Disclaimer- I solemnly swear that I do not own the characters, settings, or situations present in this story. I am just a fanfic author playing with JKR's toys. I promise to clean them up before I return them.
A/N- Well. This is a rather long start to a new story on the grounds that I have 43+ pages already written and I couldn't find a good stopping point for the chapter. Expect a few more big updates this weekend before it tapers out to a new chap every 3-7 days (ideally because having said that at some point I'll have a week and a half without posting). Took a break because my birthday was in early May.
This story begins in third year but at the end of the third year, so it moves into the fourth year after a summer. It goes without saying that this is not canon. And if the sequence of events for things like the 3rd year seem off it's because my HP books are still packed in storage so I'm going from memory in a mind that has head-canon and fanfic inside of it. I think I nailed Ron, personally. Happy reading!
Putting himself between Lupin and Hermione had meant that he was in harm's way; not that that was anything new for Harry. Nor was him being injured for protecting her. What was new was that Harry was bitten. With Ron and Snape unconscious, Sirius chasing Remus off, and Pettigrew escaping Hermione was the only one to see the bite. Harry felt her latch onto him in a tight embrace, "It'll be okay Harry," she whispered.
Harry could only trust her words. Hermione wasn't one to steer him wrong but being a werewolf was something they'd have to keep quiet. Hermione healed the bite herself to stop the bleeding. A bite from a werewolf left a scar even when magically healed. On the plus side it gave Harry the ability to lie about what the bite came from.
In the chaos that followed they ran to a wounded Sirius who had run Lupin off into the forest but looked exhausted and collapsed. Harry and Hermione tried to pull him toward the school (Ron and Snape were already close to the entrance and still unconscious) only to find themselves surrounded by Dementors. "What do we do Harry?"
He thought about Sirius' offer for him to live with him after he was cleared. Leaving the Dursleys sounded amazing. He focused on that as his happy memory and cast the spell, "Expecto Patronum!" But it was to no avail. No matter how many times he cast it Harry couldn't conjure more than little silvery wisps. Hermione moved against him and they wrapped their arms tightly around each other in a hug as they both closed their eyes, awaiting the inevitable.
An ear-piercing shriek had Harry open his eyes to witness a humongous corporeal patronus wolf attacking the Dementors, thrashing them with its massive teeth while the Dementors screamed. The ones attacked turned to ash and the other hooded creatures fled for their lives. "Wow," Harry breathed, watching as the wolf chased off the few that remained.
"Who did that?" Hermione asked.
"I don't have a clue," Harry said. "That was amazing though."
Hermione nodded her head and looked at Sirius. "He's still alive. We need to get him help."
"Step away from that criminal," Snape's voice said. Harry looked to see the Potions Master raise his wand as he approached them and cast a spell on Sirius, binding him.
"He's not a criminal! He's innocent!"
"Confounded you no doubt," Snape said. "I'll make sure to inform the Minister of Magic about that," he sneered.
Hermione glared at the man. "You're a very bitter, vindictive man Professor. Sirius Black is innocent. It was Peter Pettigrew who turned on the Potters."
"He killed Pettigrew as well. Convenient to lay the blame at his feet. Thought you were smarter than that you arrogant little know-it-all." Harry was used to Snape bullying him but bullying Hermione was too much for the young man. Only Hermione grabbing his arm kept him from drawing his wand on the bastard.
They were bound by Snape as well and Harry glared at the man all the way up to the castle. As Pomfrey looked them over Harry's only concern was Sirius. "He's innocent! He didn't do any of it! He was framed!"
"Werewolves, Dementors, wanted murderers," Pomfrey shook her head, "What is Hogwarts becoming? Last year a basilisk, this year Dementors are targeting our students. I'll be writing the ministry about this."
Harry gave up. No one was listening to him. Hermione was given a clean bill of health but Pomfrey paused upon seeing the bite on Harry's torso. "Mr. Potter is this a werewolf bite?"
Harry looked down at the bite Hermione had healed so well that it looked like an old scar rather than a fresh wound. People really underestimated his pretty friend's brilliance. "No ma'am. A dog attacked me last summer and my aunt didn't want to take me to the doctor. Said it just needed a bandage."
Pomfrey shook her head, muttering about idiotic muggles and poorly healed wounds. For Harry it was a sigh of relief. His focus might be on Sirius but he knew that being called a werewolf was not a good thing. He'd seen that in Ron's eyes when Hermione had said that Lupin was a werewolf. Ron's leg was broken and would need to be healed. While Pomfrey was doing that Albus Dumbledore found the pair.
One cryptic message later and Harry was watching Hermione pull out a big hourglass from under her shirt that was on a chain around her neck. "Hermione what is that?"
"A time-turner and now is not the time for questions irrelevant to our agenda," she said, slipping the chain around his neck too. Harry found himself again pressed against his pretty friend as they traveled back in time. He was really starting to enjoy this contact. Although not in the way he was probably supposed to, her being his best friend and all. "Dumbledore said we could save two lives tonight…but other than Sirius…"
She and Harry solved that riddle at the same time, "Buckbeak!"
