Chapter 7 : Chapter Seven
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The return to Hogwarts, a time of gossip and catch ups, homework and missed family. Such a return of discourse saw the teachers flummoxed by the behavior of the returning students. The Hufflepuff’s and Ravenclaw’s aside. It wasn’t even Slytherin that was causing the fuss, though a few choice members did seem more than their usual peeved selves. No, this time it was the Gryffindor’s that were causing the problems. You usually saw the Gryffindor’s as strong, brave and loyal but that definitely wasn’t the case now, the house was divided. There were those who had nothing to do with what was going on, there were those who were avoiding Hermione, there were those who were on Hermione’s side, there was Lily alone and menacing and there was James looking lost, confused and sad.
The teachers could only wonder what had happened during Christmas Break to cause such disruption in the house. McGonagall felt sure to inform Dumbledore of this transgression as soon as he returned from his trip. She felt sure this was all connected to Miss Granger. The poor girl looking like she was hurting terribly bad. She had a smile plastered on her face but ever McGonagall could see that it didn’t reach her eyes.
She’d known that Miss Granger had been invited to the Potter’s for Christmas Lunch but the girl had refused to tell her anything about it, nor why she returned from it so soon. Likewise she’d heard from Dumbledore about Lily’s announcement to the Gryffindor common room where she’d tried to humiliate Hermione.
McGonagall could only hope – like many others – that James grew up quickly and realized how foolish he’d been dallying with Lily Evans. A girl like that could never make a boy like James happy and the sooner he realized that the better things would be for everyone. Life was sure a complicated thing especially if it involved the works of the heart.
James had never felt so lost in his life. He’d behaved appallingly and he still didn’t know what was right or wrong. All he’d even wanted in life was to have his Lily-bug by his side. He’d thought she was perfect and that life would be perfect with her in it. Then suddenly Hermione had been dropped into his life and she was everything Lily wasn’t. She was genuine and honesty, fun and friendly, sexy and loving. She could best him in a duel he knew it. When he’d kissed Hermione that first time it was like a thousand fireworks going off in his head. It had been spectacular and he couldn’t wait to do it again. He’d been keeping boys away from Hermione since the first day he’d met her, he came up with excuses like the boys weren’t good enough for her or they only wanted one thing but the truth of the matter was that he just wanted her for himself.
Then Lily had appeared offering him everything he ever wanted and Hermione was blown from his mind. He was a foolish idiot, he’d been in a relationship with Hermione and he’d just dumped her without telling her. He’d been so blind sighted by what he thought he’d wanted that he’d cheated on a perfectly lovely girl. He’d never cheated in his entire life, he hated cheaters. He completely understood his fight with Sirius, if Sirius had cheated on a girl he’d behave the same was.
Yet even though his heart was telling him he’d done something wrong, his brain didn’t listen. Why should he complain when he had his Lily-bug. Yet he continued to keep other boys away from Hermione, scared them away would be more accurate. Leaving her alone even though he couldn’t have her. The Lily had been telling him all these things that Hermione had said to her. Some of them were horrible, it was like Lily was Hermione’s own personal bully.
He’d believed Lily’s every word, he’d known Lily longer but in choosing Lily he’d lost his closest friends. When Lily humiliated Hermione in the common room James did feel a pang of guilt but that was quickly replaced with horror that Hermione had a disfigurement. He couldn’t work out though whether he was disgusted because she was physically scarred or because of what she must have gone through while getting the scar. He should have stood up for Hermione, he knew what Lily was doing wasn’t right, nobody should be publically humiliated.
Then over Christmas, James had been so excited to introduce his parents to Lily but she’d just spent the entire day sucking up to them and putting on this fake sweet voice. She kept calling them Lord and Lady Potter – which his parents hated -, refusing to call them by their first names. When he found Hermione on his doorstep his heart leaped at the sight of her, like it had been physically pining for her, yet his brain demanded to know why she was there ruining his time with Lily.
When Lily had again attacked and humiliated Hermione James didn’t know what to think. He saw the horrified looks on his parent’s faces, he registered the fact that his old friends were positively fuming with anger. He looked at Hermione and saw how her face was completely neutral and calm like she expected Lily to call her up like this.
When James had ordered Hermione from his house he meant it. He saw Lily smirking evilly in the background and it unnerved him yet he still didn’t want Hermione in his house. Throughout Lily’s entire speech he’d only heard one word murderer. That word alone had pushed him over the edge. He’d been furious when his parents had countered his words, ordered Lily from the house and let Hermione explain.
