A/N: The usual disclaimers, I do not own the characters or locations created by JKR. This is for fun, not profit, and all that…..
May 9, 1998
Hermione had been working on studying her text books on ancient runes so as to determine how to create a tracking rune. She spent the better part of the morning working out her ideas, and she had determined that she probably had a functional ward that would trigger a tracking rune. The concept was quite advanced, but she realised she had no way of testing if the ward would cause the tracking spell to actually work. She re-worked her calculations on the runes and she was as sure as she could be that she had the correct combination. Deciding that she wanted to not risk Harry coming by the Forest of Dean before she was able to set up the newly designed wards, she apparated to the forest from her flat.
When she arrived at the forest, she checked her previous wards and it was clear to her that they were still in effect, but Harry had obviously not returned since she had last been there. Hermione had been worrying that her wards may have failed and not notified her that he may Harry had come by yet again, but she discovered that her warding was more reliable than Harry's improbable repeat visit. She sat down along the stream and chided herself for being so foolish as to think that Harry would actually return to the forest one more time. She briefly considered leaving without setting up her new ward with the tracking spell. When she considered that she would have then wasted her time in the study of the wards she then convinced herself to go and set up the newly designed wards. She tried to allay her misgivings by telling herself that the academic research she had done that day should be worth something in the long run.
It did not take her more than a few minutes to complete the wards. She sat down again on a rock overlooking the stream, and then she pulled out the list of Harry's properties. As she skimmed the list, Hermione felt that the Potter Mansion was the most likely place for Harry to have gone, however it was also the least likely place for her to find, as it was unplottable. Without a family house-elf or without being given the secret to its location, she knew there was no way she could hope to find the ancestral home of Harry's family. That left as the easiest places to look into being a flat in London and some businesses owned by Harry. She had already determined the addresses, so she felt she should get a start by apparating back to her flat, and then head into Muggle London and begin her search on foot. Hermione started to wonder if her search would be even more difficult than the hunt for horcruxes earlier that year.
Harry had awoken late in the morning as he had not been able to sleep well the night after his outing with the DeMarest family. His head still chad slightly, although the potion that Rene had provided seemed to help bring down the swelling. Harry thought back to his waking up in the bed at the DeMarest's home after he had slipped on the deck of the boat. He was trying to piece together as much of the details as possible. He clearly remembered falling into the water, and the difficulty with swimming. He remembered watching the boat starting to come about to retrieve him, and then he remembered apparating onto the boat. He knew it might be difficult as the boat was moving. The deck was wet, which combined with his typical lack of grace with landings from port keys or stepping out of a floo, he should have been more prepared for what happened. The boat had gone into a swell in between waves as he apparated, making the deck a little lower below his feet than he had anticipated. As the deck was rising towards his feet at the time he appeared he was not able to get traction with his wet trainers, and he fell backwards. Harry was not sure what he had hit with his head, but he did have a slight memory of a loud thud. Everything went fuzzy after that until he started to come to and then he remembered he had felt someone holding his hands when he was not quite fully awake.
Camille had been the only one in the room when he woke up, and he was sure that she was the one who had been there with him. Harry tried to reason through why she was there. And why she had been holding his hands. Sure, she had caused him to fall overboard, so she might feel guilty. She must have just been worried about him because of that guilt. He recalled the letter she had sent to Harry Potter, wherein she basically declared her hatred of the Lord James Black, without the slightest idea that they were actually the same person. Harry shook his head as he wondered how he found himself in such a mess, then he regretted the shaking of his head as it began to throb once more.
As he slowly moved to get out of bed and begin the day, Rene popped into his room offering him breakfast. Harry decided to take his meal on his deck that overlooked the sea. The events of the day before and dealing with the aftereffects of the injury left him feeling quite hungry. As he was finishing his meal of eggs, bangers, and a croissant he thought about how now that he wasn't facing the dark lord he still seemed to be living in danger. He was about to get up from the table when Rene brought him a letter.
"The Baron DeMarest has sent you a message, Master Harry," said the house elf.
