Chapter 1 : Down goes another one.
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Hermione Grangers head snapped up from looking down and she instantly changed her features from her not-paying-attention face to her I’ve-been-listening-intently face.
‘Yes? Sorry Harry’ she said with an apologetic grin.
Harry, who couldn’t stay mad at her even if he tried, simply shook his head and chuckled.
‘I was just saying, Ginny and I would love it if you would be Godmother to our little Harry or Ginny Jr when they’re born’
Harry watched as Hermione’s eyes widened.
‘So, er…. Will you?’ He asked hesitantly. ‘I mean, you don’t have to if you don’t want. I just thought-‘
He didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence because at that point Hermione had jumped on him and had begun hugging him so hard he found it difficult to breathe.
‘Yes!! Oh my God, yes!! Of course I will!!’ she squealed. ‘This is- I mean- Wow, thank you so much!!’
Harry beamed at her. He could see the excitement in her eyes about the prospect of being his baby’s godmother. His smile faltered a little as he saw, behind the excitement, a strange look in Hermione’s eye. He could tell something was wrong.
But just at that moment Harry’s heavily pregnant wife Ginny walked in the room with bags of shopping.
‘No that’s ok. Don’t get up’ She muttered. ‘I’ll just carry everything and give birth on the floor right now’
Hermione jumped up and ran to help her best girl friend with her bags. Harry smiled fondly as his two best girls in the world chatted and laughed together while putting the groceries away.
‘So’ began Ginny. ‘Did he- I mean- Did he ask you….?’ She trailed off.
Hermione’s face slowly broke out into a grin and she nodded.
‘And you said…..?’ Ginny asked nervously.
‘I said no. Because I don’t like you and you left it this long to ask me!!’ Laughed Hermione. ‘Of course I said yes!!’
Ginny squealed with delight and rushed over (Well, went as fast as her pregnant self could) to Hermione and squeezed her into a hug. Harry chortled with amusement as they began discussing baby shower plans. A light tinkle rang through the kitchen from Hermione’s cell phone. She removed it from her pocket, still laughing, and looked at the message that had just come through. Harry watched his best friend as her face went from happiness and laughter, to dread and fear in the time it took her to read that message. He walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder.
‘Hermione? Are you ok?’ asked Harry, concern evident in his voice.
‘Y-yes, I’m fine’ she answered and smiled up at him, although he noticed that the smile didn’t reach her eyes. ‘Anyway, I best get going, Michael is expecting me home soon’
She got up and slowly limped out of the house. Harry and Ginny heard a faint pop as Hermione disapparated back to her home. Harry sighed and sat on a chair, rubbing his face.
‘Why is she limping?’ asked Ginny, as she perched herself on Harry’s lap.
‘She said she tripped down the stairs’ Harry began, ‘but I’ve got a feeling that’s not the truth’ He sighed again. ‘I’m worried about her Gin’.
Hermione appeared with a sudden pop in the alley behind her apartment building. She shivered, but not because of the coldness. She really didn’t want to go home. She slowly began making her way to the door and up the stairs. She had 8 floors to figure out what she was going to say to Michael when she got through the door. All too soon she found herself facing her apartment door. She took a deep breath and put the key in the lock and turned it.
‘M-Michael? I’m back.’ She called hesitantly through the flat. She limped through the door and put the keys on the hall table. She turned and closed the door as quietly as she could.
‘Don’t slam the bloody door Hermione!!’ yelled a voice from the next room, causing Hermione to jump four foot in the air.
‘I-I didn’t. I just shut it normally’ quivered Hermione.
‘Erm, excuse me? Did I just hear backchat?!’ boomed Michael, getting ever closer to Hermione, causing her to flatten herself against the wall, shaking as he closed the distance between them. ‘Because you know how I feel about backchat Hermione. And what it makes me do’ he continued menacingly, cracking his knuckles’
‘I’m sorry Michael’ whispered Hermione. ‘I won’t do it again. It’s just, I was at Harry’s and I was so happy because-‘
‘You- You were at that Potters?’ interrupted Michael. ‘Why?’ he demanded.
‘Well, Harry and Ginny asked me to be Godmother to their baby-‘
‘And you said no I hope’ growled Michael.
‘I- I said…. Yes’ Hermione whispered back.
‘Well you can bloody well tell them you changed your mind!! You see enough of your ‘precious Harry’ without adding this brat into the picture!!’ he roared, punching his fist into the wall.
‘But he’s my best friend!! I can’t just tell him I don’t want to be part of his baby’s life!! I’ve known him since school, he’s my-‘
Hermione was silenced by Michael’s fist hitting her face. She cried out in pain as she fell to the floor clutching her cheek. Silent tears coursed down her face as she crawled into the corner. Michael strutted over to where she sat and kneeled down so he was eye level with her.
‘What did I say about back chat?’ he whispered threateningly. ‘Now get out. And don’t come back until you’re ready to apologise.’ Hermione tried to stand up but her legs were shaking so hard she fell down again. ‘I said, GO!!!’ he screamed in her face and she crawled as fast as she could towards the door, grabbed her keys and stood up, using the table for support. She slammed the door shut behind her as she legged it down the stairs, out the door across the street, not caring if she was hit by a car, and down the street opposite, looking for the one place she knew she wouldn’t be judged. Just as she had decided she didn’t care anymore, she spotted the hanging sign for The Leaky Cauldron and stumbled inside.