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Hermione and Minerva Part Two

By Mena Baines

Hermione felt stranded. She was in the past, searching her mind for a way to get her hands on Lily’s enchanted necklace. But there was NO way she was even getting close to the thing—after almost a week in the past, she felt her mission had failed. She wanted to go home, to the time where everything that involved HER was happening—and to Harry. Just looking at his father made her miss him.

Being around the younger James also made Hermione think about what McGonagall had told her before she left—that Harry’s father was alive. Hermione found it hard to believe. She’d rather think that James Potter had died bravely in the line of Voldemort’s fire, than think that he fled, leaving Harry behind for so many years.

“ Where’s Lily this evening?” Hermione tried to make her interest in Lily inconspicous. Molly and Arthur seemed to have picked up on it, though, and they looked at her curiously.

“ Well, it’s Friday night, Minnie,” Lupin said, licking the cherry juice from his pie off his fork, “ She’s with all the other Slytherins, I imagine.”

“ The old Slytherin lakehouse,” Siris said with a grin, “ I can’t believe they haven’t caught them there yet.” He winked at James, and got a wearied smile in return.

“ Oh, yeah, right,” Hermione said, pulling at her shorts. McGonagall sure had a risque wardobe! More so than Hermione had expected, anyway. Of course, it was the 70’s. Lupin leaned over and pushed up againist her arm.

“ So are WE going to do tonight?” he asked, looking at Hermione. She wanted to tear off running, but she just half-laughed and scooted away.

“ Let’s go into the Muggle town!” Arthur said, “ I want to go to the hardware store again.”

“ No!” Molly shierked. “ We’ll get in trouble. Honestly, Arthur.”

“ That was boring, anyway,” Siris declared, “ Me and James have got plans for tonight,” he added with a snicker.

“ Yeah,” James said, scracthing the back of his neck, “ I had wanted to talk to you about that.”

“ Whatsa matter?” Siris asked, with a mouthful of his cornbeef sandwich, “ You aren’t chickening out are you?”

“ Well…it’s just…” James was obviously nervous about Lily getting mad or in trouble due to their planned attack on the Slytherins.

“ Jamea and I have plans,” Hermione said quickly, saving him. Arthur raised an eyebrow.

“ It’s a miricle,” he muttered.

“ Yeah..” James said, looking at Hermione, “ Minny and me are going into town—we’ve got to…”

“ Look into some stuff,” Hermione finished for him. James nodded.

_________________________

“ What was that all about?” Molly asked Hermione as they were heading back to the tower to get changed.

“ What?”

“ You and James are going out?” Molly said, “ After you’ve avoided him like the plague for years?”

“ Oh, didn’t I ever tell you?” Hermione wondered aloud.

“ Tell me what?”

“ Well… maybe it wasn’t quite my choice to stay away from James.”

Molly laughed, “ Well that doesn’t make any sense!” she said. Hermione shrugged.

“ Precisely,” she tried to sound sure of herself, “ So I won’t bother explaining it.”

Hermione went up to their room, and found something suitable to wear: a slim, knee length black shirt, and a tight burgandy shirt with a square neck. She still felt a little ackward—the slit up the side of the skirt was awfully revealing, but she’d just have to deal with McGonagall’s uncharacteristic taste in clothing until she got that necklace. Which she fully planned on doing tonight. She was going to pay a little visit to Slytherin’s lake cabin. It was time for her to get the heck out of the past, before something terrible happened back in her own time.

Molly, who had plans to spend the night studying with Arthur, had already left for the library when Hermione emerged, dressed, from the bathroom. She walked to McGonagall’s oval-shaped mirror, and stared at the face of her younger professor. Why had she never gotten married—she was so lovely! And Lupin wasn’t a bad looking guy—why did she have to have it in for James?

Bugger, Hermione then thought, what if I’m doing the same thing with Harry? Would our relationship have lasted as long as it has, had I not known he was going to….die, or at least be in grave danger? She thought of Nail, and the chemistry between he and she. What had held her back the first time he’d tried to kiss her, and later in the infimary? Where did this undying devotion to Harry come from? Was it all just a star-crossed prophecy, and completely out of her hands? Whatever caused it, it was making her stomach hurt with a longing to know if he was okay. And it was undoubtably the same obsession that McGonagall felt for James. How she must feel, knowing now that he’s alive! Hermione could almost understand her burning for Harry’s father, just by occupying her former body. She felt jealous of Lily. She wanted to snatch that enchanted version of her necklace right off her neck.

