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Chapter 17 : Chapter Seventeen: Finalities
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That night we order take out from a muggle restaurant near our house. The scrapping of our forks on our plates echoed in my head as if I had a terrible headache. I kept glancing through my hair across the table at my husband, who seemed to be perfectly comfortable with our silent meal. On the contrary, I can’t sit still. I’m extremely restless and the events of the day had led me to feel extremely awkward and just missing; of course Viktor knew nothing. Well, he knew that I had gone over and made peace with the Weasleys, but I had conveniently left out my little meeting with Him. It’s for the best. He doesn’t need to guess the real reason I’m so anxious to get away.
I look around the living room at the few scattered boxes that contained various things such as the good china and a few glass figures that had been on the fireplace. After my little encounter with Him, I had come home and done everything possible to keep myself busy. I had packed up most of the main sitting room and kitchen and was in the middle of the dining room before Viktor came home. The concentration packing breakables and labeling boxes was hardly enough to keep my mind occupied, but it was better than nothing. Sitting and wallowing in self pity benefiting no one – at least by trying not to think at all I was getting something done.
So, I was working on the dining room when Viktor came home from work and announced that all his affairs there were pretty much taken care of and that we could move to Bulgaria as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. I had smiled and acted excited – some of my excitement had even been real. I didn’t really want to stick around much after we announced that we were leaving tomorrow at dinner. My husband had seen my progress in the kitchen and main sitting room and after teasing me saying that I worked to hard, suggested he go pick up take out.
And now we sit in silence eating. I’m going to drive myself crazy, I have to say something. Just as I’m about o start conversation, however, Viktor swallows and looks up from his plate, “So tomorrow, what are your plans?” he asks.
Tomorrow? The day of the dinner. The day… I don’t even want to think about this. I don’t think that the dinner is what he’s referring to, anyway. That’s not until six, meaning that we have a whole day to fill until then. “I was going to go into work and talk to my boss. Maybe ask him if I can be transferred to an office closer to Bulgaria, or ask if he can recommend me to some office there…” I trailed off.
“I am sure that he’ll do his best,” Viktor smiles, “he seems to be very fond of you. Always inviting us over for dinner and to other functions.”
I nod. We had always gotten along, Mr. Smittens and I. My heart sinks again at the thought of having to tell him that I’m leaving in close to two days.
“Maybe after you get through at work, we could go visit your parents,” Viktor suggests. I almost drop my fork in surprise. Viktor chuckles, “Well, I’m sure they might want to know our new address?”
I open my mouth and close it. Why hadn’t I thought of them before? I’d forgotten about my own parents! They were going to be crushed at the thought of me moving to a whole separate country! “Merlin,” I mutter as I drop my head to my hands. How could I break it to them that their only child was moving thousands of miles away!
How could I forget them in the first place!
It’s not like you’ve been without your own issues lately, my mind reminded me. But still…
“We don’t have to go…” Viktor says slowly in his ‘I-hope-I-didn’t-say-something-wrong’ voice.
I look up and force a smile, “No, no. We do. Its just I’m disgusted with myself for not having thought of them before!”
Viktor picks up his cleaned plate and fork and walks over to me, “You’ve had a lot on your mind,” he says as she gathers my plate and fork, too. I tense up, he doesn’t know. He can’t. I didn’t - “and it was a quick decision, Hermione, only made yesterday.”
I blink twice. It seems like those two men had showed up so much longer ago. But yesterday and today had been extremely long days…
I stand up and follow Viktor into the kitchen, “Yes, I guess you are right. But we will have to go and see them tomorrow.” I tell him as he spell cleans our dishes.
“I’ll just pack until you get back from work, then we can go to your parents,” Viktor says as he turns from the sink to face me.
“And then we have the dinner,” I say looking at my hands.
Viktor walks over and picks my chin up, “I know this is hard for you,” he says softly, “tomorrow will be okay.” He says.
Looking into his eyes I can tell that he isn’t sure. I can tell that he’s trying to convince himself as much as he’s trying to convince me. And nothing is going to convince me; tomorrow is going to be horrible. Telling all the Weasleys and Harry that we are leaving? It will be a miracle to get through it without losing my mind. But Viktor doesn’t need to know that. I have to be strong for him. I made this decision to leave for him. So that I can move on and get over all this. I have to be strong. Leaving is what’s best.
