George stared mournfully out the window. What had he done wrong? What had he done to make her run away from him? Maybe he had been pressuring her like Ron had said, and maybe she had just been afraid to tell him. But she had seemed so happy that last day they had spent together. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"Bugger," he muttered. "Bugger." It was nearly the end of summer. Two more days and Ron and Ginny would be boarding the Hogwarts Express with Harry Potter and Hermione. He would probably never see her again.
There was suddenly a soft knock at the door. "Come in," George called glumly.
"How are you getting on?" Fred asked, coming up behind him.
"I must have written a hundred letters to her, Fred," he said. "She hasn't answered a single one. I don't know what happened. One minute she was fine, the next...it's almost as if we're on different planets. I think I love her, Fred, and now I don't know what to do." George pushed open the window, grateful for the cool breeze; the summer had been so long and hot, and they had hardly gotten any rain.
At some point during George's speech, Fred had sat down. He fingered the quilt on the bed absently. "You love her, George?"
He shrugged. "I can't see why her doing this to me hurts so much. I mean, I must." George felt like he was talking to himself now, and really, he was. "I think I'm going insane. If I could just get some sign that she's all right."
Hermione stared coldly out the window of the Hogwarts Express. Harry was with her. She didn't know where Ron was, though she assumed he was with the other prefects in their compartment. She had refused to sit with them. Somehow it didn't feel right anymore. But the truth was that nothing felt right. Hogwarts didn't even feel right. The only thing that seemed right was crying, but she was done with tears. They never solved anything.
George had sent her so many letters, and she had read every one of them, biting her bottom lip the whole time. She had them with her, she never went anywhere without them. She had written back once or twice, but could never bring herself to send them. They would not have made up for what she had done anyway.
"Hermione, you okay?" Harry had put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm just tired, that's all," she lied, her eyes fixed on the horizon. They seemed frozen to that spot.
"You can't keep this up, Hermione," Harry said. She almost sensed a tinge of annoyance to his voice.
"Keep what up?"
"The way you're acting."
"Once I get back to Hogwarts, I'll be fine," Hermione said, trying to convince herself more than anything. "I need the schoolwork to occupy my mind." She exhaled. "I'll be fine in a week. You'll see."
Harry said nothing after that, and the Hogwarts Express moved swiftly down the tracks, over the grassy hills, across the rivers. Hermione would go back to normal, he thought to himself. She had to. Harry found himself almost looking forward to Ron and Hermione's next big row, since they seemed to have one every year. He got excited every time she showed some sign of being the way she used to be--he nearly enjoyed it when she corrected his grammar. And soon she was back to the way she had always been. It had taken three weeks, but she was normal again. Ron had made some rude comment about her and Viktor Krum and she had smashed a slate over his head, and that how it all came into the place. The long, dry summer was finally over.