Declaration: I write for my own pleasure and not for profit. I do not own Harry Potter Universe.
My name is Hermione Potter and this is the story of how I with my husband Harry Potter fled our native country Britain and settled in United States of America, to find acceptance, equality and some peace.
It all began about ten years ago…
I heard someone speaking and finally fluttered into consciousness but strangely I do not remember sleeping. My eyes were open but I do not remember either the day or the time of the day. What shocked me was that I was in the arms of my best friend Harry Potter who was carrying me while walking into the bathroom attached to my bedroom at my parents' home in Crawley. What was more troubling was that I was stark naked and Harry plopped me down on the toilet seat. After I finished emptying both my bladder and bowels, he cleaned me up before putting me into the bath tub filled with warm water and what felt like potions meant to strengthen my flaccid arms and legs.
I looked down my naked body while Harry was merrily scrubbing away to find the tiny bumps that passed as my breasts were replaced by respectable mounds of flesh. 'Merlin how long was I out?' I thought. I tried to remember the reason for my current predicament but strangely could not recollect that easily.
Harry, it seemed did not realize that I was conscious, but was babbling away like a news reader on the television. Actually it was a pretty apt description as he was relating the news of the previous few days. Most of his words were not coherent to me over the sound of running water and to my horror I realized that I could not process some of them due to a problem with my mental faculty. Soaking in the bath, things began to become clear to me as I remembered seeing the reflection of the eyes of a Basilisk in my mirror and then nothing else. 'I must have been petrified' I thought, 'then why am I at Crawley and not Hogwarts? More to the point why is Harry here? How did my parents allow him to see me naked? What happened?' questions were tumbling one after the other in my mind and I was left struggling to find my voice.
Lifting me out of the tub, Harry dried me off with a towel and then carried me back to my room. Putting me gently on my bed, he turned away from me before he removed his soggy shirt. 'Harry what are you doing?' I thought desperately. I knew that my best friend was honourable but still, I was naked in front of him. I chastised myself when I realized that his shirt was soaked and he probably did not want to get me to get wet again so soon after drying me off. When he turned to my dresser, I thought that he would be pulling out my under garments but instead he gathered a couple of vials containing what looked like potions that were lying on the top of the dresser.
"Hermione Love, what would you want to be scented like today, Lavender or the exotic night queen?" he asked. By now it seemed that whatever troubles I had earlier in understanding his speech were cured and even my brain started to function full tilt, if the various thoughts and questions that were raging in my mind were an indication. Still I was unable to utter a syllable or even lift my hands to catch his attention.
After a moment, Harry gave a huge grin, "Lovely selection my dear, night queen it is. The queen of my heart has to smell like a queen" he said. Putting one of the vials back onto the dresser he uncorked the remaining one in his hand and poured a liberal amount on my stomach and a little bit on his palm.
All the while I was trying to process what he said, 'Queen of his heart' I thought incredulously. If I could have screamed out loud I would have for sheer joy. The unlikely hero of the wizarding world captured my heart from the moment I came across him. Even before I knew his name I felt some sort of an intimate connection with Harry Potter. The moment the raven haired boy looked at me with his emerald green eyes, I felt as if he was looking into my soul and found what he himself was looking for. At that moment I felt complete, even though I never realized that I was missing something.
While these thoughts were swirling in my mind, Harry was gently but firmly kneading away at my muscles. What I thought was a potion was in fact a delightfully scented oil and Harry was massaging it into my unresponsive muscles. I had to give him credit though, he worked like a professional. I was apprehensive that he would take advantage of my nakedness but he was ever the gentleman I knew. He did not pause even one bit at all the likely places and he did venture into them all but always with a firm touch intent only on rubbing the oil into me. There I was as naked as the day I was born in front of the guy whom I wanted in my life, but surprisingly I did not feel threatened or uncomfortable instead I found it oddly reassuring and safe. Turning me on my front, he gave due attention to my back too before I found myself again facing the ceiling.
Harry lifted one of my hands into the air and I knew what he was trying to do and I tried to put some life into my muscles and hold my hand high in the air. But to both Harry's and my disappointment, the hand fell back onto my bed lifelessly.
That brought tears into those gorgeous green eyes, "Come on darling, come back to me. Push some of your magic into your muscles" he pleaded with me.
'Magic!' I thought with a groan, 'Why didn't I think about it before. Magic is all in intent and it could help me regain strength easily.' I felt a lot better after that; I came back from the edge of despair when I saw my lifeless hand. Harry's words gave me the strength I needed and so I began to concentrate on the feeling I had when I held my wand for the first time. Using Harry's words as a guide, I began willing my magic to flow in the direction of his words which were now coming from near my legs.
