Chapter 14 : Chapter Fourteen: New Faces
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Even though Harry was quick to fall asleep that night, it didn't mean he had a restful night. His parents were in and out of his dreams, he also found himself wondering down a corridor with a locked door, a sight of flashing green light and the sound of a dead body falling to the ground, followed by a high-pitched laughter that woke Harry up right away. Although he was thankful that he didn't shout out and wake Sirius up, or the rest of the house for that matter. So when the time came to wake up in the morning, Harry ignored the hand that shook his shoulder and turned away from the person standing over him. In a half-sleep state Harry faintly felt something soft and light land on his bed, and heard someone pacing around the room.
"... Merlin Harry, wake up! We gotta hurry up, mum's acting even crazier then usual."
Harry opened his eyes at the sound of Ron's voice, and groped the nightstand next to him for his glasses, and pulled them onto his face. As the room came into focus, Harry could see that Ron had gathered the rest of Harry's items that he didn't bother putting away last night, and that he threw an outfit for Harry to wear on the bed. Harry thought that it was strangely kind of Ron to do, but then again he and Hermione had been doing a lot more for him lately. Shaking his hair out of his face and yawning, Harry heaved himself out of the warm bed and quickly changed into his day clothes before following Ron downstairs. As they both walked downstairs, Ron started chatting about Quidditch, and Harry was glad to find that Ron didn't act different around him.
A wave of noise hit Harry the moment he and Ron started down the stairs. As they reached the bottom they saw Ginny laying on the ground by the foot of the stairs, massaging her head as the twins helped her up, apologizing profusely as they moved their Hogwarts trunks away from her on the ground. Instantly Harry felt panic flare inside him as he watched Ginny, but took a small sigh of relief as she shook her brothers off and told them off. After a shouting match between Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Black, Hermione hurtled down the stairs, looking panicked as her eyes darted around the room, looking for the source of noise.
"Fred and George used magic again." Ron explained to her tiredly as he and Harry quickly pulled their shoes on.
"And nearly would of gotten away with it if Ginny hadn't appeared out of nowhere." Fred said behind them, carrying his Hogwarts trunk.
"When are we leaving? Mum was having kittens earlier about being on time." Ron said irritably.
"It's not her, It's Moody. Some bloke named Sturgis Podcore - no wait, that doesn't sound right, Podmore, I think? Anyway, he didn't show up for guard duty this morning." George answered, coming back in the room with Ginny next to him.
"Why didn't he- wait, did you say guard? Why do we need a guard? Harry exclaimed.
"Not us, you. It's your guard." Hermione replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"What? You're joking, right? What do they expect, Voldemort to be saving me a seat next to him on the Hogwarts Express?" Harry scoffed sarcastically.
Ron, Ginny, Fred and George laughed under their breaths, but Hermione pursed her lips.
"What Mad-Eye said goes." Hermione told him.
Before Harry could respond, there was a yell from the kitchen, and all heads turn in the direction of the noise. They all looked at each other in confusion, until the swinging door open and a man walked out, his hands in his hair and his face contorted in disgust. The man had long blonde hair that went to his chin, along with a goatee and beard, brown eyes, and Harry didn't think he had never seen the man in the Order before.
"Sirius!" A familiar voice shouted from the other room, sounding irritated.
It took a moment for Harry understand what was going on, and joined in on the laughter that erupted in the room. Sirius didn't bother telling them off, but eyed them all carefully before he grabbed Ron and pulled him in front of him, and cowered behind him.
"Hide me! She's trying to make me look like one of her Weird Sisters loverboys!" Sirius said desperately.
While everyone else laughed, Fred and George shared a mischievous look as big smiles grew on their faces. It was the perfect time for revenge in their minds, after all the pranks Sirius decided to pull on them this summer. The door swung open again and Tonks walked out, her wand pointed in front of her as her eyes searched the room.
"Sirius Orion Black! Stop playing childish games and let me finish the concealment charms!" She yelled angrily.
Harry glanced over and saw Sirius flinch slightly, but he still refused to move away from Ron, who was trying his best to keep a straight face. Harry had to admit, Sirius did pick a good person to hide behind, Ron was just about as tall as Sirius, and with the way the trunks were piled in front of them their legs were hidden. Still a Marauder at heart, Harry thought with a smile. Fred and George shared another look before they both started forward at the same time, and hurried over towards Sirius with sinister smirks. Silently they snuck up behind him and grabbed him under his arms, and hauled him up as Sirius gave a yelp of surprise.
