- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Death-Minor Character
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Alternate Universe
Hermione entered Diagon Alley and as soon as she stepped past the wall, she felt eyes on her. She looked around to find that people were stopping and staring. Many seemed awed and reverent. Uncomfortable, she began to make her way towards the joke shop.
A man who reminded her a bit of Vincent Crabbe stepped out of a store. Upon seeing her, he stopped. “Aint no way the Goddess would bless a filthy mudblood!”
Several people cried out against him. He looked at the gathering crowd with narrow eyes. With a curse he spat on the ground at her feet before stalking away.
Hermione turned to thank her defenders when the first set of hands touched her robes. It startled her, and she jerked back. As she pulled herself loose and tried to hasten towards Weasley Wizard Wheezes, people moved in closer. Soon she had hands touching her hair, her face, and tangling in her clothes.
She quickly became afraid, despite the fact that none of these people seemed intent to harm her. “Let me go, please!” Several stepped back, but it seemed that more took their place.
A woman dropped to her knees in front of Hermione. “Heal my daughter, Blessed One!”
Soon shouts began to ring out, all crying for healing or for justice. The hands that had once been gentle began pulling at her. She heard her cloak rip, and the mood of the people around her grew intense. They began trying to tear off pieces of her robes, and crying out in triumph as they did. It incited more to push in and rip at her. Hermione struggled to pull her wand from it’s pocket, but couldn’t in the crush of people. She began to panic.
A loud bang sounded overhead, freezing her. She spotted Fred and George pulling people away and clearing a path to her. Those who resisted got stunned, and soon both men had her sandwiched between them. “All right there, Hermione?”
She nodded, a bit breathless. “Yeah…I think so.”
Fred cast a ‘reparo’ charm that had all of her bits of clothing sailing out of the crowd’s hands. People moaned in distress even as her cloak and robes were fixing themselves. George stunned one woman who tried to step closer. He seemed to gauge the situation. Hermione saw the brothers make eye contact above her head and a moment later she was no longer in Diagon Alley, but instead in their flat.
“Sorry about the sudden apparition, love.” Fred pulled her into a hug.
“Yeah, didn’t think we’d want to have to stun people all the way here.” George pocketed his wand.
Fred gently pushed her back and touched a scratch on her face. “Are you hurt?”
Hermione tried to take stock, but all she could feel was the adrenaline dropping off and slight shock setting in. She shook her head. “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
The twins got her settled on the couch with a warm cup of tea. It rattled a bit but she managed. Fred was healing the cut on her face, and George ran a basic health scan. She looked up. “When did you learn that?”
He shrugged. “Seemed like a good idea. You lot do seem to get into a lot of scrapes.”
Hermione thought of something that struck her as oddly funny, and snorted in laughter. “Professor McGonagall once asked why it was always us three of us when things happened. I used to think Harry was the trouble magnet, but maybe it really was the three of us. Or Harry and I, at least.”
George left the room and tossed his brother the bruise cream. “She’s got some bruises on her arms, but she’ll be all right.” He winked at Hermione. “I’m gonna leave you two lovebirds alone and check on the shop. We left Angelina in charge.”
Hermione leaned into Fred and sipped her tea. She got a thoughtful look. “How did you know where I was and that I was in trouble?”
Fred shook his head. “That part you won’t believe: Winky.”
Hermione sat up, sloshing her tea. “Winky?! The house elf?” Then she sucked in a breath. “Dobby is still alive? He is alive, right?”
“Yes, yes, and yes. She popped in and told us, and then popped right back out.
Hermione called out, “Winky!”
With a small pop, a sad looking house elf appeared. She didn’t seem to be drunk, but she was dirty and her clothes ragged. “Miss Granger calls Winky?”
Hermione slid to her knees in front of the little house elf. Realizing she still had the tea cup and saucer in her hand, she looked for somewhere to set it. With a snap of her fingers, Winky set it on a nearby table. Hermine took the little creature’s hand her in her own, and the house elf’s eyes grew big. “Winky, will you be my elf?”
Dobby had loved Winky. While he’d died protecting Harry, Winky had gone on to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts. She’d caught a curse that had damaged her magic, and she’d died a few years later. Maybe now, she could save both of the house elves. Hermione felt like kicking herself. She’s been so wrapped up in saving Fred and Sirius that she’d forgotten about Winky and Dobby.
“The Lady had said Miss Granger would want me, but Winky didn’t think it was true! But Winky try to keep Miss Granger safe, anyway. You is a good witch.” She looked down and shuffled her feet. With a soft voice she asked, “You really want Winky? I…I am a bad elf.”
“Yes. I want you to be my elf. Please?”
“Oh…oh yes! Yes, please! I’ll be a good elf!”
Hermione smiled. “I know you will. Now the very first thing I want you to do is get washed up and into something clean and warm.”
Winky stared at her. “You not be giving me clothes?”
“No. I just want you to be wear clothes that are clean, and warm, and that you like.”
“I can do this!”
Before she could go away, Hermione wanted to ask a question. “What Lady told you that I would ask you to be my elf?”
“The one who gave you that mark.” A small finger pointed to the spot that was covered by Hermione’s top. “The Lady.”
Winky popped away after her witch nodded. Then she popped back. She clutched her dress and looked up at Hermione through her lashes. “Dobby be needing the bond to Harry Potter.”
“I know. I’ll talk to Harry.”
When she was gone, Hermione rubbed her face. She winced a little as she caught the scratch, and Fred pulled her hands down. “What are you thinking in that big brain of yours?”
“Besides that I forgot all about Dobby and Winky? The Goddess talked to her. What does that even mean?”
Fred thought about it. “Does it feel like it means anything ?”
She nodded. “Yes. I just don’t know what.”
“Until you figure it out, lets deal with those bruises. Then we can head to Black Manor and Harry can collect his house elf.”
* * * * *
They came through the floo and Harry was waiting for them. “Hermione!” He engulfed her in a hug. “You ok?”
“Yeah, but how did you know?”
He looked back at Draco. “You didn’t hear? It’s all over the wireless. It’ll probably make the Prophet tomorrow.”
She stared at her friend for a moment. “I think that I’m starting to understand why you hate being famous.”
“In my defense, I don’t think I’ve ever has a mob of people try to rip my clothes off.”
“No, but you’ve had a dragon and a basilisk both try to eat you. Not to mention that you’re a total overachiever and had TWO dark lords out to get you.”
He pointed at her, “Avatar.”
She poked him. “Chosen one. Boy-Who-Lived.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “She’s clearly fine. Let’s go have dinner.”
Harry smirked at him. “You came down to meet her too. You were just as worried as I was.”
“The only thing I was worried about is you going off doing Merlin only knows what if she was hurt.”
He linked hands with Draco. “Whatever you say.” He turned back and smiled at Hermione. “He was worried.”
She smiled at Harry before saying, “I care about you, too, Draco!”
Draco kept walking and didn’t look back. “The only thing I care about is dinner. I’m hungry.”