Sed Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? (Who watches the watchmen?)

Disclaimer: I do not own any of this. I will also forewarn that I absolutely love quotes and collect them like crazy from all over, including but not limited to movies, books, plays, conversations and anywhere else I may find them. I will incorporate quotes in this story and will do my best to credit them at the end of each chapter. However, I am human and do make mistakes, and therefore I would appreciate greatly if someone would notify me if I misquote or forget to credit someone. In some instances, I do not know where/who the quote came from and will credit them as "unknown". If anyone does know where they come from I would greatly appreciate hearing from them.

Author's Note: This story is, above all, a romance story. I have read the latest installment of Harry Potter (Half Blood Prince) and will try to incorporate as much as I can into this fiction. However, I'm not great at action sequences and angst, so don't be surprised if I neglect to add some of the more intricate parts of the book-plot into this story. Example, Dumbledore is still dead, but the trio will return to school for their seventh year, McGonagall is the new headmistress but the horocrux thing probably won't make a huge appearance in this. Thank you and enjoy!

Chapter One: Non Semper Erit Aestas (It will not always be Summer)

The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there

-L.P. Hartley

Hermione bit her lip, fending off the uncomfortable feeling that she was missing something. She knew of course that her qualms were ridiculous—she had packed her school trunk a week earlier and had double checked everything on the hermeneutic letter she had received as an inauguration to her seventh year. Still, she couldn't help feeling that despite all of her careful planning, all of her checklists, all of her countless hours of packing, that she had forgotten something. You're probably just nervous, Hermione chided herself, glancing around her room once more. She kept expecting something to catch her eye—some minute object she had forgotten that would ease her unsettled conscious—but nothing more than her various books and scattered papers seemed to fall into her line of vision.

In all honesty, Hermione wasn't surprised by her anxiety. Ever since she had received her Hogwarts letter announcing her position as Head Girl a month earlier, she had seemed to fall prey to a persistent fretfulness that threatened to drive her crazy. She began to worry the tiniest details into nothingness, stressing out not only herself but everyone else around her. She had even forgone her annual trip to the Burrow in order to ensure that there would be no last minute bedlam to frazzle her already-worn out nerves. As it turned out however, Hermione was worried enough and couldn't imagine how the Burrow and her friends would have been able to add to it. If anything they would probably be able to calm me down, Hermione thought bitterly, throwing open her school trunk to check its contents for the umpteenth time. What am I forgetting, Hermione thought to herself, ruffling through her trunk in an attempt to find the missing piece.

Elsewhere, Harry, Ron and Ginny were all packing up their trunks with the usual chaos that accompanied any event in the Weasley household. Over the years the three had gotten used to having Hermione with them—the stable force that told them what they needed to pack and when. Since she had declined the offer to stay at the Burrow however, the three had been left to their own devices, a dangerous opportunity which had resulted in the disarray that they were currently in the middle of.

"Do you have my robes?" Ginny demanded, storming into the room where Ron and Harry were packing. Ron jumped at Ginny's biting tone and glanced around hastily.

"Like I would have your robes," he snapped back before noticing that he did in fact have Ginny's robes poking out of his trunk. Whipping them out with lightning speed, he tossed them across the room to his sister who was waiting with her hands on her hips.

"What about my books—did you get your old ones out of the closet like mum asked you to a week ago?" Ginny demanded, taking in the scene around her. She doubted that Ron had even gotten the books out, but even if she had, she had bigger doubts about being able to locate them now. The room was in complete disarray—books, clothing, cauldrons and everything else one could possibly imagine littered the furniture and flooring, rendering one completely unable to move more than a few feet without risking severe injury. She began to wonder how any of them had survived the summer without Hermione's careful organization.

