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Staying Strong by RosieQueen
Chapter 1 : Another Year and Worries of War
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 45


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Lovely Chapter Image by Panacea. @TDA!

I can see us through these dark days,
Though they seem to darken as I go.
Our love will see us through these dark, dark days sister,
'Til it lights the way back home.

-Dark Days by the Punch Brothers



I walked onto platform nine and three-quarters after Mum, Dad, Bill and Phlegm (ahem, Fleur,) who all seemed to be in deep conversation, all of which had the same worried expression.


I pushed my trolley next to Mum. Looking around the platform, I saw about a hundred worried and anxious-looking parents giving their children last minute reminders. I was pretty sure that everyone here knew that Hogwarts wasn’t a safe place anymore. Dumbledore was gone and Hogwarts was being run by the Ministry, which many believed was being run by Death Eaters.


There was a forbidding, hushed silence on the platform. It seemed as if nobody dared to speak any louder than a whisper. There was no usual buzz of excitement, and I felt as if I was in a waiting room at St. Mungo’s, wondering if a family member was dead or alive.


“Ginny,” Mum said, “You need to be extra careful this year. Please don’t do anything to get you into trouble,” she pleaded.


“We really wish you didn’t have to go.” Dad said, grasping my shoulder.


“I wish I didn’t have to either,” I mumbled. Not with Snape running the place, I thought bitterly.


“Our family name isn’t going to do anything good for you, sis.” Bill said. “Just keep your head down, and talk as little as possible. Don’t do anything that will bring attention to you.”


“Write to me every day dear, but please don’t write anything that will seem suspicious, the owl post is most definitely going to be checked.” Mum said, giving me a hug.


“I will, Mum.” I said, as she released me.


“Au revoir, Geeny.” Fleur said, also giving me hug just after Mum had let go of me.


“Er, thanks, Fleur. Goodbye to you too.” I said awkwardly.


I heard the scarlet steam engine give a loud whistle, and that was our cue to hurry up. Dad gave me a kiss on the forehead, and Bill hugged me.


“Take care, sis.” he whispered in my ear.


“You better go, quickly.” Mum said as the scarlet steam engine let out a loud whistle.


I walked fast, pushing my trolley in front of me, and heaved it into the train. With one last wave at my family, I entered the Hogwarts Express. The inside of the train was packed; there wasn't a single empty compartment.


“Ginny!” I turned to see that it was Neville. He was holding the compartment door open for me.


“Neville!” I said, relieved. I entered the compartment, and Neville closed it behind me.


“Good to see you! I was starting to wonder if you were going to be here at all.” Neville said. However, he wasn’t the only one occupying the compartment.


“Hello, Ginny.” Luna said, looking up from her copy of the Quibbler, and beaming. “How have you been?”


“Not too good,” I said as I sat down beside her, across from Seamus Finnigan.


“Hello, Seamus.” I said. I was no stranger to being around Seamus, as I had dated his best friend last year. He didn’t normally sit with Neville, Luna, or I. Probably because Dean was on the run from the muggle-born registration committee, so he didn’t really have a choice but to sit with Neville, with whom he shared his dormitory.


“Hello,” he said, giving me what seemed to be a weary smile. I could tell that he was missing his friend.


I glanced at the cover of Luna’s copy of the Quibbler. The front caption said: “You-Know-Who takes over the Ministry of Magic.”


The Quibbler’s going strong, then?” I asked.


“Oh yes. Daddy’s printing a lot of useful information in the Quibbler. Information that the Daily Prophet won’t. We’ve had record sales, too.” Luna said mildly.


“Yeah, the Quibbler seems to be more honest than the stupid Daily Prophet, recently.” Seamus said.


“Weren’t you the one who believed everything the Daily Prophet wrote about Harry and Dumbledore just two years ago?” I said, before I could stop myself.


“Oh. Well, yeah,” Seamus said, his cheeks turning a light shade of pink. “Yeah, but times change. I mean, who would believe that Harry killed Dumbledore, anyway?”


“Anyone who doesn’t know him,” Neville pointed out.


“I don’t think he’s just on the run, but what is he doing?” Seamus asked.


