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Hermione didn't like what Aoife was saying. She especially didn't like the tone she used. She was eerily inanimate after what seemed like a bold statement. "Do you want to go and see Professor McGonagall?" Hermione asked softly.

"No. This is too urgent for that, I want him gone, I want him out of our lives." She replied coldly.

Hermione and Harry looked at each other, knowing that any words they said would be wasted and would just linger in the air, lost and forgotten. "Maybe you should wait a bit, clear your head and think about what you're planning." A voice said from behind Harry and Hermione.

"Luna, how are you?" Harry asked when he turned around and saw her lingering behind them.

"I am well, but the more pressing matter is what Aoife is planning on doing."

"How much did you hear, Luna?" Hermione asked.

"Enough. Just think things through, calm down." She whispered.

"With all respect, Luna, it really is none of your business." Aoife voiced, glaring at Luna through her eyelashes as she refused to lift her head up to look at her properly.

"I don't wish to cause an affray. I just think you need to consider your family when you do anything."

"My family doesn't know the meaning of the word. I don't need your advice, Luna. I know what I'm going to do."

"Just talk to Ardal, he cares about you, about your family, more than you think. You and he are on the same side and he has a plan." Luna departed on these words, not elaborating, probably wary that Aoife might snap at her again.

"Talk to Ardal, Aoife. He deserves to know the truth about your grandfather." Hermione voiced quietly.

She nodded, slowly coming around to everyone's worry. "Hermione, I think it's time for us to walk to lessons," Harry suggested when he noticed a timid looking Ardal approaching their portion of the table. Hermione looked up and nodded.

"We're always here for you if you want to talk about anything." She smiled but her eyes displayed nothing but pity. They both stood up at the same time and slowly walked away from their broken friend. They refrained from even looking at Ardal, something which unnerved him slightly, that was a clue to him that something was awry, but his biggest clue was yet to come, his biggest clue was his sister's solemn expression. Harry and Hermione chose not to hang around and listen to the conversation, in fact, they wanted nothing more than to forget everything that had just happened entirely.


"Can you believe what that family has gone through? It's terrible and that man is completely barbaric." Hermione almost growled as they walked down the corridor to Hermione's Arithmancy classroom.

"I know, but I reckon that once their dad is out of the picture, they'll sort things out," Harry said positively.

"I hope you're right," she replied. They walked in silence for a while, not knowing what else had to be said. "You don't have to walk me to lessons, Harry." Hermione laughed after several minutes.

"I won't be able to walk you anywhere for a week after soon. Do you have to go?" He whined.

"It'll only be a week. I want to go, I have to go."

"I know, and I do hope she feels better by the time you come back," he smiled weakly. A couple of weeks ago, Hermione had received a letter from her father stating that her mother had fallen seriously ill. The letter didn't explicitly say seriously ill, but deep down Hermione knew that was the case because else he wouldn't have bothered her with it. She had decided to return home in the week they had off and be with her to ease the burden on her dad. "I'll just miss you, that's all."

"I'll miss you too, but it's only a week. It'll fly by." She looked at him, her chocolate eyes relaxed him, somehow the sight of them made everything feel alright. Ever since they had become a couple, they had spent hardly any time apart.

"I wish I could come with you," he said.

"I know you do, but you heard what McGonagall said. Honestly, Harry, it'll be over before you know it."

"Just let me walk you to your lessons until you go," he responded.

"If that's what you want, that's what you'll get. You can't wait with me, though, I'm going to try and talk to Aengus." She commanded.

"Again? You've been trying every day for a month and he's said no more than two words to you."

"I've got to keep trying, Harry. He feels like he has no one, we need to show that he has people who care." She stopped still to turn to Harry, who followed suit.

"I know you do," he whispered, caressing her cold cheek, "just try not to worry yourself."