"We can hide in the woods near Hagrid's house," Harry said. The pair carefully made their way there, hiding amongst the trees out of view of everyone in Hagrid's hut but not obscuring the two teens' view to see what was going on.
Hermione worked out the plan, "We need the executioner and everyone to see Buckbeak before we free him and pull him back here with us."
Harry nodded. "We can toss some of those dead ferrets Hagrid has for him to him to lure him away," he suggested.
"Good idea Harry," she smiled at him.
Hiding in the woods as they waited to put their hastily cobbled together plan into action Harry and Hermione sat, talking about the incident earlier in the evening. "Hermione, this is bad."
"No it's not Harry. There's nothing particularly bad about werewolves." Harry just stared at her, stunned that after what had happened to them that evening her opinion would be what it was. Hermione took his hand, "Harry all werewolves aren't like Lupin. The ones that know their inner animal live very normal lives. The Wolfsbane is more of a poison than a potion. It's made of plants that are poisonous to wolves."
"So the human doesn't have control, the wolf's just sick," Harry said.
"Exactly," Hermione nodded. "Harry I'll help you deal with this. You're still you. You'll just get furry once a month," she smiled.
He looked at her worriedly, "What if I attack you?"
"I think every fiber of your being wants to protect me Harry," she answered. "You leapt on top of me without even thinking about it. That isn't accidental." She smiled and hugged him, "Harry you should believe in yourself more."
"I'll work on it," he said. "But you need to not take so many classes Hermione. It's been wearing you out all year."
"Next year I'll drop Muggle Studies. Without it and Divination I should have a normal schedule. But in exchange you need to drop Divination and take either Runes or Arithmancy. You have dark wizards after you Harry. You need to learn about how to protect yourself. If you studied this summer and I helped you you could take a placement exam and be in the same class as me fourth year."
Harry was quick to agree to Hermione's conditions. If he was being honest Arithmancy had sounded really interesting to him when she talked about it. "Do you think we should tell Ron about me being a werewolf?"
"Do you think he'll keep it a secret from his family or from the rest of the world?" Hermione asked. Ron wasn't someone she'd ever tell a secret to; he was quick to blab whether accidentally or on purpose. He was quite like Hagrid that way.
Ron. So far he'd been able to ignore what he'd seen that evening but he couldn't any longer. Harry had seen the fear and disgust in Ron's eyes when Hermione had worked out that Lupin was a werewolf. Harry lowered his head in thought as a swirl of emotions overwhelmed him. Ron was his first friend his own age. But he'd already fallen out with Hermione twice this year because of the rat he hated and Harry's broomstick. He'd never apologized to Hermione for either situation and fully expected Hermione to apologize to him, even when it was established that Ron was both times in the wrong. Ron also wasn't known for keeping secrets. His mind turned to how Ron had got him to take the easy courses that year rather than the ones that would benefit him in the long run. "Why must my life always be so complicated and difficult?" Harry asked loudly, kicking a tree in frustration.
Hermione, wanting to calm Harry down and also prevent him from accidentally blowing their cover, did the first thing she could think of to distract him and silence him. She kissed Harry. When they parted they were both red-faced. "Hermione…" he whispered.
She rubbed her face in her hands, "Harry I just…forget about it. I'm sorry I shouldn't have…"
Knowing how she'd work herself into a fit Harry pulled her back to him and they kissed again, "Don't be sorry," he whispered when they parted after a second, longer kiss. "I thought it was fantastic."
"Harry," she breathed, gazing into his eyes.
He gave her a genuine smile before he took a deep breath and asked, "What say you make part of my life easier and far better? Will you be my girlfriend Hermione?"
"Yes," she answered, hugging him.
The time soon came to free Buckbeak, and they did with Harry untying the hippogriff and Hermione tossing ferrets to Buckbeak from the bucket they'd found in Hagrid's shed. They made their way back to the forest, moving to a better vantage point. Hermione spoke, "Harry about that broom…"
"I owe you an apology for that," he interrupted her, "I didn't handle that situation well. You were looking out for me because you care and I was just looking to play with my new toy."
She smiled and kissed him, "You're forgiven Harry but I shouldn't have just done it behind your back. I should have sat down with you away from Ron and we could have had a rational conversation about it rather than Ron arguing that I was just out to destroy your fun."
"Yeah Ron is always eager to fight with you isn't he," Harry mused. "Wonder why that is?"
"I don't know. Sometimes it feels like I'm somehow competing with him for your attention; or at least, that's how he feels."
Harry thought that made sense, though that also meant that Ron would freak out about them being a couple. Now he had a whole new problem to deal with. Then Hermione squeezed his hand and pulled him closer to the lake so that they could see the Dementors approaching. It was as they watched the Dementors swooping in on the other them that Harry realized it was him. He had cast the patronus. And he immediately knew who was responsible for the happy memory that had conjured the great wolf. He pulled Hermione to him, "I need a really happy memory," he whispered before kissing her.
