Harry waved his wand and the last of his things were packed up. "Harry," Hermione called knocking on the door. Harry looked up. "Are you almost ready? Mrs. Weasley is wanting to leave in a few."
Harry rolled his eyes and Hermione giggled. He checked his pocket watch, a gift from Lucius and Narcissa. "Bloody Hell, we have twenty minutes," Harry swore. "What in Merlin's name is that woman thinking?"
"I don't know," Hermione said. "Sirius and Remus are getting frustrated. Remus said he will give them ten minutes before he apparates the both of us to the platform."
"I'm all packed," Harry said. "Let's find Remus and beg him to take us."
Finding Remus was a lot easier than the two expected. He was in Sirius' bedroom watching his best friend bang his head on the wall. "That bad?" Harry asked looking back and forth between the two men.
"This is Sirius' way of not hexing Molly," Remus explained. He looked at the siblings. "Are you two ready?"
"Yep," Harry said. "Can you take us to the station now? I don't want to be late and well… they are still not ready."
"It would also give us a chance to talk to Draco before we get to Hogwarts," Hermione said.
"You just want to see Pansy again," Harry teased.
"Parkinson?" Sirius questioned pulling his attention away from banging his head on the wall.
"Yeah," Harry said before Hermione could reply. "Hermione and Pansy snuck off during the party."
Hermione blushed and wacked Harry's arm. "We want to the library and she told me about the Pureblood families," Hermione explained.
"The Parkinson's are a good family," Sirius said. He turned to Remus. "The Order won't be happy you took them, especially Harry, without telling them. The really don't care what happens to Hermione as long as she's alive." Harry clenched his fist.
Remus shrugged. "Not my problem. Bring your things here," Remus told Harry and Hermione. "I'll apparate you two to the Platform." Hermione and Harry headed to their rooms to grab their things. They returned at the same time with all their stuff. Crookshanks was laying on Sirius' bed. "Hermione grab Crookshanks and Harry grab Hedwig's cage." They did as they were told and Remus shrunk the rest of their things. "Do you two have everything?"
The twins exchanged looks before nodding. "Don't worry about it Remus," Sirius said. "If they forget something they can owl us. Now do you guys have gold for snacks?"
"Yes," Harry replied patting his pocket.
"Okay," Sirius said. Remus grabbed their arms. "Harry I know this doesn't mean much coming from me but please stay out of trouble. Whatever Umbridge says… don't fall into her trap. She wants you to react. Don't give her that power."
Harry nodded and pulled away from Remus so he could hug his godfather. "Don't get caught," Harry whispered in his ear.
"I won't," Sirius promised.
Remus grabbed Harry's arm again and the three disapparated.
They appeared right outside of the train. "You two will have about ten minutes before the others show up so if you are going to visit Draco do it quick," Remus warned. They nodded. "Find a compartment so I can unshrink your bags."
Harry found them a compartment near the back of the train. Remus handed them the shrunken bags. Harry placed them on the ground and Remus unshrunk them and levitated them up out of the way. "Thanks Remus," Harry said, grateful he didn't have to try to lift them.
"Have fun you two," Remus said as Harry jumped out of the train. "And behave, both of you."
The twins hugged Remus goodbye before getting back on the train. They shut the compartment door. "What do you think?" Hermione asked. "Should we go look for them?"
Harry nodded. "It might be best to blend in before we find them," Harry suggested.
"Good idea," Hermione said before changing her appearance to look like a random Slytherin student. Harry did the same. They left the compartment and Hermione cast a locking spell on the door that only she could remove. She also put a notice me not spell on the compartment so no one would be tempted to try and get in.
"They are here," Harry said a minute later. They checked to see if anyone was watching them before turning to their normal appearance.
"Hadrian, Hermione," Draco greeted happily. Pansy and Theo greeted the Dark Lords children. "How did you escape the Weasel's?"
"We convinced Remus to bring us," Harry said shrugging. "The others weren't even ready yet."
Draco dug through his bag and handed over two wrapped packages to Harry and Hermione. "Bella packed these for you," he explained. "Mother packed one for me as well."
They happily accepted the food. It was better than anything Molly would make for the train ride. "So Hadrian, are we still planning on meeting during the term?" Theo asked.
"We are," Harry confirmed. "However Hermione brought up a good point with Mother. We can't go to the Slytherin common room. It's not safe considering Dumbledore is a Master Legilimens. So we decided to meet in the Chamber of Secrets."
