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"Aisling is really struggling with Potions and she won't let me help her." Ardal informed his other siblings and Ron, Harry and Hermione at breakfast the next morning.

"Well, you're not the best teacher." Aoife joked as she was tucking into her sausage.

"Shut up, Aoife!" Ardal ordered, "I don't know what to do. She sits up crying most nights worrying Slughorn is going to put her in detention."

"Slughorn? Detention? She has nothing to worry about." Ron said.

"Try telling Aisling that. She's worried because our dad works here and she thinks that he'll be upset with her if she gets a detention. She's always been a daddy's girl, but he can sometimes be a bit...strict."

"That's an understatement," Aengus mumbled under his breath as he stared down at his empty plate. Hermione looked at Aengus fleetingly and then back at Ardal.

"I could help her." She suggested.

"Would you? That would be great. She only needs a little extra help, she's too scared to ask Slughorn when she doesn't understand something." Ardal said.

"I would love to. The first year is always daunting. Tell her whenever she needs it, I'll be happy to help." She smiled.

"Thanks, Hermione. You're a lifesaver!" Ardal announced, "I need to go to Herbology now."

"You have half an hour," Aoife said, checking her watch.

"Luna said she was going to show me a Colocasia Esculenta."

"Right..." She yawned. "Have fun then." She started talking to Ron about something, ignoring her brother.

"Bye, Ardal. I'll come and see you when I can." Aengus said.

"Yes, I need to hear what's been going on with you." He laughed. He waved to the others as he made his way out of the Great Hall.

"Thanks for helping Aisling, Hermione. That's really nice of you." Aoife said, taking her attention off of Ron.

"If she's not too busy." Ron giggled.

"What does that mean?" Hermione questioned.

"Oh, nothing." He blushed, trying not to laugh and looking at Harry. "Aengus, are you trying out for the Quidditch team tomorrow?"

"Of course I am! Harry?"

"Yeah, I guess I might." He said, looking at Hermione, wanting to know what she thought about it.

"I think it would be great for you to try out, Harry. You used to love Quidditch and everything that came with it." She smiled, hoping he would decide to do something he loved again.

"We'll come and watch you all," Aoife suggested, "I'd love to see how good you are, Ron." She said with a glisten in her eyes, "and Harry too, of course." She added as everyone was smiling down at them.

"Of course..." Aengus repeated. "What's my first lesson?" He asked himself more than anyone else. "I think it's Ancient Runes."

"You do Ancient Runes?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah, I feel like a detective deciphering all those symbols." He joked.

"What subjects do you actually take, Aengus?" Harry asked.

"Ancient Runes, Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Arithmancy and History of Magic."

"Bloody hell, are you another Hermione?" Ron joked, Hermione glared at Ron, wanting to interrogate him further about this but the moment had passed before she could.

"He's not even the cleverest out of us." Aoife moaned, "Ardal is."

"Debatable," Aengus muttered.

"So if you're not the clever one," Ron asked Aoife, "or the sporty one, what does that make you?" He whispered.

Aoife smiled and whispered something in his ear, something which made him blush and giggle. "Are you two....?" A small voice came from behind them, "are you two together?"

"Aisling!" Aoife beamed, "what are you doing here, don't you have a lesson?"

"I could ask you the same thing." She pointed out. "Anyway, it's Dad's lesson."

"That doesn't mean you can be late, young lady!" A tall man towered over the little girl.

"Daddy! I won't be late," she said sweetly, "I was just going, actually." She said before turning around and making her way over to Ravenclaw's table to walk to class with her friends.

"I saw you frolicking with Mr Weasley, Aoife. Please do not to that again." He ordered.

"We were hardly frolicking, dad. Don't be such a drama queen."

"I do not want you to do it again, understand me?" He demanded, "it is demeaning and childish."

"We weren't even doing anything." She moaned before walking off.

"She's telling the truth, sir. We weren't doing anything." Ron said boldly before walking after Aoife.

