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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7. No more hands in Pockets

Hermione certainly understood they were trying their best to be patient with her. She could see though both her parents were becoming more and more frustrated, yet she simply didn't have all the answers they were looking for. "Mum, I'm not being evasive here. I just don't know enough about house elves to answer all your questions."

Dan wasn't totally buying that. "What about you being 'Harry Potter's Grangy', I'd like to know how that came about?"

Seeing her friend floundering once more, Luna attempted to help. "What you have to understand is hero worship doesn't even come close to how Dobby feels about Harry. Dobby was trapped as a servant to the Malfoys. As you might imagine, Dobby wasn't treated well. Harry freed Dobby, and Lucius Malfoy attempted to kill Harry for doing so - but a free Dobby soon put a stop to that. Yet if you ask Dobby what the happiest day of his life is, I'll bet he'll say it was getting to work for Harry - not being set free."

Emma had turned around as far as her seat belt would allow and Dan kept checking both girls in his mirror as he drove, Hermione's mum and dad were really struggling to understand the subject of house elves. Looking at the couple, Luna thought Hermione was incredibly like her mother, except for the eyes. Hermione had her father's brown eyes. This was a mirror image of her boyfriend's situation, Harry was always getting told he looked like his father - except for his mother's eyes.

Luna's next part of her explanation helped Hermione's parents immensely.

"To Dobby, Harry Potter is the centre of his universe - everything else revolves around that one fact. Hermione is Harry's girlfriend, therefore 'Harry Potter's Grangy'. In Dobby's eyes, that also makes Hermione family, and by extension you both are too. Trying to follow Dobby's logic, and then compare that to the way we think, is a sure way to drive yourselves crazy. Elves just see things differently."

Luna deliberately refrained from mentioning that Dobby could easily see how close these two were, and that one day Hermione might be changing her name to Potter. Having shared Harry, and knowing how her friend felt about Hermione, she actually agreed with Dobby about that being a likely outcome in the future.

Both girls in the backseat could see each parent trying to get their head around this, Dan then attempted to put his thoughts into words. "Lets see if I've got the gist of this. Just because Hermione's Harry's girlfriend, these two little creatures consider us family - and will now be at the cottage tidying up?"

That drew a wry smile from Hermione. "Almost right, dad. House elves are at their happiest when they're busy helping their family, they are also magically very powerful. By the time we get to Grandma's old cottage there won't be a speck of dust in the house, the beds will have been changed and a delicious hot meal will be waiting on us. They'll even do the dishes after we've eaten, mum."

With no dishwasher at the cottage, Emma really appreciated that. Something else about this situation was bothering her though. "…and Harry's paying for all this? I don't think we can allow that, Hermione."

"Mum, Harry thinks we're being forced to leave the country because of him. That's so not the case, the death eaters would always have had the Grangers in their sights. I've been the top student in my year for the last four years running, and I'm a muggleborn - that blows all their 'purebloods are superior' shit right out the nearest window."

"Hermione, language."

"Sorry Mum, it's been a really, really hard year. Anyway, when we get Harry out of Azkaban he'll be attending Beauxbatons with Luna and me next term. I'm hoping the Grangers can extend their hospitality to cover Harry, and Luna too, for at least part of the holidays."

Dan was trying to be the voice of reason here. "What do his guardians have to say about this?"

"Nothing, and it's also nothing to do with them now. The Minister of Magic made Harry an adult in our world, purely so he could throw him in an adult prison. That decision though is binding, and magically can't be reversed when it no longer suits them. It will allow Harry to get out from under the Dursleys, Dumbledore and the ministry too."

"The more I hear about this situation, the more I can't wait to get you and your mother out of this country. Okay, here's the deal. I am not prepared to commit to Harry being with us long term, having only briefly met the boy once a few years ago. I know that is not what you wanted to hear but this is not a no. I think your mother and I should get to know him first, before reaching any decisions about our daughter's boyfriend. Is that fair?"

Both Dan and Emma were surprised to see the wide smile on Hermione's face at that news. "That's great, dad. Once you get to know Harry, you'll soon love him as much as I do."

