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Shadows and Demons

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Hermione, Harry and Ron stared at each other, waiting for the other to speak as they sat in Dumbledore’s office silently; none of them able to say anything. It was meant to be a harmless lesson. People had all types of fears. Dean had feared an Egyptian mummy, Parvati had feared a walking corpse (Hermione made a mental note to not show her the walking dead), Malfoy had feared his father (something Hermione could sympathize with him for), Ron feared his mother (which, given last year and his mothers reactions, she thought, was completely normal.) Then Hermione had gone up and her Boggart turned into the person she feared most: her father.

 

“Alright, Hermione, you’re up!” Remus shouted, and Hermione stepped up, making sure to keep her face blank. She noted that Malfoy’s friends were standing close to him in comfort, and wondered what her fear would be, when out of the closest stepped… her father. She felt her heart drop, and heard a whimper escape her lips. This wasn’t happening. God this wasn’t happening. Her ‘father’ smiled at her the smile that always meant she had done something wrong or something not enough.
“hello, pumpkin, did you miss me? It got lonely when I wasn’t with you,” he crooned, and she shook her head, the rest of her body shaking whilst doing so, and took an unconscious step back. So did the rest of the class, which she didn’t see, except for Ron and Harry who had taken their wands out, seemingly forgetting that it was a Boggart. She watched in horror as a vein pulsed, and closed her eyes. “what has daddy always said, Hermione?” he said in his tone that was meant to be calm, with the storm coming to get her seconds later
“father knows best,” she whispered in unison as he shouted it at her, horror in her voice, as she kept her eyes closed, willing it to be a dream, sinking to the ground at the sheer volume of his tone.

 

“alright that’s it for today,” something was off in Professor Lupin’s voice, but she didn’t stare at him, just stared at the wall, until her bag was dropped onto the floor next to her with a quiet ‘thud’, and she looked up just in time to see Malfoy give her an understanding look, shoving his hand in his pocket, before he left the classroom.

 

“Hermione?” she looked to Ron, who looked as if he had had the foundation of everything he had ever believed ripped out from underneath his feet. She gave him a strained smile, feeling numb from the appearance of the one thing she looked forward to getting rid off when she came to Hogwarts. He opened his mouth, as if he was going to say something, then closed it again, and she gave him a calm look, hoping he knew she wouldn’t take offence to whatever he said next. He seemed to square his shoulders and nodded, more to himself, “are all Muggle's like that?” he blurted out and she stared at him, not expecting the question; Harry seemingly understanding what he meant and didn’t meet her gaze, still being in shock from the events that had transpired.

 

“i…” she hesitated, and the lack of conviction was enough of an answer for him, if his facial expression was anything to go by, and she hurried to reassure him, “my mum didn’t physically hurt me?” she tried to defend her mother, but found that the defense came out weak, unsurprisingly. Ron nodded, and moved, sitting next to her, and awkwardly hugged her, and she fell into his hug, needing it more than she realised. Harry had moved and sat on the other side of her, and she hugged him into it, and the three sat like that until the headmaster came back, in toe with Professor Lupin, Headmaster Dumbledore, Professor Snape, William fucking Weasley (and what the hell was he doing here?), Narcissa Malfoy, somebody from the Ministry and… her mother? “what the actual fuck,” she whispered, and Harry let out a laugh, despite the situation, and Ron shook with silent laughter, and her mother just sighed, and she came back to her surroundings, and looked down. “sorry, mother,” she mumbled, not looking her in the eye. Children shouldn’t be seen nor should they be heard, Hermione. Remember that in future and be glad your father isn't here.

 

“can we get on with whatever this is? I have an important day today, and I cannot be wasting my time here for the whims of my teenage daughter,” her mother snapped, and Hermione flinched, the action going unnoticed by her mother but not by her boys, who hugged her into their embrace a little tighter; a little more defensive of her, something her mother did see, “who seems to have got enough company as I thought she had,” her mother sneered, and she stiffened, feeling hot boiling anger flush through her at what her mother had implied of her boys.
“fuck you,” she snarled, and saw a flash of shock on her mothers surgically enhanced face, and didn’t give her time to say anything, lest she lost whatever braveness she had, “their my brothers. Maybe not by you, but their more of a family than you’ll ever be,” her voice had become similar to a lions snarl, and she realised that maybe her house was correct after all.

