Harry arrives at the Burrow after an unexpected trip with Dumbledore. Who does he find at the Burrow? The last person he was ready to see.
Disclaimer: again, as much as I would like to, I do not own any of these characters nor this amazing story they call Harry Potter. If I did, Draco would have had a better redemption and Remus Lupin would have NEVER died smh.
Harry felt Dumbledore's arm twist away from him and re-doubled his grip: the next thing he knew everything went black; he was pressed very hard from all directions; he could not breathe, there were iron bands tightening around his chest; his eyeballs were being forced back into his head; his ear-drums were being pushed deeper into his skull.
Harry stumbled forward, almost falling face-first on the grass beneath his feet, the pressure on his chest, releasing and allowing him to take the much needed deep breaths as he aimed to calm his racing heart. He released Dumbledore's arm from his grip to right his crooked spectacles and rub at his ears, attempting to rid the faint ringing noise. He heard a chuckle beside him.
"You'll adjust to the feel of apparition in time, dear boy." He assured, twinkle still present behind the half-moon spectacles.
Harry simply hummed weakly in response, waiting for the world to stop spinning around him.
When his surroundings did still, he slowly lifted his head, fully expecting to see number 4 Privet Drive and to be standing on his relatives' lawn, more than likely in for a particularly unpleasant scolding from his Aunt for 'infecting her precious grass with his freakishness'.
Instead, the last thing he'd expected, he was greeted by the Burrow, reaching high into the morning sky; he felt excitement bubble in his chest.
He turned to the Hogwarts Headmaster, intending on asking why he had been brought here, only to face nothing as the old wizard disappeared with a loud crack.
Eyebrows furrowed, he made his way to the Weasley's home, raising his closed fist to knock on the door at the exact moment it burst open, bringing him face to face to the one and only Mrs Weasley.
"Harry, dear!" She exclaimed before swiftly pulling him into a tight embrace.
"H-hello." Harry stuttered as she held him at arm's length in order to get a better look at him.
"Goodness, you've gotten taller." The redhead observed, "Ron's no better; the both of you look as though you've been hit with a stretching charm." She continued.
Harry felt the corners of his mouth twitch upwards involuntarily at the mention of his best friend, "You mean to say he actually had more growing to do? He was tall enough as it is." He enquired in false disbelief, causing laughter to bubble out of the older witch.
"My word! You must be starving, let's get you inside, Dumbledore has already had your trunk sent here, and Hedwig is in Ronald's room as Pig's off delivering a letter to Charlie…" she trailed off, bustling him inside where two other familiar faces greeted him.
"Nice to see you got here in one piece, Harry." Smirked the werewolf, the witch beside him raising her hand as Harry opened his mouth to scold the ex-professor for lying to him half-heartedly.
"We promise," The metamorphmagus attempted to say seriously, giggling at his accusing glare, "we couldn't say anything; it was supposed to be a surprise." She added, her hair changing between pink and purple as she attempted to stifle her laughter.
"You both knew?!" He feigned hurt, placing a hand over his heart as he turned to Tonks. "I thought we told each other everything!"
Any self-control Tonks had gathered quickly vanished as she burst out laughing, holding onto her sides as Remus chuckled next to her.
"As nice as this has been, we really must be off; Dumbledore wanted to see us, said it was something to do with you, Harry." Remus informed once Tonks' laughing fit subsided, moving to stand from his place on the couch.
Here, Harry raised an eyebrow, something Tonks didn't miss. "Just the weekly 'Talk about how nosey Harry is behind his back', nothing new" She 'assured', bumping his shoulder with her as she made for the fireplace.
"Comedians, the lot of you." He grumbled, waving as they left through the Floo.
A sudden, distant "Mum?!" caused the two remaining people to turn towards the stairs. "Why is Hedwig in my room?!" Ron's voice bellowed from the top of the house.
"Did someone say 'Hedwig?" A voice that sounded like Ginny's joined. 'Harry's owl, Hedwig?' she continued.
