The evening Hermione arrived home from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after her fifth year. She was sitting in the family room one of her parent's medical texts open in front of her. While her parents relaxed in the living room oblivious to her quest for information. As she read her mind flashed thoughts of, 'No not that I don't have spots on my skin… Ew that's just gross, interesting but not what I have,' as she studied the text before she stopped at a description reading it through several times a shiver passing through her before she thought, 'that's easily eliminated. I'll do that tomorrow.' Hearing her mother call her she rapidly put the book back and her happy teen girl smile on as she went to greet her parents.
Hermione's friend Harry Potter was having a different homecoming experience. His Uncle Vernon had put on a proper stiff upper lip when a group from the Order of the Phoenix chastised him at the train station when he'd picked up his nephew at the end of his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Things changed once they were back at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Safely ensconced in his home Uncle Vernon's demeanor changed. Harry had been watching his uncle getting increasingly upset but he still wasn't forewarned concerning the right cross that hit his jaw as Harry turned to face his uncle after shutting the front door. It wasn't the first time he'd been struck but it was the first time it had happened so soon. Harry wasn't the scrawny malnourished individual he'd been growing up here. He was staggered by the punch but rolled with the next one and was gathering his wits when his uncle said, "Dudley I think it's time you put your schooling to use," waiving his large son, current Public School Champion boxer in the unlimited weight division forward.
Harry's cousin smiled and followed his instructor's training, avoided Harry's attempts to protect himself while using Harry's body as a heavy bag for several minutes until he had to pull Harry up before hitting him again. Dudley then switched targets landing four good punches to Harry's head before letting Harry fall to the floor.
"Help me throw him into his cupboard." Vernon said motioning to Dudley to get Harry's feet.
"What about the freak's junk?" Vernon's wife Petunia asked waiving her hand at the pile Harry had placed in the entry hall.
"Bin the lot of it and make sure that owl doesn't escape." Vernon said bring a smile to both Petunia's and Dudley's faces.
Vernon took the time to search a unconscious Harry not concerned rather he was causing more damage or not. Finding Harry's wand along with several packages of food. He snapped the wand several times. Not trusting his son around the freak's food Vernon disposed of it himself. While Dudley actually did his first bit of voluntary cleaning as he carried Harry's stuff to the trash bins doing his best to break everything contained in the trunk.
Once Vernon was satisfied Harry's presence had been eliminated except for the still breathing body under the stairs he dusted his hands saying, "Pet, Dudders and I have worked up a bit of an appetite let's go out for dinner. Perhaps by the time we get back the problem under the stairs will have resolved itself.
The next morning Hermione talked her folks in to allowing her to go shopping in London while they worked at their dental practice. She rode in with them then took off going first to a chemist. Her second stop was a public restroom. Her third was a pub for a pint. It took her close to an hour to consume that pint and get her mind wrapped around this morning's revelations. She was then ready to leave the comfort of the pub heading back into the streets of London buying a few items to deflect any questions until she was ready to inform her parents.
Hermione looked at the phone in her hand for the second time in a row she'd been hung up on when she mentioned Harry Potter it seemed that his stories about his relatives were not that far from the truth. Albus Dumbledore her headmaster had basically ordered her well actually all of Harry's friends not to contact him this summer unless he directed them too saying Harry needed time to greave for the loss of his godfather. He also expressed concern their owls could be used to locate Harry.
She shook her head at the limited knowledge the top British wizard had of the world she was currently in. As if the pure bloods could actually trace a phone call. They had trouble with the math in Arithmancy and that was a breeze compared to algebra The more she compared the magical world to this world with an increasing critical eye… well she still had a few years of study left before making a firm decision. Hermione thought then feeling increasingly odd she went to relax. Her parents would be at their dental practice for a few more hours allowing her time to recover before she had to put on the happy teen girl persona they expected from their only daughter.
Dan Granger was off at his normal Sunday morning golf outing as Hermione and her mother sat drinking their morning tea and relaxing. Deciding to confront the issue head on Hermione said, "Mum, I'm pregnant," just as her mother took a sip.
Whatever Emma Granger had been expecting her daughter to say this was not it. After doing a classic spit take that she was sure her daughter had deliberately caused Emma took a deep breath forcing herself to take her time and not have a knee jerk response. A moment later after she'd gathered herself Emma said, "I take it you're sure of your facts."
"Yes, two positive pregnancy tests. One yesterday and one just now."
"I'll make an appointment with a doctor for you to confirm this. My main questions are how will this affect your schooling and what are your plans to deal with everything?" Emma asked knowing her daughter wouldn't have told her without have answers to those questions.
"First I plan to keep the baby. I'm not sure of my schooling. My guess is I'll need to drop out of Hogwarts. I've noticed every year a few of the older girls don't return, probably for the same reason. I'm hoping I'll find some normal classes I can take nearby. At least until the little one makes an appearance."
"What about the father have you notified him?" Emma asked praying there was only one person to notify.
This was the first obstacle Hermione had envisioned when she'd thought about this discussion. Ever since she'd known about her condition she'd alternated between telling or not telling her parents the answer. Right now she was in a telling mood. "Harry is unaware of this." At her mother's raised eyebrow she added, "I've tried to call him twice without success and owling is not possible until Hedwig shows up to carry my letter."
"So how did this happen I distinctly remember a discussion we had where you assured me this would never happen to you."
"It was a really bad year at school for all of us especially Harry. Close to the end of the year a group of us forced Harry to let us accompany him when he went to the Wizarding Ministry building to save his godfather. The short version is the whole thing turned out to be a trap. I along with everyone else was hurt. Harry's godfather was killed and two of the four other people that went with us turned on Harry and blamed him for their injuries despite the fact they forced Harry to take them with us. Combine all this with the knowledge that last year ended with Harry taking a fellow champion's dead body back to Hogwarts after he'd been killed just for being in the wrong place with Harry. All this drove Harry over the edge and he began to fall apart." Hermione stopped talking and looked at her mother who was watching her impassively. "Mum I knew there was a risk. I was on a potion to prevent this but I was also on a strong healing potion and I remembered your comments about drug interactions. But Harry needed me and to be honest I needed him."
"So you and Harry…" Emma said prompting.
"Was he…" Emma hesitated not wanting to say worth it choosing instead to continue with "concerned for you?"
A big smile lit Hermione's face as she replied, "Very, it hurt at first of course and I had a difficult time convincing him to continue. I actually thought he was thinking about heading to one of the towers and jumping off for having hurt me but I locked my ankles behind his back and… encouraged him. You were right things do get better with practice."
"I take it there was more than one occurrence."
Hermione's voice was almost dreamy when se replied, "Oh yes, definitely more that one."
Emma reminded herself that Hermione wasn't standing there holding a kitten, her daughter was on the way to becoming a mother. Deciding to get back to the current problem Emma said, "Let's talk about what we do now. I think you need to tell your father about this."
"Can't you do it for me?" Hermione asked not wanting to see the disappointment in her father's eyes.
"No it's time for you to be a woman Hermione. I'll be by your side but you need to do this."
"Alright, but it's not going to turn out well." Hermione said. While her mother couldn't help to add in her mind, 'How right you are.'
Four hours later after a nice lunch of fruits and vegetables Hermione waited until her father was seated in his living room chair before she broached the subject. He sat impassively as she went through everything she'd talked about with her mother this morning. When she finished Dan Granger sat looking off into space his eyes fixed on nothing for several minutes before he appeared to gather himself before saying, "I think a visit to the father is in order."
"No Hermione, you said he was a caring and responsible. It's time to see how caring and responsible he really is. Do you know where he lives?"
Hermione wanted to protect Harry and reply no but her urge to see her lover overrode the rebellion her father's attitude brought out. "Harry lives with his aunt and uncle at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey." Hermione replied.
Dan pulled out his ever-present atlas consulting it for a minute before saying, "Just as I thought it looks like a two hour trip if we start now. That will give us time to meet his family, take him out to dinner, allowing your mother and I to get a measure of him." His rising and heading upstairs was the signal for both Hermione and her mother to prepare for the two hour trip. Twenty minutes later Hermione sat in the back seat of her father's pride and joy a 1990 XJR-S V-12 Jaguar in British racing green. Her father assured his wife he loved her more that the Jaguar but on occasion both her and Hermione had their doubts about who was the apple of his eye. Hermione didn't understand the male fascination with cars but she did notice the instant respect her father received when they arrived anywhere in this car. Her mother's car, the one they normally used, was a Mercedes but it didn't garner the instant respect this one did.
Lost in her own thoughts about this car, Harry and their futures. Hermione missed several quiet discussions taking place in the front seats in the shorthand most married couples develop to keep sensitive topics from their children.
When the car stopped in front of a modest house identical to every other house on this street Hermione didn't have to asked if this was the right place. She could feel it. There was something really off but she couldn't put her finger on in and that irritated her. Hermione started to get out of the car but stopped as her mother said, "Let your father get him. He's going to invite Harry out to dinner with us. There is no way, given what you've said over the years, that we want his relatives in the middle of this discussion."
Dan Granger's knock was answered by a bone thin woman, "Mrs. Dursley?" Dan inquired.
"Yes," she answered hesitantly carefully noting the well-dressed man in front of her and a well polished obviously expensive car sitting at the curb.
"My daughter is a friend of your nephew and we would like to take him out to dinner." Dan knew something was wrong the instant he mentioned nephew. The woman before him took an obviously unintentional and quickly suppressed glance towards the stairs visible behind her. Her gritted teeth reply of, "He never showed up after school," betrayed the amount of stress in her at making that remark to the well-trained dentist.
Dan also knew that remark was a lie having personally witnessed Harry's uncle pick him up at the train station when he was picking up Hermione. "Mrs. Dursley do you have any idea where he might be?" Dan asked the glance towards the stairs was missing this time unless one caught the telltale twitching of her neck muscles.
"I'm sorry I don't mean to be rude but I must get back to my husband's dinner. He's due home shortly and likes to have his dinner on the table waiting." Petunia Dursley said shutting the door in Dan's face.
Back in the car Dan looked at Emma the question obvious. "Make the call I'd rather be embarrassed than sorry we didn't act." Emma said firmly watching her husband pull out the cell phone they kept in the car for emergencies.
A long 15 minutes later a police patrol car pulled up behind the Jaguar just as Vernon Dursley pulled his Rover 800 into the short driveway. Seeing the police behind the Jaguar and assuming it had been pulled over in front of his house Vernon walked over asking, "What's going on here this is a quiet neighborhood."
"This gentleman came to pick up your nephew." The officer said motioning towards Dan who had been bringing the officer up to day with what he knew.
"He's not here the fre… boy ran off after cleaning out my refrigerator and wallet." Vernon said firmly turning and heading for his front door.
"Interesting," the officer said to his partner then added, "Get him over by the car and keep him quiet. I'm going to see what story his wife tells me."
The second officer had a bit of trouble but he was experienced and soon had Vernon standing by his car. Watching his partner question the lady of the house. "I have a warrant allowing me to search this house if you'll join your husband over by the car I'm sure I can clear this up quickly."
"I have food on the stove that needs tending." Petunia announced turning to head back in.
"That's all right I'll just shut everything off." The officer said taking her elbow and escorting her over to join Vernon. Once there he passed Vernon the search warrant before turning and entering the house.
"Check the stairs. When I asked her about Harry she glanced in that direction." Dan Granger announced just as the officer entered getting a nod of acknowledgement in return.
Five minutes later sirens could be heard approaching Privet Drive causing Vernon and Petunia to make a break for their car. Shocked the officer watching them could only restrain Petunia as Vernon twisted out of his grasp. His call of stop had just passed his lips when Dan Granger hit Vernon in the gut with his right shoulder driving through him his feet still moving as Vernon folded around Dan's shoulder before falling to the ground gasping for air.
Noting Vernon was stationary in a fetal position the second officer looked at Dan asking, "Rugby?"
"All Conference in College," Dan replied his pride obvious.
"Thought so, thanks for the help." The officer replied before turning his attention to watching the ambulance pull up along with three more police cars.
Petunia was beside herself noticing the blinds and curtains of her various neighbors being moved subtly as they took note of the goings on. She'd be the talk of the neighborhood for weeks because of that freak.
The first officer appeared at the door of the house waiving the ambulance attendants inside the house. Prompting most of the newly arriving officers to follow. Two of them rapidly exited the home and within moments Vernon and Petunia were cuffed and sitting in the back of different police cars. Vernon after he finished dumping the contents of his stomach thanks to Dan's tackle.
Once those two were dealt with Petunia's whimpering could be heard as police tape was quickly placed over every entrance to the house including all windows securing it.
While all this was going on the ambulance attendants made several trips between their ambulance and the house finally emerging what felt like hours after they entered to Hermione but was closer to five minutes. One police officer held an intravenous bag in the air as the attendants wheeled the stretcher down the walk.
"Harry!" Hermione screamed breaking free of her father's hold she raced across the small lawn only to be stopped by one of the officers escorting the stretcher.
"Miss let the medics do their job," The officer said trying to calm the teen.
"I've got to see him." Hermione said noticing the only part of Harry visible was a bit of his hair as he was covered and braced very well.
The officer caught the shake of the medic's head as he helped his partner put the stretcher in the back of their ambulance causing him to say, "I understand Miss but wouldn't it be better to let them attend to your friend without you being in the way?"
By this time Hermione's parents had caught up with her. Dan took her by the elbow saying, "Come on princess they are getting ready to leave and if we're going to follow them to casualty we need to get into our car now."
Hermione spun from the Police officer to look up into her father's eyes. "Yes we'll stick with him until I know what his condition is." Dan said realizing his plans for the young man who'd gotten his little girl pregnant were undergoing a drastic revision. He'd intended to give him a rough time but from the reaction of the police and medics the young man had already endured more than he'd wanted to give him.
At the Greater Whinging hospital Dan's query's led to the three of them sitting in a room with a nurse and her clipboard. "I understand you know the John Doe we just received."
Hermione looked confused for a moment until her mother spoke up saying, "We just followed an ambulance carrying my daughter's boyfriend here. Hermione would you describe Harry for the nurse?"
"He's a bit taller than I am with black hair and the most gorgeous green eyes. He also has a lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead."
"Sounds like our John Doe. You said his name was Harry?"
"Harry James Potter." Hermione said speaking up her confidence in her facts obvious.
"How well do you know Mr. Potter, Miss? Does he have any family?"
"I'm Hermione Granger and these are my parents Dan and Emma. I've been Harry's best friend since we started school together, we were both eleven at the time. His Aunt and Uncle were the ones who caused his injuries." Hermione said getting angry at the treatment of her Harry.
"Does he have any other family?"
"No his parents died when he was one and his godfather died this year just before school ended."
"Right I need to get an individual from child services here then. Can you stick around for a while incase we need more information?"
"We'll be here for a while my daughter is quite concerned about her friend." Emma said resting her hand on Hermione's arm.
As the nurse walked out they heard her mutter in reply, "As are we all."
Back in Little Whinging Mundungus Fletcher arrived back at 4 Privet Drive and took a quick look around not noticing the police tape across all the openings into the house before settling back into a niche overflowing with cushioning charms thinking, 'You pulled one off mate took a bit of time but given your double shifting here from noon to midnight no one should notice you disappearing for a few hours to tend to business.' None the wiser about all that had transpired in his absence.
It wasn't until Alastor Moody's shift at 6 am the following morning that anyone noticed the empty house with police tape covering all entrances. He didn't get a chance to investigate as a police van pulled up shortly after his arrival and the crime scene analysts unloaded their equipment and suited up remarking, "Heck of a way to start the day."
The reply of "At least it isn't a murder investigation yet." Had Alastor paying close attention knowing he'd be reviewing this memory in Dumbledore's pensive once he left. Half an hour later Alastor apparated to Hogsmeade, picked up the broom he kept stashed at the Hogshead pub and flew to the concealed outside entrance to the Headmasters office only he and a few select others knew of.
Entering Dumbledore's office the retired master Auror was greeted with, "Alastor are you not scheduled to be on watch at Harry's home?"
"Aye that I am. It seems there is no one there. I didn't figure I'd waste my time watching their grass grow."
"They went on vacation?"
"In a manner of speaking. If the conversation I overheard was true the Dursleys are in jail and Harry is in the hospital."
"What?" I need to see your memory of that conversation." Dumbledore said firmly.
"You know the rules Albus. You see one of mine I get to see one of yours." Alastor Moody countered.
Albus looked at his long time friend weighing the need before saying, "Agreed." Moody pulled the memory strand away from his head and dropped in Dumbledore's pensive. Minutes later Dumbledore emerged saying, "This is the worse news I've received in a while. Did you hear where Harry was taken? There was not a word about it in that memory."
"No, not a hint. Now one of your memories if you don't mind." Moody said.
"How about Harry's sorting?" Dumbledore offered.
"How about your defeat of Grindelwald?" Moody countered citing the memory he'd been after for years.
"As always no. How about the fight at the ministry this year, at least my portion of it?" Dumbledore offered in counter.
"That will do." Moody allowed his auror instincts coming to the fore. He knew any information about fighting was always useful even to one who was supposedly retired. He carefully watched Dumbledore extract that memory before entering the memory.
At the hospital Hermione sat holding Harry's left hand his right still bandaged along with most of his torso. The steady beep… beep of Harry monitors reflected the drip… drip of his intravenous fluid bags. She was thinking back to the events of this spring and how everything came about. It started after their return from the Ministry. After being treated by Healer Pomfrey on the school's hospital ward for a few days she'd been sent back to the dorm and observed the last barriers Harry had protecting his mind crumbling. Hermione was convinced someone needed to do something to help him so as he left to walk Hogwarts corridors, something he'd taken to doing for hours on end over the last few days. She rose and started to follow him only to be stopped by the three Gryffindor Quidditch chasers.
