Breaking Free

A/N: The usual disclaimers, not my characters, no money being made etc. JKR owns the books and characters. Any additional characters or settings are mine.

Genera is Crime/Romance

Rating is M for future chapters. Story is of course AU.

Ship is Harry/Hermione

Chapter 1.

"Lose the mudblood Potter!" Ron Weasley commanded, as he saw Harry sitting beside Hermione Granger. A smirk played on his lips as he saw Harry start to comply. Those potions that Dumbledore supplied him to keep Potter in control were amazing. He'd keep the jumped up half-blood minding him for as long as it took to get his hands on some of the Potter fortune. He scowled as he thought of the previous years, not knowing that Potter was rich and Dumbledore hadn't told him. Dumbledore had let it slip to his mum last year when he thought it was time to push his sister Ginny into a marriage contract with the boy to spread the Potter wealth around a bit.

Albus had so far been unable to touch the main Potter vault at Gringotts, but had seriously depleted his trust vault every year, leaving just enough to give the impression that he had a great deal of money. In truth, he'd salted the stacks of Galleons with Knuts underneath, leading the observer to believe there was a vast fortune in the vault when in reality there was only a few hundred Galleons and thousands of Knuts. That would all change when the Weasley girl married him and gained control of the main Potter vault. After she gained control, he would simply kill the boy. The Goblins had tried to interfere, but since he'd declared himself Potter's magical guardian, they couldn't do anything.

The mudblood Granger had introduced herself to Mr. Potter this year when they had boarded the train together. Ron had been delayed by his mother giving last minute instructions. Harry had simply continued onto the Hogwarts Express with Hermione finding a seat for them both. When Ron caught up to them, they were conversing animatedly, seemingly happy. That would not do! They weren't even in the same house, Granger being in Ravenclaw and Potter where he belonged in Gryffindor with Ron and Ginny.

Unfortunately for Ron, he'd forgotten to dose Harry that morning and Harry was already starting to recover from the Imperious potion. He liked the bushy-haired witch and wondered why he'd never tried to make friends with her before. As Ron spoke the words, he could feel the compulsion to obey and started to rise, when he saw the look on Hermione's face. Her face fell and a look of desolation overcame her.

Hermione had always felt an attraction to Harry Potter, but didn't know how to approach him. It was now sixth year and she was growing desperate. Ignored by most of the school, even though she was uncommonly brilliant. Her blood status, being muggleborn worked to isolate her from most of the school, even her own housemates generally looked down on her and bullied her. The teachers were no help, although her head of house, Professor Flitwick, was very supportive. She was a shy, retiring girl, with a drive to excel in everything she did. Almost hidden in the student population, Hermione worked very hard to be the top student every year. She had no friends, but now that Harry Potter had talked to her before boarding the train and seemed genuinely impressed with her intelligence, she had smiled and engaged in conversation. He was very nice, but she could sense that something was off with him. At times, she would look at him and see a faraway look in his gorgeous green eyes. It was almost like he had spaced out and now the look had returned. Intimidated by the arse that was Ronald Weasley, she started to get up to leave when a very strange thing happened.

"NO!" Harry shouted as his faraway look disappeared and anger suffused his face.

Harry had felt odd all morning and could not put a name to the feeling. A clarity of mind would brush him at odd moments this morning and the later it got, the clearer his mind became. When Ron commanded him to leave Hermione, something snapped as he started to obey. He'd been enjoying talking to the bushy-haired witch that had accompanied him from the platform and did not intend to give that up.

The startled look on Ron Weasley's face quickly turned to a scowl. "What did you say, Potter? You WILL do as I say!"

"I said NO, arsehole!" and he punctuated that declaration with a fist to his gut.

Ron dropped, holding his stomach, trying to catch his breath. Harry followed it up with an uppercut to Ron's chin, laying the redhead out cold.

Hermione was stunned. "H-Harry? W-what?" she stuttered.

"Let's go, Hermione, this won't be good when he wakes up." Harry grabbed Hermione's hand and urged her out of the compartment.

The train had just started to move as the pair left the train. Standing together at the far end of the platform, Harry scanned the mostly deserted platform, satisfied that no one had noticed the pair leave the train.

"But Harry, what about school?" Hermione asked, panicking slightly.

"You don't know what I've been through, Hermione! We're both in danger, maybe you almost as much as me. We're not safe there. Let's move, it's not safe here either. I'll fill you in when we find a safe place. You'll have to tell your parents as well. We can't leave them unprotected. That will be our first concern. I know we haven't spent much time together, but you'll have to trust me on this. I'll explain everything, but first, how do we get to your parents' place?"

