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Aengus had to think fast, he didn't want to break Harry and Hermione up and he definitely didn't want to lose the friendship of either of them. He scuttled over to the table where they were all sat and although he felt very timid, his voice was loud and strong, "Harry, when I told Ardal I wanted to marry Hermione, it wasn't serious. He gave me options and Hermione was the one I would say I would marry hypothetically."

"What are you talking about, Aengus? You told Ardal what-?" He was bemused, in fact, he was so confused he thought he had quickly fallen asleep and was dreaming.

"Didn't Aisling tell you?" He stuttered, looking even more horrified than before.

"Tell me what? I thought we were talking about Ardal. Honestly, Aengus, I have no idea what you're talking about."

"No idea," he repeated under his breath. "So Aisling hasn't told you anything I said to Ardal, as a joke?" He asked.

"No, we've been talking about Potions," he confirmed.

"Right, okay. Good. Well, don't listen to what she says, if she says anything to you."

"Oi, I don't lie, Aengus. I tell everyone the truth." She moaned.

"Just take everything she says with a pinch of salt." He empathised. He began to walk off, but Hermione appeared in front of him before he was out the door.

"So it is true," she said quietly, "Aengus, I'm flattered, but we would never work. I'm sorry."

"I know that, I know it will never happen, I just had to pick someone," he said, still trying to convince everyone that it was a joke.

"Don't lie to me," she whispered, "I can see right through it. I'm sorry if anything I've done has led you to imagine things, but we're friends and that's all we can be." She said carefully, she saw the heartbreak in his eyes.

"Please, believe me, I am never going to act on my feelings, I respect our friendship and I respect Harry. I just had to tell someone what I've been feeling, but that doesn't have to change anything." He pleaded.

"Yes it does, I don't know what I did to spark these feelings, but I can't be around you knowing how you feel. It's not fair on Harry and it's definitely not fair on you."

"Curly, you don't have to think like that, pretend like you don't know. We've been fine up until now." He was retreating into himself right in front of her. It was like he was a little boy being told he couldn't have the sweets that he wanted.

"I'm sorry," her eyes were dim but had determination flooding them. "It's not fair for me to put you through this. I think we should keep our distance for the time being."

"What about what you said about always being there for me? I thought that you cared about me and wanted to be there for me? Now you're telling me to keep my distance." His voice was quiet but angry and hurt.

"Don't do this to me, Aengus. How can you expect me to remain the same when you tell me something like this?" She said through gritted teeth, looking behind her to make sure no one, especially Harry, was listening.

"You didn't know several minutes ago, nothing has changed since then except for now you know. They're just feelings which are only serious if I act on them." He protested, not wanting to lose someone else he cared about.

"What if this was flipped and you were with someone else? Would you want me to still be your friend?"

"I guess that's where we're different then, Hermione. I trust you and would trust that you wouldn't act on them." These words hurt, they struck a cord in both her heart and soul.

"Hermione?" she stuttered, finding it weird hearing him call her by her name.

"What? I thought we were distancing ourselves? Can't have stupid nicknames for you now." He said coldly, "you know, you were the last person I thought would overreact over something like this. After everything I told you, about Bree, Calum and my dad, this has reinforced my belief to not trust anyone. Thanks for that." He said calmly, not allowing any emotion to spill out of him. His usual sparkle had been replaced by indifference.

"I'm sorry..." her voice was quiet, like it had become lost in everything that had just happened. This didn't crack Aengus' new demeanour, it didn't even weaver when a tear fell from her eye. He opened his mouth to say his final goodbye but felt the silence did a much better job than anything he could come up with. He walked off, ignoring his sister's questions at why he was leaving her.

"Hermione, where has Aengus gone?" Aisling asked sweetly when Hermione walked back to join them.

"I'm not sure, he didn't say." She coughed, trying to hide the sorrow in her voice.

