Three sullen teenagers walked towards the lantern-lit corner of Magnolia Crescent and Privet Drive. It was like they had appeared out of nowhere, which had happened much too often on that private street in Surrey.
There were two boys and one girl, who was farthest to the right, clutching the hand of a tall, freckle-faced, red-haired boy who was clearly the oldest.
“Chill out, Hermione”, said the dark haired boy, farthest to the left, “this is just an empty, muggle street.”
“Yes”, retorted the girl, whose brown eyes were bulging wide with fright. “The same street where Umbridge and those dementors nearly got you expelled in fifth year! I know”, she said quietly, as though they were suddenly being overheard, “I know it’s just your aunt and uncle, but-”
“And whale of a cousin”, the middle boy said with a snort.
“Ron!” said Hermione reprovingly, with a meaningful nod towards the messy-haired, green-eyed teenager. This boy suddenly had a face as if thinking about something and wanted to be left alone.
“’Mione, they’re muggles”, the tall boy said confidently. “And besides that- they’re terrified of Harry”, he said with a smirk.
“I know, Ron,” said Hermione, “But all the things Harry’s told us about them. And,” she continued hastily, “and we’ve already met them once- well, you twice actually-, and they didn’t look so happy to-” she stopped. The boy, Harry, had started to walk down the drive, as if in a trance.
This, Harry thought, this would be the last time he would ever have to walk down this street, the last time he would ever have to see his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia- it was an indescribable feeling, knowing this was his last visit to this horrid place. He felt extremely happy and relieved, and yet, (this surprised him), he also felt a little bit homesick. Now, this made no sense, considering that he had been calling Hogwarts his home for almost seven years now. But, when he thought about it, he didn’t feel as surprised; he had been brought up here, and no matter how much he tried to fight the feeling, he knew that his life at Privet Drive was over, and he was moving on.
Ron and Hermione had stopped arguing, and Harry looked up to see what was causing there sudden silence. He quickly followed their gaze. His friends’ eyes were both fixed on a strict-looking tabby cat, which had unusual marking on its face. Harry was truly astonished- he knew who this was, but why was she here? He blinked, and he was now looking at a stern looking woman whose eyes were looking directly at him through her spectacles in such a serious manner, that it was only because he was used to this unwelcoming manner that he managed to stifle a gasp. She was holding something that Harry recognized only too well. Ron obviously didn’t recognize it, since he had never actually seen it before, but apparently Hermione, who knew an answer to every question a teacher, could think up, had managed to guess what it was she was holding as well, because she did not bother to quiet her gasp.
“Oh!” she said with a look of astonishment on her face, as the aged women began to stride toward them, almost tripping over her cloak in her haste.
“Ahh, yes, Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley, of course you’d be with him too, yes…”
Minerva McGonagall looked them both over quickly over her spectacles, letting her voice trail off as she did so. She turned, and gazed at Harry with a sad, reflective look on her face.
“Potter,” she said quietly, “Potter, I have quite a few things to touch up on and very little time, so please listen with as little interruptions as possible.” It seemed like McGonagall had still not forgotten the six full years the three of them, Harry and Ron in particular, had spent talking and scheming in her Transfiguration classes.
“Professor Dumbledore left me a note explaining where he went that night at the end of term.” Harry heard Hermione gasp again as Professor McGonagall went on.
“Apparently, he was ready for what he thought would happen at the lake, and wanted to be sure I was informed, as he was sure that you would not tell me much- in which he guessed correct” Her voice seemed to break with this last sentence, but she went on, recovering swiftly.
“However, he did not inform me on why you both went to that particular cave, or for what. All that was mentioned was that he believed it would weaken the Dark Lord, and that he might not make it back. The Headmaster also was gracious enough to include the fact that he instructed you to keep silent about it all, nevertheless what the results might have been.” She coughed from the haste of her talking and continued.
“With that note, he also,” she stopped, as if she didn’t want to say it, as if it would just be more proof that he was really gone, “He also…left a will.” Harry tried not to show his expectancy of this, as McGonagall looked at him through obvious tear- stained eyes.
She continued and said “But, before we get to that, I’d like to start at the beginning.” She paused and glanced again at Ron and Hermione, who were noticeably taking in every word she was saying.
“The first thing he made clear and wanted me to understand, was that, under no exception, should Mr. Weasley or Ms. Granger be left out of anything I feel fit to tell you.” The way she said this made it clear to Harry that so far she didn’t fully agree on Dumbledore’s first term, but she smiled all the same.
“Now, I know this may not be the best time or place to say this, but I have told the Order this, and they agree with our headmaster wholeheartedly. They also feel, that you two have proved yourselves completely trustworthy these last few years”, addressing Ron and Hermione. She paused, to let this compliment sink into the three friends, as they realized how far they had come together, and Harry saw her give a rare smile when she noticed Hermione clutching Ron’s hand.
“Secondly”, McGonagall said, her voice becoming serious and business-like once more, “In that same note that was left to me, he expresses that he wished for this Pensieve to go to you so you could continue to educate yourself on whatever he was teaching you last year, which I still am uninformed,” she added with a hint of annoyance.
“Now, Harry, here are the Pensieve and a few extra trinkets and belongings of his, the reasons of giving them to you, I know not”, she ended huffily.
“Another thing I’m not sure you realized is that I am now the headmistress of Hogwarts. I have had a long talk with both the other heads-of-houses and the Ministry, and we all, surprisingly, unanimously agree to reopen the school. This means, as I’m sure you have realized, that I am required as Headmistress to give you these.” With a flick of her wand, three, tattered, golden- sealed envelopes that were labeled with each of there names. Harry looked around- Hermione and Ron were now on either side of him, wearing the same sympathetic and firm face as he was. Harry spoke.
“Errr, umm… Professor, I’m not coming back for my N.E.W.T. year. I need to continue with what Dumbledore would’ve wanted me to do, and defeat him... I’m not sure what Hermione and Ron want to do, it’s up to them-“
“We’re coming.” Ron said this so fast that Harry didn’t even have time to look grateful. They had already talked about this a few weeks ago, and even Hermione had such a firm look of defiance on her face, gripping Ron’s hand harder than ever. Professor McGonagall didn’t even pretend to look remotely surprised.
“Yes, that was quite expected by all of us, but maybe, Miss Granger, would you perhaps consider coming back after all this is over, to complete your studies and take your exams?” Hermione beamed, and McGonagall continued.
“To end this quickly, I want to let you know that the headquarters of the order has been temporarily shut-down, and we are currently looking for a new location, as Dumbledore was the Secret-Keeper, and the secret passed-on with him. Alastor has had a hunch on a location that might work, but I will get back to you later on that when I can.” She paused to look at Harry for a moment when she said this, and Harry had a feeling that the new headquarters was going to involve him somehow, and she didn’t want to trouble him just yet. She looked away and got ready to leave.
“So, now, I am quite aware that you three, or you, at least, Potter, must be getting off to your aunt and uncle’s. So, that’s that and good-night to you all.” She quickly walked three paces backward, and stopped.
“Be brave, Potter,” she said in a kindly tone, and with one spin on her heel, she Apparated, and was gone, giving neither of them a chance to say goodbye.
Not everybody knows that everybody goes to a better place
Not everybody knows that everyone could be living their last days
But the hard times will come, and we'll keep movin' on, we're movin' up
Keep movin' on