This story has been sitting on my computer for...two months now. I have been working on this chapter on and off for a while and I think it is ready to be unveiled. Updates for this one will be long waits, as this first chapter with out this AN is 8,500+ words. I think it turned out well, and this is my first attempted at a serious story. I hope you enjoy, and look for updates for One Last Chance and Shifted Dimensions this weekend. This story will have a darker theme than my norm. Please leave me feedback on it. Thanks guys!
Chapter I Begining in the End
The grounds were silent, but not peaceful. Across the huge expanse of land in front of the ancient castle, bodies, weapons, and vehicles laid strewn, almost as if a giant toddler had upended it's toy chest. Beings began to move through the carnage, looking for survivors and enemy combatants that were wounded. It was a gruesome job, but it had to be done. Inside the ancient castle, up winding staircases, through long halls pock marked with bullet holes and burn marks, and up to the central tower, stood a man in full fatigues, his 9mm berretta sidearm still smoking slightly as he kept it pointed at the lifeless figure slumped in the chair. The man glared at the corpse as a single drop of blood ran from the impact point down to where his non existent nose sat. After several seconds, the man lowered his pistol and ran a hand through his untidy black hair that was starting to turn silver on the sides. For a man approaching sixty, he looked not a day older than thirty. The man adjusted his glasses that allowed his emerald green eyes to shine through, though they had lost the happiness in them years ago. The man looked quickly around the room as his radio crackled, the interference in the area barely overcome for communications between the strike forces.
"Dark Forrest, Clear."
"Quidditch pit, Clear."
"Lower levels, Clear."
"Mid levels, Clear."
The man clicked his comm on.
"Headmaster's study, Clear. Repeat, Hogwarts is secured. Target is confirmed KIA."
He heard a few cheers on the comm and had to smile at the men as they enjoyed the moment of victory, forty years in the making. It had been a long war and it had many innocent casualties. He was broken from his reverie by the voice of his commanding officer.
"Congratulations every one. We've secured the rest of the UK and have freed her people. Colonel Potter. You and your men have just earned yourselves a ninety-six after the debrief."
Colonel Harry Potter looked out over the battleground that had once been the safest place on the planet. Now, it was battle scarred and the final resting place for so many brave men and women.
Harry waited as the rest of the officers filed into the room, talking amongst themselves, and laughing at silly jokes. He noted that two weeks ago, this same group of men had neither smiled, nor laughed. Two weeks. Two weeks to launch the largest ground campaign of the war to reclaim the UK. It had been a simple plan. Move from the south to the north, dropping selected units farther ahead of the main line to take strategic targets. He absent mindedly ran his hand over the scar that ran from his right eyebrow to his right cheek. It had been a souvenir from the Liberation of London. It had taken his unit seventy two hours to clear the city and raise the Alliance Flag over the war torn city. He'd lost several good men during the fight. His unit, the 95th Marine Air Ground Integration Command Division had fought a vicious battle up from Brighton, punching through Crawley and right to London. Harry smiled faintly as he recalled the acronym given to his unit. 95th MAGIC Division. The unit symbol was that of a Phoenix baring a wand in it's right talon, and three arrows in the left. He sighed and pulled his mind back to the present where the UK commander entered the room, smiling lightly. Harry nodded to the Alliance Over watch Commander and took his seat.
"First off," He began, "Great job, all of you. Each of your units have done wonders in the past few weeks, and it has finally resulted in freedom for our kingdom. Colonel Potter, your unit in particular was instrumental in the defeat of Lord Voldemort. You and your men are heroes to the rest of the world." General Miston told the older man, smiling lightly still.
Harry shook his head.
"No sir. Not heroes. Just soldiers who are doing their duty to their last breath, sir."
General Miston grinned and nodded his head.
"And that is why you are all heroes. Now, we do have the complete casualty report…"
Harry leaned against the wall of the shower as he felt the almost scalding hot water rush over his sore body. He had learned just what had become of his friend, Ronald Weasley. Major Weasley had been in command of the 6th Special Tactics and Reconnaissance Division. The 6th SPECTRE division had been tasked with taking Edinburgh. They succeeded, but Ron had been killed while dragging one of his own enlisted soldiers off the field of battle. The eighteen year old private had took a reducto to the knee, blowing his lower leg off. Ron, under the cover of return fire from the MK 19s, M240G medium machine guns, rifle, and wand fire, rushed out of his armored APC and had heft the young man onto his back, sprinting the almost one hundred meters, only to get shot in the back by a killing curse. He thought back to all of his friends who he had lost. Neville fell in the first year during the First Siege of Hogwarts. Followed by Fred, Angelina, and Luna during the Battle of Ottery St, Catchpole. George and Arthur went down during the Last Stand of the Ministry as with Tonks and Remus. He lost a lot of his friends during the counter attack on London that had failed. Finally, he had lost Hermione after ten years into the war. They had been trying to get as many muggleborns out of the country as possible. But they had been betrayed by a half blood who was promised he'd be elevated to a seat of power. Voldemort had killed the idiot on the spot. But Harry had lost more than his friend, he'd lost his lover and his child. He could still see the point where the reducto had impacted into her stomach and out her back, the blood pooling on the ground. Harry had went into a rage and destroyed everything near him. He pulled himself out of his memories and stepped out of the shower, feeling the cooler air strike his body as he dried himself off. He looked around the office that used to be the headmaster's study and sighed as he secured the towel around his lower half, looking for his clothes. He was half way to his pack when a sound of scrapping stone reached his ears. Harry quickly grabbed his sidearm and wand, using his wand as a taclight, as he spun to see a darkened doorway appear by a bookcase. Harry grabbed his comm.
