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Chapter 10- A Library’s Treasure

Harry sat in the café down the street. He and Hermione were still in Italy for the time being. She had wanted to stay for a few extra days with the family she loved so dearly. As much as Antonia pretended that she wasn’t happy with the decision, Harry could tell the woman was secretly relieved by Hermione’s presence. It would after all, Harry knew, be Hermione’s last time seeing them until this whole thing blew over.

Quickly he pulled out the box with the beetles and unclasped the lid. It popped open and the two little beetles scurried onto the table towards Harry’s awaiting gelato cup, pistachio this time.

Harry had found rather quickly that the beetles absolutely loved gelato. Also, they preferred to bathe in extra virgin olive oil claiming that it made the exoskeleton shinier and more durable. So as of late, Harry had been making morning and evening trips to the gelato place and leaving out a cup of oil each night to satisfy the two little beetles that were beginning to adore him.

The beetles took their time enjoying the gelato as Harry lay back against his chair watching Italians pass by on their way to work. Off in the distance he saw a wisp of brown, curly hair. Hermione was ambling down the hill to the café.

“Sorry to cut this short, boys, but Hermione’s on her way.” Without even the slightest hesitation the beetles jumped from their cup and hurried up his arms. Harry shivered as they lodged themselves into his ears. Oddly, he had still not gotten used to the sensation.

“You have quite a sweet tooth every morning,” said Hermione smiling as she approached. Harry nodded stuffing the beetle’s box in his pocket.

“Well it’s rare you get an authentic gelateria in walking distance.” Hermione chuckled as she leaned in to give Harry a good morning kiss on the cheek.

“What kind is it? Mind if I try some?” asked Hermione eyeing the cup as she sat down in the chair opposite Harry.

“Pistachio… and it’s terrible.” Quickly Harry threw the nearly full cup away in the closest trash. Regardless of the beetles’ nightly bath, he did not want Hermione eating something that they’d touched.

“Ahhh! My friend, issa full! How could you?!” Harry heard the beetles cry in his ear. He bit his tongue to keep from laughing.

Hermione too looked a little disappointed at the lost gelato cup, but quickly moved past it. “That bad, eh?” She said quirking an eyebrow.

“Yeah… So what brings you up and about?”

Hermione had for the most part been helping around the villa. As Luca and Gio had needed to leave for their jobs in Rome, Hermione had stayed with Antonia to answer the many posts, flowers, and notices in the wake of the Minister’s death. Harry also knew that despite how brave Hermione was, she also was not naïve enough to think that her presence in Italy was not being watched. She had kept to the villa for safety.

“Well I figured I should get out at least once. Plus there’s something I’d like to show you. It’s a ways away if you don’t mind.” Harry’s face seemed to show his intrigue because Hermione laughed quietly. “Come on… I’ll talk on the way there and explain.”

Together they stood up. Harry offered her his arm which Hermione took with a small smile before starting in the opposite direction of the villa. As they walked down the cobbled street, they made quite a pair. Even though neither of them noticed they successfully got a number of winks and bright smiles from the few Italians that passed them by.

“So…” Hermione began unsure of how to proceed.

“So,” replied Harry.

“Well I wanted to tell you about-”

“I’m going to interrupt you right there and let you know I already know.” Hermione’s confusion and furrowed eyebrows caused him to momentarily smirk despite the subject they were about to broach. “I know about the trial and Aldo and why Cesare was killed.”

“Oh… how?”

“I heard about it through the Ministry,” replied Harry honestly. Hermione nodded with comprehension. They continued down the road in a friendly sort of silence before Harry broke it. “How did you meet Cesare in the first place?”

Hermione’s eyes squinted happily at the memory.

“It’s a great story actually… I was called to Italy to defend a pure blood Italian-”

“Why’d they call you all the way from England?”

“Because I’m that good,” answered Hermione surely. Harry was taken aback for a second at how quickly the reply came. Hermione caught his astonishment at her comment and laughed. “What? You don’t agree?”

