Banking on Her
Harry reckons his future is bleak if he stays at Hogwarts. The Tri-Wizard tournament offers him a fail-safe way of escaping his perceived destiny, that is until Harry discovered the hidden costs.
Disclaimer: Since I'm not the owner of these characters, I may do things with them that you don't like or agree with. Sorry in advance but that's the nature of fan fiction. To do otherwise kind of defeats the purpose of fan fiction, and copying JKR word for word would certainly see a lawsuit heading in my direction.
Hermione Granger was sitting in her usual corner of the Hogwarts library, her table piled high with books. What stood out as being unusual with this scene was that the girl in question couldn't seem to concentrate on any of those precious books. Professor McGonagall had just announced that there would be a Yule Ball as part of the Tri-Wizard Tournament before asking Harry to wait behind after class. Hermione was currently racking her brain to come up with a reason that her best friend could be in trouble, she was also coming up empty.
The group of giggling girls who were surprisingly hanging out in the library wasn't helping her concentration either. Hermione couldn't understand why they would come to a library to sit and giggle amongst themselves.
Hermione's gaze swiveled and locked on to her best friend who had just entered. Harry headed straight for her though appeared to be deep in thought, something was clearly troubling him. Hermione assumed she was about to discover what McGonagall wanted. After a quick greeting, he sat beside her and Hermione's curiosity could be denied no longer.
"So, what did Professor McGonagall keep you back for?"
"Oh she was just informing me that, as a champion, I need a date for this ball they're now springing on us."
Harry was silent for a moment and Hermione assumed he was going through his potential dates in his head. The Gryffindor witch held out some hope she would be in there somewhere but had no intention of dropping any hints.
"Hermione, there is something I need to ask you?"
Hermione's heart was racing as she was sure he was going to ask her to the ball. She was trying to compose herself so she didn't pounce on him in her enthusiasm to say yes.
"What do you know about banks?"
Hermione was actually staggered and left stammering over that question. "Banks, not ball?"
"Banks Hermione, I had intended to ask you about this but McGonagall just moved the timetable up with that announcement earlier. I'm not asking about the ball because I won't be here for it."
Hermione was shaking her head as if to try and clear it. "Ok Harry, you're going to have to explain that one to me. You've never left Hogwarts at Christmas."
"I've come to realise that, if I want to have a future, then I need to get out of here. Otherwise, I don't see myself reaching eighteen. I know full well what you think of divination but even the skeptical Hermione Granger has to admit all the signs are pointing in that direction."
Harry even thinking of leaving Hogwarts had struck Hermione dumb.
"Every year since I've set foot in this place, I've almost died. Not once has my life been saved by a professor. Mostly it's been down to dumb luck and that luck can't hold out forever. This bloody tournament is the last straw for me."
Panic kicked Hermione's brain back into gear as she tried to come up with valid reasons why her best friend shouldn't leave. "You can't leave until you've at least sat your OWL's. Do you think Professor Dumbledore will just let you walk away from Hogwarts? You know he keeps a close eye on you."
Harry gave her a smile that did things to her insides. "What is the full name of this school?"
Hermione answered at once. "Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...Harry no!"
"It's the only option I've been able to come up with that doesn't see me leaving this place horizontal and covered in a white sheet. I keep having these dreams of me lying dead on the grass..."
"Harry, you need to tell Dumbledore or at least Sirius about those dreams. Are they the same as the ones you had earlier in the summer? Did your scar hurt?"
"Hell no, no, no and no. Dumbledore leaves me scrambling about in the dark so I'm telling him nothing. I don't want Sirius placing himself in any more danger because of me, these dreams are different and nothing to do with my scar. This is not a spur of the moment thing Hermione."
"How long have you been thinking about this?"
"Since the moment Hagrid took me to see the dragons. Forcing a fourteen year old to face off against a nesting dragon told me everything I need to know. Staying at Hogwarts will only see me die."
Hermione was still struggling to understand and so far Harry hadn't been very convincing. "You took on that dragon and beat it, why didn't you refuse to participate then?"
Harry actually blushed with embarrassment at that question. "I didn't want to give anyone the opportunity to call me a coward. No one who saw the last task could ever call me that now."
Hermione was shocked that he could even consider that as a valid reason for facing a dragon. Harry took advantage of her silence to lay out his plans. He needed her to see that he had actually thought this through.
