Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Toil & Trouble

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found danger, wonder, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Harry, Hermione, Neville, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-08-16 - Updated: 2006-08-16 - 2917 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling's works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 11: Toil & Trouble

It was the first weekend of August. Remus and other Order members were asked to accompany Neville, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny to buy their school supplies. Remus entered the library and saw Harry busy reading the Daily Prophet. From the look on his face, Remus assumed he didn't like what he was reading.

Harry looked up when a shadow covered the paper he was reading. "Who is this Rita Skeeter? Could I get her fired if I voice my complaints?" he asked abruptly, anger evident in his voice. "Hear this, 'The wolf went berserk and started tearing arms and limbs of several wizards and witches...'. How can her editor let her write lies?"

"You are not the only one she maligned. She made Hermione's life difficult two years ago." Remus saw Harry's expression turned cold. "As for getting her fired, it won't do you any good. You would only fan the flames of controversy. It's a good thing this house was hidden. Otherwise, you would be besieged by reporters. James and Lily weren't so lucky, though. Their jobs exposed them to the media."

Harry felt sympathy for his parents. He might not like them, but they didn't deserve to be hounded by those raving dogs. "Well, there are different ways to skin a cat." He smiled deviously. "And I think Ms. Skeeter is due for some payback. Don't you think so?"

Remus just shook his head in resignation. He could tell Harry not to do anything stupid. But, that wouldn't stop him. He knew well enough that once Harry had made up his mind, there was no use talking him out of it, just like his mother. "Just make sure, whatever you're planning to do, don't blow up in your face." Harry just smiled confidently. "Come on. We're going to Diagon Alley." Remus was about to walk away when Harry stopped him.

"Wait. Why do you need me to go with you?" Harry asked perplexed.

Remus was surprised. "Don't you want to go? You've been coped up in this house I thought you would jump at a chance to go outside. Besides, the weather is great...sunny and dry."

Harry thought for a moment. "Okay."

"I thought so. Let's go." As they walked out of the library, Dobby gave Harry his cloak. They traveled by fireplace to the Leaky Cauldron.

They met the others inside the wizarding pub. Harry was introduced to Neville Longbottom and to his other friends...Susan Bones and Luna Lovegood. With formality out of the way, they decided to go to Gringotts first. When they entered Diagon Alley, Harry saw a big difference. For one thing, some of the shops were closed. And, there weren't too many people shopping, at least, not like the last time.

Harry stopped as they reached the spot Max died. Sadness swelled in his heart. For the first time, Harry regretted being a wizard. Max wouldn't have died if they didn't come here. He should have remained a squib.

"Harry, are you alright?" Remus asked with concern. It was fortunate he looked back. Otherwise, they would have unknowingly left him.

"I'm fine," Harry answered sadly. "Would you mind if I don't go with you to Gringotts. I don't have any business there anyway."

Remus glanced at the group waiting for them. "You can wait for us inside Flourish and Blotts. Don't go anywhere until we come back, okay?"

Harry just nodded his head.

Harry was standing in one corner of the bookshop browsing a book on defensive shield. He was hoping to find a book that would help him understand the concept a little better.

"Have you found something interesting?" He looked behind him and saw Hermione holding a couple of books. She gave him one of them. "I believe you will like this."

Harry replaced the book on the shelf and took the one Hermione offered him. The book is entitled Pranks the muggles play by Alotta Lapsiva. Harry immediately looked inside. After reading a few pages, he smiled so mysteriously Hermione thought he was up to something.

"Hermione, you're a godsend." He hugged Hermione so hard, her face almost turned blue from lack of air. "Where did you find this?"

"Uh, inside this bookshop," she answered a little disconcerted. She didn't expect Harry to be so friendly.

He laughed good-naturedly. "You know what this means, don't you?" At seeing Hermione's blank expression, he quickly explained. "It means you have to help me." Harry waited expectantly for her reaction.

"Oh, no. You are not getting me involved in your silly game." She backed away from Harry and walked to another part of the bookshop. Harry doggedly followed her.

"But, Hermione..." Harry pleaded softly. "...You're the only one who can help me. You know I don't stand a chance against the twins."

Hermione turned around so fast, Harry almost bumped into her. "Then, why did you accept their challenge?" she asked heatedly.

"Because..." Harry gazed deeply into her chocolate colored eyes and was mesmerized by their brilliance. For a brief moment, he felt a connection with her. And then, the moment was gone. "...Because, they tasked me."

Hermione lightly frowned. Then, her lips formed a lopsided smile. "You watched too many Star Trek movies."

"It's a hobby. So, will you help me?" Harry asked hopefully.

Hermione gave a long suffering sigh. "Yes." She might as well or the twins would eat him alive.

"Great." Harry felt like he won a million galleons. "Why don't we go back to the Leaky Cauldron and celebrate. My treat."

