FIC: " The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard." for imera
Title: The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard
Rating: R – Language
Pairings: Yaxley/Hermione Granger, mentions of HG/RW, Y/FOC
Word Count: ~40,000
Summary: When a tradition bound, beplaited Iacob Yaxley takes anarchist Hermione Granger prisoner, he must rely on the The Well Bred Warlock Guide for help.
Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): NONE.
Author's/Artist's Notes: Story jumps around in time a bit. Like most stories, it begins at the beginning of an end and then ends at the new beginning.
Synopsis: The Dark Lord is in control of Magical Britian, and Hermoine is dependant on Yaxley for protection.
Thank you to the letters L and U for their assistance in Beta-ing. Also thank you to Delphi for granting me multiple extensions as Iacob Yaxley refused to be part of any scenario not condoned by The Well Bred Warlock Guide.
2 August, 2003 16.15
Yaxley Manor House
"Don't ever get complacent, as that's when everything goes arse over tit." Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.
"Dadaidh!" Rowena informed her mother. She tugged at her younger sister's hand and they ran to meet their father.
Hermione watched in gentle bemusement as Iacob picked up both girls and kissed them. "Hello, ladies. Were you good for your mamaidh? Please say yes, as that means we can have tea together. I've been looking forward to having tea with my favorite ladies. I even left work early so I could attend."
As a father, Iacob was quite affectionate towards his daughters. There was a gentler side to the normally gruff and abrasive Iacob that only his family rated, and he adored his daughters. For example, both girls had wished to have 'tea' with their Father like the Adults did, so he had left the Ministry early to comply. Both girls energetically nodded their heads as Iacob carried them to the room where the House Elves had already prepared the table for tea. There were several stuffed animals, happily wearing their finest, sitting around the table and even Jasper, Iacob's favorite dog, was sitting in a chair. However, Jasper was seemingly less than enthused about wearing his owner's Glengarry Bonnet, though he was quite the striking terrier.
"Grádhág," Iacob called to Hermione. "Jasper? Why is he wearing my Glengarry?"
"Jasper is family," stated his youngest daughter, Anastasia.
"Anstey, love, Jasper's a dog," her father reminded her.
"He likes tea, too!" explained Rowena. "He needed to be dressed!"
He shrugged his shoulders in easy defeat and turned towards Hermione. Much to her surprise, he gave her a slight smile before he cachinnated.. She had heard him chuckle over the years, but this was the first time he had ever wholeheartedly laughed.
"Don't make fun of Jasper!" Anastasia protested, which caused Iacob to laugh even harder.
The purists would have done backflips over what was served at tea, but Hermione was too busy examining Iacob. He was acting odd for him, putting forth an almost palatable effort at being the perfect father, attentive and affectionate. He let them eat the sweets before the savories, and then permitted them to even take seconds. And when they were done, he took them off to the nursery where he read them a story. Actually a half dozen stories until they both fell asleep, snuggled together in the same bed.
Iacob kissed them both and he stroked their hair. Then he intently watched them sleep, as though he was trying to memorize the scene.
"They're so beautiful," he said to Hermione when he finally arrived in the library. He picked up a glass of scotch and drank it slowly, savoring it.
"You let them sleep together in Anstey's bed?" She asked.
"They sneak into each other's room when they wake up in the middle of the night. I thought that tonight I'd just let them. I want them to remember me fondly."
"Remember you fondly?" Hermione repeated.
"I don't remember my father. As I've gotten older, my mother is, at best, a faded memory of sanctuary. All I remember of my childhood is how uncaring my great-grandfather was. When the girls are older," Iacob explained while he pulled her close against him. He rested his hands on her swollen belly, and continued, "When he is older, I want them to remember how I'd Floo home from work in order to have tea with them, and how I let my dog wear my good bonnet because they wished him properly dressed. And I want you to remember, how much you loved it when I kissed your neck."
He kissed her neck.
"How you'd squirm when I nibbled on your ear," he growled, before he began to nibble on her ear. "And how happy I was, when you finally confessed that you enjoyed our lovemaking. Let's go to bed."
"It's barely seven," teased Hermione.
"The girls are asleep in the nursery. I also failed to notice that Jasper is sleeping in the bed also, so we will not be disturbed. Come to bed."
It was ten in the evening when he attempted to slip out of their bed. The slight shift in the mattress caused Hermione to wake as she was a very light sleeper, especially when she was pregnant.
"Where are you going?" protested Hermione.
"Need a smoke," he said. "You know that I don't smoke around you or the children, but after that delightful exercise, I need a smoke. Go to sleep."
"You're not leaving are you? You're acting very strange, Iacob," she protested.
"Not tonight, I am not planning on leaving before tomorrow morning," he assured her. "Now, go to sleep, Hermione."
With that, he quickly dressed and left the room while Hermione drifted off to sleep, assisted by Iacob's non-verbal charm. Her last thought was that it was the very first time he had ever called her Hermione.
"They'll be here for me shortly," Iacob told Alfred the portrait. Iacob was straightening his clothes so there was not a single wrinkle, and yes, he had decided to wear the Glenngarry bonnet. The ribbons adjusted just so, he then sat down in a comfortable chair. "The great crusade to save our traditions has failed, destroyed by the wee bastard Potter."
"You could have run," offered Alfred.
"They would have easily found me by tracing the children's blood," Iacob admitted. "And… really, I needed to give them this. A final memory of me being there for them. When they're older, I hope that they realize that I came back… for them. I wanted to give them something happy to remember me by, for they will hate me when my crimes are revealed."
"They will remember the tea party," promised Rowena.
"I had to come back for Nighean. She has a fear of abandonment, after what happened. By doing this, I will be abandoning her, but I came home to her first. I hope she'll understand that I'm doing this for our children. Not for me."
The portraits said not a word but Alfred Nott nodded his head in approval. Iacob poured Scotch into a large tumbler and added a small vial to it. He swirled the tumbler until the liquid was once more clear.
"They're coming," Alfred told him.