Pansy bounced excitedly in her seat and Harry was reminded of Hermione. "Oh when can we go? The Chamber is bound to be fascinating. Think of all the history," she rambled. Theo waved his wand and silenced Pansy.
Hermione glared at Theodore and waved her wand to unsilenced Pansy. She then silenced Theodore. Harry rolled his eyes but didn't comment. He didn't want to be silenced next. Even though she was unsilenced Pansy didn't say anything more.
"We can go as soon as we all have free time," Harry told his cousin. "Sirius and Remus are going to make some enchanted parchments for us, similar to the Marauder's Map I showed you. It will allow us to communicate without anyone knowing."
"Why don't we all meet tonight?" Hermione suggested. "Classes start tomorrow so tonight might be the best time. Besides no one will be surprised if we don't want to spend time in our dorms as soon as we return."
"Sounds good," Draco said. "Where will we meet?"
Harry grinned. "Do you know where Moaning Myrtle's bathroom is?" he questioned. Hermione giggled. She still couldn't believe that's where the entrance was.
"I do," Pansy said. "All the girls avoid it for the most part."
"We will meet there at 9," Harry said.
"Why the bloody hell are we meeting at a girls lavatory?" Draco demanded.
"Just meet us there at 9," Harry instructed. "Everything will be explained. I promise." Harry cast a quick Tempus. "We should get back to our compartment. The Weasley's will be here any minute."
Harry and Hermione hugged their cousin before changing their appearance and heading back to their compartment. "How long do you think we have before they show up?" Hermione asked.
Harry shrugged. "Any minute," he replied. "What's the odds that we can avoid them for the entire train ride?"
"Zero," Hermione answered. "Ron's prefect remember? We have a prefect meeting at 11:30 and then we are supposed to patrol for about an hour. I won't be able to avoid him."
"Damn," Harry muttered. "Well we still don't know if he's a part of all this. We just know he's an underachiever that feels like he has to know everything."
"I have an idea on how we can avoid him," Hermione said. "With Voldemort back you are taking your studies more serious, and it's about time," she added. Harry rolled his eyes. "If we spend most of our free time in the library Ron won't want to come. We can do a lot of planning there."
Harry agreed. They had a lot to do. Tom had told Harry of the fake prophecy that had sent him to Lily and James' home that Halloween night. Tom also told Harry that he was certain there was a prophecy about the Dark Lord and Harry but he didn't know what it was.
Harry knew of the plan to go after the prophecy and was asked to be a part of it but Harry still wasn't sure. He had asked his father for some time to think about it. The Order would show up to help. Sirius and Remus had told them the Order was protecting the prophecy. Harry wasn't too sure if he could stand back while the Death Eaters killed Order members but at the same time he was curious as to what the prophecy said.
"Harry what are you thinking about?" Hermione questioned.
"Nothing that we should discuss here," Harry said. Hermione nodded but wasn't going to let it go. "They are here," Harry announced a few minutes later.
"Damn," Hermione swore under her breath.
Harry gasped. "Hermione Granger swearing, call the Daily Prophet," he said reaching over to feel his sister's forehead.
"Prat," Hermione said smacking his hand away. "I guess I better remove the charms." She reluctantly pulled her wand out and cancelled the charms on the compartment.
"I was thinking about Neville," Harry said while they waited for the Ron to eventually show up.
"I don't know if I want to hear about that," Hermione teased. Harry glared at her. "Kidding, what about Neville?"
"He's a great guy," Harry said. "I want to be his friend still and maybe help him do better. Honestly I think all he needs is some encouragement. I think his grandmother is a little too hard on him. But with everything…"
"You're worried when he finds out about our mother he won't want anything to do with you," Hermione said in understanding.
"Yes," Harry confessed.
Hermione frowned. "What if there was a way to tell him the truth about his parents attack without telling him about us?" Hermione questioned. "Maybe if he sees she wasn't a part of it he will be less inclined to hate her."
"I don't know," Harry said. "I hated the Dursley's most of my life and finding out we aren't actually related to didn't change that. If anything it made it worse."
Hermione couldn't reply because Ron chose that moment to enter the compartment. "Harry, Hermione," he exclaimed. "Where have you two been? Mum's been frantic looking for you."
