Don't look back in Anger

Can some angry words change everything?

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10669760/1/Don-t-look-back-in-Anger

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4. It's a Secret

Hermione lay in bed beside the blonde Ravenclaw who was rapidly becoming one of her best friends. That Luna was prepared to travel to Azkaban and help Harry saw her rocketing up Hermione's admittedly not overly long list of friends. There were people in their own house who had known them both for four years now, yet seemed only too willing to believe whatever crap anyone said about Harry Potter or Hermione Granger.

Luna had met Harry last night, Hermione not until this morning, yet already she felt close to this witch. That Harry had such a high opinion of Luna certainly helped Hermione form that bond of friendship, the quirky Ravenclaw though was rather easy to like. Once you got to see the real Luna, it wasn't such a leap to becoming good friends. Looking on as Luna's physical self lay there totally unresponsive, and completely defenceless, Hermione certainly understood the girl's insistence that someone she trusted should watch over her. Knowing some of the creeps in this school, a shudder of dread ran up Hermione's spine at the thought of what could happen if any of them found Luna while she was in this condition.

Hermione knew she really should be sleeping, having no idea how long they would be, but she just couldn't. Yes she had certainly dozed while waiting on Luna and Harry but entering a deep sleep might see Hermione miss their return - that just wouldn't do. Knowing that Harry had safely returned might allow Hermione to have her best night's kip in weeks, there was no chance of that happening though before Harry and Luna were back in Hogwarts.

Luna's eyes suddenly springing open had Hermione jumping back in shock, her loud sobs soon had that direction reversed. Hermione was trying to pull Luna into her arms when she felt Harry enter her body and mind. Like Luna earlier today, Hermione didn't know if she would have been able to stop Harry taking over control of her body. Also like Luna earlier, knowing Harry wanted to help their new friend meant Hermione wouldn't even try to stop him.

She was looking at Harry's memories from tonight while he used her body to speak with Luna. Hermione quickly discovered Harry had no idea what was wrong with Luna either.

"Luna, it's Harry. Please speak to me, tell me what happened to get you like this."

Both girls were now wrapped around each other as Luna clung on, trying to draw as much comfort as possible from the contact. "Oh Harry, I'm so sorry. It was really horrible, and I had no idea what to do."

"The dementors can have that effect, Luna, I should never have let you come with me..."

"It wasn't the dementors, Harry, there was someone else in there with us. I recognised those terrible red eyes from your memory of the graveyard, Voldemort is trapped inside your head. It's Voldemort who was distorting your memories of Hermione while you fought against the effects of the dementors."

Now that Harry seemed to be in danger once more, Hermione reasserted control of her own body. The version of Harry in her head was actually too shocked at the moment to do anything about it. "Luna, you're not making any sense..."

"Hermione, for once I actually wish I was loony. I could see Voldemort but he couldn't see me - he didn't even know I was there. That's why I didn't answer any of your questions, Harry, I didn't want him to have any idea I was there with you."

"Harry says just knowing you were there helped him enormously. As you can imagine, he's a little shocked at the moment."

"Shocked would be an understatement, Hermione. I would have wet my knickers - if my spirit had been wearing any. The real horror though is I could see Voldemort's thoughts, just like we can see Harry's. It was really horrible but I knew we needed information if we were to help Harry, that's why I stayed so long. He was determined to cause Harry as much pain as possible, and his mind was wandering everywhere while he did. I know what that thing is in Harry's head, I don't know how to get it out though..."

Hermione felt Luna trying to snuggle in even more, she just held the younger witch tighter. This Ravenclaw had braved watching Voldemort's memories to help Harry, that in itself was one of the most courageous things Hermione had ever heard of - Harry instantly agreed with that assessment.

Luna was now barely speaking above a whisper. Since her face was buried in Hermione's neck however, she and Harry clearly heard every horrifying word.

"That thing in Harry is a horcrux. I had no idea what that meant until I saw an explanation in Voldemort's memory, it's a piece of Voldemort's soul."

Hermione was left to fill the silence that followed Luna's terrifying and disgusting revelation. "You might have wanted to wet your knickers, Luna, but Harry's currently trying not to throw up in my mind. To be honest, I feel pretty sick myself. How long has that thing been inside Harry?"