"Where are you going Hermione?" Katie Bell asked.
"Harry needs someone to look after him and I don't see anyone else doing it." Hermione said firmly.
"Not so fast Hermione, there's a reason no one's looking out for him. We want to make sure you understand and are ready for everything that will be involved in taking care of Harry." Angelina Johnson said looking at Hermione.
"What do you mean? I've taken care of Harry and Ron ever since Halloween of our first year here."
Alicia Spinnet sighed, "Hermione, Harry still feels responsible for Cedric dying last spring and now feels responsible for his godfather also. That young man is going to need more that just a patch job this time. He's going to need everything a woman can give him just to allow him to function. If it's the right witch he'll grow into the great wizard he can become. If it's the wrong witch Merlin help the wizarding world."
"Are you the right witch Hermione?" Katie asked.
Seeing the girl before them was confused Angelina decided to lay it on the line. With a wave of her wand she created a privacy shield around them then said, "Hermione you are close to two boys. Ron and Harry. If you go to Harry now you need to realize this is a life choice. Whoever goes to him now will need to be with him and only him forever. That's why none of us have approached Harry. We've talked it out and see three futures for Harry. The first future is no one goes to help him and he continues to crumble eventually committing suicide and if the rumors are true leaving us all with a Dark Lord as ruler subjecting us all to his every whim. The second future we see and the one we are working hard to avoid is should the woman that rescues Harry ever leave him for another. There is a very strong possibility in this future Harry will become a worse Dark Lord than the one we currently have. The third and final future we see is whoever rescues Harry becomes Mrs. Harry Potter standing by him for the rest of their lives with all that implies, life mate, mother to his children, etc.
"I don't know what your life goals are Hermione but you need to realize no matter how great a witch you become no matter what success in life you have if you choose to go to Harry now you will be know as either Mrs. Harry Potter, wife of the boy who live and hopefully the man who won, for the rest of your life or you will be know as the girl who created the Dark Lord Potter." Alicia said finishing up.
Sitting back down in the chair Hermione looked up at the three witches in front of her. "You're serious."
"Alright I'll think this through." Hermione said rising and going up to her dorm room where she climbed on her bed and pulled the curtains closed. She recalled one of the things her mother had talked about doing when she was considering marriage. Pulling a piece of parchment out she first wrote Mrs. Ronald Weasley and thought hard on all that meant to her. Next she wrote Mrs. Harry Potter and thought on that name. she was amazed how different the two names made her feel. After the initial giddiness of writing Mrs. anyone Hermione realized Mrs. Weasley felt like a burden she'd endure but Mrs. Potter made her smile. Still she was sixteen did she really need to make a life long decision now? If the other girls were right to be Mrs. Potter she did. Hermione tried out a few other names, Mrs. Neville Longbottom, Mrs. Justin Finch-Fletchley among them just to see what they felt like but none affected her like the first two had. On a whim she wrote her own name, Miss Hermione Granger and suddenly she realized she didn't feel like that person either. Not knowing what to do she sat contemplating her future until she fell asleep. She awoke the next morning realizing she needed to start her homework for Transfiguration pulling a clean sheet of parchment out she wrote her name at the top like always and started in working. It wasn't until she was seated in the library copying her marked up draft to the final version that she realized she'd written Mrs. Harry Potter at the top of her draft.
That afternoon when she saw Harry leave the common room she rose and followed him giving a nod to the three chasers whose eyes were following her.
She caught Harry and dragged him to the room of requirement where after pacing back and forth the requisite three times thinking she needed a place to heal Harry she opened the door to find a warm actually cozy wood paneled living room setting with a fireplace, couch and a door to another room. Hermione sat him down on the couch asking, "Harry tell me what's bothering you and don't say your standard "Nothing" or "I'm fine," this is me you can talk to me I will keep your secrets."
Harry thought for a few moments before deciding Hermione was right he needed to talk this out. "You win, right after our trip to the ministry Dumbledore told me a prophecy."
"The basic point is only I am able to kill Voldemort."
Hermione thought one of her father's often unvoiced comments when he looked into a patient's mouth, 'It sucks to be you.'
"I know what you're thinking I can see it on your face." Harry said.
"Why did he wait until then to tell you?"
"He said he wanted me to have a normal childhood. The thing is if he had told me first year when I asked I could have been preparing to fight him. Plus I wouldn't have taken the cup with Cedric or paid attention to the nightmares about Sirius."
"Oh, Harry." Hermione said tears welling up in her eyes.
"That bastard, if he'd only told me when I asked first year they would still be alive!" Harry screamed in pain.
She held him while he cried for Sirius and Cedric she watched him dry his tears then summon Dobby asking Dobby to bring them some food and drink. The house elf complied and Hermione realized she'd have to make house elf liberation a long-term project. When they were fed and Harry re-hydrated they talked about the future then Harry kissed her. They broke apart for mere seconds before they both dove back to each other Harry's hands sliding down her back until they cupped her bum and pulled her against him. The thought of 'Oh this is what they meant by needing everything a woman can give,' crossed her mind before another squeeze of her bum drove most thoughts from her mind other than, 'more please.'
When they took a break Hermione found the other door the room had created opened into a bedroom complete with a large comfortable looking bed. The two of them shifted their activities in there and found it far easier to remove the rest of their clothes once they were horizontal. This was followed by several occasions where either Harry or Hermione prayed the room had silencing charms on it as their partner was rather loud. They didn't fallen asleep until the waking hours of Friday morning. Hermione first realized the time when Dobby showed up with breakfast. She decided it would be useless to try and attend Friday's classes without any sleep and convinced Harry to join her in sleeping in and skipping a day of classes of course other fun things intervened during the day and they ended up spending the entire weekend in the room of requirement. Dobby brought their meals and assured Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor house, that Harry and Hermione were well and Harry was feeling better every time they asked the diminutive elf.
Monday morning after a private breakfast served by Dobby Hermione and a smiling Harry emerged from the room of requirements dressed and ready for a day of classes. When transfiguration, their first class, ended Professor McGonagall said, "Mr. Potter, Miss Granger you will stay after class." They didn't bother replying it had been obvious when they missed Friday's classes that their head of house was not going to be happy with them. What was surprising was she waited this long to say something. "Mr. Potter you seem to be in a much better mood than the last time I saw you."
"Care to share with me what happened?"
"Hermione helped me think things through. I've a better outlook now. May we go to our next class?" Harry said smiling at his head of house.
"Of course Mr. Potter." McGonagall said watching the two stand as they turned she added, "Miss Granger?"
Hermione turned and Harry stopped at the door to wait for her.
With a wave of her wand McGonagall cast a silence spell identical to the one the chasers used four days ago before saying, "Given your ability to help Mr. Potter perhaps you should consider a career as a healer Miss Granger."
The Gryffindor in Hermione came out as she replied, "Professor all I did was shag him senseless for three days. He's a teenage boy of course he feels better now," before she turned walked up to Harry and took his arm as they went to their next class.
Hermione smiled at the memory of her Head of House's expression dropped jaw when she'd explained herself. Of course when they showed up in the great hall hand in hand both of the younger Weasleys went off but her fears of Harry reverting because of Ron's reaction were unfounded as Harry told the git to sod off and leave if their closeness bothered him. The three chasers cornered Hermione that night taking her up to the sixth year girl's dorm room where she was questioned extensively about the time she and Harry were missing. Hermione smiled at most of the questions refusing to answer the ones seeking details but the story of being confronted by McGonagall and her reply had all the girls present laughing for quite a while. Just as they would calm down Hermione's description of what their head of house's face at Hermione's reply would send one of them off into another laughing fit and the rest would follow. As Hermione was walking to her dormitory room she heard a spell being cast behind her. She dropped, spun and fired a stunner back. A thump told her she'd hit something. With her wand out and another stunner on her lips she carefully approached the still form. Seeing the stunned form of Ginny Weasley Hermione made a quick decision and after gathering her things for tomorrow she left the girls tower and entered the boys where she gathered Harry. Together they returned to the room of requirement for the night.
Of course the next morning they were summoned to the headmaster's office where Dumbledore tried to guilt trip both of them into breaking up. It didn't work but they were forbidden to spend any more nights in the room of requirement despite both Harry's and Hermione's claim they were using the room for safety. That night as they went to bed in their dormitories both her and Harry cast alarm wards around their beds. It turned out to be good precautions by the time they went down for breakfast each had left a stunned and bound Weasley laying under their bed.
A pressure in her hand brought Hermione out of her recollections. Harry's hand had moved and squeezed hers. "Harry don't move and don't try to talk. I'm going to push the call button for a nurse. I had to promise I would call them if I noticed any movement before they'd let me sit with you." Hermione said reaching over and pressing the button attached to his bed sheet.
The nurse quickly entered and left with a doctor arriving several minutes later. "Mr. Potter welcome to Greater Whinging hospital I'm Doctor Roberts and you've had a rough few days. I can tell you have some questions so if the young lady will give us some privacy I'll try to answer any questions you have."
Hermione started to rise only to stop as Harry held her hand in a death grip. "Harry that's too tight." She said reaching down to free her hand.
"Stay." Harry croaked out the word his mouth not used to speech having not spoken since his uncle's attack.
"Harry what did I say about talking?" Hermione replied glaring at Harry who glared right back gesturing with his eyes to the chair she was attempting to leave.
After watching them for a moment Dr. Roberts said, "I believe he wants you to stay."
"He does but you wanted to talk to him alone."
Dr. Roberts smiled saying, "In this case I believe the patient's wishes come first. I believe if you stay you can do a better job of reading his reactions than I can."
Hermione nodded sitting back down.
"Mr. Potter all things considered you are actually in remarkable shape. You have very few soft tissue injuries."
Harry glanced downward at his body then at his arms before looking back at the doctor. "I did say soft tissue. Whoever beat you up cracked most of your ribs, broke both arms and cracked your skull. The police will be in here shortly to talk about just who did this. My concern is getting you back on your feet. Depending on how fast you heal and where you go after here you might be able to leave in a week or so. I'd thank this young lady if I were you. Her parents were your saviors. If you'd been left alone another day you might not have made it." The doctor said before turning and leaving the two teens alone.
Hermione waited until the next day when Harry was more alert and after checking they were alone she said, "Harry my folks and I were coming to tell you something when we found you." A deep breath later she added, "I'm pregnant you're going to be a daddy."
Harry had been watching her and using his one working hand tried to pull her close. Once Hermione figured out what he was trying to do she moved closer to hear him mumble, "Marry me?"
"Harry we don't have to get married just because I'm pregnant. You can get well and go back to Hogwarts."
"I love you. I was planning to ask you to wear my promise ring after my birthday." Harry replied his voice a bit stronger.
"Alright Harry I love you too." Hermione said wanting to wait for a proposal when Harry wasn't so drugged up. Catching him looking around at all the things attached to him Hermione added, "You're still at Greater Whinging hospital. Dumbledore showed up your first day here when you were still out. He intended to obliviate a few people and take you to Madam Pomfrey. My parents took him aside and had a long talk explaining just how the muggle medical system worked now. When Dumbledore realized he'd have to obliviate most of the hospital and clean out computer records that only a very few knew where they were kept. He gave up and decided to allow you to be treated muggle style."
"Not that I am aware of. I suspect there is someone that checks in occasionally but other than seeing an odd looking nurse now and then…"
Harry and Hermione both looked at each other saying. "Tonks."
"It's possible I don't see the odd nurse do any actual nursing work, well other than check your chart." Hermione added.
"So tell me about how you found out you were pregnant." Harry said turning and listening as Hermione told her tale debating as she did before finally telling him they'd found Hedwig dead. Harry shed a few more tears at the loss of his familiar but the events of the last month had hardened him.
A few days later Dan Granger helped Harry into the living room of his family's home. "Mr. and Mrs. Granger I didn't mean to intrude and make you and your wife take care of me when I asked about leaving the hospital."
"Nonsense Harry, it was time for you to leave that hospital besides this way Hermione gets practice in taking care of someone." Emma said speaking up.
An embarrassed Harry Potter looked at his soon to be mother in law and opened his mouth only to stop when Hermione said, "Shut it Harry she's right. Besides she always said it takes two and I was a willing participant."
"Quite willing from what you've told us." Emma added in a sotto voice.
"Well yes." Hermione replied.
Their conversation was interrupted by Dumbledore's arrival with Madam Pomfrey. "I'm here with the School's healer to take Harry back to Hogwarts for treatment." Dumbledore said formally.
"I'm sorry you bothered but Harry will be unable to receive wizarding treatment. As I told you previously Harry's condition is too well documented in our medical system for him to be able to receive any miraculous healing without difficult questions being asked. He will have to stay with us for the remainder of the summer." Dan Granger said.
"But surely the boy deserves to be healed properly." Madam Pomfrey said.
"And he will but only by means known to our world. You and your… friends did a bang up job of protecting him." Emma said with a glance at Dumbledore when she mentioned friends that left no doubt in anyone's mind that was not the word she was thinking at the time. "Now I suggest you leave. My husband and I have been given emergency custody of Harry pending a court hearing and I believe your continued presence is not conducive to his recovery." She added finishing up standing at the front door, which she opened in case they didn't understand her hint.
Madam Pomfrey looked at Harry who nodded his agreement with Mrs. Granger causing the healer to mutter, "So be it, just don't come running to me when you arrive at Hogwarts asking me to fix something I could have taken care of here." as she followed Dumbledore out of Harry's hospital room.
"The doctor was pleased with the speed of your recovery and if it keeps up you might be in shape to have those casts removed around your birthday." Dan said.
"I'll be sixteen then…" Harry said trailing off as he thought about the wizarding age of adulthood being 17 and the English age being 18.
"Yes and eligible to marry in Scotland, France and a few other places." Dan added.
"Hermione do you want to? I know it's a bit quick but I'd love to if you're willing." Harry asked.
"Of course I'll get started and find out just what we need to do. Does Scotland work for you I'm sure if necessary we can claim residence as Hogwarts is in Scotland." Hermione replied smiling at the thought of her wedding.
Harry thought for a moment before asking, "I can get around now is it possible for me to visit Gringotts?"
"Why do you need to go there?" Hermione asked.
"I've asked the love of my life to marry me and I need to get her an engagement ring at the least. I also want to check out how much money we have to live on."
"Alright we'll go tomorrow but you'd better be ready for the stares you're going to get if anyone sees a ring on my finger," Hermione said.
The following afternoon the Grangers returned home after picking up the teens an obviously despondent Harry sitting in the back sea with Hermione holding him.
"That bad?" Emma asked from the front passenger's seat.
Looking and getting a nod of permission from Harry Hermione said, "Yes, Harry found out he had some family vaults and it turns out the people who were trusted with the keys to those vaults emptied them. The only things let in the family vaults were items they couldn't touch like the head of family rings Harry and I are wearing or stuff with no value. There was also evidence that a number of things had been destroyed rather than let Harry have them. Additional His godfather's, Sirius Black's will which left everything to Harry was declared invalid and all of the Black family's vaults, properties and any other holdings were confiscated by the ministry."
Emma turned to face Harry saying, "That must be devastating. Didn't the bank check who was accessing his family vaults?"
"No, as long as you have the key the goblins will let you in any vault without questions. All Harry had left for money was in his trust and there wasn't much there beyond what was needed to pay for two more years at Hogwarts. We suspect that would have been emptied too if they didn't want to raise questions."
Emma desperately wanted to ask how much was left but held herself in check. Harry's comment of "I emptied my trust vault, changed all the galleons in to pounds and with Hermione's help put it in her savings account. I also emptied what was left in my family vaults putting what little there was left into this bag. With Hermione living in the muggle world there is nothing left for me in the magical world," had both adult Grangers looking at each other wide eyed each wondering just what Harry was actually saying.
It was Emma who ventured, "Harry, what does Hermione's ring signify? You said the rings you found were for the head of house."
"In the non-magical world Hermione and I decided to call it an engagement ring. It actually has a number of protections built into it. Her wearing it prevents her from being found by magical means including owls, mine protects me the same way. In the magical world… well let's not bother with all that ring means. I just wish I could stop being Harry Bloody Potter for the rest of my life."
Seeing her parents exchanging looks Hermione added, "Harry and I talked all this over during out time at the banks. We're leaving the magical world behind. I think both of us passed enough owls to keep our wands but we're both tired of fighting the bigotry, the fickle nature of the press, just everything the Magical world has to offer. I mean one minute Harry is an attention seeking unstable individual that deserves to be locked up in a mental ward the next he's their golden boy. As for me I believe my name will always start with Muggle born or Mudblood depending on how crude the person speaking about me is. In the future it will only get worse. I mean with all the muggle born and half blood students to have gone through Hogwarts the one the ministry has to deal with the misuse of muggle artifacts, which is what they call it when one of them enchants a normal device to hurt a muggle, is a pure blood wizard who is fixated on rubber ducks of all things! He can barely pass as an oddball eccentric and has to memory charm most people he deals with. Where are all the individuals who were raised in the muggle world they could do his job far better and that's just one job that is perfectly suited for someone like Harry or I. To tell the truth what they did to Harry was the last straw for both of us, as far as I'm concerned they can all sod off."
"So Harry what are you going to do now?" Dan Granger asked.
"I don't have a clue. I know I need to learn a trade after all I have a family to support." Harry said with a smile at Hermione.
"May I suggest you consider entering the Queen's service, it worked out well for me."
"Daddy," Hermione said slightly upset at her father for bringing up this topic feeling he was trying to push Harry into something.
"No Hermione, Harry is beginning to face facts. He needs to realize that with no record of schooling after Junior School and no GSCEs, SECs, or A levels there are darn few jobs out there he is qualified for that have with any chance of advancement. I know when I was just a bit older than he is now I was in similar shoes. When I became a teen I goofed off ditching school any change I got. It wasn't until a few years later when I was facing a magistrate who gave me to option of joining the military or taking whatever he'd decided on as punishment for one of my little pranks that I realized I had to change. I joined and took every opportunity for schooling that came up I ended up in a unique situation and with a lot of help from the doctors I worked with I made it into dental school where I met your mother. All I'm saying is this is one option for Harry to consider." Dan said firmly.
