The Burning Pen

You Promised It Would Be Forever
by Ruth Solomon

 

The story content is adult in nature and can contain graphic sex and violence.  Those under the age of 18 are asked to leave this site immediately.  You are not welcome here.  The author is not responsible for those under-aged who view these works.



CHAPTER 14


Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to JKR. All situations are mine. No $$$ is being made from this fanfic.
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Chapter 14 ~ Three Kinds of Visitations

Bellatrix LeStrange's body was claimed from the Ministry by her family, and interred in an undisclosed location. 

Lord Voldemort's body was placed on display in the Ministry museum, heavily guarded and warded. Vast amounts of galleons were collected and deposited into a fund to help the families who had lost loved ones to the Dark Lord's reign.

Dumbledore found that there was only one disbarred Potions Master who was freed from Azkaban in the seven years preceding the marriage of Hermione and Severus. His name was Proboor Unkton. He had been disbarred and sent to Azkaban for providing illegal potions to deatheaters. He was caught in a Ministry sting, where an Auror posed as a deatheater, the Dark Mark tattooed on his arm convincingly. 

Unkton ran a small, selective apocathery shop in a corner of Knockturn Alley, one that supplied rare herbs and ingredients. His shop did not advertise and his clientele was less than top of the line. Most found out about his shop through word of mouth and he was selective as to whom he did business with. He required each customer to have an account with him, and charged a ten thousand galleon processing fee. This was unheard of, but people paid.

Unkton was a short, fat bald wizard with small, narrow eyes and an expression of constant discontent. He had been quite wealthy when arrested, and all his funds had been seized. He only had a quarter of what he was originally worth now, and although he was still rich, he was dissatisfied. He made galleons any underhanded way he could.

Unkton kept the door to his shop warded securely until he could pull back the curtain and peek out to see who was knocking. Imagine his shock when the door was blasted open and a furious Albus Dumbledore strode in, grasped him by his robes and with surprising strength yanked him over the counter and pulled him close to his bearded face.

"Mordres potion," Albus snarled at the wizard. The Headmaster's blue eyes weren't twinkling, they were blazing. "Did you sell anyone Mordres potion four years ago? Tell me you blackguard!"

Albus shook the wizard until his teeth rattled.

"That's illegal. I wouldn't sell that," Unkton wheezed. 

Albus had such a grip on his robes, his throat was constricted.

Albus looked at him darkly, then gripped his throat with one hand and squeezed, forcing Unkton's mouth open. The wizard then pulled a flask out of his pocket, flipped the top open with his thumb and poured the contents into the wizard's gullet, tilting his head back and releasing the pressure on his neck so he swallowed.

Albus released him as the wizard's eyes began to glaze. He slumped back against the counter. The Headmaster looked at Unkton with a scowl. Veritaserum took a minute or two to go into effect. He waited, his eyes locked on the fat wizard angrily. Then he began to interrogate him.

"Now let's try this again, Unkton. Did you make or sell Mordres potion four or five years ago?" Albus questioned the wizard.

"Yes," the wizard replied hollowly.

"To whom? To whom did you sell it?' Albus demanded.

"To a woman. A deatheater. She had a working Mark," the wizard intoned.

"What did she look like?" Albus asked.

"I don't know. She was always hooded, though her breasts were always exposed. She had beautiful pale cleavage," Unkton replied, a slight smile on his face for a moment before he became expressionless again.

Albus nodded. That sounded like Bellatrix. That witch could never keep her tits covered.

"What else can you tell me about her? Think!" Albus demanded.

Unkton stood there for several moments.

"Her hands. She had long, pale hands with long black nails. There were skulls on them," the wizard said.

That cinched it. He had sold the potion to Bellatrix LeStrange. Albus' face was black and his hand spasmed, he was so tempted to blast the unconscionable wizard to bits.

"That potion you sold that witch was used to kill the child of a couple very near and dear to my heart, Unkton. You deserve to die for your part in his demise. Luckily for you, I am law abiding, relatively speaking…"

Albus cast a binding spell on the wizard. But instead of rope, he used a muggle device called "barbed wire." Unkton screamed as the metal barbs cut into his skin through his robes.

"I am going to give the Ministry a pensieve of your confession. The Aurors will be here for you soon," Albus said, "You will most likely live out the rest of your life in Azkaban. At least you will live. That wasn't an option for Jacob."

Albus left the groaning wizard propped against the counter, spots of blood seeping through his robes. When the Aurors picked Unkton up, he was nearly dead from loss of blood. They had a time getting the barbed wire off him. It was charmed and had to be removed by hand.

Albus was not a wizard to be fucked with. Now everyone who was involved in the death of Jacob had been brought to justice.

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Severus returned to Hogwarts, and Hermione returned to her house in Little Hangelton, and her job at the Ministry. At first she was treated like a celebrity, but it quickly faded as her Department head, Gregor Gregorian once again began to covet her discoveries. The description of her Pulsus spell in the newspapers had angered him. It was a powerful spell, but everyone knew she created it, so he could claim no credit for it. Imagine, an adjustable spell that could send out any number of targeted blasts you asked for. It was an amazing bit of magic.

