This will be the 'Rewrite' of Bad Luck. If you haven't read Bad Luck, don't read it, or it will spoil a pseudo-scene in this story, which happens quite a bit later. I don't have much to say about it right now. The first part may seem a bit awkward, but after that it should become more fluent. Thanks to the DLP crew for making sure I didn't mess up too much.
Harry stared out over the sea of black in front of him. All of the Hogwarts students were finally going home for the holidays. Hours earlier, dark clouds had begun to form overhead. They had gradually blackened into storm clouds, and along with the clouds had come a gentle breeze. Surprisingly, as the beginnings of the storm came into being the breeze had remained the same.
Unlike the majority of the student body, Harry was in no rush to go home. In fact he was almost detesting the idea of returning once more to the Dursleys. He was currently alone, watching the students in the years above and below him pass through Hogwarts main entrance. They for the most part were silent, a melancholy atmosphere had settled over them after Dumbledore's funeral.
There were of course some students who did not take note of the mood of the majority, those who had felt no compassion towards their late Headmaster, who were treating the day as one of the previous ends of term. As Harry had to endure their careless conversations he clenched his fists. It was only the knowledge that they knew little to nothing about the events which had passed that kept him from cursing them into the next dimension.
Through the thundering steps of the students heading towards the carriages, their conversations and the thunder which was echoing from over the Hogwarts lake Harry heard the woman on the opposite side the gigantic entrance breath heavily through her nostrils. Glancing over to her Harry was not surprised to find that her lip's were pressed quite hard together. It brought a smile to Harry's lips to see that at least one person found the banter the students shared his point of view.
The minutes ticked over until finally the last of the students had made their way down to the loading area for the carriages. Silently Harry nodded to Professor McGonagall. Before beginning to walk after the students, he had gotten ten meter's before a voice called out to him.
"Mr Potter, this is your last chance to tell us." called out the Transfiguration professor turned headmistress.
Harry paused upon his next step and turned his head along with his body slightly to the side, until his gaze landed back upon the older woman's.
"I'm sorry Professor, it's what he wanted." Harry said with a note of finality in his voice, before he turned back to the carriages and began to walk again away from Hogwarts, for perhaps the last time.
Almost all the carriages had either already landed upon the other side of the lake, or were in mid-run, cutting across the grounds. In fact, there was a single carriage left which had not already left. The last of the students had boarded the carriage, before the final student swung the door shut they caught sight of Harry and paused for a moment.
Harry quickened his pace instantly and not before too long he had made it to the carriage and was able to get a good look at the boy who had waited for him. The boy was in the same year as him, although they knew each other only in passing.
It was Blaise Zabini.
"Zabini." Harry said as he nodded to the dark skinned boy.
"Potter." Blaise replied casually as he nodded back and moved to the side to allow Harry into the carriage.
Upon entering the carriage Harry quickly glanced around to see who else had boarded the carriage. The stoic face of Theodore Nott was the first to greet him. Harry gifted the him with a small smile. Nott gave a small nod of his head before turning his attention elsewhere. Two seats across from him Harry was surprised to find Padma Patil next to the door, gazing out morosely before her eyes slid over to meet Harry's.
She gave him a small smile before turning her gaze back to the stormy view out of the window. Across from her Eddie Carmichael, a seventh year Ravenclaw was sitting with his nose buried in a book. A quick glance at the title was enough for Harry to have to hold back a laugh.
Three Hundred and Three Ways to Make a Profit.
A snort almost escaped Harry; during the exam period of his fifth year Eddie had tried to sell him something called Baruffio's Brain Elixir which would help him with the OWLs - needless to say he didn't really need any help in the end; he had passed. Blaise settled himself down between Theodore and Padma silently.
Oddly, the silence continued undisturbed until the carriage had arrived at the train station. One by one the occupants of the carriage filed out until only Harry and Blaise remained. As Harry was about to step off the carriage Blaise pushed past him.
"Good luck." Blaise said quietly before speeding up and walking away from Harry.
"Thanks." Harry replied quietly, giving no other reaction. Both of the boys walked silently at their own paces towards the train station after the rest of the student body.
