Chapter 1 : Letters And Love
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Sorry this is a short letter and I'm sorry I haven't found time to speak to you, I've been so busy with everything. Although it's only Autumn, the weathers turning darker and colder. I feel like inside of me is turning with it. Padfoot I need you more than ever right now and I'd give anything to be with you: as a family. I just need someone there in my life right now and I appreciate Hermione and Ron's help but you're the person I really need. You seem to understand, as if you live inside me. Please talk to me soon through the flames.
The cold air blew through Harry's jet black hair, and sent chills shooting up his spine. He thrusted his freezing hands into his pockets and stood overlooking the world, shaking intensly from the temperature. Feeling a hand on his shoulder he turned his head around to find Hermione standing with a weak smile wiped across her face, her eyes filled with tears. Harry turned completely to face her.
"Hermione, are you okay?" Harry asked noticing her watery eyes, his voice shaking.
"I'm fine! It's the wind," Harry shot Hermione an unconvinced look, "Harry don't give me that look! I'm fine honestly." Harry decided not go ask anymore question for her knew he would simply recieve the same answer everytime. Instead, they both look out over the scenery; snow filled mountains, high trees and the Sun breaking through it's icy white winter clouds. Neither spoke, for they were both waiting for the other one to speak first. The silence pained Harry.
"Anyway, why are you here so early? It's only 6am."
"I could ask you the same question." Hermione replied in an adult voice. After, looking at each others face expressions, they both spluttered into a fit of laughter and Harry felt like he'd never stop. It was the first time Harry had laughed in such a long time and it felt so good. It was as if a hole inside him that had been emptied for a while now, had suddenly been filled up with love and happiness again. Nearly rolling on the floor, they both grabbed hold of each other and stopped laughing quite abruptly. After gazing into Hermione's eyes for what seemed more than a lifetime, he looked down and straightened himself up, as Hermione did the same. Harry's heart hadn't beat against his ribcage so powerfully since his kiss with Cho Chang the previous year. Unsure whether it was just the fit of laughter or the emotions that had took the energy out of him, he felt as if his feelings were battling each other inside his heart. It was only Hermione...
"So yeah, anyway. Why so early?" Neither of them laughed this time.
"I saw you leave. I haven't been able to sleep Harry, I've been so worried. I was actually sat in the dark in the common room."
"Hermione I'm fine. We'll beat him and all of this okay?" And he grabbed Hermione into a tight hug and she hugged just as snug back. Harry closed his eyes and cherrished the moment, the feeling of not wanting to let go boiling hot inside of him. He refused to let her out of his arms, for what Harry estimated about five minutes and when he did he had to fight back his feeling of grabbing her again and turning it into something more serious. He spluttered and coughed and then faced Hermione again.
"Anyway.. yeah big potions essay..."
"Okay. I'll see you later." And before Harry had chance to hug her again, she'd stormed off and almost out of Harry's eyesight. Standing on the spot, still confused, he'd heaved an almighty sigh. Soon, he began to make his way back up to the boys dormitory. When he arrived Ron was sat in front of the fire, eye's drooping. Harry guessed he was asleep and quickly slid past him. But before he could reach the stairs he heard Ron's call.
"Harry! There you are! I've been so worried mate."
"'Cus ya' weren't here! You could've been taken for all i know! Bloody hell," Ron replied, shooting an angry glance at Harry who stared back, not knowing how to answer.
"Sorry Ron." He replied bluntly, although he wanted it to sound like it had as much meaning as he'd intended it to have.
"Anyway where've you been at," Ron examined his watch, "at 6.30am?" He questioned intrigued.
"Nothing, nowhere." Harry replied just as sharp as his previous answer and sat down on the armchair beside Ron's next to the fire. Ron followed but did not take his eye's off Harry.
"Go on mate. Thought we were best mates. Tell me everything, yknow." Ron replied, as if he was physically trying to squeeze an answer out of Harry.
