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#1. What Happened Next? by FawkesThePhoenix

Format: Novel
Chapters: 32
Word Count: 149,442
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: General, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, Draco, George, Ginny, Luna, Neville, OC
Pairings: Harry/Hermione, OC/OC, Ron/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 07/13/2015
Last Chapter: 03/13/2017
Last Updated: 03/13/2017

Summary:
Following on from the end of the Battle in Deathly Hallows. Harry and Hermione fell in love instead of Hermione/Ron and Harry/Ginny.

Follows the stories of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they deal with life after the greatest adventure of their lives.


Chapter 23: Chapter Twenty-Three.

The smell of sizzling bacon and sausages woke Ron up, it was a glorious sort of alarm clock. He rolled over and noticed Aoife wasn't next to him anymore. He sat up, but seeing an empty room he fell back down and savoured the waft for as long as he could. "Ron!" Aoife screeched from a flight below, "Ron! We need to talk to you." He unwillingly removed the duvet and sat up. "Ron! Get down here." She screamed, something was evidently wrong so he hurried up.

"What's wrong?" He yawned as he walked down the stairs to the others.

"Did you hear Harry and Hermione leave last night? Or did you hear Aengus come home?" She asked frantically.

"No," he answered tiredly, "why?"

"None of their beds have been slept in and no one has seen them since last night." Ardal explained as Aoife was too worried to continue talking.

"How do you know their beds haven't been slept in?" Ron asked, rubbing his eyes.

"Because they're too neat."

"Hermione is a very neat person, maybe Aengus slept on the sofa or something." He suggested.

"Ron, why can't you see the urgency? " Aoife snapped. "Something has happened to them!"

"If it has, they'll be together and neither Harry or Aengus would let anything happen to Hermione or to each other. There's no need to worry." Ron tried to be the bearer of good news.

"When did you become such an ostrich?" Aoife said in hysterics.

"What?" Ron was still tired and was well aware Aoife made no sense when she was worried.

"It means you bury your head in the sand," Ardal explained. "But Ron's right, Aoife. If they are all together, they'll be fine. If they weren't, we surely would have heard something."

"Robyn is meant to be coming today, what are we going to tell her?"

"They'll be back, they'll be fine," Ron said in a monotone, wondering if he would be able to go back to sleep.

"How can you be so su-" She screeched but stopped in her tracks when she heard the front door open and close. She rushed downstairs and almost screamed when she saw the state of all three of them. "What happened?"

"Ask him," Harry hissed as he pointed at Aengus. He decided he didn't want to stay to hear Aengus try to justify himself so he walked past all of them and up the stairs.

Aoife heard the gasps from Ardal and Ron upstairs and a flurry of "Harry, what happened to you?" "Are you alright?"

"What happened?" Aoife asked again, hoping for an answer this time. Neither of them spoke. Blood was dripping from Aengus' top lip and Hermione's face was a maze of cuts and bruises. "Shall I clean you all up?" She suggested, pointing to the dining room. "Then when you're ready, you can tell me what happened. I'll ask Martha to make you something to eat and something warm to drink." She hoped that they followed her into the dining room, Aengus did but Hermione followed Harry upstairs. "Never mind, we need to get you sorted before Robyn comes," Aoife smiled as they sat down at the table. She considered using magic, that would be the obvious and quickest solution, but she needed time to get Aengus to talk. So she got a bowl of warm water and some cotton wool. "This was Calum, wasn't it?" She whispered after several minutes of silence. "Why did you go and find him?" She gently dabbed the blood from his lip. "You know what he's like, why did you go? Why did you let Harry and Hermione follow you?" She whispered, her voice cracking but she made sure she remained calm and composed.

"I didn't know they would follow me," he whispered, "I needed to see him, I needed to show him that he hadn't won."

"He hadn't won what, Aengus? I thought we went to Hogwarts to forget everything that had happened. I put it behind me, why can't you?" She put the cotton ball down and got out her wand.

"He acted all smug. He said that we ran away, he had won-"

"Won what?" Aoife repeated, her voice getting louder and harsher.

"He got away with it, Fe. He's done it again, he'll continue to do it. I couldn't stand by and let him think what he did was acceptable. I didn't mean it to go this far, I didn't mean Harry and Hermione to get caught up in it. I hate myself for what I put her through, but I didn't ask them to come." A lone tear fell from his eye.

"What did he do to her?" Aoife was almost too scared to ask and feared the answer more. Aengus shook his head, he was done talking for now. "I'm going to remove this cuts and then you're going to have a bath and after you're going to eat and drink what Martha makes for you," Aoife ordered.

