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The rose and the star

Chapter Text

Art by Daze Ventura for "The rose and the star" - Pictures of Hermione Grainger and Bucky Barnes superimposed over an old fashioned tea shop

The man had been outside the tea shop on and off for a week before Hermione really noticed him. She felt rather guilty that it had taken so long for her to actually notice him, but the homeless population of her town was small but persistent. You tended to see the same faces, drinking the same cheap lager or cider, day after day.

This man was different. For starters, you never saw him drinking alcohol. Occasionally she saw him with a paper cup of coffee or a bottle of soft drink, but never alcohol. He always wore the same clothes, a bomber jacket over a hoodie with the hood pulled forward to shelter his face, jeans, tatty black boots and black leather gloves. Sometimes he wore a baseball cap. If it rained he often sheltered under an old plasticized canvas sign advertising the closing down sale of some shoe shop long since closed down and he had a surprisingly small rucksack full of possessions.

He wasn’t exactly begging. No-one really begged or they were moved on by the police. Like many of the others he sat there and waited for passers by to eventually give him money or food, although unlike many of the others he didn’t have a sign on a bit of cardboard. He always mumbled a thank-you and never made eye contact. She had given him food and drink herself, unwilling to give him cash in case he spent it on drugs, but all she had received was his standard mumbled “thanks” and a quick nod without eye contact.

Hermione watched from the window seat of the tea shop one morning as he arrived to find another one of the homeless population in his spot. He stopped, paused and the other man, ragged and battered and clutching a plastic bag of cans of cheap lager looked up. She watched the other man do a double take, then take to his heels. Bomber jacket guy just calmly sat down on the folded cardboard boxes the other man had left, crossed his legs and leaned back against the wall of the alcove.

Hermione frowned, but looked away as soon as the man was settled, not wanting to get caught looking at him. She went back to the manuscript in front of her, absently sipping her cup of tea as she scribbled notes in the margin. She really needed to rework the final section on banking, but she did not have access to the information she needed. The best way would be to speak to the goblins at Gringotts, but she was fairly certain that would be an expensive proposition and was not sure that she would receive a very warm welcome. Perhaps Neville would be able to help. Now he had reached his majority and taken over his inheritance, he must have had some training in magical financial matters.

The sound of rain pattering against the window distracted her from the text and she looked up again to see that bomber jacket guy had pulled out his canvas sign and was sheltered under it. As he resettled the canvas, she caught a glimpse of his face before he reached up and pulled his hoodie back forward. He was surprisingly healthy looking, if quite thin, and the ends of his apparently long hair curled forward around his jaw. As if he realised she was looking at him, he glanced up at her and for a moment she met his brilliantly blue eyes before he frowned and looked back down.

Those eyes, the way he looked up through his eyelashes and shaggy hair, was like looking at Sirius. That sense of barely controlled...something. Not quite danger, but trouble, leashed poorly. Hermione sighed at the memory of the man she had barely got to know. She realised she was staring at the man without really looking, and he was looking at her, a half frown on his face. She shot him an apologetic look and went back to her manuscript.

xxxoooxxx

The soldier sat under his makeshift shelter. This country wasn’t his country, or not one of the countries he seemed to be most familiar with living in. However, he was fully fluent in the language and the culture seemed familiar enough that he could get by.

He was currently homeless. This was not a particular problem, he was healthy and strong enough, beyond what appeared to be the norm. Consequently many of the usual problems for homeless people, particularly hypothermia and violence, were not problems for him. While he was homeless he was practically invisible and as long as he didn’t come to the attention of law enforcement he was a non-person. Still a non-person.

What he needed, and what this situation gave him, was time. Time to work through the memories that were slowly coming back to him. Time to let more memories float back through the mixture of violence, pain and servitude which were all he was able to remember of the last… The thought made him pause. If the museum exhibition was correct, then it had been several decades. He certainly didn’t have several decades of memories though. At least not yet.

The woman was back in the tea shop. The soldier knew she had noticed him, he’d seen her looking at him a few times. Sometimes she looked at him directly, if she thought he wasn’t looking, sometimes she was sneaking a glance out of the corner of her eye, her face hidden by her tumbling curls. Today he’d caught her staring at him, but realised after a moment that she wasn’t actually staring at him, just staring out of the window lost in a thought or a memory. He idly wondered for a moment what her memory was.

