Hermione Granger stared at herself in the full-length mirror of the bathroom in her flat. Here brown eyes were just as plane brown, but for the most part, Hermione felt as if she had grown into her old body. Her hair had become sleeker and less frazzled and now, with the help of a couple simple potions instead of shampoo, lay in loose ringlets around her face and shoulders. Her face, hollow after the war had filled out more now to show flushed cheeks that blushed easily, an average nose with a few freckles, and a well rounded mouth. Over all Hermione thought she wasn't a beauty by any means, but she was well enough.
She was going to miss this flat, but she had decided that there was no since in paying to keep it when she was needed elsewhere. Molly Weasley had practically begged Hermione to come and live at the burrow wither her, and Hermione had to admit that the small house was much calmer and to her liking without all the children in it, all in all it was a rather nice place to live. Fred was dead, George living in the flat over their shop, Bill with his wife Fleur, Charlie was in Romania, Harry and Ron had a flat near the Ministry's auror training head quarters, and Ginny was at Hogwarts for her final year. It had only been six months since the end of the wizarding war, and Hermione had spent the last four searching for what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
In fact Hermione had held six jobs in four months, she was the brightest witch of her age, and the brains of the Golden Trio, there was not a job out there that she could not have; the problem was there also wasn't a job out there that she wanted. She had started out going to auror training along with the boys as an attempt to be able to be with Ron, but she quickly discovered that she wanted nothing more to do with chasing dark wizards, nor did she enjoy the pomp and circumstance that followed her around while she trained. Harry seemed to be oblivious to it and focused heart and soul on his training, but Ron's showoffishness, and attraction to all the attention began to urk Hermione quickly, and their relationship crumbled to an empty void that their evasion of each other had yet to fill. Next she went to Hogwarts to take McGonagall up on her offer to teach there, and was not surprised when after almost six hours of sulking around the graveyard that her beloved school had become and several fits of tears upon finding the places where her loved ones where killed it was suggested to her that she might do well to find a different school to teach at. She was bored by her arithmacy work at Greengots, unhinged by the amount of blood gore and guts that came with being a healer, frustrated with the political games going on in wizarding law, and felt suffocated by corporate management.
Hermione was lost. She thought back to being on the run and shuddered at the terror and horror of it all, but some small part of her missed the simplicity of lying in the woods watching the stars and not having to worry about societal woes, or what odd photo of her the Daily Profit would come up with next. She missed having her friends there at night in their tent when she would be plagued by nightmares and awake to a friendly smile and reassuring words. She missed being around people who understood what she had been through on a first hand basis, and not as some sort of awe inspiring super hero tale that was to be passed from one person to another like a great joke. It wasn't a joke. It was real. She had almost died. They all had almost died.
Picking up the last of her things and sending them through the floo in front of her Hermione said a final goodbye to her flat before stepping into the green flames once again, pot of floo powder in her hands, and saying "The Burrow".
Once she was through she was mildly surprised to see her belongings had already been moved to her new room, and Mrs. Weasley standing there waiting with open arms.
"Hermione dear, welcome home." Mrs. Weasley said pulling her into an all-engulfing hug, "I'm so glad that you decided to stay with us Dear, we are so happy to have you."
"Well, I'm happy to be hear Mrs. Weasley, I…" Step thump… Step thump… Step thump Hermione froze midsentence listening to the awkward steps coming down the stairs to her right. In a flash she swiveled back erect wand pointed at the base of the stairs, a stunning spell tickling her lips simply waiting for the order to speak. Before Mrs. Weasley could say anything the man clunking his way down the stairs had reached the bottom step and looked Hermione squarely in the eyes as if just challenging her to do it.
Seeing who it was Hermione did not drop her wand. There was something about the man standing before her that was innately different. His long red hair was not pulled back into a well kempt tail at the nape of his neck, but hung lankly around his face and shoulders, his usually dancing blue eyes were mate and dull and he was hunched like a cripple. This was not the Charlie Weasley she knew.