Hermione's Guide to Newfound Sorcery
"This is what I brought you, this you can keep.
This is what I brought, you may forget me.
I promise to depart, just promise one thing.
Kiss my eyes and lay me to sleep."
-AFI (Prelude 12/21)
"They're almost here, James!"
"I know, I know, just give me a second."
"But James, they're no more than a mile away!"
"Shut up and give me a second!" He growled, getting fed up with the younger, more excitable Auror.
His quick snap seemed to do the trick as the Auror—whose name he couldn't quite remember—shot him a frenzied look before he sprinted off in the other direction, his cloak flying off him in the process. James couldn't really blame the young lad, though. This kind of situation was enough to make anyone a bit antsy.
He was in the middle of a deserted hallway smack dab in the middle of his home in Godric's Hollow, the second, unofficial headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix, an organization dedicated to the fight against the rising Dark Lord who called himself Voldemort. The Order was formed a few years back when Voldemort was no more than a whispered name by Albus Dumbledore, James's old Headmaster from his years at Hogwarts. He had joined a month after graduating with his then-girlfriend, Lily Evans. They were considered both the most influential and the most secretive organization in Britain. It was said that each known member of the Order was on the Death Eater's Most Wanted List with a hefty price per head. Dead, not alive. In James' mind, that was considered a compliment. But it was nights like these that made him worry about his name being scratched off that list permanently.
This time the voice was softer, one he could recognize from a mile away. He turned around to see his now-wife and the first half of his world, Lily Evans-Potter, standing a yard away from him carrying what seemed to be a bundle of blankets over her shoulder, a wide-eyed expression gracing her pale features.
He gave her a sad smile and held out an arm in her direction, beckoning her to come closer. She obliged, albeit weakly.
Lily pressed her body firmly against his, angling the bundle so it wouldn't be crushed. James enveloped her in a brief, loving embrace and slowly pulled back. He left a gentle arm around her waist, holding her close to him, as he angled his chin down to look into the bundle of soft cloth his wife was carrying. He parted the folds of the blankets to reveal a tuft of ebony black hair identical to his own. Upon further prodding, a face poked out of the bundle, emerald eyes, so like his wife's eyes, wide awake and peering around curiously at the ruckus around them. James pressed a featherlight kiss on his son's forehead right where his hair parted.
Harry James Potter, his son and the other half of his world.
"James, I'm scared." Lily's voice whimpered from against him.
He looked back over to her and saw her bright green eyes glistening with tears. The sight broke his heart. Lily was usually so strong, but ever since Dumbledore informed them of the prophesy that was very likely written about Harry, she had lost her edge and dedicated all of her time to protecting Harry, never letting him leave her sight, choosing to stay home on many of the Order missions and bringing him to meetings whenever they happened to be at Gimmauld Place.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … Either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives ... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
"Oh, Lily." He whispered as he hugged her closer to him, once again being mindful of their son in her arms. Harry was only a year old and yet he had this horrible burden on his shoulders. James only hoped they would be there to help him through it. But if tonight ended up anywhere near how he was picturing it, that hope may dwindle very quickly.
Lily sniffed as she buried her head into James's chest, trying her best to contain her tears for Harry's sake. He was a very insightful young lad and was keen on her and James's emotions. She didn't want him to blow up the house before the Death Eaters arrived.
"Why didn't you go with Padfoot?" James asked quietly, though he knew they were very much alone.
She glared up at him. "You know very well why."
"No! I'm not going without you."
He shook his head, knowing very well he couldn't argue with her on this. "You're getting even more stubborn with age."
"Are you calling me old, James Potter?"
He pursed his lips. "Well… if you want to put it that way."
Her fist collided with his upper chest and he flinched. He knew she had held back for Harry's sake, but that didn't make it hurt any less. "Lily! Not in front of Harry!"
"Don't use Harry to cover up your incompetence. You never call a woman old unless you want to get hurt."
"You never tell a woman anything unless you want to get hurt." He mumbled.
