Written for the Joys of Arranged Marriages Challenge! Obviously, I'm no JKRowling. But I hope ya'll enjoy! A Huge shoutout for MrsBates93 for betaing this! You're a lifesaver!
Hermione Granger finished packing her things in her trunk. She took one last look at her bedroom, before going downstairs.
She was ready to get back to the magical world. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy spending time with her parents, it just wasn't safe. Voldemort had grown more powerful, and the Wizarding World now knew about him.
Being Harry's best friend, she needed to stay with the others. However, she worried for her parents constantly.
"Mum?" She called as she reached the bottom of the stairs.
Jean Granger came over, tears in her eyes. She wrapped her arms around her daughter. Hermione felt the tears form in her eyes as well. She did her best to keep them at bay…. She needed to be strong.
"Oh Hermione, I wish you could spend more time with us," Jean said, between sniffles.
Hermione hugged her mother tightly. "You know I wish I could too. It's just easier this way, and safer, for all of us."
"You don't have to go back, you know. We could go to America, start a new life there…" her mother trailed off.
Hermione closed her eyes and let out a small sigh. They had had this conversation millions of times before, every time something bad happened. Her parents just didn't seem to understand that Hermione just couldn't up and leave. The magical world was her home; she had friends and family there that she just couldn't abandon. Hermione was a fighter.
"Mum, you know I can't just leave. They need me, just as much as I need them," she explained gently.
Jean smiled sadly. She knew Hermione wouldn't be swayed, but she had to try. She couldn't stand her little girl being so involved with a war. Child soldiers… it just wasn't right. But she put on a brave face, because she needed to be strong for Hermione.
"I know sweetheart, and we're so proud of you." Jean leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Hermione's forehead. "Come on, your father is in the living room."
Hermione walked forward, seeing her dad sitting on the couch awkwardly. She smiled, knowing he was never good at goodbyes.
"Hey Dad," she said softly, taking a seat next to him on the couch.
"Hey pumpkin," he said, not looking up from his paper.
Hermione closed her eyes. This was always the hardest part. She hated saying goodbye to them, but Dumbledore was going to be here soon, and she wanted to have enough time to say what she needed too.
"Dad, you know I love you a lot, right?" Hermione said, her voice cracking.
David turned to face his daughter. "I know dear, and I love you a lot too…." he paused, taking in a deep breath. "I just don't like you leaving us. It just doesn't feel right to me."
"I know, but I have to go. I know you don't understand, but I just have too. It's in my blood Dad, I just can't turn my back on the Wizarding World."
"But you belong in our world too," her father said softly.
"I don't," she replied, knowing her parents didn't want to hear that. "I finally belong somewhere, where I fit in! I don't want to lose that… it'd be like losing myself."
David pulled his daughter in for a hug. "I just want you to be safe," he said.
"I know, and I will be!" She said, giving him a smile. "Please don't worry too much, everything will be fine."
Just then, the doorbell rang. Hermione knew it was Dumbledore. Walking over she opened it, keeping her wand at the ready just in case.
On the other side were Dumbledore, Arthur, Tonks, and Kingsley.
She stepped aside to let them in. Hermione was surprised that so many were here.
Dumbledore smiled, motioning for David and Jean to sit down.
Tonks winked at Hermione, who smiled back. She had always liked the older woman.
"Mr and Mrs Granger, I wish we could stay longer, but we're actually on a tight schedule. Just so you're aware, there will be Aurors stationed around your house to make sure you're protected. Hermione will be safe, as one of us will almost always be with her," Dumbledore said calmly.
Hermione could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. She always hated this part.
She hugged both her parents, telling them she loved them and promised to write.
"Be careful dear," her mother warned, giving her an extra tight hug.
"Do your best in school," her father said, kissing her on the top of her head.
Tonks shrunk her trunk, putting it in her back pocket.
With a final wave to her parents, she stepped out into the cold night. Hermione turned to Arthur. "Why are there so many of you here?"
Arthur turned red, scratching the back of his neck. "There's actually something we need to tell you."
Hermione felt her stomach turn to lead. Something didn't feel right. "What?" She asked worriedly, "what's wrong?"
Kingsley came over and put his hand on her shoulder. "It isn't safe to talk about it in the open. We'll tell you once we're back at Hogwarts."
"Hogwarts?" She asked, turning to Dumbledore. "I thought I was going to stay at The Burrow."
Dumbledore shook his head, the small twinkle in his eye gone. "No, but as Kingsley stated, we'll talk about it once we've reached the grounds."
Tonks grabbed Hermione's hand, disapparating with a small pop.
Once they landed, Hermione fell to the ground. She closed her eyes, wishing her head would stop spinning. She felt as if she had been squeezed through a small tub!
"Oh, Hermione, was that your first time?" Tonks asked worriedly, helping Hermione to stand.
She groaned, "Yes." Looking around, she saw they were near the Hogwarts gate. Dumbledore was lowering the wards so they could pass through. "Did we just apparate here?"
Tonks nodded. "Don't worry, the nausea will pass soon. Come on, we can head up to Dumbledore's office now."
Hermione stayed close to Tonks, not liking the looks she kept receiving from the others. Arthur looked like he was going to cry, while Kingsley kept sending her looks of pity.
"Tonks, I'm frightened," she whispered, grabbing Tonks' arm.
"Everything will be okay, even if you don't think so," she said.
Hermione gulped, and the group continued their way up to the castle.