In this World and the Next
Just something that tunnelled through my Occlumency barrier and wouldn't grant me any peace until I wrote it, since I didn't see any point in it just sitting there on my hard drive I'm posting it here. Rating is for first chapter and just to be on the safe side.
Harry sat alone in Grimmauld Place staring at the small box that held not only a diamond ring within, but his entire future. In the almost eight months since he defeated Voldemort his world had turned upside down, the ring in the box was destined for the only constant in his life since he was eleven years old.
He now understood discovering Hermione that fateful morning after the battle, crying outside the castle was the pivotal event that changed his life, at the time he wanted nothing more than to go and rip the lungs out of the prat responsible for his best friend being out here. She begged him not to but if he'd seen the bruises before they got on that plane to Australia, no force on this Earth could have kept him from extracting revenge on Ronald Fucking Weasley.
The bastard's sister went mental when Harry told her he was leaving with Hermione to find her parents, Ginny had the audacity to give him an ultimatum, that if he left then it was over between them. For some reason Harry found that an incredibly easy decision to make and reminded the girl they'd been 'over' since Dumbledore's funeral.
It was on the plane as Hermione began to fret whether her parents would forgive her that he decided she needed a hug, when she winced as he put his arm around her Harry wanted answers and got the full story. Ron had read a lot more into that kiss than Hermione had intended, when he tried for more kisses later on he didn't take it too well when she told him no. Even the thought of Ron hitting Hermione drove Harry nuts.
Hermione had then found herself trying to comfort him, a jumbo jet cruising at fifty thousand feet is probably the worst place anyone could have a bout of accidental magic, since losing that horcrux from behind his scar, Harry's control had been all over the place and particularly when he was upset.
She'd held Harry in her arms and spoke softly to him, telling him that she never wanted to see the red headed bastard again, he'd replied that he would not be getting back together with Ginny which enticed Hermione to hug him tighter.
The entire flight they didn't speak about their past – too raw and painful, neither did they speak about their future – too uncertain and totally dependent on the task in hand. The only subject was Hermione's parents and how they would go about finding them.
Hermione had money in the bank she could access, Harry's status with Gringotts was currently unknown so she was taking care of everything, he was happy to turn himself over to her very capable hands.
On arrival they were exhausted and Hermione booked them into the nearest hotel, after staying so long together in that tent, sharing a room felt so natural. When Hermione woke crying, Harry didn't hesitate to hold her until she fell back to sleep. Waking with Hermione in his arms was something he was getting used to, after the first five nights of finishing up in his bed she began ordering double rooms as they travelled around Australia.
The stress and strain was really starting to pile up on Hermione as each lead they chased down ended fruitless, after three weeks of nothing they weren't expecting much but finally struck gold. Unfortunately the gold rapidly lost its lustre as her mum went ape shit when Hermione restored her memory, she ordered them out the house never to return. Harry had to practically carry a distraught Hermione out of there, he led her up a side alley before attempting side-along apparition into their hotel room.
For two days Harry looked after her, if he didn't feed Hermione she didn't eat, her whole world had come crashing down at the thought of her parents hating her. On the third day Hermione's father phoned, Harry had left a hotel card on the table as he helped their daughter comply with her mother's wishes and finally, here was the contact he was hoping for.
They were invited tonight at six for dinner and discussions, Hermione was a nervous wreck but to be fair, her parents didn't appear much better. The meal was instantly forgotten as her mother stared straight into Hermione's eyes and demanded, "I need to know why our daughter could do something so vile as to make her own parents forget all about her, please explain that as no one leaves this table until I understand what was behind this."
Harry placed his hand on a crying Hermione's arm and accepted responsibility, "That would be my fault ma'am."
Hermione tried to refute that but Harry held her hand and spoke softly to her, "Hermione let me tell the story and we can argue about the blame later, your parents deserve the truth and you're in no state to tell it tonight."
She squeezed his hand so Harry began, he told the story of Voldemort, death eaters and horcruxes, crazy headmasters who could never just tell you something but had to send you on a quest to work things out yourself, the bigotry and violence, torture and murder, it was not a pleasant evening.
