Summary: "The words, 'You are the brightest witch of your age,' bit Hermione in that moment. Her perfected spell casting did not fail. Her parent's eyes showed only surprise and greeting, not an ounce of recognition." Sequel to "A Father's Intuition" but can also stand alone.
Author's Note: I was always curious about how Hermione's parents would react after they got their memories back. From that question came "A Father's Intuition". This story picks up exactly where the previous one left off, but now we have Hermione's point of view. For this story, I wondered how Hermione's parents would react after getting their memories back.
Thank you to my beta Johnathan!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, but it's still a fun place to live.
Her time had run out.
Hermione had used the last several weeks as a hidden respite from the war. She spent every minute possible with her parents, trying to make new memories with them and for them. Things to eventually remember her by after the charm was removed. Things to convince Hermione that the charm was necessary to protect their lives.
And if she was surrounded by her parent's warmth, perhaps she could absorb and carry that love with her after she left.
Hermione only prepared for her future travels at night after her parents fell asleep. During the day she forced herself away from the books and the nightmarish thoughts by traveling through the city and countryside. Unknowingly marking resting sites for the next year.
But now she knew that such days were over.
Her father was a very clever man who believed he knew his daughter well. Over the years she had seen the questions building behind his eyes, which were an identical chocolate brown to her own.
At first those questions were easily dismissed with a few words and a smile.
Eventually, no amount of words could distract him from the puzzle he studied.
This summer, that confusion had changed to accusation.
Tonight the accusation evolved into demand.
Hermione sat in her bed all night making two lists in her mind. The first list held the evidence of her plan's necessity. The other was meant for reasons to tell them the truth, but she could only think of one—so they wouldn't hate her later.
Her parents woke early every morning to watch the sun rise from their porch with a cup of tea in hand. Today she rose with them.
She crept out of her room and stood behind them. They sat on the swing holding hands.
She formed a mantra that was silently repeated over and over again: "To keep them safe. To keep us all safe."
Hermione's eyes were so filled with tears that her parents became blurred outlines. And still she did not attempt to wipe them away. She chose to feel every ounce of pain from this moment.
Hermione ordered her arm to raise her wand.
Her parents remained still, wordlessly watching the sunrise. Hermione wished she could hear their voices one last time.
Hermione pointed her wand. Her parents conveniently brought their heads together, a final favor.
Hermione opened her mouth but no sound formed. She licked her lips.
To keep them safe. To keep us all safe.
She mouthed, "I'm sorry."
After a whispered word and a delicate wand movement the task was done. In less then a minute, Hermione's existence had been erased from her parent's minds.
She hastily retreated from her childhood home, tears still flowing.
Three weeks had passed since Harry killed Voldemort. Since the handful of celebrations and the many days of grief.
Two weeks since the last funeral. Since the last time she'd said a final goodbye.
One week since she'd been able to hold back hot tears during the day for a silent release into her pillow at night.
And now she was standing on a seemingly ordinary street in Sydney, Australia. At the end of this street was a house rented by Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins. She could see them sitting on their porch, a tradition that wasn't lost. They were chatting and laughing; they were happy. If she didn't talk to them—didn't reverse the spell—then her parents could stay happy and never be angry with her.
She did the math in her head one last time for how little she had seen her parents in the past seven years. Parts of summers and two winter holidays were spent as a "family". That couldn't add up to be more than two years.
But then Hermione wasn't sure the word "family" really applied to them anymore.
The two men Kingsley assigned to reverse her spell walked slightly ahead of her. Hermione was in such a daze that she couldn't remember either of their names.
Her mind ran in a continuous loop. Each step that brought her closer to the Wilkins' home magnified her thoughts:
How could she possibly explain to them why she had done this?
How could they ever truly understand what her life had been like these past seven years or the danger that she had faced willingly?
How could they understand the cruelty of a wizard's war led by Voldemort when they had barely even heard his name?
And even if they could come to understand all of this, how could they ever forgive her for the lies, let alone altering their memories and completely changing their lives?
"We're here." A foreign voice mercifully broke her concentration.
In the seconds before the wizards introduced themselves to her parents, Hermione regretted coming alone. Harry, Ron, and Ginny all argued to come with her, but Hermione knew that coming alone would be best for her parents. If their memories returned in tact, she did not think that seeing the two wizards she fought alongside would help her parents come to terms with the truth, especially if said wizards insisted on defending Hermione.
"Excuse me," another new voice said, "Are you Wendell and Monica Wilkins?"
Her parents rose from their chairs. She saw how their skin had darkened over the past year from the Australian sun.
Hermione vaguely understood that the men were introducing themselves and her to the happy couple, but she heard no sounds. Hermione's world was reduced to her parent's eyes as they first glimpsed her face.
The words, "You are the brightest witch of your age," bit Hermione in that moment. Her perfected spell casting did not fail. Her parent's eyes showed only surprise and greeting, not an ounce of recognition.
Hermione followed the group into the house, unable to say or do anything to improve the situation. She helplessly waited for the answers.
Explanations were cut short as the wizards completed their task. A few more words, wands raised, a flash of light. Recognition returned to their eyes.
Her mother gasped and cried.
Her father slowly met her eyes. His soft words pierced her, an emotional agony worse than the Cruciatus: "Hermione, what have you done?"
