AN: I think it's obvious by now that I don't own Harry Potter.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed, followed, or favorited. I know I say this a lot, but it really does mean a lot that so many of you are enjoying this. Well, except for the occasional troll, but still...
Speaking of trolls - If you don't like this story, DON'T READ THE DAMN THING! Just go on about your way and leave it for those who do enjoy it. Don't send me an anonymous review for every chapter filled with hatefulness, and calling me a variety of nasty things for pairing Hermione with Neville, or for making her family less than perfect, or for having Percy getting Audrey pregnant before the wedding. If you don't like my writing style, or this story, just move along and go make someone else miserable. I'm sure you'll find someone.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way - enjoy!
"What do you mean you're leaving?" Neville asked, staring in confusion at his Gran.
"Just that, love," Augusta sighed, knowing she should have waited until Hermione was here before she explained her plans to her grandson. "After you and Hermione are married, Alastor and I are going travelling for a bit," she said.
"And how long is 'a bit', exactly, Gran?" he asked.
"One year, maybe a year and a half," she said, watching as Neville got up and started pacing.
"Bloody hell, Gran!" Neville exclaimed, running his hands through his hair. "A year or more? Why? You and Alastor,' he said, spitting out the man's name, 'have been travelling an awful lot this last year," he said. "A week or so here, a couple of days there. Again I ask - why?"
"Neville, dear, there's no easy way to break this, so I'm just going to come out and say it," Augusta said, staring her grandson in the eyes. "Alastor's asked me to marry him..."
"...and I've accepted," she finished, ignoring his exclamation.
"Gran,' Neville started, turning away and letting out a deep breath, before turning back to her, 'for fuck's sake, if you and Alastor,' he spit out, 'want to shag so much, just bloody do it here!"
"NEVILLE FRANKLIN LONGBOTTOM! HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY! YOU WOULD DO WELL TO KEEP A CIVIL TONGUE IN YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU TALK TO ME, YOUNG MAN!" she yelled, rising from her chair. "And until you think yourself capable,' she said in a fierce, but quiet, voice, 'do not speak to me at all."
Neville watched as his grandmother turned and walked from the room, the door closing with a resounding 'thud' making him hang his head in shame as he stood in the middle of the empty room.
"No, Dad, I understand," Hermione said, biting her lip as she tried not to cry. "Really, I do. This is a tough time for Maureen, and you need to be there for her," she said.
'I'm so sorry, love,' her father said from his end of the phone, 'if there was a way...'
"It's really alright, Dad. I can...I can just go it alone."
'I wish there was a way for me to be both places, love,' Alex sighed, knowing he was breaking his daughter's heart, and hating himself for it. 'But, the wedding's not for...what, another five weeks?' he asked.
"Five weeks and three days, actually," Hermione answered.
'Well, maybe we can figure something out by then?' he said, not intending to make it sound more like a question than it was.
"Maybe," Hermione said. "Listen, Daddy, I have to go."
'Alright, sweetheart. I'll call you again in a couple of days,' her father said.
"Okay," she said, feeling a bit foolish for nodding.
'I love you, Hermione,' he said, desperately hoping she believed him.
"I love you, too, Dad. Bye," she said, ending the call, and turning the phone off.
Putting her phone in her bag, Hermione blew out a frustrated breath. The good mood she had been in earlier had just been destroyed, and all with just a few simple words. The news that her father was going to miss her wedding - her wedding! She couldn't find it in herself to be upset with Maureen, although she knew she should be. After all, at nearly forty-four years old, Maureen was in the high-risk category for pregnancy, and she was hoping Maureen would make it full term with few complications, which she just might now that her obstetrician had placed her on bedrest until it was time to have the baby. And her father, being the man he was, didn't feel right leaving the country to travel all the way to England without her. Which she understood, really. And, while she applauded her father for doing the right thing, it was still disheartening that he was going to miss her wedding.
From a Healer's point of view, she understood. From a future wife and mother's point of view, she understood. From a daughter's point of view, though, she was hurt.
Neville lifted his head as the door to the sitting room opened a bit later, hoping it was his grandmother. Instead, he was met with the sight of his fiancée, red and puffy eyes, and her hair a mass of tangled curls on her head.
"Hermione, what happened?" he asked, rising from the chair he was sitting in and going to help her out of her coat.
"I...it's windy outside," she shrugged, not looking up at him as she allowed him to help her with her coat. "I think there's a storm coming," she added.