"Of course, I mean Harry's owl, what other bloke would call his bloody owl Hedwig?" he retorted sharply, followed by a loud squawk in offence and a muffled apology; the insulted bird's owner snorted.
"Did someone says 'Harry'?" A closer, more hesitant voice asked. Harry's mouth went dry. Hermione's voice.
"Why don't the lot of you come and see instead of yelling about the house about him as though he wasn't here!" Mrs Weasley hollered hopelessly.
"Harry!" He heard the three voices exclaim before a swarm of pounding footsteps could be heard above them, getting louder by the second.
He had no time to prepare himself as a blur of dark brown flew from the stairs and straight at him, almost knocking him flat as the person wrapped their arms around his shoulders, pulling him into a bone-crushing hug. The smell of vanilla, ink, and parchment washed over him; the scent of Hermione washed over him. He moved to wrap his own arms around her when she jumped back as if his touch gave an electric shock.
"S-sorry" She blurted out, taking a few steps back and lowering her head. His stomach twisted uncomfortably as he felt his heartbreak a little.
"Hermione, I-" He tried helplessly.
"Harry!" A more masculine voice interrupted him before pulling him into a quick hug, clapping his back. "Y'alright mate? No one told us you were coming!" He cried dramatically.
"No one told me either." He laughed, looking him up and down. "Your mum's right" The young wizard paused thoughtfully, his crooked grin in place. "You do look like you've been hit with a stretching charm."
"Oh, sod off, Harry." He grumbled, grinning all the same.
"Language, dear brother, language." The third voice scolded before Mrs Weasley had a chance, looking over Ron's shoulder to reveal Ginny standing behind him.
"Hey, Gin" Harry smiled warmly at her as she pulled him into a quick hug, feeling Hermione's eyes on him as he pulled away.
"Now, as much as I hate to break up such a sweet reunion." Mrs Weasley proclaimed, making herself known for the first time. "Ron, Ginny, I need you both to help me set the table for breakfast." She instructed, synchronized groans escaping the two.
"Oh but mum, he's only just got here!" Ron protested, flailing his arms about in annoyance.
"And he'll still be here when you're finished, now, stop fussing and help." Her tone was final, turning on the spot and marching into the kitchen, the two youngest Weasleys dragging their feet behind her, leaving Harry and Hermione alone.
They stood in uneasy silence, the room thick with tension as both teens looked at anything but one another. When they finally did meet each other's gaze, Hermione looked close to tears.
"I'm sorry about what happened on the train, it won't hap-" She started.
"No!' Harry panicked, quickly cutting her off. "That's not- it's not why I've been so-" He sighed in frustration, unable to form a single sentence.
"It's… Not?" She hesitantly, a hint of hope in her voice as she took a step closer.
"No, of course not. Definitely not." He pressed, taking a deep breath in an attempt to find the right words; she waited patiently.
"I've wanted to speak to you for so long…" His eyes slid closed. "I just didn't know what to say, after Sirius…" He whispered in defeat, hanging his head in shame.
The brunette's eyes softened in understanding, stepping closer to him slowly. "You were grieving." She stopped in front of him. "I can't even imagine what you were going through…" Raising a hand, she lifted his chin and forced his gaze to meet hers; the intensity of it almost made him have to look away. "Watching him die, to then be sent back to them of all people to grieve." She almost spat, her hand moving to his cheek, her soft palm soothing on his rough skin. "I don't blame you, Harry." She added, barely above a whisper, the young wizard shook his head slightly.
"You didn't deserve it…" He mumbled absently.
She ignored this, her hand trailing down his arm and linking their fingers together, sending tingles throughout his entire body. "I do not blame you, Harry Potter." She finished firmly.
"That wasn't the only reason." He said after a moment's hesitation.
"It wasn't? What is it, Harry?" The young witch encouraged softly, green meeting brown once more. "You know you can tell me anything, right?" He nodded immediately. "Then tell me."
