A/N: Second chapter! J.K. Rowling owns all of the characters and places. Yada yada. Brace yourself. This should be quite the chapter.
Hermione was lying on the roof. She had been up there for a while before Harry came out through a hole. The roof of the Shrieking Shack was by no means in great shape. Neither was the house itself for that matter. The only thing that kept the roof from caving in was a series of complicated spells that had been put in place when the house was still lived in by its original owners.
“I thought that you might be here Mione,” Harry said to her casually while he found a seat next to her and laid down. “I don’t think I have ever seen a sky like this,” Harry said as he smiled and looked over to his best friend.
“I know.... everything is so clear, it’s unbelievable.... Have you seen Ron today?” Hermione said with a very noticeable trace of sorrow in her voice. Ron had lost many of his family in the war and as much as Harry and Hermione didn’t like to admit it, their once jovial and lighthearted friend was gone; at least for a while.
“Yeah, I saw him this morning, he was talking to Lupin while looking over Ginny,” Harry said, “I think he is leaving for a while after the funeral ceremony.” Hermione nodded her head silently as she thought about where she thought he was going. She persuaded herself that Ron would eventually find his way back to them and looked up into the sky in order to stop her tears from falling down. She could not however, hide her sniffling and Harry caught on almost instantly.
“Oh Hermione, I know that it’s tough, we seem to have so much to fix,” Harry said as he hugged Hermione and let her cry on his shoulder, “but we will fix it, we have all the time in the world,” Harry smiled and could feel that Hermione was joining him in the warm smile. She pulled away to face him and Harry saw her soaking face. Harry wiped her cheeks away with his thumbs and encouraged her to smile with his own. As soon as she began to smile again he brought her back into a hug and kissed the top of her head.
The sky was a deep blue and every once in a while a songbird would go fluttering by. There were no clouds anywhere in sight and the sun was shedding warm rays upon them. The heat was not too intense and it immediately reminded both of them of their days at Hogwarts where the three of them would lay under the trees along the lake. After a while Harry and Hermione went back inside to see what was going on with the other order members.
“Hello Lupin,”Hermione said trying to sound bright but failing, “how are things going? I am sorry I have been so out of it.”
“That is fine Hermione, I know how trying all of this has been for you. It has been trying for me as well,” Lupin said while putting on a good two second smile. “The funeral ceremonies will begin at noon, Ginny is over in the bed over there..... she is still unresponsive.”Lupin finished. Headmistress McGonagall signaled for Lupin to come to talk to her. When he arrived she immediately set into a long string of new information. She spoke in very hushed voices and kept looking over at Harry and Hermione. She didn’t look worried however, so Harry and Hermione had no incentive to eavesdrop on the two heads of the Order of the Phoenix.
Harry then walked over to Ginny’s bed. In his sixth year of Hogwarts, they had a fling and ended it because Harry thought that she could be in danger if the enemy knew that they were together. As Harry gazed down upon her gentle form, he realized that he no longer felt as he used to. His overprotectiveness of her had made her into something of a sister. He sat down next to her bed and he studied her face. Her look of utmost terror had been softened and replaced with a somewhat angry look. It would take a long time to discover what the curse was that hit her because what ever it was had blocked off her mind like powerful occlumency. A spell that Minerva McGonagall had put on her caused her to emit a light violet color so that her condition could be more evident. The color hadn’t changed for days upon days.
“Hello Harry,” Headmistress McGonagall said to him quietly, “Ginny....I...I-I have never seen anything like this Harry. It is almost as if she is trapped inside a shell of herself. Almost as if she is trying to inhale when her lungs are full to capacity. She is trying to escape her own body because for some reason she is terrified of herself.”
“How do you suggest that we reverse this then?” Harry whispered while looking at his shoes. Ginny’s face was too painful to look at. He couldn’t help but feel responsible.
“I am unsure, we will have to look into her symptoms. We need to research it, we have never faced this before so I don’t want to hurt her more,” McGonagall replied as Hermione walked up behind her. Hermione had a very hurt look on her face and could not look over at Ginny’s bed, let alone look at her face.
“I need some fresh air, when will we leave for the funeral?” Harry asked while walking across Minerva McGonagall to Hermione.
“We should get there a little early so I plan on leaving at around half past eleven,” McGonagall said turning around to face Harry. Harry nodded and then walked to the front door.
“I’m going to check out Grimmauld Place,” Harry said as he grabbed the knob of the door and opened it for Hermione.
“Harry,” McGonagall said and Harry stopped , “be careful, Grimmauld will not be like it last was when you saw it.”
Harry paused for a second before nodding and heading out the door after Hermione. He took her hand in his and headed out past the long walkway to the Shrieking Shack. When they got to the end of the walkway, they looked at each other and disapparated.
