Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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36. Chapter 36

11 July 1996

"I need something to eat and a cup of tea if I'm going to make it through the interrogations," A very weary Amelia Bones thought as she finished checking on her injured Aurors at St. Mungos. Since it was well after midnight, most of them had been asleep, but the Healer on duty had told her that all but one of them would be released the following day. She had been tempted to ask the young Healer for another pepper-up potion but she knew she had already had two and was wary of becoming dependent upon them. "Unfortunately the interrogations can't wait; not with Fudge promising the muggle Prime Minister that he would have answers for all of the destruction that occurred yesterday by morning." She turned to the two Aurors that were her protection detail and announced. "I'm going up to the Tea Room. I need need a bite to eat."

"Sure thing ma'am," One of the guards said. "If you prefer, I can grab something for you and bring it down." The Visitor's Tea Room and Gift Shop was located on the fifth floor.

"Thank you, no," Bones replied. "I'll go." She had seen what her guards ate on occasion and anything that heavy would put her to sleep in a few minutes.

As they neared the door to the Tea Room it suddenly opened and a black-haired man with grey eyes stood there holding a steaming cup in his hands. The guards were already reaching for their wands before they realized who it was. Though the man appeared startled to find someone else out this late at night, his face relaxed into an expression of extreme fatigue when he recognized the woman.

"Good evening Sirius," Amelia said as she motioned for her detail to move a few feet away so she could speak with him in private.

"Madam Bones," Sirius replied before taking a sip from his cup. "It's morning actually…You look tired."

"Well if I only look tired, then I'm looking far better than I feel," Bones retorted. "How's Mr. Lupin?"

Sirius took another sip of from his cup as his brows furrowed. Finally with a sigh he said. "They say he'll make it, but it was close."

"That's good news," Amelia answered. "What about the other…Hestia Jones?"

Sirius let out another sigh as he shook his head.

"I'm sorry," The head of the DMLE said; the sincerity clearly evident in her voice, "I hope you realize that I had no way of knowing it was a Death Eater trap when I asked for the Order's help. It's obvious now and from the interrogations of the first couple of surviving Death Eaters that the Order was the intended target all along."

"No one is blaming you," Sirius replied. He lifted the cup and took another sip before continuing. "Voldemort laid a good trap."

"We…I should have realized he was up to something," Amelia said. "I guess I did actually, but I thought it was an attempt to go after Harry Potter."

"A reasonable suspicion considering," Sirius agreed, "But it seems Voldemort had it out for the Order."

"It appears so and more than that, he had it out for you and Mr. Lupin," Amelia said.

This caused Sirius to lower the cup and look at Madam Bones curiously. "What do you mean?"

"In the interrogations," Bones explained, "it was made clear that you and Remus Lupin were specifically targeted in the ambush. One of the Death Eaters said He-Who… I mean Voldemort mentioned you two by name."

"Why?"

"Supposedly to make an example of Blood Traitors and werewolves who choose the wrong side," Madam Bones replied with a weary shrug.

"Guess it depends on your definition of the wrong side," Sirius said. "Thanks though, we'll keep an eye out."

"Do you want me to post an Auror at his room?"

"He already has one," Sirius smirked.

"Who…ah Tonks?"

"Who else?" Sirius replied. "Speaking of her…don't be too hard on her. If she hadn't helped Harry and Hermione, it would've been bad out there and I doubt I would be here talking with you."

Amelia sighed as she nodded at the taller man. "I know. It would have been a disaster, but I also can't ignore the fact that she disobeyed a direct order."

"She made a decision based on the situation," Sirius argued as his voice rose in volume, "and it was the right one. If you want brainless twits on your staff, then I've overestimated you."

"She acted on emotions and you know it," Bones retorted and then raised her hand to stop Sirius' reply. "Look, we both are tired and neither of us needs this argument now. I'm not going to fire Auror Tonks and I will be fair when I finally deal with the situation." When Sirius nodded his understanding she continued. "One other thing came up in the interview that the Order should know, one that I will discuss with Dumbledore when I get a chance; Severus Snape was there."

"Snivellus? He was part of the ambush?"

"No…he wasn't one of the ones downtown," Bones replied. "The Death Eater said Snape was speaking with Voldemort right before the ambush and they seemed to know Dumbledore probably wasn't going to be there."

"Snivellus…" Sirius snarled as his grey eyes darkened. "If he did this, I'll rip that bastard's ball off and nail them to his forehead if it's the last thing I do."

"I believe I have enough evidence to bring him in for questioning," Amelia continued as she tried to not imagine the image Sirius had just described. "But I wish I knew which side he was really on. Is Dumbledore right? Is he truly on our side?"

"I wish I knew that as well," Sirius replied. "A few months ago I would have believed Dumbledore but too much has happened. You know Harry and Hermione believe he might be on both sides."

"Both?"

"Harry's got a theory that Snape is playing both sides to ensure he's on the winning side no matter what," Sirius explained. "A true Slytherin."

Amelia paused as she considered this possibility. "Dangerous but it makes sense." She finally said.

"As for questioning him, I don't think it will be very helpful," Sirius continued.

"Why?"

"Do you really think you could get something out of him that Voldemort couldn't?" Sirius answered. "Not only is he a Potion Master who can undoubtedly come up with undetectable ways to prevent veritaserum use on himself, but he is also very adept at Occlumency."

"I still think I have to try."

"Just don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth," Sirius replied with a shrug.

"At least it doesn't appear the other Death Eaters have any protection like that," Bones said. "We've been fairly successful in the first couple of interrogations. Guess they weren't expecting to be caught."

"How many of the bastards did you catch?"

"Five alive but another nine of them dead."

Sirius let out a low whistle. "That'll piss off Moldyvorts."

