Teddy rolled his eyes. "We'll just see if we can find anything that will help and if we do find something, we can give it to Headmaster Snape."
"Alright then," agreed Hermione. "I'll write to my Mother tomorrow and have her send the whole lot."
"Your Mother? Why not your Father?"
"He would ask too many questions," she explained. "Mum will just think I'm working on some project for extra credit."
Teddy grinned. "Well, it looks like we have a plan. Just think how great it will be if we find the solution and save Harry Potter's life."
"It is rather exciting," Hermione admitted with a small smile of her own. "Almost like a real adventure."
Draco eyed the small cottage with some trepidation. He'd rarely spoken to Neville Longbottom since the end of the war. There was no way to know how the other man would take having a former Death Eater show up at his door, especially one who bullied him as much as Draco had in their school days. He raised his hand to knock on the oak door, but it swung open on its own accord.
"What are you doing here?"
Neville Longbottom glared down at him with narrowed eyes. A sharp looking trowel was gripped in one hand and a pair of thick gardening gloves in the other. Draco attempted to appear confident and cold, but he was sure his expression was strained and nervous.
"Hello Longbottom," he greeted the man as calmly as possible. Neville's grip on the trowel tightened noticeably and Draco decided it was best to explain as quickly as he was able. "I'm here about Harry."
The other man's expression changed to one of confusion. "What about Harry?"
"May I come in?" Draco questioned. "I don't think it's safe to speak about it on your front doorstep."
For a moment he thought Longbottom would slam the door in his face, but instead the taller man moved to the side and gestured for him to enter. A bead of sweat traced down Draco's forehead as he followed Longbottom to a quaint looking sitting room with a brown sofa and two brown chairs. A large fireplace took up much of the area and its mantle was covered in a large amount of framed photographs.
"Luna!" Neville called out loudly. "Can you bring us some tea?"
"Of course," a dreamy voice called out from what Draco assumed was the kitchen. "Would you like biscuits Draco?"
"No thank you," Draco stated loudly, wondering how the woman knew who it was her husband just allowed into their home.
Neville motioned for him to sit. "Now, what is this about?"
Draco took a deep breath. "Harry is very sick and I think you may have some information that may be helpful in finding a cure for his illness." He watched Longbottom's reaction carefully, waiting for some kind of look of surprise or shock.
"Is it some kind of disease?" Neville asked calmly.
"No, it's something else. Something I think Granger was researching before she died. Do you know anything about that?"
Luna came clattering into the room with a large tray full of biscuits and a strange looking tea service that appeared to be made out of wood. "I decided to have a snack," she explained as she set the tray on the narrow table in front of the sofa. "Are you here about the Horcrux?
"Luna!" Neville exclaimed. "That's supposed to be a secret." He shook his head in frustration.
"I know about the Horcrux," Draco stated and Neville's jaw dropped.
"Well Harry told him of course," said Luna as she poured out cups of tea. Draco noticed that she poured an extra cup and he gave her a questioning look. "It's always good to have an extra cup ready just in case we have company."
"Someone is trying to bring back the Dark Lord," Draco continued. "They have the Resurrection Stone." He left out the fact that Harry had created his own Horcruxes.
Longbottom ran a hand through his shaggy hair. It reminded Draco of how Harry would run a hand through his hair whenever he was nervous or anxious.
"Do you think the people who took it know what it is they took?" Neville questioned.
Draco nodded. "I think they have a pretty good idea."
"I don't know much, mind you," Neville admitted. "Hermione told me she feared the Horcrux hadn't really been destroyed. She left a box of research notes here. Luna helped her a bit, didn't you?"
Luna grinned. "It was all very interesting, to think that two souls could reside in the same body, how amazing!"
"Yeah, amazing," Draco grumbled before taking a sip of tea. He nearly spit it across the room. "This tea is ice cold."
"I like it that way," Luna admitted. "Isn't it refreshing? Would you like more?" She held the pot toward his cup.
Draco waved the teapot away. "No, this is plenty thanks. Can you tell me about Hermione's research? Or could I take a look at her notes?"
"You could, but the notes aren't here anymore." Luna paused to sip her own tea.
"Well, where are they," Draco snapped, doing his best to hold in his frustration as Neville gave him a warning look.
"What did you do with the notes, hun?" Neville asked calmly.
"I sent them to Hermione," Luna explained. "She wrote and asked for them, so I sent them off to her just this morning."
Draco nearly dropped his tea cup. "You sent them to your daughter! I've got to get back to the school." His hands shook as he noisily placed the cup and saucer on the tea tray. "Thanks for your help."
Luna smiled in her usual dreamy way. "Anything for a friend."
"Lumos," Lily snapped, shaking the snow globe roughly. The little light at the tip of the wizard's wand flashed and then went out. "Lumos!" It flashed again and then went dark. She huffed in frustration.
