Content Harry Potter Miscellaneous
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Hermione drowsed, lying at the same time in the circle of Ron's arms and on the warm grass of the Hogwarts grounds. The sun soaking into her skin made her want to curl up and purr, wash her tail, then perhaps bury her nose in one of her black patches and take a nap…

What a strange dream.

As soon as this thought crossed her mind, Ron's half-heard snores faded into silence and Hermione lay fully awake—or is that fully asleep?—on the shores of the lake. But though her boyfriend was gone, she was not alone. A man sat nearby, tossing pebbles into the water, and his face brought Hermione to her feet.


The man started and looked up. "I'm sorry—have we met?"

"It's me, Professor. Hermione Granger. You taught me Defense Against the Dark Arts in my third year. We've known each other through the Order of the Phoenix since then." Which does not explain this ridiculous urge to run over and hug him and beg him to make everything all better. "But I thought…" Hermione faltered. "You see, there was a battle, and…"

"And?" Remus prompted after a moment.

"And… well… you're dead." Saying the words made Hermione's stomach tighten, but she pressed on. "You died fighting. You helped other people live. We won. The war's over."

"Dead," mused Remus, rolling a pebble on his palm. "It would explain a great deal. Certainly I seem to have passed through the river of Lethe. You know me, Miss—Granger, was it?" At Hermione's nod, he went on. "You know me better than I know myself. Until today, I have had no name for this person I am. No face, either—would you pardon me a moment?"

"Of course." Hermione watched, curious, as Remus bent over the lake. "Can I ask…"

"Whatever this is," Remus said without looking up, "dream or vision or visit from a supernatural being, it has given me back a gift I do not have in my everyday life. I intend to take advantage of it."

Hermione laughed. "I'm not supernatural! Well, I'm a witch, but so are you a wizard. It's natural to us to have magic."

"Thank you for the information, but I was not referring to magic." Remus straightened up once more. "My lack, in the life outside this place, whatever it may be, is more basic. I cannot see."

"Oh." Hermione sobered. "Is it… a good place? Where you are?"

"It is more good than bad," Remus said slowly, as though he had not thought about it before. "I am not alone. I have three companions, though only two of them are ever with me at any one time. If, as you say, magic is natural to your people—our people—then two of them may actually be one. It makes sense." He glanced over Hermione's shoulder. "And you seem to have a companion of your own."

"What?" Hermione turned to follow his line of sight.

A wispy, ghostlike Draco Malfoy smiled sheepishly.

"How dare you!" Hermione swung at his face but encountered only air. "Get out of my dream!"

"Not yet," Malfoy breathed, his words barely audible. "Not until you remember."

"Remember what? Remember that I loathe and despise you? I remember that perfectly well. Go away!"

"Not what I meant." Malfoy drifted past her, towards Remus, who was looking from him to Hermione with an expression of concentration on his face. "Remember… what we mean to each other…"

"Why don't you just blow away?" Hermione hissed under her breath.

Malfoy spun in place, looking panicked, just as the huge gust of wind hit him. For an instant, he struggled against it. Then he was gone.

"Are you sure you're not supernatural?" Remus inquired.

Hermione stared at the place where Malfoy had been. "I didn't know I could do that," she said quietly. "What else don't I know about?"

"A good question. One we should all ask ourselves." Remus came up the slope towards her, looking at her closely. "Miss Granger."

"Hermione, please."

"Hermione, then. May I… see you? As I would, if we were not where we are?" Remus lifted a hand by way of further explanation. "I have a suspicion. Perhaps a strange one, but… may I?"

"Of course." Hermione sat down on the grass, waving him to a seat in front of her. "Go ahead."

Closing his eyes, Remus cupped her face in his hands. To Hermione's astonishment, his touch sent a tiny shiver of pleasure down her spine. Am I absolutely shameless? I've only been with Ron for three months, and Remus was my teacher!

But as Remus' fingers slid over her lips and cheekbones, the feelings intensified, and Hermione had to fight not to pull away. I told him he could. He's doing nothing wrong. I won't pull away in the middle.

Besides, it isn't quite like it is with Ron. It feels… different. Still good, but different. Some of her guilt eased. At least I'm not falling in love with a dead man who could be my father.

A jolt like an electric shock shot through her. Remus gasped and pulled back, opening his eyes and staring at her. "What—"

"I don't know," Hermione panted, hand on her chest. "I just… I don't know." She caught her breath and found a smile to show him. "Am I pretty the way you usually see?"

"Far more than pretty." Remus laid a hand gently on her cheek again. "You remind me of a lady I know. She cares for me, helps me to do the things I cannot do for myself, though she never speaks to me. I suspect she has been hurt by other men." His face hardened for an instant. "I will not hurt her that way. She offers, but I refuse."

Too moral for his own good, said a cynical voice in the back of Hermione's mind. As usual.

Hermione stiffened. Get out of my head!

No, you get out of mine, the voice retorted. Or at least cooperate with me and help me fix things around here.

Who are you?

Try and figure it out yourself, why don't you? The voice laughed without humour. I'll give you a hint. If things were the way they were supposed to be, we could never have had this conversation.

Well that's a fat lot of help!

The voice disdained to reply.