"The reason that I asked about banks was my parents left me an inheritance, I need to get it out of Gringotts while I still can. I don't know much about goblin banking but even less about normal banks. I need to get my money safe so none of the Dursleys can get their greedy mitts on it. If I'm no longer magical, I wonder if they'll start treating me as normal?"
Hermione laid her head on his shoulder, fighting the tears at the shitty life her best friend had lived. "Could you really give up your magic Harry?"
"Being a live muggle or a dead wizard is not a hard choice for me Hermione." Harry wasn't finished laying out his plans though.
"I know I've missed years of normal school but, if I work hard, I can hopefully earn enough qualifications to get into a catering school. Cooking is something I enjoy doing and my inheritance will hopefully give me a leg-up to opening my own restaurant. I figure even Ron would venture into the muggle world if there was a free meal in it for him. I'm also banking heavily on you staying in touch?"
This was where Hermione lost her fight, tears began running down her cheeks. She didn't know how to tell him the next bit but simply had to. "Having been there with you or sitting there watching as you nearly lost your life on numerous occasions, I really can't fault your logic. I also can't fault your method of leaving, you can't attend Hogwarts without any magic."
Harry's smile was back at her words but that wouldn't last long, it was breaking her heart yet she had to tell him. "When Hagrid gave you your Hogwarts letter, I'll bet he never told you what the procedure was if someone wanted to leave the magical world?"
Harry's smile disappeared as he lifted her head and saw she was crying. This could only be bad news. "Professor McGonagall was asked by my dad what would happen if I didn't like Hogwarts and wanted to leave. She told us the magical world needed to be kept secret and all three of us would have a spell cast on us to make us forget all about Hogwarts and magic."
After his experience with Lockhart, Harry was well acquainted with that particular spell. He now felt sick to his stomach.
Hermione's tears were now hitting the table as she spelled it out for him. "I would love to come and sit in your restaurant Harry, but I don't think I could. It would kill me to be sitting there and you not knowing who I was. I may be a Gryffindor but I know I'm not that brave."
Harry's arms were now around her shoulders as he pulled her into a comforting hug. "Why does my life seem like its one step forward and then three steps back? I'm not a muggleborn though, would they still do that to me?"
"The boy-who-lived deliberately sacrificing his magic, rather than compete in a ministry sponsored event. What do you think?"
"I think they would obliviate the shit out of me! I need another page to my plan, and I need it quickly. I still have no intention of taking part in the second task so that puts the pressure on. I'm going to go and beat the snot out of something and see if that will help, will you be ok?"
Hermione was trying to smile as she wiped her eyes, she nodded to him. Harry's next comment put a brilliant and genuine smile on her face.
"You do know that, had I been going to the ball, I would have been down here like a shot to ask you to be my date?"
Hermione took her courage, and Harry's head, in her hands and kissed him on the cheek. "You better believe I would have said yes."
She watched him leave as a new determination took hold of her, she would do anything to help him achieve what he wanted. Harry was now ready to ask her out on a date, there was no bloody way she intended to let anyone mess with that.
Hermione wasn't sure how long she sat there after Harry left but she was drawn out of her thoughts by her name being mangled in a foreign accent. She glanced up to see a certain Bulgarian Tri-Wizard champion staring down at her. He'd apparently been trying to capture her attention for some time.
"The name's Hermione, what can I do for you?"
"You have been crying, who upset you?"
"Oh I was just having a discussion with a friend."
"Not a very good friend if made you cry?"
This Bulgarian was now really starting to annoy her. "I'll have you know he's the best friend in the world. Now again, what can I do for you?"
"I wish you to go to the ball with me?"
Hermione was again struggling to believe what she was hearing, this was turning into quite a day. She was also certain that it wasn't just his poor grasp of English that made his question seem more like a command. The confident smirk he was now wearing really annoyed the hell out of her. His entire body language screamed that he just expected every witch to fall at his feet.
"I meet you at the entrance to the dance, yes?"
"That's what I said, no."
His smirk had been replaced by a dumbfounded look, Hermione reckoned Mr Krum wasn't used to people saying no to him. "Why no?"
"Really? Well, I don't know you, you're about eighteen which is far too old for me. I have no intention of spending Christmas Eve with someone who I don't know and can't even say my name properly. That enough reasons for you?"
