A Different Halloween
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the laptop I used to type this.
Lily Potter was currently in a room filled with shouting, laughing and crying toddlers, the noise being generated was of a level that only young children were able to achieve. Lily Potter was in heaven.
Being cooped up in that cottage day after day was beginning to grate on her nerves, it was so bad that taking Harry to the clinic was now considered a day out for them. Lily had been adamant with James that Harry not only be aware, but comfortable with his muggle roots, hence his regular visits to this clinic.
That it was too dangerous for them to appear anywhere in the magical world drastically cut down on her medical options, a visit to St Mungo's would probably be a death sentence for the Potters. Nothing was more important to the twenty-one year old mother than the safety of her son. The toddler was desperate to get down from her knee and put his recently acquired walking skills through their paces. Lily was managing to resist Harry's efforts until a little curly haired girl approached them.
"Hello, my name is Hermione Jane Granger. What's yours? Mother says I'm not supposed to talk to strangers so that's why I'm asking."
The girl immediately brought a smile to Lily's face, she appeared about two but acted nearer ten. "Hello Hermione Jane, my name is Lily and this is my little boy Harry James Potter."
Lily had to choke down her laughter as this precious small child shook her hand before kissing Harry on the cheek. Wait till she told James this story, their son had a girlfriend and she was an older woman too. Lily was shaking her head and thinking she definitely needed to get out more when Harry slid off her knee and grabbed his new friend's offered hand. He called her 'Hermi' before slobbering on her cheek and then the two giggling children made their way across to where the toys were located. The clinic had a small, enclosed area the children could play while waiting.
Lily couldn't take her eyes off her fifteen-month-old son and his new friend, she didn't notice the woman who'd sat beside her until she spoke. "Hi, I'm Emma Granger. The little minx who just kidnapped your boy is my daughter. It's strange actually, she normally just sits there with her picture book while we wait to be called. The instant she spotted your son, the book was forgotten and she was on her way over here before I could stop her."
Lily couldn't help but like the well-dressed woman who had introduced herself, she had such a friendly manner that instantly put you at your ease. Lily also couldn't help noticing that Emma Granger casually radiated the kind of style and poise that her sister Petunia would sell her soul for. "Hi, I'm Lily Potter and my son there is Harry. I agree it's strange, Harry is normally very shy of people until he gets to know them. He took to your daughter in an instant, what age is she?"
Emma gave a wry smile at that often asked question, "My husband and I are not sure if she's two or twelve. Her birth certificate claims she was two last month but, well you've met her."
Lily returned the smile, two mothers talking about their children – oh how she'd missed this. "Yes, she seems a trifle old for her years."
This had Emma chuckling, "That's probably the nicest way that's ever been put. She spends far too much time in the company of adults, playing with children her own age is exactly what she needs."
Both mothers had hardly taken their eyes off their charges, they watched as Hermione chose an 'educational' toy before explaining to Harry how to operate it. Hermione was enjoying herself immensely and Harry appeared entranced by his new friend's voice and actions.
Lily and Emma were chatting away to each other while becoming captivated with watching their children play together. Lily learned that Emma was a dentist and she and her husband ran their own practice. A practice that Emma was currently only working part-time at, this would continue until Hermione started nursery school after Christmas.
Lily used her usual muggle cover story that her husband was in the police and she had been training to be a teacher before becoming pregnant with Harry, thus putting a temporary halt to her career. She reckoned Emma was a good six or seven years older than her and was really enjoying their chat when the receptionist called Hermione's name. As the two mothers went to collect their children, Harry began crying that he didn't want 'Hermi' to go. Only Hermione saying she would be back soon put a halt to the tears.
Standing there as the little girl held his hand and spoke would melt the hardest of hearts. "Harry James don't cry. I need to go and see the nurse but I'll be right back."
Lily couldn't have taken her son away even if she wanted to, Harry sat on her knee and stared after his new friend as she walked away with her mother. His gaze never waivered from the door she had entered, a wide smile split his face when his new friend eventually came racing out the door and headed straight for him.
"Told you I wouldn't be long."
