Disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter, and I never will.
I will be doing two canon chapters per chapter from now on. These are chapters three and four.
Chapter Two – Leaving Privet Drive
Harry never had any company over the summer except for Hedwig, and since Dudley couldn’t beat up a photo album, Harry had talked with Hermione’s picture for the remainder of his last stay on Number four, Privet Drive. Not that the Dursleys found out about it, of course.
He didn’t know why, but he felt more comfortable sharing stuff with Hermione than he ever did with anyone else. He felt comfortable and safe around her, even if it was just a picture. He knew he always felt the same with the real Hermione as well, but never really noticed it. Harry also never really noticed how beautiful Hermione really was before (although the Yule Ball was a real eye-opener). He wondered why he never figured out all of this before. He subconsciously knew it, but it never came to the front of his mind. And then he remembered three weeks ago in his first conversation with her; He thought she liked Ron, so he didn’t try to think of her that way. Now that he was almost positive that she didn’t like Ron, his feelings started returning, and he welcomed them this time instead of shunning them. He wasn’t sure if it was a crush, love, a strong like, or if he was just confused. He just knew that he cared more for Hermione than anyone—even Ginny. That scared him a little.
Harry felt that the more he spoke with Hermione, the guiltier he felt about Ginny, even though he broke up with her. He knew that Ginny would probably think that Harry would get back together with her after the war. He knew that he had to end his relationship with Ginny permanently when he arrived at the Burrow. He would probably do that after the wedding, to keep the happiness in the air for a while. Harry was almost positive that Hermione had at least a small crush on him. Either that, or she was trying too hard to get their old friendship back together; it definitely worked, with a bonus. Harry would’ve thought that was the reason, if he hadn’t seen the blush on her cheeks every time he gave her a compliment since the beginning, which must’ve meant that the real Hermione must’ve liked him, too.
The morning after, Harry felt that he needed something to do to prepare for Horcrux searching, so with a little bit of coaching from P. ‘Mione (his new nickname for her, which she pretended to gag at every time he called her that), he started exercising. She explained to him that while he was nowhere near fat, he had little to no muscle. Harry had no choice but to agree. Every morning, Harry would wake up and do a few push-ups and crunches a few times and run laps around his small, but good-enough room. Hermione suggested that she should be able to watch him in the morning to count how many of each he has done and to see if he was doing each one right (and, of course, to enjoy the view, which she cheekily told Harry as a taunt. She was rewarded with a heated blush that had nothing to do with the workout.) Now, two and a half weeks later, he was wiry; not well-built, but still stronger than he was before. That was one of the many things she helped him with. With her help, he was able to learn how to control his temper. Even he had to admit that he had a few temper tantrums in the past.
When Harry came back from the bathroom, he almost fell to the ground on Dudley’s stupid idea of a prank. A white, now-broken teacup that used to hold tea was at the entrance to his room. He automatically knew it would be Dudley—It was porcelain, and his aunt and uncle wouldn’t have left it out to be broken, no matter how much they wanted to beat him for breaking it. When Harry voiced his concern with P. ‘Mione, thinking thatDudley may be thinking of a huge farewell prank and if she could figure it out, she asked what the first prank was. When he explained about the teacup, Hermione mused, “Well, I don’t think that was really a prank. I mean really, who would leave the teacup on the ground next to the door filled with tea? Maybe he was going to give you a going-away present instead of a prank? I mean you saved his life a couple of years back, and from Dementors, by the way. You seem to have a knack for doing that, actually.”
“But he’s not nice, ‘Mione,” explained Harry. “I told you all of my horror stories during fourth year. He wouldn’t do something like that. Leaving tea for someone who you beat up since you knew how to ball up a hand isn’t something he would do.”
“Well, you did save his life,” Hermione countered. “I think the tea-cup was a small thank you. From your stories, I wouldn’t think he would say out-right, ‘Thanks, mate, you really saved my life. Sorry how I treated you like bull your whole life, but I finally realized that you’re better than me in every way and Dad and I should go join my pack with the manatees so I wouldn’t get in your way again. I could talk Mum to going back to her stable, too.’”
Harry howled with laughter and almost lost his footing. He cleared his mirthful eyes, about to say something, when he heard a door slam and a howl from downstairs.
Harry slowly got up and sighed. “Wish me luck.” He was about close the album before P.M. stopped him.
“Take me downstairs,” she explained, “I can hear everything in the outside world around me when I’m not activated and I can amplify my voice. If they lay a finger on you, they’ll regret it.”
Harry stopped himself from breathing a sigh of relief. If Harry said anything out loud about his feelings for Hermione, she would’ve heard it.
Keeping his mind on the task he knew was about to come, he shook his head and replied, “I don’t think Vernon will be intimidated by a picture. It took Mad-Eye to scare him, and you’re just a picture of a pretty girl. Not very scary.”
“Just keep me in your hand, Harry. I’m not going to yell at them. Screeching is a good word for it, though.”
Harry chuckled and closed the book. He kept it in his hand and walked out of the room. He walked down the stairs and saw them all dressed for leave. “You took your time!” roared Vernon Dursley, Harry’s nightmare of an uncle, when Harry appeared at the top of the stairs. “Get down here. I want a word!” Harry almost chuckled when he heard a low growl on his right.
Harry walked down the stairs two at a time and sat on the couch, putting his hands in his lap, leaving the album in plain sight. Vernon glared at it for a moment before pacing while Petunia sat down adjacent to him on the sofa and craned her giraffe’s neck to see the album title. “Where did you get that from?” She asked suspiciously. Harry knew she would’ve expected he stole it if it were not for the fact that Harry never left the house.
“Gift from a friend. If we have enough time, you might meet her soon.” No one except Harry noticed the small giggle that was stifled immediately.
Vernon stopped pacing and looked suspiciously at Harry for a long moment before saying, “I’ve changed my mind.”
