Who Will Fill a Coward's Grave

A/N Sorry this is a bit later than I planned, was on a wee holiday with my better half - no writing was allowed. My wife and I have been together since our very early teens, with everyone of course telling us we were far too young. Last week we celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary, hence the holiday - and the no writing!

Chapter 4 - A Prophecy Told

Ron was first to react, quickly making his way over to the entering trio. "Hermione, I don't really know what to say. Sorry just doesn't seem to be enough."

Hermione had a now blushing Ron in a hug, tears once more running down her cheeks. Not knowing how to cope with a crying Hermione, Ron turned his attention onto Harry. "Glad you were there, mate."

Harry just nodded as he took Hermione back into his arms - just before Mrs Weasley arrived. With her arms around the hugging couple, Molly was in full smothering mode.

"Oh my dear, we're all so sorry for your loss. You're going to have to leave the kitchen however as we're about to have an Order meeting. I brought some sandwiches so you children could go somewhere and chat..."

His arms tightening around Hermione, Harry stared straight at the woman. "Mrs Weasley, what age were Ron and I when we saved Ginny?"

If Harry had drawn back and smacked Molly one, the effect on the crowded room couldn't have been any more pronounced. He noticed Arthur move to wrap his arms around Ginny, almost as if to reassure himself his daughter was still with them. Harry's question also had Molly taking a few steps back. Although she now had the complexion of a bottle of milk, after being reminded of the day she almost lost two of her children, Molly was a tough witch. She wasn't about to have her opinion publicly challenged by the teenage wizard in front of her.

"That doesn't change the fact you're still only fourteen. You need to leave this to the adults..."

Using the same calmness that served him well last night, Harry then proceeded to use logic to destroy her argument. "Ron and I took an adult with us to save Ginny. That 'adult' tried to leave us all down there to die - while he got a new bestseller out of our deaths. Last night, I waited on the adult who was supposed to be guarding us taking action - we just buried a good man because I waited. We have a returned Voldemort who wants everyone in this room dead, and a powerfully corrupt Minister of Magic who would throw all of us in Azkaban - but only if he didn't have a dementor with him at the time."

Not being able to contain himself any longer, the sarcasm was dripping from every syllable of Severus' comment. "So you think you know better than everyone in this room now? Potter, your arrogance is astonishing."

The expected explosion never came, a respectful Harry calmly answered Snape. "Professor, I would be the first to put my hand up to admit the amount I don't know is astonishing. There are people in this room, yourself included, with a far greater understanding of what is happening around us - and what we need to do to change things for the better. I would love to go and spend time with my friends, time spent just being a teenager. Whether people in here like it or not that just can't happen. Time and time again, Voldemort has come after me. Now he's coming after my friends, I can't keep relying on luck to save me and them. I need to be better, I need to be more prepared, then next time we might not have to bury any of ours."

Looking directly at Snape, Harry tried to reach the man behind the scowl. "Professor, from the moment I met Draco his greatest ambition was to be just like his father. Lucius Malfoy was a death eater, one who turned up in Crawley with the intention of taking my fifteen year old girlfriend to Voldemort. Her parents were only muggles, not worth their consideration, they were simply to be dealt with. Lucius took his son on that mission, a mission Draco was clearly looking forward too. Had I stunned both of them, Fudge would have seen the Malfoys were cleared of any wrongdoing - and I would probably still have ended up sentenced to Azkaban."

Now talking to the entire room, Harry made his point. "That is what we're up against here, a corrupt system where the death eaters use their positions and gold to help make the rules. These are the same rules they know they can break whenever it suits them, their position and gold again enough to protect them from justice. That is why I need help with training, to fight against all of that. That is the only way we're ever going to win this war, because this is a war. I've witnessed two innocent casualties of this war murdered in the last couple of weeks, it's time to fight back."

There were well over twenty people in that room yet the shock Harry's remark caused resulted in total silence. It was Dumbledore who finally broke that silence, horrified at what he was hearing here. "Surely, Harry, you're not implying we start killing?"

