The train sped along towards its destination on a grey fall day. A redheaded seventeen-year-old girl was looking out the window at the passing scenery. It was dreary view as the train sped towards its destination. She sighed as she thought about how quiet this trip was. She looked over at her traveling companion and smiled.
The blonde-haired girl was reading a newspaper, upside down as usual, with her wand stuck behind her ear. The red-haired girl chuckled softly to herself.
‘Well, something’s never change,’ she thought.
The blonde-haired girl lowered the paper and looked at the girl with a questioning look.
“What’s so funny Ginny?”
“I was just laughing at you.”
The other girl pushed her glasses higher on her nose, “That’s pretty rude.”
Ginny chuckled, “I sorry, it’s just this is the last time we head to Hogwarts and this trip is so quiet.”
Luna smiled at Ginny, “I know. I was thinking the same thing when I got on.”
Ginny sighed sadly, “I just keep expecting Harry, Ron or Hermione to open the door and walk in.”
Luna nodded in agreement, “I’d even take a visit from Draco Malfoy.”
“Now I know you are looney,” Ginny said and both girls laughed, “This sucks.”
Luna smiled, “I’m sure we’ll have fun. After all we’re both prefects and you’ll have the quidditch team to captain.”
Ginny nodded, “That’ll be hard now that Harry and them are gone, it just won’t be the same.”
Luna slyly smiled at Ginny, “How is Harry?”
“I don’t know really,” Ginny replied, absently gazing out the window, “I haven’t seen him since we got off the train last year after school ended.”
Ginny nodded, “He started his Auror training soon afterwards.”
“He doesn’t get breaks?”
Ginny again nodded, “He does, but he’s always away when he has any free time. He just disappears.”
“You miss him?”
Ginny nodded slowly, “Yes,” she whispered sadly.
Her mind wandered to the week before when she had gone with her mother to Diagon Alley to get her school supplies.
“Oh I just can’t seem to accept this.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, “Oh Mum please stop.”
Mrs. Weasley gave her youngest a sad smile, “Just you wait until your children go to school, then you’ll know what I’m feeling now.”
“I’m sure Bill and Fleur will need your help when the baby comes,” Ginny countered.
Mrs. Weasley harrumphed, “Well I’m just sad that this is the last time I’ll ever do this.”
“I’ll make sure to make a commemorative stamp,” Ginny said dryly.
Mrs. Weasley slapped Ginny’s arm lightly, “Oooo, that’ll be enough out of you. Come on now let’s get to the Leaky Cauldron. Your father, brother, Hermione and Harry will be meeting us soon.”
They walked into the Leaky Cauldron and looked around. Tom, the owner, greeted them as he came forward from the back of the restaurant. “Molly! Good to see you!”
Mrs. Weasley smiled, “And you too Tom. Have either my husband or son arrived yet?”
“I don’t believe so,” Tom said as he gave a quick look around before shaking his head, “No, not yet.”
Mrs. Weasley pointed to an empty booth, “May we?”
“Of course,” Tom offered, “Please sit anywhere you’d like.”
Tom disappeared into the back again while the two Weasley’s sat down.
“I hope they’ve not run into any trouble?” Mrs. Weasley said looking around.
Ginny looked around the near-empty room. Since Dumbledore’s death and Voldemort’s increasing activities everyone in the wizarding world was on edge. The Leaky Cauldron was more like a morgue. There was bright and cheery music, yet it still felt forced and the general atmosphere was not cheerful at all.
“Ah, here they are!”
Ginny turned and saw Ron and Hermione walk in hand-in-hand. They looked around and saw Mrs. Weasley and walked over.
“Hi Mum,” Ron said hugging his mother, “Dad’s still at work and he said he can’t make it.”
“That’s all right I know he’s busy,” she said, “Oh, hello Hermione,” she said giving the younger woman a bone-crushing hug.
Hermione had changed since the trio’s graduation from Hogwarts. Her hair was a lighter shade of brown and straightened. She had filled out more in certain areas and was now becoming a very beautiful woman.
Ron had finally stopped growing. He put on more muscle and his hair had been shortened. He certainly looked more handsome than the last time Ginny had seen him. She was certain Hermione was making sure Ron kept himself presentable, especially now that he had taken the vacant position in Mr. Weasley’s office at the Ministry.
