A Brave New World Chapter 1
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the situations I create the rest is all JKR's. A/N: I have decided that my original writing of this story was not up to par with how I wanted it and have begun a rewrite of the first chapters. There will be new content and dialogue as well as a slower pace to the story.
A/N: I have decided that my original writing of this story was not up to par with how I wanted it and have begun a rewrite of the first chapters.
There will be new content and dialogue as well as a slower pace to the story.
Chapter 1: At Shell Cottage…again. Part 1: "How did we get here?"
Part 1: "How did we get here?"
It was five minutes past two in the morning when the young man made his way into the kitchen of the little cottage by the sea. In the two weeks he had stayed at the house the young man has made it a habit to start his day before the sun rose with a strong cup of tea, and a look out the window to the little hill where a friend was buried. His sleep had been restless and because of that he started earlier than normal; leading to a longer time for him to reflect on how life had found him at the cottage by the sea.
At first it was a soft wondering of thoughts, but over the course of a few minutes his head began to hurt, and the faces became too much to handle all at once as they seemingly attacked his conscience in droves.
The young man set his cup down, and took a deep breath. He began to take things into stock one at a time, just like Hermione taught him to do their first night there. The cup then made its way back into his hands.
"How did we get here?" he asked into the air between his lips and the cup.
Just right at a month ago they had won the 'war' as the Prophet and other media had deemed it. The castle and the forces from both sides had suffered loss during the entire event, but they had won. Everyone who died had been laid to rest, the offenders were locked away, and the ones who were left alive were doing their best to cope.
Harry's first priority in his mental managing of thoughts was his surrogate family.
The morning after the night of the battle had the family returning to the Burrow, Harry and Hermione were closely pulled along with them in a nearly hysterical Molly Weasley's grasp.
Fred's body was placed in Arthur's study. Ginny and Molly cleaned and prepared him over the next two weeks. He was to be buried the same day as everyone else, but not with them.
The two weeks in that house was marked as a time of grieving and a time of recouping. Though, to be fair, at the time Harry had just been more interested sleeping on their arrival.
George had taken it the worst, of course, split in two. He was without his other half, no more Gred or Forge.
His mood over the two weeks danced between all spectrums. Sometimes he was surly and snapped when talked to, but then he would have a wistful smile on his face the next minute as if someone had just told him something funny. The worst was when he was quiet and withdrawn. Harry found that side of George to be the most frightening thing since they had left Hogwarts.
The person who helped the most during this time, surprisingly, was Percy. He had never left George's side. At first words were spoken by George that at any other time would have torn through familial bonds. But despite this Percy would hold his brother and hum a small tune until George, hoarse and tired from his sobs, would fall asleep. Every day for the first three days was like that, and then George hugged Percy and declared, "His ponce of a brother was alright."
Charlie spent most of his time working for those two weeks. Either helping to deal with the few remaining acromatulas or fighting to organize the dire situation that the Department of Magical Creatures was in. He grieved in his own way. One particular night Harry had seen him in the study, glass of firewhiskey in hand, quietly sobbing gripping Fred's hand in his free one. Before the funerals he announced that he would be moving back to England once he went back for a few days and cleared everything up in Romania, hopefully sometime before the end of the summer.
Bill and Fleur had become the de facto work force of the household, while the parents grieved. During the day Bill was at Gringotts helping to clear debris, and easing the strain on the Goblin-Wizard relations in any small way. Fleur had taken over the role Molly would normally fill. Molly tried to deny this at first, but after a long talk in the parent's bedroom Molly acquiesced to Fleur's help. This arrangement lasted until two days before the funerals.
Molly and Arthur both handled the situation as well as Harry would expect any parent could. They left Hogwarts proud and poised with their family, but their faces fell as soon as they placed Fred in the study. Mrs. Weasley found strength in her daughter-in-law's care, and though at first her hugs weren't as strong as they used to be. After the first week though she had begun hugging everyone as they passed her, until their eyes began to look like the muggle toy Arthur gave Teddy. Arthur had, on the first day after their return; woken up and gone to the Ministry only to be brought back an hour later by Interim Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt himself. Much like his second oldest he grieved on his own, or with Molly. At the beginning of the second week he went to the Ministry and worked half-a-day. By the time the funerals came he was back full-time in his new role as Senior Undersecretary with Percy as the assistant to the Minister.
