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Finding Hermione’s parents’ dentist office was as simple as asking the driver if he knew where it was and he pointed them in the right direction. They only had to walk a block and a half before they came upon the office. It was a small white building with columns in the front. When they walked in there were a few people in the waiting room. The whole inside of the building was surgically clean and would make Aunt Petunia proud. Silk flowers brought a certain warmth and a splash of colour to the room. Hermione walked up to the reception window.

“Can I help you, dear?” the assistant asked.

“Yes, I was wondering if there are any openings today?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact we just had a whole family cancel on us, it’s freed up most of our day. Would you like to be written in?”

“Yes, please.”

“Do you have insurance?”

“No, I’ll be paying cash.”

“Okay, and what do you need done?”

“Just a cleaning.”

Harry knew that she didn’t really need a Muggle dentist cleaning, they could get a thorough clean magically from a healer. They all had done so after the final battle when they had gone to St. Mungo’s for the injuries they had gotten.

“Alright, dearie, it’ll be about thirty minutes. There’s one person ahead of you for Doctor Wilkins and the other Doctor Wilkins just started with another patient. You’re welcome to wait it out in the sitting room.”

“Thank you,” Hermione said. She rejoined the others and they all sat down. Ron reminded Harry of Arthur, Ron’s father, as he exclaimed over the different things in the Muggle magazines and how the pictures did not move. Harry and Hermione had to keep shushing him when he was getting too loud. The other patient in the room probably thought they were a bunch of nutters. It wasn’t too long before Hermione’s dad came out to call in the next patient and the man who was waiting went into the back with him. Tears filled Hermione’s eyes at the sight of her father. Ron gave her a hug and comforted her.

“You going to be alright, Hermione?” Ginny asked.

“Yeah, I just…it’s been a while since I’ve seen him. I’m so afraid of how mad they’ll be at me when they find out what I’ve done.”

“I’m sure they’ll realize you did it to keep them safe,” Harry told her, “that what you did was out of love.” These words seemed to calm Hermione. Ginny had a pondering look on her face but did not say anything.

It was Hermione’s mother who called her into the back. The last patient, a woman, walked out as Hermione walked in. The assistant let Hermione’s mother know they were free to close the office early after Hermione was done. Harry felt a little relief at this because it meant they didn’t have to wait around for very long to follow the Grangers home. A little time passed and Hermione reappeared with tears welling in her eyes, her mother behind her.

“Are you sure you’re alright, dear?”

“I-I’m fine. My mouth is just a bit sore now is all,” Hermione lied.

“Oh, I didn’t realize you’re teeth were so sensitive. They look impeccably well cared for.”

“Thank you,” Hermione said as she paid the bill. She finished the business transaction then rushed outside. Ron hurried after her to comfort her. Harry and Ginny weren’t too far behind him. They found Hermione crying facing a large green hedge on the side of the building.

“Hermione?” Ron stepped closer to her with caution.

“I didn’t think it would be so h-hard. It hurts s-so m-much,” Hermione stammered out between sobs. “They don’t recognize me. I m-mean I knew they wouldn’t but…” she buried her face into Ron’s chest. Ron did his best to console her. Harry felt a sudden wave of guilt that it was his fault that drove Hermione to such lengths to have to protect her parents’ safety. Harry kept his thoughts to himself.

By the time Ron got Hermione to wipe away her tears on a kerchief he conjured for her, her parents emerged from the office. Thankfully tailing them wasn’t too troublesome because the Granger’s walked home, Harry wasn’t sure how Hermione had planned to follow them if they’d driven. He asked her his query to answer his curiosity.

“Oh, well I sort of bugged my mum when she was cleaning my teeth,” she answered matter-of-factly. “If we lose sight of them then I can use my wand to point us in the right direction.”

“Kind of like the spell I used in the maze to use my wand as a compass?” 

“Exactly.”

They were a good distance behind the Grangers and had not been spotted by them. The Grangers were deep in conversation, or so it seemed by Mr. Granger’s hand gestures. They could not hear anything that was being said.

“So how are we doing this?” Ginny asked.

“Well, the reversal spell is simple enough in theory but I obviously need to be able to concentrate. Not to mention we can’t be seen practicing magic in front of Muggles, so we’ll have to be discreet. We need to get inside the house without attracting too much attention to ourselves.” They all thought on it for a bit until the Grangers finally came to a small two story house.

“There’s some windows we might be able to climb up to and unlock.”

“In broad daylight, honestly, Ron,” Hermione scoffed.

“Why don’t Harry and I go in and ask to use, what do you call it, the telephone? Then when we get inside we can freeze your mum and dad and let you two in,” Ginny suggested.

