A/N: What's up y'all! Here it is! The first chapter of The Serpent's Loss! I'm sorry it took this long to get it out. My attention when it comes to writing has been devoted to writing ahead for this story and working on my own original work and my own work comes first. My editor has started to work on my novel so I'm hoping to have a lot more time to devote to this story and my others on here.
Just to clear this out of the way and for those who didn't like how much I featured him in the first part of the trilogy, John Duffy isn't going away. He'll be a major character in the first 10 chapters or so but after that, it will be 90% Harry.
I'm going to try to find some time to work on Best of Both Worlds (which for those of you wh don't know is my Harry/Hermione AU story) but this story will take the bulk of my attention.
I'm so excited to give you guys this sequel especially after the first story was so well received by many of you.
Disclaimer: As much as I hate to admit it, Harry Potter isn't my property. It belongs to the Queen and one of my personal favorite inspirations/writers of all time, J.K. Rowling.
The screams always kept Bella up at first when they first brought her to this place.
She had known people who had been forced into this prison before, so she knew some of the things to expect. The horrible meals, the cells barely bigger than broom closets, the lack of a proper toilet even were just a few. But the screams. The screams were something she hadn't been prepared for.
At first, they had amused her. Little girls they were she concluded. They were so scared of being cooped up in prison with all the big baddies like herself. She thought nothing of it until she saw one of the screamers wheeled out to be buried.
It was Pyrites. One of the Death Eaters from the First War. She hadn't realized that he had been locked up in here as well. That's when she realized that most people with cells around her were some of her old comrades. She had known that the Ministry would rather lock up a Dark Wizard than actually kill them. That was when it came to her attention that the people who would spend hours upon hours screaming were people like her.
What could drive a man insane like that she thought? That had been the first time she felt it. She had seen the Dementors before of course. How could you miss them? During the War, a few of the creatures had even fought with them. They had been highly…effective. The very sight of them would make some of their enemies turn and flee.
But now she was around them on a full-time basis. It was a whole different experience. Even when she couldn't see them, she could feel the cold creep across her skin. The fear etched into her very soul. The hopelessness sink into her stomach.
No wonder those bastards screamed. Imagine being subjected to that every single day.
But she endured. While the others screamed like banshees around her, she would only hide in the corner of her cell, trying to get as far from those creatures as possible. An impossible task but she would attempt it, nonetheless.
To them she was only Prisoner Ninety-Three but in her heart she was still, Bellatrix Ophelia Lestrange, born of the House Black.
Ever since her trial when they had sentenced her, she knew all she had to do was wait. Wait for the inevitable return of the Dark Lord who would usher them into a new era. One where she would be counted amongst his most loyal. For fifteen years, she had never lost hope or her fealty. She was rewarded for her persistence only three days ago.
She had just finished her dinner (if one could really call it dinner. It was a kind of broth that reminded her of the taste of feet) when she felt it. A scratching at the inside of her left arm. She had frowned. What was this feeling?
She had pulled up her sleeve and had wept openly. Ever since the Dark Lord's demise, her mark had become discolored. It was barely noticeable. You had to really know what you were looking for to find it.
But know it looked as fiery as the day she had received it. The snake was shooting in and out of the skull's mouth as if trying to tell her something.
The Dark Lord had returned.
She knew it was only a matter of time before he came for her, so she waited. Waited for the prison's walls to come tumbling down and his faithful to be released.
That day had begun a little differently. For one the screams had been lessened. Not totally stopped but they weren't coming from her side of the prison. They seemed muffled like they were happening through solid concrete.
That night a massive storm struck the island. She could only see just a bit of it through the small window that was in her cell, but she could hear it all around her as it threatened to bring the prison down around them. That's when she heard it. A large thundering noise shook the prison, but she knew it wasn't thunder.
Around her, her comrades began to stir from their attempted slumber. More booms just like the first one were heard across the island as finally the screaming finally came to a halt. And then it was dead silent. No screams, no explosions, not even the sound of the thunder from the rain. It was like a crypt.
And then that was broken by the sound of footsteps on the wet floor. It was coming from the hallway just outside her cell. From the noise it sounded like two people approaching.
