Yes, I'm back with a new story. Sorry to all my regular readers, the plot bunnies won't leave me alone. I do have the next chapter of Harmony Bound in the works, but took a detour for this brief story. My last plot bunny went 380k words, so I'm happy to report this one will only be a bit over 8k. It will have three chapters total, with sixty percent of the story being in the second chapter and the third being a brief epilogue. This first chapter is to prepare for the main action in the second. Also, this is smut free (shocking). Hope you enjoy. Now, I promise to return to my other longer stories.
Chapter 1 – Preparing for Summer
Hermione sat in the Gryffindor common room and opened her book on Magic Arts of the Norse. It was a new acquisition that she had ordered from Flourish and Blotts by owl the day after she left the hospital wing and it had just arrived the previous day. She was hoping to understand more about the curse that Dolohov had used on her since Kingsley had advised that it was Norse in origin. As interesting as the subject was, she found it hard to focus. It was still early and she was the first person to reach the common room on the morning of the Hogwarts Express departure. Normally she would have welcomed the quiet and had no problem immersing herself in the book, but now her thoughts strayed over the events of the previous week.
Exactly one week ago she had woken in the hospital wing after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries the previous evening. When she had first gained consciousness, everything was fuzzy. Well, except for one thing. Harry was waiting by her bed and she immediately remembered the last moments at the end of the battle. She had been fighting to stay awake with pain coursing through her body. Harry had just thrown off Voldemort's attempt to possess him and the dark lord had fled the Ministry. Immediately after, Harry had run back to her, literally knocking others aside. His composure had failed at that moment, but it wasn't Sirius' name that he called, it was hers. He had gathered her in his arms and begged her to not leave him. Then he had confessed his love as he rocked her and petted her hair. All the pain had momentarily fled her body as Hermione heard the words she had dreamed about for a couple of years. After the brief euphoria, the pain came back as even more of a shock and she had managed to return the three simple words just moments before she finally lost consciousness.
Twelve hours later, she woke to find him waiting by her hospital bed. She wondered if it had been a dream, but Harry had answered that concern by leaning over to gently kiss her and whispering his love repeatedly while clutching her hand. She had croaked out her own affirmative response and done her best to kiss him back. Then Madam Pomfrey appeared and put an end to that by administering a new round of potions. Over the next day and a half, her treatment continued and Harry only left once to talk to the headmaster. She was discharged two days after the battle and sent back to the dorms with Harry's arm firmly around her.
The following day she had nothing planned except to spend time with Harry. The younger classes were still finishing tests, but the OWL and NEWT students had their tests done. Most were happy to spend the day lazily in the sun by the lake. Hermione and Harry made it there eventually, but first he had taken her and Ron to the Room of Requirement and told them the prophecy that Dumbledore had finally confessed. She was infuriated at the headmaster and was still mad now, a week later. As if Harry didn't have enough to deal with after losing Sirius. For a while though she set her concerns aside and they enjoyed a lazy day. Still, while she laid on a blanket by the lake, using Harry as a pillow, her brain was busy working through a number of problems.
The first problem was Harry's summer. After everything he had been through, there was no way Harry could return to the Dursleys. That evening Hermione had sent a fast owl home to her parents. The following afternoon, she received their permission and immediately made her way to the headmaster's office.
Hermione's reverie was interrupted briefly as two second year girls entered the common room. They glanced at her briefly and nodded, but then went to a separate corner to whisper and giggle between themselves as Hermione's memory was sent back to four days earlier…
She had reached the gargoyle that guarded the headmaster's office and realized that she didn't know the password. She decided to try the straightforward approach and just ask to speak to Dumbledore, hoping the stone beast would act as some sort of magical intercom. Whether or not that was the case, it worked and the door was opened to her. Twenty seconds later, she was standing before Dumbledore.
"Good day Miss Granger. How are you feeling? Is there an issue that needs reconciling?"
"I'm doing better each day headmaster. And yes, there is an issue. The Dursleys are the issue. After everything he has endured, Harry can't go back to those horrid people! I sent an owl to my parents and they've agreed to let him come stay for the summer. We have plenty of room."
"Ah, I see. I had surmised something of this sort. I understand that you and Mister Potter are together now as a couple. I have to say that I am not completely surprised. Still, I have concerns greater than young love unfortunately. Harry needs the protection of the wards provided by the last of his mother's blood, namely Petunia Dursley. It is imperative."
"But headmaster, they're horrible to him! They hate magic and they hate him. He's nothing more than a slave to them. Can't you ward my house with different protections? Even the Fidelius. I don't care, I can't bear the thought…"
Hermione's rant was cut short by the headmaster's forced, overly kind voice.
"Now Miss Granger, I am sympathetic about your concerns. While Harry must return to the Dursleys, I don't believe it will need to be the entire summer. I've performed some arithmantic calculations around multiples of seven, which you of course realize is the most powerful magical number. If Harry stays 21 days at the Dursleys, his protection should be sufficient. At that point, he can leave to stay with your family. Also, before you bring up further concerns, I want you to know that I am increasing surveillance charms to a level that the Ministry would not be happy about if they knew I put them in place on a muggle residence. Also, I will personally be speaking to Vernon and Petunia, barring them from assigning Harry chores or tasks and insisting on three full meals a day. I want Harry to have a chance to relax a bit this summer as much as you do. Now, I am sorry, but I cannot accept further objections. This is how it must be."
Hermione was still angry, but she saw that the headmaster was firm and his usual twinkle was gone. She didn't like it, but three weeks was better than a whole summer. She gave the headmaster a nod and muttered a non-descript 'thanks' before leaving his office.