"He was acting really weirdly. Is he okay?" Harry asked, Hermione looked at him and thought that it was time he was told everything that was going on, she couldn't keep it from him anymore. She didn't say anything, but he knew. "Aisling, do you think we've done enough for today? I know we haven't covered much, but you seem confident to me. Much better than me when I was your age." He laughed, her face broke into ecstasy, never had she thought she would ever be better than Harry Potter.

"You mean that?" She asked, not being able to keep the smile off her face.

"Of course I do. You're giving Hermione a run for her money." He grinned, loving so much how something so simple as this made her so happy. She hugged him, a proper Mrs Weasley style hug.

"Thank you." She sang before skipping off to find someone to tell.

"Not here," Hermione commanded as Harry turned to face her. So they went to the place they always went at times like this. They went to the Room of Requirement. As soon as Harry had shut the door behind them, Hermione launched into the true story of the Currans.

He listened and she talked for well over an hour, but when her voice became hoarse due to its dryness, she surrendered. Harry didn't say anything, he didn't know what to say. No words of his would be able to convey how he was feeling. It was so much to take in, he kept running it in his head. "Why did you tell me all this?" He finally said when it seemed like the two of them would never speak again.

"I felt you deserved to know." Was the plain and simple answer. This didn't help Harry, though. Of course that would be a reason for the stories, he knew that it's not as though she would tell him something he didn't deserve to know. "I felt it was unfair on you to be in the dark about everything," she added, he disagreed with this statement. He much preferred the dark to this new information. "I couldn't cope with it anymore." Was her final admission, she had definitely saved the best to last.

He couldn't be angry or upset at her for not being able to deal with everything she had found out. After all, they were a couple and couples tend to share things. "Does Ron know?" He quizzed about Aoife's tale. Hermione lifted her shoulders and dropped them, signalling something she didn't know. "Does Aoife and Ardal know?" He was on to Aengus' life now, she nodded. "What do you think of him?" Hermione wasn't sure who the subject of the question was.

"Professor Curran?" She asked, it was Harry's turn to do some nodding. "I thought he was a good teacher and I thought he was a good father. One of those statements has changed slightly, he still is a good teacher, but I can't look past the marks now." This was one of those situations where Hermione said exactly what Harry was thinking.

"How could a family go through so much tragedy and still not be there for one another?" Harry whispered, not wanting it to be the start of a new discussion. Hermione stayed silent, as though she understood his hushed voice wanted to stay just that.

"Please don't let this bring you down, you're doing so well. I just wanted to tell someone and I needed that someone to be you."

Harry nodded in appreciation; he was glad that she felt like she could confide in him again, just like before the war where they used to sit in the firelight and share stories. "What are we going to do about all of this?"

"I don't know. We can't do much about it, it needs to come from Aengus."

"So we shouldn't even tell someone what he's doing? What if he hurts other people?" He questioned.

"Maybe. I don't know" She repeated, "I doubt he'll hurt anyone else, he hasn't Aoife, Ardal or Aisling." She argued, "maybe, now they know, they'll sort it out together." She contemplated.

They both knew this was wishful thinking. It would be impossibly hard to speak against their own father, the only parent they have left. "I can understand why Aengus wanted to keep it to himself," Harry stated. "He didn't want them to lose another parent."

"But that doesn't excuse it. I know it's horrific for them all, but it doesn't change anything." She empathised. "He won't listen to my advice now anyway."

"Hermione, you know I trust you with my life, right?" He said, taking hold of her hands. "I trust you with Aengus. You're the only one who he wants to talk to about these things." She knew this was true, but she didn't know how she felt about being around Aengus now she knew how he felt. "Like he said, the only thing that has changed is the fact you know."

"You honestly wouldn't mind?" She asked.

"I've suspected it since I came back from St.Mungo's," he confirmed, "I don't mind because I know you well enough to know you would never do anything to hurt me."

She leaned in to kiss him, using his lips to form the words hers couldn't form on their own.


