Disclaimer: Not mine, definitely not mine

Hidden Beneath
Chapter 12—End Game

Hermione stared up at the empty judges' bench; she wondered who was going to try the case. Her thoughts were short lived as the back door opened and three figures came through.

Charles immediately knew that this wasn't going to be an easy trial, for one of those figures happened to be Minister Fudge, also included in the judges was a strict small pudgy woman named Delores Umbridge and another woman Amelia Bones. None of them looked friendly; they all seemed irritated at having to be brought out on a Friday. The three took their seats.

"Lets make this as quick as possible." Minister Fudge stated, "Most of us have more important things to do."

"Now, now Cornelius, this is a serious matter and we'll take as much time as necessary to see that this case is properly judged." Bones replied.

Umbridge looked at the two parties and she pointed at Charles. "You Mr. Wallace, begin." She shuffled some papers behind the desk and leaned back in her comfortable, cushioned chair.

Charles stood and straightened his robe, "My name is Charles Wallace, I am the litigator for the prosecution."

"Mr. Wallace," Fudge started. "Is this your first case?"

"No." Charles glared at Fudge, "it is indeed not, may I continue?"

Fudge leaned back in his chair, "You may."

"Thank you," Charles replied. "I represent Miss Granger, she claims that Mr. Weasley," He pointed to Ron, "Has been for many years physically and mentally abusing Miss Granger."

The three judges didn't even blink, they looked over at Ron and his lawyers.

"Have you anything to add to that?" Fudge folded his hands on the desk.

A tall, dark haired, bearded man stood, "I am Mr. Grover Roswell, one of the litigators for the Defense. I would like to state that what is being claimed here is a flat out lie and that this girl is just using this institution to get attention for herself. Our client has never laid so much as a pinky on her, and we are here to prove it."

"Sit down Mr. Roswell." Bones looked at Charles, "You may bring forth your case."

"Thank you." Charles cleared his throat, "Prosecution calls Miss Lavender Brown to the stand."

Lavender was a bit nervous and she left her seat and walked cautiously up to the witness stand.

"Miss Brown, tell us in your own words what happened on the eve of January third." Charles gave Lavender a reassuring wink.

Lavender nodded, "Well I saw Ron walking in the hallway, he looked a little mad so I thought I would go and cheer him up. I was at the time secretly having a relationship with him." Her cheeks tinged pink, "it had been going on for some time and I'm usually the one to bring him out of his sour mood. But this time it was different, I suppose I just said the wrong thing. I wasn't really sure what happened because the next thing I knew Ron… well he...." Her voice started to quiver as she recalled the awful incident, "I think he hit me."

Charles glanced at the three judges, they looked to be making notes, he then moved over to Lavender "Thank you Miss Brown."

Fudge looked over at Roswell, "Would you like to question the witness?"

Roswell stood, "Absolutly." Roswell, with a sweet smile approached the witness stand. "Miss Brown, are you sure of the events. Are you positive that Mr. Weasley hit you?"

"Yes." Lavender glared at Roswell, "Very sure."

"But you said you think he hit you, as if you weren't really sure." Roswell saw her squirm in her seat. "tell me Miss Brown, what kind of relationship do you and Mr. Weasley have?"

Lavender took a breath, "We had a good relationship, he was kind and funny he never hurt me un…" She was rudely interrupted.

"He never hurt you? But you claim he hit you."

"Ron did, he did hit me."

Roswell paced, "That doesn't make sense, first you say that he hit you, then you say he has never hurt you."

"You didn't let …" Lavender was rudely interrupted again.

"Thank you Miss Brown," Roswell sat down and gave Ron a victorious pat on the shoulder.

Lavender was really angry, that jerk just twisted everything around so that she looked bad. She stood up and nosily walked back to her seat.

It was now Roswell's turn he stood and approached the judges bench, "The defense would like to call Ronald Weasley to the stand."

Ron, who was very confident stood and made his way to the witness stand and took his seat. He looked so innocent that it made Harry sick, like he wanted to knock out that red head for a week.

"Mr Weasley, tell us a little about yourself."

