Unofficial Portkey Archive

Always and Forever by Lorelover

Always and Forever



Always and Forever

Disclaimer: Harry Potter, and all the characters associated there with belong to JK Rowling, and Scholastic. Also, any similarities to any other work is unintentional. I make no profit from this story. I wrote it, just for fun.

AN: This is the last chapter of part one (Harry's fourth year). See the authors note at the end of the chapter for more information.


Chapter 23

Cause and Effect


Hermione sat beside his bed, holding his hand. No one had an explanation as to why she could touch him when nobody else could. Dumbledore had been most intrigued and promised to continue checking.

The big surprise came while Hermione was helping into bed; they had been left alone for a few minutes so Harry could wash and change into his pajamas. Professor Moody came in and started asking questions. It soon became apparent something was off, he knew too much. When he realized he'd been caught out, he pulled his wand, but Harry and Hermione were ready for him and already had theirs out and at their sides. Although Harry could barely hold his wand, it was enough of a distraction to allow Hermione to score a hit. Moody was about to retaliate when Dumbledore showed up.

He had been no match for the Headmaster and was soon tied up. A little Veritaserum later, and the truth about the whole tournament was known. Acting on orders from Voldemort, Barty Crouch Jr. had been the one responsible for it all. Tampering with the Cup, the chimera, and to Snape's surprise, the missing potion ingredients. The real Moody was quickly found and brought to the infirmary, adding to the swelling population. Madam Pomfrey gave him a quick check, and then assured everyone that he would eventually make a full recovery. An hour later and she was still carrying on about the day; the Tournament, Death Eaters, and a first for her… a duel among her patients, right in the middle of the infirmary.

Hermione sighed and leaned back in her chair, but didn't let go of Harry's hand. She was covered in dirt and dried blood. While not nearly in as bad of shape as Harry had been in, Hermione was badly in need of a shower herself. Plus, she'd been up now for over twenty-four hours. It would just have to wait, she wasn't going to leave Harry… not yet. Harry's bouts with the after effects of the Cruciatus Curse came in waves. Hermione had been horrified to learn that he had been cursed three times, and by one of the most powerful wizards alive!

Hermione didn't know how he had managed so far, but she did know; that just by being with him and holding his hand, he felt better. She also knew, she was the only one who could do it. Pomfrey still didn't know why she could help him like that, but as long as it worked, she encouraged her to continue doing so. Dumbledore had given her permission to stay as long as she liked. Hermione decided she'd stay until he was able to sleep without her there, even if she had to stay to the end of the year.

Harry moaned, then opened his eyes. "Hey," he said.

Hermione gave him a weak smile, "Hey. You manage to get any sleep?"

Harry closed his eyes again and shook his head no.

"Do you feel any better… at all?"

Again, he just shook his head.

Hermione could see his muscles quiver, and once in a while an arm or a leg would spasm for a few seconds. She knew every bone ached and every muscle burned, but there was absolutely nothing she or anybody else could do to help. That was exactly the reason why people withdrew. Why they sought out refuge in the deepest recesses of their mind; to escape the never-ending onslaught of pain. It changed them. Some never came back, preferring to stay in their own little world of insanity. Hermione wasn't going to let that happen to Harry. She wouldn't let him slip away.

Hermione stood up and moved to the head of the bed. Bending slightly, she reached down and started rubbing little circles on the side of his head.

Harry had tensed a little when she first let go of his hand, and jumped when she touched his head. Then after a moment… Harry groaned.

Hermione stopped, "Am I hurting you?"


Hermione went back to rubbing little circles. Occasionally, she would take a break and just run her fingers through his hair, anything to keep his mind off the pain.

"Does it help?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"Where else does it hurt?" It was a stupid question and she knew it, but she wanted to keep him talking, keep him distracted. If he was busy answering her dumb questions, he wouldn't be able to focus on the pain.

Harry's brow scrunched up as he considered Hermione's question, then he whispered, "Everywhere."

Hermione started crying. Silent tears slipped down her face, but she didn't make a sound, she just keep massaging his forehead.

For the next couple of hours, Harry cycled between mild discomfort, and unbearable agony. Twice it got so bad, Harry had rolled onto his side and vomited the empty contents of his stomach into a pail. Hermione never left, even though Madam Pomfrey offered to give her a break. Hermione held the pail for him and rubbed his back until the nausea had pasted. She caressed his face and ran her fingers through his hair. When it looked like his muscles were going to spasm, she'd knead them to loosen the knots and get the blood moving. But mostly, she just sat by his side and held his hand, keeping him company.

