Harry & Hermione
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Sytravious the Dark - Duel For The Elder Wand
Chapter 15 - A Revelation
Aberforth was walking through a sunlit field again. It was very hard to make out his surroundings at first but with each step his vision got better. He had been having this same vision all week and each time the field came more and more into focus. Everything around him was extremely bright and warm. He could hear the birds singing merrily in the air as they flew down around him occasionally. Wild flowers grew everywhere in the field among other beautiful plants. He walked forward and deeper into the field impatiently longing to see her. The last few times he found himself here he could only hear her laughter but never find her in the distance. This time however he felt it would be different. The laughter came once more and it was getting closer as he hurried forward impatiently.
And there she was now sitting on the grass peacefully picking flowers and smelling them. His sister Ariana looked lovely in her white spring dress with her long blonde hair flowing softly in the breeze. Aberforth walked closer to her slowly as he reached out his hand to her. She looked up suddenly and allowed a soft smile to form as she held out her own small hand back to hold his.
He smiled back now and held her hand gently in his own old wrinkled and tired ones.
"I've missed you….I'm so sorry I couldn't protect you." He whispered to the young girl.
She just smiled back silently and handed him some of her flowers. He took them amused while a sad expression formed on his face as well. Ariana continued picking random flowers and began humming a gentle tune she use to sing when she was still alive and in one of her calmer moods.
"Hello Aberforth." A voice suddenly spoke from behind him.
He turned around slowly and unsurprised as he recognized his older brother's voice immediately. Albus was standing a few feet back from his younger siblings in the field of flowers. He nodded politely to Aberforth and gestured for him to join him.
He stood up slowly and smiled one last time at his baby sister and then walked toward his brother.
"She looks beautiful here. Did you think of this place on your own?" Albus asked kindly admiring the field.
"Yes…..I would like to think she is at peace in a place like this. She deserves it." Aberforth replied as he watched Ariana.
"That she does. It is a good vision to dream of. But you don't belong here yet brother. You have been asleep long enough wouldn't you agree?" Albus said.
"I like it here. What if I don't want to wake up? Maybe it's time to let go finally and join my family once more. I am all alone now Albus. You were the last one I truly had left. Even though I resented you greatly you were still my brother. And now I have nothing." Aberforth stated sadly.
"Ah but you have a purpose yet. You have done more than I could have dreamed for Harry. He still needs you now. Even if it's not as his teacher then he needs you for guidance at the least. Your time is not finished brother. You must wake up…" Albus instructed.
"I have taught the boy all I know. He is a very skilled young wizard and has demonstrated as much. He doesn't need me anymore….." Aberforth said quietly as he stared longingly at his younger sister again.
"Are you trying to convince me or yourself? Harry has come a long way that is true enough. But there is more to teach besides dueling. He looks up to you now. I fear his spirit will darken if you decide to give into death and join us now. I know the will to live on when all you have loved has left you is very hard but you must be strong now. Where life is more terrible than death, it is then the truest valor to dare to live." Albus said sincerely.
Aberforth listened to his brothers words and nodded slowly. "That sounds like something I have read somewhere before…" He mumbled to Albus.
"It is still very much fact though Aberforth." Albus replied.
Aberforth exhaled loudly and glanced back over to Ariana. She was no longer playing with the flowers but instead staring intently at him. Her blue eyes locked with his matching ones and she slowly stood up. Her soft hair flowed in the gentle breeze as her lips parted to speak. And then she whispered her message.
"You must wake up now…..Wake up."
Aberforth smiled and nodded to her as well. And suddenly he felt as light as a feather and a sense of understanding and peace overcame him. He gave in to it and his surroundings began to change.
The sound of the birds singing continued in his ears but the image of the field and his brother and sister slowly began to fade away. The light from the sun however lingered and grew brighter and brighter causing him to close his eyes. The birds sang louder now and Aberforth slowly opened his eyes again.
He was no longer in the field but in a room with white walls. The birds singing were right next to him in a cage and the bright sun light poured over him from the open window. He looked around a bit more to gather his bearings.
He could see he was lying down in a soft bed and there was a door to his left. Many wizards and witches walked back and forth past his room. He allowed a cough to escape him as he tried to clear his throat.
"Professor…?" A familiar voice called out from his right.
Aberforth slowly turned and faced the young man.
