Chapter 8 : "Home"
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Chapter 8: “Home”
“Her…Alli!” Ron shouted as he burst into the back kitchen door. It had been several hours since
Ginny called him and he apparated to the Ministry, but there was some hold up and it took three hours before they could use the portkey back to England.
During that time, Hermione had been left alone as Harry had an emergency call from the auror bureau after Molly had apparated to the Ministry to see what was holding up her husband (turns out to be same emergency).
This left Alessandra alone suddenly, and she started to wander about the first floor of the Burrow. She saw what looked to be family albums, and picked one of the heavy books up. She frowned. It was an odd type of photo album; old looking, and worn around the edges.
Thanks to Molly’s anti-magic spell, the pictures did not move. But Alessandra was more confused when she saw some of the outfits she saw on the family members. Where in the world of Great Britain were they with such fashion sense?
She smiled when she saw a picture of Ron on his first day of school. He looked so cute in what was obviously a homemade sweater. She could tell the family didn’t have a lot of money back then, but saw how happy they seemed. It was probably why she felt a sense of warmth and comfort in their home. And with Ron.
She turned the pages and then frowned. There was a young girl, with similar bushy hair to her own. She flipped a few more pages and found some of the same girl appearing older. Her heart started to beat a little faster. Then she saw a picture of the girl wearing a pretty dress, standing next to a bulky young man at what appeared to be a formal dance. She looked closely at the girl’s face.
No, it couldn’t be…She thought as her heart began beating faster and faster.
She quickly, yet nervously, turned a few more pages, scanning for more photos of the young girl, who was now a young woman in the next picture.
And then she found it. A picture of the girl and Ron standing close, holding each other. They looked very relieved about something, and rather tired and worn. The love in their eyes was clear, but that was not what scared her. The girl looked exactly like she had when she first “arrived” in New York City.
The book dropped from her hands. She looked around nervously, frightened, and knowing that she was alone.
She didn’t understand it. Was she really…was she the girl standing there with Ron? A girl who obviously had grown up with him? And…fell in love?
She had to get out of the room; the walls felt as if they were closing in on her. She ran out the front door and down the road, not caring where she ended up. She fought back the tears forming in her eyes, and kept running.
Why hadn’t Ron told her who she was? The thought kept her walking, running, further from the Burrow.
The road kept twisting and turning, and before she knew it, Alessandra found herself headed toward a small village. It looked strange, something out of a fairytale. But then she remembered that she had never visited England before, and did not know what to expect. She wandered casually toward the village, hoping to avoid talking to anyone. But she was curious, and wondered why something familiar tugged at her memory. Had she been there before? Had she really known Ron and his family? Would anyone recognize her?
She walked down into the center of the town where people were bustling about, some obviously just getting off of work and some children were at play. A group of people walking toward her were dressed in odd clothes, and she felt the need to turn away from them. Spotting a tavern filled with people, she quickly went inside.
As she walked in, she saw several heads turn, whispers shared.
“Who…she looks like…” Seamus said to Neville.
“No, it can’t be,” Hannah said as she snuggled in toward Seamus, frowning at the beauty who had just walked in.
In another corner, more whispers were being shared.
“Looks like Hermione Granger,” One man said to another.
His mate, Cormac, was in shock. There was no way…no, it couldn’t be!
The girl he and his mate had been sharing a drink with blinked her eyes. Her…Hermione Granger?
Sara frowned. She had seen a picture of Hermione at the Burrow, but did not expect the graceful and beautiful woman who just walked through the door. But it had to be her, she heard the whisperings around her saying that they thought it could be her. This was not good.
Hermione felt even worse. Nearly everyone in the tavern was staring at her. She walked hesitantly up to the bar. “Excuse me, where is the ladies room?”
A gruff man, who was also staring at her in recognition, pointed. “The loo’s over there.”
She walked over to a small hall where two doors were marked “Ladys” and “Gynts”. Walking into the first one, she went to the sink and turned on the water.
She was still washing her face when the door creaked open. A young woman walked in, about the same age as her.
“You alright?” The girl asked in an American accent.
Relieved, Hermione stopped and turned off the tap.
“Yes, I reckon so. Just had a minor fright, is all.”