She looked into his eyes, the eyes that so many people knew. The eyes that reminded people of the past, but to her, they showed her the future. It was moments like this she treasured; simple, plain, but completely their own. In the moments like this, for the fleeting seconds that they lasted, she never wanted to move. She wanted to stay there, in his eyes, they were nicer than the reality. "We're going to be late." She heard herself saying. She hated that side of her, the consciously studious side of her, at times like this.

"Right," he nodded, knowing the conflict which was going on in her mind. They walked, hand in hand, to the door of the classroom. Hermione was wrong, they were early. Incredibly early in fact as no one else was there. "I'll stay until he turns up."

"No, he'll be more likely to approach me if I'm on my own." Harry clocked the determination on her face, today would be the day Aengus spoke to her and Harry had to support that.

"Fair enough, I'll meet you here after the lesson finishes." He smiled, kissing her forehead before turning away from her.

She waited alone for longer than she expected. She glanced at her watch and realised that they must have left breakfast with over an hour till lessons. She sat on the cold stone floor and leant against an equally cold stone wall. Her mind wondered from where she was sat to the bed in which her mum was. She had been praying since she received the letter that she would be alright. Praying was something she rarely believed but found herself doing more frequently than not. She gazed out a window, thinking about how she was worlds away from her parents. Not just in distance but in everything. In her parent's mind, they lost hope for a normal family when the letter from Hogwarts arrived on their door. It was a clear-cut decision for Hermione, despite being very young, she knew she had to accept the invitation to study here, but her parent's weren't so happy. Keeping the smiles on their faces, they waved they're only child off, their hearts knowing that it would never be the same again.

Hermione sometimes wondered why magic picked her. Out of all the Muggle families in London, in the World, to choose from and it picked her. She liked to think that it picked her because it needed to. It needed to pick her to help save the world it inhabited. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone approaching her. "You're early," the Irish twang hit her and she instantly stood up.

"You can talk," she replied. As he neared her, she noticed the once vivid cuts were now dull scars. They engulfed his face and neck but no longer took away from it as they were only visible to those who knew where to look.

"I was hoping to find you here but also dreading it. I need to apologise to you. I'm sorry for acting so childish, but what you said hurt me. I would never do anything to destroy our friendship, but in trying to demonstrate that, I destroyed our friendship."

"You needed help to destroy it, and I helped in abundance. I'm sorry for what I said and how I acted. It was wrong of me to assume the worst of you."

"We're both to blame."

"So can we go back to normal?" She asked quietly.

"I don't think so. Despite hating what you said, you were right." He took a deep breath, signalling what he was about to say was difficult, "I've accidentally fallen in love with you and despite feeling more alone than ever when we're not talking, I've finally been able to think clearly and that is what I need to be able to continue to do. I need a clear head because that's the only thing that will stop my heart. I just need you to know that we are on good terms and I forgive you for what you said, but I can't quite forgive myself for what I told you."

"Aengus-" she stuttered, not quite being able to get over his admission.

"I need the space, it's not your fault. You did nothing but show me friendship and I'm not used to that so I clung onto it too tightly. This is something I need to do, I can't hang onto something I'll never be able to call my own."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" She asked naïvely.

"Don't stop being you," he smiled, taking one step closer to her. "Don't act differently, I just need a little longer on my own."

"Just don't take too long; I care about you, we all care about you," she ordered. He smiled and nodded, finally feeling free from the burden of the secret. They both sat down against the wall where Hermione had been previously.

"How have you been?" He asked her casually.

"Good, thanks. How about you?"

"Been keeping myself to myself. Have Aoife or Ardal told anyone about our dad?" He asked, telling Hermione that this was something he had wanted to ask since they began talking.

"No, they wanted to, but Aoife didn't want to go behind your back. Aengus, honestly, you need to tell someone. Imagine how you would feel if it was Aoife or Ardal? If it was Aisling. You have to tell someone for them if you don't want to do it yourself."

"I suppose this is the reason I spoke to you, I know I need to tell someone, but I don't know who. I don't want everyone knowing what's been going on." He whispered.