Realizing why he needed that happy memory Hermione put her arms around his neck and gave him exactly what he needed. Grinning like the cat that ate the canary Harry cast the spell. His patronus, a bright, fierce wolf at least the size of a muggle car, exited his wand and mauled several dementors before making the others flee its wrath. The wolf returned to them when its actions were done and Harry patted it on the head, smiling as it rubbed its head against Hermione's side before vanishing. "I think that memory was happy enough Harry," she whispered.
Harry chuckled and nodded. They moved again and after waiting and contemplating hexing Snape and tossing him into the lake (Hermione's cooler head prevailing over his anger) they took to the air on Buckbeak to fly up and rescue Sirius. Hermione's arms wrapped around Harry felt really good, he thought. She hated flying but she was doing this for him. It made him respect Hermione even more. They broke Sirius out and Harry said goodbye to him, Hermione hugging her new boyfriend to keep him calm and together as Sirius left on Buckbeak.
When they returned to the hospital wing Ron was asleep still. Hermione and Harry shared one last kiss and a smile before they went to their own beds which were next to each other. While that evening was a swirl of emotions and problems one emotion overrode all the others. Joy. He might have a new problem to overcome but with Hermione as his girlfriend he wasn't trapped in the darkness of the Dursleys or the pressure to hide his newly-acquired lycanthropy.
He just needed to tackle his problems one at a time. First he had to tell Ron about his and Hermione's new relationship. Second he was dropping Divination and taking up Arithmancy. Third he was learning everything he could about werewolves. Preferably not from one who was drinking poison once a month. There was something about Remus Lupin that had Harry suspicious. He had known Harry's parents but never said a word to Harry until Harry had figured it out already. He had seemingly only been interested in revenge against the person who had killed his friends, Harry's parents. Sirius was in prison but why hadn't Remus gone to find Harry? Gone to visit him at the Dursleys? Feeling a little more confident in what he was going to do the next day Harry closed his eyes. He needed sleep.
The next morning he woke to Hermione already awake and sitting on her bed, waiting for him. "Have you been up long?"
"Just long enough to use the bathroom and brush my teeth," she answered, smiling at him. "Ron went down to breakfast before I even woke up according to Madame Pomfrey."
Harry frowned, "Wouldn't he want to know what happened?" Hermione bit her lip. She didn't intend to say negative things about Ron. She'd been down that road with Harry before. It'd resulted in her being alone. Harry went to the bathroom and when he exited he took her hand and kissed her, "Ready for breakfast?"
"Definitely," she nodded, smiling when he didn't let go of her hand as they walked out of the infirmary together.
"We have to tell Ron about us. The other thing I think we should keep quiet. I want to see how people react to Lupin."
Hermione nodded in agreement and squeezed his hand, "I will have to write to my parents that my boyfriend is coming over this summer." Harry blinked at her and she smiled, "Harry you can't expect me to leave you on your own after what just happened."
He smiled at Hermione. She was always looking out for him. He'd never had anyone do that before, which made her all the more special to him. "I reckon you have lots of books about it."
"Plenty," she nodded. "I'll tell you about all I've learned later."
"Good," Harry took a shaky breath, "I feel a little nervous."
"We'll be okay Harry," Hermione said. "We always find a way."
Ron was still eating his breakfast when they entered the Great Hall. They sat down opposite him, "Hey guys," he said in acknowledgement.
"Didn't you want to know how things went?" Harry asked.
"Well you were still sleeping so I reckoned I should get a bite to eat before the food was all gone," Ron shrugged.
"After breakfast we can go for a walk," Hermione suggested, defusing a potentially volatile situation before it could happen. Ron wasn't exactly the most articulate person she'd ever met and he was rather self-absorbed, while Harry was far more considerate about other people and would put others before his own well-being. Hermione couldn't ever imagine Ron doing what Harry had the previous night. Both boys nodded in agreement and Harry and Hermione put food on their plates, the female of the trio incredibly relieved that she'd avoided that conflict. The boys' personalities definitely clashed and she could see it coming to a head sooner or later; she'd just rather it was later and private instead of the middle of the Great Hall during breakfast.
Once they'd eaten their fill the three teens exited the school to walk along the grounds. Harry and Hermione told Ron about how they'd freed Sirius. "You flew on Buckbeak?!" He gazed at Hermione in shock.
"I did have a deathgrip on Harry," she admitted, making the redhead smirk. She resisted rolling her eyes at him. "There is something else that happened last night."
"What?" Ron asked.
"I asked Hermione to be my girlfriend," Harry answered.
Ron looked between the two of them to see if they were having him on. "You…you did?"
"And I said yes," Hermione said, Harry taking her hand in his.
Ron looked between them as his ears turned red. In a harsh tone he asked, "Guess you'll want your privacy now huh?"
"Well some of the time," Harry said, "but Ron you remember how the Dursleys kept me locked up?" The redhead nodded, his cheeks now red as well. Harry spoke, "I couldn't cast a patronus until last night when Hermione gave me the happiest memory imaginable. Kissing me and agreeing to be my girlfriend. She wasn't just my first kiss Ron. The hug she gave me our first year was my very first hug."
