Chapter 30 : Home
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Somewhere Over the Atlantic Ocean
“No matter how long it takes, I’ll wait for you.”
Oh Draco, will you still be waiting for me when I get there?
“Excuse me passengers, this is your captain speaking. We are currently over the North Atlantic Ocean. Our destination, the London Airport will be in about 2 hours. So please sit back, relax and enjoy the view of the ocean. Thank you.”
10 months. That’s how long it has been since Hermione boarded the plane back to Chicago. Since that fateful day, Hermione has counted down the days to when she would finally be able to be back in his arms for good. They’ve written letters back and forth to each other (as well as letters to Ginny) and Draco even came to America for a visit, but it just wasn’t the same. Time was wasted in between waiting for the next letter to come, and with his visit, sooner or later Draco had to go back leaving Hermione alone again.
Not only did she feel lonely not being in Draco’s arms, but she felt lonely not being with Ginny, Harry, Ron and the rest of her friends. When she first moved to America, it was easy because she purposely deleted herself out of their lives, but after the summer of the reunion/wedding everything changed. The more time she spent in America, the less time she got to spend time with the ones she cared and loved.
Memories would go by for the group and they would only be a story to Hermione. What would it have been like to see in person Ron’s little baby boy Jack grow up? To see him crawl, smile, and act like his father in front of her eyes instead of look at pictures in wonder. What would it have been like to hug Ginny in excitement when she found out that Ginny was pregnant instead of hearing the excitement in her voice on the phone when she was at the store?
“How did Harry take it when you told him?” Hermione remembered asking when Ginny called her that day.
“He was speechless! If I wasn’t there he would have fallen on the floor! But then he got upset saying I’m putting too much strain on my body by catching him. It was too funny!”
Harry would have done that. Hermione thought to herself.
“Oh Hermione, I wish you were here. There’s so much to plan now with a baby on the way. Do you know when you’ll be back for good?” Ginny asked.
“I don’t know Gin… I want to say soon, but I just don’t know.”
That phone call was about four months ago and after so long Hermione’s dream of coming back to Draco and the group is finally becoming a reality.
But the road to today hasn’t been the easiest. Coming back to America, Hermione knew exactly what she needed to do. By keeping in touch with her parents while visiting, she knew everything that was going on in the shop and they knew what was going on where she was. So hearing about their daughter finally finding her one and only, they were happy for her, no matter what kind of past he may have had with her. But that couldn’t change the fact that her parents’ couldn’t fully run the store forever, and Hermione knew that. She was thankful to them enough for running the store so she could attend the reunion and the wedding let alone fully support her on her choice of going back to London. Coming back, she was happily surprised they managed it as well as they did for the whole summer with both of them having dental degrees. But time goes by and with the new dental office up and running by the time Hermione came back, her first priority was to find someone to run the store without her there, and she had an idea for the perfect candidate.
When Hermione first opened up her store almost 3 years ago, not even after a few days after putting a help wanted ad in the newspaper, a tall, lanky boy who had a young looking face with blonde short hair and bright blue eyes came storming in the store wanting a job.
“I’m here about getting a job.” Was the first thing the boy said to Hermione.
“And your name?” Hermione asked looking up at him from her desk.
“Craig Miller. Can I get a job here?”
He seems so anxious about getting a job. Looking at him, the first thought that came to her mind was when you looked at him, you wouldn’t think a book store would be a job that he would be going for, there’s got to be something more with this boy.
“You seem so anxious about getting this job, what do you like most about books?” she asked intrigued in what his answer would be.
“I don’t read. They actually bore me.” He answered quickly.
“You don’t read but you’re in my store, where I sell books telling me you want a job? Why should I give you a job here?”
“Please. It’s my first day in town, and I’m living on my own.” Craig said.
“Really? Why are you on your own in such a big town?” Hermione was just going to send him away, but now she was interested.
“…My parents kicked me out of the house.” Craig finally answered.