Hermione’s explanation pierced James’s heart in so many ways it was like his heart calling out to the world and recognizing Hermione as his mate. His brain on the other hand was in turmoil. Not a murderer but self defense, not dating Peter but blood siblings, survival, death, loss, torture. The battle scars she carried proudly. She never asked for them and Lily had only told half truths. As far as his brain could tell Lily had lied to him repeatedly and Hermione had suffered for it.
James didn’t think he wanted to be with Lily anymore, she didn’t seem the kind of girl he though she was. But James didn’t want Hermione either, or rather he didn’t think he’d deserve her after all he’d said to her. He felt that perhaps he should take some time out from girls, fix his friendships and work out what he wanted.
Lily was furious, James was ignoring her – he even refused to tell her what had happened at his parent’s house after she’d been rudely kicked out. He said it wasn’t any of her business. He’d even made some headway into reclaiming his old friends back. Lily was trying everything, from outrageously flirting with him to outwardly flirting with others in front of him but neither seemed to get a reaction out of him. Oh she knew it had something to do with little Hermione she would corner her and demand the truth from her but she could never catch her on her own, she was either surrounded by the Marauders or walking with Lily’s ex-friends Charlotte and Kate. It had been Sirius who had asked for Charlotte and Kate to protect and comfort Hermione when the Marauder’s were busy. The girls had been filled in by Hermione of what had happened over the Christmas period. The girls were after all quickly becoming important friends to Hermione. Knowing Lily and her ways they’d stuck to Hermione like glue but they did it in a way that didn’t leave Hermione feeling frustrated. Rather she enjoyed the time she spent with them, they were fast becoming better friends than Ron or Harry had ever been.
Dumbledore returned with the destroyed locked a week after term began. He seemed tired from his journey but otherwise in physical health. Hermione was glad of this because the potion she’d given him in advance wasn’t a hundred percent certain and she’d hate to think what would have happened to Dumbledore had the potion not worked. Luckily the Voldemort in this time was so far focusing all his efforts on building up his army and had no idea that someone was secretly destroying his horcruxes, this would work in their favor. Voldemort wouldn’t remain ignorant to Hermione’s presence for long but at least he wouldn’t realize it was she who was behind the destruction of his horcruxes till it was too late.
Three down three to go. Hermione told Dumbledore the location of Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, the next horcrux and how to obtain it and how to avoid failure but she recommended he take a couple of weeks off for rest. He was getting old after all and deserved a good rest.
Dumbledore did not argue with Hermione on this point, he did however ask her about the James situation. She had to tell him that she didn’t know whether Lily and James were a couple – she wasn’t the only one confused by the relationship between those two – but she did tell Dumbledore that while James might not know what he wanted, his heart certainly did and was calling out for her. She did however hint that Lily might have to be removed from the picture quite soon, not by death but perhaps a transfer or something. Hermione sensed Lily wouldn’t lie low for long and when she finally exploded it would be big!
Hermione could feel it in her bones that something big was coming, January morphed into February with an easy flow. It became apparent after the shouting match in the common room that James and Lily were no longer dating, a fact which warmed Hermione’s heart and chilled Lily’s. James had been working tirelessly since then to mend the broken bridges with his friends and with Hermione and he was almost back on track with Hermione though it had taken such a lot to get there.
Hermione’s life had become quite busy, while James was dating Lily, Hermione’s mission was put on hold, so she had to fill her time in other ways. She’d started teaching Peter defensive spells and hexes so that if he was approached by Slytherin’s again – and he was – he’d be able to handle them. Out of all the people Hermione’s presence had touched it was Peter who had benefited from it the most. He’d lost some of his puppy fat and become more confident with himself which led to his increased popularity with the Hogwart’s girls. Hermione suspected that Peter had a crush on someone because she would often get the backlash of his wistful thoughts but he refused to tell her who she was.
Hermione and James were almost back to the stage they were at before he ran off with Lily, she wasn’t going to give in easy though. They may be destined for each other but that didn’t mean she had to let him off easy. She would make him work for her forgiveness and love, not too hard but enough to make him realize who she was and how he would be happy with no other.
Hermione had managed to keep a relatively low profile (which was hard being the enemy of Lily Evans), she was a good Head Girl and kind to all. She’d tried not to show any wandless magic and had only had that one dueling incident with the Slytherin’s. She hadn’t however stayed away from the reach of Voldemort. One morning during breakfast a smart black eagle soared through the hall and landed in from on Hermione. She took the letter from its leg with a puzzled expression. She looked at Dumbledore briefly who looked equally as bemused.
