FIC: Making It Right, by GatewayGirl, HP/RL/SB (5 of 5) Title: Making It Right Author: GatewayGirl Pairing: HP/RL/SB Rating: NC-17 Canon-compliancy: Through HBP for the adult Harry; backstory through September '81 for the others. Warnings: Light bondage, vice Notes: This is the sequel to Worlds Together. It does not continue that pairing. Thanks to dacro and sociofemme for beta work and assistance. Thanks also to the people at my Sectus names panel, especially the person who suggested the ritual/magical renaming. Cross-posted. Summary: Harry would like this world to be better than the one he left behind
Hermione didn't know what had possessed her. She hadn't been to the Burrow in years. Still, she found herself Floo-calling there, and when Mrs. Weasley, eyes wide with shock, had said, "Hermione, dear, whatever is the matter?" she had burst into tears.
Molly had pulled her through into the warm kitchen and was even now pouring her tea. When she sat at the table and set the steaming cup in Hermione's hands, Hermione tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come out between sobs. Desperately, she thrust the crumpled letter at Molly.
I'm leaving, I suppose you could say to get my head together, but I won't be coming back. You mean a lot to me, and I wish we could have done something for each other, but maybe we were both a bit too far gone, you know? I don't have any use for my money, so consider my will invoked. In practical terms, I might as well be dead, though it's not really that. Enclosed is a letter to Gringotts that should be sufficient, and I'm saddling you with doling out the galleons.
Molly looked up. "Oh dear." She settled an arm around Hermione as if they hadn't been avoiding each other since Ginny's funeral. "Do you know anything more? Did you get this by owl?"
Hermione shook her head. "Tom, from the Leaky Cauldron -- he passed it through to one of the clerks. I haven't been by there ... by his room, yet. I ... I'm frightened."
"Drink your tea, love. I'll go with you, when you're ready."
The room, when Tom ushered them into it, looked much the same as the other time Hermione had been there. The mess was sparser, now, with the wardrobe standing open and a few things scattered on the floor, but there were still no photographs or decorations anywhere. A bottle of firewhisky sat on the bedside table. One of the two glasses beside it was almost full. The bed clothes were half pushed back, and rumpled into a long ridge.
"Harry lived here?" Molly asked, dismayed.
Hermione looked away from her. A bit late for you to be concerned, isn't it? she thought bitterly. "Yes. I ... He didn't have company, usually."
"That was an odd thing," volunteered Tom, who was still standing in the doorway. "The last time I saw him, he was bringing someone up here. Stopped by the bar for a glass." He nodded towards the whisky.
Hermione felt oddly jealous. She'd only been in here because she'd come and pounded on the door, after two weeks of being stood up, to ask if Harry was ever planning to meet her again. He'd answered bleary and apologetic, and she'd sat on his bed and talked to him while he took a hangover potion and pulled on a shirt so they could go out.
Molly's thoughts had taken a different turn.
"Was it someone you knew, Tom? His letter said he was leaving. Could he have been forced?"
Tom shrugged. "Can't imagine it, knowing what he was like. It was a man. Looked just like Mr. Potter himself, but more of a lad, if you know what I mean. Some mischief to him, but cheery. Didn't seem like nothing Mr. Potter couldn't handle, no matter how far in his cups."
Molly pursed her lips. Slowly, she nodded. "Would you leave us, please, Tom? I think we need a little privacy."
Tom nodded, first to her, and then to Hermione. "Your business more than mine," he acknowledged. He pointed over to the bottle of whisky. "Something else over there for Miss Granger, though I didn't notice it when I first looked in."
With that, he backed out and closed the door behind him. Immediately, Molly dropped her wand from her sleeve. Hermione watched her pass it over the rumpled covers. Three spots began to glow golden-white, and one with dark red. Molly whispered another incantation, but nothing changed.
"What are you doing?"
"Checking for signs of -- well, sexual activity." She wrinkled her nose. "It does rather smell of it, don't you think so?"
"It's none of your business!" Hermione exclaimed. "Besides, he wouldn't! We talked about that a month ago --" Because someone walked up to him in the coffee shop and told him she'd be a better shag than me -- "and he said he hadn't had sex since--" Hermione waved vaguely, but still felt herself blush. She expected that Molly wouldn't think much of Harry and Ginny having done that. "It was only twice," she added. "After they were engaged."
Molly's face went pinched and drawn, but not with anger. She nodded. "Poor children," she murmured.
Hermione didn't think Harry would appreciate that characterization. He was one of the oldest people she knew, really, but perhaps he hadn't been then. For a moment, she tried to remember, but Ron was everywhere in that, and she let the thoughts go before she could examine them enough to form an opinion.
