In the summer of 1996, Voldemort launches eleven attacks against the Muggle-born of Hogwarts while he leads an attack against Privet Drive. In the aftermath of the attack on Privet Drive, Harry i...
George walked ahead of Harry and Hermione, and bowed them out of the shop. "Thank you," he said sincerely to Harry.
"George," Harry said, "you know you and Fred are the big brothers I never had."
"Thank you, Harry," George said sincerely.
"Oh . . . drat," Hermione spat. George and Harry turned to see what she was looking at.
What they saw was Rita Skeeter, a broad grin on her face, hurrying towards them.
"I wish we could avoid her," Hermione muttered.
Hermione's wish was granted. Rita's wish for a big scoop was also granted.
At that moment, with a large boom, a burst of fire and brimstone erupted between Hermione and Rita.
When the smoke cleared, a collective scream when up in Diagon Alley, for there stood everyone's worst nightmare.
Lord Voldemort stood there, and he was starting to raise his wand.
Harry was faster. "Helios!" he cried. This was the sun spell, which, in the hands of a powerful wizard, could drive off and even destroy a dementor.
The tight beam of concentrated light hit Voldemort full in the eyes. He screamed as his retinas burned out.
Hermione cried out, "Expelliarmus!" Voldemort's wand flew into her hand. She snapped it with great satisfaction.
George was the next to act. Seeing Harry was still on guard against Voldemort, and that Voldemort was on his knees, screaming and holding his bloodied face, George took six running steps and crashed his boot into Voldemort's groin. Voldemort's hands went from his still-bleeding eyes to his crotch. George's left fist crunched into the slit that served as the Dark Lord's nose.
Then George started putting the boot to Voldemort. Six other wizards leapt at the chance. Voldemort managed to trigger a portkey, and disappeared.
"We got him!" someone called out. "He got away, but we got the bastard!"
Fred, who had come to the door, pulled George back and together they hauled Harry onto their shoulders. The crowd started to applaud.
Harry amplified his voice. ""You see!" Harry called out. "He's a dangerous, evil, sorcerer, but if we work together, we can destroy him!"
The crowd cheered. Harry jumped down. By then, Remus and two other Order members had fought their way to Harry and Hermione. "Let's get you out of here," Remus said.
"Use our floo," George said.
"Good job," Harry said to George as he was hustled by.
"You, too," George said.
Harry turned to Remus. "Actually," Harry said softly, "it wasn't nearly as big as deal as it appeared. We need to get to Dumbledore, quickly."
"I was afraid of that," Remus said. He grabbed onto Hermione and Harry's writs, and activated an emergency portkey.
"Are you impatient, Severus?"
"No, my Lord," Snape answered, bowing low.
"Not at all?"
"I admit to being curious as to what we are waiting for, my Lord," Snape admitted, "but I know you will reveal it to me when you want me to know."
"True," Voldemort replied. "I decided that Lucius needed to take a risk. I sent him after the Boy and his Mudblood. If he succeeds, then I shall reward him magnificently. If he has failed, well, then we shall see."
At that moment, a screaming version of Voldemort appeared on the cavern floor, clawing at his bleeding eyes with one hand and holding his crotch with the other. "Stupify," Voldemort said, and the screams stopped.
"Examine him. He used Polyjuice, so he should return to himself in . . . thirty-five minutes." Voldemort stood.
"Do I treat him, my Lord?" Snape asked.
"Yes, once he transforms back. He will be easier to question then. Wormtail, remain. Seek me out when Lucius is ready to be questioned."
Snape and Pettigrew bowed low.
"So, you do not believe it was Voldemort?"
"No, sir," Harry answered. "My scar didn't twinge a bit, not even when I blinded him. I can't imagine there not being a reaction of some kind."
"No, no I suppose not," Dumbledore agreed. "It will not be easy to convince the Minister or the public, however."
"We don't need to convince them that it wasn't Voldemort," Hermione pointed out. "We just have to convince them that this doesn't lessen the threat of Voldemort very much."
"That will still be difficult, although perhaps not as difficult," Dumbledore said. "Very well. Remus, could you escort these two back home? I shall see what can be done."
"Would my writing Skeeter a note help at all?" Hermione asked.
