Nudity, love triangles, pregnancies and death, coupled with Quidditch, deceit, injustice, adventure and mystery. Sounds like another tranquil year at Hogwarts. Join me for Hogwarts Too Exposed - A ...
Sunday, August 22, 2004
"Where are the girls?" Hermione asked as she entered the quarters she shared with Harry and started removing her clothes.
They're down on the Quidditch Pitch reinforcing their all over tans," Harry answered.
"I'm getting as bad as the girls, aren't I?" Hermione asked, her face turning red. "No more than in the door and I'm naked."
"You don't see me complaining do you?" Harry asked. "Although you might want to reconsider since Ron is in the pantry getting a drink."
"What! Why didn't you tell me?" Hermione yelled as she ran to grab her clothes.
"Gotcha!" Harry said with a laugh. "But mark my words; it's going to happen to you one of these days."
"That was mean," Hermione said, but the smile on her face canceled out the angry tone of her voice. She ran-over and plopped her bare bottom on Harry's lap, wrapped her arms around him and gave him a kiss. "If the girls won't be back for awhile maybe we could partake in some afternoon delight."
"That sounds extremely inviting; but first tell me about your visit with Sam."
"It went about the same as your visit with Ron," Hermione said sadly. "It's obvious that they still both love each other as much as ever. They just didn't say the right things at the proper moment, or in some cases not saying anything was the problem."
"Ron knows he blew it when he just sat there holding his head. Sam needed reassurance that he still loved her and Timmy and he waited too long before giving it, and then did, what he claims was, a horrendous job. Hermione, what can we do to help them?"
"Harry, I think we've done all we can do, the rest is up to them. Sam is now aware of the history between Draco and all of us. She has to come to terms with the fact that she hit Ron with one hell of a bombshell. Sam knows Ron still adores her, but he has to convince her he still loves and wants to be Timmy's daddy. That won't be easy."
"No it won't," Harry agreed. "I'm not sure he's convinced himself yet."
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
"BUT YOU ASKED HER TO MARRY YOU! How the hell can you claim you love me, and ask that one-night-shag you haven't seen in three years to marry you?!" Ginny shouted.
"I'm willing to discuss this with you, Virginia, if you calm yourself, but I refuse to stand here and be harassed," Draco answered in a self-aggrandizing way.
Ginny took a deep breath and looked at the ceiling as she exhaled. "Okay, I'm calm. Now will you explain?"
"Exactly what do you want me to explain, Red?" Draco questioned as if unaware what Ginny was talking about.
Ginny rolled her eyes and let out a deep breath trying desperately to keep her composure. "The Friday night before I left on vacation, did you visit my quarters?"
"We both know I visited you that night. What does that have to do with anything?" Draco asked, in an irritated fashion.
"Did you or did you not tell me you loved me and beg me not to go on vacation with Severus?"
"A Malfoy never begs," Draco answered with disgust. "I simply asked you not to go on vacation with him."
Ginny gritted her teeth. "Are you denying that you shagged me four times that night and told me that you loved me?
"Four," Draco said shocked. "Was it only four times? It seemed much longer"
"DRACO, STOP BEING SUCH A BASTARD."
"You told me over and over that you loved me. You asked me not to go on vacation. I told you that I loved you too, but that I was confused. I promised you that I would make a decision between the two of you before classes started."
"Ginny, I was there. I know what you said and what I said."
"Then why did you ask her to marry you?"
"I asked her because I had to give her the opportunity to say no. Why else?"
Saturday, August 28, 2004
"You're extremely quiet tonight, Mione. Is something bothering you?" Harry asked tenderly, as he moved closer and nestled Hermione in his arms.
"I was thinking about the baby," Hermione answered quietly. "Do you believe in predestination, Harry? Do you think I was fated to lose our child so that we would take Jamie and Emily in and give them a home?"
"No, Love. I'd hate to think that that our lives were like a road trip, completely mapped out for us ahead of time. I'd rather believe that life is akin to the way the mirror described it; never-ending possibilities depending on the decisions we and others make."
"Then we just happened to be there for the girls?" Hermione asked as she looked into Harry's eyes.
"That's the way I see it? The same would hold true for Caitlin."
"Harry, I couldn't love the girls more if I actually was their mother, but I'm not. I missed the first decade of their lives. I want to be there from the beginning. Do you think we could squeeze a sixth person into our quarters?"
"A baby!" Harry said excitedly. "You want to have a baby? You and I?"
"No. Actually I was hoping that Neville would help me out. Of course, you and I," Hermione said with a laugh.
"My safeguard ends Tuesday. If you're up to your part of the job, I thought we might start working on it next weekend. It should be perfect timing. That way we can take Harry Jr. on vacation with us next year."
"No! No! No! A thousand times no!" Harry said quite emphatically. "You can pick the name. Anything you want, but I will not shackle a child of mine with the name Harry Potter. He'll have a tough enough life because of his famous parents."
"What if it's a girl? Will you be terribly disappointed? We girls somewhat out number you now."
"Not at all. I'd love a little girl just as much as a boy. I'd just be sorry that she'd never get to wear pretty frilly dresses."
"Of course she would. What makes you think she wouldn't?"
Harry gave Hermione a knowing glance. "In this household? I doubt very much she'll be wearing anything once she's out of diapers."
Monday, August 30, 2004
"I'm sorry, but I think it's preposterous to take a long, mind-numbing train ride to London just so we can take another long train ride back," Emily complained. "All the items we need for school are readily available in Hogsmeade. There is absolutely no need to travel all the way to London just to shop in Diagon Alley."
"You may say that now, but you'd regret not having the experience of shopping in Diagon Alley and riding the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade. Harry and Hermione think it's important that you participate in the entire Hogwarts Experience like most first year students and I agree," Jamie answered. "After this year you can do without going to London if you want."
