Disclaimer :: All things Harry Potter are owned by JK Rowling, and it would be quite an insult to her if I were to claim them as my own wouldn't it? Here we go!
To End in Serenity
Written by MattSilver
Rated because of coarse language, teenage drinking, violence, references to sex, sarcastic humour and slight out of character situations and personalities. You have been warned.
General Notes :: Harry, Ron and Hermione are referred to as the Golden Trio, or just the Trio. Note the capital 'T' when I refer to them. Get used to seeing that.
- Several lines and phrases from the actual books are used occasionally, mostly from the third, fourth and fifth books.
- The backstory of the war is based around some events of HBP and DH, but only basic plot things like Horcruxes and Dumbledore's death are mentioned.
Chapter 1 of 6 :: Enter Stage Left
June 3rd, 2004
Fourteen rows of plain brown bricks made up the wall in front of Harry Potter. The bottom three rows, a smattering of the next six, and a little of the top row were splattered with the blood of former Death Eater Theodore Nott.
Former, as in that Harry and Ron Weasley's old classmate was now glassy-eyed and cold, slowly smelling up the small townhouse he was found living/hiding in. Theo's Dark Mark was in plain sight, his uncovered arm lying ten inches away from his body. A stray curse, that Ron 'accidentally' hit the man with, caused the impromptu amputation. A few more well placed spells, and Theo was slumped against the plain brown brick wall with fourteen rows of bricks, intestines spilling out onto the floor.
The killers were a few feet away from the body, Theo's blood pooling at their feet.
"How much is he worth?" Ron asked, looking a little queasy. His partner-in-crime Harry was looking mildly uninterested, picking at the slowly drying blood on his robes.
"Ten thousand Galleons," he said simply. "He was the last one we knew of..."
Ron snorted. "Don't get all sentimental on me Harry. We don't have any alcohol here to celebrate."
Harry laughed, before looking at Nott's body. "The Americans won't be happy he isn't breathing..."
"That's their problem," Ron replied candidly. "He fought back."
Nott's body was left in the old townhouse, and the American Department of Magical Law Enforcement found it three hours later after Harry and Ron had tipped them off. The two bounty hunters would receive their money sometime later.
Harry returned to the small Memorial Room at the cottage he, Ron and Hermione Granger lived at. He spent the night counting the photographs pinned on the walls, but never got to finish his count. The Firewhisky he drank settled into his brain, and things got fuzzy. Counting aloud turned into unintelligible slurring. Things then got fuzzier and by then, he was beyond thinking about counting photos. He would pass out sometime later.
Hermione Granger would levitate his unconscious self from the Memorial Room by sunrise and dump him in his bedroom. She would make him clean the bottles he left hanging around when he awoke in the afternoon. He wouldn't start drinking until he re-entered the Memorial Room, read all the carved names, looked at the pictures again and again, and entered a well-practiced funk.
Routine, routine, routine.
Ron wasn't into drinking as much as Harry was. No, he avoided the Memorial Room and didn't face his feelings, instead he would Apparate to a canyon somewhere and fly on Harry's old Firebolt.
"Is Harry asleep?" Ron asked, carefully entering Hermione's Potions Lab. The Lab was a stark opposite of Professor Snape's old dungeons, being bright and above ground. No greasy bats seemingly lived there either.
Hermione answered with a brief nod, busy with her potions.
"All right then," Ron sighed. "The American Ministry sent us an owl. I think it's the reply to yours." He handed a small stack of parchment to his lover. She abandoned her experimental changes to a Hangover Potion and read the letter. Ron stuck around, poking at the potions and ingredients lying around.
"Nice," he said, pointing to some Hippogriff intestine, which could be crushed or diced into a number of potions. It also tasted good with noodles and oyster sauce.
"They're thanking you for Theo Nott in the first paragraph," Hermione mentioned, poring over the letter. Ron let out a noncommittal noise of indifference.
Ron's combing of the Lab lead him to a small cauldron in the corner of the room. "What are you working on in here Hermione?"
Hermione lowered her letter and actually looked at him. "I didn't want to tell either of you..." she said hesitantly. Ron's curiosity got the better of him, and he silently urged her to go on. "That's a Horcrux Killing Solution... and well..."
Hermione took a deep breath. "I've been corresponding with the American Unspeakables, and they told me something I didn't think either of you would want to hear..." Ron took a seat beside her.
"Go on Hermione."
Hermione breathed in and out again, and her chest moving up and down temporarily distracted Ron. Temporarily of course - he wasn't a hormonal teenager anymore. "It's about Serenity Valley." Ron's eyes darkened considerably. For a name like Serenity Valley, it was ironic that Voldemort died there after mass murdering an entire Muggle village.
"Serenity Valley..." Ron muttered.
"There were a lot of foreign magics during the battle between Harry and Voldemort right?" Hermione started. "A lot of magics the Unspeakables didn't understand. They spent months in Serenity Valley going over the area. They ascertained the obvious - Voldemort's ritual, the one that killed those Muggles, boosted him in magical power, but weakened his body."
Ron stopped her. "We were there, remember? Ol' Flightymort's body became easy pickings for Harry to tear to shreds. We saw it. We saw Voldemort die."
Hermione nodded sadly. "It wasn't that simple. Yes, Harry systematically destroyed Voldemort's mind and body, but there was a third aspect. The soul. Voldemort's soul wasn't fully destroyed."
Ron stood up suddenly, dislodging his chair. "That bastard isn't dead? Harry has been getting pissed in the Memorial Room, thinking he was finished with all this, and the job's not done yet? Bullshit Hermione. Your Unspeakables are just reading the magics wrong or something!"
"Didn't you think I guessed that?" Hermione retorted. "While you and Harry went off and hunted Nott, I visited the Valley and checked it all over. A bit of Voldemort's soul is still alive. Another Horcrux. That's why I started the Solution."
Ron sighed, yearning for a strong drink. "We destroyed all 7 of those things Hermione. The diary, the diadem, the cup, the snake, the locket, the ring and even Harry's bit of Voldemort's soul. You told me it was impossible for him to make another one!"
"Not unless he was super charged from killing the Muggles," a new voice entered the fray. Harry had walked in, having woken up from his alcohol-related slumber. He had heard Ron's yelling from his room, and entered the Lab a minute later.
Hermione and Ron turned to him. Harry simply frowned and looked curious more than angry. Ron thought he was still drunk, while Hermione thought he was just employing Occlumency to project aloofness. In fact, they were both right.
"He made one just as we got there," Harry theorised, walking around the room. "But where did he hide it?"
Both male heads turned to Hermione. "Like I said, the Unspeakables picked up on some odd magics. Like I said, I went to Serenity Valley. But I did the search, and did not find a Horcrux to destroy. No, what I wasn't going to tell either of you was a possibility that came up with my Unspeakable friends."
Both male faces silently told her to get on with it.
"Time travel," she said. Both wizards jumped a bit in shock. "There was an abundance of magic associated with Time Turners. By abundance, I mean that Voldemort's sacrificial killing of over a thousand people probably only just created enough power to manipulate and use that magic."
"Voldemort's soul piece went back in time!" Harry cried. So, Voldemort had killed all those people, supercharged his magic, created a Horcrux and sent it back in time, and enabled himself to slowly die at Harry's hands deliberately.
The Golden Trio let the information soak into their heads for a good ten minutes. Their musings were broken when Hermione's unattended potion exploded, and the three needed to retreat to the kitchen to nurse their violet-coloured wounds and continue thinking over the situation. Sandwiches were made and alcohol was offered.
"How?" is what Ron asked, munching on a sandwich. "How did Flightymort sent his soul piece back in time... and how far back? I mean... shouldn't have the world ended by now? I assumed that's what would happen if you messed with time..."
Harry took a long swig from his Firewhisky in response, and Hermione got a look on her face like she was studying hard for a N.E.W.T. exam.
"The Unspeakables were silent on the topic actually," Hermione said. Harry snorted. "But my own research yields the theory that Voldemort's soul bit travelling back in time created a divergence - an alternate universe... I think."
"And he's reigning supreme in that universe by now," Harry noted, finishing off the bottle. He would get another one, but he would rather be conscious for the rest of Hermione's theorising.
Hermione shrugged. "Possibly. They just told me the basics, and I had to crack open the Black Library to check over ancient theories." The House of Black's library was filled with all kinds of ancient magic texts, stolen by the family over the centuries of course.
Ron had a thought, "What can we do about it? Travel back in time to this alternate universe? Seems kinda impossible..."
"Isn't everything about our lives impossible Ron?" Harry remarked. "It's not like we have anything better to do than fully stop that bastard from ruling the world and whatnot."
Ron pouted a little. It wasn't at all effective. "You're drunk."