Levitating her coat and bag to the chair he'd vacated, he tilted her chin up with a finger. "Have you been crying, love?" he asked softly.
Hermione took a shuddering breath, nearly losing the battle with her tears again. "Yes," she whispered, sniffling as she nodded.
"Why?" Neville asked, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and leading her to the sofa, pulling her down to sit beside him. "What happened?" he repeated.
"My dad called earlier," she said. "He can't come to the wedding," she said, finally letting the tears flow.
Neville cursed under his breath, pulling her tighter into his side and pressing a kiss to her temple. "Why not?" he asked.
"Maureen's doctor put her on bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy, and he doesn't want to leave her alone while he's here," she cried. "I understand that they need to put the health of the baby first - I'd have a right go at them both if they didn't, after all - but...it's my wedding day, Neville," she cried, leaning further into him for comfort.
"I know, love, I know," he whispered.
"I was having such a good day, too," Hermione sniffled, coughing a bit. "My supervisor requested that meeting with me, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember," Neville nodded.
"Well, it turns out that the Board of Directors for St. Mungo's has decided to build a new women's health center, which, as the name suggests, will deal specifically with women and birthing, and...well...lady stuff," she explained.
"Sounds like a good idea," Neville said. "Wait...is it going to be like one of those GYOB things you told me about?" he asked, smiling to himself when he got a laugh out of her.
"OB/GYN, love, and kind of," Hermione said, sniffling. "So, now the good news, and the bad news. The good news is that once it opens, I'll be moving there, and I'll get more stable hours."
"Like Ministry hours?"
"Sort of. Most likely, I'll be on from eight in the morning until five or six in the evening," she said. "The bad news," she said, sighing, "is that until it's finished, I'm on leave from the hospital."
"How long's that, then?" Neville asked, frowning.
"About three months," Hermione said, grimacing. "In the meantime, Mungo's is sending me to a training program in Aberdeen for the three months, minus the week before the wedding, and the week after," she said.
"Wait. You...you're moving to Aberdeen?"
"No, Neville," she said, turning to look at him. "I apparate to the hospital there every morning, and back here in the evenings," she explained. "The other good news is I get paid twenty galleons a week to take the training."
"Well, that doesn't sound too awful," Neville said. "And, you get to go back to school, which I know you love, so..." he shrugged, trailing off.
"Yeah," she sighed, feeling a bit better. "So, that was my day. How was yours?" she asked, moving back to curl up in his side.
Neville let out a loud sigh, retelling his conversation with his Gran, feeling more miserable as he told it.
"Oh, Neville, you didn't?" Hermione sighed sadly, rubbing his chest.
"Oh, I did," he nodded. "I just couldn't stop myself! I didn't mean to say it, but out it came, and then she screamed at me in a way I hadn't heard since I was about six years old, and stormed off!" he exclaimed.
"I'm sure Augusta knows you didn't mean it, love," she said. "She was probably shocked you talked to her that way, though."
"Probably," he sighed again. "Despite what I said, I do want her to be happy. And even if it does repulse me to no end, Alastor seems to make her happy," he said, shaking his head.
"He does," Hermione nodded. "Augusta told me a few weeks ago that she and Alastor dated way back when. You know, before she met your grandfather," she said.
"What? Really?" Neville asked, surprised.
"Really," she nodded again. "I think that Alastor and Augusta could have a great love."
"Maybe," he shrugged. "It's still repulsive, though."
Hermione chuckled a bit at that, looking up at her fiancée. "Think about this, love. She's had a hard go of things for the last twenty years, and this is her chance to have a bit of fun. Besides, you don't want Augusta to be lonely for the rest of her life, do you?"
"Well, no, I guess not," he said. "But she has us, and soon she'll have great grandchildren to look after."
"Neville, let her be happy," she said. "Just one year of her life to travel and have a bit of adventure," she said. "Besides, I think it would mean the world to her if she knew she had your support."
Neville sighed again, feeling his stomach begin to churn. He loved his grandmother dearly, and wanted her to be happy. Even if the thought of who was making her happy and how did make him want to be violently ill.
"I'll talk to her tomorrow. Give her some time to cool down," he agreed.
"Good," Hermione said, patting his chest as the two remained curled up together on the sofa, drifting into a comfortable silence.
Til next time!
XOXO - Onyx Obsidian