Ginny gazed out the compartment window onto the crowded, noisy platform at Hogsmeade Station. Students, parents, Hogwarts staff, Ministry officials, and sundry wizards and witches milled about waiting to board the train or bid goodbye to someone. She could also see at least a dozen Aurors lurking around the edges of the crowd and up the High Street in the village. A group of prefects at the back of the platform were gathered around one of the Aurors. Ginny opened the window and shouted at them, “Hermione!”
Ron and Hermione both turned. Ginny yelled again and Hermione, looking surprised, spotted her. She said something to Ron, then pushed through the crowd. “What are you doing on the train?“ she asked, looking up at Ginny. “I thought they weren’t letting anyone get on yet. We were looking all over for you.”
“Hermione, please,” Ginny said anxiously, ”I need to talk. Can you come on board?”
Hermione looked back at the prefects who were now starting to move toward the train. “Okay, I’ll be right there.” She shoved her way to Ron, spoke with him briefly, and then came back. In a moment she was at the compartment door. “Ginny!” she exclaimed, stopping suddenly. “What on earth? What happened to your feet?”
Ginny was sitting with her legs propped up on her trunk. Her feet were wrapped in bloody bandages, and a strong odor like boiled Brussels sprouts filled the compartment. “It’s nothing,” she answered, a little hysterically. “They got wet while I had my boots on, and I got blisters. We stopped in the village at Dervish and Banges, they have some potions in the back. It really works well. They don’t hurt much at all now. I can almost walk. The bleeding has almost stopped, too. My boots are ruined, but Fred said they can buy me another pair —”
She stopped, leaned back in the seat, and looked miserably at Hermione. “What am I saying?” She put her hands to her head and shook it. “I can’t walk. This stuff is making it worse. And it stinks.”
Hermione sat down next to her. “How did your feet get wet? We saw you talking with Harry...” She trailed off when she saw Ginny’s expression. “What did he say to you?” She put her arm around Ginny’s shoulders and hugged her as tears started running down Ginny’s face.
Ginny shook her head. “He says we can’t be together. I told him I knew he was going to say that, but I still wanted to help him. He said no, it’ll be too dangerous.” She bowed her head, and her body shook slightly. She gave a deep sigh and Hermione squeezed her shoulders.
Students had started boarding the train and were passing the compartment. Hermione pointed her wand at the door. “Colloportus,” she muttered, and the door sealed itself. “That’ll keep people out for a bit.” She turned back to Ginny. “He told us the same thing, but we said no way. He’s not leaving us behind, no matter how stubborn he gets. Sorry,” she added as a sob escaped Ginny’s throat.
“No, you’re right.” Ginny wiped her face and took Hermione’s hand. She looked out the window for several moments, then turned back. “Listen, I’ve got to tell you what happened afterward, it was totally bizarre.” She told Hermione about the mermaid, the conversations with her mother and Rufus Scrimgeour, and the centaurs. Hermione’s mouth fell open and she gaped at Ginny incredulously. “So,” Ginny finished, “I started running, my boots were full of water, and my feet got these huge blisters and started bleeding. My mum and Fleur had to help me into Hogsmeade and onto the train. I can hardly stand up. I’ll fall over if I try to walk.”
“Where’s your mum now?” Hermione asked.
She’s supposed to be getting on the train, but Fleur is staying with Bill.”
“Right. Well, now I know why Scrimgeour left the way he did. Someone said that he came storming into The Three Broomsticks, grabbed Percy, and they both Disapparated.”
“Yeah, my dad couldn’t find him. Boy,” she shook her head, “I haven’t seen Dad like that since he tried to beat up Lucius Malfoy. I hope he doesn’t get fired.”
“They can’t start firing people now,” Hermione declared flatly. “They’re already in too much trouble because of what happened here. Now they’re paranoid about the train going back to London. You wouldn’t believe what’s going on. They’re putting Aurors and parents in the first and last cars, but so many students have already left, I don’t think we’ll be more than half–full.” She glanced out the window. “I have to go. They’ve got all the prefects organized to patrol the cars. I’ll tell Neville and Luna you’re here, and I’ll stop by later.” She squeezed Ginny’s hand again, waved her wand at the door, and disappeared down the corridor.
Students passed the compartment looking for seats. A few glanced in but went on when they saw her feet propped up and got a whiff of the potion. Then someone stopped outside the door, and Ginny glanced up. Pansy Parkinson was looking at her, flanked by Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. Pansy’s nose curled. “Whew,” she grimaced, stepping into the doorway, “what is that smell, Weasel? Is that your perfume on your feet?” The two gorillas sniggered behind her.