"Talking to yourself?" Remus said, smiling at her.

Hermione started to laugh, then stopped. "I think I may have been," she said slowly. "I think I may just have been…"


"Mm-hmm?" Ron came partway awake. "Whazzit, Neenie?"

"Tell me about our first kiss." The weight on his torso shifted and resettled into a new formation. "Tell me everything you remember."

"'Kay." Ron squirmed a bit to the left to relieve the pressure on a rib. "Sort of like this, actually. We were in the bed together in one of the bedrooms at Headquarters, you were up on top of me, but we had all our clothes on and we weren't doing anything Mum shouldn't see. Just lying there."

"Did you kiss me? Or did I kiss you?"

"You kissed me. Definitely."

"And did you say anything that made me do it?"

"I think… something about house-elves?" Ron frowned. "No, that's not right. Wasn't house-elves. I told you…"

Another bedroom, another moment in time superimposed itself on this one within Ron's mind. "I told you, just do what you wanted to. I wasn't going to do anything unless you said I could. Unless you told me to. Because you'd been scared. Something bad happened to you. Something where you were trapped, you couldn't get free, someone else could make you do things. So I was just going to let you be in control. Do what you wanted. And you said…"

Ron laughed. "You said what you wanted was for me to help you figure out what you wanted. I said maybe you wanted to kiss me. Turns out I was—"

Hermione's lips fastened onto his, silencing him but at the same time rendering the word moot.

"That was nice," Ron said sleepily when he could talk again. "Why the pop quiz?"

Hermione's weight on him decreased, then vanished. "Get up," she said, and the light went on overhead.

"Oi!" Ron rolled over and buried his face in the pillow. "It's got to be gone midnight, Hermione—"

"Get up." Hermione grabbed a foot and yanked. Ron only skidded a few inches, but he could feel her winding up for another tug—

"I'm up," he said, waving her off. "I'm up. Gimme a second." Whatever's got into her, easier just to go along at this point. Let her run herself out of power, then bring her home when she crashes. Shouldn't take too long. "All right, I'm up." He heaved himself upright. "Where are we going?"

"St. Mungo's."


"Ron, something's very wrong." Hermione pulled down a box from the top shelf of his closet and yanked it open. Inside was the one thing of Harry's they hadn't put away in deep storage or given to a museum somewhere. "We have to find out what it is."

"Why do we have to find out what it is right now?" Ron sneaked a look at the Muggle-style alarm clock. Sure enough, 01:04 glowed disturbingly red against the black. "Why can't it wait until morning?"

Hermione paused in freeing the Invisibility Cloak from its wrappings. "You're awake now, aren't you?"

"I think so, yeah."

"Tell me about our first kiss."

"But I just…"

"Tell me again."

Ron sighed. "All right. We were lying in a bed at number twelve, Grimmauld Place…" He stopped. "No, that's not right. We were at Hogwarts, outside the Room of Requirement…" He shook his head hard as two separate visions tried to co-exist. "What the bloody—"

"That's why we have to go now." Hermione pulled the last fastener free and shook the Cloak out, one of his mum's lavender sachets falling from its folds into the box. "Because I can't think of any reason for anyone to tamper with our memories of our first kiss and leave all the other ones alone."

Ron swallowed against a chill at the idea of someone inside his head, messing around with his thoughts. I'm messed up enough as it is… "I'd guess you're not just doing this because you want us to get checked out right away," he said, sliding off the bed to find his shoes.

"We have to find Harry." Hermione dropped the Cloak on top of its box and pulled out her wand to Summon her own shoes from their place by the door. "Either him or Malfoy."

"Malfoy?" Ron jerked partway upright and hit his head on the bedframe. "Ow. Why Malfoy?"

"When did I get this?" Hermione demanded instead of answering. As Ron backed cautiously out from under the bed on all fours, he could see that she was pointing at her cheek, at the small scar there.

"Er, during the battle at Hogwarts?"

"That's what I thought too. But it's too well healed for that. It looks like it was done years ago, not months. And that's why I think we need to find Malfoy."

"What, because your scar is older than you thought it was?"

"No." Hermione shoved her feet into her shoes and began to lace one up. "Because he had one too."

The man who now knew his name was Remus Lupin sat by the lake for a few more minutes after the girl named Hermione had disappeared. Then he stood up and began to walk towards the castle.

Something is very wrong with me. With all of us. His mind supplied touch-scent-sound images of the three other living creatures with whom he shared his days and nights. Why did I never notice that the woman and the wolf are never present at the same time? Or that the dog is disquietingly intelligent? And why did I accept such a limited existence? Even for a blind werewolf and his mute companion, there should be more to life than a small cottage in the middle of a forest…

As he approached the castle, he could see that it had the appearance of a place long abandoned. A great deal of the masonry looked ready to collapse at a finger's touch, the doors and windows were heavily boarded up, and a large sign hung over the entrance, bearing one word in bright red paint.


Before Remus could do more than take in the word, a piece of stone high above lost its grip on its neighbour. Remus stepped back in automatic reaction as it sailed towards the roof of the nearest piece of castle. And it's not alone—that whole tower looks like it's ready to fall—

The rock went through the castle roof with a resounding crash.

Inside, a woman screamed in terror.

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