"How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found" By Meg
A/N: I don't own Harry Potter…I simply enjoy using the characters conjured up J.K. Rowling for my own sweet pleasure. Also, this AU.
Pairing: Hermione Granger/Remus Lupin.
Hermione tried to fight back the tears, the drowning feeling that was rising in her throat. Her ears didn't want to believe what she had just been told; it wasn't possible. This was a nightmare. She sat in her chair, arms wrapped so tightly around her sides in a futile attempt to comfort herself. She didn't think she would ever feel happiness again, this pain would snuff out any small bit of joy she could ever feel again.
"I'm sorry to have to be the bearer of such...grim news." Dumbledore spoke slowly, wondering if he should move from behind his desk to console her.
"I don't understand..." She choked out after a long moment. "How could this happen?"
"I am truly, deeply sorry for your loss Ms. Granger. I was told that it was a car accident. They were killed instantly...I was told they didn't suffer." He wished he could explain it in a better way, but there really was no good way to tell a sixteen year old girl that her parents had been killed in a tragic accident. Especially days before the end of the year, when it had been so long since she had seen them.
"I just got an owl from them yesterday morning..." She whispered to herself. "I never got a chance to reply...."
Dumbledore wrenched his hands in his lap. He knew the pain she felt all too well, but didn't know how to help. He knew, however, that the next news he had to deliver would be equally as painful.
"I'm sure this is something you're not quite ready to hear," He started slowly, conjuring her a cup of tea, a foolish attempt at comfort. "But we need to discuss your placement for this summer."
"My placement?" Hermione wiped away tears that had streaked down her pale cheeks. "Oh God...I haven't got any family, Professor. What will I do? Where will I go?"
The idea of going into foster care or to an orphanage terrified her.
"Well, I have consulted with the Order and it has been decided that it would be too dangerous to let you live with anyone outside of its members...." He urged her to drink her tea, which she took up reluctantly, but did not drink. "The obvious first choice would be to place you with the Weasleys..."
Hermione looked up at him, momentarily relieved by the idea. Nothing would be as good as living with her own parents, but the Weasleys were her second family without a doubt.
"Unfortunately," Dumbledore began, Hermione's heart sank. "It was decided that placing you with them would burden the Weasleys, and as you know, they are already stretched to their limits financially. Also, I personally felt it would be unwise to have you in the same location with Ronald...As Harry's best friends, this would place you in a vulnerable position....Death Eaters and the like..." He trailed off.
"Who then?" Hermione could barely speak, the knot in her stomach was rising up into her throat, threatening to cut off her oxygen.
"It may be a bit....unorthodox...but Remus Lupin has volunteered to take you in."
Dumbledore had allowed her to stay in his office until she was calm enough to return to Gryffindor Tower, but even then he had her escorted by Madame Pompfrey. Once the shock had worn off, as much as it could for such a short amount of time, Hermione was able to relate what had happened to Ginny, Harry and Ron. They were just as shocked as she had been, although none of them could truly experience the magnitude of emotions that she had been plunged into. Hermione had found some peace in Ron's arms as he held her for long hours on the sagging and faded couches in the common room.
"Really? Lupin?" Harry asked, standing with his back to them, as he stared into the dying fire.
"Dumbledore felt it was best...." Hermione's voice had not still fully returned, but for now she wasn't sobbing, which was a vast improvement.
"I still think you should come to live with us." Ron said quietly.
"Dumbledore is right Ron, as much as I wish he wasn't. It's bad enough that you and Ginny live together, but having the three people I care about most in the same place? That's just asking for trouble. Voldermort would have the Burrow surrounded twentyfour-seven."
"I know the logic..." Ron grumbled out. "It still sucks."
Hermione gently moved Ron's arm, freeing herself from his loving grasp. She stood up and sighed, trying not to start crying again. She covered her eyes with her hands, slowly raking her fingers back through her thick, unruly honey hair. She sighed again.
After a moment, she looked at Ron intently. "I...I have to pack. We leave for the Hogwarts express in two days and I haven't touched a thing. Dumbledore said that he'd already arranged for all of my things to be transported to Remus's cottage..."
"What about all of your parents' things?" Harry glanced at her.
"Dumbledore said the house is still mine. I own it, and all of their things stay with it, I just can't have it until I'm 17."
"At least its yours." Ron added appreciatively.
"Do you want us to help you pack?" Harry added, trying to distract Hermione.
"No...I think I can handle it. If not, Ginny's already volunteered...." Hermione looked at the clock and realized it was half past two in the morning already. "I need to go to bed."
A few moments later, Hermione was huddled under her covers. The girl's dormitory was cold, just like she felt inside. Cold and empty. When she closed her eyes, all she could see was her parents' faces. Regret washed over her; she only wished she'd had a chance to say goodbye. To tell her parents how much she had loved them.
"It's too late now..." She whispered to herself.
Hermione squeezed her eyes shut and tried to think of anything else than her parents, anything. So instead she imagined the little house by the beach where she would live with Remus. She imagined it would be nestled near the edge of the forest, not too far from a small muggle fishing village, but set away near sheer cliffs that overlooked the ocean breaking on a landscape of sharp rocks. Perhaps a little solitude would be nice, away from the magic word, away from everything that reminded her of what she'd lost. Remus's face materialized into her visions; her thoughts drifted his greying hair and soft eyes. It's been so long.
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