Chapter 51 - Will You Be Mine?
After the events of the last few days and with the new term looming, Severus waited for dinner to be over and called a meeting of the Kin before Ron and Draco could run off. They all occupied the nearest classroom to the hall that they could find.
"There are a number of things we need to consider together before tomorrow night," Severus began, "I had assigned Ron to commence training in psychic healing but the emergence of a new Kin bond does change things."
"Ever so slightly." Hermione commented sparing a glower for Ron.
"In any event, Harry and myself having teaching duties and being solely in charge of security and warding as well as our childcare responsibilities, may have been a bit ambitious. Now the situation has changed it makes sense to review things. I am sure we can agree on a schedule that is to everyone's advantage."
"We can take security and warding," Ron suggested, eager to prove himself in his role as warrior.
"My thoughts exactly, and I mean being solely in charge of it not just when you fancy, there's no point if I have to check everything," Severus agreed, "Maybe you would both be more comfortable in one of the cottages instead of the dungeons. Hermione could probably do with some more space and we need the Griffindor dorm back too, ideally."
"What?" Ron complained, "Hermione gets the dungeons!"
"It is near to her office." Severus persisted.
"I'll have the cottage then, least it's not dark and dank and buried under everything else." Hermione countered.
Severus rubbed his temples as if he were beginning to contract a headache, "Fine, it seems we can agree on something. Hermione I will mentor you as we agreed before, Ron can still involve himself with Psychic Healing which I will mentor also. Harry you can just start with Defence on your own, I don't see how anybody else could add anything there. Will, I will work out your timetable tomorrow, there are texts available for you so you will know what things have been covered in the past but I am sure you can develop your own ideas in good time. Anything else?"
"You said I could stay here or at Sgoil Dubh, how do I get there and back?" Will asked.
"Hermione can help you transport back tonight, we'll sort out something more permanent later," Severus answered, "Make sure she gets back promptly though, we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow."
"I will," Will agreed though he had trouble hiding his disappointment. He didn't even know why he felt such urgency, maybe because he had never had anything like this before, maybe he had done all the waiting he could bear.
"I could baby sit." Draco pouted.
"I don't bloody think so." Hermione snapped.
"Why not? I know what I'm doing!" Draco insisted.
"I would rather entrust Kieran to the Dark Lord." Hermione continued somewhat cruelly, Will didn't stop her.
"We will be occupied reinforcing the wards for tomorrow, I'm sure we're far too busy to act as slaves for you lot." Ron joined in, taking Draco by the arm and leading him away. Draco had averted his eyes and allowed Ron to steer him without another word.
The Kin let Ron and Draco go.
"I will get Will back home then," Hermione prompted, "Is there anything else?"
"No," Severus replied suddenly looking even more weary, "We will take Kieran till you get back, you will find us in front of a nice warm fire in our quarters. You have thirty minutes."
"See you there," Hermione said with a twinkle in her eye as she linked arms with Will and he led her out of the room.
"You are awful," Harry commented to Severus.
"Why?" Severus asked feigning innocence.
"How is she supposed to get on with Will if you only give her enough time to get to Sgoildubh and back?"
Severus smirked, "She's a resourceful girl, I'm sure she'll think of something, no harm in making her work for it."
Hermione led Will up to her room while she fetched a few items, one of which was to make a portkey with. Will was annoyed but tried not to show it and certainly didn't say anything. He knew that he was supposed to be courting Hermione but he felt an impatience, as if now the bond of a kind had been made there was no need for preamble. He wanted to take Hermione out to dinner, watch movies with her and all sorts of things, but it was like being forced to ask for permission to see someone when they were already your wife. He wondered fleetingly if they were supposed to get married or not and was it frowned on in this world if he slept with her without it.
He didn't know why he was finding it necessary to ponder these things when he had been confirmed as not forbidden and then granted no more than half an hour. It was niggling him beyond measure that they said that there was no need to keep asking permission and then a short while later they were decreeing restrictions. He was furious with himself for meekly complying.
