Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Angels In Australia

Chapter 9

by EJDaniels 1 review

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres:  - Published: 2014-10-15 - 6557 words - Complete

"Just like old times," Hermione grunted as she dragged the injured wizard across the cavern floor towards the mouth of the tunnel. "One of these days your 'Saving People' thing is going to get you killed, Harry," the witch stated as she dragged him further with another insistent tug. "Or both of us," she added reluctantly. The young witch was determined that this would not be that time for either of them.

The injury in her side felt like it was on fire as her own life blood trickled from the gunshot wound there. I can only imagine how Harry feels, she thought to herself. The witch quickly glanced down at the unconscious wizard and smirked, "Then again you don't appear to be feeling anything at the moment," she stated through clenched teeth as she continued her task.

The two of them finally made it to the tunnel entrance and passed through it, leaving the room full of death and bodies behind them. Hermione tried desperately to ignore the smeared bloody trail on the floor from Harry's body visible in the flickering torch light of the tunnel. A cold fear started to grow in the pit of her stomach. A fear that they might not make it in time to save the man who used to be her best friend and meant much more to her. A soft menacing chuckle from behind her froze the TASS agent in her tracks.

"What have we here," a large man asked in a slightly humorous tone of voice as he stepped from the shadows into the circle of light given off by the nearest torch affixed to the tunnel wall. A quick glance over her shoulder revealed a towering man that was nearly twice her size. Behind the large burly man Hermione saw another SOS member, this one tall and gangly looking with a grin upon his face as he eyed her. "I'm not sure how you managed to get past the others," the big man said, absently rubbing one hand over his other fist in anticipation of the violence to come, "but it seems your luck has run out."

"Don't go anywhere," Hermione whispered to Harry as she gently laid him upon the uneven floor, patting his shoulder affectionately. "I don't want to have to hurt you two," Hermione stated as she stood back up without turning about and rolled her stiff neck once to loosen the vertebrae.

The big man chuckled; the sound coming from deep within his barreled chest was full of mirth at her words. "Hear that Billy? The little bird is going to hurt us," he tossed back over his shoulder to the man behind him. Hermione spun about, a knife in each hand, raised in a defensive position. "Here now, why don't you just put those little things down before you hurt yourself," the burly man said upon seeing the knives in her hands.

"Aww let `er keep'em, Micky," said Billy. "You know how I like a little challenge, mate. Ain't hardly any fun if they don't be fighting back and what not," Billy said with a leer as his eyes ran up and down Hermione's black clad body. The material of her suit left very little to the imagination, even in the flickering light shed by the torch.

Hermione's hands suddenly flew to her ears in an attempt to cover them as the sound of gunshots rang out loudly through the tunnel, causing her ears to ring. Micky and Billy dropped like sacks of potatoes to the tunnel floor, dead before they even landed. "Jess that you?" Hermione quickly asked into the darkness from where the shots had come.

"No. It's bloody Crocodile Dundee," a snarky female voice replied back just before Jess stepped into view. After ensuring that there were no others in the immediate area she holstered her Glocks before turning on her friend and boss. "The next time you decide you want to go cave exploring, you might want to let me know so I can cover your pretty little arse, Granger!" Jess spat out angrily. The two had separated to do some reconnaissance of the area and it was only the sound of gun fire that had alerted the blonde witch that Hermione was in trouble.

"Sorry," Hermione offered with a guilty look. "I saw two of them heading down here and just decided to follow them," she offered with a slight shrug before she turned around and reached down to once again grab Harry. "I have to get Harry out of here," Hermione said even as she started to drag the wizard over the bodies of Billy and Micky. "He's hurt pretty bad."

"Damn, he doesn't look too good," Jess said as she reached down and grasped Harry under one arm while Hermione shifted over to the other one. The TASS agent took in Harry's pale complexion as well as the fact that she couldn't see his chest rise and fall and couldn't help but wonder if they were already too late to save him. If she wants to drag his corpse back then that's what we'll do, she thought to herself with a mental shrug.

"We have to get beyond the effects of the dead zone so we can apparate to St. Bernadette's," said Hermione with a single mindedness that broached no disagreement. "Once we get him there they'll have him fixed up in no time!" Hermione's mind seized upon that one fact and would not let it go. "Madam Pomfrey was able to heal him every time he got injured," she rambled to herself. "I'm sure they won't have any problems at all. He'll be as good as new. You'll see!"

