You're my Density
Disclaimer - I paid good money for all my Harry Potter books, trips to the cinema to watch the films, purchasing them again on blu-ray and any official merchandise I bought. Since this story is free, that means I'm not JKR and certainly don't own Harry Potter.
Chapter 1- That's the Power of Love
For a Sunday night, the uni bar was pretty quiet. Then again, tomorrow was the last day of university before the Christmas holidays. The older students had taken the broad hints their lecturers had been dropping for the last few weeks and all buggered off home on Friday night or by Saturday afternoon at the latest.
The group sitting in the corner were all firsties, and all taking the same course. None of them really thought a 'Christmas piss-up' was a good idea. By the same token though, none of them wanted to be the one who said they weren't going when the idea was talked about. They were students, they were supposed to get pissed - weren't they?
At least they were currently being entertained. They had all noticed a beautiful girl sitting by herself. A beautiful girl who had politely but firmly rebuffed every attempt from anyone who had tried to chat her up. The odd thing was, all of them were sure she kept looking over in their direction. Martin had of course decreed that she must be looking at him, so confidently set off to conquer. He initially appeared to be making progress before his deflation was visible from the other side of the pub. His crawl back was in stark contrast to the way he'd strutted over there.
"Hey Marty, so is it Back to the Future for the two hundredth and eighteenth time tonight? You might as well, it seems like you've nothing else on."
This generated a fair amount of laughter. Martin's obsession with those movies was well known, probably because he told everyone who wasn't quick enough to get away from him all about it. He dreamed about being his hero, even considered changing his last name to McFly. In reality though, Martin was a much closer match for the character of Biff than Marty.
As first year students, they were still finding their feet in university. The group's dynamics had also yet to settle down. Martin saw himself as a born leader but, much to his dismay, no one else did. Faced with the ridicule from his fellow students, Martin employed his number one defence tactic - focus that ridicule on someone else.
"Hey, we all agreed she was staring over here. Who else would she be looking at, Harry?"
Harry had been doing his usual, sitting quietly in the corner and wondering when he could reasonably say it was time to go back to his room. Everyone's attention now on him was the last thing he wanted.
Brian could and should be the leader of the group, he was waiting on all the other candidates for the position to make arses of themselves before stepping in. He was also Harry's lab partner and wasn't about to stand for Martin picking on him, just because Harry was quiet.
"Let's be honest, Martin, Harry couldn't do any worse than you. I've seen some people crash and burn in my time but that was epic."
"I'll bet you the next round that Harry will crash and burn too."
"That's hardly fair, since no one's even got to sit beside her yet. I will bet he fares better than you, I would also bet you quoted a line from that bloody movie at her."
Martin's face was now red as Brian turned to Harry. "What about it, mate. Wanna give it a try? You really have nothing to lose, we all know Marty McPhail here couldn't resist trying to dazzle her with his brilliance."
Seeing the wink from his friend got Harry rising from his seat. Harry didn't make many friends and the easy going Brian was one of them.
Martin then tried to put the kibosh on his effort before he even started. Thumping Harry way harder on the back than was considered polite, he then shouted "Go get her, tiger" at the top of his voice.
Harry stopped and turned to face Martin, his green eyes boring into the bigger man like those drills Harry's Uncle Vernon was always talking about.
Even with a height and build advantage, Martin's senses were screaming not to mess with this one. "Just wanted to wish you luck, mate."
As Harry turned and walked away, Brian's words were aimed at Martin but heard by most of the group. "Don't let Harry being quiet fool you into thinking that makes him a pushover. I didn't do my share of the work our first lab, he took me aside and chewed me out. He's easy going until you get in his way, Harry is the most driven out of all of us."
Harry approached the girl who then smiled at him, changing her from beautiful to absolutely stunning. "Excuse me, Miss. I'm really sorry to annoy you, especially after just having a visit from Martin. The thing is there's now a bet running among us. Not about you - although you are most certainly involved. You see we're sure Martin tried a cheesy pick-up line on you, using something from the movie he's obsessed with..."
"He said I was his density?"
"Oh, that's certainly cheesy. What did you say?"
"I said heavy, which was probably the wrong answer as he took encouragement from that. I then had to come down heavily on him before he sat himself down."
