Summary: What will happen when Harry leaves Hogwarts instead of going to Hogwarts for his final year. How long will he, Hermione, and Ron be gone, and how much will they have missed by the time they finally return?
A/N: I'm not going to do several chapters for this because that would take too. Long. It'll be broken down into parts as I go along. Each even will happen with in a month of a year. You can probably figure out what I mean as you read. Each "chapter"is a different month,thus why the story is broken down into , I don't own any of these characters.
"Harry Potter is not returning to Hogwarts, my Lord," Wormtail whimpered as he looked down at the ground. He wasn't greeted with a quick response. Instead, the man scrambled from his spot to back up against a wall as he heard a snake hiss. Soon to follow that was the sound of strange hissing noises. The man gulped, his eyes darting around the room, almost as if he were afraid that something would jump out from the shadows. His eyes scanned the back of the great arm chair before him, and caught sight of the giant snake slithering out of the room.
A cold chuckle filtered around the room, sending chill's down the man's spine. "Nagini has news," a second cold voice hissed. The man, if you could call him such, who had spoken bore a sinister smile upon his face as his scarlet eyes gazed maliciously at the fire before him. He placed the tips of his white, skeletal fingers together, not bothering to pay a hint of attention to his wand which lay exposed on his lap. "Harry Potter…is on a search for something. Clues to anything," he continued, his thin lips twisting into a sneer. "He intends to finish what Dumbledore had begun."
There was a silence that followed those words, and Wormtail stood against the wall, quivering with an unknowing fear that something might happen to him. It was the same fear he had each time he was to speak with his master. It was, as explained to him time and time again, a sign of his loyalty. "What Dumbledore started, my Lord?" The man squeaked, bringing his fingers up to his mouth, gnawing away at his finger nails, or what little of them that there was. Before another word was able to utter past his lips, the doors to the room swung open.
A boy, Draco Malfoy, was thrown forward at once. He stumbled to quickly regain his balance, and as he stood he swayed on the spot. Behind him sulk in a man whose dark figure quickly loomed over the boy, with arms crossed over his chest in a haughty manner. A woman strode in only moments later, looking pleasantly smug, as she normally did after quite sometime. She didn't bother to stop and stand by the man. She made quick to push the boy down onto his hands and knee's, a sneer curling onto her lips as she glared down upon him with her dark eyes.
"Well," she snarled, her eyes never leaving the boy on the floor. "Go on. Explain to all of us why you failed to complete your given task." She had continued, tapping the side of her right leg with her wand, as if she was drumming to a beat. Her lips still curled into a snarl as her eyes fixed themselves on the boy on the ground. She bent her head over, allowing her dark hair to fall forwards, rolling off of her shoulders. When she finally lifted her head, it was to see the quivering man in the back, however before she had a chance to speak, there was a shrill shriek of "Silence!"
All eyes were focused on the back of the chair, and everyone held their breath respectfully. All but Draco, whose breathing seemed to be ragged as though he had done a great deal of running. The man in the chair arose and stepped closer to the fireplace. Reaching a hand out, he placed one hand on the mantle, his eyes narrowing into slits. It was only a matter of moments before he turned around to face the three people who had stormed in. "Silence, Bella, let the boy speak for himself." He drawled lazily letting his eyes slide down to the boy on the floor before back up to the man. "And you, Severus, have some explaining to do on your part of the boys-"
"I didn't do anything!" Draco suddenly hissed, his teeth gritted, and clenched together. He snapped his head up at once, his eyes landing on the very leader of the Death Eaters, a snarl set dead on his face. His hands, balled into fists upon the floor were trembling with anger, and it was at that very moment did he realize that the words that had been uttered from his mouths were not the best of choice words. He opened his mouth, as though he were about to correct himself.