“No, I would never argue against your abilities… I just never thought you were so cocky,” said Harry in amazement. He eyed the girl next to him and suddenly realized that his best friend was no longer an unsure bookworm always trying to prove herself, but instead had blossomed into a confident and capable woman.

“Who would’ve thought, right? Hermione Granger conceited!”

“Well it’s not without merit,” shrugged Harry. “You’ve always been brilliant… I guess it’s just surprising that you finally figured it out after all these years.”

“Took me long enough, eh?”

“Yeah it really did,” smirked Harry as they strolled. “Anyway you were saying…”

“Yes, right… Well, I originally came here with Jean to meet the client for the first time. I was supposed to parley with a number of officials, including Cesare. When I got here, I found out there was a protest about the inhumane treatment of house elves going on-”

Harry chortled. “Of course there was…”

“Oh shut it! It was imperative that I join the protest!”

“Imperative?” questioned Harry with a sarcastic look.

“Yes,” replied Hermione with a scowl at his expression. “They were going to test house elf magic… which granted is a very interesting subject and it is fairly unknown how their magic works, but the methods they were going to use to study them were absolutely absurd. I couldn’t let it happen-”

“I’m sure.”

“So,” continued Hermione ignoring Harry’s statement. “I was protesting outside of the Ministry in Rome when Cesare walks by. He sees me and he says in Italian something along the lines of, ‘Little English girls need to go home to their families and pay more attention to their own country than attempt to intervene with Italian issues that are above their knowledge.’ Of course Cesare had no idea that I was fluent in Italian, so I said back to him, ‘If the Italian Minister paid more attention to the social injustices of his country then this English WOMAN wouldn’t have to be here.’”

Harry laughed, “You really said that?” Hermione nodded brightly. “What happened next?”

“Well obviously he was completely flabbergasted that I had said that, so he just stood there sort of dumbfounded. Cesare was a pretty good French speaker too. So then in French I said to him, ‘Would you prefer French if the Minister has trouble hearing me in Italian?’ Then right at that moment… with complete perfect timing… Jean came up and introduced me as the lead counselor for that case which Cesare was interested on. Jean also added how I had a habit of joining house elf protests during my travels.”

“Ha… What did Cesare do?”

“He invited me and Jean over for dinner. I recounted the story to Antonia and the boys. They pretty much fell in love with me after that. And I with them. That was my first trip to Italy. Ever since then, every time I’ve visited I’ve stayed at the Tattori villa.”

Hermione looked down at her feet in thought as her memory surged through all of the times she had spent in this town. Most of them happy and yet her current stay was marked by sadness. Hermione’s face turned sober thinking of her friend and mentor beneath the ground just a few streets away.

“You love the Tattoris, don’t you?” stated Harry reading her emotions.

She smiled sadly. “Yes.” She looked up at Harry and met his eyes which were filled with sympathy. “Antonia and Cesare always said that I would have been a Tattori had I been born a pure blood and I can’t help but agree.”

“Don’t let Molly or Arthur hear you say that,” cautioned Harry.

“I love the Weasleys, but the Tattoris… oh, Harry I wish you could’ve been here when we just sat out on the back patio and drank wine underneath the stars. We’d debate about everything and they talk about issues with such passion… it-it’s… I just can’t even describe it… It’s fantastic.”

“And the Weasleys don’t debate?”

“Not like the Tattoris… George brings up some new project for the Joke shop or Arthur talks about the microwave he’s magicked to fly.” Harry nodded in understanding knowing full well what went on during one of the Weasley family dinners. “Antonia, Cesare, Luca, and Gio… they just care about things that I do. It’s refreshing.”

“Oh and Ron and I don’t care about the things you do?” snorted Harry pretending to be offended.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that… Of course you both do. It’s just-just different, I suppose,” tried Hermione.

“I was just teasing,” replied Harry quickly.

“Oh… right.” Hermione gazed down at her feet once again lost in thought. He looked over at his friend and realized that this place, this town that they were walking through was her favorite destination for her travels. And most of all he knew it had a lot to do with the family that resided within its walls.