By this time Harry had one of my legs high in the air and began a series of maneuvers probably designed to increase the blood flow in them. Bending it at the knee, jerking it out rather forcefully, keeping it straight but pushing it back so that my knee was in contact with my torso before straightening it back, grasping my ankle while my entire leg rested against his body and gently twisting in every conceivable direction, all the while he was encouraging me to concentrate on my big toe while calling up my magic. These actions were repeated for about ten minutes with either leg after which he switched to my hands.
I was surprised that his actions generated a thin sheen of sweat on my body, probably because of the speed with which Harry was moving my arms and legs or due to the massaging oil. I did not care because whatever the reason was, I felt good. Giving his tired arms a break, Harry grabbed another vial but this looked like a single dosage vial and so this was definitely a potion for me to ingest. Lifting my head into his lap, Harry poured a mouthful and gently massaged my throat to make me swallow. Surprisingly, I found that the action came to me quite easily and the next time, he barely had to touch my throat before I swallowed the potion.
'Maybe my magic was responding to my call and healing me up' I thought excitedly.
Finally after what was an hour of physiotherapy, Harry left my side to look for some clothes for me to wear. I was a touch disappointed, I was feeling comfortable and very happy with his hands on my naked body; I wished he would spend more time massaging my breasts. I was sure that he did that almost every day for however long I was unresponsive, but this was the first time I was conscious when he did that and I liked it a lot. I knew that whatever he did was to put some life into the muscles but I felt the insatiate need for him to touch my breasts in an intimate way. I felt so feminine when he did that something which was rare for this bookworm but Harry always made me feel special and now it seemed that I was the special person in his life. 'Maybe now that I am awake I could persuade him to pay a little more attention to them' I had to persuade myself not to feel disappointed but instead look forward to the next time.
Harry gently lifted me up into a sitting position and while supporting my back, began dressing me in one of night gowns. After laying me back on the bed he lifted my hips up and pulled the gown down to just below my knees. He gazed at me lovingly and pressed a kiss to my cheek, "Rest my darling. I will take a quick shower and then we can eat breakfast."
"Thank you Harry" I managed to croak out. Harry's hand stilled on the door knob which he was about to twist open. He whipped his head around to me with shock written all over his face. I managed a weak smile in response and his shock turned to utter amazement and a glorious smile blossomed on his face. He quickly reached me and engulfed me in a gentle hug trying to avoid smothering me but still managing to convey his happiness and dare I say his love.
"Oh Hermione! I am so happy that you are finally awake" Harry managed to voice his happiness with tears starting to flow out of his eyes. I was also very happy to finally return to the land of living but I did not have enough strength to hug him back let alone convey my happiness to be in his arms. He managed to get his emotions under control after a couple of minutes and by that time the shoulder of my gown was soaked in his tears, but I did not mind it one bit.
After his tears subsided to be replaced by a huge grin that nearly split his face, I asked, "How long was I out Harry?"
His face turned somber immediately, "You were petrified for about two months but then the Mandrake draught did not work on you as intended. This is now the month of December in what would have been our fourth year. Christmas is only a few days away."
I could not stifle the gasp that escaped my lips, "I was unconscious for almost two years!" I cried.
"Not unconscious, not really. It was much more complicated than that."
"What do you mean?" I questioned.
Harry just shrugged his shoulder that was not supporting me, "Why don't we go down to the kitchen for breakfast and you can call your parents. I am sure they would love to hear your voice after all these days. I can tell you the whole story while eating" he proposed.
"Mum and Dad!" I exclaimed again, how could I forget about them. I so wanted to meet them and quickly agreed to his plan. Harry allowed me to lay back on the bed before he went to his room and came back wearing a shirt much to my disappointment.
Seeing the look on my face he grinned, "You will have lots of time to admire me Hermione, but I am not sure how your parents will react to me topless. They knew about my state of undress in your company, but that was when you were not coherent. I do not want to risk their wrath so soon."
'How could he be so reasonable, that was my forte not his' I groused silently. When I told Harry that I was ready to go down to the kitchen, he gently lifted me off the bed and helped me stand. With one of my arms around his shoulder and his arm grasping me by my side just brushing my left breast, I took the first step after more than twenty months. It was hard for me to put one foot in front of the other but with Harry's help I managed to negotiate the corridor on the first floor but lost my nerve at the stairs. Before my legs could give way, Harry lifted me effortlessly into his arms and walked down the stairs with me in a bridal carry.
