The wind was blowing hard when Hermione left her sanctuary of home. No longer protected by her shield of family and Friends (and Hermione had just gotten to a great part where the neat-freak cook character and sarcastic accountant character got together), Hermione felt more chilly then she usually would. Still, the real world was inevitable. And she was only going down the street. It turned out that Hermione's childhood friend still lived there. It surprised her at first- but then she realized that Rosie had never been much of a get up and go doer. If she had been the one that got the invite to Hogwarts, she probably would have rejected it. She probably would have told her best friend. In fact, if it were Rose that got the invitation to Hogwarts, the two probably would still be best friends. But she hadn't gotten the invite. And Hermione and Rose weren't friends anymore. Leading to Hermione feeling slightly crazy as she approached Rose's house, the same one Rose had lived in all those years ago.
Hermione's knees were wobbling hard as she walked up the steps, her hands shaking as she reached up to knock. she didn't know how Rose would receive her. She hadn't been a very good friend to her, and Hermione knew that. But Hermione needed her right now, and she was the only person who Hermione trusted with all her heart that barely knew Hermione or Ron. And so Hermione reached up and knocked. The door was answered by a small little boy with brown hair and missing teeth. He looked Hermione up and down, then frowned.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I'm Hermione Granger. I'm an old friend of your mum's. Is she home?”
The little boy cast weary eyes on her, and he brought a piece of fabric up to his mouth and started to chew on it.
“She's home.” he replied.
“Can you go get her?” Hermione asked gently.
“Yeah.” the boy said, and then he ran off to go find his mother. Hermione waited nervously for her old friend to appear at the door. The boy came back, pulling his mother's skirt and holding the hand of a little red-headed child in her arms. Rose looked the same as she had when she was 11 years old. She had sparkling green eyes and bright red hair. She looked like what Hermione imagined Harry's mum to look like, except for the fact that she had bright green eyes and not the emerald green Harry was famous for. Rose's curly auburn locks framed her face beautifully, and her cheekbones were as high as ever. She seemed to have passed her beautiful genes onto her little boy and girl, as both were adorable. With a pang, Hermione realized that she could have had the same life if Ron and her hadn't gotten so messed up.
“Hermione?” Rose said, her eyes wide.
“Yes.” Hermione said, and she broke into a smile. Rose smiled too, shyly, incredulously. Her little girl tugged on her hair, but Rose barely seemed to notice as she moved forward to pull the door open wider.
“Come in!” Rose said, smiling, a dimple forming on her cheek.
Hermione walked tentatively into the cozy house. It was the same set up, but the furnishings were mostly different. Rose led her down a hallway and through the kitchen. She motioned for Hermione to take a bar stool, then set to making tea.
“Do you live here?” Hermione asked.
“Yes.” Rose said. “Grant and I got married just out of university, and my mum died soon after Mike was born. I couldn't bear to let the house go, so we moved in here, and then along came Polly.”
Hermione laughed at the reference to the muggle movie, and looked down at the little girl cradled in Rose's arms.
“She's named after your mum.” Hermione noted softly. Rose nodded. “I'm so sorry, Rose. Your mother was a great woman.”
“That she was,” Rose sighed. “But she was very sick, and in lots of pain. I think it was for the best.”
“I'm sorry for hurting our friendship, too, Rose.” Hermione said meekly.
“I understand.” Rose said, shrugging.
“You do?” Hermione asked, surprised.
“Well, no, I don't, exactly.” Rose said. “But your mum said that you had a secret, and many people's beings depended on you keeping that secret. She said that you would rather not be my friend then be having to constantly lie to me. I didn't understand, but now I do, because I have one too. And I know what your secret was. Which is why I'm not angry.”
“You have a secret?” Hermione asked, her heart skipping a beat.
Rose leaned forward in her chair, her eyes shining.
“I married a squib.”
It took a second for that to sink in.
“And you know... everything?”
