Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Angels In Australia

Chapter 5

by EJDaniels 3 reviews

A decade has passed since the brightest witch of her age left England to search for her parents. Now employed by the Australian Ministry of Magic, Inspector Granger heads a special group of witches...

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Harry,Hermione - Published: 2014-09-29 - 5820 words - Complete

"Agent Smith!" Hermione called, quickening her pace to catch up to the MIB agent who paused and turned to look behind him upon hearing his name called. It had been a week since the attack in the twelfth-floor apartment. She had as yet to return to the place, instead staying with the Wilkins to insure they were safe. Even though she told herself that, she knew it was only a partial truth as she had no desire to return to her own place after reading the report concerning the carnage that took place there. It had also been a week since she had seen Harry. After delivering her to the hospital the world's deadliest hit wizard had returned to work. The fact that Harry hadn't visited once hurt more than she was willing to admit to herself.

"Inspector Granger," Smith said with a welcoming smile as the witch stopped next to him. "I see they finally allowed you to return to work? All better?"

"Well enough," Hermione replied trying to ignore the burning pain in her shoulder. The Healers had done all they could but as yet her wound was not healing fully. The prognosis was to continue treatment in the hopes that it would eventually work. They had told her there was some dark magic involved and that was what was preventing the injury from healing completely. "If I had to remain sitting at home much longer I would have gone barmy!"

Smith chuckled knowingly. "It's not in our nature to sit idly by and do nothing," he told her. "Are your friends, the Wilkins, doing alright?"

Hermione nodded even as she answered, "Jess is with them right now." Yet another thing I owe her for, the young witch thought to herself. "They should be fine with her there. They think of us as their daughters in a way and we've more or less adopted them," she added, smiling affectionately. Jess was the only one besides the Chief Inspector who knew that the Wilkins were her real parents.

"Well I am glad they're safe," the agent beside her said with a note of real concern in his voice. "Nasty business when the non-magical get caught up in our troubles." The witch could do little more than nod in agreement. "It is good to see you again Inspector but I'm afraid that I must part with you here. I was on my way out when you hailed me," he told her with a friendly smile before nodding once and turning to head off in the direction he had been walking.

Hermione watched him start to walk away before blurting out, "I need to see him."

Smith stopped in his tracks upon hearing her words. Slowly the MIB agent turned to regard her closely before offering a slight shrug of his shoulders. "I'm on my way to see him now if you'd like to come along," he offered. There was no question of who exactly she meant when she said she had to see him.

Upon exiting the building there was a black SUV waiting for them with Agent Willis in the passenger seat. If he was surprised to see the witch he didn't show it as far as Hermione could tell. Night was rapidly falling as they sped through the city, in route to where Harry was. In short order they pulled off the main streets and into a suburb, arriving at a primary school.

"This is where Harry is?" Hermione asked in disbelief as they drove around the school building towards the back of it.

Smith turned and nodded with a smile. "He doesn't like to be cooped up inside either apparently," he told her, the smile due to their previous conversation. The SUV turned the corner around the building its head lights landed on the hit wizard in question, standing with a brownish orange ball in his hands. "We'll come back in a little while," Smith told Hermione as the SUV stopped to allow her to step out.

"Thank you," she replied as she opened the door and stepped from the vehicle, winching slightly as the movement caused her shoulder to move painfully. As soon as she closed the door, the black vehicle drove off leaving her standing there alone with the most feared hit wizard in the world.

"Inspector," Harry said with a slight nod of his head in way of greeting as his hands slowly spun the basketball around in his hands. His blank expressionless face gave away nothing from what she could see of it in the defused outdoor lighting streaming from the top of the school building near at hand.

Ever since she had learned from Jess what had happened to the Weasleys she had thought of a hundred different questions she wanted to ask the man before her, but now that she was face to face with him she couldn't seem to gather her thoughts enough to ask them. "Basketball huh?" she asked as her confused brown eyes fell upon the ball shifting from hand to hand. "I would never have pegged you for that."

"Something I picked up in the States," he told her, bouncing the ball twice as he spoke. "It's a good way to maintain hand eye coordination which helps with casting."

Hermione only then noticed that they were standing on an outdoor basketball court. "I always got the impression with the game that you would spend more time chasing the ball than shooting it if you played alone."

