Hermione smiled, and extended her own hand, trying to seem natural. “Ecstatic to make your acquaintance, Miss Swann,” they shook hands, “Will has told me so much about you.”
Elizabeth Swann smiled beautifully, looking over the girls’ shoulders at Will, who had now focused directly on her. Hermione exchanged mirthful glances with Ginny. He obviously had a thing for the Governor’s daughter, and it was more noticeable now that it had ever been in the movie.
“Only the good things, I hope,” Elizabeth shook hands with Ginny. “And what are your names, may I ask?”
“I’m Hermione Granger.”
“And I’m Ginevra Weasley.”
Elizabeth nodded, and glanced at Mary. “Why do I need to be in good humor?”
Mary cleared her throat respectfully. “They need a place to stay, miss…”
“And I’m naturally gracious enough to give them rooms in my father’s house, is that it?”
“Well…yes, miss—“ Mary lowered her eyes to the floor, unsure of what to say.
“I would consider it a great favor,” interjected Will, “and I now place myself forever in your debt,” he paused, then hesitantly added, “…Elizabeth.”
This drew yet another grin from her. “No need, Will. I would be glad to help these young ladies,” she tightened the cinch on her robe. “Mary, please inform my father that we will be taking our lunch above stairs; and have Clara air out the rooms adjoining mine. I’ll show them up…” she motioned toward the door, “…and get them something decent to wear.”
Hermione and Ginny obediently filed out of the kitchen, and Elizabeth look back at Will. “Good day, Mr. Turner.”
Hermione gazed at the dress Elizabeth held out for her inspection. Made of blue silk, it fell to the floor in graceful folds that shimmered in the sunlight that filtered through the windows.
“Do you like it? You may keep it. I haven’t worn it in a very long time,” Elizabeth turned the dress, and held it up against Hermione. “I think it may fit you.”
Hermione was speechless. “This is a day dress?”
“Oh, yes. Exquisite, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, just a bit…” Ginny’s eyes were as wide as saucers. Hermione smiled. It would be good for her to own something that was worth more than the entire Weasley family’s clothing combined. Hell, Elizabeth’s clothes were worth more than anything ANYONE could buy in Diagon Alley.
“Here, have Mary help you,” Elizabeth handed the dress to the maid, who motioned for Hermione to undress.
“And for you, Ginevra…” Elizabeth leaned over her trunk of summer clothes, and pulled out a light pink cotton day dress, embroidered with white flowers all along the hem and neckline,
“…hmm…this is only cotton, and very plain, but I think the rose shade will complement your hair.”
Ginny reached out a hand to touch the dress. “It’s so soft!”
“Yes, I remember that this was quite a comfortable dress. Please, try it on! Oh, and I believe that I have an old rose evening gown of China silk that you may have as well.”
“Oh, Miss Swann, you are far too generous!” Ginny gasped.
Elizabeth shook her head. “No, no, never mind that talk. And please, call me ‘Elizabeth’…you two being here will be like having sisters!”
Hermione titled her head slightly as Mary helped her into the corset, and sucked in her breath. “Oh, my…”
Elizabeth closed the trunk, and sat down on it. “Corsets are a nuisance, aren’t they? I shall never get used to them. Although this morning was, by far, the worst experience I’ve had with one yet. Have you heard?”
Hermione gripped the bedpost for support as Mary cinched the laces tightly. “Yes.”
“It must have been dreadful…” murmured Ginny sympathetically.
Elizabeth’s eyebrows titled upwards, and she gave a secretive smile. “The losing consciousness part was…”
Hermione swallowed with a bit of difficulty as Mary secured the corset. “You could have died!” she managed to say.
“Yes, of course I could have…but…oh, well, forget I said anything,” Elizabeth commanded shortly, drawing her knees up to her chest.
“Don’t tell me enjoyed it…” Ginny sounded slightly shocked, and Hermione detected a bit of sarcasm in her voice.
“I don’t recall saying that, Ginevra…” that same, amused, secretive note crept back into Elizabeth’s tone, although her face remained solemn.
“My apologies, Elizabeth…”
“They aren’t needed,” Elizabeth sprang up from her sitting position, and took the pink dress from Ginny’s grasp. “Here, let me help you. Let’s get you into that gown!”
