Train Of Thought
Summary: What if Ron and Hermione became a couple earlier in the book? What if the Golden Trio decided to go back to Hogwarts during the hunt for the Horcruxes? What if Voldemort and Co. never took over the Ministry or Hogwarts? This is my re-write of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Ships: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Remus/Tonks, others. Multi-PoV
Author's Note: Please note that I loved the final Harry Potter book, and I have no problems with it. This is not meant to offend the brilliance of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I just decided to write a version if things were handled differently.
An hour-and-a-half after Professor Dumbledore's funeral came to a close on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter found himself sitting in one of the carriages of the Hogwarts Express as it noisily made its journey that would take the students back to London. His best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were sitting across from him.
Neither Harry nor Ron or Hermione had said a word since they boarded the Hogwarts Express. It was an eerie, strange silence. Normally, during the ride back after term, the three of them would all be animatedly talking about what they could expect on holiday before they would have to make the trek back to Hogwarts once again. Harry would be making plans to get away from Surrey and the home of his nasty relatives, and looking forward to reuniting with his friends and the wizarding world once again. Hermione would usually plan a short visit with her parents before she would go to the Burrow. Ron would usually just wonder how to pass the time while he waited until one of his friends would arrive at the Burrow.
Harry had been staring out the window at the passing scenery of mountains and greenery of Scotland, keeping his mind clear as long as he could. He knew that sooner or later, he would be back at Number 4 Privet Drive for a couple of weeks. Except this time, it wouldn't be a boring visit. He had planned on doing research for his coming mission to hunt down the Horcruxes. Earlier that day, with the aide of his Invisibility Cloak, he had visited the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library, and had come out with a number of books that he hoped would help him on the hunt. He had made a mental note to write a long apology to the Hogwarts Librarian, Madam Pince, which he would turn in, with the books, when he remembered it wasn't in his current plans to return back to Hogwarts for his seventh and final year.
His hand swept across the left pocket of his jeans, where he felt a small bump protruding from the bottom of it. The bump was caused by what Harry referred to now as R.A.B's locket. For one mad moment, Harry wanted to open the window of the carriage, and chuck the locket out into the dense forest surrounding the tracks. But he couldn't. It was a reminder of what Harry had lost, and what he still had to look for. The locket, which Albus Dumbledore thought was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, turned out to be fake, an impostor set aside by this R.A.B fellow. Who R.A.B was, Harry didn't know. Hermione, who Harry could trust with getting information he could not, didn't know who R.A.B could be either. Whoever this person was, Harry knew they had to have information about the real locket. Harry knew he had to find the whereabouts of this locket Horcrux. Even if it was already destroyed, he had to make sure of it. And if not, he would find it and... and what?
What would he do once he retrieved the locket? How could he destroy a Horcrux? Professor Dumbledore had never divulged that information, even though he had destroyed a Horcrux himself, which turned out to be a ring that had once belonged to Voldemort's father. It was just one of those questions Harry was never able to ask Dumbledore. Harry considered this a big flaw in his plans, given that he had to find these Horcruxes, and destroy them.
As far as Harry knew, there were four Horcruxes left. He knew about the locket and the goblet, a treasured artifact of Helga Hufflepuff herself. Dumbledore had also believed that Nagini, the great serpent who never left Voldemort's side, could also be a Horcrux. Harry was willing to trust the late Headmaster with that one. That left one more. Something of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Harry counted them silently in his head. Two already destroyed, and four left to find. Six Horcruxes. Harry brushed his hand across the scar on his forehead, mindlessly, as he thought to himself. Voldemort had desired seven Horcruxes, but Dumbledore's research made the old man believe there were only six. Had Voldemort failed to acquire a seventh before his temporary demise, or had Dumbledore been wrong? Was there a seventh out there somewhere?
Across the carriage, Hermione was looking at Harry. She had noticed him brush his hand across his scar, and he knew she looked troubled. He shook his head, hoping that would suffice as a response. Hermione frowned and Harry knew it wasn't good enough. But if Hermione had planned on saying something, she was interrupted by somebody appearing in the corridor outside the carriage.
Ginny Weasley, Ron's sister and Harry's former girlfriend, was looking into their carriage. Across from Harry, Hermione silently motioned for Ginny to come into the carriage. However, Ginny shook her head, and Harry caught sight of her eyes on his for a mere moment. Harry thought he saw tears sparkling in her eyes, but before he could be sure, Ginny walked off down the corridor, disappearing from his sight.
Harry turned to his friends and noticed they were looking at him. Hermione frowned, and Ron was raising his eyebrows. Harry wondered who would speak first, but he didn't have to wait long.