Several weeks later, Hermione created some improvements in the one-way shield, a built in targeted repelling charm that would bounce hexes back to their point of origin, which was the wizard who fired it. It didn't matter if the wizard had moved or not. The hex would find him. When she brought the paperwork in, her name was already filled out in all the appropriate spots. She had no intentions on letting Gregorian claim this spell. The Department Head was outraged at her audacity.

"Hermione, I have already explained to you that you are too low level to claim…" he began, red-faced.

"That's a bunch of bullshit, Gregorian and you know it. You've been claiming my spells for more than two years now, and I'm sick of it. You either give me credit or I'm walking!" Hermione said, scowling fiercely at the Department Head.

Gregorian turned red.

"You're threatening me with quitting Hermione? How dare you. I can fill your spot in less than a day! You think yourself more important than you really are," he declared. 

Inwardly, he was nervous. Hermione's spells were what kept their budget large. She was also the reason he was so respected…her spells made him seem more skilled than what he was in Spells Making. But he didn't want to give the muggle-born witch any ground.

"And what will you do for money, Hermione? You are all alone. If you walk out of here I will put a black mark on your employment history. A black mark from the Ministry has devastating effects. No one will hire you. Not even the sex spells sector," he gloated. 

That ought to pull her up short.

"Are you blackmailing me, Gregor?" Hermione hissed, her eyes narrowing.

The Department Head looked at her evenly.

"I am simply telling you what the consequences will be if you quit your job here," he said evenly, "Now if I were you, Hermione, I'd go back to the lab and get to work."

Gregor began to slide the parchment with the spell information towards him. Hermione snatched it out of his hands.

"I'm out of here," she spat, storming from Gregor's office, taking the spell with her.

Gregor's face went white. Shit. She was leaving.

He jumped up and followed her to her lab. Hermione began throwing things into a box.

"Hermione, you're making a huge mistake," Gregor said desperately, "Think about what you're doing. You're going to be unemployable in your field."

"You are stealing all my work, Gregor, and claiming it for your own. You even got a fucking award for one of my spells, you selfish bastard," Hermione seethed.

Gregor froze. Hermione had cursed at him. That was grounds for instant termination. That would look even worse on her record.

"You're fired, Hermione! Fired!" he yelled at her, turning and leaving the lab.

"You can't fire me, I already quit!" she shouted back at him, reducing the box and shoving it in her pocket. Then she scourgified the entire lab, walked over to the file cabinet and removed all the spells she had been working on in theory and stuck those in her pockets as well. Then she stalked out. Other employees stuck their heads out the doors and watched her go. Most weren't surprised at her leaving, only surprised that it took her this long. Most were of the opinion she had no backbone. But after the Voldemort incident, they decided she was just "long-suffering."

Gregor watched through the window as Hermione stalked by his office. The witch stopped and looked at him with narrowed eyes, then made a strange gesture with the middle finger of her right hand, then left the building.

Gregor had a feeling he had just been terribly insulted.

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Severus' life had returned to normal. He was back to terrorizing his students and spending quiet nights marking parchments and finding solace in firewhiskey. He had torched his deatheater robes. Now that he was no longer a spy for the Order, he had a lot of spare time on his hands.

He hadn't seen his ex-wife in a month. After Filch's interment, she had returned to Little Hangelton without making any mention of talking to him as she said she would. He had been very interested to hear what she had to say. He believed it was about the divorce and the situation that led up to it.

Severus wasn't ready to forgive her, and doubted if he would really ever be. Hermione had hurt him deeper than anyone had ever hurt him. Even the tortures of the Dark Lord couldn't compare to the ache that still remained in his heart because of the witch. What was worse, was that he sometimes dreamed of her, passionate and wanting him. Dreamed that he was taking her over and over and she loved him. It was painful when he awoke alone in his bedroom at Hogwarts. So very painful.

Tonight he had consumed four stiff firewhiskeys and had a bit of a glow on. He retired to bed, falling instantly asleep. How long he had slept, he wasn't sure. But a voice awakened him.

"Father? Father!"

Severus started and rolled over. His black eyes went wide as he looked down at the bottom of his bed. A little boy was sitting on it, looking at him. He was pale, black-haired and amber-eyed, with a semi-large but handsome nose.

"Father, where's Mother? Mother should be here," the little boy said. He looked to be about five years old.

Severus rubbed his eyes.

"Jacob?" he said, his throat tight.

"Where's Mother, Father? She should be here," the little boy said again, his face sad.

"She's…she's not here," the Potions Master replied, sitting up…expecting the image of his son to disappear. He didn't

"She should be," Jacob said, his eyes glistening. His eyes were so much like Hermione's. "You should be with her, Father. Then everything would be good again. Then I could be happy."

Severus didn't know what to say. Suddenly another form materialized out of the darkness. It was Argus. He put a gnarled arm around the boy.