"At least you'll be acquainted with what to expect at the end of the train ride," Caitlin added enviously. "Last year I was frightened to death. Actually I doubted for a time that I'd even get to attend here. When my letter arrived at the orphanage, everyone knew what it was, but none of the administrators really commented about it."
"I was an orphan and all my money was in a trust. How was I expected to obtain all the books and supplies I needed? I doubted, also, that Madam Crumb, the head mistress, would simply allow me to walk out on my own and catch a train, especially after what had just happened at camp. Finally near the end of August, when I had just about given up hope, she came."
Both Jamie and Emily stared at Caitlin questioningly. Neither had ever heard this story before. "She? Who came?" Jamie asked.
"Tonks!" Caitlin answered. "Actually her name is Nymphadora Tonks, but she prefers to go by her surname."
"So would I," Emily said. "I can't believe anyone's parents could have been so cruel as to name their daughter Nymphadora, that's worse than being named Fluffy like that one girl in the pageant."
Caitlin continued. "Tonks was great. She's a little clumsy, but really nice. Tonks saw to it that I got all my books and supplies and then took me to the train. Promised that she'd be there to meet me at the end of the school year, but my status changed a lot. I hope I get to see her again someday."
"Speaking of books and supplies," Jamie said, changing the subject. "Do you have your list, Emily? May I see it?"
Emily handed her list to Jamie who looked it over quickly before saying, "This brings back memories. Not much has changed since I was a first year. I still don't understand though why first years are not allowed broomsticks."
"Me either," Emily agreed. "I hope Harry keeps teaching me flying. He says I'm going to be able to fly circles around the other first years."
"You're already able to fly circles around this second year," Caitlin said sadly.
"Don't fret Caitlin," Jamie said consolingly. I'd give up both my flying and Animagus abilities in order to be a Hyperempath like you. I doubt I'll ever save any lives by changing into a unicorn or catching a Snitch."
Hermione entering the room interrupted their conversation. "I recognize you girls hate the idea of putting clothes on, but we really must hurry or we'll miss the train."
"Isn't Dad going to accompany us to London?" Caitlin inquired.
"No. Yesterday was the first night of the full moon. He'll be staying with Ron again tonight and tomorrow in the dungeon. Fortunately they'll both make the sorting and feast."
"What time will we get to London tonight Mum?" Caitlin asked.
"It will probably be sometime after dinner," Hermione answered. "I thought that we could check into our rooms at the Leaky Cauldron and then go out for something to eat and see a muggle movie. Then tomorrow we can spend the entire day shopping at Diagon Alley. Wednesday, after a late breakfast I'll take you to the train and then Apparate back to Hogsmeade."
"Sure would be a lot easier to just toddle on down to Hogsmeade and buy what we need there," Emily suggested sarcastically. "It would save a lot of time and two long boring train rides."
"Yes it would," Hermione agreed. "But some experiences in life are too important to miss. Harry, Jamie, and I feel the first year trip on the Hogsmeade Express is one of those experiences."
"Whatever," Emily grumbled. "Are we walking to Hogsmeade or going by carriage?"
"The carriage is already waiting. That's why I'm asking you girls to get a move on," Hermione responded impatiently.
"It was good of you to hang about with me, mate," Ron said earnestly to Harry.
It was the second night of the full moon. Harry and Ron had slept locked in one of the Hogwarts dungeons last night and would be doing the same tomorrow evening.
"Perhaps this time it's I who should be thanking you," Harry replied. "If given the choice would you rather sleep in a dungeon for three nights or go on a shopping trip with four women?"
Ron laughed, "There is no doubt about it, mate. This time, you do owe me."
"Ron, we didn't get the opportunity to talk much last night. Has your rapport with Sam improved any?" Harry asked hopefully.
Ron's face quickly took on a depressed expression. "Harry, I'm such a loser. Sam was the most excellent thing that ever happened to me and I totally blew it."
"But you're still together?"
"I'm not sure for how much longer. It's not because we've fallen out of love because we haven't. She still loves me, that hasn't changed. And I couldn't love her more. It's Timmy. After the way I acted and what she has learned about my relationship with Draco, she doesn't believe that I could possibly still care for her son.
"She imagines that I see Draco when I look at Timmy. Sam keeps saying they're a package deal. No matter how much she loves me; she can't marry someone who hates her son."
"But you don't hate Timmy." Harry said, his face having a questioning expression.
"No I don't. Completely the opposite is true. I've come to love him as if he were my own son. But it doesn't matter what I say, I can't convince her." Ron's voice ached with desperation.
"Sort of like saying I love you. The words alone have become meaningless because they are slung around so freely. They have to be accompanied by actions that show they are genuine. Ron, you can get her back, but it's going to take more than just words."
Monday, August 30, 2004
Hermione looked around the Leaky Cauldron as the girls finished their breakfast. "I'll never forget my first time in here. I was literally petrified, so were my parents. Since my parents were both muggles, my Hogwarts letter had been hand delivered by Professor McGonagall. You can imagine how shocked my parents were to find out that their little girl was a witch. Although it did explain away a lot of weird things I had done as a child. It was even harder for them to agree to my attending Hogwarts. I was after all only ten and their only child.
"In time they realized that it would not be fair to compel me to live in the muggle world and not use the magical abilities I had been given. Professor McGonagall was unable to accompany us to Diagon Alley, so my parents and I, armed only with my supply list and directions to the Leaky Cauldron, began our fateful journey."
"That must have been frightening," Jamie acknowledged. "It wouldn't have been quite so bad if one of your parents were magical or if someone had been able to accompany you, but for the three of you to have to venture into the magical world totally alone and unprepared had to be terrifying."