When they left Hermione's quarters they then had to walk halfway across the grounds before she could transport them to just outside of his house, apparently to get outside of the wards. When he regained his orientation after the magical transportation he noticed the wind had got up and he was still clinging to Hermione's arm.
"Can I ask you in for a coffee? Do you have time for that?" Will asked knowing that she didn't. He sounded as tetchy as he felt he knew, it was annoying him that she didn't seem at all bothered by any of this.
"Are you alright?" Hermione asked.
He saw that his irritation had not gone un-noticed and he was not sorry for it, "I just want to spend a little time with you."
Hermione smiled, "Don't take any notice of them two," She said guessing what he must be thinking, "You will get plenty of my time, tonight and any other night."
"But they want you back."
"I have to report in very soon, but very soon is a long way off yet," Hermione explained without really explaining anything, she then put Will out of his misery seeing that he wasn't in a mood to be played with, "I have a device that can wind back time a number of hours and the Kin bloody well know it. I don't just turn people into frogs you know."
"Okay," Will replied feeling much happier, "So they were teasing me, very funny. I will make us a nice cup of coffee and then we'll see where we go from there? Do you want to stay for a while?"
Hermione smiled back, "Of course I do."
Once in the familiar surroundings of his kitchen Will bustled around making a pot of filter coffee for them both. He needed to keep busy just to stop himself from kissing her right there and then.
"It must be quiet living here on your own," Hermione commented.
Will grimaced at the memory of what had happened, "It wasn't always like this, when Harry and Severus first visited there were many people living here."
"Sorry, I remember now from the swords, I wasn't connecting all that to you but of course it's your house, you were there," Hermione realised, "Did you have someone special?"
Will felt dismayed that the subject had come up so soon, "It wasn't like that, to welcome somebody as a lodger and then pursue them wasn't something I thought to do. Maybe it would have been different if I had encountered 'the one'."
"Did you not meet someone who wasn't a lodger?" Hermione asked.
Will sighed, "There has been no one. I wasn't the greatest of catches before I had dead bodies in my freezer."
Hermione came to Will's side as he resolutely stuck to making the coffee, "I became a mother but I have little recollection of the event of conception. I wouldn't want to remember it."
Will put an arm around Hermione's shoulders, "Well, you only ever need the one, so I suppose all is well."
They sat at the big wood table once the coffees were made and Hermione wrapped her hands round hers. Will started to fuss on at the fire until Hermione waved her wand at it and it was suddenly lit.
"Sometimes I wish I could have gone on the road with Harry, this is the first time I have left that castle on my own since they went away. It's nice here, I feel comfortable."
"They were half starved and frozen to death when they got here," Will explained.
"I know, only it may be felt like they were doing something."
"Would you like to walk down a Muggle High Street?" Will asked, "It's chilly out but I'm sure I could get you warm again."
Hermione smiled, "Yes, I would actually. Although I'm not particularly dressed for it."
Will looked at Hermione in her beautiful long dress, "I wouldn't want you to change if you could, although people might stare and say things, fortunately for me looking a bit weird has not yet been made a crime."
"Let's go then!" Hermione said with fire and enthusiasm in her eyes.
Will was overwhelmed that the new life he saw in Hermione was all for him, they had quickly supped their coffee and headed for the Land Rover but he found that he could hardly think to drive. He had to force himself to concentrate in the fading light.
Parking in Fort William turned out to be a surreal experience after all he had done that day. All the 'Muggles', as he would now call them, were going about the their evening business as if nothing had changed with the world, and for them it hadn't. He offered Hermione his hand after he had locked the vehicle and she smiled at him shyly and took it. They made for the main shopping street and the bright lights of the streetlamps and the shop windows without any idea about what they might do.
"I would have taken you for a McDonalds but we've just eaten," Will joked nervously, he could feel the warmth and the electricity passing between them as he continued to hold her hand and he knew that he could no longer read her like he had done before and could still do with everyone else.
"This is amazing," Hermione enthused.
"You've been away from the world too long if you think this is amazing," Will commented.
"Not just the street," Hermione clarified, "I've never been on a date before. Meeting you the way I did I thought maybe we would just fall straight into Hogwart's life as a couple but you mean to court me, that's what's amazing."