"We had our own losses as well," Madam Bones pointed out. "In those earlier attacks, I lost three Aurors, several more of them wounded and a lot of Muggles lost their lives yesterday. That's not including your own friends."

"Still it could have been much worse."

"True," Amelia agreed. "If Voldemort had succeeded, we'd have been made to look like fools; speaking of which I need get to these interrogations so I can get back to the office. Not only did Fudge tell the muggle Prime Minister that we'd give him answers about the attacks by morning, I also had a couple of Prophet reporters nosing around the Ministry earlier. I'm sure the morning edition is going to give me a new set of headaches."

"Probably," Sirius agreed.

"Wished I had Harry and Hermione's pull over Skeeter," Amelia added.

"I'm sure you do," Sirius agreed with a chuckle. "If you find out anything more about Snape, will you please let me know?"

"Of course," Bones replied. "And when it's safe to do so, could you have Auror Tonks escort Potter and…eh…Granger to my office? I'd like their side of what happened."

"Sure," Sirius replied.

**** E E ****

It was dark when the Headmaster awoke from his potion-induced slumber. The scant moonlight that made its way into the Hogwart's medical wing barely gave enough light to make out his surroundings. Dumbledore habitually reached for his wand only to have shooting pains in his legs and hands quickly remind him of where he was and how he came to be there.

Dumbledore spent a few moments using his Occlumency to help ignore the pain before he settled his mind on what had happened. He replayed the journey to the Gaunt hovel in his mind and remembered how the Potters had most likely saved his life. A sigh escape his lips as he remembered being locked in the compulsion of the ring; his mind unwilling to fight it. But then his thoughts turned to the Hallow; the one he had most desperately wanted to find. "Ariana," He murmured to himself as an image of his little sister came to mind. "I was so close to being able to say I'm sorry." Though he also knew had he put that ring on, he probably would have been able to apologize to her directly in the afterlife. "Twice I have faced Voldemort's Horcruxes and both times I have failed. If not for Harry and Hermione…" As another sigh escaped his lips as Dumbledore experienced something he had not experienced in the greater part of his life; doubt. Doubt when it came to Harry Potter. Ever since he had learned that Harry had a connection with Voldemort, and later that he was a Horcrux, he knew what had to happen. Dumbledore always knew that he would guide Harry Potter to the eventual sacrifice he would have to make once the Horcruxes were discovered and destroyed.

"But what if I should die before then?" Dumbledore asked himself. It had not been something he had even considered before, but with the events at the Gaunt hovel, he now had to recognize that as a distinct possibility. "How do I let Harry know what he would need to do?"

Dumbledore was still deep in thought when the doors to the Hospital Wing opened sometime later. As he glanced that way, he realized that night had become morning and he was looking at the exhausted face of Madam Pomfrey.

"Poppy," Dumbledore started in a jovial tone but then stopped when he saw the look of sorrow on her face. "What happened?"

Madam Pomfrey did not answer immediately, but moved to the Headmaster's bedside and started running her wand over his hands and legs. "The Skelegrow appears to be working fine. You'll be fine in a few more hours."

"I could expect nothing less from your expert care," Dumbledore replied. "Could you ask Minerva to come down please? I would like for her to deliver a message for me."

Poppy sighed and shook her head. "Minerva was… badly injured yesterday. The Order was attacked."

Dumbledore's mind immediately raced to his discussion with Severus and he then understood why Poppy looked as she did. He knew that either Vance or Jones had been killed and McGonagall had probably been injured while trying to help in some way. "What happened?" He asked after making sure his features and voice showed the surprise it should have.

"What happened?" Another voice said from the doorway. When Dumbledore turned this time he could see Mad-Eye Moody walking toward him; every other step ending with a solid thump as his wooden leg struck the floor. "We got creamed, that's what happened. We walked right into a Death Eater trap."

Again Dumbledore kept his voice laced with surprise as he asked the obvious question, "Did anyone else get hurt?"

"Hurt? Three members are DEAD Albus and a bunch more still in St. Mungos," Moody replied. "Jones, Diggles and Fletcher are dead and we almost lost Minerva, Lupin and the Weasleys. Hell we almost lost everyone. That had us pinned down so well that another minute or two and the lot of us would have died."

"What…what happened?" Albus asked again but this time the surprise was quite real.

Moody pulled out his hip flask and took a long drink before replacing it. He swiped his coat sleeve across his mouth before he continued. "Voldemort had a good plan. Yesterday morning he started sending out Death Eaters to cause small amounts of damage all over the country and move on…just enough to draw Aurors and Obliviators to the scene. You know how it goes...takes forever to clean up that kind of mess when muggles witness Death Eater attacks. Finally when the Ministry was stretched about as tight as it could go, he sent Dementors to downtown London. Bones asked the Order to respond. We tried to contact you, but you were already incapacitated." Moody took another drink from his flask before resuming. "I knew there was something wrong the moment we got there. Dementors don't come out in those numbers in broad daylight. I had everyone pair up and that's what probably saved us in the end. It started as expected; The Dementors were falling back from our response but then at least three dozen Death Eaters showed up and put up protective wards."

"But…" Dumbledore started. That was not how it was supposed to happen. It was supposed to have been an ambush on a single member.

"It was a clever trap," Moody continued. "I'll give Voldemort that much credit. We were in the Ministry's back yard but they couldn't help us; Dementors overhead, and Death Eaters all around. Our backs were to a muggle hospital so we couldn't hide there. We were caught dead. We managed to get a bit of cover but that was about it. Diggle got hit by a Killing curse and Fletcher was cut down trying to run away. Dementors got to him before he died."

Dumbledore closed his eyes as he wondered how things had gone so wrong.

"I sent word to try to regroup," Alastor explained. "I knew we would have a better chance if we could keep each other in sight. " Moody sighed before continuing. "That's when Jones and McGonagall got hit. Hestia was alive when it was all over but the curse had done too much damage…the healers couldn't save her. Then again as I said, we're damn lucky any of us made it out of there alive."

