Disclaimer: Yeah, this is the last time that I type this. I don't own anything, but one of the best authors in the world, J.K. Rowling, does!
A/N: Wow! Its been a long adventure, but we're only half-way through. This is officially the last chapter of Say Goodnight, Not Goodbye. To be honest, I can't believe that I actually made it this far. It was all the encouragement and pleading with me to update that kept me going. Almost two years in the making and it's finally finished. All I can say is that no matter what, I hope all of you continue to read my stories, including the sequel to this one, and keep on reviewing! If it weren't for you guys, the fic wouldn't be as successful as it is! I love you guys and thank you very much for everything that you've done. I would thank all of you personally, but that would take forever, so I hope you can accept this as my thanks to you. E-mail me anytime you need anything or just wanna chat! Enjoy the LAST edition of SGNG! -LilyK
Chapter 34: Everything's Different Now
Ginny laughed loudly as she watched her best friend dance wildly with her raven-haired boyfriend. Mostly every Gryffindor, and a few other people from the other remaining houses currently resided in the common room, celebrating the end of the year and the graduation of some of their fellow classmates. What with You-Know-Who not even making a peep for the last couple of months, people were still worried, but were trying to enjoy the last few moments of silence before the never ending war that they knew would eventually come. Even Harry seemed to be forgetting at the time, even more when he was with Stephanie. Besides, he'd rather have a beautiful girl consuming his every thought instead of a demented wizard who was obviously hell bent on getting revenge.
"Oi, Hermione!" Ron screamed over the music that boomed out of the magically enchanted speakers.
"Yes, Ron?" Hermione asked, turning away from her conversation with Neville.
Ron held up a cup full of a red substance, his eyebrows raised curiously. "You haven't drank any of this, have you?" he asked.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Of course not, Ron. How stupid do you think I am?"
He let out a relieved sigh. "Good, because I really didn't want to deal with a drunk Hermione tonight. Even though Fred and George aren't here, you can never be too careful," Ron said, eyeing the liquid with suspicion.
Hermione giggled at the serious look on his face.
Ron looked over at his girlfriend with a grin. "What are you laughing about? Are you sure you haven't been drinking anything?"
Hermione playfully swatted him on the arm. "I'm quite positive, Ron. Besides, I saw Seamus and Dean sneak plenty of bottles of vodka in earlier, so I don't think that the punch in your hand is just punch," she informed, while glancing at Seamus who was currently running around and flapping his arms like a chicken.
Ron snorted, his eyes following hers. "I think that you're right, Hermione."
"He better be glad that today was the last day of school, otherwise everyone would be talking about this for the rest of the year," said Ginny, appearing behind them.
"You haven't drunk any of the punch, have you?" Ron asked his little sister worriedly. He definitely didn't want to deal with a drunk Ginny. On her fifteenth birthday, Fred and George decided to mix all her drinks with Firewhiskey and of course, the outcome wasn't pretty. The rest of the evening consisted of Ginny throwing up on everyone and then beating the shit out of her brothers.
"Definitely not," Ginny answered, eyeing the drink with disgust. She had a no tolerance level for any kind of alcohol.
Hermione shook her head. "Poor Seamus. He probably won't even remember any of this in the morning."
Ginny laughed. "I think he'd rather not remember, Hermione. I know that if it was me in his situation, I definitely wouldn't want to remember any of it." Who the hell would be able to live down the embarrassment of acting like a freaking chicken?
"Maybe I should go over there and stop him before he does something even more stupid," Ron suggested, feeling a little sorry for the idiotic way his roommate was acting.
"What are you two doing?" Stephanie exclaimed, throwing an arm around Hermione and Ginny. "You two are supposed to be having fun. Go dance or something!"
"We are having fun," Hermione replied, watching Seamus and Dean take turns giving Ron and Harry really big hugs while screaming, 'I love you,' at them over and over again.
Stephanie smirked at Harry's panicked expression, only to start laughing as he desperately tried prying Dean's hands from around his neck. It looked like the boy was choking the life out of him.
Ginny gave her friends a mischievous grin. "I'm definitely going to remember this moment."
Hermione smiled. "Ron would die if Fred and George could see this."
"Exactly," said Ginny, still grinning like an idiot.
Stephanie shook her finger at the red-headed girl. "You bad little girl. I think you've been hanging out with me for way too long."
Ginny snorted. "Like I didn't know that," she remarked smartly.
Knowing that it was a joke, Stephanie only replied with a small smile. Right now she was too busy thinking about Harry and some of the 'bad' things that she could do to him later on, so she didn't have the time to think of a comeback.
"I better go help Ron," Hermione laughed. "He looks like he's about to pass out from the lack of oxygen," she said before walking across the room.
"So, where's Blaise at?" Ginny asked Stephanie only seconds later, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.
The Slytherin eyed her friend knowingly. She knew Ginny couldn't care less where Blaise was. It was who was with him that mattered. "They," she began, stressing the word, "are back in our private common room playing chess."
