Disclaimer: Not mine
FOR THE BEST
Chapter 1 A MIDNIGHT SURPRISE
"Will I get to go to Hogwarts like Jonathan?"
"Of course you will dear – just as soon as you're old enough."
They were sat together watching muggle television – not an unusual occurrence on a Sunday evening.
"Well, will we move to England then – like Jonathan and Aunty Mary?"
At this the twenty-six year old single mother silently sighed. This issue had after all plagued her thoughts all the more in recent months and she half-wondered if her son had some seer blood in him, before quickly dismissing this thought as preposterous.
"... Mummy?" came the polite voice of her seven-year-old son.
"Sorry sweetheart – just thinking... I-er- I think we probably will move to England like Aunty Mary and Uncle Euan-yes" she said, planting a little kiss on his head, before adding "we'll just have to see".
"OK Mummy" the happy little voice replied.
"Two more minutes then up to brush your teeth." Hermione said to her baby boy before raising herself of the settee.
"Can't I stay up a little?" he pleaded, sitting and turning in the settee to look at his mother, his green eyes shining brightly.
"Of course you can Jamie darling" He smiled – she kissed his head again "but just two more minutes" and the beautiful smile disappeared.
As Hermione looked at the sleeping form of her baby angel later on that evening she wondered for what seemed like the millionth time, whether she had done the right thing. She was a very smart women she knew, but at this moment in time she felt totally lost, desolate and very unintelligent for having such huge doubts about the majority of her adult life. She shouldn't dwell she told herself fiercely – what's done is done you can't undo it Hermione Granger, whether you want to or not. She turned from Jamie's room and went into the kitchen to make herself a hot drink. Did she really regret what she'd done? Not Jamie she knew. But living here – in Paris of all places? Maybe, she thought. She missed a lot of things... her home... her friends... she poured the hot water in the mug... the castle... The Burrow.
As she stirred the cup she tried to think of all the things she liked about her new life – Jamie, Mary, Euan and little Jon... although they were going to England to make sure Jon was settled before he was ready for Hogwarts... she liked her job – well she didn't hate it and it paid the bills... she had a favourite café and place in the park where she would take Jamie to play. Her mind kept drifting and she examined her real feelings – you don't like your life Hermione Granger! Only the things that are connected to your little boy bring you any joy and you are supposed to be in your favourite city in the world! What are you running from??
"Nothing!" She said out loud, knowing as she said it, that it simply wasn't true but, for a change, she couldn't seem to drown out the voice.
Oh pull yourself together you silly girl – you're just lonely – why don't you chat to a friend? Yes she thought – I'll floo Ron.
She inhaled loudly – it had been a long long time since she'd thought that and it suddenly made her immensely sad. You can't do that you silly girl – he hates you remember!!! She remembered. And you don't blame him. She didn't. You wouldn't ever talk to him again if he'd treated Harry like that. She wouldn't, she silently admitted to herself as a single tear rolled down her cheek. Why? Came the little voice inside her head. It was for the best... for Harry's own good...But was it? She wasn't sure anymore. She was lonely. Jamie made her more happy then she'd ever believed possible when she found out that he was on his way, but he was seven years of age and she wanted an adult to talk to. Mary had only moved a week ago and Hermione already felt that her life had drastically changed and not for the better.
She'd always had difficulty making friends – even at Hogwarts. It took a troll to help you find Ron and Harry – remember? She remembered only too well and she savoured those precious Hogwarts memories and she sat on the couch and cried into her cup. Mary though, had seen that the day Hermione had first entered the office. She'd taken her under her wing and settled her in and made her feel comfortable with her new life – but now after seven-odd years her and her husband had left for England. When Mary had told her off their plans, Hermione had wanted to cry, but she took it on the chin so to speak and tried to bury her head in her work. She reflected now, as she sat in front of the bright fire that this had helped in stopping the pain of Mary and her family leaving Paris, but ultimately had the effect of making her examine her own life in painful detail.
She'd reached the simple conclusion that she had had enough of Paris, and whilst desperate to return to England she knew she couldn't. The only option then, was simple, she and Jamie were going to move and America seemed like a good, fresh start.
You're running away Hermione! You're running away... Hermione stirred on the settee, still half asleep... You're running away from me Hermione – why? What did I do? The voice yelled in her head – she woke with a start –
"Mummy?" came a quiet voice from the foot of the stairs
Hermione's head spun around – "Jamie... what are you doing out of bed sweetheart?
"There's an owl at the window and it woke me up" he said sleepily, rubbing his eyes.
She walked over to him, lifted him in her arms and kissed his jet-black hair. He snuggled into her and she held him tightly. By the time she laid his head on the pillow he was already asleep again, and with one last kiss she turned to deal with the night-time visitor. She rubbed her weary shoulders before opening the latch on her bedroom window. Immediately a small chocolate brown owl popped his head inside the window, and hooted playfully.
"Hello there" Hermione said kindly "now what have you got for me then?"
Hermione took the small envelope and petted the owl before it twittered off into the night. She turned it over and almost staggered back into a nearby chair when she caught sight of the handwriting.