It was a long night, but by morning he seemed to be getting better.

Hermione was exhausted; she needed sleep, but she wasn't going to leave. She would have liked to of crawled into bed with Harry and held him, her arms wrapped protectively around him. But Hermione knew she couldn't do that; it wouldn't be appropriate, although she really didn't care. The main reason she refrained from causing a scandal, was because she didn't think Harry could handle that much contact yet. Without asking permission, Hermione moved a bed right up next to Harry's and climbed in. She laid down on her side facing Harry and reached out and took hold of his hand. A little while later when Madam Pomfrey came by to check on them, she found them both on their sides near the edge of their beds facing each other and holding hands. And for the first time since Harry had arrived, both were fast asleep. Pomfrey smiled, "Best medicine in the world."


Hermione felt a pull towards consciousness. She opened her eyes, and found Harry staring at her. He let go of her hand and reached up and brushed some stray hairs off her face.

"Do you know how cute you look when you're asleep?" Harry asked, almost as an afterthought.

If it had been anyone else, Hermione would have laughed. She hadn't had a bath in two days, God only knew what her hair looked like. But she knew Harry meant what he had said; he didn't see the dirt and grime, he only saw her. She reached up and took his hand. After lacing their fingers together, she brought them up and kissed them. "Thank you," she said softly.

They continued to stare at each other in silence for a moment until Hermione's stomach made an unladylike sound, and growled.

"Don't make me laugh Hermione, it still hurts to smile."

Hermione shook her head, and smiled for him. Then she let go of his hand and swung her feet off the edge of the bed. "Do you think you'll be alright without me for about a half-hour?"

Harry tried to pout, but his face was still a little swollen, "Ohhh."

Hermione just raised a brow at his antics.

Harry gave up trying to be funny, "Yeah, I'll be fine. Going to get something to eat?"

"No, a shower. We'll eat when I get back. Can you wait?"

Harry nodded, "Sure."

Hermione stood and had only walked a short ways before she stopped. "Dobby." A split second later and their smallest friend was there. "Hello Dobby. I was wondering if you could do me a couple of favors?"

Dobby stood up taller and clapped his hands, "Of course, anything Miss Grangy."

Hermione smiled, "Thank you Dobby. First can you bring me some clean clothes, and then check with Madam Pomfrey and see if it would be okay for Harry to eat something? Afterwards maybe you could bring us both something to eat?"

Dobby just nodded his head and popped away, he was too excited to answer.

Hermione turned back to look at Harry, he was shaking his head amused, and trying hard not to laugh. Hermione smiled, then headed off for her much needed shower.


Hermione returned just as Dumbledore and the Minister of Magic were entering. She quickly made her way over to Harry and sat down, taking his hand. She immediately noticed, he'd been shaking, and his hand was a little sweaty. When she looked at him, he just shook his head slightly and raised a brow; `he didn't know it would happen so fast either.'

"Good evening Harry, Miss Granger," Dumbledore said with a tip of his head.

Harry gave a nod back, "Good evening Professor."

Hermione eyed them both for a second before acknowledging them, "Professor, Minister."

"Harry do you feel up to answering a few questions for the Minister," Dumbledore asked.

Harry didn't really feel like talking to either of the two men standing in front of him, but he nodded again anyway, "Okay."

"Mr. Potter, I'll only take a moment of your time," Minister Fudge started, "I already have statements from the Delacour girls, but I have a few questions. They mentioned five Death Eaters by name, where there any others?" Fudge conveniently forgot two names.

Harry took a breath, "There were seven mentioned by name, plus a few more that weren't. Avery, Crabbe, Goyle, Macnair, Malfoy, Nott, and Peter Pettigrew."

The Minister seemed to flinch at each name, some more than others. However, when Harry said Pettigrew, the Minister not only jerked, but he got mad. "Now see here, you cannot go around making up lies. Innocent people could get hurt."

"Like Cedric Diggory?" Harry asked, getting mad.

"That is precisely why I'm here young man," Fudge said with authority, trying to intimidate Harry, "but if you don't tell the truth…"

"I don't suppose you believe Voldemort is back either then, do you?" Harry asked with contempt.

"He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, is dead. It's not possible!" The Minister nearly yelled.

Harry had begun to shake, clearly growing agitated, "Then why are you afraid to say his name?"

A stabbing pain ripped through Harry from the inside out. He arched his back, shut his eyes tight and grabbed the sides of his bed so hard his knuckles turned white.

Hermione stood and pulled her wand, then glared at the Minister, "Get out… Get. Out. Now!"

