Author's blabbing like a blithering idiot: It's funny how writing down what you feel and want to say comes off better than if you actually say it. Yeah, it's going to be one of those. Just read the chapter if you get bored. Now where was I…
I'm a Phoenix. No, not a peacock or a chicken. I said - I'm a Phoenix. A Phoenix is a small and worthy fraternity of my fellow men and women that have fallen and risen from the ashes. It's the rising from the ashes part that's the true test of initiation to being a Phoenix. As for the fallen part, well let's just say everyone eventually find themselves standing at the edge of the abyss and… if you listen… it's whispering your name. For the record, the abyss is real: no money, no future, no love, and most importantly no hope. Most people say "rock bottom" is the bottom, or the end-of-the-road, but it's not. The true nature of the abyss is the emptiness of never reaching an end. After a while of constantly staring downward at the abyss, you start not to care. In time, you really don't care about anything. As more time goes by you start to think of ways to jump into the abyss. Like I said, this is the fallen part of being a Phoenix.
The rising from the ashes part, well that's a lot harder to do than the fallen part. Extremely hard! The first step you have to do is re-focus your thoughts on yourself. You get out of bed, you step away from the outside railing of the high-rise building, or you walk straight out of that bar and you decide to - survive. Afterall, it's not winning that makes you a Phoenix, it's surviving when others close to you have written you off. It's surviving when everyone from the Ministry of Magic have posted Wanted pictures for your capture. It's surviving because the alternative of jumping into the abyss seems like a shortcut and you're tired of shortcuts. You get deeply re-involved with work, family, friends, whatever you value and soon… a flash of fire. A re-birth filled with opportunity that you could never imagine. Excitedly, it's a bit overwhelming to do over, to change, to live, to hope… but it's worth it – you're a Phoenix.
Chapter 30 - A night with Hermione
Hermione gave the password to the Headmaster's office before she entered in a rush.
"Miss Granger, I'm rather busy right now and you will have to wait until tomorrow." Professor Dumbledore stated, as he was packing up a small travel bag with papers and shiny magical objects.
"Headmaster, you're going to see Ron - please take me with you." Hermione gasped as she marched straight into the office to in front of the Headmaster's desk.
"I'm afraid I need you here as Head Girl," Dumbledore calmly replied before closing his bag and walking over to Fawkes.
Hermione impulsively looked down at her shiny Head Girl badge to see her hand making an instinctive half-motion toward reaching for it to remove it. The realization of what her hand was doing made her whole body stop moving to quickly reconsidered. She noticed Dumbledore watched her as she put her hand back down and briefly flashed a look of regret before speaking to her again.
"I need you to keep an eye on the Owlery, hallways, and your opposite from sending any messages out of Hogwarts while I'm gone. Not that I believe Hogwarts will be vulnerable in my absence; I just want to keep my travels secret."
"I understand, sir. Ah… Headmaster can you please tell Ron, I…I mean… I want him to - uh, be more careful and to come back home to Hogwarts."
"I will, Miss Granger, anything else?"
"I… No… Headmaster, thank you." Hermione blathered, as she hanged her head down slightly and slowly left the office, passing a sympathetic Hagrid at the door.
Ron's sleep was anything but; it was either a nightmare of screaming under the Crucio curse, or a restless muttering nightmare of him in the well. He often wake up in the middle of the night to find himself having involuntarily kicked and stabbed a pillow under his sheets. The Preserve Healer said this was to be expected, what he didn't say was for how long.
Fear was racing through is mind as he could barely hold onto his knife from the wet cold. He couldn't see a thing and the underwater cave reeked of a heavy 'dead' smell. He could barely breathe in enough Oxygen as he listened to the excited Acromantulas pincers clicking.
"They're getting closer," thought Ron at that particular moment before he felt a warm breeze on the back of his ear. It was the same feeling that Hermione used to give him as she stood over him to check his homework or to keep him doing what he was supposed to be doing.
"Er-my-nee," croaked Ron from his nightmarish sleep.
For some reason, Ron heard the noise of a Phoenix in his nightmare above the noise of the Acromantulas clicking pincers. What was even weirder was the heavy lump he felt on his side as he was trashing around in his bed. As Ron's vision slowly returned to him he looked down his side to see what the heavy lump really was. Of course, he thought he was still dreaming as he saw a red and gold Phoenix on top of him. After a few more empty seconds of looking at the Phoenix, he remembered that it looked oddly familiar to him.
"Fawkes?" Ron guessed as to whom the bird was.
Fawkes flapped his wings and nodded his head in response to a very surprised Ron.
"Ron, go back to sleep," grumpily ordered his roommate and older brother Charlie from his own bed as he was trying to sleep.
