Luna visits Ron and Hermione goes to Hogwarts
Hermione wrapped her heavy travelling cloak closer around her and struggled against the harsh wind. The sky was dark and flashes of lightening punctured the sky. The driving rain had turned the ground into a slimy mud, and her feet slipped trying to find purchase. In front of her was her destination. The gates of Hogwarts. Hermione reached out a hand to open the metal gate, but froze inches from it. Of all the good memories Hogwarts had given her, it was the last, most terrible one that haunted her and stayed her hand. The thunder rolled and crashed like waves, and for a moment Hermione watched the sky in awe. Everything about Hogwarts was magic, even nature itself. Steeling herself, Hermione pushed open the gate and slipped inside.
In St. Mungo's, three Healers had gathered around the bedside of Harry Potter. The sunlight streamed through the magical window, even if the country was in the grip of the worst storm in decades. One of the Healers had their hand pressed firmly against Harry's forehead, and their eyes were shut tight in concentration. A bead of sweat slid from the Healer's brow down their face. This was their sixth attempt to contact Harry Potter. It was also their sixth failure.
Ron was in the study, straining to hear the wizarding wireless over the storm. The Cannons were on the verge of ending their fourteen match losing streak, despite the weather. As big a fan as he was though Ron didn’t fancy being in the stands for this one. Small mercies and all that.
After a thrilling endgame and a snitch capture worthy of Harry himself, Ron made himself a drink and got as comfortable as he could by the fire. Laying the cane on the empty chair beside him he prepared himself for a night spent taking all of the good feelings from the Cannons win and twisting them into a sad mockery of his predicament. This took careful planning and Ron didn’t get very far before he was disturbed by a knock at the door. So rarely did anybody actually knock on the door rather than Apparate or floo in that Ron did not immediately recognise the sound. The knocking stopped, and the faint pop of a witch apparating was heard, along with the strange smell of wood smoke that Ron had never before noticed during an appearance.
It was Luna Lovegood. 'Hello Ronald' she said.
What the hell happened? I lost her, she was here I felt it and then it was gone. My one chance and I blew it, fumbled the snitch missed the quaffle. I saw something, before she left. A dark sky, mud and rain. Noise, gunfire. A fight, a war. Is she alright? Oh please let her be safe, is she hurt is she alive have I killed her oh please I don't want I don't want it I NO! GET OUT I DON'T NEED YOU GET OUT OF MY HEAD…
The two observing Healers physically felt the magic swirl around them and the air became heavy with static. The third Healer, attempting once again to establish a Legilimency connection to Harry, fell back as if electrocuted, jittering and twitching in a fit on the floor. Harry's torso heaved and a wave of magical energy cascaded through the room. The two standing Healers were thrown violently into the walls, where they slid to the floor and lay still.
Luna shook herself out of her wet clothes and walked over to the chair beside Ron. Picking up his cane she twirled it like a baton as she walked around the room, humming softly. Ron’s eyes followed her as she waltzed into the kitchen. There was a soft clinking of glasses which Luna quickly incorporated into her humming. She danced back into the room holding a bottle and two glasses.
‘Now before you say anything I know you were just about to offer me a drink. However, seeing as your cupboards are stocked with,’ she sniffed Ron’s glass, ‘Snapdragon’s finest Scotch, something I have no stomach for, I brought my own.’ She fell into the seat beside Ron and raised her glass with a ‘Sláinte’.
Ron returned the toast then downed his drink. His plans had included drinking, if his health was to be involved then it was the lack of it that would be addressed. He poured himself another drink in silence and looked away from Luna. That silence grew until it almost filled the third chair in the room before it was broken by the scratch of pages being turned. Luna had brought a Quibbler with her.
‘What on earth are you doing Luna?’ said Ron, turning to face her as he did so.
‘Well you were being awfully rude Ronald, so I decided to indulge a little myself’
Ron sighed and scolded himself. ‘I’m sorry Luna’ he said. ‘I just haven’t been in the best of moods recently, what with all’ he gestured to his cane and the empty chair across the room.
Luna marked her place in the Quibbler with a red ribbon and put it down on the chair. ‘I know. That’s why I came, to cheer you up. I care for you Ronald. More deeply than I think you've ever realised, and that's ok. I'm here as your friend, because I think you're in trouble. Also, the wizard who did this to you is still out there, and of the two wizards who could catch him, you’re the only one still able to do so. I,’ Luna pulled a brown notebook out of her bag, ‘brought this. Tell me about the case.’
Hermione was heading to the library when she had a realisation. Dumbledore's portrait was here, and no one had told him. She changed course and headed to the Headmaster's office. As it was out of term the gargoyle was not blocking the entrance, but merely standing to attention aside the door. She took a breath and climbed the stairs until she found herself in the most prestigious office outside that of the Minister's.
'Ah Hermione' beamed Dumbledore's portrait. Hermione chided herself for her naivety. Of course Dumbledore knew. And of course he was expecting her.
'I was wondering when you would come. I was deeply saddened to hear the news. I presume that's why you're here.'
Hermione began to nod, but stopped herself. 'Partially, Professor I came here looking for answers. I managed to enact a Legilimens connection with Harry in St. Mungo's, but I was cast out of his mind shortly after I made the connection.'
'I think' began Dumbledore, 'You had better explain to me all the details.'
Hermione told Dumbledore all that had transpired in Harry's mind as she made the connection and was not at all unsurprised to see his painted eyes give his trademark twinkle.
'I will make an educated guess as to what has happened, but forgive me when I say; I think I know a solution. You entered Harry's mind through Legilimency correct?'
'Well, Harry sort of initiated the connection; it took me completely by surprise.'
Dumbledore's portrait gave a small chuckle. 'That explains some things. Tell me Hermione, are you well practised in Legilimency?'
Hermione shook her head. It was the one subject she had never mastered, aside from Divination, but that hardly counted in her opinion.
'Harry however, is well practised in Legilimency. And also Occlumency. He told me many times that he thought his greatest failure to be his inability to control these skills well enough to prevent the tragedy in the Department of Mysteries. Harry certainly has improved in his skills if he was able to initiate a connection, but given his experiences with Voldemort and your own admitted lack of ability in Legilimency I believe, that Harry is unconsciously employing his Occlumency against you, as a defence mechanism.'
Hermione could have kicked herself for not coming to the same conclusion herself. Her shock had overtaken her and she had missed the simplest of solutions. She almost raised her hand to ask Dumbledore a question, before remembering she was a qualified adult now. He had a way of making her making her feel so at ease, and Hermione was always at ease in a classroom.
'Professor, I need to find a way to talk to Harry.'
'Then you must first master Occlumency and Legilimency. Otherwise I fear the danger is too great. Who knows what could happen if you were unprepared. You were lucky your first connection was so short in duration.'
'But Professor, you need to be taught these skills. If I could learn from a book then I would have by now.'
Dumbledore smiled and turned to his left, where the portrait of Professor Snape was affixed to the wall. 'I believe my former potions master had a protégé of sorts who has the skills necessary for your teaching.'
'You of course couldn't forget one Master Malfoy'