Chapter 8 Coping
"Here, let me take that."
Ginny turned and smiled her thanks to Harry as he moved to load their things onto the train. Normally, she would get flustered and tongue-tied around him-she'd had a crush on him for forever-but ever since Fred had disappeared, things like romance just didn't seem to matter. She felt bad for Dean Thomas. He'd been so nice when they had gotten together during the summer for their first official date, and she had pretty much broken it off before it had started.
Dating was what happy people did.
Ginny couldn't be happy.
She forced herself to turn around to look at the rest of her family. Her mum and dad were talking to Ron, and Bill, who had been spending more and more time with them lately, was standing a bit behind them. But what stood out to her more was George. Just George.
It was so wrong.
Her older brother had changed drastically in the month his twin had been missing. He had always been the quieter, more sensible of the two, but this was depressing. He barely talked, never joked, he had shadows under his eyes from lack of sleep.
In all, her brother looked lost.
As their eyes met, she had a surge of emotion shoot through her, and the next thing she knew, she had thrown her arms around him and was hugging him for all she was worth. He immediately reciprocated, and buried his face in her hair.
"It'll be okay Georgie," she whispered.
"He isn't dead. I'd know. But what if he does die? What do I do Gin?"
Ginny felt tears sting her eyes. George sounded so broken.
"All you can do is hope and pray for the best. And this is Fred we're talking about. If there's anything we know, is that he'll give the Death Eaters a hard time."
George let out a half sob half laugh. "That's what I'm afraid of."
They were interrupted when the conductor called the all aboard, and she quickly gave George one more squeeze and then turned to say her goodbyes to her parents.
And then she and Ron rushed to the train. She wasn't paying much attention, and felt a little dazed. At one point she realized she must have talked to Luna, because she was holding a Quibbler magazine in her hands, but really didn't have much of a recollection of it.
And then she ran into someone. Literally. One moment she was walking, and the next, she was sprawled out on the floor of the hallway.
"Wha-oh, I'm sorry."
Ginny felt strong hands grab her and lift her back to her feet.
Ginny gaped, open-mouthed at the person in front of her.
"Wasn't looking where I was going," he said, and then kept walking. Ginny was still staring at his retreating figure when she heard Hermione's voice behind her.
"Hey, Ginny, do you want to sit with us? Ginny? Gin!"
She jumped and turned around to see Hermione leaning out of a compartment behind her. She was giving Ginny a strange look.
"Oh, sorry. Yeah, I'll sit with you."
As she sat in the compartment only half heartedly listening to the Golden Trio's conversation, she thought about the blond boy she'd run into.
Malfoy's hated Weasleys.
Draco Malfoy had been a prat to her since day one.
He never would voluntarily touch a Weasley, unless it was to punch them maybe.
She had never heard Malfoy apologize to anyone before.
So why had Draco Malfoy of all people, apologized to her, Ginny Weasley, after bumping into him, and him walk away like nothing happened-not even throwing a single taunt or insult her way?
She blinked and shook her head.
Don't read into it so much, she berated herself.
Another shake of her head, and she turned to the window, watching the scenery go by.
"Please be all right Freddie," she thought. "Don't you dare die."