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 "Rose Cottage" Here I Come! Chapter 56.

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Cate Snape
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Anzahl der Beiträge : 63
Anmeldedatum : 26.02.17
Alter : 26
Ort : Eastbourne

BeitragThema: "Rose Cottage" Here I Come! Chapter 56.   Mi Feb 14, 2018 9:06 pm

“Rose Cottage” Here I Come!

When Harry and I entered the kitchen again, everyone was sitting around the table with gloomy faces and steaming cups in front of them. Ron remained silent, worried, and everyone else was too, looking up at us expectantly. Only Sirius kept giving me a curious, sad and uncertain look.

"Harry, what happened there?" Ron asked in a strange, hoarse voice. We sat down quickly, Harry next to Sirius and I next to Harry, the Twins were magically sending us two hot cups of pleasant-smelling tea.

Sirius watched it all with a frown, but said nothing more, just watched us patiently. When Harry grabbed my hand and held it in a vise-like grip after Ron's question, Sirius opened his eyes wide and air blew out of his nose. It didn't seem to please him, the kind of closeness between me and Harry. He reminded me a bit of Draco, an observation I would find truly amusing if the situation hadn't been so sad. I gave Harry an encouraging smile. Harry cleared his throat noisily and evidently took up his courage and started.

"Well, I was dreaming. All of a sudden I was in a long, dark, windowless corridor and there was your father and the snake, digging it's huge fangs into his skin three times. It wasn't nice and I don’t know why I dreamed that. I wished I knew, it was so real and apparently it really happened, because the Headmaster's portraits said the same thing." He looked away from his teacup and looked up. "Ginny, George, Fred I'm so sorry, but Arthur was brought to St. Mungos quite badly injured...," he explained and looked concerned around the room. Ron hadn't said anything for a long time, he was just resting his head on one hand.

Desperate tears ran over Ginny's pale cheeks and she stared with red eyes around the room. Even the Twins were positively white around their noses, and their freckles could be seen even stronger than usual. They were very serious and calm, but also very controlled. I think they knew, since the Order had been established again, how much danger the members were in, and they weren't naive about it, it was life-threatening for any member. Sirius looked stunned and dismayed at Harry when he had finished his story.

"We have to go to St. Mungos!" exclaimed Ron, suddenly agitated, and he almost jumped up from his chair.

"Ron, calm down, I don't think so..." Sirius got interrupted by Ginny.

"Yes, Ron, I want to go to Dad!" she said with a strangled but demanding tone.

"No, that's not possible. I can't go with you and you can't go alone!" Sirius tried to say it sternly. He was looking a little pale as well, but otherwise quite good, in his dark blue shirt that matched well with his pale grey eyes but also underlined his authority, which he now applied for the very first time to make a decisive appearance. I agreed with him. It was pointless, we couldn't do anything, and so I stayed silent. Harry didn't get involved in the altercation. It was better that way, as he sat there, oblivious to his surroundings. The Twins looked at me questioningly, eyebrows raised, and I understood their glances. They wanted my assessment, possessing the knowledge that I knew more about the circumstances than Harry had openly told everyone else, hence I shook my head. I thought the idea of storming St. Mungo's was wrong. They accepted my verdict and drank synchronously out of their cups. Thus they didn't make any kind of claim and Sirius only had to deal with two Weasleys.

But he had noticed our interaction and looked at us piercingly. He knew from the past that the Twins and I were much more connected than everyone generally thought. Sirius was also privy to their great secret which he had kept to himself.

"I'm really sorry, but you stay here. Stop it now!" It was getting louder and Sirius hit the table with the palm of his hand, and thus gained the attention of Harry, who had dived into his own thoughts up until now.

"What...?" he asked, surprised. No one was able to answer him, because at that moment an owl knocked on the kitchen window with its beak and Sirius opened it with a swipe of his wand. And the little owl immediately dashed inside and directly over to Sirius, who took the letter quickly, almost hectically in his movements. You could positively observe how Sirius' features relaxed when he read the content.

"Well, the letter is from your mother! Arthur is alive. She says she will stay with him and you should remain here, where you're safe, and Molly will contact you as soon as possible!" He summed it up for us and looked around with a mild smile. George and Fred let out their breath.

"That's good, he's alive, that's very good," they both said at the same time, sounding very relieved. Ginny sobbed loudly and howled heartbreakingly into her handkerchief, causing Ron to comfort her. "Thanks, mate...," he whispered fervently to Harry across the table, as he sat opposite him and now stared at him again.

