Chapter 4: Past Mistakes
A/N: Hey! I finally updated! Enjoy….
Lily looked at Remus worriedly, and cocked her head to the side, signaling that she wanted to talk.
"Umm...Honey?" Lily interrupted James as he planned a brutal attack on the 'death eaters' that were after his family.
He looked at her, slightly dazed from his non stop planning. "Uh...yeah?"
"I'm just going into the kitchen to make some more refreshments alright?" She squeezed his shoulder to comfort him, before turning around and heading to the kitchen. She widened her eyes at Remus, and he quickly stood up.
"Oh! Uh...I better help Lily."
"Hey Rem! Could you bring in some more of that chocolate stuff?" Sirius asked, smiling innocently.
Remus rolled his eyes and nodded, while Lily tried her best to smile sweetly at him.
"Of course Sirius! I'll bring in the 6TH box. Where does he put it all?" She muttered the last part to herself.
When they were safely in the kitchen, Lily turned around to face him.
"Are you worried about him? Because I sure as hell am!"
He rubbed his eyes tiredly. He wasn't in his best shape, seeing as full moon was only a few days away. But the truth was, James WAS starting to worry him.
"Aren't you concerned for him? I mean, I AM worried about Harry and these so called 'death eaters'...but he's getting overly obsessed with this! Don't you remember the ducks?"
He smiled serenely at the memory of that incident. There had been a family of ducks that had followed the Potters home. Harry had taken an instant liking to them, but James had been overly paranoid and had insisted that they were bugged, or that they were illegal animagi.
Let's just say that the ducks weren't that fond of him after James was done with them, Remus mused.
"I'll do my best Lily, but when James starts something, he sticks with it."
And it was true. When they had thought of becoming illegal animagi in their 6th year, James had kept them going even during the hardest times. Sirius had gotten tired of it, even though he wouldn't say it, and was ready to give up. The whole 'but it's cool!' argument had started growing old. Peter was willing to do anything the others wanted. Remus didn't want to force his friends to do anything, even though he was secretly hoping that they didn't give up. It was James that had kept them going, and Remus would be forever grateful.
Lily sighed and rubbed her head in acceptance.
"Well, I guess you're right. But you SHOULD try and calm him down. This is my last night and I want him to be taken care of...We better go. He might think the ducks are back." she said, smiling slightly.
They turned around and entered the Living Room once more.
"Do you have the Chocolate stuff?"
"So? What ELSE do you propose we do Ronald? Have a bake sale? Read to the orphans? Well that's all VERY lovely and admirable, but we're on a tight schedule here!"
"Geez Hermione! I just need to visit the men's room! You have a problem with that, or would you just like me to go right here!
She glared at him in a you-had-better-not-if-you-want-to-live-to-see-next-week way.
"That's right! Right on your bloody shoes!"
"Hermione!" Harry turned her around and grabbed her shoulders, shaking them lightly. "I KNOW you're worried about this, we ALL are. But would you let the man have a piss? He's been dying here!"
"While I am comforted by your proper words and gentlemanly gestures," she started, sarcastically. "Yes, I AM quite worried though I'm quite sure you understand why, because we are breaking into the office of the most powerful wizard in the world!" She said, her voice getting an octave higher with every word.
"Calm down Hermione!"
"Don't you tell me to calm down! This isn't like all those other times! We don't know him in this time and if we were caught, our plan could go down the drain! We're not school children anymore! This is bloody serious!" She finished her rant, breathing heavily. The other two remained silent.
"So...are you done?" Ron asked, carefully.
"Quite." she answered in a dignified air.
"That's great, now could I PLEASE go to the men's room" He asked again, nearly jumping around this time.
She sighed. "Fine, but you should have gone while I was...explaining."
"It would have saved us a lot of time...so go! Run off now to your little boy's room…"
"Chocolate Frog! Sherbet Lemon! Lemon Drops!"
"I'm running out of candy here!" Harry bit his lip, not quite sure if he could take it if their mission ended right there, just because of a stupid password.
"It hasn't been THAT long since we've had candy, has it?" Ron asked, worriedly. "Fred and George would disown me if they knew about this..."
Harry snorted. Suddenly, the door to the teacher's faculty room opened, and Professor McGonagall stepped out, looking more or less the same except slightly younger.
They flattened themselves against one side of the stone gargoyle guarding the headmaster's office, and held their breath as Minerva McGonagall passed them.
"That was close...too close." Harry said, releasing his breath as she passed by without noticing them.
"She didn't have that vein..." Ron said, looking thoughtful. Hermione swatted him in the back of his head.
"What? It's true! That vein is her trademark. Its right above her left eye...It brings me comfort during the darkest of times. When she's there, her face all purple with anger and ready to give me the worst kind of detention, which usually has something to do with toilets, I just stare at that vein, and my fear goes away...I relied on that vein! And now it's...gone." He said, looking genuinely sad for the loss of the vein.
"Wow Ron, I never knew you had such a big history with Lulu." Harry said.