The afternoon passed rapidly, and before the girls knew it, they had new clothes, had eaten lunch, were given a tour of the manor, had a stroll in the garden, tried on a few more dresses, and then it was time to eat again.
Hermione sat down in one of the chairs at Elizabeth’s private table. They had all changed into dressing gowns to be more comfortable, and never had Hermione been more grateful for anything in her life. The dresses had been beyond beautiful, it was true, but the corset had squeezed her until she had barely enough breath.
Ginny plopped down next to her, playing with the decorative fringe on her green robe. “I wonder what the boys have been up to…”she said absentmindedly.
Hermione took a deep breath to try and ease her aching sides. “What’s this? Curiosity in regards to Harry?”
Ginny shrugged, and studied the pattern on the tablecloth. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Well, you didn’t speak to him for I don’t know how long, and I…well, have you forgiven him?”
“I don’t know.”
“Gin, do you still like him?” Hermione was straightforward. “Because he still loves you, you know. It’s not as though he broke it off because he didn’t. He had your best interests—“
“I know that, everyone’s been explaining it to me since the end of term,” Ginny cut her off crossly, “but that doesn’t change the fact that he still has feelings for me, and that any dark force associate with You-Know-Who could still use me as bait, or hurt me, or whatever.”
“Gin,” Hermione spoke gently, “you know that doesn’t matter. He was just trying to do what was best…and you didn’t answer my question.”
Ginny frowned, and glared at Hermione.
Hermione gasped, and gave a sudden burst of laughter, even though it burned her lungs and sides to do so. “Oh, Merlin, Gin, you DO still love him! Don’t act like you don’t…you can’t tell me you hate him! Oh, God, Ginny…”
Hermione continued to giggle, and eventually, Ginny felt herself blush, and a small, somewhat reluctant smile found it’s way to her lips.
“And what, pray tell, is the source of this merriment?” Elizabeth asked as she entered the small drawing room.
“Nothing,” Ginny replied swiftly, sending Hermione a warning glance.”
Hermione stopped her laughter, confused. It wasn’t as though they couldn’t trust Elizabeth.
The Governor’s daughter noticed the silent exchange, and raised her eyebrows, but said nothing more.
The evening passed by in a blur, and the girls began to wonder if they really wanted to find a way to go home. Of course, neither one admitted it to the other, partly because Elizabeth was present, and partly because they didn’t want other to know that they were in no hurry to go back to a world where Harry Potter and those loyal to him would have to face Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
Elizabeth’s bedroom was adjoined with another, smaller bedroom, which was connected with yet a third bedroom. These two were given to Hermione and Ginny, who, by bedtime, were quite ready to turn in. Ginny, who had never been catered to before, was quite please and surprised when Mary came in with tea and toast.
“To help you sleep…” she said, leaving the tray by the bedside.
“Thank you,” Ginny smiled awkwardly.
“My pleasure, miss,” Mary curtsied, and carried the other small tray to Hermione’s door.
Ginny waited until she was sure she’d left Hermione’s room, the leapt out from under the covers. She knocked on the door.
“Come in,” came Hermione’s polite voice.
Ginny opened the door, and, pulling her loose nightgown closer around her thin body, she tiptoed in. Hermione was sitting up, sipping from the finely chiseled china.
She grinned at her boyfriend’s sister. “Nice treatment, huh?”
Ginny gingerly perched on the edge of the bed to avoid Hermione spilling any of the hot, steaming tea. “Yeah,” she admitted, smiling back, hugging her knees, “nice. Mum and Dad would die if they saw us in this finery…” her voice trailed off.
Hermione changed the subject. “Did you taste the tea? It’s delicious.”
“No, thanks, I’m not hungry. Besides, I can never sleep on a full stomach,” Ginny shook her head. “Smells good, though…what is that? Jasmine?”
“Yes, I believe so…” Hermione took a good whiff of the steam rising from her cup.
“I wonder where they got it…” Ginny mused aloud as Hermione abandoned her manners without warning, gulping down the rest of the tea, and moved on to the lightly buttered toast. “The jasmine, I mean. It doesn’t grow in the Caribbean, does it?”
Hermione looked up excitedly. “Actually, the Orient is—“
“Never mind,” Ginny held up her hands. “I’m getting sleepy, and don’t need a geography lesson just now. Nor Herbology, thank you.”