The girl seemed to smile, although it was almost a smirk.
“I’m Sara. You’ll have to pardon the gits in these parts. I’ll bet they were expecting my fiancée, Ron Weasley.”
Hermione stared at the young woman. Fiancee? Ron was engaged?
Feeling even worse, Hermione mumbled a “congratulations” then fled the room and then the bar.
Meanwhile, George was having a grand time walking down the path with Lavender. He stopped them in front of a sweet and wine shop, then turned to his date. “Stay right here a second, luv, I’ll just be a moment.”
Amused, she frowned and asked “And just what are you going to purchase?”
“Just some fun.” George answered, then gave her a quick peck on the cheek before entering the store without her.
As Lavender waited, she saw a distressed woman hurrying down the road toward her. No, it couldn’t…
Hermione as Alessandra ran down the street, in tears after what the woman Sara had told her.
Not minding where she was going, she ran headlong into a blonde woman…
“Who…who are you?”
The blonde smiled at her and smoothed some of Alessandra’s flyaway hair from the girl’s face.
“A friend. No worries, love.”
“Do you know me?” Hermione tentatively asked.
The blonde woman smiled, even if they hadn’t been the best of friends.
“Do you know who you are?”
Hermione found herself shaking her head. “I…I don’t remember anything except the past couple of years.”
Suddenly a red head young man exited the store they were standing by. “Hey, I bought you…” He suddenly became aware of the woman standing next to Lavender.
“Her…Hermione?” He gasped. Then suddenly he threw his arms around her. Noticing that she wasn’t full heartedly hugging him back, he stepped back.
Tears were now forming in her eyes. “Is…is that my name?” She croaked in barely a whisper, recognizing the name Molly Weasley had called her when she woke just a few hours ago.
George nodded, and Lavender carefully placed her hand on Hermione’s arm.
“Ron needs to see you.” George suddenly blurted out.
“Ron? What does he…he knows me, doesn’t he.”
Lavender crooked her arms through Hermione’s. “Let’s get out of here.”
George nodded, sensing that Hermione felt comfortable with his date. “We can go to my place over the shop.”
Lavender crooked a smile. “Already inviting me back to your place?”
He winked at the two girls. “Best excuse in the world. You alright, Hermione?”
She had tears running down her face, but was smiling. “Yeah…I think that would be best.”
Maybe these two would answer the many questions she now had screaming through her head.
A few moments later George led them into his apartment. He flicked on the lights and gestured for the girls to sit down. “Coffee? Tea?” While Hermione was looking around he mouthed to Lavender Me? “Or perhaps something stronger?”
“Something stronger.” Hermione said determinedly. As George went into the kitchen she was still looking around, wondering why everything seemed so strange.
Wait, things were moving around on their own…surely they couldn’t all be mechanical?
George then came back from the kitchen with three short glasses and a bottle of firewhiskey set on a round tray, much like the kind servers used in bars.
“Firewhiskey it is.” He said as he poured a first round.
“Yeah, you…” He was about to say you know but then held back. “Hermione, I don’t know where to start so why don’t you go first and tell us what you remember. I…you…”
“I don’t have my memories.” She said sighing. “I woke up a couple of years ago in the middle of Central Park.” She paused as George stared at her with a quizzical look as Lavender nodded, recognizing the name. “Central Park, it’s in New York City.”
“Ah, that’s in the states.” George replied.
“Yes,” She nodded, “I had no memory and no money, but I went around looking for a job or something, and found Dr. Lavoy. He and his wife took me in, gave me a job, and helped me settle and start college.”
George smirked, which earned him a punch in the shoulder from Lavender.
“What?” He asked. “Like that’s a surprise?” He said looking back and forth at the two girls.
“Am…am I that obvious?” Hermione asked.
“Love, learning is your life, your soul. But go on, then I’ll answer questions about you.”
She told them about her life, becoming a model, and then how she met Ron at the coffee shop. Lavender gushed when she told them about the type of shoots she had, the catalogs and all while George blushed. He wondered what Ron thought of all this, then burst out laughing when she told them how she got Ron a front row ticket to one of her runway shows.