"We asked Remus to take us to the station because we didn't want to be late," Harry said shrugging. He opened the container of food Draco had given him. He was starving.
"Where did you get the food?" Ron asked eyeing the sandwich greedily.
"I asked Kreacher to make it," Harry lied knowing Ron would never eat anything Kreacher made out of fear of being poisoned.
Just as Harry expected Ron eyed the sandwich in disgust. "Why are you eating that Harry?" Ron questioned as Harry took a bite. "Kreacher probably poisoned you so he can deliver you to You-Know-Who."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Voldemort," Ron gasped but Hermione ignored it, "is not going to let a house elf poison Harry. He wants to kill Harry himself."
"Imagine the look on his face if he found out I died from a house elf when he couldn't kill me," Harry joked.
Hermione laughed. It was a funny image, although she knew if Kreacher did kill Harry then the house elf would be begging for death by the time their father was done with him. "So Harry, mate, are you still upset about not being prefect?" Ron questioned.
Hermione groaned from beside her brother. Harry was over it that much she knew, but that didn't mean he needed the reminder that he was overlooked despite his superior grades and skill. Hermione was certain it was Ron's way of gloating over the fact that he was prefect and not Harry. "No I'm not," Harry said. "I don't care about something as trivial as being a prefect. I care about surviving when Voldemort wants me dead."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ron asked confused.
"It means I don't have time for things like Quidditch and Divination," Harry said. Ron gasped. "Voldemort," Ron flinched, "wants me dead. I have to be prepared."
Hermione shot him a warning glance. She was afraid he was going to say too much. "No Quidditch," Ron repeated horrified. Hermione groaned. It seemed they had to reason to worry because all Ron cared about was Quidditch. "You can't quit the Quidditch team. We can't let those slimy snakes win."
Harry rolled his eyes. "I love flying," Harry admitted. "But it seems ever Quidditch game I play I get hurt or almost killed and it's not as much fun."
"We have to go to our prefect meeting," Hermione said interrupting the conversation on Quidditch. "Come on Ron." She dragged Ron out of the compartment leaving Harry alone. Harry summoned the Ancient Runes book he had been reading and settled into his seat.
Ten minutes later there was a knock at the compartment door. "Harry," Neville said poking his head in the compartment.
"Neville, come on in," Harry said waving his friend in.
"How was your summer?" Neville said sitting across from Harry. "I heard you almost got expelled for underage magic."
"It was uneventful," Harry lied. "Other than the Dementor attack."
Neville nodded. "That explains the underage magic," he said. "I can't believe they tried to expel you for that."
"Hermione thinks it's because I said Voldemort is back," Harry said. "She thinks they are trying to discredit me."
"Sadly yes," Neville said. "The Prophet has been reporting that you're a nutcase. Um, no offense, but what's with all the new clothes? Not that you don't look good. It's just you always looked, um homeless before."
Harry laughed. "No offense taken," he said. "Those were my cousin's castoffs. I never really got around to buying my own and well…" Harry frowned. "Neville if I tell you something will you swear not to tell anyone?"
Neville got the hint and pulled out his wand. "I, Neville Frank Longbottom, swear not to reveal what Harry James Potter is about to reveal to me. So mote it be." A white light surrounded Neville.
"So mote it be," Harry repeated accepting the oath. "My godfather is Sirius Black." Neville gasped. "He wasn't responsible for my parent's death. Peter Pettigrew was." Neville opened his mouth to comment but Harry held up his hand. "I have a feeling I know what you are going to say and no Sirius didn't kill the muggles or Pettigrew. Pettigrew is alive. He's an unregistered Animagus as is Sirius. Now back to my clothing. Sirius didn't like that I wore my cousin's clothes so he, with Professor Lupin's help, bought me a completely new wardrobe as well as a new truck since mine was pretty beat up."
"Wow," Neville said surprised. "I never would have guessed. If Pettigrew is alive then why is your godfather still considered a criminal?"
"We tried tell Fudge that Pettigrew was alive but he didn't listen," Harry admitted. "Without Pettigrew right in front of them they won't believe us."
Neville frowned. "Is there a way to draw Pettigrew out?" Neville questioned. Harry stared at his friend in surprise. "I mean, if Pettigrew is captured your godfather would be free and you wouldn't have to stay with your muggle relatives. Shouldn't we find a way to catch him?"
"You would help?" Harry asked him.