"Ah, I had a feeling Fawkes could find you." Professor Dumbledore announced, with a smiling Hagrid walking behind him thru his door in the middle of the night.
It all seemed surreal to Ron until he reached out and started to pet Fawkes. By now, Professor Dumbledore and Hagrid had entered his room and walked straight up to his dresser drawer that was pulled out and being used to hold the Phoenix's nest.
"Morning Ron, Charlie - oh look aren't yew a little one." Hagrid remarked to both Charlie, who was trying to sleep and a gob-smacked Ron. All Ron could do or say was to look at Hagrid who was looking down at the sick blue Phoenix in his nest.
"Professor Dumbledore, Hagrid?" Ron asked as he finally came to terms of them in his room for real at three thirty in the morning.
A small nod from a knowing Professor Dumbledore and a small nibble bite from Fawkes on his finger confirmed it. He looked over at a massive Hagrid about to reach down into the drawer to pick up the blue Phoenix.
"Careful Hagrid, Bonnet doesn't trust people quite yet and with good reason," Ron warned his new visitors.
Ron had oce again made the same lazy mistake of not immediately naming the Phoenix, like he did with Pigwidgeon or Pig as he now calls him. Back then Ginny had named his own Owl, Pigwidgeon, before he even got a chance and now Jane in kind had named the Phoenix, Bonnet. The Phoenix's feathers had the same color as the wildflower Blue Bonnet that grow in the Preserve's Greenhouse that Jane's mother, Wendy, likes to grow. Without much say against the wishes of a seven-year-old girl, the name stuck.
"It looks like… they tortured her," Hagrid described the sick Phoenix's condition as no doubt the knowledge of a poor creature being tortured made Hagrid mad enough to strangle to death the offender.
"They did," answered Ron instantly sharing Hagrid's dark mood.
"Hagrid… Professor!" Charlie spoke up from across the room in his own bed now fully awake with a lot more surprise in his voice then Ron did.
Apparently, Charlie wasn't as accustomed to seeing the eccentric Headmaster in his room in Romania at the middle of the night as Ron was.
"Ah, good morning, Charlie, if you could please go to Vargas and tell him I would like to have an emergency meeting with the Order and the Eastern Europe Ministers within the hour." Professor Dumbledore requested calmly to an astonished Charlie.
"Er… now sir - at three thirty in the morning?" Charlie questioned after looking at his night clock by his bed and then back over to a commanding Professor Dumbledore picking up one of Ron's Chocolate Frogs by his night stand.
After Professor Dumbledore unboxed the Chocolate Frog and nimbly bit the frog's torso and leg off did he then replied to Charlie with a piece of the frog's leg still wiggling outside of his mouth. "Yes, good point - set the meeting for five instead. I want to pay my respects to Zeus's successor with Ronald and if you could be so kind to show Hagrid his grandchildren before the meeting." Dumbledore corrected himself before he sucked up the last of the frog's leg while laying a hand on Charlie's back as Charlie finally got up to do what the Professor ordered.
"Yes sir, tell Vargas meeting at five. YAWN! Then I'll take Hagrid to Norbert's cave." Charlie responded back with a loud yawn before leaving the room.
"Thank yew, Professor Dumbledore," added Hagrid changing his mood with a big smiling face at the opportunity of going to see his grandkids and Norbert.
"Now perhaps Fawkes can introduce us to Bonnet." Professor Dumbledore suggested after watching Charlie leave in his pajamas and finishing off his Chocolate Frog.
He walked slowly back over to Hagrid and Ron's bed next to the drawer. Fawkes flew off Ron's side and over to the edge of the drawer and after a few seconds he shed a tear onto Bonnet.
"She still going to nee a few weeks of healing back at Hog-warts after what she been threw." Hagrid suggested, as he looked down at the healing blue Phoenix while Ron was watching from around him.
Bonnet magically started to get older and grew more feathers in a span of a few seconds.
"Hogwarts? Can't she stay here?" Ron demanded to know, as he watched Bonnet grow more and more feathers.
Ron, although he wouldn't publicly admit it, had come attached to the Phoenix more than any other pet he has ever had as both of them had suffered tremendously at the Death Eater camp. He looked back over to see Professor Dumbledore smiling at him.
"Don't worry, Mr. Weasley… Ronald - she will be awaiting for your return as will your friends, the staff, a great many students, and even myself who have missed you greatly from Hogwarts." Dumbledore stated proudly while patting Ron on the shoulder with a beaming twinkle in his eyes'.
"Missed me? Maybe Ginny and Harry but-"
"And don't fer-get a certain Head Girl who yew got sick with worry on all yer fighting up here." Hagrid announced while smiling at a confused Ron wearing his old Chudley Cannons pajamas to cover up all the scars and wounds on his body.