“I can see why you love coming here, Hermione,” murmured Harry quietly nudging her ever so slightly.

“Well I’m glad you came, Harry.”

Hermione’s brown eyes caught his. For just a moment he was taken by the honest sincerity in her light chocolate orbs and he couldn’t turn away. Neither could she for a second there.

Breaking their eye contact and the moment they’d been stuck in, Hermione sighed, “I tried to get Ron to come here a few times… He never came.”

“Why not?” asked Harry in an attempt to move the conversation forward.

“I don’t know… I suppose it has to do with my first trip. That first trip here, Jean asked me on a date.”

“A date?” choked Harry a little put off at the idea.

“Yes… I had no idea it was a date,” admitted Hermione as she rubbed the bridge of her nose with her free hand. “We went out to dinner at one of the best restaurants in town. It wasn’t until halfway through the first course that Jean told me he wanted it to be a romantic thing.”

“What did you say?”

“Well I had spent the entire time talking about Ron… and you! You’d think he would’ve taken a hint or figured it out! I had to tell him that I was already in a relationship. He took the news surprisingly well and wasn’t too upset by it.”

“Did you tell Ron?” inquired Harry a little scared.

Hermione’s face scrunched as if in pain and she nodded positively.

“Ahh… I bet he didn’t take that too well,” grimaced Harry knowing how bad Ron’s jealousy could sometimes run having experienced the result of it first hand during fourth year.

“Nope. Not at all… That’s right about the time he started saying I.F.E. was a little iffy,” stated Hermione rolling her eyes.

“In his defense you really are quite terrible with acronyms… You’d think you’d learn after the whole spew scenario,” quipped Harry.

“You’d think you and Ron would’ve learned by now to stop teasing me about it so that you wouldn’t have to incur my wrath,” she said with a sharp slap to his shoulder. Harry grabbed his shoulder in shock and pretended to be terribly wounded. “Oh quit it! I barely even hit you!”

Harry straightened himself, his charade now over. “Yeah… I’ve heard that your truly angered slaps hurt quite a bit,” jeered Harry cheekily.

“You’re never going to let me live that one down are you?” Harry simply shook his head with a subtle smirk while Hermione just glared at him.

As they approached another street, Hermione steered them right around a corner. They walked a bit in silence. Harry could tell her mind was racing with some thought and he found himself desperate to know what it was. Nudging her slightly, she looked over at him and registered his expectant features.

“After I told Ron about the date it never was the same…”

“Didn’t you start working more after that though?”

“Yes,” conceded Hermione before continuing quietly, “It-it just never was the same though. Whenever I traveled with Jean, Ron would get pissed off… Once I came back from a weekend trip with Jean and I was back no more than an hour before I got an owl from Jean asking me to join him in Paris to meet the Chief French Warlock- I’d been trying to meet him for weeks. Ron lost it…” Hermione trailed off.

Harry was silent simply waiting for her to continue the story that he knew she needed to tell.

“He never asked me to stay… He just screamed at me. So I left. I worked my tail off though. I met with the French Warlock and whole strew of others. I took notes, cross referenced old legislation, got them to repeal a giant’s hearing. I came back two days early. I felt so bad for leaving things the way we did so I came home… and Ron was gone. He and George went to visit Charlie in Romania… He didn’t even leave me a note. I came back to an empty flat and had to floo Molly.”

Hermione’s eyes stared far off into the distance. “All I ever wanted was for him to ask me to stay… and he never could do it. He could only yell.” With a sad smile, Hermione shook her head trying to ward off her negative thoughts.

Harry ever so gently took her hand in his and gave it a small squeeze. As he gazed down at her reading every emotion that flew across her face, he knew she was still dealing with the loss of Ron. She had come to Italy to mourn more than one thing.

With a long exhale, Hermione realized that she had put a damper on their pleasant walk.

“So… we’re nearly there. It’s just up ahead.” She pointed towards an older building that seemed to match all the surrounding others. From the outside there appeared to be nothing special about it, but Harry knew that when it came to Hermione there was always something better on the inside.

