Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own a thing =S
Full Summary: Hermione's family moved to live nearby Harry when he was six. Meeting in Primary School and quickly becoming friends, they went on to go to Hogwarts together, where everything happens as it did in Cannon, with the exception of them having different friends (replace Ron with Neville and Luna). Harry didn't meet Sirius in his third year, so he didn't find out the truth about his parents death, and Sirius is still on the run… which… in theory, would mean that Dumbledore never 'had' to tell Harry about the prophecy because they didn't go to the Ministry in 5th year. Fast forward to the Summer before Harry's 6th year – the Dursleys have kicked him out yet again, and he goes to stay with the Grangers. While fighting newfound feelings for his best friend, he ends up meeting his godfather in Godrics Hallow, who tells him everything Dumbledore has been keeping from him about his parents, Voldemort and the prophecy.
All of this is explained in the first chapter (ish), but it's always helpful to have it written up here too so no one's confused before they've even started reading ;)
Timeline: This story starts in the summer before Harry's sixth year and will likely end sometime after the end of his seventh, I haven't decided yet :)
Miss Cherry Bee
Chapter One: Padfoot and Moony
Harry Potter ducked as his Uncle swung one particularly meaty arm blindly at his head, backing towards the door with his wand drawn in defence. His Aunt, Petunia, was stood in the doorway to the kitchen with her arms folded and a scowl on her face at the all too familiar situation. It happened at least once a month. Uncle Vernon would say something vile about Harry's parents, or his best friends, and Harry would take the bait. It would start out as a verbal fight, which would escalate to violence, Harry would threaten the use of magic, and Vernon would kick him out for being insolent.
He'd stay with Hermione for a anything between a night and a week (though the worst, after he accidentally set a boa constrictor on his cousin at the zoo, had lasted an entire month). Mrs Granger would drag him back home after an allotted amount of time that she usually came up with when he arrived on her doorstep, make him and his Uncle apologise to one another, wish the Dursleys all the best (with as much sarcasm as one could without showing too much contempt for the family), and return home with a bet ready for her husband as to how long it would take Harry to get kicked out again.
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME!" Vernon caterwauled. "I CAN'T SEE A BLEEDING THING YOU USELESS WELP!"
"Vernon, stop shouting," hissed Petunia reproachfully. "If the neighbours hear you yelling like that they'll call the police… or social services. And I honestly don't know which would be worse."
"He BLINDED me, Petunia. I can't see." he backed up a little bit, banging into the bottom step of the staircase. He lost his balance and fell sprawled across it.
Wincing, Harry slowly backed completely out of the front door and into the garden. "Do you want me to close the door behind me… or…?"
Vernon's face went from red to purple in under 3 seconds. "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
As he shut the door behind him, he could still hear his uncle yelling, damning Harry to hell, whilst simultaneously telling his wife to stop standing around, that she should be ringing 999 right now before he lost his sight forever. Turning around to make the leisurely walk up to the Grangers, he spotted his cousin Dudley stood at the end of the garden, smoking a fag. "Alright, Dud?" he asked casually.
He grunted in response. "Can't complain. What did you do to my dad?"
Harry cringed. "I don't know. Accidental magic, I think. When the ambulance arrives, tell the driver to tell his supervisor to contact the DMAC. The Ministry for Magic have contacts within muggle hospitals for things like this. The driver won't know what you mean, but make sure he does, watch him get his phone out and do it. Someone from the accidental magic reversal squad should be on it within the hour."
Dudley nodded slowly. "See you in a week then."
Harry snorted. "Might be a bit longer than that," he said, walking away. "I'd put that out if I were you, your mum'll be out in a minute to wait for the ambulance."
The camaraderie between Harry and his cousin had taken Harry by surprise. It had seemed to just happen all of a sudden, no questions asked. One minute he was chasing Harry around town with his mates and a plank of wood with a rusty nail in it, the next they had grown up a little bit and they gained some weird sort of respect for each other. They left each other alone. He had to assume it was something to do with when Harry had started to stick up for himself in front of his Uncle. He didn't take things lying down any more and stood up for what he believed in.
