thank you for the reviews, here is a new one,
huge thanks to marla1 for her awesome help
- CHAPTER FOUR –
- Dark and Difficult Times Lie Ahead –
'HERMIONE!' Harry yelled.
Harry fell to his knees beside her, as Neville crawled rapidly towards her from under the desk with his wand held up in front of him. The panic that was quickly rising inside his head was preventing him from thinking properly. He had one hand on Hermione's shoulder, which was still warm, and yet he did not dare properly look at her.
‘Don't let her be dead, don't let her be dead, it's my fault if she's dead...’ Harry panicked in his mind.
As Harry finally looked at Hermione he realized that she looked at least ten years older when her body lying unconscious on the ground. Neville wasn’t close and Harry felt his heart stop when he moved her. Moving her revealed a huge pool of blood beneath her. He realized that a hooded figure was close to him with a wand in his hand.
His eyes opened and Harry could still hear his screams, sweat was dripping down his face and his t-shirt clung to him. His arms were swaying violently and he gasped when he saw Hermione next to him. She was on her knees trying to calm him down and touch him with her hands. He stopped fighting her immediately and let their bond open, allowing Hermione to enter his thoughts.
‘It’s OK, Harry, it was a dream, it’s OK.’ Hermione said breathlessly next to him and finally hugged him. Harry, still out of breath wrapped his arms around her and helped her straddle his lap. Hermione’s arms wrapped around his large chest and the couple sat there in silence, only Harry’s ragged breath and Hermione’s comforting whispers could be heard.
Harry let his hands move to Hermione’s thighs touching his wife’s body. Hermione kissed his sweaty neck and allowed her hands to move beneath his soaked t-shirt. Harry kissed Hermione’s jaw but pulled away and looked deep into her eyes. His hands moved on the sides of her face and he pulled her closer to him for a kiss. Hermione obeyed to his call and soon their lips were locked, their bond letting Hermione feel Harry’s relief.
‘I’m fine, love, it was only a dream.’ Hermione murmured when the kiss was over, knowing why he was upset as he had projected his nightmare through their bond in her mind. Harry sighed and caressed her cheeks with his thumbs.
‘I thought I lost you, I thought, that was the end,’ Harry whispered and could feel Hermione’s need to help him, but both knew that her being there with him was all he needed.
‘Nothing happened to me, Harry. I’m fine, here with you, with our kids to the rooms next ours. We’re all here with you.’ Hermione said, looking deep in his eyes and soul.
‘For now,’ Harry said and saw Hermione’s hurt on her face.
‘What is that supposed to mean?’ Hermione asked and pulled a bit away, not letting his hands on her face. Harry panicked at the thoughts in her mind and tried to explain what he meant.
‘Mione, I didn’t mean you’d abandon me…’ Harry said and Hermione looked at him and sensed the truth in his voice.
‘Then what you meant Harry?’ she asked, he felt irritated with his wife and best friend, she could just check the answer in his mind but he knew she wanted him to admit his problem so they could work on it together.
‘I’m just worried that you and the kids will be in danger, look what happened in an afternoon…’ Harry finally said and Hermione moved closer again, taking his hands and placing them around her waist. He took the opportunity to hug her tightly. He was never good with words but Hermione was the only one to make him talk about his problems. ‘I mean, Luna lost the baby, your parents’ house was attacked, thank Morgana your mother was here and your father survived only with the Cruciatus cast on him once, if you can call this a success. And we have the Dark Mark perfectly made above Ron’s house and a new Mark above your parents’ house… Could things be worse?’ Harry asked with Hermione still in his arms. To his surprise he felt her nodding.
‘Yes, love, they could be much worse, they could have been worse with me celebrating my birthday without you and the kids because you could have died in the War, or you could mourn over my birthday because the dead could be me… We have allot to do in a few hours in the ministry, we crossed lines we hadn’t dare to touch with Anderson, we’ll face problems with Lindon, the Prophet will use us as their perfect expiatory victim once again. We’ll have to keep my parents here for a long time as their house is too dangerous for the in-laws of Harry Potter the Great and his wife the Bright Witch and we’re still the parents of three hyper children. But yes, things could be so much worse as a decade before, one of us could have fallen in the battle, and now nothing could be existed.’ Hermione said slowly and Harry sighed at the truth of her words. He kissed her cheek lovingly and felt his pulse slowing and his body relaxing.
‘It must feel great to be always right.’ Harry said and Hermione chuckled and placed a kiss on his shoulder.
‘Oh it’s simply wonderful,’ Hermione answered and the couple chuckled and then kissed tenderly.
