Earlier that week…
“Hermione, is everything set, do you think?” Harry asked one final time while triple-checking his trunk. He was fairly certain he had everything possible since he was simply repacking the same luggage he’d brought with him to Hermione’s at the beginning of the summer. When the golden trio had left Hogwarts at the end of last term, Harry and Hermione had made secret plans to spend the entire summer together, without the Weasleys. Without any of them.
They wanted to make Ron and Ginny wonder where they were; what they were up to. Harry and Ginny had just broken up, so the emotionaly attachment was still there which was something Harry wanted to avoid. They had even sent a letter through an unfamiliar owl to Ron explaining that both Harry and Hermione were terribly sorry, but they would not be able to attend Bill’s wedding. Then, at the end of the summer, they’d planned to come as a surprise, just in time, to see the looks on their faces.
Harry had arrived at Hermione’s rental house shortly after stopping at the Dursley’s. He’d only stayed there long enough to gather his few possessions not already in his trunk from Hogwarts and to tell his Aunt and Uncle that they were in danger. Harry had warned them that they’d better leave the house by August if they valued their lives. Harry wasn’t worried about them. He knew they would ignore the message for a majority of the summer, but from past experiences, he predicted they would grow anxious by mid-July and begin to make plans to move out for fear of the evil “freaks” of the Wizarding world.
Hermione had also had to leave her childhood home. While Harry was happily spending his final night ever with the Dursley’s, Hermione was preparing herself to do the hardest, yet one of the simplest, spells she would ever cast. Obliviate.
She had to erase herself from her own parents’ memories. She sent them to Australia to have what they would think to be the time of their daughterless lives. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to catch up with them and reverse the spell after the war, but she knew it had to done for their safety. It was just so difficult.
After everything was taken care of, the two friends had met up at a new house unknowingly being rented by Hermione’s parents (yet another thing she would likely never forgive herself for). As best friends, they did everything in their power to keep the other’s mind off of things. For Harry, it was the pressure of Voldemort’s mortality, Harry’s own inevitable part in ending the war, finding Riddle’s Horcruxes, destroying them, and being apart from Ginny throughout it all. Hermione was dealing with the emotional, if not physical, loss of her parents, the desire to be with Ron, and the burden of being critically essential to Harry and Ron’s survival throughout their upcoming Horcrux hunt and the anticipated final battle.
Their summer before August was filled with Hermione performing every spell needing to be cast, as Harry wasn’t of age yet and he was still under the ministry’s trace. Much of their time was also used for planning their big reveal to the Weasley clan. They were plotting intricately and endlessly, to make it unforgettable, but also to avoid their own thoughts. It was busy work.
Finally the time had come, and the two were making sure they had packed everything they would need in the upcoming months of the search for Horcruxes. It was in the plans that after their surprise appearance at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, they would start the hunt with Ron. In all honesty, they would never be coming back to this house.
Harry glanced over to see Hermione’s arm all the way inside her small beaded bag and a look of stern concentration on her face. The undetectable extension charm was something they would never take for granted. Not when they had a house of necessities to be dragging along. As far as Harry knew, Hermione had already packed her personal library of helpful books, every potion and magical draught she owned, five sets of clothing for all three of them, all of her own possessions, and those certain kinds of items that only Hermione could think to bring that most likely would end up saving their lives in the near future.
Harry cleared his throat to catch his friend’s attention. “Mione.”
“Sorry?” she replied with a start, “Did you say something, Harry?”
“Yeah. Do you think we’re almost ready?” Harry repeated patiently.
“Oh,” she replied. “Well, let’s see,” she began to look through their pile of belongings. “I think we should comb over the house once more, just to make sure we’re not missing something. You start upstairs; I’ll start here?”
“Sounds good,” Harry agreed. “We just have to make it quick. The portkey expires in ten.”
They both set off to examine the house one last time. They were leaving it pretty bare; only abandoning the pre-existing furniture and their unnecessary trinkets of little value. They quickly finished the job, finding that they had indeed had everything they needed in the first place.
Harry and Hermione gathered up their belongings in the front room and approached the vase they were using as a portkey. Harry had persuaded Kingsley and Mad-Eye Moody to convince the Minister of Magic to issue them a portkey for the occasion. It would be sending them straight to the small, gnome-infested garden in front of the Burrow, three days before the big wedding. With Voldemort most likely keeping tabs on the floo network and many other forms of wizard transportation, they couldn’t be too careful.
With a deep breath and a shared glance of bold uncertainty, the two Gryffindors held hands and touched the vase.
Harry felt a jerk behind his navel and experienced the familiar, yet still unpleasant, feeling of being hastily pulled to a new location. Everything was dark and bright and twisting all at once, but it lasted no longer than a moment. When Harry opened his eyes again, he still held Hermione’s hand. There was a moment of confusion as the two friends assessed their environment. It was dark, pitch black. They were sprawled on a cold cement floor.
They weren’t at the Burrow.
Thanks The Silver Phoenix for Chapter 2! She's my co-author in this fanfiction. So please read and review. The more reads and reviews, the more likely another chapter will go up!