Harry was about to retort until he realized that technically, Hermione was in the room. This wasn’t the time to start an argument. “Oh,” he said in an amused tone.
“It’s all a lot of claptrap,” said Uncle Vernon, glaring at Harry with piggy little eyes. “I’ve decided I don’t believe a word of it. We’re staying put, we’re not going anywhere.”
Harry smirked at his foolish uncle. He had been changing his mind for four weeks and frankly, Harry was getting tired of it. “You do realize that you will die if you stay, right?”
“Is that a threat, boy?” Vernon growled as he locked beady little eyes with calm emerald eyes, taking a step closer.
“No, it’s a promise, straight from the Dark Lord, mind you.” Harry heard a small girlish snort. ‘Merlin, even her snorts sound cute!’ “Please, tell me why you changed your mind once again for the twenty-seventh time,” He said, not masking his sarcasm.
Vernon scowled and began pacing again. Harry took this moment to look at Dudley. He had his head down and his hands squeezing his knees, as if contemplating in his mind, or whatever that was up there. Harry wondered if he really was trying to apologize to him. Before he could say anything to him, Vernon Dursley turned back to him.
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “I was awake half the night thinking it all over,” (‘while eating ham the whole time in the kitchen when you thought everyone else was asleep,’ Harry thought) “and I believe it’s a plot to get the house.”
Harry had no choice but to laugh at this. It was just typical of him to want the house that he’s been abused in for a full ten years and six summers. He could hear Hermione faintly laughing, but his voice drowned it, or so he thought. When he stopped laughing, he noticed that all three Dursleys were looking around for something.
“Who was that?” Dudley asked.
“I suppose it was someone laughing,” Petunia Dursley said as she got up and went into the kitchen. Harry supposed that she was about to crane her neck out of the window as she had done countless times before. Harry just hoped that it was the last time. He knew the jig was up whenVernon looked at him suspiciously and said with tiny narrowed eyes, “What was that, boy? Was it some of your freakish business?”
Harry thought quickly and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I was laughing at the ridiculous stuff you said. Why would I want this house? I already got one.”
Vernon narrowed his eyes into tiny slits, and Harry wondered if his uncle could see him anymore. He started pacing again. “So you’re saying this Lord Thing, er, Voldymore, is trying to kill us unless we move out of this house.”
“Firstly,” Harry said, sounding stern, “his name is Voldemort. He can be called Moldybutt, The Dark Tosser, Tom Riddle (his real name by the way, which he hates), The Guy-Who-Died, Voldyboy, Moldefoot, U-No-Poo, and many other creative terms, but never Voldymore. Give the man some dignity.” He could actually feel his hand vibrate with stifled giggles.
“Secondly, yes, he will kill you. He showed no hesitation when he killed my parents, and they were magical. He would at least put the Cruciatus—the torturing curse, by the way—on you guys since you have no magic in your veins. Voldemort hates Muggles; one of his missions in his immortal – for now, at least – life is to kill all of the Muggles. You know how you hate my lot? He hates your lot with a passion, and will kill you if he finds the people who were – well, I guess you could call it ‘raising’ me. He probably might bring a Dementor or two to finish you off after he’s done torturing you.”
Harry heard a sharp intake of breath and turned to see Dudley looking frightened, as if the bogeyman came out of his closet and was actually bigger than him. “De…Dementors?” Dudley asked with a terribly frightened voice. “There are m-more?”
Harry gravely nodded, although he was sure that this argument would be over soon. Dudley is scared, and they would do anything for Dudders. “Hundreds. Maybe thousands. They’re all on Voldemort’s side, now. All of those mysterious things on the news where people are attacked and killed, buildings are burned, bombs set off, looks like a tornado hit a place, but nobody’s alive to see the tornado, so it can’t be proven? He does it all. He is the most evil man in the world and the darkest creatures in the world are his followers. Aunt Petunia?” He looked at the paler than usual woman who had heard everything from the kitchen door. “Do you know why Voldemort killed my dad and your sister? You blamed it on the Wizarding world, my dad, your own sister – and me, for some reason – that she was dead, but I think that I should tell you the truth. The truth of why she really died.”
Harry had never seen Aunt Petunia Dursley more scared in his entire life. She looked ready to faint at the moment. However, he knew that she would be curious, as this just might be the last time he saw her, the last link to her long gone sister. A few seconds of tense silence later, she nodded stiffly, shaking mildly.
“It was because of me,” Harry said softly, putting his head down. “A bit before I was born, there was a prophecy concerning me and Voldemort made. I’m sure even Muggles know what prophesies are, tales that are destined to happen in the future, near or far. My headmaster was the first to hear it. But someone else heard it. Snape,” he spat out the name like a particularly awful curse word, “heard it. But only half of it. He was kicked out before he heard the whole thing and ran straight to Voldemort to tell him.” He looked back up to see his aunt choking back a sob, and it appeared as if she was trying to speak, but was too broken down. “What?” he asked curiously. He hadn’t expected her to cry this early into the story.
“The…the man…that you said…his full name.” She said brokenly. ‘Surely it couldn’t be the same person…’
“Severus Prince Snape. What? Has he shown up here before?” Harry asked, fully curious. He saw that she gasped softly when he said Snivellus’s full name. He wanted to probe further, but her hand motioning him to continue stopped him. “Anyway, Voldemort spent a year trying to find me because of that prophecy. He didn’t know that we were hidden in a cottage. There was a charm on the place so that the house couldn’t be seen and it can’t be traced. One of my parents’ friends knew where it was, too. They didn’t know that he was bad, though. He went to Voldemort, and then Voldemort went after us.
“My dad – you know, that awful boy you complain about – saw him first. He told her to take me and go upstairs while he fought him off. He died. He died from the first curse. The killing curse, if you wanted to know. That is the only spell that can kill you without putting a mark on you. Only one person ever survived it. Sometimes I wish that person wasn’t me.
