The Sugar Quill
Author: Ashtur an'Vangan (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Cry Havoc  Chapter: Prologue: Hermione's Visit
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Cry Havoc

Cry Havoc

Prologue: Hermione’s Visit
by Ashtur an’Vangan
ashtur_anvangan@yahoo.com

The Characters and World of Harry Potter are the sole property of JK Rowling.

 

A/N:  It will take a few chapters for the reason to become apparent, but I’ve given this fic an R rating for a reason.  It’s going to get harsh and unpleasant and a tad brutal at points.  

 

 

“Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!” -William Shakespere

 

     Hermione Granger turned right on Privet Drive, looking down the street toward her goal.   Seeing no signs of life on the block, she breathed a sigh of relief.  Everyone was inside, or perhaps at work. In any case, there weren’t any prying eyes looking to see who she was. “Or so it seems,” she corrected herself. She knew that she was being watched by at least one person, but she also knew that Professor Lupin was hidden under an invisibility cloak, making sure that the coast was clear. He wasn’t really a professor any more, and hadn’t been for a couple of years, but he would always be “Professor” to her. Glancing down the street again, she saw that Lupin hadn’t set up the warning signal they had agreed upon in case of trouble, so she walked resolutely down the street to her goal. She didn’t really need to worry about people from the neighborhood watching her, as she had gone out of her way to make sure that she blended into what was a mind-numbingly ordinary suburban neighborhood. Her faded jeans and T-shirt were typical of what any number of other teens would wear, and no one who saw her would have guessed she was anything other than a normal teen, much less think that she was the cleverest witch of her generation.

 

   Taking a quick breath, she walked up the porch steps of her goal and knocked on the door. After a moment a tall, thin woman with a neck that seemed to belong as much on an ostrich as a human being appeared at the door. “Oh, why hello there!” Petunia Dursley gushed, “You must be here to see my Dudley!”

 

  “Well, not really Mrs. Dursley,” Hermione said, cutting her off. “I’m here to talk to…”

 

     Mrs. Dursley stepped aside and let Hermione in.  After Hermione got through the door, Mrs. Dursley shut the door behind her and looked at Hermione closely, chewing on her thin lip. “Wait a second, you’re one of them, aren’t you? I saw you at the station the other day! What are you doing at my house?” she screeched.

 

     “I just want to talk to Harry a bit, so please let me in to see him,” Hermione said calmly, trying to keep this conversation as simple and civil as possible. She had been the one chosen to do this the first time because everyone agreed that she would be most able to get to Harry without causing a scene.

 

     Mrs. Dursley looked at her a moment, as if she were considering letting a rabid dog into her house, but finally stepped out of the way, a pained expression on her face. A gruff voice greeted Hermione as she stepped in the door; “I thought your lot would only show up if we didn’t let Harry send out his ruddy owls!”

 

     Vernon Dursley stood outlined in the kitchen doorway, his plump face turning red. “Well, Mr. Dursley, it’s true that Hedwig has been able to bring some messages, but I just wanted to come and talk to him. Don’t worry, no one but you needs to know who we are,” Hermione explained in the same voice she’d heard her parents use trying to convince someone that a root canal was actually a good idea.

 

     “We? What do you mean we? You mean there are more of you outside?” said a new voice that Hermione knew must belong to Harry’s cousin Dudley, who had appeared behind his father, a bit apprehensive, despite his massive frame.

 

     “Well, no, not right now. It’s just that there are a few of us who will want to visit Harry now and then over the summer. It’s quite simple really, you let us visit Harry, or you’ll get a visit from the others.”

 

    Hearing that, Vernon and Petunia stepped back, out of the way, the blood draining from their faces, remembering the scene five days earlier when they had met the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross station. “Well, um, just don’t cause any trouble then,” Vernon huffed as he made way for Hermione.

 

   Dudley however did not step out of the way. Hermione could read his face like the books that she much preferred to read. It was obvious that Dudley was not going to let his pride be injured by this mere slip of a girl,  especially after hearing she was alone, so he puffed up his courage and blocked the entrance to the stairwell. “Why should I let you through, horseface?”

 

     “Dudley!” Petunia cried, her face clearly showing fear at the consequences, rather than any anger at her Duddiekins insulting a guest.

 

   “Don’t worry Mum, you saw it last year, these freaks aren’t allowed to use their magic here,” Dudley smirked.