Ron smiled, "Well I go to Hogwarts and I get reasonably good grades, I was on the Gryffindor Quidditch team last year."

"Why aren't you on it this year?" Roswell smiled.

"I wanted to devote myself to my studies more, Quidditch is fun and all but I need to get a good career in motion, I was thinking about something in the ministry." Ron grinned, "I've always been good in politics, I've got a good level head on my shoulders."

Roswell nodded, "Have you ever hit Miss Brown, or Miss Granger?"

"No never," Ron looked distressed.

"Then why would they say something like that?" Roswell leaned against the witness stand, looking concerned.

Ron sighed, "I'm not sure. Perhaps it's the fact that Hermione and I, our relationship was on its way out, was ending and she just didn't want to accept it. So she made up this lie. She's very sneaky, I always thought that she belonged in Slytherin rather than in Gryffindor. As soon as a certain famous Harry Potter came to Hogwarts she was so drawn to him but I suppose she couldn't let me be happy." Ron shook his head disappointedly.

"So you think this is just a revenge plan to get back at you because she didn't want to let you go?"

"Yes I do, why else would she make this all up?" Ron's innocent tone wrung through everyone's ears.

Roswell turned to Charles and smirked then took his seat. Charles rolled his eyes and approached Ron.

"Mr. Weasley have you ever hit Miss Brown, or Miss Granger?"

"I thought I already answered that question. No I have not." Ron replied.

Charles glanced at the judges and then back at Ron, "You said that you didn't want to be on the Qudditch team this year?"

Ron nodded, "That's right."

"Then if that's so then why do I have this document," Charles moved back to his table and picked up a sheet of paper, "Claiming that you tried out for the team and that you attempted to injure a player during tryouts, and not just any player but Miss Granger." Charles placed the document up on the judges table.

Ron's blood boiled, he wondered where they got that. He had to keep calm. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I don't know where you got such a document but it's a lie. Sure I did try out for the team, but I didn't make it this year. And that's okay."

"So why did you try and hurt Miss Granger during the tryouts? Was she better than you?" Charles asked.

Ron laughed a little, "Hardly, and what happened was an accident."

"An accident, you deliberately cursed her broom so it would throw her off, there were many witnesses, including the judges who made this report." Charles sat down on the edge of the table, looking right at Ron straight in his eyes.

"That didn't happen the way it looked," Ron sighed. "She was going to fall off her broom so I acted quickly and I saved her by using my wand, it might have appeared that I was cursing her, but honest and for true I tried to help her. I would never hurt Hermione, she was special to me." Ron looked at Hermione for the first time in years he saw her eyes narrow and glare at him. She was mad, squeezing her fist tight on top of the table.

Charles was starting to get a little worried here, everything he asked made Ron look more like a saint. He had to find some way to turn this around.

Ron was soon dismissed from the stand and the next witness to be called up was Harry.

"Mr. Potter tell us how you came to know Miss Granger." Charles smiled pleasantly at Harry.

"Well it wasn't easy, it was hard to get close to her. She wouldn't even let anyone near her let alone talk to her. The first ideas in my head were that she thought she was better than everyone else and was a snot." Harry paused a moment and glanced over at Hermione with an embarrassed smile. "That wasn't it at all. It wasn't too long after that I learned the truth, that she was afraid of her own shadow, that she has been abused for so long. I even witnessed it going on many times. After that Hermione and I managed to get closer and we built a good friendship and she managed to trust me."

"So not only do you believe Miss Granger, you've actually seen it happen?" Charles was hopeful with this witness.

"Yes I even warned Weasley many times to stop but obviously he didn't listen to me." Harry glared at Ron, who simply smiled back like he knew something. Harry was so aggravated he wanted to rip Ron's head off and shove it up where the sun doesn't shine.

"Thank you, Mr. Potter." Charles went and sat down next to Hermione. "A snot huh?"

Hermione smiled a little and shrugged, "I guess so."

Roswell approached Harry, "Are you the same Harry Potter that defeated the Dark Lord, the one who's fame stretches far and wide?"

