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Disclaimer: I own none of this. I'm making no money from anything on this page. Any similarities in this story and other authors' stories are purely coincidental unless otherwise stated. These characters belong to JK Rowling; I'm just playing with them.

Something's wrong with you I see

Your eyes have turned a shade of empty

In my arms you pushed aside

Wondered if you'd ever be

Alright again and try to fix

What's going on inside of you?

There's no reason to be afraid

You can't blame yourself

For the world's mistakes

Now its time to let it go

Carried Away

For Ginny Weasley, the past four weeks had been complete Hell. Not only did it seem Harry been serious about breaking up with her, now he was refusing to talk to her. Well, he was refusing to talk to anyone, for that matter. And, to make things worse, her mother had taken to coddling her as if she were a child. She was beginning to feel quite smothered and desperate to be out from her mother's control. Even more so now that the wedding had been taken away from her. Fleur's parents had been quite adamant about having a wedding appropriate for a Veela. So, a wedding planner was hired and the ceremony would be held in a banquet hall at the Ministry. With no reason to stay at the burrow and in danger, her mother had made the decision to move them all back to Grimmauld Place. For four weeks, they'd been doing housework everyday. She had overheard her mother telling her father that, “having the children here and working all summer will keep their minds off of less desirable things,” after he'd questioned her about, perhaps, they all take a week off from the work. So here she was stuck in this forsaken place, doing nothing but cleaning.

What was making her nervous about being in Headquarters was that while she had known Number 12 had been under the Fidelius Charm and that Dumbledore had been Secret Keeper, it was common knowledge that magic died with it's caster, what would make this any different? Two days into their stay, she questioned her mother about how safe they really were staying there.

 “Mum?” Ginny asked, “How is it that we can stay here when Professor Dumbledore was Secret Keeper?”

Molly sighed. “Well, Gin, the Order had the same question, and they asked Albus when the Order was reconvened. He said that no matter what happened, the secret would be safe. He told us the secret would die with the Secret Keeper. The Fidelius Charm is unique because when its cast, the charm isn't tied to a specific witch or wizard, the magic is contained in the secret itself, so until the secret itself is destroyed everyone is safe.

“So, because the building itself is being kept a secret, everyone will be safe here until the building is destroyed?” Ginny asked, applying the theory.

“Exactly.”

The end of the first week brought Hermione and her parents to stay at Number 12, and with them the onslaught of ridiculously annoying questions from both her parents and her father's interrogation of everything muggle. Ginny hadn't been in a favorable mood yet this summer and being constantly pestered by Hermione's parents for every possible piece of information on magic wasn't helping in the least. She was starting to understand the way Harry must feel when around her father. She also resented the fact of just how ignorant Hermione kept her parents of their world. The worst of it was that they kept asking her about Harry, but not about her and Harry, just Harry. Apparently, that's the only part of the magical world Hermione ever talked about. If Hermione weren't with Ron, she'd really have to be worried.

Ginny wrote to Harry nearly every night and owl after owl to him went unanswered. She simply wrote it off as the Order intercepting the owls and he would confirm it when he finally arrived. After three weeks, however, she was beginning to have doubts as to whether or not the letters really were being taken by the Order. You would think that after seventeen owls, the Order might read one and forward it to Harry.

The door burst open just as Ginny flopped onto her bed, grumbling to herself, “He better not have been serious about ending things between us, for his own well-being--”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Four weeks ago

'OK, the simple truth, the rest can come later,' Hermione Granger silently steeled herself for the explanation she was about to give her parents. She had been preparing for this conversation since they got on the Hogwarts Express, this morning, all through dinner, and now that she was prepared for bed, she couldn't put it off any longer. Taking a deep breath, she entered her parents' private study two doors down from the library on their tri-level home just outside of London.

“Mum, Daddy? Can we talk for a few minutes?” Hermione asked quietly.

Sure, Sweetheart, what is it?” her father's deep, kind voice offered.

“It's a lot of things, actually. The most important of which is that Harry is going to need a lot of help for at least the coming year, maybe longer, and I'm going to be with him. He's fighting for our lives, for everyone's lives, and for his life right now. Every day the danger he's in is getting closer and he'll be leaving in just over a month, and I for one, maybe even Ron, do not intend to let him go alone. Voldemort knows this and I expect him to exploit it. Which brings me to my next point; he will attack here. The attack will come soon. This won't be an attack on you, so much as it is on Harry's love of those around him, and their families by extension,” She paused when she noticed her parents glance nervously at one another, and gave them an opportunity to interrupt.

