Disclaimer: Some clever Muggle named Jo Rowling owns all the people and things
you’re about to read about, including yours truly. Or so I’m told. And the some
of the dialogue near the end is directly quoted from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, UK version,
pg. 605-607. Despite the fact that it was we who said it. And there are also
a few GOF allusions. Does any of this stuff make sense to you?
‘Ron, are you
done molesting that piece of bacon?’ Hermione demanded with barely controlled
a moment, I considered retorting, and then I shrugged and moved on to the
Hermione sighed and returned to her own
At least she doesn’t want to argue. Thank Merlin. I don’t feel
up to that right now.
Hell, I didn’t feel up to anything at that
moment. The weather was unfairly nice – the ceiling of the Great Hall was clear
blue. Like my new dress robes, the ones the twins had given me ‘to match my
eyes’. I was painfully aware of the fact that that bloody git at the
High Table had eyes exactly the same colour.
And so had Dumbledore.
I used to like the colour blue. At that breakfast I was just plain sick of it.
‘Hi, Neville.’ Hermione’s voice was calm, but
hoarser than usual.
She must have been crying last night, I
I blinked. Where did that come from? I have
absolutely no business guessing what Hermione has or hasn’t been doing.
(Especially in bed. Er. Alone. Alone in bed.) After all, I have ‘the emotional
range of a teaspoon’, don’t I?
‘Hey.’ Neville sat down heavily beside me. He
was still limping.
‘How are you feeling?’ I asked, and Hermione
looked up at him with concern.
And yes, her eyes were
For a moment, I felt a rush of triumph at
being right… reality caught up with me. She shouldn’t have to cry. Nobody
should. All because of one greasy-haired… traitor. I bet he planned Sirius’s
death, too. He hated Sirius. But Dumbledore trusted him.
The thought of Dumbledore, wise and crazy
Dumbledore making a mistake as big as that made me nauseous. Trying desperately
not to think about it, I looked around the table. Neville must have told us how
he was feeling, because now everybody was eating (or rather, staring into their
plates) in silence.
‘What’s Harry doing?’ Ginny sounded sober and
gloomy – but I was actually inclined to snigger. ‘What’s Harry Doing’ was the
famous question that appeared in every single P.S. in every single
letter I received from my sister back in first year.
Blimey, that was fun.
But nothing should seem fun
today, should it?
Deciding not to dwell on it, I
focused on Neville’s reply.
‘Packing. Staring through the
window. Sighing. Putting his hand in his pocket and pulling it out again.
Looking at the beds like he thinks he’ll never see them again.’
Poor Harry. He never properly
looked forward to summer break. Can’t blame him though. I’d be glum too if I’d
have to go home to those – those – Dursleys.
But after that night Harry’d
taken his annual Goodbye Hogwarts traditions to ridiculous
lenghts – the previous afternoon we’d all been sitting beneath the beech
tree and Harry was touching it more than he was touching Ginny (not that
I liked it when Harry touched Ginny. But still. Nature-loving has its
Maybe he thinks Hogwarts will
close – but McGonagall and the others won’t allow that. It wouldn’t make sense
I glanced at Hermione, expecting
to exchange our custom ‘Typical Harry’ Look of Exasperation, but she was
staring resolutely at her porridge, twisting a lock of bushy hair around her
little finger. I knew exactly what that expression meant – it was her form of
saying ‘I know something you don’t and I’m not telling you until I want
I dislike that expression very
I opened my mouth to start
pestering her about it, when Harry stepped in the Great Hall, attracting
Harry looked… better than he
could but worse than he should, I decided. His posture was relaxed, but he
scowled viciously at the High Table before looking away hastily. Nothing good
came to people who received that scowl from Harry. I actually found myself
hoping it wasn’t Percy Harry had been staring at – but, no. It was Scrimgeour,
the Minister of Morons.
It might be Snape’s chair.
I had spent a considerable part
of the few previous days imagining what I’d do to the slimy bat, if I had the
opportunity. None of the things were pleasant. But they were probably nothing
compared to what Harry would do.