"Chess?" Ginny asked, disbelieving. "They've got to be out of their bloody mind."
Stephanie took a sip of her butterbeer, feigning curiosity. "Why's that?"
Ginny shrugged. "Well, there's a perfectly good party going on and they're playing the most boring game ever," she replied, twirling a strand of her hair around her finger. She knew that Stephanie knew why she was so interested as to what they were busy doing, and was thankful that her friend didn't mention the real reason. She really was trying to keep him off of her mind, but it just didn't seem to be working.
"Like they would feel comfortable in a room full of Gryffindors. These people make it quite obvious that they hate them," Stephanie said, giving Ginny a meaningful look.
Ginny sighed wearily. "I don't hate him at all," she whispered, but loud enough so only Stephanie could hear her.
"I know that, Gin," Stephanie told her quietly. "But I don't think that he does."
Ginny rubbed her arms, shivering from the feeling of sadness that cursed through her heart, engulfing it in a dark cloud. "I just don't know what to do," she admitted, her voice filled with emotion.
"How about this?" Stephanie asked, hugging her with one arm. "Why don't you tell him that yourself?"
Ginny opened her mouth to protest, but the other girl stopped her.
"You've got to look at it this way, Ginny," she began, picking up Junior, the cat that Harry had gotten her that past Christmas from the floor, before he could claw Crooshanks eyes out, "you're going to have to talk to him eventually. I mean, you are going to be living with him for the whole summer, which just happens to start tomorrow," Stephanie reminded her. "It wouldn't kill the two of you to be civil to each other. But you've got to be the one to decide that you're going to forgive him or forget him, Ginny."
Ginny nodded. "Don't you think I know that? It just hurts so much to think that he was lying to me all of that time," she explained tearfully.
"I know, Gin. But he's hurting too, you know?" Stephanie advised her. "And I know he feels like absolute shit for making you feel like absolute shit."
"You think so?" Ginny asked hopefully. Not that she hoped he felt like shit or anything, it would just mean that a part of him still cared for her.
Stephanie snorted. "The boy has been acting like he's lost the most important thing in the world, Ginny." She smiled at her. "Hmm, I wonder what or who that could be?"
Ginny replied with a smile of her own. "Do you think he and Blaise would like to come up here for awhile? You know, just to celebrate graduation and everything," she suggested, coming up with an excuse just to see him.
Stephanie pretended to be in deep thought. "I don't know, Gin. Maybe you should go to my common room and invite them yourself," she said, grinning.
For some reason, Ginny discovered the courage to do just that.
"What the bloody hell kind of move was that?" Draco demanded angrily, watching as his best friend won the game for the third time in a row.
Blaise smirked. "It's called checkmate, idiot."
Draco growled, slouching back in his chair.
"Oh stop pouting, you big baby," Blaise said, rolling his eyes, but laughing on the inside at his friend's antics. This git was just to easy to rile up, and of course, that's why Blaise liked the fact that he was his best mate. Making fun of Draco never got boring in the least.
The blond crossed his arms in annoyance. "I'm bored. We've been playing this game for almost five hours now."
"You're just mad because you only won two times," Blaise said knowingly. He knew that Draco couldn't stand to lose to anyone.
Draco sneered at him. "Whatever. I'm still better than you," he stated, only to realize a minute later how childish that had sounded.
"Sure, mate. You keep telling yourself that," Blaise laughed.
Draco ignored him, his eyes searching for something that seemed to be missing. "Hey, where did Stephanie go?" he asked, ending their banter for the time being.
"She went to the Gryffindor common room like two hours ago, remember?" Blaise asked him while watching the pieces of the chess set move back to their original places.
Draco frowned. "Oh, right." He'd forgotten that every house would be celebrating graduation along with the last day of school. He wondered if Ginny was as bored as he was at that very moment. Not bloody likely.
Blaise sighed. "Yep. She told me that we should come, but I didn't think that you'd want to go, what with...well, you know what I'm talking about," he finished carefully, not wanting to truly upset his friend. He might get a kick out of annoying him and making him as mad as a hatter, but he didn't enjoy it when Draco was really upset over something.
Draco remained silent at Blaise's words, knowing that he didn't need to reply. Of course he wouldn't want to go into a room full of go-happy Gryffs. He especially didn't feel like seeing Ginny look at him with those sad, bright-brown eyes of hers. It would only make him feel like utter shit again.
Blaise blew out a long, boring sigh. "So, how about another game of chess?"
Draco shook his head. "Too boring."
"How about exploding snap?" Blaise offered, trying desperately to come up with something that would occupy them for a little while. He felt weird knowing that in less than twenty four hours, he, along with Draco, Stephanie, and four other Gryffindors would be living in the same house for the whole summer. So much had changed in the past year.
"I don't really fancy getting these cinched," Draco said, gesturing towards his arched brows.
