Don't look back in Anger

Can some angry words change everything?


8. Morsmordre

Severus was finding himself caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. A disconsolate Albus had just confirmed that, not only had Harry Potter been kissed by a dementor, his soulless body was now missing from St Mungo's. While Albus didn't think the dark lord had Potter, he had nothing more than a suspicion of where the boy could be.

That Severus had just been summoned by the dark lord was not a good omen. After the death eater raid on St Mungo's failed, the dark lord would be very angry. He would also assume Dumbledore now had Potter well hidden, and expect his spy to discover that location. Not having the answers that the dark lord expected and demanded could cost a death eater their life. Severus would just have to hope his contingency plan was strong enough to see him walking away from this meeting in one piece.


As Harry was enjoying a delicious bowl of Winky's stew, dipping home made bread in the gravy certainly added to his culinary enjoyment, both girls were bringing the adults up to date with their adventures so far. While Dan was loudest in airing his scepticism over the entire roving issue, Sirius just sat quietly and stared at his godson savouring his meal.

Unlike the rest of the company, Sirius was well acquainted with where Harry had just effectively escaped from - though getting yourself kissed to achieve that feat was not a method Sirius could think of being successful for anyone else bar his godson. While he was paying some attention to the discussion going on around him, Sirius was concentrating on the godson he could only think of as being reborn. Something different about that same godson suddenly occurred to Sirius. "Harry, where's your glasses?"

"Oh, they obviously didn't think I would need them anymore. Dobby says they weren't in that hospital room, they're probably still lying in Azkaban. I actually think my eyesight is getting a bit better but still plan on seeing an optician as soon as I can."

Harry then turned his attention to his blonde friend. "Luna, we could settle this argument with a quick demonstration. Mrs Granger, would you mind if Luna visited you for a moment?"

This stopped all conversation. "Could she do that, Harry? Remember, I'm not magical."

"That shouldn't matter, mum. Harry, you could visit Sirius. That would certainly settle this matter once and for all." Hermione suggested Sirius for Harry, her new boyfriend entering her dad's mind might not be a good idea. In fact, it could be the bad idea to top all previous bad ideas in her entire life. Hermione sat on the floor as Harry and Luna lay down either side of her, with their heads resting together on Hermione's lap.

"The first time Harry entered my mind I got such a shock that I fainted. You two at least have some warning of what to expect, get sitting comfortably though, just in case. You won't see their spirits, Luna said only her mother visiting her father over a number of years eventually tuned him in to be able to see spirits. They'll enter through your mouth and can leave the same way, it's just a lot less effort for both parties if you pass them on with a kiss."

Emma felt as if something cold had just passed over her head before she heard Luna speaking to her.

"Hello Mrs Granger, I thought you might like to see Hogwarts."

The variety of expressions displayed on Emma's face was comical as she rapidly shifted between emotions. Dan was sitting at her side and holding his wife's hand. He nearly had the fingers of that hand broken as Emma let a startled shriek out of her.

"They made Harry face that giant, fire-breathing thing - are they nuts?"

There were soon tears running down her cheeks as Emma focused on her daughter. "Hermione, you were beautiful at the ball. Oh, Luna says that was Harry's memory - he really loves you, you know."

"I know, mum. When sharing Harry there are no secrets between us..."

Sirius interrupted there. "Hermione's not joking, Moony - they have no mental shields at all. I have my memories sorted into secure locations Harry... Well I couldn't think of anywhere more secure than Azkaban cells. Cheeky bugger! Oh, he says I might need to change that since three people have now escaped. Wow, I'm showing him memories of setting up my mindscape and Harry's tearing through months of work in minutes. I can actually see him, your better...ah, I see - great idea. A Hungarian Horntail...that should keep them safe."

Hermione was now laughing. "Luna, did I look that funny when you gave Harry to me for the first time?"

Emma joined in that laughter too. "Luna just showed me that memory, and yes you did." She then bent down and kissed Luna, returning her spirit to her body. Emma also kissed Hermione on the cheek. "I now understand, that was amazing. Luna and Harry will be welcome at the Grangers anytime..."

"That's not bloody fair..." Sirius' outburst had everyone looking back in his direction. " took me ages to do that. You want to see our animagus training too? Why don't you just steal all my auror training as well? Hey, I was joking. Oh shit, we've created a monster here."

"Sirius, hearing one side of a conversation gets bloody annoying rather quickly. What's going on?"