As they approached still hand in hand, Harry looked up to see some writing in Italian engraved above the door marking the building. Even without the beetles in his ear crying, ‘Issa de library, my friend!’ he knew what it was. It wasn’t that hard to decipher library from biblioteca.

Harry turned to Hermione with raised eyebrows. “A library?... You wanted to show me a library?”

Hermione just laughed. “I want you to meet someone inside the library.”

“Oh… right. I should’ve figured that.”

Ignoring his sarcasm, Hermione simply tugged his hand behind her as she opened the door.


“So have you decided on whether you are going to commit to the contract or not?” asked Todd.

Ginny was sitting across from him at a table in the Leaky Cauldron. They had met for a follow up lunch to talk things over.

“I still… I don’t know, Todd. A part of me really wants to go-”

“But?” asked Todd tilting his head inquisitively.

“But I have a lot going on for me here. I just don’t know if I can pick up and leave everything at the drop of a sickle,” worried Ginny as she toyed with the sandwich on her plate. Ginny had been running the idea through her head and yet she still could not come up with an answer. Ron’s warning had shaken her to the core. She feared that by doing this she would lose Harry. A year was a long time to wait and she knew just how impatient her boyfriend could be.

And yet another part of her was crying out that she had waited for him for nearly six years! Couldn’t he wait just one year? And as much as she loved Harry, she wanted so desperately to live, to have fun, to act her age. Whenever she was around him, she could literally smell the constant possibility of a marriage proposal. Harry’s hopes- along with pretty much everyone else’s- hung over her every second she stayed in England. She loved him, but for Merlin’s sake did everyone honestly expect her to just get married and immediately start popping out children?! She was only twenty one and all of England was in shock that she wasn’t married with at least one on the way!

She felt like her life was suffocating her. And as sad as it made her, she knew a part of that was Harry. How could he just expect her to just settle down like that? She wanted adventure and care free fun without worrying about making serious commitments like marriage or children.

“Ginny, it’s obvious that you are on the fence about this… and I don’t know how to convince you,” sighed Todd. “Spring training starts April 1st. It’s nearly the end of February. You’re gonna want to give yourself time to find a place in LA and get situated. You have to make this decision soon…”

“I know…” replied Ginny solemnly.

“Look, Ginny, can I give you my best advice?” Ginny nodded. “I say come to LA. And it’s not because I want you on the team or anything… As surprising as it is we, Americans, have heard about the Weasley family. And let me tell you what… if I were you, I’d go. Your brothers all seem like they’ve done a lot of great things. Your dad’s the Minister of Magic for crying out loud. Your boyfriend- obviously- has pretty much saved the wizarding world. I say go because I think you should get out of here. You should try being on your own for once. It might do you good,” finished Todd with a shrug.

Ginny’s mouth twitched into a small smile at Todd’s careful examination of her life and her place in the wizarding world. As much as she hated to admit it she knew he was right. She just did not want to have to tell Harry. By saying that she was going, she’d be admitting that she didn’t want what Harry wanted and she’d been avoiding that conversation for nearly a year now… ever since Harry asked her to first move in actually.

“You said Harry was out of town right?”

“Yeah… at least for a couple more days.”

“Well how about you talk to him when he gets back and see what he says. Then decide. Let me know… say by Wednesday?”

“Ok… that sounds like a good idea.”

“In the mean time, I drew up a contract for you. Read it over and let me know if there’s anything wrong with it or anything you wish to add,” said Todd handing over a small stack of clipped papers.

Ginny took it without question. She was going to have to have Hermione take a look at it to make sure everything was acceptable.

Pulling out a few galleons, Todd paid for their meal and then bid Ginny good day before exiting the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny sat at the table for a while longer. Slowly she put her head in hands as she rubbed her eyes. She knew that all of her indecisiveness was really not because she hadn’t made a decision. Her choice had been made pretty much by the end of that first meeting with Todd. The only reason for her hesitant back and forth with Todd was due to her fear of telling a certain raven haired boy.

