Chapter Forty Nine - Where There's A Will, There's A Way

As Hermione left the Headmaster's quarters pushing Kieran's pram and walking by Will's side she glanced sideways at the dashing Scot in his wizard's clothing. Will had been impossible to ignore when he had been dressed in boring Muggle clothing but now he was something else entirely. Hermione felt herself blushing as she thought of what she would like to do with those buttons down the front of Will's robe. Fearful that her feelings would show she stepped in front of Will and led the way down the stairs. She intended to show him the hall first then take as long as possible to show him the rest taking every effort to explain about teaching at Hogwarts as she went. She hoped he wouldn't mind.

"I feel like Aragorn dressed like this," Will said as he looked around, taking his new surroundings in with fresh eyes, smiling widely.

"Aragorn?" Hermione asked, "Who is he?"

"Ah, I'll show you sometime, do you not have telly here?" Will replied.

Hermione laughed, "No, we do not."

"Do you know what a telly is?"

"I do have Muggle parents you know," Hermione answered still amused.

"Oh, your robe looks nice, the colour suits you," Will commented as they descended some stairs.

"Hmm, it's one of my best ones, I was supposed to go see Ron later." Hermione replied.

Will didn't miss the lack of enthusiasm in her voice when she mentioned Ron.

"Stupid bloody man, here I am agonising over our future and he is running wild with Draco somewhere within the castle walls, who knows where," Hermione complained, "I didn't get them up there to answer for that one did I?"

Will smiled, "No, but I am sure they will when you next see them."

"Never mind," Hermione shrugged, "I'm not going all the way back up there now, it can wait."

"Do you suppose we might run into Ron on our travels?" Will asked.

"Who knows, they might have gone outside, they've been stuck inside too long, it's a wonder Severus isn't trying to hunt them down."

Will was torn, he didn't want to be the one to tell her only he didn't want her figuring it out the hard way only to find they had all been holding back on her. Hermione saw no reason to be interested, so he didn't even know how he was going to bring the subject up. He really hoped they didn't run into the two new Kin.

They walked endless corridors with Hermione pointing out what each classroom was used for, Will didn't expect that he would remember it all. Eventually they descended further down than he had ever been before, Severus had skipped the below ground levels when he had conducted his tour.

"This is known as 'the dungeons', it is where my classroom and office are, also where Severus' old quarters were." Hermione explained.

It was a dark and depressing place and the only reason Will wanted to be there was because it was Hermione's place. Hermione stopped outside her classroom door and opened it for Will to see inside.

"This is where I will be teaching, where Severus taught for most of his time here," She explained.

Will leant against the doorframe and peered in observing all the cauldrons and bottles of ingredients lined up on shelves. He observed that Hermione looked mesmerizingly pretty, lit as she was by the soft glowing light emitting from the wand she held close to her face. She turned from the room in the doorway and met his eyes as she did so. Her clothing was so old fashioned but not strictly from any period he could pin down. She was like a gothic Florence Nightingale without the rigidity of corsetry. She had dressed like this for the benefit of another man.

"Can you do magic?" Will asked intending to break the tension he thought he could feel building.

Hermione laughed, "Can I do magic?" she blurted when she found breath.

Will smiled, "I did mean, can you do some magic for me?"

"I suppose so," Hermione answered with curiosity and a bit of suspicion, "Do you seek proof that we are what we say we are?"

Will shook his head, "No, I've had plenty of proof from Severus and Harry, they keep sobering me up and now I don't have a shotgun," He answered, "But they're not normal even for wizards, I just wondered what you could do."

"It's just the warrior sword thing with them and you haven't even seen the Kin stuff at all. I can sober you up and the rest of it too."

"I know what they have done," Will admitted to Hermione.

Hermione gave Will a grim introspective smile and the mood darkened, "I have seen what they have done."

"Can you turn me into a frog?" Will asked suddenly, wanting to break away from all thoughts of the war.

