Chapter 1 : No!
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Further to your enquiry we ask you to come to the Ministry of Magic at 2:00pm today. Unless we receive an owl stating otherwise Mr Deluah will be waiting for you at the main reception.
Minister for Magic
“GINNY!!” Hermione bellowed. She was practically bouncing in place and when Ginny didn’t appear she raced off up the rickety stairs of The Burrow to find Ginny in the arms of her fiancé and her best friend in the world Harry James Potter. “God guys get a room,” Hermione snickered and Harry pulled away and fixed those emerald eyes of his on Hermione in a death glare. A few months ago Hermione, Harry and Ginny graduated from Hogwarts, Harry and Hermione having gone back to repeat their seventh year, and since going back to Hogwarts the three had developed a friendship stronger than anything, despite Ron’s absence after betraying the trust of Harry and Hermione.
“Hermione you had better have a good reason for this,” Ginny sighed, bringing Hermione back to the present. Ginny only ever used Hermione’s full name when she was annoyed with her.
“Gin! They found my parents. I have to go at 2pm to see some guy called Mr Deluah, but they found them!” Hermione gushed as she brushed her wild curly brown hair away from her eyes.
“They did?!” Ginny squealed, forgetting all about her fiancé as she jumped up from his lap.
“About bloody time, it’s taken them what a full year?” Harry smiled. Hermione hugged first Ginny and then Harry with a crushing force and her brown eyes were alive with happiness and her complete and utter joy.
“Um Mi it’s like 3 minutes to 2 already,” Harry then smiled gently. Hermione let go of Harry with a gasp and checked her watch, realising that he was indeed correct and she apparated on the spot.
After using the visitors entrance Hermione ran to reception.
“I’m here to see Mr Deluah,” She panted.
“Right here Miss Granger. I’m glad you could come,” the smooth voice of Roger Deluah spoke up. Hermione twisted quickly, her eyes alight with tremendous joy and she met a man taller that a certain Weasley she knew and with Hazel eyes the colour of dark sand, while his hair was as white as snow.
Mr Deluah opened the door to his office and offered Hermione a chair inside before he sat behind his own desk and shuffled a few papers with a grave expression in his eyes. Only then did Hermione contemplate the fact that she may receive bad news. Maybe the memory charm could not be undone, maybe they had moved from Australia, maybe they…
“There’s no easy way to say this. Monica and Wendell Wilkins died on their way to Australia as the plane they were in lost power and crash landed,” Mr Deluah said quietly. He tried to soften the blow with his calm voice but Hermione hissed in disbelief as her wide brown eyes froze.
“What do you mean?” Hermione breathed as a tanned shaking hand rose up towards her mouth. Mr Deluah could think of nothing to say and he just sat there his eyes tracing the faint patterns on his old pale hands, trying not to hear or see the girl going to pieces in front of him.
Mr Deluah’s words were echoing in Hermione’s head and she was entirely numb, even her usually quick mind was frozen until the words she wished she’d never heard screamed across her thoughts and her heart broke into a zillion tiny pieces leaving dust in its wake.
At some point as she was breaking Mr Deluah looked up at Hermione with a half scared look in those grave, old eyes of his and she noticed a high keening noise in the room before recognising it as the sound of her falling apart.
“They can’t be,” Hermione gasped around her tears. “Please tell me they’re not. PLEASE!!” Hermione screamed. Mr Deluah looked at Hermione sympathetically and she broke down into shaking sobs, pressing her hands to her mouth to quieten the noise she was making.
“Miss Granger I am sincerely sorry, but I must give you these,” Mr Deluah pushed 2 envelopes towards her and when Hermione just looked at them making no move to open them he opened them himself.
“Last will and testament of Mr Richard Granger and Mrs Jean Granger,” Mr Deluah said as he placed the wills side by side on the table facing Hermione. They had left her everything.
Hermione couldn’t remember getting home to the Burrow, but at some point in the evening Mrs Weasley walked in and tried to offer Hermione dinner, an offer she refused. Mrs Weasley then did the only thing she could think to do and sat down on the wooden floor next to a broken Hermione and took the girl into her arms, ignoring the dead look in her suddenly dull brown eyes, ignoring the tears making their steady way down her face non-stop, ignoring the fact that the girl was cold and lifeless. Mrs Weasley stayed there, crying with Hermione at the poor girl’s loss till she fell asleep in her motherly arms. This was too much. Just last year the wizarding world was dealing with a heart break that was earth shattering and everyone had pulled out of the loss and depression, scarred yes, but healthy. For this to happen to Hermione now, it was unbearably cruel.
Hermione woke up in the dark eventually and noticed she was all alone, she felt empty, she was drained, but the tears had stopped flowing replaced by a violent shaking of her hands and body unless she wrapped her arms tightly around herself. On impulse Hermione slipped out of her bed and collected her things, shrinking them and placing them inside her extendable handbag with a weightlessness charm on it. Slowly and trying to make no noise Hermione crept down the narrow corridor trying not to disturb Harry and Ginny who she knew were sleeping in Ginny’s bedroom, Harry was an exceptionally light sleeper since the war, the slightest sounds would wake him up. So when she reached the stairs her heart was in her throat as she tried to ghost down the stairs making only the dreaded creaking noise of the bottom step. Hermione froze on the ground floor and as she froze she heard someone’s feet touch the floor above her head and she cursed and turned running through the darkened house to the kitchen as she heard Harry’s fast steps down the stairs, she reached and flung open the kitchen door and ran in the direction of the nearest point she could apparate from.
