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Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin or Harry Potter.

Chapter 8

Kenshin was undeniably happy. When he had first got onto the train, he had been extremely worried that he wouldn't be accepted by his fellow classmates. Contrary to that though, he now had two new friends. One was Ron Weasley, a rather poor European boy with red hair almost as flaming red as Kenshin's. The other friend was none other than the famous Harry Potter.

As Kenshin ate the numerous snacks he and his friends shared, he studied Harry. From what he could observe, he had none of the traits extremely famous people were known for. He was in no way arrogant. In fact, it seemed that he had been brought up largely neglected and mistreated. He seemed extremely uncomfortable by fame or excessive attention, unlike the stereotypical image of a celebrity. He seemed nothing more than an ordinary boy.

'Are these really frogs?' Harry was asking Ron. He was holding up a bag of something labeled "Chocalate Frogs."

'No,' Ron said. "But that's not the main reason why you'd get one. Most people just collect the cards. I'm missing Agrippa so far.'

'What,' Harry asked confused, a sentiment Kenshin shared.

'Oh- erm- Chocolate Frogs have card to collect inside. They're collectible and they have famous witches and wizards on them. I've got a lot- around five hundred- but I'm still missing Agrippa and Ptolemy.'

Harry unwrapped the Frog and picked out the card.

'Hey, I've got Dumbledore!' Harry said.

'Our headmaster?' Kenshin asked looking over Harry's shoulder.

Dumbledore wore half-moon spectacles, had a long rather crooked nose that looked like it had been broken before, and flowing silver hair, beard and mustache. He looked like a benign, kindly wizard.

Harry turned the card over to read what it said.

Kenshin turned back to get some sweets while still listening to the conversation.

'It says here that he's "considered by many the greatest wizard of modern times!"' Harry remarked.

'Well, of course he is,' Ron said. 'You must've at least heard of Dumbledore- can I have a Frog? I might get Agrippa- thanks-'

'What's alchemy? It says here that he worked on it with his partner Nicholas Flamel-'

Just then, someone knocked on the door. A round-faced boy came in.

'Sorry, but have you seen a toad?' he asked tearfully. 'Anywhere at all?'

Kenshin and Harry shook their heads, and Ron said 'Sorry, mate.'

'I keep losing him!' he wailed.

'I'm sure you'll find him sooner or later,' Kenshin said in what he hoped was a kindly voice.

'Yes, well,' the boy said sadly, 'if you see him...'

'We'll give him to you,' Harry said reassuringly.

The boy left miserably, also forgetting to shut the compartment door behind him in his grief.

'If I had to bring a toad to school,' Ron said, 'I'd lose him as fast as I could. But, I've brought Scabbers who's hardly any better than a toad.'

Ron looked disgustingly at the slumbering rat in his lap.

'I tried making him more interesting yesterday by using George's spell to make him yellow. But it didn't work at all. Here, I'll let you guys see...'

Ron rummaged around in his trunk and pulled out a second-hand-looking wand.

'It was Charlie's,' Ron reminded them. 'You can even see the Unicorn hair poking out of the end, it's so old-'

Kenshin had of course already tried a few more simple spells in his time at the Leaky Cauldron, but Harry apparently had not. He was interestedly watching, all questions about alchemy forgotten.

Then, when Ron had just raised his wand, a bossy voice said, 'Excuse me, have you seen Neville's toad?'

All three of the boys looked up in surprise. Kenshin was inwardly scolding himself for not noticing that they had visitors approaching. It seemed that if he was already this lacking in Ki sensing, then Hiko was right. If he didn't continue his training at Hogwarts, he would either have to be retrained or be beaten to a pulp. Neither of the options appealed to Kenshin because he: one, remembered the pain he went through the first time he began his training; and two, he didn't find having his body rearranged into something most commonly found in orange juice a very desirable option. Deciding to somehow continue his swords-training- even without a katana on hand-, Kenshin observed their unexpected, but of course, welcome, guests.

The owner of the bossy voice was a girl around the three of them's ages. She had very bushy brown hair and somewhat larger-than-usual front teeth. With her was the round-faced boy from earlier, who was probably named Neville.

'We already told him-' Ron, who had become the self-proclaimed voice of the trio, began, but the girl wasn't listening. She was looking at the wand Ron had raised.