"This is war, Sir. In war it's kill or be killed. When it's down to them or us, that's not a hard choice to make. Does anyone here think Emma, Hermione or me would have survived last night had half-a-dozen death eaters appeared in the Grangers' garden, rather than just the two Malfoys? If we let them choose where and when the battles will take place, then we've already lost."

Snape again snarled out a question. "So you see yourself as judge, jury and executioner?"

Seeing what he was doing here was working, Harry again kept his cool. The best way to be taken seriously here was not to set off on some teenage rant at the world. "No professor, again I have neither the knowledge or experience to make those decisions. There are people in this room who do though, and that knowledge and experience will be telling them what's coming next. You know who the guilty are. You also know, under the current system, they will never be punished. Lucius Malfoy was at the Grangers, in full Death Eater garb, yet Fudge declared he was innocent. Just like he declared Voldemort couldn't be back, and we're all powerless to do anything about it. Pick the targets and train me to take those targets out, then we will at the very least make a difference."

Apparently Albus only thought he was horrified before. Hearing that Harry was willing to kill people just took his horror to a whole new level. "You would deliberately set out to murder people?"

Hermione had gotten herself back together and decided it was time to enter the fray, there was never any doubt which side she would be supporting. Still with Harry's arms around her, she turned to face Dumbledore. "Professor, do you consider Harry's actions last night to be murder?"

Silence once more descended as everyone awaited Albus' answer. He of course tried to dodge the question. "I believe Harry could have made different choices last night..."

Hermione was having none of that. "I notice you didn't answer the question, or perhaps you did. Tell me, Professor, what is it about Draco Malfoy that makes his life so much more important than that of my fathers? Is it his age? Him being magical, or is it that Draco was a pureblood?"

"Miss Granger, all life is sacred. Taking a life can also change someone, that is all I wished for Harry - to save him from that."

Harry was standing with Hermione in his arms while she leaned back on him, Emma just behind them with her hands on Harry's shoulders. A quick squeeze of Hermione's waist signalled that he would play the next shot in what was becoming a verbal tennis match. The rest of the room were certainly as enthralled as if watching a Wimbledon final, only this one was about life or death matters.

"You're a bit late for that, Professor. I killed a Voldemort possessed Professor Quirrell when only eleven. I asked you after that incident if there was a reason Voldemort kept coming after me, you said I was too young to hear it? Am I still to young?"

With a sigh of resignation, Albus was able to answer honestly. "No, Harry, you're not. I had already made arrangements to sit down with Sirius and Remus later to discuss that very thing. You and Miss Granger's involvement was dependant on how you coped with the burial of Mister Granger. I now have no qualms about inviting you both to that meeting."

It was only hearing the loud commotion from outside the room that Harry noticed neither his godfather nor Remus were currently present. Their absence, and the reason for the disturbance, was soon explained as their supposed guard from last night rushed into the room. His hand was pressed to his face in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the blood gushing from his nose.

A raging Sirius followed closely behind, with Remus trying to stop his best friend committing murder. As Mundungus headed straight for Dumbledore, Sirius loudly made his opinion known.

"That piece of shit not only didn't apologise for leaving his post when guarding my godson last night, he actually wanted compensating for the merchandise Harry destroyed when the piercing curse hit it. He cost a life, nearly lost his own, but all he's concerned about is the little gold he lost. Was he getting paid to guard Harry?"

Finding himself once more in the spotlight, Albus again had to come up with an answer. "Mundungus has been gracious enough to carry out some tasks for me in the past, I of course compensated him for his time…"

This time it was Remus who lost it. "You were getting paid to do a job, but left it when something more profitable came along. How the hell can we trust him not to sell us down the river the instant he gets a better offer?"

Nodding in agreement with his best friend, Sirius took it further. "Albus, I don't want him in my house. Remus is right, he can't be trusted."

Seeing an opening, Harry pounced on it. "We seem to have a lot of trust issues within this group, issues that will see us beaten before we even begin to start fighting back. There has to be trust amongst us, otherwise what's the point? Professor Dumbledore, could the reason Voldemort is after me be shared with this group? Trust has to be started somewhere."