He didn’t think she was a threat. She didn’t carry any weapons, didn’t even appear to carry a cellphone, just a large satchel. She came into the tea shop every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, sat at the table in the window and worked on her papers. While she was there, she drank tea. Sometimes she ordered breakfast, usually she ordered lunch. One day she had given him hot tea and a piece of cake.

She was a low risk person. Still, her continued interest bothered him and the soldier had resolved that he should follow her one day and gain more information. The woman sat in the window and frowned at a page of her papers. The soldier decided that he would not follow the woman today.

xxxoooxxx

The man was outside the tea shop again the next time Hermione stopped in. Sitting in the window again with her cup of tea and toast, she wondered whether she should talk to him. She quickly decided against it, as a bad idea if only because he would have had no idea she was even there. Putting her musings aside, she pulled out her manuscript and got back to work. Ron had kindly agreed to draft a section on Wizarding sports and games, which he’d completed very quickly. As she had expected though, it contained a lot of accurate information but needed a lot of work to make it fit for publication. Lavender had agreed to draft some information on wizarding clothes and fashions, but that would need to wait for a few days until she and Ron were back from holiday. Hermione picked up her pencil and started annotating Ron’s manuscript.

It must have been about two hours later when she realised that the man in the bomber jacket wasn’t alone anymore. It had started to rain without her noticing, the sort of light persistent rain that gets you wet before you realise it’s even raining that much. The man had been joined under his makeshift shelter by a boy, barely in his late teens, in torn tracksuit bottoms and a donkey jacket several sizes too large. As usual, the man didn’t have a sign or a cup for pennies, but the boy had a piece of card noting the price of a room at the night shelter and a tatty paper cup. She watched them briefly for a moment as they sat there, seemingly content to sit in silence, then went back to work.

It was the sudden motion that got her attention. A man, much more warmly dressed than the boy, in a blue puffa jacket and jeans was standing in front of the pair shouting at the boy and waving his hands at him. From the limited sound that came through the glass, Hermione gathered the man thought the boy owed him money. The boy was muttering something and shrinking back. Hermione didn’t catch the last thing the man said, but his body language had threatened violence.

The man in the bomber-jacket exploded upwards, almost too fast to see, and Hermione flinched. His face was a mask of fury, almost Bellatrix levels of uncontrolled anger and in that moment, Hermione could almost see her in the man’s features. Before she could straighten her thoughts, bomber-jacket-man had grabbed the man in the puffa jacket by the throat and was speaking harshly at him, his face a mask of cold rage. He finished his obvious threat, not more than maybe two or three sentences and dropped the man who fell backwards and back-pedalled, crabwise before scrambling to his feet and shouting at bomber-jacket-man again. Bomber-jacket-man simply stood there, implacable, then for a moment, he just smiled and Bellatrix Lestrange’s madness hung in the air for a split second.

The man in the puffa jacket spat some final imprecation at bomber-jacket-man and the boy, but it was obviously all bluster. As he turned to leave, practically at a run, Hermione could see the outright fear on the man’s face.

Bomber-jacket-man’s face softened into calmness and he gave a visible sigh, before sitting down calmly with the boy and talking to him quietly. All the madness and threat of violence was gone as if it had never been there at all. The only show of steel in him now appeared to be the serious talking to he was quietly giving the boy. As if he had sensed her attention he looked up and met her eyes. She gave him an embarrassed half-smile and in return got a rather apologetic look which surprised her.

She looked away, unsure how sane he was, having seen this interaction. Still, for the remainder of the afternoon, he was his usual quiet, unassuming self. Feeling quite guilty, it was only one incident and he had been protecting the boy, she dropped a paper bag of sandwiches and cake in front of the pair and left quickly without making eye-contact.

xxxoooxxx

The soldier waited a couple of days before he followed her, picking a Friday, the town was always busy on a Friday lunchtime and crowds were cover. She followed her usual routine, getting tea and a snack, and sitting in the window to work on her papers. The soldier moved away, before she had decided to get up and leave, and found a sheltered spot to keep watch.

The woman kept her usual routine, packing up her things in the mid-afternoon and leaving the coffee shop. She seemed to look for him as she left, but did not pause and walked off up the street.