"Ron I said I'd been nowhere okay!" Harry shouted, leaving his armchair and racing up the stairs. He soon regretted shouting at his best friend but his angry towards Ron didn't fade so easily. Why did he HAVE to know every single thing? Not speaking to Ron, who followed shortly after Harry returning up the stairs, he packed his bag full of books he had lessons of today. After the events of this morning, he wasn't particularly happy to discover he had Divination today. Without Hermione. Shaking his head, as if he were trying to shake the thought of Hermione out his head, he scanned his timetable. Potions. 'Great' Harry thought sarcastically.
After thoroughly examining his timetable, sighing at each lesson he read, he scooped up his belongings and paced down the stairs. Fred and George sat talking away about their joke shop whilst Seamus Finnigan laughed at their ideas. Hoping no one would notice him, he passed through the common room at a fast speed until Ginny stopped him.
"You alright Harry?" She asked. Stopping and turning to face the ginger haired girl, he fidgeted.
"Yeah I'm fine, I just gotta go." And not waiting to hear her reply Harry stormed off to the moving stairs. Making his way to the great hall quickly, he thought it was rather ignorant of him not to have apologised to Ginny for his rudeness. Ignoring Nearly Headless Nick who greeted Harry a happy morning welcome, and becoming angry with Peeves, Harry punched the wall on his way, fed up of everything.
"PEEVES JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" Harry yelled, ignoring the attention he was gathering from fellow passers-by.
"Ooh snotty potty, getting his wandy pondy in a twisty wisty!" Peeves replied jokily, making Harry's face blush a shocking crimson colour. Sprinting past Peeves, relieved he'd got there, he entered the Great Hall. Wondering up to the Gryffindor table seats they usually sat at, he wondered if Hermione would be there. Unfortunately for Harry she wasn't but took a seat opposite Ron who daren't look up at Harry. Time past and the boys sat reading their post from Mrs Weasley when Ron suddenly spluttered everywhere,
"I'm sorry mate about this morn-"
"- It's okay honestly." Harry interrupted, forcing a smile on his face. At the back of his heart he still felt a small bit of anger for Ron but for a different reason. Harry stopped reading his mail in thought and couldn't stop himself for asking Ron such a strange question at the time.
"Do you still.. y'know. Like Hermione?" Ron immediatly blushed a blood red colour, as he heard a splutter of giggles from his sister who was sat next to him, now turning her attention off her Daily Prophet to Ron and Harry's conversation.
"W-What?" Ron stuttered, his face reaching the point of looking so red it was about to explode.
"Sorry mate." Harry replied holding back his own laughter, a smirk gathering on his lips. Ron said no more but glared down at the pine table in embarassment. Disappointment crossed over Harry's heart as he had no reply from Sirius, his loving Godfather. It had been four months since Harry's last letter and the thought of sending him another crossed him mind a few times but he had never gotten round to it. Breathing heavily Harry said his goodbyes to Ron and carried himself to his first lesson. His stomache rumbled furociously as Harry had passed the thought of breakfast that morning. As he arrived outside his Divination classroom Dumbledore passed him, walking slowly, deep in thought.
"Harry, It's good to see you since our last encounter." Dumbledore smiled. Harry remembered their last encounter: It was in Dumbledore's office as they sat and spoke about previous events from last academic year. Albus had not brought up the topic of how they were going to defeat Voldemort but simply talked about Harry's lessons this year. Harry enjoyed normal chat, but couldn't help wondering why Dumbledore was resisting the topic of death. It was Sirius Harry wanted to talk about but Dumbledore had mind up his mind to avoid this topic of conversation aswell.
"How has your year been so far?" He questioned Harry, his smile staying strong.
"Fine thanks Professor. Would it be possible to see you this evening for a private chat?" Harry mumbled, his green eye's hitting the floor.