“And why is that? I’m sorry, I don’t mean to seem to ask so much, but if I’m even thinking of letting you work at my store, I want to know a little about you and where you’re coming from.” Hermione said.
“They found out that my girlfriend was pregnant, and with their religious beliefs, they couldn’t stand me having a kid before marriage, so they kicked me out.”
“But you said you are here on your own, you didn’t come with your girlfriend?”
“I soon found out after that I wasn’t actually the father of the child, and that she cheated on me, so instead of going back to my parents….”
“….you just left completely.” Hermione finished for him.
“Please, I need to find a job soon. I can’t find a place to live without one.” Craig said, it sounded like he was almost begging her to give him one.
“How old are you Craig?” Hermione asked.
“18 Ma’am.” He answered.
“And where are you living now?” Hermione asked.
“My car… Ma’am.”
“For being so young, you’ve been through a lot. And I admire you for telling a stranger your story.” Hermione found herself saying out loud.
“Um thanks? So will you give me the job? Even if it’s just for a few days, I just need enough to find a place.” Craig said with hope.
“This is my store, and I want to hire people who take it just as seriously as I do. I know you don’t read, but can I still trust that you will come to work on time and do what I ask?”
“Yes. Anything you ask Ma’am.”
“And will you please never call me Ma’am. My name is Hermione Granger, but you can call me Hermione.”
Hermione didn’t know if it was out of pity, or the fact that she can relate to the boy since the reason why she left to a new place was because she was also cheated on, but then she found herself going
“Are you able to start now? There’s a huge stack of books that need to go on a high shelf, and I’m too short.” Hermione said.
“Yes Ma’am! I mean…Hermione.” Craig said ready.
“Let’s get started then.”
After all the work was done, Hermione invited Craig to her place for a few days just so he didn’t have to sleep in his car.
“No one should have to live out in their car, especially in a big city.” Hermione told him. After a few days of work and with the money Craig had before he came to Chicago, he finally had enough to get his own place, but that didn’t stop Craig from wanting to continue working at the store.
“Wait, you still want to work at my store?” Hermione was shocked to hear this from him.
“Yes. I am very thankful to you for letting me work at your store let alone stay at your place for a few days while I saved enough money.” Craig said.
“But you don’t have to continue working here just because you are thankful to me. You can find a different job if you don’t like this one.” Hermione said.
“I know, and I don’t want to stay just because I am thankful, but I actually kind of maybe enjoy working here with you and the others. I was never welcomed at my home town like I was welcomed here.” Craig said sounding embarrassed.
“But that doesn’t mean you’ll actually pick up a book for you to read yourself.” Hermione said joking.
“If I said yes, would you let me stay and work here Hermione?” Craig said almost serious.
In the few days Craig worked and stayed with her, Hermione found that he was more than just the boy who couldn’t pick up a book. Like Hermione, he had dreams. Craig’s dream was to own his own business. He didn’t know what type of one, but he knew that’s what he wanted to do since he was young. But then his girlfriend got pregnant, and his dream became just a dream instead of reality. Hermione saw a little of herself in Craig, through the common experiences they experienced, and saw that he actually is a good kid. He’s just been through a lot in a short amount of time. Plus, even if she didn’t admit it out loud to him now, she did like him working at the store. Having a bigger pair of muscles then hers always came in handy when it came to books going to high shelves.
“You know I wouldn’t put you through that torture, but I would love to let you continue working here, but now you’re on your own, you don’t have me to wake you up for work. Can you handle it?” Hermione said.
“Yes I can! Thank you so much!”
In the 2 years the store was open before Hermione left for the summer, employees came and went, but Craig always stayed. Other than working at the store, Craig enrolled for a community college and it took her a while, but eventually Hermione got Craig to open a book for himself, and he actually enjoyed it. Not only did Craig shockingly become the best employee at the store, but he became Hermione’s best friend in America. It took her longer than he did when they first met, but finally Hermione told Craig the reason why she came to America and opened her store. He even questioned her when he found out she was going back for the summer, but Hermione insisted she would go and face her past, as well as he should with his own parents. When she asked her parents about the store while she was gone, they always had good comments about the work Craig did for the store; they even asked her why she didn’t just leave the store in his hands for the summer instead of asking them. It was like Craig was really the one in charge, and Hermione’s parents were just there to supervise, which could have been Hermione’s plan all along.
