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by White Squirrel
Sequel to The Arithmancer. Years 5-7. Armed with a N.E.W.T. in Arithmancy after
Voldemort's return, Hermione takes spellcrafting to new heights and must push the
bounds of magic itself to help Harry defeat his enemy once and for all.
Rated: Fiction T - English - Harry P., Hermione G., George W., Ginny W. - Chapters:
4 - Words: 27,233 - Reviews: 185 - Favs: 783 - Follows: 1,153 - Updated: 10/3 Published: 8/22 - id: 11463030

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4

Chapter 1
Disclaimer: All maths in this story is real and correct to the best of my knowledge. All
arithmancy in this story besides the tiny amount mentioned in the books is stuff I
made up. JK Rowling owns the rest.
A/N: Ancient Runes gets a lot of play in fan fiction for things like warding and making
magical artifacts, but Arithmancy doesn't get nearly as much attention as the basis
for spellcrafting. After seeing only a couple of stories that even attempted to address
the subject seriously, I decided to write one of my own, featuring Hermione as a
maths whiz instead of a bookworm, based on the world's most gifted real-life child
prodigies. That story became The Arithmancer, which concluded at the end of fourth
year. Lady Archimedes is the sequel, beginning the summer after Voldemort's return.
This story will update every two weeks unless otherwise stated.
The story so far: Hermione tested into Arithmancy in first year and has now
completed her N.E.W.T. She has made several major breakthroughs in the field and
has published a number of scholarly papers. She has also worked hard to maintain a
close relationship with her parents and has told them everything that happened at
Hogwarts, even though they made her go to Beauxbatons starting in fourth year
because of it.
Sirius is free, and Wormtail is in Azkaban. Barty Crouch Jr. is free and working with
Voldemort. Cedric survived the Third Task, but he lost an arm and a leg in a duel
with Barty Jr. Harry and Ginny are dating. Hermione is currently unattached,
although she went to the Yule Ball with George during a visit to Britain.
Yes, there will be maths, but you won't need to understand it to understand the story.
As with The Arithmancer, I will be taking requests for spells. If you have a spell you
want to see Hermione or the Death Eaters invent, PM me or leave a review.
The cover art for this story was graciously contributed by paradigmfinch and features
Hermione in her basilisk-skin coat given to her by an Indian cursebreaker after third
Chapter 1
The summer was young, and spirits were running high for most people in Crawley.
Children played outside, families went on holidays or day trips to the cinema or the
water park, mothers gardened, and fathers went to football matches"or vice versa in
some cases. However, one teenage girl was not yet out enjoying the sun. This was

not because the summer had blossomed uncommonly hot and dry, though it had.
Nor was it because she was a die-hard academic with a legendary penchant for
numbers who preferred to spend her day at a library rather than a water park,
although all that was true, too. No, it was because she was haunted by the horror
than had befallen two of her closest friends just a few days before.
Hermione Granger considered herself plain, but her wardrobe reflected it more than
her face. She was pretty enough, and she knew how to clean up well, and her hair,
thanks to a few simple tricks she had devised, she maintained in rich, brown curls
that draped loosely about her shoulders"a big improvement over the bushy mass
that appeared in her younger photos in the house.
She sat on her bed, quietly contemplating an array of thin wooden wands. The first,
accorded a place of honour, was hers"tan in colour, ten and three quarter inches
long, made from a woody vine and carved with an intricate ivy motif, with a strand of
dragon heart-string at its centre. It was orders of magnitude better than any of the
others and perfectly in tune with her magic.
Hermione Granger was a witch, probably the most gifted of her generation in Britain.
And if she was gifted in most things, she was a genius in terms of maths, possibly
the mostly brilliant arithmancer of the entire twentieth century, and that wasn't just
her saying that; it was people who had lived through the entire twentieth century
The half dozen other wands on her bed were a mixed bag. Some were store-bought,
and some were hand-made. Some had miniscule runes carved into them that you
needed a magnifying glass to see, and some were perfectly smooth. The cheapest
would burn out like a flash bulb if you tried to use it as anything more than a torch;
none would hold up to more than a few months of regular use. All but one had
magical plant fibres at their cores, but the last one was different.
She picked up the last wand and held it flat across her palm. The others were mere
toys, but this one was a little more advanced. It was made from a hand-picked twig
of beech wood from the south of France. At its heart was one of her own hairs, and
the glue that held it together was mixed with a drop of her own blood. According to
her research, this wand would work only for her, and it would show up on the
Ministry Trace as accidental magic, so she wouldn't get in trouble for using it.
She had made this wand so that she could keep using magic through the summer
without falling afoul of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage
Sorcery"a privilege that most children whose parents were witches and wizards
already enjoyed. But now, at what should have been her moment of triumph, she

had another concern: protecting herself. And its protection felt wholly inadequate.
A wand was only worth anything if you could wield it, and she had seen
firsthand"well, almost firsthand"how quickly that could be taken away. Her good
friend, Cedric Diggory, had lost both his wand and the arm that wielded it in one
stroke in a duel with a man named Barty Crouch Jr., servant of Lord Voldemort. That
battle had also cost Cedric a leg and had cost a lot of people their peace of mind
when Voldemort was somehow brought back from the dead. Hermione's best friend,
Harry Potter, Voldemort's number one target, had barely made it out of there with his
own life.
With Voldemort back, a new war was sure to start in magical Britain, as bad as the
war that had killed Harry's parents and many others. And what made it much, much
worse was that the Ministry of Magic was in complete denial about it.
Hence her desire for personal protection.
Most wizards didn't even carry backup wands, which wasn't an unreasonable
position. After all, how many muggles"non-magic folk"carried more than one gun,
even in America? How many carried more than one knife? And wands weren't
cheap: three or four hundred quid, depending on the exchange rate, but a gun or a
knife couldn't be snapped like a twig. She'd feel safer with a backup, and even with
this latest homemade wand, she worried about it burning out in a real fight.
" much do I have saved up?" she wondered out loud. "Maybe I should
just buy a spare."
Hermione had marketed a line of single-use potions kits that used runes to eliminate
the need for wands, thus allowing non-magicals to use them. They weren't big
sellers, but they got her some pocket change. She also had a one-third silent
partnership in a new small business called Creevey Bros. Pictures, which was
currently the only business able to pull magical photographs off of Omniocular
recordings. She had helped invent the processes, and the Creevey Brothers had
insisted she take a share, such as it was. On the other hand, she also had to pay a
house elf one galleon per week when he wasn't subcontracted to her school, so she
wasn't exactly rolling in it.
Then, there were her spells. Hermione was shaping up to be an excellent
spellcrafter. Harry and Cedric had survived facing Voldemort using three of her
spells. Now, she was wrapping up her independent study of partial differential
equations, and she was finding them much more relevant than before. PDEs were
what you used to construct most of the really powerful curses, and if war was

coming, she was resolved to pursue that line of study much further.
She barely noticed the doorbell until her mother called up the stairs, "Hermione,
there's someone here to see you."
Quickly stuffing the blood-bound wand down her sock (she needed something better
for that, too), she made her way to the stairs. Merlin's beard, she was getting
paranoid. Only a week, and she already felt naked if she didn't have a wand on her
at all times.
At the foot of the stairs, she received a surprise. Standing in her living room was an
old wizard in colourful, flowing robes, high-heeled boots, and a pointed hat: Albus
Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"Professor Dumbledore," she said. "What's happening? Has there been any news
about Cedric?"
"Mr. Diggory is mending about as well as can be expected under the circumstances,
Miss Granger," Dumbledore said. "He will be in the hospital at least another week,
however. There is something else I would like to discuss with you today."
"Well, come and sit down," Hermione's mum said. "Can we get you anything?"
"A spot of tea, if you don't mind, Mrs. Granger."
"Of course. Dobby?"
A small, wrinkled creature, three feet tall, with bat-like ears and eyes the exact size
and colour of tennis balls appeared in the room. "Yes, Mrs. Granger?" he said in a
squeaky voice.
"Could you brew up a pot of tea for our guest, please?"
"Yes, ma'am. Good day, Headmaster Dumbledore, sir," Dobby said. He trotted off to
the kitchen.
Dobby was a house elf whom Hermione had managed to free from his abusive
master, Lucius Malfoy, two years ago, and he was proud to accent one galleon per
week to work for her family. While he got the tea started, Dumbledore and the
Grangers sat down.
"So what's this about, Professor?" Hermione's dad said. "You're not Hermione's

headmaster anymore."
Hermione had spent three mostly pleasant years at Hogwarts, but after she went
through four near-death experiences there, Dan and Emma Granger's admittedly
long patience had run out with the place, and they transfered their daughter to
Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in the south of France, where she spent the past
year (except for a few visits related to Harry's unwilling participation in the Triwizard
"I'm aware of that, Mr. Granger," Dumbledore said. "This is about another matter. Am
I correct in assuming your daughter told you about the return of Lord Voldemort?"
"Yes, she did. She also said your Ministry wasn't doing anything about it."
He nodded: "This is true."
"Are we in danger here?" Mum asked. As a muggle-born and a friend of Harry,
Hermione and her parents knew she would be high on Voldemort's kill list if things
were to get really bad.
"I do not believe so. Voldemort is likely to use the Ministry's inaction to lie low and
recruit followers. In the meantime, if I may have your confidence, I am organising a
covert group to work against Voldemort, and no, I'm not asking your daughter to join
it"ah, thank you Dobby," he said as the elf brought in the tea. "However, I am offering
Hermione a chance to join us at our meeting place for the summer. We have a safe
house, which has been placed under the Fidelius Charm, and if you are concerned
about her safety, I daresay she will be safer there than here."
"The what charm?" Dad asked.
"It's a way of magically binding a secret so only one person can tell it," Hermione
spoke up. "Who's the Secret Keeper, Professor?"
"I am." That was good. The Fidelius Charm sounded good on parchment, but Harry's
parents had been betrayed to their deaths by their Secret Keeper. "You may be
interested to know, Miss Granger, that the Weasley Family will be moving into the
safe house this weekend, and of course, Harry will be later in the summer."
"Hermione hasn't even been home a week," Mum objected. "If there's no serious
threat, like you say, we don't want her leaving again so soon."
"That is understandable, of course," Dumbledore conceded.

"When is Harry going to be there?" Hermione asked. Her parents shot her a
questioning look, and she added, "I know I don't get to see you two enough as it is,
and I do want to stay here longer, but I'd also like to see my friends this summer
before I go back to France. If I could get a longer stay in here..."
"In answer to your question, Miss Granger, Sirius has his heart set on the thirtieth of
July to bring Harry to Headquarters."
The day before Harry's birthday, of course: fitting, since he was currently stuck with
his emotionally abusive relatives for the sake of magical protection, and that was a
whole other can of worms. "Then maybe I could go around that time," she offered.
"That way, I would still get another month here. And we would still meet up for school
shopping before I leave for Beauxbatons, of course."
Dan and Emma looked at each other and reached a silent consensus. "I think part of
the summer would be alright," Emma said. "We can discuss the details later."
"Thank you, Mum," Hermione said with relief.
"Very well," Dumbledore said. "Please keep me informed of your decision. Now,
there is another matter of some importance, Miss Granger," he added, suddenly
becoming much more serious.
"Yes, Professor?" Hermione asked worriedly.
"As you might guess, this information that I've given you is very sensitive, as is other
information you might encounter this summer. Owls can be intercepted, as can
muggle post"by either Voldemort or the Ministry. It is imperative that when you write
to your friends, you do not mention any such sensitive information. The risk of it
being found out is too great. This is especially true for Harry, who will be most
closely monitored."
Hermione frowned: "Harry's not going to like that, Professor. He's already anxious to
know what Voldemort's up to. He'll go stir crazy if we don't tell him anything. And he'll
be furious at us. You know he doesn't have many lifelines at the Dursleys."
"I am aware of that, Miss Granger. Nonetheless, it will be safest for Harry and
everyone else involved if he is not told any more than he truly needs to know."
Hermione's eyes narrowed at him, while her mum took up the argument: "Professor,
she's right. Anyone would hate to be kept out of the loop like that. Isn't there some
way to work around it?"

"I wish there was, Mrs. Granger, but this is a very sensitive covert operation. Miss
Granger, I will ask you to promise me you won't tell Harry any more than he needs to
know. Our organisation cannot risk this information being found out."
"I'm not so sure she should," Mum objected. "It sounds like you're safe enough. We
don't want our daughter abandoning her best friend like that."
"I'm afraid I must insist."
"Mum," Hermione cut her off. Something seemed off about this request. It wasn't that
she didn't trust Dumbledore's judgement, exactly, but it definitely went against her
own better judgement. But at the same time, she knew Dumbledore wouldn't take no
for an answer, so she thought fast and said, "Professor, I promise I will not risk
sending Harry any sensitive information that could be intercepted."
Dumbledore nodded with a small smile: "Thank you, Miss Granger. I am glad you
are willing to trust me in this. The tea was very good, Dobby. Unfortunately, I must be
going. There is much to do." He turned to go, but stopped and added. "Oh, and Miss
Granger, I haven't had the chance to personally congratulate you for your proof of
the sixth exception to Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration. That was truly some
of the best arithmantic work I've ever seen. I wish we had time to discuss it in more
"Uh, thank you, Professor," Hermione said, blushing.
"You're quite welcome, Miss Granger. Good afternoon."
As soon as Dumbledore shut the door and vanished with a crack, Emma turned on
her daughter. "Hermione, I'm surprised at you," she said. "You're really going to keep
your best friend in the dark just because that man told you to?"
Hermione smiled at her, "No, Mum, I don't believe I ever said that. Don't worry. I
have a plan."
In the smallest, poorest-kept bedroom of Number 4 Privett Drive, Little Whinging,
Surrey, a thin, bespectacled boy lay on his bed, thumbing with annoyance through a
copy of the Daily Prophet. He was dressed in decent clothes, although they were
getting a bit short for him, but he didn't otherwise put much effort into his upkeep. His
black hair was messy and uncombed, mostly covering up the lightning-bolt-shaped
scar on his forehead.

Harry Potter was not happy being in his relatives' house again, and even less so for
having to stay there for over a month. The feeling was mutual. His muggle relatives
didn't hold with anything they considered "abnormal", and their interaction with him
this week had mostly consisted of things like, "If you're going to be stuck here again,
you'd better earn your keep. You can start by weeding the flower beds."
Harry was a marked man in more ways than one. The most evil wizard alive today
was back and wanted him dead. He checked the magical news and even tried to
listen in on the muggle news for any information on Voldemort's movements, but he
got nothing"not that it surprised him. The only thing he had seen that was remotely
related was a statement by the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, calling Albus
Dumbledore a liar and casting aspersions on Harry's mental stability. After that,
As he stewed in his thoughts, he heard a small pop. Looking around in alarm, he
saw a green-eyed house elf standing beside his bed.
"Dobby?" he hissed. "What are you doing here?" This didn't bode well, he thought.
The last time Dobby had shown up in his bedroom, it hadn't gone well for him. He'd
wound up locked in and had to be rescued by one of his teachers and a giant purple
This time, though, Dobby was smiling. "I has a letter for Harry Potter, sir," he said,
"from Miss Hermione Granger."
"From Hermione?" Harry sat up eagerly. "Where is it?"
"It is here, sir. She is ordering me to give it directly to your hands and not lets anyone
else see, sir. She is not wanting you to lets anyone else see, either. Professor
Dumbledore is not trusting owls, sir."
Harry's own owl, Hedwig, barked disapprovingly as Dobby handed over the letter."
"Er, thanks, Dobby," Harry said. "Um, if I want to write back to her, do I need to go
through you, or can I send Hedwig."
Dobby thought for a minute and said, "It is being best if you gives it to Dobby, sir.
Hmm...I wills return tomorrow night to ask you if you has a letter for Miss Hermione,
"Oh. Okay, then. Tell Hermione thanks for me."
"Yes, sir."

