After arriving at his relative's home, Harry decides that he can no longer just react to the actions of Voldemort. He needs to know what exactly is the Dark Lord's plans and decides on a course of ...
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a/n - Thoughts
It had been four days since Harry Potter disappeared from his home in Surrey. Four days where Albus Dumbledore used every means at his disposal to search for the young Wizard -- with no results. He had spread the Order of the Phoenix across the Europe once it was clear that Harry was nowhere of Surrey. To say that the elder Wizard was worried was an understatement.
The only bright spot in this was that there was almost zero Death Eater activity during Harry's absence. But if Albus was true to himself, he could not say which troubled him more right now; Harry's absence or Voldemort's inactivity.
Dumbledore sighed, his eyes inexorably drawn to the two pieces of this wood that sat near the corner of his desk. Picking up one of the pieces, he twirled it in his fingers, mindful of fragility of the former wand. Fawlkes trilled mournfully behind him, much like the Phoenix did when Dumbledore first brought the remains of Harry's wand into his office. The Phoenix immediately launched into the air and flashed into a ball of fire, the sign of the way that Phoenix travel. Not more than five seconds had passed before Fawlkes reappeared on his perch. The fiery bird gave Dumbledore a sad look before ducking his head beneath his wing.
"Is the boy dead?" Dumbledore asked himself. "No! I can't let myself think like that. Besides if Voldemort had managed to kill Harry, he would have put the boy on display for the entire Wizarding world to see. No, Harry is still alive."
A soft chime echoed in the room. Dumbledore looked at the small crystal ball sitting on the left side of his desk. The image of his Transfiguration Professor appeared inside the misty depths of the artifact. Looking up to the door, he waited a couple of seconds before speaking.
"Please come in, Minerva."
The door opened and the Head of Gryffindor entered. She firmly closed the door behind her and quietly sat down in one of the chairs in front of his desk. When she finally looked up at him, Dumbledore could see the fatigue and worry emanating from her eyes.
"Has there been any word, Albus?" McGonagall asked.
"No, I'm afraid not." he replied, setting down the broken piece of Harry's wand, "No one has reported being able to find Harry. Nor has there been any headway in trying to determine what exactly happened at Privet Drive."
"Has Severus found out if You-Know-Who has Harry?"
"As far as he can tell, no. Severus has not even seen or heard from Voldemort since Harry disappeared," Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, his face pensive. "Does one have any connection to the other? I don't know but if you remember what Harry told the Weasleys in his letter, there can be no doubt that something happened between the two."
"That brings up another question that I had. If Harry has indeed sought out You-Know-Who, how was he able to slip away without alerting the Order members watching his home?"
"That is the second most pressing question before us, his current location being the first," Dumbledore became thoughtful for a moment. "Perhaps it is time to include Harry's friends in this."
"What do you mean?"
"Well the Weasleys are at Grimmauld Place now and Miss Granger is due to be joining them in two days time," the Headmaster stood up and headed for the door.
"An then what, Albus." McGonagall asked.
"Then hopefully with their help, we'll be able to figure out the why and how of Harry's disappearance." Dumbledore answered as he left his office with McGonagall trailing behind him.
Remus stalked his way through the hall of Hogwarts. His destination was the Headmaster's office but he stopped a short distance away from the entrance when a faint sound tickled the edge of his heightened hearing. Turning around in the hallway, he strained his hearing to locate where the sound came from.
What sounded like a faint scrapping noise, echoed lightly in the empty hallway. Remus padded softly down the right side of the hall, taking great pains to remain silent. Suddenly there was a loud grinding sound of stone moving against stone, causing the Werewolf to jump from a momentary bout of fright. Twisting around, he realized that the sound was from the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster's office moving. Dumbledore and McGonagall soon stepped out from behind the stone statue. All thoughts of unknown sounds left Remus as he walked over to the two.
"Ah, Remus. Good Evening." Dumbledore spoke up as the Werewolf approached.
"Albus. Minerva." Remus responded, nodding to each in turn.
"What brings you here, Remus?" McGonagall asked.
"I just came from seeing some of my more shadier contacts," Remus began explaining. "I was trying to see if there was any information available about any plans that the Death Eaters might be cooking up."
"And what have you learned?" Dumbledore queried.
"Strangely enough, nothing."
"Nothing?" McGonagall was surprised.
"Exactly," Remus said. "I could find no leads on any possible Death Eater activity whatsoever. It's almost as if all of them went to ground and are hiding."
"What could this mean, Albus?" McGonagall questioned the Headmaster.
"I am not sure," Dumbledore answered, stroking his beard in thought. "This just could be the calm before the storm or perhaps something much more simple. Either way it might be a good idea to have Miss Granger join the Weasleys sooner than planned. Please see to it, Minerva."
"Of course, Albus. I'll see to it right away." McGonagall answered and then walked away.
The two men watched McGonagall disappeared into the dark hallway. Dumbledore then turned in the opposite direction and started walking. "Now Remus, I was just heading down to the kitchens for an evening snack. Would you care to join me and discuss what you found out tonight?"
"Certainly Headmaster." the werewolf replied, letting the elder Wizard lead the way.
Professor McGonagall Apperated to a safe location near the Granger home. After transfiguring her robe into a dress that the muggles would not take special notice of, she carefully walked towards her student's house. The neighborhood was strangely quiet. Oh there were people going on about their business at this time of day but she was an Animagus. Her form of that of a cat, gave her a unique appreciation of the sounds of nature. The rustling of leaves as bird flew from branch to branch or a scrambling sounds of small animals moving on the ground.
She could not hear any animals, birds, or even insects.