She couldn't tear herself from him, even as her mother spoke.
"What are you talking—You can't possibly mean—" She turned to her only child. "You did this to us?"
Hermione's heart collapsed. "Yes," her voice breaking.
Hermione tried to explain the parts of her life that she had so carefully hidden away for the past seven years.
From the very first fight with a troll to being petrified by a huge snake.
From werewolves to Death Eaters to dragons to Voldemort himself.
Hermione had imagined this conversation hundreds of times. And yet she moved through the words slowly, each small story adding weight rather than relieving her.
Drs. Granger patiently listened; her mother's mouth hanging slightly open, her father staring at a photo on the mantle that now showed their family with a six-year-old Hermione.
"You lied to us," her mother found her voice. "You've lied to us for years, since you started at that school."
"I had no choice." Hermione glanced at her father.
"There's always a choice," her mother yelled. "You chose to lie just like you chose to fight in a war since you were eleven years old—hardly old enough to make such a decision."
"I had to do what I could to help in the fight. And I had to keep you and everyone else safe," Hermione half-heartedly explained.
"Whether you were right or not, you gave us no choice in anything. And you did so while hardly speaking to us," her mother's voice pricked her face. Her father continued staring at the photographs.
"I'm sorry that it had to be this way, but I don't regret any of my decisions. I helped defeat the most powerful evil wizard of all time and if I had chosen differently he might still be terrorizing people."
Her father spoke, cutting off any further arguments. He asked the two wizards, "How can we get in contact with you if we decide to return to Britain?"
"If?" Her breath caught after the word.
Her father's eyes connected with hers. No glares or tears waited for her. Only a sense of disappointment follow quickly by detachment—a faint glaze came over his eyes as they unfocused.
"Hermione, did you think that we could just pack everything, move back to England and pick up where we left off? That this was a year-long vacation for us?" The pitch of her mother's voice increased with each sentence.
"We sold our practice, Hermione. We sold our house. As we happily planned our new life, friends asked us about you: 'What about Hermione? I suppose since she's in a boarding school you can move away.' We were confused and shrugged off mention of this mysterious girl that we didn't know."
Her father placed a firm hand on her mother's shoulder, staying the flow.
"We need time," the baritone voice that once read stories froze Hermione. "We will contact you when we're ready."
Hermione spent the following days merely existing at the Burrow. She heard without listening, watched without seeing, talked without speaking. The knots in her stomach never loosened.
In the weeks after the meeting, she returned to her friends. Smiles and laughter became normal again for everyone. But still, Hermione found herself staring at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, watching their interaction with each other and their children. She couldn't help but compare their family to her broken home.
She spent that summer working at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes for extra money before attending Hogwarts that fall for her final year. She finished her final year with Ron and Harry, though Ron desperately tried to convince her that the honorary degree was a better choice.
95 days after the meeting with her parents, a letter arrived as Hermione researched a Potions essay.
Simply written in her father's familiar scrawl was:
Your mother and I have decided you should know that we will continue our lives in Australia. It is easier to move forward in this life than to reclaim our past in Britain.
A wizard village nearby has an owl service that we will use when we want to contact you again.
She tried to tell herself that something was better than nothing, and for a little while this worked.
She kept the letter gently tucked into a family album and placed, covered with robes, at the bottom of her trunk.
Two hundred and ninety-eight days after her trip to Australia, Hermione sent her parents an invitation to the Hogwarts graduation ceremony. With low expectations and only a thread of hope in her heart, she enclosed a note:
Just in case.
Three hundred and forty-two days after she last saw her parents, Hermione straightened a new set of maroon dress robes around her shoulders.
Hermione followed Ginny down the steps to meet their boys for a final walk as students through the familiar halls. Joining her friends on the grass in front of the school, she never bothered to look into the audience.
Seemingly from a distance, she heard Dean remark how strange it was not to have Dumbledore there, and she silently agreed—another missed face that should be in proud attendance.
She noticed a tickling in her ear and tried to brush the fallen hair away; her hand connected with Ron's face instead.
"Hey!" Ron rubbed his nose.
"Oh, sorry," Hermione said sheepishly. "Were you trying to tell me something?"
Ron kissed her cheek and in doing so, gently swiveled her head to the audience. "Look," he whispered, pointing to a nervous couple in the front row.
She gasped. Hermione's parents found her in the crowd of students. They smiled hesitantly and waved.
Hermione waved with one hand, and squeezed Ron's hand with the other. Tears glistened in her eyes. "They came," she said softly. "Even though they didn't have to. They came…because they wanted to be here," she reasoned.
"You are their only child," Ron reminded her. "And they've had more than enough time to move past everything that happened."
Walking across the stage that day, Hermione thought she even saw the flash of a muggle camera from her parents' direction.
After the applause and joyful yells quieted, and the people dispersed into the castle, Hermione found her parents standing before her.
"Congratulations," said her mother.
"Thank you," she shyly replied.
Her father stepped toward her. He paused for a moment before wrapping his arms around her. "We're very proud of you."
Hermione responded with a stifled sob and a tight grip on her father.
As they parted, Hermione linked arms with her parents. With smiles so big they could hardly speak, Hermione suggested, "Let's get some tea and then I can show you the castle."