Neville nodded. "You were my first real friend here," Neville said. Neville paused for a minute, briefly contemplating whether or not he should continue. "You and Hermione were, and still are, the only people to be nice to me, well if you don't count when Hermione hexed me when you three went after the stone."
Harry grinned sheepishly. "Have we mentioned how sorry we are about that?" Harry asked.
Neville laughed. "Yeah, you and Hermione apologized numerous times," he said.
Harry frowned. "Ron never apologized?" Harry questioned. "He said he did."
Neville shook his head. "He came up to be before the end of first year, not long after you and Hermione apologized. He said I deserved what happened and I only got the points because Dumbledore wanted Gryffindor to win the house cup and felt bad for me."
Harry clenched his fist. Ron may not be involved in Dumbledore's master plan, though Harry was thinking he was, but Ron was still a terrible friend. This would be there year that Harry cut all ties with the Weasley family, or almost all ties. The twins were still nice and even if they were involved Harry was half owner of the joke shop they planned on opening. There was no way he would cut ties with the twins when they could have useful items for him.
"I'm sorry about that," Harry said.
Neville waved his hand. "It's nothing Harry, I don't care," Neville said. "So who do you think is going to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor this year?"
Harry shrugged. "I have no idea," he said. "It can't be worse than Lockhart though."
Neville shuddered. Lockhart was truly the worst professor he had ever seen and that included Quirrell and Binns. "Merlin I hope you're right," Neville said.
"Listen Harry, there is a reason I came looking for you," Neville said after a few minutes of silence. Harry placed his book on the seat next to him so he could give Neville his full attention. "With You-Know-Who back I… I want to learn to protect myself better. I want to do better in my classes. I… I don't want to end up like my parents. I would rather die than have that happen. You're the best in Defense Against the Dark Arts. I was hoping you would tutor me. Hermione too, if she is willing. I can tutor you in Herbology. I know it's not one of your best classes."
"That sounds great Neville," Harry said. Herbology was the one class he didn't get much tutoring in because none of his tutors were experts in the subject. "I know Hermione would be more than happy to help as well."
"Uh, she's not gonna be Scary Hermione this year, is she?" Neville questioned.
Harry snickered. Scary Hermione was the nickname given by Gryffindor house to Hermione in their first year because of how she acted around exam time. With OWLs this year Harry wasn't surprised the Gryffindors were worried. He was sure Hermione would be fine this year. Harry would be right there studying alongside her and they could hide in the Chamber of Secrets.
"Nah she won't," Harry told his friend. "If she does you can put her in a full body bind and leave her."
Neville chuckled as the trolley came by. "Anything off the trolley?" she asked kindly.
Harry pulled out a sack of Galleons, given to him by Bellatrix, and picked out several Cauldron Cakes, half a dozen Chocolate Frogs and two Pumpkin Pasties for himself and Hermione. The Pumpkin Pasties were part of a bet that he lost. "Nev, you want anything?" Harry asked.
Neville wasn't planning on getting anything. His grandmother had said more than once over the summer that he would never be a good wizard if he stuffed his face constantly. He made the decision to change so he could be better, like his father. Unfortunately he had no idea where to begin. The solution had just come to him: Harry. He remembered Harry had done great in the Twi-wizard Tournament.
"I'll take a couple Chocolate Frogs," Neville said pulling out his own money.
Harry refused to take Neville's gold. "I have more than enough," Harry said paying for all their treats.
"Thank you," Neville said accepting his treats from Harry.
"Anytime," Harry said.
"Harry," Neville said nibbling on the leg of the Chocolate Frog. Harry looked away from his Nicholas Flamel card. "How do you get so good at dueling? And I don't mean the spells and stuff. I noticed during the first task you didn't get tired as quickly as the others."
"Muggle training," Harry replied. "A lot of purebloods underestimate muggles. By doing muggle exercises you can build up your endurance, makes it so you can duel without getting tired. Why do you ask?"
"I want to get better and not just in classes," Neville said. "Are you going to do those exercises at Hogwarts?" Harry nodded. His parents would be very unhappy if he neglected his muggle training. "Can I join you? I know I won't be as fast as you but I could…"
"Nev," Harry said cutting his friend off. "Hermione and I would love to have you join us." Neville stared at him in surprise. "Yeah Hermione does them too."
"Thanks Harry," Neville said gratefully.
