Categories > Books > Harry Potter > We're In This Together

Escapes on a Train

by zugrian 0 reviews

Harry and Pansy head back to Hogwarts. Pansy has to deal with Harry's friends; Harry has to deal with a dementor.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Dobby,Harry,Pansy - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2018-05-29 - 5775 words

Disclaimer: I still don't own Harry Potter.

A few hours later, Pansy began to stir shortly after light crept into the room. She smiled as she felt the warmth of her pillow- Harry's slowly breathing chest. Looking up, she saw his tired expression immediately shift into a grin.

"Good morning beautiful."

"After last night, I doubt either of us looks very good."

"You wound me, milady," he answered with a chuckle. "Are you suggesting that exhaustion and worry can diminish my good looks?"

"You look like crap Harry."

"Well, I still say you look beautiful." That earned him a kiss and neither of them seemed to mind terribly the morning breath.

"What time is it?"

He looked to his watch and replied, "Nearly seven."

"Then we've got plenty of time. I'm going to take a nice long shower, have Dobby pop you back home and do the same."

"I don't think I should leave you alone here."


"Yes, miss Pansy?"

"Father hasn't returned has he?"

"No miss."

"Is mother still asleep?"

"Yes miss."

"Good," she said as she turned to Harry. "Relax Harry, we're almost away from here."

"I still don't want to leave you, not after last night."

"If anything happens, anything at all, I promise I'll call Dobby and get out of here. Besides, you can't follow me into the shower," she said with a smirk.

"Are you sure?" he asked with a sly grin. "You never know what evils might lurk in your bathroom."

"You may be my boyfriend, but you're not allowed to follow me into the shower just yet." Pansy laughed as Harry got a ridiculously goofy but dreamy look on his face.

"I'm only going to focus on the not yet part of what you just said."

"Fine, but go home, eat something, and get cleaned up."

"After that, I'm coming back. I'll hide under my cloak, but I want to make sure your mother doesn't do anything before we get to the train. And if your father comes back..."

Pansy saw the look of hatred on his face. She had seen his anger and frustration come to the fore several times, but she had never seen this. It excited her on a deep, primal level. Harry wouldn't find out for quite awhile just how much she loved that he hated her father.

"Don't worry about that Harry. Business is much more important than family to him."

"Better safe than sorry."

"Alright, go home, get cleaned up and eat, then come back and follow me around under your cloak. We should be some of the first people to the train. I've never been so happy that mother wants to get rid of me as quickly as possible."

Harry called for Dobby and they were gone. Pansy went into her bathroom and spent a long time luxuriating in the soothing hot water. Even more time was devoted to enjoying herself as she thrilled at her thoughts of Harry. It was one of the longest showers of her life.


The next hour slipped by quickly for her as she dressed and took her school trunk downstairs. She might not have admitted it to him, but she was delighted by Harry's over protective nature as he followed her around under his cloak, even as she felt him watching her eat breakfast. For so long, no one had ever protected her. Harry going to this seemingly unnecessary extreme was like a bonfire in the middle of a blizzard. She was going to have to reward him for this, and she had plenty of ideas how after her time spent in the shower.

At 9 AM sharp, Pansy and her mother arrived at Platform 9 & 3/4. The train was waiting and there were only a couple of other families that were there already. One of them was wearing a prefect badge and robes that identified her as a Ravenclaw. They would be the type to be overly punctual. She held in a snort and bid her mother goodbye while grabbing her trunk and heading for the train.

As soon as she reached the door, she saw Harry waiting for her. He grabbed her trunk with a smile and they walked towards the rear of the train, where Harry had already claimed a compartment. With her trunk stowed, she began to snog his lights out. They paused only to breathe and both had enormous smiles on their faces.

"We're free!" She answered Harry's cheer with laughter.

"Not quite for good, but don't worry; I've got a plan for dealing with my parents."

"Are you sure?"

"Leave it to me, Harry. I am the brains of our partnership, remember?"

