Author's Note: Okay guys, it's been waaaaay too long since I posted a chapter. That's on me and I'm sorry. Work and personal life had me bogged down, but now I'm balancing things enough to get back to writing, even trying to pen a novel. In any case, here's chapter 29. Read, Review, & Enjoy!
Jason and the woman standing across from him stood in their places for what seemed like ages.
"It's been a long time," Jason said.
"Too long," his grandmother said, "Where's Alice?"
"France," Jason replied, "I trust you know about Bobby."
"Yes," his grandmother replied, "Your grandfather and I visited his grave not too long ago."
"How is grandpa?" Jason asked, taking a few steps forward, the tension in his body disappearing.
"Same as always," his grandmother replied, taking a few steps forward herself.
Jason and his grandmother were now mere steps away from one another. "Grandma," Jason began, "I…I came back because…because..."
"Jason," his grandmother said, "You don't have to tell me why. It's just good to have you home."
All at once, Jason flung himself into his grandmother's arms, embracing her. She returned the embrace. "I missed you, Jason," she said.
"I missed you too, grandma," Jason said.
Hermione watched Jason reunite with his grandmother. It warmed her heart to see Jason happy. Jason parted with his grandmother and turned to Hermione.
"I want to introduce you to someone," Jason said, "Hermione, this is my grandma, Melanie Saint. Grandma, this is my fiancée, Hermione Granger."
"Pleased to meet you," Hermione said.
"Pleasure's mine," Melanie replied, "Fiancée, Jason?"
"We've been engaged for quite some time now," Jason said.
"Well, Jason has always used his better judgment in the past," Melanie said, "So if he knows what he's doing, then you're more than welcome in our family."
Melanie and Hermione stepped towards each other and hugged. The door to the house opened and an elderly man, looking the same age as Jason's grandmother, walked out, holding tight to a cane of elaborate design.
"Who's there?" the man asked.
"Harold," Melanie said, "I told you to stay inside."
"Grandpa?" Jason asked.
Harold Saint stared at the young man standing on his porch. "Who are you?" he asked.
"It's me, Jason, your grandson," Jason replied, "Don't you remember?"
Harold stared at Jason, searching for the right memory, but his focused looked soon turned to a blank stare. Jason sighed heavily.
"I'm sorry, Jason," Melanie said, "Your grandfather's condition hasn't changed."
"The memory charm?" Hermione asked. Jason nodded.
"Why don't we all come inside," Melanie said, "Get out of this Georgia sun."
Melanie opened the door and held as Harold walked inside, followed by Jason and Hermione. Hermione looked around at the elegant house.
"This house is amazing," Hermione said, "You lived here?"
"For seven years," Jason replied, "I haven't set foot in this house in almost another seven. Hasn't changed much."
"Care for some tea?" Melanie asked, producing a large jug.
Jason nodded, along with Hermione as Melanie poured three glasses. They all sat down at a table in the kitchen.
"I was devastated when I heard the news about Bobby," Melanie said, "Your grandfather, well, I know he'd have been devastated too if things were different with him."
"He gave his life defending his school," Jason said, "It hurts knowing he's gone, but knowing that he defended what he believed in brings some comfort to me and Alice."
"Jason, I never meant to drive you off all those years ago," Melanie said.
"You showed support for my dad, forgetting that he did nothing to protect his family the night he and mom died," Jason said.
"Jason," Melanie began, "You were four years old. What you think you saw didn't happen the way you think."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Jason asked, becoming agitated.
"Your father wasn't running away," Melanie said.
"I saw him," Jason said, "I saw him run from the Death Eaters, leaving mom unprotected."
"Jason, you didn't see what you think you saw," Melanie said, "You were a child and you were scared."
"He left us like a coward!" Jason said, beating his fist on the table.
Hermione jumped, startled, but Melanie remained calm. "Where was Bobby?" Melanie asked.
Jason stared across at her, confused. "What?" he asked.
"When the Death Eaters came, your mother and father pushed you, Alice, and Bobby into the house with us," Melanie replied, "Your grandfather and I blocked the front door and we put you in charge of watching Alice and Bobby."
"I don't remember that," Jason said.
"Instead of watching them, you watched the confrontation," Melanie continued, "Bobby ran out through the back door and around to the front porch. A Death Eater saw him and chased after him. Your father raced after Bobby to keep him safe and incapacitated the Death Eater, but left himself open to another's attack."
"That's not true," Jason said, his anger building.
"Your father sacrificed himself to protect your brother because you weren't watching him," Melanie said.
"Shut up," Jason said, tensing up. Hermione could see the pupils of Jason's eyes growing larger, enveloping his eyes completely.
"That's why you became overprotective of Bobby," Melanie said, "You were making up for letting Bobby out of your sight, leading to the death of your father."
"Quiet," Jason growled.
