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augury_harry in augury_rpg

Right In The Thick Of It... part II (BACKDATED)

Who: The Trio (no longer in disguise)
What: Going beyond the veil
When: Monday, 15 December 1997 (backdated)
Where: The Ministry of Magic (immediately after this thread )
Status: incomplete

The veil fluttered ominously in the center of the room.

No.

That was stupid. The veil didn't do anything ominously. It just hung there, looking for all the world like a shoddy, torn curtain that someone should have tossed in the rubbish bin a long time ago.

Still, a nauseous, sick feeling twisted around in Harry's stomach. He made his way down the stairway, each footstep punctuated with an image: Sirius. Sirius falling through the veil. Lupin grabbing Harry, pulling him away. Bellatrix and her stupid, hideous, mocking laughter.

No! No time for that. He pushed the images aside, tried to focus.

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Hermione took a deep breath as she looked at the veil, horrified at what they were about to do. The last time they had seem someone go beyond there, the person hadn't come back; is that the same fate they were setting themselves up for?

Oh Merlin...she, they, couldn't do this. She struggled to think of another option, of another way to find the information they needed, but there was nothing. Under normal circumstances this would be a ridiculously dangerous idea. Under these circumstances it seemed to be their only hope.

"Maybe it would be best if only one of us went through," she said tightly. They had agreed on two, of course, but now that they were here, Hermione didn't want to put either Harry or Ron in that sort of danger. If she could go through herself...well, at least only one person would be pointlessly threatened, wouldn't they?
Ron shook his head firmly, though he was aware of a huge lump in the back of his throat. "No way. Two of us go, one of us stays behind. That way, we know that there's an anchor here, and Harry doesn't have to go alone."

He looked at Hermione, everything he felt for her burning in his eyes and tightening his throat as he spoke. "You should stay. You're the one who knows all the good spells anyway; you'll be able to get us back."

And besides, if you went through and I couldn't get you back...

Oh Merlin, we're really going to do this...


He had to clench his jaw to stop his chin from trembling.
"No," Hermione said instantly. If someone was going to go, she would be one of the people to do it. She was not going to stay here, knowing they were in danger and she wasn't able to help. "If I know all the good spells, I should go. They'll be needed more in there, if something goes wrong, than here where I may not be able to tell until too late."

She could feel her face setting into it's stubborn expression, her body tensing in determination. She allowed herself a moment to be grateful for the adrenaline, for the rush of energy that left her feeling strong enough to do this.

"Frankly, if I had my way, I'd say that Harry shouldn't go. If something goes wrong in there...well, we still need you out here," she appealed her best friend, knowing it was pointless. When Harry decided on something, there was no budging him.
"I'm going," Harry said instantly, in a voice that brokered no argument. He turned away from the veil, looked at Hermione. "But we don't have a lot of time to stand here and argue."

No time at all, in fact.

"Which one of you is coming with me?"
"I am." The words were spoken to Hermione rather than Harry. "Look, Hermione, you know damn well you're the best hope we've got for getting back here. And besides, you're better at wards than I am. At least you'll be able to keep people out of here long enough for us to do what we have to."

His voice carried audible tension, and he knew it. He knew he was right, though, and he didn't want to even think about the prospect of her going through the veil and not being able to come back because he didn't know the right spell to use.

"We're wasting time, Hermione." His eyes added the "please" at the end.
"No," Hermione repeated, shaking her head, her voice already admitting her defeat. For the first time in her life she wished she wasn't good at magic; anything that would let her go through there, and not have to stand here while the two people she cared for most in this world vanished, fear doubling every second they were gone.

She needed more time. She hadn't had enough of it, with them, with Ron. Just a few more minutes, seconds, anything that meant it wasn't right now and she just wasn't ready.

"Fine," she said thickly, crossing her arms in front of her chest. She cleared her throat, trying to remove the tightness there. "I'll stay."
He put his hands on her shoulders then, his grip stronger than it had to be if only because he didn't want to let go. But he believed in her. That was the whole point. Giving her the responsibility for his safety, his very life, was so easy because he knew in his heart she wouldn't let him down. She wouldn't let them down. She never had, and she never would, and that was why he loved her felt the way he did about her.

"We'll be back before you know it." His voice was thick, his throat swollen. His arms clumsily found their way around her, his mind a whirl of confusion and his heart like an overfull balloon in his chest. "I promise."
Hermione choked back tears, determined not to give in to anything that might distract her from what she needed to do. She buried her head in his neck, holding as tightly to him as she could. "If you don't come back to me, I'm going to find a way to resurrect you," she whispered, voice thin. "If only so I can kill you again. I couldn't...I..."

She pulled away, giving him a quick kiss. She wanted, almost thought she needed, more, but they hadn't the time. Besides, she very much doubted Harry wanted to see anything more than he had already. There was so much more she wanted to say to him, but the words stuck in her throat and she couldn't find a way to pull them out.