"Sorry Moony, you know I have all my memories categorised in my mindscape. Harry wants to tear through them like Hermione hitting a library. He's already begun setting up his own mindscape after absorbing those memories and is now wanting to study how the marauders became animangi. Harry, if this works for setting up your mindscape, you can come back anytime. Hermione, he's coming over to you now." Harry wasn't going to have Sirius kissing Hermione so just pushed himself out as Luna had taught him.

This left Sirius shaking his head as if to clear it. "Wow! That is one of the strangest and yet most wonderful experience I've ever had. I can honestly say I have never been closer to my godson, and I was able to help him too. That's all good in my book."

Harry's head was still on Hermione's lap, Luna's remained there too as, although reunited, she was comfortable lying where she was. Hermione received Harry and was shocked at all the changes - there were structures and memories whizzing about everywhere.

"Harry, what are you doing?"

"I'm organising all my memories, using Gringotts vaults instead of cells like Sirius."

"…and the familiar looking Hungarian Horntail?"

"Ah, she's guarding my memories of you. I kinda assumed that's why you didn't suggest me visiting your father. Don't worry though, you still have full access to anything you want to see - unless it's a surprise I'm planning for my girlfriend."

She watched in awe at the speed his mental structure was being built, Harry had more to say though. "Once I get this finished, I'll show you exactly how to do it. Then if anyone comes snooping, your important memories will all be safely locked away."

While Harry constructed and filled vault after vault, there was one door that Hermione recognised as being the entrance to the chamber of secrets. All his childhood memories of being with the Dursleys were being dumped in there. Having seen a lot of them, Hermione didn't blame Harry one bit.

"After I show you how to do this, could you teach Luna?"

Hermione spotted at once what the problem was. "Harry, it would be better coming from you, and I honestly don't mind if you two need to kiss to get the job done. I won't get all jealous on you."

"It's just with you refusing to kiss Ron…"

"Different situation, Harry. I intend to invite Luna in at some point but this really would be better with you helping her - you'll certainly need to help me construct a mindscape of my own."

Harry demonstrated the basics to Hermione before she lovingly passed him back to his own body, letting her boyfriend see the difference between transferring and actually being kissed.

Dan also recognised the difference and cleared his throat to gain everyone's attention. "That's quite the story we've just heard. What I really want to know though is what happens next? Are we heading for Dover as soon as the sun comes up?"

The three teens were now sitting together on the carpeted floor, with Harry wedged in the middle as they leant their backs on the wall. They actually hadn't thought this far ahead so it was Harry who tried to answer Dan's question. "I think we might be better keeping our heads down for a few days to see what happens. They way things stand, I can't exactly turn up at Beauxbatons on the first of September and go - surprise! What I will say though is that the safety of everyone here should be our first and only concern - Luna, I'm including your dad in that too. Hermione told me this cottage belonged to her Gran Watson, so there shouldn't be anything linking it to the Granger family - not a link that any witch or wizard would find anyway."

Sirius was quick to add his backing to that idea of taking their time to discover exactly what the situation they were dealing with actually was. "I have a large town house in London that's impossible to even see, unless I tell you the address. The elf looking after it though hasn't been doing his job…"

At that, a certain pair of house elves popped into the room. "Dobby and Winky will look after their family. If Lord Black wants, Dobby and Winky could start cleaning his house to get it ready for their family."

Winky had her head down, not yet used to the acceptance that she was no longer a disgraced elf in the eyes of her family, she was enthusiastically nodding her head though.

Dan felt his original question hadn't been properly addressed, so was as blunt as he felt the situation demanded. "What's to stop us leaving right now? I don't want my family hanging around in a country where they could be in danger, not when we have the means to leave this very day."

Knowing this would have to come out sooner or later, Hermione thought it was time to tell her parents just how famous Harry was in the British magical community. They knew Harry had gained notoriety for something that happened when he was a baby but how do you explain the boy-who-lived phenomenon to a couple of muggles - especially when that same boy doesn't understand it himself.

"Dad, what you're missing is just how famous Harry is in our community. The Minister of Magic himself arrested Harry, and then used a ministerial decree to slap him in Azkaban. The magical community now think Harry is dead, or as good as, that will probably bring down the ministry..."