Ginny had spent the most time with Fred's body. She became obsessed with making sure he was sent off looking his best. Harry had been as worried as everyone else, but found himself lacking when he had tried to approach her. The way the young woman had ritually handled the colorful robes every day to check for lint and anomalies seemed to be the only thing that held her composure. It wasn't until the end of the first week when Hermione pulled the near catatonic girl into their shared room and held her that she began to let herself open up to the rest of her family.
Ron had been the oddest of the bunch. He wasn't moody or angry as Harry expected. He cried during his sleep, but not when he was awake. His hunger never quit, and he seemed despite everything to be perfectly fine. Fleur had mentioned to Harry that it was more than likely he did not know how to emotionally handle the situation or was just too tired to manage to try.
The Funerals and the Survivors
Everyone woke up early at the Burrow on the Saturday they buried Fred and the others. At dawn Fred was laid down just off the hill overlooking the pond. Right in front of the tree facing the rising sun his twin told how it was that tree where they performed their first prank on Percy.
"It all started here." George had said, "A bucket of pond water and Fred this tree while I led Percy to the trap."
Not many of the people spoke. Only George, Percy, and Arthur from the family and McGonagall from school.
At the end of the service everyone moved to Hogwarts, just off the walkway around the offside of Dumbledore's tomb. There the monuments were set each housing the remains of those who had died, and whose families accepted the offer to intern their loved ones in the new cememtary/memorial site.
The ceremony started with Colin Creevey's and ended with Remus and Nymphadora Lupin nee Tonks'. Harry had been in a bit of a daze as each name was added to the obsidian monument in the center of the new graveyard.
Even during Severus Snape's funeral service not one person left as McGonagall and Slughorn spoke quick words about the man. Most seemed to take their lead from Harry; there was no love-lost between the two he admitted, but begrudging respect was given to the man.
Afterwards as the crowd began to walk back towards the almost fully repaired castle, a look to the forest showed the Centaurs readying their arrows for the fireworks display to honor the fallen in their own way.
The lightshow was seen from inside the polished windows of the refurbished Great Hall. People had begun to talk amongst themselves.
Dean and Seamus had both been fine since the battle. While both of their families had come out unscathed the boys felt they could not leave the school, they had taken up temporary residence in the Hog's Head with Aberforth helping the old man with rebuilding both Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. Of course, both of them mentioned that getting to help Rosmerta with her efforts was the best part of their day.
Lavender, though still gaunt, was among the crowd with heavy bandages and a strained smile. It had been touch and go for her, but Madame Pomfrey along with the healers from St. Mungo's were able to get her up and somewhat walking for the event, at her determined request of course. She would be staying with Parvati and Padma at their family's home in London when she was fully released. Bill had stepped over to her and offered any help he could in coping with her new affliction. Much like him there would be no change or threat of turning others, but certain hungers and anger would come and go for her.
Amos Diggory had made his rounds and thanked McGonagall for the added monument dedicated to his son. The newly minted Headmistress had then directed him to Harry as the one who had suggested the addition. He had approached Harry at that point and gave a firm handshake along with a sincere smile before leaving with his wife.
Slughorn had pushed the few older Slytherins who had fought alongside their classmates during the battle to mingle with the mourners expressing that they had earned the right to walk with their heads held high. The only one to take the advice to heart was Daphne Greengrass, who handled herself with her usual aloof air, her younger sister in tow. Though she did give honest condolences and well wishes to all the grievers. The other Slytherins were hesitant, but had eventually followed her lead to a lesser extent.
