The Burrow was alive and busy as they rushed to get ready. After breakfast everyone dressed quickly and those returning to Hogwarts made sure they packed everything they needed.
“All packed?” asked George as he stepped into the room.
“Yep,” Hermione answered as she buckled her trunk.
Hermione grabbed the handles of the trunk and lifted it clearly struggling under its weight.
“I got it,” George said as he took it off her, “don’t want you straining yourself.”
“Thanks George,” Hermione smiled.
Harry stepped into the doorway beside George. “Hey guys,” he said.
“Hi Harry,” they all replied.
“Where’s your trunk?” asked Hermione.
“Downstairs already,” he answered as he moved into the room where Ginny was fastening her trunk.
“I’ll take it,” he offered and picked it up.
“Thanks,” Ginny said looking at him with eyes full of admiration and astonishment.
“What?” Harry asked her confused by the way she was watching him.
“Nothing,” she smiled. George looked at Harry and nodded at him and Harry nodded in turn the small exchange meant nothing to the girls who hadn’t been present for their conversation yesterday but it meant a lot to them.
After they’d taken the trunks downstairs the twins knew they had to set off for work so began to say goodbye.
“Bye Gin look after yourself,” George said as he hugged his sister.
“See you George, take care and good luck with the shop,” she said.
“Keep me updated,” he whispered to her and glanced towards Hermione.
“Will do,” Ginny smiled and moved to say goodbye to Fred.
“Ron, do us a favour and get yourself a girlfriend,” Fred told him as he said goodbye.
“No Ron, we have a bet going his side says you’ll get a girlfriend by the end of this year my side says your gay and you will never have a girlfriend,” George teased.
“Shut up,” Ron muttered.
“I’ll miss you too Ronniekins,” George laughed.
“Take care Potter,” George said, “look after yourself and the rest of them.”
“I will,” Harry said moving to let Hermione say goodbye.
“Bye George, I’ll miss you every second of every day.”
George hugged her, “I’ll miss you more.”
“Please just look after yourself and don’t do anything stupid or dangerous,” she said her eyes glistening with tears.
“I’ll try, take care of yourself and everyone,” George said and she nodded.
“Bye,” she whispered as she hugged him tightly before stepping back.
“Have fun guys,” the twins called before they apparated out.
They left for Kings Cross Station not long after and got to platform 93/4 at 10:30. They had plenty of time to spare but wanting to get a compartment to themselves they said goodbye to Mrs. Weasley and boarded the train. They found an empty compartment and Hermione sat next to the window looking out at the crowds of families and students. Mrs. Weasley stood talking to two women who Hermione recognised as Dean and Seamus’ mothers. Only seconds later Dean, Seamus, Neville and Luna had joined them in the compartment.
Meanwhile at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes the twins stood behind the counter. George barely spoke and Fred pitied him.
“You still have twenty minutes,” Fred said.
George’s face lit up. “Do you think I’ll catch her?”
“You’ve got time,” Fred shrugged.
“You okay to handle the shop?”
“I’ve got it, I’ll see you in a bit.”
“Cheers bro I owe you one,” George called as he apparated out.
“Mum!” George screamed as he spotted her.
“Fred what on Earth are you doing here?” she asked.
“I’m George,” he groaned. “Where are they?”
Molly pointed out their compartment and George sprinted onto the train, slid the door open and threw himself in.
“George?” Hermione asked incredulously.
“I needed to say bye again,” he said.
“You’re crazy,” Hermione laughed.
He hugged her tightly and whispered “I’m going to miss you so much, I don’t even think I’m going to survive.”
“I don’t think I will either,” Hermione admitted resting her head against his chest.
“I need to get off this train or Fred will kill me but I don’t want to leave,” he sighed.
“I don’t want you to leave but you can’t stay so...” Hermione said suddenly aware that everyone in the compartment was watching them.
“Take care my angel,” he whispered softly.