And Hermione was right indeed, when the Potters set toe in the ministry early the next morning, the place was already in chaos. People from magazines, like the Daily Prophet, Quibbler and other papers, were trying to learn more and more about the case of the two Dark Marks that had been witnessed by more than two hundred muggle and magical people the previous hours. The Potters made way through the crowd to their office, whether Harry wanted to admit it or not; he was happy with all these people wanting to know more. The Prophet and a couple more papers might be under the minister’s power but papers like the Quibbler wouldn’t just quiet down, not after what happened to Luna.
When Harry and Hermione finally made it to their office; they sighed in relief without the pining eyes and cameras on them. This relief didn’t last long as the door of the office opened to reveal Anderson in a background of flashes and screamed questions. The Minister shut the door sharply and looked at the Potters in silence for a second. He moved further into the office, both Harry and Hermione were irritated having to see Anderson at the start of the day, and even more so by having him scolding them as a teacher would do to bad students.
‘The last hours,’ Anderson started and Harry curled his hands into fists to keep himself in control. ‘You didn’t obey to my direct orders, you sent your team to three different places without the permission of Mr. Lindon or mine. You sent wizards in London Bridge Hospital and the Grangers’ properties with no further explanations to someone.‘ Anderson went on and Harry could feel Hermione’s temper rising by the second. ‘And you spoke to me in front of people like I’m no one.’ He said and Harry didn’t want to tell the older man how much of a nothing he believed Anderson was…
‘You’re off all of your cases until I decide you deserve to come back in action.’ Anderson said and Harry could fee his ears thudding from his blood’s pressure.
‘You can’t take us off our cases like that, people will be outraged.’ Hermione said before Harry could do something.
‘Actually, Mrs. Potter, I can, other teams will take care of your cases, you’re out, I have the perfect reasons, after the last night’s actions of disobedience, to believe that you need time out of the Ministry to clean your heads and to find your priorities again.’ Anderson ended his small speech with a huge smug smile on his face.
‘You want to keep us off the cases that involve our own family.’ Harry said through clenched teeth.
‘I want you to understand that your big surname won’t make you any different than the rest of the Aurors.’ Anderson said, showing to Harry how grateful he really was for the defeat of Voldemort a decade ago.
‘Letting us know that fact has been your target number one goal since the day you became the Minister and-‘ Harry snapped.
‘The talk is over, Mr. Potter.’ Anderson cut Harry’s words. ‘Both of you leave the office immediately and you’ll be informed when I have made my decision for your return.’ He said and looked at the couple with a happy and very smug smile.
‘You mean when you’ll have everything covered up with rats like Colin taking over the case!’ Harry retorted with anger in his voice, he wanted to tear this old scum into pieces, some hours ago he had gave Anderson the best reason for taking off both him and Hermione.
‘Have a good day and a great break, Potters.’ Anderson said with a malicious smile and left the office with another sharp thud of the door.
Harry grunted and sat on his chair heavily, slamming his hands on his desktop and hiding his face in his palms.
This is all my fault! I shouldn’t have snapped at him like that. Harry sent through the Bond and felt Hermione’s anger for their dismissal. After a second or two he felt Hermione’s hands gripping his arms and making him straighten up on his chair, she sat on his lap and hugged him, wrapping her arms around him.
I was ready to spoke to him in the same way, baby, you were just faster than me last night. Hermione sent and Harry wrapped his own arms around her and guided her head close to the crook of his neck. Not being able to be in this office never stopped us from doing what we wanted… She went on and Harry felt a small smile coming on his lips.
We’ll have to take everything that Kingsley found for us, talk to Draco and see what we can do with all these people out there. We should talk to the Quibbler’s journalists; they deserve to know what happened to Luna. Harry sent through the bond and felt his wife nodding at his words.
‘Harry…’ Hermione started and Harry nodded his head, feeling her worry for something.
‘I don’t think the Burrow and the Shell Cottage are safe for the Weasleys.’ Hermione started and Harry closed his eyes knowing she was right. ‘Nor are George’s and Ron’s houses.’ she finished and Harry nodded his head and kissed her lightly on the temple. ‘Our house was totally safe in the War and nothing happened to it apart from me helping the Death Eaters inside when we apparated after the “visit” here…’ Hermione said and Harry nodded again.
‘You think we’re at war?’ he asked simply and felt Hermione stiffing.
‘I don’t know, Harry, honestly I don’t. Two Dark Marks, an innocent child gone already, my father alive from luck but still hit by the Cruciatus, all these things around the two of us. If we had only the attack at Ron’s, I’d think that someone decided to hit two war heroes, but now, I think whoever did this knows that Ron and my parents are the closest people to you and me respectively. If all this wasn’t enough, Anderson took us off not only from the Balkan case but out of the ministry as well.’ Hermione said slowly and Harry could feel his stomach tightening at the truth her words were hiding and he wanted to keep away from his mind.