"Aengus," he turned his attention towards his son, "you will not be trying out for the Quidditch team, you will be keeping an eye on your wayward sister."

"What?! That's not fair. Get Ardal to watch her!" He shouted, standing up from the table.

"Do not talk to me like that!" He bellowed, "do you understand me?"

"I will talk to you how I like if you try and control my life like that!" He answered back.

"Come with me." He ordered.

"Where are we going?"

"Just come with me!" Aengus looked down at Harry and Hermione before walking after his father.

"What do you think that's about?" Harry asked as he watched Aengus and Professor Curran walk out of the Great Hall.

"No idea..." Hermione replied as she thought back to what Aengus had said to her yesterday.

*

"That's it for today. Remember to finish the work for tomorrow." Professor Babbling said to the already distracted class. She wanted to say more to her class but knew she had lost them to the prospect of getting out of the classroom first.

Hermione, who had sat at the front of the room, turned around and looked for Aengus. She saw him, packing up his things slowly, at the back of the room. "Aengus, is everything okay?" She asked as she walked towards him.

"Yeah, why wouldn't it be, Curly?" He said brightly.

She looked at him suspiciously, "just wanted to make sure after what happened at breakfast." She forced a smile, even though she was still worried about him.

"That was just a misunderstanding."

"It didn't look much like a misunderstanding." Hermione's eyes narrowed slightly.

"Everything is alright, we sorted it out."

Hermione didn't believe this, but she also didn't want to pry any further. "Great." She breathed, "I need to meet Harry now, see you later."

*

"Harry? Are you ready?" Hermione asked as she entered the Common Room.

"How was Ancient Runes?" He replied.

"Good thanks. Are you ready?" She repeated.

"Do we have to go now?" He asked.

"Yes, Harry." She said, walking over to the sofa to sit next to him. "You promised me you would go and see her today." He stroked her cheek with his fingers, Hermione closed her eyes. "You promised."

He moved his hand down, pushing her chin up, "you really are beautiful, you know that." He leant towards her, smiling.

She stood up, breaking away from Harry. "You promised." She repeated for the third time. "You promised me that you would talk to Madam Pomfrey today. I'll be there with you, right by your side, that's my promise to you."

"I'm scared." He admitted.

"Scared of what?" Her voice became softer as she sat back down next to him.

"Scared of reliving everything, scared of losing you."

"You will never lose me." She took his hand in both of hers, "I'll always be right here, don't ever worry about losing me. I love you." She kissed him, sealing her promise to him.

Harry composed himself, taking deep breaths before agreeing to leave the comfort of the Common Room. "What do I say to her? What will we talk about?" He spoke quickly and nervously as they walked towards the doors of the hospital wing.

"Whatever you want to say to her," She smiled, "whatever you want to talk about. It's completely up to you." She knocked on the large door, waiting for an invitation to open it. "You can do this." She turned to him.

"I love you." He mouthed, wanting nothing more than to be a thousand miles away from where he currently stood.

"Come in!" A muffled voice from behind the door was heard.

Hermione held onto Harry's hand, entwining her fingers in his, "I love you too." She whispered before opening the door and pulling Harry along with her.

"Miss Granger, Mr Potter, what can I do for you?"

"Madam Pomfrey, Harry needs your help."

"With what?"

"The events that took place last-" Hermione began to explain when Harry cut her off.

"I've been trying to cope with remembering everything that has happened, particularly last year, but the weight of everyone's deaths and scars is lodged on my shoulders. Every time I close my eyes, I'm transported back to the very beginning, every night reliving the same year over and over again. It makes me angry and lose control, sometimes I act like a completely different person."

Madam Pomfrey looked at him sympathetically, knowing exactly what he needed. "You've done the right thing, coming to me. I am not qualified to help you properly, though, however, I have a friend who can help you more than anyone else, she is trained in this sort of thing."