Hermione struggled to understand what Harry was telling her. "Um, maybe they haven't left the station yet. The car park is close by at St. Pancras Station."

"I'll follow you, hurry," he urged. "They won't know I'm missing until the train gets to Hogsmeade Station. By then we can be far away."

Walking quickly, Hermione led Harry off the platform, out the front and around the adjacent St. Pancras Station until they spotted Hermione's parents just getting into their auto, a nice BMW five series. "Mum, Dad!" she called and her mum turned as she recognised her daughter's voice.

"Hermione? What on earth? I thought you were on the train. And who is this with you?"

Practically running, she paused in front of her mother, a little out of breath. "Mum, we need to get out of here soon. This is my friend, Harry Potter. Mum, he says we are in danger! Daddy, can you drive us somewhere that you know is safe?"

"Gracious, Hermione, what's happening?"

"No time, Mum. Get in, Harry! He'll explain once we're underway."

Hermione introduced them to Harry and they shook hands. Monica and Wendell Granger were bright attractive parents. Monica had Hermione's slightly bushy but blonde hair and a slender figure with green eyes. Wendell had Hermione's chocolate brown eyes and straight brown hair.

"Hermione and I got caught up in a bit of trouble at King's Cross after we were seated on the train," Harry explained when they were seated. "I started talking to Hermione, and one of the boys at our school has been controlling me for a couple of years, through potions. I broke through this morning and came to my senses when he told me to leave Hermione. Now she's in danger as well once word gets out. You, being her parents, will also be in danger, as they will try to control you to report where we are. Failing that, it could quickly spiral out of control and you would be hurt or worse, killed to make a point. These wizards are not very nice people, although some are worse than others. Almost everyone at school is untrustworthy, although I know a few that might be. People pretend to be my friend, but I haven't had any true friends for years now. Most have been driven off. You know Luna Lovegood, Hermione? I trust her, and Neville Longbottom. But that's it and those two have been potioned to obey the Headmaster and stay away from me, although Luna may have broken free as well."

"Luna! She's a year below us, Harry. She's a little odd, but I like her. What about Padma Patil? She seems nice enough?"

"Padma is Parvati's twin and Parvati is definitely not trustworthy," Harry warned.

The two parents and two teens were soon away, travelling north and east they wound up an hour and a quarter later pulling into at a small dental clinic in Cambridge.

Hermione and Harry followed her parents inside. It was early afternoon and everyone was hungry.

Wendell mentioned take away and Monica volunteered to get something from the local pizza place.

On the Hogwarts Express:

Ginny made her way back to the compartment that Ron and Harry were in, smirking to herself. Harry was fully under their control now and it would be easy to get him to propose to her this year. After the marriage, Dumbledore would see that Harry was a good little boy and turned over control of his parents vault to her and then he would simply 'disappear'. An accident with the Death Eaters and they would all be rich.

Entering the compartment, Ginny gasped. Her brother Ron was lying in an awkward position on the seats, head lolled to one side. Blood seeped from his nose and a large purple bruise adorned his chin. She shook him and finally had to take her wand and cast an enervate to wake him.

"What happened?" she screeched. "Where's Harry?"

Ron groggily shook his head, rubbing his chin and stomach. "He hit me! That shouldn't have been possible. Find him!"

"What? That's impossible, he should still be under the potions. You did remember to give them to him this morning?" she glared at her brother.

Ron flinched as he thought back. "Erm, I may have forgotten, we were in such a rush."

"You idiot! Well, he can't have gone far," she snarled. "You check the rear and I'll check forward. Be careful, take someone with you. Harry has been getting more powerful lately. I'll round up the twins." She glared again at her dimwitted brother.

"Wait," Ron called. "That mudblood Granger might be with him. They were talking when I came in."

"Granger? That bushy-hared know-it-all? Why would he talk to her?"

"Dunno, but when I told him to lose her, he yelled 'NO' and hit me."

Ginny cast the stink eye at him and growled. "Go, we'll deal with her later. Stun her when you find her. I'll teach her to interfere!"

Minutes later, they met up in the compartment. "They're not on the train," Ron proclaimed.

"You looked in all the compartments?" Ginny questioned acerbically. "Ron, they must me here, they're too young to apparate, besides, you can't apparate on the Hogwarts Express."

"Yes, I checked all the compartments, twice in fact. Neither are on board."

"They must have left before the train started. Oh this won't be good when Dumbledore finds out. Where do you think they went?" Ginny pondered.

"Well, not the Dursleys for sure, he hates them. Probably the mudblood's place.

"We'll have to send an owl to Dumbledore. I'll get Pig," Ron answered.

"Really, Ron! That bird is practically useless. We'll be in Hogsmeade before it gets there."

