The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder. -Virginia Woolf
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Just the original characters and plot of this particular story.
"Hermione! Hermione, come down for breakfast!"
Hermione Granger sighed and set down her book, marking the page, before she did.
It was nearly three weeks since Hermione had gotten off the Hogwarts express after rather dangerous sixth year, and now she was starting to grow antsy. She had written to both Harry and Ron with no response and with the growing dangers of Voldemort's approach, she was having trouble smothering the fears that were entering her mind as the days past.
She had tried to get her mind off of it be reading, but after six books, she found that she had actually read most of them before, which made it harder for her to keep her mind off of her friends and Hogwarts.
"Watch it, Hermione," Mr. Granger warned, grabbing his daughter before she walked right into the stove. "Are you okay?"
Hermione blinked and then blushed.
"Sorry, Dad. I was just thinking," she told him, sitting down beside her mother, who was watching Hermione with a smile.
Hermione's face grew redder and she shook her head quickly.
"No, not Ron… just about Hogwarts," she said, grabbing a piece of toast.
"Sure," Mr. Granger said knowingly.
Her father just shrugged, a broad smile on his face as he placed eggs on the table and sat down across from his wife.
"Well, according to what you told us earlier, you two got quiet close this past year. I just assumed that you were thinking about it," he said casually.
Hermione shook her head, not interested in discussing her rather unusual and somewhat volatile relationship with the redhead with her parents.
"No, Dad, I was not thinking about that…" she muttered, trying to force images of the handsome redhead out of her mind. "I'm just worried. They haven't responded to my letters and with things getting as bad as they are, I just hope that they're okay."
Mrs. Granger placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder.
"Wouldn't someone tell you if something had happened? Like Dumbledore?"
"I don't know anymore. With everything getting worse around England, it's hard to imagine that Dumbledore would have time to tell me anything."
Mr. Granger offered his daughter a comforting smile.
"I'm sure everything is fine. Things are probably busy over at Ron's house anyway. What with seven children, I would assume that he hardly has the time to write," he said.
"You're probably right, Dad," she said, trying to focus on the positive rather than the disastrous alternative. She fell into a quiet silence that concerned her parents.
Though Hermione didn't believe many of the things that were being written in the Daily Prophet about the attacks, she did know that certain political aspects such as the conversations between the Minister of Magic and the Prime Minister were growing heated as things grew dangerous in London.
The severity of the attacks was what made it harder for Hermione to sit still. She had seen Ron's father's name all over the paper as well as Remus Lupin's. There wasn't much said about Harry Potter, not because the Prophet wasn't interested, but because he was impossible to get a hold of. The Prophet had even gone as far as to start a little column at the bottom of the first page that was titled, Where in the World is Harry Potter?, in which editors and readers alike posted views on where they believed Harry was and what they believed he was doing, whether it was searching for imaginary elixirs or going on a suicide search for Voldemort, who was always mentioned in the paper. The column even had a small part dedicated to those who claimed to have seen the elusive Boy Who Lived roaming through their back yards and in their basements. Of course, after these statements would be the psychologist's column.
Hermione, however, read that column the most, hoping to find some clue from some idiot who might have actually seen the raven head.
"Hermione? Isn't that your friend's owl? Hedwig or something?"
Hermione turned to see her mother pointing to the kitchen window where a small owl was flitting around, tapping on the glass and carrying an envelope. Hermione nearly jumped out of her skin with excitement.
"Not Hedwig, mum. Pig, Ron's owl," she said, getting up and opening the window. The bird immediately began zooming around the kitchen excitedly. Hermione pulled out her wand and flicked it at the bird.
"Accio Pig," she snapped and the bird flew into her hands. She put her wand away before taking away the letter from the tiny owl, who chirped at her in greeting. She offered the bird a piece of her toast and set him down on a small plant in the kitchen where he ate in glee. Hermione sat back down and looked down at the letter.
"What does Ron have to say?" her father asked with a smile.
Hermione frowned, shaking her head.
"It's not from Ron, Dad," she whispered, opening it and looking at the letter. "It's from Professor McGonagall, my Transfiguration teacher."
"Why would she have Ron's owl?" Mrs. Granger mused, watching her daughter as she read the letter silently. "Honey, what is it?"
Hermione caught her parents' concerned gazes and offered them a smile.
"I've been made Head Girl," she told them holding up the badge that came in the envelope. Mr. Granger frowned.
"You don't look so happy," he pointed out.
Hermione bit her lip. There was so many questions running through her mind that it was making her dizzy with confusion and even a twinge of fear.
"No, I am happy… it's just… why would McGonagall have Ron's owl?" she posed before suddenly standing up, grabbing Pig quickly and leaving the kitchen. Mr. and Mrs. Granger glanced over at each other, concerned for their daughter.