Uncle Harry had said that it would always work, but the light wasn't working right anymore. She'd checked the bottom of the thing to make sure that there was no place for batteries and found nothing. Perhaps she'd write to her Uncle and let him know that the gift he'd bought was defective. Gram Petunia had an owl so she'd know how to get in touch with him.
"Dad!" She called out as she headed downstairs. "Dad, are you down here?"
"No shouting in the house," her mother yelled from the kitchen.
Lily grinned. "You just shouted!"
There was a clatter of noise and then the kitchen door swung open. Her mom stood in the doorway, a flowery apron tied around her waist and her arms folded over her chest. Lily could tell that she was attempting to look angry, but couldn't help smiling.
"You are just like your father," Sarah chuckled. "Get in here and help me with these cookies."
Lily rolled her eyes. "I hate baking. Where's Dad?" She followed her mom into the kitchen and snatched a fresh baked cookie from one of the cooling racks.
"Out for a run I suspect." She slapped at Lily's hand. "You stay out of those. What do you need from your Dad anyway? You haven't burned through your Christmas money already have you."
"Mom, that was gone weeks ago. I wanted to see if Dad could ask Gram to get in touch with Uncle Harry."
Her mother's head disappeared into the refrigerator for a few seconds before she came out holding a dozen eggs. "Why would you need to talk to Harry?"
"My snow globe isn't working right anymore. I thought maybe he could take it back to the store and replace it with a new one or something. The little light doesn't stay on."
Suddenly the back door swung open and Dudley came striding in covered in perspiration, a pair of running shoes were tied over one shoulder and a bottle of water was clutched in one hand. He smiled at them both before snatching a cookie from the table.
"Stay out of those!" Sarah shouted.
"No shouting in the house," Lily reminded her and Sarah threw up her hands.
"You two will be the death of me!"
Dudley and Lily shared a grin.
"Lily was just telling me that the snow globe that Harry gave her has stopped working. Isn't that odd? I was sure he said it would last forever."
Dudley frowned. "That is strange. I don't think he would have said that unless it was true. I'll have Mum write to him and see if he can return it. Must have poorly done spells on it or something."
Snape strode swiftly through the streets of Knockturn Alley. It had been years since he'd moved among the wretched inhabitants there, but he still remembered the best places to gather information. The bell over the door jingled as he stepped into Borgin & Burkes. With one smooth movement he locked the door and flipped the 'Open' sign to 'Closed'.
"Be with you in a moment," Borgin's gruff voice called out from a back room.
Snape glided among the shelves full of dark artifacts. Most of the items were fakes and reproductions, but a few things caught his eye.
"Severus Snape," Borgin gasped as he finally stepped up behind the counter. "I haven't seen you in years." The gap-toothed man offered him a malicious grin. "What can I do for you?"
"I have need of information," Severus stated. He glided up to the counter and pulled out his wand. Borgin quickly backed away. "Perhaps you recognize this." He deftly carved the symbol of the Deathly Hallows into the countertop.
"Of course," Borgin stammered nervously. "Every wizard and witch has heard the story of the Hallows."
Snape nodded. "I am concerned with only one in particular." His wand tip landed on the round circle in the middle of the triangle. "The stone."
Borgin licked his lips nervously. "I don't know nothing about that stone," stuttered Borgin. "Now get out of my store."
Snape sneered down at the man. "I see you don't remember with whom you are dealing with, so let me remind you."
He flicked his wand at the man and Borgin gasped in pain. Snape's expression remained cool and unreadable, but inside his mind, his thoughts vibrated with anger. Dark magic had always had that affect on his psyche.
"Please sir," Borgin pleaded, one hand raised toward his attacker.
"Tell me what I want to know," Snape's lips turned up in an evil grin. "Tell me about the stone."
"Okay, okay," Borgin gasped. "A couple kids came in here a couple days ago, spouting off about how they'd found themselves the stone. They were looking to sell it, but wouldn't show it to me. Said they'd left it somewhere for safe keeping. I told them that they'd see galleons when I see the stone."
"What did they look like? Did you catch their names?"
Borgin shook his head. "They didn't give me their names and their hoods were pulled up the entire time they were in the shop."
Snape stepped over to the man and grabbed him by the front of his shirt, pulling him up until they were eye-to-eye. "When are they returning with the stone?"
"I don't know."
"When?" Snape held his wand up to the man's throat. It vibrated as Borgin swallowed past a lump in his throat.
"Two days from now," Borgin whispered. "Saturday."
"Teddy," Hermione called down the corridor.
The group of students surrounding the young man laughed and Teddy couldn't help but grimace. He liked Hermione, but his friends were relentless in their jibes regarding their friendship. It didn't help that the girl seemed to follow him everywhere.