He took a long, slow swallow and smiled. "This really isn't bad. It's quite good in fact. It's very smooth going down but I fear there will be a bit of an aftertaste."
When the Order broke into his house, they found a comatose Iacob Yaxley in his library. There was an empty bottle of scotch on the table, and a shattered tumbler on the floor. However, clutched against his chest was a picture of his two daughters and Hermione.
"Poison," announced Kingsley Shacklebolt. "Take him to Mungo's. Have him put under guard, and we need to find Hermione. She should be here, according to Severus."
2 August, 2003 18.00 – The Battle to Regain Hogwarts
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
"Nervous, Harry?" Arthur Weasley asked.
Harry Potter nodded his head and didn't say anything.
"You'll do fine," assured Arthur.
"I'm tired," Harry admitted. Then in a softer voice, he admitted, "It's Hermione. I'm worried about her and I've never forgiven myself for what happened at the Ministry. We never went back for her. Do you think…"
"I don't know if she's still alive. The last I heard was over two years ago when it was announced that she and Yaxley…" Remus paused. "When he was reinstated as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I know he brought in pictures of his two daughters."
"But she's Muggleborn," protested Harry.
"I know, but he's taken her as his wife's surrogate. It's complicated semantics, but it means, that his children are considered Pure Blood because his deceased wife was Pure Blooded. If Hermione is still alive, we must assist her through this experience," Remus explained.
"Still?" Ron spat. "Awfully quick to write her off, Remus."
"Let's win this, and then search for her. She's probably at Yaxley's house," inserted Kingsley.
The battle begun, Iacob Yaxley rapidly realized which side would lose.
Severus Snape was Dumbledore's man, The Dark Lord was becoming steadily weaker for no reason he could determine and….when his side lost, he'd be captured and sentence to Azkaban. His children would be ashamed by their connection to him…. In his pocket, he had the last Time Turner in all of existence. He needed to get home. Needed to give them a happy memory of him, one that would keep as they grew older. Then he'd fall on his sword, to prevent them from being shamed by having an incarcerated father. Nighean's malartú braceletwould be sufficient, more than sufficient to put her in the firmly well-to-do category of society. The bracelet was her financial security, especially after she gave birth to his son because Iacob had already ordered the gem for her bracelet. It was a sapphire the size of his thumb nail, while each of his daughters had received a similarly sized ruby. Between that and the secret vault in Gringott's in her name, well, he had done well by her. It was a shame, that he'd never know his son, but really, it would be better for wee one.
Theirs had been a very odd relationship with a very rocky start, but after Rowena's birth, Nighean had seemed to come around. Or at least, she had stopped slapping him. She had even become slightly more responsive in bed, but she still made him do everything. Not that he minded, but really... must he intitate it every single time?. By selling the bracelet and the choker, she'd be able to move to Canada if she desired to keep their children safe. Speaking of Canada, he should send a note to Theo advising him not to return to Scotland. Ever.
He'd return to the Ministry, do a wash up and instead of warning his fellow Death Eaters of what was about to befall them, he'd OWL his House Elves, have them set up tea for his family. Even a condemned man deserved a final meal with his family.
3 August, 2003 02.00
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Kingsley Shacklebolt surveyed the ruin that once was a magical school known as Hogwarts. He put his hand on the bulwark and assured the school that it would be rebuilt. There was a shiver beneath his hands as though the school had murmured its appreciation.
"No Yaxley," Dora Lupin informed him. "Auntie claims that he disappeared during the battle, so he may have cut a bunk. Do you trust her?"
"Not one bit," he said.
"Good," she said, flashing her wild smile. "Her loyalties are to Draco."
"Lucius?" He asked.
She shook her head. "He's made some strategic errors, so she has distanced herself."
"I hate pureblood politics," groaned the pureblooded Shacklebolt.
"Kingsley, when we go to Yaxley's house, we need two groups. One to handle whatever to he's done to boobytrap the house, the second group should …"
"Be parents? I was thinking you, Arthur and Remus. I'm not sure about Molly, she's just so maternal, and I'm not sure exactly what the story with Hermione might be. She might be too much for Hermione. Plus, no one has ever seen these children. I don't think they've ever left the estate."
"With Da's personality, it was probably for the best," Tonks added.
3 August, 2003 02.00
Yaxley Manor House
Against Kingsley's better judgment, he permitted Ron and Harry to be part of the squad to enter Yaxley's estates. With an ease that unnerved the battle weary Kingsley, they punched through the wards. The explanation for their easy entrance was when they found Yaxley had taken poison and that he was barely alive. If they had tried to enter the house after he died, his backup wards would have been primary, but with the head of the house ill, the primary wards were in the process of shutting down.
"Wasn't as instantaneous as you had hoped," murmured Kingsley as the Death Eater was taken to a secured floor at Mungo's.
Then chaos, hysterical House Elves, dogs barking, someone drew their wand on the dogs, a child… terrified children screaming, "Jasper!"
"Wands down!" Kingsley roared.
Then he saw her, Hermione Granger crouching on the floor. Her hair was long and curly, her figure… well… she was pregnant, he'd say a few months at most, and she was holding out her arms to the two hysterical children who were hitting one of his strike team.
"He killed Jasper!" said the older of the two girls. The two children…. They could only be Yaxley's children with Hermione; they were hysterical, weeping over the Stunned dog.
"Come to Mamaidh, girls. Please. Jasper is fine; he's just sleeping right now. Please, come to me."
"Want Dadaidh!" was the youngest girl's response.
Hermione persisted and her two daughters with Yaxley came to her. They clung to her and she picked them both up. Their positions accented the curve of her belly and from the sharp inhales of various Order members; it seemed that only he and Arthur had guessed.
"Dadaidh had to go to work. He's at work right now. These people are here to make sure we're safe," Hermione lied to her children. "Kingsley, I know what your arrival means. But you need to have everyone leave as you are scaring my daughters. Please. You can stay, but … everyone else needs to go."
With a quick gesture, Kingsley ordered his strike team to leave, but Arthur Weasley refused to leave. Instead he held out his arms.