"...Tha... thank you, for what? What do you want to thank me for?" Harry asked, absolutely confused, ruffling his own hair.

"What for, Harry? I'm not completely stupid, without you, Dad would’ve lain in the corridor and slowly bled to death, without you he would be dead, Harry..." Ron exclaimed, upset at Harry's guilty demeanor. Finally! Whenever I gave Ron up as a hopeless case he did something brilliant like that. He was a true friend, he didn't condemn him for him being different. And he saw behind the scenes, maybe for the first time in his life, and drew the right conclusions.

"Without you, he'd never have had a chance..." His voice broke with emotion and he buried his face in Ginny's fiery red hair.

"He's right, Harry, without you we wouldn't have a father anymore. Don't be so hard on yourself, we're glad that... that you saw it and could get help..." The Twins stood up determinedly, patted his cheek and ruffled through his hair encouraging. "It's going to be okay, little brother, promise... We're going to bed. Alright, Sirius?" They asked if it was okay, but they, too, seemed unsettled by the events.

"Yes, of course. You'll sleep in your room, as always," Sirius pointed with his hand and the two quietly left the kitchen.

"Harry, you should go to bed too!" I told him and squeezed his hand, because he hadn't let me go yet.

"You should all go to bed!" came the stern order from Sirius. And, as the good kids we all were, we rose up at once and went. We climbed the stairs like a funeral procession and Ginny went into our room. I accompanied the boys and put Harry and Ron to bed, saying goodbye to both of them with a kiss to their foreheads.

"Sleep well, you two!" I didn't receive any proper answer, just a murmur. They were very far away. Afterwards I headed purposefully to the library. I didn’t work all the time to need little sleep for nothing, it was useful in crisis situations. Now more than ever, I didn't want to and couldn't think of going to bed. Quite honestly, I needed a drink. And thus I entered the Library of the Blacks, which not empty - as expected - and walked briskly to my chair. I took the glass of firewhisky already provided for me and took a larger sip. Already I could feel the sharp tingling from the liquid running down my throat and enjoyed the burning and the spreading peaty taste. I closed my eyes with relish and exhaust.

Wow, what a night! I was here again!

When I opened my eyes, I looked in a pairs of smiling faces.

"Thanks. How nice of you to think of my needs!" I greeted the Twins and toasted them and we drank together once again, taking a big, soothing sip.

"I'm glad about Dad, that he might survive!" Fred said hopefully and waved his bulbous glass back and forth.

"You should be..."

"What is really behind this whole thing?" the more thoughtful George inquired solemnly. "What does that have to do with Harry…? The dreams?" He stared into my face and wanted the truth.

"But only under the seal of secrecy!" I told them and both nodded to me, "In the attack back then on Harry, as a baby, there must have been a connection created to the Dark Lord’s spirit. And I think it's not only on his side, and now, since the lord's physical again... Well, anyway, Harry has told us that he feels his moods and has weird dreams. And you know yourself that the Dark Lord is a parselmouth..." I rubbed my tense neck.

"And you mean to imply that the Dark One controlled the snake, and that's why Harry experienced everything from its point of view?" George concluded with wide eyes, "That... is that good, or not?" he stuttered and looked uncomfortably across the room.

"That's crazy! Poor Harry. But thank goodness, because as Ron said, father would be dead otherwise!" Fred said crisply and took a generous gulp, which was just what he needed.

"What are you planing to say to Harry? Because I don't think the 'grown-ups' will tell him anything, when I think about how worked up they get over this shit!" George said agitatedly. He reached for Fred's thigh, caressing it as if to reassure himself.

I answered only now, after some time had passed, because so much had gone through my mind:

"Everything connected to the visions. He must know what all of this means. And no, George, the connection isn't good at all, because he can't defend himself. Later if he could, maybe? His Occlumency lesson begin only after the holidays, far too late, I think," I shifted angrily around in the chair.

"Everything is going to be fine. You'll help him, won’t you? And then it'll be okay, we won't let Harry down. But now tell me, what is it you want do do? You didn't want to come here, right?" George asked worriedly, trying to distract me, knowing that I was angry.

"I'll leave latest by noon tomorrow. As I've planned everything so that I would get things done right away after arriving with the Express, nothing holds me here." I shrugged, even feeling sad, for Sirius' sight wasn't as easy to endure as initially thought. "Sirius will look after Harry and that will be much better than any comfort I could offer Harry."

