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Chapter 2: Home again
A/N: I own nothing of J.K’s, even though I have used many of her ideas as context, but my plot is my own and I have changed some of the details that would usually be found in the book. I only write this because for previous stories that I have done, some people have commented that my information is wrong to the books that were written by the amazing J.K Rowling. This is because this is my own story and I am only borrowing some of the information that is in the Harry Potter books. Please read and review, feedback is always found useful to writing the next chapter. Thanks x
Outskirts of London
It was a sunny mid-afternoon in the Potter household when Shadow arrived with Hermione’s letter. The bird fluttered around the whole of the house before landing at the kitchen window, where he spotted the Potter clan sitting around the kitchen table eating lunch. The bird tapped at the window three times and waited patiently for someone to answer.
Ginny looked up at the noise and rubbed her belly as she said, “Harry, there’s an Owl at the window.” Harry turned and saw the Barn Owl with its deep yellow eyes staring intently back at him. He raised an eyebrow as he noticed that the Owl appeared familiar to him.
Opening the window, he stood aside as the bird swooped and landed expertly on the back of the dining chair that Harry had been previously seated in.
“Birdy!” James flapped his arms with excitement and nearly spilt his milk all over the floor. Ginny eyed her son with a stare that would have done Mrs Weasley proud and turned to look at the letter.
“Who’s it from?”
It wasn’t until she looked up at her husband that she noticed he was shaking all over. “Harry what’s the matter?” Ginny raised herself carefully from her chair and went to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder; she could feel him shaking underneath her touch. She looked into the emerald green eyes that their son had so luckily inherited, and noticed that they were filled with tears.
“Harry, what is it?”
He turned to her with a slight smile on his lips and handed her the unopened envelope. “Look at the writing.” Ginny looked down and noticed the elegant script that was written on the front. She noticed the way the t’s looped in a swift even oval shape and gasped, “Hermione?!”
Harry nodded and the smile widened as his tears spilled over evenly; “Hermione.”
Ginny grabbed the letter from Harry’s hands and tore open the envelope, reached inside and snatched the parchment, as if it would run away if she even blinked.
The pair read and reread the letter in silence and it wasn’t until Harry felt a small tug at his jeans that he noticed his son looking up at him in scared wonder.
“Are you okay daddy?” Harry laughed and scooped up his son into a massive hug and replied, “Yes James, I’ve never felt better. Your mum and I have received a letter that has made us both very happy.”
James touched his father’s face and looked at him curiously. “Why has it made you happy, daddy?”
Ginny stroked her son’s cheek and pinched his nose, “Because it means that someone we love very dearly is finally coming home.” James stared at his mother still confused but nodded all the same. He cuddled into his father and just looked at the writing that was so clear and neat, yet he could only read a few of the words on the page. He noticed at the bottom that it was signed ‘Hermione.’ The name sounded familiar but he knew that he had never met this ‘Hermione.’ I wonder what she’s like?
“Mummy, I can’t find Cuddles.” Mia pouted and stood with her arms crossed as she watched her mother pack her little yellow suitcase for her. Hermione was humming happily to herself as she folded her daughter’s clothes neatly into the case, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Where did you last have him sweetheart?” She looked at Mia and tried not to laugh as her daughter grew more and more cross; Cuddles was her favourite bear; Hermione had bought it for her when she had turned two and Mia carried him everywhere with her. He ended up being in the washing machine more than the dirty clothes due to Mia dragging him through endless puddles and mud.
“I can’t remember! Mummy, you haven’t hidden him again have you? I want to take him with me!” Hermione couldn’t help but laugh as her daughter crumpled up her face in anger, her pale hair looking like a halo for a tomato child. She picked up Mia’s suitcase and led it into the living room where the fireplace was. Hermione’s suitcase was already sitting in front of it waiting to be taken to Harry’s house and on it was Cuddles; his lopsided smile seemed to say that he was happy to be going on an adventure.
“He’s over there Princess.” Mia squealed with happiness as she noticed that he’d had another wash, which meant that he was going to smell like lavender just like Hermione did. “Thank you Mummy.”
