This year, things had been a blur as Hermione left Hogwarts, perhaps
for the last time. It was an hour into the ride home on the
Express, before she noticed that Harry had slipped out of their car and
not returned. She asked Ginny as to his whereabouts and received
a terse reply that he wanted to be alone right now, which made sense as
much as anything made sense. Nothing had been the same since the
night that Dumbledore died.
On platform 9 & ¾, he
approached her and initiated a hug before saying his goodbyes. He
slipped a piece of paper into her hand before he turned to join the
Dursleys, and mouthed to her, “call me.” His eyes expressed a
small fraction of the emotions she knew roiled inside her best
friend. Her observations were sidetracked, however, by what
Ginny and Ron were met on the platform by Arthur and
Molly, the rest of the brothers conspicuously absent. Ginny
whispered something to Molly before she broke into tears, and clung to
Molly for comfort. Ron told his dad that he’d catch up with them,
but he wanted to speak to Hermione before they left--alone.
Ron said, his voice squeaking a bit. Hermione nodded, saying
nothing. Ron closed his eyes, and drew a deep breath before he
opened them again. “I bungled this year up, big time. I
never wanted to be with Lavender, I wanted to be with you, but I never
got up the nerve to bring things out so we could talk about them, and
given how things are so up in the air with school and the war and
Dumbledore and all, I didn’t want to wait for the perfect chance,
because perfect chances never come, do they?” he gushed.
steeled herself, hoping that she read the signs correctly this time;
she’d been disappointed so many times before. “What are you
trying to say, Ron?”
Ron bit his lip, pulling his trunk onto
the centre of the luggage trolley. As he walked he was fiddling
with the cover on Pigwidgeon’s covered cage. “I’ve fancied you
for years, Hermione. You’re really an amazing girl, you
know. I wondered what you thought of us, the two of us, trying to
make a go of it, you know, t-t-together,” he stuttered.
walked for a few steps in silence before she brushed a stray lock of
crimson hair from Ron’s eyes, the eyes that had captivated her since
the first day of school, what seemed like a lifetime ago. She’d
rehearsed this moment endlessly, but nothing she’d ever rehearsed
seemed fit for the moment; she’d have to improvise. Her hand
moved behind his head, pulling him down towards her so she could do
this properly. Abandoning her grip on her luggage trolley,
Hermione locked her fingers behind his head, holding his head still as
she kissed him. The first kiss was the gentlest of kisses,
followed by bolder, hungrier expressions. She thrilled at the
look in his eyes when he opened them, trying to focus on her.
“Is that a ‘yes’ then?” he asked hesitantly.
cocked her head to one side, and looked at him incredulously.
“Ronald Weasley, you daft prat!” she exploded. “Of course it’s a
‘yes!’ I’m not in the habit of kissing boys like that when I’m saying
no!” she said, pushing at his chest gently before reaching for her
luggage trolley. “Can you come to dinner, meet my Mum and Dad
properly?” she asked as they pulled their carts down the long causeway
leading to the car park.
“Dinner?” he asked, looking stunned at the prospect. “How will I get there?”
you a wizard or not?” she asked rhetorically. She stopped for a
moment to write out the Apparation coordinates on the back of an
envelope that she folded and tucked into this pocket.
and Monica Granger came around the corner at this moment, stopping in
their conversation long enough to process the fact that their daughter
was walking hand in hand with one of her classmates--the one she
usually fought with the most.
“Mum, Dad, you remember Ron, don’t you?”
“Of course,” Monica answered as Albert nodded. “We passed your family on the way here and wondered where you were.”
Hermione’s hand gently, Ron looked at them apprehensively. “I was
here, right where I belonged all along,” he said to Hermione.
can Ron come over for dinner this week?” Hermione asked, hoping that
she didn’t sound too much like a little girl arranging a play
date. Monica looked at Albert, who was grinning wryly.
night should be fine, unless you two had other plans,” Albert said
gravely. “Would you like any of your other friends over that
night?” he asked.
“Uh, no, just Ron would be fine,” Hermione said, caught slightly unaware by the question.
“Just Ron it will be then,” Monica said cheerfully as they stepped into the car park.
face had the ‘what do I do now’ look that he usually wore when
defending the goals during a Quidditch match. Hermione rescued
him by standing on tip-toe to give him a lingering, but chaste kiss on
the lips. She normally didn’t favour public displays of
affection, but she was willing to make an exception given the
“Oi! Ron! Are you coming
or not?” she heard Ginny shout from across the car park where the
Weasleys were gathered around a transit van decorated with WWW logos.