Hermione heard a knock at the door and turned from the mirror.

“ Come in,” she called. James peeked inside. Hermione grinned—she hoped that someday Harry would be able to know his father. James was awfully charming in his off-beat way.

“ Hey,” he said quietly, walking inside, “ Thanks for covering for me before. I guess you know abuot me and Lily.”

“ Yeah… she kind of thought I guessed, and blurted it out.”

James laughed, “ That’s Lily for you. I hope you don’t hate her for being in Slytherin, and for dating that creep Tom Riddle.”

“ I don’t,” Hermione said, “ You know I’m not like that. So what’s up with this Tom fellow, anyway? What’s he got againist you in the first place?”

“ I don’t know!” James said, geniunely puzzled, “ He’s just always hated me—like he had planned to do it before he met me or something.”

“ Bullocks,” Hermione muttered, “ I’m so sick of this pre-destined junk.”

“ Huh?”

“ Nothing.”

“ Well,” James said with a sheepish grin, “ I’m glad that we’re at least speaking to each other.”

“ Wha… we haven’t been?”

James laughed, “ No, not really. I mean, not like this—nice.”

Hermione nodded. Like everything else, McGonagall had taken the prophecy very seriously. Sometimes she wondered if she and Harry would pay dearly for ignoring it.

“ I was afraid you hated me,” James said, “ Because I’d gotten to be this big athlete… and we both used to be kind of studious.”

“ Oh, rubbish,” Hermione said, not understanding McGonagall. Why wouldn’t she take a risk for this boy, as sweet as he was? Granted, he seemed to be quite taken with Lily, but maybe he wouldn’t have turned out to be a forshamed hermit, if he’d had the love of Minerva McGonagall.

“ So do you really want to go to town?” James asked, “ I don’t have any plans till nine.”

“ What happens at nine?” Hermione asked. “ You and Siris are going to sabotage Slytherin?”

“ Oh, no,” he said, “ I talked him out of that. For Lily’s sake.” Hermione nodded. “ I’m going to meet her, actually.”

“ At the lakehouse?”

“ Well…near there. She’s still too scared of Tom to let anyone know that we’re together.” James explained.

Hermione sighed, “ I don’t blame her.” Great Wizards, she thought—she’s dating the man who will someday kill her, and I’m the only one who knows.

“ James,” Hermione said suddenly, “ You’ve got to get her away from that guy.”

“ I know,” he said glumly. “ Sometimes I think she’s embarrassed to date someone like me…”

“ No, I mean seriously,” Hermione grabbed his shoulder. “ I…have a bad feeling.”

James nodded, “ So do I,” he said, “ That’s why I gave her that necklace. The amethyst crystal? It’s got powers…specifically againist him. I make her wear it always.”

Hermione suddenly felt very heavy—all this weight on her shoulders! How was she going to get that necklace from Lily? Maybe she’d use magic, though she was still clumsy in McGonagall’s body.

“ I’m going to go to the lake house,” Hermione told him.

“ What? Why?” James frowned.

“ I need to talk to Lily, truthfully,” she said, “ Don’t worry. What’s the worst that could happen? They’re still on school grounds.”

“ Right…” James said. “ Look out for her, okay?”

“ Okay,” Hermione said, feeling futile.

James sighed, “ Minny, it’s so incredible to be in love. But I have no idea if she thinks of me the way I do of her… sometimes I’m afraid that she just thinks it’s a sexy thing to sneak around with her boyfriend’s enemy.”

Hermione thought of Draco and surpressed a gag reflex.

“ Believe me,” she said, “ It’s not that.”

_______________________

It was dark by the time Hermione found the lakehouse cabin near the lake in the woods. It felt eerie to be in the Forbidden Forrest at night, and she wished she’d brought James along, though she knew there would be trouble if he showed up on Slytherin property.

She heard loud music as she approached the cabin, and began to feel nervous. Hermione was never one for parties. She straightened her skirt and prepared to walk inside.

Before she entered, though, she peeked in one of the side windows to check out the scene. There was much revelry, and loud laughter filled the room, with the most notable Slytherin students hanging out on the loft above the scene. Tom was there, with an arm drapped around Lily’s shoulders, and Lucius was nearby spitting butterbeer at a whining Snape, who appeared to be trying to do some homework. Tom looked rather bored. He gave Lily a peck on the cheek and whispered something in her ear. She looked sort of queesy and answered him with a pitiful look. Hermione took a deep breath and opened the door.

