The Order reacts to Harry and Hermione's disappearances.
Chapter 4 - Reactions
"Thank you friends, for arriving on such short notice," Dumbledore said to the assembled Order. "Unfortunately, I am the bearer of grave news."
"What is it, Albus?" Molly Weasley asked. "Is it You-Know-Who?" Dumbledore shook his head.
"I’m afraid not, Molly. It is Harry." Almost everyone at the table gasped. "Earlier this morning, Remus and I received letters from harry. While mine was rather brief, from Remus’ letter it seems that he has stolen away sometime during the night, and has taken Miss Granger with him." Molly gasped.
"I got one of those letters too! I think the kids got one as well." Snape snorted.
"Typical arrogant Potter. Thinks he’s too good for the rules, so has to go out and get himself captured or killed. Serves him right, the little bra–urrk!" Snape grunted as Remus lunged over to him and slammed him onto the table.
"One more word, Snivellus," the werewolf growled softly. "One more word like that about Harry again, and I swear I will tear you apart." Tonks gently laid her hand on Remus’ arm, which calmed him down, and quietly went back to his seat. Dumbledore cleared his throat.
"Well, now that all personal issues have been resolved, you realize how important it is that we find them; if he is captured by the Death Eaters, then we are doomed. Start with Hogsmeade and the Leaky Cauldron, and work out from there. Meeting adjourned." Everybody stood up and left the room. As soon as everyone was gone, Dumbledore cradled his head in his hands.
"Merlin’s beard, Harry, what have you done?"
"Okay, Harry, let’s try this again," Hermione prompted. Harry sighed as he held his wand up. "Remember, concentrate on the effect that you want. And remember, swish and flick." Harry scrunched up his face in concentration. Harry performed the wand movement, thinking wingardium leviosa! But when he opened his eyes, the pillow was still on the bed. Harry sighed again.
"It isn’t working, Hermione," he said resignedly. Hermione shook her head.
"Alright, we’ll take a break," she said. Setting his wand down, Harry flopped down on the bed. Hermione grabbed a book and flopped down next to him.
"What’s that?" Harry asked, gesturing towards the book. Hermione looked at the cover.
"The Art of the Mind: A Beginner’s Guide to Occlumency," she read. Harry groaned. "Oh come on Harry, I know how you feel about it, but you need it to keep Voldemort out. And besides, it couldn’t have been that bad last year…right?" Harry simply looked at her with an air of skepticism. Hermione sighed.
"Just work with me here, Harry." Clearing her throat, she began reading the first chapter. "The mind is possibly the last truly private place anyone can have anymore. Unfortunately, there are less than honorable persons in the world who would like nothing better than to break into your mind and poke through your thoughts. This book is made to prevent it. Please note that this book will only teach you the rudimentary skills. To truly master the art of Occlumency, you must be regularly performed upon by a skilled Legilimens. Please note that having your mind forcibly probed can cause mental trauma, and can make you even more susceptible to probing—"
"WHAT?!" Harry yelled, making Hermione jump and drop her book. "You’re telling me that Snape actually made me weaker?! And Dumbledore allowed it?!" Harry took a few deep, calming breaths. "Sorry, Hermione. I’m just so…angry at him right now."
"I understand, Harry," Hermione said, picking up the book. "But please try to remember that it isn’t my fault that it happened."
"Right," Harry mumbled, ashamed. "As you were saying." Hermione opened the book and resumed reading.
"To begin building your mental shields, you must first find yourself a comfortable position." Harry crossed his legs and rested his arms on his knees. "Imagine yourself sitting on a floor in a void, no walls and no ceiling, just darkness." Harry closed his eyes and concentrated. When he opened them again, he was in the middle of a square room, with the walls and ceilings removed, showing only a black void. "To begin fortifying your defenses, start building a wall, one brick at a time," he heard Hermione’s voice read in the distance. Harry closed his eyes again and concentrated on a brick appearing. He opened his eyes to see a red brick lying on the floor near the edge. Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on another brick appearing right beside it, and another, and another, and eventually, Harry had constructed a brick wall spanning the width of the edge and reaching ten feet high.
