A/N: I'm not jumping ship; this fic will continue! I've been unmotivated and busy like crazy lately. Such is life. I'm hoping to have the next chapter up within the next two weeks but no promises. I'll see what I can do. You're all super awesome for sticking with me.

In the mean time, I've started several Romione oneshots and projects. Keep a look out. It's gonna be a sick amount of spam. (I'm using 'sick' positively here btw.)

And for your reading pleasure, I must recommend jesrod82, TMBlue, and KariAnn1222. Amazing Romione authors I aspire to be like.

Oh. And Harry. Lots of Harry, guys. Yay! (Oh, the song is Carry On by Fun.)


You swore and said
We are not,
We are not shining stars.
This I know
Cause I never said we are.


The August heat didn't let up for several days. Finally, on my second Thursday with Ron, it was cool enough to wear jeans. After breakfast, I slid into them with a grateful smile. Shorts and skirts were beginning to get old and my mother had still been unable to retrieve my things from Charlie. The denim glided over my thighs and as I reached around to button the pants-

"You've got to be kidding me."

I tugged again, this time harder. The two sides of the fabric wouldn't even come close to joining. I growled in frustration and tried a final time before letting go and punching my thighs. It was going to start getting cooler in a matter of weeks, and I didn't have anything else I could wear. Even if Mum brought me my clothes, they were all nearly the same size. This must have been one of those maddening symptoms of pregnancy. But I was only seven weeks along; how could I be this bloated at seven weeks? I dreaded to think what I would look like at thirty.

"Hermione?" Ron's voice carried in from the hall and I could hear his footsteps, each a little bit louder than the last, signaling his impending arrival. "Hermione, I thought we could take a walk." I tugged at my pants again furiously. "It's nice out, and I thought-" His voice was even louder now and his footsteps had stopped, which could only mean that he had reached me. And I still hadn't figured out how to close my pants. I turned around to face him with the uncooperative pieces in my hands and let out a frustrated sigh. My bangs levitated for a second and then blocked Ron from sight.

"Erm." I wiped away the offending strands of hair and raised my eyebrows at him. "Are you alright?"

I growled. "I'm fat." Ron paused for a moment before he looked me over. His eyes met mine and he began to laugh. "It's not funny," I hissed. I turned my back to him and tried to pull my pants shut, hoping for a miracle. After a few more fruitless attempts, Ron came up behind me. He settled his chin on my head and rested his hands on my newly gained pack of chub.

"Mm, Hermione, you're not fat, not even close." He rubbed circles on my stomach and, despite my frustration, I couldn't help but shiver and lean back against him. He was warm and muscular, the way I always remembered him. Just feeling him behind me, I could imagine what he would look like if something, Merlin forbid, were to happen to his shirt-

"Feel this," Ron instructed. He moved his hands from my gut to grab mine and replace them. "Does that feel like fat to you?" I sighed and shook my head. "That's because it's not fat. It's baby. This," he began as he slid his hands a bit further and laced our fingers together, "is all our baby. The fact that your jeans don't fit is good. It means Baby is healthy and growing."

I snorted. "When did you become such an expert?"

Ron shrugged. "Well, I've been feeling a bit more paternal lately, now that I've been looking through your books." I pulled my hands out from under his and rubbed his forearms.

"Have you really? Ron, that's wonderful. Now we'll both be prepared-"

"Well, I don't know about all that-"

"We'll both be better prepared," I giggled. I glanced sideways into the mirror. Everything seemed picture perfect. It was Ron and me against the world, completely caught up in each other and with a healthy baby on the way. I couldn't have asked for more. Well…aside from the hiding. But beggars can't be choosers, right?

I slid my hands down to cover Ron's, overtop our baby. It was still odd to think. Our baby. I couldn't believe that I was pregnant. What had happened to Hogwarts Hermione? Where did she go, and where did this woman come from? I could barely accept that I was expecting. But the fact that Ron, my Quidditch star, my best friend, the boy with dirt on his nose on the Hogwarts Express, was having a baby was even harder to accept. And then there was the fact that I was the one carrying it…

But nothing had ever felt so right. The prospect of waking up next to Ron every morning and one day sitting on our front porch in rocking chairs while our grandchildren played in the yard was the most appealing idea in the world. It was the most natural. What else was I supposed to do with my life? Where else did I belong, if not in his arms?

