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Chapter 23 : Grandma Wandal's Know-for-Sure
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In the next few months, Dumbledore had watched as the world changed around him. The most noticeable and concerning change was that which occurred in Harry. He sat in front of him now, his head lowered and his head in his hands.
“You no longer trust me, do you Harry?” asked Dumbledore gravely. The young man’s head rose and he regarded Dumbledore carefully. Was he trying to trick him? Test his loyalty? No – Dumbledore didn’t play games; he was a straightforward sort of man . . . as was Harry.
“No sir, I’m afraid I don’t . . .” a sombre silence sat between the two of them. “Don’t get me wrong sir . . . I’m still devoted to our battle against Voldemort, but after what’s happened and some of the decisions you’ve made in the past few months, I’ve started to wonder about . . .” Harry faltered.
“Please continue Harry . . .” said Dumbledore. Harry heaved a large sigh and he continued with what he was saying.
“It’s just . . . I don’t think you’re fighting for the people . . . for us any more. You’re fighting to win.” he stated. “I mean, look where Hermione is. She’s alone in the Malfoy manor, married to her long time enemy and most likely going to have his child. I know you would say that it’s all for the mission and that she accepted – but do you actually realise just how much these decisions and plans of yours will cost her? Even if she does come back to us – if we can ever get her back – her life will be changed forever!” Harry said in a raised voice. But he wasn’t finished yet. “And then there was that guy who just turned up on the doorstep! He was a Death Eater but you just invited him in. He says he wants to help and you immediately believe him! Didn’t you learn anything from Snape? Déjà vu!” Harry finally stopped yelling and sunk back into his chair, ashamed.
He didn’t mean to go off at Dumbledore or accuse him like he did, but he couldn’t restrain himself. He wasn’t the only one who didn’t trust Dumbledore any more, there were others. But it was only because of his close relationship with the Headmaster that he dared to voice these opinions. He didn’t dare look at Dumbledore, he was scared of what he would see written on his face. Rage. Sadness. Amusement.
“I appreciate you telling me your concerns Harry so I may be able to clear some things up for you . . .” he said calmly with no sign of anger or humour in his voice. “Firstly, I must assure you that I did check over Mr Rangel’s mind very thoroughly before allowing him a place in our organisation. While he is not a true believer of our cause, there are certain things that I believe he can help us with – getting back Hermione being my number one priority. As for her case, I’m afraid that you may be right.” he said glumly and Harry’s head shot up. “I have been known to make mistakes in the past, but I admit that this may be one of my biggest blunders. I never realised just how much of an effect this could have on her life, but you see Harry, there is a bigger problem that worries me. I don’t doubt my ability to bring her back to us and I ask that you don’t either, for I assure you that I will get her back. The problem we face after that is our ability to make her stay here.”
Harry frowned a little. What was he on about?
“I’m afraid that when we have returned Hermione to her original self with all her memories intact, she may still wish to go back to Voldemort.” Harry almost fell out of his chair.
“No she wouldn’t – she’ll be Hermione again and she won’t want anything to do with them again! She’ll be back to normal!” he said sounding aghast. What scared him most was when Dumbledore shook his head sadly.
“It’s not that simple Harry. You see, although she will have all her old memories back, she will keep all her old memories also. Everything she did, said and felt while in Malfoy manor will still be known to her.”
“But I though you’d destroy those memories . . . I though she wasn’t going to remember it all afterwards!”
“No Harry, that would be wrong. We can’t remove her memories – it’s not our right. It would destroy who she is.”
“But you did before – when you sent her in there! You destroyed her then – she’s not the same!”
“But Harry, that was different. She agreed to do it as long as we promised that we would return her to normal again. What you talk of is changing her memory, and possibly her personality forever.”
Harry sat in silence. He understood what Dumbledore was saying, but he didn’t see what was so wrong with what he had suggested about removing her memories. The Hermione he knew wouldn’t want to remember what she had done in there. She would want to be free of that life. Then the idea struck him.
“Sir, if she agrees to destroying the memories, could we do it then?” Dumbledore nodded his head.
“Yes, Harry, that could be an option. But you have to understand that she may not know what she wants. She would have conflicting thoughts. Although she has only spent a few months in there, I imagine that they would have a heavy impact on her choices. She will most likely be torn. You and Ron or Draco Malfoy. He has had quite an impact in shaping her life, as he will continue to do so.” Dumbledore watched Harry’s expression. Fear and concern were mixed deeply in his features. “Ultimately, it will be her choice and I’m afraid that once she is in her right mind again, we will have to act upon her wishes. If she want’s to go back – we will have to honour that.”
Hermione rolled over in bed and squinted in the sunlight that reflected off the window sharply. Looking over her shoulder she was surprised to see Draco still in bed. Very rarely did she ever wake up to find him in bed; he usually left her asleep and went to train with his men. Ever since the disappearance of Travis from a mission nearly three months ago, working with the men had become a full time job for Draco. No one knew where Travis had gone but they were searching everywhere. Lord Voldemort was not pleased by this development and wanted him back as soon as possible. During this time however, Hermione had been free to walk the corridors without fearing an attack.