"You would normally be true," he agreed before turning and shooting the ball towards the hoop where it went through without touching the rim. The ball bounced away till Harry raised his arm at which point the ball flew through the air to his waiting hand. "Being magical does have its advantages," he added as he turned to face her once more. "Give it a try," he added as he passed the ball to her.

Catching the basketball with only a slight grimace of pain, Hermione stepped forward onto the court and dribbled the ball awkwardly a few times. "Sports were never my thing, Harry," she said as she worked her way closer towards the hoop. Once she was nearly under the rim she shot the ball up, off the backboard and watched with no small measure of satisfaction as it bounced off the edge of the rim and went through the hoop. As she reached for the bouncing ball, it flew away from her towards Harry who caught it deftly dribbling it with an ease she couldn't help but envy.

"So your parents," the hit wizard opened with as he bounced the ball between his legs before doing a fade away jumper from the top of the key. As with the last shot this one too went through the hoop without touching the rim. "You found them," he added upon landing on his toes with the grace of a cat.

Hermione nodded as she caught the ball as it dropped down through the hoop. "It took a couple of months to locate them," she told him as she dribbled the ball a few feet to one side, being careful of her shoulder. "When I sent them here I didn't specify where in Australia they were to go so I wasn't certain where they were." Pivoting about she shot the ball and once more banked it off the backboard and into the hoop after it spun around the rim twice. "I thought it might be safer that way should I get caught. I wouldn't be able to tell anyone what I didn't know," she told him. "That way they couldn't use them against me." The young witch looked down at her feet as she shuffled them slightly before adding, "Thanks for looking after them...and me."

"They're just as nice as I recall them being," Harry said, casually dismissing her gratitude with a wave of his hand, as the ball flew to his other hand at the beckoning of his magic. "Why didn't you restore their memories?" he enquired as he dribbled to the corner of the court opposite her before taking his shot and once more making it with nothing but net.

Hermione shrugged and instantly regretted it as her shoulder screamed at her. Dribbling the ball she walked out to the free-throw line before turning and eyeing the hoop. "I did a great deal of research on restoring memories," she said, eliciting a snort of mock disbelief from her one time best friend.

"You, studying?" quipped Harry from the side of the court.

"I managed to get you and Ron through your courses. Didn't hear you making comments then, did I?" she asked with a mock threatening glare.

"You're right, you didn't hear us," Harry told her with a slight shrug, "doesn't mean we didn't say anything." Ron and he had in fact commented on the amount of studying their friend had done while at Hogwarts. The entire school had pretty much commented on it! "So what happened?" Harry asked to bring the topic back to her parents.

"A lot of things can go wrong, including severe brain damage," Hermione replied as she bounced the basketball and eyed the rim once more as if calculating her shot. "In the end I couldn't risk it," she confessed. "I had already taken their memories from them and if I hurt them worse I'm not certain how I could have lived with that. The more I worried about it the less sure I became that I could do it. I mean what if I was able to restore Mom's memories but then failed with Dad's? I just couldn't risk it." Using her good arm Hermione tossed the ball up only to have it hit the rim and careen off to the side Harry was on.

Harry jumped over and intercepted the bouncing ball quickly. "Memory charms are tricky business at the best of times. Lockhart found that out the hard way," he reminded her as he dribbled the ball slowly up to the three point line. "Lose your nerve and there is no telling what the spell will do." As any good witch or wizard knew, half of any spell was intent and the will of the caster. If you weren't certain you could perform the magic there was a good chance it would go awry, often with disastrous consequences.

"That's exactly why I couldn't do it. I had these dreams of them both being like Lockhart is," Hermione confessed as she watched him take a shot and once again drop the ball effortlessly through the hoop. "You're pretty good at this, Harry."

"Lots of practice," Harry replied off-handedly. "Winters can be cold in the States. The place I stay at has an indoor court so I spend a lot of time there." Catching the ball as he silently used Accio on it, he walked it over to the witch and handed it to her. "You'd be a lot better if not for your shoulder. I would have thought they would have healed that up for you already?"

"Not from lack of trying," Hermione mumbled a bit louder than she had intended to. "I'm sure they'll figure it out soon," she quickly added in a louder voice as she accepted the ball from him.

"Let me take a look at it," he replied.

"No, that's alright Harry. I'm sure they'll figure it out," Hermione nervously answered as she turned to step away from the all too close wizard.

