Platform Nine and Three Quarters had both changed and not changed. With is new ability to see the energy of the world (including magic, apparently) that had resurfaced since finding Gabriel (who Harry refused to refer to as 'himself' because that just made his head hurt), Harry had found that a lot of places that once seemed familiar and rather normal to him were anything but. He could now pick out anything that was frequently introduced to magic from just a glance.
That didn't mean that he wasn't annoyed beyond belief at the headache that just looking around the platform gave him. There were so many people of magical origin crowded into the confined space and each one of them were glowing bright enough to light up a room. Frankly, it was like staring at the sun after a while and blue spots were becoming a norm for his vision.
Being held up at the bank had ended up being a blessing. Assured by the goblins that Harry would await there for them when they were finished with 'Family Business', the Weasley parents had gone ahead and begun shopping for his as well as their own, supplies. By the time Harry was done wtih his conversation with Gabriel, Mrs. Weasley was waiting in the lobby to head back to the Leaky Cauldron and Floo back to the Burrow with his new things.
She protested any and all money that he tried to hand her to pay back the expenses of his books.
Ron had informed him once they were safe in the redhead's room that Gilderoy Lockhart, their soon to be DADA teacher, was nothing but a pompous fraud that was holding a book signing. Harry winced as the encounter with Draco Malfoy's father was described to him and he had to laugh when he heard that Hagrid of all people had broken up the resulting fight. Arthur Weasley punching Lucius Malfoy in the face was one of the few moments that he would forever regret missing. If he's anything like Malfoy, Harry mused, then he probably deserved the punch and more.
'No arguments here,' Gabriel said in their mind and Harry got the impression that the...whatever Gabriel was besides being him was laughing at the image Harry had conjured up. 'Would've been priceless,' Gabriel sighed regretfully.
Getting to the platform, however, had been more difficult than it was the year before. Harry, who was closest to the barrier, had begun his sprint towards it only to collide heavily into a solid brick wall, his trolley spinning out of control as it too bounced off the solid barrier. The surprised yelp that he admitted attracted the attention of the passerbyes nearby as well as the waiting Weasley family. Luckily, Ron had noticed the collision in time to abort his own sprint at the barrier and Harry couldn't have been more grateful that he wouldn't have to deal with the bruises that experience would leave him with.
"How odd," Mrs. Weasley had said as she knocked her hand against the solid wall. "It looks like we'll have to Apparate them in," she had said to a gim Mr. Weasley.
"I'll let the Ministry know when I go into work today," Mr. Weasley had promised in attempt to sooth his wife's rising ire. "I'm sure it's just a mistake."
Five minutes and the worst feeling of being crushed into a tube later and the Weasley's plus Harry had found themselves rushing to board the train on time which was were Harry was now, struggling to lift his trunk up the step of the train stairs. 'I forgot how hard this was,' he thought to himself in annoyance as the trunk refused to budge.
'No upper body strength,' Gabriel agreed in his head. 'We should work on that.'
Harry ignored the...whatever Gabriel was and focused on slowly budging the increasingly more heavy trunk. He was almost afraid that the train would begin to leave before he had gotten the trunk on when the Twins, once again, came to his rescue and helped him heave the trunk up the steps just in time for the train to begin moving. "Thanks," Harry gasped, out of breath from the effort it had taken to move his trunk.
"It wasn't a problem," Fred told him, smirking.
"Couldn't have the train leaving without you," George agreed, mirroring his brother.
"Mum would kill us it we did!" they chorused together, grinning brightly.
'I like them,' Gabriel said and Harry got the impression that he was grinning. He wasn't sure if Gabriel's appreciation of the Twins was a good thing and decided not to dwell on it. He'd find out eventually, after all.
"Ron's in the last compartment," Fred told him as he and George grabbed their own trunks. "He's probably wondering where you are."
"And we should find Lee," George said, addressing Fred more than Harry. "See ya later, Harry!" That said, the two disappeared from the cart to locate their own friends and Harry began tugging his trunk to the last compartment on his own.