"Lulu?" Hermione looked confused.
"The vein…" Harry stated simply.
She rolled her eyes, "So THIS is what you boys do instead of studying...figures." she muttered.
"BUT...That damn vein isn't helping us with these passwords!" She rubbed her forehead, irritably.
"Oh!" Her mood changed in a millisecond as her irritated face changed to the one she wore whenever she had a brilliant idea.
"She has another genius idea." Ron said, his voice monotone.
"Tarantula Legs?" Hermione asked, unsure.
The stone opened, and the trio stepped into the staircase.
Ron turned to her, amazed. "How in the bloody hell did you get that? I didn't even know that candy existed!"
She smiled, trying hard not to look too pleased with herself. "Well, I saw it on a sign in Hogsmeade. It's brand new NOW, but in a few years it'll be gone."
They stopped talking when the door came into view.
"This is it..." Harry murmured to himself.
"Dumbledore sure has a lot of knickknacks in here. But not the one were looking for!"
"Sure... fragments of a dark Lord's soul…now THAT'S a knickknack." Ron commented.
"Let's focus here guys...maybe were not looking hard enough..."
"Or maybe its not here." Hermione challenged.
"Or maybe were not looking hard enough."
"Or maybe...its NOT HERE." She sighed tiredly and sat down in the headmaster's chair.
"Face it Harry. This is becoming a LOT harder than we thought it would be. Maybe he hid it somewhere ELSE in Hogwarts! Meaning that it could be anywhere here...and did I fail to mention that this is quite a LARGE castle? Well then, if it's not in this INSANELY large castle with many hidden rooms, it could also be in Godric's Hollow, where people are currently plotting to kill us. OR in the Ministry of Magic, well I'm pretty sure that that's quite large too...God. I need a Firewhisky."
"Well I have a few that I'm willing to give...in exchange for the reason you are up in my office..." A voice said from the entrance. There standing in front of the door they had entered, in all his glory, was Albus Dumbledore.
"Headmaster! Hahaha..." Hermione laughed nervously, and in awe.
"How long have you been standing there?" she asked, her curiosity getting the best of her.
He smiled at her, his eyes sparkling.
"Just around the part you were saying that the Ministry is quite large... though I too find it a tad too big for my liking. I like them small and cozy, don't you think? Well, Hogwarts is large too, but still quite cozy."
The headmaster never ceased to amaze them.
"So..." he continued, as if the whole interior designing conversation had never taken place.
"Please, have a seat." He gestured to the 3 squashy armchairs which had not been there seconds ago.
"Lemon Drop?" He offered.
Ron snorted, and Hermione swatted him in the back of his head. She cleared her throat, then spoke. "Um, no thank you sir."
He looked at them as if they were quite crazy to refuse a lemon drop, while they just stared back at him, looking as though HE was crazy for offering them lemon drop's in the first place. An awkward silence followed, though the three were pretty sure that Dumbledore didn't consider it awkward. He simply stared at them, looking into their souls with his calculating blue eyes.
"So..." Hermione started, feeling uncomfortable.
"I take it you three are the death eaters James saw yesterday?" Dumbledore asked calmly.
"Er, well actually…" Harry stuttered, trying to explain.
"I'm guessing you aren't death eaters?" He finished for him.
"Not exactly…" Ron said. Harry couldn't tell if the headmaster had caught the sarcasm in the red heads voice.
"Then," Dumbledore adjusted his glasses, his voice turning serious.
"Who are you?"
"This baby's perfect!" James said, his eyes gleaming.
Lily walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, her chin resting on his broad shoulders.
"Hun, I think you should take a break. Everything's fine now." She said, her brilliant green eyes working its magic on him.
"But I just need to test this security system...I want to make sure... Oh Jeez…I can never say no to you, can I?" He sighed, grinning at her tiredly.
She batted her eyelashes for extra effect. "No, you never can." She turned around and pulled his arm, dragging him into the living room.
"Now you..." She pushed him into the couch, then turned around to head to the kitchen. "Rela--ah!" She screamed as he used his leg to trip her, making her fall right into his arms.
"Wow Evans, you have a naughty mind." He smirked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"I wasn't thinking of anything dirty Potter, Why? Were you?" She grinned seductively. They leaned in and kissed, getting more and more passionate until they heard a loud wail coming from the upstairs.
Lily immediately surfaced, panting slightly. She stood up and wiped her smudged lipstick with the back of her hand.
"That's Harry...I should get him." She quickly ran out of the room, throwing an apologetic look at James. James sat up and tried again to flatten his hair. He sighed.
'Well, that was bad timing, but it was a good thing we stopped otherwise we might have gotten carried away. And THAT would have been bad, since Dumbledore's been stopping by a lot' James thought, shuddering at the thought of his former headmaster catching the two of them doing something that a headmaster wasn't supposed to see his former students doing. Friend or not.
Lily came down, rocking a wailing Harry in her arms.