"Okay, when can I see her?" Harry asked.

"As soon as possible, I need to talk to the headmistress first, clear it with her. Once she has agreed, it will be no longer than a day. Until then, find a way that helps you stay in control. Maybe writing down when you feel upset or angry?" She suggested.

"Can you get her here by tomorrow?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, if Professor McGonagall will cooperate, which she will." She added to relax Hermione's worrying mind. "I will go and see her right away, don't worry, Harry. You've done the hardest thing already, reaching out for help."


"Why can't she help me? I'm not that messed up." Harry moaned as they made their way back to the Common Room.

"You're not messed up at all, she just doesn't know what to do, she doesn't want to make things worse for you." Harry stopped walking but kept hold of Hermione's hand so she was forced to stop too. "What are you doing?" She smiled.

"I just wanted to say, you are the most beautiful person alive." He smiled.

"And I just wanted to say, shut up." She laughed. "Come on, I have Arithmancy soon."

"Yeah, in about an hour."

"Oh no, I wonder how we are going to fill that time." She smirked before dragging Harry back to the Common Room.

*

"Miss Granger, you are late." Professor Vector pronounced as Hermione walked into the Arithmancy classroom ten minutes late.

"Sorry." She exhaled as she sat down next to Aengus.

"Must have been preoccupied." Aengus laughed.

"Shut up," Hermione warned through the side of her mouth.

"Ten minutes late, Curly...I would call that slacking." He joked, "but on who's part, I am unaware." At this point, he was shaking with silent laughter.

"Shut up." Hermione couldn't hold the smile off of her face any longer, but she still didn't look at Aengus.

The two of them stopped joking around and started listening to the lesson. After half an hour, they were set a task to complete. Hermione faced Aengus to say something but saw, as his sleeve was askew slightly, a fresh looking bruise. "Get on with your work, Curly. You are already in Vector's bad books." He joked, she couldn't take her eyes off of his arm and couldn't stop herself thinking where on earth he could have received it. "Oi, Curly? What are you looking at?" He followed her gaze and reached her eye's destination. "Why are you staring at my sleeve?" His movement had caused his sleeve to fall back over his wound.

"Aengu-" she tried to speak, but Professor Vector interrupted her with more for them to complete. They were set too much work for Hermione to question Aengus.

"We have run out of time, it would seem." Professor Vector broke the silence, "that's a shame. Hand in your work please."

"That is a shame," Aengus repeated sarcastically. "What lesson do you have now?" He asked Hermione.

"Defence Against the Dark Arts." She told him, not taking her eyes off his arm.

"Shame. I have History of Magic. I could really do with dinner, though." He laughed. "Anyway, I'll see you later."

"Wai-" She called out, but he had already left the room. She wondered out after everyone else, her head in a spin thinking about Harry and the bruise on Aengus's wrist. There must be an explanation for them, a more optimistic explanation than what Hermione was coming up with. She met with Ron and Harry outside the classroom.

"Hey." Harry smiled, kissing her forehead.

"Hi," she replied vacantly.

"Everything okay?" Ron asked her.

"Yeah." She said, snapping herself out of things.

Harry, who was standing behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him. "Are you sure?" He whispered in her ear. She nodded, wanting to know the truth before she spread accusations around.


"Hello everyone. I am Professor Curran and I am your new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. I am aware of the interruptions you have faced with this post, but I can assure you, I will be here for years to come. Not that it matters for you as this is your last year here." He introduced when everyone had settled down. "We will be diving straight back into things." He smiled. "Please, could you turn to page 218. Let's get to work."

"He seems nice," Ron whispered to Harry and Hermione.

"Mr Weasley, do not talk when I am." He shouted.

"Just a shame he hates me already." Ron groaned silently before turning his attention back to the class.


"Well, that was something." Harry declared as the walked towards the Great Hall.

"You can say that again. Ardal was right when he said he was strict. I need to do something to make him like me. What do you suggest?" Ron asked.

