What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Train Of Thought
Summary: What if Ron and Hermione became a couple earlier in the book? What if the Golden Trio decided to go back to Hogwarts during the hunt for the Horcruxes? What if Voldemort and Co. never took over the Ministry or Hogwarts? This is my re-write of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Ships: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Remus/Tonks, others. Multi-PoV
Author's Note: Please note that I loved the final Harry Potter book, and I have no problems with it. This is not meant to offend the brilliance of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I just decided to write a version if things were handled differently.
An hour-and-a-half after Professor Dumbledore's funeral came to a close on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter found himself sitting in one of the carriages of the Hogwarts Express as it noisily made its journey that would take the students back to London. His best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were sitting across from him.
Neither Harry nor Ron or Hermione had said a word since they boarded the Hogwarts Express. It was an eerie, strange silence. Normally, during the ride back after term, the three of them would all be animatedly talking about what they could expect on holiday before they would have to make the trek back to Hogwarts once again. Harry would be making plans to get away from Surrey and the home of his nasty relatives, and looking forward to reuniting with his friends and the wizarding world once again. Hermione would usually plan a short visit with her parents before she would go to the Burrow. Ron would usually just wonder how to pass the time while he waited until one of his friends would arrive at the Burrow.
Harry had been staring out the window at the passing scenery of mountains and greenery of Scotland, keeping his mind clear as long as he could. He knew that sooner or later, he would be back at Number 4 Privet Drive for a couple of weeks. Except this time, it wouldn't be a boring visit. He had planned on doing research for his coming mission to hunt down the Horcruxes. Earlier that day, with the aide of his Invisibility Cloak, he had visited the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library, and had come out with a number of books that he hoped would help him on the hunt. He had made a mental note to write a long apology to the Hogwarts Librarian, Madam Pince, which he would turn in, with the books, when he remembered it wasn't in his current plans to return back to Hogwarts for his seventh and final year.
His hand swept across the left pocket of his jeans, where he felt a small bump protruding from the bottom of it. The bump was caused by what Harry referred to now as R.A.B's locket. For one mad moment, Harry wanted to open the window of the carriage, and chuck the locket out into the dense forest surrounding the tracks. But he couldn't. It was a reminder of what Harry had lost, and what he still had to look for. The locket, which Albus Dumbledore thought was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, turned out to be fake, an impostor set aside by this R.A.B fellow. Who R.A.B was, Harry didn't know. Hermione, who Harry could trust with getting information he could not, didn't know who R.A.B could be either. Whoever this person was, Harry knew they had to have information about the real locket. Harry knew he had to find the whereabouts of this locket Horcrux. Even if it was already destroyed, he had to make sure of it. And if not, he would find it and... and what?
What would he do once he retrieved the locket? How could he destroy a Horcrux? Professor Dumbledore had never divulged that information, even though he had destroyed a Horcrux himself, which turned out to be a ring that had once belonged to Voldemort's father. It was just one of those questions Harry was never able to ask Dumbledore. Harry considered this a big flaw in his plans, given that he had to find these Horcruxes, and destroy them.
As far as Harry knew, there were four Horcruxes left. He knew about the locket and the goblet, a treasured artifact of Helga Hufflepuff herself. Dumbledore had also believed that Nagini, the great serpent who never left Voldemort's side, could also be a Horcrux. Harry was willing to trust the late Headmaster with that one. That left one more. Something of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Harry counted them silently in his head. Two already destroyed, and four left to find. Six Horcruxes. Harry brushed his hand across the scar on his forehead, mindlessly, as he thought to himself. Voldemort had desired seven Horcruxes, but Dumbledore's research made the old man believe there were only six. Had Voldemort failed to acquire a seventh before his temporary demise, or had Dumbledore been wrong? Was there a seventh out there somewhere?
Across the carriage, Hermione was looking at Harry. She had noticed him brush his hand across his scar, and he knew she looked troubled. He shook his head, hoping that would suffice as a response. Hermione frowned and Harry knew it wasn't good enough. But if Hermione had planned on saying something, she was interrupted by somebody appearing in the corridor outside the carriage.
Ginny Weasley, Ron's sister and Harry's former girlfriend, was looking into their carriage. Across from Harry, Hermione silently motioned for Ginny to come into the carriage. However, Ginny shook her head, and Harry caught sight of her eyes on his for a mere moment. Harry thought he saw tears sparkling in her eyes, but before he could be sure, Ginny walked off down the corridor, disappearing from his sight.
Harry turned to his friends and noticed they were looking at him. Hermione frowned, and Ron was raising his eyebrows. Harry wondered who would speak first, but he didn't have to wait long.
“Is there something you wish to tell us?” Hermione asked.
“Like what?” Harry asked, even though he knew what she was asking.
Before Hermione could reply, Ron decided it was his turn.
“I expected Ginny to sit next to you, mate,” he said. “These days she can't keep her hands off of you. Don't get me wrong, though, I could do with a bit less of that.”
Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron's response.
“What's going on between the two of you?” she asked Harry. “You and Ginny?”
“I broke up with her,” Harry said. “At the funeral.”
Ron, who usually tried to avoid the subject of Harry's relationship with his sister, looked as if he was positively shocked by this news.
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said, another frown creasing her lips, “why would you go and do something like that?”
“I think you know why,” Harry said.
“So you're telling us,” Ron said, “you broke up with my sister because of – of You-Know-Who?”
“She doesn't know what I have to do,” Harry said.
“What we have to do, you mean,” Hermione said, sharply.
Harry chose to ignore Hermione's reply.
“I can't put her in danger,” he said. “If something happened to her, it would kill me before Voldemort even had the chance.”
“So you broke up with her for her own good, did you?” Ron asked, harshly.
“I suppose you're happy about that, huh?” Harry said, with a scoff.
“No, actually I'm not,” Ron muttered, though it was loud enough for Harry to hear.
“Really?” Harry asked, “Because if I remember --”
“I'm the one who has to deal with her for the next few weeks!” Ron said, “Not you, not Hermione. Me.”
“Ron --” Hermione began, but Ron cut her off.
“Obviously you don't want her a part of this whole thing,” Ron said to Harry, “But she's going to find out that I'm a part of it, because she's quick like that, and when she does, I'm going to have to deal with her. So no, I'm not the least bit happy you broke up with her.”
“Is that what you think?” Harry asked.
“Harry--” Hermione began, but this time it was Harry who cut her off.
“It's all about you, then, isn't it?” Harry asked Ron, “Not me or Ginny, eh? Just you.”
Ron's expression softened, and he opened his mouth to reply, but Harry shook his head. He stood up, and opened the sliding glass door, then left the carriage. He walked down the hall without caring to close the door behind him.
Ron cursed under his breath as he watched Harry's shadow move farther and farther away from the carriage. Hermione stood up, and Ron expected her to go after their best friend, but all she did was close the sliding door and sit back down next to him.
Ron looked at her, and he knew she was angry. He didn't need the raised eyebrows or crossed arms pressed against her chest to tell him that.
“You're going to tell me I deserved that, aren't you?” Ron asked.
“I'm not going to say you didn't,” Hermione said.
Ron sighed audibly and turned toward the window, watching the scenery pass by in a blur.
“So you're not happy that Harry broke up with Ginny?” Hermione asked.
“I know what you're thinking, Hermione,” Ron said, turning back to her. “You're thinking that I've been at my wit's end when it came to the two of them. It's true... at one point I was. But then I realized how much our best mate had changed ever since he and Ginny paired up.”
Ron saw Hermione's eyebrows raise, and thought he saw a hint of a smile cross her lips, before it disappeared.
“I could see it in his eyes,” Ron continued. “You know – I saw it whenever he was in our dormitory. Before he and Ginny paired up, I couldn't get too many words out of him at night. He'd either be staring at the Marauder's Map, or at the ruddy Prince's Potions book. But then... I started to see it. He was different. He's been really happy. His suspicions of Draco Malfoy, and his obsession with the Prince's book seemed to have disappeared. If Ginny is the reason for that, then no, Hermione, I'm not the least bit happy he ended it with her.”
Ron looked at Hermione, and he couldn't read the expression in her face. Out of everyone he knew, Hermione Granger was the hardest person in the world to read. Suddenly a grin crossed her face, and Ron raised his eyebrows in surprise. He chuckled at her response, and looked away, trying to hide the blush rising in his cheeks.
“You probably think I'm mental for saying something like, right?” Ron said.
“No,” Hermione said, unexpectedly.
Ron looked back at her.
“You're not mental for caring about Harry's well-being like that,” Hermione said, “But I'm not going to say you aren't mental for anything else.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” Ron asked.
“You know what I mean,” Hermione said.
Ron shrugged and shook his head. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Why did you have to yell at Harry?” she asked, “What good did that do?”
Ron raised his eyebrows in confusion, then suddenly realized what she meant.
“I was being completely honest about that,” Ron said. “I am going to have to deal with Ginny. When she finds out that Harry chose to break up with her so he could track down these Horcruxes, but he said we could join him, you know she's going to go all mental at that. And I'm going to be the one to have to deal with it. Harry has to spend a couple weeks at his relatives' house – for whatever reason.”
“The Fidelius Charm,” Hermione said. “Yeah, it's pretty confusing.”
“And you,” he said, “Well – you are going back to your parents' house, when we get back to London, right?”
“Only for a few days,” Hermione said, “Given the events we are planning, I really do need to see my parents. It's just – if I didn't see them and – and --”
Hermione shook her head, not being able to complete her thought.
“You should go see them,” Ron said. “I think it is a good idea.”
Hermione looked back at Ron and smiled.
“What about you?” she asked.
“Ugh, don't remind me,” Ron said, rolling his eyes. “Bill and Fleur's wedding takes place a couple days after Harry's birthday, and I just know Mum's going to be all mental about it when I get home. I'll be lucky to have a moment's rest. I know she's going to want me to do something.”
“It won't be that bad,” Hermione said. “I'll help out. I mean – after I spend a few days with my parents, I'll come and help ease some of the burden.”
“I could never ask you to do that,” Ron said.
“I insist,” Hermione said, “You have other stuff to worry about too.”
“What do you mean?” Ron asked.
“Well, helping Harry with the Horcruxes, of course,” Hermione said. “Aren't you going to try to put in a bit of research?”
“Have you taken the mickey?” Ron asked. “What am I supposed to do by myself? I don't exactly have anything just laying around that will tell me the answers we need.”
“Ron, we all need to do our part,” Hermione said. “We both agreed to help Harry.”
“I know we did, Hermione,” Ron said, “But – what --”
“Fine,” she said, “I'm sure you'll be too busy helping out for the wedding. I'll just see what I can do and then when I come to the Burrow, we'll – I dunno – work on it together.”
“Okay,” Ron said.
“Okay?” Hermione echoed, raising her eyebrows.
“Okay,” Ron repeated, “I agree to that. Besides, I'm better working on stuff like that when you're around to help.”
Hermione rolled her eyes, but Ron thought he saw a hint of blush in her cheeks. Hermione must have noticed, because she turned away from Ron, and looked at the glass separating the carriage from the corridor.
“Do you think we should go look for Harry?” she asked.
“He'll be fine,” Ron said. “Just let him blow off some steam.”
“Okay,” Hermione said.
She stretched against the seat, relaxing herself. As she stretched, Ron noticed a strand of hair fall across her face. For one mad moment, he wished to move that hair out of her face, and tuck it behind her ear, the way Hermione usually did when she was working on homework.
“Ron?” Hermione said, breaking Ron out of his reverie, “Did you hear me?”
“Hmm?” Ron asked.
“I said I'm going take a short nap,” Hermione said, “It's already been a long day.”
“Oh,” Ron said, “Er... do you want me to move to the other seat?”
“I think I can manage,” Hermione said.
Ron watched Hermione as she laid back, cuddling up against the cushion. When she finished moving around, she was still partially sitting up, though her legs were bent a little, resting on the cushion.
“That can't be comfortable,” Ron said.
“It's okay,” Hermione said.
“I'm just saying,” Ron said, “You could –“
Ron inhaled, trying to make the words come out right.
“What, Ronald?” Hermione asked, “I could what?”
“You could stretch your legs if you want,” Ron said, “Y-you know...”
“Oh,” Hermione said, a hint of blush in her cheeks, “Are you sure?”
“I don't –“ Ron stammered, “I mean I – I wouldn't want you to be uncomfortable.”
Hermione smiled, and before Ron knew it, her legs were laying across his own, so that she was stretched out across the whole seat. Ron tried his best to hide the color rising in his cheeks. He could feel the warmth rise in his face.
“Hmm, you were right,” Hermione murmured sleepily, “That is comfortable.”
Ron nodded, his voice stuck somewhere in his throat. Ron glanced out of the corner of his eyes, and noticed that Hermione's eyes were closed, and her head was facing the edge of the seat. Ron made himself comfortable against his seat, and just watched her sleep. She seemed so peaceful when she was asleep. It was as if nothing could harm her, as if there was no war going on, and she didn't have to worry about the troubles of the current events and the future they would soon have to endure.
Ron smiled as he watched her, wishing for nothing but that peaceful feeling to last as long as it could, before reality would cave in on the both of them.
(Harry's PoV – some time later)
Harry was sitting up against the wall, in a corner of one of the corridors of the train. He had lost track of time, and didn't know how long it had been since he had stormed out of the carriage, away from Ron and Hermione. The wall behind him vibrated against his back, as the train made its way down the tracks. It was uncomfortable and annoying at first, but now he found it soothing, almost like a massage against the tense muscles in his back.
He was staring down the hallway in front of him, though at nothing in particular. Thoughts ran through his mind, as if they were a train, running down tracks of their own. Each thought resembled a train-car, that Harry just moved through in his mind, until he found a good one to rest at. At the moment, the thoughts going through his head were those about a particular woman with long ginger hair and the most beautiful eyes Harry had ever come across.
As much as Harry wanted to brush these thoughts from his mind, he couldn't. He didn't know whether he should blame that on Ginny for walking past his carriage of the train just a couple hours after their break-up, or Hermione and Ron for making him reveal that he had ended his relationship, or really if he should blame it on himself, for bringing up the whole conversation with Ginny in the first place. But he couldn't help but think of those moments, those hours with Ginny where he was really, genuinely happy
Over the past few weeks, during most of those hours on the grounds, he could be found with Ginny, though nobody hardly bothered them during those times. Harry couldn't help but grin, when one memorable moment came to the front of his mind, as if it had happened the day before, though it had actually taken place a couple weeks ago...
Harry lay on the cool, damp grass on the shore of the Hogwarts Lake. The air smelled sweet, a delightful after-effect of the rain showers that had passed by only a couple hours before. His hands swept across the wet grass as he brought them behind his head for a make-shift pillow against the earth. He had just finished up his last class of the day, History of Magic, and all he wanted to do was relax and forget the drawling voice of the ghostly Professor Binns.
As he lay on the shore, he heard an occasional splash off in the distance on the lake. He didn't need to look up to know what it was. The Giant Squid had made a habit of coasting along the surface of the lake, splashing about, when Harry was near. But the large creature never got too close to Harry or the shore, so Harry never paid too much attention to him.
Suddenly, Harry heard the sound of a twig snapping and Harry bolted up into a sitting position, as he looked over his shoulder. He let out an annoyed sigh when he saw what had made the noise. Ginny was at the edge of a small grove of trees, a twig in pieces beneath her shoe.
“Are you trying to kill me before Voldemort gets a chance?” Harry asked, “You scared the daylights out of me.”
“Sorry,” Ginny said, though Harry saw a hint of a smile across her lips.
Harry watched Ginny as she walked across the short distance between the forest and the shore of the lake. Over the past few weeks, he had noticed that she had an adorable wiggle in her step when she would walk, though he wondered why he had never recognized it before.
“Don't you still have an hour of Potions left?” Harry asked, as Ginny sat next to him.
“Made an excuse,” Ginny said, grinning, “Stomach-ache.”
“How rebellious of you,” Harry joked.
“Not really,” Ginny said. “I did have a stomach-ache.”
“I'm sure Madam Pomfrey has a cure for that,” Harry said.
“Nope,” Ginny said. “I know only one cure for it, though I will say it has ended up in the Hospital Wing quite a few times over the years.”
Harry raised an eyebrow at Ginny, and she grinned. Harry laughed.
“I've never really considered myself a cure to anything,” he said.
“I don't know about that,” Ginny said.
Before Harry could reply, Ginny leaned toward him and kissed him. Harry chuckled against her lips and returned the kiss. Ginny forced him back onto the grass and deepened the kiss, as Harry allowed her tongue to venture between his lips.
Before Harry could lose himself in the kiss, Ginny backed away and lay her head on his chest. He wrapped an arm around her, cuddling her body against his.
“What are you thinking about?” Ginny asked, looking up at Harry.
“Wondering what Ron would say if he found out you ditched class to snog me,” Harry said, grinning.
Ginny narrowed her eyes and smacked Harry playfully on the chest.
“Ow!” Harry said, milking the injury for what it was worth, “I was joking!”
“Ron wouldn't have to say anything,” Ginny said, “If he had someone to snog him.”
“Can't really do that with Lavender anymore, can he?” Harry asked.
“I wasn't talking about Lavender, Harry,” Ginny said.
“I know,” he said.
“Really?” Ginny asked, “So you aren't as oblivious as my brother?”
Harry laughed. “No,” he said, “definitely not.”
“So it has been on your mind too?” Ginny asked, “I can hardly imagine that. I mean, they're your best friends.”
“Exactly,” Harry said, “They're my best friends. I'd be happy to see them in a position like this.”
“Eww!” Ginny groaned.
“I don't mean them cuddled up against each other!” Harry said, with a laugh, “Believe me, I have no desire to intrude on that. I just mean... well, recently, as recent as a few months ago, I've come to the expectations that those two will somehow find that they deserve to have what we have.”
“So that doesn't bother you any?” Ginny asked, “I know Hermione's like a sister to you, though you wouldn't admit that to anyone but me.”
“No,” Harry said, grinning, “It wouldn't bother me. I'm not like Ron when it comes to your relationships.”
“Though I do admit there were times when I wanted to hex Dean,” Harry said, with a smirk.
Ginny smacked Harry playfully again.
“But, no Ginny,” Harry said, “You won't catch me doing anything when it comes to their friendship or whatever it could lead to. They are on their own.”
“You're evil, you know,” Ginny said, chuckling.
“You love it,” Harry said, grinning.
Ginny turned toward him, and moved around until she was laying on top of him.
“You're right,” she said.
She leaned toward him and kissed him softly, which he delightfully and eagerly returned.
Harry blinked away a tear from his eye. He knew he couldn't keep doing that to himself. He had ended their relationship. In a few simple words, what they had for weeks was now gone. If he was going to concentrate on his mission in front of him, he couldn't let those memories interfere.
Suddenly, he heard a scrape of wood as the sliding door, separating the corridor he was in from the next one, slid open. Harry expected a student to walk through the doors, but there was nothing there. Harry slowly took his wand from his pocket, the disarming spell ready on his lips, and turned his head, looking through the doorway.
“Looking for someone?” a gruff voice said behind him.
Harry turned around, cricking his neck in the process, and was about to throw a curse, when he saw the form of Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody standing feet from him.
“Bloody hell,” Harry groaned.
“Constant Vigilance, Potter,” Mad-Eye said, “If I was Voldemort, I could have killed you before your heart had another chance to beat.”
“Where did you come from?” Harry asked, as he replaced his wand in his pocket.
“Been here longer than you think,” Mad-Eye said.
Mad-Eye lifted up a large piece of transparent fabric, and Harry recognized it as an Invisibility Cloak.
“So you've been spying on me?” Harry asked.
“I've been watching you,” Mad-Eye said, “Kingsley's orders.”
“Kingsley?” Harry echoed.
“New leader of the Order of the Phoenix,” Mad-Eye said, bluntly.
Harry scoffed. He should have known the Order would be watching him. How he was ever going to be able to start the hunt for the Horcruxes without the Order on his tail, he did not know.
“You expected any different?” Mad-Eye asked, “You know who you are, boy. I don't have to write it out for you.”
“Yeah, I know who I am,” Harry said.
“And yet you expect to roam the open corridors of the Hogwarts Express on your own?” Mad-Eye asked.
“There are plenty of people keeping their eye on me,” Harry said, recalling the number of students who poked their head against the glass of their carriages just to look at him.
“Kids?” Mad-Eye asked, with a gruff laugh, “You expect Voldemort and his Death Eaters to be frightened of a bunch of school-children?”
Harry narrowed his eyes. That was low, even for Moody.
“I trust a number of the students on this train to defend me,” he said.
“Oh, they could defend you,” Moody said, “If only for a moment. But would you really risk the lives of children so you could escape?”
Harry felt a pang of guilt hit his stomach. No, he would never risk one innocent soul to fight for him.
“I thought not, Potter,” Moody said, “Now get up. At least with Weasley and Granger, I can trust that you'll be safe. They'd do anything to make sure you live through this war.”
At those words from Moody, that same pang of guilt he had when he thought of the school-children fighting for him, tore through him as he thought of Hermione and Ron. His best friends, each of whom had promised to help him on the hunt for the Horcruxes.
But when he thought of them assisting him along the way, the only thought going through his head was of several faces: Bill Weasley, Ron's oldest brother, almost getting killed by Fenrir Greyback, Dumbledore, who had sacrificed himself so that Harry could live, his parents and Sirius and Cedric Diggory, as well as the countless others he had never met, all of whom had done the same thing. All of it... just to help him end the terrible reign of Voldemort.
Moody might think that Harry would be safe with Ron and Hermione. But in Harry's mind, as he stood up and followed the ex-Auror through the corridors of the train, he knew that it was he who'd do anything to make sure his friends would make it through the end of the war.
First chapter finished!
So I'll do some early explanations for this story. I'm going to keep a few of the plots of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in my story, for example, the same Horcruxes. But there will be some major differences. I've planned out quite a bit of this story already in some notes, and if I keep it how I plan, I might not have too many good action scenes as early as the actual book did, because of how my story will go. But we'll see what happens.
Also, if you read a (very old) story of mine called “Secrets and Snogging” which was my first version of Deathly Hallows, that I never finished, then you might recognize some plots and story-lines later in this story. I might recycle them, I haven't thought that far yet. I know some readers have missed “Secrets and Snogging” and truthfully so have I, though I didn't want to just continue that story since it was so old.
As a side note to those reading my Next-Generation story, “Ickle Firsties”, I am not giving it up, I will be updating both these stories as much as I can.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Would love your feedback. It can go here:
Last edited by Fury; December 25th, 2011 at 10:22 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Harry's stomach rumbled and he blinked his sleepy eyes open. Across the carriage, Ron and Hermione were indulging themselves in a number of food items that Harry had identified as those that came from the snack cart. Outside the Hogwarts Express, the scenery that had once been mountains and dense forests full of trees had changed into foothills and the occasional grove of trees. It had been almost four hours since Mad-Eye Moody had confronted Harry and had escorted him back to his carriage.
He had entered the carriage rather loudly, and, in a harsh whisper, Ron had a few choice words for him. Harry was momentarily harassed, and thought Ron was still bickering to him over their argument about Ginny, which had happened almost an hour beforehand. He had a retort on his lips, when he realized what Ron was rather mad about. Hermione was fast asleep, and Harry was surprised to find that she was stretched out across their seat with her legs draped across over Ron. Harry quietly apologized. For a while, at Ron's request, he and Ron had conversations in whispers, before Harry decided that he, too, wanted a quick nap.
“'Ey, 'Arry,” Ron said, his mouth full of chocolate frog, “Unt uh og?”
“Swallow and repeat,” Harry said, “I'm no good at translating your full mouth.”
“He asked you if you wanted a Chocolate Frog,” Hermione said, grinning.
“You could understand him?” Harry asked.
“I've become an expert at it,” Hermione said.
Ron chuckled, though his mouth was still full of chocolate frog, and he almost choked. Hermione smacked him on the back.
“Thanks,” Ron gasped.
“Next time I might not be there to rescue you,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
Harry looked back and forth between Hermione and Ron. Was it his imagination, or did they seem closer than a few hours ago? Harry shook himself mentally and realized this was his two best friends he was considering this about.
“Sure,” he said, “I'll take a frog.”
Ron tossed Harry a small box, and he caught it then opened it up. The small frog immediately jumped out of the box, which caused Ron to roar in laughter. Harry grabbed the frog as it tried to scurry up the window, and bit the head off of it. It went limp in his hands. He then took the card from the box and looked at it. He immediately regret it. Looking up at him, smiling, his eyes sparkling behind his spectacles was Albus Dumbledore. The date under his name had yet to be updated with that of his death.
“Are you okay, Harry?” Hermione asked.
Harry, who was worried that he didn't have enough emotional strength at the moment to lie, only raised up the card and showed it to his best friends.
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said, frowning.
Harry looked away from Hermione, and once again at the passing scenery outside the Hogwarts Express. He didn't need her pity right now.
“It's funny, you know,” Ron said, apparently oblivious to Harry's actions.
“Ron!” Hermione said, disapprovingly, “I hardly think there is anything funny right now.”
“Not funny ha-ha,” Ron said, “Funny ironic, you know? We said our goodbyes to him a few hours ago, and he still finds ways of showing up.”
“If only we could talk to him,” Harry said, frowning as he looked at the card.
“Hey!” Ron said, his eyes wide, “Maybe we can!”
“Ron, you know well enough that the figures in the cards can't speak,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
“I didn't mean the card,” Ron said, “I meant his portrait!”
“Portraits are limited to what they can say,” Hermione said, “And even then, it is unlikely we're ever going to step foot into that school again, right?”
Harry, who had not taken his eyes off the card, felt Hermione's gaze on him, and he only shrugged.
“Harry, I may be able to translate Ron when his mouth is full,” Hermione said, “But I'm no good at translating your body movements.”
Harry looked up to give his response, when he was interrupted by a knock on the sliding door. Standing at the door was Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom. Hermione reached toward the door and pulled it open.
“Checking up on us?” she asked.
“Luna thought we should come by and say goodbye,” Neville said, “We'll be in London in less than an hour.”
“Well, come, sit down,” Ron said, motioning to Harry's seat.
Luna grinned and she and Neville sat down beside Harry.
“I had invited Ginny to come along,” Luna said, her dreamy stare on Harry, “But when I told her we'd be visiting you, she curiously declined. Are you and Ginny arguing? I know that you two are dating.”
“Er... something like that,” Harry said, ignoring the looks his two best friends were giving him..
“So have you three heard the rumors?” Neville asked, “About Hogwarts?”
“What rumors?” Hermione replied.
“Apparently the Ministry is threatening to close Hogwarts down,” Neville said. “You know – because of –“
Neville sighed and his expression became very distant.
“You can say it, Neville,” Luna said, “Because of Professor Dumbledore.”
Luna looked around at Harry, and the others, all of whom were rather downtrodden at the late headmaster's name being mentioned.
“If we don't speak his name,” Luna said, “His memory will waste away. I would not want that to happen, would you?”
There was no reply, and the carriage became very silent. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, Neville cleared his throat.
“The Ministry wants to shut down Hogwarts,” Neville said, “Because of... Professor Dumbledore's death.”
Luna smiled at Neville.
“Rumors are,” Neville continued, “Professor McGonagall is going to stand in front of the Hogwarts Senators and the Wizengamot, and fight for the school to remain open.”
“I don't know what I'd do if Hogwarts closed,” Luna said, her dreamy stare only faintly recognizable in her eyes now, “It is quite a special place. I consider it my second home. I would hate if I didn't get to see any of you come September.”
Harry, who felt Ron and Hermione's eyes on him, turned his attention to the scenery outside the window.
“What if I told you you could see us sooner, Luna?” Hermione asked.
“Oh, that would be lovely,” Luna said.
“Ron's brother, Bill, is getting married at the start of next month,” Hermione said. “I'm sure you'd be most welcome to attend.”
Ron's eyes turned from Luna to Hermione, then back to Luna,
“Er – yeah,” he said, clearing his throat, “I'll make sure my Mum sends you an invitation. I'm sure she'd love to have you attend. The more, the merrier.”
“That is very thoughtful of you, Ronald,” Luna said, “My father loves weddings, you know.”
“I'd better go,” Neville said, “I want to say goodbye to the rest of the D.A. – in case, you know – we don't come back in September.”
Neville looked depressed at the thought, as he stood up and opened the sliding door.
“I'll join you, Neville,” Luna said, standing up.
She followed Neville out the door and stopped at the opening, then turned around and looked at Harry, Ron and Hermione.
“I will see the three of you very soon,” Luna said, “And I hope that we will be reunited again in the halls of Hogwarts.”
Luna smiled and closed the door behind her, then disappeared with Neville down the corridor.
“Well, we have to go back now,” Ron joked, “we can't disappoint Luna!”
Harry's eyes rounded on Ron, whose expression immediately softened.
“Sorry,” Ron said.
Harry returned his attention the passing scenery. For the first time that day, he felt farther than Hogwarts than he ever had in his life.
Almost an hour later, as Neville had said, the Hogwarts Express arrived at Platform 9 ľ. As Ron opened the sliding door to the carriage, Professor Moody appeared suddenly a few feet away, and Ron jumped back in surprise, falling back into his seat and cursing loudly.
“Will you stop doing that?!” Harry grumbled.
“The three of you can follow me,” Moody said, evidently ignoring Harry's complaints and Ron's cursing.
Without a word, Ron, Hermione and Harry followed Mad-Eye Moody off the Hogwarts Express. Across the platform, Ron's parents were standing near a group that Ron recognized as members of the Order of the Phoenix. Ginny was walking towards them from the opposite direction with Elphias Doge. Three carts filled with their luggage were close by.
“Well, I better go and find my parents,” Hermione said, “I will see you all--”
“That will not be necessary,” Moody interrupted.
Hermione's eyes directly fell on Moody.
“But, sir, they are probably waiting for me!” Hermione said.
“I told you she wouldn't take this well, Alastor,” Elphias said.
“I wouldn't take what well?” Hermione said, a worried expression glowing on her face, “What happened to my parents?!”
“Your parents are just fine, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, “I am sure they are waiting for you at home, as your letter has suggested.”
“But – I – I did not write a letter,” Hermione said, “And if they are at home, then I'm sure they are worried about me. It is past seven already!”
“I wrote the letter, Miss Granger,” Moody said, “This morning your parents received a letter informing them that your friends from school would be taking you home. The letter was in your name and your style of writing.”
Hermione stood there, open-mouthed at Moody.
“But-- I--” she stammered, “How could you – you contacted my parents without my permission?!”
“I hardly think your permission was necessary, Miss Granger,” Moody said. “Especially if you have any respect for the well-being of --”
“Alastor,” warned Mr. Weasley.
“She needs to hear this, Arthur, for her own good,” Moody grumbled.
His good eye turned from Mr. Weasley to Hermione. His glass eye was currently spinning in its socket, looking around for anyone untrustworthy.
“Miss Granger,” Moody said, “You are in as much danger as Mr. Potter is, simply because you are his friend. This also means your parents are in just as much danger. Fortunately, you have nothing to worry about. Elphias Doge, here, is a well-qualified wizard, and he will be escorting you home and keeping an eye on you and your parents for as long as is necessary. At this moment, your parents have no knowledge of the fact they are being watched. It is your choice if you wish to inform them. At this current moment, your parents are being watched over by Bill Weasley. I'm sure, since he has a wedding to prepare for, he does not wish to wait too long for his replacement.”
His magical eye turned to Elphias, who nodded.
“Miss Granger, if you will,” Elphias said, “I will allow a moment for goodbyes, though I am sure they will be temporary. But then we must be off.”
Ron noticed Hermione had tears sparkling in her eyes, and he had to fight the urge back to yell at Moody for putting her in such a predicament. But just seeing her look at him, Ginny and Harry made him calm down. Hermione's eyes met Harry, and she hugged him tightly.
“Be safe, Harry,” Hermione said, “I will see you soon.”
Harry nodded. Hermione hugged Ginny, then she walked over to Ron, and he smiled as she looked at him. He saw more tears sparkling in her eyes.
“I'll see you soon,” she said, “I promise.”
“No,” Ron said, “I promise.”
Hermione grinned and put her arms around him hugging him. As he hugged her back, Ron felt like this hug was different than the kind he had received in the past. He didn't want it to end, but over Hermione's shoulder, he noticed Elphias looking impatient.
“We really must be going, Miss Granger,” Elphias said.
Hermione nodded, and backed away from Ron. She quickly hugged Mrs. Weasley, and promised her she'd help with Bill and Fleur's wedding. Then Elphias took hold of Hermione's trunk and Hermione, with a last look at Ron and everyone, followed him across the platform.
“Hestia, Dedalus,” Moody said, his magical eye rounding on the witch and wizard standing behind him.
Hestia Jones walked around Moody and over to Harry.
“Mr. Potter,” she said, “If you will follow me, we have a car waiting to take you to your relatives. Dedalus and I have been assigned as your watch.”
“Oh,” Harry said, “That is not necessary --”
Moody coughed loudly, and Harry immediately went silent.
“You are allowed a moment for goodbyes,” Hestia said, “Be quick, please. I'm sure your relatives are eager for you to arrive.”
“I doubt it,” Harry muttered.
He walked over to Ron, who smiled at his best friend.
“See you soon,” Ron said.
“Definitely,” Harry said.
Ron gave Harry a quick one-arm hug. Harry then looked at Ginny. Ginny frowned, rolled her eyes and hugged Harry, though Ron noticed she backed away quickly. Harry cleared his throat, evidently having no clue what to say to Ginny. He walked over to Mrs. Weasley, who smiled and hugged him tightly.
“I may be up to my hair in wedding plans,” Mrs. Weasley said to Harry, “But I haven't forgotten your birthday. Seventeen is an important birthday for every young wizard and witch.”
“Oh, you don't have to do anything, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, “I know you'll be busy with --”
“No, Harry, I won't hear another word of it,” Mr. Weasley said, “Now, be safe. Don't let your relatives bother you too much, and we'll all see you very soon.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said.
Ron watched as his mother smiled and hugged Harry once again. Moody cleared his throat.
“Yes, we must be going, Mr. Potter,” Hestia said.
Harry nodded and looked around at Ron. He smiled and nodded a silent goodbye. Harry looked at Ginny, though Ron noticed that his sister's eyesight was somewhere over Harry's shoulder.
“See you soon,” Harry said.
Dedalus Diggle took hold of Harry's cart and he, Hestia and Harry walked across the platform. Ron watched as his best friend disappeared into the crowd.
“I normally wouldn't suggest this,” Mad-Eye said, “But because of the distance between London and the Burrow, we would arrive at a very late hour if we drove. It would be very dangerous. We'll be taking the Floo Network. Follow me, everyone.”
Ron pushed the cart that held his and Ginny's belongings across the platform, as he followed Moody, Ginny and his parents. Soon they arrived at the very end of the platform, where there were four fireplaces.
“Arthur,” Moody said, “If you will go first, so you can lift the wards.”
Mr. Weasley nodded and took a handful of powder, then stepped into the fireplace directly in front of them.
“The Burrow!” he said, dropping the powder.
Mr. Weasley disappeared in a burst of green flames. Ron's mother volunteered next. After she disappeared into the flames, Moody pointed his wand at the cart near Ron, and their school things disappeared from the cart.
“Your belongings will be waiting for you at the Burrow,” Moody said, then looked at Ron, “You next.”
Ron took a handful of the green powder, and stepped into the fireplace.
“The Burrow,” Ron said, clearly, dropping the powder.
Immediately, he was lifted off his feet, and he felt his body twirling and spinning through the Floo chutes. Before he knew it, he felt his feet land on solid ground. He walked out of the cloud of smoke and dust and into the familiar surroundings of the Burrow. He stepped out of the way, and a few moments later, Ginny arrived.
“How about I fix some dinner?” Mrs. Weasley said, “I'm sure you're hungry. I know the snack cart on the Hogwarts Express hasn't changed the menu since when your father and I were last on it.”
“I'm fine, I'm not hungry, Mum,” Ginny said, “I think I'm going to unpack and turn in early.”
“But Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley began.
“I said I'm fine!” Ginny growled.
Before Mrs. Weasley could reply, Ginny picked up her school trunk and headed up the stairs. Mrs. Weasley looked at the stairwell, then to Ron. He shrugged, having no desire to explain that Ginny's attitude probably had to do with her break-up with Harry. Mrs. Weasley shook her head and disappeared into the kitchen.
“Sorry about that,” Mr. Weasley said, “Planning Bill's wedding has taken a bit of a toll on your mother. Everyday she acts like the wedding is one day away, and we still have a little over two weeks to go.”
Ron nodded. The only sound that interrupted the quiet dinner, which consisted of onion soup and a loaf of homemade bread, was that of Ginny opening and closing her bedroom door quite a few times. When this happened, Ron's mother would try her best to not shout, and Ron was doing his best not to march up to Ginny's room and give her a lecture himself.
The half-hour drive from King's Cross station to Surrey was quite awkward for Harry. Hestia and Dedalus hadn't bothered to put any extension charms on the car, so Harry was stuffed into the tiny back seat of the very small four-door car. The car didn't have a section where he could comfortably put his belongings, so his trunk, broomstick, and Hedwig's cage were all nestled on the seat next to him, and he was pressed against the door for most of the drive.
When he had told Hestia and Dedalus that Hedwig could fly to Surrey, his two escorts immediately shot this down and explained that Hedwig was too recognizable, and they didn't want anyone to follow them. Hedwig was very harassed during the car ride. For one thing, Hestia wasn't a very good driver. She hit many pot-holes, and bumps, which caused Hedwig's cage to shake uncontrollably, and Hedwig to squawk loudly. Harry had to calm her down quite a few times in the thirty minute drive.
He had a few questions for Hestia and Dedalus, but he wasn't sure they could answer them. At first he wondered why Hestia and Dedalus wouldn't allow him to Apparate to Privet Drive, then he realized he wasn't of age just yet, nor did he have his Apparation license, and he would probably get in trouble with the Ministry. He figured his escorts probably knew this, and he knew they were just trying to keep him out of trouble.
When they arrived, Hestia parked the car down the road from the Dursley's residence. Dedalus carried Harry's trunk, while Harry took Hedwig's cage and broom. Hestia was tailing them, watching out for any potential troublemakers. Suddenly, there was a very loud blaring sound and next thing Harry knew, he was on the ground, and Hestia was on top of him.
“Blasted Muggle contraptions!” a voice said across the road.
“Mundungus Fletcher, what are you doing?!” Hestia growled, quickly getting to her feet.
A moment later, the car alarm that had gone off stopped after Hestia had pointed her wand at the car. Harry picked himself up off the ground and hissed as he felt a bit of pain in his right knee. He looked down at his jeans, and found a tear in the fabric at the knees. He could see a glint of red and knew his knee had been cut open from landing on the ground so hard.
“'Sup, Hessy?” Mundungus said, walking over to them, “I thought we had to be stealthy – y'know, quiet.”
“No use being quiet when you can't even do your job!” Hestia growled.
“Not much of a job, eh?” Mundungus said, “Watchin' ruddy Muggles for ya until ya got here. You're here now, so --”
Mundungus closed his eyes. A moment later, he opened one of them and looked around. He groaned and scowled at Hestia.
“Oi!” Mundungus said, sighing loudly, “Don'tcha know it is rude to follow my apparation trail?!”
“You didn't apparate, you lousy scum,” Hestia said, “You're still here in Surrey. Have you forgotten about the Anti-Disapparation Charms we put up?!”
Harry suddenly realized why they wouldn't let him Apparate from King's Cross to Surrey. Charms had been set around the neighborhood to prevent that very thing. Anyone who attempted to apparate inside the charmed area would surely splinch themselves.
“Oh,” Mundungus said, “Oh, righ', well, I best be off. Nice to see ya again, Mr. Potter.”
Mundungus bowed slightly and walked off down the road.
“Ruddy good-for-nothing thieving wizard,” Hestia growled.
She turned and looked at Harry and Dedalus who were both staring at her.
“Right,” she said, “Best get inside, eh? Don't want to keep your relatives waiting, do we?”
Harry was going to say that there was probably really no need to worry about his relatives waiting for him, but he decided it was best not to say anything. He picked up his broom and Hedwig's cage, then checked on Hedwig, whose annoyed expression hadn't changed a bit, and followed Hestia and Dedalus toward Number 4 Privet Drive. When they arrived, Hestia politely rapped her knuckles on the front door of the house. A few moments later, the door opened, and Uncle Vernon was standing there in the doorway.
“No solicitors,” Vernon said, “Go away.”
He tried to shut the door, but Hestia put her foot in the doorway.
“We are not solicitors,” she said, “We are here escorting your nephew, Harry.”
Vernon looked from Hestia, then to Harry, as if he had just seen him for the first time.
“In trouble with the police, are you, boy?” Vernon asked. “Good... maybe they'll take you away from here!”
“We are not Muggle please-men, Mr. Dursley,” Dedalus said, “We are wizards escorting Harry for his own safety. Please let us in.”
Vernon's face went red, as he looked at Harry and his escorts. If he was going to complain, he had thought against it, because he opened the door all the way and backed up. Harry followed Hestia into the house, and Dedalus was behind him. They walked into the living room, where Harry's cousin, Dudley was watching the telly.
“Who was that, dear?” Aunt Petunia's voice rang from the kitchen.
A few moments later, Aunt Petunia appeared in the archway separating the living room from the dining room.
“Harry,” she said, when she caught sight of her nephew.
“Sorry for the inconvenience, ma'am,” Hestia said, “Usually we wouldn't intrude on a Muggle's home like this, but we thought it was best if we saw Harry inside and made sure he was safe.”
“They're his escorts,” Vernon muttered, as he sat down in his rocking chair in front of the television, “I guess that Dumbledore bloke couldn't do it this time. Probably didn't feel it was important enough.”
Harry narrowed his eyes at his uncle.
“How dare you?!” Hestia growled at Vernon.
“Excuse me?” Vernon asked, his eyes narrowed at Hestia.
“Hestia,” Dedalus said in a calming voice, before he looked at Vernon, “What my friend is trying to say is that we would appreciate it if you did not speak ill about Albus Dumbledore. You see, he has most recently passed, and he was a very dear friend of ours.”
“Albus Dumbledore is dead?” Petunia asked, looking from Dedalus to Harry.
Harry tried to respond but his voice caught in his throat. Acknowledging Aunt Petunia's question would make the whole subject feel too permanent if he answered it.
“Now,” Dedalus said, and Harry appreciated the change of subject. “Hestia and I wish to inform you that for the next two weeks or so, unless we deem otherwise, we will be standing guard nearby this residence.”
“Guard?” Vernon asked, “You mean protection. We don't need it. I don't want – your kind – stalking up and down my lawn. Our neighbors would surely notice, and we don't need them finding out about your – abnormality.”
Hestia looked as if she was going to yell again, but Dedalus cut in front of her once again.
“You will not even know we are here,” Dedalus said, “We will be out of sight unless we need to talk to your nephew. And yes, I promise you that you do need our protection. You would not want to risk the lives of your wife and son, would you?”
“Are you threatening me?” Vernon asked.
“Vernon!” Petunia said, with a warning tone in her voice, before she looked up at Dedalus. “Thank you very much. We appreciate it.”
“No bother, ma'am,” Dedalus said, “We'll just leave you to your privacy. I'm sure you'd like to give Harry a nice welcome-home and all of that. Harry, we'll be close by if you need us.”
“Thanks, Dedalus,” Harry said.
Dedalus bowed and dragged Hestia out of the living room. Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley were all looking at him. Harry, sensing that the atmosphere was very dangerous, faked a yawn immediately.
“Wow, look at me,” Harry said, “I'm completely knackered. Good night.”
It took two trips to get all of his things up stairs and into his bedroom. Each time, he saw Vernon's eyes watching him. Harry opened the window, then opened Hedwig's cage.
“I'm sure you need a good fly,” he said, “Don't go too far.”
Hedwig let out a hoot of acknowledgment and flew out of the cage, then out the window. Harry sat down on his bed and looked around the bedroom. Two weeks... perhaps less, according to Dedalus. Then he would be away from the Dursleys forever and back to the Burrow. Harry's eyes went to his trunk, which was filled with textbooks and his other school things. Tomorrow he would start on his research for any information on Horcruxes, and possible locations where he could find them. Harry sighed audibly as he laid back on the bed, and wondered what his friends were doing. His mind lingered on the thought of Ginny, and those countless hours on the Hogwarts Grounds.
Ugh, I don't know how I feel about the latter half of this chapter, especially with Harry going to the Dursleys. When I had the ideas for this portion of the chapter, it seemed a lot better in my mind. I was even going to add Hermione arriving at her home, but my mind went blank. I promise Hermione's PoV will come up in the next chapter.
Also, I know I'm going to get questions if I don't answer this already. No, Ron and Hermione are not together yet. I do know, however, when that will come and have good plans for it.
I hoped you liked the chapter anyway. I have many ideas ahead for future chapters, and I promise it will be very exciting!
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Gnomes, Otters and Owls
Author's Note: Anyone who has ready my previous stories know that I am a huge Ron/Hermione shipper, and love to write in their PoVs in my story, so don't be surprised if at some points in this story, I write more about them than Harry, even though this is a rewrite of the seventh book which was in all his PoV. Also, as I do in most of my stories, I have named Hermione's parents Richard and Helen. I have always used these names for her parents, and will do so until J.K. Rowling decides to give us their names!
The following morning, Hermione was awoken suddenly by a force of some kind crawling on her bed. In one fluid motion, she grabbed her wand from the nightstand and sat up pointing it in front of her. Hermione growled privately when she saw what had woken her up. Crookshanks was sitting at the end of her bed, staring at her.
“Bad kitty, you scared me!” Hermione said, sighing.
Crookshanks emitted a very harassed meow, and Hermione chuckled softy, shaking her head. She picked him up and cuddled him against her.
“Oh, how could I ever be mad at you?” she asked.
Crookshanks purred in response. He then jumped out of her hands and sat at the doorway. Hermione stepped out of bed, and opened the door for him. Crookshanks pranced out, and Hermione shut the door once again. She turned and looked around her bedroom. Her trunk lay closed on the floor in the corner of her room. She hadn't even bothered to unpack it yet, because of the late hour in which she had arrived at her house in Oxford...
It was nearing nine in the evening by the time Hermione and Elphias Doge had pulled onto the street where Hermione's house was located. They had stopped at the end of the street, near a small playground.
“I will assume,” Elphias asked Hermione, as he pulled Hermione's trunk from the backseat of the car, “that you do not want your parents to know they are being watched for their own protection and yours?”
“Yes,” Hermione said, “I can't have it any other way. I don't want to cause them to panic.”
“I understand,” Elphias said. “I will be as stealthy as possible. Your parents won't even know I am here. In fact, you won't even know I am here unless either of us need each other for something. Now, I will assume you are planning on going to the Burrow sometime soon?”
“In the next few days if I can manage it,” Hermione said.
“Well, then you can figure out the exact date,” Elphias said, “and I will work out the details. Also, I must warn you, and this is only for your protection. Anti-Disapparation Charms are placed along this neighborhood and the connecting streets. If anybody wishes to cause you trouble, they will have to find some other way of getting here, and then they'll have to go through me, which will not be easy, I promise you. Oh, but I doubt anyone will wish to cause you trouble. Just a precaution, of course.”
“Of course,” Hermione echoed.
“I'm sure you want to see your parents,” Elphias said, offering the trunk to Hermione.
Hermione nodded and took her trunk. Elphias grabbed the cat-carrier, which had a growling Crookshanks inside, and placed it on top of the trunk.
“Settle down, Crookshanks,” Hermione said to the cat, “We're home.”
Crookshanks quieted down to a soft purr.
“I'll see you soon,” Elphias said.
Hermione nodded and turned then headed down the street, toward her house. Thirty yards from her house, Hermione jumped in surprise, and dropped Crookshanks' cage, and her trunk which both clattered onto the pavement, as Bill Weasley appeared out of thin air. Hermione heard Crookshanks scowl loudly.
“Bill!” Hermione said, gasping and trying to catch her breath, “I thought you couldn't apparate here right now,”
“I didn't,” Bill said, “That was a Disillusionment charm I was lifting off myself. I apologize. I didn't mean to give you a fright.”