We stopped at the telephone inside the living room and sitting in his lap on the couch, I dialed the number to my parent's practice. "Hello, Granger's dentistry" I heard the unmistakable voice of my mother at the other end. I could not prevent the tears from escaping my eyes and I felt Harry tightening his grip around me while his free hand began rubbing my side in soothing motions.
"Hello, how can I help you?" I heard my mother calling out again.
"Mum!" I managed to croak out through my tears.
There was stunned silence at the other end for a couple of seconds before I heard a strangled sob, "Hermione! Honey, is that you?"
"Yes Mum, it's really me" I laughed with happiness through my tears.
My mother composed herself and answered, "Oh my dear! It's soo good to hear you again. Right now your dad is in a surgery and as soon as he finishes we will head out home. Is that OK dear?"
"That's quite alright Mum. Harry promised me to let me know about what happened in the meantime."
I heard another sob but it was one of gratitude and happiness, "Oh that dear dear boy! Thank him for us honey. We will be eternally grateful to him for bringing you back to us." We exchanged a few pleasantries before I cradled the phone and turned in Harry's lap to grab a hold of his shirt. "Thank you, thank you, thank you Harry. Thanks so much!" I punctuated each thank you with a kiss. Our first kiss was rather desperate on my part filled with the need to convey all my gratitude. Harry did tell me that was the first kiss for him too and though the setting could have been more romantic, did not feel any less than pleasant for a first kiss. Not bothering to stem the tide of tears I let go and cried into his shoulder.
I felt a gentle kiss being placed on the top of my head and Harry's reassurances, "There is nothing to thank me Hermione. I would do anything for you, you are my world." I could not stop the blush from lighting up my face a bright red. I was sure that Harry could feel the heat coming off my cheeks. Harry chuckled lightly before he gave me another squeeze before lifting me again into his arms and carried me into the kitchen. I was deliriously happy, I was back to the land of living and the boy that I was pining for since I became his friend was showing his love for me. What else could a girl want?
Sitting on one of the chairs near the dining table, I watched as Harry got busy in the kitchen and I had to admit that he was quite skilled, brandishing the skillet with practiced easy. After all that hustle and bustle he put a bowl of soup before me making my jaw drop, "Soup Harry?" I asked genuinely confused.
He gave me a weak smile his face clouding with pain, "You have been on nutrition potions for all this time Hermione, and you will have to give sometime for your stomach to adjust to solid food."
My mouth formed a noise less 'O' and I gingerly picked up the spoon to ladle up some soup into my mouth. Harry watched me like a hawk and smiled at my success. My coordination was still a little off but I managed to eat without spilling anything.
Starting on his breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast while sipping his tea, Harry started to tell me about the events following my petrification.
"Well….. You can hear it in his own words, Go on Harry…"
"Thanks Hermione, I hope that I can do as good a job as you."
"Oh! You silly man. Stop flattering me."
"Ahem! Anyway, here goes…"
I was tired after the battle with the Basilisk, Lord Voldemort's shade and then explaining to all and sundry about what happened inside the Chamber of Secrets. I was so tired that I could barely stay awake, but I could not fall asleep too. I knew that my beloved Hermione would be administered the Mandrake draught in the morning and it was only a couple of hours more. I was desperate to meet Hermione and open my heart to her. I held onto the hope that she would reciprocate my feelings, the chemistry and closeness that we had, had to mean something right?
Even with my desperation to stay awake, I fell asleep but woke with the first rays of the sun peeking through the horizon. Finishing my morning ablutions, I ran through the corridors intent on reaching the hospital wing before Madam Pomfrey administered the draught to Hermione. I wanted to be there when she wakes up after a little more than two months of petrification, I was bursting with excitement to meet her and tell her all about using her clues to defeat the Basilisk.
I reached the hospital wing to see the revived students making their way out slowly but I was dismayed not to find Hermione among them. Had she left the wing already? Did I miss her? I was frantic and rudely brushed away the greetings of all those that tried to catch my eye. I burst into the wing and was elated to see the professors gathered around Hermione's bed, 'Maybe she was still being administered the cure' I thought. I was probably just in time to see Hermione wake up.
I rushed to the bedside but my heart plummeted after seeing the somber expressions on the faces of all those gathered around her bed. There lying on the bed was Hermione free of the petrification but had no glint of life in her brown eyes that I adore.
"What happened, why is she not awake?" I nearly screamed at Madam Pomfrey.
"I am sorry Mr. Potter, we were able to reverse the petrification of her body but not of her mind" the school matron answered in a voice full of regret.