Harry was chuckling as he jumped back down to play with 'Hermi', only to be disappointed when his mother scooped him up a few minutes later because it was his turn to see the nurse. After hearing that she was the mother of a bright healthy boy, Lily led Harry back out to find Hermione and Emma waiting on them.
"Mrs Potter, would you and Harry James like to come to our house for some tea?" Hermione couldn't wait to get all the words out and was already holding Harry's hand.
Emma could only shake her head and smile at her daughter. "Sorry to spring this on you Lily, the little madam here doesn't want to be separated from her new best friend just yet. We only live a hundred yards or so from the clinic, you're more than welcome to come around for a cup of something and a blether. It will give these two monsters more time to play together."
Lily thought this was a great idea but asked if she could phone her husband when they got there. "With him being in the police, there is usually search parties out looking for us if we're more than ten minutes late." She knew James would start to worry if they were late but couldn't really tell Emma why, not that she would understand about dark lord's and a prophecy.
They had a phone fitted in the cottage so her parents could keep in touch, Lily loved being able to just pick up the phone and talk to her mother about everything from babies to baking. A car crash had put a sudden and permanent halt to those calls. Lily wasn't sure whether this was a death eater ploy to draw them out of hiding but she was forced to miss her parents funerals just in case, her son's safety was her primary concern.
Harry wasn't ready to walk that distance yet but determined to try as he held Hermione's hand in the weak late October sunshine. Lily eventually had to place him in his buggy, he relented without a fight as Hermione now walked beside him chatting incessantly.
Emma said what Lily was thinking, "When you look-up precocious in the dictionary, one of the definitions given is 'Hermione Jane Granger'."
The girl in question was currently telling Harry all about Halloween and how she had a witch's costume, even though she wasn't going to a party or walking around the neighbourhood this evening. Harry then had a moment of clarity that almost stopped Lily's heart from beating. "Mummy, Witch!"
Lily thought she covered it quite well though, "No Harry, little boys can't be witches, they would be a wizard."
Harry apparently understood, "Daddy, Unca Paddy!"
"Yes love, they would be wizards too."
Emma couldn't stop smiling at how well the children were getting on with each other. Hermione usually avoided children her own age and would always gravitate toward older kids, no five or six year old wanted to play with a toddler though so her daughter mostly found herself on her own.
They soon arrived at the Grangers where Hermione quickly led Harry into the playroom, Lily was pointed in the direction of the phone while Emma went to put the kettle on.
James as predicted was panicking until his wife was able to reassure him, "Darling, I'm in a perfectly normal home and their little girl is so adorable, she and Harry are getting on like a house on fire. Since when do death eaters start impersonating dentists? We'll stay safe and be home later. Harry gets so few opportunities to play with children his own age, just watching them together is wonderful and reminds me what we're fighting for. We won't be too long love and here's the telephone number in case you need to get in touch."
Lily read out the number, told her husband she loved him before putting down the phone to find Emma standing there with a laden tray in her hands.
"I'm sorry but I couldn't help overhearing that, you're not in any trouble are you?"
The concern in the slightly older woman's face was easy for Lily to read. With her mother dead, her sister treating her as if she didn't exist and all her friends excluded because of the fidelius charm, Lily was desperate for another woman to talk to. It would be so easy to tell this complete stranger everything over a cup of Earl Grey and a digestive biscuit, Emma was one of those people you just instantly trusted. Lily couldn't do it though so tried to stick closely to the truth.
"No Emma, it's not what you think. We're in a spot of bother but not with the authorities. My husband really is in the police force and very good at his job. He works in the anti-terrorism branch and has made some bad enemies. One of those enemies has threatened Harry's life, this guy doesn't kid around so this is deadly serious. As you can imagine this has shaken us to the core. That these animals would attack a child makes me want to vomit, that it's my child targeted makes me want to pick up a weapon and fight for his life."
Lily found herself having to take the tray from Emma as she began to shake, "They would attack that beautiful child in there? How do you stand it Lily, I would be a basket case if Hermione was in that kind of danger."