The older boy was now really struggling, Hermione was sure getting a knock-back was a whole new experience for him. "But I want you to go with me?"
"Well that's just tough. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and find my friend."
"A friend who makes you cry? I would never do that."
Hermione lost it at this point, after the day she was having, it was hardly a surprise. She had no intention of explaining her relationship with Harry to Krum or anyone else. Her voice though was far too loud for what passed as acceptable behavior in a library. "You will never be my friend either, stop bothering me and go ask someone else. Stay away from me."
Hermione paid no attention to the number of girls who were now glaring at her though she couldn't help but see that Madam Pince had left her desk to investigate the commotion in her domain. Hermione got out of there fast.
Hermione headed for the unused classroom they had found tucked well away from the well travelled routes through the castle. They had been hanging out here so Harry could practice his spells for the tournament. She figured that if he wanted to be alone for the moment, this is where he would head. The noises coming from the room saw Hermione increase her pace. When she heard the unnatural screams and screeching it was time to run, she burst into the classroom and was stopped by what greeted her.
"No (bang) bloody (bang) way (bang) are (bang) you (bang) taking (bang) Hermione (bang) from (bang) me."
Hermione could only stand and stare at the sight before her. Harry was kneeling on the stone floor with a heavy looking hammer in his hands. Each word he spoke was enforced by the hammer pounding into the golden object that probably was once an egg. The screeching was dying off the more he pounded it flat.
He appeared rather embarrassed that she'd found him like this but seemed determined to make the best of it. "Hi Hermione, just releasing some tension here by pounding the snot out of this thing. You know, it really works. Want to give it a try?"
"I hate to ask this Harry, but why are you destroying the golden egg? I know you said you didn't want to compete in the next task but is this really necessary?"
"I guess you could say I've solved it, it's no longer a puzzle to me."
Hermione just stood there, awaiting the real answer.
Harry knew her too well to think she would be fobbed off with that. "To my mind, this is me finishing with the tournament. There's no going back now."
"Are you even allowed to do that? Won't they want it back?"
"I was almost killed getting this thing away from that nesting dragon, I've earned it. There is also the fact that this is a golden egg, it should be worth something."
Harry could see the disappointment in Hermione's eyes and tried desperately to reassure her. "It's not that I'm greedy Hermione, I just want to get away from the Dursleys as soon as I can. The more funds I have available, the easier that will be."
Hermione couldn't argue that Harry had certainly earned the golden egg. She also couldn't argue that he would be hard pushed to compete in the second task after pounding the clue flat with a hammer. "I understand Harry, I would do everything I could to get away from the Dursleys too."
He couldn't help but smile before resuming his pounding. "A couple more minutes and I'll have shut this thing up permanently. Then we can head back to the library and begun to figure out how I can keep my memories."
The hammer halted mid swing as Harry stared at her, obviously awaiting an explanation to that outburst.
Hermione was trying to conceal her blush as she told him what happened. "Victor Krum asked me to the Yule Ball and I rather made a spectacle of myself."
The hammer then continued its strike, though now with considerably more force than it previously had. This powerful pounding continued as Harry spoke to her between strikes. "That's great Hermione, I would hate for you to miss out just because I'm not going."
Hermione could see how much it hurt him to say that, her heart melted that he would put her happiness before his own. She decided to put a stop to his line of thought immediately. "Harry, there is only one person I wanted to go to the ball with. I told Krum no."
Harry managed to appear pleased and puzzled at the same time. "If you told him no, how was that making a spectacle of yourself? Especially one that would leave you avoiding the library?"
"Well, he didn't want to take no for an answer..."
The hammer now struck the former egg with enough force to assure there would never be a peep out of it again. Harry stood with the hammer still clutched in his hand, a new target clearly on his mind.
Hermione's hand was on his chest but it took a kiss to his cheek to calm him enough to listen. "Harry, it was nothing and I dealt with it. Trust me, Mr Krum crashed and burned. I got the distinct impression he's not used to people saying no to him."
Harry used the fingers of his free hand to rub his cheek where Hermione had just kissed him. "He's obviously never met Miss Hermione Granger before."
"Well, when your best friend is the most famous wizard in the country, how can a mere quidditch player hope to impress me? You're a pretty hard act to follow Mr Potter. Trolls, basilisks, dementors and dragons. How could Krum think what he can do with his broomstick could ever match up to that?"