"Don't frolic with Aoife in front of him again would be a start." Harry joked.

"We weren't frolicking!" Ron defended. "Can we please hurry up? I'm starving!"

"It hasn't even been that long since lunch." Hermione pointed out.

"I have just been shouted at more than Snape ever shouted out me throughout the whole six years he knew me. I need food."

"He did seem to lose his temper with you." Hermione agreed.

"Not just me, everyone got a piece of him," Ron argued, "he does know his stuff, though, I'll give him that."


"Hey, guys! You had my dad today, what was he like?" Aoife asked as they approached the dinner table.

"He was...intense," Ron said sitting down beside her. "Very passionate about his subject."

"He shouted at you, didn't he?"

"He nearly deafened me, yes," Ron said.

"I'll talk to him." She promised.

Hermione sat down next to Harry on the other side of the table, she looked around them but couldn't see Aengus anywhere. "Where's Aengus?"

"Just coming, dad wanted to talk to him," Aoife explained whilst passing Ron a plate of roast potatoes.

"Why do you need him?" Ron asked, piling potatoes onto his already full plate.

"I missed the beginning of Arithmancy and wanted to know if I missed anything important. "

"You were late? Oh, the tables have turned." Ron joked. Harry smiled, trying not to laugh.

"Not funny," Hermione said, "either of you," She added when she noticed Harry's face.

"Aengus!" Ron called out, "Hermione really wants you."

"What?" He asked, baffled.

"She wants to know if she missed anything important in Arithmancy," Aoife said laughing, "she doesn't really want you."

"No, nothing important." He said as he sat down next to Ron. "I am starving!" He exclaimed, looking around at all the delicious food.

Hermione secretly watched him, noticing him keeping his sleeves tight to his wrist, not giving anything away.

"Mr Potter, I am pleased to tell you that Dr Eliot will be arriving tomorrow to talk to you. She will be here by lunchtime." McGonagall had appeared from behind Ron.

"That's great! Thanks, Professor McGonagall." Hermione beamed.

"Madam Pomfrey wants you to meet her in the hospital wing at about 1 o'clock tomorrow." She nodded sincerely and walked off to the teacher's table.

"That's good news," Hermione exclaimed, "we can go after the Quidditch trials." Harry nodded and smiled at her, before tucking into his food.

"I can't believe I have to prove to my sister that I should be on the team." Ron groaned, "my younger sister!" He emphasised.

"You'll be fine, she'll put you in the team," Aoife stated.

"Harry, Aengus, you're still trying out, aren't you?" He asked rather worryingly, almost like he needed them there for support and morale.

"Yeah," Harry said, not taking his eyes off of his plate of delicious food. Too busy to even form more of a conversation with his best friend. If he was being honest, he was using this food as a distraction, a way of taking his mind off eventually talking to a woman he didn't even know about his personal thoughts and feelings.

"Aengus?" Harry obviously wasn't enough for Ron, he wanted them both there.

"Umm...actually, I've been thinking about it and I'm going to pass. I'm not really very good and I don't want to embarrass myself in front of everyone." Like Harry, Aengus was finding his plate very distracting as he refused to take his eyes off of it.

"Really? I thought you couldn't wait to try out?" Aoife asked her brother, although her tone wasn't a caring one, this gave Hermione a feeling that Aoife knew why he had changed his mind but didn't want to let on that she knew.

"I've thought about it and I don't even know what position I would try out for. I play for fun, nothing else." His gaze had moved, he was now looking at his sister, his eyes telling her to put an end to this particular discussion. Aoife might not bring it up again, but Hermione most certainly would, when the time was right, of course. Her suspicions of something awful happening between Aengus and his father multiplied at the very mention of Aengus changing his opinion on the Quidditch trials, she would not let this one go, not after him always checking up on her.


"Hermione?" Someone called from somewhere, Hermione looked up and saw Ardal, Luna and Aisling walking over to them.