She punched him once again in the exact same spot. How she could do that he would never know, but thanks to his lip, he had a brand new bruise. Way to go, Potter.
The playful atmosphere quickly changed as they heard an explosion outside. They were here. James and Lily's eyes connected simultaneously and then drifted down to the bundle in-between them. Harry had somehow managed to wiggle his pudgy arm out of the confines of the blankets and was sucking his thumb, something he only did when he was nervous. It was something, they figured, that he did to keep from crying. Or that's what the baby books said, anyway.
"Oh Merlin, what are we going to do?" Lily moaned.
"We'll find Padfoot. Last I saw him, he was helping apparate people to Grimmauld place. He's taking groups of ten and—"
"Perfect! But we'll have to do it quick, because if that explosion is any indication, the Death Eaters will ge—"
"James! Lily! Thank God! EDWARD, OVER HERE! IT'S JAMES AND LILY!"
At the far end of the hall, a petite woman no more than five and a half feet tall was shouting to her husband. She had mousy brown hair tied back in a loose bun, strands falling down every which way. She looked to be very out of breath, if the pink bundle in her arms moving up and down was any indication. She began moving quickly towards James and Lily, looking around nervously as if something was going to pop out of the walls. Her husband, Edward, suddenly came flying from seemingly out of nowhere and took his place at his wife's side. The couple reached them looking as if they had run a marathon.
The couple was Jane and Edward Granger, Muggle dentists from inner London. They had come across the Order in one of the first Death Eater raids to take place in London. Lily had found them underneath a stray telephone booth and took it upon herself to nurse them back to health at her station in St. Mungo's. When they came to, Jane claimed to have seen everything while her husband pleaded with her to leave it be, that it was crazy nonsense and that there was no such thing as magic and spells. You know, the normal Muggle reaction. It was custom to Obliviate the victim's memories after healing them, but Lily couldn't find the heart to do it herself, so she took the couple to Dumbledore. Whilst in his office, he asked them all sorts of odd questions about their jobs as dentists.
"And you simply fill the hole with liquid metal?" He had asked, "Oh, that is simply fascinating!"
After conversing for the better part of an hour, with Lily bored out of her mind, the conversation turned back to what had happened in London and what Jane had claimed to see. Just to make sure she was telling the truth, Dumbledore offered her tea laced with Veritaserum and it turned out she was speaking the truth.
Dumbledore then did something Lily never expected. He inducted them into the Order of the Phoenix. He said that he had been looking for Muggle correspondents for years and thought that if he was going to have some, he may as well have dental coverage as well. But just to make sure they wouldn't reveal anything to anyone other than members of the Order, he made them agree to an Unbreakable Vow with Lily as the caster. She had had her doubts at first, but after they began attending the meetings, she became fonder of the couple and introduced them to James a few weeks later. Now, they trusted each other with their lives.
"Jane! Edward! What are you still doing here?" Lily scorned.
"Hermione had to… well, we had a bit of an emergency so we left the line to apparate to Grimmauld Place for a bit and when we came back no one was there!"
Jane and Edward also had a child. A daughter named Hermione who was close in age to Harry, give or take a few months.
"What?" James asked, "Are you certain?"
"I told her they'd be back in a few minutes to look for us, but she just wouldn't listen and took off, running all around the house looking for someone." Edward began to explain. "James, have I ever told you how huge your house is? You should think to invest in a cottage one of these days. Just off the coast, barely enough room to fit you, Lily, and Harry. It would be an investment."
James found it in his heavily pounding heart to chuckle. "You're one to talk, Mister 'Three stories isn't too much, it's just enough!'"
Edward shrugged nonchalantly. "I need somewhere to put my books."
"Boys!" Jane shouted. Both James and Edward's heads snapped over to the voice and she continued. "Are we going to try to get out of here or what? We have two people who can apparate so let's vamoose!"
"Jane is right." Lily said. "We need to get out of here before the Death Eater's burn it down."
