I love this story so much. (Is that egotistical of me to say that?)

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Ron opened his eyes. He couldn't see anything but a vast expanse of blackness outside the tiny window. The stale, dry, recycled air made his nostrils burn. He forced himself to yawn, hoping to make his ears pop as Hermione had taught him. This altitude was so infinitely higher than he had ever flown before. It hadn't been entirely as unpleasant as he expected it to be, but he still wasn't comfortable in the belly of the giant Muggle bird.

That's what he always called aeroplanes when he was a child. Fred and George once told him there was a nest of them in a thicket of tall grass in the backyard. Ron, a very gullible six year old, thrilled at the idea of little tiny planes popping out of eggs. It turned out of course, to be another of his brothers' practical jokes. When Ron poked his head into the grass, he'd gotten sprayed full-blast in the face by a skunk. He'd never seen his mum so angry. She used all manner of creative curse words, many of which Ron didn't understand. The twins were punished for months.

He felt Hermione stirring next to him; her head was resting on his shoulder. He looked down at her and smiled, she looked like a sleeping angel.

"Where are we?" she asked sleepily.

"Nearly there, I reckon." He said, checking his watch. She cooed and nuzzled into him while he took her hand and kissed it. Her fingers were still stained with ink from her NEWTs and she had chewed her fingernails down to the nub. She'd made top marks of course, but that didn't stop her from suffering a near nervous breakdown.

Ron's chest swelled with pride as he watched Hermione accept her diploma from Professor McGonagall. Graduation had been a somewhat somber occasion. Crowds of families gathered in the Great Hall waiting for the procession of Hogwarts graduates. Any other year it would have been buzzing with excitement but family members were all consumed by the memorial wall. Portraits of Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape stood sentinel over a bronze plaque bearing the names of all those who perished in the Battle of Hogwarts. Family members laid flowers and mementos, took rubbings of their loved ones' names and cried in each others arms.

Ron found Fred's name first, pointing it out to his Mum and Dad. Molly clutched her throat, choking back sobs for her beloved son. George's eyes welled up but he straightened his back and held his head high; he was infinitely proud of his twin and had resolved to live for the both of them. Ron was working for George part-time as he trained to become an Auror. Sometimes late at night, Ron lay in the spare bedroom above the shop and could hear George weeping in his sleep for Fred and the mischief they'd never make together.

Ron felt sick to his stomach when he saw Lavender Brown's name. He didn't know until a few weeks after the Battle that she had been killed; ripped to pieces by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback. Lavender had been Ron's first kiss, his only other girlfriend. A very sweet girl, his heart broke for her family. His sadness turned to shame when he found himself happy it was Lavender and not Hermione. He would never have gotten over losing her. Shudders shot down his spine as he wiped the thought from his mind. The significance of his newborn niece's name didn't occur to him until that day. Bill and Fleur welcomed the truly beautiful baby girl on the one-year anniversary of the Battle. They had named her Victoire; in honor of all the lives lost; she was their personal victory.

As Harry approached the plaque, Professor Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled above his half-moon spectacles in his portrait. "Ah, Harry." He said. "None who were lost have died in vain. Do not cry for us." Harry returned Dumbledore's smile fighting the urge to wipe a tear away. Professor Snape's expression was inscrutable. His cold eyes looked at Harry just as they had in life.

"Well done, Mr. Potter." Snape managed. "You did her proud. Both of them, I'm sure of it."

After the ceremony concluded, Hermione took Ron's hand and pulled him towards the familiar staircase leading to the Gryffindor Common Room. Ron couldn't help but feel nostalgic when Hermione gave the portrait of The Fat Lady the password for the final time. He hadn't been in the Common Room in ages, but it still looked and smelled the same as he remembered, down to the taxidermied armadillo in the corner. Hermione walked towards the stairs leading to the girl's dormitory and out of habit, Ron stood with his hands in his pockets, intending to wait for her. She turned and gave him a flirty look.

"Aren't you coming?"

"Up there? But I c-can't go up there..." He stuttered.

"Sure you can. You're of age; the blocking charm only keeps boys out when they've still got The Trace on them." She said, amused. "You never will read Hogwarts: A History, will you?"

Needing no further encouragement to enter the previously forbidden Girls' Dorm, Ron followed Hermione up the stairs. He noticed straightaway that the furnishings were identical to the Boys' Dorm: each four-poster bed had the same curtains in Gryffindor red and gold. Hermione unzipped her school robe and kicked off her shoes. She crawled up on her bed and Ron perched himself on the end of it. As she crawled, Ron caught a view of her upper thigh when her skirt rode up.

Be cool, Ron. he thought to himself.

"I can't believe I'm never going to sleep in this bed again." She said, running her hand over the duvet. He nodded, not sure of what other response to give.

"Aren't you going to kiss me?" she asked after a brief silence. He felt his face flush. He pushed himself up on the bed and their lips grazed each other. They met again for a longer, more forceful kiss after which, Hermione pulled the curtains around the bed closed and started unbuttoning her blouse, intensely staring at Ron. He suddenly felt foggy all over; he couldn't get his hands to work and his eyes focused lazily on the ever-increasing amount of skin Hermione revealed to him as she pulled the buttons. She never ceased to amaze him when she did things like this.

"Who are you and what did you do with Hermione Granger?" was all he could say. She giggled.