"You realize that you have never told us what has happened between you two. You gave Sirius the cold shoulder in the kitchen, didn’t you?" came the question from a demanding George. I knew that they were good spies, but the target of their reconnaissance really wasn't appealing to me.

"What good spies you are!" I crossed my legs and looked at them coldly.

"We want to know now what happened then and we know that you tried to distract us that time. You won't succeed anymore!" Fred gave me a devious look that didn't allow any discussion. They could be very unyielding, if they wanted. I allowed myself a tortured groan. Did I actually have to deal with Sirius’ screw up back then?

"Guys, it's the past, not important anymore. Sirius and I had a fight, that's all!", I tried to wiggle myself out of that matter half heartedly.

"Well, my name isn't Ronald! For Sirius, the way he looked at you, there's nothing in the past! And I don't believe you. You're so obstinate, more has happened than just this! Oh, I don't know, talk!" George insisted. Only very few people got to know the Twins like that, though those who did and had the misfortune to face their serious side, like me, should pity themselves, as I just fervently did.

"Oh, you can be so annoying," I said in frustration, rubbing my temples.

"Always, beautiful!", Fred grinned at me wickedly.

"I had two appointments that evening, first the Beetle and then, I met... had to meet a man and we had sex!" I spelled it out and admitted my offense. However, I had generously omitted that it was with Snape, it didn't matter here, and I took another sip.

"Afterwards, I came here because I wanted to talk to Sirius to tell him that we, that I wanted to end our arrangement! I don't do two-timing. I just never got that far!" I said sadly as I thought back to the scene in the kitchen.

"With whom did you have sex?" Fred’s question was fueled by intrigue and curiosity.

"Fred, I don't think she wants to tell us that! What happened that you never got to it?" George took control and looked at Fred chastisingly.

"You're relentless, George. He smelled it! Stupid of me not to think about it, but since I wanted to tell him that it was over anyway, I didn't waste any thought on it. What a mistake that was..." I licked my dry lips.

"Well, Sirius has a temper and is a hothead! Jealousy... oh, I don't know, he just lost his cool."

"What do you mean by ‘lost his cool’? What are you trying to paraphrase?" George insisted adamantly, leaning forward.

"George, we came to blows, it wasn't nice! He looked worse than me. Satisfied?!" I hissed now and took the next sip. More such nights and I would have an alcohol problem. I didn't feel the burning any more, too bad!

"You mean he started beating you?" Fred said softly and incredulously.

"Beating? He gave me a few slaps!" It didn't matter to me and I relaxed back into the chair, made myself comfortable and tried not to think about the fun Sirius and I had had.

"Got it!" both said disapprovingly and tensed somewhat and had a strange, grouchy, rarely seen expression on their identical faces. Before we could continue our conversation, the door suddenly opened and Sirius sauntered in in a decidedly casual manner.

"Ah, Hermione, should I be surprised to find you here instead of in bed?" he said smugly and walked to the bar to take care of himself. I was still lying relaxed in the chair and refused to brace myself. I had expected him to appear. The Twins, however, were a bit agitated by the latest news. They were holding themselves back, indeed unusual for them, but were staring daggers at Sirius.

"Alas, with you it would be questionable in which bed you'd be lying right now, wouldn’t it? One would have to start looking, isn't that so?" He spoke viciously and drank his drink greedily, he wasn't that calm after all.

"You would know, wouldn't you, Sirius?" came the cold but succinct retort from me and I looked at the Twins pointedly with the clear request to stay out of it.

"Look at me when I talk to you!" Sirius snapped abruptly when I dismissed his accusatory insinuations so casually. He had liked to ignore the Twins from the start on, but scowled at them now. "You two are leaving, off with you, leave us alone!" he demanded impertinently.

"No, Sirius, we won't leave you alone with Hermione!" George said determinedly, jerking his head up firmly.

"Sorry, Sirius, that's out of the question," Fred now said seriously and looked at him appraisingly and rather unfriendly.

"You told them?" He now directed his question specifically to me. I still refused to look at him and so I simply nodded in agreement. "Then tell them to leave," he told me, now much calmer.

"Forget it, Sirius! We won't leave. Even if Hermione wanted it, we would stay," they both declared very stubbornly, crossing their arms at the same time in front of their chests.

"Oh, why do you all have to be so stubborn?" Sirius growled angrily, making me chuckle briefly, despite the tense situation.

"Look who's talking!" I still smirked and now looked at him, examining his appearance. He looked up, into my eyes and suddenly he approached me determinedly, which made me tilt my head. He sank into the chair next to mine. When I gazed into his grey eyes, to my astonishment, I could see that they weren't unlike Draco's light-grey eyes. It seemed to me that I liked grey-eyed guys, I thought cynically.