'It's not nearly as heavy as it was before,' Harry commented as the trunk followed him easily down the ail of the train cart.
'That's because you're dragging it instead of trying to lift it,' Gabriel told him seriously. 'Gravity was working against you.'
'Gravity?' Harry asked as he slid open the compartment door.
Gabriel didn't answer and Harry turned his attention to Ron as the redhead helped him heaft the trunk into the netting above their seats. "What did you put in there?!" his friend asked, eyes wide and gasping. "Rocks?"
"Lockhart's books," Harry answered instead, grinning at Ron's groan of pain.
They continued talking from there, speculating on how Lockhart's class would go and wondering where Hermione was until eventually, Harry found himself dozing off to the rhythm of the train.
Harry had been asleep for ten minutes when Hermione finally pulled open the compartment door. "There you both are!" she said, lowering her voice when Ron motioned to their sleeping friend.
"We had some trouble getting on the platform," the redhead explained to the bushy haired girl. "The barrier just up and closed! Mum and dad had to apparate us here and we had only just managed to get on the train when it began leaving!"
"Really?" Hermione asked in surprise. "According to Hogwarts: A History, the barrier isn't supposed to close until a full hour after the train's left! I wonder why it closed now?"
"No clue but Harry's going to have some impressive bruises tomorrow from running into it," Ron winced in sympathy. "I reckon he knocked his head something fierce with how fast he was going. I half thought mum was going to go down to the Ministry right then and there and give them a piece of her mind."
Hermione gave him a suspicious look but conceded that the redhead would know his mother better than she did. "I don't think I've ever seen him sleep before," she noted as Harry curled into himself and fought back a coo at how he looked in his baggy robes.
"I don't think he slept well last night," Ron told her. "He was up before I was and he was still awake when I went to bed. I think the ghoul was keeping him up."
"Ghoul?" Hermione asked, intrigued. "You have a ghoul in your house?"
"Yup," Ron told her, pleased that he knew something she didn't. "He lives in our attic; moans something fierce at night and rattles his chains almost non-stop. I guess I'm just used to it since it's always been there."
The conversation progress from there, the two friends being sure to keep their voices down as to not upset the sleeping Harry.
Harry had, indeed, not slept well the night before but unlike what Ron thought, it wasn't the ghoul that had been keeping him up.
Ever since the goblins had performed the ritual that had let him meet Gabriel, Harry had found himself back in his mindscape each time he fell asleep. The blinding white of his mind had ceased to bother him and he found that he enjoyed talking to Gabriel instead of dreaming. He was learning a lot about what he was even though he'd yet to get a name for it.
"We don't really dream," Gabriel had told him on the first night that he had found himself back in the barren room thing. "Even before you found me, most of your dreams had memories mixed inside them. That flying motorbike actually happened and the green light was from Voldemort. That's why some of your dreams were so strange."
"Oh," Harry had said, fascinated with the concept. It also explained why when he did dream, he tended to forget them when he woke up.
This time, however, Harry didn't find himself in his mind with Gabriel. This time, Harry found himself on a battlefield; spells were flying all around him, crashing into his companions and lighting up the dark field they were in with blazes of color from all directions.
His name was Ivan and he was twenty-two. This was his first battle in the fight against Grindelwald and he was determined to do his part to stop the Dark Lord and his army from advancing on the borders of Great Britain any further than he already had. As a newly minted Auror, it was his job to protect the people of Britain from the tyrannical rule of their would be conqueror.
His wand was nearly glowing from the myriad of spells he was firing at the enemy. German wizard after German wizard fell under the strength of his spells and Ivan was delighted as he dodged the return fire; he would be damned before he let any of these Nazi bastards take him down!
Grindelwald was also there, firing spell after spell at his own opponent, Albus Dumbledore. The Dark Lord had, had the audacity to attack Hogsmeade and Hogwarts itself and he was paying for that arrogance as the Deputy Headmaster matched him spell for spell. Ivan had never really seen his old Transfiguration teacher look so grim and had never gotten the impression that the man was anything more than a kindly old teacher but the power he was putting into battling Grindelwald was awe inspiring.