Harry was sitting up on a couch next to his bed. He looked very tired and had Hermione lying down on his lap sleeping peacefully away. Harry was cradling her head as he looked at Aberforth with hope and worry.
"Hello Harry. I'm glad to see you made it back safely." Aberforth replied weakly as he shifted himself up to sit against the headboard.
"Never mind about me sir. We have been worried sick about you. You have been unconscious since last year!" Harry stated.
"What? It can't be! I only feel like I have been asleep is all." Aberforth shot back confused. He realized now he was in one of the many rooms at St. Mungo's.
"Well maybe I overstated myself sir. You see today is New Years day. You have been out about a week now." Harry replied with a grin.
"Very clever boy….. What happened at Nurmengard? How did you escape?" Aberforth asked curiously as he found his spectacles by the bed and put them on.
Harry stared at him for a few moments smiling to him self before sighing.
"What's the matter with you? Don't you remember what happened?" The professor asked impatiently.
"Of course I do. I'm just happy to see you up and talking again is all. I'm glad you're back sir….." Harry stated sincerely.
Aberfoth looked at Harry with appreciation and nodded weakly. "I almost gave up on myself to be honest boy. But by you sending Fawkes intentionally or not I managed to survive long enough to make it here in one piece. And of course I still almost gave in to my injuries but yet another source reminded me I have much left to live for….." He whispered as he looked up and thought of his brother.
"But I am sure you have heard all about my story by now. Tell me now what happened to you Harry." Aberforth added as he waited for him to speak.
Harry slowly began his tale of Nurmengard from the beginning. He didn't leave out any details and admitted to Aberforth of his use of the elder wand as well. The professor listened quietly with out interrupting only nodding his head in understanding from time to time. After about an hour Harry was finished with his story and waited for Aberforth to respond.
"It is as I feared then. The army has returned and it couldn't have happened at a worse time." He told Harry. "This dragon however confuses me just as much as it did you. Perhaps we are missing a bigger piece to the puzzle here. Either way the fact that Grindenwald's army is back is cause enough to worry." He said mainly to himself.
"As for you Harry you must be careful with that wand. It has brought bad luck and death to many of its previous owners. While powerful it may be keep in mind the wand was crafted by death himself. Only the most pure of heart can control it instead of the wand controlling them." Aberforth instructed kindly.
"What about the spells that came to me so suddenly professor? I know I never learned them ever yet I knew them as if I had used them many times before. How can that be?" Harry asked confused.
"There is a lot more to that wand than many realize I assume. I believe it is much more than a piece of elder with a magical core. It is almost a living entity of its own. Perhaps the wand has a memory just like ours?" Aberforth told Harry.
"What do you mean?" He replied to the professor.
"Perhaps the wand remembers all the spells from its previous owners. Like a living memory. You needed certain spells to get you out of your different situations and the wand gave them to you did it not? A few you mentioned before sound very familiar to me. Mainly from reports of Grindenwalds many escapades. I don't think it gives you power you never possessed however. It merely allows your full potential to flow freely. Consider my brother for example. He always had the skills of a great wizard. He wielded that wand much after he achieved greatness. It allowed him to perform magic much easier but it did not make him more powerful per say." Aberforth lectured.
"So you think I would have been able to survive that battle without it?" Harry asked him.
"Perhaps yes but I assume you would have endured a tougher time doing it. The question is will you remember all those new spells again with your own wand? To become dependant on the elder wand may prove to be costly. I suggest you continue training with your own wand Harry. Keep the elder wand with you to be safe but use it sparingly." Aberforth told him carefully.
"I guess you have a point. But do you really believe the wand was crafted by death? A part of me always wondered if maybe the Peverell brothers crafted the wand on their own and the death story was just legend." Harry admitted.
"Perhaps both beliefs are correct. Have you ever considered that the story of the three brothers is perfectly true and factual and the idea that the brothers poured their own magical genius into the three hallows as well can both be fact? I have put a lot of thought into this theory ever since your spectacular defeat of Voldermort. You see if the legend is true then the hallows on their own can do no more than what death designed them to do. But if the rumor of the union of all three at once renders the user the master of death is also true then we must conclude that the brothers enchanted them with deeper magic than death designed." Aberforth said half thinking out loud.