"But… but all the others were cured. What do you mean you could not reverse the petrification of her mind?" I demanded again.
All this time the professors gathered there were showing a range of emotions from genuine regret on the faces of Madam Pomfrey, Professors McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout. While Professor Dumbledore was mostly unreadable probably with a hint of indifference but most notably the resident potions master, Severus Snape had the ever present sneer in place and a barely restrained contempt. He was probably being restrained due to the presence of the headmaster but my latest outburst pushed him over the edge, "You insolent whelp, mind your tongue. No one is here to bow down to your demands" the sneer was back in full force.
The response was immediate among the professors, while the other heads of house and the matron gasped in shock at the venom in professor Snape's voice; Professor Dumbledore did nothing to restrain the dour man. Before he could his tirade however, I lost my patience and flared in anger. I was anxious about Hermione and this insolent man was trying to satisfy his petty anger. My magic responded to my call and an unseen wind pushed at the potions master knocking him on his back.
Everyone was shocked, none more than the recipient of my anger. My temper was always volatile at best but I immediately calmed down upon hearing Madam Pomfrey, "Mr. Potter please control yourself, you could hurt Hermione" as soon as she said the magic words, I deflated.
"Can you please tell me what happened and what could be done to cure her Madam Pomfrey?" I asked. I was weary without adequate sleep and I was on edge terrified for Hermione.
"Petrification as you know turns a person to stone and the Mandrake draught is used to reverse it. All the other students that have been administered the cure were revived without any complications except for Miss Granger. I am not sure as to why, was her mind affected in a different way due to her high intelligence? Or was the draught not potent enough for her? I am not sure why but her mind is still petrified" replied an equally tired Madam Pomfrey.
I did not have any energy to get angry or even process what she meant, "Can you please tell me what that means?" I ignored the scoff that came out of Professor Snape.
Madam Pomfrey turned pensive but it was Professor Flitwick that answered me, "Miss Granger is technically healthy but is unresponsive not only to the outside world but also to her own body's needs. Her brain has essentially shutdown; she cannot talk, hear or even move her hands and legs. Her body needs nourishment but she cannot eat anything and even then cannot digest any food because her brain cannot command her stomach to digest the food."
I was horrified by what I heard. In a sense Hermione was nothing but dead to the world. 'No! this cannot be happening' I was near panic now. "How long will this last? Surely there is something you could do?" I directed this question mainly to Professor Dumbledore, he was acknowledged to be the greatest wizard after Merlin.
He however did not have an answer to my question and his face showed regret but somehow I felt that it was not genuine regret. I was not sure if the regret was because Hermione was not cured or because the great mind of Albus Dumbledore failed at a task. He sighed and began speaking, "I am afraid my boy, but the condition is permanent. Unfortunately, magic cannot answer everything, I am sorry."
I did not try to stop the tears that were flowing freely from my eyes. I was not ashamed to say that I was devastated and felt that my life ended that moment. I could not see my life without Hermione in it. They left me to my despair and began to discuss what had to be done next. Catching a few snippets of their conversations I realized that they were getting ready to abandon Hermione at their parent's house without even a support structure in place.
I had to interrupt them, "Wait a minute, how can you do that, leaving her like that without any care or support? She could die?"
"What do you want us to do Potter, spend our lives in servitude to a corpse?" sneered Professor Snape.
I bristled in anger, 'Why does that prick open his mouth when not needed?' I thought viciously. The air inside the room began to move again and I immediately forced my anger down. "Surely St. Mungos' could take care of her? I heard that there was something like a long term care ward in there."
None of the adults present in the room dared to meet my eye and I knew that it whatever the answer was, I was not going to like it. When none of the others were forthcoming, Professor Snape answered in exasperation, "The ward is for long term exposure to curses Potter, besides no one would admit Granger."
"What do you mean Hermione would not be admitted?" I asked dangerously.
"She is a muggleborn" was the reply as if that answered everything.
That's was it, whatever little self-control I had evaporated, Hermione risked everything to find out what was endangering the school and nearly lost her life and in return they did not even want to try and cure her. Every piece of glass inside the hospital wing shattered due to a shockwave of pure magic released from its cage, emanating out of me. Everyone in the room was thrown to the floor except Hermione who was protected in a bubble of energy that blocked the shockwave.
Before anyone could react I picked Hermione up in my arms and began walking towards the exit. That spurred Professor Dumbledore out of his shock, "What do you think you are doing Mr. Potter?"