Blaise nodded. "Yeah, me neither."
"I'm just going to go ahead and start packing," Draco informed him, rising from his chair.
"But that will ruin my tradition of waking up late on the last day of school and having to stuff everything in my trunk within two minutes," Blaise groaned jokingly.
Draco laughed. "Yeah, I know. Mum would be so proud if she knew that I was packing everything myself instead of demanding one of the house elves to do it for me." Draco felt an unusual pain at the mention of his mother. Maybe it meant that he actually missed her. Oh, who was he kidding? Of course he missed her, she was his mother for Merlin's sake.
Blaise gave his friend a sympathetic smile when he noticed the grimace that marred Draco's face. He could understand the boy's pain, because in a way, he was in the same situation. "Well, uh, I think I'm going to go upstairs and take a shower," he informed, thinking that maybe Draco would like to be alone with his thoughts.
Draco smirked, but felt somewhat grateful that his best mate knew him so well. Not that he'd ever tell him that or anything. "Yeah, you do kind of smell, Zabini," he teased.
Blaise laughed at him, then shook his head and walked up the stairs.
Ginny slowly raised her hand to knock on the portrait that held the Slytherin's crest and a slightly smaller version of Salazaar himself. She was so nervous, she could've sworn that she felt something churning her insides like butter. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that she was finally taking the first step to repair a somewhat normal relationship, if you would even call it that, with Draco. She just prayed that she was doing the right thing. Ginny knew that she'd be living with him, along with five other people for the whole summer, so she needed to make it as peaceful as she could between the two of them. Not just for her sake, but for everyone else around them as well.
Draco gave a weary sigh, rubbing his hands over his tired looking face. Why the bloody hell did Blaise leave him alone just so he could brood over everything? Hell, it wasn't like it helped the fact that he was depressed all the time or in a bad mood. He was seriously considering going to one of those Muggle psychiatrists or whatever they were called. He'd heard Granger talking to Potter about her Aunt having to go to one. Snapping out of his revere Draco looked up from the chess set that had remained in front of him, when a loud knock sounded through the common room. Arching a blonde brow, Draco strode over to the portrait wondering who would be knocking at a time like this. All the professors already knew the password, so they usually knocked and then let themselves in. 'It was probably just Stephanie. She probably can't remember the password because she's drunk,' he mused to himself silently.
If Ginny hadn't ever seen Draco in a state of surprised shock, then she had now. As soon as he opened up the door, his jaw dropped, his grey eyes widened, and he stood frozen in shock. "You look like a fish, Draco," Ginny stated with a giggle.
Draco's mouth automatically closed at her words and he tried to force out a scowl, but it appeared more like a smile. "I'm just surprised to see you, is all," he admitted softly, moving out of her way so she could come in. "Why are you here, Ginny?" his words seemed harsh, but Ginny knew that he was just curious.
Ginny took a seat in a comfy green chair next to the fireplace and cleared her throat awkwardly. "I thought that you and Blaise might like to come celebrate with us instead of playing chess," she said nonchalantly.
"You mean in the Gryffindor common room?" he asked with a tinge of disgust.
Ginny rolled her eyes in annoyance. "You don't have to if you don't want to. I just thought that it'd be nice of me to invite you, since it's obviously very boring here," she observed, shivering at how quiet and cold the room was.
Draco's eyes softened at her movements. Taking his cloak, he draped it over Ginny's shoulders before she could protest. "This should help," he said, running his hands down her shoulders.
She shivered again, but for a totally different reason. "Thank you," she replied softly, offering him a grateful smile. "So how about that party?"
Draco shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, Ginny. What about your brother and Potter? I don't think they'd be to keen on me showing up in their common room."
"They're very busy with Hermione and Stephanie right now, so I don't think they'll even notice," Ginny revealed, hugging Draco's cloak even closer, enjoying how his scent hovered all around her. It was very...comforting in a way. "Besides, even if they do notice, I'm sure that Stephanie will take care of it."
Draco smirked. "I'm sure she will." He nodded, "Alright, I'll come. Just give me a few minutes to get Blaise, okay?"
Ginny grinned. "Sure."
Stephanie and Hermione stood on the other side of the common room, watching as Seamus continue to paw their boyfriends in his drunken stupor. "This is getting really old," Stephanie drawled. For the past thirty minutes she'd wanted to do some serious snogging with Harry, but it looked like Seamus would be the only one getting some action tonight.
"I tried helping, but Seamus just started groping me as well," Hermione said, her face squinted up in irritation.
"Let me see what I can do," Stephanie said, a mischievous glint clearly showing in her hazel tinted eyes as she made her way over towards Harry and his drunken molester.
Ron was beginning to get annoyed. He had really wanted to spend this last night at Hogwarts with his girlfriend, but so far he'd only gotten felt up by one of his shit-faced classmates. "Can't we knock him out?" Ron whined to Harry.
