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Disclaimer: The characters and canon situations in the following story belong to JK Rowling. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
"Lily's having an affair." James said. He took a seat beside Sirius, holding the glass of firewhiskey in his hand.
"How do you know that?" Sirius asked. "I don't think Lily would ever do anything like that. She loves you. She loves Harry."
"She certainly has a funny way of showing it." James grumbled. "She said she had to go on a mission but there is no way Dumbledore would send her away on her own."
Sirius turned to look at him. "Are you sure you're not imagining it? I mean, these are tough times. Maybe she's—"
"She hardly spends time with Harry." James interrupted. "When she's home, she's incredibly cranky. She snapped at him because he wanted her to play with him."
"That doesn't sound like Lily."
"There's something fishy about Lily's behaviour." James leaned forward and ran a hand through his already unattainable black hair. "Where's Remus, anyway? I haven't seen him for a couple of days."
"He had a mission to do for Dumbledore. It's top secret. Apparently he can't even tell his best friend." Sirius grumbled. "You would think after everything we've been through he would know better than to keep a secret from us."
"If Dumbledore wants him to keep it a secret, he'll keep it a secret." James sipped his whiskey. "Harry's taking a nap upstairs and rumour has it there's an Order meaning tonight."
"Yep. How is the little cub anyway?" Sirius asked. "I haven't seen him in a while."
"Dumbledore's been keeping us under lock and key lately. Only specialty missions allowed." James stood up. "I should check on Harry."
Sirius watched him go, frowning.
As Order members started coming inside, Sirius saw Alice and Frank Longbottom with their son Neville. Alice searched for Sirius. "Where can I put Neville?"
"Take him upstairs. Harry's already up there."
"Thanks." Alice kissed him on the cheek and made her way upstairs.
"Sirius," Frank greeted, shaking his hand. "Is James here?"
"He's upstairs. He should be done soon." Sirius said, feeling foolishly like his wife.
Sirius saw Remus come inside. "Excuse me." He made his way towards Remus when a woman came in, carrying two young boys.
"Are you sure it's okay that Aurey and Teddy are here?" he heard the brunette asked. "I just couldn't leave them there."
"It's fine, Hermione."
"Remus!" Sirius called. "I didn't think you would make it."
Remus nodded. "Of course I would. Sirius, this is Hermione and her sons Aurey and Teddy."
Hermione looked flustered. "Actually, Teddy's my nephew. It's nice to see you again Sirius." She looked at Remus. "Where can I put them? They're heavy."
"Take them upstairs, first door on the left."
Sirius and Remus watched as Hermione walked upstairs.
"What did she mean nice to see you again?" Sirius asked, turning to Remus. "I haven't met her before, have I?"
Remus looked surprised. "It's complicated.
Hermione held Aurey in her arms while Teddy walked beside her, his hair the same pink as Tonks's hair often was. It sent a sting through her heart as it often did when she thought about Teddy's parents.
When she reached the bedroom Remus told her, she bumped into a woman as she was leaving. Hermione's eyes widened when she realized she was looking at a young Alice Longbottom.
"No, I'm sorry." Hermione said.
Alice tilted her head. "Have we met before?"
"I don't think so." The last time she saw Alice Longbottom was at St. Mungo's Hospital in her fifth year. The last time she saw her, she didn't look anything like the lively woman standing in front of her.
"Mummy?" Aurey whispered.
"Sorry." Hermione said to Alice. "I should probably put him down."
Alice moved out of the way, allowing Hermione inside. She breathed out and walked in. She nearly tripped over Teddy when she saw the man.
He looked so much like her Harry. Everything about him was familiar, right down to the tousled black hair.
But it wasn't Harry.
James Potter was kneeling down beside the bed, stroking the hair of a little boy. That was Harry. But Aurey didn't know that.
"Unca Hawwy!" Aurey shouted, jolting Teddy who was falling asleep standing up.
Aurey struggled in her arms, trying to get to the man. James stood up, taking a protective stance in front of the bed.
"Shh, Aurey, that isn't Uncle Harry." Hermione whispered to him.
"Who are you?" James demanded. "What are you doing in here?"
"I'm sorry. My name is Hermione Granger. This is Aurey and Teddy. I'm here on Dumbledore's behalf." Hermione stumbled over her words.
