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Chapter 10 : Tunnel
 
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            “A candy store? How is this beneficial to us in any way?”

            “Because there’s a trapdoor in the basement that brings you into a passage that leads straight into Hogwarts, and Brett?”

            “What?” he asked as he opened the door.

            “Um, how are you going to explain why we’re there? First off everyone thinks we’re Muggles, second off where will we stay and third off, Hermione will atleast know that something’s up.”

            “Well you're here because I came to talk to you about Hermione possibly doing more advanced work and then you were attacked. You can stay in the guest rooms Hogwarts has. And of course Hermione will know something is up, but we’ll figure something out when she decides to confront us.”

            “And the part about us being Muggles Brett? Muggles aren’t allowed on school grounds are they?”

            “Under extenuating circumstances Muggles are allowed on the grounds and can stay at the school. And being attacked by Voldemort, but surviving it, is definitely extenuating. Besides McGonagall already knows who you are so it’s not going to be a problem.”

            “McGonagall already knows? How long has she known?”

            “Well Josi, about ten minutes longer than you have. Hell I’ve been working with her for nearly seventeen years and she only knew today who I was when I came bursting into her office babbling about you and needing to help you.” He opened the trapdoor to the passage and waved his hand, motioning for them to proceed. Josi shook her head at him and stepped down the first few steps.

            Bryan followed after her head was barely visible, Brett following soon there after.

            “Brett if you're so good at keeping secrets and screwing up everyone’s memories, why did you just let it aaaaahh!!”

            “Josi? Josi are you ok?” Brett asked worriedly as he heard her body collide with the steps a few times. Bryan hurried down to her, Brett able to go no faster than he.

            She hissed as she gently touched her fingers to her now throbbing ankle.

            “Well, yeah. Do you think you could possibly fix my ankle though? I think,” she took a deep breath as they reached her, “I think I may have broken it.”

            “Yeah, here, oh,” he said as he looked it over.

            “What?”

            “Well it wasn’t a clean break. I have to set it so it'll have to wait until we get back to the school.”

            “Well I can't walk on it.”

            “No, no you can't.”

            “Well then someone is going to have to carry me. Simple as that.”

            Brett and Bryan looked at each other before Bryan said, “She is your wife.”

            He nodded and turned back to her, “Alright. But I'm going to make you feather light because we still have a long walk ahead of us,” He cast the spell before he slid his arms beneath her, “Ready?” she nodded and he stood as her arms wound their way around his neck.

            “Let’s go, this is starting to hurt.”

            Brett chuckled lightly and she gently smacked his chest as he said, “Well of course it is, it is broken you know.”

            They walked in comfortable silence for a while before they heard footsteps approaching them. Brett turned so that his back was flush with the wall and slid Josi down his front, still holding her but so that she was standing beside him. Bryan was flat against the wall opposite them.

            “Well Harry, why in the world would he come here?”

            “Why would he go anywhere Hermione? I really don’t know. He said he wanted to be alone for a while but that was hours ago, after we told him everything we know, and when I looked at the map I couldn’t find him. And the Room of Requirement let me in so he wasn’t there. That means he had to have gone off the grounds.”

            “I understand Harry; it’s just that - Merlin! Who are you? Mum? Dad? Brett? What are you doing here?”

            “Hermione? Oh, well see what’s you're name? Vase? Fence?”

            “Vance, he’s my Ancient Runes Professor.”

            “Well if he’s your Professor, why are you calling him Brett?”

            “Dad, he’s more of a friend than a teacher. He’s helping me and my friends with our research, project.”

            “Sure, sure. Well I really don’t know why we’re in a tunnel, but why are you in the tunnel with us?” Merlin, Brett thought, they were just as good of actors as they were before.

            “Well, our friend Ron, he sort of disappeared and we think he might have come out here.”

            “Correction Harry, you think he might have come out here. There’s nothing he could do out here and even Ronald isn’t stupid enough to wander the streets during these times. He could be killed be Death Eaters.”

            “Actually I think the majority are at your house Hermione,” Brett corrected.

            “Wh-what?”

            “So that’s what those things were called!” Josi exclaimed as she shifted on her feet, before collapsing and hissing in pain.

            “MUM! What happened? Are you okay?” Hermione asked as she hurried to her fallen mother’s side.

            “Oh, of course I just tripped coming down those stairs. Got a few more bumps and bruises is all.”

            “Not to mention your broken foot,” Bryan whispered as he looked into her face.

            “Broken foot? And you were walking on it? What is wrong with you two?”

            “No, honey, I wasn’t walking on it. Mr. Vance was carrying me.”

            “Professor, and why didn’t he just heal you? Why didn’t you just heal her?” she shouted as she turned on him.

            “It wasn’t a clean break. I have to set it before I can heal it. And we should probably get going so that she doesn’t hurt for longer than necessary. You two should come back with us because the streets were deserted, Mr. Weasley isn’t out there.” He turned back towards Josi and in one swift motion, brought her up into his arms and stood.

            “Can I ask a question? Why were you at Hermione’s parents in the first place?”

            “Oh, hello Harry.”

            “Hi Mrs. Granger.”

            “Well, he was in the middle of talking about putting Hermione in a more advanced class. Of the rune things.”

            “And then a bunch of creepy looking men in black robes and white masks came in. Your Professor here got us out but let me tell you, it was the strangest feeling, whatever he did,” Bryan added.

            “It’s called Appaperating Dad. Brett why are you carrying my mother? My father is plenty capable.”