He placed himself between me and
Ginny, with an absent-minded ‘G’morning’. He was staring around the Hall with
the distant expression he usually wore around the end of the year, not even
glancing at breakfast. I gave up on my kipper (which, by now, looked like
something a troll stepped on) and reached for the pumpkin juice.
McGonagall stood up and announced
the beginning of the funeral. She stepped beside their table and we stood in a
row behind her. Hermione sprinted forward to help line up the first and second
years. I decided she had the matter well in hand, so I stayed near the end of
the line, waiting to help Neville (I noticed Ginny gently stirring Harry from
I was both surprised and oddly
pleased to see Luna Lovegood stroll casually over from her table (followed by
suspicious looks from her Housemates) and extend Neville a helping arm. Giving
her a nod of thanks and a quick grin, I tuned to join the rest of my
classmates. They were unusually silent and Lavander had tears in her eyes
Too bad the Patils had to go
home. Something suspiciously like guilt was nibbling at my insides. Go
over there. Try to talk to her. Maybe she’ll get angry and stop looking so
Before I could reach a decision,
however, Seamus stepped beside her and whispered something in her ear, making
her giggle weakly. I sighed in relief. That Irishman’s getting increasingly
likeable these days – especially since that enjoyable little family reunion
with his mother.
I wish I could scream my heart
out at Percy like that. Life would seem much easier. Or more bearable, at
Hermione returned and the line
finally set off. She shot me her usual sour look that screamed ‘Thank you for
being such a great help’ very sarcastically. I didn’t argue with her.
She had done it well without my interference – the
brats were obviously tamer than usual.
Ginny and Harry joined us and we
walked to the grounds in silence. The oaken doors were still broken –
McGonagall must have had more pressing matters on her mind. Scrimgeour and his
bootlickers had been following her around twenty-four hours a day, constantly
interfering and giving her suggestions on how to do her job. I snorted
mentally. As if she needed help. She was made to be a Headmistress,
strict and professional, not at all like Dumbledore (not that he needed… had
needed help, either).
We followed her towards the lake,
to many rows of white chairs. As I sat down between Harry and Hermione, I
realized – if McGonagall would be Headmistress, we’re going to need a new
Transfiguration teacher. And a Head of House, too. I listed our current
teachers, trying to imagine them in McGonagall’s place – I very nearly chuckled
at the mental image of Trelawney in red and gold shawls and Luna’s roaring
In the end I decided Hagrid would
be the best choice – he was very brave and overall ok, if you ignored
his creature-obsession. And I was willing to ignore it, especially since
Buckbeak cut up Snape’s face so nicely. But I definitely hoped Hagrid wouldn’t
make his Skrewts the House Mascot.
I wonder how Hagrid’s taking
all this. If he was so distressed by the death of a spider… And
Dumbledore was the only one who trusted him enough to give him a job after he
I looked around. Come on,
Half-Giants aren’t really hard to miss. Sure enough, I immediately spotted
Maxime, in plain black robes and holding a white handkerchief only slightly
smaller than a tablecloth. And there were others I recognized – people from the
Order, teachers, minor celebrities, my family. But Hagrid was nowhere to be
I leaned over to Hermione to ask
if she’d seen him –
The next moment I was pushed back
in my chair sharply, all thoughts of Hagrid driven from his mind as the music
flowed in. Music… not the kind you get on the Wireless. No distinguishable
words, yet no instruments I could recognize. It was sad. And somehow calming
because of it’s sadness.
Hermione leaned over me, putting
a hand on my knee for support. I couldn’t not blush a bit at this. She was
staring at the lake, but I didn’t see why – there was nothing on the surface,
and I couldn’t see inside the water without pushing Hermione from my lap.
‘Seek us where our voices sound,
we cannot sing above the ground,’ she chanted in a whisper.
‘Merpeople, Ron.’ She sat back on
her chair ‘The ones you were supposed to have fought off single-handedly with
your wand up your sleeve.’ She smirked Hermioneishly.
‘Oh.’ My blush was more pronounced now. She
has no bloody business remembering stuff like that.
Instead of looking at the lake, I
turned to Hermione again, probably to say something biting –
And, instantly, all the blood
rushed from my face. I had finally found Hagrid.
The Gamekeeper was walking slowly on the aisle
left to us. He was carrying something in his arms... carrying it. Him.
Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s body, of course, not Dumbledore himself, so still and
lifeless. Not person that made us sing that stupid Hogwarts song in first year.
Something hot and prickly
gathered in my eyes. I had never seen a dead body. Ever. And I’d never
understood why so many people cried at funerals – you already know the person’s
dead, know he’s not breathing anymore. Seeing it shouldn’t make any difference,
But it did. It hurt like Hell,
watching a motionless old man carried like a baby by a sobbing Half-Giant. I
didn’t really know Dumbledore, either – it’s not like I have too many memories
Except for his start-of-term
speeches, cheerful, to-the-point and completely wacky. And the end-of-term
speeches, too, especially the one when he granted me fifty points for playing
chess. And the time he caught me out of bed after curfew, just before the First
Task. Any sane Headmaster would have given me detention then. Dumbledore gave
me sweets. And some completely pointless advice involving houseplants and Acid
Pops. I guess it was supposed to make me go over and apologize to Harry.
Actually, it kind of did, in the end.
My eyes were full of the prickly
stuff by now, and I had to screw them up to keep it from rolling out. Hagrid
placed it – the body – on a white marble table, and blew his nose
loudly. He was probably the last person ever to touch it.
He really should be Head of
Gryffindor, I decided, reflecting on everything Dumbledore meant to Hagrid.
Can’t really get braver than that.
Some little man stood beside the
table and started talking. I couldn’t have heard him even if I had paid
attention; I couldn’t have paid attention even if I’d wanted to. And I didn’t.
Hermione, predictably, leaned forward in her seat, trying to catch the words,
and most probably failing. Her face was wet and teardrops were still falling
lightly from her eyes. Irrationally, I wished I had a skien
of Extendable Ears at hand to give to her. Or a tissue, at least.
Harry was sitting beside me like
a statue. His face was hard, eyes focused forward. He looked like somebody who
had just reached a decision, or was about to reach it. His cheek was glittering
in the sunlight. A lump formed in my throat. I hope we can do something for
My eyes travelled over to Ginny.
She was crying, too, very quietly. Not at all like the teary tantrums she
produced when she was little. I would have never thought I’d miss those.
I looked over to the rest of my
family, blinking to hold the prickly stuff in. I knew what each of them were
doing, although I only saw them from back. Mum was crying, obviously, her head
was buried in her hands, shoulders shaking. Dad’s arm was wrapped around her
comfortingly. Fleur rested her head under Bill’s chin. One of the twins – I
couldn’t tell which, from that distance – whispered something to the other, who
The Git was there, too, sitting
beside Scrimgeour. I couldn’t see his face, but I knew exactly what it looked
like – formal and as stiff as a mask. What I wouldn’t give to break that
mask into pieces. Along with his nose, preferably. If he still didn’t have
the decency to go over and apologize to Mum – and Harry – well, I really
couldn’t imagine him doing it after this…
How can someone be so stupid?
Because of the Order, most of the family’s in danger all year round… And he
goes around wasting time. Even now, we’re not all here – Charlie couldn’t come.
The lump grew larger.
Sure, he was busy doing something
for the Order. But what could be more important than being here for the
That question had been nagging me
ever since that night. Mum said he was busy, but didn’t clarify – and I
really couldn’t go around asking Order secrets, could I? Anyway, most Order
members were busy or unavailable, and Mum and Dad had enough problems with the
upcoming wedding. But it wasn’t something I could forget.
The well-known list of ‘Anyone we
know’ popped into my head. Almost all of them were Order members. Two – no,
three dead. One a traitor. One in Azkaban now (mostly his fault, true), and one
who’d been released a few months ago. The lump was about the size of a
Snitch now, threatening to choke me or make me throw up. One with half his
face chewed off by a human being.
By the time we’re ready to
join, there won’t be any Order left.
I tried to chase that thought
away, but it kept coming back like carried by a well-trained fetch dog.
Swallowing difficultly, I looked
around yet again, searching for a distraction.
Harry was sitting back in his
chair, looking resolved – he reminded me of the skinny and panting almost-twelve-year-old
who decided to go save the world with his Cloak and a flute. Somehow, that
calmed me. The world can’t go completely wrong, as long as Harry’s Harry.
