Disclaimer: Not mine, don't own them. I'm merely playing in the sandboxes labelled Harry Potter and Stargate SG-1, and mixing up the sand a little bit.
Author's Note: This story is unbetaed, so I apologise for any typos or other errors that I didn't pick up.
ᴾᴾParseltongueᴾᴾ According to canon, Harry can no longer speak Parseltongue after the Horcrux in his scar is destroyed, however, in this story he is still a Parselmouth.
There was a party at the Burrow. Hermione Granger, who had returned to Hogwarts after the war to complete her schooling, had just received her NEWT results. To no one's surprise but her own, her results matched those of the late Albus Dumbledore himself, and even surpassed his in some cases. Hermione had sent off a number of job applications for various positions in the Ministry of Magic but had not yet received any responses. This was puzzling to the Muggleborn witch, as she knew that almost everyone else who had applied around the same time as she had—and some even later—had already received replies. Fortunately, Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Acting Minister for Magic, would be making an appearance at the party and she fully intended to take the opportunity to grill him regarding her applications. In the meantime, the young witch was just enjoying the celebrations.
Hermione was talking to her best friends, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. Harry was dating Ron's younger sister, Ginny, while Hermione and Ron had dated briefly after the war. Both were glad that their friendship had survived their break-up. In truth, it had been quite amicable, as they had both realised that they were not suited as life partners. Their interests were just too different. Of course, Hermione wanted to marry and have children, raise a family, but more than that she also wanted a career, one that would challenge her intellectually, where she could make a difference. Ron, on the other hand, was much more easy-going and laid-back than Hermione. His leisure interests lay more in the direction of Quidditch and a cosy drink at the pub afterwards, not in rushing out to change the world.
"We already did that when we brought down Voldemort—we don't need to do it again," Ron said to Hermione with a laugh. But she wanted more—needed more.
Ron cared enough about Hermione to encourage her in her plans to have a career, but in a moment of honesty had admitted that he was not himself academically inclined and would prefer being married to a sweet girl, who would be happy to be a housewife and mother, rather than one who wanted to come home and debate politics in the evening when all he wanted to do after a long day's work was relax. Hermione, on the other hand, had grown up as the daughter of a professional, working mother and wanted something similar for herself. Ron and Hermione had realised that their outlooks on life were incompatible and had wished each other the best of luck in finding partners who would better suit them. It also helped that there had not been much passion between them; they had eventually realised that their feelings were more like that of brother and sister than lovers. Ron was now dating Megan Jones, a Hufflepuff who had been in the same year as them, having been introduced to her by their friend Neville Longbottom and his Hufflepuff girlfriend, Hannah Abbott. Megan was a cook to rival even Molly Weasley, but her real love was baking and the young witch had turned this love into what was fast becoming a profitable business. Working from home, Megan made custom, bespoke cakes for special occasions—weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions. Harry and Hermione, who knew how important food was to Ron, often teased him that they did not know which he loved more: Megan herself or her cooking and baking! Ron invariably responded with a blissful smile, much to their amusement.
As the three friends chatted, Hermione felt a tap on her shoulder. Turning round, she saw her former Head of House and Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall. "Professor!" Hermione exclaimed. "It's good to see you. Thank you for coming."
"It's my pleasure, Miss Granger," Minerva replied. "How could I miss the party celebrating the exceptional NEWT results of the brightest witch of her age?"
Hermione blushed. "Thank you," she stammered, as Ron and Harry rolled their eyes in amused exasperation.
"Stop being so modest, Hermione," said Harry with a grin.
"Yeah, you're bloody brilliant. Admit it!" agreed Ron cheerfully.
"Yes, well," said Minerva, giving the irrepressible boys a mock glare, "I wonder if you would mind coming outside with me for a minute, Miss Granger? I'd like a word, if I may?"
"Of course, Professor," said Hermione wonderingly.