Elsewhere on the train:

Luna Lovegood was humming to herself, a small smile on her lips. The quirky blonde had seen what others had not. She had noticed Harry and Hermione leave the train before it left. 'They'll be safe now.' She thought to herself. 'I suppose I should have left with them.'

Neville had also been wondering what had happened to Harry, but his mind was still a bit confused from the potion. His Gran had noticed he seemed to be a bit distracted that summer, but put it down to the stress of school.

Fred and George were furious when their siblings couldn't find Harry. Harry would be their ticket to success in their shop they were going to open in Diagon Alley. They needed more capital and Harry had more than enough to go around. Dumbledore had assured them money would be no problem. They also had designs on the Granger girl. She was scarily brilliant and would be a great addition to their prank shop. Never mind that under control of Dumbledore's potions, they could also have fun taking turns with her and she'd never know that she was being used as their own personal slag. Getting her away from her parents would be simple after this year. They might even share her with Percy. Charley and Bill might even be invited to partake of her charms. Both twins knew a good thing when they saw it and the fact that she was a mudblood was all the better. No one could complain as muggleborns were at the bottom of the social ladder and had practically no rights. Maybe they'd start adding their own potions to control her this year.

Molly and Arthur were blissfully unaware that Harry had broken through the mind control potions they had been feeding them, but when they found out…

Back at the Granger's dental office:

Monica returned with two large pizzas and a bottle of wine. After consuming the food and wine, Harry began the tale.

After the Granger family found out the truth of what had been happening, they were incensed.

Hermione was the first to splutter her indignance. "Urgh! Those people! How could they? When I get my hands on those…those…cretins!"

"Easy Hermione," Harry soothed. "We can't have any contact with them. They have Dumbledore and who knows who else on their side. One excursion right away to Diagon Alley to visit Gringotts is the only contact we can chance with the wizarding world for now. I have to check my vaults. I overheard Mrs. Weasley telling Mr. Weasley that Dumbledore has been almost draining my trust vault every year. I want to ensure that stops."

Wendell was thinking and finally spoke. "Harry, when Dumbledore figures out what happened, he'll start looking for you. Is there any way the goblins collaborate with normal banks?"

"Umm, I'm not sure, Mr. Granger. I would think that Barclays might know since it's one of the largest banks. How to approach them though? I couldn't just ask them if they deal with a wizarding bank."

"Ah, but I could ask them if they deal with Gringotts Bank. I happen to be good friends with the branch bank manager here in Cambridge," Wendell replied. "You two will not be returning to Hogwarts, obviously. You do need to complete your schooling and it might be a good idea to do that at another school. A public or private school might be a good idea. You can always attend another wizarding school when the heat dies down a bit. Might have to wait a year, but there must be other schools that will accept you."

"Do you speak French, Harry?" Monica questioned.

"I'm afraid not, Mrs. Granger," Harry answered.

"Well, Beauxbatons is out then unless you can learn French in a year. Hermione could teach you. You'll stay with us, of course," Monica insisted.

"Are you sure? I wouldn't want to impose…"

"We insist, Harry," Wendell declared. "Hermione's letters home always mentioned you…"

"Dad!" Hermione blushed pink at the thought of what the letters to her parents hinted at.

"Now dear, we both know that you've had a massive crush on him for years," Monica teased.

If possible, Hermione's face blushed an even brighter red all the way down to her neck. "MUM!"

Harry glanced at Hermione, his face also turning pink. "Really, Hermione? I-I thought I was the only one… erm, that is, oh bugger it, I really like you, Hermione but I've been controlled these last two years, and I couldn't say or do anything."

A wide grin spread over Hermione's face and she squealed, grabbing Harry in a hug.

"Ooof, Hermione, can't breathe!" he complained, but secretly liked the hug.

"Come on, Harry we need to visit the bank before it closes," Wendell urged.

As it turned out, Mr. Duncan was well aware of Gringotts and the wizarding world, being a squib.

"Is it possible to transfer my funds from my Trust Vault to Barclays?" Harry enquired. "I can't touch my parents' Family Vault until next year when I turn seventeen, and I think Dumbledore doesn't have access to it either. I don't know how much is left in my Trust Vault, but I want it locked so nobody but me can access it."

Mr, Duncan replied with a grin. "That should be easy enough. Do you know who your contact is at Gringotts?"

"Griphook, as far as I know, although I've only been there once in first year," Harry replied.

"Do you have your key, Mr. Potter?"

"No, Mrs. Weasley has it, as she does all my shopping," Harry replied.

"You gave your key to someone else?" Mr. Duncan looked at Harry in surprise. "You do realise that you've virtually turned over your vault to someone else! That's just not done. This is bad!"