 

     That smirk quickly faded when Hermione stepped right in front of him. She fixed him with a focused stare that very few people had ever seen. It was a stare made out of the incredible focus and determination that allowed her to study for hours on end and to survive a year with a Time Turner. This time though, her determination was not to make sure she knew every little scrap of information for her O.W.L’s, but instead that she would get to the room at the top of the stairs.

 

     Without a word, a shaken Dudley stepped out of the way, and Hermione started up the stairs, smirking. The Dursleys didn’t know how lucky they were. If it had been Ron or Ginny down there, things could have gotten really ugly for them in a hurry. Chuckling, Hermione imagined the scene if it had been Ginny being blocked off by Dudley. While Ginny had gotten past her crush on Harry, what hadn’t changed was that she cared for him. Like the other Weasleys, she had adopted Harry as someone to look out for and defend. They all had, Arthur and Molly, Bill and Charlie, the twins, Ron, and yes, even Ginny. If Ginny thought Harry needed help, you would have to be a fool to stand in her way. Of course, the Dursleys were liable to find that out for themselves before the end of the summer.

 

     Hermione arrived at the door to Harry’s room and knocked. A tired, worn voice answered “what?” without much enthusiasm from inside the room. Cautiously, and a bit nervously, Hermione opened the door and looked in. Harry was lying on his bed, his glasses on the bedstand, staring at the white ceiling of his room. Sighing, Hermione walked in,  her own worst fears confirmed.

 

“Hi Harry, I thought I’d come to see you.”

 

     Harry sat up in a hurry, fumbling around with his glasses and putting them on. “What are you doing here? How did you get here? Will you get in trouble?”

 

     Smiling, Hermione crossed over to the bed that Harry was now seated on, and sat next to him. “Even I can only answer one question at a time you know. First of all, as I said, I’m here because I wanted to talk to you.  Second, no, I won’t get in trouble, we planned this.”

 

     “We?”

 

     “Yes Harry, we all decided that you really shouldn’t be stuck alone here all summer long to just think about things. So, we’ve made arrangements. Right now, I’m posing as Arabella Figg’s grand niece who came to visit. Next week, she’ll have a redheaded grand nephew and grand niece to visit.”

 

     “Huh… Ron and Ginny? What are you getting at Hermione?”

    

     “Harry”, Hermione sighed. “We’re going to keep you company this summer. We won’t be able to be here every day, but we’re going to be around for you. I won’t be around after today for a bit, because I really need to spend some time with my parents.” After saying that, she watched Harry’s expression, feeling oddly guilty that she could go home to her parents when Harry had nothing, not even a godfather any more. After a moment of watching Harry’s expressions remain unchanged, she went on “We’ll make arrangements. Sometimes one of us will come here, sometimes we’ll make arrangements to meet you somewhere near here. We’re not going to leave you alone.”

 

     Harry’s face, which had resumed its numb expression after the initial surprise of seeing Hermione took on a slightly quizzical bent, and he asked “What about the Order, will they allow this?”

 

     “That’s not a problem Harry. They think it’s a great idea. In fact, Professor Lupin is in charge of the arrangements.”

 

     “Professor Lupin… how is he?” Harry asked, suddenly finding the floor under his bed extremely interesting to look at.

 

     Hermione felt a knot in her stomach, but, after a moment of thought spoke up “He’s doing about as well as you would expect. He’s very sad, that’s obvious, but he’s gotten milder and quieter if anything. He’s used to grief in his life,” she said, a slight catch in her throat. “Harry, how about you?”

 

     Harry sat there a moment, lost in his own thoughts. Hermione knew that she couldn’t pressure him, not over something like this. Instead, all she did was reach over and place her hand over his, and give it a gentle squeeze of encouragement.

 

     After what seemed like an eternity, Harry finally spoke. Though his voice was soft and scratchy, it seemed to fill the room with raw emotion. “How am I doing? I want to cry. I want to scream. I can’t really do either. All I can do is just lie here and think. I see it again and again. He’s laughing at that horrible Lestrange woman, and then he’s gone. Forever. I keep expecting to see one of those stupid tropical birds show up at the window with a letter from him, but they never do. They never will. I’m tired Hermione! I’m tired of all of it! I’m tired of people trying to kill me. I’m tired of people dying for me. Why do people die for me? Why?”

 

     In a soft voice, Hermione answered his question. “Because you’re Harry Potter.”

