A/N: Dedicated to all of my fabulous YouTuber's … my fan's I love you! I don't own anything you recognize … sadly that is all Jo Rowling's. Drink up me hearties … yo ho!
It all started when Hermione returned home following the fall of Voldemort. After recovering from the initial shock of discovering Harry had been alive and Voldemort truly gone, she returned to Australia to eventually find her parents and was successfully able to reverse the memory charm. To say her parents were upset would be putting it mildly. To think their own daughter put herself at such great personal risk and completely changed their lives without even consulting them! It only got worse from there.
"Mum, I have explained it a thousand times and there is to be no more discussion. I am of age and this is what I REALLY want. After years of stress, please just allow me this bit of normalcy. To do something for me for a change instead of what everyone else wants or needs. I gave up over a year of my life to chase bloody horcruxes - parts of someone's soul for crying out loud[a]!"
Hermione stared into her mother's familiar brown eyes not unlike her own. She was once again discussing her future with her mother. She loved her parents dearly, but there seemed to be a permanent rift there now. Her mother turned around from the kitchen counter.
" I know that you are an adult, but honey, why would you ever want to return to that dreadful place? Really, I would think you had enough for a lifetime!" Olivia Granger had now completely abandoned her chopping and prepping of dinner. She was staring at Hermione with some pain in her eyes and face.
"I … I can't explain it. Even with all that I have been through, I can't abandon the magical world or Hogwarts. I am a witch, Mum, through and through. And Hogwarts, well it's my home." Her mother lowered her gaze at the last phrase, "it's my home". She knew there had been problems, but honestly she thought that maybe time would heal her relationship with her daughter. Hermione saw the pain in her mother's eyes and said "Mum, it's not that here with you and Dad isn't my home, it always will be, but Hogwarts was my second home from the time I was 11. I met my second family there. I matured there. I became a young woman there." Her mother looked up at her and sighed.
"You are right honey. I know how important this place is to you... Hogwarts I mean. After all, you would have never have met Harry, Ginny, Luna, and... what was that other boy's name? Oh yes, Neville. And well, how can I forget Ronald! How is he by the way?" Hermione blushed. She had hoped that her mother would have somehow conveniently left him out.
"He is doing well. I received another owl from him just yesterday. He asked me again if I wished to come stay with him. I promptly told him no, again." Hermione's relationship with Ron had been strained lately. He was living with Harry while they completed their Auror training and somehow she felt it would be, well awkward at best to live with them both and she couldn't well ask him to move out anyway. Ginny and Harry were still dating and going strong, but with Harry deep into Auror training and Ginny busy with the Holyhead Harpies, they decided that for now it was best to live apart and focus on their careers. Since they had decided that, Ron happily moved in with Harry and the rest was history. Olivia brought Hermione away from her thoughts
"Well did he mention you returning again? Is he still against you going back to Hogwarts?" Going back to Hogwarts, what beautiful words. She was very much looking forward to returning for her N.E.W.T.s, to burying herself amongst her books and just being content with knowledge.
"Yes, unfortunately. He thinks it's completely daft but I just told him that my mind was made up. Harry feels the same way, but he at least has the courtesy to keep it to himself! Ron has been a real pain in the arse." Her mother chuckled.
"Well just be glad you have a guy that is so crazy about you! When I was your age, I hadn't met your father yet and let's just say the dating pool was a little dry." Hermione chuckled at her Mother's comments. She was her Mother's daughter completely. If she weren't with Ron, she simply imagined she would be all alone with her thoughts, and somehow that suited her just fine.
"I am going to finish packing my bags, Mum. I leave tomorrow at 1 in the afternoon. Will you see me off?" Her mother grabbed her into a big hug and said,
"Of course! As unhappy as I am you are leaving us again, I can't imagine not supporting my baby. Shall we have lunch at the small café down the street before you go? For old times' sake?" Hermione nodded.
"For old times' sake".
The next day Hermione and her Mother and Father set off to the adorable little café down the street from the Leaky Cauldron. Caffe' Vergnano 1882 had the best espresso in all of London as far as Hermione was concerned. She often looked forward to her trips to the Leaky Cauldron just for the coffee since she otherwise didn't have a reason to visit Charing Cross Road.
