The first of everybody's favourite specky little fellow's girls arrives!
(A/N: Hey all, Leonineus here, with ANOTHER new chapter of Heir of Sword and Stave! This chapter will cover Harry’s arrival at Platform 9¾, and you’ll be seeing a very familiar face! Yep, you guessed it (I’m starting to become a little patronizing because of the chapter title aren’t I?), the first of everybody’s favourite specky little fellow’s girls has arrived on the scene in the form of a young almost-twelve-year-old Muggleborn girl! For the sake of negating an argument, Hermione will not be bushy-haired in this. Her hair will be more wavy/curly, like the Hermione in the films. Well anyway, enjoy the chapter guys, and I will see you in the next chapter!)
Harry stepped through the barrier onto Platform 9¾, looking around. The platform was mostly obscured with thick steam that issued from the red locomotive nearby. Snatches of conversation drifted towards the eleven-year-old as he strode towards the train; tearful goodbyes from parents and children alike, people hailing their friends after time apart, keen discussions about the latest news in the Wizarding world. Harry glanced around as he walked along the platform. A blonde-haired boy with two thickset ones, sneering around; a family of people with flaming red hair, the youngest boy having his nose vigorously rubbed by his mother while an older pair who looked to be identical twins teased him; a slightly plump boy moaning to an elderly woman about losing a toad; a young girl with lots of long curly hair and prominent front teeth looking around excitedly. Harry did a double take when he saw this last person. Though he had never seen the face of the brunette in his dream, he knew instinctively that this was her.
Hermione Granger was looking around in awe and joy, amazed at the scene and excited about going to Hogwarts and learning magic. She smiled as she looked over the platform, until her eyes fell on a young man with dark hair nearby. He was wearing a long cloak, had a lovely staff in his left hand and was carrying a trunk under his right arm. The latter was what surprised her most, as the trunk was easily bigger than hers and he was carrying it with no discernable effort. As he looked around, she caught a glimpse of his bright emerald eyes, felt an odd sensation in her stomach and suddenly saw a strange image in her mind. She was flying above the clouds, unsupported by anything at all, with a black-haired girl on her right also flying the same way. On her left, she could see the young man, his black hair whipped about by the wind, with two other girls on his left, one red-headed and the other blonde. She could see none of the girls’ faces, just the boy’s. His bright emerald green eyes were sparkling with joy as he looked around, soaring high above the clouds below. Hermione could guess how he felt; she felt the same way for some reason. Soaring along with the boy and the other girls; Hermione felt like a void in her chest had filled up with a kind of comforting warmth, and she relaxed. She felt complete at last.
Passing it off as nerves (apart from the strange image) at leaving however, she turned to her parents and hugged them. Emma Granger sobbed and hugged her daughter to her tightly. Dan Granger said nothing, but Hermione could tell her father was near tears too. She hugged her father when her mother released her and stated, “I’ll write every day, and I’ll see you at Christmas. I love you both.” They both sniffed and embraced her again, and then Hermione broke away and began dragging her trunk towards the train.
Harry readjusted his grip on the trunk under his arm and began to walk towards the train. Halfway there, he was intercepted. A small girl stumbled across his path. Harry guessed her to be one of the redheads from earlier, obvious because of her flaming red hair. She apologized quickly, stepping back and looking up into his face. She stared, transfixed for a second, then squealed and called, “Mum! It’s Harry Potter!” She turned and ran back to her family, all of whom were now looking at him.
Harry eyed them. The mother and youngest son each wore something of a calculating expression, the eldest son was looking surprised and the twins were grinning broadly. The little girl was ogling Harry’s muscular physique with all the subtlety of a mortar bomb. Harry surveyed them all for a moment; unconsciously reinforcing his Occlumency shields, then sighed and coolly said, “What?” All of them snapped out of their various dazes at once.
The eldest boy now pushed past his siblings and extended a hand. Harry noted the boy was using the dominative handshake with the palm down, much like the Nazi salute; obviously he was trying to make a point. “Hi, I’m Percy Ignatius Weasley,” he said in a pompous, slightly snotty tone. Harry smirked inwardly; if this ponce thought he was top dog it was time to educate him. Stepping forwards, he took the redhead’s hand and shook, making sure to apply a little more pressure than was absolutely necessary. Percy Weasley howled with pain as he felt a couple of the bones in his hand snap and yanked his hand back. Harry groaned, “Sorry, I keep forgetting my own strength! Here, I’ll fix it!” He calmly shrank the staff to wand-size and tapped the tip against Percy’s hand, which repaired itself instantly. Extending Erwydd back to staff-size, Harry smiled slightly, “That better?”
