Chapter 4 : Chapter four
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Hermione Granger, heaven sent.
“Richard… oh for pete’s sake wake up,” Helen Granger said as she shook her husband vigorously.
Richard tiredly opened one eye “What is it?”
“I just heard one of our children go down stairs, come on get up or we will miss seeing them open their gifts,” Helen told him as she stood up and pulled on her dressing gown.
Richard grumbled as he sat up and swung his legs off the bed, putting his feet in to his slippers he grumbled again. Helen might have been worried about him grumbling except for the smile on his face and the look of anticipation that showed in his eyes, letting her know it was all for show.
As she walked to the door she stopped when her husband spoke “You do know you said ‘one of our children’,” he said as he placed his arms around her and hugged her.
“I did didn’t I, it’s just that, well Harry, he’s so lovable, how on earth could his aunt have hated him so much,” Helen whispered in to Richards shoulder.
Richard nodded his head while wondering when she had begun to think of the boy that lived with them as one of her own, he him self had accepted the boy almost from the first moment they had met.
He remembered sadly how Harry had been honest with him when he had asked about his injuries and the family he lived with. The way the boy had spoken about the abuse and had thought it was a normal way of life for everyone who had a nephew to look after, had made Richard angry.
The thing that really had Richard fuming and his blood boiling was when he found out the fact that the teachers in the small school Harry had attended had accepted what the Dursleys had told them about Harry being a tearaway who was hard to control, and they had accepted the lies without question even going so far as to practically assist in the cruelty, they had done absolutely nothing about the Dursley boy constantly bullying Harry.
As Helen dragged him down the stairs they both tried to be as quiet as they could. They had done the same thing every Christmas since Hermione had been big enough to get down stairs on her own.
Each year they crept into the living room and watched as Hermione opened her presents; she took them carefully one by one from under the Christmas tree and carefully unwrapped them and folded the wrapping paper before examining the gifts. It was always a great delight when they saw her eyes light up and some times she would even gasp at some gift or other.
This year as they silently opened the living room door they were surprised to find no one in the room, seconds later the quiet rattling of plates came from the kitchen. Arm in arm they walked to the kitchen door and looked in.
Harry stood on a stool as he cracked the eggs and poured them carefully into the frying pan, and then when they were cooked, with a spatula he carefully lifted the fried eggs onto a large plate, before he took the frying bacon from the other side of the cooker. Very carefully he climbed down from the chair and placed it to one side before taking the plates of bacon and eggs over to the table.
Helen and Richard watched in awe as the little boy cooked the food to perfection, they both had tears in their eyes when they heard Harry placing the eggs on to the individual plates he had placed on the table.
“Two for the father, two for the mother, one for the sweetheart, and one for me,” he chanted as he filled the plates, he did the same when he placed the bacon on the plates then one plate at a time he placed them into the oven to keep warm.
He was just about to go wake everyone when he heard Hermione.
“Morning mum, dad, is Harry in the kitchen?”
Helen and Richard beckoned for Hermione to join them as they walked in to the kitchen. As they took their seats at the kitchen table Harry placed a plate in front of them. “Happy Christmas,” he said smiling.
“Thanks Harry,” Richard said smiling.
“Thank you son,” Helen said as she gave him a tight hug.
A rather sleepy Hermione had to rub her eyes and look again as she watched her mum embrace Harry, who she had just called son.
After the breakfast was finished and Helen had insisted she washed the dishes stopping Harry as tried to reach the tap to turn on the hot water.
As soon as the dishes were done they all walked into the living room.
Hermione sat down in front of the Christmas tree and began opening her first present. Harry sat down on the couch to watch just as he had been made to do every year at the Dursleys.
Richard was thinking about the Monday after Harry had first arrived with Hermione.
At nine a.m. on that Monday morning, Richard had stormed into the school head masters office and demanded an explanation about the treatment Harry Potter had received while he was one of their pupils.
When the headmaster replied that they had treated the boy no worse than he deserved Richard lost his temper and thumped the head master on his nose, when the man cowered back and threatened to call the police Richard picked up the phone and offered it to him.
“Go ahead, phone the police, it will just save me the job,” he growled at the frightened teacher. As the man did not take the phone Richard placed it back where he got it from.
“Sit your sorry carcase down,” he hissed dragging the man to his chair. “I have a little story to tell you before I report the fact that one of your pupils was rescued from his aunt and uncle in a badly beaten state, removed from them for his safety.
A few years ago a little one year old boy named Harry Potter was placed with his aunt and uncle the day after both his parents were murdered.
The little boy was hated by his relatives because his aunt had once been rejected by the boy’s father. The aunt tried all she could to seduce her sisters husband but when she failed she began to hate both him and her sister.
As Harry’s only living relative the boy was placed in her care. Instead of caring for the child she turned her hatred for his parents on him, both her husband and her son were dragged into this web of hate and they both began to beat the child.
