"Harry, Floo Call!" Melinda's voice echoed throughout his room.
"Be right there!"
Harry carefully marked his place in his book and went out to greet whoever was calling him. Seeing a person's head floating in a green fire was always disconcerting but seeing Seamus' was somehow even more so. Probably because he was making grotesque faces while waiting for Harry to appear. The blond Irish boy's idea of a good way to pass time wasn't exactly normal by any stretch of the imagination. "Seamus."
"Hey, Harry, how's it going? I'm sorry I haven't contacted you yet but me Mum surprised me with a trip to America to meet some family that went over that way and I got to see a horse and have a ride around. It was only a Muggle horse but it was still pretty cool. Do you think Care Of Magical Creatures will have horses during Third Year?"
Harry's brow furrowed as he tried to figure out what were questions and what were just ramblings. "It's alright that you didn't call earlier. I've been fine here, no need for a rescue. America sounds interesting and you seem to have had a good time. I've never seen a horse before in person. I don't think we have horses at Hogwarts but I know Thestrals pull the carriages and they're sort of like horses with wings only they're skeletal and more leather or scales than fur. There are also hippogriffs that live in the forest that Hagrid has tamed that are taught to the Fourth Years in Care of Magical Creatures which you can start taking when you're a Third Year. They're a type of horse crossed with an eagle."
"Really? Whoa cool!" Seamus' head bounced like one of those inane bobble head things that Harry often saw on the dash boards of passing cars when he was wandering Muggle London. "I'm taking Care during Third Year! Do you want to go out to the shops today? Mum's given me some spending money and I want to get something cool for Hogwarts before all the good stuff's gone. Mum says as long as we stay together with my older brother then we can go. It's way not fair because Ernie, you remember him from tutoring? Anyways, his Mum has let him go to the shops on his own since he was eight! Can you believe that?" Seeing as Harry had been doing the shopping for his aunt since he was seven he didn't understand what the big deal was but made an agreeing noise in the back of his throat. "And he's been allowed in Muggle London alone since he was ten! How cool would that be?"
"Melinda lets me roam Muggle London alone."
"Really? See, I knew Mum was being uptight! Maybe I can convince her with that argument." Seamus got a sly look on his face, which looked positively comical, before he shook his head. "So you want to go around to the shops? Mark will probably leave us alone after he gets bored and as long as we don't get into any trouble that would get back to me Mum she'll never know we were alone."
"Unless she's standing behind you while you tell me this." Seamus' eyes widened and he jerked his head away, keeping one arm in the Floo. Harry chuckled as Seamus came back looking sheepish. "I'd like to go around with you. Come on through while I tell Melinda."
Harry took off toward the kitchen and told Melinda that he was going with Seamus to look at the Alley before racing to get his bag of gold and returning to the front room to find Seamus staring around him in wonder. "When'd they do all this?"
"I did it." Harry was proud of himself because the place really did look better and it was easier on Tom and Melinda who didn't have to go around cleaning up after people anymore. Harry had even added a Rune that sent the dishes to the kitchen automatically when the customer left the dining room. During the summer Harry was going to go around to all the rooms as they were available and clean them, repair anything that needed it then place Runes to keep the place up. Harry had found out that a Rune Master would have charged nearly a thousand galleons to place the simple Runes he'd used in the tavern and had choked on his own spit when told. He had to constantly remind himself that, while it was as easy to him as writing English, to most people — even a Rune Master — writing them out was a long and tedious process that could sometimes take days.