"As you wish, milady," he chuckled. She could see that Harry was clearly exhausted from last night. Hell, she was emotionally drained after everything as well, but at least she was able to sleep with him watching over her. Pansy embraced him and she could feel his tired body sag a bit into her. "You need to get some rest."

"As much as I want to argue and snog more, a nap would be a good idea."

Pansy sat down by the window and patted her lap. "You were my pillow last night; it's my turn now."

Harry cast a notice-me-not charm at the door and stretched out. He lay his head in her lap and she began to run her fingers through his hair.


"Yes miss Pansy?"

"Can you keep an eye out for Harry's friends- Hermione Granger and the Weasleys?"

"Dobby can do that miss."

"Good. Let us know when they get here, Harry needs a nap in the mean time." Dobby's disappearance was unusually quiet, but looking down she saw why. Harry had already fallen asleep.

She absent-mindedly continued running her fingers through his hair as she thought over the plan she had decided on. It would certainly be dangerous, but she now had absolute faith in Harry. Or at least she hoped she did. He had proven his character and she was quite sure of at least one of his skills that would be needed. From what she had seen of his magical abilities, she was fairly confident in those as well. Getting away from her parents permanently was always something she wanted, but after last night, her conviction was stronger than ever. If everything went according to plan, she would even have a way to deal with annoyances like Malfoy and the rest of her classmates.

Getting closer to Harry would be a wonderful benefit as well of course. Staring at the young man sleeping in her lap, she realized she was sure of what she wanted. Even now, he had his wand in hand, ready to fight to protect her. Still, it felt strange to put her trust in another person completely as she knew she was going to do. All her life, other people had been disappointing, at best. Her year mates in Slytherin were all awful. The rest of the school immediately distrusted her because of her house.

She had little faith that Harry's friends would treat her any better, but honestly, she didn't care. Weasley was a lazy, jealous, thick-headed fool. She truly didn't see why Harry was friends with him. She knew a confrontation would come there sooner or later and had confidence that Harry would choose her. After all, the redhead wouldn't be able to compete with a girlfriend, especially not a girlfriend that would do the things she was going to be doing to Harry very soon. She smiled to herself at the thought of ridding Harry of the arsehole but recognized that she would have to be careful not to upset Harry at the same time. Getting him to focus more on learning magic was already a success; making sure he didn't waste too much time goofing off with the bottomless stomach shouldn't be much of a challenge for her.

Granger, on the other hand, could be more of a problem. Pansy didn't have too much issue with the muggleborn girl, but she was definitely more formidable than Weasley. Thankfully, she knew that Harry saw her only as a friend, and Pansy had already figured out that the bookworm's tendency to be both bossy and nosy at times irritated Harry quite a bit. At least she wouldn't hold him back the way Weasley might. Still, she would have to keep an eye on Granger, just in case she started getting romantic notions about her boyfriend. From last year, she knew that Granger had a crush on Lockhart, so maybe she just had terrible taste in men. That would explain why she hadn't seemed interested in Harry yet.

Little Ginny Weasley, on the other hand, was very interested. Harry found her obvious crush a bit ridiculous, a view Pansy shared. Being unable to speak in his presence might be amusing to witness. Besides, the little redhead had just turned twelve and was an immature twelve at that. Pansy would be fourteen before the end of the year, and any immaturity had been stripped away years ago. Ginny didn't stand a chance against her. If she did muster up the courage to try anything, Pansy would make sure that Harry had no need of any female attention other than her own.

These thoughts brought her mind back to several rituals that she hoped to perform with Harry fairly soon. In truth, a small piece of her was a bit frightened by some of what she wanted to do, but a much greater part of her was buzzing with excitement. She was sure of her chosen partner and that made the rest of her much more confident. Looking down at him again made her even more positive of her decision. Harry had grown several inches and filled out nicely this summer. The short, scrawny boy that she'd first seen two years ago was now fairly tall for his age. Pansy did not yet know about his years of malnourishment and occasional starvation that the Dursleys had inflicted upon him, but once she did, there would be one hell of a reckoning.


