All characters and canon situations belong to JK Rowling and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story.
The First Stone
Chapter 1: Prologue: Sins of the Father
There was an old saying that went, 'those without sin shall cast the first stone'. Hermione Granger would be the last person ever to cast a stone at anyone else. Sitting among the other broken souls in this ramshackle church, she spied a small pebble littering the floor by the pew in which she sat, and she moved it with the toe of her shoe. The stone made her think of the heavy stone she wore around her neck, like an anchor, weighing her down, drowning her, causing her pain more and more each day. Moving the stone around on the ground, her hand went absentmindedly to the one she wore around her neck. She fingered one as she pushed the other around with her foot.
The wind drifted in through the openings of the rafters, diffusing the sounds of the people in the congregation. Knowing no one would notice, Hermione leaned down, picked the smooth stone up with her hand, and rubbed it with her thumb. She felt numb. The stone felt cold.
She thought of another parable, one of someone walking along with a pebble in their shoe, but they didn't feel the pain because someone walked beside them, bearing all of the weight. While sitting in this decrepit church, with this motley crew, she slipped the pebble in her shoe and let the sharp side of the stone cut its jagged edge into the tender part of her sole. Or was that her soul? It didn't matter. She would feel the pain of the pebble acutely, on her own, because there was no one walking by her side. What's more, she wanted to feel the pain.
The man in the front of the church concluded with a prayer. Hermione bowed her head out of respect, but nothing more. When almost everyone had stood to leave, Hermione finally stood. She winced when she took the first step with the stone in her shoe. Damn, that hurt. She caught the attention of the man in the front with a slight nod. He nodded in return, finished talking with one of his parishioners, and then started toward her.
Reaching her in three strides, he asked, "Are you Miss Granger?"
It had been a while since anyone had called her that. It felt strange, foreign. She had been Mrs. Weasley for a very long time. She nodded a polite response even as the man asked, "How did you like the service?"
"It was fine," she lied. In truth, she hardly paid any attention to any of it. When she was little, she used to go to church with a book in her pocket. She would pull it out, place it inside a hymnal, and read. When everyone stood to pray or sing, her mother would drag her up with a pull to her dress. Hermione would stop reading long enough to sing. That was always her favourite part of church, the singing. "I liked the music," she continued.
He smiled. "Yes, not much of the church survived the fire, but the old pipe organ wasn't harmed in the least," the man said proudly. "Tell me, Miss Granger, what can I do for you today?"
"Wait a moment, I seem to have a rock in my shoe," Hermione begged. She placed a hand on the back of one of the pews, kicked off her shoe, and then lifted it to remove the rock. She didn't need to have a rock in her shoe to remind her to feel pain. She felt pain every day. And suffering was highly overrated, anyway.
After removing the stone from her shoe, she reached inside her bag and removed a photograph of a man. "Have you ever seen this man at any of your church services? He goes by the name of David Moore, but that's an alias."
The minister took the photo from her, shook his head, and said, "Yes, that man came to several of our gatherings. He never came to a Sunday service, during the day, but he came to several of our evening functions, as well as a few of the meetings we had here, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc. I have to admit, he was a bit different."
"Different how?" she asked.
"Profoundly sad," he answered. "He seemed to have suffered a lot in his life. He seemed lost and forlorn."
He motioned toward the front pew and sat down before she did. She sat beside him. "Miss Granger, you're not with the police, are you?"
She stared at him for a few moments, trying to phrase her words carefully in her mind. When she asked to talk to him yesterday, he suggested that she come to their Sunday service, and then he would answer her questions. She placed the photograph back in her satchel and decided not to lie to a man of the cloth. "No, I'm not. I'm a witch. This man is a wizard. I'm looking for him, but no, I'm not with the police."
The minister smiled. "A witch?"
"Yes, as in magic, you know?" she said warily.
He smiled wider. "I see." He stood up. "Perhaps you could use some of your magic and put a roof back on this place? We've not raised enough money to replace the losses we incurred due to the fire last month." He laughed. "A witch. That's a new one. Miss Granger, if you need psychiatric help, I know several people who might help you."
She stood up and said, "Forgive me, Father, but you aren't fit to judge me, and I don't need any help. There's nothing wrong with me." She handed him a card with her name and cell phone number on it and said, "And if you hear from this man, or see him at all, please call me. Please. Believe me, he's not what he appears. He's also very dangerous, and not to be trusted."
Hermione started toward the opening, which was at one time the doors of the church, but due to the damage from the fire, was now just a large opening, as one of the doors was gone completely and the other one was propped against the wall. She spied the one old church door lying on its side by the opening, raised her wand, and with a flick of her wrist, the door was once again attached to the frame.
She heard the man behind her gasp. She turned to face him and said, "Have a little faith, Father." She walked down the stone steps and wrapped her arms around herself tightly. She looked both ways down the deserted lane. She was about to Disapparate away when she felt someone 'watching' her. She decided to walk toward the woods, instead of toward the road.
She knew she was being followed. Good thing she removed the stone from her shoe…if she need to run away quickly, she could. She pulled out her wand and spun around to face her unknown enemy.
"What are you doing here?" she hissed, her wand pointed under the man's chin.
"I have to ask you the same thing," he said. He knocked her wand arm away from him and then grabbed the end of it in one quick swipe. "You know you're going against a direct order from the Ministry coming here, don't you?"
She smiled. "When do you care about orders from the Ministry?"
"I could give a shite about the Ministry," he laughed. "But I have a vested interest in you, Hermione."
"Not anymore, Ron," she said. "Please, leave me alone." She wrenched her wand from his tight grip and started out of the copse of trees. He spun her around.
"I can't leave you alone. I know what you're suffering. I'm suffering, too, Hermione. You aren't the only one who lost someone. I'm in pain, too!" he spat.
It took her several moments to compose herself, and then she said, "If I could erase your pain, I would. If I could erase your memory, I'd do that, too. If I could turn back time…" and she stopped. "Wait. I can turn back time. That's it, Ron. Why didn't I think of it before? That's it."
"What are you blabbering about?" he asked, confused.
"I have one chance to make this right. I can turn back time. I go can back and right my wrongs. Stop my sins."
"Sins?" he said with a hitch of a laugh. "What sins have you ever committed, Hermione? I'm the one that broke our marriage vows! I'm the reason our daughter is dead! Seriously, what are trying to say?"
"Only this," she started softly, placing a hand gently on his shoulder, "Those without sin may cast the first stone. I want to be the one to cast the first stone, so in order to do that, I have to stop my sin. I have to go back."
"Back?" He was beginning to understand. He grabbed her wrist. "NO!" he barked. "I won't let you! What happened wasn't a sin! It wasn't a mistake! I won't let you go back and right it, and I don't know how you think you're going to do it anyway!"
She looked down at his wrist on her hand. "Let me worry about that. Let go of my wrist, Ron. I have to go." She opened the collar of her coat, and pulled out a chain that was hiding under her blouse and jumper. On the end of the chain was an amulet. Grasping it in her fist, she closed her eyes, said the silent incantation, and just like that she was gone. She was gone and her ex-husband was all alone.