Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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25. Chapter 25 Fathers and Shopping

June 25th 1996 Continued

Hermione turned sharply when her father had burst into the room and started yelling. "Yes?" She asked in a tone that Richard felt was too much like her mother's when she was angry.

Richard Granger stood still for several seconds only just managing to close his mouth. "Uh...yes... your mother and I are home," He finally stammered out. It was then he noticed that Hermione had moved to put herself between the young man and himself.

"And that was the reason for you yelling?" Hermione asked in a tone that still had a distinctive chill to it.

"Your bedroom is an inappropriate place to entertain your friend," Richard replied as he tried to retreat and remain firm at the same time.

"It's where my computer is isn't it?" Hermione asked. "What else do you think we were doing?"

Richard Granger swallowed hard on that question but he didn't dare answer it.

Harry stood up from the chair and nodded at Hermione's father. "Sir; I'm sorry. I'd never got a chance to use a computer and Hermione was showing me hers."

By then Jean Granger had arrived in the room. She brushed past her husband and made her way to Harry. "That's perfectly fine Harry. I hope you two were having fun."

"We were thanks. My cousin has a computer, but I wasn't allowed to touch it."

"Well you are more than welcome to come over anytime you'd like," Jean replied as she put another piece of Harry's upbringing into place. "Isn't that right Richard?"

Richard Granger didn't answer. He was still trying to figure out exactly what had happened in the last minute.

Jean shook her head and turned back to the teens. "You will always be welcome here, I will assure you of that," She turned and glared at her husband for a second to assure him of that fact as well before turning back. "Now you had mentioned shopping. Do you still want to go?"

"Yes mum."

"Well when would you like to leave? Most stores close at eight tonight."

"We are planning on purchasing him an entire new wardrobe so we probably need to leave soon," Hermione replied. "I thought we'd eat out as well."

"That's an excellent idea," Jean replied. "It will give me a chance to get to know Harry," The last was said as she smiled at the black-hair young man.

"Ma'am, I got money from Gringotts today but Hermione thought it would be dangerous for me to carry that much with me. She thought it would be better to give you the money and then have you make the purchases on your debit card."

"That's a very reasonable suggestion," Jean replied. "How much do you have?"

Harry pulled out the notes. "Ten thousand," He said as he held the notes out. "Will that be enough?"

"I think it will be more than enough, don't you Richard?" Jean asked her husband with a bemused smile. She wondered if her daughter had staged this, just to get at her father. If she did, Jean thought that she'd help. "Dear, I think you should hold onto it."

Mr. Granger stared at the notes the boy had outstretched in his hand. He could see it was a fairly large pile of fifty pound notes. Slowly his own hand seemed to move on its own and took them from the young man. He knew better than to count it. "Yes...uh ten thousand did you say? Uh...I'll just put this in safekeeping until you see how much you actually spend."

"Thank you sir," Harry replied. "We asked to see if Gringotts had a debit card or anything like that, but they don't."

"That's inconvenient," Mrs. Granger said. "Have you thought about opening your own bank account? I mean at a non-magical bank?"

"Why didn't I think of that?" Hermione remarked. "I mean that would be the easiest thing for the future."

"Yes it would," Harry agreed. "Especially since I'd like to spend time with you in the muggle world," That earned him a smile and he found her hand in his. He took a moment to smile back before he turned back to Hermione's mother and asked. "How much should I put in the bank?"

"That's something we can do later in the summer if you'd like, so don't worry about it now. In the meantime if you need any money, we'll be glad to give it to you and you can pay us back," She decided another jab at her husband was worth it. "Besides, it obvious you're good for it. Right Richard?" After a moment in which her husband didn't reply she continued. "Well if we're going soon then Hermione and I need to get ready, especially if we're eating out," Her eyes glanced from her daughter to her husband to make sure Hermione understood the meaning. Then she turned back to her husband. "Richard, why don't you take Harry down to the living room? We won't be too long."

There was a small bar area in the corner of the living room and Richard poured himself a glass of Tomatin Single Malt Whisky before taking a seat. He didn't offer anything to Harry just motioned with his glass-filled hand that he should take a seat on the sofa while Richard sat down in an armchair several feet away. When Harry settled down on the sofa, a large ginger cat jumped up beside him and started purring. The sound was soothing and Harry instinctively started running his hand over Crookshank's fur as he waited. A minute, then two and finally after three minutes had passed without a word being said, Harry finally asked. "Sir, is there a reason you don't like me?"

Richard Granger took a sip of the amber liquid in his glass as he turned his gaze toward the young man. He ignored the clothes and the disheveled hair and stared into his eyes. He held Harry's gaze for an entire minute as he gathered his thoughts. He wanted to find anger in those eyes or at least something, anything that would give his dislike purchase but there was nothing, just that damn firm but nervous expression. Finally he answered. "Besides the fact that my daughter's life is in peril because of you?"

"I..." Harry hesitated before continuing, "I truly wish it wasn't the case but I won't deny it. With Voldemort after me, it is dangerous. Like this morning..." Harry stopped as he realized he should not have mentioned what had happened earlier, but it was too late.