"You've got to do something, Professor," the old caretaker said, as he looked at Jacob with love in his rheumy eyes. "Our boy's not happy with you two. It's a miserable thing to be unhappy in Eternity."

Then both faded away.

Severus awoke with a start and sat up in the bed, staring down at the bottom of it, pushing his hair out of his eyes. Gods, he had been dreaming…but it seemed so lucid. So real. Jacob looked to be about the age he would have been if he had lived. 

The Potions Master blinked for a moment, then laid back down, his hands behind his head and staring up at the ceiling. Jacob had come to him in a dream. 

Severus didn't really believe in dreams, though he thought there might be an afterlife, simply because existence would be a waste if it didn't continue, if all the experiences garnered and lessons learned were for nothing. Nature wasted nothing. There had to be a purpose for all this.

Jacob was such a fine looking boy in his dream, and Filch looked every bit himself.

"She should be here," the boy had said, "Everything would be good again. I could be happy."

Severus thought of this. If his son had lived, and he and Hermione had divorced then the child would have been unhappy. If there were indeed an afterlife, then most likely their divorce would have the same effect on the child.

Severus frowned slightly.

He knew in the muggle world, people believed children were no reason to stay married if the marriage was miserable. Hermione was muggle-born and probably adhered to those beliefs. Love should be the basis of marriage, not children. Children were the issue of marriage. If by some great unlikely miracle he and Hermione managed to mend their broken lives, it couldn't be because of Jacob, it would have to be because there was still love for each other.

"I'm sorry, son," Severus whispered into the night, "Your mother chose to be apart from me. You've picked the wrong parent's conscience to prick. I am as much a victim in this as you are, Jacob. I was torn from your mother much as you were. I wish your happiness could be a strong enough incentive to rewind us back to a time of love, son, but it's not. Much more would be required. Much, much more."

The Potions Master sighed. He knew it was madness talking to a dead child in the dead of night.

But somehow, it didn't feel like madness.

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Hermione tossed and turned in her bed. She had recently moved back into the bedroom she and Severus once occupied. She felt a slew of powerful emotions when she did so, and her first nights there, she found herself reaching out in her sleep for a body that wasn't there.

She had thought maybe Severus would contact her after the death of Voldemort. But he hadn't. Why should he? He wasn't the one who was in the wrong in all this. He hadn't moved himself out or served her with divorce papers. He wasn't the one who refused to reconcile.

She needed to talk to him, to apologize to him. But an apology seemed so unsuitable, so weak. How could a simple "I'm sorry" do anything to ease the pain she had caused the wizard who once loved her so dearly? The truth was Hermione was afraid to face Severus. The truth was she realized she still loved him and wanted him back, and she knew he would refuse her.

This was far different than his refusal of her when she was young and in love with the wizard, before she wore him down. He was cautious then, unwilling to be hurt, unwilling to give his heart. But he had in the end. And what was the result? He was hurt, and his heart was broken.

Now she had to face a proud man whom she had damaged deeply. Whose trust she had destroyed. Whom she had humiliated publicly, and whom she had affected so deeply he lost his will to fight. She had basically told him his love meant nothing to her.

How could she ever repair that kind of damage?

That's why she hadn't contacted him. She loathed herself for how she had acted so selfishly and callously, and she couldn't face the loathing she would see in those dark eyes. Those eyes that had once held so much fire and love for her.

Suddenly a voice roused her. Hermione sat up in her bed.

"Mother? Mother!"

Hermione looked around wildly. Her amber eyes went wide as she looked down at the bottom of her bed. A little boy was sitting on it, looking at her. He was pale, black-haired and amber-eyed, with a semi-large but handsome nose.

"Mother, where's Father? Father should be here," the little boy said. He looked to be about five years old.

Hermione rubbed her eyes and stared at the little boy.

"Jacob?" she said, her voice quavering.

"Where's Father, Mother? He should be here," the little boy said again, his face sad.

"He's not here, Jacob," the witch said in a small voice. She expected the image of her son to disappear. He didn't

"He should be," Jacob said, his eyes glistening. His features were so much like Severus'. "You should be with him, Mother. Then everything would be good again. Then I could be happy."

Hermione didn't know what to say. Suddenly another form materialized out of the darkness. It was Argus. He put a gnarled arm around the boy.

"You've got to do something, Miss," the old caretaker said as he looked at Jacob with love in his rheumy eyes. "Our boy's not happy with you two. It's a miserable thing to be unhappy in Eternity."

Then both faded away.

Hermione woke up with a start, sat up in the bed and stared down at the bottom of it. No one was there. She stared at the empty space, her heart aching.

It was Jacob…and he was so beautiful. Argus was with him just as she had hoped.

The witch stared for a few moments more, then broke down, sobbing hysterically.

Her baby was unhappy.

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A/N: Had to get the wizard who made the potion. Albus was something else. How about Hermione and Severus both dreaming about Jacob and Argus? They had very different reactions. Now Hermione is out of work. Bet you can guess where she's going to end up…lol. Please review.

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