"CHAPTER 15:Remarkable Hermione!
Healer Adams, with assistance from both Molly and Fleur Weasley, had done wonders on repairing the injuries on Hermione Granger's back. Using a mixture of both magical spells and potions, and muggle micro-surgery, she had opened up the seams of repair put there by Fleur that had saved Hermione's life, managed to re-join the mass of lacerated muscle and tissue together, re-attach the muscles to the ribs, then close-up the skin along the same stitch lines that Fleur had done, but much more tightly and neatly. "Mrs Weasley, …. Fleur .." The healer had said to her, in reassurance, "Do not take the fact that I have opened up the skin that you repaired to get at the major underlying wounds as a slight on your work or skills. For someone untrained, you did a remarkable job in saving this young witches life. You can be rest assured that Hermione would have died from blood loss and shock if it had not been for your skill. The first rule of emergency surgery, if a life is in danger, do what you have to do to save that life. Everything else takes second place. Further treatments are rendered pointless if you do not have a living patient to do them on. You saved her life so a good job."
The surgery on Hermione, some five hours worth, now over and her still under a strong sedation spell backed up by a potion, Molly Weasley asked, "I don't know about you two, but I need a cuppa. Anyone else? Tea or coffee?" looking at the other two witches. A nod from both were her answers "On its way! I'll do a couple of sandwiches each as well, I think we all need it .. and deserve it! Won't be long. Will just check on Arthur on the way through." As she walked through to the kitchen, Molly found Arthur sleeping soundly in a very squashy armchair with his feet up on a pouffe in the corner of the living room. He looked peaceful and untroubled, seemingly oblivious to all the events that had occurred over the last couple of days. She smiled at her husband of 28 years. 'Oh Arthur, you are a gentle and peaceable man. You always see the best in any situation. If only the world and all the people in it saw things as you do, it would be a much happier place to be.' She very gently kissed his bald spot and left him sleeping, making off into the kitchen to prepare the tea and sandwiches. Fifteen minutes later, all the refreshments on an enlarged tea tray, Molly had them magically spread on the also enlarged coffee table set off to one side of the main living room. The dining room, small as it was, had been utilised as an emergency bedroom for the use of whoever needed it, to grab a few minutes forty winks, if need be. The actual dining table in there had been transfigured into a single bed, one of the chairs into a bedside cabinet, the table cover into a sheet, and the individual four place mats into, in turn, a lamp, a couple of pillows and a blanket. Arthur had awakened from his 'snooze' as he called it, .."Yes, dear", Molly had replied, rolling her eyes … and he had gone upstairs to fetch Fleur and Healer Adams. He could quite easily have shouted up the stairs or sent his own patronus up there, but he wanted the chance to see how Hermione was doing for himself. He had, needlessly to say, been banned from the makeshift surgical room whilst the serious procedures were going on, but he was as fond of his 'extra daughter' as his wife was, if not more so. He had found Hermione nothing but a joy and a fount of information on Muggle life ever since he had first met her. A very 'light' pureblood wizard as he was, he wished only the best for both Muggles and Muggleborn magicals, but also for witches, in that they could have more opportunities within the magical world to have a career with good prospects. This set him at odds with many wizards within the Ministry and with other die-hard, old traditionalist magical families, who believed that witches were for marrying off into other pure-blood families and to have as many offspring as possible. Both the magical abilities and incredible intellect of Hermione Granger, along with her ambition and drive to succeed in the magical society that she now found herself in that she was not born into, set her apart and would set her at odds with many. Arthur, Fleur and Healer Adams then had come down, the Healer leaving her 'fox' patronus to keep watch over Hermione.
"My fox will alert me if there is any change in Hermione's condition or if she stirs, although I do not expect her to for many hours yet."
