Title: Harry Potter: IronWizard
Rating: PG-13, Adventure
Summary: After the disaster at the end of 5th year, Hermione sees a comic book and decides she can do better than others to keep Harry safe by making him a suit of armor.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter; that's would be someone commonly known as JKR and I'm not her. IronMan (who's barely mentioned) is owned by Marvel Comics. No money is being made from this story.
A/N: After 6 years on my hard drive, here's a story for Hermione fans. Yes, this story is going where you think it is. :) Of all the super-heroes I'm aware of, IronMan seems like the most attainable, if you can come up with a good power source. No having to come from another planet, or have an accident that would kill most people … no, just a really smart guy with the "stones" to go out and help stop the bad guys. I have to use 2 characters to accomplish what Marvel does with 1 person, but hey, you work with what you got. ;) The first draft is complete and weighs in at about 68K-words over 10 medium'ish chapters. I hope you enjoy it - Kevin.)
Hermione Granger stared at her best friend in horror as he told her and their other friend, Ron Weasley, about the prophecy that applied to him - Harry Potter. She just knew something big was up when he pulled them into an empty cabin on the train home and away from their other friends, but not this. If that wasn't bad enough, this was on top of his godfather recently dying.
"Oh, Harry, I'm so sorry!" she told him as she threw her arms around his neck and gave him a hug. "Are you all right?" she asked as she quickly pulled back to check him over, not quite trusting him to give a detailed answer.
Harry looked down as if searching for an answer.
"Yeah, you all right there, mate?" Ron asked him.
Finally, Harry nodded and looked at them both. "I'm fine, or I think I will be soon. I, uh, I really miss Sirius though."
Hermione, who had kept one hand on his shoulder, stepped forward again and gave him another quick hug. "If there's anything we can do, you know you only have to ask."
"Yeah, we're there for you, mate," Ron parroted.
"Thanks," Harry told them sincerely. "Err, you better get back to your patrol. I wanted you to know before we split up for the summer."
Ron softly slapped him on the shoulder in a show of friendship, which made Harry smile, before he opened the door to leave. "We need to finish our rounds, Hermione."
She dug in her robes for a piece of parchment and something to write with. "Go on Ron, I'll catch up as soon as I get a phone number from Harry."
As the red-headed boy left, Harry asked, "Why?"
She gave him an exasperated look at his denseness, which helped to hide her real feelings at the moment. "Because, while Professor Dumbledore hasn't asked us not to write to you this summer, if he does, I want a way to keep in contact with you anyway." She wouldn't let this summer be like last summer.
Harry gave her a smile that warmed her heart and then told her the number, which she scrawled hastily. "If you do call, you should do it during the day. Uncle Vernon won't be home then."
"All right. You still have my number, don't you?" she asked, hoping he did for reasons she wasn't sure she wanted to think about at the moment.
"Yeah, I do," he replied casually. "It's on the inside back cover of my Transfiguration notes from first year."
"And do you know where those are?" she asked, thinking he probably didn't.
"Sure. Bottom right side of my trunk. I did look through them before my OWLS. You know, all those tests we took recently?" he said teasingly and sounding more like his normal self, rather than the stressed young man he was during the telling of the prophecy.
She blushed slightly but enjoyed his teasing, seeing that as a sign that maybe this situation wasn't as bad as she first feared.
The door opened back up and Ron stuck his head in. "Are you coming or not? You said it was important we did this."
"I'm coming," she said as she gave Harry one last look. She knew that there would be no discussing this in front of the others and she had so many questions for him, so many concerns.
Harry gave her a friendly nod and then pushed her gently out the door. He followed them for a short way until he was back at their normal cabin and joined Neville and Luna to wait for her and Ron when they finished with their patrol.
After the patrol and when she and Ron rejoined their friends, she found Harry acting much like his normal self, with only a few mannerisms off. She suspected that she was probably the only one who would notice the difference.
At King's Cross station, she witnessed some people from the Order of the Phoenix giving Harry's relatives a warning. She didn't need divination skills to know that wasn't going to go over well. Harry had given her enough clues about them, and she could see that his uncle, while fearful of Professor Moody, wasn't happy at all.
Suddenly she saw her mother come out of the crowd and hurried over to her, giving her a tight hug. When her mother let go, she looked over at Harry again just in time to see him look her way and give a little wave before he left after his relatives.
