Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Dark Lord Rising

Chapter 24: End of an Era.

by AndrewsQuill 1 review

Harry and Hermione have a chat with a fellow student and a tiny prank.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover,Humor,Romance - Characters: Fred,George,Ginny,Harry,Hermione,Neville - Warnings: [!!!] [V] - Published: 2009-05-18 - Updated: 2009-05-19 - 7841 words

Albus Dumbledore, the reputed Greatest Headmaster Hogwarts had ever seen, was confused. It was a feeling that he didn’t like at all. Two students were missing from the castle and he had been unsuccessful in trying to locate them. Wherever they were, they were under some very heavy wards.

When Professor McGonagall had removed the Monitoring Charm from Harry, he had discreetly put a Tracking Charm on Ms. Granger instead since they were so inseparable. He figured that they must be with Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and perhaps Hermione’s parents. Based upon the events of last night, he didn’t feel like he could do much to impress upon them their guilt for leaving the school without permission.

Realizing that there was nothing that he could do now, Dumbledore sighed again and stepped over to the golden perch in the corner of the room where Fawkes was watching him intently. He was rubbing the bird’s neck absentmindedly while he thought about which part of his plans needed to be set in motion.

Coming to a decision, he walked over to his writing table, pulled out a quill and parchment, and began penning letters to a few people that he would need in the upcoming months.

Ron Weasley was sitting in the common room of Gryffindor Tower waiting for his sister and Neville Longbottom to go down to breakfast. He was mulling over how unhappy he had been without Harry and Hermione’s friendship. Since Neville and Ginny were both friends with them, he hoped to apologize to them first before talking with Harry and Hermione.

About ten minutes later, Ginny came down the steps and saw Ron sitting on the couch by the fire, which was a highly unusual occurrence early in the morning. Plopping down on the couch across from her brother, Ginny asked, “What’s wrong?”

Ron looked over at his sister, apprehensive, and a bit nervous about how she would respond to his apology. Blushing slightly and looking down at the hearthrug, he said in a shaky voice, “Ginny, I would like to apologize for the way that I’ve been acting this year.”

Neville had been coming down the steps from the boy’s tower and he saw, and heard, Ron’s apology to the rug on the floor. Shaking his head in disappointment, he walked over and sat down next to his girlfriend and gave her a quick peck on the cheek while saying, “Morning, Gin.”

Ron felt like an intruder and his sister being kissed by a boy made him squirm uncomfortably in his seat.

Ginny smiled up at Neville and returned his gesture by kissing his cheek and saying, “Morning, luv. Ron was apologizing to the rug over there instead of to Harry and Hermione.” as she pointed at the hearthrug.

Neville looked over at Ron, who was still studying the rug, his voice held a bit of heat as he said, “It’s not us, or that blasted rug, that you need to apologize to. It’s Harry and Hermione.” Standing up, Neville helped Ginny up from her seat and without another word, the two teens left the common room together.

In a historical moment at Hogwarts, Ron Weasley would voluntarily miss a meal while he was deep in thought over his damaged relationship with Harry and Hermione.

Fred and George Weasley had been planning their annual end of the year prank for the past two weeks and they were prepared to set it off during breakfast.

At the Granger’s house, Harry and Hermione were getting ready for Dobby to take them back to Hogwarts for their final day of classes to the amusement of the adults.

“Hermione!” Harry shouted up the stairs, “Hurry up, we have to get going!”

Everyone was gathered in the foyer to see the teens off to school when Hermione had dashed upstairs to grab something.

Curious, John asked, “Does she do this often?”

Turning to face his father-in-law, Harry smiled as he said, “Oh, about once a day she will run off to do, or get, something without an explanation.”

“Her mother is the same way. Drives me absolutely barmy.” John deadpanned.

“John!” Annabelle hissed as she slapped his arm in mock annoyance. She turned to face Harry and said, “It’s usually something that I know my forgetful husband is going to need.”

John was mock glaring at his wife, Remus, Sirius, and Dora were chuckling, and Andromeda was giving Ted a knowing look that conveyed that she had to do the same thing regularly.

Blushing, Harry decided to play it safe and said, “Right, then.”

Hermione came bounding down the steps with Harry’s book bag in her hand. When she handed it to him the adults all started laughing aloud. Confused, she turned to a red-faced Harry and asked, “Why is everyone laughing.”

Accepting the bag, Harry said, “Thank you. I forgot that Dobby brought all of our stuff here.”

His admission only sent the adults into a larger fit of laughter and deepened his blush.

Composing himself, Sirius stepped forward and put his hand on Harry’s shoulder before speaking in a warm voice, “Harry, enjoy your last day of school and prank someone. When you two get home, we have some more to tell you about last night’s events.”