"This morning? Something happened to Hermione this morning?" Richard asked as he sat his glass down and leaned forward. "I thought you were going to that Ministry place."

"Yes sir, we were, we did I mean, but we were attacked on the way there," Harry admitted. In this case he wasn't going to lie to Hermione's father. He felt lying would only make matters worse if and when it was discovered.

Richard glanced upward, in the direction of the bedroom where he knew Hermione and his wife were getting ready before looking back at Harry. He was fighting an urge to throw the young man out of the house and forbid his daughter to ever go near him again. Every fiber in his body was telling him to do exactly that; protect his daughter. But he also knew it would be pointless, or even worse. Hermione had already made that perfectly clear. In silent frustration, he picked up his glass and took another sip and let the warmth of the liquid slide down his throat. He took a deep breath as he tried to relax before he asked. "What happened? Is Hermione really okay?"

"She's fine, I promise," Harry replied. "We were walking when..." Harry paused for a second and then continued, "when three Death Eaters attacked. My godfather took down one immediately while Hermione and I hit another one. It was over pretty quick."

"And?" Richard asked sensing there was something more.

Harry again hesitated before replying. He knew the answer wasn't going to help, but he also knew that he needed to be honest. "The third one was killed."

"Killed? How? Your Godfather?"

The hesitation this time took several seconds; finally Harry took a deep breath and answered. "By me sir, I did it."

"You? You killed a man?"

Harry nodded. "I wasn't trying to, but..." Harry paused again as once again he could see the Death Eater, Goyle, aiming his wand at Hermione and then what happened. He shook his head to clear the image before continuing "I'd looked away for a second to make sure Sirius, that's my godfather, didn't need help. When I did, Hermione hit the last one with a hex. By the time I'd turned back he was threatening her and was about to...he was about to hurt her. As I said, I didn't mean to kill him, I was only trying to hit his wand arm with a spell but it came out more powerful than I expected."

"You actually killed him?" Richard asked again. "And you can sit there like nothing happened? Go shopping, out to eat after killing a man?"

"What should I be doing?" Harry exclaimed with a surge of anger. "Should I be crying about it? Moping around?" He shook his head tried to calm himself before continuing. "As I said, I wasn't trying to kill him, but I don't regret it sir," Harry said as stared at the older man. He knew Mr. Granger hadn't been there. He wouldn't know about Death Eaters. Wouldn't know what they are. He got up from his seat and walked halfway across the room trying to figure out what to say while at the same time trying to calm down. Finally he looked at Hermione's father and continued. "Mr. Granger, if someone was threatening Mrs. Granger and you knew without a doubt he'd kill her, would you care if you killed or wounded that person as long as you protected her? Would you hold back to make sure you only hurt them or would you put everything you had into whatever you did, and hoped it was enough? And if you did kill him, would you really be more concerned about that person or your wife? Would the death of that person keep you awake when he was trying to kill your wife? I'm not happy about what I did, but I don't regret it. He was the one who attacked us. He was the one who tried to...to hurt Hermione."

Richard stared at the young man in front of him. Without even looking away, he reached for his glass and took another swallow of the single malt. "I see your point I guess," He said finally. "Still..."

"You think I should be worrying that I killed the man?" Harry asked. "Not when it was a Death Eater and definitely not when it was Hermione in danger," Harry said forcefully. He took the two steps back to the sofa and sat back down. Crookshanks, who had been annoyed by the sudden disappearance of his petting servant, started purring again when Harry subconsciously started stroking his fur. The action did not subdue the intensity in Harry's eyes as he looked at Richard Granger. "Sir, your daughter is truly everything to me. I don't have a family except my godfather," Harry explained. "From our first year it's been Hermione who has been there for me. To me she is...is my best friend and...and everything," Harry paused and a couple of seconds before he continued. "I will not let anything happen to her and if that means I kill someone because they were trying to kill her, I won't lose sleep over it."

A silence descended between the two of them for a minute before Harry continued. "Sir, I can't make you like me or even understand me; all I can do is assure you that when it comes to Hermione, I will always be there for her. You might not believe it, but I really do love her," His eyes softened. "I know she loves you and her mother and I don't ever want to make her choose between us, do you?"

Richard could only stare at the young man. He raised his glass for another swallow only to find it empty. He got to his feet and crossed to the small bar area where he filled his glass once more with the light brown liquid. As he lifted the glass to his lips he thought of his daughter. The young girl who'd been bullied most of her youth. The tears she had shed that turned to smiles as she ate her ice cream. He remembered the numerous trips to bookstores and libraries. He thought of the little girl he'd read bedtime stories to. "Well until that night she was six and told me outright that she could read them herself but she'd let me listen if I wanted," He thought with a small smile of pride. Then there was the day she'd disappeared into what looked like a solid wall at Kings Cross station on her way to a magical castle. He remembered the letters that had come after that day. The early ones had been excited as they told of the magic and the school. He and Jean had been so happy she'd found a place where she fit in, but then the old pattern had developed as the excitement left the letters to be replaced by sadness and worse, loneliness. Then there had been a letter that came in the first week of November of that year; a letter that told of her friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, boys who had fought a troll to save her. He and her mother always believed she'd exaggerated the tale, enhancing it into a fairy tale like the castle would suggest, but as he looked at the young man he began to wonder. He took another sip of whisky as thoughts whirled in his mind.