'Are you doing magic?' she asked. 'Well, let's see it then.'

She sat down. Ron looked taken aback from her boldness. Kenshin had thus far deduced that people in the West were crazily brazen.

'All right,' Ron said a little uncertainly. Nonetheless, he cleared his throat and said the incantation:

'Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow,

Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow.'

Ron waved his wand and pointed it at Scabbers. Nothing happened. Scabbers was still fat, gray, and asleep.

'That's not a very good spell, is it?' the girl told Ron. 'All the spells I've tried have worked for me, thought, mind you, they were all simple ones. I'm muggle-born by the way- no magic in the family at all. It was ever such a surprise when my letter arrived. I was pleased though, of course. I mean, I've heard that it's the very best school of witchcraft that there is. I've learned all the course books by heart- do you think that will be enough? My point is, it should make up for my heritage shouldn't it? Oh, I'm Hermione Granger, who are you three?'

She had said this very fast. Kenshin was surprised her complexion had not turned a bluish tinge, or even a reddish one.

'I'm Ron Weasley,' Ron muttered; he looked unnerved, like Kenshin, that Hermione had learned the course books by heart.

'Kenshin Himura,' Kenshin said, a little bit more politely than Ron's answer.

'Har-' Harry started, but once again, Hermione interrupted.

'Did you die your hair Kenshin?' Hermione asked. 'I don't mean to sound rude or stereotypical, but I thought it was natural for all Asians to have black, or at least dark hair. How is it that your hair is bright red?'

'Yeah, I've been wondering about that too,' Ron muttered again, embarrassed, probably from what he thought was nosiness.

'Me too,' Harry added curiously.

'Ummmm...' Kenshin said. 'I was born with my hair. I don't know why it's so different- probably from one of my parents.'

'Mmmmm...' Hermione hummed skeptically. And then, abruptly looking at Harry, she said, 'Oh I'm sorry, did I interrupt you?'

'That's okay,' Kenshin told her. 'My name's Harry Potter.'

She, despite being muggle-born like Kenshin, immediately recognized his name.

'Are you really?' Hermione asked. 'I've read all about you. You're in a few of the books I got for a bit of background reading. Let's see, you're in Modern Magical History and The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.'

Harry seemed stunned. 'I am?' he asked dazedly.

'Of course you are; didn't you know?' Hermione asked as if she couldn't believe him. 'Oh, by the way, do any of you know which house you'll be in?' Then, without waiting for an answer, she went on, 'From what I've heard, I think Gryffindor's the best. They even say that that was the house Dumbledore himself was in. I guess Ravenclaw wouldn't be bad either, but I'm hoping for Gryffindor. Anyway, Neville and I had better go look for his toad. And you two should change into your robes. You know, we'll arrive soon."

And then, she and Neville left; though, it was more like he followed her because Neville looked as if he had no idea what was going on.

'Bloody hell, does she even need to breath when she talks?' Ron asked in awe.

'Who knows,' Harry said. Then, 'Hey, Dumbledore's picture's gone!'

'Oro?' Kenshin went over to inspect the picture. And just as Harry said, Dumbledore's picture was gone, leaving only an empty picture square.

'Well, you can't expect him to stay around forever, can you?' Ron said. 'He'll be back though. They always come back.' He went back to eating sweets, muttering about crazy girls.

Kenshin and Harry shared a confused look. Kenshin had been in a wizard's hotel for about a month, but he had never seen any kind of picture move in and out of portraits. But, as he was always either practicing magic in his room or finding a forest to spar with Hiko, he didn't pay attention to pictures. But still...

'Ummm... in our world, you know, the muggle one, pictures don't move at all. They're just stationary,' Harry said.

This got Ron's attention much better than the disappearing picture. 'Seriously?' Ron said. When Harry nodded, Ron turned to Kenshin as if he expected him to refute Harry's claim. Kenshin nodded furiously too.

'Wow...' Ron murmured, amazed.

'Hey...' Kenshin said spotting something out of the corner of his eyes. 'Dumbledore's coming back!'

Harry looked too. 'He is!'

Ron said, 'Well, yeah. They always do come back.'

As Kenshin and Harry pondered about this revolutionary phenomenon, Ron worried about something.

