When: Sept 20, 1998
Who: Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Remus Lupin, Harry Potter
Where: 12 Grimmauld Place
What: Old friends reunite in the Blacks' family home
Watch for: Backstory on the characters
Hermione had just moved in the day before. She hadn't known that Lupin would be there, but was relieved to see him. She'd been worried about the werewolf as he'd been a target for Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and she had liked and respected him. On this sunny day in London, she was anticipating Ron moving in for he was her dearest and oldest friend, as was Harry. But Harry had gone missing and no one knew where he'd gone; he had not even shown up for Ginny's funeral. So at present she had only Ron to turn to for confidences and advice. She was really looking forward to seeing her old friend again, not to mention her excitement at starting university and starting her studies.
Ron arrived at Grimmauld Place just after noon because his mother had insisted he have a final meal at The Burrow. He set his things down and looked up at the building where he'd be starting a new life. Ambling up to the door, he twisted the knob and pushed it open. Stepping into the foyer, Ron let his eyes adjust to the dimmer lighting and took off his cloak. He'd been so anxious to leave The Burrow but now had a slight feeling of apprehension. Seeing Hermione and Harry again would surely calm his fears. He couldn't wait to see them again and find out how they'd been -- he was sure Hermione would have much to say about going to Uni. Grabbing one of his bags, Ron approached the staircase and looked up. Standing on the first landing was Hermione Granger.
Remus had been worried about having company visit, so soon after he himself had gotten there. He told himself it had been awhile since he'd been gone, so he may as well enjoy it. When Hermione got there, and didn't so much as give him a strange look, his worries were quelled. She had arrived yesterday morning, babbling about University, and today Ron Weasley was supposed to show up. It was a reunion of sorts for the two of them, especially considering that Harry had gone missing, so he stayed out of the way in the kitchen. He kept one ear out for the door, and set a kettle to boil for tea. He heard the door open.
Hermione looked up at the sound of the door opening. She shouted, "Ron!" and ran down the stairs, jumping into his arms. "I'm so happy to see you!" she cried into his shirt. She looked back up into his startled face and laughed. "Oh, sorry about that! But I was so happy to see you!" She backed off. "Now let's get your things upstairs and get you settled in." As they trudged up the stairs, each with a box, she whispered to him. "Professor Lupin is here."
"He is? Where's Harry? Is he here as well?" Ron followed Hermione up the two flights of stairs to his landing. Once there, he set his box down outside his bedroom door and looked at Hermione questioningly.
Hermione looked at him. "Don't you know?"
At his puzzled look, she ploughed on. "Harry's gone missing! No one knows where he's gone. I'm getting worried, Ron."
"You're joking," he said, shaking his head. "I thought he was here with you. What do you mean, 'missing'? Where could he have got to?"
"You know he's been missing, Ron! After all he wasn't at Ginny's funeral. But now I'm really worried because as I said, no one's seen him at all."
"I was a bit too distraught to notice, Hermione. If he wasn't there I figured he was too upset to show up or maybe he was afraid...considering how she...died and all. But I didn't realize -- well, that he'd plain disappeared." A tingling sensation crept up the back of Ron's neck. He'd been angry with Harry for what happened to Ginny and figured Harry didn't want to face him. He'd never expected Harry to just run off, never to be seen again. "You don't think it's -- nah, it couldn't be. He's gone now." Ron looked at Hermione quizzically and sighed. "Hasn't anyone been searching for him, at least?"
She looked up at his worried face. "What do you think? Of course they have!" She drooped the box she'd been carrying on the large bed.. "Professor Lupin told me the Ministry's got a lot of people looking for him all over Britain!" She gestured. "So what do you think of your room? I have the same size as yours and I'm just down the corridor from you."
Ron sunk onto the edge of the bed. "Dad must've told me about it...I just don't remember. It's been a hard time. I seem to have these moments where I get numb and can't concentrate." He stood and shook his head to try and wake himself up a bit. "I still can't believe I don't remember...the room?" He surveyed the bed, dresser, mirror and other furnishings. "It's grand. I love it. It has everything I need. You're...on this floor as well?"
"I just told you that," Hermione said with a laugh. She excused herself, leaving Ron alone in the room. He wasn't in the mood for unpacking just yet, so went back downstairs to find Lupin. He found him sitting alone in the kitchen at the table.
Lupin heard the door open, and he looked up, and saw Ron enter the room.
"Hello, Ron, good to see you. How was the trip?" he said, getting up and crossing the room, as the kettle had started to squeal.
"It was fair. Mum had a time letting me actually get out of the house, since she knew I wasn't coming back." Ron took a seat and leaned back in his chair, his gangly legs unfolding underneath the table. "I'd forgotten about Harry. Any news?"