"It was," Hermione replied. "At first I thought we were on the wrong street. Our directions said the Leaky Cauldron was between the big bookshop and the record store, but at first I didn't see it. My parents never saw it until they took my hand and I guided them through the door. I imagine that the entrance is not visible to muggles."
"What did you think when you got inside?" Caitlin inquired.
"I wasn't the least bit impressed," Hermione answered quickly. "I hadn't been in many pubs and this one seemed to be extremely tiny and grubby-looking. The clientele didn't seem especially friendly, either. They all stopped their conversations and just stared at us. I guess to a pub of witches and wizards, two muggle dentists and their daughter were rather a sight."
"What did you do next?" Emily asked. "You didn't have to find the way to Diagon Alley without help, did you?"
"No. Professor McGonagall had described Tom, the bartender to us. She said he was old, quite bald and looked like a toothless walnut. Minerva had told him to be on the lookout for us. Tom promptly approached us and inquired if we were the Grangers. Then he led us through the bar and out into a small, walled courtyard. My parents thought at first he was going to beat and rob us because there wasn't any way out, just a few weeds and a rubbish bin. Instead he told me to watch carefully as he counted bricks up and across above the rubbish bin. Tom tapped the wall three times with the tip of his wand.
"The brick he had touched quivered and a small hole appeared. In a few seconds we were facing an archway onto a cobbled street, Diagon Alley."
"Wow! That sounds like a cool experience," Jamie said, enviously. "Having magical parents, I never gave getting to Diagon Alley much thought, but to muggleborns it must be quite a thrill."
"It was," Hermione answered, tears in her eyes. "My parents were in awe. I think it was then that they realized that our lives would never be the same." She took a deep breath. "It's hard to believe that thirteen years have passed since that day. Never could I have dreamed what adventures, heartache and happiness lay ahead of me."
Hermione brushed the tears from her eyes. "Now it's your turn Emily. I know it's not nearly as exciting because you come from a magical family, but starting Hogwarts is definitely a magical experience. If you ladies are finished eating, I suggest we tap some bricks and begin our shopping day."
Caitlin and Emily quickly shoved their chairs aside and hurried to the courtyard leaving Jamie and Hermione alone, briefly.
"Hermione," Jamie questioned. "Would you help me prepare to give myself?"
At first Hermione just stood in shock, Jamie's request completely catching her off guard. Then she said with concern, "You're planning on having sex with Alex and you want my help? Are you sure? There is no rush. After all you are only sixteen."
"I'm sure. I know there is no urgency, but he's my chosen and we want to join."
"Jamie, why is it that you refer to having sex as joining?" Hermione asked. "And how can you be sure that Alex is your chosen? Last year you were willing to give yourself to Harry."
Jamie hesitated slightly. "Hermione, my dad was different from most wizards. He was the last in a long line of seers. He could actually tell the future. Although when he did so it was usually with an ambiguous prophecy. The ability only seems to pass to males and so when he died, so did the ability. Females, in our family, although not able to see the future, usually have a unique ability in judging people. I inherited that ability, it doesn't seem that Emily has."
"The ability allows me to judge people extremely well. I've never had a friend lie or deceive me. I know whom I can trust. My Dad also felt sure that I would be able to tell when I met someone with whom I could share a successful lifetime relationship. In some cases your life causes you to cross the path of more than one potential life partner."
Jamie looked devotedly into Hermione's eyes. "Under different circumstances Harry and I would have been right for each other, but never as perfect as you are for each other. I know that Alex and I will be together the balance of our lives. I don't hope it; I actually know it. If my parents were living, my Dad would perform a special ceremony before Alex and I joined. I'm not asking you or Harry to do that, but I was hoping that perhaps you could help us prepare so that...." She looked pleadingly into Hermione's eyes. "I don't want our first time to be a calamity on a cold stone floor. I want it to be something special that we will always remember."
Hermione understood as she wrapped her arm around Jamie's shoulder. "How much time do we have before this special joining, Sister?"
Jamie smiled, "I hope not very long."
"I have some ideas and I know just the perfect place," Hermione said, not believing that she was in fact going to help. "I'll show you this weekend, but right now I think we best catch up to Caitlin and Emily."
By the time Jamie and Hermione reached the walled courtyard, Caitlin was on the verge of a paroxysm. "What took you two so long?" She growled. "Emily and I could have chiseled the wall down by now."
Hermione gave Caitlin an aggravated glance. "Jamie and I were discussing a private matter. Patience is a virtue that you, young lady, are sorely lacking."
Emily wanted to inquire as to what the private matter was, but since Hermione already seemed annoyed, she decided to leave it alone.
Hermione tapped the wall three times with her wand and in a few seconds they were facing a large archway. As soon as they had all stepped safely through, the archway shrank instantly back into a solid wall.
The nearest shop to them featured cauldrons in all sizes, shapes and metals.
"You'll be needing one of these, Emily; Pewter, standard size 2 if my memory is correct. We'll wait till last to pick it up, no reason to drag a cauldron with us all day."
"Mum. Do we have to go get money from Gringotts?" Caitlin asked.
"Mercifully, no," Hermione answered. "Your father and I have accounts with most of the merchants. I detest dealing with those goblins. They treat everyone as if they are dirt and endeavor to take advantage of you." Hermione put her hand on Emily's shoulder. "Although we have items to purchase for everyone, this is your day. What will it be first, robes or a wand?"
Emily didn't hem and haw the least before saying, "A wand."
"Then we should head directly for Ollivanders," Hermione suggested.
As they walked down the cobble-stoned street Caitlin tried to look at everything at once. This was only her second visit to Diagon Alley and truthfully last year when she came with Tonks she had been too nervous to take in the sights. Today she tried to look at everything at once; the shops, the street vendors, even the other people doing their shopping.