"Shhhh..." she whispered, until his crying stopped, and he just sniffed a little.
"What happened?" James asked, walking across the room, and taking the now relaxed baby in his arms. Lily sighed, "He's probably hungry."
She took baby Harry and set him down on his high chair.
"Well it's nearly dinner anyway, call Sirius down would you?" She asked, as she pulled on an apron that said: Kiss the Cook.
"Kiss the cook eh?" James smiled, wrapping his arms around her again, and sniffing her neck.
"James!" Lily swatted his arm with a spoon. "I'm cooking! Later alright?" She chastised, blushing slightly.
He held his hands up in defeat. "All right! All right, I surrender. I'll go wake padfoot up." He passed by her, squeezing her bum and running off before she could even yelp in surprise.
'James… ever the flirt.' She thought, remembering one particular day in Hogwarts.
"Hey Evans! Wait up!"
Lily rolled her eyes, recognizing the voice. She walked even faster, until a tall boy caught up to her, looking out of breath.
"Wow Evans. If I wasn't so sure that you were a kind, considerate, level headed person, I would have thought that you were running away from me."
"What do you want Potter." She sighed, irritated.
"D'you wanna go--"
"NO, I don't want to go out with you."
"Are you sure?" James said, giving her a smile that would make other girls melt.
She stared at him appraisingly. "Yes Potter. I'm quite sure that I don't want to spend an entire day wasting my time with an arrogant bullying piece of dung." She smirked as a hint of hurt flashed in his eyes.
"Fine. Whatever." He turned around and marched up the stairs, leaving Lily more than a little confused.
"Wait! Potter! Pott-- fine, James!" She ran up the stairs, struggling to catch him. He stopped and turned around.
"Yes Evans? Or are we on a first name basis now?" He said, not looking smug at all, which surprised Lily even more.
"So that's it?" She asked, not answering his question.
"What's it?" He cocked his eyebrow.
She sighed. "Usually you ask me out at LEAST 5 times before lunch! This was just the first time! Now you're giving up? You're usually very persistent."
He smiled at her, smirking again. "Why dear Lilykins? Do you WANT to go out with me?"
She looked mortified as she denied quickly. "NO! Merlin no…I was just--"
"I'll take that as a yes." James said quickly, pulling her by the arm. "SO, we better board the train! It leaves for Hogsmeade in a few minutes!"
"But no! I'm not going! Potter! Stop it! Put me down! AHHH!" She screamed and tried her best to fight back as he threw her over his shoulder.
"Hey Prongs! Where you off to?
"Lily and I are going off to Hogsmeade... for a date."
"She actually said yes?" Sirius asked, looking disbelieving as he watched Lily struggle to get out of James grasp.
They answered simultaneously.
Sirius patted Lily on the back. "Well, have fun!"
She looked at him, stunned. "You're actually going to let him bring me to Hogsmeade against my free will? That's almost like...kidnapping!" She ranted.
"Well, Yes." Sirius answered simply, shrugging. "Bye then!" He waved and disappeared in the wave of people.
"Wait! Black! Idiot! Get back here!"
"Aww, c'mon Lily! Were going to have fun! I know it."
"And you're word is really reliable" she grumbled sarcastically.
END OF FLASHBACK
But she DID have fun. Soon they had started dating, then shortly after they got married. It was all a wild, fun blur. But it was the best decision she had ever made. She felt as if James was her other half, the half that she had been searching for all her life. And without that half, she was nothing. Her soul mate.
She stepped out of her daydream as a grumpy looking Sirius came down the kitchen, his hair damp.
He pulled a chair out and sat on it, watching Harry eat.
"What happened Sirius?"
"Was it really that bad?"
"What did he do this time?"
"Dumped icy water down his shirt."
James stepped into the kitchen, looking pleased with himself.
"I swear! You could have just shook me or yelled at my ear!" Sirius growled, crossing his arms.
"Nope. You wouldn't have even budged. Trust me, I know from experience." James answered simply, sitting across Sirius on the table.
Sirius continued to growl incoherently under his breath.
"So...you are Lily and James' son from the future, and you are his two best friends, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley." Dumbledore stated more than asked, looking calm, oddly enough.
"Err...yeah. That's pretty much it...SIR." Ron added as Hermione nudged him in the ribs, hard.
He leaned forward on his desk and observed them silently for awhile.
"You look a lot like your father Harry. And you have--"
"My mother's eyes...I know." He said, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. He had his mother's eyes, and he was quite proud of it. But after the first 100 times, the comment got a little repetitive.
"Well yes, I'm sure you hear that quite often." Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and smiled serenely at them, as if waiting for them to say something.
The silence was interrupted by Ron's stomach, which chose that very moment to growl loudly. He blushed a little, and mumbled an apology, seeing the stern look Hermione was giving him, but Dumbledore simply brushed it aside and asked them joyfully,
"How long has it since any of you has attended at traditional Hogwarts feast?"