Dobby vanished with a pop, and Harry opened the letter.

Dear Harry,
I 'm sending this letter with Dobby because Dumbledore is worried about owls and
muggle post being intercepted. He sounded a little paranoid to me, but he made me
promise not to send you anything important that could be intercepted. He showed up
at my house today; he didn't talk long, but I'll tell you what I know.
Dumbledore 's putting together a group to fight Voldemort, and they have a safe
house. It's under the Fidelius Charm with Dumbledore as the Secret Keeper. The
Weasleys are going there this weekend, and Sirius wants to take you there the day
before your birthday. Dumbledore offered to take me there this weekend, but I want
to spend more time with Mum and Dad first. I'll probably go around the same time
you do.
About Voldemort, Dumbledore didn 't say anything except that he's lying low to
recruit, and we're probably safe here for now. Also, if Dumbledore gives the
Weasleys the same talk he gave me, we probably won't hear much from them, but
we might learn one or two things.
Cedric 's doing better. Mum and Dad say I can visit him tomorrow, so I'll know more
about him then.
I hope the Dursleys aren 't giving you too hard a time, Harry. You deserve better than
to be stuck there all month. Just try to focus on your homework or something and try
to ignore what the Prophet or whoever says about you.
It 's probably best if you write to me through Dobby. I would guess Hedwig won't be
able to reach the Weasleys through the Fidelius, but you can send her to Cedric or
Neville or anybody else you want as long as you don't reveal too much. Hopefully,
we'll see you soon.
Love from,
Well, at least Dumbledore was doing something, even if it didn't sound like much. He
didn't sound like he was being very forthcoming, and nothing seemed to be
happening at the moment, anyway. Harry wanted to take issue with what Hermione
said about the Weasleys. There were seven Weasley kids, four of whom were still in
school with him. All of them were good people, and the youngest, Ginny, was his hewasn't-quite-comfortable-calling-her-his-girlfriend-...-yet. Surely, she would tell him

what was going on, even if no one else would. Except then he remembered, Mrs.
Weasley would be there, and if anyone could make Ginny follow Dumbledore's
wishes, it was Ginny's mother. They might have to play that one by ear.
In the morning, the Grangers headed up to London to visit Cedric in the hospital, and
so that Hermione could look for some new maths books"both magical and muggle.
She had just sat her N.E.W.T. exam in Arithmancy, but she had already performed
far more advanced feats using university-level muggle maths. Most recently, she had
proved (with some help) that radioactive elements comprised a sixth exception to
Gamp's Law and could not be transfigured (a very good thing, in her opinion). She
was getting fan mail for that, which was a bit unnerving.
Meanwhile, she had almost studied enough maths to get a muggle university degree
in the subject. She was nearly through the standard partial differential equations
curriculum, and she wasn't really sure where to look next. Maybe some real analysis
for the autumn term.
"And I think it's time we got a subscription to the Daily Prophet for delivery to the
house," she told her parents. "We need to keep on top of things there."
Their first stop of the day was St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and
Injuries. It wasn't easy to find, being made up to look like an abandoned department
store front, but once inside, things were straightforward. Hermione told the Welcome
Witch she wanted to visit Cedric Diggory, and she was directed to the Artifact
Accidents ward"which is what having your leg ripped off by a Portkey was. His arm
had been shredded by a Bludgeoning Hex instead, but it was close enough. Upon
informing the ward's head Healer, they were announced, and Cedric asked them to
come in. As they did, however, a short and tearful Chinese girl nearly bowled
Hermione over as she rushed from the room.
"Cho?" Hermione said.
The girl didn't respond as she headed for the exit. Cho Chang was"or had
been"Cedric's girlfriend, but Hermione wasn't sure what their situation was now.
Inside the room, Cedric was lying on a bed, leaning back against the headboard. He
was paler than Hermione remembered him, and he looked weary, but he was still
handsome, despite his injuries. She had had a crush on him last year"still did a little
bit, if she was honest with herself, but she had developed a greater interest in
George Weasley ever since she had gone with him to the Yule Ball. Not that it
mattered with her going to a different school.

Even covered up, you could tell that Cedric was missing a leg, and the bandaged
stump of right arm ended just above the elbow, leaving him trying to awkwardly do
everything left handed. His parents were sitting by his bedside.
"Hermione, hi. It's good to see you," Cedric said. He smiled, but his weariness
coming through strongly. She stepped closer to the bed, and he gripped her shoulder
in a weak attempt at a one-armed hug.
"Hi, Cedric. How are you holding up?" Hermione said nervously.
"I'm getting by. Eating's the hardest part," he tried to say lightly. "Of course, I haven't
tried to do much that takes more than one hand yet."
Hermione sighed, not sure how to approach him. "Er, I'm glad you're improving," she
answered lamely. "Um, oh, these are my parents, Daniel and Emma."
"Pleased to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Granger." Cedric said. He shook their hands lefthanded. "These are my parents, Amos and Celeste."
The introductions soon completed, and Mr. Diggory shook Hermione's hand
vigorously. "We didn't get a chance to thank you properly, Miss Granger," he said.
"According to Cedric, one of your spells saved his life."
"I suppose so."
"No supposing about it. He told us the only reason Barty Junior missed that first
curse was because you taught him something faster. And you didn't have to teach
him those spells at all. We know you're closer with Harry Potter." He leaned closer
and added in a low voice, "We believe him, by the way, about You-Know-Who
coming back. I can't believe our Cedric could have gone through all that for a
random madman. We can't say it too loud, though, not with the way Fudge has been
this week."
"Uh, thank you, Mr. Diggory. I'm sure Harry will appreciate that."
"Mr. and Mrs. Granger, you have a brilliant daughter," he went on. "You must be very
"We certainly are," Dad said. "We could tell she was one of a kind right from the
start. It would just be nice if she could stay away from trouble for once."
On that awkward note, Hermione tried to change the subject, though she didn't
succeed in making it less awkward. "So, if you don't mind me asking, Cedric, is Cho

He sighed heavily: "I don't know. She's been in here a few times, but she can't seem
to look at me without crying."
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pried""
"No, it's fine. It's not like she's being private about it. Cho wears her emotions on her
sleeve, you know? We'll just have to wait and see."
" you...know how much longer you'll be here?" Still not helping the
awkwardness. Come on, Hermione, you can do better than this!
"The Healers say another week or two. I'll be getting a prosthetic arm and leg soon,
but I'll need therapy to use them."
"Oh, that's good. I imagine magical prosthetics are really good."
"Not always. Remember Moody? Real or fake, he still walked with a limp."
"Don't get me wrong; it'll be good to have two arms again, even if they're both
rubbish with a quill, but you can't cast spells with a prosthetic. That has to be your
real arm. I'll have to relearn everything left-handed for school."
Suddenly, Hermione brightened. "Actually, I think I can help you with that, Cedric?"
"You can?" he said in surprise.
"Yes. I've been teaching myself left-handed casting for the past year, ever since that
dementor froze my wand hand. I didn't want to be left without it again. I can come by
over the next few weeks and help you with the wand movements."
"Really? You'd do that for me?"
"Of course I would. I wouldn't want you to miss out on a Charms N.E.W.T. for
something like this."
Cedric smiled. "You're a good friend, Hermione," he said. "And so's Harry, for that
matter. Do you know he owled me his half of the winnings?"
Hermione's eyebrows rose: "No. I know he was talking about it, but I didn't know he'd
done it."

"He did. He wrote a letter saying I deserved it because I was actually supposed to be
in the Tournament, and I needed it more than he did. I didn't want it, of course. He
did better than I did hands down. But his owl flew away before I could try to put it
Hermione giggled. "That does sound like Hedwig, alright," she said. "So, if you're
interested, I could come back next weekend to see how you're doing, and we can
start on the spellcrafting."
"I'd like that, Hermione. Thank you."
"It's no trouble. What are friends for?"
Hermione got her subscription to the Daily Prophet, but to her dismay, there wasn't
anything about Harry or Voldemort. There was a fair bit about Dumbledore. Minister
Fudge was openly criticising him for "inciting panic" without mentioning what the
Headmaster's claims actually were. Multiple, mostly-anonymous quotes speculated
that Dumbledore was either lying or going senile, and an editorial questioned
whether he was still fit to hold his governmental positions of Chief Warlock of the
Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.
"It's positively Orwellian," she ranted to Mum and Dad. "They have complete control
of the press. They're talking about him like he's a dissident, and worse, like he's
always been suspect. Just because he's eccentric""
"We know, dear," Mum cut her off. "We don't have a very high opinion of this Minister
Fudge, either, but if he controls the press, there's not much you can do."
"I know. I know. But still, people are probably going to be hurt or killed because of
this. It's so infuriating! And then, there's what they said about Harry""
"I thought you said they weren't mentioning Harry," Dad said.
"They didn't till today. And even then, I almost missed it. Look. Here, page 3." She
opened up the newspaper to show them. "Three muggle fishermen in a rowboat
managed to find themselves thirty feet up a tree after an encounter with the Loch
Ness Kelpie, in a tale worthy of Harry Potter."
"Loch Ness Kelpie?" Dad asked.
"Long story. Oh, don't you see? They're making Harry out to be a nutter so no one
will believe what he says. He hasn't even said anything except that first night."

"We're sorry, Hermione. Sometimes the government is just criminally incompetent,"

Mum tried to soothe her. "I'm sure Professor Dumbledore and his group are doing all
they can."
"I hope so."
Hermione was still in a bad mood that evening when Ron Weasley's hyperactive little
owl, Pigwidgeon, showed up with a letter at her window.
"Oh, hi, Pig," she said, letting him in. "I hope you have some good news."
"Hmm. Nothing gets you down, does it?"
"Well, let's see what the Weasleys are up to, shall we?"
Dear Hermione,
We 're moved in at you know where now. We wish you and Harry could be here with
us, but you'll probably be glad you're not. It's ugly . Take every complaint Ron 's ever
made about our house"HEY! Shut up, Ron. Even if it was true, it wouldn't be as bad
as this place. It was abandoned, and now it's infested with stuff you probably don't
want to know about. The adults are trying to make it more livable.
We can 't tell you much more because Dumbledore's worried about owls being
intercepted. Of course, they won't tell us a whole lot anyway. That's mostly Mum's
doing. We'll find out what we can, though. Also, we thought you should know that
Percy left. We probably shouldn't talk much about that either, but the short version is
Percy's siding with the Ministry, and he got in a big argument with Dad. It wasn't
pretty. We'll tell you more when you get here.
Your friends,
Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny
Well, that was just great. It didn't look like anyone was having a very good summer
right now.

Chapter 2
Disclaimer: There's...antimony, arsenic, and also aluminium, and hydrogen, and
oxygen, and also JK Rowlium...
A/N: Phew. This was harder than I expected. I realised I needed to change some
things about the dementor scene at the last minute. Thanks for all the reviews,
favourites, and follows on the first chapter of this story. Here's the second chapter to
get it on schedule.
From here on out, Lady Archimedes will update every two weeks, alternating
with The Accidental Animagus .
Please note that I have moved up the dementor attack up one week to put it before
Harry's birthday.
Chapter 2
Rita Skeeter, former gossip columnist, had decided to take some time off in the
muggle world. Well, she decided about the muggle world part. The time off wasn't
her choice. It was that little twit, Granger, who figured out she was an unregistered
animagus and trapped her in a jam jar. Seriously, who carries a jam jar in her robes?
But that wasn't the worst. The worst was that Granger had blackmailed her into not
publishing anything for a whole year.
"Little girl's going to ruin me," Rita scowled to herself. "I don't have savings for a
year. And of course, her parents are well-off professionals. She even gets to go to
school in France. Meanwhile, I had to work for everything I got. I had to sleep in the
same room as Bellatrix Black for seven years for Pete's sake. I'm lucky to be alive
after that."
Rita probably looked rather odd, grumbling to herself whilst walking into a muggle
public library. Muggles did have their uses. They had libraries everywhere, and some
of their books were even useful. That was how she found out about what Granger's
parents did for a living: "dentists""muggle teeth Healers. Strange, but lucrative.
Also, the cost of living was lower in the muggle world, if you played your cards right.
"Well, if I can't publish for a year, I can at least research," she said. "Get something
ready for my big return. Maybe even start that biography of Dumbledore I've always
wanted to right. Ha! As soon as the old man kicks the bucket and can't fight back, I'll

be rolling in it."
But Rita's project today was a little more mundane. Something Granger said had
been bugging her"no pun intended"for the past week, and she needed a muggle
library to understand it.
Now, she thought to herself, what on earth do the words "human rights violation"
mean? I mean, it's obvious what they mean, but why do the muggles think Azkaban
is one, and why do they care so much about it?
Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test Results
Pass Grades Fail Grades
Outstanding (O) Poor (P)
Exceeds Expectations (E) Dreadful (D)
Acceptable (A) Troll (T)
Hermione Jean Granger has achieved:
Arithmancy O*
Dear Miss Granger,
I was most impressed one year ago when you achieved the highest recorded score
on the current O.W.L. examination in Arithmancy. I was pleased to see that you
maintained this high standard after studying just one year for this exam. You have
achieved the highest score ever on the current version of the NEWT exam that was
instituted in 1950. I congratulate you again on your stellar performance.
I also wish to give you early notice of a rare opportunity. The Arithmancy exams
(along with the rest of the O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. exams) are set to be revised during
the 1998-1999 school year, to be implemented in the spring of 2000. Normally, top
experts who are active in the field of each subject are invited to contribute to the
revisions to ensure that students are tested on the skills they will need to succeed
outside of school. Given your scores, you would certainly be qualified to help revise
the O.W.L. exam and probably the N.E.W.T. as well, especially if, as I suspect you
will, you obtain a Mastery in the subject by that time.
If you choose to continue living in Britain after your graduation from Beauxbatons,

the Wizarding Examination Authority will likely contact you in the summer of 1998 to
join the project. You do not need to do anything now, but you may wish to pay
particular attention to the arithmancy needs of the community as you continue in
your studies in order to have a better understanding going into the project.
Griselda Marchbanks
Governor of the Wizarding Examinations Authority
Dear Harry,
We 're all getting settled in here. Sorry, I can't tell you where here is. Mum's looking
over my shoulder to make sure I don't tell you anything I shouldn't. She seems to
think my feelings for you might cloud my judgement or something. We're quite busy
here even with most of the family here, and that crazy old dog. Dad's friends are
stopping by a lot, too. Mum says we'll be able to see you later in the summer, but I
can't really say any more about that. I wish I could tell you everything, but it'll have to
wait till you get here. Just ignore the Prophet, and don't let the muggles get you
Missing you,
Dear Ginny
Thank you for your letter. It 's good to know I'm not forgotten. I really wish you'd have
told me more, but at least you wrote a longer note than Ron, or even Sirius did. Tell
your mum hi for me. I heard from Hermione. I guess she won't be along until later. I
hope things aren't too hard there for you.
I 'd like to know what's going on with you, but I especially want to know what
Voldemort is doing. I've been ignoring the Prophet because they aren't reporting
anything. You'd tell me if you knew something, right? It all seems too quiet around
The Dursleys aren 't being any worse than usual, which is good. You'll never believe
what Dudley did, though. He actually lost weight! Apparently he started exercising
and took up boxing (muggle duelling). I hate to admit it, but he's actually good at

something. I really hate to admit it because it makes him an even bigger bully. I 'm
still faster than him, though.
Yours truly,
P.S. Do me a favour and prank Sirius and Remus for me.
"Hmpf. That boy needs to use a little more discretion," Molly Weasley said. "He
shouldn't be hinting about who we're staying with and why."
"Mum, he's bored and frustrated," Ginny said. "He wants to know what's going on,
and no one will tell him. I'd be mad, too. And I'll thank you not to read my personal
mail over my shoulder."
"You heard what Professor Dumbledore said, Ginerva""
"Yes, yes, owls can be intercepted, et cetera, et cetera. It's not like somebody
couldn't figure this stuff out anyway. There wasn't anything secret."
"Just be sure it stays that way then," Molly said.
A week later, Hermione visited Cedric in the hospital again. He looked better this
time. His colour was back, he was wearing normal clothes, and he was sitting in a
chair, reading, rather than in the bed. Most notably, though, he now had four limbs
"Hermione, good to see you" he said, rising to his feet as she entered the room. He
stumbled slightly and grabbed a cane with his good left hand. His right leg had been
severed at the hip, so no matter how good the prosthetic was, it was sure to take
some getting used to. Below the cuff of his trousers, she saw a crudely-carved
wooden shoe that looked like it was attached to a wooden hydraulic arm and would
have to be enchanted in some way. He gave her an awkward half-hug with a fully
articulated wooden hand that moved without any visible pulley mechanism.
"Hi, Cedric. I'm glad to see you're back on your feet," Hermione said with a smile.
"Well, more or less," he said, tapping his wooden shoe with his cane. "This thing is
supposed to be a lot better than Moody's, but I'm not seeing it."
"It is? I would've thought he'd have the best that was available."

