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Chapter 18 : Come Back To Me
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Come Back To Me
And I hope you find everything that you need
I’ll be right here waiting to see
When you find you come back to me
- “Come Back To Me”- David Cook
“I’m so glad to see you honey it’s been too long!” said Mrs. Granger warmly.
Hermione had decided to stay with her parents rather than the hotel the Australian Ministry of Magic had reserved for Mr. Doniphan and the other interns. It had been months since she last saw her parents and after all she had been through recently, it felt good to be with family.
“Did Randall come with you again?” asked Mr. Granger.
“Randall?” Hermione asked bemused. “Oh…it’s Ron dad, not Randall and no, I came alone.”
“Why didn’t you bring Harry along this time?” Mr. Granger asked curiously. “We’d love to meet him.”
“Someday soon dad I promise.” Hermione smiled. “For now you’ll have to just be content with just having your daughter back.”
“We are sweetheart.” said Mr. Granger.
“How long will you be staying this time?” Mrs. Granger asked as she closed the door behind them and followed her husband and daughter into the sitting room.
“Only a month this time.” Hermione answered as she sat down on the beige sofa.
“What a shame, we had you here for much longer the last time.” said Mrs. Granger.
“Well I came here because of my job. As you know I’m an intern at the Ministry of Magic law division and Mr. Doniphan--the head Lawyer--brought me along for an important case.” Hermione explained.
“Hermione, you never cease to make us proud.” said Mr. Granger beaming.
“I try my best dad.”
“And we’re never let down” said Mrs. Granger.
“So how’s retirement life?” Hermione asked.
“Oh, very boring but we do get to spend much more time together.” said Mrs. Granger smiling fondly at her husband.
“That’s great to hear mum.”
“How are things with you and Ron dear?” Mrs. Granger asked curiously.
The dreaded question had arisen; one Hermione knew was bound to pop up. It was natural that her parents would ask her after she introduced her first ever boyfriend to them.
“Uhm okay.” said Hermione. “We’re just friends now.”
“Oh” said Mrs. Granger said slowly. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” said Hermione. “It’s just better that way that’s all.”
“Did he do something?” Mr. Granger asked suspiciously.
“No dad.” said Hermione reassuringly. “It was just not working out.”
“Okay…” said Mr. Granger sitting back on the couch, still eyeing Hermione closely.
“Well…dinner must be ready.” said Mrs. Granger sensing the awkwardness in the air.
“You want to help me with the dishes Hermione?”
“Sure mum” said Hermione grateful to escape her dad’s surveying gaze.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Potter, come here.” said Mr. Kensington who was the head Auror and the main trainer of prospective ones.
Harry had just finished three grueling days of training in which he and the other Aurors in training were being tested on endurance and quick thinking in very strenuous situations. They had all been required to stay at the ministry without any contact with friends or family so that they could be focused at the task at hand. He was exhausted but also very satisfied at how well he had done.
“Your friend, Ms. Granger stopped by my office two days ago. She was asking for your whereabouts so I informed her about the training.” said Mr. Kensington. “She wanted me to tell you that she will be in Australia for a month.”
“Australia?” Harry asked bemusedly. “A month…did she say why?”
“That is none of my concern so naturally she did not say.” said Mr. Kensington dryly.
“However, she did leave me this to give to you.”
Mr. Kensington handed Harry a sealed roll parchment.
“I can give you my word I did not read it.” said Mr. Kensington amusedly. “I have no care for the woes of my trainees…even if it is ‘The Boy Who Lived’”
“Thank you sir.” said Harry pocketing the parchment.
“I want you here at eight o’clock sharp all right?”
Harry half-ran to the atrium to floo back to Grimmauld Place.
Australia. He couldn’t believe she had gone so far away without even telling him. He also was afraid of opening up the letter she had written him. What if she was upset he had left so soon after they had spent the night together? What if she thought he had left because he regretted what they had done? He was not ready for another emotional block preventing them to be together. They had gone through so much to get to where they were. There could not possibly be more setbacks. With trembling hands he slit through the wax and unrolled the parchment
I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you this in person, but it really was a last minute thing and you were unavailable to talk to. As Mr. Kensington probably already told you, I will be in Australia for a month. Mr. Doniphan wanted me to accompany him and three other interns on a very important case. As you know, this was a wonderful opportunity for my career and I could not let it pass. Also, I felt like I needed to get away for a bit and clear my head after everything that has been going on recently. We really need to figure out what’s to happen with us. You know how I feel, but the circumstances are still not in our favour. And who knows if they ever will be. As soon as I get back to England, we need to talk about it. Meanwhile, I think this time apart will do everybody good. See you soon
He let out a great sigh as he finished the letter. It wasn’t a big relief, but the letter could’ve been much worse. He would just have to wait until she returned to finally and completely clear the air. A month seemed like such a long time but he knew that some time apart would do them both a great deal of good. She had her issues to work out and he had his own. Most of his issues, however, rested with talking with Ron. Something that seemed impossible to occur any time soon.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Hermione was curled up on her bed in the spare room her parents had fixed up just for her occasional visits. She was absentmindedly stroking Crookshanks’ fluffy ginger fur and staring off into nothing. It had been just two weeks since she had arrived from England. The case she had come to see was as intense and as thrilling as she was hoping it would be. Regardless, she was desperately missing home. She was especially missing Harry. She had deliberately avoided contacting him because she wanted to carry out what she set out to accomplish with some time away. If there was ever a time where she thought what she felt for Harry was a phase, the time apart had shown her it wasn’t. Not a day went by where Harry wasn’t in her thoughts.
