Chapter 17: Labors of Love
|Chapter 16||Chapter Index||Chapter 18|
Hermione purposefully made her way along a passageway deep within the Department of
Magical Law Enforcement. Large magical portraits of deceased witches and wizards hung
on the walls at regular intervals. The witch or wizard in each portrait was dressed in
formal robes and many had dignified aloof expressions on their faces. Others, seated
at a desk with quill in hand, were busily writing on long and official looking
parchments. A few gazed out with an expression of discernment and these occupants
nodded to her as she passed.
Beneath each portrait was a plaque containing a summary of the person's accomplishments and their received accolades. Hermione stopped in front of the portrait of Solicitor Richard MacLaren. From her research, she knew he had spent a considerable portion of his long career working for the betterment of magical creatures. His last effort was the failed agreement between the centaur tribe and the Ministry. The case synopsis, written by Barrister Hector Locklear, had stated that the failure was due to unreasonable requests by the pompous and uncooperative centaur representatives.
During the preceding weeks, Hermione had traveled many times to meet with the centaur elders. At one of these meetings, Redotus had spoken about Richard and the many times they had met for negotiations. In pressing him for details, she found that Redotus had trusted Richard. Despite some areas of disagreement, Redotus had approved the final draft of the agreement. However, when Hector presented the official document for approval and signature by the centaurs, Redotus rejected it as unacceptable. There were no further negotiations and the agreement failed ratification. This had caused Hermione to wonder.
Hermione looked up at the face of Richard in the magical portrait. He gave her a respectful nod of his head but spoke no words. After straightening her business robes, she walked to the end of the passageway and stepped into a waiting room. The room had cushioned seating around its perimeter. She saw an elderly witch and wizard sitting side by side, each skimming the contents of a magazine. A middle-aged receptionist sat in a small cubicle by the far wall. There were many closed doors on each side of the cubicle.
The receptionist looked up from her work as Hermione approached. "Hello. May I help you?"
"I'm Hermione Granger and I have an appointment with Barrister Locklear."
The receptionist scanned an appointment sheet. "Yes. Please have a seat for a moment. I'll tell him you are here."
Hermione seated herself and a moment later, a door on the far side of the cubicle opened. A balding wizard stepped partway through the door. "Mr. and Mrs. Humphries, would you please step into my office." The elderly couple stood and stepped past him through the door. Then the door closed with a click. A moment later, a paper plane zoomed out of an opening and landed on the receptionist's desk. She stood and moved to another door.
"Ms Granger, Barrister Locklear will see you now." The receptionist opened the door. "Right this way."
Hermione stepped through the doorway into a circular room and the door closed behind her. An elderly man wearing black robes and seated behind a large oak desk, was busily writing on a piece of parchment. Framed awards, commendations, and citations hung at regular intervals around the circular wall. A large framed diploma was prominently displayed on the wall behind him.
Without looking up he said, "Please sit down Ms Granger, I haven't got all day."
With a slight frown, she moved forward and sat down in front of the desk. Hector continued writing for another moment. Then he placed the quill in the inkpot and sat back. The parchment rolled itself up and a dark colored ribbon tied itself around the center. Then the parchment floated onto a nearby bookcase shelf containing many other rolled parchments.
Hector looked at her and in a surly tone said, "Your owl stated you are doing an elective NEWT level case study. I took the liberty of reviewing your academic achievements. They are acceptable. What do you need from me?"
"I need to know more about the case I have chosen to study. It was drafted by Solicitor MacLaren and finalize by you. It involves an agreement between the Ministry and the Chironian centaur tribe who dwell in the forest by Hogwarts."
"Fickled star-gazing half-breeds," he said in contempt. "I warned MacLaren more than once that nothing good would come of it. A blemish on my reputation and a big waste of time. Why do you want to study that case? It was a failure."
"I'm sure it was a very complex agreement to work out," she said in a tone of mild admiration. "You must have gone to extraordinary lengths to get Ministry consensus. How did you do it?"