When they arrived at Ollivander's shop, Hermione couldn't help but notice that it hadn't changed at all since the day she had purchased her first wand. She wondered if the single wand lying on the faded purple cushion in the dusty window was the same wand that had been there thirteen years ago.
A tinkling bell announced their arrival as they entered the shop. It appeared even tinier than Hermione had remembered.
"Good afternoon," said a soft voice. "Quite nice to see you once again Miss Granger or more correctly Mrs. Potter. How nice to see that you are still carrying your original wand. Together you have earned an enviable reputation these past thirteen years. Caitlin, Jamie, good to see you both again."
Jamie and Caitlin were both amazed that Mr. Ollivander remembered them, but they were even more surprised by what he said next. "This I imagine is young Emily Zacherley. I remember selling your parents their first wands." He looked at Hermione and shook his head in a lighthearted manner. "I find myself saying that far too often lately. Yesterday I sold a wand to the grandson of one of my customers. But enough about me."
"Well, Miss Zacherley. Let me see now." Mr. Ollivander pulled a long tape measure out of his pocket. "Hold out you wand arm." He measured Emily arm as he told her about the wands he made and how no two were every exactly the same.
Suddenly Emily realized that Mr. Ollivander was no longer holding the tape measure, but that it was on its own measuring her hips, waist and bust. "That will do," he said scoldingly to the tape when he saw what it was doing.
It took about six tries, but finally a proper wand found Emily. It was a ten and a half inch long willow with a phoenix feather. After paying eight gold Galleons, Hermione and the girls were bowed from the shop by Mr. Ollivander.
As they headed for their next stop, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Emily's attention was drawn to a crowd of boys with their faces pressed against a window. She wandered away from the others to see what had the boys so captivated. One look and she fell in love with the Enterprise 2005.
Emily just stood there gawking until she felt a hand on her shoulder. "You remind me of Harry and Ron," Hermione said laughingly. Whenever we came to Diagon Alley as teenagers, I had to pry them both away from store windows displaying new brooms. Back then it was the Nimbus and Firebolt. Now it's the Enterprise."
"Isn't it beautiful?" Emily sighed.
"Yes," Hermione answered, although frankly to her one broom looked like another. "We can go in and take a closer look later if you like, but right now Jamie and Caitlin are waiting for us at Madam Malkin's."
When they entered the shop, they found Jamie and Caitlin both standing on footstools while a witch pinned up their long black robes. Madam Malkin, a squat, smiling witch ran to the door when she saw them enter. "Mrs. Potter, so good to see you again." She looked at Emily and smiled. "A new one for Hogwarts?"
Hermione returned Madam Malkin's smile. "It's good to see you again, too. Yes, Emily is a first year."
"Wendy is almost done with the other girls." She gave Emily a friendly glance. "As soon as they are finished we'll get you pinned up. It goes quite quickly." "Please excuse me for a moment," she said as a woman entered the shop accompanied by a young girl who appeared extremely timid, actually frightened.
"Hogwarts, dear?" Madam Malkin inquired.
"Yes!" The woman responded as if startled. "She's a witch! Would you believe it? My daughter is an actual witch."
The young girl seemed deeply upset that her mother was talking at the top of her voice; the whole store hearing her proclamation.
As soon as they were completed, Jamie and Caitlin ran to check out the formal robes. Meanwhile Wendy led Emily to the rear of the store where she had her slip a long robe over her head, and began to pin it to the right length. Madam Malkin led the young girl to the stool next to Emily.
"Hello," said Emily, "Hogwarts, too?"
The girl didn't answer, but smiled meekly and nodded her head uneasily.
"My sister is in her sixth year," Emily added. "She's a prefect and seeker on her house Quidditch team."
The girl hesitated and then shyly said, "I'm the first. I thought witches and wizards were make believe until she came to my house." She indicated Hermione who was now engrossed in conversation with the girl's mother.
"Professor Granger visited your home?" Emily questioned with surprise. "I didn't realize professors ever visited the homes of first years."
"I don't believe they do, if your parents have knowledge of the magical world. My parents had the notion that my letter was someone's idea of a joke. They kept discarding it and I kept getting a new one. Finally a few weeks ago Professor Granger knocked on our door. At first my Dad wouldn't let her in, but finally he relented."
The girl looked toward her Mum. "My Mum's really excited about me being a witch. Dad's not so enthusiastic."
"How do you feel about it?" Emily asked empathetically.
"Truthfully?" The girl's eyes glistened as she looked at Emily. "I'm scared to death. I'd much rather be a normal girl and stay home with my parents. Making friends doesn't come very easily to me and I'm going to miss my Mum and Dad awfully. Won't you miss yours?"
"I miss them every day," Emily answered sadly. "They died last spring, but I was fortunate enough to have a sister who loved me and two great people that cared enough about her and I, to give us a home."
"I'm sorry," The girl said meekly.
"Thanks," Emily said. "Maybe we'll end up in the same house. Then at least you'll know someone. By the way, I'm Emily, Emily Zacherley."
The girl's face glowed as she looked at Emily. "That would be wonderful. I'd feel so much more secure if I knew someone in my house. My names Kim, Kim Thatcher."
"Okay ladies. You're both finished," Wendy said. "Tell your Mums they can pick the robes up any time today after three."
Emily was about to tell Wendy that Hermione wasn't her mother, but decided it wasn't important enough to bother.
As Kim and her mum left the shop, Kim stopped and turned back to Emily. "Maybe I'll see you on the train?"
"Maybe," Emily answered genuinely. "I'll look for you."