"Exactly," Voldemort sneered, turning around to face the boy completely. The three adults in the room all took a step back. The mans lipless mouth curled into a snarl. "And in doing so you cause great confusion among the rest of our family!" He spat, his eyes narrowing dangerously upon the boy. For a moment or two, it looked as if he had been considering pulling his wand on the boy, and cursing the living day lights out of him. Neither had happened and the man went back to glancing at the fire.
It was then that Snape spoke up, though he did so holding back a disgruntled look. "Master, if I may," he began, at first glancing down to Draco before to Voldemort. "Include the boy on the plans to hunt down Potter. Have him see first hand what it takes to be a real Death Eater. Perhaps put him in the front lines. Plans to release the Death Eaters on the search for Potter doesn't begin until November."
"It would be a wise move, my lord," Bellatrix drawled eyeing Snape before turning her attention back to her master. "Rodolphus, and myself could… take the boy under our wing, until such times as when Lucius will be freed from Azkaban. I assure you that Draco will learn where his loyalties truly lie." The woman continued. She placed a hand firmly on her nephew's shoulder, digging her fingers into the fabric of his robes painfully, causing the boy to wince. A twisted smile crept onto her face as she turned to face Wormtail. "If you'd like, master, I am certain that I'd be able to make a man of Wormtail."
Wormtail, who had been snibbling in the back of the room, straightened up almost immediately, his eyes growing wide. It wasn't long before he was once again gnawing at this nails, in a very rat like manner, his eyes darting about person to person. He had begun to say something, but with the cruel smile that played across Bellatrix's face, his words were lost as he backed against the wall, his eyes all the more wide. If anyone, he feared that woman next to his master.
Voldemort, who had been contemplating his different options, merely ran his hand along the mantel of the fireplace in thought. There was already so much going under why that they couldn't afford any further slip up from the boy. "Very well," The man said, his voice gone deathly low as he turned around completely. His wand had once again been drawn, and it resided at his side. "Bella, take the boy, and teach him. However, when plans are put into action, there will be no second chances." With that, he directed his want at Draco, and with a twisted smile, hissed, "Crucio."
In less than a second, Draco flung himself onto the ground completely. His hands flew to his head, and he writhed on the floor in pain, twisting his body in every way possible as he was on the ground. It was almost as though his head were going to explode, and his body had been set on fair, stabbed with a thousand dull knives, being torn from limb to limb, and being pulled in every which direction, without non of that happening. Finally, he gave in. He let out a howl of pain before tears finally leaked from his eyes as he clutched at his head, and the cruse was lifted.
Bellatrix smirked down at her nephew. "Thank your lord, Draco."
"Thank you… my lord."
"Harry! Harry, come on," Hermione called over a few heads of people, waving to her best friend. The brightest of smiles on her face. "Get in the picture, Harry!" With a laugh from several people, the boy had made his way over, only to have Hermione pull him in to the picture just in time for picture to be taken. The group that had been huddled up for the picture seemed to have collapsed into one big blob, and all seemed to have laughed.
It was a rare thing, laughter, to occur in times like they were going through. Such happy events weren't taken lightly, but enjoyed, and a wedding was a moment that would last in time, and be remembered in the hearts of many. And for the moment, it was present in the hearts of those whom attended. There was laughter to be heard, and people dancing. The theme of the wedding was white roses. Every male attending wore their normal dress robes, and every female wore dresses of white.
As the wedding was held outside, the leaves that had fallen to the ground had been turned into a frosty white color, trees were strung with white roses. The tables were white. Nearly everything was white. The wedding cake was a site to be held. From the bottom it started out as a rose in bloom, and from there progressed into a five layered cake, frosting roses lining each layer, and at the tope two single, real red roses lay.
It was by this point, after all the pictures had been taken, did Harry, along with Ron and Hermione finally sat down. Harry was the first to actually laugh when the other guests had all begun dancing, and it was Ron who visibly paled at the very thought of dancing. Hermione, however, had called Ginny over, and had become engrossed in conversation.