Jess eyed her boss as they continued to man-handle the wizard along the tunnel. The blonde witch wasn't certain if Hermione was trying to reassure her or convince herself. A quick glance at the man between them and she gave a silent prayer to the Powers That Be that they were in time to save him.

After the confines of the tunnel the chilled early morning air was a welcomed relief as they stepped out into the open. The two witches, wizard drug between them, quickened their pace now that there was more room to maneuver. In the East the horizon was beginning to show the first blushes of dawn. Hermione paused to gather her bearings before turning slightly to her left and starting off in what she knew to be the quickest way out of the dead zone.

Hermione twisted her wrist and her wand sprung from her wrist holster due to being spring-loaded, standard issue for all TASS members. Once they were away from the small settlement ever few yards the witch would whisper 'Lumos' to see if the wand lighting charm would work or not. "Lumos!" Hermione said with a bit more force than was required, growing increasingly frustrated by the absence of light from the tip of her wand. "Almost there," she whispered to herself upon finally seeing a spark of light appear.

Jess just grunted in agreement, not wishing to splinch themselves in their rush to get Harry to a healer. A few more 'Lumos' from Hermione and the light at the end of the witch's wand remained on longer and longer with each utterance. "A little further, just to be safe," the blonde witch advised upon seeing the hopeful look on her friends face and realizing that Hermione was going to try to apparate them right then and there.

"I think that's far enough," the rough voice of Bernard stated from behind them, quickly followed by the unmistakable sound of the hammer of a weapon being cocked back. "Why don't the both of you just drop him and then slowly turn about," the SOS member suggested down the barrel of Hermione's lost Glock 22, which was currently pointed at the three of them.

Jess glanced over towards Hermione and had just enough time to say, "Bloody Hell!" before she felt the familiar twisting sensation followed by the feeling of being sucked through a straw. Vaguely her ears registered the retort of a hand gun firing just before pain exploded in her chest. The next moment the three of them landed in a tangle of arms, legs and blood upon the floor of the waiting room at St. Bernadette's.

The next several minutes were a hectic blur to Hermione as Harry was pulled from her grasp and rushed into an emergency room by a team of healers. Jess, wounded in the chest, thought she was able to walk to the examination room to be treated but collapsed halfway there. The brunette witch was so relieved that they had actually made it back that she suddenly felt all the strength leave her body and slowly slumped to the floor. Two medi-witches quickly lifted her to a waiting table and wheeled her off to a separate room of her own.

"How's Harry?" Hermione asked anxiously as she sat up when the green robed healer walked into her room to examine her. The man was in his late fifties with a friendly face and thinning hair upon the top of his head. He was also a healer with whom Hermione had worked with before on numerous occasions. The witch knew that she could trust him not to let it get out that Harry Potter was there at St. Bernadette's. He was also the Healer who had first attended to her when Harry had brought her in with the shoulder injury after the attack at her flat.

"If you mean the young man you came in with," Healer Robbins replied while holding up a hand to forestall her from jumping off the table completely, "Healer Simmons and his team are working on him right now. I'm afraid that's all I can tell you Inspector Granger." Seeing the fear in her eyes he added, "You know we'll do everything we can to save him," he assured her as he waved his wand and started to determine the extent of her injuries.

Hermione gave a slight nod, knowing that St. Bernadette's had some of the best healers in the country. "How's Jess?" she asked suddenly recalling that her friend had been shot just as they were leaving and then collapsed on the floor unexpectedly.

"In better shape than you I'll wager," was the healers reply as he used his wand to clear a section of her suit from the wound so that he could get a better look at it. "This is going to hurt," he warned her before he waved his wand and summoned the metal fragments of the bullet that were inside of her. Ignoring Hermione's gasp of pain caused by the removal of the bullet, he applied a few additional spells and the wound was disinfected as well as closed, with an antiseptic ointment liberally applied.