Suddenly, the little man stopped
speaking and sat down. I glanced at Hermione, expecting her to know what would
happen next, but she looked as puzzled as anyone – then the body burst
into flame, along with the table. Hermione gasped a bit and grabbed my hand.
Some people screamed. For a few seconds, everyone’s eyes were on the white
fire, then a white-marble tomb took its place.
Dumbledore was finally gone. The
cold stone was all that was left of him. And we’ll never see him again.
Just like we’ll never see
Sirius run around chasing cats. A drop of the prickly stuff rolled down my
cheek, but I didn’t bother to dry it up. And Grandma Prewett, cooking her
excellent home-made pumpkin pasties. Two more drops followed. And Uncle
Bilius, bringing us stupid gifts and telling long stories about his flatmates.
My face was thoroughly wet now, but it didn’t bother me – it was something
of a relief. I numbly noticed arrows showering the ground, and a few people
screaming again. It didn’t matter, really.
I fleetingly caught Harry’s eye,
before he turned to talk to Ginny. He was crying too… I really had no reason
for hiding it. With that, I looked over at Hermione. Her face was soaking, but,
I was very surprised to see, she wore a small grin. I raised my eyebrows and
she nodded towards the front row – where a nearly-hysterical Umbridge was
battling with her long over-decorated cloak. Which was pinned down to the
ground. With an arrow. A Centaur arrow, I realised,
noticing the Hermione’s Smug Look of Mischief.
I produced something between a
chortle and a snort, and at the next moment, she buried her head in my
shoulder, sobbing and giggling at the same time. Girls. Her enormous
hair was all over my face, tickling me. I had to pat it down… so I wouldn’t
sneeze… and somehow my hand got lost in the motion… and kept doing it over and
over again. And it was strange. I felt like I could protect her from anything.
And I would.
She wasn’t giggling any more.
Only her heavy breaths showed that she, too, found stopping the tears a
less-than-easy task. I wondered what she was thinking about – the past? The
future? Some obscure Arithmancy equation? She should
calculate our chanced of winning this bloody war, I decided. Or maybe
it’s better not to know.
Harry and Ginny were talking
earnestly. Snippets of conversation reached my brain – the part that wasn’t
filled with a large, warm mass of Hermione. ‘Some stupid noble reason’,
my sister said. I wondered absently what it was – just about everything Harry
does is stupid and noble. He has ‘moral fibre’, as some would put it. It’s just
how he works… Whereas Hermione’s doings are mostly noble, never stupid… and
mine are stupid most of the time, but generally right.
In example, I’ve just noticed my
left hand – the on that wasn’t busy with The Hair – tighten around Hermione’s
shoulder. She relaxed noticably, so I squeezed her
more tightly and muttered ‘Sgonnabeallright’ or
something equally stupid – because, really, who am I to say – promise
– anything will be all right, when it most probably won’t? But she didn’t
mind, or didn’t hear me, and her sobbing was completely muffled by my shoulder.
The talking stopped beside us and
Harry stood up. He glanced at us, face smoothing momentarily, then he turned
and walked away. He looked a lot older than he was… and very tired, somehow. I
considered going after him, but I didn’t want to push Hermione away – and,
besides, Harry didn’t want company just then. Ginny sat for a while, staring
stiffly ahead. She wasn’t crying any more, but her jaw was set – she looked
like she was preparing for a fight.
Hermione’s face left my shoulder
now, and she looked at me and squeezed my hand slightly. Then she got up and
sat on Harry’s vacated chair, on my other side. She put a cautious hand on my
sister’s arm, who twitched like a cat when you step on its tail. She glowered
briefly at Hermione, then hugged her fiercely. Then she came over and hugged
me. I wasn’t this close to her since second year, when we all thought she was
Again, embarrassing and stupid
and right – it reminded me of the time the twins used my Puffers as a Bludger.
Ginny had kicked Fred in the shins, screamed at him for half an hour and
finally came over to me and told me she’ll buy me a new Puffskein as soon as
she starts getting pocket money (she was six at the time). This was somewhat
like that, though I wasn’t really sure who was comforting who.
She finally let me go and stood
up. She was wearing a lopsided smile.
