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Generated: Nov 25, 2020 6:51 PM
Post last updated: Nov 25, 2020 6:51 PM
Harriet Evans and the Hogwarts Express [previous fork]
platform nine and three quarters, and beyond // originally harriet met ron on the train instead of hermione
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Hagrid cooks them both dinner that night, and most nights over the next month, though every so often he takes them both out to a wizarding restaurant in Diagon Alley, somewhere he likes or somewhere that caught her eye.  August passes in relative peace, with smiles and sightseeing.

"Tomorrow's the big day," Hagrid says, the evening of 31 August after they've eaten.  "Feeling okay?"

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"I think so?" she says, bouncing a bit.

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“It’ll be great,” Hagrid says.  “Now, this,” he says, and produces a slip of golden paper from one of his many pockets, “is your train ticket.  I can hold onto it for you for now, but you’ll have to keep it with you once you’re on the platform.”

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She nods, seriously. "I'll try really hard."

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Grin.  “I trust yeh.  You remember the schedule for tomorrow?”

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She grins back. "Yeah. We're getting there early, right? So you have time to floo to Hogwarts?"

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"That's right," he says.  "You're sure you're okay on the platform on your own?"

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"Yeah, I am."

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Grin.  "Train leaves at eleven o'clock sharp, remember."

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"I will. I'll get on it early."

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"Good plan," he says, and stretches.  "Well, it's getting late, and I've got some knitting I oughta get done before bed."

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"Okay." She settles in with one of her history books for the night.

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They're up bright and early the next morning.  As Hagrid helps her pack, he asks, "Now, we could take Tom's Floo to King's Cross - Platform Nine-And-Three-Quarters has a floo station as well as a train station.  But we've got plenty of time if you'd prefer to go the muggle way."

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"I think I would, yeah, like to go the muggle way."

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"Fine with me.  Don't much care for travelling by Floo, if I'm honest."

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She nods. "It's - weird."

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"It takes some getting used to, that's for sure."

They do have plenty of time, for a leisurely walk and a ride on the Underground to muggle King's Cross.

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"Well, here we are," Hagrid says once they're on the muggle platform.

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"Cool!" she says, looking around. "So - the platform's between nine and ten?"

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"That's right," he says.  "Now, to get to Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters, what you've got to do is walk straight at the barrier between Nine and Ten."  He points.  "Muggles can't get through it, but you and I can."

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"Okay," she says, nodding seriously. "Will anyone notice me walking through?"

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"Well, you shouldn't try to get someone's attention while you're going through, but if you're quick-like and not too loud about it you'll be okay."

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"Okay. I'll be careful."

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Grin.  "All right.  Wanna go first?"

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"Yeah!"

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He takes a step back, so he's beside the barrier, and bows extravagantly, and extends an arm toward the barrier in invitation.

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She grins and pushes her cart through.

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Whoosh!  Straight through the brick wall like breaching the surface of water, except both sides are air.

From the other side the barrier looks like an iron archway, but with a blurry translucent curtain of brick-and-mortar that ripples like water in her wake.  She can't make out details, but she can see the shapes of muggles walking back and forth, and of Hagrid walking toward the barrier after her.  It looks a bit like breaching the surface of water, too, when he walks through it.

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Cool!!!

She walks a bit past the entry area, so anyone coming through won't risk bumping into her.

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Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters isn't quite as grand and abustle as Diagon Alley was, but it's got a few attractions beyond just space to wait for the train.  Mostly wizarding restaurants, but there's a few little market stalls hawking newspapers, and one or two places for students to pick up school supplies or toiletries they may have forgotten to pack.  On the other side of the tracks, accessible by a high bridge and steep stairs, is a line of green-burning Floo fireplaces.

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So cool!!!

She stares around, a bit fascinated. Not as much as she would've been a month ago, but, still.

Wizarding stuff is just great.

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Hagrid grins as he checks his pocketwatch.