“It's okay,” Hermione said, looking around, “I just hope nobody saw you do that.”
“I'm very careful, I promise you,” Bill said. “I wasn't going to reveal myself, but then I realized I had a question to ask you.”
“Er... okay,” Hermione said.
“I'm sure you know I'm going to be married at the start of next month,” Bill said.
“Yes, of course!” Hermione said, “Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” Bill said, fondly, “Unfortunately, there is a bit of a – er – let's call it a predicament. You see, Fleur has been searching far and wide for a third bridesmaid. She's already chosen her sister Gabrielle, as well as Ginny. She doesn't have any close friends from Beauxbatons, so that is out of the question. When she found out I was on temporary protection duty, and realized I would be at your house, she finally discovered her potential third bridesmaid... you. She was hoping you would accept the role.”
Hermione felt blush raise to her cheeks. She wasn't aware Fleur thought of her enough to consider her a bridesmaid.
“I – well --” Hermione stammered, “Well, of course I will accept!”
“Brilliant,” Bill said, “There's only one other bit of a bother. Do you plan on being at the Burrow by next weekend? You see, Fleur has an appointment with Madam Malkin in Diagon Alley next Saturday, which is a week before the wedding, to do some last finishing touches to her dress, and she wants to buy the bridesmaids dresses that day as well. Of course, you might figure out that she will need you to be there.”
“Of course,” Hermione said, “I could spend most of the week with my parents, and I could go to the Burrow on Friday. Could you pass that message off to Elphias. He was wondering when I wanted to leave.”
“My pleasure,” Bill said, “I best be going. Mum's expecting me.”
“Sure,” Hermione said, “I'll see you soon.”
Bill smiled and walked around Hermione and up the street toward the playground. Hermione almost stopped him, and asked him to give a message to Ron for her, but she wasn't sure what she wanted to say... or rather, she didn't want Bill to have to be the messenger. She picked up her trunk and Crookshanks' cage, and made her way to her house.
Hermione smiled at the thought that she'd be back at the Burrow by Friday. That would give her four full days to spend time with her parents, and perhaps put a bit of time into researching the Horcruxes so she and Ron could be more prepared to do more research together.
Her mind went back to the previous night once again. Her parents were delighted to see her, and Hermione's mother had made a big dinner for her return. Unfortunately, the dinner was very awkward. The lasagna had to be reheated, because it had been finished an hour and a half before Hermione had arrived, and had cooled down since then. The salad had to be redone entirely because the lettuce leaves had wilted.
The food was wonderful, however the conversation was not. One of the first subjects her parents had decided to bring up was how the school year had gone. Hermione's mind had been on the late Professor Dumbledore all day, and the first thing she said was that he had passed away (she didn't want to give details) very recently. Her parents gave her mixed reactions, though they each ended in sympathy, which only made Hermione feel even worse about the late headmaster. She had gone silent, and the conversation had gone mute for a good ten minutes.
At one point, she even recalled blurting out that she was really happy about going to the Burrow at the end of the week. This caused stares from her father, and her mother asked why she would only be at home for a short time. Hermione explained that her best friend's brother was getting married, and she needed to be there. The only other thing Hermione remembered saying to her parents was good evening and that she loved them and had missed them very much. Even though it was a very heartfelt thing to say, she still felt bad about the whole thing that morning. She felt she hadn't said enough, and given that after next weekend, she might not see her parents for a while, it had upset her quite a bit.
When she went downstairs to get a bite for breakfast, her father, Richard, was sitting at the table. He was hidden behind the local newspaper, the Oxfordshire Oracle. Her mother, Helen, however was nowhere to be seen. Hermione cleared her throat softly to get her father's attention. He looked over the paper, and looked rather surprised to see her.
“Oh, Hermione, good morning,” Richard said, “I've almost forgotten what it is like to see you in the morning these days.”
Hermione nodded, having no idea how to respond to that. She wondered if he was still thinking about how she would only be around the house for a few days.
“Have you eaten breakfast yet?” Hermione asked, deciding it was the best innocent question.
“Yeah,” Richard said, “Your mother fixed it before she went into the office.”
“Mum's at work?” Hermione asked.
Hermione tried to keep her voice calm. She had assumed that her parents would take a short holiday off from work so they could spend some quality time with her. She had never expected them to go to work. She wondered how Elphias had handled this turn of events.
“Being a dentist is a very busy profession, honey,” Richard said, “Be that as it may, your mother has requested that I stay here, and spend some time with you.”
Before Hermione could reply, she was interrupted by a very loud knock on the front door of the house, that could be heard from the kitchen.
“That's probably the postman,” Richard said, “They never have the courtesy to ring the doorbell.”
Hermione only nodded. She had a feeling she knew who was at the front door, and it was probably not the postman.
“I'll get it, Daddy,” Hermione said.
Richard smiled and returned his attention to the newspaper. Hermione headed for the front door and opened it. Elphias Doge was standing there.
“I'm sorry to come right up to your house,” Elphias said, “I know you do not want your parents to find out about this.”
“It's okay, I know why you're here,” Hermione said. “I'm sorry, I didn't expect my parents to go to work this week. I'm sorry if this messes up your protection strategy.”
“It is no trouble,” Elphias said, smiling. “Actually I wanted to inform you that Nymphadora Tonks is currently watching your mother while she goes about her day. I will remain here. I would also like to inform you that I am currently working on how to get you to the Burrow on Friday.”
“Oh, I can get there on my own,” Hermione said.
“Miss Granger, you know that will not be possible,” Elphias said.
Hermione frowned. She hated having an escort even if it was for her apparent protection. Now she knew how Harry felt being escorted around everywhere.
“Well, I must get back inside before Dad gets curious,” Hermione said, “Can you let Tonks know I appreciate her help?”
“I will make sure she gets the message,” Elphias said, “One last thing. I know you do not have an owl, so this may not be too important to you. But I will be checking all owl post that comes to you this week, just to make sure it is safe.”
Hermione's voice caught in her throat. She nodded that she understood and walked back inside the house. She closed the door behind her, and almost stamped her foot loudly. Elphias was checking all the owl post. Which meant that if Ron or Harry wrote to her about their hunt for the Horcruxes, Elphias would find out, and soon the Order would know their plans. Hermione knew she had to find some way to get word to them that they could not send her any owl post about the Horcruxes... but how?
“Hermione?” Richard called from the kitchen, “What is taking you so long?”
Hermione gasped. She had forgotten that she was checking on the door for the postman instead of for personal reasons. She hurried back into the kitchen.
“Was that the post?” Richard asked, when he saw her.
“Er... no,” Hermione said, thinking quickly, “Just a solicitor selling stuff.”
“Oh, not again!” Richard groaned, “If I have warned them once, I have warned them a thousand times. That must be the fifth time we've had solicitors at our door in the past month.”
Hermione nodded, not entirely focused on what her father was saying. Her mind was on the possible solutions she could have to her current problem concerning the owl post.
“I'm going to unpack my things,” Hermione said, making an excuse, “I was too tired last night.”
“Okay,” Richard said, “Then perhaps we can do something today. It's been a while since we had a barbeque, you know?”
“I'd like that,” Hermione said.
“I'll call your Mum,” Richard said, “And see if she wants to be a part of it. You know, I don't know why wizards and witches refuse to use telephones. They're a lot faster than owls when it comes to communication. Owl Post seems so slow and inefficient.”
Hermione's eyes widened, and she raced out of the kitchen. Thanks to her father, she had come up with a possible way to contact her friends. She just had to check up on a few things, so she wouldn't mess it up.
Meanwhile, at the Burrow, Ron was awoken by a knock on his bedroom door.
“Oh, Mum, let me sleep,” Ron said, rolling over on the bed.
Another knocking sound was heard. Ron groaned and sat up. He stood up groggily, and yawned as he walked over to the door. He opened it, expecting to find his mother standing at the door, and saw Ginny there.
“Ugh,” Ron groaned, “I was asleep. What time is it?”
“Almost ten,” Ginny said, “You're lucky I woke you up. Mum was about to come up here to wake you up. She says there are a number of gnomes in the yard where the marquee is going to be placed, and she wants them gone. I guess that is your job.”
“Yeah, yeah, I guess I'll do it,” Ron said, “Is that all you wanted?”
“No,” Ginny said, “I need to talk to you. Can I come in?”
Ron sighed and opened the door the whole way. Ginny walked into the room.
“Can I borrow Pigwidgeon?” she asked.
Ron groaned silently. He was planning on using Pigwidgeon for his own needs. He wanted to write to Hermione and Harry for any advice on what to look for concerning the Horcruxes.
“Is this about you and Harry?” Ron asked, as he closed the door, “Because I have no wish to interfere.”
“No, it isn't,” Ginny said, “I don't want to talk about him. Just so you know, you have nothing to worry about between me and Harry. He broke up with me.”
Ron raised his eyebrows, trying to feign surprise. Ginny, however, was too smart for him.
“He told you, didn't he?” Ginny asked.
“He may have mentioned it,” Ron said.
“Did he tell you why?” Ginny asked.
“I-I-I,” Ron stammered, attempting to avoid the question, “I thought you didn't want to talk about Harry.”
“Fine, I see how it is,” Ginny said.
“If you aren't in here because of Harry,” Ron said, “Why do you need to borrow my owl?”
“I have my reasons,” Ginny said.
“Already found a new boyfriend, have you?” Ron asked.
“How dare you?!” Ginny growled, “Of course not! No, I need to borrow Pig because – well –“
She sighed audibly.
“If I tell you,” Ginny said, “You can't tell Mum. I was going to tell her myself anyway, though I'm not sure how she'll feel about it.”
“Go on then,” Ron said.
“I'm applying for a job at Fred and George's shop,” Ginny said.
“For – er – less than six weeks?” Ron asked.
“It's a summer job,” Ginny said
“And you're wanting to work when Mum is probably expecting you to help with Bill and Fleur's wedding?” Ron asked.
“Ugh, I knew you'd say that!” Ginny growled. “I need this job. I need to do something!”
“What are you talking about?” Ron asked.
Ginny's expression softened and Ron thought he saw tears in her eyes. She walked over to Ron's bed and sat down.
“Look, Ron,” Ginny said, “You don't understand. You may laugh at me for this, but I'm going to say it anyway. After I broke up with Michael and Dean, I was pretty much okay. No big deal, you know. But yesterday, when Harry broke up with me... something broke inside me. I-- I--”
Ginny groaned and looked annoyed with herself.
“I can't believe I'm saying this to my own brother,” she said. “Look Ron, I love Harry, okay. He's different than Micheal and Dean. You can probably agree with me, given that he is your best mate, but to me, he is something more than any best friend I could have. I'm sure you don't want to hear me say that, but I love him. I just can't forget about him, so I need something to distract me. I was thinking about this throughout the train ride back to London, and I made my decision last night. I need to work at Fred and George's shop to keep my mind off things, or I'm going to go bloody mental, I just know it.”
“I – I --” Ron stammered, not knowing what to say.
Ginny scoffed. She shook her head and stood up. She tried to walk past Ron, but he blocked her movement.
“Let me through, Ron,” Ginny demanded, “I'll use Errol and face the unwanted questions.”
“You don't have to do that,” Ron said.
“Yes, I do,” Ginny said, narrowing her eyes at Ron.
“No, I'm letting you use Pig,” Ron said.
Ginny's expression immediately softened.
“Oh – well – thanks,” Ginny said.
Ron walked over to Pig's cage and opened it. Pig immediately flew onto Ginny's shoulder. She turned to the door. Ron frowned as he watched his sister walk through the doorway.
“Ginny,” Ron said.
Ginny turned toward Ron.
“If it means anything to you,” Ron said, “I'm really sorry about what happened between you and Harry.”
Ginny looked absolutely speechless.
“I – thanks, Ron,” Ginny said.
Ginny turned around and headed down the stairs.
Two hours later, Ron was almost finished with degnoming the field where the marquee for Bill and Fleur's wedding would be placed. He was sweaty and dirty, and his stomach growled with hunger. Because he had woken up very late, his mother hadn't saved any breakfast for him, so the only thing he had eaten was a piece of toast, before Mrs. Weasley had ordered him out into the field to battle the gnomes.
As Ron looked around for any remaining gnomes, he felt something run across his shoes. He looked down to see a gnome running past him and heading for a dirt hole in the ground a few yards away. Ron chased after the gnome and dove toward it. His hands gripped the gnome's legs, before the creature could escape into the hole. The gnome growled and squealed, as Ron got to his feet with a bit of trouble. He then spun around, making the gnome dizzy, and released it. The gnome flew twenty feet into the air, and landed over a fence. It stood up, and Ron chuckled as he heard the gnome cursing and scampering off.
“Ronald!” Mrs. Weasley called out.
Ron turned around. His mother was standing just outside the Burrow.
“Are you almost finished?!” Mrs. Weasley yelled.
“A few more, Mum!” Ron called back.
“Well, hurry up and you can have lunch!” Molly yelled.
She disappeared back into the house. Ron turned and he, once again felt something run across his shoes. He looked down expecting a gnome, and what he saw, he did not expect.
A Patronus, in the shape of an otter, was up on its hind legs and looking up at him. Ron's eyes widened. There was only one person he knew whose Patronus was an otter.
“Ron,” Hermione's voice, barely over a whisper, came from the Patronus, “You probably recognize my Patronus and my voice, but just in case, this is Hermione. I hope you are alone when this comes. Do not send me any letters that have anything to do with you-know-what. Elphias Doge is watching for incoming letters for anything suspicious. I sent a messenger Patronus to Harry as well. Oh, it would probably be good if you didn't give him any letters about the you-know-whats either. Just in case. I have other things to say, but Elphias is letting me send a letter using his owl, so expect one from me soon. I don't know how long these messages can last so I better end it now. I'll see you very soon.”
The otter disappeared, and Ron looked around to see if anyone had heard the message. He was amazed that Hermione could do a messenger Patronus. He knew that the Order used them, but he thought it was a complex spell. He thought about the message he had just heard, and wished he could hear it again. She had told him that it was not a good idea to send her or Harry any letters about the Horcruxes. Given that it was already in his plans to send them a letter on exactly that subject, he was thankful for Hermione's message. He wondered what else she had to say, and eagerly waited her owl post.
With Hermione's letter to look forward to, he was much more cheerful, and the degnoming only took another ten minutes to complete. When he was finished, he walked back to the Burrow.
“Ah, ah, ah, young man!” Mrs. Weasley said, as soon as Ron entered the kitchen, “I want you out of those clothes and clean before you even think about eating.”
Ron groaned silently. He could see the large plate of bacon sandwiches on the table, and the sight only made his stomach growl. He hurried up the stairs and for the bathroom.
When he finished his bath, and dressed into clean clothes, he headed back downstairs.
“So I guess you were just going to do this without asking me first?!” Mrs. Weasley said, loudly.
Ron froze on the stairs. Had his mother found out that he was going to hunt Horcruxes with Harry? Ron started down the stairs, ready for an explanation.
“I want to do this, Mum!” Ginny said.
Ron silently emitted a relieved sigh. His mother was talking to Ginny, not him. He sat down on the stairs, deciding he would wait to go downstairs until they were finished. As he looked at his mother, he could see a letter in one of her clenched fists. Pigwidgeon must have returned with Fred and George's response.
“You should be happy I want to work with Fred and George!” Ginny continued, “This is life-building stuff... isn't that what you like to say?”
“I understand that Ginny, but why now?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “Why do you have to do this when you know I need help with Bill and Fleur's wedding?”
“I just need to do this, Mum,” Ginny said, “Okay? I'm going to do it with or without your permission. I may not be of age, but I am old enough to have a job of my own!”
“You need to be here, Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, “For your brother and Fleur.”
“I'm not going to miss the wedding, Mum,” Ginny said.
“You better not,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Especially since you are one of Fleur's bridesmaids.”
“What?” Ginny asked, “I never agreed to --”
“Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, in a scolding tone, “You will do it for Bill.”
“You always do this, Mum!” Ginny growled, “Have you ever thought that I may not like Fleur that much?!”
“Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Ginny!”
Suddenly, Ron saw Ginny standing at the bottom of the stairs. Ron stood up and tried to make it look like he was coming down the stairs at that moment, but he knew he couldn't fool Ginny.
“You talk to Mum then since you know what is going on,” Ginny said, “I can't – I – I –“
Tears shined in Ginny's eyes.
“I can't do this right now!” Ginny said, a sob escaping her lips.
Before Ron could reply, Ginny brushed past him. A moment later, he heard Ginny's bedroom door slam. He walked down the stairs, shaking his head. He just wished she could resolve these issues with Harry so he didn't have to deal with her. When he reached the kitchen, his Mum was busy scrubbing a pan that already looked pretty clean.
“-- knows she needs to be here for Bill,” Mrs. Weasley muttered, “I don't understand why she has to do this right now. I swear I was never like her when I was her age – oh, hi Ronald. There's food on the table.”
“I know, Mum,” Ron said, as he sat down at the table.
“Such a good boy to help me with stuff for Bill's wedding,” Mrs. Weasley said. “I don't understand what Ginny's problem is. Has – has she said anything to you? Do you know what is wrong?”
Ron did know what was wrong, but he had promised Ginny he wouldn't interfere in her relationship, existing or non-existing, with Harry.
“I – well --” Ron said, trying to find a good excuse. “I think she's sad about Professor Dumbledore. She's been like this since the funeral.”
Ron frowned as his mother's expression softened.
“Oh, the poor dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I should have – I didn't – of course she would want something to take her mind off of that.”
Ron nodded and bit into a bacon sandwich, so he wouldn't have to respond. As he was eating lunch, Ron heard a loud hooting sound. An owl flew in through the partially open door of the Burrow and dropped a letter in the plate of sandwiches. The owl perched itself on a chair near Ron.
“Who could that be?” Mrs. Weasley said.
“Oh, I think it is Elphias' owl,” Ron said, “He's letting Hermione use it.”
“How do you know that?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
Ron kicked himself mentally. She wasn't to know that he got a messenger Patronus from Hermione.
“I – er –“ Ron stammered, “Hermione told me last night when she hugged me.”
“Oh,” Mrs. Weasley said.
Ron took the letter and unrolled it. It was indeed from Hermione. He started to read it:
I will assume you already received my other message, and that you understand it. I don't wish to explain it in this letter, in cause your post is being watched by the Order too. My reason for this letter is to tell you that I am planning on going to the Burrow this Friday. Elphias is trying to find a way to get me to the Burrow, so hopefully it works out. I talked to your brother, Bill, last night, and he told me that Fleur has made me a bridesmaid for their wedding. I can't believe it! I've never been to a wedding in my life, and my first one I am a bridesmaid! I'm kind of excited.
I hope you are okay. I'm doing well, but I am looking forward to going to your house. Are you studying for the next school term? You know how well doing some early research for the future would be a very good thing.
See you soon,
Ron raised his eyebrows as he read the last few lines. What did she mean? She knew they were going to help Harry who had no intentions, at the moment, of returning back to Hogwarts. Why would she ask that? He read over the letter again, and on his second go-over, he then realized what she meant. She was trying to ask about how he was doing with the Horcrux research without giving it away.
“What did she have to say?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“She's coming here on Friday,” Ron said, “Though Doge is not sure how he is going to get her here.”
“I'm sure the Order will figure it out,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You don't have to worry about that.”
Ron nodded. Suddenly, yet another owl flew into the kitchen, and dropped a letter near Mrs. Weasley.
“Oh, it is from your father,” Mrs.. Weasley said, as she unrolled the parchment.
Ron took another bacon sandwich as his mother read the letter.
“Oh, well how about that?” Mrs. Weasley said, looking up from the letter at Ron, “Ron, I want you to make sure you have a nice outfit for tomorrow.”
Ron swallowed his bite of bacon sandwich as he looked at his mother.
“You're going to the Ministry tomorrow,” Mrs. Weasley said, “for your apparation exam.”
Ah, I love this chapter. Believe it or not, everything in this chapter is very important to future chapters in my story. Though some of it (I can think of one thing right now, though I won't reveal it) may not be important for quite a few chapters. I'll just let that brew in your minds for now.
Something in Harry's PoV next, and perhaps Ron's Apparation exam!
Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Much more to come!
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
The Apparation Exam
Author's Note: I was asked why, in Hermione's letter to Ron, she would have mentioned her previous message to him if she knew their messages were being watched. Well, the letters that are being watched, are incoming letters, and not out-going, so Elphias wouldn't have checked Hermione's letter. Also, because it was Elphias' owl that was sent to the Burrow, the Order members protecting the Burrow at that moment in time would have recognized Elphias' owl, and knew that it wasn't suspicious. Hermione's rather brilliant like that.
It had now been twenty-four hours since Harry had returned to Number Four Privet Drive and for the majority of those hours, he had locked himself in his bedroom. The only time he would come out of his room was for either bathroom breaks, or when Aunt Petunia would call the household for mealtime. Harry was rather surprised that Aunt Petunia had cared enough to call him down to the kitchen. Though when he thought about it, he realized she was probably doing it mainly for her own good instead of his: if he was fed the three square meals he needed, Harry wouldn't have to steal food from the fridge.
At the moment, a stack of textbooks that had gradually grown throughout the day, as Harry read through each of them and had not found very much that could help him, lay on the mahogany desk in the corner of the room. As Harry caught sight of the stack of books, he chuckled in spite of himself. He couldn't recall ever reading so much in his entire life.
When he had attended primary school, those many years before he found out he was a wizard, he had occasionally checked out books from the school library, so he could read them while he was holed up in the cupboard under the stairs. But he couldn't remember a single one of those books that were as thick as those he was currently going through. If only Hermione could see him at that moment, he thought, as his eyes trailed to the roll of parchment on his nightstand.
Besides those times when he would temporarily leave his bedroom during the day, there had only been two other interruptions in his research. The first was when he unexpectedly had a visitor in the form of Hermione's silver otter Patronus, which had warned him not to send her any messages about Horcruxes because her incoming letters were being watched by Elphias Doge, and she was almost positive that Harry's incoming letters would probably be watched as well. He had also received another message from Hermione in the form of owl post, from an owl he did not recognize. In this letter, she told him she would be going to the Burrow on Friday, and hoped there was a chance he could go to the Burrow earlier than his birthday. She suggested that he talk to Hestia or Dedalus and see if it was possible.
Unfortunately, Harry wasn't sure if it was a good idea for Hestia or Dedalus to tread so close to the house. That morning, at breakfast, Uncle Vernon was fuming, and had demanded Harry to convince his “new friends” to leave Privet Drive or he would call the authorities. When Harry argued back that the authorities would probably send Vernon away for even mentioning real wizards, Vernon's face went beet-red, and Harry retreated to the safety of his bedroom, which none of the Dursleys had bothered to enter since Harry had arrived.
Harry was currently looking through the worn pages of a book titled “Achievements in Dark Arts In The Twentieth Century”, but couldn't find anything on the subject of Horcruxes. He sighed, annoyed, and in a fit of rage, threw the book on the desk. It hit the edge of the desk and dropped to the floor with a bang, dragging the newest edition of the Daily Prophet, which Harry had received that morning, with it. Harry stood up from the bed, and picked up the book, then placed it on top of the stack.
He then picked up the copy of the Daily Prophet, and turned it over in his hands. He had only taken a peek at the paper when it had arrived that morning, because the sight of the front page had caused tears to leak from his eyes and stain onto the paper. After that, he had avoided the newspaper all day.
On the very front of the paper, a moving picture of Albus Dumbledore was there, staring up at Harry. Even though the picture was black-and-white, Harry could imagine the piercing blue color of Dumbledore's eyes. He turned the newspaper over, and saw a picture he hadn't noticed that morning. It was a photo of Professor Dumbledore's funeral on the grounds of Hogwarts. Harry hadn't recalled seeing a cameraman there, but he figured he was too lost in the atmosphere of the funeral to have noticed.
From the placement of the photo, the cameraman must have been standing behind the rows of chairs that the mourners were sitting in. The glorious white, stone tomb was in the very center of the picture, and Harry could see the back of the heads of many of the mourners. And then, at the edge on the left of the photo, Harry saw a familiar head of bushy hair, and recognized it as Hermione's. She was leaning her head on Ron's shoulder, and there... almost out of frame, Harry could see his own scruffy head of hair, and just a glint of his glasses. Though she wasn't shown in the photo, Ginny was sitting to the left of Harry.
Harry fought off a mad urge to laugh. It was almost ironic. She was out of the picture, and now out of his life. Harry wrenched his eyes from the photo, trying to keep his thoughts away from Ginny. Below the photo of the funeral, there was an article that took up the rest of the front page. Harry sank back onto his bed and started to read the article:
Funeral Held Yesterday for Albus Dumbledore
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Students, Professors, and others who knew the long-time
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
gathered on the grounds to pay their last respects to the late
Albus Dumbledore, aged a healthy one-hundred-and-fifty.
Albus Dumbledore was given many titles in his lifetime, most
notably the Order of Merlin, First Class, Supreme Mugwump of the
International Confederation of Wizards, and Chief Warlock of the
Wizengamot. But it has been said that he considered his greatest
achievement to be that he was chosen to be on the popular
Chocolate Frog collectable cards.
Albus Dumbledore was reportedly slain at Hogwarts by the former
Hogwarts Potions Master, Severus Snape, now rumored to be on
the run with the group that deem themselves allies of He-Who-
Must-Not-Be-Named. The Auror Department has offered a hundred
galleon reward for any information leading to the capture of Snape.
But they do warn readers that Snape is rumored to be dangerous
and extremely cunning in his use of defensive and offensive magic
in the art of dueling, and ask that readers trust that the Auror
Department will be responsible in the capture of Albus
Most notably amongst the mourners at the funeral were: Albus'
estranged brother Aberforth Dumbledore, the current Minister of
Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, the former Minister of Magic, Cornelius
Fudge, and The-Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter himself. The Daily
Prophet attempted to get an opinion on the late Headmaster from
Harry Potter, but Minerva McGonagall, rumored to take the title of
Headmistress if Hogwarts is to re-open next term, refused to
allow Dumbledore's funeral to turn into a publicity event.
The article continued for a few paragraphs, and described events of Professor Dumbledore's life, but Harry knew he would be on the verge of a breakdown if he had to read anymore about the late Headmaster. He had paid his respects at the funeral, the previous day, and he knew if he would dwell too much longer on the stories of Albus Dumbledore, he wouldn't be able to focus on more important things, most importantly the hunt for the Horcruxes.
At the thought of the hunt, Harry's eyes returned to the paragraph that had mentioned Severus Snape. Harry vowed to himself that if he had met up with Snape during his hunt for the Horcruxes, he would make the ex-Potions Master pay for betraying the Order of the Phoenix, and mostly, Albus Dumbledore himself.
Harry threw the edition of the Daily Prophet unceremoniously away from him, and it landed in a heap on the floor. He then learned over the side of the bed and looked at the stack of books that he hadn't perused through yet. He wondered if there were anything on Horcruxes, how to destroy them, or other information that he desperately needed. In the back of his mind, a voice told him he wouldn't find anything. If Professor Dumbledore couldn't find that kind of information, then how would he fare any better?
Trying to ignore that voice, Harry sank back onto the pillow on his bed, and stared at the ceiling, while he waited for Aunt Petunia to call him down for dinner.
On Tuesday, the day of Ron's apparation exam, he was awoken by his mother in the early hours of the morning. Ron was discouraged to discover that he was up so early, the sun hadn't even risen over the horizon. He yawned uncontrollably, as he dressed into a buttoned-down shirt and slacks, an outfit that his mother had laid out for him to wear at the Ministry. He pulled on his trainers and pocketed his wand, then left his bedroom.
As he headed off down the stairs, the door to his sister's bedroom opened and Ginny walked out. Much to Ron's dismay, Ginny looked wide awake.
“What are you doing up?” Ron murmured to Ginny, as he tried to fight back another yawn.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” Ginny said.
“I have a reason to be up,” Ron said. “I'm going with Dad to the Ministry. I'm going to be taking my Apparation Exam.”
“Good luck,” Ginny said, a smirk crossing her lips, “I, too, have a reason to be up. I start the first day of my job today.”
“How does Mum feel about that?” Ron asked.
“Strangely enough, she woke me up so I would be ready in time,” Ginny said.
“That's a good sign,” Ron said.
“I thought so too,” Ginny said, grinning.
“Ronald!” Mrs. Weasley called from the bottom floor, “If you want a bite to eat before you have to leave with your father, you better hurry!”
“Good luck,” Ginny said again.
Ron nodded and walked down the rest of the steps. A plate of bacon and eggs were waiting for him at the kitchen table, and he eagerly sat down.
“Do you remember your Apparation training?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “I would hate to have to find you at St. Mungo's because you splinched yourself during the exam!”
“Yes, Mum,” Ron said, after he swallowed a mouthful of egg, “Determination, destination and – er – deliberation. That's the one!”
“Oh, the three D's!” Mr. Weasley said, walking into the kitchen, “I remember them well.”
“Arthur, is Wilkie Twycross still one of the lead wizards for the exam?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Oh, yes,” Mr. Weasley said.
“I have to deal with him today?” Ron asked, with a groan. “Ugh, he was so bloody mental during my lessons.”
“Ronald, language!” Mrs. Weasley said, in a scolding voice, “And do not insult Mr. Twycross like that. He taught your father and I when we were at Hogwarts, d'you remember, Arthur? Very wise teacher."
"Hmm," Ron's father said, apparently at a loss for words.
"Oh, you can't still be sour about that, can you?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"What is going on?" Ron asked.
"Your father splinched himself during one of his lessons," Mrs. Weasley said.
"You're kidding?" Ron said.
"It wasn't really a good day," Mr. Weasley said.
"Losing three times in a row to me at wizard's chess would qualify as a bad day?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
Ron's father blushed and Ron chuckled.
“Yes, well, we must be off, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “Especially since we have to take the car.”
“What?” Ron asked, “Why can't we use Floo Powder?”
“The Floo tunnels connecting to the Ministry have been disabled today,” Mr. Weasley said. “It is causing quite a stir, indeed, the number of Ministry workers who come to the Ministry by the Floo Network. But it is a precaution. Rumors are that the Wizengamot is starting the hearing today that will determine if Hogwarts will re-open or not for the next term, and there are supposed to be a number of important wizards coming in from all over the country for this one. Their safety is a top priority. Now, come on, we must make haste.”
Ron grabbed the last piece of bacon from his plate, and stood up from the table. Mrs. Weasley gave him a hug and wished him good luck, and he followed his father out of the Burrow.
Two hours later, the large city of London came into view. Throughout the car-ride, Ron's mind was on his apparation lessons. It had been so long since he had last failed his exam, when he had lost an eyebrow, and he hadn't expected another exam so soon. His hands were shaking from nerves, and he forced them into his pockets, so his father wouldn't see. As he did, he felt something rough in his left pocket. He pulled it out and recognized it. After he had discovered that he would be taking his apparation exam, he had sent a return letter back to Hermione with Elphias' owl. In part of the letter, he had announced to her that he would be taking his exam, hoping she could give him some tips.
Then, half-an-hour before he had gone to bed, Ron had received yet another letter from Hermione. That letter was what he was holding in his hand now. He smiled as he read it again:
Oh, how exciting! I wish I could come with you for some guidance and, perhaps, luck, but I'm sure Elphias wouldn't allow it. So I will just give you some advice. Remember the 3 D's that Mr. Twycross taught us during our lessons. Remember what Mr. Twycross said? One must be completely DETERMINED to reach one's DESTINATION and move without haste, but with DELIBERATION. If you remember that, I know you will have no problems getting through your exam. Don't be nervous... a calm mind helps too. Try to rid everything else from your mind before you take the test.
I know you will do brilliant, but I'll wish you the best of luck anyway.
I'll see you on Friday!
Ron smiled as he clenched the letter in his fist.
“What is that?” Mr. Weasley asked him, glancing at Ron out of the corners of his eyes.
“Huh?” Ron asked, “Oh, a letter from Hermione. She gave me some advice for the exam.”
“That's very nice of her,” Mr. Weasley said, “I guess you and her are pretty close, huh?”
“Yeah, she's great,” Ron said, grinning.
“Ron, you can't lie to your old man,” Mr. Weasley said, “I couldn't help but notice it Sunday at King's Cross. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but you and Hermione looked fairly close when you were saying goodbye to her.”
Ron raised his eyebrows at his father. He had absolutely no idea what his father was talking about.
“It reminded me of how close I was with your Mum at your age,” Mr. Weasley said, grinning.
Ron's eyes widened and he tried his best to keep his jaw from dropping.
“Dad, it isn't like that!” he said, heat rising to his cheeks. “You know Hermione and I are the best of mates. It's no different than Harry.”
“Oh, really?” Mr. Weasley asked, “Didn't look like too much of a comparison to me. You didn't exactly give Hermione the same hug you gave Harry. It was quite affectionate, if you ask me.”
“I-I-I,” Ron stammered, “I don't want to talk about this. I need to focus on preparing for my exam or I'm going to – you know – splinch myself.”
“Completely understood,” Mr. Weasley said, though he had the tiniest of grins across his lips.
Ron turned his attention to scenery of London, his head still buzzing with the conversation he just had with his father. If his own father had noticed how – affectionate, in his father's own words – his hug with Hermione was, he wondered if Hermione, herself, had noticed it. Ron exhaled and shook his head. This wasn't exactly the type of thing he should be thinking of, if he wanted to clear his head and concentrate on his upcoming Apparation exam.
Shortly after they arrived in London, Mr. Weasley pulled the car into a multilevel garage, and he and Ron traveled towards where the Ministry was located.
“Arthur!” a voice said, behind Ron and his father, as they walked down the sidewalk, “Wait up!”
Mr. Weasley turned around, and Ron did as well. A short, brownish-haired man was strolling up to them.
“Ah, Reg, my friend,” Mr. Weasley said, “It is nice to see you. Ron, this is my good friend, Reginald Cattermole. Most people just call him Reg. Reg, this is my son, Ron.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Reg said. “Arthur, I assume you are heading for the Ministry.”
“Of course,” Mr. Weasley said.
“Good thing I caught up with you then,” Reg said, “Because you can't take the normal entrance today. It's being blocked off. It is only for use by high-priority staff and some important guests from near and far that are going to be here.”
“So, I've heard,” Mr. Weasley said, “The Hogwarts Hearing starts today.”
“Yes,” Reg said, “And it could go on for a couple of weeks. Bloomin' pain in the bum, if you ask me. In my opinion, Hogwarts should remain open if just one student wishes to return, isn't that right, Ron?”
“Er... sure,” Ron said.
“Exactly,” Reg said, chuckling, “Unfortunately, Arthur, the lesser wizards like us have to enter using the toilets.”
Ron raised his eyebrows. He was sure he had misheard the wizard.
“Ah, that's unfortunate,” Mr. Weasley said, “But if it has to be done, then... come on, Ron. Change of plans. Follow me.”
Ron followed Reg and his father back down the sidewalk they had just walked down. Soon, they had turned into a small building, and Ron's jaw dropped as he looked around. He hadn't misheard Reg at all. They had arrived at a bathroom. A number of wizards were standing in a half-a-dozen lines outside enclosed toilets. Ron and his father stepped into the queue. Five minutes later, it was Ron's turn.
“Don't be nervous, son,” Mr. Weasley said, “Just stand in the toilet and pull the flusher. As easy as that.”
“But,” Ron said, “Won't my shoes get wet?”
“You have nothing to worry about,” Reg said, in the queue next to Ron's, “Everyone thinks that their first time down the chute.”
Ron nodded and stepped into the cubicle. A toilet with a large bowl was standing there. Ron closed the door behind him and, realizing just how mental he was looking like this, stepped both feet into the toilet. Immediately, he knew he was doing something right, because his feet had not become wet. Ron looked to his right and saw a long rope hanging from a pipe. He reached for the rope, closed his eyes, and pulled it.
All of a sudden, he dropped down into a pipe that eerily reminded him of the one he had gone down years ago to get into the sewers leading to the Chamber of Secrets. He was sliding down the pipe, and when he stopped, he found himself in the gigantic Atrium of the Ministry of Magic. He stood up and stepped out of the way just in time, as his father appeared at the opening.
“That was delightful, wasn't it?” Mr. Weasley said, cheerfully.
“Er... sure,” Ron said, who personally thought it was far from delightful.
Ron followed his father into one of the crowded lifts, and before he knew it, he found himself on the sixth floor of the Ministry of Magic. He followed his father down the hall, and soon they were standing in front of a door. A sign on the door read “Apparation Test Centre”.
“I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to go in with you,” Mr. Weasley said, as Ron stared at the sign, “I must be going to work. I wish you the best of luck.”
“Er... thanks, Dad,” Ron said.
“I know you will pass the test,” Mr. Weasley said, “And I'm sure you'll want to show off that you can apparate legally, so you could probably apparate to the Burrow if you feel up to it.”
“And – if I don't pass?” Ron asked.
“Come find me,” Mr. Weasley said, “And we'll find a way to get you home. But I'm sure you'll pass. Don't worry, son. Good luck.”
Mr. Weasley patted Ron on the shoulder. Ron nodded and opened the door, then walked through it. He was standing in a small room. A number of chairs were placed on either side of the room. At the opposite side of the room, a desk stood in front of a wall. There was also a door to the left of the desk. Ron walked up to the desk. A witch was sitting there, reading the new edition of the Daily Prophet. Ron could see a photo of Albus Dumbledore's face on one of the pages. Ron cleared his throat to get the witch's attention.
“Fill out the form in front of you and give it back to me,” the witch said, in a drawling voice, without looking up at Ron.
Ron nodded and took a quill and the top piece of parchment from the stack in front of him. He sat down in a chair and started filling it out. When he was finished he took it back to the witch. The witch put down the newspaper and looked at the parchment.
“Everything seems correct,” the witch said, in the same drawling voice, “I am required to ask you these questions. You understand that the apparation exam is dangerous, and that splinching is common for young wizards who are taking the exam?”
“Sure,” Ron said.
“You also understand that if you do splinch yourself,” the witch continued, “while it is up to us to assist you en route to St. Mungo's, that the Apparation Test Centre, or the Ministry of Magic cannot be held liable?”
“Yes,” Ron said, nervously; all this talk about splinching wasn't helping his nerves at all.
“Very good, sir,” the witch said, “If you will wait in a chair, Mr. Twycross will be with --”
Before she could finish her sentence, the door near the desk opened. A wizard appeared and Ron immediately recognized him as the instructor Wilkie Twycross. Behind him, Lavender Brown walked out of the room.
“Miss Brown, congratulations once again,” Wilkie said, “You did very well.”
“Thank you, sir,” Lavender said.
She walked past Wilkie and looked at Ron.
“Well, hello, there,” Lavender said, “This is a surprise.”
“Just here to take my exam,” Ron said.
“I thought you took it a few months ago?” Lavender asked.
“I did,” Ron said, “But I didn't pass.”
“Had your mind on other things, did you?” Lavender said, grinning.
Ron rolled his eyes. He knew better than to fall for Lavender's flirty gestures.
“Next!” Wilkie Twycross said, then looked at Ron, “Ah, you there. What's your name?”
“Ron Weasley,” Ron said.
“Arthur's youngest son, I bet,” Wilkie said, “Yes, I remember you from the lessons at Hogwarts. Follow me.”
“Good luck, Ron,” Lavender said.
“Er... thanks,” Ron said.
Lavender smiled and walked past him and out of the office. Ron followed Wilkie through into the next room. There were a number of desks sitting there.
“Er... I thought I had to apparate?” Ron asked.
“Your written exam is first, Mr. Weasley,” Wilkie said, “Take a seat.”
Ron groaned silently as he took a seat. He hadn't prepared himself for a written exam.
“I hope you did your studying, because this test consists of fifteen questions. Some are multiple choice, but others are more complex. This will tell the Ministry if you know the regulations and rules when it comes to Apparation. Apparation is a very serious form of transportation, as you already know. Good luck.”
Wilkie waved his wand and a piece of parchment, three quills and a tub of ink appeared at the desk.
“When you are finished,” Wilkie said, “Come see me in the next room. You may begin... now.”
Wilkie walked toward a door on the other side of the room, and through it. Ron looked down at the first question.
"What are the 3 D's of Apparation?" Ron said, under his breath, "Well, at least I know one."
He wrote down the answer and went to the next question: What is Splinching, and how do you avoid it?
"How do you avoid it?" Ron asked himself, "Focus, Determination, but that can't be it."
For the next twenty minutes, Ron continued to answer the questions on the test. Some of the questions had to do with rules, when and when not to use Apparation, but there were tough ones as well. Such as the history of Apparation, which Ron felt that he had failed miserably at. When he finished, he stood up and took his test into the next room. Wilkie was standing there, waiting for him.
“All right, Mr. Weasley,” he said, “Let's see that test of yours.”
Ron handed the piece of parchment to Wilkie.
Twycross took the piece of parchment from Ron and looked at it. He muttered, talking to himself, as he looked through Ron's answers.
"Well, Mr. Weasley," Twycross said
"I failed, didn't I?" Ron said, looking down at his feet.
"11 out of 15!" Twycross exclaimed, "That qualifies as a pass! Let's move on to the practical part. This test will be to prove that you can Apparate. It will be a distance test. You will apparate from here to the Floo Network Office and back. These rooms have been designated as Apparation-Safe rooms. If you succeed, you will pass the test. I will meet you at your destination to make sure you get there right. Good luck!”
Twycross disappeared with a CRACK!
Ron was left in the room alone. This made him very nervous.
"All right, Ron," he said to himself, "Remember Hermione's note. Remember what it said. I am determined to pass this test. I know my destination. The Floo Network office. Come on, please do this."
Ron closed his eyes. A couple moments later, he felt his body pull in all directions. He could not breathe. Something inside him told him not to panic, that it was normal. Then...
"Outstanding work, Mr. Weasley!" a voice said.
Ron opened his eyes and took a deep breath. He looked around and saw Twycross.
"Hmm... everything seems to be in order," Twycross said, "Now you need to Apparate back."
Ron sighed. He closed his eyes and could barely hear Twycross saying good luck to him again. Suddenly he felt the familiar sensation of his lungs imploding. Then his ears popped, and he suddenly knew why there was a CRACK every time someone Apparated. He opened his eyes and recognized the room immediately, it was the room he had just left from.
CRACK! Twycross appeared next to him. He looked at Ron, and walked around him, muttering to himself for a few moments. Then...
"Very well done, Mr. Weasley," he said, "You have passed."
And with a swish of Twycross' wand, an apparation license complete with Ron's name landed in Ron's hand.
"I passed?" Ron asked, as he looked at the small piece of plastic in his hands.
"With flying colors!" Twycross said, "You apparated very smoothly! You did so much better than last time. Congratulations!”
“Th-thanks, sir!” Ron said, grinning.
Wilkie smiled and led Ron back into the office.
“I trust you want to give your family the good news,” Wilkie said, “If you wish to apparate home, there is a safe area in the Atrium of the Ministry you may use.”
“Yes, sir,” Ron said, “Thank you again!”
Ron almost skipped in his stride, as he walked out of the Apparation Test Centre, and headed for the lifts. He couldn't wait to tell his family he had done it. But most of all... he couldn't wait to tell Hermione!
Decided to end the chapter there! Next chapter, I'm going to skip a couple of days, and just do a bit of description for those days I skipped. I want to get to the portion in this story that I've really been looking forward to.
Also, about Dumbledore's age when he died, I have heard two different numbers from JK Rowling. At one point she said 150, and at another she said 115. So I went with 150, a nice round number.
Hope you liked this chapter. Was the test too generic? Or did it seem okay? I also hope you liked Reg Cattermole's cameo!
Last edited by Fury; December 25th, 2011 at 11:20 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Author's Note: As I said at the end of the previous chapter, I am going to skip ahead a couple of days in the story so I can get to a part I'm very excited to write about. For those days that were skipped, there will be a short description of what was going on.
As the wedding drew closer with each day, Mrs. Weasley grew more nervous. Ron, who was working double-time, because he had to substitute for Ginny, who would have done a few tasks if she hadn't applied for a summer job. He had a break on Tuesday from wedding plans, after coming home from his Apparation Exam, because Mrs. Weasley had decided it was the best reward for doing so good. She had even prepared a big dinner with all of the things Ron loved that she cooked. Between that, and preparing for Bill and Fleur's wedding, she didn't even notice when Ron had locked himself in his bedroom to try to attempt to do a bit of research for the Horcrux hunt. He had rounded up all of his books that had to do with offensive and defensive spells. At least, if he couldn't find any information on Horcruxes, he figured he could impress Harry, and especially Hermione, with a bit of brilliant wandwork.
However, the research didn't last for too long, because on Wednesday and Thursday, he spent most of the two days doing wedding preparations. On Wednesday, after Bill had taught him how to do it properly, he had spent the whole day cutting the weeds and lawn, all by using his wand and a few fancy spells. As he fell asleep that evening, worn out from the long day, one thought crossed his mind: if he, Harry and Hermione had to venture into a big field of tall grass and weeds to find a Horcrux, at least he could impress them with his lawn-cutting skills. The thought was so bizarre, that he ended up laughing himself to sleep.
On Thursday, he was helping his mother write wedding invitations to the guests that would come for the wedding. There were so many Weasley relatives, that it had taken almost half of the day to get done. There were three large shoe-boxes, filled with invitations when they were all finished. Mrs. Weasley said that she had to visit Diagon Alley on Friday anyway to do some shopping, and she would take the invitations to Eeylop's and send out all the invitations at once. It was only when they were finished did Ron remember that he had promised Luna that he'd invite her and her father to the wedding. Bill, who had visited Xenophilius Lovegood before, apparated with Ron to the Lovegood's house, and they hand-delivered the invitation to a very delighted Luna. She was so happy, that she had invited them in for some Gurdyroot tea her father had prepared. After one sip of the tea, Ron had to put his down because he felt like he was going to throw up.
Meanwhile, Harry had spent so many hours in his bedroom at Privet Drive, researching and reading through books looking for stuff on Horcruxes, that he started having nightmares of being locked in that bedroom for the rest of his life. On Thursday, after waking up from a particularly terrible nightmare, he decided that he needed to get out of the bedroom, even if it meant enduring the Dursleys. At one point of the day, he had tried to go for a walk around the block, in order to get some fresh air, but his trip was cut short when he realized Hestia Jones was following him. The thought of having an escort tail him during a pleasure hike didn't seem so great, and he ended up in the Dursley's house only a half-hour after he started on his hike. When he had returned to his bedroom, Hedwig was looking very harassed. Harry knew she wanted a good fly that had to do with more than just going around the neighborhood hunting for field mice. So Harry gave her a job. He wrote a very long letter to a certain girl with long ginger hair, and Hedwig was so eager to take the letter that she was almost out of the window before the letter was tied to her leg.
Hermione had currently been on a bit of a guilt-trip. The days were winding down before she would be leaving her house in Oxford, and saying her temporary goodbyes to her mother and father. She had dedicated spending so much time with them, which included spending the whole day at their dentist's office, something she had loathed doing ever since she had witnessed her father having to forcefully remove a ingrown tooth from a little boy's numb mouth years ago, and almost throwing up because of it. Because she had spent so much time with her parents, she had done very little when it came to researching for the Horcruxes. She had gone to bed at very late hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because she had been up all night researching for answers that she could hardly find. Finally, in the very early hours of Friday morning, she had found some of the answers she was looking for, from a book titled “The Secrets of the Darkest Art”. Though, after a few minutes of reading the book, she had to put it down, simply because the stuff she was reading was making her sick to her stomach. She made herself a promise that she wouldn't pick up the book again until she was at the Burrow.
The sun shone in through the attic window, blinding Ron and forcing him to wake up. He was miserably grumbling to himself, when a sudden thought went through his head that woke him up instantly: it was Friday... Hermione would be at the Burrow by the end of the day!
Ron grinned and jumped up from his bed. He was so happy that he didn't realize he hadn't changed out of his pyjamas until he was halfway down the stairs. He returned to his bedroom and put on some jeans and his best Cannons t-shirt, then headed down the stairs.
As he reached the final landing, he heard voices that were barely above a whisper.