Whether it was due to respect for that, or just the fact that Dudley knew that he would hit him back if he tried anything, he didn't know. But he could thank Hermione for it. If she hadn't moved into town when he was six, he wouldn't have met her until they went to Hogwarts. Finding out they were magical had come as… a bit of a surprise, to say the least.
Though Hermione had always joked that he was some sort of warlock for the unexplained things he would do when they were younger. Like apparating onto the roof of their primary school when he was trying to get away from Dudley and his cronies. Now it made all the sense in the world… but back then…
He grinned to himself, remembering. She had arrived to Little Whinging a year after primary school had started for the local kids his age, and her birthday was in September, after the school term had started so instead of being put into the year above him, she had been in his year. And what a miracle it had been that he was born on the 12th of September, and not 12 days earlier. Without her in his life, there was no telling how he would have turned out.
She had been this tiny little thing with a bush of frizzy brown hair that she insisted on keeping long. Loose, it had always looked a bit scary, but then her mum would decide to French braid it for her and she would immediately look ten times better. Not that he didn't love her hair. As much as a mess as it had been, it had always been his favourite thing about her. That and her teeth. He hadn't half yelled at her in second year when she had had Madame Pomfrey make her two front teeth the same length as the rest of them after an incident with some Slytherins that caused them to grow at an alarming rate.
The Grangers house was on the other side of Little Whinging, away from the rows of terraced houses that were all exactly the same. The houses down here were much bigger, and spread out with large gaps of trees and foliage between them. They had a pool installed one summer when he was seven. An indoor pool, as British weather wouldn't allow anything different, but it was still a pool. Encased in glass around the back of the house and surrounded by overhanging trees…. Going to the Grangers was like going on holiday.
The tall hedge around the front garden kept the view through the large windows into the front of the house private, while the drive was left open to the road, connecting to the garage at the side of the house. Pushing open the wooden gate, he sped up slightly down the cobblestone path to the front door as it suddenly started to rain heavily, letting himself in through the unlocked front door with a small joking shout of 'I'm home!'.
He followed Hermione's mums laugh into the kitchen, where she was stood in front of the window at a chopping board, preparing a salad for what he assumed was lunch. "Tea?" she asked, smiling at him over her shoulder.
He grinned. "You're alright, I'll make one myself. Do you want one?"
She shook her head, pointing at an iced tea on the counter. She, like her daughter, had a thing for having summery things when the weather was a bit dreary. Not that iced tea was at all summery… it was just generally preferable to have a piping hot cup of tea when it was cold outside… at least in his opinion. He filled the kettle with water and turned it on, moving back to sit on the edge of the counter island in the middle of the room.
"Where is everybody?" he asked idly.
"David's at work, and Hermione went to the Library at 8 this morning. She'll be back soon, I'd expect, its 12 now," She reached up to take a mug out of the cupboard for him. "So what did you do this time?" she asked wryly, a small smirk forming on her face.
While she generally tried to keep the peace between Harry and his relatives, he could tell she did vaguely enjoy it when he riled them up. "Whatever do you mean, Diane? I came over here for a lovely chat…"
"Harry Potter…" she started lowly, turning around to brandish a knife at him. "You better had not have hurt him. I know he's a horrible piece of work, but he is your Uncle…" She trailed off, frowning.
She looked just like Hermione, only 20 years older. She even had the hair. Only hers seemed to have tamed to waves with age… or a lot of product. He stood up as the kettle boiled to finish making his tea.
"I… we-" he struggled to come up with a way of explaining what happened without dropping himself in it. "He called Hermione a whore." he said flatly.
She slammed her knife down on the board, whirling around with a look of incredulity on her face. "He said what? Hermione? OUR Hermione?"
