HPBFL CH 19

CHAPTER NINETEEN: THE REAL HERMIONE GRANGER

Both Professors stared at Harry like he was some sort of demon. Madam Umbridge was staring unblinkingly at the teen though he could see the hatred of him in her eyes. Draco was not sure what to do, but he had his wands out anyway. One trained on Umbridge, the other on the Professors should they attack Harry.

“Professor, would you kindly contact the Aurors office and ask them to Floo to Professor Dumbledore’s office? I am making a Citizen’s arrest for torture on a minor,” Harry asked Snape mildly like he had not just frozen a teacher. Snape hesitated long enough to show Harry was not in control before contacting the Auror office. Harry used his wand to levitate the now screaming woman, shouting that she was the Ministers Personal Assistant. Somehow the women had managed to free her head of the binding, but nothing else. As Harry led the way with the dumbstruck Deputy Headmistress following and Snape shortly behind them, Draco quickly used the Floo to make a call.

Several minutes later, Dolores Umbridge floated into the Headmaster’s office with a small procession behind her. Albus Dumbledore looked surprised as he was trying to deal with the Director of the DMLE and the Head Auror being in his office. The Floo made a noise, and Minister Fudge entered, followed by two Auror Guards. Several seconds later, Sirius emerged, followed by Narcissa Black.

“What the hell is the meaning of this? Why is one of my employees bound?” Fudge blustered.

“You admit that Madame Umbridge is still your employee even though she now works as a Hogwarts Professor?” Harry asked the man. He eyed the boy wearily as if he were testing him, looking around at the people in the room; the Headmaster, Director of the DMLE, Head Auror, two professors, and the Duke of Anglia.

“I, erm, that is to say, she is on the payroll, but her role as High Inquisitor is a Ministerial-appointed position,”

“Good then, I’m glad the public will want to know the Minister backs a blackmailer and a torturer,” Harry announced to the shock of everyone but those that had been in McGonagall’s office.

“What?” Fudge sputtered.

“That’s some serious allegations, Lord Rendlesham,” Bones spoke for the first time.

“I was given detention by Professor Umbridge at the beginning of the year when I arrived; she had a quill waiting for me. When I used the quill, it cut into the back of my hand,” Harry showed the Director his hand, which had some very faint lines on it.

“That’s because you are a disgusting liar; You-Know-Who is not back. Those Dementors should have finished you off!” Umbridge shouted, then realised she had said too much. Harry’s eyes lit up.

“When I told her, I would be informing my father, she threatened my betrothed,” Harry continued.

“Your betrothed?” Dumbledore asked.

“Yes, Hermione Granger is protected by the House and Black and will be the next Lady Rendlesham,” Harry answered with a slight smirk. He noticed Sirius give him a small grin. “Professor Umbridge told me that if I complain to anyone, she will take my beloved and hand her to the darkest family she could find.”

“Surely you are over exaggerating, Lord Rendlesham; perhaps you misunderstood what Professor Umbridge was saying,” Dumbledore tried to defend the vile woman. Sirius looked at the man, astonished. “Also, are you not a bit too young to be betrothed? Your parents may have already created a Betrothal contract for you.”

“I assure you, my father only signed one betrothal contract, and no, I did not misunderstand. She clearly threatened a member of the House of Black, which is covered under the Legacy Preservation Act of 1347,” Harry answered, stunning the old man. Harry almost smiled as Dumbledore had come close to admitting he knew about the Betrothal Contract he created.

“We shall require your memories. Would you permit to go under Veritaserum?” Rufus Scrimgeour asked. Harry nodded at the grizzled old man. The Auror walked over to the woman as Harry released his spells. She started to rant and rave, but the Head Auror had already taken her wand and was holding onto her very carefully.

“Minister, perhaps we should have a discussion in your office?” Amelia Bones suggested getting a nod from the man. She followed him and his Auror bodyguards through the Floo. Rufus had taken Umbridge already to the Ministry holding cells to await trial. Only the teachers, Sirius, Narcissa and Draco, were left with Harry, who fell exhausted onto one of the chairs.

“Are you alright?” Sirius asked worriedly.

“I’m fine, dad. My leg is hurting a little,” he admitted.

“I’m curious, why wait until now? Why today?” Dumbledore asked from behind his desk.