"C'mon Sirius, be a good boy and finish getting concealed." Fred cooed sarcastically.
Tonks smiled as she watched the twins drag Sirius over to her, twirling her wand with her fingers.
"Traitors." Sirius hissed mockingly at them.
"Consider this, as the Muggles call it, payback." George whispered back.
Fred and George stopped and let go of Sirius in front of Tonks, and hurried back over to the group watching the scene that was about to unfold in front of them. Sirius smiled guiltily at Tonks, who was tapping her wand against the palm of her hand.
"Why the dramatic scene, Sirius? It's not like I'm keeping you like this forever for Merlin's sake, just to see the kids off." She exclaimed.
Sirius rolled his eyes and sighed, but allowed her to finish her job. After she was done Harry could see only a small difference, but it hid Sirius completely. He was shorter than he originally was, which a much more pointed chin and bigger eyes, and Harry found it difficult to tell himself that this man was the Sirius he loved, not some random stranger. After about five minutes of hearing the twins and Ron moan about leaving for the train, Mrs. Weasley and Remus hurried in and shrunk everything for them, except their animals, and they started out the door and rushed over to the sidewalk.
It took about fifteen minutes to get to the train station by foot, they all kept trying to speed walk, but Mrs. Weasley or Tonks would end up yelling at them to stop, to try not to draw attentions to themselves. Sirius walked side by side with Harry, his hand hovering under Harry's elbow as he tried to talk casually with Ron and Hermione, but Harry could tell by the way he was walking that he was tense. When they reached the barrier between platforms 9 and 10, Harry felt Sirius grip his elbow and Tonks grip the other, their eyes wildly searching through the crowd in the train station. Harry felt a flare of irritation rise in him, and he shook off Sirius and Tonks as they started to steer him towards the wall.
"I can walk by myself." He said through clenched teeth, trying to calm down his sudden anger.
Sirius and Tonks shared a look over Harry's head, but let him go and decided to walk beside him as they rushed towards the barrier, and Harry swore he saw them both tense even more as they entered platform 9 3/4. As soon as Harry saw the train he felt his anger slip away, he watched students and parents give goodbyes before they parted, and felt his heart beat pick up in excitement. He was going back after all. After a few minutes of waiting everyone was on the platform, in a tightly knit group as they waited for Mad-Eye, who was here waiting for them before, to come back from unloading their cart of luggage.
"Everything-" Sirius started.
"-Okay? Yeah, I don't reckon we were followed." Mad-Eye cut in.
"I'll inform Albus later about Podmore." Remus said quietly to Mad-Eye.
Moody nodded, "Good man."
Mrs. Weasley and Tonks hugged them all, while Remus and Moody shook everyone's hand, and it seemed as though Harry was getting advice from almost everyone to be careful and to keep his eyes peeled for anything. As Sirius came over to Harry, the warning whistle went off, and every student that remained on the platform rushed over to the train. Harry looked up at Sirius with sad eyes before he was engulfed in a tight hug, Sirius resting his head on Harry's as he held him.
"Be careful what you write, address me as Snuffles in your letter's - Hedwig will know who it is. Owl me if you need anything, and be sure to go to Madam Pomfrey when your potions run out or if you feel any pain." Sirius ranted.
Sirius then lightly pushed Harry towards the train with an encouraging smile that looked somewhat forced, and Harry hurried over to the open train door.
"Bye Siri - Snuffles!" He slipped.
Harry rushed onto the train and hurried towards an open window as the train started to leave, seeing Remus, Tonks, Moody, Mrs. Weasley and Sirius waving at him and Ron, Hermione, and Ginny as they all stood by Harry. Fred and George left as soon as the adults were out of sight, hurrying down the corridor to their friends, while Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Ginny started down the other side of the train.
"Which compartment do you want?" Harry asked as he glanced over his shoulder at Ron and Hermione, who he saw exchanged awkward looks.
It turned out all prefects had to sit with each other, much to Harry's disappointment as he walked down the halls in the train with Ginny by his side, but he couldn't say that he was all disappointed as he glanced over at Ginny with a smile. Harry saw his face printed on some Daily Prophets as they walked past, and tried to ignore and stares and whispers that followed him. Harry and Ginny ended up sitting in a compartment with Neville, who was staring at a girl with long dirty blonde hair in the seat across from him, who Harry vaguely recognized.