“Back to my parents, or ‘parent’, at the moment. He went upstairs and found my mom and me. She put me in my crib and blocked him from me. She could’ve run. He told her to run. He gave her so many chances. Truthfully, she should’ve run. It wouldn’t have made a difference, anyway, what with me being destined to die and everything. I’ll tell you about that later, though.” At this moment, he heard a few sharp intakes of breath. He still had his head to the floor, and wasn’t planning on lifting his head so they could see his tears slowing falling.
“But she didn’t,” Harry continued after a few seconds. “She cared for me enough to stay and protect me. She kept begging for him to spare me and kill her while he told her to get out of the way. That bastard killed her with the same curse. I’ll make sure to pay him back one day, hopefully soon. Then, he came to me, a defenseless fifteen month-old baby. He used the killing curse again. But it rebounded on him. It half-killed him. It would have killed him, if it weren’t for the dark ritual that he went through. He came back thirteen years later, and has been haunting my life since then. It was all because of a prophecy I just told you about. He killed my parents, a friend of mine, Cedric, (in a way) my godfather, Sirius, and recently, (in another way) my headmaster and mentor, Professor Dumbledore. All of it was so he could get to me.” He blinked back his tears. That was still a painful subject to approach for him.
He paused to let them all soak in what he just said. He slowly looked up, half-expecting to see Vernon snickering. He was shocked to see a lone tear falling off of his face, leaning against the wall. He really hadn’t expected that. He looked over to Dudley. He was also surprised to see the hulking figure of a cousin, which reminded him so much of a miniature Grawp, wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his jacket.
What surprised him the most, though, was his aunt Petunia. She was freely crying, sniffling, and he had not noticed when she had sat down, but she did, holding a box of tissues. It seemed to Harry that they were finally going to leave Privet Drive after all.
“Now,” Harry continued, standing up from the sofa and walking towards the middle of the room, “I told you about Voldemort trying to kill me. I told you why he wants to kill me. But what I didn’t tell you was why it was so important for him to kill me. In other words, the prophecy’s contents. I memorized it, so I’ll tell it to you. But only on one condition. You have to leave. If you don’t, then you are open targets. Since you’re my last living relatives, he will assume that I told you the whole thing. He still hasn’t heard the entire thing because I destroyed the only recording of it. He’s going to torture you for information. I’m sure you know about the blood wards around here. The second I turn seventeen, He’ll know exactly where you are. He can appear right in front of your bed if he wanted to!” He took a deep breath. “Look, I’m not trying to scare you, because if you go into hiding, then you’ll have nothing to be scared about. Just…just nod if you want to go into hiding so I can tell you the prophecy.”
First, Harry’s eyes found Dudley. He instantly nodded. Then he looked at Petunia. She seemed hesitant at first, but he knew that she was just as curious, if not more, about the words that led her only sister to her death. In the end, she nodded.
Harry then looked at the man of the house. He was almost sure that if Vernon said no, they would all stay. Unless Petunia could talk him out of it. He knew Dudley could also easily persuade his parents, but if Vernon were too dedicated to his house of Number Four… “Well, Mr. Dursley?”
Vernon’s watery eyes seemed to widen in shock at what he just called him. Mister?
Harry just kept staring. Soon enough all six eyes were staring at him. He began fidgeting under them. It seemed like it was a few minutes of him deciding and contemplating what to do under their stare.
Harry didn’t even bat an eyelash, even with the tears from earlier.
“A-alright,” Vernon finally said, a little choked. “Alright, alright! We’ll move!”
Harry had to hold back a triumphant grin. He was barely successful.
“I guess that means I can tell you the prophecy now, and what it means.
“‘The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord shall mark him as his equal, but he will have the power the Dark Lord knows not… And either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.’
“Let me start with the translation. The one who can kill Voldemort has parents who has faced against them and survived three times. My parents fit that description.” He stuck out his index finger to indicate ‘one’. “I was born on July the thirty-first, which is the seventh month, and since it is at the end of the month, it is sometimes known as the death of a month.” His middle finger joined his index. ‘Two’. “The Dark Lord marked me as his equal. That one is self-explanatory.” He used his three extended fingers to point at the lightening bolt scar on his forehead. “I got this… that night.” He barely refrained himself from taunting him with ‘during that car crash’.
“So, apparently, I have this power the Dark Lord knows not. That would obviously scare him. He will get close to everyone I love and even those that I barely tolerate,” at this, he sent a glare towards them, “and torture them for information, weaknesses, how to find me, ransom, you know. Anything it takes for him to get rid of the last and only foe in his way. So basically, I’m the last hope for both worlds. The ‘Normal’ and ‘Freak’worlds. If something happens to me, I hope you’ll take it literally when I say that all hell will break loose.”
Deathly Silence. Nobody said a word. Harry felt that his throat was dry. He needed to get something to drink soon. “Hestia Jones,” he continued, “and Dedalus Diggle will be coming shortly to help you move and go into hiding.”
Vernon nodded shakily.
Seconds later, the doorbell rang. Harry calmly walked over to the door and turned the knob.
“Harry Potter!” Squeaked an excited voice the moment the door was opened. Harry looked to see a small man with a mauve top hat give a deep bow to him. “An honor as ever!”
“Thanks, Dedalus, Hestia,” He smiled and nodded at the dark-haired woman behind the short man.
“Good day to you, Harry Potter’s relatives!” the man said happily as Harry let him into the house. He noticed that they were quite tense, but shrugged it off, assuming that it was because they were leaving their home. He looked around. “I see you are all packed and ready. Excellent! The plan, as Harry has told you, is a simple one,” said Dedalus, pulling an immense pocket watch out of his waistcoat and examining it. “We shall be leaving before Harry does. Due to the danger of using magic in your house – Harry being still underage it could provide the Ministry with an excuse to arrest him – we shall be driving, say, ten miles or so before Disapparating to the safe location we have picked out for you.