Hermione curbed the argument by Silencing Harry and Ron simultaneously. "Look, I will go talk to the Unspeakables, and we'll work something out. Maybe they'll figure something out, maybe they won't. Maybe we'll have to work on something ourselves, maybe we won't. Ron, I may be sending you on some book and ingredient hunting jobs. Harry, stay sober or I'm warding the Memorial Room. Feel free to have your own look around Serenity Valley, and don't do anything stupid. No more hunting Dark Wizards for a few weeks okay?" She stood up and left the room for the Lab, cancelling the Silencing Charms.
Harry abandoned the idea of getting some more Firewhisky. "She runs our lives mate," he told Ron. Ron chuckled.
"It's our Hogwarts days all over again," he remarked. He moved on to make another sandwich.
Harry grinned. "Except you're sleeping with her now." Ron dropped the pickle jar he was holding, and glared at Harry.
"You're either jealous, drunk or just a mean person," he said frostily. Harry just laughed softly in reply.
The Golden Trio spent three months planning and theorising. Harry stopped excessively drinking in favour of having a purpose for a while, and Hermione had Ron raid all known magical libraries for books on time travel theories and alike. The official theory was that Voldemort's soul fragment did create an alternate universe, and that universe could be accessed.
According to Hermione, there was one safe way of travelling back in time, and a dozen or so unsafe and overly dangerous ways. The safe way was using Time Turners, but they didn't go past a day at most.
An unsafe option that Ron and Harry outvoted Hermione in choosing was probably the safest of the unsafe ones. It involved sending the soul back in time, but it could be done without killing a thousand Muggles and supercharging their magical cores.
"But we have no idea if that's enough!" Hermione protested one day. "Voldemort could of sent his Horcrux back to the 70's, or even the 40's! We need to think it through."
"Hermione," Harry said seriously. "We don't know if our plan will work. We don't know if your original idea would work. However, there's a better chance of us succeeding if we go with the plan we have now. And there's less risk, I think."
Hermione conceded to Harry's point soon after. Time Turners travelled to an unknown plane of reality in order to take the occupants back in time. The idea was that the Trio could send their souls back in time (In which they would be in the unknown plane to do so), and come out the other side with bodies, instead of just being floating souls. And believe it, making a new body for the soul to occupy was a little too Dark for Harry, Ron and Hermione. Nobody wanted to look like the departed Lord Flightymort.
Their souls would travel to June, 1994. That was the night Harry and Hermione had used a Time Turner to save Snuffles from the Dementor's Kiss. While Past Harry and Past Hermione were going back in time, the souls of future Harry and Hermione would emerge on the other side, occupying their teenage bodies.
However, there was no knowing if Voldemort's soul part hadn't travelled back further before 1994. If that was the case, Harry and Hermione of the past might have not used a Time Turner to save Sirius, because Voldemort had already changed things in that alternate universe. And if that was the case, the Trio would be without bodies when they arrived in the past.
However, since Ron didn't go along for the ride in Harry and Hermione's time travel trip to save Sirius, a complication was presented. The complication was later resolved.
Harry and Hermione had devised the idea to take Ron's soul, and latch it onto one of theirs. Ron would be stuck in Harry or Hermione's body until the two could take Past Ron's body and stick Future Ron's soul inside of it (Not as Dark as creating a new body really). Harry and Hermione drew straws to decide who would house Ron's soul for some time, and Harry lost.
And, after finishing their plan, the Trio sat down for some sandwiches and Firewhisky.
Ron was rubbing his head. "This idea gives me a headache every time I think about it you guys."
Harry patted him on the shoulder sympathetically. "I know what you mean Ron. I know what you mean."
Hermione just shook her head.
A year later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were preparing to travel back in time.
The first part of the plan was to hide what they were doing from the Unspeakables. Technically, there was no British Ministry to stop them (Voldemort's war had its advantages after all it seemed), but they wouldn't put it past the Americans to do the job for the absent and disbanded British Ministry.
The best thing to come out of Hermione's now terminated relationship with the Unspeakables was that Voldemort's soul fragment only could of travelled back in time within the last decade and a half. So, in essence, there was a very good chance the Horcrux wouldn't appear until after Harry, Ron and Hermione showed up in 1994.
Meanwhile, Harry and Ron had drained their bounty hunting money to pay off the seediest black market dealers in the rarest and volatile ingredients for the potion Hermione was brewing. Ron and Hermione's quasi-relationship was put on hold because of the latter spending most of her time doing the calculations and brewing potions.
While she brewed and calculated, the two men also mapped out ideas for when they got back into the past. With knowledge on how the Voldemort war went last time, they came up with all kinds of ideas and plans. Knowing that there was a chance they would beat Voldemort's Horcrux to arriving in the past, the plans became more specific.
"Remember you two," Harry reminded his longest and only surviving friends. "I'll throw off my Dumbledore chains and you'll support me this time." Back in their original timeline, Ron and Hermione had initially turned against Harry when he sought some independence from Dumbledore after Sirius' death. However, when the war struck, everything petty was stuck aside and friendship was slowly restored. Of course, Dumbledore dying might have helped things along.
The Trio had seen the opportunity to fix things for the better back in the past, and decided to take it. A chunk of Voldemort's soul arriving from the future would change things enough, so a little meddling and taking advantage of their knowledge wouldn't hurt.
October 31st, 2005 found Harry, Ron and Hermione standing in the grassy fields behind the cottage they had lived in since the war ended. Hermione had conjured pure marble blocks to draw several complicated runes on, Ron was preparing for his own soul removal, and Harry was enjoying one last drink as a 25-year-old.
"Ready?" Harry asked, turning to Ron. Ron nodded, and removed his clothes. Harry just looked his friend in the eye and pulled out the silver dagger in his robes. "Well... this is it."
Hermione added the finishing touches to the runes she created, before removing her own clothes. Harry made sure to look her in the eye too, as much as he didn't want to.
"I'm freezing," Ron said, shivering in the wind.
"Famous last words Ron," Harry chuckled. Hermione meanwhile began to recite some things in Latin, and the wind died abruptly. Harry removed his own clothes, and held the silver dagger over his palm. "Here we go." And he cut himself.
Ron took the same dagger and made the same wound, before taking out his wand and using a Soul Separation Spell, which involved the sacrifice of a young goat to be made possible. Hermione shoved a potion down Ron's throat, having finished her chanting. Harry took his own potion and drank it.
"Avada Kedavra," Harry muttered, aiming his wand at Ron. The redhead dropped to the ground, and a bright light enveloped the field. The light sped towards the open cut on Harry's hand, and dived in. Harry promptly passed out, and the field became dark again.
Hermione was the only one left conscious, so she quickly swallowed another potion, poured the contents of another vial down Harry's throat, and dragged him to the largest marble platform. She waved her wand and chanted the same Latin phrases she did before. She woke Harry up with a quick spell.
"Are we ready to go?" Harry slurred. Hermione just rolled her eyes and waited. The runes surrounding the two people (And three souls) started to glow Killing Curse green. The wind started up again a few seconds later, when two bodies collapsed to the ground, their souls vaulting back in time.
June 1994, Hogwarts.
Harry was standing next to Hermione in the deserted Entrance Hall, and a stream of golden sunlight was falling across the paved floor from the open front doors. He placed his hands on his knees, and resisted the urge to vomit.
"I'm shorter," he muttered, looking over his body. Hermione rolled her eyes and did the same, but she didn't poke her groin area like her male friend did. "And that ride made me want to empty my body of its stomach. Like me and Ron did to Theo Nott!"
"In here!" Hermione hissed, dragging Harry to a nearby broom cupboard. She took the golden chain of the Time Turner off of his and her neck, and placed the contraption in her robes. "I hear us." She remarked, pressing an ear to the broom cupboard door.
"Ron says he's okay," Harry noted. "He's comfy up there hidden behind all my Occlumency shields." Hermione nodded.
"We're heading down to Hagrid's," she whispered. "Or, our past souls are heading down to Hagrid's still in their bodies."
"Life is cruel," Harry chuckled. "Where do we go from here?"
"Don't you remember?" Hermione hissed. "We follow our past selves to Hagrid's, let the Ministry stooges see Buckbeak, save Buckbeak, watch ourselves chase Snuffles, watch Lupin then Snape enter the Shrieking Shack, then watch Lupin transform and then we-"
Harry held a hand to her mouth. "I get it. I remember, I was there."
Hermione corrected him, "You're 'there' now Harry. We did it."
Harry's face brightened. "We did didn't we? And it seems Voldemort's Horcrux hasn't shown up yet..."
"We think," Hermione reminded him. "This is so fascinating! A little Dark, what with the stealing of our past selves' bodies, but fascinating!"
Harry chuckled, opening the broom cupboard door. "They can't complain. Let's get going."
Upon leaving the broom cupboard, Harry and Hermione Disillusioned themselves, and sped out to the tree line of the Forbidden Forest.
They glimpsed the front of Hagrid's hut when they heard a knock upon his door. The two watched as Hagrid appeared in the doorway, pale and shaking. He looked around to see who had knocked.
"It's us. We're wearing the Invisibility Cloak. Let us in and we can take it off," Past Harry said. Current/Future Harry winced at the tone of voice. It was a big change from a future, deeper, Harry.