He snorted. "One arrogant ministry official after another," he said sarcastically. "I worked for nearly a year going 'round to everyone who needed to approve it. Each wanted something changed they thought important to their constituents. MacLaren didn't include many of the requests but few reread the revisions. We finally got it worked out to everyone's satisfaction."
"That was obviously very difficult for you," said Hermione with great interest. "What happened next?"
His expression softened and there was a hint of pride in his voice. "The day before formal treaty presentation, MacLaren was called away to Edinburgh for a consultation. I received an urgent owl that evening from the Hogwarts governors. The owl insisted on a treaty provision to ensure appropriate segregation from the school. The governors were concerned about the safety of students and the potential for undesirable contact with members of the tribe. They cited clause twenty-seven, section thirteen six of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy which provides for a reasonable safe zone between magical and non-magical beings. In essence, it barred the centaurs from entering the forest. It all checked out and since the governors have legal jurisdiction over students at Hogwarts, the request was lawful. The provision was added."
Thoughts of what Harry and Ron had told her about Dumbledore's sacking during their second year came to mind. Did someone coerce the governors to add this provision? It seemed very suspicious that McLaren would be called away at such a critical juncture. Locklear had not participated in any of the face-to-face negotiations with Redotus.
"I presented the formal treaty the next day as scheduled. They flatly rejected it as unacceptable." With renewed and irritated contempt he said, "Fickled star-gazing half-breeds."
"The logic and structure you used in the crafting of such a complex agreement must be awesome," smiled Hermione. "I'm sure it is fascinating and well worth my study time. But I haven't been able to find the document in the archives. Would you have a copy I can borrow for a while?"
Hector looked at her for a long moment. "I don't see why not. That agreement is dead and serves no further use to this department."
He turned and pointed his wand at the lowest shelf of the bookcase. The shelf was stacked with hundreds of dusty rolled parchments. One parchment slid out and floated over to Hermione guided by the wand in Hector's hand.
She briefly unrolled and scanned the parchment. Then, after rolling it up said, "Thank you so very much."
"When you are finished with your case study, see that the document is added to the archive." His expression relaxed and became cordial. "And ... your academic record is quite impressive. It is good to know that I have helped it along."
"Well, I've taken enough of your time." She stood to leave.
"Ms Granger," said Locklear with a hopeful expression. "Would you be interested in pursuing a part time internship in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement?"
"Why yes Barrister Locklear, I would."
"Very good. I'm of the opinion that one can't start too early in this profession. I'll arrange an offer letter for your approval."
"Thank you Barrister Locklear."
She walked out of his office and then down the long passageway. She stopped again in front of the portrait of Richard MacLaren.
She held up the rolled parchment. "Your work lives on."
With a satisfied expression Richard said, "Well done."
"Thanks." She turned and confidently strode down the passageway.
Some days later, Ron sat across from Dan and Emma in the small lunchroom of
their dental practice. They were talking while taking afternoon tea.
"We take a short lunch together at the Ministry most days," said Ron. "Lately, she's been looking really knackered and a bit irritable. I reckon it's because she's working non-stop on those petitions."
"More than one?" said Emma.
"Yeah. She started with the centaur petition. We traveled a few times to the Chironian reservation to talk with Redotus. Now she's also working on something for elf rights. I've collected information for her from the Auror archives."
"She leaves very early in the mornings," said Emma. "Most nights, she's not home from the Ministry library until close to midnight."
"I told her she needs to slow down," said Ron. "We ah, got into a bit of a row over it. What she's doing is important and all, but I'm worried she'll make herself ill."
Emma thought for a moment. "Dan, is there room for them to join us this weekend? They can have a bit of a holiday while we're at the dental conference."
"Yes, that's an excellent suggestion." Both Emma and Dan looked at Ron.
"I'll try, but it won't be easy. She's got her mind really set on getting the work done."
"You need to be firm with her," said Dan. He glanced at Emma and smiled. "She ah, takes after her father in that respect."
Ron smiled and nodded. "There's something else I want to talk to you about. I've been working on something that will help her with the research she's doing. ..."
