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The Host (working title)
Deslea R. Judd
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Keywords: The trio, Snape, humour.
Spoilers: If you know roughly who the main players are, you'll
be fine. Set early in the summer before Fourth Year. Written
after GoF, so any contradiction of canon set by subsequent
books/movies is all care and no responsibility.
Summary: A spell goes horribly wrong. Hermione has a big
Author's Note: This is my first foray into HP. It was
originally intended to be a demented humour piece, but became
slightly more serious. Still, we're not talking heavy
mythology here. Try not to hold it against me.
Disclaimer: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
Feedback: deslea at deslea dot com.
More fic: http://fiction.deslea.com
Note: This story is unfinished and presented for
kicks only. It is highly unlikely that it will ever be completed.
It should be said, for the sake of clarity, that screams were
not an unusual part of life in the Granger household. The two
eminent Doctors Granger had made the unwise decision to situate
their dental surgery in the front section of their home. So in
normal circumstances, Hermione's response would have been to
increase the settings on a wonderful little device given to her
by the Weasley twins for Christmas. They called it the Silencer,
for obvious reasons, and since it existed in a permanent state of
low magic and was manipulated only by mechanical means, it
managed to circumvent the Ministry Of Magic rules about the use
of magic by young witches during Hogwarts breaks. Hermione had
doubted the veracity of this claim, but her research had proved
the existence of the loophole beyond a shadow of a doubt.
So she had used the Silencer on many occasions, and in good
conscience. But this was not one of those. This time, she
recognised the scream, not as that of some hapless patient, but
as her mother.
"Mother!" she cried, bolting up off her bed, out of her room,
running down the steps by twos. It felt strange to be running
this way, in shorts, no robes to flap around her legs, no Ron and
Harry at her side.
She burst into the surgery. Her father was already there, bent
over her mother. There was blood pooling on the floor beneath
Her father looked up at her, a stricken look on his face.
"She's losing the baby," he said. "Do something!"
Hermione stared at them for a long moment. Incantations passed
through her mind, considered and discarded one by one. It didn't
even occur to her to phone for a Muggle doctor.
She held out her hand. No wand. Just rash, frightened, wayward
magic. She said the first vaguely appropriate thing that entered
The three of them looked at one another tensely in the stark
The flush on her mother's face faded. "The pain's stopped," she
Her father looked at Hermione with new respect in his eyes. He
had always been proud of her, but this was something new.
"What did you do?"
Hermione found her voice. "The baby is in suspended animation,"
she lied. "In a manner of speaking. It's only a temporary
solution, but it will give you time to work out what went wrong,
and fix it."
The Grangers glanced at one another, but did not reproach her
for her use of magic. Clearly, the pressing concern for their
unborn child took precedence over their desire to keep to
conventional Muggle ways. Instead, her mother asked, "But how? If
the baby's in suspended animation, how will we find out what's
wrong? It will show up on the ultrasound."
Hermione winced. She hadn't thought of that. "I could cast a
spell on the radiology equipment." She was so far outside the
Ministry Of Magic guidelines that it hardly mattered. She fully
expected to get a caution at the very least by the first
available owl. She might as well get her money's worth for her
"You will do no such thing. An emergency situation is one
thing, but that is quite another, young lady." Her father's voice
softened. "And anyway. We don't want you expelled from Hogwart's.
Not even for your baby brother or sister. That's your future,
Hermione. If you lose that, you'll wind up an unskilled
apprentice on Diagon Alley. Is that what you want?"
"Of course not," she said.
Her mother spoke. "Hermione, dear, surely there's no hurry. I
must confess, I find the idea of the baby being in some kind of
limbo state a little disturbing. But if the baby is suspended, we
can take our time in working out a solution - right?"
Hermione swallowed hard. She could feel panic rising in her
chest. "Right." She cleared her throat. "Perhaps I should go back
to Hogwarts for a few days and see if I can come up with a
solution. One that doesn't break the rules. After all," she said
confidently, "if the answer isn't in the library, it isn't
"I would rather a more *conventional* solution, dear," her
mother murmured, but she didn't look very convinced.
"I don't see how we can," her father said. "As you say...the
ultrasound..." He looked up at Hermione. "You're sure you can
find a way to fix it?"
