After the War
Chapter Three: Parentals
Hermione gripped Ron's hand tightly as the airplane's wheels hit the asphalt, her eyes trained on the world outside of the window. They had been traveling since yesterday morning, the entire time spent on airplanes totaling nearly twenty-four hours. They'd spent the night in an airport in Singapore, sleeping on benches, and now, as they landed in Sydney, neither was very happy. But this trip was important… so very important.
It had been two weeks since the end of the war and already the world was looking brighter and safer. With Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding world well on their way to repair, Hermione had told Harry, Ron, and the rest of the Weasleys that she needed to go locate her parents in Australia. Despite her efforts to persuade him that she was perfectly capable of doing this on her own, Ron had insisted on coming to the point where it was useless to tell him no. Percy managed to get him a passport at the ministry while Hermione's was still good to go. She booked two tickets for the closest flight to Australia and here they were.
"Do you think Harry will be alright without us?" Hermione asked for about the dozenth time since they had left.
"Hermione, he's fine. He's got Ginny and everyone else. We're not going to be gone for too long anyway, you said they'd be easy to find."
"I suppose." Hermione sighed and unbuckled her seatbelt as the lights went off overhead.
"Welcome to Sydney and thank you for flying British Airlines. Please keep a courteous manner while deboarding and enjoy your time in Austrailia."
"Finally. I must admit that it's a bit more comfortable than a broom, but still… flying through the air in a metal tube… " Ron groaned and stood up, stretching his legs before reaching up to grab their rucksacks from the overhead compartment. It would have looked suspicious if they hadn't any luggage, so Hermione had suggested they pack a couple of bags with clothes and toiletries. Anything else they might need was in the small beaded bag tied to the front belt loop of her jeans. Grabbing her bag from Ron and putting it on her back, Hermione joined him in the aisle where they worked their way to the front of the airplane with the rest of the crowd.
"So, now that we're here…" Ron started as they made their way down the boarding tunnel and into the terminal. "I vote we get something to eat."
"We will, but first I want to find a phone book. There should be pay phones around here somewhere…" Hermione gazed around, her eyes searching as she dragged Ron past a cue for fast food that he stared back at rather longingly, his stomach growling. "Over there, by the bathroom."
Sure enough, there was a small section off to the side of the bathrooms that contained about fifteen pay phones, all with phone books dangling from them. They made their way to one at the far end that wasn't currently occupied and Hermione grabbed up the book, flipping through it. "Wilkins…Wilkins… Here! Wilkins, Wendell and Monica. 412 Ashburrun Street. Here.." Hermione lifted a pen dangling from a chain and then glanced around for some paper. She dug into her pocket to extract her plane ticket and scribbled the address on the back. After making sure there weren't any other Wendell and Monica Wilkins in the book, she pocketed the ticket.
"Good. Now let's get something to eat and find that hotel you reserved a room in last night." Ron yawned and, seeing that Hermione looked a bit flustered, he reached down and took her hand. "C'mon 'mione. It's nearly eleven at night here. We can't search for them until the morning anyway, we might as well get some sleep."
"I know, I just… it's been about ten months since I've seen them."
"It'll be fine. Besides, you'll want to be well rested when you reverse the spell anyway." Hermione nodded and they left the phone area.
After grabbing something quick to eat from one of the many food places the airport had to offer, they made their way out of the airport and onto the street. Thankfully, Hermione had been able to call the airport for a suggestion of a hotel that wasn't too far away and they only had to walk a couple of blocks before it came into sight. Hermione checked them in using the single credit card she had taken from her mother's purse strictly for this purpose. She'd canceled all of their other ones after she'd placed the spell on them and taking a few new ones out in their new names. Before the spell, she'd spent time removing all traces of their real names from the house by transfiguring the things they needed to have in Australia (diplomas and proof of being dentists) and taking the ones they didn't with her and keeping them in a box in Ginny's closet at the Burrow.
"Ugh." Ron flopped down on the double bed and was out like a light within a few minutes. Hermione changed into her pajamas and climbed into bed as well, but just laid there. Her mind was teeming with problems that could arise when she finally found her parents. What if she wasn't able to reverse her own spell? Or what if she didn't get close enough to do so? Sure, she'd left them with their own personalities and tributes. There were only slight differences. Names. Their ambition to live in Australia. And of course, they had no memory of her, their only daughter, and by losing such, also no memory of the wizarding world. Surely they would have found a place to practice dental right? And maybe they'd still take their Sunday afternoon stroll through the nearest park. It was this last bit that she was counting on the most. If she couldn't get them at their home, then she and Ron would find the closest park and wait.
Finally, after two hours of worry, Hermione rolled over and buried her face against Ron's chest. It was warm and smelled of home. Even with all of the moving around they had done in the past ten months, this had been a constant. Well, aside from when Ron had been gone. But he'd come back. So whether they were at the Burrow, in a tent, at Hogwarts, or in an Australian hotel room, Ron smelt like Ron. It was him that was home, not any of those places. Ron and Harry both made anyplace what home was for her. It had taken her years to determine it, but she'd finally figured out that Ron smelt of chocolate, cinnamon, and fresh turned earth while Harry was wind, grass, and rain. That was home, where her best friends were. Her boyfriend and brother.