This had both of them laughing before Harry got ready to excuse himself. "Thank you for clearing that up, and again sorry for disturbing you."
"Who said you were disturbing me? My name is Hermione, won't you take a seat?"
"Hermione, as in A Winter's Tale? That's my favourite Shakespeare play, and I've always loved that name."
Harry then got to hear that musical laugh again. "Now who's trying the cheesy lines? I've already asked you to sit down too..."
As he sat, Harry began quoting some of Hermione's monologue from the play. "The crown and comfort of my life, your favour, I do give lost; for I do feel it gone, But know not how it went. My name's Harry and I don't have any pick-up lines, cheesy or otherwise. I don't know why but that part has always stuck in my memory..."
Seeing Hermione's eyes begin to mist over, Harry was getting ready to apologise when she shook her head. "You didn't upset me, that was beautiful. Now I certainly don't buy the part about having no lines, you're way too smooth for that to be true."
This actually got a wide grin from Harry. "I've been called many things, usually nerdy, but never smooth. This is going to feel like another line but you are really easy to talk to. I'm not smooth with girls at all, far less beautiful ones."
"That's either a great line or a very sincere compliment, I'm gonna take it as a compliment. You're very charming yet, when I looked over to your group, you seemed to want to be elsewhere."
His brows furrowed at just how perceptive this girl was. He did find her easy to talk to though. Harry was now actually enjoying his evening so kept the conversation going. "This is not really my scene. I'm not much of a drinker and have always struggled to make friends, hence why I didn't think I could miss this. I'll be here with these same people for the next four and a half years. I thought I should at least make an effort to fit in."
"What are you studying?"
"Veterinary Medicine, and I'm enjoying it. I was fifteen when I suddenly realised if I ever wanted to accomplish anything then I needed to get my act together. I started hitting the books, and here we are..." Harry was shocked as her hand covered his and Hermione's thumb was now drawing gentle circles on the back of his hand. This may be a very unusual situation but one thing wasn't in question, the sincerity oozed from every fibre of Hermione's being.
"You're training to help animals, that's just so... noble of you." Hermione almost said so like you, that would have been a bad slip.
"It's a career I think I could be good at, a career I'll enjoy."
At that Brian appeared, instantly noticing the hands. "Hey Harry, you never came back to tell us who won the bet."
"You knew who won the bet before I came over here. Brian, this is Hermione."
"Hi Brian, can you do us a favour?"
Looking into those warm chocolate eyes would have Brian agreeing to do anything.
"Could you please tell 'Marty' that Harry and I are going to make like trees, and get out of here."
Brian was nodding before it hit him. "Eh, shouldn't that be leave?"
Harry had an even wider grin on his face now. "Don't worry, Martin will get it. See you tomorrow in class..." Hermione's hand now squeezed his, causing Harry to shift his attention. She merely had to lift an eyebrow for Harry to get the message being conveyed. "...or maybe I won't. Anyway, if I don't see you, have a nice Christmas."
Hermione stood, still with Harry's hand in hers as both of them then headed out the door.
Brian turned to see Martin already at the bar, acknowledging he had lost the bet. The rest of their group had their eyes well and truly opened about Harry Potter, Brian couldn't help but think this was only the beginning.
As they walked through the car park, Harry again offered Hermione an out. "I can't thank you enough for that, I was dreading spending the rest of the night in there."
Since Hermione still had hold of his hand, she gave it another squeeze. "Harry, playing dumb doesn't suit you. You have obviously figured out I was in there for a reason, I can read the curiosity on your face."
"I'm trying to remember what curiosity did to the cat."
Stopping, Hermione turned to face him. "I could never, nor would ever, hurt you. Do you believe me?"
Once more, this beautiful girl's sincerity shone through. Harry had no other option but to agree.
"I was there tonight looking for a very special person. I found that special person and promise to tell him everything, but not here. I can tell you exactly why you find it easy to talk to me, that and so much more. It might take all night and most of tomorrow, I promise I will answer every question."
Something deep inside Harry demanded he believe this beautiful woman, and he was sure it wasn't his hormones. They got in a car that was obviously hired and Hermione soon had them on the road. He then realised that all he knew about Hermione was her name, this was a good chance to remedy that - without delving too deep. Harry soon discovered she was nineteen and, although clearly British, Hermione had lived in the South of France for the last two and a half years. Harry casually asking what would have her leave there to hit Britain in the depths of December just saw Hermione glance at him - surely not?