"Can you believe it?" Ron asked, grabbing Hermione's and Ginny's attention. "McGonagall's actually reopened the school. S'got to be mad if she's done that."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yes well, if you think about it, the threat isn't at the school anymore, is it? Harry's left for the school, and the Death Eaters are bound to follow him."
Ron sent Harry a glance, and both shrugged. It was very well known that Hermione didn't exactly like the idea of dropping out of school. In truth the boys were actually quite amazed that the girl would even be going with them, though it was Harry who was most shocked to know that his best friends were going to be there right beside him. Though, that's how it always had been, sure he had expected it to change this once, but it didn't. And he reckoned that it wouldn't either, never mind any of the fights they may have along the way.
"At least you don't have to go back," Ginny offered with a huff. "It's already started you know. 'Oh, Ron's not here? Harry and Hermione neither?' Really. It's annoying, and then that - that Vane girl? Oh, she's getting on my last nerve, Harry," she continued stubbornly, glaring over at Harry. "If she so much as asks me to send her letters to you? I'll curse her."
Ron snorted. "Someone's a little bitter. Reckon the break up was shaky?"
"Ronald!" Hermione hissed, slapping the boy in the back on his head.
"Bloody hell, Hermione!" The boy cringed, rubbing the back of his head as he glared at her. "You don't need to get all physical, you know."
"Oh!" Ginny exclaimed as she was pulled up, she made a quick reach out to grab Hermione's hand. "Get in ze picture, you two! Come on, 'Arry!" She laughed before being shoved on spot next to Hermione, who stood next to Fred, who stood to his right of Bill who stood behind Fleur who sat in a chair. George was stationed just next to Ginny. Before anyone really had anytime to say so much as "cheese" the picture had been taken, leaving them all momentarily blind from the flash.
The day continued on that way for a little while longer. Everyone attending the wedding had gathered around to dance. In all humor, the twins were dancing together, the newly weds were dancing with each other. Ron and Hermione were dancing rather stiffly, and looking away from each other while dancing was Harry and Ginny. The dance went on for sometime before the bride and groom both cut the cake, and then everyone was free to well - eat. No one quite stuffed their faces like Ron and the twins.
"Look at them." Hermione said stiffly, waving her fork in their direction. "You'd think that they haven't eaten in days, the way they stuff their faces like that." With that she moved to sit with Ginny on a blanket. It was almost like something out of a movie, the scene before them all. Everyone was not at tables, but sitting on blankets on the ground. The space was alive with chatter, and laughter. Certainly people were stuffing their faces with cake, however going politely about it - well some that is.
"I don't think I can eat anymore cake," Ron groaned, taking another bite of his slice of cake.
"You just did."
"Shut up, Harry."
"Is that Pig?"
Pointing up with his index finger Harry tilted his head up, watching as a little owl fluttered about, catching the attention of a few others. The little bird flew about the wedding site as though he were looking for the person to deliver the letter to. "Bloody bird is blind," Ron muttered under his breath as he stood up. Then, at last Pig flew toward Mrs. Weasley, and continued to flutter about in front of her until she had taken the scroll of parchment.
Harry stood up slowly standing by Ron. Hermione who had stood up shortly after Ron had, begun to walk toward the two of them, Ginny following behind them. The four of them watched intently as Mrs. Weasley opened the letter. They heard her draw in a deep breath as she begun to read it, and even noticed that her hand had been shaking whilst she read. "He's dead!" Mrs. Weasley cried, collapsing to the ground, letting the letter fall to the ground right beside her. Everyone by that point was up, and rushing over to the redheaded woman.
The twins, Ron, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny all knelt down beside her. However, it was Harry who had picked up the letter, his own eyes going wide before he glanced around the group and read it aloud shakily.
It is to our deepest regret that we have to send this letter. While aiding Charlie on his mission in Ukraine, we had been tipped off about an unknown man that had been following us for sometime. Sadly, at the time neither of us thought to look into it, as our mind had been set on the mission. On November the seventh our camp site had been raiding by the man who had been following us. Unsurprisingly, it had been a Death Eater, who no doubt meant to kill us all off.