"Hermione, your daughters are beautiful. May I hold one?" Arthur asked. "You shouldn't be carrying both of them right now. Is the dark haired one, Rowena? It's a pretty name for a pretty girl. And you must be Anastasia. You're beautiful, too. I've know your parents for a very long time and I'm quite fond of your mother. I'm Uncle Arthur, and I'm delighted to finally meet you."
Somehow Arthur ended with both girls and he began to walk about the room, gently rocking them.
"Close your eyes," he whispered, and before long, both girls were asleep. "Where should I put them, Hermione?"
"Put them in my bed. Kingsley, can you put Jasper there, too? I'm hoping he should be awake in a little bit? Your people didn't kill him, did they?" Hermione asked.
"My people?" Kingsley repeated.
"Your people, because I don't what's happening or has happened. Iacob isn't here; is he dead?" Her voice was composed but Kingsley noticed how she was hugging herself.
"Please sit down," requested Kingsley. "I'll tell you everything."
"He was at the battle of Hogwarts? At six in the evening? But he was here, with us. He had tea with our daughters, and we went to bed early," Hermione murmured. Then she nodded her head in tired acceptance of Iacob's quirks. "He came back. He saw how the battle was going; he must have possessed a Time Turner. He came back for his daughters and his son. He made a strange about about wanting them to fondly remember him."
"Hermione?" Arthur asked. Her name translated to, 'You're keeping his baby?'
"Yes, I'm keeping him, Arthur. Now, what will happen to Iacob?"
"If he lives," Kingsley began.
"He will; he's nothing if not a survivor," Hermione insisted.
"Trial. If you can, we'll need you to testify," Kingsley said.
"Naturally. Someone will have to speak in Iacob's defense."
Kingsley said not a word, but instead he just nodded his head. He wasn't sure what to make of this Hermione. She had changed, dramatically, from the earnest teenager he had once known. Then again, he was a far cry from the man he once had been.
"I'll stay here," Hermione decided. "This is all the girls know. I'll have to explain to them about their father. I'll keep it simple, that he's taken ill, and that it's very serious. I must see him."
No, would it be possible, may I see him? No, she must see him.
"Hermione, he'll be in a secure ward."
"Unsecure it for me," she protested. "I will need to talk to him, and find out what he wants done. I'll probably ignore it as it will be his usual Pureblood bullshite and I'll decide what needs to be done. Now, gentlemen, I'll hope you don't mind, but I'd like you both to leave. You can contact me, Kingsley when you have it arranged so I can see Iacob."
She nodded her head and stood.
"Hermione, what can I do for you?" Kingsley asked. "I'll have Aurors stationed around the borders of the property to keep you safe."
"I'd like you to release Iacob, but I'm sure you can't. Other than that, there's nothing you can do. If you could have done something, I'm sure you would have done it six years ago. Six bloody years ago, Kingsley. Now I want nothing more than for you to leave, because I have to make some decisions now."
"Hermione," Arthur inserted. "Have your daughters ever left the estate?"
She shook her head. "It wasn't safe, not after Iacob killed the LeStrange brothers. It's certainly not safe now."
"Perhaps, I could ask Remus and Dora to bring Teddy over."
"Teddy?" asked Hermione.
"They coupled, and the two of them are more off than on, but they're raising a son together, named Teddy. His name is Theodore, named after his grandfather."
"Remus can bring him, not Dora. Dora's one of Shacklebolt's people."
"Hermione," Kingsley softly protested.
"Just leave, Kingsley. Arthur, I'm sorry, but I'd prefer not to see you again, either."
"I understand, Hermione. But I don't like it. If you change your mind, Molly and I will be there."
After the Order members left her home, Hermione permitted herself the luxury of a collapse. She sank into the couch and she hugged herself.
"You came home," she whispered. "Instead of running and abandoning your family, you came home. Because you understood how I felt after being abandoned by Harry and Ron."
6 August 2003, 9.00
St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries
When Iacob Yaxley woke, he wasn't in Hell. He certainly hadn't anticipated that his final end would be anything besides a southern destination. However, his hands were restrained as were his legs. There was also a block on his magic, as he could sense it, but he couldn't 'reach' it with his mind. The ceiling needed painting, and there was something icky on one of the ceiling titles. It looked like a Devil's Snare…
Bloody, bloody hell. He had cocked up his suicide.
"You're awake," Nighean whispered.
He turned his head and saw her sitting next to his bedside. She leaned over his bedside and whispered in his ear. "We've got company; they don't trust me with you. I want you to behave and not doing anything mulish. It's time for you to let me protect our family."
Then she kissed him, on his mouth.
"Why?" Iacob asked when they had to finally break apart for air.
She rewarded him with a gentle smile. "Good, now you're the one asking that question. Let me know when you get an answer so we can compare, Iacob. While you've been recovering, our son has quickened. He's very lively, so I was thinking Alfred for his name?"
"I like that. Though you will need to watch him, so he doesn't take after his uncle. His uncle was too friendly with the ladies."
"He's got too much of you in him to ever be charming," Nighean retorted.
He laughed out loud, because well, Nighean was quite correct. She leaned against him, as though hugging him. The centrifuge was useful as he could pretend to kiss her ear, instead he whispered instructions, "Go to Gingrotts, speak with Ragnok. There are instructions for you there; I've prepared an escape for you."
"I'm not leaving you," she whispered between kisses.
"For the children, you need to leave Europe," he protested. "I'm sorry my suicide failed. It would have been much easier for you."
"No, it wouldn't have. I want to get you exonerated. Alfie Imperio'd you. You didn't kill Theo, you saved my life."
"It means nothing," he reminded her. "And Theo is remaining where Theo is; I refuse to let him come back to Scotland."
"It means something to me and our children," she said.
"Oi! Are you two planning on shagging?" said a male voice. "I'd tell you to get a room, but Mr. Death Eater's not going anywhere. Not anytime soon."
Hermione tensed and then he whispered, "Is that the ginger you used to pretend was touching you?"