Harry nodded and waved goodbye to everyone before taking Hermione’s hand.

Dobby stepped over to the couple and held out his hands to them. When they were all clasping hands, he disappeared from the Grangers London home with a pop.

They reappeared in the infamous third floor corridor from their first year. Dobby smiled up at his master and mistress and happily said, “When you are ready to return home please call for me.”

In stereo the two teens chorused, “Thank you, Dobby.” When he had gone, Harry and Hermione headed down to the Great Hall to meet up with Ginny and Neville so they could talk a little before they had to head to class.

As soon as Dobby had returned from dropping Harry and Hermione off at Hogwarts, Sirius asked him, “Dobby, do you know if there is a way to ward a house against other house-elves and magical creatures, especially Phoenixes, to prevent them from getting in?”

The Fidelius Charm had a major flaw in it and they were trying to close all of those gaps. Seeing the tiny elf pop over to Hogwarts and back reminded him of the imperfections of that form of protection.

Dobby looked up at Master Sirius and frowned slightly.

Seconds later, Winky entered the room and walked right up to him and asked, “What do you need, Dobby?”
The little elf pondered the situation; there were ways to safeguard the house magically from intrusion by other elves and magical creatures. It was extremely unheard of for a wizard to ask an elf for help with protections of this nature. “We can put up elf spells to prevent other elves and magical creatures from getting into or finding this house.” Dobby said sincerely.

Winky looked up at all of the adults in the room in surprise. Wizards never asked for this type of help but she was quickly realizing that the people in front of her were not your typical wizards and witches. In a formal tone, she said, “I would be honored to help protect the houses in any way that I can.”

Annabelle was smiling down at her little friends. She knelt down in front of the two elves and smiled at them before saying, “Thank you very much, the both of you. We would all do anything to protect our families and that includes the two of you as well.”

The two elves were blushing heavily as they popped away to begin their spell work around the various houses.

Remus turned to Sirius with a smile on his lined face that took years off his visage, “That was brilliant! What made you think of that?”

Everyone was very interested in Sirius’ answer.

A little surprised by the scrutiny, Sirius led everyone back into the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee before sitting back down. Taking a sip of his hot beverage, he said in a low voice just above a whisper, “I’ve had a lot of time over the years to think about that specific charm. There were too many holes in it to rely solely upon that type of protection. Why Dumbledore didn’t add additional wards and protections to James and Lily’s house in Godric’s Hollow, I’ll never know. I can tell you now that I won’t ever make that type of mistake again; the lesson was too painful to ever forget.”

He was lost in the depths of his mug, thinking about ‘what if’s’ and it was a few moments before he spoke again. This time, his voice was a bit stronger but it still held a haunted edge, “Seeing Dobby pop right into Hogwarts and then through the Fidelius Charm reminded me that there are other ways of getting past it that most wizards overlook. Voldemort is not most wizards and it’s not a chance I’m willing to take with any of our lives.”

Annabelle had reached out and placed one of her hands on Sirius’ forearm in a gesture of support and thanks. She was too choked up to speak but she understood his fears all too well. Being non-magical worried her if someone were able to get into the house that meant them harm.

Helpfully, Remus said, “Most of the additional wards that we have erected are designed to prevent that very thing from happening, but I think that having the elves add their magic to the wards will be a big help.”

John and Annabelle knew exactly what wards were on their house having had that conversation with Remus and Sirius when the first moved in.

Andromeda looked over at her cousin and asked, “What other types of wards have you added?”

Sirius’ smile was almost predatory as he spoke, “We have one based upon intent that will prevent someone from entering if they mean to harm the inhabitants, and there are also the standard Anti-Portkey and Anti-Apparition ones too. We also have made the houses Unplottable. As for the nastier protections, let’s just say that anyone bearing a dark mark will have a very bad time if they manage to find this place.”

Andromeda knew what he meant; they weren’t called the Black Family for nothing. There were some truly horrendous defensive wards around Grimmauld Place and she correctly assumed that Sirius had added those same wards to the Grangers home too.

John was thinking about something that Remus had mentioned about Harry having some type of Monitoring Charm on him that one of his professors had removed earlier in the year. Curiously, he asked, “What about something that disables Monitoring Charms like the one that had been used on Harry?”

All five magical people looked at each other in shock. None of them had thought of that before because houses that were Unplottable would prevent someone from finding their location. The issue was negating the tracking portion of the Monitoring Charm. Having a hidden house didn’t prevent them from being tracked to a location that was outside the protections.