Hagrid let their past selves in after a quick word. The door shut behind him, and Hermione sat on the ground. Harry just looked at her.
"What?" she asked. "We're going to be here a few minutes until Buckbeak can be saved remember?"
Harry sat down, and waited. They both heard china breaking - Scabbers had made a reappearance in Hagrid's cabin. Harry and Ron had come up with several ideas involving the rat, but they would be postponed until Voldemort could be actually revived. Shame, but they didn't want to rock the boat too much.
Hermione nudged him, and pointed towards the castle. Harry spotted Dumbledore, Fudge, Macnair and the old Committee member coming down the steps. A few moments later, Hagrid's back door opened, and the two time travellers saw themselves and Ron leave the hut.
"It's OK, Beaky, it's OK..." Hagrid said to Buckbeak. Then he turned to Harry, Ron and Hermione. "Go on. Get goin'."
"Hagrid, we can't-"
"We'll tell them what really happened -"
"They can't kill him -"
Hagrid stopped his young friends' protests. "Go! It's bad enough without you lot in trouble an' all!" Past Harry, Past Ron and Past Hemione hid themselves under the Cloak and walked off as the execution party appeared at Hagrid's front door.
"Where is the beast?" Macnair asked coldly. Current/Future Harry and Hermione fully intended to impale him on that axe of his... sometime later.
"Out - outside," Hagrid croaked. Harry and Hermione saw Macnair glance at Buckbeak with a predatory gleam in his eyes. Minister Fudge, that total moron, started talking.
"We - er - have to read you the official notice of execution, Hagrid. I'll make it quick. And then you and Macnair need to sign it. Macnair, you're supposed to listen too, that's procedure -" Macnair's face vanished from the window, and Harry and Hermione made themselves visible.
They both darted over the fence into the pumpkin patch and approached Buckbeak. Inside the hut, Fudge was talking again.
"It is the decision of the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures that the HIppogriff Buckbeak, hereafter called the condemned, shall be executed on the sixth of June at sundown -"
Careful not to blink, Harry stared up at Buckbeak's eye, and bowed. The Hippogriff bowed back, and Hermione raised her wand. A quick spell later, and the ropes tying the Hippogriff down disappeared. Harry summoned a piece of meat that was lying on a rack near the pumpkin patch, and waved it in front of the Hippogriff.
"... sentenced to execution by beheading, to be carried out by the Committee's appointed executioner, Walden Macnair, as witnessed below. Hagrid, you sign here..."
Using the piece of meat, Harry led Buckbeak to the tree line. Hermione redid the Disillusionment Charm on herself, Harry and the Hippogriff.
"Well, let's get this over with," said the reedy voice of the Committee member. "Hagrid, perhaps it would be better if you stayed inside -"
"No, I wan' ter be with him... I don' want' him ter be alone -"
Footsteps echoed from within the cabin. Harry took the liberty to give Buckbeak the meat, and the two humans and one beast just waited.
"One moment, please, Macnair," came Dumbledore's voice. "You need to sign too." Minutes later, the back door burst open. It was quiet for a minute, until...
"Where is it?" asked the Committee member. "Where is the beast?"
"It was tied here!" Macnair complained. "I saw it! Just here!"
"How extraordinary," Dumbledore said, amused.
"Beaky!" Hagrid cried. Macnair smashed his axe into the fence with a 'thud'. "Gone! Gone! Bless his little beak, he's gone! Musta pulled himself free! Beaky, you clever boy!"
Buckbeak started to move in Hagrid's direction, but soon found himself tied to a tree. Harry quickly conjured some paper and a pen. He wrote out a quick note, and tied it to the trunk of the tree.
"How long will the Disillusionment last Hermione?" Harry asked.
Hermione did some calculating. "About twelve hours. I'll silence him for the same amount of time. Hagrid will find him in the morning." Harry's note advised that Hagrid release Buckbeak or give him a new name.
"Now what?" Harry asked. The execution party had re-entered Hagrid's cabin, having lost all sight of the Hippogriff.
"Wait there," Hermione advised. She stalked off, and Harry lost sight of her (She was invisible after all) for a few minutes. She appeared, visible, and was holding a broom.
"Two unlocking spells, a Summoning Charm, and one Memory Charm," she said proudly, handing the broom to her male companion. Harry chuckled, and the two set off towards the Whomping Willow.
They got there in time to spot Ron being dragged by Padfoot into the tunnel under the Willow.
"Look at that - I just got walloped by the tree, and so did you! This is weirder the second time," commented Harry.
The Whomping Willow was creaking and lashing out with its lower branches; they could see themselves darting here and there, trying to reach the trunk.
"Would it have killed ourselves to use our wands?" Harry asked. The tree froze, and their past selves stumbled into the passage.
The four men in Hagrid's cabin had left and were heading back to the castle. A few minutes later, Remus Lupin came sprinting down the stone steps and haring towards the Willow. Harry felt a slight burst of emotion - Lupin was a good friend, until he died of course.
The two time travellers watched Lupin seize a broken branch from the ground and prod the knot of the trunk. The tree stopped fighting, and Lupin disappeared into the tunnel beneath it. A few more minutes passed, and Hagrid came out onto the grounds, drunkenly singing. Two more minutes later, Snape ran towards the Willow, robes billowing.
"Git," Harry muttered. Snape died in the war too, after killing Dumbledore. Harry had hunted him down and murdered the man. It was his first kill, and not a pleasant memory really. Not that Snape didn't deserve to be decapitated by a Sectumsempra spell.
Snape grabbed the Invisibility Cloak after stopping the tree's murderous whomping, and headed into the tunnel.
"That's it," Hermione breathed. "All we have to do now is wait for Sirius to be locked in Flitwick's office..."
"Which is about two hours from now," Harry moaned. "I'm going to grab a deck of cards Hermione." Before she could realise he was being serious, he had already run into the Forbidden Forest and Apparated away.
"Great," Hermione muttered. She set up some wards around the immediate area and waited. Harry returned, holding a deck of cards.
"I went to Privet Drive," Harry told her. "I think I really freaked Dudley out when he heard the pop noise. And when something invisible stole his playing cards."
"You're going to destroy the timeline," Hermione chided. She became visible, and sat down. Harry shuffled the cards, and the two spent an hour playing Go Fish with Dudley's swimsuit model playing cards.
The cards were pocketed and Harry and Hermione became invisible again when their past selves, Sirius, Remus, Pettigrew and an unconscious Snape appeared from the Whomping Willow tunnel. Harry mused that this would probably be the last time three Maruaders were in the same area as each other. What with Wormtail on the run and Sirius dying in two years.
Ignoring the odd grouping, Harry and Hermione made their way to the Hagrid's now empty hut. They settled in, and the cards came out again. After Hermione refused to play Strip Poker, Harry had a thought.
"I better go save myself from Dementors," he said. He left the hut and headed towards the lake, feeling the familiar chill of nearby Dementors.
He became visible, and watched the other side of the lake. The Dementors began to dive-bomb his past self and Sirius. Little silvery lights lit up the dark sky; Past Harry was trying and failing to cast a Patronus. Current/Future Harry waited a few moments, before raising his wand.
"Expecto Patronum!" he cried. Prongs the Patronus galloped out of his wand tip and gored the Dementors. The creatures disappeared into the darkness seconds later, and Harry let his Patronus vanish.
Harry returned to Hagrid's cabin, and slumped into a chair. "Do you think Hagrid would notice if I borrowed some of his alcohol?"
Hermione tsked him. "Yes he would."
"Darn," Harry murmured. Fatigue was catching up to him. Not only had he vaulted himself 11 years into the past, but he was also carrying another soul along with his own. He was undoubtedly more tired than Hermione, who only had one soul inside of her.
He and Hermione checked their watches, and decided it was time to save Sirius. They would tell Dumbledore later that they didn't think about using Buckbeak to save him, getting Sirius a broom instead. They both doubted Hagrid or Dumbledore would piece together the advanced magic they did to achieve their feats.
The two teens flew up slowly on the old broom, headed towards the tower Sirius was stuck in.
"Which room was he in again?" Harry asked, steering the broom. Even after 15 years, Hermione was still pathetic on a broom, so she was hugging Harry's waist tightly.
Hermione pointed ahead of her, and Harry slowed down in front of the window. He and Hermione became visible again, and tapped on the window. Inside the office, Sirius' jaw dropped.
"Alohomora," Harry whispered, and the window sprang open.
"How?" Sirius stuttered, eying the apparently floating Harry and Hermione. They both realised their broom was still invisible.
"Magic," Harry winked. Internally, he was wondering what a blubbering mess he would of been if not for years of blocking emotional responses. "But, you've got to get out of here Sirius. Macnair's coming back with the Dementors any minute now. Jump on."