“.... good plan, sure, but what about the Fidelius Charm?” Nymphadora Tonks said, “Isn't that stopping us from doing this as early as have planned?”
“I've already taken care of that,” Mad-Eye Moody said, “I talked to Hestia yesterday, and she's doing some final preparations before she can confirm to me that she and Dedalus can do it.”
“Well, I'm certainly worried if you ask me,” Mrs. Weasley said, “How do we know this is going to go off without a hitch?”
“We're well prepared for what can happen, Molly,” Remus said, “And it is worth the risks.”
“We're not talking about a simple trip into the Department of Mysteries, Remus!” Tonks said, “I know what Molly means. What about all those Muggles? This is a highly-populated neighborhood full of Muggles. I don't know what to worry about more. The lives of the Muggles or the risk of the crossing the Statute of Secrecy.”
“Oh, Dora, I'm sorry,” Remus said, “I forgot. I should have realized you'd be concerned about that, given your father --”
“Enjoying the conversation, Ron?” a voice said, behind Ron, causing him to jump.
Ron looked up. His father was standing there.
“Sorry,” Ron said, “Are you going to tell Mum?”
“I don't think they heard you listening in on the conversation,” Mr. Weasley said, as he sat down next to Ron, “So I think I'll let you go this time.”
“They're talking about Harry, aren't they?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Weasley said, “The Order is planning on escorting Harry here to the Burrow. They're going to do it by Apparation, but there is one big problem.”
“What's that?” Ron asked.
“The Anti-Disapparation spell surrounding Privet Drive was set up by Mundungus Fletcher,” Mr. Weasley said, “And it is a bloody good one.”
“What's the problem with that?” Ron asked, “Can't the Order just take it down before they apparate Harry out?”
“Unfortunately not,” Mr. Weasley said. “The spell happens to be so powerful, that only Mundungus Fletcher can take it down.”
“I think I'm missing something here,” Ron said.
“Mundungus Fletcher's current whereabouts are unknown,” Mr. Weasley said, sighing audibly.
“What?” Ron asked, “Dung's missing?”
“Yeah,” Mr. Weasley said, “He was watching Harry's relatives before Harry arrived on Sunday night. And the last time anyone in the Order saw him, in this case Hestia and Dedalus, was when he walked off down the street.”
“Do you think Death Eaters got him?” Ron asked.
“We don't know,” Mr. Weasley said, “We're doing everything we can to find him. He's pretty valuable to the Order.”
“Valuable?” Ron asked, “Dung?!”
“I know what you're thinking, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “But Mundungus knows things about the Order. And he is cowardly enough to give those up if he was tortured.”
“Oh,” Ron said, “Yeah, I see your point.”
“Actually, that is why I wanted to talk to you,” Mr. Weasley said.
“I don't know where Dung is,” Ron said.
“I'm not talking about that,” Mr. Weasley said. “You see... between searching for Fletcher, and getting prepared to bring Harry here safely, the Order is really stretched thin. Unfortunately, that means that, at the current moment, there is nobody to pick up Hermione from Oxford.”
“Can't Elphias do it?” Ron asked.
“No,” Mr. Weasley said, “He promised Hermione he'd watch her parents. He doesn't want to break that promise, even for the few minutes he'd use up by apparating with her here to the Burrow.”
“Oh,” Ron said, “Yeah, I wouldn't want him to leave Hermione's parents alone. So what do we do?”
“Ah, now you are in the right thought process,” Mr. Weasley said, “Because, Ron. I need you to pick up Hermione and escort her here to the Burrow.”
Ron's eyes widened as he looked at his father.
“M-me?” he asked, “B-but I'm not even a part of the Order.”
“I know,” Mr. Weasley said, “But I think you're good enough for the job. I know that you'd do a better job of protecting Hermione than anyone in the Order could.”
Ron smiled. “You're right,” he said.
“It's actually the reason I wanted you to take your apparation exam,” Mr. Weasley said, “So you could apparate to Oxford and get her.”
“But I've never been to Oxford before,” Ron said, “How am I supposed to know where to go.”
“That's the risk,” Mr. Weasley said, “But I think you can do it, don't you?”
Ron stared ahead at the stairwell.
“Yeah,” Ron said, nodding, “I think I can do it.”
“Good,” Mr. Weasley said, “Also I have another question for you. You remember how to lift the wards to allow Hermione in, correct?”
“I-I think so,” Ron said.
“Good,” Mr. Weasley said, “Because Elphias has told Hermione that her escort is coming to pick her up around noon. He doesn't know who the escort will be, so neither does Hermione. I think it would be a nice surprise for her if you showed up at her door.”
Mr. Weasley raised his eyebrows, and Ron blushed.
“Dad!” Ron said, embarrassed, “Do you have to keep bringing up my affectionate hug with Hermione?”
“I wasn't bringing it up,” Mr. Weasley said.
“I know what you were doing,” Ron said.
“Okay, I promise I'll stop that,” Mr. Weasley said, “Anyway, when you pick her up at noon, you're going to be the only one here. Ginny's at work, of course, and I'm about to go into work myself. And your Mum and Bill will be headed into Diagon Alley to do some shopping for the wedding. So, when you and Hermione come here, it will just be the two of you for a while.”
Ron glanced sideways out of his eyes, and saw his father wink at him.
“Ugh!” Ron groaned, “You promised you would stop that!”
Mr. Weasley chuckled and Ron rolled his eyes. He stood up and walked back up the stairs.
“Ron, we're not finished,” Mr. Weasley said.
“I get the basics, Dad,” Ron said. “Apparate to a place where I've never been, go to Hermione's house that I've only seen in a picture. Then pick her up and escort her here, where I have to lift the wards so she can come in.”
Mr. Weasley chuckled.
“Seems easy when you say it that way, doesn't it?” he said.
“Very funny, Dad,” Ron said.
“You can do it, son,” Mr. Weasley said, “If you doubt yourself, just do what you did when you went to take the Apparation exam.”
“And what was that?” Ron asked.
“Think of Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, a wide grin splitting his lips.
“Ugh, Dad!” Ron groaned.
He turned and marched up the stairs, trying to get as far from his father as he could.
At ten minutes to noon, Hermione was in her room, moving some of her clothes from her closet to the trunk. Crookshanks was sitting on the bed, watching her. His beady eyes would go back and forth, as Hermione moved across the room.
Hermione was humming happily to herself. She was extremely happy at the moment. She had been looking forward to going to the Burrow all week. It was one of her favorite places in the world to be, and she couldn't wait to get there. She could just imagine herself walking down the long driveway, as Ron appeared in the front door of the tall house. She blushed when she thought of how Ron would probably race to her and hug her before she could even get inside. Crookshanks hissed suddenly, breaking Hermione out of her reverie. Hermione eyes turned toward the cat, who was looking up at her.
“You knew what I'm thinking about, don't you?” Hermione said, grinning.
Crookshanks let out a loud meow.
“I'm sorry,” Hermione said, “But you have to get over your kitten-ish behavior of hating Ron sometime.”
Crookshanks growled and hopped down from the bed, then went under it. He usually did this when he was annoyed with Hermione. Hermione just chuckled to herself. Suddenly, a loud buzzing sound rung throughout the house. Hermione's eyes widened, and she raced out of her room and down the steps.
“I'll get it!” she said, loudly.
If it was Elphias, she didn't want her parents to answer the door. Her father probably would have thought he was another solicitor. Hermione hit the bottom step and hurried over to the door. She slowly opened it... and was very surprised to see Ron standing there.
“Ron?” she said, grinning, “What are you doing here?”
“I'm your escort,” Ron said, grinning.
“What?” Hermione asked, “I thought one of the Order--”
“They're too busy at the moment,” Ron said. “So Dad sent me.”
Hermione had to fight back the desirable urge to lunge at Ron and hug him. She cleared her throat and stood aside from the doorway.
“Come on in then,” she said, “I'm almost finished packing.”
Ron walked into the house and Hermione saw his eyes darting around the area.
“My bedroom's upstairs,” Hermione said, “I'll show you...come on!”
She almost giggled madly as she ran back up the stairs.
“Hermione, slow down,” Ron said, laughing.
Hermione stopped at the top of the stairs. Ron was only halfway up them.
“Sorry,” Hermione said, and this time she couldn't hold back a giggle.
She walked through the door, and Ron followed her into the room. Suddenly, she heard a very long, very mad meow.
“Crookshanks, behave!” Hermione scowled, “Sorry. He still hates you, I guess.”
“The feeling is mutual,” Ron muttered.
Hermione rolled her eyes. Crookshanks stepped out from under the bed and stared up at Ron. The phrase 'if looks could kill' suddenly came to Hermione's mind.
“Why don't you just go downstairs for a while?” she asked Crookshanks.
Crookshanks growled and ran out of the room.
“I suppose you are taking him to the Burrow as well,” Ron said.
“No, I'm not actually,” Hermione said, “He loves my parents, and they love him. They can take care of him. Besides, I don't think I'll get to see him too often in the near future.”
“Why?” Ron asked.
“Well, I can't exactly take him with us, can I?” Hermione asked.
“Oh... oh, right,” Ron said.
Ron sat down on Hermione's bed, while Hermione continued to pack.
“You have a lot of books, you know?” Ron said, as he looked around the bedroom.
“Surprised?” Hermione asked, grinning.
“Definitely not,” Ron said, chuckling, “Oh, I almost forgot... guess what?”
Hermione looked at Ron, as he dug something out of the back pocket of his jeans. He was holding a small plastic square. Hermione recognized it instantly, having received one of her own a few months ago. It was an official Apparation license.
“Y-you passed?!” Hermione asked, grinning, “You actually passed!”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, Hermione,” Ron grumbled.
“Sorry,” Hermione said, “I'll try that again. So you passed! Brilliant!”
Ron rolled his eyes.
“Yep,” he said, “That bloke Wilkie Twycross was doing the exam. I passed with flying colors. He was pretty impressed.”
“That is wonderful!” Hermione said, “I'm very proud of you.”
Hermione chuckled when she noticed that Ron's cheeks went rather pink. Ron's eyes moved to the license.
“I think that's the only reason Dad let me escort you,” he said, “Because I can apparate. If I didn't pass, it would be someone else who would escort you, because we'll be going by Apparation.”
“But the Anti-Disapparation spell is up,” Hermione said.
“Only near this house, at least for the moment,” Ron said, “You'll see.”
Suddenly, there was a knock on the bedroom door, and it swung open. Ron bolted into a standing position. Hermione looked in the doorway to see her mother standing there. She was looking from Hermione to Ron and back to Hermione.
“Oh, Mum,” Hermione said, “You remember Ron Weasley. You met his parents a few years ago? He came by to take me to the Burrow.”
“H-how generous of him,” Helen said, “It is – er – nice to meet you.”
“Pleasure is all mine, Mrs. Granger,” Ron said, and Hermione was rather impressed at the politeness in his voice, “I hope you don't mind me being in Hermione's room. I'm just helping her pack.”
“O-of course not,” Helen said.
Helen cleared her throat and walked out of the bedroom.
“Oh, blimey, that was awkward,” Hermione said.
“Why?” Ron asked, returning to his position on the bed. “You're in my room all the time at the Burrow. Same thing, isn't it?”
“No, it's completely different,” Hermione said, “Your mother knows who I am. I doubt my Mum remembers you. And – well –“
She felt heat rising in her cheeks and stopped talking immediately. She could just imagine the thoughts going through her mother's head, and those alone made her blush.
“You almost finished?” Ron asked. “It's just... nobody is at the Burrow at the moment, and I don't want to leave it empty for too long. Mum and Bill went shopping for things for the wedding, and Dad and Ginny are at work.”
“Work?” Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows, “Ginny?”.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you,” Ron said, “She's working at Fred and George's shop.”
“I thought she'd be helping your Mum with the wedding,” Hermione said.
“I don't think she's in the mood for – er – romantic stuff at the moment,” Ron said, “You know – because of --”
“Oh,” Hermione said, “She's working to distract herself from thinking of Harry.”
“Yeah,” Ron said.
The room fell into an awkward silence as Hermione finished up packing her trunk.
“Blimey,” Ron said, breaking the silence after a couple of minutes, “How can you fit everything in there? You seem to be packing everything you have.”
“Undetectable Extension Charm,” Hermione said, “And I'm not packing everything. Just the essentials.”
“Blimey,” Ron said again, “You know, Harry and I are really lucky you're helping us hunt the Horcruxes.”
“What else would I be doing?” Hermione said, raising her eyebrows.
“No, I just mean,” Ron said, “first your messenger Patronus and now this Undetectable Extension Charm? That's really complex magic, Hermione.”
Hermione blushed at Ron's apparent compliment. She really had no reply to that.
“Well, I'm finished here, I think,” she said.
“Nothing else around the house you need?” Ron asked.
“I'm not as messy as you, Ronald,” Hermione said, grinning.
It was Ron's turn to blush. He stood up, and in an apparent fit of gallantry, offered to take the trunk down to the bottom floor of the house. Hermione allowed him to do so, and followed him down the stairs. Hermione's parents were waiting in the living room. Hermione froze at the bottom of the stairs, as she looked through the archway toward her parents, who were sitting together on the loveseat.
“Go say goodbye,” Ron said.
“I-I'm not sure I can,” Hermione said, quietly.
“Why?” Ron asked.
“Because,” Hermione said. “Until now, this whole thing we're going to be doing with Harry, it – it didn't feel very official, to me at least, until this moment when I saw my parents, and realized that – that this could be the last time I ever see them.”
“Don't say that,” Ron said, “Nothing will happen to you. I wouldn't allow it.”
Hermione smiled and felt a tear in her eyes. She brushed them away quickly.
“Do you want me to go with you?” Ron asked.
“Would you?” Hermione replied.
“I am your escort, aren't I?” Ron asked.
Hermione grinned. Ron set down Hermione's trunk and he followed her as she walked into the living room.
“Um... Mum, Dad?” Hermione said.
Richard and Helen looked up.
“I-I'm leaving to go to the Burrow,” Hermione said.
Hermione saw a frown cross her mother's lips. She stood up and walked over to Hermione, who hugged her. Richard stood up and Hermione hugged him as well.
“Just try to see us again before you go back to Hogwarts, eh?” Richard asked.
Hermione fought back the tears threatening to leak out of her eyes.
“I'll try,” she said.
Richard backed up and looked at Ron.
“Dad, you remember Ron, right?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, of course,” Richard said.
He extended his hand, and Ron looked at it for a moment before he shook it.
“It is your brother getting married, isn't it?” Richard asked him.
“Yes, my eldest brother,” Ron said.
“Give him our congratulations, will you?” Richard asked.
“I'll pass along the message,” Ron said, nodding.
Hermione grinned as she looked at Ron. He cleared his throat and nodded toward the front door of the house.
“We need to get going,” Hermione said.
Hermione felt more tears in her eyes as she looked at her parents. She hugged them both again.
“I love you,” she said to them.
“Oh, honey,” Helen said, “We love you too.”
“I'll see you soon,” she said, “I promise.”
Hermione smiled and turned around, then followed Ron toward the front door. Suddenly, she heard a low growling sound. Hermione turned and saw Crookshanks sitting there. Hermione smiled and picked him up.
“I'm sorry, Crookshanks,” Hermione said, “You can't go with me this time.”
Crookshanks gave a kitten-like meow, that almost broke Hermione's heart.
“You need to watch after Mum and Dad,” Hermione said to him, “Can you do that?”
“Good kitty,” Hermione said.
She set him back on the floor. He gave his traditional hiss toward Ron, and marched into the living room.
Ron picked up the trunk, and Hermione followed him outside. They headed down the sidewalk, until they ended up at the empty playground at the end of the road. Elphias was there waiting for them.
“You can apparate from here,” Elphias said.
“Thank you, Elphias,” Hermione said, “For everything... especially for watching over my parents.”
“Just doing my job,” he said.
“You do it very well,” Hermione said.
“We need to be going, Hermione,” Ron said.
“Let me just transport your things to the Burrow, eh?” Elphias said.
Elphias pointed his wand at the trunk, and it vanished. Ron looked at Hermione and held out his hand. She looked at it questioningly.
“Thought we'd use Side-Along Apparation this time,” Ron said.
Hermione grinned and took Ron's hand. It felt very warm in her own.
“Ready?” Ron asked.
Hermione nodded and before she knew it, she felt her lungs collapsing, and the peculiar feeling of being pushed into a space too small. A few moments later, Hermione felt the air return to her lungs, and she opened her eyes. She and Ron were standing at the top of the driveway that led to the Burrow. Oh, how, sometimes, it felt like more of a home than the one in Oxford. Hermione looked at Ron, and saw that he was staring at her.
“What?” she asked.
“Er... nothing,” Ron said, a hint of blush rising in his cheeks.
“Well, you can let go of my hand now,” Hermione said, grinning.
For a mere second, even though it was her request, she hoped that he wouldn't do what she asked. She liked the feeling of his large hand in the grasp of her small hand. It seemed to fit... well... right.
“R-right,” Ron said, releasing his grip on her hand, “Sorry.”
“No problem,” Hermione said.
“Hang here a moment,” Ron said, “Since I'm the first one back, I need the lift the wards on the plot before you can come in.”
“Oh... have you ever done that before?” Hermione asked.
“Once,” Ron said, “Dad taught me how last Christmas. I can do it. Don't worry. I'll be right back.”
Hermione nodded. She watched Ron as he walked across the driveway, a few yards from her. Ron took his wand out, and Hermione looked on, curious to see what would happen... when suddenly, she heard what sounded like a whip cracking from behind her.
Hermione turned around and almost screamed. A figure in a black cloak and hood was standing just feet away from her. Hermione gasped and reached for her wand. Just as she did, she heard the same exact sound once again... except this came from directly behind her. Before she knew it, a cloak-covered arm was wrapping around her stomach, grabbing her tightly.
“Ron!” Hermione shrieked.
Hermione turned her head toward Ron and saw him turning around.
“Let her go!” Ron roared, running back toward them, “Stupefy!”
“Protego!” the cloaked figure that wasn't holding Hermione said, whipping his wand forward.
The protection spell blocked Ron's stunning spell.
“Put your wand down!” the same figure said.
“Let her go!” Ron roared again.
“Put your wand down,” Hermione's captor said, “Or your girlfriend gets it.”
Hermione shuddered as she felt the pointed end of a wand at the back of her head.
“Fine!” Ron said, dropping his wand, “Just don't hurt her!”
“Is that your biggest fear?” Hermione's captor said, “That she dies?”
Tears leaked out of Hermione's eyes, and fell down her face. Were they going to kill her in front of him?
“I-I-I,” Ron stammered, as he looked at her.
“Well?” the other figure said, pointing his wand at Hermione, “Answer him.”
“Yes!” Ron said, “Now let her go!”
“Would you die for her?” Hermione's captor asked.
“Yes!” Ron said, without hesitation, “Yes, I would! Now let her go, or I swear --”
“You swear what?” the other figure asked. “What are you going to do about it?”
Ron said something, but Hermione couldn't hear him.
“What was that?” Hermione's captor said, “We didn't hear you, boy! Speak louder!”
“I said,” Ron said, his voice clearer than it had been since the two cloaked figures had arrived. “that I want you to take me instead.”
Eeee! Sorry, I forgot myself for a moment. I seriously love this chapter. I had this idea for quite a while, and it just worked SO WELL! I'm so proud of this chapter.
So what's going to happen? Any possible ideas? Hmm....
Okay, so a couple of things I want to explain after this chapter. Yes, at some point you will find out some of the contents in Harry's letter to Ginny. I'm not sure when that will be, but you will. Also, I know I did not have Hermione modify her parents memories and send them to Australia. I'm doing something different... but it might be a while before you find out exactly what.
Also... I want to say this. I hadn't planned the Mundungus missing storyline until I started writing it. And I love it. It will lead to some interesting things! Also, Ron's conversation with his father made me giggle too much. I just love it!
Don't you just love Crookshanks? I love that annoying ball of fluff!
More to come! I promise I won't leave you hanging for TOO long with this evil cliffhanger. Just long enough to make sure this next chapter is perfect. I'm so excited!
I would love to hear what you thought!
Last edited by Fury; December 26th, 2011 at 4:34 am.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Why I'd Die For You
Author's Note: I deeply apologize if Ron and Hermione seem out-of-character in this chapter. I had too much fun writing it. And that's all I'll say. Read on.
Hermione couldn't believe this was happening. What were these two Death Eaters doing? And she was sure they were Death Eaters. It was two on one, now that Hermione was captured. And Ron had dropped his wand. They already had her. They could just apparate away with her and be done with it. They would probably take her far away where Ron couldn't find her. Or... and Hermione almost couldn't bear to think this... they could just kill Ron and take her and be done with it. Or they could have just killed both of them right there.
But for some reason, these two Death Eaters hadn't done any of that. They were just taunting Ron while threatening to kill Hermione. She tried to think what their real motive could be. Did they think Harry was in the house? Were they waiting for him to come out and attempt to save his two best friends? Is that why they were delaying this? Or did they know Harry wasn't there, and they were just playing with Ron before they would do their worst to him?
The two Death Eaters started laughing.
“What's so funny?” Ron demanded, “You heard me. Let her go and take me! I'm the one you want!”
“You?” Hermione's captor said, “Why would we want a speckled-face git like you?”
The other Death Eater raised his wand and... suddenly, a huge gust of wind blew across Hermione and the two cloaked figures. Then Hermione saw it. The Death Eater in front of her was wearing trainers. Very worn-out looking trainers...
Hermione narrowed her eyes. With all her might, she lifted a foot and stomped on the foot of her captor. Her captor howled in pain, and she grabbed the wand from his hand, then elbowed him in the stomach. He fell to the ground, groaning.
“Expelliarmus!” Hermione yelled.
The other figure's wand flew away from his hand.
“Gusto!” Hermione yelled.
A sudden burst of wind released itself from the wand and blew the cloak away from the figure's body. Standing there, looking at Hermione with a big grin on his face... was Fred Weasley.
Hermione narrowed her eyes and pointed the wand at Fred, ready to send a curse at him... when Ron rushed in front of her and toward Fred.
“You!” he roared, “You rotten little –!”
Run swung a fist at Fred's stomach, which hit its target, sending Fred to the ground, groaning in pain.
“Ron!” Hermione gasped, as Ron lifted his leg for another blow.
Ron stopped at the sound of Hermione's voice. He turned and looked at her, and she could see tears in his eyes. Sniffing loudly, he shook his head and ran off onto the Weasley's plot, though he wasn't heading for the Burrow.
Laughter rang out behind Hermione and she turned around. Fred's twin, George, was removing his cloak from himself and guffawing with glee.
“Damn!” Fred said, groaning as he got to his feet, “He hits hard.”
“You deserved it!” Hermione shrieked, “How could you? How could you do that to us – to him?”
“Oh, come on, Granger!” George said, getting to his feet, “Live a little! We did this for you!”
“For me?!” Hermione asked.
“Finally got the git to admit that he'd die for you, didn't we?” Fred asked.
“I can't believe you,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “I can't believe you could do something like this.”
Before Fred or George could reply, Hermione picked up her wand and threw George's wand back to him. She headed into the yard. The enchantments weren't stopping her, so she figured the wards must have already been lifted. As she found Ron's wand laying on the ground, and picked it up, she realized what had happened. Fred and George were already in the Burrow when she and Ron had arrived. They must have heard the sounds of Ron and Hermione apparating, and decided to play a little joke on them.
Hermione shook her head. She had to find Ron before he did something serious. And she knew right where he must be. She had found him there many times whenever he and Harry got into a fight during their days at the Burrow, and he needed to blow off steam.
It took about ten minutes to get there, before she arrived at the lake on the edge of the Weasley's lot. Ron was sitting on the end of the dock that protruded out into the lake. Hermione slowly walked across the dock toward him. Ron's head was buried in between his knees. She could hear him sniffling loudly. Hermione walked over to him and sat down next to him, dangling her legs off the end of the dock.
“Leave me alone,” Ron said, his voice muffled between his legs.
“No,” Hermione said, simply.
“Why?” Ron asked.
“Because I wanted to see if you were all right,” Hermione said.
“'M fine!” Ron said, sniffling.
“Ron, come on, Fred and George were just having a laugh,” Hermione said, “They never really meant anything.”
“I don't care,” Ron said.
Hermione frowned. “I-I thought you were really brave there, you know?” she said.
Finally, Ron raised his head and looked at her.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You were brave,” Hermione repeated, “Not very many people would trade their lives for someone else's. Especially if it meant they were handing themselves over to Death Eaters.”
“It wasn't Death Eaters, Hermione,” Ron muttered, “Fred and George were playing a rotten trick.”
“You thought they were,” Hermione said. “And you wanted them to take you instead of me.”
Ron noisily wiped his nose across his sleeve. Hermione inhaled and exhaled, trying to get up the courage to ask her next question.
“Did you really mean it when you said you'd die for me?” she asked, after a moment.
Ron stared at her, and his eyes met hers.
“Yes,” he said, “I would.”
Before Hermione could lose herself in Ron's gaze, he turned his attention back to the lake.
“Why?” Hermione asked, “I mean – don't get me wrong – I'm not mad... but why?”
“Isn't it obvious?” Ron said, sniffling.
“Ron,” Hermione said, “That's not an answer, and you know it.”
“Forget it,” Ron said, with a scoff, “It doesn't even matter. It was Fred and George, not ruddy Death Eaters.”
“It does matter!” Hermione said, loudly, “Because I need to know if I have to worry about you if we really get into a situation like that! We're going to be hunting for Voldemort's Horcruxes!”
“What did you say?” Ron asked, looking back at her.
“I know,” Hermione said, sighing, “I said his name, I'm sorry.”
“No, before that,” Ron said.
“Er... before too long,” Hermione said, “we're going to find ourselves hunting Horcruxes, and we could find ourselves in these situations for real?”
“No, not that,” Ron said, “What was that other bit?”
“What?” Hermione asked.
“That bit about you worrying about me,” Ron said.
Hermione inhaled. She looked out at the surface of the lake.
“Hermione,” Ron said.
“Yes, I worry about you,” Hermione said, “Is that what you wanted to hear? I worry about you!”
“Why?” Ron asked.
Hermione turned and stared longingly at Ron. She shook her head and crossed her arms against her chest.
“I'm not answering your question,” she said, “until you answer mine.”
Ron sighed audibly.
“Do you really want to know why I'd die for you?” he asked.
“Yes, Ron,” she said, “Because if --”
She couldn't finish her sentence, because the next thing she knew Ron's lips were on hers. She brushed her own lips across his and felt tears in her eyes. Before she could lose herself in the kiss, Ron backed away.
“Oh, bloody hell, I'm sorry,” Ron said.
“What?” Hermione asked.
She couldn't believe him. What did he have to be sorry about?
“You're crying,” Ron said, “I shouldn't have --”
Hermione rolled her eyes and leaned toward him and kissed him again. Ron wrapped his arms around her, and she could feel his lips press deeper against hers. Hermione only backed away when she found it was hard to breathe. Ron was still holding her and his gaze was also still on her.
“I'm in love with you, Hermione Granger,” he said, breathing deeply, “That is why I'd die for you.”
For a moment, Hermione didn't know what to do. It was like she had been hit with a Stunning spell. When she realized she could move, she wrenched herself from Ron's grasp and laid back against the deck.
“Er... Hermione?” Ron asked, “I could really use a reply from you.”
In spite of herself, Hermione chuckled out loud.
“Oh, great,” Ron said, as he, once again, stared out into the lake, “She's laughing at me.”
“I'm not laughing at you, you idiot,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “I'm bloody happy, okay?!”
Ron scoffed. Hermione rolled her eyes and sat up.
“Do you know how long I've waited to hear those words from you?” she asked him.
“Er...” Ron said, turning back to Hermione, “No?”
“A bloody long time, that's how long!” Hermione said, chuckling.
“Is that all you have to say?” Ron asked.
“No,” Hermione said.
She stared into his blue eyes, and almost lost herself in them. Was she really going to say what she wanted to say for a long time now? She closed her eyes, exhaled and looked at Ron again.
“I'm in love with you too, Ron,” she said, “Is that what you wanted to hear?”
Ron's mouth opened and closed like a fish.
“I could really use a reply from you,” Hermione said, echoing Ron's words from a few moments ago.
Ron rolled his eyes and, before Hermione knew it, his lips were, once again, on hers. She was momentarily caught off guard and stumbled, flat on her back, onto the dock. Ron tried to back away, but Hermione pulled him toward her and he kissed her again.
“Finally!” a high-pitched voice rang out.
Ron backed away suddenly, and he and Hermione looked up toward the direction of the voice. Ginny was standing about thirty yards away from them, staring at them with a big grin on her face. Her arms were raised, in mock-victory, in the air. She laughed out loud. Before Ron or Hermione could say anything, she turned and headed back toward the Burrow. Hermione looked at Ron, expecting him to go after his sister for intruding on their privacy... and he suddenly burst out laughing.
“What's so funny?” Hermione demanded, “Your sister caught us – caught us -- snogging! That's embarrassing!”
“It's just... that is the happiest I've seen her in days!” Ron said, chuckling.
Hermione stared at Ron with raised eyebrows. Then she burst out laughing herself.
Fifteen minutes later, Ron and Hermione were back in sight of the Burrow. As Hermione walked forward toward the house, she noticed that Ron had not moved with her. She turned back at him and he was staring at the Burrow.
“What's wrong?” Hermione asked.
“I-I can't go back in there right now,” Ron said, shaking his head.
“Ron,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “What are you talking about?”
“Fred and George are in there,” Ron said. “Do you think I could face them after what they did to – to you?”
“They didn't hurt me, Ron,” Hermione said, “It was just a cruel joke.”
“I really thought you were in danger, Hermione,” Ron said. “Do you know what that did to me? I thought I was going to lose you!”
“But you didn't, Ron,” Hermione said. “It was just a prank, and I'm fine.”
“If I go back in there,” Ron said, “I'm going to do something I regret.”
Hermione sighed. She looked at the Burrow, then back at Ron.
“How about this?” she said. “If you see them, just walk right past them. Ignore them. That would send a bigger message to them than the punch you gave Fred. Don't give them any satisfaction. That would be exactly what they want.”
Ron's glance went down to his shoes and he muttered something Hermione couldn't understand.
“What was that?” Hermione asked.
“I said,” Ron said, “Can you go with me?”
Hermione smiled. “You are my escort,” she said, “And technically, you're still doing your job. I'm not in the Burrow yet.”
Ron looked up at Hermione and grinned. Hermione smiled again and held out her hand. Ron took it and they walked toward the Burrow. The kitchen was empty, but when they reached the living room, they saw Fred, George and Ginny sitting there. The three of them had grins on their faces as they looked at Hermione and Ron's linked hands. Hermione glared at Fred and George and nudged Ron forward. For a moment, Hermione thought Ron would do something to his brothers, but he just headed up the stairs. Hermione released her grip from his hand, and he looked at her.
“I'll only be a moment,” Hermione said.
Ron raised his eyebrows. Hermione motioned to Fred and George. Ron grinned, and he nodded and walked up the stairs.
When Ron vanished up into the next stairwell, Hermione turned toward Fred and George.
“We took your trunk up to Ginny's room,” Fred said.
“But we're willing to take it up to Ron's room,” George said, “If that is really what you want.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes as she stared at Fred and George. She then smiled when a sudden thought went to her mind.
“Did Ron ever tell you what happened the day he first kissed Lavender Brown?” she asked the twins.
Ginny's eyes widened as she looked up at Hermione. Hermione knew that Ginny had heard the story before... probably from Harry.
“Wait,” Fred said, “Are you telling me you aren't Ron's first snog?”
Hermione chose to ignore that.
“The day Ron first kissed Lavender Brown,” Hermione said, “I was really upset. I retreated into an empty classroom to practice on some charms. This particular charm is a bit of a specialty of mine.”
Hermione gripped her wand tightly in her fist.
“Avis,” she whispered.
Three yellow parakeets emerged from her wand and started flying over her head. Fred and George's eyes went above Hermione's head, and they were watching the birds circle above her.
“Ron just happened to walk into the classroom and Lavender had come with him,” Hermione continued. “Well, you can imagine what was going through my head. I was pretty angry.”
Ginny's eyes widened, and she pressed deeper into her chair, probably trying to figure out some way to disappear into it.
“I can only figure one other time that I have been that angry in my life,” Hermione said. “Can you guess when that was?”
Fred and George exchanged glances. Hermione grinned; she knew that they knew the answer.
“Oppugno,” Hermione growled.
Suddenly, the birds sped toward Fred and George like bullets. Fred and George stood up quickly and ran out of the living room, yelling and cursing as the birds followed them and pelted them, pecking and clawing at them. Hermione turned to Ginny, whose gaze was off somewhere to the right of Hermione. Hermione smiled privately to herself and turned, then headed up the stairs. When she arrived at Ron's attic bedroom, Ron was sitting on his bed. Her arrival seemed to have snapped him out of a trance, because he looked as if he had just woken up from a particularly good dream. Hermione walked over to the bed and sat down next to him.
“So?” Ron asked, “How did it go? What did Fred and George say?”
“I think,” Hermione said, “they feel pretty bad for what they did to us.”
“What would I ever do without you?” Ron asked.
Hermione blushed madly.
“Can I tell Harry I snogged you?” Ron asked.
Hermione's eyes widened as she looked at Ron.
“I-I don't know,” Hermione stammered.
“Why not?” Ron asked, frowning, “He'd be happy to know.”
“Ron, you know Harry has this huge task ahead of him to think about,” Hermione said. “Do you really think we should distract him with this?”
“Yes, I do,” Ron said.
“Well,” Hermione said, “I don't --”
“But only because we're going to helping him with this task,” Ron said, interrupting Hermione, “And I'm not going to – not snog you – just because Harry doesn't know about us.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. He was such a boy!
“Fine,” she said, with a sigh, “You can tell him. But I will not defend you if he takes the mickey out of you.”
“Deal,” Ron said, then after a moment, “Hermione?”
“What?” Hermione asked.
“I really want to snog you again,” Ron said.
Hermione glared at Ron, trying to hide the blush from raising in her cheeks.
“Y-you don't want to snog me?” Ron asked.
“Well, I-I do,” Hermione said, “But...”
“But?” Ron asked.
“I'm starting to think,” Hermione said, “that you're going to expect this – relationship – to be like the one you had with Lavender.”
Ron's eyes widened.
“What do you think I did with Lavender?” he asked.
“I know what you did with Lavender,” Hermione said.
“I promise, Hermione,” Ron said, “It was only snogging and talking.”
“Then at one point it just became snogging,” he said, “without very much talking.”
“What?” Hermione teased, “You didn't like that?”
“It was okay,” Ron admitted, “But – between you and me – I really like hearing your voice.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow, then laughed out loud. She pulled Ron toward her and kissed him softly on the lips. He grasped her face in his hands and deepened the kiss, then backed away a bit.
“Just promise me one thing,” Ron said.
“Anything,” Hermione said, trying to catch her breath.
“No nicknames,” Ron said.
Hermione chuckled madly and kissed him again.
Well, I was going to have more in this chapter... but I think I'll save it for the beginning of the next chapter. I hope you don't think this chapter was too over done or too cheesy. But I wouldn't be offended if you did. Because it was on my mind the whole time I was writing this chapter. I just had too much fun writing it, and even I had second thoughts about the Oppugno portion of this chapter, because it almost seemed too silly to me.
I do hope you loved this chapter as much as I did. I'm a huge Ron/Hermione shipper, so this was like a shipper's dream for me.
I have one more idea that could be a little silly that I will add into the next chapter, and then I'm going to get back into the seriousness of the story.
Last edited by Fury; December 26th, 2011 at 3:43 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
After their short bout of snogging, Hermione convinced Ron that they really needed to put in a bit of research for the hunt on the Horcruxes. Ron had agreed and said, to a very bewildered Hermione, that he thought it was probably best to do as much research as they could while his mother was temporarily absent from the house, while on her shopping trip to Diagon Alley.
Hermione had retrieved a few books from her trunk in Ginny's room, though she did not take “Secrets of the Darkest Art” out of the trunk just yet. She wanted to wait to open that book again until the time when Harry would be at the Burrow. Ron had impressed Hermione with his announcement that he had done a bit of research himself. She had learned that when he could find nothing on Horcruxes, he had decided to practice dueling spells. When Hermione asked him to prove it, Ron disarmed her wand from her hand before she even had a chance to lift it.
Hermione found it rather curious that there were no interruptions during their research, especially when she knew that they were not alone in the house. So after about an hour of research, Hermione surprised Ron with the fact that she needed a bit of a break. She didn't tell him, however, that she wanted to find out what was really going on downstairs.
When Hermione and Ron ventured downstairs, Ginny was sitting in the living room reading a book. Hermione noticed Ginny's eyes dart from Ron and Hermione, then back to her book. Hermione grinned and sat down on the couch with Ron. There were a few minutes of awkward silence, and Hermione grinned and fondly reached for Ron's hand, grasping it in hers. Ginny scowled and put down her book.
“Okay, okay!” Ginny said, with a deep groan, “What do you want to know, Hermione?”
“I don't know what you are talking about,” Hermione said, grinning.
“You do remember it was me who caught you snogging by the lake,” Ginny said. “So I know you aren't trying to get me to find out about the two of you. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy for the both of you. But I know there is something else on your mind.”
Hermione turned to Ron, and he nodded to Ginny as if to say “this is your conversation.” She sighed and turned back to Ginny.
“When Ron picked me up from my house,” Hermione said to Ginny, “He told me that he thought we'd be the only two here at the house when we arrived. He told me that you were at work at Fred and George's shop.”
“I'm sorry, Hermione!” Ginny said, “They were only supposed to scare you!”
“What are you talking about?” Ron asked.
“Ugh!” Ginny groaned. “Look, Mum and Bill came by the store a few hours ago, and they told us that you were going to pick Hermione up at noon, and bring her here. After they left, Fred said he wanted to give you a – a 'welcome home present' I guess you could say. One of Fred and George's new joke products are these clothes that can turn into any kind of costume you desire. Supposed to be useful for costume parties and stuff like that. I did not know they were planning on turning them into Death Eater costumes!”
Ginny frowned and her gaze stared off across the room, as if she was looking back on something.
“So we closed the shop early and came here and waited for you,” Ginny said, “Then we heard you apparate at the edge of the lot and... and Fred saw that you two were holding hands. For some reason he had the idea that you two were already together – you know, a couple – because of that.”
“We were using Side-Along Apparation,” Hermione said.
“Well, Fred is pretty dense, isn't he?” Ginny retorted. “He didn't know that. He said that he thought the two of you would probably want to keep it a secret that you were together, and he wanted to get you to admit it. Next thing I know, I hear the both of them Apparating away from the house. Mind you, they could only do that, because they had already lifted the wards on the house. When I saw those Death Eater costumes, I didn't know they were going to go that far, I promise you. I would have stopped them if I knew they were going to go that far.”
Ginny frowned and looked at her hands.
“Ginny,” Hermione said.
“I'm not finished Hermione,” Ginny said. “I saw George put his arms around you, and I thought that was really low of him. Really low. I didn't think he would actually touch you like that. I knew I needed to do something, before it got out of hand. I tried to use a spell to blow the cloak off of Fred, so you would know it was him, but because I did the spell from a distance, it didn't work very well. I was going to try something else, but I saw you take the upper hand, Hermione, and you used the same spell I did. Fred's cloak came off, and it was over. So I just sat back and watched. When Fred and George came back in here, I gave them a few words of my own, and then I went to find you and apologize. And that's when I saw you – you know.”
Hermione blushed and out of the corner of her eye, she noticed that Ron was blushing madly too.
“I'm really sorry,” Ginny said, “You two didn't deserve any of that to happen to you. I can't believe they'd do any of that. If I was in my right mind, I'd quit my job just to show them how mad I am. They seem to appreciate the fact I am working with them.”
“Why would you want to quit your job?” Hermione asked. “I thought you took the job so you could --”
“I did,” Ginny said, “at first. But then --”
Whatever Ginny was going to say was interrupted by a noise in the kitchen. Hermione looked up to see Mrs. Weasley and Bill walking into the kitchen, both with armfuls of sacks in their arms. A moment later, Mrs. Weasley walked into the living room.
“Oh, Hermione!” she said, grinning, “It is so good to see you again!”
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, “I'm glad to see you too.”
Mrs. Weasley smiled, then turned her head to Ginny.
“Ginny, I thought you were at work,” she said.
“Oh – er – Fred and George gave me half-the-day off,” Ginny said.
“Well, good,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Because I need some help bringing in the rest of the bags from outside. Go help Bill bring them in. Ron, you too.”
“Aw, Mum!” Ron groaned.
Hermione smacked Ron lightly on the knee.
“Fine,” Ron said.
Ron stood up and looked at Hermione. She smiled lightly at him, and he blushed and followed Ginny past their mother.
“Oh, Hermione, I almost forgot,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Fleur met up with us in Diagon Alley today. She will be expecting you and Ginny in the Leaky Cauldron at ten-o-clock tomorrow morning so you can try on your bridesmaid dress.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, “I look forward to it.”
“Thank you for doing this for Fleur,” she said. “It means so much to her... to me.”
“Of course,” Hermione said, smiling, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Oh, not now, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You're the guest.”
Hermione nodded and Mrs. Weasley walked back into the kitchen. Hermione saw Ron bringing in three bags at once in his arms, and looking pretty grumpy at having to do so, but when he caught sight of Hermione looking at him, his expression brightened, and he marched happily back outside. Hermione just chuckled and shook her head.
That night, Hermione was laying in the make-shift cot in Ginny's bedroom. She was staring up at the ceiling, wondering what Ron was doing. She figured that he was probably thinking about her, and she had to fight the mad desire to go up the stairs to his bedroom. The sound of the bedroom door opening broke Hermione from her reverie and for a fleeting moment, Hermione thought it was Ron. But it turned out to be Ginny.
“Oh, Hermione,” Ginny said, “I thought you'd be up in Ron's room saying good night.”
“Mmm, we said it outside on the stairwell,” Hermione said. “He's not really up to the idea of me in his room at this late hour. We haven't – er – exactly revealed to your mother what happened today.”
“Fred and George would deserve to get a few words from Mum about that,” Ginny said, as she sat down on her bed.
“I'm not talking about Fred and George,” Hermione said. “I'm talking about what happened on the dock.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows as she looked at Hermione.
“So... wait,” she said, “You two weren't – you know – in a relationship before today?”
“No!” Hermione said, chuckling, “What makes you think we were?”
“Well,” Ginny said, “For one, because Ron went to pick you up instead of an Order member. And two... you two seemed pretty close at Dumbledore's funeral. You were crying on his shoulder, Hermione. I've never seen the two of you that close before that moment.”
Hermione was thankful it was so dark, because she was sure Ginny would have seen the color in her cheeks.
“Wow,” Ginny said, “So it was Fred and George's prank that brought you two together?”
“Yeah,” Hermione said, “I guess it was.”
“And yet you attacked them with those birds,” Ginny said. “If it was me, I would have hugged the two of them.”
“George already did enough 'hugging', thank you very much,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
“I still can't believe he touched you like that,” Ginny said.
“It's okay,” Hermione said, “I know he didn't mean anything by it.”
The room fell into an awkward silence for a few minutes.
“Harry wrote to me,” Ginny said, breaking the silence.
Hermione raised her eyebrows, and looked at the dark silhouette of Ginny on the bed.
“What?” she asked.
“Hedwig came by yesterday with a letter for me,” Ginny said.
“What did it say?” Hermione asked, “Er... if it isn't too much to ask.”
Ginny chuckled. “It's okay,” she said. “He asked me how I was doing. He told me that he wanted to talk to me on the train and explain to me in better detail his reasons for why he did what he did at Dumbledore's funeral. But he said he couldn't do it.”
Hermione's eyes widened. She wondered if “in better detail” meant that Harry wanted to tell Ginny about the Horcruxes.
“Did he explain it to you?” she asked, trying to sound innocent, “in better detail, I mean.”
“No,” Ginny said. “I guess he is waiting to tell me until he comes to the Burrow.”
“And do you want him to tell you?” Hermione asked.
“What do you mean?” Ginny asked.
“Ginny, I've dealt with heartbreak many times,” Hermione said. “Most of those times had to do with your brother.”
Hermione blushed. She couldn't believe she had admit that! Ginny only chuckled softly.
“I know how you feel about Harry,” Hermione continued, “and I know how you must feel because of the break-up. It's just...”
Hermione sighed deeply.
“I'm your friend, Ginny,” Hermione said, “and I really hope you aren't thinking that he's going to want to take back everything he said and make up with you.”
“Actually that is exactly what I think he's trying to do,” Ginny said.
“Ginny!” Hermione said, “This is only going to lead to more heartbreak.”
“I didn't tell you what else was in the letter, Hermione,” Ginny said.
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows.
“He wrote a lot more,” Ginny said. “I'll spare you the details, but he wrote to me about how he remembered those times we spent together on the grounds of Hogwarts. He can be quite romantic when he wants to be, Hermione.”
Hermione heard the lightest of giggles come from Ginny.
“I still stand by what I said,” Hermione said, “I don't think you should get your hopes up that he wants to get back together with you. As long as Voldemort is around, I don't think he's going to want to get into a relationship like that with you again.”
“I'm sorry,” Hermione said. “It is just what I think.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ginny said, “I'm going to sleep. Please don't moan my brother's name in your sleep.”
“Ginny!” Hermione groaned, blushing madly.
Ginny chuckled and Hermione heard the bed creak as Ginny got into a more comfortable position to fall asleep in. Hermione grinned privately to herself.
“Oh, Ron, you snog me so well,” she joked.
A moment later, a pillow hit Hermione, and she laughed out loud.
“Girls?” Mrs. Weasley's voice said outside the door, “What are you doing?”
“Sorry, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, trying to contain her laughter, “We're going to sleep now.”
“That's what I thought,” Mrs. Weasley said, 'Good night, girls.”
“Good night,” Ginny said.
A moment later, they heard footsteps walk away from the door.
“Oh, bloody hell, do you think she heard me mention Ron?” Hermione asked.
“Hermione!” Ginny gasped.
“What?” Hermione asked, “I told you that Ron doesn't want your Mum --”
“Not that,” Ginny said, “You swore!”
“Oh,” Hermione said, blushing, “Yeah, I guess I did.”
“Ugh,” Ginny said, “I already have pictures in my head of my brother snogging you. Now you're cursing all of a sudden. What has this world come to?”
Ginny scoffed and her bed creaked again as she tried to fall asleep. Hermione chuckled softly and turned over to a more comfortable position, then fell asleep, wishing for dreams of a certain ginger-haired boy.
The following morning, Hermione was shaken awake suddenly. She woke up, to reach for her wand, and saw Ginny over her.
“Wh-what?” Hermione asked, trying to stifle a yawn, “Ginny, what is it?”
“It's almost nine,” Ginny said, “You better get up if you want something to eat before we have to meet up with Fleur and her sister.”
“Oh,” Hermione said, “I guess I slept in.”
“Yeah,” Ginny said, “You know I think you should hold back on snogging my brother. Between cursing and sleeping in late, you're this close from turning into him.”
Hermione scowled and sat up. Ginny chuckled lightly and left the bedroom. A little while later, she made her way downstairs into the kitchen. Ron, Ginny and Mrs. Weasley were sitting at the table. A plate of breakfast buns were sitting on the table. Hermione sat down across from Ron and smiled at him. He smiled lightly, though it quickly disappeared from his face. Hermione raised her eyebrows at him, trying to ask in silence what the matter was, and he just shrugged. She returned the shrug with one of her own. As she reached for a breakfast bun, she caught a glimpse of the Daily Prophet on the table. Hermione read the title of the story on the front page.
Day Four Of Hogwarts Hearing
Promises No Budging From Either Side
“The hearing isn't going very smoothly, I take it,” Ginny said.
“No,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Professor McGonagall is trying her best, but she's coming up short. She's running out of ideas. Your father caught up with her yesterday, and he had a good discussion with her. He said that she is trying to convince the Hogwarts Senators and Wizengamot that if she can be named Headmistress, she will raise the security of Hogwarts to a higher level. Unfortunately, she can't play all of her cards, because she can't mention who she wants the security to be.”