They weren't on the motorway long before Hermione had them heading into the services. That she parked the car in front of a Travelodge room, and then came round the car to lead him inside, blew Harry's mind. Things like this just didn't happen to him. Hermione sat him down in the room's one chair, it was the room's one bed however that Harry's thoughts kept being drawn to. Hermione took off her jacket and hung it up, the tight jumper she wore under it just exacerbating Harry's problems. As Hermione walked around the room, Harry tried very hard not to stare at her exquisite derriere. When she sat on the bed across from him and held both his hands in hers, Harry was lost in those chocolate eyes.
"The reason you can talk to me so easily, Harry, is that we were best friends for four years. Those were the best four years of my life, I was devastated when they took you away from us. I know for a fact they altered your memory but there are some things they couldn't alter. You have a scar on your right forearm that looks like a puncture wound, a giant snake did that when you were twelve. You nearly died but a good and true friend saved you. The scratch along your left shoulder was made by another type of creature when you were fourteen, again another good friend healed you."
Harry was wearing his hair longer and also wore contacts, leaving her best friend a very handsome young man. She lifted one of her hands to his face and brushed away the jet black hair that was obscuring his most famous scar of all. Running her finger gently along the lightning bolt saw Harry leaning into her touch, just like Crookshanks or Hedwig did when they wanted petted.
"You got this the night your parents died. You used to believe it happened in a car crash, is that the story they stuck to?" His gentle nod had Hermione continuing, though she knew this would be hard.
"On Halloween, nineteen eighty one, your parents - James and Lily Potter - were murdered by one of the most evil men that's ever lived. He tried to kill you too, but something remarkable happened. He was banished and you were left with that scar, and a whole bunch of fame you never wanted. It took him nearly fourteen years to come back, and when you broke that news - they wouldn't believe you. The government didn't want you spreading these tales. It made them look bad and there were also those who did believe you. They manufactured charges to get you into court..."
Hermione now had tears gently running down her cheeks as she recounted the moment that changed both their lives. "You lost your temper at the trial. Told the government they were a bunch of cowardly bastards who could all go and fuck themselves..."
Harry was mesmerised by Hermione's touch, she could have told him the moon was made of cheese and he wouldn't have disagreed. "That sounds like something I would do and say..."
This drew a giggle out of Hermione, and allowed her to use the hand not currently stroking Harry's cheek to wipe the tears off her own. "They used that as an excuse to kick you out. Your memory was wiped, they would have to wipe the Dursleys' too, and they bound your magic. Yes, Harry, magic. You're a wizard, Harry, and a very powerful one. Your mother and father were magical too, as am I."
He lifted both his hands and clasped Hermione's that was now stroking his cheek. "I don't want you to stop doing that, ever, but I can't think straight while you're actually doing it. Magic, Hermione, really? That makes you what, a witch?"
"Yes, Harry, I'm a witch. My mother and father aren't magical though, they had this same conversation when I turned eleven and qualified for magical school. Professor McGonagall used her wand to turn mum's coffee table into a pig. After witnessing that, they believed in magic."
It was now Harry's turn to raise a questioning eyebrow, and Hermione knew exactly what he wanted. Unfortunately she couldn't oblige. "The evil wizard who killed your parents has since taken over the magical government. They have sensors covering the country that would know if I performed magic here, and there would be a snatch squad dispatched to capture us within moments. I can't even say this evil wizard's name. Rumour has it saying that name out loud will bring those same snatch squads, that's not a rumour I want to test. I think I may be able to convince you though, hungry?"
Harry still held her hand in both of his, he teasingly squeezed it. "Hermione, calling room service is hardly magic. It's also expensive..." From her smile, he could see she was up to something.
Harry didn't know if Dobby was a spell or a person, the results though were irrefutable. Hermione was not a woman who wore much make-up, she didn't need to. This meant the room's dresser had been clear but no longer. A feast just appeared out of thin air, and this was no take away. Here was all sorts of delicious looking foods, presented on what appeared to Harry like golden plates.
"Dobby is a very good friend, and he has kept me in touch with what's been happening to you for the last three and a half years. He won't appear. While he understands what the ministry did to you, you seeing him and not knowing who he is would break his little heart. He's devoted to the person who freed him from the hell his former life was, that person is you."