Hermione put her arm around Emily's shoulder as Kim and her mother departed the shop. "I'm afraid that one is going to have a rough time adjusting to life at Hogwarts." She gave Emily a squeeze. "Perhaps she'll end up in Gryffindor, then you and the other girls can look out for her. Speaking of the other girls, will you gather your sisters? We have a lot of shopping ahead of us yet."
They visited Flourish and Blotts next and bought textbooks for the coming year. Jamie needed several new books since she would be beginning to study for her NEWTS. Some of Caitlin's books were still used in second year, such as A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot, but she did need the Grade 2 level of The Standard Book of Spells. The clerk seemed genuinely impressed when Caitlin purchased The Hyperempath in Me and How to Get it Out.
Emily needed books for all her first year classes. She had offered to use Caitlin's books from last year, but Hermione insisted on buying her new books. Hermione remembered well the humiliation Ron and Ginny had felt because of hand-me-downs and was not about to have Emily experience the same.
Rather than persist shopping with their arms overflowing, they decided to return to the Leaky Cauldron with their purchases and then finish shopping after lunch. They had a leisurely lunch with Hermione doing most of the talking as she reminisced about her first trip to Diagon Alley.
"Professor McGonagall visited my parents on a Thursday explaining about Hogwarts and how I was a witch," Hermione said and then blushed. "I must have been spoiled because I spent all day Friday begging and pleading with my parents to bring me here that Saturday. They wanted to do the same as us and shop the day before taking the train, but I insisted that I had to have my books as soon as possible."
Jamie gave Hermione a knowing glance. "Did you sleep at all after you had your books and wand?"
"Very little," Hermione answered with a laugh. "I simply couldn't put the books down, plus I wanted to be as well prepared as possible. Minerva, rather Professor McGonagall, had told us that most of the students would be coming from families with at least one magical parent. I wanted to do as much as possible to overcome what I expected to be a enormous disadvantage."
"I guess you managed to overcome it, didn't you Mum?" Caitlin asked. "Highest number of O.W.L.s in the History of Hogwarts and the most powerful witch in a century."
"Don't forget about her being the most sought after witch in the history of Playwizard magazine," Emily added, a devilish grin on her face.
Hermione just shook her head. "Don't tell me you read Harry Potter, A History, also?"
Emily gave Hermione a sheepish glance. "It was Jamie's suggestion. She said I should know everything possible about my guardians."
It was Jamie's turn to blush as she asked, "Did they in actual fact offer to pay you the equivalent of ten years salary?"
Hermione nodded her head, yes. "I didn't think they were serious until they showed me a Gringotts cashier's check"
"I can't believe you refused them, " Emily said shaking her head. "I would have dropped my pants on the spot."
"Emily, if you had your way, you'd never be wearing any clothes to drop!" Jamie said sarcastically.
"Mum, now that you've been to Cap D'agde and are sort of into the naturist life style would you do it if ever asked again?" Caitlin questioned.
"Now that my name is no longer in the Daily Prophet everyday, I doubt that there would be much interest in pictures of me, but no. I definitely wouldn't."
"That's crazy," Emily responded in disbelief. "We just came from a nudist resort where people saw the real flesh and blood you, up close and naked. Yet you would turn down a fortune to pose for pictures showing no more than you just showed for free."
"I wouldn't do it either," Jamie interjected. "That's one of the reasons I hate talking part in those pageants. I don't like the fact that they take pictures and movies; some of which are sold."
Emily shook her head in frustration; more confused than ever. "Would someone please explain to me why its okay for me to let a person see me naked, but refuse to let them take my picture? It makes absolutely no sense to me."
"I can't speak for Hermione because being new to naturism, her reasons surely are different than mine," Jamie answered. "I'm more comfortable without clothes and as you all know I don't care who sees me that way. I wouldn't even cover myself if Dick Bancroft came into the room.
"Pictures, however, I consider a completely different subject. Don't get me wrong. I'd have no problem with Harry or any of you having a picture of me in the buff. Nor would I, Alex or Amanda. Actually I'd love it, if we had a picture of all of us on the beach that night. I don't even mind my likeness being used to promote the nudist lifestyle. It's just that...."
"It's just that most people don't consider nudity innocent like you girls do," Hermione piped in. "I've strived my entire life to achieve what I have. I want to be remembered for my achievements and contributions to the magical world. Not for the size of my boobs or what's between my legs."
The girls sat in shock, Hermione's frankness catching them totaling off guard. After a time Emily shyly spoke. "I think I understand now. When we go nude we're in control; it's our choice what we do and who sees us that way. With a picture, we have no control over whose hands it ends up in. I can understand you not wanting your picture to end up in someone's loo being used to help them..."
"We get the idea, Emily!" Caitlin almost shouted. "Please don't paint us a picture."
Now it was Hermione's turn to sit in shock. "Where did you girls learn all this stuff about sex? When I was your age..." Hermione hesitated. "I guess when I was your age I never took my nose out of a book long enough to look at the world around me. I think perhaps it's a good idea if we finish our lunch and get back to shopping. We still have quite a bit to do and I did promise someone we'd take a close look at brooms."
Emily gave Hermione a huge smile.
After lunch they stopped to have a hands on look at the/ Enterprise 2005. /As far as Emily was concerned, they could have spent the balance of the day in that shop. It certainly was more appealing than the Apothecary with its horrible smell, similar to that of rotted food. They spent little time there; just sufficient to purchase Emily some basic potion ingredients and replenish those that Caitlin and Jamie had depleted.
Although not purchasing, they made stops at the pet shop and Eeylops Owl Emporium. Finally as the afternoon sun hung low in the sky, they purchased a pewter cauldron for Emily and made their way back through the wall and back to the Leaky Cauldron.
After a rather quiet dinner they retired to their rooms to pack for the trip to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express.