Remus grimaced when he realized that they had overlooked something so simple that could compromise everyone’s safety. Remorsefully, he said, “We hadn’t thought of that. If we were Apparating directly into the confines of the protections, the Tracking Spell wouldn’t report any data. However, if you traveled here any other way, it would.”

“Can you set up some type of ward that can disable Monitoring and Tracking Spells upon a person’s arrival?” Annabelle asked in concern.

Rubbing his chin in thought, Remus replied, “I think so, it will be difficult but it should be doable. In the interim, we are going to have to check everyone each and every time they arrive and if we have the time, before they come here.”

Turning to Sirius, Remus added, “We will also have to teach Harry and Hermione how to cast detection spells.”

“We better let the elves know about this too.” Annabelle added.

Changing the subject, Sirius turned to Annabelle and asked, “Could you perhaps help me with a disguise this morning? I need to get to Gringotts to empty out the majority of my vault.”

Annabelle had been giving the disguises some thought and she knew what she wanted to do to make him appear different. Smiling over at Sirius, she said, “I would be happy to. I’ll be back in just a moment with some of the necessary things to get started.”

John watched his wife leave the kitchen and he snickered at Sirius’ expense, “You’re in for it now. She went to get her full kit.”

Sirius blanched at John’s remarks. He knew that he was in for a long session but it was worth it if it allowed him freedom of movement in the Wizarding World.

Annabelle returned with her makeup kit and a couple of towels. Setting the kit on the table in front of Sirius, she wrapped one of the towels around his neck and pulled out a pair of clippers.

When Sirius saw the sheers, he began to panic. His voice cracked as he spoke hastily, “Uh, Annabelle? I don’t think that I need a haircut.”

John, Ted, and Remus were sitting across the table from Sirius, smirking at his discomfort, as they watched him fidget in his chair. Remus jokingly said, “Perhaps with a haircut you won’t be such a shaggy dog.”

The glare that Sirius sent their way sent the men into fits of laughter. Their laughter only increased when Sirius’ eyes went wide when a lock of his hair fell onto his nose.

Thirty minutes later, a very different looking Sirius Black was scowling at the rest of the people seated at the table. His hair had been cut in a style that would not be out of place in a corporate boardroom. The sides were now short and they tapered up to meet the longer hair that was now swept to the side in an elegant part.

Annabelle held a mirror in front of Sirius’ face for him to see the results of her work.

Sirius was shocked; he looked so different with short hair that he didn’t think anyone would recognize him from his wanted posters. Slowly a smile spread across his face. He turned to Annabelle and said, “Thanks. It looks great.”

Wringing her hands with a sheepish look on her face, Annabelle said, “Thank you. I think that we should dye your hair a different color and perhaps get you some colored contacts in addition to the makeup.”

Sirius mulled her suggestion over for a second before he answered, “If you think it will help, let’s do it.”

One hour later a very different looking Sirius Black was sitting at the breakfast table in the Granger’s kitchen. His hair had been dyed from a light black to a sandy shade of brown. Overall, he was completely unrecognizable from the wanted posters.

Remus was looking over at Sirius in awe. Smiling, he said, “If I hadn’t seen it for my own eyes, I wouldn’t know who you are. You’ll be able to walk down Diagon Alley in the middle of the day and no one would recognize you. Especially if we get you some colored contacts.”

Nodding in agreement, John said enthusiastically, “You look completely different, Sirius. Annabelle did a great job.”

“Of course she did, look at what she had to work with!” Sirius boasted with a huge smirk on his face. Turning to face Annabelle, he said, “Thank you. You did a wonderful job.”

Standing up from the table, Remus said, “Why don’t we head over to Gringotts and get that out of the way?”

Andromeda and Ted stood up as well. Looking around at everyone, Andromeda said, “We should go too. I want to get this paperwork filed this morning. The quicker we take care of this, the better. We’ll return this evening so we can all make sure that Harry understands and is comfortable with our guardianship of him.”

Stepping over to Sirius, Andromeda’s voice held a pleading note to it when she spoke, “Be careful, Sirius.”

“I will.” he answered her honestly.

Dora stood up from her seat as well and said, “I have to get to work too. My shift starts soon. I’ll start setting up that criminal file on Tom Riddle and adding some notes to Voldemort’s original one. I may have to work a bit late, but I’ll come by as soon as I’m finished.”

Eagerly, Annabelle said, “Why don’t we head over to Trafalgar Square and the shops there so we can get a few more things for Sirius’ disguise?” Receiving nods of agreement from Sirius, John, and Remus, she continued, “Great! I’ll get my keys!”

Visibly cringing, John jokingly said to Sirius and Remus, “You two do realize that we just agreed to go shopping with Annabelle, right?”

Confused, Remus looked over at John and asked, “What’s so bad about that, its just shopping.”