"What about Robyn?"

"I'll look after her," Aoife smiled.

"Are you going to tell her?"

"She deserves to know, but she deserves to hear it from you," Aoife said, placing her wand back in her pocket having completely cleared his face.

"Thank you," he mouthed as he stood up and made his way upstairs.

Aoife's face found her hands as she tried to comprehend what had happened. There was a faint knock on the door, "Aoife," it was Ron, "are you okay? I'm sorry that I tried to convince you they were all alright." He said as he opened the door and walked over to the table. "Did Aengus say anything to you? Both Harry and Hermione ignored us and went straight into their room." He explained.

"It was Calum," Aoife said standing up to tidying away the bowl of water and the cotton wool. "He went to see him to prove that Calum hadn't won."

"Won?" Ron followed her into the kitchen.

"My thoughts exactly. I don't know what he was playing at, we should stay away from him." Tears clouded her eyes, she placed the bowl in the sink and gripped the counter to try and fight back the sobs.

"You don't have to pretend with me anymore, Aoife," Ron said, wrapping his arms around her waist and resting his chin on her shoulder.

"Oh, Ron," she sighed, "I thought it would all be over. I've moved on, I thought Aengus had too."

"Now might not be the right time to do this, but I'm going to do it anyway." He whispered in her ear.

"Do what?" She turned around to face him with a small smile on her face.

"My mum gave me this before we left," he explained as he put his hand in his pocket. "It was her great, great grandmother's." He brought out a small, tattered box. "I'm going to give this to you, you don't have to wear it, it doesn't have to mean anything you don't want it to. I just want you to know that I meant it."

Aoife brought her hand to her mouth, tears still clouding her eyes, but they were happier. "Ro-" She tried to say, but what he had said had winded her.

"I also found a necklace chain, in case you don't want to wear it on your finger." He explained.

She had the biggest smile on her face as she stood on her toes and kissed him.

*

As the bath was filling up with hot water, water that was much too hot for skin, Aengus wandered over to Harry and Hermione's room. His clenched fist hovered in mid-air as he thought about knocking. He couldn't hear voices from behind the door, maybe they were sleeping? That gave him the opportunity to not talk to them.

"Are you alright?" Luna asked from one of the doors behind him.

"I-"

"Stupid question, I know you're not," she interrupted. "When is Robyn arriving?"

"Later today," Aengus replied casually.

"Is she just a distraction? Just someone who can take your mind off her?"

"What are you talking about?"

She stood in the door of Ardal's room, her hands holding onto each side of the frame. "Robyn Root - is she genuine or not?"

Aengus walked over to her smirking. "I won't says she's 'The One', we both know who is, or was. But she means a lot to me, yes. Is that what you wanted to hear?"

She looked up at him, both of their faces serious and cold. "Yes," she whispered, "that's what I wanted to hear." Her eyes were glistening.

"Good," he smirked, walking away from her and towards his bath.

*

Hermione had followed Harry into their room. They hadn't said anything to each other for hours, not since last night. He was laying, with his back to the door, on the bed. She knew he would be thinking about what had happened and in turn that would have brought back years of pain. She didn't know what to say to him, she also didn't particularly want to touch him, she needed to cleanse herself before she did anything.

She walked into the ensuite and turned the shower on. She looked into the mirror and studied her face. The face that was plastered in blood, both her own and others. She was thankful that Calum wasn't a wizard, else they could have returned home with fewer people. She found a flannel, one that Martha must have put out, and held it under the shower for several seconds. She brought it to her face and removed the blood that was artificial, leaving behind the cuts that were more permanent. She noticed that her right eye was engulfed by a bruise, the pain didn't seem to bother her.

Once the blood had been washed away, her face didn't look as awful. She had a black eye, a cut lip and several other cuts scattered around. She carefully removed her jumper, analysing her arms - some bruising had occurred, a result of being dragged.

Her neck had a bruise of another kind, one that wasn't necessarily one of violence, but that one hurt her the most. How dare he do that to her. How dare he mark her body with something with love in the title. It sickened her, she stared at it without moving, barely breathing. Harry had tried to stop him, he did a good job - if he wasn't there, Hermione was positive Calum would have done a lot worse.

She removed the rest of her clothes and jumped in the shower. As soon as the warm water touched her skin, she felt better. All the pain seemed to have followed the water done the drain. As she wrapped a towel around herself, she remembered that Harry was still in the next room. "Harry?" She called quietly as she opened the door. "Harry, you need to shower and get cleaned up," she walked over to the bed and kneeled down so that her face was looking at his. "You'll feel better if you do, I do."

"I let it happen again," he whispered, his lips wanting to stay closed.