"I am going to take care of Hermione since none of you deem her worthy of sullying your perfect world."
I did not care anymore and I was not particular whose toes I stepped on. I could see that my barbs struck Madam Pomfrey and Professors Flitwick, McGonagall and Sprout but unfortunately they did not make any attempts to help me. I made my decision at that moment that I did not care for Hogwarts or for the wizarding world, my responsibility was towards Hermione and I intend to do my best to take care of her.
Before I could exit however, Professor Dumbledore's voice stopped me, "You want to throw your education and your life for someone who cannot be cured my boy?"
I wanted to get out of the place as fast as I could but could not resist one last parting shot, "It's clear that you never fell in love."
I felt a curse streaking towards me but my magic responded to that threat and threw a shield to block it. I never looked back but was satisfied that the other heads of house were chewing out Severus Snape. I refused to call that man by any honorific after that curse aimed at my back. I did not encounter anyone while crossing the grounds with Hermione in my arms and the Knight Bus deposited me in front of Hermione's house.
I was terrified of Hermione's parent's reaction to her unresponsive state but they thankfully did not blow me away or kill me straight away. Apparently, Hermione kept them abreast of her friendship with me and her glowing commendation and secret hope to find a boyfriend in me convinced them to listen to me. They were angry at the callous attitude displayed by the so called authority figures and readily agreed with me that it was the best to remove Hermione from their clutches.
Less than a minute after we made Hermione comfortable in her room, we were accosted by Professors Dumbledore and Snape to take me away back to Hogwarts. I was adamant in my refusal to leave Hermione and when Dumbledore threatened me that my guardians would want me there, I scoffed at them, "The Dursleys never wanted me to attend Hogwarts in the first place and at the beginning of this year my uncle even locked me up in my room to prevent that. I am sure that they would not bat an eye if I do not attend Hogwarts, thank you very much."
Thankfully either the presence of Mr. Granger with a golf iron in his hand or their fear from my earlier outburst in the hospital wing convinced them to leave the house without much protest.
"Mr. Granger, I am going to head out to St. Mungos', the wizarding hospital to try and talk to them about Hermione and if they are not willing to treat her, I am going to ask for help from the Goblins. In the meantime I think it is prudent to get Hermione to safety away from this house" I hoped that they agree with me and remove a potential bargaining chip.
They quickly agreed and Mr. Granger invited himself to accompany me to the hospital. We deposited Hermione and her mother at their practice and left to London. Our experience was bitter at the hospital and I had to restrain Mr. Granger when Hermione was denied basic medical care on the grounds of her being a muggleborn.
Where humans could not help their kind, the Goblins rose to the occasion. Maybe my being their largest depositor could have had something to do with it, but I was shocked when I was told about my inheritance.
"Mr. Potter you mean to say that you never knew about your family vault? Your magical guardian should have told you as soon as you turned eleven" asked Granitor who apparently was the manager of Potter account and estate.
"No, I did not know about that, I always thought that the gold in my vault was all that I had. I do not have the key for my trust vault with me, Hagrid took it after my visit the first time" I replied and then remembered the other part of what Granitor told me, "Who is my magical Guardian, I did not appoint anyone."
The Goblin actually growled out loud which was terrifying for a scrawny kid like I was at that time. He snapped his fingers and a bronze key that I recognized as my trust vault key appeared on his desk. Handing it over to me he said, "From this day forth only you will be able to enter both your trust vault and your family vault until the time you get married or permit another through a blood key." He snapped his fingers again and another key, this was much more ornate that the one I held appeared. "This is the key to the main Potter vault and to this only your spouse or children would be admitted."
I will not bore you with all the details of my vault and the properties that I have but suffice to say that I was loaded for cash. What caught mine and Mr. Granger's attention was a manor house near Richmond in Virginia state in the USA. The Goblins also agreed to set up the best possible wards around the Granger's house and practice to exclude all magicals including House Elves and Goblins except for Hermione and me. The only owl allowed was Hedwig, my faithful feathered friend and if anyone had to communicate with me they had to call her and I was sure that no one could trick her.
I learnt later that Dumbledore and Snape made more than four attempts to contact me before they gave it up as a lost cause. Apparently the others refused to even do that. I withdrew quite a bit of gold from my trust vault and spent most of them on nutrition potions and books.