Harry did not wake till it was nearly eleven. Dobby had used his magic to make sure his master had been able to sleep peacefully for as long as he could. Master Harry had needed it after staying awake to watch over his miss Pansy last night. Protecting your family was something that the house-elf could understand, but seeing how devoted Harry was to miss Pansy touched a deep part of Dobby. The bad muggles had treated the Great Harry Potter badly, just like the bad masters had treated Dobby. Even after that, master Harry was good and cared for his miss Pansy. Dobby had never heard of a wizard that acted like a house-elf. The Great Harry Potter had suffered the burden of a house-elf but still tended to his family. It made Dobby prouder than ever to have found such a wizard.


Eventually, Harry's nap ended as he heard the compartment door opening. His eyes fluttered open and he saw Pansy wink as she looked down at him. He began to sit up.

"Don't say anything about me being your girlfriend yet," she whispered, with a mischievous gleam in her eyes. He nodded in agreement.

"What's she doing here?" Ron nearly shouted as he stopped in the doorway. Ginny bumped into him. Harry merely stood and helped Hermione put her trunk away.

"It looks like she's sitting down to me, Ron," Harry said as Hermione gave him a hug. He hid the amused grin on his face in his best friend's bushy hair.

"Why is she sitting with you?"

"Well, I was being used as a pillow," Pansy snorted. "I might have to charge you for that Potter- 1 galleon an hour for lap rental fees."

"You've got an expensive lap, but thankfully I can afford it," Harry answered with a chuckle. Hermione had a pet carrier that held a large cat with a squashed face that was asleep. Ron was still standing in the doorway, mouth agape. "Are you going to come in Ron? It looks like a line is forming behind you."

Ron grunted and stepped inside. Harry helped the two Weasleys stow there trunks; Ginny blushed as she stuttered out her thanks. Harry was glad that Hermione had sat on his other side on the one hand, but now Ron was sitting directly across and staring angrily towards Pansy. Ginny didn't look pleased to see another girl in the compartment either. The silence had just begun to get uneasy.

"Why were you needing a nap before we even get to Hogwarts, Harry?" Hermione asked.

"Well, he did have a busy night, didn't you Harry?" Pansy responded. It was hard to keep his face neutral as he saw his friends' shocked faces.

"Only part of it was actually busy, but I still missed out on quite a bit of sleep," he teased.

"Harry, into what sort of trouble are you getting yourself now?" Hermione seemed excited to get to start lecturing Harry already.

"Just a minor criminal enterprise or two."

"Criminal?!" Hermione yelped.

'Here we go,' Harry thought. 'All aboard the Hermione Granger outrage train.'

"Harry you promised me you were being safe and careful this summer. Becoming a criminal is a far cry from being safe and careful. Knowing your luck, we'll be arrested in the middle of the train ride. You were supposedly working hard this summer. If you get hauled off to jail, who is going to help me keep Ron in line this term?"

"Oi, Hermione-"

"Oh shush, Ronald," Hermione quickly dismissed the blustering redhead. "Well, I'm waiting for answers Harry."

"How do I look?"

"You look really good Harry," Ginny answered before looking away, blushing madly again.

"Thanks, Ginny," Harry said as he looked to Hermione.

"You look like you've had quite a growth spurt this summer, but you definitely aren't fat, Harry."

"I'm not skin and bones either, which is a great improvement let me tell you."

"You're still not answering my questions."

"Alright, well to start with, Ron's a big boy, whether or not he keeps himself in line is on him."


"Nope, sorry Hermione. I've met his mother. Ron doesn't need someone else to smother him. How Ron elects to change as he grows up is his choice. Not yours or mine."

"Whether or not I agree, that wasn't my main question, and you know it Harry," Hermione said with a disgruntled huff.

"Okay. I have been safe and careful this summer. No one has tried to kill me in three whole months."