"How many are ve taking?" A foreign voice sounded out from down the hallway.
"As many as the Dark Lord commands." A snide young voice responded. Bella could tell that these couldn't be more than boys. "You should count yourself lucky Krum. He has given us the biggest task of them all. My aunt is one of the Dark Lord's most dangerous followers."
Bella couldn't see it, but she could feel the foreign boy roll his eyes. "If you say so Malfoy. I haf never seen her fight, so I vill let her vand do the talking."
Malfoy. Could it be? "Draco?" She called out hopefully. The footsteps quickened until finally they were at her cell. The last time she had seen her nephew was fifteen years ago. She had held him in her arms and knew the boy would grow up to be a scion of Pure-blood society.
He was tall now. Not well built by any means but tall and gangly. His blonde hair had begun to fall to his shoulders, straightening out like his father's. But what really caught her eye were his hands. His left was carrying a long black wand and his right was…carrying nothing at all. It was missing in fact. Nothing more than a stump. "Is that you Draco?"
"Aunt Bella?" He said his mouth dropping. "Is it really you?"
"Yes, my sweet." She nodded frantically. "What are you doing here?"
"It is time, Auntie." Draco smiled. "Time for you to leave this place. Stand back."
She fled to the corner of her cell as he flourished his wand.
"Bombarda." The door broke off its hinges. Draco kicked it the rest of the way down. "Come on we need to move."
Bella slowly took one step outside and looked around. This had been the first time in fifteen years that she had left her cell. The foreign boy was going up and down the hallway freeing those trapped within.
"What has happened Draco?" She asked looking around and then at her nephew's hand. "What happened to you?"
Draco frowned. "Blood traitors." He responded. "The one who did this will pay. He'll die screaming."
She nodded. "Good." She looked down the hallway and smirked. "Rodolphus! Glad to see you're not dead." She called out to her husband as he stumbled out of his own cell. "And you as well Rabastan!" Both men sported long beards that hadn't been cut in a very long time. Their hair likewise fell to their shoulders and was in a severe need of a grooming.
"W-What is happening?" Rabastan asked.
"Isn't it clear old friend?" A very familiar voice said from behind Bella. She turned and saw someone she thought dead for a very long time.
"Bella." He nodded at her.
"You're supposed to be dead." Rodolphus said as he and his brother came up the corridor. Behind him more and more prisoners joined them, until finally there was a crowd of ten mangy looking men and women that filled the hallway.
"I am happy to say that I am not." Barty replied. "Is that everyone?" He asked the foreign boy who nodded. "Then to the courtyard."
"The Dementors." One of the men said fearfully. "T-They'll see us."
Barty smirked. "I assure you brother they will do no harm to you. Now come." With that he turned and left, the foreign boy following behind him.
"What is happening Draco?" She asked her nephew as she and the rest of the men and women followed him. She knew of course but she wanted to hear it for herself.
"You will see Auntie." He smirked.
They left their wing of the prison and made their way out into the courtyard. The halls were deserted. The Dementors that usually roamed it were now gone. Where, she had no idea.
And that was when she left the halls and came out into the courtyard. The storm had finally stopped, and a little ray of light had made its way through the clouds. She had to shield her eyes before she went blind. This was the first time that she had seen the sun since she had been imprisoned.
"Am I so ugly to look upon Bellatrix, that you would shield yourself from me?" At the sound of the voice she threw herself to the ground. She was not worthy to look upon him.
"Master!" The newly freed prisoners cried out as they followed her example.
She finally dared to raise her head to look upon the Dark Lord. Behind him, the courtyard had filled with Death Eaters. There were dozens of them, but she didn't spot a single Dementor. From other parts of the prison, other prisoners were starting to filter in. Obviously, there were more Death Eaters who had been releasing them.
"My friends." The Dark Lord was as magnificent as he had been the last time, she had laid eyes on him. Even now she could feel his power seeping off him in droves. "You may rise." Her and her fellow prisoners rose from the ground but still knelt. "It has been far too long." The Dark Lord continued. "You here have always been the most faithful to our cause. I bid you all thanks."