"Here comes Lupin's girlfriend," Daniel Zabini chuckled. "I didn't know you like little girls Ted." He slapped Teddy on the shoulder.
Teddy pushed him away. "Shut it Zabini. She's just helping me with a project I'm working on."
"Well I think it's sweet," Felice stated, smiling sweetly. "But you don't really like her, do you?"
The entire group stared at Ted and he shook his head.
"Just as a friend," he explained, his hair turning red from frustration. "She's really smart."
The Gettinger twins nudged him from both sides. "Sure she is," they laughed.
Teddy pushed through the group to meet Hermione halfway. She smiled up at him and pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear, the rest was pulled up in a messy bun at the back of her head. It looked rather charming in his opinion, not that he would say so aloud. In her arms she carried a large box, which she shook under Teddy's nose.
"A little help."
"Of course," he said, grabbing the box. "What's in here?"
Hermione leaned closer. "It's from my Mum."
The corridor was instantly filled with the sound of catcalls and whistling. Hermione's cheeks flushed red and Teddy's hair turned pink. He attempted to change it back to brown, but was too embarrassed.
"Look at that! Teddy's blushing to the tiny tips of his hair!" Daniel exclaimed and the group laughed.
"Let's go to our room," Teddy urged and Hermione nodded in agreement.
In the Room of Requirement Teddy let out a sigh of relief. He liked his friends, but sometimes he felt like he couldn't be himself around them. They always expected him to act a certain way. He was known for his fiery temper and his knack for finding trouble. That's why he sort of liked hanging out with Hermione. She didn't expect him to be anything but himself.
"Are you planning to help with this, or are you just going to stare at me?" Hermione questioned, not looking up from the stack of papers in front of her.
"Sorry." He stepped over to the table and grabbed a folder from the box. "What is all this stuff?"
"It's research that Hermione Granger was working on before she was killed. It's all about horcruxes."
Teddy began to flip through the papers and a chill ran up his spine. Suddenly he had the feeling that they were being watched. He glanced around the room as inconspicuously as possible. Nothing appeared to be out of place and they seemed to be alone.
"I have a funny feeling," Teddy admitted aloud. Hermione gave him a questioning look. "I feel like someone or something is watching us."
"That's silly," she stated. "This is the Room of Requirement." She closed her eyes and everything in the room disappeared besides the two of them and the box. "See, nothing."
Teddy looked around the empty room. "I suppose you're right." She opened her eyes and everything reappeared.
The fireplace caught Teddy's attention and he moved toward it, the folder still in his hands. For a moment he thought he saw a face in the flames, but that was impossible. The folder in his hands burned hot and he dropped it to the ground.
"Ow!" He exclaimed. "That thing just burned me."
Hermione came running. "Maybe it's cursed."
Teddy held up his red hands. "You think?" He questioned. "What do we do now?"
"There must be something important in that folder or else why go through the trouble of cursing it. We'll just have to figure out a counter-curse."
Teddy nodded and held out his hands to the girl. "Think you can heal these. I really don't want to explain what happened to Madam Pomfrey."
"Good point. I think I have some salve in my bag." She reached into the backpack on the coffee table and pulled out a small, round tin.
"Why do you keep that in your bag?"
Hermione blushed. "I'm really clumsy," she explained. "So I get a lot of bruises." She spread the clear jelly-like substance over his hands and instantly they felt better.
"Thanks. Do you feel a bit strange about all of this?"
"Going through a dead person's stuff just seems a bit unsettling to me. Doesn't it bother you at all?"
Hermione frowned. "It does make me feel kind of bad," she replied. "My parents have told me hundreds of stories about their friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Sometimes I wonder what they would be like if they were still alive today."
"I wonder what my parents would be like," admitted Teddy. "My real parents, I mean. The Weasley's have told me all kinds of stories. My Father was supposedly really smart and my Grandpa Weasley says that he was always cool and collected, which seems a little strange since he was a werewolf."
"And your mum?"
Teddy sighed and stared off into the flames of the fireplace. "She was really clumsy, but fun and stubborn to a fault. My Dad tried to get her to stay out of the fighting, but she went anyway. Then they both got killed. Sometimes I get really angry at her for that." Hermione squeezed his hands tightly before releasing them to return the tin of salve to her backpack.
"I would be angry too," she stated and Teddy's eyes widened in surprise. Everyone had always told him that he shouldn't be angry at his parents for wanting to fight. They were strong and brave. He was supposed to be proud of what they'd done. "A part of every decision someone makes is selfish and self-serving."
"But they did the right thing," Teddy stated defensively. "They fought evil."
"And they left you alone," Hermione argued. "I think it's perfectly understandable for you to be angry. My grandparents were Aurors and they were tortured into insanity so my dad had to live with his grandmother. People are always bringing it up when they talk to him. They say things like, you must be so proud or your parents were so brave and it always seems to make him angry. He just wants them back."