"How…" Dumbledore started.

"Potter saved us," Alastor said cutting off the question. "Him, that lass of his and Nymphadora. Guess Sirius had some way to talk to him because he sent a Patronus telling us that Potter was coming and to send up red sparks to indicate our positions. Hell I didn't think the kid could do much, but I'd have stripped naked and hobbled down Diagon Alley if I thought it might get us out of the mess we were in."

"Harry?"

"We sent up the sparks a few seconds later and then there the kid was on his broom with that Patronus of his…" Moody stopped and shook his head slightly. "I'd have never believed it if I hadn't seen it…but he did it. Drove every single one of them away and then that lass, Granger, started taking on the Death Eaters and she wasn't throwing stunners."

"They killed?"

"They did what was necessary," Moody replied testily. "And I for one…and most of the Order, are damn glad they did."

"But…" Albus protested.

"Albus, I know what you think and I don't care. I prefer to be spitting on the grave of my enemies than having them spitting on mine," Moody snarled. "Potter did the right thing. He's not out looking for trouble but he sure as hell seems to know how to deal with it when it finds him."

A silence fell between the two men as both became lost in thought, finally Alastor remembered something else. "How did Granger get your wand?"

"Hermione?" Albus now asked in confusion. "Harry did this," He raised his hands to show Moody. They both could see the skin move as bones, nerves and muscles shifted underneath it, "So I would understand if he had it…"

"It was definitely the lass," Moody replied, "and she was using it…effectively." When Dumbledore did not reply he continued. "Well I'm going back to St. Mungos. I want to check in on the injured before finding a place to sleep."

"Are…are they going to make it?" Dumbledore asked.

"The Healers say they're going to be fine in a few days," Moody replied.

"Can you escort Harry and Hermione back to Hogwarts later today? I'd like to talk to them."

"If the boy's willing," Mad-eye replied with a shrug, "I'll bring him around."

"And make sure he doesn't wander off?"

"Now that I won't do," Moody replied. "Those kids earned my respect out there and if he wants stretch his legs, I'm not going to stop him."

"But…"

"Albus, get your beard out of your arse for once," Moody said irritably. "It's clear to me he's been pulling a fast one on you because he found out about your spells. He obviously hasn't been wandering off as you seem to believe, but just showing you that he knows about them."

"But…" Dumbledore tried again.

"Was there a single time when you thought he had wandered off, that he wasn't in the house when you got there?"

"No," Dumbledore admitted.

"Exactly; now if you want Harry Potter to listen to you, then maybe you should talk to him and not treat him like some naughty child." With those words, Alastor turned and walked out of the door.

Dumbledore sighed as he watched the door close behind his old friend."Another person Harry has on his side." He turned to Pomfrey who had been following the conversation. "What about you Poppy? What do you think?"

"About Harry Potter? If what they say he did is true, then I believe I would have lost some very good friends if it hadn't been for him," She replied. "Now your legs should be done regrowing those bones in another three hours. I will call an elf to bring you breakfast and be back to check on you then."

"Thank you Poppy," Dumbledore replied. Once the nurse had vanished into her office, his mind returned to working through everything that had occurred. Suddenly he remembered Harry Potter's words before he left the previous day.

"When you are better sir, you can make your peace with your sister. For now, we'll have it at Grimmauld place to keep it safe."

"How do you know about the Hallow?" Dumbledore asked himself. "Do you really know what it does? Its powers?" It was then that Dumbledore realized that Harry now had all three of the Hallows. "What does that mean in regards to the Prophecy?"

*** E E ***

Hermione awoke the next morning to the gentle caress of Harry's fingers on her arm. "Good morning," she whispered then turned to face him. She grimaced slightly as an ache reminded her of what had occurred the previous night.

"How are you?" Harry asked in concern when he noticed the grimace that crossed Hermione's face. "Are you…okay?"

"I've never been better," Hermione replied truthfully. "I'm sore, but I knew I would be…"

"Can I get you a pain potion?" Harry asked, starting to get out of bed.

"Oh that would be great," Hermione answered as she arranged her pillows so she could sit up in bed.

Harry returned empty handed and shook his head. "There aren't any left."

"Probably all used up by the Order last night," Hermione replied. "I imagine they had a few bumps and bruises."

"I can go to Madam Pomfrey and..."

"And run right into Dumbledore?" Hermione asked. She patted the bed to invite Harry back. "I'm going to be fine."

"No regrets?" Harry asked as he sat down on the bed next to his wife.

"Only that it will be a couple of days before we can do it again," Hermione replied honestly. She could see the look of disappointment that Harry tried to hide. "I wish we could make love again right now, but even if I had a pain potion, we still need to wait for things to heal."

"I wish it didn't hurt you," Harry said gently as his fingers caressed her cheek. "It's not fair."

"No it's not," Hermione agreed. "and women throughout history will agree with that, but it's not as bad as it could have been. It would hurt a lot worse if you hadn't been so gentle last night."

"But...you didn't...eh...finish."

"No I didn't orgasm...and I'm quite sure if I hit your privates with a stinging hex the next time, you won't either," Hermione argued and then smirked when Harry moved his knees closer together.

"Just wished..."

"Harry," Hermione cut him off, "There is nothing to wish for. Last night was perfect. You made it perfect," Hermione leaned toward her husband and kissed him. "I love you."

"I love you too."Harry replied as he pulled Hermione into his arms.

"I need to get going," Hermione said few minutes later when she looked at her watch. "I want to be seated at the breakfast table before mum and dad come down. They don't need to see me hobbling."

"Are we going to tell them about yesterday? I mean…about the Death Eaters?" Harry asked.

Hermione's eyes darkened as she remembered what had occurred before the perfect night. "We should but…what will they think of me? I killed…six…seven people yesterday."