"I'm not so sure. You see sir I had all three before and nothing spectacular or grand happened. I don't think there is such thing as the master of death." Harry said disappointed.
"Ah that's what you think. But did you ever actually physically posses all three at once? If I remember your tale correctly you stated that you dropped the resurrection stone in the forest. Only after that did you first posses the wand if I remember right. You may have been its rightful master true but the three hallows have never been truly united yet. Speaking of which….. Is the ring still in the forest now?" Aberforth asked suddenly worried.
"I never went back for it so yes I believe so." Harry admitted.
"Harry this Sytravious character is very dangerous. I saw him face to face and fought with him as well. His power is terrible and he has no mercy or regard for life. You must retrieve that ring and keep in safe. I know now it's the hallows he seeks. He will attempt to finish his grandfather's dream and I fear that will put him right in your path eventually. I don't know what to tell you as far as advice for defeating him but either way you must keep the hallows away from him no matter what happens." Aberforth stated with great concern.
"I promise I won't let him find them. But sir if he is as powerful as everyone believes then how do I defeat him?" Harry asked confused. He looked to the professor with hope in his eyes. Aberforth felt saddened as he knew he did not have the perfect answers for Harry this time.
"Harry… I honestly don't know. You have shown a great deal of potential in your training so far and I honestly believe you will be a powerful and great wizard on your own accord one day. But I can not help you achieve that goal any faster. I have taught you all I can as far as dueling and my body is tired. I feel I cannot continue working for the ministry this way. They will have to continue on without me however I don't worry for the future because a beacon of light shines within their ranks. It is you Harry Potter. Time and time again you have faced terrible odds and prevailed. Each obstacle is harder and more dangerous than the one before and yet you meet the challenge and overcome." Aberforth said proudly.
Harry listened to the professor and felt a great deal of confidence form inside of him and hope filled his spirit.
"Your life has a great purpose it seems and you are destined for spectacular things I believe. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. I believe you fall under the last statement Harry. Life as we know it is a grand occasion. All we have to do is rise to it! So rise now Harry and fear nothing! What happens with you and Sytravious is yet to be seen but if I were him I would be worried about the odds against him just as much as you worry." Aberforth said proudly.
"Thank you professor….I needed to hear that." Harry whispered as he played with Hermione's soft ear lobe.
She stirred slightly in his lap now and opened her eyes while a yawn escaped her mouth. She blinked as she looked around sleepily until she saw Harry. Staring up into his green eyes she smiled lovingly and pulled him down into a kiss. Harry blushed as he was embarrassed by the display of affection in front of Aberforth but he allowed her to kiss him anyway while he brushed her hair back out of her face.
"Excuse me… I hate to interrupt the young romance but can you perhaps get another room if you are going to snog like this much longer?" Aberforth said amused.
Hermione sat up startled and surprised as she looked at the wide awake professor.
"Aberforth you're alive!" She shouted as she stood up and hugged him tightly.
"Not for much longer if you squeeze me any harder Miss Granger. Let an old man breath." He mumbled under her embrace.
"Right…sorry." She replied embarrassed as she released him and smiled excitedly at the healthy looking professor.
"You two probably have a lot to talk about I bet." Hermione said as she stretched and smiled at Harry. She was happy to see the professor well but she was especially pleased to see Harry back in high spirits. He had not left Aberforths side since he returned from Nurmengard. It had been a long tiring week.
"Actually Hermione we already have. You slept through it all." Harry informed her with a grin.
"Did I? How rude of me! I must have been exhausted is all professor." She said turning to Aberforth. "We have practically lived in this room all week." She added laughing.
"Is that so Harry? You didn't mention that part." Aberforth asked holding back a smile. It seemed his brother's spirit was right in his dream. The boy had become attached to him somewhat.
"I err… Yea it's true. I wanted to stay close by just in case….And well you didn't have many visitors as it was." Harry admitted as he looked at the floor awkwardly.
"Well thank you Harry…. and you too Hermione for the company. I shall not forget it. But I think I'm going to rest a bit longer now. I may have been sleeping for a week but my body still seems to need more healing. Feel free to go home and wash up and rest yourself. I promise I'm fine now. Once I get a stiff drink and a pipe in me I'll be good as new." Aberforth said as he started to close his eyes.