"Have any of you seen my broomstick? I swear it was just here the other day," Harry asked wearily, sounding more than a little dismayed. Ginny stared at the older boy with nothing short of admiration. Since Dumbledore's funeral at the end of the school year, Ginny had respected Harry's wish for separation, a request that had been sorely tested all summer when Harry had bunked at the Burrow. Things had become especially strained when Molly Weasley had banished Harry's plan of leaving school by threatening to do much worse to the boys than Voldemort ever could. Surprisingly, Harry had agreed to finish his last year, a blessing and a curse for Ginny who felt torn between her own feelings for the older boy. She wanted desperately to respect his wishes to remain apart, even though she was fairly certain that his feelings for her had not changed, as hers regarding him had not altered in the least either.

"I think you left it against the back door last night," Ginny supplied helpfully, recalling with a slight smile the late-night Quidditch game that the three had engaged in, in lieu of packing.

"Thanks," Harry said briefly, hopping over the two open trunks and an impossibly large pile of clothes to the door where he promptly disappeared down the hallway. With him gone, Ginny turned back to her brother who was struggling to force his school books into his trunk.

"Need help?" Ginny offered, eyeing several more things around the room that belonged to her. Honestly, she thought with a sigh, how did we ever manage to get packed before? That of course led Ginny to thoughts of her absentee friend once more and she glanced back to Ron with a sigh. "Do you need help?" She repeated in a slightly more aggravated tone. Ron looked over to his little sister, wondering briefly how someone so innocent-looking could inspire so much fear in a person.

"I'm fine," Ron grunted breathlessly, turning his efforts back to the rogue books that had no intentions of being packed. Ginny rolled her eyes, battling through the mess to Ron.

"Very convincing," she said dryly, shifting a few sweaters around. The books immediately fell into place and Ron stared speechlessly at his sister.

"How'd you do that?" Ginny shrugged, pulling her forgotten robes from under Ron's foot.

"It's just about spacing—where are my books?" Ginny supplied, quickly shifting the conversation back to the pressing issue.

"I dunno, ask mum," Ron said noncommittally, already distracted by how he would manage to get some of his Quidditch supplies packed now that the necessities were in the trunk. Ginny rolled her eyes.

"I did ask her—she told me that you were supposed to get them out of the closet last week." Ginny paused for a reaction. Ron grunted. "You didn't get them yet did you?" She demanded fiercely, but she could tell by the way Ron's shoulders slumped dramatically that the answer was no.

"I'll get them I swear!" Ron cried out, shoving an extra sweater into his trunk. Ginny sighed and threw her hands in the air, narrowly missing Harry who was just returning, broom in hand.

"Have either of you seen where I put my wand? I can't find it anywhere," he moaned tiredly, walking back over to his trunk.

"I'll help you find your wand if you help me close this thing up," Ron offered, gesturing wildly to his overflowing trunk. Ginny cringed.

"Not before you get me my books!" She screeched and Ron smacked his forehead.

"Ginny calm down, I'll get you your blood books!" Ginny had to force herself not to kick her older brother's butt. Where was Hermione when you needed her?

Hermione cast one last look at her bedroom before wheeling her trunk out and shutting the door. She had yet to shake the feeling that she was forgetting something, but had driven herself crazy trying to figure out what it was and had finally decided that whatever she was forgetting, she would certainly figure it out soon, and would be able to have it sent to her at school, courtesy of her parents. She couldn't help feeling like it was something she was forgetting so much as it was some type of memory. It was no secret that Hermione longed for the simplicity of the past, where things were easily explainable and nice. A time when Dumbledore hadn't been murdered, a time when Hermione herself hadn't been embroiled in an adventure fit for a movie. She wanted to go back to her childhood when things were easily fixed by a band aid and a lollipop.

"Hermione, we're going to be late if you don't hurry!"

Hermione shuddered at the shrill voice of her mother, cutting harshly into her nagging conscience. She had worried about this moment all summer, and it had finally come. With a steadying sigh, Hermione grabbed her trunk and went downstairs to join her parents. She knew that things weren't so simple anymore. She couldn't just lose herself in a book and pretend that everything was going to be okay. It was time to face the music. Summer was over, and it was time to go.