"We killed the same at the Ministry," Harry shrugged.

"This…this is different," Hermione argued. "I didn't trick them into dying…I killed them with my wand and I did it on purpose."

"And if you hadn't, the Order…our friends might be dead now," Harry reminded her.

"Still I…shouldn't I feel guilty?" Hermione asked. "I know I should but I don't."

Harry pulled Hermione back into his arms and held for a couple of minutes. Finally he said. "I think it's more like me killing the Basilisk. It was a creature preying on innocent people and I think that's what Death Eaters are…creatures. They aren't human…or at least don't deserve to be considered humans. They are creatures that prey on weaker beings. You killed those creatures because they were trying to hurt our friends. Do you think I should have felt guilty about killing the Basilisk?"

Hermione let out a long breath. "No…of course not…" She lapsed into silence as she tried to figure out how she felt but then a minute later continued, "but I thought it was funny to attack the those Death Eaters with their own wands. Doesn't that make me…evil?"

""No…creative maybe," Harry replied as he tightened his arms around Hermione, 'but not evil."

"But…"

"Miranda said as much," Harry argued cutting off Hermione. "Besides, you don't think it's funny now do you?"

"No…" Hermione admitted.

"I believe when we're faced with danger, we think a bit differently," Harry explained. "Do you remember when I fought the Horntail? I was actually having fun dodging those flames…mentally I compared it to a Quidditch match."

"Adrenaline," Hermione murmured and nodded.

Harry shrugged. "Just…well you did what you had to do and more than likely we'll have to do it again."

Hermione sighed. She knew Harry was right.

"Are you going to be able to do it again?" Harry asked.

"Yes," Hermione replied after a moment of contemplation. "We have to, don't we?"

"Hopefully not much longer," Harry replied. "Go eat breakfast with your parents and let them know we'd like to talk to them tonight. We can tell them about yesterday and tell them about our engagement. Maybe we can go out to dinner like we had planned. Sometime today though, I want to go to St. Mungos."

"What about you? Sure you don't want to come have breakfast with me?"

"I want to, but I can't imagine someone won't be looking for me this morning," Harry explained.

"True," Hermione agreed. "I'll come back to have lunch here and see if Sirius or Tonks will be around to take us to St. Mungos."

"We could just apparate there," Harry replied. "I mean Dumbledore knows about it now."

"Yes, but we're still underaged," Hermione reminded him. "And I would imagine we are going to be under a lot of scrutiny in the next few days."

*** E E ***

Though Harry wasn't surprised to find a somber crowd of Order members sitting around the table when he entered the kitchen a few minutes later, he was surprised to see two redheads eating at the table as well. Ron and Ginny were sitting next to Emmaline Vance at the far end of the table. "What's going on?" He asked and everyone's eyes turned to him.

"Good morning 'Arry," Fleur replied. "I was going to bring you breakfast soon." She nodded toward a plate that held a Pain au chocolat seeping chocolate from its interior. "I made eet just for you."

"That looks great," Harry replied. "But you didn't have to."

"Maybe not," Fleur said as she smiled at Harry, "But you saved my life and ze life of my fiancé yesterday so it is something I wanted to do."

"Ours as well," Said Elphias Doge. The elderly wizard was sitting next to Emmaline. "Thank you."

"Uh...just glad everyone is okay," Harry replied and then quickly changed the subject. "How is everyone? McGonagall, Remus...Arthur and Molly?"

"All are going to make it," Vance said. "Arthur will be released today while Molly, Minerva and Remus will be there a couple of days at least."

"Zat is where Beel is," Fleur explained. "Seeing about 'is parents. Zat is also why…" She nodded down the table to Ginny and Ron who had not said a word yet. "Zey are 'ere. I was going to tell you when I brought your breakfast up. Wiz Molly 'aving to remain at St. Mungos and Arthur wanting to stay with her, it was decided to bring zem 'ere. Sirius said eet would be okay as long as zey promised no trouble," She turned to the red heads. "Isn't zat right?"

"Uh…yeah," Ron replied as his cheeks darkened. He swallowed but then continued in a low voice. "Harry…uh…thanks for…you know…saving mum and dad."

"Just glad Hermione and I made it in time," Harry replied putting particular emphasis on Hermione's name as he looked for any jealousy from his old friend.

"Me too," Ron replied honestly. He had truly been shaken by the fact that he had almost lost his parents. The entire previous night, when not having that particular disturbing dream about the garden, he had contemplated what it would have been like to never see his parents again. Somewhere in the night, he realized that was exactly what Harry had to face each and every day. "Harry, I...I know it's too late for all of this, but I'm sorry about everything."

Harry stopped himself from making a sarcastic retort when he noticed the sincerity in Ron's voice. He only gave him a weary nod in reply. He glanced at Ginny who only smiled at him. A smile that seemed out of place with what had happened.

"Ginny's creeping me out, but Ron gave an actual apology," Harry said to his wife.

"What?"

"Ron really apologized," Harry explained.

"What's Ron doing there?"

Harry quickly filled her in on what was happening.

"I'm having lunch there so we'll see just how much he's over it," Hermione said. "And what is Ginny doing?"

"She's smiling at me," Harry replied as he gave another quick glance at the person in question. Though she was pretending to eat, he could see her eyes dart toward him every couple of seconds. "I don't know...but it's not her or not right or something. It's creepy."

"Just be careful," Hermione said. "She might still be dangerous."

Doge picked up the newspaper next to his plate and offered it to Harry. "Prophet has a pretty good article on yesterday if you want to read it."

Harry took the newspaper and could see his picture on the front page.