“Yes.” Rose said. “I know about Hogwarts, because Mike is showing signs of magic, and he might be going there. It's very rare that squibs who marry muggles have magical children, isn't it?” Rose asked excitedly. “A healer thinks that maybe I may have a magical background in my family.”
Hermione's thoughts flashed instantly to Rose's eyes and her dark red hair.
“Maybe.” she said. Then she laughed. “It's funny, I thought for sure that you were going to be angry. I thought you were going to slam the door in my face.”
Rose shook her head.
“It's been a long time, Hermione. Let bygones be bygones, and all that. I was angry at first, but it's been years.”
“I guess. I... I just know some people who can really hold a grudge.” Hermione grinned.
“Not me.” Rose said cheerfully.
“Thankfully.” Hermione added.
Rose set the tea in front of her and Hermione started to add milk and sugar. Rose took her place across from her old friend and stared into Hermione's face for a moment.
“You've changed so much,” she said, nostalgic, “But your eyes are the same.”
“I guess.” Hermione said, reaching a hand up to smooth her hair.
“So. Why are you here?” Rose asked briskly, getting down to business.
Hermione flushed at how easy to read she must be to inspire that comment.
“I need help.” Hermione said finally. “I need an opinion. I need someone who hasn't been in the center of everything, but someone I know has a good, level head, and good judgment, too.”
“And so you came to me.” Rose said carefully.
“Yes.” Hermione said.
“And what is it exactly you need help on?” Rose asked. Polly came in and threw her doll into the refrigerator, but Rose once again didn't let it bother her. She stood up and got the doll back, kissed her daughter on the cheek and brought her onto her lap.
“Well I'm confused about...” Hermione suddenly did not want to say the L word.
“Matters of love, huh?” Rose said, laughing. “Tell me, is it that Ron boy you met when you went to the school? The second summer you came home you saw me before you left, and we went in a boat, and you'd blush red any time anyone said 'row', because you thought that they were saying 'Ron'.”
“Actually,” Hermione said, “It is him.”
Rose looked shocked. Then she laughed.
“Well, can't say I'm not surprised. Most relationships don't last from eleven to twenty one. Then again, You never have been very easily swayed.”
“Well,” Hermione said, “We weren't really together until we were 17. There were... speed bumps. Lots of them. But we were best friends. Most of the time.”
“Wasn't there a third guy in the picture?”
“Harry Potter.” Hermione nodded.
“Harry Potter... even I've heard of him!” Rose said, looking amazed. “Wow, Hermione!”
“Yes, well, being best friends with the chosen one had its price.” Hermione warned.
“Still...” Rose shook her head. “Okay, back to Ron. What's the problem?”
Hermione took a large sip of tea. And then she started to explain. She told Rose everything- moments from first year, moments from 3 years ago. She told her about the game show and living with Ron and all the times that she'd kissed or almost kissed or wanted to kiss Ron in the past few months. She told her what she'd told Ginny a few months ago. 'I can't be happy with him, and I can't be happy without him'. Rose sat there patiently and listened, keeping a careful expression built onto her face. When Hermione was done speaking she took a long gulp of tea and waited for Rose to speak.
“And you're depending the fate of you and Ron on me?” Rose asked. She whistled. “Hermione, I'm not sure if I'm the person to help you with this. But I will tell you one thing. I think that by being here you have already made your decision. You just need someone to convince you of it- someone not partial to Ron, which Harry and Ginny are. This is what I know. You sometimes can find another person that is your soul mate, but you are usually only given that person because you have to move on from the other one. A death, or a divorce, or a breakup because it just wasn't meant to be. That said, I don't think you'll find anyone else that will even compare to Ron. As I'm sure you know, you don't find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with every day. You and Ron have been through so much together, I reckon you'll always be drawn to each other in one way. And I'll tell you this, Hermione. Once you start something, you never give up. Even if you try to make yourself, you will never forget Ron. You will never be able to stop loving him because you don't hand yourself off to some guy that easily.”