Dan wasn't exactly reassured by that answer but he would have to leave it for now. It had been a while since he'd driven this road. When Emma's father had passed away, her mother had then sold everything and bought a little cottage off the coast.

At the time, both he and Emma had thought she was making a mistake due to her grief. Emma's mother though had spent the last years of her life very happy there - pottering around in her beloved garden. She had especially loved when they visited for weekends, Hermione and her grandmother had gotten along famously. There were so many happy memories tied to that little cottage, those sentimental reasons had stopped Emma and Dan selling it before now. It just didn't feel the same though with his mother-in-law now gone, hence why they hadn't been back here in a few years.

They were going to be having visitors tomorrow and Hermione promised to tell them everything then, saying it would be easier waiting until everyone was together. It was shaping up to be a real family meeting too, with Luna's father, Harry's godfather and a former professor of the teens who was a close friend of the Potter family. Dan was looking forward to that meeting, and had a feeling the Grangers wouldn't be in Britain much past the conversation that Hermione was clearly terrified of their reaction to.

Dan's reactions to the first sighting of Emma's mother's old cottage blew all that to the back of his mind. While the garden fell short of the immaculate condition his mother-in-law used to keep it in, it was in nowhere near the state of disrepair Dan remembered from his last visit. That time, the drive was hardly distinguishable from the wild jungle growing all around it.

It was the building however that demanded Dan's attention. On their last visit, both he and Emma had shed tears as they closed the cottage down. Now it was open, sparkling as if new and very welcoming sight indeed after a long and somewhat stressful day.

Dan had stopped the car but just sat there and stared at what was in front of them, it fell to a very emotional Emma to put their thoughts into words.

"How is this possible?"

"Magic, mum, and a couple of very dedicated house elves who love to work."

-oOoOo-

Amelia wanted to scream her lungs out in frustration, kick a certain someone's face in with the anger that was coursing through her veins, while at the same time feeling physically sick from guilt and shame over this matter. None of this showed on Amelia's face however as she stoically stared at the teenager now wrapped in blankets. For a teenager who had faced Voldemort multiple times and survived to then meet his end at the hands of a corrupt Ministry of Magic had Amelia almost in tears.

They had left Umbridge behind, deliberately sticking her in the same cell Harry had so recently occupied. Dolores screaming "You can't do this to me!" as they walked away had Amelia turning back for a final word with the bitch.

"You did it to Harry Potter, now it's time for some of your own medicine. You will remain here until I can organise your trial, we will at least ensure your cell door is locked. If I have my way, this door will never be opened again. Governor, I assume you still have written orders that the dementor presence on this wing should be doubled?"

Even their dementor guards still being doubled didn't dampen the mood of the wing's other occupants. These death eaters hadn't had anything to be happy about for nearly thirteen years, today they were celebrating the demise of the person who banished their lord.

"Hey Bones, will they start calling Potter the boy-who-the ministry-had-kissed?"

"Please give Minister Fudge our thanks, he certainly has our support."

They were now pulling into the dock, Amelia had arranged for them to be portkeyed straight to St Mungo's. Salty asked if he could tag along too, more for the free ride into London than any wish to visit the hospital. His intentions being very simple, head directly for the Leaky Cauldron and then get blind drunk.

Knowing this news would soon be all over the country, Amelia didn't see any point in asking Salty not to mention what happened today. She had no intention of letting Cornelius try to arrange the facts to make himself appear innocent. She actually intended to take Harry to St Mungo's and have an auror guard outside his room before going anywhere near the ministry - that should certainly give the truth time to spread. This news would soon be on everyone's lips and Amelia intended to see the guilty punished - including one Cornelius Fudge.

Salty watched as they levitated that young lad into St Mungo's and it was firewhisky he wanted to be passing his lips, he also knew the exact company he wanted to do that in. Jock and young Derek had been offered jobs at the Leaky Cauldron after Tom had heard they quit Azkaban, rather than be part of putting Harry Potter in that hellhole.

Harry had apparently stayed at the Leaky Cauldron one summer, impressing the hell out of Tom with his friendly attitude and overall air of wanting to be treated just the same as everyone else. The leaky Cauldron's owner had been a big supporter of the lad's ever since, and could often be heard rubbishing the so-called reports printed about Harry Potter in the Prophet.

