Chapter 3

"Bloody hell. They'll never give up, will they?"

Ginny, whom Neville never heard curse, wasn't at all taken aback by her response. Platform nine and three quarters was not what it used to be. Dementors swarmed around every nook and cranny, between each pillar. The air wasn't light and warm from dazzling sunshine, rather cold and gloomy. The coldness cast dark shadows everywhere making the scene eerie. To further this shivering sight, Undesirable Number One posters littered the walls and ground; Harry's face staring at Neville's and Ginny's with every step they took toward the Hogwarts Express.

"Frightening, isn't it?" asked a dreamy voice from behind them.

Neville spun around to see that Luna Lovegood and her father Xenophilius had made their way onto the platform.

"Yeah, it is," Neville replied.

Xenophilius looked tense and nervous. His fingers were twitching.

"I'm surprised they haven't threatened you about your magazine yet, Mr. Lovegood," Neville said.

"Yes, well, they don't want to seem too powerful yet, of course," Xenophilius replied in a harsh whisper. His eyes were darting around, and he was stammering. "Bu- bu- but it must be a matter of time until they come knocking. But I wo-won't oblige. Potter power!" He raised a fist into the air.

Neville smirked and followed suit.

"Which reminds me," said Luna, vaguely. She reached into her bag and pulled out several copies of the most recent Quibbler. The cover had the title 'Undesireable Number One: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' emblazoned across it.

"Brilliant," said Neville and Ginny in unison.

"I'm su-sure you'll fi-find this particular is-issue rewarding," Xenophilius told them.

The Hogwarts Express whistled and steamed.

"Looks like we better get a move on," Neville said. He shook Xenophilius' hand, and beckoned Ginny and Luna to the train.

They found an empty compartment at the back of the train. Neville, knowing he was going to discuss plans with the others, did not want to be overheard.

As they sat, a familiar face came by.

"Blimey, it's good to see you guys!" said Seamus.

"Passed the blood-status inquiry, I take it?" asked Ginny, smiling.

"Of course, they couldn't deny me for being half-blood, could they? There'd only be a dozen students at Hogwarts this year if that were the case!" he replied.

"You're right. Even You-Know-Who is half-blood. Bloody hypocrite. Wonder if his pee-brained followers even know that," Ginny speculated.

The rest of them shrugged.

"Look guys, about that. You know how his name is taboo now, right?" Neville asked them.

They nodded.

"So we obviously can't call him Vol-, you know. Lets call him Tom. I'm tired of the fear with all this He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named nonsense!"

"I don't know," Luna pondered. "Seems mighty defiant. We might rile up some Death Eaters."

"But that's exactly the point. We can't just let them have an easy year at Hogwarts. Remember when Umbridge was around?" Neville asked. A shiver was sent around the room. "Exactly. Well, having Death Eaters at Hogwarts is going to be the same. But worse, because there will be more than one of them!"

"I'm with you, Neville! It'll seem like we're back to our old Dumbledore's Army ways," said Seamus.

"I'll be there, with Dumbeldore's Army. I've got a few tricks up my sleeves. After all, my brothers are Fred and George," said Ginny.

"I'll do it too. Friends until the end," said Luna. She placed her hand in the middle of them all. Neville, understanding what she was doing, placed his hand on hers. They smiled. "Well?" Luna asked, looking at Seamus and Ginny.

Ginny placed her hand on top of Neville's and Seamus followed suit, placing his on Ginny's.

"Dumbledore's Army!" cried Luna, and they all rose their hands into the air.

"Just like old times," said Neville, beaming.

"So, what do you reckon Harry, Ron, and Hermione are up to? I'm guessing none of you have heard from them since the wedding incident?" asked Seamus.

"No," said Ginny. "My dad found out they were staying in Sirius' old house. Lupin visited, but Harry got into a little spat with him and Lupin ran out. That's the last we ever heard from them."

They looked disappointed.

"I wonder where they could be?" asked Luna, dreamily.