"Everyone doesn't need to know, you just need to tell McGonagall, she'll know what to do next," Hermione said calmly.

"I guess I should," he brought his knees up towards him and placed his chin on them.

"You should know, Aoife found something out this morning. Your granddad died a couple of months ago. Aoife took it badly, understandably, that Professor Curran hid it from you all." Aengus carried on staring at the same spot, not saying a word. "You already knew?"

"Dad told me when it happened. I suppose he wanted to terrorise me. He told me and made me promise not to mention it ever. If I did, he would have made sure I paid. I wanted to tell them, but I didn't know how I didn't know where to start."

"I understand, but Aoife took it very badly and I think it even tipped her over the edge. Luckily Luna got through to her, but I don't know what she'll end up doing. You need to act quickly now, please." She pleaded.

"Should I talk to her now? Get it over with."

"I don't know whether you'll be able to. She's probably teaching soon. I would suggest going at lunch. That way, Aoife and Ardal can go with you, it that's what you want."

Aengus didn't say anything, either out of annoyance or contemplation. Before too long, students started arriving so Hermione jumped up to avoid being trampled, Aengus stayed sat down.


"I'm going to go now," Aengus told Hermione after the lesson.

"To McGonagall? Do you want me to come with you?" She asked nicely, forgetting the conversation of distancing herself.

"No, but could you possible go and tell Ardal and Aoife? I'm not sure whether Ardal has a lesson." Hermione had a lesson but she nodded as they walked out of the room.

"Hey!" Harry smiled once he had seen her.

"Hi, Harry." She sad trying to keep the shock off her voice as she had completely forgotten he was meeting her here.

"Ready to go?" He asked. Hermione looked at him and he knew things had gone well when she had attempted to talk to Aengus.

"Hi, Harry. Nice to see you but I better dash, need to catch McGonagall before she goes off for another lesson." He said breathlessly as he bounded off.

"But we have Transfigurations next, will that cancel it?" Harry called back cheerfully.

Hermione hit his arm playfully, "sounds to me you don't like learning..." She winked.

"Of course, I do," he smiled.

"Don't worry about coming up with a lie, we have to find Aoife and Ardal," Hermione said hurriedly, "I'm not sure where Ardal will be."

"Aoife has Transfigurations with us," Harry informed.

"Oh yes, well that helps us there, but I have no idea where Ardal will be."

"If he's got a free period, he will probably be outside, it's a nice day and you know how he loves plants."

"You really are a hero sometimes," she smiled, reaching up to give him a quick kiss of appreciation. "I'll go and find him, you speak to Aoife. Say that Aengus is talking to McGonagall about Professor Curran and she'll probably rush off to him." Harry had no chance to dispute as she ran off. He rolled his eyes and walked to his lesson alone.


"Aoife, you need to find Aengus, he's talking to McGonagall and Hermione thinks he wants you there," Harry said, slowly to make sure she heard it all.

"What? Right now? Where is he?" She asked frantically.

"I assume her office, I don't know. Everyone sort of just ran off in different directions."

"Thanks, Harry," she said before running off.

"That's the third person to run away from me," Harry joked as he saw Ron standing close by.

"I wish you hadn't done that, we were just about to talk about the argument we had," Ron said annoyed.

"I'm sorry, but she's been worrying about Aengus and their dad for months now, we thought it was only fair she knew."

"I get that, I do, but sometimes I think that this family has caused a lot of stress." He sighed, relieved to finally get it off his chest.

"I know, but at least, we're helping them."

"This place has unravelled them. Before they came here, three of them had a loving dad. Now look at them, I used to hope that I would make everything better for them, for her, but I can't. I seem to make more worry and pain." His head dropped in defeat.

"What are you talking about, more pain? I think with you, she has found a big ray of happiness."

"There's so much I don't know about her, so much she tries to keep hidden. It's not like it is with you and Hermione, you know what she is thinking before she has even thought it."