Harry sighed, he absolutely appalled questions like these, who cares if he was the one. He just wanted to be a normal teenage wizard, was that too much to ask for? "Some may say that yes, I did kill Lord Voldemort." He heard the people gasp and shrink back at hearing the Dark Lord's name. "But only because I had too, not because it would gather me a famous name."

"But whether you want that famous name or not you are him; girls must throw themselves at your feet. You can be honest here Mr. Potter, they do. Don't they? You are so famous that all you have to do look at the girl or girls and they would fall into your lap. Isn't that right?"

Harry shrugged, "I guess so."

"What kind of relationship do you have with Miss Granger?"

"A good one I think, she trusts me, I trust her." Harry leaned back in his chair.

"So you two are pretty close?" Roswell leaned against the witness stand again, looking at Harry.

Harry nodded, "Yes."

"Just how close have you and Miss Granger been?" He bent over the edge and looked right into Harry's eyes.

"Close enough." Harry ground out, his eyes narrowing.

"Have you and Miss Granger ever have sexual intercourse."

"That's none of your business, I'm not going to answer something so personal!" Harry shouted, the room shook with the vibrations of his tone.

Roswell looked at Fudge, "I have to know the answer to that question, I think I'm onto something."

Fudge looked at Harry, "Answer all the questions that are asked of you Mr. Potter."

Harry took a deep breath and looked at Roswell who was slightly smiling, He looked over at Hermione who's face was bright red. The look in his eyes told her he was sorry, but he had no choice he had to answer the question. Looking back at Roswell with an angry glare he nodded, "Yes."

"AH! I see. Just what I had thought. Miss Granger, being as nieve as she is knew you were famous and she was obviously star struck, I think you took advantage of a good situation and got close to her, put her against her boyfriend and brainwashed her into thinking she was being abused by this fine upstanding young man. You concocted this whole plan just so you can have something that wasn't yours."

"How dare you!" Harry said, "I would never do anything like that, I care about Hermione. I would never hurt her."

"And apparently neither would Mr. Weasley here. You both have pretty much the same story, you both care about Miss Granger and you both would never hurt her. But you did hurt her, you brainwashed her and that is beyond evil. No further questions." Roswell smugly sat down in his chair next to and equally smug Ron.

'Damn it!' Charles thought to himself, this was just getting worse and worse for their side. Hopefully they can rely on the Memory Beads, if they decide to take that route. The minister might decide based on this testimony. Charles looked at Hermione, sure she could tell them that Ron beat her to a pulp every night but then that no good Roswell will end up making Hermione look like a fool, he just couldn't do that to her she been through so much already. He had to motion for the Memory Beads now. Charles stood up. "Minister Fudge, respectable members of the council, I plea that we go forth with the memory beads, it will be the only way to get to the truth."

The three of them started discussing it quietly and as soon as all three nodded their heads, they turned back to face Charles.

"All right Mr. Wallace." Umbridge replied, "We will grant your request. After a brief fifteen minute recess."

Fudge banged down the gavel and the three of them left the courtroom.

Charles sighed with relief and sat down, he looked over at Hermione, "How are you holding up?"

"I have a bad feeling," Hermione sighed.

Lavender nodded, leaning over the railing, "Don't you worry about a thing, the guilty will get their just deserts."

"I can't believe you Hermione," said an angry Ginny standing in the aisle glaring at them. "Making up all these lies about my brother like this and getting these three to help you. How low can you sink?" Her hands were placed on her hips.

"I'm sorry you don't believe me Ginny, but it's true." Hermione looked right into Ginny's eyes. "I really wish you could believe me."

"You are an awful, awful person Hermione, I hope you rot in Hades for all these lies you're spreading. Think of the damage you have inflicted upon our family. Our family who took you in when you had nothing, when your parents died we cared for you."

"You're family didn't care for me, all you needed was a slave and you got one." Hermione was about to lose her temper.

"I never treated you like that, I treated you like the sister I never had. How could you do this to me?" Ginny practically shouted, her eyes brimming with tears. "How could you."