Teddy nodded in understanding. His hair turned from purple to midnight black, as it usually did when he was feeling sad and depressed. Hermione put a comforting arm around his shoulders and he instinctually leaned in toward her shoulder. She was smaller and younger, but seemed so much stronger and wiser than Teddy felt he could ever be.
Harry was dreaming. He knew it instantly because an 18-year old Hermione Granger was sitting across the desk from him in the library at Grimmauld Place, a large book partially covering her face. Hermione is dead, he knew this to be true. For a long time he'd dreamt of her and believed she was real even after he woke. Each time he remembered that she was no longer with him it was like he was killing her all over again.
It was his fault she and Ron had been killed. He'd never believe it was anyone's doing but his own. If he hadn't dragged them into his fight with Voldemort then they'd still be alive today. Perhaps they'd have children and be living happily ever after.
"Stop thinking such depressing thoughts," Hermione stated as she lowered the book. Her eyes twinkled with amusement as Harry started in surprise. She never usually spoke to him directly in these types of dreams. Instead she'd just read while Harry watched. "I see, you think this is a dream."
"Isn't it?" He asked dumbly.
Hermione shook her head and offered him a large smile. "You're not dreaming Harry. I'm really here."
A tear trickled down Harry's cheek and he reached out to touch her hand. It was warm and soft, just as he remembered. He grasped at it tightly, as if he was a drowning and she was his savior. Big, fat globs of water traveled down his face and a loud wail escaped his throat.
"Where's Ron?" He questioned, glancing quickly around the room.
"He couldn't be here," she admitted sadly. "It was your love that brought me here."
Harry was confused. "But I love Ron too, don't I?"
"Yes," she nodded. "But not in the same way. Our love is pure and untainted. The friendship we have is based on devotion, loyalty and care. There is no anger, envy or pride. It is a humble thing and we are awed by it."
The breath in Harry's lungs suddenly felt heavy and his heart ached in his chest. She was right. Everything she said was true of their friendship, but not of his friendship with Ron. There was envy there, and pride. Ron had betrayed and abandoned them, and no matter how poorly Ron felt about it afterward, the damage had been done.
"I wish you were here," he whispered. "I wish it so much that it hurts."
Hermione's eyes were wet now too. Harry laid his head down upon her hands, still holding on for dear life.
"I know Harry, but you know I can't be. We'll be together again someday and in the grand scheme of things, a lifetime isn't so long."
"So I can die then?"
Hermione grinned. "Now, now, don't put words in my mouth. I just said we'd be together again, not that you were doing to die." Now Harry was really confused. "Don't think on it Harry. Your head is already full of enough confusion and despair. So much that I could feel you giving up." She gave him a woeful glare. "I can't believe I'd see the day that Harry Potter would just lay there and let Voldemort win."
Harry's head shot up. "What do you expect me to do?" He questioned angrily. "It's not as if I can duel with myself."
"Is that all boys think of, violence? If you can't point a wand at it then you can't defeat it? If I remember correctly it wasn't your wand that destroyed Voldemort, it was your heart."
"Well, that little trick isn't going to work this time is it?"
Hermione slapped his arm, huffing in frustration. "Stop that. You died for everyone and now you give up? Do you remember what you told me that week after you defeated Voldemort when we were here in the library of Grimmauld Place? I had told you my fears regarding the Horcrux and you told me that you would do anything to defeat Voldemort again."
"For you!" Harry shouted and pushed away from the table. He kicked over his chair and stood, glowering down at her with his fiercest glare. "I told you I would do anything to destroy Voldemort so that you and Ron would be safe. But I couldn't keep you safe and now you're both dead. What point is there now?"
Hermione stood and matched his glare with one of her own. "And you think just because we're dead that we don't care about you anymore? We still love you Harry and there are still people alive in the world that care about you very much. What about Draco, Harry? I know you love him and you know that he loves you."
"He'll get over it."
Smack! She slapped him straight across the cheek sending him to the floor. He fell on his bum and sat there looking up at her, a dumbfounded expression on his face.
"Harry James Potter, don't you dare say things like that! Not when you know how powerful love can be. When Ron and I were killed, it was if someone had ripped your heart out. Do you want to put Draco through something like that?"
Suddenly the whole room shifted and they were standing near the lake at Hogwarts. A blinding white tomb stood under a cloudy sky. Next to it was a second tomb in black marble. Draco stood next to it, his head low and eyes shadowed. Harry glanced around, but could see no one else. Silent tears ran down the blonde's pale cheeks and Harry had the urge to reach out and wipe them away.
Hermione's hand slipped into his. "You know this despair Harry. You understand the pain. Do you want this for Draco? Do you want this for someone that you love? Fight it Harry. You must fight it with every fiber of your being."