14-End of Summer

None of the students residing at Grimmauld Place went for shopping at Diagon Alley. For security reasons, the adults decided to keep them away from that busy street, where they were too well known. Molly, with the help of Arthur, Remus, and Tonks, took care of all the shopping for school. The only problematic issue seemed to be the school robes, as they all needed new sets to fit their changing bodies.

"Dobby can resize any clothes," the enthusiastic house elf exclaimed when he heard about that. While not fully content to make a house-elf work for her family, Molly had to agree that it really was a good idea. She took the measures of all the children and bought robes that were a bit larger, both to allow for some growth and to make sure Dobby would not lack material for adjusting sizes.

It turned out alright, they all agreed, and Dobby seemed to have a lot of fun when adjusting the clothing. "You's may call Dobby to make more changes when at school, if you need them larger or fitter. Dobby likes changing clothes."

Once they got their books, Hermione started reading them attentively, as expected. This time, Harry did the same. Only Ron complained. "You're both burying yourselves in books and I have nothing to do. What kind of friends are you?"

"We're the kind of friends who want to do well in their studies. Isn't that why we go to school in the first place?" Harry replied.

"Well… it is, but that's no fun. Besides, we'll have time enough to read them at school," Ron insisted.

Harry knew how to respond. "Have you finished reading all the books from last school year?"

"Of course not!" Ron sounded indignant. "I only read what we had to, for class. Mostly."

"So, you had your parents spend their money for nothing, not even bothering to read these books? Shame on you!"

"It's no fun reading school books!" Ron retorted with his usual reply.

Harry turned serious. "Ron, school is not mainly for fun. School is for learning and preparing us for the future. No matter what you think you're going to do, life tends to put us on different roads than we plan, as my life shows. Life may also present you with new opportunities. It would be a pity to not be able to take them due to a lack of knowledge that you should have learned at school."

Ron seemed to give that a reluctant consideration. Harry pressed on. "Besides, with Voldemort at large, I can't let myself lack knowledge. Anything I miss may turn out to be crucial. I can't risk it."

Ron sighed. "Well, I can see why you take it so seriously, but I'm not ready for that. It's no fun spending all my time on studies.

Harry just looked exasperatedly at him and rejoined Hermione. "You knew it was going to be just a waste of time, didn't you?" she noted.

"I knew, but I still had to try. He's still our friend and I care for him." Harry sounded both apologetic and determined.

She shrugged. "With such an attitude, I'm not sure he can stay our friend for much longer. If he drifts any further in his studies, he may become a liability that we can't afford, not with Voldemort lurking around. We may be better befriending Neville or some students from other houses."

Harry sighed. "You're probably right, but I'd hate to lose a friend."

"So would I," she assured him.


Time seemed to pass quickly, although very effectively. Their training advanced nicely. Physically, the Potters were fit enough to climb the stairs to the attic and come back to ground floor three times in a row before starting to breathe heavily. Ron could barely do it once. Their battle training was also going well. By the end of August, they could easily use the most powerful shields or conjure solid objects to shield against the unforgivables. Their arsenal of curses and hexes was much larger than a few weeks earlier, although nowhere near what they would have liked it to be. Both were also able to pour much more power into their casting. While Harry was much more powerful, more powerful than all the adults they were training with, Hermione's power was also growing nicely. They were still wondering about what could cause that change in her.

As August was reaching its end, Hermione thought it was time for packing. "I can't see how I could fit all the books I'd like us to take in such small trunks. Can't we find trunks like the one you told me fake Moody had, one with several magically enlarged compartments?"

Harry smiled at her. "That's an excellent idea! The only problem is that we may need to go to the Alley for that, and you know how they keep us protected."

Hermione wouldn't be deterred. "We're emancipated, so they have no right to hold us here against our will. Besides, I think we need to take a few more books from our vaults, so we may need to go to Gringotts anyway."

Sirius wasn't thrilled with the idea, but he knew better than to stand between Hermione and her books. "I'll ask Remus and Tonks to escort you. Use glamours wherever possible, to not be recognized." He gave them each a necklace with a dog pendant. "These are voice-activated portkeys to take you here when you say my animagus name. I made them using some secret family magic that's supposed to make them function even where there are anti-portkey wards. Keep them on at all times, once you leave this house."

The teens accepted the necklaces with thankful smiles and hugged him tightly. Harry knew that although Sirius liked the hugs and seemed to be satisfied with their protection, he would still be very anxious until they returned.

They started with the trunk shop, buying two five-segment trunks with all security and comfort enhancements. They could hold the contents of a full house and still stay not much heavier than the weight of the wood used to build the trunks. Harry's trunk had the fifth segment similar to Moody's – containing a fully furnished apartment that could come handy in emergencies, or just to get some peace and quiet when needed. Both trunks could also be shrunk and made lighter by tapping one's wand to the handle.

With the shrunk trunks in their pockets, Hermione was enthusiastic to visit their vaults and fill her trunk with books. Well, only three compartments. She decided to save the remaining two for her clothes and school stuff, that now filled her old trunk to the brim.

Harry also took quite a few books, mainly from the Slytherin vault. He thought that such books, only readable by a parselmouth, might contain certain information not otherwise found.


They spent the next day packing most of the rest of their stuff, only leaving out some clothes and books that they needed for the remaining two nights.

"What did you do in your rooms for so long?" Ron asked when they finally joined the others, only a short time before they all needed to retire for the night.