"Let what happen again?" She took his hand and squeezed it.

"I put you in danger, I promised myself that that would never happen again."

"It's not your fault, you tried to stop me but I didn't listen. Look, Harry. I'm fine. All of these," she pointed to the bruises and marks, "will fade soon, I can remove them with magic if I wanted to. There's no lasting damage here, I promise you that."

"He hurt you."

"I disagree. He wanted to hurt me, but I knew I was ultimately safe, I knew that you were there to save me, and you did. Now please, have a shower. Robyn will be arriving soon."

"Are you sure?"

"Get in the shower before I drag you in there myself." She smiled.

"That doesn't sound like too bad an idea." He laughed.

*

The water must have had cleansing powers far beyond the ordinary, as all three of them felt a hundred percent better once they were washed and dressed. They all walked downstairs to the others who were worrying and fretting about what had happened. "Aoife," Harry said as they walked into the dining room, "can you remove our marks? There's no point having a reminder of what happened, we've all forgotten now."

"Of course," she answered, silently happy that she was being allowed to use her healing skills. She started with Harry, he was relatively unharmed, his nose had been broken again, that was all. "Hermione! What's that on your neck? Please tell me Calum didn't do that."

"Just get rid of it, Aoife. I don't want to see it again," she ordered.

"You don't understand, that's his warning." Aoife squeaked.

"Warning?" Harry asked.

"He does that so others know not to go near you. He's left his mark on you."

There was a knock at the door, "I'll get it," Ardal said before he disappeared.

"He must have taken a fancy to you," Aengus breathed.

"You knew he had done it," Aoife turned on her brother, "that's why you clammed up all of a sudden."

"That doesn't matter, what does he want with Hermione?" Harry asked in a panic.

"He wants what he always wants, what he only ever wants," Aoife said in a monotone.

"You don't mean-"

"-Yes, that," Aengus confirmed. "And he'll stop at nothing to get it."

"What are we going to do then?" Ron asked abruptly.

"What's going on?"

"Robyn! You're early," Aengus smiled as he rushed over to her.

"Yeah, turns out I told you all the wrong times. I'm not sure how, but I arrived four hours ago and I thought I might as well catch the train down, no point moping around the airport for you to pick me up."

"You should have called!" Aengus exclaimed.

"I did, you didn't answer," she rolled her eyes. "So what's going on? Ardal said something about Hermione and someone called Calum."

"She's not safe here, Aoife. I'm taking her back to her parents."

"You can't do that, we're meant to be on holiday!" Ron argued.

"It's not much of a holiday if we're looking behind our shoulders the entire time we're here," Harry shouted. "I'm not putting her in danger! We need to leave."

"But then he's won." Aengus chipped in.

"Won what?" Aoife screamed. "Aengus, you keep talking about it like it's some big competition. If it was, I would say that we have won! We've moved on with our lives and he hasn't. He's still doing the same thing, he's got the same friends and no future."

"You're always welcome at my house. It's more than big enough for all of us." Robyn said.

"I don't want to leave Ireland, I want to stay with all my friends." Aisling scurried in.

"Have you been earwigging?" Ardal smiled. "I don't mind staying here with Aisling."

"But you're not coming on holiday with us, when are we meant to see you?"

"Aoife, we're meeting up in Germany and Austria, it's not the end of the world if you go now."

"You can all stay here, Hermione and I will just leave."

"No, I don't want to be the reason we're split up," Hermione finally spoke.

"You're the one who's in danger, you're the one he wants."

"He might be using her to get to Aoife, I don't feel safe here." Ron backed Harry up.

*

Several hours later Ron, Aoife, Harry, Hermione, Aengus and Robyn had landed in Exeter airport. "Welcome to Devon," Robyn smiled.

"How far away is your house?" Ron asked politely.

"When I said that there was enough room at my house, I meant to say camp site. My parents own one and there's several caravans and tent pitches that are free.

"Camping?" Aoife grumbled under her breath.

"It'll be fun!" Ron exclaimed, always trying to look on the bright side.

"If we're lucky, Mr and Mrs Haynes have left the cabin, that has three bedrooms."

They collected their baggage and made their way out of the small airport. It was a sunny day which lifted everyone's moods slightly. "You must be exhausted, Robyn. You spent half the day travelling away from this place only to spend the other half coming back," Hermione joked as they all jumped into a taxi.

"Not too bad really, travelling gives me a chance to write."

"You write?" Ron interjected from the seat behind.

"And draw and plays guitar." Aengus boasted.

"Very artsy," Aoife sighed as she rolled her eyes, luckily Robyn couldn't see her.