“I don’t know,” Neville said curiously. “Witch Weekly said he was fleeing to Spain, but there’s no way I’m going to believe that.”


“You actually read that magazine? Isn’t that magazine for women?” Seamus smirked.


“What? Oh, no, not really…I mean, my Gran…” Neville said, blushing.


“I think I know what he’s doing.” I said.


Everyone turned to look at me, and even Luna looked up from her magazine, looking mildly interested.


“What’s he up to, then?” Neville urged.


I hesitated. Was it too risky? But these three were my friends, I could trust them, right? It couldn’t really matter, as Neville, Luna, and Seamus were all part of the D.A.


“He’s on some sort of mission to get rid of You-Know-Who on Dumbledore’s orders.”


“I knew it.” Neville said softly.


“He’s going all alone?” Seamus asked incredulously.


“No. Ron and Hermione are going with him, obviously.” I said, slightly bitter.


I could’ve helped too. I came with him to the Department of Mysteries. I fought the Death Eaters when they invaded the castle last year. And then the stupid noble git dumped me for my protection. Was it really for my protection, or was it just a way for him to get rid of me so he wouldn’t have to include me in anything? He always treated me like a defenseless little girl, just like everyone else in my family.


“I thought I heard Ron had spattergroit?” Seamus asked quizzically.


I couldn’t help but laugh. “Of course he doesn’t! We just dressed up the ghoul in our attic to look like Ron, that way, when the Ministry officials came to inspect our house, they wouldn’t think that Ron was with Harry and Hermione.”


“Brilliant.” Seamus said softly.


“What are they all going to do to get rid of You-Know-Who?” Neville asked.


“I don’t know. Harry refused to tell anyone at the Burrow this summer. He told me what he’s up to by accident. Ron and Hermione know, because they went with him, and they refused to tell too.”


Seamus and Neville looked very curious at the thought.


“Did you hear about the new radio channel? It’s called Potterwatch. It’s quite difficult to reach, as to make sure nobody on the wrong side finds out about it. It tells news the way it is.” Luna said casually.


“I’ve heard about it, too.” Neville said.


“Really? I’ve never heard of it, but it sounds interesting.” said Seamus.


“Of course I’ve heard about it. My brothers Fred and George are in charge of it.” I said.


“Wow, really?” Neville said, with interest.


“Yeah. Them and Lee Jordan.” I said matter-of-factly.


“Isn’t that dangerous?” Seamus asked.


“It is.” I nodded. “But they switch locations every time they broadcast, as an extra precaution. You know those guys; they’re used to running away from trouble.”


“I think it’s a good thing to do.” Neville said. “People should know what’s really going on. “


“You’re right.” I said. “And I think it’s making a difference. George said they’ve already had ten thousand hits on their second broadcast.”


I heard our compartment open. I looked up and saw that it was the snack cart witch.


“Anything off the carts, dears?” the witch asked. I noticed that she had the air of fake, forced cheeriness. She kept looking nervously out the window, and I found that a bit strange.


I shook my head, as Mum had packed me sandwiches, as usual. I unwrapped my sandwich, which was wrapped in tin foil. I groaned. No corned beef? I loved corned beef, unlike Ron, who hated it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We spent a few hours laughing, eating and talking. I was happily full with food, as Luna, Seamus, and Neville were kind enough to share some real food with me.


“Hey, Ginny, what do you get when you cross a Nargle with a Wrackspurt?” Luna asked cheerfully.


“Uh…?” was all I could say. But before I could really respond, however, the train screeched to a halt, causing all four of us to jerk sideways.


“What the—?” Seamus said furiously.


“We can’t be there already…?” I said cautiously.


I knew that it was a little too early to have already reached Hogwarts. I glanced at the window, and sure enough, it was dark, but there was no Hogwarts castle in view. But I noticed something else; about four shadowy figures were moving outside.


“What’s that?” I said, pointing out the window.


Neville stood up to look out the window and gasped. “Death Eaters!” he exclaimed.


“What would they want with us?” Seamus asked fearfully.


I heard panicked shrieks from all over the train. I glanced at the compartment across the narrow corridor, and saw a horrified group of boys who looked like third years.


“OY! ROWLE, GET OVER HERE!” said a deep, male voice, which sounded dreadfully close.