James nodded. "Right. Edward, you-"
"What are you guys still doing in here? Are you aware that there's going to be an ambush in ten minutes!" Croaked the voice of Remus Lupin, interrupting from the end of the hall. There was another explosion from outside, this one causing the house to shake. Lily and Jane held tight to their children as the movement passed, the arms of their husbands steadying them.
After the house was still, Remus spoke up again. "Make that five minutes."
"We were about to apparate out of here." James hurried to explain. "Harry and Hermione need to be clear of this place before the Death Eaters get through the wards."
Remus nodded. "Agreed. But I'm only here to relay a message from Dumbledore. After you didn't show up at Grimmauld, he sent me here at once to look for you."
"Well go on." Jane prodded.
Remus nodded again, jogging the distance between them. He looked around as he reached them and his eyes came across a spare room just off to their right. He jerked his head in its direction and led the group into a spare study that was rarely used. In all truth, James had only put it in the house because he wanted to impress Lily, to show her that he was going to be serious about his job. In his defense, he was very serious about the field aspects, just not the paperwork. Gods, how he hated the paperwork.
Remus ushered them in quickly and shut the door behind them, locking it for safety measures. It was mostly a habit by now since you didn't know who you could trust and who was on what side.
"Remus…" Lily drawled warily, observing his creased features and the way his wand shook when he placed it back in his pocket. "What's going on?"
He turned back to face the two families, each with a different form of worry etched on their faces. He debated whether or not he should even tell them, but reminded himself that it was Dumbledore's orders that they must know under any circumstances. He took a deep intake of air and brushed some of his sandy brown hair from out of his eyes. He chose to focus first on James, knowing that it would be easier to direct the message to him first.
"The Order is in shambles. Two-thirds of the guard posted outside was killed, with the others being wounded or missing. The lucky ones escaped inside with those who were already here for the meeting."
"Fucking Voldermort." James cursed. "He's a coward for sneaking up on us when we were most vulnerable."
"James, language." Lily chastised, gently rocking Harry back and forth in her arms. "Go on, Remus."
"Out of the eighty confirmed members who were here tonight, only twenty-three are accounted for, not including you."
"What?" Edward whispered harshly. "How did we get that many casualties, there weren't that many outside. A quarter, at least."
Remus shook his head, looking down at the floor. "It seems…" He began, trying to gather up the will to say it. As he lifted his head to look back at James, his eyes were drawn to the second head of ebony hair in Lily's arms. He knew he had to do this for Harry's sake. Sweet, innocent Harry.
"We have a traitor in our midst. Peter Pettigrew."
Lily gasped as James' face began to turn a dangerous shade of scarlet.
"I—I'm sorry. Who's Peter Pettigrew?" Jane asked carefully.
"He was our friend. And he betrayed us." James said through clenched teeth. "HE WAS OUR FRIEND!"
Lily made no move to scold James this time, as it was clear she was also very upset by this news. She did, however, move closer to James so her hip bumped his. Their bodies colliding seemed to ease him slightly and the color began to fade from his face as he placed an arm around Lily, silently thanking her.
"He was a rat." Remus continued. "No pun intended. We should have known one of our own was working for them. There were just too many coincidences to be considered pure luck. Whenever we would go trail them, there they would be, waiting for us. All the right hints, all the right moves; it was all too good to be true."
"It's not our fault, Moony." James said solemnly. "It was his. He did it out of his own accord."
"Do we know what happened to him?" Jane asked.
"I'm afraid not. No one reported seeing him after he opened up the passage."
"The bookcase?" Lily asked.
"The fucker." James hissed.
Remus knew time was too precious to allow silence, so he pressed on. "There's more. Dumbledore told me that without a strong following, the Order will be no more."
"We can still fight with thirty!" Edward protested.
"Twenty-seven." Jane corrected.
Edward didn't seem to mind that his wife had corrected him. His face remained determined. "I'm sure we could recruit some more people if we just had time."