"You just have to live your life as best you can while keeping Harry as safe as possible. We don't actually live around here and I can't tell you where we do. I can give you our phone number because it doesn't appear on any lists. James was worried that we might have been enticed into coming here but I just can't see your Hermione as a Mata Hari figure."
Emma was flabbergasted, "Lily, how can you joke about this? I would be going crazy!"
"Emma, if I don't joke about the situation then I would find myself sitting in a corner crying. I'm not saying I don't pay the occasional visit to that corner but most days I can avoid it. I have a wonderful son and a husband who needs me to be strong."
Emma put her arm around the petite redhead's shoulders and pointed her in the direction of the playroom, this was probably unnecessary as the sound of their giggling children would have led her straight there anyway.
Hermione had put her little witches costume on and was swishing her wand about all over the place, Harry was sitting patiently waiting on something happening. The minute the adults entered with the tray, Hermione moved a few toys to clear her small table so she and Harry could sit at it.
Lily tried not to smile at the apple juice and little pots of sliced fruit, this was definitely the house of two dentists. When Harry started eating his fruit with his fingers, Hermione put down her spoon and did the same. Both mothers thought that was about the cutest thing they had ever seen.
"Hermione usually has an afternoon nap about now, your Harry looks as if he could use one as well. Why don't we put them down and we can have a girls afternoon and chat."
Lily was tempted, when she saw Hermione take a blanket out a drawer and lead Harry over to a comfortable looking sofa her mind was made up. James knew they were safe and an hour or two chatting about normal things would fairly recharge her batteries before she was once more confined to the cottage.
Emma really enjoyed her afternoon, Lily Potter was such a lovely girl. She accepted there were things in her life the young redhead couldn't talk about but there appeared to be large black holes in her knowledge of things and events that just didn't make sense. It was as if she had been living on a desert island for a good few years. When they strayed from the subject of children and family, Lily noticeably struggled with a number of subjects. Emma was beginning to think that the Potter family were on some sort of witness protection scheme, the entire police angle appeared too contrived. She'd said her husband was at school with her which posed a question Emma didn't ask, how does a twenty-one year old policeman get to make enemies so bad they threaten to kill your family?
Emma's senses though were telling her this woman was no danger to her or her family, there was more than a hint of goodness emanating from this lovely young woman. Danger was the last thing on her mind as she glanced over at the two toddlers lying on the sofa, they were now awake but appeared content just to snuggle with one another.
The door being opened and the sound of a man's voice alerted both women that they had been chatting for a lot longer than they thought. Hermione's voice piped up from the sofa, "Daddy, we're in here!"
As Dan Granger entered the room, Hermione had untangled herself from Harry and raced to greet her father. As this was her usual form of welcome, Dan was well prepared. He scooped her into his arms, spinning her around until her giggles filled the room. What Dan wasn't prepared for was the little boy who toddled over and held his arms up for the same treatment. Hermione was even more excited than normal at her father coming home, she had so much to tell him. "Daddy, this is Harry James. He's my bestist friend in the whole wide world!"
Dan glanced toward his wife and the beautiful young redheaded, both nodded their permission so Dan scooped up Harry as well and swung them both gently around. The happy sound the children made was music to all the parents' ears.
"Emma, I really need to be going. I was enjoying being here so much that I lost all track of time. Can I phone James before he really starts to panic? It's dark outside now and Harry and I should have been home ages ago."
Emma introduced Lily to Dan, her husband was by this time on the floor and playing along with both children. Lily hurried off to make her call. Emma was filling in any blanks that Hermione was leaving in her description of their day to her daddy. The image of her husband sitting on the floor with a child on each knee as he beamed with happiness was an immensely powerful one for both Granger parents. Emma had two miscarriages before they were blessed with Hermione, her health had taken such a beating carrying her daughter to term that the doctors couldn't say if Emma would survive having another child. Both parents decided to be happy with the wonderful daughter they had, rather than risk everything by trying to have another child. While the decision might have been the right thing to do, it didn't mean the thought of Hermione growing up as an only child didn't hurt like hell.
This was the first time they'd seen their daughter interact with another child near her own age, both parents were greatly heartened by this development. Emma was certainly going to ensure that Lily knew she and Harry were welcome back here anytime.