"Did you really fight a troll to save my daughter?" Richard asked. "In that first year?"

"Ron Weasley and I did," Harry answered with a shrug.

"How big was it?"

"Ten or twelve feet," Harry replied honestly. "We got lucky."

"Twelve feet?" Richard thought. As he took another swallow of the liquor, he found himself wishing he'd never let that witch into their house all those years ago. It'd all seemed so fascinating; tables into pigs, making things fly around and all sorts of real magic. "But she'd never mentioned trolls or these Death Eater people or all the other dangers that existed on the other side of that wall," He shook his head slightly as he looked at Harry again. "Why?" He asked.

"Why what?"

"Why did you save Hermione then," Richard asked. "I was under the impression you didn't become friends until afterwards."

"I knew her before then but you're right, that's what really started our friendship," He replied. "As for why, well, she didn't know about the troll and we went to tell her," He didn't mention the part about being the one who locked the troll in the bathroom. "When she was being attacked, what else could I do?"

"Run tell a professor? Scream bloody murder? Run away and hide?" Richard thought, but realized if he'd done any of those things his daughter might have been killed. He took another sip of whisky as he contemplated the young man. "What is it about him? Am I jealous?" Richard asked himself. "Jealous that this young man is doing what I should be doing, protecting Hermione? Worried that he is replacing me in her life?" He felt a bit of uneasiness as he stared at Harry; the unease that came when you suddenly realized the truth over what you believed. "That's it isn't it? I'm being, no...I've been replaced. But that's what men do though don't they? Replace fathers?" The glass rose again and another sip of whisky burned its way down toward his stomach. Richard thought of the look in his daughter's eyes the previous day as she threatened to leave. It was then he realized he'd lost this battle long before he knew there was even a fight. He drained his second glass and sat it down.

"There wouldn't be a choice would there?" Richard asked somewhat resigned. "Hermione's already made it clear she'd choose you."

"Sir, I don't ever want her to have to make that choice. Hate me if you need to. I'm used to it, but don't do anything to hurt Hermione."

"Damn the boy hits low," Richard thought as another sigh escaped his lips. He reached over and grabbed the bottle and emptied its contents into his glass. He took a swallow and considered Harry Potter. His name had been prevalent in many of the letters from his daughter in the last few years. As he started thinking of what he'd want for his daughter, he realized the young man met most of those things, not that it would have mattered. He knew he really didn't have a say in this and all he could do was hope his daughter had made the right choice or discovered it was the wrong one on her own. "Understand that if you hurt my daughter or if something happens to her because of you, I will find you."

"I will never intentionally hurt Hermione and if something were to happen to her and it was my fault..." Harry left the remainder of the sentence unsaid but Richard understood from the look in his eyes what he meant. "I would like to point out though," Harry started after a few seconds of silence, "that Hermione doesn't need that much protection. She can take care of herself. She's brilliant and..." He was about to say had saved his life several times, but stopped. He realized he didn't know what Hermione had told him and emphasizing additional dangers might not be a good thing, "I bet she'll be protecting me as much as I am her."

"Well Mr. Potter, I guess I should make an effort to get to know you," Richard said. "Can I offer you a drink?"

"A coke sir, but not if it's trouble."

It was five minutes later when Hermione interrupted her husband. "Everything okay down there? I felt you get angry earlier but was afraid to peek in."

"I think we're going to be fine. We had a bit of a discussion and I think we came to an understanding. I'm explaining Quidditch at the moment. A safe thing to discuss."

And three minutes later Hermione entered with her mother. Both of whom had dressed nicely for the dinner, but with comfortable shoes for the shopping.

"So a keeper is like a goalie?"

"Yes, but he has three different goals to protect, all at slightly differing heights. What makes it difficult according to my old captain is keeping position on your broom. The wind has a tendency to push you off your center. A keeper's broom needs excellent acceleration and deceleration but doesn't need to be very fast."

"And there are actually flying balls that..." He stopped when the ladies appeared in the room. "Well it looks like the womenfolk are ready to capture you and lead you away to your doom."

"I don't think it will be that bad sir," Harry replied as he looked appreciatively at the dress Hermione was wearing.

"We'll see what you say in a few hours," Richard replied trying not to notice the admiring look the young man was giving his daughter and failing miserably at it.

"Make sure you tape the matches on the telly tonight dear," Jean instructed her husband. "We'll probably be late."

Harry and Hermione realized she meant the Wimbledon matches and both started wondering what Sirius was keeping from them.

Dobby and Winky were disappointed that they weren't cooking dinner for the whole family that night, but promised that Mr. Granger would be properly fed.

