a magical shield or ritual that could reflect back a killing curse."

"How do you know all this stuff?" Harry asked in nervous awe.

"Simple. I don't know if you remember anything from the night it happened. By the way, do you?"

"Just a flash of green light" he replied.

"Just as well, really. It would stink to remember that... My earliest memory is of the Evil Rat Man; about two weeks after your Mum and Dad were killed. Percy, who was just five, found a friendly rat in the back garden and wanted to keep him as a pet. But, I could feel that he was evil, and also what is known as an Animagus.

"An Animagus is a wizard or witch that can change into the form of a single animal that they are born with, not of their own choosing. Not everyone has the capacity to do so, and not all of those bother to learn the difficult Transfiguration required to perform the spell. But some people do, such as Professor McGonagall, your Godfather Sirius Black, and the Evil Rat Man.

"The Evil Rat Man was named Peter Pettigrew. He went to school with your Dad and Godfather, and betrayed your parents and you to Voldemort. He also framed your godfather for that along with the murder of twelve Muggles with a blasting curse, which saw Sirius Black thrown in prison without a trial.

"I obviously didn't sense all that as a toddler, but I knew that he was an Evil Rat Man. So, I 'accidentally' bounced him back into his human form, vanished his left sleeve so his Dark Mark was visible, asked Mum and Dad to turn him in instead of killing him, and promptly passed out from magical exhaustion. I woke up the following evening, and by then Pettigrew was already in Azkaban, and your Godfather in St Mungo's Hospital."

"I have a godfather?" Harry gasped in shock. "Why…"

"I don't know why you haven't met him yet, Harry. I can only guess.

"I learned all this stuff because I wanted to, and I wanted to because part if it happened right in my kitchen, in my home, where I should have been safe. My Mum lost her two older brothers in the war. They were twins, born on the first of April of 1951, and Fred and George were kinda named for them. They were Fabian and Gideon Prewett.

"As for your Godfather, Headmaster Dumbledore had a restraining order put on him to keep him away from your relatives and you. Based on the little known and little-talked about fact that Dumbledore is the greatest non-Dark Haemomancer, which is one who practices blood-magic, of this century or the last; I'm thinking blood wards.

"If a person willingly dies in your place out of love for you, that creates a powerful connection. If you lay a bunch of Charms and Runes on top of that like the few people who really studied what happened believe your Mum did, this becomes a powerful protection that lives in your very blood.

"A ward is a magical barrier that prevents some things from passing through it, but allowing other things to pass. There are many types of wards. A blood ward is created with blood, and most are actually considered Dark, even if they are not really, since most Haemomancy, or blood-magic is considered Dark.

"Wards based on the blood of someone who died the way your Mum did can truly be powerful. However, they rely on a blood connection of the persons protected. Since your Mum loved you as her child, the blood ward had to be anchored to a blood relative other than you who would take her place protecting you, as your Mum would have, such as one of your Mum's siblings or one of your maternal grandparents. The only person left who was still alive when your Mum passed that would work would be your Aunt Petunia.

"And you need that protection. Because it was Voldemort himself who killed your Mum, all of his marked followers, known as Death Eaters, are unable to attack your home. Dumbledore likely was able to add Dark creatures to the mix as well, protecting you from things like Werewolves."

"Werewolves are real?" Harry exclaimed.

"Yes. Most are alright chaps except for the night of the full moon. I actually used to mow one's lawn before today. But the ones who aren't really aren't. The most notorious one of those is Fenrir Greyback, who served Voldemort without being marked, and has never been captured for more than a day in twenty-five years.

"Many of Voldemort's followers also avoided going to Azkaban, the wizard prison, by paying bribes and claiming they were under a spell called the Imperius Curse, and that had them doing what they did against their will. Since they paid the bribes, they never went to trial to actually prove it.

"Even without a trial, their excuses are pure codswallop. If you actually manage to keep a person under the Imperius doing things they don't want to for more than a few months, they rapidly go insane, at least temporarily, and I mean obviously can't take care of themselves crazy, not something that can be hidden. Many of the Death Eaters followed Voldemort for ten years. Not only that, but if you have a strong enough force of mind, even a Muggle can throw the curse eventually, though you have a far better chance if you're a magical.

"But not everyone has the right kind of mental strength to do it. And they often didn't have the time, either. Many people were placed under the Imperius and forced to do horrible things to both strangers and family. That's why the Imperius is one of the three Unforgivable Curses. Under most circumstances, if you cast an Unforgivable on another human, whether magical or Muggle, it's an automatic life sentence in Azkaban.

"But back to your godfather. In the wizarding world, your godparents automatically get custody of you if both your parents die or are otherwise unable to take care of you. Even at the minimum possible strength, the blood wards, which would only work with your Aunt Petunia being your guardian and you living with her, are still more powerful and effective than most other wards you could come up with no matter how much money you had to spend.

"Sirius must have begged to differ, when he finally got out of St. Mungo's eighteen months later. However, Dumbledore is not only the Headmaster of the largest and most prestigious magical school in the UK; he's also the Chief of the Wizengamot, which is like the Speaker of Parliament, but more powerful. This gives him a lot of "behind the scenes" political power. If Dumbledore thought that the blood wards would provide more powerful protection than whatever Sirius Black could buy, then Sirius would be quietly blocked from gaining custody, particularly since the other part of keeping you safe was ensuring that no magicals that might tell the Death Eaters knew where you were."

"So, I'm stuck with the Dursleys…" Harry started to sob.

Surprising both Harry and me, I was across to his bench in a flash and hugging him to my chest. I almost expected him to deck me once my brain caught up with my body, but he just hugged me back, sobbing even harder against me.

There was a knock at the compartment door. I hit Harry with a silent wandless cheering charm and light cleaning charm to dry his face. We separated quickly as the door opened to reveal the trolley lady.

"Anything off the cart, dears?" she asked.

"I'll take the lot!" Harry exclaimed, before I could say anything else.

I added, "I'll take a dozen extra Chocolate Frogs to go with that." Harry and I looked at each other, shouted "Jinx!" and broke out laughing. We each got out our money and paid for our purchases; with Harry's two of everything and my extra dozen Chocolate Frogs, the opposite bench was fairly crowded with candy.

Harry asked, "We split the basket, your stash, and mine, right?"

"You got it," I answered. "Basket first, I recon, so we don't end up with upset stomachs. It's just past noon, and having to drive in to London from Devon meant eating breakfast before sunup. We'll have to eat with the basket between us, while I set my patient familiar's dishes…"

"Mrow." Lucky Boy was sitting on the opposite bench with plenty of room, and the candy was neatly stacked in the corner of the bench next to the window.

"…right where he made room for it. First thing is a Muggle delicacy from Japan. I opened one side of the cold-charmed basket and took out two bottles of Pumpkin Juice. "Not the drink, it's Pumpkin Juice. Don't ask me why wizards came up with pumpkin pie Kool-Aid, but we did, and it's actually really good." I took out one of the plates of Tuna Sashimi that Pandora insisted on packing that morning for both boy and familiar. "The red cubes are the Japanese treat. The small dab of green paste is wasabi. It's like horseradish, but stronger." I took half of the dab of wasabi with one of the two forks from the basket, speared a piece of tuna sashimi, and ate both. I probably could have packed chopsticks, but I figured there would be enough going on without trying to teach Harry how to use chopsticks again. The first time was easy enough, but we were nineteen at the time. I never had sashimi with Harriet.

Harry looked at me for a moment like I had lost my mind. He then said, "Next dare's mine," took the rest of the wasabi with his fork, speared another piece, and ate it while (at least) facing away. To his surprise, but not mine, he enjoyed it.

"MROW!" I took the second plate of tuna sashimi and passed it across to my long-suffering Kneazle friend. I took one of the bottles of water that was in the basket along with the pumpkin juice, and poured some into his bowl. Lucky Boy gave two quick purr-bursts and a chirp and started in on his lunch.

"You can afford to feed your Kneazle Sushi?" Harry asked.

"I can't. But last year, Lucky Boy and I saved the life of one of our neighbours; Pandora Lovegood. Her daughter Luna will be starting Hogwarts next year. One of her friends works at the Magical Japanese Embassy, and a friend of that friend works at the Imperial Household Agency in Tokyo, that's the Japanese Government Agency in charge of taking care of the Japanese Imperial Family including the Emperor himself. Pandora says that she doesn't get the sashimi or any Sushi for free, but for how little she pays, it's the next best thing. Chunks of raw fish like we're eating are sashimi. Sushi is the little rice rolls, that may have raw fish or cooked fish along with other vegetables and a seaweed wrapper. Magic can make moving stuff here and there so much faster. This sashimi was still swimming off Tokyo Bay when we went to bed last night.