"Thank you," replied Harry as he accepted the envelope. Carefully he opened the letter and then he quickly read the note. The baron was apologising for the events of the day before and he had hoped that the Lord Black was recovering well. He even offered to have a healer sent over to check on him. Harry realised he had to reply to the note, even if it was just a brief message.
"Rene," called Harry, "could you please send a message to the Baron DeMarest and reassure him that the Lord Black is doing just fine, and that I will not require the services of a healer. And please be sure to thank him for me for an otherwise marvellously enjoyable day." Harry grinned as he watched the house elf disappear with the message.
The remainder of his day was quiet as he decided to just make it a simple day of relaxing to let his head stop throbbing.
Hermione was exhausted by the end of the afternoon. She had found the two flats she was looking for in London in addition to the several business which the Potter family owned. There was no sign of Harry at any of those locations. She decided to head back to her flat as she considered her next step in her search for Harry. She spent the evening trying to determine how best to continue in her efforts to find her friend, but she would have to locate the Black family summer home. As she thought more about this, she remembered what she would need to do next and who she would have to go see. But that plan would have to wait until the next morning.
May 10, 1998
Hermione woke up and made herself a quick breakfast. She was not particularly hungry this day as she was hopping her current plan would start to lead to Harry. She cleaned up her kitchen with a wave of her wand and then she apparated away. Hermione appeared in front of a small home, and she walked up to the door and knocked.
She was greeted by a smile from Andromeda Tonks, who was holding a toddler on her hip, Teddy Lupin. "Good morning, Hermione," she said with a broad smile, "what brings you out today for a visit?"
Hermione smiled at Teddy and rubbed his head slightly before turning back to Andromeda and answering the question.
"A couple of things, actually," she replied. "Have you heard from Harry at all?"
"Only a brief message he sent via Gringotts," answered Teddy's grandmother. "He apologised for everything that happened and then he apologised more, stating that he would be away and was not sure when he would be able to raise Teddy. He went on about how he probably wouldn't be a very good godfather and some other such rubbish." She paused and then looked closely at Hermione, trying to discern a message that was unspoken. "Why? Is he okay? Has something happened to Harry?"
"No, nothing has happened to Harry," Hermione answered meekly. "Or at least I don't think anything has. You see, Harry left after the battle, and no one has seen him."
Andromeda looked worried as she digested the information.
"Well, you see," continued Hermione, "I think Harry went to one of the properties he owns, either as Lord Potter or as Lord Black." Hermione paused as Andromeda nodded indicating she understood where Hermione may be going with he line of reasoning. "I have ruled out several properties in London, but I think Harry may be trying to avoid everyone. One such place might be the Black Family summer home. I think it is located somewhere on the southern coast, but I have no way of finding it. I was cast out of the Black Family." Andromeda reached out and softly grasped Hermione's shoulder as she continued, "I wish there was something more that I could do to help."
Hermione wiped an errant tear from off of her cheek, and gave a slight hug to Mrs. Tonks, and then she placed a kiss on Teddy's forehead. "I am so sorry," she said sincerely, "in my excitement to try and find Harry, I had forgotten that you had been banished from the family." Hermione knew that Sirius had planned to reinstate her back into the Black Family, but he had not been able to while he was hiding from the Ministry and then he had died at the end of her fifth year.
"It's not your fault," she said sympathetically, "the Black Family is notorious for keeping secrets, the location of the summer home is only one of many. I wish you luck in finding Teddy's godfather, you deserve to find him and be with him."
With one final hug, Hermione turned and apparated back to her flat.
Harry awoke and he went to get his breakfast. Rene had prepared another simple meal for him. Harry had learned that he did not need to stuff himself every morning as had become the norm all those years at Hogwarts with Ron. While he was enjoying his morning tea, Rene came to him with a message from the Baron DeMarest. The Baron had announced his intentions to pay a visit to the Lord Black, and he would be arriving shortly. Harry thought about this sudden announcement and he quickly asked Rene that upon the baron's arrival to show him to the lounge that had the wonderful view of the sea and then to summon him shortly thereafter.
