This story was written for the amazingly talented Devsgma for the 2011 round of the SSHG Gift Exchange. You can check out all the fics here (remove spaces): http:/ /sshg-exchange. livejournal. com/ I highly suggest you do so, as they are all amazing.
The original summary and story prompt are as follows:
Summary: Hermione Weasley's life was fine until she received two letters – both her marriage and her daughter were about to fail.
Original Prompt: #1 – EWE compliant, except of course that Severus is alive, where Hermione is married to Ron. Rose and Hugo may or may not be old enough to be at Hogwarts, but Hermione is unhappy. Somehow, up to the author here, Severus – in his own sarcastic manner – helps her come to grips with her unhappiness, again what is making her unhappy is up to the author, and find a solution. Romance between the two of them is not required, but an eventual friendship is. I would like to see the relationship develop and not be presented as a fact.
This story is complete in 14 chapters, and is a fluffy bit of fluff for the holidays. I hope you enjoy and as always, drop me a line with crit or squee. It's my muse's bread and butter. Oh, and I'll probably have it all posted before the New Year.
Hermione Weasley was average. Average height. Average weight. Average hair color. One husband, one house, one cat. Two kids, two brooms, two incomes. Average.
She hadn't always been average. Oh no. There was a time when the name Hermione meant extraordinary, but that was back when it was paired with Granger.
At thirty three years old, she sat and wondered if her prime had passed, even though she couldn't pin down exactly when that prime was. Was it when she helped the Ever Extraordinary Harry Potter defeat Voldemort?
She hadn't done that much, really.
Was it when she graduated with top honors, lauded as the smartest student of her age?
That was just books and cleverness.
How about the birth of her two precious, precocious, and perfect children?
Even she had to admit that as amazing as it was, it wasn't exactly extraordinary.
If she had her prime, she certainly hadn't done much with it, had she?
Hermione sighed as she set a bowl of food down for Crookshanks. The elderly cat still had a bit of spunk and would inform his mistress most unkindly if not fed in a timely manner.
Having that scratched off her mental to-do list, she pondered over her next action. The kids were gone, so the washing was caught up. Ron was gone, so the house was clean. She didn't even have a job to keep her occupied. This day was just turning out to be pathetic.
When Hermione had first graduated Hogwarts, her first action had been to restore the memories of her parents. It had taken months before she felt confident enough to attempt retrieving their memories but the result was a resounding success and her parents promptly sold everything and moved back to their previous neighborhood. Having only missed about two years, they were even able to regain some of their previous dental clientele and welcomed their daughter back into their life – after much explanation.
If Ron was a bit put out with her spending so much time helping her parents relocate, he was good about hiding it.
Shortly after her parents return, Ron proposed and Hermione could think of nothing to say but yes, certain that her life was unfolding exactly as she had planned.
And it did. Right?
Padding barefoot back into the kitchen, she tossed together a quick salad for dinner. Cooking for one was usually a simple affair, and as Ron was still involved with Quidditch, it was also often a common one.
Seating herself at the dining table, she asked herself, "When did I come to this?" When had the bright and ambitious girl become a stay at home wife and mother with no one home to wife or mother? Is this what she wanted now? She needed a life and it would be up to her to find it. She knew she couldn't expect Ron to come to her aid. He had gone out and made a name for himself just as Hermione had taken her name and left it behind. He was in his own world of up and downs and joys and obligations. Sometimes, she wondered if he remembered he even had a home and family.
Now, Ron was still the carefree, good natured bloke he always was. He still made Hermione laugh, still dragged her to him games. But sometimes she wondered if Confunding McLaggen hadn't been her biggest mistake. Without that, Ron may never have ended up where he was and her husband may actually be enjoying dinner by her side instead of on the pitch or out with the guys.
A twinge of guilt made itself known and Hermione regretted her thoughts. It wasn't right of her to wish to take away her husband's happiness for the sake of her own. Just because she had given up her job in spells research didn't mean she could begrudge Ron. They made more than enough with his income, their Ministry stipend from the war and the residuals on her spell patents. It was her choice to stay at home with the children.