"Now see here, I'm the…" Minister Fudge never got a chance to finish.

Madam Pomfrey was now standing directly in front of him. "Do as she says or I'll help her throw you out, minister or not!" Pomfrey took a half step forward, "This is a hospital, not an interrogation room!"

Dumbledore quickly got between the two of them and started ushering Cornelius out. After he had the Minister calmed down, he'd come back and apologize to Harry.


Ron sat on the edge of his bed in the quiet of the dorm room and stared at the empty bed across from him, and thought about recent events. Viktor, had been made to attack his own friends with the Imperius Curse. Fleur had been tortured with the Cruciatus, and poor Gabrielle had nearly been raped. And Cedric… Cedric was dead! All because a lunatic wanted to kill Harry.

Harry… he was still in the school infirmary, probable would be for a few days yet. He'd been there, seen it happen, right before his eyes, and was even hurt himself. Ron couldn't begin to imagine what it must have been like… `Merlin, he was hit with the Cruciatus three times.'

What was he thinking? Why on earth would he want to be in Harry's shoes? Why had he been so jealous? It seemed so clear to him now; Harry had always been in the spot light, but for all the wrong reasons. Intellectually, Ron had known that Harry had lost both of his parents, but it was only now with death so close, that he thought about it… really thought about. What would it be like, to lose someone close? How would he feel, if he lost his parents? The more he tried to imagine what his life would be like, the more he realized he couldn't.

How does Harry do it, how does he handle all the adversity in his life… `He has good friends,' said a little voice in the back of his head. Realization struck like a dagger to the heart. Ron looked down as his eyes started to teared up. He'd been a terrible friend… `I've been so stupid.'

Ron didn't think their friendship would ever be the same, but he promised himself he'd try to make it better.

As Ron thought about the future, he couldn't help but think about the fact that `He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' was back. That he'd gone through all this trouble to get Harry, what would he do in the future? That's when Ron had another though, a selfish one. He had made friends with Dean and Michael, mainly because he had been mad at Harry, and he needed someone to hang out with. In the back of his mind, he had always thought things would eventually go back to the way they had always been. Now, with things the way they were, he wasn't sure it was such a good idea to even be near Harry. `Why would I want to hang around with a guy who has a murderer after him?' Ron frowned, he didn't like the way that particular thought sounded.

In the end, Ron knew he had to talk to Harry, at the very least he owed him an apology. School would be out in a few days, he'd use the summer to try and short out his feelings.


Ginny stood in the doorway to the infirmary, it was as far as she was allowed to go. Madam Pomfrey had told her that Harry still wasn't in any shape to have visitors.

All of the champions had been hurt, their partners as well. Worst of all, Cedric had been killed. It could have been anyone of them really… even Harry. Ginny would have never thought that possible, but there was the proof laying in a bed, not more than twenty feet away. Harry had been hurt, and hurt badly. He could have died… and the thought unnerved her. All her life, she had been told that Harry Potter was an invincible hero. That nothing could hurt him. Yet here he was; her knight in shining armor, laid out in bed… broken. All that she had ever been told was a lie. All that she had once believed, was nothing more than a little girl's fantasy.

She watched from a distance as Hermione straightened his covers, and then brushed his hair out of his face. She looked tired, but Ginny knew she'd never leave. As she watched, Harry suddenly arched his back, as if an invisible knife had stabbed him. His eyes were screwed shut in pain as he rode out the episode. He reached out blindly grabbing at thin air, but Hermione was there in an instant. She took his hand in both of hers, and he calmed if only marginally. Perhaps it was just knowing she was there, `She's always there… for him.' Ginny thought. Ginny continued to watch, `She's so devoted.' Then Ginny thought about the way she had seen Harry looking at Hermione when he thought nobody was watching, and she smiled, `No, they are so devoted to each other.'

That's what Ginny wanted. She wanted someone to love her like that, and she knew now without a doubt, it would never be Harry Potter. Ginny's smile faded, it was time she grew up, she thought. She could have the love and devotion that Hermione had, just not with Harry. She'd find someone someday. Her smile returned. Without having to worry about what Harry might think of her, maybe she could have a little fun. She made up her mind; she wasn't going to worry about a future with Harry, or any other boy for that matter. She was going to enjoy life while she could, and with You-Know-Who on the loose, who knew how long that would be. She knew her mother wouldn't like the idea, but she'd have all summer to make her see reason.


The group took their seats for their daily meeting in the Headmaster's office. It had been five days since the official end of the Triwizard Tournament, and term would be over in a couple of days.