‘Bloody Hell,’ Harry murmured and Hermione hugged him tighter and kissed his neck. The couple stood like that for a few moments, they knew they had to hurry. They packed everything up, making sure to not leave any evidence Kingsley found for them behind and apparated in Grimmauld Place. There, Jane and Edward were playing with their grandchildren on the large couch. Harry felt his stomach dropping at the mental image of Jane and Edward dead last night and what should Harry do with a devastated Hermione. He didn’t want his wife to feel how is not to have parents …
‘We’re back,’ Hermione announced and kneeled as Lilly ran close to her; abandoning her siblings and grandparents for her mother. Hermione scooped Lillian in her arms and kissed her daughter’s cheek lovingly, making sure a mark of lip gloss was left behind, Lilly giggled and kissed her mom on the lips to steal more lip gloss for her own lips.
‘Why so early?’ Jane asked but Hermione shook her head, showing her mother that wasn’t the perfect time to talk about it. Jane and Edward looked at each other and nodded to the younger couple. Harry and Hermione sat close to the Grangers and Harry took little Jane from her grandmother’s hands. James was in Edward’s hug and remained there as his grandfather was tickling the little boy with no mercy.
‘We want you to stay here for a period of time.’ Hermione started and both Jane and Edward looked at each other knowingly. ‘I know this is difficult for you, you have your life and job but it’s really important for your safety to stay here for – a period of time.’ Hermione said before one of her parents could interrupt her. Harry nodded his head in agreement with his wife’s words.
‘We knew you’d ask something like that.’ Jane started and smiled at her daughter and son-in-law.
‘And we are aware of you knowing better about your world, your enemies and the times of crisis so we won’t object your request, Hermione. If you think we’ll be in danger on our own then we’d be glad to stay here with you and the little ones.’ Edward finished for his wife and Hermione sighed in relief, Harry smiled reassuringly to his in-laws knowing anyone else in their shoes would be accusing their magical nature and Harry for all the problems that occurred during the years.
‘Thank you, mom, dad.’ Hermione said and took her father’s hand in hers. Edward smiled and kissed her hand lovingly. ‘I think Harry, me and the kids won’t be the only ones that will stay here for awhile.’ Hermione said quietly and both her parents looked at her puzzled.
‘We’ll ask from the Weasleys to come and stay here for us for awhile, till we see what’s on with this new threat…’ Harry said for Hermione and the Grangers looked at the Potters in shock.
‘They’re more than fifteen people.’ Jane pointed out and both Harry and Hermione nodded their heads.
‘They’re actually twenty one with the Malfoys, we’ll also call Andromeda Tonks and Teddy Lupin, Harry’s Godson, do you remember him and his grandmother?’ Hermione asked and both Grangers nodded their heads in the same state of shock.
‘We’ll enlarge rooms like the library, the office and the guest rooms for everyone with magic. I’m sure the little ones will be happy to sleep in Lilly and James’s rooms with them.’ Harry said and Lilly squealed in happiness at the idea of her friends sleeping in her bedroom, having girls of her age to play with her dolls. ‘We’ll make space for the rest, we did it back at the War, and we’ll do it again.’ Harry said with a small ache at the thought of all this being a preparation for the upcoming days…
After the talk with the Grangers, Harry and Hermione contacted everyone via owls and the floo network, making sure that all the Weasleys, the Malfoys and Andromeda with Teddy would be there in the afternoon. After a few hours, one by one, everyone arrived in the Grimmauld Place along with their children. The little ones had fun in the living room while the adults gathered in the dining room. Harry and Hermione were at the head of the long table and everyone sat around the furniture, wanting to know what was so important for everyone to be there.
‘Thank you all for coming,’ Harry said and Hermione nodded with a smile. Everyone nodded and a chorus of words of greeting followed. ‘First of all, Hermione and I wanted to inform you that Anderson dismissed us from all the cases we were involved with and has decided to keep us away from the ministry.’ Harry started with anger in his voice making everyone start murmuring, groaning and slamming their hands on the tabletop.
‘This fact,’ Hermione went on, ‘along with the double attack,’ She went on with a glance full of pain at Luna. ‘leads both Harry and I to believe that there is danger ahead of all of us. We were all part of the war and if these enemies can hit both wizards and muggles in neighborhoods full of people, they’re not afraid of anything.’ Hermione went on and everyone nodded, Harry could see Draco being nervous and having his eyes stuck in his. Harry only nodded to the blond man, reassuring him they’d talk later.