Harry nodded vehemently, taking a sip of his tea and leaning back against the sink beside her. Maybe if he got her worked up enough about what he said about her daughter, she wouldn't ask what he did to get kicked out. "He said she was a jezebel and that being a freak like me didn't make her case any better."
"That bastard," she murmured, undoing her apron and flinging it at him. "I'm going around there to have a word."
Sirens sounded through the open window as an ambulance whooshed past. He bit his lip. "I wouldn't, I already blinded him, he might get mad…er."
She whirled around, narrowing her eyes. He froze on his way back to sit on the counter. "With or without magic?"
"With…?" he replied, voice inclining at the end as if it was a question, unsure of what she was going to do to him.
"Can you get in trouble with the Ministry for that?" she asked slowly.
"No, Tonks managed to convince Dumbledore to remove the tracking charm on my wand so I could do magic out of school in case there's a repeat of what happened last year."
"I always did like Tonks. Such a smart girl."
She picked up her apron and went back to the salad. He waited for a full minute to see if she had anything else to say before surreptitiously asking. "Is that it? You're not going to yell at me?"
She snorted. "Harry, if anyone calls Hermione a whore, you have my blessing to do whatever you want to them… within reason," she paused, then shook her head. "Our Hermione? I mean, really? Has he met that girl? She's the most well put together girl I know. I know girls her age in this country can be a bit… you know… but I Hermione's… I mean, she's so reserved!"
The front door opened at that moment, letting in a rather soaked Hermione Granger. She swore under her breath and dropped the folder she had been using to try to keep her hair dry on the floor unceremoniously. She kicked off her sandals and stood there for a moment in a silent rage, wearing a pair of particularly short shorts and a vest. "It was bloody boiling when I went out." She seethed. "Now my folders soaked… I couldn't take any books home…" She continued to mutter to herself as she walked further along the hallway.
His heart jumped into his throat as she completely bypassed looking into the kitchen, and therefore right at him, and took to peeling off her vest, throwing it down past the stairs in the vague direction of the laundry room, where it landed with a splat on the wooden floor, soon followed by her shorts. She wrung out her long hair, leaving a puddle on the floor where she stood inches from the kitchen door and continued up the stairs in her underwear. He couldn't help but watch, transfixed as she walked up the stairs, his vision eventually blocked by the kitchen door frame as she walked out of his field of vision, reaching around behind her to unclasp her bra as she went.
"I'm going in the shower, mum!" She yelled as she reached the top of the stairs.
"Don't be long! Lunch will be ready in 10 minutes!" she shouted back.
She moved across the room to the fridge, shaking her head, oblivious to what had just transpired behind her. "Do you think she even noticed you were here?"
Swallowing the lump in his throat, he could only shake his head for a moment. "No, I can't say she did."
She giggled to herself like a schoolgirl as she turned the radio up from a near none existent whisper to a relatively loud decibel. She must have turned it right down when she'd heard him come in.
"Anything in particular you want for lunch, Harry? Boys don't eat salad, do they…" She rummaged around in the bottom of the fridge.
"I really don't mind…" he said absently, unable to get the image of a soaked Hermione in her underwear out of his head. She was his best friend. He should have looked away, he knew he should have.
"Oh, don't be silly. Come on, what do you want?" She coaxed him.
"A sandwich will do, Diane, I'm not bothered."
She rolled her eyes. "Fine, but if you want anything else, you know just to get it, don't you?"
All he could do was nod. He'd only really seen her from behind, not that that made it any better, but he still couldn't stop thinking about it. She'd been wearing white knickers, and the rain had made them completely see through, she may as well have not been wearing them.
He was sat in the dining table with Diane, about to start on his sandwich, when Hermione finally came down for lunch. Her eyes widened slightly at the sight of him sitting there. He watched as her face reddened slightly as she tried to figure out if he could have possibly seen her in the hallway.
"How long have you been here?" she asked, putting on a smile, sitting down opposite him to eat her salad.