Harry began to realise how Hermione felt when Aoife judged relationships on theirs, "you can't think like that, Ron. The reason it's different is because you haven't grown up with Aoife. You haven't gone through everything with her like we have with Hermione. The only reason our relationship seems special to you is because we were friends long before we got together. You can't use our relationship as a guide, you need to stop judging and competing. She's just going through a lot and is getting tetchy. Ron, once she knows Aengus is safe, everything will be better."

"Do you really think that?"

Harry nodded, he did think that, but whether that would be reality was something completely unknown to him. "Why are you here? Don't you have a free period now?"

"I knew Aoife would be here, that's all," Ron explained, "where's Hermione?"

"She's looking for Ardal."


Hermione wondered through the vast grounds of Hogwarts. She almost skipped, it made her so happy that Aengus had finally spoken to her, and that he was telling someone, finally. She had no idea where Ardal might be, she didn't really know him. She suspected that he would be somewhere with Luna, but she didn't know where that somewhere would be. "Hermione? What are you doing out here?"

"Ginny," Hermione sighed, it was nice to see a friendly face. "I'm looking for Ardal, do you know where he would be?"

"Aengus and Aoife's brother? No, I haven't seen him today."

"Where have you just been?" She asked, knowing that that information would mean she could rule out one spot in the whole castle.

"I've just been down by the lake," she said, blushing slightly.

"With..." Hermione grinned.

"Oh, no one. I was thinking about things." Ginny replied.

"Oh, right. Well, I need to find Ardal. I'm here for you if you want to talk about the things you're thinking about." She smiled.

Ginny looked at her up and down, and for some reason felt spiteful towards her, "how do you do it?" She asked.

"Do what?"

"Get everyone to like you, get all the guys falling for you. First my brother, then Harry and now Aengus."

Not this again, Hermione thought. She had just gotten over what Aoife had said and now Ginny, but only one part of that sentence struck a chord with her, "how do you know about Aengus? What has he told you?"

"He doesn't have to tell me anything, it's written all over both of your faces. I know you feel the same about him." She added on the end. This well and truly took the breath out of Hermione's lungs, she couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. For some time now, ever since she came to Hogwarts to see Aengus during Christmas, she had been thinking about what her feelings towards Aengus were. Although she would never do anything to hurt Harry, something seemed to have changed in her heart. She couldn't speak, fearing that her life was unravelling. During the months when Aengus refused to talk to her, everything felt like it did before, but now it had changed once again. "I'm probably being paranoid, but I can't help wondering, first Harry and now Aengus; it feels like you want what I want."

"Aengus and I are just friends, he knows that and I know that. Neither of us wants anything more, despite his feelings towards me." She said with a stiff upper lip. "Now, I need to find Ardal," she said sternly before walking off as Ginny smirked to herself.

*

"Mr Curran, what are you saying?" Professor McGonagall asked sternly. "I have a class to teach in ten minutes, one that you should be in."

"I know, I'm sorry but this is important. I haven't been able to tell anyone this, but Aoife and Hermione have changed my mind." All his words came out in quick succession, he wasn't even sure if they came out in the correct order, but that didn't deter him. "Ever since my mum was diagnosed, well, none of us took it well."

"What?" Her voice had softened at the mention of his mother.

"My dad particularly took it badly and well, he took it out on me."

"How old were you?" She asked, not that it even mattered, whatever the age it wasn't acceptable.

"Ten," He informed. "But it hasn't stopped. I thought it would, but he's still angry. You saw the cuts and bruises on my face, well that was him. I have scars all over my body." He whispered, pulling up his jumper and shirt and turning around to reveal the vast trails of marks.

McGonagall was speechless, she went instantly pale and her knees became weak. She was spared trying to think of something to say, some consoling words that would have most likely fallen flat when a loud knock interrupted them. "I'm sorry I couldn't wait," Aoife said as she walked in and looked at Aengus with a reassuring smile. "Has he told you yet?" McGonagall looked stunned but nodded all the same. "Right, so what are you going to do about him?"