A memorial for Cedric had been held two days ago in the Great Hall with everyone in attendance. Harry and Hermione had been there as well, but only for a very brief time. Madam Pomfrey had been very reluctant to allow Harry out of the infirmary, even for a short while. Knowing how the loss of Cedric was affecting Harry, Hermione never left his side. Later, she wrote a brief letter of condolence for the both of them, and sent it to his family.

Viktor, Cho, Fleur and her sister had all been released from the infirmary within a couple of days, and were all coping as well as could be expected.

The ministry, and all the other end-of-year business had all been handled. Only Harry's situation remained to be dealt with.

"Poppy, how is young Harry doing?" Dumbledore began.

Pomfrey raised both brows slightly and nodded, "Good actually. Much better than I would have thought possible this soon… considering all he's been through."

"Will he be able to travel on July first?"

Pomfrey frowned, "I'd rather keep him here for at least another week. I'm not sure if he's still suffering from the after effects of the Cruciatus or not."

"Why is that Poppy?" McGonagall asked.

Pomfrey smiled, "Miss Granger has a strong effect on him. Until they are separated for a day or two, I won't know for sure."

Dumbledore nodded, "Yes, but we cannot keep them together all summer."

"I realize that Albus, but certainly a little more time is not asking too much?" Pomfrey argued. "Besides, his back is still in bad shape, he's only able to sleep because of all the potions. It will take at least two and a half, maybe three weeks before he can safely be taken off them." Pomfrey sighed, "The wound resists healing, and if left untreated, it will get worse. In fact, it could possibility become life threatening. That's why I want him here, so I can monitor his progress."

Dumbledore steeple his fingers in front of his face, "What if we sent him home with all the necessary potions and instructed him on their use?"

"It's possible, but not nearly as good. Why can't we keep him here?"

Dumbledore sighed again, "I honestly believe that under normal circumstances, Hogwarts would be the safest place for him, but unfortunately that will not be true for this summer. There will be very little staff here. I myself will be away for extended periods of time, and with Voldemort now back… well I feel he would be safest back at his relatives."

McGonagall hated the thought of sending Harry back to the Dursleys, especially now. "Couldn't you postpone your travels for a week or two; until Harry is in better condition?"

Dumbledore's face hardened, "The situation with Voldemort is critical. I believe he will keep a low profile for a while, to gather information and resources. He will want to evaluate the current status of his supporters, and those who oppose him. We do not have that luxury, we need to act quickly if we are to gain the upper hand."

"What about Miss Granger," asked McGonagall, "you know she is going to want to see him?"

Dumbledore nodded, "No doubt. Talk to her, and make arrangements to speak with her parents. I want this keep low key, she can visit him at the Dursleys only. And I would prefer that her first visit is not for at least a couple of weeks, I do not want to give the Dursleys any reason to get angry with him. I will leave the details in your hands."

"Anything else?" He asked.

"Viktor and Fleur have been demanding to see him," Poppy said, as she glanced at McGonagall. The two had talked about it, and had decided that even if the Headmaster said no, they'd let them in by `accident,' for a short visit.

Dumbledore studied the two formidable witches sitting across from him, and smiled, "Somehow, I do not think my permission would have really mattered, but seeing as he is better now, I see no reason to keep his friends away any longer."

Dumbledore had decided to take the blame for keeping Harry isolated temporally, in order to spare him the onslaught of well-wishers, and any inadvertent embarrassment or guilt until he was stronger. McGonagall knew this of course, but thought he was being a little too protective.

"Albus, of course your permission matters…" McGonagall smirked, "without it, we'd need to be far more crafty."

"Well then, all the better this way I think," Dumbledore chuckled. "And what of his other friends?"

"Oh, they're anxious to see him too," McGonagall laughed.

When Dumbledore raised a brow, Pomfrey explained. "Miss Lovegood walked right in like she owned the school, said she forgot Harry wasn't supposed to have visitors. And of course Mr. Longbottom followed her in, pretending he was trying to stop her. She blamed her lapse in memory on Nargles. Mr. Weasley and his sister tried to sneak in under Harry's Cloak. Might have made it too, if Mr. Weasley had eaten before he came; I could hear his stomach rumbling as they passed my office." Pomfrey laughed, "There were a few others, but those were the best attempts."

McGonagall nodded, "He has good friends, they all mean well."

Dumbledore nodded too, "I am sure that they do, and it is good that he does… he is going to need them."


