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Chapter Text

As I look out the window, I see a pleasantly foggy afternoon. My favorite kind of weather.

But I am dreadfully bored. Maybe I can conjure up some fun? It’s hard for a Dark Lord like myself to find his kicks these days.

Ah, but my most loyal servant always knows how to entertain me.

Well, most of the time. We don't need to mention the other times I’ve had to use the Cruciatus curse on him to get any amusement.

I pull out my wand and point it at my throat. Using the Sonorous Spell I yell, “Wormtail!”

A mere second later he bursts through the door. “What is it, Master?”

I release a puff of air in annoyance; why must he be such a sniveling idiot?

I stare coldly, stretching out my hand. “Your arm, Wormtail. Show it to me.”

He scuttles over to me, and I yank his left arm to bring the Dark Mark closer. I then point my wand to his arm and revel in the scream of pain he makes when I use his mark to summon my favorite.

I release his arm immediately. “Leave me.”

He scurries toward the exit, like the rat he is.

An agonizing, boredom-filled twenty minutes later, my Severus finally arrives.

“What took so long?” I say, annoyed. “You should be punished for making me wait.”

Severus’ facial expression does not change. “I was in the middle of my scheduled staff meeting.”

He raises that lovely brow at me. “To what do I owe this particular visit, my Lord?”

I slouch in my grand chair. “I am bored, Severus. Entertain me,” I command, my gaze never leaving his kneeling form.

He hums in thought. “How shall I amuse you, my Lord?”

Then he says loudly to himself, “Ah I have just the thing.”

Right after his exclamation, he proceeds to saunter over.

And, oh, do I love watching him.

He moves toward me so slowly that I contemplate using a Crucio on him for making me wait yet again today.

But, oh, I want to see what he is trying to pull.

After what seems like an eternity of watching Severus move in a sexy sway, he is finally next to me.

He starts to bend over towards me. “Would you like me to entertain you now, my Lord?”

I hum aloud and he raises his head to look into my eyes, and that is all the permission I need to invade his mind.

I catch a slow smirk form on his face right before I am assaulted by images.

The first image is of me using Cruciatus Curse on him. One of my favorite activities. Watching his face contort in pain is wonderful, I never see variances in his face otherwise.

Then it changed to cursing Potter. Also enjoyable. It then changed to Potter’s Mudblood under my wand. With Potter and that blood-traitor off to the side, watching us.

It continued to cycle through all of the people I love and would love to curse, all squirming under the force of it.

But then the images evolved into a different nature altogether. A sexual nature.

This of course isn't as enjoyable for me to watch. Being in my current body, I am unable to gain pleasure from it, lacking the bodily functions that would allow such a thing. Causing only frustration.

As it started to cycle through multiple pairings with me as a voyeur, my frustration mounted.

A final image flashed across my mind and lingered longer than the others. An image of Severus and I. Him being dominated, of course.

After this image faded there was nothing else so I pulled out of his mind, rather roughly I will say.

I come back to awareness and see Severus getting back on his feet. He looks rather exhausted from the whole ordeal. I congratulate myself on a job well done.

I sneer at him as he stands. “You know better than to subject your Dark Lord to such things.”

He bows his head. “My apologies. I thought you would enjoy such images, my Lord. It is not uncommon for you to witness your followers during revels.”

I smirk. “But those involve greater quantities of blood and screaming.”

Completely composed he drawls, “Yes, maybe I could be of use to you at one such revel?”

Being close already, he doesn't have to move very far to be right in front of me.

He bends down and raises a hand. I watch him closely as he touches his fingers to my cheek and drags them down to my chin.

His voice is a rumble as he says, “I only live to serve my Lord.”

His face is so close one second and far away the next.

He straightens his robes and in his normal voice says, “I must get back to my duties. They shall be suspicious if I am away any longer.”

Even more frustrated than before, I am tempted to make him stay for his punishment. But I am not willing to give Hogwarts any ideas, so I wave him off. “Leave.”

That castle can be quite mistrustful of new headmasters.

And as soon as he was out the door I turned to Nagini and hissed in Parseltongue, “such a tease.” she winds up the back of my chair and i scratch her scales as I continue, “he might have escaped this time, but that will just make his punishment ten times better.”

Hhmm maybe I’ll let Nagini make a meal of him.

I won't need him for much longer anyway.

General P.O.V

Severus Snape rushes back to the castle, thinking back to the disgusting endeavor he had just endured.

Treating the Dark Lord to images he would find appealing, and also unappealing.

Then having to distract him with slight flirtatious behavior. Or else he himself ran the risk of being cursed within an inch of his life.

And yet after all of that Severus has a strange ominous feeling. There must be a worse punishment being planned for him later.

It’s time to finish researching that antidote for Nagini’s venom.

It will be needed soon.

Chapter Text

I have seen plenty of things over the years, especially in this place.

Being a professor at Hogwarts has its advantages. One of those many things happens to include standing at Hogsmeade Station, watching as students pile out of the Hogwarts Express.

It’s a wonderful thing being able to see the expressions of the students, new and old, as they take in the sights around them.

Nothing beats seeing their enthusiasm for learning and experiencing all things magical before the term starts.

At that moment, lost in thought as I am, I don't notice a few silhouettes rushing towards me.

I hear cries of “Aunt Mione!”, and then I am surrounded by the combined offspring of the Potters, Weasleys, and Malfoys. There are at least ten of them, I’m sure.

Over the years, the animosity between Draco and the rest of us has dwindled to almost nothing. Of course, he and Ronald can never behave themselves once they have gotten a few drinks in them. Nonetheless, most of it remains in jest, which is something we are all thankful for.

I try to wrap my arms around the entire brood of children as they surround me.

“Haven't we already talked about this?” I eye them sternly while trying to hide my amusement. “When we are at Hogwarts, I am Professor Granger.” I ruffle all of their hair in quick succession.
“The Headmistress would have my head at any hint of favoritism.”

Which is hard to do since the group happens to get into the most mischief in the entire castle. There isn’t a professor in the whole castle who isn’t charmed by them, even if we all have to hide it behind stern lectures.

I see a lot of late night floo calls home in my future.

Scorpius speaks for the group as a whole, ever the diplomat. “Don't worry, Professor, we won't be causing you any problems.”

I give them all a shrewd glance. “I would certainly hope not.” I pause dramatically. “For your sakes, I hope Mr. Filch doesn't make you scrub toilets with a toothbrush.”

They all scrunch up their noses at the thought and run toward the carriages, yelling over their shoulders, “See you later, Professor!”

I shake my head at them as they retreat to the castle. They are going to give me a heart attack this year, I can feel it.

Behind me I hear a distant shout. “Hey, Granger!”

I turn around to see Harry, Ginny, and Draco walking up to me.

We spend the next few moments giving each other hugs.

“How are you three? You just missed the kids.” I look around to see if there are one or two more people. “Where are Ron and Luna?”

Ginny answers, “Apparently, there was a last minute Quidditch practice he had to go to. Being the assistant coach means he can't get out of it, or so he says. Luna isn't able to make it since she is taking care of the baby.”

I nod, that sounds about right. Ronald missing out on a important event such as this so that he can spend more time doing Quidditch related activities is one of the many reasons why our marriage didn't last all that long.

Right after Hugo was born, I decided that as soon as Rose started at Hogwarts I would get a divorce. This was the best decision I ever made. As soon as the divorce was final, it was like we were best friends again. Instead of the constant arguments we were having every day, we could spend time together joking or simply talking with each other. It made life easier for all of us. We loved each other, we always would, we just weren’t in love.

“I’ll have to give him a piece of my mind later,” I say with a smile. I might not be his wife anymore, but a scolding from his best friend is something he has coming to him. We move out of the way of the last wandering students. “How has everyone been?”

It has been more than a fortnight since we saw each other, and we spend the next fifteen minutes or so catching up.

Draco started seeing someone recently—the first since his wife passed away—and he is refusing to tell us who it is until later, stating that it’s still too early to know if it’s something worth pursuing. Ginny and Harry are planning a brief vacation while the kids are in school. They definitely deserve a break from work. They have informed me that Ron and Luna are throwing a birthday party for their one year old Stella soon. Everyone is invited, of course. Looks like I will have to grant the children permission to leave Hogwarts grounds sometime in the near future.

I give them each one more hug. “Thank you for stopping by, and sorry that you weren't able to see the kids off.”

They, of course, got to do that at platform 9 ¾. It still would have been nice for them to see the children again before they are sequestered in the castle.

Draco is the last to leave, Harry and Ginny already confirming when our next tea date will be.

“I’ll make sure to come visit when I’m not busy, you are choosing the tea this time, Granger.”

I nod. “Of course, and maybe on one of those visits you can bring your mystery girl.”

He just smirks and says, “See you soon, Granger.”

Once he is gone, I reflect on all of the memories I have from this place.

Hogsmeade Station is where I had, so many times, gotten off of Hogwarts Express to begin my school year. Now, it has become a place where I have seen many others take the same journey.

This will forever be a special place in all of our hearts, I think, as I make my way to what was and will always be a home to witches and wizards.

Chapter Text

The day started off as a seemingly peaceful and relatively harmless day. At least, that is what a few certain people thought as they went about their daily life.

Hermione Granger going about her daily business as a ministry employee.

Draco Malfoy taking on the daily duties of a single father.

Last but not least, Scorpius Malfoy doing his daily activities. Which included driving said single father up the proverbial wall with his antics.

As Hermione concentrated on her paperwork, she felt herself drift off in thought as she often did.

Why does this job have to be so boring? she thought. I could have gotten such a better job.

Of course, she never took that chance. She remembered the chance she had been offered almost ten years ago as if it had been yesterday.

It was just after graduating from their extra 7th year. She had gotten an owl from Kingsley, asking if she was interested in a dual internship for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. It was the chance of a lifetime, and she had been ready to jump in with both feet. Her only hesitation had been about who the other intern would be. When she had asked, she had been told that it would be Draco Malfoy.

Her first reaction to the news had been to demand to be paired with someone else. However, sense kicked in and reminded her that just because she had an issue with her partner didn't mean it could be changed.

The choice had been simple: agree to the internship and handle being in Malfoy's presence for a long period of time, or decline the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented to her.

She had declined, taking the coward's way out for once in her life.

It hadn’t been because of something as simple as house rivalry or all of the bullying. Not even because he had been a Death Eater.

It had been because at the end of the war, when all was said and done, she hadn’t had a reason to hate him. He had proved himself in what little he could do to help them at the time, and she could no longer hate him.

Because of that, the hate hadn’t been there to cover up what she had always tried to hide.

Almost for as long as she could remember, she had been attracted to him in some way. At first sight it had been his looks; however, his attitude had helped her push those thoughts away.

Over the years it morphed until it was unrecognizable from those first thoughts on his looks. Then, her feelings solidified in 6th year when they had seen him slowly deteriorate. Even so, suspicions and hate had helped to ignore the worry.

After everything they had been through, Hermione could no longer hate him.

Sharing an internship would have been too much. Her secret would have been out. Any chance of a possible friendship would have been made impossible.

Now, as she gazed at her mundane paperwork she couldn’t help but wonder: would it have been so bad? Any outcome, aside from this one, seemed better.

She leaned back in her chair and released a deep sigh. An early lunch break was definitely in order.

As Hermione had this thought, a certain pair of blondes were thinking the same thing.

Draco, having had completed the internship eight years ago, was able to work mostly from home.

It was impossible to be at the Ministry and raise a son at the same time. Thankfully, he was able to reach a compromise.

Just as he came to a stop in his work, the door to his study creeped open.

Scorpius poked his head in and asked, “Father, can I come in?”

Draco nodded and waved him inside.

Once Scorpius was seated, he blurted out his question, “Can we go to Flourish and Blotts? The new edition of Hogwarts a History has come out, can we get it?” He was bouncing in his seat, and Draco smiled fondly at his son.

He sometimes wondered where Scorpius got the love of books from.

Of course, wondering about books brought up the memory of a certain bookworm.

There was no way he was going down that train of thought, so he simply said, “Of course, son. We need to get some lunch anyway.”

Scorpius pouted from his chair. “Can we eat after?”

Draco smirked. “No, food is more important than books.”

The look on Scorpius’ face showed he was inclined to disagree. Even so, Scorpius nodded a few moments later, and they got ready to leave for Diagon Alley.

As the Malfoy pair stepped into their restaurant of choice, Hermione stepped out of hers across the street.

She briefly thought of stopping somewhere before heading back to the Ministry, then dismissed the idea. She had to go back, eventually.

However, as she passed Flourish and Blotts she glanced over for a second, catching sight of the book displayed in the window.

The new edition of Hogwarts a History.

Just the sight of it brought back the nostalgia of being a first year, fresh and new to the magical world.

The urge to go in and at least look at it was too strong to resist. This was definitely worth putting off returning to the Ministry.

Walking over to the display inside and looking at just the cover brought back so many memories. The intensity of it rooted her to the spot as she simply stared.

Five minutes went by before she came out of her trance, finally deciding to crack one open.

Before she could even lift her hand, something collided with her legs and toppled to the floor from the force.

Hermione turned around to see a small boy, probably no older than eight, on the floor rubbing his nose.

Startled to see that he might be hurt, she bent down and asked, “Are you alright?”

He looked at her shyly. “Yeah.” After a pause he continues, “Sorry for running into you.”

Giving him a reassuring smile she said, “Don't worry about it. What had you so excited?” She took a quick glance around. “And where are your parents?”

He scrunches up his face, “Dad was taking too long so I went ahead. I need to get the new edition of Hogwarts a History, it’s so exciting!”

She chuckled and ruffled his hair; he was about as excited as she had been at that age. It seemed like they had a similar love for books. “What is your name?”

He smiled. “Scorpius Malfoy.”

Hermione blinked, she hadn't noticed it before but he did indeed have strikingly similar features to a Malfoy. How hadn’t she noticed?

Shaking herself out of her daze she smiled back. “It’s nice to meet you, Scorpius. I’m Hermione Granger.”

Scorpius squealed excitedly. “I have heard so many stories about—”

She held up a hand, stopping him before he got going. “It’s nice to hear, but let's not talk about that.” He agreed reluctantly, and she continued, “I’m here to get the same thing, so how about as a gift for such great conversation, I get you a copy.”

His eyes a widened in excitement, and without giving him a chance to reply she stood up and grabbed two copies off the table. She helped him up, and they walked over to the counter to pay.

By the time they finished, it was almost the end of her lunch break.

They walked out front where they saw a slightly frazzled Draco walking over. When he caught sight of Scorpius, he sagged in relief, unnoticed if you hadn’t been paying attention.

He picked up Scorpius and said, “You know you're not allowed to run off like that.” He tried to use an admonishing tone but his relief was making it difficult.

Scorpius pouted. “I know, Father, but look, Hermione got the book for me!”

Hearing the name his eyes snapped to her face in a split second. For a few seconds they just stared.

Draco cleared his throat. “Thank you for keeping an eye on him.”

Hermione smiled, and for a moment all of the feelings that she had kept hidden from everyone were as clear as day on her face. All you had to do was look. Draco was indeed looking.

He took in this new found knowledge in shock and surprise, surely she would never be that open with him, of all people. Couldn’t be true.

And as fast it came it was gone, she looked away. “I better get going.”

Draco build up his courage when she turned to walk away. “Would you like to get coffee tomorrow?”

She turned and smiled. “Sure, owl me.”

As she walked away, she pondered the situation.

Her secret was out, and she couldn’t really care less. Because nothing could ruin her happiness at that moment.

Chapter Text

It’s on days like this that it becomes obvious that everything’s worth it. All of the heartache that life causes has a purpose, it leads to something wonderful. It might be hard, but all you have to do is push through the terrible things first.

On a day like today Minerva McGonagall, the recently appointed Headmistress, admires her surroundings in the repaired Great Hall.

Students are happily milling about, eating their meals with friends, and laughing without a care in the world.

It’s good to see the children happy again. Most of them, especially the seventh years, haven’t been carefree since they were first years. It pains her every time she thinks it. It was unbearable to contemplate just how much they, she, had failed the children in her care. She closes her eyes and shakes her head. Now was not the time to think about that.

Reflecting on events of recent years, inevitably brings back the memories of the first wizarding war and how much tragedy that also caused. Those memories are always there, lingering on the edge of her mind.

There are, of course, good memories mixed in with the bad, but they are easily overshadowed.

One such example was the happiness between Minerva and her husband Elphinstone. They had a few bright years of marriage before he died suddenly due to a Venomous Tentacula bite.

To be so harshly ripped from her, while the memories of the first war and the prior death of another love interest were still fresh in her mind was devastating for her.

However, being able to see the expressions on the children’s faces is like a balm for her soul, lessening the pain those memories bring with them. When she sees the hope and happiness in these children, her children, she feels the shackles of her past pain fall away.

It is rewarding to know that she plays a part in keeping them safe—at least, she tries her best to keep as many of them safe as she can. There were many failures, her heart constricts just thinking about it, and Potter nearly gives her a heart attack every year without fail, but she tries, and that’s really all she can do.

Still, all of it was worth it to get this ending. Every hardship Minerva went through, no matter how small, helped her get to this point.

She breaks out of her thoughts as she sees a certain group of troublemakers start to pack their things for their next class.

After the Battle of Hogwarts, the seventh years were given a chance to repeat their year. Now they were only a few weeks away from graduating.

If anyone deserves to graduate it’s those three. Fighting a dark wizard while keeping up with your studies isn't exactly easy, and while that year had affected all of them, those three in particular had suffered a lot. They had lost an innocence to the horrors of war that they could never recuperate, and Minerva was so proud of them for reaching this point. Of course, that didn’t mean that Minerva, or any of the other professors, was going to take it easy on them. She might have a soft spot for them, for all these young children that had been forced to grow up too fast, but she will make sure that when they graduate they deserve it.

As she watches them stand up, she smiles, thinking how obvious it is what fine young people they have grown up to be.

Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger continue out of the great hall while Mr. Potter breaks off from them to continue over towards the head table.

Arriving at the table, he stops in front of Hagrid to speak with him. Minerva is too far away to overhear their conversation so she brings her attention back to finishing her meal.

After a few minutes the Great Hall is nearly empty except for a few stragglers, a handful of both students and professors. Which happens to include Hagrid and Mr. Potter still deep in discussion.

Once Minerva finally finishes eating, she stands to head back towards her new office; however, Mr. Potter appears in front of her, evidently finished with his previous conversation.

He gives her a sheepish look. “Hello Professor, do you have a minute?”

She wasn't in a hurry per say, but a Headmistress’ job is never done so she waves him towards to door. “Let's walk and talk, Mr. Potter.”

It’s not until they are a ways down the hall when he finally starts talking. “I have been meaning to thank you, Professor. Without your help we probably would not have survived very long. We ended up having to use everything you taught us while we were on the run.” He glances at her, a small smile pulling at his lips. “Never really knew how important transfiguration is.”

Minerva smirks, a smug edge that was almost foreign to her. “I’m glad I got some of those lessons to sink in.” Her smirk deepens. “Though, I’m sure Miss Granger had a hand in that also.”

He colors in embarrassment. “Yeah.” He scratches his scar. “She’s pretty great.”

She changes the subject, “Am I to assume you will be going into Auror training after you graduate?”

He stands up straight, giving off an aura of pride. “Yes, as soon as we can, Ron and I will sign up for training.”

Minerva nods her head. “I’m sure anything you choose to do will be just fine.” She adds very seriously, “Just know that there will always be a place for you at Hogwarts, as a professor, or simply a guest.”

They come to a stop in front of the statue guarding the office and she emphasizes her earlier statement, “You must always remember that Hogwarts is your home.”

Harry smiles brightly at her and nods. Her lips twitch and she shoos him away. He grins, and she watches him go, then turns to go up into her office—which part of her will always see as Albus’ office.

As she sits behind her desk, she allows a genuine smile to pull at her lips. She knows for certain that this new generation will take the wizarding world by storm. They better be ready.

Chapter Text

As I walk down Diagon Alley, I know I will never get used to this. Every time I come here, there is always something new to see. Which doesn't mean a whole lot considering I have only stepped foot into this world a grand total of four times, this current trip included.

I am what the witches and wizards of this world call a muggle, a non-magical being.

I never thought my life would take this turn. After I worked hard to change my attitude and behavior, I thought my only worries in life were going to be being a good husband and father. However, as our child got older it became obvious something was different.

Our suspicions were only confirmed and given a name when the Hogwarts letter came in the mail, followed by a visitor. Suddenly, my worries doubled.

A tug on my hand takes my attention away from the little figures I’m watching dancing in one of the shop windows. I shake my head, dancing mice, who would have thought?

I look down towards my impatient daughter. “What’s the matter, Kim?”

She looks up at me with a pleading expression. “Can we please go to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes now? Please?”

I ruffle her hair, making her pout. “Not until we finish school shopping, we still need to get your books and writing supplies.”

Kim will be starting her second year of Hogwarts soon. It’s ridiculous how much supplies these students need. Along with things I think are unnecessary, such as using quills instead of pens. That being said, I wouldn't dream of stopping her from getting the full experience.

As we continue our shopping I glance around, all of the wands catching my eye. It’s strange, every time I look at a wand I feel a wave of recognition in my mind. But I am never able to figure out why, like something from my past is blocked out or forgotten.

We finally finish, and I let myself be dragged by the arm towards the infamous Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes that I have heard so much about over the summer.

After opening the door we were immediately greeted by little figures riding brooms whizzing over our heads and throughout the store.

It looks somewhat like I imagined it. Isles filled with toys and prank items tall enough to reach the ceiling. Laughter fills the air, and children are running around as if they were in a constant sugar high.