He couldn't help but wonder how Tom, Jock and Derek would react to this news, coming after Harry publicly named and thanked both former prison guards in today's Quibbler. That James and Lily Potter died protecting their son, only for a corrupt ministry to finish what you-know-who couldn't achieve was really sickening. Hence why he, and a fair few others Salty was willing to bet, would be drowning their sorrows with firewhisky tonight.

-oOoOo-

The manicured grounds of Malfoy Manor were well accustomed to the plaintive cries of the white peacocks the manor's pretentious owner thought of as a status symbol - supposedly displaying the Malfoy's power and wealth to everyone who laid eyes on them. The cries of the posturing male peafowls were being drowned out though, by the screams of another white peacock who was also fond of posturing - their owner. Lucius Malfoy would need more than firewhisky to ease his pain, and his master gave no sign that he was anywhere near finished with his servant's punishment.

It was as Lucius had feared, listening ears had picked up what had been said on the platform - and that news had swiftly been passed on to their master.

An enraged dark lord was venting his frustration and anger on the unfortunate servant who was responsible for generating those emotions. "I gave you one of my greatest treasures and charged you with the simple task of looking after it - and what did you do with this treasure? You gave my diary away to a little girl - crucio! If that wasn't bad enough, you then let the Potter boy destroy it - along with Salzar Slytherin's basilisk - crucio!"

The doors bursting open drew deep breaths from those death eaters witnessing this punishment being administered. Interrupting the master at a time like this could easily cost the person doing that interrupting their life.

Voldemort's voice was cold as he speared the death eater who had just entered with a vicious glare from those red eyes. "Macnair, I will listen to your reason for disturbing me. If I don't like it, you will swiftly be joining Lucius here in feeling my displeasure."

Walden was respectfully down on one knee but even his bowed head couldn't hide his glee, he was also certain his news wouldn't see him punished. "Master, it's all over the Leaky Cauldron that Harry Potter has been kissed by a dementor in Azkaban."

"You disturbed me for a rumour?" The anger displayed in that question saw Walden quickly answering it.

"No Master. The news came from the Azkaban boatman, Bones just brought Potter's shell back from the island. She took what's left of Potter to St Mungo's but we all know there is no treatment for having your soul sucked out. The mood in the Cauldron was poisonous, apparently Dolores Umbridge used the cruciatus on Potter before deliberately leaving his cell door open as she left. Anyone who worked for the ministry got out of the Cauldron fast, before the riled crowd turned on them."

The dark lord took a moment to answer as he sorted his thoughts to accommodate this unbelievable news. "Now this Umbridge witch is someone who deserves to wear my mark. Malfoy, get yourself to the ministry and confirm this news. Walden, prepare a team to get Potter's husk out of St Mungo's as soon as we have confirmation from Malfoy. I need to decide whether parading Potter's kissed husk or his dead body would have a greater affect on those who see it."

Macnair bowed deeply, already thinking of who he wanted on his team for this mission. Lucius Malfoy wouldn't be one of them. Walden was actually delighted to see the pompous arse reduced to crawling along his own floor on his hands and knees - a mixture of blood and drool running down his chin from where Lucius had bitten into that not so silver tongue of his.

Voldemort meanwhile was trying not to let his elation show. He'd suffered disappointments in the past where the Potter brat was concerned, there would be no celebrations until Macnair returned with what was left of the boy. Those celebrations would also be short. This would be the perfect time to retaliate, rather than celebrate.

That the Ministry were responsible for the demise of the people's hero, the boy-who-lived, should see a public backlash that would stagnate the ministry's ability to do anything other than protect itself. A few surgical strikes against key figures could leave him having to do nothing more than march into the ministry, with his death eaters massed behind and Harry Potter levitated in front of him. They would be given the choice, kneel to their new ruler, the Dark Lord Voldemort, or end up in the same condition as Potter.

-oOoOo-

The news eventually reached as far as Hogwarts, seeing Albus head immediately for the ministry. He caught a weary Amelia Bones as she was heading for home. Anticipating the headmaster's question, she answered before it could be asked.

