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Price of Peace 4 - Uncovering the Truth

Chapter Text

Addie cleared her throat.

Prologue

“Doesn’t sound like too much will be in this chapter.” James commented.

“It’s probably a recap for people who didn’t read the first three.” Harry shrugged. “Especially since they were written by different people.”

“And it’s from Hermione’s point of view.” Addie added.

Hermione choked on her coffee. “What?!”

Harry just smirked. “Payback time, Mione.”

Hermione Granger’s room was just like that of any other teenage girl. Maybe a few more books than clothes, but all in all there was nothing about the room that suggested that strange and mysterious things often happened to the girl that occupied it …

“To me?” Hermione repeated. “Try Harry – it’s not my fault.”

… except that the titles of the books included Hogwarts: A History, A History of Magic and Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts.

“Trust you.” Fred smirked.

Hermione smacked him over the head.

On the nightstand, there stood a photograph of three teenagers: a girl with bushy brown hair, with her arms around two boys, one with red hair and freckles …

“Ron.” Fred grinned.

… the other with messy black hair and bright green eyes …

“Me!” Harry added.

… all three waving at the camera. This was Hermione and her two best friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, and, truthfully, strange and mysterious things happened to all three of them, not just her.

“Thank you.” Hermione said smugly. “It’s not just me.”

“We didn’t disagree with you.” Lily chuckled.

Avoiding strange and mysterious things when you attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was like trying to get Harry’s hair to lie flat.

Hermione eyed Harry’s head. “Yeah, well, I’m not giving up on that yet.”

“I would.” David advised. “Countless women have tried.”

It just wasn’t possible. She should know; she’d tried it enough times.

Hermione glared at the book, not wishing to concede defeat yet.

To be completely honest, it may have been more possible to avoid those things, if it weren’t for Harry.

Harry looked down, looking a little sheepish. Hermione smacked him upside the head, picking up the sense of guilt in the air.

Harry’s penchant for trouble had started when he was just fifteen months old …

“Oh, here we go.” Lily sighed.

… when Lord Voldemort – the most evil wizard since Grindelwald – had murdered his parents before turning his wand on the young child. Somehow, the curse had backfired, reducing Voldemort to a mere spirit and leaving Harry with a lightning bolt scar and the nickname ‘The Boy-Who-Lived’.

Harry rolled his eyes.

Trouble followed Harry around like a plague, but she wouldn’t swap him for the world.

“Damn right I wouldn’t.” Hermione growled, glaring at Harry.

In fact, it was because of this trouble that they were even friends in the first place: Voldemort had possessed their first year Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell, in an attempt to steal the Philosopher’s Stone – a rare gem that could create the Elixir of Life and was hidden at the school.

On Halloween night, in an attempt to lure Headmaster Dumbledore and the other teachers away from the hiding place, Quirrell/Voldemort let a mountain troll into the school – a mountain troll that trapped Hermione in the girls’ bathroom.

“Don’t remind me!” Sirius muttered.

“Sorry.” Harry whispered.

Hermione grabbed a pillow again and hit him on the head. “Stop it.”

“But, Hermione, if it weren’t for me, Voldemort wouldn’t have been there!” Harry protested.

“Oh, so you put the Philosopher’s Stone in the castle?” Hermione asked, raising an eyebrow.

“But it’s my fault!” Harry protested.

Hermione hit him again.

“Ow!” Harry ducked. “Hermione!”

“It’ll keep happening.” Hermione warned. “If you don’t stop.”

“You’ve never asked anyone to do anything.” Neville added, a little nervously. “You don’t have the ability to control other people’s actions.”

Harry and Ron, realising in the panic that she was missing, went to find her and, through sheer dumb luck and a cleverly placed Levitation Charm (even though Ron swore it was just the first spell that came into his head) …

“It was.” Fred sniggered.

… saved her life.

The three young Gryffindors became best friends …

“Bloody hell.” Draco muttered. “That’s how you became friends?”

Hermione was momentarily startled, but then remembered. “Of course. You weren’t here for the first book. Yes it was.”

… and went on to help save the Philosopher’s Stone from Voldemort’s clutches, escaping with only the slightest of injuries …

“Slightest of injuries?!” Lily repeated, slightly hysterically. “Harry nearly died!”

Addie chuckled slightly. “I wasn’t finished.”

… (except for Harry, who nearly died, but Hermione had become abnormally used to that as well).

It didn’t do anything for Lily’s nerves, but everyone else sniggered.

“You don’t get hurt this year, right?” Lily asked fretfully.

Harry didn’t answer, avoiding her eyes, and she nestled into James with a groan.

Addie glanced at Ginny as she read ahead. Fred noticed and caught on, grabbing Ginny’s hand.

In their second year, Ron’s younger sister, Ginny, had been possessed by a diary that had belonged to Tom Riddle, Voldemort’s alter-ego.

Ginny shuddered and Draco rubbed her arm awkwardly.

As a result, the Chamber of Secrets had been opened and several students, including Hermione, had been Petrified.

Despite a fake as a DADA teacher and Professor Dumbledore’s temporary removal from the school, Harry and Ron had discovered what had been going on and Harry had saved Ginny’s life.

“Huh.” Harry commented. “It didn’t mention about slaying a giant basilisk with Gryffindor’s sword.”

Hermione chuckled. “You know, if anyone but you said that, it would sound really conceited.”