“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.
“She wants members of the Order of the Phoenix to roam the halls of Hogwarts and protect the students,” Mrs Weasley said, “She trusts the Order more than she trusts Aurors. Unfortunately, she can't give away the Order of the Phoenix, can she?”
“Oh,” Hermione said.
“Professor McGonagall is going to talk to the Order tonight,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I guess she really needs some help from them. The Order is having a meeting anyway, because they are going to be putting together their final details of how to bring Harry here to the Burrow.”
“But,” Ginny said, raising her eyebrows, “I thought Harry's not coming here until the end of the month. He said that in his letter.”
“There may be a change of plans,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I don't know all of the details.”
Hermione noticed Ron's eyes widen at the mention of Harry's letter to Ginny. Hermione quelled him with a look and Ron shook his head. He stood up and walked out of the kitchen. Hermione heard his heavy footsteps as they echoed off the stairs.
“What's wrong with him?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“I'll find out, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said.
“Well, do it quickly, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You're due in Diagon Alley in a few minutes.”
“I'll be back down here before you know it,” Hermione said, getting to her feet.
She hurried out of the kitchen and up the stairs toward Ron's room. When she arrived, Ron was on his knees in front of his trunk, and he was taking things out of it.
“Looking for something?” Hermione asked.
“My good quill,” Ron said, “I need it for something.”
“I wasn't aware you had a quill you considered better than the rest,” Hermione said.
“Ron, what's wrong?” Hermione asked.
“Nothing's wrong,” Ron muttered, “I'm perfectly happy, thank you very much. Shouldn't you be getting ready to meet up with Fleur and her sister?”
“Ron,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “Something's on your mind. Talk to me. I thought you wanted conversation to be a big part of our... relationship.”
Ron slammed the lid of his trunk and stood up, then walked over to his bed and sat on it rather forcefully. Instead of looking up at Hermione, he stared at the ceiling. Hermione frowned and sat on the bed next to him. She looked at him, and raised her eyebrows, trying to get him to continue the conversation. He shook his head.
“Ron,” Hermione said, with a sigh, “Please --”
“Did you know?” he cut across her.
“What?” Hermione replied.
“You heard me,” Ron said, “Did you know? Did you know that Harry is writing to Ginny?”
“Oh, um,” Hermione said, “She – er – she told me last night.”
“Is he trying to get back with her?” Ron asked.
“I-I don't know,” Hermione said.
“Does Ginny think so?” Ron asked.
Hermione turned away from Ron and looked at her hands.
“I thought he was trying to keep his mind off her, Hermione!” Ron said. “He ended their relationship because he doesn't want anything to happen to her. And now he's writing to her again?”
“Ron --” Hermione began.
“You didn't see Ginny when she came home,” Ron said, “You weren't here when she talked to me about him. She loves him, Hermione. He broke her heart. He can't keep confusing her like this. If he's not trying to get back with her, then what is he doing?”
“I don't know,” Hermione said.
“Is he really willing to risk my sister's life,” Ron said, “just because he wants to snog her again?”
“Ronald!” Hermione cried, “How could you say that?”
“It's what he thinks, isn't it?” Ron asked, his eyes bulging, “He thinks You-Know-Who would go after her if he stayed with her. He told us that, remember? He said it would kill him if something happened to her. And now he's writing letters to her?”
Hermione didn't know what to say. She couldn't read Harry very well. She didn't know what he was thinking. Ron shook his head, evidently thinking that Hermione's refusal to answer only confirmed his suspicions. He stood up and walked back over to his trunk and opened it.
“Ron,” Hermione said, “I --”
“Just go,” Ron said, “You have an appointment in Diagon Alley. You don't want to be late.”
“Y-you don't want a goodbye kiss?” Hermione asked, trying to lighten Ron's mood.
“I have other things on my mind right now, Hermione,” Ron said, harshly, "Just go!"
Hermione frowned, hurt at the severity in Ron's voice. She scoffed and stood up and headed for the door, then opened it.
“Hermione,” Ron said.
Hermione turned around and looked at Ron. He walked over to her and put her face in his hands. Hermione smiled as he kissed her softly. Hermione returned the kiss and he backed away.
“I'm sorry,” he said, “I didn't mean to yell at you. Have fun with Fleur.”
Hermione smiled. She pecked Ron briefly on the lips.
“I'll be back soon,” she said, and made her way down the stairs.
Decided to end it there! I was going to put the visit to Diagon Alley in this chapter, but I decided to wait. More to come soon!
Last edited by Fury; December 26th, 2011 at 7:28 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Measuring Tape And Extendable Ears
Author's Note: A few things before I get into this chapter:
I've gotten a couple reviews from people wondering why I put Ron and Hermione together so early. I will be honest and say part of the reason was for my benefit, since I love writing their relationship. But that does not mean I didn't do it for the story either. It plays a big part in a big event later in this story. Won't say any more about that.
For those wondering when I'm going to get back into Harry's part of the story, you only have to wait one more chapter. It will be worth the wait, I promise you.
Also, in the canon-world of Harry Potter, Fleur's sister Gabrielle does not know any English. I will keep it that way, so she will probably have very little to no dialogue in this chapter. If I have Fleur speaking any French to her of any importance I will have it translated for you in the end “Author's Note” in this chapter. Enjoy.
Hermione coughed, choking on the soot and smoke as she stepped out of the fireplace, and into the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny was standing next to Fleur and Gabrielle. Hermione couldn't help but notice that Ginny didn't look too pleased about this whole ordeal they had to go through.
“Eez zat all of you?” Fleur asked Hermione, when she spotted her, “No one else?”
“Just us,” Hermione said, smiling.
“Very good,” Fleur said, “Madam Malkin eez expecting us. We best not keep her waiting.”
She turned to Gabrielle.
“Viens, petite soeur,” Fleur said in French.
Gabrielle said something in rapid-French, and followed her sister toward the back door of the Leaky Cauldron. Hermione and Ginny followed them. When they arrived at the barrier separating the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley, Ginny tapped her wand on it in the needed steps, and the barrier opened up, allowing them through. A frown crossed Hermione's lips as walked into Diagon Alley. The once flourishing marketplace had been made almost bare. Gringott's was still flourishing, of course, thanks in part to the Ministry of Magic. A few witches and wizards were walking into, and out of, the bank. However, several shops, most notably Ollivander's Wand Shop, and Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, were in total ruins, their shelves stripped bare by thieves and ne'er-do-wells. Mr. Ollivander had reportedly been kidnapped by Death Eaters, and the fate of Mr. Fortescue was unknown. Out of the few shops that were still open for business, only three were flourishing: Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Eeylop's Owl Emporium, and Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions.
“I almost forgot how horrible this place looked,” Hermione said, quietly, as she followed Fleur, Gabrielle and Ginny toward Madam Malkin's.
“Lucky you,” Ginny muttered, “I have to deal with it everyday.”
“Ah, mademoiselle Delacour!” Madam Malkin said, as soon as Fleur and the others stepped into the shop, “A pleasure, it is!”
“'Ave you been waiting long, Madam?” Fleur piped up.
“No, you are right on time!” Madam Malkin said, “Who should I start with first?”
Fleur turned toward Hermione and Ginny, her eyes darting between the two of them. She finally looked at Hermione and motioned to her. Hermione smiled and walked forward.
“Ah, Miss Granger!” Madam Malkin said, “It has been a while. I remember helping you pick out sizes for your school robes last year. But you have grown a little bit, I think?”
“I guess we'll see,” she said.
“Yes, we will,” Madam Malkin said, “I will fit you for your dress, and I could also fit you for your school robes for this year as well.”
“Er... I'm not sure I'm going back to Hogwarts,” Hermione said.
Hermione could feel Ginny's eyes on the back of her head. She realized she had spoken without thinking.
“I-I mean – you know -- nobody knows if we're going back to Hogwarts,” Hermione amended, quickly.
“Oh, rubbish!” Madam Malkin said, waving her hands dismissively, “I promise you it will open. Now come on. Do not dawdle!”
Hermione nodded and followed Madam Malkin over to the portion of the store reserved for the fitting area. After a few minutes of being measured by floating bits of string and rulers across every bit of her body, Hermione was finally finished. Madam Malkin waved her wand, and a large rolling cart, filled with robes and dresses made its way over to them.
“Hmm,” Madam Malkin said, as she paced back and forth in front of the cart, “Mademoiselle Delacour has chosen a golden color for her bridesmaids, but for you, my dear, I would have picked a light-blue, perhaps a periwinkle. Ah, well, it is the bride's choice. Though I would think gold would outshine the bride's dress, which is never a good idea. But I guess since she has a bit of Veela blood in her, she feels it is not possible for somebody to outshine her.”
Hermione snickered softly at Madam Malkin's comment. Madam Malkin blushed when she realized Hermione had heard her. She brought over three golden bridesmaid dresses, all of different length, hanging by clothes-hangers, and handed them to Hermione.
“Discount on your school robes if you do not let Miss Delacour know I said that,” whispered Madam Malkin.
“It will be our little secret,” Hermione whispered with a grin.
“Good girl,” Madam Malkin said, “I believe you know were the privacy rooms are. Try each of these on and see which one fits the best. Don't worry if it is too loose or tight, that can be fixed with magic. I am looking for what you desire to be the best in terms of length. Miss Delacour has given you the freedom of picking out which is most comfortable for you.”
Hermione nodded and, with the dresses in hand, walked toward the very back of the store, where a row of privacy cubicles were placed. Hermione chose one and walked in. A long mirror was standing on one side of the room, and a bench was placed on the other. Hermione proceeded to try on each of the three dresses.
The first dress ended just above her knees, and when she sat down, she could see a little ways up inside the skirt in the mirror's reflection, and it made her blush madly. She could just imagine what would happen if she was sitting down and forgot to cross her legs at some point during the wedding or after-party.
The second dress was almost too long, and when she walked toward the mirror, she almost stepped on the very bottom of the dress. She had no desire of tripping at any point during the wedding. It would be most embarrassing.
The third dress, however, was almost perfect. The length was absolutely perfect, ending somewhere between just above her feet, and just below her knees. There was just one little problem. The top of the dress, especially the neck area, and below was so open, it left no room for imagination. In fact, she could see a bit of cleavage. Hermione blushed madly and wondered if that could be changed. She twirled around three times in the dress, getting a good look at it, when she suddenly heard a loud groan.
“She's got to be kidding me!” Ginny's voice growled in the cubicle next to Hermione's.
Hermione raised her eyebrows and walked over to the door of the cubicle and opened it.
At the front of the store, she could see Fleur talking to Madam Malkin. Gabrielle was standing in the fitting area with measuring tape floating around her. Neither of them had heard Ginny's outburst. Hermione went to the next cubicle and rapped her knuckles on the door.
“What?!” Ginny growled.
“It's me,” Hermione said, “You're being a bit noisy. Need help?”
“I'm fine, thank you!” Ginny muttered.
“Then let me see the dress you chose,” Hermione said, with a smirk.
Hermione heard footsteps, and a moment later, the door opened.
“Oh, that looks gorgeous on you!” Ginny immediately exclaimed.
Hermione blushed. Ginny pouted. She was standing there wearing a dress that resembled the first one that Hermione had tried on. The bottom ended just above Ginny's knees. Hermione almost snickered though at the top. It resembled the top that Hermione was wearing, and it also left no room for imagination.
“Your dress is perfect,” she said, “All of it.”
“Oh, I don't know about that,” Hermione said, “I mean – look at me --”
Hermione faintly motioned to the top of her dress. Ginny snickered and shook her head.
“Oh, come on, Hermione,” she said, grinning, “Ron will love you in that. If he hadn't already declared his feelings for you, he would have when he sees you in that.”
Hermione blushed madly.
“Me, on the other hand,” Ginny scoffed, “Well – just – look at it!”
“I am,” Hermione said, “It fits you well – you know – your personality.”
“You don't like it?” Hermione asked.
“I-I don't know,” Ginny said, “Maybe a little bit.”
“What about the other choices?” Hermione asked.
“Choices?” Ginny asked, “What do you mean, choices? Madam Malkin said Fleur wanted me in this! Why, did she say you had a choice?”
Hermione remained silent. Unfortunately, the silence was deafening for Ginny.
“Ugh!” Ginny said, “I should have known! I am going to --”
“Oh, look at you two!” Madam Malkin's voice exclaimed, “Don't you two look so beautiful!”
Hermione turned around. Madam Malkin, Fleur and Gabrielle were standing there. Gabrielle exclaimed in happy, rapid French.
“My leetle sister eez right!” Fleur said, “You two look – ah -- perfect! Beautiful bridesmaids! I could not have asked for any better!”
Gabrielle said something in French, though she looked a little angry.
“Excepté vous, ma beauté,” she said to Gabrielle, patting her on her head.
Gabrielle smiled sweetly.
“Um... thanks,” Hermione said.
She turned to Ginny, who looked like she was on the verge of using her Bat Bogey Curse on somebody. Hermione elbowed her.
“Um,” Ginny said, clearing her throat, “Yeah, thanks, Fleur. I – er – love this dress.”
Fleur grinned and swooped in on Hermione and Ginny, kissing them each on the cheek.
“Change back into your normal clothes, girls,” Madam Malkin said, “and after I help the Delacours, I will help you fit into shoes. Come, Gabrielle, me cheri, and we will pick out your dress, eh?”
Fleur translated the English for Gabrielle, who grinned and followed Madam Malkin delightedly. Ginny harrumphed and returned to her cubicle. Hermione returned to her own cubicle and over to the mirror. She twirled once again and looked at her reflection. As she looked at the open area in the neck, Hermione shook her head. She knew she was going to regret it... but she decided she would wear this dress as-is.
Two hours after Hermione left, Ron was sitting at the tiny mahogany desk in his bedroom. He put down the quill he was holding, and yawned and stretched in his chair. He looked at the piece of parchment in front of him, and read it to make sure it had everything he wanted to say...
So I am under the impression that you are writing letters to my sister. As much as I appreciate the fact that you're willing to talk to her again, I must ask you why you have chosen to write what sounds like was a pretty romantic letter to her. No, I did not read it, neither did she tell me the contents in it. But she did mention she had received a letter from you. Now, I may be no expert on post-break-up relationships when it comes to ex-girlfriends, because I just decided to ignore Lavender after our relationship ended. But it doesn't look like you are ignoring Ginny, mate.
Be honest with me, as best mate to best mate, and not as someone who once had a fling with my dear sister. Did you write your letter with full intentions of trying to get back with my sister? Because if you did, I have to ask you what you must be thinking right now. I understand that you have probably locked yourself in your bedroom at your relatives' house with naught but your books and your thoughts to keep you company, but what has gone through your mind in the past week? On Sunday, you told me and Hermione that you had ended your relationship with Ginny because you were afraid she was in danger. Now what is it? Did you change your mind and decide that You-Know-Who is not going to go after my sister anymore? Is she that lucky that you believe she is now immune from any danger by the most evil wizard this world has ever seen? Because if you think that, you must be off your rocker.
You want to know what I think? I think you miss Ginny. I understand that. In fact I would probably hex you if you told me your relationship with Ginny meant very little to you to the point where you do not miss her. But I think you miss her to the point where you want to hook up with her again. You have looked past all rationality and have chosen beauty and your need for a good snog over your own common sense! That's it, isn't it? You spent so many weeks on the grounds of Hogwarts doing who-knows-what with my little sister and now you miss it. Is that it?
Well, that is your own damn problem. Because if you do remember, you still have a crazed mad wizard after you and a huge task in front of you that you need to put in front of your mind first before you even think about snogging my sister again. You hear me, Potter?
Oh, and just so you know, she's pretty bang up about you breaking up with her. You basically broke her heart and she is trying to forget about you. So even if you did take what I wrote to you in this letter into thought, it might not even be of use because my sister, even though she loves you more than you know, probably doesn't want to get back with you in the first place!
Still your best mate,
Ron smiled, very pleased with his letter. It was not too mean, but it made the point that Ron wanted to get across. He stood up to walk over to Pigwidgeon's cage, when he heard a knock on the door. Smiling, thinking it was Hermione, he walked over to the door and opened it. Bill was standing there. In his left hand, he was holding something that was being covered by a large black trash bag.
“Put out your own rubbish,” Ron said.
“This is not rubbish!” Bill said, “Now let me in. I need to talk to you.”
Ron shrugged and opened the door the whole way. Bill walked in.
“What's in the bag?” Ron asked, “If it ain't rubbish.”
Bill grinned and brandished his wand from his pocket. He pointed it at the bag, which fell away. Hanging on a clothes-hanger was a set of silver-and-black dress robes.
“They're amazing,” Ron said, “Is that what you're wearing?”
“No,” Bill said, “They are yours.”
“Mine?” Ron asked, his eyes widening, “But, Bill, these look too fancy for me! I mean – I'm just a wedding guest.”
“Actually, little brother,” Bill said, “that is why I am here. You see, at the moment, I only have one best man for my wedding.. Charlie. I need two others. So, Ron, will you give me the honor of becoming one of my best men?”
Ron's eyes widened.
“M-me?” Ron asked.
“Of course!” Bill said, “You are my brother!”
“Um – I – sure!” Ron said, “Yeah, why not?”
“Wonderful!” Bill said, grinning, “Then these will be your robes for the wedding.”
“Who is going to be your third choice?” Ron asked, as he took the clothes-hanger.
“I am hoping it will be our friend, Harry,” Bill said.
“Harry?” Ron asked, “Wow. I'm sure he'd be delighted to be your best man.”
“I hope so,” Bill said, “Otherwise I have to choose one of the twins. I'm not exactly eager to ask one of them.”
“I know what you mean,” Ron said, chuckling.
“Well, I must be off,” Bill said, “Minerva McGonagall and the Order of the Phoenix members are going to be arriving shortly, and I have been invited to be a part of the meeting.”
“Can I join?” Ron asked.
“No,” Bill said, “You know we can't allow current Hogwarts students.”
“I'm not going to Hogwarts,” Ron said.
Bill grinned. “Don't worry, Ron,” he said, “I'm sure Hogwarts will re-open its doors in time for September 1st. You have nothing to worry about.”
Ron opened his mouth to say that is not what he meant... and then he realized he didn't want Bill to know.
“Thanks for being my best man, little brother,” Bill said.
“My pleasure,” Ron said, grinning.
Bill smiled and retreated from the room. Ron took his wand from his pocket and levitated the robes. They floated over to a wall on the other side of the room, and hung up on a long nail that was protruding from the wall.
“Oh, those are gorgeous!” a very familiar voice said behind him.
Ron turned and saw Hermione in the doorway of his bedroom.
“My dress robes for the wedding,” Ron said, “Bill made me one of his best men.”
“You're serious?!” Hermione asked, grinning.
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Ron muttered.
“Oh, I'm so happy for you!” Hermione said, “You know what this means?”
“What?” Ron asked.
“Traditionally in weddings,” Hermione said, “Best men and bridesmaids accompany each other down the aisle.”
Hermione stepped forward to Ron and put her arms around his neck.
“And,” she added, “Sometimes bridesmaids and best men are required to dance together at the after-party.”
“Oh,” Ron said, “Er... I – can't – dance.”
“Oh, rubbish!” Hermione chuckled, “I'm sure you are a brilliant dancer.”
“No, really, I'm not,” Ron said.
Hermione pouted. “Fine,” she said, “I guess I can just find someone else to dance with then at the wedding.”
“Oh, no, you won't,” Ron muttered.
“Hmm?” Hermione asked.
“Fine,” he said, “I'll dance with you. But if I step on your feet, it isn't my fault.”
“I'll keep that in mind,” Hermione said.
Ron smiled and hugged Hermione closer to him.
“I missed you,” he said, “What does your dress look like?”
“Er... it's a surprise,” Hermione said, a hint of color in her cheeks.
“Oh, come on,” Ron said, “You saw my dress robes.”
“Good things come to those who wait,” Hermione said, grinning.
Ron pouted. Hermione grinned and leaned toward Ron and kissed him. Ron returned the kiss.
“Anyone in – ugh, gross!” a voice exclaimed.
Ron broke apart from Hermione looked up. Ginny was standing in the doorway of the room.
“I did not need to see that!” she muttered.
“You walked in on us,” Ron said, “What do you want?”
“The Order and Professor McGonagall are here,” Ginny said, “Their meeting is starting. Would you like to listen in?”
“Bill said we're not invited,” Ron said.
“When did that ever stop either one of you?” Ginny asked.
Ginny grinned and dug into the pocket of her jeans. She pulled out three long, fleshy bits of string, and Ron recognized them as Extendable Ears.
“Ginny,” Hermione said, “That's not very nice of you.”
“Nice witches finish last Hermione,” Ginny said. “I'll see you two on the stairs when you untangle yourselves from each other.”
Her mouth twisted in disgust and she left the room. Ron looked at Hermione and leaned toward her for another kiss. Hermione rolled her eyes, pecked him on the lips and backed up.
“Hey, what's that?” she asked, pointing to the piece of parchment on the desk.
“A note to Harry,” Ron said.
“It better not have anything about Horcruxes or the task ahead of us, Ronald,” Hermione said, “The letters are being watched.”
Ron cursed silently. He had mentioned the mission in his letter.
“Ron!” Hermione said, “You can't do that! I'm glad I got here before you sent it. It would have put us in terrible risk.”
“Fine, fine!” Ron growled, “I won't send the letter.”
He walked over to the piece of parchment and rolled it in his fists into a small ball. He tossed it over his shoulder, and it rolled under his bed.
“Come on,” Ron said, leading Hermione out the door, “We're late for a meeting.”
They walked out of the room and down the stairs. Ginny was sitting on one of the stairs on the bottom staircase. When she saw them, she put a finger to her lips and gave them each an Extendable Ear.
“We're getting to the good part,” she whispered.
Ron and Hermione sat down on one of the stairs and Ron put an Extendable Ear to his own.
“.... all been set up by Hestia herself,” Mad-Eye Moody said, “This will all be done in the evening hours. Precisely one-hour before sundown, Hestia and Dedalus will escort Mr. Potter's relatives via Muggle automobile to a safe-house at an undisclosed area, and will remain with them as long as is needed. Then, a predetermined number of escorts, including myself, will be arriving at the Dursley's residence a few minutes before sundown. We will get Mr. Potter ready and prepared, and precisely at sundown, we will be out of the house and en route to the pick-up zone.”
“I'm sorry, Alastor,” Bill said, “But I see a number of flaws in this plan. Are you expecting the lot of these escorts at the Dursley's house at the same time. Because that could easily be a trap.”
“Of course not!” Mad-Eye said. “Three escorts will be accompanying Mr. Potter en route to the pick-up zone. Others will be the look-outs, at areas all along the determined route to the zone, and finally at the pick-up zone itself. I suggest teams of two as the look-outs.”
“I still see a flaw,” Bill said, “Maybe you have forgotten, but our numbers are very lax at the moment, what with three of our members already positioning themselves as long-term protective escorts.”
“He's right, Alastor,” Remus said, “Even if everyone around this table would volunteer, we would need a few more people to be safe.”
“Fred and George would volunteer, I'm sure,” Mr. Weasley said.
Ron's eyes widened.
“Arthur, no,” Mrs. Weasley cried.
“They are of age and skill,” Mr. Weasley said, “We should allow them to do this.”
Mrs. Weasley emitted a deep sigh.
“Fine,” Mr. Weasley said, “I will write to them myself.”
“Who else?” Remus asked, “I know of nobody.”
“I do,” Mad-Eye said.
Everything suddenly went silent.
“Can you hear anything?” Ginny asked, “Who did they say could go?”
Ron opened his mouth to respond, but he was interrupted by a loud coughing sound. Ron, Hermione and Ginny looked up toward the bottom of the stairs. Mad-Eye, Bill, Remus and Tonks were all standing there staring at the three of them.
Cliffhanger! Oooh, are Ron, Hermione and Ginny in trouble? You'll have to wait to find out! Harry's PoV is next!
A couple explanations about this chapter:
Yes, Ron wrote the letter. No, it did not get sent to Harry, as you can see. I just wanted to write the letter for the fun of it. But I do have other ideas when it comes to that, so you'll just have to wait and find out!
Also, I have really no experience when it comes to bridesmaid dresses and stuff like that. I wrote that portion of the chapter with only my imagination to guide me. I hope you liked it and the choice of dresses!
Also, the retrieval of Harry from Surrey is going to be very different from the book. And I just realized I did not reveal what day this would all go down. That will be revealed next chapter. That is all I'll say for now.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter!
1. viens, petite soeur: Come on, little sister
2. Excepté vous, ma beaute: Except for you, my beauty.
Last edited by Fury; December 27th, 2011 at 1:41 am.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Author's Note: Chronologically, this chapter will start a little while earlier before the previous chapter ended. Also, you may recognize a little bit of dialogue from the Deathly Hallows book, for example when it comes to the explanation of the charm breaking around the Dursley's house. I am doing this in order to stay canon with the process.
“Hey! You! Boy!” a voice growled, “Get in here if you want your food!”
Harry jumped up, in surprise, as he saw his Uncle Vernon looking at him menacingly from the back door of Number Four Privet Drive. It was shortly after noon, and for the past couple of hours, he had been lounging in the hammock, reading through one of the Hogwarts textbooks, looking for any information on Horcruxes. Ever since he had sent Hedwig to the Burrow with a letter to Ginny, and she returned with empty talons, Harry had been out and about in the back yard of the house at different periods of the past couple of days waiting for Pigwidgeon or Errol to appear in the sky. But no owl post had come from Ginny. Nor had it come from Hermione, Ron, or any of the Order.
It was like two years ago all over again. Here he was, trapped at the Dursley's house all over again, with protection watching his every move, except that this time it was Hestia and Dedalus instead of Mundungus, Arabella Figg, or one of her many cats. He had only received two messages from his friends in the past six days he had been there, both coming from Hermione. He wondered why Ron hadn't sent him a message, and why Ginny hadn't replied to his. Were they both angry at him because of his break-up with Ginny?
“That better not be one of your ruddy, abnormal books you are reading!” Vernon said, “And why is that ruddy owl out of its cage?!”
“She has every right to be out here as I do,” Harry said.
“Watch your tone, boy!” Vernon growled, “If I had a right mind, I'd kick you out and let that Voltwort bloke have his way at you. Now get in here if you want lunch. Your Aunt has made this a special occasion, why she did it only the Queen knows! I better not hear any bickering about it from you either.”
Harry trudged into the house with his Uncle. Aunt Petunia and Dudley were already sitting at the dining room table. Dudley looked rather mopey, and Harry soon came to realize why as he sat down. The television on the small table across the dining room, which was usually on during meal-times was turned off. Dudley reached across the table for a crescent roll from a basket, and Petunia smacked his hand.
“Not yet!” she said.
Dudley looked downtrodden at the act of physicality his mother had given him. Harry looked around the table. There were various kinds of food there: besides the crescent rolls, there was mashed potatoes, with a tureen of gravy near by; Carrots and peas mixed in one bowl; and on the counter, Harry spotted a large pudding. The timer on the oven beeped, and Petunia walked over to it. A minute later, she walked back over to the table carrying a large roast.
“All of this for a mid-day mealtime?” Vernon asked, chuckling.
“Can't we have a nice meal for occasions other than dinner?” Aunt Petunia asked, narrowing her eyes at her husband as she sat down.
“Of course,” Vernon said, “Let's begin.”
“Not yet!” Aunt Petunia said, again.
“But we're all here,” Vernon said, “Do you want us to say a prayer or something?”
Suddenly, the doorbell on the front of the house rang.
“Boy!” Vernon growled, “Get the door or no food for you!”
“Vernon!” Petunia said, in a scolding manner, then looked at Harry. “You just sit there, Harry. I'll get the door.”
Harry and Uncle Vernon stared at Petunia as she stood up and walked out of the room. As Harry looked around the table, he suddenly realized that, along with Aunt Petunia's chair, there was a total of three chairs empty. Before Harry could get it through his head what was going on, Aunt Petunia returned to the dining room... and she wasn't alone. Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle were accompanying her. Dudley stared open-mouthed at the witch and wizard, and he looked how Harry felt. He would have never thought that Aunt Petunia would welcome Hestia and Dedalus into her home.
“What is the meaning of this, Petunia?” Vernon asked, getting to his feet.
“Mind your manners, Vernon,” Petunia said, “They are our lunch guests. Earlier this morning, Mrs. Jones here said that she had something to say to all of us, and I invited her and Mr. Diggle for lunch. Please, Hestia and Dedalus, take a seat.”
Hestia and Dedalus bowed slightly and sat down in the empty chairs near Harry as Vernon stared at them.
“Fill your plates everyone,” Petunia said, sitting down, “There is enough for here for even second helpings.”
Everyone was very silent for a few minutes as food was passed around and onto the plates.
“So, Hestia,” Petunia said, in her best attempt at a polite voice, when the plates were filled. “Can I call you, Hestia?”
“Of course,” Hestia said.
“I think we should get right to the center of the matter on your mind,” Petunia said, “If you will.”
“Yes,” Hestia said, “As I'm sure you already know, the charm that was placed on this residence many years ago when Harry was but an infant, will expire at the end of next week when Harry turns seventeen years of age. It was in the original plan by colleagues of mine that Harry was to be escorted to the Weasley family residence on that day. Unfortunately, there has been a change of plans.”
Harry stared at Hestia. What had changed?
“A former colleague of mine,” Hestia said, “turned traitor when he betrayed us and murdered Albus Dumbledore.”
“Murdered?” Aunt Petunia asked, looking from Hestia to Harry.
Harry frowned at his fork of mashed potatoes. He had not told the Dursleys what had happened to the late Headmaster. They were just aware that he had passed away.
“Yes,” Hestia said, sadly, “Unfortunately, the traitor knew many secrets, including one of the most important: the secret of the charm placed around this house, and that its expiration date, if you will, will end on the day Harry turns seventeen. We believe this traitor is now in league with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
“Who?” Vernon muttered.
“Voldemort,” Harry said, without thinking.
Dedalus gave a sharp gasp and almost upended his glass of lemonade. Fortunately Hestia caught it in time.
“Speak not the name, my good man,” Dedalus said to Harry.
“Sorry,” Harry muttered.
“As I was saying,” Hestia continued, unfazed by the interruption, “we now believe that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named now believes that Harry would be escorted to the Weasley residence on that date. So, unfortunately, as I said, we had to change our plans.”
“Merlin, did we!” Dedalus exclaimed.
Hestia glanced sideways at her colleague, and Dedalus stared at his plate.
“The new plan is to break the charm on this house a different way,” Hestia said.
She turned to Harry.
“Now, your mother’s charm will only break under two conditions: when you come of age, or --” Hestia gestured around the house, “you no longer call this place home. You will soon be leaving in the full understanding that you’re never going to live together with your relatives again, correct?”
Harry looked around at his aunt, uncle and cousin.
“Yeah,” Harry said, easily.
“You bet you will!” Vernon grumbled.
“Vernon,” Petunia muttered.
“So this time,” Hestia said, “when you leave there will be no coming back, and the charm will break the moment you get out of its range. As I said, we’re choosing to break it early, because the alternative is waiting for You-Know-Who to come and seize you the moment you turn seventeen.”
“Good plan,” Harry said.
He was about to ask when this was going to be taking place, when Hestia cut across him, turning to his relatives.
“Now,” Hestia said, “The thought that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could prance right up to this house on Harry's birthday is a very chilling thought. I'm sure it is the same for you as well, Mrs. Dursley.”
“Yes,” Petunia said, “You'll be here protecting us, right?”
Dedalus choked on his lemonade.
“Here?!” he asked, “We're not going to be here! Oh, no, no, no!”
“But,” Harry said, “I thought you were protecting my relatives long-term?”
“We are, Mr. Potter,” Hestia said, “But not here – we would not survive against that kind of onslaught. And neither would your relatives.”
“Now wait one moment!” Vernon said, “Are you saying what I think you are saying?”
“I am saying, Mr. Dursley,” Hestia said, “That we are going to be moving you and your family to a safe-house for your protection.”
“Excuse me?!” Vernon asked. “Do you know how long I have lived in this house?! Do you think I want to see this house blown to smithereens? Which it certainly would if you were not protecting it from a mad-man!”
“Mr. Dursley,” Hestia said, “What do you care for more? Your house or the lives of yourself and your family?”
Vernon went red in the face and spluttered. He picked up a napkin under his silverware and dabbed his forehead with it.
“Precisely,” Hestia said, “We could not protect you if you chose to stay here. We may have promised your nephew to be your escorts, but we would not risk our own lives so foolishly if you chose to do so.”
“I'm sure my husband agrees with you,” Petunia said, “I apologize for his manners.”
“So let me get this straight,” Harry said. “My relatives here are going to be escorted to a safe house. And I am going to get escorted by members of the Order to the Burrow.”
“That is correct, Mr. Potter,” Hestia said, before taking a bite of roast from the end of her fork.
“And... when is this taking place?” Harry asked.
Hestia stared at Harry for a moment, swallowing the piece of roast and dabbing her lips with her napkin.
“Tomorrow,” she said simply.
“Tomorrow?!” ejaculated Ron.
Ron, Hermione and Ginny were currently sitting at the long table in the Burrow's kitchen. It had been ten minutes since they were discovered eavesdropping on the staircase. In those ten minutes, they were brought up to date of all the information that had been decided on the subject of Harry's departure from Number Four Privet Drive. Each member of the Order had given their opinion on the matter. That is except for Mrs. Weasley, who had not said a word since she had discovered that her own children were eavesdropping on a supposedly secret Order meeting. The only movement she had done since Ron, Hermione and Ginny had arrived in the kitchen was grab the Extendable Ears from each of them and obliterate them into non-existence with her wand, and silently dare that they say one word of complaint.
“Yes, tomorrow,” Mad-Eye said, “If we wait any longer, there is a chance that the mission would be compromised.”
“There is already a chance it could be compromised, Alastor,” Kingsley Shacklebolt stated.
“And we are all well prepared for that,” Mad-Eye said.
“Not exactly,” Remus said, “We still need more talent on this mission. I don't trust our numbers.”
“I volunteer myself to take part in this mission,” Ron said, immediately.
“Ronald!” Mrs. Weasley gasped, finally speaking up.
“If he's going, then I am,” Hermione said.
“Hermione!” Mrs. Weasley gasped.
Ron looked at Hermione, who narrowed her eyes and silently dared him to object.
“No!” Mrs. Weasley said, “I refuse to accept!”
“They are of age, Molly,” Mr. Weasley said.
“They have enough skill as well,” Mad-Eye said, “We are all aware of that. I was going to suggest the two of them myself!”
“They are not members of the Order!” Mrs. Weasley cried, “Or is that rule suddenly terminated for the – the – the greater good?!”
The whole room went silent. Mrs. Weasley stood up from her chair.
“I will not be a part of this meeting anymore,” she said, harshly, “First my husband, and three of my sons are chosen to go on the mission, and now my youngest son and his friend who I care deeply for?!”
Ron looked at Hermione, who blushed madly.
“You have all lost your common sense!” Mrs. Weasley cried out, banging her fists on the table, “I understand that this is all for Harry's safety, who we all care very deeply for, and know how important his safety is, but I want you all to consider what you are doing, and ask yourself if there is a different way! Come, Ginny, we will not be a part of this madness anymore!”
“But Mum, I --” Ginny began.
She immediately went silent as her mother walked past her, taking her hand and dragging her out of the kitchen. Ron, Hermione and the Order all exchanged glances at each other.
“Molly does bring up a good point,” Kingsley said, and when many in attendance, including Ron and Hermione, opened their mouths to speak, he put up his hands to stop them. “I want you all to consider what we have agreed to do. If any of you wish to no longer be a part of this mission that will take place tomorrow evening, I want you to speak up now...”
Kingsley looked around the room for a moment.
“Or forever hold your peace,” he finished.
Nobody in the kitchen spoke up, nor did they leave the room.
“We will all meet back here tomorrow afternoon to prepare for our trip to Surrey,” Kingsley said, after a couple of minutes of silence. “Arthur, please be sure to contact Fred and George. Bill, I believe you volunteered your fiancee, if she accepts, for this mission as well?”
“Y-yes, sir,” Bill said, though his voice faltered a moment.
“If you can get in contact with her,” Kingsley said, “and give her a summary of future events, I would appreciate that.”
“Of course,” Bill said.
“Minerva?” Kingsley said.
“I will try to round up a volunteer or two of my own,” Professor McGonagall said.
“We would all be most grateful, I am sure,” Kingsley said. “Now, if you excuse me. I must be off to the Ministry. I am not going to inform them of what we are doing, but I am going to find a way to make sure the Obliviator Squad and the Muggle Protection Department are each aware of the possibility of their needed presence after this is all said and done... just in case.”
Kingsley bowed in farewell and walked out of the house. Ron stood up and walked out of the kitchen. He went over to one of the large sofas and sat down on it. A moment later, Hermione sat down next to him. Ron glanced out of the corners of his eyes at her. She frowned and looked down at his hands.
“I know what you are going to say,” she said.
“Then why did you do it?” Ron asked.
“He's our best friend, Ronald,” Hermione said.
“I am aware of that,” Ron said, “But you are --”
Ron glanced over shoulder at the remaining Order members in the kitchen. He and Hermione had agreed not to announce their new relationship at this moment in time. They did not want to impede on Bill and Fleur's spotlight with their wedding. He turned back to Hermione.
“And you are my girlfriend,” Ron said, lowering his voice to a whisper.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Hermione asked. “So if I agreed not to go on this mission, and I asked you not to go because you're my boyfriend, would you agree to that?”
“Hermione --” Ron began.
“Oh, I see,” Hermione said, “Because I am a girl, I should stay here with your Mum and Ginny while you are risking your life?”
“Do you not remember what I said yesterday?” Ron asked. “I'd die for you, Hermione. Do you not understand that? Do you really want me to be distracted on this mission of escorting Harry because I am too worried about your well-being instead?”
“I can protect myself,” Hermione said.
“Didn't do very well when George surprised you, did you?” Ron asked.
“If you remember,” Hermione said, “I was the one left standing after that happened.”
“Because they had no intentions of killing you,” Ron said, “It will be different in Surrey!”
“We're not even sure if we're going to get attacked while escorting Harry,” Hermione said.
“I am not taking that chance, Hermione,” Ron said, “And neither is anyone else in the Order.”
“I'm going, Ronald!” Hermione said, “I'm doing this for Harry. You better get that through your thick skull!”
Before Ron could respond, Hermione stood up in a huff and headed up the stairwell. Ron sighed, stood up and followed Hermione up the stairs.
“I suppose I can't ask you not to go, am I right?” Remus' voice said.
Ron turned, thinking that Remus was talking to him.
“I'm going, Remus,” Tonks said, “I'm an Auror, this is my job.”
“But darling,” Remus said, “The last time I checked you were --”
“I am fine!” Tonks said, “Besides, the last time I checked, you didn't care!”
“Dora!” Remus said, loudly.
Ron saw Tonks walk off in a huff past the stairwell and out through the back door of the house. She slammed the door behind her. Remus walked toward the door, and he turned and noticed Ron looking at him.
“You heard that, didn't you?” he asked.
“I – I – no,” Ron lied.
Remus stared at Ron with raised eyebrows. A hint of a smile crossed his lips.
“Well, on the off-chance you did,” Remus said, “I'd appreciate it if you kept this quiet. It is very personal between me and Dora, at the moment. I'm sure you'll understand it before too long. But for now --”
“It will be our little secret,” Ron said, who, to be honest, had no idea what Remus was going on about.
“Thank you, Ron,” Remus said, “I must be off. I will see you tomorrow.”
“Right,” Ron said.
Remus bowed slightly and walked out of the Burrow. Ron turned and headed up the stairs. When he arrived at Ginny's bedroom, he thought he could hear somebody crying. He frowned, knowing it was Hermione. He had upset her with his demands of her to remain at the Burrow. Knowing he would regret it, he tapped his knuckles on the door. A minute later, the door opened and Ginny stood there. Her eyes were puffy and red. Ron then realized that it hadn't been Hermione who was crying.
“Is Hermione in there?” Ron asked.
“No,” Ginny said, “I don't know where she is.”
“What's wrong?” Ron asked.
Ginny sniffled and, to Ron's surprise, she wrapped her arms around his middle in a hug.
“Why am I left out of everything?” she said, sobbing against Ron's chest.
“What do you mean?” Ron asked.
“Mum's making me stay here tomorrow,” Ginny said, sniffling. “Apparently, I am not to leave her eyesight tomorrow when you leave to go to Harry's house.”
“Ginny,” Ron said, with a sigh, “You understand why that is, don't you?”
Ginny looked up at Ron, and narrowed her eyes at him.
“Don't you say it too,” Ginny said, angrily, “I heard enough of it from Mum. I was a part of the Ministry battle a year and a half ago, and that skirmish at Hogwarts just days ago. Both where I had to duel Death Eaters. And I survived. So don't you dare think I wouldn't be of any help tomorrow.”
“We're not even sure if we're going to get attacked while escorting Harry,” Ron said, echoing Hermione's words from a few minutes ago.
“Don't give me that, Ronald,” Ginny said, “The Order wouldn't have had such a big meeting if they thought there was no chance of danger.”
“That's just it – there is a chance of danger,” Ron said.
Ginny pushed off Ron.
“I knew you would say that!” she said, in a huff.
She walked back into her bedroom and slammed the door. Ron stared at the door for a moment, then when he couldn't figure out what to say to Ginny, he walked up the stairs toward his room. When he arrived, to his surprise, he found Hermione laying on his bed. She was staring at the ceiling directly above his bed. If he had not just been part of an argument with her, he would have been delighted to see her in his bed. Unfortunately, he knew she wasn't the least bit happy with him.
“What do you want?” Hermione asked.
“This is my bedroom, isn't it?” Ron replied.
Hermione sat up, and proceeded to stand up from the bed.
“Please don't leave,” Ron said, “I didn't mean it like that.”
Hermione sighed audibly and sat back down. Ron walked over to the bed and sat down next to her. He gently took her closest hand in his and moved his thumb over the back of her hand in a massaging manner. He looked up at Hermione, gazing into her eyes. She returned his glance, and neither of them spoke for a minute.
“Ron, I need to go tomorrow,” Hermione finally said. “If something happened in Surrey, and I wasn't there, I would never forgive myself. Especially if I wasn't there to protect you.”
“I don't need --” Ron began.
Hermione cut him off with a brief peck to the lips.
“Yes,” she said, staring into his eyes, “you do. Just as much as I need you to protect me. Just as much as Harry needs us to protect him, and we need him to protect us.”
Ron's eyes moved from Hermione's to her lips, then to their linked hands.
“If you go,” Ron said, “You have to be by my side at all times. No matter what happens.”
“Would I ever leave your side?” Hermione asked, smiling.
“No,” Ron said, “I suppose not.”
Hermione kissed him softly on the lips again.
“No,” she said, looking back up at his face, “I would not.”
Ron smiled and kissed Hermione again. She chuckled against his lips and laid back against the bed, taking him with her. She allowed Ron, who was most surprised at this action, to venture his tongue between her lips, and he massaged it along her own. Only when neither of them could hardly breathe, did Ron back up and lay on his pillow beside her. Hermione cuddled up against him, her head on his chest, just under his chin.
“I love you, Hermione,” Ron whispered sincerely.
Hermione did not respond immediately. She just inhaled and exhaled, her breath blowing across Ron's shirt.
“I love you too, Ron,” she said, after a full minute.
Ron kissed Hermione on the top of her head, and they just laid in each other's arms, their minds full to the brim of the events that would happen the next day.
Ah, I love this chapter. So many parts of this chapter just came to me suddenly, for example Hestia and Dedalus as guests allowed to dine with Harry and the Dursleys. Molly's outrage came to me as I wrote it, and it even shocked me!
Hmmm, Remus and Tonks having a lover's quarrel... what could that be all about? Oh, and before someone asks, no, they aren't married yet, like they were at this time in the actual book. I have my ideas for the two of them, however, and you'll soon find out part of it in a few chapters.
Hopefully I can get the next chapter up today. I'm not sure. I want it to be perfect, and perfection takes a while to complete. I hope you loved this chapter as much as I did!
Last edited by Fury; December 27th, 2011 at 7:43 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
The Dursleys Departing
Author's Note: You'll notice some small similarities in portions of this chapter to that of a portion of Deathly Hallows, but like I said, this is going to be very different than what was in the book.
Shortly before five-o-clock the next evening, Ron, Hermione, and those wizards and witches who had volunteered for the mission were standing in the driveway in front of the Burrow. Ginny and Mrs. Weasley were also there to see everyone off. Ron looked around at his companions: besides Hermione, there was his father, Bill, Fleur, Fred and George standing together, as well as Remus, Tonks, Kingsley, and Mad-Eye Moody, as well as Professor McGonagall and Hagrid.
Laying in a neat row in the driveway were several broomsticks. Ron had his own Cleansweep Eleven in his hand. Sirius' old motorbike was standing near Hagrid. Although Ron could not see them, there were also two Thestrals standing in the driveway as well. As Moody had explained the previous day, the companions would be taking these different means of travel into Surrey. Although Apparation was quicker, Moody would not risk arriving in Surrey by that means, for risk of an ambush at the designated Apparation point. That option of travel, however, was the planned way of travel back to the Burrow. Because Harry was still underage until the following Thursday, whoever would be with him when he arrived at the Apparation point, would take him to the Burrow via Side-Along Apparation.
“Everyone understands the schedule?” Mad-Eye said, in a gruff voice, to the group.
Everyone nodded and murmured their acknowledgment. Mad-Eye reached into coat pocket and pulled out an old pocket-watch.
“It is almost five-o-clock,” he stated, “In an hour-and-a-half, if the schedule goes smoothly, Hestia and Dedalus will be leaving the neighborhood of Privet Drive, with the Dursley family, on their way to a designated safe-house. If everything goes smoothly as planned we will arrive over Surrey in precisely two hours. It should be close to nightfall at that moment. When the sun meets the horizon, the plan will take effect, and Mr. Potter will be en route to the Apparation point. Questions?”
Nobody spoke up.
“Get to your positions everyone!” Mad-Eye ordered, “We are in the air in less than ten minutes and counting!”
Everyone broke away from the group. Ron set his broomstick down on the ground.
“Up!” he ordered the broomstick, putting his hand over it.
The Cleansweep Eleven slowly rose into the air.
“You first, Hermione,” Ron said, looking up at her.
Hermione stared at him, her eyes almost bulging.
“Wh-what?” Hermione asked.
“We're going to Surrey by broomstick,” Ron said. “You weren't going to leave my sight, right?”
“I – I – I,” Hermione stammered. “But, Ron, you know I am terrified of broomsticks.”
“Do you want to stay here then?” Ron asked, crossing his arms against his chest.
Hermione narrowed her eyes. She inhaled and exhaled, then walked over to the broom and straddled it.
“Ron,” a timid voice said, behind him.
Ron looked over his shoulder. His mother was standing there.
“I – I c-can't make you change your mind, can I?” she asked.
“No, Mum,” Ron said, shrugging.
Mrs. Weasley nodded and threw herself at him, hugging him close to her.
“Please be safe, my boy,” she said.
“I promise, Mum,” Ron said.
Mrs. Weasley sniffled and backed away. She hugged Hermione, though it was rather awkward because Hermione was gripping tightly to the broom, even though it was only a few feet off the ground.
“I'll look after him, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said.
“I know you will, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said.
She backed away, and walked over to Ginny, who looked at Ron. He swallowed and nodded at her.
“I'll bring him here safely, Gin,” he said, “I promise.”
Ginny nodded. Ron put a leg over his broomstick, and soon he was sitting in front of Hermione. She put her arms around the middle of him. Ron looked around at the rest of his companions. Fred and George, and Remus and Tonks were paired up on two broomsticks. Kingsley and Mad-Eye Moody was on their own. Bill and Fleur were paired up on a Thestral, as was Ron's father and Professor McGonagall. Because Ron couldn't see the Thestral, the four of them looked very odd floating in the air, clutching tightly to air. Hagrid was sitting on the motorcycle, his umbrella sticking out of the side-car.