"I'll have a medi-witch come in and wrap that for you. We're going to need to keep you for the next forty-eight hours," the healer told Hermione in the 'no nonsense' tone of voice he usually reserved for his most stubborn of patients. "I'll order a regiment of blood replenishing potions as you've managed to lose a great deal of your own. The injury will take some time to heal and will no doubt be as sore as heck for a while."

Hermione, all too concerned for Harry, didn't even attempt to argue with the man. "I want to be placed in a double room," she informed him of instead. "Once Harry is out of surgery he is to be placed in the same room with me." Her mind wouldn't even allow her to speculate on the possibility that the wizard wouldn't pull through. I've never given up on Harry and I'll be damned if I'll do so now, she told herself silently.

"Inspector, it's against policy to have two adults of different genders share the same room unless they are married," Healer Robbins countered with. "I'm sorry but-."

"Healer Robbins," Hermione barked, holding up a hand and stopping him before he could say anything further. "This is a Ministry matter. I don't care how many rules need to be broken to accomplish it; you will have Harry in the same room as me! Just make it happen!"

It was five hours later when they wheeled Harry into her room. Hermione sat in her own bed and watched as the appropriate monitoring spells were set in place so that they could monitor Harry's condition. Once the team of medi-witches had left she turned and looked at the two Healers expectantly.

"This is Healer Simmons," Robbins offered in way of introductions. The short plump man with dark curly hair and deeply browned skin, indicating a foreign ancestry, gave a slight nod towards Hermione. "This is Inspector Granger, with Magical Law Enforcement," Healer Ribbins informed his colleague.

Hermione gave a slight nod towards the healer. "Give it to me straight. What's his condition? How long before he's back on his feet?"

Simmons glanced to the other Healer before licking his lips quickly. "We've done all we can for him currently, Inspector Granger. Magic can do a great deal, far more than Muggles can do with their medical science, but magic still has its limitations," he told her.

"Are you saying you doubt he'll pull through?" Hermione asked in a very business-like tone of voice while an ice cold knot of fear settled in the pit of her stomach. He has to pull through, she thought fervently.

"Well," Simmons started to respond with hesitantly as if choosing his words carefully, "he was in pretty bad shape when he got to us. The amount of blood loss alone should have killed him."

"Yes or no, Healer Simmons," Hermione barked, not wanting to have to drag the information out of the man.

"We don't know," Robbins confessed.

"Frankly I'm surprised that he's still alive at all," Simmons continued, turning his gaze towards the wizard they were discussing. "The maxilla bone on the right side of his face was fractured in two places. His nasal bone was broken. The zygomatic bone below his left eye was shattered. His right lung was punctured through and had collapsed. Two of the bullets were lodged in his chest cavity while a third one severed his spine at the fifth Thoracic vertebrae."

"A lessor man would have died," Robbins concluded. "The next twenty-four hours will be critical for him," he added sympathetically. "It's up to him at this point. Merlin knows we've done all we can. Let's hope he can live up to him name of The-Boy-Who-Lived."

Hermione thanked the men and waited till they had left before using her wand to levitate one the rooms chairs next to Harry's bed. The seasoned witch downed the potions that had been left for her on the small table next to her bed, trying miserably to ignore their horrible taste. Gingerly, trying to ignore the ball of fire and pain that was her side; Hermione eased herself from her bed and slowly made her way to the chair she had previously placed next to the other bed in the room. Once seated, she took the wizard's chilled hand in hers, shocked at how pale and frail it looked.

"Don't you dare die on me, Harry," she said aloud to the man in the bed before her. "Don't you give up on me now!" After a bit the potions she had ingested began to take affect and she laid her head upon the edge of the mattress only to doze off still holding Harry's hand in hers.


The soft touch of something along her cheek slowly awoke her. Sleepily, Hermione opened her eyes and blinked, disoriented for a moment by her strange surroundings. As her head lay there confused, she once again felt the gentle caress upon her exposed cheek. Memories of the events that had happened just prior to falling asleep returned to her potion addled mind at the same moment she realized that it was the back of Harry's hand that was gently caressing her cheek. Harry! Hermione sat up suddenly, catching Harry's hand in hers as her eyes searched the man's face for signs that he was awake.

"Careful or you'll wake the sleeping Angel next to me," Harry croaked, the corners of his battered lips turning up into the semblance of a smile, or as much of one as they could manage. With the amount of magic used on the wizard to repair his internal injures the healers did not want to risk using more to repair his busted lips or swollen eye.