Luna and her father were staying at Hogwarts while there family home was being rebuilt. Over the course of time the Ravenclaws that were left at the castle had banded around the girl with their own pride in her. She could now be seen in the company of no less than three members of her house at a time. All of the DA members who were Ravenclaws had long taken the girl into their fold. Her father had even developed a following of the younger years from all the houses as they seemed drawn to the odd man wearing the brightly colored robes. Harry imagined the man to be an odd host for a Saturday morning children show that Dudley used to watch…it made the entire image that much more humorous.
Neville also stayed in the castle sharing one of the dorms with a few younger Gryffindors and a Hufflepuff. He had taken Colin's younger brother, Dennis, under his wing while helping in rebuilding the castle. Once Dennis' parents had been informed of the situation Neville was the one to safeguard the boy's return home. He had also taken to having tea with his Grandmother every day, and had gone with her to visit his parents twice. Most had noticed the slightly taller walk to him.
Hagrid had spent the two weeks leading up to the funeral in constant work. When not helping with the rebuilding efforts, he was seen in the forest with the returned Buckbeak and Fang aiding the hunting of the last Acromantulas alongside the ministry squads. He had added a new addition to his hut for Buckbeak to lie in as well.
Andromeda Tonks (nee Black) and Teddy were seated during the entire congregation. Little Teddy with what little hair adorning his head switching colors as different people sat and talked. Next to them was Kreacher, with Regulus' locket still hanging from his neck, who had become their guardian and constant shadow at the Harry's request. They resided at Grimmauld Place now and with Kreacher's help it had started to look not like the ancestral home it used to, but a new place filled with hope of a new family.
McGonagall had officially been appointed Headmistress by a unanimous vote, though she would still teach the upper year Transfiguration classes, and with everyone's help the school was due to open back up in September as it always had. Her deputy was named Flitwick.
Most of the surviving DA members all expressed their interest in returning to the new Headmistress.
Kingsley would remain the interim Minister until elections could be organized. He was also handling all of the cases for the Wizengamot's trials. During the talks many things were mentioned about the survivors of the other side in the conversation with Kingsley and Harry.
The Malfoy's would have been tried harshly if it hadn't been for the vote of confidence that Harry had made as he promised the matriarch of the family. Lucius' fate was Azkaban for life. Draco would be under watch and would not be allowed to leave their home for two years. Narcissa for her actions would be under watch, but not imprisoned. Their finical estate was taken, leaving a quarter of it for them, and the rest given as aide to the institutions and families affected by the war.
There was trouble in the handling of the Lestrange vault as the Goblins would not release control claiming it had been bequeathed to a new account despite lack of heirs.
Greyback was dead. Quite a few people's ears had perked up at this news. The werewolf had attempted to attack one of the Auror's seeing to his incarceration, and thought their new standard silver-tipped daggers no match for his thick skin. In a bizarre twist of fate he ended up like most of his own victims as he slowly bled out on the saltwater encrusted entranceway of Azkaban. His body was burned and the ashes tossed from the barred windows of one of the lower levels of the prison.
Rookwood was the only Deatheater to not be placed in Azkaban, though it was because Algernon Croaker stated, "As a former Unspeakable we will be the ones to handle his imprisonment." Kingsley stated that he saw the man's new abode and that it was something not even the dead would envy.
Umbridge for her crimes would be imprisoned for at least five years in a low floor of Azkaban, especially after her feeble attempt at an escape through one of the Ministry's Floo stops.
Dolohov and the other Deatheaters were captured and awaiting their trials. Many had tried to escape to nations they believed would provide them with amnesty, and the only one to have actually escaped, former auror John Dawlish, met his grisly end in Prague at the hands of a Muggle mugger according to Shacklebolt.
The creak of a stair pulled Harry from his thoughts just as a familiar voice entered the room.
Part 2: A Talk at Shell Cottage
"Harry?...Nightmares?" Hermione asked.
Harry turned to the stairs where Hermione stood perched on the last step. There was a little light coming in through the door leading to the beach now and it broke enough of the shadows for him to see that wore a concerned look. He had been sitting and reminiscing for a bit longer than he had planned. But that night, at least, there were no nightmares or bad memories to be replayed for him in his sleep; just an early hour and a mind ready to start the day.
