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Chapter 1 : Hardships
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Chapter 1 - Hardships
“No.. No, please. I’m sorry..”
“Master, wake up. Master must wake up”.
“NOOOO. I’M SORRY.”
Harry Potter lay thrashing in bed, tears running down his face. “I’m sorry. Please believe me. I’m sorry...sorry,” he kept whimpering. Suddenly, he sat up, having felt something cold drench his head and neck. He looked around and realized that he was in his bed at Grimmauld Place. He heard a small shuffling sound to his right. Peering through the darkness, he saw Kreacher getting up from the floor, after having toppled over due to Harry’s sudden movement.
Kreacher stood next to the bed, a wet sponge in his hand.
“Master was having bad dreams again,” he croaked. “Master wouldn’t get up so Kreacher was sponging Master’s forehead.”
“Thank you Kreacher,” said Harry hoarsely.
“Kreacher will get Master some tea,” replied the house elf and disappeared from the room.
Harry muttered a quick drying spell on his damp pillow and lay back down; his head was pounding along to the rhythm of his heart.
He took a deep breath to calm himself.
Thudthud thudthud thudthud
‘Clear your mind Harry,’ he could imagine Hermione saying to him.
“Kreacher has brought tea for Master.”
“Could you please keep it on the bedside table? And Kreacher... thank you.”
Kreacher bowed low and scurried from the room.
Harry watched him go fondly, his mind taken away from nightmare he’d had just moments ago. He thought about how friendly Kreacher had become. It was hard to imagine that the very same house elf used to curse under his breath whenever anyone other than ‘his Mistress’ was around. Harry took a sip of his tea, sweetened exactly the way he liked it. He sighed as his thoughts turned back to the reason he needed tea at this time of night in the first place. He got out of bed and went to stand by the window. The cool breeze breathed over his clammy skin, refreshing him as he looked out at the full moon, his heart panging with the despair of loss and guilt. He took another sip of his tea.
“Oh Remus. How I wish you were one of the werewolves out there tonight,” Harry muttered under his breath.
He shuddered, thinking of the dream he’d just had. While not the same, he’d been having similar ones ever since the last battle and he’d wake up crying or screaming. The first couple of nights, he’d been woken up by Ron since they’d been staying at Hogwarts for a while. Not wanting to concern his friend any further, especially after he’d lost his brother, Harry had resorted to placing a silencing charm over his bed every night since then. Harry could see that Ron wasn’t convinced when he’d told him that he was fine, but he had let it go. After politely refusing to return to The Burrow with the Weasleys, he’d returned to Grimmauld Place. Kreacher couldn’t be fooled by a silencing charm so Harry had given in to the house elf’s efforts to take care of him.
A solitary tear slid down Harry’s cheek as he looked at the moon.
It was Teddy’s eleventh birthday. Harry had gone to Andromeda’s to spend time with Teddy who had just received his Hogwarts letter. As Harry entered Teddy’s room, the boy looked up at him, his eyes blotchy and his expression unreadable. Teddy flinched away when Harry tried to ruffle his hair.
“What’s wrong Teddy?” Harry asked, realizing that Teddy had been crying. Something was really wrong. His hair which Teddy usually kept a bright electric blue was light brown and was hanging limply over his face. After a moment of silence, Teddy looked up.
“It’s all your fault,” he whispered.
Harry felt his body go cold with those four words.
“It’s your fault my parents are dead. It’s your fault.”
Suddenly, the entire room was engulfed by darkness. Harry stood seemingly alone, with no sense of direction; everywhere he looked, all he saw was unending black space. Suddenly he saw Teddy walking towards him from his left.
“It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault,” Teddy kept saying.
Another voice emerged from his right. Looking around, he saw George walking towards him and chanting the same words. “It’s your fault. It’s your fault.”
Harry fell to his knees, tears leaking from his eyes. “I’m so sorry,” he whimpered, burying his face in his hands. The number of voices grew, all of them saying the exact same thing.
“It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault.”