The soldier slipped out and followed her, dropping into well learned patterns of behaviour to tail the target unseen. She followed a slightly winding path through the town, stopping off at a butcher’s shop to pick up some meat, before walking into an alleyway. The soldier frowned. He knew this alley, and it was firstly a dead end and secondly a regular spot for drug dealing. He quickened his steps, hearing a cracking sound from the alley.

“What the hell?”

The alley was completely empty.  

xxxoooxxx

As if he was aware of her thoughts, bomber-jacket-man seemed to go out of his way to acknowledge her politely the next few times she went to the tea-shop. Once or twice she even got something that was almost a smile and once a wry grin when she dropped a cake in his lap. He didn’t try to talk to her or stare at her though, nothing creepy, just a polite acknowledgement of her presence.

It was still strange how much he reminded her of the Blacks though. Not one of them specifically, but many of them in little ways. The wry grin he had given her had reminded her of Tonks and the look on his face when he was giving the boy a serious dressing down had reminded Hermione of Tonks’ mother Andromeda. There was nothing for it, but some research.

Maybe he was related to the Blacks somehow. She hadn’t looked into magical genealogy much, but there were almost certainly spells out there for that kind of thing. The pureblood families were obsessed with it and the Blacks, if nothing else, had their family tree tapestry. Maybe the man was related to one of the burned out family members. Given his age he could even be Sirius’ son. Hermione was fairly sure Sirius had lived quite a wild life when he was young. That seemed unlikely though, considering how much Sirius cared for Harry, his godson. Had Sirius had a child, deliberately or accidentally, Hermione was certain that he would have been very involved with them or made arrangements with Dumbledore at the least.

The more sickening thought was that he was the son of one of the Blacks who were Deatheaters. Rape and murder had been listed in the crimes charged against several of the Deatheaters. It was possible that a woman survived to have a child. Hermione shuddered. The thought almost did not bear thinking about, but her pragmatism forced her to add it to her mental list of possibilities.

Research. She resolved to ask Harry for access to the Black library. It wasn’t entirely honest, but it was the library most likely to have the genealogical materials she needed. And maybe a more complete copy of the Black family tree.

xxxoooxxx

The soldier waited for the following Monday and repeated his tail of the woman. This time she did not stop at any shops and took a slightly different route to the same alley. The same cracking noise came from the alley and again, by the time he reached the alley, she was gone.

He searched the alley carefully, even checking inside the industrial bins, but was unable to find a way out of it except the back doors into the shops. It was a simple service alley running down between two shops, then opening out into a T-shape and running a short way along behind them. Its only permanent tenants were the industrial bins for waste and recyclables behind each of the small shops. The rear wall of it was the solid back wall of a church.

On the Wednesday, he did not follow her into the alley, but waited outside to see if she left through one of the shops. Though he waited for several hours, till well after it was dark, she did not appear.

On the Friday he found a spot to wait near the alley and after she had entered, he waited all night, but still she did not appear. The soldier was bothered.

xxxoooxxx

Harry had been happy to let her use the library at Grimmauld Place. The house was only occasionally used these days, although a couple of house elves lived there to keep the place in good order. Harry had seen no reason to remove the wards on the house left by the Order of the Phoenix and it remained unplottable and hidden. Except the remaining members of the Order of the Phoenix, everyone who had known or discovered its existence had died in the war. Now it was a place of last resort when fame or the general chaos surrounding his own and Ginny’s quidditch related fame got too ridiculous. Hermione knew that he had also loaned its use to a few other close friends as well as herself.

Luckily Kreacher was long gone, dying of old age several years earlier. Harry had refused Kreacher’s wish to have his head mounted on the wall in the hallway, but had compromised with a wizarding photo with a plaque underneath which said ‘Kreacher, faithful to the House of Black’, and having Kreacher buried in the Black family crypt. He had even been there at Kreacher’s death, holding the sad little creature’s hand and assuring him of his place in death alongside the family members he had served. Hermione thought Harry had gone above and beyond, but it was true that Kreacher had served the family loyally his entire life.

Harry was happy to have someone drop in for a few days to look in on the house elves Tansy and Rilly though, who tended to get a little anxious if the house went completely untenanted for any length of time. Hermione agreed that she’d spend a few days there, let herself be pampered by the house elves while she worked her way through the library. She could catalogue the books as she went. Harry jumped at the chance, suggesting she get the elves to help.