She nodded. Then another voice spoke, a low, deep voice, "Auror Trainee Weasley, you are dismissed for today. Go back to the trainee's quarters and reflect on your actions. Auror Trainee Potter, you've disappointed me. You're both dismissed. "
The door opened and shut, and then Kingsley continued, "Miss Granger, you'd get less comments like that if you'd refrain from reclining in his ward bed. I'd like to apologize for their behavior. I had hoped that they would treat you with respect."
"Our son kicked and I wished him to feel it," Hermione explained. "Since his hands are restrained, it was the only way I could do it."
"Go," Iacob whispered as they disengaged. "Don't anger him."
"Mr. Yaxley, you'll be moved to Azkaban shortly," Kingsley explained. "We're rounding up legal counsel for you and the others; however there is a dearth of personnel who wish to take on your case. It may be a few months before your case comes to court."
"I understand," Iacob said. Then in a very commanding tone, he added, "I command you to protect Nighean and the children. As you had previously failed at doing so, I will not permit you to do so again. Swear it on your soul, and name, Kingsley."
"I so Avow," Kingsley answered. "I swear upon my name, Kingsley Edward Shacklebolt. I swear upon the blood in my veins, and I swear, on my soul, that I will not fail again."
"What did you just do? I told you to behave," Hermione hissed.
"I can't protect you. Not while I'm here, but he can. He failed at protecting you, remember? He and the Order failed, and unlike that boy of who you were once fond, he acknowledges the guilt within him."
28 November, 2003 11.45
North Sea, UK
[Author's note - we return to Hermione meeting with Iacob in Azkan while they are surrounded by Order Members. This is where our story first began. ]
There was a thought in the back of Hermione's mind. One that she was struggling to hide, but really, did she honestly think he wouldn't know? He continued stroking her face and focused. Yaxley found the thought, easily, and then felt the edgy emotions that surrounded it. Nighean was worried about his reaction if he discovered what she was hiding… that he might break out of Azkaban… and he focused still further.
"They're deliberately hurting you? Who?" Iacob growled. His raw rage frightened Hermione, as she pulled away. "I'm not angry at you. Who is the Healer that is hurting my children's mother? I will not permit anyone to hurt you. The LeStrange brothers could vouch for that… if they were still alive. Shacklebolt, you will address this immediately."
"Give me a name, Hermione. I will ensure that the Healer never bothers you again," Shacklebolt promised.
"Thompson," Yaxley stated. "It's Thompson and Gallagher. Why didn't you tell anyone?"
"It's not just them, it's everyone," she explained. "All the Healers. They're just the most vocal. But the reason why I wished to see you today is because they've set a trial date for you. It would be quite beneficial for your case if you could tell me where Theodore Nott is. I can't search all of Canada for him."
"You don't need to search all of Canada. He's buried under the Rhododendron," Yaxley reminded her. "Next to his mother and his aunt."
Hermione's hand twitched as though she wished to slap him. "Iacob, Effie's buried under the Rhododendron. You planted them specifically for her because she used to sun herself in your garden and destroy your Rhododendron bushes."
"Effie?" asked Remus. "Who's that?"
"A real bitch," stated Iacob.
"Euphemia was one of his dogs. Why aren't you helping me in your defense?" Hermione asked. "You won't confirm that Alfred Imperio'd you into becoming a Death Eater. His portrait said he did, but it's not admissible in court. They made an exception just for Severus and Dumbledore's portrait. You won't tell me where you hid Theodore."
"When I'm on trial, I'll tell them everything," he said.
"Good," she said.
"That I killed Theodore and I Imperio's Alfred into joining Voldemort's cause. I will also tell everyone how I Imperio'd you into my bed. You will also not be permitted to bear witness as it will not be healthy for you and the baby."
That earned him a hard slap.
"Witch, must we return to the 'Slapping Iacob' stage of our relationship?" He growled. "I find that I do not particularly miss it."
"I'm pregnant. It's permitted, especially when Iacob Yaxley is being a bloody arse. Why are you doing this?" she asked. "Is it to protect the children and me? I'm already known as a Death Eater Whore."
"Public opinion can be swayed. When I am done, you will be known as a victim not a whore," he said. "You will be able to step outside, with your head held high, and no one will ever call you a whore again."
"I'm not your victim," Hermione protested.
He said not a word, and she reached for his cheek. "Kingsley has promised that we'll make you presentable for your trail. Lottie will come in and she'll ensure you look respectable. Get rid of the beard and we'll fix your braid."
"Thank you. It upsets me that you see me like this," he whispered. "That I am not well turned out for the mother of my children. I am humiliated, Nighean. I am scruffy and I am dirty, Nighean. Never would I have you see me like this. My hair is unbound and I am not clean-shaved."
"I quite like the beard," she lied.
They embraced once again and he didn't wish to let her go when their meeting was over. It wasn't just for mutual comfort, but because she had let slip through their bond that her parents were in Australia. If Hermione couldn't find Theodore in Canada, he'd have a harder time finding Eleanor and Matthew Granger in Australia and he required as much information as possible.
13 December 2003, 8.00
Really, it was frightening easy to escape from Azkaban. There were a few wards that were weak, and a guard that was careless.
He had to be quick, because his escape would be noticed shortly, so he returned home, changed his clothes, took coin and Alfred's wand, who was eager for a new Master. After a moment's reflection, he decided to take Jasper with him. If he was searching for Hermione's parents, it would be beneficial to have four legged assistance as they were trained to detect magic.
He landed in a park in Perth, Australia in the early morning hours. Fortunately, he kept his feet. He then sat down on a park bench and motioned for Jasper to sit.
"Jasper," he said. "We need to find Nighean's parents. They are going by the names, Wendell and Monica Wilkins. You're a big dog, and rather noticeable. I'll have to leash you."
Jasper gave him the stink eye, as he was a very well trained terrier and didn't need the ignominy of a leash. However for his pack leader's mate, he would submit. Though he deliberately sat on Yaxley's foot.