"Has the time come Master?" Rodolphus asked hopefully.
"Yes." Voldemort smirked. "The day has arrived that we begin to take our world back from the Mudbloods and Blood traitors that have infested it." His freed minions couldn't help the look of glee that came over their faces and why should they? For so long, their spirits had been sapped by the guards of Azkaban. Now they were in charge.
Voldemort began looking around the courtyard at the rest of the population of the prison. Some who had supported him in the previous war, now knelt before him. They had not declared openly for him, only supported his cause. They would make fine new additions to his army.
But most of these prisoners were terrified of him. As they should be. "To the rest of you." He began. "I now give you the chance to join our cause. You will be fighting for a better world, a just world where the purest of blood rule over the rest. The Ministry can't stop us. They can't even protect their own prison." He looked up at the sky over the prison and smirked. Everyone followed his eye and some now openly wept in fear. Flying high over the prison were their guards. The Dementors of Azkaban now looked down at the assembled men and women in waiting.
"The Dementors have joined us." The Dark Lord continued. The prisoners looked shocked. They figured that the Dementors were under the employ of the Ministry and wouldn't rise against them. "They know our way is just." Voldemort lied smoothly. The Dementors only wanted one thing: to feed. Whichever side would give them the most souls was the one they would join, and he had utilized that to his advantage. "Now I ask you. Brothers and Sisters of the Noblest of Blood. Who will join us?"
One by one, prisoners stepped forward until finally there were fifty new recruits to the Dark Lord's army on top of his faithful that had been freed. "You have made a wise choice."
Voldemort began walking up and down the new recruits. Most of them shirked back away in fear but there were a few that knelt before him. Finally, he came to the last recruit. "You are quite young to be a prisoner." Voldemort pointed. The boy couldn't even be out of Hogwarts yet. What was he doing here?
"Master." Draco sneered and stepped forward. "He is a blood traitor nothing more."
"N-N-Not anymore, My Lord." The boy sputtered. "My family cast me out. I only wish to serve."
"Is that so?" Voldemort took another look at the boy. "Well I won't deny a willing recruit. What's your name boy?"
The redhead looked up. "My family took my last name sir." The boy said stupidly. "I only have my first name."
"And that name would be?" Voldemort said irritably. He should curse the boy for even daring to waste his time.
"Ron, My Lord." The former Weasley answered. "And I will serve if you will have me."
"Daphne." Harry whispered. "I love you." The things that his girlfriend was doing to him felt so good.
"Oh Harry." She whispered back. "I love you too." They had waited so long for this it felt amazing. He felt as if he and her weren't Harry and Daphne anymore they were just one being. "Harry."
"Daphne." He muttered back snaking his arms around her.
"Hawwy." Daphne's voice changed. "I wuv you Hawwy." It was more…masculine. Was that an Irish brogue? "Harder baby harder." She suddenly began dropping wet kisses up and down on his cheek. "MWAH MWAH MWAH."
His eyes slowly fluttered open and he was horrified by what met his eyes. "J-John?"
The Irish boy fell out of the bed and unto his back laughing hysterically. "O-O-Oh Merlin!" He barely got out. "I WUV YOU HAWWY!"
Harry shook his head furiously and threw a pillow at his neighbor. "You have something wrong with you mate."
There came a bang from upstairs and it was followed up with a shout. "SHUT THE HELL UP DOWN THERE! SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO SLEEP."
"Sorry Sirius/Black!" The boys called out to him.
John slowly got his laughter under control. "You want to put some pants on brother?" Even in the low lighting of the room Harry saw his friend raise an eyebrow.
"Why?" Harry asked confused and then looked down. "Oh." He blushed. His wand was at full attention.
"Plus, we have to go running remember?" John said as if it should be obvious.
"What time is it?" Harry blinked. His body should've woken him up automatically for his six thirty am run.
"Five am." John said.
"What the hell are you doing waking me up this early?" Harry tried shoving a pillow over his head. It wouldn't matter, now that he was up there was no chance he was going back to sleep.
John shrugged. "I could hear you moaning in your sleep from my bed. Bloody thin walls…what were you dreaming about anyway?"