“All right then,” Hermione let a strange smile slip onto her face, “Good night,” she suddenly suppressed a yawn. Ginny laughed, but marveled at the fact that Hermione didn’t seem angry in the least at been deprived of sharing information. “S’cuse me, Gin,” Hermione yawned again. “This tea must have hit the spot.”
Ginny slid off the edge of the high bed, the folds of her nightgown falling in waves. “Guess so…” she began to turn away, then glanced back. “Mione?”
“Can you really believe we’re here?” she asked softly.
Hermione shook her head. “Not really. It’s all so fantastic and far-fetched…oh, my goodness!”
“What’s wrong?” Ginny jumped at Hermione’s exclamation.
“I forgot to kiss Ron good-bye when Will brought us here! I can’t go to bed without—“
“Oh, come off it…they’re at the Blacksmith’s shop,” Ginny made her way towards her door, “you’ll just have to wait until morning.”
“Wait, Gin!” Hermione tumbled out of bed loudly, the sheets trailing behind her. “Come with me to the Smithy!”
Gin turned swiftly. “Keep your voice down. Are you mental? I’m getting sleepy, and by the sound of those yawns, so are you…we’re not about to go trekking down to that shop, just for you to give my brother a good night snog!”
Hermione looked at the candles on her nightstand, and said, “Fine. Be like that. Some friend you are!”
Ginny turned yet again, taking in Hermione’s suddenly blankish eyes. “Hey, you okay? You look at though you’ve been drugged…”
Hermione resisted a giggle, and fell backwards onto the bed. “Nonsense, Gin…”
She stayed still for a moment, and Ginny crept forward. Hermione appeared to be asleep. Raising her eyebrows quizzically, Ginny made her way back to her room, and to her own bed.
Hermione waited until she heard Ginny close the door. Cautiously, she sat up. Ginny was right. She did feel as though she’d been drugged…but it didn’t matter. Right now, the only thought that mattered was “Ron”…the idea seemed to possess her, and she was determined to see him before she succumbed to the welcome arms of sleep.
Surprisingly little time passed before Hermione made it out of the mansion undetected. Despite the fact that her eyes kept wanting to close to the temptations of the sandman, the odd pressure to see Ron drove her to the door of the Smithy. She wasn’t quite sure how she got there, considering she had strangely forgotten Will’s instructions. But her feet seemed to know the way, and some part of her head had to still be on straight, since she had at least remembered to grab her wand.
Yawning, she raised her hand, and knocked loudly on the door three times. She heard the pounding of Will’s work halt, and a moment later, he’d opened the door slightly. When he saw that it was her, he immediately opened it wider, and said in a shocked, but pleasantly surprised tone, “Why, Miss Hermione! Whatever are you doing out this late?”
“I need to see Ronald and Harry…is that all right?” she asked urgently.
Will looked skeptical, but nodded nevertheless. “Take the stairs…it’s the second door on the right. Would you like me to accompany you?” he took in her appearance, no doubt thinking that her traipsing around Port Royal in her nightdress and dressing gown, then asking to visit to boys in their bedroom, most indecent and indecorous.
“No, thank you, Will,” she stepped over the threshold, and almost tripped.
Will looked startled. “Are you sure you are well, Miss Hermione?”
“Just ‘Hermione’ is fine, Will,” she called over her shoulder as she headed for the rickety stairs in the corner of the shop.
“As you say…” Will’s voice faded as she made her way above stairs. She saw a line of light peeking out from underneath the boys’ bedroom door, and stumbled up the last few steps.
Without bothering to knock, Hermione tumbled into the room. Both Ron and Harry were at the ready with their wands. “Hermione!” they exclaimed.
“I thought I heard your voice,” muttered Harry, tossing his wand back onto his cot.
Hermione walked straight up to a very confused Ron, gave him a peck on the lips, and then promptly collapsed onto his cot, facedown...
A/N: Haha, cliffhanger! Anyways, as you can see, I finally updated!!! Sorry it took so long, but I didn't really have that much time, and when I did, all I could manage were re-writes...but enough excuses...Please review, and the next chapter "The Black Pearl" will be up asap...by the way, anyone have a good title for the sequel? It's going to be based on "Dead Man's Chest," obviously, but I wanted the name of the story to have a wizardy element in there somewhere, like this title does. So any ideas, let me know. Thank you!
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