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The Perils of Innocence by puck_nc

The Perils of Innocence


Disclaimer: If you recognize the character, it isn't mine. Just playing with what-ifs in the Potterverse.

For a lovely little fanart of the first scene by my wonderful talented friend amandioka, go to my LiveJournal and check the tags for "perils fanart".

31 July 1990

Dr Aymler watched from the doorway as the two children in the playroom concentrated on the draughts board. Harry was staring at a black circle intently. Suddenly the piece flew up and landed beside the board. Hermione laughed at Harry's disgusted expression as he picked it up and placed it on the intended square. Then Hermione began to focus on a red piece. After a moment it slid gently in a direction, then stopped and would not move again. With a frustrated sigh, she pushed the piece the rest of the way with her finger.

The doctor stepped into the room. "All right, you two. That's enough. You need to go outside and play."

"We are playing," Harry said absently, studying the board.

"You are not. You're training. And we don't even know what it is you're trying to train yet. So stop it and go outside and run around the building or climb a tree or something."

"Yes, sir." Hermione began gathering the pieces and dropping them into the box.

"Hey!" Harry protested.

"He's right. It's a lovely day outside. Come on." She finished putting the game away and got up, grabbing his hand.

Harry let himself be dragged to his feet, sulking. Whether it was the flurry of new residents, Pippa's arrival or Dr Greene's sudden decision to go on holiday the previous week, everyone had managed to forget his birthday. He forgave Hermione, as he didn't remember mentioning it to her, but he was royally brassed off at the doctors and staff. Didn't they celebrate every resident's birthday? Hadn't Pippa remembered to mail a card and gift the years she'd been away? Not even Mary, who never ever forgot a date, had wished him a happy birthday in the canteen this morning.

Hermione was pulling him around the girls' wing, toward a garden area that belonged to the manor house since before it had been converted. It held little interest for most of the children. She led him to the entrance, two elegant stone pillars that separated the border hedge, and suddenly moved behind him and pushed him inside.


Harry's jaw dropped at the sight. People surrounded a stone table, draped with a cloth and laden with refreshments. The stone bench next to it held a small pile of presents. Harry turned back to a beaming Hermione.

"Got you, didn't we?"

"Yeah, you got me." He turned and accepted a hug from Pippa.

"I bet you were feeling quite unhappy earlier. Sorry about that. But Dr Greene said we should do something special for your tenth birthday and I recruited Hermione to help me."

As they moved toward the table, Harry turned to Hermione. "You. Are. Devious."

She smiled again. "It worked. And it was worth it to see your face. I've never been part of a surprise par-" She broke off, seeing a pair of adults coming toward them. "Mum? Dad?"

The Grangers looked down at their daughter. "We brought in the cake to save the staff a trip," Viola explained. "Happy birthday, Harry."

"Thank you, Mrs Granger, Mr Granger." Harry shook their hands and then let Pippa lead him off so Hermione could talk to her parents. She had spoken to them a few times on the phone since the shortened weekend home, but this was the first time they had seen one another. He did his best to concentrate on saying his thanks to everyone who was there: Pippa and Mary, several of the other nurses and aides, Dr Greene, Toby and Caleb, and Dr Aymler as he joined the small party. But even as he admired the cake he glanced at the Grangers.

From what he could tell, at least they weren't looking terrified of Hermione now. Robert had an arm around her and was listening as she described how she and Harry had invented what they called their "training sessions", working with toys in one of the playrooms. Viola still looked nervous, but she was listening as well.

As was the custom for birthday parties at Esperança House, Harry opened the gifts first while Mary made note of who had given what. Harry would be expected to write thank-yous within the week, a tradition begun by the now-retired founder. Since joint gifts were another tradition, it didn't surprise him that Hermione had gone in with Toby and Caleb to give him a new motorcycle for his collection. What did surprise him was an envelope from the Grangers and Hermione.

He opened it and looked inside the card. There was a gift certificate to Waterstone's for twenty pounds. He looked at them, surprised and touched. "Thank you!"

Viola said, "We'd like to have you join Hermione on her visit home this weekend and you can spend it then."