When they didn't, she continued, “We aren't safe here, and won't be for a long while, I figure. I know that both of you love your surgery and you especially love this house, but we can't stay here. I won't allow you to stay here.”

“There are ways that we can protect ourselves, you know that,” her mother tried to reason. “We can't just up and leave our lives over some whim of our seventeen-year-old daughter. Even if we did, where would we go, how would we fund it? Without income, we don't have the money to hide away for any long period of time, surely you can see that.”

“No, Mum. You don't understand. There aren't any muggle protections that have a chance of working. None. If you don't leave, the Death Eaters will kill you,” Hermione said, eyes filling with tears. “It's that simple, and it hurts me to hear that after all the death that I've seen, all the death my best friend has seen, that you'd doubt my assessment of the situation.”

“Muggle? Is that what we've become to you? Your father can protect us.”

“What?” Hermione asked, blatantly rhetorical. “Military training and firearms? That won't help you, not in the least! One word will stop any physical object from touching them and two more will leave you dead in seconds. I hate that you have to be threatened by what happens in my world. But why won't you believe that all I want you to do is to stay alive!”

“I do believe you,” her father said in a quiet voice that held much contrast to her mother's, “but you must realize that this is a lot to comprehend at the moment. You're asking us to give up our lives. And your mother has her points too, however. We won't have the funds to just disappear or purchase a place that would be able to hide us effectively from these men. Shutting down the office wouldn't be a problem; we could do that in about a week or so. But it's just all the other things, Hell, I wouldn't even know where to start.”

“You won't have to start anywhere; I'll have all that covered. The place I stayed summer before last had literally dropped of the face of the Earth before anyone was allowed to stay there. Funding it won't be a problem and there will be plenty for you to work on, if you'd like,” Hermione stated matter-of-factly.

“I did noticed that neither of you asked about where Harry, Ron, and I were going. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate you not fighting me on this and that I'll tell you as much as I can as soon as Harry gets to where it is we're going. But until then, I have a challenge to propose.”

“We're listening,” Her mother replied.

 'Keep Ginny out of my hair until Harry gets back.' Hermione thought to herself. “Learn as much as you can about the wizarding world from anyone but me. That should help you understand what's at stake, and also keep you mostly occupied for a few weeks.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“He better not have been serious about ending things between us, for his own well-being--”

“I am going to kill your brother before this summer is over! He is such an insufferable prat! Aren't there things he should be doing for the wedding?” Hermione raged.

“Well, not exactly, Fleur's parents decided that the Burrow wasn't good enough for their daughter and hired a wedding planner and booked a banquet hall at the Ministry,” Ginny replied, rolling her eyes. “But what did my genius of a brother do now?” Ginny asked, in a rather bored tone.

Hermione huffed and dropped onto Ginny's bed, “I've been here nearly three weeks, and all he's tried to do is get me alone and away from the library. He says he wants to take our relationship, he actually said relationship, to the next level. I told him that we don't have a relationship past us being friends,” Hermione immediately recognized the look of shock on her friends face. “What?”

“You broke up, too?” Ginny asked, bewildered.

“There was never anything to break up from!” Hermione barked. She continued cautiously quiet, “And what do you mean by 'too?'

“I just assumed you guys had gotten it together after he was poisoned. Then it looked, at Dumbledore's funeral, that you had changed him somehow; he's never known what to do with a crying girl before,” Ginny attempted to sidestep Hermione's question, she apparently didn't know Hermione as well as she thought.

“You're avoiding my question, Ginny. What did you mean before?”

“Harry broke up with me at the funeral, alright. He was being noble, said he didn't want me to become a target,” Hermione had enough practice hiding her own emotions to protect those of the people around her. It was Harry most often, especially when the situation was about girls. She had to admit to herself that she had a slight crush on the boy, but her subconscious knew, however, that she was in over her head this time. So much so, that she had to fight the urge to jump for joy at Ginny's declaration. “But what about you and Ron?”

“Well, of course I was nice to him, he nearly died. I only realized that all of our fighting and bickering would be nothing but a distraction in the future, not only for us, but Harry as well. As far as the funeral goes, whom exactly was I supposed to turn to? You” Hermione suggested sarcastically.

“Oh, you're so very clever. So Harry is the only reason you're getting along with my brother. Some friend you are.”

“What exactly is that supposed to mean, Ginny? I mean that if it weren't for Harry, I wouldn't even be friends with Ron, or you. In a way, all my friendships go back to Harry.”

“Yes, yes, it's always about Harry, I should have known,” Ginny spat.