"That's not funny, Harry. What's this about criminal enterprises then?"

"You can't take a joke, can you Granger?" Pansy interrupted. Harry could only briefly look towards her without smirking.

"So, how was everyone's summer?" Harry asked.

"Don't go changing the subject, Harry," Hermione scowled at him.

"Alright fine, burglary, kidnapping, trespassing, conspiracy to commit murder, and, my favorite, stealing hearts," Harry said with a raised eyebrow and an over the top leering expression. He grabbed Hermione's hand, leaned over and kissed the back of it. Looking up, he asked, "Is it working, my darling?"

"Harry, wha, what..." Hermione stammered, unable to form a coherent response.

"I'm not sure if you've stolen her heart or just knocked her for a loop, Potter," Pansy said with a chuckle.

"Any time you can leave Hermione speechless is a win, Pansy."

"I'll keep that in mind." Harry noticed Ginny seemed jealous of his treatment of Hermione, regardless of the joking nature.

"How was your summer Ginny?"

"It, it was good," she mumbled.

"I heard from Ron that your family was going to Egypt. That must have been pretty interesting." Ron was finally jarred from his grumpy silence.

"Oh, yeah, we saw loads of cool stuff. Pyramids and tombs. Bill's a curse-breaker. He's my oldest brother; he works for the goblins. The best part was when the twins tried to lock Percy up in one of the tombs." Ginny laughed, Pansy snorted, and Hermione was aghast.

"Locking up someone in a tomb is not funny Ronald!"

"It is if it's Percy! You didn't have to be around him this summer. He's Head Boy this year, and ever since he found out, he's been even more of a pain than ever before."

"The twins charmed his badge to make it say 'Big Head Boy' this morning. I hope he hasn't noticed yet," Ginny added.

"Hermione, we must respect the family's wishes," Harry said before Hermione could interrupt. "Clearly clan Weasley does not want Percy to let this make him even more pompous. We must heed this decision and work to keep Percy in line this term. That can be a new project for you: how to keep authority from being abused by the pretentious via measured out levity and flippancy."

"What?" Ron asked.

"We prank Percy when he gets annoying."

"Oh. Yeah, good idea Harry. Fred and George will be glad to know you're on their side."

"Well, last year they were two of the only people on my side so that seems fair." Harry noticed Ginny pale a bit after mentioning her first year. Obviously, she was still having issues with what had happened to her. This was not a surprise to him. A family vacation might have relieved some stress, but he was pretty sure that Ginny needed something more like therapy to deal with being possessed by teenage Voldemort's diary spirit thing. That made him think that maybe he should try to figure out what sort of magic could have possibly created something like the diary. First, though, Harry needed to figure out how much of an eye he might need to keep on the youngest Weasley. Possession couldn't be good for you, and he suspected that getting over it wouldn't be easy either. If she had any further problems this year, it would just doubtless fall to Harry to fix whatever nightmare might occur.

"Hermione, how was France?" Harry knew that getting the ball rolling would lead to her going off on a detailed monologue, and for the next half hour, that's exactly what they got. He and Pansy shared a couple of conspiratorial looks but he mostly focused on watching Ron and Ginny for any more indications of how they might treat Pansy. Thankfully, the Weasleys didn't say anything else to or about her for quite awhile; Hermione's rambling stories of museums, art, and all sorts of tourist attractions left little room for Ron's rudeness to show itself again. Eventually, Ron told somewhat more detailed stories of Egypt. Ginny didn't add a lot to the discussion, she was clearly still struggling to be able to talk to Harry without blushing or stammering. It was no surprise that Ron talked quite a bit about the exotic food. Apparently only the spiciest dishes were able to bother his stomach- Ginny did get to make fun of him a bit about the one time that Ron had to spend an evening running back to the toilet. Thankfully, that part of the discussion ended almost an hour before the food cart came by and they all got some snacks to tide them over for the rest of the journey.