‘I just broke a Weasley
tradition,’ she said, almost gloatingly. Then she looked reflective ‘Strange, I
always thought it would be Phlegm.’
I stared at her blankly, then realisation hit.
‘He left you?!’ I couldn’t
help raising my voice.
‘Technically. But I guess I
wanted him to – that’s why I started going out with him in the first place.’
This seemed to make sense to
Hermione, as she shot Ginny a genuine I’m-very-proud-of-you smile. I
want one of those, something whined in my mind.
‘Besides, it doesn’t count.
Harry’s practically a Weasley himself.’ Ginny’s voice was matter-of-fact and
held a not-too-hidden threat. ‘And, anyway, you’d have wanted him to. Right?’
I opened my mouth and closed it
again. I guess being Harry Potter’s girlfriend is a lot more dangerous than
not being Harry Potter’s girlfriend. And she doesn’t know about the Prophecy. So
it was for the best, really.
But I wonder what she’d say if
anyone else had suggested they break up.
Nothing, probably. She’d just
hex them into slimy pieces.
I nodded at her, reluctantly. It
was their choice, after all. And it wasn’t the stupidest thing to do.
She opened her mouth as if to say
something else, then she changed her mind and started walking towards Mum. She
was calm, very pale and looked taller than usual.
‘Weasley tradition?’ Hermione
I nodded. ‘No Weasley gets kicked out of a
relationship. You either leave her, or marry her. You never get left.’
She sighed. ‘It would be romantic if it wasn’t
It’s just something that is. Like the lack of female Weasleys.
I guess Ginny breaks a lot of
After a moment’s hesitation,
Hermione sprinted after her to whisper something in her ear. Ginny stopped,
looked at her, then at me. Then she whispered something back and went on.
‘What was that about?’ I asked, fairly sure
she wouldn’t answer.
‘Nothing.’ Ah, to be right… ‘Let’s go
Normally, I’d have been angry at her for not
telling me – Ginny’s my sister, after all. But she had stopped crying,
as had I – and I wanted it to stay that way.
Anyway, I can always weasel it out of her
Harry was talking to an obviously
unhappy Scrimgeour. We hurried forward, in case it got out of hand, then –
Hermione stopped dead, with a
very odd expression of her face.
What the bloody hell – ?
‘Is that – Hermione, please tell that isn’t—‘
‘Grawp.’ She actually looked pleased.
I will never in a million years understand
I considered pointing out the dangers
of an unleashed Giant in the middle of an all-human crowd, but decided against
it. It would probably turn into a full-blown debate on Giant rights. Without
tears, probably, but with loads of nagging and possibly badges.
Scrimgeour turned back and limped
by us. Harry must’ve finally told him to bugger off. Good for him. The
Minister stared at us, and we stared right back. Wonder what he wants.
We finally reached Harry and sat down under
his beech tree together. Hermione asked him about Scrimgeour.
‘Same as he wanted at Christmas. Wanted me to
give him inside information on Dumbledore and be the Ministry’s new poster
Now? Right after the bloody funeral?
What tripe does that one have for brains?!
My temper rose like a Wingardium-ed
I bet the Git will just go along with it.
Maybe say ‘He never had respect for authority’ or some other hogwash.
And the ‘truly delightful woman’ will nod
and say Harry has problems with his temper. And he’ll agree like a well-trained
troll. Of all the sleazy, bootlicking –
I turned to Hermione.
‘Look, let me go back and hit Percy.’ And
Umbridge. And Scrimgeour. And Rita sodding Skeeter, standing beside the tomb
with that stupid green quill.
‘No.’ She grabbed my arm. Just like she did
the few thousand times when Malfoy insulted my family. My frustration ebbed
‘It’ll make me feel better!’ I
whined, but didn’t really mean it. Well, I did, but I knew it wouldn’t work
Harry laughed, genuinely. It
made him look a lot younger. Hermione grinned, too, but then she turned gloomy.
‘I can’t bear the idea that we
might never come back. How can Hogwarts close?’ she said.
‘Maybe it won’t,’ I tried to reassure
her. Closing Hogwarts would be completely stupid. If anyone ever needed to
learn anything, it’s now – assuming we get a normal Defense teacher for once. I
voiced my thoughts, but neither of my friends seemed convinced. I asked Harry
for his opinion, but he just smiled melancholically.