"Which one is that one again?" she heard her mother ask.
"That's Harry," she replied.
The one she'd heard so much about in letters, Emma Granger thought with a smile. The young man was turning out nicely, at least as far as outward appearances - although his clothes didn't leave the best of impressions.
When her daughter stood very still and continued to stare after the young man, she started to wonder yet again about how Hermione really felt about Harry; letters home had left a few good clues. "Come on, dear, your father will want to see you when he gets home in a few hours."
Hermione became mobile and she put her trunk on a cart to follow her mother; however, Emma could tell that her daughter was not really there.
The two Grangers loaded the trunk into the boot of their car and pushed the cart into a rack. In the car, Emma put the keys into the ignition but didn't start the car. She looked at her daughter who was looking at her hands in her lap and slowly shaking her head.
"Hermione dear? What's wrong" she asked caringly and put a hand on the girl's shoulder.
That was all it took for Hermione to break out in sobs and turn to her, arms outstretched. Emma pulled the girl to herself as best as she could given they were in the front seat of a car. Hermione scooted over in the seat to get as close as possible. She patted the girl's back and tried to comfort her, despite not having any idea what was going on.
"What's wrong, dear?" she asked again.
Through sniffles, Hermione finally said, "It's so unfair! Harry's godfather was just killed. We all almost got killed at the Ministry over some stupid prophecy orb. And now Harry just found out he has to kill a Dark Lord and he's not ready. He won't be ready for years, but he hasn't got years. And I don't know how to make it better for him!"
The last part sounded the most distressing to her daughter, or so it seemed to the mother's ears, although she was going to find out what Hermione had meant by "almost got killed". "Why do you have to make it all better," she asked, wanting to pull more information after the revelations she'd just heard.
"Because he depends on me to keep him alive. I need…"
Emma wondered what her daughter was thinking but couldn't finish in that last statement. Being a mother and having read all of Hermione's letters at least twice, she could guess and thought she'd probably be correct.
"You need him because you really care for him, don't you?"
Hermione nodded on her shoulder.
"You love him, don't you?"
Hermione started to nod again, then quickly pulled back and looked at her mother as if she couldn't believe she'd been asked that. "W-What?" she sputtered.
Emma ran a caring hand over her daughter's head. "This goes deeper than like, doesn't it?"
"He's my best friend," Hermione said, as if trying to convince them both.
"But you'd like more with him, wouldn't you?" Emma pressed the matter.
"I … I…" Hermione stared at her hands as she wrung them.
"Be honest, Hermione, you deserve that."
After a long moment, Hermione looked up slowly. "I guess I do love him in many ways."
Emma gave her a knowing smile and hugged her again. "I'm glad you've finally admitted it."
"What? You already knew? How?" Hermione was aghast.
Chuckling, Emma told her, "The clues were in your letters, even from your first year when Harry was your first real friend. Even after I started hearing about Ron, you always wrote about Harry more and in more detail. Your word choice gave you away too," the mother said with a smirk.
Hermione blushed as she moved back over to her seat. "I … I never thought it'd happen to me."
"There was no reason for you not to fall in love one day," said Emma wisely as only a mother could. "Shall we go home now?" She started the car, but didn't drive away as Hermione looked lost in thought. "Hermione?"
The girl was looking down and forlorn again, as she had been before the revelation.
At her daughter's sad look, she decided a slight detour might be helpful. "I know, let's go to that book store that's near that place of yours. Maybe we can find something to cheer you up there."
A slight smile finally came over Hermione's face. "That's a lovely idea, thanks Mum."
As they drove out of the car park, Emma asked, "So, what's the problem now?"
Hermione sighed deeply. "Harry's in a lot of trouble because, well, because he was just given a lot of responsibility and I don't know if he can handle it. I mean, I know he could if he had enough time because Harry is very good at handling trouble, but I don't know if he's going to be given enough time, because…" She suddenly stopped and looked at her mother. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"
Emma chuckled. "A little, but I think I understand what you're trying to say. Give it some time, dear, it'll probably work itself out. In the meantime, be a friend to him and support him as you've always done." She watched her daughter nod but silently sit there, thinking it through. There was no doubt in Emma's mind that the girl was trying to solve it all for the boy, and knowing her daughter, Emma let Hermione think as they drove the short distance to the bookstore.
