Memories & the Secret of Hogwarts
Chapter 4 — Back to Hogwarts
September 1st 1992
Harry and Neville dragged their tired selves towards Platform 9 ¾ the morning of the first. They had actually just gotten back a few hours ago. Gran had taken them on a back-to-school Holiday in Vietnam learning about how the magical community in Vietnam had assisted to help bring a semblance of peace to the region during the war.
It was an educational experience that neither boy complained about as it was as much fun as it was educational. Harry’s favorite part was the visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. It was a muggle attraction but Harry and Neville both found it fun crawling through. They had also spent ample time lounging on the beach and playing in the ocean.
Harry did have the weirdest dream last night. In it, he had been staying at the Weasley’s and they had been running behind. Mrs. Weasley had gone through the barrier ahead with Ginny leaving Harry and Ron to follow. When they had tried to go through they couldn’t get through they couldn’t and crashed their trollies into a completely solid wall attracting the attention of all the Muggles on the platform.
As Harry and Neville approached the platform Harry could feel an unpleasant tightening in the pit of his stomach. Harry recognized the feeling, it was the flittering feeling of fear. The fear that even now with Gran that she would go ahead and Harry would be stuck not able to get on to the platform. Harry watched as Neville ran through the barrier. Harry’s heart started to beat faster, he looked over at Gran to see if she was going to go ahead of Harry and she was looking around keeping watch of the muggles passing by to make sure none see them.
Harry sighed and took a deep breath before heading towards the barrier. He decided to walk in case his dream was right and it sealed. Harry closed his eyes as he approached the barrier. He pushed and found that he wasn’t able to get through. He pushed on the trolley a bit harder trying to force his way through. He tried for almost a full minute before gran seemed to process that Harry was not able to get on.
He felt like a little lost puppy looking at Gran. Gran glanced around quickly not saying a word waved her wand at the wall that was the barrier to platform 9 ¾.
Gran shook her head as she looked at the time on her pocket watch. Harry knew that it was still early and the train hadn’t left yet but he was still worried not so much for himself because he knew Gran would get him on the train but what about all of the muggle-born students, how would they get on the train without the barrier.
“Harry. Dear,” Gran said breaking Harry out of his thoughts. “Let’s go find somewhere to apparate onto the platform and then I’ll notify the ministry that something is wrong with the barrier so that others won’t miss the train.” Harry nodded and grabbed his trolley and they headed out of the station.
Harry didn’t like the feel of apparition anymore that he did at the beginning of summer but each time it did get easier. Hedwig squawked at Harry in discomfort. It seemed she didn’t like apparition any more than Harry did. Harry quickly opened Hedwig’s cage and the owl swooped out. She stretched her wings for a few minutes before perching herself on Harry’s shoulder. Harry reached up to stroke her feathers when she gave his hand a more that affectionate nip. Harry let out a small cry of pain and looked up at the owl who stared back almost daring Harry to say something. He intelligently decided to keep his mouth shut.
“Harry! Gran!” Neville cried from the other side of the platform pushing his way through the crowd. “What happened I thought you were right behind me?”
“I don’t know,” Harry responded. “When I tried to follow the barrier was sealed and I couldn’t get through."
Gran smiled at the boys. “Doesn’t matter now your both here and can get on the train. I would normally stay a bit longer however I need to head to the Ministry to let them know about the barrier.” Gran said, she leaned down a bit and gave Harry and Neville both hugs and wished them a good school year.
Harry was still a bit uncomfortable with the affection Gran gave him but he hugged her back and gave her a tight smile as she left. Neville and Harry quickly found a seat towards the back of the train and waited for their friends.
They were only waiting about fifteen minutes when Hermione arrived pulling her trunk behind her. Hermione grinned at them as they both got up and helped her put her trunk up into the rack.
Harry was about to ask how she got on to the platform when she pulled out her summer essays and started to review them. As she reviewed her essays she rambled about what she struggled with and what she thought she could improve upon.
“Did you two finish your work?” She asked. When both boys nodded their heads she held her hand out waiting for them to show her. Neville made a move to get his out when Harry stopped him.
“Hermione,” Harry said with a sigh. “We talk about this last year. If we ask you to review our work that one thing, but demand to look at our work isn’t nice. Besides Neville and I looked over each other’s work after we finished it.”
Hermione’s cheeks reddened at Harry reprimand. “Sorry.” She mumbled quietly. There were only a few minutes left before the train would be leaving and Harry was starting to worry about Ron and the other Weasleys. He stood up from his seat and looked out the window hoping to see his friends.
As Harry was looking out the window the door to the compartment opened and Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny entered.
Harry smiled at his friends and he and Neville made room for Ginny to sit by them. They were surprised when Ron plopped himself between then before he looked and Ginny.
“You can go now Ginny,” Ron said with what Harry could only describe as a snarl. Everyone’s mouths dropped opened and Ginny’s eyes started to water.
Before any of the tears could fall from her eyes Harry stood up and grabbed Ginny’s hand and pulled her all the way into the compartment. Neville who couldn’t believe Ron’s nerve proceeded to push Ron off the seat and th8+9 Hermione decided to take pity on Ron and asked him how if summer essays went. Ron’s blushed a bit and muttered that he hadn’t started.
Hermione’s eyes widened and everyone else knew exactly what the twelve almost thirteen years old was thinking. “How have you not done any of your work and we are on our way to school.” Hermione spoke her thoughts. “Get your things out now we’ll hopefully get some of done before school.”
“I would start with your potions essay.” Neville said, “Snape will give you 2 months’ worth detention and take house points away.” Everyone nodded in agreement and Hermione set to work on helping Ron complete at least the potions assignment.
Harry asked the twins if they finished their work to which he was pleased to see them both smiled and nod. The rest of the ride was spent helping Ron with his work and telling Ginny about Hogwarts over games of exploding snaps.
Arriving at the station Ginny didn’t want to leave them to go with Hagrid but they all assured her that crossing the lake was something she didn’t want to miss and it would give her a chance to speak with some of her classmates before they were sorted. They all gave her a hug before she headed over to the boats with the other 1st years.
Harry smiled as she looked back at them. He then turned around and followed Fred and George to the carriages. Harry stopped at the sight of them. He wasn’t sure how to describe what he was seeing the carriages that the others were climbing into looked perfectly normal except for what was pulling them. He wasn’t sure how to describe them.
The creatures had the body that resembled a very large horse with bat-like wing. Its body looked to be just a skeleton with fleshless black coats. It was an unsettling sight. Harry could only stand and stare at the creatures. Harry jumped back when one of the creatures turned its dragon-like head straight around and looked at him with pure white eyes.
“Harry?” Ron called from the carriage door. “What are you looking at?”
Harry looked from the creature to Ron and back again. Harry figured seeing things that no one else was seeing was not a good thing and he would ask Hagrid how the carriages were pulled but he wouldn’t mention it to his friends. Harry just shook his head and smiled at his friends and joined them inside.