Thank you to all my new followers and favorites! Much thanks to all of those who left me comments and questions to answer.
Sorry for the lateness, but well, Christmas and finals.
"No." Harry pushed his newly acquired wand into his back pocket and pushed open the double set doors of the Hospital Wing like the free man that he was.
"Why?" Jonathan asked, trailing Harry out of the Hospital Wing with a confused face. "It would be brilliant! Natara would—"
"We're not using Natara to deep fry the Death Eaters," Harry said shortly. They had been over this conversation all of yesterday night and now this morning when Madam Pomfrey had released Harry from his bed rest.
"But why not! It's the best plan we've got! The—"
"—Only plan we've got," Harry interrupted. "And it's not good enough."
"—and Luna are nearly fully trained wizards. They can handle one night by themselves," Harry stated stonily. Jonathan pulled an exasperated face that Harry ignored. "I don't think the Death Eaters want them dead, so I think for now, they'll be fine."
Jonathan raised a sarcastic eyebrow. "Oh? And for how long exactly?"
"I dunno. Have you talked to your parents?"
Jonathan shook his head and Harry traveled down a flight of stairs with him at his side. "Mum and Dad have been up all night getting Hogsmead cleaned up and sending out search parties. Actually, the whole Order has been up all night trying to get everything fixed and safe." Jonathan's eyes flashed to Harry's left arm, still covered in bandages. "Speaking of, how's your arm?"
Harry squashed the urge to roll his shoulder. He'd most likely break the new skin if he did that. "Healed, mostly. Madam Pomfrey said I shouldn't do anything to upset the outer skin, as it's 'still delicate'." The rest of him though, that was a different story. He was still sore, tired to the bone, and had a massive headache that seemed to have started in the middle of the night and gotten worse this morning.
Jonathan snorted. "She'll love our plan then."
Harry grimaced, tinged with annoyance. "That is not what we're going to be doing Jonathan," He said, falling back onto his old argument. "We're not bringing Natara."
Jonathan groaned. "But why not!"
"Because it wasn't just me and the Order that got hurt," Harry replied, heading down the marble stair case. "Natara did too. She's still recovering."
"How do you know?" Jonathan rolled his eyes. "You haven't seen her since you fell off of her. She could be fine. She could be more than fine. I heard Bill and Hagrid took care of her last night after the shields came back up, and Hagrid's always wanted a dragon."
"Because," Harry rubbed at his chest, feeling his lungs expand and deflate with a tightness that never really let Harry forget breathing hurt for him. "I can feel it."
"'You can feel it'" Jonathan echoed with a scoff. "Right. Like you could-" Jonathan stopped and turned to Harry, causing Harry to stop at the bottom of the marble stair case as well. "Wait- what do you mean you can 'feel' her? Like actually feel her? Natara? You know how she's feeling?"
Harry rubbed his chest with his unhurt arm again. "Well, sort of, I guess." The ach in Harry's chest seemed to soothe when Harry thought about it. "I know she's hurt. Her wings bother her, her throat seems a little sore, and she's tired right now."
Jonathan's eyes widened to the point where it looked as if they would pop out of his head. "No way," he breathed out. "You—do you even know how—oh merlin, I'm gonna have to call Charlie." He turned briskly from Harry and continued his way down the stairs and out to the Entrance Hall. Harry followed behind him, feeling a little lost and more than a little tired. He wished he could just go to sleep instead of following Jonathan around or waiting for Ron to call him on his magic mirror.
"Slow down will you?" Harry asked, wincing at his fast movements. "I can't exactly—"
"Jonathan!" Lily's voice rang from just outside the castle's doors.
"Mum," Jonathan said, coming to a stop at the entrance with Harry right behind him. "What are you doing here? I thought you were at the Ministry with dad."
"I was," Lily said, glancing behind Jonathan and seeing Harry. "I was just coming to meet with Dumbledore." She nodded at Harry with a warm smile. "Good morning Harry. Feeling better?"
"Much, thanks," Harry said back politely.
"Madam Pomfrey let you out already?" She asked, her eyes coming to his bandage covered shoulder.
"She says that she's got other patients who need her more," Harry said back honestly with a neutral smile.
