Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all characters belong to J.K Rowling.
Summary: Just as they're about to end their third year at Hogwarts Harry, Ron and Hermione find Mr Weasley's Ford Anglia in the Forbidden Forest.
Harry, Hermione and Ron were relaxing near Hagrid's hutt after a fairly stressful night of confronting Sirius Black, discovering the true traitor to the Potters, Remus' transformation into a werewolf, time travel, mass dementor exposure, Hippogriff theft/rescue and freeing Sirius after his capture by the Ministry. By all rights all three should still be in bed recovering for another week at least if the school nurse Madam Pomfrey had know all they'd been up to that night, however what she didn't know wouldn't bother them...or at least keep them locked up in Pomfzkaban.
Thus one couldn't really blame the three for wanting to relax after a particularly stressful adventure, away from the curious eyes of students, the hateful gaze of Draco Malfoy or the loathing stare of one Severus 'greasy git' Snape. All in all the day had been quite pleasant, quiet and relaxing...until now.
'Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, beep, beep, beep, beeeeeep!'
The sudden noise caused the three to jump upright, Harry and Ron from their light snoozing and Hermione from her light reading of 'A Study of Western Magic Compared Against Eastern Magic, by Edgar Nigma'. Harry, being the reactionary young man that he is shot up like a Quidditch broom hit with a hyperactive charm, wand in hand and pointing towards the forest. Ron being Ron just stared dumbly towards the forest and Hermione clutched her book to her chest like it was a baby needing both safety and comforting, then suddenly out of the forest came the source of the noise, Mr Weasley's Ford Anglia.
The car had seen better days certainly, it was dented, scratched had two flat tires and...were those arrows sticking out the side of one of the doors? The car came to a sudden stop, seeing them for the first time. It honked again, a long, slow little honk that oddly made the poor car sound as if it was sad.
Suddenly Ron shot up like a bullet, his eyes wide, mouth hanging open in surprise. However he quickly snapped out of it when Hermione suddenly began ranting in that way of hers when she saw or heard something she couldn't believe that all the books she read said was impossible.
"I can't believe it! It's still going, even after all this time! Without constant checkups and upkeep of the charms Mr Weasley put on it, it should of broken down months ago! That's why the majority of the school brooms are so unstable, the school only has Madam Hooch to do the upkeep, but she knows only the spells a quidditch player needs to know to check their brooms, she's not a broom specialist so she can't do the proper upkeep needed!"
The young witch took a breath to continue her rant when Ron suddenly got to do something that was so rare that when it happened he could bask in the memory of it for weeks, he knew somthing Hermione didn't, and was going to prove it.
"Hermione, there's a reason those charms are used on brooms and aren't supposed to be used on anything else, well flying carpets maybe, but those are illigal here but that's not the point."
Huffing because her rant had been interrupted and because Ron was contradicting her in some way, she prepared to lay into him when he went on regardless.
"Dad keeps going on and on at the dinner table about his work and sometimes there are those really strange stories he tells us about charmed muggle stuff. The stuff that acts really really weird around magic and when you put magic on it, one of those things are cars, especially old ones that belonged to any one person for a really long time, doesn't matter if it's been owned by a hundred different people, if one of them owned it for more than say, ten years and took really good care of it, then magic acts really strange around it. That's why the Ministry always buy new cars every couple of years and the Knight Bus is replaced with a new one every five years or so, if they didn't the cars and the bus would end up with minds of their own eventually."
Looking at his two best friends and finding them both listening attentively, Ron stood a little straighter gaining a little bit more confidence, out of the corner of his eye he saw that the Ford Anglia was leaning towards him as if listening closely and he smiled a little at the little blighters actions.
"I remember once that Dad told us about something that happened once back in the 1960's, there was this car, a beetle or bug or something that this old German wizard had charmed. He'd owned it for years and years, charmed it every which way he could, until one day when the old German wizard died the car went and drove off on its own and somehow ended up in America where it ended up being owned by a muggle racing car driver called Jim Douglas."
Seeing the shocked and disbelieving looks on his friends faces, he smiled and nodded, confirming what they thought he'd said.
"They obliviated him of remembering of owning the car or even knowing about it, but it didn't help, the car kept getting away from the Americans and ending up back at Douglas' house. Eventually the Americans got fed up of having to obliviate the same muggle a dozen times a month so they told him about his car that he'd taken to calling Herbie being magical. Dad said the bloke took it all pretty well, concidering he'd owned the car for a couple of years by then and knew it could drive itself he probably just thought it was just another strange thing he should get used to, plus knowing that Herbie was magical just made him like the car more, apparently he was worried 'cause he'd had a friend who thought it was being possessed by demons."
At this all three laughed, they'd learned in history of magic, in one of the few classes not about Goblin rebellions that what muggles called demons were really one of the exuses used to cover up wizard magic by obliviators back in the middle ages. The exuse is still used in some underdeveloped countries. Most modern day obliviators blame magic on either hazy half remembered dreams, drug induced hallucinations, UFO sightings or alien abduction. However back in the last war, most Death Eater attacks were blamed mostly on gas explosions.
Harry who up until then had been quiet, suddenly looked at the Ford Anglia with a thoughtful look on his face.
"Is that what your Dad was trying to do to the Anglia? Make it like that Herbie you were talking about?" Ron shook his head, himself looking at the Anglia and shuddering at the thick slimy spider webs covering the rear wheels.
