Prologue: Hermione’s Visit
by Ashtur an’Vangan
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
“Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!” -William
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
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?”
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.”
“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?”
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
“That’s not a problem
Harry. They think it’s a great idea. In fact, Professor Lupin is in charge of
“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
“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
“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
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
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
“About as I expected
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.
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
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
In other You Know Who
related news, there have been no sightings since his appearance in the Ministry