"Alright I'm up." Harry said taking a second before he turned on his light so his face could turn the color it was supposed to. "W-What happened to your hair?"
The light now illuminated the room and his friend. John was about a full head and a half taller than Harry was. His muscles weren't as defined as Harry's own, but they were getting there ever since John had started working out last year. His grey eyes might've been the most notable thing about him. They used to be actually before he lost one dueling his father just months ago. John had this covered up with a green Irish flag eyepatch. But that wasn't what Harry noticed about him now.
It was his new haircut. "You like it?" John smirked playing with the long mane of hair in the back. But it wasn't like that all around. It was short in the front and on the sides. "The Muggles say it's business in the front and party in the back."
"Don't they just call it a mullet?" Harry blinked. John shrugged. "How did you get it that long so fast?"
"It was already sort of long before, but I ordered some hair growth stuff from Diagon Alley. It got here two nights ago…the real question is where's yours?"
"You agreed that we were growing them together." John's eye narrowed. "Or don't you remember?"
"I thought you were joking." Harry scooted back in his bed. "You can't be serious."
"No, he's upstairs." John quipped. "But yeah you're doing it."
"Daphne will kill me." Harry argued.
John shrugged. "You already died once mate. You'll be fine."
"It won't look professional. I'm supposed to be a Lord one day." Harry said again.
John took another step forward. "Not today though and do you realize how badass you'll look? 'I'm Harry No Known Middle Name Potter, and I'm here to pass laws and party!'"
"My middle name is James." Harry said.
"Okay then Harry James Potter." He produced some scissors from his pocket. "Let's get cutting."
"Where are Harry and John?" Hannah asked her boyfriend as they ate breakfast. "I haven't seen them yet this morning and neither was in their room."
"They must be on a run." Sirius answered absentmindedly as he read the Daily Prophet. "I know Harry said something about it yesterday."
"Sirius." She said suddenly. "What's that on the front page?"
"Don't know. Didn't read it." He usually started with the sports sections. Falmouth was getting bloody murdered recently. At least he wasn't a Cannon's fan.
"Hey!" Hannah had ripped the paper out of his hands.
"LOOK!" She shoved the front page into his face, and he blanched when he saw what she wanted him to see.
MASS BREAKOUT FROM AZKABAN
Below the headline was a picture. A woman whose eyes were filled with hatred and instability. Long black curly hair fell to her shoulders but those eyes. He had seen those eyes before. After all he had grown up with her.
"Bellatrix." He said softly. The one fucking person who shouldn't be let out of that hellhole and she had been freed. "Who did this?"
"They don't know." Hannah shook her head. "They think Death Eaters are involved though."
"How can they not be?" Sirius said. "Half of the bastards in there were incarcerated for following that madman."
"How did the Dementors not stop them? Aren't they there to protect the prison?"
Sirius scoffed. "They probably helped them. They don't care about justice. All they want is a feeding and Voldemort is going to promise them that," To her credit Hannah only flinched slightly at the name. "Notice how there's no mention of him in here also."
"Fudge must be trying to cover this up." She shook her head. The day of the battle in the Graveyard after the Death Eaters had fled, the Ministry had finally shown up. There had been a few of its employees present for it but they were there of their own accord. As soon as Fudge had heard what they had to say he had openly laughed and called them liars. Everyone present had offered to show their memories as evidence but he hadn't allowed it. Since that day he had been getting ripped apart in the papers. Her brother had been calling for his removal as Minster immediately. It had slowly been gaining traction. The Dark families had been fighting tooth and nail to keep the man in power. The longer he was there, the less prepared Voldemort's opposition would be when he made a move.
"You are planning on supporting my brother, right?" Hannah asked as she sipped on her coffee. "If he actually does decide to make a run for Minister?" There had been more than a few men in the Wizengamot who had already spoken to Daniel about running. He had their full support.
"I don't really have a choice now do I?" Sirius shrugged. "I am sleeping with his sister." He shielded himself from the piece of toast she chucked at him in response.
"Don't let John hear you say that." She warned and then frowned. "Where are they? They should be b-" As if in response the door open and slammed. "Is that you boys?"