James felt the relief wash over him as he listened to his wife's voice, especially when she used their codeword that let him know she was telling the truth and in no danger.
"James darling, sorry for worrying you. I was chatting with Emma while the kids had a nap and simply forgot the time. Our Harry has had a wonderful day, I've never seen him take to anyone as he's taken to Hermione. He even wanted her dad to give him a swing because he did it with Hermione. Those two kids are just so cute together, it warms your heart."
"Glad to hear from you love and your new friends sound great, a pity we can't ask them over. I need you both to be heading home though, I don't want you out after dark without at least a few of us with you."
Lily was about to remind James that she could take care of herself when her husband's next sentence froze her insides.
"Oh hell Lily, the bastard's walking up the garden path!" James then proceeded to shout, "Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off..."
It didn't register with Lily there might be a reason James had shouted these words, she was beyond thinking about anything other than her husband's safety. "James, don't be a fool! I need you, Harry needs you, don't you dare get yourself killed! Get your arse out of there now!" Lily was by this time on her knees and sobbing, the phone practically glued to her ear as she listened. James just had to get out of there, she couldn't go on without him.
James figured Voldemort must think his family were in the cottage, reinforcing that view might buy him a few seconds to get out of here. He summoned his broom from upstairs before activating the defensive spell he'd placed on the furniture for such an eventuality. Everything in the room transformed into some type of animal just as the door was being blown off its hinges. Voldemort found himself under attack from a wide variety of creatures, everything from a sofa-sized bear to birds flying off the wall. James also fired a few spells to add to the maelstrom that surrounded the dark lord but this was mainly for effect.
The instant his broom reached his hand, James blasted the window to smithereens and zoomed through his improvised escape route like a bat out of hell. He had to dodge a couple of curses in mid-air but was sure Voldemort wouldn't follow while he thought Lily and Harry were in the house. The dark lord loved no one and wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice someone else's life to save his own, the hope was Voldemort accepting James would do the same.
Lily could hear the sound of battle and prayed Voldemort's scream was one of frustration, his next words lifted her heart from the dark pit it had been dwelling since James had uttered that awful sentence.
"What a fine example of a Gryffindor you are, running away and abandoning your wife and child to their fate. I shall take great pleasure in killing them."
Lily's emotions were in turmoil, she screamed down the phone. "You won't get near my son you sick bastard! We'll fight you with our last breath."
She slammed the phone down to find a crying Harry heading for her, Lily was still sitting on the floor sobbing but she now had her son in her arms and her husband was alive. "Daddy got away my baby, your daddy's fine and he'll be with us shortly."
Dan hadn't a clue what was going on but his wife's hand on his arm reassured him that she knew, he couldn't stop Hermione as she rushed over and attempted to wrap her little arms around the upset mother and son.
Emma asked a question, more to let Dan know what was happening here. "I take it that terrorist just found the house you were staying in?"
Lily was fighting to get herself under control, she didn't want to scare the children. Realising how close they had all come to their end was hammering her emotions for now, she managed a nod before attempting to speak. "I can't thank you enough Emma, if you hadn't invited us here then Harry and I would have been at home. James would die rather than leave us and I wont let any harm come to my son while I draw breath. He would have killed us first and then Harry would have been defenceless!"
Hermione may not have understood all the words but got the meaning behind them, she was not a happy two-year-old. "Not hurt Harry James!" was screamed out from her little body.
Lily felt the magic leave the girl as the glass front of the nearby grandfather clock exploded, thankfully not in their direction. The little girl was now crestfallen, "So sorry mummy, didn't mean to do it again."
Lily held the child and stared directly into her tear filled hazel eyes, "Honey, that was not your fault and I will fix it in a second. Dan and Emma, this changes everything. I'll tell you the truth as soon as I contact James. You need to know anyway, for your family's safety."
Lily's wand shot into her hand from her wrist holder and waved it at the clock, it was repaired in seconds. She kissed Hermione on the forehead, "Told you I would fix it honey, I need to go and get something from my bag."