“What about the Trace? You’re underage,” Ron pointed out.

“They won’t be able to know who is casting the spell only that Ginny is around magic being cast. Hermione would be recognized from her appointment and two men seems threatening, they wouldn’t let both of us in,” Harry reasoned.

Ron and Hermione went around the corner of some hedges while Ginny and Harry walked on to the front door of the house. Harry tucked his wand up his sleeve and he noticed Ginny discretely doing the same. Harry knocked on the door and a short moment later Mrs. Granger answered the door.

“Hello, we were wondering if we might use your telephone to call for a ride?” Harry asked cordially.

“Of course, it’s just through here,” she said leading them into the house to a table in the hallway where the phone was.

“Who is it, dear?” Mr. Granger emerged from a side room.

It happened quite quickly. Harry looked at Ginny and she caught his eye. He gave her a quick barely perceptible nod which she returned. They drew their wands in one fluid motion and cast a full-body-bind on the Grangers. Ginny had targeted Mrs. Granger, Harry’s target had been Mr. Granger. The Grangers couldn’t move but they could still see and hear everything. Harry could only imagine the fear running through their minds. Ginny went to the door to signal Ron and Hermione to come in. As the other two made their way to the house Harry moved the Grangers to a better place than the floor.

“Mobilicorpus,” he set them skilfully side by side on the sofa. “I’m really sorry about this. It will all make sense to you in a bit when Hermione makes you remember.”

Hermione’s eyes got watery again seeing her parents in a full-body-bind. Harry was glad he thought to move them to the couch rather than leaving them on the floor, if he hadn’t he was sure Hermione would be crying even harder. As it was, she kept apologizing to them over and over as she took out her wand and knelt before them.

“Is there anything we can do to help?” Ron asked her.

“No, I just need to be able to concentrate so I need everyone to try to be quiet,” Hermione told them. She closed her eyes and began to breathe deeply; it was almost as if she were going into a trance. After a bit of time she raised her wand and pointed it at her father. In a barely audible whisper she began to chant a complex reversal spell. She repeated her actions on her mother. When she finished she broke into sobs yet again, new tears making fresh tracks down her cheeks.

“I’m s-so s-sorry! Please, don’t be angry. It was the only way I could think to keep you safe!” Hermione cried. Harry lifted the body-bind off of the Grangers. He waited with baited breath to see what their reactions would be. It was Hermione’s mother who made the first move.

“Hermione? What…how…?” she was still dazed and confused, both of them were. It was as if their brains needed time to process what had happened until now. Then Mrs. Granger flew off the sofa and threw her arms around her daughter.

“Oh, honey, my baby girl,” she cried squeezed her tight. “I had dreams with you in them but couldn’t remember who you were. But you’re okay?” she pulled back to inspect Hermione, “You’re not hurt?”

“No, Mum, I-I’m fine,” she answered, wiping away her tears.

“Are we in danger? Did anyone follow us?” Mrs. Granger asked.

“No, we’re safe,” Ron answered.

“The war, is it over then?” Mr. Granger spoke at last.

“Yes, for the most part,” Harry answered as Hermione hugged her father.

“And you’re all okay?” Mrs. Granger asked. Harry shrugged, Ron looked at the floor as did Ginny, Hermione solemnly nodded her head.

“Is it safe to go home?” Hermione’s mom asked.

“Yes, that’s why we came,” Hermione said sounding a little brighter.

“It will be a while before we can return. We have patients here we have an obligation to, not to mention this house to pack up and sell,” Mr. Granger said rather stiffly.

“I…I understand,” Hermione said, putting on a brave face, the fresh tears welling up in her eyes betraying her. “If you need help packing we can do most of it magically for you if you’d like?”

“That’s nice of you,” Mrs. Granger answered before her husband. “I’m afraid we don’t have rooms for you for the night, though. I suppose I could rustle up some blankets…”

“That’s okay, Mum, we brought sleeping bags. It’s still early though, so if you want to show us a room we can start packing…”

“Sure, sure, follow me,” and she led them upstairs to their bedroom. She took out a weeks worth of clothes for her and her husband and set them aside then told them they could pack the rest.

“Hermione, Ron, did you guys send a message to Dad to let him know we’re here?” Ginny asked.

“Mmhm, I already did when we were outside,” Hermione answered.

“Oh, alright then.”