She was interrupted by Remus. "Oh I think we can dispense with the 'probably'. Sirius insisted I visit the Leaky Cauldron to see if the story about Harry was true, the mutt didn't want to believe it. The witches and wizards in that pub were ready to tear the ministry down with their bare hands, and then mount Fudge's severed head above the bar. Fudge will be lucky to escape this fiasco with his life, there's not a snowball's chance in Hell of him still being Minister of Magic."

"I would happily stick his head there myself for what he tried to do to my godson. Here's something we need to think about however, just how Voldemort will react to the news of Harry being gone. With people's spirits at an all-time low, and the ministry about to descend into disarray, this would be a perfect time for him to act. Discovering the boy-who-lived is gone while you-know-who as returned from the dead would practically crush all resistance in one fell swoop."

Dan and Emma were left staring at the teenage boy sandwiched between the two girls and couldn't help but wonder if they were talking about someone else. A clearly embarrassed Harry tried to answer their unasked question.

"Mister and Mrs Granger, I never asked for any of this. You can have no idea how hard it was to enter a whole new world and discover everyone already knew who you were - or thought they did. Apparently there are six or seven books written about my life, complete and utter fiction but people consider them to be true. Girls who have never met Harry Potter have crushes on him, Ron's little sister can't be in the same room as me without blushing bright red - she was brought up on these stories and believed them."

"You rescuing her from certain death and a sixty foot basilisk didn't exactly help Ginny get over her crush."

"Not helping, Hermione..."

Luna didn't think this would help either, but it had to be said. "…and you need to tell the whole truth, Harry. Don't forget, Hermione and I know you as well as you know yourself. Harry Potter could have told everyone he was leaving Britain, given his reasons for doing so, and happily left for France. The Harry we know however couldn't sneak away, leaving everyone to think he was dead."

"Could you really let Ron, Fred and George mourn for you, Mrs Weasley will be flooding her kitchen with tears..." Hermione was helping Luna get everything out in the open, then they could discuss how to proceed.

Luna kept up the assault. "Little Abi was so proud her dad chucked his job rather than be a part of you being placed in Azkaban, would you like to bet that picture you signed now has pride of place in her bedroom. How do you think she's gonna react when she hears the news?"

"What about Neville, Colin,…" Hermione didn't say anymore, she didn't need to. Harry was holding his hands up in surrender.

Those arms then went around both girls' shoulders as he tried to make a joke about this. "And now you see the downside to having two girls know you so well. Mister and Mrs Granger, Luna said it's time for the whole truth - so here it is."

Dan and Emma could see instantly this was the conversation their daughter had been terrified of. As Hermione and Luna burrowed into Harry for comfort, the parents tried to prepare themselves for hearing the worse.

"Britain is no longer safe for the Grangers, we are all agreed on that. Moving to France should see you safe. They want Hermione, but not enough to follow her across the channel. The same can't be said about me. Hearing about that prophecy last night changed everything - Voldemort will follow me wherever I go."

To Emma, this easily explained Hermione's terror. In the short time Luna had been in her mind, Emma had seen how close her daughter and Harry were. "Harry, since this Voldemort thinks you're dead - why would he come looking for you?"

"The girls and Sirius are right, Mrs Granger. The country thinking I'm dead practically hands victory to Voldemort and his death eaters, Hermione and Luna know I couldn't do that. Them discovering I'm alive seriously alters your position too. Hermione would be their best bet to get at me, she would probably know where I was and they will also know I would do anything to protect her. Under those circumstances, France and Beauxbatons would no longer be safe for the Granger family."

Dan could see the logic in Harry's reasoning, he needed to know where that reasoning was leading though. "What are you suggesting, Harry?"

"Sir, I don't have any suggestions - other than knowing we need help to make them. Our original plans called for all of us, and Luna's dad, to sit down and try to make some decisions abut our futures. The prophecy and the incident in Azkaban has changed so much that we simply don't know what to do next."

A quick glance between the Granger parents was enough for Dan to feel confident about what he was about to say. "Harry, we appreciate your honesty - and also the fact you three recognised you needed help. Providing it's safe to do so, I think we can take the time to have that meeting and make the decisions that are going to affect all of us."

Seeing the instant lifting of the teens' spirits, Sirius tried again to help. "While you should be safe here for at least a couple of days, my house is certainly the better option for anything longer than that. Apart from being more secure, there will be a couple of wands there if the worst were to happen. That should give Dobby and Winky time to get you to safety. I would love to accept their offer of help to make Grimauld Place into a better home for my godson and his friends - just watch out for the elf whose already in the house."