Inside the bookstore, they split and went their separate ways after Emma told her daughter, "Go find something fun." Emma had a fondness for romance novels and headed that way. She noticed that Hermione sort of roamed around.
A few minutes later, Hermione found herself in front of the comic book rack. It didn't take her long to notice that all the superheroes had great figures, even the females, and they all had powers you generally couldn't ever have unless you came from another planet or had something happen that was stranger than magic - real works of fiction she thought. She started to move on when one in particular caught her eye, a man in a red - and what must be metal - suit.
Picking that one up, she flipped through it. It wasn't hard to figure out what he could do in the suit, flying and blasting people were there most obvious. Giving it a moment's thought, she realized she could do all of that to some degree, although she couldn't be hit like he was by the bad guy and live through it; the suit gave him protection for that. Then another thought hit her and raced through her mind causing her to consider it so intently she didn't notice the boy who walked up beside her.
"An oldie but a goodie, you know. You like that one?"
The voice jerked her out of her thoughts. "It's interesting," she said neutrally. When she noticed he was still looking at her, she asked, "Do you know much about him? I mean, are there old issues that show him making his suit?"
The boy chuckled. "Yeah, but we can't afford them," causing Hermione's enthusiasm to deflate. "But if you just want to, you know, see what happened, look to see if they have the compendium."
"You mean a book of reprints all put together?" she asked, excitement starting to come back.
"Err, yeah. It's probably over here." The boy walked over to the next section and started looking. A moment later he pulled an over-sized book off the shelf and handed it to her. "You're in luck."
She snatched it from him and flipped it open. Sure enough, it showed an introduction of the main character. "Thank you so much!"
He smiled back at her. "Sure. Say, you want to talk about it over a pizza?"
Hermione blushed slightly, realizing what was happening as her confidence strengthened. "I'd love to, but I don't think my boyfriend would like that." As his expression fell, she stepped forward and gave him a swift kiss on the cheek. "But I really appreciate the help." Since he was smiling, she felt relieved that she hadn't hurt his feelings. "Bye."
Turning, she headed to another part of the store. There was one more book she thought she wanted now; one she had been considering for some time and knew the time to buy it was now. She needed to be fully prepared.
A short time later, Hermione met her mother near the cash register.
"I thought you'd only get one." A raised eyebrow asked for an explanation.
"Well, I was planning for only one," Hermione said hesitantly before hurrying on, "but I need both of these for my project." She hoped her mother let her, projects were always a good reason to get books in her family.
Her mother looked at the two books. "A comic book? I didn't expect that." She raised another eyebrow.
Hermione looked shyly at the book for a moment. "It's research material to help Harry. I'll be taking ideas from it."
Without saying a word, Emma moved the big book aside to see a small book about working with abused children. "What is this for?" she demanded, not unkindly, but demanded nevertheless. She had a guess but hoped it wasn't true.
Her daughter hesitated for several long seconds before softly saying, "To help me help Harry."
Her worst fear confirmed, Emma put a hand on Hermione's shoulder. "You believe he's been abused?" A nod. "Do we need to get someone over to help him, like tonight?" A shake of the head. After a moment, she asked, "Are you sure about this?"
"Mostly," Hermione admitted. "He's really great at school, but he does have about half of the signs the book mentions in the first chapter. One of the biggest signs is that he actively won't talk about his childhood; I've had to piece things together. He has mentioned it getting a little better, but I know it's affected him."
"Then I believe we better go over this together and I want to talk to Harry."
"Mum, he's very private; I don't think he'll talk about it with you. I'm not sure he'll even really talk about it with me." Hermione shook her head. "He's very stubborn about it."
"We'll see then. Let's ring up so we can go." Emma was concerned about the boy, and ultimately Hermione as well because abuse was so easy to be passed on, but she'd have to tread carefully there she could tell.
Outside, Emma said, "Let's go home now. Your father will want to see you as soon as he arrives."
"I look forward to seeing him too," Hermione replied cheerfully as they walked to the car.
As they got in, Hermione suddenly realized there was one more thing. "Wait! We can't go home yet," Hermione said emphatically. "I must talk to Professor McGonagall as soon as possible. I need to go to Diagon Alley while we're here."
"Please Mum! I need to hurry. She should still be at the school and I can contact her from the Floo there. Please, I need to do something else to help Harry!" Hermione pleaded.
Emma considered it for a moment. "Very well, but it can't take more than half an hour. I'll wait here at the car with my book."