'I hope that girl's not in Gryffindor,' Ron said to Harry and Kenshin.

Harry asked, 'Why not?' while Kenshin asked 'What are houses?'

Ron looked torn between deciding on which question to answer first. 'Er...'

Luckily for him, Harry facilitated this decision; more specifically, he answered Kenshin for Ron.

'Houses are like- er- groups you're in at school,' Harry explained. Seeing what must've been a non-comprehending look upon Kenshin's visage, he added, 'There are four: Gryffindor, Slytherin, -er-, Hufflepuff, and...' He seemed to struggle to remember the last one. 'That one that she was talking about. "Neverclaw"?'

'Ravenclaw,' Ron corrected him. 'When you get to school, you're sorted into one of them. It's sorta like your family at Hogwarts. Your classes are all with them, but the classes are inter-house too. But you don't always have classes with the same houses.'

Kenshin's mind said, What is he talking about?, but his mouth said, 'I see.'

'Great,' Ron said. 'It's a rather simple system actually.'

'Yeah,' Harry said. 'So how come you don't want that girl in Gryffindor.'

Ron's face fell. 'Well, it's not that I have anything personal against her, but she reminds me of my brother Percy, and he's something of a bossy know-it-all.'

'So what does that have to do with not wanting her to get into Gryffindor?' Kenshin asked, politely he hoped.

'If she does get chosen for Gryffindor, it lands me in a sort of dilemma. My whole family's been in Gryffindor you see. I don't know what they'll say if I'm not. But if I do get in, I'll have to put up with her the whole seven years of school.'

'So there are only seven years?' Harry went on to ask. 'What do you do when you graduate?'

'You can do a lot of things,' Ron explained. 'Like my brothers Charlie and Bill have already left school. Charlie's studying dragons in Romania. Bill's doing something for Gringotts in Africa.'

'I thought only goblins worked at Gringotts?' Kenshin asked.

'Bill's only working as a cursebreaker or something; he doesn't handle all the withdrawals and deposits most of the time. That sort of thing's better left to the goblins. They know how to hold onto gold best. But did you hear what happened at Gringotts over the holidays?'

'Daily Prophet?' Kenshin questioned.

'Oh right, you probably don't get living with Japanese muggles, I mean a Japanese muggle. It's a wizarding newspaper. The biggest one in England I think,' Ron elaborated. 'Anyway, there was a break-in into a high-security vault recently. It's been all over the Prophet.'

'Who did it?' Harry asked.

'That's just it. We don't know,' Ron said mysteriously. 'Noone has ever broken into Gringotts without being caught before. That's why this is causing so much panic. Everyone's afraid that You-Know...'

But that was when Kenshin's attention had left the conversation. This time, he was aware of some Ki coming toward their apartment. This wasn't a difficult feat to accomplish though. These Ki were somewhat un-cleaner than the other visitors they had had. Judging the best he could, Kenshin guessed that the owners were not much older, if they were older at all, than himself because though the Ki were dirty, they still bore the innocence displayed by most children.

Kenshin realized that they were at the door now. Through the window, he could see three boys. The two at the sides seemed that they were miniature thugs. The pale one in the middle had the look of an arrogant, greasy aristocrat. Kenshin's new friends were unaware of the visitors; they were still talking about the break-in. However, when the pale, aristocratic boy slid open the door, both Harry and Ron stopped talking and stared at the three newcomers.

'Is it true? Is Harry Potter really in this compartment?'

AN: I didn't think that the train scenes would take up so many chapters. It's just that I'm trying to give people who haven't read the Harry Potter books some background info. I'm really sorry to you readers who already are familiar with Harry Potter. Just please bear with me. I promise that the after the next chapter, we'll get to Hogwarts where this story will hopefully not follow the story so rigidly, as many of you have probably noticed. Also, I seriously think my chapter endings are getting worse the more I write them. They weren't any good to begin with either so that makes them crappy now. I hope you guys will keep reading this story, though, even with all its flaws. I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply to any of my reviewers too. I just can't find anything to say other than a lot of Thank You's (which actually means I'm too embarrassed to talk to you guys directly).

Please review. Your feedback is very appreciated. Hopefully, I'll be able to dig up enough courage to reply.