Harry stared ahead past the moving black mass of students, trying to find the tell-tale red hair of his friend Ronald Weasley, who he was sure his other friend, Hermione Granger would be by. As it were there were only two puffs of red hair in the crowd, and they were well at the front, separate. Beside neither of them could Harry see the bushy brown hair of his second best friend; Hermione. The second, sleeker head of hair would have had to have been Ginny Weasley, Harry quickly surmised. He honestly didn't feel like being near the youngest Weasley at the present time. Slowly, he made his way through the masses of the Hogwarts students, who were slowly shuffling abroad the Hogwarts express.
Silently, Harry came up behind Ron and tapped him on the shoulder, before speaking quietly. "Where's Hermione?"
Ron glanced to the first few compartments of the train and then back to Harry.
"She's in the Prefect carriage." Ron said to Harry sullenly. "We both have to go there for a meeting. She told me to wait here for a few minutes to tell you, then I have to go myself," he finished bitterly.
Harry snorted lightly before waving his hand in the direction of the carriage. "You'd better not keep her, or the rest of the prefects waiting." He declared bemusedly, before walking with him to the entrance of the prefect carriage and leaving him to his devices.
Instead of heading back out into the sea of Hogwarts students, who were beginning to pile into the train, Harry chose to begin searching for a acceptable place to sit. There were few groups he felt comfortable sitting with. The entirety of the D.A had let him down, besides Neville and Luna, who he didn't feel like talking to, or being with, since it was almost certain that they would be with Ginny. For some reason, thoughts of the youngest Weasley were making him feel uneasy. As it were, he tried his best to put her out of his mind.
After a few minutes, Harry finally stumbled across an almost empty cabin, the only person inside was a girl he recognised barely. He stared through the panel of glass upon the door at her for a few moments.
The one thing which turned him off immediately opening the door and asking if he could sit down was that she had the Slytherin crest upon her chest. The girl, was for a lack of a better word, stunning. She had long blonde hair which cascaded down her back and framed her face, her eyes, Harry realised were quite clear, an almost white translucent blue. Her complexion was slightly pale, but it did nothing except give her a more fair appearance.
Gently Harry rapped upon the wooden frame, drawing the girl's attention, from a book which she was holding in her hands to the door. The moment her eyes landed upon Harry's face, recognition flashed within the depths of her eyes, followed by confusion. Taking a chance, Harry slid the door open a little bit.
"Excuse me, but could I please join you in here for the trip?" he asked hesitantly, drawing her attention away from the book she held upon her lap.
Instantly upon recognising Harry, the girl's eyes narrowed.
"And why would you want to do that?" she asked slowly, gently closing the book which sat upon her lap.
"There aren't really any other carriages left for me to sit in." answered Harry with a half truth.
The girl's eyes continued to narrow slightly, before she bit her bottom lip and her eyes returned to their normal shape. Harry had not expected the girl to be instantly trusting towards him, there was no reason for that, quite the contrary, in fact, considering how, with the few Slytherin's he knew his social session usually consisted of insults being thrown back and forth.
After a few more moments of silence, the girl nodded. Taking it as a positive sign, Harry slid open the door and entered the cabin, taking a seat across from the blonde haired girl.
"I don't believe we've been…properly introduced." the girl said after a few moments.
"You're right, I'm H-" Harry began to introduce herself, but he was quickly silenced by the girl in front of him.
"Harry Potter, I know, I'm Daphne Greengrass, it's a pleasure." the now identified Daphne said softly.
"What are you reading?" Harry asked as his eyes fell upon the Illegible title of the book.
Daphne gave him an amused smile before shutting the book and placing it cover down upon her lap.
"You didn't strike me as the kind of person who was interested in the written arts, Mr Potter." she said mockingly.
At first Harry was going to take offence at the declaration, but the smile that was upon her lips, and in her eyes told him that it was not meant in an offence way, it was jesting, as he and Ron had often done.
"I'm not particularly, but you seemed interested in the book." Harry admitted as he tore his eyes away from the cover of the book, and out to the window.
They had begun moving, Harry noticed, the train station had slipped away, and in it's place an endless sea of green had taken place, high above the grass covered slopes the storm clouds had reached their fruition and flashes of lightning had begun to tear across the sky. After the first few arches of lightning and roars of thunder the rain began to fall.
Harry almost lost himself to the display of nature, before Daphne's voice dragged his attention back to the her.
"It's kind of hard to explain." she said as she started critically into Harry's face, an action he took note of instantly, and began to lightly squirm under her eyes.