Harry conjured some boxes and they set to work. Harry, Ron, and Hermione used magic to pack but Ginny didn’t want to press her luck so she didn’t. She packed the fragile items by hand. Harry’s packing was okay, Ron’s was kind of sloppy and Hermione’s was, of course, perfect. They spent the rest of the day going from room to room and packing everything they could. Mr. Granger would stop in now and again and Ron would start to fidget under his gaze. Mrs. Granger ordered pizza for supper and after they ate Hermione disappeared with her mother for a while. They managed to pack all the non-essentials in the kitchen before quitting for the night. They rolled out their sleeping bags in the living room.

“Hey, Hermione, do you have that parchment , quill and ink?” Harry asked her interrupting her and Ron. Hermione was showing Ron the television which he found fascinating. At first Ron thought it was like a large Wizard photo but when he realized there was sound and that the pictures told a story he was drawn into it. He had just recently been chastised by Hermione because he had pressed his face against the screen to see if he could look over to a nice looking blonde who had just strutted out of the scene.

“It doesn’t work like that, Ronald. Yes, Harry, just give me a second.” She found her beaded bag and dug out the quills, ink and parchment. Not only did she give Harry parchment she also gave some to Ron and took some for herself. She then turned off the television.

“Hey, I was watching that,” Ron complained.

“Yes, but Harry has the right idea, we might as well get these reports for Gringotts done and over with.”

“Gee, thanks, Harry,” Ron scowled.

Harry ignored him and started writing up his report. Ron announced his done first and he crawled into his sleeping bag before Hermione could say otherwise. Out of habit she proof-read his paper, making corrections when necessary. When she finished reading it she put it away and went back to her own paper.

“How was it?” Harry asked wondering what Ron had written down.

“Fine. Short, but it covered the key points,” She told him as she got back to writing. Harry looked over to Ginny, who was curled up in a chair, as she quickly averted her gaze. Had she been watching him? He wondered what was going through her mind. The rapid scratching of Hermione’s quill on parchment brought Harry’s mind back to where it was supposed to be, on his report. After a little longer than an hour Ron was snoring, Ginny had fallen asleep in the chair and Hermione finished writing her report. She proof-read it then yawned and stretched. She went to the loo and by the time she came back Harry had finished his own report. Hermione read it over and when she finished she carefully rolled it up and added to her bag with Ron’s and her own.

“You know, Harry, that was very good. You had a lot of good information in your report that Gringotts will be thankful for. Things I didn’t even think about. I think that’s what makes you so good at fighting Dark Wizards and Dark Magic, you notice things other people wouldn’t even think twice about. Add that to your natural instincts and it’s a winning combination.”

“Er, thanks, Hermione,” Harry said. There was a weird silence between them for a moment. “So, are you going back to Hogwarts?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I am. I mean I don’t really feel right if I don’t finish school, that probably sounds stupid. It just…I don’t know…It’s just important to me.”

“It’s not stupid, Hermione. I was seriously thinking about it too.”

“But you’re not going back, are you?” it was more statement than question.

“No, not if Kingsley is offering me a job. I mean it’s a huge opportunity to end the corruption in the Ministry. If I can be an Auror without going back to school, why not, right? I just feel that for me it would be like taking a step backward, rather then forward, compared to that.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figured you’d say. Hogwarts just won’t be the same without you,” she said her eyes getting a little misty.

“Yeah, but you’ll still have Ginny and Ron.”

“Yeah, Ginny’s company will help but I don’t think Ron will be coming back either.”

“Why, did he say something?”

“No, I just don’t see him going back to school, do you?”

“No,” Harry chuckled, “not really. He never really cared for school anyway.”

“Exactly,” she said as she gazed lovingly at Ron’s sleeping form.

“Well, there’s always Hogsmeade weekends. Besides, I don’t think Professor McGonagall would mind too much if we come to visit every now and then.”

“Yeah, I guess,” she said with sadness in her voice. She crawled into her sleeping bag which was set up beside Ron’s. “Goodnight, Harry.”

“Goodnight.”

Harry went to use the lavatory and shut out the light on his way back. The moon was bright enough for him to see clearly once he let his eyes adjust. He stood in the doorway for a while watching over his friends as they slept. Hermione had fallen asleep quickly with her head resting on Ron’s chest, his arm wrapped behind her. Ginny was still sleeping peacefully in the chair. Harry picked up her sleeping bag and covered her with it.

Harry hoped Ginny would make her decision in favour of him, because he knew his heart belonged to her. If she decided not to see him again he didn’t know what he’d do. It occurred to him that what he was feeling now must be nothing like what Ginny must have felt all year not knowing where he was or if he was okay. It was that thought that reminded him to have patience and give her time. He crawled into his own sleeping bag and fell asleep and when he dreamed, this time, he dreamt of Ginny.

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