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The girl and boy weren't as interested in the house as Harry was because they had been there for the past few weeks. But when they came to an area with house elf heads, Hermione cringed and quickly looked away, keeping her eyes on the floor until they got past that particular area. As soon as they did, she looked up and offered Ron a weak smile as the boy gave her a look as if asking if she were okay. He knew how she felt about that particular place in the house, and she was glad Harry had no idea of her actions.
The two stayed silent as they followed Harry through the house as he seemed intrigued with the house. There were many rooms that wouldn't open and so much dust that they could have made a second house with it all. It was when Harry mentioned the owner of the house not taking care of it did Hermione and Ron share quick glances. Ron looked like he wanted to say something, but the bush haired girl gave a sharp shake of her head. It was NOT there place to tell Harry about the house or the owner. They didn't want to make him feel bad over indirectly insulting his godfather.
When a door did open FINALLY, Hermione's cheeks lit up. For the room that had opened was the library where she had spent the first three days. [b "It wasn't my fault! There were just so many books and they all seemed so interesting. Besides, how do you think I KNOW for fact that you didn't do anything wrong?"] The girl said almost huffily as her hands went to her hips and her eyes went between both Harry and Ron.
The manor was impressive, compared to the small constraining home of Privet Drive. Though it definitely was not being taken care of properly. Cobwebs decorated the ceiling, spiral in patterns too complex to comprehend. A thick layer of dust had grown over each piece of furniture along the hallways. Some of the doors Harry tried to pry open were locked, with rust built up over the knobs.
[b "Whoever owns this place doesn't seem to have much care for it,"] he theorized out loud to his companions.
Harry missed the look that Ron threw to Hermione. He was too busy looking at the empty frames that once held portraits, with bits of canvas still clinging to the edges. It was hard to see without much light, but they weren't able to use their wands outside of school yet.
The first door that finally opened for them opened to reveal a large library, fully stocked with thick volumes on the shelves. There are a few books stacked on the round center table, with one still open. [b "I assume Hermione found this room rather quickly,"] he questioned, raising a playful eyebrow.
[i "Bloody girl spent the first three days in here. We had to pry her away,"] Ron crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the door frame.
The girl still felt REALLY bad that her cat had taken the ear off with him. But there honestly wasn't much she could do from where they all stood. And for a moment, the girl wondered if they didn't want Crookshanks near the thing, why didn't either Fred of George just apparate or something and get it away from him? But she was quick to shake that thought away as she knew the answer would be the annoying crack that would give them all away in an instant.
Her mind seemed to be running away slightly, so she didn't notice when Ginny, Fred, and George had left the three of them. What snapped her out of her thoughts was Harry's hand on her shoulder and soft words. A sad smile came to her lips and she nodded. [b "I know...but I still feel bad, and almost like everyone is mad at me. But looking at what you just said, I almost think I'm glad he took the ear... I mean none of us need to hear them fighting as we've heard A LOT of it as it is."] The girl said, looking to Ron, who still wore the look of total disgust and disappointment.
[i "Well it doesn't seem we've anything better to do since that stupid brute of hers took the ear... And you don't know much about this place.. So exploring and roaming the house would be good."] The red haired boy muttered, leaving Hermione to only nod as she knew if she said anything she and Ron would be getting into it as well, which at the moment was the last thing she wanted.
The others walked off, grumbling. [i "Stupid cat,"] the twins grumbled in unison.
Harry definitely felt disappointed, but not as much as the others. He felt confident that if he got Sirius alone, his godfather would not hesitate to give him some kind of information that was being withheld from him. The problem was, he hadn't had the chance to see Sirius at all, let alone speak with him privately.
Seeing that Hermione was growing upset, he placed a hand on her shoulder. [b "Don't mind them. It's fine. It's not like we won't get another chance."]
Glancing over the landing, they heard muffled voices yelling. [b "Besides, it doesn't sound like they're discussing much right now anyways. Who wants to hear them fight?"] he put a small smile on his face to show he wasn't angry, though he did feel mildly disappointed.
The twins and Ginny had disappeared somewhere in the house, leaving the trio alone. [b "I'm going to look around. You guys want to come?"] Harry looked between his friends.
[#2caaf6 "It always does. Mum and Sirius have been having yelling matches all summer long. The both of them can't seem to back down from an argument.. They are so much alike that it is kind of scary. Half the time the others have to drag them apart before they kill the other."] Ginny said, casting Harry a sideways glance as she explained what she and the others had been watching and hearing for a while now.