"Hey, Harry, Ginny. I haven't seen you all summer." Neville said with a nervous smile.
Harry smiled back and sat next to him, while Ginny sat down next to the blonde and started chatting happily with her, much to the confusion of Harry. When Ginny saw him staring over at them, she gave a smile and introduced the blonde.
"This is Luna Lovegood, she's in my grade, but in Ravenclaw."
Harry found that Luna was very strange, but not in a bad way. She gave off the impression that she didn't care about what others thought of her, and she always seemed happy no matter what. Neville showed them a plant that he got for his birthday and was about to poke it to see what it would do, but Ginny saw at the last second and stopped Neville before he could poke it. Harry found himself relieved, he wasn't sure it would of been good if Neville had poked the plant, it looked weird and threatening in a way to Harry. About twenty minutes later there was a knock on their compartment door, and Harry looked up to see Cho Chang. If he could of Harry would of groaned, but he gave her a forced smile as she opened the compartment door. Harry wasn't exactly sure how Cho felt about him, he was worried that he led her on last year, even though he had liked her then, and if he did he knew things were about to get awkward.
"Hi, Harry." Cho started nervously, her eyes scanning the compartment.
"Hey Cho." Harry said kindly back, and offered a small smile.
"Can I talk to you for a moment alone?" She asked after a moment, the words slipping out of her mouth.
Harry could of swore he saw Ginny tense at Cho's words, but tried his best to ignore it as he started to stand up.
"Sure." He said, not sounding it at all.
Harry placed his palm against the wall and heaved himself out of his seat and walked out of the compartment with Cho next to him, and she led him a little more down the hall where more empty compartments were, and stopped at a random one and opened the door, and together they walked inside. Cho sat opposite of him and twirled her hair around her finger nervously, and looked as though she was thinking over what she should say.
"What do you need to talk about?" Harry asked, filling the awkward silence.
"I-I heard about what happened to you this summer." She blurted out, and flushed slightly.
Harry froze in his seat, shocked by her bluntness. He looked up and saw her face was now bright red, but she stood her ground as she stared back at him.
"I think everyone knows what happened, the Prophet didn't exactly hold back." Harry said after a moment of silence.
"Are you okay?" Cho asked with a tremble in her voice.
"Yeah," Harry said without thinking, "I got all patched up, I'm better now."
Cho's eyes roamed over Harry for a moment, as if searching for any physical sign of injury, and Harry tried his best not to blush as she examined him.
"It's awful, what happened to you, after everything that just happened in May."
It all clicked inside Harry's head at her words, why she wanted to speak to him. Cedric. Of course she would want answers from him, what happened and why Cedric was killed, but did she honestly believe he was in the right condition to tell her? After everything that happened to him this summer, everything he had been through, she thought he would want to answer her questions?
"Um, yeah, it was." He replied awkwardly.
Harry wanted to leave, to hurry down the hall and join Ginny, Neville and Luna back in their compartment, to avoid telling Cho that he couldn't give her the answers that she wanted, that it was too soon and he selfishly wanted to avoid those memories.
"Having to face him again after watching him come back to life, after killing C-Cedric." Cho said almost as soon as Harry shut his mouth, looking shyfully up at him.
"Cho..." Harry started slowly.
Cho looked down at the ground for a moment as she shuffled her feet together, and when she looked up at Harry against he was surprised at the tears forming in her eyes. He opened his mouth but hesitated, he had no clue how to comfort her.
"Please Harry, I need to know what happened to him, I need that closure." Cho begged him with a tremble in her voice.
"Cho, the only people that know about that are Dumbledore and Mr. and Mrs. Diggory, and they only know because Dumbledore forced me to tell him and his parents needed an answer. Everyone's been asking me what happened to him, and know their going to want to know more now. But I-I just can't, okay? It's too hard for me right now."
"But you told his parents." She whispered as a tear fell down her cheek.
"Because they just lost their child to Voldemort, and I came close to being killed too both times." Harry just about snapped back.
She stared at him in slight shock, her mouth open with her bottom lip trembling as she thought over what she should say.
"I have to go, Ron and Hermione will be back soon and they need me to help them with their Prefect duties." Harry lied as he stood up, and reached for the compartment door.
"Harry-" She started, but he had already shut the door behind him as he hurried down the hall.
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