“When we got to Professor McGonagall’s office, she was disciplining Draco and myself when Professor Umbridge arrived decided that Draco and I should have a life-ban on Quidditch.”

“You did all this because Umbridge wouldn’t allow you to play Quidditch?” Harry saw Dumbledore’s demeanour drop, seeing him genuinely shocked for the first time.

“No, sir, because she had a new decree that allowed her to punish anyone. I was frightened she would torture the lower years with that quill,” Harry replied patiently.

“Were you not frightened for yourself?” Dumbledore asked.

“Not really. I have had worse pain from my so-called family,” Harry answered. Harry could not read the man’s face as he replied.

“Well, unfortunately, I have to inform you that Professor Umbridge’s ban still stands for you both,” Dumbledore straightened up.

“You what?” Draco yelled.

“What you both did is deplorable. You are young wizards of high-born birth. You are setting a horrible example for the younger years,” Dumbledore told the pair, who appeared shocked. Harry pushed himself up with his cane trying not to look at the Headmaster as Harry could feel his anger crackling just beneath the surface.

“Now, if that’s everything, I would like to return to my dorm?” Harry wanted to get back to the dorm; he was tired but wanted to analyse what had happened.

“You are free to go,” Dumbledore was studying the boy as he began to limp out. Draco hurried to his other side, allowing the dark-haired boy to lean on him.

“If it is not too much of an inconvenience, I would like to use your Floo to leave, Minerva. Narcissa and I would like a quick visit with our children before we go,” Sirius asked his former Head of House.

“You’re welcome to use it, Sirius; I hope to see you soon,” The two Black’s left the office, leaving behind Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape. It was not long before the adults caught up with the younger Blacks. 

“Harry, Draco, we would like to talk to you for a little while,” Sirius suggested. The pair nodded, following the adults into Professor McGonagall’s office. Harry collapsed into a comfortable chair, completely taking the weight off his leg.

“That absolute bastard,” Harry yelled, slamming his fist on the armrest of the chair.

“Language, Harry,” Narcissa scolded, but it lacked sincerity as everyone else found a seat or something to perch on.

“Were you terrified?” Draco asked, knowing his cousin by now.

“No, I just used that as an excuse to get rid of her. While I did not know she was going to butt in on McGonagall’s punishment, I went with it and managed to clear the castle of her,” Harry answered with a grin.

“What about the betrothal?” Sirius asked with a massive smile on his face.

“Oh Merlin, Hermione is going to kill me,” Harry put his head in his hands, fearing the wrath of his girlfriend.

“I’m pretty sure she loves you,” Sirius told him.

“I think she’ll be happy, mate,” Draco said, getting an astonished look from Harry.

“What was that?”

“I thought I would try it. Ron seems fond of it,” Draco returned.

“Never do that again,” Harry told him, getting a laugh from the rest of the room. Draco just sniffed and turned away, getting more laughs.

“Are you sure you are OK?” Sirius asked, concerned.

“I am fine, just a little tired,” Harry answered. “I need to get back to the Gryffindor tower and see Hermione,”

“Will you be all right getting up there?” Draco asked as Harry got to his feet.

“Sure, you better not come as I do not think anybody will be happy after I give them the news that I have been banned from the Quidditch team.”

“I will see you tomorrow,” the Slytherin wished his cousin goodbye, then hugged his mother. Harry hugged his father then took a slow walking leaning on the cane heavily to return to the Gryffindor tower.

He was pulled through the portrait to laughter and indoor fireworks going off around him. Fred and George Weasley had massive grins on their faces as they lifted him up.

“Here’s the hero of the hour,” Fred spoke.

“Not only did he win, but he also beat up Blaise Zambini,” George finished. Harry could see Hermione’s disapproving look. He rolled his eyes.

“Guys put me down. I’ve got some news,” Harry shouted over the din. The pair looked surprised but lowered Harry down as the Gryffindor’s all looked at him.

“What happened?” someone called.

“Did you get punished?” Someone else yelled.

“I went to Professor McGonagall’s office. She was all set to give Draco and me three weeks’ worth of detention when Umbridge arrived,” the crowd hissed at the name, “I have been given a lifetime ban on Quidditch!”

“What!” only Ron’s voice could be heard in the absolute silence.

