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Old August 8th, 2009, 7:05 pm
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Join Date: 09th October 2004
Location: Hogwarts Grounds
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 5
The New House

Author's Note: This chapter will be in Hermione and Ron's Point-of-Views.

(Hermione's POV)

“... floor, Daily Prophet Headquarters,” the cool voice overhead said, as the lifts opened.

Hermione walked out of the lifts and down the narrow hallway. Interdepartmental memos were flying in and out of doorways, and up and down the hallway. Hermione had to duck as one rather large memo flew just over where her head had been a moment before. At the end of the hallway, a large plaque on the door read:

DAILY PROPHET HEADQUARTERS


Below the title were various important staff members' names. Hermione opened the door, walked through it, and almost ran headlong into Susan Bones.

“Watch it!” Susan exclaimed, then saw who it was, “Oh, Hermione! Was hoping to see you before you left. What are you doing here? Did you get the job? Are you the new Court Scribe?”

“No,” Hermione said, “Actually I am the new Court Respondent.”

“That would explain why you are up here,” Susan said, “Well, congratulations. Does that mean we won't see each other as much?”

“Actually, I work directly with Head Judge Morrison,” Hermione said.

“Oh, great!” Susan said.

“I'm up here to give the notes on the Rita Skeeter case,” Hermione said.

“You better go then,” Susan said, “After I gave them the news about that, they were pretty furious wondering where the rest of the story was. I told them that I didn't have it, but someone would get it to them. You didn't hear it from me, but it could go on the front page of tomorrow's edition.”

Hermione almost choked. Her notes could be on the front page of the Daily Prophet?

“Well, I better get going,” Susan said, she turned, then turned back to Hermione, “Oh, before I forget!”

She opened the folder she was carrying and handed a piece of parchment to Hermione.

“Take that to the security desk in the Atrium,” Susan said, “You'll get your Ministry pass and all the information you need in a little pamphlet. Did Herb give you a schedule for work?”

“He told me he didn't really have a schedule,” Hermione said, “And that I would work his cases, so I would work when he had one.”

“That doesn't help much, does it?” Susan said, shaking her head, “I swear... Morrison is as sharp as a tack, but not enough common sense to fill a cauldron. Oh, don't tell him I said that! Well, I tell you what. See me tomorrow, and I will have the schedule of all of Morrison's cases for the next couple of weeks. That should help.”

“Yeah, sounds great,” Hermione said, “Also I'd hate to ask this already. But I never got any information from Morrison on my salary?”

“Oh, we'll discuss that later,” Susan said, waving a dismissive hand.

“Oh, all right,” Hermione said.

“Welcome to the team, Hermione,” Susan said, “I'm so excited we're working together.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Well, I better get these notes to the Daily Prophet.”

Susan nodded and waved goodbye, then left the office. Hermione walked up to the front desk.

“Do you have an appointment?” the witch at the desk said, without looking up.

“Er...” Hermione said, “Actually I have the notes for the Rita Skeeter case.”

Suddenly, the door behind the desk opened, and a man walked out, looking frustrated. Hermione was surprised when he had walked over to her.

“You're the one with the scoop on the Skeeter case?” he said, quickly.

“Er, yeah,” Hermione said, “I was the Court Respondent for the case. I have all the notes here --”

Right when Hermione showed him the stack of parchment, the man took it from her quickly. He sped-read over it, nodding and grinning.

“Yes, yes,” he said, more to himself than Hermione, “Exactly what I need.”

He looked at Hermione.

“Well,” he said, “Miss -?”

“Oh... Granger,” Hermione said, “Hermione Granger.”

“Miss Granger,” he said, “You did this?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“Good,” he said, “Very good.”

He took out his wand and conjured up a piece of parchment. He handed it to Hermione.

“Give this to the front desk,” he said, nodding to the desk, “Everything should be correct.”

Before Hermione could ask what the parchment was, the man rushed back into the office. Hermione walked over to the desk.

“Yes?” the witch asked.

Hermione handed her the piece of parchment. She took a long glance at it, then to Hermione. She raised an eyebrow, then opened a compartment in her desk. A shuffling of metal was heard. She then stuck out a closed fist to Hermione. Hermione put out her hand, reluctantly. Ten large galleons dropped into it. Hermione looked surprised.

“Er...” she said, “What --”

“Your payment for your scoop,” the witch said, “Must have been a good one. Most people only get seven, if that.”

“Well, thanks!” Hermione said.

The witch just smiled. Hermione stood there, not sure what to do next.

“Anything else?” the witch asked, looking up at her.

“Huh? Oh, no,” Hermione said.

“Well, see you later then,” the witch said.

Hermione nodded and walked back out of the office, pocketing the ten galleons.

-----------------------------------

(Ron's POV)

At half-past-two, Ron and Harry were in the locker room in the Auror Department. Both looked very tired, as they dressed back into their normal clothes.

“So you're seeing that house today?” Harry asked Ron.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I'm meeting the real estate guy at the house in about an hour-and-a-half. Hermione's coming along. I'm supposed to meet her at the Leaky Cauldron in a little while.”

“She had her interview today, right?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I hope she did well. She was pretty nervous this morning. You should have –“

Suddenly, Billingsly walked past Ron and Harry in the locker room. He took a quick glance at them, then walked on.

“It's like he thinks we're the reason Thorpe is gone,” Ron whispered to Harry, as he watched Billingsly disappear into the next row of lockers.

“Rubbish,” Harry whispered, “Why would he think that?”

Ron shrugged, not having a good answer.

“It's Thorpe's own fault he didn't tell the Ministry about his father,” Harry whispered, “Thorpe was lucky he wasn't brought up on charges for something.”

Suddenly, a locker door slammed and Billingsly quickly appeared in the row of lockers that Ron and Harry were at.

“You going on about Thorpe, are you?” he asked, loudly.

“No,” Ron lied, “Of course not.”

“I don't believe you,” he said, “You know as well as I do Thorpe deserved to be with us. A dream ruined all because the Ministry feels threatened again.”

“Hey, we agree with you, mate,” Harry said, “People aren't always like their parents.”

“Yeah, you're right,” Billingsly said, “So why did this happen to Thorpe?”

“Thorpe left on his own,” a familiar voice said, “It was nothing any of you did.”

Ron, Harry and Billingsly looked down at the other end of the lockers. Shippe was standing there.

“And there was nothing,” Shippe said, “any of you could have done.”

“You know as well as I do that that is total rubbish!” Billingsly said, “He was forced to resign because of his father!”

Shippe walked, in a quick pace, down to Ron, Harry and Billingsly. He got in Billingsly's face.

“Look, Billingsly,” he said, “I tried to help Thorpe. I did everything I could try. I told them he was a wonderful part of this department, and that he could have a bright future as an Auror if he trained well. They didn't listen to me.”

“I don't believe that,” Harry said, “I know Kingsley Shacklebolt. He would listen to reason.”

“I don't think you know the Minister as well as you think you do, Potter,” Shippe said, “Ever since he started this investigation, I hardly recognize him. If you ask me, I think he's changed ever since the Second War ended. He wants to make sure something like that never happens again, and he'll do everything he can to make it that way.”

Shippe took a quick glance at Ron, Harry and Billingsly.

“I trust that the three of you don't have any bad marks in your past,” he said, “I'd hate to lose my three best students.”

Without another word, he turned and walked back down the row of lockers and disappeared to the left. Billingsly looked at Harry and Ron and shook his head, disgusted. He walked away and went the same way as Shippe.

“I think I should talk to Kingsley,” Harry said.

“Why?” Ron asked.

“Something's not right here,” he said, “You know him as well as I do. Would the Kingsley we know act like this?”

Ron shrugged.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he quoted.

“Not when it comes to Kingsley,” Harry said, shaking his head.

Harry put on his trainers, tied them and shut the locker door. He took his things and walked away.

“See you, mate,” Ron said.

Harry waved a hand toward him, and then disappeared to his right. Ron finished getting dressed and headed for the Atrium.

-------------------------

When Ron arrived at the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Powder, it was almost three-o-clock. He found Hermione sitting at a window-side table by herself. She was half-way through a Butterbeer, reading what looked to be like a large pamphlet.

“One butterbeer, Tom,” Ron said, nodding to the barman.

Tom nodded. Ron walked over to Hermione's table and sat across from her. Hermione smiled at him.

“I called the taxi,” she said, “It'll be at the end of the street in about fifteen minutes.”

Ron nodded.

“So?” he said.

“So... what?” Hermione asked.

“So... the interview!” Ron said, “How did you do?”

“Oh, right,” Hermione said.

Ron listened intently, as Hermione told him what happened in Courtroom B and the Daily Prophet Headquarters. Hermione only paused a moment when Tom brought Ron his drink and Ron paid for it.

“You're kidding!” Ron said, taking a large gulp of butterbeer, “So ol' Skeeter got what was finally coming to her? Mum will be ecstatic!”

“Kind of how I felt,” Hermione said, “Anyway, I first went into the interview expecting to be one of the Court Scribes. By the end, Morrison told me I was the newest Court Respondent and would report on everyone of his cases.”

“Isn't he the bloke who is the Head Judge?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said.

“So you're a part of the Wizengamot?” Ron asked.

“Er... the very bottom, if I am,” Hermione said.

“Still, that is pretty good,” Ron said.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “And what is more, it seems that if I have a good 'scoop' for the Daily Prophet, I get paid for it from them as well. I got ten galleons just for giving my notes to them.”

“Wow,” Ron said.

“Yep,” Hermione said.

Ron and Hermione finished their drinks and left the Leaky Cauldron, then headed down to the end of the street. A couple minutes later, the taxi arrived.

“33 Bank Street,” Ron told the cabbie, when he and Hermione stepped into the back of the car.

“I know where it is,” the cabbie said, “It will be about a thirty minute drive. I tell you, this is a strange neighborhood to meet you two in. Never hear a good story around here. You wouldn't believe the folks I get around here. Dressed in funny-colored cloaks even when the days are scorchers!”

Ron and Hermione just nodded.

“Oh, I'm sorry,” the cabbie said, “Didn't mean to pry.”

The cabbie started the time-clock and drove down the road.

---------------------------------------------

The journey took roughly thirty minutes, just as the cabbie promised. The cabbie didn't say much, probably thinking that Ron and Hermione were just like the “folks” he saw around the Leaky Cauldron. Throughout the ride, Ron was debating whether or not to tell Hermione to modify the man's memory, but he thought better of it.

“Here we are,” the cabbie finally said, as he stopped on the curb in the middle of a street of houses, “Thirty minutes, just like I said, eh?”

Hermione smiled and paid the man with Muggle money. Ron followed her out of the car, and the cabbie tipped his hat.

“You two won't be needing a ride back, will ya?” he asked.

“Nope,” Ron said.

“Good day, then,” the cabbie said, and drove off.

Across the road, parked outside a one-story house, was a dark-blue Toyota. The door of the car opened, and a man walked out. The man was in his mid-fifties, and he was wearing a black business-like suit. He looked a little large around the middle. A briefcase was in his right hand.

“Mr. Weasley, you are early.” the man said, moving his free hand over his eyes to shade out the sun.

“Better than late,” Ron said, as he and Hermione walked over to the man, “Oh, Mr. Wycott, this is my fiancee, Hermione Granger.”

“Sal Wycott,” Mr. Wycott said, shaking Hermione's hand, “Cape and Wycott Realties. Miss Granger, you said?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“You wouldn't be related to the dentists with the same name?” Mr. Wycott said, “Richard and Helen?”

“They are my parents,” Hermione said, nodding and blushing.

“Well, this is a grand surprise!” Mr. Wycott said, “They always talk about their daughter, but I always forgot your name. Best dentists in the city, you ask me. You tell them hello for me when you talk to them, will ya?”

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“Well, Mr. Weasley,” Mr. Wycott said, looking at Ron, “I take it that you would like to see the house?”

Ron nodded. Mr. Wycott put out a hand, indicating the house behind him. Ron looked at it. At first glance, it looked like your normal one-story house. Two windows, adorned with shutters, were on each side of a mahogany door. The door had brownish siding. A stone walkway led to the door. Small Bushes stood under each window. A Chimney stuck out of the side of the roof, indicating that the house came with a fireplace.

“You will be happy to know that this is one of the nicest low-priced houses on our list,” Mr. Wycott said, leading Ron and Hermione down the stone walkway, “Oh, its one bedroom, of course, so most of our customers pass over it. They all have young children with them. But it does come with the option of being furnished. Cape and Wycott Realities are allied with a beautiful furniture store, and they cut their prices for us. That's always a plus among our hopeful house-owners.”

Mr. Wycott sure knew what he was doing, Ron thought to himself, as he listened intently to the man.

“Shall we go inside?” Mr. Wycott asked.

Ron and Hermione nodded.

“Very anxious,” Mr. Wycott said, grinning, “I like it.”

He walked over to the door. On the wall was a small white box with a number-pad on it. The realty's logo was on it.

“Once the house is purchased,” Mr. Wycott said, “This will, of course, be removed. It is only for our realtors access. We don't lose keys this way. Years ago, we didn't have these. We lost keys all the time. Bad for business you know.”

He laughed and touched four digits and Ron heard a small, quick beep. Mr. Wycott opened the top of the box and reached inside. He took out a small brass key.

“Here's the little devil,” he said.

He unlocked the door and opened it.

“Ladies first,” he said, glancing at Hermione.

Hermione smiled and walked inside. Ron followed and Mr. Wycott came in behind him. They were inside a good-sized living room. The fireplace was the first thing Ron noticed. It was marble-topped, with stone on the sides that matched the sidewalk outside. Ron mentally made a note that, if they got the house, he could connect it to the Floo Network.

“As you see, this is, of course the living room,” Mr. Wycott said, “The fireplace is wonderful for those cold nights we always get here in Merry Ol' London. The house isn't furnished yet, of course, but if you were to purchase and want that option, the movers would be here at your convenience, and they always promise to move everything in themselves. If you will, the kitchen is this way.”

Mr. Wycott led Ron and Hermione toward the kitchen.

“Now, a downside to the house,” he said, “is that you don't have a dining room that many of the houses are known to have. But the kitchen...”

Ron and Hermione walked through the archway and into the kitchen.

“... is big enough for a nice table to eat at, as you can see,” Mr. Wycott continued, “And it already comes furnished with the goods.”

The kitchen was indeed big enough. Ron thought it was even a bit bigger than the Burrow's kitchen, and definitely less crowded. Black marble covered the counter-top.

“If you follow me,” Mr. Wycott said.

Mr. Wycott led them back through the living room and down a hallway at the other end. A door on each side of the narrow hallway each led into rooms, while a sliding door at the end of the hallway looked like it led into a backyard. Mr. Wycott opened the door on the left. It led into a small lavatory. Black and white tile covered the floor and the walls were white, and adorned with red roses. Mr. Wycott opened the other room.

“And of course, the bedroom,” Mr. Wycott said.

As Ron walked in, he found that the bedroom was a little bit bigger than his bedroom at home, and far less crowded, even without all the furniture. The walls and carpet were maroon-colored.

“It comes complete with a walk-in closet, and a wonderful view of the backyard,” Mr. Wycott said, “Also, I'd imagine it is quite cozy on cold nights.”

He chuckled, and Ron tried his best to hide the color rising on his cheeks.

“The backyard,” Mr. Wycott, “is rather small, but I imagine it would be nice enough for the two of you and a few guests should you ever want to have a party or something.”

The backyard, Ron noticed as he walked into it, was definitely much smaller than the yard he was used to at the Burrow. It was kind of open, but he could modify that so no Muggles would look in, in case magic was being used.

“That's the end of the tour,” he said, looking expectantly at Ron and Hermione, “I can give the two of you time to think it over if you want.”

Ron and Hermione nodded.

“I'll just be inside,” Mr. Wycott grinned.

Ron watched Mr. Wycott walk back into the house.

“What do you think?” he asked Hermione.

“It's brilliant,” Hermione said.

“Rather small,” Ron said, “But it won't be permanent, of course. Definitely cozy.”

He laughed, and Hermione shook her head, grinning.

“Can we afford it?” Hermione asked.

“You're the expert,” Ron said, then lowered his voice to a whisper, “You know, on Muggle money. What do you think?”

“I think,” Hermione said, “that I really like this place. Another plus is that it is definitely bigger than George's flat.”

Ron had to agree. Ron and Hermione had to live above George's shop in Hogsmeade during the few weeks they worked there, after George got injured. At times, Ron felt very cramped in that place.

“Should we take it?” Ron asked.

Hermione looked around at the back yard and at the house. She smiled at Ron and nodded.

“Brilliant,” Ron said, “Let's go tell Mr. Wycott the good news.”

Ron and Hermione walked back into the house, and found Mr. Wycott standing in the middle of the living room looking through papers. He looked up at them, questioningly.

“So?” he asked.

“We'll take it,” Ron said.

“Brilliant!” Mr. Wycott exclaimed, walking over to them and shaking Ron's hand, “When do you plan on moving in?”

Ron and Hermione looked at each other.

“First of the month?” Ron asked her.

Hermione nodded.

“Perfect,” Mr. Wycott said, “Tell you what. I'm going to be pretty busy all week, so I won't have time to work through the papers until Friday. How about I give you the address for my building and we meet there on Saturday to do the papers? I can give you the key then. Of course, if you change your mind, you can always call me too. Sometimes people change their minds. Cold feet. Too soon sometimes, you know. Especially for a young couple like yourselves. All understandable. But if you don't change your mind, meet me on Saturday like I said. We'll work it all out and I'll schedule the movers before you move in. You do want the place furnished, right?”

Ron nodded.

“Wonderful,” Mr. Wycott said, “Well, if there are no more questions, I think that is all for today. It was a pleasure meeting the both of you.”

Ron and Hermione smiled and nodded. A few minutes later, after assuring Mr. Wycott that they would just call another taxi, Ron and Hermione watched as Mr. Wycott left in his car down the road. When they were sure nobody could see them, they apparated back to the Leaky Cauldron, then went to the Burrow via Floo Powder, to give the good news.

-----------------------------------

A/N: Another chapter finished! Well, Ron and Hermione have their house! Did you like it? I thought it was rather good for a one-bedroom house. As an American, I'm not at all familiar with European houses, so I hope it was good.

More to come! Feedback would be wonderful!


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