Lily quickly headed for the playroom leaving three stunned Grangers behind The clock was even ticking now, it had never worked! Harry took his new friends hand and repeated his words from earlier. For Emma though, they took on a whole new meaning.
When Voldemort heard those words coming from the telephone handset, his anger knew no bounds. The wave of magic that poured out of him destroyed every single item in the house and blasted out all the windows. It was so powerful, it registered in the Scottish highlands.
Albus was in his office when all the alarms he had tied to the Potter cottage went crazy. The old wizard gave a wry smile, a magical discharge of that magnitude could only mean one thing. His plan had worked and the dark lord was dead.
He didn't think that anyone else would have the guile or conviction to turn the mutterings of a near squib into a self-fulfilling prophecy, desperate times called for desperate measures.
It had taken all of his Machiavellian manipulations to bring his scheme to fruition, but lady fortune had apparently just smiled on him. It took no more than a subtle hint for Black to quietly change the Potters secret keeper but the real challenge had been nudging Lily Potter to discover the sacrificial ritual. The muggleborn students didn't arrive at Hogwarts with the same sense of in-built respect and reverence for the school's headmaster that their counter parts did, Lily Evens was particularly sceptical. Only her overwhelming need to keep her son safe allowed Albus to steer her in the direction he wanted. If she had carried out the ritual properly, then her son would be alive and the dark lord gone.
This raised another issue though, Albus had long suspected that Voldemort had performed dark rituals in an attempt to escape death. Unfortunately there was only one way to prove this theory and killing Voldemort was easier said than done. With baby Harry now banishing the dark lord, Albus needed to take control of the weapon he had just created. Should Voldemort cheat death, he would come after the boy at the first opportunity. Albus was sure that, should this come to pass, he was more than capable of controlling any situation and turning it around to his advantage.
That was the future though, he needed to deal with the here and now first. He would dispatch Hagrid at once to the cottage and have him bring the child to Hogwarts, he would implement the next phase of his plan tomorrow. After all, it was Halloween and he so enjoyed the feast.
James didn't know where to turn next, the glimpse he had of a healthy Peter standing by the gate tore at his soul. He originally thought Peter must have been tortured to death, he'd clearly given the information on their whereabouts willingly. He now knew the identity of the spy within the order but that bastard Wormtail also knew all their boltholes. With Lily amongst muggles, he was forced to wait until she contacted him. This didn't mean he couldn't get the word out though, he removed a mirror from his pocket and said Padfoot.
A worried face appeared in his mirror, "Prongs! I was just going to come over to the cottage, something about today just doesn't feel right and I can't find Peter."
James couldn't keep the bitterness out his voice, "That's because he was too busy showing his mate Voldemort around Godric's Hollow!"
"What? The cowardly bastard, I'm going to kill him! Where's Harry and Lily? I know you'd never leave them and Lily would probably rather face Voldemort than get on a broom with you."
"They're visiting some muggles they met when Lily took Harry to the clinic for his appointment today."
Sirius wasn't convinced, "Are you sure they're muggles? One hell of a coincidence don't you think?"
"What death eaters do you know who could impersonate muggles well enough to fool Lily? Besides, she used our codeword so I know they're fine and not being forced to say things she doesn't want to."
Sirius may be fighting mad but he was still curious, "Codeword?"
"If she calls me 'darling' at the beginning of our conversation then I know she's fine, even under the Imperius they wouldn't know to tell her to say that. She insisted we keep that one to ourselves and I think we need to listen to Lily more often. The trouble at the moment is she needs to get away from the muggles before contacting me. Get hold of Moony while I wait, the three of us will be going to collect my family."
It suddenly dawned on Sirius just what Peter's betrayal meant. Sirius Black had a wicked temper at the best of times, this certainly wasn't the best of times. "That rat knows all our contingency plans, I am so going to kill him!"
James came right back at his best friend, "Sirius, for once use that brain of yours before going charging into a situation. I want to kill a certain rat too but getting Lily and Harry to safety has to come before everything else. We need to get to them as… I'll call you back, Lily's mirror just activated."