McGonagall tried to extend her senses as she made her way to the Granger's front door. Once there, she pulled her concerns about the lack of natural sounds in the area to the back of her mind and knocked on the door.
Hermione was lying on her bed, her fifth year spell book spread out before her, when there was a knock at her bedroom door. Sitting up on the bed, Hermione called out, "Come in."
The door opened to reveal her mother. Hermione was about to ask if dinner was ready when she saw the beginning signs of worry in her mother's face. It was small to start with, only a slight creasing of her forehead but it was there.
"What is wrong, Mum?"
Mrs. Granger stepped into her daughter's room. "A Professor from your school is downstairs. She said that she needs to talk to you, well all of us, urgently."
"Alright," Hermione said nervously. She closed up her books and got off her bed and followed her mother, all the while worried about what this could mean. Had they found Harry? Have there been more attacks? Has there been threats against her family? Hermione's feeling of worry multiplied when she saw Professor McGonagall waiting for her. Even with the state of the Wizarding World, a little part of her was insecure enough to worry that this was about her test scores, since she had not received her OWL scores yet. What if her teacher was here to tell her that she had failed her subjects?
"Hello Hermione," McGonagall said, "I hope your summer has been uneventful so far?"
"I failed my OWLs, didn't I," Hermione blurted out in her nervousness.
McGonagall was started for a moment. That outburst was the last thing she expected to hear from her prized student. She gave Hermione a motherly chuckle and shook her head. "No child, you did not fail. I will refrain from telling you what you got as I'm sure that you will find out in a couple of weeks when the scores are officially sent out. I can however tell you that you did very well."
Hermione blushed faintly from the high praise from her Professor but was relieved. With that concern calmed, her other worries came back to the forefront of her mind.
"Is there any news of Harry?" Hermione asked. "Have you found him yet?"
"No we haven't yet, Miss Granger. "McGonagall answered. "But that does lead me, in a way, to the reason for my visit. Headmaster Dumbledore feels that it might be better for you to join the Weasleys earlier than planned."
"But what about my parents, Professor?"
"The Headmaster will most likely have Order members check in on your parents as well as few Aurors," McGonagall replied, then turned to Hermione's parents. "Unless you would like to join your daughter for the time being."
"They could come?!" Hermione eagerly asked.
"I'm sure that it would be fine with the Headmaster," McGonagall said, directing a questioning glance at the elder Grangers.
"But what about our practice?" Mrs. Granger asked, fretfully.
Mr. Granger placed a comforting arm around his wife's shoulders and looked to his daughter. "Why don't you go upstairs and pack your trunk, darling, while we discuss this with your Professor."
"Okay Dad," Hermione replied and flitted up the stairs.
Once in her room, Hermione sat down on her bed with a heavy sigh, She was happy to be going to the Weasleys again but at the same time she was worried about Harry. Ever since receiving Ron's letter about what Harry had written and then hearing from Professor Dumbledore about the events that happened at the Dursleys, Hermione's emotions had spiked and fell like a rollercoaster ride. At times she was furious at Harry for taking such a foolhardy action but mostly, she was worried about her friend. Wondering where he was, if he was hurt, if he was still alive. That last part always hurt her the most.
But now was not the time to get melancholy, she needed to pack her books and clothes. She opened her trunk, noting that even though she had been home for a week, she had only unpacked her school books. Everything else was still neatly stored in her trunk. It was as if she knew that she would not be staying long with her parents.
Hopefully they will be able to come along, she thought to herself as she bent over to pick her books up off the bed. Mr. Weasley shouldn't be around to much to drive them insane and they've always said that they wanted to learn more about the Wizarding World.
Hermione's head shot up at the sound of her name but there was no one in her room besides herself. Where did that come from. Maybe it was just my imagination but I could've sworn that sounded like-
Any more thoughts were interrupted by a dazzling flash of red light, accompanied by the sound of something falling onto her floor. She moved off her bed, grabbed her wand from under her pillow and held it out in front of her as she visually searched her room. There was no sign of where that flash of light and her floor was empty. She glanced at her window on the other side of her bed, wondering if maybe the light had come from outside her house. Hermione went to look out her window but as soon as she turned around the corner of her bed, her foot collided with something unseen an she fell onto the floor.
Hermione looked up from she was sitting on the floor to find her Transfiguration teacher standing in her doorway with her wand drawn. Standing behind her was her parents.
"Are you hurt, honey?" Mrs. Granger asked
"I'm fine, Mum." Hermione answered.
"What happened up here," McGonagall queried, her eyes scanning the room. "I felt an intense burst of magic from downstairs."
"I do not know Professor," Hermione responded. "I was picking up my books when I heard someone say my name and then there was a flash of red light."
"How did you end up on your floor?"
"Well I was going to check my window to see if anyone was outside when I tripped on something right there,,," Hermione trailed off as she pointed to the area just beyond where her feet were. Hermione tentatively pushed her foot out and came into contact with something warm and soft. "Wait a minute, there is something there. Whatever it is, it must be invisible." Hermione carefully reached out a hand to it.
"Don't touch it, Miss Granger," McGonagall stressed. "We have no idea what it could be."
Hermione ignored McGonagall and placed her hand on the object. Suddenly she felt an odd tingling run up her arm, across her back and up to the back of her head. Once that was happened, the object she was touching slowly became visible, revealing a body of a man lying face-down on her floor. The startled gasps behind her told Hermione that her parents and Professor McGonagall could now see him also. Whoever the man was, his clothes were shredded and the skin underneath that could be seen, were covered in cuts and bruises.. Hermione gently pushed the man onto his back and gasped sharply at the familiar face.
"Professor McGonagall!" Hermione shouted, shifting slightly on her knees to look up at her teacher. "It's Harry!"