Looking up, he saw all the Weasleys, Sirius, Lupin, Tonks, Teddy, Snape, Dumbledore, Colin and Dennis Creevey, who had formed a circle around him.
“It’s your fault it’s your fault it’s your fault it’s your fault.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to. Please. I’m sorry,” Harry sobbed.
“YOU SHOULD’VE DIED. MY BROTHER WAS TOO YOUNG. IT’S YOUR FAULT HARRY POTTER. IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT,” shrieked Dennis, pointing at him as the rest of the people continued their chant.
Harry looked at all the faces etched with hatred and pleaded for forgiveness. Hedwig appeared suddenly, flying out of nowhere and started clawing his face. The room started to spin.
That was when the cold water from the sponge had woken Harry up. Harry held on to window sill for support, gasping for breath as he recollected the details of the dream. The guilt he felt overpowered him as he fell to the floor. He clutched his head in his hands and screamed in anguish.
Kreacher appeared next to him having heard his scream.
“Drink this Master. Please, drink this,” Kreacher cried, holding the teacup near Harry’s mouth.
Harry obliged. The images from his dream vanished as the warm liquid laced with calming draught trickled down his throat. Blinking, Harry saw spots appear before his eyes. As his breathing slowed down, his mind became overwhelmed by the events that had occurred that night and shut down.
Harry Potter finally slept that night, being watched over by his faithful house elf.
Hermione sat at the table in her hotel room, writing a letter to her best friend.
It’s been so long since I’ve heard from you. Should I be worried? I don’t even know if you received my last letter. Please reply to this one, even if it is just a single line. I need to know that you’re alright.
I told you in my last letter that I’ll be going to Australia to find my parents. Well I’m in Australia right now. I did find my parents but things aren’t as I hoped them to be. I don’t want to explain more through this letter since I don’t even know what state you’re in. I’ll be dropping by Grimmauld Place in a couple of days so you can expect me then.
I miss you Harry. Ron’s been busy with his family, trying to hold everyone together after Fred’s passing. He hasn’t written to me much because of that, and I’m guessing he hasn’t been able to keep in contact with you either. So at this moment, I don’t even know whether you’re alive or what state you’re in.
I hope you’re still in Grimmauld Place. I think we both could use a friend. Please don’t push me away Harry.
I’m looking forward to seeing you.
“Ophelia,” she called.
A beautiful brown owl with soft hazel eyes flew over to her from the top of the cupboard on which she’d been perching.
“Can you take this to Harry for me please?” Hermione said to the owl, giving her a small treat.
The owl nipped Hermione’s finger affectionately and held out her leg for the letter to be tied on. Hermione watched Ophelia fly out the window, a silhouette framed by the magnificent light of the full moon.
With a small smile, Hermione turned away from the window and began packing. Needing to do something to take her mind of her troubles, she decided to pack by hand rather than using magic. But it was to no avail. She was done in less than ten minutes and her mind inevitably turned to everything that she had wanted to stop thinking about.
It was a month after the final war. The students had spent a week at Hogwarts, building a memorial for the dead before they each went their separate ways. Hermione had stayed with the Weasleys for a couple of days before she went to her parents’ house in London. She had planned her trip to Australia for a week, deciding on a plan of action. She had written down the names of all the places her parents had always wanted to go to and then prioritized them so that she’d know where to start. Three days before her planned date of departure to Australia, Hermione’s beloved cat, Crookshanks, died of old age. This delayed her plans for another week as she mourned him and felt more alone than ever. Not wanting to bother Ron, she hadn’t told him about her cat’s death or her plans to go to Australia. She had written to Harry and then realized that she didn’t have any means to send him the letter other than muggle post. It was then that she had decided to get an owl. While Ophelia would never be a replacement for Crookshanks, she had proven to be exactly what Hermione had needed.