“You’re welcome darling. Now have you got your shoes on?” Hermione looked down to see that Mia had on her pale yellow boots which were decorated with daisies, “Good, now go and put your coat on and wait for me by the fireplace while I just check that everything’s locked up properly.”
Mia nodded and headed towards her bedroom to find her coat. Hermione on the other hand, headed in the direction of her bookshelves to where the oak box holding her wand was. “Better take this with me in case anything happens.” She opened the box with key then placed her wand carefully in her inside pocket of her coat. She eyed some of the classics that were situated before her and resisted the urge to add them to her reading collection. The pair was only going for two weeks and Hermione had already placed five books into her extendable bag, one of them being Pride and Prejudice.
She turned around to get a full view of her living room and she felt a pang that she would be leaving it behind. It had been her salvation for five years and she had lived here happily while raising Mia. The place held many happy memories, and even though she was only visiting Harry, she still had a slight niggling feeling that she should stay in her little haven.
“Ready Mummy!” Hermione looked down and saw her five year old smiling happily at her, her hand held out readily for Hermione to take it. She bent down and looked at her daughter; her baby blue eyes twinkling with excitement. She kissed the top of her nose and took the proffered hand.
The pair headed towards the great stone fireplace and Hermione reached for the powder that she kept hidden behind an ornament of a hippogriff. Moving the suitcases into the fireplace she grabbed Mia’s hand firmly and shouted out,
“The Home of Harry Potter!”
“I think they’re coming, look!” James jumped up and down as he saw the fireplace rumble slightly with the approach of Hermione and Mia; he was always fascinated how people could just appear in it. Ginny stroked the unruly black hair in front of her; James had pretty much inherited all of his father’s looks which Ginny was glad of, she secretly hated the colour of her hair but she would never cut it short or dye it because she knew that Harry adored the way it looked. The only thing that James had inherited from her was her freckles and her cute button nose along with her stubborn personality. He was a bundle of energy and it was hard for her and Harry to keep up with him. She rubbed her belly lovingly and knew that she would have to tell her husband soon that she was pregnant again. It was hard trying to find the right moment anymore seen as he had become so busy with work; but right now she had other things to focus on, like Hermione and her child for instance.
“Mummy they’re here!!” James bounced beneath the palm of her hand and, as she looked up she saw the beautiful frame of the girl that had run away all those years ago. Hermione hadn’t change a bit. She still had beautiful chestnut hair and her honey brown eyes were sparkling with delight as she saw one of her best friends in front of her.
The pair enveloped each other in a bone crushing hug while their children peered up at them with curiosity. Harry half skidded round the corner knowing full well that he was late for the arrival of Hermione and Mia. As he rushed into the living room he saw the chestnut haired girl being squeezed by his wife. She looked exactly the same which shocked Harry. He wasn’t sure why but he had expected her to look older, maybe even a little dishevelled or even slightly mums-ey but Hermione was just that; she was Hermione. The only difference to her was the little blonde haired girl that was hiding behind her black chinos, her blue eyes pondering the scene before her.
Hermione looked up from the hug with Ginny to notice the black haired, green eyed Boy Wonder standing only a few metres ahead of her. His state of shock slowly turned into a grin of welcome and Hermione could already feel the sense of home. Ginny let go of her, turned to Harry while waiting for the pair to move. Hermione wanted to rush into his arms just like she had done with Ginny but something was holding her back. It was as if the void that she had left behind when she ran had finally caught up with her as soon as she looked at her oldest and dearest friend.
The pair looked at each other for a moment longer before Harry ran over to her, his big strong arms curing her of her doubts and worries, making her feel like she had finally returned. She snuggled into his embrace and whispered into his ear,
“I missed you, I’m so, so sorry for leaving.”
Harry shook his head and Hermione could tell that he was trying not to cry, “You’re here now…that’s the main thing.” They stood there for what seemed like forever until Hermione heard a whisper.
“Mummy?” She turned and saw Mia staring at her, her eyes wide like a doe’s and Hermione knew that her daughter was scared. Letting go of Harry, she bent down and opened her arms for a hug. “Come here princess, it’s alright, Mummy was just very, very happy to see these people; they mean a lot to me.”