For nine years Harry Potter was subjected to starvation and cruel beatings, and you who have been placed in this position of trust instead of helping the boy, you made his life even worse,” Richard almost thumped the man again when he began to make up excuses.
Richard placed the St Mungo’s medical report on Harry on the head masters desk, being a muggle when the head master began to read it looked like a medical report from the local hospital, he had only read the part that began with severe malnutrition and several incorrectly healed broken bones that needed to be re-broken and set properly, he was just beginning to read the part containing the more recent injuries that included a broken arm and several broken ribs as well as severe bruising to the side of the head, when Richard grabbed him by his shirt front.
“I believe you have three teachers here as well as your self, I will give you all just 48 hours to resign, if any of you are still here when I return I will see to it you all spend some time in prison, and if I hear of any of you taking up a position as a teacher again I will come after you, do you understand.” Snatching the report from the mans hand Richard let him go and walked to the door “just 48 hours,” he hissed as he left the office.
Richard was brought back to the present when he heard Helen say rather loudly “You have to be kidding.”
Hermione woke up to find Harry was no longer in bed with her, since the first night he had arrived. Since that night when she had invited him to join her, each night sometime during the night, Harry would join her in her bed, and she would hug him tight not falling back to sleep herself until she knew he was fast asleep. She had also discovered that she her self always slept better when she had Harry safely held in her arms.
Now as she looked around the room and realised it was Christmas day, she thought maybe he had woken up and gone down to open his presents.
Pulling on her dressing gown she made her way down to the living room only to find that Harry was not there, looking over to the kitchen door she saw her mum and dad standing there, she asked them if Harry was in the kitchen and they beckoned her to join them.
Taking a wistful look at the presents under the Christmas tree she sighed a little, it was and always had been usually her first stop on Christmas morning. She was surprised when she walked into the kitchen and saw Harry placing a plate in front of her dad.
As soon as breakfast was finished Hermione took hold of Harry’s hand and led him into the living room, she let go when she sat down on the carpet in front of the tree and began to pull out her first gift.
As Hermione finished unwrapping her second present she wondered why Harry had not yet started to open his presents, it seemed a little odd that a boy would not be ripping enthusiastically at the wrappings to see what he had been bought.
“Aren’t you going to open your presents Harry?” Hermione asked as she turned to look at him.
Harry sat unmoving with his mouth hanging open and stared at Hermione.
“Harry?” she said turning a little more.
“Presents, you mean I have presents? Wow I never had a present before,” Harry gasped as he moved forward.
Hermione then remembered vaguely a time when Ron had told her Harry had never had a present before going to Hogwarts, she felt like crying for him yet again but instead she pulled him into a hug and said “Well you have some now.”
Helen Granger could not believe her ears when she heard Harry say he had never had a present before, “Didn’t you get a present when you got your birthday cards?” she asked.
“I’ve never had a birthday card either,” Harry answered quite innocently and they knew he was telling the truth.
“You have to be Kidding,” Helen said almost shouting “why those evil, ooh just wait till I get my hands on them.”
An extremely happy Harry sat down with Hermione and began to open the presents addressed to him, there were several books on magic that Hermione had recommended to her parents. The last present he opened was from Hermione, carefully he unwrapped it and just as Hermione had done he folded up the wrapping paper before opening the small box he held.
Having said wow Harry threw his arms around Hermione and kissed her cheek as he thanked her for the watch she had bought him, he had never had anything so great in all his life he declared as he gave her a final squeeze.
With all the presents open Harry began to remove the rubbish and after placing it all in the bin he walked over to Helen and gave her a thank you as he hugged her around her waist. He then turned to Richard and thanked him as well.
“This is the best Christmas ever,” Harry declared before picking a book to read.
Hermione felt a little disappointed when she realised that she had not received a gift from Harry, but the thought that never having had any himself or the money or reason to buy his evil relatives a Christmas present perhaps he did not know any better.
At nine a.m. precisely Richard went to answer a knock at the front door, just a few seconds later he called for Hermione.
She joined her father at the door and was asked to sign for a rather large box by a young woman who wore an odd mixture of clothes.
Taking the box from the woman and then struggling into the living room with it, Hermione puffed as she placed the box on the couch.
The small tag attached to the top of the box said simply ‘Hermione Happy Christmas, from Harry’.
Opening the box Hermione was surprised to find someone she recognised instantly “Crookshanks,” she yelled as she pulled the young kneazle cross from a cat basket. The rest of the box was filled with at least a year’s supply of cat food, litter and other stuff.
An elated Hermione, after hugging her new pet, and placing him on the floor to take a look around his new home, almost stopped Harry from breathing when she gave him a really tight hug and several kisses on his cheeks, gone was the disappointment and it was replaced by a surge in the love that had been steadily growing in her heart for this slightly different Harry.