After a few moments she seemed to relent and a satisfied smile took place upon her lips.
"Do you know a lot about magical theory?" Daphne asked curiously.
Harry smiled sheepishly and shook his head.
"I'm more of a practical guy." he said with a small laugh.
To his surprise his laugh was lightly mimicked by Daphne, and not in a mocking sense.
"That's alright, you don't need to, since this will be a practical demonstration, in fact, you should be able to do this, I'll just instruct you on getting it right." the blonde haired Slytherin said as she shifted the book upon her laugh off of her lap and to the seat next to her.
She reached across to Harry and grasped both of his hands. At first Harry was slightly reluctant, but with Daphne's insistent pulling he had no choice, but to allow her to have her way.
"Alright, listen to me very carefully." she said clearly.
Harry found himself doing exactly that.
"The first step to getting this right is reaching the Gnosis state, which itself is simple as long as you want to reach it enough. Focus upon part of my face." Daphne demanded of Harry.
He instantly obliged and focused upon her eyes. The intensity he focused upon her eyes made Daphne flush slightly and tear her eyes away from his.
"Pick something else, like my lips." she said softly, before placing her focus back on Harry's eyes, which were thankfully focused a slight lower then hers.
"Alright, now Focus on my lips, memorise every single detail, don't think of anything else, just them." she said calmly.
And Harry did so, his entire attention was focus upon Daphne's moist lips. Normally when Harry thought about someone's lips his mind went to various thing's that they could be used for, thankfully, or rather, unfortunately, the lips he had to focus on were female, and thus his mind found it easier to use them, along with the person they were attached to.
In an effort to get rid of the mental images Harry's focus drifted away from Daphne's lips to the seat beside her, something which Daphne took notice of and reacted accordingly. A slight wince escaped Harry as Daphne's palm slapped against the side of his face, causing his attention to be redistributed even further.
"What was that for?" Harry asked angrily as he glared into the eyes across from him.
"You stopped focusing." she said smugly before frowning. "Maybe I didn't pick the right person for this, it doesn't seem like you can focus long enough."
"I can do this, it's your lips' fault I got distracted." he defended himself.
"Are you saying there is something wrong with my lips?!" Daphne demanded to know.
Harry flinched as a particularly loud crash of thunder coincided with Daphne's question. It made her appear much, much more scarier then she actually was. Unnerved by nature's 'siding' with Daphne, Harry said the first thing that came to mind, which happened to be the truth.
"No that's the problem." he said honestly before he could catch himself.
"Get your mind out of the gutter Potter, I haven't allowed anyone the pleasure of these lips, and you won't be the first." she said snidely.
"Sorry." Harry said automatically.
Daphne nodded her head and smiled lightly.
"It doesn't matter, I don't fault you for admiring." she said vainly.
Harry smiled bemusedly and just nodded.
"Although, I won't forgive you if you don't get this right." she said with a tone of finality. "Now, try again!"
Harry learned within the next half hour exactly why he should have been glad he hadn't known Daphne. She was, for the lack of a better combination of words; a Sadistic Slave Driving Bitch. But none the less, her method had been slightly effective, he had managed to reach the Gnostic stated, and had been able to maintain it for a few seconds.
Although Daphne hadn't been showing it, she was slowly becoming frustrated, every time Harry broke through and got closer her frustration eased slightly, but over all the frustration was still getting the better of her, it seemed that Harry wasn't as receptive to the negative reinforcement method. She could try Positive reinforcement, she supposed.
"Come on Harry." Daphne said with a slight pout. "If you get this right soon I'll give you a special surprise to do with it."
That seemed to be the right method, Daphne decided as Harry quickly seemed to fall into the Gnostic state quicker and quicker, and for longer and longer periods of time. After countless attempt's, Harry finally managed to achieve the proper state of mind that Daphne required.
"Good boy." Daphne said patronisingly, not that Harry took note of it, after all, it wasn't related to Daphne's lips, even though the words came from them. "Notice the colour of my lips, the shine upon them, my lipstick. Can you notice it slowly becoming darker, a more crimson colour?"
Daphne's words fluttered into Harry's ears and he took note of them. A dull nod came from Harry before Daphne's lips quirked up slightly.
"Is the lipstick sparkly or is it a deep colour?" Daphne asked as she inched closer to the black haired boy across from her.
"Sparkly." Harry said almost inaudibly.