Seeing all of this makes me wish me and the guys I used to hang around were more like this. Harmless pranksters making jokes instead of the harmful bullies that we were. A time I will never forgive myself for even as I try to forget.

We spend another hour looking around the shop for anything interesting. Kim ends up picking some gummy candies that are said to change your voice into various sounds. Then I spend another twenty minutes telling her why she can't have a Pygmy Puff.

We finally make our way to the register where a red-headed man sits smiling at the customers.

Kim, in her excitement, practically crawls onto the counter when she sees him. “Hello! Are you George?”

The man gives her a kind, teasing smile despite his obvious confusion. “Yea, how’d you know? I can’t remember ever seeing you in here before.”

She’s practically bouncing in excitement. “James and Albus are always talking about their amazing Uncle George, I’ve been waiting all summer to get a chance to meet you and see the store.”

His eyes light up in recognition. “Ah, that's right they did mention making a new friend, Kimmy right? You’ll be starting second year with Albus?”

She nods quickly. “Yep, are they in Diagon Alley today? The last owl I got said they were.”

He thinks for a moment. “They should be here soon I think, I’m sure you’ll see them.”

I pay for our items and then go over to watch the Pygmy Puffs with Kim while we wait. I get sucked into watching one sleep right before I hear Kim squeal and see her run for the door. Looks like her friends showed up.

As I get closer to them I can make out the two boys. They both have dark hair one’s shaggier than the other, reminding me of something I forgot just like the wands do.

When I look up towards the adult behind them as I stop behind Kim, I remember who I keep trying to forget. What everything I see is trying to remind me of. Harry Potter.

All those memories of Dudley and I making his life hell bubbles to the surface. The memories so vivid they could be happening at present day.

I shake myself, I had cut ties with Dudley and the rest of them, I would have never been able to change my ways with them around, poisoning my mind after any amount of progress.

Now, seeing Harry, the person we harmed the most, is bringing back everything. Every single taunt or action we took against him. It can't help but feel like karma is finally getting back at me.

I try to calm myself, everything I did to help myself be a better person was for Kim, I needed to be the best role model I could be for her. I would not make the same mistakes, and up until now I thought I was doing a good job. I cannot screw this up.

During this whole pause Harry has been staring at me dumbfounded. I clear my throat and smile as best I can.

“Hey there, Harry.”

I don't know why it never occurred to me that Harry was a wizard in all the time I have known this world. He always had a wand on him and he did weird stuff when we were little just like Kim. Come to think of it, talking to snakes in a Zoo is weirder than anything Kim did.

He shakes his head also, bringing his hand out for a handshake. He says as we shake hands, “Hey Piers, never thought I would see you here.”

I scratch the back of my head. “That makes two of us.”

During the whole exchange we were ignored by our children, them talking amongst themselves.

Before we came here, I had an idea to discuss with the parents of Kim’s friends, now that I know who it is I know it’s the right thing.

My face gains a serious expression, ready to do anything for my daughter. “There has been something on my mind since Kim started her first year.”

Harry's expression turns just as serious as he motions for me to continue. “I have been trying my hardest to provide Kim with everything she needs. And I’m not just talking about for school, but for life after school. There is only so much she can experience of this world from Hogwarts and the annual shopping trip.” I see understanding in his eyes and I continue, “I know she needs more than that for her to be ready when the time comes for her to decide her future. Spending the whole summer in the Muggle world is not very helpful.”

I need to take a minute to sooth my rising anxiety. “I only want what is best for her, and being exposed to everything outside of school is what she needs. I can’t provide that for her.”

I raise a hand to stop him from saying anything. “You do not have to agree to anything, and I would never ask this of you under different circumstances.”

I finish up my whole proposal. “Kim really likes James and Albus, and you are the only person in this world who isn’t a stranger. So it would give me peace of mind if you would allow Kim to stay with you for half the summer starting next year.”

I shouldn't have been so forward, surely he will see it as off-putting. Who am I to ask favors of him? If anything, he should be cashing in the lifetime of debts I owe him for everything I did. It’s fine, if he refuses I can think of something else.

“Well, I definitely didn't see any of this coming.” Harry scratches at the scar on his forehead. “It’s true that Hogwarts can't give her the whole package, being Muggle-born does have that disadvantage.”

He looks over at the kids and the slight grimace that had formed softens and melts away. “They do get along well, don’t they?” He gives a wistful smile. “Reminds me of how my friends and I were when we went to Hogwarts, the possibility of a lifelong friendship...” He glances up at me. “Is worth getting over any obstacle.”

He gives me a small guarded smile and I smile back. There is definitely a long way to go but I can't help but hope that I have made some level of progress, hope that we will come to an agreement.

As I watch my daughter laugh with James at the effect of the gummy candies on Albus, I feel real hope for the future.

Their group of three grows to four with the addition of a blonde child, and then again growing to seven when three red-heads join them, and I smile. My hope grows, and I know deep down that everything will be fine.

Chapter Text

I board the Hogwarts Express, finally getting away from the house full of people that just keep getting worse and worse every year. Every summer spent there is getting more hazardous to my health.

It is currently my fifth year at Hogwarts. Just a few more years and I will be free of them.

I hear some familiar voices calling my name from an open compartment. “Over here, Silvy!”

I walk into the compartment to discover my friends Susan Bones and Ernie McMillan. They are my closest friends, having met first year after getting sorted into Hufflepuff.

I sit down across from them with a sigh and stretch out on the bench. “Ah, finally, I can’t wait to get there.” I get comfortable and look over. “How was your guys’ summer?”

I allow myself to finally relax while they give details about their summer. I always enjoy hearing the silly things that go on at their places.

I start to wonder about how this year is going to go. Every year something always has to happen, and it usually involves You-Know-Who and Harry Potter in some capacity. I am nearly positive this year will be no different.

I just hope it doesn't have anything to do with Hagrid and his creatures again.

 

______________________________________________________

 

I hate that my feeling was right. It doesn't have anything to do with creatures, but I almost wish it did. Anything Hagrid could whip up must be better than this pink abomination trying to teach us.

It’s a good thing our dorm is so close to the kitchens. I see a lot of stress eating in my future.

_______________________________________________________

 

Susan leans in close over the table while we eat in the Great Hall and whispers, “I heard rumors that some of the Gryffindors are going to be starting a group or club of some kind.”

“It seems like whatever they are planning has to do with the pink blob,” I whisper back. “When are Gryffindors not getting into trouble?”

She shrugs. “I don't know, but I was told it was extremely secretive and that only a trusted few are invited to a meeting in Hogsmeade on the next trip.” She leans forward even more. “Ernie and I are interested, will you come with us?”

It doesn't seem like there is anything to lose, and it might be important. “Sure, I’ll be there.”

Susan and I share a sly smile.

_______________________________________________________

 

“Silvy, come on, let's go!”

Susan pulls me behind her, Ernie already climbing into the carriage ahead of us.

Ernie flashes an excited grin. “What do you think this is about?”

Susan is buzzing with excited energy beside him. “I bet it’s a dueling club, it’s the only thing that makes sense.”

I bask in their excitement and grin. “We’ll find out soon enough.”

_______________________________________________________

 

As Harry finishes his speech and the majority start signing up, I think for a minute.

There is no doubt that Susan and Ernie will be signing up along with them. They hate Umbridge just as much as the next person. But this is definitely dangerous. If we are caught, especially by her, I’m not sure what our punishment will be. Beneath that pink exterior there could be a sadistic mind. It would be playing with fire.

Still, there is no way I’m going to let my friends go through this without me. They might need my help when this inevitably blows up in our faces, just like every other year.

_______________________________________________________

 

As we all sit in silence trying to drown out Umbridge’s lecture, I hear a faint swishing sound next to me. I glance down to see both Susan and Ernie practicing wand movements. Not only is this a bad idea in this current class, it is also dangerous. The cruel and unusual punishment Umbridge uses is well known by now.

So when their swishing noises finally attract attention, I’ve already formed a plan.

Umbridge scowls in the direction of our table and screeches in that high pitched voice, “Who is doing that? Wands are not allowed in my classroom!”

I don't hesitate to say, “That's a dumb rule.”

Her face starts to turn a light shade of red. “My rules shall be followed! Wand away!”

I put my elbows on the table, my chin on my palm as I lean to the side. “Why? How am I supposed to learn?”

She gradually gets redder. “Practice is not required, reading the book and listening to the lecture should be enough! If not, then you are a poor student, deserving of whatever grade you receive.”

I lean forward to deal the final blow. “Or you’re just a bad teacher who shouldn't be here.”

Her head looks like it’s about to explode as she screeches in her highest voice yet, “Detention! After class!”

I smile as she tries to settle herself. Thank goodness that worked. I look over at Susan and Ernie and raise a brow in question.

They just answer me with concerned and thankful looks. Class then continues as usual and I try my best to drown out her annoying voice.

_______________________________________________________

 

All three of us are sitting in the kitchens just before curfew, enjoying snacks while the nice elves bandage my newly scarred hand. The words ‘I shall not question authority’ cut in deep.

Susan and Ernie are sulking on the other side of the table, waiting for my hand to be taken care of before they start talking.

Once my hand is finished, Ernie stops eating his muffin and asks, “Why did you do that, Silvy?” giving me a concerned and guilty face. “It was our fault, and we could have handled whatever punishment she gave us. It wouldn't have been worse than a warning.”

I take a sip of my hot cocoa. “That’s true, but one student breaking the rules is less suspicious than two.” I picked up a Liquorice Wand and waved it at them. “We have to be careful, especially since Neville was already caught.”

They both sigh in defeat, but Susan adds on anyway. “I agree, but I’m sure you wouldn't have gotten detention if you hadn’t said all of that.”

After chewing on my piece of licorice I say, “But because of it she is more likely to remember my attitude and not the wand part.”

Ernie shakes his head at me and grins. “Since when have you been part Slytherin?”

Susan just rolls her eyes. “As if she hasn’t always been.” She sips her herbal tea. “She’s the one who was always able to get us past Filch on the way to the kitchen.”

We sat and laughed together for about another hour, recounting silly stories and not worrying about a thing.

By the time we finished it was after curfew, and we once again had to use our skills to dodge Filch. Even though it’s said that being sneaky is a Slytherin trait. It is also said that Hufflepuffs are very good at hiding.

_______________________________________________________

 

I walk down one of the hallways on my way to class. I am relatively early so the hall is mostly empty.

Walking passed multiple benches I discover one occupied by a teary eyed first year. I contemplate walking past the boy when I notice that he’s wearing a Slytherin tie.

Slytherins are not very trusting, and even first years rarely tear up or cry outside of their dorm. This must be serious, and seeing how the hallway is virtually empty, I can't just leave.

I sit down next to him and wait for him to notice me. I was never really shown any consideration from my family—was a rare occurrence. Because of this I am not the best at comforting people, but I’ll try my best.

It takes a minute for him to notice me, and when he does his shock is visible. I guess I was quieter than I thought.

Once I have his attention I ask, “My name’s Silvy, what’s yours?”

By now his tears have partially dried up, not wanting to cry in my presence, most likely.

He studies me for a moment and seems to decide on something. “It’s Samson.”

“Samson is a wonderful name,” I say brightly. “Would you like to tell me what’s wrong? I can be very helpful.”

His expression is still a mask of caution, as if he really does not want to tell me. But some other need seems to be winning out.

When he finally gives in, he doesn't say a word. He simply uncovers a hand I didn't notice had been covered by his robes.

On his hand I see the deep cuts from one of Umbridge’s punishments. I am unable to hold in a gasp as I reach over to lightly clasp his hand. I was under the impression that Slytherins were safe from her. Then again, I’m sure that has something to do with their family’s prestige.

Looking at the words carved into his hand, I don’t think it’s that either. On his hand reads, “I will not infect my fellow students.”

I don’t know what it means, but that isn't important right now. I reach into my bag and pull out the container of Burning Bitterroot Balm the House Elf gave me for my hand. It won't help the healing, but it will sooth his pain. It’s the best I can do without Essence of Dittany we would have to get from Madame Pomfrey or Professor Snape.

Once I start applying it to his hand, he is able to relax a little. I say as I finish up, “This should be fine for a while, simply re-apply when you feel pain.” I pull out my wand and he tenses I ignore him and quickly mutter, “Ferula.” Once he is finally bandaged, I try some comforting words. “You don't need to worry about Umbridge, the DADA Professors never last.”

He nods in reply, and I notice the amount of people walking through the hall is starting to increase. Looks like it’s time to go. I hand him the Burning Bitterroot Balm and give him a quick hug. “Be careful and stay out of trouble.”

I stand and continue down the hallway towards my class before he can respond.

_______________________________________________________

 

Susan, Ernie and I are all practicing our Patronus and other spells with the DA when we feel the ground and walls shake along with the sound of stone cracking.

By the second shake I realize they finally found us. I desperately think of needing a place to hide, hoping the Room of Requirement won't fail us now.

A wardrobe appears to the side of the room. Not really inconspicuous but it'll have to do. I get Susan and Ernie’s attention, and we each grab the person closest to us. We all pile into the wardrobe, discovering that we pulled in Hannah Abbott, Zachariah Smith, and Katie Bell.

We close the door and Hannah says shrilly, “What about the others?”

Zachariah replies in a hissed voice, “There’s no time, now be quiet.”

We wait there as quietly as possible, even our breathing is quiet. Ten minutes pass, and we decide to chance it. We step outside to see that the room is deserted, and there is a giant hole in the wall, rubble everywhere.

Katie looks around incredulously. “Seriously? How the bloody hell did they not see us?” Their level of intelligence is heavily implied in her tone.

Susan shakes her head. “Come on, let’s go.” We proceed to sneak down the hall to the lower floors. It’s harder with a bigger group, but we can manage. I’m sure the others can manage dealing with Umbridge just fine too.

_______________________________________________________

 

The stories over the next few days were entertaining. They don't beat out Fred and George’s entertainment, but it’s still funny.

One version of the story even has Harry and Umbridge getting into a sword fight.

It’s clear whatever happened took place in the Forbidden Forest. For other details, anyone’s guess is as good as mine.

We sit back and enjoy the peace and happiness that will hopefully stay strong until the school year is over.

Maybe I can think of a way to get away from my family for at least part of the summer.

_______________________________________________________

 

Susan, Ernie and I are all sitting on the Hogwarts Express, talking and laughing about events from the year and planning summer activities.

Lounging on my bench I ask them, “Do you think I could stay with you guys for part of the summer?”

Susan starts excitedly clapping. “Oh, that’s a great idea, we can ask our families if all three of us can go on a trip together.”

Ernie seems to have been struck with an idea. “My family is planning a trip to Iceland.” He is so filled with excitement he’s practically waving his hands around the whole compartment. “You guys can come with us. We are supposed to come back a few weeks before school starts, so for the last few weeks we can stay together at one of our houses.” He finally calms down. “I’ll have to ask, but I’m sure they won't mind.”

I grin along with them. “That sounds perfect.”

The rest of the trip is spent talking about the things we are going to see and do. I can’t wait for the best summer of my life to start.

Chapter Text

I wake up and do my morning stretches. I look over to the other side of the bed, only to find it empty.

I groan into my hands. Oh, not this again. Everytime I sleep in late, I wake up to find Felicity already gone for work.

I really need to start waking up when she does. My mornings are a disaster without her.

I get up to start my day reluctantly. I might as well get started.

I select some clothes from my wardrobe, laying them out on the bed. I can usually handle the shower, it’s similar enough to a wizard’s bath with the same kind of nobs. Sometimes, I forget about needing to wait for warm water, nothing serious.

This time, I take care not to forget. I stick my fingers in first instead of trusting that the temperature is fine to just jump in. The first time I made that mistake I was sure I froze half of my body.

After my quick shower, I continue with the rest of my routine. Next on the list is breakfast.

The first time I tried to use the stove unsupervised I nearly singed off my hair. Now I have graduated to only getting a few burns, an improvement in my opinion.

Still, let's not tempt fate this morning. It's already going steady and I would rather not have any burns to treat today.

I head to the kitchen and check the fridge. Bacon and eggs are out due to the stove, and frozen breakfasts are not possible. There is no way I will ever be able to use what she calls a Microwave. Besides the complicated buttons, I would rather not make my food by “nuking it” as she puts it. It doesn't sound safe.

So the only option I can see right now is toast. After a month of practicing I’m sure I’ll get it this time.

I select slices of bread from the bag and stick them in the toaster. The sides, I learned, can burn you as easily as the stove. So I steer clear of it until the toaster finishes. I press the button downwards and wait.

My mind wonders and around five minutes later I hear a shrill ding that makes me jump every time. Even if I’m paying attention.

The toast is completely black and I groan in defeat. Burnt toast again then. Once I spread a generous amount of butter on it I’m sure it will taste fine. I’ll probably add some marmalade on it, too, just in case.

I reach over to pull the toast out, using my fingers. As soon as I pull them out my fingers start to burn. I quickly run over to the nearest counter and dropped the slices. My finger tips are red and I put a few in my mouth to sooth them. So much for not getting burns. They're fine after a few seconds so I proceed to butter my toast. Finished, I walk into the living room.

Now, the ultimate test, let’s see if my practice from the last month has been for nothing. Every time I try, I can never turn on what Felicity calls the Telly. I have some time before work so every morning I try until it’s time to go.

I sit down and pick up the remote. I then proceed to press every single button in rapid succession. Nothing happens. I try this for another five minutes before getting up to play with the buttons on the telly.

It doesn't matter which ones I press, nothing works. Around thirty minutes later, I give up and head to work through the floo.

I really hope I can master this soon. Felicity and I got engaged a month ago and I want to be able to cook or do something by the time we get married. When we moved in together the only thing she wanted was for us to use Muggle appliances, saying magic made me lazy. The only thing I wanted was to connect our fireplace to the Floo Network. We agreed and now I have to learn all of these things.

It was a fair trade but it is still hard to try and figure everything out.

I work through the day, and am finally able to Floo home sometime in the evening. As soon as I step through I smell the wonderful aroma of her cooking. Every day is lovely as long as it ends like this.

I walk into the kitchen after cleaning the ash off my robes, gaining her attention.

She puts what looks like a casserole into the oven and turns around to greet me. “You’re home!” she puts her gloves down and gives me a hug. “Did work go well? And how was your morning?”

I let out a sigh of relief and bask in the relaxation she brings me. “Work went well, we were working with Venomous Tentacula today and no one got nicked this time.” I quickly glance around the kitchen. “My morning went better than usual, the toaster and the telly being the only things that gave me any issues.”

Her embrace tightens and she starts rubbing my back. “You’ll get it eventually. Besides we Muggles are raised learning how to use all of these things, and some still can't use them properly when they are older. For only using them a short amount of time, you are doing remarkably well.”

I smile and kiss her on the forehead. “I think I can figure the toaster out on my own, but I will never figure out how to use the telly without you.”

She hums absently. “Good idea, let’s go figure out what’s wrong.” she pulls me towards the living room and sits me down on the sofa. After inspecting the front for a moment, and trying a few buttons on the remote without success, she stops to think. A moment later she suddenly slaps herself in the forehead. “How did I not think of it? I am so stupid. That is always the first thing you’re supposed to check.”

Walking around the telly she inspects it and cries out in triumph. I cannot help but ask, “What is it?”

She starts to explain. “Do you remember when I was telling you about how the telly works because it gets power from being plugged in? Well it has been unplugged this whole time, that’s why it wasn't working!” She shakes her head at me. “See what I mean? Even I didn't notice it for a long time, and it’s supposed to be the first thing you check.”

I guess that made me feel slightly better, even Muggles had trouble with their own stuff. Maybe I really will be able to figure it out soon. I was never the smartest but I was no slouch either.

Felicity pulls me up and towards the kitchen. “Come on Neville, I was just finishing up making dinner, we’re having mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and sausage.”

“Oh, my favorites.” I assist her in any way I can, even knowing I am no help at all. Once we are sitting down and enjoying the food, I bask in the contentment I feel.

I Neville Longbottom, will soon be married to Felicity Adamson.

I am the happiest man alive.

For the record, ever since the telly incident, I always check to make sure everything is plugged in.

Chapter Text

I have only been back with the Dursleys for two weeks. Summer has barely even started. However, with what had recently happened, what I had witnessed happen to Sirius in the Department of Mysteries, I just can’t handle their bullshit this time for an entire summer. If I feel like this after two weeks, that should be a decent sign that I need to leave.

I pull out my trunk that I still haven't fully unpacked, and repack everything I will need for when 6th year starts. There is no way I am coming back here.

As it is 6 o'clock in the morning on a Monday, no one is awake in the Dursley household. Which makes it easy to walk out the front door without a fuss.

After I finally get to the corner, I raise my wand to hail the Knight Bus. I have enough Galleons on me to pay for a night’s stay at The Leaky Cauldron, but I’ll have to stop at Gringotts for more tomorrow.

The Knight Bus arrives a mere minute later. I climb in, carrying Hedwig and pulling my trunk behind me.

The familiar shrunken head greets me asking, “Where to, man?”

I reply, “To The Leaky Cauldron.”

I make my way towards one of the seats when the head says his usual, “Take it away, Ernie!”

I quickly set down my trunk and cage next to a chair, barely having enough time to sit before the bus takes off.

As the journey progresses, I let my mind wander. Well, as much as riding in a high speed vehicle will allow.

I’m jolted from my thoughts when someone plops into one of the chairs closest to me. The bus isn't that crowded so this stranger sitting so close with many other chairs open is kind of weird. Being the-boy-who-lived usually gets me a lot of unwanted attention. Let's hope this isn't one of those times.

I start to suspect that it’s not after about twenty minutes of silence. I glance over at him one more time before deciding he probably won't say anything. I look out the window to watch the scenery flash by at lightning speed, letting my mind wander back to my thoughts.