At four in the morning, Emily, inquiring if it was time to get ready for the train, awakened Hermione. Hermione reached out her arm, indicating for the girl to crawl into bed next to her. "Admit it," Hermione said, "you're just a little excited about taking the train today."
Emily looked into Hermione's brown eyes and grinned. "Probably more than a little."
"It's only four, Emily. Rather early to get up especially since we won't be exercising today. I have the alarm set for seven. If you'd like; I don't mind if you stay here with me till then."
Emily nestled herself closer to Hermione, "I'd like that," she said.
They both laid quietly for a few minutes until Emily asked, "Are you still awake?"
"Yes. Can't you sleep? Are you nervous?"
"I'm a little nervous, but I have you and my sisters. I'll be fine. Hermione, can I tell you something?"
"Anytime, sweetheart. What's on your mind?"
"It's about my parents. I loved them an awful lot and really miss them."
"I know how you feel. It's been seven years since I lost my parents, but it seems you never get over the loss and most certainly you never stop loving them."
"No one could ever take their place, but..." Emily altered her position and in doing so wrapped her arms tightly around Hermione's neck as she kissed her cheek. "I love you. And I love Harry. I'm so thankful that you gave Jamie and me a home."
Tears came quickly to Hermione's eyes. "I know I can never be your real mother and neither Harry or I would ever want you to forget your parents, but nothing can stop me from loving you as a daughter."
After exchanging hugs and kisses, Emily nestled back against Hermione. It wasn't long before they both drifted off into a contented sleep, a sleep that was too soon interrupted by the screaming of a very persistent alarm clock. "Seven o'clock. Time to get up. Come on, move it. You set me for this time, so get out of bed. Why did you set me for seven if..."
After Hermione shut off the alarm, she glanced at Emily who gave her a big smile. Hermione said, "Remind me the next time we stay here that I should bring along my own alarm clock. Emily, will you wake Jamie and Caitlin? We all have to get a shower, have breakfast and then get ourselves to the train station."
Emily didn't answer, but reached over and gave Hermione a hug. Then she gave her a light kiss on the cheek and jumped out of bed.
Hermione just sat on the edge of the bed for a moment thinking. I may not be your mother, but you're my daughter.
"While you girls take a shower, I'll lay out your clothes for you," Hermione yelled, trying to be heard over the laughter coming for the bath.
After a few minutes the giggling and laughter subsided and only the sound of running water was heard. A short time later, three naked, wet-haired girls came snickering through the door.
Hermione simply looked at them and then shook her head with incomprehension. "You all squeezed into that shower at one time didn't you?"
"It was fun Mum. You should have joined us," Caitlin said between giggles.
"It would have been more fun if someone hadn't kept hitting me in the face with their breasts," Emily complained.
"Yeah! I agree," Jamie said. "You have to watch where you sling those things, Caitlin."
"Ha! Ha! Very funny," Caitlin said in a frustrated manner. "Like I could hit somebody with these." She pinched her puffy nipples between her fingers and thumbs."
"I'm just kidding Sis, besides even though they're just sprouting, I bet Matt will notice the difference."
"Do you really think so?" Caitlin asked hopefully.
Hermione made no comment, but rather headed to the bath to take her shower. As much as she liked Matt, it admittedly bothered her that Caitlin spent much of her time with him naked. "Your clothes are lying on the bed," she said as she closed the door behind her.
Emily was the first to walk over to the bed and just stood there staring before saying, "When did she buy these? Does she actually expect us to wear them?"
Lying with each girls clothing were matching bras and knickers.
Jamie looked at the garments disgustedly, "She has good taste, I'll give her that, but I've gone sixteen years without wearing either of those and I'm not about to start now."
"The last knickers that touched my butt were disposables," Emily said with a scowl. "Wearing skirts and blouses is bad enough. I love and respect Hermione, but my Mum didn't make me wear those and she's not about to."
Caitlin just held the attire in disbelief. "I don't understand. When she adopted me last year, one of the first things I told her was that I didn't wear knickers. I thought she had accepted it. Why now?"
Hermione opened the door and stuck her head in. Instead of starting her shower, she had waited to hear the girls' reaction to the undergarments. Unfortunately it had been exactly the response she had expected. "I'm not going to force any of you to wear them," she said dejectedly. "I just thought that perhaps you might humor me and at the same time make yourselves less vulnerable to giving a show. After all, Jamie, you do wear extremely short skirts and you two," she gave Caitlin and Emily a stern look, "sometimes sit and bend in very unladylike ways."
Jamie looked at Hermione as if extremely hurt. "I thought you understood.... Hermione, do you think I'm a tart because I don't wear knickers."
"No, of course not. Jamie, I know you and understand your feelings toward naturism. I just worry what other people will think of you girls if they accidentally get a view of your private parts."
"I certainly hope people will take the time to get to know us and judge us on qualities that are quite a bit more important than whether or not we wear knickers," Jamie responded angrily. "Hermione, I love you, but I'm of age and not wearing these."
"I'm not of age, so I imagine that if you require it; I have no choice," Emily said miserably.
Caitlin sat on the side of the bed looking more disheartened than Hermione had seen her since the day of the trail. "I'll wear them," Caitlin whispered glumly.
"Oh! Give them here. All of you." Hermione's said in a loud frustrated voice. "I can't stand looking at those wretched expressions on your faces. I only got them because I worry about you; what kind of mother lets her daughters run about without knickers?"
"One who loves them very much and understands that nudity isn't dirty." Jamie responded as she put her arm around Hermione. "Hermione, I think I can safely speak for Caitlin and Emily when I say that you don't have to worry. We all respect you and Harry too much to ever do anything that would shame or embarrass you."
"Yeah, Mum," Caitlin, added. "I'll try to sit more lady like."