"Harry... You know you're welcome." Dumbledore grinned widely in his old unforgotten friendly voice, and walked off, his grey cloak following behind him. Suddenly, happiness flowed through Harry's blood into his heart and he smiled properly for the first time since laughing with Hermione in the icy, bitter cold morning. He thought where Hermione might be now and as the bell rang he entered his potions classroom. Being the first one to be seated, Harry recieved a nasty glare for Professor Snape, and took his "The best way to Brew!" book - The book they were currently using to study for their N.E.W.T.s. More students arrived and each time he saw a figure move through the door, he hoped each time it would be Hermione. After five long lasting painful minutes Harry lost hope of Hermione coming in. Instead he was now seated next to Ron who nudged Harry numerous times to whisper complaints such as: 'Don't understand this waddle,' and "I think I may fall asleep.". It seemed longer than ten minutes when Hermione finally arrived. Harry raised his head in interest as she entered the room whilst Snape was explaining away about N.E.W.T.s and what would come up on them.
"Miss Granger, how nice of you to join us. Would you like to explain your lateness?" Snape turned to Hermione, hands held together in a cup, with one jet black eyebrow raised, a sinister look on his face.
"I'm-I'm so sorry Professor!" Hermione gasped, trying to gather in air for her tired lungs, "I was talking to Professor Dumbledore. We both lost track of time in his office!" Hermione was obviously desperate for Professor Snape to understand. He reflected an unconvincing look back at Hermione but knew she had never and would never usually be late for one of his lessons; she was one of the best students.
"Very well. Take a seat next to Miss Patil."Hermione quickly raced over to her seat, took her book and notes out, and fixed her eyes powerfully on Professor Snape. As Ron muttered more complaints to Harry, he saw this as an opportunity to look briefly for a few milli-seconds at Hermione, for Hermione could be seen just as you looked passed Ron. For the long, dragged hour Harry barely took notice to his potions teacher but focused more on trying to catch Hermione's eye. Unsuccessful, Harry decided within the last fifthteen minutes to just speak to Hermione after class. Relief shot through Harry as the bell sounded, giving them permission to be dismissed from the classroom - And permission for Harry to talk to Hermione. Throwing his books in his bag, and knocking his seat backwards as he went, he ran over to Hermione who was walking out the classroom, head down, her bouncy, luxurious hair falling elegently down her back. As soon as he was within arm length he tapped her quite hard on the shoulder and she spun around.
"Harry..." She said, her eye's not leaving the floor. Harry was now at least ninety percent sure she had felt the same way when they embraced each others company that morning. Both were confused as how they felt towards each other, for Harry had engaged with Cho and Hermione had enjoyed company with Ron also. Ron was quick to join them as they walked up the stairs to Divination in silence. Harry couldn't help but snap a look at Hermione more than several times and not once did she look up off the floor. It was only until they reached near the door Ron noticed Hermione's odd behaviour. Ron had gotten used to Harry being quiet and secretive since Voldemort's return.
"What's got your wand in a knot?" Ron snarled at Hermione as they entered the mystical looking, flambouyent classroom. The trio took seats at a table on a backrow, as neither of them were interested in this subject and never had been. A crystal ball sat heavily on the starry cloth as Professor Trelawny entered the room, looking as confused as usual, her big, black, thick framed glasses neatly balancing on her nose. When they had settled down Hermione leaned in towards Ron,
"Nothing is wrong with me!" She snapped at him. Ron grinned, thinking the old Hermione was back. She looked as Harry for a wonderful split second then at Professor Trelawny. Neither of them spoke much to each other during the whole lesson; Especially Harry and Hermione. When time had done it's business and finished the lesson for them, the tio made their way down to the Great Hall for study hour. As they took places next to Neville, Luna and Ginny they all greeted each other.
"Hello Harry." Luna smiled her usual smile.
"Hi Luna." Harry replied kindly, stretching a false smile back.
"Harry where did you have to rush off to this morning?" Ginny asked, without greeting him as Luna did. The other four stopped in their tracks to listen to Harry's answer.
"Nowhere. Potions." Harry replied bluntly, making sure he made no eye contact with anyone.
"But their was ten minutes to go?"
