It was a rainy January morning, and people were up early getting ready. Half asleep in her bed, Ginny, with a sinking feeling, knew why. The snow had melted, and the first day of the new term dawned cold and dismally grey. The holidays had just flown past, from that day Ginny spotted Draco in Diagon Alley, to her and Harry's little bust up and make up on Christmas Day, the present-giving, and the lazy days following ... recovering and mending.
To Ginny, it now seemed that both she and Harry were back on track with each other and she felt as if their love had grown, although she knew that she had been tried and tested in the past weeks. There was more to Harry than she had ever thought possible. Not just with the stress of school, the usual problems with teenage guys, and the fact that he was Harry Potter, but also that he carried a heavy burden no one else could understand. There were great expectations on Harry from the Wizarding world; if Voldemort arose again, it would be Harry's job and Harry's job alone, to save them. And Harry had been moody and quiet as a result. A newspaper article in the Daily Prophet a week ago had confirmed an uprising against the Ministry, and there was no doubt who Harry believed to be behind it.
Brushing those heavy thoughts aside, Ginny got up and dressed herself quickly, made her bed and collected a few things from the dressing table. She finished stuffing her belongings into her already over-filled trunk, and then, closing it with an effort, she gave her bedroom one last look and headed downstairs.
It was bustling in the kitchen, everyone was flying all over the place. Ginny laughed as she saw her mother trying to flip pancakes, which seemed to be going horribly wrong. She figured that Fred and George had something to do with that, as they galloped around the kitchen purposely hiding things to make people late. She picked up a pancake and spread it with some jam and cream before making her way outside with it in hand.
Harry was leaning by one of the Vauxhall Astra's reading the early paper, and looking as if he hadn't seen a brush in a decade. A frown creased his forehead, but when he saw Ginny, he looked up and smiled, closing the paper and moving to help her with her trunk. He didn't say anything and she didn't want to ask.
Ginny plonked herself soggily down onto the seat, nearly tripping as the train carriage jolted forward suddenly. The window was fogged up and dark, the rain had stopped, but it was windy and cold nonetheless.
"It would be a lovely day, wouldn't it," she grumbled to herself as Harry, Ron and Hermione filed in after her. It was the end of the Christmas holidays and they were travelling back to school on the Hogwarts Express, albeit rather grumpily, as none of them, not even Harry, had felt like leaving the Burrow.
"Suits my mood," Ron commented, sitting next to the window and looking gloomily out. "I really feel like going back to school, man..."
Harry sat down next to Ginny and pulled his gloves off absent-mindedly. His hair was smooth for once - the rain had flattened it, making him look something similar to a drowned rat. The others didn't look much better.
"I'm dripping wet," Hermione exclaimed, shrugging her heavy wet coat off and throwing it on the empty seat next to her. Ginny did the same and then pulled her sopping hair away from her face.
"I'm gonna go and get myself cleaned up," she winced as she wiped her wet face and liquid mascara ran onto her fingers. "I'm pretty sure I look like a total witch."
"Imagine that," Harry grinned to the others.
Ginny sent him a sarcastic smile as she walked out of the compartment. "Smart Harry, real smart..." She rolled her eyes affectionately, grinning despite herself. She made her way slowly to the back of the train where the toilets were, hating the way her wet fabric chafed against her skin. Reaching the toilets, she locked the door behind her and pulled off her wet jacket. She tilted her head to one side as she regarded herself in the small mirror. She had gotten a necklace from Harry for Christmas - he had given her a present after all. It was quite nice, a tiny rose gold phoenix, and now it felt cold against her skin. Her hair was hanging in tangles around her face and her mascara had run down her cheeks in chocolate brown rivulets. She laughed softly, glad she hadn't met anyone on her way down the train, because she really did look a fright.
About five minutes later, she emerged from the bathroom with her hair pulled back into a rather messy ponytail and her face wiped clean of make-up residue. She turned around and began to hurry back along the corridor, when the train lurched forward so violently that she tripped forward and only just had time to grab onto the wall for support.
She was about to keep moving when a dark figure caught her eye outside the train. It had started to rain again, but this creature was moving quickly through the blanketing darkness, and she could tell it wasn't human. It's black silhouette was blurred, but she could see it's eyes glowing a dull red against the dwindling light. It turned towards her suddenly, and a chill shot through her body. She barely had time to recoil back in horror when another lurch threw her forward, and she whacked her head against a wooden panel before hitting the floor. She could hear shrieks and yells of protest coming from inside compartments, and her head began to throb dully. What the hell was happening?