The next day, Ron and Hermione were eating a quick lunch at the Ministry
"... and here's a list of some other information I need. The Auror archive seems to have the most credible, trustworthy, and unbiased information."
Ron reluctantly took the small piece of parchment from her.
"Okay. Harry took interest in that last bit of information I got for you. He said it ties into another case he's working on for Auror Sanders. He wants to investigate it further."
In an authoritative voice she said, "Just have him check with me before he takes any actions. Some of that information is sensitive to what I am working on."
Ron nodded. "Harry said to ask how you're doing."
In a wearisome tone she said, "You see me every day at lunch. I'm sure you can fill him in."
"Yeah, reckon he just wants to hear you say it."
"Tell him I'm alright."
"Okay ... I'll tell him."
Ron took a deep breath. "Hermione, you really need to slow down a bit."
"Give it a rest Ron," said Hermione in an exasperated tone. "I told you the other day that I can handle it."
"But you'll make yourself ill," said Ron in a pleading tone. "I'm worried about you."
"Once Hogwarts term begins, I'll have to spend most of my time on studies. I want to research as much as I can before then."
Ron's face flushed red. "Listen to me Hermione," he said in a firm voice. "I made that pheletone so we could stay in touch with each other. My calls aren't being answered. Is that what you wanted?"
She felt a cold stabbing chill and his words echoed in her ears. "No ... it's not." She meekly took hold of both of his hands across the table and contritely said, "I'm sorry ... you're right. I've been so wrapped up in my research that I've neglected the people I care about most. Please forgive me."
"I do. Your mum and dad are meeting friends at a conference this weekend. They've invited us to come along and have a bit of a holiday. I think we should go. No work, okay?"
In a submissive tone she said, "Okay. Where are we going?"
"Brighton. They've got a beach, a pier with an amusement park, and lots of things we can see and do."
Later that evening at the Burrow, Harry and Ron were studying their Auror
training books in Ron's room.
"Use of Force."
Ron looked up and replied, "Aurors will use only reasonable force for each circumstance in the discharge of their duties."
Ron said, "Integrity."
"Aurors will not engage in acts of corruption or bribery, nor will an Auror condone such acts."
Harry said, "Performance of Duty."
"Aurors shall perform their duties impartially, without favor of affliction or ill will. All law abiding citizens will be treated equally with courtesy, consideration, and dignity."
Ron said, "What does without favor of affliction mean?"
"It means you don't deliberately hurt someone for what they've done. You know, punish them."
"Got it." ... Riiinnnngggg!!!
Ron jumped and looked with a shocked expression at the phone on his nightstand. Riiinnnngggg!!! He hastily reached over and picked up the receiver.
"Hello? ... Hi Hermione." Ron's face beamed with a smile. "Yeah, we were just finishing up. ... Okay."
Ron handed the receiver to Harry.
"Hi Harry," said the voice of Hermione from the phone receiver. "All right?"
Harry smiled. "Yeah, it's good to hear your voice. How are you?"
"A bit knackered but I'm alive and well. Sorry for being distant."
"That's okay. I know you've been busy. How's your centaur research getting on?"
"Making progress. I spoke with Barrister Locklear about the failed treaty and got the official document."
"That's great Hermione."
"Thanks. How are you doing with your Auror lessons?"
"Really well. I helped identify a sleeper cell in Bedford. A witch and wizard were taken into custody."
"That's wonderful Harry."
"Thanks. Okay, I'll let you talk with Ron. Hope to see you soon."
Harry handed the receiver back to Ron. Then he stood and made his way down the stairs to the parlor. Ginny was in the loveseat reading a Quidditch magazine. Seeing him approach, she turned and put her feet on the floor so he could sit beside her. After Harry sat down, she turned and arched her legs across his lap.
"Was that Ron's pheletone I heard?"
"Yeah, Hermione called."
"I haven't seen her at Hogwarts for quite some time. How is she?"
"Knackered from all the research she's doing. You know Hermione, when she makes up her mind about doing something, she really focuses in on it. She's always been passionate about equal rights."
