A/N Ok guys, this story is going to be quite long, I already have 20.000 words semi-ready on my laptop and I am not even near to finishing the plot. Hopefully I can make it up to 100.000 words, that would be amazing.
This is the first story I ever post so I'm actually quite nervous about it. However, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.
I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters and places you may recognise, they are all the amazing creation of J.K. Rowling. I only own the things that came from my own mind.
"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
It was freezing in London. Diagon Ally was covered in a thin layer of snow, making it look like a scene from a muggle Christmas movie, even though Christmas had passed over a month ago.
The big clock that hung from Gringotts showed it was a quarter past nine and most stores had just opened their doors to welcome their first customers of the day.
Voldemort had been defeated and the war had ended. Most shop-owners had returned to Diagon Ally and reopened their shops. The street looked as beautiful and magical as ever.
However, this early in the morning the street was practially empty. A few people roamed the street to do some early shopping, a few others stood in front of Madam Malkin's. The woman had yet to open her store this morning and so they where waiting patiently.
In the scarcely crowded street, one woman stood out. It was evident that this lady was trying not to be recognised and that was exactly what caught the attention of the passers-by.
The woman wore a long expensive looking cloak in a dark-red shade, it came all the way to the ground and hid whatever she was wearing underneath. The hood of the cloak was up and pulled over her face so that it also hid her face completely.
Even though her face was invisible it was clear this person was either a girl or a woman. Her figure was too slender to be male and high heels could be heard clicking on the street as she walked.
Her gloved hands where pushing a pram as she swiftly moved towards the leaky cauldron.
In the pram was a little girl of approximately a year old. The babygirl had black hair and her large eyes where almost as dark as her curls. She was silently reaching for the falling snowflakes, almost able to grab them before they would hit the heating spell that was around the pram and melt. Her face was scrunched up in concentration as she tried to reach for another snowflake every time one melted.
The woman's high heels where clicking onto the streetstones in a fast rhythm. She was clearly in a rush. Every time she would pass someone she would lower her head, making sure no-one could see her face.
Some of the people around her would stop and look at her but in general they did not pay too much attention to her awkward behaviour.
Ever since the war had ended they did not really have a reason to be afraid of others, and besides, they had gotten used to people not wanting to be recognised.
Most of the death-eaters that had survived the final battle had been arrested and had either been kissed or where serving lifetime sentences in Azkaban. Only a few had gotten away but no-one expected those who had not been caught to be stupid enough to go on a shopping trip to Diagon Ally.
No, the people who where trying to hide their faces in the streets had not been death-eaters. However they had either openly sympathized with them or where otherwise associated with the 'wrong' side of the war. No-one wanted to have anything to do with them, and so they hid their faces in shame, hoping that some day, in a few years, they would be able to regain their place in society.
However, if people taught that this woman had also been on the 'wrong' side of the war, they could not even start to guess how far off they where in their assumptions. This person had not only not been a death-eater sympathizer But she had actually played a key-role in defeating Voldemort and saving the wizarding world.
She had been given an Order of Merlin, first class and with her status as war-hero she could have done or gotten everything she wanted.
However, about two weeks after the final battle she had decided to disappear. And all because of the small girl that was still trying to catch snowflakes. Yes, she had disappeared because of her adoptive daughter which she had sworn to protect al all costs. And because of the child's adoptive father, her husband.
The young woman looked at the pamphlet on one of the store windows. Her own face looked back at her. 'Missing' it said. She recognised the picture, it had been in the Daily Prophet only two days after the final battle, when the news of Voldemort's defeat had finally reached every single soul in wizarding Britain.
She sighed. Maybe it had been stupid to come to Diagon Ally after all. People where looking for her everywhere around the country.
She felt a slight pang of guilt go through her stomach as she thought about her friends who where still looking for her, even though she'd disappeared on them months ago. She knew they knew she was okay. After she had made her decision to go into hiding she had sent them a letter. In that letter she had stated that she was alive and well and also that she wouldn't be returning for quite a while. She had not given them any details about why she had left or where she had gone to but she had hoped they would trust her enough to accept her decision and to not come looking for her. She had been sourly mistaken, they had started to look for her right away, reported her as a missing person and even months after her disappearance they wouldn't give up on finding her. She couldn't say she was surprised about it.
The woman sighed, she loved her friends but they just wouldn't understand. They wouldn't understand why she had adopted this child and they most definitely wouldn't understand her choice of husband. Worst thing was that she couldn't blame them for it. If she would've been in their situation she wouldn't have understood either
Thankfully the store that she had needed to go to had opened early and after she had bought what she had come for she had started to make her way back to the apparation point. She couldn't wait to be safely back home.
