Chapter 3: The Curse Breaker

Mornings at Gringotts Wizarding Bank were never considered pleasant by Hermione Granger, its Chief Curse Breaker. For one thing, her office as was located in dungeons, a place she never felt easy, due to a past that still haunted her. For another she hated going through the same tantrum her son Adrian threw every morning when she left for her office, insisting her to stay or to take him with her.

Hermione’s job as the Curse Breaker in French branch of Gringotts was not an easy one. Her work was to check, remove, and restore any cursed object that crossed the boundary of Gringotts. Most of these objects were owned by rich pureblood families and curses were placed to prevent its passing to their untrustworthy relatives. It was Hermione’s job to remove them before it was passed to their rightful owners. Sometimes the curses had a tendency to renew themselves over the time; so she had to check old and unused vaults for traces of such recurring curses. It was a challenging job but Hermione liked it because it gave her plenty of opportunity to test her knowledge and skills. She was also provided with facilities to carry out her own research on Permanent curses – a feat that has earned Hermione her Goblin boss’s respect and confidence.

Many of her classmates and teachers from Beauxbaton were astonished when they heard that Hermione had applied for the post of Curse Breaker in Gringotts. It was considered by many as a man’s job. Women, no matter how skilled they might be, were never encouraged to pursue such masculine careers. It demanded patience, skill as well as physical and mental power, something most people thought were sole property of wizards only. Hermione’s headmistress Madame Maxime even offered her a teaching post at Charms, considering that she was a mother only at the tender age of nineteen; but she respectfully declined her offer. It was not that she did not like teaching; books and reading being her passion still now. Hermione just could not imagine herself teaching in any place other than Hogwarts. It was her dream to teach at Hogwarts, alongside her mentors and when that dream was shattered she could not bring herself to pursue it again with a replacement, even for Beauxbaton.

Hermione’s life in France for last six years had been eventful but good. No one knew her here as the famous Harry Potter’s friend and she preferred to keep it that way. During her seventh year in Beauxbaton Academy of Magic she was known to all by her middle name – Jean, a talented but unmarried pregnant witch who had lost her parents during the second Wizarding War in Britain and thus came to France to complete her education. She always kept a low profile in her classes and never volunteered to answer questions like she did when at Hogwarts. She had missed her old school and her best friends, Harry and Ron, terribly in all these years, but never tried to contact them again. Besides, she was not completely friendless at Beauxbaton. Her new friends were her fellow classmates, twin brother and sister by the name of Edmound and Eva Bellamy. Though they could never take the place of Harry and Ron in her heart but her new friends were funny, adventurous and always curious – something that Hermione liked about them. She spent her free days roaming around Paris with her son and her friends – visiting famous landmarks and trying new foods.

But the most interesting part of her new life was her five year old son Adrian.  He was the epitome of innocence and ray of hope in her empty life. Try as she might, Hermione can never hate him for his unfortunate mode of conception and hateful father. She was determined to keep him away from that evil man and raise him as a sensible, kind and loving gentleman – something his father never was or would be.  Even working at Gringotts was a part of that goal. It helped her to keep a low profile but she was respected wherever she introduced herself.

Adrian, however, always thought that his mother was after some relentless treasure hunt, Gringotts being the symbol of locked underground treasure in his innocent eyes, and he insisted Hermione to take him with her to the bank every morning. Every morning he would plea and cry to make his mother take him to her adventurous job and every morning Hermione, with extreme difficulty, would somehow manage to keep him at home safely with the Delacours. The Granger mother and son lived with Fleur Delacour’s family in a reputed neighbourhood near Paris and Hermione kept Adrian under watchful eyes of Fleur’s mother Apolline and younger sister Gabrielle until she returned home at evening. Her life in France would have been miserable had she not been placed under the care of Delacours – a debt Hermione considered she could never repay to Fleur. Even her job at Gringotts was recommended by Bill Weasley, the couple being the only ones who knew her true whereabouts. She even made Bill Adrian’s godfather and requested him to take care of her son should any danger befall her. The couple liked to visit them over the summer holidays each year when Fleur came to meet her parents.

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