|SIYE Time:8:48 on 16th May 2021|
My Badge of Honor
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Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley
Story is Complete
Summary: It barely even felt like the first day of school. Usually the air was filled with excitement and yells of delighted greeting and interrogations about summer.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3705
It barely even felt like the first day of school. Usually the air was filled with excitement and yells of delighted greeting and interrogations about summer. Instead, people stood quietly huddled in groups, mostly families. Nervous-looking parents glanced around anxiously as they shunted their children onto the Hogwarts Express. More than one mother’s eyes were filled with tears.
My own mother was stone-faced as she bid me good-bye. I knew she would be crying later that night. My father didn’t say much. I could see him swallowing hard and knew he didn’t want to try to talk over the lump in his throat. He was the one who didn’t want me to go back to Hogwarts. The attack at the end of last year got to him. My mother convinced him that I would still be safer at school than I would be at home. She didn’t want me in the house in case Death Eaters came tracking down Muggle-borns — she, with a good job at the Ministry and being a well-known member of the wizarding community, would be a prime choice for an attack. And, after all, I did have to take my O.W.L.s. If the wizarding world did ever recover from war, I’d need a job at some point in time.
Once I was on the train, I chose an empty compartment. It wasn’t hard to find one. I guessed that half of the student body wouldn’t be returning, and it looked like I was about right. I was a bit surprised they even decided to reopen Hogwarts. I had heard, though, that Headmistress McGonagall and a team of teachers, Aurors, and some other hand-picked wizards that were rumored to be part of some secret anti-You-Know-Who organization had spent a good part of the summer building up new defenses around the school. I wasn’t sure if anything could compare with what Dumbledore could have done, but I trusted McGonagall. She was a good teacher; the head of my House. If anyone left alive could keep us safe, it was her.
I sat by the window and watched the remaining students trickle onto the train. A flash of orange caught my eye and I craned my neck to see a small knot of Weasleys standing next to a wall. There were other with them, familiar faces I thought I had glimpsed around the school and others I recognized. I could see the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers from my first and second years, Lupin and Moody (sort of). They were the ones looking warily about as the Weasleys said teary good-byes to each other.
But both Weasleys who should have been returning to school didn’t seem to be. The main part of the group seemed to be formed around Ginny, the youngest. I knew Ron to be seventeen; he should have been coming back for his last year of school. But there was only one trunk in sight, and as I saw this I realized that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were also part of the cluster of Weasleys. Neither of them had trunks, either.
It wasn’t exactly surprising, now that I really thought about it. What was Harry supposed to do, just return to school and take his N.E.W.T.s? Everyone knew Harry was the center of the fight against You-Know-Who, at least since Dumbledore had died. I wouldn’t even have thought about it if he hadn’t been at King’s Cross to see Ginny off.
The assemblage began to migrate slowly towards the train. Ginny and Ron’s mother was sobbing and hugged Ginny about six or seven times before her husband pulled her gently away, putting an arm about her for comfort. This cleared the way for everyone else to say goodbye. Ginny exchanged hugs with several of the non-family members, including Professor Lupin, as well as a couple of older boys that I didn’t recognize, but they must have been Weasleys. I didn’t see the Weasley twins anywhere. She nodded at Mad-Eye Moody, who nodded gruffly back and said something to her that made Ginny smile weakly. She then turned to the three teenagers standing vaguely off to the side.
Hermione Granger embraced her quickly, Ginny’s face buried in the mass of brown bushy hair. Hermione’s shoulders shook and the girls held on to each other as if they’d like to never let go. They did, though, eventually, and Hermione stepped back, looking dismal.
Ginny stepped toward her youngest brother next, who seemed to be putting on a very good show of bravery and indifference. Near as they had drawn to my window, though, I could see a rather dejected look in his eyes before he closed them as they hugged. Ginny and Ron held onto each other for a much shorter time than Ginny and Hermione had, but they were exerting so much pressure it looked like they were attempting to break each other’s ribs.
Ginny stepped toward Harry next. If Ron was trying his hardest not to betray his emotions, Harry was succeeding. His eyes looked empty as Ginny came near him. He opened his mouth to say something just as my compartment door opened. I glanced over to see a girl from my year entering, dragging a trunk with her.
“Hi, Romilda,” I said, vaguely annoyed at being interrupted doing…what? Spying?
She nodded back. “Is this empty?”
I shrugged. “Besides me.”
“All right if I join you?”
I looked back out the window, where Harry and Ginny were still talking. Ginny looked like she was about to cry, while Harry still looked mainly expressionless, but I could now glimpse a hint of desperation in his eyes. It might not have been obvious to anyone else, but I prided myself on being observant, if generally quiet. I didn’t usually hang around with Romilda and her giggling girlfriends. They though I was too quiet to be a real Gryffindor. I thought they were too silly. There were no real feelings of animosity, but a friendship had never developed. I could only assume most of the girls had decided against returning to Hogwarts this year, or their parents had decided for them, or Romilda probably wouldn’t be in here with me.
