Thanks to Thundramon for proof-reading!
Hermione was silent as he explained the best way that he knew how – from the beginning.
Really, was there a good way to tell someone something like this? If there was, Harry hoped that he would find it soon.
Gabriel remained just as silent as Hermione was inside of their head.
"I didn't think anything of it until I went to Gringotts with the Weasley's. The goblins knew something was different about me the moment they saw me." It was odd, to think of how little he had known back then. So much had happened in the last three years... "They wanted to make sure that I wasn't possessed by an evil spirit." Which was fair, now that he thought about it. Quirrell was a great example about why that would be necessary. "That was when I met myself."
'Which was a really irritating conversation,' Gabriel grumbled.
'Only because you were being really cryptic.'
'I only had one setting at that point. Get over it.'
"What do you mean, 'met myself'?!" Hermione broke her silence, eyes wide and pensive.
Harry blinked before shrugging. "I guess it would be more accurate to say I met the first version of myself? Well, sort of. There really wasn't anyone there to see since we were in my head."
The bushy haired girl didn't seem to find that reassuring. Harry pressed on anyways. They weren't ever going to get passed this if he had to keep figuring out new ways to describe the ritual. "We talked. According to him, we'd been reincarnated many times and this was our newest life. Other than that, the only thing I'd managed to get from him was our original name."
Harry's eyes met Hermione's. "In that first life, our name was Gabriel."
Angel were, perhaps, one of the most well-known symbols of religion out there. While they were mostly viewed as harp playing, white-robed winged beings, which definitely wasn't true, they were still well known in the common muggle population. Harry was willing to bet that even a few purebloods had heard of them before, though he got the impression that they were mostly dismissed as being only a myth created by muggles. At least, that was the impression that he'd gotten when he'd discussed the matter with Sirius.
The angel Gabriel, while not as commonly known as Michael, was still rather famous. At least famous enough that Harry had mentally berated himself more than once for not putting the pieces together when he'd first learned his counterpart's name. Seriously, just how many magical beings named Gabriel had he thought there were?
'Eh, you were twelve and raised to a family of religious assholes,' Gabriel cut in. 'Give yourself a break. I would have been shocked if you had immediately come to the conclusion that you were an angel. Especially an Archangel.'
'True,' Harry conceded before turning his attention back to Hermione. Harry had been expecting a variety of reaction from the brunet, most of them revolving around shock and surprise. From his experience with Remus, Sirius, and Luna, it was a good bet to go with something in that range.
He really should have known better. This was the same girl that had equated expulsion as a fate worse than death.
Instead of the expected reactions, Hermione looked more thoughtful than anything else. Her eyes were intent and focused, though Harry could already tell that she wasn't looking at him. Not really. Judging from her expression, Harry could guess that she was going through all of the oddities that he had been displaying since their first year and adding this new information into the mix.
'This is going to take a while, isn't it?'
Harry didn't bother responding and just sat down, patiently waiting for her to finish her thoughts.
Hermione wasn't stupid. Her parents, while not religious themselves, came from two religious families. Frankly, it was a miracle that any of her relatives had been willing to overlook the occasional odd happenstance that only seemed to occur whenever she was in the general vicinity. Her parents had even written off quite a few damning incidents where it was almost impossible not to connect the dots to her, though they had happened in such an outrageous way that it would be impossible for a little girl to do.
A normal little girl, at least.
Learning about the Wizarding World and her powers hadn't really affected her outlook on religion in general. She supposed that she just hadn't given it any thought, considering how hectic each of their school years were.
She'd probably have ignored it all completely if not for the beautiful wings that seemed to have appeared on her best friend's back. While the wings themselves were a mixture of green and gold feathers, not to mention they were mostly transparent, Hermione's thoughts had immediately jumped back to her grandmother as she described the winged creatures that protected humanity.
While 'angel' was certainly part of the right conclusion, she had been wrong about the kind. St. Gabriel the Archangel certainly wasn't someone that she connected to Harry of all people. Especially as Gabriel was supposed to be the patron saint of messengers. Though, considering it, wouldn't reporters be considered messengers? That could explain the easy way that he had manipulated Rita Skeeter into telling the story that he wanted her to. If she hadn't heard it from Cedric and Harry himself, she probably wouldn't have believed it possible.
Actually, a lot of things made sense to her now. Starting in their second year, Harry had started spacing out and would seem to be engaging in a conversation only he could hear. Considering he had just described meeting himself, Hermione could easily conclude that Harry was still in communication with that portion of his personality. Which gave her a headache to think about, honestly. Her best friend was likely a therapist's nightmare. Or dream come true, depending on the point of view.
Wait, did that mean that Harry's father was God?!
"Merlin," she whispered, her eyes widening. Her best friend was literally the child of God.
Somehow, she couldn't wrap her head around that.
"Are you alright?" Her eyes snapped to focus on her best friend, the archangel of the lord. Wow, that was going to take a long time to reconcile in her head.
Was she alright? Her best friend had basically just admitted to being a reincarnated Archangel. She frowned and looked at him. "Angels are reincarnated?" Angels can die?
