"Are you sure that you want to sit by yourself, Harry?" Jessica shouted over the noise of the platform. "You can always sit with me."
"I'll be fine, Professor Fletcher," Harry replied. I might as well start making some friends.
She shot him a disbelieving look.
"Well, if you need me, I'll be at the front of the train. Alright?"
"Yes ma'am," came the ever obedient answer. At the sight of the nervous look on his face, she instinctively crouched down before him and put a hand on each of his shoulders.
"That goes for the school as well," she added. "If at any time you have a concern, or need someone to talk to, feel free to seek out Dr. Hazlitt or me."
"Thank you, Professor," he replied, "but I think I'll be fine."
"Alright, Harry," came her accepting answer. She then turned her attention to the task at hand. "Let's get you on the train then."
Harry followed closely behind her with his luggage as she led him through the thick crowds and heavy steam. As he trailed along behind her, he couldn't help but marvel at the ease with which she seemed to transition between a witch and a muggle.
Most of the magical folk he had met so far had been more eccentric than not, while Professor Fletcher seemed to be rather ordinary. Instead of arriving at the door in brightly colored robes she had looked like someone who could have been a teacher at his primary school. There were many things about her that Harry was curious about.
He was jolted from his thoughts as he was nearly run over by a group of older students. He recovered and looked around him, only to realize he had lost the professor in the fog. He was on the verge of panicking when he saw her waving to him from beside a shorter woman. He made a beeline for her as calmly as he could muster.
"I'm sorry, Harry, I thought you were behind me. Are you alright?" she asked in concern as the small boy reached her side. At his nod, she smiled and put a hand on his shoulder, a measure to keep the situation from repeating itself. She turned to the shorter woman next to her. "Molly, this is Harry Potter. Harry, this is Mrs. Molly Weasley."
"Lovely to meet you, Harry," Molly said with motherly affection in her voice. "Are you excited to be going to Hogwarts?"
"Yes ma'am. I'm very excited," he replied shyly.
"Excellent." The woman looked up sharply and looked around her before shouting "Boys! Ginny! Get back here, now!"
Suddenly, out of the crowd came a group of redheads. Harry was awed both at the speed of their approach, and by the volume of their mother's shout. Mrs. Weasley smiled again.
"Children, this is Harry. Harry, these are my boys Fred, George, and Ronald, and their sister, Ginny," she told him as she gestured to each of them. The motley group of children grinned. The oldest stuck out his hand.
"I'm Percy," he told the younger boy warmly. "Nice to meet you, Harry." Harry shook his hand with a shy smile. The two twins stepped forward.
"Hiya, Harry-," the first twin started.
"Nice to meet you-," the second continued.
"We are Gred-"
Molly rolled her eyes at the antics of the pair and pushed her younger son forward gently. He tentatively held out his hand, a less confident mimicry of Percy.
"I'm Ron," he told Harry quietly. "It's my first year too."
Harry's expression visibly brightened. He clasped Ron's hand firmly and grinned at him. Next, the little girl stepped toward him.
"I'm Ginny," she said without much ceremony. She shook hands with Harry before tucking herself back behind her mother with wide eyes. Harry looked back up at Jessica uncertainly and she smiled gently.
"How about you get a compartment with Ron while I speak with Mrs. Weasley."
Harry nodded and dashed off with Ron toward the train. Jessica shook her head fondly and Molly chuckled beside her.
"I was worried about my Ronnie. Now, I feel much better." Jessica nodded in agreement.
"I was concerned for Harry as well. I wasn't sure that he would be able, or even willing, to make friends," she confided in the younger woman. "Knowing you and Arthur, I'm sure that he and Ron will get along splendidly" The pair were quiet for a moment before Molly spoke up.
"I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you on the platform today. What brought you back to Hogwarts after everything that… happened?"
"I think you know why I came back," she replied cautiously, with a hint of sorrow in her voice. She shot a quick glance at the train, and Molly understood immediately.
"Does he know, Jess?"
"What do you think they're talking about?" Ron asked, his nose pressed against the glass.
"I don't know, Ron," an equally curious Harry replied. The two women had been speaking intently on the platform for several minutes, and the boys were wondering why.
"Do you know Professor Fletcher?" Ron shook his head.
"I've never seen her before."
Then how they know each other? Harry didn't wonder for much longer as the train whistle sounded one last time. With greater speed than it seemed a woman her age should possess, the professor bounded onto the train as it began to pull away from the station. In a few moments she appeared at the door of the boy's compartment.
"Are you two settled?" she asked kindly. She smiled as they nodded their confirmation. "Good. If you need me, I'll be in the staff car just ahead of the first year car." And then, in the blink of an eye, she had swept away. Harry pushed her out of his mind for the moment, and looked to his ginger companion.
"So, tell me about yourself, Ron."
I can't apologize enough for the lack of updates. Until recently, I had awful writers block. This chapter is rather short, but hopefully you can forgive me. I hope to give you more soon.
As always, feel free to leave feedback.