Percy was flexing his hand, obviously making sure it still worked, and then he eyed Harry and said in the same pompous voice as before, “Yes. I hope you don’t forget your strength again at Hogwarts, or I’ll have to do my duty as a Prefect and put you into detention!” Harry gave him a slightly less friendly smile; completely intended to warn him that trying would have unpleasant repercussions. The boy puffed himself up in response to the look.
At that moment, just as tensions were mounting and things looked to be turning territorial, the twins shoved Percy aside and shook Harry’s hand in turn. “Greetings, Harry Potter!” they chorused, “I’m Fred and this ugly fellow is my brother George!”
Harry smiled cheerfully this time; and when he shook hands he was sure to squeeze gently, “Harry Potter; pleased to meet you Gred and Forge!”
They laughed and introduced him to the rest of their family, “Ron, our annoying younger brother; Ginny, our only-slightly-less annoying little sister who nurses a massive crush on the Boy-Who-Lived and thinks that the sun shines out of his somehow-surviving behi… OUCH!!!” This last word was interrupted by the little girl delivering a hard punch to each twin’s stomach, but the twins carried on, “…and you already know our pompous prefect brother Percy!”
Harry grinned and nodded, “Well, I must dash, must find a free compartment before they all fill up! See you at Hogwarts Gred and Forge!” He hurried off.
Hermione, on the other hand, was not having such a good time. After her parents had left, she had dragged her trunk across the platform and was now struggling to lift it onto the train. Unfortunately, she couldn’t lift it onto the carriage, and to make matters worse a gang of boys aged about seventeen had appeared. Instead of helping her, they just started mocking her. “Where’re your parents???” sneered one. Hermione should’ve realized that talking back was not as smart as she thought it was, but with no way of knowing the Muggleborn prejudice in the Wizarding world, she did just that, “They’re dentists, they had to go back to their practice.” This just made things much worse.
“Dentists?” snorted one of the boys, “Those Muggle tooth-doctors? Hey boys, we’ve got us a Mudblood firstie here!” They began mocking her even worse. One shoved her onto the ground and kicked her trunk over. It burst open, several of her books spilling out onto the ground. As two boys punched and kicked her, another picked up one of her books and held it up, “Ha! You think a Mudblood like you deserves to learn magic? Well, you don’t! You’re less than dirt, Mudblood!” He ripped the book in half. Hermione started crying all the harder; she had been hoping that she could make a fresh start at Hogwarts and make some friends who valued her for her, not because she could help them pass tests or exams. It seemed it was already not to be. She curled herself into a ball and covered her face with her hands as the boys began beating her up even harder.
Suddenly, Hermione heard someone shout and the sound of running feet. “Well look here, guys!” said the leader of the gang gleefully, “Looks like someone’s trying to play the hero! What are you going to do with that stick kid, poke us?” Hermione peered out from between her fingers and squirmed slightly on the floor. “Lie still, Mudblood! We’ll deal with you in a minute!” snapped one of her attackers. Hermione froze, but still looked up. It was the dark-haired boy with the staff from earlier.
The boy calmly put down his trunk and said, “Leave her alone!”
The leader laughed, “Hey kid, you’ve got to be able to count at Hogwarts! There are about ten of us seventh-years and one of you first-years!”
The boy’s staff suddenly shrank to wand-length and vanished from his hand as he made a slight gesture, “Then get some more guys and it’ll be an even fight. Alternatively you could just get the inevitable crushing defeat over with now.”
The boys snarled, stepping past Hermione to stand between her and her rescuer, “Bring it on then, whelp. We’ll wipe the floor with you and your little Mudblood friend!”
The dark-haired boy simply sighed, “I tried to warn you. I’m really sorry I have to do this but you’ve left me with no option.” The boys laughed and converged.