I’m again startled, this time by the man next to me finally deciding to speak.

“Just ask already, I know you want to,” he says with a resigned sigh.

Thoroughly confused, I manage to force out a few words. “Uhh… ask what?”

He snorts and looks at me with an incredulous expression, as if it should be obvious what he's talking about. Since it is not in fact obvious, I can only manage to say, “I’m sorry? I don't understand.”

Now he is just looking at me with a bewildered expression. “Do you really not know who I am?”

It seems like there is a good reason why I should. “Sorry, no, I don't. Should I?”

He studies me for a few moments, probably deciding if I’m serious or not. Finally, he seems to come to the conclusion that I am indeed very confused. He offers up his hand for a handshake. “My apologies, this rarely ever happens. My name is Lorcan d’Eath.”

Shaking his hand I say, “I’m Harry, it’s nice to meet you.” Sitting back in my chair, I think about his name and where I could have heard it before. I have a very faint recollection, probably from overhearing a passing conversation. Turning towards him I say, “I have actually heard your name before, but I can't remember when, and I don't know why.”

He gives me a slight smirk. “I’m not surprised, most people recognize me for my songs, not because they recognize my face.”

That would make sense, I probably have heard people in the common room mention him. But something is nagging at me that suspiciously sounds like Hermione telling me I forgot something that I should have been listening to.

I decide to pry a little and pass the time till my stop. “You said most people. Is there something else you’re known for?”

He clears his throat and gives a shrug, looking embarrassed. “There are a decent number of people who know me to be half-human, half-vampire. Lets just say that kind of focused and obsessive attention can get very uncomfortable.”

I throw my hands up in realization. “Of course!” I turn towards him, ignoring his startled expression. “That’s why I heard your name before. My best friend read about you being an advocate for vampire rights or something like that.” His expression morphs into surprise so I continue to explain, “The majority of our group of friends feel that Magical beings should be treated equally. My friend, Hermione, is crazy about it.” I throw him a teasing glare. “She was so excited after reading about you that she gave us an hour-long lecture.”

By the time I’m finished, he was actually blushing slightly. “No one has ever recognized me from that reading. Of course, people have seen it, but nobody ever brings it up when they see me.”

I stare at him. “Really? That lecture was loud enough that the entire common room was forced to listen.” I shrug, maybe he just doesn't meet that many Gryffindors who are still at Hogwarts.

He has a genuine smile on his face. “I appreciate the enthusiasm.” His smile drops slightly and he releases a sigh. “Very few others share the same excitement. Most people only recognize the singer.” He grimaces slightly. “The rest only see me as a ridiculous half-breed spouting off nonsense.”

I sigh and sink back into my chair. Remus has that problem too, nobody taking him seriously and recognizing him for the great professor he is.

I look over at him and see a defeated look on his face. After a moment, I decide to try and help a little. “I’ll be staying at The Leaky Cauldron for a while, possibly until the end of summer.” I give him an encouraging smile. “Hermione will probably be joining me at the end of July. Why don’t you drop by once in awhile?”

He looks intrigued but simply asks, “Are you sure? She wouldn't mind?”

I nod and say reassuringly, “Of course, she would love to meet you. She’s also the smartest person I know and gives the best advice.”

He nods absentmindedly, appearing to be lost in thought. “That sounds great. I just might take you up on that offer.”

Just then the Knight Bus finally arrives at my stop, and I stand from my chair to grab my things.

We say our goodbyes and promise to owl each other soon with the details.

Heading off the bus, my mood has greatly improved. I have possibly made a new friend and set up some plans for the summer.

I’ll have to owl Hermione soon. I can already see her brain working on the solution to the problem—with her enthusiasm where House Elf and Werewolf rights are concerned, I’m sure she will react just as strongly to vampire rights. With Hermione’s brain and determination combined with Lorcan’s inside knowledge and experience, I have hope that this issue will no longer be ignored by the masses. Besides, once Voldemort is gone, hopefully prejudice will be reduced as well, which I’m sure will help the cause.

Chapter Text

4 months. It’s been 4 long, agonizing months. Ginny Potter sits at the kitchen table of Grimmauld Place in a suffocating silence, her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee that has long-since gone cold.

Over the months, most of her days have passed similarly. With the children at Hogwarts, the house was empty except for herself. An empty house meant that she didn't have to pretend to be okay. Her only consistent visitor was Hermione, and she never needs to pretend with her.

Ever since Harry and Ron had been killed while trying to capture at-large Death Eaters, both Hermione and Ginny have been trying to deal with the grief of losing, not one, but two important people in their lives. With the rest of the Weasleys in a similar state of grief, it’s hard for them to try and comfort the newly made widows.

Ginny doesn't even look up at the sound of the Floo; it’s always the same person anyway. A few times a week Hermione would come over to sit with her in silence with her own cup of coffee.

She does exactly that, walking into the kitchen and pouring herself a cup before sitting down. Unfortunately for Ginny, Hermione decides to change things up this time.

With a quiet sigh, Hermione speaks, “This needs to stop.”

Startled at the silence being broken Ginny looks up at her. What did she mean?

With another sigh she continues, “We can’t keep doing this, Ginny. Sitting here in silence with nothing but our own thoughts and staring into our coffee as if it holds the answers.” She runs a hand through her curly hair in agitation. “It’s not healthy, we have to continue on with our lives. Time won't stop for us.”

In a low voice, Ginny replies, “And what do you propose we do? Slap fake smiles on our faces and do things as usual? We cannot just do that.” She clutches her cup tighter. “We can’t just go back. It will never be normal again, and you can’t just expect me to move on just like that. I have lost my husband and my brother!” Ginny’s face contorts with grief. “Just because you can doesn't mean I will be able to. Not everybody can be as perfect as you,” she finishes bitingly.

Letting her frustration show, Hermione shouts, “You know damn well that I am not perfect! And I am just as shattered as you are!” She takes a deep breath. “We need to be strong. Harry and Ron wouldn't want us to remain this way. We need to be able to support and take care of our children. They do not deserve lies and false smiles from us.”

At the mention of their kids, Ginny calms down. “You’re right. They don’t deserve that, but I don't think I can. You have to be strong enough for the both of us.”

Hermione shakes her head and grabs a hold of Ginny’s hands. “I will be strong for them and you, but that won’t be enough. I have always had to be the strong one, taking care of others.” Her grip tightens. “I can't be strong forever if I’m the only one. You have to be there for the kids too.” She stands from her chair and walks around the table to hug Ginny. “I need you just as much. We need to support each other.”

Finally giving in, Ginny collapses with a sob onto Hermione’s shoulder. Letting her friend guide her, Ginny and Hermione settle on the drawing-room sofa. They lean on each other and sob—finally letting out their emotions—until they're drained.

After a while, they are finally able to calm themselves and Ginny says with a shuddering breath, “I will try my best for you and them. I know they wouldn't want me to just mope around the house. That is all I can promise.”

With another hug, Hermione sighs. “That’s all I ask for.” She pulls back with her hands still on Ginny’s arms. “What do you say to some spring cleaning?” She glances around. “This house certainly needs it.”

Ginny smacks her arm lightly and snorts. “Of course it does. It’s almost like one of those crazy Blacks cursed the house to be perpetually dirty.”

With their plan for the day made, they split up, Hermione taking the first two floors and Ginny starting on the remaining bedroom floors.

For close to five hours they progress through the rooms: vanishing dust, using Tergeo, and casting air freshening spells more times then they could keep track of before finally finishing.

By the time Ginny finally came downstairs, Hermione was already almost done cooking dinner. Looking at the stove she discovered a pasta dish that consisted of bowtie pasta, Marinara sauce, and ground beef. Sitting on the counter was a basket of sliced french bread with some garlic butter on the side. Ginny was salivating at the smell of it—she couldn’t remember the last proper meal she’d had.

Ginny sets the table and practically drops into her chair. “Please tell me it’s almost done, I don't think I can wait much longer and it smells amazing.”

Hermione turns around and gives her a fond yet wistful smile. “Yes, just a moment.” She continues to stir the mixture and tries not to think about how many similarities there are between Ginny and Ron.

Soon the food is done, and they are both sitting at the table enjoying their meal.

Ginny looks up from her plate and grabs a hold of Hermione’s unoccupied hand. “Thank you, Hermione,” she says, fighting the tears that threaten to fall.

Hermione simply squeezes back. “Anytime.”

As Ginny goes back to her food, she can’t help but hope as she thinks, we’re going to be alright. Maybe not tomorrow, but we will be in time. It’s a start.

Chapter Text

It all started on a snowy night on Hogwarts’ grounds.

Hermione sat on a bench outside near the entrance to the great hall. She watched the snow fall in an attempt to calm her mind. She tried to get rid of the frustration from Ron’s outburst just a short while before. He just had to ruin the Yule Ball for me, she thought. He couldn't just let me enjoy myself when he’s miserable.

She was trying to shake off her thoughts and continue watching the snow when she heard footsteps on the stone. Looking up, she saw one of the Weasley twins walking toward her.

“Hey there ‘Mione, whatcha doin’ out here?”

Hermione tried to figure out if it was Fred or George. The slightly messier hair usually gave her a hint as to which one it was, but she was never sure until they talked. Fred always had a slightly more excited and cheerful tone.

She looked up at him, unable to summon a smile in greeting. “Hey Fred, just thinking.”

His look told Hermione he’d decided to try and tease a smile out of her. “Well, that’s good. The world would come to an end the instant Hermione Granger stopped thinking,” he said in an exaggerated, dramatic voice.

His efforts were rewarded with a small curve of her lips. Not the smile he was probably hoping for, but it would have to do for now. He plopped down onto the bench in the space beside her.

“So, what absolutely diabolical and brilliant plan for world domination is your brain brewing tonight?”

That earned him a quiet giggle. “Oh just deciding on where to place the boils on Ron later, I’m thinking that somewhere rather embarrassing, but not painful should do the trick.”

He snapped his fingers. “How about arse spelled out across his arse?”

Hermione just giggled and shook her head. “He would never be able to sit down!” she exclaimed and tried to hold in more giggles.

Fred pouted. “Hm, pity. We’ll just have to put it on his forehead then.”

They both chuckled for a minute, knowing they wouldn't do that to Ron, even if it was an entertaining thought.

With his mission accomplished, Fred stood and offered his arm to Hermione. “Shall I escort the fair lady to her chamber?”

She rolled her eyes at him but accepted his offer anyway. And as they walked back to the Common Room she savored her good mood.

_______________________________________________________

 

The following winters and Christmases were similar for Fred and Hermione. They weren't all because of having to cheer up Hermione. That was of course included, but most of their time was spent enjoying the snow float to the ground. Although this wasn't the only time they enjoyed each other’s company. There was just something about this time of year that made their time together special.

They helped each other remain cheerful and lift their spirits when they needed lifting. Hermione was there for him and the other Weasleys when Arthur was attacked by Nagini. Fred was there for her a few months later while she healed from the curse Dolohov cast on her. He admitted that he felt guilty about not being there to help.

She patted his cheek while she laid down on her cot in the hospital wing. “There is nothing you could have done. We left so quickly I never would have been able to contact you in time. Even if you and George came with us, the outcome would have been very similar, if not the same.”

He was clearly not convinced, but Fred dropped the subject when George walked over saying, “Hey Granger, how’s it feel to have your insides, inside your body?”

She simply raised a brow and replied, “Just peachy.”

They sat and talked for a few hours until it was time for visitors from outside of Hogwarts to leave. Fred gave her a gentle hug and ruffled her curls before he left.

_______________________________________________________

 

The following year left Hermione confused and frustrated. She was frustrated with Ron because of his obnoxious behavior. But she was also confused about her feelings. With Fred gone she ended up spending even more time around Harry and Ron. But this didn’t make her feelings for Ron grow—it made her miss Fred more and more. That And Ron’s behavior made any feelings for him seem less and less romantic.

This made her even more confused because, even though she missed Fred, she wasn’t sure she felt romantic feelings toward him either. It was more of comfort and fondness, But Hermione knew that was just a start. There was immense potential for much more.

So when Christmas came around, and she was able to see him, it was amazing. They talked of course, but they made sure to take advantage of the snow falling outside.

While they sat, Hermione felt the stress melt away. As they leaned on each other Fred silently lifted his hand palm up, and Hermione accepted the invitation interlocking their fingers. They sat in silent understanding.

_______________________________________________________

 

That following summer, she knew that this year wasn't going to be the same. It probably never would be the same. She’d had to Obliviate her parents to protect them, and she wasn't planning on returning to Hogwarts. With the Headmaster gone, it was not safe.

The time at The Burrow before Bill and Fleur's wedding was the last chance to spend time together for a long time. They were well aware that they most likely wouldn't be seeing each other that Christmas.

The morning of the wedding, they were down in the kitchen drinking tea before everyone else woke up.

Fred peered into his tea, anxiety clear on his face. “Are you sure this is a good idea? All of you on the run? I know you can take care of yourselves, but what happens when you run out of food? Or if you get injured and there isn’t anyone who can help you because Harry and Ron are clueless about that stuff?”

She smiled reassuringly. “I have plans and backup plans for everything I can think of. We’ll be the best we can be in those circumstances.” She grabbed his hands. “I’ll be fine because I get to listen to your voice over Potterwatch, but what about you? Will you be okay?”

He smiled teasingly. “Of course. George will just have to suffer my company. I’ll be sure to give you my best greeting when I see you next.”

Hermione grinned. “Likewise.”

Later on, Fred was able to steal her away for a dance, and they enjoyed each other’s company.

When the Patronus came with the message, Fred had just enough time to kiss her on the forehead, and then she was gone.

_______________________________________________________

 

The sight of The Room of Requirement was a huge relief for Hermione. They were greeted the instant they exited the portrait hole. And among the massive reunion, she could see the moment Harry finally reunited with Ginny. It was amazing to see them so happy again. Even when she felt the small stab at not having seen Fred yet.

Just then, Order members started pouring out of the portrait. They must have been alerted by Aberforth. Sure enough, Fred came through with the rest of them, and Hermione wasted no time leaping towards him for a much needed and anticipated hug.

Catching an armful of Hermione, Fred silently rejoiced at seeing her safe. He tightened his grip, savoring the feel of Hermione safe in his arms.

They both ignored the rest of the room at that moment, concentrating solely on each other. They tilted their heads, finally sharing their first kiss.

It was not a passion-filled kiss, and it was not a hasty, we-are-going-to-die type kiss. It was a simple kiss filled with comfort, hope, and longing. A promise for the future they hoped to have.

Their goodbye was quick once the fighting started. Their roles were clear, and they had jobs to do.

_______________________________________________________

 

To Fred, it felt like forever since the fighting had started. He’d started fighting a group in the seventh-floor corridor alongside Percy. Hermione, Harry, and Ron not far behind them.

Nobody was as relieved as he was that his brother decided to fight with them and not against them.

Percy’s opponent happened to be the Imperiused Minister. Unexpectedly, he cried out, “Hello, Minister!” Before he hit Thicknesse with a jinx. “Did I mention I’m resigning?”

Fred barely kept his composure long enough to take care of his own opponent. He shouted in surprise, “You’re joking, Perce!” He turned towards him. “You actually are joking, Perce… I don't think I’ve heard you joke since you were—”

Fred’s excitement was interrupted by an explosion to the side of the group. There was no time to react as the rubble from the blast buried him. His last thoughts were on everyone’s safety and Percy’s surprisingly hilarious joke. Undercut only by the despair felt at the sound of Hermione’s heart-wrenching scream.

_______________________________________________________

 

It wasn't until later that Hermione allowed herself to collapse next to George by Fred’s side.

She let herself cry harder than she ever had before at any other point during the war. There had been so much hope for them in her heart. A future she had seen herself sharing with Fred. Those things could no longer happen; infinite possibilities snatched away in mere seconds. In the years envisioned in her mind, Hermione had never considered this possibility: lonely winters without Fred. It had just been starting to unravel for them, feelings finally acknowledged.

She leaned against George and cried her heart out. For their missed opportunity, and the future she could no longer have.

Chapter Text

It was a normal day at Hogwarts. The castle and its student were finally able to relax with their biggest threat finally destroyed.

With Voldemort gone those affected most by him were finally given a taste of what a normal school year was supposed to look like. No trolls, spiders, basilisks, dementors, or important death eaters for them to worry about.

Of course, after having to live in that reality for years it made it difficult to relax completely. Most didn’t know the first thing about what normal entailed.

For a certain Gryffindor and Slytherin, the only normal thing they have is their mutual dislike towards each other. It has been a solid constant throughout the years. Even though they had little reason to continue it, not really having the energy to hate each other as much. It was the last normal thing in their lives, and they clung to their rivalry like a life raft out at sea.

This took the form of bickering, arguments and competing in their shared classes. They made sure it never escalated to slurs and insults, that aspect of their previous rivalry they were all too glad to end.

It was close to the Christmas holidays of their final year when their rivalry changed slightly.

Potions class was one of the few that required them to interact constantly thanks to Professor Slughorn’s brilliant idea of partnering them together. No doubt trying to milk their skill in potions for all it was worth, helping to restock his potion stores.

The students filed in as class was about to start. Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger taking their seats next to each other.

Slughorn clapped, getting everyone’s attention. “Alright students, we are going to do some review today. You will be brewing The Draught of Living Death, as it will be on your Newts. You will be working with your partners so gather your ingredients and get to it.”

Draco stands to get the ingredients while Hermione lights the flame under the cauldron and pours in the amount of water necessary for the base. Less than two minutes later Draco was back and they started to prepare their ingredients.

Draco measured out the amounts of the Infusion of Wormwood, and Sloth Brain they would need. He then took out his silver dagger and started crushing the Sopophorous Beans.

Hermione looks over at his work while she was crushing the root of Asphodel into a fine powder. She stopped mid-movement when she saw the technique he was using on the beans. Her voice came out warily, “How did you learn that Malfoy?” his actions were a harsh reminder of 6th year and that damned potions book.

He looks at her with an incredulous expression. “Really Granger? It was no secret that Snape was my godfather.” He gave an exaggerated sniff and returned to crushing the beans. “Of course he taught me.”

It was only because she was staring that she noticed the way his shoulders tensed at the reminder of their now deceased potions professor. Hermione was also sure that the reason for needing such training wasn’t pleasant either.

She continued to grind the root into powder with only a few big chunks left. “The Asphodel is almost ready. Are you finished with the beans?”

“Of course.” He said as if it were obvious. Draco looked over at her work and grimaced. “You obviously have no skill at powdering root, that doesn’t even look close to done.” He gestures with his hand. “Hand it over.”

Hermione scoffs at him. “Absolutely not. I am doing just fine thank you very much. This will just take a moment.” she waves over at the bowl of Sloth Brain. “Besides you didn’t even measure the correct amount of brain. It calls for one half of the brain, not one quarter.”

Their tempers high, they continue with their preparations. Hermione putting more force in her grinding. Draco maiming the rest of the brain unnecessarily as he measures out the rest.

By the time they started to put in the ingredients, they were practically boiling with anger.

The Wormwood and Asphodel making a small splash as they were tossed in. Hermione did the required number of stirs with enough force to slosh some of the potion over the rim. This was followed Draco dropping the brain into the cauldron unceremoniously making a bigger mess. The bean juice was poured in with a plop and Hermione continued with some more angry stirring.

They ignored their anger long enough to see how the potion turned out. It was the lilac color described, but it was stubbornly refusing to turn clear like it’s supposed to.

That was all it took for their anger to explode.

Hermione practically screeched, “Look what you did! It was probably from you dropping the brain in there like that.”

Draco scoffs and scowls down at her. “As if! This was caused by all your mad stirring!”

They devolved into growling at each other when Slughorn raised his voice, “Mr. Malfoy, Miss Granger, that is quite enough! Your inability to work together has ruined your potion. Detention tonight after dinner.” He lowers his voice. “Now I suggest you clean up your mess before class ends.”

Thoroughly chastised, Hermione and Draco start cleaning their very messy workspace. Silently admitting to themselves that they got carried away.

By the time they finish cleaning the other students have left and Slughorn has gone back to his office.

With their anger almost gone Hermione thinks that this is as good a chance as any. Right before Draco can leave Hermione removes a wrapped box from her bag and holds it out to him while looking away. “Here Malfoy.” After a few moments of silence, she looks over to see him staring at the box in her hand. She shakes the box. “It’s just some chocolate frogs, and I felt like giving you a Christmas present.” she shakes it some more. “Come on, it’s not like I poisoned them.”

Draco rolls his eyes but takes it gently if not a little warily. “Thanks.”

Hermione smirks then forces herself into a blank expression. “Don’t thank me yet, you could still choke on them.” she isn’t able to keep a straight face for long. She also decidedly doesn't mention that the rest of the present is a messenger bag, underneath the chocolate frogs, with an Undetectable Extension Charm on it.

Draco also tries to keep a straight face, but his amusement clearly shows. He casually reaches into his bag and pulls out a smaller wrapped box and hands it to her. “I happened to get you something too.” he looks to see her blinking owlishly up at him in astonishment. He scoffs softly. “It’s just a few barrettes. I’m sure you don’t have any of those, and you need something to control that monstrosity you call hair.” He also doesn't mention the moonstone bracelet he put in there along with the intricately painted barrettes.

Hermione nods and imitates his sniff. “Why thank you kind ferret, they shall be most useful.”

He mock scowls at her, failing to hide his growing amusement.

They each Accept their gifts and finally exit the classroom. Their rivalry reasserts itself and they go their separate ways.

Later on, if anyone asked Draco why he was eating chocolate frogs, his answer was simply that he liked chocolate. If asked about his new bag he would just shrug and ask what their problem was. Never mentioning the charm on it.