Despite Harry saying that Hermione should speak to Aengus and get him to talk about his dad, she didn't. She couldn't bring herself to find where he was, in case she saw something horrific. He hadn't been around since the day they all returned to Hogwarts. He had been going to classes, but he hadn't been sitting with anyone he knew. He remained silent even when Aoife or Ardal wanted to figure out what to do. He wasn't around long enough in one place to be noticed by anyone who cared.

"Hermione, you used to be really close with him. Can't you talk to him? I'm sure he'll listen to you." Ardal asked at dinner several weeks later.

"We had an argument when we got back to Hogwarts. I haven't heard him since." Hermione explained, "I wish he would just stop hiding. He knows that we all care about him and want the best for him."

"That's Aengus for you," Aoife said, "when our mum died, we didn't hear him for months. We saw him, but he refused to open his mouth." Ron wrapped his arm around her shoulders as he knew how tough it was for her to mention the word 'mum'.

"It's almost as though he has something to say, but he's been sworn to secrecy." Ardal complains.

This rested in Hermione's mind, the last thing he said to her. That linked in with what Ardal was saying. "Ardal, did Aengus confide in your mum?" She asked softly.

"Yeah, well I think so. He would tell her things, but towards the end, she was too weak to do anything about it." Aoife answered. Ardal had gone pale at the second mention of their mum. "Before our grandma died, he would always talk to her."

"When did your grandma die?" Ron asked sympathetically, doing Hermione's job for her.

"A while ago now. We were nine. Admittedly, he didn't have deep secrets then, but he was very close to her." Aoife sighed, "it seems like everyone he's close to leaves him when he's most vulnerable. Even we did when mum died." She said, staring at Ardal who had stopped joining in with the discussion. Hermione knew Aoife didn't mean her, she didn't know that Hermione found out about the bruises ages ago. But it still hit her hard, like a huge punch in the stomach. It took the breath out of her and the guilt bubbled up. She had done just that, she didn't intend to hurt anyone. She thought it was the right thing to do, distance themselves and the feelings would subside. She knew deep down that it probably wasn't love he was feeling, he was mourning his mum and mourning Bree. But she didn't feel the same way so she didn't know how to cope. Just as Hermione was about to open her mouth, she heard screams and gasps reverberating around the room, it was just like last year when Voldemort got into people's heads. Out of habit, she wrapped her fingers around her wand. "What has he done?" Aoife screamed out before running over to a battered Aengus. Ron, Harry, Hermione and Ardal all followed suit.

"Don't make a fuss. It looks much worse than it is." He said in a monotone when Aoife had grabbed his arm.

"Was this...him?" She stuttered, not allowing herself to actually imagine it.

"It doesn't matter who it was."

"Aengus, what happened to you?" Ardal cried when he had reached him, Harry and Ron right behind him.

"I just want to get some pumpkin juice and leave. I didn't come here to answer pointless, mundane questions."

"Pointless and mundane? Don't you even care about how we feel about this? I looked up to him, Aengus. I admired him." Aoife whispered through gritted teeth. "I loved him."

"With all due respect, Aoife, this is happening to me not you. I don't need you to feel sorry for me, and I certainly don't see how you can expect me to care about how you feel. I didn't tell you because I cared about you two, but you went straight to him and spurted about how you know all about what he had done. You caused this." He said cruelly, not waiting to see what the effect on them would be. Aoife tried to say something, but her mouth failed her. She wanted to scream at him, believing that screaming would get the point across.

"Aoife, you know what you have to do. Go to McGonagall. She deserves to know what one of her teachers are doing." Ron said sympathetically, he was staring right into her eyes, knowing that now wasn't the time to find something interesting on the floor.

"You honestly think that that will help, Ron? Look what my dad did when we found out, what would he do if everyone knew?" Aoife said, trying to hold her pain in.

"You know it's the only way for Aengus to be safe." Harry agreed.

"We don't even know if dad did do this. What if he just got into a fight in the corridors?" Aoife argued.

"Fe, you know that's not true. You know it was him." Ardal whispered, "we need to talk to McGonagall, Ron's right. We would never forgive ourselves if he did it to someone else."