"I don't know about this..." Ron said, looking at the door nervously.
"It will be fine..." Hermione said, not sounding too convincing. She herself looked extremely wary, and ready to bolt if anything went wrong.
Harry ruffled his light brown hair, and rubbed the place on his forehead where his scar was supposed to be.
"Do these disguises really work?" Ron asked, trying to see his reflection on a suit of armor.
"Yes they do, Ron." Hermione answered, looking harassed.
"Are you sure? I don't feel any different."
"Oh stop fussing. Why won't you act natural?"
"Easy for you to say, you LIKE your disguise."
Hermione merely glared at him, but didn't respond to his comment. Actually she DID like her disguise. She had short, layered, flyaway hair that reached up to the base of her neck. Her hair was black and silky. She still had her chocolate brown eyes though.
Ron on the other hand had long shoulder length hair. His hair was still red, but it was a darker shade, and it caught a lot less attention than his natural hair color, which was a bright orange.
Harry's disguise was the most drastic. He had light brown hair similar to the shade of Remus Lupin's hair color. He had bright blue eyes, and stood at about 6 feet, when in reality he was only about 5'7.
They heard an awful noise coming from the great hall, and huddled around door, peering into the tiny crack.
"Wow. The Hogwarts song. I haven't heard that in ages." Harry said, in amazement.
"Bloody good though." Ron muttered, his face scrunched up in mock agony.
"Ron!" Hermione glared at him. "This song is a symbol of our school unity! For once it doesn't say anything about the different houses! It speaks of the school as a whole! Of its goals!" Hermione's eyes were glazed over as she ranted on and on, almost like how she looked when she spoke about SPEW.
"Hey? Are you going in or what?" A grouchy looking Ravenclaw bumped past them and entered the dining area, leaving the door wide open, and the trio subject to more than a hundred pairs of eyes.
"Ah." Dumbledore stood from his seat, his eyes twinkling madly.
"Everyone," He addressed the Great Hall. Hundreds of eyes turned to him, expectantly.
"We have some guests. I would like you to welcome Harry Turner, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Ashby."
"Why do YOU get to keep your real name?" Ron muttered to Hermione as they walked to the front of the Great Hall, towards Dumbledore.
"Because I don't come from a long line of wizards..." She muttered back, before smiling jovially at Professor Dumbledore. "Professor! Thank you for letting us stay tonight! We really appreciate it!"
They had decided to stay in Hogwarts instead of the Leaky Cauldron, because it was less risky, cheaper (especially with the limited funds that they had brought to the past.) and, unbeknownst to Dumbledore, it was convenient since they wanted to search for the Horocrux.
"You are most welcome."
"They will be staying with us for a few weeks." Dumbledore addressed the school.
"As well as being assistants to some teachers."
Harry's mouth dropped. As well as Ron's. Hermione was the only one who was able to keep her shock to a minimum.
"Ehm… Professor." Hermione whispered frantically as the Great Hall steadily got noisy again, and students resumed talking.
"What exactly do you mean by...assistants?"
"Ah...You, Hermione, will be a teaching assistant to Professor Drinda, the Muggle Studies teacher. Mr. Ashby will help Mr. Filch with Detentions and Disciplinary problems. Mr. Potter... ah Turner will be an assistant to the Defense teacher.
"Who's the teacher?" Harry asked, hoping it wasn't anyone like Snape.
"Incidentally, it is Professor Potter." Dumbledore answered.
"Come again?" Harry asked, feeling as if the professor had spoken wrongly.
"Professor Lily Potter."
At that very moment, a red haired woman stumbled into the Great Hall, looking out of breath.
She smiled at Dumbledore. "Sorry I'm late, Professor. James was a little panicky today." she said sending a meaningful look at Dumbledore.
She then turned, and her green eyes looked into his.
"Oh, hello. I'm Lily Potter, Defense Professor. Who are you?"
"Why don't we sit down first?" Dumbledore asked, leading the way towards the head table.
They stepped up to the table and sat down on the 3 empty chairs on either side of Dumbledore and Lily, ignoring the curious glances from the other teachers.
"So…who are you?" She asked Harry again, feeling a strange maternal instinct coming over her.
"Ehm...I...I'm…Um..." he stammered, still too shocked to talk.
"He's Harry Po…ah Turner." Hermione said, stepping in. "I'm Hermione Granger, and that's Ron Ashby." She pointed towards Ron, who was farthest away from Lily, and was stuffing his face with pudding.
"We're going to...be assisting some of the teachers." Hermione said, still unsure about the assisting part.
"Oh?" She inquired politely.
"They are aspiring professors who need some training in teaching before they can become actual teachers." Dumbledore lied smoothly, before turning away to start a conversation with Professor McGonagall.
"Oh really?" Lily exclaimed, looking excited. "Well that's a good choice. Teaching is such a thrill." Ron, who had now moved on to 'dessert', snorted at the uncanny resemblance between Lily and Hermione.
Hermione glared at him for the 50th time that day.