The four magicals were saying little, short bursts of conversation only, keeping mostly to their own thoughts. The three Weasleys, the third one being by marriage, had their own worries with all the six sons, one of them a husband, and now daughter out in the wild being who knows where, the much thought of 'seventh' son, Harry Potter, being out there also and being hunted the length and breadth of the country. Healer Adams, by contrast, had other worries, her patient, her own family, and her once occasional boss, Kingsley Shacklebolt. Very few people knew that she and Kingsley were actually half-siblings, albeit fifteen years apart, having the same mother who had remarried after her first husband, Shacklebolt's father, had been killed during a dragon-pox epidemic some forty years before. Therefore, with only a half hour at the table, it came as a shock when Healer Adams suddenly jumped up, saying "Merlin, Miss Granger's awake! That can't be! She's potioned up to the gills!" And she shot from the room up the stairs two at a time. All three Weasleys were slow by comparison but still only seconds behind her. The sight and sound of a talking and head-moving Hermione Granger was both a regret and a relief to all. Regret, in that her best chance of making a full recovery was to lie still and sleep and let her body and mind heal; relief that she WAS awake and seemed compus mentis although not fully with-it. Still under the sleep and pain potions, she was still going to be a bit woozy. The first to speak was Molly. "Hermione! Oh, my dear girl, your awake too soon, but are you a sight for sore eyes!"
A movement of hooded eyes towards the sound and a small smile, barely a raising of the lips on either side, came from the badly injured young witch. The voice was barely a whisper, croaky and slow, but lucid, all the same. "Hello Mrs. Weasley. …. What's happened? … Where am I? … Where's Ron and Harry?"
Healer Adams saw Molly filling up and the tears start to roll, so answered before Molly could say anything.
"Good afternoon, Miss Granger….. Hermione. I am Senior Healer Adams, formerly of St. Mungo's and more lately Healer-on-call to the old Auror core. And, like you and many others, currently trying to stay clear of He-who-must-not-be named and his Death Eaters. Now, I must ask you not to move around, not even a little bit. I do not know how you are awake, but you shouldn't be. You have been very badly injured, very badly indeed. Some major repair work in the form of micro-magic healing and micro surgery have been done on your back. You, young lady, should still be out for the count!"
Hermione frowned a little, her fuzzy brain trying to take in all that had been said to her.
"Kingsley! I spoke with Kingsley, didn't I! …. About, … about Harry, where we camped. ….. Kingsley, I like him. …. Nice man ….. sexy voice …. Hot Kingsley…"
Healer Adams gave a small laugh and smiled in acknowledgment.
"Yes, he indeed has a sexy voice. It's that deep Caribbean drawl of his, Hermione. It sort of rumbles its way up from the depths before it comes out. Many a witch, young and old, have fallen for that voice. Now, what else can you remember? About what happened to you?"
The small frown lines still remained on her brow as Hermione tried to remember. Her mumbles were not always clear, but eventually, over the course of a few minutes, the 18yr old witch gave enough information to confirm Ron's version of the events. Then she asked,
"Ron. Where is Ron? ….. and Harry? Have they gone to fetch Harry? ….. On his own, he is on his own. Needs to have help. Can't find horcruxes on his own. Needs help, needs me. Harry needs me."
"Horcruxes? What's this about horcruxes?" asked Healer "An abomination! To intentionally murder someone for the sole purpose of creating a 'soul anchor' on this earth to prevent you from being killed. Horrible things."
/ow, Hermione knew and was normally very aware of not divulging any information about the horcrux's created by Tom Riddle / Lord Voldemort, but in her weakened and potioned, drugged up state, her normally super astute brain was not quite itself and she let slip some information that she would normally have kept hidden.
"Tom Riddle made horcuxes, … keep himself immortal. …. Killed people for that purpose. Nasty, dark magic. …. That's how he has come back …. Couldn't be killed ….. even all that time ago when he tried to kill baby Harry … don't know how many …. Harry has to kill Voldemort, he has to do it …but need to destroy horcruxes first …All been hidden …. Got to help Harry find them …..he needs me, big brain me …. Got to figure out where they are ….. Harry can't do it by himself."
The look on the Healer's face said it all; shock, horror, pure disbelief, that any person would want to kill another with the deliberate intention of creating such abominations as horcruxes. It went against the very laws of nature, of magic, of life itself that such a thing could exist. But, by the looks of bewilderment on the faces of the three Weasleys, they had no idea what Hermione was talking about.
Mr. Weasley was the first to ask: "Pardon my ignorance, Octavia, but I have never heard of a horcrux. What is it?" The two Weasley witches also nodded to signal they were the same. A deep intake of breath was taken by the healer before she spoke.