"Ginny just-!" Harry shot his head up in a quick motion, took a short glance of the five pairs of eye's gazing at him, then grabbed his bag which he hadn't actually took anything out of but only looked through, and walked quickly down the Great Hall towards the bold doors. He did not now where he would go, maybe the yard or Professor Dumbledore's office. When he reached the doors, he immediately decided to sit outside and calm himself down. But he didn't want to come down; Why was everything so complicated? Sirius hadn't replied which resulted in Harry thinking he was either injured, on the run or simply not caring about Harry anymore, his love life was hanging by a thread with two girls hanging off it. Also, he had Ginny following and ruining everything on top and then Dumbledore; secretive and unwilling to talk to Harry. He needed all these people in his life so why weren't they helping and supporting? The more Harry though about it the more anger bubbled up inside of him and he resulted in punching the wall making his knuckles bleed. Just as he did this, Hermione approached him beginning to run.
"Harry! What an earth are you doing?" She gasped taking his hand forcefully and examing his knuckles, which blood know flew freely out of.
"Like you care." Harry muttered under his breath angrily, snatching back his hand off Hermione and examing it himself; Only so he didn't have to face Hermione.
"Are you okay?" Hermione whispered, not taking her eyes off Harry's hand.
"Yes, I'm just perfect." Harry replied sarcastically now raising his head up slowly to face Hermione. His heart melted as an expression of love and how much she cared was on her face. "Are you okay?" Hermione whispered, not taking her eyes off Harry's hand.
"Yes, I'm just perfect." Harry replied sarcastically now raising his head up slowly to face Hermione. His heart melted as an expression of love and how much she cared was on her face. Suddenly, Ron appeared standing just a few metres from the couple. An expression of confusion played on his face.
"What you two up to?" He asked suspiciously.
"Nothing." Hermione and Harry both answered at the same time. Both looked at each other, smiles stretching wide, both trying to hold back laughter.
"Okay... Come on Harry." Ron said, tugging Harry who looked back at Hermione and smiled as she followed. Harry's insides was bubbling again all thanks to one girls smile.
Harry sat talking to Hermione about N.E.W.T's as she took the role of the conversation explaining to Harry how extremely important it was for him to try his hardest. Ron didn't take note, and avoided Hermione's lecture which Harry admittedly didn't want to avoid. He loved it when Hermione spoke to him about things like this, school things. Ron sat his eye's following the lines of the lattest "Quidditch Edition" as he stabbed at food with fork, not watching what he got, and stuffed it furociously into his mouth. They were soon accompanied by some more fellow Gryffindors such as Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, Neville, Luna and unfortunately Ginny Weasley. Harry shot a nasty glance towards her but she did not recipitate the same action. She merely smiled and turned to talk to Luna. Ignoring her presence Harry continued discussing exams with Hermione.
"Hermione don't you think I've got enough on my plate? I suppose trying to defeat the darkest lord there's ever been and such isn't so hard to do to you?" Harry grinned as he watched Hermione's temper raise.
"Yes but Harry these exams are seriously important! They decide your future!" She had no argument to back up Harry's reasons for not trying as everything he said was true, but tried anyways. Harry just sat and grinned widely at Hermione as it amused him how much she cared for her education. But Harry wouldn't prefer her any other way.
"Hermione, I may not even have a future. You don't know." Harry shrugged carelessly.
"Don't say that!" Gasped Hermione, cupping her hands and putting them over her 'O' shaped mouth. Harry simpled shrugged again, although he did really care but pushed the thought from the back of his mind and grabbed a few bits to eat. As the usual chatter and eating went on Harry was visited by Cho.
"Harry," She smiled. Harry's heart now melted again excately had it done when Hermione gleamed her precious smile also, "Can I talk to you?"
"Sure." Harry replied, finishing his bacon and retrieving his bags. Ron smirked and thumped him on the back as a sign of good luck to Harry. The two walked outside were birds sang above their heads, a sea of blue filling the sky and the sun shooting bullets of hot rays on the castle grounds. It was the first time Harry had looked at cho properly since the year had begun, for he did not want to cross her path incase she also thought Harry was the reason behind her late boyfriend Cedric Diggory. Nevertheless, maybe he did not talk to her but he never stopped thinking about her. Sometimes he'd ask himself simple things like 'I wonder what she's doing now?' or 'Is she thinking of me?' But he never spoke them out loud. His insides bubbled as excitment grew in the pit of his stomache. He was happy they were finally talking - Whether it was good or bad. They stood in silence for a few moments, both of their eyes fixed to the delicate, summery grass. It was only when Harry realised he'd lost all his senses, he flinched his eye from the Sun and stared at Cho who continued to stare downwards.