"And I promise not to do any hand stands in the common room," Emily said laughingly.
"Like you could if you wanted to," Caitlin retorted.
"Wouldn't like to place a bet on that, would you?" Emily replied.
"Ahem," Jamie cleared her throat. "I thought you both agreed that there would be no more betting.
Caitlin and Emily both nodded shamefacedly.
"I'm glad I didn't remove the tags from these," Hermione said as she stuffed the undergarments into a bag. Now I really must go take a shower or we'll have to skip breakfast."
As Hermione was about to close the door to the bath, Jamie slipped in. "I have to ask you a question, sister to sister. Promise, you'll tell the truth?"
"What is it?" Hermione asked.
"Since being at Cape d'Adge, do you still wear a bra and knickers? Tell the truth."
Hermione blushed quite a deep red. "I gave them both up long before our vacation. But then I don't wear micro-mini skirts that barely cover my butt."
"No, you don't, but with your legs you should. I know a certain professor that wouldn't be able to take his eyes off you if you did."
Hermione thought for a moment. "Harry and I are going out to dinner on Saturday night to celebrate the one year anniversary of our reunion. Maybe I'll go shopping Saturday morning."
"How extreme do you want to go?"
Hermione blushed. "Make a baby extreme."
"You've decided to get pregnant," Jamie said excitedly. "I have just the dress. It's a copy of a dress that Sandra Bullock, the movie star, once wore. Truthfully, I've never gone anywhere that I felt I could wear it. Nothings much is left to the imagination."
"Jamie, this is Hermione you're talking to. Do you actually expect me to wear a dress you're hesitant to wear?"
"Hermione, I guarantee that if you wear this dress, you and Harry will.... Well I suggest you get a room at the Hogsmeade Inn? He won't be able to make it back to Hogwarts."
"I must say you have me intrigued," Hermione said, a devilish grin on her face unlike any Jamie had ever seen before. "Now unless you're going to take a shower with me, get out so I can get started," Hermione said laughingly.
Jamie froze briefly in her tracks and then turned and headed for the door. Once she was outside the bath she leaned on the door trying to gather her thoughts. Jamie realized that Hermione was not serious about them taking a shower together, but the idea actually excited her and she found this extremely disconcerting.
She didn't have time to brood over her thoughts when she saw that instead of getting dressed, Emily and Caitlin were practicing handstands.
"That muggle cab driver was extremely pleasant," Emily commented sarcastically.
"He was nasty, wasn't he?" Hermione agreed. "I even gave him what I thought was a generous tip."
"I don't think he appreciated having to tie our trunks to the roof," Jamie offered. They seem to prefer fares that don't require them to get off their butt."
"By the size of his butt, I'd say it was high time he got off of it and did some exercise," Caitlin remarked. "It's lucky we didn't have any pets or he probably would have refused to transport us."
As the girls sought out trolleys for their luggage, Hermione checked her watch. "It's only ten o'clock. I've never been here this early before. The Hogwarts Express in all likelihood hasn't even pulled in yet. We'll get to see all the excited students boarding."
Emily gave Caitlin a nudge. "She's really into this whole first day train ride thing, isn't she?"
"Mum loves anything to do with Hogwarts, especially the traditions," Caitlin said proudly.
As they neared the dividing barrier between platforms nine and ten, Hermione commented on the fact that King's Cross was not extremely busy. "Shall we hurry through before it gets hectic? Jamie, suppose you go first."
Emily and Caitlin watched as Jamie walked briskly toward the barrier. She seemed to simply melt into the solid wall.
"I've been watching her do that since I was six years old and it still frightens me," Emily commented to Caitlin. "Does it hurt?"
"Not at all, but it is kind of weird," Caitlin answered encouragingly. "One second you're running toward this solid wall and the next, your standing on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters."
"The word is magical, Caitlin, not weird; you're next," Hermione said.
Caitlin didn't waver at all, but instead quickly pushed her trolley toward the barrier. Once she disappeared, Emily looked up at Hermione, her nervousness evident.
"Don't worry, I'll go through with you," Hermione said reassuringly. "We'll both push the trolley. If it helps, simply close you eyes as we near the barrier. That's what I did the first time."
Emily and Hermione both took hold of the trolley and started pushing it at a rather fast pace. Emily closed her eyes ready for the crash, but it never came. When she opened them again she saw a sparsely occupied platform, the overhead sign reading Hogwarts Express, eleven o'clock. Behind her was not the barrier, but instead a wrought-iron archway with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it.
"That will take some getting accustomed to," Emily said, still nervous from the experience.
"I was scared stiff the first time I had to do that," Hermione confessed. "My parents, being muggles, couldn't go through with me. We said our good byes and then I just ran for the barrier. I truly expected to end up in a hospital instead of on a train platform. Then I had to come out and do it all over again."
Emily looked at Hermione questioningly. "Why did you have to do that?"
"I had to let my parents know I was all right and that there actually was a train. They would have been worried to death. Getting adapted to your daughter being a witch is difficult enough without seeing her just disappear through a wall without an explanation."
"It must be extremely hard for muggles to acclimatize to their child being magical."
"I don't think my parents ever fully did."
Suddenly Emily realized they were alone. "Where did Jamie and Caitlin disappear to?"
"They didn't disappear. Caitlin's over there next to that young couple that's kissing so ardently," Hermione said enviously, wishing that could be her and Harry. This trip was the first time they had been apart since her kidnapping and she missed him a great deal. "If they ever break the embrace, I'm sure we'll discover that the couple is Alex and Jamie."
They were just about to head over to the others when the Hogwarts Express pulled into the station. Hermione stared as the train came to a stop; smoke from the scarlet steam engine drifting over their heads. "Isn't it beautiful," she asked.