"I'm sorry Ginny, I'm sorry that you have to go through this. But I am out of options I can't keep on living like that, if I could do anything over again it would be to spare you from this." Hermione's head lowered.

Ginny flipped her hair over her shoulder, "I'll despise you for the rest of my life Hermione," She turned around and moved back over to where her family was.

Harry, who was standing next to Lavender put his hand gently on Hermione's shoulder, "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Hermione looked at him.

He shook his head, "for saying what I said up there, answering those questions." Harry worried that he embarrassed her and made her feel bad for what he said.

"Don't worry about it Harry, you had to answer the questions truthfully. It's all right, I understand." She tried to smile to give him comfort for once.

Harry returned the smile just as the door behind the judges bench opened once more and in walked Fudge, Umbridge, and Bones and a young woman holding a velvet lined box. They immediately took their seats as did everyone in the courtroom.

"Hem, Hem." Umbridge sounded a bit like she was clearing her throat as she got everyone's attention. "Your request for Memory Beads, Mr. Wallace, since it was on your request, who's memory do you want viewed?"

Charles stood, "Mr. Ronald Weasley." He stated firmly and then sat down again.

"Very well," Bones replied and looked at Ron. "Please come and sit up here." She pointed to the chair which had wrist and ankle shackles that an officer had just placed down. A young woman holding the velvet box stood near by. Another officer pulled down a large white screen on the wall to the left.

Ron was very confident and he smugly sat down in the chair facing the screen. The young woman bound Ron's wrists and ankles into the cuffs. "What are these for?" Ron looked up at the woman and winked.

The young woman rolled her eyes, "This is so you don't jump up and try to pull the gem off your forehead. It's the proper precautions, not to worry." She opened the box and pulled out a flat, clear gem. She placed it on Ron's forehead, it seemed to suction cup itself to his head. "You'll feel a slight jolt and then tingle, but that's only the gem working to search out your memories."

"What's your name?" Ron flirted quietly.

"Agatha," She simply said pulling her wand out from within her robes.

"Well Agatha, how about after we get through with this silly trail you and I go for something to eat." He tried to give her his most attractive smile, but he looked kind of silly sitting there strapped to a chair with a gem on his forehead.

Agatha shook her head, "I don't think so, I don't date criminals or children." She noticed that Ron looked crushed, she almost felt sorry for him… almost. Agatha pointed her wand at the gem and muttered the charm to get it to work.

Ron felt a tiny shock course through his body, up on the screen his memories were displayed for all to see. The entire room focused on the screen, watching.

Ron eyed the two girls in front of him appreciatively, one was a blonde and the other a brunette, and both were looking at him with what seemed to be a large amount of interest in their eyes.

"And so then after I got the Snitch, I single handedly caught the Chaser who had fallen off her broom." Ron held out his arm and flexed. "With one hand!"

The blonde made a funny squeek of appreciation and the brunette giggled.

"You are so brave." The brunette spoke with an itallian accent as she stared into his eyes adoringly

"That's right, I am brave." Ron gave the brunette what he thought was a charming smile. "Perhaps sometime this weekend you two would like to find out just how brave I am..." his voice trailed off as something over the blonde's shoulder caught his eye.

Hermione was writing something on a piece of paper and handed it to Justin Finch Fletchley "These are the answers to the questions I tutored you on, see how many you got right."

Ron felt his face go red as his hair as he saw Hermione give a piece of paper to the other boy. "Excuse me," he muttered, shoving past the two girls. He stormed up to Hermione and grabbed her arm. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Hermione looked up at Ron, "Just the answers he needed for the make believe test I gave him, we have OWLS you know, they are very hard. He wanted to be prepared."

Ron cast a nasty glare at Justin, who visibly shrank away. "Just the answers," he spat, snatching the parchment back and tearing it up.

"Ron! What did you do that for? He needed those. Not everyone wants to fail like you!"

Ron felt rage wash over him. Without another word, he yanked hard on Hermione's arm and pulled her to a quiet corridor. Without giving her a chance to speak, he pushed her back hard against the wall. "What have I told you about talking back to me?" Ron was practically breathing smoke. "You worthless little whore... passing yourself off to other guys thinking they actually want you, it's pathetic!"

