Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ PARENTS ( Chapter 7 )
“Mum… Dad… I have to go away for a while. There are bad things happening. The accidents, the disasters – there’s someone responsible. Someone from the Wizard world. He will be looking for me. I have to hide.”
They looked at her – worried, upset, but trusting. They’d always trusted her.
“What can we do?” her mother asked.
She shook her head. “Nothing. There’s nothing that you can do.”
“You’ll need money,” her father said. He ran to his desk. “There’s a few hundred in cash here. I’ll go to the bank…”
“There’s no time,” she said, dully. “I have to go now. Thank you, Dad. Thank you both, so much.”
She tucked the envelope of cash into her pocket, and pulled out her wand. “I think you should rest for a while. Somnus.”
They slowly sat down on the old leather sofa, and then leaned in to each other, their eyes closing as their heads gently touched. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small golden vial, marked with the letter M. She unscrewed the lid and held the vial in her left hand. Muttering the necessary words, she touched her wand to her mother’s head and drew out a long silver thread, which she carefully directed into the vial. For several minutes the thread flowed, flashing in the evening sun, and she continued to guide it until finally it thinned and faded from sight. She carefully screwed the lid back on, and placed it into her bag. She took a similar vial from her pocket, marked with the letter D, and repeated the process with her father.
She looked down at them for several seconds, then left the room. She wandered the house, her wand held aloft. As she entered each room in turn, various items were illuminated with a bright red glow. Photographs. Letters. School reports. Childish drawings. All were placed in her bag.
She returned to her parents, still asleep on the couch. Her father had reached out and clasped his wife’s hand. She leaned forward and kissed each of them on the cheek. “Goodbye,” she whispered.
She raised her wand. “Oblivio,” she said.
She didn’t cry until she was outside the front door.
Hermione taken the tube straight to Heathrow. She had asked a number of wizards if there were a quick way to travel to Australia. It turned out that Muggle aircraft were quicker than any of the wizarding options, which involved flue travel through a number of different countries. Apparating such a distance was considered reckless. She thought she could manage it, but decided in the end not to take the risk. She’d had the ticket ready for months.
The flight was long and tiring, and when she arrived in Sydney there was a long bus journey to the unfamiliar suburban house. Superficially it was similar to the house in which she’d grown up, but the garden was unkempt, and the windows dirty.
She stood there, afraid, for several minutes, and then forced herself to walk to the front door. She rapped once and waited. There was a long delay, followed by slow footsteps. The door opened and her mother stood there, her face blank.
Hermione had a sudden feeling of doubt. This wasn’t her mother. This woman’s hair was dirty and unbrushed. Her dress – it was a dress that her mother kept for special occasions, but it was dirty and torn. Mostly though, it was her face, her eyes – blank, unresponsive, and joyless.
It isn’t my mother, Hermione thought. But it will be. It will be.
The woman gazed at her emptily. There was no warmth, but neither was there any hostility, or curiosity. Hermione was an event, no better or worse than any other.
“Mrs Wilkins. I have something to tell you.” Hermione paused, carefully framing her words. “Do you remember the incidents of a year ago – the series of accidents?”
The woman nodded, casually. The incidents had happened. She didn’t feel about them one way or another.
“They weren’t accidents. A… a terrorist group was carrying them out. I was involved in the resistance to this group. My… people who were… involved with me were in danger, considerable danger, from my activities.”
Hermione paused again. The woman spoke, flatly and without any apparent interest. “How does that concern me?”
Hermione continued. “I needed to ensure that these people were safe. That meant that they would have to take on new identities. However, the terrorist group had certain advanced capabilities.”
The woman continued to watch Hermione, but showed no sign that she was following what was she was saying.
“They were able to, effectively, detect what people could think. Even if these people had new identities, they would be able to analyse their behaviour to detect their thoughts.”
“That’s very advanced,” said the woman, flatly.
“Yes, it is,” said Hermione. “Luckily, the group I work for has similar techniques. It was possible to blank their memories temporarily, to prevent their being detected.”
“How does that involve me?” repeated the woman, showing for the first time a slight flutter of interest.
“You… you and your husband had your memories… altered, for your own safety. The threat is past, and I… I’ve been sent to… to restore you to your normal condition.”
The woman twisted violently away from Hermione, staring at the ceiling. “That sounds implausible,” she said.
“Mu… Mrs Wilkins, I assure you that everything I have said is true. “Your memory has been altered. A great deal of your past is inaccessible to you.”
The woman turned back and stared at Hermione. “I… there are times that I don’t quite…”
Hermione leaned in towards her. “Mrs Wilkins – isn’t there a lot that you can’t quite bring to mind? Christmas, for example. Can you remember Christmas, these last ni… nineteen years?” Hermione’s throat was dry, her heart pounding, but she forced herself to continue.
“You can’t remember Christmas because that was taken away from you. I’ve come to return it.”
The woman pushed her chin against her chest and hugged herself tightly. “It hurts. It hurts to think about it!” she suddenly screamed.
