Harry & Hermione
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chem prof - End Game
Chapter 6 - Hidden Things Are Revealed
Disclaimer and Acknowledgements
The Harry Potter universe and all the characters in it belong to J. K. Rowling. I get nothing out of this except enjoyment.
Thanks to Old Crow and Dee for prereading this chapter.
Chapter 6, Hidden Things Are Revealed
Saturday, September 20
Harry and Ginny had just returned from the Room of Requirement and were talking with Hermione and Neville in the Heads suite prior to Ginny and Neville's return to Gryffindor Tower when the voice came over Harry's mirror.
With a worried glance at Hermione, Harry pulled one of his mirrors from a pocket and replied.
The face of the world's greatest seeker appeared in the small mirror. "Harry! I have important information for you. There was a major attack today, the biggest of the war so far. I must tell you of it and you must pass the word to the others at Hogwarts."
Harry turned to ask Hermione to get a parchment and quill but she had anticipated his request and already had them out. Then the teens sat and listened to Viktor describe the battle. A wizarding village in Wales had been the target of an all out assault by Death Eaters intent on reversing their string of recent defeats and terrorizing the wizarding world once more. Voldemort must have thrown nearly all of his force into the attack, attempting to make a statement about his invincibility. What's more, Major Thompson had correctly predicted the likelihood of an ambush.
The attack had begun with twenty Death Eaters apparating into the main street of the village and beginning to kill everyone in sight. Another fifty took up flanking positions off to either side of them and remained disillusioned, waiting for the strike force to arrive and become trapped between them. But the military strategist had devised a plan to counter the ambush. Instead of Krum's troops arriving within a minute of the start of the assault, scouts with house elves who could detect the disillusioned wizards had come in first, apparating to two points one hundred yards on either side of the attack. Once the true disposition of the enemy forces was determined the strike force along with Auror backup ambushed the ambushers. The house elves had put up anti-disapparation wards before the strike force began firing and the goblin portkey nullification charm had worked flawlessly. The main street of the village had turned into a shooting gallery and the entire Death Eater force had been killed or captured.
There had been some casualties for the Ministry forces too, but these had been much lighter since most of the Death Eaters were new recruits in their first major action. Even so, two members of the strike team and five Aurors had been killed, with another ten strike team members and twelve Aurors wounded. The Death Eaters were still being identified, and Viktor promised to have more information on that by the following morning, but at least two of Voldemort's inner circle had been taken, Rodolphus and Rastaban Lestrange. At that point Viktor had to go, citing a meeting with Minister Scrimgeour.
Once the mirror connection was closed, Harry and Hermione moved quickly. Harry floo called Professor McGonagall and asked her to get Remus and Tonks to her office as soon as possible where he would join them. Hermione called Ron on her mirror and told him to meet them at the Headmistress's office. Of course, Ginny and Neville had no intention of being left behind. Soon they were all gathered in McGonagall's office and Harry related the story, with Hermione filling in details from her notes when necessary. It was decided that McGonagall would make an announcement of the attack at breakfast the next day, stressing that it had been a major victory for the light side. Harry and Hermione would contact the prefects prior to breakfast to alert them to make sure all of the students in their houses attended.
By the next morning they had more information. McGonagall was relieved that no parents of any of the students had been killed. There were, however, quite a few former students who had lost their lives. She decided to give their names out during her announcement, but only say that they had been killed in the attack without identifying them as Death Eaters. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville found it sobering that two of their classmates were among them, Theodore Nott and Millicent Bulstrode. Also included were several former Slytherin quidditch players – Montague, Warrington, Bletchley, Derrick, Bole, and Flint.
The reaction of the students was mixed. Since all of the Voldemort supporters had been removed from the school, nearly the entire Hogwarts population was thrilled, with only a few neutral reactions. The excitement was tempered by the horrific loss of life and the destruction of the main section of the village.