"Apparently?" Harry shrugged when she narrowed her eyes at him. "From what I can tell, there really isn't a precedence here. It could be the Archangel thing or it could be that this is what happens to every angel when they die. Neither of us really know."
Was it normal to refer to yourself as two people? Hermione felt the urge to facepalm. She was clearly spending too much time among wizards if she actually had to ask herself that question at all.
She froze, something dawning on her. He'd said they'd been reincarnated 'many times' and that Gabriel was only their first life. "Just how many times have you been reincarnated?" She breathed.
Harry shrugged. "I didn't really keep count. I can say that it was probably a lot more than I thought it would be in the first place. Maybe over 70? No more than at least a 100. Probably."
Hermione felt her mouth open a bit in surprise as the number seemed to jump around in her head. Dear Merlin, even without the 'Archangel' part, Harry would be thousands of years old just from the reincarnations. No wonder he his personality had been fluctuating if he'd been regaining memories of all those lives.
Her eyes narrowed again, enough that she was almost squinting. "Just how many of those lives were you a wizard?"
"Maybe 6? At least, on this Earth. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I've ended up as something with magical abilities on other Earth's..." Harry paused in his sentence, seeming to realize what he had just said.
Hermione stared for a moment. "Did you just say 'Earth's' as in plural?!"
Her best friend let out a despondent moan.
'Well, it could have been worse.'
Harry didn't want to know what 'worse' looked like. Explaining the multiple Earth's to Hermione was not nearly as easy as it had been in the past. Remus hadn't pushed much beyond the basics and neither had Luna. She had mostly been interested in how the different Earth's had played into his experiences. Hermione, however, was fascinated with the concept of there being multiple Earth's, and therefore, multiple alternate dimensions. Though dimensions wasn't the right word for it.
The easiest way to explain it was similar to how Harry had first explained it to Sirius. There were thousands, maybe millions, of different universes with their own Earth. Each of those was connected to each other by Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.
While that was the truth, it was over simplified that the real explanation. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Earth made up four planes of existence. The planes were connected by a blanks space that most referred to as the 'Void'. Reapers carried the souls of those that had died across the Void in order to insure that they had found their way to their destination after death. Without a Reaper, those that were forced to make the journey after their tether to the Earth was cut, risked getting lost.
There were places, however, where the Void was almost absence, so thin that it went unnoticed by spirits. Those were the places where the four planes touched each other and a Reaper was no longer need to guide residents of the other planes into each other.
However, there wasn't only one Earth. That was where things got really complicated. Each Earth and the universes around it were different dimensions and each dimensions was connected to each plane of existence, however the dimensions didn't have the Void in-between them. Instead, they overlapped each other. Sometimes, those really unlucky found breaches in the dimensions and walked from one into the other without even trying.
There were also rituals that could be used to break into another dimension, though from what Gabriel had told him, they were dangerous and, depending on the dimension, could strip even a Seraph of their abilities. Worse, the ritual had to be performed a second time to get back, as it was nearly impossible to predict which dimension you had ended up. Meaning that only an archangel could track you done to bring you back to the right Earth if necessary. And even then, it was challenging to find the right version of the person you were tracking. Or at least, that was what Gabriel had said.
It was all overly complicated and hurt even Harry's head to think about, but Hermione looked more and more enthusiastic the more he explained. Harry preferred the explanation he'd given to Sirius, if he was being honest.
Thankfully, Hermione allowed him to change the subject and they moved on to easier things to talk about. Mostly about Harry's wings. He spent a good few hours answering her questions about his new appendages. She was very amused when he described how long it took him to learn basic flight and the various mishaps that he'd had while learning.
It was nice, talking to her about these things in casual conversation. Sure, he'd been able to talk with Sirius and Remus about them however it wasn't the same as talking to one of his best friends.
"It makes sense now," she muttered, breaking him out of his musings. Harry blinked at her, confused as to what she meant. Hermione blushed, probably not having intended to say that out loud.
"Why you didn't tell us when we first asked," she explained. "I always wondered what would be so big that we needed to protect our minds from intruders. I knew that your secret had to be big but I never thought it would be on this level."
Harry smiled at her. "To be honest, I don't blame you. It is a bit bizarre, isn't it?"
Hermione grinned and nodded. "It does make Sirius calling you 'angelic' a lot more amusing than Ron and I thought it was."
Harry snorted, rolling his eyes. That sounded just like Sirius. Everyone would just assume that the joke was Harry being anything but 'angelic' when in reality, it was a literal description. "I'm just waiting for him to realize that I'm technically a saint."
Hermione paused, seemingly realizing that herself, before snorting. "I almost forgot about that. Does that have anything to do with why Rita was so charmed with you?"
Harry blinked, his eyebrows raising. "Why would it?"
"Well, St. Gabriel is the patron saint of Messengers," Hermione smiled. "Doesn't a reporter counts as a messenger?"
'Huh. I never really thought about that.'
Harry was just as surprised. "You know, that actually could be a part of it. I mean, I know that I laid it on a little thick but I suppose that being the Messenger might certainly have helped."