Too many spells doing too much at once could actually be counterproductive as they tended to get in the way of each other. Many healing spells were designed to use the patient's own magical energy to affect a change in their condition. If too many spells were enacted at the same time the injured person may not have enough magical energy to feed them all. The results could be devastating, even fatal at times.

Hermione didn't know whether to laugh or cry at hearing his voice as well as his poor attempt at humor. The young witch, awash with relief and flooded with the remnants of her potions settled for doing both at the same time. "Harry!" she gasped feebly, leaning forward so that she could reach out and lay one palm along the side of his gauze wrapped head tenderly.

There was a sparkle of emerald green as the wizard cracked open his eye in response to his name. "Hey," he croaked softly as he regarded her for a long silent moment.

"Hey yourself," Hermione whispered back as she drank in the sight of him. He was alive and that was all that mattered to her.

"You okay?" Harry asked, the concern in his voice bringing a trembling smile to her lips. Freeing his hand from hers, Harry reached up and with the pad of his thumb brushed a tear from her cheek as he cupped the side of her face within the palm of his hand much as she was doing to him.

"I'll mend," she told him leaning into his hand even as she reached up and trapped his hand against her cheek as if she was fearful of letting him go. "How do you feel, Harry?"

"About the same as I did at the end of fifth year," he told her, bringing to mind his battle with Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic. Harry swallowed heavily, "You shouldn't have come," he admonished her softly, his voice barely above a whisper even as his thumb continued to caress the swell of her cheek. "I can't lose you too, Hermione."

"Hey," she replied with a watery smile, "I'm your best friend. I'm sure there's a clause written in there someplace that says I can't leave you behind. Who else is going to look after you if I don't, Harry?" she asked as her heart threatened to take flight at his admission. "I'm not going anyplace," she offered as she gently brushed her thumb along the side of his face.

"My own personal guardian angel?" Harry teased with a small crocked smile that reminded her so much of the boy she once knew in school.

"For as long as you'll have me," she replied with a soft chuckle as she realized she meant exactly what she said. Hermione realized in a moment of utter clarity that it had always been Harry. That was why every relationship she had ever attempted had failed. None of them were Harry. The witch wasn't certain just when she had given her best friend her heart but now that she realized the fact she found that it truly didn't matter. Hermione knew that try as she might to deny it; she was and always had been, in love with Harry Potter.

Harry gave her a long look before asking, "Davis?"

The young Inspector couldn't help the stab of pain she felt deep in her chest at the apparent rejection when he didn't say something similar back to her. "Dead," she told him as she withdrew her hand from his face and sat up so that her cheek was no longer cupped in the palm of his hand. "By your hand," she added. The wizard gave a slight nod of acknowledgement. "Does that satisfy your unbreakable vow?"

Harry looked away, not wanting to meet her eyes. "It does," he confessed quietly.

"Harry, I can't believe you did that!" Hermione scolded him. "What happens if you can't catch them all? You'll lose your magic, Harry! How irresponsible and reckless of you. You're the hero of the Wizarding World for Merlin's sake! People would be devastated if anything happened to you!" I know I sure would be, she thought silently to herself even though her heart hurt.

Rather than become defensive as she thought he would, Harry gave a soft chuckle. "Fleur said much the same thing to me at the time," he told her.

"Then why, Harry?" Hermione asked, imploring him to explain his actions to her. "Why did you make her the oath anyways?"

A confused look crossed the wizard's face for a moment before he replied. "I didn't make the vow to her," Harry answered slowly. "He was a mess. If I didn't make the vow he would have gone after them himself, Hermione. I couldn't let him do that. There was no way he would have succeeded."

"Couldn't let who, Harry?" Hermione asked in a completely bewildered tone, having no clue what Harry was talking about by this time.

"Dean. Dean Thomas," said Harry. "Too many people had already died. I couldn't let him do it. If I had made certain that all of Voldemort's followers…that all the Death Eaters, were taken care of none of this would have happened. The Weasley's would still be alive and Ginny…," Harry's voice broke slightly with the emotions he was trying to hold in check. "Ginny's daughter would have been born just before she and Dean were to be married."