"Yes Mum!" John called out from around the corner.
"Well come get some breakfast."
The two boys walked into the kitchen and Sirius looked up. His fork had been halfway to his mouth with eggs, but he dropped it when he saw Harry and John. "Uhm…" He blinked and then he felt out of his chair laughing.
"Sod off." Harry mumbled. His hair was now a carbon copy of John's.
"W-W-W-W-W-WHAT THE HELL HARRY?" Sirius barely got out through the laughter.
"What the hell Johnathan." Hannah sighed and rubbed her temples with her hands.
"They look glorious, don't they?" John said proudly. "Like it Mum?"
"…Why are you the way you are?" She asked. He shrugged.
"Bloody hell thank you boys." Sirius finally got up off the ground and wiped his face. "I needed that."
"Why what happened?" Harry asked.
Sirius sighed and threw that days Daily Prophet at his Godson. As Harry started to read, he frowned and mumbled "Shit" under his breath. "How many prisoners were in there?" He asked passing the paper to John.
"Hundreds." Sirius shook his head. "Of all them maybe half joined Voldemort."
"That still means he has about two hundred people following him right now." Harry sighed. "And that doesn't include all the werewolves that might join him." Remus and Harry had talked about the older man's assignment from Dumbledore. He had been living underground with the werewolves for about a year. He had learned much from them including that they would never fight for wizards but maybe they could be convinced to stay neutral. Over that year the notion had become extremely unlikely. They were led by a man named Fenrir Greyback. He had lost his humanity long ago and now his only purpose in life was to bite as many new people as possible so they could eventually topple wizard kind. Voldemort was the man who was promising them victims. Why would Fenrir turn that down? There were also rumors that the Dark Lord had sent an envoy to the vampires but that hadn't been proven yet.
"Soo…are you planning on cutting it?" Hannah asked her son still looking at his mullet.
"Maybe. Maybe not." John replied drinking a glass of orange juice.
"What will Hermione say?" Hannah asked playing on his relationship. John shrugged.
"Don't know. Haven't seen her yet this summer."
"Well let's change that." Sirius said. "I say we have her and the Greengrass's over for a cup of tea tomorrow."
"I would like to see my brother." Hannah said. "You two can talk strategy."
"Do we really have to talk politics love?" Sirius groaned.
"Yes." She stated. "You do."
"Fine." He grumbled.
Harry had tuned out after Sirius said the Greengrass's would be coming for tea. He had written Daphne every day since they had last saw each other. Granted that had only been three days but still.
It was agonizing being apart from her like this. That dream that he had about her showed that.
He meant what he said to her. He was willing to wait as long as she wanted to. Personally, he thought it would've happened before they had been released for summer, but it wasn't a big deal.
His love for her had only grown and it would continue growing every day.
About a hundred miles away, a young Slytherin girl was looking out the window of her bedroom having the exact same thoughts. She had never had a boyfriend before last year, but she knew what this relationship was: love. Whenever they were apart, she felt like she was missing her other half and when they were together, it felt like they were capable of anything.
Which was why she wasn't looking forward to this summer. Although she knew that her family wouldn't openly protest about her going to and from Harry's house, she knew that they'd be wary. With the return of the Dark Lord, their family was a target now. Not just because of her association with Harry but partly because of her father. Ever since the battle, he had been speaking out against the Minister. Saying how they needed to marshal a response to deal with the Dark Lord, but Fudge wouldn't listen. He had all but called her father a liar in an open session of the Wizengamot. If Fudge remained in power, then they wouldn't stand a chance against Voldemort and the Dark Lord knew it. That's why her father was the biggest obstacle for them. With Dumbledore backing him, many from the White's faction in the Wizengamot had rallied behind her father. This support almost gave them a near majority against the Reds who had been led before by Lucius Malfoy but now that he was gone they were led by Xavier Nott. He had been one of the Death Eaters there at the graveyard that night but like many of them he had fled when the Aurors had come. He was allowed to keep his position and his influence for now.