This was nothing compared to the firestorm going on at the Ministry. There were still many Voldemort supporters and sympathizers filling important posts in the government and in the commercial side of the wizarding world and they wasted no time decrying the recklessness of the Ministry and their casual disregard for the life of the citizenry. The fact that virtually all of the civilian casualties were caused by Death Eaters did not seem to enter into their arguments.
But Scrimgeour had been slowly increasing his power base, and the endorsement of Potter and Krum during the summer, along with the successes of the last month, enabled him to ride out the criticism. When the Daily Prophet printed an editorial critical of the Ministry forces' conduct during the battle it was overwhelmed with protests. The subsequent publication by the Quibbler of a story describing the Aurors in heroic terms and memorializing the Aurors killed defending society from the terrors of the Death Eaters was much more positively received. Faced with the potential defection of a large part of their subscriber base to the rival paper, the Daily Prophet reconsidered its position.
Harry knew, though, that this was only one battle, albeit it a hugely successful one. The primary result would be that Voldemort would change strategies. It was more important than ever that the DA begin training to battle other dark creatures.
The repercussions continued during the next week. Eventually word got out that the strike force that had been winning all of the victories against the Death Eaters had been led all along by Viktor Krum, the international quidditch star. The press was chagrined that they had completely missed that connection, being content to assume that his hiring in July had been a public relations stunt. Suddenly everyone wanted this story. By midweek Harry had another call on his mirror.
"There's a reporter who's being very persistent. I remember her being a problem during the Tri Wizard Tournament, and didn't want anything to do with her. Then she insisted that she knows you and you can trust her. She asked me to contact you and give you this message: 'I can keep a secret just as well as Little Miss Perfect.'" Viktor paused with an amused look on his face. "Now, I think I have a guess as to who 'Little Miss Perfect' might be." Harry chortled and grinned at Hermione who had just walked up behind him to listen. She rolled her eyes at him but he could tell that she was equally amused. Then the three of them turned serious and discussed the situation they found themselves in.
Harry and Hermione quickly informed Viktor about how Rita had in fact helped Harry out by writing his story in the article for the Quibbler, which had been a turning point in getting people to start believing him about Voldemort. Viktor pointed out that they needed to do something about the press and that if Rita Skeeter could be trusted, or if they had some other way of ensuring her confidentiality, she could be useful. They agreed to meet with her on Friday.
That night at the Elite DA meeting Harry shared some additional information about the weekend's attack. He informed them that the Ministry had formed a special strike force to attack Death Eaters, that it was led by Viktor Krum, and that Viktor kept in contact with him about their activities. He explained, and they understood, that he couldn't tell them any details about the strike force or their strategies, but assured them that this had indeed been a major victory and that the Death Eaters had been almost completely wiped out. Once the cheering for that information died down, Harry grimly informed them that the danger was not over, but that the nature of the threat had merely changed. Now they would need to focus their training on combating other dark creatures like vampires, trolls, and giants.
The students digested this information for a while, then Zacharias Smith called out, "Harry, are you going to show us the new type of Patronus developed by the Ministry?" Everyone was instantly alert and turned back to Harry, eager to hear his response. One of the last things that he had been trying to teach them in the old DA had been the Patronus charm, but few of them had mastered it. To their surprise the question was met by derisive laughs from Neville and Ron.
"The Ministry? Hah! That new charm was discovered by Harry and Hermione!" Ron proclaimed loudly. With amazed looks the DA members whirled back to confront Harry. He looked nervously at Hermione as she came up to join him. Since the Dementor threat had been largely eliminated, he hadn't planned to work on the Patronus charm with them, but knew that now an explanation was needed.
"OK, I guess we can talk about that. Ron is right but the discovery was purely accidental. We let the Ministry take credit for it because we wanted them to get the word out to as many wizard families as possible, and well, we were trying to keep a low profile this summer while we were training." The students largely accepted that explanation, but many of them realized that there was probably more to the story.
"Fine, but let's see it," insisted Ernie, knowing how reluctant Harry was to take credit for anything.
