The Feast

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When everyone finally arrived at the Great Hall for the start of term feast, Harry and Ginny sat down next to one another with Neville and Hermione across from them. Luna goes and sits at the Ravenclaw table, and for a small while, Harry wondered where Ron was, but he finally showed up looking terrible. He sat right next to Harry and put his head down. Not saying anything. Ginny and Hermione exchanged looks, but both knew better than to say anything. 

"Good evening, everyone, and welcome back to Hogwarts. For those returning to complete your 7th year, we are all thrilled to have you back again. For those of you joining us for the first time, I would like to welcome you. May your term be filled with wonder and knowledge." McGonagall said with a smile on her face, and with that, the food appeared on the tables, and everyone started to eat. Everyone except Ron.

"Ron, this isn't like you in the least. What happened?" Ginny finally broke down and asked him.

"I'm fine Gin, I'm just not hungry," Ron said. His voice lower than a whisper. 

"Ronald. Please eat something." Hermione coaxed. He just looked at her as a tear fell from his eye. She instantly knew what the problem was. She remembered a conversation they had when they were still dating, and he had decided to come back to Hogwarts that he was going to visit the place that Fred had died. He said that he needed to be there. To see it. 

"Ron, he would want you to eat." Harry finally said. Hermione was a little stunned that Harry knew what was bothering Ron as well. She was under the impression that it was a secret. 

"Harry, they didn't do anything for him. They just built it back up like nothing ever happened. They have forgotten about everyone." Ron snapped back. He wasn't sad anymore, but angry.

"Ron. If they did something for everyone that died here, the entire school would be a memorial, and we would all be stuck in the past, waiting for something terrible to happen again. Why don't you do something for him? It would mean more to you and him." Harry didn't normally fight with Ron, but he had a point here. Everyone was trying to move on, and if everyone had a memorial at Hogwarts, it would be a graveyard. 

"Ron." Hermione tried her lower tone of voice, she knew yelling, and fighting wouldn't win in this case. "Remember, in the third year when I was taking all of those classes, and I would stay up late and get up early, and you always brought me food. You made sure I slept and ate. Then the fifth year with O.W.L.s, you did the same thing. You helped me through that by making me eat and sleep. We are just trying to do the same for you." She gave him a small smile when she was done and put some chicken and potatoes on his plate. 

Ron ate, and everyone went back into silence. They were happy, though; a small victory would help in the long run, especially with the trials to come. 

"Before I dismiss you all to your houses, I would like to announce something very important. This concerns the 7th year students and every returning student who will be completing as an 8th year student. There is a new law that has just been passed this morning. I decided not to put it in the letter in the hopes that it would not become a reality. However, that is not the case, and now we must all follow it or face the consequences. The Minister of Magic wanted to be here himself to present the law to you. However, I thought it best coming from me. Tomorrow morning 7th and 8th-year students will be split into pairs, based on a test you will be taking tonight before leaving the hall. This test will assign you a partner. A marriage partner." McGonagall paused and took a breath before the next part. There was already protesting and stunned looks coming back at her. 

"A marriage partner, and more importantly to the Ministry someone you will have children with. For the magical community is dwindling, and because of the war, the numbers have dropped dramatically. The law is to help bring the bloodline back to stability. I want you all to know before you make up your mind; if you do not go along with the law, you will be expelled and will no longer be able to do magic."  McGonagall finished her speech, and soon there were whispers and shouts among the majority of the older students. 

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