"Harry?" Hermione asked again as she stepped off the final step.
"Surprisingly no. Just woke up early and wanted tea. You?," He asked in return. His tea has long been cold.
"None. First time in the past month without waking up at all during the night." She said with a slight smile.
"Good." Harry nodded, and honestly felt relieved for her. He had been more worried about her in the past month, and as a side-effect had been sleeping lighter in case he had need to wake her from a bad dream if he heard her in the room next to his. "Have a seat, and I'll grab you a cuppa." Harry said smiling at his best friend in return as he raised his cup, "I could use a fresh one anyway."
As he stood from his chair she took hold to the back of its opposite at the small table. Harry noticed that she was wearing a light, long-sleeved jumper she had nicked from him at some point. 'Another day with long sleeves then; I wonder if she is still scratching the scar.' He thought. From his view he could also see that she was still just a little too thin, even with all the food that had been nearly forced into them by various friends. Out of habit his eyes wandered up to the small red scar that was on her throat; an image of the night that both wounds happened flashed through his mind and he quickly turned back to the counter careful not to drop the kettle. He set the kettle on the burner and moved to the corner of the cabinets.
"I figured I might actually beat you down this morning. How long have you been up?" She asked with the concern still in her voice.
"Since around two." He tried to keep his voice from wobbling. "Just needed a little time to think over the past few weeks. Used that little trick you taught me. Actually helped me a lot in going over everything." He replied with a smile as he looked towards her.
"Really?" Hermione gave him a flustered grin, "Good. I didn't actually think you would know what I was talking about. I was babbling when I told you that; I tend to do that lately. Did you think of anything interesting?"
"Yeah, and of course I listened to you. I always listen to you Hermione." Harry pointedly met her eyes before he shrugged a shoulder, "I'm just not always so good in following through." He let a few moments of silence pass between them as he pushed a few items back into their 'rightful' places and thought on his earlier musings. He then pulled a second cup down from the top shelf as he said, "We're doing better. You and me. Fleur is taking care of us. Bill is…well he's been helpful to both of us as well. Everyone else is doing good too, for the most part." He said giving her an understanding smile.
"Yeah you do always listen. At least lately." She said with a smirk on her face. "And everyone's doing better. For the most part…" The last line hung as she turned to the warm sunrise coming over the edge of the sea.
The kettle whistled. Harry prepared their cups and after both had their hands around one they both blew on the Earl Grey while they thought back to two weeks ago.
The Burrow had been fine up until the day after the funerals and the day after Harry talked to Ginny.
The talk had happened during the late night while everyone else was readying for bed. She had approached him from behind and hugged him in a way that he was more than uncomfortable with. Her questions were honest and not laced with worry over the future.
"What are we Harry?"
"What did that kiss mean to you?"
"Did…could you love me…be in love with me?"
"What are we?"
The questions had come to him through a haze of his own fear of that moment. He had been pondering his feelings in the days leading up to that…to be honest he had been pondering them for much longer; really since the Hocrux hunt. He expected the questions, though not at that hour and still had trouble answering them. He had not meant for his answers to hurt her, but a few did while others confirmed what she had said she expected.
"Ginny…I'm…Well…I" Harry had stumbled in his planned speech at first. It hadn't been until he took a deep breath and met her eyes that he was able to force out, "I will always be happy for what we had, and for you being a part of my life. But…I don't…I can't be in love with you. I'm sorry. I understand what love is Gin, but…I don't have those feelings for you…I've never had those feelings. Ginny…"
She had stopped him with a light kiss to his lips and wet eyes.
She had understood. She had spoken with Hermione and Fleur earlier in the week and both had given their honest opinion. They both had told her they hoped for the best, but explained that she shouldn't expect it. Hermione in particular knew the most about Harry and had told her what she knew of Harry's earlier life and how it would affect his feeling.