"Okay, I built my wall, now what?" Harry asked. He was answered with only silence. "Hermione?"
"Hmm?" Hermione groaned tiredly, the shape of a fist imprinted on her cheek. "Sorry, I must of have dozed off," she mumbled as she shook the cobwebs from her mind. She glanced at the clock, which read 9:42 PM. "I guess we can turn in for the night," she continued as she marked her page and closed the book.
"I guess," Harry conceded as he slid off and walked to his own bed. "What’s on the agenda for tomorrow?" he asked as he slid under the covers.
"That’s a surprise," Hermione said vaguely as she buried herself underneath her own blankets and fell asleep. Rolling his eyes, Harry removed his glasses and set them aside before drifting to sleep himself.
Unknown to the assembled Order members downstairs, they were being eavesdropped by two red-haired teens.
"So, they didn’t say anything we didn’t already know," Ginny said sulkily, wrapping her Extendable Ear back up. Ron was sulking as well, but for a different reason.
"Why the hell didn’t he take me? We’re supposed to be best mates!" he ranted. "I mean, I could have helped." Ginny snorted.
"As a scorekeeper, you mean?" Ginny asked sarcastically. "I mean, really, your claim to fame was a freaking chess game, you’re the dumbest of the three, and you probably got almost zero O.W.L.s. Unless you’re going to bore the bad guys to death with your constant Quidditch rambling or else act as a human shield for them, you don’t really bring a lot to the party. Hell, I could have been a bigger help than you!" Ron just crossed his arms and huffed like a child.
"It’s just not fair," he muttered darkly. "He’s got fame, he’s got money, and now he’s got the girl..." Ginny wheeled back to berate him again.
"And that’s another thing, Ronald. You’ve got to get over this petty jealousy towards Harry. He doesn’t want any of that. He’s rich because his parents died. He’s famous because he didn’t die. And as for Hermione, she’s not a piece of property that you own, Ron. If she went with him, that’s her choice."
"But he should have stopped her!" Ron said desperately. "He knew I fancied her! And how can you defend him, you fancied him too!"
"Fancied, Ronald, past tense. I’m over him now. And as for Harry knowing that you fancied Hermione, did you go out and tell him?" Ron looked down sheepishly, his ears turning pink.
"Then how the hell was he supposed to know what you thought of her? He’s not a Legilimens, Ron. And besides, I don’t think she fancies you anyway." Ron’s head shot up at this.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean is whenever she’s helping me study, if she isn’t talking about school, she’s talking about Harry. His eating habits, his sleeping habits, his grades, if I didn’t know any better I’d think she was stalking him!" Ginny took a deep breath. "You’re just going to have to accept that whatever Harry and Hermione are doing, they had a good reason to not bring you along." With that, she turned around and went back to her room, leaving Ron to contemplate the verbal lashing he had just received from his little sister.
The next day, while Hermione was in the lavatory, Harry took the liberty of skimming through some of the titles that Hermione had brought with her. While most of the titles were written in English, some were written in Latin, but one book in particular caught Harry’s attention. It read Égaliser six fondamental magique théorie1, a language that Harry did not recognize. Extracting the book from the pile, Harry flipped through it and realized that it was written entirely in another language. Harry recognized a couple of simple words and realized that it was French.
"Enjoying the reading, Harry?" Hermione asked behind Harry, causing him to jump in surprise.
"Well," Harry said, clearing his throat, "it’s rather hard to tell, seeing as how I can’t read it." Hermione took the book from his hands, and nodded in understanding when she saw the cover. "Where did you get that book?" Harry asked.
"I got it the last time we were in France," Hermione admitted. "I had already finished with my Hogwarts books, and wanted something a bit harder. I also wanted to see how different the French curriculum is different than ours."
"So you can actually read that?" Harry asked incredulously.