He took a deep breath, his heart racing; it was a wonder Hermione couldn't hear it. "The prophecy... The one that was smashed at the Ministry." He began slowly, the brunette nodding for him to continue. Dumbledore had told him to tell his best friends, to tell her, he couldn't back out now. "It wasn't -... Dumbledore knew what it was." Another deep breath. "Would you believe me if I told you something completely crazy? If I told you I was born to do something?"
She stroked his linked hand with the pad of her thumb, "I'll always believe you." She promised.
"Even if I said I'm the weapon they were talking about?" He challenged weekly.
"What do you-"
"Breakfast is ready." A voice enlightened suddenly, snapping them out of their bubble and causing their heads to turn simultaneously. They were welcomed by the only Weasley daughter, who was standing by the now-open kitchen door with her hands on her hips, eyeing their proximity with a smirk.
Harry returned his gaze to the girl in front of him, only now noticing how close they were standing; she was so close he could count each freckle speckled across her face. He swiftly moved back, Hermione releasing his hand silently as they both brushed past Ginny, who was now biting her lip to hide her amusement.
Her knee was touching his. Ron was trying to hold a conversation with him, but he couldn't concentrate because her knee was still touching his. He didn't know if she knew her knee was touching his as she was in deep conversation with Mr Weasley, talking about television remotes, but he definitely was aware because it was still touching his.
"Harry? Harry? You alright, mate?" Ron pulled him from his thoughts, waving a hand in front of his face. "You went off for a second there."
"M'alright... just got a lot on my mind." He mumbled as Molly vanished the plates.
"Well, your trunk's in Fred and George's old room, so if you'd like to unpack whilst I wash the dishes…" The older witch suggested, pattering around as the plates reappeared in the sink.
"Fred and George's room?" He enquired before she could continue. "Where are they?"
Mrs Weasley let out a frustrated sigh before turning to Harry with her arms folded. "Those two are in their flat above that blasted joke shop." She notified, looking all but happy about the arrangements.
"The joke shop? Diagonally is still open?"
"You really don't know anything, do you?" Ron noted, Harry, shaking his head in answer.
"It's like a ghost town." Mr Weasley spoke up. "They're the only ones there, really." He frowned.
"Said they wanted to keep people laughing, especially now. I get where they're coming from, it's what they do best." Ginny added.
"Well I don't." Mrs Weasley argued callously, stomping her foot and drawing all eyes to her. "It's dangerous and foolish, I'd much rather them be at home, where it's safe."
"Molly…" Her husband tried to warn.
"That's enough of that, I've said my piece, you've said yours." She barked. "Now, Ron, Ginny, come help clean up; Hermione, you can help Harry unpack." The older witch instructed, tone defusing from deadly to motherly in a matter of seconds. "Off you go, dears." She brushed them towards the stairs as they stood to leave, Harry keeping his eyes on the steps as he walked behind Hermione.
"I wasn't aware you had the ability to fold clothes, Harry." Hermione voiced aloud after 10 minutes of working in silence.
"That's just plain mean, Granger." He declared, tossing his socks into a drawer by George's bed, "I bet you wouldn't believe me when I say I had the ability to do all my homework, would you?"
Hermione almost dropped the shirt she was holding, "You did all of your homework?"
"Always the tone of surprise." He smirked as he pulled out said homework from his trunk, placing it on the bed for her to look through while he continued to put away his clothes. "I do listen to you, you know?" He laughed as he closed the final draw filled with his few pairs of jeans, coming to watch her flick through his work.
"Only took five years." The young witch replied sarcastically, a smile gracing her face as she gently put the work back into his trunk and closed the lid.
"I've always listened to you; I was just too stubborn to admit you were always right. Can't say you were any better when it came to being stubborn." The boy teased as he came to sit beside her, easily dodging the slap aimed his way.
"Do you want to talk about it." Hermione asked slowly after a moment's silence.
"About what?" He picked at the sheets, his throat constricted.
"Harry…" The young Gryffindor warned lightly, her hand moving to grip his, forcing a loud exhale of breath to exit the boy beside her.
Plucking up all of his Gryffindor courage, the hand in his warm and reassuring, Harry began to recite the prophecy.