 

     “Because I’m Harry Potter?” Harry said, for the first time anger beginning to tinge his voice. “Because I’m Harry Potter? People want to die for me just because I’ve got this…”

 

     “Harry!” Hermione cried, shocked at Harry’s language. “It’s not your scar. Harry Potter isn’t the Boy Who Lived. Not any more. I mean, yes you are the Boy Who Lived, but you’re more than that.” She pointed to the legendary scar on his forehead. “That isn’t what makes you who you are, that isn’t what makes you Harry Potter,” she said. She then pointed to his chest. “This is what makes you Harry Potter. It’s your heart. Harry, people don’t love you for what happened to you when you were one year old. We do because of what you’ve become.”

 

     “Harry Potter is the boy who defended a crying little girl from a rampaging troll,” Hermione said with a soft smile. “Harry Potter is the one who jumped into the Chamber of Secrets to save another girl.”

 

     “I had help in those things,” Harry spat back.

 

     “Of course you did Harry, but that doesn’t reduce any of it. It just means that Ron is brave too. But let me finish. Harry Potter is the one who rode a hippogriff to rescue a man, even though just two hours before he was convinced that man was a traitor and a murderer.” Harry stiffened at that mention of Sirius, but Hermione forged ahead. “Harry Potter is the one who risked his own life to recover Cedric’s body. You could have just gone straight for the Portkey and saved yourself, but you didn’t. You honored Cedric’s last wish. Harry, that’s why everyone cares about you.”

 

     “Yeah, well, that’s nice, but I didn’t do so good this time. I got Sirius killed. I could have used the mirror to talk to him, I could have known he was safe, I could have gone and talked to Snape. No, go ahead and tell me ‘I told you so’ I deserve it!”

 

     “Harry, I’m not going to do that. It wasn’t just your fault, we all made mistakes, every one of us. All we can do now is go on. I can’t take away your guilt. That is something you’ll have to deal with. What I can do though is tell you that you’re not going to deal with it alone. That’s why I’m here Harry. We all want you to know that you’re not alone. We won’t abandon you, not now, not ever. Not even when you finally face off against Voldemort.”

 

     When she said that, Harry stiffened and paled, looking at her, “What do you mean by that?” he stuttered.

 

     Startled, Hermione looked at him, wondering why that had gotten such a strong response, and mentally filed it away to think about when she had a chance. “Isn’t it obvious Harry? He’s obsessed with you. He went through that really elaborate plan just to make sure you were the one he used in his rebirth spell, he spent all year trying to drag you to the Ministry in order to see that prophecy, whatever it was.” When she said that, Hermione noticed that Harry reacted oddly, as if he was relaxing and tensing at the same time, if that were possible. She went on “Harry, anyway, like I was saying, we want you to know you’re not alone. You’re never alone.”

 

     Harry sat there, looking away from Hermione, evidently afraid to make eye contact.  Finally after quite a bit of time had passed, she looked at her watch, and said, “Harry, I have to go, Professor Lupin said I could only be here an hour today. Next Tuesday though, be at the American Style Diner a mile south of here at three in the afternoon. Look for the red hair sticking up above the booths.” With one final hug, she slipped out of the room, then downstairs, smiling sadly at the Dursleys as she let herself out.

 

     She walked back to Arabella Figg’s house, lost in her own thoughts. Opening the door, she wasn’t surprised to see an elderly gentleman sitting in one of the easy chairs, petting a cat that had crawled into his lap.

 

     “How is he doing Miss Granger?”

 

     “About as I expected Professor Dumbledore.”


*****
    
What Hermione didn’t know was that Harry was once again on his back, staring at the ceiling in his room.  He still couldn’t see the patterns in the ceiling, but this time it was because of the tears in his eyes, and not all of them were tears of sorrow.

 

Daily Prophet

 

  Today the Ministry of Magic released the first part of their “Self Defense Guide” amidst harsh criticism that the Ministry is not doing enough.

 

  “Look at this!” said Grinelda Haverbrook of Godric’s Hollow, “it says that in case of a Dementor’s attack we should use the Patronus spell.  No one I know can use that spell!  Why don’t they do something useful instead of just sending out silly bits of parchment!”

 

  Percy Weasley, assistant to Minister of Magic Fudge defended the guide, saying “it is the duty of the Ministry to provide appropriate materials for witches and wizards to defend themselves.”

 

  In other You Know Who related news, there have been no sightings since his appearance in the Ministry of Magic.

 

 

 

//
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