"You couldn't face the truth that you may have contributed to your father's death," Melanie continued, "So you twisted your memory to make it seem like he was running away."
"SHUT UP!" Jason roared, telekinetically shattering the glasses on the table.
Hermione jumped back, but Melanie remained sitting calmly. Jason gripped the table, fighting the rage coursing through his veins. Soon, his rage gave way to sorrow as he dropped to his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. He fell to his knees in the kitchen as the tears flowed forth. Hermione knelt down next to him, putting an arm around him. Melanie stood up from her chair and knelt next to Jason.
"I remember now," Jason said, "If it weren't for me, he might still be alive."
"You can't blame yourself any longer," Melanie said, "What's done is done. I don't blame you and neither would your father."
"I couldn't come to terms with it," Jason said, "I couldn't face the truth that I could've caused my father's death. I promised to never let Bobby out of my sight again and I made myself believe that my father was simply running away so I could blame him instead of myself. But it's all true. I wasn't watching Bobby, and my father died because of it. I wouldn't let myself believe it when you tried to tell me those years ago. I chose to leave and run away from the truth instead of face it."
"It's all done with," Melanie said, "Your home now."
Melanie and Hermione helped Jason to his feet. Jason looked around at the broken glass everywhere. "I broke the good glasses," Jason said with a halfhearted snicker.
"I'll clean it up," Melanie said, "Why don't you go upstairs and rest for a bit. We'll talk more over supper."
Jason hugged his grandmother and left the kitchen, followed by Hermione. As they passed the living room, Jason saw his grandfather sitting in a chair, gripping his cane as he looked out the window.
"You look like you're waiting for something, grandpa," Jason said.
Harold turned around and looked at Jason curiously. "Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm," Jason began, "I'm no one. Just a figment of your imagination."
Harold smiled at Jason. Jason could see that there was only blankness behind the smile and walked upstairs. Jason walked into a room and immediately went for the bed, laying down on it. Hermione sat on the bed next to him, looking at the pictures on the nightstand. They were of various people. Jason's mother, Alice and Bobby, his grandparents.
"This one looks strange," Hermione said, taking a framed picture of Harold in her hands.
"My grandfather was an accomplished martial artist in his younger days," Jason said, "He even studied in Okinawa under a man named Xeng for a time. My grandfather was proficient in staff fighting. He never used wands, instead using an enchanted staff, a family relic passed down through generations. The Staff of Saints, my grandfather called it. He taught me a little before…before he…"
Hermione held Jason's hand. "This was why you came back, wasn't it?" she asked, "Somehow, you knew that things had to be put right."
"Maybe, somewhere inside of me, I did," Jason said.
"Get some rest, Jason," Hermione said as she kissed him.
Jason closed his eyes and was soon asleep. Hermione left the room and walked back down to the kitchen where Melanie was finishing up cleaning and was preparing supper.
"How's he doing?" Melanie asked.
"He's resting," Hermione replied, "I can tell he's confused as to how he should feel about all this."
"I'm at fault, too, for so many years spent without making the truth known," Melanie said, "So, tell me more about yourself, Hermione."
"Well, I've attended Hogwarts for the last seven years," Hermione said, "One of the highest in my class. Hoping to perhaps go into politics someday. Ministry work."
"And what of your parents?" Melanie asked, "What do they do?"
"My parents are both dentists," Hermione replied, "And they're muggles."
"Muggles?" Melanie asked, "You're muggle-born?"
"Yes I am," Hermione replied, taking a defensive tone, "I am muggle-born."
"Child, this may be the south, but please don't think me superficial," Melanie said, "I didn't mean anything by it. Merely curious. Jason and Alice is all I have left and I want to know that Jason's marrying a good woman."
"I apologize for my tone," Hermione said, "Muggle-borns like myself are sometimes look down upon back home."
Melanie smiled at Hermione as she prepared supper. "If I may ask," Hermione began, "Jason kept asking about his grandfather's condition."
"The memory charm," Melanie said. "Correct," Hermione continued, "If it happened when Jason was here, why would he ask about it again?"
"After that night, I searched for ways to reverse the charm," Melanie said, "The American Magic Administration started experimenting with ways to counter the memory charm. We tried each one on Harold, but they never worked. Jason always maintained hope that Harold would recover his memory, but I'm afraid Harold will remain lost in the fog of his own mind."
Hermione began to speak again, but then noticed something moving behind Melanie. It was the glass pitcher that had poured their tea. It appeared to be washing itself.
"You're a telekinetic, too?" Hermione asked.
"I'm a little bit of everything, child," Melanie replied, "Telepathy, telekinesis, but mostly precognitive."
"Precognitive?" Hermione asked.
"I can see things before they happen," Melanie answered, "Though lately, my power has waned. The less I focus, the less potent my abilities are."