As Harry began to nibble at this feast, one question was screaming in his mind. "I'm not saying I believe you, but I have a question. Why now? After three and a half years, why are you here talking to me?"
"As I said, the evil wizard now controls magical Britain. There is some resistance though, and that resistance holds you as their figurehead. They claim that while Harry Potter lives, the evil wizard hasn't really conquered Britain. Yes they are clutching at straws but this wizard wants to take even that away from them. His minions began seriously hunting you at the start of December. You don't know who these people are, and have no way to defend against them. I really had to come back."
For the first time, Harry sensed Hermione might have put herself in danger over this. "Are you being hunted too?" Her nod led logically to his next question. "What would happen if they found you?"
"I'd be dragged up in front of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, where I'd be sentenced to Azkaban for stealing my magic from some pureblood. Someone would be sure to remember though I was your best friend, and start interrogating me about why I was back in the country. I think I'd rather die than be captured..."
Harry was moving before even realising what he was doing. He was sitting on the bed beside Hermione and his arms were around her. She meanwhile was clinging to him, her head buried in Harry's chest and crying hard enough to wet his shirt.
After a few minutes Hermione got herself back under control, she didn't move though. "Harry, you can't have any idea how bad things are. People we both knew, raped or murdered - slaughtered for amusement in some cases. They are practicing genocide against people who don't fit a very specific profile. A profile neither you nor I match. Please say you believe me? I would hate for you to think of me as some crying nutter."
Harry held this strange yet familiar girl. He had loved the name Hermione since finding it in A Winter's Tale, now here was a reason for that. Her scent as he held her was intoxicating. Not because of any brand of perfume she wore, more like a scent he associated with being home - being safe. Her arms around him felt very familiar too, almost like reawakening a muscle memory. Hermione was waiting on an answer, Harry gave her one.
"I'm trying to look at this situation logically, except their is no logic to this. That you believe every word you've told me to be the truth is a given, and a point in favour of magic. Our delicious food just appearing out of thin air, another point for magic existing. At the moment all I've got against is how ludicrous the whole thing sounds. While I can't categorically say I don't believe you, I can't say I do either - much as I'd like to."
He felt some of the tension leave Hermione's body at that. Harry tried a different question this time, one a lot more personal. "Can I ask you something else. In this other life, other time, were we a couple?"
Harry instantly felt Hermione's tension return but again he could detect no dishonesty in her answer. "I last saw you the night before your trial, that was the eleventh of August, ninety five. I kissed you on the cheek for luck, and that was the very last time I saw you before tonight. You were my best friend and I was certainly ready to see if we could be more. Boys mature later than girls, they took you away before any of that more had time to happen..."
"I must have been an idiot, back then. This is another big plus for your story being true. I wasn't joking when I said earlier I have no lines or moves, yet holding you in my arms just feels so right - almost like you belong there. I'm rubbish with girls, so bad that there's even rumours going around the accommodation I'm gay. Yet with you - everything feels so natural, so perfect. Things like instant attraction and love at first sight don't happen, at least not to me. In a weird sort of way us being best friends since the age of eleven actually makes much more sense to me."
Hermione lifted her head and again Harry acted without thinking. He gently kissed her tear streaked cheeks, slowly making his way toward her lips. Hermione was ready for him by the time he got there, holding Harry tight and putting all the emotion she had into their shared kiss.
It was some minutes later before Hermione could speak again. "Harry, you have some world class moves."
Harry felt the emotion flowing from Hermione when she kissed him, adding more weight to the 'she's telling the truth' argument. He needed to know what was going to happen next, before they went any further and he didn't care about what was going to happen next. "Can I assume, now that you've found me, there is a plan of what to do next?"
"I have two, Harry, both very risky. I entered the country by plane and using a false French passport. I took a potion to make me look exactly like the person I stole the passport from. Getting into Britain though is a lot easier than getting out. All forms of magical transport out of the country are blocked, leaving us only normal methods. Now that they are actively looking for you however, I don't know if we could slip past them. With your core bound, taking that potion might do you serious harm. And then there's this..."