Following the Headmistress out into the garden, Hermione was surprised to see both Kingsley Shacklebolt and Bill Weasley waiting for her. "What's wrong?" the young woman asked abruptly, tensing at the sight of this delegation.
Kingsley smiled ruefully. "Nothing's wrong exactly," he said.
"Not exactly?" asked Hermione pointedly.
"Come and sit down, Miss Granger, and we'll explain everything to you," said Minerva, ushering the younger witch towards a shady bench.
When Hermione was sitting down, she gazed around expectantly. "Soooo?" she asked, drawing out the word questioningly.
Kingsley sighed. "Hermione, I want to talk to you about your job applications at the Ministry."
"Is there a problem?" Hermione asked anxiously.
"Hermione…" the Minister hesitated. "A few years ago, you would have been snatched up by the Ministry. There would have been several departments fighting to recruit you. I hope one day that will be the case again."
"It's not the case now, though, is it?" the young witch asked sadly, looking at him with resignation in her chocolate brown eyes.
Kingsley shook his head. "There were rather a lot of prejudicial, anti-Muggleborn laws enacted during the war and the current situation is that as a Muggleborn, you might, if you're very lucky, get a position as cleaning staff, but that would be the best you could hope for. On the other hand, Purebloods who barely scraped together a couple of OWLs, never mind any NEWTs, will be taken straight into good positions with excellent prospects. I don't want to see you in that situation, Hermione. It would be a shame to waste such potential."
"I see," Hermione said, staring at the ground. Her brown eyes filled with tears and she blinked furiously, determined not to cry. After all she had been through over the past few years, it hurt that nothing had changed since the war.
"I'm sorry, Hermione," Kingsley said. "I'm still working to reverse all those laws but it's going to take time—longer than I would like," he admitted regretfully.
Hermione looked up hopefully at Minerva. "Is there a chance I could teach at Hogwarts? If I can't help bring about change through legislation, perhaps I can do it through education."
Minerva shook her head. "The Founders may not all have agreed with Salazar Slytherin's views on excluding Muggleborn students, but they did believe that only Purebloods should be allowed to teach. It's only in the last three hundred years that the Hogwarts Charter was amended to allow Half-bloods on staff. Muggleborns still aren't allowed to teach at Hogwarts, not even Muggle Studies."
"What about a Mastery? I always thought I'd like to gain a Mastery but I wanted to work for a few years first. I could go straight into it now," Hermione asked in desperation.
"Hermione," Bill said gently. "Apprentices need to apply to Masters years in advance."
At this, Hermione finally snapped. "That's another of those things that Purebloods grow up knowing and no one bothers to tell the ignorant Muggleborns, isn't it? So what exactly was the point in fighting that damned war?"
"Well, to beat Voldemort, of course," gasped Minerva.
"Why?" Hermione demanded, dashing away angry tears. "The wizarding world clearly agrees with him. It's only his methods you all disagree with. Why the hell do you bother telling us Muggleborns about magic, anyway? Why don't you just bind our magic as soon as we start doing accidental magic and be done with it? Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and work out how to catch up on my Muggle education, as I've clearly wasted the last eight years in the wizarding world!"
"Hermione, wait!" called Bill, as she got up and stormed off. "There's another option you haven't considered."
Hermione stopped but did not turn round. "It had better be good," she said angrily.
"Gringotts," the oldest Weasley son said simply.
Hermione turned round. "Are you kidding?" she asked incredulously. "I'm not even welcome on their premises without an armed escort. In case you've forgotten, Harry, Ron and I robbed Gringotts during the war! There's no way they'd be willing to employ me."
"You're partially right," said Bill. "The Goblins are rather annoyed with you and they're not willing to put you on their full-time payroll, but they're also quite impressed with you and would be willing to employ you on a freelance basis. That allows them to save face, while still obtaining your services. They'd give you a fair salary and they won't waste that brilliant brain of yours by making you maintenance staff! The Goblins may even be willing to find a Master to apprentice you. Do you know what subject you'd like to study?