"Hello." She said to all three of them.

"Hey! Could you possibly spare some time, Aisling doesn't understand her potions homework." Ardal asked, holding onto his young sister's hand. Hermione looked at her and smiled, noticing the annoyance and timidness she was experiencing.

"Sure, we'll go to the library."

"I'll come with you, I have work to do too," Harry said. So they both stood up and walked with Ardal, Luna and Aisling to the library. When they arrived, Hermione and Aisling sat at a table together whilst the others sat somewhere else.

"Do you love him?" Aisling asked as soon as they were alone.

"Harry? Yes, I do love him." She smiled and looked over to where he was sat.

"Are you going to get married and have loads of babies?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe in a few years. Shall we get started then?"

So they got to work, despite Ardal stating Aisling was struggling, Hermione could tell that she was a gifted witch. She was struggling, yes, but that's because she was trying work that she wasn't expected to know for several years. This didn't deter either of them, Hermione was enjoying helping someone who actually wanted it.

"I think we'll stop there," Hermione suggested after several hours of continuous work. "It's almost eleven!" She exclaimed.

"Thank you, Hermione. Aengus said you were nice." She said whilst packing up her stuff.

"He did? When?"

"At lunch. You remind him of our mum and Bree." She said innocently, "I'm really tired, thanks again for helping me. Goodnight." She walked off to Ardal and Luna, and before Hermione could ask more, they had walked up to their Common Room.

"Hey, you ready to go?" Harry asked as he walked up to her.

"Yeah-" Hermione replied, not really thinking about what he was saying, who was Bree and what happened to her? Was she the reason Aengus was like he was?

"Are you okay?" Harry asked as they walked to the Common Room.

"I'm fine, just tired." She lied, she was far from tired, the events of the day were whirling around her head. Aengus was hiding more than one thing from all of them.

"Did Aisling say something to you?"

"What? How do you know?" Hermione asked confused.

"Ron told me. Aoife told him that their mum died last year."

"What? That's horrible, was it because of Voldemort?"

"No, she was ill. She had been for years and years. That's the real reason why they didn't go to Hogwarts until now. They wanted to spend as much time as they could with her. Aoife told Ron that Aengus took it the worst and ever since then, he has been completely different. I suspect there's more to it than that, but I don't know what he was like before. But Aoife always says that he is hiding something from her. The two of them used to be so close but some things happened and their relationship faded away."

Hermione had tears in her eyes, she felt terrible for never asking how he was. "They seem close now." She pointed out, keeping her gaze fixed on something ahead of her.

"Yeah, but she says that he feels like a stranger to her now."

"That's so sad."

They had finally reached the Common Room and Harry wanted to go straight to bed. So he kissed Hermione goodnight and left her alone in the empty room. Hermione sat on the sofa and waited for Aengus. He told her that he couldn't sleep, now she knew a reason why. She waited and waited until three in the morning when he finally walked through the portrait. "Curly? What on earth are you doing up at this time?" He yawned as he walked over to sit next to her.

"Waiting for you."

"Why? What do you need from me?"

"I need you to tell me something, why do you always check up on me and not Harry?"

"This again?" He rolled his eyes, unwilling to explain himself to her. "Why do you want to know anyway?"

"Because-because I care! You don't seem to understand that, do you? How is it fair that you get to care about me but I don't get to care about you? You always make me feel better, I want to do the same for you." She said. He didn't say anything so she carried on, "I know about your mum."

"Don't. I don't want to talk about her."

"You don't have to, not if you don't want to," Hermione said calmly and soothingly.

"You don't know anything about me, you don't know what I want." He argued.

"Just like you know nothing about me, yet that doesn't stop you. Aengus, I am truly sorry about what happened to your mum but you're not alone. You have Aoife, Ardal and Aisling, your dad and me, Harry and Ron."

"Don't say I have my dad. You don't know what he's capable of when he wants to get his point across."