"All right," replied Harry. "As you remember, this is what a normal patronus looks like." He raised his wand and called out the spell, sending a bright white stag careening around the room. "Now, this is the enhanced one we discovered." Flicking his wand to dispel the original image, he reached over to grasp Hermione's hand, focused his thoughts on her, and repeated the incantation. This time a larger, irridescent stag appeared and charged off into the room.
There was a brief silence, then everyone applauded and cheered as they followed the progress of the beautiful creature, straining to get a better look at it. Harry raised his wand again, directing the patronus to return and stand in front of them so they could study it.
"Hermione studied these a bit more than I did," Harry continued, "so I'll let her explain more, but one of the things about them is that they don't fade as fast as regular ones do."
"Oh, that's so romantic!" gushed Lavender. A few of the girls giggled and nodded, but most of the students looked at her in puzzlement. "Didn't you read about them?" she asked, noticing the puzzled looks. "They only form when you hold hands with someone you love!"
Harry looked helplessly at Hermione. He really hadn't wanted to get into that aspect of the charm, but knew he couldn't avoid it. Fortunately, Hermione was ready with an explanation.
"Actually, Harry and I weren't even dating when we discovered this. It works for anyone you have strong feelings for, not necessarily just romantic love. Harry and I have been best friends for a long time, and that's what triggered it. Harry would also be able to form one of these with Ron or Ginny, because he has strong feelings for them too." There were some skeptical looks at this pronouncement so Harry went over to Ginny and took her hand. After dispelling the other patronus, which was still waiting patiently for instructions, he smiled at her and called out the charm once more and again produced a glittering multihued stag.
Lavender wasn't quite convinced. "But he dated her, too. Maybe he still has a thing for her."
"Actually, I do still have feelings for Ginny," Harry responded, not wanting her to feel bad about what was being said. He gave her a little hug and was rewarded with a grateful smile. "But that's not the point. Any kind of love will work. Parents and children, brothers and sisters … look, you all know that Ron is like a brother to me, right?" He walked up to Ron and, focusing on his feelings for his best friend, repeated the process. Finally everyone was convinced, but not before one more crack by Seamus that he always suspected that there was something funny about Ron and Harry's relationship. Everyone immediately laughed at that as Ron good-naturedly threw a punch at Seamus in retaliation.
Hermione got their attention once again and explained that the enhanced patronus could only be conjured by someone who was powerful enough to conjure a normal one without assistance, but that this discovery could also be used by all of them to form normal ones. At Hermione's suggestion, Ginny joined with Ron to generate her cat, then was pleasantly surprised when Neville took her hand and produced his bulldog. Now that they all understood how it worked, Padma and Parvati combined to produce a pair of mongooses, and the Creevey brothers managed two yapping little terriers. Everyone laughed when, in lieu of any Dementors, the terriers started chasing the mongooses around. Then other students began to pair up with their best friends, and soon silvery patroni were roaming all over the room.
The question roused Harry from his thoughts. He and Hermione were sitting in their common room, busy with their classwork. Hermione was grading Transfiguration essays and Harry was reviewing the Defense lessons for the next day. Remus had been giving him more responsibility in the courses, and now Harry was teaching the second set of lessons for each class. For example, the second year Gryffindors and Slytherins had Defense together and were then followed by the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws. Remus would teach the first class and Harry the second. He had found that he enjoyed teaching quite a bit, and everyone said he was good at it. He had even wondered if he might make a career out of it someday.
Right now, though, he had been watching Hermione work, smiling as she wrinkled her forehead in concentration, or bit her lip as she pondered how to phrase a particular criticism. He realized how familiar these mannerisms of hers were, as he had watched her write essays and correct his and Ron's for six years. The thought had just struck him that they could very well be in this same position fifty years from now, if they both went into teaching, sitting together in a room preparing lessons and grading student work. Apparently, Hermione had noticed him watching her. He raised his eyebrows as though to ask her what she had meant with that question.