"So, that's where Jason and Alice got their abilities," Hermione said.
"How is my granddaughter?" Melanie asked.
"She's a wonderful person," Hermione answered, "The way she inspires her husband to be all he can…"
"Wait," Melanie said, interrupting Hermione, "Husband?"
"Yes," Hermione said, "My best friend, Ron Weasley. It was a bit impromptu between them, but they got married."
"That sounds like Alice," Melanie said, "So impulsive. So, tell me, what happened to Jason?"
"It happened a few months back," Hermione said, "We were in a fight with Voldemort."
"Voldemort?!" Melanie uttered, concerned, "He's back?"
"Yes," Hermione responded, "He's returned and is targeting my friend, Harry."
"Harry…Potter?" Melanie asked, "You're friends with Harry Potter?"
"You've heard of him?" Hermione asked.
"Oh, child, there is hardly a witch or wizard anywhere, even here in America, that hasn't heard of him," Melanie replied.
"We were in a fight with Voldemort and his Death Eaters and Jason fell victim to an awful curse," Hermione continued, "The Spiritusectum curse. It split his soul in two, awakening his darker side."
"I was afraid of that," Melanie said, "Jason's always had a problem with his temper. Harold began teaching him martial arts in order to control his temper and thereby controlling his telekinesis."
They continued their conversation well into the evening.
Jason had awoke and was overwhelmed with a bad feeling. He walked downstairs and saw Hermione and Melanie talking. He was glad that they were getting along so well.
"Has Jason told you of his…family secret?" Melanie asked.
"No," Hermione replied, "He's done a good job of hiding that from me. What is it?"
"You see," Melanie began, "When Jason was a child—"
"Grandma," Jason said, interrupting her, "There's time for that later. Something's wrong."
Melanie concentrated for a moment, then her eyes widened in shock. "Oh dear," she said, "I lost my concentration. I wasn't paying attention."
"What is it?" Hermione asked.
"Death Eaters," Melanie said, "Coming this way."
Jason made a direct beeline for the front door and burst through it just in time to see five Death Eaters appear. The fifth to appear, apparating in front of the other four, was Lucius Malfoy.
"Malfoy," Jason growled.
"Good evening, Jason," Lucius said.
"What are you doing here?" Hermione said, walking out onto the porch and standing next to Jason.
"I'm here to negotiate the terms of your surrender," Lucius answered.
"And what makes you think we'd surrender to you?" Jason asked.
"Because failure to do so will result in your untimely deaths," Lucius replied, "And the destruction of this house and everyone in it."
Jason gritted his teeth and reached for his wand when he heard the door open. Jason looked back to see Harold walk out, leaning on his cane and looking confused.
"Can I help you?" Harold asked.
"These are just some…friends of mine, grandpa," Jason said.
"Yes, we're friends of the family," Lucius said with a grin, "Isn't that right, Antonin?"
Jason narrowed his eyes as Antonin Dolohov stepped forward. "It was you, wasn't it?" Hermione asked, "You put the memory charm on him that night."
"Guilty," Dolohov said with a chuckle. Harold looked out at Dolohov with his blank eyes. Dolohov grinned back, admiring the extent of his handiwork.
"Grandpa," Jason said, "Please go inside."
Harold turned to Jason, staring at him blankly. "Grandpa?" he asked.
"That's right," Jason said, "Now please go inside. I have to…talk to these people."
Harold smiled at Jason before going inside. Jason watched his grandpa walk inside. "Strange," he thought, "His smile wasn't as blank as it was earlier."
Jason turned back to the Death Eaters. They had their wands out and aimed at Jason and Hermione. "Now, you have two choices," Lucius said, "Surrender now or everything burns."
"Mione, get behind me," Jason whispered.
"No," Hermione whispered back, "They'll kill you."
"I'll protect you long enough to get inside and get to safety," Jason whispered.
"Time's up," Lucius said, "Kill them!"
"STUPEFY!" a voice rang out.
The front door flung open and the curse rocketed outwards, knocking the Death Eaters off their feet. Jason snapped his head around to the door and his jaw hung open. Harold was standing in the doorway, his cane transformed into a staff.
"The Staff of Saints," Jason said.
"Hidden right where I could find it," Harold said as he stepped out onto the porch, "It's good to see you again, Jason. You've grown quite a bit."
"Wait, does this mean—?" Jason asked.
"I'm my old self again," Harold said. One of the Death Eaters sprung to his feet and aimed reached for his wand. "EVERTE STATUM!" Harold shouted, knocking the Death Eater off his feet and sending him spiraling through the air.
Jason took up his wand and aimed it at another Death Eater. "EXPELLIARMUS!" he shouted, knocking the Death Eater backwards.
Dolohov got to his feet when Harold stepped off the porch, making a beeline for him. "You took my son," he said, "You put me in a haze for thirteen years. Retribution is in your future, Dolohov."
