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It was pain, sunny days and rain; I knew you’d feel the same thing.



You try and try, and one day you’ll fly away from me.




  “Look at what came in the mail, Harry,” Ginny said brightly, approaching the kitchen table where the three friends –Hermione and Ron, at least- were heavily engrossed in their studies.



  “Ginny, could you move? You’re blocking the sunlight,” Ron muttered, trying very hard to understand a particularly confusing chapter of history. “I never thought I’d see the day where I wanted Binns back to teach me… Hermione, can I have a look at your notes?”



  “I’m not even on the same book as you, Ronald.”



  He heard Ginny give a little huff of annoyance, and dimly felt her strike the back of his head.



  “Ginny, please don’t do that,” Hermione added quietly. “He needs all the brain cells he can get. And as for Harry…” she put down her quill, leaning over to check up on him. “I think you might have to prod him a little… It seems he’s fallen asleep around the mid-1800’s.”



  “Oh, Harry… Harry? Harry!” Ginny yelled, poking him hard in the shoulder.



  “What? What?” he exclaimed suddenly, jerking awake.



  “It’s the first draft! It must be… It’s from Lockhart, and didn’t you say you sent him the final letter a couple of weeks ago?”



  “My, has it really been that long?” Hermione asked, setting down her book as she was hit with a wave of nostalgia. “It seems like just yesterday when we started work at the Ministry…”



  “Not for me,” Ron groaned. “But that’s beside the fact… Harry, go on and open it!”



  Ginny handed Harry the package and sat down beside him. The three of them stared as he contemplated Lockhart’s address on the top left-hand corner. “It really is from him, then…”



  “What’s all this excitement?” Mrs. Weasley asked, bringing a burst of cool air into the kitchen with her. She emptied her load of freshly picked vegetables into the basket by the sink and then wiped her hands on her apron, walking over to the table.



  “Oh my,” she said breathlessly, after seeing the package in his hands. “Already? Surely it isn’t –It is! Oh, let me get Arthur… Where on earth did he wander off to? Arthur? Arthur!”



  “I’m right here, Molly,” Ron’s father said, coming down from the stairs. “I was just getting all of Ginny’s things in order for her to go back tomorrow… She was supposed to go get a fresh supply of parchment ten minutes ago, but she never came back.”



  “Sorry, Dad, but this just came,” Ginny explained.



  “Go on, Harry,” Hermione said excitedly. “We’re all here now. Go on and open it.”



“I –I sort of would rather –”



  “Shut up, Harry,” Ginny snapped, “and open that package before one of us does.”



  Harry glanced first at her, and then appealed to Ron, who grinned wickedly back.



  “Oh all right, then,” he mumbled, getting comfortable in his chair and then peeling back the brown paper.



 




  “Didn’t you say things would get better, Hermione… and not worse?” Ron demanded. He was slumped across the table, rubbing his throbbing temple as the screaming and shouting continued upstairs.



  She sighed wearily, staring up at the ceiling just in time for someone to stomp on it in anger.



  “I suppose it’s for the best that she’s going to school tomorrow… They both definitely need some time apart,” was all Hermione could reply.



  Ron screwed up his face in protest. “No! No! That’s bad!”



  “Worse than this?” Hermione whispered harshly, jabbing a finger up towards the hysterical voices.



  “She’s going to leave us upset, and she’ll do something reckless… as we are all pretty much prone to do-”



  “It’s either in the hair or the blood, I still haven’t figured it out,” she interrupted rapidly with a sly smile.



  He responded with a sardonic smile before giving in to his terrible headache once more.



  “Oh, there’s no use moping about it,” Hermione said, getting up and going over to the counter. “Where does your mum keep the medicine?”



  “Bottom left,” he mumbled into his hands, unable to block out his sister’s wails or the thoughts swirling around in his head. “This has got to be a nightmare.”



  “They’re both just so set in their ways,” she sighed. “No one can blame Harry for being all mixed up just now… He’s been reliving every second of his past every time he sits down to write another letter for Lockhart… Mind you, they were the ones who were most excited about it.”



  Ron picked up his head to look at her as she paused in talking to heat up the stove. Her back was to him as she mixed some potions together in a small cauldron, and he admired her calm body, and the way she looked so comfortable amid all the chaos. Steam rose from the pot and her face colored from the heat, and all of the sudden he wanted to be the steam as she leaned closer to the cauldron, tucking her hair back as she blew softly over the bubbling surface.



  “And all Ginny wants is for him to put the past aside and focus on the ‘here and now,’” she continued abruptly. “I suppose it’s put another strain on her, too… listening to all our talk of the future… She can hardly get him to live in the present, and yet here we are, planning our future together while she has to go back to school.”



  “So you don’t blame her for being… like this?” asked Ron.



  “Oh, I never said that,” she laughed softly, taking a ladle and spooning the concoction into a mug. “But she’s already told Harry what she wants… This is probably his last chance…”



  “How can you say that?” Ron muttered as she turned towards him, handing him the medicine. “He’s our best friend…”



  “And she’s your little sister,” Hermione reminded him, putting a hand on his shoulder as he took a tentative sip. “As well as my best friend…”



  “So what are you saying?” he asked with a grimace, making to set the mug down.



  “I’m saying,” she began, stopping the mug’s progression and gently pushing it back towards his mouth, “that it’s not up to us… She’s not a little kid anymore, and of course neither is he… I’m sure they love each other, but –”



  “I can’t believe this!” Ginny wailed, stomping down the stairs and bursting in on them.



  Both Ron and Hermione turned to stare at her, shocked at how terrible she looked.
  Her eyes were red and swollen, and her mouth twisted shut as if to hold back more tears. There was more stomping down the stairs and Harry emerged, this time full of words.



  “Don’t do this, Ginny! I mean it! Don’t do this… So I didn’t really include our relationship –I didn’t want to comp-”



  “Shut it, Harry!” Ginny screamed, whirling around to face him. “You never want to complicate things, but guess what? That’s bloody life!”



  “So what? What now? We’re just going to argue and yell and throw things at each other and call it life?” Harry shouted back.



  “C’mon, Ron,” Hermione whispered softly, putting her hand on his back to get him to leave with her.



  “Don’t leave!” Ginny cried suddenly. “Don’t you dare go, because then it just might seem too personal for him!”



  “No!” Harry spat. “Go! It’s about time I did something for myself, right Ginny? Like everything else I’ve done has just been absolutely nothing compared to this!”



  “Don’t do that! Don’t throw that in my face every time you get stuck in a corner! I hate you!”



  “Well I love you!” he yelled back, and Ron felt Hermione tremble suddenly, as she moved to be closer to him.



  There was a deafening silence that filled the air, and he held Hermione close as Ginny steeled herself with a deep, torturous breath for the words that would follow.



  Very softly, and very discreetly, Hermione stood on tiptoe and whispered in Ron’s ear.



  “It’s happening now,” was all she said.



He nodded, feeling the sickening weight that had been in his chest slide down into his stomach. Everything that happened afterwards seemed dull and unreal, and as Ginny muttered, “And yet you still won’t let me into your life… I’m out now, for good,” Ron was already focusing on how he would accompany his parents to King’s Cross the next morning, and tell them the news after she left on the train.

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A/N: Hi everyone, sorry for the incredible delay. It feels like forever since I've been able to write and update, but hopefully with summer coming, I'll be able to keep it up! Keep reading and reviewing, it's what makes this all special!

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