"Ive! On your right!" Lorane yelled from his left. Ivan dodged the oncoming spell and sent a blasting curse at its castor, nearly laughing as the scum was sent flying backwards into Honeydukes. It served him right!
Spell after spell was traded from friend and foe alike as the once small, kindly looking village turned into a bloodbath of fallen wizards and witches. The battle seemed to rage for hours, neither side wanting to admit defeat before there was a triumphant yell from the dueling Dark Lord and Deputy Headmaster.
Grindelwald was winning, his spells threatening to overcome Dumbledore's in shear power. Dumbledore himself had proved to be one of the most powerful wizards in Britain and to see him being slowly overpowered was terrifying.
Ivan was an Auror, one of the warrior wizards sworn to protect the people of Great Britain at any and all costs. So in a split decision that would cost him his life, Ivan pointed his wand at the distracted Grindelwald and fired a repulso.
He lived long enough to watch as Dumbledore won the battle with his opponent, disarming the downed Dark Lord with a vengeance.
In his effort to protect the world that he had sworn himself too, Ivan Rooth had been his with a severing curse and bled out on the ground of Hogsmeade while his side slowly won the battle against Grindelwald's Reapers.
He died with a smile on his face.
The sound of a loud train whistle jerked Harry from his dream and back to real life, eyes wide and pulse racing as he woke to a worried Hermione towering over him.
"Are you alright Harry?" she asked, Ron looking just as concerned from the seat opposite of him. Harry pushed back the memories of death, battle, and victory to focus on the present and he smiled.
"Never better," he told her, grinning. She gave him a suspicious look before nodding in acceptance when she couldn't find a lie.
And he wasn't lying. He had died in defense of the world that he had loved. To see that his death had mattered and that the Wizarding World still thrived, years after the fact, filled him with a sense of accomplishment that he'd never felt before.
Harry was also pleased for an entirely different reason. The dream had been a memory, no matter how gruesome, and that could only mean one thing: He was regaining his memories.
And from the pleased hum of Gabriel in his head, he could tell that he wasn't the only one that was happy with this new turn of events.
Hogwarts was different than he remembered it. The building glowed, just like Gringotts and the Burrow, but it wasn't a shimmering rainbow or a blinding white; Hogwarts glowed a golden hue that stood out proudly against the night sky and reached out to both the carriages that brought the returning students and the boats the brought in the new first years. It was like the castle, unlike the bank and the Burrow, was aware of each and every new child that entered her halls.
And Harry couldn't do anything but look at the golden aura in awes as it mingled with his magic when he walked into her halls for the second time in his life.
'Sentient,' Gabriel whispered in his mind. 'She's sentient.'
Harry wasn't positive what 'sentient' meant and filed the information away to be looked at another time. Maybe when one of his other memories returned to him he would better understand what his counterpart was saying, at least, Harry hoped so. He also hoped that he would gain another memory when he went to sleep that night; he didn't think that it was a fluke but years at the Dursley's had taught him not to get his hopes up too high lest they be crushed when it inevitably fell through.
'Not just the bastards,' Gabriel muttered angrily and Harry got the feeling that he'd learned that lesson more times than he could currently remember. His head throbbed angrily at that thought.
'Being two people is hardis hard,' Harry told Gabriel with a grimace. He received a hum of agreement in return and the impression that Harry wasn't the only suffering from multiple identities.
'It'll get better,' Gabriel assured him and Harry couldn't help but think that he was lying.
'Great,' he thought in annoyance as he took a seat at the Gryffindor table next to Ron and across from Hermione. 'Now we're lying to ourselves.'
He didn't know whether or not to be thankful that he was soon distracted by the sorting of the new first years.
The new Gryffindor's seemed to be larger in number than Harry's own class was and Harry could see a familiar redheaded girl amongst the crowd at the end of the table. Ron, the Twins, and Percy all moved to congratulate their sister as food appeared on the table and Harry turned to Hermione to hear about her summer.
Gabriel remained suspiciously quiet throughout the whole thing.