Well, certainly nothing magical," the angry and upset woman replied scathingly. "Arithmancy or Ancient Runes can at least cross over into the Muggle world."
Minerva and Kingsley eyed each other worriedly. They did not want to lose Hermione Granger from the wizarding world but if they were not careful, that is exactly what would happen.
"Hermione, I've already discussed you with the Goblins and I've been authorised to make an offer to you. Are you interested in hearing about it?" Bill asked calmly.
"I don't know," she said agitatedly. "I'm too angry to think clearly right now. Give me a few minutes."
Hermione paced around the garden for several minutes, clearly trying to work off her frustrations and calm down. Finally, she conjured a row of archery targets and blasted each one into smithereens with a series of finely aimed Reductor Curses. The noise brought everyone else running out into the garden to see what was happening. The war was still too recent a memory for them to be sanguine about the sound of explosions outside their house.
Hermione repeated the exercise three more times before she had finally worked off all her rage. Turning around tiredly, she was startled to see everyone standing silently watching her.
"Having fun, Granger?" asked George with a smirk.
"Not really," she answered dispiritedly.
The Weasleys all frowned when they heard the lifelessness in her voice. Hermione had been in high spirits ever since she had finished school and returned to the Burrow. What had Minerva, Kingsley and Bill been saying to upset her so much?
Seeing Molly about to erupt, Minerva hastened to run interference. "Why don't you all go back into the house and let us finish talking to Hermione?" she said firmly. Having taught every single person who was present that day, barring Bill's wife, Fleur—and having been Head of House for most of them—they all did as Minerva bade them.
"Hermione," said Bill gently. "Are you ready to talk yet?"
"It doesn't matter what the Goblins offer. It's not like I have any other options, do I?" Hermione replied bitterly. "Even if I were to catch up on my Muggle education, I'd still have problems explaining where I've been for the past eight years. With that gap in my history, I'm not likely to get much of a job in the Muggle world either. This is the best option I've got. Tell the Goblins I said yes," she said, trudging wearily back inside.
"Well, that's that," said Minerva, equally wearily. "I wasn't expecting her to be quite so broken by this."
"What did you expect?" demanded Bill angrily. "She fought more than most to help this world and she's just been told she's still not equal, that she might not ever be. Hermione Granger is a treasure and it's a damn shame that the wizarding world can't see that!" he snapped, as he followed Hermione into the house. During the war, Harry, Hermione and Ron had been captured by Snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor where Hermione had been tortured by the insane and psychotic witch, Bellatrix Lestrange. They had escaped to the home of Bill and his wife, Fleur, who had looked after Hermione and helped her recover from the torture she had been subjected to. Until then, Bill had known Hermione only as Ron's friend but had not interacted much with the young witch himself. Afterwards, he had come to regard Hermione as a younger sister and he and Fleur had become very protective of Hermione. During the war Bill had been bitten by a werewolf. Fenrir Greyback had not been transformed at the time and so Bill did not become a werewolf but he still gained some werewolf traits: his family was his pack and Hermione, his honorary little sister, was part of that pack. It pained him to see Hermione put into this position when he knew she had so much to offer the wizarding world, and it infuriated him that after all that had happened, all that she had done for their world, she was still regarded as inferior. Bill had resolved to do all that he could to help the bright, young woman, just as he would do for his sister by blood, Ginny.
As time went on, Hermione enjoyed her work for Gringotts. Although still slightly bitter that she had no real choice in her employment, the intelligent young witch had to admit that the Goblins treated her very fairly—Bill had made sure of that when negotiating the initial employment contract for her—and the work was varied, interesting and challenged her intellectually. The young woman was employed in field teams, primarily as a researcher, and she was learning much. Hermione's favourite subjects in school had been Arithmancy and Charms, but working with the curse-breaking teams, she was gaining a new appreciation for Ancient Runes.