‘I’m not coming back even if it
does reopen,’ he said.
I felt my jaw drop.
Harry, not come back?! But
Hogwarts is his home! He loves it almost as much as Hermione does.
Speaking of which –
‘I knew you were going to say
that.’ Oh, she did, did she? That’s what she wasn’t telling me at breakfast.
Why the hell wouldn’t Ron
be the last to know?
‘But then what will you do?’ she
continued and I had to stop sulking even before I started properly.
‘I’m going back to the Dursleys’
once more, because Dumbledore wanted me to.’ He put strong emphasis on the last
words. ‘But it’ll be a short visit, and then I’ll be gone for good.’
And he’ll never have to see that stupid, narrow-minded family. We could
finally make him an official Weasley – he already has the jumper and the
‘But where will you go if you
don’t come back to school?’ asked Hermione.
The Burrow, I almost
blurted out, but stopped myself at the last moment. It’s his choice. He
knows he’s always welcome. Maybe he wants to go to Grimmauld Place or –
‘I thought I might go back to
Godric’s Hollow.’ Or that. ‘For me, it started there, all of it. I’ve
just got a feeling I need to go there.’ That’s what he said when he took the
Felix, too. Maybe he’ll get lucky again. ‘And I can visit my parents’
graves, I’d like that.’
He said this very quietly; Harry
usually avoided talking about his parents with us.
‘And then what?’ I asked warily.
‘Then I’ve got to track down the
rest of the Horcruxes, haven't I? That’s what he wanted me to do, that’s why he
told me all about them.’ He was staring at Dumbledore’s grave. Hermione let out
the tiniest of sobs.
‘If Dumbledore was right,’ Harry
continued, ‘ – and I’m sure he was – there are still four of them out there.
I’ve got to find them and destroy them and then I’ve got to go after the
seventh bit of Voldemort’s soul, the bit that’s still in his in body, and I’m
the one who’s going to kill him.’ Because of the Prophecy. And because he’s
Him killing You-Know-Who –
it’s completely crazy, but it makes perfect sense.
Exactly like Dumbledore.
‘And if I meet Severus Snape
along the way,’ he finished harshly, ‘so much the better for me, so much the
worse for him.’
To Harry, that bastard’s as
bad as You-Know-Who. His parents, Sirius, Dumbledore… Snape was guilty in all
Maybe it should be his name
we can’t say out loud without flinching.
I went over everything Harry said
in my head. It was all logical, a good plan, if a rough one. He didn’t go into
details – like how he expects to do all that. But, then, he had never been much
of a strategist…
Then I realized what was wrong.
I’ll track down, I’ll destroy.
He planned on doing it alone.
Really alone. Without us.
But we always did everything
Almost everything. He did the
really important things on his own – like going into the maze, or following
Dumbledore to the cave.
What if he doesn’t want us to
go with him? Like with Ginny. He doesn’t have any real family, except us. He doesn’t
want us to get hurt.
But people are getting hurt
all around. The Death Eaters hate us anyway. Especially Snape and Malfoy. It
doesn’t make any difference, if you get killed at Hogwarts, or at home, or
while hunting for scattered pieces of You-Know-Who’s soul.
Well, it does. That’s why
we’re going with him.
I am, at least. I looked
over at Hermione. She was arguing with herself, too, by the looks of it. She
caught my eye and nodded faintly.
It was enough.
‘We’ll be there, Harry,’ I said
‘What?’ He actually looked
‘At your aunt and uncles’ house.’
Just have a few words with them, maybe. About not giving you food and
locking you in cupboards. ‘And then we’ll go with you, wherever you’re
For a moment, he seemed pleased, then
his face turned grave.
‘No –’ He wanted us to go
with him, but he also wanted to argue. Typical Harry.
Hermione stirred. ‘You said to us
once before that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We’ve had time,
‘We’re with you whatever
happens,’ I added. We always were. ‘But, mate, you’re going to have to
come round my mum and dad’s house before we do anything else, even Godric’s
‘Bill and Fleur’s wedding,
He seemed even more surprised by
this. Then he smiled.