Ron turned to look into the mirror with me. He rested his cheek against my head and swayed us slightly. Just when I thought the view couldn't get any better. His thumbs massaged my belly and he pulled me as close to him as humanly possible without breaking me. It was still a relief to know he had missed me just as much as I had missed him, and especially to know that he had no intentions of letting go ever again.

"Ron?" I said in a small voice.

"Hmm?" He sounded sleepy. I contemplated the idea of a day in bed, just holding him and watching him sleep peacefully in the heat.

"Ron," I said again. "We're having a baby."

He kissed my hair. "I know. It's bloody wicked, yeah?"

I smiled at our reflection as he continued to shower my head with kisses. "Yeah. Bloody wicked."


"Potter!"

Harry glanced up from his desk and looked down the long hall which made up most of the Auror department. His boss, Hadrian Miller, was practically skipping to his desk. By the time he reached his destination, Harry was at a complete loss as to what the purpose of his journey could be.

"We've got some kids for you in investigation room five."

Harry groaned. "What sort of trouble this time? Oh, don't tell me it's the Brocklehurst twins again." He shuddered at the memory of vicious, toothy toasters.

Miller shook his head excitedly. "It's bigger than that, Potter. Take a look." He set the file down on his desk. "I think you'll like what you find. Don't disappoint me down there."

The elder man limped off and Harry lazily flipped open the cover of the profile. He scanned over the names and paused halfway through the first confession. He read it three times. Without missing a beat, he was on his feet with the file in his hands and dodging Ministry employees on his way to the examination rooms.


"It's really nice out," I remarked as Ron slid his arm around my waist. "It's lucky that Mum finally brought me my things." After weeks of waiting, she had finally arranged with Charlie to have my remaining possessions brought to her house, where I went to sort through them. It was just in time, too, as it was nearly October now and the weather was getting chillier each day. Most of the clothes weren't much good to me now, thanks to the baby. I was able to stretch the older ones to fit me a bit longer, but I refused to risk my nicer outfits.

"I'm surprised she got them so quickly, to be honest," Ron said. We were taking a trail in the forest just next to his-our-home. It was still and peaceful, but for the birds chirping away and the occasional scampering of tiny woodland feet.

"It's really beautiful out here."

"Tell me about it."

I could see Ron staring at me adoringly in the corner of my eye. I bit my bottom lip and felt the heat rush to me face. "Oh, shut up."

"Nah." He whirled me around to face him and sighed. "It really is. And so are you. We've lost too much time." I frowned and stroked his cheek with the back of my hand. "So I owe you a lot of compliments. I've got to make up for all the ones I've missed. I might have to spend several life times doing it, but I'll catch up, I promise."

"Oh, don't," I breathed as a tear ran down my cheek before he caught it with his lips. "You're here now. We're together now, and that's all that matters. We can just erase those years now. Just…just having me here with you, and with this baby on the way…you've more than made up for it."

Ron shook his head. "We'd have gotten to this point anyway. We missed all the fun stuff. Double dates…all the times we could have made it awkward for Harry…getting drunk and snogging at my brothers' weddings…" He stopped and sighed. "Shit, Hermione, we didn't even get our own wedding."

I was completely caught up in him. We could have been in an automobile factory and it wouldn't have mattered. His fingers were running up and down my back and his words were piercing every bit of me. I just wanted to stay there forever. I wanted his touch to color every moment and I didn't want him to stop talking. He could have preached to me about putting house elves back into slavery and it probably wouldn't have mattered at this point. I'd lost track of what he was saying by now.

Unable to hold back, I kissed him mid-sentence. Several moments later, I released him and chuckled. "We'll have our own wedding. As soon as everything gets sorted…I mean, with Charlie and all of that." Ron shook his head. "What? Isn't that what you want?"