When they were in the car, Jean turned to her daughter who was in the backseat with Harry. "Well don't I feel like a proper chauffeur, well m'lady and sir, where do you wish to go?"

"I think Harvey Nicks would be best wouldn't it?"

"We'll only have a couple of hours once we get there," Mrs. Granger said as she looked at her watch. "Fortunately traffic will be coming out of the city so it shouldn't be that bad this time of the evening. If we can wait and eat after we shop, we can give it a go. We can even eat there. They have a lovely restaurant on the top floor. "

It was still before six pm when the Mercedes pulled into the underground garage at Cadogan Place and they started their walk toward the iconic department store. They first went to the fifth floor where they made reservations at the restaurant for eight-forty. Then they descended to the lower levels where men's clothing was sold.

They spent the next two hours until the eight closing time purchasing clothes. They got the underwear and socks first and then moved to casual wear. An hour later Harry had several pairs of trousers and jeans along with t-shirts of various designs including one that had what looked like a Hungarian Horntail on it, button down shirts, two pairs of trainers and all the rest to round out his casual wardrobe. The also selected several sets of pajamas and a very luxurious robe in Gryffindor colors. In direct contrast to his previous clothes, his shirts now were form fitting, tight enough to show his lean body.

When they'd finished the casual section they moved to the formal and semi-formal wear. There Harry ended up with two suits, one black and one a dark blue, two sports coats, an assortment of shirts, several ties and shoes.

"Well don't you look dapper, young man," Jean said as she eyed Harry over when he emerged again from the dressing room. He was currently dressed in a tan sports coat over an emerald green shirt that matched his eyes. "I do believe you clean up fairly well," She leaned over to Hermione who was eying her husband appreciatively, "Think you found yourself a handsome one there."

"I did, didn't I mum," Hermione replied. "Of course that's not what makes Harry special."

"No, but it never hurts now does it?" Jean replied as they watched Harry disappear into the changing room again. "I didn't believe it when you said he wouldn't mind shopping, but he really doesn't does he? By now Richard would be complaining non-stop, well actually he'd have started about two minutes after entering the store."

"He never got to do it before except in Diagon Alley. Even that's done by Mrs. Weasley now," Hermione explained. "He's tired of everyone making decisions for him and this is part of it. Besides, he likes to be out and doing things. That's something he's never been allowed to do with his relatives. I want him to have a good summer for a change; I want to take him places if we can."

"I'm sure we can do something, what did you have in mind?"

"Just the normal sightseeing stuff. Harry's never even seen the ocean except...well that's not important. I just want him to have fun. Maybe even an amusement park."

"Think he'd like Alton Towers?" Jean asked. "I had a patient last week who kept on about the park. Would Harry like Roller Coasters?"

"I think he'd love it," Hermione replied. "Though the coasters might be a bit boring to him after..." She'd almost mentioned riding the dragon but stopped herself, "his broom."

"Then how about this weekend?" Jean replied. "It's a bit of a drive, but that'll just give us more time to spend with Harry and give him a true taste of a family outing. Unless you just want to pop...or whatever you called that, up there."

"I think the drive would be nice, though we'd have to figure out something about the Weasleys and Dumbledore. I'll see if Harry's interested and we'll figure out something."

"Want to go to an amusement park this weekend? Mum's suggesting an outing to Alton Towers."

"I think I saw a commercial on the telly before I left the Dursleys last year about that place. I'd love to."

"I'll ask again at dinner, so mum knows."

The clothes and trainers Harry wore into the store were now in a bag to be tossed into the bin later. As eight rolled around he was dressed for their trip to the upscale restaurant on the fifth floor. He had on a pair of Black khakis with the emerald green shirt. Around his neck was a silk tie. The tie was beige colored and had a sea otter swimming in the pattern*. "Something to always remind me of you," Harry had told Hermione when he picked it out.

"Guess I'll need to find a broach in the shape of a stag won't I?" She'd replied. "Or maybe a scarf."

Shortly past eight they made their way to pay for the final purchases. They were last in line at the til because Harry had insisted on picking up a summer dress Hermione had eyed as they passed the display. It was already ten after eight when the tired young saleslady looked over the amount of purchases her last customer needed to make. With a long sigh she picked up a shirt and started to remove the hanger from it. She glanced up at the customers and as her eyes fell upon a black haired young man, she noticed something on his forehead. Her eyes flew open wide and she almost dropped the shirt in her hand. "You're...you're Harry Potter aren't you?" She exclaimed.

Harry and Hermione instantly looked around to see who else might have heard. But with it being past closing the store was empty, at least in that area. "Why would you ask that?" Harry questioned.

The saleslady lowered her voice. "I'm a squib, so of course I know of you," she said with a smile. "I saw what you did last week, I did. It was all in the Prophet. Socked one right to You-Know-Who. My dad went on about wishing he could buy you a drink. Wait to I tell'm you came to my store and I got to help you," Then she saw the girl at his side and her eyes grew even wider. "And you're Hermione Granger. You're his girlfriend. Wait until Jennifer, she's my roommate and a full witch you know, hears I met you. She's going to be so jealous."