"But…" Hermione started only to stop as Harry rested a hand on her arm.
"Hermione, it's an option. Your father is right and made some very good points. I admit I need a job that has potential. I don't want to do grunt work all my life and as he pointed out with my schooling there may not be many options." Harry said trying to calm his intended.
A week later Harry was looking through handouts from the various service branches. "You're going to join?" Hermione asked walking into his room. Despite their engagement the Granger's insisted on separate bedrooms until they were married. Hermione's comment of "I'm already pregnant. What are you worried about?" fell on deaf ears.
"Your father did have a good point I've been out checking what jobs I can get. The Dursley's did train me to be a gardener, cook, and housekeeper. All I got for answers was come back when the casts are off and we might need help for a few weeks. The more I checked the better the service looked."
Hermione had spent part of the time Harry was out looking for a job having long talks with her mother about her, Harry and the responsibilities of a wife. Her mother did a good job of pulling off the rose colored glasses and making her daughter face reality. If her and Harry were going to live as muggles he need a job with potential. Hermione realized she could take alternative classes while staying at home but she knew Harry and he wasn't the type to let someone else support him while he went to class. Harry would pay his way if at all possible. Realizing it was time for her to be a supportive spouse Hermione asked, "Any particular branch catch your fancy?"
"I was thinking about becoming an airman. There's less chance of getting shot at and unlike the Navy I'll stand a better chance of being stationed in England and not sailing the world. Plus I'll be close to people who fly even though I won't be able to."
"Will they take you?"
"I talked with a guy from the Royal Air Force when I picked this up. He said once I have my casts off to come back. He thinks there's a quota I might fit. The only problem is I need my guardian's permission to join and I don't know if you parents qualify."
"We can talk it over with them. We also need to talk over our wedding with them." Hermione said looking at Harry.
"You're right, I'll make dinner tonight and then we will get their input on all this." Harry said putting the pamphlet down and heading out the door.
"Hey, what about me?" Hermione said pouting slightly.
Harry smiled as he turned back and kissed her. "You are the best. I know this isn't what you planned when we left Hogwarts a few weeks ago but…." Harry said finishing with a shrug of his shoulders.
After an evening long discussion where Harry and Hermione laid out their plans going forward from here the adult Grangers agreed and the next day contacted their barrister to arrange a hearing with child services.
Surprisingly that hearing occurred within a few days. Harry, the Grangers, their barrister, and the Royal Air Force Recruiter who Harry was dealing with were in attendance. When the board asked everyone to introduce himself or herself Hermione made a point of stating she was Harry's betrothed. It rapidly came out she was pregnant and that was one of the main factors for Harry joining the air force. Seeing him trying to be responsible the child services board quickly granted approval for Harry to join the Royal Air Force pending passing all required tests. Then the head of the board said, "We also have a request for Harry to change his name."
"Yes, Mr. Potter felt it would help him put his old life behind him and increase the difficultly of any of his old associates finding him." The Barrister replied.
Nods from the other board members indicated their agreement and the paperwork was signed. As they were leaving a board member asked when the wedding was. Harry's reply of "On my sixteenth birthday someplace in Scotland," had the board granting him permission to marry in England on or after his birthday. Hermione's enthusiastic, "Harry we can get married locally now, thank you!" brought smiles to most of the board members.
The Friday before Harry's sixteenth birthday he was back at Greater Whinging hospital having his casts removed. "Mr. Potter you've healed remarkably quickly but I want you to take it easy for a while until those breaks get a bit stronger before you do any hard labor." Doctor Roberts said looking at Harry.
"Just a wedding next Saturday then I'm joining the Royal Air Force." Harry said with a smile.
Monday Harry met up with the recruiter at a local health club and did his 2.4 km run, press ups, and sit ups needed to qualify for admittance to the training program.
Wednesday was Harry's birthday and he received some unusual presents from the Granger's, stencils of his name, blank nametags, tins of shoe polish. From Hermione he received stationary, pens and pencils, and a can of Brasso. "I'm sensing a theme here." Harry said looking up from opening the latest present containing a small picture album.
"I told you he would catch on." Hermione said smiling.
"We got the list of things you need to take with you from your Recruiter. Just thought you'd like to get the small stuff out of the way before we go shopping for your clothes." Emma said a smile on her face.
At the Burrow Ron Weasley was looking at his owl in disgust as he called out, "Mum, Pig won't take Harry's birthday present to him."
"Ron I told you last night when you made that comment the first time I have no idea what's going on Dumbledore may have tightened up the wards around Harry. Otherwise have Hagrid look at your owl when you get back to Hogwarts He's always been great with any type of animal." Mrs. Weasley said doing her best to calm down her explosively tempered youngest son.
"But Mum I always send Harry something on his birthday."
"Ron relax you can give it to Harry when you get together on the express I'm sure he won't mind."
"But Mum…." Ron started to protest only to stop when his mother turned and glared at him. "Yes mum." Ron added sulking back upstairs muttering, "Useless bloody owl. Can't even take a package to my best friend."
"Your best friend? Is this the same best friend you yelled at when he came to check on us in the hospital wing once we were back at Hogwarts? The same best friend you said you never wanted to see again?" Ron's younger sister Ginny asked.
"Harry's my mate. He knows I go off and say things I really don't mean he'll forgive me besides weren't you also yelling at him?"
"Yes I was but I'm not the one sending him a birthday present like nothing happened."
"Like I said Harry's my mate. This is just like the Triwizard thing. He accepted my apology then I'm sure he'll do the same now." Ron replied confident that Harry would welcome him back after all who else would he chum around with Neville the squib?
"Do what you want. I'm going to continue on and if he wants to apologize then I might consider taking him back."
"What about the rumors about him and Hermione?"
"They're just rumors. I'm sure Hermione would never say anything like that to a Professor. Come on this is Hermione who would say crap even if she had a mouth full of it."
"She and Harry were really close at the end of last year." Ron observed.
Ginny shrugged saying, "Harry doesn't go for the clingy type look at what he did with Cho when she started hanging all over him."
Ron wasn't sure but decided it didn't matter just yet there were other pressing issues to deal with. "So what do I do with Harry's birthday present?" Ron asked getting back to his problem.
"Why don't you owl Hermione and see if she can send it muggle style?" his sister Ginny suggested.
"Hey that's a great idea. I haven't owled her yet this summer and this would avoid all that homework stuff she'd write."
"You haven't owled her this summer and you plan on getting her as a girlfriend?"
"Yea, If I'd owled she'd just gone on about how we need to do our summer homework…. Like we have any." Ron said shrugging his shoulders.
Ginny just shook her head. Her brother was so dim when it came to girls it was a wonder he was still breathing. If a male friend of hers went off on her like her brother did on Hermione she would have… well she wasn't sure just what she'd have done but it would have been painful and public to insure no other boy did that to her.
It was over half an hour later when the entire Burrow heard Ron yell, "Stupid bloody owl won't take a letter to Hermione now!"
"Ron!" his mother's voice called out warning him on his language.
Saturday August 3ed Harry, Hermione, her parents and Hermione's paternal grandparents gathered in the local magistrate's office for their wedding. Hermione wearing a white empire style wedding dress to hide her slight pregnancy bump with Emma standing as her witness while Dan stood with Harry both looking great in their black suit and ties. The wedding was short on ceremony and long on meaning for the two teens involved. Harry and Hermione chose this moment to change their names for all concerned Harry James Potter and Hermione Jane Granger walked into the magistrate's office. James David Robertson and his wife Jane Marie Robertson left the office. After a small reception complete with wedding cake that was held at a local restaurant's event room James and Jane left to spend a few days at a nearby hotel that the Granger's had booked for them.
"Now that the two newlyweds have left Emma care to let us in on just why you're allowing them to get married so young?"
"What do you think is the reason?" Emma asked her mother in law.
"I suspect we're going to become great grandparents."
"Middle of February if things proceed normally."
"What about her schooling?"
"Both her and James are dropping out of that school in Scotland. In fact that's the reason they've changed their names. It will make it that much harder for anyone from that school to find them. Your granddaughter will be taking courses locally and James is mustering into the Royal Air Force in two weeks." Emma stated in a calm matter of fact voice.
"So he's following in your footsteps Dan." Dan's father said.
"Hopefully, I told him he needed an education and the service worked for me."
"Yes well let's hope they beat the odds." Dan's father said taking another sip of the single malt scotch Dan had served after the teens had left.
At the same time in Hogwarts castle home of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry the deputy headmistress was looking at two letters containing owl test results that the ministry had forwarded to her with the note that ministry owls were unable to find the individuals. Her thoughts were interrupted when the headmaster Albus Dumbledore entered the room asking, "What's causing that expression Minerva?"
"The ministry owls couldn't find Mr. Potter and Miss Granger to deliver their owl results."
"The last I saw them was at the Granger's. They had emergency custody after he was removed from his family by their child services." Albus said calmly.
Minerva McGonagall having heard most of the tale of Harry's summer from her friend the school healer Poppy Pomfrey just smiled at his decidedly understated comment. "So why wouldn't the owls find them?"
"I'm not sure it could be a variety of reasons. Why don't you gather everything you wish to send them and tomorrow I'll see if Fawkes is willing to take it to them." Dumbledore offered his mind more occupied by the ministry reposting former high inquisitor Deloris Umbridge back to Hogwarts to teach Defense against the Dark Arts based on her remarkable success in teaching it the previous year than on the problem of owls being unable to locate Mr. Potter or Miss Granger.
Sunday August 4th Jane Robertson awoke late to find Fawkes sitting on the back of a chair waiting to be noticed. "Jim we have a visitor." She said nudging the body sleeping next to her.
"Tell them to go away."
"Who?" Jim mumbled still over half asleep.
"The headmaster's Phoenix." Jane explained to her husband who promptly sat up when she said headmaster.
"Oh heck, wonder want he wants." Jim said knowing he was going to have to get up now and not start the day enjoying life with a naked Jane. Sighing in defeat he pulled on a pair of shorts he found beside the bed before paddling over and retrieving the letters from Fawkes. "Looks like our owl scores and book lists for next year. Your envelope feels a bit heavy probably made prefect again." Jim said sitting back on the bed and passing Jane her letters.
"I take it you didn't?"
"Nah, not a thing other than paper in here." Jim replied hefting his envelopes.
"Wonder who McGonagall will replace me with." Jane asked looking at the badge that had fallen out of her Hogwarts letter while she looked at the one from the Ministry knowing that at one time she would have been seriously concerned with the results of her owl exams but with the changes her life had gone through they were just an interesting memento of a prior time.
"Well aren't you going to see how you did?" Jim asked glancing at her as she looked at the letter.
"Might as well." Jane said before opening the letter and glancing down at her results. "All "O's" she announced.
"I knew you could do it." Jim said leaning over giving her a kiss.
"What about you?"
"O's in Defense, Charms, Transfiguration and surprisingly Potions. Hey I pulled a "T" in History of Magic." Jim said looking over the sheet.
"How on earth did you manage a "T"? Normally if you can answer at least a question or two you'll get a "D" at the worst."
"I had the vision attack before I finished putting my name on the answer sheet. I didn't answer a single question." Jim said smiling at the grading results.
"You're pleased you got a "T" aren't you?"
"Hey I bet there were more "O's" given out than there were "T's". Might as well enjoy it I can't do anything about it now. Thanks for delivering these Fawkes. Jane and I have to figure out what to do next." Jim said watching the Phoenix disappear in flames just after he lifted off the chair back.
Once the headmaster's Phoenix was gone Jane asked, "So when do we tell them we won't be returning to Hogwarts?"
"The closer to the start of school the less hassle we will have to put up with. I'd like to wait until I was actually in the Royal Air Force before we told them."
"Well you'll be there in two weeks from Monday."
"You still going with me right?" Jim asked looking over at Jane.
"Yes Mum's going to take us over there. The paperwork said I was invited but I figured we'd check at the gate and see if she could join me for support. After all I'm a young, pregnant newlywed."
"Yes you are. Now do you want to get some breakfast or…" Jim asked wiggling his eyebrows at Jane.
"I think I'll have some of that or stuff then we can go gouge ourselves." Jane said lowering the sheet she had covering her nude form.
Tuesday Emma picked up Jim and Jane from the hotel as she returned home from the dental practice. "So was it relaxing?" she asked as they settled into the car.
"Oh yes we had a great time thanks for everything Mum." Jane said smiling.
"What about you Jim?" Emma asked.
Jim caught himself before he spoke then after a deep breath said, "Mum it was great. Jane and I enjoyed every minute. We even received our Owl results."
Emma was worried when Jim hesitated but him calling her mum did wonders for her feelings towards the boy. "So how did you both do?" she asked.
"All "O's" for me." Jane said.
"That is great what about you Jim?"
"I received "O's" in the courses I tried in but I actually pulled a "T" in history of magic." Jim said announcing the T with pride in his voice.
"Is a "T" good?" Emma asked trying to remember just what the grading system was she knew Jane had explained it to them at one time.
"Actually it's the lowest possible score. It stands for troll." Jane said her annoyance with Jim obvious in her tone.
"It sounded like Jim is proud of it."
"Oh, he is. Must be a boy thing," Jane replied giving Jim a glare.
"Hey not all of us are as smart as you." Jim teased reaching over and tickling Jane.
When she jumped and squealed Emma called out, "Not in the car. Save it for your room," smiling at herself as she remembered Dan tickling her under similar circumstances.
Jane had been meticulous in keeping records of her Hogwarts schooling she even had her copy of the acceptance letter with the muggle postal address for the muggle born first years to reply to Hogwarts. She and Jim made use of that address writing their withdrawal letter and posting it on Wednesday August 21st when Emma and Jane took Jim to RAF recruit training squadron at Halton just north west of London. Arriving a little before ten a.m.
Jim grabbed the new bag containing all his clothes that Dan insisted he learn to call his kit heading off following the signs directing the new arriving recruits to the processing area.
Jane followed the signs for family quickly getting approval for her mother to join her. She enjoyed both the tour and the briefing from the Squadron Commander covering what her Jim would be doing but her personal high point, and the one she made sure her mother took a picture of, was a nearly bald James swearing to protect Queen and Country.
Harry finished processing and settled in for his first night in the service while Jane and her mother rode home. "Mum I'm going to want a copy of that picture and one of our wedding to send out in a few days."
"I'm sure the Headmaster of Hogwarts isn't going to let Harry out of his clutches easily. I want proof that Harry and I are married and he is in the service to mail to that old fart."
Up at Hogwarts school the deputy headmistress watched a Gringotts owl bringing her the updated student listing from Gringotts bank. An earlier headmaster had simplified the payment of school tuition. Gringotts would collect the funds placing them in the schools account for a surprisingly small fee. They then forwarded the number of expected students to the school. This had worked well for years given the sliding tuition scale that fluctuated with family income, number, and sex of family members attending, they would pay more to educate boys than girls. In a number of pureblooded families the only reason girls were sent to Hogwarts was to find a husband. This year however the numbers were off and she'd had to send her list of expected students to Gringotts so they could match against who had paid to attend. After taking the list from the owl she quickly scanned through it to see who had been crossed off. 'no that can't be right. She's the top Gryffindor in her year and we can't lose him.' Minerva McGonagall thought as she looked through the list a second time hoping she'd been deceived.
She was getting up just as a second owl arrived with mail from the muggle postal drop the school kept. The letter on top caught her eye. Recognizing the handwriting from reading her overly long essays Minerva quickly opened the letter while she stood letting the prefect's badge inside drop on her desk.
Deputy Headmistress McGonagall,
We wish to inform you that we will not be attending Hogwarts School this year.
Hermione has decided to switch education goals and will be pursuing a muggle degree.
Harry has chosen to join the Royal Military and has begun his training.
Thanks for your help over the years.
Harry James Potter
Hermione Jane Potter (ne Granger)
The shock of the letter had Minerva dropping back into her desk chair while reaching for the bottle of single malt she kept stashed in the lower right hand drawer. Quickly conjuring a glass she drank the first several ounces neat before conjuring a single ice cube and letting it chill the next few ounces as she slowly sipped them letting her mind wander. She was glad Albus was away at the ministry playing his little games. She needed to work through the affects of this shock before facing him. Albus would not take the loss of Mr. Potter well but perhaps he might let something slip that would finally provide a clue as to the real reason he was so concerned about the boy beyond what he'd said at the various order of the phoenix meetings.
Minerva waited until the Professor's final preparation meeting the next day before informing anyone of the changes. When Albus sat at the head of the staff room table the meeting began with Albus running through the standard agenda with well-practiced ease. Fully expecting the tired response of "No headmaster" he'd heard for years Albus thought, 'still form must be followed' as he looked to his deputy headmistress asking, "Any changes in the returning student prefects?"
"Yes, Miss Granger sent a letter saying she has chosen not to return to Hogwarts. I've subsequently offered the sixth year Gryffindor prefect position to Miss Patil." Minerva replied.
"Well that cuts my essay review time in half." Severus Snape the potions professor said sarcasm dripping from his every word.
Deloris Umbridge returning Defense against the Dark Arts professor bit back the comment on the tip of her tongue remembering the admonition of Minister of Magic Fudge when he informed her she'd be returning to the post she'd held last year. "Deloris you have to return the students grades in Defense were the highest in the last few years and I need a source of information about what's going on at the school. Unlike last year I need you to keep a low profile. I'm sure Dumbledore will be trying to get rid of you so please do your best to avoid that."
'Harry will be at a loss. This will be an excellent opening for Miss Weasley to make a play for young Potter.' Dumbledore thought.