Daphne smiled wickedly as she felt her lips tingle.
"That's enough!" she declared loudly, breaking Harry from his concentration
"I almost had it." snapped Harry as his eyes switched from Daphne's lips up to her eyes. He took note of the jovially sparkle that had come to inhabit them "Didn't I?" he asked quietly as his eyes shifted away from Daphne's.
"Let's check, shall we?" asked Daphne as she withdrew an elegantly designed stick from her robes, her wand, Harry realised a few moments after it had been completely revealed. The reason he had not recognised it immediately was because it wasn't the average wand that he had come to expect from Wizards and Witches.
With a flick of her wand and a few choice muttered words the air in front of Daphne shimmered and twisted, before out of thin air, as it would seem, a small mirror was conjured into existence. A dazzling smile lit up upon Daphne's face as she stared into the mirror.
It became obvious to Harry exactly how vain the girl in front of him was at that moment. But he paid that train of thought little attention as his eyes refocused upon the wand she held lightly in her left hand. Daphne's eyes met Harry's for a single moment, before she followed his line of sight to her wand.
"Do you like my wand? My Daddy had it made especially for me when I was born, he said that a pre-made wand wasn't good enough for me." she said happily as she traced her finger's over the side of the edge of the wand.
Harry grimaced slightly, he had managed to come across the female equivalent of Draco Malfoy, something he had wished he would never have been privileged to experience.
"Anyway!" Daphne said happily as she waved her wand haphazardly at the mirror which was still floating in front of her, causing it to implode, leaving naught but a wisp of smoke to attest to it's existence. "What's different about me?" her voice had become excitable, Harry noticed, but while he noticed that, he couldn't easily pick out what, if anything was different about her face.
"Uhm." came Harry's unintelligible murmur.
Daphne's lips contorted into a pronounced frown.
"I don't know." Harry mumbled as his eyes flickered around the girl's face.
The crystal eyed girl's lips twitched up slightly, and her tongue snaked out and moistened the lightly sparkling red of her lips.
"Come on." Daphne urged as she tapped her wand upon her lips.
At Harry's shrug Daphne frowned again, before her countenance turned thoughtful.
"I suppose you'd be hard pressed to find difference considering the nature of the state." she said softly to herself. "But you got it right, so you deserve the special present I promised to you if you got it right." Daphne said a bit more loudly.
She began to lean forward towards Harry, who was decidedly startled by the action, and even more so as she continued to lean forward as she far passed the personal buffer zone that most people took he courtesy to stay outside of. Ever so slowly Harry began to lean backwards, a bit quicker and quicker the closer that Daphne got, before after not to long his back was flat against the cushioned seat behind him.
"Close your eyes." Daphne demanded as she glared into Harry's eyes.
Harry glanced to his right, and then his left, taking note of the fact that during Daphne's advance her arms had found their way to either side of his head, keeping him in a relatively secure position. He had no reason not to oblige the girl's demand, Harry came to the conclusion of, and so he closed his eyes, albeit slightly hesitantly, and turned his head to the side, gracing Daphne with the side of his head.
"Defiant are we?" whispered Daphne into Harry's ear. "There's no reason to be." she said with a soft laugh. "Although, you're quite trusting for someone who has such bad luck."
Harry's eyes snapped open at Daphne's words, he was about to push her away, and then he froze. Daphne's lips pecked against his cheek lightly.
"It's nice to have someone trust you so, even if it isn't a conscious choice." Daphne said with a slight grin.
Harry turned his head towards Daphne with a stupefied and perplexed look upon his face. His finger tip's quickly found their way to his cheek and touched upon the spot where the blonde's lips had touched upon him. Across from him Daphne smiled impishly before waving her wand over her lips. Harry watched in fascination as the rich crimson drained away, revealing a pink hue in it's place.
Suddenly it clicked.
"Your lips didn't have lipstick on them before." Harry said as he reached forwards to Daphne's lips and attempted to touch them, only to quickly withdraw his hand as Daphne swatted at his hand.
"That's right." Daphne said with a small smile.
"But I didn't see you put lipstick on?" Harry half asked, half stated. "How did you put lipstick on without me noticing? I was staring at your lips the entire time." he said with a frown.
Daphne mimicked his frown to a deeper state.
"You really can be dense sometimes." Daphne said amusedly. "You did it you silly." she said as if she were stating the obvious.