When they apparated in front of 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of his late Godfather, and the old headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, they didn’t see the rubble that they were expected. They instead saw a standing, bright and welcoming house. It was a light yellow and had a white fence, a well kept lawn, and well watered flower beds. The sight of the house brought back pain and anger that Harry didn’t know that he had kept hidden. The home that had meant safety for Harry for so many years before its whereabouts were given directly to Voldemort. The house he knew was gone; an imposter. Harry almost couldn’t control himself as he gazed upon the warmness of the House of Black.
It was Percy Weasley that had given them away. They third eldest of the Weasley clan had become a Death Eater shortly after Dumbledore was killed. Harry had never been on the best terms with Percy and he knew that Percy thought that he was a bad influence after what happened at the Tri-Wizard Tournament. He even told his siblings to stop talking to ‘the freak.’ Percy had died a few months prior to the end of the war.
Now as Harry looked upon the land that had been left to him by his godfather, he couldn’t help but feel as if that part of his godfather was gone, tainted, by a light canary yellow paint. Harry couldn’t stay here or even look at it for that matter so he just turned around and faced across the street. The world he knew was gone for good. It was never a question of going back to normal. Everything was changing so rapidly. Then he looked over at Hermione and beamed at her. She saw him in the corner of her eye and looked over to him and returned his smile.
“What are you smiling at,” Hermione asked while tilting her head and causing her now lively curls to bounce around.
“You,” Harry replied which caused Hermione to blush furiously. Harry continued and looked down at her hands, “I realized something looking at what used to be Grimmauld Place,” Harry paused and looking back up at her now completely flushed face, “that our world is changing, it will never be like what it used to be no matter how hard we try....except”
“-Except what?” Hermione asked slowly. She was only inches away from him.
“Except you, you have been the only thing in my life that has been constant despite all that is going on around us,” Harry said now entirely aware of how close she was. “I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for you; you keep me level headed,” Harry finished.
“Come on lets go for a walk,” Hermione said still smiling and blushing furiously. He grabbed her hand and, even though this was a normal action for him to take, she was extremely aware of it and blushed even more. They walked around the block and turned into a little park with a pond in it. They sat down on a rock and continued to talk more.
“Hermione, I have something that I want to talk to you about,” Harry said seriously. Hermione replaced her smile with a slightly more serious face and nodded for him to continue. “Hermione I have known you for so long; you are my best friend,” Harry paused and looked at Hermione who was smiling again, “but at the end of the final battle.... when I saw you.... I felt different toward you,” Harry paused again, “uhh...how am I going to say this?... I think that I am falling for you Hermione.... all I know is that one look from you gave me the power I needed to defeat Voldemort.”
“Oh Harry...” Hermione said before she pressed her lips to his. They stayed there for quite a while before just holding each other and looking out at the lily pads in the pond. Harry then looked to a clock tower and realized that they had been out for too long. Harry took Hermione’s hand and both of them disapparated back to the Shrieking Shack to get ready for the funeral.
At quarter to noon the two of them arrived at Hogwarts. The mass funeral ceremony involved so many Order members and various others that they had to do it in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The Great Hall was even enlarged beforehand by Headmistress McGonagall to accommodate the thousands of people being mourned. Some of the coffins were open for loved ones to gaze at the deceased one last time while others remained shut so that the loved ones would not have to see how the deceased had died. Harry and Hermione passed by all of the coffins and saw their fellow Order members. He passed by Bill Weasley, the second oldest Weasley brother, he was very compassionate and was married to Fleur Delacour with one son whose name was Francois. Fleur would now have to raise a toddler by herself. Then he passed Molly Weasley, the mother of the Weasley family. Harry remembered the days when he would come to visit the Weasleys during the summer at their house called the Burrow. She was like a mother to him as well as her family and always made Harry welcome in her home. The Weasleys were held together by their mother and will have a hard time now that she is gone. Next Harry passed Arthur Weasley, the father of the Weasley household. He was always warm and welcoming but more like his children then Molly. He lightened up all of the summers with his joking nature and never hesitated to ask how a muggle device worked.
Harry looked over and saw that Hermione was in tears. Harry squeezed her hand and stroked her thumb with his before continuing on. The next coffin that they passed was that of Mad-Eye Moody. He was a strict yet impassioned Auror who until his untimely death had lead the most elite branch of the Order of the Phoenix. His coffin was covered to hide his body. Harry learned many useful things from Moody. It was him that made Harry interested in being an Auror in the first place. Next in line was Percy Weasley. Harry didn’t really even hesitate once he saw who it was that was in the coffin. Hermione was just as glad to leave that one behind them. After those coffins, Harry and Hermione went to sit down at the spot where the Gryffindor table used to be. It felt awkward and cold in the Great Hall without Headmaster Albus Dumbledore to guide them and to teach them. Fred and George Weasley were already sitting at the table there.
