"Take care of your sister, Son," said Mr. Granger giving a pat on Kent's shoulder.
They were standing on a platform packed with people, next to a scarlet steam engine.
The atmosphere was lively with some students saying goodbye to their family, some fighting for the seat near the window.
"I will, dad," said Kent firmly.
Their conversation was cut off by the whistle of the steam engine.
Hermione who was standing in front of the door of an empty compartment with both of their trunks, looked back and urged Kent to come quickly.
"Goodbye, Dad" said Kent as he ran off to join Hermione.
Taking a last glance at their dad, they lifted their luggage onto the train through the small door, albeit a little difficulty.
Tucking their trunks separately in a corner of the compartment, they sat down next to the window opposite to each other.
With a whistle the train began to move. They waved at their dad who soon disappeared from view as the train picked up the speed.
Kent leaned against the seat comfortably while fiddling with the wand. The wand was moving smoothly between his fingers as if there was an extra limb which was manipulating it.
After getting his own wand, it had become a habit of playing with it whenever he felt bored.
"Just stop playing with it, will you," said Hermione angrily closing the thick book in her hand.
"Sorry," Kent stopped playing with the wand but didn't put it away.
"So, what do you think we should do? About Neville, I mean do you wanna help him find his toad? What was it's name again?" asked Kent.
"Trevor." reminded Hermione. The little toad had a significant role in her life. Through it, she met two of her best friend on the train in her "first try at life" as she likes to call it.
"Ah yes, Trevor. So what do you want to do?" asked Kent. He never liked to impose his plan on others, if not absolutely necessary.
And Hermione was an adult, she could decide for herself. He could suggest but that's all.
"I don't know. I don't want to change everything, you know. I miss them. I miss my friends. I wish our friendship could be back to the way it was in the future." answered Hermione with melancholy.
"I dare not say that I can understand what you're feeling. I never had gone through a war much less had friends on whom I could depend with my life. But if you really want my advice then I would suggest, take it slow. Observe and interact with them, see where it leads," suggested Kent.
"I know. I really want to. It's just I'm afraid, I'm afraid to face them knowing that they are not and can never be the same person I once knew," said Hermione expressing her fear.
The compartment fell into a strange silence.
The silence was broken by a knock on the door. They saw a round-faced boy standing outside.
"Speak of the devil," muttered Kent.
"Come in," said Kent politely.
"I'm sorry," he said, "but have you seen a toad?"
"No, I'm afraid not," answered Kent. Hearing Kent's words the boy looked as if he was going to cry.
"How about I help you search for your toad?" Offered Kent. The boy wanted to say something but Kent didn't give him any chance to speak.
Standing up and straightening his robe, he said to the boy, "let's go,"
He looked back and nodded at Hermione who was trying her best to control her emotions.
He wasn't worried about Hermione's safety. He might be stronger and faster than her physically but in terms of magical powers, he was far from being her opponent. She didn't need his protection.
"I am Kent Granger," introduced Kent while walking through the narrow corridor.
"I...I am Neville, Neville Longbottom," the round-faced boy stammered shaking Kent's hand nervously.
"Don't worry we will soon find your toad," Kent reassured Neville with a pat on the shoulder.
Kent had another purpose other than helping Neville. It was to explore the compartments and meet new students, see if they look anything similar to what he remembers from the movie.
The coach they were in, was pretty long. To search more efficiently, Neville and Kent chose to go in opposite direction of the coach.
Kent went toward the back end of the coach. According to what he could recall from the movie, Harry Potter should be in one of the compartments near the end of the train.
One by one, he knocked on each compartment and asked the occupants if they had seen Neville's toad. Unfortunately most of them answered "no", some said that they had seen a toad but forgot where they had seen it.
After getting "no" as an answer from majority of the students, he wondered, "Did Trevor jump off the train?"
"Anything off the trolley, dears?"
He was snapped out of his thoughts by a female voice.
He saw a lady in deep red dress, probably in her forties, standing with a trolley full of candies.
