Hidden Within

It was Harry Potter's seventh year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He would normally have been extremely pleased to be going back to Hogwarts this year but right at that moment, he was feeling the exact opposite. He was dreading returning to Hogwarts. None of his friends knew why. All they knew was that something was bothering Harry. Something that was making him distant with them and making him shy away. Ever since Sirius had died and he had returned for their sixth year, Harry had become more jumpy and closed off to other people. They had thought it was because Harry had lost his godfather but that wasn't it. There seemed to be something else troubling him. Even duelling with Draco Malfoy, Slytherin Ice Prince, had lessoned slightly due to the fact that he would always walk away and not be provoked by Malfoy. Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends who was an extremely talented, pretty and smart muggle-born witch with curly dark brown hair and chocolate eyes, had been very pleased by this reaction from Harry. She kept telling Ronald Weasley, a red-haired boy with an inept skill at magic, to act more like Harry but that only set them off on one of their usual rows. Both of them loved each other but both were just as blind and ignorant at realising it and making the first move. Harry had hoped that some when they would figure it out but that moment seemed a long way away to him.

Right at that moment, Ron, Hermione and Harry were sitting on the Hogwarts Express, the train taking them on their way to Hogwarts. Also in the compartment with them sat Ginny Weasley, Ron's red-haired little sister who was in her sixth year, Neville Longbottom who was a small round faced boy who was in the same year as Ron, Hermione and Harry and Luna Lovegood, an eccentric blonde sixth year Ravenclaw. Harry was being very quiet and everyone else in the compartment couldn't help but notice. Harry had been acting like a completely different person from when they first met him seven years ago and it was worrying them. The raven-haired boy was staring absently out of the window, thinking about what had happened to him that summer at the Dursley's with his Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. He gave a small shudder but was pulled away from his thoughts by Hermione's voice.

'Are you all right, Harry?' she asked.

He moved his gaze over to her, staring at her with blank emotionless eyes. 'Fine,' he said before returning to look out of the window. The other occupants all cast wary glances at each other. Hermione got up, went over and sat down next to Harry. She placed a hand on his shoulder and didn't miss the small flinch he gave at her touch.

'Are you sure, Harry? We know you're still upset about Sirius and feel that it's your fault but it was not and we're here for you if you ever need to talk to us.' Harry's eyes instantly hardened at her words as he turned to look at her but it softened slightly as he looked at her.

'I know, Hermione, I know. Thank you.'

She smiled at him and he returned it although it didn't meet his eyes. These days, Harry hardly ever gave a real smile. 'No problem,' she said before she got back up and went to sit over by Ron again. She was instantly brought into a conversation with Ron and Luna while Neville sat there, reading a book on Herbology, him being extremely gifted at the subject and was taking it as one of his N.E.W.T.S. Harry was left to his thoughts again, which, at the moment, he didn't particularly like because of the things he occasionally thought about. Again his thoughts drifted back to his summer at the Dursley's but he quickly pushed it back. He didn't want to think about that, he didn't want to deal with it because that would mean having to face everything that had happened there. He sighed, rubbing his emerald green eyes as he pushed his glasses back up his nose and gazed out the window again but could hardly see a thing.

Before Harry knew it, the train was coming to a stop at Hogsmeade Station and everyone was pulling their trucks and things off of the train, having changed into their schools robes on the way. He got off with the rest of his friends and looked up ahead. In the far distance, he could see the glowing lights from Hogwarts Castle and the black silhouette standing out against the darkening sky. He sighed again before making his way to one of the carriages that would take them to the castle. This was going to be a long year. I really don't want to be here, he thought as the carriage began to trundle along, taking them towards the castle.