Lily nodded. "I know, I saw the hospital wing before I left for the Ministry." She smiled again and tightened her hand around a rolled up newspaper that Harry hadn't noticed she'd been holding before.
Harry glanced at the paper and narrowed in at the sight of flames and the tail of a dragon zooming out of one of the moving pictures in the front page article. Harry turned his head. They'd managed to get a picture of him last night? "Is that—?"
Lily looked down at her hands and unfolded the newspaper with a sigh like she'd been dreading talking about it. "It's this morning's paper from The Pure Prophet." She held it out to Harry for him to take.
"The Pure Prophet?" Harry asked, closing his hand around the paper and looking it over.
Lily took her free hands and wrapped them around herself. "The Daily Prophet was canceled years ago. Too much treasonous ideals. The Pure Prophet has all of the advertisement and propaganda that the Dark Lord wants. Nothing in the paper hasn't been looked over by top ministry officials and passed over close inspection."
On the top of The Pure Prophet was a large black and white photo of Harry riding Natara over a burning Hogsmead building. Above the picture of him in big black text said "DANGEROUS AND MYSTERIOUS ATTACKER IN HOGSMEAD!" Harry grimaced and looked at the paragraphs beneath his and Natara's picture.
Lily sighed again. "It says that you stood alone in the 'Burning of Hogsmead', and that government forces only just stopped you from kidnapping more than twenty children."
"The Burning of Hogsmead?" Harry asked, looking up at her. "Is that what they're calling it?"
Lily nodded and Jonathan scoffed. "This is dragon shite! Harry saved them all! He's not a mass murderer!"
Harry folded up the paper and handed it back to Lily. "They seem to think so. It's a good thing they only got a picture of the side of my face and can't connect me back to you."
Jonathan frowned. "How could they?"
"My name," Harry stated. He looked back to Lily. "Is this what you were going to show Dumbledore?"
Lily nodded. "I doubt he hasn't already seen it, but we need to figure out what to do. You've just became public enemy number two to the rest of the Wizarding world."
Harry moved the door open wider with his good arm to let Lily inside. "Just behind Dumbledore then?"
Lily walked past him. "Only with a lot more people wanting your head on a stick."
"They don't even know his name though," Jonathan said confused.
"No, they don't, but that's a blessing and a curse," Lilly said folding the paper beneath arm. "No one knows who Harry is, so it's a mystery that looks important from the outside. Everyone knows Dumbledore, knows how powerful he is, so they know that even if they found him, they probably wouldn't be able to turn him in to the Ministry. Harry on the other hand, while riding a dragon is unheard of, it doesn't strike the same shadow of fear that Dumbledore does. People will come looking for you Harry. For money, or for rising power inside the Dark Lords circle." Lily stared at him seriously. "You just put a target on your back and the whole of the Wizarding World knows it now."
Harry let that wash over him slowly, and he settled against the wooden door. "Spectacular," he muttered. "Really brilliant." He looked up to Lily with a cold stare and a sinking realization. "The Order isn't going to want me to go out anywhere are they?"
Lily pursed her lips. "I don't know. I was going to discuss it with Dumbledore." Harry knew what that was going to mean.
"Great, I was about to go and talk to Charlie. We'll come with you," Jonathan said easily, putting his hands in his pockets.
Lily frowned. "Why would you need to talk to Charlie? He's still in Romania."
"Well," Jonathan said, looking over at Harry like he was asking permission. Harry shrugged at the younger boy and put his own hands into his pockets. He didn't really care if Lily knew. If the Order knew really, it was just one more thing Harry was going to have to deal with later on when his mind was a little less groggy and his body hurt a little less. "- Harry can talk to dragons."
Harry leaned against the wall, letting the stone take his weight and smiling a little a Jonathan. Well that was certainly one way to put it. He could technically talk to her. He'd say communicate would have been better, but they did have a sort of unspoken language between them, making it seem as simple as Jonathan put it.
Lily didn't seem to understand. "He can ... what?"
"Speak to dragons," Jonathan shrugged easily. "Just found out, apparently, Harry and Natara can understand each other, and that's why he could ride a bloody dragon yesterday against the Death Eaters. She let him ride her."
Lily looked to Harry and settled herself at him like she was gearing up to start a long conversation. "Really?" she asked intrigued with a special light in her eyes. "Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that you can speak to snakes?"