“You’re asking me to run this place? Me? Are you sure I’m the right person?”
“Craig if you weren’t the right person, I wouldn’t be asking you now would I?”
“No but still… I’m only 21….”
“And I was 22 when I opened the store. And you were the little 18 year old boy who thought books were boring but still came in asking for a job.”
“Yea, don’t remind me of that.”
“Why shouldn’t I Craig? You were my first employee and my first friend I met here in America. In the almost 3 years we’ve known each other, you’ve grown to a fine responsible man and you even opened and enjoyed reading a book! I trust you the most and I wouldn’t trust the store to anyone else but you.”
“This is it then; you’re really going back to London?” Craig said realizing everything.
“Yes I am. That’s where I truly belong. And just think of it, when I open a shop down there, business will be bigger and better! It will be more than just the little store where two misfits worked at because they had problems back at home.”
“I know, but what if I never see you again?”
“That will never happen. You are dear to my heart, and besides, I’m going to have to check up on the store sometimes, make sure it’s doing well. But that’s only if you say yes!” Hermione said hoping he would agree to it.
“Ok, I’ll do it. You can trust the store in my hands.” Craig said finally agreeing to it.
One problem down, but Hermione was still only halfway until getting back into Draco’s arms. Long before Hermione came back to London for the reunion and wedding, with the success of her store, she always dreamed of broadening her store to more than just Chicago, she just didn’t have a good enough reason to do it till now.
It took a while to find the perfect location for the new store and at times she thought she would never find one until she thought of the time she visited a small bookstore to find a picture book for Blaise. While there, she found herself talking to the owner of the store. After finding out she owned her own bookstore, the owner told her he once visited Hermione’s store when he was visiting grandkids and was truly impressed with how well it was ran.
“I’m getting old and so is my shop. I think it’s time we both retire. But I can’t just let this store go down with me; loyal customers would be sad to see the place torn down. You may not believe this, but I’ve had this store with me for most of my life, ever since your age I think. If only someone with your skills and passion could come and take over the store. Then I would feel safe retiring.” Was what Hermione remembered most out of him.
So with a few phone calls and emails back and forth, the store owner was excited to hear Hermione’s interest in the store, and with a few visits and a few more calls and emails, the store was finally in her hands! But she couldn’t tear it down and build on top of it. The store may be run-down and old, but that’s what makes the store unique. Now all that was left was to bring the store up and running once she reached London.
Even though Hermione would have loved to see her store fully branch out, this wasn’t just her dream anymore.
When Hermione graduated Hogwarts, she always thought that she would spend the rest of her life being a Weasley and work in the Ministry of Magic. Never in her imagination did she think that everything but that would happen.
“Welcome. We have safely landed at the London Airport. Please stay seated while we get ready to make a stop. Thank you for riding with us and have a wonderful day.”
To some, 5 years may be too short for a reunion, but not Hermione Granger. At first, the thought of coming back was scary, but if she never did, she would have regretted it for the rest of her life. If it wasn’t for the reunion and also the wedding, not only would her store broaden a year later, but friendships that were once torn would have never been sown back together.
“Hermione!” Hermione suddenly heard at the end of the gate after she got off the plane.
“Gin! Shouldn’t you be careful running up to me! I would have caught up to you guys sooner or later.” Hermione said dropping her things and hugging her best friend.
“Geeze you sound like Harry. But I couldn’t help myself!” Ginny squealed.
“It’s great to see you too. Now I can finally help you plan for the baby in person instead of on the phone.” Hermione said with a huge smile.