Harry Potter does it Again

By Betty Braithwaithe

While the Ministry's Aurors were chasing their proverbial tails around all of Great Britain, Harry Potter and his girlfriend Hermione Granger were combating Death Eaters and Dementors in the Ministry's backyard. When three dozen Death Eaters and scores of Dementors attacked a muggle hospital less than two miles from the Ministry and Diagon Alley who should come to the rescue? Harry Potter. While the Ministry couldn't 'spare anyone' to deal with the dark forces that threatened innocent people, our hero and his muggleborn girlfriend not only forced the Death Eaters and Dementors to flee, but they also managed to capture or kill over a dozen of them. Yes my readers, over a dozen. While our Ministry continues to show its incompetence and unwillingness to deal with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, it is a fifteen year old boy, the Chosen One, who is at the forefront of this fight.

The story continued as if Harry and Hermione had done everything while insinuating that the Aurors had refused to come out and fight the Death Eaters.

"That's not fair," Harry said when he finished reading the article, "they don't mention Tonks at all or any of you. It doesn't mention you were there defending the Hospital."

"Well since the Order isn't exactly public knowledge, it isn't like we can parade that knowledge out there," Emmaline said.

"But still," Harry argued, "People should know what really happened; that people died yesterday trying to do what's right. I mean I'm not the only one."

"Well said Potter," the voice of Mad-Eye Moody said from behind Harry. When Harry spun around to face him he continued. "But you should know that we aren't in this because we want our pictures in the paper, we just want to do what's right. They'll be time enough for stories when that dark Bastard is done away with once and for all."

"Let 'arry eat 'is breakfast," Fleur said as she put the plate with the pastry in front of Harry.

"Sure thing," Mad-eye said. "And if you could find me something, it would be greatly appreciated."

"Oui," Fleur replied.

"And Potter," Mad-eye continued as he turned back to Harry, "Dumbledore would like to see you today."

"Guess he sent you to make sure I come?"

"No," Moody replied as he sat down in a chair. "He tried, but I told him that if you wanted to come, I'd offer to escort you. You've earned the right to decide what you want to do."

"Thanks," Harry replied. "And yes I'll go."

"How about after lunch then," Mad-eye said as his scarred face showed what might have been a grin. "Let him know you didn't come running."

Harry couldn't help but grin back at the old Auror. "Sounds good. Oh and if Sirius isn't going to be here, can someone escort Hermione over before lunch?"

"I'll do eet," Fleur replied. "Eet is ze least I can do."

"Fleur is coming to escort you over today," Harry told his wife. "Since Dumbledore knows we can apparate, you can probably let her know as well."

** E E **

"Well it's about time you woke up," Sirius said when Remus stirred later in the morning. It had been a long night for both him and Tonks. They had switched off getting sleep and staying next to Remus' bed.

"Ah…" Remus replied as pain shot through his back. "What happened?" He asked weakly. His face contorted in a look of confusion as he tried to remember how he came to be in a hospital room.

Sirius rose from his chair and walked over to the bed. He picked up a small vial lying on the bedside table and uncorked it. "Healer said you'd wake up in pain and to give you this when you did." He held the vial to Moony's lips and made sure his friend drunk it all.

"Thanks," Remus said. As the pain receded, he was able to focus more and he started to remember what had happened. "We…were dealing with Dementors."

"It was a bloody trap," Sirius snarled. "And it was probably Snivellus' doing."

"What? Snape?" Remus asked in confusion. "Start from beginning. What do you mean it was a trap?"

Sirius took a deep breath and let it out before he started. "The Dementors were a lure to get the Order there. Death Eaters showed up, threw up wards and one hit you with a nasty curse before I could do anything. It was all I could do to keep you alive."

Remus forced a smile that didn't match his eyes. "Knew I kept you around for something. Anyone else hurt?"

"Diggle, Mundungus and Hestia are dead," Sirius replied grimly. "Of the ones alive, Minerva, Molly and Arthur got hit the worst, but they'll make it; though like you it was a close thing. The rest of the Order made it out without extensive injuries, though if it hadn't been for Harry and Hermione we'd all have been killed."

"Harry? How? But he was with Dumbledore…"

"Dumbledore was injured while they were away," Sirius explained. "Harry and Hermione saved him as well."

"What did they do?"

"I don't know the whole story about what happened with Dumbledore but to save our lives?" Sirius asked and then continued. "The best piece of flying I've even seen. The air was filled with Dementors one second and the next Prongs was kicking the crap out of them. Then Hermione…wow…" Sirius was getting worked up now as he started gesturing with his hands, "She sent a blasting hex at a Death Eater and he literally exploded. Then…then she summoned a few Death Eaters' wands as they passed by…you're going to love this…there they are, wands following them on their broom," Sirius used his hands to demonstrate what he was explaining, "they swerve around and she banishes them back at the Death Eaters. Hell I swear Mad-Eye was laughing at that trick. Then Tonks showed up..."

"Tonks?" Remus exclaimed in surprise.

"Yeah she came with Harry and Hermione but we couldn't see her at first because she came in disillusioned on her broom."

"Wait...why didn't she disillusion Harry and Hermione then?" Remus asked in an accusing voice. "Or were they?"

Sirius' face displayed a smirk. "No…they weren't. As to why…this is pure James I tell you…Harry told Tonks not to disillusion him because he wanted to give the Death Eaters something to aim at…to draw the curses away from us."

"But…"

"It worked too," Sirius continued, not letting his friend object. "Between them and Tonks, nine Death Eaters dead and another five wounded enough to still be there when the Aurors finally showed up. At least that's what Madam Bones told me last night."

"How did they know to come or where?"

"Harry called me on the mirror," Sirius explained. "I told them to tell Dumbledore but when they told me he was injured...well I thought it was all over, but he wasn't having any of that. He was on his broom in no time and you know where Harry goes, Hermione's going to be with him."