Ron's eyes widened at Harry's admission. "Really?"
"Really," Harry nodded.
Ron looked down at the ground and stopped walking, "I guess I never thought about how you have it worse than me even if you're rich," he said.
"I didn't even know I had any money until Hagrid took me to my vault," Harry reminded him, "the first eleven years of my life I had nothing of my own. My first present was Hedwig. Hagrid bought her for me."
Hermione had, throughout Harry's talk with Ron, been writing a letter to her parents. Hedwig arrived and she gave her the letter, watching her fly off. "I'm inviting Harry to spend the summer with me. My parents would love to meet a classmate. And I'm sure the Dursleys would be happy to not see you during the summer."
"Definitely," Harry grinned. "You sure they won't mind?"
"Harry they'll love you," Hermione said, hugging him. "Don't worry about it."
"What about me?" Ron asked.
Hermione raised an eyebrow, "You would want to spend the summer in a non-magical house in a muggle neighborhood?"
Ron flushed red, though not in anger, and hastily said, "Mum wouldn't allow it anyway." Hermione, knowing that Ron simply wanted nothing to do with muggles, stayed quiet and refused to even look at him. Harry, sensing that Ron didn't want to stay in a non-magical home which he deemed inferior, frowned at his friend but said nothing.
Harry knocked before walking into McGonagall's office. "Yes Mr. Potter?"
"Professor I'd like to switch from Divination to Arithmancy."
"The school year is nearly finished Mr. Potter," McGonagall said, surprised.
"Yes ma'am but I took Divination because it would be easy and that was wrong. I should have taken a course that would benefit me and Arithmancy would. Hermione's shown me her books before and I think I'd like the class very much, plus given that I seem to be the target of every dark wizard in Britain I need to be proactive in my studying."
McGonagall gazed at Harry for a moment before she spoke, "Mr. Potter, I am as you know not a fan of Divination. Still you did sign up for it."
"And I hate it," Harry said. "Professor, every class Professor Trelawney predicts my death. I'm tired of having people 'ooh' and 'ahh' over her and telling me how great she is when I'm quite obviously not dead in any of the many ways that she's 'seen' my death."
McGonagall's eyes narrowed, "She predicts your death every class?"
"Some are more grisly than others. It's part of the reason Hermione left the class," Harry said. "I think it really upset her hearing a professor talk about my impending death like she was talking about the weather."
"Mr. Potter you are excused from all remaining Divination classes for the rest of the year," the deputy headmistress spoke, looking angrier than Harry had ever seen her. "I will talk to Professor Vector. Do you think you can catch up this year over the summer?"
"Hermione said she'd tutor me," Harry nodded. "And I'm certainly willing to put in the extra work Professor."
"Very well then. Professor Vector will probably want to meet with you before the end of the school year but I have faith Miss Granger can help you prepare," McGonagall gave him a rare smile and Harry stood up and left the office. That was two things done. Now he needed to learn about werewolves. While his meeting with McGonagall had gone as Harry had expected, he'd actually expected Ron to freak out about him dating Hermione. That the redhead had taken it relatively easily gave Harry hope for the future.
The whispers around the school about 'the werewolf' who had been teaching them DADA gave him less hope. Lupin's name wasn't mentioned, just his affliction. That wasn't exactly pleasant given what had happened the previous evening. He met up with Hermione, who smiled at him and kissed his cheek, "How did it go?"
"I need to start studying your notes," he answered. Hermione squeaked in delight and hugged him, "Do you think I can learn it all by September 1st?"
"Of course you can Harry. I believe in you."
He smiled at her, "Thanks Hermione. With your help I'm sure I will." He grew serious, "I need to read those books before we study though."
"I know. They're in my bag. I thought since it was such a nice day we could go sit by the lake."
Harry thought that sounded fantastic. "Where's Ron?"
"Apparently Ron has decided he wants to be on the Quidditch team next year. Oliver has been somehow manipulated into helping him practice his skills as a keeper by the twins."
That surprised Harry. Ron had never shown any desire to play as the keeper. When he'd played at the Weasleys Ron was always a chaser. "I never imagined Ron as a keeper," he said.
"He's always going on about quidditch."
"Yeah but never his own desire to play, just about the Chudley Cannons."
Hermione mulled that over, "Ron is very sensitive to criticism, maybe that's why he doesn't say anything."
"I guess that makes sense," Harry said as they exited the castle and found themselves in the sun. "Near the lake?"
"Anyplace works for me. It's about the privacy more than the view," she said, leaning against him.
They found their spot and Harry settled down against a tree, Hermione pulling out the books. "I highlighted some key things when I first read them."
Harry looked at the titles: The Cult of the Full Moon, Weres Gone Wild, Sinful Savages, The Prince and the Were, and Man by Sun, Wolf by Moon. The pictures on them reminded Harry of those romance books housewives read. "Hermione…"
"They're meant to fool the casual viewer Harry," Hermione assured him.