"Cool" Harry said. "The sashimi is great, and I'll want to try some sushi, too. But you still owe me a dare! I dare you to get…"

"Dare later, lunch now" I interrupted. The Sorting Feast won't be until about half-eight or later, and it's still just past noon. If we go on nothing but candy, we'll both be miserable. By the way, where did you come in to King's Cross from, and when did you eat breakfast?"

"Surrey, and I didn't eat…"

I cut him off before I needed to hit him with another cheering charm. "All the better reason to get to the real food first, then! I get that things could be a lot better with your relatives. And when you're ready to talk, I'll listen. But I had to hit you with a wandless cheering charm and cleaning charm to keep you from being embarrassed in front of the trolley lady.

"Cheering and cleaning charms are just what they say on the tin, by the way. I'll try to go easy on them with you, especially the cheering charms, since they do change your mood artificially, but if it was me about to be interrupted like you were, I'd be grateful not to bear my heart to the trolley lady.

Harry, who had been looking at something in his hand, set it on the bench next to the window and put a serviette on top of it. I guessed it was the rest of the wasabi, and hoped that the dare wouldn't include it.

I handed him a plate of potato salad, and said, "I made all of this myself yesterday, and it's quite good. The picnic basked is chilled like a Muggle fridge, so no worries there. I made three sandwiches, each one on bread I baked yesterday. One is devilled ham salad, the next chicken salad, and the last is corned beef salad. I normally hate corned beef, even my Mum's. But, I can eat my corned beef salad alright, so no worries.

"It all sounds great, Ron! Can I have half of each?"

"Sure, Harry" I answered. I handed out sandwich halves, giving each of us one of each kind, and we started eating in earnest, starting with the last of the tuna sashimi. As we quickly and quietly ate, I seemed to feel an extra enjoyment for my food. I also felt frustrated, like I wanted to do something fun, but was being told to wait, and wasn't quite certain I'd be allowed to do it at all. I brushed it off as nerves and continued to eat. After a few minutes of eleven year old boys filling the black holes in their abdomens, we came up for air and talked some more.

"Ron, what is this 'sorting,' and how do the houses work?"

"I'll do the houses first. First, Harry, I know we'll be sorted into the same house, because you'll be sorted first, and we have some say ourselves in how we're sorted. There are four student houses, or dormitory sets at Hogwarts. These houses also determine which students in our year we attend classes with, and we have a Quidditch team for each house for sport.

"The houses are named after the two wizards and two witches who founded Hogwarts. All four houses were always co-ed, though with separate and warded sleeping areas for boys and girls in each. They are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin, and you are sorted into the house whose personality is the best 'fit,' and based on the personality traits most desired by the particular founder for the students they personally taught.

"Godric Gryffindor, the youngest of the Four, was a battle mage and one of the very few people ever to convince a griffin to be ridden like a horse. He valued courage, valour, and integrity. Courage and valour are almost, but not quite the same thing. Helga Hufflepuff, Godric's sister in law, valued loyalty, friendship, and the will to work hard and do your best every day. If attacked, she would fight to the bitter end like a cornered badger. Rowena Ravenclaw, the only true scholar of the four, and the first Headmistress, valued scholarship and intellectual pursuits. She was said to be so lost in research and scholarship that she soared above the common folk like an eagle in the blue. Salazar Slytherin, the oldest of the Four, was a battle mage like Gryffindor; though he was twenty years Gryffindor's elder and beyond spellcasting fought with snakes instead of swords particularly favouring his Basilisk familiar. A basilisk is a type of magical snake that can kill by deliberately giving you a killing glare directly to your eyes as well as being highly poisonous. Since he was a Parselmouth, and could speak and understand the Parseltounge language that all snakes speak, this made his choice in assistants quite logical. He was also Helga Hufflepuff's only rival in the magical science of Herbology, and one of the greatest potions masters of that age. He valued the ambition to succeed despite all odds, and the cunning to avoid needless slaughter wherever possible."

"I can talk to snakes!" Harry exclaimed. "Does this mean I'll go to Slytherin?"

"Not necessarily, Harry, and keep the Parselmouth stuff secret as long as you can! While Parselmouths are valued in India, they are quite rare everywhere, and feared beyond all reasonable thought by most in the UK. The Parselmouth ability ran strong in Salazar Slytherin's bloodline, and not all of his descendants were particularly nice as the centuries passed on. The last direct line from Salazar Slytherin married first into the line of Cadmus Peverell, and from there married the youngest and only magical son of John of Gaunt. Towards the end of the 1600s, this line completely ran off the rails. They routinely married blood cousins, siblings, and so on to the point that they were shunned by the rest of the magical community. They rapidly lost all prominence, and pretty much all of their lands and money. The last of that line was born to Merope Gaunt and a Muggle neighbour she seduced with a 'love potion.' His name is Tom Marvolo Riddle. He is better known as 'Lord Voldemort.'"

Harry gasped, and I continued. "Back to the houses. First, all the houses produced great wizards and witches. In the last war, all of the houses produced Death Eaters, too. But, Voldemort did most of his recruiting for his core followers amongst his fellow Slytherins. And the original and right for the time wariness of Muggle-borns Salazar Slytherin had has always varied amongst the Slytherins between what would be reasonable for the times, and outright bigotry and stupidity.

"Remember all the Death Eaters who bought their way out of Azkaban? Lots of them have kids our age, and who will be our classmates at Hogwarts! None of them has done what their parents did. And not all will agree with their parents. However, a lot will, and most of them will be in Slytherin. So, even though we both are probably better true Slytherins than any of them will ever be, Slytherin is not the right house for us, unless you fancy quite literally being murdered in your sleep. The ones Percy's age and older likely play for keeps, and an eleven year old like us might just get stupid and do something they can't take back."

Harry shuddered, and quietly gasped, "Not Slytherin…"

"Just so, but if you go there, so will I, and I'll have your back! You'll have mine, right?"

Harry nodded quickly in agreement.

"On to Ravenclaw, then" I resumed. "Do you fancy studying all the time, instead of having other fun, or hanging out with friends? Do you feel an overpowering urge to bully those who don't fit your particular narrow world-view? Sadly, this is the dark side of Ravenclaw. They do attract the best scholars, and aren't that bad of a lot overall, but not even Professor Flitwick; their head of house and the Charms Professor can watch them twenty-four-seven. By the way, how were your marks in primary?"

"Not good" Harry answered ashamedly.

"How would they have been if you weren't dealing with your relatives?" I asked.

"Better" he answered, brightening up a little. "I couldn't work as hard as I wanted, or at least I couldn't let my work show up on my tests or homework. If I did better than Dudley, my cousin, I got in trouble…"

"Got it," I answered. "At Hogwarts, you can work as hard as you want, and for your sake I want you to do your best every day! I'll help you, too. If the Dursleys show signs of continuing like they did, we'll have our head of house send "dummy" report cards showing you doing just under the equivalent of whatever Dudley does at whatever school he goes to.

"Even Smeltings?" Harry asked.

I answered, "Hogwarts is a top-shelf school for magic. They can do it."

I continued, "So, if you don't mind every day being 'test day,' and aren't afraid of being made fun of for whatever trips the fancy of the other Ravenclaws, I've got your back there, too. While I'm not exactly Ravenclaw material myself, I can blend in, and honestly earn the grades to do it, helping you along as well."

Harry shook his head, and said, "Not them, either."

I continued, "Ok. Next, we have Hufflepuff. We'll both make great ones if it comes to that. We're both used to hard work. Hufflepuffs are truly loyal and their trust isn't that hard to earn if you're a good person. They'll talk and listen any time you need them too.

"They're also nosy busybodies, and will insist on talking or listening even when you don't want them to! And, if they shun you, it'll hurt more than with any of the other houses.

"Finally, we have Gryffindor. That house certainly has its faults as well. They can be nosy and judgmental as easily as the Hufflepuffs. Their head of house is Professor McGonagall, who is also the Deputy Headmistress, and doesn't necessarily have as much time for head of house stuff as Professor Sprout in Hufflepuff who teaches Herbology, Professor Snape in Slytherin who teaches potions, or Professor Flitwick.

"But Gryffindors stick together almost as good as the Hufflepuffs do, don't shun nearly as hard, and know how to mind their own business when it comes down to that.

