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Chapter 25 : Fall to Pieces
 
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           Today was graduation, the day Hermione had begun her tale. Today was graduation, the day she would end her tale. She and Draco were each given the opportunity to give a speech. He declined. She did not.

            She told them how darker times were likely to come. How they had to prepare themselves for the real world. Life would be different, they weren’t coming back. Everyone have difficult decisions to make, decisions that they would have to live with. It didn’t matter if they made a bad one, but they should do their best to correct it.

            She ended by telling them how proud she was to be able to say that they were all her classmates.

            They day went by smoothly, everyone laughing and smiling and crying. Many parents were there, including her own and Draco’s mother. She and Bryan seemed to be getting on well.

            Hermione lay with Draco that night as usual. The only difference was she had tears streaming down her face, and he was trying to consol her.

            “We’ll come back and visit. Besides, didn’t you want to be a Professor?”

            “Yes but tonight... It’s our last night as students, our last night as Heads, our last night where we still belong to a house.”

            “I know. You know, I think they did pretty well with the sorting.” With tears still falling from her eyes, she gave him a confused look.

            “When I went back and met the founders, Hufflepuff was a giggling girl, Ravenclaw, she didn’t say much but you could tell she thought she was a cut above the rest. Slytherin was all calm and skeptical, and very angry. And Gryffindor, he was just weird.”

            “Hey,” she laughed as she hit him on the shoulder, “I'm a Gryffindor.”

            “Yes, but you’re my Gryffindor, so it’s okay.” His hand was gently brushing a few stray tears off her cheek.

            She smiled at him, the tears having come to a stop, “I like the sound of that.”

            “It being okay that you’re weird?”

            “Partly, but that’s not what I meant.”

            “What did you mean?” he asked, trying hard not to smile. He wanted her to say it, not that he didn’t know what she was going to say, but still.

            “Being yours.”

            He couldn’t stop the huge grin that came on his face as he said, “As long as I get to be yours, we’ll call it even.”

            “Deal.”

            They were both smiling hugely at each other for a while before he asked, “So have written anything in your diary yet?”

            “It’s not a diary!”

            “I gave it to you as a diary, so a diary it will stay Granger.”

            “Fine, Draco, fine. But I'm using it to write down what had happened this year.”

            “Oh, how far have you gotten?”

            “Well, I finished writing about finding out who my parents really are. I know I have a lot to go, but I’ve got more time.” She hesitated for a moment before she looked at him, panicked, and whispered, “He doesn’t know who my parents are does he?”

            “I doubt it. He still thinks Josi is dead and Brett went poof. And besides, your parents are Muggle, to the rest of the world.”

            “Oh, no, no. He attacked them remember, he would have found strong magical residue from Brett’s spells. Oh Merlin, oh Merlin.” She was sitting up, heart pounding, eyes wide in horror.

            “Hey, hey, calm down Hermione, just breathe. We can go tell Brett, see if he agrees with you if you’d like.”

            “Yes, yes we should do that. Let’s go.”

            “Calm down, we have to change first, don’t want to be wandering around the school in our P.J.'s, do we?”

            “No, no you’re right.”

            Ten minutes later, they were making their way towards Brett’s rooms, Draco still attempting to soothe her.

            “Draco, I don’t think I could handle it if he were after them specifically. If they were, were killed, and I, I just…” Her breaths were coming in short and finally he just grabbed her shoulders, turned her to face him and said, “We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen. And if it does then we’ll get through it together. You forget, Brett is practically my dad, I don’t want him hurt, and I don’t want you hurt. Put both those things together, and I really don’t want your Mum hurt.

            “If he is after them, Brett will know and he’ll have done something. Just please, Hermione, breathe. Calm down.”

            Nodding furiously, she said, “Yes, yes you're right. Of course he would have done something, and of course he would have known. Yes, yes, you’re right.” They walked quickly to Brett’s rooms, both trying profusely to keep their words to themselves.

            Hermione was still trying to panic, and Draco wanted to tell her, since he knew she was still panicking, to calm down. Instead they remained silent through the rest of their journey.


            Brett was lying on his side, talking and laughing with his wife, when he heard someone knocking at his door. Not again, he thought.

            Every time she visited, someone would interrupt them. Once it had been his daughter and he had been very nearly horrified. If she’d have wanted to talk to him in private, then he would have been horrified. Her mother had been lying naked on his bed just as she was now.

            “I’ll be just minute,” he whispered before placing a gentle kiss on her lips. She smiled at him and nodded.

            After slipping on a pair of pants, he moved to the door.

            “Hello? Oh, Draco, Hermione.” Shit, then he looked at Hermione, “Come in, come in. I’ll be right back. Just head into the kitchen while I go change.”

            When he entered his bedroom, Josi sat straight up, “What is it?” she whispered.

            “Something’s wrong with Hermione.” She was instantly getting out of the bed and pulling on her pajamas.

            “Whoa, what are you doing?” he asked as he stepped in front of her, hands in front of her chest once they were both dressed. Her eyes turned to fire.

            “You don’t tell me something is wrong with my child and expect me to just sit here do you? Because if you really do, then I'll punch you.”

            “They don’t know you’re here.”

            “Yes, well then they're about to find out. I intend to know what is wrong with my daughter since you can't tell me. Maybe there is something I can do, that we both know you can't.” With that, she side stepped him and hurried into the hallway.

            “-Back in a moment. Actually here he… is. Hello Josi.”

            “Hello Draco. Hermione, what’s wrong?” Hermione was instantly in her mother’s arms, sobbing and mumbling. Josi simply held onto her, murmuring words of comfort. Brett looked at Draco.

            “She’s scared,” he said.

            “Picked that one up myself Draco. Why?”

            “She thinks Voldemort knows who you guys are and is more likely to try and kill you because of that. And… more likely to succeed.”

            “He is suspicious, but he doesn’t know that Josi is alive, doesn’t know that I was the one who was hiding her parents. The spells I used are far more advanced than Hermione’s capabilities at this moment, so he knows it wasn’t her, and besides, they left a very strong imprint because they were such strong spells left over time.

            “Most people think that magic wears away after so long but that’s not true. The magic grows stronger as long as the person who cast the spell still lives.”

            “That’s great Brett, but that doesn’t help us right now.”

            “Draco, he knows that someone is protecting her parents, just look at the abrupt departure along with everything else. He doesn’t know that her parents are magical, and even if he did, he would put them off to magical people banned from the wizarding world. Stripped of their powers and have a powerful friend that was helping protect them and their child.”

            “You can be stripped of your powers?”

            “Oh yes, many people were. You see, Azkaban used to be for just regular crimes. People who used Unforgivables were stripped of their powers. Then the dementors were introduced, and so those people were in Azkaban with the dementors, as well as stripped of their powers.

            “When they discovered that the dementors had no effect on the people without their powers, it was decided that the dementors were a better punishment and people were no longer stripped of their powers.

            “This happened only about thirty years ago. Voldemort was already starting his first Reign of Terror.”

            “So he really has no clue who her parents are?”

            “And could probably care less.”

            “See Granger? Everything is fine. Voldemort is ignorant and careless, and obviously stupid.” She was still holding onto her mother, her face red with tears, as she stared at him. After a moment, she broke from her mother’s embrace and stood next to Brett. The two just stared at each other for a moment before he opened his arms and she stepped into them.

            Draco was shocked still for a moment before he turned to look at Josi. She was smiling at the embrace. He heard the two embracing whisper to each other and then pull back. Smiling at his daughter, Brett said, “We’ll be okay. I promise.” She nodded.

            Everyone was quiet for a full minute before she said, “Tell me about my brother.”

 


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