This saw Dobby stand that bit straighter. "We is Potter elves, our master is godson and heir to the House of Black. Dobby and Winky will make house suitable for their family. If lazy elf doesn't like that, he will find out just how strong our master and mistress is." Even Winky raised her head in acknowledgement of what Dobby had just said. To a house elf, there was no worse insult than calling another elf lazy. To neglect your duty to your family was to instantly lose respect from all other house elves.

With plans at least roughly in place for tomorrow, Dan was about to suggest they try and get at least a few hours of sleep when a knocking at the window had everyone looking in that direction.

"It's Pig, Ron's owl. Oh, he must have heard the news and is trying to contact me…" Dobby snapping his fingers allowed the tiny owl access to the house, it zoomed straight to Hermione and offered its letter.

Hermione was speaking as she read. "I was right. Mister Weasley was at our house to pass on some news but found it empty. Ron obviously doesn't want to put what happened in a letter, he wants to arrange a meeting as quickly as possible. What are we going to do?"

Hermione looked to Harry, this really was his decision to make. For Harry thought there really was no decision needing to be made.


Severus was right, the dark lord was not pleased at his news that Dumbledore didn't have Potter. He then took Albus' suspicions over what had happened to Potter even poorer.

"How could a mudblood teenage witch possibly get Potter out of St Mungo's before my death eaters arrived? Does he expect me to believe that, or has the old fool finally lost his mind?"

"My Lord, not only is this witch of well above average intelligence and magical power, she somehow managed to get word of Potter out of Azkaban - to both the Head of the D.M.L.E. and that newspaper."

"Again, how did she manage this? Surely the old fool knows, he would certainly have looked inside her head."

"Dumbledore tried, My Lord. She threw him right out of her mind, in his own office and in front of the Head of the D.M.L.E. too. Granger also managed to get a signed form withdrawing Potter from Hogwarts to appear on Dumbledore's desk, after the express had left Hogwarts. He travelled to Kings Cross hoping to discover how this was being done but again Madam Bones was present, he couldn't risk it."

"I think it's time I spoke to this witch..." Voldemort stopped as Severus withdrew a piece of parchment from his robes.

"I anticipated your request, My Lord. This is the mudblood's address."

Lucius was raging at that. He thought this would be an opportunity for him to begin worming his way back to his master's side, since he had placed a tracking charm on the Granger bitch - her entire family too. Lucius was just about to offer his master this information when Snape beat him to it. His night though was just about to get a whole lot better.

"I had already decided that my dark mark would once more hang in the sky tonight, this just added a target to my list. Severus, take four death eaters and burn this mudblood's home to the ground. I want the girl alive though."

Severus was left with no other option but to bow and accept his mission, his master wasn't finished however. "Lucius, take Wormtail and another four death eaters and do the same to the Weasley hovel. They are known friends of Potter - kill everyone you can. I shall lead the rest of you against Bones. Killing her should enable us to have one of my followers elected as Minister of Magic when they get rid of Fudge."

The ballroom at Malfoy Manor was full as Voldemort had summoned all his death eaters, excitement and anticipation now fuelled those followers. The dark lord intended to use those emotions for his final strike tonight.

"While these attacks have the ministry running around like scared children, our main strike will take place just as the sun begins to rise. My most faithful followers have suffered in Azkaban long enough, we shall free them as dawn breaks on a new day. The dementors will also rise up and join our cause, as will every prisoner in Azkaban - or the dementors will feast on their souls."

This led to loud cheering, tonight would be the night they began reclaiming their proud pureblood heritage. Before the summer was out they would rule over Britain, and now there was no one to stop them.


The house in Crawley was not only empty of Grangers, all their belongings were gone too.

"How is this possible? It's almost like they knew we were coming."

Severus had known the house would be empty, Albus having checked it earlier when searching for Granger. "The girl knew she and her family would be targeted, and said so. She already arranged a transfer to Beauxbatons for September, I can only assume she and her parents left for France directly from the station."

"What do we do now?"

"We follow our orders and burn this place to the ground, cast our master's mark and then leave. We have another raid to take part in tonight."

With the house soon ablaze, Severus cast Morsmordre before disapparating back to Malfoy Manor. There had been no time to get any warnings out, Severus could only hope the other targets had prepared as well as Miss Granger clearly did.