"Professor I highly doubt whiskey and polluting your lungs with smoke is what your body needs to revive itself. Stick to the rest and relaxation please?" Hermione scolded.
"Fair enough Miss Granger. Now shoo shoo. You have babysat me long enough." He scolded back to the couple.
Harry and Hermione laughed as they waved goodbye. The room door closed softly with a click and Aberforth was left alone again as he listened to the birds sing and let the sun shine on his face. He closed his eyes finally and thought of his brother and sister. It seemed he would have to wait longer to see them again but if he could steer the boy down the right path and guide him through this dark time then it was worth the delay. The field of flowers would have to wait.
Sytravious returned to his loft in England after staying with his mother and the army in Nurmengard all week. The army had settled into the fortress quite well and had already fended off several attempts to retake it by the German ministry. No other country had been prepared for the daring attack and everyone lacked the resources to retaliate properly. All the neighboring ministries focused on building up their defenses rather than risking it all on a big offensive against the larger dark army. Sytravious had displayed his powerful magic against the few brave forces who tried to drive them out and many had paid with their lives learning the hard lesson not to challenge his position.
Once he felt things were well under control he took his leave of his mother once more to check on his colleagues back in Little Hangleton. Raven and Fang had patiently waited for his return and never summoned him or tried to reach him while he was away. They could read the papers easily enough if they wanted news of Nurmengard.
Sytravious walked calmly now up the path to his rented loft while he pondered his confusion over his friend James. The auror was a mystery to him but the longer he thought about it the more a bigger bothersome picture began to form in his mind. For one the spells James had used during the siege were impressive, far too impressive for an ordinary auror his age. Secondly Raven had been right in her assumption that the girl he frequently spent time with was a Hogwarts student. Why was he always with someone still in schooling? How did he know her? Also why was James in Germany that day? What business would an English auror have at Nurmengard? Perhaps he shouldn't have killed all of them after all. He sure could have used a survivor to interrogate now.
But what bothered him the most was that he had grown to care for his friend. Normally if someone bothered him this much he would have just killed them by now to be safe. But that wasn't an option for James. He truly considered him a friend and colleague and the idea that he might eventually get in his way broke his heart. Somehow he would have to convince James to abandon the idea of pursuing his mission against their army. But how would he do that without giving himself away?
He cursed under his breath and decided not to worry himself with the thought now. His loft was in sight and he was looking forward to questioning the death eater Dolohov.
Smoke rose softly into the air out the chimney of the cottage and the smell of fire wood reached his nose. He reached the front gate and apparated with a pop into the den.
"Bloody hell Sytravious! You scared me half to death!" Fang snarled as he jumped back against the wall holding his chest.
"Now if only I can do it again….." Sytravious replied in his smooth voice with a grin.
Fang looked at him carefully as he relaxed his posture and bowed respectfully to the dark lord. "Good one my lord."
"Don't bother bowing Fang I have gotten that treatment all week. It's getting old. How is our guest? Healthy I hope?" He asked the taller Asian wizard.
"He is restrained in the back bedroom. Raven is keeping an eye on him now. It's her shift." Fang replied as he caught the coat that Sytravious casually tossed to him after he pulled it off his toned shoulders.
"Very good. I will relieve her immediately. I have much to discuss with the death eater." Sytravious said evenly as he walked quietly down the hallway. "Come with me." He added.
Fang obeyed his master's order but rolled his eyes when Sytravious wasn't looking. He had enjoyed the week on his own without his master bossing him around every few minutes. They made their way silently down the hall until they reach the room in question.
Raven was sitting in a chair in the corner of the dark room while Dolohov hung from the ceiling by his arms restrained in enchanted chains. His feet just barely touched the floor to support his weight. He looked tired and defeated as he hung there helplessly.
"I see you have kept an excellent watch on our guest while I was away Raven. It's an accomplishment that shall not go unrewarded." Sytravious said as he suddenly appeared next to her.
She jumped slightly at his appearance but allowed a smile to form on her face. Every time he entered the room she got goose bumps. The week he had been away had been torture for her and she counted the minutes until he would return.
"My lord it is good to see you return and in good health I can see." Raven replied.
"How else would I return? You didn't think that battle would faze me did you?" He asked curiously with amusement.
"Of course not I only meant I am glad you made it through it unscathed." She replied carefully.