"Are you complaining? Shall I put this back on?." She threw the blouse off. He finally found himself able to move again and stroked the soft skin of her stomach as he kissed her neck and collarbone. They went on snogging lazily for a long time. She wrapped one of her legs around his hip, holding him on top of her.

"I fell in love with you in this place; I want my last memory of this bed to include you." She said, reaching down to unzip his trousers.

They were soon undressed, rolling back and forth on her four-poster. She moaned his name loudly as he entered her. They went slowly, enjoying every nuance of their closeness. He celebrated her mouth with his tongue and she explored every inch of his back with her fingertips.

Still locked in each others' arms, they continued until the door opened and they heard Ginny talking to another girl.

"Ginny, it's absolutely incredible that you're going to be playing professional quidditch!" The girl exclaimed. "My mum and I are big Harpies fans, now I'll actually know one of the players! It's mad!"

Ginny was very excited about being recruited by the Holyhead Harpies, but she remained very humble. "They just happened to catch a really good game. I'm probably going to be rubbish compared to the others.

Ginny paused and saw a familiar large foot sticking out of the curtains on Hermione's bed. She stifled a gasp.

"Let's get out of here, Joanna. It's too beautiful a day to be stuck inside. Besides, Harry wanted to visit the quidditch locker room with me, you know, for old times' sake." The girl she called Joanna giggled as she left the room.

"Erm - don't be up here too long or Mum will come looking for you two." Ginny teased before closing the door behind her.

The foot popped back inside the curtain as a hushed voice whispered, "Bloody hell..."

There was a celebration in honor of Hermione and Ginny that night at the Burrow, complete with fireworks supplied by George. Gold and red Gryffindor lions exploded and chased each other in the night sky as the Weasleys, Hermione and Harry cheered. A loud boom preceded the final display; words that twinkled in the sky like millions of tiny stars all huddled close together:


Ginny & Hermione

Hogwarts Graduates!

Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione spent one last night together lying out under the stars, wrapped up in blankets and quilts. Hermione conjured up some of her small blue fires and set them out in a circle around them for heat and to ward off mosquitoes. They laughed and drank ice cold Butterbeer late into the night. The conversation waned and the two couples turned their attention towards each other. The time apart had been more difficult than expected, even though they had seen each other in October, at Christmas and Easter. Contented to at last have Hermione in his arms, Ron fell into a deep sleep.

The tickets to Australia were expensive, but she had been saving. Ron had some savings as well. They purchased Muggle luggage during the Christmas holidays so as not to use their school trunks which might have stood out. Hermione would bring her beaded bag with the undetectable extension charm for a small library of books and other essentials. They used a less-than-reputable source in Knockturn Alley to acquire a Muggle ID card for Ron. By the day of graduation, they were ready to go. The party would serve a dual purpose, to congratulate the graduates, and to see Hermione and Ron off.

When they sat Mrs. Weasley down during Easter break to tell her their plan her concerns were spattered all over her face. Surprisingly, she didn't try to talk them out of it. They were both of age and seemed to have made up their minds. She knew if she tried to forbid Ron from going, he wouldn't listen. He was going to escort the love of his life to the other side of the world; he would continue to protect Hermione at all costs. She had never been more proud of her youngest son. Her eyes welled up and she hugged them both around the neck. Ron had been fully prepared to argue with his mother, this supportive reaction took him by surprise.

Before going off to bed the night before their departure, His father shook Ron's hand and hugged him. Mr. Weasley pressed something into his hand saying, "Be safe, son." The small leather pouch contained 300 galleons. Ron nearly cried counting the coins in his hand. It was no insignificant sum for any family but Ron knew it was a small fortune for his parents, who had to scrimp and save every sickle and knut to make ends meet.

"Hermione, it's time, my love." He kissed her awake and they barely spoke all the way to the airport. Hermione gripped Ron's hand and her leg bounced anxiously as they sat in the terminal. They had exchanged gold for Muggle money and Ron purchased a magazine about cars. He nervously flipped through the glossy pages with the odd, unmoving pictures but he barely read a word.

His stomach did somersaults on takeoff. The roar of the engines and the jolt of energy that pushed him back in his seat made him cry out. He gripped the armrests and his knuckles turned white. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to make his mind go blank. As he felt the plane level out, he looked at Hermione and she took his hand, smiling.

"There, the worst is over. The first take-off is the worst." He smiled weakly. There was no turning back now.

After three hours worth of layovers in Switzerland and Singapore and switching planes twice, Ron was trying very hard not to complain. The food on the flights was terrible. He couldn't wait to gorge himself when they landed. The entire trip would take about 27 hours. He had slept, watched Hermione sleep, attempted to understand the Muggle moving picture shown on the small screen in front of him and most importantly he planned what to say to Hermione's father as soon as his memory was restored.

"Mr. Granger, I'm in love with your daughter. With your permission, sir I'd like to ask for her hand..."

No, that was far too formal, borderline ridiculous. He wasn't sure how to go about asking; should he just come out and say it? What if Mr. Granger said no? The Grangers had always been nice to Ron and his family; they permitted Hermione to stay at the Burrow for holidays. But would they approve of their only daughter marrying someone like him? He knew her parents were well off; was Ron's love good enough? He felt a lump rise up in his throat: would Hermione even say yes?

He was certain she loved him, and if he knew anything at all, he knew he would never love anyone as much as he loved Hermione Granger.

The air hostess announced they were making their final descent into Sydney.