I gasped as a mean, blonde-haired Death Eater slid our compartment door open with great force. His great, pudgy face looked carefully at all of ours, snarled, and slammed our compartment door closed.


Right next to him, a dark-skinned Death Eaters gave an excited yelp as he opened the compartment that contained the group of third years.


"MCNAIR! I THINK I'VE GOT ‘IM!” The dark-skinned Death Eater said, whose name seemed to be Rowle.


Rowle grabbed the collar of a scrawny brown-haired boy with large, rectangular glasses. The boy squeaked in terror.


Rowle and Mcnair examined the boy for a moment, until—


“That’s not Potter.” Mcnair scowled.


Rowle let go of the boy with deliberate force, growling in anger.


“I knew the little git wouldn’t be here…what are we gong to tell the Dark Lord now?” Rowle said angrily.


“It's alright, the Dark Lord just made us check as a precaution; he didn’t think he’d be here, either…” Mcnair said.


“We better go find Dolohov and Rookwood…” Rowle said. And with that, the two Death Eaters left.


I glanced at Seamus and Neville’s faces. They looked very pale. Luna, however, looked curious.


“I can’t believe they’d even consider that Harry might come back to Hogwarts. I mean, ‘Undesirable No. 1’ and all that? Plus, he’s got a ten-thousand galleon price on his head!” Neville said.


“It’s ridiculous!” I agreed. By now, the train had continued moving.


Seamus glanced at his watch. “We’re almost there. We’ll be at Hogwarts in about thirty minutes.”


“It’s best that we get dressed right now.” Luna said calmly, staring into space, deep in thought.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“How many more minutes, Seamus?” I asked.


“Ten.” he responded, checking his battered-looking watch.


Silence.


My head leaned on the window, and I gazed up at the dark sky. It was very cloudy and I couldn’t see the moon. I started noticing familiar rock formations passing by, and I recognized all the rivers and lakes that passed by. Hogwarts was very near.


This year was going to be different, and probably not in a good way. I was starting to dread the ten minutes that were quickly passing by.


“This year is going to suck, I can already tell.” Neville growled.


I swear, that guy can read minds.


“Perhaps it won’t,” Luna said dreamily. “Maybe it won’t be completely different.” she said thoughtfully.


Trust Luna to be open-minded during a war.


After a few more minutes of anxious waiting, the train finally stopped.


Neville, Seamus, Luna, and I were some of the last off the train. I expected to hear the cheerful, booming voice of Rubeus Hagrid saying: “Firs’ years! Firs’ years over here!” But it did not come. Instead, a chubby, sinister-looking woman was yelling as loud as she could for the first years.


“FIRST YEARS! GET OVER HERE NOW OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!” she shouted.


I looked at the woman with great hatred as I walked by her. I knew she was a Death Eater, I recognized her from the Daily Prophet, where she and her brother were both mentioned in the same article where they announced that Snape was now Hogwarts’ Headmaster.


I caught up with Luna, Seamus, and Neville, who were already at the edge of the paved cobblestone pathway where the carriages would bring us up to the castle. We weren’t alone; I noticed a group of Slytherins who weren’t too far from where we were standing.


“Hey, Weaslette! Where’s your boyfriend?” said the high-pitched voice of Pansy Parkinson that I hated so much.


I tried to ignore her.


“Oh, right, he’s on the run!” Jeered the voice I recognized as Blaise Zabini’s. The Slytherins erupted in laughter. They were gits; every single one of them.


A carriage moved in front of Neville, and Seamus, Luna, and I followed him in. I gazed at the front of the carriage. Even though I could not see it, I knew that there was a threstral there, pulling us through the thick, chilly fog that now surrounded us.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I felt relieved to be in the warm great hall. Everyone was already seated, but Neville, Seamus, and I were the last ones to seat ourselves at the Gryffindor table.


There was low, muttering and whispering throughout the entire great hall. No usual buzz and commotion, and no after-summer greetings.


“QUIET!” a Death Eater yelled, and the muttering died out instantly. The first years looked terrified at the sight of a Death Eater.


