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"Emma, come with me." He nodded to the opposite direction they were leading. "I want to show you something."

She nodded softly and followed him out of the castle, her eyes plainly on her feet as they dragged. 'They won't even remember my name.'

Harry stopped, having to hold her arm to keep her from walking straight into the water. Emma shifted her gaze to him and then her surroundings. Her eyes widened.

"It's beautiful." She croaked as her dark curls blew in her face by the summer breeze.


"The Black Lake. I come here to think." He rolled his weight to the heal of his foot, his hands stuffed in his pockets. "Hogwarts is my home. I know it will be hard, but you'll like it here."

She smiled weakly trying to hide her sorrow, but Harry was not fooled. He bumped her with his side, a smile amusing his lips.


"They're good people, the Weasleys, so there's no need to worry." Harry informed, his green eyes watching the waves splash playfully on the shore.

"Will you be there?" The words slipped out quickly and she found herself embarrassed having said them.

"Yeah." He replied, chuckling nervously. "I don't want to go back to the Dursley's." He scratched the back of his neck, knowing she already was told of his horrible 'family'. "And I'm not sure if leaving you would be the best choice."

Emma suddenly felt like a nuisance, like his obligation. She didn't want to feel like that, not in this world, so far from her parents. The distress of the day came down on her, like a heavy weight that she felt would never lesson.

 


Ten smiling faces stared at Emma. She made a lopsided one and grasped Harry's hand tightly, which a girl noticed very quickly. The voices were sudden and loud as a large woman with bright red hair, matching everyone but one, grasped Emma's hand, her smile broad. "You must be Emma Cooper. I'm Molly Weasley, dear."

"Hi." Emma spoke timidly, her cheeks brightening.

Molly placed a hand on her shoulder and pointed to the rest of the clan, making Emma's grasp on Harry break. "This is my husband Arthur, he works at the Ministry."

Arthur was a balding man reaching the middle of his life, with warm brown eyes, just like his wife. He took a step closer and shook her hand. "Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you to."

"Harry good to see you as well." He patted Harry on the back and shook his hand.

Arthur twitched his mouth into a grin, turning to Emma again, and said, "I was there at your house today. Parents are lovely people, to bad we won't meet again."

Suddenly the room went silent while Emma's face paled and she tried to smile.

Arthur realized what he had said and opened his mouth to speak, before his wife smacked him on the arm. Her eyes darted to Emma and her mouth turned down into a frown. Behind the couple, Harry stood, his eyes fixed on her, while his hand reached for hers. It never made it.

Emma glanced down and someone lightly touch her on the arm. She looked up to see Molly, a strained smiled placed on her face.

"Emma." She spoke lightly. "Are you alright dear?"

She cleared her throat and glanced nervously at everyone who watched her. "Yeah, why - why wouldn't I be?"

Molly felt the tension and filled the silence. "These are my children; Bill, Fred, and George." She nudged her on the side and added, "Oh, and don’t worry dear, no one can tell them apart."

"Our own mother can't sometimes." One of them commented shooting her a bright smile.

She scoffed and shook her head before continuing. "Charlie, Ron, Ginny." Her eyes traveled over everyone in hopes of naming them all. "Hermione, she's not mine though. And Ron."

Hermione smiled and ran a hand through her bushy brown hair self-consciously. "Hi."

Emma nodded and made a small smile.

"Percy's not here. He's taking care of things at the Ministry, but you'll meet him soon." She added with a bit of a sad note.

"Ginny, why don't you show Miss Cooper where she'll be staying this summer." Arthur added.

Ginny nodded and made her way through the crowd of her family. "It's upstairs."

With a nod and a glance in Harry's direction, Emma followed her up the stairs and through a bedroom door.

"You'll be sharing it with me and Hermione." Ginny commented, her hazel eyes traveling over her posters, then to the bags recently added. "I know it's not what you're used to, but I think you'll be comfortable."

"No, no. It's great." A smile widened on her face.

Ginny rose an eyebrow, but only said, "This will be your bed." She motioned to a bed that was near a window.

She nodded and sat on the purple sheets. "Listen," After taking a deep breath and catching her eye, Emma continued. "I know that me being here is a bit of trouble for you and . . ."

Ginny interrupted, "Don't worry about it." She smiled and Emma realized how pretty she was, while jealousy reared its ugly head. After a moment of silence, she spoke up. "I should leave you to unpack." She turned to leave, but before she did she said, "I think we'll become good friends you and I."

Before she had time to reply, the redhead was gone. Emma sighed and fell back into her new bed, in her new room. Her mind was racing as she stayed in silence. Closing her eyes, she felt herself give way for tears that made their way down her cheeks and onto her pillow. 'I'll never see them again.' she thought.

Suddenly a light rap came at the door. Her eyes shot open and she flung herself to her feet.

Harry stood in front of her. He cleared his throat uncomfortably and noted, "Dinner will be ready soon."

She nodded and sat back down. "Thanks for telling me."

"I see you still have yet to unpack." He nodded to the full suitcases, his hands stuffed in his pockets.

She glanced their way and answered. "It seems strange. I didn't pack them."

"Jennifer Darling did."

"Oh." It didn't make it better. "Why couldn't I say goodbye?- To my parents I mean."

"Mr. Weasley said it would have been more difficult if you had." Harry replied, his feet carrying him closer to her.

"For who?" She shot, then with regret shook her head.

"I don’t know." Harry felt his pulse quicken as he said the truth. "I'm sorry though."

"It's not your fault." She said quickly and with slight hesitance averted the conversation. "We should go down, shouldn't we?"

"I suppose."

Emma barley ate. Her stomach was squirming with anxiety and stress. With the scraping of her fork on the full plate, Harry shot a look at her and said, "You really should eat something."

"I know, but I just - can't."

Harry wanted to reach out to her and hold her hand, but knew he couldn't. She might not want any comfort from him.

With a scuff of a chair and a quick movement, Emma stood. "May I be excused? I want to finish packing."

The family's eyes were on her and Molly replied, "Of course dear."

"Dinner was great." She smiled back softly, resting her napkin on the table.

Molly nodded. "Thank you."

She heard mumbles and murmurs as she past all of them and lead up the stairs, but she paid no mind. Her legs carried her into the bedroom and to her bed. She fell to it. "What am I going to do?" With her eyes turning red from her misery she wiped her eyes hastily of any evidence.

"Can I come in?" A voice came from the open door.

"Yeah." Emma replied, afraid to look up. The bed sank in to her right and she heard a heavy sigh.

"I was just wondering if you needed any help."

Emma smiled halfheartedly through her tears and looked up at Hermione. "That would be lovely."

She grinned. "Great."

For minutes of silence in which the two placed her things in closets and drawers, they were left to their own thoughts. Hermione wondered if it was her place to pry, but asked "Are you okay?" nonetheless.

Emma furrowed her brow and ran her long fingers through her locks. "As long as I know they're safe."


"I understand."

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