What Could Have Been

Chapter One: The Missing Friend

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Where is Hermione?

Twenty-eight year old Ron Weasley once again sat on the large stone steps that lead up to the entrance of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He hadn't seen the old building in ten long years. He walked out of the bright sunshine and into the Great Hall, sitting on one of the uncomfortable chairs at Gryffindor table with his best friend, Harry Potter, who was talking avidly about how he managed to capture yet another so-called Death Eater the previous week.

"...And he thought I was actually unconscious, so he turned his back and bang!" said Harry, as a tall woman with long red hair came and sat down on Harry's other side.

"Harry, please tell me you're not reciting that Death Eater story to Ron again?" questioned Ginny Weasley, as she linked her arm in Harry's. The two had been happily married for almost seven years now, and they had two children: Lily, aged six, and Daniel, aged four.

"Nah, Ginny, I think I'm used to it by now," said Ron to his little sister. He looked around the crowded room impatiently, secretly wishing for Hermione to walk through the large oak doors leading to the Hogwarts grounds. However, the only people he saw were people he had hoped never to see again. One of those people was Lavender Brown. She kept staring down the long table at him, hoping to catch his eye. "Ginny, have you seen if Hermione has arrived yet?" Although their last encounter was far from smooth, Ron was eager to see her.

"Oh, didn't I tell you? She owled Harry and me to say she was far too busy and couldn't make it," recalled Ginny, as she helped herself to some food from a plate that Neville had just put in front of her.

"Hi, guys!" called Neville happily, as a tall girl with dark curly hair sat on Neville's other side.

"Hi Neville, hi Penny," said Ginny.

Penny and Neville had been married for four years. They had met when they both attended a greenhouse exhibit in Ireland a few years after they left school. Word had it that Penny and Neville were expecting their first child early the following year.

"What do you mean Hermione's too busy to come? She's a writer! She can't just put that on hold for a few seconds to come to her own reunion!?" exclaimed Ron loudly. He moved irritably in his seat and gazed around the hall again. The sunlight coming from the enormous stain-glass windows was beginning to give him a headache, and although laughter and smiles surrounded him, he felt the sudden need to kick something.

"Ron, you know nothing about her life! You haven't even talked to her since your break-up!" exclaimed Ginny. She stared fiercely into Ron's eyes with her own until he turned away. He chose instead to look at the stone wall in front of him. He then glanced up at the famous Hogwarts Great Hall ceiling; there was not a cloud in the vast, blue sky. This only caused him to become, if possible, even angrier.

"You hadn't heard from her before that letter!" Ron said quickly, looking back at Ginny.

"Well, she's been too busy to catch up. She's told me that her job has become really hectic and she rarely gets any time off," reasoned Ginny. Ron noticed that her fists were clenched and her were eyes shining in anger.

"Where does she live again?" asked Neville suddenly, also noticing the look Ginny was giving Ron. He knew only too well that when Ron and Ginny began fighting, there was no stopping them until a few objects were broken and a bat-bogie hex had been sent flying across the room.

"Here's her address," said Harry, writing it quickly on a piece of parchment and handing it to him. He then turned his attention to his wife, and spent the rest of the hour calming Ginny down.

Ron glanced down at the parchment in Neville's hand and mentally recorded the address, feeling a little better than he had a few minutes ago. But this feeling was short-lived when he felt a tap on the shoulder. He turned to see Lavender smiling sweetly at him.

"Hello Ron, it is so good to see you again," she said kindly as she sat in the empty seat next to him.

"Yeah, you too," he muttered in reply, feeling a large headache coming on.

Two weeks later, Ron walked along the warm suburban street of London holding only a small piece of parchment in his hand. The warm wind blew gently against his face and hands, his t-shirt waving calmly in the breeze. As he walked, he continued glancing down at the crumpled parchment anxiously, as if expecting it to jump out of his hand and run along the street.

He suddenly came to a stop in front of a small house, and, he noticed, from his view through the closest window, it was furnished with both sensible and elegant objects.

As he walked nervously up the small pathway leading to the doorway, he could smell freshly mowed grass, which made him think immediately of Hermione. He knew that was one of her favourite smells. He came to a halt on the porch and raised his hand, knocking loudly on the door.

"If you're looking for 'Mione, she's not home," came a voice from his left. He turned quickly to see a tall woman with long wavy blonde hair and deep blue eyes. She was standing outside the house next door and appeared to be heavily pregnant. She walked slowly around the fence separating the two houses, and over to Ron.

"I'm Cammie, by the way, Cammie Williams. Wait a minute, red hair and freckles...I take it you're the famous Ron Weasley?" voiced Cammie. Her face showed both shock and confusion.

"Yeah, how did you know?" asked Ron.

"I'm Hermione's best friend, I think I'd know her ex," blurted Cammie. Her face softened and a smile grew on her face as she said, "What brings you here? I didn't think Hermione gave you her address."

"She didn't," said Ron offhandedly. "I really need to speak with Hermione; do you know where she is?" He really shouldn't have been so rude to Cammie, but he hadn't come all this way for nothing. He came here to see Hermione, and that is what he intended to do.

"Oh, she left about ten minutes ago. She headed down to the park with everyone. You just walk straight down that road and turn right, you can't miss it," said Cammie. "It was very nice to meet you, Ron, but I must get inside. I've left my daughter in the house with my brother, and I don't usually trust him to look after my kids for very long. Good luck with Hermione! Oh, and tell her that I might be along later with the kids!" With that, Cammie walked around the fence again and back into the house next door.

What had Cammie meant by 'everyone?' Whatever she had meant, Ron knew exactly where to find her. Ron looked down at his watch, and noticed that he would have to leave now to get back to his apartment in time for Harry and Ginny to visit him. He cursed himself for taking so long, and then looked up at the house in front of him.

Well, it's not going anywhere, thought Ron, as he looked again at his watch. With that thought, Ron turned away from the house he had longed to enter for so long, and walked back along the warm London street. However, unknown to Ron, a pair of eyes followed him down the street from the window of Hermione's house...

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Hope you guys liked it! Please review! Sorry this is so short, but they will hopefully get longer! I will try and post often though there will definitely be times when I'm too busy to write or post. I know that there are a lot of holes I still need to fill, but trust me, they will be filled (eventually...) Love, LuciaSwanne.