George grinned as he emerged onto Platform 9 and ¾, his twin brother Fred following slightly behind him. Unlike every other year, George was slightly nervous to be going back to Hogwarts, but he couldn't fathom why. Something new was on the horizon, he could feel it, and yet… it didn't scare him. Whatever was looming, despite his anxiety, had a comforting feel, it wasn't going to be harmful, but the idea of change shook him slightly. He was happy as things were, with Fred and Lee being his best friends, but if the change was going to be good, he knew he would just have to accept it.
"Come on you slow poke, we need to put out trunks on the train." Fred said, as he elbowed him, snapping him out of his daze.
"Right you are Forge, race ya."
He won, his slight head start giving him all the advantage. Despite his want to settle down into his compartment, he knew he would have to say goodbye to his Mother, so at Fred's insistence, he followed him off the train again.
"Want to see my tarantula?" Lee asked, following them.
The twins stared down into the box Lee was holding, as the spider stuck a hairy leg out. Fred and George shared a look, knowing that this spider was going to come in useful with scaring their little brother Ron, and his roommates once they were sorted.
"Wicked." Fred said, looking down into the box once again.
George didn't comment, instead looking over to a small boy, small even for a first year, attempting to slide his trunk onto the train. The boy's body alluded to sadness, and George felt sorry for him. The clothing he wore was even more tattered than some of theirs, and the fact there were no adults around him made George even sadder.
Clearly the boy was alone.
A tugging in his chest urged George to go over to him, and despite it being slightly out of character for him, he did.
"Hi, do you need any help?"
"Yes please." He said, finally looking up and meeting George's eyes directly.
With that, both boys knees buckled, and they collapsed to the floor.
George knew his twin was calling for him, but he couldn't take his eyes off the first year in front of him, nor could he ignore the pulsing magic surrounding them.
"Georgie!" His Mum's cries joined his brother as many people on the platform moved to give the two boys space.
Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, his eyes left the boys.
"What happened?" He asked, turning to his Mum.
She knelt down next to him sobbing, but it didn't sound sad.
"Oh my little Georgie is growing up."
"What's happening?" The boy asked fearfully, his eyes welling with tears.
"Oh dear, sorry this must be so confusing for you. What's your name dearie?" Mrs Weasley asked.
"Harry ma'am, Harry Potter."
Everyone who was listening in to the conversation gasped, and Harry flinched.
George turned to look at the boy, Harry, and instinctively wrapped an arm around him, and Harry flinched again.
"Can someone please explain what's happening?" Fred asked, confused at his twins actions.
"I have an idea, but you're going to be late to Hogwarts if I stop and tell you. I'll owl the headmaster and he will explain it to you all. Now George, Fred, you keep an eye on this dear on the train won't you, and everything will be explained later."
"But Mum…!" Fred started to complain, but George's nod cut him off, shocking him as it was rare that his brother agreed with his Mother without any argument.
"Trust me dears, now pop onto the train and the headmaster will speak with you later, okay?"
With that, the few still surrounding the fallen boys dispersed, and Fred and Ron helped both Harry and George up.
"Want to share a compartment with us Harry?" George asked, as they boarded the train.
Harry just nodded, and George took his hand, leading him to a compartment where Lee was waiting for the twins.
"What the hell was that all about?" Lee asked as they sat down.
"No idea, Mum said she'd tell the headmaster, and he'd explain it to them later." Fred said as he took a seat.
Harry took the seat next to the window, and George automatically sat next to him, feeling it was the right thing to do. He was confused by the intensity of the emotions he felt for the boy despite just meeting him, and he had no explanation for it.
"Can I sit here too?" Ron asked.
Fred and George shared a look, not really wanting their younger brother tagging along.
"Want to see my tarantula Ron?" Lee asked, being well aware of Ron's arachnophobia.
"Actually, you know what, I think I'll find another seat…" He said as he backed out of the room slowly.
"Our brother Ron's scared of spiders." George told Harry who despite still holding George's hand looked incredibly nervous.
"Right, introductions!" Fred said, clapping his hands loudly, causing Harry to jump slightly.
"I'm Fred Weasley, this is my brother George, identical twins, obviously, and this is our friend Lee, Lee Jordan."
Each of them smiled at Harry as Fred introduced them.
"Are you feeling okay?" Lee asked Harry, and the twins turned to look at the small boy.
Harry was shaking slightly as he sat in his seat, and he seemed to have a slight fever by the looks of it. His olive skin looked extremely pale, and he looked to be very thin from what they could see under his horrendously baggy clothes.
"I'm fine, just tired. I'm Harry by the way, Harry Potter."
"Nice to meet you." Lee said, observing niceties they knew that his Mother had instilled in him since he was a young boy. Sure, Lee was a prankster, but he was never rude, not really.
"Nice to meet you too."
As the train started moving, the compartment fell silent, and Harry turned to stare out the window. The three other boys shared curious looks, but didn't dare say anything yet, not wanting to offend the young boy, or disturb him with how sick he looked.
Finally, Harry fell asleep.
"What do you think happened?" Lee asked the twins, still keeping an eye on Harry, careful not to wake him.
"I'm not sure, I mean I feel extremely close to him, and I don't even know how to say it, it's weird." George offered.
"It's weird, that's for sure." Fred agreed.
"I mean I have a slight idea," Lee began, "but I imagine it's wrong so I don't want to say it. Not yet."
"Oh come on!" The twins argued, but despite their insistence, Lee wouldn't tell them.