Bloody finally. Ron thought. I need a shower, I need food and I need to fuck Hermione in a cheap hotel.

The tires made contact with the runway and Ron tensed up as the fuselage shook.

His bones cracked as soon as he got to his feet. It had already been such a long journey and they still had no idea how to find the Grangers. But they had come through much worse before, and at least they were together.

They collected their luggage and found their way to a taxi stand. Hermione quoted off the address of a hotel where she had reserved a room. The sun had risen and they got their first glimpse of Sydney. The sky and the ocean were the same shade of glorious blue. Hermione recognized it straightaway because Ron's eyes matched the color exactly. They sat in silence staring out the car windows, drinking in their new surroundings. Somewhere out there were Wendell and Monica Wilkins, blissfully unaware they had a daughter. Ron's stomach gurgled, breaking the quiet.

Hermione got them checked in and Ron carried the bags to their room. "Do you want to shower first?" he offered.

"No, you go ahead. I'm going to see if they're in the phone book, maybe we'll get lucky." Hermione said. Ron nodded and stepped into the loo.

He stood under the burning hot water, every pore opening from the steam. As he made a soapy lather with his hands he sighed. He hadn't really expected Hermione to follow him into the shower, but that wouldn't stop him from thinking about it. He rubbed the soap all over his skin, imagining Hermione's small hands tracing lines down his wet back. He rubbed some shampoo into his hair, continuing to fantasize about lifting Hermione up against the shower wall and being inside her. He wanted to feel her wet breasts against his chest; to hear her excited moans in his ear. His hand was rubbing himself by this point, a rock-hard Hermione-fueled erection. He pictured her with her legs wrapped around his waist, felt her muscles tighten around his cock as she came.

Hermione pulled the shower curtain aside - "Ron, we have a pro-OH! Oh, I'm-" she hid her eyes with her hands and stumbled into the countertop blindly. She babbled something unintelligible, stopping herself abruptly and finally slipping out of the loo. "Sorry."

Smooth, Weasley. That is just perfect. "Aw, fuck." He said hitting the tiled wall with a balled fist.

Ron rinsed the soap out of his hair and shut the water off. He slung a towel around his hips and wiped the fog off of the mirror. His wet fringe plastered to his forehead.

How do I go out there after that? He pondered. Sod it, she should knock. He said to himself.

He opened the door, willing his legs to stop shaking as he tried to casually stroll out. Hermione was sitting on the balcony, studying a notebook with her back to him. He pushed the sliding door open and she jumped.

"Erm, shower's free." He said awkwardly. She nodded.

Why was this so weird? They definitely had seen each other naked, they had practically shagged on every surface in every room of the Burrow when they were alone at New Year's. So, why did he feel like drowning himself in the hotel swimming pool?

She turned and looked at him, "Ron?"


She opened her mouth to say something but closed it again. She stood and squeezed past him to shower.

He threw on some fresh clothes and lay on the bed. He wasn't accustomed to this kind of heat. He pulled the glass door open, hoping for a breeze. His clean t-shirt stuck to him uncomfortably so he yanked it over his head and tossed it. He closed his eyes and willed his stomach to stop gurgling. He missed him Mum's food already. Hearing the water stop and the door open, his nerves tingled. He hoped it would stop being so awkward between them, or this would be a very long trip indeed.

Hermione stepped out wearing a thin, plush robe. Her wet hair was freshly combed and hung loosely down her back. She made every effort to avoid looking at him as she opened her suitcase and removed some clothes. She unceremoniously dropped the robe to the floor. He felt a jolt in his groin to see her there, wet and exposed. The smell of soap, shampoo and her citrus body wash wafted around the room. He thought she was smirking as she pulled on a tiny pair of knickers and did the clasp of her bra behind her. She stepped into a pair of shorts that came up way above her knees and then pulled a thin tank top over her head. The reverse strip-tease was tantalizing. Ron found himself transfixed, staring at her erect nipples that strained against the fabric of her shirt.

"So," she began casually, "I found 5 different W. Wilkins in the phone book." She said pushing herself up on the bed next to him and handed him the torn page. "I thought we could find them and see if any of them is my Dad. Unfortunately, none of them are listed under 'dentists' so if this doesn't work, we'll be back at square one." He nodded, afraid if he moved even an inch, she'd see he was aroused.

"All right, then." She said decisively, lifting her body up onto her knees. She swung a leg over him and took his face in her hands. His entire being was filled with complete desire for her. He felt her straddling him, his hardness impossible to hide, especially when she pushed her body weight down on top of it.

She crushed her lips into his and stroked his teeth with her tongue. As his mind filled with dirty thoughts she said "Let's get you some food, and then iI'm/i going to eat iyou/i alive. I'm sorry I interrupted you earlier, I hope you didn't wear yourself out."

Fuck, I love this woman. He thought.

They found a restaurant and Ron made a complete pig of himself, as usual. Hermione laughed at his cheeks stuffed with his meal. Renewed and re-energized with food and drink, they paid and strolled down the street hand in hand. They didn't notice the blue motorbike following them or the muscular, blond wizard who was driving it. Nor did they notice the shorter, black-haired wizard who was also watching.

Never letting the red-headed boy or the striking young girl out of his sight, the blond man parked the motorbike and followed them on foot. He watched them over his sunglasses as he waved his wand, transfiguring the motorbike into a small marble and tucked it into his pocket. He'd recognized the ginger hair as soon as he saw it; there was no need to consult the photograph in his pocket. The pair ducked into a shop and he decided to wait right outside the door.

