The next morning, the sun rose like it always did. Its rays making their way through the cracks in the curtains of the Gryffindor boy's dormitory room that housed Harry Potter and his friends. Ron awoke with a grunt, stretching his arms up over his head as he sat up. He rubbed his eyes blearily with his hand as he looked around the room. As he placed his feet on the cold floor, he let out a slight wince and began to look around.
There was an unusual lack of movement from Harry's bed and the curtains were still drawn shut. While Harry had certainly changed since Sirius's death, he had taken to waking up rather early so it was odd that his curtains were still closed. With a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, he slowly drew back the curtains around Harry's bed, half expecting to see his friend writhing in his bed clutching at his scar. What he found was almost worse. To his surprise, Harry wasn't there. He checked the bathroom and the common room before making his way to the Great Hall, hoping his friend had just decided to head down a bit early.
Hermione came up beside him while he was on one of the moving staircases. She quickly noticed the absence of Harry and queried if he and Ron had gotten into another one of their arguments. They had always gotten into arguments about the oddest things, not talking for weeks, until one of them would finally cave.
"He wasn't in our dorm this morning. I dunno where he went."
"Where could he be?"
"Honestly Ronald, he's your best friend, why don't you know where he is," Hermione questioned exasperatedly.
Ron's face slumped, "I just, I dunno. It's hard to keep track of him, he just keeps going off and doesn't want anyone to follow him. He won't talk to me about it… about him. I dunno what to do."
That worried Hermione; it wasn't normal for Harry to disappear this long. Yes, he would disappear from time to time, but he was usually back by now. He would go for early morning walks and be back for breakfast. Sometimes she would find him clutching the two-way mirror tightly in his hand, his eyes staring into its depths as if willing his godfather's face to appear. He hadn't been the same since Sirius.
As they made their way into the Great Hall, their eyes scanned the Gryffindor table looking for a head of messy dark hair. They spotted Ginny and Neville, but Harry was nowhere to be seen. Now they were really worried. Harry rarely missed meals, sure, there were times when he didn't eat or would spend the entire meal pushing food around his plate, but he didn't skip out entirely.
"Have either of you seen Harry," asked Hermione.
"I mean, he wasn't in the dorm when I woke up, I figured he went for some early morning flying practice," said Neville awkwardly, "he's been spending a lot more time on his broom, since, since, well you know."
"Do you think he could be in danger," worried Ginny, "this is Harry we're talking about," stressing the word Harry in her statement, "danger tends to find him and he hasn't been the same since Sirius."
"He has seemed different."
"Ron, what do you think," asked Ginny
"What do you mean, what do I think?"
"Hasn't Harry seemed, I don't know, off to you?"
"Well, sure, but Sirius just died. I mean, they were close, I guess."
"You guess? Ronald, are you really that daft?"
Ron looked down at his hands as he fiddled with his fingers. The accusations only made Ron feel worse. I should have known something was off, he thought, he's my best mate and I have no clue where he could be. I should know… He lowered his head to the table and stared down at his hand. If something should happen to Harry, it would be all my fault. Ron's thoughts were interrupted by Ginny.
"We should ask Luna, she might know where he is. She always seems to know and see things we don't."
With that, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and Neville left the Gryffindor table to search for Luna at the Ravenclaw one. Scanning the faces around the table, looking for one that was familiar to them. They finally spotted her long, pale blond hair at the table and moved towards her with urgency.