She began to crawl out of bed quietly so not to wake Draco, but like all the other times – he knew. He seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to her movements or whereabouts. He could always find her. His hand groped around her stomach and dragged her back under the covers towards him.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked smartly.
“To the bathroom to brush my teeth!” she answered, but still he didn’t release her. There was an unspoken agreement between the two of them. They were married. They didn’t argue or discriminate against one another. They had sex. This was the limit of their agreement. They weren’t in love, lust or otherwise. They were simply friends.
“Your breath’s fine – stay here.”
“No – it smells! Even I can smell it!” she said with a laugh. Before she knew what was happening, he had rolled on top of her, only the sheet separating their naked bodies, and kissed her long and hard. Hermione would be lying if she said she didn’t like the physical side of their relationship. He did amazing things to her body, and no matter what, she never grew tired of the way he touched and kissed her. But like they had both stated one evening when going over the finer points of their relationship, it was just sex. Nothing more. Hermione never imagined that she would ever allow herself to become involved in a purely physical relationship – but here she was, and she liked it!
Draco stopped kissing her and rolled off her.
“You’re right, your breath does smell!” he said snottily, but she knew he didn’t mean it. Pulling herself out of the bed, she wrapped the satiny smooth pink sheer nightgown around her body and walked to the bathroom, smirking at Draco where he lay in the bed. He watched her greedily, but allowed her to pass from the room without another comment.
At the breakfast table, Hermione pushed her eggs around her plate lazily. She wasn’t in the mood for eggs – or anything else for that matter. She wasn’t hungry in the slightest – and for her, that was a change.
“Don’t you want your eggs?” Draco asked in a whisper as he leaned over towards her. Hermione saw Narcissa’s ever watching eyes on her, but ignoring her, shook her head in response.
“I’m not feeling too well – I might just skip breakfast. There’s some reading I wanted to continue anyway . . .” she said quietly, placed her knife and fork on her plate and pushed her chair back. “Misfit!” she demanded and a small ‘pop’ beside her announced the arrival of Draco’s house elf.
“Yes madam, how may Misfit be of asistance?”
“Please clear my place, I’m done.” She pushed her chair back and left the room without anther word to anyone. Draco watched her carefully. Something was bothering her. Since when did she not eat breakfast? He made a mental note to catch up with her later.
Hermione sat in the upstairs sitting room with the large book layed across her legs. Cogitatio á Malus had proved to be quite a task to read, but Hermione felt that it was worth it. With every line she deciphered from Latin to English, she learnt something new. A new spell or an improvement on something old. Of course everything had it’s own dark twist – but she was willing to accept this for the privilege of reading one of the oldest books in history. Although she had only read a small portion of the massive book, she had learnt so much already including a new spin on the silencing charm. Not only did it silence a person; it sewed their lips together with large black thread and was rather painful. The stitches could only be removed by ‘unstitching’ the mouth.
“What are you reading?” Draco had crept into the room without her hearing and had scared her halfway to London.
“Grr! Will you make a noise when you come in – you scared the crap out of me!” he just smirked at her as he approached the wide sofa she sat on. He didn’t say anything else as he gestured again at the book in her hands. “Cogitatio á Malus, if you must know!” she said sharply. He merely nodded his head in agreement of her choice.
“Useful – I’ve read it a few times. I particularly like the mummifying curse – I’ve had some good fun with that one . . .” he said absently. His statement of fondness did not move in Hermione in anyway, but still he insisted in pestering her. “So, you’ve just been reading all morning?” She eyed him carefully. What was he up to?
“Yes . . . Draco, what are you hanging around for? It’s so unlike you to linger . . .” she asked plainly. He wasn’t at all taken aback with her straightforward question. In fact, he smiled again.
“I’m just curious. Are you ok? I think that’s the first time I haven’t seen you guzzle your eggs – I was just wondering if you’re ok?” he asked carelessly, but Hermione understood his worry.
“Yeah, I’m just fine. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for them . . . and well, there’s . . .”
“Well, considering how much we’ve been . . . you know – sleeping together-“
“You mean having sex!” he exclaimed loudly and ungracefully. Hermione blushed dramatically.
“Yes – ah, having sex. Well, it’s got me thinking about being . . . pregnant.” She finished awkwardly. He was clearly shocked. It seemed he had forgotten the final part of their arrangement just like she had. They were expected to have a child within a year.
“Hmm, I’d forgotten about that . . .” he said smoothly. Although he was clearly shocked by her statement, he didn’t allow it to affect him. “I suppose we’ll have to . . . ah . . . get to work on that!” he said with a laugh. It wasn’t like they could do much more! Hermione giggled and the subject was lost as he closed in on her with a kiss. She was leading this time – and he loved it when she suddenly took charge. She leaned up on top of him so she straddled his waist and he pressed both of his hands against her backside and gave it a squeeze. She giggled and started to unbutton his shirt while trailing kisses across his cheek and then down his neck – biting the skin in places. She wanted to make him groan. Suddenly she pulled back and blocked her nose.