"It's okay Harry. I know it wasn't meant to be what I put into my head all those years ago." Ginny had shaken her head and gave him a light hug that he was infinitely more comfortable with. "I never really got to know you; did I? Even when I stopped being an obsessed little twit." Her wet eyes were a bit of a knife to his heart. "If it's okay I would like to get to know you though. The Harry that Ron and Hermione know." She requested as a few tears slipped out and a slight quiver to her normally steady voice.
"I would really, really like that Ginny." He offered in a wobbly voice.
The talk was over and everyone handled the news well the next morning for the most part. Mrs. Weasley had hugged them both and whispered to Harry that he would, "always be welcome in their family and a mother can still hope" with a smile on her face. The only face with an odd expression was Ron's.
The next morning saw Ronald and Hermione's first row since the battle and the biggest one in Harry's memory. None of the family knew exactly what had started it, but by the end the words were loud enough for all to hear and feel the need to approach the den of the Burrow with caution.
"RONALD! We are not together."
"But you kissed me…you did. We talked. I was with you guys."
"You left us Ron. And I don't care if I kissed you. It was a spur of the moment decision, which I regret." Hermione had tried to be calm and rational as best she could.
"Oh it will always come back to that from now on won't it? Yeah I left. I said I was sorry for that 'Mione." Ron's volume raised.
Hermione's face had pinched at the nickname. "Don't call me that. I told you that was just as bad as Hermy."
But Ron pushed through her interruption, "I came back didn't I? Why do you regret it huh? Not good 'nuff for ya?" Harry had seen the red flush of anger creep up Ron's neck as the taller boy spoke.
"You left us in the middle of a forest Ronald. Freezing. With little food, and no idea where to go next because you couldn't handle it." Harry knew could feel something building and knew that when Hermione's voice lost its ire and took a bit of pity that the situation was too far gone to salvage. "Ronald you know that's not what I meant. I regret it because I knew it would lead to this…we would never work Ron. Look at where we are; arguing in front of your entire family over something like this."
The last words had curbed the fire in Ron's eyes and with a defeated stance he looked at Hermione with a bitter and cold eye.
"Fine Hermione. You always know best, right? How about this time; you leave. Make it even between us. I insist…and you don't even have to come back."
With that thought he left his family, Harry, and Hermione in the den where they had congregated during the row. Hermione had crumbled into herself with tears freely flowing. Harry's hand with instinct and practiced ease found Hermione's and brought her to him in a protective hug. Harry had felt a twinge of something as he held Hermione and accepted the choice he had just made.
Mrs. Weasley was fuming silently (surprising everyone) from the entrance of the kitchen where her eyes had followed her sons trek to the pond. Ginny and Fleur were on either side of Hermione and Harry's hug each of their hands rubbing up and down the crying girl's back.
The Weasley men, save Bill who simply shook his head, had already begun to boil in anger at the youngest male's behavior. Arthur was halfway to the door when Hermione's voice stopped everyone.
"Bill? Fleur? Would it be okay if I went to stay at Shell Cottage for a few days?" she had asked in a small, hoarse voice.
"We." Harry said correcting her as he looked to Bill and Fleur and missed the wide-eyed look Hermione gave him "Is it okay if we stay?" He had long decided that on the day when it came to it, the choice was simple. He would choose Hermione; as he should have done so many times before.
It had taken nearly an hour to convince Molly to agree to leave and another half hour longer to let them leave that day. Bill and Fleur had said it was time for them to return anyway. That had been two weeks ago. They knew that Ron was being properly punished as Bill made a comment about it, but since neither of them had asked specifics they had been given none.
"It's okay, Hermione. We're doing fine and when he wants to apologize. He can." Harry said followed by a sigh. "But I'm personally finished with his temper tantrums."
"Why? It's not like he hasn't done this before." Hermione asked him before she took a sip of her tea.
"No." Harry shook his head, "He hasn't done that before Hermione. I don't care about his excuses." Harry sat his cup back down. "He has been a right, foul git to you for seven years, and…and I have never tried to stop it. I've even taken his side on occasion." Harry shook his head and met her eyes. "I'm sorry for that. But this time…I saw it in your eyes. He hurt you, really hurt you. I made a promise that I would not forgive that anymore."
