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Old November 9th, 2012, 3:42 pm
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 23 ~ The Violence of Hermione

The next few weeks passed in a blur of Map writing and potion checking. They continued to work in the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place, which allowed them to keep their plans a secret from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, though Harry wasn’t sure how long they could keep it that way. Apart from his brief conversation with Kingsley Shacklebolt in the Weasley’s fireplace some weeks ago, he hadn’t discussed what he had learned from Dumbledore with any Ministry official. For Harry, it was simply because he knew the Ministry would bungle the job, and forewarn Bellatrix that he was after her. If Scrimgeour caught wind of what Harry knew, he would demand to know where the information had come from, something Harry was definitely not prepared to reveal. The last thing he needed was Ministry warning posters plastered all over the place, alerting everyone to Bellatrix’s return. The only purpose that would serve would be to drive her further underground, making her all the harder to find.

So, they continued to work in private, asking only Lupin for help. Hermione had invented some rather useful concoctions of her own during this time, including a potion that emitted a thick grey smoke when thrown, allowing a quick getaway from enemies and an ominous looking black potion.

“What does this one do?” asked Ron one afternoon, holding it up to the light and peering at it interestedly.

“Don’t touch that!”

“Why?” he asked fearfully, putting it quickly back on the kitchen table.

“It’s highly volatile! I brewed Stinksap and Doxy eggs with a few other things. If I’m right, it should release a gas on impact that chokes whoever breathes it in.”

“What? Blimey, Hermione – that’s a bit vicious!”

“It won’t choke you to death, but it’ll certainly make you pass out. I thought it would come in handy. Why?” she asked, looking from Harry to Ron with a worried expression, “I thought we were adopting a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude with Bellatrix Lestrange – is it a bit too much?”

“No,” said Harry, admiringly, “we’re just constantly amazed by how violent you are.”

“I am not violent,” she sniffed haughtily, while Harry and Ron laughed, glad of a distraction from the painstaking work they were doing. “I happen to be taking this very seriously, that’s all. Besides,” she said, gazing at them frostily, “I got the idea from your girlfriend – your sister.”

Harry and Ron’s mouths dropped open in surprise.

“What?” they asked in unison.

“Don’t you remember? When we were fifth years and trying to sneak into Umbridge’s office – Ginny and Luna created that diversion saying that someone had let off Garrotting Gas? Well at the time I just assumed that it was one of Fred and George’s inventions, but when I asked Ginny about it later, she said the idea had just popped into her head.”

“Quite the inventor is my little sister,” said Ron, with a mixture of pride and amusement.

“Er, yeah - remind me not to get on the wrong side of her,” said Harry, chuckling as he imagined the antics Ginny would be getting up to in her final year of Hogwarts.

“I reckon you’ll be all right,” said Ron, a bit grudgingly. Although deep down he was thrilled that Harry and Ginny were together again, there would always be a big brother part of him that would be wary of any boy involved with his sister. “But Hermione, why can’t we just cast those spells with our wands? Why do we need to bother carrying these little bottles around with us?”

“Well I thought they would be useful if we lost our wands,” she looked at them both hesitantly, “don’t you think?”

“When it comes to Bellatrix Lestrange I’ll take all the extra help I can get, thanks,” Harry replied firmly.

Ron and Hermione shifted uncomfortably, and for a moment, nobody looked at each other. The atmosphere had definitely taken a dark turn as the enormity of hunting down Lestrange dawned on them. Harry found that he could think of it quite clinically, but he could understand why Ron and Hermione were afraid. Although the three of them had faced many dangers before, there was something distinctly different about deliberately setting out to find trouble.

After a few more moments of uncomfortable silence, Harry broke it by suggesting a lunch break.

“Good idea,” said Ron quickly, “what do you fancy? Lupin said to help ourselves.”

