Disclaimer - Harry Potter and all the rights to it are owned by JK Rowling and her licensees. I make no money from this pastime.
A/N: This is an H/Hr fic. If that is not the ship you sail, abandon ship and find another captain. I don't particularly like Ron or Mrs. Weasley. While I have been kind to Ron in this story, it will not be the case with Mrs. Weasley and Ginny. You have been warned.
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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Location unknown, Unplottable
Ron Weasley, a tall lanky redheaded teen, walked into a classroom and saw his two best friends in deep conversation. The two of them heard him enter the room and instead of ceasing their conversation, they just merely changed the subject as they had done so many times in the past few years. "I was hoping I saw you before you left. Mum is having kittens that you are leaving so soon. It might be okay if you told anyone where you are going, mate, but this just leaving bit is too much."
Harry just looked at him and smiled, "I just have something I need to do, but I will be back before anyone really misses me."
"You are coming back?"
"And give up all the notoriety?" smirked Harry. "Between the Prophet hounding me for an interview and being mobbed everywhere I go by a grateful public, I think that this little trip is just what I need."
"But it's only been a week, mate; you need to stick around until things smooth over," protested Ron.
The young witch sitting next to Harry sighed, "Ron, Harry has already given a statement to the Ministry and the Prophet, in fact more than one. We've all made restitution with Gringotts, well Harry paid for the damage and since the bank is back in their control you would think they would be grateful, but...," the witch shook her head in exasperation, "anyway I am sure that he wouldn't leave unless he felt that it was important."
Harry shot her an appreciative grin and said, "I'm sorry about your mum, I tried to explain to her and your dad the best I could how important it was for me to do this. I have one more task to accomplish."
"Is this about You-Know-Who? He's dead."
"No, for the tenth time, it is not about Voldemort," said Harry with an air of incredulity. "Vold-e-mort, Ron, and seeing as how you know he's dead, say his name. I'm finished. It is someone else's turn now to clean up this mess. Kingsley seems to be on top of rounding up his followers, this is just about me taking care of something that I need to take care of." Harry stood, his unruly black hair even more so after running his fingers through it many times that morning while explaining his trip to his friends and surrogate family. With a twinkle in his eye he hugged the witch then kissed her on the cheek. Extending his hand the taller wizard took it in this own only to be pulled into an embrace by Harry.
"When you get back, Mum will have a dinner for us, you can stay a while until you decide what you want to do. McGonagall seemed serious about her tutoring offer. Even those that enrolled this year say it was a joke, what with the Carrows and You-" he stopped seeing the raised eyebrows from his two friends, "V-Voldemort running the place."
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had officially closed its doors a week ago, it was early May and there were at least seven weeks left on the term, but the castle was in such disrepair from the battle that took place that it was not fit at the time to house students. They were all sent home early and for only the fourth time in her history, there would be a special eighth year class for N.E.W.T. students. "I've talked to her, Ron, just let it go," said Harry in frustration. "I am considering it, but coming back depends on other things, and if I can work them out, then it's probably for the best. Look, I need to go." He quickly strode to the door and with a smile at them both left the room.
The sound of the door snicking shut echoed loudly in the room and the witch just closed her eyes and took a deep breath at what it meant. When she opened them she realized that her friend was standing in front of her, smiling. Slowly he put his hands on her shoulders and said, "We haven't spent any time alone in the last week, this will be good for us. I was just waiting for another chance to do this," he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her softly.
Startled she pulled back and said, "Ron? What was that for?"
"I thought that... after the Room of Requirement..."
Hermione nodded and patted the seat next to her that Harry had just vacated. "I need to talk to you."
"Don't say it, Hermione," Ron protested. We've been friends a long time, I know you feel more for me then friends should."
"You're right I do, how I feel for you is different than I feel for anyone else, I love you dearly, so much that you drive me crazy sometimes because of it." Seeing the beaming smile he was giving her, she knew she needed to finish speaking, "But, Ron, while I love you, I'm not... it isn't romantic love."
"What the hell was that kiss for then?"
"I..." She was at a loss for how to let him down easy. She hadn't realized that he would try what he did the previous week, but had just chalked it up to pre battle jitters and didn't think about it again until just now. "I was trying to give you a hug, Ron, and a kiss on the cheek, but you kissed me. I didn't realize that you would take it another way, I'm sorry."
"So to you I am just the friend, just the pal," he spat.
"The best pal a girl can have. You take care of me, make sure I'm okay, keep me from being too serious. I don't know what I would have done the last seven years without you and I hope that you will continue to be my best friend."
"Is there someone else?"
Instead of answering him, Hermione just chuckled, "Listen, I need to tell you something. I'm leaving for a while too. I need to find my family."
Ron looked at her and blinked, he had forgot that she sent her parents to Australia. It didn't sound to him like something that she should be doing alone. He also figured that without Harry around the two of them might have a chance to spend some real time together and something could develop. "I'll go with you. Just give me a few weeks to sort some things out and then we can leave."
Taking his hands in hers, Hermione smiled and said, "I appreciate that, but I need to leave today and I think it best if you don't come. I'm going to be traveling and living as a Muggle and I'm not sure you can pull that off, it has been ten months since I have been with my family, I would rather..." She patted his hands and said, "Besides, I don't think your mother would do well if you announced to her that you were leaving again so soon. She just got you back after not seeing you since Bill's wedding, no communication except for our short stay at Shell Cottage. She's your mother, Ron; let her feed you for a while. I promise after I find them, when I get back, I will come for a visit. I'll have some things that I will need to talk to you about by then anyway."
"Are you coming back next year?"
Blinking at him, realizing that he didn't have enough information, she said, "I don't know. It depends on several things. I can't make that decision yet, at least not until I have all the information. I will tell you that I would like to. I don't think being an Auror is something I want anymore, but regardless, I do need to pass my N.E.W.T.'s."
"When are you leaving?"
"I spoke with your mum before I came looking for Harry, Professor McGonagall too. I should be leaving. I'm taking a Portkey."
"I didn't realize the international offices were back up."
"They aren't. I have to take a Muggle train to the continent and leave from there, but it's better than a Muggle aeroplane, that would take an entire day." She stood and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Take care of yourself and I will send you an owl when I can."
"As soon as you get back."
"As soon as I get things worked out with my family." Hermione smiled at him then left the room. She knew that he might not ever forgive her for what she didn't say, what she was about to do. It was a risk, she jeopardized their entire relationship, not just his, but the whole Weasley family, but it was worth it. She strode purposely to the gates of Hogwarts, her belongings already moved out of Muggle storage and to 12 Grimmauld Place. Kreacher was there working on the changes they were making. Once she was through the gate, she disappeared behind a section of wall, smiled at the person waiting for her under the invisibility cloak and slipped under it herself. Tightly holding hands, as they had been doing for months, the pair Dissaparated without a sound.