Ginny eyed her. “Pansy, why don’t you go register yourself with the office of ugly magical creatures? I heard that Malfoy’s already signed up. And if one of you comes in here you’ll all be going home with bat boogies for faces.” She had her wand out pointing at Crabbe who had started to push his way into the compartment,
Crabbe backed out, but Pansy remained where she was. “You watch it, Weasel,” she snarled. “You saw what they did to Dumbledore. You’re next.”
Ginny extended her arm with the wand. “Maybe, but you won’t be the one to do it. Now get out!” At that moment Neville and Luna appeared. Pansy glared malevolently at Ginny and sneered at Neville and Luna as the Slytherins left.
“What was that all about?” asked Luna, watching them pass through the corridor into the next car. She came into the compartment and said vaguely, “What happened to your feet?”
“I was dancing with Neville.” Ginny grinned.
“Hey, I never caused that much damage,” he smiled back. “What happened? They look terrible.”
“I took a short jog through the lake with my boots on. Apparently that causes blisters.”
“Ginny, come on, seriously,” Neville said, piling his and Luna’s trunks on the overhead as Luna opened the window wide and started fanning the air in the compartment.
Ginny told them about the mermaid and meeting Scrimgeour and the centaurs; she left out everything to do with Harry. “Then we got some potion in Hogsmeade and Mum put the bandages on, but I think they’ve gotten worse. It hurts like hell when I put any weight on them.”
Luna stared at Ginny’s feet, then turned to the window. “I’ve never seen so many Aurors in one place,” she said. “I guess they expect something to happen, but my father says that Voldemort’s gone to Uzbekistan to set up training camps. Of course, he had to stop at Tenerife first to sign up recruits.”
Neville and Ginny avoided looking at each other and managed not to laugh. “Well,” Neville said to Ginny after a moment, “don’t worry, we’ll help if you need to get around. But that’s really strange, what Scrimgeour did. I guess those centaurs were hanging around after the funeral.”
Ginny did not answer; she was very tired and the day had gone on forever. She felt safe with two of her best friends in the compartment, and knowing that other friends were nearby.
People on the platform were calling goodbye to those on the train, and Ginny even thought she heard Hagrid’s booming voice. Soon the whistle blew and the train pulled out. Ginny leaned back, closed her eyes, and dozed off.
She dreamed about water. She was deep under the surface and it was very dark. There was a bright light above, and she swam up to it. Soon she noticed that someone else was swimming nearby who kept glancing at her. She tried to see who it was, but every time she looked he turned his head. As the light came closer he moved farther away, until he was lost in the darkness. Then she burst to the surface, and dozens of mermaids around her were talking noisily. One of them shrieked. Ginny awoke with a start and sat up.
The train was not moving, and Neville and Luna were in the corridor talking to other students. The train’s whistle blew again, and Ginny looked out the window. They were stopped on a high bridge of some kind, fifty or sixty feet above the ground. Neville noticed that she was awake and came inside. “The train just stopped,” he said in answer to Ginny’s look. “People are saying that the track is blocked or torn up or something. I think they want everyone to get off.”
Ginny went pale. “Neville, I can’t get off by myself. Go get Ron.”
“I’ll go get Harry,” Neville responded. “I know where he is. We can carry you off.” He started to leave.
“Harry’s on the train?” Ginny blurted. “No! Not Harry!” Neville stopped in surprise. “Get Ron,” Ginny said. “He – he’ll know where my mum is,” she finished lamely.
“Oh, okay.” Neville turned to the door and swore. The corridor was empty. “Where is Luna? She should stay with you. I don’t see her,” he called to Ginny. “Do you want me to wait here?”
“No. Go get Ron. I’ll be fine.” She took out her wand. “Slytherin repellent,” she grinned. “Don’t worry.”
Neville left, and then there were no other sounds. Ginny took her legs off the trunk, but when she put her feet down she cried out and quickly lifted them up again. The pain was unbearable; the potion was definitely making her wounds worse. She slid over to the window and looked out. Straight down there was nothing but treetops far below. There must be a walkway along the track on the other side of the train, she thought. She slumped in the seat and waited.