Hermione sat down at her desk and pulled out a few sheets of paper, a quill and small jar of ink. Pig perched on her bedpost, watching as her cat, Crookshanks, slinked around the bottom of the bed, watching the small owl with interest.
Something was wrong.
Why would McGonagall have Pig?
Unless they were at Sirius's old place, currently Harry's place.
But why would they be there?
Hermione bit her lip and started to write her letter, mostly questioning what was going on and why no one had answered her ten previous letters.
When she finished, she grabbed Pig off the post and put the letter in his mouth. She then shoved him out the window and watched him disappear over the trees in her backyard. Sighing, she sat back down and picked up Crookshanks, who purred against her.
"What's going on, Crookshanks?"
Hermione came in from the backyard a week after she had gotten McGonagall's letter and went straight to the kitchen, where her mother was cleaning the dishes.
"Any letters?" Hermione asked for the seventh time that day.
Mrs. Granger frowned and shook her head sadly.
"I'm sorry, dear. No owls," she replied, watching as the same disappointed look fell upon her daughter's face that had taken over it for the past week. "Maybe you should write another letter?"
Hermione shook her head.
"I've written two letters already, Mum. It shouldn't take this long for them to respond," she said heatedly. "What if something's happened and no one's told me?"
Mrs. Granger set down the plate she was washing and turned to face her daughter.
"You get the paper don't you?"
"Then wouldn't it be in the paper?"
Hermione shook her head.
"I've searched the paper for anything, but there's nothing there. Just threats from Voldemort and the Minister's ravings about better protection for Muggleborns and such. Nothing else," Hermione responded.
"Well, you should just hope that they're all just extremely busy," Mrs. Granger suggested, turning back to the dishes. "I'm sorry we don't have anything to keep you busy, dear."
Hermione shook her head and walked over to the sink where her mother was and took some of the plates and began to pack them manually. She remembered helping her mother with the dishes before she realized she was a witch. She'd have so much fun playing with the bubbles and drying the bowls. Now, she was just doing it to pass time.
"It's okay mum… I want to be home anyway, in case…"
"In case there's an attack?" her mother finished.
Hermione nodded silently, not wanting to talk about the possibility of an actual attack on her family. Though nothing of such seriousness had happened to her parents last year, Hermione had received threats several times about her family being in danger, though none of them were actually carried out. Ron on the other hand, had disappeared for a while last year. Those had been the worst five weeks of Hermione's life. She didn't want to go through that again with her parents. Not while she was receiving no answers from Ron or Harry.
Now, she asked her parents to tell her where they were at every time of the day, which annoyed her mother sometimes. But both her parents finally realized that their daughter's paranoia was warranted when an unmarked box turned out to be holding a rigged explosive charm. Hermione managed to get rid of it, but when she had written to Moody about it, no one had replied. Well, no one had written back. After that, she noticed that all of their mail had a strange seal she had seen only when she had been at the Ministry of Magic. Someone was checking their mail for them.
"Hermione, can I ask you something?"
"Do you like Ron?"
Her mother shrugged.
"It's a perfectly legitimate question, Hermione and I was just curious," she said.
Hermione frowned and returned to drying the dishes. Thinking about Ron was not something she enjoyed doing a lot only because her feelings towards him were very hazy. She knew she cared about him, but she also knew that, with the war upon them, she did not want to be distracted by the pains of love.
"I don't know," she answered.
"What does that mean?"
"I don't know what it means…. It's complicated."
"What does 'it complicated' mean?"
"It means it's complicated, mum. Ron and I are best friends, Harry's under a lot of pressure and the entire wizarding world is about to be thrown into chaos. We're all in too much danger for anything to happen."
Mrs. Granger frowned.
"But don't you want to know that he likes you in case something does happen?"
Hermione shook her head.
"I don't want to get hurt mum. Both Ron and I need to focus on helping Harry with defeating Voldemort and if something happened during that… I don't know how I'd be able to handle it."
"So it's better if you two remain friends?"
"I'd rather lose him as a friend then lose him as a…" she drifted off, unsure of what to say next.
"Lose him as a lover?" Mrs. Granger offered, causing Hermione to blush.
"That's a bit extreme, mum," she said.
Mrs. Granger gave her daughter a funny look.
"I don't know, Hermione. Is it?"
Hermione looked up to see her mother watching her carefully and she sighed.
"I don't know anymore, mum."
"Hermione! Come into the living room, there's someone here to see you," she heard her father call.
Her heart jumped for a moment when she thought it could possibly be Ron or Harry, but when she entered the living room, her previous fears were rekindled at the sight of a tall man in Ministry robes. There was a briefcase by his feet. She had never seen him before. Mr. Granger glanced between the man and Hermione, whose hand was now in her pocket, fingering her wand.