He walked forward and saw a black haired boy buying off most of candies from the lady.
"Is that Harry Potter?" muttered Kent. He couldn't get a proper look at the boy as his back was turned against Kent.
After the lady passed by him with her "almost empty" trolley, Kent walked up to the compartment door.
The door was already open. Two boys were busy sorting through the candies sprawled all over the seat.
He knocked on the frame of the door to get their attention.
"Have you seen a toad?" Kent asked, "My friend Neville lost it."
Kent took a quick glance at the rat sleeping on the lap of the red haired teen before turning his attention toward the bespectacled boy with black hair.
"No," answered the red haired boy irritably.
"Thank you," Kent said, "Sorry, by the way."
Kent then walked away from the compartment. He had already confirmed what he intended to. Also It would be rude to interrupt their meal.
On the way to his compartment he met up with Neville who looked tearful.
"You should properly check your own compartment. The toad might be in there somewhere," suggested Kent helplessly. It was really difficult to search for a tiny toad in such a vast coach.
"T-thank you. I will," said Neville in a low voice.
When he came back, he saw a bespectacled girl with short brown hair coming out of the compartment Hermione was in.
Returning back to his seat, he asked, "Who was she?"
"Her name is Sally-Anne Perks. She's a first year like us." answered Hermione. Her mood had improved a bit.
"Sally-Anne, the name doesn't ring any bell." Kent shook his head.
"She dropped out of Hogwarts after taking her OWLs exam in the future." informed Hermione.
"So, what did you find?" asked Hermione changing the topic.
"Everything is pretty similar to what we know," answered Kent.
"Did you see that rat?" asked Hermione with a menacing expression.
"Yes." Kent said.
"Was it missing a toe?" Hermione asked again.
"Probably." Kent wasn't very sure.
Getting a stare from Hermione, he justified, "I couldn't get a proper look. They were having a meal!"
"You know, we can just grab Sirius from Azkaban. It'd save us a lot of time and work," said Kent as if he had a sudden enlightenment.
"First of all, we don't know the layout of the jail. And also it's impossible to bypass the dementors without alerting the guards," she said seriously, "and most important fact is that we are not powerful enough to just waltz our way into the jail and grab Sirius. Also–"
"Stop stop. I know it's difficult but I am worried whether your plan would work." Kent said, "I mean, some of the 'upright' and politically influential people will not want to see Sirius Black getting a trial. Especially Lucius Malfoy, he always coveted the heritage of Black family."
"Malfoy's still not influential enough to manipulate the minister and most importantly Fudge recently became a minister," Hermione argued back.
"It's also risky to use Rita Skeeter," Kent reminded, "Daily Prophet's probably under those pureblood bigots."
"You don't have to worry, I will meet her under disguise." She said,"and also don't forget that she's an unregistered animagus."
"By the way, what's your animagus?" Kent asked suddenly.
"I was getting started in my sixth year but then Dumbledore died and the war escalated. Harry and I were too busy running away from the death eaters to relax and practice. One thing led to another." She said, "I never got the chance,"
The compartment fell into an awkward silence again.
Kent was embarrassed. He was mentally a decade older than Hermione. He was supposed to be comforting her but didn't know how to.
"You don't have to feel bad though," Hermione said with a smile, "I am happy that I got a chance to redo everything."
"Yes." Kent said, "I am also happy that I got the chance to learn and practice magic."
"But first we need get rid of that dark w*nker," added Kent jokingly to lighten up the mood.
"Language Kent!" Scolded Hermione trying her best to keep a straight face.
I am just chipping in to say that it was before their 11th birthday that Granger duo shared their past with each other. Now it is a mystery(to be solved in later chapter) whether Kent had revealed he is from a world with no magic where she is just fictional character or made up a world where he is squib.
Hint: If Kent says that "You are just a piece of fiction in my world."
Then how would Hermione feel? And how would their relation be from there on? Would they trust each other?
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