Dear Readers,

Below you will find the beginnings of Chapter 44. I would like to take a moment to thank you for sticking around this long, and for having my story on alerts, as I know it has been quite a long time. I wrote this in August of 2011 as I was in the thick of writing In The Ashes, and I abandoned it because of person health issues, and then because I was focusing on my own original fiction.

But this week, something changed. Inness, my long time beta, and long time friend, succumbed to her battle with cancer. In an attempt to do her proud, I am intending on finishing this fic. She loved it, I loved it, and because of her I am a better person, and a better writer. Inness passed this weekend, and when I go to say goodbye to her tomorrow, I want to be able to tell her that I am going to finish what we started while we were in college. It will take me a while, as I have many more commitments than when I began, but I feel like it is the right thing to do to honor her.

I'm sorry that I don't have more of a start to this chapter, but I hope it will hold you over for a time. Also, I want to note that I predicted Hillary Clinton for president in 2011, and that makes me basically a genius.

So much love, and please take a moment to think about Inness,



"We're going to have to stop dancing eventually," Hermione sighed from where her cheek was currently nestled against Severus' shoulder.

"Are you sure?" he asked and spun them gently to the right.

Clapping began as the orchestra finished their set, leaving them suddenly aware that play time was over, no matter how lovely, and it was back to war. Hermione felt the change in the set of Severus' back and they pulled away from each other easily. She caught a glimpse of the set of stars on her arm and her resolve doubled. As if Madame President had read their minds, she caught their eyes as they made their way off the parquet dance floor. She inclined her head to the right and turned, expecting the Brits to follow.

They reached a door at the end of a long, empty corridor and the President opened the door. With a glance, it was made clear that this was a conversation for only Hermione. She gave Severus a silencing look and closed the door after.

"Where are we?" Hermione asked, looking around.

The room she had stepped into was not in the building that she had left. This room was on the ground floor, and surprisingly untidy. A large bed was in one corner with the sheets pulled down and the pillows sleep indented. Several articles of clothing lay strewn on the floor and there were two half empty water glasses on the nightstand.

"The only place in the entire country that is truly private," she laughed. "I apologize for the mess, but you know what getting ready for a ball is like."

Hermione giggled, "Your bedroom?"

"Privacy is of the utmost concern to me in this matter." Madame President ushered Hermione to the window where there was a loveseat. "I didn't exactly plan on bringing you here, but I felt it necessary."

"This goes deeper than Benedict Arnold," said Hermione shrewdly.

Clinton nodded sharply. "I appreciate getting down to brass tacks. We have a situation in the US that requires a deft hand. Do you know anything of our politics?"

"Somewhat," Hermione replied.

"Then you'll know of this man- Ronald Crump. Billionaire businessman and investor, also a wizard. He's putting forth some pretty risky ideas, ones that would amount to revealing our world and a genocide of non magical people. We have some time to strategize, but you do not. If you promise us some of your people once your situation in England is taken care of, we will provide manpower, political immunity, and resources."

"And if our plans go awry, we need refugee status for our people fleeing Britain and an integration program," Hermione pressed. "Give us that and you have a deal."