"You've been staring at me for the last ten minutes. What's on your mind?"
"You." That got him a raised eyebrow in return. "Seeing you work on those essays, and remembering all the times over the years when you helped Ron and me with homework." He leaned forward, his voice lowering as he got serious. "I don't know what we would have done without you. I feel terrible at the way we treated you, and took you for granted. You were always pushing us and we never appreciated it. Now I realize you were right all along. How much easier would it be for me now if I had learned everything I was supposed to back then?"
Hermione put aside the parchment she was correcting and got up to come over and sit beside him, pulling him into a hug with tears in her eyes. Once again, his words had gone straight to her heart. She had always been frustrated with the boys that they didn't see how important their studies were, and only appreciated her when they needed her to bail them out of another last minute jam. In just a few sentences he had acknowledged her concerns and validated her feelings, letting her know that she had been right all along.
Harry was somewhat surprised at the intensity of her response, but realized that she had always felt strongly about their studies. "I'm sure we never thanked you enough," he said, pulling back to look her in the eye. "Thank you. Thank you for all the times you tried to make us do what we were supposed to do, even though we didn't want to." This time he initiated the hug.
"You're welcome," came her shaky voice from somewhere near his chest. They sat there embracing for a while before she pulled away. Giving him a teary eyed smile she went over to gather up her work and returned to sit by him again, snuggling up next to him and resuming her grading.
Harry thought once again about how different this school year was from previous ones. He was working so much harder now, focusing on his studies and his training, finally putting in the kind of effort that Hermione always had. Although it was true that he only had two classes, he was excelling in them. For the first time in all the while he had been at Hogwarts, his coursework came easily to him. He had adopted Hermione's approach to studying, which meant that he had read the book for a course before classes even began in the fall, and actually practiced the spells in advance. When the class period arrived, the two of them mastered that day's spells quickly. In Hermione's case, she had actually learned at least half of the seventh year work in previous years.
For example, in Charms this year they were covering things like the disillusionment charm, which they both already knew well, and the Protean charm which Hermione had used to create the signal Galleons for the DA. They were also spending considerable time on conjuring, which the two of them had done a lot during their summer training when learning to block curses and hexes. Harry also was eager to begin learning to animate objects, like Dumbledore had with the statues in the fountain.
Transfiguration was also different because the instructor was so different. Tonks had a natural talent for the subject, and so spent most of her time on applications and little on theory, in contrast to McGonagall who had insisted on beginning each transfiguration with a lecture on theory. It was left to Hermione to ensure that the Transfiguration students mastered the theory by assigning homework on it. The big topic for seventh year was human to animal transfiguration. Two examples of that were firmly etched in Harry's memory – Krum's shark head during the second task of the Tri Wizard Tournament, and Moody's (actually Barty Crouch's) amazing bouncing ferret. He almost wished Malfoy were still in school so he could transfigure him again. Almost.
Harry knew that both of these subjects were of vital importance in battles. What he needed to work on most was recognition and speed. Figuring out what transfiguration or conjuration would be useful during a battle and performing it instantly were essential. Taking an entire class period to transfigure a kitchen utensil into a sword was unacceptable. Hermione, of course, was superb at this, and had saved their lives many times with a near-instantaneous shield. After a moment's thought, he picked up his wand, twirled it once and pointed it at a plate sitting on the table. The plate transformed into a large disk and with another flick he levitated it in front of them as if to block a spell. Harry sighed. Ten seconds – much too long. He returned the plate and canceled the spell, then began to repeat the transfiguration. Hermione looked up from her parchment to watch for a few seconds, nodding her approval. Reaching over, she gave his arm an encouraging squeeze and returned to her grading.
They met with Rita Skeeter in a back room at the Leaky Cauldron. To try to keep the meeting secret, Viktor had arranged the room in advance, and at the appointed time he and Rita apparated in separately. Harry and Hermione first took the portkey to Grimmauld Place, then apparated to the twins' back room, then to the Leaky Cauldron. Rita, who was waiting impatiently for Viktor to begin, was startled when the pair suddenly appeared in front of her with almost no sound. She immediately noticed that they were holding hands.