Harry was sitting up in bed and looking much better. He was still a little jumpy whenever anyone other than Hermione touched him, but for the most part, it didn't hurt that bad anymore. His leg was still quite sore and stiff, Harry figured, he'd probably have a limp for a couple of weeks. The rest of his wounds had healed pretty fast and didn't bother him… except for his back. As soon as the potions started to wear off, his back would start hurting. It didn't take long, before the pain became unbearable. But for now, everything was fine.

Harry had finally reached the point where he didn't need Hermione's touch to ward off the after effects of the Cruciatus Curse anymore, and she had reluctantly returned to sleeping in her own bed in the dorms. But she still spent pretty much every waking minute in the infirmary with him.

Poppy stopped by his bed and gave Harry his morning potions. While he was taking them, she had a quick word with Hermione. As soon as Harry had finished the last of his potions, Hermione gave him a kiss on the cheek, and said she'd be back in a tic. So, Harry closed his eyes and tried to relax, he smiled as he remembered last night…

After fussing with his blanket, Hermione leaned forward to examine the cuts on his lips more carefully. "Humm… looks like they are almost completely healed," she mused.

"Looks can be deceiving," Harry countered. His eyes never left hers.

Hermione saw the mirth in his eyes. It was the first sign that the old Harry was back. "Well, I suppose we could give them a… test," she said rather nonchalantly, "Wouldn't want you doubting my opinion."

"No," Harry said in a husky voice, "we can't have that."

"No we can't," Hermione repeated in a whisper as she leaned in.

It was their first real kiss since Harry's return. Both of them were more than looking forward to this moment. Harry reached up and placed his hand on the side of her face and deepened the kiss. Hermione made a little mewing noise, and Harry thought it was the sweetest sound he'd heard in a long time. It was a sound he'd like to hear more often.

Hermione was half standing and half laying on top of Harry. One hand was kneading his chest, and the other was tangled in his hair. Both seemed to have minds of their own. The kiss was quickly becoming very passionate. The stress and trauma from recent events finally finding a much-needed release.

Harry was about to pull Hermione up, the rest of the way onto the bed when he heard another noise. This noise however, he would have preferred to ignore.

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. As happy as she was for the young couple, she had school matters to discuss, and she'd rather not do it with them wrapped in each other's arms while lying in bed together. Not to mention, in their current state, she doubted they would pay her any attention… in fact, she doubted they pay any attention if Dumbledore danced through the ward wearing a tutu. Professor McGonagall cleared her throat again, this time a little louder.

Reluctantly, the two broke apart. Hermione slid off the bed, and resumed standing on both feet. She gave her professor a sly smile. Harry just gave her a goofy grin. Neither were really all that embarrassed.

McGonagall chuckled and shook her head, and then when on to tell them about, the end of term preparations. After the year they'd had, she wasn't about to chastise them for a little snogging, even if it was in the middle of the day, and in the middle of the infirmary… and they were in a bed together… `Well maybe a little talk later,' she finally thought.

Harry was yanked from his pleasant memories of the previous night by a voice he hadn't heard in a while.

"Does ee always smile like zat when ee ez asleep?" Gabrielle asked quietly.

"Depends on what he's dreaming about," Hermione answered lightly.

"Ah, so ee ez dreaming of you zen," Fleur teased.

Harry opened his eyes, "If you must know, I was thinking of last night."

Hermione smiled and tried to act casual, knowing what he was referring to, but the color in her cheeks gave her away.

"I see," Fleur said with a saucy smile.

Viktor decided a change of subject was in order. "Vell Harry, I for one, am most happy to see that you are doing better. You vill be able to join us in the Hall tomorrow, no?"

Harry was feeling better, and stronger, but it was mostly because of the potions. They not only helped to heal his wounds, but they masked the pain. Pomfrey still wanted him in bed as much as possible, but he thought he could go if he really wanted to. The problem was, he wasn't sure if he wanted to or not.

Hermione caught the brief look of pain and indecision in his eyes just before he schooled his looks and answered Viktor. She'd seen that look a couple of times now, something was bothering him, and he didn't know how to ask for help about it.

Harry turned to Viktor and smiled, "Thank you Viktor, and ah tomorrow… I think so. I'm feeling quite a bit stronger."

Viktor nodded, "That is good. You had me worried you would not make it. I am happy to see I vas wrong."

Harry looked down, "I wasn't so sure myself for a while." Then he looked back up, and while looking at Hermione, he added, "In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have, if it wasn't for Hermione's help."

Hermione, feeling a little heat rise in her checks, reached for a glass of water and took a sip.