Out of the hundreds of students who took Runes each year at Hogwarts only ten or so in each generation would actually go on to be able to use Runes in their lives and only one or two would go on to be a Master capable of putting Runes to any practical use. That's not to say those ten couldn't use Runes but it was so tedious to do so that most didn't bother even after years and years of study. Even Hermione rarely used Runes and she was probably the smartest person Harry knew. Dumbledore even admitted that she might have been smarter than him on one of the few occasions that they'd had to sit down and talk during the war. She might not have been as talented with magic, as she wasn't very creative or as powerful as some people, but she was incredibly intelligent. It was simply easier to use a spell that took one thousandth of the time and produced the same results. Even if you had to cast the spell every day it was still quicker than using a Rune for most people. For people like Harry, who could instinctively write the Runes out in the perfect form, it was actually better to use the Runes because they lasted longer, up to six months for someone with an ME of 5. Someone like Dumbledore could create the Everlasting Flame which would burn for more than two hundred years. Merlin's Everlasting Flame was still burning in his home, after all. Harry had never had his magic tested and had no real burning desire to. He knew what he could do and what he couldn't do and what he didn't know he learned quickly enough. Getting his ME tested would just put limitations on himself that he didn't need.
Seamus insisted they go to the Quidditch shop first which Harry had no real reason not to. They saw Hermione and her parents and they joined their group as they went searching the Alley for something to blow their money on. Hermione insisted they check out all the used bookstores while Seamus insisted they check out the pawnshops because there was always interesting things there. Harry stood with the elder Grangers as the two of them bickered over where to go. Finally he let out a bark of laughter and dragged them into a consignment shop that he knew had a little of everything: books for Hermione, cool bits and pieces for Seamus and some really useful home goods for the Grangers that they could actually use without fear of breaking the Secret as long as they didn't let anyone examine it closely.
Hermione and Seamus disappeared into the depths of the store while Harry took the elder Grangers to see the objects. "What are these?" Mr. Granger (who insisted they drop the doctor because calling them Dr. and Dr. Granger got confusing for most people) asked, eyeing some of the strange looking things surrounding them.
"These will make your lives much easier," Harry said as he held up a small square that looked like copper but was as flexible as putty. "If you put this on your hot water pipe, for example, you'll never run out of hot water. Or that," he continued, now pointing to a small hand broom and dustpan, "if you take this off the dustpan and put it on the floor it will automatically start sweeping. You can put it out every night when you go to bed and wake up with a small pile of dust that you sweep up before going about your life. There are feather dusters that do the same thing and brushes that will clean dishes automatically. Since you live in a mostly Muggle home you won't have to worry about needing to use magic to get rid of dirt and such."
"Does magic affect that?"
"Yes, ma'am. When you have places of high magical concentrations such as Hogwarts or Diagon Alley then the dirt there will take on magical properties of their own. Nothing useful, mind, like for potions but it comes to the point where you need to use magic to get rid of it."
"Is that what happened in the Leaky Cauldron? We passed through and noticed that it looks far better than it had before. I didn't want to say anything before because, well . . . it would have been rude but it looks brand new now."
"Yes, sir." Harry nodded as he set the objects he'd been holding down. "Tom and Melinda aren't very good at Charms, the branch of magic that includes household chores, so they use good old fashioned scrubbing but in a place that's so highly concentrated with magic that just doesn't work. There are cleaners that can help but that just delays the need for magic."
"Would the magical cleaners not make the dirt more resistant to scrubbing?"
"Yes, ma'am, it would. At Hogwarts for example we have a groundskeeper and Mr. Filch, a custodian, who's supposed to keep up on the daily cleaning of the interior. But he's a Squib, someone born to magical parents who himself isn't magical, so he can't actually use magic to keep up his job. You can tell because some of the spaces in Hogwarts are covered in years of dust. This is because he can't keep up with the high traffic areas of Hogwarts, let alone get to the lower traffic areas."
"Hermione has said something about him, I believe. She says he's rather disagreeable."
Harry nodded with a sigh. "It would, I imagine, be like growing up in a family of geniuses and being only average, or worse — below average yourself. Your siblings would tease you, though they wouldn't really mean to hurt your feelings, and your parents would be disappointed in you no matter how much they tried to hide it. For older wizarding families especially, he'd be lucky if he wasn't constantly scared out of his wits by them trying to make him do magic. There's a boy we go to school with who's Great Uncle pushed him into a lake when he was younger and couldn't swim and who dropped him out of a window trying to make him do magic."
