The train rattles around them as Hermione closes her eyes, letting the sounds wash over her. If she tries hard enough she thinks she can pretend that she isn’t missing the two people who should be here with her.
The compartment door slides open and her eyes drift open, slowly, as if there will be two faces waiting for her if she waits long enough. And there are two faces but they are not the ones she hopes for. Luna and Dean smile at her as they step into the compartment and sit down. Luna digs around in a bag before taking out a tattered book, which seems to be smoking. Hermione smiles back and turns away to stare out the window.
She’s not sure how much time has passed before a strangled yell wrenches through the air.
She looks up to see Ginny fling a copy of the Prophet across the compartment. Dean picks it up, glancing down at the headline with a frown, before handing it to Hermione.
Azkaban Inmates Praise Dementor Banishment
“It’s inhuman, otherwise, Ginny,” she murmurs, gently. “They have the right to liveable conditions.”
Ginny’s head snaps up with a watery glare.
“So does Fred.”
Hermione closes her eyes at that.
“I’m not saying—”
Ginny grabs her arm and Hermione’s eyes fly open, ignoring the tightening of her friend’s fingers, focusing instead on the blazing and desperate look in Ginny’s eyes.
“Look at your scars, Hermione. Look what they did to you. They killed… they killed my—”
The grip on her arm loosens as Ginny sags back into her seat. Hermione leans over, placing her hand on Ginny’s arm—soft and warm and there. She doesn’t say anything, waiting for Ginny to look up.
“Don’t you see, Hermione? After everything they’ve done…”
“I want them to rot in hell with a thousand Dementors, Ginny. But don’t you
see? We are no better than them if we allow ourselves to treat them as they treated us. Where do we draw the line?”
Hermione turns around to see Dean looking gravely at his feet. Luna, however, is staring at her, intently.
Ginny sniffs, snatching her hand away from Hermione. She wipes her eyes furiously even though Hermione cannot see any tears.
“I can’t think like that yet. I just can’t.”
“You don’t have to,” she replies, Summoning a bag of fudge from her bag and handing it over. Ginny takes a piece and offers some to Luna who is still looking at Hermione.
“You have very beautiful lips, Hermione,” she says. Dean’s eyes widen and Ginny lets out a choking noise. “Dean’s lips are nice to kiss but yours are much prettier to look at, especially when you are not sure of your words,” she pauses for a moment before continuing, “which isn’t very often, I think.”
“Um thank you, Luna,” she answers, before taking a piece of fudge for herself. “Dean, you better close your mouth before you catch a fly.”