Hermione's inquisitive nature ultimately got things focused back on why Pansy was in the compartment with them.

"So, why are you and Pansy Parkinson friendly all of a sudden?" she asked.

"Well, really it is all thanks to Ron."

"What? How is it my fault?"

"You did introduce us after all."

"What are you talking about, mate?"

"You don't remember attacking her with the twins? Something about how she was just an evil snake, the same as Malfoy, and it was somehow her fault that Ginny nearly died in the Chamber of Secrets," Harry said all this with as neutral a tone as possible, while trying to watch Pansy's face. From his periphery, he could see she was scowling slightly at Ron, who looked more incensed than ashamed. Ginny paled at the mention of the Chamber and Hermione looked shocked that Ron had bullied Pansy just for being a Slytherin. While she may have had problems with some of them herself, Hermione's sense of justice was outraged by Ron's behavior. Harry was pleased by this- he hoped that he could get her on his side about his new relationship with Pansy and perhaps she would be able to help him get Ron to come around as well.

Ron tried to sputter something out but couldn't come up with anything to say.

"You were picking on her, Ronald? I can't believe you would turn into a bully!" Hermione huffed.

"But she's a Slytherin!"

"Not everyone in Slytherin is like Malfoy, Ron," Harry said as Pansy snorted.

"Being in the same house as him, I have more reason to hate Malfoy than any of you. I have to be around the annoying ponce a lot more. Believe me, none of you hate Malfoy more than I do." Harry knew the reason why she loathed him so much and thought to himself that he hated Draco a lot more than he once did, just for Pansy's sake. In fact, the idea of his girlfriend being forced into a marriage with that scum briefly made his anger flare up before he was reminded of the conversation going on around him.

"Why should we believe you?" Ron asked angrily.

"I don't care what you believe, Weasley," Pansy answered with derision.

"Harry, you can't be friends with a snake!"

"Why not Ron? I am a Parselmouth, after all. That suggests that I should be very friendly with snakes," Harry said with a chuckle.

"But, they're all evil. You can't trust her."

"Let's get one thing straight, Ron. I will trust or befriend whomever I choose. You don't get to decide how far my social circle extends."


"This is not up for discussion, Ron." Ron sat down and looked mutinous, but as Harry refused to back down from his glare, he just turned to look out the window.

"So..." Hermione tried to get back to her initial line of questioning and Harry had to stop himself from laughing at how well he knew her. She peered around him to talk to Pansy. "I'm guessing that Harry stood up for you and you two became acquainted?"

"Something like that," she answered. Harry was unable to stop his snort. Just as Hermione's curiosity would make her pry, he knew that Pansy would be secretive and mysterious.

"And then what?"

"Well," Pansy said, looking pensive for a moment, as if she was trying to decide how much of her story to tell. Harry knew better and thought that she was both drawing this out to annoy Hermione as well as probably choosing the most ridiculous thing she might be able to get them to believe. "You know how he mentioned a criminal enterprise. Potter did trespass against me as well as robbing me- that's why I need to charge him for lap usage, obviously. I don't think he is planning my murder though. Are you planning my death, Harry?"

Pansy's teasing made him smile and he also noticed Hermione trying to decipher what she had said. "If I were planning your death, it wouldn't be very wise of me to tell you, now would it?"

"No, but you are a Gryffindor, and it would be brave of you to put me on notice before trying to kill me. And after all we know about the mythical boy who lived, your bravery is always the first trait mentioned."

"Then I guess it is a good thing that the myth of the boy who lived is finally being put to rest."

"What do you mean, Harry?"

'More knowledge for Hermione to discover!' he thought to himself before answering her. "If you haven't heard, the books written about me have all been pulled from the shelves. I'm currently suing the hell out of all the people involved in the boy who lived fairy tales."

"Fairy tales?" Ginny asked with a squeak.

"I haven't read any of them personally, but I can guarantee you that any story about my life after the death of my parents is nothing but lies."

"Oh," the little redhead said before looking away ashamed.

