I was inspired by J.K. Rowling to write this piece.
Journey to Africa
RONALD WEASLEY GET UP! WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE! THE PORTKEY’S LEAVING IN…TEN MINUTES! GET UP!” Ron got up with a start. Hermione was dressed and ready to go.
“Sorry.” Ron mumbled.
Ten minutes later, they were down in front of the burrow, clutching their portkey-
The three of them landed on springy soil, moist air curling around them.
“Where are we?” Ron asked, looking around at the strange sights.
Monkeys hollered and swung from branch to branch overhead. Huge leafy branches covered the sky. Several tropical birds flew by and the noises of strange foreign animals echoed softly. Because of the time change, it was nighttime.
“Africa? Who’s hiding out here?”
“How could that be? Mum killed her!”
“She had a husband.”
“They never caught him, it seems. Remember when the ministry claimed that they had sent Lestrange into Azkaban? And then Lestrange died a little bit after that? Well, Draco said that Lestrange somehow got somebody else to take a polyjuice potion in his place. Lestrange got out safely and went into hiding after Voldemort died.” Hermione flinched at the name.
“Lestrange…the one the tortured Neville’s parents right?”
“Harry, I seriously hope that Draco didn’t send you on a wild goose chase.”
“He seemed sincere.”
“Malfoy? Sincere? Fat chance.” Ron said disgustedly.
“Harry do you even know where to look? Africa’s a big continent.” Hermione stated.
“You think I don’t know that?”
“We’ve just got to go where things are a little bit strange. A city with a bigger death toll, or maybe things that shouldn’t be there. Even people might know him.”
“Well, Ron, if you’re so doubtful, why don’t you just go home, then.” Harry snapped.
“Harry…” Hermione said patiently. “We know you want…er…revenge as quick as possible but please don’t…take it out on us…”
“Yeah. Right, sorry.” Harry mumbled.
“Lumos.” Hermione whispered.
She walked ahead of them, pointing her wand in front of her.
All was quiet-
Hermione screamed and disappeared from sight. Harry and Ron looked around wildly, wands at the ready.
“Hermione where are you?” Harry called out.
“HERMIONE!” Ron yelled. The tip of his wand emitted small red sparks.
“Lumos.” Harry said. A bright light broke the darkness and he held out his wand in front of him. Harry saw Hermione’s wand on the ground close to their feet.
“Ron! Hermione’s wand. She must be somewhere around here.”
“Harry? Ron? Look up!”
Ron and Harry looked up to see Hermione dangling from some sort of strong net.
“Hermione!” Ron yelled. “Hold on…Relashio!” There was a whimper from Hermione as she clutched her arm and fell from the net twenty feet in the air. Just before she hit the ground, Harry quickly used his wand to direct her to a huge mound of soft leaves.
Ron and Harry rushed over to where she lay.
“Are you alright? Hermione…”
“Ron, you clumsy git, you got her arm.” Harry said frantically.
“Bloody…I’m so sorry…”
Ron quickly mumbled something under his breath and instantly, the deep wound reduced to a faint pink line.
“Thanks.” Hermione said faintly. “I’m…I’m fine.” She looked up to Ron’s eyes. She could see the anxiety and compassion there.
Suddenly, Ron bent low and kissed her hard on the mouth. Hermione kissed back with just as much enthusiasm.
“Really?” Harry said weakly, dumbfounded. “Is this seriously the time and the place?”
“Now or never, mate.”
“What was that?” Hermione said, looking up.
“Dunno…maybe some bloody-”
“Wait…it’s a…trap. An animal trap.” Hermione said slowly. “When my parents took me camping, we saw a huge bear trap that looked a lot like this. Of course, I kind of…made it disappear-”
“ ‘Course you did.” Ron chuckled.
“-And so the bear didn’t die. I wonder why this is here…”
“Um, to catch animals?” Harry said.
The trio walked in silence for a bit.
“This is like old times, Harry.” Ron said, looking around.
“Yeah. Reminds me of the forest we camped out at.”
“But, better. This is much better. You know, I’ve always wanted to go to Africa. But my parents never thought that it was appropriate. Said there was too much fighting between the tribes. Tribal wars are extremely common in Africa, you know. They fight because of all sorts of stuff…animals…trade…even people…but of course…”
Harry and Ron zoned out of Hermione’s little speech.
Wonder what Ginny’s doing all alone at home. Maybe Mrs. Weasley is freaking out by now. Hope she misses me as much as I miss her. We’d better not stay out that long. I have to get home to check on her. Or maybe an owl home. Home…would Ginny like America? I don’t think so. I’d think she wanted to stay somewhere in London. Where to? I wish Sirius was here…I could’ve asked him. He would’ve been so proud…
One thing about Hermione, she can talk and talk and she never gets tired. All that knowledge stored up. Wish she’d put that knowledge somewhere else for now. Hope that she’d forget the kid thing already. It’s stupid. Kids are just too much work. Don’t need any bloody kid to distract her. Look at her, so beautiful, even when she’s bruised and bloody. Still amazingly perfect. The hair, though. Maybe one night I could perform a thinning charm so her hair would go down just a bit…well, maybe not. I like it the way it is. So perfectly-
“What are you looking at?”
Hermione looked bemused and grinned a bit.
“Why thank you, Ronald.”
“Er…no problem.” Ron cleared his throat loudly.