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" She tried to hold back her tears, "I just thought he needed help, that's all. That's all I promise."

"No one wants help from you," Ron leaned in close to her. "Everyone knows you're just a little slut."

Hermione clutched the material at her neck closed tighter, "I didn't do anything, I'm a good girl."

Ron ripped her hand away from her neck and then clutched at her skin with his fingers, choking her. "You. Are. Not. A. Good. Girl." his voice was venomous. "You belong to me, and only me, and don't you forget that!"

Hermione felt weak and short of breath as she franticly tried to grab at his hands "You're right, you're right." she said breathlessly, the room started to spin wildly, "I'm a bad…girl..."

Ron saw that she was about to pass out and in a moment of charity, pulled his hand away. He waited until she had caught her breath then yanked her roughly up against him and kissed her so hard that her lower lip began to bleed. "Wipe your face off." He gave her a sneer. "I don't need you looking any more unrespectable than you already do."

She glanced down at the stone flooring and nodded her head.

Wordlessly he stalked out of the room, looking behind once to make sure she was following.

Hermione quietly followed after Ron using the edge of her robe dabbed at her face

Ron couldn't believe it, his litigator had shown him the way to trick this Memory Bead and to only pick out the memories Ron trained himself to push forward for the bead. He couldn't stop the memories, and another one came forward.

Hermione gently tugged on Ron's sleeve, "Um we should go to the book store I need some new writing supplies."

"I don't want to," Ron replied flatly, staring longingly into the window of a Quidditch shop.

"Can't we just stop in there for a moment, or can I just go?" She glanced at him hopeful.

"No." Ron snapped. "I told you, my shops today."

"But we did your shops last weekend too," Hermione mumbled to herself.

Ron stopped mid stride and pushed her against the brick wall. "What did you say?" His eyes were already bright with fury.

"Nothing, I said nothing." Hermione avoided his eyes.

"No, you did say something." Ron shoved her against the wall again and she yelped in pain. "Don't lie to me, Hermione." His voice lowered dangerously.

Hermione's heart beat really fast, "I didn't say anything important, do you really pay attention to anything that comes out of my stupid mouth" Her voice was quiet, low and obediant in tone.

"I pay attention, because I want you to listen to me and never disobey ANYTHING I say!" Ron glared down at her.

"Please don't yell at me." She said in a quiet voice.

Harry looked over at Hermione who had her face in her hands on the desk, she didn't want to see this, she had already been through this, she didn't want to relive every moment of the past years of her life. Harry's fists clinched hard, he wanted to kill Ronald Weasley, not just hurt him but kill him.

Sitting in the chair helplessly watching his memories, Ron tried to struggle free to rip the gem from off his head. He had to stop this, it was going to get worse for him if they all saw what he had done, the memory continued even though Ron fought for another one to come out.

Ron immediately lifted his hand and whacked her hard across the cheek with the back of it, practically knocking her over, he grabbed her roughly by the shoulders slamming the back of her body hard up against the stone side of the building. "Don't you fucking- tell me what to do. Do you hear me?!" He shook her violently.

The back of her head hit the wall the smell of chlorine filled her nose and she seemed to see jolts of light. Ron let go of her and she slipped to the ground, he knelt down to her level. "This is where you belong, in the dirt, you filthy piece of shit." He looked down at her for a moment and grabbed her by the hair so she squealed loudly, pulling her to her feet. This was really having an effect on him, it was making him so hot. "You're such a damn whore," His other hand went roughly into her hair and he yanked her hard up against him. His mouth covered over hers roughly and he bit down hard on her lower lip, she yelped trying to push him away...

"That's enough." Bones calmly said. "We've seen all we need."

Agatha ended the spell on the Memory Beads and pulled the gem from off his forehead.

Fudge, Umbridge and Bones all huddled together and started discussing. Charles patted Hermione on the arm gently, "It's over now. The memories are done."