As all eyes were once more on Dumbledore, it was Albus' turn to appear ashen. "Harry, I can't express how much of a bad idea that is. Voldemort doesn't have all the information, and I was intending taking steps to ensure he didn't get his hands on it. This information getting out could literally change the course of this conflict."

It was Hermione who came back at him. "Sir, you say that like it's a bad thing? With you a fugitive, who's left to stand up to Voldemort? Fudge will be no obstacle, Voldemort could take over the country by Christmas. From where we're standing, I struggle to see how things could get much worse?"

Harry backed up his girlfriend. "I am all for denying Voldemort vital information but could you share the portion that Voldemort already knows? That would show a level of trust to the people in this room without jeopardising what you don't want him to discover."

While Albus was contemplating his answer, a deep baritone voice cut right through the argument. "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… That is the reason you are his main target, and why your parents went into hiding. Albus is certain you are the one from the prophecy but hasn't shared the complete version with me."

"Severus, what have you done?"

"Exactly what Potter suggested, showed some trust. You are going to ask for volunteers to guard the entrance to the Hall of Prophecies, without disclosing what is being guarded or why. If the Dark Lord comes for that prophecy, those people's lives will be on the line. They need to know why they're there, and then make that risky decision for themselves. It's already clear Fletcher here is not suitable for guard duty…" Severus was interrupted by a stunning spell shooting past him and striking Dung. Sirius then justified his actions to the rest of the room.

"He would have that news spread all around the country by the end of the week."

Looking up at Harry and getting a smile of agreement, Hermione then added her tuppence worth. "Sirius, that might be a good thing. Fudge will have declared Harry and Professor Dumbledore fugitives by now…"

Minerva confirmed that to be true, and that Amelia Bones had resigned from her position too.

Hermione's smile contained no joy, it was almost predatory. "Fudge has lost his biggest backer in Malfoy. We heard him try to spin the story to make both Malfoys seem nothing more than innocent victims, with Harry and Professor Dumbledore now wanted criminals. News of this prophecy can be spread, leaving our Minister of Magic without a scapegoat, or a saviour, when Voldemort eventually makes his move."

Harry then really stirred the pot. "I'm actually glad neither of us are going back to Hogwarts. Without Professor Dumbledore there, the castle will be as inviting a target as the ministry."

Albus of course instantly proclaimed Hogwarts would be safe, Harry calmly refuted that claim.

"Our first year, Voldemort taught there for a full year - possessing Professor Quirrell. Second year he was back, possessing a student and controlling a basilisk. Last year we had one of his most fanatical Death Eaters polyjuced as Professor Moody, sorry Professor."

Moody was standing back and enjoying this. Like Black, he thought Albus' decision to have Dung guarding the lad was a ludicrous one. He decided to declare what side of the argument he agreed with.

"Since I was never actually your professor, lad, just call me Moody. I would certainly like to be involved in any training you're looking for, and help you with any missions."

Turning to face Emma, Hermione started pleading. "Mum, I want to do this training too. Can I?"

Bending and kissing her daughter's forehead, Emma never could resist Hermione when she really wanted something. She didn't want to give in too easily though. "I want to know more about this training before I say yes. I also want it understood I'm only saying yes to the training. I couldn't lose you too. You, and Harry, need to be safe."

There was far too much going on here outwith his control, Albus wasn't happy. "No one has agreed to anything here."

Harry remaining calm was winning arguments for him, he kept doing what was working. It was a perfectly poised Harry who dropped a bomb into the middle of the room. "Professor, I actually don't need your permission to do anything. I will have a talk with Sirius, Emma and Hermione - you're welcome at that talk too, Remus."

Moody was almost chuckling as this skinny, dark-haired lad had Albus all in a tizzy. He also noticed Molly glaring at her own lads. three of them seemed ready to volunteer for training too, only their mother's scowl was keeping them from asking.

Noticing that Albus was getting annoyed, Harry's next barb deflated Dumbledore. "If you have a plan that sees Hermione and I living long and happy lives, providing Emma with grandchildren to spoil, this entire conversation can be classed as irrelevant."