"Since he was a baby, Hermione. It's only after Voldemort touched Harry's scar last week in that cemetery that it has been able to exert any influence over him, and then only because Harry's surrounded by dementors - lowering his resistance. That's why Harry kept getting nightmares of Voldemort however, the original was unknowingly sending those visions straight to Harry through the horcrux."

Luna was actually shivering and shuddering, still shocked at what she had seen. "This wasn't a deliberate act, and the Voldemort who touched Harry last week has no idea it's in there. Voldemort wants to kill Harry, not realising he'll be killing a bit of himself too. That's what's got the piece of soul panicking, it now is aware and knows this."

Hermione was trying to offer comfort to Harry, while recognising that they needed to hear whatever information Luna had managed to get. It turned out Luna had managed to get quite a lot. "Have you any idea how this thing ended up in baby Harry?"

"The worst part of creating a horcrux is you need to commit a murder to split and then loosen a part of your soul. If you then complete the rest of the ritual, the end result is you have a soul anchor. He obviously intended to create one the night he murdered Harry's family, that part got stuck in Harry purely by accident. Murdering Harry's mother left his soul partition ready to be transferred, his curse rebounding meant the fragment had nowhere else to go. That's why Harry's curse scar never really healed, and also why it causes him pain while he's anywhere near Voldemort. As long as Voldemort has any soul anchors left, he can't really be killed. This was his method for cheating death."

"I said to Harry we need help with this, and he just exploded. He thinks Dumbledore already knows about this, something about Voldemort using Harry's blood to get a new body got the old bugger very excited."

"He must know about them, Harry actually dropped one on the headmaster's desk. That's what the diary controlling Ginny was, a horcrux. While Harry having one was certainly an accident, Voldemort had already very deliberately made more before that night. I got some information on them, we might get more tomorrow..."

"Harry just screamed at me that you're not going back to Azkaban with him, I certainly agree with that Luna..."

"...and you're both wrong. We need information on how to get that thing out of Harry, the person who put it in there would be the best source for that."

"Harry's suggesting we contact Remus and Sirius. We can trust both of them, and the Black library would be a great place to look for a solution too."

"That's a brilliant idea, my father could be a great help as well. He has access to a lot of information through his newspaper connections, my dad also knows about roving. I'm still going to Azkaban with Harry though. Not only is that our best chance of information, me being there helps Harry fight the bugger off."

Luna had drawn back enough so she could see Hermione's face as she said that. It was clear Hermione was having a debate with Harry about this, it was also clear what their answer was going to be.

"Neither of us like this, Luna, but we also can't argue that you're right."

This generated a weak smile from Luna, this however was nothing short of a minor miracle considering how she had felt earlier. "We Ravenclaws tend to win our arguments, it's hard to dispute facts and logic. I'd like to ask a favour though, can Harry stay with me tonight? Having him with me and cuddling into you might be the only reason I'll get any sleep tonight."

It was Hermione's turn to smile. A quick goodnight to Harry saw her then lean forward and pass him over to Luna. As they snuggled in, Hermione drew comfort from thinking the arms tightly around her were Harry's.

-oOoOo-

Hermione was sitting in the library, trying and failing not to show her horror as Harry passed on Luna's memories from last night. She may have had a book open in front of her but there was only one thing on her mind, or one person. Hermione certainly didn't begrudge Luna having Harry with her last night. After seeing what she witnessed, both she and Harry had already decided he would be spending the night with her again after their next visit to Azkaban. The information she was getting was unbelievable, Voldemort's darkest secrets were being laid bare to a fourteen year old girl - and thankfully he knew nothing about it.

Hedwig had returned this morning with permission for Luna to spend some of the summer in Crawley, delighting all three of them. Hermione had fussed over Hedwig, with plenty of bacon heading the owl's way. Then Hermione whispered to the snowy owl, asking if she was up for a trip to deliver an important letter to Sirius. Hedwig had puffed her chest out, proclaiming to the world she was ready for anything.

Today was Thursday, with the express leaving on Saturday. They were trying to arrange a meeting at the Grangers for Sunday, with Luna's father being invited too. Hermione didn't know how her parents would react to some of the stuff they would be hearing but it should at least set their minds to leaving Britain behind.

Harry and her were batting ideas back and forth at speeds that were nearer table tennis than Wimbledon. That exchange was interrupted, not by rain but Professor McGonagall.

