Life Goes On.
The war was done, the bodies buried, their memories honoured with two large marble memorials erected the name of each soul lost carved into the base by hand this included Hermione's parents, who despite her best efforts were found by deatheaters and, when they realised they could not obtain Harry Potter's whereabouts from them, were killed. One monument stood in the middle of Diagon Alley, the other in the Hogwarts grounds where the war had finally ended.
And for the survivors life had to be picked up once more and the broken shards pieced together. For Hermione, Ron and Harry that involved returning to school, just for a brief time though, under Hermione's insistence they had all sat the N.E.W.Ts that they had missed when they dropped out of school. With all the experience they had gained in the past year the trio, of course, passed with flying colours.
They then returned to the Burrow.
"It's odd isn't it?" Ron piped up one evening while they were sat in the lounge in front of a crackling fire.
"What is?" Hermione asked, looking up from the book resting in her lap.
"Not doing anything." He sighed, "For the past year we've been on a hunt for horcruxes, and before that we got into no end of trouble, we always had a mission, a cause. Now we're just sat here, we haven't even got homework!"
"Ron, I think we deserve the break mate." Harry grinned, "And if you miss homework so much you could always owl Ginny, I'm sure she'd be happy to send you some of hers, from what she said in her last letter it's really mounting up now she's doing her N.E.W.Ts."
Ron grimaced, "I don't think I miss it that much yet. But really, what are we going to do next?"
"Get lives I suppose," Hermione sighed, "We can't sit around here forever."
"Get lives." Ron repeated with wonder, "Hmmm, I suppose that will have to do."
Hermione knew what Ron was getting at, for seven years Voldemort had dominated their existence, yes they had had lives but they had been jam packed with adventure, with philosophers stones, three headed dog, with Basilisks, and Dementors. To go from having your life in very serious danger on a yearly basis to being sat at home with a nice book, however welcomed it was, was a bit of a shock to the system.
And so the next morning she was up in time to meet the owl at the window and relive it of the weighty newspaper it carried. She spread it out across the table and flicked straight to the jobs section, she had always been happiest when she was working, she resolved, so the best way to start her new life was to find herself a job. Her only trouble now was, with grades as outstanding as hers, almost every career path was open to her, and she was having a tough time deciding what it was she wanted to do.
In fact it wasn't until Ron ambled into the kitchen planted a kiss to her temple and scanned the page from over her shoulder that she found it, or rather it was found for her.
"Department of Prevention of Cruelty to Magical Creatures," He read aloud, "That sounds right up your street Hermione, it'll be like spew but with paperwork to go with it."
"It's S.P.E.W Ronald." She corrected automatically.
But his words got her thinking, maybe he was right, maybe it would be right up her street, she did after all despise the thought of other creatures being treated unfairly and fought their side whenever she could. So why shouldn't she get paid for her passion?
"You know what Ronald, you might be right." She smiled
He froze, slice of toast halfway to his mouth forgotten, "You what?"
"I said you might be right about the job, I think I'm going to apply for it. What's wrong?"
"I'm just not used to you saying that is all."
Getting up from where she was sitting she crossed to room and wrapped her arms around him, "That, my darling," She smiled and kissed him briefly, "Is because usually you're talking a load of old rubbish."
With that she picked up the paper and left the room, leaving Ron alone with his still forgotten breakfast.
Harry also had plans with his life and a trip to the Ministry started those plans off. Once he had all the relevant documents and official letters he needed he took the first portkey he could to Godric's Hollow. With nervous anticipation he approached his former house, this time not stopping at the rusting gate but pushing it open and advancing up the rubble filled path. No longer were their protective enchantments to prevent him from pushing open the door and walking inside. He had seen to that with his visit that morning. After being sure that nothing was going to stop him he rolled up his sleeves, pulled out his wand and set to work, his new task to begin his new life was to rebuild the house he had spent such a short period of time in. He was going to rebuild his life and it started with getting him and Ginny a proper place to live.
Only Ron, the one who had been complaining, was left unsure as to what it was he wanted to do, he had stumbled through school, picking his subjects for their ease, or at least for the fact he could copy off Hermione, he had never really looked ahead but now the future he hadn't bothered to think about was upon him and he was left feeling unsure and alone.
Unfortunately it was Hermione who had to deal with the raw end of these feelings, every night as they lay in bed together snuggled up in his childhood bedroom he would rant and groan and moan about how few opportunities life threw his way and how he felt he had no purpose, no reason for living, how it wasn't fair.