Harry gave him a helpless look. "Okay, Seamus, how about you go upstairs and go to sleep?" Harry asked him slowly as if he were talking to a two year old.
"Or we could give him this," Stephanie said, appearing beside him with a bottle that was half way filled with a murky liquid in her dainty, but strong hand.
"What's that?" Harry asked her curiously.
Stephanie smiled at him, then gave him a quick kiss on the lips. "Just trust me." Turning to Seamus, she grinned evilly, but he didn't seem to notice. "Would you like some of this?"
"Wha ish it?" he slurred, then giggled. "I'm drunk!" he exclaimed, almost spitting in her face.
Stephanie rolled her eyes. "Yes, I can see that. Now this right here, is a really nasty-tasting muggle whiskey, but I assure you that it will knock you off your feet," she answered. "Would you like some of this, Seamus?" she repeated, waving the bottle to and fro in front of his face.
"It don't look like any muggle whishkey I've sheen," he said, suddenly suspicious.
"It's new," she informed simply.
Seamus shrugged. "Alright." Clumsily snatching the bottle out of her hand, he grimaced as he took a large swig and then paled immediately. "I think I'm gonna be sick," he croaked out before rushing up the stairs to the seventh year dormitory, Dean following closely behind.
"What is in that?" Harry asked Stephanie curiously, gesturing towards the bottle that Seamus had dropped on the floor.
Stephanie picked up the bottle, then shrunk it, so she could put it back in her pants pocket. "It's a sobering potion," she answered with a grin.
"Bloody hell, now why didn't we think of that?" Ron asked with a groan.
"Why didn't I think of that?" Hermione echoed from behind Ron.
Stephanie shrugged a shoulder. "I'm the cunning Slytherin, remember?"
"Brilliant is more like it," Harry replied, grinning.
She sighed, "Yes, I know I am. Now, will you please show me just how brilliant you think I am?" Stephanie purred seductively.
Harry's eyes darkened. "It'll be my pleasure."
Ron made a noise of disgust in the back of his throat as he watched his best friend walk away with his arm around a Slytherin.
"Oh, get over yourself, Ron," Hermione demanded tiredly, then dragged him away to her room.
"I told you they wouldn't notice," Ginny told Draco as they walked into the Gryffindor common room. The walk there had been somewhat awkward, and filled with some sort of tension that she couldn't quite place, but it seemed alot more comfortable now.
Draco looked around the room to see if he could spot Potter or Weasley, but they were nowhere to be found. "Where are they?" Some of the Gryffindors in the room were giving him looks that were filled with more than just hatred, but he ignored them. This night was about Ginny.
"I told you that Hermione and Stephanie would occupy them, right?" Ginny recalled, giving him a look.
Draco shuddered in revulsion at the thought of any of them doing something like that. "Lovely imagery, thanks for that picture," he said sarcastically.
Ginny snorted. "My pleasure."
Blaise's dark eyes seemed to search the room, stopping a few seconds later as they landed on a pale, blonde-headed girl.
"Why don't you go and talk to her?" Ginny asked him, noticing where his gaze had drifted.
Blaise nodded, then swallowed the huge lump in his throat. "Yeah, alright."
Draco smirked. "Loony Lovegood?" he snickered as he watched his friend walk over to the Ravenclaw.
Ginny lightly smacked him on the arm. "I'll have you know that Luna is a very bright girl," Ginny said seriously, but her eyes sparkled with laughter.
"Right, she's definitely..." he searched for the right word, "unique," Draco opinionated.
Ginny grinned. "She's definitely that."
Draco smiled at her, his eyes shining with unspoken emotion. Staring at Ginny, hearing her laugh and seeing her smile, made him realize just how much he had missed her. This girl had become everything to him.
Ginny's breath caught in her throat at the look in Draco's eyes. "Um, I'm really really thirsty. Would you like something to drink?" she offered, silently cursing herself for getting so worked up over nothing. 'You cannot think that way about him,' she argued. 'Yes, but look at the way his beautiful hair falls into his soul searching eyes, and how sexy he looks when he gives you that infamous smirk of his,' another voice sounded in her head. 'No, Ginny! Bad thoughts! Very bad thoughts!' she reprimanded herself.
"How about I get them and you find us a seat?" he suggested.
"Yeah, sure," she nodded. 'And while I'm at it, why don't I go take a cold shower, because your smile is making me hot,' Ginny's eyes widened at that sudden thought.
Draco looked at her strangely, but decided to ignore her weird behavior for the moment. "Okay, I'll be back in a minute," he said.
The only seats available in the common room were, ironically, the chairs at the table that held the chess set. After taking a seat, Ginny soon spotted Draco and waved him over.
Handing her a glass of punch, alcohol free of course, Draco sat down across from her and grinned. "Didn't you bring me here so I wouldn't have to play chess?" he teased.