            “I put a feather light spell on her because it’s a long walk. It would be too strange for your Dad in my opinion, and secondly I know where most of the grooves and such are whereas your father does not so he might trip which could further harm your mother.”

            “Oh,” she said feeling like an idiot because of the tone in his voice. The group continued in silence for a while, Brett leading the way until they came upon the slide that was the entrance.

            “Um, how are you going to get her up there?” Bryan asked as if he had no clue that Brett could levitate her.

            “Well I could fly her up there or,” he nodded his head at Harry who came up to him confused, “Harry can pull on the chain right over here and turn the slide into steps.”        

            “But it's stone,” Josi started incredulously, “Can you really change it in to stairs with a little chain?”

            “Yes, Harry do you see it yet?”

            “No, not yet. I didn’t even know there was one.”

            “You didn’t? But I thought you had the Map.”

            “I do, but it doesn’t say anything about a chain. Wait, how do you know I have a map? Let alone a specific map?”

            “James and Sirius showed it to me when we transferred back here. Then they got it taken away the last week of school in hopes that, now what was it? Oh yes in hopes that ‘someday mini Marauders would discover it and use it to their own advantage’ if I remember correctly. Lily wanted to kill him for even having it. Well anyways, let me try. Mrs. Granger do you mind?”

            “Oh, not at all.” Josi slowly slid down his front again and leaned against the wall balancing on one foot for a moment before Bryan came to her side and drew her arm over his shoulder and placed his around her waist.

            “This is really strange. It’s like she isn’t even there.”

            “Yeah, oh here it is.” There was a sound of crunching and then the slide lifted every few feet to create steps. Brett smiled proudly for a moment and then walked back to Josi. She nodded at him and Bryan let go so Brett could sweep her into his arms yet again.

            “Ok, since Madame Pomfrey only treats wizards, I'm going to take your mother to my rooms. I’ll fix her up and then we can go get your parents settled after we talk to McGonagall.”

            “Sounds fine to me. Hermione, dear, I hope you find your friend. Goodnight.”

            “Goodnight Mum, Dad.” She only nodded at Brett.

            “Wait, have you two checked the Shack?”

            “Why would he go there though Professor?”

            “It’s secluded, Harry. And not many people know how to get into it, let alone can.”

            “Oh, good point. Well I’ll check there. Don’t you have to go patrol with Malfoy, Hermione?”

            “Yes,” she answered in a stiff voice. Brett wondered what had changed that would make her react that way to just his name.

            “Oh, can you ask him to stop by my chambers in the morning? It doesn’t have to be before breakfast or anything; it could be before his first class or whatever. I just need to talk to him.”

            “Sure.” And then she walked away in the direction of her dorm. Harry followed her with his eyes and then looked back at the three adults, “He just said something she didn’t like this afternoon after Ron left.”

            They all nodded and Harry stood there awkwardly for a moment before he said, “Well it was nice seeing you again, minus the reasons as to why. And I hope you get fixed up and everything. Goodnight.” And then he too walked away.

            “Um, you can just tell me where McGonagall’s office is and I’ll find it.”

            “We can all go together once I fix Josi up Bryan; it’s not going to take too long.”

            “No, but I figure you still have a lot of explaining to do and I’d rather not be there for it. I understand why you did it, I respect you for it, and I’ll still be angry with you for a while and that won't help. It will help her, so, yeah.” Brett paused a moment before he said, “Go all the way to the end of this hallway, you'll see this big bird statue with two goblin things on the side. The password’s ‘Saber tooth,’” at Bryan’s raised eyebrows, Brett shrugged, “She loves all sorts of cats, big and small, house and wild, so it makes sense.”

            “Right. Well goodnight. Oh, and I am allowed to tell her the truth right?”

            “Of course, she already knows that I'm alive and well, that I am who I am. Goodnight Bryan,” Josi said with a small smile.

            He smiled tiredly at the two of them before walking off to find the doorway.

            “By the way, I'm not really expecting you back tonight.” Brett looked utterly stunned at the implication. Josi just chuckled lightly and said “Are you going to fix me up or not?”

            “Right, right.” They continued on to his rooms in an almost awkward silence. It wasn't complete since only Brett felt awkward. When they entered his rooms, he walked straight to his bedroom and laid her down, “Ok, you strip and I’ll go get the potions.”

            “Well isn’t that a great thing for you to tell me when I'm on your bed,” she laughed as his face turned red.

            “Sorry,” he muttered before walking into the adjoining bathroom for his healing potions.

            “Why did you do it?” she asked after a minute.

            “Why?” He didn’t even think about it before he continued, “Because it was the only way I could think of to protect you and our little girl. I, I didn’t want you to really die, because Voldemort would have killed you sooner or later. I thought that loosing you by my own fault would be less painful because I would know you were alive and safe. I even put this spell on you guys,” he entered the room to see her in only her undergarments and he nearly dropped the potions he was holding. He hadn't seen her in so many years and he hadn't even seen a woman other than her in his life, “It uh, it protects you from magical detection. So even had Voldemort known you were there, the spell would have thrown him off. It covers your skin until the caster removes it. Not even Dumbledore would have been able to do it.”

            He approached her and silence reigned as he fixed her body from the inside out, the way he used to know it. He pulled away from her and then he saw it. That beautiful little freckle he had never been able to resist. It was just above her left hip. He gently pressed his lips to it and when he looked up into her wide eyes, they both knew it was over.

            They both realized that it had been over before it had even begun as he captured her lips with his. And they tumbled down the path that they had taken so many years ago, the one that had brought them the most beautiful children they had ever seen.

 


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