"Did Hermione Granger just crack a joke?"
"Well, if Harry Potter can become a chef, what's to stop me becoming a comedian? I just hope your cooking is better than your egg beating. It might be a lovely golden colour but it's as lumpy as last week's porridge."
Harry couldn't help but laugh before giving the egg a final few whacks. It was now silent and of a shape that would fit neatly into his book bag. That's where he placed it as both then headed for Gryffindor tower.
They arrived there just in time to spot their head of house leaving the portrait hole. McGonagall even gave them a smile in passing, noticing how close they were. Ron was sitting playing chess with Dean when Hermione called out to him.
"Hey Ron, what did we miss?"
"Oh McGonagall was just telling us the holiday procedure has changed this year. With the ball, she reckoned that it would be easier to write the names of those going home, rather than those staying. I can't imagine anyone wanting to go home for Christmas and miss the ball." At that, Ron glanced up from the chessboard and saw Harry writing his name on the list.
He was shaking his head as he admonished his mate. "Didn't you listen to a thing I said? It's only those going home who put their names on the list, not those staying."
"Heard you the first time Ron."
"You're a champion, you need to go."
Ron was now on his feet. "But who am I going to go with?"
"Please don't take this the wrong way Ron, but I had no intention of asking you to the ball."
Ron rolled his eyes as those currently in the common room were having a good chuckle at his expense. "Hermione, help me out here. We need to talk some sense into...you too?"
Hermione had just added her name to the short list of those going home for Christmas.
"Yes Ron, me too."
Ron walked over to her and placed one hand supportively on her arm. He lowered his voice until only half the common room could hear him. "You shouldn't be so hasty Hermione, I'm sure someone will ask you to the ball. I think Neville was even considering you."
It was not only the words but the condescending tone Ron used that left Hermione deeply hurt. She then felt Ron's hand being forcibly removed from her arm.
"I'll have you know that Hermione has already had two offers to take her to the ball, both of them from champions! I would have thought this year would have taught you to engage that thing you call a brain before opening your mouth, but apparently I was wrong."
Ron was struggling to get his wrist free of Harry's bulldog grip on it, only Hermione's hand on Harry's shoulder saw him release it.
He was embarrassed now that everyone was watching so, as usual, Ron lashed out. "If Diggory and Krum have already asked her then what are you both getting so upset about?"
Hermione pulled Harry away, glad he no longer had that hammer in his hands. She wondered though if hitting Ron in the head would do any harm. The phrase 'two short planks' came to mind. The boy just seemed to get thicker as he got older. She pulled Harry into a private corner and he immediately attempted to apologies.
"You don't need to leave for Christmas just because I am."
"This could be our last Christmas where you actually know who I am Harry, I intend to spend as much of it with you as possible. I hope you don't mind if I invite myself along to Gringotts with you?"
"Mind, I would love it! I'm sorry Hermione, I had no right to broadcast your personal life over the common room. He just got me so mad with the way he casually hurt you. Ron's supposed to be our friend, doesn't he realise that there are loads of guys here who would love to take you to the ball?"
"Ronald Weasleys probably doesn't realise that I'm a girl."
The truth behind that remark saw Harry smile, his next thought raised a chuckle. "If Ron actually believed you had been asked by two champions, I can just imagine him asking our French competitor so you couldn't have one up on him."
That also got a smile from Hermione. "That I'd like to see."
Ron had returned to his chess game but was still seething. When he heard his two friends chuckling, probably at his expense, his anger spilled over. "That's right, laugh at your poor attempt at a joke. Do you honestly think anyone in here believed that two champions had asked Hermione Granger to the ball?"
Hermione jumped in with an answer before Harry could. "Of course your right Ron, haven't you already established that Harry's a lying bastard? Putting his name in the goblet of fire and then claiming he didn't."
The prim and proper Miss Granger actually swearing in public stopped everyone in their tracks. The queen letting one rip while sitting on the throne couldn't have been more shocking to the rest of the Gryffindors.
The silence was broken by her two dorm-mates rushing through the portrait hole. "Hermione, it's all over the castle that you refused to be Victor Krum's date for the ball. He left the library in a right tizzy"
Parvati was looking at her as if she had two heads. "Is it true? Did you really give the Bulgarian Bon Bon a knock-back?"