If anyone asked Hermione why she started wearing barrettes, all she would say as a reason was how pretty they were, and aren’t they so useful. If her bracelet was ever mentioned she would start going on and on about how moonstone had so many magical properties and uses. The subject was promptly dropped by everyone, not wanting to listen to a long lecture.

And if Hermione or Draco themselves ever noticed, well they never said anything about it. Nor did they say anything about the Christmas presents over the many years to come.

Chapter Text

I knew from the beginning that going into this war would be the hardest thing I’ve ever needed to do.
That included all of the years of helping Harry. The Sorcerer's Stone, a Basilisk, murder conspiracies, tournaments, prophecies, hunting Horcruxes and all the other nonsense we’ve had to deal with, all lead up to this.

And if I was able to stand by Harry for everything else, then I could be there for this too.

The final battle happened suddenly. One minute we were still on the run and thinking of a way to get into Hogwarts, and the next we were greeted by our friends at the end of a tunnel into the Room of Requirement.

Most of the beginning was a blur.

The Room of Requirement was a blur of students greeting us and shouting in excitement as they ran around. The only moment of clarity was when Harry finally reunited with Ginny.

But then it was a blur of portraits, robes and flying hair as we all raced down to the great hall where other students were lining up.

There was a slight pause before Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall started dueling. The battle was a blur of lights and flapping robes as they moved and cast spells. Right after Snape fled the castle, Voldemort’s voice echoed in my head. I tried my best to block it out and that too became a blur of words I chose not to acknowledge. It would be too horrible otherwise.

The Slytherins were sent to the dungeons and plans were shouted around in the crowd. This lead to Ron and I running through the halls and passages we knew so well to get to the Chamber of secrets.

It blurred in my mind even more, running to the girl’s bathroom, opening the chamber, grabbing as many fangs as we could, stabbing the cup, then oh Merlin Voldemort’s face and oh Ron’s finally kissing me.

There wasn’t enough time to dwell on it. We ran back to the Room of Requirement and my mind was finally calming down so that I could actually see the portraits on the walls now.

We rounded a corner and found Harry, but not that far in front of us Fred and Percy were dueling. And for the first time that night I cursed my mind because as the wall exploded everything was vividly detailed in slow motion. Even as we were knocked back I could see the rubble above Fred. Every single spell I knew flashed through my mind but I already knew that there was no way I could be fast enough. If I had reacted faster maybe I could have cast Flipendo or something, anything to knock him out of the way. But I couldn't.

And I wished that everything was still a blur.

We couldn't spend more than a few minutes to move him and continue on to the Room of Requirement where the second to last Horcrux was hidden.

Ron and I followed Harry through the piles of lost items while he followed the hissing voice to the Diadem. Of course it isn't so simple, and of all the people we had to run into, it had to be Malfoy, Crabbe and Zabini. Even then I didn't expect Crabbe to be crazy or stupid enough to cast Fiendfyre. Harry grabbed the Diadem and we made a mad dash in the opposite direction.

Harry found some brooms and we were hightailing it out of there when he spotted Malfoy and Zabini clinging to a stack of items, but Crabbe was nowhere in sight.

We turned around and circled around them. I prayed that we would be able to grab them in time. They aren't my favorite people in the world but that doesn't mean they should die. Fred is gone and so is Crabbe. we have to do this at least.

Harry was able to grab Malfoy and Ron grabbed Zabini. A small weight was lifted off me. It doesn't make up for those who died, it never would, but we were able to save someone. It wasn't much, but it was something.

Harry kicked the Diadem into the Fiendfyre right before the doors closed. Another down, one more to go.

Harry announced that the snake was the last one and we were off running as fast as we could to the Shrieking Shack.

Crossing the yard we were in the thick of the battle, dodging spells left and right, avoiding all of the Giants and Acromantula as best we could. But everywhere I looked i saw other students and friends on the ground or soon to be. More people I couldn't save or stop to help. Lavender, Colin, and so many other bodies that I couldn't see the faces of.

But we had to leave so when our path was cleared of Dementors thanks to Aberforth we kept running, and I tried not to look back.

And because we have the worst luck, we show up to find Voldemort and Snape talking about the elder wand. He tells the snake to do something and it violently attacks Snape. We rush in once Voldemort was gone but for all the numerous items in my bag I didn't have a single Bezoar, or any antivenom potions, and we had run out of Dittany days ago. All we could do was sit and listen to him as he told Harry something. All we could do was watch someone else die.

Harry collects tears, that look like memories, into a vial. We wasted no time running back towards the castle, voldemort having called a small break for now. I didn't dwell on what he asked for by the end of the hour, I could think about that later.

Harry, Ron and I entered the great hall to see people sitting down and bodies lying on makeshift beds. The Weasleys were crowded around Fred and a few spaces down Harry and I spotted Remus and Nymphadora. It was unreal to see more of my friends, people I cared about, just laying there lifeless.

Harry broke away from the group saying something about finding a pensieve. I sat with Ron, simply giving and receiving comfort.

It felt like a lifetime waiting for Harry to come back down the stairs when in reality it was around a half hour.

When I got a good look at his face I knew that he had decided on something, and that there was nothing either of us could do to convince him otherwise.

When he told us about being a Horcrux, and pointing out how I probably already knew, I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry and hug him forever so that he couldn't leave, because Damn it, I knew. I had known that it was a possibility since I started reading about them, but I never wanted to believe. So I did cry and hug him but I knew I couldn't keep him there so I said I would go with him. I said this because he shouldn't have to go alone, but I also knew that he would go no matter what.

He said no of course so I was forced to wait with Ron while he walked to his death. Oh Merlin, please let him have a plan.

When we were called outside by Voldemort's I didn't want to believe it. When I saw Hagrid carrying Harry’s body I wanted to believe that it was all a lie and that Harry did have a plan. My hopes were dashed the longer I stared at his lifeless body, until… it wasn't lifeless any more.

I saw him jump out of Hagrid’s arms and run away. My relief was immediate and I felt renewed energy, enough to help Ron chase down that damned snake. It took a few adrenaline filled moments but Neville was finally able to cut the snake's head off. Leaving Voldemort as the only thing left.

We ran outside to see Harry and Voldemort locked in their duel, jets of red and green colliding in the center.

Not a moment later the battle was over, Voldemort taken down by his own spell.

Harry stood triumphant and tired, finally done after all these years of fighting him. I grinned at him but movement out of the corner of my eye grabbed my attention.

A random Death Eater I could not recognize was getting to his feet behind harry. Others were slow to notice but before he even moved his wand arm I knew that he wouldn't leave Harry alone. So this time I moved without hesitation, because this time there was enough time to act and protect him. Not enough to cast a spell of my own but that didn't matter, Harry was in danger. Out of everyone, he deserves the chance to live a normal life, there was no way I was going to let his sacrifice be in vain.

My own life flashed before my eyes. My past, present and possible future including the good and bad. But none of that stopped me, I will miss it, but Harry is my best friend, my brother in every way. There is no way I could let him die too, just like everyone else.

My sprint must have confused him because Harry never turned around, he just stared at me as the Death Eater raised his wand. I finally reached him a few seconds before the Death Eater snarled the killing curse at us, giving me enough time to grab Harry into a hug, spin around and release my hold so that he had to stumble away.

He finally realized what had happened, but by then it was far too late.

My last thoughts were of Harry, Ron and the Weasleys. Hoping that this would be enough and that they were finally safe after 7 years of continuous danger. I reveled in the fact that I was able to save my best friend even as I heard him scream my name.

I didn't even give a thought to the fact that this would be the second time in his life that Harry was saved by a loving and unconditional sacrifice.

Chapter Text

February 10th 2006

 

Dear Hermione,

Your due date is really close right? I hope you’re doing alright. Last I checked, Astoria and baby Scorpius are doing great. Let me know how you are and try to send me a Patronus if anything happens.

Your Anxious Best Friend,

Neville

 


 

 

It had been a week since Neville had sent the last owl and he was worried. He still hadn’t heard from her or anyone else.

 

The constant thunder over the last few days wasn’t helping his mood either. It added fuel to his paranoid thoughts. Is Hermione alright? Are there any complications? Has she gone into labor already? If so, why hasn’t anyone sent a Patronus yet?

 

He ended up anxiously pacing in front of Susan who is sitting on the couch reading and keeping her swollen feet elevated. She reaches over and pulls him down next to her. “Pacing is not going to help, if you're really worried try floo calling them.”

 

He nods and gets up to do just that. Four unanswered floo calls later and Neville is in official panic mode.

 

With no other options, he conjures a Patronus, sure it might be nothing but he would rather make sure. “Hey Hermione, sorry for bothering you, but nobody has answered my floo calls and I’m really worried. Can you please let me know what’s going on? Your silence scares me.”

 

With a flick of his wand his Patronus message is sent directly to Hermione. If that doesn't work he doesn't know what else to try.

 

He sits down next to his heavily pregnant wife and waits for the news, good or bad, while listening to the relentless thunderstorm outside.

 

To keep his mind busy, he thinks back on the box of letters he has kept over the years. Most, if not all of them, sent to and from Hermione. He nods to himself and goes in search of the letters.

 


8 years ago

 

The war against Voldemort was finally over and the rest of the wizarding world started to pick up the pieces. The ending was recent enough that the effects were still very fresh to everyone, but there had been enough time for the initial shock to wear off.

 

Due to this, Neville started to wonder how everyone was doing. He hadn’t really talked to anyone besides Luna and his Gran. He wanted to find out but not at the expense of disturbing everyone’s peace with a swarm of owls. Sending a letter to one person with all of the information about everyone else would be a better idea. And he had the perfect friend in mind.

 


 

July 6th 1998

 

Dear Hermione,

Sorry to bother you if this is a bad time, but I really wanted to make sure everyone's okay. As soon as I had gotten everything sorted, I realized that I haven’t heard from anyone since we all left Hogwarts, aside from Luna. How are you? Do you know how Harry and the Weasley’s are doing? Reply when you get the chance, there’s no rush if you're busy.

Your Concerned Friend,

Neville.

 


 

He ends up busying himself with things to do around his family home for about a week doing everything from gardening to managing the family books. That was usually Gran’s job but Neville really needed the distraction. He hopes his friends are alright.

 

The reply letter arrives shortly after, setting off a never ending series of letters.

 


 

July 15th 1998

 

Dear Neville,

I apologize for not getting the chance to reply sooner. I have been busy trying to locate my parents. Sent them away to Australia last year using some extreme methods to keep them safe. I am happy to say that I was able to find them safe and in one piece about a week ago. I have been spending this time getting them settled back into their old house. Needless to say, I am doing very well under the circumstances. Based on the owls I get from Harry and Ron, they’re all as good as they can be, though the atmosphere is understandably dreary. I won’t know for sure until I go back there. I’ll be heading over to The Burrow as soon as possible. Until then know that we’re all doing fine. How are you and your Gran? And you mentioned Luna so I’m assuming you know how she is too. Did you get that owl from Professor McGonagall asking for help repairing the castle and coming back to retake our last year? I’ll most likely take her up on that. You definitely can’t have a fulfilling job without NEWTS.

Your Friend,

Hermione.

 


 

July 16th 1998

 

Dear Hermione,

That’s good to hear, I can’t imagine not knowing where my parents are since they are always at St. Mungo’s. I’m glad everything worked out. I do hope Harry and the Weasley’s are doing as well as they say they are, let me know if they aren’t? I was able to get ahold of Dean and Seamus since I sent my last letter. They told me they’re doing fine and that they decided to move in together for the time being, I think it’s a good start. And Luna’s as calm as ever if not a little shaken still. She’s doing fine overall, keeping herself and her father busy as best she can. Gran and I are doing good so far, she has started getting our estate back in order and updating everything. I have been gardening mostly. And yes, I got the owl from Professor McGonagall, I’ll definitely accept. There’s no way anyone will hire me without those NEWTS. I’m planning on doing a mastery in Herbology when I get the chance.

Your Friend,

Neville.

 


 

July 17th 1998

 

Dear Neville,

That’s a relief to hear. Tell everyone I send them my best. I’ll be heading to the Weasley’s in a few days so I’ll keep you updated on that. I’m so happy that you're accepting! I don't know for certain, but something tells me that Harry and Ron aren’t going to go back. Not that I blame them. It will be nice to see a few familiar faces. Will you be free sometime in August? We could meet up at the Leaky Cauldron and get our supplies at Diagon Alley. It would be nice to just do something normal again. Maybe this school year will finally be normal too.

Your Friend,

Hermione.

 


 

July 25th 1998

 

Dear Hermione,

Meeting at The Leaky sounds like a great idea. Try and drag Harry and Ron along even if they aren't returning. Getting out would be good for them, and it would be nice to see them too. I’ll make sure to bring Luna. For the record, I don’t think any of us is capable of normal, especially not a normal school year. Voldemort wasn’t necessarily involved in half the stuff that happened, just the life threatening things.

Your Long Suffering Friend,

Neville.

 


 

Neville stretched and looked up at his ceiling after finishing his latest letter. His decision to write Hermione was definitely the best he’d made. They never really got many chances to just talk before. Of course that school year was jinxed from the start.

 

He shifted in his seat on the couch and watched the windows for any signs of Hermione’s Patronus. But there were none, nothing but storm clouds and thunder.

 


 

July 10th 1999

 

Dear Hermione,

You know when I said that there’s no way we could have a normal year, that wasn’t permission to prove me right. And getting into a relatively harmless prank war with Malfoy is not what I had in mind for normal. I’m surprised there was any time left for school work and revision. It was pretty funny I’ll give you that, but definitely not worth it for me.

Your Extremely Long Suffering Friend,

Neville.

 


 

July 12th 1999

 

Dear Neville,

I beg to differ. I think it turned out rather well. After all, Astoria ended up naming us future Godparents because we made her laugh so much at all of the things we pulled. I would call that a win. Plus Malfoy enjoyed himself, even though he won’t admit it. It might not be normal, but at least we kept things interesting without threats to our lives. George will be so proud when he hears about it.

Your Best Friend,

Hermione.

P.S. And don’t think I forgot about you promising to ask Luna out. Get on that.

 


 

Neville groans as he puts down the letter. He’s already nervous enough without the reminder, thank you very much.

 

He takes a deep breath and nods to himself. He’ll build up his courage and ask Luna on a date next week. Maybe.

 


 

August 10th 1999

 

Dear Hermione,

There, I finally sent her the owl. She hasn’t replied yet, but it’s only been 30 minutes, so that’s fine, right? I’ll just wait calmly and without panicking.

Your Terrified Best Friend,

Neville.

 


 

August 11th 1999

 

Dear Neville,

Finally! Don’t panic there is no way she’s going to say no. Hang in there, if Ronald and I can handle going on dates it will be a breeze for you. Wishing you the best of luck.

Your Best Friend,

Hermione.

 


 

Neville reaches over to pat Susan’s leg. She was right of course. Luna’s reply came soon after and a date was set. He remembers being very optimistic and reminding himself to let Hermione know how it went.

 

Afterwards they came to a mutual understanding that they were better as friends, it was still a great date and worthy of sharing.

 

Neville shuffled around in the box for a minute before he decided to skip ahead to one of the most recent letters.

 

His worry over Hermione is great, but the memory is happy enough to bring a smile to his face.

 


 

August 25th 2005

 

Dear Neville,

Have you heard the good news? Astoria just owled me, she’s pregnant! She said word for word, “I hope you remember your soon to be Godmother responsibilities, because this baby is coming.” Goodness I’m so excited! You’ll probably be getting an owl from her, if she’s keeping her word on making you the Godfather. I can’t wait to see Malfoy’s face when he realizes we’ll be spending time around his precious little baby. She’s four months along, and I can’t wait. There’s so much we need to prepare.

Your Best Friend,

Hermione.

 


 

Neville drops the letter and calls down the hall from his office, “Susan! I just got an owl from Hermione!”

 

She calls back from what seems like the living room, “Oh? What was it about? You certainly sound excited.”

 

Without realizing it, he very dramatically runs into the living room and shouts, “Astoria’s pregnant! I’m going to be a Godfather!”

 

Susan stares at him in amazement of his behavior. “That certainly is exciting.”

 

He manages to calm himself down enough to sit on the couch next to Susan. “There is so much to do, I can’t wait, Malfoy’s face will be the best thing I have ever seen. I’m sure Ron’s will be just as hilarious.”

 

She laughs and pats him on the head. “I guess I don’t have to worry about your reaction to my news, have no idea why I bothered worrying in the first place.” She shrugs. “I was going to tell you tomorrow anyway but now seems like a good time.”

 

Neville looks over at her with wide eyes. “What news?”

 

Susan pats his cheek. “I’m pregnant too of course.”

 

It takes a few seconds but as soon as Neville absorbs the news he jumps back up and yells, “I’m going to be a father!” He squeezes Susan tightly. “This is amazing.”

 

They sit there like that for a few minutes just basking in the happiness.

 

Suddenly, Neville jumps back up with a realization. “I have to floo Hermione! She’ll be so excited!”

 

Susan shakes her head fondly as she listens to Neville shout about there being ‘two babies.’

 

She is again shocked out of her thoughts when she hears Neville scream from the other room, “Merlin Susan! There’s going to be three babies! Three! Hermione's pregnant! Three babies! There’s so much we need to do!” She just sighs and laughs to herself. At the rate this is going someone will pop up with news of a fourth baby and poor Neville will have a heart attack.

 


present day

 

By the time he’s finished looking through his box of letters, it’s been around twenty minutes from the time Neville sent his Patronus. He looks up the moment an otter Patronus swims through the window in a glorious blue glow. They hear Hermione’s breathless voice come from the otter, “I’m so sorry Neville, I can’t believe nobody told you. My water broke five hours ago and we flooed to St. Mungo’s. I swear I told Ronald and Harry to inform you. I haven’t given birth yet but so far everything is fine.”

 

Once the otter fell silent and vanished into thin air, it was like an enormous weight, brought on by the worry for his friend, was lifted from Neville’s shoulders. He sighs and saggs back into the couch, closing his eyes.

 

Only for him to be brought back into awareness by a slap to the chest and Susan’s voice, “Now’s not the time for a nap! Hermione went into labor.”

 

Struck by the realization, Neville shoots up from the couch and starts running around the house, grabbing things they might need. “Oh Merlin, she’s in labor! Are you going to be alright here? Traveling through the floo isn’t safe so far along. I’ll be back as soon as I can, but there is no way I can miss this.” He zips the bag closed and gives his wife a kiss on the cheek. “You’ll be fine?”

 

She chuckles to herself before saying, “Of course I’ll be fine, Hermione’s in need of your help. Get going.”

 

With a final kiss goodbye, Neville takes the floo straight to St. Mungo’s.

 

Upon arrival, he immediately gets directions to the Maternity Ward. They aren’t complicated and it isn’t hard to spot the giant group of Weasley’s and a few other people in the waiting room.

 

He jogs over to them shout whispering, “What did I miss?”

 

Harry shrugs in answer. “Not much yet, sorry I didn’t send you a message. I didn’t realize I had forgotten until I saw your Patronus come through.”

 

Ginny snorted. “If you had been paying attention, you would have noticed Hermione reminding you.”

 

George giggles and stage whispers, “More like screaming it at him.”

 

All Neville can bring himself to do is shake his head and find a place to sit and wait for his opportunity to visit when everything’s over.

 

He ended up waiting for hours, going from late night to the early morning hours of the next day. There was even time for a nap.

 

At around 6AM, after Molly finished passing out cups of coffee to everyone still there, one of the doctors assigned to Hermione came out to the waiting room.

 

The doctor spoke in an even tone, “Family of Hermione Weasley?” Not even a blink changed their neutral expression when the entire group stood up. “The birth has been successful and there haven’t been any health complications. You are allowed to visit in small groups.”

 

It was decided that the first group to go in would consist of Neville, Harry, and George.

 

All three of them file into the hospital room and we were greeted to one of the best sights of our lives at that point in time.

 

Hermione was sitting up in her hospital bed, looking tired but happy. Ron was seen sitting on the chair next to the bed, holding the most beautiful baby in the world. George walked over and sat next to Ron and stared at the baby intently. Harry settled at the edge of the bed and Neville picked the chair across from Ron.

 

Neville sets down his bag and asks, “How are you feeling? Have you decided on the name?”

 

Hermione smiles tiredly. “I’m just fine and we decided on Rose Weasley.”

 

Harry pats her leg. “That's a lovely name Hermione.”

 

Rose makes a sound and flails her arms around, lightly tapping Ron on the chin.

 

George chuckles lightly. “She’s a menace already.”

 

Hermione huffs dramatically. “Of course she is, she’s your Goddaughter after all.”

 

George seems to choke on his spit a little at that. “Yeah… she is, isn’t she.”

 

Neville turns back to Hermione. “I brought a bag of all the things I could think of, it’s mostly stuff for your aftercare and some stuff for the baby. Everything's labeled.”

 

She sighs. “You’re the best Neville. I’ll be sure to use them and thank you for waiting this whole time. I’m sure you’ve kept Susan waiting for far too long so head home, you can come by to see us and the baby anytime.”

 

Neville sends her a grateful smile. “Of course, I’ll visit as soon as I can. That child is going to be severely spoiled.” He stands up and gives her a kiss on the forehead and a hug before waving goodbye to everyone else. It was time to head home.

 

There was no rush. They had all the time in the world to see each other and catch up.

 

As Neville made his way back home, he wondered about the future and what Hogwarts would be like for their children. At least one thing is certain, their lives will never be typically normal.