“Umbridge banned Draco and me, then proceeded to inform McGonagall she was in charge of all discipline due to decree twenty-something. So, I, erm, attacked her”

“Way to go, you rebel,” Fred high-fived his brother.

“She had been using an illegal blood quill on me, threatening something precious to me if I said something,” He told them, meeting Lee Jordan’s eye, who nodded at him in recognition. “So, I bound her and had Professor Snape contact the Aurors. She is now sitting in a Ministry holding cell.”

“What did she threaten you with?”

“How did she hurt you?”

“Are you still banned?” Questions flew at Harry, but he ignored most of them.

“I am still banned, even though Umbridge has gone. I’ll answer any other questions soon, but I’m tired, and my leg is hurting, so I am going up to my bed,” Harry managed to push through the crowds ignoring the questions thrown his way. He took a seat on his bed, sighing in relief as he put aside the cane. Harry knew he would have to get up for a shower soon, but now, he took a bit of a breather. He was just starting to relax when the door to the dorm opened. Opening his eyes, he saw Hermione come in.

“Are you all right?” She asked cautiously.

“As I said tired, the Quidditch match was quite a hard one, then we had that fight with Zambini,” Harry answered truthfully.

“I’d hug you, but you stink,” Hermione wrinkled her nose up in disgust.

“I’ll go shower,” Harry laughed.

“Just come back with a towel and underwear,” Hermione blushed.

“My, my, Miss Granger, are you propositioning me?” Harry grinned at the girl. She flushed even harder.

“No, I noticed you’re limping heavier on your leg, so I’ll give you a massage to relieve the muscles. I’ll go get the ointment Andromeda gave me,” Hermione disappeared off as Harry went to go have a shower. After a boiling hot shower, he returned to his room with the towel over his shoulder and just boxers on. Hermione was already waiting for him.

First, she conjured another towel to put under his legs on the bed, then put his shower towel over his crotch. He sank back into his pillows as she began to massage his leg muscles, trying his hardest to think of a naked Umbridge and Snape to not become aroused.

“So, can you tell me what happened?” she asked, rubbing his thigh muscles around the wound, so you could barely see it now. Harry proceeded to tell her everything until he saw Umbridge off. He kept out the part of them being betrothed for the moment.

“Last I saw, she was being hauled off by Rufus Scrimgeour to some Ministry Cells,” Harry concluded.

“So, were you terrified for the younger years?” Hermione asked.

“You sound like Draco; he asked me the same question,” Harry chuckled at the affronted look on Hermione’s face. “No, but I saw it as an opportunity to get her out of the castle, perhaps one less person on the Muggle-born Register committee.”

“What did she threaten you with?” Hermione looked at him, her hands now stilled on his leg.

“What do you mean?” Harry gulped, knowing that this moment was coming.

“You said, and you’ve mentioned before, that she threatened you with me. Now you did not sacrifice yourself again before everyone, did you?” she looked at the boy before her sternly.

“Erm Hermione, please don’t hate me, but I kind of told the Minister, Director of the DMLE and Professor Dumbledore we were betrothed,” Harry finally admitted telling her the last bit of the tale.

“Dumbledore is an arsehole,” Hermione said after a few minutes getting a shocked look from Harry.

“Hermione!”

“What? He is,” she replied indignantly. She seemed to be ignoring the betrothal issue, so Harry sighed, taking her hand in his.

“What do you think of the betrothal?” He asked the girl tentatively. For a moment, she sat there, then a massive smile came across her face.

“Well, then perhaps we should be betrothed,” she suggested slyly.

“Hermione, there is no other person I would rather be with than you. Sirius and Narcissa had already considered us becoming betrothed during the summer.”

“But we weren’t together then,” Hermione looked confused.

“No, but they thought it would protect you from the Muggle-born Act. I’m fairly sure we’ve won a lot of people Galleons when we got together,” Harry grinned, “but seriously, there is no one I’d rather be married to, though we have to think about That Contract.”

“Harry, I-“ she hesitated for the moment, making Harry wonder what she really felt for him, “love you. I do not care for that contract. We will break it; I know we will, so yes, I would love to be engaged to you.”

“We can get Sirius to backdate it, but I think he has a contract all written up. I think he just needs to speak to your parents,” Harry pulled her to him, completely forgetting he was half-naked.

“Oh, my goodness, my parents!” She exclaimed.