“Did he burst from the audience and try covering you up?” He asked, making Lavender choke on the last sip of her drink. George quickly refilled all three glasses.
Hermione took a sip before continuing, eventually getting to the point of how she ended up at the Burrow. George easily guessed who had frightened her; even if he knew Malfoy was alright now, her early memories of him might have caused her reaction now matter how deep they were buried in her mind.
“So what can you tell me about…well, me?”
“Well, you’re name is Hermione Granger and you’re the smartest w…er, student we had in school with us.”
“And I was your dorm mate,” Lavender put in, knowing she dared not mention dating Ron during their sixth year.
Hermione turned to the blonde. “Were we friends?”
“Er, more acquaintances. I was more of one those material girls in school, while you hung around Harry and Ron mostly, and always studying.”
George nodded. “And Ron’s my brother. You’ve been like a member of my family since you were thirteen, since Ron invited you and Harry to the…a big sporting match.”
“And he was always defending you in school, I mean, we had some real arrogant blokes that sometimes taunted you because you weren’t…weren’t like them.”
“there’s something you’re not telling me.” Hermione said frowning. She had been picking up on all their catches of almost saying something, then changing course in their words.
“Bloody hell, Hermione, you’re a witch.” George exclaimed.
“Not like that,” Lavender interrupted. “I’m a witch, too, and George, Ron, everyone else are wizards or witches like us.”
“You…you’re putting me on!” She said not believing them.
George pulled out his wand and cast a spell. Suddenly the tray with the firewhiskey levitated up in the air.
“That…that has to be a trick!”
So George disapparated and then came back, but this time behind the chair Hermione was seated in. “Is that a trick?”
“I…” suddenly at a loss for words, Lavender and George started over and explained the magical world to her.
When they were through, Hermione paused then asked “Is that how I got here? I mean, the last thing I remember I was in New York, then suddenly at your parents house.”
George nodded. “The fright you had from seeing Malfoy must have made you apparate, and quite a long distance. You still are incredibly strong with your magic, to have done that.”
Suddenly Hermione remembered something else. “Your wand! Let me see it again,” He handed it over and she carefully examined it. “I…I have one back at home. It was in my pocket when I woke up in the park. I have it on my display cabinet, but sometimes Snowy gets it somehow…”
“Snowy?” They both asked.
George and Lavender chuckled. Hermione always had a fondness for the creatures.
“You have another cat, Crookshanks. He lives with Ron now…I mean, Ron’s been waiting and searching for you, and taking care of ol’ Crooks in the meantime.”
“Speaking of Ron…”
“If my parents saw you, then no doubt they’ve contacted him by now. Reckon he’s back in England, worried sick about where you are. I’ll floo the Burrow and see what’s going on.”
Hermione watched in curiosity as George magicked the fireplace and seemed to be speaking with someone. And it seemed Ron was indeed back, searching for her once again.
Ron, Harry and Ginny had been searching throughout the village. Finally they happened upon the popular club that brought their friends from school and work often. As they walked in, the entire bar seemed to stopped in what each group had been talking about, which of course happened to be the beauty that looked like Hermione.
Ron immediately spotted Cormac, then Sara, who was standing with him and his friend at the bar. He saw the smug look on her face and knew, somehow, that Hermione had been there.
He had been such a fool thinking they were friends, even though he had been aware of her crush on him. He know knew she was not the person he thought she was. And Ginny had told him about Sara’s visits to his dad and the Burrow. He was furious, and walked right out the door, eager to continue his search for Hermione.
At least this time he knew she was close…
“So…so why, if I was engaged to Ron, did this woman in the bar say that she was Ron’s fiancée?”
George laughed as Lavender rolled her eyes. “That woman’s nutters, Mione. She’s been after him but he won’t give her the time of day. Likely she’s right pissed that you’re back. There was enough of our mates in that pub for someone to have said your name aloud. In fact, I think she was talking with Cormac back there, he would have said something. He tried to get in your pants back at school…ouch!” He said as Lavender punched him much harder this time.
Hermione blushed. “Well, that’s why I ran out of the pub…” She stopped and all her thoughts of what was going flooded through her. The two glasses of firewhiskey helped make everything seem fuzzy, and she burst into tears.