Chapter 1

The bell over the coffee shop door jingled to announce a new customer. Harry glanced up, and noticing it was Hermione, slid out of the booth to welcome her.

She wove her way around the worn tables and chipped linoleum towards Harry. Dressed in her snow-white lab coat and navy suit, she looked confident, fresh, and beautiful, a stark contrast to the shabby surroundings. Harry thought she grew more beautiful every time he saw her- the protruding teeth and frizzy hair of her childhood were long gone.

"Harry," Hermione leaned in for a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I am so glad you called. It's good to see you! How's the Auror business?"

Harry smiled, "Busy. It's good to see you, too."

Harry waved for the server, who, upon realizing exactly who was sitting in her section, hustled over with two of the least smudged menus. She pulled a pencil from behind her ear. "What can I get you?"

"Just coffee, for now, Harry?"

"Make it two, please."

The server rushed to fill their order, placing the heavy mugs on their table in a few minutes. She couldn't wait to brag to her friends. She had served the famous Harry Potter and Hermione Granger-Weasley!

She glanced over, trying not to stare, but noticed more than half the patrons in the shop were watching the pair's every move; not that either of them seemed to notice.

Hermione laughed, "So you had no idea Albus had invited fifteen boys for a sleepover? What did you do to entertain them?"

"They were all muggle children from his school, you know, so we set up their sleeping bags in the basement while Ginny ordered a stack of pizzas. I moved the projector downstairs and set up a Star Wars marathon."

Harry paused his story to take a sip of the bitter brew.

"Have you seen Star Wars?"

Hermione scoffed, "I've been busy, but I haven't been under a rock. Of course, I've seen Star Wars!"

Harry shrugged. "Hey, you never know."

"Why do you want to know? Is this some sort of test? Have I passed a muggle meter or something?" Hermione laughed.

"I wanted to ask you about something from The Phantom Menace. It's…"

"I know, the first film of the prequels. Why?"

"It was the first time they mentioned being able to measure a person's abilities with a blood test. They called it midi-chlorians."

Hermione looked at him warily. "And?"

"Well, is it possible we could detect our magical abilities the same way?"

Hermione's hand shot out, gripped his arm like a vice, leaned in with a hushed tone asked, "What do you know? And how did you find out?"

"Huh? What are you talking about?"

"I recently identified the gene that gives us our magical abilities. No one outside of my lab knows. I haven't even told Ron. It is a groundbreaking discovery, but it could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Very dangerous. And now you ask me about it, just a few weeks after my discovery…,"

Hermione's hands were visibly shaking. Harry placed his steadying hands over hers. She looked at him pleadingly.

"Harry, tell me the truth. Is this just a coincidence, or is this something more?"

Harry slid out of the booth and threw some money on the table.

"It's just a coincidence, Hermione, but I think we should go to your lab. And you should call Ron to have him meet us there. We need to talk about this and the risk involved if word of this discovery gets out."