“Hey Harry, How are you Hermione,” Fred and George said together.
“Fine, I’ve been better,” Hermione said. She was immediately saddened when she saw the twins’ expressions. The twins’ were well known pranksters and had opened a very successful joke shop in Diagon Alley. However, they had been very serious and depressed the past few days.
“How have you two been doing?” Harry asked while trying not to sound too worried. Even though he knew that the Weasley family was crippled by all of their losses and needed to regroup, Harry knew that they were a very proud family nonetheless and hated to be pitied.
“Decent considering,” they replied, “we just saw Ginny. She is still in the same state.”
“If anyone can come out of that it’s Ginny,” Hermione said, “she’s a fighter for sure.”
The twins smiled at her words but by no means brightened up. They all hoped that Ginny would pull through but no one really knew if she would wake up. Harry then realized that Ron was not at the ceremony.
“Have you guys seen Ron?” Harry asked suddenly concerned for his best friend, “I saw him earlier but he looked like he was planning on going somewhere.”
“Ron was here, he told us to say that he would talk to you guys later,” Fred and George said, “he just needs to think about everything that’s happening.”
Harry nodded his head and stood up. Hermione grabbed his hand and walked with him out of the Great Hall. They walked through the hallways and walked up to the library. When they got to the door they opened it cautiously and looked around. Everything was the same as it was in their sixth year. It was like stepping into a time capsule.
“Harry look....” Hermione said while letting her jaw drop, “there is a light coming from the restricted section!”
Harry and Hermione crept over to the door to the restricted section and took out their wands. In this case Harry’s invisibility cloak would have come in useful, but it was scorched during a sting operation earlier in the war. They slowly approached the door and looked at each other with signs of confusion and uneasiness etched across their faces. They had experienced more terrors together than anyone in the world. Fear was not a concern for them.
“Back to sneaking around are you?” McGonagall asked from behind the now opened door, “come in here. I have some very good news for you,” she concluded. She had a very large grin plastered on her face.
“Remus has just arrived from the Department of Mysteries and reports that something has been discovered about the veil,” McGonagall said while allowing Lupin to finish telling the news.
“The veil in the Department of Mysteries has been researched for quite some time. Until recently it turns out barely anything was known about it. So when people that accidently fell into it, they were presumed to be dead. Not unlike Sirius Black,” Lupin said his smile flickering like a candle in the wind, “this morning a second veil was discovered! The second side to the veil in the Department of Mysteries!” Lupin exclaimed.
“Do you mean that Sirius could be alive?!” Harry screamed with joy, “where is it... the other half?”
At this both Lupin and McGonagall’s smiles faded. Then Lupin replied, “It is in a dungeon on Azkaban Island.”
Harry’s smile had faded when he realized what this meant. Sirius had escaped from Azkaban in Harry’s third year and if he went back to Azkaban then he would be given the Dementor’s Kiss almost as soon as they found him. Harry knew that he couldn’t let his godfather’s soul be stolen from his body.
“When can we leave?” Harry said looking back and forth between Hermione, Lupin, and McGonagall. Hermione put on a worried smile and hugged Harry to let her know that she wanted to come along.
“Harry, we can’t leave right now,” McGonagall said slowly in case he got angry. She knew full well that Harry had a very dangerous temper.
“Why not?! Sirius could be getting the Dementor’s Kiss as we speak and you tell me we can’t help him? Lupin help me get to him,”Harry pleaded looking at Lupin, “Lupin, its another Marauder! Come on we can’t hesitate!”
“Harry we have too much to fix back here. All of Muggle London saw the Final Battle and we have to fix that. It is going to take a lot of time and energy to do it quickly. We cannot afford for the entire Muggle world to become aware of our presence. It has happened once and we were literally persecuted until the beginning of the eighteenth century.” McGonagall explained.
“Fine then, I will just go with Hermione,” Harry said in a defeated yet angry tone. He walked out of the restricted section and out of the school altogether. If they were going to go to Azkaban island then they would have to go to the Caspian Sea.
Sirius Black; the Marauder, the Order member, the friend, was coming home to stay. Harry realized that everything changed in his world. The world was no longer scary or dangerous, but the world was uncertain. Even though there was peace for the first time in Harry’s life, he felt as if something was looming in the shadows ready to pose a new threat. A life that had once been guided by a prophecy was now random for the first time. Harry looked at Hermione and smiled before kissing her lightly. Wherever Ron was at the moment was hard to tell, but he would have to sit out on this rescue mission.
“Now let’s go get Padfoot,” Harry smiled before they both disapparated for the Caspian Sea.
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