Charlie, good willed as he was, fought with the man, in hopes of fending him off while the rest of us quickly gathered our things, and all the documents that we had obtained in the past days. Several times while he was dueling with the Death Eater, who we later discovered was Antonin Dolohov, had we begged him to run, never the less he insisted that we get out of there, and that he would met up with us in the town pub just short of the river we had been following.
We fled. Though we did not wander far before we heard the distinct shouting of Morsmordre, and there, hovering over what had been our camp site was the Dark Mark. We had dropped all things and ran back, knowing that we shouldn't have left him to fend for himself, regardless of what he had told us. What we found was nothing more than heartbreaking, and I am sure that this will come to a great shock to you and yours. Charlie Weasley had been murdered.
Words cannot express the sadness we feel for you, nor can we know what you are going through. However, we send this to you in hopes that this letter gets to you before the article comes out in the Daily Prophet. Moody swears by his magical eye that he should have stayed with him, and is damning himself for not doing so. Remus, mean while is off sending back the documents to England. We will be returning in a few weeks.
Our condolences, and our love go out to you and yours, Molly.
We are, undoubtedly sorry that this news had to come to you via Owl Post, but we could find no other way to do it with out getting it in the media faster.
Our Love and well wishes,
N. Tonks, Remus Lupin, and Alastor Moody.
Order of the Phoenix.
The group held its breath, and before anyone could count their blessings every Weasley present was on their knee's huddled around the sobbing Molly. Hermione had thrown herself onto Harry in a hug, seeking comfort, burring her head in the crook of his neck, she too began to sob along with the rest of them. And Harry began to shake before he too gave into the overwhelming tears.
In times like these, happy moments are sparse. When they are there, you live in the moment. When they are there, you wish nothing would change, that time would just stop. You swear that nothing in the world could ever bring that moment crashing down, burning to the ground. And then it happens. Something happens, and everything hits rock bottom. And you suddenly remember the hell that is going on around you, and you are brought crashing back to reality.
March - June 1998
"Have you read the paper?" The sudden voice of Hermione broke through to Harry, who had been busy with his head in a book, pointing out certain things to Ron, who had also looked up when their friend had spoke. Both of them gave the girl blank looks and shook their head. With a frustrated sigh the girl slammed the paper down on top of the book the two had been looking at and pointed.
Azkaban Break Out
Convicted Criminal Death Eaters On The Loose
Reports have now flown in from Azkaban about the midnight escape of several criminals, namely the supporters of You-Know-Who. The inmates of Azkaban claimed to Daily Prophet reporters as well as Ministry Officials, and Aurors, that for the past week the Death Eaters whom had been imprisoned with them had been talking, though only at night, to stage a break out. Inmate Augustus Wittlebe, known for his murder of twelve muggles after graduating from Hogwarts, gave the following details. "They'd been claiming that their lord… that's what he is to them… would soon be needing them, and that the time was right. They planned to break out of Azkaban - knowing - ohh.. And they knew! Oh…they knew… that the Dementors were on their side."
Local wizarding communities have been warned, and are currently under close watch of Aurors. A curfew has been set for those under age wizards. Floo channels are being watched closely as well. All Owl Posts are being thoroughly checked. Witches and wizards are strongly urged not to go outside after dark, unless with a partner. Any sign of a supposed Death Eater should be quickly reported to the Ministry.
These are dangerous men and women who have escaped last night at approximately 12:01 in the AM hour. Sightings have been reported in the area surrounding Wiltshire. Reports from exactly three months ago lead Ministry Officials to believe the Death Eaters are expanding all across the nation, and not just England itself. Reports from France, and Ireland suggest that a new war has begun.
