Disclaimer: Wouldn't say the well has run dry, but it's gotten shallow lately. To continue the metaphor, I'm waiting for a good rain storm to raise the water table.
The sweet smell of pipe smoke assaulted Hermione's nostrils as she entered the room. Her best friend was seated on a comfortable looking chair behind a heavy oak desk. Harry hadn't changed much in the year since she'd seen him; he was better dressed, his hair was a bit neater, and his eyeglasses were no longer horrid, but he was still the same boy she'd known since her first year.
The boy lifted his hand, drawing her attention to the bent briar pipe he was holding and took a puff.
"Since when do you smoke?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Have a seat," he suggested, ignoring her question.
"Wher-" the girl cut off when she noticed another comfortable looking chair across from her best friend. That hadn't been there before, had it? The smoke was starting to make her dizzy, it was possible that distraction had caused her to miss something so obvious.
"Why are you here?"
"I came to see you," she said, marveling at how comfortable her seat was. Wait, when had she sat down? The girl shook her head, hoping to clear it.
"The Dark Lord's stopped killing normal people and started killing purebloods," she giggled. "Mostly his followers." Hermione slumped, burying herself in the chair's softness. "Dumbledore's decided that he can't afford to wait for you to come back on your own now that." She cleared her throat. "Important people are getting killed," she stated pompously using her best impersonation of the Chief Wizard.
"So he sent you to come get me," Harry said flatly.
Every muscle in Hermione's body seemed to contract as she sat bolt upright. "Oh no, not that, he'd never trust something so important to me, not that never that, Harry." She giggled again. "Why would you think that?"
"I guess I shouldn't have," he said with a grin. "I'm sorry I doubted you, Hermione."
Her attention was drawn to his right hand as he tamped his pipe with what looked like the fang of a very large snake before taking another puff. "Who did he decide to send?"
"You'll never guess," she laughed. "You'll absolutely never guess."
"You guessed." Her shoulders slumped in disappointment. "I thought you never would."
"I have inside information," Harry explained. "He trusts Snape for some reason, guessing he thinks he has a hold over him, so he'll send Snape to do things he doesn't want other people to know about."
"Yup!" She nodded so hard it looked as if her head was in danger of falling off. "Snape was supposed to find you and drag you back to be oblivated so you'd be a good little boy." She looked around then leaned in. "I think he was planning to rough you up a bit," she stage whispered.
"Probably," Harry agreed. "So why are you here?"
"Why am I here?" she asked dumbly. "I just told you . . . didn't I?"
"Silly Harry," she giggled. "I did." The girl broke eye contact with her best friend, apparently becoming fascinated by a speck of dust that was floating around the room.
"Did you come to warn me?" he ventured after a few minutes.
"How did you know?" she asked, eyes shining with delight. "Did someone tell you?"
"Just a lucky guess," he said dryly. "Is there anything you don't want me to know?"
"I had a naughty dream about Lavender last night," she said thoughtfully.
"Really?!" he blurted.
"Don't get jealous," she admonished. "You were there too."
"Uh . . . is there anything you don't want me to know that could hurt me?"
"Nope," she said proudly. "I want you to know all that . . . I told you about Dumbledore sending Snape to kidnap you, right?" Why couldn't she remember.
He took another puff of his pipe. "Hermione, I want you to close your eyes and count to ten," he said softly. "Can you do that?"
"Okay, Harry!" she said with two thumbs up. "I can do that."
He gave the girl a few minutes to regain herself. "Back with us, Hermione?"
"What did you do to me?"
"Something to compel the truth," he replied. The boy tapped his pipe on a cork to empty it into an ash tray. "How do you feel?"
"Still a bit dizzy," she stated.
"That'll pass," he assured her. "Thanks for the warning."
"Looks like you didn't need it."
"Would have been nice. No offense, but Snape was a lot more challenging."
"None taken. How did you do that?"
"My mother wasn't the first Evens to attend Hogwarts," Harry began. "That dubious honor belongs to my multiple greats grandfather."
"Purebloods were just as bad in his day as they were in ours and he couldn't find a job in the magical world despite his impressive grades. Ended up joining the army just in time to fight in Crimea. Ended up retiring from active service some time after the Great War."
"He left you a book of spells or something?" she ventured.
"Or something," he agreed. "Surprised you haven't figured it out yet."
"My brain still feels fuzzy because of what you did, Harry. Be impressed that I can think at all right now."
"Fair enough," he allowed. "So the next world war comes along, this one with a significant magical front."
"He decided to do something," Hermione said.
"He blamed wizards, specifically purebloods for the war," Harry continued. "Figured the Germans would have never gotten as far or as fast without significant amounts of magical help."
"That's not entirely true, Harry."
"Didn't say it was true, said it was what he believed," he said easily. "So tell me, you're an extraordinarily talented enchanter, one with over a hundred years of experience. Couple that with the fact that you're also retired rifle officer with a grudge against wizards. What do you do?"
"He's the one responsible for what's happening to the Death Eaters," Hermione stated, eyes lightening in understanding.
"In a way," Harry agreed. "I want your oath that you'll never share anything you learn here without my express permission."
"You have it," she replied instantly, magic surging in compliance.
"He was over a hundred years old at this point. Figured he didn't have more than a couple decades at best, also figured that a couple decades wasn't nearly enough time to complete his work." Harry said as he reloaded his pipe. "He looked through his mementos and started packing things that might prove useful for his future heir." The boy grinned. "Found over a dozen swords in his stash, not one of them made in England, can you guess why?"
"His sword broke on a Russian soldier's skull in Crimea. Turns out there were big quality control issues at the time, caused a big scandal and the government started proofing every blade before they went to the army. Didn't matter to granddad, damage was done at that point and he swore never to use another English sword again. Captured Russian till the end of the war and German after that." The boy carefully put his pipe in a leather pouch and the leather pouch in his left breast pocket. "In addition to the swords there were spears, lances, guns, and all manner of weapons collected by an officer posted all round the Empire."
"The Death Eaters weren't stabbed, shot, bludgeoned, or killed in any muggle ways," Hermione said dully, feeling as if she were outside her body observing everything from a distance.
"No they weren't," Harry agreed. "Granddad figured it'd be best if they were either killed in obviously magical ways or in completely mysterious ways. Didn't want to give the bigoted bastards any excuses to attack normal people."
"You said he was an enchanter," Hermione said suddenly. "Your pipe, that's how you drugged me."
"The smoke was the vector," Harry agreed. "I channeled magic through the wood of the pipe to alter the smoke."
"It also made me more compliant," she pointed out.
"It does a lot of things," Harry said easily. "Granddad got the idea during a gas attack."
"It wasn't the only thing he left you, was it?"
"It was not," he agreed. "Like I said; a talented enchanter with over a hundred years of experience. He tinkered with everything he left me." Including the copious amounts of notes on how to replicate his work.
"Voldemort isn't a problem anymore, is he?"
"Or the death eaters."
"Or them," he agreed. "Including Snape."
"How did he do it?"
"How did your ancestor manage to leave you everything?" Hermione asked. "I can't believe he'd trust Gringotts or a wizarding solicitor with his things and your aunt would arguably be able to claim part of it in the normal world."
"Aunt Petunia wouldn't want something freakish like that."
"But she might want to deprive you of it," Hermione retorted.
"Probably would," he agreed.
"Well he was a very good enchanter. Still don't understand how he did it even after studying for a year, but he somehow managed to tie it to his blood. First one of his descendants that left Hogwarts with the intention of killing a few purebloods got the lot."
"So when you left after fifth year . . ."
"I inherited the lot."
AN: Nothing special, just a quick drabble I dashed off.