"Absolutely." There was no trace of guile in Hermione's voice.
That did not, of course, mean that there was none in her at all.
"Very well," her mother said. She struggled to her feet,
steadying herself with her hand. She left footprints in her own
blood. "Would you be a dear and help me, darling? I feel quite a
"Of course," Hermione said faintly. Bile rose in her throat,
but she swallowed it down, and she helped her mother.
Hermione left for Hogwarts that night.
She travelled to London on her own, insisting that her father
stay with her mother. Her parents didn't like it, but then, they
didn't know why time was of the essence, either. She boarded the
train and took a compartment of her own. It was, after all,
off-peak, and the train was nearly deserted.
She had been expecting the owl, but she was surprised when it
came to her on the train. She opened the letter with a sigh.
Dear Miss Granger
We are pleased to inform you that your application for a summer
licence to perform magic has been approved, pursuant to section
9174a of the Decree For The Reasonable Restriction Of Underage
Sorcery. Please be advised that this licence allows the limited
use of magic for the purposes of your summer project as verified
by Professor McGonagall. You will still be subject to random
checks for misuse, and you remain subject to all regulations
applicable to adult sorcerers. We note your residence in the
Muggle world and direct your attention in particular to the
Muggle Protection Act.
We remind you that you are expected to apply for your licence
in a timely manner. We have backdated your licence at Prof.
McGonagall's request, but such a concession will not be extended
Edgar M. Harridus
Director, Special Licensing Programs
"What summer project?" she wondered, and that was when she felt
a trail of soft fur against her leg. She looked down, just in
time to see the cat at her feet transform into the formidable
figure of Minerva McGonagall.
"The project you are doing for me, Miss Granger, for additional
credit. A ten thousand word paper titled, 'The Dangers Of Hybrid
Spells And Why I Gave Them Up.'"
Hermione swallowed hard.
"Now, fortunately for you, young lady, I have some pressing
personal business that will take me to Durmstrang for the
duration of the break, so I am unable to either help you or
punish you for your indiscretion. However, I did think it best
for this particular incident to be handled, shall we say,
in-house. Hence the licence."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall," Hermione said hastily.
"In the unlikely event that you are able to resolve the
problem, Miss Granger, I shall be more than happy to consider
this a learning experience and say no more about it."
"And if I can't?"
"If you can't, I think you'll have more pressing concerns than
your academic record in any case. Good luck, Miss Granger."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall. Really."
The older woman looked on her with grudging kindness, and
nodded. "Disapparate!" she said, and then she was gone.
Madam Pompfrey clucked.
"Pregnant," she sighed. "At your age. Well, it's not my place
to comment, I suppose. There are herbs-"
"No!" Hermione said at once. "No, I don't want to be rid of it.
I want to be sure it's all right."
Madam Pompfrey raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment. She
merely placed her hands over Hermione's belly and said a few
words. She frowned. Repeated them.
"You're - quite sure, Miss Granger?"
"I took a test," Hermione improvised. "A Muggle test. It's a
stick, you know. You put it in urine. It changes colour."
"How very provincial," Madam Pompfrey said. "There's no life
there, Miss Granger. I'm sorry."
Hermione sat up. "No, that's not right. That can't be right!"
She clutched at Madam Pompfrey's sleeve. "It can't be, it can't
be, it can't be!" She broke into tears, and sobbed in a very
Poppy Pompfrey watched her cry, awkwardly stroking her hair. At
last, she gently extricated herself from the girl's grasp and
went to the dispensary. She returned with a draft and gave it to
Hermione. Within minutes, the girl was in a dreamless sleep.
Hermione woke to the sound of Ron's voice.
"It's a bloody outrage, that's what it is. Some Muggle's gone
and taken advantage of our Hermione. If I ever get my hands on
"How do you know it was a Muggle?" came Harry's voice. "For all
you know, it could have been Draco."
"Honestly," she said, sitting up, "the two of you are idiots.
As if I would have - have -"
"Gotten knocked up?" Ron supplied.
"Ron!" That from Harry. "It's Hermione's business. Madam
Pompfrey owled us to be support for her, not to interrogate her!
We're not even supposed to know about the - er -"
"Do you think either of you could speak as though I were
actually in the room with you? And how did you get here, anyway?"