They were only a few votes away. If they could just swing a few more wizards from the Greys over to their side, then they could conscript a real army, one that would fight against Voldemort and his minions. But most of these men were either too afraid or they secretly supported the Pure-blood agenda. It was hard to tell anymore.
"Daphne!" She heard her mother call from downstairs. "Could you come here?"
She sighed. She didn't know where here was. The magic in the house could amplify someone's voice if they knew the proper key phrase. But it wouldn't tell the other recipient where the first person was. Time to go hunting.
She walked out of her room and instantly had to stop. The door across the hall from her own called out to her so much that she opened it and went inside.
On the walls were a few posters here and there mostly of Muggle women wearing swimsuits on a beach. There were a couple socks that were strewn here and there across the room. And next to the bed was a little photo of a boy in green Quidditch with a big dumb grin on his face as he took to the pitch for the first time at Hogwarts.
Daphne really thought her Aunt and Sirius were moving a little fast. She knew that they cared deeply for each other buy they had only been together for a few months when they decided to move in together. Then again as long as John was happy with the arrangement it wasn't all bad. She just wan-
"Daphne Greengrass!" Her mother's voice sounded throughout the entire floor again. "Are you coming to the fireplace or not?"
"Maybe tell me that in the first place." Daphne rolled her eyes and set out across her home.
Greengrass Manor had been in her family for fifteen generations. Her ancestor had bought the piece of land for next to nothing. Over time the home evolved from a small shack into the manor that it is today. Honestly, her favorite thing about it wasn't the manor itself, it was the wide-open spaces. Ever since she was a little girl, she and Tori would roam their land on the back of their horses. Tori's was named Glitter and Daphne had named hers Mercury. John had never taken to riding except if it was on a broomstick. Called it a waste of time. To each their own she guessed.
"What took you so long?" Her dad asked as she walked into the living room. He was just returning for the day from the Ministry, so he was still wearing his official robes.
She shrugged. "You didn't tell me where to go. What did you need me for?"
Her sister who was sitting in the chair by the fireplace nodded at it. "Company."
In the fireplace was the head of someone she recognized instantly. "G'day Greengrass family." Sirius grinned. "How are all my fa-" Suddenly he was ripped back from the fire. Daphne and her family looked at each other with confusion but then groaned when John's face replaced it.
"HELP I'M ON FIRE!" He yelled from the flames. "HEL-"
"…What's wrong with your hair idiot?" Daphne squinted seeing if she saw that right.
Before he could answer, he was also yanked back from the floo and was replaced by his mother. "Hello all." She sighed. "These two are a damn nightmare."
"What do we owe the pleasure of your company dearest sister?" Daniel asked having trouble wiping his smirk off his face.
"Me and Sirius just wanted to invite you all over for tea tomorrow. Thought it'd be fun to get everyone together."
"That's fine by me." Daniel said and looked around at his girls to gauge their answer. His wife and youngest daughter nodded. "Daphne?"
"Hmm...oh yeah! That sounds fun." She responded.
"Sounds great!" Hannah smiled. "Would noon work for you all?" Everyone said that it would. "We will see you then. Also, the house is located at 12 Grimmauld Place." With a final goodbye her face disappeared into the flames.
"That was…odd." Astoria blinked. "We're flooing there, anyway aren't we? Why did she tell us the address?"
"Because the house is probably under a Fidelus Charm." Daniel answered.
"Maybe we should look into getting one for ours Dad." Astoria responded.
He shook his head. "For a safehouse absolutely but our manor is too large to cast the charm. It would require an exceptionally powered wizard to cast it and cover this area effectively."
"Are you okay Daphne?" Her mother asked her.
"Yeah why wouldn't I be?" Daphne responded.
"You just seem a bit out of it today."
Daphne shrugged. "I'm just a bit tired. I think I'm going to go lie down." Without waiting for a response, she was out of the living room leaving her family to guess what was wrong.
"She's not pregnant, is she?" Astoria wondered aloud.
"Don't put that into my head." Daniel groaned. "I'm not ready to be a grandpappy yet."
Jane was the only one who didn't join in their conversation. What was wrong with their little girl?
Daphne went to her room and threw herself on the bed.