Sirius placed a hand on either side of the window-frame and heaved his head and shoulders out of it. It was very lucky he was so thin. In seconds, he managed to fling a leg over the broom, and pull himself behind Hermione. Hermione herself jumped off the broom and into the office.
"What are you doing?" Harry asked. Sirius moved up the broom a little.
Hermione pulled her wand out. "I'll be taking care of Macnair. Meet you in that broom cupboard at the Entrance Hall. Have fun." She shut the window, and Harry understood her plan. Sirius just looked confused.
"What did she mean Harry?" he asked weakly. "She'll get caught!"
Harry turned the broom and sped off to the top of the West Tower. "Hermione's more than capable. Smartest witch of our generation and all that. She knows a lot of advanced spells that could help her out in a fight."
The two landed on top of the tower. Harry slid off the broom and gave Sirius a hug. "The Disillusionment on the broom will last about ten hours. Use it to hide out anywhere. Don't get caught. I'll send you an owl or something. Stand still." He rapped Sirius on the head with his wand. The older man turned invisible, but Harry could imagine the gaping jaw look.
"Harry - that's really advanced magic," he said proudly. "You really are your father's son."
"He chose to become an Animagus at my age, and I can do Disillusionment Charms. He wins Sirius. He wins," Harry said. Sirius laughed hard.
"Thank you," he whispered, before flying off. Harry just watched him leave, before hearing a smashing noise.
He looked down at the window at Flitwick's Office. A Macnair-sized hole was shaped in the glass, and Harry could spot the man's body down on the grounds.
"He must of tripped," Harry muttered to himself. He had eight minutes get back to the Hospital Wing, and he sprinted all the way. He met up with Hermione just outside the broom cupboard they hid in earlier.
"Did you get Macnair?" he asked her. She nodded.
"The Dementors were outside the door when he entered," she told him. "He tripped out of the window after seeing Black wasn't there. I spotted Snape and Fudge head up in that direction a minute ago."
Harry nodded. He remembered last time, when Snape and Fudge came from the office and found Black missing. It was a Patronus memory to see Snape so angry.
He and Hermione silently ran back to the Hospital Wing, now visible. The door to the ward opened, and Dumbledore's back appeared.
"I am going to lock you in," they heard him saying. "It is five minutes to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck."
Dumbledore backed out of the room, closed the door and took out his wand to magically lock it. Non-chanlantly, Harry whistled loudly.
"Oi!" he shouted. Dumbledore turned to him and Hermione, looking mildly shocked. He recovered quickly.
"Well?" he asked quietly.
Harry decided to compress things down. "Buckbeak's alive, Sirius is gone, Macnair fell out of a window." Dumbledore beamed, but looked confused at the Macnair thing.
"Well done. What was that about Macnair?" he asked. Hermione rolled her eyes.
"Oh," Harry said. "We spotted him from up on the West Tower. After Sirius flew off, we saw him fall out of Flitwick's Office window."
Dumbledore just nodded. "Yes, I think you've gone, too. Get inside, I'll lock you in."
Harry and Hermione slipped inside the ward, and they were back in their own beds by the time Dumbledore locked them up. As soon as they were settling in, Madam Pomfrey appeared from her office and started fussing over them. An exhausted Harry and Hermione ate some chocolate gratefully.
However, distant voices were heard outside. "What was that?" said Madam Pomfrey in alarm. The angry voices came closer, and Harry strained his ears to listen.
"He must have Disapparated, Severus, we should have left somebody in the room with him. When this gets out -"
"HE DID NOT DISAPPARATE!" Snape roared. Hermione giggled despite herself. "YOU CAN'T APPARATE OR DISAPPARATE INSIDE THIS CASTLE! THIS HAS TO SOMETHING TO DO WITH POTTER!"
"Severus - be reasonable - Harry has been locked up -"
BAM. The door of the Hospital Wing burst open.
Fudge, Snape and Dumbledore came striding in. Dumbledore was calm and somewhat amused, Fudge looked angry, and Snape looked like Uncle Vernon in tax season. Strangely purple coloured and very, very, close to heart attack anger levels.
Master Occlumens indeed.
"OUT WITH IT, POTTER!" he bellowed. "WHAT DID YOU DO?"
"Severus!" shrieked Pomfrey. Harry grinned at her. "Control yourself!"
Harry mouthed, "Control yourself Snivellus." to Snape, and the Potions Master was the only one that spotted it.
"THEY HELPED HIM ESCAPE! I KNOW IT!" Snape howled, pointing at Harry and Hermione. Fudge was looking flustered.
"Calm down man!" he barked. "You're talking nonsense!"
"YOU DON'T KNOW POTTER!" shrieked Snape. Before he could continue, Harry spoke up.
"Uhh... Professors... the door was locked," he said. A vein popped out in Snape's forehead, and Dumbledore wisely intervened.
"That will do Severus," he said quietly. "Think about what you are saying. This door has been locked since I left the ward ten minutes ago. Madam Pomfrey, have these students left their beds?"
"Of course not!" Madam Pomfrey cried. "I've been with them since you left!"
"Well there you are Severus," Dumbledore said calmly. "Unless you are suggesting that Harry and Hermione are able to be in two places at once, I'm afraid I don't see any point in troubling them further."
Snape just stood there, seething. He glanced at Fudge, who was looking shocked, and to Dumbledore, who was looking amused. He then glared at Harry, who cheekily waved. Snape whirled about, robes swishing behind him, and stormed out of the ward.
"Fellow seems quite unbalanced," said Fudge, staring after him. "I'd watch out for him, if I were you, Dumbledore."
"Oh he's not unbalanced," said Dumbledore quietly. Harry sneezed the word 'Bullshit'. "He's just suffered a severe disappointment."
"He's not the only one!" puffed Fudge. "The Daily Prophet's going to have a field day! We had Black cornered and he escapes out of an unlocked window! Then, a well-known and respected Ministry worker falls out of the same window! And if they get the story about the escaped Hippogriff, I'll be a laughing stock! Well... I'd better go inform the Ministry and send Walden's family some flowers..."
"And the Dementors?" Dumbledore asked. "They'll be removed from the school, I trust?"
"Oh yes, they'll have to go," said Fudge, running his fingers through his hair. "Never dreamed they'd attempt to administer the Kiss on an innocent boy." Harry 'sneezed' again. "... No, I'll have them packed off back to Azkaban tonight. Perhaps we should think about dragons at the school entrance..."
"And give our students a chance to test the school's motto perhaps?" said Dumbledore, sending a swift smile at Harry and Hermione. He and Fudge left the room, and Madam Pomfrey double-locked the ward up. She disappeared into her office, and Ron started to stir.
"What happened?" he groaned. "Harry? Why are we in here? Where's Sirius? Where's Lupin? What's going on?"
Harry and Hermione shared a look. Future Ron's soul would be occupying that body this time tomorrow.
"I'll explain later," Harry told him, helping himself to some more chocolate. "Go to sleep Ron."
Ron moaned. "I'm not tired. Tell me now..."
"Stupefy!" Harry muttered, pointing his wand at his friend. Ron fell back into his bed, 'asleep'. Hermione giggled again, before settling back into the pillows.
"Hey guys, where have you been all day?" Ron asked. Harry and Hermione had escaped the Hospital Wing with liberal use of Confundus Charms, and left Ron in there until noon. With him occupied, Hermione set up some runes in the Room of Requirement, and Harry stole some Potions ingredients from Snape's stores. To add insult to injury, he also swiped a few bottles of the man's Firewhisky.
Harry had also visited Hagrid at lunchtime. The man had found Buckbeak tied to a tree, and set the Hippogriff free.
"Yeh," he had said, gazing happily at the sky. "I was relieved when I foun' 'im alive this morning. But I had teh let 'im go..." he trailed off sadly, and Harry left before Hagrid started to cry.
Rumours about Remus being a werewolf spread throughout the school, and Harry didn't regret stealing from Snape anymore. The git had loudly told Malfoy about dangerous werewolf teachers, and Lupin had apparently left the Great Hall without a word. Harry respected the man's ability to stay in control. He would've hexed Snape without hesitation.
Harry visited Lupin and got the Map and Cloak back, promising to write the older man over the summer. He also told Lupin to owl Sirius, and maybe the three of them could get together some time. Lupin agreed, and praised Harry's use of the Patronus. Harry had also told Dumbledore about Trelawney's prophecy, adding one phrase at the end.
"I wonder if she ever made any more correct predictions," he had said, eying Dumbledore. "I mean, she got one right, what else had she prophesied? I might do some research; Hermione was always telling me about the Department of Mysteries' Prophecy Hall." Dumbledore squirmed a little, before reverting back to his calm demeanour. Harry left moments later.
Now, Harry and Hermione were leading Ron to the Room of Requirement to kill the redhead. Harry had also borrowed a few of Hagrid's roosters for sacrificial purposes, and they were ambling around the Room, unaware of their fate.
"Ron, we're here to kill you," Harry said seriously, pulling his wand out. Hermione locked the door as Ron started to squirm.
