It was a bright cheerful September day as Harry Potter boarded the Hogwarts Express. At age 18, he didn't think he would have to go back, but The Ministry decided that after Lord Voldemort was killed all the students should repeat that year. So everyone was going to be the same year that they were last year except new first years and it would be like last year never happened. But it did happen. This meant that Harry, Hermione, and Ron were seen with trunks at 11 am boarding the train. Mrs. Weasley was there to kiss them all goodbye. Harry had spent the summer with Ron's family. It was pure torture. He and Ginny, Ron's little sister and Harry's ex-girlfriend, kept bumping into on another. She finally pulled him aside after his small birthday dinner and told him she wasn't ready for them to be together if they were going to. She wanted the option to come back to him and strangely enough after all that had happened last year he understood her decision. He wasn't sure he was ready for a relationship either.
The train looked just as it always had. Harry had made a trip to Diagon Alley to pick up school supplies since he had left all his stuff at the Dursley's house. It was an odd feeling being on the train with no Voldemort to worry about. He only had to worry about Draco Malfoy. Following Ron and Hermione to a compartment was the easy part; everything else would be harder.
"So…" Hermione said like the silence was killing her. They were seated with her next to Ron and Harry across from them. Hermione and Ron were still dating, but had enough class not to flaunt it.
"So… What?" Harry asked.
Hermione shrugged. "Well, does anyone else feel strange? Like we really shouldn't be here?"
"YES!" Ron blurted before Harry could answer. "Sorry…" He said. "I just don't like it."
"I know... we are going back to a school with no Snape and no Dumbledore. It's definitely odd." Harry said.
Harry was about to say more, but the compartment door slid open and the lady with the snack trolley popped her head in.
"Anything from the trolley, dears?" she asked.
They all bought snacks and sat back for the ride to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The start of term feast had been different too. Professor McGonagall had become headmistress, Professor Slughorn decided to stay on as potions master, and Professor Johnston, a witch from the Ministry, was signed up to teach defense against the dark arts. Things were different. There was a sorting for the new 11 year olds which meant more 1st years than ever. Harry felt strange. Dumbledore's chair had been move to the end of the teachers' table and left open in respect to him. A new chair had been brought out for McGonagall.
"Students, I have a few announcements." Professor McGonagall said raising her voice above the din. Silence fell quickly. "Thank you! Now I know everyone knows this, but Lord Voldemort was killed last year right in this very hall." A cheer rang out. "It was tragic and we all lost something in that battle, so please be considerate of your peers feelings. Also, the Room of Requirement suffered serious damage and we are still trying to put it right. Please avoid it at all costs." Harry looked up at this and his eyes searched the Slytherin table. There was Malfoy all alone brooding. One of his friends had died in that room and the other's parents would not let him return. Some of the parents thought it better to keep their kids away from the pain of what had happened. He looked up just as Harry found him. Malfoy winked and turned to McGonagall.