Ginny wiped away at her eyes and finally stood. Resolved, she would talk to Harry when he got back from Italy.


Hermione led Harry into the reception area of the library where a lone witch stood sorting through various books. The floor was made of marble and his shoes clapped along it with each step. The hall was lined with giant pillars that stretched all the way to the ceiling which was a masterpiece in itself as there was a huge enchanted mural of what appeared to be the Roman Gods. Harry looked off to the right and left of the check out desk. Both ways gave entrance to a certain part of the library and were marked by signs.

Harry felt that familiar pleasant buzz in his ears as the clerk greeted Hermione.

Good morning, Miss Granger! It’s so lovely to see you here once again. He’s missed you dearly since your last visit. It’s been so long!

Yes, yes. I know. I really should find more time to come see him. Where is he?” asked Hermione with a bright smile. Harry just watched the exchange with odd fascination. Those beetles were truly amazing.

He was putting away books in the Biography section last time I saw.

Thank you! It was wonderful seeing you, Madam Lucchesi,” said Hermione waving a small bit before making her way to the right. Harry followed close behind in wonder. This building did not seem big enough on the outside for it to be a library on the inside.

Hermione made her way around the corner which opened into a gigantic room filled with rows and rows of the tallest stacks Harry had ever seen.

“You may want to keep a watchful eye… sometimes the stacks like to change position if they’re bored. Happens quite often actually,” called Hermione over her shoulder as she navigated her way towards the rear of the open hall. Immediately Harry began surveying the stacks hoping to catch one of them in their ‘boredom’. Suddenly off to his left, he saw one stack flip around faster than the speed of light. As big as the stack was, he felt surprised that it had hardly made any noise at all.

“I bet it takes a long time to put away books here,” muttered Harry. He couldn’t imagine how long it’d take to simply return a book to its correct section if these stacks were constantly changing position all the time.

Hermione turned one last corner and stopped.

Harry peeked around her and saw a tiny, wrinkled house elf in what appeared to be a miniature tweed suit. The elf had a book floating above him that he levitated all the way up to the top shelf. Harry watched as the books in the shelf scooted aside to make room for their new neighbor. With a flick of his small hand, the book zoomed into its correct place and snuggled in getting comfortable.

“Hmm-mmm.” Hermione cleared her throat.

The elf turned around and squeaked happily. Harry felt the beetles in his ears buzz rapidly as the elf ran towards Hermione. “Miss Hermione! Aldo had no idea! Aldo is very pleased Miss that you have visited!! Very pleased indeed!” With great enthusiasm Aldo jumped into Hermione’s open arms giving her a massive hug.

It’s lovely seeing you too, Aldo. I’ve missed you!” Hermione hugged Aldo affectionately before breaking away. “Aldo, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.” Moving aside, Hermione revealed who was standing behind her.

“Hello,” said Harry with an awkward wave.

Aldo wasted no time. He squeaked again and launched himself at Harry who faltered and had to take a step back to regain his balance.

Miss you brought your Harry to see Aldo! Aldo has wanted to meet the great hero and the great friend of the wonderful Miss Hermione for a very long time!” Aldo peeled himself off of Harry and took in his full appearance. “Mister Potter, Aldo is my name. Aldo works here at the library since your Hermione helped Aldo get a position!!” Aldo looked expectantly at Harry hoping he would introduce himself.

Aldo, remember Harry only speaks English. He doesn’t know what you’re saying.” Hermione laughed as Aldo’s face washed over with realization.

Aldo was worried that Miss Hermione’s Harry was mute!” Quickly, Aldo switched his footing like he was preparing to do the biggest physical task he’d ever been commissioned to do. With great effort, he looked up at Harry. “Hello. My name is Aldo,” the elf sounded out every word making sure to annunciate each syllable.

“Harry, Aldo here has been learning English ever since I told him you were coming. He’s wanted to meet you,” explained Hermione.