"Take your shirt off," Harry instructed her in a no-nonsense tone of voice.

"What!" the young witch exclaimed as she spun about to face her once best friend. "If you think for one moment that I-"

"I need to see the wound," Harry said cutting her off in mid-sentence. "It was caused by dark magic wasn't it?"

Hermione eyed him for a long minute as she debated what to do. "The healers believe there was dark magic used," she finally admitted, "but they're not certain what the counter is to it yet. What makes you believe you can help where they can't?"

"I fight dark wizards for a living, Hermione," he replied in a slightly exasperated tone. "I think I may know a thing or two about dark magic and how to counter it. I probably know more about dark magic than anyone else alive."

The injured witch cursed her traitorous heart which skipped a beat upon hearing him use her name for the first time. "I...I don't think this is such a good place to get," Hermione paused and had to lick her lips quickly before continuing, "…well I mean…to undress and all, Harry. What if someone happens by?"

Harry paused for a moment, considering her words thoughtfully. Raising his hand he transfigured her shirt into a sleeveless strapless one and her undergarment into a halter-top. "That will have to do," he said as he turned the stunned witch about so that he could see the back of her left shoulder.

Hermione felt the bindings on her wound loosen and fall away. She couldn't keep herself from raising one hand to the left side of her chest to protectively cover the top edge of her transfigured shirt just above her breast. The witch had to close her eyes and bite her lip upon feeling Harry's hand splayed across her bare skin. The warmth of his touch caused her to be all too acutely aware of just how long it had been since there had been anyone in her life. Despite her best efforts, memories of her feelings for the wizard behind her surfaced and made their presence painfully known. "What?" she asked mentally shaking her awareness back to the present as Harry had asked her a question which she had missed completely?

"Were there anything unusual about the wands recovered from the ones who attacked you," Harry asked again, his expression clearly indicating that he was wondering just how much pain the witch must be in to be so distracted.

It was hard to concentrate with Harry's gentle touch on her bare back. For being the most ruthless and deadliest of hit wizards his touch was surprising gentle and soft. More a caress, than the typical diagnostic touch of the healers, which she was more accustom to. "Umm….not that I re….wait, now that you mention it, one of the wands had a small compartment in its base."

"Let me guess, it contained blood from the wand owner?" The witch nodded. "I thought as much. The reason the healers can't heal you is because they aren't treating the correct injury." Seeing the quizzical look Hermione gave him he continued. "I've run into that type of wand before. Wizards like to use them as it is a way to ensure that only you can use your wand and no one else. The blood in the hilt is incorporated into each and every spell. If it's not your blood then the spell won't work or worse yet may even backfire on the caster. The down side is that the blood has to be replenished as it runs out."

Hermione's brows crinkled in thought. "Also due to the blood it would make the spells easily traceable I would guess. Can't say that there would be many witches or wizards willing to risk that. Still, why haven't we heard of these before?"

"I'm not too surprised you haven't," Harry said as he felt around the wound carefully. "They are mostly used in the Ukraine and Russian regions of the world. There's a very nasty breed of witches and wizards over there."

"I can certainly see where it would be convenient to not have to worry about someone using your own wand against you," Hermione replied before gasping in pain as he touched a particularly tender spot. "What does that have to do with my shoulder though?"

"The blood isn't just ordinary blood or your body would have fought it off a long time ago. The body's immune system doesn't take kindly to foreign visitors. No, in this case there is a bit of blood magic involved," he told her, eliciting a gasp of surprise. "The blood magic masks its presence and counteracts the healing magic, thus by allowing the dark magic to work its way deeper."

"What happens if it isn't stopped?" the Inspector asked, intrigued even though it was her own injury they were discussing.

"Left alone it will work its way to the heart and then its game over," Harry replied in a casual tone as if he was discussing the weather.

"B…but you know how to counter it right, Harry?" Hermione enquired. "You've seen it before so you must know how to remove it."

"Relax, Hermione," Harry answered reassuringly as his hand slid up to her bare shoulder and clasped it gently. "I'm not about to let this thing kill you."

Hermione released the breath she wasn't even aware she was holding. The fact that Harry had called her Hermione again didn't escape her notice either. "How do you know all this Harry?"