"What could you write?" Dumbledore asked, pointing at writing supplies on the corner of his desk.
"Dear Rita," Hermione said as she wrote, "I know you have the scoop of the decade, but I ask you to listen to Dumbledore. . . . You, or an emissary, sir?"
"I think I will have to go myself, as my first stop."
". . . listen to Dumbledore. Your career will benefit in the long run." Hermione signed it. "I know it's presumptuous of me, but between us. . . ."
"She might listen. After all, she has a history with you. Remus?"
"Come on," Remus said with a sigh.
"He is permanently blinded, my Lord." Lucius Malfoy laid curled in a corner, rocking back and forth.
"Very well. AVADA KEDAVRA!" Voldemort turned to Snape. "Tell me, will the failure of this idiot fool the Boy and the Old Man?"
"Where did Malfoy attack Potter, Master?" Snape asked.
"Diagon Alley, actually." Voldemort actually chuckled. "I bet that made quite the stir."
"Then I doubt if it would fool the Old Man. Even if he actually does believe the Boy will some day defeat you, he cannot believe it would ever be this easy."
"True. But others will believe it. Fudge will believe it. People will let their guard down, at least for a while. Wormtail!"
"Preserve it, and remove its arms and legs, and then feed them to Nagini as needed. We'll see if his alleged pure blood will satisfy her hunger." Voldemort looked at Snape. "Begone to your other master. Watch him squirm, as the world believes I am of no account, and watch him fail to convince them otherwise, until I am ready to show them."
Snape merely said, "As you command, my Lord," and left the cavern. Only then did he feel the shock of what had happened.
Alerted by Hermione, the Grangers had arrived with four pizzas. Although he was very hungry, Dan Granger sat at the kitchen table, staring at his beloved daughter, Harry, and Remus Lupin as they related their day.
When they were done, everyone else was well along with their dinner, but Dan just placed his slice back on the plate and said, "You . . . you blinded a crazed wizard, who was not this wizarding Hitler after all?"
"Yes," Harry answered.
"And you wrote a note explaining this to a scurrilous insect who's also a reporter?"
"Well, Skeeter is more of a reporter who sometimes is a beetle, but yes," Hermione answered.
"And you're a werewolf, who is going to babysit us tonight?"
"Yes," Remus answered. Just then Harry reached in front of Remus for another slice. Remus bared his teeth and growled at Harry.
Harry blinked, then bared his teeth and growled back.
"Down, boys!" Hermione ordered, "before I wap you both with a rolled up newspaper." She turned to her father. "He's joking. He's only infectious when he changes, and that's only during a full moon," she said.
"A full moon at night," Remus added with a smile, having successfully won the slice from Harry. "This month the full moon is at Ten o'clock in the morning on the Thirtieth. I'll be pretty sick, but at least I won't change. And Dumbledore is trying to free up an auror you know, Tonks, to take over here, but even if the Minister agrees, and you agree of course, it will likely take a few days."
"But where. . . ."
"I'll sleep on a sofa or something," Remus said with a shrug.
"That will not be necessary," Emma said, standing. "Daniel, may I speak with you?"
"Why not?" he said, and the pair went into the front entrance hall. The trio in the kitchen heard nothing for a short time, then Dan was heard to scream, "They're going to be doing WHAT WHERE?!" Then all was quiet. Finally the couple came back in.
"Will Dumbledore or someone be here tomorrow?" Emma asked.
"I believe so," Remus hedged.
Dan looked at the pizza. He placed three more slices on his plate, went to the fridge and pulled out three bottles of brown ale, and said, "I'll see you all in the morning."
"He'll be alright," Emma said. "Harry, why don't you take your friend to your room. Take whatever pizza you want. Hermione will be up shortly."
Harry didn't know what to say, and so wisely said nothing. He and Remus took the rest of the meat pizza slices, some cola, and left in a hurry.
"You know, you never really told us how dangerous your world is," Emma said, sitting back down. "We've learned rather piecemeal."
"So have I," Hermione admitted.
"Have you decided that you're in love with Harry?"
"Yes, I have."
"And has Harry decided he's in love with you?"
"Yes, he has. I'll be sleeping in my room. Where will Harry be?"