Last year, it had seemed that Harry’s life was, once again, in danger.

“But I wasn’t.” Harry put in.

A dangerous criminal had escaped from Azkaban Prison and was supposedly after Hermione’s best friend.

However, as always with Harry’s luck, it swung both ways.

“Of course it did.” Hermione said affectionately.

In response to this threat, Professor Dumbledore hired Remus Lupin as the DADA teacher, a man who quickly became the favourite of most students.

Despite the intimidating presence of Dementors around the school and the inability to visit Hogsmeade with the rest of his class-mates, Harry’s year only improved with the arrival of the first Quidditch match ….

Addie hesitated. “Erm, the next part’s a flashback, but we read it in the last book about Mandy and Arabella arriving, so I’m just going to skip it.”

Mandy shrugged. “That’s fine. We know what happened.”

Addie scanned down the page to the next part. “Okay …”

Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Harry’s luck to swing back to bad again, and he was soon plummeting fifty feet from his broom …

Hermione, Lily and Sirius all shuddered.

… paralysed by the crippling effects of the Dementors. Thankfully, Dumbledore was able to slow Harry’s descent, saving his life, even if his broom did fly into the Whomping Willow and end up match-sticks.

Harry bowed his head. “Poor thing.”

Hermione sighed. “Let it go, Harry. You’ve got a Firebolt now.”

This was then followed by the discovery of the extent of Sirius Black’s crimes: he had betrayed his best friends, and Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter, to Voldemort and, when confronted by Peter Pettigrew, another of their friends, had blown the street apart, killing Peter and twelve Muggles.

Addie paused, glancing at the next few paragraphs. Making a swift decision, she left Sirius’s side and settled down next to Hermione, wrapping an arm around the girl’s shoulders. Everyone was slightly startled by her actions, but her next words explained everything.

That year had been one of the worst of Hermione’s life.

Harry sighed, feeling very guilty, but Hermione squeezed his hand and gave him a soft smile.

Her cat, Crookshanks, seemed intent on eating Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, and Ron had stopped talking to her, especially when Scabbers disappeared, leaving only drops of blood and ginger hairs on Ron’s bed.

Hermione knew her cat was innocent – he’d been ill in her dorm all day – but Ron – and, even worse, Harry – refused to listen to her.

Harry flinched. “Sorry …”

“Stop it.” Hermione told him.

Harry’s silent treatment started at Christmas, when he had received a Firebolt – the best racing broom money could buy – with no note. Worried that it might be a ploy by Black to harm her best friend, Hermione had informed their Head of House, Professor McGonagall, who had confiscated the broom for testing.

Hermione was used to being alone and ignored – she had spent her childhood like that – but now she had friends, the experience hurt. On top of the sudden loneliness, she had to deal with the utter exhaustion of taking all of the electives offered by Hogwarts.

Hermione squeezed Harry’s hand again, but said nothing, accepting the comfort Addie offered her.

However, the ‘Golden Trio’, as they had come to be known, were reunited for a common cause when Hagrid’s hippogriff Buckbeak was to be executed by the Ministry of Magic. Upon visiting their large friend, they were pulled into another adventure – Ron quite literally – by a large black dog that turned out to be Sirius Black himself.

Addie gave the room a warning glance, wanting to get it all over with at once.

Despite an interruption by their Potions teacher, Professor Snape, Sirius and Professor Lupin managed to tell them what really happened that day:

Peter had betrayed Harry’s parents and, when confronted, faked his death, killing twelve people in the process, and spent the next twelve years hiding as Ron’s pet rat, Scabbers, who had been found in Hagrid’s hut that evening.

Pettigrew unfortunately escaped and knocked out when the moon rose and Lupin transformed into a werewolf. Saved by Harry’s Patronus, the two conscious teens used a time-turner to travel back in time and rescue Buckbeak from execution and Sirius from the Dementor’s Kiss, helping the two fugitives escape together.

“That was amazing, by the way.” James grinned, sensing that the hard part was over.

Currently, Hermione was sitting at her bedroom window, her head pounding and a fresh bruise on her face.

“Where did the bruise come from?” Narcissa asked sharply. Trying to keep the balance at home was never easy and, as a result, she was forced to abandon the disowned members of her family, however much she wished she wasn’t.

It was nice to be able to spend time with Sirius and Jen again, and she found herself feeling just as protective over her cousin’s ‘daughter’ as she did her own future child.

Hermione looked at the floor. “I think you’ll find out.” She now knew how Harry felt with his home-life being broadcasted.

Her face was bruised because her father had overreacted a little when she’d told him she was dropping her two extra classes.

“That is not a good reason.” Sirius growled, pulling Hermione into his arms again. She didn’t protest, burying her face in his robes as Harry rubbed her back, looking furious.

“Over-reacted.” James muttered with a scowl. “Shouting about it would be ‘over-reacting’; this is just …” He trailed off, wrapping an arm around Lily’s shoulders to calm her.

Her head was pounding because … Actually, she didn’t know why her head pounding. Recently her emotions seemed completely out of her control, things she didn’t understand, things she wasn’t even sure belonged to her.

“Your empathy?” Jen guessed, seeing how uncomfortable Hermione was with all the attention.

Hermione nodded.

Added to all that, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something awful was about to happen.

What was going on?

Addie glanced up. “That’s the end. Since it was so short, anyone have any objections if I read the next one as well?”