Chapter Text

Remus kicks a pebble into the lake and listens to the sound as it plops into the water. He has been standing here for what seems like hours, waiting for the other person to arrive. He had sent them a note asking to meet him at the Black Lake at 6pm. Seeing as it’s 7:30 pm and dangerously close to curfew, they probably won’t bother showing up.

Remus sighs and passes his hand through his hair a few times, messing it up. He had even signed the note, but maybe the shortness of it made it too cryptic. Given the pranks that normally happen to them, it isn’t surprising.

While he’s ruminating and kicking more pebbles into the water, he doesn’t notice the figure walking towards him.

Mid kick, Remus is startled by a hiss. “What in the bloody blazes did you call me out here for, Lupin?”

After successfully catching himself from faceplanting into the lake, Remus turns to see the very unamused visage of Severus Snape.

Remus just sighs. “Oh, good. I didn’t think you would come.”

Severus sneers at him. “Blame it on curiosity.” He waves his hand in the air as a vague gesture. “Well? Get on with it.”

“Right.” Remus takes a breath and really looks at him. On the surface, Snape’s the same as ever, but just below that, he’s the most apprehensive he has ever looked. That knowledge is very unsettling for Remus. “How are you doing?”

Severus scoffs. “If you're just going to ask me stupid questions, there is no need for me to be here. This not worth the risk of getting caught after curfew.”

Before he can storm off, Remus gestures for him to stop. “No, that's not the only thing.” He stuffs his hands into his pockets and kicks another pebble nervously. “It’s been a few weeks since Sirius pulled that stunt, and I wanted to see if you were okay.”

Severus’ face distorts with fury. “A stunt! That was not just some minor stunt he pulled, Lupin! I almost die-.”

Remus swiftly interrupts him. “I know, I know, I do.” He yanks at his hair absentmindedly. “It was extremely stupid, and I don’t know what he was thinking. Our pranks don’t go that far, you know they don’t. Sure, they can be humiliating, irritating and mildly painful. But never life threatening.” He lets go of his hair and looks Severus in the eye. “So, are you okay?”

He’s stiff, and his expression is still on the angry side, but after a minute, Severus answers, “I’m just fine, Lupin. This was entirely unnecessary.”

Remus heaves a great sigh and relaxes his shoulders before immediately tensing up again. “Do you have any questions? You deserve an explanation at the very least.”

Severus’ expression shifts into a grimace, and he looks like he wants to be anywhere else but here. His curiosity wins out, and Severus crosses his arms in front of his chest. “How long have you been a werewolf? How did you become one?”

Remus relaxes at the simple questions. “Since I was little, not sure what age exactly. My father offended the wrong person, and I payed for it.” He ends up grimacing at the second part.

Surprisingly, all Severus does is nod his head in understanding. “We always suffer from our fathers’ mistakes.”

They stared at the lake in silence for the next few minutes, deep in thought.

Severus grabs Remus’ attention while still facing toward the lake. “Did you know?” When Remus didn’t immediately answer, he turned to face him. “Did you know about Black’s plan?”

Remus just shakes his head sadly. “No, I had no idea. By the time Sirius told James about it, I was already inside the shack, and I hadn't seen him on the way there.” He sighs deeply. “From what I have gathered from James and from Sirius himself, it was a very spur of the moment thing. An offhanded statement that didn’t register as important to him right away.”

Severus snorts and says bitterly, “Typical Black, typical Gryffindor, doing and saying things without thought to the consequences.”

“Hey, don’t bring Gryff-,” Remus responded with a whine before cutting himself off to stare over Severus’ shoulder. He points to a few figures and quickly whispers, “Look over there. Who’re they?”

All it takes is a glance for Severus to recognize a few fellow Slytherins. Instead of getting their attention, he grabs ahold of Remus’ arm and makes a break for the treeline of the Forbidden Forest.

They are able to hide behind the closest tree by the time the group of Slytherins gets much closer. As they walk towards the shore of the Black Lake, Remus is finally able to recognize Rosier, Avery, Mulciber, and Wilkes.

Those four Slytherins in particular are well known for pulling pranks of the cruel variety on other students. While no one outside of their house is safe, they tend to target Muggle-borns and Half-bloods specifically. But a key bit of information puzzled Remus.

He shifts his head closer to Severus and askes in a whisper, “Aren’t they your friends?”

Severus gives a almost inaudible scoff. “Hardly, they’re mere acquaintances. If they weren’t such dunderheads, they might have been, but sadly, I am surrounded by idiots.” He raises his brow and gives Remus a pointed look.

Remus furiously whispers, “It’s just a question.” He looks around the surrounding area to see if there are anymore students around this late at night, but there are none. Whatever this group is out here for, it can’t be good. “What do you think they’re doing?”

“I don’t have a clue. Now pay attention, they’re talking.” Severus gestures towards the group.

They focus on the conversation to try and hear them. And while it’s possible for both of them, Remus is having a much easier time of it, thanks to his furry problem.

They are standing in some sort of huddle and try to seem subtle. Which, given the location and time of night, was virtually impossible.

Rosier sneers and asks Avery, “Did you get the potion?”

Thin-lipped, Avery replies, “I had Black brew it for us. I told him to meet us here.”

In a split second, Rosier exploded. “You idiot! This was supposed to stay between us, nobody was supposed to know! I wouldn’t be surprised if you told Dumbledore himself!”

Severus rubs the bridge of his nose and breathes deeply. “Dunderhead is an extreme understatement. They wouldn’t even have to tell him. Dumbledore probably already knows with how they’re carrying on.”

Remus just scratches his head and whispers, “He said Black, right? But not Sirius? I think he mentioned a little brother before. He doesn’t really talk about him.”

Severus sighs. “Figured that out, did you?” At Remus’ side glare, he continues, “Besides them, the rest of the Blacks have already graduated. So yes, Regulus is the only other possibility.”

“Regulus,” Remus whispers, sounding out every syllable. “I’ll have to ask Sirius to introduce us.” He thinks for a second and asks, “Wait, are they on speaking terms? He hates his family, but he never says anything bad about Regulus specifically.” His eyes light up, and he looks over at Severus. “But you could introduce me, right?”

Severus just glares at Remus and rubs his forehead in irritation. “This is not the time. Pay attention.” He mumbles the rest absentmindedly. “It’s obvious why I stay away from Gryffindors. Headache inducing, the lot of them.”

Remus chooses to ignore the last bit with a smile on his face, focusing back on the awkward huddle going on nearby.

Rosier has turned to whisper furiously at the others in the group, making it hard for even Remus to understand him.

Remus leans over and whispers to Severus, “Sounds like they're supplying someone with a poison. I don’t know who’s involved, but from how they’re talking about it, they are important people.”

Severus’ brow furrows as he thinks. After a few minutes, he whispers, “Of all the places to go to get a potion, why from Hogwarts students?” After another minute of ruminating, he continues, “Why these students were chosen is pretty obvious. They’re some of the few who are dumb and cruel enough to agree. I suppose if an important person were suspected of spiking someone’s drink with poison, Hogwarts wouldn’t be on the list of places to procure it from. Nobody would suspect them to get it from some impressionable teenage wizards.”

Remus’ face scrunches up at the possible explanation. “Huh, that seems like a huge oversight. We have a potions class, we are taught how to make poisons and their antidotes. We should definitely be somewhere on that list, right?”

Severus scowls. “Yes, all of them are imbeciles. Poisons aren’t even hard to make.”

Remus glances over at Severus. “I feel like you're agreeing with me an awful lot.”

At this, Severus sniffs and lifts his chin. “Don’t get used to it.”

A figure coming towards the lake catches their attention again.

Once Regulus has made it to the group, Rosier continues speaking louder than before, “Now that everyone has graced us with their presence, we have a client to meet.”

Regulus simply crosses his arms. “And who would that be?”

Rosier snorts and starts walking towards the Forbidden Forest. “None of your business.”

The rest of them, including Regulus, follow. The only problem with this is that they are now walking straight towards Severus and Remus.

Severus whips out his wand and casts a quick Disillusionment charm over the both of them. The group starts to pass their tree, and they keep as still as possible, even going as far as holding their breath. Regulus’ eyes are the only ones that even twitch towards them, and even then, the two hiding can’t be sure it wasn’t a spasm.

A few minutes later, Severus deems them a safe distance away and lifts the charm.

Remus starts toward the retreating figures, but Severus grabs his arm. “Lupin, what in the world do you think you’re doing?”

Remus shrugs out of his grip. “I’m just following them to try and figure out what’s going on.”

Severus scoffs. “What, we stumble upon a mystery, and all of a sudden we’re detectives? Is that what you think?”

“Well, no, I wouldn’t go that far-” Remus cuts himself off and stares at Severus excitedly. “Wait, that was a Muggle reference! You made a Muggle reference! I never noticed you make one before.”

Severus just raises an eyebrow and says, “Honestly, Lupin, do try to keep up.” He turns and starts walking in the other group’s direction. “Well? Didn’t you want to follow them?”

Remus hurries after him as quietly as possible. “This conversation is not over. You're just delaying the inevitable.”

Severus ignores him and focuses on the people they're following instead. It won’t do to get caught from the start.

After about 15 minutes, the others finally stop at a small clearing. With the Forbidden Forest being a place full of creatures of all kinds, the current silence is very suspicious.

They realize why when they see who the Slytherins came to meet.

With the recent rise of Voldemort and his followers, people have decided to elect a new Minister for Magic. The most recent Minister, Eugenia Jenkins, is considered incapable of dealing with Voldemort.

And right now, standing in the clearing, is one of the front runners in the current election, Harold Minchum. His face is well known with it being plastered all over the paper. This answers as many questions as it creates.

Those involved are indeed very powerful. Anyone else, other than students, might have turned him in. None of the dangerous creatures that lurk in the Forbidden Forest are in sight, and it is eerily quiet. Which brings Severus and Remus to conclude that a ward is probably being used to repel the creatures. And the potion, Regulus is still holding, could be used for anything, really, but the most likely thing is eliminating the competition.

Severus and Remus’ minds are spinning with the newest revelations and questions.

What are his exact motivations? What is the reason he picked these students specifically? Are they connected? Why hasn’t Dumbledore done anything about it?

Remus looks over at Severus and whispers incredulously, “There’s no way Dumbledore is unaware of this. Even if Regulus found a way to secretly brew the potion, he would have been alerted to this trespassing, right?”

Severus’ mouth forms into a thin line, and he nods. “He knows. That old coot is a lot of things, but an idiot he is not.” He leans further into the tree they’re hiding behind. “Therefore, he is smart enough to know that when accusing someone like this,” his forehead scrunches up in irritation or concern, but Remus can’t be sure which one, “you better be absolutely sure, and without solid proof, you're wasting your time.”

Remus goes silent for a few moments, lost in thought, before he starts speaking, “Dumbledore needs proof, right? Then let’s give him some.” At Severus’ glare, he continues. “We get detention a lot, right? Well, everytime we go to Dumbledore's office, there’s a pensive in the corner. Memories should be enough, right?”

Severus’ expression turns contemplative, and he sighs. “If that's the best idea you’ve got, then you better focus. Commit everything to memory.”

Remus narrows his gaze. “What? You’ve got a better idea?”

Severus makes a tisk sound. “I’m not the one who wanted to follow them.”

Remus rolls his eyes and looks back towards the clearing as he says, “You didn’t have to come.”

He ignores Severus’ answering scoff as he looks at the man running for Minister. As Remus looks at him, a decent breeze flows in and ruffles his hair. Or what looks like hair.

Remus squints his eyes to try and get a better look. “Is he wearing a wig?” He asked, revulsion heavy in his tone.

“I believe the correct term is ‘toupee’.” Severus wrinkles his nose. “Well, no one can accuse him of having taste, at the very least.”

Remus holds in his surprised snort as much as possible and turns back to the clearing to see Minchum hold out his hand towards Regulus.

Getting impatient, he waves his hand. “Well, hand over the potion.”

Regulus refuses to budge. “You still haven’t told me why you need it.”

Minchum’s face contorts. “I don’t have time for this.” He takes a step forward and Regulus takes a step back.

Regulus, looking nervous now, says, “Not until you say why.”

Losing whatever patience he has, he growls, “My Lord is not kind to those that fail him, now hand it over.” Bending his knees as if preparing to lung for the vial.

Remus glances at Severus and nods. He pulls out his wand and sees Severus doing the same. “Ready to run in 3… 2… 1… now!”

Remus flicks his wand, and it releases an extremely loud bang.

Regulus, who was getting ready to flee at the drop of a hat, sprints in the direction of the castle, taking advantage of everyone else's confusion. Remus and Severus run back towards the Black Lake at almost the exact same time.

Minchum, not wanting to take any chances, flees the area immediately. The remaining students scatter in every direction, not knowing where to run, thus allowing Remus and Severus to escape virtually undetected.

As soon as they reach the Black Lake, Severus and Remus try to catch their breath, Severus have a worse time of it.

Once recovered, he glares over at Remus and grumbles, “I suppose a detective wasn’t far from the truth.”

Remus chuckles. “Yeah, you're a regular Sherlock Holmes.” His words dripping with sarcasm.

Severus rolls his eyes. “If I’m Sherlock Holmes, you’re Watson.”

Remus, now pulled from his thoughts, says in an semi-offended tone, “Watson? Why do I have to be Watson? Why not Moriarty?”

A smirk is the only answer given before Severus turns back towards the castle and starts walking.

“Oh no you don’t, Severus Snape! You are not walking away again. This conversation is not over!” Remus yells as he jogs to catch up with Severus.

Later, Dumbledore asks about what they were doing at the lake, before the group of Slytherins show up, since they had not included it in the memories.

Remus and Severus refuse to say anything about it. That was private after all.

Chapter Text

I have been told beforehand that it was going to be a normal dinner where we could catch up and spend some time together. I accepted, of course. I’ve been working at the Ministry more often than not. Seeing Harry, Ron, and Ginny sounded amazing and stress free.

 

I should have known It wouldn’t be just a regular dinner invitation.

 

A devious grin on Ginny’s face is never a good sign. So when she opened the door to Grimmauld Place, I knew something was going on that I wouldn't agree with. Ginny has a worse poker face than Harry.

 

I decided to ignore the expression for now and leaned in for a hug. “Hey Ginny, how are you? I haven't seen you since your latest season started.”

 

Her grin turned into a smile and she motioned for me to come inside. “I’ve been great.” She turned her head towards the kitchen and shouted, “Hermione’s here!”

 

We slowly made our way to the kitchen as Ginny excitedly informed me of her Quidditch team. She told me that the Holyhead Harpies were at the top of the leaderboard that season and they had a huge chance at the World Cup.

 

Before she could say more, we were interrupted by Harry and Ron’s exuberant hugs.

 

Oh how dearly I’ve missed them.

 

If there wasn’t so much work to do at the Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, I would see them more often than every few months. That might not seem like a long time, but for me it might as well be years.

 

We gathered around the table and I took a moment to appreciate the food on display. Out of all of us Harry had always been the best cook thanks to his years of experience cooking for the Dursleys, I savor it when I get the chance.

 

By the time everyone was seated with their food, idle chatter had started up again.

 

Ginny leaned toward me, that grin back in place. “Have any plans for this weekend?”

 

I kicked myself mentally for not taking Ginny’s grin as the warning it was earlier.

 

I’ve never been good at lying to my friends, especially without warning. I gave a resigned sigh and said, “No, nothing pressing, why do you ask?”

 

Ginny’s expression brightened. “Good, we’re having a girl’s weekend. All of saturday will be getting pampered, going shopping, and anything else that comes to mind. We’ll have a sleepover and get breakfast in the morning.” She began clapping her hands in her building excitement. “And I invited Luna to go with us, we’re going to have so much fun.”

 

I relaxed slightly at that last part. Maybe Luna’s calm presence would balance Ginny out? This wasn’t my idea of fun but maybe Luna would help. There’s only so much energy I can handle from Ginny. My friendships at Hogwarts mostly revolved around Harry and Ron. Sure, I was around girls a lot because of the dorms and common rooms but ‘girls’ activities were still a foreign concept.

 

But I would never be able to say no to her when she’s this excited anyway. I glanced over at Harry and Ron, knowing it would be the same for them. They just shrugged apologetically and continued eating.

 

I turned back to Ginny and realized with a dawning horror that her grin had morphed into something much more foreboding. I grimace. “As long as we stop at some book stores along the way and there are plenty of breaks.”

 

“Yes, yes, of course, we’re going to have so much fun ,” she said, drawing out the last three words, her grin unwavering.

 

Right , I thought while shoving some food into my mouth. That isn’t cryptic at all.


 

All things considered, the day started out fine.

 

We all met up for breakfast at Grimmauld Place, cooked by Harry of course, before departing to a Muggle spa that Ginny said was, “The best place around.”

 

The whole experience was awkward for me. To have multiple people waiting on me hand and foot was very strange. Getting a massage was even more so, but Ginny and Luna seemed to be enjoying themselves so I made an effort to deal with it for them.

 

They made up for it later, whether they realized it or not was irrelevant, when we stopped at three different book stores. I made sure to get no less than ten books from each.

 

Our next stop was a dress shop, Luna wanted to look at, with the strangest dresses I had ever seen.

 

We walked in, and I immediately went toward the couch next to the dressing room to rest my feet.

 

Ginny and Luna both set down their shopping bags with Extension charms, next to me. Ginny stretched and said, “I’ll head down to the Leaky for some drinks, Butter Beers sound good?” At our agreement she nodded. “Alright, be back in a few.”

 

After Ginny left to get our drinks, Luna started looking around at the dresses and picked out the strangest ones to try on.

 

Every time she stepped out of her dressing room, the dresses just kept getting weirder. One was entirely made out of peacock feathers, and the one after that was made out of a variety of seashells.

 

Right as Luna stepped out the next time — dressed in what looked like an array of sharp fish bones — I realized it had been awhile since Ginny left. Checking the time revealed that Ginny had been gone for nearly half an hour. Even if she had to wait a while for the drinks, it shouldn't have taken her that long to apparate there and back.

 

I looked over at Luna apprehensively. “Do you think she’s alright?” I tried to tell myself I was just being silly, but the instincts I gained from the war insisted something was wrong. They’d never been wrong before and they probably weren't then, no matter how much I hoped they were.

 

It seemed Luna felt the same way because she grimaced and said, “Let’s have a look, I’ve been feeling quite anxious.” She turned back to her dressing room and changed back into her own clothes in record time.

 

We grabbed our bags and made sure our wands were easily accessible before Apparating to the closest Apparation point to the Leaky Cauldron.

 

We started walking down Diagon Alley to reach the Leaky Cauldron when I noticed a small cluster of people muttering nervously to each other.

 

Nodding at Luna, we walked closer to see what they were so nervous about. Horror dawned on me when I realized the group was staring at the entrance to Knockturn Alley.

 

It wasn’t the same as it had been years ago but it hadn’t changed much. It was still filled with sleazy characters, so when we got close enough to hear someone in the group say, “That poor Weasley girl.” I was filled with fear.

 

The knowledge that she could take care of herself didn’t help calm my nerves. The fear would grow until I knew she was safe. We picked up the pace, and we finally spotted Ginny.

 

She was caged in at the entrance to the alley by two thug looking guys that look like they hadn’t had water touch their skin in years. In a world where Aguamenti is a common spell, it was obvious this was a choice they made.

 

With her back to a brick wall, Ginny looked tense and angry, but so far unharmed. She must not have wanted to cause a scene and seemed to be barely able to hold herself back. Her wand was in her hand but still lowered at her side.

 

My fear mixed with anger, and I had no such reservations. Let there be a scene — as long as Ginny would be safe it didn’t matter.

 

Luna and I made sure to approach from behind the two thugs. Ginny spotted us, but did her best not to give us away. I motioned for Luna to move towards the one on the right so we could surround them.

 

We jabbed our wands firmly into their necks, taking them by surprise and cutting them off mid-taunt. Ginny, finally giving up on passivity, raised her wand as well.

 

Keeping my voice deceptively calm, I said, “What is going on here?” Besides going a little stiff, they didn’t show any other outward reaction to our appearance.

 

The one who had my wand to his neck grumbled, “None of your business.”

 

The other one scoffed at our presence. “This is between us and the little ginger.”

 

I increased the pressure on my wand. “Why don’t you leave her alone? She clearly doesn’t enjoy your company.”

 

I could hear the smirk in his voice when he replied, “And if I don’t? What then? Are you going to stupify me? Tickle me to death?” He gave a low chuckle. “We know dark magic, spells you couldn’t even imagine.”

 

I scoffed. “I don’t need dark magic, it’s all about creativity.” I moved my wand slightly lower. “How would you like to have a flock of birds fluttering around in your stomach? One quick Avis and you’ll have birds tearing you apart from the inside.”

 

This seemed to give them pause. After a few seconds of deliberation, he backed away, the other guy following his lead. “Fine, have it your way.”

 

We kept our wands on them until they disappeared further down the alley.

 

As soon as they were gone, we deflated and sighed in relief.

 

Ginny puffed out a breath. “Sorry I worried you, guys. I would have taken care of them, but there were too many people around and taking them on by myself guaranteed someone else getting hurt.” She paused and gave me a side glance. “Would you really have done that?”

 

I raised an eyebrow at that question. “If it was necessary.” I scrunched up my nose. “Though I would rather not. That would be extremely disgusting.”

 

We all shared a chuckle. I sent a quick Patronus to the Auror office, explaining the situation, while Ginny sent a similar one to Harry and Ron.

 

With that taken care of, I looped our arms together and pulled them down the street. “Come on let's get back to our girls’ weekend.”

 

Ginny had planned this for us, and I’d be damned if I let some random thugs ruin our fun.