"Mind you, I am biased. All of my family that I know, including all of my older brothers and both parents are Gryffindors. But, so were your Mum and Dad. In the end, it's up the Sorting Hat anyway, but they sort the 'P's' before the 'W's,' so I'll have that much time to go the same house as you; even and especially if you go to Slytherin House. If I blow it, I'll still be your best and truest friend, even if you go to Slytherin, and I go to Gryffindor! Those houses have always had a rivalry, since both Gryffindor and Slytherin were battle mages who while friends always competed with each other and sparred together.

"There are many different kinds of courage. I know the kinds I have, and I feel them inside of you. There are other kinds that only we ourselves know we either have or lack. I have at least some of those, and I'm sure you do too. So, Gryffindor?"

Harry looked me in the eye and stated "Gryffindor."

I looked him in the eye in return and replied "Gryffindor," holding my hand out to shake.

He grasped my hand in answer, and said "Gryffindor" again.

Before letting go of his hand, I replied, "But I'll go to your house if I can, no matter which one it is." We were both surprised by a wave of magic passing over us.

I explained, "We just made a magical promise together. It's a good thing here, but be careful with those! It's the weakest kind of magical pact around, but still hurts like hell if you break one!

"Back to sorting. When the Four Founders built the school, they worked together and ensorcelled a pointed and brimmed leather hat with enough sapience and magic to read a person's mind, talk to that person in their mind, and to hear and speak aloud. This was to save them time when they were alive, and to keep their standards up once they were gone. All of us first years will cross a lake by boat and use a different path to the school entrance than the rest of the students that travel by carriages. We will then go up in front of all the rest of the students, sit on a stool, and have the hat placed on our heads. The hat will read our minds, ask us in our minds what we think, then openly and loudly sort us into the house where we will best fit in."

"So, if I insist on Gryffindor, the hat will put me there, no matter what?" Harry asked.

"That could work, although insisting 'not Slytherin' might work out better."

"Did you describe the houses from worst to best for me, or for you?" Harry asked.

"For you, actually, and there's your Slytherin side coming out and impressing me! For me, it would have been Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Gryffindor. I don't particularly care for nosy bodies, unless you decide to be nosy with me. While I know how to study, unless I'm really interested in what I'm studying, I consider it a drudge. I once accidentally banished a maths book when I was six because Mum was making me study when I wanted to go for a swim in the pond! My natural talents tend towards battle magic, strategy, and the magical equivalent of military history; so my best fits are Slytherin or Gryffindor. Known enemies are better than unknown enemies, but I would have plenty of both in Slytherin House. Slytherins tend to make 'alliances' far easier and more often than friendships, and I would rather have a friend than an 'ally' watching my back if given a choice, thank you very much!"

Harry sat quietly in thought for a moment. He sighed deeply, as if resolving something, then looked me and extended his now bare feet into view. He quietly said "Ok. Now it's time for your dare…"

…And, saved by the knock at the door. The door opened up, revealing Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom as Harry slid his bare feet under the bench. Both were already in uniform, and Neville appeared to have crossed into and out of tears repeatedly. A quick glance at all three proved out that none of them had ever met. Once again, a good sign. I was still feeling frustrated, and couldn't figure out why.

Hermione decided to start off the show. "Have any of you seen a toad? Neville has lost his. Also, have any of you seen Harry Potter? He was supposed to start Hogwarts this year, but I haven't seen him yet. I know all about him, of course. He's in Modern Magical History, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. I picked those up along with my course books for background reading when I went to Diagon Alley…"

"Hold up a second, please!" I inserted edgewise. "First, my friend Stubby Boardman and I haven't left the compartment since we left London, and we got here at the last minute! Second, I'll show Neville and you how to find his toad in just a second. You're not the only student of modern history, and Neville Longbottom is almost as recognizable if you actually find the source material. His family was also very closely allied to the Potters, to the point that Harry Potter's parents were godparents to Neville, and his Mum was godmother to Harry. So if you're celebrity hunting, helping his closest political ally without realizing it just because he needs help is not a bad start at all. I'm Ron Weasley, by the way. You are?"

Hermione actually blushed while chewing her bottom lip. She looked precisely as she did in my first lifetime, and had none of the hatred of the second. I had also liked her hair at (almost) twelve even more than when it tamed down. So why was I wanting her to leave? And why did I want Neville to go as well?

She finally held out her hand and said, "Hermione Granger. Pleasure."

I shook her hand, and then I held it out to Neville. "Ron Weasley, my lord-heir. Well met?"

He shook my hand and replied, "Well met, Ron Weasley. We can ditch the formal junk if you want? And I can see Stubby is kinda shy, so we can sort that out later. Friends, Stubby?"

Harry nodded and grinned. Strangely for how he acted with me, he barely blushed, if at all. It was still obvious that they had only just met, though.

I took out my second wand and asked "Neville, what's your toad's name?"

"Trevor."

I cast the point-me spell verbally, and my wand pointed towards the front of the train. I said, "Set your wand on the palm of your hand so it can turn freely, but not fall off when it turns. The incantation, as you heard, is "point me" finished up with whatever you want it to point to. Harder than it looks, but not terribly difficult, especially for something you know of like a pet or a key ring. Try the spell a time or two here. Then, walk towards the front of the train. Cast the spell every few compartments until your wand points to one side or the other. Then, you'll find your toad."

"Neville started to sob again while holding his wand. No time like the present to fix this mess, too! In both timelines, to the degree I knew them, the only problems Neville Longbottom had with magic was that they lacked confidence, and that in turn was caused by being forced to use a wand that hated his guts. So, between having worked at Ollivander's, and knowing that almost any wand would work better for Neville than the one he had, I set to work.

I asked gently, "Is that your father's wand?" He nodded.

I said, "No wonder you're having trouble with it. If you are using a hand-me-down, a boy is more likely to be chosen by his mother's or brother's wand than his father's or sister's. A girl is usually the opposite. I'm using my older brother Charlie's wand, and it chose me when I was nine.

"Your father was also a Field Auror who fell in a violent skirmish in your living room. A wand used by a Field Auror usually won't choose another wizard in those circumstances, particularly with the way that battle was fought."

"Says 'Hand-cast Ronnie,'" he sobbed in reply.

'Hand-Cast?' I thought to myself. Mum must be hiding something from me there. So long as it isn't something really big like 'The Boy Who Lived is a girl with a lesbian girlfriend that wants you dead and is smart enough to get it done,' no worries. I just rolled along with it.

"Touché, Neville. Just the same, please borrow my wand for just a second and give it a wave." He did, and got a faint shower of red and gold sparks. I reclaimed the wand from his loose and astonished grip and said, "Let me try your wand for just a second. I'll give it right back." He handed it to me, and could feel instantly that the wand had been seriously overused, and didn't have too many good spells left, even if it had chosen Neville.

I gave it back to him and said, "I won't even try to cast with it. Your dad burned it hard in his last battle, not that I wouldn't have done the same. If your Mum's wand survived the battle, you need to have your grandmother send it to you. Better yet, she needs to take you to Ollivander's this weekend and get you a new wand that actually chooses you for sure. Tell her that I said, and that Harry said that. I'm sure he will say it if it helps; it is the truth after all. And I learned what I know of wand lore from Garrick Ollivander himself while apprenticing in his shop since I was seven.

"I can't let you take my wand with you, but to prove it again, let's try this. Take my wand, and raise the tip above our eye level. Push your magic firmly but gently through the wand, imagining the tip glowing brightly. There is no wand motion, and the incantation is Lumos. The wand will glow for a while even if you release it, so you will also need to cancel the spell. You do it just like Lumos but you pull your magic out, imagine the light going out, and the incantation is Nox." I handed him my wand, and he cast the spells reasonably well for a first time surprise casting with a wand that only somewhat chose him.

I accepted the wand back from Neville, as Harry thoughtlessly wiped his forehead. Hermione finally saw his scar and actually noticed the colour of his eyes. "You're Harry Potter!" she exclaimed loudly.

I answered, "Well-spotted and congratulations! In spite of truly being the smartest witch of our year, you failed to spot the fact that we did not want gawkers mobbing us. Even as distracted as he was, Neville noticed and kept his peace."

"It wasn't right away," Neville muttered.

"You've not met face-to-face until just now, either" I supplied.

The third ring of this unwelcome circus turned up in the form of Draco Malfoy, along with his goons Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. In my second lifetime, I was able to defang that trio somewhat. But without Hermione being a true psycho, I was not going back to Slytherin.