James eyed her suspiciously. "How do I know you're telling me the truth?"
"Remus is downstairs. He was the one who told me where to put them."
"How does your boy know Harry?"
"Aurey and Teddy's uncle was named Harry. You just happen to look a lot like him." She said. Besides the eyes and the missing scar, James could be Harry's carbon copy. It was eerie just how similar they were.
Hermione knew it shouldn't have been a surprise. For as long as she's known Harry, people have always told him how much he looks like his father. She just never realized how much that was true.
James watched as Hermione put Aurey and Teddy down. "Boys, I have to go downstairs for a little while. But I need you to stay up here, okay? As soon as we're done, we'll go back to Hogwarts and you can play in Hagrid's pumpkin patch again."
Aurey giggled. "And Fang?"
"Auntie My-knee, when can I see Gamma again?"
"Teddy, Gramma isn't here anymore." She kissed him on the forehead. "For now, it's just the three of us."
Hermione stood up and, making sure that the boys had everything they needed, she turned to James, who was still watching her with hawk eyes.
"I better get downstairs. Remus will be wondering what happened."
James followed, keeping a close eye on her back. Hermione shivered and searched the crowd of people. She spotted Hagrid and Professor McGonagall speaking with Frank Longbottom and Alastor Moody. Kingsley Shacklebolt was talking to Sirius and Remus, gesturing as he spoke. Hermione made her way over to them, ignoring the stares and whispers of those who saw her.
"Hermione, is everything alright?"
"This is Kingsley Shacklebolt. He's an Auror at the Ministry of Magic."
"It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Shacklebolt." Hermione shook his head, her mind reeling at the thought of everything that's happened. "Is Dumbledore here? It feels like someone is going to capture and torture me for answers." She said, turning to Remus.
Before he could answer, Dumbledore came in through the door. "The meeting should start right now."
Once everyone was seated, Hermione watched as Dumbledore stood. "As I'm sure you are all wondering we have a new member of the Order here with us. Her name is Hermione Lupin, she's Remus's cousin from America."
Hermione jerked in surprise, not expecting the lie. Thankfully, no one noticed but she did see the look of disbelief cross both Sirius and James's face.
"She has brought some interesting information that can help us in the defeat of the Voldemort."
Few of the members flinched at his name. Hermione sat staring at her arm. She could feel her arm burn from the mention. Bellatrix was inventive when it came to her torture methods. Every time the Dark Lord's name passed someone's lips, her arm would burn. The more it was spoken, the hotter it would burn.
Hermione was rubbing her arm, trying to alleviate the pain. Remus noticed and, despite everything, his suspicions increased. There was little known about Hermione, and he was inclined to discover everything she was hiding before he let her near his friends.
Dumbledore continued to speak but Hermione paid little attention.
She knew she needed to change the past to fix the future. But without destroying the horcruxs, her future will simply repeat the one that was already happening. She thought about Harry, sweet, innocent Harry who was asleep upstairs. She couldn't stand the thought of him living a life of abuse and neglect by his family, or the number of dangerous trials he would have to face.
Hermione tuned in when she heard her name.
"How do we know she can be trusted?" James demanded, his hazel eyes narrowed. "We don't even know who she is!"
"What is it exactly that you don't trust about me?" Hermione asked speaking up before anyone else could.
"How do we know you're not one of them? I saw you clutching your arm. How do we know you weren't trying to hide your Dark Mark?"
All eyes turned to her. Hermione's eyes hardened. "You really think I would be one of them? The people that attacked me, attacked my friends and my family? The ones that tried continuously to kill my best friend, the man I spent more than a decade with?"
"Prove it." Gideon Prewett said. "Prove you don't have a Dark Mark."
Hermione closed her eyes and took a deep breath. If this was what they needed before she could convince them she was on their side, she would.
She took out her wand. "Finite Incantatem," she whispered. The tip of her wand glowed and then disappeared. The word Mudblood was visible, red and bleeding along the sides. She held her arm up for them all to see. "I was tortured by one, Bellatrix Lestrange. Is that enough proof for you?"
Hermione left the table, holding her arm from the pain. She needed to clean and hide the marking before Aurey noticed it. She wanted to keep him safe for as long as she could. She spent nearly all her time preserving his innocence but keeping him in the dark wouldn't last long.