"Yes Albus, it's true. Thanks to a dementor, Mister Potter is no longer with us." She watched as Dumbledore seemed to age years in front of her eyes.

"How is this possible?"

"Miss Granger warned me at the station Umbridge was in Azkaban, and that she was using the cruciatus curse on Mister Potter. By the time I could get there it was too late. After torturing the lad, Umbridge deliberately left the cell door open before releasing the dementors back into the wing. I now have her locked in the exact same cell in Azkaban. Our minister is trying desperately to ensure he doesn't end up in the cell next to her, or getting lynched by an angry mob. Either way, Fudge was finished as minister the minute the news got out."

Having his worst fears confirmed had really rocked Albus back on his heels, he was sure the prophecy dictated only Voldemort could kill Harry. Something else was also deeply troubling him. "Why didn't Miss Granger mention it to me in King's Cross? By using Fawkes, I might have been able to get there in time to prevent this happening."

"I actually asked her why she was telling me, instead of you. Simple answer is Miss Granger doesn't trust you, she gave the impression Mister Potter felt the same way. We were both sure she was somehow in contact with Mister Potter, you though were the one who tried to invade her mind - and got caught doing so. Who's to say what would have happened if you hadn't done that, things might have been so different. She also mentioned horcruxes to me…"

The very thought that his actions, and also his idleness over this matter, could have led to Harry's demise was like a dagger through Albus' heart. Once more Miss Granger's phrase about him standing there with his hands in his pockets as they dragged Harry away haunted the old wizard. There were still things he could do though, things he needed to do. "Not here, Amelia. They left me lots of information on these abominations, and a method to destroy each and every one of them Tom made. I'll even show you the notes I was left, but first I need to see Harry for myself."

Even although she was knackered, Amelia consented to take the old wizard to where she had the boy in a private room at St Mungo's. That fatigue dropped away like a worn cloak the second they apparated into St Mungo's - the hospital was in chaos.

A very relieved nurse shouted over to the pair. "There are death eaters in the hospital…"

Amelia didn't need to hear anymore, she took off at a run - with Dumbledore right by her side. They could see the signs of struggle all along their route, meaning the death eaters knew exactly where they were going. This left only one conclusion for Amelia to draw. "The only person I told even what wing the lad was being kept on is the minister…"

Albus understood at once what Amelia was saying here. "Would you like to make a wager that our esteemed Minister of Magic had a visit from his good friend, Lucius Malfoy?" They both knew she wouldn't be taking that bet. The also both understood why Voldemort would want Harry Potter, to display the lad's demise to his followers and beyond. That even after suffering a dementor's kiss Harry couldn't have peace from Voldemort had Albus Dumbledore madder than he'd been in years. There would be no 'hands in pockets' tonight.

Walden Macnair was an experienced death eater, he knew how to run a raid. While six of his team engaged the pair of aurors guarding the door, the remaining two death eaters were charged with guarding their backs. Those two death eaters were no match though for an enraged Amelia Bones and Albus Dumbledore - few were.

The rescuers put both death eaters down without even breaking stride and soon came upon the remaining half-a-dozen. With the odds now six against four, it should have been a more even fight. When one of those four was an angry Albus Dumbledore however, it wasn't even close. Dumbledore appeared to just ignore their spells, hardly bothering to counter them before firing off some of his own. Five of the death eaters were down in as many seconds, with the sixth escaping by portkey. Walden may have escaped the battle, although not before Amelia's cutting curse meant he left his right leg just below the knee behind.

While Amelia summoned medical help for her two brave aurors, the seven downed death eaters could rot as far as she was concerned, Albus burst into the room the pair of aurors had so courageously just defended. He was soon back with a question for Amelia.

"Where's Harry? The room is empty."

Both aurors swore no one had gotten past them and into that room. Since they had been ready to lay down their lives protecting the only door into that room, Albus and Amelia certainly believed the aurors thought Harry Potter was still in there.

If the death eaters didn't have him though, who did?

-oOoOo-

Emma was angry at her husband, how could he sleep at a time like this?