"No, from what I hear, Moody uses a muggle prosthetic. He's too paranoid to get an
enchanted one in case someone cancels it in a fight."
"As opposed to a plain wooden one where someone can just curse it off?" Hermione
"Well, no one ever said he was sane," Cedric replied. "The arm's no better, either. I
can't write with it any better than my left, but they say that should get better with
"And of course, you can't use a wand with it."
"That too. But that's why you're here, isn't it?"
"Mm hmm."
"Thank you for coming. Say, it should be time to get your N.E.W.T. results, shouldn't
it? Didn't you take the Arithmancy exam?"
"Yes I did," Hermione said, suppressing her smile.
"And?" Cedric pressed. "How did you do?"
"No how I expected."
He frowned: "You mean you didn't get an O?"
"Actually...I did so well they want me to help rewrite the exam standards," she said
with a grin.
Cedric's jaw dropped. "Rewrite the standards?" he said. "Based on your scores
alone? That's incredible. When are they planning to do it? Can you do it from
"It won't be till after I graduate, so I'll be free then, unless Mum and Dad want to
move to Australia or something, which might not be a bad idea under present
"Australia?" Hermione's mum said.
"Hmm...might be worth it considering you're muggles and all, Mrs. Granger," Cedric
said. "Still, wow, you never do anything halfway, do you?"
"Are you kidding?" Hermione lowered her voice. "I need to step up my game with

Voldemort back." Cedric flinched. "You just know Harry's going to get tangles up with
that again. I'm still going to try to help him however I can."
He smiled weakly: "You're a good friend, you know that? I wish there was more we
could do for you."
She shook her head. "I keep telling Harry, just staying alive is enough for me. When
you're being hunted by a madman, there's only so much else you can do."
"I hope I can be a better friend to you than that," Cedric told her with a frown. "And
I'd say the same about Harry. I know we haven't been as close lately as we used to
be, but even I could see that almost every time you saw your friends up here for the
past year, you were running yourself ragged trying to help Harry with the
Tournament. That's not exactly a healthy friendship, even if it's necessary."
"We were both victims of circumstance," she said. "We still are, in my opinion. So
much trouble in his life, especially. But I'm sure that if I ever truly needed something
from him, Harry would move heaven and earth to help me. That's just the way he
is...Anyway, we need to get to the lesson."
"Right. Left-handed casting. So how do we go about this? I've never paid much
attention to what hand people use. I know it's not as simple as just switching hands."
"You're right. I learnt it from Neville Longbottom. You might want to talk to him when
school starts again, but basically, there are some wand movements that transfer
straight from one hand to the other, some that mirror, and a few that are completely
different. I don't know if you've seen, but they make a left-handed version of The
Standard Book""
"The Standard Book of Spells. Yes, I know. Mum and Dad already bought me the full
set. I looked through them, but they assume your left hand is your dominant hand, so
it's a lot harder than they think for me to make the figures."
"I know. Not only is your right hand dominant, but you've been favouring it since you
first learnt how to pick up a quill. There's not a whole lot you can do besides practice
a lot at every spell. Wand movements that normally take minutes to learn with your
dominant hand may need hours of practice with your non-dominant hand to build up
the muscle memory, especially to do them quickly. I learnt a few tricks I can show
you, though."
Hermione made Cedric stand with his wand in his left hand and one of her toy wands
in his right hand and made him practice simple wand movement elements like flicks,
swishes, jabs, and swirls with both at once, in parallel and mirrored. It was easier to

train your hand to move properly when you tied it to the accurate movement of your
right hand, or so she said, but it was more challenging for Cedric than it had been for
her because he still wasn't very coordinated with his prosthetic arm. His handwriting,
previously quite neat for a boy, was now a near-illegible scrawl even worse than
"We so rarely break down wand movements into individual motions, except in
Arithmancy," she said after they practised for a while, "but it's easier if you learn the
individual movements now and string them together later. I'd recommend focusing
on that for this week, and we can work on actual spells next week."
"I suppose so," Cedric replied, trying not to be too disappointed with his
performance. He had been at the top of his class, but he was pretty sure his marks
in his wand-based classes were going to suffer, now, even with intensive practice.
"You'll do fine, Cedric," Hermione assured him. "I've learnt it well enough that I can
do all of the most useful spells left-handed, and that was whilst juggling a lot of other
projects. If you put in the hours, you should be able to pick up your classes this
autumn without much trouble."
"Well, thanks, Hermione..." He said. "I still wish I could do more, though. With
Voldemort being back, Dumbledore's going to need the help he can get, even after
the Ministry pulls its head out of its arse. Did you see Fudge is lobbying to have him
sacked as Chief Warlock?"
"Yes, I did. Ugh. Don't get me started on Fudge. But still, I'm sure you can find
something useful. We'll need more than just fighters, after all. I mean, look at me.
Can you imagine me in a knock-down, drag-out fight with dark wizards?"
"Actually, yes," Cedric said. "I think you could hold your own."
Hermione blushed, but before she could respond, her father spoke up: "I think she'll
be avoiding things like that just the same." Her parents had been quiet through most
of the visit, they had stayed and watched, mostly out of interest for the teaching
process, so they were certainly paying attention.
"So then, when you say 'step up your game', what do you mean by that?" Cedric
Hermione glanced at her parents. Mindful that they would be concerned about what
she was considering, she said, "I meant inventing new curses, like I did for Harry
with the Tournament. Now that I've finished partial differential equations, I can make
really powerful ones"things for breaking through shields, incapacitating enemies, or

otherwise hindering their spellcasting. I'll probably send them to one of the Hogwarts
professors for the really serious ones, so they can decide what to do with them."
That was mostly true, except that she was still intending her first point of contact to
be Harry, and she wasn't going to be shy about the nastier curses. Even her TeethDrilling Hex was probably something her parents would disapprove of"especially the
fact that she had used it on Draco Malfoy, Hogwarts's biggest pureblood bigot. Mum
and Dad had always been very clear that dentistry was supposed to help people, not
hurt them.
Cedric understood Hermione's position well enough, but he was unsure what job he
could do himself in the coming war. (And he had no illusions that war was coming.
He definitely trusted Harry.) Maybe he could be useful brewing potions or going into
some other part of the Healing industry. That was sure to be needed. The main other
thing that came to mind was going into politics, like his father, but that was worse
than useless until the Ministry admitted the truth, not to mention he had little taste for
it. He had to do something, though. He hadn't actually been conscious when YouKnow-Who had returned, but he had remembered three hissed words: Kill the spare.
It was his father more than himself who was offended that he, at the top of his class,
was called the 'spare', but just the same, Cedric had a growing urge to show
Voldemort just what a spare could do. He'd have to think about his options. Luckily,
he had plenty of time to do it. After a little more practice, he thanked the Grangers
once more, and they left, leaving him to his thoughts.
Hermione had invented quite a few useful spells to help Harry survive the Triwizard
Tournament last year, but by far her best work had been the spell she had cooked up
for the First Task. Being told Harry had to face a nesting mother dragon with just two
days' notice, she had constructed and tested a spell to extract magnesium powder
from soil in just twenty-four hours and taught it and the Banishing Charm to Harry in
the following twelve, all running on nothing but Pepperup Potion. When Harry walked
into the arena, the fight ended with a cloud of magnesium dust exploding in the face
of the Hungarian Horntail like a stun grenade, causing the disoriented beast to fall on
its, well, tail.
That was naturally impressive and garnered both Harry and Hermione a lot of praise,
but Hermione had been fascinated by the possibilities. What other metals could she
strip from the soil? It was a complicated prospect. Each element needed its own
purification spell, and some of them were infeasible for no other reason than that the
spell extracted them in powder form. She didn't even try for sodium. Honestly, a
cloud of powdered sodium metal over damp soil? She didn't need to burn her
eyebrows off again. Fortunately, simple compounds weren't much harder, and she
did manage to pull off a spell to extract sodium chloride.

Other elements were far too rare. Gold was present in soil, and when she got home,
she constructed the spell to extract it, but when she tested it in a concealed corner of
her backyard, she only got a tiny pinch of the stuff. She did a quick mental
calculation and determined that she could strip-mine the entire yard and only get
enough for the tiniest of coins, and she thought that would be too conspicuous to try.
The other problem was that the powder form was hard to handle, so over the past
school year, she had found ways to melt it down into solid nuggets, although for the
most refractory elements, she had to use thermite to do it. (That was what happened
to her eyebrows the first time.) And there was one element, tungsten, that even
thermite couldn't touch. She didn't have a need for it, yet, but she thought it might be
useful for ballast or something.
In any case, it was with this and other projects that Hermione busied herself over the
summer. She had summer homework, of course, but she finished that quickly. Her
goal was to have spells finished for all of the elements before she returned to school,
and in the corner of the backyard, she tested them by extracting small amounts of
each element to add to her collection.
Overall, she was a lot less busy now than during the school year, but Hermione
Granger never really stopped. She bought a book on C and taught herself the basics
of computer programming. That would have sounded completely useless for a witch
who lived most of the year in a place with no electricity, but there were similar
concepts incorporated into Ancient Runes that would allow her to one-up a certain
pair of mapmakers she knew. She got hold of a Real Analysis textbook from a
university to continue her maths education. And of course, she started working on
new curses. She felt a bit uncomfortable about that last one. Creating really nasty
spells didn't come naturally to her, but she was sure she'd need them.
There were letters, of course, including a couple from her friends in France. But the
letters from her closest friends left something to be desired. The Weasleys' letters
were very terse, and Harry's sounded like he was getting more and more frustrated
not knowing what was going on. He also never mentioned the Daily Prophet
anymore, which made Hermione think he wasn't reading it"only checking for news of
Voldemort. That was foolish in her opinion. It left him unprepared for what the
political state of things would be when he reentered the magical world.
Hermione was getting frustrated too, of course, but she also had a lot more to
occupy her time. Harry's relatives didn't want any "freakishness" going on in their
house. He didn't have much besides the letters and his homework, so Hermione
made sure to pass along any new information she had about Cedric, the Delacours
in France, Neville, and Luna. Sometimes, she even had a tidbit that from the

Weasleys that they hadn't told him. They weren't as careful writing to her as to Harry
Even Ginny's letters didn't give Harry much, if she read between the lines of his,
which was a shame. Hermione thought Harry and Ginny were good for each other,
but this summer must surely be testing their nascent relationship. As for Hermione,
well, it just wasn't the same without her friends"the same way she had felt most of
last year. Even though she loved the quality time with her parents, she still found
herself counting down the days until the thirtieth of July, when she would be able to
see them again.
It was the twenty-fourth of July when Harry found himself lying out in the garden
listening to the news through the open window. Perhaps something Voldemort did
would bleed over into the muggle world and be covered as something strange and
inexplicable. He wasn't supposed to stray from Number Four Privett Drive, where his
proximity to his mother's blood relatives was supposed to protect him in some
convoluted magical way he didn't really understand, but he couldn't stand to be
inside the physical house any more than necessary, and for good reason. The
Dursleys resented him, and he resented the Dursleys. And thus, all was normal in
his world...well, except for that crack of Apparition he heard earlier that Uncle Vernon
had blamed him for.
Harry was expected to do chores while he was with the Dursleys, and he had
jumped at the chance to do the gardening. It got him out of the house. The garden
was dead, of course. The uncommonly hot and dry summer had worsened into the
worst drought in years, and the entire county was on water restriction, but it gave
him time to think.
Harry was sure he would've gone spare by now if it weren't for Dobby helping him
exchange letters with Hermione. He appreciated Ginny's as well, of course, and they
could even have meaningful relationship-type conversations through them (not that
either of them held with the really sappy stuff) but they didn't include the news he so
craved and could only get an inkling of from Hermione. Paradoxically, he had
stopped reading the Prophet"only checking the front page to see if Voldemort's name
was on it. He ignored it so successfully that would've missed Dumbledore getting
demoted from the Wizengamot if Hermione hadn't told him. He was sacked on the
supposed grounds that he was too old to handle the pressure. Harry didn't
understand the importance of that, but Hermione said it was bad.
He was counting down the days until he could rejoin his friends (and give them a
piece of his mind). Six days to go, and a birthday party waiting at the other end. That

was his great consolation in all this. Even though his godfather, Sirius Black, was
giving him the silent treatment as to what he was up to, he was still promising a
lavish birthday party.
Actually, come to think of it, he never said "birthday party". He just said "party". No
one had ever written a definite date when they would come get him except
It was annoying.
It was hard, too. In addition to having to put up with the Dursleys, his nightmares had
come practically every night this summer, taking him back to that graveyard where
Voldemort had come back from the dead"Cedric Diggory nearly being killed by Barty
Crouch Jr. In Harry's dreams, sometimes he was killed, and he would wake up in a
cold sweat. Sometimes, he would go further back and hear his mother begging for
"Oi, runt!" Harry's thoughts were interrupted by a toe jabbing into his ribs. "Quit
slackin' off."
Dudley. Harry's large and annoying cousin. Harry really wanted to tell him off. He
could think of so many comments, he could make, but he held his tongue. He
remembered the one clear command Sirius had given him for the summer: Keep
your nose clean. Be careful, and don't do anything rash. In other words, the exact
opposite of what Sirius would have done.
"Gardening's done, Big D," he said, not bothering to get up.
"What're you"What did you call me?" Dudley said in surprise.
"I heard your gang calling you that the other day," Harry said. He sat up partway,
keeping his head below the windowsill. "When did you become Big D, anyway?"
"You don't get to call me that!" Dudley snapped.
Harry scrambled to his feet, one hand resting against his trouser leg where his wand
was. He couldn't use it, though. He already had one black stroke on his record for
Dobby's misguided attempt to save his life three years ago, and he'd be risking
expulsion if he used magic now. But he didn't want to be in a vulnerable position
around Dudley.
Over the past year, Dudley had done something that Harry would have said was
impossible, even with magic: shown some self-discipline. His cousin who had been

throwing fits like a little kid over being put on a diet last summer had not only actually
lost weight, started working out, and taken up boxing, but had done well enough at
all three of those things to become a regional junior heavyweight champion.
Apparently, all those years of beating up on Harry were good practice.
Harry hated to admit it, but the Dursleys were actually fairly talented. Uncle Vernon
didn't get to be a director at a firm by being incompetent. Aunt Petunia was at least a
good cook, what little he got to eat of it. There was a reason Vernon and Dudley
were so large, and it had started long before Harry could work the stove. And then
there was Dudley's boxing. When the lump actually applied himself, he could be
impressive. Well, Harry supposed Petunia and Dudley couldn't have missed out on
all of his mother's genes.
Dudley didn't miss where Harry's hand was going. "Think you're a big man carrying
that thing, don't you?" he said.
Harry very nearly rose to the bait and drew his wand, but that would have been
exceedingly foolish standing right in front of the Dursleys' front window. Instead, he
just smiled and said, "Did I tell you about the time I beat a dragon in a fight with this
thing?" That ought to be a trump card against Dudley's boxing.
Dudley's foolhardiness was showing, though: "Yeah, you talk tough, Potter. But
you're not so brave at night, are you?"
"What?" Harry said in genuine confusion.
"I heard you moaning last night," Dudley taunted. "'Don't kill Cedric! Don't kill Cedric!'
Who's Cedric"your boyfriend?"
"You shut up about him!" Harry yelled. He did draw his wand then and pointed it at
Dudley's chest.
"Hey! Boy! You put that down"!" Uncle Vernon shouted, rising from his chair and
barrelling towards the window.
"Don't point that thing at me!" Dudley said.
"Cedric fought dark wizards harder than even I could"!" Harry yelled.
"DON'T YOU DARE THREATEN DUDLEY!" Vernon yelled while Petunia screamed
wordlessly. Vernon lunged out the window to grab Harry, but Harry jumped away.