'That's right,' Harry thought to himself, 'your hero that you're obsessed with is fake.'

The conversation ground to a halt for a moment and Harry realized that something was different about this train ride.

"I'm a bit surprised Malfoy hasn't come by to annoy us yet," he said.

"Maybe his mother threatened to publicly humiliate him again if he tried to bother you."

"I wish I could have heard her lecture him after they went home from Diagon Alley."

"She did seem to be trying to break him of some of his arrogance, although from what I've seen, his father's influence is much too strong. Draco is bound to be a pompous loudmouth until he angers the wrong someone and gets crushed." Harry noticed Pansy get a wicked gleam in her eye, and he knew that she was coming up with some new scheme. He had a feeling that they were going to be the ones doing the crushing of Draco. Harry smiled slightly to himself at this and hoped that Pansy would have some good ideas for dealing with the father as well. Six months in Azkaban was not nearly enough for someone that would unleash a basilisk on a school full of children.

"What are you two talking about?" Ron asked. His displeasure with Pansy's presence was not enough to distract him from the idea of Draco being humiliated. Harry let Pansy lead the telling of their encounter while shopping a week ago. Even Hermione was pleased that Narcissa had slapped Draco for using the word mudblood in public. Hermione and Ron were both shocked at learning the true backstory of Voldemort while Ginny merely shrank back into her seat with a dark, fearful expression. When Pansy mentioned how infuriated Draco had been at Harry flirting with his mother, she seemed much less bothered by this than she had originally been. Ginny, on the other hand, was obviously not amused. Hermione approved of Harry's good manners even if she mostly ignored the romantic overtones. However, Ron once again found the idea of even being polite to someone from Slytherin repellent- Harry recognized that Ron was too immature to understand. Of course, Ron also still had no interest in girls. Ginny's presence annoyed him, and he really only treated Hermione somewhat well when it was time for him to once again require her help with an assignment.

As they spoke, the weather outside worsened. It had been raining for the last hour or so of the journey north, but now it was truly storming. Lights had come on inside the train, and howling wind could be heard during lulls in the conversation. Harry noticed that the train was slowing down, but checking his watch, he saw that they should still be close to an hour away from Hogwarts. Ron started to say something about wanting to get to the feast as soon as possible when suddenly the train slammed to a halt.

Harry stood and opened the door to try to see what was going on. He noticed that there were several other students peering out into the hall when the lights went out. He drew his wand and cast the light spell just as Neville stepped into the doorway.

"Hi guys, do you know what's going on?" the round faced boy asked. Harry guided him to sit by Ginny and Ron.

"Does anyone else have their wand handy?" Pansy drew hers and helped light the compartment as Harry stepped near the door.

All of a sudden, he felt a ghastly chill. A dark cloaked figure floated towards them and Harry knew that his terrible luck had once again kicked in. Behind him, he heard moans, and off in the distance somewhere, a woman was screaming. The darkness increased as Pansy's Lumos charm fell and Harry could have sworn that he saw a flicker of green light. He felt a weight in his chest. Just before he lost control, he lifted his wand.

"Expecto Patronum!"

He thought that he had shouted it out, but the others would later tell him that he said it in a soft groan only a few steps removed from a whisper. Regardless, a glowing mist erupted from his wand and held the foul creature at bay. After all the work he had put in this summer, Harry's magic was stronger than ever. Still, a dozen seconds of trying to keep the Dementor from getting any closer left him very drained. Behind him, he heard Pansy whimpering in pain. To his left, he saw Ginny was sobbing. And somewhere else, he heard a woman's voice screaming. The light flashed green again. Harry tried to hold on to his happy thoughts of snogging Pansy but the woman's voice kept getting louder and louder. She was screaming, pleading, terrified. Harry had to go to her, to help her. The green light flashed again. He could no longer hold his wand up. Harry sank to his knees, out of breath, as the darkness enveloped them.