"Potter to sentry one."
"Go ahead sir."
"I've found a hidden room. I'm going to check it out. If I don't respond in five minutes, breach and clear. ID check alpha." He ordered as he made his way into the room.
"Rodger that sir. Standing by."
Harry swept the room with his light, looking for anything hostile. It was a medium sized room with a few suits of armor. As his eyes scanned the room, they fell upon a pedestal, covered in cobwebs. Harry started foreword, sidearm at the ready, when it suddenly pulsed blue. Harry covered his eyes briefly before he looked back at the pedestal. Harry tightened his grip on his pistol as he glared at the being before him.
"Identify yourself." Harry ordered.
He knew who the being looked like, but that person had been dead forty years. The being chuckled.
"Albus Percival Wolfric Brain Dumbledore."
He smiled and held up his hands.
"I believe the expression 'I solemnly swear I am up to no good' should suffice."
Harry lowered his weapon slightly, now pointing at the man's knees. But something was bothering him.
"You've been dead forty years, Headmaster. How are you here?"
Albus smiled and sat against the pedestal as Harry maintained his position. He didn't know what was going on, but he wasn't going to let his guard down.
"I'd suggest letting your troops know you are fine. I do not want to be interrupted while I tell you this incredible tale."
Harry nodded and activated his comm.
"Potter to sentry. Everything so far checks out. I will radio again in ten minutes. Keep the response team on standby."
The response was ignored as Dumbledore spoke.
"To answer your question, I am here by breaking the rules." He stated simply.
Harry looked at him questioningly, making the old man chuckle.
"You see, we are not supposed to come back from the other side. Doing so involves great risk to us. But things have happened in a way they should not have. Magic was not supposed to be public knowledge for at least another three hundred years. Too many have lost their lives, and the blame is my own." Dumbledore sighed.
Harry shook his head.
"We had no way of knowing he hadn't used Nagini. And you aren't at fault for him creating a duplicate of himself with the soul fragment."
"I should have foreseen it. But in my arrogance, I simply thought of what would have been easy and quick for him."
"Self doubts in war get people killed. You reacted as I would have and even though it didn't turn out the way we wanted, that bastard is dead and gone." Harry responded.
Albus nodded his understanding.
"That maybe true, however, I am here to grant you an opportunity to correct it all. Are you interested?" Albus asked,
Harry thought of his friends, and of Hermione and his unborn child. He'd be able to save them. To make sure this hellish future never happens. Harry almost blurted out yes, but his thirty-five years of military service kept it in check.
"How?" He asked.
"By sending your mind back in time. The point would be near your first year, as it will enable you to take the steps needed to ensure victory before Voldemort is able to significantly cause any trouble." Albus explained.
Harry lowered his sidearm and clicked the safety on.
"Alright. I'll do it. And I'll have to show your younger self the memories along with Severus. Despite the hell that man put me through, he became a hell of an ally."
Dumbledore smiled and began to pulse blue. Harry felt a strange sensation of weightlessness as the blue light washed over him.
"Best of luck, Colonel Potter. Time for everything to be as it should."
With a blast of bright blue light, Harry saw no more.
Harry snapped his eyes open and looked around him, gathering his bearings. He spotted fire in front of the doors with a table of potions phials and a piece of paper on the table. He knew where he was. It was just before he went to face Voldemort in his first year. He quickly looked behind him and spotted Hermione, looking at him with fear, a small phial in her hands. He felt his heart soar with emotions at seeing her alive, but pushed them back as she continued speaking.
(From Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling, Pg. 286, Modified to sound better)
"But, Harry…What if You-Know-Who is with him?" She asked, fear radiating off of her.
"Well, I was lucky once, wasn't I?" He asked, smiling slightly as he pointed at his scar. "I might get lucky again this time."