"Hermione sent you away for your safety, you would definitely have been targeted as they scoured the country searching for us. Everyone knows the name of my best friend and that she would stick by me no matter what, when we were captured and she was being tortured I nearly went out of my mind, a friend of ours died that night helping us escape." Harry stared at the two elder Grangers as he drove home his point, "Had you stayed in Britain the best we could have offered you would have been moving from safe house to safe house, and some of them didn't turn out to be that safe."
"What happened to the people that tortured my daughter?" her father demanded angrily.
"Well Lestrange is dead but the Malfoys have used their money to get them out of trouble before so we don't know on that score. When the final battle was over Hermione immediately made plans for us to come and find you, we booked the first available flight the day after the battle and have been out of circulation for about a month now."
Hermione added her tuppence worth, "Mum, dad, it was my fight but you were caught right in the middle of it, unaware and unprepared. I knew there was a good chance you would never speak to me again but I would rather have that than be laying flowers on your graves because I truly believe that was the alternative."
"Mr and Mrs Granger, if there's one thing I've learned it's that your daughter is very rarely wrong, in this case I agree. You may have been kept alive as bait to capture us but that would have left you wishing for death."
Hermione's father had a thoughtful expression on his face, "You have given us a lot to talk over, could we do this again tomorrow and we might actually get to eat some food," both quickly agreed but he wasn't quite finished yet, "Harry if I ask you an honest question, will you give me an honest answer?"
"I promise I will sir."
"Can I ask what your relationship is with my daughter?"
Harry noticed he'd been holding her hand all night so was brutally honest, "Hermione has been my best friend for seven years, when we wake in each others arms it's because one of us has had a horrendous nightmare that only the other can understand. We've stood by each other through everything that life's thrown at us but neither has looked any further than finding you both. I know I never expected to survive the final battle and suspect Hermione thought the same, at some point we'll sit down and discuss our futures but whatever mine is, your daughter will be part of it somehow."
Hermione laid her head on his shoulder, "I feel exactly the same way and look forward to that discussion, neither of us is ready for it yet but I think we will be soon."
The healing process had begun and they had been visiting her parents every evening for five days when Hermione approached him, "Mum has offered their spare room to save us living in the hotel," before Harry could say anything she had countered his argument, "Mum and dad know we're sleeping together, they also know it's just sleeping and don't have a problem with it."
Slowly but surely Harry got to see how a real family operated and it was nothing like the Dursley or Weasley models he was familiar with, this was something he felt a part of, just simple things like helping Hermione make dinner for her parents coming home made him incredibly happy.
It was a few weeks later when Hermione said she was going away for a couple of days with her mum, Harry didn't ask too many questions as he could see how important this was to her. Sitting having a beer with her dad after the Granger girls had left, he found himself answering strange questions.
"Tell me about this Weasley boy?"
"We thought he was our friend but then he hurt Hermione, I wanted to go after him but she was afraid because of my magic being unstable, I could have finished up killing him. I didn't learn about the bruises until we were on the plane or nothing would have stopped me. I haven't forgotten and will be raising the matter next time we meet, nobody hurts Hermione and gets away with it. My magic is back under control but changed so much I rarely need my wand anymore." Harry summoned another couple of beers from the fridge just by lifting his hand, her father took one without seeming to notice the feat.
His eyes stared into the distance as he spoke, "Harry a father only wants what's best for his daughter and I think we both know who that is, please take care of my girl for me because apparently I can't." With that he rose and headed off to his bedroom, leaving Harry sitting wondering just what was going on.
When the girls returned Hermione clung to him like a security blanket and cried in his arms the entire night, Harry just held her and provided as much comfort as possible, not knowing what was going on but trusting she would tell him eventually.
Weeks turned into months before they decided to return to Britain for Christmas, no mention was made of 'home' since they hadn't decided where that would be yet, one day back and they had all decided it wouldn't be here, or should that be one issue of the Daily Prophet.
Both Harry and Hermione were aware the magical world was corrupt but this had reached new lows, from what they could gather Kingsley was denied being minister when some archaic law was wheeled out stating that the holder had to be British and a pureblood, since he was neither Doloris Umbridge somehow weaselled her way into the job. The Malfoy's had not only escaped a stay in Azkaban but were back in the society pages as pillars of the community. The biggest shock though was the Weasleys, Ron and Molly were being hailed as the Heroes of Hogwarts for their part in defeating the forces of the evil half-blood who'd deceived the country' pureblood elite. Harry and Hermione had fought and won the bloody war for the Weasleys to claim the credit with the bigotry issue appearing worse than ever.
