Chapter 2 : Chapter II: Counseling and a Stray Curse
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Two weeks after Ron’s funeral, Rose and Hugo headed back to Hogwarts. McGonagall had said that they could stay home as long as they needed to, but Hermione knew that her children would find it easier to cope with their father’s death if they were at school with people their own age. Hermione had decided to go back to work, but Kingsley told her she needed to see a counselor for at least a few months.
Hermione walked into the counselor’s waiting room and checked in with the secretary. She told Hermione to go right on in and that the counselor was waiting for her.
Hermione walked into the counselor’s office to see Padma Patil.
“Padma?” she said, surprised to see her former classmate. “I didn’t know you were a counselor!”
“Hermione!” Padma exclaimed. “Good to see you! Please sit down.” She motioned to a comfy looking sofa next to her desk, and Hermione sat down. “How are you?” she asked. “I saw the article about Ronald’s death in the Prophet. How are the kids coping?”
Hermione looked at her hands. She had begun biting her nails again after Ron’s death. She picked at one of them as she spoke.
“Rose and Hugo seem to be doing ok. They went back to school this morning. Rose has been spending a lot of time with Scorpius Malfoy. She was always there for him when he needed her after Astoria died, and now that Ron is gone, he’s been helping her deal with it and get caught up in their classes. He’s actually quite smart.”
“I’m sure he still has to work really hard to keep up with the daughter of the great Hermione Granger, of course,” said Padma, jokingly.
“Yeah,” Hermione replied. “They study together a lot. Hugo, on the other hand, spends all of his time with Lily. I swear, if the school would let them, they would share a room.” Hermione laughed. “McGonagall is letting them come home one weekend a month if they want to, but with Quidditch tryouts next week, they all spend most of their weekends at the Quidditch pitch.”
“How about you?” Padma asked. “How are you handling it?”
“Well,” Hermione replied, “I’m not entirely sure. I mean, it’s really hard to be alone every night, but with Rose and Hugo coming home for a while once a month it should be bearable. Plus, Harry and Ginny come see me once or twice a week and Teddy even took some time off to stay with us and help with the funeral arrangements.”
“Well, Hermione, that’s all the time we have today, but book another appointment with my receptionist, Emily and I’ll see you soon,” Padma said.
Standing up, Hermione gave her a hug. “Thank you, Padma,” she said. “See you soon.”
Hermione walked out of Padma’s office, running into her next patient.
“Sorry,” she mumbled, not looking at the person she had run into. She went to walk around him, but he caught her arm and stopped her.
“Granger,” he said softly. Hermione looked up into the cool gray eyes of Draco Malfoy. He let go of her arm.
“It’s been Weasley for 15 years, Malfoy,” she responded quietly. As she started to walk away, he spoke again.
“I was one of the Healers taking care of the injured Muggles after the first bomb went off,” he said. Hermione sopped in her tracks. “I did what I could to help him.”
“Thank you,” she replied. She never thought she would ever say those words to a Malfoy, especially to Draco Malfoy. She made her next appointment for the following Thursday with Emily and left the building. She headed to the Ministry for the first time since Ron’s death.
“Hermione! You’re back!” Hermione’s assistant, Renee, walked up to her and gave her a hug. “We didn’t think you’d be back for a few more weeks, at least!”
“I just couldn’t sit at home anymore, Renee,” she replied. “Once Rose and Hugo went back to Hogwarts, it was just too depressing to sit at home alone. How’d that case work out?” she asked, not wanting to talk about her husband anymore. “The one between Pansy Parkinson’s beauty potion and spell company and the hose elves she was testing them on?”
Renee jumped for joy. “Mr. Diggory and Mr. Wimple moved all of Ms. Parkinson’s house elves to Hogwarts and a few other places where they have been promised to be taken care of and paid. Ms. Parkinson is also being checked on regularly to make sure she’s following the new laws set up by the Department of Experimental Potions and Spells.”
“Good. I’m glad Pansy can’t bribe her way out of trouble anymore just because she’s a pureblood,” Hermione said, looking pleased.
Just then, a bolt of blue light zoomed into the room. People screamed and ducked as the bolt bounced around the room. It flew into Hermione’s office and hit her in the shoulder. Within minutes, her arm was numb and had begun swelling.
Renee grabbed her other arm and, pivoting on her heel, apparated them both to St. Mungo’s. As the numbness and swelling spread up her neck to her face, Renee explained what had happened to the receptionist, who called for a Healer and conjured a stretcher just in time. Hermione fell backwards onto the stretcher and blacked out.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading! Also thanks to Sarah for my first review. Just a heads up, the first reader’s choice will be in the Author’s Note of one of the next upcoming chapters.
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