‘Yeah, we shouldn’t miss that.’
He stared at something far away,
looking like he could defeat a thousand Dementors at once. Hermione grinned too
and leaned back on the tree bark, her side touching mine.
Wish I had a Pensieve. Things
like this should be kept.
We just sat there for a minute or
so, not saying anything. Then Harry got up.
‘Where are you going?’ Hermione
asked, sitting up.
‘I want to fly a few goodbye laps
with my Firebolt.’
We nodded and he walked to the
castle, his hands in his pockets.
Hagrid finally stopped crying.
Grawp was leading him towards the Forest. We waved tentatively at Hagrid, who
saw us and waved back with a watery smile. His little brother stared at
us stupidly for a bit, then he started pointing and babbling. I recognized the
words ‘Hermy’ and ‘pretty’ a few times.
I very carefully waited until
they were out of sight to start laughing.
‘Looks like someone has a crush
on you,’ I said between stitches. Hermione looked annoyed. But in a good way.
Not the I’m-sending-a-flock-of-murderous-canaries kind of way.
‘Looks like I have to tell
Lavander you believe in new beginnings,’ she said evilly.
I sombered at once. She
wouldn’t do that, would she?
She snorted and shook her head,
Her hair was flying everywhere…
It’s a time as good as any.
‘Hermione, what did you say to
I expected her not to answer or
tell me to mind my own business (she tends to do that, you know). Instead, she
bit her lip, looking towards the castle.
‘I asked her if there’s anything
we can do,’ she muttered.
‘She told me – us – to “keep him
Alive? Not safe, or unhurt,
Meaning he finds all the
Horcruxes and does You-Know-Who in.
And Snape, Wormtail and that
Lestrange woman, too, if possible. And that pervert, Greyback.
‘We can do that,’ I said. ‘I’ll
take care of any giant chess pieces, you do the rest.’
She laughed, really, for the
first time that day.
Looking at her, I realised, she’s not coming back to school either. I used to
joke about there being no force on Earth that could keep Hermione Granger from
sitting her NEWTs… But there is. Hanging around with Harry and me and saving
our hides from detentions and blood-sucking monsters…
I can’t wait till the Dursleys
see her, hair, robes and everything. I pictured each of them covered in
canary pecks. They suited Dudley exceptionally well. Then Godric’s Hollow…
that’ll be bloody awkward, all those memories of people we never met. But I’ve
always wanted to find out more about Harry’s dad (since the end of third year,
that is). He must have been a good man, becoming an Animagus to help a friend.
Exactly the kind of thing my
Hermione would do.
I turned to her again, planning to say
something (wasn’t really sure what, though), when we saw Harry coming back,
‘The trunks are already at the station, I
guess,’ he said in a voice that suggested he thought he knew something we
thought he shouldn’t know. With a raised eyebrow to match.
I very quickly retrieved my hand from
Hermione’s elbow and stood up. I wasn’t blushing. Too much.
‘This is it then,’ I said, looking around the
‘It is,’ Hermione agreed, standing up, too.
Something told me I’d miss Hogwarts very much
as soon as I leave the grounds. The lake, the pitch, the Forest with its
murderous Acromantulas… and the castle. For a few moments all three of us
stared up at it, grey and tall. Then Harry turned to us.
‘Race you to the carriages,’ he said, very
solemnly, and was off before we realized what he said.
I snickered, and shot after the skinny
cheater, dragging Hermione with me. We stumbled a few times, laughing, but
finally managed to find a pace that suited both of us.
Half a minute later, Harry
stopped to pant and grin at us. We finally caught up with him, and we went on
together, leaving the trees and the lake far behind us.
R/N: Review. I gather that’s important to
the Author, for some reason. But if you say anything insulting to Hermione,
Harry or anyone else in my family, I will happily send you some of Fred and
Please don’t mind Ron. Any and all thoughts, opinions and verdicts are welcome.
Ron couldn’t use e-mails anyway.
With many thanks to Beth Degner, aka. Ivory,
for being a precise, speedy and hopefully honest beta, to Darker Rage for
stamping out random Americanisms and my
wonderful Ylime for the moral support, help and chocolate.