Each of them soon got lost in their thoughts. After about an hour or two, Ron declared that he was tired and that he wanted to stop for the night.
“Ron, do you realize that it’s still morning time in London. You wouldn’t be sleeping right now. You’d be-”
“Not London is it?”
Hermione huffed and turned away.
But, they decided to stop and rest there. Harry unfolded and set up the tent while Hermione performed the necessary enchantments for protection. Ron sat the whole time, watching Hermione with a very strange look.
“Really, Ron, you could help at least a bit.” Harry suggested, irritated.
The tent was different that the one that they used when they were on the run. This one was much more advanced. It had a full-furnished bathroom, two giant beds, a roaring fireplace, and a complete, working kitchen stocked with food.
“Wish we’d brought this tent instead of the other one.”
“Yeah. Loads nicer.” Ron added, looking around in awe.
“Well, I guess I’ll take first watch.” Harry said, trudging outside. Harry took out his wand and settled himself by reading a well-worn copy of The Life of Albus Dumbledore.
Hermione and Ron curled up in the bed farthest from the tent opening. Soon, Ron was snoring loudly.
“Harry?” Hermione called out tentatively.
After a moment, Harry ducked inside the tent. “Yes?”
“Do you want me to take watch next?”
“No, s’okay. Just get some sleep. I’m not really tired. “
“Okay. Well, goodnight.”
Harry returned to his post outside, pulling his jacket closer to himself. The tropical winds whistled through the night as Harry thought of something he had never bothered to mention before. He did not want Hermione and Ron to go through anything else with him that would put them in danger. Ginny, Hermione, and Ron were the people whom he cared about the most. If anything happened…
He couldn’t think of it.
So close to being home free. Only the Snatchers, the Death Eaters, and some giants and dementors, Harry and his family wouldn’t have to worry about anything else for the rest of their lives. So, Harry made up his mind. He would leave very early in the morning and try to find Lestrange by himself.
As the sun made its way slowly over the treetops, Harry stole away carrying with him only his wand and a sack of food. He also left a note explaining his absence. He hoped that they would understand and leave for London as soon as possible.
A few hours after Harry left, Ron woke to find Harry and some food gone.
“Hermione wake up! Harry’s gone.”
Hermione was instantly alert. “What? When?” She hopped out of bed and ran to the tent flap.
“Harry! Harry?” Hermione called out to the muggy forest. “But why would he leave?” Hermione said forlornly once she sat down beside Ron at the table.
“Dunno…maybe he wanted to give us some time alone?”
“You’re hopeless, Ronald, hopeless.” Hermione blushed, chuckling. Then, she turned serious. “We have to go look for him. He couldn’t have gotten far.”
“Unless he disapparated.”
“But wherever to?”
“Don’t ask me.”
Hermione packed up the tent and took Ron’s arm. “Let’s go.”
They hurried along in silence for a while, not knowing what to say and liking the silence better.
“Hermione I-” Ron started loudly.
“Let’s just find Harry first, alright?”
“Er…right, yeah.” Ron muttered.
After another hour of walking, Ron started to complain noisily. Hermione, tired of Ron’s endless grouchiness, started to walk ahead and ignore him. Suddenly, Hermione spotted an odd scrap of cloth hanging on a loose tree limb.
“Harry’s scarf. Bloody hell, what’s this doing here? Do you reckon he was attacked or something?”
“Maybe. Or he’s trying to lead us in the direction in which he was captured.”
Hermione walked noticeably a bit faster and she looked agitated and worried.
“If something happened…oh god…what if he…your stupid loud snoring caused me to not here him leave!”
“I do not snore!”
“Yes you do! Loudly too!”
The conversation ended there and Hermione rushed on through the forest.
“Harry’s got to be somewhere here. He can’t be too far…” Hermione said, fear creeping into her voice. “Harry still has Ginny and a child to get back to. Nothing can happen otherwise…otherwise Ginny would be devastated. Oh-”
“Hermione, Harry went this way.” Ron said tentatively when they came upon a fork in the path.
“What? How do you know where-” Hermione turned angrily. But, when she saw the silver deluminator in Ron’s hand, she cast her eyes downward. A pulsing blue ball of light floated ahead of them a little.
“Alright. Then…let’s follow the…light.” Hermione said quietly.
The blue ball of vibrating light bounced, twirled and floated in the air as Hermione and Ron struggled to catch up with it. Sometimes it bobbed towards the trees and sometimes it went the opposite way.
“Ron, are you sure that this thing knows where to go?” Hermione asked doubtfully.
“Yeah, this thing does.” Ron defended stubbornly.
Suddenly, the ball of blue light disappeared. Hermione screamed in the sudden darkness and instantly, she felt Ron’s hand slip into hers.
“Wands out.” They both took their wands out and pointed in every direction. Suddenly there was a quiet snap and then a rustle.
“Show yourself!” Hermione called out, her voice shaking and wavering with apprehension.
“Petrificus Totalus!” A raspy voice roared. Ron and Hermione toppled to the ground, frozen by both fear and invisible bonds.
“Look Zerir, two more of those nasty wizards. Old daddy Greyback would be so proud. Good work catching your first.” The raspy voice continued again.
“Yeah…thanks uncle.” The voice was small and a bit surprised.
The voice sounded more human than animal, for the creatures that had caught them were werewolves.