"So, I was right about the two of you all along," she smirked, reaching for her quill. "Did Miss Granger finally make up her mind? Or is she still stringing Mr. Krum along as well." As she said this she looked from Granger to Krum with a leer. Then her face froze as she took in the expressions on everyone's face. Krum had a look that was as cold as steel, and Potter's green eyes had a glow that gave her shivers. A quick movement from Granger's wand caused her quill to vanish in a flash of flame and smoke. The uncomfortable realization dawned on her that she was in a sealed room with a man who had killed more than a few Death Eaters, and a pair of students who, if her sources were correct, were equally as deadly. A room no one had seen her enter. Swallowing hard, she decided another approach was necessary.
"Look," she said, now all business, "Like it or not, your little romance is of interest to a lot of people. But let's not worry about that right now. I know you don't like me and don't think much of my methods. But we worked together last time and I kept my part of the deal. And you know we both benefited from it. I think we can do the same again." She paused to breathe, trying to keep herself calm. So far none of them had made any further move against her, or objected to anything she had just said. After sharing a glance the three of them sat down and Potter (not Krum, a part of her mind noted) motioned for her to continue.
"I'm going to be frank with you. The Daily Prophet has recently realized that it is in their best interest to support what Mr. Krum has been doing. Right now they're frantic to make it look like they're on your side. This is an opportunity for you to get your story out exactly the way you want it. And I can help you do that."
"So, what does that have to do with me?" Harry asked, his expression still not giving anything away.
"Let me tell you what I know so far. Mr. Krum suddenly appears in Britain in July for a wedding of a minor Ministry official's son. An official who he has no known connection with. His only interest in the wedding would seem to be as an acquaintance of the bride, who was a fellow contestant in the Tri Wizard Tournament. Which coincidentally Mr. Potter also participated in, and the conclusion of which led to the situation which we already addressed in our previous interview. Mr. Potter also attended that wedding, being very close to the family of the groom. Curiously, Miss Granger seems not to have been in attendance."
"Immediately following that wedding Mr. Krum decides to stay in Britain and go to work at the Ministry. Immediately following that, the Ministry and Mr. Potter suddenly manage to mend their antagonistic relationship and a statement is released that Mr. Potter now supports what the ministry is doing. Along with that, an improved Patronus charm is announced by the Ministry. A Patronus charm that quite a few witnesses swore to me was used at the aforementioned wedding to repel a dementor attack. And the witnesses that seemed to remember it most clearly were of the opinion that it was initiated by Mr. Potter and an unidentified blonde witch." Rita paused again. So far none of them had said a word, or given anything away by their expressions. What had happened to the kid from two years ago whose emotions had always seemed to be on the verge of boiling over? She decided to continue.
"Finally, the Ministry suddenly discovers that a senior assistant to the Minister was guilty of torturing students while she was a professor at Hogwarts more than a year previously. The most prominent of those students being Mr. Potter. Now, we discover that Mr. Krum's assignment at the ministry was much more serious than anyone suspected, and he has assembled some sort of elite force that has been hunting down and killing Death Eaters for the past two months. And from what I'm seeing in this room, he's deferring to you."
Rita leaned forward putting her arms on the table and folding her hands. "The Ministry is not in the habit of suddenly spending a lot of money hiring elite fighters. And Mr. Potter inherited quite a bit of money this summer. Now, would you like me to speculate on what is going on, or would you like to give me the real story so I can report it as accurately as possible?"
A long silence followed, and there was still no change of expression on any of the three faces across from her. Just as she was about to repeat her question Granger leaned forward with a proposition of her own. But it was not at all what she had been expecting.
"Are you willing to sign a secrecy oath or would you prefer to have your memory obliviated?"