"Hermione, we have to talk," he said, his tone astonishingly pleading and his expression stern.

"Then talk, I'm listening," I offered no less neutral, as being forced unprepared into his presence unsettled me a little. I realized I quite liked this man, which was no miracle, otherwise I wouldn't have let him come so close to me.

However, it looked like he gave in, as he groaned once before he started:

"I must apologize, I should've never, never, never allowed myself to raise my hand against you, I'm deeply and immensely sorry. I'm not a man that beats women... I never was!" He said it quietly though sincerely, while he looked seriously into my eyes and I believed him and thus I nodded slowly.

"But...," he started to speak when I interrupted him.

"I knew there would be a but," I replied ironically, rolling my eyes. The Twins were so calm that you would've thought they had made themselves invisible or even stopped breathing, because they apparently didn't want to disturb our discussion. He frowned at my sharp-tongued reply, but I hadn't been able to hold it back. I hadn’t thought that he would initiate a heart-to-heart talk with me, as I had judged Sirius to be too proud for that, and his unexpected apology seriously rejoiced me.

"But, I hope you can see that your behaviour wasn't right, even though my reaction was exaggerated and inexcusable!" Sirius said with a raised head. That was the the Pureblood in him shining through and that was alright with me.

"Sirius, I'm not angry with you, I can understand you! I'm not innocent either. I was sad that it ended so ugly, but let's forget it," I offered generously, already thinking about Harry and that it was important that we both had a base on which we could deal with each other.

"Thanks," he said, genuinely relieved, but also infinitely sad as he took a quick sip, and then suddenly asked, "Who is it?" As I had just been drinking myself, I almost choked on it. The Twins looked quite uncomfortable as well due to his question. Because they knew it was Draco, and Sirius would never in his life approve of him, as we all knew.

"I don't think that's of interest!" I told him coldly and evasively. He no longer had the right to ask such intimate things.

"Wrong, Hermione, I want to know! Tell me, who has replaced me?" he demanded, being very stubborn. Men and their pride, I thought to myself, I couldn't tell Sirius the name of the one I had sex with from time to time, nor of the one that actually made me break up with Sirius. Because that would have resulted in naming Snape and Draco and I didn't want to bear the consequences.

"There's no one right now!" I answered brusquely; it was the best answer. I got up briskly, wanting to leave, because this would only turn into a never-ending cycle, but Sirius grabbed my wrist and stopped me in my tracks, which made the Twins start and want to intervene as I tried to free myself from his grip.

"Call your watchdogs off!" he said hoarsely while he stopped my attempts by tightening his hold, scowling at the Redheads, and I indicated with the other hand that they should sit down, at the same time ceasing my struggle to get free.

"What...?" I whispered softly. Sirius strained my nerves, for his touch brought back memories, and I have to say, I thought it was unspeakably sad that we were so distant towards each other nowadays.

"I don't believe you, my beautiful liar!" he explained, his voice low and hoarse, and he gave me his charming grin, with which one could fall in love, and so I smiled back, without wanting to, because his words were almost caressly spoken.

"What I still want to know: Are you playing with Harry, as close as you two are now?" He asked now sounding concerned. I sank back into my seat, because I understood his concern quite well and I allowed him to be worried.

"Sirius, don't worry. You and me both want what’s best for Harry! Just trust me, I would never betray him! Promise! And whether Harry replaced you? No, I wouldn't be the right woman at his side. Well I’m right as a friend and a confidant, but not as a lover. I swear you don't need to worry about it!" I said solemnly, almost fervently, because I wanted to take the worry away that was writ large in his face.

"Really, Hermione, I don't think he’d be able to handle you." His voice was faltering and his concern most palpable.

"I think so too. Additionally I have no sexual feelings for Harry. I see my brother in him, no more and no less," I patiently justified myself to him and now carefully removed my wrist from his grip. At least now I knew that I didn't feel anything anymore when he touched me, which was good, the formerly usual tingling sensation hadn't shot through my body.

"I believe you...!" he said now much calmer and I turned again to go to bed. It was almost four o'clock and I wanted distance.

"Good night," I finally said goodbye and rushed out the door.

The next morning at seven, after my run, I sat fresh and prepared in the library and waited for Harry, I had worked through the book Draco had given me in bed a bit, then went running. I had then cleaned myself and my clothes and now waited patiently with a cup of coffee in front of me. Eventually the door opened and a head of tousled dark hair slid in, giving me a shy, slightly weary smile.

