Out of the Shadows
Chapter 4: Family Matters
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Sunlight was shining through the bare trees, and reflecting off of the light dusting of snow that covered nearly all of the ground Harry could see. He blinked and rubbed his eyes groggily, deciding it was time to check on Hermione again.
Kneeling down next to her cot, he tried to discern whether or not she looked alright. With her facing away from him, it was difficult to tell if she seemed to be sleeping alright. Hesitantly, he reached a hand out to gently turn her face in his direction. His breath caught in his throat when her eyes slowly opened while his hand still rested on her face.
“Hi,” he said stupidly after a few moments.
“Hi,” she answered shyly.
The fact that he could feel her speak shook him back to his senses and he quickly pulled his hand away from her cheek, feeling his face heat up. Before he could say anything, she spoke again.
“How is your shoulder?”
“Err, it’s alright, I guess. I haven’t touched it since last night.”
“Good. I can finish healing it in a few minutes,” she told him, sitting up.
“Wait, we should figure out what to do for food, first,” he suggested.
She seemed to consider this, and agreed.
“We should get something to eat. Should one of us just apparate somewhere and buy some things?” she asked, looking uncertain.
Harry didn’t really have any better ideas at the moment, so he nodded.
“I guess. There is a small kitchen in the tent, so we could cook soup or something,” then a fairly important thought occurred to Harry. “Oh, we don’t have any money, do we…?”
“No, I do,” she told him after a moment, “I was on my way home for the winter holiday and I had just gotten some muggle money when- My parents!” all of a sudden she looked terrified. “What happened to them? I was with them when I was taken, but I don’t know what happened to them? What if-”
“Hey, calm down,” Harry said, putting his hands on her shoulders instinctively to stop her rant. “We will figure it out, okay?” Even as he said this, he had a sinking feeling in his stomach. If they were muggles, they didn’t have much of a chance with the Death Eaters. “Let’s just worry about getting some food first, and then we can decide what to do.”
She got ahold of herself enough to agree and told him to wait while she apparated somewhere to get some food.
“Just, be careful…,” Harry told her awkwardly.
“I will. You can rest if you want. I won’t be gone long, and it should be safe here with the wards I put up.”
“Right, I might just do that,” Harry said, longing to sleep.
Almost immediately after she left, Harry fell asleep on the other cot, off to one of the side rooms in the small (by wizarding standards, at least) tent.
Slowly opening his eyes, Harry took in his dark surroundings, trying to remember why he wasn’t looking at the inside of his room at the Malfoy manor. He sat up and noticed a plate on of food and a cup on the table. His eyes then found Hermione, who was putting on a heavy jacket by the entrance to the tent with her back to him.
“Where are you going?” Harry asked, causing her to jump and spin around.
“Oh, Harry, I didn’t realize you were awake,” she said quickly. Harry got up and walked over to the table, where he noticed a note. Glancing at her, he picked up the note and read:
I’m sorry for leaving, but I need to check on my parents. The protection should hold, even if they somehow figure out where we went. I put a charm on the food to stay warm… I hope it’s okay. I’ll finish healing you when I get back, just stay here until-
“I’m sorry,” she said nervously and he looked up, “I couldn’t just sit here and wait not knowing what happened to them.”
“You realize that is the first place they will look once they figure out where you live,” Harry told her, in a stern voice. “It’s a good thing I woke up. This is reckless.”
“Yes. I did realize that is the first place they would look, which is why I couldn’t just sit around and wait for you to wake up.” Her tone was sharp and the glare she had fixed on him was intense. “If they are still… I can’t let something happen to them now. It’s my fault. I have to try to-”
“Alright.” Harry held up his hands in defense. “I get it. But you should have at least woken me to go with you.”
Harry walked over and quickly downed half of the soup and grabbed the bagel. He felt Hermione’s eyes following him uncertainly.
“Let’s go,” he told her, pulling on his sliced jacket. At her surprised look, he continued, “Well, did you really think I was going to let you go alone and get yourself right back into trouble again?”
“I can take care of myself,” she challenged with an irritated edge in her voice. Looking away from him, she added in a softer tone, “But… thank you.”
He walked over to her with a small smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes.
I doubt this is going to be a good trip, but at least I can make sure she won’t be alone.
He silently offered his hand, and she took it, holding tight before walking out of the tent, which turned back into rocks after she took the spell off, and past the boundary she had created outside the tent. She then removed the wards.
She must have put up anti-apparition wards, too. Wow, I didn’t realize she would be able to do that.
His eyes darted down to their entwined hands and then up to her face. She looked nervous and tense. Harry squeezed her hand for a second, which was already tightly gripping his, and she looked over at him, coming to a stop before they apparated.
“You’re too tense. We might not run into any trouble, but if we do, you need to be alert and ready for anything,” he
told her in a firm but kind voice.
She took a breath to steady her nerves and her grip on his hand relaxed marginally. They both drew their wands and nodded to each other.
They reappeared at a park which looked similar to where they had first apparated after escaping from Malfoy manor, though now it was darker than the previous night.
“My house is around the corner and just down the street. I figured it would be safer to start from here in case anything did happen.”
“Good thinking,” Harry told her sincerely. “Lead the way. And keep your eyes out for anything out of the ordinary.”
Harry trailed close behind Hermione, his wand ready, trying to take in everything around him. They were walking briskly down the street, parallel to the lit sidewalk but just out of the light.
Nothing feels wrong here, but they could show up at any time.