Hermione's lip trembled, and she suddenly dashed at Harry and threw her arms around him. Harry breathed in her scent, feeling his heart ache at the remembrance of her touch. Hermione seemed close to crying as she spoke.
"Harry, you're a great wizard, you know." She stated, her voice thick with emotions.
Harry hugged her tightly, feeling her tense slightly.
"I'm not as good as you." He whispered into her ear.
Hermione pulled back slightly, just enough to see his face.
"Me! Books and cleverness. There are more important things." She stated, fighting back tears. "Friendship, and bravery, and…Oh, Harry! Please be careful!" She cried as she pulled him back into the hug.
Harry hugged her tightly, not wanting to let go, not after losing her thirty years ago.
"I will. Now drink that potion and get Ron and yourself out of here." He told her as they broke away.
Hermione nodded and drank it, shivering slightly.
"Cold?" He asked her.
Harry nodded and pushed her toward the exit, while he grabbed the other phial. He looked over and spotted her still watching him, tears starting to flow.
"Go, before it wears off." He ordered.
"Harry…" She started,
Harry moved to her quickly and pulled her near the flames.
"Please. I can't lose you, Hermione." He whispered.
Harry did something he wasn't sure why he did it, but didn't care. He quickly leaned foreword and kissed her lightly. He felt her tense with surprise, before she relaxed. He wasn't expecting her to suddenly declare she loved him, but he needed her sufficiently distracted to get her to safety. Harry pulled back, seeing her eyes still closed, processing what had just happened. He grinned as he hugged her again.
"Now go get help." He stated as he pushed her still dazed form through the purple flames.
After she disappeared, Harry downed phial and cracked his neck, looking grimly at the black flames.
"Miss my pistol already." He muttered as he walled into the flames.
Harry looked at the form of Quirrell as the man muttered to himself. Thankfully, he had not yet noticed Harry's presence.
"You, know. Talking to yourself is still a bad sign, even in the magical world."
Well, he knew he was there now, as Quirrell spun around and eyed him with interest as he snapped his fingers, wrapping Harry in ropes, much to the Potter's annoyance. Harry watched him as he muttered to himself about the mirror. Harry meanwhile, began trying to break the bonds, failing due to his lack of Kbar. Why he never carried a knife on him as a kid, he never knew. After several minutes of more mutterings, he heard the bastard's voice.
"Use the boy…"
Harry watched a Quirrell looked over at him, snapping his fingers, releasing the bindings. Harry felt himself pulled to the mirror. He was counting on seeing the same thing he saw the first time, but what he saw made tears well up as his heart clenched in pain. He saw himself, as he was when he was twenty five, smiling back at him. Beside him, stood Hermione, who looked just as beautiful as he remembered, holding a small pink bundle. The baby had a head full of brown hair and his emerald green eyes. The mirror beings smiled and waved at him, the little girl in Hermione's arms smiling at him as well. Harry couldn't help it as he smiled at the image of the family that had been taken from him, tears falling silently. Quirrell saw the emotions of his face.
"What do you see?" He demanded, ready to throw Harry to the side.
Harry answered him honestly this time.
"My family." He whispered as he reached out a hand, almost willing to be sucked into the mirror.
He felt himself thrown back as Quirrell looked into the mirror, anger on his face. Harry wiped his eyes, just before he felt something probe his mind. Harry forced the probe out and rose to his feet, preparing himself to fight. He wasn't stupid. Had he been in his older body, he'd be able to break Quirrell in a heart beat. As an eleven year old, underfed, and beaten child, he'd still be able to break a few of Quirrell's bones if pressed.
"His mind is shielded. He is hiding something."
Quirrell spun around.
"What are you hiding Potter?"
Harry lowered his center of gravity slightly, still looking at the possessed Professor.
"Well, let's see. I'm an eleven year old boy, going on twelve, which means puberty." He stated. "Unless you'd like to see my fantasies, I'd suggest you keep your damn mind, out of my damned mind." Harry shot back.
Quirrell glared even harder as he prepared to pull his wand, when the voice spoke again.
"Let me speak with him."
Quirrell looked uneasy as he replied.
"But Master, you are not strong enough."
"I am for this…" The voice trailed off.
Quirrell reached up and unwound his turban. Harry watched it fall away and saw Voldemort's face reflected in the mirror. It smirked at him as Harry hardened his gaze.
"Harry Potter. See what I have become?" The face asked.
"I see. Well, I would apologize if I knew what I did to cause this." Harry told him as calmly as he could. "As is, maybe you should get out and get some sun. You won't be as pale."
"Don't be a fool…Do the smart thing…Join me….or end up like your parents…" The face smirked evilly. "They died, begging for mercy."
Harry made no illusions as he put himself into his preferred stance, glaring at him.
"Come try it. You won't leave this chamber." he warned.
