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The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it's not mine. Just playing with the what-ifs of Rowling's world.


7 July 1990

Harry was finishing his eggs and bacon in the canteen, mulling over what to do with the day since Hermione was on a home visit. He could take some books to the tree fort and read before it got too hot, or even invite a couple of the boys up to play. He'd been ignoring Toby and Caleb quite a bit since Hermione had arrived.

As he put his fork down, he was seized from behind, hands cupping his glasses. A voice sang out, "Guess who?"

Harry pulled the hands away and turned around, a smile bursting across his face. "Pippa!" He jumped up and into the arms of the redheaded woman, who squeezed him fiercely. After a long hug they relaxed and stepped back from each other.

Pippa looked him up and down. "Let's see, you've grown another foot since I last saw you, new glasses, still haven't learned to tie your shoes and still haven't learned to comb your hair." She ruffled the black mess and Harry ducked.

"How about you? All ready for an official white uniform…and why white? Seems it'd be impossible to keep clean from the blood and messes in hospital."

"Smart-arse. See that you don't bleed, then." She sat down across from him and looked at his half-eaten food. She pushed the plate toward him. "Come, now. You can do better than that."

He obliged, picking up a rasher. "So, how were your exams?"

"Not too bad. The physiology was a right pain, but that was because the teacher was a wanker. But I passed them all. Now I get to do my practicals here and go for assistant practitioner."

Harry frowned. "What will you do then?"

"Take a bite out of our budget by replacing the need for calling in a GP when one of you lot has the sniffles."

"Really? That's fantastic!"

"I thought it was a nice idea myself. Dr Aymler is ready to kneel and kiss my feet for thinking of it. Now, your turn. How have you been?"

"Really good. I passed everything, ready for Year 6 this fall. I've finished all the Roald Dahl books there are and Hermione and I started reading everything by E.L. Konigsburg. We're going to try Dickens too, she's already read Oliver Twist, so I'm behind."

"Hermione? Who's this Hermione? You seeing someone else behind my back?"

Harry laughed. "Hermione's a new resident. She's with her parents this weekend. We've got kind of the same situation, so I've been helping her get settled here. And if you think I read too much, wait 'til you meet her! She took out six books at the first library outing!"

Pippa smiled and then looked up as Sushila, another of the nurses, approached their table. "Sorry to interrupt, but I thought Harry'd want to know. Hermione's on her way back."

"Now?" Harry shoved his plate away.

"They should be here in about an hour. Maybe less, no traffic on a Saturday."

Harry bolted to his feet and ran out of the canteen. Pippa turned a surprised face to Sushila, who shrugged.

"Inseparable, those two. They're making hearts melt left and right among the staff. He'll be at the window, watching for them until she gets here."

Pippa stood and absently picked up the remains of Harry's breakfast. "Amazing."


After considering her options, Pippa decided to give Harry some space. She spent the hour looking up other staff members, noting with pleasure that Harry was one of only three children among the thirty or so residents that had been there when she left for uni. And one of the other two was also an orphan. It spoke well of the ability of the staff to help these children deal with their issues and reintegrate into their families.

But when the hour was up, she looked into the lounge.

Harry was at the window, watching the drive like a hawk. A book sat tented on his favourite chair; Pippa noticed it was Oliver Twist. She found a flyer advertising events at the library and moved to the chair, tucking the flyer into the book to mark his place. She noticed that he hadn't gotten very far when he was normally a quick reader.

"Hullo again."

He turned to her briefly. "Hullo."

"So, this Hermione must be really something."

Harry kept looking out the window as he replied, "I'm not really sure I understand it, but I feel like I know her, like I really know her. It's not just that we both read or that we both have this problem. There just seems to be some connection, like I could tell her anything and she'd be all right about it."

"Anything?" Pippa's curiosity was piqued. Even though she had been the one to get Harry to open up and had known him longest, she knew no more than the hints the doctors had let slip about his home life.

"Yeah. I mentioned that my aunt and uncle weren't very nice to me, and she got it. With just that she knew and she understood and she was upset for me and mad at them and I didn't have to say another word. I've never gotten that feeling from anyone, like she'd charge into a lion's den to help me." He suddenly looked faintly ashamed. "I mean, I know everyone here is on my side and all, but this is different, somehow. And I think I feel the same way about her. I just have to be here as soon as she gets back."

Pippa blinked at that. "Wow, that's pretty strong. Have you talked to Dr Greene about it?"

Harry shook his head. "We've been concentrating on Hermione since she got here, helping her control her incidents like we did with me." He broke off, glimpsing movement through the trees before the car came into view. "I'll be back, I want you to meet Hermione!"

Pippa watched him dash out of the lounge toward the entrance.


Hermione had spent the ride in silence, hugging Sir Woof and looking out the window. She didn't dare speak a word; the frustration was just too close to the surface and the energy roiling in her head would erupt with it. And the last thing she needed to do was add fuel to the fire.

Her parents sat up front, also silent. The fear was coming off them in waves and it was about to drive her mad. Why had they been frustrated but supportive when she was breaking things and causing problems, but suddenly terrified when she actually solved a problem?

After crying herself out, Hermione had fallen asleep. Her mother had shaken her awake and told her to pack. Her father had rung and requested to bring her back to Esperança House now. As they headed for the door, Hermione had stopped short at the view of the pristine kitchen. "Mum! How did you-"

"I didn't. You did."

And with that they'd bundled her into the car and started back.

As the car followed the curve of the drive to the door, Hermione's heart leapt at the sight of Harry charging out to meet them. The pressure in her head vanished instantly and she unbuckled her safety belt and hopped out of the car the moment it stopped. Harry ran up to her.