Harry went back to his room, checked recast his glamour so that he would look like the Lord James Black and not the boy-who-lived. He then sat down on the edge of his bed, and he took note of the still unopened letter from Hermione. Deciding that he really needed to do something about it, he picked up and was about to open the envelope when Rene popped into his room.
"The Baron DeMarest has arrived, sir," the elf announced simply.
Harry glanced at the letter in his hand, and quickly placed it inside of his robes as he headed down to meet with his neighbour.
Hermione was sitting in her flat, looking over the list of properties once more, hoping that there would be some way she could track Harry. So far, there was either no evidence of his being at any of his properties or she had no way to locate the properties. She contemplated the significance of her failure in finding Harry. She had always heard others claim that she was the smartest witch of her age, and right about now she sure did not feel like that.
She looked at the list of properties once more. She considered that she had only been looking at the ones in England. She had pretty much ignored the entire list of homes in continental Europe. Harry had never been anywhere outside of England or Scotland, so why would he dare travel over to one of those properties.
"Because he would just be foolish enough to do something like that just to be alone," she said out loud.
Harry walked into the lounge and greeted the Baron DeMarest, his arm outstretched for a welcoming hand-shake. "Baron DeMarest, I am honoured by your presence in my home!" he exclaimed.
"Now James," replied the baron with a broad grin, "I must insist that you call me Xavier." He smiled at Harry and then pulled him closer and kissed him on each cheek.
Harry gestured for the them to take a seat in a pair of comfortable chairs that offered a view over across the sea.
"Very well, Xavier," said Harry, "do what do I owe the pleasure of this visit? I assured you yesterday in my brief note that I am doing fine after the mishap, and I truly did enjoy the day, despite the way it ended."
"There are a few things that I needed to share with you," spoke the baron. "First, I wanted to share with you a little story about this manor. You see, it has been quite some time since anyone has been here. I think it must have been about twenty years ago, there was a young couple, newlyweds, who had come here for their honeymoon. They were so obviously in love. The young man, the new Lord Potter, and his beautiful wife had an absolutely marvellous time while they were here. I had met the Lord on a few occasions when he was growing up. You seem to remind me of him for some reason."
The baron continued, "Now, as to the second story I wanted to share, it is a more contemporary one. A new young Lord moves into the chateau near mine, and he is a charming and handomse young man. However, I am confused about some things. My daughter initially seems a bit antagonistic towards this young lord, and then she seems smitten with him. As a father I am clearly concerned about my daughter's life. I look forward to her meeting a young wizard who will be worthy of being her husband, someone who is honourable, and wise and caring."
There was an awkward silence in the room as the baron let his last few words sink in. Before Harry had a chance to reply, Xavier spoke again. "Now James, I must say that I have grown to like you in the short time I have known you. But if I may be so bold, I would like to share with you some observations. It seems to me you are hiding some things."
Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Xavier cut him off.
"Do not make excuses or apologies," smiled the baron, "it is normal for a young man, particularly a lord, to have some secrets. However, it seems to me that you, James, are either searching for something, or you are running away from something. If you are searching, then I would pray that you would find it. If you are running away from something, I am not sure that I wish you to be able to out run it or that you are eventually caught by it. You are a hard person to understand." Xavier paused and then he slowly stood himself up and prepared to leave. "That is all I have to say this morning, as I wanted to give you some things to think about."
Xavier then started to show himself out, and Harry followed him to the main entrance. Xavier turned to him as he bid Harry farewell, "Oh, and before I leave, I wanted to let you know that this coming Saturday, Camille's friend, Fleur Delacour Weasley will be coming to visit with her husband. I am sure that Camille would love for you to meet them if you are available." The baron smiled once more and then added, "You have a good day, Lord Potter." And with a wink and a grin, the baron disappeared as he apparated away.
Harry found himself alone in the entry to his chateau with his jaw nearly on the floor.