"I can't lose him too, Ardal. I can't." She cried, tears rolling down her eyes.

"We lost him the minute he started this. We've been turning a blind eye for too long now, we need to do the right thing."

"What will Aisling think? She needs her dad."

"She doesn't need one who does that to his son," He replied, signalling to a hunched over Aengus. "You know this is something we have to do."

Aoife nodded slowly, pulling the sleeves of her jumper down over her hands. "Would you like me to come with you? Ron asked quietly.

"Yes please, we might need you to tell McGonagall what you know," Ardal replied. Ron looked directly at Aoife, asking her without words whether this was something she wanted. The nod was small, but he saw it. "Harry, can you come too?"

"Yes, if you want me to," Harry replied.

"Hermione, stay with Aengus," Aoife commanded. This was what she had feared, she should have offered to come before they asked Harry. The three of them walked off leaving Harry and Hermione behind.

"I better catch up with them," he explained, "you know what to do, Hermione. Don't worry about how he feels about you, first and foremost, you're his friend." He confirmed before jogging over to Ron, Ardal and Aoife.

She was reluctant but knew that she had to do this. She still thought that if anyone would be able to get him to it would be her, but she had no evidence of that. If anything, he was avoiding her much more than anyone else. "Aengus? Are you alright?" She asked tentatively.

"What do you think?" He replied spitefully. "I've never been better," he said as he turned to face her. He had a cut lip, a black eye, a nose bleed and a swollen cheek.

"Don't be like that, Aengus. Come on, we need to clean you up." She commanded, grabbing hold of his arm.

"Now, now, Hermione. That might seem like you're leading me on." He hissed, "better not do that." It was almost like he was joking with her, but his face told the true story.

"Please, just let me help you. I want to help you." She begged. He looked at her and for half a moment it looked like his eyes softened and he had forgiven her.

"Then help me by staying away. Just carry on ignoring me, that's what you've been doing best."

She opened her mouth in an attempt to argue more but knew she stood no chance. "Fine, but I do hope that you clean yourself up."

She walked off, not really sure where to go. She thought about going to McGonagall's office but decided she didn't feel comfortable going behind Aengus' back like that. She made her way to the Common Room and saw Ginny sitting there alone. "Oh, hi Hermione." She greeted happily. She had no idea about what was going on.

"Hi, Ginny. Mind if I sit with you?"

"Course not. What's wrong? You seem different to usual." She observed.

"Just been a strange few weeks," Hermione answered.

"Yeah? Anything I can help you with?" She put her Charms book down and stared directly at Hermione.

Hermione thought about telling Ginny everything, after all, she used to in the past, but something made her mute on the matter. She had already taken Harry off of Ginny, she didn't want the same to be felt about Aengus. "Just a lot of work to do." She sighed.

"That's not true. You are always on top of your work, you're probably weeks ahead of everyone else." Ginny laughed. "You don't have to tell me what's actually on your mind, I'm used to that now."

"What are you talking about, Ginny?" She asked quietly.

"Ever since the Currans arrived, I've been pushed out of the picture. Even my own brother prefers them over me." She explained.

"That's not true."

"Isn't it? Even Luna is best friends with one."

"There are a lot of them, but honestly, you're not being replaced by anyone. In fact," she paused, contemplating whether this would help, "I think Aengus really needs a friend right now."

"Why can't you help him? You used to be able to."

"I did something stupid and now he won't talk to me. I don't want to get into it, please try and look after him." She pleaded.

"Has something happened between the two of you?" She asked suspiciously, hating herself that some part of her wanted it to be true so that she had a claim on Harry.

"No, nothing like that," she replied. Now she was completely aware that Ginny still felt something for Harry, the tone of her voice gave that away. "We just had a big misunderstanding, but you can help him out. Just don't be too shocked when you see him."

"Why would I be shocked?" Worry flooding her face and voice.