The music was blasting inside the cabin, and Hermione could see a band preforming outside on the deck, where the glass doors that led outside were both pushed open. The drummer appeared to be an elf, and the other musicians looked too old to be Hogwarts students. She could see, in the distance, couples making their way down a path in the woods toward the small dock that sat on the lake.

Some of the partiers she passed on her way up toward the loft looked rather suspicious. A witch with grey skin and one eye covered with a patch glared at her. A beautiful vixen with long, black hair was drapped over a flustered looking boy wearing a Slytherin jacket.

Hermione looked up to the loft and tried to catch Lily’s eye. She had slid away from Tom, and was pulling on her necklace, looking distant. Tom looked aggrivated. Hermione swallowed her fears and made her way toward them.

“ Minnie!” she heard someone calling McGonagall’s name before she could get up the stairs. She turned to see Lupin headed toward her, exasperated, and getting some odd looks from the crowd.

“ What?” she snapped when he reached her, annoyed that he’d interupted her plans.

“ What are you doing here?” he asked with geniune concern, “ This crowd is wild!” he hissed.

Hermione shoved him away. “ Stay out of my business!” she shouted over the loud music, acting, surely, how both she AND McGonagall would in this siutation. Lupin looked hurt, but she didn’t care. What a meddler!

“ I just don’t want you to get hurt,” he said, his voice pleading. “ I thought you were going out with James, anyway.”

“ I just said that,” Hermione said, “ So that he didn’t feel like he had to… raid this party. Look, Lupin—I mean, Remus—I’ll talk to you about it later, okay?”

“ Well, well,” suddenly they heard a chilling voice behind them, and turned to see Tom standing there. “ If it isn’t our resident werewolf,” he glared at Lupin.

“ I…” Lupin was at a loss for words. His cheeks turned red, and suddenly Hermione felt very bad for him. After all he’d been through…it was a shame McGonagall wasn’t nicer to him, in the future and the past.

“ Are you surprised that I know your BIG secret, little man?” Tom asked. Up close he was actually good looking. What was his problem?

“ How…did…you,” Lupin stuttered, completely humiliated.

“ I have ways of making Serveus talk,” Tom said cooly. “ You didn’t think he’d keep that little incident with the Wipping Willow to himself, did you?” He smiled wickedly. Lupin took a step down the stairs—everyone seemed to be watching their heated conversation.

“ By the way,” Lucius said, coming up behind Tom, “ We really don’t appreciate you trying to kill our faithful servent.” He gave Snape a demeaning look and sneered at Lupin.

“ Oh, come now!” Hermione shouted, “ It wasn’t his fault!”

“ That’s right,” Tom said, “ It was that parry bloke Siris Black, wasn’t it? Well, either way, poor little Snape over there might have been ripped to shreds by this MONSTER, had it not been for the NOBLE James Potter.” Lucius scoffed.

“ What a hero,” he said sarcastically. “ Moron—don’t he know Snape would’a let him get ripped apart if it were the other way around?”

“ That’s right,” Tom said, looking back at Snape, “ Ain’t that right, Servey old pal?”

“ Yes,” Snape muttered. Hermione saw Lily watching the situation unfold with fearful eyes.

“ That’s yes SIR,” Lucius said, throwing an empty bottle of butterbeer at Snape. Snape ducked, and the bottle bounced up, smacking Lily on the knee.

“ Ouch!” she said, “ Stop it, Lucius!”

“ Hey!” Tom screamed, grabbing Lucius’ collar, “ What in the bloody hell do you think you’re doing, throwing things at her!”

“ I was trying for Snape!” Lucius said, looking terrified all of a sudden. Tom threw him down on the stairs.

“ You just watch yourself,” he hissed at his friend. Lucius nodded, and slithered away.

“ Now,” Tom said, turning back to Hermione and Lupin, “ What on EARTH do you two jerks think YOU’RE doing here?”

Most of the scene of the party had fallen silent now, with all watching the confrontation on the stairway.

“ I invited them!” Lily suddenly piped up, “ Minerva is my friend,” she added bravely, standing.

“ Did I give you permission to befriend Gryffindors?” Tom asked with an evil smile, and most of the Slytherins laughed. Lily glared at him.

“ You don’t own me,” she told him.

Tom laughed out loud, “ We’ll see about that.” Lucius chuckled.

“ Fine,” Lily said, stepping over Snape, “ If they’re not welcome here, then I’m going.”

“ Oh, are you?” Tom tilted his head; he looked deadly.

