After the death of Hermione's parents, she finds she is in the custody of a surprising person. And there are even more surprises in store for all involved. Starts the summer after OtP. AU after OtP.

The characters of the Harry Potter universe belong to Ms. Rowlings, and I am borrowing them for my own imagination.

Chapter 1 - Sad Ending to a Wonderful Evening

Ron and Hermione walked out to the theater hand in hand and headed in the direction of a quiet spot to catch the Night Bus back to her home. This was there fourth official date, and Hermione had convinced Ron to see Les Miserable on stage. They both loved it. Ron had never attended anything like it before, and was on the edge of his seat throughout the show.

Ron had taken up the courage to ask Hermione out on a date during their recent stay in the infirmary, when it was just the two of them alone. They had decided to wait until summer, so they could do so without the watchful eyes of the student body at Hogwarts, not to mention Ginny and Harry. For each of their previous dates, his parents believed that Hermione was tutoring Ron or they were just hanging out together. They didn't even suspect that Ron and Hermione's relationship was slow blossoming beyond friendship, to something much more.

On the Night Bus, they sat close together, alternately discussing the show and kissing. Hermione really enjoyed kissing Ron. Ron had officially asked her to be his girlfriend earlier in the evening, and Hermione had excitedly said yes. They did decide that Harry should be the first to know, and they would keep it between them until then. Luckily, they were planning on seeing Harry this upcoming weekend, but Hermione was a little nervous about his reaction. Ron kept assuring her that Harry would be happy for them, and probably not surprised a bit.

They exited the Night Bus, a couple blocks from Hermione's house and started to walk toward the home. As they approached, they saw the crowd and flashing lights in the direction. Hermione, suddenly having an awful feeling in the pit of her stomach, she gripped Ron's hand tighter, as they headed quickly toward her home.

"Excuse me, please let me through." Hermione called out. Her neighbors seeing her quickly parted to let the young couple pass.

Hermione headed toward the home but an officer stopped her. "Sorry Miss, but you can't go in there."

"It's my home." Hermione said.

"Are you Hermione Granger?" The officer asked.

"Yes. This is my boyfriend, Ron Weasley." Hermione said her hand held securely in Ron's hand.

"Could you come with me? We have some people waiting for you at your neighbor's home." The officer said as he started to lead them toward the home.

"What is going on here?" Hermione asked.

"It will be explained as soon as we reach your neighbors." The officer replied.

Once inside, the officer led her to the living room. Inside it was, two other officers, along with Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. They all quieted as they saw her enter the room.

"What is going on here? Where are my parents?" Hermione asked starting to really panic.

"Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley, please come in and sit down." Professor Dumbledore said as he stood and gestured for them to take a seat next to Remus.

They sat on the couch, Hermione positioned between Ron and Remus. As soon as they were settled, Professor Dumbledore spoke again, "Miss Granger, tonight while you and Mr. Weasley were out, some persons broke into your parent's home and murdered them."

"How?" Ron asked as he wrapped an arm protectively around Hermione and she leaned into him.

"It was very brutal. There will need to be an autopsy performed to establish the exact cause of the deaths." One of the officers stated matter of factly.

"Can I see them?" Hermione asked quietly.

"I don't think that would be a good idea." The officer stated.

"Don't you need me to identify them?" She asked.

"Hermione," Remus said quietly placing under her chin and turn her head to look at him directly. "Professor Dumbledore adequately identified your parents. It is them. And although I understand your desire to see them for yourself, you need to ask yourself if you want to replace your last memory of them as they were when you left for the evening, or as they are now. Hermione, I don't think you want to see them as they are now."

As she saw the caring and concern and absolute honest in Remus's face, she started to cry. Ron wrapped his arms tighter around her as he pulled her back against his chest. Remus moved his hand taking her one of her free hands, while Tonks moved forward, kneeling before her and taking her other hand.

"Officer Tonks, we need to finish up our investigation. We are going to rejoin the others at the scene. I believe you have all the paperwork dealing with Miss Granger's custody." The officer stated as he and his colleagues made to leave.

Tonks quickly turned to look at him and answered in affirmative.

"Good then I will leave all this in your care."

After the officers left, Tonks returned her attention to crying young girl in front of her, "Hermione, did your parents ever discuss with you custody arrangements in case of their deaths?"

"A little, I know that they talked about the Weasleys, but felt it would be too much of a burden on them. They even looked into Remus, but unfortunately wizarding law prevents it. I believe they discussed the matter with Remus and Professor Dumbledore, but I don't know who they eventually decided on." Hermione replied quietly holding Remus hand while leaning back in Ron's arms.

"Hermione, your parents named Professor Severus Snape as your guardian."