"Hi, I couldn't wait any longer," Harry said nervously and sat down on the sofa.

"I was already waiting. Have you calmed down?" I took his hand and caressed it lightly, running my thumb over the back of his hand.

"Mm-hm, yes, after what you said I figured some things out myself..." He pulled his lip between his teeth and bit down on it nervously, rubbing his scar with his other hand. "You said we're connected, which is true, otherwise I wouldn't know when he's happy or angry! And I couldn't have been the snake after all, could I? That was him and his mind in the snake, and I was in his mind through my dream, that's why I saw it..." He rattled down his thoughts, uncertain about his reasoning, looking at me to see if I was agreeing with his theory and I did.

"Good Harry, go on, so far we're having the same thoughts!" I told him and he gave me a relieved sigh.

"Well, and when I looked in Dumbledore's eyes, it wasn't my hatred but Voldemort's... shit, Hermione, he's in my head!" he exclaimed angrily, pulling his hand away and tugging at his hair ineffectually, but well, I could understand such a reaction, who wanted someone else in one's own mind and then especially this person? Nobody! And so I gave Harry the time to let this nice little realisation sink in

"All correct. I think that there's almost nothing left to add. I don't know, no, I asked you to go to Dumbledore because of the emotions you received, which you didn't, but I think the more time passes, the stronger this connection becomes and I don't think that only you can receive something from him…," I concluded so that he would understand the meaning behind my words.

"What, what? You mean he can read me too? That would be - that wouldn't be good... not good at all, right?" He stumbled from one shock into the next and looked shaken.

"I know, and I think the professor will teach you Occlumency now. Here," and handed him two books that I had picked out for him from the Black library. "These are books that should cover the subject and prepare you for the lessons, because, Harry, it won't be easy. It's not an easy-to-learn technique! You need to learn meditation and the like, though I think if you could control it and could protect yourself from it, maybe you could use the connection," I tried to make the strenuous learning of this art palatable, firstly because of Harry and his laziness and, secondly, because I had firsthand experienced how hard and frustrating it was to learn the art.

"Oh, how do you know this Occlus... so well?" he asked me, confused.

"What don't I know, Harry?" I answered in return.

"You're right. Well, I'll seriously focus on this topic. Because I don't want that guy in my head, absolutely not! However, I still need an opinion or your assessment. So far we haven't told Dumbledore anything about my visions, and even if Sirius has dropped it, the professor hasn't looked at me since the hearing at the Ministry. My thought: If he didn't know about my intensive connection to Voldemort, since we didn't tell him, then why his behaviour?" he concluded, slightly confused, but I understood what he meant and why he had difficulties to get over it. Yes, from where had the old man gotten the suspicion that Harry would feel hatred at the sight of him, or rather the Dark Lord?

"Good question, Harry. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for that and that just brings me to the next question: Why the hell - if he suspected something - didn't he start helping you protecting your mind much earlier?" I asked no one in particular, really disliking the implications of that question.

Harry took a deep breath.

"I'm glad you think so too, Hermione. And yes, it's weird. What should I do? I have such a bad feeling." He put his hands on his stomach. Understandably, because one could easily get a stomach ulcer from this.

"I think skepticism towards Dumbledore is quite appropriate, the way he behaves. And all the rest, it'll find itself, we can't rush things," I concluded judiciously, and suddenly a young man hung around my neck and almost suffocated me.

"Thanks, Hermione, you understand me. We will we do it that way. It's such a shame that you aren't with us at Christmas." And he stroked my back.

"But Harry, it's only for two weeks, don't fret. And you’ll have Sirius to distract you. Don't worry too much, we can't change anything anyway. Comfort Ron and Ginny! And now let's have breakfast, you must surely be hungry!", disentangled myself from him and took his hand. We went into the busy kitchen, because today nobody wanted to sleep in, and sat down and served ourselves. Everything was very quiet, almost silent. We talked little and waited anxiously for news. And eventually, we heard the front door and when the door to the kitchen was pushed open, I saw a small, plump woman with red hair enter and in the blink of an eye a small, just as red whirlwind threw herself around her mother’s neck sobbing loudly.

"Easy, my girl," Molly said soothingly to her daughter and kissed her hair. "Arthur got over the worst!", she exclaimed shakily and sobbed in relief.

"Thank goodness!" I heard Sirius say with relief and we all beamed at each other, reassured.