“ Lily,” Hermione said, backing down the stairs, “ We’ll go…”

“ STAY!” Tom screamed, pointing at her. “ I’m not finished with you two intruders.”

“ Oh, shut up!” Lily shouted at him, “ Quit being such a bully! You think you run this school? Please!” She started to push past him on her way down the stairs.

“ You’re not going anywhwere, either!” Tom shouted, throwing out his hand and sending her flying backwards. Lily screamed, and landed in a heap on the floor.

“ Bastard!” Lupin yelled, charging at him.

“ Away, beast!” Tom said, flicking a fireball spell at Lupin and knocking him down the stairs. Some of the wilder party-goers cheered, and starting chanting: ‘Fight! Fight!’

“ Stop it!” Lily shouted, running to Lupin, “ He’s no monster, Tom—you are!”

Tom Riddle’s eyes were ablaze with anger.

“ You traitor,” he growled at Lily, “ I trusted you. Dammit!”

“ I trusted you, too,” Lily said, her eyes filling with angry tears, “ What’s happened to you, Tom?”

“ Enlightenment!” Tom screamed like a madman, throwing out his arms, “ A new way of thinking. You either get what you want or you don’t, Lily. There’s only one way.” There was a flash in his eyes, and they turned black for a moment.

Hermione gasped, and turned to run down the stairs.

“ Not so fast, Minerva!” he said, grabbing her by the hair.

“ Stop!” Lupin roared, getting up, “ Leave her! I’ll sick Dumbledore and the whole Minstry on you if you touch a hair on her head!”

Hermione found this threat rather ironic, since Tom was pulling on all her hairs, and very hard at that.

“ Let go of me!” she begged, afraid to fight back againist Tom Riddle. Suddenly the cabin door was thrown open, and James and Siris burst in.

“ Release the girl!” Siris screamed, upon accessing the situation inside the cabin. Tom laughed, and let go of Hermione’s hair. She bolted down the stairs, and Lupin caught her in his arms.

“ Finally,” Tom said, “ The guests of honor arrive.”

Lucius laughed, and stepped up behind Tom again, his humility somewhat restored, “ We were hoping you’d come and try something after we screwed with the Quidditch stuff, but we never thought we’d be so lucky to have hostages!”

“ James!” Lily cried despretly, pushing her way through the crowd and flinging her arms around him. James hugged her tightly, and then pushed her behind him protectively.

“ We don’t want to fight you, Tom,” he said.

“ Speak for yourself,” Siris growled, “ What’d you do to Lily?”

James turned and looked at her. “ Did he hurt you?” Lily shook her head.

“ Let’s just go,” she whispered. Lupin was already pulling Hermione out the door.

Lucius started after them, but Tom caught him with his arm.

“ I knew it,” he said coldly, glaring at Lily. “ You and…him. How perfect was your betrayal my dear.”

Lily buried her face againist James’ shoulder.

“ He loves me,” she said weakly, “ You don’t even know what that means, you… miscreant!” Tom’s snake-like eyes narrowed at her.

“ Want me to kill him?” Lucius asked Tom loudly. Tom pursed his lips in thought for a moment.

“ Not today,” he answered cooly.

“ You’d better watch yourself, Riddle!” Siris called before they left, pointing at him, and then slamming the door to the cabin shut behind him.

_______________________

Lily was crying. They were sitting outside by the lake, on the other side of the shore, far from the noisy and bosieterous Slytherin lake house.

“ What’ll I do now?” she cried, leaning againist James as he wrapped her in his arms, “ I can’t go back to Slytherin house after this!”

“ We’ll figure something out,” James said quietly. Hermione could see the bond between them as he smoothed her hair and tried to comfort her. Do Harry and I look like that together? she wondered.

“ I can’t believe Tom,” Siris said, still seething with anger, pacing back and forth along the shore line, “ I’ll kill him for this.”

“ You will not!” James said, “ Just relax. He’s just a bully. He’ll get what’s coming to him, don’t worry. He’s just humiliated…”

“ Oh, no,” Lily wailed, “ He’s got something up his sleeve—all these plans!”

“ She’s right,” Hermione said, “ Keep your eyes on him.”

Lupin sighed, and tried again to put a “comforting” arm around Hermione, but she scooted away, giving him an apologetic look. It was just too weird! But she did feel bad that the Slytherin gang knew his secret now.

Eventually Lupin gave up, and went back up to the castle with Siris. Hermione knew that James and Lily wanted to be alone, but she wasn’t leaving until she had that necklace.