It didn't take long for the bright witch to put two and two together. The Weasley's had taken Harry in and treated him like any other member of the family. Harry believed that the attack at the Burrow occurred because he was supposed to be there that evening. The Death Eaters were trying to get back at him for destroying their master. Hermione knew without a doubt, just as before with the death of his own parents, Harry blamed himself for the death of the Weasley family. Hermione knew, only because she knew the wizard with her so well, that he carried the guilt of believing to have been the cause of the death of his family twice now.

Hermione didn't try to tell him that it wasn't his fault as she knew that he would never listen to her words. Harry could be very stubborn when he wanted to be. Suddenly she recalled something Jess had told her concerning the report of that night and the words left her lips before she even thought about it. "Why were you on your way here that night, Harry?"

Harry turned his head to regard her once again before he answered her. "I had lost something very important to me. I was coming to try and find her…find you," the hit wizard said, the last part barely above a whisper.

"W…why?" Hermione barely managed to get out past the lump that was suddenly firmly lodged in her throat at his admission.

"You promised me, Harry," said the voice of a small girl within Harry's head.

"S…Sara?" Harry thought to himself in disbelief. "How?"

"You promised you would tell her," Sara's voice scolded him, ignoring his question. "It was my last wish, Harry! You told me you would do anything!"

"It can't be you. I held you as you died," Harry told the voice in his head as his emotions and thought reeled under the probability of it actually being the deceased girl.

Sara's soft musical giggle, the one that he knew so well, sounded within his thoughts at his comment. "Oh Harry! Weren't you the one always telling me how special I was?"

"Which you were always quick to deny," Harry fired back.

Once again there was the sound of the girl's cute giggle. "A girl is entitled to keep a few secrets isn't she?" Harry had no answer to that, as she knew he wouldn't. "Just tell her, Harry."

"I can't," Harry confessed.

"Look, you always told me that you loved me, didn't you?" Sara's voice asked. "Why were you able to tell me that?"

"Because I do love you," Harry stated.

"Just as you love Hermione," Sara insisted. "Now all you have to do is tell her."

Harry looked at the witch sitting next to his bed and noted the slightly expectant look upon her face. Hermione has always been there for me. Through everything that happened at Hogwarts she stuck by my side. Even the few times we disagreed, he thought to himself as he recalled the incident with the firebolt, it was because she was concerned for me.

Harry swallowed heavily before moistening his lips as he pondered how best to answer her question. The entire conversation with the Sara within his head had taken less than a moment it seemed. "I'm not very good at this," he opened with as he slid his hand over into hers. He couldn't help but notice her hand was trembling slightly as he took it within his own.

"In the past, people I've come to care about," Harry paused and dropped his eye to their joined hands. "Well, those I…love…tend not to live long," Harry said in a rush, trying to get the words out before his nerve failed him. I'm the most feared hit wizard in the world and I can't even tell her how I feel about her. How I've always felt about her, he chastised himself mentally. A soft giggle within his head was the quick response from Sara. Looking up his eye met hers and he saw the confused expression on her face.

"So…you love me as a friend?" Hermione asked hesitantly, not certain what Harry was trying to tell her. It almost sounded like he said he loved me, she thought to herself only to quickly dismiss the possibility of such a thing happening.

"No, a little more than that," Harry admitted softly.

"Like a sister then?" Hermione enquired slowly, trying to ignore the pain in her chest. She had often thought that Harry thought of her as such when they were attending Hogwarts together. There was never really any evidence to the contrary that she had seen. During the time they had spent alone in the tent, while on the horcrux hunt, Harry had been nothing other than brotherly to her. I even left the bedroom curtain open when changing, hoping to catch him peeking and he didn't, she recalled sadly.

Harry gave a slight shake of his head without taking his eye from her. "No, more than just a sister," he told her.

"What are you saying, Harry?" Hermione asked, having run out of the types of love she thought he might have for her.

"Look, I haven't had many examples of love in my life," Harry said, deciding to bite the wand and just lay it out as best he could. "Everything good in my life and every wonderful memory I possess all have one thing in common, you, Hermione. I was on my way here that night because I realized I had lost the best thing in my life ever. I was so busy trying to figure out where I belonged after we defeated Voldemort that I didn't realize I was already right where I was meant to be…beside you, Hermione."