The Hogwarts Express had stopped with the front wheels of its scarlet engine a few feet past the end of the bridge. The rest of the train, about a dozen cars, stretched back onto the viaduct which curved gradually for a quarter of a mile to the opposite side of the valley. A few yards in front of the engine, sitting squarely on the track, was a massive boulder almost twenty feet high. A group of wizards and witches surrounded it. Those closest to the boulder, mostly Aurors and other officials of the Ministry of Magic who had been on the train, were debating how to remove it. Hogwarts parents stood nearby, looking nervously out over the valley and at the woods all about. Clumps of students were gathered in a small meadow next to the track.
While Ginny sat alone on the train, Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood in the meadow in the center of a group of Gryffindors. Ron slouched with his arms folded, scowling at the train and the Aurors. “They should have been patrolling the track,” he grumbled. “Think about it. Death Eaters got into the Ministry when Fudge was Minister, and they got into Hogwarts with Scrimgeour in charge. Now this. They might as well give the job to Percy.”
Hermione was looking down into the valley. “They ought to send some people down there.” She pointed to the iron pillars that supported the bridge. “A few well-placed spells and the whole train will be gone.”
Harry grinned. “Maybe we should go stand guard.”
Now Hermione scowled. “No, we should not,” she said emphatically. “No one should be wandering off.” She looked around at the scattered groups of students. “Someone needs to do a head count so we know who’s on the train when it gets going again.”
“If ever,” muttered Ron. His eyes wandered to some young Gryffindors a few yards away. “Hey, Garry Derry!” he called to a second year boy. “Why don’t you count up the Gryffindors while you’re standing around?” The boy looked at him uncertainly.
“You should be doing it,” Hermione said to Ron.
“Nah, prefect’s prerogative. I have to make sure no one wanders off. What do you say, Garry? Start with this crowd here.”
Garry walked over, passing a peeved Hermione who was stalking off to the group around the boulder. “Should I just count the students, or the parents, too?” Garry asked Ron.
“Just the students.”
Garry started counting. Ron watched him for a minute, then turned to Harry who was now sitting on the grass; Ron joined him. “I’ve got to learn to keep my mouth shut,” he said, staring at Hermione’s back. Harry grunted.
“So what are you going to do when we get back to London?” Ron asked.
“I guess go with the Dursleys and vegetate for a few weeks.” He looked around; no one was near, but he lowered his voice. “I really don’t want you two there. There’s no room, you’ll just get on Vernon’s nerves. Someone can come and get me when it’s time for the wedding.”
“We could do that,” Ron said, “but if we stay with you we can gang up on Dudley.”
Harry grinned. “Well, that does put it in a different light. But you’ll have to stay in my old cupboard under the stairs.”
“Uh–uh. You’re supposed to let the guests have the best. You can stay in the cupboard, Hermione can have the guest room, and I’ll take yours. Or wait!” Ron clapped his hands. “I have a better idea. Stick Dudley in the cupboard and I’ll take his room.”
Harry snorted. “His room’s a pigsty. Well, actually, so is mine.”
Their division of the accommodations at four Privet Drive was interrupted by Garry Derry who had come running back, out of breath and looking scared.
Ron stood up. “What’s wrong?”
“Your sister Ginny,” Garry huffed. “They told me she got off the train, but I can’t find her.” Harry’s head jerked up. Neville, who was standing a few feet away with Luna, turned, a look of alarm on his face.
Ron scowled. “Wait a minute. What are you talking about? Neville told me someone helped her get off.” He turned to Neville, who had come over.
“Garry, you told me you saw her get off the train,” Neville said.
“No,” squeaked the boy in a frightened voice. He looked up at Ron who was glowering at him. “That’s not what I said. Someone told me they saw her.”
Ron grabbed Garry’s arm. “Who told you?”
“Ow! That hurts.” Garry pulled his arm away. “Don’t yell at me. I didn’t do anything.”
“Okay, okay. Just calm down,” replied Ron. “Sorry. Now, who told you they saw Ginny get off the train?”
Garry frowned. “It was that blond girl from Slytherin, Patsy Paddington or something.”
Harry stood up. But as he turned to look at the train, three loud bangs in quick succession shook the ground. There were screams from the crowd, and shouts from the Aurors near the boulder. A student standing near the top of the hill pointed to the bridge. Smoke was rising from the base of one of the pillars in the middle of the span. Then jets of red flame shot from the underbrush near the pillars; there were more explosions and more smoke as bits of rubble flew into the air.