"So, I hear that Harry Potter is on the train!" the ferret-faced jerk sneered as he squeezed past Hermione and into the compartment. Harry was having none of it.

"You're the arsehole from Madam Malkin's! I don't want to hear your blood-purity bullshit, especially not now. GET. OUT!" Harry quickly stood up and kicked Draco squarely in the chest, sending him out of the compartment and sprawling in the passageway on top of Crabbe and Goyle. The unpleasant trio of likely Slytherin Firsties scampered back towards the front of the train in genuine fear.

Harry stated, "Hermione, Neville, it was nice meeting you. But I have a headache right now, and need to lay down. Ron and I also need to change into our uniforms. While we should have plenty of time, I do need to lay down for a while. I'll see you guys at the feast?" Hermione and Neville nodded in reply.

I asked, "Hermione, please try the 'point-me' spell."

She did, and it worked fine for her. They left, and I closed and locked the door. I also put an Imperturbable Charm on the wall facing the corridor and an opacity charm on the windows. While a 'finite' could cancel the charms, it would take Flitwick or Dumbledore to cast it, not a student.

I sat back down, facing Harry again. He placed his still bare feet visibly in the middle of the compartment floor and wiggled his toes at me. I asked, "Why are you barefoot?"

"The dare," he answered.

"But wasn't that only me? And I haven't accepted it yet."

He blushed and murmured, "We both ate the fish" in a disappointed voice.

This was a side of Harry I hadn't seen in three lifetimes. But the disappointment in his voice got to me. Since neither of us was wearing a white t-shirt or black socks, we'd be stripping to our boxers to change anyway. The 'first Harry' and I did at the same time without nearly as much time, or for that matter paying any attention other than to not bump into each other, since we were changing clothes at the very last minute. Since we actually had a lot more time this time around, I decided to go along.

"Is getting starkers together all of the dare?"

"I haven't decided yet."

I toed off my trainers and put my socks in them. "What next?"

"Shirts" he replied as he started taking off his outer shirt. When he removed his t-shirt, I could see that he was blushing down to his chest. After taking off my t-shirt and wand holsters, I noticed that I was, too. I removed my trousers and sat back down in my boxers. I immediately had a "pop-out," and could feel my face burn. He already had his boxers to his feet and was stepping out of them. He was also hard, and bigger than I was. I was at 14 cm long and almost 12 cm around. He was 16 and a half cm long and 13 around (we measured them later on.) We both had a little pre-cum on the ends.

I stood up and carefully removed my boxers, and put my hands above my head. "Like what you see?" I asked.

"I like" he replied, as he mimicked my pose, then spun slowly all the way round and then turned away from me. He bent at the waist and spread his cheeks, showing me his anus. "You?"

"I like too. Turn around and look at me. He did, and I repeated his manoeuvre. He asked, "Can I touch it?"

"Not yet" I said. I turned back to face him and we both sat down facing each other with our legs slightly spread.

Harry asked, "Are you into boys, too?"

I told him "My body is into you, but the rest of me hasn't caught up yet. Are you a time-traveller?" I had to tell him before we did ANYTHING else, especially since although my body surprised me by wanting to do more, I had never done ANYTHING sexual with a guy, and this body was still quite virginal. I had only noticed that I was starting puberty three months ago, and was surprised that I was already able to make even pre-cum.

He looked at me like I had lost my mind, and I could feel that however precocious we were both acting, that he was only eleven, instead of the eleven and fifty-six and twenty-five, or whatever crazy age I was. His face turned to genuine shock, and he asked, "You're not taking the piss, are you?"

"No," I said quietly in return. "My spirit is in the eleventh year of a third lifetime. In my first lifetime, we were best friends from meeting on the train. Neither of us ever tried anything with guys. While I wasn't the most reliable friend, and occasionally hurt you badly, you always forgave me and I always came through when you really needed me to. We dropped out of Hogwarts between our sixth and seventh years to fight Voldemort, and defeated him for good towards the end of seventh year. We both became Aurors. You married Ginny and had three kids, I married Hermione Granger of all people and we had two kids. We never did anything more than kiss anyone other than our own wives. I transferred from the Aurors to the Department of Mysteries as a Battle Mage and battle magic researcher after our kids were out of school. I got caught in an unstable time vortex that suddenly showed up in the Department and 'died' at the age of fifty-six.

"The next thing I knew, I was coming out of Mum again into my second lifetime and second dimension. Yes, I remember the birth canal, breast-feeding, everything. In that dimension, you were a girl, and Hermione was a psycho who was so dangerous that I was deliberately mis-sorted into Slytherin for my own safety.

"The Fake Lord was defeated again with greater difficulty since Hermione was your lover and trying to kill me, and since the female you had the hots for me despite not being willing to leave Hermione, and Hermione wanting me dead more than life itself. Hermione was locked up in Azkaban for a while. The female you worked as an Auror, and I went straight to the Department of Mysteries to avoid any trouble. I married Daphne Greengrass, a non-Death Eater Slytherin from a non-Death Eater family. She and I had one daughter. When I was twenty-five, they released Hermione from Azkaban. She ambushed me at work and threw me into another time vortex, and I landed in this lifetime, birth and all.

"But even if this was my original dimension, I have already changed things. In my first lifetime, I was only normal in my magical strength. None of my family realized that the Evil Rat Man wasn't just a rat. So, your godfather was unjustly imprisoned without trial until you were thirteen. You never lived with him in that timeline, though you both loved each other dearly. Sirius Black did not get released, he escaped from Azkaban. So he had to live in hiding and the two of you didn't see each other that often. He was killed in a battle against Death Eaters in the Ministry building when you were fifteen. I also had no idea that Pandora Lovegood was doing dangerous experimental spell crafting at home. She died when I was almost ten, and Luna was never the same.

"I'm not sure I can be your lover as well as your friend. But I will try. I promise that no matter what, I will always be your friend. I beg you to do the same for me.

"Or, if you decide right now that you can't have sex with 'old man junk,' we can get dressed and call it a bad job. I am five months or so older than you even in body. In any case, I will always be your friend and beg you to always be mine. I love you, Harry James Potter, and nothing will ever change that. We just need to decide whether it's as a brother, or a lover.

"You also need to think of two other things. First, there is no such thing as a bloke getting pregnant. You will be required to produce an heir for the Potter line, and probably for the Black line as well, since you inherited the Lordship of the House of Black as well as the House of Potter the first time around, and since your godfather has likely named you as his heir this time, too.. You will need to find someone to have children for you. If you marry them, they will have to know and accept that you are seeing me, or whomever you end up with if it's not me. Otherwise, you will have to be faithful to your wife alone. The circles you will travel in will be unbearable if you allow yourself to be caught up in public scandal.

"Second, we will both need to be discrete with each other. While being gay isn't treated as harshly in the wizarding world as it is with the Muggles, it isn't treated nicely either; especially by boarding school students. Like it or not, you are a 'celebrity,' and people's opinions can flip on a Knut.

"I will do anything that is in my power for you, even this. Whenever anyone tells you they will do anything, they are not being completely honest. Everyone has a 'but' list. When they say 'anything,' they always mean 'anything, but.'

"I admit that I have a 'but list,' and I know that you have one too. But, my 'but list' is so small that you will never approach it, and I'm sure that you won't approach mine either.

"I am here for you, however you will have me. So, what do you want to do?"

He looked me in the eye and told me "You. I want to be your lover as well as your friend. I haven't done anything with a guy yet either, but something tells me my luck is about to change.

"I haven't even wanked yet, and I've only seen wanking once. I'm not sure I want to try buggering right here and now, but how about sucking?"

"Sucking is good. There is a charm to lube you up for anal sex, but I never used it enough to get any good. Muggle lube from the chemist's works best for that…"

He grabbed the stuff from under the serviette. It was an unopened tube of lube. "You mean this?" he asked, "Seeing it in the basket is what gave me the confidence to dare you, since I thought you'd like it…"

I finally figured out what was happening. Harry and I had already started forming a "soul-bond." I'll explain it to you as I did to him.

"Harry, we're in the middle of forming a soul bond, and I didn't realize it until just now. It never happened before, and I don't know much about them. But, they are difficult to break once started, drive the two bonded to have sex with each other as soon as they can do so, and cannot be broken once the two bonded have had sex for the first time, and probably not before.