Voldemort looked right pissed.
Quirrell flew toward Harry, hands out stretched. Using his knowledge, Harry deflected the outstretched arms and slammed his right elbow into Quirrells side. He heard a satisfied snap, and moved back from the possessed Professor as Quirrell stumbled back. Quirrell screamed and went after him again, this time, putting Harry on the ground, hands burning as Quirrell tried to choke the child to death. He saw Quirrell attempt to pull his hands back and moved. He gripped him by his covered arms, using his elbows to break down the hold. He kicked Quirrell with his heel to the man's already broken ribs, twisting his body until the two together formed a T. Harry gripped the arm and slung his right leg over the man's head. Using the downward preassure of his leg, and the pulling of his arms, Quirrell went down and rolled, landing on his back. Harry repositioned Quirrell's right arm between his knees. The boy began to apply pressure, causing the Professor to begin to scream in pain. Harry kept going, even as Quirrell tried to rise. A loud snap was drowned out by the scream that emanated from the teacher. Harry rolled away, coming back up into his stance and saw Quirrell writhing on the ground, screaming in pain. Harry watched the wraith that was Voldemort rise into the air. Belatedly, Harry realized that he hadn't drawn his wand, having grown used to using his sidearm and his unarmed techniques. He quickly crossed his arms over his body as the screaming wraith streaked toward him, slamming into the scrawny frame that was his body. Harry felt himself hit the ground, and saw stars from his head impacting. In his mind he heard a voice reminding him to tuck his chin. Harry laid back and took a deep breath, calming his heart rate as he sensed another presence. He looked over to his left and smiled lightly at the form of Albus Dumbledore.
"Good of you to join us Headmaster. Professor Quirrell and I were having the most interesting conversation on possessions. Care to make any input?" Harry asked before he passed out.
When he came to, he immediately reached for his sidearm, until he reminded himself he did not have it. He growled in frustration and sat up, popping his neck and a few other stiff areas. He replayed what had happened in his head. He'd done the one thing he had also told his troops not to do. Never rely solely on one weapon. He leaned back and silently contemplated his situation when the doors opened and in stepped the Headmaster. Albus smiled lightly at the boy and sat beside the bed.
"He got away, didn't he?" Harry asked, his eyes still closed.
"He did indeed. I was too late in getting to the final chamber. However, I am glad that you survived. In my stupidity I left the castle to go speak with a few individuals."
Harry opened his eyes and looked at the headmaster.
"There is something you need to know, but could Professor Snape be here as well?"
Albus nodded, looking curious as he sent a house elf to get Snape. It took a few minutes, and he entered, looking as bad tempered as Harry remembered. Harry spotted the cold look he was given. Albus gestured for him to sit down and both looked at Harry expectantly. Harry sighed.
"It'll be quicker if you both just view my memories. This way, all the information is passed and it'll be in a timely manner. Just let me lower my Occlumency shields for a second." Harry was silent before he nodded his permission for them to continue.
Harry sat silently and felt them look for the hole in his shields before they slipped in. All three were silent for the next twenty minutes as they viewed all of the memories Harry wanted them to see pertaining to the war against Voldemort. Albus was the first to recover, and looked at Harry with sadness. Snape simply looked stunned.
"I…I apologize, Colonel, for the damage I caused in your last time line."
Harry waved the man off.
"Neither one of us could have foreseen he'd create a clone of himself, Albus. The only problem is, how to locate it." Harry stated matter-of-factly.
Snape raised an eyebrow as he looked over at the young man.
"I believe 'Headmaster' is his title, Mr. Potter."
Harry gave him a funny look.
"Alright, Professor, than you will use my official title of Colonel Potter, commanding officer of the 95th Marine Air Ground Integration Command Division."
Albus chuckled slightly.
"Ironic that the unit's acronym is the 95th MAGIC Division."
Even Snape had to smile slightly at that. Harry gave a dry chuckle before looking over the two.
"I'm sorry now, if I use your first names. Severus, you were my greatest ally against the recreation of Voldemort. Albus, you helped give me the tools necessary to deal with him and his clone. As is, I owe you both a thanks."
Severus sighed and slumped in his chair.
"I guess if you can get past your dislike of me, I should try the same."
Harry smiled and nodded.
"It took me awhile, but war has a funny way of turning enemies into friends."
Both men nodded as Harry glanced at his watch, his expression turning to one of shock.
"Damn! The match is in ten minutes!"
This let out a round of laughter from the two men as Harry hurried and got himself dressed before dashing out of the door.
"We'll finish this later, gentlemen. I've got to get to the pitch or Oliver will skin me alive!" He shouted over his shoulder.
"Mister Potter! Come back this instant!" Madam Pomfrey ordered as she started toward the door.