"Is there something you wish to tell us?" Hermione asked.
"Like what?" Harry asked, even though he knew what she was asking.
Before Hermione could reply, Ron decided it was his turn.
"I expected Ginny to sit next to you, mate," he said. "These days she can't keep her hands off of you. Don't get me wrong, though, I could do with a bit less of that."
Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron's response.
"What's going on between the two of you?" she asked Harry. "You and Ginny?"
"I broke up with her," Harry said. "At the funeral."
Ron, who usually tried to avoid the subject of Harry's relationship with his sister, looked as if he was positively shocked by this news.
"Oh, Harry," Hermione said, another frown creasing her lips, "why would you go and do something like that?"
"I think you know why," Harry said.
"So you're telling us," Ron said, "you broke up with my sister because of – of You-Know-Who?"
"She doesn't know what I have to do," Harry said.
"What we have to do, you mean," Hermione said, sharply.
Harry chose to ignore Hermione's reply.
"I can't put her in danger," he said. "If something happened to her, it would kill me before Voldemort even had the chance."
"So you broke up with her for her own good, did you?" Ron asked, harshly.
"I suppose you're happy about that, huh?" Harry said, with a scoff.
"No, actually I'm not," Ron muttered, though it was loud enough for Harry to hear.
"Really?" Harry asked, "Because if I remember -"
"I'm the one who has to deal with her for the next few weeks!" Ron said, "Not you, not Hermione. Me."
"Ron -" Hermione began, but Ron cut her off.
"Obviously you don't want her a part of this whole thing," Ron said to Harry, "But she's going to find out that I'm a part of it, because she's quick like that, and when she does, I'm going to have to deal with her. So no, I'm not the least bit happy you broke up with her."
"Is that what you think?" Harry asked.
"Harry-" Hermione began, but this time it was Harry who cut her off.
"It's all about you, then, isn't it?" Harry asked Ron, "Not me or Ginny, eh? Just you."
Ron's expression softened, and he opened his mouth to reply, but Harry shook his head. He stood up, and opened the sliding glass door, then left the carriage. He walked down the hall without caring to close the door behind him.
Ron cursed under his breath as he watched Harry's shadow move farther and farther away from the carriage. Hermione stood up, and Ron expected her to go after their best friend, but all she did was close the sliding door and sit back down next to him.
Ron looked at her, and he knew she was angry. He didn't need the raised eyebrows or crossed arms pressed against her chest to tell him that.
"You're going to tell me I deserved that, aren't you?" Ron asked.
"I'm not going to say you didn't," Hermione said.
Ron sighed audibly and turned toward the window, watching the scenery pass by in a blur.
"So you're not happy that Harry broke up with Ginny?" Hermione asked.
"I know what you're thinking, Hermione," Ron said, turning back to her. "You're thinking that I've been at my wit's end when it came to the two of them. It's true... at one point I was. But then I realized how much our best mate had changed ever since he and Ginny paired up."
Ron saw Hermione's eyebrows raise, and thought he saw a hint of a smile cross her lips, before it disappeared.
"I could see it in his eyes," Ron continued. "You know – I saw it whenever he was in our dormitory. Before he and Ginny paired up, I couldn't get too many words out of him at night. He'd either be staring at the Marauder's Map, or at the ruddy Prince's Potions book. But then... I started to see it. He was different. He's been really happy. His suspicions of Draco Malfoy, and his obsession with the Prince's book seemed to have disappeared. If Ginny is the reason for that, then no, Hermione, I'm not the least bit happy he ended it with her."
Ron looked at Hermione, and he couldn't read the expression in her face. Out of everyone he knew, Hermione Granger was the hardest person in the world to read. Suddenly a grin crossed her face, and Ron raised his eyebrows in surprise. He chuckled at her response, and looked away, trying to hide the blush rising in his cheeks.
"You probably think I'm mental for saying something like, right?" Ron said.
"No," Hermione said, unexpectedly.
Ron looked back at her.
"You're not mental for caring about Harry's well-being like that," Hermione said, "But I'm not going to say you aren't mental for anything else."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Ron asked.
"You know what I mean," Hermione said.
Ron shrugged and shook his head. Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Why did you have to yell at Harry?" she asked, "What good did that do?"
Ron raised his eyebrows in confusion, then suddenly realized what she meant.
"I was being completely honest about that," Ron said. "I am going to have to deal with Ginny. When she finds out that Harry chose to break up with her so he could track down these Horcruxes, but he said we could join him, you know she's going to go all mental at that. And I'm going to be the one to have to deal with it. Harry has to spend a couple weeks at his relatives' house – for whatever reason."