Hermione lifted her head nodding, she looked over at the judges, then over her shoulder at the Weasleys in the back. She noticed the look of absolute horror on Ginny's face.

Bones and Umbridge backed up a bit and sat up straight in their chairs, Fudge looked at Ron who was still bound in that chair. "We are ruling in favor of the prosecution, Mr. Ronald Weasley, stand up." Fudge ordered and the cuffs on the chair released Ron's limbs. He watched as Ron slowly stood. "This tribunal sentences you to seven years in Azkaban."

"What?!" Ron shouted.

"Don't speak boy, you are in enough trouble already." Umbridge spat.

Bones looked at him like he was an insect, "Perhaps some time in prison will convince you that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. It is not tolerated, what you have done to this poor girl is beyond evil as your litigator had said earlier this trial."

Fudge banged down his gavel and an officer came up to arrest Ron and take him away to the prison. Harry hurried over to Hermione, and just as he was about to talk to her someone spoke up rather loudly.

"Wait, wait." Ron's voice sounded urgent and he looked at Hermione and the officer stopped pulling on Ron for a moment. "Please I'm sorry, really I didn't mean it. I couldn't control myself."

Hermione stood up walking over to him, "That is such a lie. You liked hurting me." She did not look at the floor she looked right into his eyes.

Ron's eyes narrowed he was tired of playing the game, he was going to prison now so it didn't matter what he said to her. "You're such a little harlot, you liked it." He laughed cruelly. "You enjoyed every single minute of it. Admit it you little slut."

Harry had enough, he tried to attack Ron but Charles held him back. Harry was struggling pretty hard, and without warning Hermione's fist shot up and bashed Ron right in the nose with such a force that it knocked him back onto the two officers. She was breathing so hard, her fist was still clinched, and her eyes were narrowed in bitter hate.

"You bitch, I'll kill you." The officers were struggling with Ron as he tried to get over to Hermione and ring her pretty little neck. The two men were working hard to take him from the courtroom. "Just you wait, I'll get you for this Hermione. You are dead! DEAD!!" Ron was being forcefully drug from the room.

"What are we doing this for, aren't we wizards?" One of the officers said.

"Oh yeah," The second one answered and he pulled out his wand, pointed it at Ron and said, "Stupify." And Ron fell completely motionless to the floor; the officers had no more trouble as they elevated his body and floated him from the room.

Amelia Bones was last of the tribunal to leave the courtroom, she smiled slightly at Hermione and then left through the door.

Charles pulled on Hermione's arm to get her attention, "So how does it feel having won your freedom so to speak?"

"How should I feel," Hermione responded.

"You should feel terrible that's what." An annoyed voice said from Hermione's left. Mrs. Weasley was walking over to her along with Arthur. "How dare you send my son to prison!" She noticed Hermione tried to defend herself but she was not going to let her. "After all we've done for you this is how you repay us."

"It wasn't her fault." Lavender replied, glaring at the Weasleys.

"Exactly," Harry replied. "No one should have to live like that."

Mrs. Weasley glared at Harry, "Don't you dare speak to me you filthy, disgusting waste of wizard kind."

Harry rolled his eyes, "Well we can see where Weasley got his wonderful language from." Even in his sarcasm he smirked.

The older woman gasped at this young man's rudeness, she humpfed and looked away from him and stared right at Hermione. "I want you out of our house; you are no longer welcome there. I don't want you to step one toe inside do you understand me, I'll put what simple belongings you came with outside. You best hurry and retrieve them or I'll just have them taken away as trash." And with that she turned around, "Arthur, Ginny, come along now." She started walking away, Arthur hurried to catch up with his wife.

Ginny opened her mouth to speak, but it was hard for her to utter even a word. She really didn't know what to think instead she gave Hermione a kind of strange, unsure smile and then dashed off to catch up with her parents.

Hermione sighed, "We best get back." And she started out of the room. Harry followed after her, he knew she wanted to be by herself for a bit and he let her have her space.

"I really don't see why another family couldn't have taken you in," Harry said as he handed Hermione her shirt to pack in her trunk.