Chapter Text

The chaos from the war and the immediate aftermath is finally starting to calm down. Hogwarts has been cleaned up by the remaining professors and a few volunteers, there’s been a notice posted of it’s re-opening to the public for the upcoming school year.

 

Even the Daily Prophet has moved on to different topics. After several months of little else they have finally gone to subjects other than the Final Battle. They of course haven't left Harry, Ron and I alone yet, not that I expect them to anytime soon.

 

Of course, for those of us recovering emotionally and physically residing at the Burrow, the distraction of all the tasks needing to be done are both good and bad.

 

For some of us, helping others rebuild, helps to recover and feel useful. Percy for example, has been one of those volunteers helping at Hogwarts. He’s also been spending more time with George, doing what is a mystery to me. Maybe he’ll even connect with his parents again.

 

And then there are those like me. I was one of the volunteers, I have been helping Molly around the house, even though she says she doesn't need it. I have been studying all hours of the day so I can take my N.E.W.T.s without having to go back to Hogwarts for classes. Going to classes inside the castle like before would be too painful.

 

Everytime I continue with a task, I tell myself that I’m doing it to be helpful, that everybody needs to help each other rebuild. But I know that I’m only trying to buy myself more time. I keep putting off breaks again and again, keeping myself distracted with household chores and studying.

 

But the longer I wait, the worse off I will be.

 

I turn to the last page of the book I’m taking notes out of, and finish writing my thoughts on a Transfiguration spell. I close the book and sigh to myself.

 

I’ll stop after I finish my N.E.W.T.s, I think to myself as I stretch and reach for the next book on Potions, I’ll take a gap year of sorts. I crack open the new book and start writing, I’ll give myself time then.

 

Something will have to give, one way or another.

 




“Are you sure?” Harry asks for the 3rd time since we came outside to talk. “It’s not like I’m against the idea, but isn’t that far?”

 

I sigh, pluck at the grass, and indulge him, “France is not that far away, not even for Muggles and certainly not for Wizards.” I ruffle his hair with the grass still in my palm, earning an indignant ‘Hey!’ as he shakes his hair out. “Honestly, I’ll be a floo call away, and you can visit anytime.”

 

He blows out a breath as he deflates. “Alright, fine.” Harry nudges his elbow into my arm. “Who’s going to help me take care of Ron? It’s a full-time job you know.”

 

I giggle as I swat his elbow away. “He has been hanging around with Hannah Abbott recently, right? I’m sure you’ll have plenty of help.” I fall onto my back and cackle like a madwoman, unable to contain it.

 

Harry cringes beside me. “Ew, gross! Hermione!”

 

All I can do is clutch at my stomach as I shake with laughter. These carefree moments are what I look forward to, and it has been so long since I or anybody else has laughed like this.

 

Seeing that I have calmed down, Harry stands and holds out his hand for me. “Come on time to go inside, you have some packing to do.”

 

He pulls me up, and we walk back inside, still chuckling.

 




It’s been a few days since arriving at the little cottage. This particular one is owned by my parents. It’s perfect for vacations, we came almost every summer.

 

The location is also perfect for what I need now. It’s secluded from both Wizarding and Muggle society with a small area nearby where I can get essentials. I can stay here as long as I wish without anyone stumbling upon me. Leaving Harry and Ron as the only ones who know, the location having been erased from my parents along with their other memories of me.

 

This didn’t stop me from setting up my own wards around it of course.

 

Those first few days were spent with Harry and Ron as we got the cottage in working order, repairing anything broken from lack of upkeep.

 

With everything in its place and the absence of company there’s nothing to do but sit and think.

 

It doesn’t take long for me to be drowning and choking on my tears. All the pain and stress accumulated during the war finally starts draining from me. Obliviating my unsuspecting parents, being disguised as Harry, breaking into the Ministry, going on the run, torture, Gringotts, the Final Battle. All of it pouring out in waves of grief.

 

And finally the purpose of this trip is being met.

 




In between floo calls and some light reading, I use a chunk of the day to go through my thoughts, usually in the mornings or evenings. My favorite place to do this is, of course, the back porch leading into the forest.

 

It was one of those times in deep thought during the evening, that I was distracted by sounds in the distance. It starts as a loud scuffling in the underbrush that develops into sinister growling.

 

By the time I’m on my feet, wand in hand, it has escalated to snarling barks and a slightly fainter yiping sound almost completely masked.

 

I’m walking closer to the tree line, concern for the cause of the sound, when the barking is interrupted by a high pitched yelp of pain. Wasting no time, I flick my wand to create a loud banging sound, hopefully scaring away the aggressor.

 

I walk as quickly as I can to the clearing I suspect the barking came from. When I don’t notice a presence immediately, I hope my distraction has successfully scared it away. That leaves a second one with a possible injury. I stand and listen for a good minute before I hear a faint wimper somewhere to my right.

 

After some searching I spot the curled up form of a poor injured animal, possibly of the canine variety. After a closer look, I can’t stop myself. “Aw you’re just a puppy aren’t you?” I start to slowly edge closer. “What big meanie would hurt such a cutie?”

 

Stepping closer I conjure a blanket and cast a Lumos to see the possible injuries. A quick check reveals that there is little to no blood, and what is there coats the fur of its left hind leg.

 

“Well, let's get you inside to see what I can do.” Blanket in hand, I bend down to gently lift it up. “Try not to wiggle around so much, and no nibbling.” I set a brisk pace back to the house with minimal wiggling from my passenger.




I set the puppy down carefully onto my floor pillow before removing the blanket. After a quick check it is confirmed that the puppy is in fact male.

 

I take a soft rag and use Aguamenti to wet it and wipe up as much of the blood I can. I then use my wand to shave off some of the hair surrounding the long but shallow cut. I don’t know what’s safe for normal animals, but a healing salve should be fine. At the first sign of something wrong I’ll clean it off and out of the wound. As the last step I use Ferula to wrap the wound.

 

During this process the pup mostly remains still and makes the occasional whine. I sit back and study him for a moment. There’s no way he’s an ordinary dog, given that his current size is about a medium-big sized dog, and he’s still just a puppy.

 

“Hm, what if you’re a wolf? I don’t know another reason for you to be all the way out here.” I walk over to the kitchen to look for some food. “That would certainly be interesting, maybe there’s a preserve nearby or something.”

 

I pull out a packet of sandwich meat, not the appropriate food for a wild wolf pup, but it will do for now. I grab a plate and dump the packet’s contents onto it.

 

By the time I get back, he’s already testing out his leg by standing. “Careful, you don’t want to start bleeding again.”

 

He startles at my presence and freezes in place, shivering. I set the plate in front of him and then sit and watch from the other end of the room. I feel some relief when he finally starts eating after getting used to my presence, at least his appetite isn’t affected.

 

Once he finishes, I coo at him, “Who’s a good boy?” At my voice he lifts his head, and his ears stand at attention, causing me to giggle. “You are!”

 

Ignoring me, he stands up and walks back to the pillow plopping down onto it before rolling around and getting comfortable.

 

Well, looks like he claimed that one. I take the plate to the sink and turn to stare at him curled up on the pillow. What should I name him? I think back to his wound. He’s definitely tough enough to survive against whatever it was that attacked him. Maybe another wolf? Guess you could say he’s as tough as steel.

 

I walk past him towards my room, turning out the light as I go. “Goodnight Steele, see you in the morning.” I go to my room and start getting ready for bed. That’s a good name.

 

As I’m falling asleep I notice a lighter feeling from that day. It’s a much better than the heaviness I’ve been feeling lately. Maybe having an animal around helps?

 

There’s one thing for sure. Having a wolf around will never be boring. I guess I’ll keep him for now.

 

Thus starting my journey to becoming a wolf mom. Definitely a step up from cat lady.

Chapter Text

Low heeled shoes click soundlessly across the pavement thanks to well-cast silencing and cushioning charms placed on her shoes.

 

Every night, someone from Magical Law Enforcement is sent out to patrol both Diagon and Knockturn Alley. Checking for any remnants of the Death Eaters or voldemort's influence. The job is only a few hours long at best, leaving the officer plenty of time to finish their patrol before heading home.

 

Tonight, Hermione is the one stalking the streets. Sure, it’s relatively uneventful most nights, but the job still has to be done. If the trend remains the same she’ll be able to relax, and catch up on quality sleep that night.

 

By this point, she has already finished patrolling Diagon Alley, and has managed to get halfway through Knockturn Alley, without incident.

 

She sighs to herself as she walks further down the alley, let’s not jinx it, I’m almost done. With fanciful visions of her flat on her mind, she turns a corner towards Borgin and Burkes, when she sees two figures at the end of the alley.

 

Cursing her horrible luck, she ducks into an alcove before they see her, thanking Merlin for magic as she Disillusions herself.

 

Even though it’s quite dark outside, there’s enough moonlight to see that one, possibly male, figure with his back towards her has reflective blonde hair. The rest of him is shrouded in darkness as is the person with him.

 

Hermione squints, trying to get a closer look at the second person. Unable to see a face thanks to their hooded cloak, she sighs dejectedly. Not everyone that frequents Knockturn Alley is up to something, but more often than not, they are. There’s also the chance of a connection with Death Eaters yet to be caught.

 

Great, definitely too suspicious to ignore, I’ll never get home at this rate . She settles in, deciding that waiting for them to act would be the best option for now. If I interrupt now, the opportunity to gather information will be lost.

 

She doesn’t have to wait for long for them to start talking. Listening intently, she recognizes the blonde immediately, really the hair should have been her tip off, it’s Malfoy’s signature.

 

Malfoy leans back casually against his side of the alley. “Now, what is so important that this couldn't wait until a more reasonable hour?”

 

She nods along with his statement. Yes, please enlighten us as to why you are keeping me from certain sleep. The patrol shift isn’t exactly taxing, but incidents like this can lead to hours of over time. Harry had to clock in five extra hours after chasing down Adrian Pucey

 

The cloaked figure snickers. “Of course Draco, straight to business then?”

 

The voice sounds slightly familiar to her, but that isn’t enough information, all that is obvious to her is that it’s a man.

 

When Malfoy just stands there silently, he continues, “That group I told you about is forming soon, they sent me to recruit you. A chunk of our old school friends are refusing unless you join up first.”

 

Malfoy's left arm twitching is the only outward reaction Hermione can see from her crouched position in the alcove. They continue, not giving her time to dwell on the previous statement.

 

Crossing his arms, Malfoy sneers at him. “Why would I bother joining this group of yours? Do you even know who’s forming it?”

 

The stranger just scoffs. “You can't know until you join.”

 

He scoffs right back at him. “As if I’d join anyway, you know we’re not dumb enough to do that shite again.”

 

The cloaked stranger flicks his hand in a movement to draw his wand that Malfoy doesn’t see, his attention drawn to the other man’s face. Hermione does from her position. Straightening her stance slowly, she readies herself as they continue.

 

The stranger chuckles. “You don’t have a choice, you either join or you die. There’s nobody around to protect you, even if it was broad daylight in the middle of Diagon Alley, you would have no one.”

 

With her wand at the ready Hermione thinks, I’m here and no one is dying on my watch, no matter who they are.

 

“Malfoys don't need protection,” Malfoy snarls his reply.

 

He goes to draw his wand, but the other guy is faster given his wand is already in his hand. In a quick motion, he casts a vicious Sectumsempra directly at Malfoy’s chest.

 

Hermione casts Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus, and Incarcerous in a flurry by the time the first syllable is out of his mouth, but she isn’t fast enough to stop him from casting.

 

Malfoy’s cry of pain is cut off by a gurgling sound coming from his throat, before he hits the ground. Hermione sprints forward, stunning the immobilized man for good measure, giving him not time to retaliate.

 

She kneels down at Malfoy’s side and starts chanting Vulnera Sanentur . Thank Merlin that she bothered to learn it after the war; Sectumsempra was a widely used spell during the final battle after all. Lack of knowledge at the time caused many unnecessary deaths, Hermione remembers with a twitch in her heart. Shaking it off, she renews her concentration to cast it correctly.

 

Once Hermione is able to finish a rough patch job on all of the injuries, she summons her Patronus. “There has been an incident in the alley across from Borgin and Burkes. The assailant was able to severely injure a civilian before being disarmed, stunned and restrained. A locator will be placed, and I will take the civilian in for treatment. Get here quickly, we cannot leave him unattended.” With the message received, the otter takes off towards the other Magical Law Enforcement officer on duty.

 

Hermione walks over to the incapacitated man across the alleyway, reapplies all the spells and adds a locator spell. She takes a quick glance at his face, but thanks to his hood, it’s still too dark to see.

 

She sighs, taking a look would be a waste of precious time. I better leave that for the others to deal with, Malfoy is more important .

 

Kneeling back down, she gets a good grip on him in preparation for apparating to St. Mungo’s. Right as she prepares to leave, Malfoy’s hand grips her shoulder. He makes another gurgling sound that reminds her that he is most likely choking on his own blood, and he might also have internal damage even though the slashes looked shallow enough. Must not have been at full power .

 

Hermione casts a quick Anapneo to clear his airway and waits for him to speak. He gives a cough that doesn’t sound too bad, his lungs must not be seriously damaged if at all . He makes eye contact with her and says roughly, “Not St. Mungo’s Granger, the reporters.”

 

She nods in understanding, arriving there in this state would mean another front page article. Nobody wants to deal with that.

 

This of course means she has to figure out something else. Muggle hospitals are out, since they would ask too many questions, and there aren't any other wizarding hospitals within apparating distance. Besides herself, the only others with healer training that she trusts, are Harry and Poppy Pomfrey. They don’t need to be dragged into this, they have their own jobs to concentrate on.

 

Which leaves her flat as the only other place with enough supplies that comes to mind. Looks like there won’t be any sleep tonight. She sighs, “Alright Malfoy, just... no complaining.”

 

He nods and closes his eyes while keeping his grip on her shoulder. His skin is turning paler by the second, time is of the essence. She adjusts her hold and apparates directly into her living room.

 




First things first. Hermione casts Mobilicorpus on Malfoy and levitates him to her couch, setting him down gently.

 

Transitioning to her professional mode, she hurries over to the bathroom to get supplies from the cabinet. She can hear Malfoy’s groaning coming from the living room as she searches. It takes a minute, but she is able to find Blood Replenishing Potion, Essence of Dittany, and a healing potion for possible internal bleeding.

 

Once back in the living room, she sets everything down onto the side table. Looking over, she sees he’s lying on the couch out cold. After calling his name fails to work, Hermione saves time and rouses Malfoy with a gentle slap to the face.

 

He jerks and sputters for a second, before his eyes land on Hermione. “Bloody hell, Granger! What was that for?” He groans.

 

Hermione scoffs while reaching for the internal healing potion. “Don’t be such a drama queen, I merely tapped you.” She pulls the stopper off of the vial. “I need you to stay awake to take these potions.” She leans over and props him up with the couch cushions.

 

She brings the vial to his lips, but Malfoy cuts her off. “Hold on, I can take them myself.”

 

Hermione backs off, “Oh?” and glances pointedly at his shaking hands.

 

Malfoy sighs. “Fine, have it your way.”

 

She brings the vial back to his lips, and he drinks it this time. Wanting to break the tension and feeling playful, she says, “There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”

 

He snorts after he finishes choking the potion down. “Yes it was, extremely bad.” She moves to pick up the next potion when he waves her off. “Do you mind if we stop for a minute?” He rubs his throat and grimaces dramatically. “The next one will certainly kill me.”

 

Hermione rolls her eyes, the biggest drama queen. “Alright, just for a minute, we have to finish healing you.”

 

While Malfoy takes a break, Hermione takes stock of the rest of him. Besides his torn up shirt and the fresh leftover blood, everything seems fine. Since the minute is almost up, she takes the chance to clean and check over the remaining wounds.

 

Ignoring Malfoy’s surprised yelp, she uses the tip of her wand to cut the remains of his shirt down the middle. After spreading the sides and using Tergeo to clean the blood, she is able to see the remaining damage. The longer, sword-like slashes are now partially healed, but not enough to close them. The Essence of Dittany will still be needed for it not to scar .

 

Hermione grabs the Blood Replenishing Potion from the table and unstoppers it. “Well? Done with your little break yet?” she teases, waving the potion around playfully.

 

Malfoy sighs. “Just get it over with, Granger.” She helps him drink it with no further comments. He grimaces as he forces it down. “Bloody disgusting.”

 

Hermione reaches over to the table and grabs the Essence of Dittany as the last step. She unscrews the top and fills the dropper. Leaning over, she warns, “This might sting a bit.” The liquid starts to drip down onto the wounds; Malfoy hisses as the skin sizzles, and steam rises as it slowly grows back together.

 

After the treatment is finished, Malfoy is able to relax marginally, and the potions seem to be improving his too pale complexion and shaky hands. As Hermione is gathering up the remaining supplies and used vials, Malfoy asks, “Why did you help me?”

 

Hermione’s brows scrunch together in confusion. “It’s my job as a Magical Law Enforcement Officer, I happened to be on patrol.”

 

Malfoy waves away her explanation. “No, no, not that.” He pushes himself up into a sitting position. “Even if it wasn’t your job, you’re too much of a Gryffindor not to get involved.” He leans back into the couch and takes a breather before continuing. “I’m talking about after that, you could have ignored me and taken me straight to St. Mungo’s easily.” By now Hermione has her arms crossed in front of her and an eyebrow raised expectantly. “Could have let The Daily Prophet write another embarrassing story about me as revenge.”

 

Hermione doesn’t need to ask what the revenge would be for. She can guess he’s talking about their years at Hogwarts. “Honestly Malfoy, we’re not children anymore. I like to think we’ve matured past petty revenge.” Besides my type of revenge wouldn’t use the Daily Prophet. “I wouldn’t leave you behind to that fate.”

 

Hermione walks to the bathroom to deposit the items and hears Malfoy’s raised voice, sarcastically say, “I’m touched.”

 

Walking back in, she replies with a smirk, “Pfft, don’t think this means I care or something.” She takes a seat. Civility and small amounts of kindness is all I can offer. “Alright back to business, from what I heard of the conversation, a group of some kind is recruiting followers and support. Whoever that was is probably being interrogated right now.” She shrugs her shoulders. “Care to fill me in anyway?”

 

Malfoy groans and throws an arm over his eyes. “Must you interrogate me so soon after my traumatic experience?”

 

Hermione sighs and struggles to cover her amusement. “Yes, I must.” Besides, if he can act like this, he’s probably fine.

 

Malfoy readjusts his position. “Fine, I’ll leave the details for your interrogators to explain. To start, the other person there was Marcus Flint. He’s out recruiting supporters for some kind of Death Eater revival. I don’t know much more than that.” He combs his fingers through his hair. “The letter he sent me said there was a group forming that he wanted to tell me about.”

 

Malfoy gives a full body twitch, as if shocked by something. He hisses at the strain as he stands, and slowly starts pacing around the living room, nervously pulling at his sleeve. “He said that there was a group of classmates that would refuse to join if I didn’t. What if they’re killed?”

 

Hermione, in an attempt to calm him down, says, “Flint is in custody, remember? He’s being interrogated and then put in a holding cell before his trial; he won’t be going around killing people.”

 

Malfoy’s pacing only intensifies. “What if someone else was nearby or he had to report back to someone.” He waves his arms in front of him. “And when he doesn’t check in, they take that as the signal to kill the others, whoever they are.”

 

Hermione stands, and on his next pass, grabs ahold of his shoulders. “Calm down, you need to sit so you don’t aggravate your wounds. I’ll send a Patronus, and the Aurors will do what they can.”

 

Malfoy sags in her hold, and she leads him back to the couch. After setting him down she conjures her otter. “Harry, by now you have probably heard about the incident in Knockturn Alley. There is a possibility that a few Slytherin classmates are also being targeted. Marcus Flint in interrogation should know the identities. Send a team of Aurors to check as many as possible.” Finally finishing the long message, Hermione sends off her Patronus. “See? Everything will be just fine.”

 

Malfoy relaxes into the couch. “Thanks Granger.” He releases a breath and checks the time only to discover that it is close to midnight. “I should get going, it’s getting very late.”

 

Hermione waves him off. “Don’t worry about it.” She Transfigures the couch into a bed which causes Malfoy to fall onto his back. “Besides, it’s best you aren’t alone right now. Wouldn’t want some other recruiter killing you in your sleep. Who knows who still has access to the Malfoy Manor fireplace.”

 

Malfoy groans from his place sprawled out on the newly made bed. “Of course, you’re so kind.” His voice is dripping with sarcasm.

 

Hermione chuckles on the way to her room. “Yell if you need me.” She turns before closing her door. “Goodnight Malfoy.”

 

She openly laughs at Malfoy’s yell from the living room not even three seconds later. “Actually, ten more pillows would be lovely!”

Chapter Text



I started out that morning with a wide stretch of my arms, as is routine. I went through the rest of my routine faster than usual. For once, this wasn’t because of work or other extra activities I’d picked up. Today, I had Harry’s surprise Birthday party to plan.

 

After I finished, I decided to start cleaning the house. I started with the backyard, made my way through the house, and ended at the kitchen. It only took a few well placed banishing charms and Tergeo’s to get the job done.

 

As a final step, I went through the pantry were I kept food and potions ingredients. Both were separated to prevent contamination of the food or potential potions. As a sort of side job or hobby, I had started doing potions research and development. This of course, required me to keep all of my ingredients fresh and in stock.

 

I went through every jar, tossing out items that had gone bad and replenishing supplies. Most of the food I kept in there was dried non-perishables, so with that out of the way I turned to the far corner.

 

In the corner, I kept some things I had been studying, jotting down reactions to certain substances. By that time they were starting to rot and lose their freshness, causing the odor to permeate the immediate area.