Mia nodded in understanding and turned to look at everyone around her. Her eyes dropped down to the little boy who stood proudly next to his mum, his lopsided grin reminding her of Cuddles. He waved to her happily and Mia couldn’t help but smile back. Hermione kissed Mia’s forehead and placed her down beside her.
“Mia, this is Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry, we’ve been friends ever since we were eleven years old.” Hermione glanced down at James and smiled, “Although, I have no clue who this little one is.” James spun round as Hermione addressed him and puffed out his stomach proudly as he declared who he was. “I’m James!”
Mia giggled as the boy half shouted his name to her mother and Hermione seemed amused by his high tempo. “Are you now, and what, may I ask are you doing in my best friend’s house?” James grinned and replied, “They’re my mummy and daddy, silly!”
“James, don’t be rude!” Ginny scolded her son which made him blush slightly. Harry’s gaze shifted from his son to Hermione’s daughter. She wasn’t what he had expected either. He had prepared himself to see a beautiful ginger haired version of Hermione with piercing blue eyes and skin coated in ginger freckles. Instead there was this little girl with pale blonde, curly ringlets and tanned skin and eyes as blue as the sky flecked with autumn brown around the irises. This wasn’t a female replica of her father, well at least the father that he had expected it to be.
As if she had caught onto Harry’s train of thought, Hermione surveyed her daughter with nervousness. They’re going to have to be told sooner or later…I just wish it was much, much later! She whimpered at the thought which caused Ginny to eye her with concern.
“Hey what’s your name?” James had managed to escape the eye of his mother and stand right in front of Mia. She cowered behind her mother slightly, a little put off by the lack of personal space she was given by this boy. James peered at her with his bright green eyes and Mia found herself drawn in. “Mia,” she whispered.
James smiled and held out his hand, “Nice to meet you.” Mia took it nervously but was startled when James pulled on their intertwined hands and pulled her into a little bear hug. The parents ‘awed’ which made Mia blush and James grin.
Ginny bent down so that she was on the same level as her son and Mia. “How about you take Mia into the garden and show her the fairies? Would you like that Mia?” The little girl nodded and the next thing she knew, she was being dragged to the huge back garden that the Potter’s owned.
Once the door had closed, the three adults turned to each other, a question on all of their lips. Hermione, not wanting to be hounded about her antics since she left them, decided to go first. “So, when did you two get married?”
Harry wrapped his arm around his best friend’s shoulders. “How about we go and sit down in the kitchen with a nice cuppa before we share stories.”
The girls nodded and Hermione let herself be led away into the granite/tiled room where Ginny did most of her cooking. She noticed that Shadow had managed to fly ahead of her and was sitting next to another Snowy Owl.
“Harry? I thought Hedwig died?” Ginny was the one to respond. “She did but Harry couldn’t live with the idea that he no longer had a Snowy Owl so we bought another one. This one’s male though, his name’s Herby.”
“Herby?” Hermione raised an eyebrow which made Ginny giggle. “Yeah, Harry made the mistake of letting James name the Owl and now we’re stuck with ‘Herby’” The women laughed which caused Harry to twitch his lips in amusement. “Yeah for the first couple of weeks of having him, every time someone who I had written to, had to send him back at the bottom of the parchment would be ‘Why the hell have you named him Herby?! It drove me nuts! Ginny got a laugh out of it though.” Ginny poked her tongue out at her husband but found she was smirking all the same.
As the three sat down with three steaming mugs, Hermione knew that it was question time. “So, come on, spill, when did you two finally marry?”
Ginny sidled up to Harry and it made Hermione happy to see that the love the two shared was still there. “Oh only a couple of years ago, we was planning to have it shortly after-“ They all looked at each other and a sense of unease grew between them, “well you know, but we had to deal with you leaving and I had problems at work so it was put off for a while. We decided to wait until the anniversary of the day I caught the snitch and Ginny kissed me but she decided to give me a different kind of news.”
Hermione nodded in understanding, “She was pregnant with James.”