"Train'll be here in about an hour, and it leaves another hour after that.  Got some pocket money for yeh - " and he hands over a jingling coin purse - "and yer train ticket."

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"Okay! Thanks." She takes both, stowing them carefully.

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"Happy to help out," he says.  "Right - I should be off.  Got everything you need?"

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She checks her pockets and mentally inventories her trunk. "I think I do."

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"S'pose we'll see each other at Hogwarts, then."  He sticks out a hand.  "Pleasure meeting you, Harriet."

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She shakes his hand. "Pleasure meeting you, Hagrid."

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And he's off.  If she sticks around to watch him go, she'll see him wave at her as the Floo-fire swallows him.

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She waves, then goes to explore the platform and shops. The restaurants look interesting...

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Candy, it seems, is where wizarding food differs most from muggle food, though there's at least a few things she doesn't recognize wherever she looks, and most places are serving a beverage called "pumpkin juice."

Hagrid was right - it is in fact about an hour's wait before the Hogwarts Express arrives.

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Pumpkin juice is really good. She loves it, though she's careful with her money and careful not to fill herself up.

She gets on the Hogwarts Express pretty promptly after it arrives.

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Then she'll have her pick of compartments, and have plenty of time to sit and read on her own before anyone else shows up!

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She picks a corner one near the front, putting her trunk away carefully and pulling out Hogwarts: A History to read.

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Through the window she can see the platform filling up with wizarding families, milling about, patronizing the food court, or - as it gets closer and closer to eleven - hugging and kissing goodbye, and getting onto the train.  Most everyone passes over her compartment.

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There's a knock at the sliding door, though, just as the train is departing.

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"Come in?" she calls.

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Slide.  "Do you mind if I sit here?  Everywhere else is full."

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"It's okay," she says.

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He sidles in and hoists his trunk into the overhead compartment (not nearly as careful with it as she was with hers) and sits down in the opposite corner of the compartment.

"I'm Ron Weasley, by the way," he says.

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"I'm Harriet Evans. Nice to meet you."

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- his eyes widen.  "Are you - were your parents James Potter and Lily Evans?"

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She nods.

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He - stares a bit, and then catches himself staring and goes red and looks away a bit sheepishly.

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"Uh..."

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"Sorry," Ron says.  "Your parents were really cool, you know.  They're kind of legends."

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She ducks her head, smiling shyly. "Yeah... They sound cool."

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"Do you remember anything about them?" he asks.

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She closes in, shaking her head.

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Oh no change the subject quick.

"My family's pretty boring except that there's so many of us," he says, and laughs a little.  "My dad works in the Ministry..."

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That perks her up. "Are your family all wizards?"

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"Yeah," he says, and frowns.  "I think so.  Mum might have a second cousin who's a muggle?  But we're a big wizard family."

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"What's living with wizards like?"

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"It's all right," he says, and shrugs one shoulder.  "We cast spells a lot?  And a lotta stuff's magic.  We've got a ghoul in the attic, do muggles have ghouls?"

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She shakes her head. "Not that I know of..."

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"Mum says you can use ghoul slime in potions sometimes, but mostly he just makes a lot of noise."

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"Is he a person?"

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"He's more like a pet, except he mostly keeps to himself in the attic."

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"That's a weird pet!"

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Ron giggles.  "I think everyone in my family thinks so too."

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Smile. "Have you had him for long?"

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He crinkles up his nose in thought.  "I can't remember getting him, but it might've been after I was born."

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She nods, and mentally casts around for something else to say.

(Talking to people is awkward...)

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Ron's apparently happy to fill the silence: "Were you really raised by muggles until Hogwarts found you?  How'd you get to Diagon Alley?"

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"I was. Hagrid found me and brought me to Diagon Alley. I've been staying with him since..."

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"Rubeus Hagrid, the gamekeeper?  What's he like?"

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She grins. "He's really nice!" And starts rambling on Hagrid a bit.