“You look after yourself and don’t you dare get yourself into any trouble, do you understand?” Hermione asked.
“Of course,” George said.
“Bye,” he whispered as he hugged her closely into him.
“Bye,” she choked out trying to hold back the tears and swallow the lump forming in her throat.
He left slowly murmuring ‘bye’ as he left and then stood on the platform outside the window. He pressed his hands flat against the glass and tilted his head slightly to watch her with a small smile. She pressed her hands against the glass of the window from the other side aligning them with his though hers were daintier. They stayed like that just watching each other with sad smiles until the whistle for the train blew and an alarmed look flashed across each of their faces. Hermione shook her head and bit her lip not wanting him to see her cry. She felt the train lurch forward and knew that this was it. She ran from the compartment up the corridor and to the nearest door that was closing as the last students scrambled on.
“George,” she screamed. He spotted her and ran to where she was. She leant out the door slightly and kissed him lightly on the cheek her right hand cupping the side of his face tracing her thumb over his features.
“I’ll write to you,” He whispered, “I’ll miss you more each and every day.”
“I’ll miss you too,” she whispered removing her hand from his face and allowing the door to close.
“Goodbye,” she muttered to herself allowing the tears to fall freely though she knew George could still see. He smiled at her warmly and watched as the train crawled out of the station. Composing herself with a few shaky breaths she returned to the compartment where she was glad nobody asked questions though to her left Harry put a comforting arm around her and to her right Ginny held her hand. She was going to be fine the hard part of saying goodbye was over now and now she could look forward to returning to her home away from home away from home since the Burrow came in between her real home and Hogwarts.
Conversation topics varied frequently but it was when the topic of a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher came up that Hermione really got involved. Harry explained that Slughorn was to become the Potions professor.
“So what happens with Defence Against the Dark Arts then?” Ron asked and Hermione rolled her eyes at his stupidity and clearly everyone else agreed as they looked at him with disbelief.
“Ron I think you’re one of those people who are worse affected by wrackspurts,” Luna said with a look of concern though everyone else shook their heads at her.
“Huh?” Ron asked in confusion.
“Basically you idiot there’s a new potions master, with us so far?” Hermione asked and Ron nodded. “So the old potions master was...?”
“Snape,” Ron said in realisation.
“And what job do we know Snape wanted that is now unoccupied?” Hermione asked.
“Defence Against...crap Snape. Snape is our new Dark Arts teacher?” Ron asked.
“Well done,” Hermione said sarcastically clapping her hands in a patronizing manner.
“Wrackspurts,” Luna concluded with a nod.
“No Luna it’s not wrackspurts it’s stupidity,” Seamus explained.
“There’s a big difference,” Dean added.
“Shut up,” Ron muttered and everyone laughed.
“I have to go,” Harry said and opened the door and began to walk away.
Hermione grabbed the cuff of his shirt and turned him to face her. “Be careful, I don’t know what the hell you’re doing but just please be careful,” she told him holding his gaze.
“I promise that I’ll be careful don’t worry,” Harry told her and gave her a reassuring smile before taking off down the corridor.
“Where’s he gone?” Ginny asked.
“I don’t have a clue,” Hermione admitted a look of concern on her face.
“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Dean said as he watched the girls exchange anxious glances.
“I hope so,” Ginny sighed.
The rest of the journey past with a lot of talk of what was waiting at the school, nargles on Luna’s behalf and Herbology which was mostly between Neville and Hermione. They piled into a carriage and chatted excitedly except for Hermione, Ginny and Luna.
“Where is he?” Ginny asked biting her lip anxiously.
“I didn’t see him on the platform,” Hermione said looking around desperately.
“I’m worried,” Ginny admitted.
“I don’t know what’s gotten into that boy but I’m going to beat it out of him,” Hermione said.
“Don’t know what’s gotten into him? Maybe the fact there’s a psychotic dark wizard plotting to kill him,” Ron said.