13 December 2003, 7.00
Yaxley Manor House
"Try not to stun any of the dogs, Kingsley," snapped Hermione. Anstey was cradled in her arms, positioned against her pronounced baby belly and Rowena, being a big girl, was standing between her mother and Kingsley. Her face was a thundercloud and her little fists were clenched as though preparing a mighty blow on the Minister's kneecap. "As it is, I can't seem to find one of the dogs."
"Hermione, please. It's Kingsley speaking, not Minister Shacklebolt, it's Kingsley. Please, I need to speak with you and prevent an incident from escalating. Can we please come into your house?"
"You're not getting tea," she insisted. "Lottie, could you please take the girls?"
The House Elves descended and took the girls to breakfast. Hermione then went to the sitting room, where her House Elves had prepared a light breakfast for her, and yes, damn them, they had set up tea for Kingsley and his crew.
"Please, help yourself," she said, rather ungraciously. Her excuse for her waspishness was it was seven in the blasted morning and she was nearly eight months pregnant. Plus Kingsley, Remus and Dora were not her favorite people. All they needed was Ron and Harry to join the party to make everything perfect.
"Hermione, there's been an escape from Azkaban," Kingsley began.
"Sweet Christ, which Death Eater is coming after Iacob's children now?" Hermione protested after a long sip of decaffeinated tea. "For an inescapable prison, your guards seem to hand out the pass key with the prisoner's change of clothes."
"Hermione, it's Iacob. He escaped early this morning."
Her face fell and she cursed a blue streak. "I told the idiot not to do anything stupid. I think this classifies as beyond stupid. Ro and Anstey swear that they saw their father last night, and I thought they were dreaming. Iacob's escape explains why Jasper's gone. Iacob took the bloody dog on this latest misadventure. Let me check something. Evie?"
A House Elf popped into the room and curtsied. "Would you please check if Alfred's wand is still in the library?"
The Elf popped away and Hermione shook her head. "I've gotten very dependent on them, what with the children. I've tried to pay them, they won't take it. I've tried to schedule them so they work four days a week, and they just ignore it. With Alfred dead and Iacob imprisoned, I'm tripping over two household's worth of House Elves."
She stroked her belly and closed her eyes. When Evie popped back into the room, she opened her eyes. With all the intensity of a Old Testament prophet delivering a sermon from the Mount, Hermione announced, "It's gone and the money in the drawer is missing also. Was Iacob in the house this morning?"
Evie folded her hands and said not a word, but her ears went flat against her head.
"He checked on the girls, visited the kennels and took Alfred's wand and money. Did he at least make a sandwich in the kitchen while he was here?" Hermione asked. "I do worry about him not eating properly now that he's escaped from Azkaban."
Evie nodded and then softly added, "Master looked on yous twos, and kissed your forehead."
"Well, there's at least that," she softly said. "Iacob's escaped from Azkaban. I have no idea where he is."
"You have no idea where he is, but do you know where he's gone?" Kingsley asked.
Hermoine's expression went flat and she protectively put her hand on her belly.
"You know where he's gone," stated Kingsley.
"I've told you that I have no idea where he is," Hermione repeated.
"When Hogwarts fell, he came back here. To his family. He's escaped from Azkaban after he specifically asked you what boon you wished from him. You told him that you were tired and that you wanted your mother. He's gone to find your parents, Hermione, hasn't he?"
"I fear he has done so," she admitted. "I don't know where they are. They're in Australia, that's all I know. I Oblivated their memories and gave them fake names and the thought in their head that they wished to immigrate to Australia. Iacob won't be able to find them; he couldn't locate them when he searched their house."
"I don't think he was trying especially hard. They were out of the way, which was sufficient for him. Iacob and Alfred trained the Snatchers to locate their victims, using magical methods. However, he brought Jasper with him; he's in Australia looking for your parents. Do you have any ideas where your parents might be? How deeply did you Oblivate them? Did you leave any part of you in them?"
She shook her head.
"Nothing remains?" Kingsley asked. His tone was quite sympathetic.
"I wasn't sure which side would win, and I wanted them safe," she explained.
"Hermione, the problem is Iacob's trial is scheduled to start on the 15th. Do you truly believe that he's gone to Australia to locate your parents? Or is he on the run for his life?"
"He's in Australia," she quietly stated. "There is no doubt in my mind that he went to Australia to locate my parents. I trust Iacob with my life, and I know he's in Australia right now. Damn the man."
"Do you think he'll come back for his trial?" Kingsley asked. "I'm willing to keep this quiet, if you assure me that he will be back."
Hermione pondered deeply on what Kingsley was offering. If Iacob didn't return, his disappearance and the fact that Kingsley had kept it quiet would quickly destabilize Kingsley's new government.
"Kingsley," she began.
"I trust you, and will abide by your opinion on Iacob Yaxley. You know him the best of anyone living."
"He'll be back," she said.
December 15, 2003, 8.00
Wilkins' Dental Institute
Adventure Bay, Tasmania
Don't ever make a promise you don't plan on keeping. Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.
First impressions with your intended's parents are very important. This basic truth cannot be overstated. Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.
Iacob Yaxley was not comfortable among the non-magical. He didn't dress like them, and the braid… well, it was a dead giveaway that he was a bit odd. Plus he had a large dangerous looking terrier that was walking sedately by his side. And his thick Glaswegian accent, long a source of personal pride for him, was nigh near incomprehensible to the locals. With his assorted arithmancy charts, his blood mingling with Hermione to create three children, he had been able to do a bit of Blood Magic to Disapparate to the town where her parents were located. Really; considering he was wanted for assorted crimes against humanity, accused of murdering his nephew and no doubt the nitwits that ran Azkaban had realized he was missing which would lead to a barrage of new charges well, what was a little Blood Magic to the tally?
Shorter and shorter leaps finally had him land in front of a dental clinic. The Wilkins' Dental Institute.