“Ew Draco – what’s with the aftershave? It smells horrible!” she whined waving her hand in front of her face to waft the terrible smell away.
“What? You don’t like it? I thought it smelt quite good!”
“Ergh! No – go back to the old stuff! Yuck!” she groaned as she moved off his hips. He was quite let down. She dry retched at the terrible smell and walked towards the door. “Oh, I cant even be in the same room – go have a shower, will you!” she cried as she left the Draco feeling quite offended in the quiet sitting room.
She had been putting it off for some time now, but her potion’s storeroom was quite a mess and desperately needed resorting and restocking. There were still three whole shelves that were unsorted from when the old potion’s master had been in charge, and Hermione was sure that some of those potions would need to be replaced. Starting at the top, she worked her way through the many different bottles. A jar of Bezoar’s (they would be useful), a forgetfulness potion, anti-aging potion, a very dodgy looking vial of Veritaserum (chucked it out), Wolfsbane potion, something that looked something like Amortentia, various waxy liquids which were unlabelled and several store bought concoctions. It was when she came across a bottle labelled 'Grandma Wandal’s Know-for-Sure’ that she couldn’t help but become curious.
Opening the bottle, she gave a small whiff of its contents and gagged immediately. What a putrid smell! It was rather deceiving actually. The potion inside was of a pearly texture that seemed to glow. Sometimes it looked pink but other times it looked blue – it was quite hard to tell, but still it smelt horrible. Surely no one would be able to drink the potion if she gagged at the mere smell of it! Deciding to investigate further – she referred to the label. Unfortunately it was faded quite badly and only the first few lines could be made out.
‘Feeling tired and let down? Wondering why you’re suddenly eating you’re husband’s food too? A constant feeling of uneasiness or upset in your stomach? You sound like you’ve got the symptoms of pregnancy! But how can you be sure? There’s an easy way! Just take one whiff of 'Grandma Wandal’s Know-for-Sure’ and you’ll know within seconds! Just follow the easy instructions below and you’ll . . .’
The label was too faded to continue, but Hermione was seriously worried now. She had smelt it – what did that mean? She knew there was no continuing now unless she read the rest of this label. Pulling out her wand, she pointed it at the bottle and spoke a hurried ‘Reparo’. The bottom of the label was suddenly restored to its original colour and she continued reading hurriedly.
‘Directions: Deeply inhale the essence of 'Grandma Wandal’s Know-for-Sure’. DO NOT DRINK! Pregnancy has a symptom of an enhanced sense of smell, therefore only pregnant witches will be able to smell the terrible essence contained. If you are not pregnant – you will smell nothing . . .’
What? Hermione re-read the label, again and again and again. That couldn’t be right. Maybe when repairing the label it had messed the instructions up? That would have to be it, because she definitely couldn’t be pregnant! It was unimaginable! She had only been married for three months! But the more she thought on it, the less sure she became.
She had been feeling a little under the weather this last week, but she had put it down to stomach flu. But then there was the problem at breakfast this morning – she had never not eaten her eggs; she loved eggs! No, something wasn’t right . . . but she couldn’t put it down to pregnancy.
She opened the top of the bottle again and took another whiff, and she got the same reaction as before. She was shaking all over now. She couldn’t be pregnant . . . couldn’t!
“Hermione, you down here?” called a feminine voice from the kitchen. Hermione panicked. She stumbled down from the ladder just as Narcissa rounded the corner. Seeing Hermione, she beamed, but didn’t miss the quick movement as she shoved something behind her back.
“He-hello Narcissa . . .” she stuttered nervously. She was hiding something, and Narcissa wasn’t one to fancy games.
“Hermione, what’s behind your back?” she demanded and Hermione’s face sunk.
“N-n-nothing. Nothing at all!” Narcissa strode forwards and reached behind a resigned Hermione and snatched the bottle from her grasp. Unlike Hermione, Narcissa didn’t need to read the label – she knew perfectly well what 'Grandma Wandal’s Know-for-Sure’ was, having used it herself. Looking thoroughly shocked, she quickly asked the question Hermione feared.
“Hermione – are you pregnant . . .?” The young woman in front of her immediately began to argue and excuse her case.
“Well, you see – I don’t really think so. I’d hardly call that potion trustworthy – I mean, what sort of potion works on a smelling basis? It’s just ridiculous-“ Narcissa simply uncorked the bottle and wafted it unexpectedly under Hermione’s nose, causing her once again to gag.
“Ahh! You are! Oh how wonderful!!! You’re going to be a mother - I’m going to be a grandmother! Oh! You should never doubt this potion Hermione – it’s one hundred percent trustworthy! Oh! I’m just so . . . so . . .”
“Ecstatic . . .” Hermione echoed dreadfully.
Author’s Note: **Bows and accepts award for . . . something . . .** Yay! Everyone say yay! Yay! Yay! Yay! Although Hermione’s not very happy about it – but I’m sure she’ll come around! He he! Please review because you know I love it when you do!
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