“This is it,” Hermione said, stopping in front of a brick house about midway down the road. It looked fairly similar to the other houses, and Harry couldn’t see anything abnormal about it.
“Alright, let’s go around the back. But be careful. It might be a trap.”
After parting some walls of shrubbery, they made it into the back yard and looked in one of the windows. Everything seemed normal.
“We need to go in. If they are there, we need to get them out of here in case the Death Eaters do find out where I live.”
Harry didn’t like the prospect of breaking into a dark muggle house that could be a trap in the middle of the night, but he agreed, knowing she was right.
She got them into the house and he crept behind her up the stairs toward her parents’ room. To Harry’s mild surprise, they were both there, sleeping in their bed. He could feel some of the tension leave the girl standing next to him.
“Hurry up and wake them. We need to get out of here quick just in case. I’ll start packing some suitcases.”
Harry quietly muttered the spell to summon their suitcases and then moved to a dark corner of the room to magically shrink and pack some of their belongings as fast as he could.
“Mum, Dad. Wake up.”
“What? Hermione? What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at Hogwarts?” her mother asked, clearly confused and still groggy.
“I’m so glad you are okay, I- wait, what? No, I was coming home this winter break. We were on the way here when-”
Harry touched her arm to stop her. Her parents noticed him and made a noise of surprise, but Harry ignored it.
“Their memories must have been modified,” he whispered to her. “Just hurry up.”
He went back to packing while Hermione told her parents that they might be in danger and she needed to get them somewhere safer immediately.
At first they seemed uncertain, but at Hermione’s urging, they were on board and ready to go fast.
“This is Harry,” she told her parents hurriedly after they asked. She hesitated and seemed unsure of what to say
about him. “He saved my life.”
Both of her parents looked shocked and scared, but relieved.
Wanting to change the subject and get a move on, Harry spoke up, “We should really get going. Do you have everything you need?” he asked her parents.
When they nodded, he turned to Hermione, “Was there anything you needed in your room? You might want to grab it now, quick, just in case.”
Hermione quickly dashed out of the room and returned before her parents had a chance to do more than look Harry over, with an orange cat in her arms. It had a somewhat squashed-looking face and analyzing eyes. Ignoring it for now, Harry shook his head.
“Where are we taking them?”
Hermione hesitated for a moment, debating how much to tell him, before she answered.
“To a professor I had one year at Hogwarts. I trust him. He told me I could come to his house if I ever needed help or a place to hide.”
Harry nodded and Hermione hesitated.
“I don’t think I can apparate all of you at once,” she looked troubled and frustrated with herself.
“Go two at a time then. I will stay here with one of your parents while you take the other. Just try to be quick about it.”
Hermione told her mother to grab her arm. She had a small bag with her while her mother held a mini suitcase.
“You’re sure it’s safe there?” Harry asked, not willing to trust anyone and not liking the idea of her going there without him.
“I’m sure,” she said. Their eyes locked and a second later, they disappeared.
There was a tense, awkward silence for a moment following the small pop of disapparating.
“You saved her life?” the man asked Harry, his eyes studying him.
“Err, well, yeah. I guess,” Harry was sure there was a small blush on his cheeks, though he wasn’t sure the man could see since it was still mostly dark in the house. He felt incredibly uncomfortable for a number of reasons.
It’s not like I meant to or anything. It just happened. I’m not some hero.
The man looked him square in the eyes, “Thank you,” he said genuinely. Harry could hear the thickness of the emotion in his voice, and he was taken aback.
“She is our only child, and she means so much to us,” the man told him, his voice now stronger.
Before Harry could consider whether or not he was supposed to respond, there was a pop and Hermione alone had returned, minus the cat and bag.
Harry realized it wasn’t just because it saved him from the awkward conversation that he was relieved to see her.
“Okay, now Dad. Hold on tight.” She grabbed his hand before looking to Harry. “I will be right back for you.”
Harry nodded and they were gone.
Just a few moments later, she reappeared next to him.
“That was quick.”
“I told them I couldn’t stay, but Lupin said that I should, too. I said I would ask you, and he agreed to wait for a few minutes before putting up new protection charms.”
“I don’t know. I don’t even know who this guy is. How do I know we can trust him?”
“Do you trust me?” Hermione asked him, looking directly into his eyes.
“No,” was his immediate answer. She looked a little surprised, so he hastily back-tracked.
“But, I don’t trust anyone. I never have.” When she gave him a skeptical look and started to open her mouth to argue, he continued.
“I’m an orphan. I don’t have a family. I don’t have friends. I don’t trust anyone.” His voice was flat and emotionless. He didn’t need to hear how he must have someone or that couldn’t have been true.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione looked a bit lost for words at his confession. “This must be hard for you then. But please, you saved me… that has to count for something. I wouldn’t turn on you after that. I owe you my life.” She looked sincere and Harry found that despite his normal, and in his opinion better, judgment, he found that he did believe her.
“Well, you are the only person I ever felt like I might be able to learn to trust.”
She smiled at him and took his hand gently. He flinched and his eyes flew to their hands.
“So we can apparate,” she told him hurriedly, “if you are willing to go.”
Harry calmed down a bit and asked, “And if I’m not?”
“Then we go somewhere else and make another the tent,” she answered without hesitation.
“Alright, let’s just go before we get caught here,” he relented, holding her hand tighter in preparation for the trip. Harry closed his eyes, trying to mentally ready himself for whatever would become of the risk he was taking in trusting her. Little did he know, it would turn his whole world upside down.