"They shouldn't have come," Remus objected. "They could've been killed…"

"And if they hadn't…we would've been killed," Sirius responded. "They aren't kids anymore, Moony. They have a right to decide what they want to do. Even Tonks couldn't stop them…" Sirius saw Remus' facial expression change at Tonks' name. "Look Moony; I know you think Tonks is trying to get you to spy on Dumbledore or Harry, but she's not. She's trying...heck she's just trying to love you."

"She…"

"She defied Amelia's orders to protect Harry and Hermione because she knew you were hurt," Sirius cut his friend off.

"But you just said she tried to stop them," Remus argued then put his hand to his head. "But you also said she came with them?"

"It was a piss poor attempt at best to stop them," Sirius shrugged. "She just needed a prod and she was with them. She wanted to come. She wanted to save you."

Remus sighed. "You don't understand…"

"I don't understand why you've got your head up your furry little arse you mean?" Sirius asked. "You're right."

Remus could only stare at his old friend.

"You know Hermione asked a very interesting question the other day," Sirius continued. "Why were you the only werewolf to ever be admitted to Hogwarts?"

"Because it was dangerous," Remus replied. "I...I almost…"

"But why not before then?" Sirius asked. "For six years Dumbledore thought the protections he had in place were working."

"What are you saying?"

"Hermione speculated that Dumbledore needed a werewolf loyal to him," Sirius explained. "He knew Voldemort was winning them over and he had no influence amongst them."

"That can't be right," Remus replied.

"We both started the year after Voldemort rose to power," Sirius argued. "Coincidence? Possibly, but think about this; when did Dumbledore reach out to you again? He doesn't contact you for how many years? And then when you are useful to him again..."

Remus swallowed as he followed Sirius' logic. He tried to find an argument but none would emerge.

"No one is saying Dumbledore is bad of course," Sirius explained. "But he has his own agenda and I don't think there is much room for friendship in it."

"But he…" Remus started but his words died on his lips as his mind started following paths his heart had blocked before. As with every other time his thoughts of his younger days at Hogwarts emerged, he thought of that almost fatal night and Snape. That reminded him of what his friend had sad earlier. "What about what you said earlier? Severus?"

Sirius' eyes narrow and darkened. "I ran into Madam Bones last night. They had interrogated a couple of the Death Eaters that survived and found out that right before the attack, Snape was speaking with Voldemort and he seemed to know that Dumbledore would not be there."

"He wouldn't," Remus said. "Dumbledore said..."

"Dumbledore said he's on our side," Sirius agreed. "But I'm leaning to the theory Harry and Hermione have that Snape is on his own side. He's playing both sides to make sure he's on the winning side. Oh I'm sure he would prefer our side wins because he prefers Dumbledore kissing his arse instead of him having to kiss Moldyshorts."

"He can't be," Remus argued.

"He can't?" Sirius asked. "Here's another thing Madam Bones discovered in those interrogations. WE...as in you and me, were targeted by name. Supposedly it was to give warning to werewolves and blood traitors, but I see another possibility and you do too."

Remus lapsed into another silence as he contemplated what Sirius has said.

"We can discuss Snivellous another time, but …" Sirius said after he looked at his watch, "it's about time my cousin showed back up…she's been here all night but I sent her after some food right before you woke up."

"She's been here?"

"Do you think I could keep her away?" Sirius asked. "Hell I'd have a better chance in getting Harry to go live with the Dursleys again. You still don't get it, do you? She loves you. I don't know what she sees in your mangy hide, but you aren't going to get too many more chances to pull your head out of your arse and tell her you love her too."

"She deserves better," Remus replied weakly.

"Maybe she does and Lily deserved better than James…until he made himself better," Sirius replied in a more serious tone. "If you think my cousin deserves better, then be that man…be the man you think she deserves."

Remus was about to reply when the door opened and a weary-eyed pink-haired witch walked in carrying a plate of food. Both he and Sirius turned to look at her.

"I think I'll leave you two alone," Sirius said after a few seconds.

"What?" Nymphadora asked to no one in particular as Sirius walked past her and shut the door behind him. She looked at Remus and repeated. "What?"

"I…I've been a fool."

Tonks rolled her eyes, "You mean all I had to do was curse you to get you to realize that? Think of all the trouble that would have saved me."

Remus smiled at the pink-haired witch. "Am I too late to tell you that I love you too?"

Tonks looked at her watch, "Hmm...well what do you know...you just made it."

*** E E ***

When Harry and Hermione entered the kitchen for lunch, they immediately looked for Ron and Ginny. Ron was putting plates and glasses on the table while Ginny was moving around the kitchen helping Fleur prepare the meal.

"Eet will be just a moment before we eat," Fleur said. She had noticed Hermione limping earlier when she had escorted her to Grimmauld and had presumed she had gotten injured the previous day, but now as she watched Hermione sit gingerly in her chair she had a much better idea of what had happened and couldn't help but tease her. "Are you 'urt 'Ermione?"

"I'm fine. Just hurt myself riding that broom yesterday," Hermione lied but could see from the small smile on Fleur's lips that she didn't believe her and knew exactly why she was in pain. She turned away as her cheeks flushed.

"Oui," Fleur replied and continued to a voice filled with merriment. "I can imagine riding 'Arry's broomstick could be painful when you're not used to it, oui?"

"Uh…" Hermione replied as her blush deepened.

"And you will always keep yourself safe when you ride 'is broomstick?" Fleur continued in obvious enjoyment of teasing the younger witch.

"Of course," Hermione replied trying to use her eyes to plead for Fleur to stop. She glanced around to see that Ron and Ginny were listening but neither seemed to understand what was going on.

"So was Harry's broomstick fun to ride?" Fleur asked mirthfully.

"What?" Ron spoke up then. "Harry's got the best broomstick around so of course it would be fun to ride."

Hermione wanted to die and crawl into a hole and burst out laughing at the same time. The laughing won out and as she looked at Fleur both starting laughing simultaneously while Harry just sat down and refused to look at anyone.