"So..." Harry forced a 'Ha' and Cho raised her head to face Harry, flicking her long, black eyelasses.
"Oh yes sorry!" She giggled. Harry could tell by the tremble in her tone that she was just as nervous as he was, "I-I was j-just wonder-wondering if you want-wanted to come to Hogs-Hogsmeade with me, this week-weekend?" Harry considered it for a moment, and then began to question himself inside his head. Would people start rumours if they were seen? Would they hate Cho for going out with the person who many people thought killed her dead boyfriend? And without thinking of the words leaving his lips he replied to her.
"Yeah sure." Harry found himself surprising and by the look that crossed Cho's face she obviously was surprised to. She giggled nervously and walked away leaving a gut feeling in Harry's stomache. He wasn't quite sure what had just happened and tried to re-encount the encounter he just had with Cedric Diggory's girlfriend. Well would it count as an ex? Harry thought about this and confused himself and made the good decision to return back inside. He didn't see Cho again for the rest of the day but it the thought of Hogsmeade with her in three days didn't leave Harry's mind all day. He forcefully tried to push the thought to the back of his head, resulting physically hitting himself on the forehead. Needless to say he got a few strange looks but ignored them. As night dawned on Hogwarts, Harry slouched his way back to the Gryffindor Common Room, thoughts of Cho still rushing through his mind, making Harry's head hurt with confusion of his feelings. As he passed through the archway, he exaimed the room. Ron and Hermione seemed to be the only ones in their, both sat curled up by the fire reading. As soon as Ron viewed Harry he threw his book down immediately, obviously using Harry's arrival as an escape from studying.
"Alright mate." Ron said almost instantly, as Harry seated himself on a chair close by Hermione's who was only just beginning to notice Harry's entrance.
"Yeah fine." Harry replied bluntly, staring into the fire. Ron was not impressed and fooled by Harry's blunt answer and continued on.
"You sure?" He questioned Harry anxiously.
"I said I was fine." Harry could feel his anger level raising and raising as he shot a fierce look into the depths of Ron's eyes. Somewhere inside of him, where Harry could not locate, he felt angry at himself for shouting at Ron as if it was all his fault. Of course he knew it had nothing to do with Ron. Well not that he knew of. And just then something strange happened.
"Shut up." Ron hissed, shooting into Harry's eyes. Harry sat there quite stunned by Ron's reaction but knew he fully well deserved it. Hermione was now looking up at both the boys for the first time tonight, an angry look wiped up and down her face.
"Will you to stop it?" She asked firmly. Harry did not want to listen to either of them and so he avoided conversation by storming off upstairs to his bed, leaving a rush of wind behind him. He could hear footsteps behind him but didn't dare turn around: Was he scared? Or just lazy? Before he made up his mind, he felt a tug on his shoulder that sent him flying back a step.
"Just stop it okay. Just stop it." Harry was surprised as he looked up to see the face of, not Ron, but Neville Longbottom; an old gryffindor friend from first year. Neville had never made Harry feel frightened or small but there was a first for everything. His menacing voice reminded Harry much of the voice of the snake that he spoke to whilst visiting the zoo for Dudley's birthday.
"Just stop." And then Neville did the most oddest thing Harry had ever witnessed. He slowly began to see tears form in Neville's delicate blue eyes. Each one preciously slid down his cheek, as if they were daring not to hurt him. Although, Harry could see the hurt. But he just didn't know where it was coming from.
"Neville? Have I missed something?"
"No." And with Neville's reply, he switched off the light and fell into bed as silence took over and only the sniffling of Neville could be heard. Harry decided not to tamper with the situation and flicked off his light and flopped back into bed. Bearly yawning before he fell asleep.