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Ron is enthralled!

After a little while there's a knock at the trolley door.

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"Yes? Come in."

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The door slides open to reveal a plump woman pushing a cart stacked high with candy.  "Anything off the trolley, dears?"

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Ron - glances rather longingly at the cart, but says "no thanks" in a low voice and looks awkwardly at his knees.

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...She's not a candy person but oh no Ron looks sad, and she has all this money -

She counts out some of her pocket money and gets a very large sampling of candies, then turns to Ron and shoves some of it at him.

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He goes red.  " - no, you don't have to - "

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"Think she already did, dear," the woman says kindly.  "I'll throw in an extra chocolate frog, I think, too."

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Firm nod.

And, to the trolley lady, "Thank you, ma'am."

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"Happy to help," she says to Harriet, giving her a conspiratorial sort of smile.

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She grins back and accepts the chocolate frog gratefully, then piles the candy next to Ron - the bench is wide enough she can sit on the other end with the candy in between them.

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"You should at least have half," he says.  "It's your gold."

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"I don't usually eat bunches of candy... It's okay if you have more than half."

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Shy grin.  "...thanks."

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She grins back, happy, and starts sorting through the candy a bit.

...Actually, didn't she get a chocolate frog in the hospital? She never looked at the card...

She pulls it out of a pocket after some searching.

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"NICHOLAS FLAMEL," reads the little pentagonal card, "1330-1507," with a little picture of a squat bushy-bearded man framed under the label.

As she looks at the picture, it makes eye contact with her and blinks.

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Woah.

Moving pictures is still so weird.

She squints down at the text.

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“One of the most celebrated alchemists in wizarding history, Nicholas Flamel is the first and only known wizard to have successfully created the Philosopher’s Stone, used to create that cornerstone of modern magical medicine, the Elixir of Life.  Flamel created nine Philosopher’s Stones in his life, and donated them to magical hospitals in every part of the world.  One such stone has remained in Britain even to this day.”

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Super woah!

She carefully puts the card back in her pocket, then sorts through the other candies, looking for very weird stuff to try.

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If she's looking for weird she can't do better than Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.  (Well, no, knowing wizards she probably can, but they're a classic!)

Ron spies her investigating the box, and between noms of a licorice wand says, "Do muggles have jellybeans?  I heard there's a lot fewer flavors in the muggle ones."

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"Yeah. There's lots of flavors, but I wouldn't say 'every'..." She tries one.

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Steak and kidney pudding!  Not just steak-and-kidney-pudding-flavored jelly bean, either; it tastes and feels exactly like a bite of the real thing.

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Weird!!!

She reports this result, and that Muggle jelly beans don't do that, and tries another.

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"What, really?" he says.  "What do they do?"

(Brussels sprouts, fried in a neutral oil, seasoned with salt and pepper.)

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"They mostly taste like sugar and artificial flavoring. Like, fruits or sodas, but only kinda."

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"What's artificial flavoring?"

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"Like... Stuff that tastes like a thing but isn't the thing?"

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"Is it something muggles make?  Instead of whatever charms or potions Bertie Bott uses?"

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"Yeah. They make it in like chemistry labs."

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Ron's pretty sure he knows vaguely what a chemistry lab is.  "What do they make it out of?"

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"Dunno."

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He shrugs one shoulder and takes another bite of licorice wand.  "My dad works with muggle stuff in the Ministry, so I know a bit about it, but not much.  What's the muggle world like?"

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Shrug. "Complicated? I dunno... There's technology stuff that's probably weird to you guys... There's also bunches more Muggles... I didn't hear lots of languages in Diagon Alley like I sometimes do in London? And some Muggles really like things being normal and predictable and some Muggles really like things being weird and unpredictable..."

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"Yeah, wizards are like that too.  My brother Percy wants everything to be tidy, but Fred and George really like causing trouble."

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"Are Fred and George your brothers too?"