At the same time Charms Professor Flitwick said, "Mr. Potter's and Mr. Weasley's work will have to be carefully watched I worry about their grades without Miss Granger to keep them motivated."
"Quite right Filius. Minerva I trust you can arrange for that?" Dumbledore directed looking at the boy's head of house.
"I of course will watch Mr. Weasley's progress as I have for the previous five years."
"Not Mr. Potter's?" Filius asked surprised at his counterparts dismissal of one of her lions.
"Mr. Potter has also chosen not to return. According to the letter I received he has joined the Muggle Military." Minerva said watching Dumbledore out of the corner of her eye.
She didn't have to wait long as Dumbledore instantly exploded yelling, "What, Why wasn't I told about this immediately?"
"You were at the ministry and international confederation until this morning. Just when was I suppose to inform you?"
"Why did you wait until this meeting you should have contacted me after receiving Mr. Potter's owl."
"First Mr. Potter didn't send an owl he sent a letter to our muggle mail drop. Secondly you have never been overly concerned when a few fifth year students failed to return in the past. I did not believe this to be that different." Minerva countered.
"Minerva you know that anything involving Mr. Potter is to be brought to my immediate attention."
"Then why is it you avoided him like he was carrying dragon pox last year?"
"That has no relevance in this discussion. Was there any indication precisely where Mr. Potter is?" Dumbledore asked obviously still annoyed.
"No, just he'd joined the Royal Military."
"I'll have someone locate him and bring him here before the start of school." Dumbledore said with finality before starting to bring up the next topic only to stop and glare at his Defense against the Dark Arts professor as she moved to speak.
"Headmaster I would have thought you would be pleased that such a spiteful child is not returning. Why last year when I was high inquisitor I gave the boy a lifetime Quidditch ban for his malicious and unwarranted attack against a pure blooded student. And I can't remember just how many detentions I awarded him last year for his insolence and cheek. I believe this school is far better off with both of them gone." Deloris said in her simpering high pitched voice.
"I agree headmaster. My only regret is with Miss Granger gone I will have no Gryffindor's in my sixth year potions class this term." Professor Snape added his regret obviously false.
"Yes headmaster what about Miss Granger? Why the concern about Mr. Potter and not Miss Granger?" Minerva asked upset that her favorite student was not worthy of discussion.
"Miss Granger can do as she pleases. It is young Potter I am concerned about. His importance to our world can not be over stated." Dumbledore replied.
"If what I remember from discussions with prior Muggle born students is correct I believe Mr. Potter will be well ingrained in the Muggle records it might be quite difficult to arrange for him to just disappear from a military base." Filius Flitwick said trying to support Minerva.
"Nonsense, while I was working against Grindelwald I had occasion to observe a number of muggle soldiers being made to 'disappear'. It should be no problem for a trained Auror to take care off." Dumbledore countered.
The rest of the staff was enjoying the show provided. Some in more amusement than others Deloris Umbridge for example was sitting quietly after her short outburst watching the debate knowing Minister Fudge would find all this very interesting.
Seeing Dumbledore was intractable Minerva McGonagall sighed there was no reasoning with Albus. He'd been so powerful for so long. He hadn't been corrupted by the power as much as he'd lost the ability to see things from another's point of view. He also thought change in the muggle world proceeded at the same pace as it did in the magical world. She thought about mentioning Miss Granger was now Mrs. Potter but she couldn't see any good coming out of brining it up other than to cause Albus to shout and scheme even more. Deciding that wouldn't be in the best interest of the young couple Minerva kept that knowledge to herself well other than sharing it with Filius when he was visiting some night and needed something to pick up his spirits.
"And after three jobs in five months I figured I had to do something different so here I am." The recruit to Jim's right said finishing his statement.
Jim reminded himself to thank Dan for the warning and preparation he'd put Jim through getting him ready for this moment. He'd been at RAF Halton Recruit Training Squadron less than a week and was in a team building session with his flight group. After a deep breath that bore a strong resemblance to a sigh Jim started saying, "I'm James Robertson but I prefer just Jim. I'm probably the youngest one here but I'm here for a lot of the same reasons. I spent my schooling from eleven on up at a new age school. It had good programs in animal husbandry and gardening all the rest stunk." Jim stopped as the other recruits chuckled continuing once they'd quieted down Jim said, "So when I left school last June I found out I had no real job skills. As a result here I am." Looking around he could see a few eyebrows raised so he added, "I know a number of you have been talking about my scars." Pointing to his forehead he said, "This one is from when a drunk driver killed my parents. I tend to not deal well with people who drink and drive. Most of my other scars came from my uncle and cousin when I was growing up." Jim finished sitting back and hoping the recruit to his right would start talking.
Instead one of the other recruits spoke up asking, "What's with the fancy ring you're wearing?"
"The rules are you share what you want. This isn't an inquisition." The Junior Non-commissioned officer in charge of this initial team building meeting interjected.
"No it might as well come out in this setting so everyone hears the same thing. My ring is an old family ring that I wear in honor of my parents. I also wear it as a wedding ring. I married my best friend back in July and just incase anyone's concerned she's a girl." Jim finished amidst gasps from several of the women in this class.
"Alright next." The Non-com said firmly ending any further questioning of Jim.
Later that evening the recruit that asked about his ring approached him as Jim sat polishing his newly issued boots to a high shine saying, "I didn't mean to pry. I just thought it was a cool ring and had a story associated with it."
"Don't worry about it I'm sure it would have come out sooner or later."
"So one of the women you gave the hug too after you were sworn in is you wife?" a female recruit asked from the doorway.
"Yea, the younger one obviously. She and her mother drove me down and stayed for the what did they call it?"
"Attestation," the first recruit volunteered.
"They live nearby I take it."
"About two hours away. I plan to go home for the weekends when they let us." Jim replied smiling at the thought of spending time with Jane.
August 26th Jane was sitting in the living room of her parent home looking at pictures of her wedding and of Jim joining the Royal Air two days ago. She still had three weeks to go before seeing him again, assuming Jim's group managed to get their first scheduled weekend off. Checking her watch she noted it was just about time for her mother to pick her up she had her second appointment with Dr. Bashir this morning to check the progress of her pregnancy.
She looked up startled as the front door unlocked and open. A man she recognized as Alastor 'Madeye' Moody entered. He'd gained the nickname when he'd replace the eye a death eater had removed with a magical eye that spun through all 360 degrees of a sphere and possessed the ability to see through a variety of objects.
"Where is he missy?" Alastor asked his magical eye spinning to apparently check out the remainder of the house.
Jane slipped the pictures she'd been looking at out of sight before her hand instinctively clutched her abdomen as various answers popped up in her mind. The only one that made it to her lips was "Who?"
"The boy who put that ring on your finger. Don't think I don't know what it means girly. Any wizard or witch with the proper upbringing knows exactly what that ring means. Now where is he?" Alastor asked glaring at Jane his magical eye had stopped spinning and she was sure he was viewing every inch of her body through her clothes.
Her father had provided her with several stock answers to questions like this. "He's at his base." She replied doing her best to avoid direct eye contact. Jim had told her the ring would protect her from a mind probe but she figured caution was always good.
"Give him a call then."
"I can't call him he's in training. He has to call me."
Alastor slipped his wand into his hand raising it to the ready position. Seeing the fear in Jane's eyes he said, "I'm not going to hurt you I'm just going to do a bit of Legilimency to verify what you've said and find out how to contact him. Dumbledore's express orders you know."
"No I don't please leave."
"Sorry girly can't do that. Now this shouldn't hurt you too much."
Dan Granger could not pinpoint what made him slip on his old vest this morning. He'd had a feeling and given his past history with those feelings he followed them. At this moment he was glad he had. This stranger was threatening his daughter in his home and had failed to leave when she asked. The motions he practiced every month or two in his basement out of sight of his wife and daughter were still fluid as he slipped the two throwing knives into his hand despite the close to two decades between live use. The smooth motions continued of their own accord and an instant later the wand pointed at his daughter was in two pieces and the hand that held the remaining half had a knife imbedded in it.
Alastor Moody's brain had time enough to register the pain in his hand before it recognized the knife at his throat. "Do anything to make me twitch and I'll slice you from ear to ear." A cold hard voice said from behind him.
Alastor had been in life threatening situations before but he'd never felt this close to death. Before there'd always been a bit of distance between him and his opponent, distance that meant time to trigger his spare wand or some other trick he'd arranged. Slowly his magical eye left Jane to take in the man behind him.
Jane sat astonished she had been expecting her mother to pick her up but the sudden reversal from Moody threatening her with his wand to that wand being in pieces with her dad holding a knife at Moody's throat had her in shock. Seeing Moody's eye leave her she broke out of her stupor to say, "He's looking you over dad."
"Not a problem." Dan said smoothly as Alastor hadn't even twitched.
Alastor recognized the look in Dan's eyes and realized his wasn't the first throat to feel this knife and his wouldn't be the first one it had slit. The well trained Auror recognized a fellow warrior and after a few moments decided not to push his luck. "You've got the drop on me. Where do we go from here?" Alastor said quietly.
"Princess, any suggestions as to how we resolve this without me killing him? Body disposal is always such a pain and your mother complains about all the blood." Dan said in a conversational tone.
"Other than him giving a magical oath to leave Harry and I alone I don't know of one. With his wand broken he can't make a binding oath."
"Oh, I'll bet he has at least one more wand on him. Give me a moment and I'm sure I can find one."
"No need of that. I have two other wands on me." Alastor volunteered.
"That means he has at least three. Come up with a fool proof oath Princess and we'll see just how trustworthy he is." Dan said not relaxing one bit.
"Yes daddy, give me a minute or two to work out the wording."
It took five minutes before they had an oath acceptable to Alastor Moody, Dan Granger, and Jane Robertson. "I still can't believe you don't want me to use my name," Alastor said as he gave the oath one last look over.
"No if you said, "I Alastor Joseph Moody" and your name was really Joseph Alastor Moody it would potentially render the oath invalid. In this usage I believe your use of the I is unambiguous enough to insure magical compliance."
Alastor nodded his understanding as he followed her logic. With Dan Granger standing behind Alastor his fingers resting on the small of Moody's lower back. Dan watched carefully as he drew a backup wand and raise it pointing at the ceiling saying, "I promise on my magic to never again attempt to locate or contact by any means Hermione Potter (ne Granger), her husband Harry Potter, or any other members of Daniel Granger's family. I also promise to never reveal anything I've learned in the last hour or will learn today involving Granger or Potter family so Mote it be," A flash of light enveloped him as he finished the oath.
"I suggest you leave now," Dan said coldly his fingers still resting against the small of Moody's back.
"Right you are. May we never cross paths again missy," Moody said glaring at Jane.
"That's easy enough to ensure. Stay in the magical world. And by the way allowing yourself to be read by anyone you know to be a master of Legilimency will be interpreted by magic as knowingly revealing that information. I also officially inform you that both Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape qualify as Masters of Legilimency. So you might want to caution both of them before they accidentally turn you in to a squib." Jane replied smiling sweetly as she watched the Master Auror leave.
The next morning Alastor Moody entered the Hogwarts Headmaster's office to find Dumbledore in a discussion with his potions professor. "I can return another time Albus," Moody stated turning to leave.
"No need Alastor I know how hard it is for you to get here," Dumbledore replied a serene smile gracing his face.
Alastor bristled at having his impairment pointed out more so as it was in front of Albus' pet death eater.
Seeing Alastor looking around Dumbledore spoke up, "We're quite alone and Severus is aware of the problem you were asked to deal with."
"Albus I'll get right to the point. There is nothing I can say about what I found."
"Can't or won't?" the potions master sneered.
"Can't," Alastor said returning the sneer. At Dumbledore's raised eyebrow Alastor shrugged only to snap his wand out a instant later stunning Severus Snape so hard he bounced off a wall before falling to the floor.
"Alastor!" Dumbledore exclaimed.
"Remind your death eater to stay out of my mind. I'll be less pleasant next time," the retired Master Auror stated.
After a Rennervate from Dumbledore Snape got groggily to his feet before noticing Moody still standing facing Dumbledore, biting back an retort Severus slipped his wand into his hand slowly raising it.
"Snape my next spell will be a Reducto. Put your wand away or raise it just a bit more, makes no difference to me." Alastor stated with out acknowledging Snape any further.
"Gentlemen we are on the same side." Dumbledore said with a touch of firmness.
"Headmaster, am I to take being cursed without any response allowed?"
"Severus do you deny attempting Legilimency on Alastor?" Albus asked already knowing the truth.
"I was merely trying to ascertain the type of oath he was obviously under in the hope we could find a counter or loophole." Severus offered by way of explanation.
Albus didn't say anything in response he just smiled his serene smile while his right eye twinkled while waiting for Alastor's comment, which never came. After a minute of silence Albus said, "Thank you Alastor for trying. I can see now this will have to be done a different way."
Alastor nodded leaving the headmaster's office having recognized the implicit dismissal in Albus's words.
After they were alone Albus looked at his potions professor saying, "Severus, I feel the need to caution you. Master Auror Moody was not retired because his wand skills had diminished. If anything he has gotten quicker with age. He's even quicker to draw after the incident with Bartemius Crouch Jr. He knows you were a death eater and will not hesitate with you. Do not try him again I fear he could do something we would both regret."
"Headmaster?" Severus replied a bit surprise he would condone the old Auror attacking him.
"You heard me. Alastor will not hesitate to use any force he feels appropriate if he feels threatened. That includes deadly force."
Severus nodded at the headmaster taking his leave. Making his way back to his potions laboratory in the dungeons Severus thought, 'Then I'd better strike that old man first.'
"I can't find Harry or Hermione anywhere." Ron said as he returned to the cabin on the Hogwarts Express where his sister Ginny was sitting with a few friends.
Ginny shrugged replying, "Harry may already be at Hogwarts. We should see Hermione in a few minutes at the Prefect's meeting. Speaking of which." She added nodding towards the inner window were several prefects from other houses were walking by headed to their meeting in the first car.
Ron headed back out the door forcing his sister to scramble to catch up with him. Entering the prefects meeting room in the first car Ginny asked, "Parvati what are you doing here?" seeing the older Gryffindor from her brother's year standing in the room talking with one of the Ravenclaw Prefects.
Parvati opened her mouth to reply but snapped it shut as a nasally voice called out loud enough to be heard by everyone in the car, "Oh, this is perfect, Dumbledore didn't even bother to tell his Gryffindor lap dogs that Dumbledore's golden boy and his mudblood bint have left Hogwarts."
"What are you on about Malfoy?" Ron sputtered getting red in the face at having his counterpart in Slytherin heckling him.
"My father told me that the minister was approached by Dumbledore himself asking that he contact the Muggle Minister and have Potter and Granger returned to him directly. Naturally the minister refused to get involved. He told my father that Harry leaving the Wizarding world was the best news he'd had all month. He was just disappointed both of them had passed enough owls to keep their wands. Father is going to propose to the Wizengamot that they pass a law to have the wands of Half bloods and mud-bloods broken if they return to the muggle world. Once they do I think I'll ask if they'll let me break Potter's wand." Draco Malfoy drawled in reply.
"I thought daddy was Azkaban bound after we caught him in death eater robes in the Department of Mysteries last spring?" Ginny asked snidely.
"Oh no, Pesky thing that Impervious curse. Once the minister realized someone had cast it again on father the minister released him and offered the family round the clock Auror protection to prevent it from happening again. Father of course declined but the minister wanted to insure his safety and granted him a waver allowing father to hire private guards for the family to prevent a re-occurrence." Draco replied smugly.
"And where are your guards now?"
"Oh Crabbe and Goyle didn't have enough owl's to continue on so Father made arrangements for them to guard me. They are back in my compartment right now but they will come and get me when this meeting ends. Professor Snape said he'd see what he could do to have them attend classes with me. After all it wouldn't due for the scion of House Malfoy to be unguarded in these dangerous times," Draco's smug face was now almost smiling at the two Weasleys.
Ginny lead her highly agitated brother to a seat whispering in his ear that this was neither the time nor the place to have it out with Malfoy. Dumbledore would straighten all this out. She had not been privy to the conversation Hermione had at the end of last term with her dorm mates and was mentally praying that the rumors about what Hermione claimed she'd done with Harry weren't true otherwise Harry was totally lost to her.
They returned to their own compartment after the meeting was over to questioning gazes from Neville and Luna. "Hermione wasn't at the meeting Parvati is the sixth year girls prefect now." Ginny announced.
Neville looked surprised while Luna said, "I thought the billwoggles were gathering around Hermione when we rode home last spring."
A confused Ron just looked at Luna before shaking his head as if to clear it. Moments later Ron announced, "Malfoy was running his mouth saying Harry and Hermione were not coming back to Hogwarts."
"Where did he hear that?" Neville asked.
"Apparently his father got off again. The minister told daddy and daddy told Ferret." Ron replied with his typical shrug.
"I doubt Harry or Hermione's left. You know Malfoy's all talk." Ginny said hoping Harry would be at Hogwarts when they arrived. She really didn't care about Hermione but realized her bother might no make it through this school year without the girl's help.
After the Welcoming feast ended and the students were settling into their Dorm room most conversations included discussions on where Harry Potter and Hermione Granger had disappeared to. The prevalent view was their absence would result in a far different Hogwarts experience this term.
The first hint of just how different this term would be occurred the second night when Harry Potter fan boys Dennis and Colin Creevey were found beaten to the point of unconsciousness by a Ravenclaw Prefect duo making their rounds. They contacted the head boy and girl then returned to their common room.
"Albus I'm sending both of the boys to St. Mungo's." Madam Poppy Pomfrey the Hogwarts healer told the Headmaster when he visited the hospital wing to check on the brothers a few hours later.