"But I didn't have my wand." Harry said as his fingers brushed over the side of his robe, where his wand was placed.
"You don't need to use a wand to do magic." Daphne stated slowly as she stared Harry in the eyes. "You really don't read much magical theory do you?"
"I suppose I could lend you the book I'm reading." Daphne said to herself before falling silent as she contemplated that lie of action. "Would you return it to me next semester?" she asked.
Harry shook his head.
"I'm not coming back next year." he said.
The words seemed to foreign as they came off his tongue.
"You aren't?" Daphne asked startled.
"I'm not, I have other thing's I need to do." Harry said, before biting his bottom lip, to keep himself from spilling any more of his plans for the coming year.
"That's too bad." Daphne said with a frown. "It won't be the same without you risking your life to save a priceless artefact, a stupid red-headed girl or winning an international tournament."
"Ginny isn't stupid." Harry said automatically as his fist clenched.
Daphne arched an eyebrow to Harry's sudden outburst.
"Oh, I forgot, she's your girlfriend isn't she?" Daphne asked, although, Harry could tell from her voice she didn't care in the slightest.
"No we broke up at Dumbledore's funeral." Harry said as he turned his eyes to the window, and the blurry beyond, which was barely visible past the torrents of rain and the darkness brought on by the storm clouds, or perhaps it was the darkness of night, Harry couldn't tell.
"Don't you mean you dumped her like last week's dress robes?" Daphne asked cheekily.
Harry couldn't help but smile even slightly at Daphne's infectious grin, before he caught himself.
"That isn't very nice." he said before he folded his arms across his chest and glared at Daphne.
The glare coupled with the stance seemed to have the desired effect as Daphne shrunk back slightly, she seemed to become hesitant again as she stared uncertainly into Harry's face.
"You shouldn't be so…uptight." she said slowly, before seeming to get back into her previous 'groove'.
"You shouldn't be so rude." Harry said in retort.
Daphne just smiled despite the rude reply.
"You're an interesting guy, Harry, I hope we can talk now and then even if we aren't close to each other, say… if you're on the other side of the planet, even."
Harry stared at Daphne blankly.
"I'm sorry but, I don't think Hedwig will be very impressed if I make her fly that far just to deliver a single letter." Harry said as he glanced towards the door, where a surplus of noise was coming from.
"Hedwig? Your owl? I'm sure she'd do it if it was for me." Daphne said light heartedly.
Harry shook his head.
"I know that she won't." Harry said firmly, hoping to dissuade Daphne from taking up the venture with any owls at all in the future. "None of the owl's would be able to do it, it's a bit far."
Daphne bit her bottom lip.
"But I want to talk to you during the year." the dainty Slytherin said with a pronounced pout. "I'll get my Daddy to find a way, some how." she assured Harry, or in Harry's opinion, she assured herself.
"Besides, it isn't like you'll actually be on the other side of the world." Daphne dismissed as if it were a matter of fact.
Harry smiled at Daphne slightly, before he opened his mouth to speak. Unfortunately, or rather, Fortunately, Harry couldn't decide, he was interrupted.
"Oi Harry!" shouted a voice from outside the door, just out of sight.
Both Harry and Daphne found their attention being drawn to the door just as a head of red hair came into view, along with the familiar, for Harry, face of Ron Weasley came into view. The tall lanky boy's lingered on Daphne for a moment, before he looked away and continued on, without taking a glance anywhere else in the cabin.
"Ron don't just glance, make sure Harry's not there before you move on." a patronising voice came from beyond the wall.
"Just some Slytherin girl." Ron's voice called out from beyond the cabin's view.
Rather quickly a frowning Hermione came into view and glanced into the Cabin. Her eyes landed upon Harry's unique green eyes almost straight away and his visage, she immediately released her frown, and a small smile of relief came to upon her lips.
"Harry, we've been looking everywhere for you." Hermione said exasperatedly as she slid the door open and stepped inside. "We checked with Ginny and Luna but they didn't know where you were and we checked with every…" she trailed off as her eyes came to rest upon Daphne.
"I'm sorry, that was rude of me." she said slowly before smiling unsurely, not unlike how Daphne had when Harry had showed up at the door prior.
"Yes, very rude, in fact." Daphne said as she stared up calculatingly from her sitting down position into Hermione's face.