Hermione's eyes were on the door down below them and she cringed inwardly as she heard the words passed between Sirius and Molly. In their own right, the girl believed both had very good points, but she ALMOST agreed with Mrs.Weasley. It was when the loud thud was heard did she jump, letting out a soft yelp and look to the others, to see if them had had the same sort of reaction as she had.
But of course they hadn't. They all seemed almost fine. It was a couple seconds later was she nudged by Harry, who was making sounds to try and get Crookshanks' attention. As soon as she looked to her ginger cat, the girl gasped. [b "No, bad Crookshanks. Get away from the ear."] She also began to try and distract the cat, who by now looked up at them, but instead of listening bit onto the ear and pulled it off with him.
[b "He's a cat...he didn't mean any harm. He..he just wanted something to play with. I'm sorry."] Hermione said, biting on her lip as she looked to the others.
Harry knew his godfather could have a strong opinion, but he also knew that Molly would not back down from an argument. After having seven children of her own, her motherly instincts were bound to kick in quickly. [b "This could get very ugly very quickly,"] he murmured back.
[i "Of course I haven't forgotten, Molly. How could I with you reminding me every hour that I'm a wanted man?"] Sirius' voice snapped.
[i "Well if you wouldn't be so reckless all the time, I wouldn't have to bring it up. What good will it do Harry if you are found? Have you thought about him?"] Molly grew louder.
[i "All I think about is Harry's well-being!"] A fist slammed on the table, and Harry could only assume it was Sirius.
More voices joined in, and the conversation became muffled. Harry leaned forward over the railing to try and discern who was who, but an orange blob began waddling its way across the floor below. [b "Hermione!"] Harry whispered, tapping her arm and pointing.
Crookshanks took an immediate interest in the ear, pawing at it curiously. [b "Crookshanks, don't!"] he hissed, tapping the rail to try and distract the cat.
[i "Leave it alone, you stupid brute!"] Ron growled.
[b "Maybe the two of you have. But in something like this, I don't think wanting to know is such a bad thing. Besides, being here and knowing nothing can be quite a bother really."] Hermione whispered to Harry, a light pink in her cheeks as she spoke her words. It wasn't the best answer that she could give, but it was somewhat true as well.
The six teens stood huddled together on the landing as the twins slowly lowered the extendable ear. It seemed like the voices were hushed for a few moments, but then it seemed they got louder and louder to where the words spoken could actually be heard. As she listened, Hermione seemed to be holding in a breath, her eyebrows furrowing as they were speaking about the hearing that Harry would be forced to attend since he "broke the law".
[i "Why haven't I the right to go with him? He needs someone in his corner on this and I want to be able to give him moral support."] Sirius was saying and it seemed as if he was on the defensive side as he spoke.
"If you haven't forgotten, Sirius you are still a WANTED man and meant to be keeping as low a profile as you can. Besides, Arthur will be escorting him, and then Dumbledore with be taking it from there. Or have you forgotten?" Mrs. Weasley's voice was also seeming on the defensive as she spoke her words.
[b "Oh no...Seems they are about to get into another bout. They haven't been getting along very well since they've both been under the same roof."] The bushy haired girl whispered as she looked to the others, who nodded having pained looks as they two remembered the yelling matches and how it took quite awhile for the two adults to regain themselves.
Harry jumped and emitted a quick yell of fright as either twin appeared beside him. [b "Don't do that!"]
His heart hammered in his chest as they spoke. His green eyes landed on the fake ear that Fred held in his hands, feeling somewhat impressed that it wasn't as grotesque as he had originally anticipated. Truth be told, he had pictured the 'extendable ear' as one of their own ears just turning in to putty-like form and pulling it away from their heads.
While the twins bickered playfully with Hermione, Harry looked back up as they addressed him once more. [b "I'm hurt that you'd even have to ask. Where can we hear best from?"] For the first time since arriving, the Boy-Who-Lived had a smile on his face.
Huddled on the landing together, Harry watched as one of the twins lowered the ear down a few floors, outside of the room where the meeting was being held. He bit his lip nervously, only slightly afraid of what they might hear. [b "You barely put up a fuss about this. Perhaps Ron and I have corrupted you more than we'd thought,"] he murmured to Hermione, who was standing next to him.
[b "Both Ron and I completely understand your anger, Harry...and we wouldn't much like to be in that situation either... It was wrong of us to keep you in the dark, just as if is for them. But they do really care about you and want to try and keep you safe. Honestly though, I don't think they much know what is going on themselves... All they can do is guess at the moment."] Hermione said, giving a weak smile.