"To us and to poor Neville it is but it's . . . a status symbol. We go to school with four Weasleys and there are two more older boys besides. To the magical world if you have that many children and they're all magical then you are raised in the eyes of those who that kind of thing matters too. Not only that but all the Weasleys are talented. The eldest is a Curse Breaker for Gringotts, the second eldest is a dragon tamer, Percy is a Prefect and has outstanding grades, the Twins are master pranksters which doesn't sound like much but they actually invent their own products to use as tools which takes a great deal of creativity, intelligence and you have to really know the subjects you use to make the prank items. So far Ron has proven to be lazy and even though he doesn't work at all hard for his grades his still in the top twenty percent. Having only one or two children and having a Squib would lower their standing. It's a really small community, remember, so everyone knows just about everyone and if they don't know you personally they know six or seven people who do. Think of it as old bluebloods, if there was a test that allowed you to claim that your blood is worthy and you fail. What do you think people would think of their parents?"
"That does explain rather a lot. Hermione mentioned a war that took place a decade or so ago."
"The Blood Wars." Harry nodded. "How much do you know of them?"
"Not much, honestly. Professor McGonagall was…reluctant to speak of it."
"She would be. She lost a lot of people in it. I'll explain over lunch." Harry looked over to see Seamus and Hermione laughing at each other. "Would you like to get anything?"
Mrs. Granger picked up the broom set and the duster along with the hot water rune and took it to the front. Harry led them all back to the Cauldron where Seamus had to use the floo to get home so he took them back to his room. "This is where you live?"
"Lucky." Hermione's face showed how envious she felt. "You're right next to the bookstore and all those second hand-shops."
"Let me get lunch then we can talk." Harry decided to ignore Hermione's comment because she was clearly not thinking of everything he'd lost to be this 'lucky' though where he was now was way better than where he'd been before. Not to mention he saw the look on Mrs. Granger's face and knew that Hermione was in for a serious talking to later on. After all, Harry had called Melinda by name so she was clearly not his mother and it didn't take someone with the mental capacity to become a doctor to figure out his parents were not in the picture — either because they were dead or because they weren't fit. Harry didn't expect a child of 11 to think of such things and tried not to take it personally that Hermione would be so thoughtless. Harry had to continuously remind himself that Hermione was no longer the adult he'd known and he couldn't hold her to those standards.
He came back in with a nice spread and raised the height of the table so they could use it like a dining room instead of a sitting room.
"Will you explain the Blood Wars now?" Mrs. Granger asked as she cut up her Devilled kidneys. Her daughter had written to her about Harry Potter but Mrs. Granger was sure most of what had been in her daughter's letters had been nonsense exaggerated by the young girl's first crush.
"As much as I am able to, yes. You have to remember that very few people know enough to be called experts on the Blood Wars because it was more like guerrilla warfare, secretive and more of hit 'em hard then get out of the way than it was pitched battles."
The Grangers' attention was completely captured and Harry realized that them not having all the information before they signed Hermione up at Hogwarts was nearly criminal.
"As far as I understand it a man calling himself Voldemort - and Hermione please remember that while we might find it a bit silly, do not speak 'Voldemort' in front of other wizards because they will scream and some will faint - showed up in the late sixties – early '68 in fact – and started demanding changes be made in the government. Changes that no one in their right mind would ever allow. Things like taking Muggle-born children from their parents and either allowing them to believe the child died or better yet not allowing them to remember they had a child in the first place."
"That's terrible!" Hermione cried.
"It's even more terrible when you remember that with magic you can see if not understand the bonds that are between people. Most people say there is a strong bond between parents and children but Muggles have no way to see those bonds. Wizards do."