 

This odor caused by the experiments had been one of the reasons why Ronald and I argued so often when he was staying here. Ultimately, he had to go, I wasn’t going to let him get in between me and my research.

 

As I was setting up the eating area in the backyard, I heard a knock on the door. I spelled the rest of the furniture to set itself up while I checked the door.

 

Looks like there was another thing for me to take care of.

 




After dealing with a Muggle encyclopedia salesman, I went to start in the kitchen.

 

I got all of the ingredients together and started cooking for the party. Well, cooking is kind of a stretch since I spelled all of the dishes to cook themselves, but I guess it still counts.

 

While the food cooked I started decorating, starting with the living room. That was when I heard another knock at the door.

 

I glanced at the clock and wondered who it could be. It was just after noon which was too early for guests to start showing up. That left the possibility of the cake I ordered being delivered.

 

I opened the door and it was, in fact, not a cake.

 

“Spare some food?” it was a Muggle trembling where he stood on my doorstep, dressed in dirty rags, and looking dangerously thin.

 

I sighed, this was going to take time away from preparations. I supposed it couldn't be helped, it was nearly impossible to turn the poor man away. Besides he would prove himself helpful.

 

I gestured for him to come inside. “Come in, and I’ll brew us some tea.”

 




A few hours later, everything was ready and people had started showing up to surprise Harry.

 

I just finished setting out the food on the buffet table, when I felt a tap on the shoulder. Neville’s apologetic face came into view as I turned my head.

 

He smiled sheepishly. “Just wanted to let you know the snack bowls are almost empty.” Neville ruffled his own hair. “It’s not really urgent, I guess some people are amazed by Muggle crisps.”

 

I sighed and smiled at him. “I hope Arthur wasn’t the only one eating them.”

 

Neville chuckled and shook his head. “You don’t need to worry about it. You keep the snacks in the pantry right? I’ll take care of it.”

 

I waved him away. “No, no, I’ll take care of it, thanks.”

 

I made my way to the pantry and opened the door, absentmindedly casting a freshening charm to keep the smell at bay. I grabbed the bags of crisps and went back to the snack table.

 




I went around and saw to everyone’s needs as it got closer to the time Harry was supposed to show up.

 

Ginny was no longer able to delay and sent her Patronus ahead to warn us.

 

I raised my voice so that it carried throughout the house. “Get to your places everyone, he’s on his way!”

 

A minute later, Ginny opened the front door with Harry trailing behind.

 

Harry walked in while he spoke to Ginny. “Come on, this is weird right? When have we ever used the front door when visiting?”

 

Before he could get two feet from the door all of us jumped up and screamed, “surprise!”

 

It’s a good thing that Harry was able to stop himself from launching curses at us, given how badly we startled him.

 

As the initial excitement died down, Harry was passed around in the crowd of well wishers.

 

By the time he got to me he just groaned and held up a hand. “If I hear anyone say ‘Happy Birthday’ one more time…”

 

I chuckled at his misfortune and handed him a bottle of water from the table. “Fine, fine, drink this. It’ll make you feel better.”

 

Harry snatched the bottle and chugged at least half of it.

 

I smiled and asked, “how do you feel now?”

 

Harry let out an extremely dramatic exhale. “Refreshed.”

 

We stood there and giggled at each other for a moment before Harry asked, “Where’s Ron? I didn’t see him around.”

 

I hadn’t realized until he said something. I glanced around the room and found that Ronald was definitely not there. “I remember inviting him, he must not have been able to make it.”

 

Harry gave a small smile. “Yeah, that’s probably it.”

 

I gave him a pat on the back before pushing him back towards the crowd. “Come on, you have to get back out there Birthday Boy.”

 

He turned his head and gave me a playful, narrow eyed glare.

 

I waved him off with a chuckle and checked to make sure that everything was going well.

 




Later that night, when almost everybody had left, I walked around the house cleaning things up.

 

I looked toward the kitchen to see Harry washing the dishes by hand.

 

I smiled. “Honestly Harry, it’s your Birthday, you don’t have to stay.”

 

He waved me off. “It’s the least I can do.”

 

It was useless to argue with him, so I left Harry to his devices.

 

We continued tidying up for about half an hour, before I heard Harry scream, “Hermione!”

 

That couldn't be good. I ran toward the shout and found Harry standing in front of the open pantry. Definitely bad. He looked ready to faint so I grabbed ahold of him before he could.

 

Inside the pantry, he had found the semi-rotted bodies of failed experiments I hadn’t cleaned out earlier that day. All of which had, unwittingly, been Muggle volunteers. Next to the bodies was the Muggle salesman and the Homeless man looking for food, both knocked out and yet to be experimented on.

 

Harry’s mouth kept opening and closing, not able to make any noises come out for a few minutes. “Hermione… what? What is going on?”

 

I grabbed a conveniently placed vial off the shelf specifically for situations like that. “How else am I going to test my potions in a timely manner? Going through the Ministry would waste precious time.”

 

Before he could react, I tilted his head back and emptied the vial down his still gaping mouth. The effects were almost instantaneous, and I caught Harry before he could hit the ground in a dead faint.

 

One of the potions I had developed made it so the user would have slight amnesia in the morning, unable to remember some of the night before. It had a similar effect to being blackout drunk. The brain’s wish to forget traumatic experiences almost guaranteed that Harry would forget all about this.

 

There of course would only be a mild headache when he wakes up. I knew this for certain, thanks to all the times I had to use it on Ronald when the smell became bad enough for him to investigate.

 

I sent off a Patronus telling Ginny that Harry exhausted himself helping, and that he would be sleeping in the guest room.

 

I levitated Harry to the guest room and went back to the pantry to finish cleaning. I needed to find another place to put my other two guests so that there wouldn’t be a repeat performance first thing in the morning.

Chapter Text

I stretch in my seat, finally done with my work for the day. I’ve been rushing to get it done early, since it’s a relatively special day.

 

Today is the anniversary of the Final Battle at Hogwarts. The Ministry puts on their own celebration of course, but we prefer our own small gathering of friends. This usually includes Harry, Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna and I. A small gathering, and others don’t show up because they’re either at the Ministry event or they don’t like to celebrate it, which I can understand. We keep an open invitation, anyway.

 

Neville and Luna are unable to come this year due to last minute work obligations, so the group is smaller than normal. Since it’s Harry’s turn to host, we’re having it at his cottage in Godric’s Hollow. While Harry is quite adept at cooking, Ginny volunteered to cook this year. To give him a break perhaps? I have no clue. She has no lack of skill in the kitchen, so it should be delicious either way.

 

I shake off my thoughts and grab my bag on the way to the floo.

 




I’m greeted by Harry as I arrive on his doorstep.

 

I reach out and give him a tight hug. “Oh, it’s been far too long since I’ve seen you.”

 

I release him and he grins at me. “It’s great to see you too, Hermione.” He steps aside and gestures to the doorway. “Come inside, Ron and Ginny are waiting in the dining room. Ginny just finished cooking.”

 

Good, that means I didn't miss much.

 

I walk into the dining room and give Ron and Ginny the same greeting. “I’ve missed you guys.”

 

Ron grins. “Missed you too, ‘Mione.” He ruffles my hair and sits back down in his seat.

 

Ginny just gives me a half smile, half grimace. “Good to see you.”

 

That’s weird. Sure, she never greets me with as much enthusiasm as Harry and Ron. Usually, she looks happy to see me.

 

I don't want to spoil the mood of a perfectly good dinner, but it’s something to think about later. My reluctance to broach the subject fades, however, in the following minutes as her behavior progressively becomes out of character.

 

Harry and Ron shovel food into their mouths and compliment Ginny on her cooking, while she just pretends to eat by pushing the food around on her plate. The strangeness of her actions are starting to make me nervous, causing me to eat less than I usually would.

 

It’s not even ten minutes later that I start feeling drowsy and feel the slight pain of an oncoming headache at my temples. It feels like I took a small dose of one of the many sleep options I have tried over the years. They never work on me for long, and eventually my body becomes used to them and my nightmares come back.

 

And it feels like that’s happening right now. My body curls up in pain and my head begins to pound to a beat of a familiar rythme, one that I already know. But instead of knocking me out, it just makes me tired, as if I spent hours running around. My brain is still functioning, but my body is in too much pain to let me rest.

 

I look around the table to see that both Harry and Ron are out cold, face down on the table. I squint my eyes as another jab of pain hits the side of my head.

 

I look to see Ginny standing at the other end of the table glaring and leveling her wand at me.

 

“Ginny?” I ask tiredly. Even though my mind is slightly muddled, it does not hinder me. It’s painfully obvious that Ginny drugged us, simply based on my symptoms and Harry and Ron’s unconscious bodies.

 

The what is obvious, but why would she do this? There was almost no warning before this. At least not ones that make sense.

 

She sighs angrily. “Should have known that you wouldn’t be so easy to knock out.” She rolls her eyes. “Only you would bother building an immunity to Sleeping Draught.”

 

I see, Sleeping Draught was one of the early ones I tried and became used to fast. If the potion is in the food as I suspect, then it’s a good thing I didn’t eat as much. Being used to it doesn’t mean I stay awake it just means I wake up from a full dose in  a few minutes instead of in a few hours. Who knows what she could do in that amount of time?

 

Best to keep her busy for now and give the boys time to wake up. After all, I’m not the only one of the group who has nightmares. I think of a way that might help and that’s to keep her talking. Distractions are the best kind of game plan.

 

My wish gets an answer almost immediately. I take the opportunity to palm my wand as discreetly as I can manage.

 

Ginny hums, more to herself than anything. “You’re probably confused.” When met with silence she continues on unperturbed. “Why would I, loyal and trustworthy Ginny, do this to you?”

 

In a sudden movement she waves her wand around, thankfully without casting anything. She starts speaking heatedly, “The answer is simple, I’m so bloody tired of everything! For as long as I can remember it’s ‘Harry Potter this, the boy-who-lived that’. All hail the Golden Trio and all that rubbage. ”

 

She huffs a breath and points her wand steadily in my direction again. “Why can’t they see me that way? I stayed behind at Hogwarts, I was there during the final battle. I stayed loyal to Harry for years!” She’s seething by this point. “No appreciation. Hell, even Neville is known as The Slayer of Nagini. What am I? Friend of the Golden Trio, love-sick follower of Harry Potter, the youngest in a long line of Weasleys. I am irrelevant.”

 

I start to think she’s out of steam, but she grits her teeth and continues on. “I thought that maybe if Harry and I got together it would be fine, that it would thrust me into the spotlight.” She jabs her wand in Harry’s direction. “But then he rejected me. He said ‘no;  to me.” She said it slowly, jabbing her wand back and forth between them for emphasis.

 

I decide to interrupt, making sure my voice sounds suitably drowsy. “But, that doesn’t explain why you’re doing this to us.” Which I am genuinely confused about. There are plenty of other ways to become famous.

 

She gives a wicked grin. “Without you in the picture there won’t be anyone around to steal my spotlight.” She waves her wand dramatically. “Can’t you just picture the headlines? Ginevra Weasley, the sole survivor of an attack by a runaway Death Eater.”

 

She continues, “Once I’m done here, my opportunities will be limitless.” She leans forward and Jabs her wand into Harry’s cheek. “It wasn’t even that hard, all I had to do was make it so Neville and Luna were too busy to show up and then slip the draught into your food.”

 

She’s back to glaring at me. “Of course you wouldn’t make it easy, you never do.” Her expression is full of longing. “Do you even realise how lucky you are? You were the Muggleborn nobody that became the brains of the Golden Trio.” Her words dripping with envy. “I would kill to be you.”

 

The irony of her statement is not lost on me, But there’s one more question she needs to answer. “You’re willing to kill your brother?”

 

She shrugs with a nonchalance that shouldn’t be there. “There’s four more where he came from, what’s one more in the grand scheme of things.”

 

She has the gall to turn her back on me to prepare whatever it is she plans to do. Does she think I’m not a threat? That some sort of sentiment for the past will stop me from retaliating? If she thinks that then she’s dead wrong. The instant she threatens my boys, it doesn't matter who she is. She’ll wish this plan never came to mind once I’m done with her.

 

While her back is turned I check over Harry and Ron. Staring at them I notice increases in their movement, Harry’s fingers start twitching and Ron starts adjusting his position in his seat. Good, they’re starting to wake up.

 

And when they do, we will show Ginny why she should never cross the Golden Trio.

 

I will have no mercy.

Chapter Text

Hermione is standing in front of the display window to Flourish and Blotts when she sees movement out of the corner of her eye. Shifting her gaze to her reflection she spots him standing a few feet behind her.

 

“Hermione?” he asks, voice filled with confusion and apprehension. “What are you doing here?”

 

She raises a brow, still looking at his reflection. “Hello Ron, I’m running errands.” Deciding to let the ‘obvious’ at the end remain silent.

 

Ron grimaces. “Right, stupid question, sorry.” He ruffles his hair nervously. “I just haven’t seen you around in a long time. Thought you might have moved.”

 

“No I haven’t.” Hermione shifts her gaze back to the display in the window, cutting off the conversation.

 

After a few moments of them standing around awkwardly, Hermione sighs and finally turns around. “What is it Ronald.”

 

Even though it’s more of a statement, he answers anyway, “Well, you know, last time I saw you it didn’t end well for either of us, and I’m still really confused.” Ron gestures down the street. “Can we just go to Hog’s Head and talk about this?”

 

Hermione crosses her arms in front of her and gives a resigned sigh. “Alright, let’s go.”

 

With a sizeable distance between them, they start walking towards the privacy of Hog’s Head.

 




They sit there in silence for awhile, just staring into their Butterbeer.

 

Hermione finally leans back in her seat and asks, “What did you want to talk about?”

 

After a pause, Ron sighs, and decides to speak, “I just… need to ask you about what happened?” He slides his glass between his hands to keep them busy. “I know we broke up, I got that much, but I’m so confused. Why did we break up? After I wasn't so angry I was going to ask but I never saw you anywhere, and after awhile I was just confused.”

 

For a moment Hermione just sits there and processes. “I think that’s the most I’ve ever heard you talk about your feelings.”

 

Ron just sits there, for once, silent.

 

Hermione sighs in resignation. “I’m not surprised you’re confused, I never made it very clear.” a small, sad smile forms on her face. “It wasn’t even about anything important.”

 




Hermione brushes the soot off of her robes from exiting the floo. “I’m home.” A glance around reveals a few scattered food wrappers and some old socks that haven’t been washed yet.

 

Aggravated, Hermione storms into the kitchen. “Honestly Ron, you would think that with magic cleaning wouldn’t be so hard. Why is the living room so dirty?”

 

Ron takes his concentration away from making his sandwich. “I’ll clean it later, there’s no need to stress over it.”

 

“If you had just spent two seconds of effort this wouldn’t be an issue.”

 

Ron turns towards her fully. “Really Hermione, you’re making a big deal out of nothing, I said I’d clean it later and I will.”

 

She crosses her arms in front of her. “Nothing? Excuse me for enjoying a clean home as a welcome instead of your damn socks.”

 

Ron shakes his head and returns to his sandwich. “This is ridiculous, I’m done with this argument.”

 

Hermione stiffens. “Oh you’re done are you? Fine, I’m done with this too, this whole ridiculous relationship.”

 

Ron slams the top piece of bread onto his sandwich. “Fine.”

 

Hermione storms back out of the kitchen. After a few minutes of packing everything into trunks, she’s out the door Faster than Ron can finish his sandwich.

 




Ron shakes his head. “I don’t get it.”

 

Hermione looks down at her Butterbeer as she fiddles with it. “Before that argument, I had been thinking about our relationship a lot. What I did and didn’t like about it.” She glances up at him. “What our friends told us.”

 

“Look our friends meant well, but they didn’t see us all the time.” Ron interrupts swiftly. “It was based on what they saw.”

 

Hermione lifts up a hand and Ron falters. “Look Ron.” She sets her hand down. “I believe you. But I believe everybody else too.” She looks back down at her drink. “And that’s the problem, I agreed with every one of their concerns. All the things I didn’t like, the anger, frustration, and the arguments over shadowed all of the good. Our friends saw it when we were with them, and it didn’t go away when we went home.”

 

Ron moves to interrupt again but is stopped by a look from her. Hermione continues, “I never consciously made the decision to leave. I mostly thought about what we could change to make it better.” She tugs a hand through her hair. “The more I thought about it, the more things I came up with, the more problems I needed to fix.”

 

Hermione leans back in her seat with a sigh. “And then I wondered… why do they need fixing? Everyone and everything is broken in some way anyway."

 

Ron is finally able to interject when she pauses, “But there’s nothing wrong with that, Making changes so that the person you love is happy. If we had talked about this I’m sure we could have worked it out.”

 

Hermione gives a tired sigh. “That's just it Ron, it’s fine for a few small things.” She stares imploringly hoping for him to understand. “There are so many things that needed to change. our entire relationship would revolve around changing each other.”

 

Starting to lose her composure, Hermione quickens her explanation, “You shouldn’t have to do that. To change so much that you alter the core of your very being for someone else.” she pauses to recompose herself. “You should accept others and be accepted for who you are, all of the good and the bad. Or at least as close to that as possible.”

 

Her shoulders deflate as if a huge weight has been lifted. “I left because I knew we would never be close to that. We would be miserable if we tried.”

 

Ron sits back, just trying to process and accept everything he has heard. “I guess I understand? Not a whole lot, but yea, I get what you’re saying.” His brow scrunches together in thought. “But that doesn't explain why I haven’t seen you until now.”

 

Hermione finally lets out a quiet giggle. “Honestly Ron, that doesn’t happen in a place as small as Wizarding Britain on accident. I was avoiding you.”

 

“What?” Ron almost shouts, genuinely baffled.

 

His goofy expression if enough to send Hermione into a giggle fit. The tension surrounding them starts to fade away.

 

Once everything settles down Ron smiles sadly. “Do you think we could be friends again?”

 

Hermione gives it some thought. “Someday, but not anytime soon, I still need to deal with some things.” Her small smile turns into a smirk. “Besides, after that argument, I still want to punch you in the face. You and your damn socks.”

 

With a giggle, Hermione leaves a few Gallons on the table and walks out, leaving Ron to his thoughts.

 

Nothing’s really fixed between them, and it will be a long time before they bring back some normalcy. But it’s a start, and a better understanding.

Chapter Text

Resting on the couch in front of the Floo, Tonks elevates her aching feet on a cushion.

 

Remus’ voice shouts from the kitchen, “Would you like a snack?”

 

“A Pumpkin Pasty is fine for now.” Tonks keeps her attention on the floo. “Bring two, he should be here any second now.”

 

Remus walks in with a tray of tea and the requested pasties. “I still don’t understand why you had to invite Severus over.” He sets the tray down on the table and takes his seat next to Tonks. “It’s just paint colors, and relax he probably won’t be here for another few minutes at least. It was a very last minute invite.”

 

Tonks snorts and smirks over at Remus. “This is the time we asked for him to come, and Severus is nothing if not punctual.” She raises a hand and starts a silent 5 second countdown. Right when she finishes the flames flash green, indicating that someone was coming through.

 

Tonks pumps a fist and sends a victorious smirk Remus’ way, while he just raises up his hands.

 

Severus steps out of the flames and brushes the soot off of his clothes. “I gather that you have summoned me for a reason?”

 

Tonks waves her arms in the direction of the chair next to her. “Of course, come and sit.” She charms the teapot to start pouring into the cups. “Remus and I have been going through colors for the nursery and the treehouse we’re going to build.”

 

Severus releases a long suffering sigh before sitting down. “And my presence is needed, I take it.”

 

Tonks ignores his sarcasm. “It’s a godfather’s job to help us with these sorts of things. Remus and I can’t decide on our own.”

 

Severus reluctantly holds out a hand and Tonks passes him the cards for the color palette. “I don’t see why my input in necessary.”

 

Tonks sniffs and crosses her arms. “Because yellow and sky blue are clearly the best colors, but Remus disagrees.”

 

Remus shrugs and takes a sip of his tea. “I just think red and yellow would be better.”

 

Tonks raises an eyebrow and gives Remus a very Severus-esque  look. “What baby wants to wake up in their crib to see red everywhere? That can’t be healthy.”

 

Severus looks up from the colored cards. “You want me to be the deciding factor?” At their nods he continues, “Fine, on one condition.” They have intrigued expressions on their faces as they nod again. “Whichever one of yours I choose will be in the nursery. I will, however, be choosing the colors for the treehouse myself.”

 

After a few moments of consideration they nod in agreement.

 

Tonks leans back. “What’s your verdict?”

 

Severus raises a brow and gives a dignified snort. “Yellow and sky blue obviously, who in their right mind would choose red?” he gives Remus a pointed look.

 

Remus just grins back. “I never said I was in my right mind.”

 

Severus shakes his head and stands, tossing the stack of cards onto the table, and keeping two in his hand. “You’re both wrong anyway.” he sets down the final two. “Green and purple are clearly superior colors.”

 

Remus and Tonks laugh themselves silly as Severus goes outside to scout out the tree that will hold the future treehouse.

 

Severus is out there looking at trees for barely a minute when Tonks walks out of the house, arms supporting her back and swollen belly.

 

After standing in silence for a few moments Tonks speaks, “You never did tell us why you accepted when we asked you to be the godfather.”

 

Severus gives her a look, as if to say it should be obvious, but he answers anyway, “I haven’t always gotten along with Lupin, but he isn’t terrible.” Every word seems to take a great effort to say. “And it would be irresponsible of me to leave a Gryffindor and a Hufflepuff as the sole caregivers to an impressionable child.” He sets his sights on a decent tree and marks it with a swish of his wand. “If all goes well, I’ll be subjected to teaching it when the time comes. I have no desire to teach another dunderhead.”