"Jealous? Of meeting me?" Hermione asked as she wondered how the girl could say so much without taking a breath. "Why?"

"Because you're his girlfriend of course," The squib lady replied as if it was obvious. "It's like you're the Princess herself in the wizarding world. Rumor has it you're going to be on the cover of Witch Weekly next week," The saleslady nodded. "Really, Jenny told me and she always knows those things. You have to be the luckiest witch there is."

"Skeeter I bet," Hermione muttered. "Maybe I should find another jar."

"I agree, but we also don't want anyone to know we're out and about in the muggle world. I don't want Death Eaters looking for me here nor having to deal with Dumbledore."

"What can we do though?"

"Let's try this," Harry smiled at the saleslady who was trying to keep an eye on Harry and Hermione while also ringing up their purchases at the same time "Actually I'm the lucky one. I don't deserve Hermione but I'm happy she's my girlfriend. But could you do us a favor? We'd appreciate it if you'd not tell anyone that you saw us, at least not here. Maybe you can say you saw us near the Leaky Cauldron or somewhere like that. We don't want to attract the wrong people here."

When the saleslady looked hesitant, Hermione picked up the argument. "If you tell people, then we can't come back here and shop can we? You know how it is. We can even ask for you if you'd like," She looked at the lady's name tag. "Maria."

Being called by her first name by Hermione Granger made Maria smile even more. "Will you sign my Witch Weekly the next time? Actually it's Jenny's but I read them too. I might not be a witch but I still like to know what's happening. Like the last issue, that hairdo on page thirty-one. I tried to get Jenny to do it for me, but it didn't quite come out right. This side," Maria indicated the left side of her hair, "It's the wrong length."

Hermione mentally counted to four before she allowed herself to answer with a smile. "Yes, if you won't tell anyone we were shopping here, we'll both sign it."

"Oh wow," Maria exclaimed. "Here," she pulled an index card from under the counter and wrote her name and the days and hours of her normal shifts. When she handed it to them she continued. "If you need anything, just ask. I know everyone in the store and I'm sure I can be of help."

"Thanks Maria," Harry said as he pocketed the card. "We appreciate it."

She finished ringing up their sale and Mrs. Granger handed over her card. Maria then bagged the items and handed them over. "Now, you did say I could tell Jennifer and my dad as long as I say it was near the Leaky Cauldron?"

"That'll be fine. Thanks Maria."

Hermione was muttering various curses at Rita Skeeter most of the way back to the car. They were going to drop off the packages and then come back to eat.

"What was that all about?" Her mother finally asked.

"Nothing really," Hermione replied but then she saw the look in her mother's eyes and sighed. "You know Harry's famous? He's the Boy-Who-Lived and all of that?"

"Yes," Jean answered, "but I thought all of that was when he was a baby."

"The wizarding world has long memories, beside you saw what happened last week, he beat Voldemort again," Hermione explained. "He's now seen as the Chosen One, the one who will beat Voldemort. It's in another article in that paper."

"But that's ridiculous."

"The Wizarding World doesn't think so," Hermione said and decided it was time to change the subject. She looked down at her watch. "We can discuss this later, but we're going to be late for our reservations if we don't hurry."

They were three minutes late arriving back at the restaurant, but were quickly shown to a table next to a window which looked out into the city. Sunset was another thirty minutes away and the failing sunlight cast long shadows from the surrounding buildings. Hermione smiled as she watched her husband hold her mother's chair for her and then came and held hers as well.

"Going all out?" She asked him.

"Anything for you," Harry replied.

"Such a gentleman," Jean commented when Harry had taken his own seat. The blush that crossed his face was endearing.

"How about a bottle of wine?" Jean asked. "They have a wonderful selection."

Hermione was about agree and then remembered something. "Mum," She said softly. "Harry won't be sixteen until the end of July."

"Is that so?" Jean queried as she looked at the raven haired youth. "Well he looks sixteen to me. Do you have any ID that says what your age is?"

"Uh...no," Harry replied.

"Then it won't be a problem," Jean Granger said with a smile. The wine would serve another purpose at this meal. One Jean was acutely interested in. She liked Harry and so far he'd been a perfect gentleman, but ever since her daughter had mentioned the young man had been mistreated by his relatives there had been a hint of concern. She was a doctor, a student of science and she knew there had been several studies that proved that abused children were more likely to grow up to be abusers. Though not a guaranteed method by any means, she knew slight inebriation sometimes allowed a person's true temperament to show through.

Dinner was ordered; for Harry it was lamb and baby onions with a side of vegetables, Hermione decided on the beef in a red wine sauce served with a side of mushrooms while Jean ordered the lobster. A bottle of 1990 Mosel Reisling was brought to the table and poured into the three wine glasses.

"Better than the ones in the tent?" Harry asked as Hermione took her first bite of mushrooms.

