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Chapter 2: The Yellow Box
Hermione stepped back through the door of the kitchen from the garage. She held a small yellow box with tape wrapped around it. On the tag in the front was the name Elroy. Her memory had just started returning to her. Her parents sat at the kitchen table. Their memories would take longer because they were muggles.
She tried removing the tape with her fingers, then she tried to slice through it with a knife from the drawer.
Her father put his hand on hers as she shook the box when it would not open. He said, ‘Darling, where is your wand?’
She looked up the stairs and said, ‘Accio wand’ and it appeared on the table next to the package. Without saying a word she looked at the package and it was if an invisible blade was slicing through the tape. The cover lifted off and lying on top was a sheet of paper.
Beneath the paper were children’s mementos, pictures and three small vials of a pale blue shimmering gas. She set the paper aside and picked up the pictures.
She was just 11 years old in the first picture and standing next to her was her best friend Elroy. Tears started filling her eyes and she looked through more of the photos. Each had pictures of herself and Elroy at different ages. They had lived next to each other for as long she could remember.
Hermione looked up at her parents and saw that each had regained the memories. They remembered Elroy and his parents. All were good friends and neighbors. ‘How did we forget,’ Hermione’s mother said.
‘I’m not sure.’ She said. she looked into the box and the vials that contained their memories were empty.
I can’t believe it. I haven’t spoken to … or even thought about the Shepherd’s for …. What has it been?’ her father said.
Hermione replied, ‘eight years.’
They each sat stunned looking at the pictures splayed across the table. None of them were looking at the sheet of paper sitting next to the box.
‘Hermione, what’s happened to your hands?’ her mother said, noticing the red scares wrapping around her hands.
‘There caused by a spell,’ she said. but she never noticed them before today. But she had read all about them. An ‘unbreakable vow’.
It was all coming back to her now. Elroy and her sitting alone together the day he left eight years ago. Today she thought. She looked around the room. ‘Mom where is the letter from Elroy?’
Her mother got up from her seat and walked into the foyer. She had set all the mail there. Coming back she had a small stack of magazines and bills in one hand and a small white envelope in the other. She handed it to Hermione and set all the rest onto the counter, soon to be forgotten.
Hermione tore open the letter and started to read. It was a very short note, it gave a time, day and airline for a flight arriving today. ‘she looked at the clock and said, ‘Daddy, I need to borrow the car.’ She stood and as she grabbed her wand and stuffed it into her bag, she looked back at her parents, Her father had taken the keys off the hook and said, ‘Do you need us to go with you?’
She shook her head and said, ‘no, I am okay. I will give you a call in a few hours,’ and she was out the door. They heard the car door slam and the engine start and listened to it as the sound of the engine slowly faded away.
Mr. Granger looked at his wife and said, ‘Do you think we should have told her what we were going to do.’
Mrs. Granger said, standing and walking towards her husband to just hold onto him, ‘No. Albus said we were doing the right thing. We trusted what he said then. We have to continue to trust him. Whatever happens.’
July 19, 1991
It’s a small minority of students at Hogwarts that never know that they have the ability to do magic until just before the school year starts. In the beginning of July each year the Ministry of Magic turns over files of children that are going to be offered positions at Hogwarts. Children of pureblood families are first to be offered. Then children who have had some magic in their family would go next. Finally children of Muggle families with no known magical lineage would be given the chance.
The two moving trucks had arrived at 8:00 am sharp. The movers knew what had to be done and got started working immediately. The first container was empty and all the large heavy furniture was to be moved out of the house and into the truck first. Then the boxes would be moved out last.
The container was going into storage until the owner decided what to do with all their belongings.
After the last box was loaded and the truck pulled away the second truck pulled into place. The movers all took their break and had lunch. As they started storing their lunch pails and discarding the last of the trash and cigarette butts, before unloading the second container truck, one of the movers pointed out the ‘weirdo’ walking down the street with long robes and a pointed hat. He had a full white beard that he had tucked into a belt around his waste and a pair of half moon spectacles perched on the tip of his nose.
Professor Albus Dumbledore felt this was one of the best days he had seen all summer. He was especially happy because of the tasks he was to perform today. He had read through both files and decided that he wanted to take on this special duty himself.
It had been years since he had come to a muggle home to tell them about their special children and the school to which they could attend. He checked the addresses on the houses as he past, looking at the lawns and lawn sculptures.
As he past the moving truck, he stopped and pulled out an envelope from his pocket. Frowning slightly he replaced it and pulled a second envelope out and scanned the name and address. 1194 Alexandra, Gillingham.
He stepped up the driveway and onto the sidewalk. The movers turned away and started unloading the boxes from the truck. None would remember the strangely dressed man after tomorrow. Albus stood on the steps and pulled a chain hanging near the front door. He listened to the musical chimes ringing through the house and waited for one of the family inside to open the door.
‘Mr. and Mrs. Granger there is something that you must know before your daughter returns.’ Professor Dumbledore said.
‘I noticed that Hermione has scars on her hands. Has she been injured by something lately.’
They looked at each other and Mr. Granger said ‘No, not that we know of.’
He frowned and said, ‘These scars seem to me to be the result of an very powerful spell. An Unbreakable Vow. A promise that has deep emotions attached to it.’
They looked at each other and told Professor Dumbledore about the Shepherds. The said that the children spent the day together. They told Albus about the Betrothal they had signed the day before.
Albus took his wand out of his sleeve and said. ‘we are going to need a few more moments.’ With a wave of his wand they heard Hermione’s bedroom door close and heard the desk chair scrap on the wood floor. ‘I gave her the suggestion that she should start reading. I put one of the books from our school Library on her desk.' Albus took a moment to clear his mind for what he had to suggest to the muggles before him was beyond what the ministry would call “within the bounds of the Secrecy act of 1916”.
'Its seems that the young couple have unknowingly made a very important decision that could cost them a great deal. I would like your permission to speak with your daughter alone and extract the memory of their time together yesterday.
Mrs. Granger sat up straighter. ‘Take her memory.’
Dumbledore explained to her that some witches and wizards have the ability to remove unwanted memories from their minds to be stored away. He told them that he himself has many such memories kept in a closet in his office at Hogwarts.
In the end they agreed with him. Not fully understanding what he suggested but trusting him just the same.
'The spell itself is easy to perform but the trick is knowing which memory to extract, without wiping the mind completely.' It was Mr. Grangers turn to sit up straighter.
Dumbledore apologized to the Granger's one last time for what will seem an intrusion into there life. He stepped out onto their back porch and closed the door. A moment latter they heard a ‘pop’ from outside. They remained seated and waited. Not more than 10 minutes later they heard the ‘pop’ again and immediately after, they heard a light tap on the door. Dumbledore opened the door without waiting for a reply from them. He carried in a basin and set it on the dining room table.
'We can call Miss Granger back from her studying.' He waved his wand and replaced it up his sleeve all in one motion.
Hermione’s parents heard the chair scrap across the floor in the room above them. They looked towards the stairs as the door to their daughters room opened and she strolled down the steps as though the last 20 minutes of studying had never happened.