At first Hermione tried to be supportive, telling him not to worry, something would come up and then he would feel differently, but her sympathy could only stretch so far. So on the evening she returned home from her job interview declaring happily "I got the job, they offered it to me right away!" and Ron stormed out of the house in a sulk, she wasn't in too much of a position to feel sorry for him.
Racing after him she caught him by the arm and pulled him to a standstill.
"What was that all about?" She demanded.
His only reply being a shrug served only to add fuel to the fire.
"You will speak to me Ronald! I come home with good news and you can't even pretend to be happy for me! So tell me why my new job got such a frosty reception."
"It's alright for you with your job and Harry with his house, but what about me? What do I get? I'm stuck here all day doing absolutely nothing, but you're too busy with your new job to care!" He yelled, his flushed cheeks almost matching the colour of his hair.
"Oh I see!" Hermione exclaimed, "Here I was thinking I'd come home and we could celebrate together, but of course I realise now how wrong I was, thinking this could be in any way about me! Of course not, it's about you isn't it Ron? It's always about you! How on earth could I have made that mistake?"
"Don't get all sarcastic with me. I'm just frustrated, my life isn't going anywhere." He sighed sadly.
"And have you ever thought that you could be doing something about that?" she asked furiously,
"And do what, face it Hermione, whatever I do my life is going to be as rubbish as it is now!"
"I am so sick of you going on about how rubbish your life is Ronald, because you know what? I'm part of your life! Remember that? So am I that rubbish too? I'm just part of your crappy little life am I? Well you know what; you can take your life and shove it for all I care because I am done!"
She made to leave, walking towards the gate at the end of the garden.
"Hermione wait!" He called after her and to his relief she stopped.
Turning to face him, tears swimming in her eyes, she spoke softly but the anger was still in her voice, "I should blame myself really, this has been a long time coming Ron, I can't have a relationship with someone who loves himself more than he does me and you are one of the most self-centred people I have ever met."
Before he could get another word in she had turned on the spot and with a sharp crack dissaperated. She reappeared seconds later just inches away from where Harry was stood, tears streaming down her face.
"Hermione! What's wrong?" He exclaimed, dropping the section of wall he had been levitating back into place from within the house.
"Ron and I broke up." She sobbed.
He rushed forward and enveloped her in a brotherly hug holding her until her sobs subsided and she was able to recount the whole story to him.
"So what do you think will happen now?" Harry asked when she had finished.
"What do you mean?" She sniffed, wiping her eyes with her sleeve.
"Well do you want to get back together with him?"
"I don't think I can Harry, not after this, I've always known he's been a little selfish, but for the past few weeks he's just been getting worse and worse, I'm sick of being the person he moans to, I think he forgot I was his girlfriend, I need love, real love, not just someone to look after, I'm not his mother, but that's what I feel like. I can't have that for the rest of my life." She sighed sadly, she always had, and in some way would still love Ron, but as the time had passed there was no longer happiness between the two, it seemed they merely stayed together out of habit and the fear of being alone. After the war was over and they were no longer fearing their lives the pressure had been lifted for them to find love and with this they found their feelings weren't an intense as they once thought.
Both she and Harry were silent for a while.
"Harry?" She piped up finally, "Would you mind if I stayed in Grimmauld Place for a while?"
"Of course not, all the rooms are made up stay as long as you want to." He smiled.
"Thanks Harry," She smiled, and then took the time to look around the place, "It's really starting to take shape, I can't believe how well you're doing!"
"Yeah, it's tough but I'm getting there, hopefully the walls will be done in a few weeks and then I can start on clearing out the inside and making it liveable."
Harry had yet to step foot inside the house further than the hallway, partly because of the rubble from the collapsed room upstairs and partly for anxiety over what he would find.
"You should get the guys that rebuilt Hogwarts in," Hermione smiled, "They finished rebuilding the whole castle within a week so I hear."
"They certainly would help, but I quite like doing it using my own wand, it feels right doing it this way."
"Yeah, I know," She smiled slightly, "Anyway I should get going, I need to be in work tomorrow, so don't want to be late. Thanks for listening Harry."
"Anytime. I suppose I should be getting back to the Burrow, I'll let them know you're safe."
They both got up from the wall they had been sitting on and made to leave to where they would be staying the night.
"Oh and Hermione?" Harry called just as she was about to go, she turned to face him, "Congratulations on your new job."
She smiled before turning on the spot and disappearing from view.