A short time later they exited the store, each carrying a small paper bag. He let them walk just past him before he spoke "Welcome to Sydney, Ron and Hermione."

They froze and caught each other's eye as they turned. Their wands were out of reach in Hermione's bag. She spoke first: "Pardon?"

"I'm Graham. Graham Newcastle." He said extending his hand. Ron narrowed his eyes on the stranger; he recognized that name from somewhere. "Oh, young Ron doesn't remember me. Not entirely surprising." Ron shook Graham's hand, still trying to figure out how he knew him.

"Blimey, he is the spittin' image a' Charlie, ain't he?" The black-haired man appeared behind Graham.

"Charlie? My brother, Charlie?" Ron sputtered.

Graham and the black-haired man exchanged looks. "You didn't really think your Mum would let you come out here all alone, did you?" Graham joked.

The black-haired man introduced himself, "Geoff Boudreau-Smythe. We've been mates of your brothers' since Romania. Your Mum asked Charlie to get in touch with us and see if we'd keep an eye on ya."

"Oh, of course!" Ron rocked back on his heels. "Geoff and Graham! Charlie's told me about you. This is my, erm - Hermione." Hermione smiled at their friendly faces.

Graham and Geoff led them to the wizarding section of town. Ron thought it bared a striking resemblance to Diagon Alley in London except the witches and wizards in Australia all effortlessly dressed just like Muggles. There were no ankle-length robes, pointed hats or awkwardly mismatched clothes to be seen. They found a quiet pub and sat talking. They were still working with dragons, but had decided the weather and women would be better in Australia. Geoff gave them directions to a Gringotts branch in town. Graham sat back in his chair, taking long drags of a cigarette. Hermione was listening but let her attention drift as she looked out the window. She squinted as she caught sight of a petite woman coming out of a shop far down the street.

"Mum!" She gasped. Ron whipped his head in the direction of Hermione's gaze and instantly recognized Mrs. Granger. He nodded his head at her to confirm he'd seen her, too. Without another syllable, Hermione was running out of the pub and across the street. Ron grabbed her bag and rushed out after her, nearly getting hit by a car in the process.

"Mum! Wait!" Hermione was yelling, tears streaming down her face. Ron caught up to her and grabbed her by the arm. As they caught their breath, Ron spoke through his gasps.

"She...doesn't...remember...you." He reminded her. Hermione put her hands on her knees and breathed deeply.

Ron leaned against the brick building and tried frantically to find Mrs. Granger but she was gone.

Graham and Geoff walked back to the hotel with them while they formulated a plan.

"She was there...she was right ibloody/i there!" Hermione yelled as she paced back and forth in the room. Ron, Geoff and Graham watched her, unsure of what to say.

"She was coming out of a chemist." Geoff began. "There are loads of apartment buildings down there, Hermione. Maybe she lives in the neighborhood."

"So, we could take a picture of her and ask around." Graham concluded.

Ron nodded his head in agreement, at least it was a start. "We know they're still in Sydney, Hermione. Look at it that way, we know they're all right at least."

She pressed her back to the wall and wiped her eye with her thumb. She chewed the inside of her cheek and crossed her arms across her chest. Ron stood and reached into Hermione's beaded bag. He pulled out a Muggle photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Granger and handed it to Graham. They spoke quietly.

"Thanks for offering to help, mates."

"Tell her we'll do everything we can. It's the least we can do for Charlie's kid brother. He saved my arse on more than one occasion." Geoff said, holding his hand out to Ron.

Shaking Geoff's hand, Ron looked back at Hermione. She was back on the balcony, running her fingers back and forth across the railing.

"Ron, if you go out looking tonight..." Graham said, "Make sure you've got your wand at the ready. Weird things can happen down there at night. He might be dead and gone but You-Know-Who still has supporters here." Ron exhaled and nodded his head. He knew there were still Death Eaters around. It was his chosen career to track them all down.

He gave Hermione plenty of space, not wanting to say the wrong thing and upset her. She stayed on the balcony for a long time, staring as if she thought she'd be able to spot her mother again in the sea of people below. The sun began to set before he decided to try to talk to her.

"Can I get you anything? What do you need?"

She was sitting on the floor of the balcony, hugging her legs when she looked up at him. Shaking her head, she gnawed on a fingernail.

"I've been trying to work it all out. There's no absolutely reliable spell I can cast from this distance that will work. I don't even know what direction to look. I thought maybe there was a way but, no. Can we go back down to where we were today? We got lucky once, maybe we will again."

"Of course." He felt relieved that she had a plan at last.

"And we can get something to eat, too." She said sweetly. Ron didn't realize he was gripping his empty stomach.

She held her hands up to him and he easily lifted her to her feet. She sniffled, and he used his finger to tilt her chin up.

"Love, it's all going to be fine. I promise, whatever I have to do." He said sweetly.

Hermione spoke very little as they slowly wandered around. She darted her eyes methodically around as they walked. Ron remembered what Graham had said and paid keen attention to any suspicious thing as the sun continued to set.

They didn't find anything that night. Or the next day, or the eight days that followed that. They checked in with Geoff and Graham and they were coming up empty as well. Hermione was growing more and more impatient. She rung up each of the five W. Wilkins she had found in the phone book but each time a thick Australian accent on the other end of the line told her it was a dead end.