Sirius nodded in agreement with Remus and said, “What he said. How bad can it be? We just need a few little things and then we are off.”

Sirius and Remus started worrying when Ted and John started laughing so hard that they were too broken up to clarify why shopping with a women was never a quick ordeal.

Turning to face Sirius, Remus said, “Is there something that we are missing here?”

His statement set John and Ted laughing all over again while Dora and her mother just smirked at them.

When Annabelle returned with her keys and handbag, she was practically bouncing in anticipation. Her eager energy gave both Marauders pause and they shared a look that plainly said, ‘Oh, bugger!’ as they were dragged out the car by a woman on a mission.

While the adults all went about their business, Harry and Hermione were walking down to the Great Hall. Just as they were about to cross the threshold into the hall, Harry suddenly grabbed Hermione’s forearm and stopped her from going any further.

Confused, Hermione asked, “What’s going on?”

Slowly, the corners of Harry’s mouth twitched in amusement. Laughing lightly, he said, “Do you remember what today is?” Seeing the confused look upon Hermione’s face, he continued, “Fred and George left a little something on the door for their annual end of term prank.”

Hermione drew her wand and discretely flicked it at the doorframe causing it to emit a golden shine for a second. Admiring her handiwork, she put her wand away and stepped into the room with a confused Harry in her wake.

Catching up to her, Harry asked quietly, “What did you just do?”

The smirk that graced Hermione’s face actually caused him to stop in his tracks it was so predatory. A few seconds later, he caught back up to her at the Gryffindor table only to see her still grinning as she flicked her wand at the end of the bench where Fred and George usually sat.

“Are you going to tell me what you just did back there?” he hissed quietly.

In a singsong voice, Hermione said, “Nope, nope, nope.”

With a playful huff, Harry said, “Fine, be that way.” and turned to face a grinning Ginny and Neville. “Hello, Ginny, Neville. How are you two this morning?”

Neville was still smiling at Harry’s antics when he replied, “We’re good. We did have a bit of an interesting conversation with Ron this morning.”

Intrigued, Harry and Hermione both turned their gazes to Ginny.

Ginny was blushing under their combined scrutiny. Tentatively, she said, “Ron tried to apologize to us about his behavior towards you two today.”

Harry’s only reaction to the news was a curt, “I see.”

Hermione pursed her lips in thought, she was trying to decide if Ron’s apology was sincere or not. After a few moments, she asked, “Was he looking at you or the floor when he apologized?”

Ginny and Neville were both surprised by Hermione’s question. It proved without a doubt that she really knew Ron and his mannerisms well. Finally, Ginny spoke up, her voice was almost a whisper, but the disappointment rang through, “He was looking at the rug by the fireplace when he apologized to me.”

All three teens looked up at Harry to see how he was responding to the news. His face was so expressionless that it appeared carved from stone.

Hermione knew that he was practicing Occlumency to maintain control. His anger, as well as hers, towards Ron went beyond a simple apology. There had been too many things said and unsaid, in addition to the Hospital Wing Incident, during the year for them to go back to the way they were.

Slowly, Hermione leaned into Harry and whispered, “I know what you’re thinking, Harry and I agree.”

Harry’s only response was a single nod of his head. If he had his druthers, he would never speak to Ron again. Knowing that wasn’t an option, he silently vowed to make it anything but easy for Ron if the git said something foolish.

Before anyone else could say anything, they all felt a tingling sensation on their skin, except for Hermione. Judging by their reactions, she realized that Fred and George must have entered the Great Hall.

Fred and George were looking forward to their end of the term masterpiece. The moment that they stepped across the threshold into the Great Hall, they knew that they were in trouble.

Their prank had been set to go off when they entered the hall. That way they wouldn’t miss the fireworks. Unfortunately, someone had altered the prank to include them as well.

Hermione smirked at the looks on Fred and George’s faces. They knew that they had been caught in their own web. What they didn’t know was what would trigger the spell.

Knowing what was coming; Fred and George made their way over to their usual spots at the Gryffindor table. The moment they sat down, there was a loud bang followed by a puff of smoke and everyone in the Great Hall was suddenly wearing lurid magenta colored robes. There were a few moments of silence before everyone started laughing and pointing at each other.

Slowly, it dawned on the people around Hermione that her robes were still black with the Gryffindor trim.

Harry looked down at his magenta colored robes and frowned. He leaned over and playfully whispered into Hermione’s ear, “You know, this really isn’t my color but I think that it would look marvelous on you.”

Hermione was laughing at Harry’s reaction when she felt the familiar pull of Harry’s magic.