 

Her mother scoffed, looking at her in disgust, and Hermione jutted her chin, looking her straight in the eye, feeling as if a line was drawn. She didn’t care what her mother said about her, but she was not allowed to say anything about her boys. Dumbledore seemed to ignore the tension, or didn't know it was there, she wouldn't put it past him to be able to be that oblivious, and clapped his hands together, and Ron and Harry both looked at him incredulously, along with the rest of the adults in the room, whilst Hermione, however, continued to hold her mothers gaze. If she doesn’t want to look me in the eye, then she can break the god damn contact first, she thought maliciously, and heard Professor Snape snort (holy Jesus, did that actually happen or was she imagining it?), “Well then,” her mother glared at her, an icy look that normally chilled her to the bones before finally, finally looking away first to look at Dumbledore, and Hermione sagged into her seat, and more importantly, her boys, slightly. “that settles that dispute. Hermione, my girl,” Hermione felt irritated then and scoffed, making sure he heard, effectively cutting him off. She noted the proud look Mrs. Malfoy née Black sent her before continuing, her anger finally bubbling over,
“‘my girl’? you do not get to call me that, when in my first Christmas here, I begged you to let me stay here and plainly told you I was fucking afraid for my life because of my god damn parents, and you told me, and I quote, ‘now now, my girl, their isn’t anything to worry about, sometimes parents get a little tough with their children. It’s parental love, that’s all it is’. so don’t you dare,” she snarled and wow, she was doing that a lot today apparently, “call me that. You don’t have the right.” Harry nodded beside her and so did Ron, which made Bill give him a sort of proud nod.

 

“Harry, my boy, would you tell,” she couldn’t help the hysterical laugh that bubbled out of her as Snape led her mother out of the room, making him pause, turning slightly.
“I’m sorry? Are you fucking shitting me?!” she screamed and felt Ron wince, and continued, knowing he’d tell her later why, “you call him ‘my boy’?! seriously?! you put him with his God damn Muggle relatives, relatives may I add, that see who can hit him round the head with a frying pan the most, give him chores three essay lengths long to do a day whilst threatening to beat him into oblivion and starve him more than they feed him, and you have the fucking balls to call him ‘your boy’?! he begged you after his first year to not make him go back there, because he hated that they hurt him! He told you they hurt him, and you sent him back! You sent him fucking back! You said that ‘magic will keep you safe there’!” she screamed, her throat feeling hoarse and the Ministry person seemed to rear back in shock, before shaking his head as if he should have expected it.

 

“thank you, Mr. Lupin for calling this to my attention, I’m glad you did, however much I wish these events didn’t transpire in the first place. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, you are under arrest on suspicion of two charges of failing to protect school children, two charges of putting two children in physical harms way, two charges of emotional, mental and psychological neglect. You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but whatever you say will be put into writing and may be given in evidence and it may harm your defense if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.” before Dumbledore could say (or do, perhaps) anything, he got hit with a spell, and taken from the Ministry, leaving the three children looking shell shocked.

 

“Holy shit,” Ron breathed and Hermione and Harry laughed, the three of them unknowingly breaking the tension. Professor Snape disappeared much like the Minister person had, and then it was just Professor Lupin, Narcissa Malfoy and Bill who were left as the adults. Once Hermione and Harry stopped laughing, Ron turned to Bill, “not that I don’t like seeing you here, because it’s really cool to see you,” Bill chuckled, nodding, “but why are you and Mrs. Malfoy here? It isn’t holidays yet,” Ron said as if it were logical, and Hermione felt herself nod, alongside Harry, before realizing what Ron said, and coughed, the attention being drawn to her. She forced herself to not recoil.
“I have a feeling I know why Mrs. Malfoy née Black is here, but i can’t be sure, as it isn’t to do with us. If it’s what I think it is, Mrs. Malfoy née Black will understand that in the aftermath we’ll be here and forgive any transpired events,” Hermione watched as the boys looked at her in confusion, and rolled her eyes, feeling a smile tug at her lips. “we leave it alone.” a look of understanding crossed their faces and Hermione shook her head, laughing softly, as did Bill, before continuing, “also, shouldn’t we be more concerned as to why a curse breaker is in Hogwarts in what is I am assuming is his, however questionable, uniform?” she said, the last part coming out unsure, and Bill laughed, running a hand through his hair.