He smiled faintly. "Of course I want to marry you. But I want it all. The ceremony, the reception, the cake…I want to see you walking towards me in some stunning dress. I want everyone to see how beautiful you look in it and hate me because they don't get to have what I have."

I frowned. "That may not happen for awhile yet."

"I know." He shrugged. "But I think it'll be worth the wait. And we'll have a little ring bearer ready made by then," he chuckled as he ran his fingers across my stomach.

"Or flower girl," I laughed. "Alright. We'll get all that. But no complaining about the dress I pick."

"I won't," Ron said with a shake of his head. "As long as it's not too frilly. Or skimpy."

"Ron."

"What? I can't have you running around in next to nothing. That's for my eyes only. Ow, watch it!"

"You just said you wouldn't!" I sighed and leaned even further into him, winding my arms around his neck. "We'll have a real wedding, then. And a real family."

"And a different house," Ron interjected. "One closer to our old apartment."

"Not too close. We have to give the kids room. Can you imagine if the Muggles got a look at their accidental magic?"

"Oh, so now we're having multiple children?"

"If this one doesn't turn out too badly." I frowned suddenly. "Do you think we'll make it out of this alright? Honestly," I added quickly. "Answer honestly."

Ron hesitated. "I'm not gonna lie and tell you I'm not worried. Especially after the way things have worked out. It's like…it's like fate or something. And it's fucking scary to think whatever this force is that's brought us together seems to be leading us down some crazy, dangerous path, but I think…I think we'll be okay. It sounds stupid, but in my heart, I just…I can feel it, you know? That we'll have tomorrow and thousands of days after to be together. Because that's really what we were meant to have. We're supposed to be with each other for a very, very long time. Maybe forever. And if something were to happen…if they came after us, or our baby, then we wouldn't have forever, would we?"

I stared at the amazing man before me, wondering what, exactly, had happened to Ron Weasley, the boy who lacked confidence in just about every aspect of his life. "I love you," I blurted. "I love you so much." I attacked him with a passionate kiss. "You're wonderful. And that's everything I needed to hear. I don't know how you do it, either. You always seem to know just how to make me feel exactly what I need to feel."

Ron shrugged. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I wasn't saying it to make you feel better. It was the truth. Every word of it was-Merlin, help me-straight from the heart."

I nodded. "I know. And I think that's part of what makes it so fantastic." I stood on my toes and kissed his cheek. "Let's get back to the house." Ron grinned deviously.

"We've just spent the whole morning in bed, Hermione."

"But you just said yourself you have a lot to make up-"

Something snapped in the trees and I froze. "Ron-"

He pressed his finger to my mouth, ordering me to be silent. We were just outside the reach of the fidelius charm. Anyone could be here, waiting for us. I inwardly scolded myself for letting us come this far from the house. One of Ron's hands left my back and grabbed for the wand in his waistband. Before he could remove it, a figure stumbled out of the woods and onto our path.

"Well, finally!" the petite blonde shrieked. She started at us with her eyes fixed on Ron, who pulled his t-shirt down over his wand. "I haven't seen-no, I haven't even heard from you in weeks. Where the hell-" She paused as she caught site of me and slowed her walk. "Have…you…been?" There was another slight pause which she used to look me over. "And who the hell is she?"

"Darlene," Ron said calmly. Her attention snapped back to him and I could immediately see why; it was all over her face. I tensed as I watched yet another hormonally driven girl drool over my Ron. "This is Hermione. Hermione, Darlene. She lives just on the other side of the trees here." I nodded and gave her my best smile, but she seemed unimpressed. "Hermione's…er…well, an old friend."

Who just happens to be carrying your child, something in the back of my brain hissed. Why wasn't he mentioning that bit?

Darlene smirked at me and turned back to Ron. "Right. Why haven't you been around lately? I feel like every time I'm supposed to come by, I've had something come up." I fought a smile, glad to know that the protective charms were working.

"Oh, sorry," Ron mumbled. "I've just been helping Hermione get settled in." Darlene's eyes widened. "She's living with me now. Did I forget to mention-?"