 

Tonks grins and nods in understanding to the words he did and didn’t say. As her smile fades she starts to speak again, “That’s the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. What happens when it doesn't go well?”

 

Severus gives her his attention as she speaks, “We all know that there’s a big chance that only one or neither of us survives to the end of this war.” She releases a sigh. “Remus doesn’t want to talk about it because of the stress.” They both roll their eyes at his worrying. “But I wanted to do something just in case.” Tonks pulls a small journal out of her pocket. “This whole thing is a letter to my baby. Some things that I hope to tell them, but might not be able to.” She holds it out to Severus. “When the time comes and you think they're ready to read it, can you please give it to them? I know you’ll find a way.”

 

Severus hesitantly accepts the journal. “I will do what I can.” He stores the journal inside his robes. “You should consider a secondary godfather, should I not make it either.” He stares contemplatively at the tree that will soon house the treehouse. “I will be sure to take care of this before then.” he turns and starts walking back to the house.

 

“And who would you suggest as a second godfather?” Tonks asks as she hurries to catch up with him.

 

Severus sneered as he considered. “Potter perhaps? He will undoubtedly survive. His good luck and equal misfortune is unparalleled.”

 

Tonks giggles softly. “Good idea.”

 

 





Sitting on the floor of his pastel green and purple treehouse, Teddy Lupin stares at the journal sitting in his lap.

 

Having just come back from his first year at Hogwarts he’s excited to tell Harry all about it. But first he needed to find the journal his original godfather hid in the treehouse. Just before leaving the castle, his portrait told him where to find it.

 

Now sitting with it in his lap, he opens the cover slowly to the first page. On top is a picture of his parents he’s never seen before. With what looks like his godfather unwillingly pulled into frame. Unlike the others, this one is Muggle in nature.

 

Looking at the journal he starts to read.

 

“To my beautiful baby,

If you're reading this, that means your godfather has deemed you ready, he’s always been a good judge of character. There’s so much I want to tell you, for starters…”

Chapter Text

The Great Hall was in a muted kind of chaos right after the end of the battle. Medi-Wizards and Witches moving from patient to patient with the help of a few volunteers.

 

I sat in a far corner along with Ron, Harry, and the members of the Weasley family not volunteering. I spent a few minutes scanning the room, and took a mental tally of people helping, the injured and the deceased. A moment later I realized one body was conspicuously missing.

 

I tapped Harry, getting his attention. “Snape hasn’t been retrieved yet.” I continued looking around to see if anyone was able to help, but everyone was occupied. “I don’t think anyone will have enough time to get him for a while.”

 

Harry nodded and stood up. “lets go get him, it’s the least I can do.”

 

I grabbed ahold of him before he could run off. “No you might be needed here and only one of us needs to go.” I glanced over at Ron sitting next to me, staring off into space, unresponsive. “Stay here and keep Ron company.”

 

Harry looked like he was ready to refuse, but one look at Ron made him agree. “Alright, come back as fast as you can. Be careful Hermione” He sat back down and decided not to point out that I could just as easily stay with Ron while he took care of it.

 

I nodded and stood, making sure to grab my beaded bag before exiting the Hall quietly. I prayed that nothing happened to Professor Snape’s body. We might not have always seen eye to eye, but nobody deserves to be disrespected in such a way. Besides, I’ve seen him as my Professor far longer than as a Death Eater.

 




The first thing I noticed stepping inside was that there was only a blood stain where the body should have been.

 

It took me longer than it should have to notice a person taking gasping breaths, leaning up against the opposite wall. I stared dumbly at the blood only to look up and see that Professor Snape was, in fact, not a corpse.

 

I hurried over to his side and kneeled down, that was as far as I got before I became a nervous wreck. I did not expect this, I was not ready for this. As morbid as it sounds, a body is less complicated to take care of.

 

In my panic I was unable to speak clearly. The best I could do was wave my hands in front of me while making a strangled noise.

 

Even in his condition he was aware enough and had enough energy to point at an empty vial on the floor. After giving me a disgusted glare for my behaviour of course.

 

His familiar scowl was enough to snap me out of it enough to think.

 

The empty vial meant he had taken a potion he had with him somewhere in his robes.

 

I asked him the only questions I could think of, “What potion did you take? Was it an antidote?”

 

His response was the slightest twitch of his head that looked like a nod. I figured that was the best i could hope for due to his wound.

 

At that thought I looked at his throat to see that he was able to messily apply some bandages. It wasn’t quite enough to stop the bleeding, but it was better than nothing.

 

The amount of potions in my bag were very limited, and I didn’t think there would be enough time to get him back to the castle without treatment first.

 

I practically slapped myself in the forehead when I realized that if he had an antidote on him he probably had other potions too.

 

After fishing the small amount of Essence of Dittany I knew I had out of my bag, I started searching his robes as gently as I could. In a few discrete pockets there were, in fact, a few potions. One of them happened to be an energy booster while the rest were Blood Replenishing potions.

 

I decided to stop the bleeding before doing anything else, seeing as he already got rid of the poison. Getting the Dittany ready, I banished the bandages from the wound. I was barely able to get out an “This is going to sting” before the Dittany dripped onto the wound.

 

Professor Snape hissed slightly and clenched his jaw as the wound sizzled closed. I conjured some freshed bandages to cover the fresh skin and turned my attention to the potions.

 

Looking at him I asked, “Can you swallow?” which was a fair question considering.

 

He nodded with another jerk of his head and I helped him sit up a little bit more.

 

I helped him swallow the Blood Replenishing potions first. Even though more than one isn’t recommended, I figured he needed it.

 

After he took a moment to collect himself, I helped him swallow the energy booster.

 

Deciding that there was nothing else I could do, I conjured an excessively fluffy blanket and draped it over him.

 

Levitating him out of there, I started running for the castle while he floated at my side.

 

Bursting into the Great Hall was something I later thought of as overly dramatic, but at the time I didn’t really care.

 

Skidding to a halt inside with Professor Snape, I screamed, “Madame Pomfrey! Professor Snape is alive!”

 

The Hall was dead silent in an instant before exploding into motion. Pomfrey ran the fastest I had ever seen her, motioning for me to set him down.

 

See kneeled next to him as soon as I did. “Explain!” Was all she was able to yell at me, and it was all I needed to hear.

 

In a rush, I tried to explain, “He was bitten by Nagini, I think he took some sort of anti-venom, the wound is on his neck, I used Dittany on it, gave him two Blood Replenishing potions and an energy booster before taking him here.”

 

She nodded and quickly started working. “I’ll take it from here, go sit down.”

 

Drained, I started walking towards Harry and Ron who had been on their feet since I bursted in. Harry was already cry and Ron looked about ready to start. Even though Snape wasn't his favorite person, to say the least. This meant that we were able to save just one more person.

 

By the time I reached them we were all an absolute mess. I grabbed ahold of them and it turned into a crying huddle of sorts, with some more people joining us.

 

We basked in each others presence and let it all spill out, because even though we lost some loved ones, we still have others.

 

And Professor Snape helped us realize that in his own, roundabout way.

Chapter Text

As I get smacked in the face by, what has to be the tenth tree branch in the past hour, I wonder what I’m doing here.

 

At the request of help from Luna, I find myself in a dense forest outside of a muggle inhabited area. All to look for a crup that got loose after suddenly attacking his owner. Our priority is to find it before some muggles do.

 

Working for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, I would usually be informed. But this case is being handled by Luna already. As a Magizoologist, she is more than qualified to find it and figure out what happened to make it attack.

 

I push the branch out of my face and sigh. “Is my help honestly needed?” We continue walking and I manage to catch the next branch. “I’m sure you can handle it without me.”

 

She hums. “Yes, quite possibly.” at my questioning glance she continues. “We don’t know what’s wrong yet.” She inspects the trail we’ve been following, searching for any kind of pattern in the the marks left behind. “One mistake facing the unknown could prove fatal.” She glances back at me and makes one of her dreamy smiles. “I would rather have back up.”

 

I sigh dramatically. “I suppose it can’t be helped.” Though I really am just complaining to pass the time. Luna and I my not be the best of friends, but I would never refuse her request. Even if I wasn’t curious about the crup.

 

She knows this of course. Luna may seem like she’s floating above the clouds, but she is a Ravenclaw for a reason.

 

Coming around a bend we spot some kind of furred creature in the distance. Getting closer it is more recognizable. Slightly covered by foliage, a rabbit lays still and slightly bloody on the ground.

 

From beside me Luna comments, “Well, this changes up his behavioral pattern a bit.” She tilts her head in mild concern. “This is the first we found. Do you think it’s possible that it’s attacking whatever it comes across, and this happened to be the first and only thing that has so far?”

 

I nod. “That would make sense, we haven’t come across anything living either, they’re probably all running away from it and us.” I raise an eyebrow incredulously. “Or it just likes rabbits.”

 

Luna moves to continue down the trail left behind. “If that were the case, it would have eaten it, how strange.”

 

I grimace at the thought and follow after her.

 

If the crup is indeed attacking whatever it sees, then back up is a good idea.

 

No more than a few minutes later we hear a scream in the distance. It doesn’t sound very close, but it happens to be coming from the direction of the trail we’re following. Which is bad news for the poor soul who crossed paths with the crup. Worse if it’s a muggle without a weapon.

 

“Looks like we found it.” Luna comments before we both sprint in the direction of the noise, wands at the ready.

 

We finally make it to the source of the scream to see a pair of males holding up tree branches. I check over their appearance quickly. Their clothes look torn, and there are scratches littered all over their bodies, with a few bite marks here and there.

 

Standing opposite the muggles is a tense and growling crup, easily mistaken for a dog if not for the forked tail. Besides the aggression, the crup is frothing at the mouth while he snarls, and whatever reasoning it should have had seems to be gone. This is very different than how a crup usually acts.

 

Before it can attack the muggles again, Luna casts Petrificus Totalus and Incarcerous , effectively halting it.

 

Deciding I’m not needed in the examination of the crup, I turn my attention to the understandably scared and possibly panicked pair.

 

I point my wand at them and cast the charm I hate having to use. “ Obliviate .” I concentrate on the attack and change it from a crup to a rabid dog. I also change Luna and I with wands, into a good samaritan with a shotgun. I also try to emphasize the need for a hospital and to check for rabies.

 

While I have never seen a crup like this before, I have seen a dog infected with rabies in my old neighborhood. Both instances look so similar to me, but knowing if it’s possible is more Luna’s expertise.

 

Crups have been known to attack muggles when they’re not controlled by their owner. One has never attacked their own owner before, they are extremely loyal to wizards. So this is very strange indeed.

 

Once I deem the muggles far enough away I cast Repello Muggletum over the area just in case.

 

I finally make my way over to Luna. She’s kneeling on the ground next to the prone crups taking some hair, blood, and saliva samples for testing.

 

I kneel down next to her and ask, “Do you think it’s possible that regular animals can transfer their diseases to magical creatures? This looks too similar to rabies to be a coincidence.”

 

She contemplates for a moment before answering. “Wizards can share the same illnesses with muggles, it’s quite possible that animals and magical creatures are similar enough.” she smiles apologetically at me. “I wouldn’t know for certain, I can ask Rolf’s father Newt, if anyone would know it would be him.”

 

I feel some relief at that. We need to figure this out in case any of the centaurs or one of Hagrid’s pets gets infected, and attacks the students at Hogwarts.

 

Once she finishes she grabs ahold of the crup’s tail and then holds out a hand to me. I grab her hand and brace myself for side along apparition.

 

Luna smiles her dreamy smile. “Thanks for being my backup Hermione.” She shifts into a better stance. “We really should hang out more often.”

 

I give her a small smile. “I’d like that.”

 

And we apparated away.

Chapter Text

“You cannot be serious Minerva.” Severus unable to keep the disbelief out of his tone.

Minerva sighs but her stern expression stays in place. “I am not, and believe me, I know how unorthodox this is.” She takes a sip of her tea that may or may not have an added ingredient. “We have very little choice.”

Severus composes himself. “Please do inform me as to why I am sacrificing more of my time to one Ronald Weasley.” His tone filled with distaste.

“You and I both know very well the responsibility he will have soon.” She sighs and leans back. “Where Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger go, he will be sure to follow. Out of the three, his grades and interest in learning the things he will need to survive are the lowest.”

Feeling the start of a headache coming on, he reaches out and takes a sip of his own suspicious tea. “What has Dumbledore said about this?”

“That is the most troubling thing.” Minerva purses her lips. “He is remarkably, unconcerned.” She sits up straighter. “If we cannot protect these children, I want to make sure they are prepared, and we will start with Mr. Weasley.”

With a resigned sigh from Severus they start to plan.


 

Potions class has been dismissed and Severus makes his way over to the terror trio where they are packing their bags.

Coming up behind them he hears Ron start to mutter, “A two foot essay on Flobberworms, that damned g-.”

“Is there a problem Mr. Weasley?” Severus’ drawl coming out in full force.

Ron gives a full body twitch, but has the sense to hold in a rather embarrassing squeal. “Ah! S...uh, Professor!”

Severus slowly makes eye contact with all of them. While Ron is terrified, Harry has his usual distrustful look on his face, and Hermione seems to be fighting down amusement. “Have I interrupted?”

Ron scrunches up his face, clearly trying to think of a way out of this. “I was just going to say that you…” Ron waves his arm around in a gesture towards Severus. “You have a kind of aroma about you." He finished haltingly.

“An aroma.” A raised eyebrow is the only change to Severus’ expression. “Your wit continues to astound.” His words practically dripping sarcasm. Without giving him time to process, Severus continues, “Stay after class Mr. Weasley, there are things we need to discuss.”

As Severus turns and walks back to his desk the trio all exchange confused looks. Wisely, they elect not to argue with their Professor. With a quick goodbye Harry and Hermione leave the classroom to wait for Ron in the hall.

Severus silently waves him towards the door to his office and Ron apprehensively follows him inside.

Not wanting to waste precious time Severus starts immediately. “You are aware that you will soon be facing you know who.”

Ron sits up straighter in his chair, there had been similar discussions going on in the order meeting they were able to eavesdrop on. This was the first time someone brought it to their attention.

“While I do not approve of the involvement of children.” Severus adopts a stern expression. “I have no choice in the matter.” He bends down to retrieve something. “I do, however, have the ability to prepare you.”

Ron stares in amazed confusion at the Wizard’s Chess set. “I already know how to play.” he gives Severus a disgruntled look. “How’s this gonna help?”

Severus gives a sniff. “While you have potential, you have little motivation for classroom learning.” He raises a hand to disrupt any outbursts. “Potential means nothing when you do nothing with it.”

Ron struggles to hold in his angry retorts due to the seriousness of the conversation. “And how will Wizard’s Chess help?”

Severus shrugs nonchalantly. “A good player shows an eye for strategy, which is something you will need.” He allows himself to taunt Ron with a smirk. “And it’s one of the few things you’re decent at.”

Ron’s face blazes red with anger. “I’ll-!”

“Silence.” Severus’ stony interruption stops Ron from continuing and causes him to scream internally. “Ms. Granger and Mr. Potter will be having their own sessions with me, so to speak. If you succeed with your tasks I will teach you spells and wards you will need for your survival.”

After a few moments Ron is able to calm himself down enough to ask, “Tasks?”

Severus nods. “Mr. Potter will be tasked with keeping me out of his mind, like he was unable to before. Ms. Granger will be tasked with memorizing the Potions I see fit, their ingredients, the steps, the effects of the ingredients and why their used.”

With pursed lips Ron asks, “What’s my task?”

Severus gestures toward the board and folds his hands in his lap. “Defeat me in a game of Wizard’s Chess.”

It takes a minute for Ron to process it, with a stupefied expression on his face he asks, “That’s it? All I have to do is beat you in a game?”

Severus adopts a severe expression. “Never underestimate your opponent, no matter the reason, it could lead to a very preventable death.” He waves at the board. “You get first pick of color.”

Ron glances at the board and smirks before settling down in his seat. “I choose black.”

Severus just shakes his head at Ron’s arrogance. He’ll learn soon enough.


 

“What?” Ron’s expression is pure and genuine confusion. “How did you beat me? I had you!”

Severus can just smirk at him. “Better luck tomorrow Mr. Weasley. Come here everyday after dinner until you have succeeded.” He takes a bite of the cookies the house elves brought them in the middle of the game. “Potential will only get you so far.”

“You’re on Professor!” He grabs his stuff and rushes to meet up with Harry and Hermione, not even noticing he didn’t accidentally call his Professor ‘Snape’.

Severus sighs and rubs his temple. This is going to be one hell of an end to a school year. He can feel it already.

 

Chapter Text

Draco could not believe what he was hearing. Straight from Granger's mouth and everything. “You made what?”

She gave an impatient sigh. “I made a time machine, but it's not like a time turner. It’s more of a vehicle or transport of a sort. I made it so that when you travel to another time the walls are transparent to us, but anyone else around us is unaware of our presence. Making it so we never have to leave the machine.”

After Granger explained it again Draco still didn't understand why. Aren't Time Turners good enough for them anymore? This is what happens when you make Granger an Unspeakable.

Draco narrowed his eyes at his surprise guest before slumping back into his desk chair. “First of all, what use does the ministry have for this? Secondly, why are you telling me? We're not even in the same department.”

Granger takes a seat in one of the chairs in front of his desk. “Well I'm using it for documentation. Most history is written after the fact and it can be skewed by who wrote it. This way we can get the unbiased truth in real time.” She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a pouch. “The Ministry also mandated that we are able to select our destinations randomly to further prevent outside influence.”

She sets down the pouch on the desk. “The destination is determined by rolling dice, leaving the month, day, and year up to chance.” She grimaces for a moment. “I'm telling you because no one else I trust is willing to go with me, and help with documentation.” She shrugs and crosses her arms. “No one I trust anyway.” She has the audacity to point at him. “And you owe me a favor.”

Draco resists the urge to rub his temples at the oncoming headache. “Merlin Granger, you're out of your mind.” He squints at her. “Agreeing to babysit Scorpius does not constitute this kind of favor. There's a reason why everyone said no.”

Granger gives a hmph sound. “I think it does, Scorp puked on me last time.” She stares accusingly across the desk. “Rose never pukes on you.”

Draco gives in and rubs his temple. “On two conditions.”

Granger grins triumphantly. “Of course, name it so we can get to the last preparations.”

Draco allows himself to smirk slightly. “You have to babysit Scorpius anytime I ask.” She's already nodding before he can finish. “And you have to go on that girl's day Astoria has been asking you for.”

She sighs at the second one but nods anyway. “Fine I'll ask Kingsley for a day off when we get back.” She gets up. “Don't worry about your work, Kingsley has already given you the rest of the day off.” She turns and starts heading for her department. “Common we're wasting time.”

Draco just shakes his head at her poor joke and locks up his office.


 

Granger is standing in front of her machine doing her last-minute incantations.

Draco stood off to the side holding a few bags with undetectable extension charms. One for food, another for clothes and supplies for sleeping, and the last one for note taking supplies and recording equipment. Granger also brought some things to keep us entertained during any down time.

Draco had also taken time to say goodbye to Scorpius and Astoria. He had no idea how long this could take, and he didn't want to go too long without seeing them.

Granger had further explained that they only had enough magical energy to go to a few times. And that the energy was also used for taking us to relevant locations for that time.

That didn't really tell him how long this would take, Granger didn't really know either.

Granger broke him out of his wandering thoughts. “What, have you changed your mind now?” Goading smirk in place.

He stared blankly at her. “Let's get this over with.”  Successfully masking his uncertainty and mild excitement.

Grangers knowing look says differently.

Draco sighs and heads toward the machine. He might as well be as mindless as Weasley.


 

Standing inside the machine, Granger rolls the dice onto a small table.

A 12-sided die for the month, two 20-sided die for the day, and four 9-sided die for the year.

The dice land on September 1st 1938.

Both Granger and Draco stared at the dice incredulously.

“Think it's a coincidence or some other nonsense?”

“Weird.”


 

Once they arrived at their destination inside the great hall at Hogwarts, they began recording every single face that walked through the doors.

This of course included a certain Tom Riddle, a 1st year waiting to be sorted.

They recorded every conversation they could between the teachers and the students.

They ended up staying there for a few weeks following Riddle and some other students around, as well as Dumbledore. Recording everything they could.

Eventually during their dinner Granger decides to move on. “If we stay any longer we'll end up staying here for years.”

Granger rolls the dice again. September 1st 1971.

“This is getting ridiculous.”

“I'll roll next time, this is clearly your fault.”

“Whatever.”


 

They land in the great hall for a second time and start recording faces and conversations all over again.

This time it included Severus Snape, The Marauders, Lily Evans and others who would later become the parents of friends and colleagues, waiting to be sorted.

They stayed four weeks this time. Recording as much as they could.

Draco held up his hand. “This is our last stop so I'm rolling the dice this time.”

Granger sighed and handed them over.

Draco rolled them out on the table.

March 6th 5127.

“Well, it's not the past, but it is certainly different.”

“Shut it.”


 

When they landed they didn't know what to think for a minute.

As far as their eyes could see there was nothing but dirt and rock. Not even a tumbleweed in sight.

Draco was pretty sure that mountain in the distance was a volcano, if the smoke clouds were any indication.

“Let's just write this down and get the hell out of here.”

“On it.”

They were on their way home not even 15 minutes later.


 

They landed on the day after they left.

“Hopefully next time we see something more substantial.”

“You do that, I'm gonna go hug my wife and kid. And get that wasteland out of my head.”

“Me too, say hi to them for me.”

“Sure and don't think I forgot about that girls night you agreed to.”

Granger sighed. “of course not.”

They proceeded to Apparate away to their respective families.

To them it feels like they've been away for months.