"I think," Albus began as he and Severus walked toward the door. "That Mister Potter will be just fine, Poppy. I will make sure he returns after the match."
Madam Pomfrey gave a frustrated sigh and stomped back to her office as Severus sent the old man a questioning look.
"You sure it wise to upset a Healer?"
Seeing the look of slight panic on the Headmaster's face was priceless.
"Not one of my wiser moves, Severus."
Harry skidded to a halt just as the team was preparing to forfeit. Oliver spotted him, let out a battle cry of some sort, and dragged the boy into the changing room.
"You're cutting it close. Get changed and get ready. We're gonna flatten the Puffs."
Harry changed as quick as he could and grabbed his broom, just as the team began filing into the tunnel. Harry checked his robes and mounted his broom, feeling the warmth that spread through his hands as he gripped his first broom tightly. They launched from the tunnel to the tremendous cheers from the crowd. Harry, however made his way toward a familiar bush of hair and pulled close enough to speak to Hermione.
She looked up at him, slight blush in place.
"We need to talk, Harry. About…well…you know."
Harry chuckled and nodded.
"Come to the Hospital Wing after the match. I'm sure Madam Pomfrey will have me tied down to the bed for escaping." He told her, before he flew off to join his teammates.
"Harry James Potter!"
He chuckled as he took his place. After the normal pleasantries, the match started. Harry flew up above the pitch and began searching for the little golden ball. Harry listened to the commentary every once in awhile, mostly looking for the snitch. He spotted a flash of gold, thirty minutes into the match and sped off toward it.
"…And Bell scores for Gryffindor! Score 100 to 80. The Puffs are giving the Lions a run for their money! Wait…Potter seems to have spotted the snitch! Yes, he's diving for something…"
Harry corkscrewed as the bludgers tried to knock him off his Nimbus. Harry weaved in between players and balls, chasing after the little golden ball. He was closing in on it as the other Seeker attempted to catch up to him, but the speed Harry was putting on was too much for the other broom to catch up. Harry rolled to the left to avoid a second bludger attack and managed to snag the snitch with a foot from the goal post. He rolled right and barely missed losing a leg as he rose upwards, snitch held high as the stands erupted into cheers. Harry grinned as he lead the Gryffindors on a victory lap. He stopped just by Hermione and held out his hand to her. He heard the wolf whistles and the squeals of the girls nearby, but ignored them. Hermione looked from him, to the broom, back to him.
"Do you trust me?" He asked.
She nodded and gripped his hand.
Harry helped her on, her sitting side saddle, arms around his neck. He placed one of his own around her waist, holding her in place as he headed off on another lap. Hermione had her face buried into his chest. The crowd was screaming loudly now as he and the team did a second lap.
"And Potter leads the Lions on a second lap around the Pitch, with a certain Miss Granger along for the ride. Looks like young love folks!"
Several in the crowd laughed as the Lions landed in the center of the Pitch, where Professor McGonagall was waiting. They waited for only a few minutes before Albus arrived, Quidditch cup in hand. With a small smile, he presented the trophy to McGonagall, who looked ready to cry. Oliver and her held the cup high as the stands erupted into cheers. Harry hugged Hermione as all around them, students spilled onto the field, congratulating the Lions, who had finally wrested the cup from the hands of the Slytheriens. It took almost twenty minutes to get all the students back to the castle, where Harry and Hermione headed toward the Hospital wing. They walked in silence, until Harry broke it.
"So. You want to know why I kissed you?" He asked her, grinning slightly at her blush.
She nodded her head, looking down.
"Well, in all honestly, I was kind of hoping to hold off on that until third year, but at that moment, I didn't want to die with out at least kissing you."
Hermione looked up at him, a small look of hurt on her face.
"You only kissed me because you didn't want to die without kissing a girl?"
"I suppose I should explain myself. It wasn't just kissing a girl. It was kissing you. You're the first girl who was ever nice or kind to me. And you're a great friend. It's not my fault if I've started to like you as more than a friend."
Hermione looked back to the ground, using her hair to hide her smile. Harry gave her hand a gentle squeeze as they arrived at the Hospital Wing.
"As much as I wish you could come in, I fear the wrath of Madam Pomfrey will know no bounds. As is, maybe you should go back to the common room. Either I'll be there later, or you can visit me tomorrow."
Hermione nodded and gave him a brief kiss on the cheek, heading back toward the tower, her own cheeks blazing red as Harry chuckled lightly. With a smile on his face, he opened the doors and spotted the two Professors, and an angry Madam Pomfrey. Harry's smile faltered a little as she stormed over to him. After checking him over, she declared that he had indeed made a full recovery, but was still pissed at him for running off before she could verify it. Harry shook his head and sat down by the two men.