"Witches can't?" Hermione asked her voice a little waspish.
"Yes, Hermione they can as long as you're speaking of witches in the sense of female wizards. Witchcraft is actually a completely different type of magic than Wizardry so when I say 'wizard' or 'witch' I mean in their traditional sense of people who practice Witchcraft or those who practice Wizardry. Anymore questions so far?" He hadn't let his annoyance show because it had been a good question even if she'd been rude when asking it.
"I'm sorry. That was rude of me wasn't it?"
"Hermione, you have to remember that in the magical world the only difference your gender makes is who carries the children. There has never been the males are better than females thing because physical strength has never mattered one wit in the magical world. It all comes down to magical strength and that has nothing to do with gender. So there really is no reason to be a hard line feminist."
"I'll remember that. I'm sorry again."
"So Voldemort's demands kept getting more and more outlandish up to the point where he demanded we start cutting all ties with the Muggle World-"
"What ties are there?"
"All our food is grown by Muggles because it's cheaper to pay them to do it than it is to buy up fields we sold off and start our own farms. Most of our ore comes from Muggles as well. Actually, we could get ore from the Goblins but they charge such high fees for it we'd end up completely bankrupt before the end of the decade if we bought from them. We don't use paper money, everything in the Magical World is strictly what you see is what you get, at least when it comes to money. Nothing else is quite that cut and dry. You have to remember, of course, that Wizards live to be upwards of 150 years old on average and our headmaster is 147 and there is a woman who gave him his O.W.L levels who still does the O.W.L. levels even to this day."
"I imagine change comes slowly to them then. The older a person is the less they see the need to change things."
"Exactly. So this upstart is going around demanding changes and claiming to be from Slytherin's line. Slytherin is one of the founders of Hogwarts but he was also a king in his own right as was each of the founders. Of course that doesn't mean much now other than as a status symbol but it got a lot of the younger crowd to listen to him. The people who ran the show just rolled their eyes and complained about the 'youth today' as elderly people the world over are wont to do. Then Voldemort created the Knights of Walpurgis and killed the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. That sent everyone up in arms but no one actually believed that Voldemort was any threat to them. Then the Triumvir were killed – the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Head of the Department of Mysteries and the Minister of Magic – and people were shocked breathless. I think that would be like killing the Prime Minster and the heads of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice. People were - well it wasn't pretty. There was a scramble to elect a new Minster and the person selected had no real business being Minster. She was a good Administrator and she ran her Department like a well oiled machine but the Head of International Cooperation shouldn't have been made Minster of Magic during a time of War. Barty Crouch was promoted from the Head of the Aurors to the Head DMLE and no one quite knows who heads the DoM anymore other than the other two people in the Triumvir. Bagshot was next to useless and ran around like a chicken with her head cut off while the DoM went underground and rarely raised their heads above the water. Crouch actually did a fairly decent job and was the only reason the Ministry didn't crumble like a house of cards. Meanwhile Voldemort's followers were using giants to destroy small towns and werewolves to sow chaos. They were killing people left and right like it was a game to them and they couldn't be arrested or captured because they wore masks to hide their identities and even if you managed to capture one of them there was no guarantee that they were actually on Voldemort's side because he had a nasty habit of taking people from their beds and charming them into doing what he wanted them to do. So you never knew who was doing what and who you could really trust. Because your mother or father could leave for work and come home and slaughter your entire family."
"That's… there aren't words for how horrifying that must have been," Mrs. Granger said, her hand covering her mouth and her free arm clutching at her daughter.
"No there aren't. Voldemort was getting his way and as much as Crouch was doing it wasn't enough. He started ordering people to kill all Death Eaters, what they had come to be known as, on sight using whatever means available to them. His most famous quote is 'Kill them all and let their Maker sort the bastards out.' It was horrible because people knew that not everyone who was a Death Eater was actually one of them willingly but there wasn't really anything they could do. Do you allow a person to continue to kill your friends and family just because they're not in control of their actions? The Aurors lost more members trying to keep all the Death Eaters alive to sort them out in the end than they would have if they just killed them to start with. By August '79 over 50,000 people had been killed, a lot of them Muggles, and the fight seemed like it was over. The Ministry was scrambling but it was clear to everyone that within a year Voldemort would win."