Hermione's victory smile left Ron with nowhere to go. He sat there and pretended to be concentrating once more on his chess match, his face being as red as his hair kind of gave the game away.
Parvati and Lavender took that smile as a yes. Before they could question her further though, their head of house once more entered the common room.
"Mr Potter, Miss Granger, didn't anyone tell you the new procedures this year? You only write your name on that sheet if you intend to go home for the Christmas holidays."
"Oh we know that professor."
The professor then looked away from Hermione to her real target. "Mr Potter, we had a discussion earlier about your involvement in the Yule Ball. I'd like an explanation to this."
"I would hardly call it a discussion professor, you told me what was expected. My opinion was neither asked for nor wanted."
The professor was clearly trying not to let her frustration show. It was very rare for a student to stand up to Minerva McGonagall, especially one of her own house. "Mr Potter, I explained to you not only the tradition of the Tri-Wizard Tournament but how you would be representing Hogwarts and Gryffindor. Do you really care so little for this house that you would embarrass it like this?"
Harry's temper was only held in check by the grip Hermione now had on his arm. The witch herself was angrier than she'd ever been with her head of house. How dare McGonagall try emotional blackmail on Harry, and in front of most of his housemates too.
Harry managed to answer calmly. "Well professor, I thought that the tradition of the tournament should be maintained. It's called the Tri-Wizard for a reason and having four champions just spoils that."
This saw people attempting to casually seek cover, expecting McGonagall's temper to explode any second now. Harry though wasn't quite finished. "I thought I recently faced a dragon for the honour of Hogwarts and Gryffindor but then again, I have found that people in here have incredibly short memories."
His gaze was directed at Ron as he said that last remark.
"I never entered this tournament and the Yule Ball is not one of the tasks. Why should I turn up there in dress robes, pretending everything is hunky-dory when it so clearly isn't? Our own defense professor thinks my name was placed in that goblet with the sole intention to do me harm, that also seems to have been conveniently forgotten."
"Nothing of the sort has been forgotten Mr Potter. Rest assured, I shall be taking your proposed non attendance up with the headmaster."
"I expected nothing less. I would have preferred if my head of house had taken as much action over those 'Potter Stinks' badges or that bogus Prophet article I was forced to give."
McGonagall's little patience had just run out. "We can discuss that, amongst other things, when you serve your detention with me tonight."
This muted the rest of the house but Harry was undaunted. "I don't recall receiving a detention professor. Could you please remind me when I got it and why?"
"I'm giving you the detention now, for your lack of respect toward your head of house."
He didn't give an inch. "I'm sorry professor, could you be a bit more specific? I can't think of anything I've said that warrants a detention."
"It is this argumentative attitude that has earned you this detention."
"Say no more. I've suffered potions for three and a half years. I thought you were different from Professor Snape though?"
The silence that followed that remark was total, no student dared even to breathe. The Scots professor's lips were pushed together so tight that they disappeared, her expression as stern as any Gryffindor had ever seen it. Considering the Weasley twins were present, that was really saying something. It was always going to be left to McGonagall to break the silence, she didn't disappoint.
"Mr Potter, I think you should accompany me to the headmaster's office, NOW!"
Their head of house spun away toward the portrait hole but Harry didn't immediately follow. Hermione's grip on his arm was tight enough to cause blood flow issues, never mind being able to walk away from her.
Harry caressed her worried face with his free hand. "I need to go Hermione, please don't worry. What are they going to do, expel me? I'm the boy-who-lived and Tri-Wizard champ, they wouldn't dare."
Hermione knew his future plans and smiled at his attempted joke, the smile faltered as she released him to follow McGonagall. Harry had hardly made it through the portrait hole when Ron resumed hostilities.
"Did you hear that? 'I'm the boy-who-lived, they won't expel me' This from the person who supposedly hates his fame?"
Unfortunately for Ron, Hermione wasn't in the mood for any more verbal bashing. Her concern for Harry's situation saw Ron's latest barb push her over the edge. He soon discovered there was an indentation in his left cheek, an indentation caused by Hermione's wand pressing into it.
"Ronald Weasleys, if you do not wish to find yourself transfigured into a spider and then kept in a mirrored box, I would strongly advise you not to say another word. It would also be advisable to stay the hell away from me until you grow up."
Ron couldn't fail to get her point and nodded his acceptance, Hermione then left to go to her dorm. Ron's whispered 'mental that one' was certainly low enough to ensure Hermione never heard it.