Hermione held her hand out and a leaflet appeared in it. Harry thought this must be the mysterious Dobby's doing again but his attention was far more focused on what Hermione now handed him. It was an old photograph, clearly of him, that he'd never seen before. He was probably about fourteen and seemed ready to take part in some kind of sport, but this picture moved. That wasn't even the most disturbing thing though, plastered across the top in bold letters was Undesirable Number One.
"Okay, I can see how that might be a problem."
"It's even worse than you think. Harry, this evil wizard wants you dead. He's not going to stop coming after you even if you get out of the country. You'll be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life, and not even know who you're looking for."
"If this is risky plan A, I'm assuming you've kept the best 'til last?"
"Plan B is even riskier, but it could possibly save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. In its most basic form, the plan is we go back in time and fix things."
"Hermione, that's a hired Ford Fiesta you've got parked out there. Even if this Dobby friend of yours can drop a flux capacitor in your lap, I doubt that little car could reach eighty eight miles per hour going down hill."
She just smiled at him as if he was being silly. "Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, we perform a ritual at Stonehenge that will hopefully send our spirits back to our younger bodies."
"Ritual? As in witches and wizards dancing naked around a bonfire?"
"Yes, a ritual. No to the bonfire. Yes to being naked but, unless your dancing has improved dramatically since I last saw you, that's a no too."
"Why do we have to be naked?"
"We're trying to send our spirits back in time, a difficult enough task without something like clothes possibly getting in the way. Why are you picking on that one thing? Does the thought of seeing me naked seem that bad?"
"Quite the opposite. We're in the middle of winter however, and the cold has been known to affect certain parts of a male's anatomy…"
This had Hermione laughing before throwing her arms around Harry and soundly kissing him. "Now there's the man I love. We could meet our end tomorrow night and all he's worried about is disappointing me."
"You love me?"
"I have since I was twelve, nearly told you a couple of times too. Apart from my parents, I can't think of anyone else I would have returned to Britain for - far less attempt what I'm suggesting. If we go back in time, it will certainly unbind your core. Your memory we're not sure of."
"We? You and Dobby?"
This again had Hermione in fits of laughter before she could answer. "No Harry, me and Professor Dumbledore. He was one of the most brilliant wizards who ever lived. When that happened to you at your trial, I still had to attend Hogwarts for another year and sit exams before I could legally leave. That was a terrible time for me but Dumbledore took me under his wing. He actually set me on this course, knowing I might need it one day. Being Dumbledore though he would never come straight out and tell you something. He used to leave clues and make it like a treasure hunt, he'd been murdered by the time I figured everything out. He got my parents out of Britain to France and arranged for me to complete the last two years of my magical education there too."
"Can't we just unbind my core? Then you could train me in what I need to know to fight back."
"I asked Dumbledore the exact same thing. He said that for all intents and purposes, the procedure was irreversible. You have been living without magic now for three and a half years, to suddenly flood your body with the stuff by unblocking your core would kill you. It can only be reversed in the first few weeks and the ministry kept you locked away for that, supposedly working on altering your memories."
"It seems to me that this government went to a lot of trouble to take me out the picture, I just can't get my head around why. I'm just plain old Harry Potter, a bit of a bookworm and totally nothing special."
"You are special, Harry, and not just to me. I am a powerful witch and academically in the top one percent. You have power that others could only dream of. Harry Potter defeated this evil wizard as a baby. You repeated that feat when you were eleven, again at twelve and in front of his own followers when you were fourteen. That's when he got smart and used his followers' money and connections to get the government to do what he couldn't. Dumbledore was murdered the following year with the country falling not long after. I was barely out the country a month when it all happened."
"If I banished him all these times, how come this guy is still around?"
"That is something I can't tell you yet, for two very good reasons. There are magical people who can read your thoughts, I need to teach you how to hide them before I can pass on what are effectively state secrets. I was taught by a master and it took a couple of months, that's the sort of timescale we're talking about."
"And the second reason?"
"As I said, we're not sure if doing this will unlock the memory block they performed on you. If that's the case, I don't want to give you any preconceived ideas about the people you're going to meet. I'll always have your back but I want you to be Harry, be who you are now, not someone me or anyone else tries to mould you into. I love you, Harry, my best friend who I'm hoping will be so much more. Those are my motives, plain, simple and right upfront. Others that you will meet won't be so clear or obvious."