Harry opened one book and just a cursory glance surprised him. It was obviously written by a werewolf, and it catalogued the changes a newly bitten werewolf would experience. The things that werewolves could do in wolf or human form, changes in physiology and psychology, changes of inclinations; his school books had a couple simple paragraphs about the Wolfsbane potion and werewolf physiology. Physiology that was what they'd seen in Lupin the night before but that was entirely different from the descriptions in the book. "Hermione, where did you get this book?'
"From a store," she answered. "A store in Knockturn Alley."
Harry's eyes widened, "You're not supposed to go there!"
"I was curious about werewolves and a hag told me that a shop in Knockturn had real books and not Ministry propaganda books. I was careful Harry," she said, seeing his distress that she could have been hurt.
Harry frowned but looked back at the book, "It says that within a week I start to change. That it's not instantaneous."
Hermione nodded, "And if you don't take the potion you can be a full wolf, not a half-man, half-wolf when the full moon comes."
"Those that take Wolfsbane are mentally unstable when they turn if they miss a dose," Harry read. "Hermione…the Ministry is creating dangerous situations."
"That was my first thought too," Hermione nodded. "People like Professor Lupin can't stop taking the Wolfsbane. Once they take it they have to take it for life. And it's incredibly expensive."
"It's hard to make too," Harry said.
"Very," Hermione nodded. "I think I could do it but I think you should avoid it."
"Agreed," he smiled at her. "Okay so we should make a checklist."
"A magically concealed one like your map," Hermione said.
"How would we do that?'" Harry asked.
"If I studied it I think I could work out how they did it," Hermione said. "We'd just make the passphrase something no magical would guess."
Harry smiled and Hermione pulled out a self-inking quill she'd bought in Hogsmeade to begin the list:
-Quicker and more agile
-Changes in physical appearance
-Driven by lust
The last one made Harry blush. Hermione did as well, biting her lip. "Uh, I guess we'll have to talk about that last one."
"I won't pressure you into doing anything Hermione," Harry assured her.
"I know you wouldn't Harry," she smiled, squeezing his knee affectionately. Harry watched as she placed the parchment into her planner and spelled it to lock. The rest of that morning Harry read through the books while Hermione leaned against him to work on a study schedule for the summer for him to get caught up in Arithmancy.
Apollo gazed down at the girl he'd chosen at birth. Soon his little Veela would blossom. But since Britain had no Veela he needed to contact her directly; she needed to learn about her gift from he who had given it to her. He'd have to send her a vision. A werewolf and a Veela…that would be an interesting relationship. If she worked on Occlumency then she'd be much more capable of controlling the allure. She had a controlled, organized mind. He was certain she could master it. If she didn't then her young man might end up killing anyone who inadvertently felt her allure. Actually him learning Occlumency might not be a bad thing. Apollo would have to suggest it to Hermione in the vision.
Hermione was asleep when she suddenly found herself standing in a white space, a man the only other object in the room. "Who are you?"
"Apollo, god of light, sun, truth, prophecy, art, music, poetry, medicine, and patron of the Muses," he said, bowing to her.
"Why are you here?" Hermione asked.
"To see you, of course," he smiled at her. "I come to see you to explain the gift I gave to you when you were but a child."
"I am the patron of not just the Muses, but of their mortal counterparts the Veela," he elaborated.
That actually made sense to Hermione. "I'm not as pretty as Veela are supposed to be," she said, frowning. "Are you sure I'm Veela?"
"I am certain dear," he made two chairs appear and sat down in one, "Veela mature at 15. That is when they come into their powers."
"Like the ugly duckling?" Hermione asked.
Apollo frowned, "You are not ugly Hermione. You are a very lovely young woman. Your Harry certainly sees that." Hermione smiled at that and Apollo debated doing things to those who had picked on his Veela throughout her life. "Do not doubt your beauty dear. Your bullies win if you do."
Hermione nodded in understanding and he spoke, "On your fifteenth birthday you will wake looking different. Do not think you are not already beautiful; I merely enhance the inherent beauty of my Veela. Most of the changes are subtle though others are far more obvious. You will also have the allure, which entices men when unleashed."
Her first thoughts centered around all the boys she was around on a day to day basis, "How do I control it?"
"I suggest Occlumency. It will help to focus you and control your allure," Apollo smiled, "you might want to teach your boyfriend Occlumency as well, lest he snap at every man who flirts with you."
Knowing Harry's already short temper, she nodded in agreement. "How do I do that?"
"I will leave under your pillow a book about being a Veela. It includes passages about Occlumency. Read it well and remember this is a gift from me to you, not a curse."
Hermione nodded in understanding and Apollo smiled. "Your parents might not understand. I suggest keeping this a secret from them until after your fifteenth birthday. I will make sure there is someone to explain things to them in ways that they can understand."
Hermione smiled at that. "Sleep well my little Veela. I suggest talking to Harry about this just as you talk about his lycanthropy. He's a very special young man."
"I think so too," she said before she felt her eyes grow heavy.