It is a strong possibility that wizarding school across the globe may be closed for the remainder of the year, regardless what many parents say. Aurors urge parents to remove their children from their schools, as it would be safer to have the children closer to home in times as dangerous as these.
The Ministry of Magic is doing all we can to get these criminals off the streets as quickly as we can. Take precautions, and be careful.
Ron snorted, reading the article over once again to himself. "And be careful? What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?" He said, sounding quite astounded that the Ministry would ever think of putting that line in there. Of course people were going to careful. Hell, as far as he saw it, the whole of the wizarding community was scared to the point of their knickers were trembling! Alright, so maybe that was just him. "Short article if you ask me. Big event, really small article."
Harry shrugged. "Suppose they're tying to keep it quite."
"Well, they're doing an excellent job of it!" Hermione hiss hotly as she began to pace back and forth behind the boys. She bit her thumb in though, her brows furrowing together, and an extremely frustrated look passed over her face. The boys made sure not to say a thing while the girl was pacing, Ron looked absolutely terrified of the girl, and well Harry just didn't want to make her angry. "I can't believe it. Without the Dementors Azkaban is turning into a madhouse! First, common wizarding criminals escape, but Death Eaters? Do people not know how to watch for these people sneaking away?"
Harry looked up at his friend. Unsure if he should shrug or try talking with her as Ron had already gone back to the book, having pushed the paper aside. "Hermione, I'm sure they're trying. But you honestly can't keep your mind on that now," he said turning around completely in his chair. "We're getting ready to leave for next month, and when we do, we're going to be out their own our own. Just the three of us. You, we need to focus on defense."
With a bit more of a fuss, the bushy haired girl let out a long sigh before she planted herself down in the chair next to Harry, pulling a book toward herself. With a mere second the three of them were all busy with their books, and every so often they would be up, practicing a spell or two that they had just read about before hitting the books again. Soon, after going through one book, Harry pulled out a map.
On the map there was a bunch of markings on it. Red and green markings. Taking out his wand he tapped the map, and on the spot marked Wiltshire a green mark appeared. He began tapping the map in several other places, watching as red marks showed up. "The red is where we'll be going. There's absolutely no telling when we'll be back." Harry said, looking up at the other two.
"That's more than ten markings, Harry! We'll be fifty by the time we get to the fifth!" Ron exclaimed looking over the map. Each red mark was scattered about the map. Some were close together, and others were as far apart to where it would take at least three days to get to.
"We can do it," Hermione said, glancing at the map too. "It'll take us a while, but - we can do it. But… we'll have to do it by foot. Flying is too risky, and so is apparating." She concluded with a nod of her head, tracing the various spots on the map with her fingers.
Harry looked up, and at his two friends. "Are you sure you guys want to do this?"
"Of course we're sure, mate."
"We've come this far haven't we?"
"And we're not about to turn back now."
"Ronald, I said set up the tent, not start the fire!"
"No, you told Harry to set up the tent, and me to start the fire!"
"Honestly, Ron, I think I remember what I said!"
"Clearly, Hermione, you don't!"
The two of them, Ron and Hermione, immediately stood up, and attempted to stare the other down. Already two month into their search and they had been at each others throats on more than on occasion. But as the night dawned on them, and a chill night air swept across what was to be their camp site they couldn't help but to continue their argument. They needed a tent to sleep in, and that wasn't getting put up, and then they needed a fire to keep them warm.
They were already risking so much by raising their voices. The very spot that they were in was close to Death Eater sightings. Ron had already questioned Harry's sanity when they begun to unpack. Needless to say, the raven haired boy claimed that they would simply follow the path of the Death Eater sightings for a while. This was already their third stop, and had yet to come across a group of Death Eaters, they were all anticipating the day they would be confronted by them, too.
While Ron and Hermione continued to shout at each other, Harry was not far off from them - gathering wood. He could hear them plain as day, and could do nothing but shake his head. It was right set in his mind that one of these days they would blow their cover. They had been lucky thus far, and he didn't want to jinx it anytime soon by actually bringing the matter up with the two of them. He'd much rather let them figure it out for them selves. However, he doubted very much that they would catch on.