It was definitely something to think about. Frowning, Harry tried to recall the last time that he'd had trouble getting in touch with anyone using a form of communication. The only thing that came to mind was when Dobby was stealing his mail, long before he and Gabriel had first come into close contact with each other. Even then, nothing had been damaged and he'd still gotten all of his mail. Ron and the twins had even figured out that something was wrong when he hadn't responded to their letters.
"I never even noticed," Harry mused aloud.
It also explained the urge he'd had to return to the Chamber. He'd known after only a few visits that he wasn't going to find another Horcrux down there, yet he'd still felt the urge to keep going, slowly uncovering more and more hidden gems as he and Luna had progressed. In fact, the urge to find every secret concealed in the Chamber had only vanished after he'd found the book that had been left for him. A message.
Frowning, he cast his thoughts back even further. When Dobby had first come to him, he'd immediately trust that the elf was telling him the truth. Every time the house-elf had appeared, Harry hadn't really questioned his honesty. Yet the first time that Dobby had appeared, he had believed him. He hadn't even managed to convince himself that the house-elf was lying.
And when he'd first heard the story behind the betrayal of his parents, Harry and Gabriel had immediately known that something was off. It was why they'd been so willing to listen to the man when they first encountered him in the Shrieking Shack.
Harry was willing to be that there were other incidences that hadn't really caught his attention enough for him to remember them, things that he'd probably just written off as being coincidence. 'I'm not imagining this, am I? Is this something that was going on and we just didn't notice?'
'Well, you didn't notice.' Gabriel sounded more sheepish than anything else. 'I was aware of it, for the most part. Except the Chamber thing, that one got past me I'll admit.'
'Wait, you knew about this?!' The 'and you didn't tell me' was left unsaid, though Harry had no doubt that his counterpart heard it loud and clear.
'It's a normal part of being us. We're the Archangel of Messages. Any form of communication is sort of our specialty. Didn't you wonder why the rumors about us seemed a lot tamer than they did first year? Or that the negative rumors seem to die down quicker? Everyone's forgotten the fact that we were accused of entering our name into the Cup, especially after the Moody disappearance.'
Come to think of it, there had been a lack of accusatory glares from the general populous of the school, starting with the end of the first task and disappearing altogether with Moody's absence and the mystery it provided. That didn't explain how this was happening, however.
'Natural proximity,' Gabriel answered easily. 'Archangel's are a bit different than regular seraphs. We're primordial beings so we tend to naturally affect the areas around us. Michael makes things hotter and can easily burn enemies to death without touching them. Raphael does this weird thing where those around him tend to obtain less injuries. We tend to influence the way that things around us are perceived.'
That made sense, actually. Harry was about to ask more when Hermione seemed to decide to remind them of her presence in the room.
"While I'm sure that you just had an interesting discussion with yourself," the bushy haired girl's voice caught his attention. "If we don't move now we're going to break curfew. The others are going to want an explanation as to what happened to the common room as well."
There was a slightly questioning tilt to the end of her sentence. Harry shook his head. "Ron isn't proficient enough in the new form of Occlumency that Sirius has him learning and the others don't know any Occlumency at all."
Hermione frowned at him, obviously displeased with the answer.
Harry frowned back. "Ron should have a solid enough foundation at some point during the summer. I'll tell him then. He'll have a better idea of how to start introducing this to everyone else."
Hermione nodded, still not pleased but accepting the logic behind his decision. "Is there anyone else that know? Besides Remus and Sirius?"
"Luna," Harry informed her. Seeing the look on her face, he expanded his answer. "She's unique in that she's known a lot of it since I first met her."
Harry grinned. "She can see my wings," he told her. "Even when I'm not manifesting them like in the common room. I gave her an amulet in order to protect her mind but she's known I wasn't fully human even before Sirius and Remus."
He carefully left out the fact that the amulet was her Christmas gift this year and that she could actually touch his wings. Her gift was a lot stronger than the six sense that Sirius had. He also didn't tell her that she'd only really discovered what he was this year as well. That didn't really matter and the relief on his friend's face only cemented his decision. Hermione had always made it clear that she just wanted him to have someone that he could talk to. And while Luna hadn't know the specifics, he'd definitely been able to discuss his wings and such with her.
"We'd best get back to the common room," he sighed. "Knowing Ron, he's going to interrogate us all night about what happened."
Here we are, the newest chapter! And just in time for Exams to start! I literally just got done with my first final of the semester so there's a 90% possiblity that if you leave a comment or ask a question, I won't respond until at least Saturday. Maybe Friday if I'm lucky and dorm move out day goes well.
Since I know a lot of people were looking forward to Hermione's reaction, I'm going to reassure you that she will have a freak out. Right now, she's still processing everything that's happened and is still slightly in shock. So if she seems really calm and okay with this right now, that's why. Her real reaction will be much more interesting, I promise that.
So, other than that, I don't think that there's really much for me to clarify in this chapter. It might be a little bit before the next chapter comes out but since Finals are this week, it won't be nearly as long as it has been between this chapter and the last chapter. Maybe a few weeks at most.
I hope that you enjoyed the chapter and please feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll answer them the best that I can without spoilers. Just keep in mind that my answer won't be anytime before Friday.