"My thought exactly." Remus agreed. "Unfortunately, Dumbledore placed a spell on the Order without informing anyone. I don't recall the exact spell, something nunsolus…"
"Sempercieo Nunsolus!" Lily asked fervently.
"That's it." Remus confirmed, smiling slightly at the fact that through all of this disaster, Lily was still as articulate as ever.
"What does it mean, Lily?" Jane asked.
"It's an ancient spell that protects something, usually a group of items in a vault. As long as the items are together, the spell provides protection, though it was never clear what kind. Dumbledore must have cast it on the Order."
"So we won't have magical protection anymore." Edward said. "So what? We have a fantastic group of witches and wizards who don't need any spell to help them succeed."
"You took the words right out of my mouth, yet again." Remus said, though he didn't seem particularly happy about it.
"I'm sensing a 'but'." James said.
"But the spell has repercussions." Lily saved Remus from delivering the bad news, for which he was thankful. The Peter betrayal was hard enough. "If more than half of whatever is being protected is destroyed—or in this case killed—the spell turns into a curse that prevents the items from being within two miles of each other. It's great if you wanted to hide the items away, but horrible if you cast it on people."
Edward looked around for a moment, seemingly observing his surroundings. Before he could draw too much attention to himself, he declared, "But we're all here. We're not being flung two miles apart from each other."
James looked to Remus, who gave him a sad look, knowing that Lily would keep answering for him.
"Since the spell wasn't made for human use, it must have different effects. Did Dumbledore say what they were, Remus?"
"Not in so many words. He only said that the Order would cease to be until another union is formed. He said he was in the process of researching a counter curse or something to reverse the effects, but so far there's nothing."
"It must prevent us from fighting together or something." Jane said, her brow furrowed in thought. All eyes turned to her. "If the spell is cast on objects in a vault, those items are bound to be together or not at all. Depending on the object, it would seem fitting that the curse prevent the objects from being where they are supposed to be."
"Or doing what they are supposed to be doing." James finished with realization.
Edward nodded. "It makes sense."
Lily smiled at Jane. "Well done."
Jane blushed, adjusting Hermione in her arms so she was being cradled much like Harry in Lily's care.
"So Dumbledore must be looking for a curse that brings things together that will surpass all others—a spell that will bond anything and cancel out any other spell or curse on it." Edward said.
"But why would Dumbledore want us to know this?" James asked Remus. "I mean, I understand the… the Peter thing. But what significance does you telling us have, if any at all?"
Remus shrugged. "Dunno. I was just as confused as you were, but he seemed urgent."
There was a brief silence, the only sound being small thuds of spells rebounding off of the wards outside.
"Here's the way I see it," Remus said. "Dumbledore always has a reason for the things he does. Always. Every word he speaks, every move he makes, they mean something. Him instructing me to tell you all about the curse must be something—" His hand paused in midair as Lily's voice perked up.
"You just gestured to all of us."
"Yes, I did."
"I thought you were told to inform me and James."
"About Peter, yes, but he told me to find you, James, Jane, and Edward. Thank Merlin you were all in the same place or else I would have never found you!"
"So Dumbledore wanted you to tell all of us about the spell." Jane repeated.
"Then that means…"
"We must be able to do something about it!" Lily finished.
Both women looked at each other excitedly, as if they had just solved world peace which, in their minds, they were very close to doing. All they had to figure out was why.
"We must have a certain quality that no one else has." James said.
"Yes, but what? We're all excellent fighters." Remus pointed out.
"Lily, you're a Healer! You're the only one in the Order who's a Healer! Are there any potions or droughts that can reverse curses like this one?" Jane asked hurriedly.
Lily thought hard for a few moments, digging through her vast amounts of Healer knowledge from training and in the field. There must be some potion she had used or read about…
"No." She sighed. "There isn't a potion ever concocted that's strong enough to reverse a spell like Sempercieo Nunsolus. Small jinxes and minor curses, yes, but nothing that extreme."