"Miss Granger, please accompany me to the Headmaster's Office."

At that, McGonagall turned and headed out of the library. Hermione was left with no other option but to follow on. She was debating with Harry what she was in trouble for now, not sleeping in her dorm last night being the clear favourite. If Hermione got pulled up on that point, Luna would be sneaking into the Gryffindor girls dorm tonight under Harry's invisibility cloak.

Entering Dumbledore's office, they discovered he had a guest.

"Ah, here's Miss Granger now. This is Madam Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement."

As they were shown to a seat, Harry and Hermione were mentally kicking themselves for not thinking of this possibility. Hermione was just going to have to play dumb, not something she was particularly good at.

"Pleased to meet you, Madam Bones. There's a Susan Bones in some of our classes, are you any relation to Susan?"

"Yes, Miss Granger. Although she's my niece, I am also her guardian."

Harry's comment had Hermione smiling, he was quickly told to shut-it as she was left having to explain that reaction to the three adults in the office.

"Sorry Madam Bones, a funny thought just struck me. At the slightest provocation, Draco Malfoy threatens the world and its shadow with his father. Susan meanwhile has a guardian who has real power, yet to my knowledge has never mentioned that connection once in the four years I've known her. It's just another piece of information that helps confirm my theory that, rather than the so-called elite being boastful, Malfoy is just a little turd."

While Dumbledore smiled at that, and Bones actually chuckled, McGonagall was not amused.

"Miss Granger, that is no way to talk about a classmate."

She just shrugged her shoulders. "I had to threaten him with my wand the morning after Harry was dragged out of here by the Minister. Malfoy thought it was okay to lay hands on my person, I explained the facts of life to him. Namely that if he touched me again, I would remove his manhood with a cutting curse. He retaliated by getting his girlfriend to set up an ambush in the corridors."

Seeing the shock these revelations were having, Hermione went for more of the same. "The headmaster sits behind that gargoyle while students fear to walk the corridors of his school alone. Is that why you're here, Madam Bones? I'm assuming Draco ran to daddy, trying to get me into trouble before I transfer out of here."

"You're leaving Hogwarts?"

"Yes, ma'am, tomorrow is my last day. I'm just trying to keep my head down and stay out of trouble until then. Isn't that why you're here?"

"No, Miss Granger, it's not - though I will be having a talk with the Headmaster and Professor McGonagall about that after we're finished here. My niece is one of those students who has to walk those corridors."

"Oh the Puffs never walk about in groups of less than three, Susan should be fine..."

Dumbledore tried to nip that particular discussion in the bud. "That is not why Madam Bones is here, she received a very disturbing letter this morning. We wondered if you would have a look at it for us?"

Hermione's eyebrows rose at that, until they gave her the information she already knew. "This letter allegedly originated from Mister Potter."

Amelia handed over the letter and Hermione did a good job of pretending to read something she helped write. McGonagall then clued Hermione in to why she'd been called to the Headmaster's office.

"Both the Headmaster and I think that is Harry's handwriting, and the facts written here match what we already know. We would like to hear your opinion of it."

"Oh it was certainly written by Harry, I've checked enough of his essays over the years to recognise it anywhere. These chicken-scratches that Harry calls handwriting are really unique to him, and I would reckon almost impossible for anyone else to forge."

Amelia was nodding at that, Dumbledore and McGonagall had basically said the exact same thing. "Since I'm sure you are aware of his current location, you can perhaps understand why we find this disturbing..."

"No, actually I can't."

"Miss Granger, Azkaban is a high security prison, especially the part Harry is being detained in…"

Hermione just had to interrupt, pointing out the facts of the matter to Madam Bones. "…illegally detained by an incompetent Minister and his toadies!"

Madam Bones pushed ahead with the question she came here to have answered. "That aside, we think it highly unlikely that a fourteen year old wizard could bypass our security to write this letter - far less have it sent to me. We were wondering if you could shed any light on the situation?"

This time Hermione smiled all on her own. "Madam Bones, do you think it's highly unlikely that an eleven year old wizard, with barely two months knowledge of magic, could take on a fully grown mountain troll? Harry did, otherwise I would be dead."

