1) This story main contain themes such as polyandry, lemons, violence, foster-care, dub-con elements, and single-parenting.
2) All reference to the backstory of Thorfinn Rowle being at Hogwarts in overlapping years while Hermione was there, and any reference to the library scene are the brain-child of Canimal. I use them with her full knowledge and permission.
3) If you like Death Eater centric fiction such as this, join our FB group: The Death Eater Express.
4) I have no children myself and rarely associate with them, so if you note anything out of character for any child in this fic that isn't feasible given their personal circumstanes, please PM me so I may better understand and represent what children are like.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I make no profit off this fan-fiction.
"You can't be serious?" Harry Potter's voice held shock and no small amount of condemnation. Hermione Granger pursed her lips, looking at the floor for a long moment in silence.
"This is madness," Ronald Weasley declared, his tone weighing more anger than shock.
"Surely you're joking, Hermione," Harry went on. "You can't… I mean, do you understand what you're proposing? What you're suggesting?"
"You don't know the first thing about children," Ron spat. "Especially not magical children."
Hermione pressed her lips together and narrowed her eyes at the floor for that little dig at her heritage. He'd been making nasty little comments like that since their romantic relationship had fizzled before it even had a chance to really begin. Not that Hermione lamented its loss. Without the war hanging over their heads, she and Ronald Weasley had little in common, and less to discuss.
"Are you finished?" Hermione asked the pair of them when they stood, finally silent.
"Why would you want to do this, Hermione?" Harry asked her, frowning when she looked up to meet his emerald gaze.
"You know why," Hermione told him sternly.
"You aren't responsible for shouldering every injustice of the wizarding world, Hermione," Ron growled. "First it was house-elves. Then it was werewolves, even after Remus died. Centaurs, Giants, Faeries, and bloody Squibs. But this is going too far! They're the children of Death Eaters, Hermione. Do you get that? You'd be taking in children – magical children – whose parents are convicted Death Eaters. The likes of Antonin Dolohov - the bloke who almost murdered you. Fenrir bloody Greyback - a known rapist, cannibal and all-around sociopath. These kids are the ill-gotten devil-spawn of the foulest people on the planet!"
Hermione stamped her foot, her eyes suddenly blazing.
"Why don't you understand that every word of your argument is exactly why I want to help these children, Ronald?" Hermine demanded. "Listen to what you're saying! We fought a war over the idea discrimination based on one's bloodlines and who their parents are, and yet you stand there, condemning innocent children for the unfortunate fact that bad people were their sperm donors."
Ron recoiled slightly at the venom in her tone, her mention of sperm, and likely, the fact that he knew on some level that she was right.
"They're just kids, Ron. Little children who need someone to look after them because their parents are dead, or are rotting in cells in Azkaban for their crimes during the war. They can't help who their fathers happen to be. They can't help being the offspring of bad men who forced themselves on women that refuse to raise their rape-babies. And yes, I know all too well exactly what they're being called, and I think it's despicable! We went to war because the likes of some of these men wanted to say people like me didn't deserve to live because of who my parents are. And now you want to say the same about kids who had the misfortune of having a Death Eater for a father."
"Well, it's the truth," Ron said bitterly. "Do you really think people won't hold their fathers' crimes against them?"
"I know they will. That's why no one wants to adopt them or foster them, Ron. No one wants to put their hand up to raise the children of wicked men. But someone has to. And that someone will be me."
"Hermione, you're barely an adult yourself. What business have you got raising kids?" Harry demanded, frowning in frustration.
"I'm old enough to be granted custody, Harry, and it looks like I'm the only one willing to stick her hand up and raise them. The only one not wanting to do so to get back at their fathers or to use them for their own nefarious purposes, anyway," Hermione replied. "Nothing either of you say is going to talk me out of this. I'd appreciate your support, but if you can't give it to me, I'll do this on my own."
"Fine!" Ron snarled. "When you realise that you're fucking up your entire life up for the sake of blokes who want you dead, you know where to find me."
With that, Ron Disapparated and Hermione scowled in fury. She turned her gaze on Harry, awaiting his decision.
"I…" Harry sighed heavily for a moment, looking down at his feet. "I can't say I agree with your decision, Hermione. Ron's right. I know you're trying to do a decent and noble thing, but I agree that you're trying to help men who'd sooner spit on you than thank you."
Hermione frowned sadly at his words, knowing they were probably true.
"That being said," Harry said softly. "I can't abandon you, Hermione. I won't. If this is the decision you want to make, I'll support you. If you really want to raise the unfortunate souls unlucky enough to call a Death Eater 'Dad', well, I guess I'll help you."