She wasn't pregnant. Last, she had checked you needed to have sex to be pregnant.
And that was the problem.
She knew she had told Harry that she wanted to wait until she was ready, and he had respected that. But bloody hell if he wasn't going to make his move when he had saved her life was he ever going to?
That night had shown just how much she really cared about Harry. He would really do anything for her, and she would do anything for him. She just wished he wasn't such a gentleman sometimes.
She had actually been planning on taking matters into her own hands the last month they had been at Hogwarts but there was always an issue. Every time they had just been walking around and they "magically" ended up at the CG Room, one of their friends was always there. And there was no way in hell that Daphne was losing her virginity in a broom closet. Those were really the only two options while they were at school. The Forest was the Forest. She didn't want to be having a nice time with Harry only to have one of those giant spiders he had told her about interrupt her. She didn't want to answer the question of why she was running in terror out of the Forest with her knickers around her ankles.
She had decided that the next time she saw him, she would make her move.
Which meant this tea tomorrow would be great in more ways than one.
"One more day Harry." She smiled to herself.
"Hermione dear, it's almost time for dinner!"
"Okay Mum!" Hermione called back but didn't mark what page she was on in her book just yet. In her experience with her family then she knew when dinner was almost ready, she had at least another half hour.
Her room was something to be expected from the resident bookworm of Hogwarts. She had a small library on her bookshelf that stretched from her door to her bed. It was filled with an assortment of collector's pieces of her favorite books that she had collected over the years. She sighed. With technology advancing the way it was, hopefully they would make something that brought her entire library into something she could hold in the palm of her hand.
The only other thing that she was proud of in her room was her small photo collection on her windowsill. Only a few of them were of the magical variety but those were honestly her favorite. There was a photo of her and Harry on the train after their first year. God it only seemed like yesterday that she was coming unto Platform Nine and Three Quarters for the first time. It was a lot different than when she last left it…and a lot less embarrassing. Her dad still sighed whenever she brought up John coming over for dinner.
She smiled. Sighing was the last thing on her mind. Her favorite of her pictures was the one on her nightstand. It was her and her boyfriend sharing a quick kiss, just after final exams. She had the biggest smile that day, that she was happy that both her parents were dentists in that moment.
If someone would've told her at the beginning of last year, that she would be dating a Slytherin, she would've laughed in their face.
John Duffy wasn't like your typical Slytherin. He was kind, handsome, and he would die protecting her. It was true that he had his demons, but it was something that they could work through.
He had defended her from his horrible father when the older man had tried to force himself on her in Hogsmeade. She had woken up in a cold sweat for almost a week after. Just imagining Joseph Duffy standing over her with a lecherous grin.
She was glad that if she had to lose it to someone, it was to John. They had done it just after they finished all their exams in the CG Room. It had been amazing like she had found the other half that she didn't even know had been missing. For almost an hour afterwards, all he did was stroke her hair and plant gentle kisses along her forehead. She knew in that moment that she loved him. He was hers and she was his.
That brought her back to seeing him in the Hospital Wing. Of how he had lay on the bed for three days without waking. That was when Madam Pomphrey had him in a magically induced coma in hopes of saving his eye while he slept. But it ultimately failed. It didn't matter. She loved him no matter what he looked like.
She was curious why Hannah had acted the way she did when John's hair color was brought up. She was curious as well to be honest. Was it a side effect of some spell that Joseph cast on him? Even after a month or so and numerous attempts for herself at fixing it, her boyfriend's hair color stayed black. He seemed to like it though.
But why had Hannah reacted the way she did? Hermione had wanted to ask her that very second, but they had been surrounded by everyone and Hannah had departed Hogwarts days later after she knew her son would be alright.
Hermione sighed. The next time she saw Hannah she would ask her point blank what was going on with her John.
A tapping at her window interrupted her thoughts. She turned and saw-
Was that Hedwig? She went to the window and undid the latch letting her best friends familiar in.
"Hello girl." She smiled. Hedwig had never come this early in the summer before. Harry always took at least a week before he started sending letters. Perks of living with Sirius and not the Dursley's she guessed. "You have a letter for me?" Hedwig extended her left foot and Hermione saw that there was indeed a letter. She grabbed it and began to stroke Hedwig as she read.