"Yes," Darlene snapped. "You did." She still did not so much as look at me. "Hmph. Well, when are we going to hang out?"

"Soon," Ron said quickly. "We should all hang out sometime. I think you two would get along great." Darlene glared at me and I smiled back politely, pulling Ron even closer to me. She took note of the motion and clucked her tongue.

"That sounds fun," I said, leaning my head against Ron's shoulder.

Darlene suddenly smiled. "Of course it does. Yeah, I'm game. Why don't I come over tonight?"

"Oh, yeah, okay. To my place, right? The little bungalow just up past the path, outside the forest, where Hermione and I live?" I winced slightly; he had just strung another person into the fidelus charm. And while I trusted his judgment, I couldn't help but feel uneasy about the inclusion of someone else-especially someone I didn't know at all and was giving me death glares.

She smiled brightly and confusion seeped into her expression for a moment. "Right…where you've always lived since I met you."

Ron felt my glare and glanced back at me for a second. "Um…actually, how about I just come by and walk you over? How's seven?"

Darlene smiled. "I'll be there. Seven o'clock. We should cook together." She pulled a hair off the front of her skirt and beamed at him. "Well, I'd best be going. I should head into town and get some stuff for tonight." She moved forward and kissed Ron on the cheek. "I'll see you tonight." She gave me a much more painful smile. "Nice to meet you…uh…"

"Hermione," I said clearly. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Darlene. We'd love to have you tonight." Her smile faltered slightly before she nodded and headed back from whence she came. "Ron, who was-"

"She's a neighbor," Ron sighed. "And the only real friend I've had over the past few years, so be nice."

"She fancies you."

Ron turned us back in the direction of the house. "Yeah."

I was taken aback by his answer. "And have you…are you two…I'm not sure how to ask this."

Ron shook his head. "No. Well, yeah." I stopped. "A couple of weeks ago, she sorta…came onto me. We snogged for a minute before I…well, I just couldn't." He started walking again and it took me a moment to follow. It was unfair for me to feel this way. I had been married-and not just to anyone, but to Ron's brother-and yet I was feeling jealous and betrayed over him snogging a girl I'd never met before one time.

"So you two…I'm coming between something, aren't I?"

"Not at all," Ron scoffed. "It was a one time deal, and we were both tipsy. I mean, I know she fancies me. She told me so herself. But I told her I couldn't. Nothing's happened since."

"You couldn't?"

"Nope." I looked at him quizzically and he gave an exasperated sigh. "If you must know, I told her I couldn't get over you." My heart warmed immediately. "I couldn't stop thinking about you. I had just gotten back from seeing you, and moving on was just…it wasn't in the cards for me. Good thing, huh?" He smiled and put his arm around my shoulders.

"You're wonderful."

"I know."


"We got those from the kitchen. They was in the drawer under the sink."

Harry looked again at the plastic bag and the broken quills it held before tossing it on the table behind him. "And what were you hoping to do with quills?"

The boy on the other side of the table shrugged. "Not sure. I only saw 'em when we was lookin' around. Tarleton was the one who took 'em. Prob-ly wanted to show off to the boss."

Harry frowned. "The boss?"

The boy sighed and leaned forward on his elbows. "I'm afraid I can't tell ya that one, Mister Potter. I don't have all the answers. And I'm sworn to secrecy on the ones I have."

"Richards," Harry growled. "You're already in a holding cell. You're going to be tried and probably put into Azkaban. You haven't got anything left to lose. You might as well come clean with me."

Richards shook his head and ran his hand across his dirty blonde buzz cut. "No can do, chief." Harry frowned and the boy sobered up a bit. "Look, the other guys might say something. I've told you all I can tell."

Harry sighed and nodded as he made a few notes in his folder. "Alright, Richards. I just need your official confession one more time, then."

The boy nodded. "Yessir." He cleared his throat. "I, Michael P. Richards, and my associates broke into Mr. and Mrs. Weasleys home on the eleventh of August."

Harry nodded. "Alright, the guys will take you back in a moment. Thanks for your cooperation." He gathered up his papers and headed for the door.

"Mister Potter?" Harry turned back and looked at the young criminal. "I hope you can figure it out. Whatever it is you need to know. For your friend's sake."

Harry scowled. "For my friend's sake? What's that supposed to mean?"

The boy shrugged. "I'm sure you've got an idea of what I'm talking about. Can't say anything else though, remember?"

Frustrated, Harry left the examination room and headed straight for Miller's office. He couldn't believe his luck. This group of six boys had come out of nowhere and confessed to breaking into Charlie and Hermione's house. They had evidence to prove it. Harry would have recognized Hermione's favorite quills anywhere and he knew for a fact that she had kept a stock under the sink in her kitchen.

His anger had only grown by the time he reached the office. He didn't wait for a reply after his quick knock and stormed into the room. He threw the files down on the desk and crossed his arms, clenching his jaw. Miller raised his eyebrows at him and a man sitting in one of the chairs across from him cleared his throat. Harry jumped and went red in the face. "Oh, I'm sorry, sir. I didn't realize you had company."

Miller shook his head. "It's fine, Potter. Have a seat. You remember Dougal?"

Harry nodded and shook hands with the large, graying man on his right. Torvald Dougal had been high up in the department when Harry and Ron had first started. He left shortly after Ron's…incident…and Harry had scarcely seen him since. He gave Harry a warm smile and crossed his legs. "Good to see you again, Potter."

"Likewise, Mister Dougal. Sir, I finished the interviews."

Miller raised his eyebrows expectantly. "And?" Harry shook his head. "Well, we'll just have to see where the trial gets us."

"What's the case?" Dougal asked in his deep, authoritative voice. Harry started to tell him that it was confidential when Miller chimed in.

"Burglary. But we think it might be part of a conspiracy."

Dougal nodded approvingly. "Interesting. We're not talking some young boys' gang, are we?"

"No, it's even better. We think it's connected to that prophecy. You remember the one."

"The second Chosen One, of course," Dougal said with a hint of laughter in his voice. "Oh, we had our share of excitement with that one, didn't we?"

"Erm…sir?" Harry said, drawing the older men from their conversation. He felt slightly annoyed that they were talking about a potentially high threat case with such ease. "When would you like me to set the trial for?"

Miller nodded at Dougal. "Eager, our Mister Potter. Certainly gets things done around here, doesn't fool around."

"That's a good quality in an Auror, Hadrian. Keep him around. We could use more like Potter in this department. And Longbottom, what happened to Longbottom?"

"Still here," Miller said proudly.

"Excellent," Dougal said excitedly. "So much potential. Reminds me a bit of his parents, that boy. In the best of ways. Frank and Alice were excellent. Some of the best in their day, I'd venture to say." Miller nodded in agreement.

"Sir, the date? For the trial?"

"Oh, right." Harry watched as his boss pulled himself out of conversation long enough to pull out his planner. He flipped through some pages before he settled on one page. It was several moments before he responded. "The best I can do right now is the beginning of January."

Harry gaped. "January? Sir, it's September!"

Miller shook his head. "We've got a few high profile cases booked, and then with all of the negotiations for the Goblins. You know the finer details of that are going to take months. Several slip ups on both ends along the way to take care of. Spaces for important cases that pop up-"

"And this can't be counted as such?"

"Afraid not, Potter. It's just a burglary."

Dougal agreed. "He's right, Potter. You might see a connection, but you haven't got much to go on, have you? All they'll see it as is a burglary. And that's not enough for them to bump up a case." He pulled a thick cigar out of from the inside of his robes and lit it. Harry angled his head away from the smell. "Besides, this will give you plenty of time to contact your witnesses."

"Witnesses? Sir, it was a burglary. They were gone by the time-"

"Yes, but what about the owners of the house in question?"

"They've already confessed. What do we need witnesses for?"

Dougal smirked and tapped the end of his cigar on Miller's ash tray. "You need witnesses, Potter. You can't just have them confess. You need accounts or you'll look like you're just bullying them into confession."