Someone knocked on the door. She held her wand out as she cautiously told them to come in.
Remus stuck his head inside. "Is everything okay?"
"Fine," she put her want down and gently eased the washcloth over her arm. Remus took a seat beside her, taking the cloth from her hand.
Hermione relinquished her hold and stared at him. He looked so much younger now than he was back in her time. Seeing pictures of him was one thing but seeing him in person was something else. She wondered how Harry would feel if he knew what was happening.
"How did this happen?" Remus asked.
"It was before I knew I was pregnant with Aurey." She said. "Harry, Ron and I were searching for the Horcruxs. We were caught." She paused as his face flashed with surprise.
"Harry? You mean...?"
"Harry Potter. He's my best friend."
"You mean the boy sleeping upstairs is your best friend?"
Hermione laughed at how absurd it sounded. "Yes." She flinched when Remus wrapped her arm. "Anyway, we were taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix found it quite amusing to torture me." She was lying but she couldn't very well tell him the truth. Not yet. There were some things he didn't need to know just yet. "She would have killed me if it hadn't been for a house elf that saved us."
"You realize how crazy this all sounds?"
"Yes. That's the story of my life." Hermione pulled her sleeve down and smiled at Remus. "Thank you for helping me."
"We all need help at some point in our life."
They stood up. Hermione went to check on Aurey and Teddy while Remus went back to the meeting to assure everyone he was alright.
Aurey was awake, staring at the ceiling when Hermione came inside.
"Is everything okay, baby?"
"Mummy, tell me a stowy pwease." He asked.
"Sure." She slipped into the bed beside him and cupped his head beneath her arm. "Once upon a time there lived a Boy who was captive in his own room because a house elf thought it was necessary to keep the Boy from returning to school, the only place he called home. One day, the Weasel and the Mischief Twins drove a flying car all the way to the Boy's house. The Twins pulled the bars off the window while the Boy got everything he needed. Now, the Boy's uncle heard the commotion and hurried to the room. He had put seven locks on the door to keep the Boy in so it gave the Boy more time to escape. Unfortunately, the Boy was just about to get into the car when his uncle came inside. The Mischief Twins pulled the Boy while his uncle tried to pull him back in. Thankfully the Mischief Twins saved the Boy and the evil uncle fell out of the window and landed in a bush right below the window."
Hermione looked down at Aurey. Usually after one of her stories he would be smiling. Now he looked forlorn. "What's wrong, Aurey?"
His lower lip quivered. "Mummy, I miss Unca Hawwy. Unca Hawwy luv Mummy like Mummy luv Aurey,"
"He told you that?"
Aurey nodded and leaned his head against her arm. "Aurey pwomise not to tell you,"
Hermione stifled a giggle as tears prickled her eyes. She kissed him on the head, smoothing his light hair. "I love you with Aurey."
"I luv you too, Mama,"
Hermione sighed and leaned her head against the door. Aurey and Teddy were fast asleep and Tilly was standing in the living room, awaiting her instructions. "Thank you for watching them, Tilly. I really appreciate it."
"Tilly will take good care of Misses sons."
With a nod, Hermione made her way towards the Room of Requirement. With her wand in hand, she slipped inside. "Lumos,"
It was eerie as she made her way in. She looked around.
After Harry found out she was pregnant and told her to leave for the baby's sake, she had written a list of where each Horcruxes was hidden, as well as what they were and a map of where some of them were hiding. Hermione had been planning this for years. Harry never realized her plan, which was probably for the best.
When she got to the table, she spotted the wooden box beneath a silk cloth. Holding her breath, she took it out and slowly opened it.
She laughed in relief when she realized it was Ravenclaw's lost Diadem. She closed the lid and made her way out.
A swarm of Cornish pixies flew at her before she could get out safely. Frustrated, she pulled out her wand. "Immobulus!" she shouted.
The pixies stopped moving and blinked in surprise. It reminded her of her second year when the same thing happened.
"Ms. Granger," Dumbledore was standing outside the doors for her when she came out.
"Professor Dumbledore. I have the Diadem."
"Good." he took the box and opened it. The crystal was black with Voldemort's soul.
"We must destroy this as soon as we can."
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