Harry Potter had been abnormal since birth. Of course, if one were to ask his aunt and uncle, they would say he was a criminally-inclined youth they had utterly failed with. If asked, the boy himself simply would shut his mouth and refuse to answer… until asked about Hogwarts. After surviving the ordeals of the Chamber of Secrets, the school year ended, and he therefore returned to a far more threatening snakes' den. The Dursley residence.

Harry thought this all over, his mind roiling violently as he rode the Hogwarts Express back to King's Cross station in London. He was returning to the one place he had to call home before he turned eleven, and not by his own choice. Rolling his eyes, he turned his head to look back to the compartment.

"Hey guys, what time are we supposed to be back in London again?" He asked absentmindedly. Hermione shook her head, evidently thinking 'boys!' "Harry, I told you five minutes ago! We should be back around two-thirty." She glanced at Ron worriedly, who shrugged. Not like the redhead had any idea what was going on, either. Ten minutes later, Harry glanced at his watch and sighed deeply. Hermione, deeply rooted in a book, blissfully ignored the signal of agitation.

Ron, however, spoke up after a few everlasting moments. "Harry, mate, what's up? You seem, erm, tense, or something." Harry looked back at Ron, having been attempting to disguise the flickering of his nervous eyes by gazing halfheartedly at the darting countryside. The Boy Who Lived shook his head softly and opened his mouth to speak equally as softly.

"I'm just not all that keen on going back, is all," Harry murmured. "Hey, don't worry about it! I'll owl you if we're going to a Cannons match this summer, and if we aren't, I'll make sure you come over for a good while before school starts again!" Ron exclaimed in an attempt to soothe Harry. The dark-haired boy nodded, plastering a smile onto his face. "Sounds like it'll work, Ron. You sure your mum won't mind?" The Weasley child let out a sound somewhere between a gasp and a guffaw. "Are you kidding? She already thinks of you as her eighth kid, much less someone who could drop by anytime if your aunt and uncle would let their house be hooked up to the Floo Network." Which will never happen, he added mentally, somehow preventing a grimace from crossing his face.

Harry's smile eased into a genuine grin. "Thanks, Ron." He paused, then said, "Don't you think we should change into Muggle clothes soon? It's almost one-thirty, and we all know how long it takes Ron to get dressed!" he teased, sticking out his tongue at his best friend before evacuating to allow Hermione to change first. "C'mon, Ron. Let's see if the trolley will ever make it down here or if it was cleaned off three cars back."

Hermione pointedly closed the door and cast an obscuring charm of some sort upon the glass, then quickly and efficiently changed into a comfortable blue tee shirt and a pair of jeans, tucking her robes into a backpack she had enchanted to be far larger on the inside than it had appeared. This one charm was trickier than she had thought, somehow. Her first try upon this bag had led to it being large enough that if she had fallen in, it would have taken months to venture back out, assuming she survived long enough. Subsequent attempts had rendered it either far smaller than needed until this size was the result. A little big for her tastes, but perfectly usable. And she wouldn't get lost inside it, a definite plus.

She stepped outside, calling the boys in from two compartments over. "Aww, 'Mione! We were just getting Lee to show us his tarantula again!" Ron complained, leading Harry into the compartment before loosening his school tie even further. Hermione got the hint and left the car so Harry and Ron could relish the masculine air, if it could be called that. More like stinky fart-scented air where even Chocolate Frogs suffocated with ease.

Her point was proven when she returned, Harry having accidentally dropped a Dungbomb from his pocket, where it promptly exploded. Utterly disgusting, and what had Harry been planning, she wondered. Surely his family wouldn't appreciate the scent of dung permeating the house. Even so, Hermione set herself down in the compartment and relaxed. There was nowhere like where her two best friends were, even if it reeked of Dungbomb and boys.

It was all too soon when the Hogwarts Express pulled into the station.