Ginny smiled sheepishly. "They were the only seats that weren't taken," she defended. "Besides, it's alot more fun when you're playing with someone like me."
Draco raised an eyebrow. "Really? Alright, Miss. Weasley, lets see what you've got," he challenged.
Four games and two and a half hours later, Ginny pouted as the words 'checkmate' sounded from Draco's lips once again. Mostly everyone had already gone to bed, but Ginny was determined to stay right there until she won. "I don't get it. Why am I losing to you?" she groaned, crossing her arms.
Draco chuckled. "Maybe because you're very bad at this game," he insulted playfully.
"Oh really?" Ginny jumped to her defense, all the while enjoying the playful banter. "I'll have you know that I was taught by one of the best chess players in the world."
He snorted. "And who exactly would that be?" Draco wondered. "Cause I don't really think that they had any idea what they were doing when they taught you."
'Or maybe it was the fact that I couldn't even concentrate for one minute, because I kept staring at you the entire time,' Ginny thought to herself. "Well I couldn't really concentrate, because I had a shot of firewhiskey earlier and my brain was sort of fuzzy," she said, figuring that excuse was as good as any other.
"Right," Draco drawled. "Or maybe you just couldn't keep your eyes off me," he teased, but couldn't help but hope that there was some truth to his words.
Ginny swallowed hard, getting more nervous by the second. "Or not," she tried to sound firm, but it came out as a shaky breath would, nervous sounding and somewhat frightened of the truth.
Draco's head filled with so many happy thoughts that he thought he would shout for joy. But of course Malfoy's didn't do that, so... but, a part of him felt so much more hope when she expressed that she still cared for him. It made him feel as if one day, he might just get another chance. "Why'd you invite me to come here tonight?" Draco asked her, wanting to know the truth.
Ginny sighed, knowing that even he deserved to know how she felt and what her motives where. It's not like she wanted to drag him along like a dog on a leash, only to tell him later on to run along and get lost. "We're going to be living together for the whole summer, Draco," she said quietly, making sure that no one overheard her. "I know that this summer is going to be hard on all of us, that's why I decided to make some sort of peace with you. There's no need for us not to get along, since the rest of us will have to deal with you, Ron, and Harry all living under the same roof," Ginny explained. "I don't want you to think that this is a way for us to get back together, because it's not. I'm not ready for something like that," she admitted.
Draco nodded in understanding, knowing all along that it wasn't going to be that easy to get back with Ginny. It was going to take time, but that didn't matter one bit, because for Ginny, he had all the time in the world. "I'm just glad that you're actually talking to me," Draco said honestly.
Ginny smiled. "Me too. It's very different though," she observed.
"Why's that?" he asked.
"Well, we've never had a normal kind of conversation before," Ginny replied. "So it's different, but also nice."
Draco nodded, smiling. "Yes, yes it is." Glancing down at his watch, his eyes widened at the time that was shown.
"What? What time is it?" Ginny asked, wondering what had caused that sort of expression.
"It's two o'clock in the morning, Ginny," he said, not believing that the time had gone by so fast.
"Well, I guess I'm going to be cranky in the morning," she joked.
Draco smiled. "Yes, well I'd better be off to bed myself. Knowing Stephanie, she'll probably have me up at seven in the morning to make sure that I have everything packed and ready to go," Draco said dryly. Oh, he just couldn't wait.
"Hopefully she wore herself out with Harry," Ginny giggled.
Draco groaned, disgusted with the image that seemed to be firmly planted in his brain. "Hopefully she'll wake me up at seven in the morning," he said, praying to Merlin that she did. He didn't want to have to kick Potter's ass on the first day of summer break.
"I'm sure she will," she reassured him as they walked to the portrait.
"Well, this was nice," Draco told her, "we'll have to do it again sometime soon."
"Of course we will," Ginny promised him with a smile. Leaning up on her toes, she gave him a soft, lingering kiss on the cheek, for once ignoring the worry that always seemed to accompany her when she was around him. "Goodnight, Draco," she said softly, pulling away somewhat reluctantly.
Draco smiled to himself, his heart hammering against his chest. "Goodnight, Ginny."
Hermione awoke to the loud beeping of her alarm clock on the chester by her bed. Quickly shutting it off, so she wouldn't wake anyone, Hermione slipped on her shoes and headed towards the bathroom to get ready. Every morning on the last day of school, for the past six years, seven now, including today, she'd done just this. She would get up at six in the morning, then take a long bubble bath, while contemplating everything that had occurred throughout that year. Now, as Hermione laid in that same bathtub, with that same scent of vanilla wafting through the air, she couldn't believe how different everything was and just how different everything else would become.
"Good morning, sunshine!" Stephanie's loud, but cheery voice echoed throughout the boy's dormitory, which was immediately followed with a annoyed groan from the only red head in the room.
"Get your bloody nutcase of a girlfriend out of here, Potter," Ron grumbled, putting his pillow over his head, hoping that it might block out the noise.