"He..Hermione?" Ron queried as he turned his stare over to a smiling Hagrid before he answered back. "Nah, she's just upset that I not doing homework and Prefect patrols every night."
Ron quipped that last part as he was not wanting to even think about how she really felt about him. He had been trying to lock up those painful thoughts and was hoping they stay buried deep within his heart.
"Ronald let us take a walk to Zeus's old cave and I'll update you with Miss Granger's own personal message to you," replied Professor Dumbledore with a knowing smiling at Ron.
"Ah, yes sir, just let me change and grab a broomstick for you." Ron commented after looking down at what he was still wearing.
"No need for a broomstick, at my age I could use the exercise."
"Yes sir, but I got to warn you: Apollo likes me, but - he can still be real moody especially in the early morning hours."
"Aren't we all," Professor Dumbledore stated with an even bigger twinkle in his eyes'.
Hermione had just walked out of the Owlery tower closing and locking the windows and doors for the night after feeding and watering the Owls inside. Even though she was dutifully caring out Professor Dumbledore orders her thoughts turned to her earlier impulsive desire to surrender her Head Badge to see Ron again. She couldn't believe she almost did it, and wondered if she was getting to obsessive over missing Ron.
It's obvious that he went to Romania to get over me, and he probably already has, thought Hermione with regret and disdain. That's why he doesn't even read my letters, because he wants to forget that I even exist.
Hermione thoughts broke as the noise of three people climbing the steps toward her. Draco, Goyle, and Crabbe emerged from the stairs and were surprised to find Hermione standing in their path to the Owlery.
Hermione spoke up first, "The Owlery is off limits and you are to return to your dorm-"
Draco interrupted with a smile of his that usually made her swoon. "We was just coming up here to make sure it was close, Hermione."
Draco said 'Hermione' the way he used to say it when they were dating as he walked over to her and places his hand on her cheek. What he didn't notice was Hermione pulling out her wand.
Draco became frozen instantly with his hand still touching Hermione's cheek.
"If you ever, ever touch me again - I'll kill you!" Hermione swore through her gritted teeth to a frozen Draco as she was barely able to control her anger, before looking over at a shocked Crabbe and Goyle. "As for you two, back to the Dungeons."
"We don't take orders from Mudbloods," snarled a defiant Crabbe.
He was looking with disgust at Hermione as she stepped around a frozen stiff Draco to show them that she had her wand out.
"One week of detention with Mr. Filch and twenty points from Slytherin! Now, do you care to make it double?" Hermione snapped, not the least bit afraid of either one of Draco's goons.
Goyle whipped out his wand, but stopped when he saw Hermione point her wand at his chest.
"Try me," eagerly remarked Hermione.
"You'll pay for this," growled Goyle before wisely putting his wand back into his robe.
"I've been paying for it ever since I was stupid enough to believe in him." Hermione ranted to the both of them as she pointed out Draco behind her. "He's a git who only cares about himself and his precious family money. I know that now, and as soon as you two figure it out the better off you will be. Now bugger off!"
Crabbe and Goyle surprised at her rant and sound advice looked at one another than back at Hermione holding her wand out at them. After a few more seconds, they made their first intelligent decision since coming to Hogwarts - they left without Draco.
Hermione turned around and levitated a frozen Draco up and over the tower wall.
"If I so much as flick my wand, Draco dear, you will fall over a hundred feet to your death. Blink if you understand."
Draco blinked his eyelids several frantic times.
"Good boy. I don't have time to keep an eye on you and the entire school tonight. Therefore, I'm going to take your wand and lock you up in a broom closet for the night. Now, I better find you in that broom closet in the morning or I'm going to give your wand and the information to Professor Dumbledore that you were trying to send out an Owl to your Dad's boss, Voldemort. That ought to make you become expelled faster than you can say trust fund." Hermione declared, as she levitated Draco back on top of the tower and a few feet in front of her while she strolled down to a fifth floor broom closet.
Hermione opened up the broom closet and reached in to grab a dirty mop from out of Draco's way as she levitated him inside it. She magically dropped him down inside the closet and then gave him a small kiss on his frozen lips before saying.
"Thank you, Draco; this has truly been my best date I ever had with you. It was even better than being your Cow at the Quidditch match."
She pitched the dirty mop head into Draco's frozen face, took his wand from his robe, and slammed the broom closet door closed. She finished with a complex locking spell on the door and was unable to hold back the huge smile spreading across her face.
"That felt good," remarked Hermione leaving to conduct her patrol.
A/N: Did I also mention that I'm an idiot.