“I’ll message Sirius, and he’ll organise a visit to your parents,” Harry calmed her down, “The only problem is I haven’t got you a ring; can you wait until Christmas?”

“Yes, oh yes, Harry,” She kissed him soundly, then they snuggled up together enjoying each others warmth.

Hermione was noticeably nervous as she stood in the Entrance Hall, waiting for Harry. She had not seen her parents since the very beginning of summer, and now she was going back to tell them she wanted to be betrothed at sixteen. 

“Hermione, you don’t have to do this. We’ll find another way,” Harry had grabbed her arm, pulling her towards him as he walked up behind her.

“It is a bit late now when we have told my parents to expect us,” Hermione laughed, looking at the boy she had loved since the third year.

“We will tell them something else,” Harry told her. She grabbed his head and kissed him. It was as good as the first time they had kissed; he could smell her sweet taste on his lips.  Hermione leaned into him further, and he tightened his grip on her.

“O Merlin, I think I’m going to puke,” an awfully familiar voice drawled. “Theo, find me a bucket.”

“Do you want me to conjure one up?” a sarcastic voice returned as Harry pulled away from Hermione, glaring at the Slytherin blond and his boyfriend.

“Black, if you want to keep your manhood, you’ll leave right now.” They heard Daphne Greengrass’s tinkling laugh as the Slytherin quickly made himself scarce. Harry put his forehead against Hermione.

“Are you OK now?” He asked.

“Much better,” she grinned up at him. A few minutes later, Sirius arrived, then took the pair via Apparation to Hermione’s house. Harry mused the house looked much different in the Sunday morning daylight to the last time they came. Harry once again felt the tingle of the wards as they followed Hermione into her house. Once again, they all sat around the lounge.

“How’s school going so far?” Isabella asked, not failing to notice how Hermione was holding Harry’s hand again.

“Great, thank you for the birthday presents. Harry turned a room in Hogwarts into a restaurant in Paris. It was so romantic,” Hermione proceeded to tell them about the Room of Requirement.

“Sweetie, I bet it was nice, but I’m pretty sure you did not come to visit us to tell us about your birthday,” William said. Sirius looked to his son as if to say, ‘this is your show.’ 

“Mr and Mrs Granger, I would like to become betrothed to your daughter,” Harry finally said. William Granger almost spat his tea out.

“Excuse me for saying, but you are only fifteen, right?”

“Yes, Sir, but I love your daughter and want to spend the rest of my life with her. I have only recently come to this conclusion. However, this is also about her safety.” Hermione was absolutely beaming at the teen. 

“What do you mean about her safety?” Isabella sat up a little stiffer now.

“How much has Hermione told you about our world?” Sirius asked.

“Quite a lot, we have considered pulling her from Hogwarts, especially after we heard nothing about her being petrified or nearly losing her soul,” William replied angrily. Sirius held his hand up.

“We are not overly pleased with the Headmaster either, but we are hoping we may be able to change things in the near future,” Sirius sympathised with the man. “Our world is mostly Patriarchal and made up of nobility. The Blacks, my family, are one of the oldest in the country, and as such, I hold the title of Duke in both yours and our world.”

“You are a duke?” William looked surprised.

“Yes, my son is the Marquess of Rendlesham, but we are still normal people,” Sirius tried to explain, “However, there are some in our society that sees you folk, Mundanes, as crap on the bottom of their shoe.”

“Mundanes? I thought we were called Muggles?” Isabella asked.

“We feel that name is derogatory, so we prefer the use of Mundane,” Harry smiled.

“Hermione’s told you about Voldemort, right?” He got a nod from both parents. “Well, he has returned, but instead of warfare he’s been pushing into political territory, his people frightened a lot of the old houses into creating the Muggle-born Act 1995. It basically turns Mundane-borns into a second-class citizen.”

“Can Hermione not just leave?” William looked confused.

“She could but would have her wand snapped and possibly have her memory wiped,” Sirius answered, “but she is Harry’s best friend, the brightest witch of our age and could possibly be used as a tool against Harry. But a betrothal contract would solve a lot of problems. I have just taken on the Head of the family, yet the Blacks are still an immensely powerful family.

A lot of people, Voldemort included, would think twice about trying to start a fight with the Blacks,” Sirius concluded, “Clearly, the duo is in love with each other, which makes the idea of a betrothal, then a marriage a good idea.”