"Alright. Now, as I was saying before the match, we have to let things go as they did the first time. However, this time, I suggest we get Sirius out of prison sooner than later. Also, Albus, I believe we should begin gathering the Horcruxes. All except the ring, as he might check it before his resurrection."
Dumbledore nodded, agreeing.
"Very well. May I also suggest that you begin training yourself up to the level you had prior to your…displacement."
"I will. Also, I refuse to return to the Dursleys. And before you say anything, I know of a Potter home that is pretty much invisible to all eyes. Magical or otherwise."
Harry waited and was surprised by Albus nodding in agreement.
"Very well. I suggest we finish our business here, and continue at a later date. Please keep in touch Harry."
"I will. How else will we get anything done if we just take the summer off?"
Harry leaned back in his seat, savoring the feeling of returning. He had already given Dumbledore the location of the Horcruxes, and they planned to eliminate them one at a time. Unfortunately, that would require the disaster that was his second year to happen again. He grinned as this time, he'd be ready. He glanced over and spotted his first friend, Ron, enter the carriage, looking tired and ragged. Harry knew why as he grinned widely.
"Warned you to pack last night, mate."
Ron sent a short glare at him before he sat down, and promptly fell asleep. Even in the future, Harry had a hard time of ensuring Ron did what he was supposed to. At least, until his family was slaughtered by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. After that, he was driven beyond anything Harry had seen. The raven haired wizard sighed and leaned against the glass, but had only been that way, momentarily before Hermione walked in. She spotted Harry, and blushed cutely as she sat beside him. Not very close, but still within what was accepted as normal boundaries. With a sigh of frustration, Harry turned to face her. Just as she turned her head in confusion, Harry leaned in and kissed her briefly. Ron seemed to have woken just at that moment, and his eyes widened with his mouth shaped like a perfect O. Hermione herself looked blissfully unaware as she still had her eyes closed, like in the chamber.
"Does that not make my intentions clear, Miss Hermione Jean Granger?" He asked, grinning.
She blinked before she blushed a deeper shade of red, smiling.
"Why don't you tell me Harry? I seem to have forgotten how to add two and two together."
"Let's try one plus one?" He teased.
Hermione mock-glared at him, crossing her arms and looking away.
"Well, if you won't ask like a gentlemen, than I don't think I should bother."
Harry chuckled before looking at her with amusement.
"Alright. Hermione? Will you be my only?"
She cocked an eyebrow as Ron sniggered.
"Your only what? I hope this isn't a proposal. If it is, I think you leave a lot to be desired, Mr. Potter."
Harry shook his head, still smiling.
"Let's start with being boyfriend and girlfriend first? Then, if the time comes, we'll give husband and wife a try. Agreed?" He asked.
Hermione seemed taken aback before she nodded shyly. Harry took her hand in his before looking over at Ron, who seemed amused at the sight. Harry cocked his head to the side, looking at his friend questioningly. Ron understood the look and grinned even wider.
"It's about time. Bloody hell, you two seemed so clueless. But now, thanks to you both coming to your senses, I just earned a hundred galleons." He announced happily.
Harry blinked, while Hermione's jaw looked ready to pop off before she recovered.
"You mean there was a pool as to when we would get together?"
Ron nodded slowly, knowing that this could end badly for him. Harry decided to intervene.
"And what were the odds against you?" He asked.
"10 to 1 against that you would get together before we got to Kings Cross. I had more faith in you both that you'd realize you liked each other."
"And it also wouldn't hurt that you gained a few galleons." Hermione snapped.
Harry squeezed her hand gently.
"I think we should appreciate the fact that Ron did have faith in us. Even if it was for monetary gain. But I'm not mad."
Ron breathed a sigh of relief before leaning back in his seat, falling asleep again. Harry shook his head before turning to Hermione.
"So, I have a bit of news for you. I'm going to be living in an old Potter home this summer. I might be able to invite you, but it will depend on my Godfather."
She looked at him in shock.
"Godfather?" She repeated.
"Yep. He was thrown in Azkaban eleven years ago without a trial. Professor Dumbledore has been trying to get him a trial every few months. This time, they're going to go through with it."
"He was thrown in prison without a trial?" She looked genuinely shocked.
"Yes. I'm going to the ministry today to watch the trial. Professor Snape will be escorting me."
The look on her face was priceless.
Harry waited as Minister Fudge rose from his seat, looking over the assembled witches and wizards with shame on his face, though even Harry knew it wasn't his fault.
"Assembled members of the Wizengamot. I have gathered you here today to right a grave injustice. Eleven years ago, my predecessor threw a man into Azkaban without a formal trial. Given what he was accused of, the fact is, he should have stood trial in front of us in this chamber. The man I am speaking of," He glanced over to the guard and nodded briefly. "is Sirius Black."