"Then something happened and Voldemort's attention shifted from taking over the Ministry to something else entirely and he got really quite for a while. There was almost five months of silence from the Death Eaters before they became active again and Voldemort redoubled his efforts. But that five months had given the Ministry the time they needed to shore themselves up and get everything situated. It was still acknowledged that there wasn't really a fighting chance but they were going to fight anyways. To most people it was better to die fighting for a lost cause than live under Voldemort's rule. Think of the worst dictator you've ever heard of then remember that with a simple spell Voldemort could torture a person into insanity within minutes. Voldemort was fighting to regain the advantage he'd lost when he went silent. Then he turned all of his attention to two families. He told his followers that the ones who brought these two families to him would be the most favored of his circle."
"Who were the families?" Hermione asked from her place on her father's lap, where she'd shifted sometime during the telling.
"Frank, Alice and Neville Longbottom and James, Lily and Harry Potter."
"Neville and your families?" Hermione gasped.
"I haven't been able to figure it out," Harry said. "There has to be a reason. Voldemort had to have learned something but no one seems to know what it is or if a person knows they are not saying anything. All I know is that Neville's parents went into hiding with him and my parents went into hiding with me and when I was 14 months old Voldemort came to our house and killed my parents then tried to kill me."
"Then something went wrong and it killed him instead," Hermione nodded as she had clearly read that part from a book
"That's the official story," Harry agreed.
"You don't believe it?"
Harry was silent for a while as he tried to figure out how to say what he wanted to say. "I know that there is dark magic in the world, magic that no sane and most insane people wouldn't dream of using. I know that Voldemort was intelligent, cunning and planned for everything before making a move. I know that he was brilliant and insane and was capable of such evil that most people, even Dark Wizards would shudder in revulsion for even thinking of it. Some magics are so forbidden there aren't even laws written about them. Soul magic for example."
"Ghosts," Hermione gasped picking up on what Harry was thinking. "There are ghosts in the world."
"Yes." Harry clenched his jaw. "I'm thinking a little bit along the lines of Tolkien."
"Come on, Harry, that's a fantasy book!" Hermione scoffed.
"Hermione, you're a witch and Tolkien was a Squib and knew a great deal about the magical world. His mother inherited a rather dark library from her family and was a book lover so couldn't bear to throw anything away."
"You're thinking that whatever the ring was…" Hermione didn't say it.
"I'm thinking that Voldemort wasn't human enough to die. Whatever the reason and that when he comes back… well things haven't changed at all."
"Am I in danger? Harry, am I in danger?" her voice was higher pitched than it had been before and she was clutching at her father's hand while he wrapped his arms around her.
"Hermione, from the minute you were born you were in danger. Think about the dates. Your birthday is September '79 yes?" She nodded. "If Voldemort hadn't gone silent from August to January then you and likely your family would already be dead. The way Hogwarts knows to put you on the list is the same way Voldemort knew which Muggles to kill. You and your parents would have been killed within a month of your birth if Voldemort had still been as active as he had been earlier in the war. It doesn't help that you insist on bringing all the attention of the lower classes on you at every chance you get. You rub the noses of the purebloods in the fact that you're more intelligent and powerful than they are and that isn't making you very many friends."
"Why did you agree to tutor me, Harry?"
"Because you need it."
"Is Hermione in danger at school?" Mr. Granger asked, his eyes hard.