Suddenly, everything stopped. Vernon fell out of the window. Harry and the Dursleys
fell silent as it felt like they'd been doused with icy water, except it wasn't nearly as
pleasant as it should have been in that weather. It was as if someone had flipped a
switch from blazing hot and dry in July to freezing rain in November. Even the setting
sun seemed to dim as if a veil had been stretched across it.
"Wh-what are you d-doing?" Dudley said in sudden fear. "Stop it!"
"It's not me." Harry spun on the spot, scanning the street and the skies.
"Stop that!" Vernon said. He was trying to bellow, but it came out strangled and
almost squeaking. "St-stop that right now!"
"Quit it! Wh-what are you d-doing?" Dudley repeated.
"Shut up!" Harry snapped. "I'm trying to find""
Dudley took a swing at the perceived source of the trouble and knocked Harry to the
ground, knocking his glasses off and his wand from his hand.
"Damn it, Dudley!" Harry groaned. He fumbled for his glasses in the strangely dim
sunlight. Uncle Vernon grabbed at his ankle in a rage, and he kicked him in the face.
Now was not the time for subtlety. Dudley took off running.
Harry managed to get his glasses back on and see what was happening, and he
nearly fainted in horror. "DUDLEY, NO! YOU'RE RUNNING RIGHT AT THEM!" It
didn't seem possible. He had recognised the feeling of the dementors at once"the
cold and the crushing despair"but he never imagined they would be in Little
Whinging. It was like it was against some rule for the magical and mundane worlds
to mix like that. Yet they were right there on the street and closing fast, two towering,
hooded figures dressed in black so dark that they looked like holes in the world. And
Dudley, the idiot, was so desperate to get away from Harry that he was running
straight into their waiting mouths.
"YOU"BASTARD"FREAK!" Vernon roared, staggering to his feet. Even in his anger,
he was shaking like a leaf in fear. He lunged for Harry again, but Harry had grabbed
his wand and ran after his cousin. Under the circumstances, it might have been more
prudent to not leave the safety of the blood wards and just leave Dudley to his fate,
but being Harry Potter, the thought never crossed his mind, and he went to save his

cousin on autopilot.
"DUDLEY, STOP! DON'T YOU SEE THEM?" Harry said, but it didn't look like he did.
Maybe muggles couldn't see them. Dudley collapsed just as Harry reached him. He
felt the dementors' drain increase and went weak at the knees. His stupidity at
leaving the wards caught up with him, but he had to push it away. He needed to cast
his Patronus while he still could, and hang the consequences.
He stood over Dudley's prone form, raised his wand to the dementors, and yelled,
"Expecto Patronum!"
A silvery wisp of vapour emitted from his wand. The dementors came fast. They
were nearly on top of him.
"Crap." Concentrate! he thought, but his brain was fogging up. Concentrate! They
were nearly on top of him, pulling back their hoods. He was so out of practice.
Hermione wouldn't have this problem. She practised all the time.
Hermione. He'd see her again in just a few days. And Ron, Ginny, the Twins, Sirius,
and Remus. He held onto the thought like a lifeline. "EXPECTO PATRONUM!"
A blazing silver stag erupted from his wand and bowled over the two dementors, first
one, then the other. The cold, dark, and despair vanished almost instantly. They
were thrown to the ground from which they swooped away, bat-like, in defeat. The
sped off to the north and out of sight.
Harry let out a sigh of relief, although he kept a firm grip on his wand. "Phew. It's
alright, Dudley. They're gone."
Dudley was shaking on the ground, nearly catatonic.
"Dudley, get up."
Dudley didn't move. Harry turned him over, and he stared up at him with a vacant
"Dudley, come on, I know they didn't Kiss you."
"Dammit, boy, just pick him up, and drag him back inside the wards."
Harry jumped and spun around, but when he saw who it was, his quickly sheathed
his wand. "Mrs. Figg?" he said in confusion.
"And don't put that wand away! What if they come back?"

"What? You''re a witch?"

"I'm a squib. I'm no good against those things, let me tell you. Now, quick, you need
to get back inside. Oh, I'm going to kill that Mundungus Fletcher!"
Harry was getting more confused by the minute, but he did as she said and hefted
Dudley up on his shoulder, which was no easy task. The fearless junior heavyweight
boxer seemed to have lost all will to move under his own power, and he promptly
vomited on the street.
How could this happen? Dementors in Little Whinging? Mrs. Figg, the batty cat lady,
was a squib? There was a wizard watching the house? Well, that explained the
Apparition he heard earlier, but why didn't he know about it before?
"WHAT THE DEVIL ARE YOU PLAYING AT?" Uncle Vernon bellowed as Harry
dragged his cousin back to the house. Vernon was one his knees, struggling to find
his feet. Aunt Petunia was leaning out the window, her face an unnatural grey.
"Quit your bellyaching, Dursley," Mrs. Figg cried as she tottered behind him. "The
boy just saved the great lump from dementors. Weren't you watching?"
"Dementors?" Aunt Petunia squeaked.
"What the ruddy hell are dementoids?" Vernon demanded.
"They guard the wizard prison."
Everyone, even Dudley, even Mrs. Figg, stopped and stared at Petunia. How did she
know? Yes, she was Harry's mum's sister, but she never paid attention. Harry had
asked her about magic before.
"That awful boy told Lily years ago," she said, to general astonishment.
"That"that silver thing"?" Vernon said, more in confusion now than anger. "That was
a"a prison guard?"
"No, that was a Patronus," Harry grunted in annoyance. "It's how you fight them. He
continued dragging Dudley into the house. Come on, you'll need chocolate."
Vernon goggled at the non-sequitur. "Chocolate? I"what d'you think you're doing?
Now see here""

"Will you shut up, Dursley," Mrs. Figg said. "Shut your pie hole and listen to someone
who actually knows what they're talking about."
"Figg?" he said in confusion. "You're"you're one of his lot?"
Mrs. Figg hissed like one of her cats: "Yes, I'm one of his lot. He just saved your
sorry souls, so maybe show some gratitude."
But Vernon wasn't having it: "Oh no, I've had enough freakishness in my house." He
managed to stagger to his feet and lay a hand on Harry's shoulder, but Harry spun
around at once, and pointed his wand in his face, the tip glowing. He was in no mood
for this. He had just been forced to do magic and was sure to be in big trouble.
"Uncle Vernon, we just got attacked by soul-sucking demons," he growled. "They
came for me, but they're not picky. I bet you would've made a nice desert for them."
"You think you can make up such a cockamamie story""
"Vernon, it's true."
Vernon deflated and turned in surprise when Petunia spoke up.
"I saw Harry out there. He was protecting our Dudley. He couldn't have done all that
Harry's eyebrows shot up. He couldn't remember the last time his aunt had called
him Harry"in his uncle's presence, anyway. It seemed like even she could be civil if
you gave her a big enough shock.
"There, listen to your wife," Mrs. Figg said. "At least someone has some sense
around there. Let's move it, boy. I think I could use some chocolate myself."
Clearly outnumbered, Vernon stumbled into the house automatically, following
Harry's lead for lack of anything better to do. He and Petunia sat in an uneasy
silence as they tried to coax Dudley into talking again and listened to a confused
explanation of what a dementor was and what Mrs. Figg was doing there.
Surprisingly, the chocolate made the feel quite a bit better. It was an odd scene for
Number Four Privett Drive. The Dursleys were almost acting pleasant.
And then the first owl flew in the door.

Chapter 3
Disclaimer: Soul-sucking demons are no match for JK Rowling.
A/N: I need to make a clarification here because I managed to forget it myself. In this
story, Harry already has Sirius's mirror. Sirius sent it to him in Chapter 68 of The
Arithmancer, right after he was chosen for the Triwizard Tournament. To make this fit
with the story, I've decided that Harry can't use it to call Sirius at Grimmauld Place
because he doesn't know the Secret yet.
Chapter 3
The letter dropped from Hermione's fingers and fluttered to the floor. Hedwig hadn't
even waited for her to read it before flying off, presumably to deliver more letters to
Sirius and the Weasleys.
"Hermione, what's wrong," Emma called from the dinner table.
Hermione was shaking. It wasn't normal for her to even receive mail at this hour, and
her reaction made it painfully obvious that something bad had happened.
"Hermione?" Dan said.
"Harry just got attacked by dementors," she said quietly.
"Oh my God!" her mother gasped. "Is he already? Did anyone get hurt?"
"He's alive...But he might be expelled."
"He used magic to defend himself. It should be self-defence, but the Ministry's out to
get him, and"well, I don't really know how it works"there's no way it's legal, but
they're trying anyway. Oh God, oh God""
"Hermione, calm down." Emma rose from the table and hugged her. "We'll figure out
what to do."
Hermione took a deep breath and relaxed in her mother's arms. "Okay," she said.
"The first thing is to make sure Harry is safe. I don't know enough about
dementors"what they'll do once they've been driven off. I've never heard of them
being that far outside the Ministry's control. I don't know if they'll try for Harry again

or go back where they came from. For that matter, how did they even get to Harry?
His house is supposed to be warded."
"Doesn't the letter say?"
"Mum, Harry's not exactly diligent about taking notes. Someone needs to check up
on him. He could be in danger again, and the letter says no other wizards have
come by."
"You've been sending Dobby to him all summer, haven't you?" Dan said. "Can't he
do it?"
Hermione hesitated and thought for a moment, but she answered, "Dobby can't go
alone. The last time he got near dementors, he fainted on the spot...He can take
someone with him, though. It's supposed to be only for emergencies, but I think this
"Well, you can't go," her father said. "Can he go fetch someone else?"
She shook her head: "Dobby doesn't know where any other wizards are whom we
trust"nor do I. The Weasleys and Dumbledore are under that Fidelius Charm..." She
trailed off and bit her lip, trying to decide how best to propose what she really
wanted. "You know...I can fight off dementors at least as well as Harry can..."
"No. We're supposed to be keeping you out of danger," Emma said firmly.
"I know, Mum. I know. But will you at least let me show you?" She pulled her bloodbound wand from her sock and hoped it was strong enough to cast a spell as
powerful as the Patronus. She smiled a little. "I don't think I've shown you this spell,
yet...Expecto Patronum."
A ghostly silver otter emerged from her wand, and she giggled as it frolicked around
her and then around her parents as if swimming through the air. She could feel its
influence as it radiated feelings of peace and joy.
"Wow..." Emma breathed.
"This is how you fight them off?" Dan asked.
"Yes. It acts like...something like a fire-hose to dementors. That's the closest analogy
I can think of. It drives them away almost instantly."
"It's beautiful," Emma said.

"I know. I was just thinking if I cast it"" She smiled again as an idea struck her.
"Actually, if I just leave it active, I would be protected from the moment I went in." Her
Patronus floated up alongside her and nodded its head.
Thanks to the Patronus's influence, her parents were feeling less hostile, although
they still didn't like the idea. "And what do you think you would do when you got
there?" her father demanded.
"If there's trouble, get Harry out immediately. I wouldn't try to stay and fight if that's
what you're worried about. If there's not trouble, talk to Harry and make sure he's
"And you can do that?"
"Dobby can. At least, I think he can. Dobby?"
Pop! "Miss Hermione," the elf said, "why is you having your Patronus about?"
"It's complicated. The short version is Harry was attacked by dementors."
"Eek! Dementors?! We must be helping him!" Dobby squeaked. He made to leave
"Wait, Dobby," Hermione stopped him. "Harry's fine for now, but he needs a witch or
wizard to check up on him. Can you apparate me directly to his house?"
Dobby eyed Hermione's parents warily. In truth, he didn't need their permission.
Hermione had used a loophole to quietly transfer his employment contract to her
name alone last autumn in case of just this kind of situation, but she didn't want to
tell her mum and dad that.
Emma sighed in exasperation and said, "Answer her question, Dobby."
"Dobby can, miss, if you is not wanting to harm Harry Potter. Is you wanting to go?"
"That's what we're discussing, Dobby," Dan said, asserting control. "Hermione needs
to convince us she can do it safely if she wants to go."
"Dobby can take me right to Harry, Dad." Or at least to where Harry probably is, she
added mentally. "I'll already have my Partonus active. If there's danger, we'd grab
Harry and come straight back. I'd only be gone a few seconds. If there's no danger,
we don't have a problem in the first place." She saw Dobby give her a small nod. He
recognised that even though she was posing it as a hypothetical, she was actually

giving him orders. "Then, I could talk to him and figure out what was happening."
Her parents leaned closer together and whispered to each other for a minute. "And
this otter thing will fight the dementors off if they're there?" Emma said.
Hermione's Patronus zoomed over to her side, where it reared back on its hind legs
and puffed its chest out impressively. She giggled again: "Yes. It worked long enough
last time, and that was in much worse circumstances when I was a lot less
"And how will we know you're okay?" asked Dan.
Hermione considered her options, counting off apparitions. She needed to limit how
many times Dobby apparated at a stretch. "I can send Dobby back to let you know,"
she said. "But he'll need to rest before he comes back unless I call him." A couple
years ago, her closest elf friend at Hogwarts, Sonya, collapsed from exhaustion after
being forced to apparate seven times in the space of a few minutes, and that was
without carrying anyone with her, so she couldn't risk pushing Dobby too hard.
Her parents whispered to each other some more. It looked like it was getting pretty
heated, and Hermione wasn't even sure who was on which side, but finally, they
reached a decision. "Alright, then," Emma said. "I think we can trust you after the
past year that you can make a good plan. But if there's any trouble, we'll be
rethinking that."
"Thank you, Mum. Thank you, Dad," Hermione said, hugging them both. "I just
couldn't stand the thought of throwing Harry to the wolves like that."
"Fine. Dobby, you have our permission to do what Hermione just planned," Dan said.
"Yes, Mr. Granger, sir," the elf said.
"Come on, Dobby." Hermione's Patronus draped itself across her shoulders, and she
took Dobby's hand.
Harry Potter lay on his bed, waiting as patiently as he could. He had sent Hedwig off
with his letters half an hour ago, so it was too soon to expect a reply. There probably
wouldn't be anything till tomorrow morning, he thought. He felt guilty that he had
been short with his own owl, but he was sick of trying to get by with what little
information Hermione could glean about what was going on. Even Ginny wasn't
telling him much, although her letters were considerate, and she made an effort to
keep up a conversation through them.