This news clearly rocked the witch, however Hermione was just getting into her stride. She wondered if it would be possible to have Madam Bones drop that monocle from her eye, Hermione was certainly going to give it a shot. "Harry also defeated Voldemort the same year, a possessed defence professor, Professor Quirrell, lost his life in that battle. What about single-handedly taking on a sixty foot basilisk when only in second year? Another defence professor, Professor Lockhart, lost his mind in that fiasco and Voldemort was stopped from returning again. It was Ginny Weasley's life he saved that time, I was lying petrified in the infirmary. In third year, Harry's corporal patronus chased away every dementor sent by the ministry to Hogwarts, again saving my life. What you see as highly unlikely, to me it's just my boyfriend being who he is - Harry Potter."

Harry was leading the cheering section in her mind, giving Hermione the confidence to face anything. In the stunned silence that followed those revelations, Hermione tossed another hand grenade into the mix. "I wouldn't be surprised if a letter resigning Harry from Hogwarts landed on the headmaster's desk. The Minister of Magic illegally throwing Harry into Azkaban seems a really good reason for him to leave Hogwarts and Britain behind. I've already booked my place in Beauxbatons for September, Madame Maxime made it very clear there would be room for Harry in France too. Apparently her school doesn't have giant three-headed dogs, Trolls, Dementors, Basilisks, Dragons or Acromantula - with no members of staff trying to murder the students either - it sounds wonderful!"

All three shared the thought that this girl clearly knew how this letter got out of Azkaban, Amelia though was currently looking to Dumbledore and McGonagall - intending to have some of those claims explained. Harry let out a cheer in Hermione's mind as Madam Bones' monocle was now swinging on its retaining cord.

McGonagall tried to get everyone's attention focused back on what really mattered here. "Miss Granger, surely you can see we're all trying to help Mister Potter. If you know anything at all that could help with this situation…"

Hermione wasn't buying that. "In this room, we have the head of Magical Law Enforcement and the Leader of the Wizengamot. Both know Harry's innocent yet he's still in Azkaban. Just how do you intend to help, Professor?"

Albus needed to know how Harry had managed this impressive feat, and he was sure Miss Granger had that knowledge. Acquiring that knowledge would be dangerous however, especially with Amelia and Minerva in the room. Albus' need to know outweighed his caution, he took a massive risk…

Harry was still cheering Hermione on when he spotted the intruder. Dumbledore had entered Hermione's mind and Harry's temper exploded. Like wanting to move faster across the sea and it just happening, Harry wanted to punch Dumbledore in the face - and it happened.

All conversation stopped as Dumbledore's head suddenly flew backward. He'd been casually leaning against his desk, trying to present a relaxing and trusting demeanour, Dumbledore now had to grip that desk to stay on his feet.

After quickly being informed by Harry what had just happened in her mind, Hermione dealt him a verbal blow that was every bit as painful to his pride. "You got me up here, on the pretence of wanting to help Harry, and then you tried to enter my mind? No wonder the country is in the state it's in, with both you and Fudge thinking laws don't apply to you. Harry and I will be leaving Britain just as soon as he's released, citing the Minister of Magic and Albus Dumbledore as the reasons why. Nobody will care why I'm leaving but we all know Harry is a different matter. You brought this on yourself, Professor Dumbledore. Raping my mind can never be justified - not even to help Harry. That you appear not to know this is just a symptom of what's wrong with magical Britain - and why we will both be leaving the country. Do not send for me again, I don't want to see any of you before I leave Hogwarts - whatever the excuse you manufacture."

Hermione stormed from the office, leaving Dumbledore facing twin storms of his own making.

"Albus Dumbledore, tell me you didn't just try to use ligilimency on a student of yours - a student who is legally still considered a child." Amelia only thought she was furious, that was until she heard his answer.

"She should not have been able to do that. I was merely going to glance over her surface thoughts…"

"…which, as Miss Granger may have just mentioned, is illegal. It's you who should be in a cell in Azkaban, not Harry Potter. I also want more information on some of the things Miss Granger just mentioned, otherwise I might just arrest you now. This is a bloody school, Albus, a school my niece attends. If I find out that she has to walk about the corridors in a pack, Miss Granger is not the only student who will be heading to France come September."

Meanwhile Harry and Hermione were having a discussion over what Dumbledore had just tried.

"Did he see you, Harry?"

"No, I think it's the same as Voldemort not being able to see Luna."