The Granger ladies were not the only ones who let out audible gasps at hearing that, they were the only ones whose opinions mattered to Harry though. He was looking at them while continuing to speak to Albus. "You offer me that, I will bite your arm off right up to your shoulder blade. You can't offer that though, you can't keep us safe - even in the castle."

Returning his full attention to the headmaster, Harry laid it all out. "I really want to work with you, listen to your advice, but I will not blindly follow anyone. If I make mistakes, they will be my own - and hopefully I can learn from them. At the moment all I've got is the knowledge that I don't know enough but need to fight back. I hope the people in this room can help me refine that need into some kind of plan."

"Hey kiddo, you know Remus and me are already in for all of that. I'm already bored sitting around this mausoleum - and you've met my mother's painting. Albus, everyone is here because they want to fight back against Voldemort. Whether that's gathering information, passing on knowledge or doing the actual fighting, one thing is certain - we have to become a unit. Everyone in this room respects your knowledge and skill, however that doesn't make you our commander that we should blindly follow orders from. If you have things needing done, things we need to know, put it out there and ask for volunteers."

This was a step too far for Molly. "Sirius Black, you can't seriously be considering letting children train to fight Death Eaters? Look around this room, very few of us are fighters, what are we supposed to do?"

After quoting Burns so successfully at her father's burial, Hermione once more dipped into her father's teachings to sum up what was happening here. This time though she didn't try for the Scot's version, rather converted Burns' verse into English.

"Who will be a traitor knave? Who will fill a coward's grave? Who's so base as to be a slave? Let him turn, and flee."

Minerva had of course recognised the Robert Burns poem recited at Dan's burial, she had just been surprised Hermione had known it - and used "Epitaph on a Friend' to such effect. Here though, 'Scots Wha Hae' sent a shiver down her spine. She then explain the concept behind the verse to the rest of the room, the vast majority of whom were looking at the girl in puzzlement.

"Miss Granger's words are Robert Burns' version of a speech made to his troops by Robert the Bruce - just before the battle of Bannockburn. He was basically saying to them they could go home - and might be allowed to live under English rule - or stand and fight for what they believed in. This is a choice faced by all of us in this room today. Yes, most of us could offer no resistance and probably survive under Voldemort's rule - I refuse to call that living. Our other choice is a decision to stand and fight with everything we have, for all we hold dear. As Sirius said, that fighting will take many forms but, if everyone plays to their strengths, I thing we have a chance. I already know I will fight, a McGonagall could do no less. In all of this only one thing is certain, if we do nothing then Voldemort has already won."

As everyone contemplated their reactions to what they'd heard here today, Albus took out his wand and revived Dung. That same wand soon had Dung's nose fixed before Albus helped him up.

"With emotions running so high, I think you should give today's meeting a miss. Have a few drinks on me for your troubles." The few gold coins Albus offered disappeared with amazing speed into Dung's pocket before the cagy wizard then did the same to Grimmauld Place.

As Sirius appeared ready to start shouting at Albus, the old wizard held up his hand. "If we want the news that Harry here is the prophesied one to spread, I can't think of a more effective method of doing so than Mundungus Fletcher in a pub. His voice will get louder with every drink he takes. Now, we came here to have a meeting. Can I suggest we start? Harry, you and Hermione are welcome to stay. Anyone younger than seventeen can stay - with their guardian's permission."

After just having avoiding a war with Molly, Albus spoke to Emma as the miffed younger redheads were being marshalled out the room by their mother.

"Mrs Granger, you have the sympathies of everyone in this room. You are also welcome to stay, and anything you have to say will certainly be considered. As has been continually said, we all need to work together to come out the other side of this." With all the revelations that had been passed on to Order members, Albus was going to have to work harder to get people doing what he wanted to do. Then again, it wasn't like he was going to be busy doing anything else.

-oOoOo-

The Dark Lord wasn't sure how to react at hearing reports of what had transpired at Potter's mudblood's muggle home. That two Malfoys couldn't kidnap a mudblood from her muggle parents was embarrassing - and would have seen both of them severely punished at the end of his wand had Potter not deprived him off that pleasure.