She opened the letter reading quickly and gasped:
To the illustrious Miss Granger,
I’ve heard so much about you, your skills far surpass those around you. Surely you are not challenged enough where you are. I could teach you so much more. You could become the most intelligent witch alive. The things I could teach you, you would be feared and admired by all.
From what I hear your dueling skills are impeccable, I could use someone like you on my side. Join me Miss Granger, you won’t regret it.
You will hear from me soon.
“Hermione, what is it, are you alright?!” asked James visibly concerned for her now whitened face.
Hermione’s hands trembled, how dare he write to me! She thought, it was Voldemort of course, he always thought he could win people over with charm and desire.
“I have to see Grandfather now, I’m sorry” she hurried away.
“Peter?” asked Sirius.
“She’s scared, terrified actually. I only sense really strong emotions from her now and she is absolutely terrified and angry, very angry” he said.
“I wonder what was in that letter” muttered Remus.
“Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?” asked James.
“Depends, will you ever hurt her again?” asked Peter.
“Do you care for her?” asked Sirius.
“Will you love her?” asked Remus.
When did my friends get so wise thought James. “I never want to hurt her again, I was a fool. I do care for her, even when I was being an idiotic jerk with Evans I saw Hermione as mine. I will love her. I feel a draw to her in her” he touched his chest.
Good thought Peter, he’s finally working it out.
Sirius however seemed unconvinced, “Mate, that girl is the most special witch you’ll ever meet. You hurt her again and I will personally make sure you won’t be able to walk again” he snarled. Apparently Peter wasn’t the only one who felt a brotherly protectiveness towards Hermione.
“He knows me” panted Hermione, having run up to Dumbledore’s office with him hot on her heels.
“Who?” said Dumbledore.
“Voldemort. This letter it’s Voldemort trying to convince me to follow him” she replied.
Dumbledore frowned. The first refusal, thought Dumbledore this then proves what my meddling would have done if Lily and James had stayed together. This shows that Hermione and James are the ones the prophesy talks of. He grimaced.
“I’m sorry?” replied Dumbledore unaware that he had said anything.
“You think that because I am refusing Voldemort’s offer that it concludes that it is indeed James and I that The Prophesy refers to. Forget about that prophesy Sir, I beg you” she replied ardently.
Dumbledore nodded, bowing to her request. He’d grown quite fond of Hermione, like McGonagall he felt inclined to bow at her every whim. It did help that she was now the only thing able to save the world from the evil clutches of Voldemort. Funny how a young girl was destined to defeat the greatest dark wizard the world had ever seen.
“I’ll look after the letter for you my dear, be sure to contact me if anymore arrive” she nodded, “And the Marauder’s they won’t stop till they get an answer” he smiled. The Marauder’s were certainly devious.
“How is James?” he asked.
“He is well Grandfather” she replied.
A concealed Slytherin Gathering
“Did you hear she got a letter from our Lord?” whispered a Slytherin to another.
“Yes, I heard she ignored it” replied another Slytherin.
“Perhaps she doesn’t know, he’s killed for less” whispered the first.
“Why does he want her?”
“You fools, he wants her powers” said a Slytherin.
“Why her powers aren’t powerful” replied another.
“They are, she just hides them well” sneered another.
The Head Girl’s Room
Hermione walked slowly up to her room, her talks with Dumbledore became more tiring by the second. Between James, the Marauders, Lily, Voldemort and the horcruxes life was more complicated than it should be for a seventeen year old but then again when had Hermione’s life ever been that of a normal teenager.
“What are you doing in my room” asked a dejected Hermione as she saw the Marauder’s lounging around inside it. She’d forgotten to put her room wards up that morning, she’d warded other areas of her room but not the actual door.
“Peter said this would be the most likely place you’d be, after you ran off we wanted to make sure you were ok” replied Remus.
“Are you ok?” asked James at the same time that Sirius asked, “What was so concerning about the letter you received?”
“Grandfather was right, you lot are impossible” she sighed.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Sirius indignantly.
“It means that you don’t stop badgering till you find the information you want” she replied testily.
“Does that mean you are going to tell us?” asked Peter.
Hermione nodded, “I know Grandfather has plans for you all anyway” she said cryptically. “The letter was from Voldemort, he’s trying to recruit me” she said.
“WHAT!!” exploded the Marauders.
Hermione smiled, just another day with the Marauder’s tempers.
Please tell me what you think, I'm having doubts :/ ~ Zyii
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