The house had been fully redecorated, probably by Tansy and Rilly, as Hermione knew that Harry still avoided the place a lot of the time. They had kept the decor largely the same, but had repainted and papered the woodwork and walls in lighter colours and the house looked almost completely different. The painting of Mrs Black had been removed from the hallway. Harry had had to hire a cursebreaker from Gringotts, although not Bill Weasley, to get her down and she had been relocated to the “green parlour”, a room which was almost entirely unused.

The library had benefited well from the complete redecoration. The curtains had been replaced with heavy beige linen drapes over sheer net curtains and the room was full of light and the morning sun. Tansy, the little elf dressed in a tiny version of a formal housekeeper’s dress and hat, trotted ahead of her to the glass fronted bookshelves.

“You be certain?” She asked Hermione. “Is big job!”

Hermione squinted at the eight, floor to ceiling, bookshelves. “Well,” she said. “It needs doing.”

“It does!” Tansy nodded emphatically. “But still, big job.”

With a gesture, Tansy opened the first bookshelf. Hermione could have kicked herself for being at all surprised when the bookcase magically folded out from it’s space on the wall. The shelves slid silently out into two zig zags of three bookcases, double sided, which filled most of the free space in the centre of the room. What had looked like a single bookcase was actually twelve. Only the outer bookcase on the right hand side was actually visible when the glass door was closed.

Hermione pulled out a stack of paper and a dictaquil and put them on a table. Tansy pushed up her little sleeves and pulled a feather duster and polishing cloth from thin air.

“We get to work!” Tansy said, giving Hermione a serious and enthusiastic nod.

Hermione couldn’t help but grin back at her.

xxxoooxxx

The soldier had planned to get ahead of the woman and secrete himself in the alleyway before she arrived on the Monday, however the woman with the curly hair didn’t appear at the tea shop on Monday or any days that week. When it went into a second week he found himself worrying a little when she had not appeared by Wednesday, although she clearly could just be on holiday or had some other commitments.

He found himself looking out for her specifically on Thursday even though she rarely appeared on a Thursday. On Friday he chose not to go and sit by the tea shop. He was getting too predictable anyway, needed to change his routine for a while before anyone actually noticed him.

xxxoooxxx

Tansy had reported back to Harry and consequently Harry, Ginny, James, Albus and Lily had all descended on her for for breakfast on the Wednesday so Harry could tell Hermione that, if she was going to catalogue the whole library correctly, then he was going to pay her the going rate.

Hermione’s protests over breakfast that she was only on a years sabbatical and perfectly well off on her author’s income and her investments, furthermore that she was getting free research access and room and board went unheard. Harry was having none of it and Ginny and the children backed him up emphatically. He simply sent off a quick letter to his account manager at Gringotts instructing them to transfer the appropriate sum into her account. Hermione gave up and caught up on all the latest gossip.

By the following Tuesday she and Tansy had cleaned all of the books and bookcases and created a single list of every book on the ninety-six bookcases. Two thousand, six hundred and eighty-eight books. Hermione thanked her lucky stars that Teddy had bought her a high quality dictaquil for Christmas a couple of years before. She would never have managed to log all of the books by hand in such a short time. As well as the books, they had also discovered a large selection of other items, including four wands; a selection of wizarding pictures and photographs, some in albums and some loose; various random ornaments; assorted old correspondence; and most weirdly, a dried pressed frog which was being used as a bookmark.

She agreed with Harry to drop into Ollivanders sometime and have the wands identified and she also wanted to purchase a proper photograph album from Flourish and Blotts so that Teddy could mount all of the loose photographs neatly. The books, obviously, would all form part of the catalogue.

The most important book that she had found was a previous, and very out of date, library catalogue. It was a catalogue in the loosest sense of the term, more a long list of all of the books entered as they were added to the library in order of acquisition. However it did list all of the books up to mid 1858 including where they had been bought or acquired from. Hermione took an additional trip out to Flourish and Blotts to buy bookplates and more ink, then additionally to WHSmiths to buy index cards, a box and pencils and erasers. Then she set Tansy to work comparing the current list and the 1858 list and creating an index of all of the books by author and topic and noting any missing. Tansy was thrilled.