"We are actually both a bit on the early end of the 'typical' age for such a bond forming. Since a soul bond has a sexual component to it, it requires both of the bonded to have started puberty enough to have sex and climax from it. They usually form once a generation or so, but most people tend to hide them for privacy's sake. They also usually form, if you can say 'usually' for something so rare, between a guy and a girl, though guy-guy and girl-girl bonds aren't completely unheard of. With a soul bond, you basically share everything that can be shared with two people, including emotions and physical sensation. You also share magical power, and since Voldemort will come back as soon as he can, and is trying even now, you will need this in order to be sure of winning.

"Soul bonds also only ever happen between people who are truly compatible with each other, beyond even the normal compatibility of a regular magical marriage. If they change anything at all about the people bonded, it is only the least important things; things the bonded would change themselves anyway if given the chance. So, it isn't losing the right to decide your own fate, it is actually fate being defeated by your ultimate first choice.

I never thought about doing 'that' with another bloke before now. But now I can only think of you! If we had gotten this far without the bond, I'd have still done it for you; only this way, I'll enjoy it at least as much as you will. And, however much you thought about sex, you're eleven, and probably didn't think of it that much anyway. You might have, and probably did think of girls, but you won't remember right now if you ever did. I was married happily twice but I can only see you, just as you only see me.

"The lube is certainly Pandora Lovegood's idea. I didn't buy it, and Mum certainly wouldn't have. Pandora is also a type of magical seer. While she doesn't give prophecies that I know of, she can sometimes see the possible futures of others she encounters provided those futures don't directly and immediately touch her own. She must have seen this, and decided that the best thing to do was to seal the bond with sex on the train.

"But she isn't in this bond. We will be. Through three lifetimes, I've seen three different 'Harry Potters' forced to do things by ungrateful people against their will; without being asked. Well, for me, it stops here and now. If you don't want this bond, we'll get dressed and figure out some way to stop it together. If there is any pain, I'll draw it into my own body if possible. Today, Harry Potter actually gets to decide something about his own life! What do we do, Harry?"

"How much of that was this 'soul bond' thing talking, and how much was actually you?"

"The only thing the bond is changing in me is the idea of wanting sex with a guy in general. Everything else is 'pure me.' While I didn't admit to some of the stuff I know actually being learned in and remembered from my other lifetimes, I haven't lied to you even once today."

"I've decided" he said. My heart was in my mouth for fear of rejection, and little if any of that was from the bond.

"I want this bond, and I need it too. Not for the future war, but just because I do. I love you too, Ronald Bilius Weasley. I want you for a lover as well as a friend. I give you my body and accept yours in return. Did I get the name right?" he asked in a sudden bout of nerves just as mine calmed.

"Perfectly. You can already read a few of my memories. Don't worry about privacy with each other just yet, we'll figure that out as we go along."

"Do we have time to do everything?" he asked.

I looked at my watch, which was the only thing I had on. "It's a quarter past two. We should have time to do stuff and get cleaned up and dressed. The Express normally gets to Hogsmeade, which is the magical village just outside of Hogwarts, at half past six or so."

Harry said, "Stand up, and we'll hug and kiss for a moment or two. You can play with my bum if you want while we do it. Should I remove my glasses before we kiss?" I shook my head 'no' in reply.

We stood up, and hugged each other tightly. We closed our eyes and started kissing, me playing with his bum the same way he was playing with mine. We weren't that great at first, but we improved quickly. After about a minute, I told him "Ok. I'll be the receptive one, or the one that takes the penis inside their body, first for both oral and anal. I'm at least five months older than you, and I don't want to be accused of molesting some little brat when I'm the one who was seduced."

By now, we were both instinctively talking just above a whisper. Though I knew my charms would hold up, and no one outside of our compartment would hear or see anything from us (we learned later that at least Hermione had tried and failed to listen in,) we weren't taking any chances.

Harry answered in my ear "So that's how you want it, you dirty old man?"

I replied, "I washed this morning, so I'm just as clean is you. And we both know you're bigger than me! It's gonna hurt a lot when you pop my arse. Please don't kill me…"

Harry answered, "Don't worry, Old Man. Your Brat is a gentle lover, I hope…"

xxxxx

I said, "We'll both be as gentle as we can, since we're both virgins. Sit on the edge of the bench with your legs spread wide so I can suck you. Do you want to come in my mouth, or face and neck or chest?"

"Your mouth, and you can do the same for me."

"Ok. I'll swallow most of it, but leave some in my mouth and French kiss you, so we taste ourselves as well as each other."

"Ok. Go for it Old Man!" he said as I sat down cross-legged between his legs.

I looked up at him and said, "In order to get as much of you in my mouth as I can, I'm going to relax my throat muscles. I'll go as quick or slow as I need to, to keep from choking. Also, a bloke's nuts draw up tight right before they come, so I'll be caressing them part of the time to try to tell. But tell me when you feel it, anyway. I don't want us coming in each other's windpipes! Finally, it will feel great when you come, but don't shout." He nodded, and I went down on him.

He might have lasted two minutes before his nuts drew up and he tapped the top of my head. I barely had time to get the head of it out of my throat and into my mouth before he came, and came, and came some more. The look on his face was pre ecstasy. There was a lot more than I expected, but I managed to swallow as much as I promised. And while I didn't come myself, I felt an echo of his orgasm in my own body. We stood, and kissed deeply, me pushing and him sucking what was left of his semen into his mouth.

We finished switching places, with me on the bench and him on the floor. He was awkward at first, but quickly got the hang of it. Which was all right to be getting on with, since I didn't last any longer than he did. We stood and kissed as we did before.

He asked, "Did you feel me come, too, Old Man?"

"Yes Brat, I did," I answered. "Do you want us to sit on each other, or how do you want us to do it?"

Harry answered, "I guess we'll have to stick it in each other. I don't see any place to lay down, and I don't want to try us sitting on the bench for our first time."

"Ok, Brat. Put your clothes next to my wands. Put your wand there too so we don't accidentally break it. I'll kneel on the bench where we were sitting. After you finish me, we'll change places. Get our t-shirts handy so we can use them to clean ourselves up as we need to."

We quickly moved around as needed. Harry opened the box and took the tube of lube out. "What exactly do I do with this?" he asked.

"Smear some all around on one of your fingers and finger it into my anus. After a minute or so, put some more on that finger and the one next to it and finger me some more. After that, rub some on your penis so it is all nice and slick. Then, put it into me slowly. You'll know if you go too fast.

He quietly put some on his right index finger and started slowly and gently fingering me. As he did, he lightly caressed my left foot and calf as much as he could reach.

"You too?" I asked.

"And you?" he asked in reply.

"Yeah" I answered him. "I don't want them stuck in my face or anything, especially if they smell, but yeah. I also like to caress my lover's legs and such with them, and have them do it in return. Before, I never even wanked unless I was barefooted."

"Never wanked, but me too, Old Man," he said as he switched to two fingers.

We did that for maybe two minutes before he removed his fingers and gently pushed himself all the way in…AND PAIN! I gasped in almost agony, and he started to pull out.

"DON'T MOVE!" I gasped. "When I nod, push it SLOWLY all the way back in, then give me a minute to get used to it. When I nod again, start doing me, but slowly and gently."

He said, "Nod when you're ready, Old Man. And you can hurt me too, when it's my turn…"

"I won't hurt you on purpose!" I replied, the last word being a gasp as I had nodded and he pushed himself back in quicker than I was ready for.

I figured out that part of the pain was from me holding my breath. I nodded, and forced myself to breathe.

He started in on me, slowly at first. He carefully sped up at my urging. By three minutes, he was going full speed and the sound of our bodies slapping together was louder than we had spoken since we were still wearing our trousers. The pain was still there, but it was fading, and the pleasure of what I was receiving was kicking in big time. I could feel the tension building in both of us and gasped, "Do me as hard and fast as you can! We're coming!"

He did, and we both came together less than half a minute later, feeling both our own climaxes and each other's! Words really can't describe how we felt as Harry shot in me again and again and again. I caught at least one squirt of my own semen on the bottom of my chin, as well as shooting all over the back of the bench. Whatever charm the people or house elves that clean the train carriages put on the seats held; instead of soaking in, the semen just stayed there at first, then slowly started running down.

"That was brilliant, Old Man!" Harry gasped in pleasure as he pulled out of me, and wiped himself off on the soles of my feet. "I could kinda feel your pain in my arse too, that's why I started to pull out so quick."