The Burrow was in chaos as Molly clutched her precious clock to her ample bosom. While Ron's hand pointed at 'visiting', he'd left with that little female house elf barely ten minutes ago to break the bad news to Hermione, the clock's hands for her, Arthur, the twins and Ginny were all indicating 'mortal peril'. Spells now striking the Burrow, indicated their wards had collapsed, and Molly was again thanking Harry Potter for saving her family. Even after he had gone from this world, Harry was still their guardian angel.

It was because of what happened to Harry that they had all been sitting in the kitchen talking, rather than in their beds sleeping - all except Ginny that is. The news about Harry had left Ginny distraught, she'd been lying in her bed crying her eyes out for hours. Arthur had raced up the stairs to fetch her, and it was on those stairs that Molly, Fred and George were all focusing their attention now.

The blasting of spells against the Burrow meant they couldn't hear Arthur as he dragged Ginny down the stairs. He took them by surprise as father and daughter burst into the kitchen, what was even more surprising was Arthur's wand shooting up and a spell flashing right at them. It actually flashed just over Molly's right shoulder but Arthur hit exactly what he had aimed for.

Arthur had to shout at the twins to make himself heard, such was the noise of their home being destroyed around them. The kitchen wouldn't survive unscathed for more than another few seconds.

"Fred, George, grab him - we're taking him with us."

The twins turned and noticed the balding man that had been behind them, his wand ready in a silver hand. Fred had the foresight to stick that wand in his robes as they grabbed the now unconscious stranger.

Arthur then made sure all his family were touching Molly's clock before activating it. As Albus had promised, the clock come portkey delivered the Weasleys and guest to the Hogwarts Headmaster's office - in the nick of time too.


Amelia Bones was also running out of time. With Voldemort himself now in Bones Manor, the battle-hardened witch was under no illusions of what fate awaited her. She was only still alive because Voldemort chose not to kill her at the moment, he seemed content to let his death eaters have a little fun trying to take her down.

Knowing every second she stayed alive gave Susan an extra second to escape was all the motivation Amelia needed to battle to the bitter end. They knew Susan was in the house and were enjoying backing Amelia up the stairs as she fought to keep them away from her niece. What they didn't know was that Susan had a portkey made by Dumbledore that would take her to safety sitting on her bedside cabinet. Amelia hoped she survived long enough to see their faces when their supposed prize had escaped their clutches.

That seemed more and more likely as the curses coming in her direction were all designed to painfully put her out of the fight, not directly kill her. Amelia thought it was all over however when an arm snaked around her neck and pulled her forcefully into a room, that was until Amelia felt the familiar hook in her stomach before she and Susan landed in a heap of tangled limbs on the headmaster's floor.

"I thought I told you to get out if the house was attacked?"

"I wasn't leaving you. I might be all the family you have left but it's the same for me. You're all I've got too, Auntie, I wasn't leaving you to them."

Both Bones witches had tears in their eyes as they clung on to each other. Susan had been scared out her wits but still hadn't run. She held their only means of escape in her hand, using it would have consigned her aunt to death - Susan just couldn't do that.

Hands were helping them up of the floor before Amelia noticed Albus had company - and not just the Weasleys. Her eyes were drawn to the figure secured to a chair.

"Hello Arthur, can I assume you had visitors too?"

"Yes, and they weren't there to take prisoners. The Burrow was being blasted down around our ears as we escaped. This thing sneaked into our house and was just about to curse Molly in the back when I stopped him. He lived with us for years as a pet rat, that's Peter Pettigrew. Ron told us he's the reason Sirius Black was sent to Azkaban, he's the Potter betrayer."

Just by habit, Amelia had visually scanned the room. She noticed the youngest Weasley son was missing - and Molly's eyes never left his hand on that clock of hers. "Where is Ron?"

It was actually Molly who answered. "He went to tell Hermione about Harry. Arthur had gone to the Grangers' home earlier but they weren't in - actually it looked as if they'd moved. Ron owled Hermione that he needed to see her, Hermione sent her elf to pick Ron up. I don't know where he is but at least I know he's safe."

Amelia tried to ease the mother's worries. "I anticipated something like her going into hiding and placed a tracking charm on Miss Granger at Kings Cross station. We can find her if we need to, Molly."

At that, Albus gave a rather nervous cough. "I placed tracking charms on the whole family, they're useless."

"You mean she found and cancelled them?"

Albus was left shaking his head, his admiration though was there for all to hear. "It's worse than that, Amelia. She transferred them onto other moving objects. Sometimes that girl is too smart for her own good. Hearing she had an elf was certainly a surprise, and explains a few things that appeared in my office, it also gives me a bit more hope that she actually managed to get to Harry before those death eaters."