"Qui, we heard she sleeps with you!" Fleur teased again.

Hermione choked and spit the water out. After a few coughs, she managed a panicked, "What!"

One of the things Harry had come to like about Fleur, was her wicked sense of humor. "She slept next to me… in another bed. But somehow, I think you already knew that."

Fleur laughed, "Per'aps yes… per'aps no."

Viktor gave them a rare smile. He too had come to enjoy the quick wit of not only the French witch, but that of Hermione's and Harry's as well.

Gabrielle didn't quite see the humor though, and huffed, "Fleur stop et, Arry as been through enough!" Then she walked over and stood next to him and took his hand. Looking down, she asked, "Does et still urt when I old your and?"

Harry smile and squeezed her hand, "Not any more… I'm fine." It did hurt just a tiny bit, but Harry wasn't going to tell her that.

Gabrielle nodded, "Good. You are very brave Arry…" she started to tear up and her voice hitched a little, "What you did f-for me… I will never forget." She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek, "Zank you Arry." Gabrielle having said what she had wanted, suddenly seemed to remember, she wasn't alone with him and promptly turned pink.

Fleur stepped up next to her sister and put an arm around her and pulled her close. "She es right about everything Arry." Then she too bent down and kissed Harry's cheek. When she stood back up, Fleur said, "You keep your promeese Arry, even when I thought eet was imposseble. You brought her back to me… zank you." Then she reached over the bed and took Hermione's hand, and while holding it, she looked at Hermione and then back to Harry, "Now I make you a promeese; eef you ever need my help, you ave but to ask, and I will do all zat I can."

Viktor stepped forward and stood on the other side of Gabrielle, and said quite seriously, "Vell, I Vill not kiss you Mr. Potter, however," and he reached over and put his hand on top of Fleur's, "I too promise to help if you need me."

Harry nodded, then reached up and clasped their hands between his and said in a thick voice, "Thank you… all of you."


After his visitors left, Harry took a short nap while Hermione read a book. With perfect timing, Harry woke right at noon, just in time for lunch. As Madam Pomfrey was setting down their trays, she told them, that some of their other friends wanted to see them this afternoon. Harry nodded and said that would be fine.

Hermione noticed the look again. She got up out of her chair and sat on the edge of his bed. "Harry… what's wrong?"

Harry sighed and looked away. He was terrible at hiding his feelings, not that it mattered with Hermione, she could always see right through him.

"Harry please, you know you can tell me anything." A moment later, Harry turned back and just stared at her. Hermione was surprised to see tears in his eyes. She scooted forward and grabbed his hand, "Harry?"

Harry opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. He didn't know where to begin. He glanced around the room as if the words for what he needed to say might be written on a wall somewhere. How do you tell someone you care so much about, that you might be evil? Harry's eyes settled on their joined hands, and he found the courage to start.

"They were hurting us… hurting them. Cedric was already dead, and… and they were going to kill us." Harry was crying outright now. But Hermione knew he had more to say. That he had to get this out, so she stayed silent. "They tortured Fleur, and told her what they were going to do to her after I was dead." Harry's voice hitched, "And Poor Gabrielle… she shouldn't have even been there. That animal had his hands all over her. She was so s-scared." Harry looked deep into Hermione's eyes, "All I wanted to do was help them… get them out."

Hermione could practically feel his pain, he was hurting so bad. Only this time, it was emotional pain. Something else had happened, something bad. Harry looked so desperate.

Harry was terrified of what Hermione might think of him when she found out. "I don't want to lose you."

"You won't lose me Harry… never"

"Hermione I… I killed a man!" Harry pulled back and looked away. "I could have just stunned him, but I was so full of hate… I…" He couldn't finish. Harry just broke down and sobbed.

Hermione didn't think, that she could have loved Harry anymore, than she did at this moment. He was so remorseful. He had saved not only his life, but the lives of two others. Yet he agonized over the loss of a man no better than the devil himself. A sadistic monster that the world was undoubtedly better off without.

Hermione scooted the rest of the way up to him, and mindful of his back, she pulled Harry into a tight embrace. She rocked him back and forth and whispered in his ear, that everything was going to be alright. Harry was hesitant for only a moment. Soon he was holding on to her as if his very life depended on it, as he cried silently into her shoulder. She wanted so much to tell him how she truly felt about him, but knew this was not the time… she'd wait until he was ready.