With her nose filled with familiarity and Ron's hand in her's, Hermione relaxed and let the world drift away for dreamland.
"Hermione. Hey, Hermione." Ron's voice woke her and Hermione sat up, her hair a mess, legs tangled up in the bed sheets. The ringing of the hotel room phone hadn't woken her. "I'd answer it, but I'm not so good with fellytones."
"It's just the wake up call." Hermione reached over and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Good morning Miss Granger. You requested a wake up call at nine thirty sharp."
"That is correct, thank you."
"Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No I think… no wait! We'll be needing a taxi?"
"Alright, I can call one for you. What time would you prefer for it to be here?"
"Um… ten thirtyish would be good."
"Very well, Miss Granger. Have a pleasant day."
"Thank you, you as well." Hermione hung up the phone. "Ok, so we have an hour to shower and eat breakfast before we have to check out and get to the taxi."
"Only an hour?" Ron stared at her and she laughed.
"There's free breakfast downstairs. You can go get us something while I shower?" Hermione asked, digging into her backpack to find clothes for the day.
"Sure." Ron nodded and Hermione handed him a room key. After showing him how it worked, she headed into the bathroom to get cleaned up. She spent a while brushing out her hair and pulling it back in a long plait before pulling on the lilac dress she'd worn to Bill and Fleur's wedding. It was floaty and pretty enough for a wedding, but casual enough to wear today. Besides, she wanted to look nice for her parents. She pulled on a pair of black flats and left the bathroom.
"Woah." Ron looked up from where he'd spread the desk with food. He'd managed to get two plates with eggs, bacon, and toast and a several cups. "You look great."
"Thanks." Hermione smiled and sat down on the edge of the bed closest the desk. "Why so many cups?"
"I wasn't sure if you wanted juice, coffee, or tea." Ron admitted, pushing three of the four cups towards her. "You used to like juice, but then you switched to coffee for a while, but lately you've been picking tea, but sometimes you still want one of the others." Hermione stared at him, surprised he'd paid attention to little things like that. Then she looked down at her plate and blinked again, raising her head to stare at him again. "What?"
"And you remembered exactly how I like my toast."
"Butter and blackberry jam." Ron said as he sat down in the desk chair. "Why always with the tone of surprise?"
"I just… It's not something most people expect to be remembered, that's all."
"Hermione, we've eaten together for seven years. I could tell you that right now Harry probably is finishing his bacon and breaking his yolks to dip his toast."
Hermione blinked again and then burst out laughing at the familiar image that filled her mind. "You're right, he does do that. Or Ginny's feeding it to him."
"An image I do not need." Ron groaned and finished his breakfast before heading into the bathroom for a shower. Hermione smiled and drank her tea.
At ten thirty, with their bags on their backs and checked out of the hotel, Hermione and Ron met the taxi out in front of the hotel. Hermione told the driver the address and off they went, anxiously holding onto one another's hands.
412 Ashburrun Street was in a small residential area just out of the main part of the city. A little blue house with a lot of greenery around it, Hermione smiled. A stone walkway and flowerbeds bursting with yellow daisies. This was definitely her parents' home. It looked like them.
Hermione and Ron got out of the taxi and Hermione paid the driver. "Well… here we are."
"Are you ready?" Ron asked, reaching down to take her hand. Hermione nodded and drew her wand from the pouch hanging on the sash of her dress, perfectly blended in. They pushed through the small wooden fence gate and made their way up the flower lined walkway to the front steps. Hermione gulped down her fear and rang the bell.
The door opened and a man with graying brown hair answered, his chocolate eyes the exact same size, shape, and color as his daughter's except he wore a pair of spectacles. "Ah, young people! Good morning, and what can I do for you?"
"Hi D-sir." Hermione smiled. "I'm looking for Monica?"
"Ah, yes. You'd be here for book club wouldn't you? I haven't seen many young people join, but then you can love knowledge at any age! Come in, come in. Monica's just watering out back. Should be in in a moment." Mr. Granger smiled and led them inside. Hermione sighed, looking around. Here were pieces of her childhood. Her parents' wedding photo. A bookcase stretching from floor to ceiling with a scratch in the side from the time she'd pushed a chair up against it too hard in her search for a book on the top shelf. Her father's old easy chair. And of course, her dad.
"Monica! Company for you!" Mr. Granger called out the back door after he had led them into the kitchen. "Can I get you some tea? Water?"
"Oh, no thank you." Hermione smiled, digging her fingernails into her palms to keep herself from rushing forward and hugging her father around the neck as she had always done.
"What did you say your names were?"
"This is Ron Weasley. And I'm Hermione Granger."
"Ah! Hermione! Hermione Hermione Hermione, fantastic name! One of my absolute favorites. It's probably one of the most unique names I've ever come across."