“You know how to drive, I take it?” He asked Uncle Vernon politely.
Before Vernon could retort on how ridiculous a question that was, Harry said politely, “Yes, all three of them can.” At then, he pointed a glare atVernon. He had never been taught how to drive himself. Surprisingly enough, Vernon flinched. It took all Harry could to not flinch himself.
He was moved out of his shock by Dedalus. “Fascinating…simply fascinating. Anywho… you, Harry, will wait for your guard. There has been a little change in the arrangements to smuggle you out. From what I have heard, a good number of the Order will help you escape. Mad-Eye will explain later.”
Harry nodded in understanding. Mad-Eye never followed schedules. He briefly wondered who was coming with him – Hermione and Ron were the first on the list – before a loud “HURRY UP!” woke him from his reverie. His eyes immediately snapped to Dedalus, and then to the watch he was holding.
“Quite right, we’re operating on a very tight schedule,” Dedalus said after taking a peek at the watch and placing it back in the pocket of his waistcoat. He continued talking to Harry. “We are attempting to time your departure from the house with your family’s Disapparition, Harry, thus the charm breaks the moment you all head for safety.” He turned the Dursleys, who were still looking at the pocket where the watch was placed. “Well, are we all packed?”
Harry inwardly groaned at the three, who looked like they hadn’t even heard the man, before he answered for them. “Yes, they’re packed and ready to go.”
Hestia finally spoke, “Perhaps we should wait outside in the hall, Dedalus.”
Harry smirked to himself as he watched the two move into the hallway. He turned to the Dursleys. He had to admit, even though he was sure that he would never miss them, he also hoped that they were safe. Although when they crossed paths again, he just might give them a permanent spot at St. Mungo’s. At leas Lockhart will have company.
“Well,” Harry started, since it looked like they certainly weren’t going to start, “I guess this is goodbye.” He casually walked up to Vernon and held up his hand. Vernon’s eyes widened in disbelief and shock. He automatically lifted his hand up and they shook, but both let go immediately.
Harry chuckled. “That’s the first time you touched me and I didn’t get a mark.” He walked past a suddenly slightly guilty-looking Vernon to a shaking, pale, Petunia.
“How would my mum have raised Dudley if you had died? Would she have abused him? Would my dad have? Would I have beaten him up on a daily basis?” He almost decided to just walk by her, but refused before he moved. “I don’t want you to answer those questions. You already know the answers. Although I still want to know how you knew Severus Snape. What do you know?”
Petunia started of with a few words in tears, and Harry couldn’t understand her, but before she could continue, Dedalus and Hestia entered the living room.
“Sorry,” Dedalus started, “truly sorry, but we must leave.”
“Oh, umm, well, come along, then,” Vernon said as he practically ran out of the door, not looking back.
Harry turned to Dudley. He seemed to be seriously contemplating something that must have been too incomprehensible for his brain. Harry decided to let him off, to see if it was a joke or a thank-you. “Thanks for the tea, Dudley.”
Dudley’s eyes widened. How did Harry know that?
As if Harry had heard his thoughts, he replied, “You shouldn’t leave the good china on the floor, Dud. Like Petunia or Vernon would ever put that on the floor next to a door. So tell me, why did you leave me some tea at my door?”
There was a few seconds of silence before Dudley said something that Harry had never heard before from him, not even to his parents. “Thank you.”
Harry grinned. “You’re welcome. If you were thanking me for those Dementors, I have a bit of a ‘Saving People Thing’.” He lifted his hand to the burly boy who, moments later, took it.
“Good luck,” he whispered, and for a second, Harry thought he hadn’t heard it from Dudley.
“I’ll need more than luck, but that’s a start,” Harry joked as he pulled his hand away, but was interrupted by a sniffling Petunia.
“S-such a lovely b-boy…s-saying thank you—”
“And I suppose you’re going to try to be sweet?” Harry said with a chuckle. “Or are you going to scoff at me, tell me how much you detest your sister, complain about how much I look like that awful boy, and—”
Harry had forgotten that Hestia was still there. He didn’t know how he would cover that up, so he didn’t try lying. He wondered how Petunia was going to cover this up.
“I never called his father awful!” Petunia shouted as Hestia glared at her.
“Yes,” Harry corrected, “you did. Didn’t he tell you about Azkaban?”
Petunia stiffened. She didn’t think the boy would remember that. He was bound to find out anyway, she realized a moment later. “Your father wasn’t the b-boy I was t-talking ab-bout,” she stuttered helplessly.
“What?” Now it was Harry’s turn to be confused. If it wasn’t James Potter, then who else had talked to Petunia? Wait a minute…if it was his father in the first place, she would have not said ‘boy’. It had to be someone younger than eighteen who told Petunia about Azkaban, and his dad was eighteen when his mum started tolerating/dating him, so she would never invite him to her house before then. But… who could that person be, if not his dad?
But before he could ask, Petunia said, “You’ll figure it out…Potter.” And with that, she turned on the spot and left to the car. Harry almost thought she moved so fast, she apparated away. Dudley followed his mother, but before he reached the door, he said in a small voice that Harry thought he was not capable of using (or even possess, for that matter), “I hope you win.”
After Dedalus and Hestia gave him parting words and the promise that they would be the best of chums (from Dedalus, at least), Harry shot up to his room with a strength and speed he didn’t know he had and picked up Hedwig’s cage. “We’ll be leaving soon, girl,” Harry said to her as he walked through the hallway, Hedwig’s cage and Hermione in his hands.
“Open me up,” Hermione demanded in a muffled voice.
“I didn’t forget about you,” Harry said as he flipped the cover open, “not with all those noises in the background.”
“That was some good telling off,” Hermione said, “but why didn’t I get a turn?”
“I didn’t have enough time,” Harry said apologetically.