The muttering began with several people wondering just where Fudge was going with this. Harry had to suppress a smile as the man regained control.
"Honored members. I can assure you that I have had the DMLE search for the trial record, but to no avail. So, upon request of the Supreme Mugwarp, I have decided to get to the bottom of the case, once and for all. Bring in the defendant."
Harry quickly looked over to the door and saw Sirius enter. He didn't look as bad as he did last time Harry had seen him, but he still looked haunted. The man sat in the chair, and the chains wrapped over his wrists. Harry saw him glance up, and look back down before he apparently realized what he had seen. Harry watched him as he mouthed Harry's name in complete shock. The young Potter sent him a small smile and a short nod, letting him know this was real. Before anymore silent communications could be shared, Fudge began.
"Mister Black. You are here today to receive the trail you were never given. Will you submit to either an oath of truth, or vertiserumm?"
"Both if you need me too." Sirius responded, his voice still hoarse from not having used it in eleven years.
"Than with your consent, we will administer the serum after we check you for the counter agent."
Sirius nodded his head and Fudge motioned for an impartial healer to step forward. The man ran a diagnostic spell over the Black and contemplated the readings for several seconds before nodding his head in satisfaction.
"His system is clean, Minister. No traces of the counter agent in his blood."
The minister nodded and gestured again. This time, a second healer stepped forward and gave Sirius the truth serum. After waiting only moments, Sirius' eyes became glazed over and out of focus. Fudge began with simple questions to verify he was under the effects, before he nodded in satisfaction after the answers were compared to what was on record. And the questioning began.
"Sirius Black. Where were you on the night on October 31st, 1981?"
"I was at the flat I had been renting over Diagon Alley."
"And why did you go to the Potters home that night?" He asked.
"I had placed a monitoring charm in the wards, after speaking with James. I felt their wards fall and I immediately left, arriving only minutes after Voldemort had killed James and Lily."
Fudge paused and looked over at Albus, who nodded his head briefly.
"Where you the Potters Secret Keeper?"
"At which point?" Sirius asked.
Fudge blinked before recovering.
The crowd was whispering to one another over this information, but went quiet as Sirius continued.
"I was the keeper for the first six months. But afterwards, James and I felt it was better to switch to Peter Pettigrew. We had reasoned that with me as the obvious choice, it would allow Peter the time needed to go into hiding, and further the protection for James and Lily." Sirius explained.
"Who preformed the charm?"
"The first time was Albus Dumbledore. The second time was Lily, even though she was against the idea."
Fudge looked like someone had hit him in the head with a beaters bat before continuing.
"Did you kill those thirteen innocent bystanders on the 3rd of November, 1981?"
Sirius shook his head.
"No. I confronted Peter, but the bastard had his wand behind his back. He detonated the gas main, cut off his finger, and fled into the sewers in his rat form."
This time, the full gale of talking rose around the room. Fudge regained control after a few seconds of shouting order, until Dumbledore bellowed "SILENCE" making everyone stop immediately. Harry looked up to him as the old man sent him a small wink and a smile.
"I love doing that." He whispered to Harry, who only grinned in response.
Around the room everyone looked back to the Minister as he looked at Sirius sadly.
"Give him the counter serum."
The med witch gave the man the antidote and Sirius blinked before looking up at the Minister, sheepishly. Fudge seemed not to notice the look as he continued.
"Mister Black. Under the power granted to me as Minister of Magic, I find you not guilty of the charges of murder of James and Lily Potter, and the thirteen counts of murder as well. However," He paused with a smile. "You are guilty of being an unregistered animagus. As is, you will be fined 1,000 galleons, and you are required to become registered with the Ministry with in seven business days. That concludes today's meeting."
With that, the officers released Sirius, who immediately made a bee line to Harry and Dumbledore. The old man smiled and placed a hand on Sirius' shoulder.
"I apologize for the long delay, Sirius. It wasn't until recent evidence came to light that I was aware of your innocence."
Sirius waved him off.
"It's no problem, really. I knew that if you had any idea I was innocent, you'd have done what you could. And you have."
Albus smiled and nodded before stepping aside to allow Harry to step foreword.
"I do believe you and young Harry here are previously acquainted." He stressed the word young, causing Harry to send him a short glare before he hugged Sirius.
"It's good to see you again, Padfoot."
Sirius looked taken aback as Albus chuckled.
"He has quite the tale to tell. So once you're cleared from St. Mungo's, we will meet in my office and discuss what information Harry has to pass to you."
Sirius accepted this and promised to make up the time he spent in prison, being the best Godfather Harry could ask for. It was with a happy smile that Harry left the Ministry, happy something had changed for the better.