"Well, I really have to talk to Professor Dumbledore before everyone leaves…" Lily said, gesturing to most of the students who were leaving the hall.
"Oh that's fine. I think we'll go ahead." Hermione gestured to the three of them who were all done. "Well, it was WONDERFUL meeting you Profe--"
"NO Please. Call me Lily. I'm not THAT old. Well, goodbye. I hope to see you all soon."
"Bye..." they called out, standing up to exit the Great Hall.
She grinned, before going to talk to Dumbledore who was still heartily eating his treacle tart, while humming to himself. Oddly enough, it sounded like a Weird Sister's song.
Lily approached Dumbledore, smiling.
"Hello Professor. Nice to see you," She said, taking Professor McGonagall's empty seat.
"Albus, Lily. It's Albus." He responded, his gaze warm. "Everything all right at home?" He asked, giving her a look that meant: 'Has James killed anyone yet?"
"All is well Prof-Albus. Still not used to calling you that." She said with a laugh.
"Well anyway….um. Well I guess they seem like it...but looks can be deceiving. Pretty friendly...but then again they'd have to be. Granger...unlikely but not impossible. Looks a lot like her though...maybe..." She mumbled under her breath.
He cleared his throat. "Er…Lily? Anything in particular you wanted to tell me?" he said in an amused tone.
"Oh...yes. Sorry." She laughed, her face turning a light shade of pink.
"Do you…Er. Do you trust…Do you trust those three?" She said in a rush, so as to not have a hard time with it anymore.
"Yes." He answered simply.
"Oh." She said, looking at him eagerly as if she expected to know why.
"And, since I can see that you are quite curious, I have my own reasons for trusting them. They are as trustworthy as you and James are."
"Alright then." She said, never doubting Dumbledore's judgment.
"I best be going now...I still have to complete the lesson plan for the 4th years. Things have been hectic..." She rubbed her head tiredly.
"Yes, yes. I quite understand. Go now. You should start early so that you can get a good amount of sleep tonight. 8 hours is best, though I find myself wanting to sleep 12 hours, yet I cannot. Ah well, those are the consequences of being headmaster." He said, chuckling lightly.
"Good Night" She said, waving hurriedly as she ran quickly towards her headquarters.
"Well that was…unexpected." Ron said, his voice echoing around the deserted hallways. They had stayed a while in Professor Dumbledore's office, talking with him about the unexpected surprise they had received only a few hours ago. He hadn't really given them answers though. He was being his usual cryptic self.
Harry laughed at Ron's comment; still feeling dazed himself from seeing his dead mother looking so...full of life.
"I can't believe Dumbledore made us teaching assistants without even asking us first!" Hermione huffed.
"What? Does he think were on some joy trip to the past? We have important business here and we have enough on our hands without having to teach little delinquents."
"Well at least YOU TWO got teaching jobs. Dumbledore practically made me a janitor!" Ron said, slightly annoyed. "Now I have to hang out with Filch!"
"Caretaker, Ron." Hermione corrected. "And at least you don't really have to plan anything."
"Yeah" Harry cut in. "All you have to do is tell off couples who sneak out at night to snog in broom cupboards."
"Or maybe just let them snog." Ron commented lightly. Hermione turned around swiftly, looking at Ron in surprise.
"You're actually going to LET them?" She said in disbelief. "But you're supposed to be an AUTHORITY figure! You're not supposed to encourage them!" She said with a glint of anger in her eyes.
"This will the rebellious streak I never had a chance to do in Hogwarts." Ron continued, ignoring Hermione's noises of protest.
"I will be known as the coolest caretaker there ever was." He said, grinning smugly. Harry snickered.
"Oh whatever." Hermione growled, looking at him in disgust. "I STILL want to know why Dumbledore's letting us teach…"
"Well at least we can search the castle now without having to sneak around….plus we can eavesdrop on McGonagall…she may not look it, but she's quite the gossip queen. I've gotten LOADS of information off her before." Ron said, looking quite proud of his "eavesdropping skills."
"Well maybe he wants to keep an eye out for us…make sure we don't screw the future up." Harry suggested.
"It's already screwed enough." Hermione muttered to herself.
"He probably wants to know our intentions…" Ron said, surprisingly insightful. "Like you said 'Mione..." He continued, oblivious to the glare he was getting from the use of that nickname.
"Were not on some joy trip to the past…even HE knows that. So he wants to know what's so important that we had to go to the past. Probably going to do a little spying of his own…"
"I guess that's the most logical explanation." Hermione admitted, looking happy that they had solved that particular problem.
"Here we are." Harry said as they turned a corner and found themselves standing in front of a large portrait of a sweet little girl, with curly tufts of blonde hair falling down her face, nearly covering her bright blue eyes.
"She's sooo cute!" Hermione cooed, waving at the little girl, who waved back, looking a little unsure.
"Uh…Password?" She asked, shyly.
"Er…" Hermione said, trying to think of a suitable password, when a plump lady with the same bright blue eyes stepped into the portrait.
