Chapter 2

Hogwarts, Great Hall, Halloween Night 1994…

Albus Dumbledore watched Harry Potter calmly exit the double doors of the great hall. Albus thought that he should go speak to the boy, but he was honestly baffled at what he should say. It had all happened so quickly. Less than 15 seconds from Harry swearing his oath to the flames of the Goblet disappearing. So many plans had just become undone. Did the Goblet succeed in taking his magic? It certainly seemed that way. What happened in those last few seconds, when Harry seemed to have rallied? Albus had so many questions, but he was simply too shell-shocked to act on any of them. Movement broke him out of his trance. Hermione Granger had left her seat and was now running after the child. His brain began to function again.

'I must examine the boy! I won't have any answers until I do!'.

The aged headmaster began to shuffle with haste down the hall, but gave pause when he heard many students frantically speaking.

"Look, look at the Goblet!" a second year Hufflepuff excitedly pointed out.

"It's not supposed to do that, is it?" asked a fifth year Slytherin

"What's happening with it now?" inquired one of the girls from Beauxbatons.

"Blimey mate. I don't like the way that's looking." said a third year Gryffindor, sounding rather worried.

Albus turned and saw that the Goblet was now bright orange and getting brighter. It almost looked like a piece of metal that someone had tossed into a furnace. The cup was red only for a few moments before it became a blazing white. And it was then that Albus realized the significance in the absence of the dancing blue flames which were normally above the Goblet.

'If the flames aren't on the outside, then they must be…oh god.'

The Goblet of Fire, an ancient historically priceless artifact created by three talented enchanters, whose names have been lost to time…..promptly exploded. The magical backlash floored Dumbledore onto his back along with any others who were unfortunate enough to be standing at the time. Stone debris was launched in every direction as people screamed and covered their heads with their arms.

Hermione Granger heard the explosion behind her. If she was honest she felt it a bit too. It was almost as if the entire castle rumbled. She stopped and looked behind her, but only for a moment. She wasn't certain where that sound came from, but she was sure it wasn't good. She did have an inkling to go back and investigate, but she'd have to make do with finding out later. Right now she had to catch up with Harry!

Harry Potter was outside the castle now and was briskly walking towards the front gates. All he had to do was get past them and then he'd be outside the castle wards. He reached under his shirt and pulled out a silver necklace with a pendent shaped like a dog attached at the end. He twiddled it around between his fingers as he remembered the letter which came with it.

Pup,

I have to keep this short in case the post is intercepted. It's easier to get a hold of someone else's mail than you would think. I wish I could come to you, but it's just not safe for me in Britain at the moment. Especially with all the extra security running around from that nastiness at the Quidditch World Cup. I'm worried about you pup. It seems every year there are several times where you almost die at that school. When I attended myselfthere were never any incidents remotely like anything you've faced; and that was after seven full years. There has to be something else going on and the thought of that keeps me up at night. I've enclosed something for you with this letter. It's a portkey to where I'm hiding. The activation phrase is my full complete name. It won't work inside your school, so you'll need to be outside the wards to use it. Be advised,this is not something you activate to pop in to say hello. I only want you to use it if the situation is very dire.

-Padfoot

Harry glanced down at the pendent again and smiled with a tear in his eye. So, this is what it's like to have family. An actual family, where people worry about you to the point that it keeps them up at night. He pushed open the gates and stepped through the threshold. Here begins a new saga in the life of Harry James Potter. He grasped the pendent in his hand and spoke,

"Sirius Ori-"

"HARRY!" someone cried from behind him.

Harry froze. There was no confusion as to who the voice belonged to. He had heard it nearly every day for the past three years of his life. Harry turned around and saw his best friend with tears in the corners of her beautiful chocolate-brown eyes. He hadn't always noticed that she was beautiful. It was a realization that hit him like two tons of bricks a few months back during a certain hippogriff ride. A ride where she had held onto him for dear life. Ever since that night, she had been in his thoughts more than any other person; and in a few of his more awkward dreams as well. He had hoped to avoid saying goodbye. He just didn't think he could handle it. Saying goodbye was so final. It would have truly driven home what he was sacrificing.

"Hermione…" he said softly with a concerned expression.

"Don't you Hermione me Mr. Potter! Where did that huge rant in there come from? Where are you going now? Weren't you...weren't you at least going to say goodbye?" She was actually crying by the end of the last question.

"Oh Hermione...don't you see? I have to leave now. There's no place for me here anymore. I...I didn't think I could handle saying goodbye to you. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do without seeing you every day. You're my best friend Hermione-"

"What about Ron?"

