Their O.W.L.s were finished, classes had ended and everything was packed.
They left school this year with the palpable sense the world was changing a little more abruptly than it usually did. That they were another little bit closer to the battle they all felt brewing.
Harry had been upset when he had heard they snuck off to fight Death Eaters without him, and hadn’t been much happier when he finally heard the prophecy. But he hadn’t said anything about it after a flat remark from his sister that he would get his chance to fight soon enough.
The oncoming summer seemed to Buffy, at least, that it would be infinitely happier than the last, assuming the war didn’t break out for a few months. Harry, and by extension and a certain degree of her own merit, Buffy, had been invited to stay at the Black house. Draco had been, reluctantly, invited as well given that he had no other place to go.
Sirus hadn’t wanted a Malfoy, even a former Malfoy in the house. He’d replied to the initial request with a whine about not wanting to make Kreacher happy, but he’d caved quickly enough when Harry had thrown down the gauntlet and started making quiet comments about how judging someone by what their father had done was a very Snape like thing to do.
As for the Weasleys’ Summer plans, the twins announced that they weren't going back for their seventh year at Hogwarts, but would be trying their hand in business, opening a joke shop as an extension of Zonko’s. And Ron had been twitching for weeks over the fact that Buffy hadn’t planned to return to the burrow, which he was afraid would make his mother impossible, and he’d wormed a promise from Harry and Buffy that they would stay at the end of the summer, and agreed to the condition that Draco would accompany them without even as much fuss as Sirus had made.
At the train station most of the students were quiet as they began to go their separate ways. Each exchanging the usual promises to write and visit in hushed tones, and as she walked away with her brother and her boyfriend, Buffy couldn’t help feel that they’d remain closer than they had the year before.
But her optimism didn’t make her blind. There was no ignoring reality and that although her personal prospects were more hopeful, all the wizards around her were sober and fearful in a way that none of the Hogwarts students had ever seen before.
The upcoming war was a dark cloud over their heads that was impossible to miss, but as Buffy saw it, it was better than walking through the dark without any idea that the light was absent. Lucius had not been able to cover up the attack, or keep all of the Death Eaters from talking. Voldemort’s return had gone from the tabloid’s humour section, the front 30 pages of every wizarding paper. Finally, events had been too large to be swept quietly under the rug, and soon the wizarding world was going to explode in war again.
And all Buffy could do was hope when it did, she would be ready.
But until then, she had her vacation.
Uber thanks to CharmedChick for beta'ing this one twice. Also, thanks to everyone who's been reading and reviewing... you make me not want to crawl into a dark hole with no internet access :) Part three will be slow in coming, due to the epic rewriting that I have to do.