Hermione struggled to speak calmly. “It hurts because there’s a gap, in your mind. It’s like an… an open wound. You’ve learned, over recent months, to avoid those areas, because they are painful. You have to be brave. You have to go to those places because until you do, I can’t… I can’t reach them. I can’t restore what you’ve lost.”
The woman glared at her fiercely. “You should have let us die,” she said, flatly. “It would have been better than this.”
It was hard, harder than she could have imagined. “You would have died. Probably in pain and terror. This was the only way to prevent it. Now you can be alive – if you help me.”
The woman stood up and started to walk away. “Don’t go!” Hermione called.
The woman glanced over her shoulder, but didn’t stop. “I’m getting my husband,” she said. “We both have to do this.”
A few minutes later Hermione’s father entered the room after his wife. He looked physically more changed than she, but still somehow like himself. He had an untidy beard, and his hair was long and uncombed. He was wearing dirty pyjamas under a ragged dressing gown.
“What is it?” he said, in a high irritable voice.
Hermione repeated the story she had told her mother. When she had finished they stared at her blankly. Finally, her father spoke. “What do you want us to do?” His voice was dull, defeated and hopeless.
“I will show you what to do. It will hurt; it will hurt a great deal,” Hermione said. “Do you believe what I told you?”
Her mother stared bleakly at her. “It doesn’t matter what we believe. I know that nothing will change.”
Her father shifted sideways, moving slightly away from his wife. “We are doing this because you tell us to do it. At least the pain… it will be like feeling something.”
Hermione bit her lip. “Very well. We’ll begin tomorrow.” When she’d visualised this moment, she’d imagined she and her parents working together to achieve a common aim, with hope and mutual support. They’re only doing this because they’ve no hope left, she thought. They can’t imagine that anything could get any worse.
“I’ll need to stay here,” she said. “Do you have a spare room?”
Her mother nodded. “Upstairs on the right. Are you hungry? We’ll be having dinner in a little while.”
Hermione didn’t want to eat, but she knew that she should. “Yes, please,” she said. They turned away from her and went into the kitchen without a further word.
Dinner was made from microwave packs and reheated tins. Both her parents used to cook, and they did it as they did everything else – with care and precision. Now there was an excess of tasteless processed food, which they ate without interest or relish. Hermione forced herself to take a few forkfuls. When she’d been a child, they’d insisted that she finish what was on her plate. Now they’d prepared more than they could eat, and threw half the meal away.
“You should sleep,” she said, briskly. “We have a long, hard day, tomorrow.”
They nodded. They carelessly placed the unrinsed dirty plates in the dishwasher, and obediently went upstairs. Lights had been left switched on downstairs, and Hermione went around switching them off before she followed them.
The room was bleak and empty. She knew that her old room was still intact, safe in the old house – but it felt as if it had been stripped down, and all her own memories lost. She sat on the bed, and for a moment felt hopeless. No, no, I can do this. It’s what I planned. They will be better. They will be well.
She did not expect to sleep, but somehow she did – exhausted in body and mind. She dreamed of Gringott, standing over her parents’ bodies with a hideous grin on his face. They’re dead, just like me, he said, in his horrible grating voice. You killed them.
I had to! she screamed. They would have died.
They did die, he replied. They’re just walking around.
She awoke with a start, to see the sunlight streaming in the window. She looked at the alarm by her bedside. It was late.
Washed and dressed, she crept downstairs. Her parents were sitting together in the kitchen. They slowly turned to face her.
Her father spoke first. “We want to begin as soon as possible. Whatever it takes.”
“Have some breakfast first. There’s cereal and milk,” said her mother.
“Have you eaten?” Hermione asked awkwardly.
Her mother shook her head. “Later,” she said. “When it’s over.”
They got up. “We’ll wait in the living room,” her father said. “Come in when you’re ready. Have breakfast. Prepare.”
She forced herself to eat. This would be a long day, and she needed to be completely ready. There could be no interruption once she had started.
When she went into the living room her mother was sitting on the sofa. Her father was on the armchair. They weren’t looking at each other, and didn’t seem to have been talking. Hermione reached into her bag, and pulled out a gold vial. The letter ‘M’ was carefully engraved on it.
“Mu… Mrs Wilkins, I think we should begin with you. Mr Wilkins, you may leave if you wish. This might appear… distressing.”
“I’ll stay,” said her father.
He turned to his wife. “I love you,” he said, and clasped her hand for a moment.
“I go on because of you,” she said, and for the first time Hermione heard emotion in her voice.
Hermione unscrewed the vial. “This will hurt terribly,” she said. “Your minds have become accustomed to forgetting. They have to adjust themselves. The world will seem plastic and unreal. The pain cannot be controlled or repressed because it’s part of your mind itself.”
She took out her wand. “If you block the memories, they will be lost. Lost forever. You have to let them in. But… but when they start to bed in – which happens quite quickly – then you’ll start to remember things. Good things, I hope.”
“It sounds like the kind of thing I used to tell people when I was a dentist,” said her mother. “I used to tell them that something would pinch a little.”
Hermione forced a smile. “It will hurt a great deal,” she said. “But we have to do it.”