“Hermione stop!” Harry yelled. Hermione turned around a few metres from the boundaries. Harry was running towards her barefoot in his pyjamas and she started crying as she took in her best friend.
“Harry please let me go, please,” Hermione begged, Harry caught up to her and grabbed her hands.
“Don’t go Hermione, work through it here with us please, don’t run away,” Harry begged.
“Harry please let me go, please, please, please. I can’t stay anymore,” Hermione cried. The tears were tracking their way down her face and she was fighting Harry’s arms as he pulled her to his chest.
“No,” Harry hissed in her ear. Then he turned around and saw Ginny, Mr and Mrs Weasley and George standing in the doorway watching the spectacle. Hermione was struggling in his arms, crying out loud, not hiding the extent of the pain in her small body.
“HARRY LET ME GO PLEASE!!” Hermione’s scream rent the air as she struggled and fought Harry’s strong arms. With a sudden twisting movement she was free and she was backing away from Harry on the floor, pushing herself backwards while training her eyes on him. Her curly brown hair was wild and bushy and in her face, but the wildness of her hair was nothing to the wildness of her eyes.
“Hermione, please stop, don’t run away, please, be strong,” Harry was whispering as he walked closer to Hermione. Hermione was backing away from him still dragging herself through the dirt. Hermione suddenly stood up and whipped around and found herself facing the entire Weasley clan.
“Let me go, Harry please, just let me go,” Hermione was shaking now and she bolted quickly trying to run around Harry but as he tried to catch her again she suddenly pulled her wand.
“Hermione don’t, please listen to me, I know it hurts, I know, I know, I know, but running away won’t solve a single thing. I promise I will help you through this, we all will, you’re our sister, we won’t abandon you,” Harry begged, but Hermione was still walking backwards, a wild unrecognisable look in her eyes as she pointed her wand at Harry.
“Let me go,” Hermione hissed. Then she took another step back and she felt a shudder of freedom over her body and she apparated.
Harry stared at the spot where Hermione had just disappeared and Ginny ran over to him, she was crying and Harry bent his head and kissed her tears away.
“It’s okay Gin, it’s okay,” Harry hushed her.
“That’s not our Hermione Harry, what are we going to do?” Ginny whispered into her fiancé’s neck.
“What we will do, is give her some space, write to her, find her and help her through this one way or another if it is the last thing that we do,” Harry murmured into Ginny’s auburn hair. Ginny nodded and sniffed before she unwrapped her arms from around her fiancé and took his hand.
“Let’s go back to bed, we can think about what to do next at a reasonable hour of the day hmm?” Ginny offered. Harry was grateful for the woman in his arms. She was his powerhouse, his support, the love of his life and his strong sound anchor to life itself, he loved her with everything he had and he tilted her head back gently. When her brown eyes locked on his emerald ones he lowered his mouth and captured her soft red lips with the briefest of kisses before nodding and leading her back inside.
Meanwhile Hermione had managed to apparate to The Three Broomsticks Inn without getting herself splinched. During the past year at Hogwarts, Hermione, Harry and Ginny had surprisingly become quite close to Pansy Parkinson, and Blaise Zabini, close enough for them to become people who could help when others couldn’t, and as of recently Pansy and Blaise had married and bought the Three Broomsticks Inn trying to carve a new life for themselves after finally being recognised as victims of Voldemort and not followers. Hermione had apparated here in need of somewhere to rest for the night and she knew Blaise and Pansy would give her a room and not ask any questions if she disappeared the following night.
Banging on the door Hermione eventually heard Blaise’s loud voice curse whoever was knocking on their private door by the side of the Three Broomsticks, but when he threw the door wide his dark eyes widened in shock and his dark skin paled as he took in Hermione’s damaged appearance.
“Hermione?” Blaise questioned.
“Blaise, I need… I need somewhere to stay,” Hermione whispered. Blaise could not remove his eyes from the frightened, wild and frankly damn scary sight of the woman in front of him. Hermione’s face was blotchy and red and tracked with tears, there was dirt smeared across her cheeks, no doubt put there by her shaking hands that were covered in light dirt dust. What Blaise found scariest, was not the wild mane of hair that appeared to be just a huge thick mop of knots, but the cold, wild, dead look inside Hermione’s brown eyes. They were void of any feeling other than the feelings he’d experienced in his third year in the presence of the Dementors of Azkaban. She looked like she’d never be happy again. Blaise pulled himself together quickly and pulled the door wider to let Hermione through.
Hermione walked through the door and looked around. Blaise led her up the stairs and as they neared the Master bedroom the door opened and Pansy poked her head out and gasped.
“Hermione are you okay?” Hermione didn’t reply and Blaise just gave his wife a look that said I will tell you later. Hermione was too busy looking at the floor to notice Blaise’s look, but when Blaise stopped walking and opened a door she looked up, tears were once again tracking down her face but she couldn’t find the heart to wipe her face.
Blaise stared into the tear ruined face in front of him and he gently wiped her tears away.
“I won’t ask and I won’t tell. Stay as long as you need to Hermione, and this one is on us. After everything you did for me and Pans, we owe you more than just some nights stay free of charge, but for now I can see this is what you need so here you go,” Blaise murmured in that deep smooth voice of his. He handed Hermione a key and then he turned around and walked back down the corridor to his own bedroom. When Hermione finally looked up from the brass key in her hand Blaise had long since gone inside his room and Hermione could feel the soft stroke of sleep caressing her troubled mind. So taking the necessary steps she opened the door, closed it, threw her cloak on the floor and fell into the bed fully clothed, regardless of what she was dressed in.