"Still, she shouldn't make herself ill over it. Besides, I miss seeing and talking with her."
"You're not the only one. Ron told her, in no uncertain terms, that they're going on holiday this weekend with her parents."
"Good for him. She needs a bit of a rest."
She thought for a moment. "Harry, what do you think about taking up Bill's invitation and spend the weekend at shell cottage?"
"We can't do it this weekend. How about next weekend?"
"That'll do. I'll send word to Bill and Fleur. What's happening this weekend?"
"I have to close the property agreement at Godric's Hollow. I want you to accompany me and help decide."
"Oh yes," she said enthusiastically. "That will be wonderful. Have you looked at anything yet?"
"I met with Jill in the real estate office a few times and just looked at pictures. After crosschecking at the Department of Magical Dwellings, I've narrowed it down to three. I want to go to each place and have a look around."
"That's so exciting!" said Ginny enthusiastically.
He smiled warmly.
On Friday evening, Dan, Emma, Ron, and Hermione boarded an evening train to
Brighton. They arrived in good order and checked into adjoining hotel rooms.
The next morning, Emma stepped into the doorway between the two rooms. Hermione
was still asleep and Ron sat in a chair reading the newspaper. She quietly
cleared her throat and Ron looked up from the paper. Emma motioned for him to
come closer. He quietly stood and moved into the adjoining room.
"Is she still asleep?" said Emma in a low voice.
"Dan and I are going to the conference now. We'll see you two late this afternoon. Dinner reservation is at six and the theater show begins at eight. Have fun exploring."
"Thanks. Have a good time at the conference."
Dan and Emma stepped out of their room. Ron quietly moved back to the chair and continued reading the paper.
"Good morning Ron," said a soft sleepy voice a short while later.
Ron lowered the paper. Hermione was lying on her side and looking at him.
"Good morning, sleep well?"
She nodded. "Did Mum and Dad leave for their conference?"
"Yeah, a short while ago. What do you want to do today?"
She stretched her arms. "Let's start with some breakfast and then go for a walk on the beach."
"That sounds good to me."
Later after breakfast, they returned to the room. She reached into her beaded bag and pulled out a pair of swim shorts. Smiling, she handed them to Ron. "I brought these for you to wear." Then, taking her beaded bag, she went into the bathroom and closed the door.
Ron changed into the swim shorts. "Hermione, did you bring along a T-shirt for me?"
"Yes, it's in my bag," said Hermione from behind the closed door. "I'll give it to you when I come out."
Feeling a bit uneasy, she looked at her reflection in the mirror and adjusted the fit of a purple and blue swimsuit top. When she had tried it on in Australia, both Ginny and Emma had told her with absolute certainty, that Ron would like it. Though the mirror showed a figure that she might like to see a bit different, she was none-the-less satisfied with her appearance. Taking a quick breath, she opened the door and walked out into the room.
Ron's mouth fell open. "Whoa!" and he stared at her.
She smiled at his rapt expression and shifting gaze. "Do you like it?" She turned slowly once around.
"Is Merlin a wizard? You look fantastic."
"Thanks. You're quite fit yourself." He watched as she moved to the nightstand and picked up her wand. "You just need a bit of tan."
He smiled and nodded.
She pointed her wand at him. "Hold your arms out and turn around once, colos aeratus!"
After completing the turn, his skin was tinted bronze.
"That's better," said Hermione in a satisfied tone.
"I'll give you some color too."
She looked at him cautiously. "Have you done it before? I don't want to be green."
"Sure, it's just a simple coloring charm." He took hold of his wand and pointed it at her. "Turn 'round, pelle aeratus!"
Holding out her arms, she turned around. Her skin tinted into a warm bronze tone.
She glanced at her arms. "Well done."
"Thanks." Ron grinned. "Did I do the tan lines okay?"
Her eyes widened as she drew in a short quick breath. Piercing eyes of scrutiny quickly followed. Then, her expression slowly melted into a warm appreciative smile.