"It was a marvelous victory if you were curious. There were many casualties however. That is an understatement actually as all of our enemies were completely annihilated. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it though. A single death is a tragedy but a million deaths is a statistic." He told the group with an evil grin.
The siblings laughed at his statement while Sytravious turned now to focus on the hanging prisoner in front of him. His smile faded away and was replaced by his trademark glare that sent chills into all who had seen it.
"Hello Mr. Dolohov. Are we feeling well today?" He began as he walked forward towards the restrained man.
"As well as can be expected considering my situation…" Dolohov replied in a higher pitched voice then he was trying for. He cleared his throat immediately.
"Excellent. I'm sure you have an idea why you are here by now? Somehow I doubt my friends have kept you completely in the dark while I was away. So let's cut to it. What do you know of Voldermort's ring? And save yourself some pain and don't give me the lame response I have heard so many times 'what ring?'." Sytravious said in warning.
"I knew you would ask about the ring sir. All I can say is that it was stolen from him the same night he died. Once he discovered it missing he was furious and immediately attacked Hogwarts in retaliation." Dolohov replied in a nervous voice.
"Hogwarts you say? So the ring was stolen from someone in Hogwarts he believed? Interesting…. I can only assume it was widely believed that Potter took it?" he asked. "Being that the dark lord was obviously obsessed with the boy."
"I never discussed it with the dark lord personally. But He often would go into fits of anger and talk to himself out loud. Shortly after the rings theft he did exactly that and I overheard him cursing Dumbledore's name not Potter's." Dolohov spoke truthfully.
"Oh….Really? You are being very cooperative. Your other friends weren't as obliging. Much to their regret I might add." Sytravious said as he glared into the death eaters eyes with his ice cold stare.
"I figure it would be in my best interest not to piss you off. I heard about Nurmengard from listening to your friends. You are truly a great wizard my lord. I have no reason or desire to offend you with lies." Dolohov replied.
"And you flatter as well as anyone I know." Sytravious replied back grinning. "However flattery looks like friendship, just like a wolf looks like a dog." He spat back to the scared death eater.
Dolohov didn't reply this time and looked away from Sytravious's intimidating gaze. The eyes seemed to look through him and into his soul. It gave him a chilling feeling of fear.
"So Dumbledore stole the ring and then died. So where is it now I wonder? Perhaps his brother had it? Harry Potter might have it…" He mainly asked to himself as he paced back and forth in front of the nervous Dolohov.
"That is possible. Potter and the younger Dumbledore do know each other well. I fought them together a few months ago when I lost my hand." Dolohov confessed
"You…. did what?" The dark lord asked surprised. "Potter was there when that auror was killed? Why would he be at the scene of an official ministry mission? Do not lie to me sir! I am a patient man and the last thing I intend to do is hurt you….But it is still on the list and it's a very short list." Sytravious warned.
"No sir I swear it! Potter wasn't there at first but he arrived just as we were about to finish off Dumbledore! He was a part of the mission of course. Don't you know that Potter is an auror now with the ministry?" Dolohov revealed.
"No….I did not." Sytravious whispered as his mind flooded with theories. "I was under the impression he was attending Hogwarts this year?"
Raven's eyes lit up with understanding as she exchanged a look with her brother. He seemed to have caught on to the same idea and nodded back to her quickly. Maybe they wouldn't have to go through the grueling process of telling Sytravious of their suspicions after all.
"Ha that must be a cover because he is definitely an auror. Dumbledore himself is at Hogwarts this year also but yet he does the bidding of the minister as well. You saw that yourself last week. Potter killed my companion when he arrived. He was already injured when he got there though. I don't know where he was before that." Dolohov said relaxing a bit as he watched the dark lord digesting the information quietly.
Sytravious scanned his memory to piece together the puzzle forming in his mind.
"That girl was there by Dumbledore's grave that night! And your friend was with her! Why would he be at Hogwarts? You have to ask yourself these things!" Raven pleaded.
"Raven you said the girl James was with in the restaurant was the same girl who caught you and Fang raiding Dumbledore's grave correct?" He asked the beautiful witch behind him.
"That is correct." She replied carefully.
"And the one who came to her aid right after was James? My same friend I introduced you too? You are certain of this?" He asked again.
"I cannot not be one hundred percent certain my lord but if I had to bet on it I would say yes." She replied.