"Yes Ron is my best mate and he was my first friend. But you don't see him down here with tears in his eyes do you? And he can be a bit thick at times. Sure we always make up after our little disputes, but we do have a lot of them. And I think that says something about our friendship. I don't think you and I have ever been at odds with each other, except for that broomstick incident last year. And honestly that was my fault. You were perfectly in the right to suspect it may have been tampered with. Actually, I don't think I ever apologized to you about that-"

"Harry none of that matters right now-" she said shaking her head.

"Of course it matters Hermione. I made you cry. Seeing you in tears from something I did was probably the worst experience of my life." he pulled her into a hug. "Well, at least before five minutes ago when I lost my magic. Merlin's beard that was unpleasant." he added in as joke.

Hermione managed to get a sobby chuckle through her tears at that statement as she rested her head into his shoulder.

"But Harry, what am I supposed to do without my best friend? You know Ron and I fight way more than you two do. Without you there to mediate, I doubt he would want to be friends with a plain bossy bookworm like me."

"Hey now! Where did that come from? I'll have you know Hermione that I take offense to that. My best friend Hermione Jane Granger is a beautiful brilliant bushy-haired bookworm. I will not have her refer to herself as plain. Now as for bossy...well nobody's perfect."

"Prat." she managed to choke out while giving a playful slap on his arm

Harry pulled back and rested his forehead against hers as he placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Yeah, yeah. I know, I know. Now in regards to how you'll manage without me, I don't know what I can tell you. I might be able to send you mail; I might not. I'm not quite sure where I'm going or what the situation will be when I get there. All I know is that it's the only place I can go. However, no matter what happens to me I know you'll make it Hermione. You're the smartest witch of your age. There's just no way you won't make it."

"Harry James Potter I don't care what it takes; you will find a way to write to me! None of this half committed nonsense. Do you understand?" she tried to lecture.

"Yes I understand...told you you can be bossy." he said trying to get her to smile.

"I don't mind being bossy now and then, if it means you listening to me." she said with a watery laugh through the tears.

Harry could only laugh past the tears that had formed in his own eyes at this point. He grabbed Hermione in the tightest hug he had ever given someone in his life. Somehow she managed to squeeze even harder than he did. When they finally separated, he stared into those wondrous brown eyes again and caressed her cheek with his hand. Wiping away a tear with his thumb he said those dreaded words.

"Goodbye Hermione..." he whispered as though the words themselves were stabbing him.

"Goodbye Harry..." she muttered in the softest of whispers.

Harry took four steps away, turned around, and grasped the pendent again. He opened his mouth to say the name but choked on the words. He just couldn't get them out of his mouth.

"..."

"..."

"..."

"Harry is something the matter?"

"...yes Hermione...I can't leave yet...I have one last thing to do before I leave. If I don't... I may regret it for years."

"Harry I don't underst-"

Harry turned around and marched right up to his beautiful bookworm. He swiftly lifted her chin up with his fingers. He met her eyes for a moment before leaning in and bringing his lips to hers. For a brief moment, Hermione was startled and didn't know what to do. She felt like a deer stuck in the headlights. The kiss started as chaste, but when Harry was about to pull away, Hermione suddenly deepened the kiss and let out a little moan into his mouth. One of his hands cupped her cheek as she grabbed a fistful of his hair to pull him even closer. Harry abandoned all thoughts of keeping the kiss simple and restrained, instead trying to match the pure enthusiasm which the girl was now giving him. Hermione felt herself melt into his arms and stars exploded across her closed eyelids as all the clichés of cheesy romance novels came true.

Neither could say how long they stayed like that. Was it a minute? Two minutes? Ten? The only thing certain was that when the two teens finally separated they could no longer go back to being just 'best friends'.

"Harry...what was-" she tried to gasp out.

"Shhh shhh Hermione. No need to over analyze it. We both know what that was." he said as he pulled her close and rested his head on her shoulder.

"You'll write to me?" she asked with a smile and hope.

"I'd like to see Sirius try and stop me...In the meantime here's something of mine I want you to have. It's not going to do me much good anymore." Harry said as he reached a hand to his back pocket.

Hermione gasped. "Your wand Harry? But it's so personal I couldn't possibly..." she objected while waving her hands in rejection.

"It never hurts to have a back up Hermione. Besides I'm sure Draco and his goons will find the time to harass you even more now that I'm gone... Now I really do need to go."

He placed a tender kiss on Hermione's forehead and resumed his previous position four paces away.

"Sirius Orion Black"

The portkey glowed blue for less than half a second and then there was a distinct popping sound.

And with that Harry Potter was gone.


A/N: A cliche start to the romance aspect I know but I've always liked that type of thing so I wanted it here in my first story.