Hermione slowly took the shirt from him and placed it neatly in her trunk. It was the last night of Hogwarts and Hermione was packing up her belongings for the trip home, or her trip to the London orphanage. "Most people don't want to take someone in who causes trouble." She knew that wasn't true, sure she had many offers for some nice Wizarding family to take care of her. But she didn't want to be a burden or made a slave again. She would take her chances on her own even if it meant going to an orphanage.

"I can't believe school is already over and we're all going home for summer holidays." Harry sat down on her bed, "You want to know something silly?" his cheeks were tingeing pink as Hermione looked at him, "I'm going to miss you."

A slight smile spread across her lips, "That's not silly." Hermione sat down next to him, "The truth is, I'll miss you too. But it will only be for a few months and then we'll be back at Hogwarts for the final year of our educational lives."

Harry wrapped his fingers around hers, holding her hand. "I know," he gently pulled her against him and he felt her lay her head against his shoulder.

"Harry, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for everything. All your help, I couldn't have done any of this without you." Hermione yawned, relaxing against him.

"You're welcome Hermione." Harry glanced down at the top of her head, he didn't even want to know what it was going to be like without her, even for two months. He had gotten so used to her being around and helping her. Maybe he didn't have to be without her. "Hermione?" He noticed she did not respond, he moved her gently and found that she was asleep. Harry smiled a bit and laid her back against her pillows and stood, he softly pulled the blanket over her and as he approached the door, the lights started to dim and then go out as he left the room and closed the door quietly behind him. He had the most brilliant idea, he had to see Headmaster Dumbledore straight away.

After Hermione said good bye to Harry at the train station back at Kings Cross station, while still on platform 9 ¾ she went over to a special kind of booth where she could have someone take her to the London Orphanage. With her little dog sitting quietly by her side, Hermione waited in line for a long time, she wondered what was taking so long. After awhile she finally got up to the front where a wizard looked up at her.

"Can I help you Miss?"

"Uh yeah, I'm Hermione Granger and I need to get to the London Orphange." She leaned on the counter as the man was searching the record information. He moved his chair back and was talking to someone quietly. After he was done he pulled himself back up to the counter. "Someone will take you to where you need to go." Just then the side door of the booth open and a woman came out.

"Hello Miss Granger." The woman said in a kind voice with a pleasant smile, "I'm Orlean, and I'll be accompanying you to your destination." Orlean had a metal staff in her hand. "Just grab onto this and we'll be whisked away."

"Have you charmed this into a portkey?" Hermione, the ever curious young lady asked as she placed her hands on the staff.

"Yes I have." Orlean smiled.

They both felt a tugging and found themselves no longer at platform 9 ¾. Hermione looked around, she noticed they were on a cobble stone sidewalk.

"Where are we?" The surrounding area didn't look familiar to her, Hermione was kind of concerned.

"Hurry now, we mustn't doddle," Orlean said as she hurried off with Hermione dragging her trunk behind her trying to keep up. Cinnamon yapped playfully as she tried to run ahead of Hermione and Orlean. They approached the front of a very luxurious looking apartment building. "Where are we?" Hermione demanded. "What's going on? If you've taken me some place where I am going to be treated like slave then…"

"A slave, I should say not." A masculine voice interrupted her.

Hermione recognized that voice and heading closer in her direction was Harry Potter and he was using a cart to drag his trunk behind him.

"Darn, and I wanted to be here before you got here. You travel fast." Harry smiled as he stopped in front of Hermione.

"Harry, please tell me what's going on?" Hermione felt very confused.

Harry smiled and pulled some keys from his pocket, "In a minute I'll answer all your questions, but we should get inside. I don't stay in a Wizarding part of the city." He didn't wait for Hermione to answer as he pushed a button and the glass front door popped open. Orlean held the door open for the two as they pulled their trunks inside.

"Thanks Orlean." Harry smiled appreciatively.

"Anytime Mr. Potter." Orlean nodded her head and turned and started walking away.

Hermione gave Harry an odd look as they walked across marble tiles heading towards an elevator. After Harry pushed the button waiting for the doors to open he looked over at Hermione with an innocent grin; that look made Hermione's eyebrows push together in even more confusion.