Hermione laughed again and Will was glad, "I can if you want me to."

"Ok, I was just asking," Will told her as he slipped out of the doorway and back into the corridor.

"It's very tempting I admit," Hermione chatted as they walked back toward the main staircase, "But I think I might surprise you with something later when you're least expecting it."

Will forced himself to smile, though he thought that he had been left to deliver the biggest surprise whatever Hermione thought up for him as a joke.

As they neared the ground level outside where the hall was, voices could be heard echoing along the corridors. Laughter and chatter, two men full of spirit.

"Oh here they come," Hermione said disapprovingly, "They are meant to be adults on the staff side now, fine example they're setting. We can't have this going on tomorrow, I will have to have words with them if the Kin won't, much use that will do."

Will listened, the chatter was coming nearer all the time and Hermione had stopped walking, it was inevitable that they would meet and Will had no chance of getting Hermione to come away.

Ron and Draco almost ran into them, Draco still taking a piggy back. As they stopped in the hallway Draco slid from Ron's back but remained standing partially behind him holding onto Ron's arm. Will had never seen Ron look so glowing and full of energy, he didn't know how Hermione could not notice the change that was so dramatic. The two of them were covered in mud and grass stains.

"Ron we need to talk, can we perhaps arrange a time when you are not behaving in an irresponsible way?" Hermione asked in a voice that did not hide her irritation with the two young men.

Will cringed as he watched the thoughts flashing across Ron's face knowing what he knew, hoping that Ron would bluff his way out of it so that he could get on with breaking it Hermione gently.

"About what?" Ron asked, either not remembering or playing dumb.

"About what?" Hermione snapped, "About us, about you knowing now what happened, about just about everything."

"Us?" Ron said with a twist to his face which suggested that it was the most outlandish suggestion he had ever heard.

Will knew he had to separate them quickly, he now knew enough to imagine what would happen if Hermione got really angry with Ron. Quite reasonably Hermione was getting angry and Ron wasn't going to say anything to discharge it. Draco was looking angry too, though he still remained at Ron's side, he was glowering at Hermione.

"Severus wanted me to tell you if I saw you that you are now lodged in his old dungeon quarters, the Kin thought you would like it down there," Will interrupted hoping to distract everybody.

Ron's face lit up even more, "Brilliant! I hope they've sent our stuff over already, we should go get settled in. Draco?"

Draco looked up, he had momentarily drifted from Ron's side and had limped a few steps towards Kieran's pram seeming suddenly distracted. Will was annoyed with the pair of them too, they couldn't just hide it for a while till he had a chance to tell Hermione. They had to just carry on behaving in a creepy Kin manner and they were upsetting her, he didn't like that at all.

Ron suddenly scooped Draco up into his arms, "Come on, let me take you home," He grinned.

Will watched the two Kin disappear down the corridor without another word to Hermione who had turned away and was facing the wall. She seemed too upset to even put two and two together.

Will came to stand behind Hermione and placed a hand on her shoulder, he could feel a slight tremor. Her anger had melted into tears, she seemed so deflated and tired. Will dared not touch her skin, it hardly seemed fair when she knew what he was.

"Let's go back to Gryffindor, you've only had Kieran a few days, you could do with a nice cup of tea," Will suggested hoping that it would be quiet and he could at least begin to explain, he still had no idea what he was going to say.

Hermione bristled with anger again, she pushed his hand off her shoulder roughly and stepped away from him.

"There goes my approved partner, don't you dare be nice to me and do nice things and shower me with your charm. I don't want a stupid cup of tea, as if that solves anything."

"Well it was a cup of tea and a talk, I mean a proper talk, everything will be all right you know," Will said trying to calm Hermione enough to let him tell her.

Hermione drew her wand and glowered at him through tear filled eyes, "Take one step closer and I will turn you into a bloody frog and you can stay like that," She threatened.