Too bad I can’t convince myself of that, either.
I look into Viktor’s brown eyes – so different from His blue ones. Not only in color, though. His hold a softness, a sparkle, that I have never really seen in Viktor’s. I mentally shake those thoughts out of my head. They are different people with different eyes. That’s all.
“I know,” I manage – finally – to tell Viktor. He smiles at me and leans in. Our lips meet and I close my eyes. As we kiss, my mind tries to compare. I won’t let it, I won’t let it, I won’t –
Just because I don’t curl my toes and get a tingly feeling in my fingertips when I kiss my husband doesn’t mean that I don’t love him. I’m just so used to kissing him. He’s my husband, I’ve just gotten used to him.
But I never got used to His kisses.
Viktor pulls away and smiles at me. I swallow my horrible comparing thoughts and manage to speak, “I’m going to get to bed – long day tomorrow.”
He nods, “I’ll finish packing up the dining room before I go up.”
I nod and turn to go. “I love you, Hermione,” Viktor smiles as I reach to door.
I pause and turn around, “I love you, too, Viktor,” I smile, happy with myself because it’s not even a lie. I do love my husband; I’m not a completely terrible person. I love him, I admire him, I just maybe don’t love him as much as I once loved Him. But I do love Viktor. Really.
I straighten my best work robes. My light purple, kind of blue ones. I don’t know the exact color, only someone like Parvati or Fluer would know that. My hair has been made to cooperate in a halfup-halfdown way with a simple plait that my mum gave me for Christmas sometime back. All in all, I look better going to work than I have in all the time I’ve gone save the first week. Mr. Smittens will know as soon as he sees me that I have something vital to tell him. But maybe that will save me the burden of having to bring up the subject. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.
Turning off the light and shoving my wand into my pocket, I walk quietly out of the loo and through the bedroom. I walk into the kitchen to grab my bag and debate whether I want breakfast or not. Deciding I’m too nervous to eat, I just grab my bag and walk to the fireplace. Pointing my wand to start a fire, I take a deep breath and a pinch of floo powder. Throwing the powder into the flames and stepping in, I pronounce my destination clearly then step out into the Ministry’s lobby. I wanted to walk through the main lobby for what could be the last time.
“Mrs. Krum,” a wizard that works in the office beside me tips his hat to me as we pass. I give him a smile and walk over to the lift.
“Hermione Krum, well I’ll be!” I hear a cry as I enter the lift, “how are you?”
I shake hands with Seamus Finnigan, “Just fine,” I smile, “how about you? How’s your wife?” The list clamber to a close and the lift jolts to a start.
“Victoria’s great! Due in three months, she is,” Seamus beamed. He had married Victoria Frobisher, a fellow Gryffindor that was in the year above me. They’d met when they both tried out for and didn’t make the team that year Harry was captain.
“Congratulations!” I smiled, “oh, this is my floor. Tell Victoria ‘hi’ for me, okay?”
“Will do, Hermione,” he waved as I stepped off. My stomach sunk as I realized that once I moved to Bulgaria, this would never happen. I would never meet old classmates in the lift, see acquaintances in the market. Little things like that were really starting to add up. But this was for the better. For my marriage. For Viktor. For me.
I walk down the hall taking extra time to examine the charmed windows and portraits. I feel like I hadn’t ever seen things properly before. I finally reach the door that leads to mine and Mr. Smittens office and I just stare at it. I can’t help but think of all the times I walked through it and how this could be the last time. I hate these thoughts of finality. I remember one time, three years ago.
“We’ve already moved all your stuff into your new office. Everything is in order and you can start your new work today.” smiled Mr. Smittens as he pushed open the door to their offices and showed her. Hermione smiled back, though it was an empty one. Even with this promotion from her tiny cubicle, she no longer could share the news with the person she wanted to most. He’d left for Scotland nearly four days ago. Today was Hermione’s first day back from her “sickness.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said, “it all looks amazing.”