Sytravious held up his hand to silence everyone as he continued scanning his memories. This time it was when he first met James.
"Is something wrong?" He asked the auror.
"Yes actually. I can't see a damn thing. Not the greatest vision you know?" The young auror replied.
James had been in Knockturn alley on a mission to capture the death eaters. After the fight he had complained about his vision and Sytravious had absent mindedly fixed it. He had also been wounded and hurt in the fight bleeding from his forehead. The same day Dolohov confessed to fighting with Dumbledore and Potter who is supposedly an auror as well who also was wounded and arrived late. Sytravious blinked several times and remembered more.
"Call me Xavier then. It's my middle name." He replied to the auror.
"Call me James then." The auror said.
"Refresh my memory. What is Potter's full name?" Sytravious asked in a bothered voice.
"Harry James Potter. Why?" Dolohov answered first.
Sytravious felt a sickening feeling form in his stomach. He took several steps backwards away from the death eater and leaned against the wall for support. The bleeding forehead flashed into his mind. That's why he didn't see the scar. Whenever they had met after then he had been wearing a hat each time or he just plain didn't bother to really look.
He swallowed hard and stared back at the death eater then to his colleagues. The nausea was getting worse.
"It can still all be a strange coincidence." He mumbled.
"My lord if it helps me and Fang do remember the spell work of the auror that night at Hogwarts. He used a patronus charm on us. Why he did this we don't know but we do know it took the form of a stag." She said loud enough for Dolohov to hear. Raven hoped that he would put the nail in the coffin by revealing to Sytravious Harry's Patronus and he didn't disappoint her.
"Harry Potter's patronus is a stag! That much I can say confidently. I'm not sure why you are asking all these questions or what is going on but it sounds to me that whoever you thought your friend was he is clearly the boy who lived." Dolohov stated.
Sytravious waved his hand up quickly to shut up the death eater. He needed to breath and relax. The information was hitting him too quickly and he wasn't taking it very well. He paused and thought of all the clues that had been in front of him all along.
"We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect." He whispered to himself.
"You have done well. This information might prove to be very useful sir. I shall keep you alive for now and free you from you chains if you would like to join us for dinner. If you try to run then trust that your death will greet you swiftly. Besides why would you want to be out there where so many hunt you down?" Sytravious said composing his emotions from the terrible news. He waved his wand and the restraints fell off Dolohov.
"I certainly have no intention of running. If I can be of any further service to you ask and it shall be done." Dolohov stated as he bowed and rubbed his arm. He greatly respected and feared Sytravious. He reminded him of Voldermort with his power but he was much more approachable.
"I will probably do just that. Perhaps you can help me more than I realized. Now go freshen up. I will be out shortly…..that goes for you two as well. Leave me to my thoughts" Sytravious whispered to the siblings.
They left quickly and quietly leaving him alone to ponder. The more he considered his theory the more sense it made.
James had displayed great magic at Nurmengard. Harry Potter owned the elder wand.
James never showed his forehead. Harry Potter had a recognizable lighting scar on his.
James had trouble seeing the day they met. Harry Potter was known to wear glasses.
James was at the scene the night of Fang and Ravens raid at Hogwarts. Harry Potter attended the school.
Harry Potter would have reason to keep his identity a great secret to strangers. James had a secret he would never reveal.
They both had green eyes. The only difference was that James was much taller and more physically fit than the Potter he had seen in pictures. His hair was even different with its wild spiky look. But Potter could have changed greatly over the past year right?
Sytravious drove himself crazy with his thoughts. The only way to know for sure was to just approach James himself and get the truth. Yes that's what he would have to do. But then what? Suppose he was right? Could he do what he set out to do in the first place after befriending his enemy?
The thought of his foolishness made him furious. He clenched his jaw tightly and balled his fist. Sytravious did not know exactly what he would say or do but either way he would meet with James that week and attempt to lure the truth out of him. He suddenly felt a great wave of sadness and regret as he thought of what it would mean if Harry Potter was the James he knew so well.
"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" He said to himself almost pleading.
He sat alone in the dark room and stared out the window not really focusing on any one thing. What ever happened with him and James would be decided when they met again and that would have to wait until he returned to Hogsmeade.