"What?" Ron asked. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing," Hermione replied but when she glanced at Fleur she couldn't help but start laughing again.

Fleur carried a set of cutlery to Harry and Hermione and as she leaned over to place them next to their plate, she whispered in Hermione's ear. "I know a 'ealing spell so it doesn't 'urt."

"Really?" Hermione whispered back. "Harry looked for a pain potion, but there wasn't one."

"See me after we eat," Fleur replied.

While they were whispering, neither of them paid any attention to the fact that Ginny placed bowls of salads in front of them.

"Don't give me any," Ron said indicating the salads.

"I wasn't planning on it," Ginny replied as she wiped her hands on a rag leaving small green specks clinging to the cloth. She put the rag on the table next to her plate and went back for the plate of sandwiches. She took two of the them for herself before sliding the plate to Ron who grabbed four of them.

"Can I get you something to drink 'Ermione?" Fleur asked.

"Just water," Hermione replied as she gave a glance over at Ginny only to find the redhead staring back at her as she nibbled on a cucumber sandwich. The youngest Weasley gave her a smile and looked away. "You're right,"She said to her husband. "Ginny is acting strangely."

"Keep an eye on her and Ron," Harry replied.

Hermione mentally agreed with her husband. Keeping an eye on her nemesis out of the corner of her eyes, she stood and reached for the salad dressing located down the long table. She let out a small groan and grimaced at the pain from the effort.

"Ron, can you help Hermione?" Harry asked when he noticed Hermine's pain.

"Help Hermione," A cold chill ran down Ron's back when he heard those words. He was frozen in place as the memory of those haunting dreams came back to him.

"I've got it," Hermione said as she grabbed the bottle and sat back down.

"Help Hermione," The words echoed in Ron's mind. His eyes were now fixed on the person in question. As he watched her pour the dressing, he could also see her disappearing under the garden soil.

"Something wrong Ron?" Harry asked noticing how he was staring at his wife.

"Uh no," Ron murmured. "Help Hermione," He closed his eyes but the words would not go away. "It's just a dream, It's just a dream," He muttered to himself. "Just a bloody nightmare."

"What?" Harry asked as he glared at his old friend. The way Ron had been staring at Hermione put him on edge. He slid his hand into his pocket and eased his wand into his lap in case there was trouble.

"Nothing," Ron replied with a shake of his head as he reopened his eyes. He glanced at his sister and noticed Ginny was staring intently at Hermione with a gleam in her eyes as if she was expecting something to happen.

"Help Hermione," Ron eyes moved back to Hermione and though nothing seemed amiss, he still felt another cold shiver run down his back. He watched Hermione stab at a cherry tomato and a piece of lettuce. "Help Hermione," The words came again and now Ron could almost see the contents of her bowl reaching out for her like the weeds of the garden did.

"Is there a problem Ron?" Harry asked as Ron had started staring at Hermione again.

Ron broke out in a sweat as he tore his eyes away from Hermione only to turn to his sister. She now had the same maniacal gleam in her eyes that she had in his dreams. "NO!" He yelled as he turned back to Harry and Hermione.

"What?" Hermione and Harry both asked simultaneously as they looked at their old friend.

"Uh…" Ron replied. He wasn't even sure why he had yelled, but he knew something was wrong. As he glanced around nervously he noticed the towel his sister had wiped her hands on that sat on the table next to her. The small green specks stood out against the white cloth. On the kitchen counter was the cutting board and the remains of some vegetable on it. That reminded Ron of when he had interrupted his sister in her room cutting up hemlock for Fred and George.

"Was it for Fred and George?" Ron asked himself. He remembered how panicked she had been when he had seen her. His eyes met his sisters' and she now had a look of irritation. He had seen that look before and he knew she was up to something. "What? Hemlock? Hermione?" It was obvious now to him what she was doing and he was caught in a moment of indecision, but it only lasted a moment. He knew he had to do something. He glanced back at Hermione and could see his old friends glaring at him.

"Uh..." Ron stopped and glanced again at Ginny. He shook his head at her before continuing. "I…I think there might be something in Hermione's salad."

"WHAT?" Hermione said as she dropped her fork into her bowl.

"I think Ginny might…she had hemlock…" Ron sputtered.

Harry's wand was up in an instant and pointed directly at Ginny Weasley. "Did you do something to Hermione's salad?"

"I…" Ginny started but she had turned ghastly pale. "No…" she tried again but her voice faltered as she looked at the tip of Harry's wand.

"Did you eat any Hermione?" Harry asked without taking his gaze from Ginny.

"No," Hermione replied as she examined the salad carefully with her fork. "I don't see...wait there is something cut up fine…like a herb."

"I didn't put anything like zat in ze salads," Fleur said as she looked at it. "You can see mine doesn't have any."

"She has to have it on her then," Hermione surmised. "She must have sprinkled it on as she put the bowls down."

"She did," Ron said as his voice cracked.

"RON!" Ginny said.

"You can see it on the towel," Ron nodded toward the towel. "She wiped her hands on it."

"Fleur, check her pockets," Harry said. "Ginny, you make a move and you'll regret it."

"But…but Harry," Ginny protested weakly. By then Fleur was at Ginny's side and as she reached into the pockets of the girl's robe, she felt a small glass container and pulled it out. Everyone could see the small green flakes inside of it. "No…" Ginny exclaimed then her eyes moved from the wand tip to Harry's eyes. "She…she enchanted you. It…it was the only way."

"You were willing to kill Hermione?"

"Till death do us part," Ginny whispered. "It was the only way."

"Call the Aurors?" Harry asked his wife.

"She needs help," Hermione replied, "but she's too dangerous to be around. Let's give Dumbledore an ultimatum later. Either he supports us in getting her medical help or she goes to Azkaban."