“As well it should,” smiled her new boss, “I hear you are quite the worker. The Minister himself wrote referencing you.”
“I try,” Hermione tried to smile humbly. She hoped it didn’t look like a grimace.
“Well,” said Mr. Smittens shifting uncomfortably as they ran out of things to say, “I’ll just leave you to examine your new office and get to work, then,” he smiled and disappeared into one of the two doors. Hermione guessed the other lead to her office. She pushed it open.
It was much, much more roomy than her cubicle and contained a nice desk. The kind of desk that little workoholics dreamt about owning. She smiled a small but genuine smile as she walked over to it and sat down in the nice, comfy chair behind it.
She was just beginning to imagine herself conducting very important meetings and writing up vital reports when she saw it. That picture. They’d moved it with the rest of her stuff.
She picked up the silver frame that had her used-to-be favorite picture in it. The one that had been taken a few months after the war, “Let’s get a picture of the world’s most bickering couple!” Ginny had said. Hermione remembered looking up at Ron as Ginny picked up the camera off the table. Hermione had hugged Ron’s waist and Ron had slung his arm around Hermione. She had smiled instinctively.
Looking down at the picture, Hermione felt tears welling up in her eyes. Again. Then she felt anger. She’d stood up with the picture, walked out of her office and into the main room where the big trash bin was. She’d thrown it down with such force that it shattered. She then wiped the tears away and buried herself in her work.
The next day, she’d walked into her office and found the still bend frame sitting on her desk with a note from her boss: Don’t be to hasty to throw away memories, Miss Granger.
And coming to her senses, Hermione picked up the frame, apparated back to her flat and had stored the picture in a trunk that contained all her Hogwarts stuff.
Now that trunk was in our attic and that picture, the same one that He has on his shelf, was still shoved in the back under old school robes and books. I really was going to miss Mr. Smittens. Pushing open the door for what could be the last time I walked into the entry room and looked around. The trash bin was still in the same place. It’s funny how so much can change yet the little things remain constant.
Deciding to get it over with, I walk over and knock on my boss’ door. I hear him call me in and, taking a deep breath, oblige.
“Hermione!” he looks up, “Uh-oh.” He then says looking at my robes. I force a sympathetic smile.
“I have bad news,” I start sitting down in a chair across from his desk.
“I figured,” he sighed.
“Viktor has been offered captaincy of the Bulgarian Vratsa Vultures and –”
“You really are moving to Bulgaria, then?” he asks morosely.
“Ye – wait,” I stop, “How’d you know?”
Mr. Smittens holds up a something that had been resting on his desk, Quidditch Quandaries. On the front page is a huge picture of Viktor with the background being the logo for the Bulgarian Vratsa Vultures. Krum Takes Position as Captain and Seeker for Vultures (pg. 7).
“Oh.” Damn, the press sure gets its information quickly. Hopefully none of the Weasley’s read that…
Mr. Smittens sighs, “We’re going to miss you here, Hermione. It sure will be one hell of a job finding a replacement.”
“I’m going to miss it too,” I answer.
“But you have to do what you have to do, right?” he smiles sadly.
I nod. That statement pretty much sums up this whole predicament.
“Drawing this out will just make it all the more sad, so I’ll just owl you references and such when you owl me from your new address,” he says.
“Of course, you and your wife will have to come to dinner and to some of the matches. I think I can spare a few extra tickets,” I smile.
“Sounds great,” he says and we both stand up. He walks over and embraces me, “I really enjoyed having you here,” he tells me. I just nod.
Why is everything so bloody hard and sad and terrible! I hate finalities!
“I’m just going to go pack up, then,” I say as we part, “thanks for everything.”
“No problem, Mrs. Krum.”
I walk out of his office rather quickly. Really, though, resigning should not make a person cry. Unless you have an awesome boss like Mr. Smittens, I guess.
Packing as a witch is really easy. I walk into my office, wave my wand, and everything starts folding itself into the boxes by the door. Easy, see? However, there is a catch. While packing as a witch is as easy as a wave of the wand and an incantation, unpacking, however, has to be done more carefully and usually by hand. This is because when packing things into boxes, everything knows where its supposed to go but when unpacking there are way to many places any item can be placed.