Harry thought carefully for a moment before answering. "If we do this, and I mean if, there is a condition that is simply non-negotiable."
Hermione waited to hear this condition so Harry laid it out for her. "If we manage to go all 'back to the future', Miss Hermione Granger must give me her solemn promise that she will be my girlfriend if and when we get there."
She leaned in and tenderly kissed him. "Miss Hermione Granger promises to be Harry Potter's girlfriend now, in the future and even in the past - you're never getting away from me again. Does this mean you believe me now?"
"I can't lie to my girlfriend and say yes. The way I figure it we will either end up in the past and be a couple, with me being a wizard thrown in, or I get to spend tomorrow evening with a naked beautiful but very cold woman. Getting warm together when it doesn't work could be a lot of fun. I can't see a downside to this so I'm in."
Hermione wanted to snog his brains out for that but needed to tell him about the very real possibility of a downside. "When I start the ritual, a snatch squad will be dispatched. If they get through to us before the ritual completes... I will kill myself before I let them take me, it really is the better option."
Wrapping her in his arms, Harry tried to sum up their position. "I get that it's dangerous, I also get this is the route you want us to take. Don't ask me to explain it but I have an incredible amount of trust in you, confidence too. You won't lead me wrong..."
He never got to say anymore as Hermione pushed Harry back on the bed and kissed him with everything she had. Their hands were roving and she was nibbling his ear before whispering. "Stay with me tonight."
"What? You mean?"
"I don't have anything..."
"Harry, tomorrow night we will either be traveling back in time or dead. It's good you were thinking responsibly but we don't need to worry about protection tonight."
"Hermione, I've never done this before..."
She kissed away his embarrassment. "Neither have I. We always worked things out together before, this will just be the same." It was then her turn to be embarrassed as she asked a question that had fuelled her more erotic fantasies since Hermione was old enough to have them. "Can you still talk to snakes?"
It was much later when a very satisfied Hermione was snuggling into her now sleeping Harry that she was able to think about what had happened earlier.
One glance across that pub to see him sitting there already made her trip worthwhile. Even if he later told her she was a nutter and to go and get lost, she would at least have gotten to say goodbye - and perhaps be able to move on with the rest of her life. Just simply touching his hand reignited all the old feelings she'd tried to convince herself was just a crush on a friend. There could be no denying it any longer, she was hopelessly in love with Harry.
That he didn't really believe her story was always going to be the case. Harry being honest about it yet willing to give her the benefit of the doubt just melted her heart. When he held her in his arms, Hermione felt safe for the first time since leaving France. Harry and her spending the night together in the same hotel room was again always part of her plan. Both of them ending up naked in the bed wasn't, or at least she didn't think so. Then again, she could easily have specified a room with twin beds but didn't. Perhaps it was more in hope than anything else, all she knew was every hope she ever had was surpassed tonight.
She gently moved his hair to see his scar, a scar that was certainly lighter. Dumbledore had given her all the information he had on horcruxes, including his suspicions about Harry. His best guess was that Harry having his magic bound would slowly starve any horcrux behind that scar, it having significantly faded appeared to confirm that guess.
Hermione was anything but stupid. She could see Dumbledore was trying to lead her down a certain path, a path he expected her to then take Harry along. Even from tonight, Hermione could tell whatever the ministry had done to him hadn't changed who Harry was. Yes he'd grown and matured but Hermione loved the man her Harry had become just as much as she loved the young wizard he once was. Thinking of him as her Harry saw Hermione place a featherlight kiss on his lips.
"Mmmm. I was having a wonderful dream until you woke me. Now I know I wasn't dreaming and my beautiful guardian angel is actually here in my arms. Whatever happens tomorrow, I'm with you all the way."
"Than you, Harry. Tomorrow you need to practice writing symbols on me, we need to do that for the ritual..."
"It's always the quiet ones." As Harry drew Hermione to him again, she wasn't quiet for long.
Harry had been dressed for an evening out at the pub, not for a winter's night traipse through Wiltshire. Hermione insisted he bought a thick jumper and heavy jacket, something he was now very grateful for. The flat countryside offered little in the way of protection from those icy December winds that had both of them snuggling into their protective clothing to preserve whatever warmth they could. Being naked together under that duvet in the hotel had been wonderful, this would be brutal.