“Yes and keeping that in mind it doesn’t bother you that he’s disappeared?” Neville asked.
“You are the worst best friend on the face of the Earth,” Dean said shaking his head at him.
“Hey I faced spiders for him I’m just not bloody paranoid,” Ron defended himself.
“Harry’s a right nutter sometimes, knows he shouldn’t be about alone or without someone knowing where he is and yet where is he?” Seamus said.
“Because he’s Harry and he’s scared to admit he’s weak and he’s scared to admit he needs help and he’s scared to endanger anyone and he’s scared he won’t live up to expectations and scared he can’t save the Wizarding world,” Hermione said. “But worst of all he’s scared to admit he’s scared.”
“For the boy who lived that’s a lot of fears,” Dean said, “can’t blame him though with everything he’s got on is plate.”
“Harry is stupid,” Luna said and everyone looked at her with wide eyes. Luna never insulted anyone except for Umbridge. “Well You-Know-Who clearly wants him to feel alone and isolated but by pushing away his friends even though he thinks he’s doing us a favour he might as well be surrendering himself.”
Hermione opened and closed her mouth several times but no words formed. She loved Luna, thought she had a colourful mind and found her fascinating but what Luna had just said was the most intelligent thing Hermione had ever heard anyone say.
“Yes Hermione?” Luna asked watching her mouth open and shut.
“You- you just- you well you made sense,” Hermione said awkwardly and Luna beamed at her.
“Thanks Hermione,” she smiled looking as if someone had just crowned her queen.
“Bloody hell,” Ron said looking at Luna.
“I’m not insane you know? I just have a different outlook on life,” Luna said.
“We know,” Ginny said patting her shoulder and grinning.
They arrived at the castle and there was still no sign of Harry, Hermione considered telling a teacher but decided to give it a second instead. They were lead into the Great Hall and Hermione had a sickly feeling of anxiety as you she looked around for Harry. The sorting took place, no sign of Harry. The feast began, still no sign of Harry. Hermione stood from her seat a look of desperation on her face.
“I have to find him,” she said.
“Calm down,” Ron said seeing she was on the brink of tears.
“Here he comes,” Dean exclaimed watching as he strolled casually into the Great Hall.
He smiled and sat beside Hermione. “Harry-Potter-you-bloody-idiot-you-stupid-careless-boy-how-dare-you-disappear-like-that-and-let-me-have-a-panic-attack?!” she demanded whilst punctuating each word by pounding her fists into his arm.
“Ow, Hermione!” he cried holding up an arm to try and stop her.
Dean who was to Hermione’s other side grabbed her by the shoulders and let her relax before pushing her back down into her seat.
“Sorry,” she muttered.
“I’m sorry Hermione I-I went to check out Malfoy and he realised, he froze me, broke my nose, covered me with the invisibility cloak and left me on the train to go back to London,” Harry told her.
Everyone watched him with wide eyes and mouths gaping.
“So how did you get out?” Hermione asked.
“Tonks, she was doing a routine check of the train and found me, she fixed my nose and sent me back.”
“Thank God for Tonks,” Ginny said with a sigh of relief.
“I know,” Harry admitted. “I owe her.”
“Harry, please no more stupidity like that ever again?” Hermione pleaded.
“Yeah sure,” Harry nodded.
They left for the Common room and sat around talking quietly.
Hermione watched as Harry and Ginny spoke to each other softly moving closer to each other, smiling and laughing. She was genuinely happy for them but it made her feel very lonely and her heart ached knowing George was so far away. Lavender had joined them and was talking to Ron which Hermione thought was cute but again it left her alone. She talked with Seamus, Dean and Neville who were funny as ever. After a while she noticed Dean looking off into the corner and so she followed his gaze, she realised he was staring at Parvati. She was sat alone reading a book which was very uncharacteristic as she wasn’t a generally quiet person.
“Parvati, hey Dean?” she teased.
