A/N: This will be a multi-chaptered and hopefully interesting look at what happens during the years following the end of the Second War. I haven't decided on pairings yet, but for sure Harry will be gay. Other characters may not end up with their canonical orientation, spouse or children, as I intend to make free use of my poetic license. This will also be paced realistically, so some parts may be slow-building. Point of view will be subject to changes, but should focus on Harry.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling and I make no profit from this piece of interpretive fan fiction. I also do not own the phrase 'Keep Calm and Carry On', which belongs to the British government.
Warnings: This will feature disturbing and adult themes, including but not limited to character death, homosexuality, vulgar language and themes, and adult situations. If you object to any of these, please keep your objections to yourself and desist from reading my story A.S.A.P.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Her hands shook slightly on the wheel of the car. Harry reached over and laid his hand over her right knuckles, giving them a small squeeze. She shot him a tense smile and concentrated on the tight parallel parking spot in front of her ex-parent's house. That would change very soon, of course, provided she could replace the erased memories as easily as she'd removed them.
The plan had been that she would do this alone. They were her parents, after all, and she knew everyone else was still twisted up emotionally and even physically from the War. It'd only been a week since peace was declared, and the victory parties had been subdued this time around. The First war was different; victory was certain and glorious then. Now the Wizarding world, what remained of it, was tiny and shaken. So many had been killed or hurt so badly there was no hope of their bearing children. It hadn't been spoken aloud, but you could see it in everyone's eyes: they were afraid that they would never recover, afraid that by the time a mere century had gone by there would be no more of them in the United Kingdom. It had already happened in Australia. It was only a matter of time before, slowly but surely, magic died in Europe altogether. Merlin knew their numbers had never been large, not since the rise of Christianity.
She successfully parked the car and turned off the ignition. Because she was still tense as a bowstring, she closed her eyes and began to count her breaths. In (one two three), out (one two three), in (one two three), out, and so on; she ignored Harry until she felt less like she was going to her execution and more like she was going to an uncomfortable family gathering.
"Are you going to be alright?" she nodded, but he went on, "Are you sure you don't want me to come in with you? It's no trouble, you know. I could wait in the kitchen, just in case you need me."
"No, Harry, I'll be okay. Thanks. Just wait here. Hopefully this won't take more than an hour. You've got the paper, right?"
He held up the stack of newspapers, some of them Muggle, some of them magical, and smiled, "Yes. I have enough reading material to last me a week. Good luck."
She stepped out of the car and began striding up the short walk to her parent's suburban home. As she walked, she realized that she no longer thought of it as her home but as the place she grew up, with no connection to her present circumstances.
Shaking her head, she bent to pluck one of her mother's nameless meek flowers from the pot on the front stoop and tucked it into the buttonhole of her blazer. She used to do that when she was in primary school. Perhaps the small touch would help. She didn't know how her parents were going to react to the news that they'd been brainwashed by their witch child. She hoped they could forgive her, but she was also prepared for the worst. Harry was there to drive her back to the Floo station if she was too distraught to handle their rejection.
They would have used magical transportation, but the Ministry was so crippled no one wanted to give them more records to keep.
Her mother answered the door and gave her a pleasant smile.
"Hello, dear! How can I help you?"
She pretended to be doing a survey for the local University about middle-aged perspectives of the modern student. She knew full well that her mother had gotten a minor in psychology and was always very supportive of all kinds of statistics about people. She was admitted, ushered to sit on the sofa she'd used as a reading perch for most of her childhood, and offered tea. She accepted, if only to give herself a few more minutes to compose herself.
Her father was home, she knew, but she was glad that he was holed up in his study doing whatever it was he did in there for hours on end. She wanted to do this one parent at a time to prevent being outnumbered.
Mother sat across from her, tea in hand, smiling.
Hermione was too nervous to go to work right away, so she made up facts about the fake survey and made small talk until her legs stopped quivering beneath her sensible skirt. She took a deep breath and cast the counter-spell. She then watched as her mother's body jerked and spasmed as though she was experiencing a seizure. Her tea toppled out of her hands and smashed on the floor. The fragments were soon ground to dust by her mother's stomping feet. When she began to emit a low howl, clutching her head tightly in her hands, Hermione hurried to her side and restrained her as best as she could, holding her mother's face tight against her chest to muffle the noise.
She stared out the window unseeingly, waiting for her mother to stop and helpless to make the process any less painful. She could see Harry slouched in the car, the paper spread out on his lap. Harry liked reading the news these days, a habit from the War. He said he needed to keep on top of things and understand what was going on in the world.
The sounds of pain got quieter and quieter and then faded away altogether. She felt wetness through the fabric of the blouse she wore beneath her blazer and turned her eyes downwards. She was expecting tears so she had an apology ready. She found blood instead, the red creeping up the fabric of her blouse and at the same time dripping down towards the waist of her skirt.
With a sharp cry she took her mother's face in her hands and tilted it so that she could see what the matter was. Her mother was utterly still, rivulets of blood still seeping from her eyes, ears, nose, and even the corners of her mouth. Her facial muscles were frozen in a death mask of agony, stress lines carved deeply around her mouth and on her forehead.
Panic coursed through her veins like heroin. She forced it down; she would deal with it later. For now she checked her mother's pulse several times to make absolutely sure that she was dead. A quick diagnostic spell revealed that her heart had given out under the force of a considerable shock to her system. Technically her death was an accident, an unfortunate side-effect of the sudden knowledge that she had a daughter.
Hermione heard a door open, heard the shuffle of slippers on the wood floor. Her eyes drifted shut and she was a child again. She'd just broken her mother's favorite clock, the one from Switzerland that she'd bought as a young girl. She was terrified then as she was now.
Her eyes opened in time to see her father come around the corner, saying, "I heard a funny sound. Are you alright-"
He stopped dead when he saw her and then promptly turned to leave, no doubt heading for the telephone to call the police. She had no choice. She dropped her mother's body and chased after him, casting a practiced, "Obliviate!"
His body jerked but then his steps faltered. He looked around the hall, scratching his head. His eyes, still a little unfocused, landed on her.
"You came out here for a fresh pen. Here," she dug into her pocket and handed him one, "now go back to your study."
He took the pen like a zombie and disappeared into his study. She began to sway dangerously, her adrenaline leaving her. This was a mess, and she couldn't clean it up alone. She went outside and looked around for any snooping neighbors before sprinting towards the car.
Harry happened to look up. He tossed the newspaper into the backseat of the car when he saw her coming and stepped out of the car. He had his serious face on.
"What happened? Why are you crying?"
With a start she realized she was, and loudly too. She couldn't speak, only grabbed his hand and dragged him inside. He saw her mother crumpled on the floor of the living room, still seeping blood (Hermione saw a dark stain on the seat of her trousers and had to shudder).
"Where's your father?" he asked, his voice calm but commanding. She pointed at the closed door of the study. He went over to her mother and cast the same diagnostic spells she had, stiffening when the verdict was revealed. He turned to her and said, "We're going to have to report this. You won't get into trouble, but if the press hears about this it won't look good. Look, just…let me take care of this. Focus on calming yourself down for now."
Hermione began to feel dizzy so she sat down heavily in the armchair her Uncle Henry always favored and put her head in her hands.
End chapter 1