A bright light flew towards him, but Harry was already slipping into a dream. The woman's voice was begging someone to spare her son. He saw her red hair stretching in front of him, taking up almost his entire view. A second voice hissed something he didn't understand and the green flash of light was there once again. The ocean of red hair fell away and a shadowy figure loomed over him.

Somehow, the dream felt familiar.

A moment later, fingers were brushing through his hair. He knew this touch. He opened his eyes to Pansy cradling his head as he was slumped on the floor. Her eyes were a bit watery but there was also what looked like pride in them. He smiled softly at her and noticed his wand still clutched in his hand.

Looking around, the lights had come back on. The train was moving again. Everyone else looked miserable to varying degrees. Ginny still had tears on her cheeks but Neville looked nearly as bad. Hermione was quite pale and only Ron seemed to be shaking off the Dementor's effects very well. The door slid wide open to reveal a rather haggard looking man in worn robes. His brown hair was starting to grey, making him appear older.

"Is everyone alright?"

"I think so," Harry answered as he sat up. He and Pansy climbed back onto their seats. He instinctively put his arm around her. Hermione leaned against him, and soon she too had an arm around her as she laid her head on his shoulder.

"What was that thing?" asked Hermione in a small, frightened voice. It was very unlike his friend, and he was glad that she was taking some comfort against him. On his left, he felt Pansy burrowing into his chest. If not for the cold sweat that had broken out, and the fact that he badly needed a twelve hour nap, he would be ready to skip the welcoming feast to spend the next hour in a broom closet with her. This thought made him feel a bit better.

"That was a Dementor, one of the guards of Azkaban prison," the man answered. "For some reason, they seemed to think that Sirius Black would be on the train.

"Here," he said as he passed around pieces of a chocolate bar that he had broken up. "Eat up, it will help you all feel better."

Pansy immediately ate hers, so Harry did as well. The sick sensations melted away as he swallowed the chocolate.

"I take it you were the one trying to drive off the Dementor, Harry?" The man was looking at him rather intently.


"Well done, very well done."

"Who are you?" Ron asked.

"Remus Lupin, your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher."

"A pleasure to meet you, Professor," Hermione said, perking up. Between the chocolate and getting to meet a new teacher, Hermione was feeling much better and Harry released his arm from around her as she sat up.

"Thank you," Lupin replied pleasantly. "If you'll excuse me, I need to speak to the conductor."

He left and the room became quiet.

"Well, I guess you were right Hermione," he said as he turned to look at her. "I never should have become a criminal; they did try to arrest me in the middle of the train ride."

Pansy snorted as Hermione gasped before trying to laugh but was too nervous. Ron chuckled.

"Harry, mate, only you can't even ride the train to school without getting attacked."

"What was that spell you cast?" Hermione asked.

"The Patronus charm. It is what you have to use to fight off Dementors. I read about them in the paper when I heard about Sirius Black's escape. Naturally, a year can't go by without danger seeking me out. I figured that I had better start preparing, so I've been working on learning that spell. It's a lot harder to do when you have the real thing pressing against you."

"I'd like to learn it, Harry."

"Of course you would, Hermione. Is there anything you don't want to learn about?" he asked with a sly grin.

"I don't want to learn what happens if one of those things gets a hold of you."

"They suck out your soul," Pansy said.

"Too late," Harry grunted.

"Your soul?" Hermione squeaked. "Then we know for a fact that there is such a thing as a soul?"

"Well, from what I've read, they certainly suck out something like a soul. Someone who has suffered the Dementor's kiss is still alive but they are like a shell. They still function but they have no personality, they don't speak or move. Whether or not you want to call that a soul is a discussion all of its own." Of course, Pansy knew quite a bit about such a dark subject. Harry would have smiled but was so tired that he just rested his chin on top of her head. He barely registered Ginny's frown.

The rest of the trip passed in relative quiet as no one had much to say. Harry dozed off, but not for long as Pansy shook him awake.

"We're at Hogwarts."
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