The crowd at platform 9¾ parted politely when the Potter family arrived, escorting their eldest children for the first ride on the Hogwarts Express. This was more of a ceremony, as the children had practically grown at Hogwarts, it being the main Potter residence since their parents got married. It was mainly a ceremony for the other children as well. Hogwarts had changed tremendously since the Potters took control of the school. It was now an example of modern education, combining regular high-school studies with the magical subjects that had been its trademark for a millennium. Its classes had been modernized, using the latest technology, both magical and mundane, to give the students the most beneficial learning experience. About half its staff was Muggles or squibs, teaching the regular subjects. There was no longer any Muggle Studies class, as it had become redundant.
A few years after Dumbledore stepped down, every Hogwarts graduate could be easily accepted into any college or university. The muggle institutes didn't know Hogwarts was magical – they only knew it was a very good private school, whose graduates were welcome in the academic world.
The magical world also changed, as a result. Younger people liked using cars for transportation, using magic to make them reach their destination much faster. They also liked to listen to the radio and watch television – both had been made available due to some spells that allowed these instruments, along with computers and cellular phones, to work in magical environments – all designed by the Potter ladies.
Fashion also changed. While robes were still used in official situations – like Wizengamot meetings – most magical people used clothes indistinguishable from their muggle age-mates, except for the older generation, that was stuck in its customs.
Hogwarts Express was one such relic of the past. It was used only for the beginning of the year and the end of year rides. Every student was handed a reusable portkey along with the Hogwarts letter, usable for travel between home and school. Students were also given the choice of attending Hogwarts as a day-school only, yet most preferred the boarding school option.
"Do you remember our first ride on this train?" Lady Potter asked her husband.
"I sure do. I was lonely and frightened. I felt lucky to befriend Ron. And yet, the most memorable moment on that ride was when a certain bushy-haired girl came searching for Neville's toad."
"And my most memorable moment was the one when I met a raven-haired boy with a scar on his forehead."
"All I can remember of that ride is Draco talking non-stop about his father, something I'd really like to forget," Daphne said.
"Well, I spent most of the ride talking with Hannah, whom I hadn't seen much during the summer. We barely had time to catch up with each other," Susan said, smiling at the memory. She was still very close with Lady Hannah Longbottom.
The four children at their side didn't even listen to their parents talking. James Gryffindor-Potter and Charlus Slytherin-Potter were busy planning their first prank as Hogwarts students. Lilly Ravenclaw-Potter, James's twin, was half listening to their plans while scanning the platform looking for any potential new friends of both genders. She knew her siblings would eventually turn to her to consolidate their plans. John Hufflpuff-Potter was also listening to his brothers, but he had already spotted a nice dark-skinned girl and wondered if he could make the hat sort him to the same house as her. He was quite sure that if she was sorted first, it would pose no problem.
They met some friends on the platform. Teddy Lupin, accompanied by his parents, was quick to spot his friends and join them. Harry grimaced internally, knowing that he would need to stay extra attentive to these children, as they were clearly going to make the Weasley twins pale with envy.
A beautiful blonde joined them as well. Victoire Weasley was certainly showing her Veela heritage, making most boys turn their heads after her, despite being only eleven. As they were moving towards the train, another Weasley came running. Rose, daughter of Ron and Lavender, was quick to join her friends. Another redhead was already calling them from one of the windows, "Come here! I saved us two adjacent compartments!"
Lilly looked at her and smiled back. "Just wait until we say our goodbyes. You know that nobody can beat your Dad in coming early, not even my mom." The girl was Percy's daughter and inherited all his good qualities along with her mother's beauty and kind heart.
Harry looked around, noticing a large blond man withhis slight, dreamy blonde wife saying their goodbye to their daughter. He smiled at the sight. It was purely ironic that Vernon's son would marry Luna Lovegood. Dudley lifted his head and winked at Harry. They would catch up later, waiting for the train to arrive, as Dudley was now teaching at Hogwarts as well.
There was a whistle. The adults herded the children into the train, giving them last moment instructions. Harry stood back. In a few hours he would meet his children again, this time as their headmaster. Despite the concerns and the difficulties he could already anticipate, he felt content. He looked at his wives, each an accomplished professor and a devoted mother, He thought of his other children who had gone earlier that morning to grade school or the kindergarten and would be back home before the train arrived. He felt his heart overflow with emotions and hugged Hermione tighter.
The slight breeze made some hair fall over his eyes. He brushed it away, touching his forehead. His scar, now barely visible, had not bothered him for many years, practically since he got married. All was well.
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