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Chapter 7 : The Forgotten One
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Chapter 7: The Forgotten One
The aisle was dim and silent, a cobweb spun delicately between the massive book-ridden shelves. The librarian stood on a stool on the tips of her toes with her feather duster in hand, trying to remove the evidence of dust and the occasional arachnids – not to mention what other creepy-crawlies may be lurking about, she shuddered as she descended from the stool.
She turned to head back to her desk, ready to gather her coat and head home for the evening. Suddenly, her trained eye caught something out of place. Strange, she thought. A large leather volume had fallen open on the floor, apparently having been forgotten during her staff’s usual nightly clean-up.
The librarian stooped down to pick the book up, its weight staggering. She examined the open page, not recognizing any of the names or strange symbols displayed there. She closed the book, sneezing at the dust that that action stirred in the air.
A Guide to Pureblooded Wizardry: The Complete History. The Librarian was certain now that this particular dusty tome did not belong on her library’s shelves after all. She had never seen or heard of such as strange title. Must have been left here by one of the students doing a senior project, though I am not sure what type of project that a book like this would be used for…
As her thoughts drifted through the unlikely possibilities, she carried the book with her and placed it on the left corner of her desk in a box marked: HOMELESS BOOKS. She picked up her jacket from her chair, grabbed her key to lock up and, after giving one more cursory glance around to ensure no task had been forgotten, she headed for the library doors.
She had taken no more than three steps forward when suddenly the room was filled with a strange light and a harsh voice filled the silence.
He watched from the shadows as the plump, bookish woman blinked rapidly before stepping through the doors and locking them with her key. He listened to her footsteps disappear down the hall.
With his task nearly complete, the man walked forward. His hand reached from within his dark cloak and picked up the heavy book from its resting spot on the desk. He will be pleased, he thought. Perhaps I can wash my hands of this nonsense now.
Clutching the book, he turned sharply on his heel and was gone as quickly as he had come.
*** Potter Manor ***
Harry Potter was exhausted. This had been one of the most stress-ridden weeks he could remember since the last of the remaining Death Eaters were apprehended five years ago.
He stepped out of the fireplace in his study and brushed the dust off of his tailor-made cloak, thinking even after all these years, I still manage to coat myself in ash whenever I floo. He sighed and placed his hat on his mahogany desk and folded the cloak over his favorite armchair. He opened the door and stepped into the brightly lit hall, hearing his wife humming in the kitchen. She is so wonderful, I’ll bet she is making me a late supper; I have never felt more lucky to by married to Molly Weasley’s daughter! Harry smiled in anticipation, his mouth watering at the mere thought of his wife’s excellent cooking.
“Ginny, I’m home, Love. Sorry I took so long, I hope your Mum doesn’t mind watching the kids a bit longer than planned. Mmmm, that smells wonderful… BLIMEY! Hermione?!?”
He stood in shock for a moment, blinking rapidly to assure that his imagination was not just willing her to be found. It was way too easy. The woman who disappeared while she was under the surveillance of a full team of aurors could not possibly be simply sitting in his kitchen sipping a cup of tea.
Hermione stood, a bright smile on her face. Harry glanced at her, noticing she was in a dressing gown. She must have made a hasty departure. A small frown played at the edges of his mouth as he pulled her into a hug.
He gently removed her arms from around his neck and stepped back to look her in the eye. He took a deep breath and then began, “Mione, not that I am not thrilled to see you, but… what’s going on? You disappeared! I have a whole team of aurors scouting around for you in the States!”
Hermione glared at him, “Harry James Potter, I do not need to report to anyone when I decide to take a holiday. I am a grown woman, for Merlin’s sake! I called the school, as I am sure your team is well aware.”
Harry sat down tiredly in the chair across from where Hermione had been sitting. A steaming mug of tea and a freshly baked cinnamon roll were waiting on the table for him. He glanced around the kitchen, realizing that Ginny had left the room to give them a bit of time to talk alone.
Taking a bite of his roll, Harry motioned for Hermione to sit back down. As she did so, he noticed that she looked a bit nervous; she kept glancing at the door to the adjacent sitting room. He swallowed and took a sip of his tea, and then turned his full attention back to the woman at the table.