My Dearest Hermione,
As I might have told you, I don't have an owl to send you letters. As it so happened, Sirius had to use Timothy to deliver something of his. An odd name for an owl but to each their own.
We've decided to have a few people over for tea tomorrow at noon and one of those people happens to be you. I would go batshit insane if you didn't come love, so please make my day.
This letter will function as a Portkey to transport you here at noon so be ready.
It's only been three days but my heart aches whenever I realize I can't see you whenever I like. I hope you can come.
Your Boyfriend, John
P.S. Mum says hi…even though she'll see you tomorrow
Hermione had to roll her eyes. She knew this was definitely from John. She loved the boy, but he was a bit on the nose with how he did things.
"Hermione! Dinner is ready!" Her mother shouted from downstairs.
"Mum!" She said as she made her way to the kitchen. "I just got a letter from John. He wants to know if I can come over for tea tomorrow?"
"That's fine dear!" Her mother smiled. Hermione knew that she approved of her choice in men even though she only had met John the one time. "Let him know that he's more than welcome to come for dinner if he likes."
Her father had been in the living room eating the steak that her mother had cooked up for evening but now she had his attention. "The Duffy boy?" He asked pausing between bites. "I also would like to speak with him."
Hermione wanted to roll her eyes. She had never had a boyfriend before, so this was the first time that Daddy had been overly invested in her personal life. It was also the reason that she hadn't told her parents about John. She knew that her Dad would've worried. "I'll let him know Daddy." She made herself a plate and then plopped down next to her father giving him a kiss on the cheek.
She couldn't wait to see John.
"So, you invited Hermione?" Harry asked his friend as they ate their lunch for that day.
"Yeah." John replied and then looked up. It was clear that he was worried. "I used Hedwig. Is that okay?"
"She let you use her?" Harry was shocked. Usually Hedwig wouldn't let anyone touch her unless she knew that they were friends with Harry.
"Yeah." John nodded but he still looked nervous.
"It's fine that's just surprising. She doesn't normally like strangers."
"She must've known that we were neighbors." John shrugged.
Harry only nodded as a response. "What do you think is going to happen?" John continued.
"What do you mean?"
"With the War?" John said grimly. "We can't expect You-Know-Who to just sit around can we? He's going to make a move."
"Voldemort." Harry answered plainly and John shivered. "Don't. It's just a name."
"He's a t-"
"He's a monster." Harry interrupted. "He's a Half-blood who likes to pretend that he's fighting for the Pure-blood cause. His father was named Tom Riddle and it's who he was named after. His father was also a Muggle."
"How do you know that?" John asked.
"Because he told me." Harry answered. "My second year."
"As I said, it is nothing but a name. To be afraid of a name is ridiculous."
John sighed but didn't respond. Every person his age was taught that the Dark Lord was a monster who wrought untold horrors. To say his name was a taboo. It would take some getting used to.
The screech of an owl interrupted their thoughts. It came through the open window and planted itself in front of Harry on the table.
"What is it?" John asked interestedly.
"I don't know." Was all Harry could answer as he plucked the letter from the owl. Probably an owl from Hermione with her reply. But the look on John's face told him that wasn't so. "What is this?"
"That's a speakgram mate." John answered. "Kind of like a Howler only it doesn't…you know howl."
"Maybe it's for you?" Harry said offering it to him. "Maybe it's Hermione's reply."
John shook his head. "Only the big wigs have access to those. It's for times where you are reading it can't wait. They have to tell you."
As if on cue the letter shot out of Harry's hands and hovered in front of him. The front of the letter morphed into what could only be lips.
"Harry." The letter spoke. Harry knew the voice well. The owner had been his Headmaster for almost five years now. "There has been news. I'm sorry to report this but we have gotten word from Surrey."
"Your relatives have all been killed."
A/N: For all of thinking that Ron is going to kill without mercy and be a Malfoy clone now, I'd advise you to take a seat and wait. Not everything is so black and white.
Hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter!