The Sugar Quill
Author: Moey (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Foreseeing Fate  Chapter: Chapter One: Out of Sight
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Foreseeing Fate

Foreseeing Fate
A Harry Potter Fanfiction by Moey

Author’s Note: Thanks to Arabella, BBennett, Cap’n Kathy, Jedi Boadicea, and Zsenya for reading this chapter at least 87 times each before I got around to finishing it. You guys ROX.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter et al belong to the wonderfully talented J. K. Rowling. Who would want it any other way?

~*~

Chapter One: Out of Sight

 He's as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man can you see me at all?
~Nowhere Man
Lennon/McCartney

~*~

 He placed the stone basin on the table and sat down. Arms crossed and leaning on the table, he sat staring at it for sometime before picking up his wand. Taking a deep breath and pushing his glasses back up his nose, he prodded the silvery strands with his wand tip…

 "Do you remember your first day in this office? How nervous you were?" He was looking around the room, and holding her hand as he spoke, gently rubbing the back of it with his thumb. They sat in her office in the hospital wing of Hogwarts. She was visibly shaken, and it seemed that he was attempting to calm her down.

"I was very nervous." She was looking at him, a weak smile on her face. His normally twinkling eyes looked sad and tired.

"Well, there was no reason for it. It's wasn't as if you hadn't worked in years," he said. "I do recall that aside from your research and published writings over the years, you managed to raise seven magnificent children as well as five outstanding grandchildren. If that isn't work, then I don't know what is."

"That was the same year you became Headmaster. Arrogant you were, even making your own wife call you Headmaster!" Her smile grew a bit, but only for a second.

"If I recall correctly, you started the entire chain of events by insisting that I call you Madam Pomfrey." Some of the twinkle came back into his blue eyes.

"For purely professional reasons," she stated. "Besides, we had to set an example for the children."

"That we did, my dear. As it stands now, I don't even think our staff remember that we are married." He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

But it was obvious from the look on her face that Poppy could not hold onto the lightheartedness. "I just don't know if I can do it anymore, Albus."

"You will, Poppy, because this is what you do. You heal."

They sat in silence for an indefinable amount of time before she finally spoke. "Do you think that the--" but she didn't get to finish.

Albus answered simply, "Yes."

"I can't say that I ever set much stock in the psychic arts until now." She frowned.

"What do we do now?"

"We can strategically defend ourselves with the information we have."

"It's just --those poor boys. And, Albus, this isn't the end." She had tears in her eyes. "It brings too many painful memories to the surface."

"Memories are our only links to the past. They help us to deal with the future."

"Please, I cannot stand to hear any more of your wisdom today!" she almost yelled. "A student is dead, and another is suffering an even worse fate!"

"Poppy, I am sorry. It is just that there is nothing we can do about that now. We have to move forward." He wiped a tear from her cheek with his thumb and encircled her with his arms.

"Events are unfolding," he continued, "and we must ready ourselves. We have to prepare the children for what is to come. That is why we are here."

"I know, and I am ready," she sighed. "It's just that…" she paused and looked up at him, "I can heal the physical ailments, but it's the mental ones that I'm most worried about. Those I can't heal with a potion or a flick of my wand." With these last words, she glanced toward the door, which was slightly ajar. Through the gap could be seen a hospital bed where a small, dark-haired boy was sleeping. There were several people sitting at his bedside. All of them looked anxious.

"Only time will heal that, Poppy." He was looking out the door as well. "Time mixed with something he has already found." She nodded in agreement, and together they watched the gathering of people around the young boy's bed.

Suddenly voices and footsteps could be heard coming from the corridor. They were making their way into the ward.

"Where's Dumbledore?" one of them demanded.

Looking at Poppy he said, "My cue." She squeezed his hand and gave him a small peck on the cheek. He then turned around and swept out of the office into the ward…

 Back at the table he sat with his head in his hands. His unruly black hair sticking out between clenched fingers. The stone basin sat forgotten, its silvery contents still swirling.

~*~

"She needs to stop setting a place for him like he's going to show up."

"It makes her feel better. Besides, he could show. He knows the rule."

"He won't."

"What makes you so certain? Did you see it in your morning tea?"

"Ha ha. I just know, all right? Look, no one wants to see him more than I do. He's a right prat for making us all worry like this. But he won't show. Not suddenly and out of the blue. You and I haven't even heard from him in over six months, let alone seen him. If he can't talk to either of us, if he can't even send us an owl to let us know he's alive, he's certainly not coming to Sunday dinner at the Burrow."

"Well, just don't say anything to your mum, okay? If she wants to set a place for him, let her. There's no harm in it."

"But Ginny-"

"Ginny knows. We've had countless conversations. Besides, she's a strong girl and you boys don't give her enough credit."

"I just worry she'll get her hopes up. I swear, when I do see Harry Potter again, I'm going to let him have it."

"No you won't."

"You're right, I won't. I just wish he would come home."

"So do I."

"I'm really worried."

"Me too, Ron. Me too."

~*~

Since the war, Molly and Arthur had only one rule: Any Weasley within Apparating distance must report to the Burrow for Sunday dinner. It didn't just include those with red hair either. Hermione and Harry were Weasleys in everything but name. Remus and Sirius often joined them as well as the twins' girlfriends and various other family friends in the area. Molly always made enough food to feed a small army, so there was always enough to go around.

Ron and Hermione - if she wasn't already there - always arrived early to spend the day with the family. Arthur would wait for Ron and the two would immediately head out to his garage. Hermione and Ginny would often try retreating to Ginny's room or sit outside in the garden to avoid Molly's barrage of questions, the first of which was always, "Have you any word, dear?"

For the last six months, Hermione's answer had always been the same. "No."

After the war Harry had become more and more distant and his appearances at the Sunday dinners became less frequent. He hardly ever came home to the flat he shared with Ron. Eventually he stopped coming home at all. No one had seen hide nor hair of Harry Potter for over six months. Not Hermione or Ron. Not Ginny or the rest of the Weasleys. Not even Sirius. While Hedwig and Pig were consistently sent with letters and packages, they always came back without anything in return.

Sometimes Hermione thought she understood him. Terrible things had happened and it was a very natural reaction to withdraw. But then she just ended up being annoyed. Terrible things had happened to everyone - not just Harry Potter. There were people here who loved him. This was his family and he had abandoned them, deciding instead to do battle with his personal demons alone. He had defeated the Dark Lord, but now he was running. Running from the one person who-

"Hermione. You still with us?" Ginny interrupted her thoughts.

"Hmm? Yes, sorry," she said, looking up at Ginny.

"Mum just asked you to go get Ron and Dad. Supper's ready."

"Oh, sure. But if I'm not back in five minutes, send out backup." Molly and Ginny laughed.

She walked out in back of the Burrow and followed the path that led to Arthur's garage. She stopped short of entering when she heard the voices inside. It wasn't always safe to enter Arthur's garage when he and Ron were inside without first checking. It was almost as bad as the twins' laboratory.

"It's a near impossible job, Dad. I don't see how we're going to be able to unplot one-quarter of what we had hidden before the war. We just don't have the manpower."

Hermione peeked through the window; she saw the back of the familiar redhead and her heart gave a flutter. Both Ron and Arthur were fully engrossed in not only their conversation but also the dismemberment of some piece of Muggle electronics. Upon closer inspection, Hermione saw that it was her parents' old computer, which she had just recently donated to Arthur's hobby. Grinning as she watched Ron, intent on fiddling with a circuit board, she suddenly realized how quickly Arthur's favorite pastime had become his son's.

"I don't expect we'll be able to," Arthur said, scratching his head. He was holding the keyboard above his head and looking at it from every possible angle. "But we do need to keep the Forbidden Forest hidden from the Muggles. Too many have already wandered in there."

"Yeah, I know," Ron replied. "Lucky nothing happened a few Memory Charms couldn't fix." Picking up his wand, he took the keyboard from his father and was now magicking out each of the tiny screws from the back. "The Centaurs keep themselves hidden well enough," he said, struggling with the last screw.

Arthur laughed, "For creatures who don't care to involve themselves with us, they are raising quite a fuss. Keeping your friend, Finch-Fletchley is it? - keeping him rather busy down in the Centaur Office." Arthur and Ron shared a grin. Hermione stifled a laugh. Up until this year, no one had actually worked in the Centaur Office for centuries, its name having become synonymous with termination at the Ministry.

"Yeah, every time I see Justin, he looks like bloody hell." Hermione cringed at Ron's language. Arthur, however, was unfazed, and continued to examine a plug from the computer. "Running him ragged, they are." Ron paused, pried at something on the keyboard, then continued. "It's not the Centaurs I'm worried about. Like I said, they keep themselves hidden well enough." He grunted. "Especially from Muggles." He was now pounding on the handle of his wand, which he had wedged into the middle of the keys on the keyboard.

"You're going to break your wand. Here, use this," Arthur said, handing him a screwdriver. He then went back to holding the keyboard steady.

"I was thinking more along the lines of the other monsters in there," Ron continued. "There's stuff in there that'd swallow you whole."

"Spiders," was all that Arthur said and in an instant Ron jumped, his arms jerking so violently that he sent keys flying in every direction.

"Where?" he yelled, looking around, his voice taking on a pitch that Hermione hadn't heard since its regular bouts of cracking in their fifth year.

Arthur was beside himself laughing as he and Ron, who was looking rather pale, stood in a shower of keys.

"Not here," Arthur sputtered, still laughing. "In the Forbidden Forest. You know, the Acromantulas you're always going on about. Although," he continued teasingly, "they still haven't confirmed that rumor."

"I know what I saw," Ron said flatly. His father's joke was lost on him. Hermione was astonished that, after all they had been through, Ron could still be so afraid of spiders.

As they both knelt on the floor picking up keys, Arthur paused, turned to Ron and said, "You know, you're doing a great job out there."

"Well, we're trying. I just don't think we can ever be completely hidden like before." Ron and his father were now arranging the keys on the table. "And I've been thinking," he said becoming more serious. "Not that the Minister wants my advice," he grinned at his father, "but, I reckon maybe we shouldn't."

Arthur was regarding his son with a look of deep pride on his face. "Ron, I couldn't agree with you more. It's probably the wisest advice I've received in a while." He patted his son on the back, and Hermione could see the familiar shade of pink creep onto the tips of Ron's ears.

The men stood in silence and Hermione waited a few seconds before popping her head in the doorway to call them to supper.

"Nice job you two did on that computer," Hermione grinned up at Ron. "How soon will it be before you enchant it to fly?"

Ron grinned, giving her a kiss on the top of her head as they followed Arthur into the house. Hermione smiled and gently, without Ron even noticing, brushed a spider off of his shoulder.

~*~

Molly, Ginny, the twins, Lee Jordan, and Remus were all at the table. Fred and George were already eating. Ron sat down beside George, who was busy shoveling potatoes into his mouth.

"Nice of you to wait," Ron said, grabbing a basket of rolls from Fred's clutches. "I hope there's something left for those of us that actually, you know, work for a living."

"Oh, so sorry, Mr. Important-Ministry-Worker-Type," Fred said as George sniggered. "Shall I shine your badge for you?"

"I don't have a badge," Ron said through gritted teeth. He was glaring across the table at Fred. "It's an I.D., is all."

"Prefect badge, Ministry I.D.," George shrugged. " I see no difference."

"Head Boy badge," Ginny added in a whiny, teasing voice .

"That's enough," Molly said, her eyes on Ron, who was now a deep shade of crimson. "Time to change the subject."

"So how is the joke business coming along?" Hermione asked, obeying Molly's command.

George jumped on the question. "We finalize the paperwork tomorrow and then it's official." He was beaming. "Weasleys Wizard Wheezes will be open for business."

"Just as soon as we set up the shop," Fred added, "and people come out of hiding and come back to Hogsmeade."

"They will," said Arthur reassuringly. "Old Mundungus Fletcher has already moved back into his cottage as well as several others. He told me Rosmerta said the pub will be ready for business in a week's time."

"And where there's Butterbeer, there's friends and fun!" Ginny rattled off as if she were Barney the Bat.

"Ginny!" Molly exclaimed.

"She's right, Molly," Arthur said, smiling at his daughter. Then turning to the twins he said, "I have to say though, that as much as I'm sure you two will be successful, I'm going to miss old Zonko's."

"Oh, and I'm sure it missed you," Molly said to her husband. "Never sold as many Dungbombs after you left Hogwarts. That is," she glared at the twins, but her eyes held the hint of a smile, "until this lot arrived."

Fred took on a wistful look, as though remembering something wonderful and said, "Ah yes, our motto, 'When all else at Hogwarts fails…' "

" '…use a Dungbomb!' " George finished for him.

"Now, if we could only get some free advertising," Fred said, turning to look at Lee.

"What do you want from me? I announce Quidditch on the WWN, I don't own the station."

"Work your magic, my friend. You can do it." Fred was serious. Hermione thought back to their days at Hogwarts when Lee announced the Quidditch matches. He had been anything but objective. She figured he would have no problem inserting Weasleys Wizard Wheezes into his play-by-play and she had no doubts that he would.

"You know," interrupted Ron. "I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Hogsmeade still isn't completely unplotted. And the anti-Muggle charms haven't-"

"Been restored to full capacity," Lee finished, as he and the rest of the table, including Hermione -who turned her head away from Ron - rolled their eyes. "You're low on wizard-power and it could take months, maybe a year before every spell is back up to speed and until then, Muggles may wander in and out," he finished. "Ron, you are the Master of the Unplot, a genius of wizard geography and we in the wizarding community bow before your awesome powers." Fred and George were falling out of their chairs laughing.

"He forgot Emperor of the Orb," Ginny whispered to Hermione, who promptly snorted her drink into her nose.

"Lee, I think you've been spending too much time here," Arthur laughed.

Ron scowled as he continued to eat his turkey, but he grinned slightly when Hermione squeezed his knee under the table.

"The meal is delicious as usual, Molly."

"Thank you, Remus. It's nice to have someone here who appreciates what I do."

"Sirius, of course, sends his regrets. He's off on business." Remus sounded sad, and as he spoke, eight pairs of eyes including his own, immediately darted to the empty place set next to Ginny. Hermione knew as well as everyone else that Sirius was looking for Harry. And like everyone else, she hoped this would be the time he would find him.

For several minutes, the clanking of their forks and knives was the only sound in the house until Pig swooped in through an open window and dropped what looked like a dead mouse into Hermione's lap. She shrieked and tried to move out of its way, but she wasn't quick enough. She fell off her chair onto the floor as the mouse hit her lap, exploding. The kitchen was showered colorful sparks, streamers, confetti, and rainbow-colored candies.

"Mouse Missles," grinned Fred.

"Brilliant," Ron said, helping Hermione up from the floor.

//
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