"You have to be the easiest girl to please, ever." Will joked.
Hermione stopped at that, "I am not in the least bit easy to please, just ask 'them'," Hermione insisted feeling annoyed with Will, "You are just 'the one', that is all. You have to be the most fanciable man I have ever come across and you are kind and generous too. I don't want to hear any more self depreciating comments."
"So where would you like to go on this amazing date?" Will asked.
Will had only enough time to notice a tall blond haired man who looked a bit out of place walking towards them before Hermione suddenly dragged him into a brightly lit sweet shop. She looked wildly around as if trying to figure out what to do next then pulled him to the back of the shop. Will turned to Hermione, he had been about to make another joke but her face had gone ashen and her gaze was locked on the shop front window as if expecting the worst to happen any moment.
"What just happened?" Will asked after a few moments when he saw Hermione at least start to breath normally again.
"Draco's father just happened that's what, I really hope he didn't spot me, I can't handle someone like that on my own. So much for getting out of the castle, I guess this is why we haven't done so in so long." Hermione replied, the mood of their evening stroll irretrievably ruined.
"Long blond hair and a black top hat?" Will asked.
"Yea, really blends in doesn't he?" Hermione conceded.
"Think he would have had your head off by now if he'd seen you," Will tried to reassure.
Hermione sighed, "I suppose so, If he's here he was probably looking for Harry, no reason for him suspect his son or any other wizard would be here. They must have had a lead at some point."
"Severus used to make cash point withdrawals here," Will offered, "The house is strongly warded, we'll wait a few minutes longer then I'll drive you back."
Will made them both some more coffee when they got back to Sgoildubh, he was just relieved that he had got them both back safely. The mood of the evening was ruined but at least they were both unharmed and could start again another evening. Hermione sat at the large kitchen table again, the fire was still lit in the hearth to warm them and she seemed to find it calming to watch the flames dance. Will handed her her mug of coffee and sat in the chair next to her.
"This is where Harry and Severus slept when they were here wasn't it, I'm just remembering it from the swords. I didn't understand but now I do, it's cozy in here."
"A lot of people have liked to sit in here over the years, a kitchen should be the heart of a home." Will added.
"The cottage isn't as big as this, do you like it here?" Hermione asked.
"I like it wherever you are," Will answered.
"I mean I could just have the fire in the cottage linked with the one in your lounge, we could just come back here every day, if you want."
"We could do yes, it's been my home my whole life."
"Will you show me round?" Hermione asked.
Will went visibly pale, "It's not very tidy," He said rather understating the situation somewhat since he had been on a drinking bender recently and hadn't done any housework since Judith had disappeared.
Hermione shrugged, "I don't mind, that's easily dealt with."
"Not that easily."
"Just show me round, I don't care, it will be fine," Hermione insisted.
Will reluctantly took Hermione upstairs and headed straight for his own room. If he was doing this at all he thought he might as well subject her to the worst of it first, it would certainly test her resolve to be with him if nothing else. With every step he remembered each and every item he had either tossed on the floor or kicked into a corner till there was a three foot high pile. Most of the piles consisted of the clothes he had worn and not bothered to wash. He had no idea how many empty bottles were lying about but it was approximately a lot. He had no idea how it was going to smell in there. He stopped outside the door, he couldn't open it, she was going to run a mile.
"What's the matter, have you got a three headed monster in there?" Hermione joked.
"Similar," Will muttered to himself as he pushed on the door.
Will entered his bedroom to find nothing, nothing but clean furniture and a faint smell of dried rose petals anyway.
"Told you I would surprise you," Hermione said from behind Will.
Will was speechless for a minute but eventually found his voice, "Where are my shoes?"
"'Where are my shoes'? That's all you can say?" Hermione asked feeling amused, she had missed the tone of Will's voice.
"You've been through my stuff!" Will blurted out, this was worse than if he had taken her into the room. She must have sneaked in or got someone else to do it, nobody had ever touched a thing that belonged to him and this had been his room all his life.