They opened…. When did they open? He took out his watch, adjusted for the time zone difference, added the zenith of the sun to the equation and then carried the four… in two hours. So he sat on the front steps and hoped that the Wilkins would show up before the Aurors did. He had a command performance in court in a few hours and really, he should be there to take the blame for everything. However, he needed to get Hermione's parents back to her so she'd have some emotional support during the upcoming months.
Unlike their daughter, the Wilkins-Grangers were quite prompt. Jasper jumped to his feet and began wagging his tail when he caught their scent.
"Can I help you? If you're looking for the veterinarian, he's down the road," Wendell informed him.
"Actually, I'm a traveler. I'm having a bit of problem with my teeth." For good measure, he placed his hand on the spot that Nighean always slapped him.
"Are you from Glasgow?" Wendell asked him.
"Nearby," Iacob admitted.
"I thought I recognized the accent! You're a long way from home, that's for sure. We actually don't have office hours today as my wife and I were planning on having a bit of holiday. The weather's lovely and the bay… but I can't turn down a person in need. Come in, but… your dog?" Wendell asked.
"Is quite safe. He's very well trained. He will take a nap while you look at my teeth. Is that your partner?" Iacob asked.
"My wife. " Wendell explained before calling out to his wife, "Hon, we've got a Scot in need. I've agreed to take a look at his teeth as he's traveling."
The three of them, four if one included the very large dog that thought he was human, walked into the dentistry. Iacob took out Alfred's wand and he pointed it at the Grangers.
"Why are you pointing that stick at us? We've not doweling for water, are we?" Wendell nervously laughed.
"No," Iacob curtly said and then reversed the various enchantments that Hermione had laid upon her parents. The spell reversal hit them hard, so he ensured that they safely sat down. They looked at him and then turned quite pale.
"You're one of them, aren't you? Those Death Drinkers," Eleanor Granger said. "You're here to kill us."
"Yes and no," Iacob said. "Your daughter needs your help. I've located you so I can bring you to her. She sent you to Australia for your safety and she removed your memories, just in case someone like me showed. You wouldn't be able to reveal her location and you'd be safe. Rather naïve of her, as most likely you would have been dead anyway, but your daughter has matured significantly in the last six years. Having children does that, as she's had to settle down. You'd be proud of her; she's continued her education even with the little ones. I made sure of that, as education is very important."
"Hermione has children?" Matthew Granger asked.
"Two girls, and a boy that's due in … six weeks? Let's see… she conceived on Beltane, Nighean usually delivers a week or so late…. Make it seven weeks."
Both Grangers were staring at him in what could only be classified as horror.
"Whatever is the matter? Don't you want to meet your grandchildren?" He asked. Really, it was no wonder Hermione was completely lacking in social graces, if this is what she had grown up with. It was fortunate that he had taken her under his wing and taught her basic manners.
"You seem to know a great deal about when she conceived," Eleanor whispered.
"I should, I was there," he said. "Intimately involved if you will."
"I thought she was interested in… Ron," her father said.
"Ron was a boy, fickle and immature. There was no contest. Me?" There was a shrug and a pop of his eyebrows. "I'm... established. I have money, a house, the ability to spoil her like she deserves. However, it's rather complicated and we should let your daughter explain everything. I want to bring you to her. Shall we be off?"
"But our practice?" Wendell… Matthew…. protested.
"Family emergency, she needs you. She needs you now and there are grandchildren that you must wish to meet? Rowena Eleanor is the oldest and she is almost five. She is quite intelligent and very happy. Her sister, Anastasia Rose is almost two and half years old, and she is also brilliant but she is far more serious than her sister." Well, truth was both girls had their birthdays while he had been imprisoned, so they were 5 and 3 now, but he didn't want to reflect on how his daughters were growing up and he wasn't there.
"Matthew, we missed her wedding," Eleanor sighed.
"We're not married," Iacob stated.
"Hermione had children with you and you're not married? Why not? That's not how we raised our daughter," protested Matthew.
"I'm already married, I cannot take a second wife," he began. When he saw the narrowed eyes, he held out his hand. "My wife is deceased, for almost twenty years, but magical vows are eternal. Can we please go? I am due in court in several hours and I should change."
"Oh, you're a barrister?" Matthew asked.
"No, I'm the accused," Iacob admitted.
December 14, 2003, 22.00
Yaxley Manor House
"Hello, Auntie," Theodore Nott said as he exited the floo. "Sorry I hadn't gotten here earlier, I've been declared dead as you know. It makes international transport a bit tricky."
"I know," Hermione said. "But really, Auntie?"
"You and Uncle Iacob have quite the brood now, so I must accept it with good graces. Plus, I've met this lovely witch in Canada. I'll want Uncle Iacob's approval on her. I fear that he may not approve as she's Muggle born, but she's brilliant. It's just that in Canada; they don't care about blood purity. It's rather… refreshing, I must admit."
"Seems reasonable to me," she dryly stated.
"How much trouble is Uncle Iacob in?" Theodore intently questioned, "I'm not up on the latest news."
"A great deal. Kingsley kept his escape from Azkaban very quiet, but if he doesn't show up for his trial, he'll bring down Kingsley's government."
"And that would be a bad thing?" Theodore asked.
Hermione thought about it long and hard, and then nodded her head. "I believe that it would be very bad."
"Very well, you've got me, very much not dead. I have a signed, sealed and Avowed letter from my father stating that he Imperio'd Uncle Iacob into joining the Death Eaters. What else do we have?" asked Theodore.
"Me, very much not unreliable as I'm pregnant with his baby. Naturally, I'll speak in his defense. I have Luna Lovegood…" Hermione paused.
"Loonie Lovegood," exclaimed Theodore.
"Yes, Luna who is willing to speak on his behalf. For what it's worth. Garrick Ollivander also; it seemed that several of the Death Eaters wished to break Garrick's hands, but Iacob refused to permit it."
Theodore nodded his head and sighed. Hesitantly, he put his arm around Hermione and gave her a slight hug.
December 15, 2003, 9.00
Wilkins' Dental Institute
Adventure Bay, Tasmania
"So, you'll take us to see Hermione and the children?" Eleanor Granger repeated.