Harry frowned, he hadn't thought about that. Snakes and Dragons had to be related in some way right? Same species, or family of species, or something like that? Something that could possibly let him communicate with dragons? "I... I don't know honestly. I guess that doesn't happen very often in the Wizarding World then? People understanding dragons."
Lily shook her head and Jonathan scratched at his forehead. "Well Dragon trainers can get points across, you know in training and all that, but they're not actually able to tell what they are saying, or thinking. The last time they had someone really trained in understanding dragons happened... what, two hundred years ago? Three? Charlie could tell you all about that. Wizards don't really care. They're just ... magical creatures right? No real intelligence."
"So you think it might have something to do with me being a parseltongue?"
Jonathan shrugged again. "Well that would explain it right? At least, a bit."
Lily nodded her head. "I'll send Charlie a letter while I talk to Dumbledore. He'll want to know too."
"Then we're coming with you," Jonathan said resolutely. Harry glanced at him.
Lily frowned and crossed her arms over her chest. "No, you're not Jonathan Potter. You and Harry will go eat breakfast and wait. The adults will figure out a plan to keep him safe." She turned to Harry and gave him a warm smile that seemed to warm Harry to his toes. "Don't worry Harry. We won't let anything happen to you." She reached out and placed a soft hand on Harry's injured arm. "At least nothing more."
Harry gave her a smile that he hoped looked completely genuine.
Jonathan didn't take the hint of Harry's silence. "But-"
Lily opened her mouth to say something, but Harry spoke before her, cutting her off. "It's okay Jonathan. I don't mind. Lily is only doing what she thinks is best for me."
Jonathan turned to him with wide eyes full of surprise. "But Harry—"
"—and besides," Harry said, letting himself sag against the wooden door. "I'm tired Jonathan. Breakfast and some time to think over a plan to help Ginny and Luna would help me more than arguing over whether or not I want to go back up all those steps to the Headmasters office."
Jonathan's eyes immediately went to Harry's shoulder. "Oh, oh right. Sorry, I forgot for a moment that you—alright sorry, I'll help you to get some breakfast then." He took up Harry's good arm around his shoulders and nodded at Lily silently. "Mum," He said.
Lily smiled and straightened up. "I'll see you two after I talk to Dumbledore." She smiled at the both of them. "Be safe."
Harry smiled back at her, and Jonathan rolled his eyes. "We're inside Hogwarts mum, I doubt we'll do anything life threatening unless the eggs try to choke us on the way down."
"All the same," she said, turning from them to go up the staircase.
"We'll try," Harry said as she climbed away from them.
Jonathan dropped Harry's arm when Lily was out of sight. "Alright then, come on, the Great Hall is—"
"I know where the Great Hall is," Harry said, stopping him.
Jonathan shrugged a shoulder. "Well alright, I was just trying to be—"
"Come on, we need to get out the apparition shields in Hogwarts," Harry said, turning right around and heading outside.
"To the—to the what? I thought you said you were hungry!"
Harry really was hungry, to be honest, he hadn't even finished his noodles with Remus the night before, but he needed to move, and to move quickly if he wanted to know where Luna and Ginny were. "I said that to your mum."
Jonathan was silent, but Harry heard his running footsteps coming up from behind him. "I knew it!" Jonathan said victoriously. "I knew you weren't just going to sit back and let them take over."
Harry didn't feel like he could say anything against that. "Adults will want to take over, and keep you 'safe' even when what the world needs is you to get up and do something." Harry sighed out. "Even in a different world, the adults here are the same."
"They would want you to do nothing?" Jonathan asked.
"Worse," Harry said. "They would want to use you to finish their own illusions of moral practicality." Harry and Jonathan were at the edges of the forbidden forest now, and Harry took out his wand. "Come on, I have a plan."
"Hold on." Harry took Jonathan's arm, closed his eyes thinking of a single place in the world, and then with a pop, they were gone.
"You okay?" Harry asked, watching Jonathan spin forwards at their landing.
"Fine," Jonathan grimaced. "I like flooing better to be honest."
Harry didn't have anything to say to that, and pulled Jonathan up by his arm. "Come on, we don't have much time."
"What time?" Jonathan asked straightening up.
"Morning traffic," Harry said looking around him and taking in the small changes from this world's magical community center from his own.