"Honey, this man says he's from the Ministry of Magic. He says he needs to speak to you," he explained while watching his daughter.
"Hello," she greeted coolly and the man nodded.
"Hello Hermione Granger. My name is William Devonshire and I was sent to do a security check on your house."
"You're an Auror?"
The man nodded, taking out his badge and showing it to her. Hermione frowned.
"A security check?"
Devonshire waved his hand around the room.
"The Ministry is ordering a security check of every Muggleborn house to make sure that it isn't being infiltrated by Death Eaters," he explained. "We've had a few attacks on muggles that way."
Hermione's eyes widened.
"Oh… Well then, what ever you need me for, I'll be happy to help."
Devonshire nodded and turned to her father.
"Sir, I'm going to need you to take your wife outside until we are done. The security check doesn't work well with muggles."
Mr. Granger turned to his daughter.
Hermione walked over to him and lead him into the kitchen where her mother was.
"He's right, Dad. You two need to go outside for a while, at least until this is all over. It'll only take a few minutes," she said. Her father nodded and after a couple of minutes of explanation to her mother, the two stepped outside. Hermione then returned to the living room where the Auror was glancing out the window.
He turned to see her.
"Are your parents outside?" he asked.
She nodded and he took out his wand.
"Okay, well then. Just follow my lead and this should be over in about fifteen minutes."
When they were done with the check, Devonshire pulled out a form from his briefcase and then pulled out a quill. He wrote a few things down while Hermione went to get her parents from outside. When she came back in, he was once again looking out the window, only this time he was tapping his wand against the glass.
"What are you doing?" Mrs. Granger asked a little rudely, not wanting her window to be ruined in anyway. Devonshire quickly put away his wand and turned away from the window, causing Hermione to become slightly curious. But she didn't say anything. Devonshire handed her the signed forms.
"Here you go, Ms. Granger. I need you to sign these as the magical inhabitant of the household," he said professionally. He handed her the quill and after reading over the forms, Hermione quickly signed the designated areas. Devonshire then handed the quill to her parents. "I need you to sign here as witnesses and then here stating that you did indeed go outside for the security check," he told them.
Mrs. Granger signed first while Mr. Granger frowned.
"Why so much formalities for a security check?" he asked apprehensively. Devonshire shook his head.
"These are dangerous times, Mr. Granger," he said, watching the man sign the forms. "We have to be absolutely sure that each check was done by the book and that every person in the house was accounted for at the time of the check. The Ministry wants to make sure things are done without mistakes because if there are then people could die and we can't afford to let that happen."
"Is it really that bad out there?" Hermione asked as the Auror placed the forms carefully back into his briefcase, casting a charm over the case before he turned to her.
"Not as bad as the Prophet is making it, but I have a feeling that by the time that the summer is over, the Prophet will look like child's story compared to what's actually happening," he replied grimly. Hermione bit her lip, contemplating asking the man about what was on her mind. She decided that it wouldn't hurt to ask.
"Have you heard anything about what's going over at the Weasley residence?" she asked quickly. The man paled, not enough to attract attention from Hermione's parents, but just enough for Hermione to notice. There was fleeting pained look on his face as well, that told her that something was off.
Hermione nodded and he suddenly shrugged, everything going back to normal.
"I'm sorry, but I haven't seen Arthur lately. He's been quite busy with tons of raids," he told her quickly.
"What about his family."
There it was again. That temporary pain before it was quickly discarded. It was as if he knew something that he wasn't willing to say… or he couldn't say.
"I really don't know," he said rather slowly, as if judging every word he said to make sure he didn't give away too much.
"You don't know anything?" Hermione pressed rather intensely, almost desperate for information.
"There hasn't been much information coming out of that household since Harry Potter arrived," he said. He instantly looked like he regretted his statement.
Hermione's eyes widened.
"Harry's with the Weasley's?"
Devonshire picked up his briefcase, looking extremely upset with himself.
"I've already said too much," he mumbled, more to himself than to her. Mr. Granger looked worried.
"I'm Harry's friend. Hermione Granger," she said. The man frowned, as if he already knew, but still shouldn't have told her anything.
"Look, I have more houses to get to today, so I have to go," he said, suddenly impatient with her, offering his hand. "Good luck with the rest of the summer."
Hermione looked upset.
"Wait, what's going on with the Weasleys?" she asked.
Devonshire shook his head and pulled out his wand.
"I'm sorry, but I've already said too much. I'm sure the Weasley's are fine," he said before disapparating. Hermione was speechless.
What was going on?
A/N: Enjoy! R/R!