Hermione felt her stomach jolt nervously as she climbed onto the Hogwarts Express to start her seventh and final year at Hogwarts. After taking a one year gap to help her two best friends defeat Voldemort; the most evil wizard in the history of magic, she was finally returning to finish her exams. Though Hermione loved school and learning as much, if not more than her sort-of-boyfriend Ron Weasley, she couldn't help but wonder if she would really enjoy her final year without the presence of Harry and Ron to stop her feeling as lonely as she did at the start of her first year. She also wondered how she would fill in her spare time now she would no longer have them badgering her to do their homework.

She was quickly jolted out of her angst however, because a girl with flaming red hair was squealing her name through the glass of one of the compartments. Ginny Weasley was Ron's sister, and she was returning to Hogwarts to complete her sixth year after the second wizarding war, and the almost completely irrevocable damage to the school somehow managed to disrupt her first attempt at the first half of NEWT studies. Ginny was currently dating Harry, saviour of the wizarding world, and one of Hermione's best friends. She was also Ron's sister, though you could only have guessed that from appearance only. Ginny had definitely inherited much more bravery and wisdom from her parents than any of her brothers.

As Hermione took a seat beside at Ginny, she noticed opposite her was Loony Lovegood. Sorry, that should have read Luna Lovegood, though the aforementioned is also applicable. Luna, like Ginny was also in her sixth year at Hogwarts. Things had changed a lot for Luna over the past few months, now rather than being recognised as weird girl that hung around with Harry Potter, she was recognised for being the weird girl that was shacking up with the sex god that is Neville Longbottom.

No, your eyes aren't playing tricks, the boy that currently had his tounge down Luna's throat was actually being heralded as sexy after six years of teasing over his appearance and rather unfortunate name. Hermione was pleased that Neville was finally getting some positive attention, and his bravery was being rewarded. After all, when all of Hogwarts had given up it was Neville that stood up to Voldemort, just like he stood up to Harry at the end of his first year. Fortunately for Neville, Voldemort hadn't the sense to cast Petrificus Totalas like Hermione did all those years ago, otherwise the jokes may never have ceased.

Looking around at her three friends she felt foolish for thinking she would be bored or alone without Harry and Ron. Sure, she might not see much of Luna and Neville except the sides of their faces but she still had Ginny. Ginny was as obsessed with quidditch as Harry was, even thinking of applying for the Holllyhead Harpies at the end of her schooling, so she still had somebody she could nod along and pretend to listen to about sports. Now all she needed was somebody as brash and obnioxious as Ron.

"Move along Granger!" A blonde boy said before ramming himself between herself and Ginny. Draco Malfoy was definitely not the person she had in mind to make up the rest of the Silver Trio, even after he had realized what an idiot he had been and apologised in his own way for his constant bullying of Hermione and her friends. Incidently, his own way of apologising was telling her that "mudbloods aren't that bad, I suppose."

"What are you doing in here? Isn't there a first year you should be bullying?" Ginny clearly hadn't got over the many jibes Malfoy had made over her hair and lack of money, because her wand was drawn and Hermione had a sneaking suspicion that if the boy didn't evacuate the compartment in five seconds a bat boogy hex would narrowly miss Hermione and hit Draco square in the face. For fear of being the unfortunate person hit with one on Ginny's curses, Hermione quickly grabbed the wand from the redhead.

"Just let him stay," Hermione told Ginny. For this one act of mercy Hermione was rewarded by Ginny and Draco staring at her like she had grown an extra two heads and announced she was going to live in the forbidden corridor. Even Neville and Luna had come up for air and proceeded to stare at her with wide eyes.

"What?" Hermione glared at the group. "Sure he's a snake, but he's a reformed snake..." She glanced at Malfoy who nodded in support of her argument, but the other three didn't look convinced. The compartment remained silent for a while until a sloshing sound announced that Luna and Neville obviously thought further time spent discussing the matter would ruin precious kissing time. Hemione didn't blame them though, even if it did remind her of Lavender and Won-Won. Neither of them had been afforded any attention from the opposite sex until now. Clearly they were just making up for lost time.

Ginny picked up a battered copy of Quidditch through the Ages in an obvious attempt to distract herself from the scene unfolding before her, and to avoid any interaction with unwelcome company. This left Hermione and Draco to try and start a conversation that didn't end with one of them being hexed or punched.

As it happened, it was pretty easy to have a conversation with Malfoy, they spent a good half hour discussing the vampires coming out of the coffin revelation. Though it had little impact on the wizarding community, it still begged the question of whether wizards and witches would one day join them. Ginny even joined the conversation after Malfoy managed to buy her affections with a large amount of sweets from the trolley.

"I even heard Dad say werewolves were concidering telling muggles about themselves!" Ginny said though large bites of red vines. "It's a shame poor Lupin isn't here to be able to see it."

The sound of Professor Lupin's name stung Hermione deeply. She feared she would never get over the deaths of the people that died to save the world from Voldemort. Draco seemed to sense Hermione's pain because he put an awkward arm around her. This act of kindness from someone like Malfoy was almost too much for Hermione, and she stood up and grabbed her handbag.

"I'm just going to get changed, the sun's setting so we'll be at Hogwarts soon." She barely managed to get the door locked before she broke down in tears. Too much was changing too fast. She didn't want to be comforted by somebody that hated her only a year ago. She didn't want to be mourning for friends that should never have died. And she almost certainly didn't want to be caught with bleary eyes and mascara running down her cheeks by a very attractive vampire checking to see if she was alright.