Jonathan looked up and stared around him as well. He frowned. "Diagon Alley? What are we doing here?"
Harry took in the rows and rows of shops, crowded alleyways, and varying colors of cloaks with narrowed eyes. There weren't as many people as he would have originally thought at one of the busiest times in Diagon Alley, but then again, cutting out muggle borns would have cut off a good chunk of the population. Harry watched packs of wizards and witches move around him, looking over everyone with suspicious eyes and clenched hands. It looked to Harry as if they were all moving about each other because they had to, and had no enjoyment in being outside other than the fact that they needed something from the shops. It made Harry's teeth clench at the similarities from this world and his when the Dark Lord's presence had been known again in his Wizarding world. Harry looked back at Jonathan.
"Getting people's attention."
Jonathan leaned towards Harry. "Why?"
"Well a criminal needs to be captured," Harry stared straight at Jonathan. "Wouldn't you agree?"
Realization came crashing down like a brick wall over Jonathan's face and he breathed out lightly. "Merlin."
Harry grinned at Jonathan's face and turned around towards the town with climbing dread in his stomach. "I'll need your help for this," Harry said to him, keeping his voice down.
Jonathan was close at his back when Harry heard him say, "What do you need me to do?"
Harry glanced at him quickly. "Play along."
Jonathan didn't have time to agree. Before he could open his mouth, or Harry could rethink what he was about to do, Harry had twirled around and had his wand tip pointed directly at Jonathan's nose. "Stand back! You'll never take me!" Harry shouted at the top of his lungs. People around him jumped, before realizing he had his wand, and backed up into the shadows of the shops. Others saw Harry's wand and grabbed at their own, pointing them at the ground, but visible to everyone else around them.
Someone with bright green robes and dark skin with flashing hazel eyes shoved people out of the way towards Harry and Jonathan. "What's going on here?" he shouted with a voice of authority.
Jonathan looked at Harry, and Harry stared at him back, raising his wand a little higher, looking like a bigger threat. Jonathan's face fell into a look of terror. "It's him! The man who burned Hogsmead!" Jonathan yelled louder than Harry had, catching everyone's attention. "He's come to destroy Diagon Alley! I heard him say so! He'll kill us all!"
People around Harry withdrew their wands and shoved at each other, either trying to get in closer to where Harry was, or trying to get out of the way. Harry turned to the crowd. "Stay back!" he yelled, waving his wand furiously in the air. Someone from the side flashed a camera at him and Harry drew in his eyebrows, hoping he looked fearsome and menacing. "Or I'll burn you like I burned Hogsmead! Stay back! I warn you! Not even Voldemort himself could stop me if I wanted! MOVE!"
People gasped at Voldemort's name, and things crashed to the floor as people suddenly desperately moved away like the plague was about to catch up to them. The man in shiny green robes pushed others out of the way and reached out to Harry. "Now you've done it!" he said, as he shoved someone away. "Drop your wand, or I'll remove your hands!"
Harry turned to the man and pointed his wand into the air. "Come and get me," he said quietly. Incendio, Harry thought, and watched as a blast of fire reached from the top of his wand and caught the tips of the shops around him. "Run!" Harry shouted at the fleeing crowds around him. "Run for your lives. Let Voldemort's sniveling Death Eaters see who really can cause the most damage," he boomed.
People ran in all directions, ducking and screaming as the fire started to spread over the roofs of the shops around them. Harry watched them run, and thought that this would do. Voldemort, or at least a good number of his followers would show up since he'd said his name twice in the middle of Diagon Alley.
The man in the green robes shot a spell at Harry, and Harry ducked backwards, letting the spell go over his chest. Harry saw Jonathan from the corner of his eye pushing back people to get closer to Harry, his face shocked and his eyes wide, with his arms reaching for Harry. Harry turned to grab ahold of Jonathan, but someone shoved him to the side, and he fell to the ground. Jonathan escaped his vision, and Harry rolled away from people's stomping feet. He got to his own feet and ran through the crowd, shouting over the crowds and bellowing names worse than he thought Fred and George could come up with.
Let them take the bait now, he thought.