The next morning she woke and felt the book under her pillow and a necklace on her neck. It had a lyre pendant on it. She put the book in her bag before showering and getting dressed. Talking to Harry about what had happened in her dream was important. She entered the common room and knew that Harry was probably still asleep. Sitting in a corner she opened the book and glanced at the table of contents before flipping to the Occlumency section. She hoped there were techniques to help Harry too.
Once she'd read the section twice she moved on to other parts. One particular part caught her eye; Veela were infertile until they were 30. This was paired with an intense sex drive the first five to ten years after they came into their powers at maturity. Hermione sighed, "At least this will go well with Harry's lust," she said softly.
"What about my lust?" She heard next to her. She looked up to see her boyfriend with a raised eyebrow, curious.
She moved and Harry sat down next to her, "Last night I had a vision," she began before telling Harry about Apollo and what he'd told her, showing him the book that she'd found under her pillow and the pendant that had suddenly appeared around her neck.
"Seems like we're fated to be," Harry smiled at her when she'd finished her story.
"It does, doesn't it?" Hermione leaned into him, "still, I think we should keep it quiet until we know how to handle it."
"Agreed," he nodded. "You know that's going to be everyone's first question. According to those books you gave me I don't really start to change dramatically until I transform the first time."
"Apollo says you need to work on Occlumency so I think we should spend a couple hours each day on it together," Hermione said. Harry nodded his agreement and they got up to go get breakfast.
"I told Ron I'm switching to Arithmancy," Harry said as they walked down the stairs.
"How did that go?"
"He said you were a bad influence on me. I told him how I needed to be well-educated to protect myself from Voldemort and it was unfair of us to always put the weight of knowledge in those dangerous situations all on you."
Hermione smiled. "And how did he take that?"
"He blustered for a bit before he went silent. After a while he told me he wasn't going to take classes he wasn't going to use and I asked him why he took Divination then. He didn't talk to me the rest of the night," Harry said. "I read those books you gave me instead. If Ron doesn't want to support my desire to protect myself then there's nothing I can do. Sometimes he can be really immature."
Hermione said nothing. Her immediate impression of Ron their first year was that he was very much like the bullies she'd left behind in her neighborhood. She'd not understood why Harry liked the redhead at all. Ron was too quick to lash out at his friends in jealousy and too often she was his target. It made her uncomfortable. But given that Harry tended to come down on Ron's side, she kept quiet.
They were entering the Great Hall when they met Professor Vector, "Mr. Potter," she smiled, "Professor McGonagall spoke to me about your request. Personally, I am in favor of it. I shall arrange a study packet for you to do this summer. You can send me any completed assignments by owl."
"Thank you Professor," he said.
"You're very lucky to have my best student tutoring you," she winked before walking on to the head table.
Harry looked at Hermione to see her blushing from the praise. "You really are brilliant Hermione."
"Thank you Harry," she said, kissing his cheek and pulling him to the Gryffindor table.
In their classes that day Harry sat with Hermione while Ron sat with Neville. The redhead seemed to be giving the couple the silent treatment which Hermione was used to, having been given the same treatment by Ron for most of the year. Harry simply rolled his eyes and focused on his classes. After their last class of the day Hedwig arrived with a letter for Hermione. She read the letter before grinning, "You are officially invited to the Granger house for the summer Harry."
He grinned before frowning, "I'm going to have to ask the Dursleys."
"Actually, you won't," Hermione said. "My dad went to your uncle's work today and was quite loud about asking why they were so destitute despite your uncle working at Grunnings that they had to outfit you in clothes that made you look like a pauper. He wanted to know if your uncle had a gambling problem and then he started talking about how maybe your clothes are like that to cover up the fact that they don't feed you except when they have to and they work you all summer. All of a sudden there was alot of attention on your uncle. He didn't really have a choice but to say yes to letting you stay with us."
"Your dad is cool," Harry said, amazed that anyone would do that on his behalf.
"He certainly has his moments," she smiled.
"I wonder if Gringotts could send me some of my money in the form of muggle currency," Harry said, "that way I can buy some clothes and stuff."
"You could write them to find out," Hermione suggested. Harry nodded. He'd do that.
Something occurred to him though, "How does your dad know that they hardly feed me and all that stuff?"
"I'm pretty perceptive Harry," Hermione smiled sadly, "I picked up the clues that you tried to hide and read between the lines of your excuses for your outfits and your thin frame. And I've seen your cousin. It just confirmed what I suspected. And made me that much more determined to help you in any way that I could. I just told my parents everything I suspected in that letter and my dad decided rather than go straight to the police he could get you to stay with us for the summer. Then see what you want to do about the Dursleys."
"I don't like talking about it," Harry mumbled.
"I know. That's why I never asked."
Harry leaned into her and wrapped an arm around her. "Thank you for being so aware of what was going on with me but not making me talk about it."
"You're welcome Harry," she smiled, kissing his cheek. "If you ever do want to talk about it, I'm willing to listen." He nodded in understanding and just held onto her for a bit. He needed that.
At breakfast the next day Ron was sitting with them again as though nothing had happened the previous day. "Good news my dad thinks we can get tickets to the World Cup."