"You don't have to… you know, move in with me or anything, Harry," Hermione told him, smiling. "I'm not asking you to shoulder this responsibility with me. But I'd appreciate being able to come to you when they drive me mad enough to pull my hair out. They're just kids. I don't even know if the Ministry will grant me custody, to be honest."
"You'll need to be able to show that you can support them, Hermione," Harry told her. "You'll be given allowances, I imagine, both from the Ministry and from the bank vaults of those Death Eaters whose children you raise. But you'll have to show that you can provide them a stable home environment."
"I know," Hermione nodded. "That's fine. I can do that. I've got plenty of savings and my house is big enough."
"You live in a tiny cottage. It's barely big enough for you," Harry protested, laughing a bit.
"I expanded it," Hermione shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know how many of these kids need a home, but I have enough space for at least three, more if need be. I've got a nice private cottage far away from the prying eyes of the public where these kids won't be hounded because their parents did terrible things to the wizarding world."
Harry nodded slowly.
"I don't know if they'll let you do it alone, love," Harry frowned. "You're single. They might argue that a lack of a father figure isn't healthy."
"Right now, they don't seem to have many other options, Harry," Hermione sighed. "Honestly, the last time I asked about it at the Ministry, there had only been one applicant and it was by a man who is known for trafficking magical creatures, illegal goods, and probably people, too. Merlin knows what he'd do to a child. Especially a child no one else gives a damn about."
"Well, if you need to… you know… claim that you can give them a stable home with a Mum and a Dad… I'm available."
"Are you offering to date me, Harry Potter?" Hermione asked, her eyes widening even as she fought a grin.
Harry blushed before giving her a little shove.
"Don't do that," he protested. "You know I didn't mean… Bloody hell!"
Hermione began to laugh. There had been a moment during the Horcrux hunt – an all-time low for both of them following their defeat in Godric's Hollow – when they'd turned to one another for comfort and just to feel something good, just for a little while. Hermione wouldn't say she regretted sleeping with Harry, but it certainly made things awkward every now and then. They'd both been in love with other people, hurting, and simply the one person there for the other at the time.
"Honestly, you shag a bloke one time," Hermione teased, wrapping her arms around Harry's midsection and listening to him laugh with her when he hugged her in return.
"Yeah, well," Harry muttered. "I just… you know I'm always here for you, Hermione. Whatever you need. Even if what you need is for me to play Daddy to Death Eater spawn, or to pretend to be your boyfriend."
"Ginny would have a fit if she could hear you now," Hermione told him.
"Ginny's got issues that I can't help her with," Harry replied softly.
Hermione leaned into her best friend a little more, breathing in the familiar treacle and broom-polish scent of him. Harry and Ginny's relationship had fizzled much the way Hermione's had with Ron. Everyone was simply too broken after the war. Hermione buried her issues with life in the causes of others, championing every mistreated, downtrodden and abused race of creature, being or beast.
Harry worked out his problems with life on his broomstick, having turned down formal Auror training once all the Death Eaters had been rounded up and instead accepting an offer to play for Puddlemere United with Oliver Wood. Ginny had been forced by her mother to return to Hogwarts, where she pouted and dated too many boys who weren't Harry before joining the Harpies.
Ron worked out his frustrations with life in Auror training, despite not having Harry alongside him. Hermione suspected it wasn't going as well as he'd hoped.
"Have you thought about dating someone new?" Hermione asked him, leaning against him and simply enjoying the feel of being held.
"You know anyone who doesn't want to date me for defeating Tom? Or because I'm a professional Quidditch player? Or because I'm the bloody Chosen One?" Harry grumbled. "Pretty sure Ginny was my only hope, and that worked out about as well as trying to teach a dragon to do the Mamba."
"Besides," Harry went on. "You can't talk. When was the last time you went on a date, Miss Granger?"
"Urgh, don't call me that. I feel like I'm back at school," Hermione grumbled. "And we're not going to discuss my love life."
"Because you don't have one," Harry needled.
"Hush up. I don't need a man clogging up my bed-space and leaving his beard-hair on my bathroom sink. Besides, who's going to take me when I'm about to foster the children of several known criminals?"
"Maybe we should date," Harry muttered into her hair.
"Because the sex was so great the first time?" Hermione deadpanned.
"Hey!" Harry protested. "I didn't hear you complaining at the time, Hermione."
Hermione blushed. No, she hadn't complained at the time.
"I had more pressing things on my mind," Hermione argued.
"Are you saying I was rubbish? Because I might've been basing my prowess as a man on rocking your world, woman," Harry told her.
Hermione began to laugh.
"Yeah, right," she rolled her eyes, pulling back from him and crossing the kitchen of Grimmauld Place to make them both a cup of tea.
"I don't have any teabags left," Harry warned.