The two boys launched into a confused tale of deception and lies
to both the Dursleys and the Weasleys, and finally, she held up
her hand. "Oh, don't. It doesn't matter. My head hurts."
Ron rushed to her side and made an awkward attempt at fluffing
her pillow. "I'm awfully sorry. Here, you shouldn't be sitting
up." Her irritation faded. He did *mean* well.
"There's nothing wrong with me, Ron. Please don't make such a
"Don't make a fuss? This is bloody huge, Hermione! A baby and a
miscarriage and - dear Merlin, you're fourteen! Not even
"It is pretty big," Harry conceded. "Hermione, why didn't you
owl us when you found out you'd gotten into trouble?"
"Gotten into trouble?" she echoed. "Harry, really, I know this
place is positively medieval, but don't tell me you've forgotten
your Muggle roots. Women just don't think like that any more. And
anyway, I didn't get into trouble at all."
"You got pregnant! What would you call it?"
"I didn't get pregnant. It wasn't *my* baby. That's what I've
been trying to tell you all along, if you would just get your
protective chauvinistic heads out of your arses and listen!"
Harry went quite pale. "Did you say...arses?"
Sudden mirth rose in Hermione. "You thought I'd - I'd - and
you're worried about me saying arses?"
Ron broke in. "Look, what do you mean, it wasn't your baby?"
Hermione sighed in exasperation. "Really, you two. Listen! My
*mother* is having a baby. She was starting to lose it yesterday,
and I performed a spell to move the baby from her to me, to try
and save it. She had trouble having me, too. I was sure if I
could just carry it myself for a few days, until we could solve
the problem, it would all be all right."
Ron stared at her. "There's a spell that can do that?"
"A proxy spell," said Harry. "Oh, Merlin, tell me you didn't
apparate the baby."
"I used apparate proxima. A hybrid of apparate proximus and
apparate by proxy. It moved the baby to the nearest available
host - me."
"I didn't even know you knew how to apparate," Ron marvelled.
"That's advanced magic, that is."
"I've only managed it once before," Hermione admitted. "I was
in the restricted section of the library without a pass just
before the end of the school year. Professor Snape almost caught
me. I panicked and used it without even thinking about it."
"That's probably why it worked," said Harry. "Extremes of
emotion and all that. But aren't hybrid spells supposed to be
Hermione nodded. "Very. Oh, dear, perhaps that's why I lost the
baby. How horrible - my own brother or sister!"
Ron shifted awkwardly on his feet, but Harry said reassuringly,
"If your mother was losing it anyway, you didn't change anything.
It's not your fault."
"But if *I* lost it - oh, Harry, what am I going to tell my
parents? They'll be devastated!" There were tears in her eyes.
Madam Pompfrey bustled into the room just then. She took one
look at the tearful girl and turned on the boys. "Really!
Upsetting a sick girl. I should have known better than to owl you
two. Out with you!"
The boys knew better than to argue. They left readily enough.
Madam Pompfrey shooed them out and closed the door behind them.
She returned to Hermione's side, saying, "Miss Granger, I *do*
wish you'd get some *girl* friends. Apart from anything else, you
are less likely to find yourself in this situation again."
Hermione shook her head, alarmed. "Oh, Madam Pompfrey, it
wasn't Harry or-"
Madam Pompfrey held up a silencing hand. "Miss Granger, that's
neither my business nor my concern. Whatever sensibilities the
Muggle world may have for such things, they do not apply at
Hogwarts. My only concern is the practical one. There's time for
babies after your O.W.L.s."
Hermione nodded meekly. "Yes, Madam Pompfrey."
"Now, as for this pregnancy. Hermione, I think you really must
have been mistaken. When a girl miscarries, especially a Muggle
girl, there is blood. Tissue. Organic matter. You've had none of
that, and it's not for lack of the appropriate spells. I am quite
certain that you were never pregnant at all."
Hermione paled. "You're - quite sure?"
"Quite sure, Miss Granger. I'll keep you in for the rest of the
day, just to rest a little, and release you at nightfall. I
should like to prescribe some preventative herbs for you, as
"Preventative?" Then, "Oh. I see. Er - thank you."
Madam Pompfrey gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, and bustled
out of the room.
