Well here it is, the last step of this novel! I have a long rambling farewell message at the end, but for now, just enjoy the chapter!
The opera isn't over till the fat lady sings.
The train was standing there, waiting for us to get on and be on our way. I was intimidated by it all, seen as it was taking me back to the outside world and reality. While I’ve been inside Hogwarts, I’ve managed to fool myself into thinking that maybe I won’t have to do anything. However, now I was stepping onto the train with everyone and the future was looming even closer towards us.
It was silent in our compartment on the way back. We all stared at each other now and again, but it was no use. Everyone’s mind had been on the same thing: Cedric. How he had died, and what it meant. I mean, Cedric’s death was hardly ordinary, and what it’s proved to the people is that their worst fear might just be alive again. During all of this, I was pretending not to notice, staring out at the scenery as it quickly passed me by. I tried to appreciate the natural surroundings, but I was just thinking of it as a green blur.
What made it more awkward were the people who were there. It was me, Magda, Bella, Amy, along with Fred and George. Even though George may have started to grow on me - still wasn’t in a very significant way, mind you - the tension between Fred and Amy just annihilated any friendly feeling. Poor Fred, I suppose I wouldn’t quite know what to do either.
Amy smiled. “He’s a bit of a Martyr, if you think about it.”
We all nodded, smiling with her. I was just happy that she was smiling, regardless of what she had just said. She could have said that I can go kiss a tadpole and I would have been ecstatic. As long as she kept smiling, I was fine. I think she had really taken in what Dumbledore had said, and it had a huge effect on her. I couldn’t have been more grateful, for it because it meant that I was closer to getting my friend from before all this back.
“We’re going to check on Harry and the others,” said George calmly, pulling Fred away with him. Giving me a light kiss on the cheek, they were gone. It wasn’t full-blown Pucey snog-fest-city-arizona, but it was nicer – sweeter, even.
“You could go with them,” suggested Magda, with a raised eyebrow. “Your final chance to charm Harry.”
“It’s alright, I have someone now, anyway.” I smiled slightly at the thought. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give him a chance. We all need somebody, after all, especially considering the circumstances. Why couldn’t it be him? He wasn’t a bad person – George. He was sweet, and kind to me, and there were no complications. I liked things being simple. I need things to be simple. And there was the chemistry, that was undeniable, even if it wasn’t romantic, immediately, anyway. Over the couple of days we had been going out, I did find myself thinking of Oliver and feeling guilty, but on the other hand, I really appreciated George in my life. It was just nice not to have any drama.
“We’re almost there,” said Bella. “Anne, do you want to come back to mine for the summer? I know you’re not that keen on seeing Leslie again.”
Pausing, I replied, “I will. But I think I should go home first.” I didn’t tell her that all I wanted right now was my mother, slightly ashamed of my cowardice. Harry faced You-Know-Who at the same age as us, and all I’ve done is listened to the information and I want my mummy.
Bella nodded. I had a feeling she saw through my lie, but luckily understood it.
“Maybe we could all go to Bella’s,” said Magda, “if that’s OK with you?” Smiling, Bella replied, “I could do with the company.”
Looking out the window, I sighed. “I think we’re here.”
“The end of another year.”
Amy’s face became serious as she said, “The end of another life.”
Biting my lip, I replied, “But we’re going to make it. I promise.”
But could I promise that? I couldn’t understand any of it. It was like there were two sides of me in my mind, battling it out. Part of me didn’t understand that this was the end of the world I had previously known. The other part knew very clearly, and was terrified. Either way, I was scared.
In fact, looking back, pretty much everything confuses me, these days. It’s as if I’m constantly getting mixed messages thrown at me - in one way or another. Who to love, how to act, what to think, what to believe. There’s a sensible guide, and a completely passionate nut-job, both telling me completely opposite things. And, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s hard to understand it most of the time. I suppose the key is to choose which of the two is right at the appropriate moments, and get over it if we choose the wrong one from time to time. Though, it doesn’t stop the idea of failing terrifying me to bits, now more than ever.
Still, I was still able to pretend to smile as we strolled out of the train. When I exited, the summer heat immediately hit my cheeks. My feet, even through my shoes, felt the ground as if it was still hot tar. The heat was beating down at my head, almost immediately made my head spin.
Leslie saw me and smiled insincerely, putting a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. She was dressed in Muggle clothing that reminded me of some of those cookbooks back from the fifties that she brought back. No matter how serious a time it was, it seemed like I would always have time to ridicule and loathe Leslie. It would probably actually be best for my sanity to keep her around more, in that case.
Nevertheless, there was my mother, looking kind and smiling in her robes. I knew that there was something tense in her smile that may have made me think that the event of Cedric’s death would have spread already to the outside world. Either that or she and Leslie was going to adopt a child together. I hope not. I’m already outnumbered in my own home as it was.
Seeing my mum and Leslie, I waved at my friends and began to walk way until I bumped into someone.
“Oh, sorry, Anne.” He seemed sincere, his almond shaped eyes twinkling for a moment. Last year, I would have been ecstatic that not only did Harry Potter bump into me, but he knew my name. I would have thought that was all I needed in life.
Youth can seem pretty pathetic, huh?
Come to think of it, I had changed a lot over the year. Perhaps I’ll change back to the same old sarcastic me again over time, but I think it’ll take me at least a few weeks until I’m willing to joke properly again. Cedric’s death had thrown us all off in a way that we had never imagined.
Pausing for a moment to watch him walk away, while running one of his hands through his jet-black hair, I hugged my mother and began walking away from her. It took me a while to pick up another sound that was shouting for me. Even though I could have sworn that it was Oliver Wood was the one calling my name, I still walked. I just wanted to get away. I just wanted some freedom.
Before it all ends when I walked back.
A/N: Again, sorry for the short chapter. Originally it was with the past chapter, but it didn’t really seem to fit in.
Well that’s the end of this story, folks! As I said, I am planning on writing a sequel in Anne’s fifth-year, and then one following that in her seventh. But before I go, I just want to tell you how much I loved working on this story, and thank all my reviewers (as well as a certain harrypotter_dracolover who managed to sneak in last minute and initiate aliver - obvious Anne/Oliver – as an official relationship!
If anyone wants a PM when I get the next story up and running, just tell me your forum username in a review or something!
Choi for now,
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