“ Lily!” she said suddenly, formulating a plan. “ Don’t you want to know why I came to the lake house tonight?”

“ Oh, yeah,” she said, wiping her eyes, “ Why?”

“ I over-heard Tom talking to Lucius the other day at lunch,” she said, “ You see that necklace you’re wearing?”

“ Um, yeah. James gave it to me.”

“ Yeah, I know. And so does Riddle! Even before tonight. That’s why he was so mad—he even put a countercurse on it to spite you.” Hermione was, of course, lying through her teeth, but it was for the good of this couple’s unborn son, who also happened to be her best friend and true love, so she decided it was worth it. Lily gasped.

“ Minerva!” James scolded, “ You should have told me.”

“ I know,” she said with a sigh, “ I just didn’t want you to do anything rash. I figured I could just get the necklace from Lily and destroy it before it does anymore damage.”

“ What damage?” James asked, looking at Lily.

“ Well,” she said, “ I have been having these horrible nightmares lately...”

Hermione nodded, “ Precisely,” she said, not believeing her luck. Lily did seem pretty gullible, though.

She slowly undid her necklace, and reluctantly handed it to Hermione.

“ But I love that thing!” she said sadly, “ It reminds me of James.” She looked at him like he was some Greek god. Her hero.

“ I’ll get you a thousand more,” James said, kissing her lightly.

“ Yes,” Hermione stuffed the necklace—her necklace—into her pocket. She imagined the former version of the one she’d worn evaporating in the present. “ I’ll just get rid of this one. I know a spell… I’ll give it a proper burial,” she added with a smile. Lily grinned, got up and hugged her.

“ Thanks, Minnie,” she said, “ You—are a good person.” Hermione laughed.

“ Yeah, I know,” she said, thinking of McGonagall. “ Well, I’m beat! I guess I’ll head up to bed.”

“ We…er… we’ll be up soon enough,” James said, blushing, “ And I thank you, Minnie.”

Hermione gave him a little wave, and walked off, feeling sad. So many lives destroyed! And it seemed so easy…she could just walk back to that cabin…but no, Tom Riddle’s magic was already much stronger than hers, especially since she was in McGonagall’s unfamilier body.

She turned to have one last look at the young, idealistic version of Harry’s parents. James was looking at Lily adoringly, wiping the last of her tears from her eyes. They were Harry’s eyes, too—the bright, shining green that sparkled as she gazed at her love in the soft moonlight. James took her face gently in his hands, and kissed her, shaking with happiness.

Hermione felt tears in her eyes, and had to convince herself that maybe, somehow, they would be alright, as she ran up the path back toward Hogwarts.

She had the necklace now… but it felt like only a half-victory. She wanted to save all of them—Harry’s parents, the beautiful and passionate Sirius, and McGonagall. From death, shame, inprisonment, and loneliness. She wanted to take her wand, wipe it over their lives, and make things right. But instead she climbed the hill to the castle, intent on picking up her time turner, and looking forward to seeing Harry again.

__________________________

It was day time when Hermione got back to the past. She was in the lobby of the girl’s dormatories—she figured it would be a safe place, since all the other girls were in their classes at that time.

It felt strange to change bodies again—for a moment during her time slide she’d wondered if she’d go back to the past as McGonagall. But when she headed to her room and looked in her mirror, she saw her own familiar face and cinnamon eyes staring back, instead of McGonagall’s lovely but ruffled reflection. Hermione had to practice walking in her own body for a few moments.

She looked back to the mirror, and gasped when she saw a blond-haired girl there again. But instead of McGonagall, it was Ellie, her ghost.

“ Oh,” she said, laying a hand on her chest, “ You gave me a fright.”

Ellie glared at her. “ Where have you been?” she asked, floating out of the mirror.

“ On a mission,” Hermione said, reaching into her pocket. She pulled out the necklace, and fastened it around her neck. It was glowing now—very slightly, but a distinct difference as far as enchantment went.

“ Mission!?” Ellie exclaimed, angrily drifting over to the window, “ He’s in trouble.”

“ Oh, God—Harry?”

“ Harry!” Ellie screamed, “ No—must you always think of HIM?”

“ Who then? Ron?”

Ellie gave her a look that made Hermione fear she might try to commit homicide from beyond the grave.

“ You are more dense than I originally assumed,” Ellie spat, “ FOLLOW ME,” she ordered, drifting through the door and out of the room. Hermione ran after her, her heart pounding. Who was in trouble? Why did Ellie have to be so cryptic?