“They’re trying to blow up the bridge!” someone shouted. Aurors scrambled down the steep slope. Ron saw Hermione running back. “I told them!” she screamed as she ran. “I told them, but they ignored me! Now look!” She came up and grabbed Ron, but before he could say anything she turned toward the train. “Where’s Harry going?” she said.
Harry was sprinting for the bridge. Ron started after him. “Ginny’s on the train,” he shouted back at Hermione, and kept running. She followed, as did Neville and Luna. People yelled and scrambled out of their way as they raced past.
Hermione stopped as she saw Molly Weasley gaping at Ron and Harry. “Ginny’s on the train,” Hermione yelled.
“What!?” Molly cried. “How? Why didn’t someone help her off?” She started after Hermione.
Harry reached the bridge, and as he ran out onto the narrow walkway next to the train, more explosions rang out from below, and he could feel the structure shake. He braced his hand on the side of the engine. He heard Ron calling from behind him, “Harry, wait!” but he shouted over his shoulder, “Go back! I can get her!”
Harry heard another shout and glanced back; he saw Hermione grab Ron. Another explosion boomed, echoing in the valley, and the bridge shook violently. Harry staggered but kept going. More people were running to the bridge, yelling at him. He heard Hermione scream, “Ginny’s still on the train!”
Harry was now at the first carriage car. As he clambered up, another explosion knocked him backward, but he caught the handrail. He climbed the steps and ran down the corridor, looking into each compartment. Another explosion, and the train shuddered, throwing him into the wall. He righted himself and ran to the end of the corridor, flung open the door and passed into the next car.
Now he could hear distant shouts coming from the valley below. There were more booms, and then one larger than the others made the train sway. Harry ran through the second and third cars, but they were empty. He opened the door to the fourth car, as explosions rocked the train, and saw a figure crawling toward him on the floor, red hair spilling down over her face. “Ginny!” he shouted.
She looked up. “Harry, I can’t walk! What’s happening to the train?”
He was next to her. “Here, put your arm around my shoulder.” He knelt down. As Ginny held on, he bent over and picked her up in his arms. The train lurched and he staggered, slamming against a compartment window, shattering it. They reached the door at the end of the corridor, and he spotted Ron through the glass in the next car. Ron saw them at the same time and ran to the end of the car and threw open the doors.
He looked frightened. “Here, let me take her.”
“No, I can do it,” Harry gasped. “Just get the doors.” They staggered through the cars. Half–way down the first car, a wizard appeared at the door and came running toward them. “Potter!” he shouted. “Give her to me. The bridge might go. Hurry!”
“NO!” Harry bellowed. “Get out of the way!”
The man paused, then stood aside and let Ron and Harry, carrying Ginny, pass; he followed them to the end of the car. Ron jumped down to the walkway, and as Harry was wondering how he was going to manage the steps, he heard a loud voice behind him, “Wingardium Leviosa!”
He felt himself rise into the air over Ron, who looked up at him and Ginny in amazement. It was a strange, floating sensation. Ginny seemed weightless in his arms. He held her tighter and felt her arms close around his shoulders. She glanced down, gave a tiny squeal, and looked at him with a broad grin. For a moment, Harry was back in the Gryffindor common room and Ginny Weasley, sweaty from a victorious Quidditch match, was throwing herself into his arms. Then the real Ginny moved her hand to his face. He looked into her eyes, only inches away.
“Ginny, no,” he whispered. She closed her eyes and buried her face in his neck.
A crowd of people, including all the Gryffindor students, stood a few yards from the bridge, held back by Ministry officials. Harry floated away from the train and then to the ground at the top of the hill, and touched down lightly. He fell to his knees and set Ginny down. He saw Ron racing toward them.
They were immediately surrounded. Molly Weasley held Ginny and Hermione hugged Ron; she and Molly were both crying. Many hands helped Harry up and clapped his back. “Harry,” someone said from behind him, “are you all right? And Miss Weasley?” It was the wizard who had got them off the train.
Harry nodded to him. “We’re okay.”
The wizard smiled. “Good job.” He put his hand on Harry’s shoulder for a moment, and then moved away.
A witch with the insignia of the Department of Magical Transportation on her robes pushed her way through the Gryffindors and started pumping Harry’s hand. “Mr. Potter! Mr. Potter!” she exclaimed. She looked at Harry with concern, and then down at Ginny who, with her mother, was fighting off students trying to pull her to her feet.
Harry noticed an Auror standing next to the witch, who was still shaking his hand. He turned to him. “Someone tried to make it look like Ginny had got off the train,” he said. “It was a student, a girl from Slytherin.”