On the evening of Day 10 of their adventure, they returned to the area of town where they had gotten a glimpse of Mrs. Granger. As he surveyed the streets, Ron felt Hermione stop walking and tighten her grip on his hand. They were standing in front of the chemist where her mother had been. He followed her inside. He didn't want to start a row by pointing out how unlikely it would be for her to be there again. In fact, he hoped she would be. Hermione walked up to the counter, removing a picture from her bag and got the chemist's attention.

"Excuse me?" The older woman in a white lab coat looked up and smiled. Her name badge read "Colleen." She put her hands on the counter when she addressed Hermione.

"Yes, dear?" Her voice reminded Ron of his own mother's. Calm and soothing.

"Have you seen this woman? She's my...aunt." Hermione said lifting the picture for Colleen to see. The recognition on the her face gave Hermione hope, but there was something else there that worried her.

"Oh, Monica Wilkins, of course!" Colleen said, clicking her tongue. "Poor, poor Wendell." Hermione took a step backward and looked light-headed. Ron's lips parted in a gasp and he got directly behind Hermione to steady her.

"What do you mean by that?" Ron asked, gripping Hermione's arms. He was afraid to hear the worst.

"Oh, you don't know, then? Poor man. He's been in the hospital for weeks. Some kind of nervous condition, bad dreams and gitters and such." She replied frowning.

"He's in hospital now?" Hermione asked, a determined tone in her voice.

Colleen shook her head. "No, Monica was here today because they sent him home. She was filling a prescription for him. Wait - if she's your aunt, don't you have her telephone number?" The woman seemed very suspicious all of a sudden.

Fucking shit, she was here today and we missed her! Ron thought.

"I've lost it." Hermione lied. "We came out as a surprise, I haven't seen her in so long." Ron knew she was on the verge of tears but her rubbed her arms, reassuringly.

"Yeah, we knew she lived around here so we thought we'd be able to find her." Ron added.

Colleen shook her head, it didn't seem too outrageous. "Well, I suppose I could give you her address." She lowered her voice, "Just keep it a secret, between us."

Ron's heart leapt up in his chest - what a relief!

Colleen typed rapidly into a computer but frowned. "That's very curious. There's no address for them. Oh, wait there it is." She hit print and the ancient-looking printer coughed to life, spitting out a faded, but legible address. Hermione's hand shook as Colleen handed her the paper. They thanked her repeatedly as they backed out of the shop and into the street.

Feeling exhilirated, Hermione threw her arms over her head and cried out in excitement. Ron laughed, equally as excited. He lifted her off the ground and they kissed happily.

"Did he just propose?" A woman said to her friend as they passed by.

"I'll bet he did! Oi! Congratulations!"

Ron pulled Hermione down the street towards the pub. After eating, they decided against going back to their room. Ron hoped that they'd see Geoff or Graham. In a jovial mood, Hermione had a few shots of firewhisky. And then a few more. Ron was keeping up with her, but when he saw how much she was consuming, he thought it would be better if he slowed himself down. One of them needed to be clear-headed enough for the walk back to the hotel.

He nursed a Butterbeer and watched Hermione get good and pissed. Poor thing, she needed it. She closed her eyes and her head lulled backward, causing Ron to pop his arm out to make sure she didn't fall off the barstool. She giggled and steadied herself.

She motioned as if she would order another round when he stopped her, "You've had just about enough, I think."

"We're not married yet, Ron - you don't get to tell me what to do!" she teased, rather loudly. The words made Ron's heart pound.

"Eh?" He said.

"You heard me. Not that I'll be taking orders afterwards, mind." She swiped his bottle of Butterbeer from his hand and sipped it. A stupid grin spread across his face.

"You know I want to marry you, Ron." She placed the bottle down on the bar (nearly empty).

"I didn't, actually." He said, coyly.

"Don't be smug. You know perfectly well..." She slid carefully off the barstool and placed herself between his thighs while he remained sitting. He hooked his fingers in her beltloops and she leaned in, kissing him.

It was a little more passionate than she'd normally allow in public, but she was feeling so close to her goal of finding her parents, and so inibreated, she didn't pull away when he moved from her mouth to her neck. She sighed loudly when he playfully nipped at her and tucked his hand under her shirt, rubbing the small of her back.

"Take me to bed." She whispered in his ear.

Not one to protest such a request, Ron hurriedly paid their tab and made sure not to leave anything behind as they left. Knowing she wasn't steady enough on her feet to walk the whole way, Ron hailed a taxi. Ron put his arm around Hermione and she rested her head on him. After a few minutes of silence, he thought she had fallen asleep but when her hand crept up from his knee to the crotch of his trousers he knew she was very much awake.

He jumped slightly out of surprise but she didn't stop tracing figure eight's with her fingers right over the increasing bulge in his trousers. He tilted his head back slightly and sighed quietly.

He watched, amazed as Hermione unzipped his trousers and reached her hand inside. When her fingertips touched his rapidly stiffening cock he jumped again. Ron glanced up at the driver, whose eyes darted from the rear-view mirror back to the road. Ron stopped Hermione from doing anything else and leaned into whisper in her ear.

"The driver is watching us." He resisted biting her earlobe.

She giggled, "Ask me if I care!"

It was tempting, but Ron knew her well enough to know that when she sobered up she'd be completely mortified at the thought of someone watching. He managed to sit her upright next to him and did his trousers up. The hungry look in her eyes made him hard. He licked the corner of his mouth, letting the very tip of his tongue protrude for her to see. She pouted her lips out at him.

