Title: Several Miles from the Sun
Summary: A little past midnight, the troublesome trio break into Number 12, Grimmauld Place in hopes of finding something that will aid them in the fight against Voldemort. When they come upon a spell that promises to return a Black to them, Harry won't hear objections from his friends. But what happens when the wrong Black is returned?
Author's Notes: Well, this should prove interesting. A thousand thank yous to Harriet Vane. A thousand more to Candy McFierson. Also, a pounce and a hug to my Ronnie, who proves to be the best fangirl.
Time setting: Post HBP, including spoilers.
CHAPTER ONE: BREAKING AND ENTERING
The summer night was stifling, creating a sort of air that suffocated. It was pitch dark, a bit past midnight, and all the houses on both sides of Number 12, Grimmauld Place hinted their owners were safe and sound in their beds. The street lamps had been magicked out, but no one was awake any more to find it worrying. Even the prowling cats had decided to take the night off, preferring to visit the fish and chips shop around the corner. If anyone had decided to stay awake to listen to the news they would have spotted three figures running across the street, stopping at the front of the house that had suddenly appeared a few months ago, even though everyone felt as though it had been there for centuries. Despite the fact that all the other houses were quite lovely, Number 12 had an eerie vibe to it, much like a haunted house. So much in fact, anytime someone decided to walk by it, they had a sudden impulse to turn around and go back to their beds.
Hermione watched nervously as Harry threw the door open, putting away the penknife Sirius has brought him a few Christmases ago. "Are you ready?" he asked, adjusting his glasses.
"Always behind you, mate," Ron assured him.
"I can't believe we're doing this," Hermione said. "I lied to my parents."
"Well, I didn't force you," snapped Harry. He stepped into the house quietly. None of them wanted to deal with Mrs Black's wrath.
Hermione didn't really know how all of this had happened. They were on the train home from Hogwarts and Harry was already laying out plans. He wanted to go back to Sirius's old house—his house now, she supposed—and look around. Perhaps something left over from the Blacks might help him in the battle against Voldemort. Hermione and Ron both knew he was looking for dark magic. Ron, however, had immediately agreed to join Harry, and Hermione found that she couldn't leave them alone.
"The Order will be watching you all the time," she pointed out. "You won't be able to sneak away from the Dursleys' without them knowing it."
"I have the cloak," Harry said shrugging. "I'll just walk a few streets down and call for the Knight Bus. Besides, when has their security been anything but dodgy?"
Hermione wasn't quite so sure that trying to trick the Order was the best thing to do.
"I'll get the twins to help me out," said Ron, thoughtfully. "Tell mum I'm staying over at their flat."
So Hermione had lied to her parents. She and Harry would stay with the Weasleys while Harry got over Dumbledore's death, she had told them. Hermione's parents wouldn't say no, but they would like to see her before Hogwarts started again—if it started again. Hermione promised she probably wouldn't stay the entire week.
Now the guilt churned inside of her.
"Lumos!" Ron said, using his wand to guide the way.
"Must be nice being overage," Harry said grumpily. "You could even Apparate here."
"Just a few more weeks until your birthday, Harry," muttered Hermione. "Could we turn on the lights or something?"
"I don't want Mrs Black to notice we're here," Harry said. "Let's just get into the kitchen first."
They made their way into the kitchen, trying hard not to make the slightest noise. Hermione felt her skin prickle. She had a horrible feeling about this. The entire house instilled a sense of dread, and just being reminded that they no longer had Sirius or Dumbledore on their side made the feeling worse.
"Kreacher!" Harry called, once they had found themselves away from Mrs Black. "Kreacher!"
"What are you calling him for?" Ron asked.
There was a loud whip-like snap and Kreacher appeared, his eyelids drooping. There was a cleaning brush in one of his hands. "Master called?" he sneered. "Ah, Master brings the Mudblood and Muggle-loving—"
"Shut up, Kreacher!" Harry ordered. Kreacher glared but obeyed; his eyes looked about to fall out of his skull. "I need you to turn on the lights on the upper floors. In no way are you to alert Mrs Black we are here, do you understand?"
"Whatever Master says," he agreed, picking at the skin of the back of his hand.
"Oh, and the minute you're finished you're to come right back to me. Er… I don't want you walking around," Harry said sharply.
It frightened Hermione to see how easily he managed to order people around. "Please," she added politely.
Kreacher glared at her and left, muttering something about Mudbloods and dancing trolls.
"I honestly don't know why you bother, Hermione," Ron said. "He's a wretched creature."
"He's only been mistreated. If we were nice to him a bit, I'm sure he'd change his ways," Hermione insisted.
Harry and Ron just laughed.
"I don't know what you expect to find, Harry," Hermione continued as they went up the stairs. "Sirius got rid of almost everything, didn't he?"
"He left some of the books in the library. Perhaps you could take a look at them," Harry said.