But Diane started laughing. "You didn't even notice that he was here! You normally jump right on him the moment you see him, he got a chance to sit down and have a cuppa first this time, didn't you, Harry?"
He grinned. "It's alright; she'll have plenty of time this week."
Hermione slumped in her seat, picking at her salad with her fingers. "Oh, what have you done know?"
"Nothing!" he said indignantly, leaning over to steal a tomato off her plate.
Nevertheless, Diane, of course launched into the story he had told her. Hermione was glaring at him by the end of it. "Harry… You can't just curse your Uncle whenever you feel like it, it's illegal!"
"I didn't mean to! It was an accident!"
"That's not an excuse!" she reprimanded.
Harry rolled his eyes at her. "And I'm sure you can control your magic at all times without accidentally burning down curtains in the common room."
"You did what?" Diane said sharply.
"He's over exaggerating. I just singed – that Ron, bloke was coming onto me, I don't like him." she was quick to defend herself.
"That's not an excuse." mimicked Harry.
She kicked him in the shin under the table.
"Children…" Diane crowed as she stood up from the table with her plate. "Behave while mummy does the laundry, or I will smack both your bottoms." she said it seriously, but he could see the laughter in her eyes.
There was a small bout of silence while Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. Dianne broke it with a loud yell of, "Hermione! Why is the hallway soaking we- WHY on gods earth are your clothes out here?"
Hermione jumped up without hesitation and ran out onto the patio through the folding glass doors, letting herself into the glass conservatory attached to the back of the house. Following her out led him to seeing her strip her clothes off once again, this time into a bikini, where she dived straight into the pool. He rolled his eyes, walking in after her at a more leisurely pace.
"Hiding out here won't get you out of trouble."
She did a backflip in the water. "She won't expect me to go swimming right after I've been in the shower…"
"This house isn't a labyrinth, Hermione. All she has to do is check the living room and she'll see me, and guess you're in here too." He pointed to the living area that was attaching the glass pool room to the house, and the sliding glass doors that he could see himself reflected in.
"Not if you get in too…" She grinned slyly. "The waters warm, Harry…" she cooed
He rolled his eyes, kicking off his shoes and socks and rolling up his jeans so he could sit on the edge and dangle his legs in. "I didn't bring any gear with me when I came over."
She scowled. "How can you be kicked out and not bring any clothes with you?"
"I don't plan these things, Hermione…"
"Hermione!" Diane's voice got louder as she came towards the living room.
Hermione dived under the water in what he first thought was an attempt to hide from her mum. Then he felt her hands close around his ankles as she yanked him under the water, almost causing him to almost bang his head on the side of the pool in the process. He came up for air seconds later, gasping for air. "Hermione!" he splashed her with water childishly in retaliation.
It's a good job he had a stock of clothes in a draw upstairs from the last time he stayed in the spare room.
She could only laugh, shrieking as he lifted her up in his arms and waded through the shallow end towards the steps out, throwing her back in the water once she was safely out.
Grimacing at the heavy weight of his sodden jeans hanging from his hips, he settled with taking his t-shirt off and wringing it to rid it of some of the water. Before he had chance to figure out what he was going to do next, Hermione was already out of the water, pushing him back out onto the patio and into the kitchen.
"My mum's in the living room…"
He came to a standstill, refusing to let her push him any further. "You can't hide from her all day. This is her house."
"Never mind that." She grumbled, skidding by him into the hallway, where she immediately skidded on the puddle she had left on the wooden floor. He just about managed to catch her before she smacked her head on the ground.
"You're so-" he started, about to go off on one about how she needed to calm down and sit the hell down for two seconds, but she was already out of his arms and crouched down on the floor in front of the door, a folded piece of parchment in hand. "What's that?"
She ignored him, flipping it open. He watched as all the colour slowly drained from her face. "Harry…" she stood carefully and folded it back in half, handing it over with something akin to fear.