12 GRIMMAULD PLACE
Hermione waited upstairs in the drawing room while Harry and the Minister met downstairs with some other ministry officials. She did not want to join them mainly due to the fact that she was still disappointed in Kingsley for not taking greater steps to help Harry in Nurmengard. Another reason she stayed away had to do with the topic of conversation. Harry was in on a private meeting about the ministries answer to Grindenwalds army and their occupation of Germany.
Harry had to endure a long grueling lecture from Kingsley about his rogue mission to Nurmengard and how dangerous it had been. But almost immediately after the two dived right into what they could do to help. It all made Hermione nervous and antsy. The thought of Harry returning there to fight drove her mad with worry. She knew it was his job and who better to go than him? But that excuse couldn't stop her heart from aching at the idea of what might happen to him there. The fact was that the ministry could not retaliate alone. England's defenses were strong enough as it stood to protect themselves against a similar attack from the army but they lacked the force needed to drive the army back out of Europe. That's what the meeting downstairs was mainly about.
Hermione always worried for Harry's safety as far back as she could remember. But it had been easier for her the past few years being that she had always been there with him to help. She felt like she had a say in how his fate ended. But now he was an auror and the danger waited in far off places she could not follow. As scary as it was fighting along side Harry in the past the realization of having to wait in the rear while he possibly went to meet the new evil head on broke her heart and terrified her even more.
She sat with her legs curled up on the couch closest to the fire as she bit her lower lip and continued with her thoughts. Hermione wasn't sure how long she sat like that not even blinking as she stared into the flickering flames with her mind so far off. She didn't hear the men downstairs leave or notice when Harry walked in the room quietly and came to her side. It was only when his toned and hard arm wrapped around her and pulled her into his warm embrace that she snapped out of her day dream and let out a sigh of relief while she took in his familiar smell.
"I thought that meeting would go on forever." She whispered to him before she planted a warm kiss into his neck.
Harry breathed in deeply as her soft lips grazed along his neck. He felt like he was falling deeper and deeper in love with her everyday they spent together which was why he felt all the more reason to have this talk with her now.
"It was a talk that we needed to have Hermione. We can't just let out a sigh of relief that I made it out of there alive and then turn our backs on what's happening. We have to do something." He replied.
"You mean you have to do something don't you? I understand that the ministry will make plans and respond to the threat but why must they involve you in all this? You're only eighteen and just started training. Not to mention still in school and preparing for N.E.W.T.S!" Hermione reminded him.
Harry held back a grin as she said the last part. "You would be worried about exams during all this mess. That's one of the reasons I love you so much." He said giving her a reassuring squeeze around her shoulder.
"Harry I'm being serious! I worry about you enough as it is and now you might be part of a war? Not a hidden war like it was with Voldermort but a full scale battle against a dark army. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it." Hermione mumbled.
"Look we haven't even decided what response the ministry is going to have just yet. The army has not advanced from Nurmengard either and so far they seem content holding the fortress. There will be a big summit meeting of all the ministries abroad on how to proceed. The muggle prime minister will even be in attendance with his advisors. I assume we have to inform the muggle leaders what is happening and what might still happen. A large scale magical battle will hardly go unnoticed. Last weeks fiasco was spun off as a bad lighting and thunder storm." Harry said.
"I know what you mean Harry…I just wish I could be with you by your side when whatever decision is made moves forward. I can't stand the thought of just sitting back here alone while you march off to war. The thought of saying goodbye like that…" She cut off as her voice cracked.
Harry held her tighter now and rubbed her soothingly on the back. "I thought you might feel that way. Listen Hermione no matter what happens you have to promise me not to do anything rash or stupid." He said slowly.
"What are you talking about?" Hermione said as she took in a deep breath to hold back her emotions. She didn't want to cry in front of Harry. This whole situation had to be hard enough on him already.
"Well….Nurmengard for example. You took off after me all alone with no back up and no one knew that you had left. Hermione what if I had already fallen? What if I missed you by another 10 minutes and escaped before you arrived? You put yourself in great danger on a whim that you would find me. No point in both of us getting killed needlessly right? I know why you did it don't get me wrong." He added when Hermione's face started to get red.
"I can't say I wouldn't have done the same exact thing. But from no won we both need to be emotionally stronger than that. Promise me you won't do anything like that ever again? Unless you have Kingsley and the rest of the aurors behind you then you need to stay away ok?" Harry pleaded.