“Harry. Before I begin, I would like you to meet someone. I brought her with me, you see, and we need to speak with you about something important. But I am getting ahead of myself,” Hermione paused for a moment and called across the kitchen, “Annie, dear, could you please come here?”
Harry looked shocked for a moment, memories immediately flooding his mind. Of course, he had always known that Hermione had a daughter. It pained him to no end to not have had the ability to watch her grow up into the beautiful young woman he had only ever seen in photographs.
He remembered when he had found out Hermione was expecting, as it had been quite a surprise. She had just decided to leave the UK, to clear her head for a bit. Harry figured she would be gone a few months at the most, and then return to her friends and family. He wanted to help her, so he purchased a cottage for her in Oregon, but when he had offered to help her settle in, she had broken down in tears.
** FLASHBACK **
“Harry James Potter, I can not accept a HOUSE! You said you wanted to help me recover, help me escape for a bit – I needed to get out of England, out of Scotland, and I have done that. I never agreed to let you buy me a house. I am not destitute, my parents did leave me a small sum. I will manage. Please, this is simply too much.”
“Hermione, I love you. We all want you to heal quickly, safely, and come back to us. You will need somewhere to stay, please allow me to give you this gift. You have done so much for me, I can never repay you,” Harry said softly.
Hermione started sobbing and sank to her knees, sniffling and wiping her eyes. Harry was quickly to her side. “Mione! What is the matter? Whatever it is, let me help you.”
Harry held her, and she shifted in his arms. She glanced up at him through wet lashes, took a deep breath, and uttered the words that would forever change the course of the future. “Harry, I do not think I will ever go back to England. There are too many memories, everything reminds me of him. I miss him so much, Harry, and I do not know what I am going to do. I just know I need to start over. I – I’m pregnant.”
** END FLASHBACK **
“Harry, are you alright? Did you hear me? This is Anneliese. Annie, this is the closest person I have ever had to a brother, one of my very best friends. Meet your Uncle Harry,” Hermione was saying. Harry blinked and quickly stood, pulling the shy girl into his arms. She was beautiful, with startling silver eyes and soft blonde curls.
“Annie, I am so happy to finally meet you. You are truly as lovely as your mother,” Harry smiled. He noticed that Ginny had stepped back into the room. As Annie shyly walked over to Hermione and sat in Harry’s abandoned seat at the table, Ginny motioned to Harry to give them a moment; he followed his wife into the sitting room.
As soon as the door had swung shut behind him, Ginny turned and said, with a familiar fire blazing in her eyes, “You knew. You knew they had a daughter and you never told me? Why, Harry? He needs to know, especially this! I cannot do this anymore! We will be lucky if she ever speaks to any of us again. Hermione is our best friend, she can move here, with us! She cannot possibly STILL be in danger, after all these years!?! I am sure there was a good reason as to why it had to be done then, but now there is a child involved. Surely Draco will be able to keep her safe, keep them both safe. He is a fully trained Auror, for Merlin's sake!”
There was a gasp from the doorway behind them. Harry and Ginny spun around to see Hermione, tears in her eyes and her hand over her mouth. Hermione locked eyes with Harry and quickly took out her wand.
She motioned with her free hand that Ginny should exit the room, which Ginny did in a hurry. I can not blame her for being angry, I just hope she leaves my husband alive so I can give him a piece of my mind later, Ginny thought.
In the sitting room, Hermione was advancing on Harry slowly. “Draco? He – he’s alive? Harry James Potter, I will give you exactly one minute to tell me what in the bloody hell is going on or, Merlin help me, I will Avada your arse."
In that moment, the fireplace suddenly flamed green. In a woosh of soot and ash, a man nearly fell out of the floo, a dark hat on his head and a few choice words on his tongue. “Potter! I am leaving immediately for the States, here is your bloody clearance paperwork! I promise not to sue your arse or rob the Ministry’s coffers if I lose a limb.”
The man stomped forward to the small table in the center of the sitting room and deposited a heap of paperwork. He readied himself to step back into the fire, shouting his destination with determination. His eyes quickly swept the room and landed on Hermione, who had her wand raised and was blinking furiously. His heart dropped. His breath left his lungs.
Just as the flames once again swirled around him, he heard her tortured cry. “Draco!”
A/N: I fully intend to update again before the Holidays... but if for some reason I am not able to do so, I wish you all joy and peace, and blessings for the New Year!
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