"You're going to the United States this summer?" Harry asked.
"What? The Cup is in England."
"No it's not it's being played in the USA," Harry said.
"Ron means the Quidditch World Cup," Hermione explained to Harry. "Not the Cup we know."
"Oh," Harry said, "There's a World Cup for Quidditch too?"
"It's on the same schedule as the non-magical one," Hermione answered, "but not the same country. And rather than a month's worth of games it's only one."
"Just one game?" Harry asked, "That doesn't sound as great as the non-magical version. So who are England playing?"
"England is the neutral territory," Hermione said. "The game is actually between Ireland and Bulgaria."
Ron was getting annoyed, "Why are you asking Hermione? She doesn't know anything about quidditch!"
"You know nothing about the World Cup that I thought you were referring to so how can you explain to me the difference between the World Cup and the Quidditch World Cup?" Harry asked.
"Easy, one is a dumb muggle thing and the other is brilliant," Ron answered.
Silence fell around their part of the table. Seamus and Dean were both staring at Ron with a look between anger and disgust, Hermione was looking angrier than anyone had ever seen her, and Harry was barely controlling his temper. "Dumb muggle thing," Dean said slowly. "You just called the World Cup a dumb muggle thing."
"Well it is."
Sitting near three boys who were ready to blow Hermione tried to save Ron's life, "Ron what sport is played at the non-magical World Cup?"
"I dunno," he shrugged.
"How many nations compete?" He shrugged again. "So if you don't know anything about the World Cup how can you either explain the differences between it and the Quidditch World Cup to Harry or pass judgment on it?"
Realizing he had to answer her question Ron mumbled, "I guess I can't."
"Given that you have three roommates who live with and were raised by muggles I don't think it's particularly smart of you to badmouth things about their culture; a culture you don't know anything about." Ron glanced at his three dormmates and realized she was right. They all looked ready to kill.
"Uh, sorry guys."
"Thinking before you speak is something you should practice Ron," Dean said, glaring at him.
Ron just nodded his head before he looked at Harry, "So that way you're not stuck at Hermione's all summer! We can go to the Cup!"
Harry wasn't so sure he wanted to be in a magical home that summer. He needed to master being a werewolf. He knew Ron would say something to Hermione if she stepped in so he spoke instead, "Ron I don't know what the Grangers' plans are this summer. And I'm not 'stuck' at her home. They invited me and she's my girlfriend. I want to hang out with her."
"But my dad says that Bulgaria is bringing Veela!" Ron whined.
Harry did not look at Hermione, just grabbed her thigh and gave her a gentle, reassuring squeeze. Fortunately Dean spoke, "Why would your dad know that?"
"They have to file with the Ministry for stuff," Ron shrugged.
"Official Ministry stuff," Ron shrugged.
Harry wondered about the double standard. He and Hermione were expected to be experts about everything in the muggle world by the Weasley family; yet the purebloods weren't held to the same standard about the magical world. And then his thoughts turned to what happened regarding the Chamber of Secrets. Ginny's involvement was kept quiet. She had received no punishment; instead excuses were made for her. What about Hagrid? He'd been locked up in Azkaban, expelled from Hogwarts, his wand was snapped. It wasn't fair. Harry stood up from the table, "Come on Hermione I need to order that Arithmancy book."
"Sure Harry," she said, sensing he wanted to talk about something alone. Ron's muttered, 'Stupid class' comment went ignored as they exited the Great Hall holding hands.
They were halfway to the owlery when she asked, "Harry what's wrong?"
"I was thinking about last year and how Ginny's actions were covered up and Hagrid wasn't ever cleared or given his wand back," he said. "I think the headmaster kept it quiet as a favor to the Weasley family but think about it; that's just like Lucius Malfoy getting off for all of his crimes by the Ministry. The Weasleys think he's vile for using his friends to escape punishment but they did the same thing with their daughter and yet that's perfectly acceptable."
Hermione nodded. "What can we do about it Harry?"
"I want to make things right. But I don't need too much attention on me right now after what just happened so I'm not sure what to do."
"We want to help Hagrid right?" Harry nodded at her and she kissed his cheek, "That's fair. He's innocent but forever blamed. How about we send an anonymous letter in to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement? Susan Bones' aunt is in charge and I've heard she's very fair." Harry liked that idea. He nodded in approval and Hermione smiled. Together they wrote the letter, careful to make their handwriting not easily identifiable. They included Voldemort's full real name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, and that Ginny Weasley had opened the chamber to unleash the monster the last time while Voldemort had done it the first.
They sent the letter off and Hermione hugged him, "You realize that the only people who know Ginny was involved are us, the Weasleys, and Dumbledore right?"
"Yeah but Hagrid is only guilty of liking dangerous creatures. He lost his wand and was expelled. Ginny attends school and still has her wand."
"Ron will be furious if it gets out it was us that turned her in."
