Harry wacked the little stone statue that formerly was Voldemort's soul fragment with one of the weapons he found in the vault. It chipped into several pieces but didn't completely break. He winced from the pain of his burns. Ron took over for him and finished the job. Ron didn't stop until the statue was nothing but dust.
They all returned to the lobby. Antonin used his portkey and left almost immediately. Griphook waved to the trio with a smirk spread across his face.
Then only moments later, six aurors raced in pointing wands at the golden trio. "You are all under arrest," the one in charge declared.
"Do you still…" Hermione turned around looking for Antonin. She wanted to ask if they had a portkey. "Rats."
Ron put up a shield charm and told Harry and Hermione to run. They all backed up ready to run back into the vault tunnel, but the goblins closed the wall just before they got there.
Then another man stepped into the bank. "What have we got here," the man asked.
"Undesirable number one," an auror declared.
"Ah, Harry Potter," the man said. "Doesn't look like him to me." He winked at Harry.
The one in charge looked again. "He is right. These aren't the wizards we are looking for." The rest of the aurors agreed and simply left.
"Harry Potter, it is an absolute pleasure to meet you. I'm Mr. Greengrass. You can call me Cyrus." Cyrus looked him over and noticed his burns. "If you would be willing to come back to my place, I have something that can help with those burns. All of you are welcome to come."
"We would love to," Ron spoke up quickly. He knew who Mr. Greengrass was. He was known to be a neutral wizard during the first war and probably this one too. He often offered help to both sides particularly in cases where someone needed healing. The service and comfort were second to none. His wife was a world-renowned chef who always managed to impress her guests.
Hermione and Harry both looked at each other in utter shock that he accepted the invitation of a total stranger so quickly. Hasn't he ever heard the phrase stranger, danger?
Ron ditched his death eater disguise.
Cyrus took Harry, Ron, and Hermione back to Greengrass manor as his guest. Hermione and Cyrus were the first to enter. "Wow, what a beautiful place you have here," Hermione said as she looked around. She first noticed all the Victorian style furnishings, fancy framed paintings on the walls, the glittery chandelier and an elegant cherry-wood staircase with red carpeting leading up to an indoor balcony. Two girls about her age watched them from that balcony as they entered.
Cyrus pointed to the two girls on the indoor balcony. "Those are my two daughters, Daphne and Astoria," he introduced them. Each girl nodded as her name was called. He instructed his daughters to take care of his guests, then departed to attend to some business.
"Hello, Hermione. Is your friend hotter." Daphne choked on her words.
Astoria chuckled at her sister's mistake.
Daphne quickly corrected herself. "I mean is Potter, with you?"
Hermione turned around and looked at the door. Harry stumbled in with Ron's help. Daphne raced down the stairs, followed not so closely behind by Astoria.
Once Daphne reached them, she immediately went to Harry's side. "Oh, you are hurt. Let me help you," she said.
Astoria looked Ron up and down and grinned. "I hear you are good at Wizard's chess. I am pretty good at it too. Want to play?"
"Sure," Ron agreed. They went off to a private, cozy little corner of the house. This was a fancy edition of the game with very ornate game pieces made of gold and silver. Ron played the gold and Astoria the silver. They played multiple games proving to be evenly matched. Ron won the first game and Astoria won the second one.
"Let's raise the stakes, shall we? How about a game of strip wizard's chest, every time you lose a piece, you remove an article of clothing," Astoria suggested with a raised brow. Ron agreed. The game went on. Ron got stripped down to his boxers and Astoria to her bra and panties.
"Want to raise the stakes even more?" Astoria asked.
"That depends. What do you have in mind?" Ron asked.
"If I win this game, I get to…" Astoria whispered something into his ear.
A wide grin spread across Ron's face. "It is time for a new strategy. Lose on purpose," Ron said.
Cyrus went to his own personal library. This rather large room was once a ballroom used for parties, but as the years went on, he put in so many tall bookshelves that ran almost to the ceiling with books. The layers of shelves formed passageways very much like a maze. His book collection included many muggle classics, spell books, and magical reference books. Mock rooms were set up with coffee tables and very comfortable chairs surrounded by walls of bookshelves.
Antonin showed up right on time. "So, how did it go with your lady," Cyrus asked with a bitter scowl at the mention of lady.
"I kissed her, and she slapped me," Antonin said. "She threatened to Crucio me if I ever tried something like that again."
"At least now you know." Cyrus tried to sound sympathetic, but he had to admit he was glad this one wasn't going to work out.
"Oh, that isn't the whole story. I should have known right away that something wasn't right. That was way too mild a reaction for her." He went on to explain how he helped her get into her own vault to get something for the dark lord. "Then when we got it to the vault, she kissed me."
"That is good?" Cyrus forced a smile in an attempt to pretend he thought this was great.
"Good doesn't describe it. It was incredible, super great." Antonin smiled at the memory, which the smile disappeared quickly. "Everything went to… after that. It was someone using a Polyjuice potion. I got the wrong girl."
"If the kiss was as great as you say it is, maybe it wasn't the wrong girl," Cyrus suggested.
Hermione followed Harry and Daphne into a bedroom. Daphne extended out a black and gold dragon laced Chinese room divider. "Take off most of your clothes and lay down on the bed." She handed him a towel. "And use this to cover yourself." Some of Daphne's fantasies concerning Harry started out something like this. But there was just one problem, Hermione. As she reached for the magical healing cream specifically designed for burns, she contemplated how to get rid of the bookworm. Then she turned to Hermione. "We have a library," she smiled. "It is pretty well stocked too."
That was music to Hermione's ears. After being on the run for so long, the library was definitely something she missed. Daphne told her exactly how to get to the library of Greengrass manor and Hermione departed just as Daphne had hoped.