"I can't tell you what love is, never having truly experienced it before," Harry stammered finding that now that he had started speaking that he couldn't stop till he had gotten everything out that he had been holding within in for all these years. "If there is anyone who I would say I love it would be you Hermione Granger. You are my best friend and I only regret that it has taken me this long to tell you how I've felt since our fourth year!" Harry could do little more than lay there and stare at the shocked expression Hermione wore. His confession costing him what little energy he seemed to have recovered while sleeping.

"Thank you, Harry," Sara's voice said inside Harry's head. "I can rest in peace now. You're a good good man and a better friend, who deserves to be happy. I truly do love you Harry Potter!"

"And I you, my little Angel," Harry replied even though he could feel that Sara's presence was no longer with him.

This can't be happening, Hermione's mind was screaming at her. I must have been hit on the head or something! Maybe I slipped into a comma and this is all a dream? She well and true knew that it was a dream. One she had given up any hope of ever coming true. The bright witch had realized in her third year that she was falling for her best friend. Harry was sweet and caring while being tentative to what she said. He was everything all the other boys were not.

It had taken her nearly till the end of their fifth year at Hogwarts to realize that her dreams of being with Harry would never come true. Even if she waited a life time she believed her dream would just remain that, a dream. It wasn't because she felt that she wasn't good enough for Harry or that she couldn't compete with the multitude of fangirls at the school who only saw The-Boy-Who-Lived either.

Hermione knew that she was just as pretty while being far more capable of making Harry happy than the other girls. After all, who knew Harry better than she did? The fact that had caused her countless sleepless nights of crying after realizing they would never be was none other than Harry himself. In all the time they were together he had never treated her as anything other than a friend.

"Do…do you hate me now?" Harry's voice asked, sounding drained and tired.

"What?" Hermione asked, blinking several times as she realized that the two of them had been silent for an inordinate amount of time after Harry's confession.

"You must hate me now," Harry stated softly as he looked away.

Hermione's answer, when it came, was sudden and startled the injured wizard. "No!" the young witch gasped as she suddenly clutched his hand in both of hers. "Merlin, no! Harry I feel the same way!" she revealed to him.

"What?" Harry gapped in disbelief, his eye opening painfully wide. "When? How?"

"Third year. Not that it matters," Hermione said with a small watery smile. "I may be the brightest witch of the age but it didn't take you saving my life more than three times for me to realize that I was falling in love with my best friend!" Hermione said, making an attempt at humor.

"You always were a quick learner," Harry offered with a small smile as his eyes began to drop closed. The injured wizard had nearly reached his limits. "What now?" he enquired in a sleepy tone of voice as he fought a losing battle to stay awake.

"Now, you get some rest," Hermione told Harry before bringing his hand to her lips and kissing it softly. "Once you're healed up we can discuss where to go from here.

"Yes Inspector Granger," Harry mumbled as he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. Hermione laid her head down upon the edge of the mattress once more and soon joined Harry in dozing offing. The Healers, much to their chagrin and her discomfort from the subsequent scolding, found her there a few hours later when they stopped in to check on their patients.


Hermione was seated behind her desk reading over the reports that had accumulated during her brief hospital stay. Today was her first day back in the office, having been officially discharged earlier that morning. The young Inspector had spent some time sitting next to Harry's bed while he slept. The Healers, however satisfied with his improving condition, were taking no chances and had kept the hit wizard in an induced slumber for the past several days. This meant that she hadn't had a chance to talk to him since their last discussion. The healers assured her that they would awaken him in a few more days, once they felt he was 'Out of the Woods' as they put it.

Even after three days she still couldn't believe it. There were moments when she caught herself grinning like a loon for no other reason than recalling that Harry loved her. He actually told me that he loved me! The knock at her door did nothing to remove the smile that seemed to have become a permanent resident upon her face these days. "Come in," she called out, absently setting the report she had been holding back on the desk top.

Hermione stood upon seeing Agent Smith and Willis enter her office. "Ma`am," Agent Smith offered with a sharp nod. "How's the injury?"