That was probably the first time after starting Hogwarts that I willfully picked up a book to study, not that I did not care for learning but the abuse I had at the hands of Dudley made me wary of showing my intelligence. But now I needed all the help I could get and studying a lot of books was the only way. Hermione's parents also rifled through them whenever they had the time but they mostly left Hermione's care to me. Yes even her personal needs, as Hermione's body was functioning without a problem and even though her sustenance was only through potions, she still had to expel a lot of waste. The sweat that was ever present also made it necessary to bathe her twice a day. I was surprised by their easy acceptance of my handling a naked Hermione and I was also not embarrassed at all the first time I saw her such. Probably due to the fact that even then she was my best friend and I vowed to do whatever was necessary to bring her back.
Naturally I dropped out of Hogwarts and did not mind one bit the freedom it offered me without any worry about dark lords in the form of possessions or books trying to kill me.
Even though I bought every book on healing I could get my hands on, they were of not much help in treating Hermione's case. The only thing I learned from them was that muscles grew weak if not used and so needed some form of exercise. Massage seemed to give that exercise to the body and that was how the scented oils came about. I took the time to properly learn before I started, and no I did not take any pleasure in having my hands on a naked Hermione, in fact I was scared that I would not see her walking on her own again. With more than six months gone and Christmas fast approaching I was nowhere near finding an answer to cure Hermione.
That was the lowest I ever felt in my life, even the abuse from the Dursleys did not trouble me as much as my frustration and inability to help Hermione. From the little reading I could do about the subject, I learnt about a branch called 'mind magics' consisting of Occlumency and Legillimency which allows the caster to enter into the mind of another. That was what I needed to learn but unfortunately, the British Ministry of Magic classified it as a dark art. No wonder I could not get any books at Diagon Alley on the subject. I had an inkling that Dumbledore and Snape practiced the art as they seemed to know most of what went in my mind. I had to learn the subject, but how?
Moping around the house, I was suddenly aware of the filthy look of the room that I was staying in contrast to the entire house which was spotless. I was ashamed, yes I was busy with taking care of Hermione solely on my own and trying to look for a means to cure her, but still there was no excuse for an unclean room. With that, I welcomed the distraction and began tidying the room wondering if there was a magical means to keep the room clean.
"I am an idiot" I exclaimed just a few minutes into my chore, a sentiment I was sure that Hermione would agree if she was coherent. Of course there was a magical way, not really a way but a who. Quickly exiting the house and crossing the boundary of the wards I entered a secluded spot in a nearby park before calling out for, "Dobby".
The house elf I freed from Lucius Malfoy was suddenly in front of me. He was wearing the same filthy rags from before but my old sock was added to his attire. After assuring myself that his presence in the Granger's house would not trigger any magical detectors either at Hogwarts or the Ministry of Magic, I employed him with the first order for him to get a full wardrobe for himself including socks that he loved so much. Apparently being bonded to me would let him enter the Goblin erected wards without a problem which I was thankful for as I was too tired to go to Gringotts and make the changes.
Travelling into my room via House Elf was a novel experience for me and with a snap of his fingers my room was straightened out. I would talk to Mrs. Granger before allowing Dobby to clean and cook for the family but for now I talked to him about the problem I faced. A few minutes of thought later, I shuddered at the maniacal grin on Dobby's face and assuring that he would be back in a few minutes he vanished.
I took the chance to go to Hermione's room and made sure that she was comfortable and moved her around a little to prevent bed sores. Kissing her cheek, I went back to my room to find a stack of about a dozen books all lined up and a very happy elf bouncing on the balls of his feet.
"These were catching dust on my old master's library shelves, the Malfoys were never interested in learning" he cackled with glee.
If I thought learning to intrude into another person's mind was easy, boy was I mistaken. With Hermione's parents volunteering to be my test subjects it took me more than three months to get the hang of it. The concept itself was easy but the practice of it was not and added to that we almost always ended up with splitting headaches. A measly headache however could never hold us back and with a steady supply of headache cure courtesy of Dobby and our diligence, I managed to successfully hold myself inside Mr. Granger's mind for more than a few seconds.
What felt like several minutes of searching for a particular memory in his mind was actually only a minute or so actual time but still left me knackered. By this time I was also taking several nutrition potions and constantly exercising my body and I felt strong physically but my magic was still not strong enough to spend several minutes rummaging for memories. My meditation exercises for organizing my mind and strengthening it, as a part of Occlumency, helped me in increasing my endurance and power of recall but I was still unable to stretch the time I was able to stay inside someone else's mind. Finally after a month of practice, I was confident enough to try it on Hermione.
With my wand clutched tightly in my hand, determination in my mind but trepidation in my heart I focused on Hermione's open eyes and called out "Legillimens" and immediately blacked out.