He had tried contacting Sirius multiple times. His godfather had given him a
communication mirror that linked to one of his own so that they could talk without
being overheard. That certainly couldn't be intercepted. But unfortunately, every time
he tried it this summer, all it would produce was vague shapes and muffled sounds.
That had alarmed him at first, but Sirius had assured him he was fine and, although
it took a while to get a straight answer, Harry eventually learnt that the Fidelius
Charm wasn't letting him look through the mirror to wherever Sirius was.
Hence, he was stuck with letters. He had expected, perhaps given a little more time,
to hear the soft Pop! of a house elf apparating into his bedroom. What he did not
expect was for a tall, curly-haired witch with a glowing, silver otter on her shoulders
to appear with him.
"AHHH"! Hermione?" Harry said is confusion, leaping off the bed with a thud.
Hermione spun around once, surveying the room for threats, before she turned to
her friend. "Harry, thank God." She grabbed him and hugged him. "Are you alright?"
"Hermione, what're you"Hermione you can't have that out!" he hissed, pointed at her
Patronus. "I've already got a hearing for using magic!"
"It's alright." She held up her wand. "This is a blood-bound wand. It reads as
accidental magic."
"It what""
There was a pounding on the door. "Boy, what're you doing in there?" a loud voice
"Shh!" Harry whispered. "I'm sorry, Uncle Vernon," he called back. "I...just tripped."
"Well, don't let it happen again!" Footsteps stomped back down the stairs.
"Was that your uncle?" Hermione said. She had never met Harry's muggle relatives,
but she knew them well enough by reputation. If she ever got free reign to work her
magic on them, it would not be pleasant.
"Yeah. And keep quiet. He can't know you're here," Harry whispered. "If he finds a
girl in my room, he'll throw a shotgun wedding"without the wedding." Hermione's
eyes bugged out a little. "What was that about the wand?" he said.
She looked down at her wand. "It's blood-bound," she repeated. "The Ministry thinks
it's accidental magic. I've been using it all summer, and I haven't got a letter."

"Really?" Harry said in awe. "Er...can you make me one?"

"Not with what I have here, sorry. This took a lot of work. I had to find just the right
wood." She examined the wand more closely. Was it just her, or was it getting
blackened around the tip? "Harry, you said you were attacked by dementors! What
happened?" she whispered.
"What? That's why you're here?"
"Yes! I had to make sure my best friend was alright. What were dementors doing in
"I don't know." Harry sighed. "Alright, sit down." He took a seat on a bed that really
wasn't fit for human use while Hermione took the desk chair.
"Dobby, tell Mum and Dad it's safe now," she said.
"Yes, miss," he said and popped away.
Harry explained how the dementors had shown up out of nowhere, how Dudley had
slugged him and run straight at them, and how he ran after and fended them off with
his Patronus.
"That was really good of you to save him even after he did that," Hermione said.
"Well, even Dudley doesn't deserve that," he admitted.
Hermione agreed on general principle. She hated dementors a lot more than the
Dursleys. "So you don't know if they can get through the wards?" she asked.
"No, they didn't come that close. The letters make it sound like I'm safe if I stay in the
"Letters? You got letters already?"
"Yeah, owls were coming all evening. Uncle Vernon was swearing like a sailor by the
end of it. There, take a look."
Harry pointed to a stack of four letters on the desk. Hermione picked them up and
read the first one. It was a notice from the Ministry informing him that he'd been
expelled, and Aurors were coming to snap his wand. "They can't do that!" Hermione
hissed indignantly. "They have to hold a trial! And I'm sure there's a provision in the
law for self-defence."

"Yeah, well, just keep reading," Harry said.

The second letter was from Arthur Weasley, of all people. He said that Dumbledore
was trying to sort things out at the Ministry, and then, in big letters, DO NOT LEAVE
"Well, that's not very helpful. What do you do if the Aurors show up?"
"I wasn't sure at first. But when I thought it over, I figured if Dumbledore hadn't sorted
it out, I'd be screwed anyway, so it wouldn't matter. At least he took care of that."
Hermione kept reading. Sure enough, the third letter was another one from the
Ministry, saying Harry could keep his wand until a disciplinary hearing on the twelfth.
"Well, that's not so bad," she muttered. "That's probably by the book." The final letter
was a very short note from Sirius again telling Harry not to leave the house. "That's
it?" she said. "I have half a mind to take you to my house, except I don't know how
the dementors found you. Do they have your address on file, or is it the Trace?" That
pesky Trace again...
Harry shrugged. "There was a fifth letter," he said, "but it was a Howler."
Hermione's eyes widened.
"For Aunt Petunia."
"What?! Who was it from?"
"I don't know. It was too short to hear it clearly."
"Well...what did it say?"
"'Remember my last, Petunia.' That's all. I don't know what it means, but it's the only
thing that kept them from kicking me out of the house."
"But who would be writing your aunt? Did she know any other witches and wizards
besides your mum?"
"I didn't think so. I thought I'd gone round the twist when she said she knew what a
dementor was. But it's not like anyone ever tells me anything. Honestly, I nearly get
killed again, and they're treating me like a naughty child""
"Harry..." Hermione got up and gave him another hug. Her Patronus climbed around
to rest on his shoulders. (Was it just her, or was it flickering a little?) "You did well,"

she whispered. "Remember what Professor Lupin said? Most wizards can't even
cast a Patronus.
"Thanks, Hermione," he said. "It's not like anyone else would say it. And you know
something else? I found out Dumbledore's got people watching me."
"What?!" Hermione looked around the room warily.
"Outside. I never knew. They've been invisible the whole time. It turns out my old
babysitter, Mrs. Figg, is a squib. She told me."
"But the dementors""
"The guy who was supposed to be on duty when they came was some flake who ran
off to buy some black market cauldrons."
"What? Why would Dumbledore hire someone like that?"
"No idea. Mrs. Figg wouldn't tell me anything else."
"Well, someone needs to""
Suddenly, there was a crack and a sizzle, and Hermione's Patronus winked out.
"AH!" she yelped, and she looked down at her wand. It was cracked down the middle
and charred along its full length. "My wand burnt out!" she complained.
"Your wand?" Harry said worriedly. "But it wasn't your real wand, right?"
"No, but it was supposed to be tougher than that...I'm sorry; I have to go, Harry. I
don't want to go out without a working wand."
"It's okay. I understand."
"You're sure you're okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I'm just waiting for the others to write back. Go ahead."
"Alright. I'll see you soon, I hope." She hugged Harry one more time and called for
Pop! "Yes, Miss Hermione?"
"I need to go home, now. Goodbye, Harry."

She took Dobby's hand, felt squeezed through a tube again, and landed in a heap in
her living room. Her mum and dad rushed to help her up.
"Hermione, you're back," Mum said. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes, Harry's fine, except they won't really tell him what's going on."
"Where's your otter-thing?" Dad asked.
"It failed. My homemade wand burnt out."
"It did? I thought you said it would last all summer."
"I thought it would, but the Patronus is a powerful spell. Maybe because it's
emotionally-driven. I guess that can make its effects stronger, just like damage from
dark magic is harder to repair. It must have been too much strain on the wand." That
was enough. If she couldn't make a reliable backup wand, she'd have to buy one.
"So what's going to happen now?" Dad asked.
"I'm not sure yet. We'll just have to wait."
It was nearly lunchtime the next morning when Hermione heard a mad twittering
outside her window. She looked up, and instead of Hedwig, as she expected to see,
Pigwidgeon trying to get in. She opened the window and, with difficulty, got Pig to sit
still long enough to take his letter. To her surprise, it was from the Twins, and it made
no sense at first, but then, she saw the connection.
Chin up, Hermione. We know things look bad, but plans are afoot. You should be
able to come over soon. Just remember our motto.
Gred and Forge
The Twins' motto was one she knew well. She grabbed one of her non-destroyed toy
wands, touched the tip to the note and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no
good." At once, a longer letter appeared, but this one was in Ginny's handwriting:
Dear Hermione,
I need your help. Dumbledore came by last night, and he told us not to write to Harry
at all until he got here. He said we shouldn 't let Hedwig out at all because she's too
easy to recognise. I wanted to send him a note with Pig just to tell him why I can't
talk right now, but Mum won't even let me do that. I told her Harry would hate me if I

didn't write him after he was attacked by dementors, but she wouldn't listen. She
said we have to do it to keep him safe, but you know how Harry is. He'll think I don't
care about him anymore if I don't write him now.
I had to get Fred and George to hide this letter so it wouldn 't look like I was giving
you any information to pass along to Harry. They said you would know how to open
it. I know you have some way to communicate with Harry"you have a muggle
tellyfone or something like that. Please, can you send him a message telling him
what's going on? I don't want to lose him over this.
Dumbledore said they 're going to bring Harry here Thursday night. We (Fred,
George, Ron, and me) think they should do it sooner, but he said they need time to
make arrangements to get him here safely. I think you should come as soon as
possible. We'll ask Sirius and Remus to help arrange it if you want to. It'll probably
be simpler if you're settled in by the time Harry gets here.
Your friend,
Sometimes, Hermione wondered if adults could really be that thick. She knew full
well that Harry hotheaded and suffered from low self-esteem, just as Ginny
described. She might have said he needed to work on his temper, but he was a
fifteen-year-old boy, after all. She tapped her wand to the note again and said,
"Mischief managed." Ginny's letter disappeared, leaving only Fred's and George's
short message. She thought for a minute and wrote what she hoped would be an
appropriate reply below it that would get the message across in a way Mrs. Weasley
wouldn't catch:
Thanks for the note. I 'd like to come as soon as possible.
Mischief managed,
She sent Pig back with that letter and sat down to compose a letter to Harry. That
took some time. Then, to her surprise, just after lunch, Pig returned with another
note, this one in Remus's handwriting:
Be at King 's Cross at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. Be packed for school"R.
Tomorrow morning. That didn't give her much time. And she quickly realised there
was something else she needed to do before she left.

"Mum, Dad," she said. "I need to make a change of plans."

It was a little ironic, Hermione thought, that she was taking the Knight Bus to Ottery
St. Catchpole, where the Weasleys normally lived, when they weren't actually
around. Instead, she was headed to the Diggorys' house. Cedric was home from the
hospital, but he was still doing physical therapy to get used to his prosthetic limbs.
He met her out front when she arrived. He still walked with a limp that probably
wasn't going to go away, but he no longer needed a cane"most of the time.
"Have I mentioned I hate the Knight Bus?" Hermione asked as it deposited her, dizzy
and shaken, in front of the Diggorys' manor.
"I did get that impression," Cedric said. He offered her a hand to help her inside.
The Diggorys' lived in a small manor at the outskirts of the village. Hermione had
come here a couple of times this summer to help Cedric with his left-handed casting.
It was a nice house, very proper, with a house elf and everything, though not as
homely as she was used to.
"I wanted to come one more time because I may be unreachable for the rest of the
summer," she explained to Cedric and his parents. "Harry was attacked by
dementors yesterday""
"Dementors?!" Cedric gasped. "Where? How?"
"At his relatives' home in Surrey, and we have no idea. He fought them off with his
Patronus, but now he has to have a hearing for underage magic. Anyway, Sirius is
moving him to a more secure location, and I wanted to spend part of the summer
with him anyway, so I'll be going there until school starts."
"Do you think You-Know-Who was involved?" Mr. Diggory said seriously.
"We don't know. It seems like an odd move, considering he's been lying low, but I
don't know much about Azkaban. I'm not sure how two dementors could get away
from there on their own in the first place."
"They shouldn't be able to," Mr. Diggory told her. "The Ministry keeps very close tabs
on them."
And were they keeping close tabs when those demons tried to Kiss me a year ago?
she thought. The philosophical idea of a soul-eating monster alone had been enough
to send her into a nervous breakdown in her third year"although, granted, she had a

lot of other trouble going on then, too. The actual incident at the end of the year had
been what prompted her parents to make her switch schools, and she'd actually
agreed with them.
"Anyway, I'm not sure whether I'll be able to write. There's been some issues with
getting letters in and out of there. So I wanted to come by in person one more time."
"That's very thoughtful of you, Hermione," Mrs. Diggory said. "We appreciate it."
"Do you think we could go over a few spells while you're here?" Cedric asked. "I've
been having trouble with some of the non-mirrored figures."
"Of course," Hermione said.
They practised wand motions for about an hour. Cedric was making admirable
progress considering he had six years of spells to relearn and had to drill each one
to perfection to make it work. He had it a lot harder than Hermione did, having so
little time to do it, and he probably wouldn't ever be up to the standards that had
helped him draw with Harry in the Triwizard Tournament, but she thought he would
be able to make it through his classes.
"Cedric," she asked after a while, "if you don't mind my asking, whatever happened
with Cho?" She hadn't broached the subject of his girlfriend in any of their prior
sessions, but she hadn't forgot the older girl's tearful reaction.
Cedric sighed heavily. "I don't know," he said. "She hasn't ended it or anything,
but...well, she's been keeping her distance. I think part of her still likes me, but
she...sees me as damaged goods, I guess. Like she can't bear to be with a cripple""
"You're not crippled, Cedric," Hermione protested. "And you're not damaged."
"You can't deny my prospects aren't as good as they were before because of this."
He held up his wooden arm.
"That depends what you want to do."
"Sure. Anyway, I'd like to patch things up with her, but she has trouble carrying on a
conversation anytime she's near me. Cho's a really emotional sort."
Yeah, I kind of noticed. Hermione wasn't quite sure what to say to that. Finally, she
settled on, "Are you...are you okay with that"her being so emotional?"
"I don't mind most of the time. I can be her support if she'll let me. It's just that she's

having such a breakdown this summer."

"It's not over, though. You know things are going to get worse before it gets better,
don't you?"
Cedric's face darkened: "Yeah. I've thought about it. I'll be honest; I'm not sure what
a real war will do to her. But I can't let her go without talking it out properly. That's not
fair to either of us."
Patient, loyal Hufflepuff through and through, Hermione though. "Well, if she stops
long enough to pay attention, she'll see how lucky she is."
"Thanks, Hermione," he said.
"I mean it. Any girl would be lucky to have you."
He stopped and stared at her. "Hermione...?"
She blushed furiously. "Sorry, I just..." she started. "Sorry, I couldn't help myself, you know...I actually hoped you would ask me to the Yule Ball last year,"
she blurted. "Don't get me wrong; I was really happy I went with George but..." Just
shut up! she chided herself.
But Cedric gave her a sort of half-smile. "I kind of wondered if you did," he said, "but
I was already seeing Cho by then, so..."
"No, I understand," she babbled. "I didn't mean anything by it. I just wanted you to
know so you wouldn't think I was just being polite."
"I knew you weren't," he said. "You're too honest for that. And for what it's worth, I
think George is a lucky guy."
Hermione winced.
"Trouble?" he said with a frown.
"Er, my love life isn't doing any better than yours right now. George and I agreed that
we wouldn't date while we're stuck at different schools."
"Oh. Sorry. There's no one else, then?"
"I tried going out with a boy named Michel at Beauxbatons for a little while, but I
scared him away when I burnt my eyebrows off."

"You burnt your eyebrows off?!"

"I underestimated the power of thermite," she said indignantly. "It's an easy mistake
to make."
"And that scared him off?"
"Some boys are intimidated by strong women...Fred and George were just
disappointed they didn't get to join in."
Cedric laughed. "Hermione, trust me when I say any boy would be lucky to have
you. I hope you can find one who appreciates you properly."
She blushed even more furiously than before. "Th-thanks, Cedric," she stammered,
"and I hope you can work things out with Cho." It would be more accurate to say she
hoped Cho could be good enough for him, but she didn't say it.
She took her leave then, but before she went home, she decided to make one more
stop in the village. Over a nearby ridge stood a house that looked like a giant chess
piece where Luna Lovegood lived with her father.
"Oh, hello, Hermione," Luna said at the door. "It's good to see you. Please come in."
Luna was a Ravenclaw in Ginny's year. She had waist-length blond hair, piercing
silver eyes, and Hermione was pretty sure she had an undiagnosed mental illness,
but she was a very sweet girl who needed all the friends she could get.
"Hi, Luna," Hermione said. "I just wanted to visit. It's too bad we haven't had a
chance to hang out for the past year."
"Oh, I understand, Hermione," Luna said in her usual serene voice. "You were busy
helping Harry. Also, when the Rotfang Conspiracy targets you, it's probably safer to
get away from them."
"I"er"the what conspiracy?"
"The Rotfang Conspiracy," she said very seriously. "They're trying to take over the
Ministry of Magic with dark magic and gum disease. They obviously thought you
were a threat with your arithmancy skills, so they arranged for you to be transferred
out of the country."
The wheels in Hermione's mind spun for a minute before they found traction. "Luna,
my parents transferred me to Beauxbatons. My muggle parents."