"But I had no choice," Harry replied worriedly. "I wasn't allowed out of where I was staying."

Mr. Duncan raised his eyebrows at that, but replied. "Well, it's a bit awkward, but I think we can manage to at least lock the vault down. I'll see if we can somehow gain access another way. Perhaps we can have a meeting with Griphook and obtain a replacement key, or at least transfer funds to Barclays. I'll need to set up an account here and I need some form of official documentation."

"Documentation? Umm, what would that be? I really don't have anything," Harry replied.

"Well, if Griphook can get here, a blood sample would do. That's the only thing besides keys Gringotts recognizes anyway.

I think I can contact him, so if you'll have a seat and wait, we should have you sorted out very quickly.

Ten minutes later, Griphook arrived and after a blood test to ascertain his identity and a glaring look that intimated that he was most unhappy that he had surrendered his key to unscrupulous people, he issued a new key. "Don't EVER let this key out of your possession again, Mr. Potter. I'm afraid much damage has already occurred to your vault holdings. Fortunately it was only your Trust Vault, not the main Potter Heritage Vault. Mr. Duncan has indicated that you want to lock both vaults down, allowing only yourself access; is that correct?"

"Thank you Griphook, yes that is correct. I'd also like to transfer the remains of my Trust Vault to Barclays Bank under my new account here. Is this vault refilled from the main Potter vault each year?"

"That is correct Mr. Potter, the withdrawals for this year have not been made yet, but I expect the Headmaster will make them within the day. We can lock him out and all others effective immediately."

"Excellent, I would appreciate the service. If you are able, I'd like an accounting just how much has been removed before today and by whom, also how much is left in my accounts."

"That can be done, but it may take a day or so. I understand you are not returning to school, so I can deliver the statements to this bank. You are aware that the main Potter Heritage Vault may not be touched until you are of age, in this case seventeen. When you come of age, Mr. Potter, you will find yourself very wealthy. The Potter account is quite sizable and quite likely our largest account."

Wendell spoke up at last, "What about the money my daughter has already paid to Hogwarts for this year's education?"

"Ah, that also is in a trust account, but a different one. We can remove it and return it to you, Mr. Granger."

The group smiled at this turn of events. It seems that things were finally going their way.

Leaving the bank after securing a new account for Harry, the group went to a hotel to decide their next move.

Wendell and Monica were worried. Harry led them to believe they would not be safe in their own home. Fortunately, Monica's mother was still alive and living not too far away. A quick ring to her and a brief holiday visit was arranged until suitable safe long term accommodation could be secured.

Elizabeth (Bertie) Kelsey was an older woman, now in her early sixties and welcomed her daughter and family plus Harry enthusiastically. "Monica, Wendell and of course Hermione! It's been almost a year since you last visited. And who is this fine young man?" she asked with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

Hermione introduced Harry with a faint blush that Bertie caught at once.

"Ah, a young boyfriend, and a nice pleasant one at that. You'll stay for dinner of course," she stated, brooking no argument.

Both Harry and Hermione blushed at the suggestion of boyfriend, but neither denied it, much to Wendell's surprise.

Bertie knew Hermione was a witch, as she had been told after witnessing accidental magic several times when Hermione was younger. "So, children, not attending school this year?" she enquired.

Harry looked at Hermione and she nodded, understanding that they'd have to tell her something. Hermione took up the challenge, not wanting to frighten her grandmother. "Harry and I won't be attending our wizarding school this year, Gran. We feel it's getting too dangerous and we'll eventually attend another school next year. This year, we'll be home tutored in the normal world in case we aren't able to reintegrate into the wizarding world. We both have six years of normal schooling to catch up.

"Harry has had an especially hard time at school these past five years and if we wait much longer, we'll be hopelessly behind our age group. Five years schooling in one will be extremely difficult, but I think we can manage," Hermione replied.

Monica brought forward the other problem that was foremost in her mind. "Mum, we'll have to move; as Harry stated, we're not safe, even at home. No one knows of you, but I won't think of endangering you as well. I'll ring a removal service and relocate far away from here. The business will have to go, of course, but we can start over. The removal company should be able to move our office as well. We just have to decide where we want to live."

Elizabeth blanched at this. "I had no idea it was that serious! You'll keep in contact with me, Monica. I don't need to know where you live, but I won't lose touch with my only daughter and her family! I won't stand for it!" she stated firmly.

After dinner, the family sat around making plans. The removal company was contacted and assured them that they could carry out the two removals starting tomorrow and would put their belongings in storage until notified. Wendell was taking no chances and declined to give an address until they were settled on a new house. Now came the hard part. Where to live?