Startled, Rita first thought she must be joking, but one look at the young witch's eyes made it clear that this was no laughing matter. She had absolutely no doubt that the parchment she would sign would have some kind of devilish curse on it. What had she gotten herself into here? She had been expecting another attempt to intimidate her using her illegal animagus status, not a threat as serious as this. This Granger kid wasn't messing around this time! Rita glanced nervously at the door, but something about the way these three carried themselves made her realize that she would be stunned before she even got out of her chair. As she used her reporter's instincts to put together the clues from the information she had gathered earlier and what she had heard just now as well as the evidence from their body language today she arrived at a frightening conclusion. Krum and Granger would do anything for Harry Potter, including killing her if necessary.
"What do I get if I sign?"
"An exclusive story on Viktor Krum, with the final wording approved by us. Any information about Harry Potter that we want released. First crack at any other stories that may arise from the fight against Voldemort, with the same condition."
"Who are you people?"
"We are the ones who are going to defeat Voldemort once and for all."
"You really are the Chosen One, aren't you?"
"Are you going to sign?"
That night when Harry and Ginny returned to the Heads suite after their weekly secret date they were surprised to find Ron in the room. It suddenly occurred to Harry that Ron had hardly ever been to their suite, and once again he felt guilty for not spending more time with his best friend. The expressions on the faces of Ron, Hermione, and Neville, however, indicated that this was not a social call.
"Harry," said Hermione, biting her lip nervously as she approached him, "I found something I think you need to take a look at." He looked to see what she was holding as she brought it up to him. It was his mum's diary.
"I've been going back reading the parts we skipped over before and I found some passages that … well, just read them and see what you think."
Harry took the diary and settled on the sofa, with Ginny and Hermione on either side of him. Ron and Neville pulled up two chairs facing them. Harry turned to the first section that Hermione had marked and began to read.
1 March, 1977
Severus Snape is starting to give me the creeps. Professor Slughorn has decided that we are the two best students in Potions and has us working at the same table. He keeps staring at me during class when he thinks I'm not looking. I don't know why he's so interested in me – after all, he called me a mudblood last year for heaven's sake.
15 March, 1977
Snape is really starting to bother me now. Twice today in class he brushed up against me. James noticed and was ready to hex him until Remus stopped him. I think I need to make sure I'm not alone in the hallway down in those dungeons.
22 March, 1977
This is so disgusting! Today Snape asked me out! When I turned him down he grabbed my arm. I had my wand out though and when he saw that he let go right away. I haven't learned all of those charms for nothing. He'll be in a lot of pain if he ever tries that again. I don't know if I should tell James about this or not. He'd probably do something that would get him in detention, and the Hufflepuff match is coming up.
5 April, 1977
Now what am I going to do? Professor Slughorn assigned Snape and me to work together on a Potions project. I have to go to the library with him and have to spend time in the Potions classroom with him outside of class. I don't want to be alone with him!
7 April, 1977
I'm saved! James and his friends are going to help me out. He found me crying in a classroom and made me tell him what was wrong. He, Sirius, Remus, and Peter are going to arrange for one of them to be with me whenever I'm in the library with Snape. And can you believe this, he has an invisibility cloak! He's going to stay in the Potions classroom whenever I have to be alone with Snape. He was so nice about it, I could just kiss him!
I can't believe I just wrote that about James Potter, of all people. He's really changed this year. If he asks me out again I think I'll go out with him.
13 April, 1977
It happened! I'm so revolted! I had to take a shower to try to get the feel of his hands off of me. Snape made a pass at me this evening while we were in the Potions dungeon working on our project. The creep waited until I had put my wand down and then grabbed me and tried to kiss me. He told me he loved me and wanted me for his own. Then he started going on about how he was a half blood himself as if that made it OK for him to want me. I tuned the rest out because that's when he tried to kiss me and I was just pushing him away.