Miller shook his head. "Our Ministry knows Potter better than all that. Besides, this is his brother-in-law's house we're talking about."

Dougal froze and shot Harry a hard look. A moment later, his face softened. "Of course, with it being so close to home…that's not going to help your case if you want to get a closer date."

Harry shook his head. "Maybe not. But if I can find another link…something…anything, really-"

A knock on the door interrupted his plea and a moment later, Miller's secretary stepped in. "Sorry, Mister Miller. It's just that you've got a visitor, for the Sterling case."

"Oh, yes, of course," Miller said as he stood quickly. "Just a moment, gentlemen, you'll have to excuse me."

"Duty calls," Dougal called before taking another drag of his cigar. Once Miller had shut the door behind him, he turned to face Harry. "So, Potter. You really think this has something to do with that prophecy?"

Unsure of how to answer, Harry hesitated before simply nodding.

"And we've got the usual list of candidates? No more, no less?"

"Just Longbottom and Malfoy, sir."

Dougal nodded. "Wasn't there a-oh, that's right, Weasley. Shame. The boy had potential." He casually flicked his cigar against the ash tray again as Harry looked to the ground, willing the unwanted memories Dougal had brought to the front his mind to repress themselves yet again. "Well, they're aware, aren't they?"

"Of course," Harry said. "In fact…" He hesitated again. Dougal had been out of the department for years, but he had been one of Harry's role models from the start. And if Miller was willing to trust him with the dirty details, why couldn't Harry? "See, they've both come to me. Their wives are pregnant. Both of them. I don't see how it's a coincidence."

Dougal considered this. "It's awfully peculiar, yes. But, Potter, how does this coincide with the break-in? I thought that was in-laws' place?"

"Erm…well, see, my friend, Hermione Granger-well, it's Weasley now-"

"Weasley?"

"Yes, but not Ron. His brother. She married his brother. But she dated Ron. Before…well, anyway, she's expecting as well, and-"

"So now you're including one of our candidate's ex-girlfriends in this, despite the fact that he's dead-been dead for years?" Dougal appeared annoyed by the idea.

"Sir, she's been…off lately. Acting strangely. She's divorcing my brother-in-law. She told him the night of the burglary, actually, that she was leaving him. Told him it's someone else's baby."

Dougal sighed. "Potter, you cannot just tie your concern for your friend to any old case."

Harry couldn't hold back any longer. "Sir, this is Hermione Granger we're talking about. If it weren't for her, there's not doubt in my mind that Voldemort would be around today and we wouldn't be having this conversation. It makes sense for people to be after her. And she knows, sir, all about the prophecy, and she seems to think it's connected. It's one of the first things she mentioned after the break-in, that it might relate to her child."

Harry took a deep breath and watched as Dougal blew out rings of smoke. His respect for the old man was slowly dwindling. Finally, the elder of the two said, "I think you may be on to something here, Potter."

"You-you do?"

He nodded. "I do. But there's no way you can get clearance based on what you've got. If you just did a bit more digging…well, you might be able to pull something off." Harry nodded. "I've got faith in you. I bet you could get a closer date."

The door opened suddenly and Miller bustled back into the office looking flustered. "Sorry about that, it's a ruddy mess. This case will be the death of me." He clasped his hands together as he reached the back of his desk and smiled down at Harry and Dougal. His expression withered as he sensed their tension. "What did I miss?"

"You know, Hadrian," Dougal said as he finally looked away from Harry to Miller. "This kid might be on to something. You're sure there's not a sooner date?"

Miller shook his head. "Well, not without a higher clearance. And I'm afraid we haven't got enough evidence for that. Sorry, Potter."

Harry shook his head. "It's alright. I'm sure I'll be able to find something…within the week, at least, Sir." His boss nodded.

"Alright, Potter, but I don't want this interfering with your other cases. I'll have the boys in the holding cells for the night and if you don't need them tomorrow, it's back to Azkaban until the trial."

Harry nodded. "Thank you, sir."

"You know, Potter," Dougal began, "if you're worried about Longbottom and Malfoy, we could always revert to the old ways."

