Like a Puff of Mist…POOF!

A Harry Potter Fanfiction

by mew-tsubaki

Note: My first HariPo fic! Yay! So, I recently reread the 5th book. Anyway, I think I now know who my favorite character is: Sirius. I love him! Kya! Basically, this story is picking up where the Order of the Phoenix left off, but it's heading into Harry's seventh year. That's it…except post a comment when you're done reading. Thanks! -

Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.K. Rowling, unless otherwise stated at the head of each chapter right here in the disclaimer. So far, the only original characters I can think of right now are: Roxane Lovegood (Luna's mum), Edmund Lovegood (Luna's da), ghosts Lucille Skaveys and Patrick Connelly, Professor Zee Anomaly (Potions), and Professor Garrid Hellbourne (Defense Against the Dark Arts).

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Chapter 11: Camping Trip, Anyone?

"Is it just me, or is Binns heading every class today?" Ron queried.

Harry smiled. "No, for once it isn't just you, mate."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Regardless of Ron's ability to comprehend, haven't either of you noticed that not only is Binns in every class, but the only teacher here –period? We haven't even seen the other professors in passing!!"

Now Harry's smile faded. "Surely, they've got to be here somewhere. You can't exactly leave a castle full of students with just one staff member alone, Hermione."

"Well, "staff" is a wide term," Ron admonished, "and Filch is here so-"

"Filch doesn't count!" the other two said in unison.

Hermione turned her icy glare on several fifth years as she marched toward them and ushered them out of the Common Room. The portrait hole swung shut with a THWACK! "Our teachers are missing and we're heading out on our mission this weekend –doesn't that seem a little odd?"

"Consider how much of the Order runs the school, 'Mione," Ron stated. "Maybe the Order went ahead for an attack. Right, Harry?"

"Yeah, maybe…" Harry was replaying the scene between McGonagall and Hellbourne in his mind's eye, wondering if Hellbourne was really a part of their side. It could be, but he might actually be working for Voldemort… No! He wouldn't let the others fall into a trap like that again. Harry stood. "Just make sure you two are fully prepared two days from now, because that's when we're leaving."

A chime clanged and the trio picked up their books for Potions. The corridors were abuzz with gleeful giggling and joking about what who got away with in class. Hermione grimaced at the sound of the stories, but didn't feel quite in the right mood to remind her fellow students of the school rules. Absentmindedly, Harry watched the crowd and noted familiar faces: the Patil twins (with Lavender Brown beside them), Justin Finch-Fletchly, Zacharias Smith, and more past members of the D.A.

"…you sure?" Hermione's voice came floating back into Harry's head. "She's been absent since yesterday?" Harry turned to see Luna conversing with Ron and Hermione.

Ron shook his head in disbelief. "No, that's a mistake. She would've said something to me, or told Mum and Dad, and then they would've told me. She wouldn't have gone out on her own."

With an aching feeling –that of one's heart being squeezed to explosion –Harry joined the group and frantically asked, "Who do you mean?"

Luna's eyes shifted on him and he saw a flicker of emotion in them: worry. "Ginny. She hasn't been in classes since yesterday. I stopped in the hospital wing to see if she was there, but she wasn't. Hermione also hasn't seen her in the girls' dormitory. I was wondering if any of you three had seen her in passing today."

Hermione shook her head. "Wait…" She took on a horrible dawn-of-realization expression. "Has she talked to you about Beauxbatons, Luna?"

The Ravenclaw shrugged. "Just a bit. She asked if I had any family there, or if I knew what it's like. I said no, but that it's a good idea to stay away from there anyway. They've had a recent doxy extermination, but that isn't the only thing lurking in the school. My father also did a report on Loose-Lipped Lepidoreans and their natural habitat, and it turns out that a rather large number of them have nested within Beauxbatons' walls."

Harry gave a ghost of a smile in response, but as soon as Luna had disappeared, his shoulders sagged and he felt as if he had shrunk in size, that anyone was about to step on him and extinguish his existence like he was some nasty little cockroach roaming about. He felt a comforting hand on his back.

"I'm sure Ginny's fine," Hermione reassured him. "She's probably at Beauxbatons just like we suspected." When she saw the look of disdain on Harry's face, she quickly added, "of course, not for the reasons we thought. She couldn't have left just because of you, Harry, really…"

But nothing would wash away his guilt. He knew it was his fault for pushing her away so hard that she had felt a more permanent distance was better. Harry couldn't even eat his spaghetti at dinner, for the orange-blanched strands of pasta reminded him too much of Ginny's hair, and then he'd think about the few encounters they had shared this year, and then he'd feel guilty, look at his food, and the cycle would begin all over again.

As his changed into his pajamas later that evening, he felt something else resurface: his hatred for Voldemort. When it came down to it all, there was almost nothing Harry couldn't blame on Voldemort. Harry went to sleep with renewed strength; they would win against him; he could feel it deep within him…

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And now…the weekend!