"All right, there?"

"Better now. I'll tell you later."

Harry nodded and went to get her suitcase. Hermione noticed that her father had recovered enough to be amused and let Harry help. Her mother stayed in the car.

Biting her lip against a flare of hurt, Hermione followed her father and Harry inside.

She let Harry lead her toward the lounge as her father spoke with an aide. "There's someone I want you to meet," he explained.

Hermione recognized the woman at once but let Harry do the honours. "Hermione, this is Pippa who I told you about. She's back to be a nurse here-"

"Starting Monday," the woman interjected.

"-and this is my friend Hermione."

Pippa held out a hand, keeping the professional assessment of the girl's slumped shoulders and weary eyes out of her expression. "Harry was just telling me about you. It's a pleasure."

Hermione smiled weakly and shook. "Harry said a lot of wonderful things about you. I know he's glad you're coming back." She turned to Harry. "I think I want to go to my room, curl up with a book."

His voice full of concern, Harry asked, "Are you sure?"

She nodded. "You should catch up with Pippa."

The nurse took one look at Harry, at the worry in his face and the tension in his shoulders and stood. "No, dear, it's fine. Harry and I will have plenty of time for that. There's no getting rid of me now!" She reached out with both hands and ruffled their hair. "Go on with you."

Harry didn't hesitate, but Hermione looked back thoughtfully at Pippa as he pulled her with him into the hall.


They paused at the sight of Mr Granger deep in conversation with Dr Greene, both with intensely worried expressions. Hermione took a deep breath, handed Sir Woof to Harry, and approached them.


He looked down at her and almost managed to hide the fear in his eyes. "It's all right, poppet. You tell the doctor everything about this morning. We'll ring you in a few days." He pulled her into a hug and Hermione felt tears spring to her eyes again. She tightened her arms around her father, trying to fix the embrace in her memory.

She missed seeing her father and Harry staring at one another as the man looked beseechingly at the boy and the boy nodded reassurance. But the doctor saw it all.


Harry carried Hermione's suitcase into her room and set it next to her bed. She flopped across the bed, putting her chin on her hands. Harry flopped beside her and rolled to his right so he could face her and waited, playing idly with Sir Woof's floppy ears. After a few moments she swiped at her face and rolled to the left to face him.

"Want to talk about it?"

She stared at the flower-print duvet and traced petals for a moment. "Have you ever had an incident where you prevented an accident? Or reversed what you'd done?"

Harry thought for a moment. "I remember pushing a laundry trolley out of someone's way once. And one time when the fire alarms set off the sprinklers the water didn't fall in the art room where we'd been doing watercolours on paper." He pushed the stuffed dog to her and she embraced it. "Why? What happened?"

"I had…an incident. Two, actually."

He reached over and rubbed her shoulder. "I'm sorry."

"The first wasn't so much. Mum started talking about school in September and the glass of juice she was pouring broke. But then we started arguing…she really wants me to get over this and get back to school and have everything normal again. And then the whole kitchen just sort of…exploded."

Harry's eyebrows shot up. "Exploded?"

"Kind of. The dishes and cups shot out of the cupboards like cannons, breaking against the walls, we were almost under the table trying to stay out of the way."

"Wow. I'm sorry. I don't think I ever did anything that…dramatic."

Hermione rolled her eyes at him. "I finally got it to stop. I wound up thinking about your motorcycles instead of my poem and that stopped it." Before Harry could congratulate her she went on. "And Mum and Dad started arguing and I ran upstairs.

"All I remember is having that pressure still in my head and crying, wishing hard that I hadn't destroyed the kitchen. And then the pressure finally went away and I dozed off. Next thing, Mum woke me and said that I'd fixed the kitchen." She sat up, looking at Harry earnestly. "Harry, it was perfect. Every dish was whole, every cupboard full. You absolutely couldn't tell that anything had happened."

Harry stared at her, green eyes wide behind his glasses. "Whoa…" He sat up. "You actually fixed it all?"

She nodded. "Mum said everything just repaired itself and moved back to its place. And then…" she gulped, "that's when they got scared."

"Who, your parents? Why would they be scared?"

"Exactly! If we can fix the things we do, why is that a bad thing? But now Dad is more worried than ever and Mum stopped talking about school this fall and they're afraid of me! I don't want them to be afraid! I need them!"

Harry scooted forward and gripped her arm. "You've got me. And Dr Greene and everyone here. If we can actually figure out fixing things as well as controlling them, we'll have this problem beat."

Hermione nodded into his shoulder, finding the comfort in his touch that hadn't been in her father's embrace.


Emily Greene went to bed that night in a very troubled mood. Harry had convinced Hermione to come find her at teatime and talk about what had happened at home. Mr Granger's description of dishes floating in the air and sealing themselves back together before sailing to their places had shaken her badly. Hearing confirmation from Hermione that she had wanted it to happen had thrown her into a complete crisis.

Dr Greene had a scientific mind. She saw actions and reactions, the dance of elements combining to create life, the rise of birth and fall of death in a never-ending cycle. Up to now she had been treating Harry and then Hermione as possibly exhibiting rudimentary telekinesis, which was the most rational explanation she had for why things might move or break around them. There was just enough serious evidence to satisfy her that this was possible.

But there was no possible rational explanation for dishes that mended themselves. There was no physical method for a glass to not only make itself whole but regather the spilled liquid into itself. It was impossible.

And yet two people confirmed it had happened. And she had no way to explain it, at least no way that was acceptable to a doctor.

Her mind did not let her rest that night, seeking answers that were not there.


Author's Note: Thank you so much for the great response to this story so far. Reviews are very nice to read and I welcome comments, especially Brit-picking.