"I don't know, but whatever they're doing is vital to winning this war. Before the wedding Harry let something slip to me while we were alone," said Ginny.

Luna, Neville, and Seamus all perked up.

"What did he say, Gin?" asked Neville.

"Well, I was warning him that mum would question him about where he was going. And he said, 'What does she expect? Someone else might kill off Vol-' er- Tom, 'while she's holding us here making vol-au-vents?' Those were his exact words. He tried to shake it off, but he knew he wasn't fooling me."

Neville's face contorted in contemplation. "Did anything else peculiar happen to Harry this summer?" he asked.

"No. Well, the minister did come because of Dumbledore's will. In it, he left Harry the sword of Gryffindor, but the minister said that Harry couldn't have it because it was Hogwarts property, not Dumbledore's," she said. "I have no idea how he'll ever get it, since he isn't coming back to Hogwarts."

Something in Neville's mind clicked.

"We steal it."

"What?" asked Seamus.

"We steal the sword of Gryffindor and find some way to get it to Harry," Neville said. He looked hopeful and determined.

"But, that's impossible. With Snape as headmaster it's going to be-" said Luna.

"I know it'll be difficult, but it must be done. Dumbledore had to have left that sword to Harry for a reason. He needs it," Neville said.

"I'm with you, Neville," said Ginny. A fiery blaze erupted in her eyes. She wanted this.

"Good. We could start making plans immed-" but Neville was cut short by a horrible lurch from the train and the loud noise coming from its brakes.

"What the bloody hell is going on?" shouted Seamus.

Luna poked her head out into the corridor. "Someone is getting on," she said.

Neville stood up and walked over to the door. The corridors were beginning to fill with curious students. Two men immerged from the crowd.

"Go back to your compartments all of you. We're looking for Harry Potter, so you best get out of our way if you knew what was good for you!" shouted the big, dark, and ugly Death Eater. People began to slowly go back to their compartments. Neville, however, stayed perfectly still. "Oi, you," he shouted at Neville. "Didn't I say to go back to your compartment?"

"Yeah, but I don't have to listen to you," said Neville.

The Death Eater laughed. He and his friend began to search the compartments.

"Neville, get back in here," whispered Ginny. Neville ignored her.

"Hey losers!" Neville shouted at the Death Eaters. They turned a sour face onto Neville. "He isn't here!"

The dark, big, and ugly Death Eater stomped his way to Neville and grabbed his face forcefully. "You think you're funny, don't you. Just you wait!"

Neville spat in his face. The Death Eater loosened his grip instantly, allowing Neville to reach for his wand. The Death Eater, who not quite as quick, drew his wand out.

"How dare you! How dare you defile your masters!" the Death Eater cried.

"You'll never be my masters! Neither of you. Now get off this train. He isn't here," Neville shouted, standing his ground.

The Death Eater had a murderous glint in his eye.

"Come, now," said the other Death Eater, grabbing his counterpart and forcing him back. "We mustn't make a fuss over the school children. You heard the Dark Lord's orders."

The Death Eater looked back at Neville and shouted, "You're a meddlesome fool. And you will pay!"

"I doubt I'll be the one paying," said Neville. "You ever notice how the bad guys always lose? What makes you think this time will be any different?"

The Death Eaters made their way off the train, and the Hogwarts Express was soon on its way.

"That was bloody wicked, Neville," said Seamus.

"Dumbledore's Army is back in business," Neville smirked. "I meant to ask, do you still have those coins we used the last time?"

"Yeah, I reckon. I haven't cleaned out me trunk since then," said Seamus. They all laughed.

"I still have mine," said Luna. "It brings me good memories."

"I still have mine as well," said Ginny.

"Good, they'll be put to good use this year," said Neville. He hasn't felt this good in years.

The rest of the train ride went in thoughtful silence. Neville wasn't sure what was to come but he knew it wasn't going to be easy.

The train gradually came to a stop in Hogsmeade station and Neville, Ginny, Luna, and Seamus were on the carriages on their way back to Hogwarts, even if it wasn't really Hogwarts anymore.