Harry rolled his eyes, “Yeah so we had to put it off even longer. In the end we didn’t get married until after James had turned one. We really wished you could have been there Hermione, it wasn’t the same without you.”
Hermione shrugged uncomfortably and replied, “You know I would have been there, but I really needed to be away. After what happened I mean.”
The Potter’s nodded in silent understanding and the tension in the air grew. Neither of the three spoke and Hermione started to feel the void returning. I don’t want to talk about it, I can’t talk about it!
She could feel Harry’s stare seep into her skin and she knew that the conversation that they were going to have next, wouldn’t be about something as relaxing as Quidditch.
The tone in her best friend’s voice made a shiver wander down her spine and the air around her grew tight. “Do you miss him Hermione?”
“Harry I don’t really want to-“Hermione started but the look from Ginny meant that they were speaking about it whether she wanted to or not. “You know, it’s okay to miss him, we all do…every day.” She could hear the emotion in his voice tremble and she knew that her void would swallow her whole right in front of them.
“I do miss him. That day haunts my dreams every night, and if it isn’t that then its memories of the times we shared before he…died.”
And, as if on cue the memory of that day invaded her mind.
Diagon Alley’s park, a year after Graduation
“Hermioneee, where are youuu” Hermione suppressed a giggle as she saw the mass of ginger hair walk past her hiding place. From behind, she could appreciate her Fiancé’s muscular back and Hermione shivered as she remembered the touch of his skin beneath her hands.
“Come on Hermione, you’ve been hiding for the last 15 minutes this is hardly fair! Can’t you just let me win? Pwetty please” She sniggered at his angelic voice that she knew was all a ruse. As he walked further away from her she snuck out of the bushes and jumped onto his back.
“Hey, no fair! I had a disadvantage!” Hermione stood with her hands on her hips, her eyebrows raised. “How so?” Ron raised Hermione’s lips to his and whispered, “Because you’re too smart and beautiful for me.” With that, he kissed her tenderly and Hermione felt tingles all over her body.
“Well, well, well what do we have here?” Hermione and Ron turned to see a rogue Death Eater before them. They were still sneaking around trying to find another way to bring Voldermort back but it was Harry and Ron’s jobs as Aurors to stop them. Hermione had decided that she had enough War and Violence and had opened up her own bookstore in Diagon Alley.
Ron flashed out his wand and pointed at the Death Eater before him; his reactions had increased since the Great War. “Ah, Nott I wondered when you were going to pop up, coming to hand your sorry ass over are ya.”
“Ron don’t antagonise him!” Hermione’s eyes were wide with horror at the scene before her. She was at the disadvantage that her wand was lying in her bag back at the picnic blanket, which meant that Ron was going to have to protect the pair of them.
“Don’t worry Mione, I’m only telling it how it is, isn’t that right Nott?” He laughed but Hermione knew that he was anxious to get the pair of them to safety.
“Oh you wish Weasley! No, I’ve decided that a little justice needs to be served. You see, that lovely Daphne Greengrass that you decided to so brutally jail and have her soul sucked out by the Death Eaters, yeah well me and her had a bit of a thing, she was actually pregnant with my kid as it goes, so I’m not too impressed Weasley, not too impressed indeed!”
Hermione’s eyes widened as she caught onto Nott’s hidden meaning. He had been in the same year as Fred and George, as was Daphne and the pair had gladly signed up as followers to Voldermort, mainly because their parents were also Death Eaters. “Ron, for Merlin’s sake don’t do anything rash!”
Ron eyed his Fiancé with concern and quickly looked back at Nott. “You know what Nott, seen as I’m in a good mood today, I think I’m going to be nice to you. Instead of having your soul sucked dry, you can rot in Azkaban for the rest of your miserable life! But first, how about you make this an even match and let my Fiancé go. It’ll be me and you till the death.”
Hermione gasped in horror. Nott on the other hand, sniggered.
“Ah, Weasley, you really are a fool! I want to avenge Daphne – what better way to do that than kill your Mudblood!”