"Oh, for goodness sake!" Hermione exclaimed. "How do you actually function without me picking up after you, Potter?"
"Poorly," Harry admitted.
"Come on, we're going to my place," she told him, reaching for his hand. "Doesn't have teabags… what sort of barbarian actually lets himself run out of teabags?"
They Disapparated with a crack, Hermione holding Harry's hand until they landed inside her cottage in the highlands of Scotland. It bordered onto a forest on one side, and wasn't far from a small loch on another. She'd have to ward it better to ensure the children she fostered wouldn't wander off when she wasn't looking.
Harry was chuckling at the way she muttered to herself as she put the jug on and began fixing up the teapot to brew a nice strong cup of tea.
"I always forget how nice it is here," Harry murmured, peering out the window and out across her overgrown backyard and to the loch beyond it.
"You don't visit me often enough," Hermione admonished, moving over to stand beside him while they waited for the tea to steep.
"You never answered my question, love," Harry murmured, taking her hand and sliding his fingers through hers absently as he looked out the window.
"Which one?" Hermione frowned.
"Was it rubbish?" he asked. "I mean, I didn't think so at the time, but we were both pretty low. Honestly, in my head I remember it being bloody amazing because it blocked out everything else for a little while."
Hermione laid her head on his shoulder, frowning slightly as she thought about it.
"I didn't have a lot of experience to compare it to," she admitted. "Up until that point I'd only shagged Viktor, which admittedly, hurt the first few times. After that it was…well, I suppose it was good with him. And you're right. I remember our encounter the same way, but how much of that was sexual compatibility or skill as opposed to emotional release and a distraction from how much we were both hurting, is unclear."
Harry dropped a kiss to the top of her head fondly for her honesty.
"Can I tell you a secret?" he asked softly.
"Always," Hermione smiled.
"Ginny was rubbish," Harry told her. "She just… I feel like a bastard for saying so, but honestly she just laid there and wanted to stare at me. It creeped me out so bad that I… um… faked finishing with her just so we could stop."
Hermione's eyes widened before she lifted her head to look at him.
"Oh my, gosh! Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, unsure if she should blush or laugh.
"Don't tell her I told you, please? Blimey, don't tell her I said a bloody word, or that I faked it. She'd kill me."
Hermione began to laugh as she poured them both a cup of tea.
"Can I tell you a secret?" she asked in return.
"If you say Ron was rubbish too, I might actually begin to worry for the future of the Weasley bloodline," Harry warned her.
"He wasn't rubbish," Hermione rolled her eyes, levitating their cups out into the backyard and over to the pair of banana chairs she'd bought to lounge in the rare patches of sunlight this far North. "He just… tried too hard. You know? I mean, he'd obviously had a lot of practice with Lavender before crawling into bed with me, but he… honestly, it made me a bit uncomfortable the way he was always wanting to shift me to some new position if I didn't start moaning within the first three strokes."
"At least he moved," Harry replied.
"Gods, we're so awful, laughing at our two closest friends this way," Hermione said, unable to help her giggle.
"No, we're not," Harry shook his head. "We're allowed to say bad things about them because we dated them. If we were bad mouthing them as just our friends, that'd be another matter. But we're not. We dated them, trash talk is allowed."
Hermione sighed contentedly as she sipped her tea. Harry dropped into one of the banana chairs and Hermione squeaked when he reached for her hand, pulling her down to squeeze onto it next to him, rather than having her sit in the second chair. She liked the easy comfort she always felt with Harry. She never felt like she had to go out of her way to make conversation and she rarely ever felt awkward with him.
"I've missed this," she told him softly, laying her cheek on his chest and cuddling into his side.
"Snuggling me?" he asked.
"That too, but I meant that I've missed having you all to myself. I like that I can just sit with you and cuddle you or share a joke with you and call you a git for running out of teabags and you always let me," Hermione whispered.
Harry pressed another kiss to the top of her head.
"I've missed it, too. When we were on the run together, just the two of us, I was always worrying about finding the next Horcrux, and who might be dying the longer we took, and if Ron would ever pull his head out his arse. And the whole time you were right there with me, bearing the brunt of my bad moods, looking after me, making sure I ate when I'd have forgotten otherwise. But for a few minutes at the end of the day when you'd crawl into bed next to me, I used to pretend we were back at Hogwarts on the couches by the fire, with you reading up on our latest assignment while I thought about Quidditch drills I'd run for the next Gryffindor team practice."
"Harry, do you think I'm making a terrible mistake, wanting to help these kids?" she asked softly, her voice little more than a whisper.
"I… honestly, love? I think you're doing something that most of us are too prejudice and too raw over the war to even consider. I don't think I could do it. I'd never even have considered it if you weren't thinking of it," Harry murmured in return. "But you're right. It's hardly the fault of the children that their parents made terrible mistakes and did terrible things."
