AUTHOR'S NOTE This is it! This is the end! Thank Merlin! Thanks for reading, even though this story wasn't that great (grin). And I hope everyone is as excited as I am for Half-Blood Prince tonight!
DISCLAIMER Don't own em. Otherwise I'd be making a lot of money tomorrow…
The group was joined by Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing, who wasn't pleased about giving the students and Professor Snape the mysterious antedote. But all of her reservations melted when Dumbledore poured just a few drops in Neville's mouth and the boy's eyes fluttered open.
He swallowed a few times and muttered weakly, "Professor Dumbledore?"
"On Neville!" Hermione cried, throwing herself on his bed. Ron, Harry, and the twins cheered.
They quickly repeated the process with Ginny, Luna, and Professor Snape. Harry and Hermione stayed with Neville, while Ron, Fred, and George sat with their sister, Professor Sinistra with Luna, and Dumbledore and McGonagall with Snape. Professor Madison waited near the door with Bricilla.
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Cho watching them all, looking slightly wistful. Harry left Neville's side and beckoned Professor Madison over.
"Yes Harry?" she asked as she arrived.
"What will happen to Cho, Professor?" he asked. "Madam Pomfrey's potions won't help her if she keeps refusing to take them."
She looked at him, a hint of a smile playing on her lips. "Now Harry, you wouldn't have been listening to that conversation we had when Cho was first brought to the hospital now would you?" Harry blushed and she laughed. "Don't worry, I won't turn you in." Her expression grew somber. "But I'm afraid Cho is going to need a lot more than just Pepper-Up Potion. She has to want to get better. Right now she doesn't."
Harry sighed. "Maybe if I go talk to her, it will help."
Professor Madison nodded. "It couldn't hurt."
Hesitantly, Harry approached Cho's bed. She looked at him with mild interest. "Hi Cho," he said. "How are you feeling?"
She shrugged. "Okay," she said indifferently.
Harry paused, at a loss. "Ravenclaw's Quidditch team will miss you when you're gone next year."
Another shrug. "I guess."
Harry sat back sadly. He felt a hand on his shoulder and saw Dumbledore looking down at him. "Come Harry. We must let Miss Chang rest now." Harry nodded and let Dumbledore lead him to the door.
Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, Amy Madison, and Professor McGonagall left the hospital wing and headed back to their residences with much lighter hearts. Professor Sinistra led Bricilla away. Harry paused with Dumbledore outside the closed doors.
"Professor, will Cho be okay?" Harry asked quietly.
Dumbledore sighed heavily. "Miss Chang has been hurt very deeply. It will take some time for her to recover, both physically and otherwise."
Fighting the prickly beginnings of tears, Harry just nodded. "Uh, and Professor?" he asked as Dumbledore turned to leave.
The old wizard turned. "Yes Harry?"
"Bricilla. I mean, she's a good, I don't think, she didn't mean to hurt anyone, but she isn't coming back to Hogwarts again?" he finally managed to ask. "Is she?"
It took a long time for Dumbledore to answer. "No Harry. She is not."
"Where will she go?"
"There is a foundation in London that will be able to help her learn to control herself," he answered. "She will also further her education with them."
Harry smiled. "Good. I'm glad she'll still be able to learn."
Dumbledore put a kind, comforting hand on Harry's shoulder. "It's been a long day, Harry. Best get back to your dormitory and relax."
Although Harry doubted that there was any form of relaxation in his future, he nodded and headed off toward Gryffindor Tower.
The news of Bricilla spread like wildfire. Neville, Ginny, Luna, and Professor Snape were back to normal not long after taking Bricilla's antedote. Bricilla herself had been removed from the school and sent to London.
All of a sudden, the school year was over. No one was really surprised when Professor Madison announced that she would not be returning to the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, were surprised to hear of her summer plans.
"Are you insane?" Ron asked Fred as he packed his trunk. "You're leaving the shop?"
Fred stopped short. "Absolutely not!" he replied, aghast. "I'm just taking a leave of absence while Amy and I go on a little recruiting mission for the Order. American wizards are in as much danger as we are from You-Know-Who."
"I'm watching the shop," George said.
Ron wasn't paying attention. "Amy?" he repeated. "Professor Madison is taking you the America?"
Laughing, Fred said, "She isn't our professor anymore, little brother. Besides, I'm a bit excited to see America." Ron just shook his head in amused disbelief.
Before anyone knew it, it was time to go home. Fred and George said a fond farewell before Fred departed with Amy. George seemed quite content to have the newly graduated Alicia Spinnet helping him in the shop.
Harry watched the scarlet Hogwarts Express pull into the Hogsmeade station, ambivalent at best about going back to the Dursley's for the summer. Ron came up quietly beside him. "This is it," he murmured. "Our last summer before we graduate."
Mutely, Harry nodded. Ron's words had far more impact than he'd realized. This summer was much more than just their last break from school.
It had been a whole year and Voldemort had been silent. And of course, Harry, Ron, and Hermione had had to stop a murderous plot (in a way) so the year wasn't a quiet one, but that put Harry on edge. Voldemort had been exposed to the world and Harry was sure that he was none too pleased with it.
He peered out the window as they started speeding away from the quaint countryside that had come to mean home. A knot of dread had already begun to form in the pit of Harry's stomach. If Voldemort had been this quiet for so long, it could only mean one thing.
Something much, much bigger was coming next.