"But if you didn't lose it, Hermione, where the bloody hell is
"I don't *bloody* know," she snapped. "And can't you use *any*
other word for emphasis?"
Harry was pacing, frowning. "Stop quarrelling, you two! Let's
be logical about this. What, exactly, does apparate proxima do?"
Hermione glared at Ron. "It apparates, by proxy, to a proximate
"So it apparates a third party - the baby. Are you quite sure
the baby is not still inside your mum?"
"Yes. The bleeding stopped. The pain stopped. I don't know
where it went, but it definitely went *somewhere*."
"A proximate location," Harry murmured. "But what is that? I
mean, it didn't wind up in your back yard or anything, did it?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. Proximate refers not only to
nearness of location but also nearness of environment. In other
words, it went to a similar location. Another uterus, I suppose.
I'd assumed, as the nearest female, that it would be me."
"Who else was there?"
"Just my father."
Ron's eyes lit up. "Could it be in him?"
Hermione scoffed. "Ron, I *hardly* think-"
"No, I think he's onto something, Hermione. What if the baby
went, placenta and all? It could survive inside a man then,
She thought a moment. "Well, yes," she conceded, "at least for
a while. If it was in his abdominal cavity...there's a blood
supply there...and herbs could make him carry it longer."
"There's your answer, then. You get your mother's problem fixed
up, and then you apparate the baby back. Easy." Harry looked very
pleased with himself. "We'll stay here for a few days while you
go home and get your mother sorted. That way, we can help you
with research if you run into trouble."
"And the fact that you get the weekend away from the Dursleys
has nothing to do with it," Hermione said with a sly little grin.
"None at all, Hermione. None at all."
"Are you quite comfortable, Mrs Granger?"
Mrs Granger nodded, holding Hermione's gaze with watchful eyes.
Hermione squeezed her hand.
"You know, it's quite unusual to have a daughter so young
present for such a procedure. Are you quite sure about this,
Hermione? There may be a little blood."
"A little blood shan't bother me," she said airily.
"Well," the obstetrician said, "as long as you're sure." She
turned back to Mrs Granger. "You do know what to expect, don't
Mr Granger spoke for the first time. "You're suturing the
cervix to enable her to carry to term. We had it done with
Hermione, as well."
The obstetrician nodded. "That's correct. We're monitoring the
baby's heart to make sure there's no distress during the
procedure. Just a precaution." She switched on the screen, and
Hermione closed her eyes and worked her charm. A flickering line
appeared on the screen, and rhythmic sounds were heard. Hermione
watched the obstetrician's face, and modulated the sounds and the
line until the woman's expression assured her that she was seeing
what she believed she was supposed to see - the life signs of a
The procedure passed without incident, and when it ended,
Hermione ended her charm on the foetal monitor. The sounds
ceased. The line went flat. "Apparate proxima!" she cried, and
waited. She ignored the panicked sounds of the obstetrician at
the apparent demise of the baby within her mother. She waited for
the monitor to detect the signs of the baby anew.
"Apparate proxima!" she said again.
Still nothing. Her father was staring at her. "Hermione? What's
Panicking now, she pushed the obstetrician aside and pulled the
monitors off her mother. She pulled up her shirt and used them on
herself. Then her father. Then the protesting obstetrician.
Beads of sweat formed on her brow. "Oh, Merlin," she whispered.
"Where is it? What do I do?"
"Hermione?" her mother said, a little incoherently. She was
still under the effects of the gas. "What is it?"
She put the monitors back on her mother. "Nothing, Mother. It's
nothing. Just rest," she soothed. Then she worked the memory
The three adults blinked. Hermione restarted the charm on the
foetal monitor. She smiled as her father fretted over her mother,
none of them any the wiser.
She smiled til she thought her face would crack in two.
"You should eat, Hermione."
Hermione turned over her food with her fork. "I'm not hungry."
Hermione was not the only one not eating. Snape, at the far end
of the hall, looked positively green. Harry and Ron, by contrast,
were shovelling food down their throats.
"You know," Ron said between mouthfuls of food, "starving
yourself won't make the baby come back. You may as well eat."
"This isn't a lost scarf, Ron. Or car keys. I lost my parents'
unborn baby. I have no idea where it is. Either I screwed up
apparating it out of my mother, and it was never in my father at
all, or else I screwed up the apparation back."