"Kill me?" he squeaked. "Why would you do that? I'm a good friend right Harry? Hermione, can you help me out here?"
"Hermione," Harry turned to her. "Wasn't Pettigrew a good friend to my father? Didn't he eventually betray him?" Hermione just nodded, checking over her runes.
Ron made a small noise. "Please Harry..."
Harry just burst out laughing. "I'm kidding Ron. I know you'd never betray me!"
"Oh," Ron tittered. "So you're just joking about killing me?"
Harry sobered up immediately. "No. Sorry Ron." He held out his wand and Stunned Ron. He turned to Hermione. "Can we do this now?"
Fifteen minutes later, Harry, Ron and Hermione walked out of the Room of Requirement. Ten minutes of their time had been used to clean up the blood (Rooster and human), hide the runes and silver dagger, and let Ron get used to his new (old?) body.
"I'm so short," he moaned. Harry patted him on the shoulder sympathetically.
"We'll both grow this summer Ron. I promise."
As the term ended, some keen observers would notice changes in the Golden Trio of Gryffindor House. Neville Longbottom would notice that Ron and Harry were taking time to ask his advice about Herbology. Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown would notice that they woke up one morning without hair, after teasing Hermione about hers. The whole school had been there when Ron 'accidentally' hexed Hermione with a Tooth-Growing Charm.
Hermione had come out of the Hospital Wing with straighter and shorter teeth than she ever had before. She had also found a spell to slowly de-frizz her hair.
Some noticed that Ron and Harry would disappear for hours and come back to Gryffindor Tower looking tired. They were exercising in the Room of Requirement, trying to gain some muscle and become better duellers in their teenage bodies. While they trained, Hermione would be taking secret passages out of the school and into Knockturn Alley. A few spells later and some money changing hands, she had the tracking charms removed from her, Harry and Ron's wands. She also picked up some less-than-legal books she owned back in the future.
Harry also decided to mess with Snape a little more than usual. He would loudly boast to Ron in Potions about winning an Order of Merlin, Second Class, for fighting off a hundred Dementors. He and Ron would also make extremely good Potions and hand them in to a shocked Snape. That didn't stop the greasy git from taking fifty points from Harry for deep breathing.
Harry's reply of "But you're breathing deeper than I am sir." had cost him another fifty points, but his classmates didn't mind. There were talks of putting that quote on T-shirts, but only if Harry got a cut of the profits.
Three days before the end of term, Harry, Ron and Hermione travelled to Serenity Valley, a small Muggle village relatively isolated from the world out on the English countryside. And in the future, it was the final battlefield between Harry and Voldemort.
Hermione had used several ward stones she picked up in Knockturn Alley (Paid for by Harry's trust fund) to monitor magical activity in the area. A few sweeps of the town confirmed that there was little to no magical activity in the town or up on the hill where Harry killed Voldemort. A few more spells showed that there hadn't been any activity ever, telling the Trio that Voldemort's Horcrux hadn't shown up at all.
"Looks nice without all the dead bodies and burned buildings," Ron commented, eating a sandwich. "Kind of place you would want to retire in, you know?"
"Retire?" Harry asked. "Wasn't Voldemort dying our retirement Ron? Merlin, we had to travel back in time 11 more years. You know, relive the war again. No retirement for me old buddy."
Hermione finished her work an hour later. "There. If there's any big magical outbursts, like a Horcrux appearing from the future, I'll know." She held up a purple coloured rock. "This will glow red and start vibrating. I'll have it on me at all times, and I'll come find you two when it happens." The plan was to contain and destroy Voldemort's Horcrux before anything bad could happen.
The Trio planned to spend the summer hunting down Horcruxes in secret. During the war, Ron had come up with a way to find other Horcruxes, by using one as a sort of 'Horcrux detector'. A few complicated spells later, and a Horcrux would start to act up if another one was nearby. Presto, and the Trio could find the Horcruxes easily in the last war. The detector had also found the piece of soul that had latched onto Harry's own. Thanks to Harry travelling back in time, the Horcrux was ousted from his past self's body.
Hermione and Ron had reclaimed the diadem Horcrux and used it to look for one in the area of Serenity Valley. They were unsuccessful, and thus, Hermione set up her ward stones.
The term ended three days after the Trio visited Serenity Valley, and they were awaiting the Hogwarts Express to pull into Platform 9 and 3/4. The last week had been quite an adjustment period for the Trio.
Seeing friends and family members that were dead was quite an odd experience, but no one drowned their memories in alcohol. All three of the time travellers made time with old friends over the week. Harry and Ron joined Fred and George in pranking the Slytherins one morning at breakfast. Hermione had spent an hour talking girl-talk to Ginny, advising the girl to not pine after Harry (For which Harry was grateful. He had had a brief thing with Ginny in his sixth year, but they ended it after it was realised they were better as friends. Friends with benefits). Harry and Hermione had also cornered Luna Lovegood, and spent three hours talking about Crumple Horned Snorcacks. That was a fun afternoon for all.
Even total gits like Percy were looked to fondly. Percy was loudly talking about NEWT's and how well he would do in them, and Ron politely listened. That was saying something, as Percy's girlfriend Penelope broke up with him after a week of boasting, to the Trio's amusement. But, total moronic gits like Malfoy, Theo Nott and Snape were not as lucky. Harry and Ron had engaged in no less than four duels with the blonde boy, and won all of them. To avoid backlash, Harry had Hermione Memory Charm Malfoy four times.
"Oh yeah," Harry exclaimed. He was in a locked and warded compartment in the Hogwarts Express with Ron and Hermione, playing Go Fish. "Dobby!" he called.
The little House Elf popped in. He was wearing that damn tea cosy, shorts, and a plain white T-shirt. "Harry Potter! Great wizard call a House Elf like Dobby! Youse are the greatest wizard Harry Potter! And Harry Potter's friends! Tall Wheezy boy and smart Grunger girl! What can Dobby do for Harry Potter today?"
Harry stopped laughing for a minute to reply. "I don't know. Grunger, Wheezy, what could I have Dobby do for me today?" he giggled.
'Grunger' glared at him, before turning to Dobby. "Dobby, how would you like to help the three of us out? We don't want you to work without pay. You are a free elf after all." On Harry's part, he was happy that Hermione wasn't going to starve herself to free the Hogwarts' elves this time around.
"Help you out Miss Grunger? Dobby would be happy to help out the greatestest Harry Potter and his greatest friends! How would youse like Dobby to help you out?" Dobby said, bouncing up and down the compartment.
'Wheezy' chuckled. "We have big plans this summer Dobby. We wouldn't want anyone else to help us but you." Dobby beamed at him.
"Indeed," Harry added. "Dobby, can you Apparate to the Lovegood Getaway for us? Check my mind for the location if you wish." Dobby looked him in the eyes, and then nodded furiously. He popped away.
Minutes later, Dobby returned with a big smile on his face. "If Dobby can assume, is you great wizards and great witch moving into the Lovegood Getaway?"
Hermione nodded. "Yes Dobby, for a price of 20 Galleons a day, we want to ask you to clean it up. Get rid of the mess and the multiplying Malevolent Floating Fungus for us. Please Dobby."
"We'll also give you socks," Harry told him, eying Dobby's single sock amusedly. He pulled the pair that was on his feet off. Hermione and Ron did the same, and handed them all to Dobby. The little elf looked like he would faint in shock.
He then burst into tears, diving for Harry. "Harry Potter is the greatestestest wizard ever! Dobby does not deserve to be in the presence of such greatness! Grunger and Wheezy are the greatest friends to the greatest wizard Harry Potter!" he bawled. Harry gently pried Dobby the Hugging Elf and sent him on his way.
"I like him," Ron said sometime later, as the card game was resumed. "He's a great laugh." In the old timeline, Dobby had died along with the other House Elves at Hogwarts, when Voldemort's people destroyed the castle.
"So, Quidditch World Cup is this summer," Hermione mentioned. She didn't care for the Quidditch part of course.
"And there'll be some Death Eaters to take care of," Harry noted. "Oh fun."
Ron snorted. "Seems kind of useless doesn't it? We're not getting paid..."
Any further complaining ended when a minute owl barrelled into the Trio's compartment, with a letter from Sirius. Harry read the near identical letter, which also mentioned that Sirius and Lupin would see Harry sometime in the summer. Ron was playing with his new owl, whom was named Pigwidgeon again.
"I hated Ginny for a long time for naming my owl that," he said, watching Pig twitter around the room. "But now, it's kind of grown on me."
After promising his friends that he would see them soon, Harry went off to his relatives for the first week of summer. It was a very boring week, as the Dursleys were all on a diet, and so weak from not eating, they couldn't yell at Harry that much. The only wizard in the house had sometimes taken to hexing them without them knowing, then Confunding them into thinking nothing happened.
Case in point, Dudley spending the entire day in the bathroom, then leaving and wondering why he was so hungry and what happened to the day.