"Oh, well, yes, of course." Hermione would not pretend she had not been interested in them from the beginning.
"I'll go take a look around the attic again," Ron offered. "Wands at the ready, lads! And… er, ladies. No offence, Hermione."
Hermione tutted, but smiled at him anyway. Their relationship had grown a bit strained since the end of Hogwarts, mostly because Ron had been appalled to see that, after her parents, Hermione had immediately sent a letter to Viktor to tell him of Dumbledore's death.
"Why would he bloody care?" Ron demanded, snatching the letter to read it.
Hermione snatched it back, scowling. "He admired Dumbledore! I'm sure Viktor would be heartbroken to hear that Dumbledore died."
"So he can come and comfort you?" Ron said.
They didn't talk for a while after that.
Hermione went into the library, holding her breath as though it were being unveiled to her for the very first time. Sirius had only removed a few books—one had taken a bite out of Tonks's hand and another had picked a fight with Buckbeak—but the others had all remained intact.
Hermione scanned through the titles, not quite sure what Harry expected her to find. She doubted any of the titles would be 101 Ways to Kill Voldemort, but perhaps some of them would have powerful information that could help the Order. She knew that the only way to finally get rid of Voldemort was to destroy the horcruxes. Two were already destroyed—the ring and the diary—and they could only hope that R.A.B., whoever that person was Hermione had yet to find out, had managed to destroy the third horcrux in time. Then there was the case of the two missing items, about which they didn't have the slightest clue. It puzzled Hermione greatly, but she was good at puzzles.
"Tearing about my Mistress's house, what would she say! Muggle-loving cret—"
"Shut up, Kreacher!" Harry growled from the hallway. He entered the library, Kreacher following angrily.
"Any luck?" Hermione asked.
"Only in the sense that there aren't any Pixie infestations this time. However, Ron found something behind that giant tapestry Sirius showed us the last time. We're having a bit of a rough time unsticking it, but I think if you and Ron have a go at it, I can slip my hand under it," Harry explained.
Hermione followed him upstairs, where Ron was angrily blasting Sirius's family tree with his wand. However, the tapestry merely mocked him and remained unsinged.
"Are you sure there's something behind there?" Hermione asked, peering at the tapestry. She couldn't see any division between it and the wall.
"I'm positive," Ron said. "I was using a wind spell to push away the dust, and it flapped a bit. I think there's some paper stuck on the wall behind it."
"We might as well try," Harry said. "Kreacher reckons the tapestry is falling apart because Sirius's dead."
"It was my mistake to mutter, but Master is tricky," Kreacher grumbled to himself. Harry rolled his eyes.
"It is possible," Hermione mused. The attic was much cleaner than the last time they had come, except for a thick layer of dust. "I've heard of spells that only hold as long as the line of succession does. I guess making you the legal heir doesn't count."
"I tried another wind spell, but it won't budge. I figure we tug and let Harry slip his hand underneath it when it flaps," Ron said.
Hermione grabbed one of the corners while Ron grabbed another. On Harry's count they began to pull. The tapestry did not so much as move. They tried again and again until the tapestry seemed to shiver.
"Try again," urged Harry.
Ron and Hermione exchanged stubborn looks and pulled. The tapestry decided to fight back. It flapped its lower part, pushing Ron and Hermione across the room. However, Harry's Quidditch reflexes kicked in and he reached behind the tapestry, pulling out a roll of old parchment.
"Nice job!" said Ron, rubbing the back of his head.
Harry read it carefully as Hermione peered over his shoulder. "It looks like a spell," she said. "Except… odd, spells don't tend to be that lengthy any more."
"What does it say?" Ron asked.
Harry read it out loud,
Stolen from amongst the crowd
Tortured in the place of shroud
Bring back what you took from me
A man who swore to never flee
Too early to be out of time
Surely must have been his prime
Gone in such a failed attack
Resurrect the great last Black
"A resurrection spell!" Ron exclaimed. "Last Black, eh?"
"To bring back Sirius?" There was a dangerous gleam in Harry's eye.
"No," Hermione said firmly, noticing their looks, "absolutely not. There is no such thing as bringing anyone back to life, and this certainly isn't it. It's not even a real spell!"
"How do you know?" Harry shot back.
"It's a rhyme. Since when have we heard a spell that rhymes? It's too long," Hermione argued.
"There are ingredients at the end of this, it must be a spell!" Harry said, looking much too happy. "Last Black. That must mean we can bring Sirius!"
"You can't bring back the dead, Harry. It says so in every—"
"Oh shut up, Hermione," Ron said harshly. "I think we should try it."
"You do, do you?" snapped Hermione.
"If it works, then we can modify it to bring back Dumbledore," Ron said, looking pleased with himself. "Right, Harry?"
"You can't bring them back!" Hermione screeched. "In no book does it—Wait, where are you going?"
