Away and Back
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
Hermione remained pensive, while she and Harry were waiting for their counterparts to come out of the Shrieking Shack.
'Oh no, how stupid were we?' she suddenly thought, as she pictured the scene where Remus transformed into his werewolf form in front of her mind. 'I need to remedy that as well,' she resolved in determination.
"Mione, you okay?" Harry asked, giving her a concerned look.
"Of course," she responded, crisply, readying her wand for the task ahead. 'I should have brought a jacket,' she thought, absentmindedly, noticing that the air had become fairly cool.
"What are you doing?" her best friend enquired in apparent confusion.
"Wait a moment," she whispered back, as she pointed her wand at Remus Lupin, determined to take his wand from him before Pettigrew could get to it. "Shit," she cursed, uncharacteristically, upon realising that she had been a tad too late, and the Animagus was already changing into his rat form. She quickly stunned the rat before casting, "Accio rat."
None of their other selves noticed Peter Pettigrew in his rat form flying into her outstretched hand.
"Oh Merlin, well done, Mione," Harry blurted out. "Maybe if we can present him, people will believe Sirius."
"Exactly," Hermione replied, coolly, setting the rat on the ground, before she transfigured it into a wooden rat, which easily fit into her pocket. "We need to hand him to Dumbledore, so that he can prove Sirius' innocence."
"Look!" Harry suddenly hissed, pointing towards the werewolf and the dog who were fighting close by.
"Come quickly," Hermione replied, already running further into the wood to distract the werewolf.
A while later, Harry and Hermione were standing by the lake, observing the Dementors descend onto Harry's other self and Sirius, while at the same time waiting for James Potter to show up and cast the Patronus charm.
"Harry, he won't come," Hermione urged. "We need to think of something by ourselves."
'But I saw Dad,' Harry mused, envisioning the scene that he had witnessed three hours earlier, only to recognise that the caster of the spell had been wearing the same clothes like his other self, whom he had watched at Hagrid's hut and in front of the Shrieking Shack during the last three hours.
"Mione," he blurted out in shock. "He won't come. It's me whom I saw casting the spell."
Recalling how Sirius had offered him a new home, the idea of never having to return to the Dursleys' turned into the best memory which he could remember, fuelling his Patronus to a beautiful stag.
'If we manage to get Sirius away, I'm going to leave with him,' he decided, as he let his magic flow into his wand to keep up the stag, which was still chasing away the Dementors. 'I won't let Snape harass me anymore because of some petty childhood quarrel which he seemed to have had with Sirius and my parents. I also won't have the Dementors prevent me from flying again.'
"Harry, this was beautiful," Hermione said, admiringly, when the stag returned to Harry upon finishing his task. "What kind of magic is that?"
"The Patronus charm," Harry replied in a soft voice, smiling as he observed the stag slowly vanish into thin air. "Professor Lupin taught me how to cast it, after the Dementors caused me to fall from my broom."
"That's absolutely amazing," Hermione said in clear admiration, "do you think you could teach me, too?"
Harry remained pensive for a moment, while they slowly began their trip back to the castle.
"I'm not sure if I'm able to teach you, but you could always ask Professor Lupin," he finally replied, not wanting to promise anything that he might not be able to keep, considering that he was thinking of running away with Sirius.
"Harry, are you sure that it's safe to ride on Buckbeak?" Hermione asked, timidly, when Harry urged her to sit on the hippogriff together with him.
"Absolutely," the boy reassured her, and an instant later, the bird gently took them into the air.
"I don't like flying," she mumbled, holding Harry's shirt in a firm grip, when they flew close along the castle's walls.
"It's all right, and we're already there," Harry replied, smiling. "Look, there he is."
A few minutes later, they were back descending towards the ground, this time with Sirius sitting between them.
"Hermione," Harry addressed her in a small voice, which she could barely understand against the wind that was soaring around the castle, "I'm going to go with Sirius."
"What?" Hermione queried, horrified. "But Harry, you can't…"
"I can and I will," her best friend replied, firmly.
"You're going to come back in September though, aren't you?" she enquired.
"I don't think so," Harry replied, letting out a long sigh.
"How can I contact you?" she asked, slightly panicking at the thought of losing her best friend forever.
"You can't," Sirius spoke up. "Harry will contact you though. He will write to you under the name Jonathan Granger. If anyone sees you getting mail from him, you can always say that he was your cousin. As soon as we've set up a way for Harry to safely receive mail, he'll tell you so," he promised in a soft voice.
"All right, thank you," Hermione uttered, wondering if she had somehow ended up having a nightmare.
"And during the summer, you're welcome to visit us," Sirius added. "Can you give a message to Professor Lupin please?"
"Of course," Hermione replied, wearily, giving the older wizard a questioning look.
"Tell him that we're going to live in my old place and that he's welcome to join us at any time," Sirius instructed her.
"Will he know where that is?" Hermione asked, unsurely.
"He will, but only he. Everyone else will assume a different place if you tell them that," Sirius assured her, chuckling mischievously. "All right, Hermione, we're off now."
"Harry, what about your belongings?" Hermione asked, worriedly biting her lip.
"I'll send Dobby for it," Harry replied, already ushering Buckbeak back into the air. "He'll probably come to me if I call him."
"He surely will," Hermione replied, sadly watching her best friend leave with his godfather.
Somehow, the castle seemed cold and empty to her, as the clock began to chime and she hurriedly returned to the hospital wing, knowing that she had to arrive on time like the headmaster had instructed her earlier.
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