To be fair to Dan, it was after midnight and they were in bed. His deep, rhythmic breathing that would normally have Emma snuggling and soon joining Dan in slumber was somewhat irrationally irritating the hell out of her tonight. While her body would certainly have welcomed the sleep, her mind was far too active with what had happened over the course of today to even think about dozing off.

The family had barely left the car when Crookshanks had ambled up to Hermione, followed by a gorgeous snowy owl swooping down and landing on her shoulder. They had then walked into the cottage to discover their daughter hadn't exaggerated in the slightest about the elves' behaviour or abilities, the place was spotless and the prepared dinner that soon followed their arrival was absolutely delicious.

Emma was lying wearing her own nightdress from home, her favourite slippers sat at the foot of the bed - there was even a vase of picked flowers on the dressing table. These events weren't wholly responsible for why the mother couldn't sleep though, she had seen her daughter acting strange about a few things and was really struggling with the premiss of waiting until tomorrow, make that later on today, for those answers.

Both she and Dan thought Luna was a lovely girl, and were delighted to see their daughter making a friend who wasn't named Ron or Harry. The first they had heard of this girl however was when Hermione asked if Luna could stay for part of the holidays. Seeing how close the two girls were, that simply didn't make sense.

Emma could also understand the girls wanting to share a room, even although there was a third bedroom lying empty. What had really spooked Emma though was catching a glimpse of them kissing before Hermione went for a shower, this was no peck on the cheek either. There was obviously a lot more going on here than they'd been told so far. Considering the seriousness of some of the things they had already been told about, that's what was worrying the life out of Emma.

Deciding lying here wasn't doing any good, Emma got up to head for the kitchen. A cup of tea always seemed to help Emma sort out what was bothering her, and she needed that help now. On the way past the girls' room, she stuck her head in the door to see they were all right. What she saw there had Emma entering that room and sitting on her daughter's bed.

"Want to talk about it?"

Hermione was sitting up in bed, with a sleeping Luna lying next to her. She was gently running her fingers through her friend's blonde hair yet Hermione was making no attempt to wipe her own tears that were slowly running down her cheeks.

"Oh mum, I'm worried sick."

Emma was expecting Hermione to tell some tale of confusion over her sexuality, that wasn't what she got however. It was sometimes easy to forget their daughter was a witch.

"When Luna visited Harry while we were on the express, he was being tortured in his prison cell by a ministry official. I won't know what condition he's in until they get back - why is it always Harry that has to suffer these things?"

She was really letting the tears fall now so Emma wrapped her daughter up in a hug, comforting Hermione was more important at the moment than saying she didn't understand a word of what her teenage daughter had just said.

Clinging to her mother gave Hermione the courage to reveal some of their secrets, they would be telling all of those secrets in a few more hours anyway. "Luna's spirit can leave her body, she's visiting Harry right now. I need to look after her until she gets back."

While digesting that revelation, Emma didn't think this was something beyond the realms of possibilities. She had read about people being able to astral project and assumed this was similar. There was something else that Hermione just said though that troubled Emma. "Hermione, you originally said 'they get back'. What did you mean by that?"

Still clinging to her mother, Hermione bit the bullet. "Harry has this ability too, he used it to escape from Azkaban. During the day he stays with either Luna or me, then Luna returns to Azkaban with him at night while I watch over her. His body needs to eat, drink and pee in the bucket his cell has. Harry also has to walk about a bit to keep his muscles working. Luna stays with him while they're there, then they return. I won't know how badly the torture affected Harry until they get back."

The mother in Emma focused in on one part of what she'd just heard. "How does Harry 'stay' with you?"

"It's Harry's spirit, mum, you could even say it's his soul. A dementor removes someone's soul by drawing it out their mouth..."

In a flash of inspiration, Emma put certain things together. "...and that's why you and Luna were kissing?"

"Yes mum. When Harry is visiting us, he hears, sees and feels everything we do..."

"...so you transferred Harry to Luna before you went for a shower." Emma was relieved she still knew her daughter, only to discover how much Hermione had grown.