"Itches like crazy," Hermione replied, absently rubbing her shirt over where the bandage was, "but on the mend," she assured both men. "No dark magic involved this time apparently."

"They say that's a good sign that it's healing," Agent Willis stated conversationally in reference to the itching.

"What can I do for MIB today gentlemen?" Hermione enquired as she seated herself once again while motioning to the two agents to be seated as well.

"We just wanted to stop by and tender our farewells in person," Smith replied without taking the offered seat. They had a long flight ahead of them and they would be sitting far longer than he would have liked to.

"Leaving already?" Hermione asked with a slightly arched brow. The TASS leader liked the two men and had found working with them to be an enjoyable experience. Hermione knew she would miss them both.

"Yes, Ma`am," Smith stated with a small smile. "The Brass has called us back now that our task is done here. No rest for the weary or the wicked, apparently." Hermione just nodded in agreement, fully understanding that there was always something to be done.

"Here I was hoping to stay and work on my tan," Willis inserted with a chuckle, eliciting a grin from the only witch present.

"Careful or you might get mistaken for a lobster and tossed on someone's barbie," Hermione counter with good naturedly, taking a shot at the very pale skinned agent.

Smith chuckled at the playful exchange knowing all too well how easily his partner sunburned. "Too bad we didn't catch the guy that shot Jess. How's she doing?" he asked, concerned for the injured TASS member.

"Better now," Hermione informed them. "The bullet nicked an artery which they didn't know till she collapsed in the lobby. They were able to save her and she should be back to work within the next week of so they tell me. I'll be stopping by to see her latter this evening if you'd like me to relay any messages?" Hermione asked with a glance towards Agent Willis. During the entire joint operation she had noticed that Willis and Jess were getting awfully close to one another in more ways than just proximity.

Willis coughed bashfully behind one hand which he used to cover the slight blush he was sporting at her knowing look. "No need as we'll swing by on the way out, but thank you, Inspector."

Hermione just grinned in response, wondering if there was anything really there between the two of them. With Jess, she knew that there was no telling. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens. "Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure to work with you," Hermione said as she stood once more, trying to ignore the twinge of pain in her side. "If you're ever out this way again, please be sure to stop in."

"The pleasure has been all ours, Inspector," Smith said as he accepted her proffered hand and gave it a shake. "If you're ever in the States, please do the same," he told her as Willis took his turn and shook her hand as well. After assuring them that she would, she saw them out.


It was much later that evening when a tired, and extremely sore, Hermione made her way to St. Bernadette's. The head of TASS first checked in on her friend, Jess, to insure that she was recovering nicely. The two women sat and talked for a while with most of Jess' comments alluding to future sexual acts that Hermione and Harry would be up to just as soon as Hermione's 'pet hit wizard', as Jess liked to refer to Harry as, was better. Hermione laughed and shrugged off the comments knowing that they were meant in jest; however all this talk about Harry only had her missing him more and more.

Hermione quickened her pace as the door to Harry's room came into view. Barely pausing to push open the door the witch entered the room only to freeze in her tracks at what she saw.

"May I help you?" asked a young medi-witch in training that was cleaning up the room. The girl couldn't have been more than eighteen or nineteen years old.

"What…where is the man that was in that bed?" Hermione finally manage to get her mouth to ask.

The young witch glanced at the bed that had already been stripped of linen and then back at the woman who had just barged into the room suddenly realizing just who it was standing there in the doorway. "He left with the other Americans, Inspector," the girl replied smartly.

"When?" Hermione enquired softly.

"Earlier this morning, ma`am," the girl was all too happy to supply, believing she was being as helpful to the Inspector as she could be.

"I see," Hermione mumbled. "Thank you," she offered before turning and leaving the room, allowing the door to swing close behind her. Harry's gone. Harry left me. Her mind repeated these two facts over and over again as she left the hospital. But Harry said he loved me? Try as she might she couldn't seem to get from the fact that Harry loved her to the reality that they apparently wouldn't be together after all. Was it all a lie? Somehow she managed to find her car and drive off. The next thing she knew she was pulling into the driveway of the Wilkin's house. Hermione Granger needed the one person she knew she could always rely on, the one person who would always love her and never leave her. Hermione Granger wanted her mother!
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