"What's he gone and done now, Hermione?" Harry asked as he strolled over, dropping the wood he had gathered by the ring of rocks. He stood straight up.
Ron took one look at Harry, and the wood he had gathered before he glared right back up at Hermione. Without another word he stormed off to go figure out how to set the tent up, grumbling to himself as he did so. "Tent duty," the grumbling boy called back over as he began to fix up the tent with a bit of difficulty. Harry shook his head and stuck a small log of wood into the fire.
Hermione settle herself down on the opposite side of the fire ring, looking into her bag of old letters they had gotten. "Look, Dean, Neville, and Seamus joined the Order," she said beaming to herself. "It's getting bigger you know, the Order. I'm beginning to wonder how long we'll be away from them. They've got to be worried something awful now that we're this far out. I hope they're holding up well. Maybe we should check in, what do you think, Harry?"
Harry stared blankly at Hermione. "We just sent an owl out an hour ago, Hermione," he said with a shake of his head, sticking another small log into the fire. "Give it another day or two, they'll have gotten it by then. If we send out owls every other hour, someone is the area is bound to notice, and if you don't remember we're trailing behind Death Eaters. Even writing under a false name is risky now," he finished. Just before he could get another word out the two of the jumped up, as the tent fell over from behind them with a crash.
"S'alright," Ron moaned from under the tent. "Just a bit of tent trouble, that's all. No need to rush to help or anything."
"Barking mad," Hermione muttered with a shake of her head before she got up to help the boy.
"Nothing, Ronald," the girl said quickly before yanking the fabric of the tent off of the boy. "Honestly. You have a wand."
"Yeah," Ron said slowly, eyeing the girl as he stood up. "And your point is?"
"Use it! For Merlin's sake!" Hermione hissed before stalking back off to the spot she had left. She grumbled something to herself about the incompetence of boys, and how they never so much as looked in their text books during a school, and it was a wonder that they even made it past fourth year. They being he. And he being Ron. The girl gritted her teeth silently as she once more went back to the letters had had been reading. There was one letter that she hadn't read, and between telling Harry who had joined the order and telling Ron to use his wand, she had completely forgotten about it, until now.
A moment of silence fell over the group as Ron finished pitching the tent, and Harry finished setting the fire and laid back on the dirt. Hermione's eyes roamed over the letter in her hand, her brow furrowing just before her eyes widened. With her breath caught in her throat she began to make small uttering noises. A first that didn't grab the attention of the boys, and even after a moment it still hadn't. "Harry, Ron," Hermione stuttered, "the Abbott's and Bones' have been murdered, and the Bulstrode's too." she said, her voice shaking all the more. She looked at her friends.
Ron had visibly paled. Three families had been murdered. All three of them, they knew. Two better than the third. Harry didn't move from his spot. His hands that here under his head clenched into fists and he stared up blankly at the sky, with its pink and orange tones as the sun was setting. He closed his eyes and sighed before he sat up, dusting his clothes off. He stood up and looked at Ron and Hermione. "What were they murdered for?"
"Resistance to join Voldemort," Hermione answered quickly, biting down on her lower lip. "Harry, what are we going to do?" She saw the look on her friends face, and bit down on her lip even more. She didn't know what to do. There was nothing in all the things that she had read that could have told her what to do in a situation like this. Neither of them had been in this kind of situation to begin with. They were eighteen years old.
"C'mon," Harry said, shuffling forward to his pack, pulling out a pot and pan and a can of beans and bread. "We're going to eat dinner, and we're going to go to bed." He looked around at Ron and Hermione, unsure of what else he could tell them. "We leave at dawn tomorrow. We'll cut across town, and move a head of the Death Eaters, they're only scouts, so they'll only go out so far."