Moving quickly, Hermione threw her arms around Harry, hugging him awkwardly. When she let go she forced her back straight, so scared she thought she might faint from it. "Be careful," she said insistently, hand holding tightly to her wand. Taking another, useless, breath, she loosened her grip -- if her wand snapped now, they were all in trouble.
"We'll be careful." Harry patted Hermione's back awkwardly until she pulled back. He looked at her tear stained face, tried to think of a joke - any joke - to lighten the mood and, when none came, settled on: "We will. Really, we will."

He cleared his throat. Best to focus on the task at hand. If he started thinking about the danger, the stupidity of what they were doing... well...

No...

"Okay. Let's get ready."
No, no, no, no, no.

Hermione could feel the curves of her wand digging into her hand, the smooth surface feeling like a thousand splinters she was holding it so tightly. She nodded wordlessly, not sure she could bring herself to speak properly, closing her eyes to help her concentrate on her spell.

It was complicated; the most complicated one she had ever cast. It was also one she had never been able to properly try, having had no one to experiment with. Flick, swish, point. Point, drop, swish. Flick, drop, rise. She could feel the power of it as she moved, and knew it had worked before she felt the energy leaving it, surrounding Harry and Ron before clamping firmly on to their wrists.

"This will help me tell if you're in trouble," she said, opening her eyes again. "And give you a way back. You just need to follow it, and...I'll be here."
Something of a rope seemed to fasten itself around Harry's wrist. Nothing he could see, but he felt around, grasped a cord and gave it an experimental tug.

"This should work."

And if it didn't... no going back now. He swallowed a lump in his throat, forced his face into a smile that was more than likely a twisted grimace.
Ron felt the invisible cord of the spell wrap around his wrist, felt its strength connecting him to Harry, and felt the point at which it was anchored in Hermione. Really, he ought not to have been surprised by her abilities by now, but he couldn't help it. Every time she did something like this, magic that he knew was far beyond his ability, she amazed him.

He grinned at her. "Knew you could do it." He gripped his wand tightly, filled with resolve and surprisingly cleansed of fear. Really, what was there to worry about when she was at the other end of the rope?

He clapped his free hand to Harry's shoulder. "C'mon, mate, let's get going. Time's a-wasting and all."
Hermione wanted to reach for Ron, to beg him to stay with her. In an attempt to distract herself, she turned to analyse the room, memorising each of the entrances and exits. She would have to put some sort of spell on each of them; preferably three or four different ones, so that anyone who managed to get through one of them would still need to contend with the rest.

Diversion spells should be the first layer, she thought, then she would have to what if they didn't come back? She would never be able to...damnit! This was not going to help, she had to concentrate.

"I'll finish the security spells," she said softly, pointing her wand at the door they had come through, trying twice before she could cast it successfully. Twice! She hadn't taken that long to cast a spell in years. She tried to focus on the important part: she had succeeded. If anyone tried to come through that door, they would remember that they had left something on the stove and had to go, now. It was a start, at least.
Harry watched Hermione for a moment, then turned and faced the veil. It hung there, much like veils and curtains do, and yet...

His hands were sweaty. He wiped them on the sides of his trousers. Voices were drifting from the veil, soft and lulling, calling out to him. He stepped forward, reached a hand out.

If they were wrong about this...

He plunged through the veil.

For one moment, he was sure he'd topple onto the other side of the arch. For one moment, the world seemed to freeze. He saw Hermione, still casting spells, he saw Sirius, look of shock splashed across his face.

And then he fell down into darkness.
Harry disappeared through the veil.

For a brief moment Ron stood there, his earlier fears returning to him in a flood of panic.

What if we're wrong? What if there's nothing past this veil but death? What if we can't go back at all? What if we get stuck even if we find what we're looking for? What if...

What if...


And then his eyes fell on Hermione. And his panic quieted, and his heart slowed, and he knew where he had to go.

And with a smile at Hermione, he dived through the veil after Harry.

Darkness and deep cold swallowed him...
Harry fell.

Cold wrapped around him, soaking through his clothing, clinging to him. His eyes hadn't adjusted to the light. There was no light, just endless, bottomless dark.

He fell.

Hands flailing, he reached out for something, anything, fingers grasping at rushing air. His stomach twisted, flipped, he thought he'd be sick.

This was a mistake. A mistake. He was going to die, he'd never see Ron and Hermione again, never see Ginny, he'd never... never...

He slammed onto the ground.
The world inverted itself again and again as Ron fell, the wind on first one side of his face and then another, and then something slammed him hard in the back and knocked the wind out of him and he still couldn't see a damn thing.

It was a full minute before he could breathe properly again and realized the thing that had hit him in the back was the floor. He was lying on the floor, on the ice-cold floor, and the pitch blackness showed him nothing, not even his own hand in front of his face.

But he still had his wand, and though his voice was a little shaky, it still responded to his command of "Lumos!" And the light showed him an expanse of dull gray nothingness, extending into eternity in all directions. Harry lay on the ground not ten feet away from him, and as he rushed over to his best friend's side the thought "Maybe this won't be so bad after all" flashed through his head.

Then he saw the eyes.