Drawing upon his magical core, Harry concentrated on feeling the magic of the prank and how it was attached to him. He silently marveled at the twin’s spell work. They charm was self-renewing as long as the trigger was still active on the threshold of the Great Hall. Every time that someone walked into the Great Hall, their robes would change color as soon as they sat down at one of the charmed benches.

When he found the connection, he severed it from his robes and reconnected it to all of Hermione’s clothes, not just her robes.

Gasping in surprise, Ginny blurted, “Harry, how did you do that?” when she saw him change his robes back to their normal black.

Hermione had been watching Harry when his robes reverted to black. Feeling Harry using that much magic near her had made her tingle all over. Because of that, she failed to notice that all of her clothing was now sporting the neon shade of magenta that the rest of the students were wearing.

In the same annoying singsong voice that Hermione had used earlier, he sung, “Ah, ah, ah. That would be telling.”

When Hermione reached out to grab a goblet, she noticed that she was now sporting the brightly colored robes just like everyone else. Surprised, she shrieked, “Harry!”

Ginny, Neville, and quite a few other Gryffindors were still laughing at Hermione’s magenta ensemble.

Confusion was written all over her face, as she looked around at everyone laughing extra hard at her. Taking a closer look at her clothing, she let out an audible, “Eeep!” when she realized that her jumper and skirt were also that horrible color. Turning back to face Harry, she said in a sickly sweet voice, “Harry, what did you do to my clothes?”

Smiling at Hermione, he said innocently, “Nothing, dear. I think that you were the victim of the prank just like everyone else.”

Ginny and Neville were openly laughing at Hermione’s reaction.

Turning his attention to Neville, Harry said, “That really isn’t your color either.” Pooling his magic, he stretched out his magical senses over Neville. Finding the spell’s connections, he transferred them to Ginny’s jumper and skirt. When Harry transferred the spell, Neville’s robes returned to black at the same time Ginny’s turned magenta.

Neville looked down at his robes and smiled, “Cheers!” he said happily. He had never seen, or felt, what Harry had just done before and he was a bit awed.

Hermione was shocked at Harry’s improved control over his magic. It seemed better than it was before the events in the graveyard. She knew that he could manipulate the spells on him and feel enchantments on items but not that he could easily extend that control to effect spells upon other people.

Thoughtfully, she asked him, “Harry, can you check me over for any other spells?”

Harry immediately understood what she meant and he was silently berating himself for not thinking of checking her for spells earlier. Stretching out his senses towards his wife, he let his magic wash over her.

Neville and Ginny were watching, enthralled at the magical demonstration that Harry was putting on while the majority of the other students blathered on completely unaware of what the young mage in their midst was doing.

After a few moments, Harry found something that wasn’t related to the prank but it was a very familiar spell. Frowning in anger, he directed his magic to snap the Tracking Charm’s connection to Hermione after tracing it back to the Headmaster.

She could feel Harry’s anger pouring through their bond even though his face was a mask of serenity. She clasped his hand underneath the table and muttered, “Thanks.”

Harry knew that they would discuss what he found later so he did his best to squash his swirling emotions.

Before Neville or Ginny could ask what that was about, there was a loud whooshing sound from above and everyone looked up to see the delivery owls bringing the morning post and the early edition of the Daily Prophet.

Harry almost cringed when he saw the newspaper that the owl had just dropped off with Hermione. He was dreading the article that he knew Rita Skeeter was going to write. He just hoped that Dumbledore hadn’t leaked the details of the meeting that took place in his office.

Scanning the headlines quickly, Hermione couldn’t find anything bad about what had happened. If anything, the reporting was quite accurate and fair. The she realized that Rita Skeeter hadn’t written any of the articles for the morning edition.

She could feel Harry’s anxiety flowing through their bond about the paper. To help calm him down, she said reassuringly, “Everything is okay. Rita Skeeter didn’t write anything for the morning edition.”

Harry let out a breath that he didn’t realize that he had been holding when Hermione told him the good news. Changing the subject, he asked, “What’s our schedule today?”

“Well, we have to get our summer assignments from all of our professors and then we have the traditional end of the year meeting with Professor McGonagall.” Hermione replied happily, her magenta clothing forgotten due to the prospect of receiving her summer assignments.

Just before the teens got up to leave the table, Harry stretched out his magical senses and removed the prank from Hermione’s robes, jumper, and skirt. Laughing inside, he left her knickers and bra magenta for her to discover later.

Turning his attention to Ginny, he returned all of her clothing back to normal, especially her unmentionables. That was a conversations that he didn’t want to have.

Harry and Hermione were on their way to Ancient Runes to pick up their summer assignment after saying goodbye to Neville and Ginny when Harry stopped and pulled Hermione into an alcove.