Thus Harry found himself on Christmas Eve in his godfather's old house praying to every deity that Hermione would accept his proposal, after getting his business sorted at Gringotts and retrieving the ring from his vaults he needed somewhere quiet to compose himself. The stares he was receiving in Diagon Alley were unnerving; it was as if people could not make their own minds up and were waiting to be told what to think of him, he also wanted the portkey to the private Black Island off the cost of Bermuda. If she said yes his plan was for the whole family to visit there, if she said no he needed a private place to quietly drown himself.
The silence was shattered by the shrill of his mobile's ringtone and his heart sank as a distraught Dan's voice had Harry apparating before her father finished speaking, "Harry, the red headed bastard was here and he's got Hermione!"
Harry appeared in the living room to find both Dan and Emma on the floor, they'd had the body bind spell applied on them but Ron was such a shit wizard Dan had been able to fight it and crawl to the phone. One wave of his hand and they were both free and trying to shout at the same time, the fury Harry felt coursing through his body was at odds with his calm exterior. He held up his hand for silence before saying, "Dan tell me what happened but make it quick."
"He just appeared in the middle of the room and started firing spells before Hermione could even reach for her wand, he said she was his as he'd claimed her and then he took her away, that was about seven or eight minutes ago."
Emma interrupted, "Harry there's something you need to know, he raped Hermione that night, she didn't want to tell you in case you ended up in prison like they did with your godfather, she knew you would kill him."
Things started to make sense for Harry now, "That's why you went away for those few days?"
"Please don't think any less of my girl Harry, you're all she has!"
Harry took the ring box out his pocket to show to a sobbing Emma, "This is hers, if she'll have me."
Dan was nodding his head in agreement, "Bring her home Harry, that's all I ask son."
Harry placed a pendant necklace on the table, "If anything happens, both of you hold this and say 'Orion', it will take you somewhere safe and the elves there will look after you," he picked up Hermione's wand from the floor and concentrated on the woman he loved, Dan and Emma watched as Harry disappeared from their home.
Ron Weasley looked down at the battered and bleeding form lying on the floor, it was time to show this muggle born bitch her place in society, and who the Hero of Hogwarts really was. He fingered the scratches on his face and reminded himself to make sure she paid for them later on, he was disrobing when the wards around his flat were blown apart and an enraged Harry Potter stood there watching a frozen Ron in the act of removing his underpants.
He wasn't sure if the screams currently in his mind were actually reaching his mouth as Ronald Bilius Weasley died in agony, his innards blasted all over his flat. In a parody of a Hogwarts ghost, Ron was nearly halved-in-two with only some skin on his left-hand side preventing total separation.
Harry knelt beside Hermione and gently moved her head onto his lap, summoning a blanket from the bed as he did so, she knew he was there and tried to speak, "I'm sorry Harry, he was too strong for me again."
Harry was tucking the blanket around her as he spoke, "Quiet love, he'll never lay a finger on you again."
"Please don't look at me Harry, I need to tell you something…"
"I already know love and it makes no difference to me, this isn't how I planned to ask you but I want you to be my wife, to love you always in this life and the next, Hermione will you marry me?"
"Harry I love you with all my heart but are you sure you want to marry me?"
"There is only one woman for me and she's with me now," Harry slipped the ring on her finger.
"I'll love you forever Harry, in this world and the next."
He leaned over and very gently kissed her bruised and bleeding lips just as four aurors apparated into the flat with wands drawn.
The wards being destroyed followed by the massive power surge seconds later triggered the alarms in the ministry, "Stay where you are and let me see those hands, they better not have a wand in them!"
Harry's eyes flashed with anger as he rose to his feet with Hermione cradled in his arms, his voice brooked no argument. "You know who I am so I suggest lowering those wands before I'm forced to take them from you. I shall be taking my fiancée to St Mungo's for treatment and will answer any questions after that, unlike the piece of shit laying there I neither run away nor attack women."
The four aurors lowered their wands, the newspaper could print what it liked but they knew who had defeated the dark lord and one glance at the tableau in front of them told the story here. "Very well sir, two of us shall accompany you there to assist with the rapid treatment of your lady."