"In your room, with the door open. It's going to be warm again, although nowhere near as hot as the other night. Wear whatever you wish, but remember, your father will see it."
Emma paused, and then said, "You're both rather on the young side, especially Harry. Still, when I was sixteen, I was sure every boy I really wanted could be the right one. I was wrong about all but one."
"True," Hermione agreed. "Harry and I are such good friends, though. . . ."
"It more common for your true love to be that first, and then you grow to be friends, than the other way around," Emma said gently.
"Mum, I'm not ready for sex, if that's what you're worried about. Short of that, I could never regret sharing any affection with Harry. He's not perfect, and I know that. We squabbled like, well, not to be icky about it, like brother and sister last year. But there is something about Harry. Something . . . wonderful, and filled with light. Three or four thousand years ago, he would have been a hero, like Theseus or Odysseus, but without the hubris that so many of the Greek heros had."
"And would you be Penelope and wait twenty years?" Emma teased.
"Yes, I would," Hermione said proudly, "if Harry had promised to come back before he left. Harry has his flaws, but he is good, in a way that makes me believe that humanity, with all the disgusting examples, can still be redeemed because it has produced a Harry Potter. I will follow Harry through hell, because I know if he leads I will make it through. If I'm also lucky enough that he falls deeply in love with me, then I will give him my heart and cherish his in return. If it turns out that we're not life-partners after all, then I will have this time to hold him, and know we'll always be special to each other."
Hermione stood. "I know that sounds silly, but I really do believe that."
"I hope you're right, dear," was all Emma could say. For all her practical genius, Hermione was still a sixteen-year-old girl. And who could tell? if magic was real, then perhaps fairy-tale endings were, too.
Hermione held Harry in her arms. "Harry . . . we're dating, right?"
"I suppose I never did formally ask, did I?"
"You asked if I would consider it, and I said yes, but we never said anything more than that, did we?"
"Hermione, will you be my girlfriend?"
"Oh, yes!" They kissed on the lips for the first time.
"You are fantastic," Harry whispered in awe.
"Go to sleep, my own," Hermione said, snuggling Harry's head to her small breasts. She kissed his scar. "If he comes tonight, I'll be here for you again."
Saturday, July 20, 1996
"Ah, I was wondering if you were going to try and break in tonight," Harry said.
Voldemort said nothing. He merely glared at Harry.
Harry looked around. They were out in a sunny glade, and Voldemort did not look happy. Harry realized that he was in charge of the dreamscape. "You don't look too good there, Tom," Harry said. "Don't tell me that really was you that I blinded?"
"No," Voldemort spat, "it was not."
"I thought not. I was at least one and a half beats ahead of whoever it was on the draw, and I would only have been about half a beat ahead of you."
"Oh, you've gotten that much stronger, that much better, in a month, boy?"
"Yes," Harry said simply. He really was not that confident, but saw no reason to let Voldemort know that. "Who was it? It wasn't Pettigrew. I would have even been further ahead of him."
Voldemort scowled. "Do you think this arrogance will save you?"
Harry stared into Voldemort's eyes, to the Dark Lord's shock. "It was Malfoy?" Harry said, surprised both at the identity of his opponent and the fact that he had read it so easily. "You killed him?"
Voldemort was even more shocked than Harry. He turned and tried to leave.
He couldn't. He then realized that by invading Harry's mind, he was on Harry's home ground. Harry had learned to control his own mind, and here he could even control Voldemort to some degree.
Voldemort turned on Harry and roared in anger. Harry's scar exploded in agony, and he dropped to one knee. Harry managed to block part of the pain. Where the last time this had happened he had concentrated on his general feelings of his loved ones, now he concentrated on his feelings for Hermione. He thought of her, and the pain receded.
Voldemort roared again, this time in agony. He was flung away from Harry.
Harry opened his eyes.
He was firmly in Hermione's arms, her lips were pressed against his scar. She released him. "Are you alright?" she whispered.
"I am," Harry said softly. "The scar hurts, but other than that, I seem to have been charge."
"Really?" Hermione asked, dubiously.
Harry scowled. "I know I probably deserve that, after the Occlumency thing, but I'm trying, Hermione."
"I'm sorry," Hermione answered. She kissed Harry's scar again, and Harry relaxed in her arms. "Can you go back to sleep? It's not even Four yet."
