Beth's "Write the End to Book 7" Competition Entry
Harry glanced wistfully back at the dark silhouette of Hogwarts castle. Though it looked gloomy and uninviting in the torrential rain, the windows glowed with a cheery light, and Harry felt depressed knowing that his time as a student was over. Despite the fact that much of his life there had been spent in fear and danger, Hogwarts had been his home for the last seven years.
The train lurched into motion, and Harry turned to face Ron and Hermione. Ron smiled briefly at them, but he was staring out the foggy window at the rapidly shrinking castle. Hermione too was looking absent-minded as she gazed outside.
Feels a bit odd, doesnt it? I mean, now that weve graduated, I dont suppose well be coming back.
Suddenly, Hermione looked slightly uncomfortable.
You know how I wouldnt tell you much about my career plans?
Harry thought back, and remembered how secretive she had been.
She continued in a rush,
Well, I have been talking to Professor McGonagall and Dumbledore all year, you know, preparing and taking the right classes
because McGonagall is retiring in two years. So I will be back at Hogwarts, training to be her replacement as Transfiguration Professor.
There was a slightly awkward pause, in which Hermione bit her lip, Harry blinked a few times, and Ron simply goggled at Hermione.
Thats wonderful! exclaimed Harry. Well done!
He stood up and embraced her warmly; she seemed grateful for his support. Ron came to his senses after a moment, and also congratulated her. Then he grinned and said,
I also have something to say. He was turning red, and he looked just as guilty as Hermione had seconds before.
Come on, out with it! laughed Harry.
Ive been asked to play Quidditch for the Chudley Cannons, as Keeper, and Ive agreed
Whatever else Ron was going to say was drowned out by Hermiones excited squeal. She kissed him on the cheek and embraced him in a joyful hug. Ron blushed furiously.
Ive also got good news. Ive been accepted into the Auror training program! Even with my lousy potions scores
Snape had not been any friendlier to Harry in his final year, even though the Professor had proven once and for all that he was on Dumbledores side.
Ron had clapped him heartily on the back, and Hermione still had her arms around Harry when the compartment door slid open. A cold, drawling voice flattened the friendly atmosphere instantaneously.
Potter! Im surprised. I thought even you had better taste than that Mudblood. Rons ears turned red again, but not from embarrassment for his friends, but from anger. Standing at the open door was Draco Malfoy, with the two gorilla-like thugs Crabbe and Goyle. Enemies since their first train ride to Hogwarts, their relationship had not improved when Harrys allegations had gotten Lucius Malfoy, Dracos father, into serious trouble.
Get lost, Malfoy, said Hermione steadily.
Oh, Im not sure we feel like getting lost just yet, do we boys? said Draco with his usual sneer as Crabbe took a threatening step towards Ron.
However, Harry was not paying attention to Dracos cronies or Ron. He was focusing on a copy of the Daily Prophet, which Crabbe had dropped on the empty seat. A column on the left hand side had caught his eye, because of a familiar picture of a scowling wizard with long blonde hair. Harry picked it up and started reading aloud.
Friend of Late Minister Receives Azkaban Life-Sentence
Lucius Malfoy, friend of the late Mr. Cornelius Fudge, has been arrested for use of the Unforgivable Curses. Last Tuesday the Wizenagemot found him guilty, and he has been sentenced for life imprisonment. However, he is also a participant in an experimental new program: community service. Malfoy will be working as a janitor at St. Mungos Hospital in the newly opened Knitting-for-the-Needy program, a new idea for letting infirm patients have a role and purpose by knitting clothes for the needy. This new program was funded by Minister of Magic Arthur Weasley and is led by Dobby, a freed house-elf who was, coincidentally, a former employee at the Malfoy residence.
The article was continued until page five, but Harry didnt bother to read on, because he, Ron, and Hermione were already collapsing onto their seats with laughter. Draco, however, was looking incredibly angry and humiliated.
Crabbe, you idiot! he shouted, as he pulled his wand from his pocket.
But whatever curse was about to befall the unfortunate crony was disrupted by the trios laughter. Draco seemed to realize the damage was irreparable, and no amount of dark magic would undo it. Instead, he stood up straight, turned around, and stalked out of the compartment. Goyle glared at Crabbe before pursuing his injured master.
As the trio talked and laughed, the hours melted away, and before Harry believed it was possible, he was departing the Hogwarts Express for the last time. He turned to look at Ron and Hermione. Hermiones eyes were blurry, and Ron was trying very hard not to blink. Harry noticed the warm wet streaks on his own cheeks, and realized he was crying too. They all looked towards the platform exit, and then back to each others faces. Ron cleared his throat and said gruffly, Harry, Hermione
Mum says you must come round this summer. Dumbledore says you dont have to go back to your uncles house ever again, except to collect your things. Well pick you up on Monday.
Hermione blushed and did the boldest thing in her life; she leaned over and kissed Ron on the lips. He blushed a bright fuchsia color, but then grinned across to Harry. Harry felt relieved but slightly annoyed: why had it taken them so long to figure out what had been obvious to everyone else since year four?
Harry then grasped Hermiones arm, and Ron took her other one. Arm-inarm, they walked across the platform, and together, stepped out into the rest of their lives.