"Yes, if you take my arm, I can take us there," Iacob said.
"We don't need a fireplace?" Matthew Granger asked.
"No, I can take us to my house where you can meet with Hermione." Iacob was trying to keep his irritation from showing, but really, Granger's parents were being particularly difficult.
"Would you mind if I used the loo before we go?" Eleanor asked, blushing.
"Absolutely," Iacob said.
He was talking to Matthew when Eleanor Granger nailed him with a syringe full of Valium. He collapsed onto the floor but not before saying in an acidic tone,"Your daughter takes after you, Madam." While Jasper was busy licking his pack leader, Eleanor jabbed him with the valium also. The dog gave her a look of betrayal before he collapsed on his owner with a thud.
"I think that's off-label use, Ellie," Matthew dryly stated. "And you reused a dirty needle."
"Do you honestly believe that Hermione would be involved with him? Let's close the clinic for the day and figure out what we need to do. I didn't give him that much valium, but he's really almost comatose," Eleanor admitted. "I really didn't give him that much, just in case, he really is the father of our grandchildren, but really isn't he a little bit old for her?"
"He's rather scary also," Matthew agreed.
"Let's get the dog off him, and maintain his airway. I have no idea how to contact Hermione or even it's safe. Let's see what he has in his pockets."
They undid his jacket, examined his waist-coast and then pulled out a picture of Hermione with her two daughters from an inside pocket. Hermione was smiling broadly at her youngest daughter who appeared a few days old, while her oldest daughter was snuggled next to her. In the background, there was the man they had just drugged into unconsciousness; he was giving them a very evil glare.
"Bugger me," Matthew stated, perfectly reflecting Eleanor's unease. "I think we're off to a very bad start with Hermione's boyfriend. He looks really angry in the picture."
"Must we use that term, boyfriend, for him? Is there not another one, better suited," pleaded Eleanor. "We've got a problem, however. He's supposed to be in court today?"
"Yes," agreed Matthew. "Do you think he'll be awake by then? They're …. Ten hours behind us?"
She opened one eye, and all she saw was the white of his eye. She shook him, rubbed his chest for a substernal notch rub, guaranteed to wake the living dead, and he did nothing.
"No," she said. "And while he's admitted he's from Glasgow, his Glasgow Coma Scale is pretty low even for a native. We can't dare take him the hospital. His magical nature will play havoc on the electronics."
"We're really not starting off well with him," sighed Matthew. He noticed Eleanor's fierce look and he quickly added, "Not that we can be blamed, in the slightest."
December 15, 2003, 5.00
Yaxley Manor House
"Hello, Theodore, it's nice to see that the rumors of your demise have been exaggerated," Kingsley stated to the very much alive Theodore Nott, who smiled before excusing himself from the room. Shacklebolt looked far older than his fifty years when he whispered, "He didn't come back, did he?"
"No, something's wrong. I can't even… sense… him. Last night, I had this sensation from him, that he was inordinately pleased with himself. Then growing exasperation and frustration, and then… nothing," Hermione said. "I can sense him, because when he splinched his arm, he bonded with me to stay alive."
"Hermione, that's not the only reason," Kingsley softly stated.
"I know it isn't, but really, it's just one sided. My side," she admitted. "It's always been Rowena for him, and it will always be Rowena. It would be nice for more, but it won't happen. I'm very sorry, Kingsley. I've brought down your government, because you didn't announce Iacob escaped from Azkaban. You'll have a trial and he won't be there. Thank you for trusting me. You shouldn't have."
He gave her his gentle smile, "I owed you. For those six years, and I still owe you. Was he kind to you?"
"He was an utter bastard at times," she admitted with a dry laugh. "But there were moments when I realized that he wasn't a complete bastard."
"Just a wee bastard?" Kingsley asked.
She laughed. "He was different with Alfie. The two of them could tease each other and he was very avuncular with Theo. When I believed that he had killed Theo, it just negated everything he had done previously. That he had saved my life protected me from the LeStrange brothers. He asked me to trust him, and I realized then it was just us against everyone else. He could be amazingly kind and gentle with me besides being brash and acidic. He adored the children, though he had all these crazy Pure Blood rituals. Each of our daughters' placentas was planted with a rose bush. What am I supposed to do with our son's?"
"You plant a tree," Kingsley informed her. "Now you nap, and I'll see you two in court at nine."
"I'm sorry, Kingsley," repeated Hermione.
"Don't be, trust is a good thing."
"It wasn't deserved in this case," she admitted with a sad, disheartened smile.
"I think it was. Have faith, Hermione. I'll let myself out."
Kingsley Shacklebolt walked out of the Yaxley Manor House but he stopped at the rose garden first. He inspected two rose bushes in particular and then he gently took two blooms.
"Flowers? For me, you shouldn't have, Molly will worry," Arthur Weasley teased.
"Arthur, I'm going to Australia and tracking down Iacob Yaxley for Hermione. I need you to come along as you've met her parents. Remus? I'd like you to come also."
December 15, 2003, 16.00
Adventure Bay, Tasmania
Kingsley Shacklebolt rubbed his aching temples. "We're running out of time. We're very close to where he is, but I don't know where. I can't triangulate him."
"They were dentists, weren't they? They'd need an occupation to pay for living here. There's a shop on the corner, I'll ask if they know a dentist. There must be one local."
Remus gave them a lopsided smile and walked into the shop.
"He and Dora have moved back in together," Arthur informed Kingsley. "Not that I should tell you, but I figured I'd let you know."
"Good. I have to fix this issue with Hermione and Yaxley, and then I'll see what I can do for Ron," Kingsley decided.
"Bill's taken him under his wing; he believes that Ron and Harry have a great deal of unresolved guilt for abandoning Hermione at the Ministry. That's why the two of them haven't been able to even talk to her. Hermione's rightfully vexed with them, but she's feeling abandoned by many of the Order members. She finally permitted Molly and me to visit her girls. They are lovely girls, Kingsley, but they've never been permitted outside the confines of the estate, because of who they are."