Freed up to do some research, Hermione pulled out any books she had noted which seemed to include genealogy or genealogical magic (fourteen), any books on the history of the Black Family (two hand-written family texts) and the photos and portraits. If she did nothing else, identifying all of Teddy’s family on the Black side would be helpful for him in the future.

xxxoooxxx

Unable to fathom why the woman should have been on his mind so much, the soldier relocated to another town a few miles away for a couple of weeks. It had been unwise to stay in the same place for any significant length of time anyway.

On the surface, the town had seemed very similar to the previous town he had been living in, but it wasn’t as straightforward as his precious location. There was a considerably higher level of drug abuse in this place and he found himself having to resort to violence far too many times. When he finally had to break a man’s arm rather than be shot, he gave up. He spent some time considering whether to leave this country altogether, but finally he just relocated back to his prior location. He’d been gone long enough to throw off most passive searches, he told himself.

She was still not in the tea shop. This was...problematic. He contemplated tracking her down, but he did not have enough intell on the woman to locate her, and it was unlikely that anyone would be likely to share any information with the homeless man who sat outside the coffee shop. He forced his mind into a different train of thought, trying to convince the boy named Baz that he would be better off going to social services than living on the streets. It was a difficult argument to make considering his current situation, but despite his size the boy was only 13 and was being actively preyed on by others. It was a more solvable problem than the missing woman though.

xxxoooxxx

The portrait had caught her attention as soon as she saw it. It was not one spelled to move, but was a small portrait, not quite a miniature and part of a set painted on wood; the sort of small painting done as a personal memento or keepsake.

When she had pulled it out of it’s scuffed leather case, it had appeared to be a small flat wooden box. However, when she ran her fingers over the Black Family crest, the top opened and it folded out like a book to show a portrait on each of the two panels. These then folded out again to show four inner panels, each with a further portrait. The portraits quite clearly predated the family tapestry, but reference to the Black library with significant help from Tansy, provided more information. An earlier, hand drawn, family tree suggested that the outside portraits were of Lord Antares and Lady Antigone Black and the inner portraits were their three children and a further portrait of an older couple together, who Hermione guessed were the parents of Lady Black.

What was most startling, was that the picture with the banner naming it as Regulus (one of the many in the family tree) was the absolute spitting image of the man in the bomber jacket. In the photo. Regulus was maybe his very late teens or early twenties, putting the date of the paintings somewhere in the mid 1850s. Still, the likeness to her homeless man was uncanny. According to the family tree, it appeared that this Regulus had never married or had children and neither had the youngest, Alhena, though his older brother became Lord Black, married and had two children including Teddy’s great-grandfather.

Whoever the homeless man in the bomber jacket was, she thought that it at least appeared that he was a distant cousin of Teddy. If he was a distant cousin of Teddy, he was also a distant cousin of Harry. She chewed on her lip as she stood there looking at the family tree. There were so many people burned out of the tree that there must be dozens of people, families, related to Teddy and Harry either in the magical or muggle worlds. She wondered how simple it would be to trace them.

xxxoooxxx

He had finally managed to convince the boy Baz to speak to one of the people who ran the pop-up soup kitchen. The woman he had gently prodded Baz through a conversation with had been more than happy to put him in touch with a charity that supported homeless LGBT youth, which neatly sidestepped the issue of social services speaking to his parents. The last time that had happened had been shortly before the soldier had met Baz and he had still been bearing the bruises he had received on being returned home to his father.

She had tried to engage the soldier in conversation, but he had ducked out quickly once his job was done. An outreach worker from the charity had turned up a couple of hours later and collected the scrappy youngster, although not before leaving his business card and the contact details of the hostel Baz was going to. The soldier took them, and a little impulsively gave Baz a one armed hug and gentle thump on the back. When he pulled back, he could see Baz had tears in his eyes.

“Take care, punk.” The soldier muttered.

“Call me.” Baz ordered him.

The soldier nodded. “If I can.”

He knew he would not. Maybe he would send a postcard from here before he left for the next place.

xxxoooxxx

The real world had imposed itself on Hermione’s random research interlude. Her publisher was pressuring her for a first draft of her book, or at least some complete chapters and this meant she needed to be at home. Much of the rest of the book was in a readable state, but she had drafted and redrafted the section on wizarding finances, before realising it was terrible. In a fit of pique she hexed it to shreds. This was not something that she was going to be able to do herself. She gave up and went out for a cup of tea.