"Poppy I don't believe it will be necessary to send them to the main hospital in London. I have complete confidence in your ability to heal up their injuries." Dumbledore replied thinking it would be better to keep this problem in house.
"Albus Dumbledore I'm the healer not you. I have confidence in my abilities but I also am intelligent and honest enough to know when I'm out of my depth. I can heal their physical injuries without any problems. It is their severe obliviations I can't deal with. Those will require the specialized abilities of a mind healer." The Hogwarts healer replied firmly.
"They've been obliviated?" Albus countered his eyes going a bit wide.
"Yes and whoever did it is good."
Albus sighed realizing he had only two options, obliviate his healer as he had whenever she raised concerns about Potter's physical condition or give in to the healer's recommendation. Shifting to his gracious headmaster mode Albus said, "Poppy I did not intend to dispute your medical decision I'll contact St. Mungo's and make the necessary arrangements if you wish."
"No need I've already done so they should be arriving shortly to pick up these two now that I have them stable enough to transport." Poppy Pomfrey said hiding her smile of satisfaction.
The story of what happened to the Creevey brothers was hot news at breakfast the following morning, at least until the Owls arrived delivering the Daily Prophet.
"Harry Potter Missing," screamed the Daily Prophet's headline Sept, 3 1997.
"Well they're only a day later than I expected," Minerva McGonagall said as she scanned the paper that arrived with the morning owl post stopping to occasionally enjoy some of the breakfast the Hogwarts house elves had made, while also scanning the great hall noting most of the other students were reading the same paper as her or having it read to them by fellow classmates.
"This reporter was informed when the Hogwarts Express pulled away from platform 9 and ¾ this year it was without sixth year student Harry Potter. My source said at first the students were not concerned as they expected him to already be at Hogwarts a theory that was proven false when The Boy Who Lived never turned up at the welcoming feast nor breakfast the next morning. Checking with fellow classmates it was quickly determined no one had seen him since they arrived at Platform 9 and ¾ the previous spring.
The Daily Prophet tried but were unable to contact Mr. Potter's magical guardian Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. This lack of response from the Headmaster leads one to believe he has no idea where his charge is.
When we asked the esteemed Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge about Mr. Potter's disappearance he expressed concern the boy had returned to the muggle world where he was raised at the instigation of Albus Dumbledore. The Minister also stated, "The return of muggle born and muggle raised witches and wizards to the muggle world is of great concern to me and my advisors. We feel it poses a significant threat to the security of our world. With their assistance I will be introducing bills to the Wizengamot requiring individuals returning to the muggle world surrender their wands to the ministry who will hold them in custody until the individuals return to our world or one hundred years have passed at which time they will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Hogwarts general fund.
"The Daily Prophet is concerned that a wizard of Mr. Potter's unstable nature retained his wand upon leaving our world and calls upon the Wizengamot to make the bills our beloved Minister brings before them retroactive. Thereby allowing them to confiscate Mr. Potter's wand once he is found. We also believe the proposed bills should include a provision to obliviate any muggle born or raised deemed a threat once they leave our world."
McGonagall finished reading the main article and looked around the hall noticing many students appeared to be in agreement with the Prophet's position.
A muggle born first year from Ravenclaw was assaulted and obliviated a week after the Creeveys without any increase in security by Headmaster Dumbledore. Neither the Creevey brothers nor the Ravenclaw first year could remember anything about the magical world and were quickly moved over to a muggle hospital once it was determined safe to do so. Letters to the Ministry of Magic from parents and concerned students were answered with "It's Dumbledore's problem," if they were answered at all.
Hufflepuff took to traveling in pack of no less than three trying to insure at least one member of each pack was a pureblooded witch or wizard in the hope that individual would be allowed to escape and they could then summon help.
2 weeks after the Creeveys were assaulted a group of first through third year Hufflepuff's were found in the now standard condition of beaten to the point of unconsciousness and obliviated. The two pureblooded members of Hufflepuff were found next to them stunned. When they were revived all they could remember was a spell striking the other one. They'd been stunned at the beginning of the assault.
When the following week passed without incident Albus remarked at the staff meeting that the problem appeared to have resolved itself like he suspected it would. The alert members of Hogwarts staff felt it was more likely it was due to the deference being shown to the pureblooded members of the student body.
"Cadet James Robertson reporting as directed," Jim said saluting as he snapped to attention after entering his Training Flight Commander's office.
Lt. Ian Walberg looked over the Cadet standing before him. While of average height he was quite slim shifting to training officer mode Ian rose from his chair behind the desk and circled Jim as he stood at attention checking Jim's uniform and posture. The ironing and polish were perfect deciding there were no major errors, nor obvious minor ones to be honest Ian said, "Relax recruit. You've been summoned to go over some irregularities in your aptitude test scores."
Feeling a response was expected Jim replied, "Yes sir, I take it there is a problem." Jim couldn't help adding the last bit as his worry rose.
"A minor one Cadet Robinson. You were admitted under an exemption created for individuals who had left the school system after Junior School. Your test results indicate a significantly higher education level than was expected. Have you attended any other schools since leaving Little Whinging Junior?"
Jim was so nervous he blurted out, "I've been attending a small public school in Scotland," before he even thought about the repercussions.
"The name?" Ian asked sitting down behind his desk and turning to face his computer.
Trapped Jim replied, "Hogwarts," not being able to think of a plausible alternative quickly. He then watched as his commanding officer hit keys and moved a mouse around as Jane had been teaching him to do just before he reporting here.
"Ah, here it is. Public school, attendance is by invitation only, non-traditional education. This does explain how you were able to do so well in some area's while your results in other were spotty at best." Ian said smiling while nodding in understanding pleased a puzzle was so quickly solved. Thinking for a moment he checked another couple of screens before shrugging. When he returned his gaze to Cadet Robinson he saw he'd caused a puzzled look on Jim's face. Lt. Walberg then said, "I just checked to see if I could tell you how many other Hogwarts students we had in the Royal Air Force. It came back blank so it looks like you're the only one."
Jim smiled saying, "Sir, thank you for checking," while the thought "If his commanding officer knew what Hogwarts full name was he'd realize why I'm the only one,' passed through his mind.
"Very good Cadet Robinson. You are dismissed," Lt. Walberg replied and with a return of Jim's salute watched him exit while thinking, 'If that young man makes it through some sergeant will have a fine airman to mold.'
The instructors and flight officers were having their weekly meeting to discuss the progress of their cadets. Lt Walberg had just been briefed on the academic progress pleased when the problem students' list did not include Cadet Robinson.
"Next any ideas on who is going to emerge as the cadet leader of this flight?" Ian asked looking around the table.
"Right now we have two older cadets, a Cadet Nolan and Cadet Bixby who are posturing to become the flight leaders. They appear to know how the game is played and are positioning themselves to become flight leader. It should be interesting to watch how the dynamics of this play out," The assistant flight leader noted.
"When are you expecting his to come to a head?" Ian asked wondering just how soon he'd be able to appoint his cadet corporals and sergeants.
"Next week on the distance task," The assistant flight leader said with a frown.
"What's your gut telling you?"
"Their fight to lead will split this flight in half causing them to fail and have to redo the task, possibly a number of times. So don't make any plans for the following weekend. If I had to be I'd bet we'd be right here running them through the task until they get it right."
"Better they fail here than in the real world. At least the last few flights were easy perhaps my wife won't be too mad when I upset her weekend plans. Any other thing of note before we adjourn?" Ian asked his staff. Getting shakes of their heads in return.
At the following weeks progress meeting Lt. Ian Walberg said, "That was an interesting week. I'd like to hear your opinions on just what happened."
"We found our cadet flight sergeant." The flight leader announced.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes sir, both Cadet Nolan and Cadet Bixby came to me separately recommending Robinson for Cadet Sergeant. I'm sure one of them is planning to replace him when he fails but I doubt he will."
"What is the basis for your confidence?" Ian asked he had his own opinion but he wanted to hear everyone else's opinion too.
"The way he took over the flight. The first task they are told a helicopter went down outside the base perimeter in hostile territory. They have to get to the crash site, recover the crew, and return to base. We leave enough junk just laying around they can bring back the crew several different ways. It went down just like I thought it would two weeks ago. Cadet Nolan and his supporters wanted to use one method, Cadet Bixby and his supporters wanted to use a second method. Neither group could go it alone so naturally it degenerated into a shouting contest with each side calling the other names. This dragged on for five minutes or so before Cadet Robinson stood up and in a firm voice that some how cut through the shouting said, "Enough."
I don't know where a sixteen year old boy learned a command voice but that boy has it. He instantly had everyone's attention with his next comment he had them in his hands. "I don't know about the rest of you but I have a wife that I want to see this weekend. I do not want to be out here redoing this task because we failed to accomplish it on time. I admit I'm no expert but I think either Nolan's or Bixby's plan will work." He then bent down and picked up two blades of grass he put his hands behind his back then brought them forward. He looked at both Nolan and Bixby then Bixby nodded towards Nolan. Nolan saw this and said, "Left."
Jim opened both hands. The blade of grass in his right was folded over making it shorter. "Sorry Bixby you got the short straw this time. Nolan you have five minutes to get us moving otherwise we're going with Bixby's plan. I don't want to see either group sabotaging the other. I've got a date with my wife Saturday and I intend to keep it!"
It was remarkable. He didn't belittle anyone he just got them united and heading in the same direction. When a few of the less fit members started to fall behind their buddies would quip, "Robinson's got a hot date pick it up."
"That's about what I saw anyone see something different?" Getting shakes of the head from the rest of his staff Walberg added, Send them home for the weekend they earned it."
In a somber chamber located under one of the great houses Severus Snape garbed in Death Eater robes approached the elevated throne were Lord Voldemort sat "Severus it has been a while since last you were in my presence. Weeks ago Lucius informed me Potter and his mudblood did not return to the halls of Hogwarts. I am concerned that you did not see fit to promptly inform me of such a significant development. I trust you have information as to the golden boy's location and what action the headmaster is taking to retrieve him." Voldemort asked looking down at the kneeling potions master.
Not daring to look up Severus said, "I have not been able to learn of the brat's location nor am I aware of any actions Dumbledore has taken to return him to Hogwarts."
"That is surprising news Severus. Can you tell me anything of interest from Hogwarts or have you become expendable?"
Severus thought quickly finally saying, "He sent Alastor Moody to track the boy down once he realized the boy was not at Hogwarts."
"What did the old Auror find?"
"Nothing my lord, as best I can determine from the limited conversations I was party to or over heard Moody was out maneuvered by someone. He refuses to say anything about his search and when I attempted to probe his mind at the headmaster's direction his violent reaction to my probe leads me to believe he was forced into a binding oath to not disclose what he'd uncovered."
"I am disappointed in your performance Severus, I expect quicker reports in the future. Return to Hogwarts perhaps you might find some tidbit that will redeem you."
Once Severus was gone Voldemort summoned Lucius Malfoy who arrived promptly going down on one knee he bowed in supplication saying, "You summoned me my Lord?"
"Lucius I wish you to find the home of Potter's mudblood. Scout it out and decide on a plan of attack. Keep me informed of your progress. This should take only a few days for a follower of your abilities."
"You wish is my command my Lord." Lucius replied backing out and then walking to the apparition area he was smiling under his mask pleased he had such an easy task, An hour later he apparated to the Granger address he'd retrieved from the Ministry of Magic Muggle-borne registration office to see an orange circle bisected by a blue banner with the word 'Underground" written on it, to the right of that on the sign was two red lines with arrows pointing in different directions. The other half of the sign was orange with "Bushey" in white letters. Lucius walked over to the muggle who was leaning against the wall asking, "Where am I?"
After a look that conveyed complete distain at having been asked such a dumb question the youth replied, "Bushey station."
"And just where is Bushey station?" Lucius couldn't avoid asking.
"Right there." the youth replied with a smile wishing it was evening with his mates around this would have been good entertainment.
The following evening Lucius sat in his study wondering what to do next he'd spent the entire day trying ever magical method he could think of locate Hermione Granger had failed. Convinced if he was unable to find her no one else could Lucius contemplated which approach would allow him to inform the Dark Lord of his failure with the minimal impact to his health.
Jim spent Friday night unable to sleep wired at the prospect of being with Jane after 4 weeks of being apart.
Saturday morning dressed in his uniform Jim checked out with the junior flight leader before grabbing his small bag with a few days worth of personal effects. Along with most of his flight he passed the base gate looking around for Jane. He saw her standing next to her father's jaguar wearing a loose fitting sleeveless flower print dress that stopped well above her knees showing a generous bit of leg. Dan Granger was standing off to the side where he could watch both his daughter and the gate without too much problem. He was thinking of the times in his own life when he'd been busting to leave the confines of his base and how hyper his daughter had been all the way here. Dan watched Jane's face light up as Jim ran up to her dropping his bag just before wrapping her up in his arms kissing her. The catcalls rang out from his flight mates along with comments about just how hot his date was. That quieted down when a voice called out from a car exiting the base, "Cadet Robinson you'd best curtail that PDA with your girlfriend."
An indignant Jane called back, "I'm his wife and he'd better be kissing me. I haven't seen him in a month!"
Ian Walberg pulled his car over to the curb and exited walking over he glanced at the couple noting they'd resumed their greeting before he noticed the man standing to the side watching the couple and him closely. Ian noted there was some thing about the man's posture that awoke his danger sense. Collecting himself he approached the couple saying, "Airman Cadet Robinson I recalled you were married just as your wife reminded me. Will you please introduce us?"
"Of course sir, Jane this is my Commanding Officer Lt. Walberg. Lt. my wife Jane Robertson."
"Pleased to meet you," Jane said not embarrassed at her comment to him earlier.
"My pleasure to be introduce to such a lovely young wife. I take it the gentleman watching us is related to one of you?" Ian replied nodding to Dan who stood watching them.
Catching the conversation Dan approached holding out his hand, "I'm Daniel Granger, Jane's father." Dan replied stifling a groan when he caught Ian's eyes lighting up as he recognized the name.
"Sir are you by chance related to the Falkland's Granger?" Ian asked.
"One and the same. However I've tried very hard to let that remain in the past." Dan replied is tone one of iron masked with polite words.
"Of course sir it was an honor to meet you, Robinson have a good weekend. Sunday night will come soon enough." Ian said before climbing back in his car and leaving.
They took this opportunity to climb into the Jaguar. Jim and Jane in the back seat. A few minutes later as Dan was entering the motorway intending to tease the couple he called back, "Knock off the kissing I don't need a graphic reminder of my only daughter's condition."
"Oh daddy." Jane said exasperated.
"Oh daddy is right, Jim how is your training going."
"Jim you're home now drop the sir I'm Dan remember?"
"Yes s… Dan, boy it didn't take them long to do a good job of making sir an automatic response." Jim noted.
"That they do. Did you have any problems because of your schooling?" Dan asked.
"Not really. Thanks to spending the first eleven years and a good portion of my summers since in this world I was fairly up to date. We played a bit of football during lunch on our museum visit and a pick up game against some locals during our community support day. That helped me fit in rather well."
"You played football?" an astonished Jane asked. From what she could remember Jim never talked about the game with anyone and she'd thought that was one of the things that would trip him up.
"Jane how many boys in your Junior School didn't play at least a little football?" Jim asked
"But Jim you never offered anytime Shamus dropped his dragon sized hints looking for someone to kick the ball around with."
"Jane the only position I ever played was Keeper. Dudley and his friends liked to kick the ball at me on the playground. As we got in to organized sports in physical education I gravitated to Keeper. My reflexes are fast and I can jump just enough to make up for being so short."
"So why didn't you kick the ball around with Shamus?" Jane asked still confused.
"Because I never kicked it like a normal player. The only two occasions a keeper regularly kicks a football is either to keep it out of their goal or to boom it into the other teams half of the field. I was free to use my hands so why not use them? I never caught the ball on my chest or dribbled it with my feet doing stuff like that just causes a keeper problems. My job was to stop any balls headed towards my net then either pass it off to one of the backs or boom it down the field."
Jane looked at Jim for a moment then asked, "So you're good enough to play with your… what do I call them anyway?"
"My flight. It's a Royal Air Force thing. And it was only a pick up game against a local school."
"So how many goals did they score on you?" Dan asked from the drivers seat.
The pride was evident on Jim's face and in his voice when he replied, "They didn't."
When they arrived at the Granger's Jim gave Emma Granger a quick greeting before leading Jane upstairs to their room where Jim took Jane in his arms kissing her with all the passion he had letting her know just how much he missed having her in his arms. Jane proved she was his equal as she returned his passion measure for measure. Jane's summer dress was quickly shed along with Jim's uniform. Jim's eyes roamed over his wife's form stopping when he noticed a slight swelling lower on her abdomen. "Is that?" Jim asked his voice barely above a whisper.
Jane had been watching Jim's eyes as they examined her so she knew what he meant. "Yes Jim that's our baby."
Jim didn't reply he just leaned over kissing her right on the swelling before tenderly kissing her lips again, when the kiss ended Jim said, "I guess we can't?" as he wiggled his eyebrows.
"Wrong Mr. Robinson we most definitely can." Jane replied firmly.
"Leave the thinking on this to me. I checked with my midwife and we're good up to about my 9th month. The only thing you need to bear in mind is the girls are a bit sensitive and will get more so."
Jim's face conveyed his confusion causing Jane to add, "Jim they're growing. If I'm going to feed your kid I need to get a bit bigger up top. These won't hold enough milk."
"I think they're beautiful whatever size they are Jim said smiling at her before he pulled her down on to the bed with him.
The young couple appeared downstairs messed and rumpled for a quick bite at lunch time before running back up to their bedroom accompanied by chuckles from both Dan and Emma. "Remember when we were first married?" Emma asked her eyes twinkling as she watched the two disappear upstairs.
Dan's eyes were twinkling in response to his wife's as he walked over and took her hand leading her to their bedroom saying, "Here let me show you how well I remember."