"Of course I can," she sniffed. "And if we can find an optometrist, you can too," she added, grabbing Harry by the arm and dragging him out of their room. "Excuse me," Hermione asked the owner of the small magical inn that they were staying, "I was wondering where I could find a magical eye doctor." The owner, a middle-aged man that stood upright, unlike Tom from the Leaky Cauldron, scratched his chin in thought for a moment.
"I think there’s one a couple of blocks down that way," he said, pointing in a direction. "It’s kind of easy to miss, so keep your eyes open." Thanking the man, Hermione dragged Harry out the door and into the bustling crowd in the French equivalent to Diagon Alley. They walked up the street and eventually found the place. Harry couldn’t read the name of the shop, but the display of eyeglasses in the window gave away its nature. They stepped inside to see a large and surprisingly clean reception area with glasses frames lining several of the walls.
"Can I help you?" the receptionist asked kindly.
"Yes," Hermione said, pulling Harry towards the desk. "I was wondering if my friend here could have his eyes examined." The receptionist opened a book and peered down its pages.
"Ah yes, we have an opening in half an hour," the receptionist said. "Is that satisfactory?"
"Yes, that will suffice," Hermione confirmed.
"Excellent," the receptionist said cheerfully. "What name do I put it under?" she asked, quill poised in her hand. Hermione looked at Harry, her eyebrow raised. Harry sighed and shrugged slightly.
"Put it under...Evans," Harry said uncertainly. The receptionist did not seem to notice his uncertainty, as she scribbled the name into the book.
"Have a seat, Mister Evans." Harry and Hermione sat down and waited patiently for Harry’s alias to be called. Harry tried reading the supplied magazines, but stopped when he saw that they were written in French as well.
"Mister Evans?" the receptionist called, and Harry shot up immediately. "Healer Renault will see you now," she continued, pointing to a door. Nodding mutely, Harry walked through the door, Hermione behind him. Eventually, they found Healer Renault, a tall, thin, balding man wearing white robes over a suit like a lab coat.
"Ah, Mister Evans, so glad you could come," Healer Renault said cheerfully. "Why don’t you take a seat, miss, while I get Mister Evans settled." Hermione sat down and watched as Harry sat down in the patient’s chair and the healer adjusted the equipment to Harry’s size. "So tell me, Mister Evans, when was the last time your eyes were examined?" Healer Renault asked as he lowered the large contraption in front of Harry’s face.
"Umm..." Harry hummed, trying to remember. "I think I was six."
"And you haven’t had your eyes examined since?" the healer asked in shock. When Harry shook his head negatively, Healer Renault shook his head in disgust. "It’s a wonder that you don’t have a constant migraine from the eye strain. Now, which is clearer, one or two?" The healer continued to make small talk as he examined Harry’s eyes further. Healer Renault muttered to himself as he scribbled something down on a piece of parchment and handed it to Harry. "Keep this with you, and go outside to pick a frame. Do you want contact lenses?"
"Umm...sure," Harry said uncertainly.
"Excellent. How about upgrades?" Harry looked at Hermione and shrugged.
"He’ll take water repulsion, break resistance and a translation spell," Hermione told the healer.
"Great. You can return next week to pick up your frames and contacts," Healer Renault said before gently ushering Harry and Hermione out of his office. They went back to the main reception area, where Harry picked out a pair of silver oval half-lens frames and paid for the examination. A week later, they returned and picked up Harry’s glasses, where he was taught how to insert his contact lenses. Harry was amazed at how sharp his vision suddenly was, as well being able to read all the signs and books.
"Hey, do you think that there’s a way I could speak French like this too?" Harry asked teasingly.
"Not unless you want your tongue pierced," Hermione said seriously. Remember how painful getting his ear pierced was, Harry shook his head vigorously, his hand instinctively rising to his left ear.
"On second thought, I’m fine with English," he amended quickly. Hermione could not help but laugh at him.
This is chapter four of Light’s Hope, Death’s Hunters...I hope that you liked it.
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