Hermione never did find out what happened next. The next thing she knew, the boy was helping her sit upright and her tormentors were gone. “Are you alright?” asked the boy kindly. Hermione nodded slightly, looking around as she took a shaky breath, then yelped and sobbed as pain shot through her chest. The boy growled something that sounded suspiciously like a swear-word under his breath and extended a hand. She flinched, and he hesitated, “May I?” Hermione considered him for a minute, and then nodded. He gently placed his hand against her side and pressed softly. At her whimper, he looked up. “Broken rib, probably from one of the kicks. Those bastards… well I taught them a lesson.”
Meanwhile, the boys had just been found by their parents. All the boys were in the same condition; repeatedly Obliviated and with every bone in their hands and wrists broken. They also each had the same five letters branded on their foreheads: B I G O T. At a glance, the parents could tell that there was no magic that would ever heal those marks. The boys would carry them for the rest of their lives.
Harry extended his wand into his hand and ran it along the girl’s side. Inside he was both fuming at the behaviour of those bullies and worrying about the girl. She was bruised, her eyes were blackened, her nose and mouth were bleeding and she had broken ribs. He had to get her onto the train; he couldn’t treat her here. Calmly he pulled her trunk upright, repaired the destroyed book with a flick of his wand and packed all her things neatly back into her trunk. Grabbing his and shrinking both to the size of matchboxes with a flick, he put them both in a pocket and gently lifted the girl into his arms. She gasped momentarily as he lifted her but then rested her head against his shoulder and relaxed slightly. “Take shallow even breaths,” he warned, and then hurried to the train. Jumping on, he located an empty compartment and stepped in, shutting the door behind him. He then set the girl down on a line of seats and pointed his wand at her side, “Osseum Reparo…” he muttered, and she grunted with pain and chewed her lip as she felt the ribs repair themselves.
“Thank you,” she mumbled, “For… for everything. Saving me from them; repairing my things they damaged; fixing my injuries… not many people would have done that.”
Harry frowned slightly, “What’s your name?”
The girl looked up at him, and the meek and nervous look in her eyes made him want to hug her and never let go, “Hermione, Hermione Granger.”
Harry smiled comfortingly at her, making her visibly relax, “Well, it’s nice to meet you Hermione Granger. I’m Harry Potter.”
Hermione’s brown eyes widened until they were as round as Galleons, “Are you really?”
Harry nodded, flipping his fringe away from his face to reveal the lightning scar. Hermione stared in awe, “Wow…”
Harry let his fringe fall back into place, “Well, now we just have to wait for the train to leave…” Hermione nodded, and Harry pulled the trunks from his pocket. Setting them on the floor, he tapped both with his wand and muttered the counterspell. The trunks resized.
Hermione stared at Harry as he opened his trunk and rummaged inside, “How did you do that?”
Harry shrugged absently as he kept rummaging, “It’s just a minor shrinking charm; no biggie.” Hermione nodded slightly but continued watching as Harry finished rummaging and drew out a thick book.
Hermione got a glimpse of the title, A Standard Book of Spells: Grade One. She smiled; it appeared she and this boy had something in common, “That’s our set book. I thought I was the only one who’d read it before we got to school.”
Harry shook his head as he opened the book, “No. This is actually about the fourth time I’ve read it. It’s good to get a bit ahead in your learning.”
Hermione nodded and smiled; finally she had met someone with the same attitude as her. She glanced down at her own trunk, but her attention was caught by Harry’s trunk, which was still open, “How did you do that? Your trunk’s bigger on the inside than the outside! And why does it have seven locks?” Harry closed the book and leaned forwards, looking into the trunk.
Hermione glanced up at him, obviously desiring an answer, so Harry smiled and said, “It’s enchanted. Each lock is opened by the same single key, and each lock opens a separate compartment. There is one for books, which you’re looking into now; one for my possessions; one which is a completely furnished apartment; and the others have varying uses depending on what I need them for. Each compartment is, as you can see, magically expanded. That trunk may, on the outside, appear to just be a normal four-foot-long, two-foot-wide and two-foot-high trunk, but the compartments are much, much bigger.”
Hermione’s eyes widened as she looked closer at the book compartment, “How big is the inside and how many books are in there?” Harry grinned as he sat back in his chair and began answering Hermione’s questions, occasionally returning one of his own. It looked to be an interesting ride…
(A/N: Well, that’s the double dosage of S&S finished and uploaded. I’m somewhat sad to see it end… but at least we still have just less than seven years to go before this story is finished. Wow… that sounded a little more daunting when I write it down…)