Life was absolute shit, Harry decided. He’d lost the last link to his parents, his godfather, and Remus
had treated him like he’d just dropped out of Moony’s butt during a full moon. The last day of term.
Tomorrow, Harry would be setting off to the Dursleys, for another summer of chaos and misery.
It had been exactly eight days since the damned fight at the Ministry of Magic. Eight days since Sirius
had been knocked through the Veil of Death in the Department of Mysteries by his own cousin.
Eight days since Dumbledore had told him that the fate of the world, literally, rested on his shoulders.
His friends had been a little distant, probably on Dumbledore’s orders.
Let him rest. Let him grieve in peace. It is what he needs right now.
He could almost picture the
meeting. Brave Ron, nodding in agreement because it was Dumbledore who told them. Beautiful Hermione,
wanting the best for Harry. If Dumbledore, the greatest wizard in the world, didn’t know what was best for
Harry, at least in her eyes, who would?
Since then, he’d been moping around the castle. He’d turned up for lessons, let them go over his head
so high they hadn’t even ruffled his hair. It didn’t matter. None of it really mattered.
She was part of the reason he was in such pain. When Dolohov’s curse had hit her, Harry’s brain
locked. A single thought ran through it,
Don’t be dead! Don’t be dead!
When Neville had checked her, and
found a pulse, Harry could have cried. Did cry, in fact. As long as she was alive, he’d survive. Bollocks to
the prophecy. As long as Hermione lived, he would endure. She was his greatest strength. And also, he knew,
his greatest weakness. If Voldemort ever found out how much he cared.
Cho Chang had been a distraction. He knew that. He’d thought to himself, if he went out with Cho,
maybe he could banish the thoughts of Hermione that ran through his head. It had failed. While on the date
with Cho, he’d mentioned needing to meet Hermione, and Cho had flown off the handle. For some reason, he
hadn’t really cared.
The train ride home. That’s where it happened. Historians, looking back for that pivotal moment,
would have only needed to look to the train ride, and all would have become clear.
The Ministry Six, as the
was already calling them, had decided to share the journey home. It
made sense to them, distracting stragglers, who would come up and ask them to explain what had happened.
The last person to do that had received a nasty
hex. When Malfoy had made his appearance,
and been beaten soundly, it had sent a subtle message to the rest of the train to
disturb the people.
Harry waited until the train pulled up and Kings Cross, remaining sat while Ron, Ginny, Luna and
Neville had grabbed their trunks and dashed away. Hermione waited with him, reading the signs that Harry
needed to talk about something, but didn’t want to speak in front of an audience.
“Is everything all right, Harry?” Hermione asked softly. “You’ve been very quiet.”