"After the way he reacted to me dating you and then to me wanting to actually get an education I'm beginning to question my friendship with him. He was angry with you over my broomstick. And he's pretty much always mean to you. Not to mention how he views non-magicals and people that purebloods call 'creatures' like werewolves and Veela. Did you see the look on his face when he talked about there being Veela at this Quidditch World Cup? It creeped me out."
"Me too," Hermione sighed.
"Are you okay with me not being friends with Ron?"
Hermione tilted her head to look at him, "Is that what you want?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "It is. I just…I can't be dancing around him constantly worried I'll upset him if I do or say something he doesn't like. And I don't like how he constantly targets you. You're my girlfriend and I trust you more than I've ever trusted anyone Hermione. I reckon you're the most important person in my life."
"Thank you," she smiled, kissing his cheek, "I'm honored to be that important to you Harry. And I've certainly never considered him a friend of mine. I just saw him as a friend of yours." Harry smiled and they sent off a form for his own copy of the Arithmancy book before exiting the owlery and heading to their first class of the day.
Amelia Bones gazed at the letter. She saw a familiar shadow pass by her office, "Rufus! Rufus come in here."
A gruff looking male auror entered, "Yes Amelia?"
"I got this letter anonymously from a Hogwarts owl," she said, "it is interesting reading."
Rufus took the letter to read:
Last year a basilisk attacked muggleborn students of Hogwarts. This same basilisk killed a student about fifty years ago as well. It was not opened by the same person. Fifty years ago the Chamber of Secrets was opened by Tom Marvolo Riddle, a student. If you rearrange the letters in his name you come up with 'I Am Lord Voldemort'.
Last year the culprit was a first year student named Ginny Weasley. She was possessed through a diary that had been left by Voldemort with one of his followers, Lucius Malfoy. The girl wrote in the diary often and unleashed the basilisk on the school.
Rubeus Hagrid was blamed on both occasions but this is false. For perhaps the same reason that the Minister of Magic has covered for Lucius Malfoy and his crimes, Albus Dumbledore has covered up Ginny Weasley's involvement. Hagrid has lost his wand, been expelled, and never granted a trial to prove his innocence. His only crime was befriending an Acromantula named Aragog who he subsequently released into the Forbidden Forest.
Please take action to permit Hagrid to have his wand back and to get an education. He's an innocent.
P.S. Sirius Black was never granted a trial regarding the deaths of the Potters and one Peter Pettigrew, who was until recently living in Hogwarts and with the Weasley family as a rat named Scabbers who was missing a toe. Why was he even permitted in Hogwarts? The rules state you can own an owl, cat, or toad. Nothing about rats. Is this more of those special rules for certain people or is something more nefarious at work?
Sirius Black is permitted a trial under the law. If one was granted and the 'kiss on sight' order was removed he would turn himself in for a trial, but only to you. And Veritaserum must be employed.
Rufus handed the letter back and sat down, "This person…who do you think it is?"
"Personally I think it's Harry Potter."
"He could use his fame to do all this," Rufus pointed out, "why do it anonymously?"
"He doesn't want special treatment? He does get plenty of attention and my brother said that when Lockhart was putting the spotlight on him in the bookstore the summer before last year that he obviously disliked it. Susan says he's very quiet and keeps mostly to himself save for his few friends." Amelia leaned back in her chair, "The letter is quite vocal about the writer or writers' displeasure with this special treatment Lucius Malfoy and Ginny Weasley get. I'd wager there are two writers. His friend Miss Granger is the best in their year according to Susan. The wording is very specific so I'd wager she helped him."
Rufus nodded, "So what do we do now?"
"I want you to look into this Sirius Black business. If he never received a trial why is he being hunted with a 'kiss on sight' order by the Dementors? You have some political contacts that would be helpful in finding that out."
"And you'll deal with the basilisk?"
"I think I'm the one who can best deal with Dumbledore. This is very top secret; Fudge and Dumbledore both have allies in this department and others. Be careful who you talk to. We don't want people to know what we're up to."
"And the letter writer?"
"Wished to remain anonymous and I see no reason not to let them," she said. "We only have our suspicions and that's not enough proof."
"I think I can deal with the Black case quickly."
"Good because I'll need your help with the basilisk incidents. Rufus we need to keep that young man's name out of this. That was why the letter was written and we can only presume it was him. We have no clue if that is true or not. He might be involved in these instances, but I see no reason to mention the letter and that it might be from him."
"Agreed," he nodded. He'd never particularly liked all the attention poured on 'The Boy-Who-Lived'. They'd been able to stop the production of the books of his 'adventures' through a cease-and-desist letter from the goblins on his behalf. He liked being able to do that. He'd known James Potter and Sirius Black, as they were both aurors. And he knew Lily Potter having met her a few times at Ministry events. He'd never met Harry Potter but he and a few others like Amelia Bones kept their eyes open and stopped things from afar, like the books. They just let it slip in Gringotts and the goblins were quick to act on his behalf. Looking after fallen aurors' children was something that had always happened in the department. Keeping an eye out for 'Harry Potter merchandise' was the least Rufus Scrimgeour could do but it was all he could do at the present time.