Holly looked up at the ceiling at the sound of flapping wings. She watched as a barn owl swooped towards her and dropped a letter in her lap. Holly looked at the familiar writing and quickly opened it to read what Draco had wrote.
“Everything OK Holly?” Ginny asked after Holly put down the letter. Ginny and Hermione had gotten letters yesterday from their families.
“Yep! He likes working at the shop and your mother hasn’t let him go hungry” Holly said with a smile. Her smile faltered as she looked around the room. Hogwarts just wasn’t the same as it used to be. Enrollment was way down after the Battle; many families had decided to home school their kids instead. Holly’s eyes swept the Slytherin table in a familiar way but obviously did not see her blonde haired boyfriend. She sighed; at least Ginny and Hermione were here with her. They had been in Hogwarts for almost a month now. Because of their hard work in the summer, Hogwarts looked the same. But something was missing and everyone knew it. Dumbledore was gone, so were Harry, Ron, and Draco. Holly caught herself reliving the battle at times while walking through the halls.
‘Stunned a Death Eater here, shielded a student here…’ She thought as she passed a corner by the Entrance Hall.
Professor McGonagall and the other teachers that had fought in the battle had done well to resume teaching like nothing had happened. They were used to students running out of class to cry or vomit over the memories. Madame Pomfrey had taken to always having a Calming Draught brewed in her Hospital Wing for students who needed a relief. The teachers had also helped the students by piling on the work. All the returning sixth years were busy preparing for their N.E.W.T examinations and had hours and hours of homework to complete.
One night, Hermione, Ginny, and Holly were working on their Astronomy assignments in the Gryffindor common room. Ginny was in the same classes as the elder girls and they could finally work together.
“Done” Holly said putting down her star chart on the table in front of her. The time consuming chart had been a thorn in her side for weeks and finally she had finished.
Ginny looked up wearily from her chart, “How did you do the Gemini constellation?”
“Ugh that’s a trick question I swear. The final star actually isn’t there because it disappeared years ago. I spent forever trying to find it before finding that information in a reading” Holly replied. Ginny nodded and turned back to her chart.
Holly leaned back in her chair and rubbed her temples as she looked around the common room. It was almost empty except for a pair of fourth-year boys sitting at a table by the window playing Wizard’s Chess and a second year girl sitting on a couch by the fire. As Holly watched longer she noticed the girl had been staring at the fire for many moments without blinking or moving. Holly’s suspicions proved right when she saw a lone tear run down the cheek of the girl.
“Be right back” Holly said to Ginny and Hermione as she pushed her chair out and moved to the couch. She sat down gently and stayed there for a few moments silently staring at the fire with the girl. Eventually, Holly moved her hand and placed it gently on the second year’s. This touch seemed to take the girl out of her trance.
“What’s your name sweetie?” Holly asked quietly
“S-siobhan” the second year said with a slight hiccup.
“Siobhan? That’s such a beautiful name!” Holly said warmly, “Where’s that name from?”
“It’s Irish!” Siobhan said with a faint smile, “My mah really loved her Irish roots.” At this her face fell, “Well she did.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Holly asked, “I’ve been told I’m a pretty good listener” She added with a smile and a wink. Siobhan immediately opened up to Holly about her parents falling to one of Voldemort’s giant’s. Her parents had rushed to the aid of some Muggles when the giant attacked their home but had died in the attempt. Siobhan was left to be raised by her elderly grandparents and most of her friends were currently being homeschooled.
“Oh sweetie I’m so sorry.” Holly said giving the younger girl a hug. “If you ever need anything I’m right here ok?”
“Thanks Holly” She said with a smile and a yawn.
Holly chuckled, “I think I’m about ready to head to bed, how about you?” Siobhan nodded and made her way to the girl’s staircase.
“I’m right behind you, just getting me stuff!” Holly called after her.
Holly could not get to sleep that night. Her mind was running a mile per minute thinking and thinking about what happened with Siobhan. How many other children were feeling like her? Lost, abandoned, no one to turn to? The war had taken a toll on everyone, not just the people who fought in it. Something had to be done to help them, but what?