"The Fidelius Charm," Hermione said. "Yeah, it's pretty confusing."
"And you," he said, "Well – you are going back to your parents' house, when we get back to London, right?"
"Only for a few days," Hermione said, "Given the events we are planning, I really do need to see my parents. It's just – if I didn't see them and – and -"
Hermione shook her head, not being able to complete her thought.
"You should go see them," Ron said. "I think it is a good idea."
Hermione looked back at Ron and smiled.
"What about you?" she asked.
"Ugh, don't remind me," Ron said, rolling his eyes. "Bill and Fleur's wedding takes place a couple days after Harry's birthday, and I just know Mum's going to be all mental about it when I get home. I'll be lucky to have a moment's rest. I know she's going to want me to do something."
"It won't be that bad," Hermione said. "I'll help out. I mean – after I spend a few days with my parents, I'll come and help ease some of the burden."
"I could never ask you to do that," Ron said.
"I insist," Hermione said, "You have other stuff to worry about too."
"What do you mean?" Ron asked.
"Well, helping Harry with the Horcruxes, of course," Hermione said. "Aren't you going to try to put in a bit of research?"
"Have you taken the mickey?" Ron asked. "What am I supposed to do by myself? I don't exactly have anything just laying around that will tell me the answers we need."
"Ron, we all need to do our part," Hermione said. "We both agreed to help Harry."
"I know we did, Hermione," Ron said, "But – what -"
"Fine," she said, "I'm sure you'll be too busy helping out for the wedding. I'll just see what I can do and then when I come to the Burrow, we'll – I dunno – work on it together."
"Okay," Ron said.
"Okay?" Hermione echoed, raising her eyebrows.
"Okay," Ron repeated, "I agree to that. Besides, I'm better working on stuff like that when you're around to help."
Hermione rolled her eyes, but Ron thought he saw a hint of blush in her cheeks. Hermione must have noticed, because she turned away from Ron, and looked at the glass separating the carriage from the corridor.
"Do you think we should go look for Harry?" she asked.
"He'll be fine," Ron said. "Just let him blow off some steam."
"Okay," Hermione said.
She stretched against the seat, relaxing herself. As she stretched, Ron noticed a strand of hair fall across her face. For one mad moment, he wished to move that hair out of her face, and tuck it behind her ear, the way Hermione usually did when she was working on homework.
"Ron?" Hermione said, breaking Ron out of his reverie, "Did you hear me?"
"Hmm?" Ron asked.
"I said I'm going take a short nap," Hermione said, "It's already been a long day."
"Oh," Ron said, "Er... do you want me to move to the other seat?"
"I think I can manage," Hermione said.
Ron watched Hermione as she laid back, cuddling up against the cushion. When she finished moving around, she was still partially sitting up, though her legs were bent a little, resting on the cushion.
"That can't be comfortable," Ron said.
"It's okay," Hermione said.
"I'm just saying," Ron said, "You could –"
Ron inhaled, trying to make the words come out right.
"What, Ronald?" Hermione asked, "I could what?"
"You could stretch your legs if you want," Ron said, "Y-you know..."
"Oh," Hermione said, a hint of blush in her cheeks, "Are you sure?"
"I don't –" Ron stammered, "I mean I – I wouldn't want you to be uncomfortable."
Hermione smiled, and before Ron knew it, her legs were laying across his own, so that she was stretched out across the whole seat. Ron tried his best to hide the color rising in his cheeks. He could feel the warmth rise in his face.
"Hmm, you were right," Hermione murmured sleepily, "That is comfortable."
Ron nodded, his voice stuck somewhere in his throat. Ron glanced out of the corner of his eyes, and noticed that Hermione's eyes were closed, and her head was facing the edge of the seat. Ron made himself comfortable against his seat, and just watched her sleep. She seemed so peaceful when she was asleep. It was as if nothing could harm her, as if there was no war going on, and she didn't have to worry about the troubles of the current events and the future they would soon have to endure.
Ron smiled as he watched her, wishing for nothing but that peaceful feeling to last as long as it could, before reality would cave in on the both of them.
(Harry's PoV – some time later)
Harry was sitting up against the wall, in a corner of one of the corridors of the train. He had lost track of time, and didn't know how long it had been since he had stormed out of the carriage, away from Ron and Hermione. The wall behind him vibrated against his back, as the train made its way down the tracks. It was uncomfortable and annoying at first, but now he found it soothing, almost like a massage against the tense muscles in his back.