The next thing Hermione knew was Nott diving towards her and Ron his wand sparking with green light. She was too shocked to move. The light was heading straight towards her but for the life of her she could not move. She was going to die. She was going to die and there was nothing she could do about it. Ron’s red hair fluttered before her and then faded to the floor. He had launched himself in front of her and shot the killing curse back towards Nott. Unfortunately, Ron hadn’t managed to move out of the direct line of Nott’s fire. His body sailed to the ground before Hermione’s eyes as Nott dodged the badly aimed killing curse and apparated out of the park.
“Ron wake up”
“Ron! Please wake up!”
Hermione held her Fiancé’s head in her lap and cried. Ron was dead. A void opened up in her heart and started sucking the life out of her. She could not feel the grass beneath her; she was numb. Everything was numb.
Someone must have alerted the Ministry about the confrontation because the next thing she knew, someone familiar was calling her name.
She looked down at the body before her hoping that it was all a mistake that he was alive but the piercing blue eyes were lifeless.
“Mione, Mione let go of him”
She shook her head in defiance but ‘the someone’ who had called her name was now pulling her arms off of Ron. “I’m not leaving him!” “I’M NOT LEAVING HIM!”
“He’s gone Hermione…he’s gone.” She looked up and saw Harry standing over her, his eyes filled with tears. She didn’t know how he got there but as he held her, she could feel the cold realisation that the wedding that she and Ron had been planning wasn’t going to be held. He wouldn’t be there. He wouldn’t be anywhere…ever again.
“No…no!” Hermione sobbed into her best friend’s arms and let the void swallow her up.
Back in the Potter’s kitchen.
Tears streamed down Hermione’s face and she could feel the reassuring arms of Harry, the same arms that had rocked her while she cried over the love of her life.
“It’s okay Hermione, it’s okay.” Ginny looked at the two and she sniffled. It had been a long time since that horrific day that she had lost her brother but it still burnt her soul every time she thought about it. Even though Fred had been attacked with the killing curse, it had skimmed him and had just hit his arm, knocking him unconscious. Unfortunately for Fred, his arm can no longer be used although he had managed to keep his life. The loss of Ron had been a terrible blow after the Weasley’s had managed to gain back a son they thought they had lost.
Hermione reached out her hand towards Ginny and the red head happily took it for comfort. “I’m sorry for leaving you to deal with the blow alone; I just couldn’t deal with it myself. I couldn’t even be in our apartment and him not be there… I just couldn’t.”
Ginny nodded in sympathy, “I know. You don’t have to explain to me, I know if I ever lost Harry I wouldn’t survive…I spent those two years wondering if you three were alive and to not know was torture. I’m really sorry for your loss.”
Hermione whimpered but plastered a sad smile on her face, “I have Mia now, she keeps me sane and she keeps the void away. I’m so grateful to have my little girl.”
The Potter couple sat back down in their chairs and glanced each other with a mutual silent question. Ginny was the one to ask. “Hermione, we both know that Mia isn’t Ron’s...who’s is she?”
Hermione shifted in her chair and looked at her friends nervously, “I’d rather not say.”
“Because, it was only a week or so after the loss of Ron. I had gone on a binge and the next morning I had a pounding headache along with a guy in my bed. All you need to know is that he was very caring to me and he doesn’t even know that he’s a father. I’ve survived a long time without him in Mia’s life and that’s how I would like to keep it.”
Ginny started to argue but was interrupted by the burst of two muddy children running into the kitchen. James held up a big bowl that held a sloppy, sludgy blob of mud. He held it up for the grownups to see and said, “Look we made a mud pie!”
Ginny groaned at the mess and sighed. Harry looked at his wife nervously knowing that she was going to explode “Hey mate, why don’t you go and put it outside and then take Mia upstairs to the bathroom to wash off – make sure you take your shoes off though!” The little boy eyed his mother with worry and quickly took his new found friend’s hand to escape. Mia went gladly and Hermione smiled at the cuteness the two were creating. However, when she looked back at her best friend she realised that Ginny was building up a storm of rage. Mumbling to Harry about going to help the kids clean up, Hermione slipped out of the kitchen and away from troubling questions.
She laughed when she heard the roar of the little lioness.