Harry shook his head. "I have to write it down for Dumbledore, and I should probably tell Moony, too."
"Alright," she said. Hermione sat up and grabbed her light dressing gown, and then she went to get Harry's special writing paper. Harry threw on his dressing gown as well and switched on the light. He was not surprised to see that this attracted Remus Lupin from the next room. Remus and Hermione looked over Harry's shoulders as he wrote out his dream confrontation.
"What were you thinking about when you forced Voldemort out of your mind?" Remus asked when Harry seemed to have stopped.
Harry dipped his head. "Hermione," he muttered.
"Yes, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"No, I meant I was thinking of my feelings for you," Harry muttered. Hermione simply placed her hand on Harry's shoulder and squeezed, pleased.
"Send that off and go back to sleep," Remus said fondly. He too patted Harry's shoulder, and the three all went back to their beds.
Harry and Hermione woke up a little after 7:00. They dressed and went down the stairs, and found Dumbledore, Tonks, and Moody were eating breakfast with Remus and Grangers in the dining room.
"Fix whatever you two want, Harry," Emma said.
"Fine. Does anyone need anything?" Harry asked.
No one did, and Harry went and fixed himself and Hermione breakfast.
"What's wrong?" Hermione asked her parents, when Harry had served them.
"Your Professor Dumbledore had made us an interesting offer," Dan said with a slight scowl.
"You know that we've had a standing offer to sell the practice," Emma said. "He suggested that we take the offer, and join your uncle's practice in Adelaide."
"Not you, of course," Dan added to Hermione, with a glare at Dumbledore.
"Of course not," Harry said. "He wouldn't want to risk his weapon's well-being." Dumbledore winced.
"Harry," Moody broke in, "you know that isn't Dumbledore's intention."
"Just the effect?" Harry asked.
Moody shrugged. "Eh, maybe."
"That does not help, Alastor," Dumbledore pointed out.
"What do you think, Harry?" Emma asked.
"I wouldn't want anything to happen to you," Harry said, "but I wouldn't want Hermione to leave or to be away from you, either."
"If Voldemort realized what was generating Harry's power last night. . . ." Dumbledore started. Harry rolled his eyes, Hermione scowled, and Dan and Emma demanded explanations.
"How much danger is Hermione in now?" Dan demanded after Dumbledore was finished explaining (and embarrassing Harry).
"Hermione will be very well protected," Dumbledore said. "However, once the term begins, we may not be able to save you from a large dementor attack. There are no dementors in Australia, and the Australians would be able to detect any that attempted to infiltrate."
Dan and Emma looked at each other. Emma nodded.
"Very well," Dan said. "We'll need some help. . . ."
"May I help?" Harry asked.
Dan frowned. "How?"
"Harry will be very wealthy when he turns seventeen," Hermione said. "I would imagine he could access some ready cash."
"That would avoid a strain on our war chest," Dumbledore said, "and Harry can well-afford it."
"Second," Dan said sternly, "Hermione, with or without Harry, visits over Christmas."
Dumbledore looked at Hermione. "I presume you have no objection?"
Hermione shook her head. "Of course not."
"Good. You can start working out the details with Remus this afternoon. Second, Remus or Miss Tonks will be here from now until you leave for your American vacation. . . ."
"We're still going on that?" Emma asked, surprised. "I mean. . . ."
"We will supply a magical moving company," Dumbledore said. "Packing this household will be done in about three hours."
"Oh. . . ."
"Third, I was able to persuade Miss Skeeter to write a reasonable article about the attack yesterday. I have already leaked the information that we believe that it was actually Lucius Malfoy under Polyjuice to her, and she will have that as part of her follow-up article tomorrow."
He turned to Hermione and smiled at Hermione. "Fourth, while I am here, perhaps we should discuss your last two years and future career plans."
Harry tried to fully follow the ends and outs of the two hour discussion that followed. He fully tuned back in when Hermione had her schedule set: Arithmancy; Charms; Defense against the Dark Arts; Preparation for Muggle University; Runes; Spell Building; and Transfiguration. She had tried to convince Dumbledore to let her take Potions, but he refused, while her parents had insisted on the Muggle Prep.