Ron and Harry had left her to argue by herself. They made their way to Sirius's old room, Kreacher following behind, looking just as happy as Harry did.
Sirius's room had been left untouched since his death. There were a few rat carcases decomposing, and his bed was unmade.
"Kreacher, go find me these ingredients," Harry said, tearing off the last part of the parchment and handing it to the house-elf. "I don't care how you do it, just make sure no one knows you have."
Kreacher didn't even try to fit in an insult and merely left.
"Harry, please," Hermione said, trying to catch her breath. "You can't do this now! We should notify Lupin. He'll… he'll want to, er, be here."
"We'll just have to surprise him," Harry muttered.
"Ron!" Hermione pleaded.
"Perhaps we should get Lupin," Ron conceded. "Hermione does have a point. We don't know exactly what we're dealing with. It could be a trap… Wouldn't trust Kreacher."
"No, no, this is genuine, I'm sure of it," Harry said. "Look, if you want to go tell Lupin, go ahead. I'm going to try this out now."
"Oh, Harry, please—" Hermione was cut off as Kreacher returned, dumping the few ingredients on the bed.
"For Master," he snarled.
"Good job, Kreacher," Harry said.
"Complimenting Kreacher, when he is below—"
"Don't push it," Harry warned. He turned to look at Ron and Hermione. "Are you with me? Think about it, Hermione. If we can bring him back…"
It was raining outside now; the entire scenery looked miserable. The weather channel had said it would, but it all seemed so trivial now. Hermione scratched her arm nervously. Ron had immediately agree, ignoring the fact they would be going against the law, not just school rules this time.
"All right," she finally said. "I promised I would follow you, and I will. What do we have to do?"
"Set these up in a circle," Harry instructed. "Ron, grab those dried leaves and stack them up in the middle. Then sprinkle a bit of phoenix's blood on top. Where did you get all of this so quickly, Kreacher? Oh, never mind, I don't want to know."
Hermione was only vaguely aware that her senses were prickling; the room seemed electric, as it usually did after a magical storm. But the thing is, they hadn't really done anything yet, so what was going on? It was like… like the house was preparing itself. Like it was ready.
"Where's Kreacher?" she asked nervously.
"Under the bed," Ron said. Harry had begun to mutter the words.
Under the bed? Hermione took a quick look and saw that, indeed, Kreacher was sheltering himself under the mattress, with a sinister look on his droopy face. That couldn't be good.
Hermione suddenly felt the urge to run as the lights went off. They shouldn't have. Magic wasn't for show, unless wrongfully done. If this spell—and it couldn't be a proper spell—actually worked, everything would be done quietly. Unless they were doing something wrong. Unless someone wanted them to do something wrong.
The Laws of Magic, chapter five, paragraph ten, read, as Hermione recalled: "it is impossible by theory to bring a person back to life. Keiko Anderk, German witch, exploded when attempting to bring back her husband. Any attempts are completely banned by the Ministry and perpetrators will be immediately sent to Azkaban on trial."
It was said to be impossible, but when put to practice it was an entirely different matter. And to get something by practice right, you only had to do it over and over and over—until you either blew up or were successful.
A stench was beginning to waft through the room. It smelled like rotten eggs and troll stench all mixed into one cloud, which, coincidentally, was starting to form above their heads. It was horrible; black and menacing.
"This isn't good," Hermione whimpered. "Harry, I think you should stop."
"I think Hermione's right, Harry," said Ron from his corner. Pale, tired, not like his usual teasing self. It made Hermione even more nervous.
The cloud continued to grow in size, swirling like a small tornado.
Interesting. And deadly. And—
They were thrown off their feet by some sort of invisible barrier.
Harry kept chanting, anyway. Only a few words left and they would have created… a monster.
"Harry, please," Hermione begged. Last words.
"Harry, let's—" Ron immediately became quiet as a form began to appear on the bed. It was, Hermione had to admit later on, beautiful, like an artist sketching a character, filling in the base lines and then adding in what could have been flesh and bones. The colour and the texture, all there, coming out of air.
The artwork was done. It was complete and sitting there and looking much too smug to be—
"That's not Sirius," Ron pointed out just in case they had missed it.
It wasn't. He looked slightly like Sirius, but everything was off. The hair was curly and trimmed underneath his ears, he definitely had more weight than Sirius, and his face… not even Sirius on a bad day could look like that.
"I don't understand," Harry whispered.
Hermione started to cry, but it was Kreacher who made the fascinating introductions.
"Master! Master!" he screamed, hugging the man's left leg. "Oh Master Regulus is back to free Kreacher from the Mudblood-loving—"
"Oh shit," said Ron.
Oh shit was right.
Final Notes 2: The spell/poem was
written by Ron, and I take no credit for it. Not even a little.
In the upcoming chapters: Mrs Weasley has a fit, Kreacher shows where his true loyalites lie, and there's a house named Chadwick.