‘That’s why we want you all, to come and stay here for a period of time,’ Harry said and everyone looked at each other, knowing which the right decision is. ‘Hermione’s parents will stay here as well,’ Harry went on and turned to Andromeda. ‘Andromeda, we want you and Teddy to stay here too, we’re afraid things could be dangerous for you too.’ Harry said and the older woman nodded her head.
‘We just don’t want more victims,’ Hermione said and Ron hugged Luna in instinct. ‘Grimmauld had been the perfect place for the Order’s headquarters and both Harry and I believe that it’s the safer place for all of us now. We’re all wizards and via magic we can make the place larger.’ Hermione finished and everyone nodded except Draco who stood up and looked at the Potters.
‘We shouldn’t just hide like rats, I’m still in the ministry and I can try to provide information. I don’t accept my family and me running and hiding.’ Draco said stubbornly, everyone looked at Ginny as they knew they couldn’t get anywhere with Draco Malfoy’s thick head.
Harry expected something like that from the pureblood wizard. Things were fine for the last decade between the two men, for everyone’s sake, Draco proved to be a good family man and a loyal person. But Harry also knew that Draco would never accept living under the same roof with Harry, he didn’t want to owe to anyone. Harry and Hermione Potter were the last ones Draco Malfoy wanted to rely on. Ginny stood up and took her husband’s hand in hers, their figures matching like fire and ice would do with their blond and fire-red hair close to each other…
‘I’m a Quidditch player and Draco is an Unspeakable, we have two children and our house is well guarded. I don’t believe someone would dare touch us.’ Ginny said and her brothers groaned as Ginny always saw logic only in her husband’s words.
‘Excuse us now but we have to take the girls home.’ Draco said and started for the door of the dinning room, taking Ginny by the hand; she smiled a last time at her family and friends and followed her husband out of the room. Harry rested his arms against the table as he saw the Malfoys moving out of the room, he didn’t like them being away from the rest, he felt like the chain was incomplete. Hermione reached for him mentally and soothed his worry with her emotions of love and comfort warming his heart.
‘So, it would be great if you could start moving in here tonight, if possible.’ Hermione said to break the silence and everyone nodded and stood up, people started apparating to their houses and back, bring things, while others excited the room to start enlarging the house with charms and spells. Soon everyone was around the house, making furniture from thin air, enlarging the rooms, making sure the children will be comfortable and sorting the little ones in the bedrooms being based on the children’s age and friendships. They wanted to make sure the kids would be as quiet as possible.
It was late but Harry was in the library with Hermione, enlarging the place. Ron and Luna were putting a few double beds and screens between them to give privacy to the ones sleeping there. Harry was helping Hermione with one of the newly made screens when screams and panic filled voices were heard downstairs.
Harry and Hermione, followed by Luna and Ron, quickly moved out of the library with their wands at the ready. They ran downstairs into the living room to find Molly, Fleur, Bill and Andromeda trying to calm a screaming and out of control bleeding Ginny. The redhead was screaming and jerking herself in panic, trying to get away from everyone. Harry and Hermione rushed close to her and with Bill and Fleur’s help stopped her from fighting.
Ginny’s face was bleeding from some wounds in her scalp and she was out of breath. Her clothes were torn and her skin was extremely pale. She was gasping for breath, her lips had a large scratch and large bruises were already forming on her arms, making her skin look even paler. Hermione gripped the younger woman by the shoulders and Ginny collapsed. Harry and Bill helped Hermione to put her on the floor. It seemed that moving her to a sofa would have been impossible in her state, Ginny still couldn’t utter words.
‘Ginny, please, tell me what happened.’ Hermione said slowly and Ginny looked at her in horror.
Harry had never seen Ginny like this and he knew something awful had happened to her, his stomach dropped at the realization of Draco or her children were not with her.
‘They attacked -- the house,’ Ginny gasped and Molly and Fleur covered their mouths with their hands, Hermione kept her hands on her friend’s shoulders, wanting to know more. ‘They—they hit the girls, they—hit me—and took—Draco. There was the- Dark- Mark—again!’ Ginny said still gasping, a hard sob shook her and her throat closed for a second leaving her with no air in her lugs as she tried to breath another sob let loose.
Ginny collapsed in Hermione’s arms, crying as hard as anyone had ever seen her until she passed out, leaving the living room in dead silence. Hermione hugged her friend, forgetting all the awkward moments the two women had since Hermione and Harry’s seventh year. Bill and Ron moved her to one of the newly made beds.
Harry could feel terror filling his heart at the thought of who would be next in the series of attacks around him and Hermione…
soooo? what u think of it guys? was it what u expected? things get uglier and uglier as ou can see :)
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