"Not many people do know what they are. In fact, if there are a dozen people in the country out with the senior Auror core and specialist healers that know, I would be very shocked indeed. Maybe those amongst the darker, purist dark families may know of horcruxes but that would be it. ….. A horcrux is a container, a receptacle, made for the purpose of holding part of a murderer's soul. That 'part' of a soul is created by a witch or wizard setting out to intentionally kill someone for the sole purpose of splitting their own soul in two and putting one of those parts in the container, thereby giving themselves an 'anchor' to life, even if they themselves are, for all intents and purposes, killed. The body will be eradicated completely, but, because the murderer has made a horcrux, that part of the soul that he has put 'in storage', he will not actually die because part of the soul is still in existence. I do not know the vile rituals that are involved in making these abominations against life or bringing the original murderer back, nor do I want too, but only the most powerful, evil, darkest magicals can create them. It is very complicated, ancient, evil magic, that is all I know. But ….. " (an intake of breath) " … for someone to create more than one, so that is intentional, multiple murders to do so, is beyond comprehension!That is evil personified! Just horrible, so horrible to contemplate. If the dark lord has created this many, then evil just does not describe him. This is beyond belief!"
The Weasleys were shocked to the core at this explanation. Although an old, magical, pureblood family, the Weasleys and in turn Molly's own family, the Pruetts, had always been seen as 'light' families, very much on the good side of the magical beliefs. It is no wonder that this was the first time they had ever heard of such a thing as a horcrux and soul anchors. Neither had Fleur; her family being Veela on her mother's side and her Delacour father being of the 'light' faction in France, she was in the same unknowing position. The Veela was the first to speak. "Zis iz what Harry has to find and destroy? Zeese evil things! And zen kill zee evil one? But 'ow can he do zat? Zis iz impossible. 'E does not even know how many of zeese things 'ave been created or what to look for!" Hermione, although not getting everything that was said, had heard enough to join in. "Historical, magical artefacts. Objects of importance or connected with Riddle. …his family ring, destroyed already by Dumbledore. … Arthur, the Ginny thing back in her first year …. That diary ….. that was one. … Harry stabbed it twice with the basilisk fang, so destroyed the magic of the horcrux, the book itself, then the soul shard, ….. so the spirit thing that was schoolboy Riddle died. He was Tom Marvolo Riddle', …. Mix up the letters and you can make his name, 'Lord Voldemort'. … clever….."
Then Hermione drifted into her light slumbers once more.
"Merlin!, That name, 'Marvolo'! said Molly. 'Arthur, you must recognise it. That is an old wizarding name from way back, but it was mainly claimed and used by one family, the Gaunts! And Marvolo Gaunt, he was a not very nice neighbour of my grandparents, horrible man apparently. Mad as a hatter, big on Slytherin and claimed they were direct descendents of old Salazar himself! I don't remember him, in fact, all the Gaunts were gone by the time I was born. A daughter had disappeared mysteriously, what was left of them murdered apparently, but I do remember his old wreck of a house. It had a snake nailed onto the door and the door knocker was in the form of a serpent! You could feel the cold penetrating bleakness of the abandoned house even standing 50yds away. My grandparents wouldn't let me go near the place. There is a cemetery nearby where nearly all the Gaunts are buried, Little Hangleton. Even that is an eerie place, even more than most cemeteries. Huhuuuhu! Makes me shudder even these many years later."
Arthur nodded in agreement. "Riddle. That is not a wizarding name that I have ever heard of. Do you think Riddle was related to them in some way, to the Gaunts? I don't know much about them, either, as they were before my time as well, but the little bits I have heard is that the Gaunts were very much inbred even more than most purebloods of olden times, never married outside ancient pureblood families that were already related to them; something like an uncle marrying a niece or first cousins marrying, that kind of thing. 'Keeping the Slytherin line pure' and all that sort of claptrap. But I have never heard of a 'Riddle' anywhere in the magical family lines."
Hermione Granger had still been listening, drifting in and out of full consciousness but never actually asleep, managing to pick up on most of the conversation and still in her befuddled state, telling some of Dumbledore's information that he had passed down.