Hermione was so lost in her thoughts that she had not noticed her mother come in, holding a tray of Ginger snaps and a cup of water.
“Everything okay dear?” she asked concernedly.
“Oh yeah,” said Hermione pulling out of her reverie. “Just having catching up time with Crookshanks here. I’ve missed him loads.”
Crookshanks gave a content purr as he curled closer to Hermione.
“You looked lost in your thoughts.” said Mrs. Granger laying down the tray of ginger snaps on the nightstand. “Anything I can help you with?”
Hermione remained tight lipped and continued patting Crookshanks.
“Hermione I’ve noticed that since you’ve been here you seem distant…like you’re missing someone. Ron perhaps?”
“No it isn’t Ron.” said Hermione.
“I guessed as much.” said Mrs., granger gingerly taking Hermione’s hand. “These vacant eyes can only be due to Harry.”
“Is it that obvious?” Hermione asked.
“To others maybe not. But to a mother everything is obvious, and with Ron being ruled out…there was only one suspect left wasn’t there?”
Hermione laughed. How did she ever think her mother was not going to know what was bothering her?
“This is the first time where you have not brought him up in any conversation, and I’ve only seen you writing to Ron these past few weeks.” said Mrs. Granger. “Did you two have a row?”
“Not quite” said Hermione truthfully.
“Then what is the matter?” Mrs. Granger asked kindly.
“The matter is that everything is going wrong.” Hermione admitted. “No matter how hard I try.”
“Care to elaborate on that?” asked Mrs. Granger feeling slightly alarmed.
Hermione sat up straighter and placed Crookshanks on the pillowcase beside her.
“I don’t even know where to start” said Hermione honestly.
“The beginning is always the best part to start on.” said Mrs. Granger said kindly.
“Wish I knew exactly when all the problems started in the first place.”
Ms.Granger observed Hermione closely. She looked poignant and fatigued as if the whole time she had been there, she had constantly kept her mind on her troubles.
“What exactly happened with Harry dear?”
“Everything that shouldn’t have happened…at least not under the circumstances that it did.” Hermione explained looking down at the apricot colored carpet.
“I’m afraid I’m not quite following you dear.” said Mrs. Granger.
“I fell in love with Harry mum, at the worst possible moment.” said Hermione finally mustering the bravado to say it.
“Oh dear…” said Mrs. Granger.
“Mum you have no idea how horrible it feels to be letting down two people that you love so much.” said Hermione tearfully. “If I get back together with Ron, Harry would never forgive me. And if I get together with Harry…it’ll still be the same thing.”
“Nobody wins.” she added miserably.
Mrs. Granger sat next to her daughter and wrapped her arm around her.
“Honey, I know it’s a difficult situation but…I hear you talking about how Ron or Harry will be upset but…what about you?”
“Me?” Hermione asked.
“Yes, I don’t think that for one minute you have thought of what is the best option for you. After all, in the end it’s you that has to be at peace with whatever decision you make. Not Ron or Harry.”
Hermione looked at her mother thoughtfully. She knew she was right, she was as much as involved in the situation as Harry and Ron. However, she felt that her feelings were much less important than those of the two men she held dear.
“Has the idea of not being with either one of them crossed your mind?” Mrs. Granger asked. “You’re young; you should experience life outside of your tight little circle.”
“I have thought of it…but there’s just something about Harry that I can’t shake off mum.” said Hermione endearingly. “I’ve never felt the way I feel for him. It’s almost scary how I actually disregarded everybody’s feelings for the short time we’ve gotten to be together.”
Ms.Granger looked at her daughter with a smile on her face. She had always noticed the enthusiasm she had whenever he talked about Harry.
“Then what are you berating yourself for?” said Mrs. Granger. “Be with who you want to be with. Don’t worry about anyone else.”
“Mum, I am honestly surprised that you’re telling me this.” said Hermione shockingly. “It sounds so selfish.”
“Hermione, this is different. You’ve got to realize that sometimes you can’t please everyone. But in the end it’s your happiness that has to count.” said Mrs. Granger bracingly.
Hermione lay back on her bed feeling defeated and just as confused as she had been before. She was sure her mother was going to do the right thing and be with Ron who was after all the one she had claimed to love before her heart betrayed her and fell for Harry.
“Look,” said Mrs. Granger facing her. “You’ve all been through too much to let any decision you make get between your friendships. If either of them are really your friend, they’ll still be there in the end, I know it’s a big test but I know it will work out.”
Hermione closed her eyes tightly as she felt her mom get off the bed.
“I’ll leave the Ginger Snaps here just in case you crave some later.”
Hermione nodded silently.
“By the way, I think you should give you and Harry a chance.” said Ms.Granger
Hermione turned her head and looked curiously at her mother.
“I know what love is like, and I don’t need to see it in front of me to see that what you have with him is something real.” said Mrs. Granger sympathetically.
“It’s just something to consider.”
She closed the door behind her softly, leaving Hermione just as conflicted as before. Crookshanks purred next to Hermione as he curled up closer to her.
* * * * * *
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