"Yes, but that only was because you were attacked by dementors, wasn't it?"
"Well, yes."
"Rotfangs," she said, as if that explained everything.
Hermione liked Luna, but she could only handle her in small doses. Luckily, Ginny
had a higher tolerance. "You had a nice time at Hogwarts, though?" Hermione
asked. Luna had been bullied and pretty much friendless in her first year. Ginny was
sort of her friend, but she'd been possessed by Voldemort that year.
"Mm hmm. It was pleasant enough. Ginny and her brothers were nice to me, and so
were Harry and Neville. Did you enjoy Beauxbatons?"
"It was alright. The Potions and History teachers were much better than Professors
Snape and Binns, but I thought a lot of the others weren't quite as good. But I made
friends and had fun"and the weather's a lot better."
"I imagine so. I considered going to Beauxbatons myself, you know, but I wouldn't
want to leave Hogwarts now. It's nice to have friends there, even if one of them is
"Well, I'm glad you've settled in well, at least."
"What will you do now that you have your N.E.W.T. in Arithmancy?"
"I'll talk to Monsieur Oppenord and keep writing Septima and start working on a
Mastery. I have a feeling I'll be mostly on my own, but I can manage it."
"That sounds very exciting. I'm eager to see how my O.W.L. year goes in Ancient
Runes." Luna had tested into that class a year early. "Once I get that far, I should be
able to write my own puzzled for the magazine." Luna's father ran a tabloid
magazine called The Quibbler, which in Hermione's opinion ranked a notch below
The Daily Mirror in terms of accuracy, between the conspiracy theories and the tales
of imaginary creatures. She wouldn't say that in front of Luna though. That was the
one thing that would make the little blond truly angry.
Mr. Lovegood was also eager to see Hermione that day, but for a different reason.
"Miss Granger, I wonder if you might be willing to try out my recreation of
Ravenclaw's Diadem again," he asked. "I've made some improvements since the
last time you were here."
"I suppose I can, Mr. Lovegood," Hermione said. According to Mr. Lovegood, legend

held that Ravenclaw's Lost Diadem unlocked the power of the subconscious mind
and could turn anyone into a mathematical savant"a skill that Hermione spent years
in primary school to perfect. The theory was a reasonble one (surprisingly so, for the
Lovegoods), although she wasn't sure about the application.
Mr. Lovegood placed a strange helmet with things that looked like ear trumpets on
her head, saying, "I tried adding a billywig propeller to induce an elevated frame of
mind. And of course some new charms. I even recreated a few of them from
Pandora's old notes. How do you feel?"
"I feel..." And Hermione blinked. She looked around, and she started seeing
numbers everywhere"not the way she usually did. She saw Luna's bleach-blond hair,
and the number 510 came to her unbidden. She looked in the dark shadows in the
corners and saw 63. The orange of Luna's earrings was 480. The blue of the sky
outside was 239. The numbers seems to have no rhyme or reason. She closed her
eyes and started to compute, only to receive another shock. She saw flashes of
colour"not bright flashes"but waves of colour associated with the numbers"colours
that seemed to fit naturally with the arithmetic.
She realised what was happening to her and ripped the helmet off her head. She
paused. Everything seemed back to normal. She put it back on her head. The
strange colours returned.
"Now that. Is. Weird," she said.
"It's doing something, isn't it?" Mr. Lovegood said smugly.
"It seems that you've created a helmet that induces synesthesia, Mr. Lovegood."
"Synesthesia? What's that?"
"When the senses interfere with one another. Numbers have colours, and colours
are numbers."
"Really?" Mr. Lovegood said, eagerly scribbling down notes. "That's not what I
experienced. When I wore the helmet, colours had distinct smells. For example, the
colour of grass smelled like gurdyroot."
"And when I saw colours, I heard musical notes," Luna added.
That was even weirder. It had different effects for different people?
"What kinds of numbers are you sensing, Miss Granger?" Mr. Lovegood asked.

"Er, two and three digit..." she said. She tried to think of some examples, and before
long, she saw the pattern. "Of course, it's a nine-bit colour-map."
"What's that?"
"It's a muggle technique. Each colour is assigned a number from zero to 511 based
on its red, green, and blue content on a scale from zero to seven." Of course that's
how her subconscious mind would process colour, she thought.
"How fascinating. And are you feeling more elevated in mind? More creative? A
sudden desire to paint, perhaps?"
"Um, well..." Hermione didn't feel any different except that her senses were crosswired. Although...she did think that the colours seemed more vibrant. In fact, now
that she looked closer, she could distinguish shades with exquisite precision. She
could tell at a glance exactly which shade of off-white the walls were when she
would have been left guessing before. It was probably because before, she only had
a few dozen names for colours, and now, she had 512, all of them defined with
mathematical precision. "I think my colour perception has improved," she admitted.
"Aha! Now that's exactly the kind of effect I'm looking for."
Hermione wasn't convinced of that, but she let him have his moment. It was a very
interesting effect. If there was a scholarly journal for Healers, it would be worth
writing up a paper. But she didn't think it was the claimed power of Ravenclaw's
diadem. If synesthesia was the best Mr. Lovegood could do, his helmet would do
little more than drive the wearer mad.
But who knew? Maybe he'd get lucky again. Mr. Lovegood kept asking her a number
of colour- and maths-related questions and even had her try drawing, but she
eventually concluded that the helmet hadn't improved her natural talents, only her
colour perception. It wouldn't do her much good unless she became an interior
The next morning, Hermione packed up to go. She planned to come home once
more immediately before school started, but she packed as if she was going straight
there, just in case. She had to think about which books to take. She had a university
textbook on electromagnetism, for example, because she had had great success
creating laser-based charms (a greatly under-appreciated invention in her opinion).
Of course, she had several maths books as well. But there was one more idea that
struck her. With her parents' being dentists, they had a lot of medical books lying
around. Mum had started in medical school before switching to dental school, so she

had even more.

Hermione had already created a Teeth-Drilling Hex, but with Voldemort and his
Death Eaters on the move again, she knew she would need something more
powerful to make a valuable contribution to the war effort. A lot of curses interfered
with the body's functioning in one way or another, so perhaps there was something
useful in those books. Creating those kinds of spells didn't come naturally to her
(which was a good thing in general, she was sure), so she could use some
She hoped her mum wouldn't miss her old pathophysiology textbook.
Hermione and her parents made their way to Platform Nine at King's Cross, but they
weren't sure what to do after that.
She spun around, her hand on her wand. Merlin, she was getting jumpy. "Professor
Lupin?" she said.
"I'm not your professor anymore. It's just Remus." Harry's honorary uncle, Remus
Lupin, stood before her, along with a heavily-scarred old man with a magical blue
"Hello, Remus," she said, "and Pro"er, Auror Moody...Are you sure he's the real
Alastor Moody?" she said half-seriously. Moody had been impersonated by a Death
Eater all last year, after all.
Moody stomped closer on his wooden leg and stared at her with his magic eye. "And
how do we know you're the real Hermione Granger?" he growled. "We're the ones
who have to worry about keeping a Fidelius Charm safe."
Hermione tried not to shiver under his gaze. She knew he could see through walls
and the back of his own head with that eye of his. She took a deep breath and said,
"The long line is the Cartesian product of the first uncountable ordinal and the halfopen interval from zero to one, reflected through the origin. If the continuum
hypothesis is correct, then it is equivalent to the line defined by constructing a line
segment of length one on every real point of the number line and laying them end to
Remus laughed: "It's alright, Alastor. That's her."
"Hmm," Moody grunted. He looked her up and down again. "And do you want to

explain why you're carrying three wands?"

"Two of them are toy wands," she said. "Rubbish quality, but a little backup is better
than none."
He smiled a little. "Good thinking kid, but you'll want something more reliable""
"Wait a minute!" Dan yelled as he made the connection. "You can see through her
clothes?" He jumped in front of Hermione to shield her from his gaze.
"Dad, don't," she whispered.
But Moody shook his head and pointed to his eye. "It spots magical objects," he
"But you"" Hermione started, but his eye swivelled around to point at her in warning.
"Oh, right. Yes, I see how that works," she lied.
"Oh...Sorry," Dan said, pulling back.
"It's about a twenty-minute walk from here," Remus said, reasserting control. "The
location's secret, so we'd prefer that you split up here. We'll arrange to meet you
here again when Hermione goes home."
Hermione's mum and dad would have preferred to go with her, but they accepted the
arrangement. She quickly hugged them and said her goodbyes. "I'll see you in a few
weeks, she assured them."
"Have fun, Hermione. And stay safe," Dad said. "We can pick you up anytime if you
need it."
Dan and Emma went back to the car while Hermione started down the street with the
two wizards.
"You lied," she whispered to Moody. Harry had told her that the fake Moody had
looked through his robes once with that eye to see his perfectly mundane socks.
"Of course I did," he growled. "I didn't want to deal with an angry father in the middle
of the train station."
"So you really can see through clothes?"
"Not skin-tight ones," he assured her. "There needs to be some space to see into.
And it does also see magical objects."

"So you can just see everyone in their underwear, then?" she said testily.
"So? It's not different from a swimsuit these days, is it? People always get so hung
up on one, but not the other."
Hermione almost made another cutting remark, but she held her tongue. No, she
supposed he wouldn't see a difference about that after seeing it every day for so
many years. But at least she could rest assured he couldn't see her naked.
Assuming he wasn't lying about that, too.
Dammit, why does he make me so paranoid?
About twenty minutes later, they came to a row of large houses five stories high.
Nothing looked particularly magical about them, and she didn't see anything
unusual, but with a Fidelius Charm, she knew she wouldn't.
"We need to let you in on the secret," Remus explained. "Dumbledore wrote it down
specifically for this purpose."
"Dobby will need to know, too," she pointed out.
"Dobby?" Moody said.
"My elf. My parents will want him to be able to find me."
Moody turned towards her and raised his wand: "And just how does a muggle-born
have a house elf?"
"He's a free elf," Remus said. "She hired him. I'll vouch for him."
"Hmpf. Alright, then. Call him," Moody said grudgingly.
"Yes, Miss Hermione."
"Dobby, this is Auror Moody"the real one."
"You serve this witch, elf?" Moody demanded. Hermione bristled at Dobby being
spoken to that way, but she again held her tongue.

"Yes, Auror Moody, sir. Dobby has a very good contract with Miss Hermione
"Alright then." Moody withdrew a slip of parchment from his robes and handed it to
Hermione. "Both of you read quickly and memorise."
They read the note in Dumbledore's curly script:
The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found at number twelve,
Grimmauld Place, London.
As soon as she had read the message, Moody set fire to the parchment. Order of
the Phoenix? she thought. It's a little obvious. Dumbledore was the only person in
Britain who had a phoenix"she was pretty sure. Apparently, he had a soft spot for
symbolism, too. (Harry had described Voldemort's obsessions.) The most ironic thing
was that Voldemort's wand actually had a phoenix-feather core"from the same
phoenix as Harry's wand, a fact that had saved Harry's life. And that phoenix
happened to be Dumbledore's.
Something very weird was going on with that.
Hermione looked up, and to her surprise, another house appeared out of nothing, in
between Number Eleven and Number Thirteen. It expanded in the gap and seemed
to push the others out of the way. Nothing looked wrong about the geometry. It
looked just as natural for the house to be there as it had a moment ago for it not to
be there. Of course, non-Euclidean geometry was nothing to wizards (which was,
odd, she thought, because the field hadn't been invented until the 1800s), so it
shouldn't surprise her.
"Hurry up," Moody said. "Don't want to be loitering on the street."
"Dobby, you may go home," Hermione said as they approached the front step. He
vanished by the time she was inside.
"Don't go far inside, and don't touch anything," Remus said.
"Is there something wrong in here?" she asked.
"Let's just say we're still cleaning."
Hermione proceeded into the darkened front hallway. It looked abandoned. The
wallpaper was peeling, the carpet threadbare, the chandelier"carved like
serpents"covered in cobwebs. It didn't look like a pleasant place.

"Maybe I should've had Dobby come in with me," she muttered.

There was a bustle of footsteps, and Mrs. Weasley rushed into the hall. "Oh,
Hermione, dear. It's so good to see you," she said. She was oddly quiet, as if she
didn't want to be overheard. "How has your summer been? Let's get you out of here
before you wake something up."
"Wake something up?"
"Nasty place. Not fit to live in. But we don't have much choice..." Mrs. Weasley didn't
look well. She looked a lot like Hermione had felt several times in the past four
years. The stress was getting to her. "Ron, Ginny, and the Twins are upstairs. Go
ahead and see them"second floor and on the right. Lunch will be in an hour in the
"Um, sure, Mrs. Weasley. Thank you." She climbed the stairs with her trunk and
upon reaching the second landing was waylaid by a bright red streak.
"Hermione! Finally!" Ginny cried. "Oi, boys, Hermione's here!" She lowered her voice
and added, "Thank you so much for sending a message to Harry. It would've been
awful if I couldn't get through to him. Is he alright?"
"He's fine," Hermione said quietly. "I visited him the night it happened. Don't tell
anyone. It's so good to see you, Ginny," she added more loudly.
"Hermione, it's about time," Ron called. He hurried to meet her and gave her an
awkward one-and-a-half-armed hug. Fred was less restrained and nearly bowled her
over himself. With George, however, they stared at each other for what was probably
several seconds too long before he smiled, and they hugged each other normally.
"So, Lady Archimedes," Fred said. "Have you blown anything up this summer?"
Hermione suppressed a groan. For some reason, she had a feeling she would come
to regret giving herself that nickname. "No, I've managed to keep my house
standing," she replied. "How about yours?"
"Well, it's been a bit of a job keeping our work hidden from Mum, but we're making
good progress," George said. "We can show you some of our stuff later." Fred and
George dreamed of opening a joke shop when they graduated, something that
Hermione, to her own surprise, thought would be a good career move on their part.
However, they were hampered by the fact that, for one, the Weasleys didn't have a
lot of money, and they'd lost their meagre savings on a Quidditch bet with a man who
wasn't good for it; and for another, Mrs. Weasley thoroughly disapproved of the idea.

"That sounds good," Hermione said, "but first, what's going on here? I want the full
Ron whistled. "Well, we've got time," he said. "This might take a while."