The man in the bomber jacket was sitting outside the tea-shop again. His face lit up in pleased surprise when he saw her. His smile completely changed him, as if it went right down into his muscles, gentling him somehow. She smiled back as she walked past into the shop.

Inside the shop, Cassie greeted her warmly.

“Been a while since we saw you, love.” She told Hermione. “You want the usual?”

Hermione grinned at her. “Of course.”

“Sit yourself down and I’ll bring it over.”

Hermione took her usual window seat. Outside, the man was watching her. Hermione parsed his expression as concerned, but he quickly ducked his head away in what seemed to be embarrassment.

“He’s still out there.” Cassie said, putting a tray down on the table. “Went for a week or two but back last week. Hasn’t got that young lad with him any more though.”

Hermione frowned. “The one he was looking after?”

“If you’d call it that.” Cassie said. “All those homeless people, all on drugs. Or that extra strong lager.” She added. “Horrible stuff!”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him drink alcohol.” She told Cassie. “Coffee, water, fizzy drinks, but never alcohol.”

Cassie gave her a rather disbelieving look. “I’ll believe that when I see it.” She shrugged. “I suppose you want me to take him out something to eat?”

Hermione gave her a sheepish smile. “If you would.”

Cassie huffed out a laugh. “You’re proper soft hearted, you are.”

She wandered off to the counter though and Hermione watched her make and bag up a cheese toastie, slice of fruit cake and a takeaway cup of coffee, which she took out to the man. As she handed it over, the man looked up past Cassie and met Hermione’s eyes. He nodded in acknowledgement. Hermione returned his nod and the man opened the bag to eat his early lunch. 

xxxoooxxx

The pureblood obsession with heritage did not fail her, and the Black library’s genealogy book provided her with a variety of spells both light and dark which dealt with determining, clarifying or proving lineage and magical heritage. Unfortunately, many of the spells required the caster to be a member of the family in question and provided either a simple confirmation of blood relationship or confirmed the “heir”.

However, a more modern book from the 1960s on the “Most Ancient and Noble Families of the Countries of the British Isles and France” also contained several spells and additionally a parchment which folded out to show the most notable families and their coat of arms. One of the spells was a simple charm which could be cast to see if you were distantly related to any of the families. Apparently the coat of arms would glow a little and move if you had a relation to any of the families on the parchment. A smaller line of text disavowed legal responsibility for the outcome of the charm and noted that its use was not a replacement for the services of your family solicitor or a duly qualified Charms Master.

She had cast the spell herself and was slightly shocked to see the parchment glow. The Dagworth coat of arms shone so brightly she could barely look at it and when she put her hand over that one to hide the glow, there was a much fainter glow from four other coats of arms, Prewitt, Bones, and Peverell but a reasonably strong light shining from the Gaunt coat of arms. She cringed at the last one and closed the parchment.

Hector Dagworth-Granger, she thought. There were copies of three of his books in the library. She stared at the spines of the books. Well, she thought to herself, that had happened. It wasn’t as if people had not noted the name before. She sighed, made a note of the information in her notebook, and resolved to ask Harry for a recommendation of a suitable solicitor. She probably needed to look into her own family tree.

She put that aside though and read back over a couple of the other spells. One, when cast by a registered professional such as a solicitor or Charms Master on a person and a piece of new parchment, would apparently provide you with a family tree, or at least a statement of your parentage, which was sufficient to be stated in a court of law. Cast by anyone else, it would still provide the document, but not valid for a court statement.

It was a very challenging charm to learn, practically ritual magic. She copied it out carefully into her notebook, then proofread it line by line. She thought she could probably learn it to a sufficient standard to get at least a basic document, although she might go through quite a lot of parchment in the process of learning. She packed up her things and found her cloak. Time to go shopping at Flourish and Blotts.

xxxoooxxx

The soldier found himself at a loose end, a feeling unfamiliar to him. His memory seemed to have given up all of the information it would with the current stimuli and with nothing else to do, he was missing the company of the boy Baz and indirectly the woman with curly hair.