I answered, "Yeah, brilliant beyond brilliant. I felt both of or orgasms, too! Now, be a good Brat and wipe the soles of my feet off with your t-shirt so I don't track that all over the floor."

Instead of using his t-shirt, he used his tongue Neither one of 'expected' that, and had you told me I'd go along with that even with Hermione or Daphne, I'd have laughed in your face at best. But, 'it felt right at the time…'

It's a little-known fact unless you have "given" your partner Anal Sex, or they you, that the first couple of times you receive it, you can't close up "down there" right away, especially if the "insertive" partner has any size to them. Even at eleven, Harry and I were already of respectable size even for full adults, and puberty would give us both more of that "gift" before it finished with us. I felt "Harry" start to run out of me shortly after he pulled out, so I closed my knees together so I wouldn't drip straight to the floor. It took me as long to "close up" as it did for the act itself. Harry had not only licked my feet clean, he also got some of what he left inside me that was dripping out, along with my still-recovering anus. Like I said, 'it felt right at the time…"

As I stood off the bench, I said, "Brat, stand where I was kneeling. I can't squat to get you in my mouth otherwise, and we'll both return each other's 'favours.' After I 'clean' you like you 'cleaned' me, get down and we'll French kiss. Then, kneel like I did on the bench, 'cause it's the Old Man's turn." He did, we did, and then he kneeled on the bench like I had.

I started off by using my tongue on his still-virginal anus for a minute or two, drooling enough saliva so I was able to push my tongue into him a few times after about two minutes. He gasped in pleasure, then he whispered "Ewe! That felt awesome, Old Man! But you came all over the seatback, and I almost put my head and hair in it!"

"My first squirt caught the bottom of my chin!" I whispered back.

"Lean forward so I can reach it with my tongue."

I did, and he licked the bottom of my chin three times. He whispered, "That should do it. Now finger me and do me!"

I started with one finger as he taunted me in a whisper that was getting sexier by the second. "Just like an old man, Old Man! All taAAALlk and no action." I guess that I'm not the only one who talks funny when his lover changes gears.

But he amazingly kept it up. "Yeah, you're good with the fingers, Old Man! But is that all you've got? I bet that that's all you've got the energy to give meEEEEOHGODOHGODBOTTOMANDFREEZEPLEASEPLEAHEAHEASE!"

I didn't put it in any harder or faster than he did me. I couldn't, really, since I felt it in my arse too as I put it into him. I was half-doubled over him even as I kept bottomed-out inside him. We were both gasping, and my tears dripped from my face onto his back.

He gasped, "My arse burned and hurt like mad when I pushed into you. That's why I bottomed out so fast and tried to pull out, too. How are you?"

"The same as you, I guess." I bent down and kissed his spine level with the bottom of his shoulder blades. I continued, "If you breathe normally instead of hitching and holding your breath, the pain goes away pretty quickly. You'll still be sore, but it won't hurt, and you will feel the good feelings when we get going."

It took us another minute or two to catch our breaths, and then I started, slow at first. I gradually sped up, using the bond to "feel" how fast I could go without hurting Harry, and myself as well. I was going full-speed about as quickly as Harry had sped up when he was doing me, and we were both whisper-shouting in pure ecstasy.

We started to climax three times, and Harry blocked it each time telling me to keep going. After about fifteen minutes, he finally allowed us to come. It was beyond mind-blowing as each wave of pleasure tore through our bodies, echoed into each other's bodies, and passed back through our own again! "WOW, just WOW." Harry panted as I pulled out and he closed his knees together. He said, "Before you 'wipe off, lean over and lick the bottom of my chin, along with what I don't lick off of around my mouth, and my nose. I got me better than you got you, and I wasn't even trying!"

I did as he asked, and I noticed that his glasses were starting to come apart. I said, "Harry, your glasses…"

He answered, "The cello tape is coming loose. Cheap-ass Aunt and Uncle would never buy me a new, or even a decent pair. This pair got snapped again during the last round of 'Harry-Hunting' Dudders got up to two weeks before my Hogwarts letters started coming. Fat bastard got what was coming to him, though!" I was licking as he was ranting. As I turned to give his feet 'attention,' he continued.

"When Hagrid finally gave me my Hogwarts Letter, Dudders and Uncle Vernon pissed him off, and Hagrid gave the little whale a pig's tail! Curly, hairy, and everything! It never occurred to either of them, or to Aunt Petunia to have it magic'ed away. When they dropped me off at King's Cross, they were on their way to a private plastic surgeon to have it cut off! Their "Ickle Diddums" will miss his first week of school, and maybe his second!"

Having finished up with the 'wiping and cleaning,' I said, "Brat, I'm going to wipe my hands off and remove your glasses while your feet dry. I'll spell your glasses to like-new and put them back on your face. You can 'clean' me then, ok?"

He nodded, slightly in shock. I told him "We're lovers, Brat! I know you'd do it for me if it was the other way around. It makes me feel just as special to do things for you as it does for you to do things for me, and not just when we're having cherry-sex."

"Yeah, thanks Old Man! What is 'cherry sex,' and why is losing your virginity 'getting your cherry popped?'"

As I removed his glasses, I answered, "When a girl has sex for the first time, her hymen or 'maidenhead' is torn or 'broken.' This causes her to bleed some, enough that if she's on her back in a bed she'll get bloodstains on the sheet beneath her. When you squeeze or 'pop' an actual ripe cherry, it releases red juice.

"Cherries are sweet, and most guys think it's 'sweet' to be the first lover their partner has experienced, so it 'fits.' Girls pay more attention to if they can keep their partners faithful to them alone. Since a guy doesn't have anything like what a girl has, she has to take his word for if he had been with someone else before her.

While witches are mostly equal to wizards, unlike the Muggle world, there are still double standards that are the same in both worlds. Some guys brag about how many partners they've had, and how many of those had been virgins, but witches who have many different sexual partners are thought of poorly just like Muggle girls and women."

A quick "Oculus Reparo" saw Harry's glasses like new, and me placing them on his face. As he stood up on the bench for me to finish 'cleaning' him, he asked, "How was my 'Cherry,' Old Man?"

Before I took him in my mouth, I replied "Sweet! And mine?"

While I had him in my mouth sucking him clean, he said "But I thought you had had sex before with your wives in your other lifetimes?"

Having finished 'cleaning' him, I answered, "That doesn't count, though. They were both girls, and it was only one girl per lifetime. I hadn't even wanked in this lifetime yet, and you're my first guy ever. I hadn't even watched or caught anyone wanking ever. So yeah, I had a 'Cherry' for that, and you popped it dry! How was it?"

"Beyond awesome, Old Man! Can you let me do you again? Or can you do me?"

"I want to try something a little bit tamer, but just about as good. Let's 'grind one out' on each other."

"You mean you just want to wank after what we just did?" Harry asked incredulously.

"Not quite, Brat" I replied with a whispered chuckle (we still hadn't come close to normal speaking volume even when gasping in agony as we split each other's bums open.) "I'll put a little lube on our penises and bellies, to make sure things are still slick. Our anuses should still be slick enough, but we'll each lube our right middle fingers just to make sure. Then we'll stand, hug, French kiss, and finger each other's anuses, while grinding our penises together and between each other's bellies. That way, we'll come together for the first time while kissing, too. We can also see if we can come above our nipples while grinding together. How does that sound?"

"Where's the lube, Old Man? Let's grind."

Not quite seven minutes later, we discovered that at least one of us, and probably both made it to the base of our collarbones. We were too busy climaxing to pay attention to that particular detail. I licked him clean, and he returned the favour. Now, it was getting late, and we had to clean ourselves up for real, get into our Hogwarts uniforms, and clean the compartment up as well.

zzzzz

We also needed to mollify our two not pleased with the show familiars. Pandora had thought of that, as well. There were several pieces of crisp streaky bacon in the picnic hamper that we had previously missed, along with a can of kippers in a Muggle resealable bag, so that what Lucky Boy didn't eat could be given to him later without messing up the hamper. After bribing our familiars, it was time to get to work.

"Harry? It's almost five in the afternoon now, and we need to get cleaned up and dressed. We'll use my t-shirt and our outer shirts along with magic to get everything cleaned and dried off. Then, after we get dressed, we'll freshen the air in the compartment. We don't want to smell like sex, or have the compartment smell that way, just in case someone gets nosy. Also, our 'sex names' are for only when we are sure beyond all doubt that no one but us will ever hear. If it's just us with no doubt, 'Old Man' and 'Brat' are cool, even if we're only hanging out and not doing anything. But otherwise, it has to be 'Harry' and 'Ron.' There's a reporter witch for the Daily Prophet named Rita Skeeter. She writes about anything but specializes in half-truths, lies, gossip and slander; the truth and law be damned. She's also an illegal beetle Animagus, and if she's chasing you, you won't know it until you show in the next day's front-page headline."