"Will you just tell me what this is all about?" Hermione heard the ding of the elevator and the doors opened, the both of they stepped inside and as soon as the door closed Harry pushed the button for the top floor and then turned to her.

"Don't be mad, but I had a talk with Dumbledore and well, he and I arranged that you could live here in Paris with me instead of in an orphanage."

She wasn't mad, but she was surprised. "Why would you two do that, without asking me first?" Hermione's voice wasn't accusing, her eyes glanced down at the floor. The moment she saw tile Harry's lifted her chin and she was looking up at him.

"We really need to break that habit of your looking at the floor," Harry smiled. "Anyway, I wanted to tell you but Dumbledore said it would be a nice surprise."

"Neither of you should have made a decision without asking me first; how would he know what I needed?" Hermione tried again to look at the floor, but Harry still hadn't released her chin.

He noticed she was still trying to glance at the floor so he made sure to keep a gentle hold on her so that she would always look up and not shrink away, even if they didn't agree. "Dumbledore has a good idea what people need, he and I both know that you need someone to care for you and not to just toss you into a large group." The elevator dinged again and the doors started to open.

"I'm not a charity case." Hermione still kept her tone low and cautious.

Harry gestured for her to go first and she did, he started pulling both their trunks behind him. "I know you're not." They walked down the hall to the last door and Harry pulled out a set of keys and started to unlock his door and pushed it open. Again he motioned for her to go inside first.

Cinnamon finally broke free of her mistresses leash and ran into Harry's flat, jumping up and down excitedly. The little dog jumped up on a chair in a way signalling to the two humans that this was now her spot. She yapped and wagged her fluffy tail.

Hermione stepped inside and was completely awe struck, she glanced about the entry way, which was made of fine Italian tile. There were white pillars in artistic loctions about the living space, a door to the left was open and she could see it led into a bedroom. What caught her attention most was the terrace doors.

"Look around if you want," Harry smiled as he watched her make her way about the large living space, she had gone into the kitchen area, she even peeked into the bedroom. It was very cute the way she looked, her eyes were so bright and she seemed to be enjoying herself. Lastly she went over to the terrace doors and opened them and stepped out. Harry left their trunks by the door and joined her outside. "So, what do you think?"

Hermione looked at him, "It's very, very nice. Much nicer than what I'm used too."

"Hermione, I am sorry about not telling you about this. It's true that you are not a charity case but I also wanted you to be here." He shuffled his foot a little. "Don't you think you'd be much happier here than in an orphanage? They have lots of others to take care of, so just let me take care of you." He sounded like a frightened little boy, he didn't know what she was going to say. "But if you want to leave, I won't stop you."

With a long sigh she looked at Harry, "Do you really want me to stay, I'm not going to be a burden on you?"

"Of course not," Harry said very seriously. "I love you Hermione, you will never be a burden, don't even think it for one moment longer."

Hermione couldn't help but smile a little, "If you're sure?"

Harry stepped closer to her, without hesitation he gathered her in his arms and pulled her against him. "I haven't been more sure about anything, except you. Now no more talking about it, you're staying and that's final." He teased, smiling.

"Well I…" Hermione didn't get a chance to finish her thought, because Harry quickly pressed his lips against hers. She soon gave up trying to give him a logical explanation of why she shouldn't stay here, and instead gave into the sweet kiss and the idea of staying here with someone who really cared for her because she wanted to, not because she was forced to.

It was a different feeling, one she was happy to experience. The future seemed promising for once. Of course it wouldn't be easy, but Harry and Hermione both knew this kind of life was worth working hard and fighting for. Isn't that what life is all about anyway? The fight to survive. No matter how bad something can get, it can always get better.

Sigh well that's the end of Hidden Beneath 'Sniffle.' Man it was such an angsty fan fiction but I somehow grew to love it even more. Well I hoped you all enjoyed Hidden Beneath, and stay tuned for more of my fan fictions to come. Thanks, Ryoko Blue

P.S. Don't forget to review . heehee