"I'm just warning you, Ginny. Go and find him and try and get him see sense." She ordered, standing up and walking to her dormitory. When she reached her bed, she found a piece of parchment and started to write a letter to her mum.


"I don't understand what you're saying, Aoife. What made you change your mind?" Ardal demanded to know. "It's only been a couple of minutes since you agreed with me?" They were standing outside McGonagall's office, frantically trying to get to the bottom of this sudden U-turn.

"I just don't feel comfortable going behind Aengus' back like this. We don't even know for sure whether it was dad who hurt him." She said shyly.

"What are you talking about? Who else would have done this?" His voice was getting louder and more pressing.

"Alright, Ardal. That's enough, if she doesn't want to talk to McGonagall, she doesn't have to." Ron stepped in. Ardal couldn't hide the disgust that spread over his face.

"With respect, Ron, this has nothing to do with you."

"You were the one who asked me to come," he argued back.

"Yeah, I probably shouldn't have. You can't tell her to change her mind."

"What did you say to me?" Ron spat, "I am not telling her to change her mind, she did that herself."

"You've been in her life for two seconds and she's already got you right where she wants you," he growled, clenching his fists.

"Ardal! That's not true, stop acting out like this. A couple of weeks ago you didn't want to confront dad and now you're all for ratting him out. What made you change your mind?" Aoife shouted, "you need to calm down. There's no way she'll believe us if you're acting like this." She fairly pointed out.

"I don't know how I should be acting, Aoife. A month ago I had a father who I looked up to and admired, now what do I have? A dead mum and an abusive dad. I can't see a way around this. A month ago we had a family that was strong and united, helping one another grieve." His voice croaked, signalling the end of his outburst.

"Ardal that's not what we had. We've been a broken family since mum was diagnosed. We chose to ignore the signs of something wrong, something evil. Now we know the truth, but we need to get to the bottom of it before anyone else does. I don't want people founding out things before we know them ourselves. Everyone will be whispering about us, about Aengus, he doesn't want that." She grabbed his shoulder and squeezed it slightly, "now is the time for us to be strong and united, for our brother and sister's sakes." She whispered, her eyes twinkling with tears.

Ron and Harry looked at one another, Harry signalling to his friend that he was going to find Hermione, he felt like an intruder on the scene, not really belonging to this family's trouble.

He wondered through the empty castle imagining that people were doing just what Aoife didn't want them to, whispering about Aengus. His little appearance at dinner had given the school some much-needed gossip to sink its teeth into. His stomach growled at him, wanting to finish the food that was left on his plate, but he ignored it. He wanted to find Hermione and see if she was able to get through to Aengus at all. "Harry! Have you seen Aengus? Hermione said I should go and talk to him, do you know why that would be?" It was Ginny, they were both too busy thinking about the same person to notice one another before it was too late.

"No. Sorry about that," he added as he rubbed his own arm.

"Don't worry, both lost in the moment." She explained, but looking around for another boy with jet black hair.

"Has Hermione told you what's happened then?" He asked naively.

"What's happened...?" She repeated.

That would be a 'no' then, Harry thought to himself. He wasn't sure how to get out of this, not wanting the story to come out of his mouth. "Aengus and Hermione had an argument when we got back after Christmas. He took it badly and hasn't spoken to her since, I guess she just wants to make sure he's okay." Harry lied, Ginny saw right through it, she was good at seeing past Harry's lies, but she didn't want to get the truth out of him. He wasn't obliged to tell her the truth anymore, that was Hermione's perk,

"If you say so..." She muttered as she walked away.

"Gin-" he began to say, wanting to set the record straight once and for all, but not have the energy or any particular desire to right at this moment. He watched her go, just like she watched him go hundreds of nights ago when he walked away from her never to return the same person. His mind instantly went back to Hermione so he made his way to the Common Room.


Hermione decided that she wanted to wait for Harry so she walked from her dormitory to his, not thinking about seeing anyone else on her travels. She opened the door and was saw a hunched over Aengus on his bed. This wasn't ideal for her, but she thought she would take this opportunity to set things straight. "Aengus, I think we should talk about why I reacted the way I did."