"Thanks, Mum!" Hermione squeezed her mother's hand before racing out of the car, her packages left behind.
In the Leaky Cauldron, she arranged with Tom to borrow the Floo for a call. "Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall's office." A moment later, her head was in that location.
"Miss Granger, is there an emergency?" her head of house asked.
"Sort of. Can I please come through and talk to you? I don't think it'll take long," Hermione all but begged.
"Very well. Count to ten before you try to come through so I can open it for travel."
Hermione counted slowly before saying the destination and stepping through. "Thank you for seeing me, Professor."
"I'm always willing to help, where I can. Now, what is the cause of your emergency?" McGonagall gave her look that said it better be good.
"Professor, I just found out this afternoon that Harry has to do something very important. Being part of the Order, I'm sure you understand, don't you?" She was surprised that the woman continued to just look at her for a long moment.
"Miss Granger, I'm afraid I don't know, at least not specifically. However, it's not hard to guess about that to which you are referring. This is connected to your group's adventure a week ago, isn't it?"
Hermione nodded. "There's a prophecy about Harry and V-Voldemort. Harry will get killed without help and the Headmaster isn't giving him any. I think I know how to help keep Harry alive and even win, but I need a few things."
McGonagall studied her for a moment. "Why are you coming to me? Why not the Headmaster?"
"Because he hasn't been helping and I don't know why nor do I expect him to start now." The girl looked down for a moment. "I'm sorry to think so badly of him, but he's completely ignored Harry this last year and he's made no indication of changing. Plus, you have what I need - or you did."
"I won't make any promises," McGonagall told her, "but what do you think I have that you need?"
Encouraged, Hermione considered her plan briefly again. "I think the hardest thing to get will be a Time Turner, like you lent me in third year. If I don't have one, I think it could take me six months to get this done, assuming we all have that long to live. If I have one, I think I can finish this summer."
"I see," McGonagall said slowly. "As that was first, what else do you need?"
"I also need exemptions from the Statue of Underage Magic for Harry and myself until Sep 1st, that needs to also include being able to Apparate," Hermione went on quickly.
McGonagall looked shocked. "Please tell me you don't plan to try to Apparate on your own without instruction."
"Oh no, Professor," she hastily agreed. "That takes me to the last items. We'd need you to help us for at least two or maybe three lessons to learn, and I need the name of a blacksmith that knows about our world. I guess he would be a squib as I wouldn't expect most wizards would want to do that sort of work."
"I'm glad you wouldn't try that on your own." McGonagall considered the idea. "I could come to your house a few times next week and I do know of a man who is a blacksmith. He didn't attend Hogwarts, but his family has helped us with the armor and other metal workings in the past." The woman looked at the young lady intently. "What are you trying to do, Miss Granger? How does all of that fit together?"
Hermione hesitated. "I'd prefer not say too much, but I will say it will allow me to help Harry protect himself and save us all … like he has to. I'd also prefer if you didn't speak to the Headmaster about this."
McGonagall pursed her lips tightly. "I don't know if all of that is even possible, but I will consider it. I'm also not certain it's a good idea to keep this from the Headmaster."
"You mean the Headmaster who didn't tell Harry what he needed to know so Sirius didn't die? Or didn't tell Harry that a prophecy existed so Harry could prepare himself and be ready whenever a Dark wizard struck as has happened nearly every year here? I'll ignore my almost being killed recently which he also could have prevented by telling Harry some information," Hermione said a little scathingly. "I still respect the Headmaster, Professor, but we've learned the hard way that he doesn't have all the answers even if I didn't want to admit it until now."
"And you do know the answers?" McGonagall sent back a little sharply.
"No, Professor, I don't think that I do either. However, I think it's my turn to try to solve the Dark wizard problem in Harry's life. I also believe I have a better record of helping Harry over the last five years than the Headmaster," she insisted.
McGonagall sighed. "That you probably do, Miss Granger. I can not truly contest that. Very well, let me consider this and get back to you tomorrow, probably in the evening so I can speak with your parents as well. I can check on your other requests, such as the Time Turner, which I had to return after your third year."
"Thank you, Professor." Hopeful, Hermione returned to the Leaky Cauldron and her mother.
"All set, my dear?" her mother asked.
"I hope. Professor McGonagall said she'd consider my requests and come talk to us tomorrow evening." Hermione sighed. "I just hope she says yes."