“That’s OK, Harry,” Hermione replied, “after all, you were the one that was raised by them. All I did was listen to what they said earlier and I want to kill them. I wish my original had found a way to sneak out of the Burrow and ‘meet’ the Dursleys.”
They spent a few minutes walking around the house, talking about what Hermione would’ve done to the Dursleys, had she been there.
Harry walked in the shadows of the dark and empty house, showing Hedwig the house and talking to Hermione. He stopped at the small cupboard under the stairs, the horrid room he had lived in for the first ten years of his life before his true identity was revealed.
Hermione noticed that he stiffened and looked out of the side of her picture to see the cupboard.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered with small tears in her eyes.
“Don’t worry about it, ‘Mione,” He said soothingly, “I’ll never have to set foot in it again. But I do want to look inside, don’t you, Hedwig?”
The snowy owl hooted in what seemed to be anger, her amber eyes staring piercingly into the room.
“Right, then,” Harry said as he slowly walked past the cupboard as Hermione giggled.
He walked into the kitchen to get some water when he heard the telltale pops of Apparition. He set the cage on the table and quickly looked out of the kitchen window, his wand in his right hand and the opened album in the other, and saw the disillusionment charms lifted. There was the huge, hulking, and lovable giant, Hagrid, in the darkness with a helmet in his arm and Sirius’s motorcycle with a sidecar attached. He also saw the smaller figures stepping gracefully off the Thestrals and broomsticks.
He whispered to the album, “They’re here. I’ll talk to you later, alright?”
“Okay, Harry, but if anything happens to you,” She started with a fierce look in her eyes.
Harry really did not want to know what she was about to say. “Relax,” he politely interrupted when he found out that she was still thinking of something to say. “I’ll be alright…P. ‘Mione.” Before she could retort, he closed the book and put it in his pocket while he ran to the door and ripped it open to be attacked by a similar looking, yet somehow more mature woman, in a crushing hug for a full second, before she whispered, “Did you get my present?”
Harry smiled at the beautiful girl as he hugged back. “Yes, and it’s the best present I’ve ever gotten…even better than the Firebolt.”
“Great!” she squeaked, kissing him on the cheek before Ron came up to pat Harry on the back. Hagrid came to the door and barked, “All righ’, Harry? Ready fer the off?”
“Definitely,” Harry said as he finally let go of Hermione and joined them outside. Luckily, the night air was slowly fading the blush that came when she kissed his cheek. “I was expecting less people, but,” he grinned and looked straight towards Mad-Eye, who seemed to be roaming the entire neighborhood with his magical eye, “I guess there’s a change in plans? Should we all go inside so we won’t be overheard?”
Moody focused both of his eyes on Harry for a moment in surprise; he certainly learned thing or two about constant vigilance. “Yes, Potter, we should,” he growled with a bit of amusement as they all started walking back in the kitchen. Harry looked around to see the dedicated soldiers who were breaking him out; Fred and George, Bill, Ron, Tonks, Mr. Weasley, Remus, Fleur, Mad-Eye, Kingsley, Mundungus, Hagrid, and Hermione; he felt a little dismayed to see Mundungus there, but he still felt amazingly happy at the moment (probably because he was still thinking about the kiss). He looked over to Tonks as he saw a shimmer of light in her direction out of the corner of his eye. His eyes bulged when he saw that the shimmering came from her left hand ring finger. He looked at Remus and grinned like mad at him. Remus became pink with embarrassment, but smiled back. He looked back at Mad-Eye, who was still swiveling his magical eye around.
“So, what’s the plan?” Harry asked Mad-Eye.
The grizzled auror explained the situation. “As Dedalus probably told you, we had to abandon Plan A.” Harry nodded. “Pius Thickness has gone over, which give us a big problem. He’s made it an imprisonable offense to connect this house to the Floo Network, place a Portkey here, or Apparate in or out. All done in the name of your protection, to prevent You-Know-Who—” Harry rolled his eyes, “—getting at you. Absolutely pointless, seeing as your mother’s charm does that already. What he’s really done is to stop you getting out of here safely. Second problem: You’re underage, which means you’ve still got the Trace on you.”
Harry nodded his understanding. The picture Hermione told him what the Trace was once. All wizards and witches had the Trace on them; if magic was performed, the Ministry of Magic would know. “And I can’t wait for the Trace to break…So I guess we’ll be flying? That’s the only way I can think of.”
“Spot on, Potter!” he barked with a grin. “Now, your mother’s charm will break under two conditions: when you come of age, or” – Moody gestured around the pristine kitchen — “you no longer call this place home.”
“I never did before. Are we ready to go?” he asked, leaning off the wall.
“Hold on, Potter!” Moody grinned at him with a bit of pride in his growl. “There’s one more part in the plan. We planted a fake date at the ministry, the day before your birthday. However, this is You-Know-Who we’re dealing with, so he most likely has Death Eaters patrolling the skies in this general area, just in case. So, we’ve given a dozen different houses every protection we can throw at them. They all look like they could be the place we’re going to hide you, they’ve all got some connection with the Order: my house, Kingsley’s place, Molly’s, Auntie Muriel’s – you get the idea. But you’ll be going to Tonks’s parents and they’ll have a Portkey to go to the Burrow. Any questions?”
Harry took a quick glance around the room and turned back to Mad-Eye. “I’m guessing not all fourteen of us are heading towards Tonks’s parents, right? So do you have some sort of diversion?
Moody broke into a genuine smile. “You’re a real strategist, Potter. I didn’t say the key point. There will be seven Harry Potters roaming the skies—”
“Polyjuice Potion?” Harry asked, hanging his head down. He saw Moody nod. “So that means we’ll be moving in pairs, right, since there will be seven others, and each pair will be heading for a different house?” He saw Mad-Eye looking at him with praise. He was about to complain, until he heard what the note from Hermione said earlier.