Harry apparated into the hospital and the accompanying aurors made sure they were promptly dealt with, it was about thirty minutes later, and only after being assured by the healer that Hermione was going to be fine, Harry took the opportunity to phone her parents. Harry was sitting at Hermione's bedside holding her hand, having refused to leave her side since they got there. Dan answered the call after one ring, "She's safe Dan, I got there in time and the bastard will never trouble anyone again. We're at the hospital where she's just been checked and her bruises healed, oh and I asked her the question and she said yes!"
Emma then wanted to talk with Hermione but minutes later all the happiness left the room as the toad marched in with a squad of aurors, oh how Harry hated that voice, "Harry Potter you are under arrest for the murder of the Hero of Hogwarts, Ronald Weasley."
"What about the fact that he was about to rape my fiancée?"
The smirk on her face warned them both that this would be bad news, neither was prepared for just how bad it was, "The law states that it is impossible for a pureblood to rape a muggle born or half blood, the girls should be delighted to receive the attention of such noble wizards."
This shocked Harry so much that the aurors had hold of him and slapped magic inhibiting bracelets on his wrists before he could react.
"When the hell did laws like that come into effect and why haven't they been published?"
"Ah Miss Granger but they have been published and in effect since September, along with the law making it a criminal offence to terminate any resulting pregnancies from these occurrences. The healer has informed us that you have undergone such a termination and the Weasley family have demanded the full force of the law be brought to bear, you are also under arrest."
Hermione was also slapped in bracelets before the real bombshell was dropped, "A special session of the Wizengamot has been convened and you will stand trial immediately, we should be able to get this entire mess dealt with before the holidays."
Back in Crawley two parents listened to the phone, helpless as their daughter and future son-in-law were effectively just sentenced to death. Emma was in pieces as Dan reached for the necklace.
They soon came to realise what the toad meant by 'special session', it was a panel of five people but considering that the toad, Lucius Malfoy and Percy Weasley were three of the members, both knew they were domed. The fact that there was a dementor already there to administer the sentence was also a large clue. The only other people present were the rest of the Weasley family who were out for blood, Molly appeared ready to collect it personally and as painfully as possible, Arthur had to hit his wife with a silencing charm as she ranted like a lunatic.
The sham began with Hermione being questioned, "Miss Granger you are charged with terminating a child of one Mr Ronald Weasley, how do you plead?"
"Would it make any difference if I pointed out the bastard raped me, which was against the law then, the termination was carried out in another country and on a timescale that broke no British laws at the time of the event?"
The answer from toad of, "Mere technicalities!" left both aware this was their last hour on this Earth.
"I plead guilty then and my only regret is that it wasn't me who killed the bastard!"
"Mr Potter, you are charged with the murder of Mr Ronald Weasley, how do you plead?"
"We both know it doesn't matter what I say so let's just end any pretence that this travesty is in any way just and legal process, he was about to rape my fiancée so I killed the piece of filth, you can and will interpret that any way you wish."
"Let the records state that Mr Potter admitted his guilt but showed no remorse, since both have pled guilty it falls to me to deliver sentence, you will both receive a dementor's kiss immediately." The smirk on the bitch's face was not a pretty sight though Harry did spoil her moment somewhat.
"Oh look Hermione, they just happen to have one here. And there was us thinking that the magical government couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery!"
Umbridge was not amused, "For that vote of confidence Mr Potter you can have the pleasure of watching justice being administered to your fiancée."
Two aurors tried to help Hermione stand but she shrugged them off and went straight to Harry, "Remember Harry I'll love you forever, in this world and the next, I'll be waiting for you love." She then kissed him with every fibre of her being before turning to face an enraged Weasley family, "Your son was a piece of shit who ran away when the going got tough, the Hero of Hogwarts died screaming like the coward he was. We'll show you who the real Hero's of Hogwarts were." She marched straight up to the dementor, "C'mon big guy, I've been kissed by Ron Weasley so this should actually seem pleasant!"