Stepping between two stones of the monolithic monument, both noticed a table set where a column offered at least some protection from the biting wind.
"Let me guess, your friend, Dobby."
"Our friend, Harry, and we'll struggle to ever find a better one."
Having already talked Harry through the procedure step by step, neither hesitated now. Hermione cut the palm of her hand with the silver ritual knife, allowing her blood to spill into the waiting bowl. Harry was soon following her example, they needed this mixture because Harry's blood contained no magic.
This was Hermione's greatest fear, that she wouldn't be powerful enough to take them both back. That's why they were on this site on one of the most magical nights of the year, Hermione needed all the help she could get. She was still in school at the Summer Solstice, so that was out. Halloween was another magically powerful night, though historically not a good time for Harry. Voldemort's ministry dramatically amping up their search for Harry forced her hand, it had to be tonight.
As she painted specific ancient runes onto rune stones with their blood mixture, they would disappear off the table and Hermione was confident Dobby would place them precisely where they needed to be. That task done, it was time to disrobe.
When a warm blanket appeared at each of their feet, Harry couldn't help himself. "Dobby my friend - you are the absolute best!"
Hermione draped hers over her shoulders and couldn't help but smile. "You just made his year." Opening her arms wide gave Harry access to the places he needed to paint while the blanket still offered some protection from the elements. Harry then copied her pose, thankful Hermione was considerably quicker than him at this art.
Dropping their blankets beside the table, there was only one question left to ask. "Are you ready, love?"
"It's not fair, Hermione. My bits are shrivelled into nothing while I could hang my new jacket off a couple of yours."
She appreciated his attempt at humour and tried to return it as they walked over to where they needed to perform the ritual. "I was introduced to your bits last night, Harry. I was very impressed, and that's how I'll choose to remember them."
They knelt either side of the centre rune stone, Hermione clutching her wand with both hands directly above it. Harry then placed both his hands over hers.
"Time for your flux capacitor to do its stuff."
Hermione so wanted to kiss him for the trust and confidence he was displaying in her but Harry was right, it was time to power up the ritual.
As Hermione began to chant, Harry felt every hair on his body stand on end. A group of blue lights shot from the centre stone, connecting with all the others. Soon an umbrella of pure energy surrounded them. He could see the strain on Hermione's face and clasped her hands tighter in support. Harry was mesmerised as the symbols he'd so carefully painted on Hermione began to glow and pulse in time with her heartbeat.
His attention was drawn away from that wondrous sight by the spectacle of three people appearing out of thin air. They began to attack their protective umbrella with what must be magic but it thankfully held. Then something even stranger happened. Yoda appeared and used the force to blast their trio of attackers right out of Stonehenge, though the one that hit his head off the massive column that was now glowing too might not be getting back up.
Harry's last thought was, "shit, magic is real!" before an ear splitting scream from Hermione heralded a loud crack he'd previously only associated with a severe lighting storm. He was disorientated but held on to Hermione's hands as if his life depended on it, Harry was then literally holding on for his life.
Harry's arms were locked around the broad neck of a creature that was obviously trying to throw him off. He looked down at the carnage of what had once been a bathroom and saw the little girl standing there, Harry looked closer and recognised it was his Hermione. She had her wand out and the creature's club shot from its hand, only to return with even greater velocity and smack it squarely in the loincloth. As the massive creature sank to its knees before collapsing on the floor, Harry was able to let go and gently slide down its back.
He was still disorientated however and unable to stand. Harry soon found this version of Hermione sitting beside him, he offered no resistance as she lowered his head onto her lap.
"Hey Granger, get away from him. This was all your fault..."
Even lying there dizzy and with his eyes closed, Harry was never going to stand for that. "Hey, I don't know who you are but no one talks to my girlfriend like that. Apologise or I'll kick your arse. Hermione, why is my voice so squeaky?"
She didn't get time to answer before Professor McGonagall burst into the room, closely followed by Snape and Quirrell.
"What on earth were you thinking of?"
McGonagall shouting at them saw Harry open his eyes. Taking in the scene that greeted him, he then sought an answer from the girl whose lap he was still resting on. "Hermione, please tell me it's Halloween?"
"Thank god for that. Wicked costumes, by the way, you three. Have to say though, the guy in the Hulk suit has all of you beat."