Suddenly someone grabbed her arm, almost causing her to scream in shock and hex the person. Instead she managed to keep herself calm and only gave a slight gasp.
She didn't look up, but she could hear a males voice.
"Excuse me ma'am, but would you please show us your left arm," the voice said urging and with a dark tone to it.
The woman lifted her head just enough to see there where two figures in front of her. She recognised the colour of their robes, they where aurors. She didn't recognises their faces but she was really glad she hadn't hexed them. Ever since the war aurors had gotten more dangerous. They where now allowed to use unforgivables on suspected death-eaters and on everyone who attacked them, and many of them seemed to enjoy that freedom a bit too much.
At the same moment a whaling cry came from the pram. The child didn't like the loud angry voice of the auror and had decided to deal with this by having a tantrum.
Quickly the woman removed her black leather glove, which reached all the way up to her elbow and showed the auror the inside of her left arm. It was obvious they where checking for the dark mark.
"Thank you madam, everything seems al right there. I'm sorry for the inconvenience." the voice spoke, still not sounding too friendly.
The woman had to fight the urge to snap at him for scaring the baby, instead she nodded, put on her glove and quickly walked away from them. They hadn't asked her to identify herself and she had no intention of waiting around long enough for them to remember that.
The baby didn't stop crying, red spots where now covering her pale face. The woman stopped walking and picked her up. With her left arm she pressed the girl to her chest, covering her under her cloak to protect her from the snow. Then she took her wand, shrunk the pram and put it in the pocket of her cloak. She was nearly at the Leaky cauldron and she couldn't use the floo while pushing the pram anyway.
"Excuse me, madam" a familiar voice started "I might have something in the shop that will calm her down, I have recently added childrenstoys to the collection."
She turned around, glancing up at George Weasley's face, making sure her own face was still covered in the shadow of her hood.
He looked older, the loss of his twin had been hard on him. He gave her a friendly smile, but the smile didn't reach his eyes the way it used to.
Because of the shock the auror had given her and her daughter screaming her lungs out she hadn't looked what way she'd been going. She had just wanted to get away from the aurors as fast as she could. Her lack of carehad caused her to stop right in front of the weasley's store, causing yet another threat to be discovered.
She quickly shook her head, she obviously couldn't take the risk.
George looked at her, clearly being disappointed.
"You know what I'll do?" he said, "I'll give you a free sample of one of the new toys. I think she would like it and it seems to be such a sweet girl. Those aurors gave her quite a scare, didn't they?"
The woman gave it a quick thought. She really didn't want to risk being recognised by him. But refusing a free toy for the baby might look very suspicious and would possibly draw his attention even more.
She cursed herself for getting into this situation but nodded anyway, following George inside of the shop. She still had the girl in one arm, cradling her against her body. Once inside the girl had popped her head out of the cloak and was looking around, her dark eyes big with wonder and her fright already forgotten.
Everywhere around them colourful pranks and toys changed colour, moved, smoked, flew, or made sudden noises. The store was just as beautiful as the woman remembered. As she followed him to the back of the store her attention was drawn to a big, colourful kite. The card in front of it said it worked even when it was wind still. Suddenly, the kite started moving, flapping its sides as if they where wings. The sudden gust of wind caused her hood to fall back.
The woman gasped, grabbed the hood before it fell all the way down and quickly yanked it back in place.
But he had seen it, there was no doubt he had seen her face.
He stared at her, going very pale, eyes widening. "H-h-herm.."
She quickly shook her head, turned around and tried to leave the store. George, who apparently had come to his senses extraordinarily fast responded to that by firmly grabbing her by the arm and dragging her with him to the back of the store.
She could have hexed him, but she really didn't want to. And besides, it wouldn't solve anything. He had seen her, nothing could be done about that.
So she let him drag her through the store while she clasped the little girl to her chest.
They entered the office at the back and once they where inside George locked the door, took a seat behind the desk, crossed his arms and looked at her.
Hermione sighed, took one of the two seats in front of the desk and grabbed her hood, lowering it all the way. Game over.
Yes I know, terrible cliffhanger and a lot of questions. everything will be explained in later chapters.
The chapter's title 'All the world's a stage' is a line from Shakespeare's 'as you like it'
I would love to get reviews so I know how I did! I also don't mind advice so I can improve my writing skills but please don't flame my story down without giving advice, there's really no use for that.
Also, if you are (or know) a good beta that would be willing to take a look at the next chapters, please let me know! I did proofread my story but English is not my first language AND I'm dyslexic so I'm quite sure I need a beta.
Next chapter will be up in a week max. but probably sooner, depending on the reviews. (If I missed a lot of mistakes while proofreading I might want to wait for a beta)