"Tom Riddle ….. old muggle name …. Local squire around the Gaunt property, Thomas Riddle. The Gaunt's daughter, can't remember her name …. She went off with Riddle, not married…. had baby Tom. ….. big scandal …. She had used potions on the squires son, he abandoned her, Gaunts threw her out….. She put baby Tom in muggle orphanage and she died, so baby Tom brought up in orphanage, an unwanted half-blood and a bastard born….Dumbledore found him for Tom to start at Hogwarts ….. 1940's … Tom there in Hagrid's time ….. Tom killed Moaning Myrtle but got Hagrid the blame ….. not fair, Hagrid innocent …Tom hated his Riddle father and the Gaunts .. killed them He made his first horcrux at school, the diary, probably by killing Myrtle, then others, but don't know how many. Gaunt family ring was one, by killing his Gaunt uncle. …. Dumbledore found that and destroyed that, so two down. … Tired, so tired, ….must finish ….. Harry has another horcrux, an old necklace, a locket, belonged to Salazar Slytherin but we couldn't find a way to destroy it so still with Harry …"
Molly jumped up at the mention of the necklace, all excited.
"Arthur, that must be what Ron was on about, the locket that contained something of the Dark Lord!" Then turning to Hermione, she bent down close and asked, "Hermione, is that the locket you were all taking turns to wear back in the tent, when Ron and Harry had their falling out?"
Hermione made a small nod, "Yes, that's the one. …. Need to find a way of destroying the locket, then another bit of Voldemort's soul will die….. all the horcrux's hidden …. Evil, dangerous spells where they are hidden and on the horcrux Bad…..Harry always in danger … brave Harry, so brave… not fair…always has him in his head… not fair he see's things …. he saw Arthur getting tortured …. Voldemort always in.. his ….head ….." And this time, Hermione did go off to sleep completely, the potions she had consumed once more managing to quell her every busy, powerful brain.
"Miss Granger is one magnificent witch, she really is." Said Healer Adams as she saw her gravely injured patient at last succumb to the strong potions she had administered. "She just should not be awake at all with all that she has had done to her; the injuries and trauma, the treatments, the potions… she should be out for the count for days! How she can overcome all of that to not just be awake but actually hold a lucid conversation of some kind is beyond wonder. What a witch!"
"Yes, Octavia, she is indeed." Replied Arthur. "Her incredible, ever active brain can, in stages, even overpower pain and potions. As much as Harry Potter is unique, so is Hermione Granger. I have never quite seen how our Ron fits in with those two, but he does most of the time. There is a muggle saying, 'fits like a round peg in a square hole', well that is our Ron. Somehow or other he has become close friends with these two extraordinary people. He has had his differences with them both but, so far, they have always worked it out. I am sure he will this time too."
Molly had been listening and nodded her head in agreement, then she said,
"Arthur, all this information we have been given from Hermione. Do you think Ron knows about all of this as well?"
"Yes, Molly, I do. I am pretty sure that all three of them know this information, no secrets between them. Harry is very protective and trusting of his friends, particularly Ron and Hermione; I should think that Ginny is now well into that category as well. If Harry feels the necessity to keep some information to himself, then it will be for protective reasons and will be kept from everybody. But for whatever his reasons are, I think there is something more that he is not telling us, something that he is keeping to himself."
Molly was the next to speak with the sound of worry and concern evident in her voice. "Arthur, that last bit Hermione said, something about 'Vo …. The 'dark lord' always in his head' and Harry 'seeing things.' What could it mean? Does Harry have a connection to him?"
Arthur nodded and replied, "Molly, I think that has been the case for a good while, certainly during these more recent Hogwarts years. I mean look at the way he saw me injured in the Ministry. Harry was in Hogwarts, for Merlin's sake. Hogwarts! That is what, …. 600 miles away from the Ministry. How in Merlin's name could he have known about the attack on me? And the Department of Mysteries battle; Harry and the others being lured there by some sort of vision about Sirius being trapped and tortured there? I am no fancy detective or analyst about facts Molly, but somehow or another, the little bits of information and incidents all seem to lead to one important fact: Harry and the dark lord are somehow communicating and that cannot be good for Harry!"