The Auror frowned, and spoke in a low voice. “Slytherin? Do you know who?”
“Pansy Parkinson. She’s a sixth-year, blond, not too good looking.”
“I know who she is,” he answered. “We’ll find her.” As he turned to go another Auror who had just come up spoke, and Harry recognized the deep voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Don’t bother,” Shacklebolt said. “She took off into the woods with two other students as soon as the fighting started. I expect they’ve Disapparated with the ones who got away.” He looked at Harry. “If what you say is true, then she knew the train would be attacked.”
“Well, she’s on the list now,” the other Auror grunted. He looked at Shacklebolt. “Let’s get back to the rock, Kingsley.” He walked away, but Shacklebolt paused.
“It’s good that you look after your friends, Harry,” he said, “because you may need them to look after you.”
Harry hesitated. “Sure,” he finally replied. Shacklebolt smiled and left.
“Well said, Kingsley,” remarked Hermione, who was standing next to Harry with Ron. Harry shook his head wordlessly; he turned and pushed through the Gryffindors and walked to the crest of the hill. He peered down into the valley. The battle was over; he saw three bodies lying on the ground with Aurors standing over them; the bodies all had masks on their faces. Wizards were directing spells at the damaged places around the pillars.
Ron and Hermione came up and stood next to Harry, who spoke grimly. “I’m going to find her and kill her,” he said.
“No you’re not, mate,” Ron put in quickly. “I am.”
Hermione glared at Ron, but turned to Harry. “Your list is growing quite long, Harry. Voldemort, Snape, now Pansy. Do you really think people like Kingsley will let you run around dispensing your own justice? Besides, no one died here. Are you going to execute Pansy even though Ginny is fine?”
“All right,” Harry snapped, “I’ll just hurt her a little, okay? You heard him, he said she knew they were going to try to destroy the train. And she tried her best to make sure Ginny would be on it.”
“Harry,” Hermione pleaded, “it won’t work. You’ll have everyone hunting you instead of Voldemort. These people here are not the enemy.”
Harry turned back to the scene in the valley. The three Death Eaters were now standing, each one bound by ropes that shimmered in the shadows under the bridge; their masks were off, but Harry couldn’t make out their faces. Hermione put her hand on his shoulder.
“There’s something else,” she spoke gently, glancing at Ron. “Harry, you told Ginny that she would be in danger if she stayed with you, and that’s why you left her. But look what happened. She wasn’t with you and they still tried to harm her. If she had been with you or with us she would have been safe.”
Harry shook his head. “She was a target because she was hurt. If her feet hadn’t been like that she would have been safe.”
“Then let me ask you something else, “Hermione said. “Why did you go tearing onto the bridge and into the train like your own life was in danger?”
“Oh, come on, Hermione!” he said angrily. “She’s my —” He stopped.
“Your what?” Hermione demanded.
“She’s my very good friend,” Harry yelled, “and yours too, and Ron’s sister! Isn’t that enough?”
Hermione sighed and looked at Ron, but he just shrugged. “Come on, let’s get back. I want to see how she is.”
Ginny was now sitting against a tree at the verge of the meadow. Harry noticed Dean Thomas walking away; Neville and Luna were the only students still with her. Ginny’s mother was hovering, and a witch who Harry recognized from one of their trips to St. Mungo’s Hospital was inspecting Ginny’s feet. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione approached, they heard the witch scolding Molly.
“Whoever sold you this should be thrown into Azkaban.” She held up a small bottle of green liquid. “It belongs in a dust bin. It can’t hurt healthy skin, but if it gets into a cut or a wound it’ll burn like nothing else. You should have looked for me or anyone who knows what they’re doing.”
“We did look,” Molly said indignantly, “but we couldn’t find anyone and the train was about to leave. We had to do something. That shop is supposed to be reputable. Oh, Ginny, I’m sorry. We were so worried about her feet,” she said to the witch. “It isn’t permanent, is it?”
“No, no. Don’t worry, I can take care of it. You were only trying to help.” She patted Molly’s arm, then turned to Ginny. “This will take a few minutes, dear. Just hold still, it won’t hurt.” She moved her wand over Ginny’s feet, muttering under her breath. Harry could see the raw blisters slowly closing. In a few moments the bottoms of her feet were only slightly pink. “Now don’t go running around on them for a day or two,” the witch admonished, “and don’t wear tight shoes.” She tapped each foot with her wand. “Good as new by tomorrow.” She smiled and walked away.