Professor Flitwick carried the wooden stool with the tattered old Sorting Hat to the front of the Great Hall. There was the usual silence of waiting for the Hat to start singing. The brim of the Hat split open and it started to sing:


I’m the Sorting Hat; I sort you into houses of the brave and noble founders,

Either Ravenclaw, the sharpest lot, for those with a ready mind,

or Hufflepuff, where they’re hard-working, loyal, and kind,

Gryffindor, they’re the outgoing group, braver people you never will find,

or Slytherin, those cunning folk, who go to every measure to ensure their win,

Let the sorting begin.


There was punctured applause throughout the great hall.


“That was a very short song, wasn’t it?” Luna observed, who was right across from me at the Ravenclaw table. It seemed like the Sorting Hat had no inspiration for this year's song.


Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly, and the whispers that had ensued abruptly stopped.


Never had I been so glad to see McGonagall in my life. Strict as she may be, she was a respectable person. Somehow, seeing her gave me comfort because I knew she was part of the Order, and that I could trust her.


“Abbens, Rachelle.” Professor McGonagall said. A tall, blonde-haired girl walked slowly and nervously to the stool.


The sorting hat remained on the girl’s head for about two seconds until it shouted: “GRYFFINDOR!”


The entire Gryffindor table clapped, and a handful of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws joined in. The Slytherins, however did not make a move, refusing to clap.


“Abbington, Travis.” she called. The hat remained on his head for a few seconds until it shouted: “HUFFLEPUFF!”


My mind wandered away from the sorting; I couldn’t help but stare at the greasy-haired man sitting in the tallest chair at the table. I wanted to hex him so bad.


The evil traitor, I thought in disgust. I thought of many rude swear words in my head, silently directing them at him. It was childish satisfaction, I know, but if I threatened him out loud, I would probably be murdered by his little Death Eater friends over there.


The sorting ended, and at once, Snape stood up, his dark, evil eyes looking into ours.


The Great Hall fell deadly silent. Almost everyone at the Gryffindor table glared at him. Neville had a scowl etched on his face. The only people who weren’t looking at Snape with pure hatred were the Slytherins, who merely looked bored and uninterested.


“Another year at Hogwarts, welcome.” he said smoothly.


Yeah right, welcome. I thought, sneering.


“There will be many changes this year. Drastic changes. Anyone who dares to oppose these changes will be severely punished.” he said, pausing.


“First—anyone who is not of wizarding ancestry—that is to say, a muggle-born—will not be tolerated in this school. Therefore, before you leave to your dormitories, you will state your name, your blood status, as well as your family history.”


I looked at the first year who was sitting in front of me, who looked horrified. He was obviously a muggle-born. If only he knew his near fate of imprisonment at the ministry.


“Second—any school unauthorized organizations are banned. If anyone is found involved in one, they will be expelled.” he said, looking intently at the Gryffindor table.


“Third—an important rule, so listen very closely. Any student or staff involved with the whereabouts of Undesirable No. 1 will be severely punished or imprisoned, as well as expelled. Death by the Ministry is also a possibility.”


There was absolute silence. A few people who knew Harry squirmed a bit or looked at their feet. I looked at the staff table. Minerva McGonnagall, Sprout, Flitwick, Hagrid, and a few other teachers were glaring so much at Snape and the Death Eaters they looked ready to kill.


“Fourth—all students are to leave their classrooms and dormitories in an orderly fashion. No students are allowed to wander the halls by themselves. If you do, you will be serving a month’s detention. Prefects as well as Head boys and girls are also forbidden to wander alone.”


Ernie Macmillan, the new Hufflepuff Head Boy, looked outraged. What was the point of being Head Boy or Girl if you couldn't do your responsibilities?


“There are more new rules for this year—information sheets will be handed out tomorrow morning.” Snape paused.


“There have been staff changes as well. Alecto Carrow will be teaching muggle studies, and is now deputy Headmistress.” Snape nodded at the plump woman on his right.


“Defense against the Dark Arts will be taught by Amycus Carrow.” Snape said, nodding at a tall, intimidating man to his left.


“That should clear a few things up. Good night—enjoy the feast.” Snape said, not returning to the staff table but to Dumbledore’s office. I know, it's Snape’s office now, but he basically stole it from Dumbledore after murdering him. Snape didn’t deserve anything.