A smirk and chuckle came from Ron as Hermione rolled her eyes when they had been asked about the extendable ears. [i "Actually, Harry they aren't as bad as you think. They are pieces of plastic shaped like ears with a long strong between them and enchanted to hear things at a safe distance. But knowing Fred and George, I can see where you would think it to be something much worse."] The Weasley boy said, smile still in place as it seemed Harry was more at ease now.
Hermione and Ron were both about to open their mouths, but instead of speaking yelps slipped from them as both the twins appeared on either side of Harry. [#f1be0e "Hiya Harry. We could hear you all the way from our room. Oh and these are what were being talked about. We've got Ginny downstairs checking to make sure we can use them."] Fred said, smirking as he looked to the three friends who they had decided to come and 'bother.'
[b "And you REALLY think your mum won't be finding out again?"] The girl asked as she shot the twins a disapproving look, though her eyes gave way that she was just as curious to know what was going on.
[i "Well since Harry does want to know...maybe this won't be such a bad idea."] Ron said with a shrug.
At that moment, Ginny came into the room, her eyes landing on Harry and she blushed. Quickly, the girl looked away from the boy and looked to Fred and George. [#2caaf6 "Seems safe to use the ears..."] She said, giving a smile as she wanted to know just as badly as the older teens just what was being kept from them.
[#f90120 "So what do you say, Harry? Explore Grimmauld Place or try and hear what's going on downstairs?"] George asked with a cheeky smirk, waiting for the boy to make the decision.
As his anger deflated, Harry grew tired. He knew his friends were right. He had no reason to not trust them. They had been there for him for the past few years, so why would this be any different? Feeling like a jerk, he sunk to his bed and reached up to take his glasses off. He rubbed his eyes to try and alleviate the headache that was beginning to form. [b "I just...I lived eleven years being lied to every single day. I don't want to be lied to anymore. I understand that they think they're protecting me, but what good is it going to do if I don't know Voldemort's plans, and I'm his primary target?"]
Sighing, he put his glasses back on, and Ron and Hermione came back in to clear focus. [b "I'm sorry. I'm just tired."]
Pausing, Harry looked to Ron. [b "I'm almost afraid to ask what 'extendable ears' are. If Fred and George are behind it, it can't be safe,"] he tried to lighten the mood, feeling guilty about lashing out at the two of them.
Perhaps he could persuade Lupin to allow him in on certain meetings, Harry thought internally. His former professor had always been a man of wisdom and understand. He, more than anyone, would sympathize with Harry about the situation he found himself in.
Nervously toying with a piece of stray thread at the hem of his shirt, he cleared his throat. [b "Since you guys have been here for a while, why not give me a tour? It would probably be better than being cooped up in here."]
The anger that the boy was displaying was the thing that she had been afraid of. It wasn't that she blamed Harry for the way he felt or the words that he spoke but the girl had hoped he wouldn't take it out on them. Obviously that had been a lost hope, but a hope nonetheless. So she let him rant and say his piece because she was trying to figure out some sort of an answer for what was said.
But of course, before Hermione could open her mouth, Ron had beaten her to it. And she was rather nervous as the redheaded boy now spoke. [i "Harry, we understand your anger. But you need to know that we've been kept in the dark on this just as much as you have. We've only learned bits and pieces from Fred and George using extendable ears that they've developed... Mum found out and was furious and has destroyed most the lot...So we haven't heard anything since."] The boy tried to explain, obviously hoping that his words would help to calm the dark haired boy who was still pacing about.
As soon as she heard the words Ron spoke, a groan slipped from the girl's lips. She should have beaten him to speaking, but it was too late and she was sure they would be hearing more. [b "It's not that he doesn't want you knowing Harry, but I think with all that the Ministry has been saying he thought it better to keep all of this on the down low. You see...it seems that Fudge is going more and more 'mad', thinking that Dumbledore is making everything up just because he wants his job... And what Ron said...we've honestly not much a clue as to what is going on either. If we did, we would definitely fill you in now. Just with our letters it was thought that they would be intercepted...Also..you aren't alone in this Harry.. you know that we want to help too."] The girl tried again, biting on her lip as her eyes were once more on the boy.
Harry had thought that he would have felt better knowing the truth. However, once the words had poured from Hermione's mouth, the more bitter he felt. Scoffing, he rose to his feet and had begun pacing. [b "[i Dumbledore] thought it was best for me, huh? Tell me, how is being kept in the dark best for anyone? I could have died yesterday! I had Dementors nearly suck the life out of me, but it must be fine, since it's according to Dumbledore's plan, which is apparently for my well-being."]