"Some people will join us this afternoon and then we’ll all go to St. Mungo's!" she explained. Perfect, I'd talk to someone then.

"Do you know when our things will arrive from Hogwarts?" I asked.

"Oh, yes, of course, dear. Minerva will bring it when she comes with the others." Now she went to the Twins, Ron and Harry and all of them were being hugged with relief. Wonderful, I hated that. I would leave if I could, but the wardens wouldn't allow that and so we waited and the time stretched long, while I was just too aware of Sirius’ thoughtful, sad and uncertain glances he constantly aimed at me. I didn't know what he wanted from me and I would be really happy when I managed escaped this stressful situation. When we finally heard noises again we looked at each other with relief, because it could be really annoying sitting around like this. Life filled the kitchen when McGonagall, Tonks and Moody came in.

"I can finally hand over your suitcases, here," the professor pulled out six shrunken trunk cases from her coat.

"Wonderful!" we all exclaimed enthusiastically and grabbed for ours.

"Are we going now?" Ginny asked excitedly.

"Bring your bags up and then we'll go!" Molly rejoiced impatiently. And so everyone dashed up the stairs, only I remained seated, which brought me surprised looks.

"Miss Granger?" McGonagall said dryly.

"I want to ask if I should take the bus to get to my parents, or which way did you think I’d get there?" I asked annoyed.

"Oh, I totally forgot about that," the professor said in surprise.

"No, you can't take the bus!" screeched Molly, who was even more protective than before and gave me a slight headache. Man, I was looking forward to the quiet of my cottage.

"Side-by-side apparition?", I offered and looked around the room.

"Acceptable, Miss Granger. I still remember where you live! Then let us set out immediately," the professor offered.

"Thank you, Professor. Sirius, thank you for the night... And Mrs Weasley, please wish your husband all the best from me," I said quickly and politely. I walked out after the professor as Sirius was only giving me a long look, but didn't stop me. I wasn't sure, but I had the uneasy feeling that Sirius had seen more in me and our affair than I had and thus I was glad to escape the house. However, I didn't want to deal with this thought anymore. Harry and the Twins were already in the hallway, saying goodbye to me warmly and the Twins whispered to me that they were looking forward to the 25th. I saw Ron and Ginny on the stairs and waved goodbye to them, following the professor outside. We apparated and arrived in front of my parents' house. It looked a little uninhabited, as my parents were skiing in Switzerland like every year, but the dear McGonagall didn't have to know that.

"Nobody seems to be here, Miss Granger," she observed, looking at me with concern.

"Well, I guess nobody informed my parents that I won't arrive by express and they probably left to pick me up already. They always go shopping a bit before that, so they leave much earlier," I lied coldly and smiled into her stern face.

"Oh, we didn't think about that, but I can't leave you alone now," McGonagall said worriedly.

"Yes, you can, Professor, it's not a problem. I’ll call my parents on the phone and tell them I'm already at home waiting for them," I told a slightly overwhelmed McGonagall. “Mobile phones are like old phones, only that they're so small that you can carry them around to be reachable anytime, anywhere. Ask Mr Weasley, he should know about mobile phones," I offered as an explanation.

"Oh, well then, that sounds fine. Then I wish you and your parents a merry Christmas, Miss Granger," and the old hen was gone, I thought viciously. My mood had reached a new low, now that I didn't have to be strong for Harry anymore. It wasn't good that I hadn’t been able talk to Draco anymore, that would've been very important.

I wondered how he would react to tomorrow night. I knew that he would be so engrossed in his family affairs by now that I couldn't reach him. I looked at my parents beautiful town house and immediately apparated and now stood under the huge, old tree opposite "Rose Cottage", which I entered and with a few cleaning spells I tidied it up. After changing my clothes, I sat down to think about the next steps. First, I had to go grocery shopping. When Draco and the Twins arrived here, we would need some food stuff, but that wasn't important right now, I would do it tomorrow morning. I was running out of time and had to get some few necessities for tomorrow evening that were more important and so I planned to go to London to Harrods.

Unfortunately, Harrods had lousy opening hours, usually weekdays until 6pm and Sundays until 7pm, but thanks to the holiday season it was kept open until 8pm so I had almost five hours to shop and I would need them, too.

At half past eight I almost collapsed under the load of bags. But I was very satisfied, I had gotten everything and so I had a nice evening in front of the fireplace and read a novel for a change, able to enjoy the absolute solitude and tranquility for once that was never granted at Hogwarts.
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