Fortunately I didn't have to struggle too long because James was there under his invisibility cloak and he stunned Snape from behind, then petrified him. After that I just ran into his arms and started crying. It felt so good to have him holding me. Then he took me back to our common room. He even stopped for a while before we went through the portrait hole to let me pull myself together. We were under the invisibility cloak so no one would see us. It was so strange being under that cloak, but I hardly noticed it at the time because I was standing so close to him. My heart was still beating pretty fast. I think it was because I was still upset from what Snape did but it might have been because of James. I can't believe I'm having these feelings for him. I guess having someone save your life does that to you.
14 April, 1977
James and Sirius have been plotting something to get back at Snape. They want to give him a scare as a warning to stay away from me. I overheard them talking today and said I wanted to know what they were going to do. It was me that the creep attacked after all. God, I can't believe that Snape wants me like that. It makes me shudder every time I think about it. After what he said to me last year? Actually, he hasn't said anything bad to me all of this year. I guess it's because he started to fall for me. Yecch! Why do I seem to attract all of the creeps? All except for James that is. He certainly isn't a creep, at least not anymore.
19 April, 1977
I told Professor Slughorn today I refused to work with Snape anymore. I didn't tell him why, though. I couldn't stand to have anyone know what happened. All the purebloods would say I was asking for it, since I'm a muggleborn and everyone knows how easy we are. James has promised not to tell anyone either. I shouldn't say that about purebloods. James and Sirius are purebloods and they don't feel that way about muggleborns. It's just some of them.
Harry noticed that he was skipping over the entry where his dad had finally asked his mum out. He and Hermione had read that section earlier, during the summer when he first got the diary. Now that he looked closely, he realized that the parts he was reading now were very faded, whereas the other part was quite bright. He guessed that his mum had charmed the diary to highlight her favorite parts, and their eyes had caught those bits when they read through the first time. A glance up at Hermione confirmed that she knew what he was thinking and she nodded in agreement.
25 April, 1977
I found out today what James and Sirius are planning for Snape. It has something to do with Remus. They aren't aware that I know, but Remus is a werewolf. I figured it out quite a while ago actually. Honestly, it wasn't that hard to put together the clues. He just so happens to get sick once a month. (And he's not a girl so that rules that out.)
Anyway, they have some way they're going to scare Snape with Remus during the next full moon. They have somewhere he goes when he transforms and they have a plan to lure Snape there. I don't think Remus knows about their plan, though. I hope nothing goes wrong. Remus would feel so bad if he found out he injured someone while he was a werewolf. He's such a nice guy normally, you'd never know he could be a vicious creature. I hope they find a cure for him some day. You can see he's aging prematurely.
4 May, 1977
James and Sirius are in so much trouble. Last night was the full moon and they went through with their revenge plot. Apparently it worked perfectly. Sirius managed to trick Snape into going into some tunnel (they wouldn't tell me all of the details) and he saw Remus and was scared out of his mind before James jumped out and pulled him back. I don't think he'll be bothering me anymore.
Professor Dumbledore is very angry with James and Sirius. And they just stood there and took the blame. They didn't mention me at all. They just said it was a prank that got out of hand. I'm so impressed that they're taking this detention and keeping quiet about the reason for it. I mean, they get detentions all of the time but still, they did this just for me. I'm going to have to re-evaluate my opinion of those two. Well, I guess I have already changed my opinion of James, haven't I?
This was the last of the entries that Hermione had marked. Harry sat thoughtfully, and no one said anything, waiting for his reaction. First one, then the other of the two girls flanking him took hold of one of his hands and gave a little squeeze. Then he sighed and turned to Hermione.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" She nodded.
Ron broke in with a touch of amusement in his voice. "Well, for those of us who don't have a magical mental connection could you say what you're thinking out loud?" Ginny frowned at this statement but kept quiet.
"Remember this summer when we were wondering why Voldemort didn't seem to want to kill my mum?" Harry began explaining. "What if it was because Snape asked him not to?"
"Why would Vol…Voldemort care what Snape wanted?" stammered Ron.
"Maybe it was part of the deal he made when he sold my parents out."
