THIS IS A REPOST. I originally posted this fic a while back, pulled it because all my Dramione-inclusive plunnies died on me. But now they've been stirring back to life, so I decided to give them second chance.
Those who read these works before my mass Dramione Deletion (or who read these works in my Unfinished Dramione PDF), please note that aside from minor changes and editing fixes, the content of the previously posted chapters has not changed. All returning Dramiones will be updated weekly until all previously-available chapters are posted. At that point, the fics will continue until completion, but will fall under my 'sporadic updates' label. Feel free to reference my profile, PM me, or ask in your review and I'll get back to you ASAP, if you'd like a list of which other titles are (or may be) returning.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit, in any form, from this fic.
Author's Note: A portion of this fic's plot is [loosely] based on the manga Heart no Diamond by Mayu Shinjo.
Hermione paced the kitchen of her family's home, every inch of her feeling the sting of pins and needles. Wincing as she shook her head at her own anxiety, she clasped her hands in front of her mouth and pivoted on her heel, starting across the tiled floor, again.
With a groan, Harry dropped his head against the counter of the kitchen island. "Hermione, you're making me dizzy. Please, stop."
"I can't help it, Harry," she said, taking a moment to chew on her nails. "I'm just so nervous about this. What if something goes wrong with fixing their memories? Or—or what if I did something wrong with the memory alterations, and took the memories away, instead of just changing them?"
His shoulders slumped. Well, now she was just working herself up into a right panic, wasn't she?
Heaving a weighted sigh, Harry stood from the bar stool where he'd perched and crossed the kitchen. When Hermione didn't seem to notice his proximity, he stepped directly in front of her, forcing her to halt.
She blinked startled chestnut-colored eyes at him. "What? What!"
Her panic drew an unintended laugh out of him as he said, "Do you trust Kingsley?"
"And do you think there is the slightest chance that you—you, Hermione Granger—would have cast a sloppy, careless, or imperfect, memory-altering charm on your own parents?"
Hermione inhaled deeply, letting the breath out slow as she allowed his words to sink in. He was right, of course. She'd studied and prepared, and angsted for weeks leading up to that moment. There was no way she hadn't cast the charm perfectly.
"No," she said, finally, that single word toneless.
She let her frame slump as he clamped his hands over her forearms and guided her backward to deposit her on the stool he'd just vacated. She turned on the seat, bracing her elbows on the counter. "I just . . . I know I shouldn't say this, but I wish Ron was here."
Harry cringed as he rounded the island to sit across from her. "I know I shouldn't say this, but . . . if you wanted him here, maybe you shouldn't have broken up with him."
Scowling, she fixed him with a lethal glare. It wasn't enough that she'd had to put up with a Howler from Ron's Mum? Small blessing that the remaining Weasleys still seemed to like Hermione, just fine.
"Maybe I wouldn't have broken up with him if he hadn't tried to tell me who I can, or can't, be friends with!"
Harry's face fell. "Hermione, be fair. You're talking about Draco Malfoy."
"Exactly, Harry!" She frowned, the venom draining from her expression. She never could hold her anger at him very long. "It's Malfoy. And I wasn't trying to be friends with him, I only owled him—at Professor McGonagall's request—to see how his family was handling after the War. That's all. New school term is in a few weeks and she said it'd be nice if we all started our final year at least not at odds with one another, or it would be as though nothing's changed."
Shrugging, she picked at the edge of the counter with the tips of her half-bitten-down nails. "And I agree with her. But making a kind gesture does not mean I was trying to be his new best friend, or anything!"
"I don't disagree, but you know how Ron is."
Hermione couldn't help a mirthless laugh at that. "Yes, and he knows how I am, and he should know to trust me by now. That he doesn't is why I can't be with him. We've been through too much together not to at least expect that sort of confidence in one another."
Nodding, Harry couldn't think up an argument against that. She was right. It did seem like Ron always expected that it didn't matter if he said or did something hurtful, because Hermione would eventually forgive him. Well, that was certainly one notion that had blown up in his face.
"I didn't mean I wish he was here as my boyfriend, Harry. I meant I wish he was here, with us as our friend, like we used to be." She suspected that Ron wasn't pleased that Harry took her side.
She wasn't about to ask whether or not he thought this was why Ron wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts with them in September. Neither of them wanted to think about the answer.
They both started at a knock from the backdoor.
"Oh my God, finally," Hermione said, the words tumbling out in a breathless whisper as she popped off the bar stool and hurried across the kitchen.