He looked mortified and despite his dark skin there was a red tinge about his cheeks. “I-err don’t know what you um mean,” he stuttered.
“Had a crush on her since fourth year he has, devastated when she went to the Yule Ball with Harry,” Seamus informed her.
“Shut it Seamus,” Dean hissed.
“Why don’t you talk to her? I know for a fact she never actually fancied Harry,” Hermione said. “Plus she’s lonely because Lavender’s talking to Ron.”
“Yeah go on mate,” Seamus said.
“Do it,” Neville said and they watched as he walked over to her and sat down. They all gave him the thumbs up as he started up conversation with her and she practically threw away the book talking to him eagerly.
“I told him she liked him,” Seamus said. “Here check this out,” he said grabbing Dean’s sketch pad and showing them.
“Whoa,” Hermione gasped looking at the sketches of Parvati.
“He’s obsessed,” Neville said.
“He’s amazing at art,” Hermione said.
“I know, but he’s totally psycho about her. Almost as bad as you and George,” Seamus said and Hermione blushed furiously.
“Not denying it anymore?” Neville asked.
“I got bored of pretending,” Hermione shrugged. “You and Luna?” Hermione said quickly changing the subject.
“No-I-we-I-I sort of like her-a little but I- you know she’s all nice and I’m all boring and dumb and she’s Ravenclaw smart and I...” Neville stuttered awkwardly.
“You’re not boring or dumb,” Hermione said softly. “And Luna’s a lovely girl you should get to know her better.”
“Go for it Nev,” Seamus said.
“I will...maybe...” Neville said.
“So Seamus that leaves you, who’ve you got on your mind?” Hermione asked.
“No way, you’ll laugh,” he said.
“Of course I won’t laugh Seamus, you know who I like,” Hermione said.
“She’s the year above us,” Seamus said and Hermione raised an eyebrow at him and pondered this.
“And?” Hermione asked.
“She’s Gryffindor,” he said.
“She plays Quidditch,” Seamus said.
“Katie Bell?” Hermione asked quietly.
Seamus nodded and looked at the floor.
“Aw,” Hermione said. “She’s so nice, since when?”
“I don’t know I just do,” he sighed.
“That’s so sweet,” Hermione smiled.
“Remind me why I just told you my deepest, darkest secret?” Seamus asked.
“Now we have no secrets,” Neville laughed.
It was true, Hermione now knew all of her friends’ crushes.
“We should get to bed, lessons start back tomorrow,” Neville said as he glanced at his watch.
They all agreed and Hermione left for the girls’ dormitory with Lavender, Parvati and Ginny. She said goodnight to Ginny and went to her own dorm.
“So Lavender how’s it going with Ron?” she asked.
“He’s the most clueless, stupid, funny guy I’ve ever met,” she admitted. “I think he’s great!”
Hermione laughed. “And Parvati you and Dean, huh?”
She looked more mortified than Dean had when she’d brought up the topic. “Yes,” she sighed. “I fancy him, I think he likes me too.”
“Think?” Hermione rolled her eyes. “But Dean is one of the quietest boys I’ve met in my life so please don’t wait for him to ask you out!” Hermione smiled.
Parvati laughed, “Next Hogsmeade trip.”
“You better!” Lavender said.
Hermione had never particularly liked her roommates but she’d warmed to them a lot, they were more human now and not so superficial and she was glad they got along. However with all the romance around her she felt very alone and wished more than anything that George was here. She did the only thing she thought could bring her close to George and wrote him a letter knowing she’d send it with Hedwig in the morning.
“Miss him already?” Parvati asked as Hermione sealed the envelope scrawling his name across it.
“Painfully,” Hermione admitted.
So what did you think? I struggled with this chapter and I don't think it's my best but try as I might I couldn't make it any better! Hope you enjoyed it anyways! Please review, I love to hear from you all! Thanks for reading it's appreciated as always! Now make the little box on the bottom of your computer screen feel loved and leave a review! Jenna :)