Gradually his breathing evened out, the worst was passed and it was out in the open now. Hermione leaned back. She put a hand on each side of his face and stared straight into his eyes. "Harry, you have nothing to be ashamed of, or feel guilty for…"

"But I…"

"But nothing!" Hermione said more forcefully, "Harry James Potter, you listen to me. You did the right thing."

"Are you sure I'm not turning dark?" Harry asked quietly, as if afraid of the answer.

Hermione smiled and tilted her head slightly, "There is too much good in you Harry, you could never turn dark."

Harry still wasn't completely convinced, but as long as Hermione thought so, he could go on for now.


Neville, Luna, and half the Weasley family showed up around three. Madam Pomfrey told them they could only stay for a little while, and they were not to get Harry worked up about anything. She made her last comment while looking at the twins.

Neville started off by proudly telling Harry, that he had invited Luna over for a couple of days during the summer. Harry was sure, he'd have even more exciting news next time he saw him. "And Harry, maybe you and Hermione could come by for a day. I know Gram would love to see you again."

Harry looked to Hermione, who nodded with a smile. "That sounds like a great idea, I ask Dumbledore about it later."

Luna bent down and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek. When she stood back up, she put a finger to her lips and said, "Shhhh, don't tell Hermione." Then after turning to said girl and smiling, she turned back, "Get well soon Harry, and I'll see you at Nev's."

Harry smiled back, "It will be our secret."

The twins laughed, "Harry you better not be messing with our little sister."

Harry put on his most innocent looking face, "Never. One beautiful girlfriend is enough for me." Then with a smile added, "I'm just glad to see her wearing shoes."

Fred smirked, "Our Luna won't be having anymore Ravenclaw problems."

Harry's brow rose, "Really… what did you guys do?"

Fred turned to his brother George, "See what I mean? Someone puts a shrinking charm on a few pairs of knickers, and everyone blames us."

George nodded, "Nice bit of spell work though," turning back to Harry, he went on, "your beautiful girlfriend is a real genius."

Harry turned to Hermione and gave her a bright smile, "Really?"

"I may have… helped a little," Hermione said casually.

"What happens, how long will it last?"

"After they put them on, they start to shrink, making them rather uncomfortable. A message shows up, telling them; they have to write on them, `I will not take other peoples things,' if they want it to stop."

Harry chuckled, "Perfect."

Fred laughed, "Should be fun, watching them trying to walk to the train."

Harry noticed Ginny whispering something in Hermione's ear. By the time she had finished, both girls were wearing bright smiles. Then like Luna, Ginny bent down and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek, "That's all your girlfriend will let me do." Ginny laughed at his surprised look. "Get well Harry and we'll see you later at the Burrow, kay?"

Harry thought Ginny looked really relaxed. Normally, she always seemed a little nervous around him, even though she usually hid it well. Maybe Hermione knew what had chanced, he'd ask her about it later. Harry then turned his attention to Ron. He had yet to say a single word. As the rest of the group slowly started to make their way out, Harry asked, "Ron, you okay?"

Ron came over and stood on the opposite side of the bed from Hermione. As he stood there, he seemed to study them both for a second before he said anything. "You know, I think I've been jealous of you since the first day I meet you, and you bought all that candy off the trolley, remember?"

Hermione moved forward and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. Harry just nodded, he knew Ron wasn't finished.

"The funny thing was, I didn't know why. Your life had been seriously crazy, and mostly in a bad way. I'm starting to see things… you… differently. I know I've buggered up our friendship something fierce. I'll probably regret it, but right now I… I don't know. Merlin, I'm turning into an effing nut case." Ron looked down, "I guess I'm just confused… I mean… I'm not even sure who I am anymore. Things have changed so much, you know?"

"Ron…" Harry started, not quite sure what to say, "You're right Ron, things have changed. We all need to step back and take another look at who we are… what we want to be." Harry sighed, "It's okay to be confused for a while, but sooner or later, you'll have to figure it out."

Ron looked back up and nodded, "Yeah, you're right of course." Then with a smile added, "Hermione must be rubbing off on you, you're getting pretty smart."

Harry and Hermione both just smiled back.

Ron squared his shoulders and turned serious again, "What I do know is, I owe you an apology for acting like a pillock all year." Ron reached out to shake Harry's hand, "I'm sorry Harry."


Harry sat back and relaxed as the Hogwarts Express slowly may it way to London. Neville sat across from him reading a book, with Luna curled up on the bench next to him sleeping. Hermione was also asleep, tucked soundly into his side. Crookshanks was up in the racks curled into an orange ball of purring fur, right next to Hedwig's empty cage. Harry wondered if the kneazle missed her. They had become good friends.