Anyway, I am finished packing up my office in about three minutes. I can’t really decide whether this is a good or bad thing. When packing as a muggle, it takes a while so talking and saying goodbye for good is put off longer. But now, as my boxes float behind me, I prepare to walk out of my office for the last time. Mr. Smittens is waiting in the reception room, “I guess this really is goodbye, then.”
I nod, unable to speak.
“Good luck, I’m sure you’ll do fine wherever you end up,” he says.
I nod again, “Thanks,” I manage to say.
I shake his hand and then walk out of the office. Soon enough, I am back at my house, my boxes from the office sitting by the front door.
“Is that you, Hermione?” I hear a call from upstairs.
“Yes,” I call back as I climb the stairs. I see that Viktor is in the upstairs living room packing. As I walk in I see that he is doing the pictures by hand. Packing by magic is easier, but not as safe when it comes to valuables. He picks up the picture of us at the Yule Ball as I walk over to him.
“Remember this? Isn’t it your favorite?” he smiles at me. I look at it. We are dancing happily in the foreground while Ron glares in the back.
“Of course I remember. It is my favorite,” I smile, but not for the reason you think. I add mentally. He wraps it in bubble wrap and sets in the box. I stare at it.
“Anton Silviya, the manager of my new team,” Viktor beamed as he said this, “wrote today and said we could start moving in tomorrow, if we were ready.”
I plaster a smile on my face as I look up from the box, “That’s great,” I say.
Viktor smiles sympathetically at me, “I know it’s hard,” he whispers, “But we are getting our goodbyes over tonight and then we’ll be gone. It’ll be better not to hang around, won’t it?” he asks.
I nod, “Yes, I’m sure I’ll feel better once we are settled.”
“I’m glad,” he says walking over to me, “now, ready to go tell your parents?”
I look up at him wearily, “I think I’ll go change first,” I say. He’s dressing in jeans and a maroon t-shirt, but I’m still in my dress robes.
“Okay, I’ll meet you downstairs.”
I walk into our bedroom and change into jeans and a green tank-top. Walking downstairs I see Viktor with his wand out starting the fire. He turns and sees me, “Ladies first, Mrs. Krum,” he says. I take a pinch of floo powder, throw it into the fire and say the address to my childhood home.
I walked out of the fireplace and smiled as my mum and dad looked up from what they were doing. Mum put down her knitting and dad his newspaper and they stood to greet me, “What brings you here?” Dad smiled as Mum hugged me, “Is Viktor com – Viktor!”
“Hello, Mr. Grang – David,” Viktor smiled and shook his hand then kissed my Mum on the cheek. Mum motioned for us to have a seat as she went into the kitchen and put some tea on.
She came back and sat down beside Dad on the couch opposite Viktor and I. We talked for a few minutes about random things before Mum went and got the tea. As she poured it she looked up and said, “You still haven’t told us to what we owe this great surprise.”
“Well,” I start, looking from my parents to my husband, “this visit brings even more of a surprise,” I said nervously, “you see, Viktor has been offered captaincy of the fourth best Quidditch team.”
There was a rush of congratulations from Mum but Dad looked at me suspiciously and asked, “What team?”
“The Vrasta Vultures,” I said.
“Isn’t that a –”
“Another Bulgarian team, yeah,” I said.
“That’s great!” Mum smiled again, not catching on like Dad was.
“And as captain…”
Words evaded me in the look my dad was giving me. Viktor looked at my face then said it for me, “I’ll have to be stationed near the pitch. In Bulgaria. We’re moving tomorrow.” He said. Mum and Dad’s faces dropped.
“We just found out yesterday,” I rush to tell them, “But look! We might still be able to get the floo connected. I mean I’m not as high up in the Ministry there, but maybe we can pull some strings!” I say trying not to get hysterical.
They just stared at their only child. The one that was about to move to a completely different country. I felt like I was disappointing them.
“Hermione,” my mum spoke first, “we aren’t mad at you for moving. And we definitely wouldn’t want you to pass up such a great offer.” Hermione smiled and looked to her dad. She saw her mother elbow him.