‘When we arrive at your house, I want you to promise that you would do nothing to interfere with us or our plans, whatever they are. We are coming to save you and we know the risks, Harry, we know that we could all lose our own lives, and we will risk it!’
He sighed and after a moment, grinned. “I guess not even Voldemort can split himself into seven,” He muttered. Hermione’s mouth twitched. After a few seconds of thought, he spoke again. “I have an idea to add on to that, though.”
“Yes, Potter?” The retired Auror focused his eyes on Harry.
“What if I’m one of the escorts? To throw them off? They’ll start aiming for the other Potters, not the escorts.”
Moody eyed him with both eyes, as if wondering if this was the real Harry Potter, or if he was under the Imperius. He immediately doubted the latter. Seconds later, he gave a brief nod of a approval with a smile of pride (the best smile Mad-Eye could give, anyway) as he pulled out a flask of what appeared to be mud while he pulled a small glass out and poured a little of the flask into it. He must be waiting for a chunk of hair. Harry pulled a pair of scissors out of his pocket and snipped a little bit of hair off.
“Why do you have scissors in your pocket?” Moody asked in a curious growl.
“I suspected that the plan might have something to do with Polyjuice potion or some other type of trickery. Always be prepared,” Harry said when he dropped the hairs in the flask. When it came in contact with the mud, it turned into a clear, bright-gold color.
“That looks much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry,” said Hermione as she watched the bright flask, causing Harry to colour a little.
Ron looked at Hermione for a second with his eyebrow raised before he shrugged it off.
Moody walked over to an empty space in the kitchen and said, “Fake potters over here and a volunteer, please!”
Hermione left his side and walked over to join Ron, Fleur, Fred, George, Kingsley, Fleur and Moody.
“We’re one short,” said Lupin.
“Here,” said Hagrid gruffly, and he lifted Mundungus by the scruff of the neck and dropped him unceremoniously down beside Fleur, who wrinkled her nose in disgust and walked over to stand between Fred and George instead.
“I’m a soldier, I’d sooner be a protector,” said Mundungus.
Moody was about to yell, when Harry beat him to it. “Shut it, Mundungus. I still hadn’t forgiven you for taking Sirius’s stuff. If you bail out on us now, I’ll be looking for you when I’m seventeen.” Harry said with a bit of an evil glint in his eye.
Mundungus swallowed heavily and looked back at Mad-Eye. He didn’t look like he was going to complain anytime soon. His hair was plucked from behind by Harry, who dropped it in the small cup that still had mud in it. It started to smoke and turned black and slimy, like tar. Harry almost heaved at the thought of having to drink this.
Meanwhile, Moody pulled out six more small glasses from inside his cloak and poured a bit of Harry’s potion into each glass. “Altogether, then …”
Harry, Hermione, Ron, Fred, George, Fleur, Kingsley and Mundungus drank. All of them gasped and grimaced as the potion hit their throats; At once, their features began to bubble and distort like hot wax. Hermione, Fleur and Mundungus were shooting upward; Harry, Ron, Kingsley, Fred, and George were shrinking; their hair was darkening, Hermione’s and Fleur’s appearing to shoot backward into their skulls. Kingsley’s hair was growing.
Moody, quite unconcerned, was now loosening the ties of the large sacks he had brought with him. When he straightened up again, there were six Harry Potters and one Mundungus Fletcher gasping and panting in front of him.
Fred and George turned to each other and said together, “Wow…we’re identical!”
“I dunno, though, I think I’m still better-looking,” said Fred, examining his reflection in the kettle.
“Bah,” said Fleur, checking herself in the microwave door, “Bill, don’t look at me – I’m ‘ideous.”
“Just be glad that you’re not Mundungus,” Harry said irritably as he was standing next to Fleur.
“I’ve got a sack of clothes to change into.” Moody growled over the conversation.
Harry and his six clones walked over to the bag, putting on his clothes and glasses, while Mundungus traded clothes with him. He saw that they were displaying his body a lot more than he wanted them to, and didn’t appreciate his own body at the moment.
“I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo,” said Ron, looking down at his bare chest.
Hermione placed on the glasses and clothes and slid her finger down his noticeably stronger arm, nodding appreciatively, not noticing the real (blushing) Harry.
Once dressed, the fake Harry’s took the bags and owl cages, each containing a stuffed snowy owl, from the second bag.
While they were doing this, Moody called Harry over. “A bit of advice if you’re going to use Mundungus, lad,” Moody growled, but it was not the aggressive growl that Harry usually heard. “Your pet owl…Hedwig, isn’t it?” At Harry’s hesitant nod, he continued. “See, Mundungus usually doesn’t care about an animal dying, he wants to save his own arse. If you show any feelings towards that owl, it will tip them off. What I suggest is that you give Hedwig to someone else and get one of the dummies. You don’t have to, but there’s a chance that you and Hedwig and your partner will die if you do anything out of his character.” And he left a gawking Harry to address the others. Seconds later, Harry recovered, wondering who to trust with Hedwig. Hermione, of course. But it would be wise to hand her to another escort and not a partner. He could give Hedwig to Ron, but his escort was Tonks… he didn’t think that was wise. It was a unanimous decision—Remus.
“Good,” said Moody, as at last seven dressed, bespectacled, and luggage carrying Harry’s and one Mundungus faced him. “The pairs will be as follows: Mundungus will be traveling with me, by broom. Fred and Arthur by broom. Remus and George, on broom. Bill and Fleur, Thestral. Harry and Hermione, Thestral. Ron and Tonks, broom. Hagrid and Kingsley, motorbike. “Any questions? Good, now let’s get moving.”
Ron looked like he was about to complain, but wisely kept his mouth shut.