"I don't know..." Hermione replied uncertainly. "Remus and Tonks told me to wait for them here."

"I also told Remus I'll wait for him here," Harry said thinking. "Is Dung still outside?"

"I think so," Hermione answered hesitantly.

"We could ask him to accompany us," Harry suggested excitedly. "Remus and Tonks couldn't say we went off by ourselves, right?"

Hermione dubiously looked at him. "Well, alright."

Soon, Harry and Hermione were drinking butterbeers and enjoying their freshly baked chicken pot pies. It wasn't hard to find seats because Leaky Cauldron was almost empty. Dung was on another table discussing business with one of his colorful friends.

"Drat, I hope he doesn't see us," Hermione said looking away from the source of her irritation.

Harry surreptitiously looked around. "Who don't you want to see us?"

"Draco Malfoy... He's sitting over there by the door to Diagon Alley." Hermione furtively looked at the Slytherin.

Harry vividly remembered the blood purist git. He was talking to another person with a hood obstructing the view of the face. The conversation seemed to be over because Malfoy went to the fireplace and disappeared. The other person remained seated as if contemplating the drink. Harry recognized the person when the hood fell off his head as he gulped his drink. It was the wizard who killed his Uncle Max.

Harry leaned forward and softly asked, "Hermione, do you recognize that wizard?"

"Yes, his name is Marcus Flint. Why do you ask?" Instead of answering, he watched Flint walked towards the Alley entrance. Harry immediately stood up to follow. "Harry, where are you going?" asked a concerned Hermione.

"I have something to do. Go back to the bookshop and wait for the others. I won't be long." He dropped a few galleons on the table. Before Hermione could protest, Harry was already walking away.

Harry saw Flint pulled up his hood and entered a path called Knockturn Alley. He did the same and continued to follow. Most of the people he passed were covered from head to toe. They seemed intent to keep their identity a secret. He thought this must be in the shady part of the wizarding community. He saw his target entered what looked like a magical items shop. The sign read Borgin and Burkes.

He was about to enter when he felt his cloak grabbed from behind. His first instinct was to swipe the hand holding him and deliver a quick blow to the face. But, he didn't want to start a fight, not if it could be avoided. He turned around slowly and saw...

"Hermione!" he whispered intensely in surprise. He pulled her a little bit to the direction they came from. He stopped at a vantage point where he could talk to Hermione and watched the shop's door at the same time. "Why did you follow me? I told you to go to the bookshop."

"I don't have to do what you told me. You're not my father," Hermione whispered back heatedly. "And, why did you enter Knockturn Alley anyway. You don't know how dangerous it could be in here."

"Oh? And how, may I ask, did you know?" he asked sarcastically.

"I... I read it in a book." Hermione tipped her chin up in defiance, her eyes challenging him to question her. "So, what are..."

Harry covered his mouth and pretended to cough. Hermione looked at him quizzically, but he just shook his head and moved his eyes to the right. Hermione saw a couple of black robed individuals standing not far from them. She stopped talking and stood silently, trying to look inconspicuous.

Harry started talking when the strangers walked away. "Look, why don't we just go back to the bookshop and continue our discussion there," he suggested reasonably. Hermione agreed. Harry thought he would have to come back here some other time.

They were about to head back when Harry noticed the shop's door opened. He stopped to see who would come out. The hood covered the face but he recognized the cloak. It was Flint. Harry immediately pulled Hermione to the side of an unknown shop.

"Kiss me." Harry whispered urgently.

"What?" Hermione asked confused and surprised at the same time.

"I said kiss me. He's coming this way and he'll see us," he whispered with desperate urgency.

"Who's going to..." Hermione never finished her sentence because his lips suddenly pressed against hers.

She stood tense for a moment, surprised by this unexpected intimacy. She heard Harry whispered against her lips to close her eyes and relax. She did. Hermione felt her lips tingle especially when he ran his tongue over them. She heard him whisper again that the person was behind them. At that point, she wasn't paying much attention to what he's saying.

She felt something trying to pass between her lips, teasing them to open. She opened them a little bit. She shivered when a tongue caressed the inside of her lips. She was beginning to lose herself in the delicious feeling coursing through her veins, when an intrusive cough invaded her senses. She moaned in protest when the warm lips left hers.

"Ahem! This is for customer entrance not a snogging booth," a gruff voice said behind Hermione. Harry looked at the intruder. "Mr. Evans, what are you doing here?" Hermione thought the surprised voice sounded familiar and she turned around. "Ms. Granger?" Hermione felt like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

Mad Eye Moody studied the flushed faces of the two teens. He could understand Mr. Evans' reason for being in this place but not Ms. Granger. "You two follow me. And don't even think of running. I know where you live," Mad Eye walked slowly up the street. People made way for him when they saw him coming. It was a quiet procession back to Diagon Alley and on to Flourish and Blotts.