Harry looked out over the harbor, watching as the American warships rained eight kinds of hell on the approaching dark creatures. He could feel the fear radiating off the halfbloods and the muggleborns as he and his squad attempted to keep them calm as they awaited evacuation. He looked off into the distance as another roar reached his ears from another felled giant. Harry looked around and spotted Hermione making her way toward him. He gave a frustrated sigh. No matter how many times he had asked her to stay at headquarters, she had refused. Even bringing up the fact that she was two months pregnant didn't help.
"What are you doing here?" He asked her.
She sent him a short glare.
"If you think I'll allow you to do this on your own, then you obviously don't know me, Mister Potter." She poked him in the chest to add effect to her words.
Harry shook his head as another shell screeched over head.
"Look. I know you want to be here, but I don't want you to get hurt. I don't want to lose you or the baby." He told her softly.
Hermione's expression softened as she sighed.
"Look. I promise that the moment that things get hectic, I'll leave."
Harry knew it was no use arguing with her and simply accepted her word as he spotted a young corporal making his way toward him.
"Sir." He began as he came to a stop. "Enemy forces are approaching. We have maybe ten minutes before the fighting gets tougher."
Harry nodded and issued his orders for them to set up defensive positions around the port, just long enough for the innocents to get to safety. Overhead, fighters began taking to the sky in hopes of prolonging their defensive action and buying enough time needed. He checked his rifle, an American rifle he had been issued, and made sure his wand was ready in case he needed it. Harry turned to Hermione and sent her a pointed glare. She nodded her head and headed back into the crowd. After he watched her leave he quickly headed to join his troops.
"Contact! Enemy at twelve o'clock."
"Christ, there are hundreds of them!"
Harry clicked his com unit.
"Fire at will." He ordered as he reached his position. He leveled his own weapon and sighted in on the first Death Eater. A slight squeeze and a 5.56 NATO BALL round pierced his skull, dropping him on the spot. Harry moved through the targets, thanking the stars that it wasn't a full moon or a night fight. If it was, it would make things harder. Even though Death Eaters were dropping, they were still pushing in, being supported by Giants. Harry watched as an M1A1 Abrams was lifted up and tossed aside like a toy. In the sky, the pilots were meeting the opposition mounted on brooms. Even though the fighters could easily outstrip even the fastest broom on the market, they were still being hit by spell fire as they tried to get into a better position to kill the broom flyers. Harry knew they were in trouble as Dementors began moving on their positions and he knew it was only a matter of time before they were overwhelmed.
The defenders moved quickly to their secondary and final defensive lines. They had to hold here, or they would fail. Harry leapt over a low wall and spun around, flipping his M27 onto full auto, a fresh one hundred round drum in place. Harry spotted the first unlucky target and put a three round burst into him just as six more appeared to take his place. It was a mechanical dance. Sight. Fire. Sight. Fire. Reload. Repeat process. It was a brutal engagement that finally seemed to end after two hours of fighting. Harry slowly scanned the area. Not seeing any targets, he sighed and slung his rifle.
"I want a full casualty report. Also, I want a squad policing those bodies."
He turned and walked back to his command post where who should he see but Hermione waiting outside for him. Harry shook his head and placed his rifle over his back as Hermione pulled him into a hug. He relaxed and enjoyed the feeling of having her in his arms.
"I thought you'd leave when the fighting started." He smiled tiredly at her.
She smiled brightly.
"Things didn't get hectic. You had everything under-"
She was cut off as a solider cried out a warning as a wounded Death Eater fired a curse at Hermione. Harry watched in slow motion as the curse sailed toward Hermione as he pulled her away. Unfortunately, she had begun to turn toward the sound of the shout and took a reducto that passed through her from her left side and exiting out her right side. Harry felt it impact into his body armor, but he didn't care as he drew his side arm and put a round into the bastards head. Harry sunk to the ground as he cradled Hermione in his arms as blood began to pool around her. She reached up a shaky arm, smiling sadly at him.
"I should have listened." She stated softly.
Harry felt tears well up in his eyes.
"You'll be fine, Mione. The Docs will fix you up, right as rain."
"You're a terrible liar."
Harry felt tears run down his face as Hermione's breath came shallower and shallower.
"Harry…I'm sorry…I…I love you…"
"I love you too, Hermione. Please, don't leave me." He begged.
Her eyes began to close.
"I'm…afraid…I…don't have…a say…I'll always…be…with you…"
Harry Potter felt as if his world shattered as he watched his beloved wife take her last breath. He felt numb as he felt someone pull him away from Hermione as a pair of Corpsmen checked her over, shaking their heads sadly as they confirmed she had died.
Harry woke with a start, drenched in sweat. Sitting up in bed, he held his hands in front of him, staring at them. Clenching his fists shut, he looked up at the ceiling.
"Not this time. This time, Malfoy won't get the chance to harm her."