Stephanie put her hands on her hips and looked down at the peacefully sleeping boy in the bed before her, her eyes glaring at him with disapproval, but her smile saying something totally different. "Harry James Potter!" she yelled.
Harry awoke with a start when he heard a scream, bumping his head on the corner of his nightstand in the process. "Bloody hell," he muttered, holding his forehead with one head and reaching for his glasses with another.
Ron threw the pillow across the room, then grumpily made his way towards the bathroom muttering something about, 'not getting enough sleep,' and something along the lines of, 'stupid Harry and his stupid girlfriend.'
Dean and Seamus didn't even blink when Stephanie had made her presence known. They had been smart enough to apply a silencing charm around their bed the night before, due to the splitting headache that they knew would eventually come. Neville, of course, had already been up for the past two hours and had headed down to breakfast an hour before.
Harry stared at Stephanie with a confused look on his face. "What are you doing up here?" he wondered out loud, than gazed at her adoringly. "Am I dreaming?" he asked teasingly.
Stephanie tried to scoff at him, but ending up laughing. "I don't know, Mr. Potter. What exactly would be happening right now if this was a dream?" she asked playfully, slowly sitting herself on his lap.
"Hmm," Harry pretended to think for a moment, "probably something alot like this," he answered, then let out a low groan when she nipped his ear lightly with her teeth. Losing self control, Harry pulled her in for a soft, sensual kiss that made Stephanie's blood boil.
Ron walked out of the bathroom, only to find Harry in the middle of a hot and heavy make out session with his Slytherin girlfriend. "Oh shit, my eyes! My eyes!"
Ginny threw her hair into a messy ponytail and wiped the sweat off her brow. Who knew that packing could be such a hard job?
"I told you to pack yesterday," Hermione reminded her for the tenth time in the last hour. "Now you're running around like a chicken with it's head cut off," she said, observing the mess that was Ginny's room. Clothes littered her bed and the floor, while her make up and jewelry laid scattered all over the place.
Ginny sighed. "Isn't this what house elves are for?"
Hermione glared at her friend. "I would think not. You know that house elves shouldn't be treated in such a way!" she declared passionately.
Ginny nodded. "Yeah, yeah, I know that, Hermione. Remember? I fully supported you when you created SPEW," she defended.
"Not SPEW, it's S.P.E.W!
"How hard is it to remember? S.P.E.W. people!"
Ginny gazed at her Hermione like she was crazy, but shrugged it off. "Whatever, I'm hungry. How about I finish this after we fill up our very empty stomachs?" she suggested and her stomach growled in agreement.
"Sure thing, Ron," Hermione joked.
"Alright, SPEW girl."
"Hermione, I can't eat anything. Harry and his nutty girlfriend took away my appetite!" Ron complained, trying not to claw out his eyes.
Stephanie glared at him. "I do have a name, you know."
"Yes, Stephanie, we know," Ginny interrupted before they could argue. "But I don't blame Ron for being disgusted," she laughed.
"Thank you, Ginny!" Ron exclaimed, actually thankful.
Harry snorted. "Oh, would you shut up, Ron? I don't exactly like walking in on two of my best friends getting it on in the common room."
Ginny grimaced. "Now I wouldn't want to see something like that either. Especially since it involves my brother."
Hermione blushed, but remained calm and studied her apple as if it were the first time she'd ever seen one.
Ron scoffed, ignoring his sister. "Well that's different, Harry."
"How so?" Harry inquired.
"Uh...well, um, I..." Ron stuttered. "It just is!"
Harry rolled his eyes. "My point exactly."
Ginny and Stephanie watched them in amusement, trying not to laugh. Stephanie turned to the red-headed pixie with a big grin on her face. "So, I heard you and Draco had fun last night."
Ginny's eyes widened, then darted to her brother's. "I, uh...don't have any idea what you're talking about," she protested lamely.
Hermione laid a restraining hand on Ron's arm and moved closer, so she could whisper in his ear. "Don't say a word, Ronald Weasley. This has to do with your sister, not you," she finished firmly and sighed with relief when Ron's shoulders sagged in defeat.
Ginny could only watch in surprised amazement as Ron nodded slightly at something that Hermione had to say and then continued to munch on a piece of toast as if he hadn't heard anything. Even Harry and Stephanie seemed surprised at his reaction, but they didn't say a word.
'I'll tell you later,' Ginny mouthed to Stephanie.
"So we're spending the whole summer with a bunch of Gryffindors," Blaise summarized, his tone sort of bitter.
Draco turned around after silently observing the room that he had spent the past few months in. He'd always imagined this day totally different. "It's better than what was originally planned, isn't it?" Draco stated, just thankful that he had a place to stay this summer.
Blaise shrugged. "Yeah, I guess you're right. I'd rather spend an eternity with Potter and Weasley than a few months with Voldemort," he admitted.
Draco winced. "I don't know about that."