Emily gave Hermione a patronizing look. "I guess it's pretty, for a train. You do realize that's the same train we just rode two days ago, don't you? "
"I know, but it always looks so special when it's the start of the school term."
As Emily guided Hermione toward the others, numerous students greeted the professor. Jamie and Alex, both looking flushed, concluded their hug as Hermione approached.
"Good morning Professor," Alex said, nervously.
"Good morning Mr. Ward," Hermione said, with a grin. I assume you and Jamie were instructing Caitlin on the proper way to greet someone special that you haven't seen in two months. I hope you took notes, Caitlin?"
As Caitlin and Emily laughed, Jamie and Alex turned a deep red. Suddenly Amanda came hurrying toward them and threw her arms around Jamie. "I've missed you, girl."
"Me, too," Jamie said. "How is Tony?" Jamie asked as Amanda greeted and in turn was greeted by everyone else.
"Super," Amanda answered excitedly. "I can't wait to see him. Our owls must be exceedingly happy summer is over; we wrote to each other daily." Amanda looked around the platform. "The crowd is starting to swell. If we want to get two compartments next to each other, we'd better hurry and claim them."
"You're correct," Jamie agreed. "There are too many of us for just one compartment this year, especially if Matt and Randy join us."
"They'd better join us," Caitlin said threateningly. "Matt's already in trouble for hardly writing to me at all."
"At least he wrote to you," Emily said quite disgusted. "Randy practically begged me to kiss him good-bye and then doesn't so much as send one owl. I'll guarantee you that he is not about to receive a hello hug."
"Don't be too hard on them girls," Alex said in defense of the boys. "When you're twelve, you don't have your priorities quite in order. You sometimes don't realize how very unique that girl standing next to you is or how much you adore her." Alex grabbed Jamie's hand and squeezed it.
Just as they were about to head for the train, Matt and Randy came scurrying toward them. "Hurry up guys!" Caitlin yelled. "We have to go claim compartments."
In the rush to get on the train and find two compartments next to each other, neither boy received an embrace or a kiss. In fact, Randy didn't even receive a hello from Emily, just a frosty cold shoulder. Once they secured seating in the second car, Jamie suggested that the others remain on board the train while Amanda, Alex and her looked for Tony.
As Jamie left the compartment, Caitlin said, "Jamie, tell Mum that Emily and I said good-bye and that we'll see her tonight."
"Yeah, tonight," Emily said frustrated. "She Apparates and in the time it takes to snap your fingers, she's back in Hogsmeade. Meanwhile we get to spend the whole day cooped up on a train to get to the same place. Isn't tradition grand?"
Jamie just shrugged her shoulders at Emily's remark as she commented to Amanda and Alex. "There are times I find it hard to believe we are sisters."
"I understand what you mean," Amanda said with a smile. "At times you two can be so much alike and other times total opposites."
"You and Caitlin seem more like sisters and you're not even related," Alex added.
"I need to tell Hermione that Emily and Caitlin are staying on the train," Jamie said, "but remind me later on to tell you about Caitlin this summer; she was amazing. Her Hyperempathic powers are becoming awesome."
Jamie located Hermione just as she completed a conversation with some parents of first year students. "Hermione, Caitlin and Emily are staying on board to insure that no one takes our compartments. They said they'd see you tonight."
"I wanted to watch the train depart," Hermione answered, with some uncertainty, "but in fact I should get back to Hogwarts. I have a great deal to do before tonight's sorting. "Tell the girls I love them." Hermione gave Jamie a brief hug and then just prior to Apparating said, "Inform Emily that she'll look great in Gryffindor red."
Hermione had only just disappeared when a voice called out to them. "Now if we were allowed to do that, I wouldn't have almost missed the bloody train." Tony ran to Amanda and literally swept her off her feet and into an adoring embrace. Only when the whistle sounded did he allow her feet to once again touch earth.
"We have to hurry, the train will be pulling out," Alex yelled. "Quickly Tony, just throw you trunk on the last car. We'll just have to carry it through the train. We have a compartment in the second car."
They barely got the trunk and themselves on board when the train began to move. Momentarily they remained on the rear observation deck as the station disappeared in the distance. As the train picked up speed, they went inside and started the trek toward the front of the train.
"Where were you?" Amanda asked. "I thought you were going to miss the train."
"You weren't the only one," Tony said, grateful that he hadn't. "It is ridiculous that we are forced to use muggle transportation rather than Apparating. I was stuck in a traffic jam that lasted for miles." He looked at Amanda and shook his head in disbelief. "Amanda, you're more beautiful than ever."
"I'm not beautiful," Amanda said as her face went bright red. "But once we get to the compartment I'll give you a kiss for having such poor eyesight."
They made quick headway through the train because the passageways were clear. That was until they reached the car just prior to theirs. When they entered, it sounded like a party was going on. The car was jammed with both boys and girls who were hooting and hollering.
"Looking good baby!"
"Cover yourself, you tart."
"Hey guys, think we'd get in trouble if we touched her?"
Jamie wasted no time as she yelled loudly. "School prefects! Empty this passage way at once! Anyone not out of here in one minute will lose twenty points for their house." Suddenly there was a mad rush to compartment doors and other cars of the train. In less then a minute the car was empty and Jamie had an unobstructed path as she ran toward the girl.
"Who the hell would do something so perverted?!" Jamie yelled, bursting with anger.
"I'll give you one guess who the bastard was," Amanda answered, "but I'm sure no one saw him; at least no one that will inform on the scum."
End of Chapter Four
As always, I would like to thank those of you who took the time to review.
Thank you also to my wonderful betas: Amber, Rebecca and Nicole. Believe me, you don't ever want to read one of my chapters before its gone to beta. I'd be lost without them.
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