Harry didn't see Jonathan until the younger boy's hand wrapped around his bad shoulder and had pulled him back, tearing the new flesh on his shoulder. Harry yelled out at the pain and Jonathan immediately let go. They were crouched together against an overturned stand at the corner of an alley. "We have to run! Aurors have come and Death Eaters have started showing up near Olivanders!"
Harry grabbed his shoulder and turned to Jonathan. "That's the point!"
Jonathan stared at him in disbelief. "They'll kill you!"
Harry shook his head. "Or they'll take me straight to Voldemort."
"You don't know that."
"They'll hold me with other prisoners."
"Or they'll take you straight to You-know-who's chambers and he'll kill you straight off!"
"I have a chance to find both Ginny and Luna with this."
"We don't know if they'll take us to them!"
Harry gazed at Jonathan tightlipped as people ran around them, and Jonathan searched Harry's face with growing realization. Harry didn't look away and Jonathan held his gaze. "I'm not going, am I?"
Harry shook his head minutely. "You're right. I might die. I might not even make it to Voldemort's feet. They might kill me right out and I can't bring you in on that. You could die because of that. Because of me." Harry glimpsed up at the people running around them. "I need you to go back to the Order."
"But I want to go with you," Jonathan shook his head furiously.
"You can't." Harry snapped back, peering at him and narrowing his eyes. "And don't try to be a hero by coming back for me. This is my decision to make. Go back with your family."
"YOU are my family," Jonathan insisted. Harry clenched his teeth together and Jonathan kept his eyes fixed on Harry. "You're a Potter. I won't leave you."
"You have to." Harry caught a piece of debris flying past them and pointed his wand at it. Portus, he thought in his head, imagining Hogwarts as its destination, and watched as the piece of trash glowed blue. Harry looked back up to Jonathan. "Sorry," he whispered. The blue of the portkey reflected back in Jonathan's eyes and the younger boy scrambled back like it would burn him.
"No! Harry don't –"
Harry threw the trash forwards, and it caught Jonathan's upper leg. Jonathan looked up at Harry with wide eyes for a split second. The portkey glowed bright blue and Harry watched the betrayal and disbelief in Jonathan's eyes swirl before he disappeared with the portkey, hundreds of miles away.
"You!" Harry recognized the voice of the man before with the green robes and he looked up in time to see the man running at him with his wand extended, pushing through the crowd with flashing white teeth.
Harry moved backwards, scrambling into the alleyway and sprinting through the shadows, letting them cover his escape deeper into the town. A dark purple spell flew past his shoulder and Harry threw himself out of the alleyway as fast he could, running full sprint to Olivanders. He passed dissaparating people, and families calling for their children.
A Death Eater apparated a few feet in front of Harry wearing long black robes and a shiny white mask. "Oi! Ugly! I'm over here," Harry yelled at it.
The Death Eater turned to him and had its wand out faster than Harry could keep his eyes on. Harry brought up his own wand. Another Death Eater apparated beside the first and Harry watched them walk together in front of him. Harry held up his wand and put his hands up in surrender.
"All right. You got me."
Both of the masked wizards stopped for a moment. "You're surrendering?" asked the first.
"Just like that?" asked the second.
Harry felt a little giddy. This was probably the stupidest thing he'd ever done, and the most dangerous. He didn't know what he was thinking when he'd thought of this, and he definitely didn't think he knew what he was doing now. He just let his mouth run on sass until he could think of his next step. Harry looked straight up at them. "Take me to your leader."
The muggle reference was probably lost on them, but Harry felt a little ridiculous anyways.
"You—you wish to see the Dark Lord?" the second asked, his voice colored in surprise.
"Fine, makes it easier on us then," The first said dismissing him and raising his wand at Harry.
"He wants to?" the second asked again.
The first shrugged. "Must be mental. Not our problem, we just get the bounty on his head don't we?"
The first took off his mask and looked at Harry with a grin. Harry knew him. A year ahead of him. A Ravenclaw. He didn't know the boy's name, but he knew his face. He'd died in the Battle of Hogwarts against Voldemort in his world. The boy twisted his face in a cruel smile and winked at Harry. "Nighty night," he said in delight.
Harry knew what was coming, and felt the flash of a stupefy spell against his chest before he saw it coming from the first boy's wand. A spreading numbness faster than he could blink, and then his eyes were closing and he lost consciousness in the middle of the running wizards and witches.