"It's not just physical stimuli we share, mum. When visiting, Harry is literally inside my head. He's seeing me for who I really am, and all my memories too, so Harry now knows me as well as I know myself. Knowing that someone really loves you exactly as you are is a wonderful gift for both of us. The other side of the coin though is a horrible nightmare. I know Harry's in Azkaban, and I also know what that's doing to him. Our magical government is deliberately and illegally trying to break my boyfriend, using any method they can think of. It's disgusting, immoral and quite a few other words I could think off but trying to get it stopped is driving us crazy. That's why we have people we can trust coming here tomorrow, we know we need help with this. That's also why Hedwig is away giving Sirius and Luna's dad our new address"

Emma's mind was reeling at the mere thought of what these teens were trying to deal with. While she understood Dan and her would only be able to offer emotional support in this matter, Emma was delighted beyond words they recognised that help was needed - and had taken steps to get that help as quickly as possible. While her arms were wrapped around her daughter, Emma's eyes were drawn to the unnaturally still form of Luna.

"How does Luna fit into this, and why haven't you mentioned her to us before?"

Hermione pulled back from her mother's embrace and looked upon her best friend. "Without Luna, who knows what would have happened to Harry. I haven't really known Luna for more than a week but already she's my best friend. Sharing Harry between us has seen some bleed-off memories of each other passed on. Even in that short time, I know Luna far better than the people I've shared Gryffindor house and a dorm with for the last four years. She's a wonderful person who you will love as you get to know..." Hermione's scream abruptly ended their mother-daughter heart to heart, it also woke her father.

Dan shot up in bed, seeing instantly that Emma wasn't there, and sped out the bedroom door. He burst into the girls room, ready for anything - or so he thought. Dan now reckoned he would never be ready to face what he found there. Hermione was sobbing, her father was certain those were happy tears though. The fact she had both arms wrapped around a teenage boy, while planting needy kisses all over his face, was something of a major clue - his little girl wasn't upset, she was ecstatic! Hermione was also standing there in her nightgown, and this boy's arms were wrapped around her every bit as securely as those holding him so tightly. He too was barely dressed, appearing to be wearing some kind of hospital gown.

His wife was sitting on the bed, Emma too was in tears watching this unfold, while Luna lay there out to the world. Considering the scream Hermione had emitted just a moment ago, Dan just added that fact to the overall strangeness of the scene he'd just burst into. Recognising his family were in no immediate danger here, Dan was quite proud that he managed to keep his voice from shouting out the obvious. Instead he calmly asked the question that he wouldn't be deterred from having answered.

"What the hell is going on here?"

At that, the two teens parted somewhat, Hermione was still glued to the lad's side however - and didn't appear to be for letting go anytime soon. It was Harry who was left to do the introductions - and the explaining.

"Hello Mister and Mrs Granger, you probably don't remember me but I'm Harry - Harry Potter. Sorry for barging in like this but I didn't know where else to go..."

"Had you gone anywhere else, I would have clobbered you one, Harry, - after I had kissed you silly first. I think we need Luna back with us too." Hermione then moved from Harry's side just enough to let him bend down and kiss the sleeping blonde.

As Luna's arms then flew around Harry's neck, only his wife's grip of his own arm stopped Dan interrupting.

Luna had instantly transformed from looking peaceful and serene as she slept to a sobbing emotional wreck.

"Oh Hermione, that bitch arranged for Harry to be kissed. We didn't have to visit Azkaban, they'd moved Harry to St Mungo's. Harry was just drawn there to his body, and I followed. There were guards outside his door, we heard them telling anyone that asked what happened - and a lot of people were asking. Once Harry's body had recovered enough to stand, we called Dobby to see if he could get us out of there. Dobby brought us straight here. Hermione, it's gone! Voldemort is no longer in Harry's mind."

Harry and Hermione's emotional state now matched that of Luna's. Hermione practically collapsed onto the bed and all three teens were sobbing as they held on to each other.

"Are you sure, Luna?"

"Harry, I looked everywhere. I didn't want to mention it until I was absolutely sure, there's not a trace of him left - and your scar's fainter too."