Harry and Hermione beamed. After he talked to Remus for a moment to fill him in on Moody’s idea, he handed over Hedwig and his broom, which was leaning against the corner in the kitchen. He patted Hedwig on the head one more time, and recieved the usual expected nip on the finger and an affectionate hoot, before he wished good luck to her, Remus and George and turned to walk back over to his beautiful partner.
They started walking outside, and Hermione asked, “Harry, why did you change into Mundungus?”
“Because he’s not worth a killing curse,” he smiled, causing Hermione to chuckle.
“So…did you bring—?”
Harry patted his pocket and said, “Yep, it’s right here, ‘Mione.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “‘Mione?” she chuckled.
Harry’s cheeks pinkened again with embarrassment. “Well, er, the picture Hermione liked that name, sort-of, so I assumed—”
“Don’t worry Harry,” Hermione assured him, “I like that nickname, and only that nickname. But please don’t call me that in public. If Ron finds out, he’ll think he has the right to give me goofy nicknames like Hermy.”
Harry smiled as Hermione continued. “You must have grown really close to her. I mean, me.”
“I have,” Harry said earnestly when he mounted the Thestral and held his hand out for Hermione, who took it. “Now the picture and I are the best of friends. Can you and I be?”
Hermione swung her legs around Harry and held him close. She put her head on his shoulder and said, “Of course, Harry. Thank you for letting mebe your friend.” She kissed his cheek again. Harry blushed and looked out of the corner of his eye to Ron. He was busy helping up Tonks after she fell off her broom.
“You’ll always be my best friend, Hermione. You’ll never need to worry about that.”
Hermione felt a tear coming down her cheek, and wiped it away before it reached Harry’s shoulder. Harry chuckled.
“I can’t believe that you just kissed Mundungus Fletcher. I can’t believe that I just kissed me.”
Hermione giggled, which did strange things to Harry’s stomach, and said, “What can we believe anymore, Harry?”
Whatever reply Harry would’ve said was cut off by Mad-Eye.
“All right, then,” said Moody. “Everyone ready, please. I want us all to leave at exactly the same time or the whole point of the diversion’s lost.”
“Hold tight now, Ron,” said Tonks, and Harry and Hermione saw Ron throw a forcing, guilty look at Lupin before placing his hands on each side of her waist. Hagrid kicked the motorbike into life: It roared like a dragon, and Kingsley started shaking from the violent movement in the sidecar.
Harry steadied himself on the Thestral while Hermione clung a bit tighter to him. “Just like old times,” Harry whispered to her, causing her to blush.
“Good luck, everyone,” shouted Moody. “See you all in about an hour at the Burrow. On the count of three. One …two …THREE!”
There was a great roar from the motorbike, and the Thestrals and brooms kicked off of the ground, and flew high into the air, getting a small, barely audible shriek from Hermione. She held him tighter, making him slightly uncomfortable. He tried to keep reminding himself that Hermione was holding him and not himself. It did feel a little weird to have Hermione’s medium and muscular arms hold on tight to him as his own breath was hitting his ear. He was sure that if it was Hermione’s form was doing this, then he would be extremely uncomfortable, and so would Hermione, seeing as her hands were so close to his waist. He looked back behind Hermione to take one last look at Number Four, Privet Drive, and knew that one thing was for certain. He definitely won’t miss it.
And then, out of nowhere, out of nothing, they were surrounded. At least thirty hooded figures, suspended in midair, formed a vast circle in the middle of which the Order members had risen, oblivious screams, a blaze of green light on every side. The moonlight hit them in an eerie way, almost like Vampires, each with a lust for blood and torture.
Death Eaters. Damn.
Harry silently cursed and thought quickly. He quickly looked around. The Order Members had already split up and were being chased. He swiftly raised the Thestral while Hermione pulled out her wand. Harry did so a moment later and immediately aimed at one of the Death Eaters. He almost shot an ‘Expelliarmus’, but knew that he would be the only one shooting that spell, which would make him suspicious. He shot a stunner at one Death Eater, and another, and another, before he swiftly flew over the Death Eaters, who seemed to break the circle and followed the seven pairs who split up, apparently confused about which on was Harry Potter, as they all flew around randomly for a few seconds, then broke up. The Thestral seemed to know where it was going, like the Thestrals flew to the Ministry building. Harry and Hermione quickly cast spells at the dark-robed flyers that seemed to know no other spells but one.
Harry looked over to see Hagrid and Kingsley blast out of sight before they created a big black wall out of the exhaust pipe. He prayed that Hagrid was alright, and everyone else.
Quickly focusing on his task, he saw a green curse heading towards them and Harry, grabbing Hermione, leaned over just in time. They would’ve fallen over, if not for the wings on the Thestral. They pulled back up and shot together at the Death Eater with two powerful stunners, both nonverbal.
Another Death Eater behind the one who fell and turned to a stop as if he was parking a motorbike.
“We found him! Mundungus is Potter!”
He turned and left, not bothering to catch the still falling Death Eater.
“Where did he go?” Hermione said, her voice quivering.
Harry cursed under his breath. “Mundungus doesn’t know a lot of spells, he could never do one nonverbally, and I didn’t hold back. I’ll bet anything he’s getting Voldemort right now. We need to go faster.” The Thestral, seeming to know how much danger they were about to be in, flapped its wings harder.
“Do you think we’ll make it, Harry?” Hermione asked, her wand pointing at different areas of the night sky.
“I’m not sure…Can we apparate to Tonks’s house?” Harry said, looking around the place to where Tom was going to come from.
“Anti-Apparition wards, and I’ve never seen the house before,” Hermione said, holding her wand like a rifle, ready to pick off the first person she sees as a threat to her or Harry.
Harry’s scar suddenly appeared on his forehead and flared like white-hot fire inside of his head, almost making him drop his wand. “Get ready,” he gasped, “he’s here!”