"These aren't mushrooms, they are small bites of heaven floating into my mouth," His wife answered. "Even Dobby and Winky might have trouble matching this."

"You going to tell them that? They'd spent days trying to perfect their mushrooms."

"True, but they are really good."

The lamb is excellent too."

Jean kept an eye on Harry all during the meal. From the way he glanced around for clues on how he should conduct himself it was obvious he had little experience eating in a fine dining establishment. She almost had to force him to take a second glass of wine, but through it all he was as polite as ever. The one thing that amazed her was how well he and Hermione were in tune to each other. It was almost like they were talking but not speaking. When Hermione lifted a mushroom, it was as if Harry was expecting her to offer it to him and the same thing happened when he took a piece of his lamb and offered it to her. The conversation was pleasant, but then it turned to the Ministry and what had happened that morning.

"How did it go this morning?" Jean asked. "Did you get everything worked out?"

"Yes, mum," Hermione replied.

"Mione, I told your father about this morning, and we probably should tell your mum."

"This morning?" Jean asked. "What happened this morning?"

"You told him everything?" Hermione asked. "Even...About Goyle?"

Harry nodded. "Your parents deserve to know," When Hermione returned the nod Harry turned to her mother and explained. "We were attacked on the way to the Ministry."

"Attacked? By whom? And why didn't you say anything earlier?"

"Because I thought you and Dad would worry," Hermione replied honestly.

"Well I have to presume it was serious then, so what happened?"

"On our way to the Ministry three Death Eaters jumped us and we fought back," Harry said. "Two were captured and..." He stopped and glanced at Hermione before he looked back at Jean, "and the other one was killed."

"Did you tell Dad...who?" Hermione asked and Harry nodded his answer.

"What?" Jean asked looking from one to the other.

"Mrs. Granger, I was the one who killed the last Death Eater. As I told Mr. Granger, I wasn't trying to, but he was about to curse Hermione and I stopped him," Harry explained.

"Hermione?" Jean had turned to her daughter for further explanation.

"Mum, I told you it's a war in the Wizarding World," Hermione replied. "The Death Eaters don't care about people, especially muggles and muggleborn. He would kill or torture you in a heartbeat if he was given the chance," She sighed before continuing. "Would you've preferred Harry not do what he did?"

"No...but.."

"Mum he was a Death Eater. They enjoy using or killing Muggles or Muggleborns or as they call us, mudbloods," Hermione explained. "He wouldn't think twice about killing you and dad or worse; he could actually force you to kill dad. He can do that you know. There is a curse that allows a person to take complete control over another person and I mean COMPLETE control and these people think nothing of using it," Hermione paused to let that sink in before she continued. "That's the type of people we're fighting. It's why we have the protection around the house so if one of those monsters die we aren't going to lose sleep over it because more than likely we probably saved lives in the future."

"But you're only teenagers," Mrs. Granger complained. "How can people expect you to fight these people?"

"There's not a minimum age to fighting when someone is trying to kill you," Hermione argued. "Voldemort tried to kill Harry when he was one year old and again when he was eleven and twelve and again...last year and last week."

"But..." Jean started again and then sighed, "just tell me Hermione, are you really okay with it?" Jean asked; the worry obvious in her eyes.

Hermione paused and reflected before answering. "Truthfully? No, but what choice do we have? Voldemort wants Harry dead and until he is defeated we will have to fight. Someday we will beat him; that you can count on."

Jean didn't know what to say or how to say it. Finally she just murmured "Be careful, or as careful as you can be. Please don't let anything happen to you."

"Nothing will hurt Hermione if I can help it," Harry said defiantly.

Jean took what comfort she could from the look in the young man's eyes. "But he is only almost sixteen, what can he really do?" She asked herself. She forced a smile and nodded. "Shall we order dessert?" She asked to change the subject.

Over dessert, Hermione broached the subject of Alton Towers, and Harry showed his excitement for the idea.

It was close to ten-thirty when they pulled back into the garage.

"Leave me several of the packages," Hermione said to Harry as he unloaded the packages from the car and started stacking them next to the Vanishing Cabinet.

"Why?"

"How are you going to explain them?" She asked. "I'll really take the Knight Bus tomorrow with some of the bags. I can then say I went shopping for you and no one will question the clothes."

"Have I mentioned how brilliant you are?" Harry asked his wife. "But I want Sirius to escort you. After yesterday, I don't want you coming into that neighborhood without an escort. I'm sure he'll be over here first thing in the morning."

"Fair enough," Hermione agreed.

"I'll leave you two be while you say goodnight," Jean said with a knowing smile.

"Thank you," Hermione said to Harry once her mother had left.

"For what?"

"For being you tonight," Hermione replied as she straightened Harry's tie. Then she lifted her lips and gave Harry a small kiss. "For a wonderful time, for everything. I know Dad is being difficult but..."

"It'll work out," Harry assured her. "I think we reached an understanding earlier or at least a starting point. Even if we haven't, I'll put up with whatever I have to, to keep from coming between you and your parents," He put a finger to her lips to keep her from answering. "I love you and you know I'll always love you. I'll do what it takes to make it work with your father. He could never be as bad as the Dursleys and I survived them for sixteen years."