"That sounds about right. You can't see Voldemort and I never noticed Dumbledore. Did you really punch him?"

"I certainly wanted to. Not having a body though, I'm not exactly sure what I did. We both know how embarrassing it was to share thoughts, how dare Dumbledore think he could just help himself to your memories."

"My hero, even protecting my memories."

"Hermione, when I'm in Azkaban, it's only thinking of you that keeps me sane. I'm just returning the favour."

"Oh. Harry, that just earned you another I.O.U. kiss from your girlfriend."

"How many is that I'm up to now? I've lost count."

This had Hermione chuckling out loud, though she only spoke to Harry in her mind. "Don't worry, Mr Potter, I haven't."

Telling Luna what had happened saw her reach a decision. "Harry should stay with you all day. It's just not worth the chance Dumbledore won't try again, you need the protection Harry can give you."

"Thanks, Luna. You can have him straight after dinner when we hit the room, and he can spend the night with you too."

Both girls were happy with the new arrangements, Harry wasn't complaining either.

-oOoOo-

Hermione wasn't as surprised by Luna's return this time, just as the blonde Ravenclaw wasn't nearly in as much distress as she'd been last night. She still clung to Hermione though, Harry then joined his girlfriend to say goodnight before he would move over to Luna.

As Luna drew comfort from her physical contact with Hermione, she began to tell both of her friends the information she had gained from Voldemort tonight. "There's one of those disgusting things in this very room, well, at least another version of the room. There's a ring buried at the wrecked shack Voldemort's mother grew up in, another is a necklace hidden in a cave with a lake full of inferi guarding it. He gave one to Bellatrix Lestrange for safekeeping - it was a gold cup, and did the same with Draco's father. Malfoy's was the diary he set to control Ginny, that's also the one Harry's already destroyed."

"Harry was wondering if Basilisk venom destroyed the diary horcrux, why is that one still in his head? The same fang that finished the basilisk was in his arm. I can't think of any reasons to give him why it didn't."

"The crystal thing that contains Voldemort appears cracked, or scarred. Maybe that's a result of the basilisk biting Harry, I don't really know. If it had been allowed to kill Harry, I'm sure the horcrux would be gone too. It might be my imagination but there appeared to be a few more cracks in that crystal tonight."

None of them wanted to think what that could mean, Hermione pushed on with the problem they hoped to do something about. "Harry doesn't know if he'll still be a parselmouth when in control of one of us. Without that ability, we can't get into the chamber of secrets."

Although tired, Luna knew they would all sleep better with a plan in place for tomorrow. She released her comforting grip on Hermione and lifted her wand from the bedside table. A harmless little grass snake was soon slithering about the quilt, that was until Harry, by controlling Hermione, spoke to the serpent in parseltongue.

As she banished the conjured snake, Luna was pleased that was at least one problem solved. "Okay, so now we know we can get in there…"

"Luna, Harry's not sure how we would get out of the chamber. There must be a way, since Ginny was popping in and out for months, but Harry doesn't know it. Fawkes flew all of them out of there after Harry defeated the basilisk."

"What about if someone could pop us out of there? I was thinking if we called for Dobby, perhaps he could help us?"

At that, the eager little elf popped into the room. "Did Miss call for Dobby?"

"Oh Dobby, we didn't mean to waken you."

"Dobby was waiting, not sleeping. Dobby was hoping Harry Potter's friends would need him again. How can Dobby help?"

"We are hoping to enter the chamber of secrets to remove some teeth from the basilisk. There are more evil items like that diary out there, we need to find them and use the basilisk's fangs to destroy each one."

"Luna, Harry's just came up with a plan. If we destroy the one in Hogwarts, we could leave it on Dumbledore's desk. If we also left notes with information on the others, along with a basilisk fang for each, Dumbledore would surely find and destroy them. If everything was in Harry's handwriting too, it would drive Dumbledore nuts trying to figure out how it was done - and where all the information came from."

Luna thought that was a great idea, and also thought they had a method of making it happen standing right in front of them. "Dobby, could you deliver a parcel from us onto the headmaster's desk? It's very important though that he doesn't know where it came from, or how it got there."

Instead of bouncing up and down with enthusiasm, the elf was looking at the floor while nervously shuffling his feet. Those drooping ears were a dead giveaway that something was bothering him. "Dobby can do all that, but Dobby works for Hogwarts. If Headmaster asked Dobby right question, Dobby has to tell Headmaster truth."