Harry shrugged dismissively before answered, "In order to defeat your enemy you need to know what he knows so you have an understanding of what you're going up against. Anything less is like going into a fight blindfolded and with your hands tied behind you. Might as well just leave your wand at home."

"Is that how you learned to pull up the ward you did around the SOS hideout or how you can just disappear at will?" she asked curiously.

"No," was the short reply she received in return.

"So where did you learn those at?" the witch pressed, hoping to get as much information as she could now that Harry was talking.

There was a long pause before Harry finally gave her an answer, "I didn't."

Hermione gaffed in disbelief only to turn her head and see the serious expression on the hit wizards face behind her. "Look it's alright if you don't want to tell me, Harry. I understand wanting to keep some things secret. Every hit wizard needs his own bag of tricks."

The silence between them dragged on for several long moments as Harry continued to inspect the injury, trying to locate exactly where the hidden blood magic was hiding itself at. "How do you breathe?"

"What? How do I breathe?" the startled witch parroted the question back at the young wizard. Not certain where he was going with this question she none the less explained the physical aspect of breathing.

"So you consciously tell your lungs and the muscles around them to expand and contract for each and every breath? How can you do that when you're sleeping?" Harry queried when she was finished.

"Well, not consciously," Hermione clarified. "The human body just knows that it needs to and so it does."

"There are things that I can do that are like that," Harry told her. "I don't know how I do them, I just know that I need to do them and I do, or my magic does."

"When did that start, Harry?" Hermione asked wanting to better understand.

"Shortly after Voldemort died," Harry confessed. "I started to know things that I never knew before. I would wake up and know a spell I had never seen or used previously. I think that while Tom and I were connected his knowledge somehow made its way to me through the link that we shared, though I didn't know it at the time."

"Possibly his subconscious kept the knowledge from you, much as yours now allows you to use it," Hermione offered. "Once the link between you was severed the knowledge slowly started to work itself free."

Harry nodded in agreement. "I came to the same conclusion," he told her. "I can remove this but it isn't going to feel very good," he stated, changing topics.

"Just get it out of me, Harry!" was the witch's sharp response. All his poking and prodding, regardless of how gentle he had been, had caused her shoulder to start to throb.

Accioing a branch to him, Harry transfigured it into a thick piece of rubber. "Bite down on this," he instructed her as he passed the item to her.

The next few minutes were without a doubt the most painful of her life. There were times she screamed till she thought she'd injure her vocal cords and other moments where she begged through pain induced tears for him to stop. If not for the fact that Harry had paralyzed her from the neck down she would have decked him much as she had Malfoy and ran away. At the end of it all the world's most feared hit wizard had a small black snake with a red stripe dangling from the end of his wand.

Summoning the basketball, which had been dropped and forgotten during the spell extraction, Harry transfigured it into a clear globe before depositing the black and red snake into it where is floated in the center as if the globe was filled with a clear liquid.

Hermione tried to fight against the pain in her shoulder. It felt as if someone had shoved a very jagged branch into it and then rooted around for a bit before setting the branch on fire while it was still in her shoulder. It was only due to Harry's strong arm around her that she didn't immediately drop to the ground when he removed the paralysis spell from her body. With the wizard's assistance she made it to a nearby bench and sat down before her legs could give out on her. As Harry moved to stand behind her, to clean up the mess he had made of her shoulder, she could do little more than glare at him.

Harry began a healing chant he had learned once while in Africa. The wizard knew it would quickly dull the pain with the added benefit of insuring that the recipient would be asleep within thirty minutes to an hour. As the wound began to close up the dark-haired wizard called a leather satchel to him that had been sitting off to the side out of the way and promptly removed fresh bandages and several salves. "I'm no Madam Pomfrey," he told her as he covered the area with a floral scented salve. "Can't promise that it won't scar, however this should minimize it as much as possible."

"Not like anyone will see," Hermione mumbled back in way of reply. Now that the pain had finally stopped she was finding herself incredibly drained. "Small price to pay for still being alive if you ask me," the witch added in a louder and hopefully stronger tone.

Harry walked around to the front of her and kneeling down he began covering the wound on that side as well. The piercing curse had gone clear through the shoulder. "I thought you were going to belt me one there for a moment," he told her as the corners of his mouth turned upwards slightly in a suppressed grin.