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He nods.  "They're twins.  Fred's in Gryffindor and George is in Slytherin, which they think is really funny."

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"Why? I read a bit about the Houses, but not much..."

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"Gryffindor and Slytherin are rivals," Ron says.  "Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff too, a little, but not as much.  Gryffindor's for heroes and warriors and Slytherin is sort of for sneaky politicians.  But Fred and George are a lot alike even though they got sorted into opposite houses, which is part of why they think it's funny, I think."

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She nods. "Like sports rivals?"

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"Sorta!  All the Houses do have their own Quidditch teams.  But it's not just about Quidditch, either - even the ones who don't care about Quidditch don't like each other."

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"Huh. Why not?"

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"Fred and George say Gryffindors think Slytherins are all sneaky bastards and Slytherins think Gryffindors are loud dumb bullies."

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"Are they?"

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"Well, Fred and George aren't really either one."

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She smiles a little.

"I think I wanna be a Hufflepuff."

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"I'm hoping for Gryffindor, personally," Ron says.  "Why Hufflepuff?"

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"They sound nice. And like the kind of person I wanna be? Loyal and hardworking."

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He nods, slowly.

"I wanna be Gryffindor because Gryffindor's all about standing up to the bad guys.  Almost my whole family have been, too, except for George and Percy."

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"I dunno I'd be good at that..." she says, a bit uncomfortably. "I wouldn't mind helping someone who is, though."

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"I don't know if you're supposed to be good at being your House right away," he says.  "But Hufflepuff wouldn't be bad, either."

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She nods. "Yeah. I think I'll like them, though?"

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Knock knock, again.

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"Come in?" Harriet calls.

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A little blond boy who looks on the verge of tears slides open the compartment door.  "Have you seen a toad?"

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"Not on the train... Are you looking for one?"

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Wibble.  "I've lost mine - I turned my back for a second and he must've hopped off..."

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"Oh, that's sad - do you want help looking?"

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"...Would you?" he asks timidly.

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Firm nod. "Yeah. Where've you looked already?"

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"Just this train car," he says.

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"We can split up to search the others?"

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Neville - looks uneasy at the idea of splitting up.

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"But going together's okay too."

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Shy grin.

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Small smile.

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Ron - looks a little reluctant to get up and leave his Candy Stash behind, but he grabs a few licorice wands and stands.

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"...You don't have to come..." Harriet says, voice a bit quiet.

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"Nah, it's okay," he says, "we should stick together."  He holds out a licorice wand for her - then, on reflection, one for Neville too.

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She smiles at him. "Thanks."

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He looks - awkward but pleased - as she and Neville take their licorice wands, and they head out.

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Searching for Trevor goes pretty much futilely - no one's seen an unaccompanied toad, no one else offers help, and some people are a bit rude about it.

Harriet's getting a bit discouraged about knocking on doors.

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And then one of the compartments turns out to contain none other than Serpens Malfoy, sitting and talking with a few others girls their age.

"Oh - hi Harriet," she says when she sees Harriet there.

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Harriet smiles a bit. Serpens is really weird, but - at least she's someone Harriet recognizes. "Hey Serpens!"

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Neville - hangs out behind Harriet and Ron, though to be fair that's what he's been doing most of the time so far.

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"We're looking for a toad," Ron says.

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"Someone's familiar got lost?"

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"Neville's," he says, and claps a hand on Neville's back.

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"Ah huh." She regards them for a few long moments. "Have you asked a prefect for help?"

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"No," Ron says.  "We're checking all the compartments."

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"There's spells to find stuff faster. Prefects should know them."

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"Well.  Guess we should head to the front car, then."

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"I think that's where prefects usually are." She shrugs. "Good luck, I guess."

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She guesses.  Okay.  "Well, let's get going, then," he says, and slides the compartment door shut.

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She waves to Serpens a bit, then, "Okay, so to the front?"

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"Guess so," he says, and sets off.

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She follows along.