"This is going to get loud." He said to himself.

Once back in the room, he excused himself to the loo and she flopped down on the bed. After he kicked off his trainers and tossed his socks to the floor, he put his palms on the cool countertop and studied his reflection.

She's dead drunk.


So...you'd be taking advantage.

She just tried to blow me in the taxi.

She's drunk.

It's not like it's the first time, we've done it drunk before...

He debated the morality of the situation for a few minutes, finally deciding that he'd taken so long that she'd be asleep by the time he emerged from the loo. He splashed some water on his face and patted it dry on a towel. He stripped his trousers off, planning on sleeping in just his boxers.

Exiting, he switched the light off and the cool evening breeze made his nipples go hard. She had opened the balcony door, the breeze was a welcome reprieve from the balmy daytime heat.

The next thing he saw made his whole body go numb, except for a certain prominent part of his anatomy.

Hermione was kneeling on the bed in just her bra and knickers. Not just any bra and knickers, he realized. It was the lingerie that made his eyes bug out when he flipped through the Muggle catalogue. Her nipples showed through the sheer black lace. Shifting her weight to one knee, she tilted her head and ran a hand from her neck down to the opposite nipple and it jumped to attention at the touch of her fingers. The knickers were made of the same sheer black lace. There were certainly more risque things in the catalogue but Ron loved Hermione in black underthings.

She got down on all fours on the bed and beckoned him to her with a wiggle of her finger. He found the muscles that made his legs move and he stumbled over to her, pulling his shirt over his head. She laid on her back with her knees bent and he admired her. The curves he knew so well still held endless allure to him. He chewed his lower lip thinking back to the days before he was allowed to touch her, to pleasure her. Now she was all his for the taking.

He eased himself onto the bed next to her and pulled her in close. They snogged frantically until they were both nearly breathless. She lifted her leg up over his hip, feeling his erection pressing against the thin fabric of her knickers. He cupped her breast in his hand and bit her nipple through the bra. She moaned so loudly, he was sure if there were guests in the adjoining rooms, they heard.

Reading his thoughts, she whispered "Let them hear, I want you so bad..." She rotated her hips hard against him. He crushed his lips into hers, sucking on her tongue and pushing his hand down to her bottom.

"These need to come off before I rip them off." He said with a thumb hooked in the waistband of her knickers. With a quick jerking motion he whipped them off. His hand found her swollen entrance and he ran two fingers along it slowly.

"Now..." she moaned, licking his neck.

He kissed his way down her chest, stopping between her thighs. He was hooked the first time he tasted her and he couldn't get enough. He loved feeling her getting wetter and wetter the more he licked. He loved the way she moaned and rocked her body into him; how she cried out and her legs shook when he made her come.

This time though she pulled away from him and swung a leg over his head. She was back on all fours, facing away from him.

She looked back at him, the ravenous gleam in her eye again. "Now...please..." she begged loudly.

He pulled his boxers off and attempted to flip her around but she protested, "No, this way..." she remained in the same position.

Not wanting to miss a moment inside her, he positioned himself behind her and pushed into her with a grunt. She shuddered and he felt her contract around him.

"Well, this is unexpected..." he thought to himself.

He held onto her hip with one hand and unclasped her bra with the other as he pumped into her. She started rocking back to meet his thrusts, each time releasing a pleasurable groan. Increasing speed and pressure, he cupped her breast in his hand and molded it hard. That's when it happened and he was instantly horrified -

He spanked her.

He didn't know what made him do it. He just removed his hand from her hip and whacked her bottom, hard. She cried out and he was certain she was about to yell at him. To his great surprise, she just knocked her hips backward harder.

He felt her hand on his shaft when she reached between her legs to touch herself.

"Don't come without me. Oh fuck..." She begged him.

He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to comply. Luckily, he didn't have to wait long because she was soon bucking against him so hard he almost lost his balance. He locked his grip; one hand on her hip, the other on her shoulder and soon he erupted.

He slid out of her and couldn't do anything but flop onto the bed. She shifted her petite body into him with her back into his chest, sighing. He felt her tremble and she whimpered.

Kissing her shoulder he said "What was that? You can't be cold..."

She giggled, "No, I just came again."

He laughed loudly, "You did not!"

"Yep. Lots of little ones after the big one...happens sometimes." She sighed again.

He nuzzled into her hair. "Sorry about the...uh..."

"The spank?" she chuckled.

He felt his face turn red. "Yeah, got carried away I guess."

"It was actually kind of...hot." she wiggled her hips into him.

"Oh, don't start doing that...I'm already dehydrated Mione. You start doing that thing you do with your hips and I'm going to have to bend you over something. I will not be held responsible." He teased her. They laughed softly and enjoyed being in bed close together.

"Can I ask you something?" She whispered.

"Hmm?" He kept his eyes closed.

"Didn't you know I want to marry you? Were you just teasing me?" Her voice trembled with nerves.

He grinned. "I hoped you did. You just confirmed it. I definitely want to."

"Well, don't think I expect us to run off to a courthouse as soon as we get back home. I don't. Let's just live together first..." Her voice was fading.

"Shhh. Not tonight. We'll talk about it another night." He buried his face in her hair, inhaling her and was asleep before he knew it.

When he opened his eyes the next morning, she was still asleep. No longer laying with her back resting against his chest, they were nearly face to face.