"If we had a daughter that'd probably be her name. Me, I would probably pick something more common. You know, less likely to cause spelling errors when learning to write and to lessen bullying. Were you ever picked on as a child?" Mr. Granger asked as she came into the house, a smudge of dirt on her cheek. Her hair was dirty blond, eyes of hazel, but Hermione had gotten her lips, nose, figure, and the curls and waves of her hair.
"A bit." Hermione smiled, biting her lip. "Actually, maybe I will have some tea, if you don't mind?"
"Of course!" Mr. Granger beamed and spun to get the pot.
"I'll get it." Mrs. Granger spun around as well, reaching for a cup. While their backs were turned, Hermione raised her wand and gripping Ron's hand very tightly, whispered.
Two jets of purple light shot out of her wand tip. One went into each of Hermione's parents and they froze, glowing silvery for a moment before returning to normal non-glowyness.
They paused a moment, as though having forgotten what they were about to do. And then the metal tea kettle hit the floor.
"Hermione." Mr. Granger spun around, his eyes wide and filling with tears. "My Hermione. Oh my precious, brilliant girl."
Hermione's whole body relaxed and she dropped her wand, bursting into tears as she shot forward into her father's outstretched arms.
"Hermione, oh how could I have forgotten my baby?" Mrs. Granger gasped, a hand to her mouth as she, too, started to cry. She rushed forward to embrace her daughter from the other side, stroking her hair. Hermione's arms found both of them, clinging to them tightly, her heart so happy to have them back that it ached.
"I modified your memories. I h-h-had to, to keep you safe from Voldemort." Hermione explained as they all began to calm down and moved to sit at the table. "I made you want to move here."
"How long has it been? We moved here last July, so… it's been…"
"Ten months." Hermione nodded.
"And you named me Wendell. After that silly old book we read no doubt. What was it called?"
"Wendell and the Willywhooppers." Hermione sniffled with a laugh. "And I named you Monica after your favorite author. And Wilkins was just a common old name."
"You… where have you been? Why didn't you come with us? Why didn't you just tell us?" Mrs. Granger asked, gripping her daughter's hand tightly.
"It's a long story." Ron spoke up, stepping forward and sitting down at the table. "Let's see… Harry needed help destroying Voldemort's horcruxes, which are basically objects with little bits of a person's soul in them. So we did a lot of camping and searching because unless all we got rid of all of the horcruxes, Voldemort wouldn't be able to die."
"But we did, and Harry killed Voldemort, so the war is over now."
"What? Horcruxes, souls? Harry, that buddy of yours, killed someone?"
"Well technically Harry just disarmed him and Voldemort's spell backfired on him, so he really just killed himself."
"I'm so confused."
"That's ok, Mum. We've got time." Hermione smiled and Ron grinned.
"So, this one is Ronald right?" Mrs. Granger smiled, changing the subject and looking from her daughter to the red headed boy she'd only met briefly at Diagon Alley nearly six years previously. She looked over her shoulder as though expecting someone else to appear. "Harry's not with you two? After all you've told us I would have assumed he'd come along as well."
"No. He's spending some well deserved time with Ginny." Hermione laughed reaching out to take Ron's hand without really thinking about it. It was becoming more and more natural to do in everyday life and not just when they were running from Death Eaters.
"Oh I see." Mrs. Granger's smile grew even wider and Mr. Granger looked from her to his daughter.
"What do you see?"
"I'll explain it to you later dear."
"Wait wait wait, you mean to tell me you've been camping, alone, with a pair of boys for ten months?" Mr. Granger asked as this conclusion seemed to suddenly occur to him.
"Er…yes. That's right." Hermione nodded, wincing. It wasn't as though they'd done anything along the lines of which her father was thinking.
"Well, did you at least remember your toothbrush?" Or maybe his mind was somewhere else completely. Hermione laughed, glad of the trust her parents put in her. They knew she was a good girl and that Harry and Ron were decent boys.
"Of course I did. And my floss and rinse. I'm overdue for a cleaning, but that was the least of our worries."
"Well then, we're wasting decay fighting time!" Mr. Granger shot out of his chair and dragged Hermione out of the room. "I've had my study equipped here, just like I did back home. S'better for business…"
"He's a bit of a dental extremist." Mrs. Granger laughed at the shocked look on Ron's face. "He'll probably do you next if he gets his way." She laughed even harder as Ron covered his mouth with both hands. Mrs. Granger rose from her chair and hugged him from behind, kissing his temple. "You'll just have to get used to it. More tea?"
"Dad, I swear if you check me one more time for cavities there you're going to start seeing things!"
"Hermione, I have not spent years, since your first tooth erupted, making sure this is the best set of teeth the world has ever seen."
Ron turned to look up at Mrs. Granger, eyes still wide. She laughed again and set his tea down in front of him. "I added some scotch to it for you. It'll help when he goes for your teeth. Welcome to the family."
Bahaha! I particularly loved writing Mr. Granger and giving both parents personality. I think this is probably my favorite chapter out of this story. Please let me know what you thought of it, I love hearing from you, the good or bad.