That Potter had chosen to kill, rather than stun, actually surprised Voldemort. He thought Dumbledore would have his golden child well indoctrinated into his 'everyone can be redeemed' philosophy by now. What to do about Dumbledore also vexed the Dark Lord. With any ordinary wizard, losing all their positions of power and becoming a wanted criminal would take them completely off the game board. Dumbledore was not an ordinary wizard however, and would still be doing his best to thwart whatever moves he ordered his Death Eaters to make.

The biggest puzzle for the Dark Lord though was the current Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. His actions last night made no sense. Yes he could see the wizard wanting to protect his friend, and main benefactor, Lucius Malfoy, but he was already dead. There would be no more Malfoy gold bolstering Fudge, so why take those actions?

Anyone who knew the facts, and there were far too many people present last night for those facts not to become known, could easily see their Minister of Magic had made a horrendous mistake. In what must eventually prove a futile attempt to keep knowledge of the Dark Lord's return out of the public domain, the Minister of Magic had just made outlaws of the two people that same public would look to for a degree of protection from Lord Voldemort.

Was this merely a temper tantrum, caused by Fudge being faced with losing all that Malfoy gold, or was their some deeper message here? Was he so desperate to hold onto the position of Minister that he was prepared to serve as a puppet under Lord Voldemort's rule? That outcome had some serious advantages and really had to be explored.

His initial plan called for bolstering his forces under the noses of the ministry, while quietly dispatching anyone in that institution who could be the slightest threat to his eventual take-over of Britain. Lord Voldemort was going to have to tweak that plan slightly so a personal meeting with the Minister of Magic could be arranged. That meeting would have one of two outcomes. Either Cornelius Fudge would call him master, or the country would be left looking for a new Minister of Magic.

-oOoOo-

Harry, Hermione and Emma were sitting in their new lounge, resting and contemplating what had been a long, harrowing day for all three of them.

"I can't believe that little friend of yours can just create rooms, and then fill it with our belongings. He also makes the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted."

Sipping his own mug of that wonderful elixir, Harry agreed with Emma. "Dobby has been a godsend. That I'm heir apparent to the house of Black allows him to alter the house to better suit our needs."

Even with four years of magical education behind her, Hermione too was in awe of the house elf. "Making a sitting room between our bedrooms was fantastic. To then decorate it similar to our home, and put our furniture in here is… I haven't the words to thank Dobby enough."

"Just knowing he pleased both of you will be enough for Dobby, that's when he's at his happiest. We could all do with some of that." Harry was looking at both Granger ladies as he made that remark, Emma actually smiled as Hermione lent her head on her boyfriend's shoulder. It had been rather a traumatic day for Harry too.

"How are you coping, after hearing all that today?"

Harry's free arm slipped around Hermione as he thought about how to answer Emma's question. "I'm actually okay. Voldemort was always coming after me, knowing why doesn't really change that. Well, not for me at least…"

Hermione quickly confirmed it made no difference to her either. This had Harry pecking her on the forehead before continuing. "I would've liked a chance to talk with Ron after the first meeting broke up but Molly seemed worried we would tell him about anything discussed in there. She couldn't wait to drag them into the fireplace and floo home."

Emma had been allowed into both meetings, something that seemed to irritate Molly as well, and gave her a good reading of the Weasley situation. "I think the only time Molly got her own way today was when she hustled her children out before the Order meeting started. Arthur volunteering to help guard that prophecy appeared to be the last straw for her. She was fizzing mad as she dragged your friends away. I think Arthur will be in for a bollocking tonight." Emma started off giggling but it soon changed to sobs as her thoughts turned to Dan.

Hermione was over like a shot, sitting on the arm of her mother's chair and trying to offer some comfort. Seeing Harry was holding back, both of them signalled for him to come over too and join them. Taking the other wing of the chair as a seat, Emma then had an arm around each of them.

"I keep expecting Dan to walk in that door, and then it hits me he'll never do that again. Harry, I can understand your anger over this but I hope that isn't what's set you down the path you're taking? You said yourself, Dan would much prefer you being around to take care of Hermione rather than setting off looking for revenge. I also heard you mention grandchildren today. You are both far too young for that so you're going to have to be with us for many years to come."

