Hermione was very quiet in the carriage her and Ginny shared on the Hogwarts Express, and Ginny knew this meant she was nervous. When Ginny asked what was the matter, Hermione told her that she was nervous about being at Hogwarts without Harry and Ron.
“It’ll just be really weird,” Hermione said, and she reminded Ginny they’d never had a quiet year at Hogwarts, and Harry and Ron had kept her out of harms way, and sometimes been her only friends through school.
“You’ve got me, Hermione. There will be no trouble now, it will just be school. You can focus on your studies this year, with no death threats or rule breaking because you’re trying to save the world. A little rule breaking just for fun won’t harm anyone though,” Ginny said with a grin, and Hermione told her that she’d broken enough rules to last a lifetime, and that she didn’t plan to break any at all this year.
“We need to focus if we want to pass our N.E.W.T.s Gin!” Hermione said as they climbed into the horse-drawn carriage up to the school.
“It is possible to have fun at the same time,” Ginny threw back at her with a grin.
By the time the girls had made it into their dorm (Hermione was a seventh year now, as was Ginny), they were feeling full, warm, and at home. Hermione had forgotten what it was like to have a normal life, and Ginny had forgotten what Hogwarts was really like after the school changed so much the year before.
They had watched the sorting, all the while staring around the Great Hall which had been rebuilt exactly as it had been before, finding it difficult to forget what the it had looked like the last time they were in there. During Professor McGonagall’s speech about the loss of the students during the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione was unable to stop herself crying, and grasping Ginny’s hand under the table.
The fact that they had been there was making things much worse, they couldn’t stop looking around and picturing the scene from the end of the last school year. Ginny was staring blankly at Professor McGonagall, and Hermione knew she was trying to avoid looking at the spot that Fred had been lying in.
By the time they managed to get to bed, they were emotionally drained. Returning to the scene was difficult, but they needed to get past this, and this year they had each other. Both of them missed Harry and Ron, but they knew it wouldn’t be long until they heard from them.
All in all, both girls were glad to be back, and – maybe one more than the other – both excited to return to their studies! It was time to have some fun (and pass some exams, obviously)