Ron looked at her questioningly, but couldn't say anything due to the company. "Congratulations you two," Robyn turned around and smiled.

"For?"

"I saw your finger, Aoife. Sorry, I shouldn't have presumed." She turned back around and deflated slightly, it would be tricky to get the sister to like her, she noted.

"Oh, right. Yeah, thank you. It's not really official yet, though." Aoife blushed.

"So why are you wearing the ring then?" Aengus asked, seemingly getting annoyed at her for consistently making Robyn feel unwelcomed.

"I gave it to her today, but we're not planning the wedding or anything," Ron explained.

"Yeah, we're taking it slow."

"I'll say, you've only known each other five minutes," Aengus scoffed.

"Aengus, that's not fair." Robyn argued back, "leave them alone. They make each other happy, that's all that matters."

"Sorry," Aengus sulked for the rest of the journey by staring out of the window and not talking to anyone.

"Have any of you been to Devon before?"

"I have," Hermione answered, "I used to go to Dartmoor with my parents, we camped a couple of times."

"Maybe we can go there sometime when the weather's nice," Robyn muttered. "I'm sure my brother will drive us up there."

"How old is he?"

"26."

"Do you have any more brothers or sisters? That seems like quite the age gap." Ron asked.

"Ten years, I have another brother who is 21, but he's off travelling the world. I expect he doesn't even remember us."

"Any of them wizards?"

"Nope, I'm the only one. My nephew, Oscar, lives with us. He's five, he's a lot of fun when you get to know him." Robyn explained.

"We can always use you know what," Hermione said somewhat behind on the conversation.

"What?" Harry asked.

"For the tents, to make them more homely." She was well aware of the eager ears of the taxi driver listening and judging.

"Hermione, we've moved on from camping." Ron laughed, "but yes, we could."

"Oh, sorry." She mumbled.

"Everything alright?" Harry whispered so only she could hear. She nodded her head, but it wasn't going to stop Harry prying when they were alone.


The car journey was quite lengthy, but it was the only way to get there. Once they had arrived, paid the driver and unloaded their luggage, Robyn ran up to the house to explain not only her reappearance but the arrival of five others. "She seems really nice, Aengus," Hermione smiled as they stood on the edge of a field.

"She's beginning to come out of her shell." Aengus said, "it was almost impossible to talk to her at the start, but I think she's letting me in now."

"Good news, The Haynes are leaving tomorrow, so we only need to camp for a night," Robyn explained as she walked back holding three tickets. "These a for renting tents, if you use magic, please remember to return them back to normal before you give the tents back."

"Thanks, Robyn," Harry said as he took one of the tickets from her.

"If you come in with me, we can get the tents for free. No need to pay."

"That's very generous, Robyn. Are you sure?" Asked Hermione.

"Positive. The pitches aren't booked for weeks, they're not losing any money. The tents are small, but you can expand them. And they said that we can have the cabin for free if we give it a good clean before we leave."

"When are we leaving?" Aoife asked rather impatiently.

"With only just got it, Aoife. What's your problem?" Aengus asked through gritted teeth.

"Nothing," she sighed as she strutted away from them all.

"Leave her, Ron." Aengus ordered, "her behaviour is out of order, she shouldn't be rude to Robyn when she's being so nice to her."

"Well I think I would be acting like that if my abusive ex threatened one of my best friends," Ron growled, "you haven't even asked her how she is, what happened to Hermione has brought back so many memories. So yes, I will be going after her." Ron walked off after Aoife, who was now out of sight.

"Should we get the tents?" Harry suggested.

"Right, follow me then," Robyn smiled timidly.


"Aoife? Are you alright?" Ron asked once he had found her sitting under a tree.

"I'm fine, Ron." She answered firmly.

"No. This is not how it's going to be, Aoife. If we're going to be married, you're going to have to trust and confined in me. I can't help you if you don't tell me what's wrong."

Aoife brought her knees to her chin as Ron settled down next to her, leaning on the thick trunk of the tree. He gave her all the time she needed to finally tell him what had put her in such a foul mood. "It's Calum," she finally said after several minutes. Ron nodded, he knew this morning's events had taken a toll on her. "We rushed here for nothing."

"What do you mean? You and Hermione are safer here."

"That doesn't matter. It won't deter him, it's too late for Hermione to be safe. He won't forget." She sighed, "we should never have invited you to Ireland. I was foolish enough to think he would have changed, he would have grown up, but he hasn't. It didn't take him long to prove that."

"What are you saying?"

"Hermione - she's not any safer here, she never will be until he gets what he wants. And he will, Ron. He will."

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