"I thought about it," Hermione admitted to him. "I guess I'll save that for the Malfoy's of the world."

"That's still one of my bloody favorite memories from Hogwarts!" Harry exclaimed, full on smiling. The first smile Hermione had seen from him in over a decade. "The look on the little gits face was priceless! I still can't believe you hit him like that."

"The little shite had it coming and then some," the injured witch exclaimed past the grin on her face.

"I won't deny that," Harry replied as he finished applying the cream and started wrapping her shoulder with a clean bandage he took from the satchel.

"We had some good times while there, didn't we Harry?" Hermione asked a bit wistfully, recalling their time at Hogwarts. There wasn't hardly a single memory she had that didn't include the dark haired wizard currently tending to her. Looking up, she watched as Harry worked on her shoulder making certain it was properly dressed so that no dirt could get in and cause infection.

"Sure, I guess," he replied absently as he concentrated on the task at hand till it was done. Once finished he turned and sat upon the bench beside her and started to put away the items he had used. "Why didn't you come back, Hermione?" Harry finally asked as the silence stretched on between them.

"To what?" Hermione asked with little emotion. "The Ministry had its hero in you and the war was over. Ron and I knew from that one kiss in the Chamber that we were more like brother and sister than anything else. There really wasn't a need for me anymore, Harry! My parents needed me though, so I came here to find them. When I couldn't bring myself to attempt to restore their memories," the young witch shrugged as much as she could with her shoulder securely bandaged.

"So you decided to stay and forget about the rest of us," he said in an accusing tone.

"They're family, Harry! I would think you of all people would know how important family is!" the angered witch spat back defensively. "I didn't want to lose mine…they're all I have," she added in a more even tone, the anger flowing out of her as quickly as it had come. The silence between them stretched on for several long minutes.

"You know, I would have come with you had you asked?" Harry finally said as he placed the last of the items into the satchel and zipped it closed. "Or you could have come back and gotten me to help you."

Hermione snorted humorously at his words. "I may have been able to pry you away from the Ministry but I knew there would be no way Ginny would have let you run off with another woman. Even if it was just me." The witch shook her head slowly from side to side. "She had waited far too long to have you all to herself to have been willing to let you go."

Harry chuckled softly for a second before replying, "Yeah, she was a little on the possessive side wasn't she?"

Reaching out Hermione took Harry's hand in hers and held it tightly. "I…I just learned what happened…to the Weasleys," she told him only to feel his hand in hers go rigid along with the rest of his body. "I'm so sorry Harry. I know you would have loved her like no other. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me."

Harry stood, extracting his hand from hers in the process, and moved a few feet away where he stood with his back to her. "I was supposed to be there that night," he finally said without turning to face her. "Ginny and Ron both had asked me to be there. I had planned on being there even. Maybe if I had been things would have been different."

Hermione rose and walked up behind him, slipping her good arm around his waist from behind and resting her cheek on the back of his shoulder as she hugged him from behind. "The only difference that would have made Harry would be that I would have lost both my best friends instead of just one, that night. You can't save everyone, Harry Potter."

"I…I can't help but feel that I could have made a difference. Maybe if I had been there instead of...instead of not being there, I could have saved them," was his quick pain filled response.

The sorrow and guilt in his voice tore at her heart. This was her Harry. The boy who despite the odds and everything life had thrown at him had still bravely marching into the Forbidden Forest to die at the hands of a lunatic. This was her Harry that cared too much not to do something no matter the personal cost to himself.

The observant portion of her mind didn't miss his hesitation when he mentioned not being there the night of the attack which took the lives of the entire Weasley family. She knew that there was something he was keeping from her. Something from the tone of his voice that told her whatever it was he was using it to blame what happened on himself. "I'm sure it couldn't be helped, Harry," she offered quietly in an effort to console him.

Whatever reply Harry was going to give was halted by someone behind them clearing his throat. "Sorry to intrude," Agent Willis offered apologetically. "Archangel, it's time."

Harry and Hermione stepped away from each other and turned to regard the MIB Agent. "Time?" Hermione asked looking between to the two wizards.

"We've located another group of the SOS members," Harry told her, once more all business and no emotions. "Smith is there right now. I have to go. Please see Inspector Granger home safely," he told the MIB Agent.

Before Hermione could do little more than open her mouth, Harry was gone. "Does he always do that?" Hermione asked with a frustrated sigh.

