Harry moved along the corridor of the Hogwarts Express looking into compartments. Every one was full of students; talking, giggling or twitching nervously. Every now and again a child would look up, see him and stare. And Harry would smile, nod and move on quickly.
Finally he found it, near the end of the train as usual, a compartment empty except for Ron, frowning worriedly as he checked off items on a long scroll. Harry opened the door. "Excuse me, room in here?"
"Ah there you are, Harry. I was beginning to think you'd miss the train."
"Not quite." he settled himself on the seat opposite and nodded at the list in Ron's hand. "Get it all done?"
"I certainly hope so." was the fervent answer. "I'll never hear the end of it if I haven't."
There was a jerk as the train began to move. Harry looked out the window and Ron continued to pore over his list. They had left London far behind by the time he finally checked off the last item and heaved a sigh of relief. "Got it all, thank goodness. Hermione would have turned me into a tea towel if I'd forgotten anything."
"That's her latest is it?" Harry asked, looking away from the window.
"M' hm" Ron grinned. "Of course she never really does it, just talks about it."
"Bet she could if she wanted too."
"I don't doubt it." Ron answered cheerfully. "She was always good at Transfigurations."
"Hermione's good at everything." said Harry.
"I know, and it can be right annoying at times." Ron shoved the list into the pocket of his robes. "So, what did Percy the Pompous want?"
"To bring back the Triwizard Tournament." Harry answered flatly.
Ron's eyes went round. "You're kidding?" he shook his head. "He's got guts our Percy, I'll give him that. Imagine suggesting that to you of all people. What did you turn him into?"
"Nothing." Harry said quietly, looking out the window again. "I told him I'd think about it."
Ron frowned at the back of his head. "You can't be serious."
Harry turned to face him. "As a matter of fact I am. Voldemort and his crew have been dead and gone fifty years... it could be a tribute to poor Cedric's memory."
"I didn't think of that." Ron looked thoughtful. "I suppose there's no real reason not to, if you think you can stand it."
"That's what I'm not quite sure about." Harry admitted quietly, then looked determined. "I'll tell you one thing though, if I do say yes there'll be no cheating this time."
"That's always been part of the tournament." Ron protested.
Not with me running it, it won't be." Harry answered grimly.
There was a familiar rattle in the corridor outside and their door was slid open by a beaming witch pushing a well loaded snack cart. "Good afternoon, Headmaster, Professor Weasley. Anything off the cart?"
"Of course," said Harry, grinning and digging in his pocket for sickles and knuts, "a half dozen of everything, please Gladiola. And I wish you wouldn't call me 'Headmaster', I keep looking around for old Dumbledore."
She laughed, handing over packages of chocolate frogs, pumpkin pastries, Bott's beans and the rest. "Better get used to it, Harry. That's what practically everybody's going to be calling you from now on."
"Don't I know it!" he said ruefully. Gladiola laughed again, shut the door and pushed on down the corridor. Harry turned to Ron. "Why ever did I say yes? I don't know anything about running a school."
"You don't have to," Ron said comfortably around a mouthful of cauldron cake, "Hogwarts pretty much runs itself. You'll learn the ropes in no time." he swallowed. "Hermione and I are delighted, it'll be like old times with the three of us together again."
"That's just what Ginny said," Harry agreed, "and she wasn't at all sure that it was a good idea. Anyway I'm more used to breaking rules than enforcing them."
Ron laughed. "Tell me about it! Don't worry Hermione will keep you in line. She's got the whole school right scared of her."
"I believe it." a sudden croak by his foot startled Harry and made him look down, he bent to pick up a very large, very fat green toad. "Hello there, you look familiar."
"Can't be." said Ron.
Harry grinned. "Want to bet? I hear Neville's grandson's starting Hogwarts this year."
Ron grinned. "Oh no." then said mock severely to the toad; "Up to your old tricks are you Trevor?"
Neither of them was at all surprised to hear a timid knock on their compartment door some minutes later.
"Come in." said Harry.
It opened to admit a pair of nervous eleven year olds; a girl with mousy blondbraids and glasses holding the hand of a plump boy who looked like he wanted to run for it. Then he saw Trevor on the seat next to Harry and his face lit up in relief.
"You found him!"
"He found us." said Harry, scooping up the toad and handing him to his master. "Trevor's an old friend of ours, Professor Weasley and I shared a dormitory with him and your grandfather when we were at school. Bevis isn't it?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Grandad told me he knew you, sir."
Harry's eyebrows went up. "Neville saved my life more than once, risking his own to do it too, but I don't suppose he saw fit to tell you that. Your grandfather is one of the most modest wizards I know, as well as the best and bravest."
Bevis' face glowed. Harry turned to the girl, "And you are?"
She gulped but kept her countenance. "Prudence Dean, sir. You wouldn't know my family, I'm Muggle born."
"So am I," said Harry, "on my mother's side." he smiled at her. "Fascinating place the Wizarding world isn't it?"
"Oh yes, sir!" she said enthusiastically. "I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about magical history. I've read all about you and Professor Weasley and Bevis' grandfather and the rest of the Order of the Phoenix."
Harry kept his face straight with an effort, but Ron wasn't doing anywhere near so well. "Those were terrible times,"Harry said, "exciting to read about I grant you, but not much fun to live through. I'm glad you're entering our world at a more peaceful time Miss Dean."
Young Prudence's expression suggested she didn't quite agree. "Yes sir." she said politely. "Thank you for finding Trevor, Professor. We should be getting back to our compartment now. Nearly time to change into robes." she tugged at the boy's hand. "Come on Bevis."
The door closed behind them. Harry and Ron looked at each other for a moment then both burst out laughing.
"Remind you of anybody?" Harry asked when he could talk again.
"She certainly does! Something tells me Hermione is going to take to that girl."
'Heaven help us all." Harry agreed. "Have a chocolate frog." he tossed one over to Ron then opened his own.
"Who'd you get?" Ron asked.
Harry looked at his face and grinned. "Got me again?"
Ronshook his head. "Nope, Hermione." he held up a card showing a good looking witch wearing a severe expression and blue robes with her masses of brown hair twisted up into a fluffy pompadour. "Hermione Granger-Weasley" Ron read aloud from the back. "currently Professor of Arithomancy and deputy headmistress of Hogwarts school. A brilliant theoretician and experimental sorceress Professor Granger-Weasley's honors include the Order of Merlin, first class, for her part in the defeat of Lord Voldemort, as well as honorary degrees from Drumstang, Saint Mungo's and Beauxbatons for her work in counter-curses, healing spells, and of course Arithomancy.
"'She is married to Professor Ronald Weasley, also of Hogwarts, and the mother of six children.' Nice of them to squeeze that last bit in." He looked at the card in Harry's hand. "Don't tell me you got Hermione too."
Harry grinned and read; "Ronald Weasley, currently Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts school. One of the most able Aurors of our time Professor Weasley is most famous for his heroic role in the final defeat of Lord Voldemort -"
Ron snatched the card out of Harry's hand, ears as red as his hair. "That's load of rot!"
"Is not." Harry answered.
Ron looked down at the card in his hand with a rueful mixture of pride and embarrassment. His picture's ears were red too and it wore a sheepish grin. "Never thought I'd see myself on one of these."
"That's what you get for making friends with the famous Harry Potter." said Harry.