He turned it over in his hands and found his name scrawled in an untidy curly script. His hands shook as he flipped it open, a small two-line message written in the middle.
'Your parents were buried in the graveyard by their home in Godric's Hallow.
-Padfoot and Moony'
All at once, he couldn't breathe, his heart drumming in his chest.
"'Padfoot and Moony' like the two of the people who made the Marauders map," said Hermione softly. "Didn't Professor Lupin say that Prongs was your dad, and the other three had been your friends when he confiscated it from you in third year?"
He swallowed hard, unable to think. "But what does it mean? Do I have to go to Godrics Hallow? Do they want to meet me there? Or is it a joke? Death Eaters? What?"
Hermione shook her head. "There are Order Members scattered around both your and my house, Harry, for your safety. A Death Eater wouldn't have gotten close."
His heart stopped for a moment. "But then… wait… who's on duty now?" he flung open the front door and ran out into the rain. "Hey! I know you're out here somewhere, show yourself!"
There was a long pause where nothing happened, and Harry opened his mouth to yell again, then Tonks materialised into view just inside the gate. "Hey, calm down, Harry, what's wrong?"
"Did you see anyone come up and put something through the letter box?" He said, pointing at the door.
She shook her head, looking confused. "I've only just got here…"
"Who did you switch with?" he asked sharply.
She held up both of her hands in defence. "Remus. Now what's got your knickers in a twist?"
He turned to Hermione, who seemed to be on the same wavelength. "If he knew who Padfoot and Moony are, maybe he's friends with them? Maybe he did them a favour and let them past to post it?" She said quickly, grabbing Harrys arm before he could turn and run off down the street. "You're not wearing any shoes, and you don't know where Godrics Hallow is. Come inside and let me get some clothes on first."
Tonks went visibly pale upon hearing the location of the dead Potters house, running into the house after the pair as Hermione dragged Harry through to the pool room.
"Wait, slow down a minute. You need to tell me now, what. Is. Going. On." She said slowly, accentuating every word clearly. "And what's this about Godrics Hallow?"
Harry handed her the note, immediately going to work drying himself with his wand and putting his shirt, shoes and socks back on, then proceeding to dry Hermione so she could throw her clothes back on over her bikini.
Tonks shook her head. "You can't just go running off to Godrics Hallow because some nutter posted you a note telling you that that's were your parents are buried."
"They're not nutters, they're my dad's friends." Harry insisted, already walking towards the front door, Hermione hot on his heels.
"That, or Death Eaters who know a couple of nicknames." She said. "Slow down, and think about this. I can take you to Dumbledore, we'll send a few Order Members out there to see who's waiting for you, if there is anybody, and –"
"No, if it was a Death Eater, can you seriously say that Lupin would have just let them pass? It must have been someone he trusted."
Harry managed to get to the end of the gate before Tonks panicked and cast a quick Petrificus Totalus to keep him from running off down the street. "Wait a minute… I remember… When I was a little girl, I used to get babysat by my cousin Sirius and his friends. One of them was Remus, now, I might be wrong, but I swear-"
"Your cousin Sirius as in your cousin Sirius Black? Or do you have more than one cousin by that name?" Said Hermione sharply, standing over Harry, in agreement with keeping him restrained until they fully understood the situation.
"And Lupin was his friend?" She whispered, shocked.
"Sirius was a different person back then." She replied sadly, shaking her head. "I remember them using the names Padfoot, Moony and Prongs on more than one occasion. And… I mean I might be wrong… but they were teenagers… Remus is a werewolf…"
"You think that he's Moony?"
She bit her bottom lip, hesitating only slightly before nodding her agreement. Hermione took a deep breath. "Right. So what do we do, now? We know Lupin is on our side. He cares about Harry. And he did say he was friends with Harrys dad. If Harry's dad is Prongs, he could very well be Moony."
"But then who's Padfoot?"