Putting up a Silencing and Notice Me Not Charm, he turned to Hermione and said, “I found a Tracking Charm on you and I removed it.”

Hermione frowned and nodded at Harry’s explanation before asking, “Dumbledore?”

Grimly, he replied, “Yes, before we return to your parent’s house I’ll check us over once more. I wouldn’t put it past him to try that again once he knows that the charm has been disrupted.”

Taking her wand out, Hermione dispelled the charms and said, “Come on, we don’t want to keep Professor Vector waiting.”

As they entered the Arithmancy classroom, Harry was thinking of how proud he was that he had managed to catch up to the rest of the fourth year students. Overall, he was pleased to discover that he really liked the subject and he planned to ask the professor if he could take a test that would allow him to join his own year mates next term.

Both teens walked over and took their seats while they waited for Professor Vector to finish with her current student. Noticing the summer homework posted on the chalkboard, they began copying down the assignment.

Ten minutes later, Professor Vector came over and sat down across from the two students. Smiling over at them, she warmly said, “Good morning. Do either of you have any questions about the summer homework or next term?”

“No ma’am.” Hermione replied instantly.

Harry paused; he was a touch nervous about asking to take a test on the last day.

Sensing his discomfort, Professor Vector asked, “Mr. Potter, did you have any questions?”

Looking up at his professor, Harry could tell that she would listen to him. Plucking up his courage, he asked, “Do you think that I could take a test to allow me to join my own classmates next year?”

Hermione was beaming at Harry. She had felt that he had caught up to her level but she didn’t want to add to his stress levels by pushing him too hard.

Professor Vector glanced at the smiling witch across from her. She knew that Hermione had been tutoring Mr. Potter all term and the results were easy to see in his work. Smiling back at her, she asked, “What do you think Miss Granger? You have been tutoring Mr. Potter all year.”

Hermione could feel Harry’s nervousness flowing through their bond so she pushed her feelings of belief in his abilities to help him calm down. Enthusiastically, she said, “I think that Harry could have joined our class a month ago. He has been completing the homework assignments for both classes for a while now.”

The professor turned her attention to the slightly pink faced young man in front of her and said, “May I see your completed assignments from the fourth year class, Mr. Potter?”

Rummaging through his back, Harry pulled out his Arithmancy folder and handed it to Professor Vector.

Looking down at the obviously muggle notebook that she had just been handed reminded her that Mr. Potter had been raised outside of the Wizarding World. Calmly, she said, “Give me a few moments to grade this.” Taking the notebook, she returned to her desk and pulled out a quill and some red ink.

Hermione reached out, took Harry’s hand in her own, and said, “Don’t worry, Harry. I know that you did really well. You haven’t even asked me for help with the work in weeks.”

Some of his old traits about schoolwork were shining through, shyly, he replied, “I know, but do you think she will let me take a test to join your class?”

Unknown to either teen, Professor Vector could easily hear their entire conversation in the quiet classroom. Judging by his homework, and his final exam in the class he was in, she felt that he would do well in Fifth Year Arithmancy next term.

Professor Vector’s kind voice interrupted the teen’s quiet conversation, “Mr. Potter, I think you will do very will in class with the fifth years next term. Congratulations.” She had walked back over to them while she was talking. Handing the notebook back to him, she continued, “I wrote my notes in the front cover if you have any questions. I will inform Professor McGonagall of your new status.”

Smiling down at the blushing boy, she said warmly, “I’m very proud of you, Mr. Potter. Have a nice summer vacation you two.”

Once they were outside of the classroom, Hermione pulled Harry into a hug and whispered, “I’m so proud of you too. You did a great job this year.”

Leaning back from the embrace, Harry smiled at Hermione before giving her a quick kiss, and whispered, “Thanks. I couldn’t have done it without your help.”

The rest of their morning was spent traipsing all over the castle to speak with their professors to collect their summer assignments. Harry even did well enough on his Runes exam to be promoted into the fifth year class as well.

Just as they were heading down to the Great Hall for lunch, they were stopped by a lone student from Ravenclaw. Her large blue eyes sparkled with life as she looked up at the two Gryffindors. Her voice had a lilting, almost musical, timbre when she spoke, “Hello, Harry. Hello, Hermione. Do you mind if we talk for a moment before you head down for lunch?”

Harry knew the witch in front of them. She was in his Ancient Runes class but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember her name, or recall ever speaking to her. Interested, he said, “Sure, we can chat for a moment.”

Once they were inside the empty classroom, she closed the door and turned to them, “My name is Luna Lovegood. Thank you for being willing to talk with me. Most people either mock or ignore me.”