"Mum, Dad!" She spoke as she pulled open the door, but only Kingsley Shacklebolt stood before her.
For a few heartbeats, she couldn't make sense of the severe expression gracing his normally kind face. She leaned past him, peering around the dark-skinned wizard's towering frame. Her breath seemed to rattle in her lungs as she forced herself to exhale.
Stepping back again, she met his gaze. "I don't understand." Hermione could feel it as Harry moved up to stand at her elbow. "Where are my parents?"
"You need to come with me. Miss Granger, there has been a . . . complication."
She didn't know how she managed to keep from sagging back against Harry—her legs felt as though they'd go out from under her at any moment. "They're all right, aren't they? You did find them—you told me you found them! You would tell me if something was wrong!"
There she was, panicking again. Harry shifted to stand beside her, slipping a supportive arm around her shoulders.
Kingsley held up both hands in a placating gesture, sympathy leaking into his jet eyes. "Yes, I would. We did find them, as I assured you. And they are all right. They are at the Ministry. I . . . I am reluctant to say more until we arrive there."
Hermione didn't like his tone. And she didn't like uncertainty—especially not this much of it—but she doubted she'd get more out of the new Minister of Magic if he didn't wish to divulge any further details. She could feel her eyes well up from the frustration of it all, and she very much didn't like that, either.
Forcing out a trembling breath, she said, "Harry?"
"It's going to be okay, Hermione," Harry answered with a nod, tightening his arm around her. "C'mon. Let's just go see what this is about."
Sniffling she nodded, blinking to keep her tears at bay.
When Hermione arrived at the Ministry's in-house infirmary, all that kept her from running to her parents was the large hand clamped firmly on her shoulder. She supposed she should be glad they weren't at St. Mungo's—that would signal something very wrong with them.
Her mum and dad lay on side-by-side gurneys, unconscious as a small handful of wizards and witches worked on them.
"I don't understand what's happening."
Kingsley's mouth pulled into a frown as he looked down at her. Perhaps she didn't know why this was proving such a task, after all.
He leaned down, meeting her gaze. "Miss Granger, did you, in any way, lock the charm you placed on your parents' memories?"
Swallowing hard, Hermione exchanged a worried glance with Harry. "No, of course not! Why would I?"
Kingsley's massive shoulders slumped. "It was thought, perhaps, if you did not survive the War, you would want lessen the risk of them accidentally remembering you, without taking their memories, entirely."
"I swear, I did no such thing!" Her lower lip trembled and her fists shook at her sides. "Now, please, tell me what's going on!"
"Your parents are fighting against the repair of their memory alterations."
After a moment of reminding herself to breathe, Hermione looked past the Minister. Her parents appeared so peaceful under the effect of the sleep spell that she knew had been cast to make the return of their memories a more seamless transition.
Could they really be struggling when they looked so docile?
"Is that even possible?" Harry asked from beside her, taking the question right out of her mouth.
"We had thought not, but now . . . ?"
She leaned against Harry as she kept watch on the sleeping couple. "But they'll be all right, though, won't they?"
Kingsley's frown deepened. He wanted to tell the young witch yes, but he wasn't at all certain about anything in this situation.
Hermione lurched forward a little, one hand clutching at the front of her shirt. The commotion from the couple further inside the room was the larger spectacle, however, drawing everyone's attention in that same instant.
Her mother and father sat up on their gurneys, looking about and babbling questions faster than anyone could form answers. Her father's voice, sharper and more commanding than she'd ever heard it, was a welcome relief, even as he persisted, "Who are you people? Where are we? Where is our daughter?"
Pushing away from Harry and Kingsley, Hermione forgot the burning in her chest as she hurried into the room. "I'm here! I'm here!" She all but collapsed as she knelt before them, dropping her head down on her mother's knees as she hugged the older woman.
The silence that wound the room was heavy and strained, before her mother said, "Hermione? Is it really you?"
Laughing as she sniffled, Hermione raised her head. "Of course it's me, Mum! Oh, God, you have no idea how much I missed . . . ." Her voice trailed off and her breath caught in her throat.
Forcing another sniffle, Hermione wiped her eyes with the back of her hand to clear them. The woman staring back at her was not Deidre Granger. There was a resemblance, but . . . her mother's eyes were brown, not blue . . . her mother's tumbling locks were dark mahogany, not the deep wood-brown of this woman's hair.
And where was the smattering of pale freckles across the bridge of her nose that Hermione so adored?
"You're not my mother!"