"How many times do I have to tell you? You said all you needed to the other week. I'm just listening to your wishes." He said as she walked into the boys dormitory fully.

"Where is everyone?" She whispered, choosing not to even acknowledge the words he greeted her with.

"What? I don't know where they are. I thought you would know." Unsurprisingly put out by the fact she had skipped over his part of their conversation.

She nodded as she slowly made her way over to his bed. "I think I know why I reacted the way I did when you told me how you felt about me."

"Yeah? I'm glad you wanted to come and tell me straight away..." He said sarcastically, but not taking his eyes off of her.

"Just listen to me, Aengus." He nodded, deciding not to argue anymore as it seemed like they would just go round and round in circles.

"The reason I reacted the way I did was because it made me realise that I feel the same," she whispered, finally reaching the end of his bed.

"Wh-what?" He stuttered.

"I overreacted because I was scared I would use your words as an opening."

"An opening?" He repeated, not quite believing his ears.

She started fiddling with her tie as a distraction. "You know exactly what I mean." She pointed out, still struggling with her tie. "Ever since you told me, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. It's been playing on my mind none stop, your words repeating continuously. I kept my distance because I thought it would stop me doing...well doing just this." She paused.

"Don't do this, Hermione." He sat up, becoming more alert. "Please don't do this."

"Why? I thought this was what you wanted?" She questioned, kneeling on the end of his bed, having given up on her tie.

"Harry," was all he could say.

"Just forget about him for a moment," she whispered, edging ever closer to him.


"Haven't you been longing for this since long before Christmas? I have, I've seen you lips every time I close my eyes for weeks. Don't hold back, not now."

"What about Harry? Hermione, this isn't what you want." He began to get up, but she grabbed his arm to prevent him from walking away.

"You know exactly what I want? Aengus, stop fighting this." She twisted around and pulled him towards the side of the bed. She looked into his eyes, willing him to do the same. When he finally gave into her burrowing beam, she smirked before moving her hand down his arm slowly and before wrapping her fingers around his. "We've been good for long enough," she whispered. Both their hearts were racing with anticipation. She navigated her lips to his ear, "it's time we give into this. I can't fight this anymore." Her breath sending chills down his spine. This is what he'd been thinking and dreaming of for months. He wanted to stop it, wanted to be a good friend to Harry, but it was almost impossible for him to fight it for much longer, especially now. Hermione pulled her head back as her eyes found his lips. They mesmerised her, hypnotised her. He couldn't stop it anymore, he cupped her face in his hands and tenderly pressed his lips on hers. He took one last breath before all of his dreams came true. She hesitated for half a second longer, in an attempt to make sure this was exactly what she wanted; as far as she could tell, in this precise moment, it was.

His hands moved from her face and ran down her back carefully and slowly. His touch, which was new and foreign to her, felt magic over her shirt. She couldn't even begin to imagine how his skin would feel against hers, without the barrier of cloth getting in the way, that was something she didn't even know she was longing for. It was hard to believe that she was thinking all this much in so little time, for, in a matter of seconds, she was in the middle of a furious yet tender kiss.

He undid her tie with pure ease, whipping it off and throwing it somewhere behind him, neither of them worrying about where it landed. She fell back and he followed, not breaking the forbidden seal their lips had formed together.

She fumbled around got his tie, but as though he had prepared for this, it wasn't around his neck. She unbuttoned his shirt in one swift movement, illustrating that she was not a novice at this. Once the last button was unfastened, his shirt flew apart, like it couldn't wait to be free. Her hand moved around his nearly exposed chest, waiting to feel the cuts and scars that resided there, but her touch never came into contact with any wound of any kind. This didn't deter her, strange as it was.

His lips savoured her taste, not knowing when he'll get to feel her lips on his again. They were smooth, like the surrounding skin. His roaming hands, which were now gently massaging her head, were drawn to her body which was still contained behind its white wall, begging to be freed.

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