“I don’t want you married until at least your boy turns sixteen,” Isabella said, warming up to the idea. She had always known her daughter liked Harry, even from the first year.

“If you give us your blessing, I will bring my lawyer with the contracts, that will bind our families together and offer you the same level of protection,” Sirius said.

“Sirius has already had the house Warded,” Hermione threw in.

“Ceph did say he feels a tingle every time he comes through the gate,” Isabella contemplated, “we thought he was just pretending.”

“Hermione once saved my life. It is the least I could do, with or without the contract,” Sirius returned.

“Can you give us a minute to talk?” William asked.

“Sure, take your time.” Mr and Mrs Granger went out into the kitchen as Harry let out a deep breath.

“That went better than I expected,” he sighed. It took about ten minutes before William and Isabella returned to the front room.

“We know how long you’ve loved that boy. While we think it is too early to think of marriage or even betrothal, you have our blessing,” the woman told her daughter. Hermione jumped up and hugged her mother.

“Now tell us how Cepheus is getting on?”

“That’s a story….” Hermione laughed. They had a wonderful day at the Grangers.

Teen Witch Weekly
Harry Black no longer a Bachelor
Harry Black, the Marquess of Rendlesham, though only fifteen, was Britain’s most eligible bachelor. Worth millions of Galleons, he had a lot of girls and women watching him. However, we are sad to say Black is now betrothed to Miss Granger, a vivacious fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You will remember that she was rumoured to be dating the Boy-Who-Lived last year……

“Ah, Master Weasley, right on time,” Dumbledore said as the youngest male Weasley arrived at his office, “You have bought your sister as asked, well done,”

“Erm, yes, sir,” Ron replied, taking a seat opposite the Headmaster. Ginny sank into the chair next to him.

“How are you feeling, my dear?” the old man asked in his most grandfatherly fashion.

“Better, I could feel myself being controlled but could do nothing about it,” Ginny told the Headmaster.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, troubling times we are going through,” Dumbledore shook his head sadly. “Now I have asked you both here because I’m worried about Harry, he has been hanging around Draco Black more, and I’m afraid he is turning dark, especially after that appalling attack on Master Zambini on Saturday.”

“He’s banned now. We are going to lose the Quidditch Cup this year,” Ron growled.

“Yes, sadly, there was nothing I could do about that,” Dumbledore lied easily. “I was hoping you might help bring Harry back to the light, especially you, Miss Weasley. After all, you are betrothed to him.”

“Excuse me?” Ginny’s eyes lit up.

“I am so sorry, your mother was supposed to tell you after Harry turned sixteen,” Dumbledore appeared to be upset that he had told a secret.

“I knew he was always going to be mine. I have loved him since I was six years old,” Ginny spoke dreamily. Ron rolled his eyes at his younger sister.

“I do not know how but I think Miss Granger is somehow manipulating young Harry. I do not believe he wants to marry her,” Dumbledore began planting seeds.

“It is like in the fourth year, that little witch used potions to snare Viktor Krum now she’s doing it on my Harry,” Ginny snarled.

“Ronald, I’m looking to you to help bring Harry back towards the light, but Ginevra, I need your help by truly becoming betrothed to Harry,” Dumbledore asked, then gave them an incentive, “if you get married, you shall become Lady Potter and the Weasley family will become rich again when Harry shares the Potter wealth with you.”

“But how can she become a Potter if Harry’s a Black now?” Ron asked though he was dreaming of what to do with all the Galleons. He had heard his parents were even more impoverished because the Potter wealth had stopped paying them.

“Harry is still the benefactor of the Potter Legacy. James Potter left him a will, making the boy his only heir and Lord Potter,” Dumbledore told them half-truths.

“I really want to be Lady Potter, married to the boy-who-lived. He is so handsome and heroic,” Ginny agreed with the Headmaster.

“We must manoeuvre Harry away from the Slytherins and especially Draco Black. I believe he and his mother are still working with the Dark Lord.”

“We will do that, sir,”

“Good, now Ginevra, here is the first step to being Lady Potter,” Dumbledore placed a ring box on the desk. Ginny reached for the box almost reverently then snapped it open. Inside lay a gold ring with Gryphons holding an inset diamond.