I stared at my roast chicken, not eating. I wasn’t hungry anymore.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I was standing in line in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady. Out of all the common rooms, the Gryffindor one was the most heavily guarded by Death Eaters. Of course out of all people, Voldemort, A.K.A the coward, trusted Gryffindors the least.


“Next,” Amycus Carrow said. I stepped up right in front of him.


“Name.” he demanded.


“Ginny Weasley.” I said.


“Thought so.” he muttered under his breath, which smelled strongly of tobacco. “Blood status,” he demanded once more.


“Pure-blood. Weasley and Prewett, ancient wizarding family.” I said nonchalantly.


“Get.” he demanded, pointing at the portrait hole.


I stopped right as I heard a blonde first year girl sobbing from behind. “I didn’t—k-know. Please—don’t hurt my family…” she wailed.


“Shut up, girl. You’re going straight to the ministry. We don’t tolerate mud-bloods here anymore. And don’t worry about your pathetic family, they won’t be hearing from you in a long, long time.” he sneered.


A grim Death Eater grabbed her arm and pulled her forcefully past the line, the girl crying with pitiful sobs.


The rest of the Gryffindors in line watched in horror at the cruelty they had just witnessed.


At first I wondered why there were muggle-borns at Hogwarts in the first place. Wouldn't they just not have gotten their letters? But then I realized that Voldemort took over after the muggle-borns got their letters.


A sickening feeling churned in my stomach as I continued through the portrait hole.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I was in my dormitory, unpacking my trunk half-heartedly. Usually, I would be bubbling with excitement before my official first day of another year of Hogwarts.


I heard footsteps behind me. I turned to see that it was Lauren and Tristan, two of the girls who I shared my dorm with. They were talking in hushed voices, deep in discussion.


“Hi, Ginny!” Lauren said, stopping abruptly as she noticed that I was already here.


“Hey.” I said. Why were they talking so strangely to me? It gave me the impression that they had just been talking about me.


“Did you have a good summer?” Lauren asked me, giving me her usual fake smile.


“I don't think my summer has been much different than anyone else's.” I said dully.


“I doubt anyone's had a good summer apart from You-Know-Who.” Tristan said, laughing slightly.


“I wish Elena and Lacey were here.” Tristan sighed after a rather uncomfortable silence, opening her trunk.


“Yeah…” I said distantly.


Elena was a muggle-born, so she couldn’t come to Hogwarts without being chucked into the muggle-born prison. Lacey, on the other hand was pure-blood, but her parents were both aurors and very strong with the anti-Voldemort movement, which was a danger to themselves.


After another long silence while we put our possessions into our trunks, (which I found rather odd in Lauren's presence,) Tristan spoke.


“Hey, Ginny, is it true you’re going out with someone else now?” Tristan asked, as if she was was bursting to ask me this.


Unlike Lauren, Tristan was nice but could be very interfering and nosy sometimes. She acted as if it was her authority to know who was going out with whom.


“No.” I said, raising an eyebrow.


“So you’re still going out with…you know…Harry Potter?” she urged.


“No. I’m not.” I said firmly, closing my trunk.


“Did you break up with him or did he break up with you?” Lauren asked.


“Look, it doesn’t matter. And it would really help if you didn’t tell the entire world that I’m his ex-girlfriend, if you want me alive. The Death Eaters will be after me if you do.” I said.


I quickly got dressed into my pajamas and closed the curtains of my four-poster bed. I was in no mood to discuss Harry at the moment, much less on why and how he broke up with me.


I closed my eyes and tried to clear my mind of all worries. It was very hard, as my thoughts were buzzing around my mind like bees, refusing to leave me alone.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Author’s Note: First of all I'd like you to know that this is my first ever attempt at a chaptered story. I've finally stepped out of the realm of fluffy one-shots and into darker-themed fics! :P I'd also like you to know that I will try the very best I can to keep this story following Rowling's original story line. (Yes, I'm a canon nut.) This story is destined to be fifteen chapters long, including the battle of Hogwarts from Ginny's PoV. And last but not least, please review! It is my motivation and every single review means so much to me!

~Rosie


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