Strong hands suddenly closed about her shoulders, pulling her up, and before she could react, she was staring into the panicked green eyes of her boyfriend.
"Gin, are you ok?" Harry asked hurriedly as the train shuddered again, pushing them both into the door of a compartment. Ginny gripped Harry's shirt front for support as the train stilled for a moment.
"Fine," Ginny answered vaguely as she tried to see out of the foggy windows for any sign of the dark figure. "There's something out there, Harry..."
"I know, I saw them. I think it's-" The train suddenly screeched violently, giving a final lurch which sent Harry and Ginny sprawling on the floor of the carriage. "We're stopping," Harry murmured, holding Ginny safely against him as the train screeched to a halt. "What the hell is going on..."
Shouts and screams filled the carriage as students opened their compartment doors and stumbled into the corridor. A few tried to run, but there was no where to go. Neville and Seamus fainted, most just stared, wide-eyed, out of the window of the train, which had now stopped dead. The light bulbs above the students heads' suddenly and without warning exploded into a shower of hot glass, plunging everyone into semi-darkness.
Harry grabbed Ginny around the waist and hauled her with him, through the commotion towards their compartment. Glancing over her shoulder as panicked students rushed past her, she caught a glimpse of silver hair and pale eyes in the darkness. Draco was leaning against a carriage window, slightly illuminated by the faint grey light outside, untouched and unfazed by the chaos swarming about him. His gaze was focussed on something outside the train, but he glanced up quickly as Ginny was pushed forward and their eyes met for the briefest moment before he turned his face away and moved from the window and into shadow.
"SHIT!" they could hear Ron yelling. They reached the compartment and could vaguely make out Hermione perched nervously on the edge of her seat. Ron was staring out the window. He turned as they stumbled in, and they could see his face was as white as a ghost. "Holy shit you guys, what the hell is going on? I saw something - there's something running around out there, I mean, something really scary looking. And more than one of them." His mouth gaped with the shock of it and he moved quickly away from the window.
"They're werewolves," Hermione said shakily, looking anxiously at Harry. Ginny's face went pale. "What are werewolves doing chasing the Hogwarts Express?" She asked faintly.
Hermione shook her head helplessly but didn't say anything. It was getting too dark to see anything out the window, but they didn't think anything had come past recently, or gotten onto the train. Harry was just moving to check the quietened commotion outside their compartment when fluorescent lights suddenly flickered to life above their heads and they could feel the train beginning to come to chug beneath them.
Ron let out a breath of relief, but no one said anything. No one could quite believe what had happened. What was happening. Suddenly, the door to their compartment slid open and McGonagall stood there with a very anxious expression on her lined face.
"There's nothing to worry about," she smiled anxiously at them, clearly trying to mask her concern for the sake of the students. "Just a short delay due to the bad weather, among other things."
"Other things starting with werewolves," Ron sputtered nervously, making frantic pointing gestures out the window.
"This will be fully addressed as soon as you reach Hogwarts. That's all I can say on the matter for the time being." And with that, she turned and hurried down the corridor.
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered, turning back to the window, where the train was slowly chugging past Nettlesworth Station. His eyes grew suddenly wide. "Harry! Quick!" Harry, Ginny and Hermione hurried to the window and peered out with wide, apprehensive eyes, through the darkness and rain.
Nettlesworth Station was barely lit, but they could make out a few shadowy figures running along it. There were shapes on the ground which were not moving at all. A strange black liquid patched the platform with dark stains, and the windows of the station were smashed. The people in the train were suddenly very quiet.
Ginny gasped suddenly, her hand to her mouth. The dark shapes running along the platform were not human. The shapes on the ground were. And the dark stains spreading from them looked horribly like blood.
"Shit," Harry murmured in horror, his gaze fixed on the massacre they were quickly moving away from. The others didn't move, didn't say a thing until the train had long left Nettlesworth Station behind. They were all thinking, how could this happen? Who could have done it? But they all knew the answer.
This story can be seen as a single story OR as belonging in 2 parts. The SEQUEL (uploaded soon) continues on this story, 6 months from now, at the start of the New Year term.
You and ONE Other – Amongst the Ruins enters Harry's final Year at Hogwarts. This will be a more mature fan fiction, but written the same way. Stay tuned, there IS more coming. THANKYOU for being so patient with us! And we hope you enjoy what's to come ….