In the course of her work, Hermione frequently consulted with an elderly Muggleborn wizard who had returned to the Muggle world many years ago and had become one of the world's top academics in Ancient Languages. Solomon Schuyler, impressed by the extremely intelligent young witch, encouraged Hermione to further her education. Hermione had kept up with her Muggle education, although she had not managed to sit the actual exams, as she was in Hogwarts during the relevant exam sessions. Immediately after the conversation with Bill, Minerva and Kingsley where she had realised she had very few options in the wizarding world, Hermione had begun brushing up on her GCSE studies and sat the exams a few months later, during the winter resit session. Mere months later, the Muggleborn witch followed her GCSEs with excellent A Levels in Latin, Chemistry (Potions), Maths (Arithmancy), History and Botany¹ (Herbology)—rather more subjects than most people generally sat for A Level, but Hermione always had been an over-achiever. Having learned her lesson from what happened after she had finished Hogwarts, she now wanted to give herself as many options as possible. Kingsley pulled some strings and Hermione's records were magically altered to appear as though she had sat the exams at the correct age. Hermione then applied to read Ancient Languages at the university where Dr Schulyer taught. This was not the first time he had mentored students who had come from the wizarding world and he provided a distance learning option for them, knowing they would not all be comfortable in the non-magical environment of the university-it is, after all, hard to fit in when you are unable to explain your history. In fact, students who had attained their NEWTs in Ancient Runes were usually far in advance of normal university students who were coming to study these particular Ancient Languages for the first time, to the extent that within a year Hermione had achieved simultaneous Muggle degrees in multiple ancient runic languages—her knowledge was already there, she merely had to submit the required coursework and sit the exams. Hermione had immediately followed these up with both Muggle and Magical Masteries and had then dived straight into the start of her Doctoral studies. Arithmancy, however, remained the intelligent witch's favourite subject, and upon completion of her PhD in Ancient Languages, Hermione fully intended to pursue a magical Mastery in Arithmancy. Dr Schuyler had put the young woman in touch with a Half-blood witch who was both a Professor of Mathematics and an Arithmancy Mistress, and Dr Delta Shannon had already agreed to accept Hermione as a student on the same distance learning basis as Dr Schuyler had done. Upon Dr Shannon's recommendation, Hermione would combine studies in both Muggle Mathematics and Magical Arithmancy, as she had done with Ancient Languages and Runes.
Hermione had published several papers on Ancient Languages, which had taken the academic world by storm. Dr Schuyler had vetted them thoroughly beforehand to ensure that she did not give away anything magical; however, by using the magical point of view, Hermione was able to open up the Muggle academic world to a new perspective. This brought the young woman to the attention of one Dr Daniel Jackson, an archaeologist and linguist who, somewhat surprisingly, worked for the United States Air Force. Hermione and Daniel communicated frequently by email but did not have the opportunity to meet in person.
Hermione looked at the photographs on the table in front of her and sighed. She stretched wearily, lifting her sweat-drenched shirt away from her sticky body in her fingertips and wished for a Muggle fan, or better yet, air-conditioning. The tired witch was sitting in a tent in the middle of the Egyptian desert and cooling charms were only of limited use in the desert conditions. Hermione was working with a team of curse-breakers to explore an ancient tomb that had recently been discovered. However, the runes on this particular tomb were puzzling her. Even Solomon Schuyler had been puzzled by them.