Carefully lifting a corner of her swimsuit top, she peeked beneath. "Why yes, you did." Tilting her head, she looked at him with raised eyebrows. "And how may I ask, did you learn this bit of magic?"
He smiled. "Oh, I dunno." He glanced briefly at the ceiling. "Reckon I must've read about it somewhere at Hogwarts."
She rolled her eyes. "Another triumph for lessons taught by lavatory walls." They both laughed.
Ron glanced at her swimsuit. "Now, I'm not complaining ... and I don't want you to change anything ... but, you don't seem to have much of a place to conceal your wand."
She grinned. "Well, I could put an extension charm on the pocket of your swim trunks. We can keep our wands there."
With an unsure expression he said, "Umm ... yeah ... reckon that'll work. You'll umm ... be extra careful?"
She snickered. "Yes, most definitely."
After a short walk to the shore, they pocketed sundress, t-shirt and sandals. They made their way out onto the beach and began strolling along the water line. Wavelets of water gently washed in and lapped over their feet. They took in the sights and quietly talked with each other. The beach was dotted with umbrellas and people of all ages were enjoying the warmth of the sun. A few colorful kites with long streaming tails floated overhead on the breeze. They skirted around small children who were collecting shells and playing with buckets along the water's edge.
"... And they were both impressed at how quickly you paid back my dad's loan."
"I give a lot of the credit to George. The joke shop is doing really well. It's going to be bonkers in there just before start of term. Angelina runs the shop most days while George works on getting new merchandise ordered. I help Lee organize things and keep the shelves stocked."
"So how's George doing?"
"Really good by my measure. Now don't tell this to anyone. I walked past the stockroom the other day. The door was mostly closed but I caught a glimpse of George and Angelina snogging."
She squealed. "Ooo ... that's so good to hear. Did they notice you?"
"No, I slipped away before they ... heads-up!" Ron rushed forward a few steps and intercepted a saucer shaped disk flying toward them. Then, with a sweeping arm motion and snap of his wrist, he sent it flying back.
"Well done," said Hermione as she watched the disk sail back toward the apologetic thrower.
"Like de-gnoming the garden," smiled Ron. "You just have to launch it right."
With a half-smile, she shook her head. "That's another magical creature I have to help."
With an apprehensive expression he said, "You're gonna finish the others first, right?"
"Yes, it will likely take years to get Ministry consensus on the centaur petition. That's why I started working on elf rights. It was Harry's unspoken agreement with Kreacher that got me thinking. I just need to do a better job of organizing things so it doesn't take so much of my time."
He nodded with a knowing smile.
"I've gone to the Hogwarts kitchen a few times to talk with Nesbit. As you'd expect, he's not interested in becoming a hired servant. To him, being magically bound to a family is all about service, duty, and honor. He has no desire for anything more. I think change and choice frightens him. He knows how to be responsible for a household but not for his own affairs. Unlike Dobby, I think Nesbit wouldn't know what to do with new freedoms. He'd just keep on doing what he's always done. Both are fundamentally compatible. I just need to change the spirit of the house elf laws and broaden elf rights as dignified individuals. Then when more elves like Dobby come along, it will be easier for them to be compensated and treated fairly."
"But Dobby didn't get hired by anyone when he asked for pay. Only Dumbledore would pay him."
"Affluent wizarding families, given the choice of a hired servant or no servant at all, will choose to pay them."
"That's brilliant Hermione. Did you talk with Winky too?"
"I've tried. My last visit, she hid inside a small storage cupboard and wouldn't come out. She's very distraught and ashamed about all that happened with the Crouch family. It's impossible to talk to her about it. She blames herself even though she was powerless to stop any of the things that happened. It really twisted her mind and she flatly rejects any other viewpoint. I feel so saddened because she won't let anyone try to help her see things differently."
"What with Harry's arrangement with Kreacher, would you ever consider having a house elf?"
Her eyebrows narrowed in thought. "That's a tough question to answer. If I did, it would certainly not be a magical contract ... and the elf would have to accept fair and equitable payment ..."