"Oh Goodness!" She exclaimed, looking shocked but delighted.
"Dumbledore never informed me that we had visitors! I would have never left if I knew" She said, looking disappointed at herself for not being there.
"It's been a while since anyone has lived here… far too little people for such a big castle I always say…" She said, chuckling merrily.
"And who might you three be?" She asked, her eyes sparkling with curiosity.
"Umm… Hermione Granger, Harry Turner and Ron Ashby." She said, pointing to each person in turn.
"Were…assistant teachers here to train for a couple of months. Get some first hand experience." Hermione said, sticking to Dumbledore's cover story.
"Well, you should be quite thankful that you're staying in this room! Magnificent room it is. Very historical...But that story's for another day. Look at me now! Giving you three a history lesson when you should be settling in and having yourselves a rest! Silly me!" She laughed again.
"Bloody Hell, yeah." Ron grumbled. Hermione stepped on his foot.
"Well…what password have you chosen?" She said, not hearing the comment Ron had made.
"Pine fresh." Harry said automatically, stating the first password that came to mind. He was exhausted and just wanted to get to bed.
"Pine fresh it is. Oh, and by the way" She called as they started climbing into the portrait hole.
"My name's Julietta, and this is my daughter Danielle. If you ever need anything, just ask. "
"Alright" Hermione called back, the boys having already stepped into the room.
They waved happily as the portrait door closed shut.
"Wow…." Hermione breathed, amazed. The room was of average size, but had 3 staircases, all leading to more rooms. The walls were draped in yellow tapestries, and had large "windows" which weren't actually real windows. They were just parts of the wall that had been enchanted just like the ceiling in the Great Hall. Right now, the sky was covered with bright stars, almost as if the room was welcoming the newcomers just as Julietta had.
"Well, I'm exhausted. See you in the morning." Ron said, yawning and moving towards the nearest staircase.
Hermione gaped at him. "Don't you want to explore a bit? Look around? This room is beautiful! Full of history! Julietta said so herself!"
"I might explore my room," he said, already walking up the stairs. "But after that I'm not going anywhere far from my bed."
"But Ron…." He was already gone.
"Harry?" She looked at him hopefully. He just shrugged and went up a different staircase, stretching and looking ready for a good night's sleep.
Not that SHE would have minded one, but right now, the history of this place was intriguing her to no end.
"Boys…." She muttered, going up the last staircase, deciding that she would explore the next day, when they weren't all half asleep.
There was a loud crack as an unknown person apparated through the heavy wards surrounding the place.
The handsome face of Tom Riddle contorted in fury as he felt the foreign presence.
"Someone has passed through the borders! Bring him to me" He screamed to his death eaters who were now scurrying away. His voice was filled with anger, but if you looked a little closer you could see….fear? And curiosity?
There was a loud blast and a few screams outside his door, and then all was quiet. Tom Riddle stood up, his wand pointed steadily at the hooded figure walking inside his room.
"Who are you?" He asked in a deadly whisper.
"And I must ask you out of sheer curiosity," He said, his voice dripping with hate and sarcasm.
"How ever did you get past all those shields….More so, the Fidelius charm? Especially when only I can tell others it's location. " He asked, sneering at the lone figure, yet curious all the same.
It lowered it's hood and spoke in that same deadly whisper.
"Because I performed that charm myself."
"Harry! Ron!" Hermione called, alternating staircases.
She banged on the door, and a sleepy looking Ron opened the door, still in his boxers.
"Bloody Hell!" Hermione covered her eyes, blushing deeply.
"Wsamatter?" Ron slurred, not noticing his present attire.
"You're still in your boxers." Came the voice of Harry from the other staircase, his hair still wet from the shower, and looking extremely refreshed.
"BLOODY HELL!" Ron yelped, running back into his room and slamming the door shut.
Hermione laughed, embarrassed, while Harry just smirked knowingly.
"YOU!" She pointed her finger at Harry accusingly. "You showered already! I was knocking on your doors for a good 10 minutes and you were already up?" She glared at him.
"Why didn't you just tell me? Would've saved me a lot of trouble. "She grumbled.
"I'm used to waking up early, you shouldn't have even bothered. Hey…don't we have to...erm...teach today? Damn that sounded really weird." Harry mumbled.
"No….our lessons aren't until after lunch which is….in about 2 hours." She said, slipping a glance at her watch.
"So why don't we explore a little." She asked, jumping up and down in anticipation.
"Alright. Let's just wait for Ron to be….decent." He said, watching happily as she blushed yet again.
"I didn't mean to! I didn't know he would be stupid enough to open the door in his boxers!" She said, defending herself.
"Well, you of all people should know the depth of Ron's stupidity."
Before she could shoot back a retort, the door to Ron's quarters creaked open and he stepped back, looking refreshed but a little embarrassed.
"Sorry bout that Hermione….Won't happen again." He mumbled.