Chapter 4
Disclaimer: The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix may be found in JK
Rowling's brain.
A/N: I apologise for the lateness of this chapter. Unfortunately, I may not be able to
keep my biweekly schedule for a while. This is because of a very difficult work
situation that I am dealing with this autumn, which thankfully will be done by the
beginning of December. I want to assure you that I am committed to updating both of
my stories a minimum of once a month for now and resuming my biweekly schedule
no later than Christmas. I have full confidence that my work situation will allow me to
keep both of those promises. If something unexpected crops up that prevents that, I
will say so in my author's notes or, in the worst case, mark my stories as being on
hiatus. Thank you for your patience. I don't want to be the author who just stops
writing with no explanation, and for that matter, I don't want to stop writing, period, so
I will always be sure to keep you up to date on my writing situation.
Chapter 4
"What the heck?" Hermione said. She was listening to the Weasleys tell their tale
when chaos broke out downstairs. She ran for the stairs, wanting to see what was
causing some woman to scream blue murder at the top of her lungs.
"Don't go down there!" All of the Weasley kids said.
But Hermione didn't listen. Rushing to the front hall, she saw a strange sight. Mrs.
Weasley was helping a young woman with pink hair off the floor. She appeared to
have tripped over an ugly umbrella stand made from a troll's leg. But the source of
the howling was, shockingly, a portrait of an old woman, looking mad and half-senile,
which had previously been hidden behind a set of curtains. She was screaming loud
enough that she'd probably wake the whole street if it weren't for the Fidelius Charm.

"What is that?" Hermione screamed as Mrs. Weasley tried to wrangle the curtains.
"Walburga Black," the pink-haired woman yelled.
"Tonks, help me!" Mrs. Weasley called.
The pink haired woman grabbed the other curtain, and Hermione did her best to
help, but some kind of charm seemed to be forcing them open.
"My name's Tonks," she said. It would have been in a conversational tone if she
hadn't had to shout. "Don't let anyone tell you different. Pleased to meet you."
"Thanks. I'm Hermione Granger""
"GRANGER!" The portrait exploded with such force that Hermione, Tonks, and Mrs.
Weasley were all thrown back against the opposite wall. "I KNOW OF YOU!
Hermione turned and Sirius Black stomped into the front hall, past a very old house
elf, who had raised his hand to Hermione with fingers poised to snap. Hermione had
once seen Dobby throw Lucius Malfoy down a flight of stairs that way, so she could
guess that it was good Sirius stopped him. Sirius managed to force the curtains back
together, and the screaming mercifully stopped.
"Wow...I don't think I've ever been insulted like that," Hermione muttered.
Sirius turned around with a flip of his long hair and smiled at her. "Hello, Hermione,"
he said. "I see you've met my mother."
The Weasleys were right. Number Twelve Grimmauld Place was not a very livable
place. It had been abandoned since 1985 until this summer, when Sirius reluctantly
moved back in. It was infested with pests, both magical and mundane, and filled with
dark artifacts. His old house elf Kreacher evidently hadn't been cleaning. His
mother's portrait would wake up and start screaming whenever anyone made too
much noise in the front hallway, and no one could figure out how to unstick her from
the wall. Hermione wanted to take a crack at it, but Mrs. Weasley was strict about
the no-wands rule in the house.

Over the next two days, Hermione got a crash course in the Order of the Phoenix.
Apparently, it was established by Dumbledore during the last war to fight Voldemort,
and they held periodic meetings that the Weasley children weren't allowed in, not
that it stopped them.
"These are handy little devices," Fred told her with a grin. "Extendable ears." He held
up something that looked like a rubber ear on a string. "Slip one under the door, and
you can hear every word they're saying"at least as long as Mum doesn't catch on."
Several Order members were Aurors who were going behind the Minister's back to
fight a war he denied was happening. Nymphadora It's-Just-Tonks-Or-Else was one
of them, and so were Kingsley Shacklebolt and Hestia Jones, though she didn't meet
them, and the retired Mad-Eye Moody. Mundungus Fletcher, who had ditched Harry
when he was supposed to be standing guard, was a petty thief and con man who
had joined (on a deal with Dumbledore to keep him out of Azkaban, Hermione
suspected) to pass along information from Knockturn Alley and other shady places in
the magical world. Hermione's initial meeting with him had been loud enough that he
kept his distance from her afterwards. Of course, she couldn't hold a candle to when
Dumbledore tore into him. It was the one time she saw the Headmaster over those
three days, and she was reminded why the old man was the only person Voldemort
Harry's neighbour, Arabella Figg, was a squib, and thus could nose around in the
muggle world without being noticed. Since squibs weren't highly regarded by most
wizards, she was easy for a sympathetic figure like Dumbledore to sway. A few
members, like Professor McGonagall and Elphias Doge, were personal friends of
Dumbledore, and the rest seemed to be talented students whom Dumbledore had
recruited straight out of Hogwarts in the 1970s. According to Remus, he, Sirius and
Harry's parents had been in that last category.
Hermione hadn't met most of the Order yet, but she overheard Mr. and Mrs. Weasley
speaking in hushed tones about a meeting when everyone was coming in for Harry's
arrival. Mrs. Weasley would need to cook dinner, so it was hard to keep it entirely
secret. The Weasley kids didn't know much about what the Order was doing,
although they could surmise some of them were keeping tabs on suspected Death
Eaters, some were on recruiting, and some were assigned to "guard
duty""presumably guarding Harry. Hermione passed along what she found out to
Harry through Dobby when Mrs. Weasley wasn't looking.
The real sore spot in the household was Percy. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley's third son had
been run through an inquiry at the Ministry after Barty Crouch Senior was murdered
by his own son (that much truth was in the official story), and Percy, his personal

assistant, had never noticed a thing. Amazingly, Percy had survived the inquiry, but
only by yoking himself to Minister Fudge and his line that Voldemort couldn't possibly
be back, and that Dumbledore was just stirring up trouble. Long story short, Percy
had told his father it was a bad idea to tie his fortunes to Dumbledore, and when he
failed to convince him, Percy walked out. Apparently, he'd said a lot of nasty things
about his father, too. It was ugly. Mrs. Weasley started crying every time Percy was
mentioned, so everyone tried not to bring it up.
Finally, Thursday evening arrived, and Remus and Moody went out to get Harry. The
Twins had had no luck figuring out how he was coming, but Hermione didn't think it
was that important. This turned out to be optimistic.
Hermione rushed down to the front hall as soon as she heard Harry arrive to help
clear up any problems he might cause, like telling people she'd been in touch with
him. She stood on the stairs so she wouldn't be in the way, and she would have
been, for it was more than just Remus and Moody. No fewer than nine witches and
wizards entered the house behind Harry. Hermione was just in time to hear Bill quip,
"Mad-Eye didn't make you come via Greenland, did he?"
"He tried to," Tonks grumbled.
"Greenland?" Hermione said in confusion. "How did you get here, Harry?"
"We flew," Harry said, waving to her. "Moody had us going all over the place to make
sure we weren't followed."
"You flew brooms from Surrey?" she said incredulously. "Ten of you? How were you
not seen?"
"Disillusionment, I think it was called."
"Wouldn't it have been easier to take the Knight Bus?"
"And have that Shunpike brat blabbing it all over Britain? Ha!" Moody growled. "You'll
need to think clearer than that, kid."
"What about the Floo network? Muggle train? A car?" she pressed.
Remus stepped in before Moody could criticise her again: "There are ways to watch
those, too. When you have both the Ministry and Voldemort on the lookout for you,
you want to be careful about that kind of thing. Disillusioned brooms were the most
discreet way to do it."

She looked at the nine escorts again. Fellowship of the Ring, much? "And it took
nine of them to do it?"
"Uh huh," Harry said. "They said they were the Advance Guard. I think there was a
Rear Guard, too, but I didn't see them."
"All that work? I wish I'd known. I could've sent Dobby to fetch you and saved them
the trouble. It would've been safer, too. Do they really think you're in that much
"Better safe than sorry, lass," Moody said. "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"
"Alastor!" Mrs. Weasley yelled. "Stop doing that! Is this what you call constant
Harry and Hermione stared at the scene for a minute. "It's good to see you, Harry,"
Hermione said.
"You too, Hermione."
She hugged him and ushered him forward. "Come on. The Weasleys are all
"What was with that painting?"
"She's Sirius's mother."
"His mother?" Harry said incredulously. "I think I understand why he ran away from
home, now."
"Everybody? Harry's here!" Hermione called when they reached the second floor.
Ginny ran out from her and Hermione's room and went full tilt at Harry, but unlike
Hermione. Harry was ready for her. He not only caught her, but he actually picked
her up and twirled her around before giving her a good, long kiss. Ron coughed to
break it up as soon as he saw it, before they could really go overboard. Ginny wasn't
quite fourteen yet, after all. Still, they stayed close in each other's arms.
"I missed you so much, Harry," Ginny said softly.

"I missed you too, Ginny."

"I got Hermione's letter the other day."
"Oh, good. You're not mad are you?"
"No, I'm just glad you two wrote to me like I wasn't a child. I would've gone spare
without that."
"Oi, we're right here, you know," Ron called.
Harry laughed, pulled back from Ginny and gave Ron a typical man-hug. "It's good to
see you too, mate," he said.
"It wasn't the same without you," Ron replied. "Sorry for not writing more, but you
know how our Mum is."
Harry nodded resignedly. Ginny, who still had a grip on his arm, got an idea, leaned
towards him, and whispered in his ear: "Harry, yell at me."
"What?" he said.
"Yell at me. Pretend I didn't send you any letters because Mum stopped me."
Harry stared at her in bewilderment: "But why?"
"Because Mum doesn't know I did. I want to teach her a lesson."
"Are you...are you sure that's a good idea."
"Yeah, are you sure? Even I don't if it's a good idea to fool Mum like that," Ron cut in.
"Maybe not, but she still needs to learn her lesson," Ginny said. "It's not just about
keeping us apart, Harry. What right does she have to keep you in the dark like that?"
"Well...when you put it that way, okay then..." Harry could agree with the last bit. He
thought for a minute and awkwardly raised his voice. "So why does Dumbledore
want me in the dark?" he said. "Did you even bother to ask?"
"We tried," Ginny insisted. "He's only been around a couple of times, but we told him
we wanted to tell you what was going on. He said it was too dangerous because
owls could be intercepted."
"That doesn't explain why he didn't contact me himself. He must know ways to send

messages without owls." Hermione can do it, and Dumbledore's smarter than she
is...I think. "Why should you all get to know what's happening when I don't?"
"We don't know much either. Mum won't let us near the meetings"even the Twins.
She says we're too young""
"Yeah, big deal!" Harry said louder. "So you haven't been in the meetings! At least
you've been having fun here. I've been stuck with those idiot Dursleys all summer!"
"Ginny, this is a mistake," Hermione whispered. Harry was bringing up real
grievances. Ron gave Hermione a nervous look, but he didn't say anything.
But Ginny held up her hand for her to wait while making a "keep it going" motion at
Harry, like she was directing a film. "I know, but"" she started.
enough for the whole house to hear, now. "WHAT THANKS DID I GET? 'STAY IN
Hermione gasped. He was actually bringing up the diary? She didn't care if it was an
act. That had to be hurting Ginny.
Fred and George popped into existence behind Hermione, making her jump. They'd
been Apparating everywhere now they were allowed to use magic, just because they
could. It was getting annoying.
"Whoa, what's going on?" Fred said in surprise.
"Break it up! Break it up!" George yelled.
"Wait," Ginny held up her hand.

"Shh." She held a finger to her lips and winked at them. They knew a prank when
they saw one, even if it was probably a bit mean for their tastes.
"She wants to teach your mum a lesson," Hermione whispered.
They raised their eyebrows, but before they could speak, Ginny said, "Harry, we
really wanted to write you, but""
"We tried, but Mum said""
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Hermione had to think this act might not be
believable: Ginny wasn't shouting back.
"I was alright, Harry! I wanted to tell you""
ME!" Harry walked over to the door.
He slammed it as hard as he could, but without leaving the room. "How was that?"
he asked.
"Not bad," Ginny said appreciatively. "We'll make a Weasley out of you yet."
"I still kinda wanna hit you," Ron said.
"Wow, Gin, don't you think that was a little much?" asked George.
Ginny shrugged. "Stopping me from writing Harry at all this week was crossing a
line," she said. "For both a friend and a girlfriend. Mum needs to understand that."
"Alright, but don't come running to us when this all comes out," Fred said.
Hermione was gaping at the Weasley Clan. She was now worried about this for a

much more serious reason: none of them, nor Harry, seemed to be concerned about
the very real injustices Harry had faced in all this. "Harry, we're really sorry," she said
tearfully. "If we had any idea you were taking it that badly""
"It's okay, Hermione," he cut in. "I didn't mean that...well, I kinda did, but not enough
to scream at you like that. I'm madder at Dumbledore for not letting you tell me
anything important."
"Not to mention your relatives' house was supposed to be safe," Hermione said. That
was what really made her blood boil. Dumbledore has sent Harry to the Dursleys for
a month, where she knew they were emotionally abusive, at the very least, and
everybody else went along with it because it was supposed to be the best way to
keep him safe from Voldemort"the "blood wards" tied to his mother's self-sacrifice,
but they certainly didn't save him from the dementors.
"Yeah, that was a problem," Harry admitted. "And then the Ministry trying to expel
They were interrupted by a knock at the door. "Kids? Do you know where Harry
went?" It was Sirius's voice, sounding concerned. "I need to talk to him."
Harry bounded to the door and opened it. "Sirius!" he said excitedly.
"Harry! Are you alright? I had no idea you were taking things this badly."
"It's not that bad," he assured him. "The fight was Ginny's idea."
"It's a prank on Mrs. Weasley."
"Oh? Seems a little mean, even by my standards."
"That's what I thought," Harry whispered, "but you don't want to argue with the
"I heard that!" Ginny called.
In the heat of the moment, neither of them noticed Harry's choice of words.
"Although I do have a few questions about what Dumbledore's playing at," Harry
"Let's talk, then."

Hermione and the Weasleys watched Harry go off with Sirius for a chat. Finally,
Hermione broke the silence: "Are you okay, Ginny? Harry said some nasty things
about you."
"It's fine," she said, even though she looked a little shaken. "The bits that were true
were Dumbledore's fault. He knows I told him everything I knew."
"I kinda feel like a jerk now," Ron said softly. "I just went along with it and didn't write
him much. I've been trying to be a better friend after last year."
Ginny, to her credit, didn't make a dig at her brother. "I don't think he's too mad at
you either, Ron," she assured him. "I made sure he knew we were in the same boat."
Ron smiled a little: "Thanks, Gin."
Sirius led Harry from the second floor up to the fourth where he let him into a large
bedroom. The room was decorated like a cross between the Gryffindor dorms and a
muggle university dorm, all in Gryffindor colours and with unmoving muggle posters
of bikini-clad women.
"My old room," Sirius explained. "By the way, if you find a locked door, don't try to
force it. It means the room is unsafe to enter. You're lucky we got the place cleaned
as much as we did so you can kip with Ron. When we first got here, we had to have
me, Remus, and all three of the boys camping out in the kitchen."
"That bad?" Harry said, even though he knew part of that from Ginny.
"Worse. Rats, tarantulas, ghouls, doxies"pests breeding everywhere. That's what
happens when a magical house is abandoned. Anyway, how are you doing? I know
you sounded pretty mad in your letter about the dementors."
"I just want to know why you didn't write again," Harry said. He tried to be calm about
it, but an edge crept back into his voice.
"I wanted to, pup. I almost did, but Dumbledore said it was safer not to let any owls
near you, just in case that's how the dementors found you. And Ginny told me she
got a message through to you, so I let it go."
"Yeah. She had to go through Hermione 'cause her mum wouldn't let her write to
"For what it's worth, I'm sorry I wasn't more open with you this summer, Harry," Sirius

said. "I think Dumbledore was right about this week, but it was wrong to keep you so
out of the loop. I've been worried you'd get antsy and do something..."
"Stupid?" Harry offered.
"I was going to say reckless. I never imagined you'd get attacked on Privett Drive,
though, much less by dementors."
"Yeah. What were they doing there?"
"I don't know. And neither does Dumbledore, which is the scary part. Voldemort used
dementors last time, but we thought they were still under Ministry control. Something
doesn't smell right about this."
Harry just nodded and changed the subject. "So why didn't Dumbledore want me to
know anything?"
"To be honest, I'm not sure myself. Obviously, there are some things it's safer if you
don't know. Secrecy's important in war. But I think he's being a little paranoid about
it, and I told him so."
"What did he say to that?"
"Gave me a vague answer and changed the subject."
"Ah. So he did what he usually does?" Harry concluded.
"Yeah, pretty much. But I'm putting my foot down this time. You were right down
there. You've got more right to know this stuff than anyone. Tonight, you can ask us
anything you want about the Order"at least until someone sensible like Remus says
Harry smiled a little at that. "Thanks, Sirius," he said, hugging his godfather.
While Sirius and Harry were catching up, the Weasley kids and Hermione were
trying to find out what was happening at the meeting. (Presumably, Remus would tell
Sirius the details later.) Watching the kitchen door from above on the stairs and
dropping one of the Twins' Extendable Ears, they tried to get word of Snape's report.
Apparently, Snape didn't come around very often, seeing as he was Dumbledore's
spy among the Death Eaters, so this was a big deal. Unfortunately, Mrs. Weasley
had charmed the door Imperturbable.