Tonks squeezed her eyes shut. "Sirius. He's a dog, I know he's a dog… he used to transform into his animagus form and let me ride on his back around my mums living room. He's an illegal animagus, so he made me promise not to tell anyone… and I didn't… until today that is…"
Hermione unfroze Harry using his wand so she wasn't affected by the trace and pulled him to his feet. He didn't look happy. "Don't ever do that again," He said darkly. "Just so we're clear."
Hermione was squeezing Harrys hand as if it were a lifeline; afraid he would go running off and somehow find himself dead by the hands of Sirius Black. He squeezed back, showing her that he wasn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon. But he looked determined. "Where's Godrics Hallow? Do you know how to get there?"
"I could apparate there, but I can only side-along one of you at a time, which would mean leaving one of you there on your own while I got the other. But it would be really irresponsible to take you both there without backup…" she looked like she was still considering it all the same.
Hermione held out her hand. "You can't say you're not curious. Someone you trust with your life is seeing the guy who murdered his best friend behind the Orders back, and Sirius Black is openly asking Harry to come and meet him even though he knows there's a possibility he could get caught."
Tonks took it, nodding sharply. "You only live once, eh? But if I tell you to run, you run. Here's my emergency portkey," she handed Hermione a ring. "If I say so I want you both to grab this and say 'Phoenix Fire' it'll take you straight to Dumbledore's office."
They both nodded in agreement.
She took Hermione's hand first and turned to Harry. "I'm going to drop her off somewhere away from where they're trying to lead you. Be ready."
With a loud pop, they were gone, leaving him standing anxiously for the two seconds that the Auror was gone, feeling her grab his hand all of a sudden, giving him no time to prepare for the journey to Godrics Hallow.
They landed in the back yard of a house that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. The adrenaline that had been running through his veins from the moment he read the letter began to kick in as he completely ignored the two women he was with and quickly jumped over the fence, running around the edge of the house. This time unhindered by a sudden curse from a certain Auror, he continued around to the front, where he could clearly see a graveyard up on a hill. Sure enough, not just two, but three people were waiting for him in front of a tree, slightly out of view.
"There." He said, pointing.
Tonks had her wand drawn and pointing at them, ready to strike. "You wait here; I'm going to check it out. If one of those people really is Remus, I will have to report immediately to Dumbledore. Betraying the Order is hardly something we take lightly."
She had just began to make her way forward when the people moved further into view, making their way down the hill towards them. She moved to stand in front of the students. "Well, I guess they've seen you…" she waved one arm behind her. "Take the portkey, now."
"Not until I see who they are." Said Harry, darting around Tonks.
A nameless spell flew past him, the sound of Hermione's footsteps following him as she ran after him.
All too soon, as he had feared, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin were mere feet away from him, only… they were wandless, arms up in the air as an offer to the fact that they supposedly meant no harm. Black raised his right leg and planted it in the lower back of a rather round bloke with his arms tied behind his back. The man landed in front of his feet. He looked familiar, somehow… Ignoring the man, he kept his wand pointed firmly between his eyes, Hermione's trained to Lupin.
Black just raised an eyebrow. "My name is Sirius Black, I'm your Godfather. Nice to meet you." He smiled.
Pain stabbed through his chest at the thought that his father had trusted his own life to this man if he died, and look what he had done in return… "Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you." He said harshly.
He let out a loud bark of a laugh, throwing his head back with mirth. "Well, Harry." He said with a smile. "This," he kicked the man again, this time just for the satisfaction that it hurt him. "Is Peter Pettigrew. I didn't kill him. And I didn't give your parents up to Voldemort. He did. I'm innocent, Harry."
There was a rather painful sounding crack as Tonks completely ignored Sirius Black to lunge past him and punch Remus Lupin in the jaw.
"You lying Bastard." Was all she said.
A/N: I don't know if anybody will find this at all interesting. I have the first half of the next chapter written and waiting to be finished if people do like it :) So I guess I'll just have to see what happens! I'll post the next chapter this weekend.