"What do you want me to do?" Fleur asked.

"Contact Bill and let him know what happened," Harry replied. He glanced at Ron who hadn't said a word since he had stopped Hermione. "Did you know what she was going to do?"

"N…no," Ron stuttered.

"How did you know she had the Hemlock then?" Hermione asked with a look of suspicion.

"We found it in the garden," Ron explained nervously. "I later saw her cutting it up in her room."

"And you didn't think to tell anyone?"

"I…I thought she might be giving it to Fred and George…you know like the Doxies last year," Ron swallowed. "I didn't think she'd…do anything like this."

"Do anything like what?" Bill's voice sounded behind them. He had just walked into the kitchen and was shocked to see Harry's wand pointed at his little sister. "What happened? What did Ginny do?"

"She tried to kill my wife," Harry said harshly. "She put hemlock in her salad."

"Eet is true Beel," Fleur added. "I found zis in 'er pocket." She handed her fiancé the small container. "She admitted it as well."

"Ginny?" Bill queried.

"I…it was the only way," Ginny replied. Tears were now running down her face as she turned to her big brother. "You can see that, can't you? The only way for it to work?"

"What to work?" Bill asked still trying to come to terms that his sister could do such a thing.

"For me and Harry of course," Ginny replied. Through the sobs her voice took on a dreamlike quality as she continued. "For us to get married. It was the only way."

Bill sat down heavily in a kitchen chair and sighed. "What are you going to do Hermione?"

"Get her help Bill," Hermione replied evenly, "or she'll spend the rest of her life in Azkaban. I'm not going to be looking over my shoulder or worried about every bite I eat for the rest of my life." She shoved her bowl toward Bill. "Here, here's further proof."

"Fleur, get Ginny's wand please," Bill said wearily. "And keep an eye on her. I don't think she should be left alone." He rose from his chair as another sigh escaping his lips. It was too much too soon for him and his family. "I think I need to go back to the hospital."

"Oui," Fleur replied.

Bill looked at his younger brother. "Ron, were you involved this time?"

"No," Ron replied with a shake of his head.

"He knew of the Hemlock, but not what she planned to do with it," Harry added. "But when he realized it, he warned us."

"Can he stay here, or do I need to take him with me?" Bill asked.

Harry glanced at his old friend who was very pale. "I think he can stay."

Bill nodded. "I'll be back as soon as I can." He started for the door and then stopped and turned back. "Harry, Hermione, I really am sorry about this. I thought they would…"

"Not your fault Bill," Harry replied. "Just get her help."

"Well that was a close one," Miranda said when Harry and Hermione entered his room a few minutes later. "I think Fate was about to pull her hair out of her head before the red-headed stomach finally realized what was going on and did the right thing."

"What?" Harry asked. "You knew about this and didn't warn us?"

"I couldn't," Miranda replied. "Even I answer to a higher authority."

"You were going to just let Hermione die?" Harry replied as his anger grew at the Goddess in his head.

"You should know by now that death is only a beginning," Miranda replied. "And though I didn't like it, I was forbidden to interfere."

"Who is higher than a Goddess?" Hermione asked.

"He who has no name…the first one," Miranda replied as if it was obvious.

"Why?" Hermione asked. "Why were you forbidden?"

"It was a nexus in young Mister Weasley's path," Miranda explained. "A choice he had to make. If he were to let you die, his soul would have been on a path that he would never recover from. His choice now gives him hope."

"So Hermione was just a test for Ron?" Harry anger continued to surge. "You'd have let her die just as a test?"

"As I said, I had no choice," Miranda replied. "And before you continue to rage at me, understand that I've spent a tremendous amount of time doing my best to make sure it turned out for the best. I've been threatening Fate every chance I could. Heck, the idiot didn't even realize he had a choice to make until it was almost too late."

"Still…" Harry still wasn't happy.

"Harry," Hermione said. "It's alright. We have each other and Miranda gave us that. I'm sure if she could have told us, she would have."

"Yes I would have and if it makes you feel better, I'll let you know that I made a deal with Fate," Miranda said.

"A deal?" Hermione asked.

"Since she messed with my soulmates," Miranda explained. "I insisted that I get to decide Ron's fate."

"Ron's fate?" Harry asked. "Can you tell us?"

"Oh…I think you'll find out on the train back to school," Miranda said with a voice filled with mirth.

** E E **

"Do you really think I'd sit idly by and let the Dark Lord attack the entire Order if I could do anything about it?" Snape snapped at Dumbledore after being summoned to the Headmaster's office soon after the Headmaster was released from Pomfrey's care.

"I do not know anymore," Dumbledore replied as he eyed Snape wearily. "Severus, upon your recommendation, I didn't tell my people that Voldemort was going to make an attempt upon the Order. You led me to believe a single person would be endangered and now I find that not only did I lose three people, but nearly lost everyone."

"I told you the truth as I understood it," Severus argued. "When I did learn the extent of the plan I was not allowed to leave the Dark Lord's sight."

"So are you telling me that I no longer can rely on your information?" Dumbledore asked.

"Of course not," Snape replied. "But we've always known the Dark Lord keeps his own council."

"And his response to losing so many?"

"What do you think?" Snape snarled. "He's not pleased; especially knowing it was Potter again."

"That would be expected," Dumbledore replied as he peered over his half-moon glasses at his Potions Master. "Thank you Severus. That will be all."

Snape sat stunned at the sudden dismissal for a few seconds. He had expected the Headmaster to query him on the Dark Lord's future plans or what his response would be to this defeat, but in those words from Dumbledore, there had been a certain finality in the dismissal. "Of course Headmaster," He said finally and walked out of Dumbledore's office. As he descended the moving staircase he realized that now neither Voldemort nor Dumbledore trusted him. He mentally lashed out at the one person he felt most responsible. "Damn you Potter."

 
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