Friday,” he whispered. He pecked her on the cheek before pulling
the trolley behind him at a fast pace, repeatedly looking over his
shoulder with a satisfied grin on his face.
“Until Friday,” Hermione echoed, purring with satisfaction.
discovered the note from Harry in her pocket that night as she got
dressed for bed. It was well past the time that even good friends
called one another on the telephone, so she promised herself that she’d
call him first thing after breakfast. After an eventful evening,
during which she gave a more or less accurate account of the year’s
events--minus a few unimportant details, such as her raging fury over
the whole Ron-Lavender mess and other peripheral details--she slept
fitfully. When she awoke she tried to convince herself that the
kiss on the platform has not been a mirage or a Weasley prank gone
bad. The next day was a work day for both of the adult Grangers,
Mum to teach at the Uni hospital and Dad to the Surgery for his normal
work day. Hermione cleaned up the remains from breakfast, and
then unpacked her school trunk. She made a very important
annotation on her calendar before rounding up the cordless phone,
sitting in her favourite reading spot in her bedroom, and placing the
The phone rang an interminably long time before anyone
picked it up. The Dursleys, apparently, did not believe in
answering machines. The phone was picked up at last.
“Dursley residence,” she heard a familiar voice say.
“Hello, Harry, it’s me,” Hermione said cheerfully.
aren’t you the cheerful one?” he replied. “It wouldn’t have
anything to do with a certain Weasley screwing his courage to the
sticking point yesterday?”
“It might,” she replied, smiling broadly.
“Well, congratulations and all that – may you have more success on that front than I’ve ever had,” he said darkly.
“What do you mean, Harry? You and Ginny are getting along brilliantly,” Hermione protested.
“Ginny and I broke up two days ago, Hermione,” he said flatly.
“Oh! I didn’t know. Harry, that’s terrible!” Hermione said.
it is, but I really don’t want to talk about it right now.” Harry
replied before Hermione could rip open fresh, self-inflicted
wounds. “So, when can you come see me? I need your help
with some projects.”
“What sort of projects?” Hermione asked, intrigued.
“Projects that will only succeed if the smartest witch of her year applies her formidable intellect to them,” he said.
“Oooh, flattery will get you all sorts of places, Mr. Potter,” Hermione said.
“I’d hoped as much. Which is better for you, meeting during the day, say at lunchtime, or during the evening?” he asked.
the day, I guess, I’m home for the next two weeks--before I visit the
Burrow before the wedding. Let me see if I can borrow Mum’s car
tomorrow. I’m driving now, you know.” She said proudly. “I
started over the Christmas hols.”
“Yeah, driver’s license, Apparation license, you’re bound to be going places, Miss Granger,” he said somewhat enviously.
say right now that I’ll pick you up for lunch tomorrow – if I can’t get
the car, I’ll call back and let you know,” Hermione offered.
“Sounds like a plan – but it’s not a date, right?” Harry asked.
“No, I’ve got one of those this Friday night,” Hermione said. “This is just lunch.”
look forward to it then,” he said, leaving a long silence. “I’m
really happy for the two of you – you deserve some happiness.
Well, enough of that – until tomorrow, eh?”
“Bye, Harry,” she said.
“Bye,” he said before the line went dead.
“Oh, Harry, what have you done now?” she asked Crookshanks, who was looking at her from his perch on her bed pillow.
Crookshanks didn’t answer.
gave Hermione an odd look as she handed her the keys to her old car, a
lovingly restored Cooper Sport. “Hermione,” she said, clearing
her throat, “Hermione, dear, you are the most responsible girl I know,
which is saying a lot.”
“Yes, Mum?” Hermione said, looking up over her steaming cup of tea.
“If the terrorists come anywhere near you two when you’re out. . . “
“Terrorists?” Hermione asked with a puzzled look on her face.
“The Deadheads, or whatever they’re called,” Monica said, suddenly flustering.
“Death Eaters, Mum,” Hermione corrected.
the Death Eaters come anywhere near you when you’re out – just get out,
don’t worry about the car – it’s a thing, I can always buy another,”
Monica said, giving her a healthy squeeze.
“Thanks, Mum,” Hermione said, feeling rather choked up herself.
She finished breakfast while reading through TheTimes, followed by the Daily Prophet.
Knowing what she knew now, she wasn’t sure that either paper was
shedding as much light as they could on the current events, which was
no big surprise. She loaded the dishwasher and changed into
respectable, if somewhat worn clothes. She looked carefully at
the map of magical England before concentrating on the Burrow’s
Apparation point. With no small amount of satisfaction, she noted
that she Apparated to the Burrow with only a faint pop.