 

“it is, in fact, my uniform, but I’m not here on duty, so don’t worry, there isn’t a curse going around Hogwarts,” he said, giving his brother a warm smile, which calmed him down.
“except for the DADA position,” Hermione heard Harry mumble, and she grinned, nodding, inclining her head, as did Ron, making Mrs Malfoy née black smile. Bill shook his head, a smile still in place,
“I’m trying to work on that one, although that’s more out of stubbornness at this point,” he said, trailing off towards the end, and Hermione laughed, seeing a pattern.

 

Bill looked at her, his eyebrow raised, and she gave him a sheepish smile, “sorry, I was just laughing because of the fact that it seems like stubbornness runs in your family. You have it, self admittedly, Ron has it, and don’t you try and deny it,” she said, letting out a disbelieving laugh, turning to Ron, who had just opened his mouth to do just that, making him pause, before shrugging and nodding, Bill smirking, and she continued, “Fred and George have it in abundance, and if you pick the right topic, so does Percy.” she finished and he paused before laughing.
“huh, I hadn’t thought of it like that.” she mock bowed and he laughed once more.
“and Ginny,” she turned to Harry, and looked at him, mock puzzled, and he grinned, not realizing she already knew, before elaborating, “Ginny is probably the most stubborn one of them all. She got possessed and only did minor damage; something of which Tom Riddle himself said. He kept going on about it, ‘I would have been able to kill if it weren’t for the child’ ‘she always fought me inside of her head, and made sure they lived’ ‘nobody else would have been able to do that, they would have been powerless against me’ ‘no body else would have been able to fight, they would have been powerless’” Bill looked shocked and and Hermione felt herself grin.

 

“you do realise that anyone can tell Vi’s the most stubborn one right?” she felt the nickname slip out before she could help herself and Harry looked at her confused, and she smiled at him, “her full name is Genevieve, but for the love of God, don’t call her it, because she’s likely to kill you. When I was at the Burrow this summer with Ron, seeing as we didn’t know where you were, I heard Mrs. Weasley shout at her, using her full name, and Ginny shouted back -even louder, and told her, and I quote, ‘my Morgana be damned name is not Genevieve, it’s Ginny!” she didn’t shout but Bill cackled, whilst Ron had a shocked look on his face.
“she shouted louder at our mother?” he said in wonder and Hermione nodded, a small smile playing on her lips as she thought of it.
”how does 'Vi' come into play then?” she looked to Harry who seemed confused, and Ron seemingly in agreement, and smiled at them,
“well, her full name is ‘GeneVIeve’, so I took that part of the name and used it as a nickname, seeing as we wanted to give each other a nickname no one else used,” she said shrugging, neglecting to tell them that it wasn’t the nickname they had settled on for in private, but in public, and the two nodded, before she realised they had strayed topics… again.

 

“so why exactly are you here then,” she wondered to Bill who smiled at her, not annoyed that they seemingly kept straying from the topic they were meant to be discussing.
“for Ron,” all three of them continued to stare at him and he sighed, running a hand over one side of his face, “a Boggart manifests itself into someone’s worst fear -something they fear their life over,” the boys looked at her worried, and she pressed her lips together, and stared at the ceiling, before realising just what he was saying and snapped her head to face Ron; unknowingly hitting Harry with her hair. He stared at her confused, whilst she stared at him horrified, before pushing some of his hair back.

 

“i’m so sorry,” she whispered and he gave her a worried look, glancing at Bill who was looking on in understanding, and turning back to her, “Ronnie, I’m so sorry,” she whimpered and he frowned, drawing her in for a hug and she sobbed into his shirt, and he looked to Harry bewildered who looked just as lost as he did. ‘what the fuck’ he mouthed, and Harry’s lips twitched, before he shrugged, the two of them worried about Hermione and why she was seemingly horrified at what she had realised.

 

After what seemed like a life time, Hermione sniffed, and pulled away from him, keeping one of her hands laid on his arm, whilst she looked at him imploringly, a look full of compassion and worry in her eyes. “Ronnie, why didn’t you tell us that your mum was abusing you?”