"No." Harry shook his head. "Dumbledore is the Headmaster and for all his many faults, and he will be the first to admit that he has many, many shortcomings, he is the only person in the world that Voldemort truly feared and because of that his Death Eaters also fear him. They may scorn him as a foolish, Muggle loving blood-traitor but as long as Dumbledore is at the school then no one would dare move against Hogwarts or any of the children there. Remember also that McGonagall is a Mistress in her field and she fought in one war before settling down at Hogwarts. She is a match for any of the Inner Circle Death Eaters and a match for any three of the rest. Flitwick is also a Master Dueler and has not only a Charms Mastery but also a Defense Mastery. Sprout, for all her kind nature, is formidable in her own right and as much as I despise Snape for being a bigot he also has a Mastery in Defense and Potions. Hogwarts is, bar none, the safest place in the world based solely on the professors. Then when you add in the Wards, which were also just upgraded in '89 with a brand new ward scheme, designed to allow no real harm to befall any of the students, the school is even safer than it would appear to be. I decided to start teaching you Defense, Hermione, because our teacher is inept and because both you and Neville need all the help you can get. If Voldemort ever does come back, Neville and I will be at the top of his list, closely followed by the rest who oppose him then all the Muggle-borns. You need to know how to defend yourself because in the unlikely event that happens you will have to know how to protect your family long enough for help to show up. You're clearly intelligent and you've had no trouble so far in classes so I'm going to guess your magical strength is at least average."
"Should we pull Hermione out of Hogwarts?"
"If it was my child I would. But I'm also a Wizard and capable of teaching my child how to defend herself. You are, I'm sorry, Muggles and the most you'll ever be able to teach her is physical self-defense and how to shoot a gun. Neither of which does much good against a person who can block projectiles and doesn't have to get within reaching distance to harm you."
"But surely a bullet can get to most people before they have a chance to use a shield."
"No, no, Hermione, it goes back to the Romans." Harry shook his head. "Wizards used to use bows and arrows. They were used to great effect until some of their enemies were clever enough to invent a spell – a Rune – that allowed them to wear a necklace or a bracelet that could block the arrows. The faster the projectile moves the stronger the charm. Bullets can't get within twenty feet of a Wizard."
"Can Muggles use them?" Hermione asked eagerly.
Harry shrugged. "Sure but because they don't have the magic to upkeep them they'll have to get them charged every four or five months. And if they ever do get shot at I imagine it will only hold off three or four bullets before the charm dies. So if someone is shooting at you get the hell out of the way. Because you can't actually use magic the bullet will seem to miss you by only a few inches so you won't have to worry about appearing to be Superman or anything. Do either of you have something you wear every day? A wallet or a bracelet or necklace? Something you won't have to remind yourself to put on."
"Will this ring do?" Mrs. Granger asked, holding up her right hand where a large ring covered in gems sat on her middle finger.
"Absolutely. I can do the Runes right now if you want. And Hermione?"
She bit her lip and looked at the ceiling. "I have a necklace that I usually wear," she said, holding out the chain with a largish gem on it.
"That will work." Harry went over and got out his etching supplies. "Now do you want me to add to the jewelry or take away?"
"Can you add to it?"
"Sure, I have silver, gold and copper. I can run out quickly and get any other metals you want."
"How about the wallet?"
"Sewing or etching." Harry shrugged. "It isn't really hard, it's just tedious work."
Hermione pushed herself toward him and sat down. "I've been wondering what this is all about. Why you're taking extra classes."
"It's because I'm a natural Rune Master. I can read Runes of any kind like they're English. I know they're Runes and I can write them that way but…well it's hard to explain really." Harry shrugged. "Rune magic is expensive because not a lot of people can do it and those that can take a really long time to do even stuff they've done over and over and over again."
"Because if the Rune is off it can blow up and the magical backlash from the explosion will kill anyone around."
"Is there a chance of that happening here?" Hermione asked, her eyes wide as she started to back up.
"There's always a chance, Hermione, that when you use magic it will go wrong." Harry smiled at her. "But I'm no more worried about these simple charms than I would be about you using the Levitation spell. You remember how much trouble the spell caused in class when we were all learning it?"