Lily had grabbed the precious item from her bag and said her husband's name into it, to see his windswept face lit by the quarter moon sent her heart soaring higher than his broom. "James, are you all right darling?"
Emma and Dan had made it to the door and both had to concede the relief and love shown by Lily couldn't be faked outside a few of Hollywood's top earners.
Her husband's voice was projecting the same set of emotions from the mirror. The Grangers needed answers but were already leaning toward helping this young couple if they could.
"I am now love, we were very lucky tonight."
All heard Harry's shout, "Daddy!"
Lily turned the mirror around so James could see their boy. "Hey kiddo, how's daddy's favourite boy tonight?"
Harry was laughing now, his mummy was here and he was talking to his daddy, the toddler's world was complete. He was also desperate to tell his daddy about his new friend who was standing beside him. "Daddy, Hermi!" this might have been a lot less articulate than Hermione's introduction to Harry's father but it got the job done.
"Hello sir, I'm Hermione Jane Granger and Harry James's bestest friend."
James looked at his son and the little girl dressed as a witch, Hermione had even put her hat back on while telling her father the story of her day.
James couldn't hide his concern, "Lily, are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"Yes darling, I think these two will be going to the same school when they're eleven. Are you coming to collect me? I'm not taking Harry out by myself now he's actually hunting our boy. Peter knows all about us too, we need to do things differently from now on."
Dan asked Lily if he could speak to James for a moment, "Hi, your wife and son are very welcome to stay at our house while you arrange to collect them. This won't bring those terrorists to my door though, will it?"
"No sir or we wouldn't dream of it. My wife will explain some things to you that you really need to know. The Potters owe the Grangers a huge debt that can never be repaid, your wife and daughter's kindness today means I still have a family. Anything we can do for you is yours for the asking, you have my word on that."
Dan told James their address, telling his wife and son they would be there soon he shut of the mirror. Not before he heard his son shout 'bye daddy', which just reinforced how lucky they'd been tonight. He'd listened to Dumbledore and tried it the old wizard's way, a way that almost ended in disaster. Lily's opinion was to get their son as far away from this monster as possible, a long haul flight out of Britain sounded good right about now. James swore to listen more to his wife's opinions from now on, the fidelius had almost finished the Potters. It was time to contact both Sirius and Remus, then collect his family.
Emma was desperate for some answers but had bided her time as Lily had more important matters that required dealing with first, the time had come though.
Lily didn't even give Emma time to ask anything, it wasn't fair to keep these good people waiting any longer. She sat on the same sofa the kids had slept on and immediately had a child on either side of her, Lily put an arm around each of them. "Let me guess, strange things have been happening around Hermione that you've been unable to explain. These incidents probably happened when she displayed a strong emotion like tonight."
It wasn't really fair to tease Emma and Dan like this but she needed them to accept something that was so out of their comfort zone they had to be guided there step by step. What she was telling them here would change their lives forever. "You have been racking your brains and hitting the books, all in a vain attempt to define what was happening with your daughter. So far you've come up with a big fat zilch! I would think your next move would be batteries of medical tests?"
It was easy to see from Dan and Emma's expressions that Lily was hitting the bull's-eye every time. "I can save you a lot of trouble, worry, heartache and expense by telling you there is nothing physically or psychologically wrong with Hermione. I personally think she's adorable!" Lily kissed the smiling girl on the forehead, of course Harry had to be kissed too.
Telling worried parents their child was not only fine but beautiful was always going to win you brownie points.
Lily continued before the Grangers could ask any questions, "The reason I know so much about this is the exact same thing happened to me. My parents were worried sick and were so relieved when they discovered what it was, they embraced my differences. That is what I'm hoping for here today, or should that be tonight. Hermione broke your clock with a burst of accidental magic, I repaired it using my wand and a structured magic spell. I attended a special School of magic in Scotland for seven years where I learned how to do these things." So far so good Lily thought. They haven't grabbed their daughter and thrown Harry and her out the door, that was a good sign.
"There is an entire magical society living alongside your normal one, we have our own government, health and education system with our own currency thrown in for good measure. James really is what you would call a policeman, only he works for the department of magical law enforcement. You see I am a witch, my husband and son are both wizards and little Hermione here is a magical child in every sense of the word."