— — —
That evening after greeting her father and spending time with her parents until after dinner, Hermione went to her room for the rest of the night and stayed up late. She put more effort into studying the comic book and making notes about ideas and how to do them magically. All of her books on Ancient Runes were spread around her.
— — —
As their not so little girl left for her room after dinner, Emma looked at Dan with a pensive look.
"What is it dear? I can see you trying to figure something out," he said as he helped her clean the table.
"Perhaps just saying it is the answer," she said with resignation. "Did you catch how Hermione talked about Harry?"
"Very fondly." He looked at her pointedly. "Are they dating?"
"No," she answered with a shake of her head. "I don't think it will be long before it happens though. She was in denial about liking him until I made her realize it today. I think I'd like to invite him over." Now she looked pointedly at him. "Are you going to cause a scene?"
"Isn't it my prerogative as a father to be at least a little protective of my daughter?" he asked with a hint of teasing.
"As long as you do it pleasantly and don't scare him away. If you scare him, Hermione might scare you," she replied with a jauntily tone.
"I'll be good," he promised before a grin broke out and he added, "mostly."
The next evening, Hermione answered the door not long after dinner was completed. "Professor McGonagall, please come in."
The stern professor was in a long dark blue dress, causing Hermione to look at the woman a little differently because she wasn't in her normal robes.
"I'm sure you remember my parents from when you visited to ask me to come to Hogwarts?"
"Of course, Mr and Mrs Granger, it is good to see you again," the professor said formally.
"Professor," both parents said before indicating a seat for the woman to sit in.
"Miss Granger, I'm afraid I have good news and bad news. I can not get you Time Turner as most of them were destroyed recently, as I believe you're aware?" McGonagall gave her an extra stern look.
Hermione nodded and sighed. "I was afraid of that."
"It's probably for the best anyway, for everyone's safety." McGonagall reached into the small purse she had with her and pulled out several parchments.
"However, I believe you'll be much happier about this." She handed all the documents to the young woman. "You'll find two waivers for underage magic of all kinds for all summer. You'll also find a name and an address. I've even sent an owl to Mr Burns so he will be expecting you to contact him soon.
"Lastly, next Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I'll come here at nine in the morning to teach Apparation. Please inform Mr Potter to be ready at that time as I will stop by his house first to bring him here. I believe it will be easier on everyone for the lessons to be in your back garden. The lessons will last until noon and I'll take Mr Potter back afterwards."
"Professor?" Emma spoke up as Hermione nodded her understanding. "Would you mind if Harry stays here for the afternoon and dinner and then we take him home? We'd like to get to meet him and get to know him a little."
Hermione was wide-eyed with surprise.
"As long as you have him home by 9pm, I don't believe that will be a problem ... as long as he agrees to it, of course," the Professor answered.
"Of course," Emma said with a smile.
"Unless you have any other questions that can't wait until Monday, Miss Granger?"
"Just one," Hermione answered quickly. "Do you know if Professor Babbling will be available to answer a few questions if I owl her?"
"I believe she would answer them, but you should ask them within the next week or so as I know she'll be taking her summer holiday soon after." McGonagall bid them good evening and Apparated away from their living room.
Hermione looked at her parents with a calculating look. "Why do you want Harry to stay here for dinner?"
Emma smiled. "We'd like to spend a little time to get to know Harry since he's such a good friend of yours. We also thought you might like a little extra time with him before we go away for our summer holiday in August. There's no reason to be worried dear."
Hermione considered that for a moment. "That would be nice." She looked at her father. "Will you be good around Harry or do you plan to try to scare him?"
"With that look," her father gave her a mock frightened look, "I'll be good."
"Good," Hermione answered, treating the matter seriously. "I'll be taking the magical bus to Harry's tomorrow afternoon. I think it'd be better to tell him about all of this in person."
"You won't get into trouble with his family?" her father asked.
"No, I don't think so, at least as long as we don't bother them." Hermione stood and looked very determined. "If you'll excuse me, I need to go write a letter to Professor Babbling about some runes I need and I need to re-plan the summer now that I know I don't have access to a Time Turner. I just hope I can get everything done without one. What rotten luck…" she half-whined as she walked to her room.
Other than the bit about planning, her parents looked at each other and shrugged - neither fully understanding the complaint.
(A/N: There's the premise that follows the title. As you can see, I've opened Hermione's eyes a little.)