Food wasn't a problem for Harry. In between cleaning the Lovegood Getaway, Dobby would pop in with meals from Hogwarts, informing Harry that everything was going smoothly. Harry had expressly told Dobby to not inform Dumbledore that he was working for the Trio, to which the elf agreed to (For another pair of socks).
The Lovegood Getaway was owned by the Lovegood's, as the name basically tells. However, the potion explosion that killed Luna's mother made the cottage uninhabitable, thanks to all kinds of potion spillage. Harry's leading theory was that a potion had caused Luna to go somewhat nutty, but he had no proof of course. It might have been that she just saw her mother die, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, the cottage was where the Trio lived after the war, and it was abandoned and isolated enough that the Trio could temporarily take up space there again (Even with the Lovegood family still alive and kicking).
Harry planned to live there until he could visit the Burrow, but first he needed to escape Privet Drive. Using untraceable magic on his relatives had its advantages.
"You want us to what?" Uncle Vernon asked, glaring. Harry calmly took out his wand and cast several spells. The first was a mild Confundus, the second was a weak Compulsion Charm, and the third was a Stinging Hex.
"Go on holiday for a few weeks!" Harry said happily. "You deserve it Vernon. Your family deserves it! Go to Hawaii for the summer, and leave me here. I'll find somewhere to stay, trust me." The combined spells had Vernon twitch in agreement. Petunia was another problem.
"But your Headmaster told us you have to stay here for the first part of summer, for your own protection," she protested. Harry cast some stronger charms on her.
"Write a letter to my Headmaster and mention I blew up Uncle Vernon and am on the run. I don't care, you go on holiday, and I'll take care of myself."
She nodded jerkily, and went off to pack while her husband ordered plane tickets.
Harry sat up in his room, writing to his friends and Sirius. Vernon, Petunia and Dudley were still packing for their 9pm flight, the earliest they could book. He told Sirius that the relatives were fine and going on a small trip, while he told Ron and Hermione that he would be at Lovegood Getaway by night time. Their letters were charmed so that only they could read them, and sent off with Hedwig.
Harry's own possessions were packed with magic within the hour, and the waiting game begun. He ventured out into the kitchen and made a sandwich, as his 'family' just bustled around the house, getting ready.
"Yes Mum, I'll be back tonight okay?" Hermione promised. Mrs. Granger waved her daughter off. Hermione had told her parents that she would be at the local library all day, when in truth she would be hanging out at Lovegood Getaway with her friends.
Upon reaching a small alleyway beside the local library, Hermione Apparated away with a 'pop'. She arrived ten feet from the fixed up cottage, in the same grassy field she, Ron and Harry had performed the ritual to send themselves back in time.
"Hey Hermione," Harry greeted, sitting on the floor in the kitchen. "Dobby hasn't got any new furniture yet, so sit down. Ron's taking a leak."
"Lovely," she replied, sitting down. "You look healthy-ish."
Harry smiled. "I used Dobby. Got some food from Hogwarts. And I'm going through a growth spurt!" he finished excitedly. Ron entered the room at that moment, and sat down beside his friends.
"Hey Her-mi-ninny," he greeted, butchering her name for amusement purposes. "Did you get away okay?"
Hermione nodded. "Mum and Dad are surprisingly gullible. I forgot about that." Mr and Mrs Granger were a little gullible. By all means, they let their daughter go to a school where she almost died yearly, and she was target of a lot of racial slurs. Gullible with a capital 'G'.
Ron shook his head. "Opposite of my Mum. I had to convince her I was doing homework. Then I had to ward my room with Repelling Charms to get her to bugger off."
"Completely different than my parents. They're dead," Harry deadpanned. He turned to Hermione. "Got the diadem?" She produced it from her book bag. "Let's go get lunch."
The Trio popped into Little Hangleton for a quick bite to eat at one of the town's pubs. The quaint little town neighboured the shack where the ring Horcrux would be found. After lunch, Hermione did the spells to ascertain if the ring was in the shack or not.
"It's there," she announced. The diadem floating in front of her (Since touching it meant slow and painful death) was vibrating and glowing a murky green colour. Dark smoke was issuing from it, attracting a little attention from nosy Muggles.
After taking care of the Muggles who saw the dark smoke, the Trio entered the booby-trapped shack.
"It's just on the floor," said Harry. "But it's loaded with Dark Compulsion Charms. Whatever you do, don't touch it." Ron and Hermione nodded, remembering Dumbledore's blackened hand.
"Okay," started Hermione. "The rune that locks the Compulsion Charm in place is under the shack. Ron, Harry, blow the floor up." The boys did so, leaving a dark hole in the middle of the shack.
"Lumos," Ron muttered, peering into the hole. "Fuck. There's snakes. Lots of snakes." Indeed, the hole was filled with small snakes, all as poisonous as listening to Vogon poetry was. "Harry, do your thing." Harry concentrated hard and spoke into the hole.
"Give me the rune," he hissed. Beside him, Ron shuddered.
"That gives me the creeps," he claimed. The snakes inside the hole were moving wildly, and the Trio could spot a small rune-stone.
"No less creepy than hearing you and Hermione go at it," Harry retorted. "I mean, seriously! They don't make Silencing Charms strong enough!" In response, Hermione and Ron whacked him in the back of the head.
The snakes in the hole were lifting the rune upwards at a slow pace, and Ron was getting bored. He paced the shack a little, before hearing a little voice call to him.
He headed towards the ring, and his brain was overwhelmed. He slowly reached out to touch the ring, to put it on. However, Hermione noticed.
"Diffindo!" she cried. Ron's fingers severed off and flew to the other side of the shack. "RON!"
"Shit!" Ron cursed. He stopped trying to put on the ring and looked at his hand. "Ow. Hermione, that hurt."
Hermione rolled her eyes and picked up his fingers. "You'll get these back when we leave." She pocketed them.
"Got it!" Harry exclaimed. The largest snake was holding the rune in its mouth. Harry carefully extracted it, and tossed the stone to Hermione.
"Thanks," she told him, before carefully removing the magic poured into the stone and storing it in a piece of wood. Without no rune on the wood, the magic couldn't be contained and dissipated. "Grab the ring, burn the snakes. Let's leave."
Harry sent some blue-coloured flames into the snake pit, covered it up with conjured lead, and gestured to the 6-fingered Ron.
"Right," Fingerless Ron said. He levitated the ring and placed it in the pre-prepared magic suppressing steel box. Before closing the box, he duplicated the ring and placed the soulless imitation where the ring was. Harry, meanwhile, placed the floor of the shack back over the lead block that was blocking the snake pit.
"We're done here." With that, Hermione reattached Ron's fingers, and the Trio Apparated back home.
The next two weeks passed rather quickly. To Harry's disappointment, Sirius and Remus were unable to set up a meeting, being that Dumbledore advised them not to. The manipulative old coot had told them that Harry didn't have time, and couldn't leave Privet Drive. Harry had sent a strongly worded letter to Sirius and Remus, telling them that it was probably bullshit what the Headmaster advised.
It was rather funny that Dumbledore hadn't realised No. 4 Privet Drive had been empty for two weeks. But, there was no war going on, so he didn't have Harry under extremely close watch. For his own good of course.
Hermione and Ron had visited the Lovegood Getaway daily. The cottage was now under Fidellius Charm, with Ron as Secret Keeper. Dobby had stocked the place up with food and furniture, and was under the Trio's full employ for the time being. The Trio alternated between just relaxing and Horcrux Hunting.
The locket was found in Grimmauld Place, as it had been last time. The house was well warded, but Sirius mentioned a back door back in the past, and the Trio used that back door to get inside and reclaim the locket and several books. What was a challenge was that there were all kinds of Dark creatures festering inside the old Black Manor. Ron had refused to enter until Harry and Hermione had taken care of the giant spiders that lived throughout the house.
Kreacher, that old insane House Elf everyone loathes, played an impromptu game of Russian Roulette with Harry, Ron and a protesting Hermione. The version of this game was that Harry, Ron, Kreacher and Hermione would sit in a circle, and Harry's wand would start to spin. Whoever got the business end of it got a Killing Curse to the face.
What little knowledge of Wandless Magic Harry had, he managed to have the wand point at Kreacher. Ron opted to give Kreacher a ten second head start, and the old elf only made it halfway up the stairs when Harry wandlessly Trip Jinxed him. A quick Reducto killed the elf.
Hermione was admittedly a little miffled. Out of the three of them, she wasn't fully okay with killing the enemy, regardless of what they've done. Ron and Harry adapted their hate of Death Eaters into killing them for money back in the future, but Hermione never joined them. So as such, she didn't approve of killing Kreacher.
"Hermione, did you forget the day when that little snot got Sirius killed?" Harry argued. Her expression soured. "How about when he bled out Buckbeak? Or when he poisoned Hestia Jones? Come on, he deserved it." She didn't argue further, but protested to the rigged ten second head start in theory. Harry also didn't mention that she killed Macnair, so her point of being against killing was rather moot.