“Kingsley!” Mad-Eye said, into the silence.
“On my way, Alastor,” Kingsley said.
Kingsley rose into the air on his broomstick and soon he was flying high above the rest of them and into the clouds.
“Wait for Kingsley's sign,” Moody ordered, “and be ready for the off when it comes!”
A loud rumble of an engine was the only response. The motorbike was starting up.
“You ready, Hermione,” Ron muttered over his shoulder.
“Don't let me fall,” Hermione whispered, her voice muffled because she was pressing her face into Ron's shoulder-blades.
“Never,” Ron said.
Ron felt Hermione's lips on the back of his neck.
“I know,” he whispered, to her silent declaration of love, “You too.”
Hermione chuckled in acknowledgment, telling Ron she understood.
“Good luck, everyone,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Come back to me safely.”
Before anyone could answer her, red sparks flew out across the sky.
“Now!” Mad-Eye ordered.
All around Ron and Hermione, broomsticks, thestrals and the motorbike took off into the sky. Ron raised his own broom, and Hermione shrieked at the movement. Ron could feel Hermione's grip tighten around him as he flew off toward the rest of the group. They were all stationary just above the cloud cover. Suddenly, Ron felt a trickle of something wet sink down his neck and toward his back. He thought Hermione's lips were on his neck again, when all of a sudden, his companions around him, including himself seemed to vanish literally into thin air.
“Hermione?” he asked.
“Still here,” Hermione said, chuckling, “It's just a --”
“Disillusionment Charms set!” Mad-Eye announced.
“How the bloody hell are we supposed to follow anyone?” Fred's voice asked, voicing what Ron was thinking.
“Just do it!” Mad-Eye said, roughly, “Let's go! We cannot be late! The later we are, the longer Mr. Potter will be alone in the house after Hestia and Dedalus leave!”
Ron heard the sound of whooshing all around him.
“Just follow the noise, Ron,” Hermione whispered behind him.
Ron nodded, then stopped, remembering Hermione couldn't see him, and flew ahead in the direction of London and Surrey.
(Harry's PoV – An hour and twenty minutes later)
Harry was sitting on the sofa in the Dursley's living room. His trunk, packed with his belongings that he would take with him to the Burrow, was sitting at his feet. Hedwig's cage was sitting on the coffee table just feet away from him; the snowy owl was currently asleep, her head nestled into her wing. Harry stared at Hedwig, as she made soft guttural noises while she slept.
In the hallway Uncle Vernon was pacing back and forth across the floor, muttering to himself. Across the living room, Aunt Petunia was seated in her favorite chair in the room. Her lips were pursed, and she seemed to be chewing on her lower lip. She normally did this when she was trying to bite back an insult at Harry, but Harry couldn't figure out what reason she would want to insult him, unless it had to do with the fact that Hedwig's cage was sitting on her clean coffee table.
“Dudley Dursley, you finish packing and get downstairs this instant!” Vernon roared from the bottom of the stairs.
The outburst caused Hedwig to wake up. Her whole body shook and she stared at Harry, with a very annoyed expression. Harry tried to give her his best apologetic glance.
“I can't find Obliterator Five,” Dudley whined from the top of the stairs.
“What in the effing hell is Obligator Five?” Vernon demanded.
“Obliterator Five!” Dudley repeated, “It is my favorite video game!”
“You are not bringing your video games with you, young man!” Vernon growled.
“Aww, Dad!” Dudley whined, “But I'll get bored!”
“Dudley,” Petunia said, from her chair, “I know you heard Mrs. Jones when she told you that electricity will not work with magic in the area.”
Vernon cursed softly at his wife's use of the word “magic”.
“B-b-but--” Dudley stammered, “That means I can't bring my telly or my computer either?”
“Pack the essentials only, Dudley!” Petunia ordered.
“They are essential!” Dudley moaned.
“You heard your mother!” Vernon growled, “Do it! You better be down here in ten – nine --”
Dudley gave a whine and the next thing Harry heard was the distinct thudding sound of luggage being dragged down the stairs.
“Five – four – three --” Vernon counted, “Two --”
“I'm here, I'm here!” Dudley moaned, “Damn it!”
“Dudley Dursley, watch your language!” Petunia said, harshly, then with a whisper, “Where he learned those words, I do not know!”
Suddenly, there was a loud knocking sound on the front door.
“That's Hestia and Dedalus, Vernon,” Petunia said, “Get the door.”
“Yes, dear,” Vernon muttered.
A few moments later, Hestia and Dedalus walked into the living room, followed by Vernon and Dudley.
“Are you ready, Mrs. Dursley?” Hestia said, politely.
“Yes, Hestia,” Petunia said, returning the politeness, “Dudley, come say good-bye to your cousin.”
Harry expected Dudley to whine. But a moment later, Dudley glanced at Harry, frowning, and, to Harry's surprise, sat down on the couch next to him.
“Er...” Harry said, looking at his cousin in wonder.
“I wish you could come with us,” Dudley said.
“What?” Harry asked, unsure of what he had heard.
“I wish you could come with us,” Dudley repeated, “It would be less boring with you around.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. He was completely floored that Dudley had said this. He looked around at his aunt and uncle. Vernon's mouth was open, looking unsure of what to say. Aunt Petunia looked on the verge of tears.
“Where you're going,” Dudley said, “Are you going to be safe?”
“I'll definitely be safe at the Burrow,” Harry said.
“And... after that?” Dudley said. “What are you doing after that?”
“But don't you know, boy?” Hestia asked.
“Er... no, he doesn't,” Harry said to Hestia, “They never really cared about what I'm going through. To them, I'm just a huge waste of space, but honestly, I'm used to --”
“I don't think you're a waste of space,” Dudley grunted.
Harry turned slowly to his cousin. Dudley was looking at him, with a big smile across his face.
“Er – well --” Harry said, blinking, “Thanks, Dudley.”
“You saved my life,” Dudley grunted.
"Not really," said Harry. "It was your soul the dementor would have taken…"
He looked curiously at his cousin. They had had virtually no contact during this summer or last, as Harry had come back to Privet Drive so briefly and kept to his room so much. After opening his mouth once or twice more, Dudley subsided into scarlet-faced silence.
Aunt Petunia burst into tears. Hestia Jones gave her an approving look that changed to outrage as Aunt Petunia ran forward and embraced Dudley rather than Harry.
"S-so sweet, Dudders…" she sobbed into his massive chest. "S-such a lovely b-boy… s-saying thank you…"
"But he hasn't said thank you at all!" said Hestia indignantly. "He only said he didn't think Harry was a waste of space!"
"Yea but coming from Dudley that's like 'I love you,'" said Harry, torn between annoyance and a desire to laugh.
"Are we going or not?" roared Uncle Vernon, reappearing yet again at the living room door. "I thought we were on a tight schedule!"
"Yes –yes, we are," said Dedalus Diggle, who had been watching these exchanges with an air of bemusement and now seemed to pull himself together. "We really must be off. Harry –"
He tripped forward and wrung Harry's hand with both of his own.
"—good luck,” he finished, “I hope we meet again. The hopes of the Wizarding world rest upon your shoulders."
"Oh," said Harry, "right. Thanks."
“Good luck, Harry,” Hestia said.
“Well – yes – we must really be off now, right?” Vernon said, “Come, Dudley, Petunia.”
With one last glance at Harry, Dudley stood up and followed his father out of the room.
“See you, Big D,” Harry whispered, as Dudley disappeared into the hallway.
Harry heard his heavy footfalls on the graveled drive, and then a car door slammed.
Aunt Petunia whose face had been buried in her handkerchief looked around at the sound. She did not seem to have expected to find herself alone with Harry. Hastily stowing her wet handkerchief into her pocket, she said, "Well – goodbye" and marched towards the door without looking at him.
"Goodbye" said Harry.
She stopped and looked back. For a moment Harry had the strangest feeling that she wanted to say something to him; She gave him an odd, tremulous look and seemed to teeter on the edge of speech, but then, with a little shake of her head, she hustled out of the room after he husband and son. Hestia and Dedalus were the last in the room.
“Alastor and your escorts will be here very shortly,” Hestia said.
“Okay,” Harry said.
“Again, good luck,” Hestia said.
“Thank you,” Harry said, “Both of you. For everything.”
“It has been and will be an honor to watch your relatives for you,” Dedalus said, bowing.
Harry nodded. Hestia and Dedalus smiled at him and retreated from the room.
Harry exhaled loudly. He then looked at Hedwig, who was staring up at him. He frowned, closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them. He stood up, picked up her cage, and walked toward the back of the house. He went across the patio, and out into the back yard.
“We've had some great memories here, Hedwig, eh?” Harry said, as he looked at the owl.
Harry turned his attention from her to his bedroom window.
“Do you remember?” Harry asked, “Me nearly forgetting you when Ron and his twin brothers rescued me in their flying car. I'm really sorry about that. I also remember you bringing me gifts from Hermione on my fourteenth birthday, when I thought I wouldn't get anything. Right through that window... yeah.”
Harry closed his eyes eyes, inhaled and exhaled, and opened his eyes again.
“Some great memories we've had,” Harry said, “And now...”
Harry felt his eyes water. The palm of his hand that was not gripped to Hedwig's cage was sweating. He forced it toward Hedwig's cage and opened the door of the cage.
“I have to say goodbye, Hedwig,” Harry said.
Hedwig hooted softly and looked up at Harry.
“I know,” Harry said, “But you have to understand what I have to do. I have to find Voldemort's Horcruxes, and destroy him. Sirius was right when he had said it so many years ago. You're too recognizable. I can't risk taking you with me. So... like I am parting ways with the Dursleys tonight. I must part ways with my greatest, closest friend and connection to the wizarding world I could ever have known.”
Harry felt a tear on the bridge of his nose.
“Now, go, Hedwig,” Harry said.
Hedwig hooted softly, her beautiful eyes staring up at him in confusion and sadness.
“Go,” Harry repeated.
A sound, almost like a purr, emitted from Hedwig's beak.
“Damn it, Hedwig,” Harry said, a sob escaping his lips, “Go!”
Hedwig flew out of her cage and took to the air. She circled around just feet above Harry for a couple of minutes, as he watched her. She then flew off into the air.
“Goodbye,” Harry whispered.
He brushed a flood of tears from his eyes and cleared his throat of the sobs in his voice. He turned around... and almost walked into Mad-Eye Moody.
“Bloody hell!” Harry growled, “How many times do I have to ask you to stop that!”
“Quiet, Potter!” Mad-Eye said, “Before someone hears you!”
“We did hear him,” a very familiar voice said, that almost made Harry fall to the ground in shock.
Two popping sounds were heard somewhere behind Moody, and Harry had to clamp his mouth shut with his teeth so his jaw wouldn't drop to the grass below. Ron and Hermione were standing there... and they looked ready for battle.
Well, would you consider this a cliff-hanger? Even if you knew Ron and Hermione were going to be there?
I will admit it right now. Harry's goodbye to Hedwig made me cry! I had legit tears as I was writing it.
I hope you think it is okay that I included parts of the Dursley's goodbye (especially the "not a waste of space" line) from the actual book. I thought it was needed.
This chapter didn't take as long for me to write as I thought. I thought I was going to start in this chapter what will begin in the next chapter. But I wanted to end it right there.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. More to come soon!
Last edited by Fury; December 28th, 2011 at 12:40 am.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Escape From Privet Drive
Author's Note: The location of the Apparation point is fictional and does not exist in the area where this chapter is taking place.
“Ron?” Harry asked, surprised he could even speak, “Hermione? What are you doing here?”
“I'll explain it when we get you inside!” Moody growled, his glass eye circling around looking for anyone suspicious, ”Go.”
Mad-Eye led Harry, Ron and Hermione into the house.
“Harry,” Hermione said, looking at Hedwig's empty cage, “Hedwig... we saw her fly away. What's going on?”
“I had to let her go, Hermione,” Harry said, fighting back tears, “She deserves to be free.”
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said, solemnly.
Harry gripped the handle of the empty cage in his fist, as he tried to hold back the tears. A few moments later, they were inside the living room of the Dursley's residence.
“I will assume Hestia and Dedalus,” Moody said, “explained to you what is happening tonight?”
“Yes, they did,” Harry said, “Alastor, why are Ron and Hermione here?”
“They're here because they volunteered to be here, Potter,” Moody said, “They're part of your escort team.”
Even though Harry knew that was the answer, he was still shocked. He looked at Ron and Hermione.
“I can't believe you did this,” he said, shaking his head at them, “You shouldn't be a part of this.”
“They are here, Potter!” Moody cut across Ron, who looked like he was about to retort, “They have every right to do so. They are of age and of reasonable skill needed for this mission. You should consider yourself lucky. They're as worthy as your escorts as is everyone else that is here.”
“Where is everyone else?” Harry asked.
“They are stationed at designated points between here and the Apparation point,” Moody said.
“And where is that at?” Harry asked.
“King's Park,” Moody said, “Do you know it?”
“Sure,” Harry said, “It is about three blocks south of here. Fifteen-to-twenty minute walk or so.”
“And that is without Death Eaters on our tail,” Ron muttered
“Death Eaters?” Harry said, “You mean... wait, you saw some?”
“There are two stationed somewhere above us in the sky,” Moody said, “I caught sight of them as we arrived, but they didn't see me. They're look-outs.”
“Are there more?” Harry asked, even though he already knew the answer.
“Do you really want to know that answer, Potter?” Moody asked.
“Exciting,” Harry said, sarcastically, “When do we start?”
“Sundown,” Moody said, his glass eye looking through the back of his head.
Harry looked over Moody's shoulder. Outside the large dining room window, the sun was very close to the horizon.
“Now, Potter,” Moody said, “I assume you still have your Invisibility Cloak with you?”
“Yeah,” Harry said.
“Alastor!” Hermione said, “Harry can't possibly fight under his cloak!”
“Why do you think he has escorts, Granger?” Moody grunted.
“What's the point of Harry hiding under his cloak?” Ron asked, “They're going to know he's here if we're walking around.”
“Because Voldemort himself would swoop in on the lot of us if he knew Potter was with us!” Moody growled, “If the Death Eaters don't see Harry, they're not going to call their master. But, if they do see him, sooner or later, Voldemort is going to be on us. Do you really want that?”
“N-no,” Ron said, “You really think he's going to be here?”
“I'd be a nutter if I thought any different, Weasley,” Moody said, “Potter, get your cloak on. I'm going to stand guard outside and make sure you don't get killed as soon as you step a foot out the door. Meet me at the front door in five minutes.”
Harry nodded. He trudged over to the couch and proceeded to open his trunk.
“Harry,” Hermione said, “I understand you are probably angry....”
“Why would I be angry, Hermione?” Harry asked, his eyes on his trunk, “I mean – really? Oh, I just said goodbye to the only family I have left in this world. I also just said goodbye to one of my greatest friends in this godforsaken world, just so I could give her a good life. Oh yeah, and I just learned a day ago that a whole group of people who I care about are going to risk their lives just so the Chosen One can get out of Surrey and save the wizarding world. And now I find out that my two best friends who I would die for are also risking their own lives for me?”
Harry looked over the top of his glasses at Ron and Hermione, both who were looking down at the floor, with frowns across their face.
“No, Hermione,” he said, chuckling madly, “I'm not angry at all.”
Harry grabbed his Invisibility Cloak from the very top of the trunk, and closed the lid.
“Could one of you carry this to the door for me?” he said, motioning to the trunk, “Isn't that what part of the escort's job is?”
Hermione scowled. She brandished her wand and pointed it at the trunk. It vanished into thin air. Harry's eyes narrowed as he looked up at Hermione.
“It's at the Burrow now,” Hermione said, in a huff, “You're welcome.”
Hermione scoffed and walked out of the living room. Harry glanced at Ron, raising his eyebrows.
“Nice going, mate,” Ron muttered.
He shook his head and followed after Hermione. Harry groaned in annoyance, mostly with himself, and stood up. He brandished his wand from the pocket of his jeans and walked off toward the hallway. When he was at the archway of the living room, he looked around. He could recall so many memories in this room alone:
The numerous Hogwarts Letters shooting out of the fireplace, Dobby the House-Elf dropping a pudding on one of Uncle Vernon's house-guests, Ron, Fred, George and Mr. Weasley getting stuck in the fireplace, and Dudley ending up with an enormous tongue after eating one of Fred and George's candies. And just last year around this time... Albus Dumbledore himself visiting the house and talking to the Dursleys. Harry wiped a solitary tear from his eye as he thought of the late headmaster.
Harry walked into the hallway. As he passed the cupboard under the stairs, he looked at it and shook his head, chuckling to himself, recalling the many memories in there.
“What's so funny, Potter?” Moody asked, snapping Harry out of his reverie.
Harry looked up at Moody. The ex-Auror's attention was still on the front lawn and street beyond, looking for intruders.
“Nothing,” Harry said.
“Then get your wits about you!” Moody growled, “Ready for the off?”
Harry covered himself with the Invisibility Cloak.
“Ready as I'll ever be,” Harry said.
“Stay right behind me, Potter, and remember,” Moody said, and looked over his shoulder directly at the invisible Harry, “I'll be watching you so don't try to be the hero. Save that business for the Order tonight.”
“Er... Alastor?” Ron asked. “Why can't we use the Disillusionment Charm again? We could walk to the Apparation point without being seen by Death Eaters.”
“Because in the off-chance the Death Eaters come at us anyway,” Moody said, “I'm really not looking forward to you cursing me instead of a Death Eater because you couldn't see me.”
“Er... good point,” Ron said.
“Yeah, mate,” Harry said, in a joking manner, “Don't curse me because you can't see me.”
“Stay close to me Potter and he won't have to,” Moody growled, “Now enough chit-chat, we need to go. The Order is waiting for us. I'll go first. Potter, right behind me. Then Granger, then Weasley a few feet behind her.”
“I'll stay right beside her, if you don't mind,” Ron muttered.
“Have it your way,” Moody grunted, indifferently.
He walked out the doorway, and Harry followed close behind him. They walked down the sidewalk, under the cover of the tall trees, and headed south down the street.
“Don't be frightened,” Moody said, “Arabella Figg is behind a tree up ahead.”
He was right. Ten yards ahead of them, Harry's batty neighbor Mrs. Figg was stooped down behind a large oak.
“My cats have been on the lookout tonight, Alastor,” Mrs. Figg said, “This street is all clear but I don't know about the next block.”
“Thank you, Arabella,” Moody said, “Get on inside now. It isn't safe out here tonight.”
“Right away,” Mrs. Figg said.
Harry wanted to say goodbye to Mrs. Figg, but he decided it was unsafe to speak up and give his position away in case she was wrong. Moody started off again and Harry followed him down the street. He could hear Ron and Hermione walking close together behind him. At the end of the street, a teenage Muggle couple were sitting on the curb, in the glow of a street-lamp.
“Er... how do we know those two aren't Death Eaters disguised with Polyjuice Potion?” Ron asked.
“It's worse if their Muggles,” Hermione said, “Can't we warn them about the danger in the area?”
“We will do no such thing, Miss Granger,” Moody said, throwing the hood of his robes over his head to hide his glass eye, “Follow me. Don't pay any attention to them. I can do that myself.”
He stepped off the side-walk and Harry, Ron and Hermione followed him across to the other side of the street. As they made their way to the end of Privet Drive, Harry glanced side-ways to the Muggle couple. The girl's head was resting on the guy's shoulder. The gesture reminded him of his time with Ginny.
“They're not Death Eaters,” Harry whispered.
“How do you know?” Hermione whispered back.
“Because it is easy to tell that they are in love,” Harry said, “You can't disguise that, believe me.”
“Exactly what did you do with my sister, mate?” Ron whispered.
“Enough chit-chat!” Moody whispered harshly, “Have you forgotten what we're --”
Then Moody stopped talking. He stopped in his tracks and Harry almost collided into him.
“Alastor?” Harry whispered, “What's going --”
Suddenly, the man-hole straight ahead of them shot straight up out of the street and into the sky. It landed with a bang ten feet in front of the Muggle teenage couple, who stared at it with wide eyes. Suddenly, Harry saw a shadowy figure rise up out of the sewer. Moody muttered something unintelligible and a red beam shot toward the figure. Harry heard a loud groan followed by a crash. Harry could imagine the figure dropping down the sewer-hole and crashing into the hard sewer pipe below.
A window shattered in a house across the street. The Muggle girl screamed, shrieking something Harry could not hear, as her boyfriend collapsed onto the sidewalk. Harry could easily tell that he was dead.
“Stupefy!” Hermione and Ron yelled, sending two red beams over the girls head and into the broken window.
The girl screamed and ran off down the sidewalk back in the direction of the Dursley's house.
“Forget her!” Moody growled, “The Obliviator Squad will deal with her later, “Go!”
He sprinted off across the road into the next neighborhood, Harry, Ron and Hermione following in his footsteps. Only a few moments, and a few feet into the neighborhood, a green beam lit up the air and flew over Moody's head. It collided with a stop sign sending red bits of metal flying like pieces of shrapnel. Harry thought that they might get hit by the debris, but the bits collided with a protection spell sent behind him from Hermione.
“Get down!” Moody growled.
Harry hit the ground, his knees scraping across the gravel. He heard two thuds behind him, and had to look behind him to make sure Ron and Hermione were okay. Ron was breathing hard, his body protecting Hermione, whose eyes were darting back and forth at the area head of her. Harry turned back around and saw that Moody was sending off a barrage of spells down the street. Suddenly, a large portion of the street was covered in a thick black smoke of some kind. When Harry got a closer look at it, he suddenly realized it was Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder.
“Alastor!” a familiar voice whispered harshly somewhere off to the left of Harry.
Harry looked up. Fred and George Weasley were running toward them.
“The Powder should give us some time,” Fred said.
“We saw the ruddy buggers who sent the curses after you,” George said. “They're hiding in houses. I really hope the Muggles who live there are on holiday.”
“Where's Harry?” Fred asked.
“Here,” Harry said, picking himself up off the ground and making sure the cloak was over all of him.
“Invisible,” George said, “Smooth.”
“Quit the chatter,” Moody growled, “Remus and Tonks were with you. Where are they?”
“They set off toward the other end of the road,” Fred said.
“Right,” Moody grunted. “Fred, George, you two go back across the street and watch that side. Potter, Weasley and Granger, you follow me. Keep your eyes open.”
“Better get going,” George said. “Powder's clearing. That is all we brought with us.”
“Want a headless hat, Ronnie?” Fred asked, “At least you won't get your head shot off then!”
Harry heard Ron scowl behind him.
“Cut it out!” Moody growled, “Get to your positions!”
“Just trying to diffuse the tension,” Fred said, with a wink toward the invisible Harry.
Fred and George saluted Moody and headed off across the road.
“Ruddy duo think this is a pleasure stroll,” Moody grumbled, “Come on, Potter! Keep close! Eyes open and wands out!”
Moody set off down the road, and Harry, Ron and Hermione followed him. Up ahead, Harry saw that a large hedgerow was growing in front of half off the houses on their side of the road.
“We could use that hedge for cover, Alastor,” Ron said, motioning to the hedgerow.
“Good thinking,” Moody said, “Come on.”
Harry followed Moody behind the hedge and they crept behind it as they walked down the road.
“Quiet!” Moody whispered, “I hear footsteps.”
Harry, Ron and Hermione froze in place.
“D'ya think they got away?” a nasally voice said.
“Where would they go?!” a deep voice grunted, “Their ruddy Disapparation spell is up making us all have to walk up and down these streets searching for them. We would have seen them.”
“I dunno,” the nasally voice said.
“I'm telling ya,” the deep voice grunted, “Whoever blinded us is somewhere around here.”
To Harry's right, Moody stuck his wand through the hedge. To his left, Hermione and Ron did the same thing. Harry stuck his wand through the hedge as well, pointing it at the voices.
“Avada Kedavra!” Moody yelled.
“Stupefy!” Harry, Ron and Hermione yelled a split-second later.
Harry heard two groans followed by two thudding sounds.
“Nice work,” Moody said, “Let's go.”
Moody crept forward along the hedge and Harry, Ron and Hermione followed him. Soon, there was no longer any hedge to hide behind. In fact, the remainder of the street ahead of them had no more cover to hide behind.
“Stop,” Mad-Eye said, “Let me make sure it is clear.”
Moody stepped forward slowly. Suddenly, near the other end of the road, Harry heard the high-piercing sound of a woman cackling. Harry stood up to get a better view and saw the green and red spells zooming back and forth across the road.
“That was Bellatrix,” Harry breathed.
“Remus and Tonks are down there,” Hermione said, “Do you think they're dueling her?”
Harry opened his mouth to speak when suddenly, a red spell zoomed over his head from somewhere behind him. Harry, Ron and Hermione turned around. Two cloaked figures were stalking them.
“Stupefy!” Harry yelled, as did Hermione and Ron.
Three separate stunning spells erupted from their wands toward the Death Eaters. One collapsed, but one had dove out of the way.
“Run!” Harry yelled.
Harry, Ron and Hermione ran ahead. Harry suddenly realized that Moody was nowhere to be seen. Where had he gone?
Across the street, Fred and George were running behind picket fences. Fred sent a red beam over his shoulder toward something that was stalking him and George from behind. Harry suddenly saw the black-cloaked figure. He pointed his wand at the figure, just as he heard George groan loudly and fall to the ground.
“George!” Fred and Ron yelled.
“Stupefy!” Harry yelled, pointing his wand at the cloaked figure.
The figure whipped his wand around, creating a protection spell so strong the stunning spell reflected, sending the red beam into a tree and making it tumble over onto the ground. Suddenly, black smoke surrounded the cloaked figure, and shot into the air. The cloaked figure was gone!
“Ron!” Hermione shrieked.
Harry turned to see Ron running across the street toward Fred and George. Hermione was running after him, and Harry ran after her. He almost tripped on his Invisibility Cloak, so he took it off and stuffed it into his robes. When he reached Ron and Hermione, they were standing with Fred, over George. George was groaning on the ground, and Harry saw the side of his head was stained with dark-red blood.
“Harry!” Hermione gasped, “Put your cloak back on!”
“Don't worry about Harry right now!” Ron said, harshly, “What about George?!”
A sharp ripping sound was heard as Fred used a Diffindo spell to tear a strip of fabric out of the bottom of his robes. He took it and wrapped it around George's head.
“That's all I can think of doing,” Fred said.
“We have to go!” Hermione said, “We can't stay here! We must get to King's Park!”
“Hermione, what was that black smoke?” Harry asked, looking up into the sky where the black smoke had flown away, “Was that Apparation?”
“Couldn't be, Harry,” Hermione said, “Can't you feel that? The air is still thick from the Anti-Disapparation spell.”
“So what did that Death Eater do?” Harry asked.
“I-I don't know,” Hermione said, “But we need to go!”
“Miss Granger's right,” Mad-Eye's voice said to the left of them.
Harry looked up. Mad-Eye, Remus and Tonks were standing there. The latter two were glancing around the area for more trouble.
“Remus! Tonks!” Harry said, “Was that – was that Bellatrix?”
“Yes, Harry,” Remus said, “She and Rodolphus were hiding in a house when he came upon it.”
“She was really wanting to kill us,” Tonks said, “But I think I injured Rodolphus. I saw Bellatrix escape out of a window dragging Rodolphus beside her. They retreated behind the houses before I could stun her.”
“Enough chatter!” Moody said, “We have to move now! We have a block and a half to go before we reach King's Park.”
“What about George?!” Fred said, “We have to get him out of here!”
“That fabric should staunch the blood-flow,” Remus said, “But you're right. We have to move or he might not make it.”
“What?!” Ron moaned.
“All right,” Moody said, “We're going to split up. Potter, Remus and Tonks. You are with me.”
“Shouldn't one of us go with them?” Tonks asked.
“Alastor's right,” Hermione said, “Neither Ron nor Fred would split up from George now, and I'm not leaving Ron behind. Harry, I'm sorry, but –“
“I'll be safe,” Harry said. “Alastor, Remus and Tonks are with me. You look after George.”
“It's settled then,” Moody said, “Now we need to move. Weasleys, Granger, you stay behind until we get to the end of the street. Then follow us, but make haste. I have no problem leaving you behind in King's Park if I get Potter there before you get there, understood?”
“Yes,” Hermione said.
“Good,” Moody said. “Remus, Tonks. Go on ahead a few steps. I'll tag behind Potter.”
As Remus and Tonks walked off down the road, their wands out looking for Death Eaters, Harry took one last glance at Hermione, Ron, Fred and George, and started off down the road. He could hear Moody behind him.
Three minutes and no interruptions from Death Eaters later, Harry could see the long road that split the two neighborhoods apart. Remus and Tonks walked across the long road first, while Harry stayed behind with Moody. Suddenly, two red spells shot out from a window of a house, across the street from where Remus and Tonks had just run towards. Harry's eyes widened, and he started off across the road toward them.
“Potter!” Moody growled, “Get down!”
“Expelliarmus!” a loud voice roared.
Harry looked over his shoulder. Moody's wand had left his hand. Harry turned around and saw the tall Death Eater, who he recognized as Rowle, running toward him, his wand pointed at him. Harry whipped around and pointed his wand at the man.
“Expelliarmus!” he yelled.
His aim hit true, and Rowle's wand was thrown from his hand. Rowle roared and ran toward Harry. Moody rushed toward Rowle and tackled him to the ground. Harry aimed his wand at the two wrestling men, but he couldn't get a good shot at Rowle. Punches and kicks were being sent back and forth.
“Run!” Moody growled to Harry, “Go! Don't worry about me!”
Harry froze. He couldn't leave Moody there.
“Go!” Moody growled, sending a punch right to Rowle's gut.
Suddenly, Harry heard a whooshing sound over head and looked up. That same black smoke he had seen earlier was flying back toward him and the street. He ducked just as the smoke flew over him and landed on the street about ten yards down the road.
“Sectumsempra!” a voice in the black smoke said in a cool, silk voice.
Moody and Rowle groaned. Rowle backed away from Moody, collapsing onto the ground. Moody was breathing deeply, and Harry thought he could see blood. He turned around toward the figure in the black smoke. The smoke had cleared away, and Harry saw Severus Snape standing there. Harry growled and pointed his wand at the former Potions Master. But black smoke circled him and he shot up into the air once again. Harry ran over to Moody, who was shaking and gasping, and kneeled down next to him.
“Go!” Moody said, his voice gurgling.
Harry could tell Moody's mouth was full of blood. He had been hit with Snape's Sectumsempra curse.
“Potter!” Moody gurgled.
“I'll go!” Harry said, “I'll – I'll get help!”
Harry moved to get up, but Moody grabbed him with a hand and pulled Harry toward him.
“Tell – the – Order,” Moody gurgled, then paused.
Moody stare at Harry was almost blank.
“What?” Harry urged Moody, “Tell the Order what?”
Moody coughed and choked.
“Tell – the – Order,” he rasped, “About – the – Hor...crux...es.”
Moody gurgled and choked. His grip on Harry loosened up, and the Ex-Auror went still. He was dead.
Harry stared at Moody in awe. How did Mad-Eye know about the Horcruxes? Dumbledore had told nobody but him!
Before he could think anymore on the matter, however, Harry heard a rasping cackle and he looked up. Rowle had crawled back over to his wand. Harry looked around for his wand... it was about ten feet away from him on the ground. Could he reach it in time?
Rowle raised his wand and Harry expected him to curse him. He wondered if Rowle could even get the words out. He could see that Rowle had been hit with the Sectumsempra curse as well, and he was already close to death. Then... Rowle pulled back the sleeve of his robes and pressed his wand to the skull and snake branded on his forearm.
Cliffhanger! Wow, that was one of the hardest battle-central chapters I've ever had to write. It was really confusing. And there is still more to come! Eek!
I hope you liked this chapter. Next chapter, I'll be splitting up in Harry's PoV and either Ron or Hermione's, just so you can know what is happening to them as well.
I want to know what you thought about this chapter. Was the battle good? Believable? I need to know!
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
The moment Rowle's finger touched the Mark, Harry's scar burned savagely. The neighborhood around him vanished from sight, and he was standing in an area that resembled some type of wooden porch. He was in a sitting position, staring out in front of him. Muggle kids were playing in a playground yards away, their parents feet away watching them.
They found the boy... good... let him come to me...
A loud bang brought Harry back to reality. Rowle, still alive, even though bleeding profusely, had aimed a spell toward Harry, but it had collided with a street sign behind him. Harry dove for his wand and pointed it at Rowle. But it was not his red stunning spell that had hit Rowle, sending him to the ground. It was a green Killing Curse. Harry looked up in the direction the spell had come from. Remus was walking toward Harry, his stare out somewhere past Harry, looking for more Death Eaters. Kingsley was checking on the slain Rowle to see if he was truly dead. And yards away from Harry, sobbing and crouching over her slain mentor, was Tonks.
“V-V-Voldemort,” Harry gasped, the pain still burning in his scar, “I – saw – him.”
Remus and Tonks turned and stared at him. Kingsley raised his wand, looking around the area.
“What?” Remus asked, kneeling next to Harry, “You mean he's here?”
“Not – here,” Harry said. “He's – I think he's in King's Park. I think he's standing in the gazebo in the center of the park.”
“I know of it,” Kingsley said, “That gazebo is supposed to be our Apparation point.”
“Harry,” Remus said, “How did you see him?”
“I – I don't know,” Harry said, getting to his feet.
“Harry,” Tonks said, “What happened to Alastor?”
Harry was about to respond, but Kingsley cleared his throat.
“Save that for later, Potter,” Kingsley said, “We have to get going.”
“Get going?” Tonks asked, “Get going where? Our Apparation point has been compromised!”
“Kingsley's right, Dora,” Remus said, “The Order is supposed to meet up there.”
“Ron, Hermione and Fred and George know that is the meeting point!” Harry said. “I have to get there. If they get there and Voldemort is there, I – they --”
“Then that is where we're going to go, Potter,” Kingsley said, “Let's move. Arthur, Bill and Fleur are somewhere up the road. We're supposed to meet with them soon.”
“What do we do with Alastor?” Tonks asked.
“He still has his Invisibility Cloak with him,” Kingsley said, “We'll hide his body nearby and come for him later. I'll do that. Remus, Dora, you escort Harry down the street.”
Harry heard another sob escape Tonks' voice.
“Goodbye, my dearest friend,” Tonks whispered to Moody.
Tonks leaned toward Moody and kissed him on the forehead.
“Dora,” Remus said, “We have to go.”
Tonks nodded and stood up. Harry followed them across the road and into the next neighborhood. As they passed a house, Harry noticed two Death Eaters sprawled out on the ground near a tree. He recognized them as Amycus and Alecto, the brother and sister Death Eaters who were on top of the tower the night Dumbledore was killed.
“Remus?” Harry asked, motioning to the duo under the tree.
“Ambushed us just as we crossed the road,” Remus said, “Luckily, their aim was a bit off and we were able to take the upper hand.”
“H-Harry?” Tonks asked quietly, as she pointed her wand back and forth at the houses in front of her, searching for Death Eaters, “Did Alastor – did he say anything to you?”
Harry looked down at the road in front of him as he walked. He could hear Moody's death rattle ringing in his ears:
“Tell – the – Order -- about – the – Hor...crux...es."
“Harry?” Tonks asked again.
“N-no,” Harry lied, “He – he was dead before I could get to him.”
“It was Severus who killed him, wasn't it?” Remus asked, behind Harry.
Tonks gasped and looked over her shoulder at Remus, then Harry.
“Severus?!” Tonks asked.
“I recognize those wounds anywhere,” Remus said, “Sectumsempra. Severus' specialty.”
“Snape!” Tonks growled, “That good-for-nothing sack of dragon dung!!”
“Dora,” Remus muttered, “Don't exert yourself.”
Tonks scoffed and continued down the road. Harry looked over his shoulder at Remus, who looked very downtrodden about something. Then... Harry recalled something Remus said the previous Christmas at the Burrow:
“Dumbledore trusts Severus, and that ought to be good enough for all of us.”
Harry shook his head, as he followed behind Tonks. He knew Remus must have been thinking just how wrong he was about the former Order member. Suddenly, a loud crash broke Harry out of his reverie and he looked ahead.
A large oak tree that had been standing in the center of the front yard of a house had collapsed onto a truck. Tonks and Remus ran ahead of Harry, and Harry followed them. As they approached the fallen tree, Harry could see Mr. Weasley collapsed in a sitting position against the truck and breathing deeply. Bill and Fleur were on the other side of the tree sending curses and spells off across the street. Harry spotted a Death Eater's arm pointing a wand out through an open window of a house. Harry sent a stunning spell right through the window, and he heard a crash followed by a roaring sound, as two more figures ran out of the house. Remus and Tonks each sent Killing Curses and Stunning Spells at the two wizards, and they collapsed in a heap to the earth.
Harry ran over to Mr. Weasley, Bill and Fleur, while Remus and Tonks watched around the area as sentries.
“Mr. Weasley?” Harry asked.
“He's fine,” Bill said, “He was hit with a branch from the tree, but he's fine.”
“I-I'm brilliant,” Mr. Weasley gasped, “How are you, Harry?”
“Alive,” Harry said.
Harry looked up over the tree and toward the end of the road. In the distance he could see two large pillars standing on either side of a large iron-wrought gate. It was the entrance to King's Park.
“Harry,” Bill said, “Where's Hermione and my brothers?”
Harry's eyes widened and he turned around, looking back where he had come from. He had almost forgotten about Hermione, Ron and the twins.
“That, Bill,” Harry said, “is a very good question.”
Hermione, Ron, Fred and George had only made it twenty yards up the road from where they had split up with Harry, when George collapsed against the side of a house. Hermione convinced Ron and Fred to take sentry and watch for Death Eaters, while she applied a new strip of fabric from the bottom of her robes. She tried to remember the medical spells she had read in books over the years, but she could only think of a couple that could help George a bit. She waved her wand above George's head, muttering incantations. George looked a bit dazed, but he was grinning sheepishly.
“How's that?” Hermione asked.
“I'm great, Granger,” George said, sounding as if he had just downed three bottles of firewhiskey at once, “How are you, beautiful?”
“That's my girlfriend you're flirting with, George!” Ron growled, “Watch it!”
“Ronald!” Hermione warned, “He doesn't exactly know what he's saying. He's kind of loopy because I put a numbing spell on him to help with the pain.”
“Must have numbed his brain as well,” Ron muttered.
“Nah, that's how he always is,” Fred said, grinning.
“We have to get him help,” Hermione said, “I can't do much else.”
“Mum would know what to do,” Fred said, “We have to get him to the Burrow.”
“First we have to get to King's Park,” Hermione said.
“Are you mental?” Ron asked, “This whole road toward the park must be filled with Death Eaters!”
“You heard Moody!” Hermione exclaimed, “We have to get to the Park!”
George lifted up a hand and raised his thumb.
“This is no time for rude gestures!” Ron scowled.
“No, it isn't a rude gesture!” Fred gasped, “I know what he's thinking. There's a road across the yard behind this house. I'm sure it isn't being patrolled by Death Eaters, and it will lead straight to the park! Good thinking, George!”
George rolled his eyes and grinned.
“Okay,” Hermione said, “Fred, you help George and follow us. Ron and I are going to make sure it is clear. Come on, Ron!”
Ron nodded and followed Hermione toward the back yard of the house. At the very end of the yard there was a tall wooden fence separating the yard from the back yard of the house behind it. Hermione pointed her wand at it, ready to use a spell to create a hole in it large enough for them to get through, when suddenly, a portion of the fence was blasted away. Ron pulled Hermione to the ground, just as a two-by-four piece of wood flew over their heads, lodging itself into a stone barbeque pit. Then... Hermione heard the distinct sound of cackling... very familiar cackling.
“Bellatrix,” breathed Hermione.
“We'll never get past her!” Ron whispered, “We have to go back.”
“We can't,” Hermione whispered, “It is either her or possibly a dozen Death Eaters down the road.”
“I'd rather take the dozen,” Ron groaned.
Hermione got up from the ground and crawled toward part of the fence near the large hole. She peered through it, and saw a wand pointing out of the back door of the house in front of them. Hermione aimed her wand to throw a curse, when a red spell shot from behind her and through the doorway. Hermione heard a deep groan, as Bellatrix fell out of the doorway, her long black hair fanning out around her head as she lay there. Hermione ducked in through the hole, pointing her wand at Bellatrix. Ron followed her through it.
“Is she – dead?” Hermione asked.
“No,” Fred muttered, “It was only a stunning spell.”
Hermione looked over her shoulder. Fred's wand was pointed out in front of him and he was holding George up with his other arm. Hermione realized that it had been Fred, and not Ron like she thought, that had sent the curse at Bellatrix.
“Reckon we should kill her?” Ron asked.
“No, Ron!” Hermione gasped.
“She was going to kill us!” Ron growled.
“We'll just leave her here unconscious,” Hermione said, “The Aurors will pick her up when they sweep through the area later. Remember? Kingsley said he would bring them in later.”
“Right,” Ron said, a relieved expression crossing his face, “Azkaban is a better punishment than death for Bellatrix.”
“We need to get to King's Park,” Hermione said, “Come on!”
Ron put his arm around the free arm of George and Hermione led them toward the road that would take them into King's Park.
As Harry followed Remus, Tonks, Mr. Weasley, Bill and Fleur down the road toward King's Park, every step seemed like a mile. He knew Voldemort was in that park, waiting for him to come at him. Harry wondered how they were going to get out of this one. He couldn't kill Voldemort until the Horcruxes were gone.
Suddenly, Harry felt another harsh burning pain rip across his skull. He clutched his scar as the neighborhood vanished once again...
He was standing in front of four Death Eaters, who were casting spells at two figures that were hiding behind two large pillars and sending their own spells back at them.
The boy is coming, my friends... let him come... let him walk here on his own accord.
The four Death Eaters stopped their onslaught of attack and backed away from him...
And the neighborhood formed around Harry once again. He gasped and found that he was kneeling on the pavement on his hands and knees.
“Harry!” Remus' voice said, “What's wrong?”
Harry looked up. Remus, Mr. Weasley and Fleur were standing over him. Bill and Tonks were standing sentry, watching the road ahead.
“V-Voldemort,” Harry gasped. “He's sent the remaining Death Eaters away. He knows I am going to the park. He expects me to be there.”
“How did you see this, Harry?” Mr. Weasley asked.
“Harry, you're aware this could be a trap?” Remus asked.
“Remus eez right,” Fleur said, “Zis does sound like a trap.”
“It's our only way out,” Harry said, “And Ron and Hermione... and Fred and George... are going to be there. They don't know Voldemort is there!”
“Harry --” Remus began.
But Harry stood up and pushed past Remus. He walked forward toward King's Park, ignoring the voices of his escorts behind him. Within minutes, he arrived feet away from the entrance to King's Park.
“'Arry!” Hagrid's booming voice said, “You made it!”
Harry looked up. Hagrid and Professor McGonagall were standing near the around the entrance.
“They're blocking the Apparation Point, Remus,” McGonagall said. “We've been fending off Death Eaters ever since we arrived, and – and – then he came and appeared on the gazebo that we're supposed to Apparate from.”
“Voldemort,” Harry said.
“Aye,” Hagrid muttered.
“He wants me,” Harry said, “That is all he wants. I need to go --”
“'Arry what're you talkin' 'bout?!” Hagrid boomed, “You can't!”
Harry shook his head and walked forward toward the entrance of the park.
“Let him go, Hagrid,” a booming voice said behind them.
Harry looked over his shoulder. Kingsley, who had been hiding Moody's body away from sight, had finally caught up with them. Harry turned back around. Hagrid's jaw was open as he looked from Kingsley to Harry. Harry pushed past Hagrid and Professor McGonagall and stepped through the entrance of the park. He could see the gazebo in the distance.
Harry walked forward, and he heard footsteps somewhere behind him. He knew the members of the Order were following him into the park. He looked around, searching for Ron and Hermione, but he couldn't see them anywhere. Where were they? Had they met up with opposition of their own and...? No he couldn't think that.
Suddenly, he heard clashing sound of sparks and spells and he looked over his shoulder. Members of the Order had met up with opposition. Death Eaters were grouped up a few yards away from the Order, and they were battling each other. In front of the Order was Hagrid, growling and charging at the group of Death Eaters, dodging spells as protective enchantments sparked around him. Hagrid aimed a large fist toward a Death Eater that was pointing their wand at him, and hit him in the face, sending the Death Eater sprawling onto the ground.
Harry turned around. He was suddenly standing feet from the gazebo, and then he saw him. Voldemort was walking down the steps of the gazebo toward him, his wand pointed straight at him. Harry's forehead burned again, the pain echoing around his skull, and he dropped to the ground on his knees.
As the pain from Harry's scar forced his eyes shut, his wand acted of its own accord. He felt it drag his hand around like some great magnet, saw a spurt of golden fire through his half-closed eyelids, heard a crack and a scream of fury. Voldemort screamed, “NO!”
Harry opened his eyes and saw Voldemort on his knees on the ground, searching for something madly.
“Someone!” Voldemort rasped in a cold, chilly voice, “Give me your wand! I have him! I have him!”
Then Harry heard a loud hooting sound. Harry looked up. Hedwig was swooping down toward him.
“Hedwig?” Harry whispered, “What are you –?”
Hedwig shrieked loudly, and dove toward Voldemort, the talons of her feet aiming for Voldemort's head. Harry watched as her sharp claws scraped at Voldemort's head and Voldemort thrashed around madly, trying to grab at the owl, as it repeatedly charged.
“HARRY!” a very familiar voice shrieked from somewhere nearby.
Harry turned around. Hermione and Ron were rushing toward him, their wands pointed at their side as they disarmed and stunned incoming Death Eaters that were chasing after them. Harry whipped around and sent a Stunning spell of his own at a Death Eater that was feet from Ron and Hermione, sending the cloaked man crashing toward the ground.
“Get him out of here!” Remus' voice yelled, somewhere off in the distance.
Ron and Hermione reached him, each grabbing one of his hands. He heard somebody shout “Avada Kedavra” and thought he was dead for sure, when he saw that the green spell wasn't aimed at him. Harry looked at the green beam as it shot past him, toward Voldemort and Hedwig. Suddenly, a sharp shriek tore through the air.
“NO!” Harry yelled, “HEDWIG, NO!”
And as he saw the snowy owl falling to the ground, her beautiful golden eyes staring at him as they closed, he felt his lungs collapse and soon everything went dark.
Chapter finished! I thought this chapter was going to be a lot longer, but everything just happened so quickly. I really hope you liked it.
Let me quickly explain why Kingsley allowed Harry to go into the park alone. Remember, the Order truly believes that Harry has some prophetic power where he can kill Voldemort in a duel. They do not know about the Horcruxes. Harry was willing to go to Voldemort to protect everyone else. That is my only thought process when I did the end of this chapter. It's rather confusing and may not make sense. But it was the only way I could see this part of the story concluding, if Harry went into the park and Voldemort's wand ended up failing in their duel, allowing Harry to escape thanks to the help of his friends and a winged savior.
So are there any more casualties in the Order? You'll have to wait and see!
Last edited by Fury; December 28th, 2011 at 4:55 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
A Matter Of Life And Death
The next thing Harry knew he was laying on his back in a field of grass. His breath was slowly coming back to him in waves. He was dizzy and could only see darkness. He thought he had been blinded when suddenly the starry sky came into view.
Was he still in King's Park? He couldn't hear the sounds of spells clashing with each other. He couldn't hear voices growling and roaring as they tried to curse their opposition. What he did hear was the sound of an owl hooting wildly.
“H-Hedwig?” Harry gasped.
“Harry?” a familiar voice said nearby.
Harry turned his head to his left. Hermione was sitting up, staring at him.
“Are you okay?” she asked
Harry groaned and sat up. He looked to his right and saw that Ron was standing. Then he saw the source of the bird calls. The tiny owl, Pigwidgeon, was flying around Ron's head, hooting happily at the sight of his owner. Harry felt tears in his eyes. It wasn't Hedwig... because Hedwig was gone.
Harry could see the tall house known as the Burrow towering behind Ron in the distance. They had made it safely back, but... where was everyone else?
“Harry! Harry!” another voice said, “Mum! He's here! They're back!”