I opened my eyes to find a worried Dobby hovering over me and I found out from him that I was out for about six hours. I encountered a wall of granite when I tried to enter Hermione's mind and was hurled right into it knocking me out. I instantly realized that using her eyes as a gateway was wrong. It would work for people who were conscious but not for someone like Hermione whose mind was closed off due to petrification.
That was a huge setback for us as I was sure that entering into Hermione's mind would be the answer to the problem, but if I could not even enter into her mind, what could I do?
Again to my eternal gratitude Dobby delivered, this time instead of a few books, he swiped the entire collection of books from Lucius Malfoy's library. Not that he would know who took the books but I could very well imagine him ranting about the loss as some of the books were very rare and maybe even out of circulation. I brushed off Dobby's apologies for inconveniencing me and with a beaming smile asked him to buy me a portable library trunk to hold all the books.
This time around it did not take me long to identify an alternate method to enter Hermione's mind. The technique was similar to Legillimency but instead of actively entering someone's mind, I would have to enter into a trance and then use my magic to project myself into her mind. The method was used to connect with patients in a coma before it fell out of favour and instead of curing patients, they were just held in long term wards till the day they pass on. Talk about progress!
The next day saw me attempting again and with my experience with Occlumency, allowed me to enter a state of trance quikly. Projecting myself into Hermione's mind was surprisingly very easy probably due to the trust we have in each other that manifested as a sort of a sub-conscious connection between us. This was also probably the reason why we had a very strong bond of friendship almost to the point of communicating with a few gestures.
Hermione's mind took the form of a library housed in the Buckingham Palace, no less. Standing on the pavement outside the Palace, I could see that the entire building was frozen in a layer of ice, not the hard granite that I experienced with Legillimency. I could barely discern the name 'Hermione Granger's Library' written on the face of the building. I tried to use the warming charm on the handle of the door but was barely able to hold it for a second before I was ejected out too tired to even move a limb.
I was not sure if the Basilisk Venom or Phoenix tears had any effect on me but I felt more in control of my magic. I noticed that I did not need my wand for some of the simple spells and I did not have a wand when I projected myself into Hermione's mind, casting the warming charm wandless. Yes, I was still not powerful but I was precise and could command my magic easily. Now all that I needed was a means to get powerful so that I would not tire out easily.
The Malfoy library had a lot of books on rituals to increase the size and strength of the core, and by corollary the power, but even reading the rituals made me gag. So I was left with no choice but use the brutal way. Magic was like muscle, exercise it and it would grow. Day in and day out I was casting the most powerful spells I could in a fully warded basement. I totally ignored my wand and was casting everything wandless. Simple spells like the levitation charm were used on heavier and heavier objects for increasing lengths of time. Dobby was always there to ensure that I did not exhaust myself totally and with a brief rest after such a session, I was back into Hermione's mind and trying to defrost it.
The apothecaries all around England took a hit with large orders for strengthening and nutrition potions. I found out that Pepperup potion was a waste as that would give a boost for a limited time but the crash following that was murderous. The daily exercises, strengthening potions and exercising my magical muscle was slowly turning me powerful not only magically but also physically. I lost the scrawny look and short stature and looked the part of a strong individual and a powerful wizard too.
It was painstaking work but by June 1st I was able to thaw the entire face of the building and managed to open the door of the library and venture inside. The rows of books were also frozen over and I could see many of them that needed defrosting, it was daunting but I was undeterred, this was for Hermione after all.
That night was the first time I went out for dinner with the Grangers and also the first time in more than a year, we could not even celebrate Christmas.
My body clock took a beating and my day was organized around cleaning Hermione, giving her a full body massage and physical therapy and working on defrosting her mind. I would sleep when exhaustion took over waking up after about six hours, eat my lunch at about four in the evening. Then I would spend two hours on study and another two hours on my magical exercises, eat dinner and then work on Hermione's mind again before sleep claimed me. I would wake up before six in the morning spend two hours on physical exercises and running. By eight I would start on taking care of Hermione and then have a big breakfast before diving into her mind. Time of the day was of no essence to me and thankfully the Grangers fully understood and supported me even though they could do nothing for their daughter except to pray.
By September 1st I was able to spend almost an hour restoring parts of her mind before exhaustion would force me out. I later learned from my American friends that what I did was unprecedented and probably never to be done again. I apparently was the most powerful wizard even as a fifteen year old surpassing Dumbledore and Voldemort in sheer magical power.
"Then the glorious day arrived when I heard the sweet sound of my Hermione's voice"
"I was and would always be thankful to Harry for whatever he did to me. He put his life on hold to help me, a nagging bookworm."