"And Voldemort likes to use muggleborn and muggle women as rewards for his Death Eaters. Expecially the new recruits," Hermione intoned grimly.
"How do you know that?" inquired Ginny
"Crabbe and Goyle," responded Hermione simply.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean …"
"Forget it. But what I don't understand is that Dumbledore said …"
"Maybe he didn't know …"
"You mean …?"
"Hold on!" Ron jumped in once more. "You two are losing the rest of us again. Full sentences please."
Harry took a deep breath and looked briefly at Hermione who nodded back at him, then began. "Professor Dumbledore told me that Snape owed my dad a debt for saving his life. And that's why he supposedly protected me here at school. But he only knew the story the way Snape told it, because my dad and Sirius never told him what really happened. But Snape knew the real reason for what they did and he knew that my dad didn't really save his life. It was all part of the prank. So that reason doesn't hold water."
"Now, the story Dumbledore told me and that I told you guys in June was that Snape changed to our side because of remorse when Voldemort killed my mum and dad. But I think he intended for my dad to get killed but not my mum because he wanted her … gah, that makes me sick! But he sure wasn't remorseful that my dad didn't die. Maybe my mum, though, in a disgusting sort of way."
"And I think he didn't treat you like he did because you reminded him of your dad, it was because your mum died to protect you and as a result he couldn't have her," Hermione added.
"Well, that at least makes sense now. He hates me because of me and not because of my dad."
No one really had a response to that. Finally Neville spoke up for the first time. "So what are you going to do about it?"
"Part of me wants to go yell at Dumbledore's portrait for believing that slimeball. Maybe he should have known that whole 'owed my dad his life' story was ridiculous. I mean, in our experience when you save someone's life they end up liking you right?" He ended that comment with a little smile each for Hermione and Ginny, then raised his eyebrows at Ron. It took a moment for them to realize what he had said, then each of the girls gave him a smile and a hug, while Ron grinned.
But then Harry's face turned serious again. He sighed and then looked at each of his friends in turn. "But what good would it do, really? It's not going to bring him back. I'll let Remus and McGonagall know. Viktor too, I guess. It will be good for him to know about that in case Snape makes any trouble. What do you guys think?"
They all agreed and then decided it was time the others were getting back to Gryffindor tower. Neville and Ginny left first, since they were supposed to be on a date after all, and Harry held Ron back for a moment.
"Ron, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for not spending more time with you this year," Harry said hesitantly. "I've got to try to get to Gryffindor tower more often."
"No problem mate," Ron said quickly. "I know you've been busy. As long as you show up for quidditch." He grinned back at Harry.
"Well, right, of course I'll be there for quidditch. But maybe I can stop by sometime and we can play some chess, or work on homework together or something."
"Sure, whatever you say. That would be great," Ron acknowledged. "Look, I've got to get back, all right? I'll see you guys tomorrow morning."
After Ron had left Hermione came up and hugged Harry from behind. "You OK?"
"You mean about Snape? Yeah, I guess. I mean, we already knew he was a slimy git. It is good to have that cleared up. It was really the only question we had left about the things we learned about this summer. And it's not like he ever actually did something with my mum, just … well, I don't want to think about that anymore." He turned to look at her. "I'm a little worried about Ron, though. I know I see him every day in training, but we just aren't spending any time together this year, not like we used to."
"You mean goofing off and avoiding doing homework?" Hermione asked with a smile, trying to lighten his mood a bit.
She succeeded in bringing a small grin to his face. "Yeah, that. So, do you want to sit and talk a little before bed?"
Harry and Hermione relaxed in their accustomed positions on either end of the sofa, ending the day their favorite way, just sitting and talking. Before long it was time for bed.
As Harry climbed into bed, though, he thought about Ron once more. His best mate didn't appear to be as worried about their lack of time together as much as he was. And that didn't seem like him at all. He wondered if he had done something to upset his friend, but couldn't really think of anything.
The following morning, however, those thoughts were swept from his mind with the latest news. The vampire attacks had begun.