"I'm Hermione Granger." Hermione said as she attempted to salvage the polite dignities that she usually displayed.
"I know, we have quite a few classes together, Arithmecy and Ancient Runes are two of the unique ones." Daphne said calmly as she observed Hermione. "I'm Daphne Greengrass by the way." she introduced herself with a small smile.
"It's a pleasure to meet you." Hermione said with a mimicking smile, before she turned her attention to Harry. "Everyone's waiting for us at the other end of the train, shall we go?" she asked before smiling lightly at Daphne and turning to the door and opening it again.
Harry blinked lightly before turning to Daphne and smiling apologetically.
"Sorry I have to go." he said ruefully.
"But-" Daphne tried to say, but was unable to as another voice called out from outside the room.
"Hermione, I couldn't find Harry anywhere down there have you heard anything about him?" called Ron as he pushed open the door to the cabin.
"There you are!" Ron said loudly with a grin as he reached across the cabin to Harry and yanked him up by the shoulder. "Come on Luna has something to show you." the red-head said as he dragged Harry from the cabin.
Harry was able to look to Daphne one last time and was able to mouth an apology to her before he was forced out of the cabin, he was, however, able to notice the indignant glower she was sporting. He was able to hear Hermione say something before she exited the cabin with a bewildered smile, but he was unable to make it out.
"The prefect meeting ended a while ago and we've spent all this time searching for you." Hermione said to Harry as they walked down the corridor.
"Sorry, I didn't find where they were." Harry said apologetically.
Inside, however, he was getting slightly worried. He hadn't ever before gone as far as to use half truth's to mask his intentions, and yet, within the last hour he had done so, twice. It disturbed him how easy and natural it felt. Was it what Dumbledore had felt when he had subjected the people around him to incomplete truths?
"It doesn't matter, but you're lucky we were able to save you from that Slytherin girl." Ron said as he glanced backwards to Harry. "She could have cursed you."
"She didn't seem like that kind of person to do that, she seemed reasonable." Hermione said as she sped her movement's up slightly to Harry's side.
"She was nice, we talked a bit about magic, she seemed pretty casual about the whole thing." Harry said just before Ron stopped.
"Here we are." the red-headed boy said as he pushed the cabin's door open and stepped inside.
Harry soon followed afterwards and the sight of Ginny, and to a lesser extent, Neville crowded around a magazine held in Luna's hands. The three year seven Gryffindors sat down on the left side of the cabin. Crookshanks, Hermione's pet cat was lounging around over head. Harry had no idea how he had managed to get up there by myself.
The moment they had entered the cabin Luna's eyes snapped upwards from the article she was reading and came to rest upon Harry's. Her eyes briefly flickered to his cheek, before she gifted him with a content smile.
"We were just reading about How Dumbledore is really a Phoenix animagus and that he tricked everyone and flew away after his funeral." Luna said airily before she frowned.
"You should be more careful Harry, you have a cootie mark on your cheek." the blonde Ravenclaw said before turning her attention back to what Harry assumed to be the newest edition of the Quibbler.
Harry blinked stupefied for a moment before he reached up to his cheek and rubbed it gently, inside he was dreading what he knew he'd find. The glare that was laid upon Ginny's eyes was enough to confirm the existence of the 'cootie' to him. He didn't need to feel the smooth texture of lipstick on his finger tips to know it was there.
"What are you talking about?" Ron demanded to know before he turned Harry around to face him.
The moment his eyes landed upon the lipstick upon Harry's cheek his eyes darkened, before slowly turning back to normal.
"Look's like Harry didn't escape Romilda in time." Ron said in an attempt to lessen the hostility that had begun to cloud the cabin.
Ginny spent the longest time staring into Harry's eyes before nodding lightly and turning her attention back to the Quibbler article.
"She's right scary." Neville said with a frown upon his face. " Once during the year she cornered me with all her friends and demanded to know everything I knew about you."
"Sorry about that Neville." Harry said apologetically, and he meant it; he didn't want his friends being harassed because of him, especially if it was so trivial.
"Yes, well you both don't have to worry about her for quite some time." Hermione said with a tight lipped smile.
"Are you coming back next year?" Harry asked suddenly as he turned his gaze directly to Neville.
The introverted boy seemed a bit startled at being asked such a thing, before he took hold of himself and answered.