“Where’s Harry?” Mrs. Weasley asked looking around.
Ron cleared his throat, but it was Hermione who answered, “He’s not coming.”
Then Ginny’s stomach dropped into her shoes.
Mrs. Weasley’s face dropped, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to seeing him. Where is he?”
Hermione glanced at Ron before answering, “I don’t know. Once we were given the next couple of days off he just left.”
“Oh, well I’m sure whatever he’s doing, it’s important,” Mrs. Weasley said and sat next to Ginny so Ron and Hermione could sit together.
“Now how is your training going Hermione?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
Ginny smiled at her mother. Hermione was the only girl Mrs. Weasley had ever accepted immediately when she found out Ron and her were dating. Ginny knew her mother hoped Ron would eventually marry Hermione. Ginny was sure Hermione was thinking along the same lines, especially since they were living together with Harry at Grimwauld Place.
“Great! We’re in the advanced training program where we’re paired up with an Auror and they train us in real-time,” Hermione replied enthusiastically, “We still have classroom instruction, but this way of learning is loads better.”
Ginny had to smile again. Hermione was always excited when it came to learning, which was funny considering her boyfriend was the exact opposite. Ginny was going to miss her just for the fact that Hermione was the one that kept Harry, Ron and much of the Gryffindor House afloat throughout most of the school year.
“Arthur mentioned to me about that. They want to get as many new Aurors trained as soon as possible now with the war on,” Mrs. Weasley said, “With whom are you paired with?”
“An Auror named Kathryn Ryan.”
“Never heard of her,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Is she a good teacher?”
“Yes,” Hermione replied, “and she’s very intelligent.”
“Well at least you’re with someone you like,” Mrs. Weasley said with a smile, “What about Harry?”
“He’s with Kingsley Shacklebolt,” Hermione answered.
“Oh good,” Mrs. Weasley sounded relieved, “At least he’s with someone who will look after him.”
The four ordered lunch and settled in and talked about what was going on in the family. Charlie was now the head dragon researcher in Romania, Bill and Fleur were living in The Burrow with his parents, Percy was still a no show in the family after his ‘visit’ two Christmases ago and Fred and George had purchased Zonko’s and turned into a branch store of Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezey’s. Eventually the conversation turned to Harry.
“How’s Harry holding up?” Mrs. Weasley asked with concern.
Hermione looked at Ginny, “Harry’s okay.”
Ron gulped, “Yeah, he’s doing great.”
Mrs. Weasley gave them both a hard stare as if she was trying to catch them in a lie. When they stayed silent she spoke, “Well I suppose that’s good to hear. I have been worried ever since Remus was killed, that Harry would not take it well.”
“He seems to be taking it okay,” Ron said quickly, “Just this past Monday he was saying how well he feels.”
“I’m sure,” Mrs. Weasley said, not believing her son for a moment, “Well I’m heading to the little witches room before the food comes.
As she walked away Hermione turned to her boyfriend, “Very nice Ron. Now your mom knows Harry’s not alright.”
Ron looked at Hermione and shrugged, “I didn’t know what else to say.”
“What’s wrong with Harry?” Ginny asked leaning forward.
Hermione gave her friend a small sad smile, “I think Harry’s getting stressed out that’s all.”
Ginny nodded, but Ron added, “I think he’s trying to find You-know-who.”
“Ron!” Hermione shouted at him.
Ginny’s stomach tightened at the thought. Hermione turned and saw Ginny’s face and cleared her throat.
“It’s okay Ginny. I’m sure Harry will be fine.”
The train suddenly lurched going around a turn, bringing Ginny back to the present. She looked out the window and saw Hogwarts in the distance.
Luna looked at her, “And?”
Ginny blinked at Luna in confusion. She never heard the question her friend had asked, “What?”
“So how’s Harry?” Luna asked again.
“I don’t know,” Ginny said, “I never found out.”
“Well I’m sure he’s being a pain in someone’s butt,” Luna said and went back to her paper.
Ginny’s smile faded. She sighed and looked out the window at the dreary sight again, “This is going to be a very boring year I just know it.”