I do not own Harry Potter or Hermione Granger. This one-shot contains content from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which belongs to J.K. Rowling.
I may not have the time to expand any of these vignettes into full stories, but I invite anyone else to give them a shot. So long as you credit me for the idea, any and all of these one-shots are officially up for adoption.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
"– are you sure you've thought this through?" Harry persisted.
"Let's see," said Hermione, slamming Travels with Trolls onto the discarded pile with a rather fierce look. "I've been packing for days, so we're ready to leave at a moment's notice, which for your information has included doing some pretty difficult magic, not to mention smuggling Mad-Eye's whole stock of Polyjuice Potion right under Ron's mum's nose.
"I've also modified my parents' memories so that they're convinced they're really called Wendell and Monica Wilkins, and that their life's ambition is to move to Australia, which they have now done. That's to make it more difficult for Voldemort to track them down and interrogate them about me – or you, because unfortunately, I've told them quite a bit about you.
"Assuming I survive our hunt for the Horcruxes, I'll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment. If I don't – well, I think I've cast a good enough charm to keep them safe and happy. Wendell and Monica Wilkins don't know that they've got a daughter, you see."
Hermione's eyes were swimming with tears. Ron put his arm around her, frowning at Harry as though reproaching him for lack of tact.
For once, Harry could not bring himself to care. "What did you just say? Wendell and Monica Wilkins? What did you do? What did you do?" His voice was rising in hysteria. "You erased your parents' lives, you erased your own existence from their minds, you gave them new names and new lives in Australia? Hermione, I cannot begin to tell you how wrong that is?"
She burst again into tears, and Ron turned on him angrily. "Shut up, Harry. Just shut up. Don't you see how hard it was for her?"
Harry repeated, "How hard it was for her? For her? Did you hear what she did to her parents? She gave them new personalities, and put them under a compulsion to move to a different hemisphere! You think she had it rough? How do you think her parents will feel? How do you imagine Lockhart's victims felt? I swear, Memory Charms should be classified with the Unforgiveables. You basically killed your parents and replaced them with different people!"
Hermione protested, her face red and tear-tracked. "No, you don't understand, it's just temporary, I'll reverse it later."
"Unless you die, in which case they'll stay this way forever." Harry finished angrily. "Of course, the fact you only temporary erased your parents' minds makes it all so much better. What is wrong with you? So you can fix it. At this point, Riddle considers even the Killing Curse a mere inconvenience. That doesn't make it all right!"
Harry tried to calm himself. "I don't believe you. You said they already left?"
Hermione sniffled, and even Ron looked conflicted. "Yes, to Australia. They left the same day I got here."
Harry looked at her. He was still appalled, but at least she appeared to be chastened. "Hermione, there's a famous quote by Ben Franklin. 'Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.' You took your parents' lives away from them. You stole their free will! "
"Tell me, do you imagine a Death Eater would be able to find your parents, if they couldn't rely on the address on file at the Ministry? They're purebloods! They wouldn't know the first thing about the Muggle world. So tell them to move, and problem solved. If you're really worried, ask them to move to another country. You didn't have to force them, and you didn't need to erase their minds in order to make it work."
Hermione was looking worse and worse as Harry went on. "Hermione, you weren't there when we confronted Lockhart. You didn't see, as we did, how incredibly powerful and corrupting memory charms can be. Now, there's nothing we can do, so let's pack. Once we're done hunting horcruxes, once Riddle is gone, then I'm going back with you to fix your parents. You're going to fix them, you're going to apologize, and you're going to swear on your magic to never do it again. You understand?"
A/N: Rowling has a tendency to treat various incredibly disruptive elements in her magical universe in a horrifying cavalier manner. Memory Charms are only the first on the list. You'd think that after making them the staple of the villain from the second book, Rowling would be a bit more careful in how she portrays them. But no! By the seventh book, there are Memory Charms flying all over the place.
I suppose this passage also points to the almost total disregard that Hermione (and by extension Rowling) has for the elder Grangers. I mean, seriously, we never even learn their names. They appear briefly at the beginning of "Chamber of Secrets," and the next thing we know they've been obliviated by their daughter and sent to Australia.
Personally, I think the Harry Potter books would have been much more interesting with the additional set of parents involved. For one, Arthur Weasley might have been able to actually live his dream and stay a few nights in the Muggle world. And that's not to mention the benefit of having a responsible pair of adults in Harry Potter's life.
Seriously. I challenge anyone to identify one adult close to Harry who hasn't done something mind-numbingly irresponsible at some point or other in the series.
A/N 2: Xavierp (id:2562535) makes a fantastic point in the reviews: "Bearing in mind Hermione was skilled enough at memory charms to erase her existence and 30 to 40 years of life from her parents, where on earth did she learn it and where did she practice it? Are there wizards walking around thinking they're muggles or are there lobotomised Hufflepuffs walking about?"
I'd never even considered that. It might explain why Hufflepuff has a reputation for being "duffers" - they've been cannon fodder for everyone else to practice memory charms! I'm torn between finding this hilarious or simply disturbing.