Harry saw Tonks and the others waiting outside the bookshop. Hermione was immediately surrounded by her friends as soon as they spotted her. Remus and Shacklebolt soon joined them. They went searching for Harry and Hermione when they found out the two were missing. The five adults were off to one side quietly talking to each other. He could accurately guess what they were talking about. Tonks and Hestia Jones had a big smile on their faces. Remus was trying not to grin. Kingsley Shacklebolt's face was unsmiling but his eyes were alight with amusement.

After a moment, the students were being led back to the Leaky Cauldron. Everyone would floo to number twelve Grimmauld Place. From there, Neville, Susan, Luna along with Mad Eye, Hestia, and Shacklebolt would proceed to Longbottom Manor. When they reached Remus' house, Harry bid them good day and headed to his room.

Ron immediately followed Harry. Remus and the other adults didn't stop him. They knew it would come to this. Ron for some unknown reason had been jealous of Harry for spending so much time with Hermione. They watched how the impending quarrel would be resolved.

"You think you're so cool, don't you?" Ron's angry voice was heard by everyone. Nobody said a word. Harry slowly turned around and found Ron standing close behind him. He looked up at Ron's face and saw his eyes filled with anger.

"Excuse me?" Harry sarcastically asked.

"Ron, please don't," Hermione pleaded as her friends held her back.

Ron stood closer, hoping to intimidate the prat. Or so, he thought. "You come here and think you own the place. What were you thinking dragging Hermione to Knockturn Alley?"

Harry unflinchingly met his angry gaze. "For your information, I didn't drag her to Knockturn Alley. It was her choice to follow me. I'm sure you know her well enough to know she is a willful woman. Besides, why are you even angry at me? Shouldn't you be angry at her?"

"I am angry at you because it was your fault she went there in the first place," Ron accused heatedly. "And, I know Hermione well enough to know she wouldn't let you go there by yourself. She is that kind of woman."

Harry and Ron stared angrily at each other. For a moment, everyone thought the heated argument would turn into a fight. Until... a voice broke the tense atmosphere. "Why don't you settle your differences in the dueling class on Tuesday? It would help burn your excess energy and provide the rest of the students a demonstration," Mad Eye gruffly suggested.

"Well, Evans, what do you say?" Ron asked challengingly with a smirk on his face. He knew full well Harry didn't have enough experience in magical duels.

"I accept," Harry replied determinedly.

"You are both an idiot," Hermione shouted angrily before running to her room.

Hermione and Ginny were in their bedroom, discussing the day's event. Whenever Hermione visited Grimmauld Place, she always shared a bedroom with Ginny. That night was no different.

"Was I right or was I right?" Ginny asked her silly question.

"About what?" Hermione asked, pretending not to know what her friend meant.

"Didn't I tell you my thick brother and this new guy would fight over you? Maybe, I have the gift of the Inner Eye," Ginny suggested jokingly.

"You know what I think of that divination stuff," Hermione irately told her. Ginny just laughed off her comment.

"Did you notice they agreed on one issue?" Ginny was grinning mischievously again.

"And, what issue was that?" Hermione asked hesitantly.

Ginny's grin grew wider. "They both called you a woman. You really have them hooked."

Hermione sighed at her friend. Ginny was a hopeless romantic. But, thinking about it, she did have a point.

"Why did you follow Harry anyway? Something could have happened to you in there." Ginny was closely looking at her friend. She noticed Hermione fidget.

"Well, I was curious...and worried," Hermione answered uneasily. "He seemed in distress when he saw Flint. So when he followed Flint, I followed him. Just to make sure he won't get into trouble, mind you. And, he would have if I didn't stop him from entering Borgin and Burkes."

"How did you slip away from Dung? Ginny asked curiously.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Hagrid could give Dung a slip." They both laughed at the image it presented.

"Hermione, you do know he can take care of himself, don't you?" Ginny watched her nod. "I mean he fought Greyback and won. But, that isn't it, is it?"

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked guardedly. She tried to keep her expression neutral.

"You like him, don't you?" Ginny declared mischievously. Then, her expression changed as if she remembered something. "But, I thought you like my brother."

Hermione didn't answer. She looked down at her hands. Since the Yule Ball in her fourth year, she hoped Ron would notice her. In spite of his shortcomings, she found him attractive. And now, Harry came along and made a mess of her ordered world. He was the complete opposite of Ron. While Ron was fun and easy going, Harry was intense and calm. They both possessed the qualities she liked.

"I do like your brother, Ginny. It's just that..." Hermione stopped confused. She couldn't really tell who she liked.

"Hey, don't worry about it." Ginny hugged her friend comfortingly. "This thing has a way of resolving itself."

Hermione smiled at Ginny's mature thinking. She only hoped Mad Eye and the others wouldn't talk about the kissing scene in Knockturn Alley.


AN: ST Movie Wrath of Khan
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