She never flinched once as the foul creature sucked out her soul, no one had ever seen anything like it though the smell of burning flesh was also unusual, that was until an auror noticed the bracelets Harry wore were glowing red hot with the amount of magic they were forced to adsorb, burning cruelly and deeply into his wrists. As the spark of life left Hermione's eyes the bracelets began to cool, there was nothing left to fight for now.
"Well Mr Potter it would appear that you have a rather pressing appointment."
One glance from Harry and the aurors backed away, he stood unaided before making a proclamation, "I swear to have my revenge on the Malfoys, Weasleys and especially you toadface for what you just did to Hermione, in this or any other world, I'll be waiting on you."
Malfoy's sneer would have made Snape jealous, "Well boy while you're waiting we shall be enjoying ourselves by spending the Potter and Black fortunes."
Harry didn't bother to tell them that he'd completed a will today at Gringotts, with Hermione gone his godson Teddy Lupin inherited everything. It had already been transferred to the Australian branch of Gringotts and Teddy would be looked after by his trust fund until he was seventeen, the entire fortune would then be his. The Grangers would be safe on Black Island while the goblins would lock everything else down until Teddy was of age to inherit.
Harry walked up to the soulless husk of his Hermione and held her hand, "Be with you soon love," as the dementor sucked out its second soul of the day.
The self-satisfied smiles of the chamber's occupants were soon wiped out as the dementor exploded with a magical backlash that saw fixtures, fittings and bodies thrown about everywhere.
Harry felt no pain, if this was death it was overrated! He felt a presence near him, a presence that he knew almost as well as his own and then his Hermione was there with him. Their love had crossed the boundaries and now they would be together forever, the swell of happiness generated by both of them was enormous as their souls joined in a way far more intimate than any sexual act. The power proved too much for the vessel they were contained in and then they were gone, she was gone as he drifted alone with no external stimuli whatsoever.
It could have been minutes or years but the next thing Harry remembered he 'awoke' in a place instantly recognisable as Kings Cross Station but there was no Dumbledore waiting on him this time. This was no dream but actual reality, he was standing there with a trolley containing his beloved Hedwig staring at him from inside her cage on top of his trunk.
While attempting to figure out just what the hell was going on he heard a well-known voice, the last time he'd heard it she was shouting that the murdering bastard and his whore should get what was coming to them, '-packed with muggles of course-' Molly Weasley could never have been accused of being quiet so anyone within a ten-yard radius must have heard that comment.
"Now what's that platform number?" She attended the school for seven years and had been sending her children there for the last nine, how could she possibly forget the platform number? Was his whole 'meeting the Weasleys' saga a set up? One thing was for sure, Harry wanted nothing to do with them this time, turning his back while trying to figure out how he got to be standing here on the first of September in Nineteen Ninety-One.
"Nine and three-quarters!" piped Ginny, Harry had noticed the look of revenge on her face as Hermione met her end, he wasn't about to forget it. More hints were dropped, each louder and more direct than the last until Harry felt a hand on his arm.
"Hello dear," Molly said, "First time at Hogwarts? Ron's new too!"
What Harry really wanted to do was start firing curses but in the middle of Kings Cross that was not perhaps the best idea, he just got another though. "Ma'am I don't know you and have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh nonsense dear, we'll soon have you fixed out, Fred, George, help with this trolley, just you come with me."
As he knew she would Molly started dragging him towards the portal, taking a deep breath he shouted at the top of his voice, "Help me, someone help me, this woman is trying to take me away!"
Muggles may not be able to apparate but they move pretty fast when a child is in danger, Kings Cross on a Sunday was still a very busy station and people pounced on Molly from every direction. The twins and Percy got involved but were soon restrained as well, Ron met with an unfortunate accident in the shape of Harry's elbow to his jaw as he was running past while Ginny just stood there, looking on in bewilderment and total horror.
A kindly lady was asking Harry where his parents were, he told her they were dead and he was off to visit a great-aunt, a wandless 'notice me not' charm and he was able to make good his escape. He really didn't want to go anywhere near Hogwarts but Hermione was on that train, he would march through the gates of Hell to save her but it was going to be extremely difficult pretending he didn't know his fiancée, Harry was certain he wasn't that good of an actor.
Harry released Hedwig to fly to the castle, used his wandless magic to shrink her cage and his trunk before racing for the barrier and the girl on the train.