Harry glanced at Hermione, who was nodding enthusiastically, and smiled at Viola. She hesitated for an instant, then smiled back. Hermione squealed and threw her arms around him, only letting go when Caleb started up a chant of "Cake! Cake! Cake!"


After serving everyone cake, Harry carried his slice over to where Dr Greene was sitting, a little apart from everyone else. "Hullo, Doc."

She smiled at him, but Harry noticed dark circles under her eyes. He sat down next to her. "For someone who just got back from holiday, you look knackered."

"It wasn't exactly a restful time." She gave Harry a considering look and took a bite of cake.

"D'you want to talk about it?"

Dr Greene smiled ruefully. "You're too clever by half, you know."

"No, I'm not. Hermione is, though."

"You're both clever, just each in your own way."

"Seriously, Doctor, can I help?"

"I'm just not sure about some things right now, things I used to be sure about. And they're too much to put on a child who just turned ten. All right?"

"All right, but only if you talk to Dr Aymler!"

She laughed and pretended to cuff him across the ear. "Smart-arse. How are you and Hermione working out with him, by the way?"

Harry shrugged, taking a bite of his own cake before answering. "It's all right. He's very laid-back about the whole situation. He says he's read enough science fiction that he thinks anything is possible."

Dr Greene snorted. "Is that all it takes? Perhaps I need to ask him for a reading list."

The tone in her voice made Harry a little uneasy and he had no idea what to say. He settled for staying with her and finishing his cake.


A few minutes after Harry let the other children pull him back to his presents, Dr Aymler sat down with Dr Greene. "Haven't had a chance to really talk since you got back, Em. Did the holiday help?"

She shrugged. "I'm not sure. I made a point of talking to Mum's vicar, who handed me off to his area bishop. He was more concerned about the apparent lack of spirituality in my life than about my needing to explain things that seem to be happening outside of the realms of science."

"You didn't tell him about their telekinesis?"

"No, of course not. I was much more general about trying to come to terms with more things in heaven and earth than were previously in my philosophy."

"And he wasn't much help."

She shook her head. "How can you be so calm about it? It's not just telekinesis…that I could explain. It's the idea that actions can be reversed the way Hermione did to her kitchen…it's simply not possible for a plate to be whole again without glue, or for spilled milk to go back in the glass…it's like…"

"Magic?" Aymler's eyebrows waggled and he smiled behind his thick moustache.

"There's no such thing as magic!"

He shrugged. "Just because we haven't defined and measured it yet doesn't mean that it's impossible. After all, at one time everyone believed the earth was flat."

"And we believed the earth was the centre of the universe…" Her voice was derisive.

"And now we're on the verge of a technology boom that is going to leave us gasping and bewildered. I think we're going to live to see a time where there's no post anymore, because everyone will use electronic mail. No cheques, because everyone will pay by wire transfer through computers. No books, because they'll all be read on screen.

"Things change, Em. New things happen. People can do more and more every time they try. This just seems to be another of those things."

She shook her head. "It frightens me."

"It frightens me, too, a bit. But look at it this way. If anyone is going to have this kind of power, I'm glad it's those two kids. Neither of them has a mean bone in their body. Think about it…Harry's been here for nearly five years now and not once has he hurt anyone with any of his incidents. The worst was when Jackie Craig had to dye her hair back for a while to hide the blue. And if Hermione didn't hurt her mum when she started in on going back to school, she won't do so without extreme provocation."

Dr Greene looked at her empty plate for a moment, then back up. "Thanks, Pat."

"D'you still want me to work with them in session for a while?"

She nodded. "I think it's for the best. If they sense I'm afraid, it'll only make it worse."

His expression darkened a little in concern. "Don't avoid them, especially Harry. You've been his mentor almost since he got here. If he doesn't understand why we've switched, he might see it as rejection. And we don't want him regressing…remember how he was when he got here?"

That got her attention. "Oh, no, that can't happen! He's healed so much…"

"So sort out how you can deal with this. Believe, don't believe, study it and measure it, or wait and see what happens. Just do it soon, because those children need you."