Harry looked past Ron. Running toward them from the Burrow, her long ginger hair blowing behind her, was Ginny. Ginny ran past Ron, toward Harry and pounced on him, hugging him. Harry wrapped his arms around her.
“I didn't know if you were okay,” Ginny said, her voice muffled into Harry's shoulder, “Wh-when I saw George...”
“George?” Harry asked, “He's here – and Fred?”
“They were able to Apparate when we made it into the park,” Hermione said, “So I made them come back to the Burrow – George's head was so bad...”
“How's George, Ginny?” Ron asked.
“He'll live, b-but --” Ginny said, backing away from Harry, a sob escaping her lips, “But Mum says he lost an ear.”
“That would explain the blood,” Hermione said, “I hoped it wouldn't come to that.”
“Wait a minute!” Harry said, “You're telling me that you two had the chance to Apparate, and you didn't until you found me?!”
“Course, mate,” Ron said, staring at Harry as if he was mental, “We weren't going to leave you.”
Harry opened his mouth to speak, when suddenly he was interrupted by a series of popping sounds. Around him, several figures appeared, and Harry looked around at the arrivals. He could see Remus and Tonks standing near each other, holding hands and looking windswept. Bill and Fleur had landed on the ground, out of breath, and cuddling each other, but they looked fine as well. Kingsley was nursing a wound to his shoulder. Mr. Weasley was hopping on the ground, on one leg, holding his other leg up gingerly as if it was broken, before he collapsed onto the ground.
Ginny ran over to her father.
“Dad?!” she asked, “Are you okay.”
“Broken leg, I think,” Mr. Weasley said, gingerly.
“Let's get you inside then,” Bill said, helping his father stand up on one leg.
With one look at Harry, Ginny helped Bill escort her father into the house.
As Harry looked around, he realized two of the group were missing.
“Wh-where's Hagrid and Professor McGonagall?” Harry asked, looking around.
“Hagrid Apparated Minerva to St. Mungo's,” Remus said, out of breath, “He's fine. However, Minerva was hit with two stunning spells to the chest. I think she'll live.”
He turned to Tonks.
“It is you I'm worried about,” he said.
“I'm fine!” Tonks said.
All of a sudden, her face turned green. She bent over and vomited onto the ground.
“No you're not,” Remus said, “Let me take you inside.”
Before anyone could speak up, Remus took Tonks by the hand and walked toward the Burrow.
“Can somebody tell me what happened?!” Harry growled, as he looked around at Kingsley, Fleur, Ron and Hermione, “How is everyone in the Order back here safely? We were in the middle of an ambush!”
“I can answer that,” Kingsley said.
“Kingsley, you're injured,” Hermione said, “You need medical help.”
“I'm fine, Miss Granger,” Kingsley, said, “I will answer Mr. Potter's question, then I must be off to the Ministry. Aurors and the Obliviator Squad are going to need to be sent to Surrey.”
He then turned to Harry.
“As for your question,” Kingsley said, “When your friends Apparated you back here to the Burrow, Voldemort realized he had lost. He immediately apparated away from the area. When those cowards who call themselves Death Eaters saw that their leader had retreated, they did the same.”
“Yes, theenk goodness!” Fleur growled, “They were overpowering us! Here I was theenking we were in trouble!”
“Yes, Fleur,” Kingsley said, “We were very lucky.”
Fleur harrumphed and made her way to the Burrow.
“B-b-but!” Harry stammered, “I was not at the gazebo yet when we apparated. Why am I not splinched?!”
“Er – it turns out --” Kingsley said, looking at his feet, “That the edge of the park was good enough for Apparation. We were all too focused on the Death Eaters and Voldemort to realize that.”
“So Hedwig died for nothing?” Harry muttered, “We could have Apparated, and she didn't have to rescue me.”
“She died for you, Harry,” Hermione said, “She died so you can live.”
“Just like Sirius and Mad-Eye and my parents!” Harry growled. “Who else has to die for me?!”
Harry scoffed and walked past Hermione, Ron and Kingsley. Before he ran toward the Burrow, he heard Ron mutter “Mad-Eye? Dead?”
Harry walked into the Burrow, which was full of Order members. Ginny and Bill were huddled around Mr. Weasley, who was sitting on the kitchen table, the fabric of his pants around his injured leg torn away. Bill was putting a splint on Mr. Weasley's leg, and Harry could see bright, red blood running along his leg, and thought he could see a bone faintly protruding through the skin. All of them were too focused on the matter at hand to notice Harry walk past them.
He went into the living room where Fred and Fleur were gathered around George, who was laying on the couch. A towel was wrapped around his head; the once white fabric had turned red.
“Harry,” George said, faintly, “Good to see you, mate.”
Harry gave a small smile. In the corner of the room, Remus was staring in front of him, not looking at anything in particular. His eyes were glazed over as if he was under the Imperius Curse.
Harry walked over to the stairwell and ascended the stairs. As he reached the first level, he heard the sound of crying, and thought he recognized Tonks' voice. He then heard the soothing voice of Mrs. Weasley. For a moment, Harry wanted to knock on the door to find out what was going on, but he decided against it. He continued to ascend the staircase, before he arrived at Ron's room. He walked into the room and was barely able to lay down on the bed before he collapsed in sobs and tears, which were falling down in memory of Hedwig, Mad-Eye Moody, and everyone else who had ever died just so he could live.
(Ron's PoV – after Harry walked away)
“Kingsley,” Hermione said, “Did I hear Harry correctly? Did he say that – that Alastor is dead?”
“Yes,” Kingsley said, solemnly, “He was killed by Severus Snape.”
“Snape?!” Ron exclaimed.
“How do you know?” Hermione asked.
“Harry saw him, as far as I can understand,” Kingsley said.
Ron saw tears sparkle in Hermione's eyes. Ron held out his arms and Hermione immediately fell into them, sobbing softly against his chest. Ron, momentarily forgetting Kingsley was there, kissed the top of Hermione's head and wrapped his arms around her.
“First Dumbledore,” Ron said, hoarsely, “Now Mad-Eye. We never should have trusted that bugger.”
“Aye,” Kingsley said, softly, “I must be going. Give everyone my best wishes. I shall return when I know more, and with information on Minerva's health.”
Ron nodded. Kingsley Disapparated with a CRACK in front of him. Ron just stood there in place, his arms around Hermione, letting her tears fall while trying to fight back his own.
“I-I d-don't know how much more of this I can take,” Hermione gasped against Ron's chest, “When I-I saw him – V-Voldemort – I thought we lost Harry. How can we go forward after that?”
“Baby steps, Hermione,” Ron said.
Hermione looked up at Ron, and he saw the hint of a smile across her face.
“How do you always know what to say?” she asked.
Ron smiled. Hermione leaned toward him and kissed him softly on the lips. He briefly returned the kiss, before he took Hermione's hand in his, and led her back toward the Burrow. When they arrived in the kitchen, he noticed that Bill was wrapping white fabric around their father's leg. Mr. Weasley looked up at Ron and smiled, which Ron returned gratefully. On the other side of the kitchen, Ginny was at the stove, brewing something in a tea pot. She didn't even look up as Ron and Hermione passed by her and into the living room.
When he saw George, he let go of Hermione's hand and walked over to the couch, kneeling next to Fred.
"How do you feel, George?" whispered Ron.
George's fingers groped for the side of his head.
"Saintlike," he murmured.
“Come again?” Fred asked.
"Saintlike," repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. "You see... I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?"
Ron gripped the edge of the couch so he wouldn't faint right there on the carpet. A grin crossed Fred's face.
"Pathetic," he told George. "Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey?"
"Ah well," said George, “Think you could finally tell us apart now, Ronnie-kins?”
Before Ron could answer, he heard the sound of footsteps descending the stairs. He looked up and saw his mother walking down them. Ron heard the chair nearby creak and rock back and forth as Remus stood up from it.
“H-how is she?” Remus asked.
“She's fine, Remus,” Mrs. Weasley said, “But you should have told me! You should have told somebody! I would have never – never allowed her to do what she did tonight if I knew! How could you let her –?”
“Let her?!” Remus growled, his voice echoing off the walls, “I didn't let her do anything! She is too stubborn to listen to me!”
“Whoa,” Hermione said, looking back and forth between Remus and Mrs. Weasley from the couch she was sitting on, “What's going on?”
Remus fell back into his chair, and it rocked back and forth. He put his face in his hands and Ron thought he could hear him breathing deeply.
“Are you going to tell them, Remus?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “Or should I? Because from what I can tell – you have no desire to even say the words.”
Remus looked up, his eyes narrowed at Ron's mother. He then looked around the room and his expression softened.
“Dora – she – she's pregnant,” Remus said, as if every word coming out of his mouth was a burden, “I'm going to be a father.”
Hermione gasped. Ron felt dizzy.
“Zis eez very good news, Remus!” Fleur said, delightedly.
“Is it?” Remus asked.
He shook his head and chuckled madly. He stood up from the chair and walked across the room, pushing past Mrs. Weasley and ascending the stairs. He disappeared up them and a minute later, Ron heard the bathroom door open and shut loudly.
“I-I wasn't even a-aware that they're married,” Hermione said.
“They aren't,” Mrs. Weasley muttered, before she walked out of the living room and into the kitchen.
Ron looked over at Hermione. Hermione's eyes were staring at the piece of floor where Mrs. Weasley had been standing.
“Oh,” Hermione said, “I-I see.”
“Er...” Ron said, as he looked around at Hermione, Fleur, Fred and George, “What's going on?”
“Remus and Tonks conceived a baby out of wedlock,” Hermione muttered. “I don't know about the wizarding world customs but it – it's – well, it's taboo in the Muggle world. Frowned upon, you could say.”
“It is taboo in the wizarding world too, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said.
Ron looked up. Mr. Weasley was walking into the living room, by the help of a pair of crutches.
“Are you okay, Dad?” Ron asked.
“No worse for the wear,” Mr. Weasley said, chuckling. “Luckily, I found your old crutches, Ron, d'you remember? When you broke your own leg a few years ago?”
“Y-yeah,” Ron muttered, “Of course. How could I forget?”
Behind Mr. Weasley, Bill, Ginny and their mother walked into the room. Bill walked over to the sideboard and pulled out a bottle of firewhisky and some glasses.
"Here," he said, and with a wave of his wand, he sent full glasses soaring through the room to each of them, holding his own aloft, "Before our minds become too befuddled with other events. We should remember the man who gave his life so that we could live. To Mad-Eye. We miss you and thank you, mate."
"Mad-Eye," they all said, and drank.
Ron, who had wanted to try firewhisky for quite some time now, drank his own in one gulp.
“Hey,” Ginny said, “Where's Harry?”
Ron turned to Hermione, who was looking down at her half-full glass of firewhiskey. She looked back up at him, then up toward the ceiling.
“I think I know,” Ron said, nodding.
Ron set his glass down on the table. Hermione did the same, and they ascended the stairs together.
“I'm coming too!” Ginny said, behind them.
“Ginny!” Mrs. Weasley called from the living room, “I need your help with George.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes and, in a huff, turned back around and headed back down the stairs. Ron took Hermione's hand and they headed up the stairs. On the landing before they reached Ron's room, however, he stopped them in their tracks. Hermione looked up at him expectantly.
“We need to decide,” Ron said. “Here and now. What are we going to tell Harry?”
“Tell Harry about what?” Hermione asked.
“Us” Ron whispered.
“Oh,” Hermione said. “Er... no. We can't. Not yet.”
“Why?” Ron asked.
“Ron,” Hermione sighed, “Harry just lost his owl. One of his greatest friends in the world. He's probably pretty bang-up about that.”
“So?” Ron said.
“Ron!” Hermione hissed, “Think about it for a minute. If Harry discovers we're in a relationship, how do you think he's going to feel?”
“Er... happy?” Ron guessed.
“Maybe,” Hermione said, “But he's going to feel lost. We're his two best friends he's been through hell and back with. We've done everything together. And now that – well – now that two of the three are – well --”
“Whispering and snogging in secret at times?” Ron suggested.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Sure,” she said. “Well, that's going to make him feel pretty lonely, don't you think?”
“Lonely?” Ron asked, “We're not going anywhere, Hermione. At least... not without him.”
“Ron,” Hermione sighed, “When Harry and Ginny became a couple, how did you feel?”
“He was still my mate,” Ron said, “But – I didn't want to be anywhere around him when he was snogging my sister.”
“And what do you think Harry would feel if he found out we're snogging?” Hermione asked.
“The same... I guess?” Ron said.
“Exactly,” Hermione said. “He's too preoccupied with the –“ she lowered her voice – “Horcruxes, and we have to help him with that. It's going to be pretty awkward if he's thinking about us snogging while we're researching and hunting for them.”
“Okay,” Ron said, “We won't tell him.”
Hermione smiled and looked at Ron. Her eyes went toward his lips, and she leaned toward him and kissed him softly. Ron returned the kiss, but Hermione backed up all too quickly.
“That's enough,” she said, giggling. “We don't want Harry to see us.”
“Am I going to have to deal with that kind of response every time I try to snog you now?” Ron asked.
Hermione chuckled, pecked Ron on the lips very briefly and headed up the stairs. Ron followed her, and they walked into his room. What they saw, surprised both of them. Harry was standing in front of Ron's attic window which was wide-open and he was looking out it.
“Harry!” Hermione cried, “What do you think you're doing?”
“Wondering if I could fly out this window,” Harry said, “and not splatter my guts all over the ground below.”
“What?” Ron asked, unsure of what he heard.
“You heard that story about Neville, right?” Harry asked, his eyes still staring at the world outside. “How his family figured out he was a wizard instead of a squib. They threw him out the window and he bounced down the driveway. Think I could bounce? Fred and George could even bet on how many times I bounced. Make a game of it.”
“I'd hex you before you even tried,” Ron said.
He walked past Harry and shut his window and locked it. He turned and saw Harry sit down on his bed. Harry looked up at the both of them.
“What?” he asked, a smile crossing his lips.
“Harry,” Hermione said, “You just threatened to leap out of the attic window!”
“Mmhmm,” Harry said, chuckling, “And?”
Ron turned from Harry to Hermione, who looked back at him.
“Have you taken the mickey, mate?” Ron asked, looking back at Harry.
“Do you know what Mad-Eye said to me before he died?” Harry asked.
“Harry,” Hermione said, “You shouldn't think about Mad-Eye right now.”
“He said to me,” Harry said, ignoring Hermione, “He said – 'Tell the Order about the Horcruxes' – Actually, he sort of gurgled it. I guess that's what Sectumsempra does to you. He told me to tell the Order about the Horcruxes.”
Ron felt his jaw drop as he stared at Harry.
“What?” Hermione asked, “How did Moody know about the Horcruxes?”
“Very good question,” Harry said. “Ever since I came up here, I've been asking myself that. How did Mad-Eye know about the Horcruxes? It's a puzzle! And then... then I remembered... Moody was under his Invisibility Cloak watching me on the Hogwarts Express, when I was roaming the hallways, you know?”
“Harry!” Hermione gasped, “You didn't talk about Horcruxes aloud to yourself, did you?”
“Thanks, Hermione,” Harry said, dully, “Thank you for thinking I am that thick!”
“Don't you have a go at her!” Ron snarled.
Hermione rounded on Ron and looked at him with a scowl that told him to “shut up!”, then she turned back to Harry.
“Okay,” she said, “So you didn't mention it aloud.”
“Actually I did,” Harry said, laughing.
“What?” Hermione asked.
“Oh, don't you remember?” Harry asked, “I mean – both of you were there!”
“What in Merlin's saggy left Y-bottoms are you talking about?” Ron asked.
“Oh, bloody hell,” Hermione said, with a gasp.
“She got it!” Harry laughed, pointing at Hermione, “She even cursed, shockingly enough.”
“Shut up, mate,” Ron, who had enough of Harry's mouth for a moment, said, “Hermione, what is he talking about?”
“A-at Dumbledore's funeral,” Hermione said, “We – we were talking about what we were going to do. And Harry – he mentioned --”
“He mentioned the Horcruxes!” Ron gasped.
Harry clapped sarcastically.
“Don't you see?” he asked, “Moody would have never let me go off on my own for a stroll around the lake! He was under his invisibility cloak, and he eavesdropped on our conversation. The bloody git one-upped all of us.”
Next thing Ron knew, Hermione walked over to Harry and slapped him across the face.
“Ow!” Harry groaned, “Damn, Hermione! What was that for?!”
“For insulting Mad-Eye when we should be mourning him!” Hermione cried out.
She scoffed and stormed out of Ron's bedroom.
“Nice going, mate,” Ron said, for the second time that day.
Ron retreated from his bedroom. Hermione was sitting on the bottom step near the landing they had paused on earlier to debate Harry's awareness of their relationship. Ron walked down to the step and sat next to Hermione, who was sobbing into her knees. He put an arm around her, and she looked up at him.
“Thanks, Ron...I’m sorry, I shouldn't have slapped Harry,” Hermione hiccuped. “It’s just so awf-ful, isn’t it? R-right after Dumbledore... I j-just n-never imagined Mad-Eye dying, somehow, he seemed so tough!”
“Yeah, I know,” said Ron, giving her a squeeze. “But you know what he’d say to us if he was here?”
“’C-constant vigilance,’” said Hermione, mopping her eyes.
“That’s right,” said Ron, nodding. “He’d tell us to learn from what happened to him.”
Hermione smiled up at Ron.
“How do you always know what to say?” she asked.
Then she kissed him once again, and he returned the kiss. Hermione backed away, after a moment, and put her head on his shoulder. There they sat, talking in whispers and trying to calm themselves and each other from the events of the day, before Mrs. Weasley called everyone down for dinner.
Wow, I love this chapter better than I thought I would. When I started on it, I honestly had no idea about what to do for the aftermath of the escape from Privet Drive. My mind had been full of thoughts on the battle chapters, that I had no idea what to do about this one. So it surprised me!
A few things to explain:
Remus and Tonks: I know JK Rowling probably never would have even thought of them conceiving a baby out of wedlock, but I just wanted it to be different in my story. More to come with them, and there is a big payoff for the two of them coming up in a few chapters. Won't say no more about that.
Ron and Hermione: I almost had Harry walk in on Ron and Hermione kissing on those stairs at the end of the chapter, but decided against it. He'll find out soon... when? You'll just have to wait and see!
Loopy Harry: I have really no reasons for why Harry was acting all loopy towards the end of the chapter. It was his own way of dealing with stress and the events... I guess you could say?
Moody: I really hope you liked my explanation about how he knew about the Horcruxes.
Other stuff: I hope you thought the aftermath of the battle was good enough. For example, the injuries and stuff when it came to the Order. I wanted to keep them alive, but I had to make it believable since they were basically ambushed in the park.
Hope you liked this chapter!
Last edited by Fury; December 28th, 2011 at 8:12 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
The Weasley Family Graveyard
Author's Note: Two issues with dates in this story. 1) I just realized that in my story, Teddy Lupin's birth month will be different because I think I had Tonks get pregnant earlier than she did in the actual book. In my story, it is March, and in the canon, it is April. 2) Bill and Fleur's wedding is August 1st, one day after Harry's birthday. I think I might have, at some point in the story, put Harry's birthday being on a Thursday. It will be on a Friday instead. My apologies for both issues.
When Harry went down to the bottom floor of the Burrow that evening for dinner, he was the last to arrive. The tiny kitchen table was already full, due to the twelve seated so close together around the table. Even George, who looked like he could pass out at any moment, thanks to the multiple medical potions he had to indulge, and Mr. Weasley, whose mending leg was propped up in a nearby chair, were sitting there with everyone.
“Harry, I made a plate with all the fixings for you,” Mrs. Weasley said, pointing to a plate on the table, “Come sit down with us.”
“Er... I think I'll sit in the living room, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, picking up his plate, “There are twelve sitting here already. You know what they say about thirteen sitting at one table.”
Everyone looked up at him. Harry could tell that some of them thought he had gone mental, so he smiled softly and retreated into the living room. He sat down in a rocking chair near the fireplace. When he looked toward the kitchen, he noticed Ginny, Hermione and Ron staring at him. He looked away from them, and his eyes went toward the back door of the house. Harry expected Mad-Eye Moody to stump in through the door and announce to the house that he was fine and there was nothing to worry about. Alas, Harry knew that was not to be. Moody was gone and he was not coming back. None of those he had lost, those who had died for him, were ever coming back.
Harry had only finished half the food on his plate when he heard laughter echo from the kitchen. He looked toward the table guests and wondering what in the world could they be laughing about. How anyone could laugh tonight when there so much had happened in so little time. He shook his head and stared at his plate. He stood up, set it on the coffee table nearby and retreated back up the stairs toward Ron's room.
When he arrived, he found the make-shift cot in Ron's tiny closet and pulled it out, then set it across the room. Just as he was about to lay down, he heard a knock on the door. He turned around and saw Ginny standing there in the doorway.
“You almost missed out on dessert,” she said, holding up the plate of treacle tart.
Ginny shut the door behind her. She walked over to Ron's bed and placed the plate in the center of it, before sitting on it and resting her back against the wall of the attic. She looked up at Harry and patted a hand on the bed, beckoning him over. He stared at her hand for a moment, before he walked over to the bed and sat down next to her. Ginny picked up a piece of treacle tart and started in on it. Harry tried his best not to stare at her mouth as she bit into small piece of treacle. He shook himself mentally, clearing his thoughts.
“Ginny, what do you want?” he asked. “Because I know you didn't come up just to give me dessert.”
“I wanted to talk to you,” Ginny said, “About... stuff.”
“Stuff,” Harry echoed.
“Did you hear Remus and Tonks' announcement?” Ginny asked.
“I haven't talked to either of them since I arrived,” Harry said; that wasn't honest... he might have said a word or two to them when they had come back from Surrey, but he had forgotten what that was.
He picked up a piece of treacle tart and nibbled on it.
“Remus is going to be a father,” Ginny said. “Tonks is pregnant.”
Harry almost choked. “What?” he asked.
“Remus announced it earlier tonight,” Ginny said.
“I wasn't aware they were even married,” Harry said, “Why didn't they tell me? I consider Remus a close friend.”
“Because they aren't married,” Ginny said.
Harry swallowed a bite of the tart as he looked at Ginny.
“Oh,” Harry said, then a thought came to his mind, “Wait a damn minute! Tonks was one of my escorts... and she's pregnant?!”
“I was wondering when you would get to that part,” Ginny said, raising her eyebrows.
“Why?” Harry asked, “How could Remus --”
“Apparently even Remus couldn't stop her from being a part of your escort team,” Ginny said, “Simply because Remus was a part of it.”
“And – is she okay?” Harry asked, “The baby –?”
“They're both fine,” Ginny said, “Mum checked up on her. As you might guess, she's rather good when it comes to maternity stuff. Besides Tonks was very cheerful during dinner. She was very chatty about it. She's due in March apparently.”
“How does Remus feel?” Harry asked.
“Er – he really didn't say anything,” Ginny said.
“I'm sure he's still trying to get it through his head,” Harry said, chuckling.
“Probably,” Ginny said.
She picked up another piece of treacle tart and bit into it.
“I'm working at Fred and George's shop,” Ginny said. “Summer job.”
“That's great,” Harry said, grinning.
“Unfortunately, with George on the mend,” Ginny said, “And the wedding in six days, I'm not sure when I'll be going back to the shop.”
“Why did you get a job, if I may ask?” Harry asked, “I mean – it would only be for about six weeks total, wouldn't it?”
Ginny stared at the remaining half of the tart in her hand.
“I – er – I wanted to be able to afford your birthday gift,” she said.
“Ginny,” Harry said, “You don't have to buy me a gift.”
“Don't worry,” Ginny scoffed, “I might not even be able to afford one now anyway.”
“I don't mind,” Harry said, “Really.”
She turned her attention toward him and looked into his eyes. He looked at hers and had almost forgotten how beautiful they were. He had forgotten how he used to be able to get so easily lost in them. He had to force himself to look away, but he instantly regret it, when his eyes fell on Pigwidgeon's empty cage, and it reminded him of Hedwig's cage that he left in Surrey, and how it would never be used again.
“I got your letter,” Ginny said, “a couple days ago.”
There it was. The real reason Ginny was in her brother's room.
“Did you?” Harry muttered, trying not to linger too long on the fact that Ginny's letter had been the last one Hedwig had ever delivered.
Ginny nodded. “It was very sweet,” she said.
“Really?” Harry asked, “Then why didn't you give me a reply?”
Ginny looked away from Harry and sighed audibly.
“I was going to,” Ginny said, “I really was. Because I thought it might have meant that you had really regret that talk you had with me at Professor Dumbledore's funeral.”
“Ginny,” Harry began, but Ginny raised her hand cutting him off.
“And then,” she said, over him, “I talked to Hermione. She said that she doesn't think you're going to want to get into a relationship again as long as... You-Know-Who is still a threat.”
“Smart girl, that Hermione,” Harry said, chuckling.
“So it's true?” Ginny asked.
“I don't know the answer to that, Ginny,” Harry said.
“So – y-you don't feel anything for me anymore?” Ginny asked, tears sparkling in her eyes.
“I don't know the answer to that either,” Harry said, “I really --”
He was cut off when he felt Ginny's lips on his. Harry briefly brushed his lips over hers and Ginny backed up.
“How about now?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.
Harry looked at Ginny's eyes and lips, and it took everything he had to wrench his eyes away from her. Ginny cleared her throat.
“I see,” Ginny said, looking away from Harry.
She wiped a tear away from her eye and, picking up the plate of remaining treacle tart, she stood up from the bed and walked across the room. When she opened the door, Ron was standing there. Ron raised his eyebrows as he looked from Ginny to Harry, then back to Ginny. Ginny harrumphed and walked around Ron and down the stairs, her footsteps echoing back into the bedroom. Ron walked into the bedroom, shutting the door behind him. As Harry stood up from Ron's bed and laid down on the cot, he could feel his best mate's eyes on him. The room went dark, and Harry heard a groan of bed-springs as Ron sat down on his bed. Harry wondered when Ron would speak up, though it didn't take very long.
“Why was she in here?” Ron asked,
“She was bringing me some dessert,” Harry said, innocently.
“Exactly what kind of dessert are you talking about?” Ron asked.
“I don't know, mate,” Harry said, sighing audibly, and making himself comfortable on the cot, “I really don't know.”
At first he thought Ron was going to retaliate, but after a moment, he heard bed-springs groan again, and knew Ron was too tired to fight with him.
The next morning, as Mrs. Weasley had told Ron, only Harry, Hermione, and a number of the Weasleys were in the house. Even Fred and George had stayed the night, after Mrs. Weasley had insisted that she keep on eye on George for a few days. Mr. Weasley, whose leg was slowly mending, had requested family leave from work for the following week until after the wedding was over.
Shortly after ten that morning, an owl post had arrived from Kingsley. Bill, Fleur, Remus, Tonks and Kingsley would return to the Burrow that afternoon for a Order meeting, where Kingsley would update everyone on the aftermath that the events in Surrey had caused. Mrs. Weasley had not revealed whether Harry, Ron and Hermione would be allowed to attend the meeting.
He had also retrieved Mad-Eye Moody's body safely from Surrey, and after much deliberation and debate, it was quickly decided that they would hold a small, private funeral for Mad-Eye, and he would be buried on the Weasley Family's small graveyard, since the Ex-Auror had considered that the Order was the closest family he ever had.
The funeral would be held before the Order meeting, so at eleven that morning, Ron, Hermione, Harry and Fred had all prepared the graveyard for the ceremony, while Ginny and Mrs. Weasley prepared food for a big lunch for the meeting.
When the atmosphere of the graveyard had begun to weigh too heavily on Harry, he had to excuse himself. After six feet of dirt had been dug out in a nice large square of earth, Fred excused himself as well, leaving Ron and Hermione alone in the graveyard. Ron crawled out of the large hole and wiped off the dirt from his clothes. Hermione was walking amongst the different graves of Weasley family members and beloved pets.
“Why have you never taken me or Harry here before?” Hermione asked, “There's so much of the family plot I've never really seen.”
“Dunno,” Ron said, shrugging, “Too personal... if that's not too much to say?”
“No,” Hermione said, smiling, “I understand. Hey... why are every one of the headstones just large rocks? Normally graves have well -- marble headstones or some other kind of stone.”
“It's a running joke,” Ron said, chuckling. “When the first family member, a beloved owl long before Errol came around, passed away, a large rock was used. Then when the first human family member was buried here, the family couldn't afford a traditional headstone, and rocks were free and plentiful. So a tradition was started.”
“That's sweet, actually,” Hermione said, smiling.
She stopped next to a grave and Ron walked over to it. The headstone belonged to that of his Uncle Billius, who Ron's middle name was named after. Under the dates of birth and death, the epitaph, carved into the stone, read:
Beloved Brother, Son, and All-Around Jokester
Met a GRIM Fate
“Ah, Uncle Billius,” Ron said, chuckling, “Still one of the only wizards in recorded history to actually die twenty-four hours after seeing a Grim. Fred and George like to say they want to go the same way as him.”
“That's awful,” Hermione said, though she chuckled softly.
“This is the first time I've come here in a long time to be honest,” Ron said, “Not a very welcoming place.”
Out of the corner of his eyes, Ron saw Hermione looking at him. She offered her hand and he took it, then lead her out of the graveyard.
“Hey!” Hermione said, “I didn't see that before.”
She was pointing to a wooden sign that was nailed onto a lone tree standing outside the graveyard. The sign read:
Noble House of Weasley
“'Toujours inops',” Hermione read, “Always... poor?”
Hermione raised her eyebrows at Ron, and he chuckled.
“It is supposed to be a play on words,” he said, “How we're always... you know... notoriously poor. The Black Family Crest is 'Toujours Pur' or always pure. You know my family is related to the Blacks, right. My father is a distant cousin of Sirius.”
“I believe I have heard that before,” Hermione said.
“So we used that as another running joke,” Ron said.
“Did Sirius ever find out about it?” Hermione asked.
“No,” Ron said, “I'm sure he would have gotten a kick out of it.”
“Yeah, I bet,” Hermione said, giggling.
Ron smiled at Hermione. He loved to listen to her laugh. It was one of his favorite sounds in the world.
“What are you looking at?” Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows.
“You,” Ron said, “I'm trying to decide if it would be offensive for me to kiss you in a graveyard.”
“Technically,” Hermione said, as she wrapped her arms closer around Ron, “we're not in the graveyard.”
“Good point,” Ron said, smiling at her.
Hermione grinned and kissed him softly on the lips. Before he could lose himself in the kiss, she backed away.
“What's wrong?” Ron asked.
“I told you yesterday,” Hermione said, “No lingering kisses. Harry could catch us.”
“Harry's not here,” Ron said, grinning.
Hermione rolled her eyes, leaned toward Ron and kissed him again. This time it was not brief.
At half-past-one, the Weasley family, Harry, Hermione, Kingsley, Remus, Tonks, Fleur and Hagrid were all standing in the Weasley Family Graveyard. As Kingsley had said, McGonagall wanted to attend the funeral but she needed some rest before she would have to go back to the Ministry the following day to resume the Hogwarts Hearings. Hestia, Dedalus, Elphias and Mrs. Figg had all written to the Order and gave their sincere condolences and wishes that they could have been in attendance.
Moody's body was now laying at the bottom of the six-foot hole. Kingsley had used a series of complex charms to remove the magic from Mad-Eye's Invisibility Cloak, and was used to wrap around Mad-Eye's body in his honor. He had used it many times in his life, and it was only proper it would join him in death. The attendees were gathered around the hole and Kingsley was at the head of it, and as the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, it was only appropriate for him to lead the ceremony.
“What can be said about Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody, eh?” Kingsley began, “If he was here with us today, I think he would say 'Why are the lot of you standing around mourning me? Shouldn't you be off fighting to end the Second War?'”
Many in attendance laughed, and after a moment, even Mrs. Weasley joined in.
“If I know Mad-Eye,” Kingsley said, “And I like to think I did, I would say that if there was only man in this whole world who would not want anyone to cry for him at his funeral --”
He paused and looked up at Tonks, whose head lay against Remus' arm. She sniffled lightly.
“It would be Mad-Eye,” Kingsley continued. “I'm sure there are many in attendance today who had thought at one point or another that if there was one wizard left standing at the end of the Second War, it would be Mad-Eye Moody himself. He was always the first to engage himself in the heat of battle. If he missed out on a battle, he would be grumpy for a week! Moody went out the same way he came into this world, fighting for his life. Except this time he did it to protect a young man who he had sworn to protect until his very last breath.”
Harry felt the eyes of many of the attendees on him. He stared down at his shoes.
“And that is the way he would have wanted to go out,” Kingsley continued. “He was a leader, a mentor, and a warrior. But mostly, he was our friend. In return, he considered the Order his closest family. Now, I know there are some of you who want to say a few words for the fallen warrior.”
Kingsley looked around at the group. Tonks was the first to go, but after three short sentences, a sob caught in her throat, and she buried her head into Remus' chest. Inspired by her courage, more of the Order started giving speeches. When it was finally Harry's turn, everyone looked at him. He cleared his throat.
“You know,” Harry said, “I was going to say it was Mad-Eye who convinced me that I want to be an Auror after the Second War is over, but that is not true. It was a Death Eater posing as him who told me that. But... I like to think that Mad-Eye would have shared his sentiments, then he would have muttered in annoyance that it would be the first time he ever agreed with a Death Eater!”
A few people in attendance chuckled.
“And probably that it would be his last as well,” Harry continued. “Heh, most of the time Mad-Eye ever talked to me was to give me an order of some kind. 'Get down' or 'get up' or 'move forward!' Can't really recall a moment where we sat down together and had pleasant conversation. But that was who Alastor Moody was, wasn't he? Always ready to give orders. Always ready for action. I only hope I can be half the Auror he ever was.”
Harry nodded toward Kingsley to indicate he was finished.
“Thank you, Harry,” Kingsley said, “Thank you, all of you, for those kind words. Now, I believe Arthur wants to say something else.”
“Yes,” Mr. Weasley said. “Because Alastor is being buried in the Weasley Family graveyard, we have a tradition here during the funeral service. While most of the grave will be filled by magic, in honor of the wizard being buried, everyone in attendance is asked to fill in one shovel-full of dirt by hand, in honor of the man that is being buried here today. So...”
Mr. Weasley picked up the shovel near him and buried it into the mound of dirt near him. He took a load of dirt and threw it into the hole, as it splattered on top of Moody's body. The shovel was passed to everyone. Hagrid had to gingerly use the shovel in his hands to do it properly. Finally, Harry and Kingsley were the last to use the shovel. Then Kingsley raised his wand, and the remaining pile of dirt moved into the hole and covered Moody. The dirt smoothed itself over the grave.
Kingsley then picked up Moody's large walking staff, and planted it in front of the grave. Harry was shocked to see that Moody's glass eye had been placed, using charms, into the wood of the staff. Then Kingsley conjured white roses for everyone and passed them around. Several of those in attendance did their best not to cry as they set the roses on the ground above the grove, and most succeeded, except for Tonks. She was so distraught that Remus had to escort her out of the graveyard and back to the Burrow. Everyone else remained in the graveyard as Mr. Weasley found a large rock and dug Moody's name and nickname and his date of birth and death into the rock with magic.
The epitaph simply read “Constant Vigilance!”
Decided to end it there.
I was going to have the Order meeting, but then I just realized it was just a routine meeting. The only important thing I could have added was that the Aurors who had gone to Surrey had found no signs of Death Eaters in the area and that if there were any deaths among them (which there was at least one, Rowle), the bodies had all been gathered, and the survivors had all been rounded up by their own group. Much of this will be revealed in-story throughout the rest of the story, so I didn't think I should put it there.
Those wondering about the Hogwarts Hearing, you will find something very important about it in the next chapter or two.
The Weasley Family Graveyard was from my own imagination. It is unknown if they have a private graveyard but I like to think they do.
Also, for those wondering about Harry and Ginny's relationship story-line, it is far from over, and if you know Ginny, you know she will not back down without a fight!
I think my next chapter will be Harry's birthday. I really want to get to that and the wedding. I also have a question for you.
I have a question for my readers, and specifically reviewers: The Will of Albus Dumbledore in Deathly Hallows is going to play a big role in my story, because this is my version of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", and the Deathly Hallows will also play a role, though I will also change that story-line up a bit. If I put the Will in my story, and used a few lines from the book, would you be okay with that? It goes along with another idea I have in the next chapter, so it would work very well.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Last edited by Fury; December 29th, 2011 at 2:32 am.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Rufus Scrimgeour's Offensive Strategy
Author's Note: Well, I was going to have Harry's Birthday Party in this, as well as some other events in this chapter, but as I was writing this, I realized this is a very long chapter! So Harry's party will be in the next chapter. Also, since the idea of using the Will of Albus Dumbledore in my story is a welcome one, I will do so, but I will change some the events surrounding it in order to make it a little different. There is also one big difference you'll notice with it too.
The days that led up to Harry's seventeenth birthday and Bill and Fleur's wedding were fairly busy in the Burrow. Everyone was just trying to get past the events that happened in Surrey, and Mad-Eye Moody's funeral. Mrs. Weasley, who could see that the atmosphere in the Burrow was dim, was trying to make it cheerful. Most of the time, this meant she was trying to keep everyone busy, so they didn't have their minds on the loss of Mad-Eye or the terrible events in Surrey.
This meant that everyone in the Burrow was requested to work on the last finishing touches around the lot in order to make the atmosphere a beautiful one for Bill and Fleur. But the most peculiar action of Mrs. Weasley was that she had seemed to request that Harry, Ron and Hermione do different tasks away from each other.
Ron was asked to deal with the gnomes again, as they had decided to return to the lot. Even though George was feeling much better and laughing along with his brother at the best of times, it was requested from Mrs. Weasley that he and Fred stay around the Burrow until the wedding was over. So they helped Ron with the gnomes as well, and after that was finished, they were asked to clean out the garage because Mr. Weasley still could not stay on his mending leg for too long.
Harry was asked to help Mrs. Weasley color-match ribbons, favors and flowers for the wedding after-party. To pass the time, Mrs. Weasley was also very chatty about Harry's birthday party and the plans for it, always asking Harry what he wanted for the meal and presents and decorations. Harry, who wasn't really favoring a party, didn't help very much, which Mrs. Weasley wasn't too happy with. Hermione and Ginny were asked to do the laundry, and clean the bedsheets, tablecloths and curtains, and seemingly every other piece of fabric Mrs. Weasley could think of. Harry noticed that Ginny seemed all too happy to do anything as long as it meant that she was not in the same room with him.
When Harry, Ron and Hermione had free-time, they were in Ron's room researching Horcruxes and possible locations that they could be in. Much to Harry and Ron's surprise, Hermione had used Muffliato on the bedroom door so that Mrs. Weasley wouldn't hear them. When they were not researching, they were practicing their dueling skills on each other.
Because of how busy Ron was, between preparations and research, it was not uncommon for him to be grumpy at different times of the day. He and Hermione had been so busy that he hadn't been able to spend much time with her in private. The handful of times they spent together didn't last very long, and there was very little intimacy, because Hermione was still refusing to allow a chance for Harry to find out about the two of them together. When Ginny had caught them snogging at one point in her bedroom, she had been angry to the point that she threatened to tell Harry about the two of them. Fortunately they were able to beg her not to do so, and in the end she agreed, but mostly because she had been avoiding any one-on-one discussion with Harry anyway.
On Thursday, one day before Harry's birthday, and two days before the wedding, Fleur's parents, Madame and Monsieur Delacour, and Gabrielle, arrived as guests to the Burrow. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were now sleeping in the sitting room, having shouted down Monsieur and Madame Delacour’s protests and insisted they take their bedroom. Gabrielle was sleeping with Fleur in Percy’s old room, and Bill would be sharing with Charlie, one of his best men, once Charlie arrived from Romania.
Harry walked down a stone stairway and to a narrow iron-wrought doorway. He opened the door and the metal scraping along the floor echoed throughout the small room ahead. He was standing in what resembled a small wine cellar. He walked across the stone floor toward a corner of the room. Crouched in the corner of the room was an emaciated old man lying in rags. This man was known as Mr. Ollivander.
“Please!” Ollivander moaned, “Please... don't.”
“Crucio!” Harry screamed, in a cruel, cold voice, that echoed throughout the room.
Ollivander began screaming, a horrible drawn-out scream, a scream of unendurable agony.
“I want you to tell me again,” Harry ordered, “Why did you lie?”
“I did not,” Ollivander moaned, “I did not lie to you.”
“Lies!” Harry screamed.
“I told you,” Ollivander moaned, “I swore a different wand would work...”
“Lies!” Harry repeated.
“Please,” Ollivander moaned, “I... beg you!”
And Harry saw the white hand raise its wand and felt Voldemort's surge of vicious anger, and.... it slapped himself in the face....
Harry woke with a start. Ron was standing over his cot and when he saw that Harry was awake, returned to his bed.
“Wh-what?” Harry asked, “What do you want?”
“I had to wake you, mate,” Ron said, “Sorry, I had to slap you awake. It was all I could think of. You were... moaning.”
“Oh,” Harry said.
“Were you dreaming?” Ron asked.
Harry nodded. He had been having the same dream ever since the day after his escape from Surrey.
“Was it about – him?” Ron asked.
Harry nodded again.
“I thought you were trying to stop that from happening,” Ron said, “Isn't that what you told Hermione?”
“I have been trying,” Harry said.
“Well, try harder,” Ron said, “I'm not exactly happy with the fact I have to listen to you moaning in your sleep.”
“I'm not the only one who moans in his sleep, mate,” Harry said, “You keep saying 'Er... my... knee' and stuff... when are you going to tell her how you feel about her?”
“I – um – I,” Ron stammered, “I don't know what you're talking about. Anyway, happy birthday mate.”
Harry seized the wand lying beside his camp bed, pointed it at the cluttered desk where he had left his glasses, and said, "Accio Glasses!" Although they were only around a foot away, there was something immensely satisfying about seeing them zoom toward him, at least until they poked him in the eye.
"Slick," snorted Ron, “I'd do your fly by hand though.”
Ron snickered when Harry checked it. Ron picked up a basket at the end of his bed and threw it to Harry. Harry caught it and looked in it. It was filled to the brim with Chocolate Frogs, Cauldron Cakes, little packages of treacle tart, and other goodies.
“I might steal some of those Chocolate Frogs from you though,” Ron said.
“I'll hex you if you do!” Harry laughed, though he threw a Frog at Ron, who caught it with ease.
After getting dressed, Harry and Ron made their way down the stairs. When they reached Ginny's bedroom, the door opened and Hermione walked out.
“Happy birthday, Harry!” Hermione said, before hugging him.
“Oh, thanks, Hermione,” Harry said.
He was distracted because he saw Ginny peering at him through the doorway. Harry thought she was going to wish him Happy Birthday too, but she closed the door without a word.
“Did you hear me, Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Huh?” Harry asked, looking from the door to Hermione.
“I'm going to wait to give you your present until tonight at the party,” Hermione said.
“Oh,” Harry said, “Brilliant. Doesn't really matter to me either way.”
Hermione smiled and the three of them walked downstairs and into the kitchen. Out of everyone who was in the house, only Ron's parents were in the kitchen at the moment. Mr. Weasley was reading the Daily Prophet, and Mrs. Weasley was working on breakfast.
“Happy Birthday, Harry,” Mrs. Weasley said, as soon as she saw him.
She walked over to him and hugged him, as Ron and Hermione sat down beside each other.
“Seventeen is a big birthday, you know,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Now, most of your presents are being given to you at the party tonight, but Arthur and I thought we should give this to you now.”
Mrs. Weasley handed a small parcel to Harry and he unwrapped it. Inside was a watch very like the one Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had given Ron for his seventeenth; it was gold, with stars circling around the face instead of hands.
"It's traditional to give a wizard a watch when he comes of age," said Mrs. Weasley, watching him anxiously, "I'm afraid that one isn't new like Ron's, it was actually my brother Fabian's and he wasn't terribly careful with his possessions, it's a bit dented on the back, but--"
The rest of her speech was lost; Harry hugged Mrs. Weasley again, and she chuckled softly as he did. She backed away and set plates of hotcakes in front of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Harry's eyes caught the back of the Daily Prophet Mr. Weasley was reading. The story on the front page read:
Minister Scrimgeour Claims New Offensive Strategy
Will Concrete Whether Hogwarts Will Reopen Or Not
“Since when was the Minister of Magic in the middle of the Hogwarts Hearings?” Harry asked.
“He's always been in the middle of it,” Mr. Weasley said, setting down the paper, “At least in spirit, you could say. He's been watching over it, but he has remained pretty quiet and let the Hogwarts Senators and Wizengamot have their say. But it seems he has something on his mind now, it seems. He hasn't given that away though. I suppose we'll find out soon, huh?”
Harry couldn't find a good response, and was saved any at the sound of a loud CRACK in the distance. Mrs. Weasley ran over to the window and looked out it.
“Arthur!” Mrs. Weasley gasped, “It's – it's – Minister Scrimgeour!”
Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at each other and all hopped up to look out the window. Rufus Scrimgeour was indeed walking down the driveway toward the Burrow. A tall red-headed man was following in his footsteps.
“Is that Percy behind him?” Hermione asked.
“Looks like it,” Ron muttered.
Mrs. Weasley scurried over to the door, and opened it, just as Rufus Scrimgeour and Percy arrived at the doorway.
“Minister!” Mrs. Weasley said, “What a lovely surprise!”
“Thank you, Molly,” Scrimgeour said, “May I come in to your lovely home?”
“Sure, sure,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Come on in!”
She stood aside as Scrimgeour and Percy walked inside. Harry noticed that Percy's eyes were staring at the floor.
“No, no, Arthur,” Scrimgeour said, as Mr. Weasley tried to stand with his crutches, “You may sit. I am not here to talk to you.”
“Why are you here, Minister?” Harry asked.
Scrimgeour smiled crossly as he looked at Harry.
“I was actually hoping to talk to you,” he said, then looked at Ron and Hermione, “And your two friends.”
Harry turned to Ron and Hermione, who looked unsure but nodded timidly.
“Er... sure, I suppose,” Harry said.
“Sit down, Minister,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I can treat you to breakfast while you go about your task!”
“Actually, Molly,” Scrimgeour said, “I will take this discussion to your living room. I wish to talk to Mr. Potter, Miss Granger and your son alone... in private. Perhaps, while we do so, you could catch up with your son, Percy, here?”
He turned to Percy who looked up at him, then his parents and nodded timidly.
“Follow me, you three, if you will,” Scrimgeour said, to Harry, Ron and Hermione.
They nodded and followed Scrimgeour into the living room.
Scrimgeour sat himself in the sagging armchair that Mr. Weasley normally occupied, leaving Harry, Ron, and Hermione to squeeze side by side onto the sofa. Once they had done so, Scrimgeour spoke.
"I have some questions for the three of you, and I think it will be best if we do it individually. If you two" -- he pointed at Harry and Hermione -- "can wait upstairs, I will start with Ronald."
"We're not going anywhere," said Harry, while Hermione nodded vigorously. "You can speak to us together, or not at all."
Scrimgeour gave Harry a cold, appraising look. Harry had the impression that the Minister was wondering whether it was worthwhile opening hostilities this early.
"Very well then, together," he said, shrugging. He cleared his throat. "I am here, as I'm sure you know, because of Albus Dumbledore's will."
Harry, Ron, and Hermione looked at one another.
"A surprise, apparently!” Scrimgeour explained. You were not aware then that Dumbledore had left you anything?"
"A-all of us?" said Ron, "Me and Hermione too?"
"Yes,” Scrimgeour said, “all of --"
"Dumbledore died over a month ago,” Harry interrupted, “Why has it taken this long to give us what he left us?"
"Isn't it obvious?" said Hermione, before Scrimgeour could answer. "They wanted to examine whatever he's left us. You had no right to do that!" she said, and her voice trembled slightly.
"I had every right," said Scrimgeour dismissively. "The Decree for Justifiable Confiscation gives the Ministry the power the confiscate the contents of a will--"
"That law was created to stop wizards passing on Dark artifacts," said Hermione, "and the Ministry is supposed to have powerful evidence that the deceased's possessions are illegal before seizing them! Are you telling me that you thought Dumbledore was trying to pass us something cursed?"
"Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?" asked Scrimgeour.
"No, I'm not," retorted Hermione. "I'm hoping to do some good in the world!"
Ron laughed. Scrimgeour's eyes flickered toward him and away again as Harry spoke.
"So why have you decided to let us have our things now? Can't think of a pretext to keep them?"
"No, it'll be because thirty-one days are up," said Hermione at once. "They can't keep the objects longer than that unless they can prove they're dangerous. Right?"
Scrimgeour ignored Hermione. He reached inside his cloak and pulled out a large roll of parchment, in which he opened.
"'The Last Will and Testament of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore'... Yes, here we are... 'To Ronald Bilius Weasley, I leave my Deluminator, in the hope that he will remember me when he uses it.'"
Scrimgeour took from the bag an object that Harry had seen before: It looked something like a silver cigarette lighter, but it had, he knew, the power to suck all light from a place, and restore it, with a simple click. Scrimgeour leaned forward and passed the Deluminator to Ron, who took it and turned it over in the fingers looking stunned. He opened it, pressed a small button. A light from a lantern sucked itself into the Deluminator. Ron pressed it again, and the light returned to the lantern.
"That is a valuable object," said Scrimgeour, watching Ron. "It may even be unique. Certainly it is of Dumbledore's own design. Why would he have left you and item so rare?"
Ron shook his head, looking bewildered.
"Dumbledore must have taught thousands of students," Scrimgeour persevered. "Yet the only ones he remembered in his will are you three. Why is that? To what use did he think you would put to the Deluminator, Mr. Weasley?"
"Put out lights, I s'pose," mumbled Ron. "What else could I do with it?"
Evidently Scrimgeour had no suggestions. After squinting at Ron for a moment or two, he turned back to Dumbledore's will.
"'To Miss Hermione Jean Granger, I leave my copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, in the hope that she will find it entertaining and instructive.'"
Scrimgeour now pulled out of the bag a small book that looked as ancient as the copy of Secrets of the Darkest Art upstairs. Its binding was stained and peeling in places. Hermione took it from Scrimgeour without a word. She held the book in her lap and gazed at it. Harry saw that the title was in runes; he had never learned to read them. As he looked, a tear splashed onto the embossed symbols.
"Why do you think Dumbledore left you that book, Miss Granger?" asked Scrimgeour.
"He... he knew I liked books," said Hermione in a thick voice, mopping her eyes with her sleeve.
"But why that particular book?" Scrimgeour asked.
"I don't know,” Hermione shrugged, “He must have thought I'd enjoy it."
"Did you ever discuss codes,” Scrimgeour asked, eyebrows raised, “or any means of passing secret messages, with Dumbledore?"
"No, I didn't," said Hermione, still wiping her eyes on her sleeve. "And if the Ministry hasn't found any hidden codes in this book in thirty-one days, I doubt that I will."
She suppressed a sob. They were wedged together so tightly that Ron had difficulty extracting his arm to put it around Hermione's shoulders. Scrimgeour turned back to the will.
"'To Harry James Potter,'" he read, and Harry's insides contracted with a sudden excitement, "'I leave the Snitch he caught in his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts, as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance and skill.'"
As Scrimgeour pulled out the tiny, walnut-sized golden ball, its silver wings fluttered rather feebly, and Harry could not help feeling a definite sense of anticlimax.
"Why did Dumbledore leave you this Snitch?" asked Scrimgeour.
"No idea," said Harry. "For the reasons you just read out, I suppose... to remind me what you can get if you... persevere and whatever it was."
"You think this a mere symbolic keepsake, then?" Scrimgeour asked.
"I suppose so," said Harry. "What else could it be?"
"I'm asking the questions," said Scrimgeour, “and I believe there is something hidden inside this Snitch.”
“Inside?” Harry asked, clueless.
“One could hide a tiny object inside the workings on a Snitch,” Scrimgeour said, “And no one would know the difference, unless they were the one to open it. I'm sure you know why.”
“Because Snitches have flesh memories,” Hermione said.
"What?" said Harry and Ron together; both considered Hermione's Quidditch knowledge negligible.
"Correct," said Scrimgeour. "A Snitch is not touched by bare skin before it is released, not even by the maker, who wears gloves. It carries an enchantment by which it can identify the first human to lay hands upon it, in case of a disputed capture. This Snitch" -- he held up the tiny golden ball -- "will remember your touch, Potter. It occurs to me that Dumbledore, who had prodigious magical skill, whatever his other faults, might have enchanted this Snitch so that it will open only for you."
Harry's heart was beating rather fast. He was sure that Scrimgeour was right. How could he avoid taking the Snitch with his bare hand in front of the Minister?
"You don't say anything," said Scrimgeour. "Perhaps you already know what the Snitch contains?"
"No," said Harry, still wondering how he could appear to touch the Snitch without really doing so.
"Take it," said Scrimgeour quietly.
Harry met the Minister's yellow eyes and knew he had no option but to obey. He held out his hand, and Scrimgeour leaned forward again and place the Snitch, slowly and deliberately, into Harry's palm. Nothing happened. As Harry's fingers closed around the Snitch, its tired wings fluttered and were still. Scrimgeour, Ron, and Hermione continued to gaze avidly at the now partially concealed ball, as if still hoping it might transform in some way.
"That was dramatic," said Harry coolly. Both Ron and Hermione laughed.
"That's all, then, is it?" asked Hermione, making to raise herself off the sofa.
"Not quite," said Scrimgeour, who looked bad tempered now. "Dumbledore left you a second bequest, Potter."
"What is it?" asked Harry, excitement rekindling.
Scrimgeour did not bother to read from the will this time.
"The sword of Godric Gryffindor," he said. Hermione and Ron both stiffened. Harry looked around for a sign of the ruby-encrusted hilt, but Scrimgeour did not pull the sword from the leather pouch, which in any case looked much too small to contain it.
"So where is it?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"Unfortunately," said Scrimgeour, "that sword was not Dumbledore's to give away. The sword of Godric Gryffindor is an important historical artifact, and as such, belongs--"
"It belongs to Harry!" said Hermione hotly. "It chose him, he was the one who found it, it came to him out of the Sorting Hat--"
"According to reliable historical sources, the sword may present itself to any worthy Gryffindor," said Scrimgeour. "That does not make it the exclusive property of Mr. Potter, whatever Dumbledore may have decided." Scrimgeour scratched his badly shaven cheek, scrutinizing Harry. "Why do you think--?"
"--Dumbledore wanted to give me the sword?" said Harry, struggling to keep his temper. "Maybe he thought it would look nice on my wall."
"This is not a joke, Potter!" growled Scrimgeour. "Was it because Dumbledore believed that only the sword of Godric Gryffindor could defeat the Heir of Slytherin? Did he wish to give you that sword, Potter, because he believed, as do many, that you are the one destined to destroy He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"
"Interesting theory," said Harry. "Has anyone ever tried sticking a sword in Voldemort? Maybe you should work on that, instead of threatening to close Hogwarts, when it should remain open!”
Scrimgeour looked as if he was about to retort, and then he inhaled and exhaled.
“Is that what you want, Mr. Potter?” Scrimgeour asked, “For Hogwarts to remain open.”
“Of course!” Harry said, “Why – why wouldn't I want it to open?”
“Forgive me,” Scrimgeour said, “But there are rumors going around, Mr. Potter, that the three of you have decided not to go back to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts next term, if the castle does open again.”
“Er – I – I --” Harry stammered, looking at Ron and Hermione, “That does not mean I don't want the school to remain open!”
“But if you have chosen to abandon your studies,” Scrimgeour said, “Why should it be important to you?”
“It is important to me!” Harry said, “And it is important to the students of Hogwarts.”
“Is that so?” Scrimgeour asked.
“Yes,” Harry said.
“Then,” Scrimgeour said, “I suppose you wouldn't mind if I made a small bequest of you?”
“Depends on what it is,” Harry said.
“If you truly want Hogwarts to remain open,” Scrimgeour said, “All you have to do, to guarantee that, is promise me that you will return to Hogwarts for the following two terms.”
Harry looked back at Ron and Hermione. Their eyes were as wide as saucers.
“I – I – I,” Harry stammered.
“Obviously, this is going to take some thought,” Scrimgeour said, “Which I will permit. I ask you that you make up your mind by this time next Friday. Because at this time next Friday, I ask you to meet me in my office at the Ministry with your answer. You see, that day is when I will finally make my decision on the fate of Hogwarts.”
Harry could not speak. His voice was stuck in his throat.
“You should be happy, Mr. Potter!” Scrimgeour said. “Have you never wished that you could have a say in the goings-on of the Ministry of Magic? That you wish to make it a better facility?”
Harry looked at his hands. That was one of his wishes.
“Then you can make one of the biggest changes!” Scrimgeour said, “You can change the Minister of Magic's mind, the mind of the most powerful man in Britain at this moment, with one simple decision. To return to Hogwarts and allow another year of learning in the magical school to take place. Or to not return... and in return, you would turn Hogwarts into a ghost town. The decision is yours. I wish you all adieu. I will see you next Friday, Mr. Potter. My office. Ten-o-clock in the morning. Be there.”
Scrimgeour took one last look at the three of them and walked out of the living room and out of the house.
Harry stared at Ron and Hermione, who were looking back at him. He was sure they were thinking the same thing he was. He was being forced to return to Hogwarts, and give up the hunt for the Horcruxes.
“Well,” Ron said, shaky laughter in his voice, “I guess we just discovered Scrimgeour's offensive strategy.”
Cliffhanger... of sorts! Wow, I had so many more plans to make this chapter even longer. I have many events left on Harry's birthday, but those will have to wait until next chapter.
Oh, my goodness, I love this chapter. Scrimgeour's “Offensive Strategy” has been on my mind since... well, before I even started on this story. And it worked so well! I'm so happy.
More to come, and I promise you the next chapter will be very exciting!
Last edited by Fury; December 29th, 2011 at 5:12 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Harry, Ron and Hermione remained on the sofa where they were sitting for a good five minutes before anyone spoke.
“Harry,” Hermione said.
“I know what you're going to say, Hermione,” Harry said, “and I don't know.”
“You don't know what you're going to say to Scrimgeour?” Ron asked.
“What can I say, Ron?” Harry asked. “Yes, Minister, I'll go back to Hogwarts, where I will be under the watchful eye of the staff and forget all about the fact that I need to hunt for the --”
“Harry!” warned Hermione, hastily and in a whisper, “we can't talk about that down here! Ron's parents are in the other room!”
“Well, it doesn't matter now, Hermione!” Harry said, “Because obviously I'm going to have to scrap my plans.”
“Harry, mate,” Ron said, “Listen, we could figure out --”
“Harry?” a voice called from the stairwell, interrupting Ron.
Harry looked over his shoulder toward the stairwell. Bill was standing there.
“May I request a minute of your time, mate?” he asked.
“Oh, sure,” Harry said.
“I'll bring the Snitch upstairs to your trunk, mate,” Ron said, taking the Snitch from Harry's hands.
“I'll go with you,” Hermione said, smiling mischievously.
Ron and Hermione stood up quickly and ascended the stairwell, past Bill. Bill walked down the stairs and sat down on the chair that Scrimgeour had been in only minutes ago.
“I realize I should have done this a lot sooner,” Bill said, “and I have been very busy. You see, the reason I am wishing to talk to you, has something to do with my wedding. Since it is tomorrow, I'm kind of cutting it close.”
“Really close,” Harry said, grinning.
“Precisely,” Bill said. “You see... I am in need of a third best man for my wedding. Fleur has three bridesmaids, so I want to match her with my own number. Charlie is one of my best men, and also Ron has accepted my request.”
“Has he?” Harry asked. “He hasn't said anything.”
“He's probably nervous about such a big task being given to him,” Bill said. “Anyway, the reason we are having this conversation, is because I am hoping you will do the honor of becoming my third best man for my wedding.
“Oh – I,” Harry stammered, “Of course! How could I say no?”
“Excellent,” Bill said, looking extremely relieved, “I think it would be most appropriate if I gave you your birthday gift now then.”
Bill brandished his wand from his robes, and pointed it at the stairwell. Moments later, a large trash bag descended the stairwell and floated across the room toward Harry and settled next to him. Harry looked at it, then over to Bill, wondering if this was some kind of joke. Bill waved his wand again, and the trash bag sank to the floor, revealing silver and black dress robes. Harry's eyes brightened as he looked at the robes.
“Happy seventeenth, Harry,” Bill said, “I hope you'll wear these tomorrow. I believe they are in your size. If they aren't, magic would fix that easy enough.”
“I – well – thank you!” Harry said, grinning.
“My pleasure,” Bill said, “I must be off for a few hours to do some last-minute preparations for my wedding. I will see you this evening for your party.”
“Sure,” Harry said, “Congratulations, by the way – er – if it doesn't seem too early.”
“Of course not,” Bill said, smiling, “Thank you.”
He stood up, bowed his head slightly in goodbye and left the room. Harry stared at his new robes for a moment, before he stood up, and walked up the stairs with them toward Ron's bedroom. He heard a buzzing sound, as he ascended the staircase, and shook his head trying to get rid of it. When he opened the door to Ron's bedroom, the room was completely dark, and there was a sound of shuffling followed by a thud and Ron yelling “OW!”
A moment later, there was a click and two lights zoomed from Ron toward the two fixtures in the room. When Harry could see, Ron was sprawled out on the ground next to his bed, and Hermione was sitting up against Ron's pillow. Harry could see a hint of blush in her cheeks.
“What's going on?” Harry asked, shutting the door behind him..
Harry looked at Ron, who spluttered and cleared his throat. Both of them looked at Hermione.
“Oh,” Hermione said, blushing, “Er – I was – and – er – Ron was – he's been playing with his Deluminator ever since we came up here. He did it right before you came in here, and I pushed him off the bed because I was so bloody annoyed with him.”
She glared at Ron, who spluttered again as Harry looked down at him.
“Yeah,” he grumbled, as he picked himself up and sat on the bed, “That's – er – pretty much what happened.”
“Oh,” Harry said, “Well – if that's all --”
“Oh, is that what Bill wanted with you?” Hermione asked, pointing at the robes, “to give you your birthday present?”
“Yes,” Harry said, “And he named me his third best man for the wedding – along with Ron and Charlie.”
“Excellent!” Ron said, “Hermione's one of Fleur's bridesmaids, you know. So we're all a big part of the wedding.”
“Ginny's also one of Fleur's bridesmaids,” Hermione said, looking up at Harry and smiling. “Did you know one of the traditions for best men and bridesmaids are to --”
“Hermione,” Ron groaned, “I don't think it would be appropriate for Harry and Ginny to dance together, considering they're – er – well, anyway, Ginny's not happy with Harry right now. So... hey... I'm sure Gabrielle's a nice dancer, Harry!”
Harry's eyes suddenly went blurry as he imagined dancing with Ginny at Bill's wedding.
“Harry?” Hermione asked, grinning.
Harry cleared his throat and hung up his robes on a nail on the nearby wall.
“I – er – don't dance very well anyway,” Harry said, quickly, “Okay, so we know Ron loves Dumledore's gift to him. What about you, Hermione?”
“Oh,” Hermione said, before grabbing the book from the end of the bed, “Actually, I – er – never heard of this book before, to be completely honest.”
"You've never heard of The Tales of Beedle the Bard?" said Ron incredulously. "You're kidding, right?"
"No, I'm not," said Hermione in surprise. "Do you know them then?"
"Well, of course I do!"
Harry looked up, diverted. The circumstance of Ron having read a book that Hermione had not was unprecedented. Ron, however, looked bemused by their surprise.
"Oh come on!” he said, “All the old kids' stories are supposed to be Beedle's aren't they? 'The Fountain of Fair Fortune' … 'The Wizard and the Hopping Pot'… 'Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump'…"
"Excuse me?" said Hermione giggling. "What was the last one?"
"Come off it!" said Ron, looking in disbelief from Harry to Hermione. "You must've heard of Babbitty Rabbitty –"
"Ron, you know full well Harry and I were brought up by Muggles!" said Hermione. "We didn't hear stories like that when we were little, we heard 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' and 'Cinderella' –"
"What's that, an illness?" asked Ron.
"So these are children's stories?" asked Hermione, bending against over the runes.
"Yeah." said Ron uncertainly. "I mean, just what you hear, you know, that all these old stories came from Beedle. I dunno what they're like in the original versions."
"But I wonder why Dumbledore thought I should read them?" Hermione asked.
She looked up at Ron and Harry, who both shrugged. Ron reached into the pocket of his robes and threw the Snitch to Harry, who caught it.
“I thought you were going to put this in my trunk,” Harry said.
“Oh,” Ron said, blushing and looking at Hermione, “I – er – forgot.”
Harry raised his eyebrows. “You... forgot?” he asked.
Ron spluttered and nodded.
“So, why would Dumbledore give you the Snitch?” Hermione said quickly, “I mean... when Scrimgeour made you take it, Harry, I was so sure that something was going to happen!"
"Yeah, well," said Harry, his pulse quickened as he raised the Snitch in his fingers. "I wasn't going to try too hard in front of Scrimgeour was I?"
"What do you mean?" asked Hermione.
"The Snitch I caught in my first ever Quidditch match?" said Harry. "Don't you remember?"
Hermione looked simply bemused. Ron, however, gasped, pointing frantically from Harry to the Snitch and back again until he found his voice.
"That was the one you nearly swallowed!" he said, loudly.
"Exactly," said Harry, and with his heart beating fast, he pressed his mouth to the Snitch.
It did not open. Frustration and bitter disappointment welled up inside him: He lowered the golden sphere.
"Writing!” Hermione gasped, pointing, “There's writing on it, quick, look!"
He nearly dropped the Snitch in surprise and excitement. Hermione was quite right. Engraved upon the smooth golden surface, where seconds before there had been nothing, were five words written in the thin, slanted handwriting that Harry recognized as Dumbledore's
I open at the close.
He had barely read them when the words vanished again.
"I open at the close,” he said, " What's that supposed to mean?"
Hermione and Ron shook their heads, looking blank.
"I open at the close,” the three of them repeated the words, over and over again, but no matter how often they did, with many different inflections, they were unable to wring any more meaning from them.
"And the sword," said Ron finally, when they had at last abandoned their attempts to divine meaning in the Snitch's inscription, "Why did he want Harry to have the sword?"
"And why couldn't he just have told me?" Harry said quietly. "I was there, it was right there on the wall of his office during all our talks last year! If he wanted me to have it, why didn't he just give it to me then?"
“The school!” Ron gasped, “It's at the school, Harry! Isn't it?”
“I just said, that, didn't I?” Harry asked, annoyed.
“No, I know what he means!” Hermione said, quickly and excitedly, “Scrimgeour wants you to go back to school this term and the next. This would be one of the rewards for going. To find out why Dumbledore wanted you to have the sword!”
“Hermione,” Harry said, “If I go back to school, I'm not going to be able to hunt Voldemort's Horcruxes, am I?”
The room went very silent at Harry's question.
“I suppose,” Hermione said, “we could try to hunt for them and do our schoolwork too?”
“Typical Hermione,” Ron said, “Thinking about saving the world and doing schoolwork without even taking another breath.”
Harry chuckled, while Hermione rolled her eyes. Suddenly, the door opened with a bang, causing Ron to fall off the bed once again and curse harshly under his breath.
“Sorry to break up the cozy birthday discussion,” Mrs. Weasley said, sternly, “But I'm going to need some help if we expect to have Harry's birthday party this evening.”
“Of course, Mrs. Weasley!” Hermione said, jumping up right away, “I'll be delighted to help you.”
She ignored Ron and Harry as she followed Mrs. Weasley out of the room.
“Bloody hell,” Ron said, when Mrs. Weasley was out of hearing range, “She's as dangerous as a Grim!”
“Hope you don't die in twenty-four hours, mate,” Harry joked.
Ron threw a pillow at Harry, and he laughed and walked out of the bedroom.
At seven-o-clock that evening, two long picnic tables had been set-up in the backyard of the Burrow, and streamers and balloons, all with the words “Happy 17th Harry!” on them, were floating above the table. Guests had started to arrive, including Hagrid, Professor McGonagall and Charlie, who had only, at that moment been able to get away from Romania for the wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were currently chatting animatedly with Charlie as Harry saw Tonks walking through the back door.
“Where's Remus?” Harry asked.
“I – I don't know,” Tonks said, a frown crossing her lips.
“He – isn't here?” Harry asked.
“I haven't seen him all day,” Tonks said. “Doesn't surprise me, though. He hasn't said too many words to me all week.”
“I'm sure he's just trying to get his mind clearly on the fact that he's going to be a father,” Harry said.
“I really hope you're right, Harry,” Tonks said.
Before Harry could reassure her, Tonks walked away and over to one of the picnic tables.
Half-an-hour later, the tables were filled with food and dishes. Those seated around the tables included: the whole of the Weasley family (minus Percy), Harry, Hermione, Fleur, Gabrielle, Madam and Monsieur Delacour, Professor McGonagall, Kingsley, and a very grumpy Tonks, who looked unsure of herself without Remus beside her. Hagrid was sitting on a modified chair at the end of one of the tables.
“Let's start in on it everyone,” Mrs. Weasley said, “And we can save the real festivities until dessert.”
“Looks wonderful, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, as he filled his plate with food.
Mrs. Weasley's face turned red as her hair. The conversation started off smoothly. Fred, George and Ginny were talking amongst themselves about what to look forward when they re-opened Weasley Wizard Wheezes. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Monsieur and Madam Delacour were talking about the wedding with Bill and Fleur. Fleur was translating into French some of their discussion to a very interested looking Gabrielle, who would return her thoughts in rapid French. Ron and Hermione, who were trying to cheer up Tonks, had requested an old dinner tradition, and asked her to change her appearance several times. After she failed to turn her eyes into the that of a cat's, requested by Professor McGonagall, Tonks wouldn't continue the game anymore.
“Dora, do you know where Remus is at this moment?” Professor McGonagall said, “I have a request for the both of you that I was hoping to talk to you about.”
“I wouldn't know,” Tonks said, shrugging, as she twirled her fork in her mashed potatoes.
“Well, perhaps tomorrow at the wedding, huh?” Professor McGonagall asked.
Tonks nodded, though Harry wasn't sure if she had heard the question.
“Minerva,” Kingsley said, “How is the Hogwarts Hearing coming along?”
“Er – I'm not sure, to be quite honest,” Professor McGonagall said. “The Minister of Magic wrote to me just a couple hours before I came here, and said that he is very sure that Hogwarts will re-open, if everything goes smoothly with the plan he is working on.”
Harry felt Hermione and Ron's eyes on him, and he stared at his half-eaten chicken leg.
“So,” she said, “I think it could end up very positive.”
“Well, I hope it settles soon!” Mrs. Weasley said, “Otherwise we won't have any time to get school books and stuff this year. I'm so not used to not getting the school lists by this time of year.”
The conversation turned to more innocent matters. Near Harry, Hagrid had grown rather boisterous after a couple glasses of firewhiskey, and he had gone into a conversation with Charlie.
"Bin meanin' ter write fer ages, Charlie,” he said, “How's Norbert doin'?"
"Norbert?" Charlie laughed. "The Norwegian Ridgeback? We call her Norberta now."
"Wha -- Norbert's a girl?" Hagrid asked, blinking.
"Oh yeah," said Charlie.
"How can you tell?" asked Hermione.
"They're a lot more vicious," said Charlie.
“Well – how 'bout that!” Hagrid said, raising his glass.
At this movement, Mr. Weasley seemed to think it was time for a toast to Harry. He stood up and raised his glass toward Harry.
“We celebrate tonight,” he said, “the coming of age of a young man we all know and love. While we're all focused on the coming festivities for tomorrow, we still remember to take in those things we hold dearest to those who may not legally be a member of our family, but who we all love just the same. To Harry. Happy Birthday.”
“Happy Birthday, Harry!” everyone said to Harry, in a toast.
“An' be it a good one!” Hagrid said, before gulping down his drink in one attempt.
“Thanks, everyone,” Harry said, sheepishly, as he felt the blush raising in his cheeks.
Shortly after that, Mrs. Weasley retreated into the Burrow, and returned with a cake floating in front of her. As everyone sang a round of “Happy Birthday” to Harry, Mrs. Weasley set down the cake, and Harry grinned as he saw that it was a Snitch-shaped cake. It casually reminded him of the Snitch he had received from Scrimgeour, via Dumbledore's will, and his mind wandered, once again, into the possibility of what “I open at the close” could mean.
After much gulping of cake, it was time to open presents.
"Come on, then, open Hermione's!" said Ron.
Hermione had bought him a new Sneakoscope. The other packages contained an enchanted razor from Bill and Fleur ("Ah yes, zis will give you ze smoothest shave you will ever 'ave," Monsieur Delacour assured him, "but you must tell it clearly what you want...ozzerwise you might find you 'ave a leetle less hair zan you would like..."), chocolates from the Delacours, and an enormous box of the latest Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes merchandise from Fred and George, a dragon-tooth necklace (“Bad toothaches happen a lot in the reserve,” Charlie said, when Harry looked at the gift, “We end up with a lot of these”), a slightly furry drawstring pouch with a long string from Hagrid ("Mokeskin. Hide anythin' in there an' no one but the owner can get it out. They're rare, them."), a book on Metamorphagi from Tonks, and the latest book on Transfiguration from Professor McGonagall. Ginny, it seemed, had taken Harry's request earlier in the week to heart. She did not give him anything.
“Harry,” Kingsley's voice boomed. “I could not find you anything of worth. But I have a better gift for you. If you promise me that you will pass your NEWT exams well enough, you will have a one-way ticket into Auror training straight from yours truly.”
“I appreciate that, Kingsley,” Harry said, grinning.
After the party, Hermione, Ron and Harry ventured up the stairs. Harry stopped on the landing where Ginny's bedroom and the bathroom were located.
“Can you take my things up for me?” he asked his best friends, “Er – bathroom.”
“Sure, Harry,” Hermione said, as she and Ron took Harry's packages.
He motioned to head for the bathroom, as Ron and Hermione made their way up the stairs. When they disappeared from view, Harry turned and went over to Ginny's door. He steeled himself, wondering if he knew this. Before he could do this, though, his hand was at the door in a fist. He inhaled, exhaled and rapped his knuckles on the door. A moment later, the door opened a little bit, and Ginny peered through it.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Can I talk to you?” Harry asked.
Ginny sighed audibly and opened the door. She was dressed in her Holyhead Harpies pyjamas. She stepped out of the doorway, and Harry walked in. Ginny shut the door behind her. She walked over to her bed and sat down on it. She crossed her arms against her chest and stared at the ceiling above Harry.
“Why are you in here?” she asked, “Because if you're looking for your birthday gift, I didn't get you one. Like you requested.”
“Er – well, I'm in here to – to see the view?” he joked, pointing toward the window.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Okay,” Harry said, “That was lame. I'll admit it. I'll also admit that I know the two of us haven't said much to each other since our conversation on the night I arrived.”
“That's your fault,” Ginny said. “You've been avoiding me.”
“Okay,” Harry said, “I deserve that.”
Ginny allowed a chuckle to escape her lips.
“At the end of our last long conversation,” Harry said. “You asked me a question... and I couldn't answer it.”
Ginny finally looked at Harry. Harry took this as a sign that he could sit down on the bed next to her, and not be the victim of her signature Bat-Bogey Curse. So he did so, and looked at Ginny, but he noticed that her eyes were concentrating on something over his shoulder.
“And I'm sorry,” he continued. “I couldn't answer because I honestly didn't know the answer... and I should have. It has taken me – well – until the moment I was outside your door just now to come up with my answer.”
Ginny's eyes moved to the left and looked into Harry's. He returned the gaze and looked into hers.
“My answer is,” Harry said, “that not even Voldemort himself --” Ginny hiccuped at the mention of Voldemort “-- could keep me from feeling something about you.”
Harry thought he saw tears sparkling in Ginny's eyes. She leaned toward him slowly, though she paused when she was inches from his face, as if she was unsure if he wanted to kiss her. Harry filled in the rest of the gap and kissed her softly on the lips, brushing them along hers. She returned the kiss, and he chuckled against her lips as she pushed him against the wall behind the bed.
“Ow,” Harry said, when he lightly smacked his head into the wall.
“Shut up,” Ginny muttered.
He chuckled again and she kissed him once again. He allowed her tongue to venture in between his lips, and she massaged his with her own. She backed up a few moments later and laid her head in his lap, staring up at him.
“I have one question for you,” Ginny said, as she tried to catch her breath.
“Okay,” Harry said, as he grasped her fingers on one hand with his.
“If you still love me,” Ginny said, “Why did you break up with me at Professor Dumbledore's funeral?”
“Ginny,” Harry said, “I want to be honest about that. I do.”
“Then be honest with me,” Ginny said.
Harry stared into her eyes. He wished he could be honest with her. He wished that he could tell her about the Horcruxes. But he knew he couldn't. So he simply decided to tell the half-truth.
“The truth is, Ginny,” he said, “I was so focused on Voldemort --”
He paused for a moment as he felt Ginny's fingers grasp his tightly at the mention of Voldemort.
“-- and for a while there,” Harry said, “I was so focused that I thought I wasn't going to return to Hogwarts, if it opened.”
“Why?” Ginny asked.
“Because I'm a target, Ginny,” Harry said. “I don't want anyone at Hogwarts to be in the same path as me.”
“And – what?” Ginny asked, “You've decided to go back now? Why?”
“Have you heard about Scrimgeour's new offensive strategy?” Harry replied.
“Sure,” Ginny said. “No idea what that's about though.”
“It has to do with me,” Harry said. “If I don't return to Hogwarts, Scrimgeour will not allow Hogwarts to open.”
Ginny raised her eyebrows.
“How could he do that?” she asked.
“He's the Minister, Ginny,” Harry said, “He can do anything. He could kill me and get away with it.”
Ginny scowled and smacked Harry on the shoulder.
“Ow,” Harry laughed.
“So you're going back to Hogwarts, I assume,” Harry said, “Because of what Scrimgeour said.”
“That's not the only reason,” Harry said, smiling.
“Oh?” Ginny asked.
“There are other desirable advantages if I return,” Harry said.
“And what are those?” Ginny asked, smiling.
Harry grinned and leaned toward Ginny and kissed her softly on the lips. She returned the kiss, then backed away.
“Oh,” she said, chuckling, “I see.”
“Mmhmm,” Harry said.
Ginny leaned back up to Harry and kissed him again, and he eagerly returned it. After a full minute, he backed away.
“I think I better go before Ron comes looking for me,” Harry said, “I – er-- made the excuse I was going to the bathroom.”
“I'm sure he's occupied elsewhere,” Ginny said.
Harry raised his eyebrows.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I – er – nevermind, you're right,” Ginny said, sitting up. “You better go.”
Ginny pecked him briefly on the lips again, and he stood up.
“Happy Birthday, Harry,” Ginny said.
Harry smiled and left Ginny''s room just as the bathroom door across the landing opened. Remus walked out and smiled when he saw Harry.
“Oh, Harry!” he said, “I was hoping I would catch you before you went off to bed. I'm sorry I couldn't arrive in time for your birthday party. I was – er – doing something in Diagon Alley. It took a while.”
“It's fine,” Harry said, “Though Tonks was worried about you, it seems.”
“She'll understand,” Remus said, “Very soon... I think. Anyway, I thought I would give you your birthday gift now.”
He reached into a pocket in his robes and pulled out a large photograph, then handed it to Harry. Harry took a look at it, and felt tears in his eyes. His mother, father, Sirius, and Remus were standing in front of a large wall. They were all the same age as they had been in the Original Order of the Phoenix Photograph Harry had seen a couple years ago.
“This was taken one week after your mother and father's wedding,” Remus said, “One day after your parents returned from their honeymoon. You can probably tell since they look so happy together. Apparently it was quite the honeymoon.”
“If you look closely,” Remus said, “you might be able to tell where we are standing.”
Harry looked back at the photo, at the wall behind them. He could recognize the Black Family Tapestry along the wall.
“Grimmauld Place,” Harry breathed.
“It was the only time we were ever in Grimmauld Place together,” Remus said. “Sirius had come by to – ahem – attempt to amend family feuds with his parents. It didn't work, obviously, but that was after he had invited us into the house.”
“Who is behind the camera?” Harry asked.
A grim smile crossed Remus' lips. “Wormtail,” he said.
“Oh,” Harry said.
“If you look closely sometimes,” Remus said, “You can see one of his fingers in the way in the photo. He was never an expert behind the camera.”
“Oh,” Harry said, “Thank you, Remus. This means so much to me.”
“You're welcome,” Remus said, “To be honest, I thought I lost this photo. I'm happy to give it to you.”
“Happy Birthday, Harry,” Remus said.
He then bowed slightly and walked back down the stairs. Harry looked back at the picture, looking at every detail. And that is when he saw it. On the tapestry right above Sirius' head: the name of Regulus Arcturus Black.
“R.A.B,” Harry breathed, “It can't be!”
Harry looked up at the stairs. He had to let Hermione and Ron know. He quickly ascended the staircase, and he opened Ron's door as soon as he came upon it. But what he saw, surprised him more than the revelation he had just come across.
Ron and Hermione were sitting there on the bed, locked in a very intimate position, their lips glued to the other's mouth.
And the award for the Most Romantic Cliffhanger goes to.... just kidding!
Ah, I loved this chapter. The party went off better than I thought.
I loved how flustered Hermione and Ron were when Harry arrived in the bedroom after his discussion with Bill. I think it is obvious what he had interrupted, now that he had – er – interrupted it once again.
I hope you don't think I had Harry and Ginny get back together too quickly. I love their relationship, almost as much as I love Ron and Hermione's relationship.
You'll find out why Remus was in Diagon Alley, and what Professor McGonagall wanted with Remus and Tonks fairly soon!
Hope you like my version of the R.A.B discovery!
The next chapter... at least the beginning... will prove to be most interesting! Harry's birthday, which will probably take up another half of a chapter before the day ends has been a long day!
Hope you loved this chapter as much as I did!
Last edited by Fury; December 29th, 2011 at 9:46 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Author's Note: This chapter begins by going back in time a few minutes (Time Turner handy, anyone?) to find out just how Ron and Hermione got into the predicament Harry found them in at the end of the previous chapter. This will be in both Hermione and Ron's PoV, but Ron's PoV will be very short. Enjoy!
(Hermione's PoV – After she and Ron left Harry on the stairs)
Hermione and Ron made their way up the stairs toward his room, and entered it.
“Muffliato,” Hermione said, pointing her wand at the door.
“I don't know why you hate that spell,” Ron said. “You sound hot when you use it.”
Hermione felt blush rise to her cheeks.
“I don't hate it,” she said, “I just don't approve of it. But times have changed, and it is a useful little spell.”
Ron hastily threw Harry's packages that were in his hands onto the end of the bed.
“You could be nicer with Harry's things,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
Ron shrugged as he proceeded to lay down on the other end. He grabbed a Chocolate Frog package from a gift basket sitting at the end of Harry's cot.
“And you shouldn't steal candy from your best mate either!” Hermione scolded.
“If you're going to act that way,” Ron said, “I won't give you any.”
Hermione narrowed her eyes. She took the gift basket and moved it away from Ron's reach, and put it near Harry's trunk. She proceeded to put the rest of Harry's gifts by his trunk as well.
“So ooh oh een 'ack ooh 'Oggerts ooh?” Ron asked, his mouth full of Chocolate Frog.
Hermione looked up at Ron in disgust, but she understood what he said.
“If Harry goes back,” she said, “Sure.”
A frown crossed Ron's lips as he swallowed the chocolate.
“What's wrong?” Hermione asked, as she sat down in the middle of the bed.
“I don't know,” Ron said, as he took the Chocolate Frog card out of the package, “I guess I was really looking forward to not having to go to Hogwarts this year. It was why I was so eager to follow Harry on the hunt. Aww, Dumbledore again!”
“But you're going back too, right?” Hermione asked.
“If you're going, I'm going,” Ron said, “My studies will be bearable if you're around for a snog ever once in a while.”
“Wow, is that all I am to you now?” Hermione asked.
Ron looked horrified.
“I truly didn't mean it like that, Hermione,” he said, “I mean --”
Hermione gently took hold of his hand and he stopped talking.
“Relax, love,” she said, “I'm only joking. I know you love me too much to be too blunt with me.”
Ron expression changed to that of immense relief. He sat up and moved closer to her; he was now in a sitting position next to her. Hermione looked down at their linked hands.
“What are we going to do?” she asked, with a sigh. “We're going to be under the ever watchful eye of the Hogwarts Staff. There is no way we're going to be able to get away to search the locations we have been talking about.”
“Maybe we should just grant Mad-Eye's dying wish,” Ron said, “and tell the Order about the Horcruxes.”
Hermione inhaled and exhaled.
“I know,” Ron said, “That's a bad idea.”
“No,” Hermione said, “I've been thinking about that too. If we go back to Hogwarts, there is only one person who would grant us privilege to leave the grounds of Hogwarts and search for Horcruxes from time to time.”
“Professor McGonagall!” Ron gasped, “And she's a part of the Order!”
“Exactly,” Hermione said.
“Well, you convinced me,” Ron said. “Now we have to convince Harry.”
“Right,” Hermione said, “Good luck with that one. He's not going to break one the biggest promise he made to Professor Dumbledore just to grant Mad-Eye's last wish... at least not very easily.”
“We'll give him a good talking-to,” Ron said, “He'll come to see reason. Eh? Hermione?”
“Mmm?” Hermione asked.
“I really want to snog you right now,” Ron said.
“Harry will be up here any moment, Ron,” Hermione said.
“He's in the loo, Hermione!” Ron said, “And besides... I haven't had very much alone time with you these past few days.”
“You had quite a bit with me this morning!” Hermione hissed. “Harry almost caught us then... he would have if I hadn't heard his footsteps and clicked your Deluminator in time!”
“Hey! That reminds me!” Ron said, grinning, “You owe me one for pushing me off the bed.”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Fine,” she said.
She leaned toward Ron and kissed him softly on the lips. Ron put a hand on her shoulder and kissed her back. She opened her lips more, allowing his tongue passage, which he accepted gratefully, and she massaged her own tongue against his, loving the feel of it. Lost in the kiss, Hermione put her hands around his neck and deepened the kiss. Ron pulled her against him, and she chuckled against lips, before she licked the inside of them.
“Bloody hell!” a voice gasped loudly.
Hermione jumped away from Ron and looked up. Harry was standing there in the open doorway, utter bewilderment on his face. Hermione could see a photograph in his hand, just before Harry turned around on his heels and walked back out of the room. She could hear the rapid movement of feet as they descended down the stairs.
Beside Hermione, Ron was muttering swears and curses as fast as he could. Hermione rolled her eyes, grabbed Ron's pillow and smacked him over the head multiple times.
“Ow – ow – Hermione!” Ron said, “Ow – I'm sorry – for – cursing!”
“I – told you – he could – catch us!” Hermione exclaimed, with every thrashing, “This is – entirely – your fault!”
Ron was finally able to grab the pillow from Hermione and he tossed it behind him on the bed. Hermione growled and stood up.
“What are you doing?” Ron asked.
“I'm going to find Harry,” Hermione said, “Before he decides to do something serious! Like Apparate away from here!”
“What?” Ron asked, “You really think he would – Hermione!”
Hermione was already out the door and descending the staircase. She could hear Ron's footsteps behind her. When she reached the landing where Ginny's bedroom was, Ginny was standing in the doorway.
“What happened?” Ginny asked, “Was that Harry who ran off?”
Hermione didn't answer. She just ran to the bottom floor and toward the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley was standing outside, near the front door, looking at something.
“Harry didn't apparate away, did he?” Hermione asked her as so as she reached her.
“No,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I think he went to the --”
“The barn!” Hermione gasped, “Of course!”
“Hermione!” Mrs. Weasley said, as Hermione ran past her, “What's going on?”
Hermione ignored Mrs. Weasley's question and ran in the direction of the barn. When Harry and Ron would have their rows at the Burrow, Ron would go to the lake. However, Harry could be found at the barn on the other side of the property. If he wasn't there, then Hermione was afraid that he might have apparated away.
“Hermione!” Ron's voice yelled behind her.
Hermione stopped in her tracks, skidding dirt below her. Ron and Ginny were standing ten feet behind her.
“What's going on?” Ginny asked.
“I have to talk to Harry,” Hermione said, “Alone. I don't think he's going to want to talk to both of us, Ron, at this very moment. I'm sorry.”
Ron narrowed his eyes, then his expression went soft and he nodded.
“Don't upset him any further,” he said, “I feel bad enough already.”
“I'll try my best,” Hermione said.
“What the bloody hell is going on?!” Ginny asked.
“What do you think?” Ron asked her, as Hermione turned and ran in the direction of the barn,
Three minutes later, Hermione reached the duo-leveled Weasley family barn. She walked inside, searching along the bottom level. He wasn't there, so she went to the ladder in the middle of the bottom floor, and climbed up it. When she reached the second floor, she saw Harry sitting against the wall at the very back. She slowly walked closer to him, and noticed he had his wand pointed in front of him. Four pieces of hay were making random shapes in mid-air, guided by Harry's wand.
“I could conjure a white flag and wave it,” Hermione said, “if that would make you feel any better.”
Harry's gaze remained on the floating bits of hay, which had now formed a lightning bolt that resembled his scar. Hermione sighed and walked over to the wall and sat next to Harry. She took the fact he hadn't pointed his wand at her as a good sign.
“That's rather beautiful,” Hermione said.
The pieces of hay now formed a square. Hermione lifted her wand, and a moment later, a bird flew from her wand and through the hole in the middle of the square. The hay then floated to the floor and remained still. Hermione's bird flew out of the window at the other end of the barn.
“So,” Harry said, “You and Ron.”
“Me and Ron,” Hermione said, chuckling.
“And how long have you been doing,” Harry said, “you know – what I walked in on.”
“Hmm... a week now, I guess,” Hermione said rolling her eyes. “And it was just snogging. I'm sure you and Ginny were far more active.”
“It was just snogging,” Harry echoed, then his eyes widened and he finally looked at Hermione, “Wait... a week now? I've been here five days Hermione! How have you kept this a secret so long?!”
“We were careful,” Hermione said, “But, no offense Harry, you can be very oblivious you know.”
“What's that supposed to mean?” Harry asked.
“There were times I've flirted with Ron this past week,” Hermione said, “Even with you in the same room. And Ron has done the same.”
“I took that as just you two being – well, you two!” Harry said.
“What exactly does that mean?” Hermione asked.
“I just mean,” Harry said, “That – so called flirting, as you called it – is exactly what you and Ron have been doing for three or four years now!”
“Oh, have we?!” she asked, laughing.
“You can be very oblivious, you know,” Harry said, echoing Hermione's words.
“Sod off, Potter,” Hermione said, laughing.
“Aha!” Harry said, “That is where your cursing came from. Must have leaked off of Ron when you were snogging him – oh and I would appreciate it if you would be more careful about doing that. I don't need to know details.”
“We'll be more careful,” Hermione said, then smacked him on the knee, “Besides, you walked in on us, you git!”
“Ow!” Harry said, laughing, “Easy, no harming the Chosen One.”
“Now,” she said, standing up, “Could you come back to the Burrow before Molly sends the Order off to random locations to search for you.”
“You just want to get back to Ron,” Harry said.
“I'd do that either way,” Hermione said.
Harry stood up and they walked back over to the ladder. Harry descended the ladder first. When he was down, she stepped into the ladder, and started down it. Suddenly, when she was halfway down it, she missed a step and fell toward the ground. Before she could hit the ground, however, Harry caught her in his arms.
“Whoa!” Hermione said, laughing.
“A little woozy there, Hermione?” Harry asked.
“What's going on in here?” Ron's voice said behind them.
Hermione gasped and jumped away from Harry's arms. Ron was looking at them, his eyes going back and forth between the two of them.
“Oh,” Hermione said, “I fell – err – off the ladder – and --”
“I caught her,” Harry said.
“Oh,” Ron said, though he was still looking back and forth between them, “Let's go back to the Burrow then, shall we?”
Hermione nodded and walked quickly toward Ron. He slowly offered his hand to her, and she took it, smiling. He then put his arms around her middle and kissed her softly.
“I love you,” he said.
“I love you too, Ron,” Hermione said, smiling.
“And I love the both of you,” Harry said, dully, “Come on. Before I retch all over this barn.”
“Sod off, Harry,” Ron and Hermione both said.
Hermione looked at Ron and the two of them chuckled.
Ten minutes later, Hermione and Ron were standing outside Ginny's bedroom. Ginny had long since retreated back into her bedroom. Harry said goodnight to Hermione, before he hastily ran back up the stairs to Ron's bedroom.
“Er – Harry – he's okay with us, right?” Ron asked Hermione, “That we're together?”
“Of course he is,” Hermione said, smiling.
Ron breathed a sigh of relief.
“So,” he said, grinning, “Guess we don't have to hide it anymore.”
“He did he request that he didn't want to catch us again,” Hermione said.
“We'll be more stealthy,” Ron said.
Hermione chuckled softly and leaned toward Ron, kissing him softly. He returned the kiss, and she backed away a moment later.
“I better get to bed,” she said, “Good night.”
“Good night, my love,” Ron said.
Hermione smiled and pecked Ron on the lips again. She opened the door to Ginny's bedroom and walked in. She looked back at Ron, waving him goodnight and closed the door behind her.
“So I guess it isn't a secret anymore, is it?” Ginny asked.
Hermione looked over at Ginny, who was laying on the bed, sitting up against her pillow.
“No,” Hermione said, “It isn't.”
“Just as well,” Ginny said. “He is your best mate. He'd find out sometime.”
“True,” Hermione said.
She hastily changed into her pyjamas and laid down on the camp bed. Ginny doused the light and a groan of bed-springs welcomed her back onto the bed.
“He kissed me,” Ginny said into the darkness.
“Who?” Hermione asked, her eyes widening, “Harry?”
“Mmhmm,” Ginny said, “That's not all either. We're back together.”
“Really?” Hermione said; she had not expected that one bit.
“Turns out he broke up with me,” Ginny said, “because he thought he wasn't going back to school. Fancy that, huh?”
“Yeah,” Hermione muttered, “Fancy that.”
Hermione heard another groan of bed-springs as Ginny made herself more comfortable for sleep.
“Oh, Harry, you snog me so well,” Ginny joked.
Hermione chuckled softly. She stared toward the ceiling, and as she had been doing for the past week, wondered what Ron was doing at this very moment....
(Ron's PoV – when Hermione retreated into Ginny's room)
Ron slowly trudged up the stairwell toward his bedroom. When he arrived, he turned the doorknob and walked into the room. Harry was sitting at the end of his camp bed, and he was looking at a very crumpled piece of parchment.
“Ron?” Harry said, lifting up the parchment, “What is this?”
Ron's eyes widened as he looked at the piece of parchment. He recognized it as the letter he had wrote to Harry, before Hermione had warned him not to send it. Last time he had seen it, was in a tight ball and rolling underneath his bed.
“I can explain that, mate,” Ron said, as he walked over to his bed and laid down.
“You explain it pretty well in this letter,” Harry said.
Before Ron could respond, Harry threw the piece of parchment down and backed up on his camp bed and laid down in a huff. He turned away from Ron and closed his eyes. Ron stared at the ceiling.
“I apologize for writing that letter,” he said finally, “But what I wrote was the truth. Ginny didn't seem very interested in talking to you the past few days, did she? Tells you I am right.”
“As of tonight, Ginny and I are a couple again, mate,” Harry said. “Just thought you might want to know that before you write another one of those letters to me. Good night.”
Ron's eyes widened as he stared up at the ceiling. He had not expected Harry to say that. He sighed audibly and took his Deluminator from the pocket of his jeans and stole the light from the room. He fell asleep, hoping images of Ginny and Harry kissing didn't interfere with his dreams of Hermione.
Decided to end the chapter there!
I love this chapter so much! So much of this chapter just came to me, like Ron's PoV at the end of the chapter. That is why it is so short. Also Hermione's tumble from the ladder came to me just as I wrote it.