Lupin reached for mugs, going to grab three, and realised Hermione had not followed. He grabbed two instead, putting tea bags in and filling them with the hot liquid, he set them to steep. He turned towards Ron and shook his head. "Nothing in the way of Harry's return, unfortunately. Hermione has been dawdling in the foyer since she's gotten here, as if she expects him to just walk through the front door,"
"That's our Hermione." Ron smiled to himself, recalling Hermione's diligence in watching over them.
As if Lupin's words had been a Summoning Charm, footsteps sounded in the foyer - not Hermione's quick, impatient steps or Snape's deliberate stalk, but a well-metered pace. There was the thump of a bag being set on the floor just outside the kitchen, and then Harry Potter stepped in. "The door was open," he said mildly.
Lupin looked at the door and upon seeing Harry, widened his eyes. He stood in minor shock for a moment. Then he turned to grab another mug.
"Harry!" Ron exclaimed, jumping up and running over to him. After a mere second'd hesitation, he grabbed the dark haired boy in a bear hug. He released Harry and stared at him with wide eyes. "Hermione's going to faint when she sees you! She's been -- we've all been really worried. Where've you been?"
Lupin listened quietly, and added milk and sugar to the mugs.
Harry stiffened involuntarily as Ron reached for him, but since Ron himself hesitated before actually making contact, his moment of tension went unnoticed. "Oh, there and back again," he told his friend, returning the hug with somewhat less enthusiasm than it was given with. Pulling back, letting his gaze only skim past his red-haired friend, he turned to Lupin. "Professor."
Lupin took two of the mugs and brought them over to the boys. He nodded at Harry, smiling warmly. "Welcome back, Harry. As Ron said, you've been missed." He handed them the mugs.
The door burst open and Harry just had enough time to put down his mug of hot tea when Hermione jumped into his arms. She threw her arms about his neck and hugged him fiercely. "Harry! Oh, Harry! You're safe!" Then she pulled back and slapped him. "And that's for scaring us half to death, Harry Potter!" She glared at him. "What in the bloody hell do you mean by going off like that! Don't you know how worried we've all been about you? Why, even the Ministry has got teams looking for you? And Professor Lupin here has been looking for you night and day." She took a deep breath and continued. "Well... what do you have to say for yourself, Harry?"
Lupin raised an eyebrow, and afraid he'd betray his smile, he turned to prepare some tea for Hermione.
Ron took his tea and sat down at the table again, somewhat amused by the drama playing out before him.
Hermione stood there, tapping her foot, waiting for Harry to respond.
Astonished, Harry managed to catch his balance before Hermione knocked them both down. Just as he was regaining his composure, Hermione lashed out and his cheek was suddenly stinging. His bewildered gaze caught Ron's over Hermione's head and for a second the two of them were thirteen again, in trouble for some mischief they'd gotten over. But then the years crashed down between them and Harry grew distant once more. Clearing his throat, he said simply, "It's good to see you, Hermione."
Her glare didn't waver." Well, Harry? I'm waiting..."
Lupin brought the last mug to the table, and sat down next to Ron. "Why don't we sit down..." he suggested calmly, yet firmly.
If Hermione were waiting for an answer to her question, she'd have to keep waiting. Harry turned to Lupin and shook his head. "Actually, if you've got a spare bedroom...it's been a long day." There was no indication in his voice or manner that he was asking to stay in the house that was legally his.
Hermione looked defeated but rallied. "Well, all right for now, Harry," she replied. "But you're going to explain yourself, never fear. Choose any bedroom that's empty; we have already chosen ours. And of course Dobby's here. So you won't have to worry about it being unliveable, although it IS still quite a mess."
Ron remembered all of the unpacking that still had to be done and groaned. "I had better get going upstairs and fix up my room," he said, standing and walking over to Harry. "Good to see you again, mate," he said, slapping a hand on Harry's shoulder before taking his leave. The memories of Ginny tried to flood his mind but he held them in check. There was still too much to do before he could give his feelings any attention. For now, Ron was content with pretending that Ginny was safe at the Burrow. He took the stairs two at a time and set to work on the boxes of clothing, books and Quidditch memorabilia.
And Hermione looked at Lupin and said, "I'll be upstairs, looking over my uni texts." and she marched out the door without looking again at Harry.
"Yeah," said Harry, as much to himself as to fill up the silence that fell after Ron and Hermione left. He headed towards the foyer, but before he left the room completely, he stopped and turned around. "It really is good to see you all again," he said quietly. But the only person left to hear him was Lupin, who simply smiled at him in shared understanding