He was staring down the hallway in front of him, though at nothing in particular. Thoughts ran through his mind, as if they were a train, running down tracks of their own. Each thought resembled a train-car, that Harry just moved through in his mind, until he found a good one to rest at. At the moment, the thoughts going through his head were those about a particular woman with long ginger hair and the most beautiful eyes Harry had ever come across.
As much as Harry wanted to brush these thoughts from his mind, he couldn't. He didn't know whether he should blame that on Ginny for walking past his carriage of the train just a couple hours after their break-up, or Hermione and Ron for making him reveal that he had ended his relationship, or really if he should blame it on himself, for bringing up the whole conversation with Ginny in the first place. But he couldn't help but think of those moments, those hours with Ginny where he was really, genuinely happy
Over the past few weeks, during most of those hours on the grounds, he could be found with Ginny, though nobody hardly bothered them during those times. Harry couldn't help but grin, when one memorable moment came to the front of his mind, as if it had happened the day before, though it had actually taken place a couple weeks ago...
Harry lay on the cool, damp grass on the shore of the Hogwarts Lake. The air smelled sweet, a delightful after-effect of the rain showers that had passed by only a couple hours before. His hands swept across the wet grass as he brought them behind his head for a make-shift pillow against the earth. He had just finished up his last class of the day, History of Magic, and all he wanted to do was relax and forget the drawling voice of the ghostly Professor Binns.
As he lay on the shore, he heard an occasional splash off in the distance on the lake. He didn't need to look up to know what it was. The Giant Squid had made a habit of coasting along the surface of the lake, splashing about, when Harry was near. But the large creature never got too close to Harry or the shore, so Harry never paid too much attention to him.
Suddenly, Harry heard the sound of a twig snapping and Harry bolted up into a sitting position, as he looked over his shoulder. He let out an annoyed sigh when he saw what had made the noise. Ginny was at the edge of a small grove of trees, a twig in pieces beneath her shoe.
"Are you trying to kill me before Voldemort gets a chance?" Harry asked, "You scared the daylights out of me."
"Sorry," Ginny said, though Harry saw a hint of a smile across her lips.
Harry watched Ginny as she walked across the short distance between the forest and the shore of the lake. Over the past few weeks, he had noticed that she had an adorable wiggle in her step when she would walk, though he wondered why he had never recognized it before.
"Don't you still have an hour of Potions left?" Harry asked, as Ginny sat next to him.
"Made an excuse," Ginny said, grinning, "Stomach-ache."
"How rebellious of you," Harry joked.
"Not really," Ginny said. "I did have a stomach-ache."
"I'm sure Madam Pomfrey has a cure for that," Harry said.
"Nope," Ginny said. "I know only one cure for it, though I will say it has ended up in the Hospital Wing quite a few times over the years."
Harry raised an eyebrow at Ginny, and she grinned. Harry laughed.
"I've never really considered myself a cure to anything," he said.
"I don't know about that," Ginny said.
Before Harry could reply, Ginny leaned toward him and kissed him. Harry chuckled against her lips and returned the kiss. Ginny forced him back onto the grass and deepened the kiss, as Harry allowed her tongue to venture between his lips.
Before Harry could lose himself in the kiss, Ginny backed away and lay her head on his chest. He wrapped an arm around her, cuddling her body against his.
"What are you thinking about?" Ginny asked, looking up at Harry.
"Wondering what Ron would say if he found out you ditched class to snog me," Harry said, grinning.
Ginny narrowed her eyes and smacked Harry playfully on the chest.
"Ow!" Harry said, milking the injury for what it was worth, "I was joking!"
"Ron wouldn't have to say anything," Ginny said, "If he had someone to snog him."
"Can't really do that with Lavender anymore, can he?" Harry asked.
"I wasn't talking about Lavender, Harry," Ginny said.
"I know," he said.
"Really?" Ginny asked, "So you aren't as oblivious as my brother?"
Harry laughed. "No," he said, "definitely not."
"So it has been on your mind too?" Ginny asked, "I can hardly imagine that. I mean, they're your best friends."
"Exactly," Harry said, "They're my best friends. I'd be happy to see them in a position like this."
"Eww!" Ginny groaned.
"I don't mean them cuddled up against each other!" Harry said, with a laugh, "Believe me, I have no desire to intrude on that. I just mean... well, recently, as recent as a few months ago, I've come to the expectations that those two will somehow find that they deserve to have what we have."
"So that doesn't bother you any?" Ginny asked, "I know Hermione's like a sister to you, though you wouldn't admit that to anyone but me."
"No," Harry said, grinning, "It wouldn't bother me. I'm not like Ron when it comes to your relationships."