"Hermione, don't be absurd. You're simply in shock," the woman said, a gentle smile curving her lips. She placed her hands on Hermione's shoulders, but the young witch was still too taken aback to respond to the touch. "Let me look at you. You're so grown up! Merlin's beard, how much time have we lost?"
Shaking off the woman's hands, Hermione repeated herself. "You're not my mother!" She'd just said Merlin's beard, for pity's sake!
"Hermione, dear, I know this is not the way this was supposed to happen, but you will not speak to your mother in that tone!"
Hermione turned her head to look at her father, then. The grey-green eyes she remembered were now brown, the sandy hair turned rich blue-black.
She fell backward from her kneeling position, landing hard on her bum. There was only the most fleetingly awareness through her of the sensation of bodily contact as Harry stooped down beside her, looping a supportive arm around her shoulders.
"And just who the bloody hell are you?" she demanded as she stared at the man who sat in her father's place. This didn't make sense! Why couldn't she make sense of what was going on? She'd looked into this room moments ago and seen her parents lying in here.
How had this happened? Had the Ministry made some sort of mistake?
The woman shook her head as her eyes grew misty. "I don't understand, Warn; why is she so confused? Albus should've told her by now!"
"Warn?! My father's name is William!" Hermione spoke from between clenched teeth—they didn't even have the names right! "And Albus Dumbledore is dead!"
Harry watched as the couple exchanged a shocked glance at Hermione's declaration about Dumbledore. He studied their faces as they began to fret, visibly, about whatever had gone wrong with their situation.
Warn had that same little crescent scar on his chin as William Granger had— the one Harry hadn't even noticed until the year before Hermione'd sent them off to Australia. His hairline fell in the same, slightly off-center widow's peak. The woman had the same ski-slope nose, and her eyes were the same wide almond shape as Hermione's mum.
"Albus Dumbledore is dead," he repeated, pulling their gazes to him. "The Second Wizarding War—"
"Second?" the woman echoed, the word tumbling from her in a startled whisper. "A second war? Oh, dear Lord . . . ."
"Voldemort . . . ." He paused, observing the way they both winced as he spoke the name. Oh, God, he hated when he was right . . . . He hated even more when Hermione was too emotional to think—a thing that happened so rarely that he once hadn't thought it even possible. "Is dead. Truly dead."
A smile broke over the woman's face and her eyes watered. "Then we are free!" She looked to her husband, once more. "We needn't hide any longer."
Hermione was numb in Harry's embrace as she darted her gaze from the woman, to Warn, and back. She couldn't think . . . she didn't know what to do in situations where she couldn't think. Breathe, Hermione, breathe.
"Please, please, someone tell me what's going on!" If she didn't get answers soon, she was going to draw her wand and start blindly hexing people!
"Hermione," the woman said as she slid down from her gurney to kneel in front of the bushy-haired young woman. She tried not to frown at the way Hermione recoiled. "Listen very carefully, we are—"
Hermione gasped, again clutching at her shirt. There was that searing sensation she'd been distracted from a few minutes earlier—was it really only a few minutes? It felt like so much more time had passed.
"Not again," she said in a pained murmur.
"Hermione, what's wrong?"
She met Harry's concerned gaze as she shook her head. "I don't . . . ." Her voice trailed off as she pulled the neck of her shirt down. There, above her left breast . . . . "What the bloody hell is this, now?"
The woman blinked a few times as she looked at the small, heart-shaped mark—it looked rather more like a smudge of blood than a strawberry mark—before she turned her gaze to her husband. He, in turn, pulled aside the neck of his own shirt and peered down at his chest.
"The mark's been transferred," he said as he looked up, again. "It's chosen its new protector."
Hermione's jaw dropped and her eyes widened. Protector? Of it? What the hell was it?
The woman reached out, curling gentle hands around Hermione's shoulders—the girl was too out of sorts to push her way, just now. "Hermione, you knew us by other names, but we are Warn and Dahlia Dagworth—"
"Dagworth?" Hermione's brow furrowed as her brain kicked into action. She'd heard that name before. Professor Slughorn! During her first potions lesson with him, he'd asked if she was related to someone by that name.
"As in Hector Dagworth-Granger? The founder of The Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers?"
Harry felt a little bit of relief flood him as Hermione's usual I was curious about the mention, so I researched it habit reared its head. She was coming back to herself, the shock to her system was probably just too much, even for her.
Dahlia took a deep breath and let it out slow. "Yes. Hermione," she said, trying once more and forcing a smile unto her lips. "We are your parents. And there is much we have to discuss."