They ate their snacks in silence for a while until Ron and Hermione came back from their meeting and patrolling. "Bloody Malfoy," Ron complained collapsing in the seat next to Harry.
Harry looked at Hermione. "What did he do this time?"
Hermione shook her head. "Typical Malfoy," Ron spat. "Anyone who is not a Death Eater is scum to him. He's probably planning his initiation now."
Harry rolled his eyes. It seemed to him like Ron started a fight since Draco had promised not to cause too many problems, especially with Umbridge teaching. Harry handed over the treats to Hermione. "Thanks Harry," she said.
"Food," Ron moaned. He looked around the seats but all he saw was empty seats. "Where's mine Harry?" Neville stared at Ron in disbelief.
"You didn't ask so I didn't get you any," Harry said shrugging.
Ron was ready to yell at Harry but something caught his eye. "No way, you found Ptolemy," he shouted grabbing the card.
Harry wandlessly and silently summoned the card from Ron's hand. "That is Neville's card," Harry said glaring at his best friend. He handed the card back to Neville.
"But I need that card and you didn't buy me any chocolate frogs," Ron protested.
"Ronald you can't expect Harry to buy everything for you," Hermione scolded. "It's not his job."
"Easy for you to say. He bought you treats," Ron said crossing his arms over his chest.
"She asked me to buy her some because she didn't have any gold with her," Harry lied.
"Whatever," Ron muttered crossing his arms over his chest.
"So Hermione," Harry said ignoring Ron as he pouted. "Neville wants to join us on our morning workout and was hoping for some tutoring."
"We would love to have you join us," Hermione said turning her attention to Neville.
"What morning workout?" Ron asked looking back and forth between Hermione and Harry.
"I started working out at the Dursley's so I would be ready if I have to face Voldemort again," Harry said and Neville winced. Harry was going to have to work on Neville's reaction to the name Voldemort. He didn't know how long it would be before he snapped at Neville and he didn't want that to happen.
"That sounds boring," Ron said. "Count me out." Harry shrugged. He didn't care if Ron joined them or not. It was probably better he didn't come. Harry definitely wouldn't be able to stand listening to Ron whining.
The compartment door slid open and Draco walked in alone. "Potter," he greeted in disgust. Harry knew better though. He knew it disgust at the name and the fact that he had a part to play. "Weasel, Granger."
"Malfoy," Harry returned.
"See this," Malfoy said tapping his prefect badge. "It means you better toe the line or else."
"Whatever," Harry said. He was silently laughing at Draco's weak attempt to bait him.
"We are prefects too," Ron said glaring at him. "Try anything and we will put your bodyguards in detention."
Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "You can't put prefects in detention Ronald," Hermione said. "Besides we can only punish our own house."
"Listen to Granger Weasel," Malfoy said. "Sad, sad day when the mudblood knows for than a pureblood," Malfoy eyed Ron's second hand robes, "well a sorry excuse for a pureblood."
He spotted the Pumpkin Pasties next to Harry and Hermione and snatched them. Harry had lost a bet and owed Draco two Pumpkin Pasties, which is why Harry picked them out even though he and Hermione weren't huge fans of them. "Hey," Ron exclaimed. "You can't just take those."
"Yet I just did," Draco said opening one and taking a bite. "Thanks for the food Potter," he called as he left the compartment.
"Why did you let him take that?" Ron asked angrily.
"What good would starting a fight with him do?" Harry questioned. "Let him take the food and have him leave us alone."
A couple hours later Hermione left the compartment to change into her robes while the boys changed together.
"So Harry," Ron said once the train stopped and they were climbing off the train. "Ginny's been pretty upset you've been ignoring her."
"I haven't been ignoring her," Harry lied. "Just been busy helping Sirius and with the trial and everything."
"You should take her to Hogsmeade some weekend," Ron said. Hermione snorted. He was not subtle.
Harry shook his head. No way was he taking Ginny Weasley on a date. He would rather date a hippogriff. "I don't want a date Ron," he said. It was true enough. He had bigger things to worry about then dating.
"Come on Harry," Ron said. "You two have a lot in common."
"Like what?" Hermione asked curious. As far as Hermione knew they had nothing in common.
"Quidditch," Ron said immediately.
"If Quidditch is all we have in common then I'll pass," Harry said and Ron glared at him.
Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville climbed into the carriage and rode to the castle in silence.