"She is in love with Yaxley," Kingsley admitted.
"I know. I can see it in how she talks about him. He feels something towards her, I'm not sure if I'd classify it as love, but it's mutual," Arthur stated.
Kingsley sighed in relief.
"You did the right thing, trusting Hermione. She needed to be reassured that you had faith in her after everything that happened," assured Arthur.
"And Iacob had to royally bugger it up," Kingsley stated.
"We're not sure what happened, Kingsley. I hope Hermione's parents remember me, else we might have to do some explaining," Arthur said.
Remus came out of the shop, and he smiled. "Three blocks over, third building on the left. They're a rather new practice – have only been here for five years. Husband and wife team from England."
The three men took off at a jaunty pace and when they arrived, Arthur knocked on the door. Eleanor Granger opened the door and pure relief filled her face, "Arthur, I think we killed him. He's not coming round. I wasn't sure if he was safe, and I injected him with valium. He's breathing, but he's supposed to be in court. And is he really involved with Hermione?"
"Eleanor, this is Kingsley Shacklebolt and Remus Lupin," Arthur said. "Hello, Matthew. Sorry to meet you like this, but we'll have time to make introductions later."
Kingsley Shacklebolt assessed Iacob Yaxley rapidly and efficiently. He crisply announced, "He needs to get to Mungo's immediately. He's had a bad reaction to the Muggle medication. You will need to come with us and bring as much of the medication as you can. Remus, can you bring the dog? Arthur, hold on to Matthew and Eleanor."
Then with a surprisingly gentleness, Kingsley Shacklebolt pulled Iacob Yaxley off the floor and swung him over his shoulder. The older mage's long plait swung in the breeze.
Iacob Yaxley woke and he realized that he was staring at an all too familiar ceiling tile with a stain that looked like a Devil's Snare. Really, he should make a donation to St. Mungo's to replace their ceiling tiles or to hire additional cleaning staff. Maybe he should send a few dozen of his spare House Elves over, they probably think it was a fun vacation.
"You're awake," Hermione whispered. She stroked his hair and she smiled at him. "You haven't missed much. I haven't had the baby yet."
"Met your parents," he rasped. "Safe to say, they loathe me."
The unsympathetic minx laughed. To his surprise, Hermione crawled into bed with him. It took a little bit of effort but before long she was resting her head on his chest. "Much better," she purred. "Though I'll want you to start wearing your cologne again."
"Your mother tried to kill me," he added, annoyed that he still wasn't getting any sympathy. "Doesn't bode well."
"Mum is quite sorry about that," Hermione said. "You've been quite sick for the last week. However, Kingsley Shacklebolt insisted that we have your trial. I agreed as since you were unconscious, you wouldn't be able to take the blame for everything including the Magpies losing the Quidditch Cup."
"They saved my life just to hang me," he groaned.
"No, you had a few supporters who spoke on your behalf. Luna Lovegood."
"She's an utter nutter," he protested.
"Apparently, she likes you as you slipped her food and water while she was imprisoned. She claimed that your aura was seething and chaotic as you were in intense emotional turmoil. Alfred admitted that he Imperio'd you. They brought his portrait in and he confessed all. Theodore Nott arrived and successfully proved he wasn't dead at your hands. Narcissa Malfoy was a star witness also."
"Cissy?" he protested.
"You did something for Draco? Gave him a quill and parchment job at the Ministry, which got him out of the line of cannon fodder. Sorry, Muggle term," she said. Her hand was no longer stroking his hair; instead her hand was most assuredly lower. "I should ask Mum for valium. I like you like this, I get to play."
"You have clever hands," he admitted as he was quite keen. "Except for the near death experience, I could do without that. However, for this to be the only time you've stroked me and to do it so expertly just before I am sent to Azkaban, you are quite cruel. Though you have wonderfully skilled hands."
"Speaking of hands, Garrick Olivander spoke on your behalf. How when he was a prisoner of Voldemort, you prevented them from breaking his hands."
They didn't speak for a time, and then he softly called out her name, her real name. And Hermione smiled at him.
"You called out my name, that's the first time you've done that," she said.
"Haven't I?" he asked. "How terribly rude of me."
"Never," she admitted. "Kingsley Shacklebolt spoke also. How you protected me at great risk to yourself, blah, blah, blah and I was the final witness. I was quite good, as I am quite pregnant. I told the court how you and Alfie protected me, how when Alfie died, you and I hatched a plan to ensure that our children and I survived. I told them everything, just about."
"What didn't you tell them?" he asked.
"Don't you want to know what your punishment is?"
The minx was quite proud of herself, he could tell. "I'm to go back to Azkaban and I will be tormented forevermore by memories of your clever hands."
Hermione blushed and laughed, "No, it's far, far worse. You're on probation for the remainder of your life. I am your keeper, and you will be working for Kingsley Shacklebolt as his personal aide-de-camp as he's reviewed what you did as the Department head. He thinks you are a quite capable administrator, so you've been drafted, Iacob. And what didn't I tell them? Why you did it. Because you believe in people, not causes. Your personal loyalty was to Alfie, not Voldemort. And you saw enough of Rowena in me to make you uncomfortable with what they had planned. And that sometime during everything that had happened, I had fallen in love with you."
"Hermione," he began.
"Don't say it," she pleaded. "I know you will only ever love Rowena."
"I love you too."
Maybe he didn't love her in the same way that he once unconditionally adored Rowena, but he did love her. Hopefully, that would be enough.
Follow my instructions to the letter, and you will have a warlock of your very own! Malfoy, Beatrice. Manners and Social Etiquette Guide for Pureblood Ladies, 12th Edition. London: Dragon Press, 1905.
Careful consideration of my explicit instructions will lead you to love and family. Black, Licorus. The Well Bred Warlock: A Guide to Wooing, Courting and Every Day Behavior for the Pureblood Wizard. Translated from the Original Gaelic. Glasgow: Warlock Press, 1544.