It had been two and a half days since Voldemort fell, and the Weasleys were all gathered in Hogwarts' Great Hall for the last time before finally heading home to the Burrow. Well, almost all the Weasleys were headed there, as Bill and Fleur were headed back to Shell Cottage and despite the pleadings of Molly, George was headed back to his and Fred's flat above their shop in Diagon Alley. Harry and Hermione had been told by Molly that they too were family and she wouldn't even consider them not coming to the Burrow with the rest of 'their family.'
Ron sat quietly facing Hermione on the bench next to him, holding both her hands in his lap. They had been together almost the entire time since the fighting ended; even sleeping together in Ron's bed in the Gryffindor dorms. Right now they were just glad to be alive.
Harry and Ginny likewise were next to each other as well, and been together just like Ron and Hermione. All four were still exhausted and neither couple had really had the time or energy to discuss their relationships, or whatever it was they had between them. Everyone just wanted to go home. They were just waiting for Arthur to return with Bill after making sure the Burrow was safe.
Ron looked around the Great Hall and noticed that Luna Lovegood was sitting by herself over on what used to be the Ravenclaw table. He remembered what had happened to her house when the Death Eaters had arrived and had failed to capture Harry. Ron wondered if the house could ever be repaired, so he was curious where Luna was going to go. He wondered if she even knew her house had been destroyed by those evil people.
Giving Hermione a small smile he looked over again and asked, "Hey Luna, are you ok?"
"Yes, Ron, I'm fine. I'm just trying to process everything that has happened," she replied looking up at him.
"Do you know where you're going now?"
"Home, although I don't know if Daddy is there. I've sent two owls to him telling him what happened and asking about coming home, but I haven't heard back from him."
"Uh, Luna, I think there might be a problem. I don't think your house is there anymore. Harry, Hermione, and I were there when some Death Eaters attacked and it looked like they destroyed everything. I'm so sorry."
Luna stared at Ron for a moment and frowned and Ron could see tears running down her cheeks as her head slumped down. She cried quietly for a moment before looking up back at Ron.
"No wonder Daddy didn't reply. Now I don't know where I'm going to go."
Ron looked over at this mum and said quietly, "Mum, can Luna come home with us? We think her house got destroyed and she doesn't have anywhere to go."
Molly looked up quickly and scanned the room looking for Luna. She saw Luna sitting alone with tears on her face.
"Of course, Ron, she can come home with us. We'll figure out where everyone sleeps when we get home."
Ron smiled and looked at Hermione, and dropped her hands as he stood up. "I'll be right back," he whispered. Ron stood and walked over to Luna and sat beside her and put his arm around her shoulder. "I'm so sorry Luna, about your house. Please come home with us to the Burrow. Hermione and Harry are coming too."
Luna looked up at Ron and then buried her face in his chest and sobbed. After a moment she looked back up at Ron and said softly "thank you, that would be wonderful," and then hugged him even more.
Arthur and Bill returned shortly later and assured everyone that the Burrow was remarkably intact and all curses or traps had been removed. With sighs of relief all around, the rest of the Weasleys, including honorary members Harry, Hermione, and Luna rose to make their way to the floo. Ron had Hermione's hand in his right hand and Luna's in his left as he looked around the Great Hall one last time. His shoulders sagged a bit as he surveyed all the destruction, but with a deep breath he squared his shoulders and stood tall as remembered all that they had accomplished as he headed home.
Once everyone had arrived, Molly immediately headed to the kitchen to ascertain the state of her private domain. The rest of the family all found seats in the lounge.
Ron looked at around at everyone. He knew he was still exhausted, so he presumed everyone else was too, so he wanted to get everyone situated as quickly as he could. "Harry, you'll be up with me in my room as usual, ok?"
"Sure, Ron, no worries."
"Ginny, can you share with Luna in your room? I figure we should put Hermione up in Bill's old room."
Hermione's head popped up at hearing her name. She hesitated for a moment before replying softly "No, I think Luna should get Bill's room since I won't be here that long."
Ron jumped up and almost yelled, "what? what are you talking about Hermione, what do you mean you won't be here that long? Where are you going?"
Hermione gave Ron a sad smile and looked right at him and said, "I'm going to Australia to find my parents and restore their memories and bring them home. I leave in a week."
Ron's surprise was evident on his face. "But, but, umm, ah, what about us? One week isn't a lot of time for us to get ready. Does it have to be so soon? Shouldn't we wait a bit before we go?"
Hermione's eyes were watering and tears were running down her cheeks as she looked down at Ron's feet. "There is no us, Ron, there is no we. I have to go and I have to go alone. I made this mess by myself and I need to fix it by myself. My parents were wary of magic beforehand, now I know that after I've told them everything that's happened they'll be completely suspicious of anything and anyone magical. That's why you can't come. But I would like to talk with you later alone if that's ok?"
Ron sat there flabbergasted along with everyone else. Harry was the first to speak. "Are you sure it's safe? Don't you want anyone to go with you? I'd feel a lot better if you had someone with you."
"Kingsley tells me it's safe, and I know I can take care of myself. We just need a week to get everything set with the Australian Ministry. Percy here is going to be a big help with all the logistics. Thanks again, Perce."
Ron looked at Percy with malice in his eyes. "You're going to help her with this madness? Are you crazy as well? How could you do this to me?"
Percy looked Ron square in the eye and replied with a firm voice. "It's the right thing to do, so I'm glad to be helping out. You know it's the right thing, Ron. Hermione will go take care of her parents and be back before you know it. You know it's the right thing, so be supportive of her Ron. I'm sure she'll need help with other things."
Hermione said shyly, "yes, I'll need your help Ron. Please."
Ron walked over to where Hermione was sitting and pulled her up into a full hug. Wrapping his arms around her he whispered to her, "I was so looking forward to finally being with you, Hermione, like a real couple. I was hoping we could go out on real dates and act like teenagers for the first time, but I guess I'll have to wait until you get back. I will miss you terribly while you're gone."