The group let out a sigh and continued to ponder, each rummaging through memories of books, experience, and teachings past. James cursed himself for not paying more attention while copying Remus's Defense Against the Dark Arts coursework. Jane and Edward, on the other hand, knew they could be of little help magic-wise, only reading about a handful of books a piece. Since Dumbledore had inducted them into the Order, they demanded (or rather Jane demanded) to be educated on the different types of magic so that they could be of more help. Dumbledore agreed on the condition that they learn each branch at a time, starting with the basics and working their way up slowly, so as to not get a brain ulcer.
Jane dug deep within those texts. She had read each book five times, title to index. There had to be something in there that they could use. A starter spell to branch off of, perhaps? The simplest answer was usually the right one. Now, which spells had to do with bonding…?
She looked around the room for something, a trigger object that could help. But it was useless; there was nothing in this room that could help them keep the Order alive. Her eyes drifted to Hermione in her arms, silently apologizing to her for not being a better mother. One look in her chocolate brown orbs and the bond between mother and daughter rose. She was about to hug her closely to her chest when her eyes drifted to Lily's son. He was looking in their direction, his eyes curious and thumb in his mouth.
And then it hit her.
"I've got it!" she exclaimed, causing everyone in the room to jump at the sudden outburst of volume.
"What is it, dear?" Edward asked.
"A marriage bond!" Jane said excitedly.
Her husband gave her an odd glance. "But we're already married. I suppose we could renew our vows, but—"
"No, that wouldn't work." James said. "A marriage bond is only valid once per couple. But I see where Jane is getting at. It's arguably the most powerful bond out there."
Edward crossed his arms about his chest. "Then what can we do to use it? If we can't renew our vows, could we get a divorce and then—"
"No, it doesn't work like that." Lily said, "A marriage bond unites two people body and soul. You can't just rip it away and put it back together, it would make you insane."
"Jane and I weren't married under magic, though."
"That doesn't mean you still don't have the bond." Lily pointed out. "Remember how Dumbledore told you magic is in everyday life? Marriage is one of the most magical things out there in the Wizarding and Muggle worlds. It doesn't matter if your curator had magical lineage or not. The vows and ceremony have been bonding people together for centuries."
"What if someone gets married multiple times, then?" Edward asked. "Could they have multiple bonds with different people?"
"Once a bond is formed, it doesn't go away unless you will it so. If one chooses to get a divorce, you are ripping apart that bond, and therefore part of your soul. It heals over time, maybe a month or so as to not harm the vessel. Since wizards get married under a true magical ceremony, they feel that effect more fully than Muggles, whose magic is only in their words. The bonds are just as strong, but the proper methods are different. It's probably why Wizarding marriages last longer."
"But what if—"
"Oh Edward, would you shut up?" Jane shouted. "I wasn't even talking about any of us. If you would have read the text Dumbledore gave us more carefully, you would have known all of this already!"
Edward bowed his head in defeat while his wife pressed on. "Anyway, the newer the bond, the stronger the bond, so since we've all been married for a while it wouldn't be strong enough. Engagement itself is stronger in some cases. A promise."
"She's right." Lily confirmed. "When someone is married or promised to another, the magic remains fresher the newer it is."
"Well that's all good and well, but how would a marriage help us?" Edward asked.
"Oh my God, Edward." Jane groaned.
"What?" He asked innocently.
"A marriage bond not only affects the couple, but their families as well. It brings them all closer together. It mentally affects them so that they are one—a very old concept that most people forget about. If you tweak the incantation just right, you can bond anyone and everyone the family is affiliated with." Jane's eyes flickered to her daughter. "I know it's morally wrong, but the Order is the only chance we have of winning this war."
"Jane… what are you saying?" Edward asked worriedly.
She turned to her husband and began to shuffle her feet to stand by Lily. She then switched the shoulder on which Hermione was laying so that she and the also resting Harry were shoulder-to-shoulder.