Harry woke up in a cold sweat, and in a cage.
Not chained to a chair or a potion shoved down his throat, that much was certain and he was grateful for, but he was still behind thick bars. He checked his pockets, and sure enough, without a wand. Well, at least they hadn't killed me, he thought to himself. He was lying on a cement ground with a blanket. He sat up, rotating his shoulders around and looking around.
A large room, was what he gathered. There wasn't much light, but he wasn't the only jail cell in the room. The cell was big enough for him to lay down on the ground both ways comfortably, but he doubted if Ron was here, he would feel the same. It was cold, a certain unnatural chill in the air that Harry recognized as Dementor aroma, and looking both to the left and to the right, he was certain he wasn't the only one sitting in a cage around him.
There were no windows and very little light from magical orbs hanging in the air, but he could see the shape of a body on the other side of his bars to his left. Harry looked closer and leaned forwards. As a matter of fact, Harry thought it could be a girl in this next cage over. She had slim shoulders, very short cropped brown hair, he could see from her back, and she was very, very thin. Dangerously thin that would have Mrs. Weasley in a fit.
"Excuse me," Harry said through the bars. "Er… miss? Do you know where we are?"
"Leave me alone," her voice was cracked and thin like a reed pipe played too long.
"I'm sorry to… bother you, I just wondered if you knew where we might be? And, have you seen any new people come in here. Two girls, they'd be about my age, one with long red hair and the other with long, sort of almost white blonde hair." Harry waited, but the other girl didn't seem like she was going to answer. "Er… hullo?"
The girl sat up, her back to Harry, and the thick blanket that was wrapped around her fell to the ground. She breathed out in a long sigh. "You one of them?"
Harry wondered if she was still talking to him, and if she was, what was a 'them'? "Uh, a what?"
"A wizard. One of those things that use magic."
"A thing?" Harry answered automatically. "I'm.. yes, I am a wizard. Not from around here though," Harry said, leaning against the back of his bars.
"You have the accent," she remarked shortly.
"Well, yes, but that doesn't mean.—" Harry trailed off and thought about her words. The way she had said them. They were entitled almost. Knowing. Realistic and bold on the verge of rude. It was very familiar actually, if Harry thought about it a bit more. "Do… do I know you?"
"No," she said coldly, and Harry for a second almost believed her, her voice was so sure. "I don't affiliate myself with murderers."
Harry was taken back. "I'm not a murderer!"
"You use magic. That's good enough." Once again, her voice was so sure, so upright. It rang a bell in the back of his head, but Harry couldn't place where he had heard her before.
"You act like you don't—hang on, are you… are you a muggle?" Harry's eyes widened and he sat back against the bars with a new sense of breathlessness. No wonder she wouldn't like Wizarding people then. Locked up by one, probably treated horribly. Worse than horribly, if this world was as bad as the others had said.
"I'm a hunter." Her back straightened and Harry was too shocked to speak for a moment. A hunter. So that was a real thing here.
"A witch hunter?"
"All magical beasts," she answered.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What if they haven't done anything to you?"
"They're magical. It would only ever be a matter of time." To Harry, that sounded like vengeance. Something out of a muggle book in the supernatural section.
"So they've hurt you then, hmm? Is that why you hunt … er, us?"
"You're a murderer. No one else will do it, so we do."
"You're an organization? You said 'we' so I'm guessing you're part of something much bigger?"
"Stop talking to me murderer."
Harry frowned. "I'm not a murderer. Well, not really. I am fighting in a war though, so technically, it depends on how you look at it. But I've never hurt a muggle before. I was raised by muggles."
"Well, to be honest, if anyone's a murderer here to me, it would have to be either you, or the Death Eater who locked us in here. You can take your pick as I'm fairly sure you've killed before, and I know the Death Eaters have."
Her head turned slightly to him, and Harry only saw the shadow of her face, still too dark to recognize who she was. He had caught her attention. "Is that what you call them? Death Eaters?"
"It's what they named themselves actually," Harry answered honestly. "It's what Voldemort, their leader, decided to name them I guess." Harry crossed his arms over himself to keep the chill out, and briskly rubbed his hands over his arms.
Apparently, she could see him and she wrapped the blanket at her back around her again. "It's always cold here. You'll be needing the blanket."