Hermione smiled wryly and nodded then sat back to watch. Harry got everything out to make the first Rune when Hermione said she wanted it to be etched. Etching was easier than wielding, less messy and there was no bleed over but if done right the wielding looked much better. Unless you darkened the etched surface then it looked pretty good. But that was just Harry's own personal opinion and had no bearing on what he did for other people.
It took about an hour to complete all three charms and Hermione had frowned and told him she could do it as well, it didn't look that hard. Harry had smiled and had given her the tools to use and told her to have at it with a scrap of leather that he planned to use to create something for Sirius, though he hadn't decided on what. He went over to a glass bowl he hadn't done anything with and started etching Runes on it. He was finished before Hermione even though he had three times as many Runes to write out. When she was done Harry told her how to activate them, while it was still glowing but before the Rune became active he threw it into the bowl and watched it explode.
"Oh my word!" Mrs. Granger gasped, clutching at her throat in fear.
"Do you still think it's easy, Hermione?"
"Why did you let me do that if you knew it was going to explode?" she hissed at him, angry that she'd been embarrassed but especially in front of her parents.
"If I told you what would have happened what would you have done?"
"I probably would have tried it at home," she admitted, folding her arms across her chest.
Harry nodded because he already knew that's exactly what she would have done. Hermione was Hermione no matter who her friends were. Curious as a cat and twice as likely to be burned. After all, cats also have some self-preservation instincts. "And what would have happened then?"
"It still would have blown up," Hermione admitted grudgingly. "And then I would have hurt my parents and myself."
"No, Hermione, that explosion was enough to blow your house to pieces. You would have killed your parents and yourself. There is a reason why everyone who takes Ancient Runes doesn't use Runes. They are dangerous and unpredictable. You have to make sure you have it written perfectly or you'll chance killing people. It isn't a joke, it isn't something to play with. I hope that you are intelligent enough to understand that if you want to learn Runes you can start studying them now but wait for Astray to tell you that you are capable before you go to activate them. I make it look easy but that is simply because it is in my blood. It is the same way you make school work look easy to someone who is less intelligent than you."
Hermione swallowed. She wasn't used to taking orders from someone her age, she was always the most mature, always the one who never did anything that would call negative attention to her from teachers and she was always the one who pointed out the rules to others so they could keep themselves on the right side of the line. But it seemed more and more that since she got to Hogwarts she was coming in second best: the teachers all were more likely to call on Harry than on her, the students liked Harry more than her and the simple fact of the matter was that Harry got better grades than her. She didn't like these turns of events and she wanted it to go back to when she was best loved and best liked by the teachers. But being best liked probably included not getting herself blown up because she was being foolish. "I promise."
The Grangers stayed for another hour, asking questions and taking in the magical world. Harry wondered why no one had explained to the Grangers even the most basics of life in the Wizarding world. Was that too much to ask for? For a couple who were sending their child into a magical world to get at least a few questions answered? Harry wasn't sure what he was feeling about that but he knew it bugged him.
As they were saying their goodbyes Harry gave the Grangers their charms which he had been polishing while they'd been speaking. "I'll recharge them during the Breaks but if you ever get in a situation where bullets or other objects are flying at you then send me the ring and wallet and I'll recharge them and get them back to you as soon as possible. Hermione, also remember that unless you are at Hogwarts or the Alley you cannot recharge your necklace. It registers as magic at the Ministry and you'll risk getting expelled."
Harry sent another care package to Sirius that night, full of all kinds of goodies including some playboys that he'd gotten from a consignment shop in Muggle London a few days ago. He didn't think Sirius could get any real use out of them, not surrounded by Dementors as he was but he thought it would at least get a smile out of the man and anything that helped was better than nothing at all in that evil place.
Also tomorrow he was going to get started on his Grimmauld Place plans.