As a last resort, Hermione had emailed Daniel Jackson for assistance. Dr Jackson had been laughed out of the academic community a few years previously, after he had published a rather bizarre theory that the purpose of the Egyptian pyramids had actually been as landing pads for alien spaceships. While Hermione did not subscribe to that theory, she did understand the need to come up with alternative theories—no matter how outlandish—for things that could not be discussed openly. The knowledge of magic was very tightly controlled and it had often been necessary for the young witch to come up with her own cover stories in the past. Although she tried to keep them as realistic sounding as she could, that was not always possible, and some of Hermione's own cover stories had been equally as outlandish in their own way. Therefore, Hermione was inclined to think there was more to Dr Jackson's theory than the general academic community was aware of, and she hoped that Dr Jackson could assist with these runes. Always assuming he answered her, of course; Dr Jackson had not replied to any emails for about a year and she was not sure where he had disappeared to during this time. Nonetheless, Hermione had emailed Dr Jackson a couple of days ago and was still hoping to hear from him.
As Hermione stretched, she heard what sounded like helicopter rotors coming towards them. Frowning, she made her way out the tent to see what was happening, since Gringotts projects were not normally approached by Muggles. As she exited the tent, Hermione saw an American military helicopter landing just outside their camp. Four people exited the helicopter, all dressed in military fatigues. As they approached the Gringotts encampment, Bill Weasley and another human curse-breaker went to meet them. Hermione observed one man lead the way, his hand outstretched in greeting. A murmured spell, and Hermione could hear what was being said.
"Hello, I'm Jonas Quinn. I'm looking for Hermione Granger?"
Hermione gaped in surprise, even as Bill responded. "We'll get her. Please wait here."
Bill nodded towards the junior curse-breaker, Nigel Wolpert, who came racing across the sand towards Hermione. "I know. I was listening," she said, as the young man panted breathlessly at her side. Hermione walked slowly towards the military team who had just arrived. This visit was not what she had expected when she had contacted Daniel Jackson.
"Hello," she said as she approached the team, ignoring the significant look Bill was sending her. "I'm Hermione Granger and this is Bill Weasley, who is in charge of this dig."
"Good to meet you," said Jonas cheerfully. "These are Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter and Murray." Colonel O'Neill was an older man, tall with salt-and-pepper hair; Major Carter was a tall, slim woman with short blonde hair and bright blue eyes; Murray was a tall, muscular, black man; and Jonas Quinn was around the same height as Major Carter. Standing next to these people, the petite witch felt tiny. "We're here because of an email you sent to Daniel Jackson. He's… unavailable, so we're here on his behalf."
"Nice to meet you all," said Hermione politely. "You'll forgive me if I'm a little blunt here, I hope? What exactly is the military's interest in our archaeological dig and my correspondence with Dr Jackson?"
"Classified," murmured the tall man with the salt-and-pepper hair, Jack O'Neill. "We're going to have to take over here."
"Oh, no, you don't!" snapped Hermione. "This project is also classified from our end and you don't have clearance."
"We have the authority to take over," said the younger man with the close-cropped hair, Jonas Quinn.
"Oh, really?" drawled Hermione sarcastically. "The US Government has no authority here in Egypt. We have permission to be here from the Egyptian Government and they haven't informed us that this permission has been revoked. Until we hear from the Egyptian Authorities that you've been authorised to take over, you're not going anywhere near this dig." After years of dealing with arrogant purebloods, Hermione was not willing to take the same nonsense from this Colonel.
"Colonel!" said Major Carter warningly, as the older man started to flex his muscles, figuratively speaking. This team was used to taking over without being challenged—not that there was usually a need to take over, as they tended to sneak in without bringing their actions to the attention of local governments. In this case, Major Carter, who was more diplomatic than her commanding officer, realised that it would not be possible to maintain a covert operation, and moved a little bit away from the group to call their base Commander for instructions. As she did so, Hermione turned to Nigel, who had come back to join them. With a jerk of her head, she indicated that he should follow her. Taking a few steps away from the military team, with Bill and Nigel following, Hermione cast a silent and wandless Muffliato. This charm replaced speech with an unidentifiable buzzing noise. It sounded like speech which was pitched too low for those outside the bounds of the charm to make out distinct words.