"My Gran doesn't think I should, she tried to take me home before the Headmaster's funeral, but I'm going to finish next year." Neville said firmly.
"That's great to hear." Harry said with a smile.
"How about you Luna? Ginny?" he asked the two fifth year girls.
"I'm coming back." Ginny said without looking up from the magazine.
"I'm not sure if I'm coming back or not." Luna admitted casually as she turned to the next page of the Quibbler.
"Why?" "What?" You're joking?" were three of the responses that came at Luna's response to Harry's question.
"It might not be safe anymore, without Dumbledore here to protect everyone the Heliopath's have no one to stop them from taking control of the castle and burning it down." Luna said with a reminiscence of sadness in her voice.
"Luna, the castle is made out of stone." Hermione said slowly.
The girl in question nodded gravely.
"Exactly, and if the Heliopaths attacked then the stone would melt." Luna said to Hermione in a flat tone, as if it were obvious to the average person.
"Luna, it would be impossible to liquefy solid stone, there isn't any feasible way to-" Hermione tried to dissuade Luna from the insanity that she was spouting, but Luna persisted.
"That's what they want you to think, but if they can make fire's hot enough to burn water then they can make them hot enough to burn stone." Luna said with a strong resolve.
"Even if the Heliopath's attacked I'm sure the Giant Squid would be able to stop them." Harry interjected before Hermione could try to reason with Luna again.
Luna took on a thoughtful look before she nodded.
"You're right, Heliopath's can't stand sea life, because they're three time's removed cousins." she said with a small smile. "Thank you Harry, now I can go back next year without worrying." the blonde said honestly.
Hermione glared lightly at Harry. The message was clear; 'Don't encourage her'. To the 'glare-o-gram' Harry just shrugged.
"Why haven't you gotten that off your cheek yet?" Hermione demanded to know before withdrawing her wand from within her robes and pointing it at Harry's cheek.
Harry stiffened immediately and his eyes centred upon the wand.
"Albuo." she hissed out and jabbed it at Harry's cheek.
He immediately flinched away from the semi-sharp object.
"Have you read the debate between the Albutus charm and the Expurgatus charm? It says that while The Albutus is good for cleaning stains, the Expurgatus charm work's best for skin because it doesn't effect the tissue, and leaves it unblemished instead of in a rash-like state, I found it interesting." Ginny said amusedly as she watched Harry's cheek redden.
Hermione shrugged and smiled lightly.
"I have, but the Albutus charm is more effective." the aggravated brunette said innocently.
Harry doubted anyone thought she was innocence, not with the glare still barely hidden within the depths of her eyes.
"I'd have preferred the less painful method." Harry muttered as he gingerly touched his cheek.
Hermione smiled smugly at the look of discomfort on Harry's face.
Behind Hermione Ron was making faces at her back. It took all Harry could muster to stop himself from laughing out loud, and more importantly, to keep his eyes on Hermione, as to not alert her to Ron's actions.
"Oh, oh, I know this game, it's charades isn't it?" Luna said excitedly as she closed her copy of the Quibbler.
"You're… a Brown haired girl who just cursed one of her best friends because he didn't immediately remove a patch of lipstick from his cheek, aren't you?" Luna guessed thoughtfully.
"I didn't get it?" Luna said with a slight pout as she watched Ron's facial expression's shift from ridiculous faces to a horrified look.
"Icio Kaput, Kaput, Kaput!" Hermione yelled angrily as she brandished her wand towards Ron.
A series of yelps and slight screams came from the cabin and echoed through the hallway of the train.
The rest of the journey passed in relative silence, for Neville, Ron and Harry it was to be sure that they wouldn't bring the wrath of Hermione upon them, and for Ginny, Hermione and Luna it was because they were all reading. They arrived at their destination, Platform Nine and three quarter's far sooner then Harry would have wished.
One by one group left the carriage and converged upon the platform. Within five minutes they had each found their own separate trunk, and in Harry's and Ron's case owl cages. Unsurprisingly, the amount of students was far less then what there had been at the start of the year. It saddened Harry to think that when the time came for the students to return to the platform there would be even less.
Although he could no longer see the sky, or hear anything except the hustle and bustle of the students and their parents, he could tell that the storm hadn't let up yet. It had spanned from Hogwarts all the way to London. It was unnatural, yet none of the other students had taken note of it.