3 August 1990

Hermione and Harry waited at the picture window, admiring the storm outside. Thunder rumbled, rain poured down in impressive sheets, and water ran off the road into the garden. This time Sir Woof guarded Hermione's suitcase and a holdall that Pippa had lent to Harry.

As the wind intensified, Hermione's expression grew fretful. Harry reached over and poked her to distract her. "Don't worry. I'm sure they'll be fine."

"Mum doesn't like driving in storms. If Dad were driving it'd be all right, but he had to stay at the surgery."

Harry was about to reassure her again, but an unwelcome voice interrupted him. "So Potty and the Shakespeare girl are off, I see."

They turned to see Moffat standing over their luggage, holding Sir Woof by an ear.

"Put down my dog, please." Hermione spoke before Harry could. He didn't understand how she was staying polite, but every time Moffat or one of the other children tried to push her around, she began by being courteous about it.

"Think I'll keep it. It'll make a good extra pillow. For my feet."

Harry started forward, but she held onto his arm.

"He's not yours, he's mine. Please give him back." As she spoke, she stared fixedly at Sir Woof, rather than the blond bully.

Moffat began swinging the dog around, chanting, "Shan't, shan't, you can't make me, shan't shan't…" He tossed the plush animal in the air to catch it.

And at that precise second Hermione held out her hands and the dog flew into them.

Harry's gasp was drowned out by Moffat's scream. He turned and ran down the hall, yelling for the nurses.

"Hermione, that was brilliant!"

Her cheeks turned slightly pink as she stared at the dog for a moment. "Honestly, I didn't expect it to work that well. I was hoping Sir Woof would just move away from him." She turned back to the window. "And because you didn't fight him or go after him, you can't get in trouble."

Harry supposed he could see the logic in her approach, but still felt it would have been more satisfying to knock Moffat off his feet.


Viola Granger arrived, looking extremely pale and tense. As she signed the release form for the children, Dr Aymler looked her over and insisted that she sit for a cuppa before starting back.

The delay benefited them, as the storm moved to the northeast and the rain slackened somewhat. Viola drove with less fear, though she set a slower pace than most of the cars around her.

At one point after the dual carriageway narrowed, a lorry began following them closely. Hermione could see her mother's knuckles turn white as she gripped the wheel. Harry could feel her slow further, which annoyed the lorry driver enough to sound the hooter at her.

The lorry suddenly took advantage of a break in oncoming traffic to try and overtake them. Viola let out a shriek and jerked the wheel as the lorry rumbled past them. Harry felt the car begin to slide on the wet pavement. He grabbed the handrest on his door with the first flash of fear. Beside him, Hermione bit back a gasp, her eyes wide and her body pressing back into her seat.

Then he felt the familiar pressure in his head and, without thinking, seized Hermione's hand and hissed, "Think safe!" Hermione gave him one swift terrified glance and then wrinkled her brow in concentration.

The car skidded up to the lorry, then bounced off it as gently as if hitting a pillow. Viola, sobbing with fear, managed to steer it onto the verge and stop.

Hermione undid her safety belt and leaned forward to grip her mother's shoulder. "You did it, Mum. We're all right. We're all right. You did it. You did it." She continued to babble soothing words at her mother until Viola stopped shaking and began to assert control of herself. After several minutes of waiting for a completely clear path, she pulled the car onto the road again.

Hermione and Harry traded thoughtful looks several times for the rest of the journey.


Harry entered the Granger home and looked around nervously. He was so completely used to Esperança House that he was afraid to touch anything. It was like walking onto the set of a programme on the telly. He vaguely remembered being in a place like this, long ago.

Viola had stopped to pick up the mail where it had been pushed through the slot in the door. Hermione glanced at Harry and smiled. "Rooms first, then I'll show you our library." She picked up her suitcase and started up the stairs.

She paused, puzzled, as Harry walked past the stairs. A frown creased her brow as he stopped in front of the under-stairs cupboard, where her father kept his golf equipment. There was something bleak in his expression, where just a few moments ago in the car he had been cheerful. "Harry?"

He was reaching for the doorknob when she spoke, but her voice seemed to recall him. "Sorry?"

"Our rooms are upstairs. Follow me."

As he obeyed, Hermione's mind began to race with the implications of what she'd just witnessed.


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