“Yes, Hermione, we aren’t upset, just sad that you are going so far away.”
“We’ll visit often.” Viktor put in.
“More than often.” I nod.
They smiled at us; I knew they were still sad and whatnot but with our promise of visiting they seemed a bit more cheerful.
“Well, since you are here now, how about staying for lunch?” my Mum asked.
Dad’s face lit up, “There’s this new place down the road that has the best American hamburgers ever. You have to come!” he says excitedly. Mum rolls her eyes; I stifle a laugh, he’s such a child. Sometimes he reminds me exactly of R… no one.
“I think that would be possible, don’t you Hermione?” Viktor smiles at me.
I shake my head slightly to clear my thoughts, “Yeah, that sounds great!” I smile.
Lunch was good. Mum and Dad seemed to be in a good enough mood, despite my news. Dad was right about the burgers, they were fantastic and after a small argument over who would pay for the meal, we drove back to my parents’ house.
“Thank you for everything,” Viktor said as we said our goodbyes, “I promise that we will keep in touch.” After last minute assurances and congratulations from my parents, Viktor tactfully flooed home first to allow me some alone time with them.
“I can’t believe my Baby is moving to Bulgaria!” Mum said tearfully. Oh, Merlin. I knew that it was too easy. I just hope I can stand it without breaking down.
“Like Viktor said, we’ll visit more than often, you won’t have time to miss me!” I said.
“We always have time for that, Hermione,” my dad said solemnly. Great.
“What about my grandchildren!” Mum asked.
Excuse me? “I hope that you have some other daughter or something, because I don’t remember having any children,” I said raising an eyebrow.
Mum chuckled, “Not now you don’t, but when you do they’ll be a whole country away!”
“Mum, I don’t plan on having children any time soon. Especially now that Viktor is captain and will be busy all the time. So you can be sure that if and when we have children we’ll probably be back in England. If not for family purposes at least for educational ones.” I told her seriously. She nods, gives me a hug and a kiss then hustles out of the room leaving me in thought.
Bulgaria is nice, but there is no way that any child of mine is going anywhere besides Hogwarts. Viktor would have to deal. And honestly, I haven’t even thought of having children with Viktor. I mean, I don’t know who else I’d have them with, but children just aren’t on my agenda any time soon. But I do want them, I think. I mean I have always wanted to be a mother. And –
“Hermione, are you sure this is the right thing to do?” Dad asks me, pulling me out of my thoughts.
“Wh-what do you mean?” I ask. He can’t know about all this. The only person that does, really, is Ginny and even she doesn’t know half of it. Yet.
“I’m your father, Hermione, I’ve always been able to read you. I just feel like you are doing this uneasily.”
Damn him and his ability to read me like a book. Seriously, he was always like this. Even when I was a kid I couldn’t lie to him. “Dad, I have to go to Bulgaria,” I confess.
“Why?” he asks.
“Because… because…” what do I tell him? ‘I have to go because if I don’t I may end up falling in love with Ron even more and then becoming an adulterer and/or divorcing my husband who I really don’t love as much as I love Ron which you seemed to know even before I was married. So you were right and I’m a terrible wife and person so maybe if I leave I’ll forget about the only person that has ever really made me fall in love with him.’ didn’t seem to fit.
“You don’t have to explain it to me, just make sure that you are doing what’s best for you, okay?” he said.
‘BUT I DON’T KNOW WHATS BEST FOR ME!’ I wanted to yell back at him. But I didn’t. I just nodded, hugged him, then flooed home to get ready for the Weasley Family Dinner which was to start in two hours with even more uneasy thoughts going through my head.
A/N: Bahh. I really was planning on writing the dinner into this chapter, but it just got so long with all Hermione's other goodbyes and her feelings and stuff. haha. But I promise the majority of hte next chapter, if not the whole thing, will be the dinner. This story will probably be about 20 chapters. I don't know if that will include the epilogue yet, but yeah. I'm aiming for about 20. Its wierd to see how long i've been writing this: since last October. I'm so glad that you all have stuck with me.
OH! and thanks so much to all those who nominated me for the Dobbys! I really never expected such a compliment! It made me happy. So please review, I really appreciate them! =]
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