"No, Dad just wanted to make it fly and go invisible, but you can't do that without putting a whole lot of other charms on it aswell, most of them being the same ones the old German wizard put on his car and look how that turned out. Wouldn't surprise me if in ten years the Anglia ended up in Africa fighing Nundu, after all it's probably already scuffled with eveything in the forest including the Centaurs if those arrows mean anything."
Looking at the Anglia again, he had a thought.
"Hey you! Want me to call Dad to come pick you up so he can fix you up? Nothing a couple a reparo's and a trip to a junk yard won't fix."
The Anglia tilted itself from left to right for a few moments as if concidering the offer before moving foward slightly and honking in an affirmative tone, obviously accepting the offer.
"Alright, you wait there and I'll go ask McGonagall if I can give Dad a firecall." turning to his two friends he asked in a whisper, "can you two stay here with it, make sure it doesn't run off back into the forest or something?" When he saw them both nod in acceptance, he turned and began walking back up to the castle. Harry and Hermione watch him walk away thinking about all Ron had said. Harry about the wonder of a self-driving car and that a muggle owned one. The fact that a mere muggle owned a magical car probably caused Purebloods like Lucius Malfoy to scream in horrific outrage that anything magical was in the hands of a muggle then probably sneer in utter disgust, which was probably why there were so few magical cars in Europe. One reason being said muggle owned one and no proper pureblood would ever lower themselves to own something a muggle also owned, the second being that cars are made by muggles in the first place so they likely would concider it a completely uncivilized mode of transportation.
Hermione on the other hand was still slightly miffed that Ron knew something she hadn't, it didnt' matter that he'd probably learned it from his father or that it was something he'd grown up knowing, it was because there were no books about it! There was absolutely nothing in the Hogwarts library about the history of charmed muggle devices or the long term effects of charming muggle devices. Perhaps she could discuss it with Mr Weasley during the summer or even convince him to write a book about it, after all he is an expert on charmed and cursed muggle artifacts.
The sudden sound of a horn honking startled both teens out of their thoughts. The Anglia was inching towards them slowly until it stopped some five feet away from them and began tilting from side to side in an obviously eager fashion. Confused about what it wanted Harry decided to do something that would have his Uncle Vernon screaming about his freakish behaviour before calling him stupid for talking to a car.
"Do you want something?"
It honked in a high pitch, which Harry took to mean, yes.
"Do you want us to clean you up a little, or get you some petrol or something?"
A low pitch honking this time, an obvious no. Hermione rolled her eyes, seeing that if they did it Harry's way they'd still be standing there guessing for what it wanted for weeks.
"Honestly Harry, you need to ask him yes or no questions that he can answer. Kind of like how you play 'Hot or Cold' you ask a question or give an answer and if you're getting closer your 'hotter' and if your getting further away you're 'colder'. I'll start with what Ron talked about before he left, if not that then we'll move onto something else." Turning to the car she asked, "Does it have something to do with Mr Weasley?"
A low pitched no.
"Something to do with the misuse of Muggle Artifacts office?"
A low pitch tone that went into a higher pitch, while the car tilted from side to side. Frowning slightly for a few seconds Hermione decided it must mean either a 'maybe' or a 'I don't know'. She personaly thought it meant maybe. Remembering the story Ron told them she took a wild guess.
"Does it have to do with the car Ron mentioned, the one the German wizard made that's owned by an American?"
A long high pitched honking with flashing lights for show. Blinking in surprise at her guess being right, she had a sudden thought that maybe she might know what the car wanted.
"Do you want us to give you a name? Ron said the American gave his magic car a name and I can imagine you wouldn't want to be called Car or the Ford Anglia all the time, just like I wouldn't like being called human or girl all the time."
Loud high pitched honking with pleanty of flashing from its headlights pretty much confirmed that for the girl. She turned to Harry who just looked surprised that Hermione had figured it out so quickly, but then again she wasn't called the brightest witch of her age because her lumos was brighter than most. He saw Hermione staring at him in expectation, however not knowing what she wanted he just looked blankly back at her.
"Honestly! Harry do you have any names to offer? I'm quite partial to Homer, Othello or maybe even Banquo. What about you?"
Harry who had no idea why she chose those names, or where she'd gotten them from looked at the car and simply said the first thing that came to mind. "Henry."
Hermione blinked. Blinked again and then opened her mouth to only close it again. After a few seconds of simply staring at her friend, she shook her head and simply asked why.
"Well it's a Ford Anglia, right?" At her nod of confirmation, he continued. "Well he was made by Ford, so why not name him after the company founder, Henry Ford?"
To Hermione's mind it was rather simple and unimaginative way to go about naming probably one of only two magicaly self-aware cars in the world, but simplicity was sometimes the best way to go, and from the way the car was bouncing its front wheels up and down, honking away and flashing its lights, she decided the car probably liked Harry's choice in name.
"Well, if we must. It's nice to meet you Henry, I'm Hermione and I believe you've already met Harry from your adventures last year. However if you would please not listen to anything Harry or Ron ask you to do that would break any school rules or Ministry laws then I'll be happy." At the scowl Harry sent her she simply smiled sweetly. "They get into enough trouble on their own, they don't need any help."
Henry simple answered by happily honking away, obviously he'd had quite enough of adventures too. For now.
Just a little something I thought up late one night. Enjoy!