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         Hermione Weasley rocked Josiah on her hip as she stirred a pot of stew in the kitchen of The Burrow. Though she didn’t particularly like cooking, it had become her way of relaxing after a hard day of work at St. Mungo’s.

         “I’m home!” a welcome voice called from the front door. Various cries of delight came from all over the house, and the newest brood of the Weasley clan congregated on her husband’s body.

         “Welcome home, sweetheart,” Hermione said, kissing Ron. “How was your day?”

         “Pretty quiet,” which for Ron meant that he had been allowed to stay inside the Ministry of Magic building. “Come ’ere, Josiah.”

         “Thank you,” Hermione mouthed, grateful to be relieved of the weight. Almost a year old now, Josiah had recently gotten to be a bit of a load to carry around.

         “So how was your day, my honey?”

         The corruption of her former nickname never ceased to make her smile. “Luna had her baby today.”

         “In your ward?” Ron asked, worried. “Is she all right?”

         “Yes, she’s fine. She just had a couple complications we sorted out easily. The baby is fine too. Beautiful baby boy. Draco was so proud.”

         Ron chuckled. “For once he has a reason. I still can’t believe they ended up together.”

         “Some things are meant to be,” Hermione said with authority. She sniffed and gasped in horror, darting back into the kitchen to rescue dinner.

         Laughing, Ron followed. “Hey, get off, you little monsters,” he said affectionately to the children clinging to his person. He set Josiah down to crawl over to Hermione, and then swept little Ginny up for a brief whirl over his head. She shrieked happily and clutched his neck as he rested her against his chest.

         “Preoccupied?” Ron said to the rather panicked Hermione.

         “With seven children and a job at St. Mungo’s?” she shot back, pretending to be insulted. “My dear man, how could I possibly have time to be preoccupied?”

         Ron laughed heartily and put Ginny down. She toddled off with Justin and Belle, all three years old. Shannon, almost six, attempted to keep them quiet as Ron slipped Josiah out of the kitchen.

         “Was your family like this?” Hermione asked as she climbed onto a stepladder to get the bowls down.

         “A little further spread out, and a lot louder.”

         Hermione laughed. “I guess it would be. It’s hard sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

         Ron wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her neck. “I’m glad you feel that way.”

         Later, after the little ones were all in bed and Ron was quite loudly snoring, Hermione sat alone on the balcony, brushing her shorn but still wild hair. She had discovered that long hair and young children were not a good combination early on after Shannon’s birth. She smiled at the memory of Shannon clinging to her braids as though her life depended on it.

         Hermione walked back inside and laid the brush on the bureau. Ron kept snoring, but Hermione was too wound up to sleep yet.

         I wonder how Harry’s doing. I wish he’d write us or something.

         Hermione missed her best friend a lot. She knew Ron did too. But Harry had vanished soon after the Great War, even though he had ultimately been successful in killing Voldemort.

         Struck by inspiration, Hermione dug out her old book bag and found some parchment and a quill. She had been turning over a rather foreign concept for several days, and an idea of how to convey it had just presented itself.

         She dripped her quill in the inkpot, whispering to herself, “Abracadabra.” 


         Muggles think that word could put the world back in order, create a utopian society. I’m Muggle-born, yes, and I was raised to think fondly of magic, but I’ve known better for years.

         I’m twenty-six and married with seven kids (I was nineteen when I got married, but I’ve got a set of triplets – Shannon, my eldest, wasn’t born until after the Great War).

         I’m the head of the wizard “emergency room” at St. Mungo’s. I deal with crisis and catastrophe every day, but I have a family and good friends to help me along my way. That’s the real magic right there. No number of spells, wards, or curses could replace my current in the river of life.

         Why am I telling you this? Because I know what happens when you try to fight your way through this world along. Just when you think you’ve reached the top, someone kicks down your ladder, and you have to start over. (That’s called vicissitude, by the way.)

         Harry knew that. He went up against the Dark Lord alone anyway. He only managed to win because Ginny gave her life to save him (and the rest of the world, but I don’t think she was considering that at the time). When the Great Battle was over, she was only one of thousands who died in the crossfire.

         Ron works for the Auror Department now. They’re trying to find Harry. I know he’s alive because aside from Luna never being wrong, I know he’s much harder to find alive than dead. He’s out there somewhere, making a new path through life.

         We’re waiting. We love Harry like a brother because he is family. And family is something no spell can imitate.

         Abracadabra, you say? Try “I love you,” or “You matter to me.” Magic words don’t have to be spells.

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