"Harry…" Hermione tried to interject.
"No, Hermione. You forgive him if you want, but I won't. End of story." Harry took his cup back in hand and gave her a jaunty little grin. "When he does apologize it better not be by an owl though, or I might go give the git a bit of my own opinions about what he deserves."
She smiled at him and the teasing lilt to his voice. Even with his tone and smile she could see the sincerity of his statement, and more than a bit of anger towards the other member of their little trio. It honestly gave Hermione a bit of a warmness in her heart at the sentiment.
"What about us going to see Teddy and Andromeda today?" Harry asked breaking the former subjects hold on their minds.
"That sounds lovely." Hermione smiled at the thought of getting to see Teddy, Andi, Kreacher, and of course Harry playing with his Godson. "Perhaps we could stop by Diagon Alley and pick up a few things for him. You are his Godfather after all, and he could do with a bit of spoiling from you." She said with a grin breaking through the prim-and-proper tone to her voice.
"Yeah," Harry nodded already thinking of a few toys he could pick up for the tyke, "he could at that. I'll need to stop at Gringotts," Harry stopped as he remembered the last time they had been to the Goblin bank, "but maybe we should talk to Bill first and see how I should handle that situation." His own grin fell when he thought of how they would treat him the first time he walked in there.
"We'll figure something out Harry. We always do." Hermione smiled and gave his hand a pat from across the table.
"No. You figure things out. I just go where you point me and do what you tell me." He said with a smirk.
"Oh! Har! Har! Very funny Mr. Potter." She smiled as she leaned in and said this. Her face though suddenly lost its levity, and she chewed her bottom lip before she said, "I'm going to go get my parents soon. It's time and it's safe to go now." Harry watched as she took a breath and gave him a not-all-the-way-there hopeful smile, "I'll only be gone for about two and a half weeks." She looked down to where her hands hold the now lukewarm cup of tea on top of the table.
Harry reached across the table and slipped his hand into hers and gave it a squeeze.
"We are going," He said with a soft smile and waited until she looked back up to him with a watery grin, "We'll be gone you mean."
"We." She said gripping his hand and shaking her head with a relieved smile. "We."
He warmed their tea back up with a quick charm, and moved to the seat next to her.
"After Gringotts we can go see Kingsley and get him to set everything up." Harry felt a little out of place being the one to lay out the specifics of a plan, but also it was nice to be on the other side taking care of her. "Then we can run and grab whatever we'll need for the trip." Harry gave her a wide smile, "Then we can go and see Andromeda and my Godson." He said with promising eyes.
"Oh Harry!" Hermione breathed out in relief as she took hold of him and gave a little cry into his shoulder.
As soon as she had wiped her eyes she looked at him seriously. "We'll both need a fair amount of new clothing or at least ones that don't look as though we are without a home." She smiled slightly. "You most certainly deserve better than those hand-me-downs you still insist on wearing, and all of mine are either too small or just fit oddly." She looked contemplative for a moment, "We'll both need luggage as well…proper luggage as I would rather travel as muggles, but we can still modify them with a few charms and possibly…" Hermione had started to get 'that' look in her eyes.
"When do you want to leave to get them?" Harry asked interrupting her knowing that the details could be handled after they went to Gringotts.
"As soon as Kingsley can get things ready for us…and instead of an international portkey I would rather us take an airplane. Is that alright with you?" Hermione asked with a timid voice.
"It's fine. I've never been on one." He said looking in her eyes. "You need time to plan what you'll say. I know."
"You always do."
"So do you."
They enjoyed the silence that followed until the sun had broken the horizon, that is until a contented sigh pulled them from their shared revelry.
From the Author: I hope you are enjoying the re-write so far, if you notice anything technical such as grammatical errors please PM me instead of reviewing (when I fix the problem the review won't be applicable anymore). Happy Readings ~A Vagrant Boy~
I hope you are enjoying the re-write so far, if you notice anything technical such as grammatical errors please PM me instead of reviewing (when I fix the problem the review won't be applicable anymore). Happy Readings
~A Vagrant Boy~