"We packed for school. You should also pack ahead of time," Hermione told him.

"Why should I? We still have two more days of vacation. We shouldn't waste them on school stuff. There's no fun in that." It made Harry feel like Ron was distancing himself another pace with that answer.

"Ron, as Prefects, we need to be early at the train station. We can't afford to wait for you to pack at the last moment. If you want to come with us you'd better have it all packed by tomorrow night. Otherwise, somebody will need to take you side-along when you're ready, or you may even miss the train," Harry told his stubborn friend.

"I'm mostly packed already," Ginny said.

"Our trunks are packed too. We only left out what we need handy until we leave," the twins said.

Ron felt a bit cheated by his siblings. "Alright, alright! I'll make sure to pack everything before going to bed tomorrow." He then muttered something under his breath. Harry was almost sure it was, "although there's not any fun in that."

They had their last training session for the summer the next day. Remus seemed very pleased with them, although he refrained from praising them too much. "You've advanced quite nicely during the few weeks we had for training. I expect you to continue training on your own during the school term."

He then turned to the whole group. "I'm pleased to say that all of you made some progress with this training. While every one of you has a place for improvement, each is much better prepared for the fight that may come sooner than any of us would like. I suggest that you all keep training, both physically and magically, so you'd be in top condition, whenever the need arises."

A bit later, during dinner, Sirius informed them of the arrangements for the next day. "I've rented a minibus with a chauffeur to take you all to the train station, Muggle style. Remus, Tonks, Molly and Arthur will be your guards. The driver is a squib, but you should still refrain from using any magic there. We shall make sure to lighten your trunks before you leave. The minibus will be waiting near no. 14 at ten o'clock and will leave fifteen minutes later, to account for the traffic. Make sure you're on it before that time." His eyes stayed firmly on Ron, who squirmed a little in his seat.

"The Granger couple will be probably waiting for you there," Sirius added, looking at the Potter couple. Unknown to them, he had called the Granger clinic one morning, using his animagus form to safely leave the house and reach a far enough phone booth. He knew how important this short meeting would be for all involved.

After dinner, the Potters joined Ron in his room, making sure that everything was packed, leaving out only his pyjama and the clothes he would need in the morning. Dobby had already promised to clean and pack the clothes they were all wearing during the night.


The first morning of September was a busy morning. Harry and Hermione had their morning exercises, although nobody else seemed inclined to do that, showered, changed and were ready for breakfast even before Ron woke up. Only the smell of sausage and egg brought him to the kitchen, groggily rubbing his eyes. Due to everybody else pushing him, Ron was able to get ready and board the minibus just on time.

As expected, it took more than half an hour to reach Kings Cross station. By the time they reached platform nine, it was almost eleven. Hermione spotted her parents and ran to hug them, letting Harry follow more leisurely. With the hugs and greetings over, Jean looked at them critically. "You both look happy. I think you're also fitter. How can that be?"

Hermione smiled happily. "Oh, we're exercising each morning, the way Daddy usually does, and we're training our other abilities each afternoon. That should explain our physical fitness. I hope we can keep training that way at school too."

Jean smiled. "Don't forget to also have some fun. It's expected at your age."

"Oh, we have lots of fun together," Hermione told her, making Dave grimace. "Besides, Ron seems to judge everything only by how much fun it gives him. As long as he's our friend, he won't let us forget that."

"Is there a problem there?" Dave asked, somewhat worriedly.

Hermione sighed. "Well, with such an immature attitude, I'm not sure we can stay friends for much longer, unless he grows up a bit."

They didn't have time for much more talking. The Weasley were passing through the barrier and they had to do that too. Some more hugs and greetings were exchanged and then the young couple passed through the barrier.

"We should wear our Prefect badges now," Hermione reminded Harry.

"Already done," he said, pointing at the badge on his shirt pocket.

They first mounted the train, leaving Crookshanks and Hedwig with their friends, and then descended and went near the barrier, ready to help any first-year students, and even older ones.

As Harry was standing there, holding his wife's hand, he was thinking back on his summer. Despite the way it had started, with Voldemort returning and Cedric killed, it turned out to be a good summer for him. Of course, the Dementors kissing his relatives wasn't something good either, but he didn't feel like their demise was any loss for humanity in general, nor for him, personally.

Then there was Hermione, without whom he could no longer contemplate his life. She brought joy and love into his life, and a lot of fun, although Ron might not be able to understand that. Studying with her was no chore – it was fun, for him. And there was the physical aspect as well, one he could only talk about with her.

Of course, Sirius and Remus also helped make this summer much more significant, come to think of that. He was glad Sirius was going to get his trial soon and become a free man again.

Still, what he was really looking forward to was sharing his life with his wife. He knew there would be difficulties. He knew they had a war ahead. He still didn't think these would change anything, as long as he had Hermione at his side.

Some more students were passing through the barrier. Harry let his mind come back to the present. He had a job to do and he would do it to the best of his ability. As for the future – he'd worry about it later.

With that determination, he smiled at the younger students and welcomed them for the new term, along with Hermione. For a while, all was well.


A.N. Summer ends and so does this story. I know that many of you would like it to continue. I may write a sequel some time in the future, but don't hold your breath. With more than thirty (yes, 30!) stories in various stages of writing, I almost have to fight new ideas from distracting me while trying to finish other stories. Still, if you want certain things to happen in that possible-maybe-sequel, then write to me and I'l try my best.