"We can't have you losing your job over this…"

"Oh Miss Grangy, Dobby wouldn't mind. Dobby knows where Harry Potter's Grangy goes, Harry Potter will follow. Dobby only likes working in Hogwarts because Harry Potter is here."

Reading between the lines, Luna thought she could see what Dobby was angling for. "Dobby, would you rather work for Harry?"

"Dobby dreams of working for the great Harry Potter. Dobby wouldn't even take wages if Harry Potter wanted Dobby."

Harry and Hermione were having furious discussions over this matter, Hermione finally relenting to ask Dobby what he got paid at the moment.

"Dobby gets one galleon a month for working at Hogwarts, but Dobby would be happy to take much less to work for his friend, Harry Potter."

Harry tried to talk Hermione down from her outrage. "It's not the amount, Hermione, it's the symbolism. Dobby gets paid so therefore Dobby is a free elf. I know there's enough gold in my vault to employ Dobby for many years, we both well know this is something that would make the little guy very, very happy. There's also the fact that tomorrow - make that today now - is our last day in Hogwarts. How are we going to achieve what we need to do without Dobby's help? If you have a better idea then I will certainly listen to it."

Hermione had nothing and didn't resist as Harry gently took control again.

"Dobby, would you like to work for me?" He never got to say anymore as Dobby was now on the bed and hugging Hermione/Harry while bouncing up and down.

The little guy then clearly had another thought. "Would Harry Potter like two elves? Dobby's friend Winky is not being well. Since her former young master killed his father, and then had his soul removed, Dobby thinks Winky doesn't want to live anymore. Dobby fears Winky might get her wish shortly. Being Harry Potter's elf would save Winky, only the great Harry Potter can save Dobby's friend…"

"Dobby, bring Winky here and we'll discuss it…" Dobby was already gone.

Harry was expecting an explosion but it never came. "Hermione?"

"Harry, as someone who has benefited from your saving people thing on more than one occasion, let's just see what happens here."

Luna knew Hermione's attitude to house elves from sharing Harry, she could only imagine the discussions going on between the couple. When Dobby arrived with his friend, she just had to say something though. "Hermione, please?"

Dobby was carrying Winky bridal fashion as she clearly couldn't stand by herself. The tears running down Dobby's cheeks were also an indication of just how bad the situation was. None of the three teens doubted Dobby's word that Winky had lost the will to live - the evidence was right in front of them.

Hermione also had tears running down her cheeks, whether they were from her or Harry neither knew or cared at the moment.

"Hermione?"

"Oh Harry, help her any way you can. Whatever happens, it has to be better than the way she is just now."

"Winky, can you hear me?"

The little elf could barely lift her head, far less solve the puzzle she was faced with. "You is nasty witch who wants to give elves clothes, yet I also see Harry Potter…"

"It's Harry who's speaking to you now Winky. Dobby has agreed to become my elf and I have room for one other. Dobby has told me his friend, Winky, is a good elf, would you like to be my elf too?"

This was met with silence until Dobby spoke to the elf in his arms. "Winky, the great Harry Potter wants you to join his family…"

"Winky cannot, Winky is a disgraced elf. Both Winky's old masters tried to harm Harry Potter, how can Winky not be disgraced…"

"My old master tried to kill the great Harry Potter too, yet Dobby is now a Potter elf. Like your old masters, my old master couldn't kill the great Harry Potter either. Dobby wants Winky to be a Potter elf too. Tell Harry Potter this is what Winky wants."

"Winky wants that, but I is disgraced elf…"

"Winky, Dobby here says you are a good elf. That's good enough for me. Do you want to be my elf?"

Winky nodded as Dobby brought her closer to the bed. Hermione/Harry put their hand on Winky's head as Dobby told them what to say.

"Winky, I take you as my elf." There was a soft glow and all could see there was now a spark of life in those large and expressive eyes that just a moment ago had appeared dead.

"Dobby, look after Winky until she is feeling better."

"Winky will be feeling much better soon, Harry Potter and his Grangy are both powerful with magic. That will help Winky more than anything." With Winky still in his arms, Dobby popped away.

"Are you okay with this, Hermione?"