Good friends… as Harry thought back on the year, even with all the adversity it had brought; he still had to smile. Voldemort had been reborn, he and some of his friends had been hurt, and Dumbledore seemed to have developed an agenda. But it wasn't all bad; he had made several new friends… good friends. And most importantly, a good friend had become so much more.

Harry watched her sleep, and like so many other times in the recent past, he marveled at his good fortune to have her at his side. He had never had a family, not really. Certainly not one that loved him as their own. In the past, the Weasleys had come close; still it wasn't the same. However, Hermione… Hermione without even knowing it, had filled that hole in his life. She was his family. She stood up, with him. Laughed, with him. And cried, with him. Hermione understood him, and wanted nothing but the best for him; Harry didn't think there was any better definition of family than that. Harry gave her a gentle squeeze and she smiled in her sleep. `Merlin, it's going to be a long summer,' he thought.


Hermione had dragged him over to re-meet her parents, this time as her boyfriend. Emma beamed at the both of them before wrapping them up in a big huge. "Oh that's wonderful, you two are so cute together."

Dan now regarded Harry in a new light; He'd have to keep an eye on things from now on. But he wasn't upset enough, or stupid enough to say anything negative. He reached out his hand, "It's nice to see you again Harry."

Harry let go of Hermione's hand long enough to shake her father's, "It's nice to see the both of you as well sir."

Both had noticed that as soon as the hand shake was finished, Hermione had his hand in hers again. Emma sensing they wanted a moment alone took her husband's arm and pulled him away, "Come along dear, Hermione will be along in a minute." As they walked away, she looked over her shoulder and gave Hermione a wink.

Hermione immediately turned to face Harry and grabbed his free hand so she was holding both, "Relax Harry, they both still like you." After Harry took a breath and let it slowly, she went on, "Remember, even though Dumbledore doesn't want me to visit for a couple of weeks, it doesn't mean that we can't write to each other… right?"

Harry nodded, "Right."

"Hedwig should be back by tonight, so I expect a letter within a couple of days," Hermione said mock seriously in her best impression of McGonagall.

Harry gave her a salute and then smiled, "Yes ma'am."

Hermione laughed, "Good. Oh and Harry, please try to remember to take all your potions on schedule; I want you healthy again."

"Am I going to need my health next time I see you," Harry said, as he wiggled his eyebrows.

"Boy! Get a move on, I don't have all day!" Vernon's voice echoed around the platform.

Harry shook his head, "I've got to go, I'll write soon." Harry then pulled her close and gave her a long goodbye kiss. "Bye."

"Goodbye Harry."



AN: As of this moment, it looks like "Always and Forever" is going to continue through Harry's sixth year; about seventy five chapters give or take. I have the story outlined to that point, and might end it there… we'll see when the time comes. Part two (Harry's fifth year) has a detailed outline finished and even has eleven chapters written in a rough draft. Unfortunately, those eleven chapters are at the end of the year (Don't ask). Which means I need to still write several for the beginning of the year, before I start posting. Year five will pick up right where year four leaves off.

So here's the plan: I'm going to take a few weeks off and let my keyboard recover, then I'll start working on the next set of chapters. When I have three or four done, I'll start posting again.

I'm sorry for the interruption. When I started posting this back in February, I really thought I'd be able to finish fifth year before I finished posting fourth year. I really overestimated how much free time I'd have, and underestimated how much work it would actually be! I could have rushed it, but I don't think anybody would have been happy with the results.

All I can promise for sure, is that I'm dedicated to finishing this story for personal reasons, so that's good for you too.

Next I like to thank all the other fanfiction authors for the ideas and inspiration to write this story. Several in particular come to mind, and if you don't know of them, you should really check them out; broomstick flyer, chem prof, Mathiasgranger, MissAnn Thorpic, muggledad, old crow, robst, and so many more…

Finally, I like to thank all of you who took the time to read my story so far, and especially those of you who took the additional time to send me a review. Several of you have gone out of your way to help me with this project, (Dementor149 in particular) and when it's all over, I'd like to give you the credit that due.

Enjoy what's left of your summer,



UPDATE; When I originally posted this chapter on Fanfiction back last summer, I really thought I be able to start posting part two by about October or November. However, between work and family I just haven't had the time to work on it as fast as I'd like. As of now (late February) it looks like I'll be ready to start posting again by April or May. I know that's a long time, but I don't want to rush it. Also, this time I will post to both Fanfiction and Portkey at the same time so you don't have to worry about where to find it (both will be the same).

Thanks for patients,





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