"Pretty much," Agent Willis replied with a small smile. "If you'll follow me, Ma`am," he added with a gesture of his arm to indicate where the waiting SUV was.

Hermione just shook her head slightly before taking the floating globe with its captive snake and following his lead after Willis retrieved Harry's leather satchel. Once they were seated in the vehicle Hermione asked, "Can you take me to the Wilkins please? I need to relieve Jess."

The drive to the home of the dentists passed in relative silence till they were almost there. "Few people know who Archangel is," Willis told her. "He doesn't like the attention that goes with his real name."

"I well recall how much he hated the fame and how everyone that met him always stared at the famous lightning bolt scare," she replied. "His secret is safe with me."

"He makes certain that the strap from the eye patch covers that," Willis informed her of in case she hadn't noticed on her own already. "You're the first person I've ever heard to call him Harry."

"He'll always be just Harry to me," she told the Agent quietly.

Willis nodded once, accepting her words at face value. "I think it's important that he can be Just Harry with someone, Ma`am. I think having you around him will do him some good, has done him some good. Maybe it will remind him what it is like to live."

"He was much different when we attended Hogwarts together," she confessed. "Oh he was still fairly guarded and protective of others. Even at the cost of himself. I see that hasn't changed much."

"I don't know, Ma`am," Willis replied. "This is the first time I've seen him go out of his way to protect someone, other than a child, since I've been with him. First you and then the Wilkins. Whatever it is you mean to him, I think the change in him is a good one."

Hermione turned and stared out the window, having no reply to the agents comment. What I mean to Harry? Do I even mean anything to him after all this time? An entire decade has passed since we last saw each other! Recalling how they had talked and the relaxed air that seemed to be about them as they shot baskets and then sat beside each other she really wasn't sure what to make of it all. It seemed like old time…as if no time had passed at all since last we saw one another. Harry even seemed to loosen up.

The SUV stopping before their destination halted any further thoughts on the subject for the moment. With a few words of thanks the witch stepped out of the vehicle and made her way up the front steps only to be greeted at the door by the buxom blonde. "It's about time, Granger!" the irate witch exclaimed as she stepped out onto the porch. "I was supposed to be at work an hour ago!"

"Sorry, Jess," Hermione apologized. "Something came up. Can you have the lab take a look at this?" she asked, passing the globe and it red and black snake over to the witch before her.

"What is it?" Jess asked as she held the globe up peering into it in the dim lighting from the porch light.

"A curse that H…Archangel pulled from my shoulder," Hermione told her unconsciously shifting her shoulder. "A mixture of dark magic and blood magic," she told the blonde witch who whistled softly in appreciation of the spell work.

"Sure," Jess replied as she lowered the globe. "Anything else?"

"No. Thanks for staying with them," Hermione offered before stepping past the buxom witch. "Oh wait," she suddenly said turning back to face the departing witch. "You read over the report on the Weasley incident right?" Seeing the witch nod she continued. "Was there any mention of a Harry Potter?"

"Funny you should mention that as there was. How'd you know?" Jess enquired.

"He was friends with the Weasleys, same as I was," Hermione replied. "I thought he might have been there with them."

"Well, he was supposed to be there according to the report. There was speculation that he was actually the target of the attack in the first place," Jess told her. "However at the time of the attack he was on an airplane apparently."

"Really?" Hermione asked in disbelief, wondering if Harry blamed himself due to the suspicion that the attack was aimed at him rather than the Weasleys. What could have been important enough for Harry to miss New Years with the mother of his child, she pondered to herself. "Did the report mention where he was traveling to?"

"Yeah, get this, apparently he was on his way here at the time," the blonde witch said. "As soon as he landed he was escorted to a secure area and given an international portkey back to their Ministry of Magic office in London. Small world huh?"

"Yeah, small world," Hermione agreed in stunned detachment as her mind reeled at the implications of the girl's words. Was Harry coming here to find me? Why would he? Am I the reason Harry wasn't there when the attack took place? Is that why he feels so guilty and blames himself for what happened to the Weasleys? The weight of the questions running through her mind suddenly made the witch feel dead on her feet.

The blonde witch turned and jumped down the stairs from the porch before waving over her shoulder and apparating away without Hermione even noticing her departure.
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