An hour later as both Hermione and Harry sat together reading through the books they had been bought there was a persistent tapping on the window. Hermione got up and opened the window to allow an owl into the room. Both Helen and Richard thought Hermione had gone crazy as the owl fluttered around the room then landed on the table in front of Harry.
Harry had never seen an owl before and he stared at it wondering if it would bite if he tried to stroke it. As he reached out his hand and stroked the birds head it lifted its leg to him showing that there was a small envelope tied there.
Hermione reached over as she spoke to the Owl “Is it ok if I take that? Harry has never had Owl post before,” she said gently.
The Owl turned to face Hermione and held out its leg to her, she removed the letter and asked the bird to wait while she fetched it some water and something to eat.
It did not take long before she returned from her quick dash into the kitchen, she placed the bowl of water and the few pieces of bacon that were left from breakfast on the table for the bird, it was as the bird took a drink Hermione remembered the letter and passed it to Harry.
Harry opened the envelope and began to read the letter, as soon as he had finished he passed it to Hermione and her eyes lit up a large smile appearing on her face.
Hermione passed the letter to her dad and he read it out.
To Mr H. J. Potter.
Mr Potter sir, with regard to your property ‘number 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging’, your presence at the vacating of the property will be required at 3 o clock this afternoon.
There are several forms that require your signature.
My apologies for not notifying you at an earlier date.
Griphook. Appointed Potter Vault keeper.
Just a few minutes after the owl had left Helen answered yet another knock on the front door, shaking her head and sighing at all the interruptions to their normal Christmas routine she walked from the kitchen.
A few minutes later Helen entered the kitchen followed by Albus Dumbledore, Hermione was both pleased and annoyed, because it meant if he could find them then so could any death eaters that took the trouble.
“Good morning Professor,” Hermione said as she took hold of Harry’s hand. She did not trust Albus Dumbledore and she would not put it past him to apparate them both while shaking Harry’s hand.
Albus noted the look Hermione gave him as he shook the hand of Harry Potter, the future saviour of the wizarding world.
“I happen to have overheard as Griphook told the owl the address, most fortuitous being at Gringotts and walking past Griphook’s office at just the right time,” Albus said as he held out his hand to Richard and then introduced him self.
Turning to Hermione Dumbledore smiled “You were of course correct in your assumption that I would not be able to find young Harry, it was a matter of sheer luck that I was at Gringotts on Christmas day. Now is there anywhere I can talk privately to Harry?”
“You just have to be joking, if you think for one moment I am going to give you the slightest chance to return Harry to his relatives you are totally crazy,” Hermione almost shouted, “apart from that there are no secrets in this house.”
“Might I sit? these old legs are not what they were,” Albus asked looking at Helen.
Helen nodded then offered the old man a drink. “Maybe a wine to warm you.”
“Tea would be nice, just one small lump of sugar,” Albus replied.
After fifteen minutes of small talk and a few tales about Hogwarts and its founders, Albus suddenly asked if they had a cellar or basement room.
Richard was the one that answered telling the old head master that they had a rather large cellar.
“So Miss Granger I don’t suppose you have been able to practice your spells, and if as I suspect you have been teaching Harry about magic, he has not been able to actually see the things you are trying to teach him, would I be correct in these assumptions?” Albus said turning to Hermione.
“Well with the laws forbidding underage magic, we have only been able to learn a few spells using small canes as wands to learn the wand movements.” Hermione replied wondering where the head master was taking this conversation.
Dumbledore thoughtfully stroked his beard a while before turning to the Granger adults “There may shortly come a time when this family and many more like it will be in grave danger, especially Harry, but you your selves being the parents of Hermione who it seems is destined to be the greatest witch for a thousand years, will also be in grave danger. Might I propose that given your permission of course, I place sufficient protection around your cellar to protect you from that danger. It will offer you a place of refuge should you need it.”
Richard looked at the old man and studied his face for quite some time before he nodded his agreement, Helen agreed, because she was a mother and she wanted to be able to keep her small family safe.
Hermione offered to show Dumbledore down to the cellar, and she then whispered into her mum’s ear that one of them should keep hold of Harry all the time that the Professor was in the house.
Hermione stayed in the cellar until Albus had begun to place the wards, saying she was going to ask her mum for a drink she left him to carry on alone.
Using the surges in magic that Dumbledore was creating to cover what she was doing, Hermione walked around outside the house and placed wards of her own design around the property. Only people who knew the password would now be able to enter the property, or even find it, she hoped that there was no one out in the lane to watch as the house disappeared from view to the world.
At two thirty Dumbledore was still working down in the cellar, so unable to leave the old man alone in their home. Hermione told her mum and dad that she would take Harry to Privet Drive at ten minutes before three. Both parents were disappointed, Hermione got the impression from her mum that she had planned on beating Petunia Dursley to a pulp, and from the look on her father’s face he had roughly the same thing planned for Vernon.
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