A scuffling noise awoke Ron and Harry. Both sat up and were surprised to see Hermione crawling on the floor, holding her light-tipped wand down enough so as not to wake the others in the dormitory. Harry shoved his glasses on.

"Bloody hell, Hermione," Ron quietly exclaimed. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

"2:47 a.m., actually," she replied. "Get dressed and grab what you can. We should leave when no one will see us. OW! Watch it, Ron! You just stepped on my hand!"

Half asleep, Harry and Ron dressed. Harry fumbled around for a bag that no one would recognize as the school's, and stuffed what he thought might be most necessary: another pair of jeans, socks, undergarments and a shirt to sleep in, his Invisibility cloak, and his money bag (with an endless supply of gold from his vault; the bag was directly connected to his vault, courtesy of Bill.) Now Harry turned to Ron. "Ready, mate?"

Ron fumbled with the clothes in his trunk. "What do I take? I mean, just how long are we going to be away anyway?"

"Oh, give me that!" Hermione whispered furiously at him, yanking his pack from him and stuffing it full of what he needed. "Now both of you, get down and follow me out."

Again, both listened and trailed behind her, squinting in the dark, for there was no light save that of Hermione's wand. Ron turned to Harry. "Can you believe she just up and grabbed my clothes like that, Harry? I mean, even my underwear…" Even in the dark, Harry knew that Ron's face had to be a deeper shade of red than his hair. He had to bite his lip from laughing…

"All right," Hermione muttered. "Coast is clear. Stand up, you two." Now all of them hid in any cast shadow, careful to listen for any signs of Filch, Peeves, or any ghost that could give away their plans. Within minutes, they successfully reached the front door.

"Hermione," Harry moaned, "we have no idea how do undo the enchantments on the door. We've wasted at least twenty minutes just to come down here."

She smirked. "'We have no idea', but I do. I saw Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick demonstrating it to Hellbourne, in case his 'group' left the castle before either of theirs did. It's quite simple really."

"What about the noise?" Ron quipped.

Harry revealed his wand. "I'll take care of that. Muffliato!" With the strength he had just put into that spell, he was sure that it was working on the whole school.

"There!" Hermione smiled and the door creaked open. The trio shuffled outside with no trouble at all.

"Can you imagine if Hermione was the next Voldemort? She'd be a million times smarter and stronger!" Ron stated, amazed.

"I'm not quite sure whether I should take that as a compliment or not…"

Now that they were outside, Harry realized they had no idea where to head next. An overwhelming sense of dread descended upon him. Already, he had guessed the future dangers that they would experience, and Harry's hand instinctively flew to his wand. Reminding himself that things had gone all right so far, his exhaled and led his friends forward. He couldn't be the frightened one anymore.

"Where to tonight?" Ron asked.

"Actually, I've thought about a plan some," Hermione stated. "Seeing as how the Order has gone ahead for an attack, I was thinking we'd lay low and follow the trail. That way, we can keep an eye on them and find Voldemort at the same time."

"And, of course, no one's going to question three Hogwarts students doing their own thing while school's in session," Ron scoffed, rolling his eyes. Sharp pains stun his arm and he realized Hermione had set of few of her canaries on him. "OW! Ouch! Hey!"

"No, they won't question us, Ron. I've been stocking up on Polyjuice Potion and I can perform some simple Charms to augment our appearances. Oh, don't give me that look!" she snapped as he pulled a Fred-and-George-"yeah-right" grin. "We'll stay at the Hog's Head Inn tonight after a bit of Polyjuice, then we'll head towards the Ministry."

Harry stopped and showed his surprise. "The Ministry?" he repeated.

Hermione nodded. "We'll travel by Disapparition into Diagon Alley –again, after having some Polyjuice –and peruse around until we can catch the Order's trail."

"How easy do you think that will be?"

"I'm not sure…but things have always gone right for us before, haven't they? I mean, we don't have Felix this time, but we've managed before on our own abilities and nerves. Who's to say we won't make it this time around?" Even as the last sentence fluttered from her lips, Hermione's uncertainty spread to Ron and Harry, and it was with complete cooperation that she changed their guises (as they had not procured anyone's hair, this was the best Hermione could do).

The trio settled for two rooms to sleep off the rest of the night, but dawn came early. One could only wonder how much longer things would remain quiet…

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When I started this chapter, it was June 20th. Now that this is finished, it's July 23rd. As other Harry Potter fans have done, I finished the Deathly Hallows and –while at some points elated with the story –found myself ultimately let down. For me the story felt like a fanfiction, and many of the ideas Ms. Rowling used had come to my mind, as well, but before I read the last book. All I would like to say is that I will finish this story as I originally intended (that is, my idea of year 7), and if my ideas coincide with J.K.'s, then so be it. I think, like Dumbledore, I have had very, very good guesses.

My apologies for any offense found in this end-chapter note.

Sincerely,

-mew-tsubaki :)