Molly sighed. "And I understand that it's not my business -- if he left willingly."
Unwilling to follow that thought either, Hermione walked over to the table to see if she could find the other letter. Instead, she saw a small, thin bottle -- perhaps more properly a vial -- lying behind the whisky. There was a label attached to the top with red ribbon, an on it, Hermione could see her name. As soon as she picked it up, however, the words swam and reformed. "Dream a little dream," she read.
Hermione let out a derisive puff of air. Did whoever had left this believe she was an idiot? But before she could put the vial down, the label unfolded into a longer message:
Mssrs Thunderhooves, Moony, Padfoot, and Prongs, with the kind assistance of Mdme. Slypaws, invite you to take a little trip.
The elegant letters glimmered and faded, to be replaced by a golden lightning bolt, and a messy script that she would recognize until her dying day:
Come on, Hermione. You know you want to try it.
With a little cry, she jumped back, her hand still clutching the vial tightly.
Hermione showed the vial to Molly. "First it said 'dream a little dream,' and then it had the names of Harry's dad and Sirius and some others, and now...."
After a long, searching look, Molly held out her hand. "Let me see it, dear. I was a dab hand at Potions, in my day."
Hermione complied and watched, shifting restlessly from foot to foot, as Molly smelled the potion, illuminated it, tilted it in the light, and finally cast two spells at it. After that, her face relaxed.
"It's a dream package, dear. They were all the rage for a few years, for lovers' missives. They are entirely honest -- something eventually realized to be not always the best path to romance -- and you can't quite control what goes into them. Arthur, when we were courting, sent me one that was far less innocent than he had intended." She smiled, as Hermione had not seen her smile in years. "Well. All's well that ends well!
"You should dream it, dearie, but not here. Come back to the Burrow with me, and I'll make you comfortable. You'll need someone with you."
"I ..." Hermione bit back the impulse to protest that she would be fine on her own. "Thank you."
Molly reached out and laid a hand on her arm. "You're always welcome in my home, Hermione. I should have said that long ago."
For a moment, they gazed at each other, and just as Hermione was afraid she would start to cry, Molly turned away. "Now," she said, with unnatural cheer, "let's take the key and be on our way. You can come back here when we know what he left in that dream."
Hermione nodded tightly and gripped the vial in her fist. "Let's go, then."
They took the Floo back to the Burrow and settled in the parlor. Molly made more tea -- for herself, Hermione assumed, as she wouldn't be able to drink any while she was in the dream. When they were both settled comfortably, Hermione took out the vial, raised it in a tiny, fearful imitation of a toast, and drank it down.
Immediately, she was looking at Harry. No, not Harry. At James. "This is James," said a voice that seemed to come out of her own chest, but was Harry's, if a bit lower. "And this is Lily, who's a fiery vixen." Lily, now directly before her, laughed. With a shake of her bright hair, she turned into a fox and sat prettily, wrapping her lush tail over her front paws as demurely as a Persian cat. Her vivid fur contrasted with the new, green grass, both shining in the sunlight, and then the view shifted right to a red and gold picnic blanket.
"This is Remus. He lives with Sirius, here."
An unrecognizably young and attractive man looked up with a trace of annoyance. "You do too," he protested.
"Yes, but ...." Harry made an irritated huffing sound. "This," he began again, "is Remus, who has spent only one moon alone in the last seven years, and will never spend another alone, if Sirius and I have anything to say about it."
"Oh," young Remus said, startled, and then he broke into a smile. "I see. Sorry, love. Will she care?"
"Of course she will, Moony!" said a new voice, and she had a brief glimpse of a laughing face and black curls, but before she placed the new man, she was looking at Remus again.
"She knew you -- your analog, much older," Harry told him, "and he'd been alone more of his life than not."
"Ah." Remus looked up. "Hi, Hermione. I've heard a lot about you."
The view shifted crazily, and suddenly she was looking at Harry. He looked fit and awake, and he was smiling as if he was actually happy, rather than just briefly amused.
"Ooo!" said Remus's voice, from inside her. "You didn't tell me it was so trippy!"
Harry looked puzzled, and Sirius -- the black-haired young man was the Sirius of old photographs -- laughed and pulled him back into a startling intimate embrace. Harry didn't seem put off by that, nor did he posture and shove him jokingly -- he just leaned back into it and smiled even more.
"Don't I get introduced, Robbie?"
Before Hermione had time to wonder who he was speaking to, Harry replied.
"Oh, I suppose!" he said, and waved over his shoulder. "Hermione, this is Sirius Black, who is a spoiled, self-centered brat, and entirely convinced of his own perfection." To her shock, Harry stretched back to meet Sirius for a long, deep kiss. "Mm. Which is just fine with me."