Hermione had gone to Australia soon after that, taking a portkey authorized by Kingsley Shaklebolt, the new Minister for Magic. He had told her to contact him and he would help her in any way possible. When Hermione arrived in Australia, she felt a huge surge of hope and anticipation. After talking to Kingsley, she had come to know that she didn’t need to search every place that she had written down. By casting a memory charm on her parents, Hermione had linked her magic to them in such a way that by casting a spell, she could get to know their approximate location. Having done so, Hermione took a portkey to Sydney where the beacon had pointed her to. After that, it was a simple task of looking in the phone directory for a Wendell and Monica Wilkins. She found four of them and had decided to stake out their places.
Luckily (or unluckily) she found out which were her parents at the second house. Her mother was sitting on the front porch drinking tea and humming to herself. Hermione felt a warm glow within her chest as she watched her mum. This was soon doused when she saw a man, who was not her father, come out of the house and join her.
‘No this can’t be,’ Hermione thought. ‘He’s probably just a friend.’
This thought was crushed when she saw the man kiss her lips lightly and sit down next to her.
Hermione felt like her whole world was falling apart. ‘I have to find out how this happened. Maybe I can fix things,’ she thought to herself. With a silent wave of her wand, she transformed her clothes into a light grey coat and a matching cap, and her handbag into a sling bag. She also conjured up a clipboard. Drying her tears, she marched up to the couple on the porch.
“Hello there”, she said, putting on a fake Australian accent. “I have a delivery for Mr. Wilkins. Would you be him sir?”
“Oh no,” the man replied. “I’m Alex White. I can give you the address of the man you’re looking for though.”
Hermione put on a confused expression. “I’m sorry sir. There must be a mistake with the department then. It says here that this is the address of a Wendel and Monica Wilkins.”
“I can help you out there dear,” Hermione’s mother told her, a reassuring smile on her face. “I’m Monica. The man you’re looking for is my ex-husband.”
“Oh!” Hermione exclaimed, realization seemingly dawning upon her. “For a moment there, I thought that I’d come to the wrong address. I was so sure I was gonna be fired. Phew!”
“I’m so sorry about the confusion dear. I guess I keep forgetting to get the information updated.”
“I could help you with that ma’am. If you don’t mind the forwardness, could you tell me how long ago the divorce was?”
“It’s been five months dear. Here let me write the details down for you. He lives with a woman named Sarah Collins at this address.”
“Thank you for your help ma’am,” Hermione said.
“You’re most welcome. What’s your name dear?”
“What a wonderful name! And it’s such a coincidence too. I always imagined that I’d one day have a daughter whom I’d name Hermione,” Monica beamed.
“I hope that dream comes true ma’am,” Hermione said softly.
“I must be going now. Good day.”
Hermione then walked away as fast as she could without running. She went back to the alleyway that she’d been hiding in earlier and transformed her clothes back into her original outfit. Determined to keep her composure until after she’s seen her dad as well, Hermione turned on the spot and disapparated to the street where her father’s house was. Remaining hidden, she saw him standing against the window on the second storey of the house. He was holding a child, probably less than eight months old, in his arms.
'This can't be,' Hermione thought, her legs giving way. 'That means I have a half-brother or sister. Well...one who doesn't know I exist. My own parents don't know I exist.' She shuddered. She didn't know how to react to this. Was it possible for them to go back to the way they used to be if she reversed the memory charms? But her parents would still not want to be together, and she'll be making them miserable by separating them from their current...partners. And her little brother or sister...seemed to be a brother...she couldn't destroy his/her family like that. No, this was all her doing and she would have to live with it. On the bright side, if they ever moved back to England, it would be a Voldemort free zone. That's a good thing. Right? Right.
She looked up at the window again. Her dad was now feeding the baby, playing aeroplane with tiny spoon. She was caught between two different worlds which did not - could not - intersect. She didn't have a family.
Not wanting to see anymore, Hermione disapparated again and returned to her hotel room.
For the first time in her life, Hermione Granger splinched.
She didn’t feel anything. She merely looked at the blood pouring out from her arm. She sat down on the floor, leaning against her bed.
She stared off into space for the rest of the day, until the ringing of the intercom jerked her back into reality.
The carpet was completely stained with red.
A/N: I hope you all liked that first chapter! Please leave a review below. Any constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.
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