Harry frowned. "The old ways, sir?"

Dougal chuckled. "Oh, come on, Potter. How do you think your parents hid themselves away? Surely not on their own?"

Harry shook his head. "No, but they had Dumbledore."

Dougal laughed. "They had Dumbledore! Are you hearing this, Hadrian? Of course they had Dumbledore, but where do you think they drew their support from? Well, the Order, of course!"

"Well…we did consider that," Harry admitted. "We've just found no reason to get worked up just yet. Not until this group came in, anyway."

Dougal nodded. "Of course. But now that you've got the suspicion that they know, you'll have to do something. Take precautions and all that. You know, I've got a lot of time on my hands now that I've retired," he said pointedly. "I'd be glad to help you revive it."

The respect that was dwindling suddenly reappeared. "Really?" Harry asked. "That'd be brilliant, sir. Thank you. I'm sure Neville would really appreciate it. And Malfoy, of course, but…well, I'll have to tell him."

"Anything for the Longbottom family," Dougal said with a smile. "Now run along. Don't you have some research to do?"

Harry retrieved his files from the desk and excused himself. For the first time in weeks, he felt hopeful about the case. He couldn't wait to tell the Weasleys that the Order was coming back. It was only a matter of time before he'd be able to see Hermione again. But first, he had business to attend to.


Harry caught up with Kingsley Shacklebolt just as he was moving from his main office to a press conference on the latest with the Goblin negotiations.

"I'd be glad to talk, Harry, but you'll have to keep it brief. And mobile. We're running behind already. Big surprise, right?" He chuckled at his own sarcasm but stopped when he saw the solemn expression on Harry's face. "What is it, Harry?"

"Sir," Harry began hesitantly. "This case-the break-in, I mean-well…I think it might be related to the, um, other thing we've been discussing lately." Kingsley stopped and motioned for his team to spread out. Harry waited for his clearance before he started talking again. "Here's the thing. Hermione's pregnant, and she's been acting…odd. I've got no idea where she's gone to, but she's leaving Charlie, and she told me before she ran off that she had things to tell me. Things that I think relate to this case. Well, to both cases."

Kingsley scowled. "She ran off? Where to?" Harry shook his head and explained all that George and the Weasleys had told him. "This can't be good. I'll be meeting with George soon. So what did you have in mind, Potter?"

Harry sighed. "I need to get this trial over with as quickly as possible. Miller says the soonest he can work it in is January, but who knows what else could happen by then. It's like…it's like they're part of something bigger. I want to get as much out of them as we can now and put a stop to whatever their associates are planning."

Kingsley nodded. "Naturally. Well, I'll have a look at the calendar, but I don't see why we can't have it set up by the end of November. I know it's not as soon as you'd like, but this way you can have time to sort out things with Hermione and get the Order set up."

Harry frowned. "I'm not sure that I'll be able to get anywhere near Hermione to sort things out."

"Send George," Kingsley said simply. "Send him with her summons. She'll have to testify at the trial. And that'll get your foot in the door. I'll send the papers to your office by tomorrow morning."

Harry breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Kingsley. You have no idea how much this helps. Sorry to have kept you."

Kingsley shrugged. "We were running late as it was. What else is new? Now get back to your office and don't say a word to Miller. He's got Dougal in the office today, and I don't want much of this to get back to that nosy son of a bitch."

Harry paled. "Erm…is there something wrong with him?"

Kingsley shook his head and rolled his eyes up at the ceiling. "You'd think someone who enjoys sticking his nose all over our cases so much would be working and not retired. He tries to do more than most of the Aurors we've got, I swear. Well, run along, Potter. In fact, take the afternoon off. Merlin knows the next time you'll be able to have a peaceful afternoon with all of this coming up."


But I like to think
I can cheat it all
To make up for the times I've been cheated on.
And it's nice to know
When I was left for dead
I was found, and now I don't roam these streets.


A/N: Not the longest, but if I'd included the next scene, it would have gone on too long. And now you know that the next chapter is already in the works which means a quicker update :D Yay. Reviews are better than candy.