"Being a beetle Animagus is illegal?" Harry asked.

I answered, "Being any Animagus without registering with the Ministry within fifteen days of your first successful Animagus transformation is illegal. The fine is steep, but almost no one actually registers.

"Professor McGonagall is registered, but she is a Transfiguration Mistress, and about as strict and straight-laced as they come. Professor Dumbledore, who is also a Transfiguration Master, is a registered fire-phoenix Animagus.

"However, it takes so much more power to transform to the form of a magical animal when compared to a Muggle one, that it's taught that turning into a magical animal is impossible. Dumbledore has transformed into his Animagus form no more than five times in his entire life, including his first successful transformation, and the one he had to do at the Ministry to register. He hasn't transformed in so long that almost everyone who reads the Animagus registry thinks that he put the entry in himself as a joke. They don't pay attention to the fact that he registered in 1907, when he most assuredly was not Chief Warlock and could not get away with sneaking in a fraudulent entry.

"Your Dad, godfather, and the Evil Rat Man became Animagii while they were fourth years at Hogwarts, to keep their mutual friend Remus Lupin company during 'that time of the month.' Remus Lupin is a 'good' werewolf, but not the one I mowed for. Seeing that Dumbledore had a restraining order placed on Sirius Black, I can guarantee that he didn't key Remus into the wards.

"Werewolves only attack humans, so Animagii in their animal form are safe. It came out at Pettigrew's trial. Your Dad was dead. They had already done too much illegal shite to your Godfather. Pettigrew already had fifteen life sentences in Azkaban; between the Muggles, your parents, and being a Death Eater; with no money to pay up even if they fined him.

"Back to us, though. No hints about the 'us' in us beyond being best friends where anyone can see or hear it.

"Let's get cleaned up and dressed. If we have time, I'll tell you more."

We kissed, and then I started to clean in earnest, telling and teaching Harry what I did as I went. It took a lot of quick and careful charms, and the occasional transfiguration, but I knew what I was doing, Harry was a very quick learner one on one where he practiced as he learned, and we could both work quickly together when the chips were down, just like "first Harry" and me. By five to six we were showered, dried, dressed in our Hogwarts Uniforms, and in a clean dry compartment with the windows open to expel the last of the "fragrances."

"We're still a half-hour or so from Hogsmeade, and won't actually start classes until tomorrow. But being a hard-working chap, you're already learning magic. Let's have a quiz! I'll ask, and you answer."

"Ok, Ron."

"Lumos"

"The Wand-Lighting Charm. As you teach it, no wand movement is required, and the incantation is "Lumos." You need to cancel it to avoid stressing your wand needlessly and wasting magic rather than letting go of the wand. The counter-charm to cancel the light spell is 'Nox' or the Wand-Extinguishing Charm. Nox is cast just like Lumos. There are wand movements for both Lumos and Nox, but you don't teach them since you can easily cast both spells without them. Some, but not all ensorcelled lights use the same commands to light and extinguish."

"The most important part of casting a magic spell, other than having the magic to cast it with?"

"Intent. While wand movements, incantations, and even the wand itself are important, they do no more and no less than focus our own magic and intent."

"Aguamenti?"

"The Water Making Spell. It's a charm that draws the water from the surrounding air and shoots it from the end of the caster's wand like a hose. No wand movement, point the wand tip at the surface you want to get wet, incantation is 'Aguamenti.' Spell by default produces water at roughly sixteen degrees Celsius. You can modify it to change the temperature to a range of between 2 and 97 degrees Celsius by specifying the temperature after the basic incantation. Can also be modified to produce soap by drawing alkali and lipids from the surrounding air and the caster's body, though using actual soap like we did is far easier and preferable to avoid skin irritation from the loss of lipids and pH imbalance the spell causes if taking the source from the caster. An experienced caster of Aguamenti can truly conjure the soap, if they seriously overload the spell without allowing the extra energy to affect the velocity or quantity of water produced, where the excess power goes to by default."

"Cologne?"

Harry winced, and answered "Not for use on private parts. Aguamenti works if this is forgotten."

"Purgato sursum?"

"Basic cleaning charm for almost any solid surface. No wand motion to start, point tip of wand at the area or item to be cleaned, incantation is 'Purgato sursum.' If cleaning an area, start at an outside edge of the area and work your way in, preferably in a clockwise direction. Anti-clockwise works, but not quite as well. Works on fabric, all floor coverings, and even human skin. Must be used carefully and not be overpowered, especially on human skin.. Overpowering can damage the item or surface being cleaned."

"Drying Charm?"

"Just what it says on the tin. No wand motion, point the wand at the area to be dried, and give the incantation 'Aercalidus.' Produces a gentle breeze of warm, very dry air to quickly dry surfaces, fabrics, or human skin."

"Potter Family unique magical trait?"

"Remote casting. If I have already been chosen by a wand, or 'force' a wand to choose me, I can then cast spells with it, even if it is in the hand of another wizard. The focus and power required are greater than if I'm actually holding the wand, and can be overpowered if the remote wand is actually in the hand of another wizard or witch. With enough power, I can use this ability with any spell I know, provided that the spell either does not require wand movement, or I can cast the spell without having to use the correct wand movement. Common use would be for a 'Lumos' if I drop my wand somewhere at night; though not dropping my wand in the first place is preferred."

"Wand holster?"

"Best place for a wand if you aren't using it. Thanks again, by the way."

"You're welcome. What do you owe me?"

"Game of Strip Poker in the Room of Requirement. The loser gets done hard for at least half an hour shouting as loud as they want. After we finish, the loser can't dress until we leave the room. If I lose, I have to go without underwear and socks for the rest of the weekend, and go completely barefoot wherever we can do it without getting caught. If you lose, we both do."

"I thought it was loser only?"

"Going barefoot and commando makes me feel like I'm getting naked for you, or that you are getting naked for me. I like getting naked with and for you."

I shrug and ask "Pinning?"

"Hurts like all hell. But it means that my holster and wand won't go on walkabout unless you or I remove it."

"Close, but not quite. Others can remove your holster, but it will take them a lot of time. But reasonable enough for classmates, I hope. Owl treats"

"Food for post-owls and owl familiars in the bonding process. They can also work as a bribe, but not nearly as well as crisp streaky bacon. They will NOT work on Kneazle familiars. They only take kippers; especially if he already ate whatever tuna sashimi we hadn't eaten ourselves. By the way, even with your three lifetimes, it still kinda freaks me out that you know my familiar better than I do."

"It only seems like I do. You really do know her better than me, even now. Old Man?"

"My pet, bedroom, or sex name for you. Yours for me is 'Brat.' They come from you being at least a few months older than me no matter how you figure it, and the both of us flipping the bird to our age differences. We are actually equal in most ways, and in any way we're not equal, you insist that I am the one in charge. We can only use those names when we are truly alone together. Our business stays our business, so the 'sheeple' don't give us the business."

"You are in charge, Brat. No one pushes you around any more, not even me unless I'm saving your life, or if I'm teaching you something. Even then, you are your own person. You've given me too much already for me to take away your free agency like everyone else seems to…"

"-KNOCK KNOCK!-"

"Start of a corny joke. It's also a not-so-subtle hint that perhaps Professor Weasley had better take down our privacy charms and unlock the door? No chance in hell I could drop them…"

I did just that and opened the door to reveal Hermione Granger.

"You two need to get changed… You're already changed into your uniforms?"

Harry answered her "Yes." As he motioned her in, he continued, "If you remember, I said that Ron and I needed to change into our uniforms when he and I had Neville and you leave a few hours ago. By the way, did he and you find Trevor?"

She said, "Yes, we did. Ron's brother Percy conjured a small cardboard box with holes in the lid so Trevor wouldn't get away again. Why were you barefoot when we came in earlier?"

"I told you that I had a headache and was going to lay down, right? I was already in the process of stripping to my boxers to do just that when you two showed up, since I don't like sleeping in street or play clothes, and I didn't feel like digging out my pyjamas. Had the two of you shown up a minute later, you would have seen much more of 'The Boy Who Lived' than you ever did in Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century or any of the other books you listed off.