Hermione sighed, "I have not, you're not grasping the magic thing at all, everything is just where it's supposed to be. I didn't come in here, I haven't touched a thing, they'll be here somewhere."
Hermione moved past Will and looked down into the garden.
"You're looking for them aren't you," Will stated.
"Yes, but I can't see anything."
"We left them far behind when we drove back and if they didn't see you before..." Will reasoned, "Besides, Severus said the wards here are really good."
"Yes, we're safe for now," Hermione agreed, she didn't explain to Will about how Lucius Malfoy would have had no trouble at all following them in a Land Rover and may have intentionally not done anything so that he could see where they went.
Their evening wasn't going very well at all. They'd had to come back from their walk and now she had only succeeded in offending Will, she should have guessed that he would be quite private and sensitive. He had sat on his bed and was looking at his feet, she didn't know if she could rescue the situation.
"Look, you might as well know," Will began without looking up, "This room was full of dirty clothes and empty whisky bottles, there was dust everywhere. I hadn't changed the bed in months." He sighed, "There were used bunches of tissue both in the bed and on the floor... I don't know what it is you've taken a liking to that the rest of the whole world has missed..."
"None of us had anybody before," Hermione interrupted, "Not one single one of the Kin that have ever existed ever had anybody serious before their bonds. Sometimes a queue of failures and always of short duration. We're all lonely outsiders in one way or another. Do you not think it might be that the swords have been keeping you by, because you belong to me? They take who they want."
Will at least looked up at Hermione, she had stopped his wallowing self pity at least.
Hermione drew her wand and pointed it at Will, "You are mine," She said sternly.
"Yes," Will agreed staring at the wand.
"Good, I don't want to have this conversation again. You take my breath away and scramble my brain just by walking in a room, I would tear apart anybody who came between us and that includes you."
Hermione hadn't lowered her wand and to Will she seemed very fierce, "Have you any idea how hot you are when you're threatening me with that wand?" He managed to say as he started to feel his body responding to her, awakening.
"Really?" Hermione asked smiling wickedly, she used her wand to effortlessly undo the first button on Will's outer robe. She moved across the room towards him, gently undoing one button after the next as she approached. As she came to stand in front of him she placed a hand over Will's heart and felt the strange thrumming that she had felt before when she touched him. She looked up and Will's eyes were on fire, gone was the self doubt.
Will reached towards Hermione and tried to find the fastenings of her dress so that he could disrobe her. Hermione had to oblige with her wand since she always wand seemed her dresses, disliking the discomfort of Muggle fastenings. She was wearing a knee length shift underneath her dress and Will reached down to pull it up over her head. When the shift had been thrown to the side Will leant down to kiss Hermione and pulled her up against him. She could feel the thrumming coming from Will down the entire length of her body now, and other things. Her head buzzed as Will continued to kiss her.
"If this is how it is for Severus and Harry I think I can nearly understand them," Hermione whispered to Will as she pulled back to relieve him of the rest of his clothes.
As it was still only September it still got light very early, Hermione pulled herself reluctantly up out of Will's bed as the first signs of dawn were shining through the gap in the curtains. When she leant over to wake Will up she was already dressed in her robes. They walked out to the edge of the ward together and crossed the road.
"Can you stay the night next time?" Will asked, "You can bring Kieran with you if you like."
"Maybe next time I will have the flu for the fire and we can make Sgoildubh our home, would you like that better?"
Will smiled, "More than anything, I don't like that you have to leave like this."
"Maybe I could just get Draco to do the flu, save bothering Severus," Hermione suggested.
Will grimaced, "Maybe not, ey, to be on the safe side. Let's just wait till the Kin have a moment."
"I'll be back for you in a few hours."
Will took Hermione's hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it, "Till then my lady."
With only a light ruffle of her cloak as a warning, Hermione disappeared.
A tall man with long blond hair, a top hat and dark clothing stood just to the side of a bush nearby, partly hidden in shadow. He raised one eyebrow in surprise, "Draco?"
Next Chapter - Sorted
The new term is now upon the wizards of Hogwarts, will Severus manage to finish his speech in time and will the sorting ceremony pass without a hitch. Surprises in store for everyone!