"Doesn't surprise me," Harry said, getting to his feet and fetching his own small blanket. "It's the effect of having a dementor in close proximity."
"A dementor?" she asked, her voice just barely colored with curiosity.
"A magical being that kind of sucks the happiness from you," Harry wrapped the blanket around himself. "While this place seems depressing, the kind of hopelessness hanging in the air is caused by them. They live off of it."
"Of course it's magical," she scoffed like Harry had just proven that the whole of magical society was dark and dangerous.
"Well they're dark creatures. Not all magical creatures are dark though. Unicorns are pure light magic, and Dementors usually are only supposed to be guarding the Wizarding prison, to keep dark wizards inside."
"I'm not a wizard," she stated stonily.
"No," Harry agreed, looking at her closely. "You're not, are you?"
"Why are they here?"
Harry leaned back against the bars and sighs. "Well when one of the darkest Dark Lords enlists the dark creatures of the Wizarding world to his aid, they abandon their job and do what he orders." Harry shrugged. "Or we could just be in Azkaban."
"Azkaban," she echoed.
Harry nodded. "The Wizarding prison."
"Why are you here?" she asked.
Harry looked up at the ceiling. "I called the Dark Lord some unsavory names in public and challenged him in a large Wizarding community."
"Are you an idiot?"
"Sometimes," he shrugged again. "But I wanted them to find me, so it all worked out for me."
"You're in a cage."
"Yes, but they didn't kill me, so," Harry said offhandedly. "But why are you here?"
Harry almost kicked himself at his question. She didn't trust witches or wizards. It wasn't like she was going to answer him. Harry let the silence deepen for a couple more moments before he opened his mouth to talk about something else. Surprisingly, he heard her voice answer softly.
"They caught me," she said quietly.
There was silence again. "I'm sorry," Harry said to her after a moment of dark silence hung between them. "Not all of us are like this, I want you to know. There are good wizards and witches out there."
She scoffed sarcastically, with an edge of icy coldness. "You'd know then?"
Harry was silent for a beat longer than necessary. "I'd hope so. I've been fighting this war since I was a kid."
"Against us?" her question was more of a statement. "The 'muggles' of your world?"
"No, against Voldemort," Harry said.
She was quiet for a moment, like she was processing his words. "The Dark Lord that everyone keeps talking about? Your parents let you fight against him as a child?"
"My parents were killed because of him. I lived with muggles for a time remember?"
The girl was quiet. "Were you… what they call a 'muggleborn'?"
Harry looked back at her and shook his head. "No. My mum was though. She married my dad, a wizard, and had me, a 'half-blood'."
"You're not a 'pure blood' or whatever that nonsense is?" she asked. Her tone turning defensive. "How do you even have a wand?"
"Not from around here, remember?" Harry grinned once. He leaned forwards and looked straight at her from behind the bars. "The real question is what are you? Half-blood, or muggleborn? A squib from an important family perhaps?" Harry looked at her back and saw her tense. "No one I've met has a reason so young to do something so drastic as kill unless its self-protection, or revenge. I'm guessing yours is revenge. So magical background." He waited for an answer.
Moments passed and Harry wondered if she was truly going to keep silent. "Muggleborn," she finally stated like it was a death penalty to an innocent man. "Nearly eight years ago, when I was eleven, a wizard—those Death Eaters came to my house and killed my parents for being what I was."
Harry stared at her harder. Eight years. She'd have been in his year then. Maybe she didn't go to Hogwarts, but she'd have been in his year just the same. "What's your name?" he asked quietly.
The girl breathed out and turned to face Harry. She kept her face downwards, but Harry could see familiar cheekbones, pointed chin, and once upon a time too large teeth. The curly hair had been cut to a boys short haircut, but when she looked up at Harry, he couldn't mistake her eyes for anyone else.
"Granger," she said, staring at him through the metal bars. "Hermione Granger."
Harry's stomach fell and air seemed to blow away any brains he possessed in his skull. He stared at this worlds Hermione with widening eyes and overpowering dread. "Hermione," Harry echoed. "Merlin, Hermione."
Yeah. Thats right, Hermione is back in the picture.
NEXT UP: A meeting, an escape, and a Death.
Comments are always much appreciated. :D