Hermione sighed, closing her eyes a burrowing into him a little more, feeling more at peace in that moment than she'd done since before the war.
"I do have one question though," Harry admitted a short while later as they each sipped their tea and simply held one another.
"Mmmm?" Hermione asked.
"What are you going to do about their parents?" Harry asked. "I mean, depending on how many of these kids there are, and who their parents are, there's a good chance a few of them have living parents in Azkaban. Some of them might even be up for parole, sometime in the future. How are you going to handle raising the sons and daughters of people like Dolohov or Greyback or Lestrange?"
"I don't know, Harry," Hermione sighed. "I… I hardly think any of them would appreciate knowing that I'm raising their children. But I also don't like the idea of letting them rot out their remainder of their lives in prison while some poor child grows up fatherless. I think… I think I'd probably go and confront them about it. Rub it in a little that a muggleborn is raising their child or children. Make them feel guilty enough that if they're ever paroled, they might be interested in ensuring the children they sired grow up well."
"You'd willingly interact with them again?" Harry asked, surprised. "You're braver than me, Hermione. I don't even want to see any of those idiots again."
"I don't want to see them again," Hermione replied. "But I have a feeling the Ministry might ask it as a term of the foster-care contract. Most don't, of course, but you never know, with our Ministry."
"Still. Are you really sure you want to have to face them again. Imagine having to stand in front of Dolohov and talk to him about his kid. He almost killed you. He murdered Remus! Or worse, Greyback. That twisted bastard would likely try to take a bite out of you again if you went anywhere near him."
"I don't think they'd actually let me in the same room or be close enough to touch, Harry. I might have to speak with them, but I doubt I'd have to worry about being attacked," Hermione assured him.
"Well, I'm here to help with whatever you need, love. Just… promise me that you're not doing this out of some form of survivor's guilt or as a way to hide from your problems."
"Of course I'm doing it to hide from my problems, Harry. I robbed my own parents of the knowledge that I'm their daughter and nothing I tried, fixed it. I feel terrible over it, all the time, and the idea that there are kids out there without parents – feeling this sense of disconnection that I feel, knowing they have parents somewhere, just not here – makes me ache inside. I can't have my own parents back, I know that, but I can be a parent to these kids who need someone."
"If you want to do it just to be a mother, surely it would make more sense to give birth to your own biological child?" Harry suggested.
"And who would sire such a child, Harry? You?" Hermione asked. "I'm not about to ask one of the Weasleys, and Viktor is happily married. The only other person I'd ever have entertained thoughts of motherhood with is dead."
Harry frowned at her. "Who?" he asked.
Hermione blushed, burrowing her face into his chest a little more before mumbling the answer.
"I didn't catch that," Harry said when she purposely made the name unintelligible.
Hermione sighed. "Remus, Harry. Don't laugh at me. Yes, for a bit, before he and Tonks got together, I had a thing for Remus."
Harry seemed surprised. He pulled back to stare into her face for a long moment. "But he was so much older than us," he said. "He went to school with my Dad. He was twenty years older than you, Hermione."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Age is just a number, Harry. Remus and I clicked well. Both bookish. Both led into trouble by meddlesome Potters. We had a lot in common and I loved having intellectual debates with him. I never cared that he was twice my age. And it doesn't matter anyway because he married a wonderful witch and they both sacrificed their lives for our freedom. The point I was making is that unless you're offering your sperm-donor services, I don't exactly have prospects for motherhood biologically."
"I… If you want a kid, Hermione…." Harry began and Hermione jerked up, blinking at him.
"What? Seriously?" she asked, raising her eyebrows at him. "You'd throw away your friendship with Ron and Ginny, and any future you might find with some pretty witch on the French International team, just because I have a ticking biological clock? Really?"
Harry stared back at her just as seriously.
"I'd do anything for you, Hermione," he said quietly. "If that was what you wanted, I'd do it."
Hermione's mind reeled in shock at his proclamation. She'd known he cared about her and that he'd help her with anything she asked about, but she hadn't expected this.
"I…" Hermione frowned.
"Of course that hinges on the idea that the first time we shagged was skill and compatibility based, rather than an emotional outlet" Harry said when she trailed off. "It might be a bit awkward trying to make a baby if the sex is rubbish."
Hermione could help the squeak of laughter that escaped her.
"I love you, you idiot," she told him affectionately. "And I'm not letting you throw away your future that way. Besides, there are children already in existence who need parents. It would be selfish to make new children when there are some who already need me. But if we both hit thirty and are unattached, or childless, I will take you up on that offer."
Harry grinned and held out his hand for her to shake. "Deal."