“That's right; it is always about Harry in some way or another. You should know that. Most of the time these things aren't good, as I'm sure you've realized during your obsession of him. It's something that haunts him, in case you haven't noticed!”

“And in case you haven't noticed you are no longer the most important person in Harry's life!” She had struck a nerve, something in Hermione's demeanor, in her eyes, changed. She could feel the tension in the air shift, she knew she had crossed some line, yet hadn't regretted it. Feared it, yes, but there was no regret.

“Oh really,” Hermione sneered, fire in her eyes, “and I suppose you think you're the most important person in Harry's life?” it wasn't really a question, Ginny knew that much. “I do believe he just dumped you not a month ago. 'Oh he was being noble,'” Hermione mocked. “Please. The Harry I know would never just ignore shared feelings like that. Harry has an irrepressible need to please people. Something must have been truly wrong with the situation he was in,” this Hermione scared Ginny; Hermione was the type who pulled the obvious punches, she usually used an inconspicuous strategy. “He did this for a personal reason that you'll have to find out for yourself. And keep your brother away from me!” she barked, slamming the door behind her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hermione glanced at the clock on her bedside table. 12:13 AM. Remus was due to pick her up in two minutes. They had decided that afternoon, shortly after her argument with Ginny, that Harry would be retrieved early the next morning. Of course, Remus had attempted to put his foot down and told Hermione that she wasn't going. She smirked, watching the seconds go by, at how easy it was to… persuade Remus otherwise. There was nothing like an angry woman's threats to put men in their place. He stalked away and she distinctly heard him mutter, “Lily would have been right impressed.”

“You ready?” Remus asked from the doorway.

“Absolutely. How are we going?” her voice masking the nervous anticipation she felt about seeing Harry again.

“Portkey, there and back,” he answered as they made there way down to the foyer. Hermione observed Tonks chatting with a dark haired witch as she neared the door.

“Wotcher, Hermione,” Tonks called merrily. “Oh wow, this past year has really agreed with you hasn't it,” she said breathlessly, “you look great!”

 

“Really, you think so?” in all reality, she had noticed some changes over the past year. A slight shift in her bone structure, a widening in her hips, a pleasant filling out in other areas, and most noticeable, her hair had become much less frizzy and the curls had loosened. The changes were subtle, but she hoped it was enough to catch a certain someone's attention.

“Absolutely,” Tonks said seriously. “Now, I don't think you've had the pleasure of meeting Hestia. Hestia Jones, this is Hermione Granger, Harry's right-hand men… excuse me, I mean right-hand woman.”

“I think that may be saying much. It's Ron who's--”

“Ron only wishes, Hermione. Only wishes about many things, if I've got my gossip straight,” Tonks replied slyly. Hermione blushed.

“Nymphadora,” Remus warned. Tonks responded by sticking out her tongue.

“It's just the four of us, and we've got about ten seconds.” They all stood in silence, holding sections of the old, frayed jump rope that was the portkey. Soon Hermione felt the familiar tug in her stomach as her feet swiftly left the ground only to land heavily in a kitchen just seconds later.

“Okay,” whispered Remus, “we go quickly and quietly. Nobody makes a sound… Nymphadora,” he added as an after thought. They quickly made their out of the kitchen toward the stairs. Hermione and Hestia fell in behind Remus and Tonks as they climbed the stairs and approached Harry's door. Upon reaching it, Hermione felt sick at the sight. The door had no less than five locks on the out side, all of which were bolted.

“How could those people treat a child this way? Look at this, there isn't anyone who deserves this!” Hermione whispered fiercely.

“We know, Hermione, but there's nothing we can do about it now,” Remus tried to reason. “For now, I want you and Hestia to stay and watch the door. We need to give Harry time to pack his things. Hestia, do you know the protocol in regards to the Dursleys? Good,” he answered at her nod in the affirmative. Hermione watched as he unlocked the numerous locks on the door. When they slipped into the room, Hermione moved closer to the door in order to hear the conversation inside.

“Harry, it's alright, it's only us, Remus and Tonks,” Remus whispered loudly. “Come on and pack, we're taking you back to headquarters. What do you mean 'No'?” 'No?' Hermione thought, 'I didn't hear anything.' She leaned closer the door. “You have to come with us, Harry. I suppose you just like to stay here for the rest of the summer, then?”

“You know that I didn't mean that! Now get up and get your things,” Remus said a bit more forcefully than before. “Harry there's no need for that. We're not trying to do you any harm, just put it down. Fine, we'll give you a few minutes to think this over, and then we'll get your decision.”