Hermione bit her lip.
“If you can see it, everyone except me can.” she said miserably.
“Now you can, too.” Rose reasoned. “Here's what I say, Hermione. Go after him. Be with him. You seem to know that by choosing him you'll be making the right choice. And by making the right choice you know you'll be happy.”
Rose glanced lovingly down at Polly, who was still on her lap, now sleeping peacefully.
“Thank you, Rose.” Hermione said softly, looking at Polly as well.
Rose stood up.
“I've got to put her down for her nap. And I believe you've got a man to go find.”
“Yes. I'm leaving.” Hermione said. She pointed her wand at her dresser and a pair of sweatpants flew into her suitcase.
“Why?” Mrs. Granger wined.
“Because I'm in love.” Hermione said, laughing. “It's really as simple as that.”
“I thought you said love isn't simple?” Mrs. Granger said craftily.
“Oh, it isn't.” Hermione responded. “But for the purpose of this conversation it is.”
Mrs. Granger sighed and sat on her daughter's bed.
“Oh well. I guess I can't win this one. You always were better at debating then me. If your father was home, however, you'd be sunk.”
“Yeah, he could always top me on that front.”
“Take some flowers with you, Hermione. You probably need some light in your life.” Mrs. Granger said, grabbing a shirt from a drawer and folding it.
“Mum, don't bother helping me pack. I can do it all by magic.”
“Yes, I know, love, but I'm your mother. It's my motherly duty, remember? Same motherly duty as letting you stay in my home while you were running away from your feelings.”
“Which you did not do without question.” Hermione noted, giving her mother a soft peck on the cheek.
“Well, at least Rose helped you.” Mrs. Granger said, rolling her eyes.
“You're right. She did.”
“Took you long enough, anyway. You and Ron are perfect for each other.”
“You've met him twice. In passing.” Hermione said.
“Yes, but I've heard about him through your letters. Remember the time you sent me one and he started to doodle all over it?”
“That was 5th year, I think. And he wasn't doodling, he was asking me to help him with his homework via paper because I was ignoring him.”
“Also I think he knew that the slightest graffiti-ing to your paper would tick you off to no ends.” Mrs. Granger laughed.
“Yes, that too.”
“You were much to blind to see it, though.”
“I know.” Hermione said, sighing. “I'm always blind when it comes to him. Maybe that's why I love him. Maybe that's why we'll work out. He isn't predictable to me. He's one of the few people who isn't. Rose was one of them.”
“Am I?” Mrs. Granger asked.
“Unfortunately, mum, yes. But don't worry. That doesn't mean you're boring. It just means I know you far too well.”
“I'm glad you won't get tired of me.” Mrs. Granger teased.
“Never.” Hermione smiled.
The flat was cold when she got there. Hermione had turned off the heat when she'd left the house because she hadn't wanted to waste heat. Shivering, Hermione conjured a blanket, started a fire, and sat down to read her mail. It was nothing but a few things. And a letter from Hogwarts. It seemed simply odd to Hermione that she would get a letter from Hogwarts at the age of 21. As far as she knew, she had no 11 year old child to be hearing about. However, once the letter was open the intent was clear.
Dear Ms. Granger,
You have been invited to a party at Hogwarts School of Witchraft and Wizardry. This party is for anyone who fought in the final battle, and therefor you will be seeing many familiar faces. The party will be taking place October 3rd in the great hall. Please RSVP to the Headmistress of the school.
Hermione set the letter down. Her hands were shaking. She somehow didn't want to go to a party that had anything to do with the final battle. However, she felt the need to see faces she hadn't seen in a long time. And hopefully she would be on the arm of Ron. There was no way Lavender Brown was getting within 300 feet of him. That was a promise.
A/N: I do not own Friends, or Harry Potter. I own Rose though- YAY! Hope you enjoyed this. ~writergirl8
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