"What are you doing here?" He asked through gritted teeth, "I'm dealing with it."

"Harry said Hermione said you said you wanted me here," she said.

"That's not what I said. I just wanted you to know I was sorting it. Sorry Professor, do you need to ask me anything?" He said, turning his body away from his sister.

"Yes, I need to know whether Professor Curran is teaching a lesson now. I need to get all the students away from him and talk to him." She had found her voice, thinking about how Dumbledore would have handled something like this. "Mr Curran, go to Madam Pomfrey and get checked over by her, I'll give you a note to give to her. Miss Curran, go to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and tell those there that the lesson has been cancelled. Then, if your father turns up, send him straight here. Don't tell him what it's about." The two of them nodded and made their way out of the room to complete. "Wait, does Aisling know?"

Aengus stopped and turned sombrely, "no." He had totally forgotten about Aisling when he decided to squeal, he never wanted this to happen to her.

"Do you want me to explain it to her?"

"No, it should come from us," Aengus said strongly, "thank you," he added. McGonagall nodded with a tear in her eye.

They left her alone and she slumped down in her chair. Wanting nothing more than to cry but not finding the strength to be able to do that. She looked across the vast office to Dumbledore's sleeping portrait. "Still can't find a good Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Albus. I could really use your words right now." She whispered as she picked at her thumbnail.

*

"Thank you for coming to see me so quickly, Patrick. I don't want you to speak. I just want you to listen to me and do what I say. You've been rumbled, your son has told me everything you have done to him. I have alerted the correct authorities and you shall be taken away from the school and from the lives of your children. I feel like a fool for trusting you, it was too good to be true when you turned up." She said with a strong voice.

"What are you talking about? I have never touched my son, let alone anyone else."

"Don't. I know when students are lying to me and I also know when staff are lying. All you have to do is think about those four children who have already lost a parent, think of them when you're trying to wriggle out of this one."

Professor Curran stood up viciously, knocking his knees on the desk as he did so. "Why would he tell you? I always taught him not to be a snitch, the rat."

"I urge you not to say anymore, for anything you say now I shall remember and pass on. I let you teach children, you could have done anything with them."

"I'm not like that, it wasn't like that. I would never hurt a fly."

"So what's Aengus to you then? How could you possibly think this is acceptable."

"I was left with four children, I didn't know what to do. When she was alive, it was even worse. She was too weak and frail to help me."

"That's not an excuse. It's even more of a reason why you should have been the best dad in the world to them. Now, thanks to you, they have no one to look up to." She spat. She was about to say something else when there was a knock at the door. "That'll be for you."

He didn't know what to do. He stood up so abruptly he pushed McGonagall's desk several feet from it's original spot. "Why would you do this?"

"I think you should think about your own answer to that question," she whispered as she reached for the door handle. She rarely walked to open a door anymore, magic had taken that away from her. So long had it been since she opened a door, she tended to forget that it was an option.

"Mr Curran?" A stern looking man said as he walked in.

"It's Professor Curran," he replied with a small voice.

"No, it's not, not anymore." The man replied wickedly. "Where you're going, you'll be lucky to be called Mr Curran." With a flick of his wand, Professor Curran had a strong tether around his wrists. "Follow me," the man demanded and he did, without any qualms, McGonagall noticed this, but held her tongue, not wanting to disrespect anyone.


"You left it a bit late, Patrick. We nearly couldn't get here." The second man said through gritted teeth. "There coming right after us so we better be quick."

"We have to get out of here." The first man shouted frantically, striding down the corridor.

"Thanks for this, lads. The plan went off without many hitches. I know a bit more about Potter and friends. Aoife stayed at the Weasley's house so that's a bonus. How's Rodolphus' side of the plan going?" Patrick asked as he glided behind the first man.

"Well, he say's it's going well, but we can't see what he's actually doing. He doesn't want to break out of prison because they would cause a scene. He just wants to slip away."

"Shame they don't allow visitors, I know just the potion to help him out."

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