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Dolohov shouted.
The green flash rocketed towards Harold when suddenly, Harold spontaneously shifted to his left, letting the curse hit the dirt behind him, leaving an exploded crater. Dolohov widened his eyes in shock as Harold spontaneously shifted once again, appearing in front of him and driving a fist into Dolohov's stomach, followed by driving a fist across his jaw. Dolohov stumbled backwards, dazed, then gathered himself and aimed his wand at Harold.
"I'll finish you this time, Saint," Harold said. Dolohov raised his wand, but Harold proved quicker. "Petrificus Totalus," he said, freezing Dolohov in his tracks.
Harold walked up to Dolohov and looked him dead in the eyes. "You plunged me in darkness for thirteen years, Dolohov," he said, gripping his staff, "I wasn't there when my grandchildren grew up. I wasn't there when my youngest grandson gave his life for freedom. Thirteen years of my life gone. For that, I could kill you without any regret at all."
Harold held his staff to Dolohov's throat and gripped it tightly. "But, you deserve a far worse fate," he said, "Obliviate." The end of Harold's staff glowed with a soft white light. As it faded, Dolohov's eyes suddenly went blank. "Now you will spend your life in a fog," Harold said, "Now you know the horror you put me through."
Lucius got to his feet only to see Jason standing before him, wand at the ready. "You've failed, Malfoy," Jason said.
"Have I?" Lucius asked, "We're still breathing."
"A fact that will soon be rectified," Jason said.
A shriek echoed in Jason's ears, taking his attention away from Lucius. Hermione was surrounded, one of the Death Eaters trapping her in the Cruciatus curse. Jason gritted his teeth as they sharpened to fangs. His pitch black eyes narrowed at the Death Eaters. The Death Eater casting the curse started struggling as his wand arm slowly bent backwards until finally, he was aiming the wand, and the curse, at himself. Jason shifted his eyes to the other Death Eaters, who were promptly suspended in the air, gasping for air and grabbing wildly at the invisible force choking the life out of them.
Lucius grinned as he withdrew his wand. "That's the spirit," he said, "EXTRA—"
"STUPEFY!" Harold shouted, knocking Lucius backwards.
Harold strode over to Jason and saw what he had become. He placed a hand on Jason's shoulder and closed his eyes.
"Grandson," Harold thought, "Listen to my voice and calm your storm."
Jason showed no physical reaction as he continued choking the Death Eaters. "Grandson," Harold said again, "Let my light shatter the dark of your mind."
All at once, Jason's eyes cleared, causing the Death Eaters to drop to the ground. Jason felt weak as he dropped to one knee, breathing heavily. Lucius scrambled to his feet, upset. He looked over and saw Dolohov, frozen in place, his blank eyes telling the story that his memory was gone.
"Retreat," Lucius growled.
The remaining Death Eaters disappeared in a puff of black smoke, leaving only Lucius. "You cannot deny your fate, Saint," he hissed as he, too, disappeared.
Jason helped Hermione to her feet and held her tight. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"I am now," Hermione replied, gripping Jason's robes tight and avoiding tears, "It felt so awful."
"It's over now," Jason said, "You're alright."
Jason and Hermione turned to Harold who was standing stoically, the Staff of Saints in his hand. Jason smiled as he embraced his grandfather. "I knew you'd come back," he said.
"I'm home, Jason, and so are you," Harold looked over at Hermione, "And who is this lovely young woman?"
"This is Hermione Granger," Jason answered, "My fiancée."
"Fiancée?" Harold asked, "Well, then we must get to know this woman. Come let us sit and have a glass of tea."
Harold, Jason, and Hermione made their way back to the house, where Melanie was waiting on the porch. "You, by far, are the most beautiful thing these eyes have seen in many years," Harold said.
Melanie had no response, simply breaking down and embracing her husband, tears of immeasurable joy streaming down her face. Harold held his wife close.
"The nightmare's over, my dear," Harold said, "I'm home at last."
"How is this possible?" Melanie asked through her sobs.
"I don't know," Harold said, "Last I remember, I was on the porch, defending the children. Then, everything went black for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly, I was standing on the porch again, but Jason was all grown up. When I saw him, I knew that I was out of the darkness. Then, everything came back to me all at once."
"It's a miracle," Jason said.
A ding echoed through the household. "Dinner's ready," Melanie said.
They all went inside and sat down to dinner. There were still a lot of questions for everyone, but they could wait until morning. For now, the Saint family rejoiced. A loved one had been returned from the dark fog of his own mind. Under the Saint house roof, a family slept more deeply, soundly, and peacefully than had ever before.
A/N: So that's 29. I'm gonna try and get another chapter up soon, hopefully next week. For anyone who's stuck around still, thanks!