Not mine. For Hayleigh, thanks for standing in the rain and telling Rupert how much I adore him.
Everyone sitting at the Burrow's kitchen table came to a complete halt. Not once in Ronald Weasley's life, had he ever heard his house that quiet. Carefully, he lowered his fork onto the table and watched as his father and brother Bill stood up, drawing their wands. He did the same, holding it under the table.
"It could be nothing," his mother whispered. "Kingsley could be-"
She was cut off by his father. "He's guarding the Prime Minister."
Ron looked around the table, meeting the anxious eyes of his sister, but stood to attention when a series of sharp knocks hit the door. The voice that followed sent him to his feet and made him tumble over Ginny's chair in an excited frenzy.
Hermione. Ron knew that voice anywhere.
He had nearly reached the door when Bill grabbed his arm and shook his head. "It could be a trap."
"Or it could really be her!" Ron argued, pulling his arm free.
"We can't know for sure!"
Ignoring his brother, Ron leaned into the door. "In our second year, what happened when you drank the Polyjuice Potion?"
He heard her sigh, then huff, and then she finally answered the question. "I turned into a cat, Ronald."
Smiling, he pulled the door open. "I still think it was a wicked tail that-" Once he saw her, really saw her, Ron's voice went flat. "Hermione? What… Are you okay? What happened?"
His mother and Ginny squeezed between him and the door frame to reach her, and once Hermione was wrapped in Molly Weasley's arms, she fell apart. Her entire body seemed to give out, leaving her a mess of tears on their front porch.
"I… I couldn't let them… for me." Each word was spoken around one of Hermione's sobs. "Wiped their… memories and… now… I'm alone. My parents…"
"Dear girl," Molly whispered. "Shh. It's okay now." His mother rocked her back and forth while Ginny simply rubbed soothing circles against her back.
Ron stood there, completely at a loss of what to do or say; until Hermione's tear streaked face looked up at him. "I didn't know where else to go."
On instinct, he leaned down and gently took a hold of her hand. "It's okay, Hermione."
She weakly nodded before his mother and Ginny had helped her up off the floor and led her upstairs to the bathroom. Ron however, sat on his knees in the doorway, watching as her feet disappeared between the wooden slats. Fleur followed after them.
"Poor girl," Molly Weasley muttered to herself. Ron watched as she moved around the kitchen, fixing a plate of food for Hermione to eat. He knew she wouldn't, but he also knew that there was no point in trying to talk his mother out of it. Taking care of people was what Molly Weasley did. That's who she was. She tossed a dish rag onto the counter before turning to her youngest son, a plate full of chicken and boiled potatoes in her hand. "Have your sister take this up to Hermione, Ron. She'll need to eat something before I give her the sleeping potion."
He took the plate but had no intention of asking Ginny to take it upstairs. With a fresh bottle of pumpkin juice and one of Fred's Chocolate Frogs, he headed up the wooded steps that led to his sister's bedroom. Ron knocked twice before Hermione told him to come inside.
"Mum said you should eat something."
As expected, Hermione turned down the food. "I'm not hungry."
She was sitting in the middle of a camp bed, methodically sorting a pile of books. Ron watched as she pulled one out of the largest stacks next to her. She then ran her hand down the front of its leather binding, opened to the first page, and then after shutting the book, sorted it into whatever pile she deemed appropriate. He silently watched as she went through six books, and then shook his head.
He didn't think she would; in fact he had been prepared to pull the books away from her. But with shaking hands, Hermione sat down the book. Staring at the floor, she whispered, "Tell me that I'll see them again, Ron. Tell me that… when all of this is over, when…he…is gone, that I will get my family back."
Leaving the food on his sister's bed, Ron knelt down in front of Hermione. He didn't hesitate to put his arms around her, to hug her against his chest, and tell her one of the biggest lies that he could.
"You'll see them again, Hermione." The truth was that he didn't know if she would ever see her parents again. He didn't know how any of this would end or if they would be able to survive what was coming. But what he did know was that the girl crying in his arms didn't care about the truth. She knew the risks, just as much as he did. What Hermione needed was a promise, something to hold on to and be a light in the darkness that was creeping towards them. He hugged her closer and whispered, "Together, when all of this is over, we will find them. I promise."
Two weeks after Voldemort was defeated
"What do I say to them?"
Ron gently squeezed Hermione's hand. "You say hello."
She smiled before looking back at the door in front of them. As soon as she did, the grin slid off of her face and was replaced with the same look of absolute doubt and worry that she'd been wearing for the past year. Ron leaned into her and kissed the top of her ear before whispering, "What are you so scared of?"
Her body curled into his, leaving her face pressed against his chest and her arms wrapped around his waist. "What if… I can't reverse it? What if I've really lost them forever, Ron?"
"You're the smartest witch I know, Hermione." He kissed the top of her head and then carefully pulled away from her. "You're also one of the bravest witches I know. Come on, I'll help. Alright?"
She hesitantly nodded and watched with weary eyes as he knocked on the front door. It opened, and before Hermione's father even had a chance to register the fact that two strangers were standing on his front steps, she'd silently cast the spell to reverse the memory charm. He blinked slowly, focusing first on Ron and then on his daughter.
Hermione's eyes, wide with worry and tears, watched as the recognition slowly returned to her father's features. He smiled, and then she smiled. He laughed, and then she laughed. And before long, the two of them were hugging each other while Hermione cried against her father's shoulders.
Later, after Mrs. Granger had been given her memory back, Hermione sat on her parent's sofa. She was sandwiched between both of them, trying to delicately explain what had happened since she'd left them at their house so many months ago. Ron sat across the room, silently giving Hermione the encouragement she needed to tell them the entire story.
When it was over, the room was quiet, and both of Hermione's parents tried to comprehend the enormity of what they'd just been told.
"You left us? And wiped our memories?" Her mother asked.
"You could have died?" Her father asked.
Again, she nodded.
"You nearly did… die?" Mrs. Granger whispered.
Hermione whispered, "Yes."
More silence. More tears. And then one more question, this time directed at Ron.
"You brought her back to us?" Mr. Granger asked him.
Ronald Weasley smiled and looked at Hermione, and then at her father. "No, I kept a promise."