"Can't you break through that, Hermione?" Ron asked.

"Maybe," she said, "but even if your Mum didn't notice, I'm sure Bill would." She
could understand their frustration. She'd only been here a few days, and Mrs.
Weasley's determination not to let them know what was going on was already getting
on her nerves.
The remained unsuccessful by the time the meeting broke up, and the various
members poured out of the kitchen. Snape took no time getting out of there, striding
up to the front door and making his exit, his robes billowing behind him.
"How does he get his robes to do that?" Hermione wondered.
"We've been wondering that for six years," Fred answered.
"We think it's some kind of dark wizard trick," George added.
"Kids," Mrs. Weasley called up the stairs. "Don't think I don't see you up there. Come
on down. We'll be having dinner in a moment."
They descended the stairs to the kitchen. From the look of things, Tonks was staying
for dinner along with (Merlin knew why) Mundungus Fletcher. And Remus, of course,
but he unofficially lived there anyway. It was better than any flat he could hope to get
on his own. If it weren't for Sirius, he wouldn't be doing very well right now.
Apparently, some woman named Umbridge at the Ministry has pushed through a
bunch of anti-werewolf laws in response to Remus being was outed as a werewolf
last year whilst teaching at Hogwarts.
Harry and Sirius were a little later in returning, but they looked like they had reached
an understanding. However, when Harry came down the stairs, Ginny deliberately
kept her distance from him, and he followed her lead. Mrs. Weasley gave the two of
them a very uncomfortable look.
"So, Harry, tell me exactly how you got here," Hermione said before things could get
too awkward. "It sounds like you took the long way around."
"Yeah, pretty much. So, Uncle Vernon was under the impression that he was a
finalist for the All-England Best-Kept Suburban Lawn Competition this evening,"
Harry said with a sly glance at Tonks.
"In the middle of a drought?" Hermione said incredulously. "He actually bought that?"
"Yeah. And here's the best part. All month, he and Aunt Petunia have been

gossipping about their neighbours wasting water on their lawns."

Hermione and most of the table laughed, even if she didn't think it was that funny. To
hear Harry talk about it, his relatives were a bunch of clowns, but he had confided to
her once how awful they were when he was younger. Hence why he wanted to
spend as much time as possible with Sirius.
Harry explained how the "Advance Guard" had come to pick him up and fly him to
London, except that Moody was too paranoid to fly in a straight line. It seemed
overcomplicated to Hermione, but it was over now, so it didn't much matter.
Ginny mostly amused herself by asking Tonks to make funny faces. Tonks was a
Metamorphmagus, meaning she could change her appearance at will, a talent she
liked to flaunt to anyone who was interested.
However, Hermione's eared perked up when she heard the name of Ludo Bagman
from Bill Weasley. "Ragnok's still pretty mad about him," he said. "See, Ragnok's
brother was one of the goblins Bagman owes all that gold to. He's not too keen to
help the Ministry because Bagman was their man, but I'm not sure if he believes
Dumbledore's line on You-Know-Who, either."
"So no one's heard from Bagman, then?" Hermione asked.
"Not since June. Disappeared from the Ministry and everything. You haven't heard
anything, have you?"
"No. Nothing." Ludo Bagman had lost a lot of money in unwise betting decisions last
year to Hermione, Fred, and George, and worse, to a trio of goblins from Gringotts.
The goblins weren't forgiving when he couldn't pay up. "I was hoping that book I
gave him would do something, but I guess it was a long shot."
"What book?" Mrs. Weasley asked.
"Oh, before Bagman left Hogwarts, I had Dobby slip a book into his travel bag. I was
just a bit miffed because that maze he built gave me nightmares, and I thought
turnabout would be fair play."
Sirius raised his eyebrow at her as he made the connection. "You cursed a book?"
he said.
"Oh no, it wasn't cursed. It was The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft."
"What? You didn't!" Remus gasped.

"Oh, Merlin! That's just evil," Tonks said. "My Dad had a copy of some of those. I had
nightmares for a month."
"That scary?" Sirius asked.
"Well, I wouldn't say so now," Hermione answered, "but I...sort of gave him the
impression that the stories were true."
"You didn't!" Tonks said while Remus howled with laughter.
"Oh, I did. But if the nightmares aren't bad enough to send him running back, it's
won't do much good." She sighed theatrically. "Maybe I should consult my copy of
the Necronomicon."
Remus stopped mid-laugh with an unmanly squeak and clutched at his chest, and
Tonks paled albino-white all the way to her hair and fell out of her seat.
Hermione started laughing. "I'm kidding! Honestly!"
Sirius roared with a laugh that sounded like barking, and it set off the rest of the
table. Even Mrs. Weasley chuckled a little, although she tried to stop herself. "That
was brilliant, Hermione!" Sirius gasped. "I don't know what it was but it was the best
prank I've seen all week."
"About gave me a bloody heart attack," Remus grumbled. "What that muggle thought
magic was like"I'd take Voldemort himself over most of the monsters in that book."
That comment left Hermione, Remus, and Tonks trying to explain to the shocked
Weasleys just what was so horrifying about The Call of Cthulhu. Eventually, the
conversation moved on, but the big confrontation came after dessert.
"Alright, Harry," Sirius said. "I'm sure you have a lot of questions by now, so ask
"Excuse me?" Mrs. Weasley said.
"What's Voldemort doing, for starters?" Harry said. "Ginny, Ron, and Hermione told
me what they knew, but that wasn't much."
"And for good reason," Mrs. Weasley cut in. "You're all too young to be in the Order.
You don't need to be worrying about those kinds of things."
"And what are we? Chopped liver?" Fred called. "We're of age, and we haven't got
any answers out of you lot all summer."

"Well"" Sirius started, but Remus cut him off.

"That's between you and your parents," the werewolf said calmly. "But they do have
a point, Molly. You can't expect them to stay here all summer and not ask questions."
"That doesn't mean they have a right to expect answers," Mrs. Weasley shot back.
"Harry has more right to those answers than anyone," Sirius growled. "He's the one
who saw Voldemort come back, you know."
Mrs. Weasley shuddered at the name, but she held her ground. "Except for the bit
where Dumbledore told you not to tell Harry any more than he needs to know," she
"I know that. And I'll definitely be taking that up with Dumbledore, but""
Most of the kids were watching the exchange like a tennis rally, but Hermione's mind
tuned out and started turning over that statement. Dumbledore wanted to keep Harry
on a need-to-know basis, regardless of the owls? Why? Did he not trust him to keep
a secret? Harry was a bit slower on the uptake, but he started to realise the same
thing if his face was any indication.
""not a child!" Sirius yelled as Hermione tuned back into the argument.
"He's not an adult either!" Mrs. Weasley snapped.
"He's my godson. He stayed with me last summer, if you recall."
"He's as good as one of ours, too. Isn't he Arthur?"
Mr. Weasley took a moment to clean his glasses, giving himself time to collect his
thoughts. "Dumbledore knew Harry wouldn't be able to stay at Headquarters without
getting a general picture of the situation," he said. "He doesn't need to know all the
facts, but he has a right to that much."
"He's too young, Arthur," she said sadly. "All of them are. They shouldn't have to
"You're not going to stop us worrying, Mrs. Weasley," Hermione interrupted. She had
to agree with Harry and Sirius. Under the circumstances, they really ought to know.
"Harry's the one Voldemort keeps trying to kill, and we're all his best friends. I don't
see how it can get much worse to worry about."

"You didn't live through the last war, dear," Mrs. Weasley said coldly.
Hermione didn't have a response to that.
"I think Harry is old enough to decide for himself," Remus said.
Mrs. Weasley deflated. She could tell she was outnumbered and that Remus was
playing the moderate voice. "Fine. But on you head be it." She wagged her finger at
him. "Dumbledore must have had a good reason for not wanting Harry to know too
He didn't even tell them why? Hermione wondered. Wow, he really does do that to
everyone, doesn't he?
"Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, you can all go to bed. Now," Mrs. Weasley
There was a lot of shouting from the younger Weasley kids and their mother.
Hermione just stayed in her seat defiantly until it died down.
"You can't stop Fred and George, Molly," Mr. Weasley told her gently. "They are of
"Oh, alright, then. Ginny, Ron, Hermione""
"I'm not leaving," Hermione said.
"Excuse me?"
"I'm staying here."
"You most certainly are not!"
"You can't order me out," she said, still not raising her voice.
The Weasley kids uttered a soft gasp. Molly Weasley was not accustomed to being
stood up to like this. "I can't, can I?" she said warningly. She loomed over Hermione
in her seat. "You're not of age. You're too young and""
"Mrs. Weasley!" Hermione snapped. She stood up and faced her. "You are not my
mother." A stunned silence gripped the room. "This is Sirius's house. He's acting in
loco parentis for me. That means he decides where I can and can't go and what I
can and can't hear. Legally, you have no say."

No one spoke. Everyone seemed to be expecting an explosion. But instead, Mrs.

Weasley seemed to be on the verge of tears. "I'm just trying to do what's best for my
family," she said shakily. "And Hermione, I know you have two wonderful parents of
your own, but I do care about you."
If she was trying to make Hermione feel guilty, it was working. She probably had
been a little too harsh just then. But it wasn't enough to make her back down. She
continued to stand her ground.
"If you're so determined to stay, I suppose I can't stop you," she answered. "But
"Mum"" Ron jumped in, but his mother's sudden tears gave him pause. Instead of
the angry retort he had no doubt been preparing, he tried to reason with her:
" know Harry's not gonna keep a secret from us, don't you. I mean, we've
been in the thick of it with him half the time, whether we wanted it or not."
Mrs. Weasley didn't acquiesce straightaway. She looked between Ron and Harry
questioningly, and she shot a vaguely accusing look at Harry for going against her
"You'll tell us, won't you, Harry?" Ron asked.
Harry nodded to Ron, but it was more complicated with Ginny. He and Ginny looked
at each other with expressions of feigned annoyance, keeping up their act. Mrs.
Weasley's eyes focused on Ginny.
This was the moment of truth. If Ginny was the only one excluded from this, it
wouldn't be pretty. Would she give up her cruel prank for this? Hermione thought it
might be better if she did, but when she saw the worry in Ginny's eyes, she couldn't
hold back. "I'd tell them both anyway, Mrs. Weasley," she said. "Ron's right. We've all
been in the thick of it before. I know you don't want your children to be caught up in
this, but it's too late for that."
Mrs. Weasley sat down, tearful and defeated. "This was supposed to be over and
done with before..." she muttered. "Very well. I suppose I can't deny it."
Mr. Weasley scooted over and put his arm around her. "It'll be alright, Molly," he
With that settled, albeit painfully, Sirius and Remus explained what the Order knew
about Voldemort's movements. Voldemort hadn't killed anyone in the month since he
came back, nor made any other overt moves. His power base was weakened after

thirteen years of being dead and all his followers abandoning him. Thus, he had
intended to kill Harry in that graveyard and keep his return completely secret while
he built up again, but now, the best he could do was lie low and take advantage of
the Ministry's denial of his return. That had been a very lucky stroke for him, which
only made Hermione and Harry resent the Ministry more.
When Harry came back from the graveyard and told his story, Dumbledore had
started to rebuild the Order of the Phoenix within the hour, and so the two enemies
hit the ground running at the same time. Now, the Order was trying to derail
Voldemort's plans"he was recruiting the more unsavoury sorts of wizards and
magical creatures, and Dumbledore was trying to dissuade his potential recruits.
Unfortunately, Fudge was afraid Dumbledore was trying to create a scare so that he
could take over the Ministry, which sounded completely paranoid, but nothing would
convince him otherwise. He was scared of Dumbledore's brilliant mind, and he was
even more scared of the prospect that Voldemort could be back"so scared that he
simply refused to believe it. It was Fudge's manoeuvring that forced Dumbledore out
of the Wizengamot and the ICW, and his influence that made the Daily Prophet run
all those stories discrediting Dumbledore and Harry. Thanks to him Sirius, was
practically the only other person in the Order who could get away with publicly
proclaiming the truth, and even that was risky. Fudge could have him charged with
sedition"or at least being a public nuisance.
But there was one last bit that Hermione and the Weasleys had not even heard a
whisper of. According to Sirius, Voldemort was after something. "Like a weapon," he
said. "Something he didn't have last time."
"What kind of a weapon?" Harry asked.
"That's enough," Mrs. Weasley jumped in. She seemed to have collected her wits
about her again because she was being very firm. "You've given Harry enough
answers, Sirius. This is definitely Order members only."
"Well, where do I sign up?" Harry said hostilely.
"The Order is for overage wizards only," Remus said. "Wizards who have finished
school," he added to Fred and George. "Make no mistake. This is war. There are
dangers you can't have any idea about"any of you. You're too young. And Molly's
right, Sirius. This isn't something the children should know."
"Fair enough," Sirius agreed.
"Good. Then it's time for bed," Mrs. Weasley said.

They acquiesced and went upstairs, but Hermione stopped to talk to Remus first.
She knew it would be useless to talk to any of the other adults in the house. Remus
seemed to be de facto in charge of Order business, and he sounded the most fair of
any of them.
"Professor Lupin"" she started.
"You can call me Remus, Hermione. I'm not your professor anymore."
"Remus. I"look, Mrs. Weasley is right. I don't know what it's like to live through a war.
But I do know what it's like to almost lose my best friend. I know what it's like to
almost be eaten by a giant snake and attacked by a dark wizard. I don't know what
it's like to lose a parent or anyone close to me, but I do know what it's like to almost
get my soul sucked out by a dementor. I'm smart enough not to speculate on which
is worse, but I have a hard time imagining anything worse. Now, is that being wise,
or blissfully naive?"
Remus stared at her a minute and sighed: "You have been through far more than
you should have had to, Hermione. More than many adults. But this isn't your fight. It
will be. Someday soon, I fear, but not yet."
"It is my fight now," she protested. "Voldemort knows me. I hexed him in the face
twice when he was still a spirit, and he tried to kill me and my friends several times."
"You're not going to change my mind, Hermione. You're too young to fight."
She shook her head: "It's not about fighting, Remus. I won't be in England anyway,
but I can still be useful. I can invent spells! I can invent spells even Voldemort hasn't
dreamed up. In fact, I'll be inventing spells anyway, but I could be more useful if you
told me what sorts of things you might need. I just can't sit on my arse safe and
sound in France while you're all in danger."
Remus stared at her another minute and sighed again. "I'll take it up with
Dumbledore. I can't promise more than that. Maybe he'll have a useful project for
you to work on."
"Thank you. That's all I'm asking."
"Very well. Good night, Hermione."
"Good night, Remus."
"Oh, and don't judge Mrs. Weasley too harshly," he told her. "She lost both of her

brothers in the last war. They were both in the Order. It's incredibly brave of her to
come anywhere near this place after that."