I've got some great news for you! But you'll have to wait until I get home. I had a catch-up with Hagrid last night, he's doing great! Apparently Grawp has learnt how to swim, which is ever so slightly worrying. As I said, he's great, just mad as ever! Anyway, I'll be home soon, see you tonight.
Hermione finished her quick letter to Ron and sent it with one of the school owls and pulled her brown curls back into a ponytail, deciding on going to say goodbye to Minerva and Hagrid before she walked down to Hogsmeade and disapparated home.
She opened the door to her apartment and stepped inside, glancing up at the clock; it was ten-thirty so Ron must already be out at work.
Kicking of her shoes she went over to the kitchen to get a drink, but before she could take out a glass she noticed an impressive looking owl sat patiently outside on the window ledge. Passing over to the window Hermione let the large, dark grey owl in.
'So who are you then?' She murmured as she took the letter from its leg and gave it a few nuts. She opened it curiously, recognising the neat, if slightly small scrawl on the front, but she couldn't remember where from.
I neglected to mention yesterday that you will require certain equipment and books for you apprenticeship. However, these things are very specific and some won't be available for purchase to just any witch or wizard, so it deems appropriate that I should come with you in order to ensure you have everything you need.
Can you please meet me outside the Leaky Cauldron at ten o'clock on Friday morning? If not, we can arrange another day but Friday would be best. Please send a reply with Caesar.
Hermione almost started laughing again at the obvious uncomfortable cordiality of the letter. It was evident that this was not his idea, no, she was certain that the idea had most probably come from a certain white haired, lemon drop sucking wizard, by the name of Albus Dumbledore. Professor Snape would probably have had no problem with her turning up for her apprenticeship totally unprepared.
Nevertheless she picked up her quill and wrote a quick reply.
Friday is fine. See you then Professor.
She paused, not sure of how to sign it, if at all. She eventually chose to just put her first name, anything else just sounded odd.
After signing it and giving it to Caesar she decided on going to visit Ginny, they hadn't met up in a while and she felt like having a good girly chat, plus she was dying to see little Teddy. Harry had been true to his word about being Teddy's god-father, he took the little baby boy in after the battle, remembering his promise. Since then, he and Ginny had been raising him as their own, with regular visits to see Andromeda, his grandma.
So she walked through to the bedroom to change into something clean, picking out a pair of dark blue jeans and a white blouse. But as she shut the wardrobe doors and turned around, something caught her eye.
She frowned and moved slowly forward, her eyes fixed on the bright pink strip of lace that was poking out from beneath the bed. She crouched down and pulled on it, to reveal a bright pink, lacy bra. She gasped and almost dropped it.
This wasn't hers.
For a start it was slightly too small, but more to the point, she didn't wear things like this. Lacy, yes. But bright pink? Never. So what was it doing in her bedroom?
She stood back up with it still in her hands, staring at it in disbelief. He wouldn't, would he? Tears began to well up in her eyes as the bra became a pink blur in her hands.
He wouldn't do that to me, he's not like that. It must be a mistake, a logical explanation...he wouldn't.
He couldn't do that to her, could he?
But certain memories overtook her thoughts. That night when he said he was going to play Quidditch with Harry, but Harry hadn't seen him. He hadn't been there yesterday morning, a Sunday, it was supposed to be his day off. But he'd left the excuse of leaving something at work. He hadn't replied to her letter last night...
And there was the answer in those memories.
Yes, he could.
Hermione fought back her tears and tried to push back the feeling of her world crashing around her. She felt as if everything had come to a stand-still, everything she knew and all her ideas for the future had broken before her very eyes. All she wanted was to rewind, to not find this bra and to remain ignorant. But she couldn't. She couldn't take away the fact that she'd been betrayed.
Pulling out her wand she performed some extremely advanced magic, they didn't call her the brightest witch of her age for nothing. She could find out the name of this woman, her age, magical status, everything. As long as she'd been in contact with the garment in the last forty-eight hours, which Hermione was pretty sure of.
Muttering the spell, silver particles began to form around the item of underwear, gradually rising up and arranging themselves into words in the air. But only the first two mattered to Hermione, because they told her everything she needed to know. Lavender Brown.