Hermione's eyes instantly looked at his arm and her mind imaged he was covered in bruises. "Did he do that?" She said pointing to his wrist. His instantly pulled down his sleeve, wanting to cover up the secret that was now known to her.

"How did you know?" He whispered, tears forming in his eyes.

"I saw it in Arithmancy but I didn't know how to bring it up. Is this the first time?"

Aengus looked at Hermione, his eyes telling her that this had happened before. She didn't say anything else, understanding everything the silence was saying. He took a deep breath and started to take off his jumper, tie, and shirt to reveal bruises and cuts, new and old. His back was a maze of raised scars which had gone white with age. Hermione couldn't help but stare; mouth opened wide. She reached out to touch the scars which inhabited his back, at the slightest of touches, he jumped, only to relax slightly when he knew he wasn't in danger. "They're not all from him." He said, his voice unintentionally quiet, "last year was a bad time for all of us, Aoife got involved with a bad crowd. They pushed her around and made her do things against her will. I'm her brother; I had to try and save her. When I got her out of there, I was right in the middle of it. Dad caught them and since then, he believes that I was involved from the start. He believes that I was the ringleader of the gang Aoife got caught up in. He blames me because I'm her brother and I should protect her but he forgets about Ardal, Ardal can do no wrong in his eyes. To some extent he's right, but I tried my hardest to look out for her. My dad doesn't mean it, I know he's just going through a hard time, being left with four children isn't easy for anyone, I just wish he wouldn't take it out on me." Hermione was still touching his scars, unable to believe anyone was capable of something like that. "Calum, Aoife's ex-boyfriend, did most of these. He was horrible; sometimes I don't think he is human. When I stood up to him, he threatened Bree, my girlfriend; she's gone now. Voldemort made sure of that. That's why I felt drawn to you; you remind me of her, she was kind and caring as you. I couldn't save her, and I guess me trying to fix Harry and you is my way of trying to make up for that. When I look at Aoife and how she's moved on from it all, I feel jealous. She's found someone else, someone nice and safe. What do I have? We both carry the scars from last year; mine just seems to be a lot deeper than hers."

"Aengus, I'm so sorry. I know saying that isn't going to bring her back or reverse time, but I don't know what else to say." Hermione said quietly, removing her fingertips from his scars. He turned back to face her, showing more marks on his chest and stomach. He looked down and quickly put on his jumper to hide his history again. "Don't be ashamed of them, they're your war marks. A reminder of you getting through it all." Hermione smiled weakly, knowing that it wouldn't change his opinion of them.

"An agonising reminder of what Aoife might have gone through."

Hermione reached for his knee and squeezed it slightly, "you saved her." She whispered with a crack in her voice and tears in her eyes. "You're a hero." She looked directly into his eyes, the vivid green had been replaced with a dull one, the shine still there, but unlike before, a result of tears.

"What about Bree? I failed her. We were together for four years. I know we were young but I know it was love." Hermione thought about her and Harry, she was young when she fell in love with him, she just didn't know that it was love then. "The way you look at Harry is the same as how she looked at me. She looked at me like that 'til the day she died, I will never forget it. I know she would want me to move on, but I can't face it."

Hermione's heart ached for him, he was tearing himself apart and whatever she said wouldn't hold him together for long, "you deserve love, Aengus. Bree wouldn't want you feeling sad all the time. I know it's hard, I can't even imagine what life without Harry would be like, but you will find her. You will find the girl for you, I promise you. Don't forget her, you don't have to do that, bring her with you. Take her on your journey, she'll still be there, just in a different way from what you anticipated."

A single tear rolled down Hermione's face, escaping from the rest, and Aengus reached out and wiped it away gently. "Keep Harry close, Curly. You just don't know when he'll be taken from you." He said before standing off and walking up the stairs to bed.

Hermione looked into the fire and cried, she let out everything she was feeling. All the pain and upset from Harry and from what she had just learnt.

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