For a moment, the sunny stretch of grass was gone. They were in a bedroom, lit only by the light from the hearth, and Sirius was bound to the bed, wrists shackled together and above him, and ankles pulled to separate bedposts. He arched, and the body she was in descended to meet the rising curve, kissing down from navel to-- She tried to close her eyes, but of course it wasn't her eyes that she saw from. That was his penis, and Remus was going to kiss it or something, and then suddenly, there was Harry there too, and she could feel his tongue as it met the one she felt from within, could feel the tight skin of what they were both licking--
To her intense relief -- and perhaps an instant of frustration, but that must be his, leaking over -- she was back at the meadow.
"Sorry!" Remus exclaimed. "I think I may have showed her something else."
Harry shrugged. "That can happen with this spell. We know that." He blushed slightly. "Good, I hope?"
"Oh, fab. Last night, in fact." Sirius writhing under him, his body hot around him, Harry's mouth on his nipple....
Harry, blushing more, sat up. "Um, so, Hermione -- back to what I wanted to show you. Remus and I are both collecting the thoughts, because we thought you might want to see me. The thing is, we can show you things deliberately, but some thoughts in between might just leak through." He pushed back his hair. "You know I'm pants at Occlumency, and Remus has never been shown it at all."
He straightened up, legs crossed, and Sirius lay down to curl around behind him. "So first, don't panic. I'm not in the past. I met this man who was James, but not my dad, really -- another James Potter from an alternate timeline. He and Lily weren't trapped at Godric's Hollow -- they had this escape planned that sent them whipping around universes. So I came back with them to get Sirius out of Azkaban, and help them with Voldemort. It was really pretty simple."
A young, skinny man brushed back the straight fall of jet hair that had slid in front of his shoulder. "Poison, Robert?" he sneered. "I'm surprised that would satisfy your Gryffindor need for glory." His smile grew a little falser and more vicious. "After all, we are planning to vanquish the Dark Lord."
She seemed to be back in Harry now; his voice came from her position.
"Look, in my timeline, my best friend died, and my girlfriend died, and you died, and Remus died, and hundreds of other people died. We can make him vulnerable. If you can finish him off neatly, where he can't strike back at anyone, I will be entirely satisfied." He stepped closer to the other man. "You can do it, Severus. I have faith in you." Hermione felt his lips curl in a smile. "Have the lion's share of the glory, if you wish."
"This is Harry." There was a toddler leaning forward from Lily's hold. The body she was in reached out a hand for him to hang on to. "I'm called 'Robert' here. Most people think I'm James's analog."
"Wide!" said the toddler. "Want wide, Unca Wobbie," and Lily laughed.
The images began to move faster. She felt someone sitting on her back, but it was disorienting. Everything looked strange, and it took her a moment to realize that she was running on four feet, in the body of some creature more massive than the stag at her side.
Severus Snape again, dressed in finely cut dark blue robes, and smiling. An elegant blond witch was hanging off his arm. "I suppose I must thank your friends, as well as you?" he said sardonically, and she felt Harry's laugh.
"We're a team, I'm afraid."
"Well. No accounting for taste."
"All in all," Remus said, his head dangling off the side of the couch so that he appeared to be upside down. "It's all very well to win the war, but I'm more astounded that we got Sirius and Severus drunk enough to spontaneously shake hands."
"I did not!"
A laugh from Harry told her where she was. "Remember what I said about being less of a berk?"
Sirius sighed. "Yes," he ground out.
"This might be a good time to work on it."
"He shouldn't get so much credit! He just--"
"Just kept me from needing a bloody army, a fifth of whom would die, to end things." Harry took a breath she could feel. "Come on, Sirius. Everyone else is happy. Be happy. Let him be happy."
It must have worked, because Sirius had his mouth around his/her penis, and she could see Remus behind him doing something....
Snape again, with a brunette witch, with a black-haired witch. The images shifted, as if someone was sorting through memories, until they settled on Snape with a poised blond wizard. They were at some sort of formal function, or perhaps a very formal party. Harry was talking to them cheerily, and she/he had to tug Sirius aside and soothe him. There was a thought -- from Remus, perhaps? She must be seeing things from Remus, now -- that maybe Sirius just enjoyed being mollified.
Quidditch -- coasting beside James in a victory lap of a little village pitch.....
"I miss you Hermione," Harry said steadily to her, as if Remus was the camera in a documentary. "But I'm happy here. I just wanted you to know. Take care of yourself."
Hermione found herself sitting on the Weasleys' couch, Molly's arms around her, and her face covered with tears. It was better than anyplace she had been in ages.