Chapter 5 : Chapter 5: With A Little Help From My Friends
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Would you stand up and walk out on me?”
“Dare I ask what’s going on?” Harry finally asked after nearly thirty minutes of silence.
“No.” Ron and Hermione answered in unison.
“OK then…” Harry said quietly, and went back to staring out the window.
“I’m sorry Harry.” Hermione whispered a moment later. “It’s not your fault.”
Harry cocked his head, “What’s not my fault?”
Hermione sighed, “Nevermind. So what are your plans for the holidays?”
Harry laughed. “Plans? Seriously? I plan to be in my room hiding from whatever company my aunt and uncle have invited over.”
“That’s no way to spend Christmas.” She said sadly.
“Trust me.” Harry told her, “It’s better that way.”
“You’re probably right.” Hermione agreed, “I just hate to see you alone for the holidays.”
“It’s just one Christmas, and I’ll be with you all at The Burrow for New Years.” Harry assured her.
“By next week we’re going to be wishing we were alone for Christmas.” Ginny commented with a groan. “I can’t believe Fred and George couldn’t even find a way out of this.”
“I know.” Ron agreed, “I thought for sure they would weasel their way out. There’s still time I guess. Maybe if we’re really nice to them they’ll take us with them.”
“Keep dreaming Ron. We’re all going to be at Aunt Gertrude’s for Christmas whether we like it or not.” Ginny shuddered, “I can all ready taste her horrible fruitcake.”
Harry took her hand, “Just keep telling yourself it’s less than two weeks. Ten days and we’ll all be back at The Burrow. You’ll make it.”
“Ten days.” Ginny let out a breath, “Ten days isn’t that long. I can make ten days.”
Harry smiled as Ginny scooted under his arm. The tension in the cabin was dissipating and he could feel himself breathing easier. But even though he tried to ignore it, Harry couldn’t help seeing Hermione cringe when he wrapped his arm around Ginny.
It had been coming on for a while, Harry knew it. He had noticed the changes months ago, but chose to ignore it, praying that it would go away. Between his dreams and Hermione’s inability to hide the sad look in her eyes every time he touched Ginny it was only a matter of time. Harry just hoped it wouldn’t affect their friendships, he didn’t know what he would do if their little group fell apart.
“I don’t know what I would do without you guys.” Harry said more to himself then to anyone else.
“And you’ll never have to know.” Hermione told him leaning forward to pat his knee.
Harry smiled at the gesture, but quickly adopted a neutral expression when he saw the look on Ron’s face. He had obviously missed something. He just wished he knew what it was.
The tension passed quickly, and soon they were joking and laughing as usual, the awkward moment nearly forgotten. Half way back to London Neville knocked on their cabin door before poking his head in.
“They’re getting a little rowdy up front today, mind if I join you here?” he asked.
“No problem.” Harry told him, momentarily forgetting about their silent situation over Ginny, “There’s plenty of room.”
Neville glanced back and forth between the two vacant seats before choosing the one beside Hermione. Once he was settled the conversation resumed and by the time the lunch trolley came around they were all holding their side’s from laughing so hard.
It seemed to Harry that everyone had managed to put aside whatever personal issues they were having in order to make their last hours together before the holiday pleasant ones.
After their lunch of sweets and snack cakes had been consumed Neville finally asked a question that had been bothering him all fall.
“So Harry,” he began, “Do you plan on restarting the D.A. after the holidays?”
The question caught Harry off guard. A few other members had mentioned it to him in passing, but he hadn’t given it serious thought.
“I hadn’t really thought about it.” he admitted, “Do you think we should?”
Just then the door slide open again and Luna appeared.
“I’m sorry Harry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but as I was passing by I heard you mention the D.A. and stopped. I think it would be a lovely idea if you started holding meetings again.”
Slightly flustered Harry once again spoke without thinking, “Do you really think it was that useful?”
He was met with a unanimous and enthusiastic “yes.”
“Hmm, I’ll have to see if I can come up with something after we get back from the holidays.” Harry said quietly.
It always surprised him when his fellow students turned to him for leadership, and though it was not a role he was completely comfortable with, it was one he had come to accept over the years.
Within minutes ideas for new D.A. lessons were being thrown around the cabin and Harry found himself caught up in plans for the coming term.
The sun was just setting over the city when they pulled into King’s Cross station and for the first time in memory the ride back to London seemed far too short. When they arrived at the station Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were waiting on the platform, their red hair standing out against the crowd.
“I’m so sorry Harry.” Mrs. Weasley said yet again as she hugged him. “If we had remembered sooner we could have made arrangements for you to come with us.”
“It’s all right.” Harry assured her as he hugged her back, “It’s only a few weeks. I’ll be fine.”
Mrs. Weasley nodded. “Are your aunt and uncle picking you up?”
“They should be.” Harry told her as he hitched his bag on his shoulder and adjusted his grip on Hedwig’s empty cage. “I sent them a letter as soon as I found out that the dorms would be closed.”
“Well we’ll wait with you until they get here.” Mr. Weasley told him, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder.
Harry nodded then looked down. For some reason displays of affection from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley always made him tear up and he didn’t want them to see.
Once they made it through the barrier and into King’s Cross station it was easy to spot the Dursleys standing near the back wall. When Mrs. Weasley had been assured that Harry would not be stranded at the station she hugged him once more, wished Harry a Happy Christmas, then turned to collect her children.
As Harry turned to walk away from the brick wall leading to platform 9 ¾ he felt a hand on his arm and was not at all surprised to find Hermione sitting beside him.
“I just wanted to say Happy Holiday’s Harry.” She said as she reached up to hug him. “I’ll be in touch. And I’ll see you at The Burrow on New Years.”
Harry hugged his friend tightly, and on impulse dropped a friendly kiss on the top of her head.
“You have a good holiday too, and I’ll see you soon.” He told her as they broke apart.
They stood there for a moment in awkward silence before Hermione told him that her parents were waiting for her and ran off, disappearing into the crowd.
Confused and already dreading the days he would be forced to spend at his aunt and uncle’s house Harry fought his way through the crowd and out to the Dursley’s waiting car.
The ride from London to Little Whinging was a tense one. Harry hadn’t been at the Dursley’s for the holidays in five years, and he honestly didn’t know what to expect. When they pulled into the drive Harry blinked repeatedly at the house in front of him. It was covered with little white lights making it look like a giant plane ready to take off. The neighboring houses were decorated much the same and Harry tried to remember if the house had been this decorated like this when he was little.
Inside the smell of cinnamon and apple drifted through the house; the smell most likely coming from the basket of heavily scented pinecones that sat on the table in the small foyer.
“We have company coming over Christmas Eve.” Mr. Dursley said gruffly, “I expect you to make yourself scarce.”
“No problem.” Harry replied, then quickly ran up the stairs to his room.
A/N: Lyrics from With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles
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