That drew Ginny out of her pity party. "Harry's with Granger?"

Like Albus' admiration, the jealousy in Ginny's tone was clear for all to hear - though not as welcome.

"We can only hope so, Genevra. The death eaters attacked St Mungo's earlier tonight, their target was clearly Harry. It was fortunate Madam Bones and I arrived when we did, the auror guards wouldn't have held out much longer. On entering the room, we found Harry missing. We don't have him, and the death eaters were stopped from taking him, Harry being cared for by Miss Granger is the best we can hope for."

Ginny didn't agree with that but said nothing, her mother was still staring at her clock. "Wherever Hermione is, they seem to have lots to talk about. The longer Ron is there, the safer he'll be. Those death eaters should have left the Burrow by now so Ron will just go back to Hermione and contact us here. Then we should find out exactly what happened."

Everyone in the headmaster's office was interested in that, except perhaps the still unconscious Pettigrew.


Winky popped Ron into the cottage living room and, while he knew there were other people present, he couldn't have told anyone who they were. His attention was solely fixed on Hermione. She was smiling and obviously happy, he hated to be the one to tell her the devastating news.

"Hermione…" Ron choked and couldn't say another word, fat tears were running down his cheeks. Hermione rushed toward him and soon he was standing in the middle of the room engulfed in a Granger hug. He thought it must be so tight that it was affecting his senses, Ron could have sworn he heard Harry's voice taunting him.

"Hey Weasley, get your own bloody girlfriend. The beautiful Miss Granger is already taken - she said yes when I asked her."

Hermione giggling at that threw Ron almost as much as hearing Harry's voice, he didn't know Hermione could giggle. It was then he spotted Harry, standing there smiling at him.

The teasing in Hermione's voice just added to Ron's shock. "Ronald Weasley, don't you dare faint on me. How am I supposed to support a big lug like you if you faint?"

"My girlfriend sometimes forgets she's a witch, and could stick you to the ceiling if she wanted to…"

At that Ron staggered drunkenly over to Harry. "Is it really you? We all thought you'd been - you know?"

"Don't mention kissing, Ron. Hermione's father is just getting used to her having a boyfriend."

The loud laughter that generated around the room seemed to break the spell Ron was under. He had both arms around Harry and hoisting him up in the air, Ron's loud emotional roar would also have woken the neighbours - if they had any.

"It's really you?"

"Ron, we met on the Hogwarts Express and you asked to see my scar. 'Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, Turn this stupid, fat rat yellow' bring back any memories? What we didn't know was the rat was already a yellow, lying, low-life…"

"Harry!" That the rebuke came in stereo from both Granger ladies just cracked Luna up. Since Luna had a most infectious laugh, soon even the ladies in question were joining in.

Ron still had his hands clamped on Harry's shoulders as he stood in front of him, he needed the reassurance this was real. "I know we've survived some scrapes in the past but how did you manage this?"

"Ron, I really appreciate how well you handled the girls not being able to tell you everything…"

"Don't ask me to go home and not tell everyone you're alive, Harry, I couldn't do that. Mum's cried buckets, I've never seen the twins so upset and Ginny - well, let's not mention that."

"I would never ask you to do that, mate, we were just discussing how to contact the Weasleys when Pig arrived with your note. As usual, we're making it up as we go along. What's different this time is we have help, and there are four of us now." Luna had been hanging back since Ron arrived, Harry saying that placed her back centre stage. As Hermione's arm supportingly slipped around her, Luna couldn't help but smile. Having friends was wonderful but Harry wasn't quite finished yet.

Knowing Ron's tendency to jump right off the deep end, Harry wanted there to be no scope for misunderstandings here. "Ron, I don't know where I would have been without Luna's help, either dead or kissed but certainly not standing here…"

"Bloody Hell!" Ron did explode, but not for the reason Harry feared. "That's how you did it! You can do the same as Luna - did they just think you were kissed?"

"…and that, Ronald Weasley, is why I nag you about schoolwork. You're easily bright enough to be doing better, it's pure laziness that's holding you back."

Rather than being insulted by Hermione's remark, Ron took that as a compliment - and confirmation his guess was right. Then he was worried about giving his friend's secret away. "Oh Harry I'm sorry. I just thought of the way Luna was on the express and the entire thing just popped into my head…"

"It's okay, mate. that's close enough to the truth without giving all our secrets away. We really need to come up with something to tell the public anyway, I refuse to hide away and let people think Voldemort's won. I remember promising Lucius Malfoy back in our second year that Harry Potter would always be there to save the day - and you know I like to keep my promises."