The Grangers were understandably more than a little bit sceptical of this story, Lily handed Emma her wand. To the dentist it was merely a stick, her husband also felt nothing other than a trifle foolish when he held it next. Their daughter on the other hand was a different matter entirely.
Hermione had been walking around the house, waving her toy wand at everything since she got her witch costume last week. This wand had beautiful, multicoloured sparks shoot out the end when she held it, Hermione wanted one of these.
Lily took her wand back and animated some of the toys in the room. This delighted both children who immediately slid down from the sofa to play with them, leaving the three adults to continue their discussion. "You would have been contacted when Hermione reached eleven and given this explanation, as well as the option to send Hermione to magical school. One of the strictest laws in our world concerns keeping the secret of magic just that, a secret. I'm bending that law, if not breaking it because, as parents of a magical child, there are some things you really need to know. You will have surmised from what happened earlier that ours is not a utopian society at the moment, we're in the middle of a bloody civil war fought over class and breeding. Like you both, my parents were not magical. This sees me classified as a 'muggleborn' and the lowest form of magical user in some eyes. James is a pureblood, his parents and grandparents were magical. Harry is classed as a half-blood, oh how I hate that term! To put it simply, some of the purebloods think they're nobility and the rest of us nothing more than plebs who are here purely to do their bidding."
Emma was struggling to understand this, "So this society judges you by your parentage and there's an actual war being fought over this?"
"Pureblood magical society is still stuck in the Victorian era, gas lighting, servants for everything and arranging good marriages for your offspring to enhance your family's standing and protect the bloodlines. Most of these people don't believe children like your daughter or me should have magic, far less be taught how to use it."
Dan was ready to blow his top but mindful there were two children playing happily in the room. "Lily, that is utter balderdash. It's genetics at a level for children! We are human beings, not drosophila in a biology class. Surely you don't believe this?"
"Of course I don't. My husband and his best friend are both purebloods who think the whole idea is a load of tripe, they are called blood traitors for their stance. The leader of these terrorists has really whipped his followers into a frenzy, they even have their own uniforms. They have been committing crimes against muggles and muggleborns while the magical government has looked the other way, too afraid to take on the fight and discover how many of their own they would be fighting against. Only when purebloods started being murdered did they start to officially take notice, anyone who disagrees with this terrorist usually ends up dead. James and I have escaped from him three times before tonight, I guess that makes this our fourth."
Lily understood this was a lot for the dentists to take in and tried her best to put it into some sort of context they could relate to. "This may sound like games children would play but it can get you murdered, imagine Lord of the Flies where all the children had deadly weapons. Good people are afraid to make a stand or even to speak out against these people, those few who do usually end up dead. James lost both his parents that way."
The witch was once more trying to reign in her emotions, "I wanted us to take Harry and get out of the country, I was persuaded that the Potters leaving Britain could start an exodus that would hand victory to the other side. Well screw them all and the horse they rode in on. That child there is my only concern, the little boy playing with your daughter. I will tell you anything you want to know and offer advice based on my own experiences. The next piece of information I will give you though is crucial, when Hermione was born she would have been magically registered as being a witch. If these terrorists succeed in taking over the government, that information places you and your family in grave danger. You have already heard from me that these animals wouldn't hesitate to kill a child."
Lily went down on her knees to play with the children while Dan and Emma retreated to the kitchen. None of the adults felt like they could eat a bite but both children still had to be fed. Dan asked his wife the question that was at the heart of the matter. "Do you believe that our little girl can perform magic, that she's a witch?"
"I believe she'll still be our little girl whether that's true or not. The explanation certainly accounts for all of the things we've seen Hermione do, and some of the more serious things we thought might be causing it frightened the life out of me. If it takes us having to accept she's magical to have a healthy child then count me in. Brain abnormalities or genetic anomalies I don't think I could cope with, I would much rather she was a healthy witch. Apparently I've just spent the entire afternoon chatting with one and I like Lily a lot. If that's what the future holds for Hermione then bring it on."