Once the girls caught up to the group she couldn’t believe this was all a reality. Not only did Ginny and Harry meet her at the airport but Ron and his son Jack was their too.
“It’s been a while Ronald.” Hermione said hugging Ron.
“I never thought I’d hear you call me that again, but it’s great having you back.” He said hugging her back laughing.
“My, has he grown from the last pictures I saw. Hi Jack, my name is Hermione. I hope we can become friends.” Hermione said to little Jack. After a moment of starring at her, suddenly a huge smile formed on Jack’s face, one that instantly reminded her of his father.
“Wow Hermione, he barley smiles like that when he first meets someone. The last person he did that to was Draco.” Ron said rocking his happy son in his arms.
“Draco… Where is he?” Hermione said looking around for him.
Did he not come to greet me here? Hermione thought to herself.
“Don’t worry; he’s just going to the bathroom.” Ginny said.
He couldn’t wait a little longer to after I got here? But right after Hermione thought that, around the corner a man slightly taller than before with a pair of beautiful blue eyes came carrying a huge bear holding a bouquet full of red roses in one hand and a huge balloon that said “Welcome Home!!” in the other.
“Bathroom. Good one there Ginny.” Ron said as Hermione ran straight towards Draco hugging him.
Not only were friendships sown up the summer of the reunion and the wedding, but an old question was finally answered.
“I’m sorry.” Hermione said mid hug.
“Why are you saying sorry?” Draco asked confused.
“I made you wait for me.”
“You didn’t make me wait for you. I wanted to wait so I did. I did a good job didn’t I? I was very patient.” Draco said half jokingly.
“Of course you did Draco…”
“Did you think I wasn’t going to wait for you?”
“I was gone for almost a full year you could of…”
“…there were things you had to do, which was understandable. There were also things that I needed to get done too, all things to make our future together better. Sure, there are things we still have to do, but don’t regret going back. You are here now, and you’re never leaving my sight again.” Draco said pulling Hermione back into his arms.
“But did you really have to get me all of this?” Hermione said looking at the bear the flowers and the balloon Draco put down before hugging her.
“Is it a big enough apology for not being right there when you got off the plane?” Draco asked picking up the bear as Hermione laughed a little.
“I’m just glad you’re here.” Hermione said kissing him.
It took until right before she boarded the plane back to Chicago, but Hermione can finally say she found a big enough reason for her to stay.
“Hey, are you guys coming or not, I’m hungry here and I’m feeding for two!” Ginny yelled across way.
“Welcome home. You ready to spend the rest of our lives together?” Draco said grabbing Hermione’s hand.
“Yes I am.”
As the couple got back to the group, Hermione felt like the work she did in the past year finally paid off. From the good days to the bad days, all the stress she felt and the moments she almost gave up all lead to this day. Draco was right when he said there were more to do but this time she didn’t have to do them alone. She finally knew where she belonged and had friends and family to back her up. And never again will she leave them. This is her home, and they are her reason to stay. After a long year, Hermione could finally say out loud…
“I’m home.” And that’s where she will stay.
***...oh my goodness this is the last chapter. And before I say anything more I wanna apologize for how long it took to get this chapter. When I first wrote HRTS this chapter was a whole different chapter.. and after rereading and rereading it.. it just didn't feel right. It didn't have the satisfaction I wanted it to. I mean..everything lead up to this.. So I deleted it all and rewrote the whole thing...and that took.. a long time. haha but it's finished! What do you guys think? Was this ending worth the wait? Tell me what you guys think by reviewing!
I know I thank you guys a lot... but without you guys, I don't think I could of finished HRTS. All your reviews made me smile and kept me going as a writer. Without you guys I would have never had the idea of writing a sequal! And speaking of the sequal... it's still a work in progress.. seeing as it still doesn't have a name... but as soon as I have one I will have the sequal up.. but until then... THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for a wonderful 2 years (August 2011-April 2013)! You guys are amazing! So until then.. goodbye for now! See you in the sequal! -kitty_kat9211***