AN: I don't know why I'm writing this. I don't know why I'm writing this. Why the hell am I writing this?
Ok, I know why. But I'm not really altogether pleased with the answer.
You see, about a thousand people lately (or at least five, to my knowledge) have written about either Ron or Hermione disappearing for a large amount of time. Then they'd come back and have to learn how to pick up where they left off.
This sounded like a very interesting idea to me. However, all the fics, every one of them, had three glaring problems, in my opinion. First of all, everything was forgiven far too quickly. Second, the reason whoever it was that left had disappeared was never satisfactory. And, finally, the characters had not changed in their time apart in the least.
I tried to leave it alone. I truly did. The authors weren't bad or necessarily wrong for their interpretations. I could be too dramatic, or too critical, or too eager in my current flurry of Harry Potter fanfic writing. But I couldn't stop thinking that I could really have some fun with this original concept. And, finally, in the middle of writing the next chapter of one of my other HP fics (which there are already TWO of, because apparently I'm insane), I gave in. I brought up a new document and typed this up in about half an hour.
I shouldn't post it, I know. But I really, really, really like it. So be warned. I have two other fics in progress, plus another I'm about to pick up again. Sure, one of the fics is just about done and one of the others isn't too far behind it. But they have people already reading them, so they come first. In other words, if you like this, I'm not entirely sure how often I'll update it. Once or twice a week, I'd guess. Still, I really liked how this turned out, and I hope you do as well.
One other thing. This story is based on canon until the "nineteen years later" epilogue. However, I will keep things so that, until the near end, you won't know whether I will keep it so that the epilogue is still possible, or if I will write my own, AU, version. It'll be an interesting ride, I think. And – go!
Disclaimer: I'm totally broke. You just try to sue me. See what happens.
London had always been a place for mysteries and intrigue. Interesting people had walked it's streets for centuries. Legends were made and stories were created in this ancient capitol.
One such interesting person was sitting in an underground car, flying just below the city. Anyone in the car with her could tell you that she was important, though, being only Muggles, they couldn't have told you why. She didn't look overly important, to be honest. She was slight, with plain features and simple dress. In fact, there were only two things that were remarkable about her at all. The first was the bushy brown hair spewing from her head like a fountain gone berserk. The other was the look on her face as she stared out the window, her eyes ticking along with the passing lights. She had seen things, this girl. Things that normal people often never even imagine they'd see in their lifetimes.
If any of her friends had seen her, they would have said she looked a bit ... wrong. All her features were still hers, but played up, almost as if she was a caricature of herself than an actual person. Her hair was bigger than ever, and the brown now had interesting highlights that didn't look dyed yet were simply not natural. Her nose was longer than it had been before, her chin just a little more squared off, and her eyes a deeper color and wider set. She was thinner, but the angles suddenly fit her, as if she were a statue that someone had chipped away at to smooth the outline. None of the innocence she had held was there anymore. Instead, she looked like a natural born fighter.
Her companion, a slightly pudgy man with a scar just to the right of his thin mouth, leaned over to whisper in her ear. "Almost home, doll."
She looked over at him with those eyes that were the same but not. "You have a home to get back to, Roland. Some of us would aren't so lucky."
The older man's eyebrows contracted. "Didn't you say something about some bloke? That famous one. Ron Weasley, yeah?"
"The love of my life? Yeah, I mentioned him," she replied sarcastically. "After three years, I'm not entirely sure that he'll be waiting with open arms."
There was silence between them for a few minutes. She broke it in a very matter-of-fact voice. "We were going to get married, you know."
Roland didn't seem know what to say to that. In the years they'd worked together, hiding and spying and negotiating, they'd never been the closest in their team. They had only caught the same train because they were going the same direction. Nevertheless, he reached out and held her hand. Everyone on their team had lost things, being gone so long. As much as they'd hated where they'd been, it was nearly as terrifying to come back and see what they'd been missing.
A wheezy voice sounded on the intercom above them, startling the woman and Roland, and causing them to drop hands. "My stop," she commented dryly. She reached out her hand again, and Roland shook it. "We'll see each other at the Ministry, I suppose. Best of luck."
"Best of luck to you, too."
She picked up her bags and nodded curtly. She joined the que filing out the door and burst into the milling station. She walked herself over to a secluded corner, and checked, with many months of practice, if anyone could see her from any vantage point. Convinced that the only person who might see was the drunken man in the corner across from hers (and with the reek coming off of him, he wouldn't remember this tomorrow, anyway), she performed a graceful spin and was gone with a loud CRACK.
She appeared just outside of her old flat. She stared up at the window, her grip on her baggage handles so tight that her sensibly short nails cut pressed painfully into her palm. There was little movement inside, but the lights were on. Just as she was about to start towards the building's door, she heard a feminine giggle coming unmistakably from the window she'd just been contemplating.
A scratchy feeling invaded her throat as she saw shadows play out against the wall that she could make out from her vantage point. They were intertwined so that she couldn't see where one ended and the other began.
A male voice, breathing a little heavily, said something about blinds. The nasty little jumpy tricks her heart had been doing in her chest suddenly began to slow to a stop. That didn't sound like ..
Sure enough, the man that came to close the shutters was blonde and none too tall. It wasn't Ron.
Ron had, apparently, moved.
Her heart now performing at a normal pace, but her throat still scratchy, she went over her options quickly in her head. She made a decision almost instantly, and with another graceful turn, was gone again.
This time, she reappeared in front of a small, tastefully designed townhouse. She could only hope the occupants, who had moved in only weeks before she'd skipped town, were still there. She suddenly felt like a schoolgirl again, trudging up the stone steps, dragging her bags stained with dirt and old burn marks. Knowing that if she hesitated she wouldn't be able to the thing at all, she knocked on the bright red door, perhaps a bit too loud and cheerfully.
Almost instantly, she heard a call of "I'm coming!" The sound of laughter preceded the opening of the door. A woman with bright red hair cut to just above her shoulders was behind, still half-turned to look at whoever had made the joke. The smile slid off the younger woman's face as soon as she slid her head around and saw who was at her door.
"Hello, Ginny," the woman on the porch said, smiling tremulously. Merlin's pants! She wasn't a stupid student anymore.
"Gin?" A man came from behind the red-headed girl and stopped in his tracks. For a moment, he seemed incapable of saying anything. Finally, he managed to croak, "Her .. Hermione?"
Hermione Granger smiled at her best friend, a little more confidently than before. "It's me, Harry. I'm home."
AN: Duhn-duhn-duhn! Well, there it is. A bit short, but subsequent chapters will be longer. Hope you enjoy. Also, to all the other authors writing about this sort of thing, I'm sorry about the fact I kinda-sorta took your idea. I'll try never to do so again. Love? Hate? Review!