Having given this some thought, Luna had an idea. "Why tell them anything about how you managed it? Let's be honest here, no one knows how you survived that Halloween when you were a baby. Hermione was working on building up the myth of the boy-who-lived in a bid to get you out of Azkaban. This could really add to that myth, give the witches and wizards of Britain an enormous morale boost while driving Voldemort nuts trying to figure out how you pulled it off."

It was Ron who broke the silence, the awe he expressed easy to see. "That's bloody brilliant - and she used words I can understand! Can we keep her, Harry?"

Luna might be blushing but there was a wide smile on her face at the prospect of gaining another friend. After being properly introduced to Hermione's parents, Ron sat as the group spoke about their next move in the loosest possible terms. No plans could be confirmed until Luna's father showed up in the morning.

Feeling a million times better from discovering his best friend was still with them, Ron let Winky take him home - only to reappear mere seconds later. He was now in shock and seemed incapable of speech so it was left to Winky to explain.

"His house is destroyed with nasty mark floating in sky, Winky brought him back to safety. Did Winky do right?"

"You did exactly the right thing, Winky. Thank you for taking such good care of my friend." Noticing Remus and Sirius getting ready to leave for the Burrow, Harry needed more information. "Ron, speak to us - your family might have gotten away."

This seemed to reach Ron. "Portkey - Dumbledore made mum's clock into a portkey. It's supposed to take them to Hogwarts..."

At hearing that, Harry raced out the room - returning a moment later with a piece of parchment most of the people there recognised. The relief Harry displayed was also hard to miss.

"They're there, Ron, all in Dumbledore's office. Your mum, dad, the twins and Ginny..."

Ron stared at his best friend, wondering why he had stopped. Harry's gaze though was locked on Sirius. "Madam Bones is there too, along with another interesting name - Peter Pettigrew."

The grins both marauders now sported were feral.

Ron wanted to head for Hogwarts as quickly as possible but Hermione talked him down. "Your mother will have her clock and know you're safe. They are also all in Dumbledore's office, with no sign of Madam Pomfrey, which would mean they are all fine. I think I know where Harry will make his return public but we still need to wait on Luna's father arriving..." She looked to Harry for confirmation but he was on his knees as Dobby whispered in his ear. The conversation appeared serious and she didn't have long to wait until discovering what it was about. Harry rising and putting his arm supportingly around her had Hermione's alarm bells ringing.

"Mister and Mrs Granger, I have some bad news for you. Seeing Susan Bones in Dumbledore's office set me thinking their home might have been attacked too, and wondering if anywhere else had been targeted. Dobby checked for me and I'm sorry to say I was right, your home has been burned to the ground and the dark mark currently floats above the ashes."

He felt Hermione cling to him tightly as her tears started to fall. "I'm sorry, Hermione..."

A gentle kiss stopped his words. "This is not your fault, Harry. They were always going to come after me, we both know that. I'm just glad none of us were in that house at the time."

Dan currently had both his arms around a crying Emma as Winky appeared with a box of tissues, this war just got real for the Grangers. "It's only because we listened to you, Princess, that we're all safe. I just wish we had time to take some of our more personal stuff out of the house before this happened. The insurance will cover the building but some of that stuff is priceless and irreplaceable - how do you replace pictures of people who are no longer with us..."

Harry cleared his throat at that. "Ah, about that, Mister Granger. I have something of a surprise for you - it was a surprise for me too."

With all eyes now on him, Harry passed on his news. "Our elven friends are simply wonderful, and we have two of the best. We have to be careful though as they can take our instructions too literally. When I asked Dobby to take anything you needed out of your house, I meant things you would need to live here. Our wonderful elves though took that to mean 'anything'. That was just a shell that burned tonight, all of your belongings are shrunken and stored in my Gringotts vault where no one can get at them. When I say all, even your fridge is there - with a stasis charm on it to stop the food spoiling."

Looking from his wife, who now appeared as if she'd just been bequeathed the crown jewels, to the shy little creature standing beside them who made this possible - Dan didn't know what to say. Seeing his daughter wrapped around this boy made up his mind.

"Harry, call me Dan. This Mister Granger crap makes me feel old."

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