Hermione's musing were interrupted and brought back to the present as Lavender and Parvati appeared. They came over and talked briefly, confirming the plans that Hermione had put in place the day following her meeting with the headmaster, now just two days past. She talked to her dorm mates briefly and they left her to resume her solitary thoughts, which now drifted back to the day following the meeting with Dumbledore. After she had left his office, a plan had started to form and she had spent most of the rest of the day putting the pieces together. The magic of the wards on Privet Drive only needed Harry to be officially staying there. That didn't mean he needed to be on the premises all day. With that in mind, that night she started to implement the plan…
It was just after dinner and everyone was sauntering out of the dining hall. A cluster of Gryffindors were together, including the five who had gone to the Department of Mysteries together. Luna was a lone Ravenclaw in the mix, but she was part of the elite group of six and was more than welcome. No other lions would dare argue with the five Gryffindor heroes from that battle. As they left the hall, Hermione declared that she needed to visit the loo and grabbed Ginny and Luna, pulling them along with her. As soon as they were in the loo, Hermione checked and found no one else was in the stalls. Then she warded and locked the door, causing her friends to raise their eyebrows. She quickly outlined the plan that she had been formulating since her meeting with the headmaster that morning. Both Luna and Ginny listened and Luna accepted with her usual dreaminess, while Ginny grew contemplative before answering.
"I like the idea Hermione and I'm in, but I think we need to take this to another level. Really give it to the Dursleys. I think you need more volunteers though. You should call together all the girls of the DA. I'll help get the word out. Maybe we should meet in the Room of Requirement in the morning. Say at nine, after breakfast? Get as many of the girls as possible. I think I need to send an owl to my brothers for some goodies. We may not be able to use magic, but that doesn't mean we can't use a few magical 'toys' around the Dursleys. Nothing too dangerous! I see that look. Not that they wouldn't deserve it. No, I think Fred and George would disown me if I didn't give them a chance to get in on this. What do you think Luna? Up for recruiting the girls?"
"Sure Ginny. We may even get enough to attract a fleet of nargles and that would bring in the humdinger queen. The Dursleys will hate having her build a hive in their house."
Ginny decided to ignore that and just nodded, turning back to Hermione.
"Alright, I guess it's worth a try. If we get more though, I'll need to organize it somehow. I'll think on that tonight. So, tomorrow at nine."
The next morning after breakfast, it took a bit for Hermione to shake off Ron and Harry, but Neville amazingly seemed to realize something was up and distracted them with Quidditch talk. At five minutes until the hour, Hermione and Ginny opened the room together. Lavender and Parvati showed next, followed by Luna, Padma and most of the rest of the girls of the DA. Included in the mix were six and seventh years, who would have the added advantage of being of age and able to use magic. Once everyone was together, Hermione presented her idea.
"Hi everyone. Thanks for coming. I don't know how much you've heard, but the purpose of this meeting is to help Harry with a personal matter. Everyone here has followed his lead when it comes to fighting, now we need to help him at home. Namely, his aunt and uncle's home. Some of you know a bit about his family, but I'll give some background for those that don't. When Harry's parents were killed, Dumbledore placed him with his mother's last living relative, her sister Petunia Dursley. This was done to invoke some old magic put in place by his mother's sacrifice for him. Well, the Dursleys are the worst sort of muggles. They hate magic and they hate Harry. His life with them had been something you wouldn't believe if you read about it. Well, you all know a bit about what happened almost a week ago and the battle. Harry's been through more than most adult wizards and he's suffering. Still, Dumbledore insists he has to go back to the Dursleys. Thankfully, it's only for 21 days. Dumbledore is going to make sure he gets food regularly and doesn't have to do chores all day, but I want to do more. I want to torture the Dursleys. They don't like magic or magical people. He also has a cousin who is his age and has bullied him his whole life. My goal is to overwhelm the Dursleys with magical visitors and make his cousin Dudley jealous in the process. For those of you who are of age, if you're in on this, a few displays of harmless magic wouldn't hurt either. What I propose is that each of us makes occasional visits to see him. I'll be visiting the most, but I'd like him to get at least two visits a day. You can go in pairs also. I'm not telling Harry, because I want it to be a surprise. This is voluntary of course and will only require a bit of your time over the next three weeks as you can. I located a pub two kilometers from the house that has a floo. Or you can take the Knight Bus there. Now who's interested?"
Almost all the hands in the room went up. A couple of people already had trips planned immediately after school. A couple others were available for a week, but not after. Once all the volunteers were lined up, Hermione addressed them again.
"Alright, thanks everyone. Now, I know this will take some coordination, so I've created a schedule using a modified protean charm similar to our DA coins. You each will have a copy that ties to all the others. Each has an entry for all the days and space below for you to write in your name and the times of your visits. As soon as you have a plan, please update the schedule so that others can plan and block their times. You'll notice I've already reserved a few. Also, the Weasley twins have contributed a few items to assist our efforts…"
Ginny opened up her bag and began to explain some of what Fred and George had sent. She began passing items out as people wanted them. Then Hermione opened the room for questions and everyone was quite excited with this summer project. Hermione knew that more than one of the girls harbored crushes on Harry, but she was confident of her place in his heart. A few more details were set straight and then the group left the room gradually so that they didn't draw attention.
Hermione's flashback from two days previous ended as Harry and Ron came barreling down the stairs. Harry smiled at her and once again the world around her was made light again. He came over and sat down next to her before then carefully pulling her willingly into his lap. The next half hour was spent in idle talk before the call to exit the castle sent everyone out of the common room as they made their way to the waiting carriages and then on to the Hogwarts Express.