The pair of parents watched as the three teens cried, laughed and hugged each other almost in celebration. It was Emma who felt she had to say something, these three didn't look like letting each other go for what was left of the night.

"I was on my way for a cup of tea before this happened, I think we could all use one now."

At that, Dobby popped back into the room. "Winky is serving tea in the kitchen, she is also making a meal for Master Harry. Dobby placed Master Harry's trunk in the other room..."

The little elf then found himself being thanked by two very grateful witches, Harry meanwhile spied his wand sitting next to Hermione's on her bedside cabinet. Picking it up produced quite the lightshow as Harry felt the magical power run up his arm.

"Wow! I remember something like that happening when I first held my wand, why would it do that again?"

Luna was first to come up with a suggestion. "With that bit of Voldemort gone, your magic must be different. Your wand just rebonded with you."

"Okay, tea and answers - now."

"Eh, Mrs Granger, would you mind if I had a quick shower and changed first? Hermione and Luna know everything that I do, they'll be able to answer your questions while I shower and hopefully eat. I haven't had a decent meal since before the third task, that was nearly two weeks ago now."

Harry was wobbly on his feet and appeared so skinny, leading Dan to ask if he would be able to manage a shower.

"It's the after effects of the torture curse, Mister Granger. They would have given my body potions to counter the effects in St Mungo's, it still takes time to recover though. We also don't know how long Umbridge kept applying that curse after Luna and I left. Thankfully she's nowhere near as magically powerful as Voldemort."

Again it was Luna who butted in, she and Hermione were pulling on their house coats to go into the kitchen for tea. "That was powerful enough for me, Harry, it bloody hurt - and don't you start apologising about it."

Harry actually smiled at that. "There are now two witches who know me as well as I know myself, I'm not going to be able to get away with anything anymore."

This earned him a chaste kiss on the cheek from Hermione. "Too true, Harry, though I think you having a shower is a very good idea. Dobby, will you keep an eye on Harry, he looks exhausted."

That was one order Dobby was sure to follow as the other four headed for the kitchen to find tea and biscuits waiting on them.

As the story unfolded, it was a relieved father who discovered just what Harry staying with the girls involved. That relief vanished as someone knocked on the front door. Wondering if it could be the local police, checking on who was staying at a cottage that had been empty for a few years, Dan answered the door with two witches standing behind him.

Hermione's cry of 'Sirius' alerted the parents who these two gentlemen were, her rushing into the arms of this man confirmed they were friends. Sirius held Hermione tight but couldn't hold back the tears.

"Moony, they don't know - and I can't tell them."

It was left to Remus to break the bad news as Hermione dragged them into the kitchen.

"There's no easy way to say this, Harry's been kissed."

"I know, we were there." Sirius and Remus were looking at Dan as if he was crazy but Hermione's smile just got wider.

"My dad is right, and I was the one doing the kissing..."

At that, Harry entered the kitchen towelling his hair. Sirius sank to his knees in disbelief while Remus wasn't in much better condition, only leaning on the wall keeping him upright. Harry ran over and Sirius' head was chest hight on him as they needfully clung to each other, his godfather sobbing in relief.

Remus was watching that touching scene while looking to Hermione for some answers.

"The simple version is Harry's soul wasn't in his body when the dementor kissed it. Of course when Harry Potter is involved, nothing is ever bloody simple."

Instead of a reprimand about his daughter's use of bad language, this comment received a growled acknowledgement from Dan. "We're beginning to find that out for ourselves."

-oOoOo-

The dark lord was enraged at the failed attempt to snatch Potter from St Mungo's, he wasn't going to punish Macnair for his failure however. Losing a leg would be punishment enough, and he wasn't about to reward Macnair's failure with a new silver limb. The dark lord knew the instant Dumbledore made an appearance at the hospital, the raid was already doomed to failure. Only he could stand up to the old fool, and Dumbledore would now have Potter squirrelled away somewhere a lot safer than St Mungo's. He would summon Severus and discover what he knew of the situation.

It didn't really matter in the long run, Potter was out of the picture and all of magical Britain would soon hear that news. He needed to plan his next moves to take advantage of this good fortune the ministry had just presented him with.

 
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