About midday, the weather turned cooler. After changing into warmer clothes, they went to the Brighton pier and casually strolled and snacked their way along its length. They tried some of the games of skill to win a prize. After a few attempts, Ron won a stuffed bear that he gave to a delighted Hermione. At another game, Hermione won a small stuffed unicorn that she gave to Ron. At the far end of the pier, they enjoyed the amusement rides and watched kids of all ages having a good time. The bumper cars and carousel were particular favorites. It was late afternoon before they returned to the hotel room.
As they stepped through the doorway she said, "Hi Mum, hi Dad, we're back." Dan and Emma were sitting at a small table in their hotel room sorting stacks of papers and brochures. "How was your conference?"
"Very informative and so much to see," said Dan. "We learned the latest news about toothpaste formularies, dental floss, and ceramic braces."
"We also met up with Mark and Eileen," said Emma. "Over lunch, we got caught up with them. So many things happened while we were away in Australia."
"I hope you didn't have too much trouble explaining things," said Hermione.
"Very little," said Dan. "We told them we went to Australia to learn some new dental procedures. And since we actually did, it's the complete truth. I'm still in awe about how you can affect just certain memories."
"Not something I'll be doing again anytime soon."
Emma said, "How was your day sightseeing?"
"Very nice." Hermione winked at Emma. "Ron seemed to enjoy our walk on the beach."
"It was the best," smiled Ron. "We also went out on the pier. It's got loads of games and rides."
"I'm happy to hear you enjoyed the sights," smiled Emma. "You both seem to have acquired a nice suntan."
"Ron's is a bit more than mine." She mussed his hair. "Probably because he's a ginger."
"That must be it," smiled Emma.
"You two best start getting ready," said Dan. "The dinner reservation is at six."
The next day after breakfast, they all decided to take a tour of the city. They
joined a small group of other tourists at a small shop with many bicycles out in
front. This was an unaccustomed experience for Ron having done almost all of his
riding on a broom while growing up. He quickly found it much easier than riding
a broom. He delighted in squeezing the small levers on the handle bar and marveled
at how the 'gripper' took hold of the wheel to make the bike stop. Dan, Emma, and
Hermione smiled with delight as he rode in circles while they waited for the
The tour guide took them at a leisurely pace to many points of interest. There was so much to see and learn about the city and its history. They saw Preston Manor, the fishing quarters, and the town hall. The brief stop at the Royal Pavilion was much too short for Hermione and they made plans to return that afternoon. After the tour, they went to a nearby cafe. Seated outdoors, they enjoyed a light lunch.
"Would you like to accompany us to the pavilion?" said Hermione to her parents.
Emma said, "No, we're getting together with Mark and Eileen this afternoon before going home. You two go and have fun on your own. We'll see you this evening at home."
Dan said, "You might want to take a later train so you'll have more time to see things."
"I was thinking that too," said Hermione.
"We can stay a bit longer but not too late," said Ron. "Harry needs us at the Burrow this evening."
"How do you know that?"
"He sent word to me during the play last night." Ron whispered, "Aurors can send messages to each other; makes your wand vibrate so no one will notice."
Dan leaned in and quietly spoke. "It's a bit of a walk to the pavilion from here. Can you use magic to go there?"
Ron smiled and whispered, "Yeah, I brought along a class-one Auror travel map. The pavilion has a few places where we can apparate in without being noticed."
Hermione grinned. "I'm guessing the map has the train station too?"
"Yeah, but we'll have to travel separately. All the apparition points are in the lavatories."
"Ah, I see," said Hermione. "Is there an apparition point close to us here?"
Ron pointed. "One block that way."
"My word," said Emma, "you certainly know your way around Brighton."
Ron whispered. "It's part of my Auror lessons. Aurors are supposed to have at least one A.P. in mind at all times. Gus said it stretches your circle of magical perception. Eventually, you just know where a close A.P. is located. Gus said he rarely needs to look at a map."
"I thought you said this is a no work weekend," said Hermione giving him the eye.
"It is. I'm just looking out for you. You know, constant vigilance."