Harry scowled at her last comment, he knew what it was like to be ignored and mocked. “I’m sorry that I haven’t spoken to you before or after class.” He held out his hand to her and said, “I’m Harry Potter. Pleased to meet you.”

Hermione and Luna were both shocked but for entirely different reasons. Luna was surprised that he had accepted her so quickly and Hermione was shocked that he had initiated a handshake with a stranger, albeit a cute one, but still a stranger.

Quickly following suit, Hermione held out her hand and said, “I’m Hermione. It’s nice to meet you too.” She had purposefully left off Granger in her introduction.

Luna picked up the lack of a last name when Hermione introduced herself; it was something for her to ponder later. Deciding to get straight to the point she said, “I heard that you said that Voldemort was back after the completion of the third task. Did that happen while you were missing and everyone was traipsing up to the Headmaster’s office?”

Harry and Hermione were surprised by the tiny Ravenclaw’s insight into what had happened the other night and the fact that she didn’t shy away from saying Voldemort.

Luna noticed the blank mask slip down over Harry’s features the moment that she mentioned the events from the third task. ‘He must be practicing Occlumency.’ She thought to herself idly as she watched the silent interaction between the two teens in front of her.

Carefully, Hermione asked, “How did you know that Harry was missing?”

A ghost of a frown marred her expression for a moment before the calm mask returned, her voice held an undercurrent of sadness as she spoke, “No one notices me; you, Professor Lupin, and an Animagus all walked past me as you left the Headmaster’s office and again when you returned.”

Harry realized that Luna was also practicing rudimentary Occlumency when her facial expression shifted to the blank mask that he often wore. Impressed with her bravery, and a little dismayed at her situation, he asked in his low melodic tone, “What can we do for you?” He wasn’t ready to trust her yet; she knew far too many things for someone that no one talked with regularly.

Luna gazed at the two teens across from her for a few seconds before speaking, “I want to help. I know far too much for my own good and eventually someone will figure that out and do something to make my life more unpleasant than it is already.”

Hermione voiced the question that was on Harry’s mind when she asked, “Why should we trust you?”

Surprising them, Luna drew her wand and said, “I, Luna Lovegood, swear on my magic that I will not knowingly betray Harry Potter or reveal his secrets.”

Gobsmacked, Harry replied, “I, Harry Potter, accept your oath.” Looking at the strange girl in front of him, he asked, “Why would you do such a thing? You don’t really know me?”

Hermione knew that she wasn’t included in that oath and it concerned her greatly.

Luna was watching Hermione, not Harry. Something was going on that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. Temporarily ignoring Harry’s question, she spoke to Hermione, “You are wondering why I didn’t include you in that oath?” When Hermione nodded yes, Luna continued, “I’m not sure what to call you. When you introduced yourself, you didn’t use Granger as your last name.”

Immediately, Harry caught the gist of what Luna was getting at. He drew his wand and put up a Notice Me Not Charm and a Silencing Spell.

Done with his casting, he let his magical senses expand to their maximum so he could scan the room. Finding nothing out of place, he turned his attention back to the girl in front of him, his voice was low, but full of resolve, when he said, “What I am about to tell you is my greatest secret. If word got out, it could endanger Hermione’s life and her parents. Do you understand?”

Luna whispered, “I do.” She was still recovering from the feeling of Harry’s magic washing through the room. His power reaffirmed her belief that she was doing the right thing.

Harry reached over, took Hermione’s petite hand in his, and gave it a tiny squeeze. Looking back at the blonde Ravenclaw, proudly, he said, “Hermione is my wife.”

“That was unexpected.” Luna said as she stared at them with her doe-like blue eyes. A few seconds later, a smile broke out across her face and she said, “Congratulations!”

Quickly, her demeanor changed to a more business like one and she said seriously, “I, Luna Lovegood, swear on my magic that I will not knowingly betray Hermione Potter or reveal her secrets.”

Smiling at the strange witch in front of her in relief, Hermione said, “I, Hermione Potter, accept your oath.”

“You still didn’t answer my earlier question.” Harry stated plainly.

Luna was formulating her response carefully. She had felt the magic that Harry had released and she didn’t want that kind of power directed at her if she could help it. Coming to a decision, she explained her reasons, “People ignore me for the most part and it allows me to see and hear plenty of things that most people would like kept quiet. For example, Draco Malfoy was talking to his two thugs about serving the Dark Lord now that he has returned. They passed within five feet of me and none of them so much as looked in my direction.”

Coming to an understanding of what Luna was offering, Hermione said, “You’re offering to spy for us? How does this benefit you?”

Harry leaned forward a touch, very interested in Luna’s answer.