Hermione thought about what he said. She had run the same scenario through her head several times that week. She knew if she didn't find Harry that day she could have been captured or hurt. He was right and the reminder that she would be helpless if he went to war brought the emotions back with a vengeance.
"Ok Harry…" She whispered. "I promise I won't do that again. I'll let you go in peace…" Her eyes glazed slightly but she managed to keep the tears at bay.
Harry hated having to put her through this so soon after Voldermort but it couldn't be avoided it seemed. His life was one chaotic problem after another. And it looked like things would get harder before they got easier.
"Hey all this talk is making me depressed. For all we know it could be resolved diplomatically or whatever. What do you say we get out of here for a little while?" Harry suggested.
"Yea that sounds great actually. We have been holed up in the hospital and this house all week. A change of scenario would be perfect." Hermione sighed out as she composed herself at stretched.
"Cool I haven't been to Hogsmeade since we left for the holidays. W can have dinner and walk around the shops some. You game?" he asked with his trademark grin.
"Oh I see. You must miss Xavier too huh?" She teased. "We can stop by Hogs Head to if you like. Besides I should probably get to know him better anyway if you two are going to be hanging out more often."
"Ok I'll admit the thought of Xavier did cross my mind once or twice but we don't have to look for him Hermione. I'm perfectly happy being with you." He said as he leaned in for a kiss.
"Are you now?" She replied smiling up and him raising a brow. "We you will have to show me just how happy later on tonight." She added as he let him kiss her.
"I love you more than anyone or anything I have ever cared for. Do you know how I know?" Harry asked as he took in her chocolate brown eyes.
Hermione allowed her self to blush now and sighed happily. "How do you know?"
"I know I'm in love because I can't sleep anymore." He whispered down to her.
"How does that prove anything? Why can't you sleep?" She asked puzzled.
"Because reality is finally better than my dreams ever were." He answered.
Hermione's eyes lit up and she threw her arms around his neck warmly.
"You better be careful Harry. We might not make it out the house if you keep this up." She mumbled against his chest.
"Ok I guess I'll save the rest for later." He replied laughing. "You know what? I haven't checked the mail all week! It's probably piling up down there at the front door." Harry said. They had been using the floo network a lot and mainly stayed in the hospital with Aberforth.
"What difference does it make if we wait until when we get back? Let's just go so I can get you back here and out of those clothes Mr." Hermione teased while she tugged on his zipper.
"Wow you are really in the mood tonight huh?" Harry asked with pleasant surprise. "It will only take me a few seconds though. Don't lose that thought! Keep it fresh on your mind…. Be right back." Harry said smiling.
Hermione rolled her eyes but couldn't help but smile back. His good moods were contagious.
Harry ran down the stairs to the front door quickly and saw the expected pile of letters. He scooped them up without glancing at any of them and quickly ran back up to Hermione.
"You see? You hardly missed me at all right?" He asked with a triumphant grin. Harry and walked back to Hermione and took her hand in his.
"Do you feel better now that the mail is up here rather than on the floor? Quite an accomplishment I must say." Hermione said sarcastically but still maintaining her happy mood.
"Yes I do feel better actually." Harry said imitating her voice and stuck out his tongue. He began opening the first letter not bothering to read who it was from. Harry only managed to pull it out the envelope though before Hermione's impatient tapping of her foot made him look up.
"Are we ready then? For Hogsmeade that is?" Hermione quickly added when Harry eyed her seductively.
"Oh right of course. Let's get out of here before I change my mind and skip right to dessert." He mumbled tossing the letter back on top of the others on the end table.
"I heard that! Don't worry you will get more than you know later on." She added biting her lip.
The couple headed into the floo network and vanished with a soft pop. The force from the fire sent a soft gust of air back into room knocking the letter of the end table. The envelope fell to the ground spilling its contents across the drawing room floor.
The note lay open as a photo of Stravious smiled out menacingly into the room. Viktor Krum had finally found what they were looking for.
Sorry about the late update. Would you believe my girlfriend gave me the Twilight book to read and i got so hooked i had to read all four before i could focus on this story again? Darn distractions I tell you. But seriously those are some good books. If you haven't read them yet i strongly recommend no worries I am 100% back on track with my story. Expect an update withing a week hopefully. Ciao~