"While Ron is a bigger fan-boy of Dark Wizard Defeaters than you could ever dream of being, he at least had the common decency of not fan-boying on me until after I gave him my name. And that was after he got me on the train, which I never would have done otherwise, and loaned me the genuine affection of his Mum and younger sister, along with giving his own.

"He also freely admitted that he knew nothing about me other than what I managed to share during twenty minutes of train catching, and proceeded to tell me more about my history and place in magical society than everyone else on the face of the earth combined, including you. He also told me about him, and listened while I told him about me, not the scar or the fame.

"He also fed me one of the better meals I've had in weeks if not months, which he made himself, and let me break down and cry in his shoulder like a three year old at one point without embarrassing me or making me feel like a three year old. After you guys left, he also gave me a couple of paracetamol for my headache and let me use his cloak as a blanket since mine was buried in the bottom of my trunk."

Harry and I actually did take a couple of paracetamol each, but that wasn't the end that was hurting us. The potions I have stocked are for far bigger things than a simple "ache," whichever end you're talking about, and paracetamol works just as good for a magical as it does for a Muggle. While we did keep each other warm, our cloaks were at that time still buried in our trunks, and were the furthest thing from our minds.

Harry continued. "While you were rude first, I was rude back. How about us apologizing to each other and starting over? I am sorry I was rude to you. But I only learned about all this garbage a month ago, and being praised like a movie star for being orphaned at the age of fifteen months is frankly creepy and sick. But I had no excuse to unload on you, though. Friends?"

She clasped and shook his hand, answering "Friends, Stubby. I'm Hermione Granger. I'm almost twelve, and I'm very smart. However, I haven't figured out yet how to not 'act' very smart. I was bullied a lot in primary for being 'too' smart, but the teachers never advanced me, even though that might have actually helped me. I always try my best at academics, and try even harder when I'm nervous or frightened.

"My best if not only friends in primary were my parents and my books. My accidental magic consisted of summoning things I wanted, which were usually books.

"I also don't care for the colour pink. Anything pink forced on me would either change to a pale blue or shrink so small that it wouldn't even fit on my dolls.

"I'm insecure about my appearance, especially my hair and front teeth. My parents are both dentists and dental surgeons. They want to fix my teeth the 'Muggle' way, but they also say that I'm not quite old enough to do that yet, especially since I'm attending a boarding school.

"However, even though I'm insecure about my appearance and want guys to look at me, I don't wear makeup or bother with appearance beyond dressing neatly in clean clothing and keeping myself clean and free of blemishes. It just takes too much time to do every day, and I honestly don't know how to use the junk.

"After Hogwarts, I'm not sure what I want to do, but I think I might want to work in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as a barrister, if they have those.

"I don't know what house I'll be sorted into, but I'm hoping for Gryffindor, since both Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall were Gryffindors"

Harry smiled at her and said, "That's a start. Try to 'relax;' not in your effort as much as showing your effort and telling others what to do. You were originally going to remind us to change into uniform if we haven't already. We might have needed the reminder, but if you aren't careful with how you say what you say, you come across like you think that you're an adult and we are only seven, instead of all of us being more or less the same age. The other girls will ignore, or perhaps even snub you, and the guys will get rude if not nasty.

"As for me, I'm Harry Potter. I am famous for having survived a criminal attack that killed my parents when I was fifteen months old, and the perpetrator supposedly being killed in the bargain. After that, I was raised by my Muggle Aunt and Uncle, who didn't like magic or me at all. I didn't learn about the magical world, or my place in it, until a month ago. I made my first friend, at least in my living memory, at 10:45 this morning when I arrived to board a train I otherwise would never have found. I hope to get into Gryffindor, since both of my parents and all of my friend's siblings are there. I don't know what I want to do after school, partly because I have no idea what I'll be good at. But, I will find something. I don't need to worry about money because I have so much that I couldn't spend it all in three lifetimes. But I'd give it all away for just one hour…"

And, Hermione hugged him before he got himself worked up any further. It took him a couple of seconds, but he finally allowed himself to relax in her arms. He said, "Thanks, Hermione. I've been tending to get worked up easily today. It must be the train ride."

She answered, "There is that. Harry, it's taken you eleven years to live your life. You don't have to force yourself to sprint through reliving it. I'm your friend today, and I'll be your friend tomorrow. I'd better catch back up with Neville. He and I will need to help each other with our trunks, and keep Trevor from going on walkabout again."

The Guard announced over the PA system: "We will be reaching Hogwarts in five minutes' time. Please leave your luggage on the train; it will be taken up to the school separately."

I said, "Even without bothering with the luggage, you might want to go back to Neville, especially if you had him expecting you back."

"Ok. I'll see you guys in a little bit." Hermione left us to catch back up with Neville.

Harry asked, "How do I look?"

I looked and replied, "Not red-eyed, just a bit damp." I hit him with a wandless drying charm and asked, "how are you?"

He shrugged and answered, "Like the world has lost its mind. Can you hold my hand?"

I took his right hand in my left, answering, "I'll hold it as much as I can. I'll only let go when we can't hide it, and even then only to not embarrass you." I whisper so only he can hear me "I love you, Harry James Potter."

He whispered back "And I love you, Ronald Bilius Weasley."

The train brakes came on, and in no time we had stopped at the high platform at Hogsmeade Station. Along with everyone else on the train, we opened the outside compartment door and stepped out onto the platform, wearing our cloaks instead of freezing in the early Scottish Highland evening. Everyone else was walking towards the front of the train, so we followed along, subtly holding hands in the last of the twilight and being the last ones in the group.

The group split in two after passing the locomotive. The larger group, consisting of the second through seventh years, walked towards the carriages. I asked, "Harry? Can you see anything pulling the carriages?"

He answered, "Yes, but they are out of focus. They vaguely look like horses. What are they?"

I answered, "I'm letting go of your hand. We're getting close to the teachers and students anyway." After letting go, I asked, "Do you still see them?" I see him shake his head out of the corner of my eye.

I tell him "Those are Thestrals. They resemble horses, but are practically bald, and have large leathery wings. They are gentle creatures, but eat meat and blood rather than grain or fodder. Normally one can only see them if they have seen and comprehended death. They are sadly misunderstood creatures. They are easy to ride if you are able to abide magical flight. They are also nearly as good at navigating as post owls.

"You saw them blurred when we held hands because you were naturally drawing on my magic as well as your own. They are still there, even if you can't see them. Sadly, you will see them in your own right in the next few years. Don't be surprised when you see them, but don't be in any hurry, either."

Our smaller group of first years split off towards a bobbing lantern. As we got close, we could see that Hagrid was carrying it. The Keeper of the Keys was repeatedly calling out "Firs' years, Firs' years over here!" Seeing Harry and me approach, he called out "All right there, Harry?" Hagrid beamed at Harry over the see of heads of our fellow first-year students.

He called out, "Any more Firs' years? Alright, mind yer step, now! C'mon, follow me!"

Hagrid led us down the slightly treacherous and narrow path to the shore of the Black Lake, where all the boats were lined up ready for us students to board them.

He announced that we would get our first glimpse of Hogwarts just after rounding the next bend in the path.

There was a loud and rolling "oooh!" as our group of just over forty eleven-year-olds stepped out onto the shore of the Black Lake, where Hogwarts shone in all her glory on the far side.

Hagrid shouted "No more'n four to a boat!" while pointing the line of boats to those o us who hadn't noticed them. Harry and I came up behind Neville and Hermione, and we boarded the same boat they did.

With all forty-plus students safely embarked, Hagrid said, "Everyone in? Right then – FORWARD!"

With that verbal command, eleven boats with students and one boat with Groundskeeper moved out smartly as one to take us on to our futures.

The lake was smooth as glass. The giant squid was nowhere to be seen. All of us were utterly silent in awe of the view. As the first boats approached the cliff, under which the boats were ensorcelled to sail, Hagrid shouted out "Heads down!"

Everyone ducked down, avoiding the hanging ivy as we sailed beneath the cliff, which was actually more of a wide rock bridge. We sailed along until the water stopped on a pebble-strewn shoreline where all the boats grounded.

As one, all of us students got out of the boats and followed Hagrid up a somewhat narrow stone path that sloped upward. After we walked for a ways, we exited the stone path and were on the lawn leading up to the main entrance to the castle.

We ascended the stone steps following behind Hagrid. He looked over his shoulder, he asked "Everyone here?" After watching a moment to satisfy himself that we were all still there with him, he knocked three times on the door with his gigantic fist



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