He had caved in to his urges and against his better judgement had broken into a house and made a call to the hostel. Baz was doing well, meeting a large number of his peers and had been enrolled into a school to catch up on his education. The soldier suspected that the honeymoon period would not last forever, but the news that Baz’ STI tests had all come back negative meant that at least one thing about this period of the kid’s life wouldn’t come back to haunt him. Little punk deserved a bit of luck.

The soldier decided to spend some time in the public library and catch up on recent historical events. Maybe that would spark the release of some new memories.

xxxoooxxx

The charm took her a week and a lot of parchment to get right. She blanked it all once she had used it, but it needed a completely new parchment each time. She cast it on herself repeatedly, and ended up with an extensive family tree which connected her directly to the Dagworth family via Lysander Granger, a squib brother of Hector Dagworth-Granger, older than Hector by almost thirty years. The Dagworth family was no longer extant apparently, and she was fairly certain that while there probably wasn’t any financial value to claiming the title, she possibly would be able to do so, if only to annoy the purebloods. The Grainger family, her family, had apparently been Muggles for about four generations now.

She was also, through Lysander and Hector’s mother, a distant cousin of Molly Weasley nee Prewitt and therefore Ron and all his siblings; a distant cousin of Harry through a Dagworth marriage to the Potters a further generation back; and a slightly closer but still fairly distant cousin of Susan Bones through the marriage of one of Lysander’s sisters. The strangest thing was the Gaunt connection.

According to the spell, she was also a distant cousin of Tom Riddle. Lysander had married another squib called Alcyone Gaunt, and Lysander and Alcyone were her great great grandparents. She knew from the war that the Gaunt family had been in decline for generations and had pretty much ended up a single line with either no siblings, or family members who had died unmarried, or children who had died in childhood. It was hard to tell for certain, magical family trees did not seem to like noting squibs and it had been hard to push the charm to give that much information. To be totally honest she was not really interested in finding any Gaunt relations of any kind anyway.

This was as far as she could get without someone else to practice on. She gave herself a stern talking to, then dropped in to see Harry at his office.

Harry was more than happy to discover her “accidental” research and overjoyed to find out she was a distant cousin. He also immediately set his own solicitor to work investigating the possibility of Hermione claiming the Dagworth-Granger title or estate. Beyond that he was also happy to volunteer himself as a test subject for the charm, and once Teddy had seen the results, Teddy was also pressing her to do him a family tree.

The teenager was surprisingly interested in her research and was more than happy for her to cast magic on him as long as she taught him the charm. Between them, they were able to create some very detailed family trees she created for both sides of his family, Harry’s family and her family. Interestingly, Harry appeared on both family trees, as a child of James and Lily Potter on the Potter family tree and as a child of Sirius and the current Head of the House of Black on the Black family tree. She supposed it must be that Harry was Sirius’ godchild and the sole beneficiary of Sirius’ magically executed will. Mirroring this, Teddy appeared on the Black family tree, Lupin family tree and Potter Family trees. Hermione made a note for Harry to look into the magical legacies entailed to each family, as the crossovers suggested that there was a level of magical merger happening.

With Teddy’s enthusiastic participation and Hermione’s knowledge of where she probably needed to push the spell, it was not hard to get the spell to provide a wider and very detailed Black family tree which included a whole line of family members from Regulus. No manner of pushing the spell had produced any family tree from Regulus’ sister Alhena and most other dead-ended family tree branches more recently just tied into other magical families that she could already evidence.

Regulus had apparently had a daughter called Taygete Black who had married a man called Kilpatrick and their daughter Stella had married a man called Jonathan Barnes. And that was where the family tree that Hermione could produce ended. According to the family tree, Jonathan and Stella Barnes had no children.

Hermione theorised though that it was possible that he had too little magic left attached to him for the spell to work, or maybe had travelled too far away, or had been concealed magically or possibly even adopted magically into another family. The record didn’t tell her and she did not understand the spell enough to know what would act to conceal parts of the tree. However she was very clear that the family tree that had elucidated her own heritage had not included a significant number of her current family, including some cousins, but not including their siblings. One of her grandmother’s siblings was included but three others completely absent.

She sighed and rolled the parchment. Whoever the man was, there was not a strong enough link between Teddy and he at the moment to link him into the family tree. That was if he even was a Black. There were a million other things that were calling on her time including finishing the final draft of her book. Lavender had sent her a draft to rework and her editor wouldn’t wait forever. Time to get back to normal life.