"She's saying that we need to make a bond between Harry and Hermione." James explained, finally coming to the same conclusion as the women.
"Are you serious?" Edward shouted.
"No we're really joking, because that's what people do when the house they are still standing in is being attacked and possibly destroyed within the next few minutes!" Jane snapped.
Edward's shoulders sagged and after a moment of pause, he spoke. "You're right of course, as usual. But I'm not entirely happy about forcing my daughter into engagement at one year old. Call me crazy."
Jane sighed. "I know what you mean, Edward. But we need to do what's best for the Order and for Harry and Hermione. Without this bond, we will all perish and they will never get the chance to grow up and see the world."
"She's right." James agreed. "I don't want to marry off my son, either, but if we don't, we're all dead. And besides, I'd rather it be Hermione than anyone else."
Edward nodded. "Will they ever get a chance to reverse the bond?"
Remus chose this time to speak up, knowing that they were well out of time. "Yes, when they are older. With our luck, we'll rid them of it before they know the difference. Now, please, we must hurry."
"So what do we do? Get Harry to ask Hermione to marry him?" Edward asked.
James snorted and Lily shot him a warning look. He immediately sobered and cleared his throat. "Err… no. While giving a ring and verbal proposal from one to the other is how it is done today, long ago you had to have someone close to you, namely a parent or friend, cast a spell to make the bond more 'official'. It was very popular among the upper class and Purebloods who were known to have many arranged marriages to keep their blood clean." He scoffed in disgust before continuing. "Once it was discovered that Muggles were proposing the way we know now while reaping similar benefits, the tradition was discarded."
"What about rings?"
"Just a symbol, nothing more."
"Ah." Edward said quietly.
"I'll be the curator since I'm the only one that knows the spell." Remus said proudly, walking closer to the group and gesturing for Edward to come closer to them.
"Smartass." James muttered jokingly. In retrospect, he couldn't have been more thrilled to have such a knowledgeable friend, and they both knew it.
Remus smirked at his old friend. "Lily, Jane, please stand parallel with James and Edward on your right." They followed his instructions quickly, but just as Remus was about to continue, another explosion louder than the last erupted and shook the house violently. The group held on tight as they kept their balance for the few seconds it took for the movement to subside. After it did, they all knew they didn't have a moment to waste.
"Lily Marie Evans-Potter and James Harold Potter, do you willingly bless the union of your son, Harry James Potter to Hermione Jane Granger, daughter of Jane Samantha Perkins-Granger and Edward Joseph Granger?"
"We do." Lily and James said in unison.
"Jane Samantha Perkins-Granger and Edward Joseph Granger, do you willingly bless the union of your daughter, Hermione Jane Granger to Harry James Potter, son of Lily Marie Evans-Potter and James Harold Potter?"
"Please join the couple's hands as I recite the spell." He instructed with a forced calm tone.
Lily and Jane complied and grabbed a hold of their children's hands, interlocking them with each other. They removed their hands after they were sure the grip would hold long enough to recite the spell. Turning to Remus and nodding when it was done, he closed his eyes and recited the spell.
"Magus Antecedo Connexio"
Suddenly, a golden light erupted around the two young children's connected forms. All eyes were on them as the light grew brighter, though not bright enough to hurt their eyes. By the slight smile on Remus's face, they all knew it was working. Both Harry and Hermione's expressions were of pure wonder as they observed their surroundings. After a few moments, the spell dimmed down to a slight glow and all eyes were back on Remus, including those of the children.
"I now pronounce you magically bonded for life."
The glow faded completely and a wave of relief swept through the room. As if on cue, Harry and Hermione let go of each other's hands immediately after.
"So is it d—"
The door concealing them in the room bust open with an explosion of wood chips flying inside. Lily and Jane turned around quickly, shielding Harry and Hermione with their backs, James and Edward flinging their arms in front of them moments after.
"Kill them," said a high, cold, merciless voice.
A/N: Please remember to review!