Lavender and Parvati watched the witch head off to their shared dorm. Hermione had answered their question by her actions. She turned down a date with Krum because she wanted to go with Harry. It was also blindingly obvious to both girls that a certain Gryffindor seeker felt the same way about her. These things were obvious to everyone, except a certain Ron Weasley.
Harry was left wondering how wrong this day could go. On arriving at the headmaster's office, he discovered that Snape was already there. His continual sneer as McGonagall described recent events just pissed Harry off even more.
Dumbledore asked the first question. "Why would you wish to go home for Christmas?"
"It's obvious, the boy just wants more attention."
"Sorry Professor Snape but that makes no sense to me. Why would I want to leave if I was looking for more attention?"
"It got you into the headmaster's office."
"I can assure you, being here was not my idea. Who else gets dragged in here because they want to leave the castle for Christmas?"
"You still haven't answered my question Harry?"
"Why would I want to stay here and be gawked at over something I had nothing to do with? Between Halloween, those badges and Skeeter, I've had all the attention I can handle this year. I have no intention of performing any more by taking part in this ball."
McGonagall tried to enquire further and was again shocked by Harry's rebuff. "Do your relatives know your returning for the holidays?"
"Their opinion didn't matter for me coming here. My relatives repeatedly told Hagrid they didn't want me to go to Hogwarts, he ignored them. Next summer they locked my door and put bars on my windows to stop me returning, the Weasleys had to pull the bars off the wall to get me out."
This was news to the three professors but Harry had more. "Third year I couldn't go to Hogsmead because my guardian didn't sign my form and then fourth year I'm told I must compete in a tournament only for adult wizards. It looks to me as if the rules you want are enforced and then those you don't are simply ignored."
Albus was as stumped as his deputy as to where this attitude was coming from. He needed to find out quickly, and preferably without antagonizing the lad any further. "I want you to go away and think on this matter Harry, this is most unlike you."
"It won't change my opinion sir. I really am sick of Hogwarts at the moment and desperately need a break away from the castle." Since he'd been effectively dismissed, Harry got out of there as fast as good manners allowed.
Now that it was only the three of them remaining in the office, Albus turned to his deputy. "Have you any idea what could have brought this on Minerva?"
"Sorry Albus, this was like a bolt from the blue. Miss Granger has also put her name down to go home but my feelings are that action was in support of Mr Potter. I've said it before Albus, we ask too much of that young man. Trolls and Quirrell, the heir of Slytherin and a basilisk, last year it was Black and Dementors with the tournament this time."
Minerva was clearly worried over this situation and laid it on the line for the headmaster.
"I'll speak to him later but I really think he may have been pushed too far this time Albus. I thought I was going to be physically ill watching him face that dragon, I noticed Miss Granger's reaction was the same."
"Thank you Minerva, please keep a careful eye on him."
It was only after she left that the headmaster turned to his Head of Slytherin. "Well Severus, what did you discover?"
"I got the distinct impression that the boy was being particularly truthful when he said he needed to get away from the castle. I also sensed he's interested in making that particular situation a permanent one."
"He must know that's an impossibility?"
"There is a way that he could walk from the castle without anyone being able to stop him, the tournament handed him an out and I think he has realised that."
The old wizard was glad he was sitting as Severus delivered that blow. "That would be a disaster for us all and must be prevented at any cost. I shall have to consider carefully whether it is advantageous to allow him a return to his relatives or keep him here in the castle. A Christmas with the Dursleys might just be enough to make him change his mind."
Hermione was heading to the owlery clutching a letter home. Harry had asked her a question she had no answer to, but she knew a man who did. Her dad had ribbed her mercilessly about her two best friends being boys, she hoped he could get over the whole protective father bit to help ne of them now. Hermione didn't want Harry to lose his magic and would be searching every book on magical law she could find. Even if he did though, it wouldn't matter to her. She would still love Harry if he was a muggle, so him forgetting her was not an option she was prepared to even consider. It should be safe to return to the library tomorrow, Hermione Granger seriously needed to hit the books.
A/N Thanks for reading
Last weekend I took part in a charity cycle ride. This left me with an extremely sore rear that prevented me spending hours sitting at my computer. This, and the new story, accounted for the delay but hope to be back to my weekly schedule now.