"It won't be all that bad," Blaise laughed.
"I'm just relieved that Ginny and I are finally making some sort of progress," Draco informed. "Speaking of progress," he smirked, "how goes it with that Lovegood girl?" he asked curiously.
"Just fine, Draco, thanks for asking," he drawled nonchalantly.
Draco continued to smirk.
"What?" Blaise asked irritably.
"You do know that she's a loony, right?"
"I really can't believe that it's already the last day of school," Hermione said, taking a seat beside Ron on the steps that led to the entrance of Hogwarts.
Harry nodded in agreement, watching as the Giant squid played in the lake far off in the distance. "I know. It seems like it was only yesterday that I first flew on a broom, so I could save Neville's remembrall."
"Or me telling Ron that he had dirt on his nose," Hermione smiled, giving Ron's hand a squeeze.
"Defeating the chess set," Ron recalled with pride, sneaking a look at his gorgeous girlfriend. He still couldn't believe how lucky he was.
Harry's eyes darkened with depression. "Cho and Cedric. My parents," he croaked, but covered it up by clearing his throat.
Hermione gave him a sympathetic look.
"And Dad," Ron said, quickly wiping away the tears that filled his eyes.
Hermione couldn't help but let a few tears fall, even though she desperately wanted to be strong for her best friends. "Professor Snape," she said quickly, hoping that it might ease some of the tension that came with the mention of all the important people that had been lost.
And of course, she wasn't disappointed. Harry and Ron snickered at the thought of there most hated, greasy haired Professor. "I definitely won't be missing Snape," Ron laughed.
"He's the last thing that I'll miss about Hogwarts," Harry agreed.
Hermione shook her head. "You have to admit that he was a very intelligent Potions master though," she voiced her opinion fearlessly.
Harry and Ron stared at her as if she had a second head, but she just laughed at them. "Oh come on," she defended. "Even you have to admit that."
Ron grinned. "You're definitely barmy enough for me, Mione. That's why I love you so much," he teased her.
"I love you too, Ron," Hermione smiled.
Harry pretended to make gagging noises in the back of his throat, but all he could think about was how happy he was that his best friends had finally found each other.
Ron slapped him on the back. "Shut up, Harry. At least we aren't having a full make out session, groping included."
Harry appeared horrified. "I was not groping her!" he lied.
"Sure you weren't," Hermione replied with a grin.
"Oh, man," Harry sighed happily, "I'm definitely going to miss this place."
Ron nodded. "Without Hogwarts, we wouldn't be the people that we are today."
Hermione smiled at them. "I love you, guys!" she cried, pulling them into a heart felt group hug.
They laughed. "We love you too, Hermione," they said in unison, grinning at each other over her brown hair. In that exact moment, with only one nod; which seemed as good as their word, they vowed to be there for each other, no matter what.
"Bye, Luna! I'll see you next year!" Ginny waved to the girl, praying that there would actually be a next year. The trio, plus Ginny and Stephanie, were currently telling everyone goodbye, since they wouldn't be doing so on the train.
"Be good, lil' sis," Stephanie told Mandy, giving her a big hug.
Mandy rolled her eyes, but grinned. "I will, I promise."
Stephanie pointed her finger at Dennis, "You better treat her right, or I'll be tempted to rip out your jugular," she threatened.
Dennis gulped. "I will," he squeaked, before mumbling something about having to help Colin with his bags.
"Don't threaten my boyfriend!" Mandy exclaimed.
Stephanie smirked. "I'm just making sure that he's treating my little sister right."
"Yeah, yeah, sure you are. Well, the carriages leave in about fifteen minutes, so I'd better be going," Mandy told her, almost appearing sad.
Stephanie's eyes brightened with tears, but she forcefully kept them from falling. "Be good, okay?" she whispered, pulling the much younger brunette into a hug.
Mandy nodded. "I will. And you'll be careful, right?" she asked, knowing that her sister would soon face many challenges and tribulations.
"I promise," Stephanie said, picking up a suitcase and handing to her. "Don't drive Aunt Karen crazy, alright?" she joked.
Mandy smiled. "I won't."
"Bye, Neville! I hope we'll see each other soon," Hermione said, giving him a small hug.
"I hope so too, Hermione," he agreed, then turned to the other two guys that stood on either side of Hermione. "Harry, Ron," he said, nodding at them, which they both returned. "I hope to be seeing the both of you again, as well," he told them.
"Us too, Nev," said Ron.
Harry smiled. "Be sure to tell your grandmother we said hello."
Neville grinned. "Of course, Harry." He turned, gazing around the Great Hall for a moment, then back to them. "I'd best be going."
Seamus and Dean ran over, exchanging their goodbyes, despite the fact that Seamus was still a little embarrassed from the night before.
Harry and Ron laughed as they watched the pair run away, screaming, 'School's out forever!' at the top of their lungs.
