To Lands Down Under
Wendell Wilkins sat down at the dinner table with a sigh of contentment. For hours now, the smells his wife Monica had produced in the kitchen had been driving him batty. She'd twice teased him by coming into the study to inform him that Sunday dinner would be ready in "another ten minutes or so". Now at last she'd put the roast on the table,
"Monica, this looks superb," he praised, catching his wife's hand and kissing it.
"Thank you, Wendell. I was just in the mood to cook all of a sudden."
"You do it so well. May I start?"
"Without saying grace?"
Wendell closed his eyes and turned his thoughts towards Heaven - a difficult task considering the smells assailing his nose.
"Heavenly Father, we offer thanks for your generous bounty. We ask you to bless this food and the hands that prepared it. Amen."
"Amen. Dig in."
Wendell loaded his plate and began to eat. Everything tasted even better than it smelled. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he moaned with sheer delight.
"Enjoying it much?"
"What gives you that idea?"
He stuffed another forkful into his mouth.
"How did I ever get to be such a lucky man? I've got everything I could ever want."
Monica's smile slipped a bit. "Almost everything."
Despite years of trying, they'd never managed to conceive children. The doctors had no good explanation. They just said to keep trying.
"I'm sorry, my sweet. I didn't mean to ruin the mood."
"I know, Wendell. It's just been on my mind all day. I'm not getting any younger, you know."
"Could have fooled me. You don't look a day older than the day I married you."
"You're a bally liar," she said affectionately. "I just got to thinking of all the things we wanted to do that we've never done for one reason or another. Vacations, for instance. We've always wanted to travel and see more of the world than this island."
"Time," he said. "It's always the issue. Money."
"I'm about ready to stop caring about the time. Our retirement accounts are flush. We've got plenty of pounds in the bank. Who are we going to spend it on if not ourselves? Let's do something nutty."
"Like what? Move to Australia?"
Monicas eyes lit up. "That's brilliant. I've always wanted to go."
"So have I," he admitted. "There's just something about the place, you know?"
"So let's ring up Agnes down at the travel agency first thing in the morning. I'm dreaming about sunshine and surf."
Her enthusiasm was infectious, and Wendell suddenly didn't care about his office job.
"You know what? Why not? What do we have holding us here? I'm sure I can find work down there.
The Aussies have government agencies too."
"I'll look for the passports after dinner."
Giddy with their sudden decision, the dinner conversation consisted of how rapidly they could get out of England. Wendell wouldn't go in to work on Monday. He'd call up and quit. They'd get one-way tickets and stay in a reasonable hotel until they found a place suitable to let. They'd find jobs and apply for Australian citizenship.
Too excited to eat properly, they hurried upstairs and pulled the luggage out of storage.
"We'll need to do the washing," Monica said, her voice echoing strangely from the closet. "I'm going to need a new bikini."
"What's wrong with your old one?"
"Good enough for me. Do I get to help you pick one out?"
Every bit of clothing was sorted through that evening and placed into one of several piles. First was clothes that simply no longer fit. Those were bagged for delivery to the thrift store. Second was winter clothing which they would not need for the upcoming season. It was summer in Australia at the moment. Third and smallest was raiment suitable for their trip.
While Wendell sifted through their mountain of clothes, Monica dug into the safe and pulled out the passports. They'd had the things forever and yet there were only a handful of stamps in them from brief weekend trips to the continent over the years. She felt a brief twinge of sadness at all the wasted years, but it was swept away by the excitement of actually doing something at long last.
After several hours of work, Monica was tired, but she was too wound up to sleep. She reached out to her husband and held him close. He wrapped his arms around her. She inhaled the scent that was uniquely Wendell, a combination of his soap and aftershave, and she knew true contentment.
"Let's try again," she whispered, not daring to say it too loudly for fear of jinxing the process.
His arms squeezed her tight. She kissed him deeply, not breaking even when he gently picked her up and placed her on their bed.
Under the protection of a Disillusionment Charm and behind the security of a Mufflatio Charm,
Hermione Granger stood and watched her parents prepare for their new lives. Every action brought new tears to her eyes. It was for their own safety. She'd talked herself into this course of action days ago, but it was still hard to watch as they set out on a lifepath that didn't include even memories of her.
She knew that she should go. Ron was waiting for her at the Burrow, but this might be the last time she ever saw them, and she couldn't bear to leave a moment sooner than necessary.
Australia was far enough away that they'd be safe. No Death Eater would be able to track them. It was simply too much effort just to strike at her. More likely, they'd attack her in order to hurt Harry.
Hermione ran her fingers across the smooth shaft of vinewood and dragon heartstring that had been her constant companion for the past six years.
I just hope I'm ready my journey, she thought.