Hermione nodded and smiled. "I love you and just want dad to see who you really are."

"Give him time," Harry replied.

**** June 26th 1996 ****

Sirius and Hermione walked into Grimmauld Place the next day with their arms filled with packages.

"What's all of that?" Molly Weasley asked when they came into the dining room. She was putting breakfast on the table while Ron and Ginny were setting the places.

"My mum and I bought Harry a new wardrobe last night," Hermione explained excitedly. "Those dreadful clothes of his cousin's can now be burned," She gave a quick glance at Ginny and could see her cheeks turning red. Then she looked at Ron who scowled as he thumped down the last two plates a little harder than he should have.

"Well that was nice of you," Molly replied. "The boy needs something. Could you go wake him up? We'll be eating soon."

"Gladly Mrs. Weasley," Hermione said. "I was taking these up anyway."

It was ten minutes later when Harry and Hermione appeared. Harry was dressed in a new pair of jeans and the t-shirt with the dragon on it. Everyone including Sirius, Fleur and Bill were already at the table.

"Ees zat some of ze clothes you bought 'ermione?" Fleur asked. "Zey fit 'im very nicely."

"Yes thank you," Hermione replied as she sat down beside Harry.

"Ees zat a 'orntail dragon?" Fleur continued. "I remember when you flew against zat dragon. Eet was very impressive."

It was during breakfast that Hermione realized a possible mistake of getting Harry a new wardrobe might be. She glanced over at Ginny and caught the youngest Weasley staring at her husband with nothing less than a hungry gleam in her eyes that had nothing to do with the food on the table. Ginny quickly looked away when she noticed Hermione's eyes on her.

"Ginny was staring at you just now," Hermione said.

"And?"

"With the look she just had, I think she wants to pour the whole container of lust potion in your goblet right now and drag you off to her bed."

"That bad?"

"Possibly, but fortunately you're protected. We just need to be on our guard."

"You be careful, it might not be potions you know. She might try to physically hurt you."

"Only in frustration or desperation, but we do need to be ready to act as soon as she tries something."

"Speaking of that," Harry said and he turned his attention to Mrs. Weasley. "How's Mr. Weasley?"

"Oh he's going to be fine," she assured Harry. "The Healers say his arm will be a little weak for a couple of days, but that's all. We're going over right after breakfast and bring him home."

"Should we come?" Harry asked.

"No," Molly replied a little too rapidly. "Dumbledore wants you to remain inside."

"That's not what I asked," Harry said sharply. "But obviously it's about the only answer I'll get. Understand Mrs. Weasley I don't really care what Dumbledore wants," He got up and Hermione stood beside him. "I'll be in my room. Let me know when Mr. Weasley gets back," He turned and started out of the dining room.

"Harry Potter," Mrs. Weasley's voice cut through the dead silence that enveloped the dining room. "You should not speak of the Headmaster that way. He's done nothing but..." she didn't finish because Harry had turned around, his green eyes flashing.

"Done what?" Harry asked his voice calm which distinctly differed from the look in his eyes. "What exactly do you think the Headmaster has done for me? Besides try to control me from almost the day I was born that is," Harry was about to say 'ask your son if he's kept something important from me' but then remembered this Ron didn't know about the prophecy.

"He has nothing but your safety and well being in mind," Molly replied as her face turned red.

"Safe so I can die properly?" Harry asked Hermione but she was already facing Molly Weasley.

"How can you believe that Mrs. Weasley?" Hermione asked. "Even in the castle HE controls Harry's been in constant danger and that does not even begin to describe the summers or the time before Hogwarts. Your sons had to go rescue him from those people. Did you ever ask what they faced? Bars on the windows, locked in his bedroom? He was THERE because of Dumbledore."

"No Hermione," Harry said as he put his hand on her arm. "Let's not go there. It's not important anymore."

Hermione looked like she really wanted to object, but stopped and nodded. "Sorry," She apologized. She then turned her glare back on Molly one last time before Harry took her hand and pulled her out of the dining room. They could still hear Sirius and Molly until they reached the steps.

"Molly," Sirius said, "as I told Emmaline yesterday, I don't give a rat's arse about what Dumbledore wants or says when it comes to Harry. He is my responsibility and I will decide what he does."

"Sirius Black, you are just..."

The sounds faded as Harry and Hermione made their way up the steps.

"What are we doing today?" Harry asked.

"Runes for you and I'm going to start on my bag," Hermione replied. "It took me a week last time but it'll probably only take me a couple of days for this one. I'm glad I can do magic. I thought I was going to have to get Sirius to do the spell work for me."

"What about we do our knives this morning as well?" Harry suggested and when Hermione looked confused he continued. "Did I tell you that there is a whole set of Goblin made knives in the kitchen downstairs?"

"No, really?" Hermione asked.

"Yep. Sirius' mother was good for something at least. He suggested we take a couple of the smaller ones."