After the locket came Hufflepuff's cup. Short of breaking into Gringotts again, there was no claiming it. However, a few loopholes and some dead Lestranges could help the Trio claim it. They decided to leave it be for the time being.
Last but not least was Nagini. The little snake was going to be killed on the night Voldemort would be revived. The kinks of the Trio's plan were still being worked out, but it was progressing at a snail's pace.
Hermione had finished brewing a Horcrux Killing Solution (Two pints of basilisk venom, ten Manticore hairs, a litre of unicorn blood and some other easy to get ingredients), and the locket and ring were no more. The diadem would be kept for locating Voldemort's other Horcruxes.
As July started to end, Harry was preparing to leave the Lovegood Getaway and head to the Burrow, as was Hermione. She and Ron were spending more time at home because of suspicious parents (And in Ron's case, siblings). One day, Harry woke up to find two notes from his friends.
Ron's note told him that he couldn't make it, and Hermione's said the same. So, left to his own devices, Harry decided to visit Sirius. Unbeknownst to his on-the-run godfather, Harry had planted a Tracking Charm on the broom Snuffles left on. So, with that in mind, Harry activated the charm and found his godfather.
Sirius' broom was in a dank cave somewhere in Scotland, Harry didn't know the specific area. When Harry popped into the cave, he found a large black dog cleaning itself.
"I heard prison changes a man," Harry started. Padfoot stopped his licking and turned. "But Merlin Sirius, you don't have to pleasure yourself in dog form!"
"HARRY!" Sirius shouted, turning back into a man. He ran up and hugged his godson. "Merlin. You scared the living daylights out of me!"
"Hi Sirius," Harry greeted, disengaging himself from the hug. "How are things?"
"Fine Harry," Sirius replied. "Wait a minute, it's finally happened. I've lost my mind. First I saw James telling me I forgot to hand in McGonagall's homework, and now my godson tracked me down to this fucking cave and made a joke about self love."
"Fifty-fifty Sirius," Harry said cautiously. "No James, just me. I planted a Tracker on your broomstick. Thought I'd visit you."
"What?" Sirius barked. "How did you activate the charm? How did you get here? I'm in Scotland!"
Harry decided to go into a knee-jerk lying mode. "I Flooed here Sirius. My close friend Ernie MacMillan's family owns a Demiguise ranch up around here. I went to his place and flew here. It took about an hour."
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Where's your broom? How did you get access to a Floo?"
"Broom's just outside, invisible. I Flooed from the Leaky Cauldron, took the Knight Bus to get there. What can I say? I was bored."
"Oh," said Sirius softly. "How are your holidays going Harry?"
"Fine, fine. Sit down you old dog, let's chat." Harry called Dobby in a few minutes later, and the elf brought in a pilfered feast from the kitchens at Hogwarts. Harry and Sirius ate and drank for four hours or so, talking about Harry's Hogwarts life, and some of Sirius' Hogwarts experiences.
"And then I said: 'Professor McGonagall! If I admitted to vanishing Snape's underwear, wouldn't I get in more trouble than if I didn't admit it?' And her lips twitched. You gotta believe me, Harry. They twitched," Sirius finished his story to a laughing Harry. Sirius joined in, and signalled Harry for his favourite Snape story.
"It started the night you escaped Hogwarts," Harry told him. "Snape was all angry and such, yelling that I escaped the warded Hospital Wing and saved you. Which I did, but I didn't tell him that. Anyway, he was pissed because he lost a chance at getting an Order of Merlin right? In my next class with the git, I spent the lesson telling Ron I was in line for my own Order of Merlin for fighting off Dementors." Sirius burst out laughing, and didn't stop for some time.
"Merlin Harry," he hiccuped. "My hat's off to you kid."
"Thank you," Harry laughed. "Your story has more substance though."
Sirius waved it off. Night was falling outside. "You better get home," he said.
"Overprotective much?" Harry asked. He was smiling though, and gestured to the food beside him. "This is all yours. Try to make it last for a while. I'll come see you again when I'm at the Burrow. I promise."
Sirius hugged his godson. "Thank you James." Harry raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment.
"Thank you for riding the Knight Bus, 'ave a nice day." Harry waltzed off the violently violet triple-decker magic bus, dragging his trunk. The Knight Bus disappeared with a noisy bang, and Harry started cursing to himself.
"Oh yes, drop me off at the bottom of a freaking hill," he muttered. He whipped out his wand and levitated his trunk alongside him. Teen and trunk scaled the grassy hill overlooking the Weasley family orchard.
"Need some help mate?" Ron asked, waiting at the top of the hill. Harry glared at him. "Hermione's down at the Burrow, chatting with Ginny, so I thought I'd come wait here for you to arrive."
"Appreciate it," Harry said. He flicked his wand, and an extremely heavy trunk hurtled in Ron's direction. The redhead pulled his own wand out and deflected it, banishing it down the other side of the hill.
"Whoops," he said. Harry and Ron retrieved the trunk and walked back to the Burrow, running into Fred and George on the way.
"Hello brother of mine," said Fred. "Harry."
"Gred. Forge," Harry nodded to each twin. "What are you doing all the way out here kiddies?"
"Nosy nosy," George chided.
Fred answered anyway. "Testing products in the village. Fritz Fawcett has been following us around, Obliviating the Muggles after the testing." Fritz's family was one of four wizarding families in the area, and the seventeen-year-old was on the twins' payroll.
"Genius," muttered Harry. "How goes it?"
George glanced at his twin. "Never you mind Harry my boy, never you mind."
Harry shrugged, opening the back door of the Burrow. "Okay then. I was thinking I loan you guys some money to help with the joke shop, but if you don't want me minding, I'll go buy some Zonko's products." Ron's laughter followed him inside, where Hermione and Ginny were sitting at the kitchen table.
"Hello Harry," Hermione greeted. "You're looking healthy."
Harry chuckled, dropping his trunk. "Can't you greet me any other way Hermione? Yes, I am rested and I have eaten. Happy?" In fact, Hermione had brewed some nutritional potions for Harry to gain a less malnourished look. Combined with some resized clothes, Harry did indeed look healthier.
"Hi Harry," Ginny said, reddening. Harry assumed she was checking him out or something. Ego and all that.
"Come on Harry, let's get that damn trunk of yours upstairs," Ron mentioned, kicking Harry's trunk. Harry dragged it up the stairs, and Ron and Hermione followed.
"World Cup in a week," Ron reminded them. "Think we should lay bets down now?"
Harry snickered. "Fine. We'll put massive amounts of my fortune on the fact Ireland will win by Krum will catch the Snitch."
"Cool," Ron said. "We might need the money too." Harry wouldn't get access to Sirius' money, being that his godfather was still alive, or the Potter Family Vault, being that he could only get in when he turned 17.
The rest of the week passed to no real excitement. There was a brief celebration for Harry's birthday, Quidditch was played, and Harry placed a bet with an Irish banker, who would pay Harry back in illegally earned Muggle money. The funny part was that the banker would lose nothing if Harry lost or won the bet. He would simply steal from the Muggles, so the joke was on them.
Harry didn't get to visit Sirius, but he, Ron and Hermione managed to visit the Lovegood Getaway and practice duelling. Hermione was the most out of practice, since Harry and Ron had started again back at Hogwarts.
The morning of the World Cup started pretty much the same as last time.
"Come on Harry, wake up." Mrs Weasley was shaking Harry awake very early in the morning. Harry was immensely grateful she woke him up, and not any of his friends. He did not need icy cold water in the face thank you very much.
Half an hour later, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, George and Arthur were strolling the path to Stoatshead Hill, where a Portkey was awaiting. Along the way, Fred and George asked little questions into Harry about the seriousness of his claim of funding them. Harry told them to impress him, and they would get funding. Harry actually wanted to see if they could make several things to help with Voldemort's resurrection, but that bridge would be crossed later.
"Whew," panted Mr Weasley, taking off his glasses and wiping them on his sweater. He had led the teens on a torturous walk up a large hill. "Well, we've made good time - we've got ten minutes... Now we just need the Portkey."
The kids went a-looking for the Portkey, and the Trio strode in the direction where the two Diggorys were waiting.
"Over here, Arthur!" called Amos. Arthur lead the other teens to the other man, who was standing in front of an old boot.
"This is Amos Diggory, everyone," said Mr Weasley, shaking Amos' hand. "Works for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. And I think you know his son, Cedric?"
"Hi," Cedric greeted. Everyone replied in kind, except the twins.
Arthur and Amos chatted for a minute while the teens just stood around awkwardly, until Amos noticed Harry.
"Merlin's beard," he said, eyes widening. "Harry? Harry Potter?"
"The one and only," Harry drawled. He was waiting for Amos to begin a tirade about how good Cedric was.
"Ced's talked about you, of course," Amos said. "Told us all about playing against you last year... I said to him, I said - Ced, that'll be something to tell your grandchildren, that well... you beat Harry Potter!"