Dinnertime found a refreshed, showered and now neat Jim and Jane Robertson entering the living room looking for Jane's parents. After checking every downstairs room Jim looked at Jane in confusion. The confusion ended when the door to the master bedroom opened. "Mum Dad?"
"Yes Jane?" her father asked a big smirk on his face as the older couple entered.
"You didn't," Jane started only to shift to, "You two did, didn't you?" when she saw the big smile on her mother's face.
Emma's reply of, "We couldn't let you two have all the fun now could we?" had Jim smiling which shifted to outright laughter when he saw the look that crossed Jane's face. Emma didn't stop teasing her daughter asking, "Jane would you and Jim like to join us? We're going out for dinner. Your father and I have worked up quite the appetite and I don't feel like cooking."
"Sure I've got the same problem for some reason," Jim replied innately realizing the best way to deal with this teasing was to give as good as he got.
"I believe young Robinson here is willing," Jane said placing her hands on her swelling belly as she followed Jim's lead.
Back in his office before going home for the weekend Walberg did a search for Hogwarts or Hogwarts Alumni looking for more information wonder what it was about that school that turned a sixteen year old boy into someone who could lead an older group of men without a problem.
When he reported in the following Monday his Airman clerk said, "Base Commander wants you in his office yesterday."
"No idea, haven't heard of any of our recruits getting in trouble so your guess is better than mine." The Airman replied.
Ian checked his appearance then made is way to an office on the other side of the parade grounds.
"Lt. Walberg reporting as requested." He said as snapping to attention he entered.
Lt. this individual has a few questions for you. I expect your full cooperation." The Base Commander said rising from behind his desk and exiting leaving him alone with a non-descript woman wearing a grey woman's suit calmly sitting on the base commander's couch.
She motioned him to a chair then said, "Lt. Ian Walberg using Royal Air Force resources you performed several different searches centered on a…" pausing to look down at a notepad in her lap before adding, "Hogwarts school. Care to tell me why?"
Ian was sure that glance was for effect as was their not being introduced. "I have a cadet airman who claims to have attended Hogwarts. My first search was to verify such a school existed."
"Understandable, why the more recent searches for not only the school but courses and alumni?"
"He has show a remarkable leadership ability for a sixteen year old. With little apparent effort he has an entire flight whose average age is 19 and a half, willing to follow his lead. I wanted to see how they taught leadership hoping I could learn some of their techniques." Ian replied sitting stiffly.
"Does this cadet have a name?"
"Airman Cadet James Robertson."
The lady fought to control her reaction succeeding to the extent Lt. Walberg never notice her shock at hearing the name. She forced herself to calmly ask, "Anything else notable concerning Cadet Robinson?"
"He's married," Ian said adding, "Nothing else," when she continued to stare at him.
"Very well. I trust there will be no more questions, computer searches, or any other inquires concerning Cadet Robinson, his past, or a school named Hogwarts."
"No Madam I understand."
"I doubt you will ever understand just don't come to my attention again. You will not like the results should that happen. By the way we never met nor had this discussion is that understood?" The lady in the grey suit asked rising and heading for the door.
"Yes Madam." Lt. Walberg replied firmly.
The woman nodded and disappeared out the door.
She was no sooner gone than the Base Commander entered his office saying, "Lt. Walberg we had an interesting discussion about your training flights, dismissed."
"Yes sir!" Ian said saluting and leaving the Base Commander's office taking the long way back to his own. He didn't even want to think about crossing paths with that woman again.
The woman in the grey suit was known to the few in her own office as Penelope Harrington. Even fewer in the government knew what she did. Entering her office in the secure inner bowels of a non-descript government building. She sat noting her actions in her secure computer. Confident few of the people who would be interested in her records if they even knew they existed would know how to work it. Sitting back after linking the Granger file to Harry Potter's file which already contained copies of Harry Potters name change she smiled to her self knowing her grandmother's cousin who ran Hogwarts would like to know just where a number of people she kept tabs on where and would be astonished to realize she could have any of them assigned to work with him with just a word or two to the right people.
She decided to let the Potters or as they were now known Robinsons be but she would be keeping tabs on him to insure he didn't get lost in the system. After accessing a few more programs and setting alerts to notify her anytime orders were cut for Mr. Robinson, or he ran afoul of the regulations. She also made sure appropriate housing was available where ever he was assigned. With this case dealt with she turned her attention to the next one in her inbox, The Creeveys.
"Did you want to get Jim anything special for this weekend?" Emma asked her daughter as they were doing the weekly grocery shopping.
Jane shook her head replying, "Not really I don't want to get my hopes up in case he doesn't come home. He's expecting to lose another of his free weekends to more training."
"You know he didn't intend to miss your birthday weekend."
"I know and he did call on my birthday. It's just I miss him so much." Jane replied.
Mrs. Abernathy mother of Jane's rival during Junior School spotted the Grangers as they made their way down the bread aisle and altered her route to catch them in the cereal aisle where she came around the corner late insuring they were trapped and couldn't avoid her, "Emma, Hermione, what a surprise. I thought you'd be back at your boarding school by now. I know Amy started at Phelps Academy weeks ago." She called out as she approached the two.
"I'm going to after hours classes at the local state school." Jane replied forcing a smile onto her face.
"Oh, I'm surprised to hear that. Did your boarding school close?"
"No, Mrs. Abernathy my boarding school has a small problem with married students, I'm a Robertson now. It was too late to register for classes at the local state school so I'm doing the night classes." Jane replied enjoying the stunned look on the other woman's face.
"Married at your age?" Mrs. Abernathy asked looking between the two women facing her.
"My husband and I didn't want little Robinson to arrive and find his parents were not married." Jane replied intentionally smoothing her dress to reveal the slight bump.
Mrs. Abernathy didn't reply right off. She was caught off guard the girl would be so upfront about her condition. Obviously she did not appear to realize it was something to be ashamed of. Pulling herself together she looked at Emma Granger saying, "You must have been surprised by all this."
"Of course Dan and I were taken back Rachael. I'm sure any parent would be surprised when their nearly seventeen year old daughter announces she pregnant. We met Jim and saw how devoted they were to each other. That tipped the balance, we agreed to the marriage. Dan even stood up as Jim's best man." Emma said not allowing this woman to gain any advantage.
"Where is Mr….. Your husband?" Mrs. Abernathy asked a bit embarrassed she couldn't remember Hermione's new last name.
"He's in the RAF. Once he's out of training I'll be joining him." Jane replied.
After the exchange of a few more pleasantries Rachael Abernathy left leaving Jane along with Emma who promptly asked, "You do realize what you told her will be all over the village tomorrow?"
"Yes I figured she was as big a gossip as her daughter. You did suggest I be open about everything and not let anyone embarrass me. Besides by this time next week my condition will be old news and while a few mothers will use me as an example of what happens if you're not careful, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing."
Emma couldn't have been more right. Moments after arriving home, even before the just purchased groceries were put away Rachael was on the phone to one of her "closest" friends relating all the details of her conversations in the cereal aisle well embellished with what she would call accurate comments on both mother and daughter's appearance, posture, and mood. Comments others might call catty or just mean spirited. Whatever one would call them Rachael Abernathy and her friends insured everyone or rather every female of note in their village knew of Hermione's new status and condition before night had fallen. Information that more than one female shared with her husband or other family members that night.
More than one Husband recalled what happened when a strung out druggie had forced his way into the Granger's dental practice seeking drugs and threatened Emma Granger in the process. Not much was said around the village afterwards but everyone knew the druggie had spent three months in the hospital getting healed enough to stand trial. When Dan Granger entered the Courtroom and took a seat the druggie quickly confessed to an entire string of robberies. Those that remembered reminded their wives to show Christian kindness towards the young woman. There are always people you don't want to annoy and the dentist that fixed your teeth was one of them.
Jim was riding home after Jane and Dan picked him up at the end of his seventh week of training saying, "I wasn't sure after yesterday if I was going to be allowed to come home this weekend."
"What happened?" Jane asked concerned.
"I had a lousy day at the gunnery range. I thought it would be like using my wand but I stunk."
"When's your next day on the range?" Dan asked as he drove the young couple home.
"Monday and if I don't do better I think they might hold me back."
"Jim I believe I can help you with your problem if you've got some time this weekend." Dan replied.
"That would be great Dan. I need all the help I can get."
After dinner that evening Dan took Jim downstairs into the basement. Seeing his daughter's look as they left Dan remarked. "Princess it will only be for an hour tonight and a bit less for the next two days."
"I've got to learn this Jane otherwise they're going to restrict me to the base and hold me back until I get it." Jim said backing up his father in law.
"Alright but I'm holding you to one hour a day." Jane said firmly.
"Yes princess." Jim said giving his wife a kiss before following Dan down the basement stairs.
Once they were down Dan threw a switch that locked the upper door. Seeing Jim's raised eyebrow he said, "No one is allowed down here when I'm working out or practicing." With that he approached a loaded storage rack pulling it out revealing a room beyond. Going to an outer wall of the room he slid a panel aside revealing a floor to ceiling safe, which he opened. Inside Jim could see several shotguns stacked side by side in its shallow depth. Dan reached in pulling out what appeared to be a gunstock with parts of a gun mounted to it. "This is my practice set up. It's a standard rifle stock with a trigger activated laser pointer in place of a barrel. I took the bolt and trigger from a damaged gun to allow me the correct feel. I've also got a very small target set up at the other end of the cellar which will let me know when I've made a good shot. What I want you to do is aim at that target and take a few shots. All you will hear is a click when you pull the trigger."
Jim shrugged his shoulder and did as Dan instructed doing his best to follow what the RAF instructors had been saying yesterday.
After a few minutes Dan said, "Alright I see a few problems. The first one is you're overly tense. Probably because you're not holding the rifle right and it's hurting your shoulder when you fire.
"Second the gun, your upper body including both arms should move as a unit. By now I've sure you've seen several machine gun mounts. It might help to think of your upper body as a gun mount for this rifle and move as one unit. Try a few more shots."
"No you're still too tense try pulling the rifle into your shoulder. This should seat it against your shoulder and tense the muscles in preparation for the recoil." After a few more shots Dan continued, "That's better now try to relax your breathing and pull the trigger in between breaths, no don't hold your breath to shoot it makes you tense up and throws your aim off, relax and just let it flow naturally."
An hour after they left Jim and Dan entered the living room to find Emma and Jane watching a movie. "How did it go?" Emma asked her husband before Jane could ask Jim.
"Good Jim's got some skill but he could use some live firing. I'm going to check the club and find out if I can use the range for a bit on Sunday. By then he should be ready to impress." Dan said smiling at Jim.
Sunday evening Jim returned to base far more confident about the outcome of Monday's visit to the shooting range.
Monday evening Lt. Ian Walberg looked over the recommendations he'd made that weekend for his Cadets. Based on Friday's outing at the range where Robinson had been luckily to hit anything close to the target he'd ticked him for cook training. Today Cadet Robinson had shot like a sniper nearing the end of training. When he'd questioned Robinson he'd replied that his father in law had taught him a few things over the weekend. None of the normal range instructors had believed such a change was possible and thought Jim had messed up Friday intentionally although Ian wasn't so sure.
Up at Hogwarts a stressed headmaster was contemplating his options to find and regain control of Harry Potter. It was approaching 5 months since the boy-who-lived was last under his control. Had Mundungus Fletcher been a bit more alert he could have brought the boy to Hogwarts when the Granger's found him instead of the boy going into the muggle medical system. That was the point he'd lost any control Dumbledore realized. He should have disregarded what the Grangers were saying and obliviated everyone before taking the boy to Hogwarts then and there. So what if the muggles had problems with their electronic toys He was a superb student of muggles and was sure the person who found the problem would not want the blame and just cover it up. He was also reasonably certain Harry was wearing the Head of House Potter ring. That was the one sure way he would have been able to remain undetected this long. Miss Granger still puzzled him however. Other than having her magic bound there was no other way for her to remain undetected. Well there was one option but she was muggle raised and it was still ingrained in her and he knew neither her nor her parents would accept something that a true witch would accept without hesitation.
He'd talked with everyone that had picked up Hermione finding she'd met everyone of them at a train station. No one other than possibly his old friend Alastor Moody knew where the Granger's lived. Point me spells didn't work on muggles and when he'd tried to have Fawkes carry a letter to Hermione his phoenix had not bothered to leave his perch.
Severus Snape was finishing up a very special experimental potion one to drastically increase a person's susceptibility to suggestions for a short period of time with a rapid onset. The only remaining problem he was facing was insuring the delivery went unnoticed. In the end it was far simpler than he'd expected it to be. The non-Hogwarts based members of order of the Phoenix had gathered in Hogsmeade before arriving en mass making a tempting target for Peeves, the resident poltergeist. When he struck with water balloons the distraction allowed Severus to exchange the potion he was carrying with the contents of Alastor's ever present personal drinking flask with a simple switching spell.
Severus watched the retired Auror throughout the meeting as Alastor sat quietly in a corner his magical eye swiveling constantly keeping track of everyone and everything going on. When he noticed Alastor finally take a long pull at his flask as the meeting was wrapping up Snape went over to ostensibly converse with him. With a few suggestions and the occasional arm for guidance he was able to separate Alastor and guide him to a classroom he'd already prepared near his office in the dungeons of Hogwarts where he knew they wouldn't be disturbed for a few days if it took that long.
Sitting the retired Master Auror in the magically reinforced, manacle equipped, hard iron chair he'd prepared Severus Snape took the chair opposite him. He wanted the old war horse to know which specific one of the Dark Lord's trusted compatriots finally got him. "Let us just see what you're hiding in that mind of yours," Severus said before raising his wand calling out "Legilimens,"
Alastor fought for several moments reinforcing his mental shields until Severus was able to overcome his defenses thanks to the potion he'd given the old Auror.
Severus broke the outer barriers of Alastor's mind only to be astonished at how many compartments existed in the Master Auror's mind, 'It's a wonder he can think at all with his mind so divided,' Severus thought before deciding the only way forward was to tackle each compartment individually. He found he needed to force himself to more rapidly from one compartment to the next not going deeper than a cursory examination of the compartments contents if he was going to find the information he sought today. Sensing him getting close to a particular memory Alastor focused all his effort on protecting one small fact hoping Snape would not notice it missing.
Nearly an hour later Snape leaned back an expression of satisfaction on his face as he announced, "Getting out smarted by a fifth year girl and her muggle father? You are losing your touch old man and with the oath they forced you into you… Alastor I think your death eater capturing days are over."
Alastor felt the now useless magical leg fall off quickly followed by his magical eye failing. Snape actually laughed when Alastor's magical holster failed releasing Alastor's wand into his hand knowing the old man was harmless now that he couldn't cast a spell. When Alastor drove himself across the open gap between them with his one good leg driving the supposedly useless wand through Snape's left eye and into Snape's brain where a few quick stirs of the wand scrambled Snape's brain in more ways then one.
The force of Alastor's thrust had him falling on to the floor on his left side. Once he'd gathered his bearings Alastor pulled himself over to his walking stick and using that was soon standing on his one good leg. Hobbling over to Snape's dead body Alastor grinned down at him and pulled his wand out wiping it on Snape's robes before placing it in one of his many pockets. "Not quite as useless as you thought was it death eater?" Alastor said before making his way to Hogsmeade wondering if he could impose on Rosmerta for a room so he could rest up or possibly help getting home where he'd be safe behind his wards that is if they still worked.
Jane and her parents were making their way from the parking area to the parade grounds where Jim would be graduating from cadet training. She was thrilled at the thought of Jim being home with her for a few days before he returned here for an additional six weeks of Chef training. Jane was so preoccupied that she hadn't noticed how distracted her father was. Emma however had noticed and had a good idea why. She'd noticed her husband had dressed with particular care and without mentioning anything he'd gone down to the cellar just before they'd left quietly sliding a thin box under the drivers seat as he'd entered the car. That box was now hidden in the bag of cushions and bottled water he was carrying.
A group of four officers approached their group heading straight for Dan. Emma smiled to herself wondering how long it would take Jane to realize what was going on. She knew today would be a bit of an eye opener for both of the youngsters. Emma greeted each of the officers in turn noting she was being introduced to each of the officers as Mrs. Dan Granger and Jane was being introduced as Dan's daughter Jane.
Jane finally caught on something was different when her father passed her the small bag taking out a box as he did. Dan then removed something from the box before placing it back in the bag. Jane was then shown to the back row of the small seating area on the main reviewing stand while her mother and father were shown to front row center seats where her mother helped her father fasten whatever he'd removed from the box to the jacket he was wearing. She noticed once that was done her father sat straighter and her mother beamed at him before wiping her eyes. Looking around Jane noticed there were bleachers on both sides of where she sat filled with families watching the graduation.
Jane watched the various groups march on to the field spotting Jim as he led one group on before they stood facing they reviewing stand lined up in neat rows.
Her attention was drawn to the man sitting beside her father as he rose and made a speech about how important this group of cadets were and how special it was to be a member of the Royal Air Force. All Jane could think about was his speech was delaying her wrapping her arms around Jim. That thought persisted until she heard her father's name.
"Daniel Granger is one of only two individuals who were awarded the Victoria Cross for his service during the Falklands Conflict. Since it's creation in 1856 by Queen Victoria this, the highest of all military honors, has been awarded 1354 times.
"After a bit of persuasion and despite having served in another branch of her Royal Majesties Services Mr. Granger agreed to take the salute of our graduating Airmen and Women.
Mr. Granger allow me to add my salute to the others you will receive today," with that the officer stepped away from the microphone and along with every other uniformed individual on the stand and in the crowd saluted Dan Granger.
Jane was looking at her father with wide eyes. She'd always know he'd been in the Falklands but when she'd asked he'd always said his major accomplishment was being shot by a sentry, obviously there was a bit more to the story.