"Small kitchen knives would be excellent," Hermione agreed. "We'll just need something to encase the blades."

Sirius knocked a few minutes later and upon entering, told them the Weasleys had departed to get Arthur from St. Mungo's.

While Harry ran to the kitchen to grab the knives, Hermione got Harry's dragon hide gloves from his trunk and then pulled out the Basilisk venom.

"Is that..." Sirius asked as he nodded at the small jar Hermione was handling very gently.

"Yes, we got a few drops from each of the fangs left in the Chamber," Hermione replied. "It's not much but it's more than enough to do what we need."

Sirius lifted one of the knives carefully when it was finished. "Doesn't look that dangerous does it?"

"I wouldn't recommend you shave with it," Harry joked.

"True. Hey you know what would make these really nice? Make the cases from a fang of the Basilisk. That would be very unique."

Harry looked at Hermione and they both nodded. "Think we can get Dobby and Winky to take us directly into the bathroom there? I'd hate to be seen roaming the castle."

They'd wrapped the knives tightly and stored them in Harry's trunk when they heard the Weasleys return from the Hospital. Harry and Hermione walked down the steps to see how Arthur was. He tried to apologize for not protecting them but neither Harry nor Hermione would accept it.

"Sir, it wasn't your fault," Harry replied cutting him off when he tried to apologize again. "It all happened very suddenly. Besides it all worked out. Yaxley can't hurt the Ministry anymore."

"You could have been hurt.."

"And you were hurt sir," Hermione reminded him. "If they hadn't gone after you, we'd never been able to do what we did. What I want to know is how they knew we'd be there."

"Hopefully the Ministry will get it out of Yaxley," Arthur replied. "If they do, I'm sure Kingsley or Tonks will find out."

"I've already told the Headmaster it better not be Snape," Harry told the Weasleys.

"Harry Potter, you must show Albus the respect he deserves," Molly said once again.

"Mrs. Weasley, I am showing Dumbledore EXACTLY the respect he deserves," Harry said. He cut off Molly's response by continuing. "Ma'am, you once thought Gilderoy Lockhart was a great wizard, do you still think that? A man who was going to obliviate mine and Ron's memories and leave Ginny to rot in the Chamber?"

"Well no, of course not," Molly agreed.

"Then maybe, just maybe, you might be as wrong when it comes to Dumbledore," Harry said. "I'm not saying he's as bad as Lockhart, but maybe for once you might want to consider what he's done and not done instead of believing him mindlessly," He didn't wait for a response, he just turned and went back up the steps. Hermione was very close behind him.

Over the next few days, Sirius, with the help of Kreacher put all of the jewels and such they had been taken from the Room of Requirements into a vault in Gringotts. Everything was carried to the vault underneath things that would not draw attention. The also got a fang from Hogwarts and fashioned the sheaths for the knives. Hermione added a locking charm that prevented the knives from being unsheathed by anyone but the two of them.

***June 28th 1996 ***

Narcissa Black was back at St. Mungo's. This time she wasn't sitting beside her husband's bed as she'd done the past days. This time she was pacing the room while looking at the door expectantly. She wasn't disappointed. Andromeda Tonks walked through the door again as she had done every other evening.

"Andi, he's gone," Narcissa said at once in an almost panicked voice. "He's gone...and I don't know where or even when."

"Who? Who's gone?" Andromeda asked her sister.

"Draco," Narcissa replied. "I...I haven't seen him since that night. I just thought he was avoiding me or I just kept missing him, but he's gone."

"Where would he go?" Mrs. Tonks asked.

"I...I don't know but I'm worried. He's so much like his father," Tears were now gathering in the eyes of Narcissa. "He...he believes what happened with Lucius is Harry Potter's fault and...and..." Her voice faltered but the distress was clearly evident in her face.

"And Harry Potter has already killed a man who attacked him?" At her sister's slow nod, Andromeda went on. "It was self-defense you know. My daughter told me. The Death Eater was about to...well I think you know what Death Eaters do," She glanced over at Lucius' bed before looking back at her sister. "Did you know...no I shouldn't ask that question," Andromeda sighed. "Cissy, did you just want to tell me or were you wanting something?"

"I...I was hoping..." Narcissa started then stopped. Her face now had tears running down it. "I can't go the Ministry can I? But...your daughter...would she? He hasn't done anything wrong, not yet anyway."

"And you think he might?"

Narcissa hesitated before nodding.

"Who did you want Nymphadora to tell? The Ministry or Dumbledore?"

"I...I don't know. I don't care, I just want Draco safe. I CAN'T lose him."

"I'll see what I can do, but you know there are no guarantees. If he's takes the mark..."

"NO...he wouldn't, he couldn't," Narcissa objected but a cold chill descended onto her as she realized that is exactly what he'd do if he could. Draco believed what his father told him, of the honor of having the mark; to do the Dark Lord's bidding. Her entire composure broke at that thought. Only the comfort of her sister's arms that wrapped around her helped at all.

*I have this tie. All of my ties have animals on them.

 
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