They were still starkers laying on top of the sheets. He licked his lower lip and tasted her there. Carefully, he lifted himself up on an elbow and admired her as he got out of bed. He found his boxers on the floor and pulled them on. Hermione made a quiet moaning sound and rolled over.

He found a glass wrapped in cellphane, and poured himself some water from the tap. There was a knock at the door and Ron checked the peephole. He recognized Geoff and Graham at once.

"Just a minute!" he said and rushed to put clothes on. He squeezed out into the hall through the door. "She's still asleep." he explained.

Geoff had a grim look on his face that made Ron uneasy. "We had a bit of luck yesterday," Ron began. "We got the address. We should be home free."

The two older wizards exchanged looks. "Ron, it might not be as simple as all that." Graham began. "Her dad..."

Ron nodded, "Yeah, we heard he's not been well."

"No, listen. It's his memory. We found out he'd been hospitalized and well..." Graham said

Geoff continued "We went to the hospital on Tuesday and Confunded a Muggle Healer. Her dad has been having reoccuring nightmares about chasing a little girl..."

"With bushy hair..." Graham interupted. The way the pair of them completed each other's sentances in rapid succession reminded Ron of George and Fred.

"Right. The dream is he's chasing this little girl down a hallway and just as he is about to grab her, she turns and kills him."

"With a flash of green light."

Ron was astonished. Mr. Granger dreamt about Hermione using the Killing Curse. "That makes no sense at all."

"Poor bloke hasn't slept in ages. He thinks he's going mad." Graham said pitifully.

"Well, it's weird but is it a problem? I mean, is there something permanently wrong with him?" Ron widened his eyes as he spoke.

Graham and Geoff both shrugged. "We waited to tell you because we tried doing some research." Graham said. "Neither of us found anything about this happening before, or what to do about it."

Looking at the floor, Ron considered this information. He decided not to tell Hermione.

Hermione rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. The bright sunlight made her head pound, or was that a blasted hangover? Her body was sore but she stood up and wrapped herself in one of Ron's long shirts. She thought he was in the loo and was surprised to see Ron walk in from the hall.

"Morning." She said.

"Hey." Something was wrong, she could just tell.

"Was I that bad last night?" She asked, afraid to know the real answer.

"No, not at all. You needed to let off some steam." He crossed to her and held her round her waist. "You feel ok? Do you need some Pepperup?"

"Who were you talking to? In the hallway?"

"Geoff and Graham. I told them we got an address." The way he avoided eye contact told her he was keeping something from her but she didn't press him.

"I can't believe we found them! We can set them right today and get home..." she kissed him.

They showered (separately again), dressed and set off in search of 872 St. Kilderney Square.

When the taxi rounded the corner Hermione grasped Ron's hand in anticipation. The car pulled in front of a modest grey ranch-style house with a well-kept front yard. There were pots of purple and pink peonies on the front stairs that made Hermione squeal.

"They're Mum's favorites!"

Ron paid the driver and took her hand as they walked up the front path. Hermione rang the bell and restrained herself from hugging her mother tight when she answered the door.

"May I help you?" Mrs. Granger asked them. She tilted her head and stared at Ron's hair. He thought for an instant he saw recognition in her eyes.

"Er - Mrs. Wilkins..." Hermione began, swallowing hard. "Do you remember me?" Her voice trembled.

Mrs. Granger considered Hermione's face. "You look..."

"Who's there, dear?" Mr. Granger's voice called.

"I'm not sure, actually." She replied. Mr. Granger appeared behind his wife, looking very gaunt and sickly. Hermione gasped quietly at the sight of his pale face. He smiled warmly at Ron but his expression changed thoroughly when his eyes locked on Hermione. He took a step backward and clutched his chest.

"Darling, what is it?" Mrs. Granger turned to him, wide eyed.

"It's...I can't believe my eyes...it's her...the dreams...Monica it's iher/i!" He replied.

Mrs. Granger lifted her hand to her throat and stared at the strangely familiar pair of teenagers on her front stairs.

"I know you, don't I?" Mr. Granger asked Hermione.

Tears welled in her eyes and she nodded. Mr. Granger waved them inside and showed them into the parlor. Hermione hadn't let go of Ron's hand and was squeezing ever-tighter. They sat very close together on a cream-colored sofa and Mr. Granger sat across from them in a matching armchair. He studied Hermione's face carefully, as if he were going to draw it. Mrs. Granger joined them after putting the kettle on.

"So, explain." Mr. Granger said to them.

Ron squeezed her hand. "Go on, Hermione."

"Hermione? Your name is Hermione?" Mrs. Granger asked. It made her heart race to hear her Mum say her name, even if there was no tone of recognition in her voice.

"And you're..." Mrs. Granger looked at Ron.

"Wease...Weasley..." Mr. Granger knit his heavy eyebrows together, concentrating. The astonishment on Ron's face spoke volumes.

"Ron Weasley, sir." Ron offered with a hesitant smile.

"Wendell, how did you know that?" Mrs. Granger was wringing her hands in her lap.

"I don't know." he replied, frustratedly.

Her parents looked to Hermione imploring her to explain. Ron gave her arm a reassuring squeeze - "I'm right here, Mione. Go ahead." he coaxed her.

Her hand shaking, she pulled her wand from her pocket and stood. The Grangers glanced at each other with a mixture of amusement and alarm at the young girl brandishing a shiny stick as she drew an elaborate pattern in the air.