Will stood completely still wondering if it was safe to push his luck or not. He had no idea whether she was serious about turning him into a frog permanently, he even had to consider whether this was some diluted remnant of the Kin mentality she had picked up from being linked with Severus. Whatever was the case he found that Hermione's passion made him feel more drawn to her not less.

Hermione's eyes were still filled with the tears she couldn't stop from coming, Will thought it might mean she wasn't seeing too well. He rushed towards her and grabbed a hold of her wand arm tightly, holding it away from himself. He had touched her skin and received a bolt of a vision in which Hermione was wearing a colourful robe outside on the lawn, she twirled in a circle holding a young girl whose hair was fair in colour, she giggled in the bright summer sunshine.

"Let go of me!" Hermione commanded bringing Will back to the here and now.

Will was standing very close to her now, he looked down at her, his expression one of determined intent, "No!"

Hermione sobbed, "My intended doesn't want me and all others are forbidden, there if you must know, now let me go."

Will imagined that if he were not forbidden now then no harm would come to him from persisting. Will wished that the Kin could have been a bit more blunt with him so that he could have been confident. If they hadn't wanted him near her they should never have brought him back.

"Gryffindor, now!" Will commanded still keeping a firm hold of Hermione.

Will took hold of the pram with his free hand, how Kieran was sleeping through all this he didn't know. He led them both up to Gryffindor and when Hermione let them in with the password they went up to her rooms leaving Kieran with one of the other residents for a short while.

Hermione slumped down on the couch in front of the fire when Will let her go, she sat staring at the flames. Will got them a cup of tea and sat on the couch beside Hermione. She seemed resigned and empty, at least she wasn't fighting him.

"It will be all right," He said again.

"I don't see how," Hermione said taking a sip of her tea, "When I find out what those two have done to Ron I will bloody kill them," Hermione shrugged, "Or at least I will think about killing them a lot, I can't do it can I."

"It might not have been their doing," Will reasoned.

Hermione had been about to take another sip of her tea but she froze and Will realised that her brain was starting to chew things over.

"You know something," Hermione said almost to herself, "You've been around a lot, you were there with them this morning, well then?"

Will swallowed, all he had to do now was say it, "Draco had a box he stole from his father," Will began.

"It was locked," Hermione added.

"Draco and Ron opened it last night," Will continued.

"So it was an antidote? No, it couldn't have been, not for Ron's curse."

"No, the box contained two swords," Will finished.

Will waited through Hermione's silence, it was all he could do, further explanation wasn't necessary, Hermione knew as much about the Kin swords as the Kin themselves.

"Well that makes sense if you look back, it was never about the other Kin at all, from the moment that box entered the castle Ron was never away from Draco or it," Hermione said at last in a detached sort of way, she looked so tired.

Will risked being turned into a frog again, "Now is not the day but I would like to ask the Kin, they warned me off you that day you came to my house but then today they turned up knowing about Ron and offered me a job. I don't think it was just so I could tell you about Ron. I hope they weren't so cruel to expect me to teach in this school when I cannot be near you. Will you consent to spend one evening with me sometime soon?" Will asked.

Hermione smiled grimly, "I can't think straight with you here," She said, "I would take that as a compliment."

"I will let you think about it, but in the meantime I will ask the Kin. If you want someone else then I will make sure they approve who you do want, I would rather one of us was happy."

Hermione looked to Will looking weary but more settled, she placed a hand on his, "You can ask," She agreed, "And I will see you tonight at dinner."

"Will you come away with me soon? Nothing much, just a quiet dinner and a movie?" Will pressed.

"Providing those two don't throw a fit, yes." Hermione smiled.

Will raised Hermione's hand to his lips and lightly kissed it, "I will see you at dinner."

Will stood up and with some great reluctance left Hermione to mull over the latest developments with Ron, hoping that she would find some time to think of him also.

Will went straight up to Severus and Harry's quarters, in his opinion they owed him a favour.