After a moment to make sure Hermione knew he'd seen her deep blush at that remark, Harry answered as best he could. "Last night changed all of our lives, that can't be disputed. It nudged me down a path I was already considering. Since that night in the graveyard you both know I haven't been sleeping well. This has given me a lot of quiet time to consider my life, and what I want to do with it. Since returning to a world I knew nothing about, I have survived one death-defying ordeal after another. Looking back, luck has played a massive part in both Hermione and I still sitting here. That luck had to run out sometime, I'm sorrier than I can say it picked last night to do it. I need to learn how to be better at so many things so I'm not as reliant on being lucky."

Emma's arms tightened around both of them as she heard that, her tears still slowly falling. "Harry, we don't blame you for last night. Please don't blame yourself. Without doubt, you saved Hermione and I. I knew Dan better than anybody, he would have settled for that outcome."

While agreeing with her mum's opinion about Harry and her dad, Hermione was sill trying to comfort her. Something else Harry said was also bothering her though. Eventually she had to ask.

"You mean all that time I thought you were brooding, you were trying to come up with a master plan? Why didn't you ask me for help?"

"I didn't have a plan, still don't - more like a few notions of what I need to do. Like when we kissed at the station, my new more-confident inner self was screaming at me it was something I needed to do. I don't know where I got the nerve from but I'm already sure it was my best decision ever."

Losing his smile, Harry then got deadly serious. "Looking Voldemort in the eye is like facing up to total evil. Cedric was a spare he didn't need, there was no hesitation in giving the order to kill a seventeen year old wizard who was no threat to him whatsoever. That was why your verse was so effective before the Order meeting. You either bend to Voldemort's will or he murders you. There is no middle ground, no sitting on the fence, no room for negotiations, serve - or die. I could never serve, his imperius couldn't even make me do what he ordered, so I will fight. I'd already made that decision before last night, and before hearing about any prophecy. That was all I had, Hermione. The events from last night and today have just brought into focus how I can best fight back. There were a couple of aurors in that meeting, add in Moody, Sirius and Remus, and we have a good team around to train us."

"And what about knowing you have to kill Voldemort? Dumbledore seemed pretty clear that's what the prophecy meant."

His girlfriend's question saw Harry shrug his shoulders. "I'm not a great believer in prophecy, neither are you. Had he turned up at your house last night and I had the shot, I wouldn't have hesitated to curse him in the back. I can't even think of him as a man any longer, he looks like something out of a nightmare. Red eyes, no nose, almost reptilian in appearance - I will have no problem taking the shot if the opportunity comes along. I think concentrating on his followers first is the right place to start. The hunters can become the hunted, see how they like it."

This also bothered Emma. "Are you going to be okay with putting yourself forward as the one to do the hunting Harry?"

"Emma, the people I'll be going after will be the worst of the Death Eaters. Murderers, rapists, torturers, arsonists and any other horrors that you can think of. These Death Eaters never paid for their crimes the last time, and now their master is back, they'll pick right up where they left off. You, Hermione, Sirius, Remus, Hagrid - the list of people close to me that Voldemort and his Death Eaters would murder out of hand just keeps growing. You were at the Order meeting today, Dumbledore had no plan for fighting back - none of them did. If I need to be the point of the spear, so be it. This is not for revenge or some Queen and country patriotism. I think this is the best way I can protect those I love. If Dumbledore had a better plan to keep everyone safe I would certainly have listened to it."

While Emma sat with her arms around both of them, Hermione tried to change the subject. Mentioning that there was a library in the house certainly did that. It wasn't much later though that Emma rose to go to bed, telling Hermione not to stay up too late.

When they were alone, both teens cuddled into each other for comfort. "I can't leave my mum too long…" A smile from Harry was all Hermione needed to know he understood. Now they were alone, the question that had burned brightly since earlier today could now be asked.

"Harry, did you mean what you said today about us - or was it just to get a reaction out of Professor Dumbledore?"

"It certainly got a reaction, and left him with nowhere else to go. I think it was so effective because I meant every word of it. I know it's something we should have spoke about first, and sorry for putting it out there without doing so. If you don't feel the same way…"

Seeing the hurt in Harry's face, Hermione thought actions would speak louder than words. Gently placing her hands on Harry's cheeks, she kissed him with all the love she possessed in her body. She then spoke to her now dazed boyfriend.