“I’m very pleased to meet you Aldo,” said Harry as he offered his hand. Aldo looked at the wizard’s hand curiously before pulling out a handkerchief from his inside jacket and wiping Harry’s hand clean. Once finished, Aldo stuffed the cloth back into his jacket and seemed satisfied.

“Aldo, Harry was trying to give you a handshake.” Aldo slapped a hand to his face.

Ay-ay… My Merlin! Aldo forgets! Miss must explain again and again!” With great effort again, Aldo switched to English. “Please excuse me, Mister Potter. I forget. Miss Hermione told me what you will do and I forget. Here, we will shake.” Aldo took Harry’s hand in both of his and shook it as if he were shaking a bunch of marbles.

Harry looked from Aldo up at Hermione’s beaming face. He couldn’t help the smile that was returned.

They spent about twenty minutes talking to Aldo in the massive library before they had to leave for lunch back at the villa. Aldo gave Hermione a small sack full of books that he thought she might like to read. Thanking him and shrinking the sack, Hermione promised to come by one last time before they left. Harry promised too much to the elf’s delight.

As they exited the library and entered the cool air outside, Hermione once again snaked her arm around Harry’s for their walk back home.

“So what did you think?”

“Of Aldo?”

“No the library… yes of course Aldo.”

Harry gave one of his signature lopsided grins before shrugging. “I liked him… His English is perfect. He doesn’t even speak like a house elf.”

“I wish you could hear him in Italian… it’s always ‘Aldo does this… Aldo thinks that Miss should say this.’ And he speaks so fast that I can hardly keep up with him. It’s ironic that his English is so slow and calculated. You’d never guess by his Italian.” Harry nodded knowingly.

They rounded the corner and walked leisurely on their return home to the villa.

“It was Cesare’s idea for Aldo to work at the library,” stated Hermione.

“Do they pay him?” asked Harry curiously.

“No. Aldo would never accept it. He says he ‘works’ there but really he just does what he can to help out. The place is the better for it though,” told Hermione before adding, “He did let Cesare buy him two suits for his new job.”

“I noticed,” said Harry with a nod. “So how did Cesare think of the library?”

“Well he’s had house elves work at the library before. This is actually the main reason why I fell in love with the Tattoris: they have numerous house elves.”

“Numerous? As in they have more than one?” Hermione nodded. “Why would you ever need more than one house elf?”

“The Tattoris allow their house elves to mate,” explained Hermione, her voice laced with a weight and a gravity that Harry did not understand. Harry’s expression showed how confused he was by the implication behind her statement. “You see it’s actually very rare that a family allows their servant to mate. It’s purely done in a procreation kind of way. There’s no regard towards intimacy between the two elves. A lot of times it’s ordered and the two families will arrange a marriage or suitable pairing based on which family owns the elf. The Tattoris were the first family that I have ever seen allow their house elves to choose a mate and then encourage them to breed at will.”

Harry nodded, finally understanding the severity of a house elf’s servitude towards their master. He never before had thought about them finding a mate or how they made little house elf babies.

“The Tattoris are firm believers in love,” Harry recalled her and Antonia’s last conversation and nodded. “Even house elf love is important to them. Currently the Tattoris own eight elves, but they’ve given many away to other fair and respectable families who need them. They’ve also let them find work elsewhere if the elf has wished, so some of the local establishments employ Tattori elves.”

“So Cesare knew about the library and had Aldo go there,” finished Harry connecting two and two. Hermione nodded affirmatively.

The two walked peacefully as the air slowly began to warm. The morning chill had left for the day with the sun sitting high at noon. As they walked a light breeze swept through the street. Harry draped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him as she wrapped hers around his waist.

Leaning over he placed a small kiss into her temple and then whispered, “Yeah you would’ve definitely been a Tattori.”


Author's Note: Hello everyone! I just want to let you guys know that I am writing away. I am three chapters ahead of this one. With the summer holiday for the website and the time it takes for validation these chapters are being posted as quick as possible. The story is really about to pick up. Let me know what you guys think. As always I love your input and reviews! Thank you for reading!!

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