Before anyone asks, the letter Harry was reading was the one in Chapter 8.
Just realized I forgot to have Harry mention R.A.B to Ron and Hermione. That will come sooner or later. I'll have him temporarily forget about it... and then it comes up all of sudden. Harry does that a lot.
Hope you liked this chapter! I was going to write some of the pre-wedding preparations in this chapter, but since it would interfere with the theme of this chapter, I decided that could wait.
Last edited by Fury; December 30th, 2011 at 12:05 am.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Muriel, Xenophilius, and R.A.B
The next morning, Ron was shaken awake by someone pushing on his shoulder.
“Mmm... five more minutes, Mum,” Ron muttered, rolling over to get more comfortable.
“It's me, Hermione, not your Mum!” Hermione said, smacking Ron on the shoulder.
“Ow!” Ron groaned, his eyes bolting open, “Bloody hell, Hermione. That hurt.”
“Get up before your Mum comes and wakes you up!” Hermione said, “I know you don't want that. She wants us up to get the field ready for the wedding!”
“Now?” Ron asked, “The wedding isn't until five!”
“Yes, Ron,” Hermione said, “Now!”
“Okay, okay,” Ron said. “Mmm, you know. I could get used to you being the first thing I see in the morning.”
“I'm glad you feel that way, mate,” Harry muttered, on his camp bed, “I, on the other hand, do not look forward to seeing Hermione in your room every morning.”
“Shut up, Harry,” Hermione said, “I was coming to wake you up too.”
“Couldn't Ginny do that?” Harry asked, reaching for his glasses and putting them on.
“I heard that, mate!” Ron muttered.
“Good,” Harry said.
“Is it?” Ron asked.
“Would you two quit acting like immature toddlers?!” Hermione asked. “You two are best friends. You need to get over this little quibble that you have between you just because the other is dating someone very close to you!”
“I have no problem with that fact you two are together,” Harry said, “It is when you come in here at – what time is it? – this time in the morning to wake him up and I'm still asleep. I'm the one that caught you snogging, remember? In this bedroom – on that bed!”
“Thank you, Harry,” Hermione said, obviously ignoring most of what Harry said; she then turned to Ron, “Now what do you have to say?”
“Hey,” Ron muttered, “I told Harry on the train I had no problem with him and Ginny.”
“That was almost two weeks ago, Ron,” Hermione said.
“He didn't get am – am --- he didn't lose his memory between then and now, did he?” Ron grumbled.
“Ron!” Hermione growled, slapping him on the shoulder again.
“Okay, okay!” Ron muttered, “Damn! Harry, I have no problem with you and my sister being together... again. Okay?”
“Sure thing, mate,” Harry said.
“Good,” Hermione said, “If you two don't mind, I'm going down to breakfast. I hope you two join me soon.”
Hermione began to walk away, but Ron tugged on her hand. She turned around, looking at him questioningly.
“No good morning kiss?” Ron asked.
“Not with Harry in the room,” Hermione said.
“Good point,” Ron said, then turned to Harry, “Go away, mate.”
Hermione scoffed and pulled away from Ron. She walked back out of the room muttering “Men!”
“Dating more than a week now and you two still bicker like first years,” Harry muttered, shaking his head.
Ron threw his pillow at Harry's head. His aim hit true.
A little after three in the afternoon Hermione was in front of the mirror in the bathroom, admiring herself. She was completely dressed in her bridesmaid dress, and the lights in the bathroom made the golden dress sparkle. She twirled around once, while looking in the mirror. She frowned at the thought that Fleur had only rented the bridesmaid dresses. If she could afford something like this, she would have bought it immediately, and worn it at every formal outing she attended.
To her left, the door opened and she heard a gasp. She looked over her shoulder and saw Mrs. Weasley standing there. She was still in her everyday clothes.
“Oh, Hermione,” she said, “You look beautiful!”
“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, blush rising to her cheeks, “Do you need in here?”
“I was searching for Bill,” Mrs. Weasley said, “He's been avoiding me for the past couple of hours. I'm supposed to meet him at the start of the aisle! The wedding begins in less than two hours! Which reminds me, the guests will be arriving soon. When you and Ginny are finished getting ready, could you go and help them get to their seats? Ron and Harry are out there already, and I just sent the twins as well.”
“Yes, of course!” Hermione said.
“Thank you, sweetheart,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You've been such a help with everything. How could I ever repay you?”
“You've done enough by allowing me to stay here all these years during the summer,” Hermione said.
“No problem,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I better get moving! Still have to dress myself!”
She backed out of the bathroom, and retreated up the stairs. Hermione looked back toward the mirror and twirled around again. She had decided to keep her hair down, and it twirled around her head as she did. She combed it again, making it presentable again. The end of her hair was long enough to reach her chest, and was hiding the opening in the neck of her dress. When she was happy with how she appeared, she walked out of the bathroom. Across the hall, Ginny's bedroom door opened, and Ginny walked out. She was fully dress in her bridesmaid outfit.
“-- wasn't her wedding day, I'd throttle her!” Ginny groaned, “Still can't believe I have to – oh, hi, Hermione! You look beautiful!”
“That's exactly what your Mum said,” Hermione said, grinning. “Still don't like your dress?”
“It's bloody fantastic,” Ginny muttered. “Do me a favor and murder me before I get to the marquee?”
“What kind of friend would I be if I did that?” Hermione asked.
“A very good one,” Ginny said, “Oh – hi Auntie Muriel!”
Hermione looked down the stairwell. An elderly witch was walking up the stairs. Her beaky nose, red-rimmed eyes, and leathery pink hat gave her the look of a bad-tempered flamingo.
“Hi, Ginevra,” Muriel said, “Did you get peed on by a leprechaun again?”
Hermione's eyes widened and she had to do her best not to laugh.
“This is my dress, Auntie,” Ginny said, blushing, “Oh, Auntie Muriel, this is Hermione Granger, one of my best friends.”
“Ah, the Muggle,” Auntie Muriel said, looking up and down the length of Hermione, “I've heard bits about you. Look at you! You could use a round of Sleakeazy's Hair Potion on that 'do. And my, oh my, bad posture and skinny ankles! How do you ever expect to find a young man to woo you looking like that?”
Hermione felt her cheeks go very hot. She looked out of the corner of her eyes at Ginny, who had an apologetic look on her face.
“Move out of the way, please,” Muriel said, “I have to take a pee. Being one-hundred-and-seven will do that to you!”
Hermione walked over to Ginny. Muriel walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
“It seems I made a bad first impression,” Hermione said.
“Nah, Muriel's always like that,” Ginny said, “You'll get used to her if you end up marrying my brother.”
“Ginny!” Hermione gasped, sure that her cheeks were as red as Ginny's hair, “I can't believe you said that!”
“What?” Ginny asked, grinning, “It never crossed your mind?”
“I'm not even going to begin to answer that!” Hermione said, chuckling.
“Auntie Muriel was right about one thing though,” Ginny said, “Your hair-do could use one small change.”
She gently pushed back Hermione's hair behind her dress, leaving the space in the neck of Hermione's dress open to the elements.
“There,” Ginny said, smiling, “I thought you were wanting to impress my brother,”
“You're horrible,” Hermione said, grinning, “Come on. Your Mum says we have to go welcome the wedding guests.”
Ron, Harry, Fred and George standing outside the great white marquee in the orchard, awaiting the arrival of the wedding guests. All four of them were clutching seating plans, so that they could help show people to the right seats. A host of white-robed waiters had arrived an hour earlier, along with a golden jacketed band, and all of these wizards were currently sitting a short distance away under a tree. Ron could see a blue haze of pipe smoke issuing from the spot. Behind Ron, the entrance to the marquee revealed rows and rows of fragile golden chairs set on either side of a long purple carpet. The supporting poles were entwined with white and gold flowers. Fred and George had fastened an enormous bunch of golden balloons over the exact point where Bill and Fleur would shortly become husband and wife. Outside, butterflies and bees were hovering lazily over the grass and hedgerow.
A sharp CRACK near Ron almost made him jump out of his new dress shoes. His mother had appeared only a few feet away from the four of them.
“Blimey, Mum!” Fred said, “Scare the lot of us, why don't you? And why aren't you dressed in your wedding gown yet? Or did you change your mind and this is a non-formal occasion? I'd love to get out of these robes.”
“I have all the time in the world to get ready, Frederick Weasley!” Mrs. Weasley said, her hands clutched at her sides, “I'm looking for Bill. Have you seen him?”
“Probably powdering his nose, Mum,” George said.
“I think you have mistaken the groom for the bride, mate,” Harry said.
“Have I?” George asked, grinning.
Fred, Ron and Harry snickered.
“Oh, you are no help!” Mrs. Weasley said, “I'll go find him myself.”
She Disapparated with another sharp CRACK.
“Do you think it is a good idea for the Anti-Disapparation wards to be down?” Harry asked, “Anyone untrustworthy could get in here, and we wouldn't know it.”
“Relax, mate,” Fred said, “There are Secrecy Sensors scattered all over the lot. If someone wants to kill you before Voldemort gets a chance, you'll know about it.”
“I didn't hear about any Secrecy Sensors!” Harry said.
“There is a reason they're called Secrecy Sensors, mate,” George said, with a wink.
“Is it clear to come out now?” a voice asked behind Ron.
Ron turned around. Bill was standing there fully dressed in his black and gold wedding robes.
“Mum's looking for you, William,” Fred said.
“I'm aware of that,” Bill said. “But I rather not deal with her until the last possible minute. My nerves are already almost shot, thank you very much. Look sharp, guys. Here they come.”
Ron turned around. Bill ducked back into the marquee just as a load of brightly colored figures were appearing, one by one out of nowhere at the distant boundary of the yard. Within minutes a procession had formed, which began to snake its way up through the garden toward the marquee. Exotic flowers and bewitched birds fluttered on the witches’ hats, while precious gems glittered from many of the wizards’ cravats; a hum of excited chatter grew louder and louder, drowning the sound of the bees as the crowd approached the tent.
“Excellent, I think I see a few veela cousins,” said George, craning his neck for a better look. “They’ll need help understanding our English customs, I’ll look after them….”
“Not so fast, Your Holeyness,” said Fred, and darting past the gaggle of middle-aged witches heading for the procession, he said, “Here – permetiez moi to assister vous,” to a pair of pretty French girls, who giggled and allowed him to escort them inside. George was left to deal with the middle-aged witches and Ron took charge of Mr. Weasley’s old Ministry-colleague Perkins.
When he returned, Luna was at the front of the queue standing with a very familiar very eccentric-looking wizard. Slightly cross-eyed, with shoulder-length white hair the texture of candyfloss, he wore a cap whose tassel dangled in front of his nose and robes of an eye-watering shade of egg-yolk yellow. An odd symbol, rather like a triangular eye, glistened from a golden chain around his neck. They were both talking to Harry at the moment.
“Xenophilius Lovegood, Mr. Potter,” Luna's father said, “It is a pleasure to meet you. Ah, Ronald Weasley! I believe it was you who invited Luna and I to this ceremony?”
“Daddy, he gave you the invitation himself last week,” Luna said, “Don't you remember?”
“It was you, wasn't it?” Mr. Lovegood said to Ron, “You and your brothers look alike, it is so hard to tell the difference sometimes.”
“Um... yeah, it was me,” Ron said.
“How about I take you to your seats, Mr. Lovegood?” Harry asked, and soon disappeared into the marquee with the Lovegoods.
“Eh, Ron!” Fred whispered behind him, “Sister and girlfriend incoming at nine-o-clock.”
“What are you talking about?” Ron asked, “It's past three!”
“He means to your left, Ronnie-kins,” George said.
Ron turned and looked in the direction of the Burrow. His jaw dropped as he saw Hermione almost gliding toward him in the most beautiful outfit he had ever seen her wear.
“Whew!” Ginny said, “That is a long distance to walk in heels!”
“Ah, the glory of being a bloke,” Fred said, “We don't have to deal with weird clothing.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes at Fred.
“Y-you l-look... stunning,” Ron said to Hermione.
“Is my dress really okay?” Hermione asked, “I wasn't sure.”
“You may even outshine the bride,” Ron said.
“I doubt it,” Ginny said, “She's quarter-Veela.”
“Outta my way!” a voice said, which horrified Ron, “I'm one-hundred-and-seven! I have the right to go next!”
Auntie Muriel walked up between Ginny and Hermione.
“Ah, Harry Potter!” Auntie Muriel said, “I thought I recognized you.”
“This is Auntie Muriel,” Ron muttered.
“Oh!” Harry said, “Nice to meet you, Muriel.”
“Not as tall as the newspapers make us believe,” Muriel said, “And I thought your scar was on the other side of your forehead.”
“I don't think it has ever moved,” Harry said.
“Can I escort you to your seat, Auntie?” George asked.
I'd be honored, Frederick,” Auntie Muriel said, “Or are you George?”
“This way, Auntie,” George said, looking pale in the face.
“Of course, of course!” Auntie Muriel said, “Perhaps we can share stories about the troubles of being partially deaf!”
Ron, Ginny and Fred choked in laughter as Muriel and a very red-faced George disappeared into the marquee.
“Auntie Muriel is quite the sweetheart,” Hermione said.
“Herm-own-ninny!” a deep voice said, that made Ron immediately groan.
A dark-haired young man with a large, curved nose and thick black eyebrows, walked up to the queue and held out his invitation to Ron and said, with his eyes on Hermione, “You look vunderful.”
“Viktor!” she shrieked, blushing, “I didn’t know you were – goodness – it’s lovely to see – how are you?”
Ron looked down at the invitation and saw Viktor Krum's name. He looked back up at him.
“How come you're here?” he asked.
“Fleur invited me,” said Krum, eyebrows raised.
“How about I take you to your seat, Viktor?” Harry asked.
“Course!” Viktor said, “Been vunting to catch up with you, Potter, ever since the Trivizard Cup.”
Harry bowed slightly and guided Viktor into the marquee.
“Surprised to see him, are you?” Ron asked Hermione, though he kept his attention on the marquee ahead.
“Yes – I – I'm quite surprised,” Hermione said, “It has been so long.”
“Uh-huh,” Ron said.
“Oh, Ron, don't be that way,” Hermione said.
“What way?” Ron asked.
“You know what I mean,” Hermione said, her arms crossed against her chest.
Ron was saved a response when Remus and Tonks walked up to them.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” Remus said.
“Remus! Tonks!” Harry said behind Ron, “Finally!”
“Harry, Remus tells me you enjoyed his gift to you?” Tonks asked.
“Oh yes,” Harry said, “It was.... wonderful.”
Beside Ron, Harry's eyes went wide.
“Er... Ginny, could you show them to their seat?” Harry said, “I have to go do something.”
Harry glanced at Ron and Hermione, and Ron raised his eyebrows. What was going on with Harry?
“Er... sure,” Ginny said, “Come on.”
As Ginny disappeared into the marquee with Remus and Tonks, Harry took Ron and Hermione's hands and pulled them away from the marquee.
“What's going on, Harry?” Hermione asked.
“Not here!” Harry said, “Somewhere more out of the way!”
Harry pulled them toward a more empty part of the lot.
“Here is fine!” Ron said, “Tell us what is going on!”
“I found R.A.B,” Harry said.
Ron's eyes widened.
“Where?” Hermione asked, “here at the wedding?”
“No, no, no,” Harry said. “Last night, Remus gave me a picture with him, Sirius and my parents in it. They were at Grimmauld Place, standing in front of the Black Family Tapestry. Right above Sirius' head, there was a name, clear as day: Regulus Arcturus Black.”
“R.A.B!” Ron gasped.
“But – that –“ Hermione said, “Wasn't that –?”
“Sirius' brother!” Harry said, nodding, “Supposedly killed by Death Eaters because he wasn't important enough to be killed by Voldemort.”
“Why didn't you tell us this sooner?” Ron asked.
“I was going to mention it last night,” Harry said, “Before I caught the two of you exchanging spit!”
Ron and Hermione blushed madly.
“So, you see!” Harry said, “We need to go to Grimmauld Place. Soon! The Locket has to be there! R.A.B said he had the locket and he was going to try to destroy it!”
“We can't go today, Harry,” Ron said, chuckling, “Are you mad?”
“Of course I wasn't planning on going today,” Harry said, “Tomorrow, perhaps.”
“Tomorrow?!” Hermione asked.
“We have to get to that locket, Hermione!” Harry said, “If it isn't destroyed --”
“One problem, Harry,” Ron said, “Have you forgotten we are being watched over by my parents and members of the order at all times here at the Burrow. We can't just get up and go for a pleasure stroll.”
Harry's expression softened.
“I forgot,” Harry said, “Yeah. Okay. We have to figure out how we're going to get there.”
“We'll do that later,” Hermione said, “We need to get back to the marquee before people start asking questions.”
“She's right, mate,” Ron said.
“Yeah,” Harry said, “Okay, let's go.”
Ron, Hermione and Harry walked back toward the marquee. Ron's mind was still full of the R.A.B revelation. How he was ever going to get through the wedding with that on his mind, he did not know!
Decided to end it there. I was going to have the wedding in this chapter. But it can wait until the next chapter. Hope you enjoyed this one!
Last edited by Fury; December 30th, 2011 at 2:16 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Author's Note: Parts of this chapter will be similar to the wedding in the Deathly Hallows book. I'm not very good at writing weddings, and JK Rowling wrote it so beautifully. I will be doing some stuff a bit differently, of course.
An hour and a half later, Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny were standing near the back of the marquee, waiting for Bill, Charlie and Gabrielle to arrive. They would soon be making their way to the podium at the other end of the long golden aisle. The guests, all hundred-plus of them, had all arrived and were sitting in their seats, chatting animatedly with their neighbors.
“I swear to Merlin,” Harry muttered, “That is like the tenth Weasley relative who looked at my scar.”
“Oh, don't let it bother you,” Ginny said, “You look very handsome.”
“Thanks,” Harry said, a hint of blush in his cheeks.
“What about me, Hermione?” Ron asked, grinning, “Do I look handsome?”
“Handsome is far too normal of a word for you, Ron,” Hermione said.
Harry and Ginny made retching noises. Ron was about to send a retort to them, when he was interrupted by the sound of a twig snapping nearby in the marquee. Hagrid was now sitting on what resembled a large pile of golden matchsticks.
“Oh, not again, Hagrid!” Professor McGonagall said, “That is the third and fourth chair you have broken since you sat down!”
“Can' help it, Minerva,” Hagrid standing up, clumsily, “My weight, you see. I'll just stand.”
“It's okay, Hagrid,” Professor McGonagall said, with a sigh, as she repaired the damage.
Ron snickered and Hermione smacked him on the shoulder. Hagrid walked away from the row of chairs and stood next to the a large woman Ron recognized as Madame Maxime. Hermione nudged Ron, and he looked forward. Bill and Charlie had made their way into the marquee.
“Ah, Ronald, there you are,” Bill said.
“Mum still hasn't caught up with you, has she?” Ron asked, grinning.
“She has,” Bill muttered, “She's talking to Fleur and Gabrielle now. I had to go because she wouldn't let me see Fleur before she walked down the aisle.”
“Bad luck to see the bride before you meet her down the aisle,” Hermione said.
“That's a Muggle superstition, Hermione,” Ron muttered.
“Anyway, Ron,” Bill said, “I thought I would give you a small request."
He produced, from his pocket, a small golden ring surrounded in jewels.
“Er...” Ron said, looking from the ring to Bill.
“I need you to hold this until I give it to Fleur during the wedding,” Bill explained.
“Me?!” Ron asked, “Can't you do it?”
“It is part of the customs of the best man, Ron,” Hermione said, “This is an honor.”
“Can't Charlie do it?” Ron asked, looking at Charlie.
“No pockets,” Charlie said, motioning to his robe.
“Fine,” Ron said, sighing, “I'll do it.”
Bill smiled and handed Ron the ring. He placed it in the pocket on the chest of his robes.
“Oh, blimey,” Ginny said, “Here comes Mum.”
Bill turned around and Ron looked over him. His parents, Gabrielle and Madame Delacour were walking toward the marquee. When they arrived, Madame Delacour spoke something in rapid French to Gabrielle and she nodded. She then walked over to Charlie and held out her hand.
“I'm supposed to walk with you down the aisle, aren't I?” Charlie asked, grinning.
Madame Delacour translated, and Gabrielle nodded.
“Let's see if I know enough French for this,” Charlie said. “Il serait mon plaisir, me cheri.”
Gabrielle grinned and Charlie held out his arm. Gabrielle linked her arm with his.
“What did you say to her and how do you know that?” Ron asked.
“I told her it would be my pleasure,” Charlie said, “And I know a couple French dragon trainers in Romania.”
“They're girls, right?” Bill asked.
“How did you know that?” Charlie asked.
“You would not say 'it would be my pleasure' to a bloke,” Bill said.
“Fair enough,” Charlie said, grinning.
“Enough chatter,” Mrs. Weasley said, “To your spots.”
Charlie and Gabrielle took the lead, then Harry and Ginny joined the queue. Ron held out his arm, and Hermione snickered and blushed while she linked her arm with his.
“Good luck, son,” Mr. Weasley said to Bill, behind Ron.
Bill nodded, unable to speak, and Mr. Weasley walked down the aisle with Madame Delacour. When he made his way to the front of the aisle, Ron's father motioned to the golden-jacketed band, who started to play a slow tune. Charlie and Gabrielle walked forward and Ron and Hermione followed Harry and Ginny down the aisle very slowly, their pace resembling that of a Flobberworm.
“You know,” Muriel muttered to anyone who would listen, as Ron passed her, “The bride is wearing my prized tiara. Been in my family for centuries. Beautiful girl, she is – but still – French.”
Ron heard Mrs. Weasley clear her throat loudly. He looked over his shoulder. His mother and Bill were walking down the hall.
“Face forward!” Bill mouthed to Ron, and Ron obeyed.
Finally, Ron and Hermione made their way down the aisle. They parted ways and Harry stood next to where Bill would be. Harry was beside him, and Charlie was at the end. Ron looked over at Hermione who was watching Bill. She saw him looking at her, and smiled softly and blushed. Ron chuckled lightly, just as Bill and their mother made their way past him.
“My baby boy!” Mrs. Weasley whispered.
“Oh, Mum,” Bill said, blushing.
Mrs. Weasley stood on her tip-toes and kissed Bill on the cheek. She brushed a tear from her eye and walked over in between Mr. Weasley and Madame Delacour. Madame Delacour handed her some golden-colored tissue paper. She smiled and looked back at Bill.
"Still got the ring?" Bill muttered to Ron.
"Yes," Ron said.
"Just checking," Bill said.
"Still nervous?" Ron asked.
"Yes," Bill said.
"Just checking," Ron said, with a smirk.
At the end of the aisle, Ron saw Percy hurrying into the marquee. Though, instead of sitting with his family, he chose to take the empty seat near Professor McGonagall. He looked away from Ron and Bill when he noticed they were looking at him. Before Ron could say anything to Bill, the band started to play once again, and the guests stood up once again. Ron could hear Auntie Muriel groan as she stood up last.
A great collective sigh issued from the assembled witches and wizards as Monsieur Delacour and Fleur came walking up the aisle, Fleur gliding, Monsieur Delacour bouncing and beaming. Fleur was wearing a very simple white dress and seemed to be emitting a strong, silvery glow. While her radiance usually dimmed everyone else by comparison, today it beautified everybody it fell upon.
"No unicorns were injured in the making of that dress, were they?" Ron muttered to Bill.
"No!" Bill muttered, annoyed, "Now hush!"
Ron rolled his eyes, but still could vision many tail-less unicorns in his mind.
Fleur and Monsieur Delacour arrived at the podium. Monsieur Delacour kissed Fleur's cheek and smiled at Bill, then stood next to his wife. When Fleur stood next to Bill, he looked as if he had never been attacked by Fenrir Greyback.
“Please be seated,” a slightly sing-song voice said.
Ron turned toward the voice and was surprised to see the same tufty-haired wizard who had presided over Dumbledore's funeral. When he looked at Harry and Hermione, they had the same aura of surprise on their faces. Ron wondered if there was anyone else in the world who could preside over the wedding. The man's presence only reminded Ron more of the loss of Professor Dumbledore.
"Wizards and Witches," he said, "First, before I begin, I would like to thank the Weasley Family for inviting all of us to their nice home for the wedding. It is a perfect day for it. Now, let's continue. We are gathered here today to unite two families together into holy and magical matrimony. I am sure you are all aware with the events that have been going on, and I am sure you agree with me, that this wedding is just the right thing to cheer us up. Now, I understand that Bill and Mademoiselle Fleur both have something they would like to say to each other. Bill, if you please?"
"Thank you," Bill said, before clearing his throat and turning to Fleur, "When I first met you a few years ago, I knew that there was something about you. I have been looking for someone like you for a while now. For nearly three years that we have known each other, I feel I have learned a lot from you. You came to visit my family just this previous year, and when they found out we were going to get married, and how they connected with you, I knew I was right in asking you to marry me. Well, here we are today, when the world is faced with pain and toil, and still we can love one another, just as our families love us. I couldn't be happier than I am today."
"Mademoiselle?" asked the wizard said, "Your turn, if you please."
"Thank you," said Fleur, "A little over two n' a 'aff years ago, when I met you, I couldn't keep from looking at you. N' then when you asked me to join you at Gringott's Bank to eemprove me Eenglish, I felt as eef I vos dreaming. When I met yer family, what I found vos 'appiness. Those few months I 'aff spent 'ere wiff yer family, I 'aff been 'appy. I do admit, zere vere some times, but I am 'appy right now. I couldn't be 'appier then I am 'ere wiff you."
Ron smirked and wondered just how many people, including Bill, could translate what Fleur had just said. Apparently the tufty-haired wizard did.
"Thank you, Mademoiselle," he said, "Now, the rings."
"Ron!" Bill muttered.
"Oh! Right," Ron said, taking the ring out of his pocket and giving it to Bill. Ginny gave the ring in her pocket to Fleur.
“Place the rings on each other's fingers,” the wizard said.
Bill and Fleur did as was told. Fleur's eyes sparkled as she looked at her ring.
“Do you, William Arthur take Fleur Isabelle as your wife?” the wizard asked.
“I do,” Bill said.
“Do you, Fleur Isabelle take William Arthur as your husband?” the wizard asked.
“Oui, I do,” Fleur said, grinning.
In the front row, Mrs. Weasley and Madame Delacour were both sobbing quietly into scraps of lace. Trumpetlike sounds from the back of the marquee told everyone that Hagrid had taken out one of his own tablecloth-sized handkerchiefs. Ron noticed that Hermione was having trouble controlling her tear ducts as well.
“Then I declare you bonded for life,” the wizard said, smiling.
The tufty-haired wizard waved his hand high over the heads of Bill and Fleur and a shower of silver stars fell upon them, spiraling around their now entwined figures. Bill and Fleur shared a passionate kiss, as Fred and George led a round of applause. The golden balloons overhead burst. Birds of paradise and tiny golden bells flew and floated out of them, adding their songs and chimes to the din.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” called the tufty-haired wizard. “May I present Mr. and Madame William Arthur Weasley! If you would all please stand up!”
Everyone in their seats did so, Auntie Muriel grumbling audibly; he waved his wand again. The chairs on which they had been sitting rose gracefully into the air as the canvas walls of the marquee vanished, so that they stood beneath a canopy supported by golden poles, with a glorious view of the sunlit orchard and surrounding countryside. Next, a pool of molten gold spread from the center of the tent to form a gleaming dance floor; the hovering chairs grouped themselves around small, white-clothed tables, which all floated gracefully back to earth round it. The golden-jacketed band started playing quickly, as Bill and Fleur made their way into the center of the dance floor and started dancing a simple waltz as everyone surrounded them.
Halfway into the song, a teary Mrs. Weasley beside Ron nudged him.
“Go, dance!” she said, “Best men and bridesmaids now.”
Hermione grinned at Ron and offered him her hand. Ron blushed.
“I – can't – dance,” he said.
“Come on, even Harry's going out there,” Hermione said.
She was right. Harry was leading Ginny onto the dance floor. Ron sighed and followed Hermione onto the dance floor. He gingerly put his hands at her waist.
“You can get closer, Ronald,” Hermione said, grinning, as she put her hands around her neck.
“R-right,” Ron said, putting his arms around her waist.
Ron looked around at the dance floor. Bill and Fleur were closer to each other now; he was looking into her eyes as she smiled at him. Charlie was doing his best to dance with Gabrielle, her feet placed on top of his as they spun around. Harry and Ginny were rather close to each other, and Ginny was guiding Harry around. Then Ron saw Viktor across the dance floor staring at him and Hermione.
“What is he looking at?” Ron muttered as he circled with Hermione.
She raised her eyebrows and looked over her shoulder.
“Ron, cut it out,” she said, looking back at him.
“I'm trying,” Ron said.
“What is your problem?” she asked.
“He kissed you,” Ron said, “How am I supposed to feel about that.”
“Wh -who told you about that?” Hermione asked, her eyebrows raised.
“Ginny,” Ron said, “A few months ago.”
“Yes, Ron,” Hermione said, “He did kiss me after the Yule Ball.”
Ron sighed and looked away from Hermione.
“Look at me, Ron,” Hermione said.
Ron frowned and looked back at her.
“But do you want to know what he said after he kissed me?” she asked.
“Not really,” Ron muttered.
“He apologized,” Hermione said.
“What?” Ron asked, his eyebrows raised.
“He apologized,” Hermione repeated. “Because he could see that I did not feel the same way about him.”
“Really?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Hermione said, “Ron, listen to me now. I love you. Nobody else. It has always been that way.”
“I love you too,” he said. “For as long as I can think, it has been that way.”
Hermione smiled. Ron leaned toward her and kissed her. Before he could lose himself in the kiss, however, he had a small gasp. Ron looked over his shoulder. His mother was looking back and forth between him and Hermione. A grin was splitting her lips.
“Brilliant,” Ron muttered, “Looks like she knows now.”
Ron looked back at his mother and she was pointing at him, then Hermione. He rolled his eyes and nodded. She grinned and clapped twice.
“She's happy for us,” Ron said.
“Of course she is,” Hermione said, grinning.
A moment later, more of the guests walked onto the dance floor. Ron grinned when he saw Hagrid and Madame Maxime dancing together.
“Hermione!” Harry whispered, “Ron!”
Ron turned and looked around for Harry and Ginny.
“Look!” Ginny said, “Near the barn!”
Ron turned around again and he and Hermione looked in the direction of the barn, just a short distance from the marquee. Remus was kneeling next to the barn in front of Tonks, and a sudden squeal could be heard from her. She pounced on Remus and hugged him, then kissed him full on the mouth.
“Congratulations!” Hermione yelled at them.
Remus and Tonks looked around and caught sight of them. Ron could see that Remus was blushing, and Tonks' hair went into a bright shade of red that matched Remus' cheeks. Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny laughed.
I have a few more ideas for at least two important things that needs to be discussed in the story, that can take place the day of the wedding, but it can wait until next chapter. I like how I ended this one.
Now, before anyone asks, I had no plans of doing an attack on the wedding. That is one major difference from the actual Deathly Hallows book. However, I do have something big planned with Scrimgeour, but that won't happen for a few chapters. So you'll have to wait for that.
Also, I was recently asked how long this story is going to be. Well, right now my longest story I ever wrote is 75 chapters. I sincerely hope this isn't as long as that one! But we still have a long way to go! And we're already almost at Chapter 20!
Hope you liked this chapter! I loved it!
Last edited by Fury; December 30th, 2011 at 4:43 pm.
Re: What If? - My version of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"
Author's Note: Made a couple of mistakes in the previous chapter. Small but noticeable. Ah well. Also reviewers asked me why I had three best men for the wedding. I know it is non-traditional, but Bill is generous and he wanted to match the number of bridesmaids Fleur had. Plus, it was a cute little part for Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny, so I couldn't pass it up.
After half-an-hour on the dance floor with Ginny, Harry was beginning to get exhausted. Fortunately, Bill had come over to the two of them just in time, and had asked to have the honor of dancing with his little sister. Ginny immediately accepted his request, allowing Harry to excuse himself from the dance floor. He passed Ron and Hermione, who were still together on the dance floor. Hermione's head was on Ron's shoulder, and Ron smiled at Harry. He returned the smile as he walked by them and proceeded to find a table to sit at. He found one where Professor McGonagall was sitting at.
“Professor,” Harry said, sitting next to her, “I thought you would be out there on the dance floor.”
“I was asked by an elderly Weasley family member,” McGonagall said, “But I had to decline. You see, Professor Dumbledore was my last dance partner, years ago at the Yule Ball, and I do not wish to tarnish that memory.”
“I can actually understand that,” Harry said, chuckling softly.
Professor McGonagall gave him a rare smile.
“So, are you eager to return to Hogwarts this year?” McGonagall asked.
Harry paused. He could not tell Professor McGonagall that it was in his original intentions to not return to the hallowed halls that he had once referred to as home. But now it looked like he had no choice. Before he could answer, she only looked at him with half a smile. She seemed to have taken his pause as an answer.
“I know,” she said.
Harry raised his eyebrows. Was she aware of his original plans?
“You're not alone, Mr. Potter,” McGonagall said, “A lot of students have written to me their doubts of whether Hogwarts will open. But do you know what I tell everyone of them via owl post?”
Harry shook his head. McGonagall leaned closer to him.
“Hogwarts will be open come September 1st,” she said, “I guarantee it.”
Harry nodded. He looked out onto the dance floor and saw Remus and Tonks walking toward them.
“It seems I have to congratulate you two on your engagement,” McGonagall said.
“Thank you, Minerva,” Remus said.
He sat down at the table with Tonks, and she rested her head on his shoulder.
“Actually, I've been meaning to talk to the two of you,” McGonagall said.
“Oh, would you like me to leave?” Harry asked, “I can see this is a private matter.”
“You may stay, Mr. Potter,” McGonagall said, “You'll know about it sooner or later.”
Harry shrugged and relaxed in his chair.
“As you know,” McGonagall continued to Remus and Tonks, “Hogwarts is close to being re-opened again, and as I was just saying to Mr. Potter, here, I am sure it will be opened by September 1st.”
“I hope so,” Remus said.
“Yes,” McGonagall said. “I have been promised that I will be given the role of Headmistress, and as such, I have the unfortunate job of assigning new Professors. The Defense Against the Dark Arts position is, once again, open.”
The table went silent for a moment. The role had been filled by Severus Snape, before he had betrayed the school.
“As you might guess,” McGonagall continued, “Absolutely nobody is willing to take the job. I cannot find a single soul. So I was hoping to ask someone who has already had the job before. What I'm trying to say is... it would be my distinct honor if you would take the job again, Remus.”
Remus stared at Professor McGonagall for a moment. He then looked down at his hands, one of which was linked with one of Tonks'.
“I'm afraid I have a couple of problems I'm wary of getting past with this offer, Minerva,” he finally said.
“And that would be?” McGonagall asked.
“For starters,” Remus said, “I know you are aware of my condition, having been my friend and former Professor for these many years.”
“That did not bother you when you taught a few years ago, Remus,” McGonagall stated, “As I remember, you had a substitute fill in for you on those days were you, should we say, indisposed?”
Remus raised his eyebrows in question.
“If you recall,” McGonagall said, “I asked both you and your – fiancee, I should say now – to be in my presence. If she accepts, I am willing to take her on to the staff as a substitute Professor. You see, as Headmistress, I still have the option of teaching Transfiguration, and I am willing to do so. But on those days where I am needed elsewhere as Headmistress, I need a substitute to teach the subject. You will also need a substitute at least once a month, correct?”
“Yes,” Remus said, “But --”
“Miss Tonks here,” McGonagall continued, “is skillful in the art of Metamorphagi, therefore a wonderful necessity for my Transfiguration classes. She is also trained as an Auror, there a wonderful necessity in the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts. Well qualified in both positions, and would have a welcome place amongst the staff.”
“I accept,” Tonks said, simply.
“Dora,” Remus muttered, “Please do remember that you are with child.”
“My own body reminds me of that every day, Remus!” Tonks growled, “I do not need you to tell me that. Even then, I am willing to take this job... at least, Minerva, for the first term, up until Christmas. After that, I am not sure if even I will be presentable enough to teach the young ones.”
“Young ones?” echoed Harry, laughing, “Your not old enough to say that.”
“Harry, I'm your elder by eight years,” Tonks said, “I think I have the right to say that.”
“I would not dare disagree with a pregnant woman,” Harry said.
“Good man,” Tonks said, “What say you, Minerva?”
“I accept,” McGonagall said, “Remus?”
“Yes,” Remus said, “It would be an honor to teach the students again.”
“Wonderful!” Professor McGonagall said.
“Now if you excuse us,” Tonks said, “If we are going to be at Hogwarts a month from now, we better get to planning our wedding.”
Harry's eyes widened. He grinned as he looked at Remus, who looked rather surprised.
“Wh-what?” Remus spluttered, “This month?”
“No, next year,” Tonks said, sarcastically, “Yes, this month. Problems?”
“N-no,” Remus said, “None at all. I'd be happy to marry you this month. Tomorrow if you wanted.”
“Perhaps not tomorrow,” Tonks said, “I'd settle with two weeks from now. But no extravagant weddings like this. Private, my parents, some guests. Perhaps in a church. My father is a Muggle, and he'd be happy with a custom Muggle wedding.”
“Deal,” Remus said, simply; apparently he had no wish to disagree with a pregnant woman either.
Harry chuckled as he looked at the happy couple. His mind then went to the photo Remus had given him. The answer he had been looking for since his discussion with Ron and Hermione was right in front of him. He needed to talk to Remus!
“Er... Remus?” Harry said, “Before you go – may I talk to you? In private?”
“Oh – of course,” Remus said, “We'll find somewhere more out of the way, eh?”
“I'll be right back, Dora,” Remus said.
Tonks smiled and kissed Remus on the cheek. Remus stood up and Harry followed him away from the marquee and toward the barn.
“What is this about, Harry?” Remus asked.
“I recently have come across the need to visit Grimmauld Place,” Harry said, “Very soon, I hope.”
Remus stared at Harry for a moment, frowning.
“Does this have something to do with the promise you made to Professor Dumbledore?” he asked.
Harry's eyes widened as he looked at Remus. Had Moody already revealed the information to the Order before he died?
“How do you –?” he asked, “What do you know about that?”
“Not much,” Remus said. “The Order is aware Professor Dumbledore gave you a task. He did not divulge any further than that.”
“He wanted me to keep it from as many people as I could,” Harry said.
“I'm willing to not ask too many questions,” Remus said, “But I ask that I be of some assistance to you if you have need of it. You know I am well-qualified to help you.”
“I could not ask that,” Harry said, “It could be dangerous. Remus, you're an expecting father. You --”
“You're going to Hogwarts in September, are you not?” Remus cut in.
“Yes,” Harry said, without hesitation; he had no wish to give Remus a sign that he had any regrets about that decision.
“Well, if you are stuck in Hogwarts,” Remus said, “You can't be of much use to the promise you kept Professor Dumbledore, is that correct?”
Harry paused. This was indeed correct. He only grudgingly nodded.
“I will not request you to give me any information that could break the promise you gave Professor Dumbledore,” Remus said, “I know, however, this has to do with destroying Voldemort, and as such, ending the Second War. I want that as much as you do. I only ask to be of assistance.”
“Okay,” Harry said; he knew he had no other choice if he was to go to Grimmauld Place, “So when will we go to Grimmauld Place?”
“There may be a problem with that,” Remus said.
“What kind of problem?” Harry asked, raising his eyebrows.
“Severus is still able to get into Grimmauld Place,” Remus said. “He could have told Death Eaters or even Voldemort about it. They could be there as we speak, or they could be patrolling the area.”
Harry's eyes widened. If Voldemort was there, and the Horcrux was there, could he sense the location of the Horcrux and know it had been stolen?
“We have to go tomorrow then, Remus,” Harry said, “I cannot take any chances.”
“I am willing to accept that request,” Remus said, “However I ask a request of my own.”
“Okay,” Harry said.
“Dora will probably refuse to leave my side if I went to Grimmauld Place with you,” Remus said, “She has to go with us.”
“I knew that would come up.” Harry said, “I trust her as much as I trust you. I accept.”
“Will Ron and Hermione be coming along with you?” Remus asked.
“They wouldn't dare leave my side,” Harry said, chuckling.
“Then I have a plan to prepare,” Remus said, “I will meet you here tomorrow morning. Nine-o-clock?”
“Sure,” Harry said.
“Very good,” Remus said, “We better get back before we are missed.”
Harry agreed and they headed off back to the marquee.
Hermione was beginning to get exhausted. She and Ron had now been on the floor for a good forty-five minutes now. She had offered to get some refreshments at least two times now, but Ron had declined both times. Hermione knew he loved dancing with her, and she shared that love, so she had not budged anymore.
“Hermione,” Ron muttered.
Hermione lifted her head from Ron's shoulder and looked at him.
“We can stop now if you wish,” Ron said, “I'm rather in need of some refreshments.”
Hermione grinned in relief.
“If you go get us some,” she said, “I'll go find a table.”
“Sure,” Ron said.
He gently cupped her face in his hands and kissed her softly, which she accepted gratefully.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you too,” she said, grinning.
He smiled and backed away toward the refreshment table, dodging his relatives who were still on the floor. Hermione moved through the crowd toward the tables. She could not find Harry, so she sat at an empty table.
“I am happy for you, Herm-own-ninny,” a deep voice said.
Hermione looked over her shoulder. Viktor was standing feet from her.
“Thank you, Viktor,” Hermione said, blushing.
“He is an honorable man,” Viktor said.
Hermione had to pause for a moment. She first thought he had said 'vulnerable' then realized what he had really said.
“Yes,” she said, looking around the marquee for Ron, “he is.”
Before Hermione could decline, Viktor sat down at the table beside her. He took a glass of champagne from the table and took a sip of it.
“I haff a question for you,” Viktor said, looking up at her.
“Er... okay,” Hermione said, unsure of what he could possibly be asking her; knowing Viktor it could be a number of things.
“Do you know this Lovegood man vell?” Viktor asked.
Hermione raised her eyebrows in surprise. She did not expect that.
“I know his daughter, Luna,” Hermione said, “She's a friend of mine. Why?
Krum glowered over the top of his drink, watching Xenophilius, who was chatting to several warlocks on the other side of the dance floor.
“Because,” said Krum, “If he vus not a guest of Fleur’s I vould duel him, here and now, for veering that filthy sign upon his chest.”
“Sign?” Hermione said, looking over at Xenophilius too. For the first time, she saw the strange triangular eye that was gleaming on his chest. “Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“Grindelvald,” Viktor said, “That is Grindelvald’s sign.”
“Grindelwald?” Hermione asked, raising her eyebrows, “the Dark wizard Dumbledore defeated?”
“Exactly.” Viktor muttered, “Grindelvald killed many people, my grandfather, for instance. Of course, he vos never powerful in this country, they said he feared Dumbledore – and rightly, seeing how he vos finished. But this” – he pointed a finger at Xenophilius – “this is his symbol, I recognized it at vunce: Grindelvald carved it into a vall at Durmstrang ver he vos a pupil there. Some idiots copied it onto their books and clothes thinking to shock, make themselves impressive – until those of us who had lost family members to Grindelvald taught them better.”
Viktor cracked his knuckles, menacingly. This frightened Hermione.
“And,” she said, timidly, “You're sure it is that sign?”
“I am not mistaken,” said Krum coldly. “I walked past that sign for several years, I know it vell.”
“Perhaps he doesn't know what it means,” Hermione said, “If he is anything like his daughter, he is a firm believer in things most people find are strange. Maybe he liked this design.”
“I hope this is true, Herm-own-ninny,” Viktor said, slamming the glass on the table, “I really do. I must be off. It vos nice to see you again.”
“You too,” Hermione said.
Viktor bowed slightly and stood up, then walked off from the table.
“What did he want?” Ron's voice said behind Hermione.
Hermione turned around. Ron was holding a tray of refreshments and two bottles of butterbeer, but he was staring at the departing Viktor. His face was contorted somewhere between anger and jealousy.
“He – he wanted to say that he was happy for us,” Hermione said, “He's happy that I've found such a – and I quote 'honorable man' like you.”
Ron's expression softened.
“Really?” he asked, as he placed the tray down on the table and sat down next to Hermione, “That was nice of him.”
“Yes,” Hermione said, as her eyes trailed over to Mr. Lovegood and the necklace that was laying flat on his chest, “It was.”
“Hey, where's Harry?” Ron asked.
Hermione's concentration broke away from Mr. Lovegood and he looked around. She then found Harry walking into the marquee with Remus. She nodded, motioning to Harry.
Harry saw them and walked over to them.
“I was just talking to Remus,” Harry said, as he took a seat on the other side of Ron, “He has offered to take us to Grimmauld Place. Tomorrow. Nine-o-clock. Tonks is coming with us too.”
“What?” Hermione asked, “Harry, you didn't tell him about the --”
“No,” Harry said, “He didn't want to know. He only knows Dumbledore asked me to do something. He's willing to help us as much as he can.”
“Tomorrow?” Hermione asked.
“It has to be,” Harry said, “Remus thinks Snape could get into the house still. And if he can, Death Eaters can. And if they can --”
“You-Know-Who could find the locket!” Ron said.
“Exactly,” Harry said.
“If it is there,” Hermione said.
“It has to be,” Harry said.
“Harry,” Ron said, “If Snape can get in – does Remus expect him to be there?”
“That is why Tonks is coming along,” Harry said, “So they can back us up.”
“Harry!” Hermione said, “Tonks? She's pregnant.”
“Doesn't seem to matter,” Harry said. “Oh, I almost forgot. Remus is going to be the resume his Defense Against the Dark Arts post again. And Tonks is willing to substitute for him and Professor McGonagall, who will keep her post and take on Headmistress. Tonks is willing to be there until Christmas before she will take maternity leave.”
“Wicked!” Ron said, “That makes me feel better about going back.”
“There you are!” a familiar voice said behind Hermione.
Ginny came into view and she sat down next to Harry.
“Been looking for you,” she said, kissing his cheek, “I want to dance again.”
“Again?” Harry asked, “Aren't you tired?”
“I'm a Quidditch player, Harry,” Ginny said, “Stamina comes to me naturally.”
“Fine,” Harry said, “But only for a few minutes.”
Harry glared at Hermione and Ron, who were chuckling as Ginny dragged him back onto the dance floor. Ron grabbed the butterbeer bottle and uncorked it with his wand. He took a long sip.
“I don't know why you were ever not a supporter of their relationship, Ron,” Hermione said, “Those two are so cute together.”
“I'm her big brother,” Ron said, “It's my job to not support her relationships.”
“She has five more brothers to do that for her, Ron,” Hermione said, “She needs one to be the bigger man.”
“Does that have to be me?” Ron asked.
“You're a tall bloke,” Hermione said, “You're the definition of a bigger man.”
“So now I'm too tall for you?” Ron asked, with a smirk.
“No,” Hermione said, “You're the perfect size.”
Ron chuckled and Hermione leaned toward him and kissed him softly on the lips. Ron returned the kiss, but backed up quickly.
“What's wrong?” Hermione asked, “I thought you'd enjoy that.”
“I do,” Ron said, “But if Mum catches us again, she'll plan our wedding next.”
“You're the second person today to talk to me about being married in the future,” Hermione said, glaring at him.
“Who else?” Ron asked.
“Ginny,” Hermione said.
“I reckon she does want a better sister-in-law than Fleur,” Ron said.
Hermione rolled her eyes and leaned into Ron for another kiss.
Decided to end it there. Visit to Grimmauld Place next!
Okay, so a small explanation of the Harry and Remus conversation. Remus does not know about the Horcruxes. He knows Harry is trying to destroy Voldemort. He is willing to help Harry, without knowing everything, because of course he wants the Second War over, given that he's going to be a father. So he's basically a bodyguard. Basically everything Harry was against in the book, he is willing to accept in my story. That is just one of my changes in my story.
Also, Tonks is 25 in Deathly Hallows according to the Fact sites.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Last edited by Fury; December 30th, 2011 at 7:55 pm.
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