Chapter 1

Hermione Granger stepped out of the Ministry into the sunshine. The beautiful weather topped off her day perfectly. She had received an offer for the job of her dreams today. For the past five years, since the war ended, she'd been working with her father-in-law Arthur in the Muggle Relations department. She enjoyed his company, more than she enjoyed her husband's, in fact; the job, however, was rather monotonous for her. She wanted to do something thought-provoking, something educational…something that took her to other parts of the world. She wanted to leave a mark on wizarding history, and she wanted her own name to be associated with it.

This afternoon, the Minister of Magic, David Tiddlywink, had called her to his office and offered her just that.

"Mrs. Granger," he began, "I have a proposition that I hope you will find very interesting. Of everyone I've considered, you are the only person who has exactly the qualities I need for this job. We have decided to create an International Wizarding Library here in London."

Hermione gasped, thrilled at the mere prospect of such a library. Tiddlywink grinned at her and continued in his explanation.

"This library will contain books in many, many languages, from as many countries as possible. It should contain ancient texts with valuable knowledge and modern novels as well. These books need to be carefully selected by a person who knows book and loves them. This is where your part comes in."

"You're asking me to…what? To order books for you? Or create a list of important books?" she asked.

"No, I am asking you to take over as Head of the new International Library division of the Ministry. You would select several others to work under you, of course, but the selecting I would like you to do personally. You would need to do extensive traveling. The others could do research and make suggestions, and find a suitable location for the library, draft fund requests, and that sort of red tape. You, Mrs. Granger, would be on the front lines, in the books, where I'm told you most love to be."

"Oh, Mr. Tiddlywink!" she sighed happily. "It's the career I've always longed for. And an International Wizarding Library would be so useful! I think it's a brilliant idea!"

Tiddlywink chuckled. "You won't mind the travel, my dear? And being away from your husband?"

Ron. He had wound up working in trade regulations, a job he truly hated. Honestly, Hermione wouldn't mind a break from her sulky husband. Of course, she wasn't going to tell Tiddlywink that.

"I've always wanted to travel, sir. I saw quite a few Muggle attractions with my parents as a child, but magical attractions intrigue me. I doubt I could ever see enough of them. And searching though musty bookstores in exotic locales? Amazing."

"I take it that you accept the position? I'm sure Arthur will be upset to see you go. Come, then, I'll show you to your new office and you can begin hiring assistants and researching tomorrow."

Now Hermione dreamily made her way through London, preferring to take her time reaching her and Ron's apartment. This new career would make her happy, finally. She had married Ron shortly after their sixth year at Hogwarts, both of them only seventeen. Neither they nor Harry Potter had returned to finish at Hogwarts, choosing instead to go hunting for Horcruxes, fighting for the Order of the Phoenix, and later, battling Voldemort. After the battle ended two years later, they all made up their N.E.W.T.'s and started working for the Ministry, Ron and Hermione in their current positions, and Harry as an Auror. Ron had been miffed about Harry landing the job he'd always wanted, but there was nothing to be done about it, except sulk and whine, which Ron did profusely.

If she was completely honest with herself, Hermione had to admit that she didn't expect them all to live through the war. She had expected that either Ron or she would be used as bait for Harry and die in the process. Their union had been the result of puppy love and the fierce passion that comes with it. That passion had faded out in the seven years that had passed. She still cared for him, but it felt a lot more platonic than she thought it should be. The only passion he aroused in her any longer was fury. He pouted, he grumbled, he complained, he drank too much, and he hated everything. The war had changed everyone, but Ron seemed to have gotten the worst of it. Oddly enough, he appeared to have lost less than many others had.

Hermione unlocked the door to find herself in an empty apartment. Ron usually went out with Seamus Finnigan after work; the quiet was nothing unusual. She took a hot bath and pulled on a thick robe, then warmed up a bowl of soup. She carried it to her desk and began to brainstorm.