His jaw tensed and fists curled at his sides. [b "I'm the one that has to fight this war. I am the only weapon they can throw at Voldemort,"] he saw Ron flinch. [b "That can actually stand a chance at defeating him. But how in the bloody hell do they expect me to be in this war, if I'm kept from knowing what's going on?"]
He wanted to believe that they were right, and that it would all workout as they were apparently planning. But at that moment, all Harry felt was betrayal. [b "Why have you lot been allowed to be here, around everything, while I've been stuck in a tiny bedroom, waiting for some kind of news that never came! I'm the one Voldemort wants, but I'm not permitted to join in whatever meetings this Order has been holding? What kind of rubbish is that?"] By now, his voice has raised.
Ron had been the one to speak and to lead the other two into the room that he and Hermione had come out of. The boy leaned on the wall and Hermione took a seat on one of the beds. Since they had entered the room, the pair stayed silent and watched their best friend, who by the looks and sounds of things was VERY annoyed and if they couldn't offer him any sort of an explanation would be yelling soon.
The girl finally dropped her gaze to the bed, her hand tracing small shapes as she was thinking on how best to explain everything. In truth, Hermione and Ron didn't know very much more than Harry himself did. Sure they had been around Grimmauld Place most the summer, but that didn't mean the 'Order' had told them much. Actually they had been kept pretty much in the dark only learning small things here and there and mostly kept busy by TRYING to make the old house seem livable again, which honestly was not an easy task.
A sigh slipped from Ron's lips as he looked between Harry and Hermione. [i "Might as well tell him what we DO know, Mione. He's right about deserving to know something."] The redhead said, but he didn't offer any answers, figuring that Harry would go easier on Hermione if she were the one to tell him.
Slowly, Hermione's head bobbed up and down and brown eyes found their way to the green ones that seemed to have never left her and Ron. [b "This is Grimmauld Place where they keep the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix...a group that Dumbledore has put together in order to fight Voldemort.. We've been here since the beginning of summer, but we were sworn not to tell you anything. According to Dumbledore, the less you knew the better. But Harry we wanted to tell you!"] The girl said, her eyes sparkling with tears that wanted to fall.
The adults disappeared in to the room, closing the door behind them. Harry stood alone in the hall, looking around for some kind of idea of where the hell they'd taken him. A surge of annoyance rose in his chest at being rustled to a strange place without any explanation. He hadn't heard from them, and now they wanted him to be patient?
Mumbling under his breath, he had begun climbing the stairs, winding his way up to the second floor landing when a body collided with his. A mouthful of hair and the voice gave the person away. [b "Hello, Hermione,"] he answered back, returning the hug. [b "I'm fine. Really."]
Backing up slightly, Harry noticed Ron standing behind her. [b "Is everyone here?"] he asked.
The redhead nodded. [i "They figured it would be the safest place. Come on in here. Your bed is all ready."]
A muscle in Harry's jaw twitched. How long had they all been shut up in here together, while he had endured a summer of Dursleys? Inside the room, Harry sat on his bed, looking around at the clearly lived-in room. Apparently the Weasleys had at least been here for a while. [b "Is someone going to explain what's going on? Lupin and the others show up at Privet Drive, haul me out of there, and can't even offer a simple explanation."]
His eyes flickered between his two best friends, taking in the differences since he had last seen them. Ron, impossibly even more gangly. Hermione, her soft featured creased with worry. [b "If the two of you know something I don't, it'd be nice to be informed for once."] Harry's tone was more clipped and short than usual. [b "I deserve that, at least."]
[i "You had us all worried, Harry dear.] Mrs.Weasley continued as she kept her hold on him. After a moment, the woman pulled back and looked down at him. [i "You're looking a bit thin, dear but I am afraid that you will have to wait about an hour or so for supper.. the meeting is still going."] She said and gave a small smile.
Remus gave Harry a small smile and shook his head as if telling the boy not to ask. [i "Ron and Hermione should be upstairs.. If I remember the room that you and Ron will be sharing is up the stairs on the right.] And with that he followed Mrs. Weasley into the kitchen.
Hermione was sitting in the room with Ron and rolled her eyes. [b "How could they be saying this about him? They can't just put him on trail and expel him, it's not right!"] The girl was ranting about what they had heard and had decided to look through a book or two just to prove Harry had done nothing wrong.
[i "I know Mione, but you also know EVERYTHING that has been printed. They will make something else up about him and about Dumbledore."] Ron said.
It was his words that had made her sigh. And before she could say something she could hear creaking on the steps and stood from the bed and walked out of the room and noticed Harry below. Without much thinking, the girl ran down to greet him, hugging him when she got downstairs. [b "It is so good to see you! Are you okay?"]
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