Romilda, sitting down opposite me, followed my gaze and scowled when she saw what I was looking at. “Those two.”
“They just…” Romilda struggled. “They don’t even bother to keep it behind closed doors, do they?”
I shrugged. I hadn’t noticed Harry and Ginny being particularly affectionate in public since their first kiss, after which Romilda had half-destroyed our dormitory in a rage while her friends assured her that Ginny was a perfect little tart and Harry was simply blind, but would come to his senses someday. They usually seemed to be in the company of Ron, who I would guess wasn’t too fond of seeing his sister snogging in front of him. I had heard rumors of a duel between the two siblings when she was still dating Dean Thomas, but as the rumors had included an assurance that Ron and Harry had actually come to a physical fight over it, I was doubtful. And as I glanced back out the window, I saw that the two were standing a good meter or so apart. I didn’t say any of this in front of Romilda, though. I knew she still held a torch for Harry, which I would guess had only increased in fervor over the summer. Romilda always had a thing for heroes, and seeing Harry battle the Death Eaters would definitely have been her kind of thing.
I ignored Romilda’s mutterings and got lost in the scene unfolding on the other side of the window. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was obvious that both Harry and Ginny were having great difficulty getting words out. Ron and Hermione were dutifully looking the other way.
As the train whistle blew warning of the impending departure, Ginny glanced back at the train distraughtly, clearly not wanting to leave. I quickly averted my gaze; I thought her eyes might have met mine for a moment as she looked back to Harry. When I chanced another look, Harry’s fingers were trailing down her face. Real tears were falling from Ginny’s eyes now. I had only seen Ginny cry once before, at Dumbledore’s funeral; for someone who did a lot of watching and had seen most girls in my house cry, it was kind of a big deal. She took his hand in hers and they both closed their eyes. The train whistle blew again and Ginny, looking as if it was causing her a great deal of pain, turned away.
I heard Romilda make a little “humph” noise and turned to see her glaring out the window at Ginny. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was deck her. Instead, I smiled sweetly. “Romilda, dear?”
“You know, I actually haven’t been feeling too well these last few days. I’m afraid when the train starts moving and the motion gets me, I might be a bit sick. If that happens, would you mind holding my hair?”
Romilda blanched and her large eyes widened. She began mumbling something about a weak immune system and she really shouldn’t catch anything since we should be paying attention from the very beginning of our O.W.L. year as she began to gather her things. Before I knew it, her long dark hair was whipping around the corner as the door slid shut behind her. I grinned.
When I looked back out the window, I could only see the backs of the Weasley group as they walked away from the train. Harry walked slowest; Ron and Hermione seemed to know he needed to be alone, or rather, Hermione did. She seemed to be guiding Ron with a hand at the small of her back. I smiled to myself. It was fun to be observant sometimes. You could see things coming.
My compartment door slid open again, but as I glanced over I saw Ginny Weasley, struggling with her trunk.
“Oh, sorry,” she said softly. “I didn’t see you, I’ll go find an empty one-”
She turned to leave.
She turned back.
“I mean, if you want to be alone, it’s okay,” I began. “But I don’t mind.”
Ginny seemed to think for a minute, and then smiled faintly at me. “Thanks.” She pulled her trunk in behind her and slid the door shut. She sat opposite me, where Romilda had sat a few minutes ago, but I found I minded this a lot less. We both gazed out the window at the retreating crowd.
The train lurched (Ginny flinched) and began to pull slowly out of the station. Every member of the Weasley party turned back to watch it leave. Ginny quickly stood up and pulled the window open, half leaning out of it and waving to her family and friends, a smile on her face that I quickly recognized as fake.
Her family waved back. Harry didn’t. He started to walk in the same direction as the train. As the train picked up speed, so did Harry. Ginny continued waving to him, her smile gone. Harry’s face was still expressionless as he ran alongside the train, yet he continued to pick up speed. He was faster than he looked.
Then the train turned a corner and Harry, along with the rest of the station, was out of sight. Ginny sat back down and closed the window. Neither of us spoke for the rest of the trip. But we stayed by each others’ sides as we got off the train, and when we got to Hogwarts and climbed into a horseless carriage together, I caught sight of Romilda, narrowing her eyes at me as if I had committed the worst kind of betrayal. I shut the door of the carriage behind me, and as I looked at Ginny, I reasoned that a look like that from Romilda Vane ought to be considered a great honor.
A/N: Well, if I wrote Harry Potter, I couldn't very well marry him, could I?
I'm fond of these ideas that pop into my head and write themselves in an hour or so. I'll be sad when I run out. I thought about the goodbye at King's Cross. Would Harry be there? Would he pretend he barely knew Ginny? Would they kiss desperately? I left holes so almost any of it could have happened. Ladies and gentlemen, start your imaginations!
And to tell the truth, I have no idea who the narrator is. I made her up. She has no name and I have no clue of anything about her other than what I needed for the story to be told properly. She has served me well, though. Maybe I'll use her again.
Now let the reviewing begin!
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