Ginny got up, helped by her mother and Ron, and gingerly put weight on her feet. She took a few tentative steps.
“That’s much better.” She smiled and looked around. She saw Harry.
Hermione cleared her throat and pulled Ron away. She beckoned to Neville and Luna, and the four of them walked off. Molly stroked Ginny’s hair, then smiled at Harry, hugged him briefly, and followed the others.
Harry looked at Ginny. “Seems like we’re having these conversations a lot,” he said.
“Harry, thank you.”
He shrugged. “I really didn’t know what I was doing. I – I just did it.” He looked around; Aurors again surrounded the boulder, but now with their wands pointing at it. “Ginny,” he said, “this doesn’t change anything. It just proves my point, don’t you agree?”
Ginny smiled. “No, I don’t. But it also doesn’t change what I said to you. And now I know that Ron and Hermione will be with you.” Harry started to shake his head, but Ginny took his face in her hands. “Yes, they will. You can’t stop them.”
Harry took her hands and held them. “Why do you make it so hard?” he said hoarsely. He stared at his thumb, which was rubbing her wrist.
“It’s not supposed to be easy,” she answered.
“It isn’t.” He dropped her hands and stepped back, looking at her. “I – I have to go,” he mumbled, then he turned and walked away.
Ginny followed him with her eyes as he joined the others watching the boulder being moved. Hermione came over to her, and they saw it rise a few feet off the ground, then it and the Aurors around it moved together from the track into the meadow.
“That’s amazing,” Hermione said. Ginny did not speak.
“What did Harry say?” asked Hermione.
Ginny’s eyes were bright. “He’s still going off to fight Voldemort, and he still doesn’t want us to be together.”
Hermione turned to her. “And you?”
“Me? I’m fine. Now I know for certain that he’ll be back.” Ginny was smiling, and her entire face was so lit up that Hermione laughed.
“You’re sure? He can be pretty pig-headed, you know.”
It was Ginny’s turn to laugh. “Don’t I know it?” Then she sobered, and looked earnestly at Hermione. “You and Ron have to go with him, if he really doesn’t come back to school next year. Hermione, promise me that you will.”
“We will, I promise.”
Soon the track was repaired and the train puffed off the bridge. The passengers boarded, the whistle blew, and the journey to London continued. Ginny sat in the compartment with Neville and Luna, watching the countryside pass. Houses and small villages, then towns appeared. Luna, sitting across from her, looked bemused.
“What is it?” asked Ginny.
“I think my father was wrong about Uzbekistan,” Luna sighed. “I don’t understand it.”
Ginny smiled. “I’m sure it was an honest mistake.” She glanced at Neville who had his toad Trevor in his hand and was petting it. “So, Neville, will your Gran let you come back next year?”
Neville nodded. “She already told me at the funeral. I didn’t even have to ask,” he laughed. “In fact, she told me I’d better go back, my parents always wanted me to try at least one N.E.W.T. I think I have a pretty good shot at Herbology. What about you?” He looked at her intently. “Do you want to go back?”
Ginny knew what Neville meant, and she had to admit to herself that she was not sure of the answer. If Harry, Ron and Hermione were not at Hogwarts it would be a lonely year. And it would be a scary year, sitting at school, waiting to hear if they were dead or alive.
“I don’t know,” she said, looking at the city landscape coming into view. “I don’t know what anyone in my family is going to do now, except that Bill’s getting married. It’s kind of depressing. Not Bill’s getting married,” she smiled. “It’s just that everything is so uncertain. I remember leaving for my first year and thinking what a fantastic seven–year adventure it was going to be. But it didn’t turn out to be the adventure I wanted.”
“Oh, but you don’t want it to be dull,” Luna spoke, and Ginny and Neville both looked at her. “I think it’s been grand,” she said. ”Scary, but grand. Why have it any other way? After we win the war there’ll be plenty of time for boredom.” She smiled, then turned back to the window.
Ginny stared at Luna and wondered to herself, “What if she’s right?” As the Hogwarts Express pulled into King’s Cross Station and they unloaded their trunks from the overhead, Ginny thought of what her father had said about the mermaid and the centaurs: “When they see Harry in their visions, they also see you.”
She noticed that she was touching her wrist where Harry had caressed it, and she felt a tiny up–welling of something from deep in her heart; it almost felt like tranquility. She suddenly leaned over and hugged a surprised Luna. “You’re right, Luna. Let’s all come back next year,” she said, smiling.