Finally, they dropped it, and spent the rest of the journey quietly discussing their plans for the year. All three boys were doing Care of Magical Creatures, but Lee was doing Ancient Runes while the twins did Divination, hoping it would be an easy OWL.
As the lunch trolly came around, all three of them bought something, having saved pocket money to do so, and debated about waking the still sleeping Harry. Finally deciding against it, they bought an extra pumpkin pasty and an extra chocolate frog just in case he was hungry.
As it started getting darker and the train slowed, the three carefully woke Harry so he could get changed into their robes, and frowned slightly when he insisted he needed to go to the toilets to do so.
"Do you think he's okay?" Lee asked.
"I don't know, I mean, even I'm worried and I normally don't notice these things!" Fred honestly told them.
George just nodded, not knowing what to say. He knew the small boy was hurting, and he wanted more than anything to fix that, but he didn't know how.
"It's going to be okay Georgie." Fred told him, his voice soft.
George smiled sincerely. His brother always knew how to make him feel better, even if it was just a small amount.
"Are you ready Harry?" George asked him as the small boy came into the compartment again.
"Yeah, I'm nervous though."
"Don't be, we told our little brother Ron that you have to fight a troll but obviously we lied." Fred told him.
"It's very easy." Lee added.
"You just have to try on a hat, but don't tell anyone okay, it's meant to be a surprise."
"Okay, I won't."
As the train stopped, George helped Harry off carefully, and ruffled his hair as he went off to join the other first years over by Hagrid.
The three third years quickly made their way over to the carriages, claiming one for themselves. Despite it only being the first of September, it was freezing, and they wanted the respite of the castle as soon as possible.
"Why did you tell him it wasn't a troll?" George asked curiously.
"It's clear you care for him George, and he already looked so frightened, I didn't want to worry him."
"Plus," Added Lee, "he's so small, he just looks young, and I didn't want to scare him either."
Albus Dumbledore frowned as he watched the older students enter the hall, the letter from Molly Weasley running through his mind, as well as the confirmation he had received from the Ministry as Harry's magical guardian.
A soul bond.
A soul bond between Mr Harry James Potter and Mr George Fabian Weasley.
"Are you okay Albus?" Pomona Sprout asked, seeing the look on his face.
"Yes, yes, sorry I'm quite well my dear, I'm just going to have to speak to some students about a newly formed soul bond is all."
"Oooh, soul bonds are very rare, who are they?" Filius Flitwick asked.
"Harry Potter and George Weasley."
Silence fell between the whispering professors.
"Proof that Potter is going to be a dunderhead, just like his Father." Snape hissed.
"Now Severus…" Dumbledore began, but was interrupted as McGonagall brought the first years in.
Dumbledore spoke briefly before the sorting began, and he watched all the first years be sorted into their houses.
His eyes came to rest on Harry Potter, and he had to stifle a gasp, the young boy looked dreadful. Not only was he much smaller than everyone had expected, but his eyes seemed glassy with pain.
"Harry Potter!" McGonagall cried.
The room fell silent, and Dumbledore leaned forward slightly as the boy shakily stepped up and sat on the stool.
Finally, the hat reached its decision.
"We got Potter! We got Potter!" The Weasley twins shouted as the young boy made his way to the table, sitting next to one of the Weasley twins who Dumbledore took to be George.
The rest of the sorting passed quickly and the feast began.
Harry sat at the Gryffindor table happily despite the pain flaring from his back. He finally felt accepted, and cared for after the rush of magic he had felt on Platform 9 and ¾'s. He wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but he felt safe, safer than he had ever felt before.
"I'm Hermione Granger, by the way." A voice said, snapping him out of his thoughts.
"Nice to meet you. I saw what happened on the platform, are you okay?"
"Yes, thank you. I'm not sure what it was."
"Neither am I, maybe I can find a book and help you?" She asked, cautiously.
"That sounds great, maybe we can read it together?" He suggested.
"I'd love to."
From a few seats down the table, someone snorted, making everyone in the vicinity turn to look at him.
"What?" Ron asked defensively.
"Why did you snort Ronald?" Percy asked, eyes squinting slightly as he glared at his brother.
"Of course Potter's got to be a bookworm, should have bloody seen that coming, knew he wouldn't be anything but a freak!"
Harry slouched as George grabbed his wand pointing it at his brother before Percy stopped him.
"Detention Ronald, and I'll be writing to Mother about this. What's wrong with liking books hmm?"
Ron just mumbled.
"That's what I thought."
Ron turned away, making conversation with an Irish boy near him, as Hermione and a timid boy turned back to Harry.
"I don't think liking books is freakish."
"Thanks." Harry said, looking at the boy.
"I'm Neville by the way, Neville Longbottom."
"Nice to meet you Neville."
The rest of the feast continued in a similar manner, as Harry, Neville and Hermione continued making conversation, clearly on their way to being good friends. Finally, as the last person stopped eating, the desserts disappeared and Dumbledore rose.
"Welcome back to another year at Hogwarts. Now Mr Filch has asked me to remind you that all Zonko's products are banned. The forbidden forest is of course forbidden, and now so is the third floor corridor on the left hand side, for those who do not wish to die a most painful death."
Silence fell over the room before people began to whisper.
"Silence please! Now may Mr George Weasley and Mr Harry Potter stay behind? As for the rest of you, off you pop!"
With that, most of the hall departed, and the two boys remained behind.
"What do you think is happening?" Harry asked, looking up at George with scared eyes.
"I don't know, but it'll be okay, I promise you."
"Thanks George." He said moving slightly closer to the older boy.