Hermione immediately paid full attention to her surroundings and waited with bated breath. Fortunately, she was pointing to her side when two Death Eaters that appeared from under them were in wingspan length of them on each side. She was thankful that Thestrals have long wings, so she easily took out the one on the left side. Before she got to the right, she heard a whooshing sound, approaching fast. From experience, she knew what it was and immediately ducked, bringing Harry with her. The green light completely missed them, followed by another in quick pursuit, and Harry squinted back to see who shot at them from behind, his scar searing. He knew who it was before he even turned.
And then Harry saw him. Voldemort was flying like smoke on the wind, without broomstick or Thestral to hold him, his snake-like face gleaming out of the blackness, his white fingers raising his wand again…
Hermione shot a spell at him while Harry blindly steered the Thestral downwards, only to be swatted away like a pesky fly with a swish of his wand. Hermione turned to the Death Eater on the right and stunned him, causing him to disappear below.
The deadly jets of light passed them again, but none reaching their target. They were glad that the animal that they were riding on couldn’t be affected by the killing curse, as it was a dead horse with wings.
Harry could barely see with his scar burning, he could barely think; all he knew was that if he saw a bit of green get too close to him or Hermione, he would duck or swerve, or do anything to keep the both of them alive. His scar flashed once again in an immense amount of pain, causing him to almost lose consciousness. He could barely hear the heir of Slytherin gleefully wheeze the beginning of the dreaded curse, “AVADA—”
As Harry tried desperately to think of how to get Hermione out of the way of the green curse instead of focusing on the rising pain on his forehead, he didn’t notice his wand hand slowly raising up like a magnet to Voldemort, his arm trembling. What fully woke him up was the bright gold fire that blasted out of his wand towards his foe. He heard a small explosion and a raspy screaming of “NO!”
He didn’t know what happened, (but apparently Hermione did, as her green eyes almost popped out of her head) but he couldn’t look back at Voldemort. He held his left arm around the Thestral’s neck tighter and leaned forward, wishing that it would go a bit faster. He could hear the raspy screaming of Lord Voldemort. “Your wand, Alecto! Give me your wand!”
He saw as Voldemort started to approach him, he felt his presence coming nearer. Thinking that Hermione would be in more danger, as she was the only thing between him and Voldemort, he steered the Thestral to drop from the sky, still going forward. He looked back to see Tom Riddle flying gracefully at them, slowly raising his wand to taunt him.
Without even thinking of what to do, acting on instinct, He pulled Hermione over the back of the Thestral and around to the stomach, falling off the Thestral and grabbing onto the front leg as he held onto Hermione’s waist. He heard a sickening pop in the arm holding the Thestral’s leg. Harry stifled a cry of pain; Mundungus was not built for strength. Seconds later, he felt his arm lengthen and become stronger. He looked over to see if Hermione was alright. If the reflection of Hermione’s glasses wasn’t playing tricks on him, he would have seen a green flash that hit the Thestral in the back (but no harm was done) and Voldemort vanishing with not even the smallest pop. Hermione was in a bit of a daze from the dizziness of being thrown across a horse, but he—or rather she—looked fine, except for the shock in her emerald eyes, looking at Harry. With relief, Harry noted that her eyes were turning into its usual chocolate brown. It must’ve meant that his arm was returning, along with the rest of him.
“How…how…how did you do that?” She screamed, her eyes almost as wide as her glasses.
“I’ll explain later…if I can,” Harry said, still wondering how his wand moved and shot a powerful spell by itself.
At this moment, the Thestral started lowering itself towards the ground. Harry had no way of climbing back up, as his left hand was holding the leg of the Thestral while his right arm held Hermione. The Thestral let them fall about two feet from the ground, before landing on the ground itself a few meters away to drink from a muddy pond.
Harry looked over to Hermione, for one last look to make sure she was okay. She was breathing hard, her black hair growing, muscles fading. She smiled at him. He smiled back at her, before he promptly passed out into her now shrinking arms, as the pain in his scar finally receded.
A/N: Well, I liked this action scene, although it was a bit shorter than Rowling’s. I bet you’re wondering why they aren’t injured? Simple. This is my first ever action scene, and Harry did pop his arm for a brief moment. Eventually we will skive off a little from the story and go our own way. I’ll make longer (and better, hopefully) action scenes later in the story, and longer chapters while I’m at it.
I hope you all liked Harry telling off his relatives, at least.
I’m just gonna tell you now, for a warning. This isn’t the Harry that will lie down and let people step over him. This Harry will not stand aside to keep other people happy. This Harry will not bow down to those that think that they are superior. This Harry won’t just nod his head and do something if he objects to it without making sure it’s the only way. This Harry won’t take any crap from other people, he’ll serve it plus some. This Harry will realize that this is a war. Harry, in other words, not only has a brain, but the guts (or an explicative that rhymes with ‘smalls’) in this fic.
Back to my theory from the previous chapter: Harry’s aunt and uncle were persuaded by the Order to move for four weeks. Most likely, they would warn them at the train station, as before. Harry & co. were on the train on the day of Dumbledore’s funeral. That means that it took 26-28 days for the Dursleys to permanently make their decision. That moment was when the Dursleys left, then Harry. Considering that Harry’s birthday was three days afterwards (two days chores, then birthday), then it would be 28 days, equaling 31. Thirty-one days ago would be June 30th i.e. Dumbledore’s funeral and the last day seen in HBP. Am I right? It feels good to know something before HP-Lexicon, so I hope I’m right.
Something you probably didn’t know about me: Today, August 20, is the anniversary of the day I joined the Harmony gang. I feel quite proud of that. Before then, I didn’t support any pairing. I just liked the stories. I have read a few Harry/Ginny stories before then, and various other pairings, including HHr, but I never really cared about the pairings, (Let the record show that I have never read a story that was mainly Ron/Hermione) until I got a little more insightful and realized that Harry/Hermione is the best pairing, in my opinion. Note that I read Deathly Hallows before I chose a pairing, so I had no qualms while reading. Looking back, however…