“I get to be involved in stopping Voldemort from gaining too much power and get a modicum of protection from you two if I need it. My father, though I love him dearly, is insane. He never recovered from my mother’s death but he does try hard to be a good parent.” Luna answered in a lecture like tone as she recounted her relationship with her father.

Looking over at Hermione, Harry’s eyes were full of understanding at Luna’s situation. Smiling slightly, Hermione said, “We need to figure out a way to contact you without your being discovered. Don’t be alarmed if a house-elf shows up with a package for you.”

Dropping his mask, Harry smiled over at Luna and said, “Thank you, Luna. Just don’t do anything that could get you hurt. Your life is more important. We need to get going, but we will talk with you this summer.”

“Thank you, Luna.” Hermione said sincerely before continuing, “It really means a lot to us that you are willing to help. Be safe.”

Luna smiled at them and then turned and walked from the room without a backwards glance. She needed some time to think about which people to keep the closest eye on for them so she set off for her favorite spot in the Forbidden Forest to think in peace. For some reason she had always found the presence of Thestrals very comforting and they allowed her the peace to sit and quietly think.

A few minutes after Luna left, Harry said thoughtfully, “Well, that was interesting. What do you think, get her a mirror?”

“That’s what I was thinking, yes. We can ask Remus to charm on for us and then send it to her with Hedwig or one of the elves.” Hermione said in agreement.

Pulling Hermione towards the Great Hall, Harry said, “Well, enough of that for now, I’m starving aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m a bit hungry. Just let me kip over to the loo first, I’ll meet you in the Great Hall.” Hermione said as she gave him a peck on the cheek before heading off.

Harry ambled down to the Great Hall and immediately went over to where Neville and Ginny were sitting. He had a wicked grin on his face when he saw that almost everyone’s robes had turned neon green, even Fred and George’s. Whatever Hermione had done to change the prank was still stumping most of the students.

Taking a seat, he looked over at the twins and motioned them over. They arrived at the same time as a very pink faced Hermione sat down next to Harry.

Curious, they asked in unison, “Why are you blushing so brightly Hermione?”

Her cheeks began to turn a darker shade of pink when they asked their question. Hermione looked over at her husband to see a grin on his face that was so sexy that it made her insides melt.

Mischievously, Harry slipped his arm around her and leaned towards her, his lips lightly brushing her ear as he whispered throatily, “Problem dear?” Pulling back slowly, he pressed a soft kiss into her neck before sitting normally.

Hermione was too flushed to say anything. The combination of Harry’s smile, the tone of his voice, and that tiny kiss on her neck just below her ear had her hormones in an uproar.

Seeing her blush, everyone started laughing, even Hermione, when she couldn’t answer the question. Fred and George were looking at Harry and Hermione with a little suspicion too.

Too curious to contain himself any longer, Fred asked, “How come you four were able to turn your robes back to normal?”

Harry arched one of his eyebrows in an imitation of Snape as he mimicked the greasy Potions Professor’s silky voice, “Surely you dunderheads can figure out why?”

Ginny, Neville, and Hermione were laughing at Harry’s imitation of Professor Snape while Fred and George looked on deep in thought.

A few seconds later, the twins blurted, “You pranked us! Oh, ickle little Harry is growing up.” as they wiped fake tears from their eyes.

Harry was now laughing along with everyone else at Fred and George’s antics. Deciding to throw some fuel on the fire, he quietly said, “Actually, this is the second time that I’ve pranked you this year.” He looked over at Ginny and Neville and said, “Bog rolls.”

Comprehension began to dawn on their faces as they thought back to the day when a house-elf had given them a bog roll for their school bag. Shocked, Ginny whispered, “That was you? Oh Merlin, I wondered who pulled that off.”

The twins were quickly putting the pieces together once Harry mentioned the bog rolls. Their eyes widened comically as they figured it out. Reverently, George said to Fred, “It’s always the quiet ones.”

Turning to Harry, Fred asked, “How did you manage that? It even caught Dumbledore, I saw him practically running for his office that day on multiple occasions.”

Harry and Hermione burst out laughing at the thought of Dumbledore hitching up his robes and running for the loo. Harry’s sides were hurting from laughing so hard at the image in his mind.

Ron Weasley had just entered the Great Hall when he heard the familiar sound of Harry’s laughter. Surprisingly, Fred and George were laughing right along with him, Hermione, Neville, and Ginny. A pang of guilt washed through him as he realized that it was his entire fault that he was in this situation. Unable to face apologizing in front of the Great Hall, he sat down on the far end of the Gryffindor table so he wouldn’t have to walk past the laughing group.

It was going to be a very lonely final day at Hogwarts for Ron Weasley.
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