"Go to the tent I was working in, Nigel, and apparate from there to Gringotts Cairo. Put up a silencing charm first, so they won't hear the noise of the apparition. Tell the Goblins what's happening and ask them to sort this out immediately. We're not going to be able to put these people off for long and we can't Obliviate them—their Commanding Officer would notice if they don't complete, or remember, their mission."
Bill nodded in agreement and Nigel took off at a run. "My colleague is going to get this sorted out," Bill said firmly to the military team.
Hermione could sense the impatience coming from the Colonel and tried to defuse the situation before they tried to take over regardless. "How about a compromise?" she suggested. "We haven't yet opened the tomb. What if we agree that no one will enter—either from your team or ours—until we hear from the appropriate authorities?"
"Has the tomb been unsealed yet?" asked Jonas anxiously.
Hermione shook her head. "No. We're not planning on entering until we've managed to translate those runes that are causing us problems—the ones I contacted you about."
"Perhaps I can help?" Jonas suggested.
Hermione looked at him suspiciously. "You're not just trying to get ahead of us to the tomb?"
Jonas blushed and the rest of his team rolled their eyes in exasperation as his failure to prevaricate successfully.
"I'm sorry but we can't invite you into our camp just yet," said Bill. "If you wouldn't mind waiting here with Hermione, I'll go ahead and clear the way."
Hermione nodded in understanding but the Americans all looked confused. Hermione smiled sweetly but did not elaborate, knowing that Bill was arranging for all the Goblins on site to portkey back to Gringotts until this situation could be resolved. Instead the petite witch engaged Jonas in a discussion about runes, while his team-mates fidgeted impatiently.
"What is your background in ancient languages?" asked Major Carter. From what she could see, Hermione's knowledge of Egyptian runes could easily rival that of Daniel Jackson. Somewhat surprisingly, given that Daniel was at the top of his field, Sam suspected that Hermione's knowledge may even surpass his own.
"I'm working on my PhD," Hermione replied shortly.
Sam, who was a prodigal who had attained multiple Doctorates at a young age, as had Daniel Jackson, smiled politely but did not comment. Hermione, who knew Dr Jackson's background, shifted uncomfortably—although it was unusual for her to feel at a disadvantage in the Muggle world; that feeling was usually reserved for the wizarding world—knowing that if she had pursued a Muggle education instead of going to Hogwarts, she may have reached Doctorate status at an equally young age.
At last, Bill returned to escort them to the camp. By now it was late evening and the sun was setting. No one was foolish enough to open a tomb at night, so the four Muggles were invited to stay at the camp overnight, while they waited to hear from the Egyptian Authorities.
After supper, Hermione took the opportunity to spar with one of the curse-breakers by the light of the camp fire. She liked to keep up her battle skills and, since the war, had enhanced her magical duelling with martial arts training. Matthew Goldstein² was Bill's second-in-command and the older brother of Anthony Goldstein, who had been in Hermione's year. The Goldsteins were Half-bloods who were quite familiar with the Muggle world, and Matt was a proponent of several martial arts disciplines, something very few magicals understood. Hermione was not interested in learning martial arts for sports' sake; she would not be entering competitions, rather, she wanted to be able to defend herself without a wand. Hermione had done some kickboxing in London but over the past few years she had worked extensively with Matt, who had taken it upon himself to teach Krav Maga to Hermione, this being the discipline—from amongst those that he knew—that he felt was best suited to Hermione's purpose. All the human curse-breakers in Gringotts had been through the war and they all understood Hermione's desire to be able to protect herself.
The military contingent were highly impressed as they watched the tiny witch hold her own against her larger and more muscled opponent, cheering when she managed to put Matt on his back, although he soon recovered and won the bout. Hermione was not yet as skilled as Matt but her defence skills were not inconsequential. Sam exchanged glances with her team-mates. Their particular military command was always looking for scientists with skills in Ancient Languages and it was an added bonus when they came across such a scientist who also had good self-defence skills. Better yet, Hermione's skills were not just for show—she clearly had the attitude of a fighter.