“Oh, Lady le Fay, this is absolutely beautiful,” Ginny breathed, then took the ring from the box before sliding the beautifully crafted ring onto her finger. A wave of magic covered the girl leaving the redhead with a brief golden glow. Harry jolted up somewhere in the castle as he felt something seem to snap in place within him.

“Now, I have another appointment, so we’ll have to talk another time,” Dumbledore politely dismissed the pair as he carefully placed a glamour and a ‘notice-me-not’ charm over the ring. He had just wanted to get the ring on the Weasley girls’ finger to cement his plan to get Harry back under his thumb.

He heard Severus Snape emerge from the secret tunnel but knew the man was hiding in the shadows as there was a knock on his door.

“Come,” He called out, allowing his next appointment to enter. “Hello, Miss Granger; it is a pleasure to see you.” 

“Mr Black, would you kindly stay behind?” Professor McGonagall asked the teenager as Transfiguration finished. The Slytherins and Gryffindors went off for a break as Harry was led to the Deputies office. The last few Friday’s Harry had been having tea with the Professor, as he had a free period after the break.

“Any news from my father?” Harry asked, settling into one of her comfy chairs. He had told his Head of House about the betrothal contract with Ginny Weasley.

“No, still no news,” McGonagall answered, then looked like she was debating whether to say anything, “have you noticed anything different about Miss Granger?”

“You’ve seen it too?” Harry slumped further into his chair, “it began on Tuesday morning. I went to give her a kiss, and she shied away from me, giving me some sort of excuse.”

“She has also been doing rather poorly with her homework; what she handed in on Wednesday was more like something a third-year student would hand in,” the transfiguration teacher told her favourite student confidentially, “I also saw that she seems to be hanging around Mr Weasley a lot more.”

“I don’t know why, though we didn’t exactly say it aloud I thought the pair of us had decided he wasn’t a good friend,” Harry mused, upset.

“Are we just seeing her real personality?” Professor McGonagall tentatively asked

“No, Ma’am, I’ve known her four years now. Something is affected her. Do you think maybe she’s rethinking the betrothal?” Harry returned nervously.

“You can call me Minerva, Harry, but only when we’re alone,” Her smile softened the stern warning as she puzzled over Miss Granger. “Harry, that girl loves you. She has since the second year, I think. There is definitely something going on, but I am not sure what we can do now.”

“Professor, I noticed several men and women in the Entrance Hall Wednesday; what was happening?” Harry asked, trying to desperately change the subject. The Deputies nostrils became pinched, so he knew she was angry at something.

“That was several pure-blood men and women coming to see student’s about being Mentee’s,” she told him, “some are honest men and women, but I’ve seen some men look a bit lecherous towards the young women. Your father, Regent Longbottom, and a few others are desperately trying to get the Muggle-born’s matched up to decent folk before the January 1st deadline.”

“I think you will do it. I have got every bit of faith in you,” Harry told the women he thought of like an aunt. His proclamation warmed her heart. They talked some more over the next half hour before Harry decided he had better visit the library before lunchtime. He thanked the teacher for the tea and gathered his bag and cane, taking a slow walk to the library.

Harry nodded to the librarian Miss Pince as he passed her, getting a favourable nod in return. Though still a library, there was the murmur of various students discussing their studies. He found his usual table where Susan and Ernie from Hufflepuff were sat. Morag MacDougal, Padma Patil, and Lisa Turpin from Ravenclaw were on the table, joined by most Gryffindors except Hermione and Ron.  He did see a couple of spots where they must be seated. He took a seat next to Daphne Greengrass and Millicent Bulstrode, who must have been welcomed by the group.

“How was Professor McGonagall?” Seamus whispered, getting an elbow to his ribs from Parvati.

“Good,” Harry wiggled his eyebrows, making the Irish boy laugh. He leaned over to Neville. “Where are Hermione and Ron?”

“I don’t know,” Neville answered, looking around. Harry left the group to go grab a book he needed. As he was walking down the aisle, he heard a girl giggling and a boy muttering. Someone is having fun in the library; I hope they do not get caught, Harry thought. But when he peered out from the aisle, he saw Hermione at the back of the library slightly hidden away, but she was clearly kissing Ron. Harry eased away back down the bookshelves, utterly devastated. Why hadn’t he seen it before?

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