Emma looked at Dan. "Our daughter is in good hands."
"She is indeed."
Hermione smiled. "Okay then. C'mon Ron, let's go see the pavilion. Bye Mum, bye Dad."
"Thanks for lunch," said Ron as they stood to leave. "We'll see you later tonight."
"Have a good time," said Dan and Emma.
It was late afternoon at the Granger home when Ron and Hermione apparated into
the familiar and secluded corner of the backyard. She turned to face him and
put her hands behind his neck. Ron put his arms around her waist.
"Thanks for insisting on a relaxing weekend. I really enjoyed it." She warmly kissed him. Holding him close with her head resting on his shoulder she said, "I'll try my best to not get so wrapped up in my work. Take me on holiday again if I do."
He moved his hands along her back. "I will. ... Now I have a surprise for you."
She looked at him and saw a big smile on his face. "A surprise?"
"Yeah, let's go inside."
He led her by the hand to the backdoor and they went in.
"Hi Mum, hi Dad. We're home."
"We just got back a short while ago too," said Emma. "How was your day?"
"We had a nice time. The pavilion and museums were wonderful. And if that wasn't enough, Ron says he has a surprise for me."
Ron looked at Dan who gave him a single approving nod.
"C'mon, I told George to put it in your bedroom."
"George is in on this too?" said Hermione a little unsure. "I know what kind of surprises he does."
"This isn't a gag," said Ron reassuringly. "He just helped me a bit."
With a gentle tug on her hand, he eagerly led her into the bedroom. Dan and Emma followed.
Entering the bedroom, she noticed a small beat up looking wooden desk and chair in the corner that had not been there before.
He pulled the chair out for her and motioned for her to sit down. Then he took out his wand. "This will help make your work easier." He pointed his wand at the empty desk. "Teknus Initiatus!"
With the sound of a gentle whir, a display and keyboard appeared on the desk.
She caught her breath. "A computer?"
"It's a teknikator." He pointed enthusiastically. "See, no wires. It's magically connected to libraries all over the world and really easy to use."
"How does it work?" said Hermione looking at the screen.
"Touch that small rolled parchment on the screen with your finger."
As she touched the image, the parchment unrolled and the words it contained filled the screen.
"This is the information I asked you to get for me."
"Yeah. If you want to write or change something, just lightly lay your hands on the keyboard and think of what you want it to say. You can change the style of the letters too."
She placed her hands lightly on the keyboard. An instant later, the words Thank you Ron appeared.
"Oh my," exclaimed Hermione. "This is wonderful! How do I put what it says on a parchment?"
"You put the roll of parchment into that holder on the back."
"Wow, this is going to save me so much time." She looked at Dan and Emma seated on her bed watching. "Isn't this brilliant?"
"It certainly is," said Dan. "I'm very impressed."
"You're a very talented wizard Ron," said Emma.
"Thanks. After all Hermione has done to help me, it feels really good to help her."
After supper, sitting side-by-side at the desk, he helped her learn the teknikator. She located and cross-referenced citations, entered and printed some working information on parchment, and searched the archives of the Melbourne library. The books she had looked at while in the library that day were easily found and viewed.
"It's like holding the book in my hands again. It's amazing how I can turn the pages by waving my hand in front of the screen. And being able to look for words or phrases in the book is the absolute best."
He smiled warmly and marveled at her. Now confidently operating the teknikator, she was using it in ways he had not considered.
"Is the Ministry of Magic law library accessible?"
"It wasn't when I tried the other day. But given all that happened at the Ministry this last year, it might be hush-hush."
"I'll ask the librarian when I'm there." She gazed thoughtfully at the screen for a moment longer. Then she said, "We'd best be on our way to the Burrow. How do I turn it off?"
"Point your wand at it and say Teknus Terminatus."
She pointed her wand. "Teknus Terminatus!" The gentle whirring sound stopped and the display and keyboard vanished from sight.
They both stood and moved toward the door.
|Chapter 16||Chapter Index||Chapter 18|
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San Diego, California
Last Updated: 11/02/17