By morning, word had come through from the authorities. "The Americans have called in favours from the Egyptian Government. The military team is looking for canopic jars with organic matter inside. We're to scan for organic matter without opening the jars and hand them over. If we find any, we're also to look for a decorative hand ornament, which should be in the vicinity and hand that over to them too." Here Bill handed over a picture of a device Hermione would later come to learn was called a Kara kesh. "They'd also like to photograph any writings. Apart from that, they're not interested in the contents of the tomb. As the Goblins are only interested in treasure, they've agreed to this compromise."
Hermione sighed; she enjoyed the intellectual challenge of working for Gringotts but it did not satisfy her. She was not interested in treasure hunting and would prefer to feel that she was doing good in the world. "We open the tomb and tell them when it's safe to enter, right?" she clarified. The Egyptian wizards had laid some very nasty curses on the tombs and it was not advisable to risk the Muggles.
"Yes," Bill agreed. "But they won't wait indefinitely for us. When do you think we can start opening the tomb, Hermione?"
"The runes don't make any sense," unless Daniel Jackson's theories of alien spaceships are correct, she admitted privately to herself, "but I don't think they're warning of any danger we can't handle. Give me an hour to go over them one last time with Mr Quinn and then we can proceed," she decided.
An hour later, the curse breaking team cautiously began to open the tomb. The Goblins had returned, heavily glamoured as humans, much to their disgust. However, one of the few things about which the Goblins agreed with witches and wizards was protecting the safety and secrecy of the magical world. They grumbled, but they accepted the necessity for the glamours under the circumstances.
It was slow work and having a military team who just wanted to charge ahead regardless of any dangers did not help the stress levels of the Gringotts employees. The Muggles had an uncompromising belief in the efficacy of their weapons, but these would not protect against magical hazards. It took three days before the Gringotts expedition was ready to allow entry to the military team, by which time they had been recalled and replaced by colleagues of theirs from the same command, much to Jonas' disgruntlement—he was inherently curious and really wanted to see inside that tomb.
"Colonel Alexander Paxton²," the new team leader introduced himself. "And these are Major Connor Kelly² and Lieutenant Arnie Brock². You don't need to worry about the Statute of Secrecy with us—we're all magical. When we heard there was a holdup, we did some checking and, when we realised this was a Gringotts project, we pulled some strings to have our colleagues recalled and be assigned here in their stead. It's a pleasure to meet you all—especially you, Miss Granger. We kept up-to-date with the war in Britain and we've heard a lot about you."
Hermione made a face; she did not like her fame. However, the bushy-haired witch pulled herself together to reply graciously and to chat with their guests.
Exploring the tomb went much more smoothly now that they did not have to worry about hiding magic. The Goblins were very relieved to drop their glamours and, by their gruff standards, were positively welcoming to the replacement military team whose presence had allowed them to do so. Once all the booby-traps and curses had been cleared, the excavation of the tomb went quickly and the military team soon located what they had come for. Through magical scans, the curse-breakers identified the canopic jars with organic matter inside and the hand ornament and gladly handed them over.
"I can't explain what's in the canopic jars—that's classified information—but understand that it's as dangerous as an Imperius Curse, probably even worse," the Colonel explained. Given that the Imperius was classified as an Unforgiveable Curse, that was saying a lot, and the Gringotts representatives promised they would contact Colonel Paxton if ever such items were found in any future excavations. Colonel Paxton and his team then took extensive photographs of the writings within the tombs and went on their way. Life at the excavation site soon went back to normal and between her job and her studies, Hermione forgot all about the unusual encounter.
¹ I'm not sure if it was still possible to sit a Botany A Level when Hermione would have sat her A Levels in this story (I don't know exactly when it was discontinued) but I'm including it in Hermione's results regardless.
² All original characters.