"Harry, if it was alright to invite Dobby into your family, it was at least ten times more so to do the same with Winky. That poor elf probably wouldn't have lasted past the weekend. You just saved her life, how could I be angry at that?"

After saying goodnight, Harry passed over to Luna as both witches tried to get some sleep - tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

-oOoOo-

Luna and Hermione were having breakfast at the Gryffindor table when they found themselves being joined by Ron. That he wasn't immediately heaping food onto a plate told Hermione there was something going on here.

"Hermione, can I speak with you for a minute - in private?"

Ron looked expectingly at Luna as he said this, only for Hermione's hand to reach out and stop the Ravenclaw from going anywhere. "Ron, anything you need to say to me can be said in front of Luna too. She knows everything that has gone on between me, you and Harry for the last four years."

Hermione could see the blush travelling up Ron's neck, he was glowing red right to the tips of his ears. "It concerns Luna as well, but I don't think I can talk about it in front of a girl I don't really know."

"Considering it took you three and a half years to realise I actually was a girl, we don't have time for you to get to know Luna. We all leave Hogwarts tomorrow, so you might as well just spit it out."

Taking a deep breath, Ron did just that. "It's been noticed that you haven't been sleeping in your bed the last few nights. Parvati's twin is a Ravenclaw, she was able to find out Luna hasn't been in her dorm either. The latest rumour is putting those two facts together and making you out to be… you know…"

Ron was never going to be able to say it so Hermione spared his further blushes and helped him out.

"Girlfriends? Witches' witches?" Ron's nod saw Hermione smiling. "Well, we have spent the last two nights together."

His jaw almost hitting the table at that had Hermione and Luna both laughing, then Hermione got serious. "Did Parvati's twin happen to mention that Luna spends a lot of nights outside Ravenclaw, basically because those bullying bastards lock her out of her own house. We've found a safe place and spend our time together working on ways to help Harry. Luna is my friend, and I've already told you, Ron, I'm Harry's witch."

It was a much relieved Ron who then began reaching for food and filling his plate. Hermione was right as usual, he'd just gotten used to the fact she was a witch. Ron was honest enough to admit to himself that he wouldn't have a clue how to handle the situation if Hermione was a witch who liked other witches - instead of wizards.

"So, how's it going with Helping Harry? can I help too?"

"Sorry Ron. not only can't you help, I really can't tell you anything either." His redness this time wasn't caused by any embarrassment, rather the somewhat famous Weasley temper that Ron possessed in spades. Recognising the signs of an imminent Weasley meltdown, Hermione tried to head that catastrophe off.

"It's not that we don't trust you Ron, I know you would do anything to help Harry - you are already helping." This got his attention so Hermione gave him what information she could. "We got a letter from Harry to Madam Bones - remember that was your suggestion. She was here yesterday, wanting to know if I could tell her how we managed that. While she was speaking, Dumbledore decided to have a look inside my head and help himself to that information. He was discovered and blocked. I doubt he'll try that again, at least not with me. You on the other hand…"

Ron finished for her, quickly realising what Hermione was saying. "...Dumbledore could probably read me like a book. You can't tell me anything or he would soon know about it. What about Luna though?"

"Hey, you're Harry's best mate and I'm loony Lovegood, remember. They don't know I'm involved so who's going to waste their time trying to read my thoughts? I only need to stay out of their way for one more day before we'll all be out of here, and no one will find us today."

"So, where you'll be today is a secret too?"

This had Hermione smiling once more but his cryptic answer came from Luna. "Why Ronald, that was a very shrewd piece of thinking. Are you sure you shouldn't be a Ravenclaw?"

That Luna's question managed to halt Ron's forkful of breakfast on its journey to his mouth was a sure sign that their Ravenclaw friend had gotten under his skin. Harry laughing inside her head set Hermione off too.

With a grin, Ron continued to enjoy his breakfast. He'd been worried when sitting down but that laugh settled his nerves. Hermione was clearly in contact with Harry, why else would Dumbledore try to enter her mind. That Dumbledore might try to do the same to him meant Ron was glad he didn't know what was going on. He was almost in the same league as Hagrid at keeping secrets, and that was before knowing people could read your mind. Ron clearly couldn't reveal what he didn't know, therefore he couldn't possibly betray his best friends. Ron was happy with that.

 
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