After a quick rummage in the pantry, they came up with a lunch of vegetable soup and a crusty loaf of bread. They ate their meal in silence, broken by an occasional request to pass the bread. The kitchen clock ticked loudly. Harry scooped up the remainder of his soup with his spoon, then pushed his bowl away. Hermione and Ron looked up at him expectantly.

“Why don’t we go to Neville’s shop? We could do with a bit of fresh air, and we can collect your other potion ingredient while we’re there.”

The three of them quickly cleared away the lunch things and hurried to tidy up their potions and parchments.
Moments later, they were strolling down Diagon Alley, brushing soot from their robes.

“You know,” said Harry, “I’ll be really glad when I get the all-clear to Apparate again. This soot gets everywhere.”

Hermione smiled sympathetically, performing a quick charm to clear the black dust from their clothes and hair.

“Thanks,” Harry grinned gratefully, as Longbottom’s Magical Plants and Vines came into sight. Ron pushed open the door and a small brass bell announced their arrival. There were several witches and wizards browsing the myriad of magical foliage, and a line of people were at the counter, waiting to pay for their goods. Neville, wearing a green apron, was behind the counter, weighing leaves and wrapping plants in brown paper, and was very red in the face. Looking up, he spotted his friends:

“Oh good! You couldn’t come and give me a hand here could you? I’m swamped!”

Harry and Ron looked at each other, not sure what to do. Tutting loudly, Hermione hurried behind the counter and began to help, taking payments and dispensing change.

“Thanks!” said Neville, when the queue had finally dispersed. “Since Luna went back to school, it’s been manic!”

“Couldn’t your Grandmother help out?” asked Hermione, coming out from behind the counter.

“Gran? No way – she says I’m old enough to handle this on my own. I don’t suppose any of you three are looking for a job are you?” he asked hopefully, “it’s not hard work if you know your plants – and the pay’s good.”

“Er, sorry Neville, magical plants aren’t really my thing,” began Harry.

“Yeah – I was never that keen on Herbology…” said Ron.

They looked at Hermione. “You know,” she said, with a thoughtful expression, “it wouldn’t be a bad idea if one of you did work here. That way, we could make all the potions we needed – you wouldn’t mind that, would you Neville?” she whipped around to look at him.

“Well, no –but what potions are you talking about?”

Exchanging a quick glance with Harry, who gave her a small nod, Hermione quickly filled Neville in on their work so far. His eyes widened and his jaw set determinedly.

“In that case, feel free to come here and use as many ingredients as you need – no charge. I can find someone else to work here.”

“Wicked! Thanks Neville”-

-“Ron!” said Hermione impatiently, “What happened to all that talk about moving out, and being ‘grown-up’? There’s no way you can do all that without earning your own money. And you Harry – your inheritance won’t last forever.”

“Oh yeah?” said Ron, looking annoyed, “And what about you?”

“Look,” said Harry, cutting in swiftly, “Hermione, you’re right, but the truth is, me and Ron were never great at this sort of stuff, and I don’t want any distractions from making the Map.” He took a deep breath, “I think it makes sense if you worked here!”

Hermione opened her mouth to protest, but once again, Harry interrupted:

“Think about it; you need a job just as much as we do, Neville needs help, we need you to make our potions and if you work here, you’ll have access to everything you’ll need – plus, you got top marks in your Herbology NEWT so this job will be so easy!”

“It’s fun too,” said Neville, finally daring to speak after these outbursts. “And you can use the space in the back to make all your stuff… I’d like to be a part of stopping her.” He couldn’t bring himself to utter Bellatrix’s name. “What do you say?”

Harry, Ron and Neville looked at her beseechingly. “Please?”

She looked at each face and finally threw her hands up in exasperation.

“Oh, okay! I’ll do it!”

“Great!” exclaimed Neville, sweeping Hermione off her feet in a huge hug and planting a kiss on her cheek. “Thanks Hermione – you’ll love working here. Let me get you an apron!”


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