Stephanie shook her head in amusement, then turned to Harry curiously. "What exactly did you tell everyone when they asked you why you weren't going on the train?" she asked.
Harry shrugged. "No one really asked me why. I guess they just assumed that I wouldn't because it's too dangerous. Same goes for you, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny," he replied.
"I didn't think about it like that," she admitted. "So, are you ready to see where we're staying for the summer?" Stephanie asked, partly excited herself. Of course she wouldn't ever let anyone else know that.
"Of course he's excited," Ron answered for him. "Any place that Dumbledore picks has got to be...different."
Ginny giggled. "Different is definitely one of the words I would use."
Draco and Blaise made there way to Dumbledore's office, hoping that they wouldn't run in to anyone along the way. Draco didn't really feel like putting up with the hisses from the Slytherins, or there lame insults.
Thomas Avery, a sixth year Slytherin, made his way down the hall in a graceful manner, his blue eyes sparkling with malice. It was almost his time to become what he had wanted to become all of his life. His eyes wandered over the blissful and ignorant classmates of his, laughing on the inside at how stupid they really were. His gaze stopped as his eyes landed on a Slytherin that was once considered a Prince. Thomas curled his lip into a sneer as he strode purposefully towards the blond and dark-haired men.
"Malfoy, Zabini," he spat in greeting.
"Avery," Draco drawled in a bored tone. "What do you want?"
Avery grinned evilly. "He wants both of you dead, did you know that?"
Draco and Blaise laughed sarcastically. "No, we didn't know that," Blaise answered.
"Did you know that your father wants to do it himself?" Avery directed his question towards Draco.
Draco gritted his teeth. "I don't give a flying fuck what he wants to do."
Avery grinned. "I bet you would like to know that he wants to do in the little Weasley whore too."
Losing his control, Draco yelled and launched himself onto the smirking idiot, his fists flying.
Blaise stood back for a moment, before rolling his eyes and pulling Draco off of the whimpering boy. "Alright, Draco, you've had your fun, but we have somewhere else to be," Blaise reminded, giving him a look that clearly said they didn't have time for this.
Draco sneered at the boy that laid flat on the floor, holding his broken nose. "There's more where that came from, Avery," he spat, then stormed away.
Avery let out a weak laugh. "You're all going to die," he croaked, laughing even harder.
"Says the one who's on the floor with a broken nose," Blaise retorted smartly, before following after his friend.
"Ah, Draco, Blaise, how nice of you two to join us," Dumbledore greeted the two boys politely, gesturing a hand towards the only empty chairs left.
Draco reluctantly took a seat next to Potter since Blaise had hurriedly taken the one next to Stephanie. If looks could kill, well, lets just say the look that Potter was giving Blaise wasn't all loving, like the look you give puppies and kittens.
Ginny caught Draco's eye and gave him a shy smile. Draco rose a curious brow at Potter's look, and Ginny, being the very observant person that she is, caught it and tried to hide a laugh behind her hand.
Ron looked over at his sister, then turned to glare at Draco, but the blond didn't seem to notice.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Oh stop it, Ron. It's not like you can burn a whole through him just by looking at him."
Headmaster Dumbledore watched his students with blatant amusement shining in his bright blue eyes. He couldn't wait to see how everyone would react to one another, especially since they would be living together for the whole summer. He cleared his throat loudly, hoping to capture the attention of everyone. "You are all probably wondering where you'll be staying this summer," he began, obviously catching their attention with those certain words.
"Yes sir, we are," Harry decided to answer for all of them, since no one else would speak up.
"Well then," Dumbledore waved his wand and an old looking photo album appeared on his desk. "This will take you to your home for the summer," he informed, observing their reactions.
"A portkey," Ginny breathed.
Hermione nodded. "Of course. I should've known that we would be using a portkey!" she exclaimed.
"This portkey will activate in exactly two minutes, so you'd best start gathering around it," Dumbledore told them, very much sad to see them go.
"How do we know this is safe?" Draco asked suspiciously, voicing Stephanie's concerns as well. She would've said something, but she figured everyone else would take care of her questions themselves.
Ron nodded. "I hate to agree with Malfoy, but I have to agree with, well...you know." Harry snorted, then quickly covered it up with a cough.
"Of course it's safe," Hermione huffed. "I'm sure that Professor Dumbledore took all the necessary precautions that were needed."
The Headmaster nodded. "Of course I did, Miss. Granger." He grinned, clapping his hands. "Now quickly gather round the portkey. Your things have already been transported to where you will be staying," he told them. "Now, you have to put your hand on the object for this to work," Dumbledore informed them with a hint of amusement.
Harry laid his hand on the photo album, then Stephanie, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Blaise, and finally Draco, all following one after the other.
"Ten seconds," Dumbledore said quietly, gazing at Harry, but speaking to everyone. He winked at them, "I will see you soon."
And with a flash, they were gone.
To be continued in:
In the Midst of Love and War