Title: The Train
Author: Keira Marcos
Fandom: Harry Potter
Relationship: Pre-Harry Potter/Hermione Granger
Challenge: Writer’s Table Monthly Drabble – February 2019
Word Count: 477 (Complete)
Summary: Harry Potter meets his Sentinel on the Hogwarts Express
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Harry Potter didn’t remember his mother or father but his life living with his aunt and uncle had been okay. More, he knew, for the fact that they knew better than to mistreat an online Guide. The letter for Hogwarts hadn’t been much of a surprise. Rowan, his spirit animal, had told him all about his magical parents and the legacy he had waiting on him in the magical world. Vernon and Petunia had practically begged him to open the letter when he hesitated. The twenty-four/seven responsibility of taking care of a minor Sentinel or Guide was an immense burden, and they resented it.
The Dursleys didn’t love him—Harry wasn’t all that bothered, but the people at the Burton Foundation found it very vexing. Since the law didn’t require love, they’d never tried to remove him from the tidy little house on Privet Drive. Rowan thought that there might be some magical influence in play, but he didn’t know what. A Sentinel/Guide pair had followed him and Hagrid into Diagon Alley and kept watch over him the entire time he was there. He appreciated their care and their help in carrying his things back home once Hagrid was gone. Neither were much impressed with the owl he’d gotten which amused Harry to no end. Sentinels and Guides rarely ever indulged in pets but Harry hadn’t had the heart to refuse her. Hagrid had been so pleased to buy him a birthday present.
So nearly a month after he’d received his letter, Harry was on the Hogwarts Express with his trunk, his owl that he’d named Hedwig, and Rowan. The silver and grey wolf had caused quite a stir on the platform in front of the train, but his presence had been enough to deter any interaction.
The door opened, and Harry looked up from his reading to see a girl. A lovely solid white wolf was pressed against her leg. She blushed furiously at the sight of him, and Harry felt his empathy stir. The desire to offer her comfort immediately stunned him—he’d never even been tempted to do such a thing with the other online children he’d met at the Foundation.
“Hi,” she said and slowly pulled the door shut behind her. “I’m…Hermione Granger.”
Harry stood, and Rowan chuffed slightly as he nudged him forward. “I’m Harry Potter.”
Her cheeks darkened further as she nodded. “I saw you on the platform with…” She trailed off and looked at his spirit guide. “I didn’t know if I should show mine, so I asked Marlowe to hide.”
“His name is Rowan,” Harry said and let his fingers clutch briefly in his spirit’s guide fur before he took one more step and offered his Sentinel his hand. “I’ve been looking for you.”
Hermione’s eyes brightened, and her shoulders relaxed as she took the hand he offered. “I’ve been looking for you, too, Harry.”