Dan knew his wife held herself totally responsible for their inability to have any more children. Therefore when something threatened Hermione, Emma would put a lioness defending her cub to shame. Both parents had been getting progressively more worried that something was seriously wrong with their precious child. These unexplainable outbursts kept happening and were getting more severe in terms of damage, would she one day destroy their house?
There was unquestionably a sense of relief at being able to put a name to their trouble, however strange that name may be. Only one thing was for certain, they needed to learn much more about this before any life changing decisions could be made. If the Potters didn't have anywhere else to go then they could stay here for now, they had plenty of room and Hermione would be delighted to have her 'bestest' friend staying over.
Dumbledore was sitting at the feast and attempting to decide what pudding he should have when Hagrid entered the great hall. This caught his attention because Albus had distinctly told him to take baby Harry to his hut and tell no one about this. Using his quietest voice that meant perhaps only the centaurs didn't hear him, Hagrid gave his report.
"Professor Dumbledore sir, I did what yeh asked an' went to the Potter's cottage but baby harry wasn' there. The cottage was a right mess but there were no bodies to be found anywhere."
This set a few of the senior staff off and Minerva was quizzing Hagrid before turning her ire toward him, Albus though was currently too busy running scenarios through his mind to let that bother him. He'd lost the Potters from his plan, there was no way short of an imperius curse that Lily would allow the same thing to be set up again. Albus Dumbledore always had a plan in reserve, or in this case another family ready and waiting. He was pretty confident Lily would have told Alice about the sacrificial ritual since both young mothers were in the same position. This would need a touch more finesse to pull off since it would place his new twenty-one year old Head of Slytherin in potential danger.
Severus would have to leak the information to Voldemort and one slip would cost the young man his life. It would appear Severus had already worked this out as he had worn a scowl since the moment Hagrid spoke.
Albus would hate for anything to happen to Severus because of his plan. He'd had a century to work on it but Albus still hadn't discovered why he was so attracted to bad boys, and Severus was such a bad, bad boy!
Lily was down on her knees helping Harry eat his dinner at the tiny table, Hermione of course didn't need any help. Dan and Emma were having trouble equating this scene with the mayhem and murder talked about earlier, they hoped to have a long chat with the Potters after the kids were put down for the night.
The blissful scene was interrupted by the sound of Lily's mirror going off.
"Hello darling, where are you now?"
"We're right outside the garden gate, I've set up some mild muggle repelling charms around the house so we don't get disturbed by people celebrating Halloween but everything appears fine. We're approaching the door now and will be with you in a moment."
Dan went to open the door to his visitors while Lily trailed on behind with her wand drawn, she wasn't taking any chances with two children in the house. Dan opened the door and instantly recognised the young man from the mirror, his friend also had a wand drawn and a big black dog pushed passed him and into the house. A dainty hand shot past Dan and grabbed James by the front of his jacket, pulling him into the house. Lily was soon wrapped around her husband and kissing him as if they'd been apart for months.
"Excuse me sir, my name is Remus Lupin. Can I suggest that I come in and we shut the door? Don't worry about these two, they've been married for over three years and still act like it's their honeymoon. We keep thinking that one day they'll calm down but it obviously hasn't happened yet."
A child's squeal of 'Paddy' broke the couples kiss, "Where's Harry?" James asked unnecessarily. The sound of laughter easily gave away the boys location, they group headed for the playroom.
Harry was currently laughing with both his arms locked around the big dog's neck, Hermione decided it was a good dog so was patting it on the head. Lily's entrance changed everything, "It's safe Sirius, we need to talk."
The Grangers got to witness another facet of magic when the big dog transformed into a rather handsome young man, Harry still had his arms around the man's neck.
"Unca Paddy, Hermi!"
Sirius was now ruffling his godson's hair, "Everything checks out Prongs, nothing to be concerned about here. Unless that is, you're worried about this little cutie in the witches costume stealing our Harry's heart away."
Hermione stared at Sirius for a moment before turning to her parents, with pleading in her voice and her best puppy dog eyes she asked them a serious question. "Can we get a dog?"
A/N Thanks for reading