"Though I do admit there were times when I wanted to hex Dean," Harry said, with a smirk.
Ginny smacked Harry playfully again.
"But, no Ginny," Harry said, "You won't catch me doing anything when it comes to their friendship or whatever it could lead to. They are on their own."
"You're evil, you know," Ginny said, chuckling.
"You love it," Harry said, grinning.
Ginny turned toward him, and moved around until she was laying on top of him.
"You're right," she said.
She leaned toward him and kissed him softly, which he delightfully and eagerly returned.
Harry blinked away a tear from his eye. He knew he couldn't keep doing that to himself. He had ended their relationship. In a few simple words, what they had for weeks was now gone. If he was going to concentrate on his mission in front of him, he couldn't let those memories interfere.
Suddenly, he heard a scrape of wood as the sliding door, separating the corridor he was in from the next one, slid open. Harry expected a student to walk through the doors, but there was nothing there. Harry slowly took his wand from his pocket, the disarming spell ready on his lips, and turned his head, looking through the doorway.
"Looking for someone?" a gruff voice said behind him.
Harry turned around, cricking his neck in the process, and was about to throw a curse, when he saw the form of Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody standing feet from him.
"Bloody hell," Harry groaned.
"Constant Vigilance, Potter," Mad-Eye said, "If I was Voldemort, I could have killed you before your heart had another chance to beat."
"Where did you come from?" Harry asked, as he replaced his wand in his pocket.
"Been here longer than you think," Mad-Eye said.
Mad-Eye lifted up a large piece of transparent fabric, and Harry recognized it as an Invisibility Cloak.
"So you've been spying on me?" Harry asked.
"I've been watching you," Mad-Eye said, "Kingsley's orders."
"Kingsley?" Harry echoed.
"New leader of the Order of the Phoenix," Mad-Eye said, bluntly.
Harry scoffed. He should have known the Order would be watching him. How he was ever going to be able to start the hunt for the Horcruxes without the Order on his tail, he did not know.
"You expected any different?" Mad-Eye asked, "You know who you are, boy. I don't have to write it out for you."
"Yeah, I know who I am," Harry said.
"And yet you expect to roam the open corridors of the Hogwarts Express on your own?" Mad-Eye asked.
"There are plenty of people keeping their eye on me," Harry said, recalling the number of students who poked their head against the glass of their carriages just to look at him.
"Kids?" Mad-Eye asked, with a gruff laugh, "You expect Voldemort and his Death Eaters to be frightened of a bunch of school-children?"
Harry narrowed his eyes. That was low, even for Moody.
"I trust a number of the students on this train to defend me," he said.
"Oh, they could defend you," Moody said, "If only for a moment. But would you really risk the lives of children so you could escape?"
Harry felt a pang of guilt hit his stomach. No, he would never risk one innocent soul to fight for him.
"I thought not, Potter," Moody said, "Now get up. At least with Weasley and Granger, I can trust that you'll be safe. They'd do anything to make sure you live through this war."
At those words from Moody, that same pang of guilt he had when he thought of the school-children fighting for him, tore through him as he thought of Hermione and Ron. His best friends, each of whom had promised to help him on the hunt for the Horcruxes.
But when he thought of them assisting him along the way, the only thought going through his head was of several faces: Bill Weasley, Ron's oldest brother, almost getting killed by Fenrir Greyback, Dumbledore, who had sacrificed himself so that Harry could live, his parents and Sirius and Cedric Diggory, as well as the countless others he had never met, all of whom had done the same thing. All of it... just to help him end the terrible reign of Voldemort.
Moody might think that Harry would be safe with Ron and Hermione. But in Harry's mind, as he stood up and followed the ex-Auror through the corridors of the train, he knew that it was he who'd do anything to make sure his friends would make it through the end of the war.
First chapter finished!
So I'll do some early explanations for this story. I'm going to keep a few of the plots of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in my story, for example, the same Horcruxes. But there will be some major differences. I've planned out quite a bit of this story already in some notes, and if I keep it how I plan, I might not have too many good action scenes as early as the actual book did, because of how my story will go. But we'll see what happens.
Also, if you read a (very old) story of mine called "Secrets and Snogging" which was my first version of Deathly Hallows, that I never finished, then you might recognize some plots and story-lines later in this story. I might recycle them, I haven't thought that far yet. I know some readers have missed "Secrets and Snogging" and truthfully so have I, though I didn't want to just continue that story since it was so old.
As a side note to those reading my Next-Generation story, "Ickle Firsties", I am not giving it up, I will be updating both these stories as much as I can.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Would love your feedback.