Harry boarded as the train was about to leave, he was just about to start searching for Hermione when she appeared, pulling her heavy trunk along the passageway. Seeing her and this age again totally floored him, she looked up and brown eyes met green, for a second Harry would have sworn he saw recognition there. Then again he was the boy-who-lived and Hermione had been reading about him, perhaps that was it, "Can I give you a hand with that?"
Hermione was lost for words, not something Harry was used to but when he reached down to assist with that weighty trunk it was his turn for silence, on her finger was the diamond ring he himself had placed there.
Harry rubbed his fingers over the diamond to confirm it wasn't just his eyes playing tricks on him, "Hermione, my Hermione?"
"In this world and the next, is that really you Harry?"
"I'm the same Harry who put that ring on your finger but how is this possible?"
Hermione shook her head, "I really don't give a shit!" as she sprang into his arms and kissed him like there was no tomorrow, her actions finally convinced Harry that this was real, or both of them in the same dream was as good as real to make no difference.
Harry shrunk her trunk and slipped it in her pocket as they made their way along the passageway looking for an empty compartment, the conversation they were about to have was not one they wanted overheard.
On finally finding one, the door was charmed not to open as Harry pulled Hermione onto his knee, both needing the physical contact to remind them that this was in fact real. "I was trying to get off the train Harry when I noticed you weren't on it, there are no Weasleys on board either."
"Yes well I figured out that the whole introduction to the red menace was planned on some level, when I didn't take the bait mother Molly grabbed my arm and started dragging me away. I screamed blue murder that I was being abducted and the last I saw of them they were being handcuffed by the police! All except Ron that is, I heard the first aider say I might have broken his jaw, not a bad beginning but things will get much worse for them if I have anything to do with it."
Hermione buried her head in his shoulder and he could feel her tears through his shirt, "I'm sorry Harry, without my wand Ron was just too strong for me to deal with."
Harry held her tight, "Hermione you have nothing to apologise for, you did nothing to encourage him and I don't believe that crap anyway. One kiss from a friend doesn't give him the right to attack your body, no always means no and I don't want to be part of any society that thinks otherwise."
"Thank you Harry for understanding, I couldn't believe he would do something like that and by the time I realised his intentions he had my wand. I think my brain actually shut down for a while because the next thing I remember I was alone and desperate to get away. You have no idea how much it meant when you offered to come to Australia with me, it's always been you Harry, I just didn't think I stood a chance."
"You always came first Hermione, whether it was Cho or Ginny, I always put you first, I was just too stupid to realise what it meant. The Ron incident hasn't happened yet and there's no chance it ever will, the possibility of us being friends with him this time doesn't exist and if he comes anywhere near my girl, the bastard won't know what hit him! I've not only retained all my knowledge from last time but power as well, my ability to perform wandless magic is also available, meaning my scar might be just a scar, I'll know for certain at the feast tonight if it doesn't react to Quirrell."
"Aw shit Harry, does this mean I'm going to have to learn to play chess? I hate that bloody game!"
"We have the knowledge to change things so that's what I intend to do, fuck preserving the time line that saw you raped and the two of us kissed before we got out of our teens. I really don't care about anyone else, as long as the four of us are safe, though explaining that ring to your dad might require Hagrid as a bodyguard."
"Don't even consider me taking this off because that is never going to be an option, I don't know how it got here but then I don't know how we got here so why should a ring be any less impossible? You know my mum and dad love you, well at least they did before."
"Before we were both eighteen, not eleven! Your dad will probably only half-kill me before passing me over to your mum to finish the job."
"I'll be twelve in less than three weeks."
"Oh good, that will make all the difference, let's wait and tell him then!"
Hermione giggled as she snuggled in to Harry, both understood that they needed to figure out not only how they got here but what to do about a multitude of problems. At the moment that could all wait, reassuring each other that they were in fact alive, together, and on the Hogwarts Express as first years was way more important. There would be plenty of time to do research once they reached Hogwarts, considering they had passed their OWL's in most subjects and would be doing first year work.
A/N Thanks for reading.
I will only be updating this sporadically when I hit a brick wall with my other stories, my plan is to finish both of them first before switching my attention to this though 'the best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men' … ( Robert Burns 'To a Mouse' )
My thanks to Alix33 for taking the time to correct my many mistakes in this chapter.