Both Tonks and Remus came out of the room backwards as to not take their eyes off Harry. Hermione couldn't comprehend why Harry was acting this way toward the people that love him. Something must be horribly wrong. “What's the matter?” Hestia asked quietly.

“We're not really sure. We need you to go in and talk to him, Hermione,” Remus said.

In that moment, the whole situation came together. She now knew why she was there. “I can't believe you would lie to me like that. You knew that I would help you, that I would help Harry no matter what!” Hermione seethed.

“What is she talking about, Remus?” Tonks asked quietly.

"He knew this is how Harry was going to react. Then, when I asked to come with tonight, he acted like he didn't want me to and I had to 'convince' him. It's despicable how Harry has been treated and then you leave him here this long knowing that he could very well be going insane! How could you do that to another human being, let alone someone who loves you? He's had to spend less and less time here every year and now you leave him the longest in years! A week would have sufficed. Are you're happy with what you've done to him?” She asked rhetorically. “I hope you know he may never speak to you again!"

"Do you really think he would do that," Hestia whispered to Tonks as Hermione spun toward Harry's door.

"He might, these people have treated him inhumanely. Leaving him could have broken his trust,” Tonks responded just as quietly.

Hermione slowly opened Harry's door to find him still holding his wand, but only just. He sat at the edge of the bed with his shoulders slumped and eyes fixed on the floor. It broke her heart to see Harry look so defeated. "Harry?" she called quietly. She could have never prepared to see what she did when he looked up. He looked dreadful, as if he hadn't slept, shaved, or eaten in days. His eyes, once a vibrant green, now looked empty and lost, almost dead. He was broken, the knowledge of where he was going weighed heavily on his already worried mind. But something in his eyes shifted when he recognized the form in front of him.

Hermione watched his eyes as they traveled up and down her body, studying her. She loved the way he made her stomach flip by simply looking at her. 'Thank Merlin for the dimness of the room,' she thought as the heat developed on her cheeks when his eyes remained on her. He raised his eyes to hers. She saw as his eyes quickly darted toward the door and back to her eyes.

"Oh, no, it's really me. Tonks is still outside with Remus. Here, I'll show you," Hermione walked back into the hall and pulled Tonks into the door way so Harry could see the two of them at the same time. She felt completely foolish to think that Harry would actually be looking at her in that way. She came back into the room to see Harry looking back at the door still. "Would you like me to close the door?" He nodded.

"What happened to you Harry?" Hermione asked bluntly after closing the door. Harry, however, didn't answer her, forward or not. He lay back on to his bed again and refused to look toward her. "Don't cut me out, too, Harry. I've been trying to get you out of here for weeks. I don't care what you say Harry, I know you, and you would rather be with the people who love you in your-- Sirius' house, than here with no one. I won't let you do anything but leave this place. Look what it's done to you."

"I don't want to go back there, Hermione. I never wanted to go back there," his voice sounded scratchy and unused. Hermione walked over to his bed and sat down on his desk chair. He lay there, motionless with his eyes closed.

"It won't be so bad. You won't be alone," he groaned and grimaced at the thought of being around the large crowd. "Well, you don't have to be around everyone all the time. I'm sure there are places you can hide, I'd even help you." Harry only shook his head and got a pleading look in his eye. She huffed and knew she had to pull out the whole truth for this one. "Please Harry, if you're not doing this for yourself, do it for me. I feel horrible about last year and want to make it up to you. I miss you, Harry. It's been a horrible summer; I haven't really talked to anyone. So please just come back." Hermione noticed Harry had confused look on his face, but he didn't say anything so she let it drop for now. She reached down and took his hand, she felt more confident about their friendship when he didn't resist her pulling him off the bed. Maybe she hadn't ruined their relationship the previous year, as she had sadly believed. She had never been more relieved during a non-life threatening situation when he slowly stood then reached out and pulled her into his arms.

It felt so good to be entwined with him, protected by him. "I'm sorry, Hermione. For everything," he said, his voice gravelly from lack of use. She wasn't quite sure what he was apologizing for, but this was the first time in her life she hadn't had to learn the 'why' of something as soon as she possibly could. She was content to know that he felt he needed to apologize to her for whatever he thought he had done.

"Whatever it is, Harry, I'm sure you don't need to apologize and I won't hear another word about it. Do you hear me?" She told him firmly.

"Yeah, Mione, loud and clear," he mumbled.

"Good. Now let's get you out of this hell-hole and back to where the people love you."

_______________

A/N: Inspiration: Shinedown's Carried Away. B-side of Us and Them.

"Carried Away", posted on June 13, 2008 at 2:33 am
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