"Did you see any evidence that your father was-" Harry stopped
short, biting his lip. He shot a glance at Ron. They were both
obviously working very hard not to burst into laughter.
"I saw no evidence that my father was pregnant, Harry," she
said coldly. "But where else could it have gone? There was no-one
else nearby when I apparated the baby out of my mother."
Harry frowned. "Well, you know location is a bit more flexible
in wizardry than in the Muggle world. What about your thoughts?
What were you thinking of?"
Hermione turned over her food some more, frowning too. "Well, I
was thinking about the only time I successfully apparated, of
course. Trying to call up the same feeling, so it would work."
"The time in the library," Ron said. "With-"
He was interrupted by a crashing sound. The three of them
looked up, just in time to see Snape step over his fallen chair
and flee, his hand pressed hard to his mouth.
They all looked at each other. Hermione looked faintly
"Gracious, Severus, you look a fright."
It was hard to think of anyone mothering Professor Snape, but
Poppy Pomfrey was apparently doing just that.
"I feel very queasy," he was saying. "And it wasn't just the
sight of those Gryffindors."
Hermione and Harry looked at one another, grinning. Ron
scowled. They kept listening through the door.
"Your abdomen is a little firm. Could be a mild case of
indigestion. I shouldn't worry too much for now. I'll give you a
draft to settle your stomach."
"Thank you, Poppy."
"Have you any other symptoms, Severus?"
"Yes?" Poppy prompted.
"I feel - oddly - tearful." This last word was tight. Forced
out between gritted teeth.
Hermione clasped her hands over her mouth. Harry was biting
down hard on his lip. Ron just fled.
"Like nobody likes me here."
"Nobody does like you here, Severus."
Harry was rocking back and forth hard on his heels, biting his
fist. There were tears streaming down Hermione's cheeks. She
didn't dare let the laugh go. It would be loud enough to wake the
"I feel fat and ugly."
That was too much. She took off at a run, away from the
infirmary, down the first flight of stairs, Harry hot on her
heels. She all but fell into a crevice in the wall, and Harry
fell in after her. They were clasped there, hard against one
another, laughing for all they were worth. She laughed until she
collapsed against him in great rasping coughs. They sank to the
floor together and leaned against one another in exhaustion.
"Oh, my," he said. "That was too funny."
"I wonder where Ron is?" she panted. "He would have been
apoplectic if he heard that."
"Probably looking in the mirror," he managed. "Trying to get
that purple tinge out of his cheeks."
"You know, Harry," she said. "The way we were. Shoved up
against each other in the crevice." She snorted. "Madam Pompfrey
would have really thought the baby was yours if she'd seen that."
Harry went scarlet, and she went on, "You do realise what that
would make you, don't you?"
"Extremely uncomfortable?" he offered.
She whimpered with barely-restrained sobs of laughter. "It
would make you - the - father of - Snape's - child!"
"Oh, shit!" Harry sunk his head in his hands, weeping with
laughter. "Oh, no!"
"I can just see it," she blurted. "Rubbing his feet for him."
"Telling him he's radiant. Oh, *Merlin*."
They clung to one another, panting and sighing as their giggles
subsided, and they didn't hear Snape's footsteps until he was
"Something funny, *Potter*?" he sputtered.
Harry and Hermione got to their feet, still clinging to one
another. "I was just telling Hermione that she was radiant. Sir."
Hermione buried her face in his cloak to muffle the threatening
Snape's gaze flickered over him with open disdain. "Yes, well,
perhaps if you spent less time with Miss Granger and more time
concentrating on Muggle studies you may have learned of the
consequences of unleashing your adolescent hormones on muggles."
He turned to Hermione. "Miss Granger. Madam Pompfrey has informed
me that you are taking - certain herbs. Please come and see me,
and I shall give you a potion. Its effects will endure after you
return home, for the remainder of the summer."
Hermione felt a flush of shame. The last thing she needed was
even more contraceptives, but it was a kind thought. And they'd
been laughing at him. "I will, Sir. Thank you."
"Thank Madam Pompfrey, Miss Granger. Go to your dormitories,
both of you."
They staggered out of the crevice, and they did as he said.
TO BE CONTINUED...