"Are you ready for me Harry," Daphne said as she resisted the urge to 'accidentally' knock down the divide wall.
"Yeah," Harry laid down on his back wearing nothing, but his boxers and the white towel Daphne handed him covered his butt.
Daphne covered her hands with the healing cream and rubbed Harry's body down. She massaged the healing cream into every muscle. "You are so strong," she said. She smiled purring like a kitten. She eyed Harry like a tasty piece of meat. She resisted the urge to toss away that towel. She definitely wanted what was under there.
After she finished, he sat up with the towel over his lap.
"Thank you. After that, I need a cold shower," Harry said. "Any chance."
"Or we could make it a hot one, together," Daphne suggested with a seductive smile on her face.
Hermione easily found the library just by following Daphne's instructions. She looked up and down at the many bookshelves that formed natural pathways. Then she heard Cyrus talking to Antonin of all people. Antonin did help them destroy a horcrux, but she still had trust issues and it seemed like a huge coincidence that Cyrus just happened to show up at the right time and save their butts. Could this be a trap? She hid behind one of the bookshelves to eavesdrop. She had to be sure before she would allow them to realize she was there.
"Ok, just tune out everything that went wrong. Just focus on that wow, super great part and then try the spell again when you feel ready," Cyrus said.
"Ok." Antonin nodded. He paused in thought trying to perfectly recall that moment. He raised his wand. "Expecto Patronum."
Hermione remembered the story of Raczidian, who was devoured by maggots when he tried to cast the Patronus charm. It has long been believed that dark wizards couldn't cast that particular spell and Antonin was most definitely a dark wizard. Maybe that was Cyrus's plan?
Bluish white light emitted from the end of his wand and spread out around Antonin and Cyrus.
"Ok, so it isn't the corporeal one I was hoping for, but much better than the nothing you got last time." Cyrus congratulated Antonin on a successful spell.
Or maybe that story about Raczidian was a load of horse pocky; even Dolores Umbridge could use that spell, so there was no reason Antonin or anybody else couldn't learn it too.
"I should probably tend to my other guests," Cyrus said.
"Oh, who is visiting?"
"The three new friends you made today. You were right. The goblins called the Aurors. The Aurors tried to arrest them, and I rescued and brought them here."
"Ah, I really don't think I could call them friends, so it is probably best if I take off then. If they think you are working with me, no doubt they will think it is some kind of trap," Antonin admitted.
'He isn't wrong,' Hermione thought to herself. That was her first thought upon realizing he was here, but it couldn't have been because Antonin didn't even know they were here till now.
"Don't worry about that. It will be fine," Cyrus said. "If I want them to trust me, I can't deceive them."
"Honesty isn't always the best policy. I learned that lesson the hard way," Antonin admitted.
"Oh, yes, I remember your trial, if you can even call it that. It was like watching a trainwreck. I wanted to intervene. It was like you were digging your own grave," Cyrus said.
"Yeah, I was surprised I didn't get the death penalty," Antonin admitted.
"I am not," Cyrus disagreed. "Do you realize how bad that would look if the ministry did that?"
"I doubt anyone would have cared," Antonin admitted what Hermione was thinking.
"If you were the run of the mill death eater spouting some pure blood supremacy nonsense or some crap theory about how muggle borns are stealing their magic, I would agree. On the contrary, you were exposing real injustice in the ministry. If they had sentenced you to death for that, the press would have been all over it, and they would have made you into a martyr. They would have to be a special kind of stupid to do that."
"What the…" Hermione accidently spoke out loud as she tried to wrap her brain around what she just heard. Initially, she slapped her hand over her mouth, but then realized it was probably already too late. She stepped out from behind the bookcase.
"How l-long have y-you been s-standing there?" Antonin asked. His hands went up and covered most of his face. His patronus charm vanished suddenly.
Cyrus looked at Antonin and then at Hermione. "Oh," he said in a voice just above a whisper.
After an awkward moment of silence Hermione said, "Your daughter knows I like to read, so she told me about your library. She was doing me a favor."
"If it is who I think it is, Daphne?" Antonin guessed spot on. Hermione nodded. "She wasn't doing you any favors. She probably just wanted some privacy so she can charm the pants off your friend Potter."
Hermione's jaw dropped. She wondered if he meant that literally like he did when he told her and Ron to 'knock yourselves out.'
"I hope she does. If the Dark Lord loses the war again, the entire Malfoy family will be disgraced. I heard even Lucius' son Draco became a Death Eater," Cyrus said.
"Little Malfoy will be damned since it seems like his father's advisor didn't help on the second trial. I wonder if the guy realized he would start looking suspicious himself if he saved Malfoy's ass a second time and bailed," Antonin said.
Cyrus loosened his necktie. "You got that right. With Draco out, my daughter will need a new suitor and I want to be sure she marries into a good family."
"The Malfoy's?" Hermione's eyes narrowed, her nose crinkled as though something stunk, and she pursed her lips. Antonin couldn't help but laugh at her obvious distaste for the Malfoys. "By good you mean pureblood?" Hermione asked, being a bit surprised after hearing Cyrus dismiss pureblood supremacy as nonsense only moments earlier.
That made Antonin laugh more. "By good, he means rich, and you probably know your friend Potter is supposed to inherit a fortune when he comes of age."
"I will go check on Harry," Hermione said before leaving.
Hermione first checked the bedroom she left them in, but they weren't there now. She continued to look for them. She heard laughing and moaning, so she investigated. She first noticed a discarded pile of clothing on the floor. Yep, he meant literally, she thought to herself. Then she peaked her head in. Much to her shock, it wasn't Harry and Daphne. It was Ron and Astoria.