"That's alright… Well NOW can we look around?" She asked, her tone changing from timid and embarrassed, to bossy and irritable.
"Alright, alright. Let's go." Harry responded, and they stepped into Ron's room, all of them equally fascinated now.
The trio entered the Great Hall for lunch, still starry eyed from all the amazing things they had found.
"My favorite is still that illusion maker." Ron said enthusiastically as they sat down at the teacher's table to have their meal.
"The look on Hermione's face when she saw that bookcase then fell right through it!"
Hermione glared at them. "Why do you take pleasure in my suffering? What are you…a sadist?" She said, putting heaps of bacon on her plate.
"I just found the look on your face cool….You know, the books were right there but you couldn't get to them." Ron said happily, piling even more bacon onto his plate.
"Well I liked that antique writing desk we found in Harry's room." Hermione said, eager to get some semblance of her dignity back.
"For me it would have to be that cool mirror. Not that I'm vain or anything, because it doesn't even show any reflection. I just…..I like it for some reason." Harry said, drifting off into another wave of thought.
"But I STILL don't know why all the rooms have to be all girly." Ron grumbled, referring to all their rooms, which were all decorates with frills and lace.
"The previous owner was probably a woman." Hermione shrugged, not really caring about the lace.
"Well she should have taken all her junk with her….EXCEPT FOR THE DESK!" He added quickly, misinterpreting Hermione's glare.
She sighed and rubbed her forehead, not really ready for Ron at this time.
"So how was your first night?" Professor Dumbledore turned to them, finally ending his conversation on magical herbs with Professor Sprout.
"It was wonderful!" Hermione answered eagerly. "There are so many wonderful magical things in there."
"Yes the things there are quite…interesting." Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling.
"Are you ready for your first day?" He asked them.
"Well…about that Professor." Harry started, still not sure about the assisting part fitting in with their real plans in the past.
"I'm sure you will all do wonderful jobs." He interrupted, standing up.
"Well, I should be going…..Good luck." He winked at them, leaving the Great Hall gracefully.
They just stared at his back, unbelievingly.
"Oh…I wish I was teaching defense instead. At least you'll able to teach with Lily. I don't even know who this Professor Drinda is…for all I know she could be completely biased like Snape." Hermione said while adjusting her teacher's robes.
"Well at least YOU know my mother. I can't even form a coherent sentence around her." Harry said, a little bitterly.
She cast him a sympathetic look. "Oh that was all girl talk. You'll know her soon enough. This is actually a wonderful opportunity for you Harry!" She said excitedly.
"Yeah, I guess." He mumbled.
"Do you guys want to go?" Ron said eagerly, his perspective on being a 'caretaker' changing drastically.
"Yes, we should go." Hermione said, looking at herself in the mirror.
"How do I look?" She asked.
"You look fine. Really…professor-ish. Now let's go…" Ron said, ushering them out with a patch of pink on his cheeks.
They stepped out the portrait hole, waving merrily at Julietta and Danielle, and made their way towards their respective job places.
They dropped Ron off near Filch's office, Ron gulping a little nervously at the familiar sight.
Hermione and Harry continued, until they reached Hermione's destination: The Muggle Studies Classroom.
She turned to Harry and hugged him comfortingly.
"Everything will be fine Harry. You'll see. Just relax." She whispered in his ear before disappearing into the classroom.
Harry continued, alone. His breath hitched when he spotted the portrait of a sleeping man, who was snoring loudly.
He stood in front of the portrait, which was the entrance to his mother's office. It was where they had agreed to meet (Actually it was where Lily and Hermione had agreed the two would meet.) before the first lesson in order to go over some of the things.
"What are you staring at? Are you going in or what?" A rude voice asked him.
Harry turned and saw that the snoring man had woken up. He was glaring at Harry as if his life depended on it.
"Er…yeah. Prongs." He recited the password Lily had given to him, feeling a little uncomfortable at the man's penetrating glare.
"Not so cocky anymore, eh?" The man snickered. "See? THAT'S what it feels like to be stared at. Teach you a lesson not to stare at folks like that."
"Well, can I go in?" Harry asked, now annoyed.
"No." He answered simply.
"Why not?" Harry asked, feeling VERY annoyed now.
"Because I said so." He said, quite smugly.
Just then, the portrait door opened and Lily stepped out, her eyes brightening as she spotted him.
"Harry! There you are….was coming to look for you. Come in, come in. Oh, and how are you today Elmer?" She asked the portrait sweetly. The sneer on his face immediately vanished and was replaced with a look of…fondness.
"Good…Really good." Elmer answered, smiling at her.
"Well, I'll be seeing you."
She passed Harry and whispered in his ear. "The secret is to suck up to him. He'll warm up to you eventually." She said, and climbed into the portrait hole, beckoning him to follow her in.
'Well…this is it.'
The door opened and Arthur Weasley stepped in, looking exhausted.
"I still haven't managed to contact them. No one has any idea where they are." He said, bending down to kiss his wife, then his daughter.