Ellie led her down to the school’s dungeons, past Snape’s classroom, and to the end of a long hall. Hermione had never been here before, and she had almost been sure that she’d seen every part of Hogwarts…

“ There,” Ellie said, pointing. There was a thick brown door, outside of which sat a sleepy looking Ravenclaw prefect.

“ What is this?” Hermione asked Ellie, and the prefect looked up.

“ Oh, hey,” he said, “ Is it visitor hour already?” Hermione frowned—what was he talking about? She looked up to a sign above the door: DETENTION CELLS.

“ Come on, he’s been looking forward to seeing a friend,” the prefect said, getting up to unlock the door. Hermione whirled around to get an explanation from Ellie, but she was gone now. The prefect held the door open for her. “ Go on,” he said.

Still not knowing what was going on, Hermione took a few tentative steps into the room beyond the brown door. There were four prison cells with beds and sinks inside them, four small windows letting afternoon light inside the barred-off rooms. And only one of them was occupied.

“ Harry!” Hermione screamed, not knowing what to think. “ What… is this?”

“ Hermione?” he had been sitting on the floor reading, and when he saw her he jumped up and ran to the bars. Hermione stuck her hands between the bars and grasped ahold of him.

“ What’s happened?” she cried. Harry sighed heavily, and she could hear a shake in his voice.

“ They think I tried to attack Argus Filch,” he said, “ He claims that I tried to stab him with broken glass… says he saw me do it. I… I… can’t explain it. I mean, he’s never liked me, but…”

Hermione just stared at him through the thick black bars, squeezing his arms. He felt skinny. She thought about what Clio had said before she left… about Harry starting a fire in the garden. No…what was happening?

“ Oh, Hermione I swear I didn’t do it!” he said, his voice cracking, “ But now they’ve put me down here for a week of dentention—to try to discourage me from using the dark arts! But I haven’t used them since the holidays—I swear to it! Oh, please believe me, I don’t care if I’m locked up as long as you don’t think…”

“ Harry!” Hermione said, “ I can’t believe they did this to you…” she reached up and touched his face, which was sweaty, and his skin was pale. “ I know you didn’t do anything—oh, my baby! I’ll go get McGonagall to let you out right now—“

“ No,” he said, squeezing her arms closer to him through the bars, “ Stay with me?” he squeaked. “ I feel so…confused. I feel like I’m losing my mind… like, what if I DID try to kill Filch? What if Voldemort has possessed me…”

“ Stop it,” Hermione said, kissing his cheek through the bars. Oh, it felt good to feel Harry’s skin on her lips again…even if he was sweating and crying and shaking all over. “ God, what have they done to you?” she whispered, wiping his cheeks. “ You’re not crazy, and you’re not posessed. Filch is the one who’s mad to accuse you.”

“ Unh,” Harry moaned, exhasted, resting his head against hers, which was pressed up againist the bars as she strained to get closer to him. “ Thank the Sages,” he whispered, his hot breath on her cheeks, “ I was so afraid you’d think I was guilty.”

“ Great Wizards, Harry,” she murmured softly, “ Who could think you were guilty?”

“ Some people,” he muttered, looking at his shoes.

“ Well I don’t care if the whole world… I’ll always stand with you, you hear me?” she lifted her hand, to show him the scar from their pact, “ Always, no matter what. I know you’ve done nothing wrong.”

“ I don’t,” Harry said weakly, looking at her. Those were Lily’s scared green eyes, looking at her pleadingly through the metal bars.

“ I’ll get you out of here,” Hermione whispered, “ And then we’ll get to the bottum of this.”

Harry kissed her hand and shut his eyes. He looked up at her and sighed.

“ I love you,” he said, with all the conviction of a man who had finally come to love someone so much that his body ached without them, and not at all like a schoolboy speaking to his girlfriend. “ Thank God you’re back. I would die without you,” he admitted with a little laugh.

Hermione shook her head. “ I won’t let you,” she said, and she knew it now. After having seen James and Lily in the past, she knew she’d never let another Potter die before their time. Especially not Harry, not when he needed her so much.

She leaned forward and kissed him softly through the bars, feeling her heart and her body melt together as they reveled in the feeling of having him back. Hermione let out a long sigh as they broke their kiss, and they looked into each other’s eyes, both thinking the same thing.

Now the battle had begun. They could feel it all around them, and they were going to have to be strong. But if metal bars couldn’t separate them, then nothing could, and Hermione felt that as long as they were together, they could win.