"Thank you all, I know I don't deserve this honor but as I said when I initially was awarded this. I accept your honors for all those that did not return to their families. Those are your real heroes." Dan said formally before the officer in charge shifted his attention and called out for the classes to pass in review.
Jane watched her father turn sharply and take a few steps forward until he was standing on the edge of the platform. Her vision shifted to Jim who was watching the group to his right. Once they started moving she heard him call out orders which didn't make sense to her but the group behind him understood them as they moved out as one following the path of the other groups marching around the edge of the parade ground finally turning and approaching Dan. As each group approached the reviewing stand where Dan stood watching. The individual in front of the group would turn and salute Dan keeping his eyes turned to his right until the last member of his group was past Dan.
Jim's approach was being closely watched by both wives and the joy that appeared on both of their husband's faces, Dan receiving the salute and Jim giving it was obvious to those who knew them well.
With the ceremony over Jim dismissed his group as ordered before joining Jane and her parents as they stood around talking with other families. "That was a big surprise Dan," Jim said smiling at his father in law.
"I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it. Wearing that brings back a lot of unpleasant memories. I'm afraid Emma is in for a few restless nights for a while."
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," Jim said.
"You didn't son. I chose to wear it today. This is one of the reasons I suggested you join the RAF instead of the branch I did. I hope and pray you never have to do anything to earn one of these." Dan replied as he unpinned the medal and reverently placed it back in its box.
Jane glanced at Jim concerned about his reaction. This was the first time Dan had referred to Jim as his son. Her concerns were unfounded. Jim had a big smile on his face as he replied, "Thanks Dad G. I doubt I'll get the chance as a cook."
"I thought you were going to Chef training?" Emma teased.
"When it's that big a group it will not be fancy. Besides I'd rather be a plain old cook than a fancy chef."
Jane waited until they were home before asking, "Dad you told me your biggest accomplishment was being shot by a sentry. Even I know they don't give the Victoria Cross for that. What actually happened?"
"Jane leave your father alone. You know not to bother him about the Falklands." Emma interrupted her voice firm.
"No Emma it's time she knows. I'm not ashamed of what I did."
"Dan I know you're going to have a rough time for a while after today." Emma countered concerned for her husband.
"Yes I will, telling Jane and Jim won't make it that much rougher." Dan replied firmly to his wife before turning to the two teens saying, "Why don't we sit in the living room and I'll tell you what happened."
With everyone settled in Dan started his story, "I was a sniper and was coming back after an extended period away. They'd changed the unit guarding my entry point and forgot to inform the sentries I'd be passing through their lines sometime in the future. I approached and gave the pass code. The sentry was jumpy and after giving the counter code the idiot still shot me, luckily for me he hit a leg.
Long story short I was "captured" and once they figured out I was one of theirs they sent me to a first aid station. Next thing I know I'm hearing gunfire. I got out of bed to find the few guards being overwhelmed by an attack. The Argentines were trying to do an end run around our forces and ran into the first aid station. I started directing the guards and grabbed a rifle from one that had been injured, my sniper rifle having taken from me when I arrived at the hospital for safety reasons. I shot over the heads of most of the attackers trying to keep the attack pinned down until help could arrive. A few didn't keep back or their heads down, those I dealt with differently. Help arrived in a short while and for some reason the doctors decided I was the reason the attack failed. They're the ones that helped me get into medical school after the war."
"Wow, Dad I never knew." Jane said.
"And you were never suppose to. I'm just a dentist that got a medal because a few people thought I did something special that really wasn't that big a deal. I just did what I'd been trained to do." Dan replied with a shrug.
October 26, 1997 Jim and Jane were spending their Saturday afternoon walking through the local shopping area arm in arm smiling at everyone. Jane had on peddle pusher pants with a flowery maternity top while Jim was in a blue t-shirt with a RAF logo on the front and dungarees both had pullovers on unzipped due to the slightly warmer than expected weather. Their progress was stopped by a feminine squeal of "Hermione Granger!"
A young woman Jane's age was running across the street in the female gait where the lower leg was doing most of the movement with very little knee action, the one designed to keep a skirt in place. Jane recognized the voice and the woman approaching calling out, "Amy Abernathy your mother said you were at Phillips Academy."
"I am but I come home for a weekend visit every now and then. Mum said you were married I take it this is your bloke." Amy said looking Jim over as if he were the special of the day.
Jane bristled at the attention she was giving Jim but her manners came to the fore as she said, "Yes, Jim this is Amy Abernathy a classmate from junior school. Amy this is my husband James Robertson."
"I am pleased to meet you James but what your wife should have said is I was one of her tormentors in junior school. Now how does your wife pay me back for those six years of torment?" Amy asked before answering her own question. "By setting me free!" Amy proceeded to hug Jane.
"What?" a totally confused Jane replied.
"Let's have lunch and I'll the you both a long story about just why a bucked toothed little girl was picked on and how she set one of her tormentors free."
In between bits of her dessert Jane asked, "So you picked on me because my parents were your dentists?"
"No I picked on the girl my parents were constantly holding up as the example of what I should be. During my appointments your parents would talk about what level books you were reading on your own and just how perfect you were. My parents would then look at me and wonder what was wrong that I'd rather play with dolls and do anything to avoid reading.
"When I say you at school and realized you were the Hermione my parents were always talking about I just had to put you down. The more you cried the better it made me feel. It was like I was beating the perfect one." Amy explained.
"So why the big change?" Jim asked.
"First there was a lot of work with counselors at PA when I started to do the same thing to a girl there. Then Hermione turning up pregnant knocked her off the pedestal my mother had her on. I'm free now I don't have to put up with constantly being compared to Hermione anymore. It's been quite liberating."
"I've always heard "If you can't be a good example be a bad one." Jane joked.
"Well bad example do you know if it's a boy or girl?" Amy asked.
"Not yet, Jim and I have changed our minds several times about knowing or not. I think I'd rather be surprised. Finding out it's a boy and having the nursery all ready will just take a bit of the enjoyment out. I think it will be more fun to go oh it's a boy or oh it's a girl. You know make it a lot less clinical. My only wish is for him or her to be healthy. I'm concerned because we are both a bit young and I worry that will affect the baby." Jane replied cupping her now noticeable baby bump.
"Mum said you'd be moving?"
"Yes when Jim receives a permanent posting I'll be joining him. Right now he's between schools and living in dorm style rooms."
"If you don't mind I'd like to keep in touch. I'm not the little witch I was in junior school and this time I'd like to be your friend." Amy said sincerely.
Jane surprised herself when she replied, "I'd like that too," and realized she meant it.
Jim found chef training easier than initial training. He was on familiar ground having been cooking for the Dursleys since he could stand at the stove using a step stool. For a change his aunt's paranoia with contaminated food stood him in good stead, his constant hand washing between tasks brought approving nods from his instructors. Jim's only problem area was portion size. He was unsurprised to realize his uncle and cousin ate roughly 3 portions each according to RAF standards.
The six weeks passed quickly and he was allowed home all but one of those weekends. The final week he received new orders, as the highest rated student he got his first choice, duty in England.
December 11, 1996 James Robertson packed his kit, put on his dress uniform and left RAF Halton. Monday he'd be reporting to RAF station Cranwell 106 miles north, northeast of London. Exiting Halton's gate Jim saw Jane waiting for him. Dropping his kit he gave his wife a big hug and a kiss before looking around for one of his in laws.
Jane watched him glance before saying, "They're not here Jim."
"Then how did you get here?"
"You drove, Where's their car?" Jim asked.
"Our car is right here. Jane said walking over to a plain looking Volvo 440 in green.
"Our car?" Jim said looking the car over.
"Yes Mum and Dad bought it for us. They decided since they weren't paying for the last two years at Hogwarts they'd buy us a car. It's in their name for insurance purposes with Dad and me registered as the only drivers. We'll add you once you get a license. You should have seen the discussion Dad wanted to get us a Jaguar but Mum said it was too sporty. I tried for a Mini but Mum and Dad both wouldn't go along with that "too little room," they said. This Volvo has a good safety rating and is roomy enough for the three of us." Jane explained.
Jim smiled and lifted the rear hatch tossing his kit in before climbing in the front passenger's seat where after a glance around he said "Nice," as they took off.
"I thought so. I know it's not a new one or all that fancy," Jane said concerned at Jim's opinion of the car.
"Jane it's like us, practical and not flashy. We don't need the bells and whistles. I suspect it will make far more food runs that anything else."
Jane was pleased at his easy acceptance of her parent's gift knowing it would come in handy in the near future if everything worked out.
Back at the Grangers Jim and Jane sat down to dinner with her parents. "Any idea where you'll be staying at Cranwell?" Emma asked.
"Not yet. I put in a request for married housing but the person I was working with said I might be too junior if the married housing is tight. I'll find out when I process in on Monday. Speaking of that I was planning on catching a train up there on Sunday that way you won't have to drive me up."
"I was planning on driving up with you on Monday morning." Jane said
"We'll have to leave awful early." Jim replied.
"I know I've gotten directions and everything from dad's autoclub. It's just a bit less than a hundred miles from here so if we leave here at four am that should give us plenty of time to be there for eight am.
Jim thought about it for a few moments before replying, "Sounds like a good plan are you sure you won't mind driving there and back?"
"Jim if everything works out I won't be driving back." Jane countered a gleam in her eyes.
The weekend passed in a blur for Jim and Jane. A little before 4 am Monday morning Jim put his kit, most of which had been washed, ironed, and folded over the weekend in the boot along with a suitcase containing Jane's just in case clothes." After a strong hand shake and hug from Dan and a hug and kiss from Emma Jim climbed in to the passenger's seat leaving Jane to make her tearful goodbyes before joining him as she slid behind the wheel pulling out at 4 am on the dot.
Once they were on the road Jim had to ask, "What are just in case clothes?"
Jane drove silently for a moment before asking, "Didn't you ever have the wrong clothes for a situation?"
"Not really shirt and slacks always worked for me."
"For a girl it's different. I don't know what to expect in Cranwell. You'll have your uniform on so you will be properly attired. For me I don't want to be over dressed or under dressed. So I'm wearing jeans and a conservative top. I've packed a skirt and matching blouse if I need to dress up a bit. I've also packed a full dress and several different styles of shoes. With all that I can fit in with any group after a short trip to the ladies room."
"But at school you just wore what you wanted."
"Jim at school everyone wore about the same thing just with different levels of success. At Cranwell it's important for me to fit in now I'm not just Jane I'm Mrs. Robinson. Jim you obviously don't realize clothing is a cultural language that one ignores at their own peril. If I show up dressed wrong it won't be, "look at Jane she is just a bookworm," it will be "look at Jane obviously her husband is a loser if he couldn't catch a better looking wife," the way I look reflects on you and the way you look reflects on me so no choosing clothes without me around."
Jim thought about what she'd said then realized she was right over half of his aunt's gossiping was about what someone else was wearing or not wearing. His uncle Vernon would deal differently with people he met on the street depending on how they were dressed. "You're right I'm sorry for trying to tease you about it," Jim said contritely.
They were just driving past Letchworth when Jane asked, "Do you miss Hogwarts and everything?"
Jim took a few moments to think before replying, "Actually I don't. I thought I would when we decided to leave but I don't miss doing magic," catching the glance from Jane he continued, "I guess it's the yin and yang of it. If I miss waving a stick and causing things to happen then I'm also saying I miss the arrogance of Malfoy, Snape and that entire crowd. Sometimes I wonder how much the muggle borne were more tolerated than welcomed by all of the Hogwarts staff."
Jane was about to object firmly but her mother's voice echoed in her mind saying, 'Jane you are a married woman who is having a baby with her husband. You and Jim are linked or the rest of your lives. If you want to stay married and not be constantly battling with each other you need to deepen your understand of each other. Don't just argue when you disagree with what he says try to find out why he's saying it. He's male and they look at the world differently than we do. The better you understand him and he you the easier your lives together will be.' She decided to try and understand asking, "What makes you think that Jim?"
"Little things like Muggle studies is taught by a pure blood. Arthur Weasley is great and treats me like a favorite relative but even you can agree there must be a muggle borne or half blood that would be a far better head of the misuse of muggle artifacts than he is."
"Alright I'll give you those two points but what about the rest of the professors?"
"Think back to Halloween of your first year. Was Professor Flitwick enthused because a student floated a feather or was he surprised a muggle borne was the first successful student? I've had similar vibes from McGonagall and the rest.
"Jim you don't mean that do you?"
"Jane my love, can you name a professor at Hogwarts that isn't either a full blood or comes from the magical world like Hagrid, Flitwick or Firenze. Remember what McGonagall said when Malfoy dared to imply her own blood status was below his?"
Jane nodded as she drove her eidetic memory bringing the event to the front of her mind. "Of course I do," shifting into her favorite Professor's tone and cadence she continued, "Mr. Malfoy my magical ancestors were one of the reasons the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall while yours were still mucking out stables." After a chuckle at the memory she added, "It took Daphne Greengrass explaining it before that pompous git realized he'd just been insulted. By that time class had ended and all he could do was sputter."
They traveled a bit longer in silence before Jane said, "You've made some good points Jim. Let me think about them for a while."
"What about you Jane do you miss Hogwarts and everything?"
She'd been ready for this question since before she'd asked Jim the same thing. After all she'd been thinking about it on and off since they'd decided to stay muggle. "I think I'll eventually miss the ability to wave a wand mutter a spell and clean our home. I agree with you though I definitely won't miss the bigotry. When it all totals up I prefer life here. The magical world is just too 18th century for me."
Two and a half hours later Jane pulled off the A-1 heading to Colsterworth. "Any idea where you have to report in?" Jane asked as she followed his directions.
"Not really we're early enough for me to ask around when we reach the base."
Twenty minutes later Jim was standing at attention before the duty officer having passed his orders over. "At ease Airman. Is there anyone with you?" The officer asked not looking up from Jim's orders.
"Yes sir. My wife is waiting in the car."
That caused the officer to look up at Jim for a moment before saying, "Very well, I'll have the duty clerk log you in and set you up with an appointment at the housing office. You will need to check in with whoever is in charge of the cooks at the Junior Mess tomorrow morning at 7 am. You are free to do what you need to until then, dismissed."
"Thank you sir." Jim replied taking a copy of his orders back before leaving.
Minutes after eight am Jim and Jane walked into the base housing office where an older woman greeted them asking, "Airman Robinson?"
"Yes madam, this is my wife Jane." Jim said knowing this woman could affect their living conditions for the next few years.
Jane watched the woman look her over the eyes widening slightly as she noted her baby bump. Jane held out her hand saying, "Pleased to meet you and I'm seven months along."
"You'll be needing a two bedroom then. Do you have any furniture?"
"None at all. My parents will be helping out in that area once we have a place." Jane replied getting excited at the thought there was married housing available for them and she wouldn't have to return to her parents yet again.
"I'll arrange for visitor quarters for the both of you for a week. Will that be enough time for you to acquire some furnishings?"
Jim looked at Jane who nodded her agreement before he replied, "That will be fine thank you."
They then began signing a remarkable number of forms requiring both of their signatures that spewed from an office printer. But by nine am they were leaving her office two sets on keys in hand one to their room at visitors quarters and the more important set keys to 12 St. Roberts Close North Kesteven. Their new home until Jim was transferred or they managed to have a few more children.
Their first stop was visitor quarters where Jim dropped off his kit and Jane's just in case suitcase. She also took the time to shift in to a skirt and blouse that didn't look too bad on her in her current condition. By one pm they had gotten a car pass, received a map of the area, had lunch, and were driving to their new home. They passed a lovely old church before turning onto a side street that quickly lead them to St. Roberts Close. Studying the house numbers Jane quickly noted their next home was the end one on a five-unit brick apartment building. With what she hoped would turn out to be a great view across some fields to the distant woods. Unlocking the door they both marveled at the view from what the decided would be the living room. The kitchen was afforded a view of the fields and their backyard, which Jane thought would be nice as she could watch her baby playing in the yard. She stopped for a moment shook her head to clear it then followed Jim to look at the rest of their new place.
The following morning Jim was up and dress before leaving for the Junior Mess. He returned a bit after noon saying, "I start tomorrow morning at four in the morning. The good news is they are going to allow me a few days off when your folks come up so we can set up housekeeping."
"That's good news. I've got an appointment setup with a local mid-wife tomorrow. I've also called mum and dad. They will be up Friday so if you can get that day and the weekend off you can help us shop." Jane said with a smile.
"Lug you mean I know how this will play out. You and Emma will pick out the stuff. Dan and I will be carrying it." Jim countered.
"You want me to be lugging anything beyond your kid?" Jane asked teasingly as she cradled her baby bump.
"I thought it was our kid?"
"It is but if you want to get all women are equal with me I'll strap a weight on to your belly and see how you like it."
"All right I give. I'll lug whatever you want." Jim said giving in with a chuckle.
It was three am the following morning when Jim rolled out of bed and started to get dressed that he realized this was his future, sleeping with Jane, getting up and going to work, and coming home to her and their kids. He decided he couldn't have envisioned this good a future when he was living with the Dursleys.
His first days passed quickly as he settled into a routine. At work by four am and home by 1 pm or so. Bed by eight or nine, then repeat.
Jane for her part had contacted the family assistance office inquiring about her and Jim taking GCSEs and studying for their A level exams. They'd referred her to Professor Prose who taught at the RAF College located at Cranwell. Jane made an appointment and was currently knocking on his office door.
"Come in." a male voice called out.
Jane let herself in the professor sitting behind the desk obviously taking in her pregnant condition and apparent age, while she was noting his bodybuilder physique.
"Mrs. Robinson?" The man asked after glancing at a calendar on his desk.