"Even at that time you were my beautiful best friend Hermione and yes, you were nagging when we first met but that was for our benefit too. Even now, the thought of you laying unresponsive chills my heart and it pains me to think that I could not protect you."
"You did your best Harry and it definitely was not your job to protect students."
"But I almost lost you."
"And you did the impossible to bring me back from the brink…. While my husband takes his time to compose himself and get over his unjustified guilt, why don't I take you over the years till this point in time?"
My reunion with my parents was tearful to say the least but was also a very happy moment. That was the second time that Harry went out for dinner with my parents; of course this time I was the guest of honour.
I was still very weak but with every day the distance that I was able to walk by myself grew and as usual Harry was always by my side to lift me into his arms whenever my steps faltered. That happened quiet often at the start and no I did not do it deliberately to be in his arms even though I enjoyed it immensely. It took me about six months before I was able to match Harry in our daily walks without any help from him.
During this time Harry kept up with the daily massage and physiotherapy and the subtle fragrance of lemon grass quickly became our new favourite. Being in complete control of my faculty I was able to persuade Harry to linger longer than usual on my breasts during those sessions, a lot longer actually. Not that he minded it one bit but was still terrified of my parents walking in on us, I did keep it a secret from him for a long time that my mother approved of my actions completely. They were delighted for me and were looking forward to the day that they could officially call Harry their son, though my dad did manage to slip in the words "hopefully not in the too near a future" in his speech.
Harry's hands roaming sensuously on my body and our passionate kisses without a care in the world were the best Christmas presents that I could ask for and I got them daily for six months. What could top that! We managed to continue the massage sessions till date but with less frequency much to our mutual disappointment but it was not for long as I was able to reciprocate the sessions on Harry.
Bang on New Year's Day we left the shores of Britain and travelled to Harry's place near Richmond. As my father so succinctly put it we were heading to a, "New year, new horizons and new life."
We tried to enroll in the magical school near the place we were staying but we soon found out that we were no longer suited to a formal setting for our education. The segregation of girls and boys into two schools also did not help our cause and so Harry hired tutors for both our magical as well as non-magical education. We took the fast track for our graduation and completed our studies with high honours in both the worlds. The ease of home schooling enabled Harry to learn and judiciously manage his fortune and that gave us the pleasure of a long and very fulfilling courtship which ultimately culminated in our marriage as soon as Harry turned 21.
My parents gave up their practice and are now taking care of their grandson while getting ready to spoil their granddaughter very soon. We have since then moved to Boston area where Harry works as a surgeon at Harvard Medical School after getting his MD and also mastery in healing after our ICW NEWTs. I was surprised by his choice of a career but probably his efforts in taking care of me for so long influenced his decision and with the American society being so liberal he could use his magic to heal his patients too.
As for me, I passed my law exams from Harvard and with a mastery in magical law, I am now an investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in their magical section.
When Harry reached his majority and took control of the Potter inheritance, he sold all his properties inside Britain at a premium but all his shares in many magical businesses at the lowest possible rates. This crippled the economy of magical Britain due to the extent of his holdings which flourished under his expert management with help from the Goblins. The market value of his holdings rose to unprecedented heights and selling them off without any care for a loss left many of the wealthy purebloods bankrupt. Was it excessive? Possibly, but ask Harry and he would say that it was revenge for treating his Hermione with disdain. Whoever said that Harry was not vindictive did not know him at all especially when it concerns someone that he loves so dearly.
On a more important front, no one knew that during our short stay in Britain finalizing the sale of everything he owned there, we led a covert operation with a few close friends from the states, which finally brought an end to the terror of the Dark Lord. Harry killed Voldemort not to fulfill some Prophecy, or to protect British wizarding world or for some perceived 'greater good'. He did it simply to avenge the murders of his parents James and Lily Potter, his godfather Sirius Black who escaped from his wrongful imprisonment; another testimony to the incompetence of the Ministry, after twelve years only to be killed by Severus Snape in retaliation to a petty grudge, and finally my petrification.
We could have kept all of this a secret and took the easy way of joining the masses in celebrating the end of darkness, but the recent posturing of the British Minister of Magic has forced our hand to tell the truth. His attempts to corner undue glory along with the self-proclaimed 'leader of light' Albus Dumbledore and their attempt to vilify Harry made us do the right thing. After all who are we to contradict the 'great' Albus Dumbledore, for it was he who told Harry all those years ago when I was lying petrified, to do what was right rather than what was easy.
"We thank you for your patience and will now answer your questions."