"Mum's here." Ron called out to Ginny from over where he was, near the entrance and exit to the platform, and as he had said Mrs Weasley in all her motherly glory was standing near Ron, waving to Ginny, beckoning her over. She was probably motioning for himself to, Harry decided, but he paid the Matriarch of the Weasley family no more attention.
"I'd better go through to see if my parents are outside." Hermione said sadly. "I'll be in contact soon." she said to Harry with a kind smile.
"You aren't coming back to school next year, are you?" Neville said glumly.
Luna snapped her head towards both Harry and Neville in confusion.
"You aren't?" she asked startled before focusing directly on Harry. "Why not?!" she said a bit louder then was necessary.
Harry stared at Luna perplexed for a single moments before mentally shaking himself.
"I have things to do." he said vaguely.
Luna frowned lightly.
"You can't do that, only I can do that, you aren't me." she said childishly. "Now tell me why!"
"I have to go figure out a way to kill Voldemort before he kills me." Harry said flatly.
Neville's face took on a look of horror, and he opened his mouth, probably to protest, but Luna beat him in the race to form words.
"Oh, is that all?" she asked bemusedly. "That's alright then, as long as you send a postcard."
Harry blinked, and then blinked, and for the sake of it blinked again.
"You're alright with the-How do you know what a postcard is?" Harry asked before glancing at Neville, who seemed to be dazed.
"Will you?" Luna prompted.
"If I have time to I will, to both of you." Harry informed both of them with a small smile upon his lips. "I don't want to become distant to either of you."
Both Luna and Neville smiled in appreciation.
"Neville! Where are you Neville?" an old voice called out from near the portal.
"I have to go." Neville said sadly, before smiling one last time at both his friends his hand out to Harry.
Harry smiled at Neville and gripped the long-faced boy's hand and shook it. Neville smiled one last time before turning away from Harry and Luna and walking towards his grandmother.
"I have something for you." Luna said almost silently, drawing Harry's attention back to her.
Harry froze as he stared into Luna's eyes. Unlike the multitude of times he had looked upon them, they weren't glazed, slightly out of focus, and they did not have the vague gaze that he had usually come to expect from the younger Ravenclaw.
Luna reached up to her neck and grasped the Butterbeer cork necklace that she was wearing. She lifted it up over her head, only to manage to cause her hair to splay out awkwardly. She brushed her hair out of her eyes with her finger tips, before presenting Harry with the unique necklace.
"Luna I can't." Harry began to protest, but he was quickly silenced by the usually absent minded girl.
"If you don't I'll be mean." Luna said calmly as she continued to hold the necklace out for Harry to take.
"I've never seen you be mean, and how would you?" Harry asked amusedly.
"I'll tell Romilda Vane where you live." Luna said flatly as she prompted Harry to take the necklace again.
Harry's smile melted from his face.
"You're lying." he said slowly.
"I'm not." Luna said firmly before gripping Harry's hand and placing the necklace in it, before curling his finger's closed.
Harry couldn't help but smile despite himself.
"Thank you, Luna." he said softly before Sliding his hand backwards and attempting to push it into his pocket.
"Uh, uh." Luna chided lightly before taking Harry's hand back in her own and withdrawing the necklace from it's clutches. She dropped it on top of his head and then pushed it down.
Harry grimaced as she forced the necklace down until to rest upon his neck.
"How come it came off so easily for you and was so hard to put on?" Harry demanded to know.
"Because it's mine and not yours." Luna said as if it were obvious.
"How about this." Harry said as he gripped the sides of the necklace and attempted to pull it up over his head.
Luna sighed and helped Harry take off the unique necklace.
"Here." Harry said as he undid the knot which connected the two ends of string and removed a single butterbeer cork.
He quickly tied the string back together and handed it back to Luna.
"I see." she said quietly, before smiling up at Harry and placing her necklace back on her neck. "When I see you again you'd better still have it, or else I'll-"
"Luna?" an unfamiliar voice called out through the train station.
Luna smiled one last time at Harry before hugging him and running off to who, Harry assumed to be, her father, or rather, as well as one could run with a heavy trunk to pull.
Harry sighed to himself and glanced around, there was no one left, which meant that it was his time to go. With one last glance to the Hogwarts express, Harry began to walk towards the barrier between the magical Platform Nine and Three Quarters, and the Non-magical Platform Nine and Ten.