Her children were her pride and joy. Red-headed Rose who spoke too much and to anyone reminded her parents of her dearly departed uncle. Hugo, a Gryffindor, with his close cropped brown hair and large brown eyes, was his mother's son, taking to books as his father hoped he would take to flying. But he was only a first year, so there was still some time for the boy to discover sports if he were so inclined. Rose, a fourth year, enjoyed flying as she enjoyed everything but had no inclination to try out for the team and it was just as well. Ron would probably have a hard time rooting for Hufflepuff.
With a sigh, Hermione waved her hand to start her dinner dishes washing and was puzzled when nothing happened. I must really be out of it. Taking her wand from her hair, she cast the spell before taking out a book to read for the evening.
The fire had died down by the time Hermione lifted her head again, roused by the sound of tapping on her window. It was the family owl, Archimedes, who must be bringing a letter from Ron. By the time she could shut the window, another owl flew in. This one looked like a Hogwarts owl, and Hermione grew excited thinking about a letter from one of the children. She hoped Hugo was fitting in alright with his classmates, and that Rose was enjoying her classes.
After each owl received a treat, the Hogwarts one flew away and Archimedes went to his perch. The fire was rekindled and Hermione sat back in her chair to savor the tidings of her family.
Dear Hermione, started the letter from Ron.
I want you to know that you mean the world to me. I will always treasure the moments we spent together, and I know we will have many more of those moments in the future as we raise our kids. But I don't think things are the same between us. I think we should separate.
Now, don't freak out yet. I don't think we should get a divorce yet but I think we should see how things are apart. It feels like that's how we live anyway. I'm always here, and you're always home. I've got plans and you've got the kids. I'm just not sure anymore if getting married was the right thing to do, and if it wasn't, I don't want to waste time doing the wrong thing.
I know this is kind of a shock. No one, especially me expected this to happen. I don't know how to explain myself but I know that this is right. I have seriously thought about this. But, what I'm most worried about is you. You were a huge part of my life and I know this isn't easy for you. Just know that this is right for me and that someday you will find someone amazing, and you will understand what I am trying to say. Please try and understand that there is no real explanation for this, but when it's right, its right.
I think it's best if we try to sort things out while the kids are at school, so they don't see what's going on. I still love you, Hermione, but I'm not sure if I'm in love with you, and I don't think you are with me either. We can talk more when I come by but I'm not sure when that will be. I've already rented a flat here by the pitch, but I'll have to come and get my things.
I wish us both the best.
The other letter sat ignore while Hermione stared at the one in her hands.
She should be furious. She should be devastated. She should be worrying about the children and what Molly would think and how her parents would take it. She should be weeping, and cursing, and throwing his belonging out the nearest window.
But what she was calm. At peace. Serene. The only shock she felt was that it was Ron who realized the truth before she acknowledged it herself.
Had they really wasted all those years together?
No. Not wasted. They grew, as individuals if not as a couple. They were raising two wonderful kids. It wasn't wasted but it was, perhaps, wrong.
Perhaps you are right. I admit I've been feeling restless and sedate. Don't worry about coming by. I promise not to hex you on sight or Incendio your things. But I do think we should say something to Rose and Hugo. They may be away but they will still know something is going on and I would hate for them to hear about it from someone else, or worse, the Prophet.
Somewhere, we've both lost our way. Perhaps we'll find our way back to each other. Perhaps not. It hurts me to think that you might be right. That we may be at an impasse. We'll see where our paths lead.
The fire had died low again before the second letter was remembered. Hermione thought about putting it off until morning, knowing that while the children needed to be told, it wasn't going to be tonight. There needed to be a firmer grasp on the situation first. But thinking reading the tales of Rose or Hugo would put her mind at ease enough for bed, she picked up the letter.
Her brow furrowed at the unfamiliar wax seal. Green? A serpent? Who could possibly writing her from Slytherin?
Oh, my God. Did Hugo actually get sorted into the wrong house?
Hermione felt a sharp intake of breath. She knew that writing. And without anymore prompt, suddenly the letter was being read to her in a deep bass voice overlaid thick with a sneer.
I feel obligated to inform you that your eldest child is failing my course after twelve weeks into term. I suggest remedial tutoring or promptly removing her from my presence before she brings down the intellectual integrity of the class.
At this short missive, Hermione suddenly felt all the anger, hurt, and frustration she thought she should have felt with the first. Someone just attacked one of her babies.
Oh no, he didn't.