It wasn't until morning, the reality of what Neville had said, effected him. Those "Just stop it." words had made Harry realise what he had become and everything he fear he would become. He suddenly realised the way he must of acted towards Hermione and especially Ron must have completely confused the pair over the past week. And what hurt him the most was knowing he was the one wrong, when all along he felt everyone was against him. Feeling rather depressed, Harry slipped on his dressing gown over his pyjamas and clumsily made his way downt he stairs into the main common room. The chat of excitment bounced through the air around the common room, as people, most still in the nightwear, were spread all over. Harry balanced on his tiptoes and scanned the room with his eyes. He spotted Ron and Hermione sat by the fire but unlike everyone else their lips were shut tight. The sharp flames of the fire reflected in both their eyes, turning their pupils a fiery red.
"Ron, Hermione..." Harry stopped, suddenly lost for words. There was so much he wanted to say, he needed to say but it didn't seem to want to leave his own mind. Both friends turned their head, suddenly intrigued to see what Harry was going to say and both sat patiently waiting.
"I-" But before Harry could continue with his apologies and explanations, Ginny had rushed over and seated herself next to them.
"Did you hear? Did you hear?" She shrieked with excitment.
"Nope." All three of them replied in harmony while Harry shot strange looks at the other two. They must of heard...
"Somebody saw a face! In the fire! A FACE! Can you believe it Harry? Harry?" Harry felt the colour drain out of his face and his heart go weak. He felt the smooth skin of Hermione's hand rest on top of his. He did not move his eyes but began to imagine the face. The flames. Sirius.
"Sirius." Harry muttered underneath his breath. He rocketed at full speed out of his chair up the stairs, heading straight for the boys dormitories.
"Harry!" Hermione yelled after him, her eyes starting to build up with tears. The chat in the common room dropped to deadly silence, as fifty or so pairs of eyes fixed on the commotion between the four.
"Stay! I'll go." Said Ron grabbing Hermione into a tight hug, then letting go, breaking into a run after Harry. He couldn't believe this. How could he have missed it? Why did Sirius come and not warn him? What if he was caught? So many questions flooded his mind, he had to stop and rest on his bed whilst rubbing his head as if to try to make sense of it all. Four months Harry had gone with no reply, the worry, the hurt, the questions. How could Sirius just show up with no warning? Why would he do that? Harry thumped one of his bed posts hard with clenched fists although he already knew that it woukd not help in any way. Several more boys had appeared behind Ron watching Harry intensely. He felt as if he was being treated like an animal at the zoo - They all wanted to see what was coming next.
"Clear off!" He yelled. Rage had overwhelmed him, gripping him tight. He didn't know what to do, where to go, who to see. Ron steadily walked over and slowly put his arm round Harry and sat him down on the bed. Harry did not refuse Ron's help. Infact for the first time in a while Harry thoroughly appreciated it. He kept his eyes shut in order to block out the rest of the world. It seemed quite a long time before Harry gained the courage to open his eyes again but to his pleasure when he did he saw most of the students had gone, however Ron sat next to him with an innocent, almost guilty look on his face.
"No," Harry immediately interrupted, "It's my fault. I'm sorry Ron." And with Harry saying no more and Ron who nodded his head, understanding the whole meaning behind the two sorry words they gathered up their things and began to get dressed in silence. Remaining silent, they both clambered down the stairs to find Hermione sat, nibbling the tips of her fingers, her eyes not moving. When she eventually spotted the two boys she ran over and hugged Harry tight, then Ron.
"Harry. It might not be." Hermione suggested, beginning to nibble the tops of her fingers again. All three began to walk to Transfiguration. It was a few seconds before one of them spoke u.
"Ha-Harry. Why are you so bothered? I mean some other time yeah?" Hermione shot a nasty look at Ron, obviously understanding why Harry cared so much. Surprisingly, Harry didn't feel himself get angry but sympathy towards Ron and his simple mind.
"Because Ron, it's been four months since I wrote him a letter. He uses replies within one month. I thought he-he" Harry couldn't bring himself to say the word.
"Harry, he's okay. I know it," Hermione reassured him, "It probably was him. But you have to realise it might not have been." Harry did not reply, but just thought and thought. And as he entered Transfigurations Professor McGonagol shot him a sympathetic look. And just at the moment, he realised he'd missed something.