"Yes. Professor Prowse, Jane Robertson. I've come to ask about the possibility of my husband and I taking the GSCEs. We will then study for our A level exams which we also hope to take." Jane said before her eyes wandered of their own accord taking in the Professor's office noticing the board on the wall opposite with it's runic phrase written on it with the English translation written below.
Dave Prowse watched the young woman as she took in the runes he was translating wondering what inane comment she'd make. He'd heard most of them over the years he'd spent his free time working on them. Instead she walked over and took a marker in hand writing a different translation below his.
"What do you think your doing Mrs. Robinson?" Dave asked getting up from his chair and moving over to read her translation.
Jane seemed to jump slightly at his words but quickly replied, "Correcting your student's translation. The Lagu rune was flipped side to side not inverted changing the meaning slightly and the Stan rune was horizontal not vertical altering it's meaning completely.
Dave could see her version of the translation made a lot more sense in context with the runes that were not on the board. He'd been playing with this series for a week now and this young woman read it like it was English. "Mrs. Robinson how did you manage to read this so quickly?"
Her need to correct things had lead to a potential disaster looking up at the man who towered over her and thinking as she spoke Jane said, "Professor Prowse the reason my husband and I need to take the standard exams is we attended a public school that specialized in non-traditional education. One of their non-traditional subjects was Ancient Runes."
"That was not a student's translation you corrected that was mine. I will arrange for both you and your husband to take a preliminary GSCE. That will allow both of you to determine the areas where your education is lacking in return I would like you to look over my complete translation correcting where you believe I've made errors. We will discuss your version when you've finished. Is that agreeable to you?"
"Yes Professor Prowse." Jane replied happy they could take a preliminary version before their official one.
"Good come back the same time tomorrow. My secretary should have a copy of the complete translation ready by then." Dave Prowse said showing her to the door.
Friday they were just finishing up breakfast and Jim was about to as when her parents were due when the phone rang. After a moments conversation Jim hung it up saying, "Your folks are at the security office waiting for our authorization to enter. I need to run over and do that."
"I'll try and be ready to go when you get back." Jane replied watching as Jim dashed around finishing dressing before leaving the visitor quarters at a run.
Jim arrived at the security office to see a hire van parked outside not really thinking about it he entered and after greeting his in laws made the necessary arrangements for their weekend access. He was a bit surprised when once outside they got in to the hire van. "What's going on?" Jim asked.
"Oh we just brought a few of Jane's things with us," Emma said a grin on her face.
When they pulled up at the visitor quarters Jane came out laughing looking at the hire van as she said, "Let me guess Dad didn't want to risk scratching either car by lugging stuff."
Dan Granger gave his daughter a look of long suffering only stopping when Emma said, "Let's go see your new place I've brought along a few things that might be a good fit."
Thinking back to the few times they'd gone out as two couples Jane remembered visiting some furniture stores and the innocuous questions her parents had asked. "Don't tell me you did some shopping?" Jane exclaimed her laughter sudden a thing of the past.
"Of course we did. You really didn't think all those store visits we've been doing were just window shopping to kill time did you?" Emma asked.
"No, I thought you were using them to educate me on styles and types of furniture," Jane replied.
"Your mother was to a point but she was also making notes at the same time. Now we've only brought you the basics. Once everything we've got is set up you and your mother can figure out what else you need." Dan replied grinning.
Jim looked between the two Grangers his eyes getting suspiciously wet. "Dan, Emma, I can say what both of you mean to me. Your acceptance of me when you should have thrashed me, your taking me in when I had no where to go after my relatives were arrested. Not to mention your advice and love since we left school… I just…." Jim said stopping when his emotions overwhelmed him.
Dan and Emma exchanged a glance before she came over and lead Jim into 12 St. Roberts Close. Once inside Jim stumbled falling to the floor where Jane sat down and pulled him to her. It took a few minutes and a lot of soothing words from her but finally Jim stood, looked at Dan and said, "Dad, let's start moving stuff in I'm sure Mum and Jane already have ideas as to just were all this stuff belongs."
Dan put an arm around Jim and in a tight voice replied, "You've got that right son."
Over the weekend the four of them went shopping in Nottingham picking up linens along with various odds and ends. Jane paying heed to her mother's advice of 'Don't do it all right away. When you find something that has a special meaning for the both of you incorporate it into your decorations.' Seeing Christmas getting close Jane made sure they picked up the appropriate decorations setting them aside to be dealt with later.
Sunday night as her parents headed back to Hertsmere with an empty hire van Jane cuddled into Jim as they settled in for their second night at 12 Roberts Close.
Weeks later Jane sat between a pair of extended legs her back to Jim's chest his arm wrapped around her as they sat against the living room couch with the apartment lights off looking out over the adjoining field awash in the full moon light. Just enjoying the closeness of the other one. Something they'd taken to doing on those nights when Jim didn't have to get up early the next day. "You know we won't have many more nights like this. I'm eight months along. We're going to have to stop fooling around in a bit." Jane said as she sat quietly not wanting to break the mood.
"I know but right now all I want to do is exactly what I'm doing, holding you." Jim replied his voice equally soft.
The newlyweds were hovering at the edge of sleep when a movement in the field caught Jim's eye. He didn't give it much thought passing it off as a stray dog when a second then a third animal could be seen. Jim was fully awake now debating what he was seeing, "I'm going to take a look around outside." Jim announced sliding out from behind Jane. She was upset at having her comfortable backrest taken away but Jim slipped his shoes on and was out the door before she could argue.
Jim stood at the field's edge observing the creatures not wanting to trespass on the farmer's land. Their odd gait stirred a memory that quickly brought the thought, 'Oh crap werewolves,' to the front of his mind. A quick glance around for weapons proved nothing useful was close at hand. "Damn I could really use some silver bullets right now or Gryffindor's sword." Jim muttered before a weight in his right hand drew his attention to the sword now held there. 'Right I'll think about this later.' Jim thought bringing Gryffindor's sword to a ready position as he made his way into the field. A second's glance around insured he had all the threats identified as the pack noticed his approach. The pack turned to him as Jim firmly said, "Leave this area." The only response was deep growls from the alpha male his reply obviously negative as the pack encircled Jim. Jim tried to focus on his non-visual senses. Trying his best to use them as an attack warning system.
Jane had stepped just outside the apartment door and was watching her husband as he made his way across the field wishing she had her wand with her unconsciously raising her wand hand pointing it at the werewolves behind Jim's back she thought about what she'd do and instinctively muttered the silver arrow charm.
Jim felt the werewolves behind him start to move only to fall at the same time the werewolves in front of him attacked. Gryffindor's sword acted in concert with Jim's wishes like it was a part of him slicing through necks, arms, and torsos without hesitation. Jim thought the battle had taken far longer than the minute it took him before he stopped wielding the sword with deadly intent and looked around taking stock of the situation. The three werewolves that had been at his back were dead silver arrows protruding from various parts of their bodies the rest of the pack was spread around Jim pieces of their bodies resting on the field. Hearing the undulation tones of what he suspected was base security, local police, or probably both Jim realized things looked bad for him even is all he was charge with was animal cruelty. Wiping the sword clean on one of the pelts lying around he thought about it returning only to have it disappear from his hand. When a mental shrug he thought 'why not' before holding out his arms and while mentally picturing the molten infernos of hell in his mind he wandlessly and silently banished all the remains including the spilt blood. Jim didn't realize he'd banished everything 35 kilometers straight down in to the molten rock that the earth's crust floated on. The instantaneous steam explosion all the water contained in the bodies caused triggered an earth tremor so slight it was only noted by the seismologists as background noise.
Once the area was clean Jim hightailed it back to Jane with both of them entering their apartment as car headlights played across the field.
Voldemort looked down at the gathered death eaters from his elevated throne. The emissary from what remained of Greyback's combined packs huddled at the foot of his throne. "Were my directions unclear? I distinctly remember telling your leader to be careful and pick soft targets. Instead if you are to be believed the majority of your pack mates are dead including your leader. I cannot abide such incompetence. Lucius insure he dies slowly the rest of you are to be highly visible at our regular jobs tomorrow those that need to be out of sight be that way now be gone!" Voldemort bellowed looking around as his minions practically fought to get out the single door that was the entrance to his throne room. The last three individuals out the door were Lucius levitating the emissary from the werewolves and Bellatrix Lestrange his most capable fighter and psychotic death eater. Normally he would send his pet spy, Peter Pettigrew to scout the attack areas but the rat animagus was still recovering from his last cruciatus curse he'd held him under for a bit too long it seems or perhaps the effects where a bit cumulative. He'd have to get two test subjects to research this problem he supposed. Still that didn't solve the problem of just what went wrong with the attacks. Deciding to get a bit of air he would the investigation personally.
It wasn't until his visit to the second attack site the following morning that Voldemort hidden under several charms began to realize Greyback's mistake. In his attempts to pick soft targets he'd naturally picked targets away from major cities but with enough population for the attacks to cause major panic. The problem was he'd not scouted the locations sufficiently and had selected several muggle military bases. Rather than run in panic the muggles had quickly organized and the werewolves ran in to Highly trained fighters using the knives they were allowed to keep at home, their rifles being kept locked up in the base armories. The result had been a slaughter of the attackers that the Ministry of Magic was still trying to keep under wraps while the muggle military was trying to determine if a terrorist attack had occurred.
Voldemort apparated to the next attack site intending to do a quick check before heading back to his base of operations. The rally site for the werewolves was perfect. An isolated grove of trees surrounded on three sides by open fields with no indication of any beings having been there. He made his way towards the nearby village but other than a large number of animal foot prints that stopped suddenly where a few human ones were there was nothing there. No bits of werewolf body, no blood, this site looked nothing like the other two. Changing to his snake animagus Voldemort attempted to use the heighten senses of the snake to determine just what made this site different. Unfortunately he didn't recognize the ground vibrations for what they were as the farmer roared around the corner in his Land Rover.
Jim was returning from his early shift at the junior mess when he turned the last corner to home to see someone out in the field where he'd been standing on top of a vehicle trying to attract attention. Intrigued Jim kept going jumping the fence into the field before finally catching what the person was yelling. 'Snake, he must be deathly afraid of them t react like that?' Jim thought continuing his approach although a bit more cautiously. As Jim got closer he could make out the shape of a snake that appeared to be about ten feet long and a good foot in diameter pinned under the front wheels of the farmer's Land Rover. With the snake wiggling and waiving his head around Jim could understand the Farmer's concern. With only a thought that I need help Gryffindor's sword appeared in Jim's hand and in a reverse of what happened in the chamber of secrets this time Jim drove the sword down through the snake's head pinning it to the ground as it bled out. The snake's death throbs ended with a magical burst that threw Jim ten feet knocking him out while overturning the Land Rover knocking the farmer off and to one side.
"Hey are you alright?" the farmer asked as he approached Jim and saw him stirring.
Jane started to run across the field when she felt the explosion but stopped when she saw Jim stand. Two cracks of apparition had her retreating to their apartment where she called base security to report the blast.
"What the heck?" the farmer asked when two people suddenly appeared out of thin air. "Stupefy," one called out pointing a wand at the farmer while the other stunned an unrecognized James Robertson.
"Damn that's one big snake?" the first auror said.
"Must have been magical and one of those two killed it with this," The second Auror said reaching for the sword sticking out of the snake's head only to have it vanish as his hand approached.
"What in the name of Merlin is going on here," the second Auror asked looking towards his partner.
Hearing the undulating tones of the muggle police approaching the first Auror responded, "I have no idea. Let's grab the snake and get out. Without the sword or snake there's no way anyone will believe our story."
At Death Eater headquarters Walden McNair walked up to Lucius Malfoy quietly asking, "Lucius what's going on?"
"What are you talking about?" Lucius bluffed stalling for time to consider what was going on.
"Don't try your fancy word games Lucius, you know as well as I do. We both felt the sharp pain followed by his mark fading away. Do you think it means the same thing as last time?"
Lucius Malfoy one of Voldemort's closest death eaters if not the Dark Lord's right hand contemplated what to say knowing a wrong reply would lead to a very shortened life span should he proclaim the Dark Lord missing and he show up. The only reason he didn't was McNair was a close friend one of his few true ones in the death eater ranks. "I don't know my suggestion to my son in my owl tonight will be to keep making plans and revise them as needed but do nothing overt until our Lord appears."
"Do you think he'll listen?"
"I hope so I would hate to inform Narcissa I require another son because this one got himself killed." Lucius said without a smile.
Dumbledore was sitting in his office contemplating the occasional disappearance of Gryffindor's sword from the display case across from his desk when Hogwarts paintings informed him of the sudden unease in Slytherin house and of hurried notes being passed between various students he'd asked them to keep tabs on. 'I wonder what's going on. I miss Snape when things like this happen, but he just had to push Alastor and he ended up paying the price. Now my old friend won't even talk to me and is blocking any owl I try to send him.
At the ministry 110 miles south of the farmer's field the on duty Aurors were looking into a cell where a bubble shield contained the odor of dead snake along with any other fumes that might be emitted. "Okay we've got it contained now what do we do with it?" asked one of the Aurors looking at the two that had brought it in.
"We identify it naturally."
"And just how do we do that?"
"Floo Hagrid at Hogwarts." Offered one of the new batch of recruits that had gathered to see what was going on.
"Hagrid, Dumbledore's pet giant?"
"He's their care of magical creatures professor these days. Word has it if it's dangerous he knows all about it and thinks it's just misunderstood." The new recruit countered.
"Why not it's not like we're out anything if it doesn't work. Give him a call." Kingsley Shacklebolt said taking charge of the group.
Jim was released once it was verified he'd just left work at the Junior Mess and had to be on his way home when he came to the farmer's aid. Well that and he was an airman assigned to the base with a pregnant wife so they were sure they could find him quickly enough should the need arise.
Back in their apartment Jane asked the obvious question and Jim responded with, "It was a bloody big snake. My bet is it was Voldemort in his animagus form because the marking didn't match what I remembered of Nagini from the graveyard."
"So we're free of him?" Jane asked the hope obvious in her voice.
"For a while at least. I wonder if Peter will sacrifice his other hand to bring him back next time." Jim said.
"Don't be morbid Jim!" Jane chided.
"Hey I've done what I needed to do for a second time. The ball's in Dumbledore's court and I don't plan on going back so my blood can be used a second time. I'm in the service and married to you." Jim said pulling Jane into a hug.
Nearly 12 years after Jim and Jane left Hogwarts at the end of their fifth year a knock came from their front door. When a young girl opened the door the oddly dressed young woman standing there asked, "Is there a Daniel Robinson here?"
"Mum there's a woman at the door looking for Danny," the girl called out causing a woman with short brown hair and brown eyes to come in from another room. "Danny is off playing football with his friends can I help you Ms….?" Jane trailed off hiding a smile at the look of confusion on the other woman's face.
"I'm Mrs. Ginny Finnigan, I've come to explain a few things about your son and offer him a place at my former school."
"Do come in Mrs. Finnigan Danny should be home soon. His father is stopping by the pitch to collect him and his brother on his way home."
"Thank you, how many children do you have?" Ginny asked trying to make polite conversation after the woman showed her into the sitting room and motioning to a seat all the while trying to place the woman in front of her. There was just something that screamed she should know her.
"My husband and I have four. Danny who you obviously know of, then there's Lily and her twin brother and my two year old daughter. What about you?"
"Shamus and I are hoping to start a family once my playing days are over which should be soon."
"You play a sport?"
"Yes, though it might be best to wait until everyone is here before I explain it. I do contacts like this to keep a hand in the door at school so when I do stop playing I can get an assistant professor's job there should one come open."
Deciding it best to ask Ginny said, "You seem familiar to me do you have any siblings?"
"No sorry I'm an only child,"
The coin started to fall for Ginny ringing loudly when she heard a voice she could never forget call out, "Jane we're home!"
Ginny's eyes snapped to Jane's face where a big smile rested before turning to take in the man entering the room with his hands on two boys. It took her only a moment to rise, cross the gap separating her from Jim raising her hand to strike him as she did. She was stopped as a full body bind was cast on her.
Jim looked down at his eldest son who stood there with a hand raised pointing at the unknown woman who was going to strike his father. "Danny release her."
"Yes, I'm sure I can protect myself for her I've had four years of practice after all." Jim replied with a chuckle in his voice.
Danny looked a little dubious but did as his father instructed.
As she felt the binds release she looked from Jim to his son then back at Jane. "We've been teaching all of them how to control their magic since their first accidental usage." Jane explained.
After a moment of thought Ginny's next question was, "Just how advance are they?"
It was Jim who said, "Practical magic wise Dan is mid-fourth year theory wise he's a bit more. Lily and Bill are roughly second year in both and Becky hasn't shown us anything yet but she is only two."
"What are their full names?"
Jane took this question saying, "Danny is Daniel James Robinson after my father and Jim's. Lily is Lily Emma Robinson after our mothers. Billy is William Cedric Robinson, William because we like the name and you know why Cedric. Becky Susan Robinson is the one down for her nap and in her case we just like the way it flowed."
"I'm not going to remember any of this after I leave am I." Ginny stated looking directly at Jane.
"I doubt it. Though I'm not sure which of us should do it."
"You do it Hermione it's not that I don't trust Harry but well actually I don't trust his control the way I trust yours."
"Alright but should you or someone else manage to restore your memory just know that the Robinson's are leaving the area shortly." Jane said escorting Ginny out.
"Wait don't you want to know what's happened since you left?"
"Not really that's your world and you are welcome to it. Just keep us out of it." Jane said helping Ginny to their car before she drove her out to a secluded spot.
Jane and Ginny shared a hug before Ginny said, "Do it," watching her former best friend point a finger at her before saying, "Obliviate."
Jane then drove quickly away before Ginny regained her bearings and apparated back to Hogwarts where she informed Headmistress McGonagall that Daniel Robinson refused to attend Hogwarts and would be attending another less expensive wizarding school.