Hermione took a deep breath and whispered Memoire Rendre

"Ron, dear do come help Mr. Granger with these bags!" Molly Weasley buzzed around the house directing everyone to different tasks.

"Arthur! Can you come help Mrs. Granger with this...whatever this is..." She said, gesturing towards a small table fan. Harry was in the attic with a Muggle repairman, trying to fix the central air conditioning. It was one of the hottest days in recent memory and the motor just refused to turn over.

Hermione, Ginny, and Fleur were busy in the kitchen; scrubbing everything down and stocking the cabinets. The Death Eaters had ransacked the Granger's home looking for any hint that would lead them to the Boy Who Lived and his friends but little by little, it was returning to normal.

Ron and Bill were lugging heavy boxes and moving furniture around at their mother's direction. They had been at it for more than six hours and Ron's back was sore as hell. He grimaced thinking of the amount of physical training he'd have to catch up on when he re-joined his Auror unit. Ron had used up an entire year's worth of furloughs for the Australia trip. If he was going to keep up, he wouldn't be home again for at least six months. He'd miss Hermione's birthday, Christmas, and New Year's. If he worked hard, he might be able to visit again in time for his 20th birthday.

When the furniture was arranged just right and the rest of the house was generally in order, Mrs. Weasley, Fleur, and Mrs. Granger set to work in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Hermione went out into the yard carrying a tray of tall glasses of fresh lemonade.

"Ta." Harry said, touching the glass to his forehead. "I wish the sodding air conditioning would work. It's hot as hell."

Hermione wasn't listening. She was staring at Ron. He stretched his arms high above his head and bent down to touch his toes. He never saw Ginny sneak up behind him with the garden hose.

As the icy cold blast of water hit him Ron yelped out and blocked his face with his arms. "GINNY, I WILL KILL YOU!" He bellowed.

He wiped his face and launched himself at Ginny, easily overpowering her and taking the hose away. He grabbed her around the waist and held the hose right over her head, drenching her.

"Harry! Help!" Ginny yelled, laughing.

It turned into an all-out water fight in the Granger's parched back yard. Bill, Ron, and Harry against Ginny and Hermione. When the noise woke her from a nap, Fleur cradled Victoire in her arms and watched from the safety of the screen door of the kitchen. As strange as she found this family of British wizards she'd married into, she loved them all.

"Victoire, your Papa is so silly, eezint 'e?" she cooed in the baby's ear.

Mrs. Weasley called to them out the window that food was almost ready so they called a cease-fire. Mr. Weasley carried out a large pile of towels for them and they wiped off. The boys removed their shirts, laying them out to dry on the concrete patio. Hermione and Ginny got dry enough to run upstairs and change.

It felt like the end of the longest day in history as the Weasleys, the Grangers and Harry sat at a giant picnic table to eat and drink together as the summer sun began its descent. Hermione positioned herself in between her parents at the table, missing no opportunity to rest her head on one of their shoulders. Ron watched her, seeing her completely contented for the first time in a long time.

Mr. Granger caught Ron staring at his daughter and when Ron's eyes widened, Mr. Granger smiled at him and nodded. Ron smiled back, shyly.

As they brought the dinner dishes back into the house, Ron approached Mr. Granger.

"Sir, may I have a word?"

"You can have as many as you'd like, son." He replied. Mr. Granger put a hand on Ron's back and gestured toward the living room. Ron's heart pounded in his chest as they sat.

"I never got to thank you properly for...everything you did. You're quite the hero, Ron." Mr. Granger finally said.

"Naw, Harry and Hermione did most of it." Ron said, looking down at his shoes.

"Harry might have lead the battle, but you protected my daughter. You risked your life for her. I want to thank you for that." Ron met Mr. Granger's eyes. "And I'm terribly sorry about your brother. I can't imagine...You are all so young to have risked so much." he said.

Ron sighed and nodded his thanks. "Sir...I have to ask you something. Erm - I..." The words fell dead in his throat.

Say it! Say it you idiot! "I want to marry your daughter!" Just say it, you giant sodding coward!

"I...I've got nearly two years left before I'm an Auror. And I know we're young and it won't be right away but..." Ron stumbled.

Mr. Granger sat back in his chair, nodding knowingly.

"I love her. I love Hermione with all my heart. I'd like your permission to..."

"Of course. You have it." Mr. Granger interrupted.

"Eh?" Ron shook his head, doing a double-take.

"Ron, some day, with any luck, you'll have a daughter and you'll know that no one will ever be good enough for her. That's always how I felt about Hermione, until I met you. I see how you look at each other. Now that I know how much you risked for her, I'd be proud to welcome you to our family. Wait here a moment, son." He stood and half-ran to the stairs.

Ron laughed, relieved. He ran his hands through his still-soaking wet hair and rubbed his eyes. "This is really going to happen." He whispered to himself.

Mr. Granger appeared again and Ron stood up. Ron held his hand out to shake and was dumbfounded when Mr. Granger placed a small black box in his hand. When he opened it, he saw a beautifully delicate diamond ring. He looked up at Mr. Granger and smiled wide.

"It was my mothers'. She'd have really loved you. You don't have to use it if you'd rather not, but..."

"Thank you, sir. I don't know what else to say..." Ron closed the box and held it tight.

"Just say you'll take care of my little girl." Mr. Granger said, putting an arm around his shoulder.

"I will. Always."