Harry coughed out a 'Prick'. Cedric chuckled, then moved to defend Harry.
"Oh yeah Dad. I'll tell my grandchildren that I beat Harry because Dementors attacked him and he fell of his broom."
"But you didn't fall off your broom Ced. You didn't fall off," roared Amos. Ron pulled his wand and shot a Stinging Hex at Amos. "Merlin! I think a bee just stung me!"
"Look at the time!" shouted Mr Weasley, shooting a glare at Ron. "The Portkey is about ready! Let's all put a finger on it." They all did, and minutes later, the Portkey took them all to a stretch of misty moor.
"What a prick," Harry muttered to his friends, as Amos and Cedric went off. "Do you think Cedric would mind if I hexed Amos all the way to Jupiter?" Ron laughed appreciatively, and Hermione stifled a smile.
"They'll be talking about this one for years," Ludo Bagman said hoarsely. "Now, how much do I owe you boys?" Fred and George were onto him like a Hippogriff on dead ferrets within seconds.
Harry just chuckled, happy with the outcome. He would be visiting his Irish friend for the money he now owes Harry the next day. Now, with the main event out of the way, Harry, Ron and Hermione were waiting for the post-match Death Eater fun. Also, Harry had made sure Barty Crouch Jr. didn't steal his wand, but he didn't know if that would stop ol' Barty.
Harry and Ron didn't fall asleep when Mr Weasley sent them off to bed. No, they were waiting for the Weasley patriarch to tell them about the riots going on outside.
"59 bottles of Butterbeer on the wall, 59 bottles of Butterbeer..." Harry sang softly to himself. "You take one down, pass it around, 58 bottles of Butterbeer on the wall..."
"Shut up Harry," moaned Ron. Outside, Harry could hear the drunken singing turn into screaming and running. It was go time.
"Get up! Ron, Harry, I need you to get up! This is urgent!" Mr Weasley called. Harry and Ron were out of bed instantly, still clothed. Mr Weasley eyed them oddly. "No time, Harry. Go outside quickly. Do not do anything reckless." He walked off to wake the others.
Harry strapped his wand holster to his wrist. "Aww... they've been telling me not to be reckless for years now. It hasn't worked."
"It never will," Ron replied, following his friend out of the tent.
Outside, a stray Killing Curse erupted a random tent in flames. The curse was sent by one of the dozen men in black hoods and white masks; Death Eaters. They were in a tightly packed circle, destroying tents, cursing people, and floating four Muggles up in the air.
"We're going to help the Ministry," Mr Weasley shouted, gesturing to himself, Charlie, Bill and Percy. "You lot - get into the woods, and stick together. I'll come and fetch you when we've sorted this out!" Bill, Charlie and Percy were already sprinting away, and Mr Weasley followed.
"C'mon," ordered Fred, taking Ginny's hand. All laughter had left his eyes at the sight of Muggle torture. George followed, but the Trio simply Disillusioned themselves and went into the fray. Harry took charge.
"Ron, I need you to take out Malfoy. I want to Ministry to see him without a mask. Deliver him to your dad or Amelia Bones. She should be around here somewhere. Remember, keep him alive." Ron nodded.
"Hermione, take care of the ones playing with the Muggles. Break their wand hands, kill if you have to." Hermione nodded as well.
"And you?" she asked. Harry grinned.
"I'm going to 'help'," he said simply.
The Trio were now approaching the circle, jumping over flaming wrecks of tents, unconscious or dead people, and avoiding anything that could expose them as visible. Harry performed a temporary magical sight spell on his glasses, checking for invisible Death Eaters. Sure enough, he could spot who he assumed was Barty Crouch Jr, walking into the trees.
"Reducto! Diffindo! Sectumsempra!" Hermione cried, flinging her wand rapidly. Two Death Eaters took their curses, their wand and wand hands dropping to the ground. Four Death Eaters shot random curses in her direction, and Ron shielded her.
Harry split off from his friends and blasted the ground in front of three Death Eaters. Beside him, several Ministry workers in their pyjamas were hopelessly duelling their opponents. No Ministry worker was dead - yet anyway.
"Confringo!" Ron called. The Blasting Curse took out the mask of Lucius Malfoy, impaling his cheek with shrapnel. A little hasty, but it worked. "Accio Lucius Malfoy!" The man came flying towards Ron, who cancelled the charm halfway. Summoning people was only useful for a second or so, because summoning an object that size taxed magical cores very quickly.
"Nice one!" Harry shouted, as Hermione crippled a Death Eater Harry recognised as Selwyn. He wouldn't be walking anytime soon. The Muggles that the Death Eaters were playing with were on the ground, and an all out duel had started between the Death Eaters and Ministry workers.
Ron Stunned Malfoy, and banished his body back to the Weasley tent. He then headed for the tree line - the plan did not involve being caught in a crossfire after all was finished.
Harry meanwhile, was helping the Weasley brothers duel three Death Eaters, one of them being Vincent Crabbe Sr. The Weasley men narrowly avoided simultaneous Cruciatus Curses, and Harry acted.
"Sectumsempra!" The Dark Slashing Spell was effective, and Crabbe's head de-attached from his body. The other two Death Eaters were Stunned by Bill, who had Percy distract them by enchanting tent poles. Charlie, meanwhile, was sporting a bloodied nose and sitting on the sidelines.
Job done, Harry headed to the trees, where a now visible Ron was waiting. Hermione joined them a second later, and the Trio ran right into the forest, as a deep voice called out:
"MOSMORDRE!" The all-too familiar Dark Mark hit the skies, and the still alive/conscious Death Eaters panicked and Apparated off. They had hung around a lot longer than in the old timeline, as Harry, Ron and Hermione worked out later. The two reasons were that the Trio's meddling had caused a more all out battle than a slight skirmish. That and that Barty needed to fetch another wand to cast the Mark.
"Are you OK?" Mr Weasley asked worriedly. Harry, Ron and Hermione had stayed in plain sight in the trees, and Mr Weasley had spotted them. "Where's Ginny, Fred and George?"
"We got separated," Harry lied. "The lamps went out in the forest here, and they must of just lost us like we lost them."
"Are you all right Hermione?" Mr Weasley then asked, gesturing to the cut on Hermione's forehead. The result of a stray Cutting Curse.
"Peachy Mr Weasley. I hit my head on a tree, and you were out there being a hero," she simpered. Mr Weasley beamed at her a little.
"Three Death Eaters died by stray curses. Three people were killed in the crossfire, and two Ministry workers are being hospitalised. Everything will be fine Hermione, Ron. Harry, are you okay... the Dark Mark... Merlin..."
"I'm fine Mr Weasley. Don't worry," Harry reassured. He was still coming down from a major adrenaline rush. "We'll head back to the tent, and you go find the others."
Mr Weasley nodded and ran off. The Trio shared tired looks, and traipsed back to the tent. Along the way, they spotted the Ministry workers and Aurors cleaning up the mess the Trio made.
"I'm tired," Ron complained. "Doing that in this body is not that easy."
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "But I'm high on Nutritional Potions, so it was all right."
Ron glared at him. "You didn't take on Lucius Malfoy!"
"You were invisible Ron! He took one Blasting Curse to the face and you Stunned him. The end. Big whoop!" Harry snapped. Hermione pulled her wand out and hit them both with a Cheering Charm.
"Calm yourselves," she ordered. She looked a little distressed about being in battle too. Her hair was frizzier than normal.
The Trio arrived at the tent to find Bill, Charlie, Fred, George and Ginny standing around Lucius Malfoy.
"Blimey!" Ron cried. "Someone did a number on him!"
Bill nodded, checking the Trio over. "Yeah. Percy's coming back with an Auror. Looks like daddy Malfoy will have to pay his way out again."
The Trio just shrugged. More than anything, the night's plan was to just help out and capture some Death Eaters. Hopefully, the Trio could use the fact Fudge let Malfoy go against him. Having Fudge dethroned as Minister of Magic would help get Sirius cleared in the future. In short, Fudge is a moron.
Percy returned with the familiar face of Kingsley Shacklebolt, who looked almost gleeful at the sight of an unconscious Lucius Malfoy.
"Thank you for notifying me, Weasley. I'll take care of him." He bound Lucius, took the man's shattered mask and wand as evidence, and left the tent.
"Well," Harry said happily. "That was exciting."
Mr Weasley returned a few minutes later, explaining about a House Elf stealing Mundungus Fletcher's wand and casting the Mark. Hermione protested Winky's innocence, and Mr Weasley told her he agreed that an elf couldn't of cast the Mark. Mr Weasley also looked rather pleased to hear about Lucius' capture.
"I found his son out in the forest," he told the teens. "He almost wet himself when three Aurors went after him." The tent was filled with laughter at that.
Harry himself was remembering the day when he, Ron and Hermione decided against killing Draco, in lieu of locking him in a Muggle prison. Upon visiting Malfoy a week later, they found out he killed himself after two days.
To be continued in Chapter Two....