"How is she?"
Molly looked sadly at her daughter and squeezed her hand which had been intertwined with her own the whole night, before standing up and hugging her husband tightly.
"Oh Arthur…She hasn't woken up yet…Why hasn't she woken up?" She said, her voice muffled as she leaned her head on his shoulder.
He rubbed soothing circles on her back. "Everything will be fine Molly. She's a strong girl. What did the healer say?" He asked, pulling out from the hug.
She sniffed and wiped the sides of her eyes where tears were starting to form.
"Well, physically she's completely normal. But…He's not sure when she'll wake up. But the good news is that she has a 90 chance of waking up soon. The impact wasn't that big, and she didn't hit her head that hard."
"Really?" Arthur said, immediately brightening up.
"Sweetheart, that's wonderful! Why are you still sad then?" He asked, noticing that she was lacking the enthusiasm he had.
"90. Where's the other 10?" She asked him, a lone tear escaping and streaking down her cheek.
"Mom? Dad?" Bill called as he entered the room. Molly immediately wiped her eyes and smiled warmly at him.
"Bill darling, how wonderful to see you. Where's Charlie?" She asked, looking around.
"He went to get some tea downstairs. Where are the twins? And Fleur?"
"They all went for some tea too. They'll probably meet."
He kissed her in the cheek, and smiled at his father.
"I'm just going to get something at home. Do you need anything? Food? Clothes?"
"Well…..can you drop this off at home?" Molly handed him a basket of things, which included Ginny's cloak.
"Should I…..throw this? It's pretty torn." He asked, gesturing to Ginny's cloak.
"Well…I guess. It was getting short for her anyway. When she wakes, I can take her shopping." She said, brightening at the thought of her and her daughter shopping together.
"Alright…I'll be right back. He exited the door, headed for the elevator.
Bill popped in to the familiar kitchen of the burrow. He looked around, and set the basket down on the table, conjuring a bottle of butterbeer.
He sat on the chair, thinking back on the events that had taken place during the last couple of days.
Voldemort was planning something. He could feel it. They could all feel it. And Bill wasn't so sure that the bombing of the Order of the Phoenix headquarters was even the worst of it. He wasn't even sure how they had found them. That meant that there was a traitor in their midst.
'As if I don't have enough to worry about.' He thought, wishing that he could focus on worrying for his sister, but forced to worry about other things like finding a new headquarters for the Order, and preparing for what big thing Voldemort had in store for them.
He took the cloak in his hands and stared at it. Stared at the red blood stains that covered it. His sister's blood.
He closed his eyes and breathed out. He could still vividly remember it. It had only happened last week, but he had a feeling that time wouldn't change how clearly he remembered it.
It was practically embedded in his mind.
He had come upstairs, coughing, trying to search for his family members. Finally, he came and saw both his parents sobbing over a figure on the ground. A figure with long flowing red hair.
"Harry and Ginny are dating." Ron said, trying to sound a little more cheerful about it.
"Really?" Bill asked, feeling protective of his youngest sibling and only sister.
"Well, what's not to like about her?" Fred asked, joining them.
"I remember Dean telling me during that last interrogation, that he liked….what was that? Oh yes. He said she was hot and had….long flowing red hair?"
He couldn't stand it. Couldn't stand to be reminded of that horrible night. That horrible night when he saw her lying there, covered head to toe in blood. The same blood on that cloak.
They had said that she had been the most affected since they predicted that she had been closest to the bomb when it had gone off.
He stood up suddenly, cloak in hand, and headed towards the trash bin, ready to get rid of the horrible cloak, when he heard someone yell his name.
"Bill? Charlie?" It was Percy. The Good Percy. The Old Percy. The Neurotic, Obsessive, Workaholic Percy whom he'd take any time over the Ministry supporting, Traitor Percy that had replaced him for a few years.
He ran up the stairs, towards the voice, and met Percy inside Ron's room.
"Bill! Is she alright? I was just going there right now when I heard someone in the house…Thought it might be death eaters." Percy asked, shivering at the thought of death eaters invading their home.
"Yes…we should go there right now. Wait let me just grab my coat." He said, tripping over his own feet and dropping the cloak, not knowing that a time turner had slipped out and rolled under Ron's bed.
"Wait…I need to throw this cloak." He said, picking the time turner-less cloak up from the floor.
Percy stared at it for a moment, then snapped out of his thoughts.
"Alright but we need to hurry! I need to see Ginny!"
Together, they ran down the stairs, disposed of the bloody cloak, then apparated to St. Mungo's, unaware of how close they had been to destroying what little hope the light side had left of winning the war against Voldemort.
A/N: Now it gets interesting…..Please review! I don't mean to sound like I only care about the reviews, because believe me the writing is more rewarding, but I put my sweat and blood into this chapter and I like it a lot better then the other ones. I REALLY hope I get more reviews…They really encourage me not to give up on my stories.
Thanks for reading! Again, please review:)