"Are you nervous at all sweetheart?" Charles Granger set his cup down as he reached for Hermione's hand from across the table
"No, not really" She said rather quickly. Her father gave her a knowing look. "Well actually if I am completely honest … yes. I am not as nervous about completing my N.E.W.T.s as I am just returning to Hogwarts. I am afraid I will feel like an outsider." Hermione said. She had been contemplating this quite a lot recently and she had finally decided that no matter what, she would finish.
"Oh sweetheart it's only natural to be a bit nervous," her Mother said. "You will do beautifully, no worries at all."
"Right, and if you fail you can always just come back home to ol' Mum and Dad" Charles said playfully. "It's not as if we would ever tire of you!"
"Really Dad, if you wanted to convince me to stay I would have thought you would have put more effort in." Hermione teasingly slapped her father's hand. Hermione's relationship with her parents had taken a turn for the better almost overnight. She suspected that her leaving had something to do with it. It's hard to be mad at someone if they are leaving you.
"Well, we best run along. I have a teeth cleaning appointment scheduled at 1:15 … the McCreavy twins heaven help me. Last time they were in, one bit through my glove and the other turned on the water spic and soaked half of the office!" Charles had a frown on his face and you could tell he was still harboring bad memories from the experience.
"Yes, I better run along as well. I need to stop into Flourish and Blotts before I apparate into Hogsmede. Professor McGonagall is supposed to meet me at Honeydukes. Apparently she has quite the sweet tooth just like Professor Dumbledore did." Hermione turned to her mother and father and gave them a death grip hug. She was scared and felt as if maybe she squeezed them tight enough, she would gain some courage. She wondered what people would think of Hermione Granger, best friend of The Boy Who Lived, duelest against Death Eaters, Woman On The Run, and someone deathly afraid of her future.
"Aww, love you sweetheart. Go get them!" Charles Granger gave his daughter a peck on the cheek and then stepped back to let her Mother have one last kiss too. Hermione turned around and headed for The Leaky Cauldron.
She stepped inside the familiar dark pub and felt some relief. Tom the Bartender had been dead for a few years, death eaters got him during the war, but she knew exactly who would be there to greet her.
"Hermione!" came a shriek from behind the bar. Hannah Longbottom (née Abbott) put down the cloth she had been using to wipe down the bar and came running around it. She wiped her hands on her apron as she gave Hermione a big hug.
"Hannah!" Hermione exclaimed as she threw her arms around her friend. "How are you? How is Neville?"
"Why don't you ask him yourself? He should be 'round any minute now. He forgot his copy of 1000 Herbs and Where to Find Them this morning as he was in a mad dash to get out the door. Can't very well teach without his book!" Hannah said
"Oh terrific! It will be great to see him again, it's been …."
"Too long!" came a voice from behind Hermione.
"Neville!" shrieked Hermione. She turned with a huge smile on her face to give Neville a big hug.
"How are you, Hermione? Getting on ok are you? How is everyone?"
"I am good … really good now that I get to see the two of you actually!" Hermione smiled. "I am just getting ready to head to Flourish and Blotts before I pop over to see Professor McGonagall. She wanted to meet with me before the term starts tomorrow."
"Oh brilliant! Well I can escort you there, Madam" Neville said taking a step back and waving his arm in front of him while bowing. Hermione chuckled; Neville hadn't lost his new found courage since the war.
"Well I will see you two!" Hannah gave Neville a quick peck on the lips. Hermione blushed at that slightly intimate moment. She was so happy Neville had found someone, he really did deserve it. "Good luck Hermione! I can't believe you are being so brave going back to complete your N.E.W.T.s and all. To think, I barely made it past my O.W.L.'s! I still can't believe I needed a calming draught just to take them!" She laughed as she headed back behind the bar to wave to the two of them.
"Be home later darling. Don't wait up, I have some things to tie up before tomorrow." Neville turned and led Hermione outside of the Leaky Cauldron.
Author's Note: This is my first ever fan fiction so please be kind ;) I am going to try and stick to cannon as close as possible … if anything changes I will tell you ahead of time. Fun fact: The Café Hermione likes to visit … it's real AND it's on the real Charing Cross Road! Also, Hannah Abbott really did have to take a calming draught according to HP Wiki ;)