"You put into words what I've been dreaming about. I know we're young but I also think we're both mature enough to understand this is no summer romance. You mean far too much to me for this to be a fling. It's taken us four years to reach this point, and I really like where we're at now. I have no intention of rushing into anything we're not ready for but I think we can both see this working for many years to come."

"I'm only sorry it saw the Malfoys turning up at your door…"

"Harry, Draco Malfoy hated me from the minute we met. After you, I was probably top of his list of people he wanted dead. Killing my parents in front of me before dragging me off to Voldemort must have been a dream come true for the blond bastard. Mum was right, my dad would have gladly sacrificed himself to see both of us escape that fate. Neither Malfoy will ever hurt anyone again…"

Holding his girlfriend as she cried, Harry could only make sure she knew he was there for her. Getting herself back under control, Hermione asked Harry's opinion on something else that had bothered her today.

"Why do you think Snape said what he did? I don't think Dumbledore would have told the others about the prophecy."

"Dumbledore had no intention of letting that slip, Snape forced his hand. Snape puts his life on the line every time he goes anywhere near Voldemort, that is not an exaggeration. He must have been as pissed off as us that Dumbledore had no plan for going forward. I don't think we'll ever reach the stage where we like one another but I'll certainly work with him to bring Voldemort down. I think he probably reached the same conclusion. The enemy of my enemy kinda thing. Dumbledore eventually saw the way things were going and just went with it, he would have lost too many people otherwise. He also knew the prophecy, and that I have more options than just to blindly follow whatever path he choses for me."

There was something he needed to say, knowing his girlfriend wasn't going to like it. "Hermione, this training is going to be brutal…"

Having been expecting something like this, Hermione just smiled at him. "Don't worry, Harry. I won't let Sirius tease you too much if you can't keep up with me." She kissed him, declaring the subject was now closed. A few more kisses and Hermione left to join her mother.

Harry was standing shaking his head at how easily Hermione had circumnavigated his objections, before he had a chance to air those objections too! He called for Dobby and the little elf was instantly by his side.

"Nothing will get passed Dobby, Harry Potter needn't worry."

"Am I that obvious that everyone knows what I'm going to say?" Harry's smile was greeted by Dobby's megawatt variety. He was very pleased to have anticipated his master's needs.

"Dobby, while guarding Hermione and Emma is your top priority, there has to be time during the day when you can rest. We can't have you working yourself into bad health. You must look after yourself too."

Dobby could only nod in agreement, his voice wouldn't work at the moment. Never before had anyone taken Dobby's health into consideration. Harry Potter was an even greater wizard than Dobby had thought, and Dobby was now working for this great wizard. Things were certainly changed for the better in Dobby's life.

-oOoOo-

The older he got, the less sleep Albus found he needed. That was why he was browsing through the Black family library while everyone else in the house slept. That the events of today kept running through his head and would have prevented sleep anyway was immaterial.

The first revelation that had set him back on his heels was Severus telling everyone the prophecy, or at least the part he knew. Looking back, Albus now thought it was the right thing to do. Harry was instantly accepted into the Order meeting and everyone became more focused on the tasks in hand. The prophecy, and Harry's willingness to fight, seemed to give them hope - something Albus hadn't considered.

Then again, Harry's quip about having children with Hermione certainly gave Albus hope. He had worried Harry was an angry young man who was ready to kill for revenge. It wasn't a massive step from there to becoming a dark lord, a pitfall Albus would need to be careful Harry didn't slip into. Harry's new relationship with Hermione appeared to cement the close bond that had undoubtably already existed between the pair - and Ronald Weasley.

Molly's interference there could see Ronald losing his two best friends, especially with the couple not returning to Hogwarts. The more ties Harry had to family and friends, the less chance there was of him being tempted by the dark. Albus intended to carefully monitor the situation, and perhaps have a quiet word with Arthur about it next time they met. Having a 'quiet word' with Molly was a misnomer, and something Albus would happily leave to her husband.