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    With some encouragement from Miss Andy (andharrywokeup) I wrote another chapter.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse into what it was like for Hermione to send her parents off to Australia.

    Ron stood quietly in the Granger’s kitchen watching Hermione as she sat at the table going over the list that was written in her neat scrawl.  He wondered if there’d ever be a day when he wouldn’t be surprised by her.  As he looked at the list over her shoulder, listening to her mumbling to herself about which she should do next, he couldn’t believe she was capable of doing all that was on the list.  It wasn’t the complexity of the magic involved in completing the tasks on the list; which was incredibly difficult, he knew better than anyone just how brilliant a witch she was.  It was the fact that she had had to break more than a dozen laws in order to complete it.


    “Blimey, Hermione,” he said in a low whisper, “I had no idea what all you had done before sending your parents away.”


    He looked at the list again, silently reading it.


                *Set all bills to automatic payment.


                *Enchant office building so that all who come to it, suddenly remember that Mum 

                  and Dad have gone off on sabbatical.


                *Do same for house


                *Move all money not needed to cover expenses from Granger accounts to new

                  ones opened for Wendell and Monica Wilkins.


    And then finally in a very un-Hermione-like shaky scrawl:


                *Modify Mum and Dad’s memories so they think they are Wendell and Monica, 

                  dentists with no children who have worked hard and are finally living their life-

                  long dream to go on sabbatical and explore Australia.


    “I had to make sure they were taken care of, didn’t I?  And that they would be able to return to their normal life afterward without losing their practice, or home.”  There was a slight tremor in her voice as she said it.


    “Of course you did.  It’s just all you told Harry and me was that you’d modified their memories.  I thought that was bloody brilliant, but this…this is…just amazing,” he said with complete awe.


    Hermione blushed slightly and looked at the list again.  She glanced around the cheerful kitchen she’d grown up in.  She and Ron had gotten the house put back in order over the past few days and it was almost time to go to Australia to find her parents.  She was anxious to see them again, and more than a little nervous as well.  What if she wasn’t able to reverse the spell?  What if her parents had decided they really liked Australia and didn’t want to return?  What if they were so furious with her for using magic on them and sending them away that they never wanted anything to do with her again?


    It was this last thought that had plagued Hermione the most.  And she felt the hot tears beginning to sting her eyes as it fluttered to the surface once more.  She closed her eyes in an attempt to keep them from falling.  Ron did not miss this; however and quickly sat down next to her and took her hand.


    “Hermione, love…what is it?”


    She opened her eyes and gave him a wane smile and quickly brushed the lone tear that had managed to escape away.


    “It’s nothing really, I’m just being silly.”  She turned back to her list and picked up her pen trying to recall what she needed to do to bring them home.  Ron was not to be swayed so easily, though.


    “Don’t give me that, it’s obviously something,” he put his finger under her chin and raised her face so she was looking at him, “please tell me.”


    She looked at him through her eyelashes, and saw so much love and concern in his blue eyes, that she could no longer contain her emotions and crumpled into his chest, as a huge sob broke free, followed by many others.  Ron was slightly taken aback.  He’d known she was upset, but didn’t realize she’d been keeping so much in.  It was only a moment, though, before he wrapped his long arms around her and pulled her closer to him.  He slowly stroked her back and hair, whispering quietly in her ear.  Telling her that he was there and that everything would be okay.  After several minutes her shaking seemed to calm and her breathing slowed, although still came in shaky gasps.  She pulled away and looked up at him, embarrassed to have fallen apart in such a way.


    “I…I’m sorry,” she said quietly.


    “Don’t be.  I want to be here for you, but it would be helpful if I knew what was wrong.”


    Hermione looked up into his eyes again and took a long, calming breath.  She looked back down at the list.  Then very quietly whispered, “What if they’re happy in Australia and don’t want to come back?  What if I’m not able to reverse the charm?  W-what if…what if they’re so angry with me for sending them away, they never want to see me again?” she said, losing herself to the sobs again.


    Ron hated seeing her so upset.  His girl was always so strong and sure, but he took a small amount of satisfaction in the fact that she wouldn’t share these fears with just anybody.  He wasn’t even sure she’d let Harry know what was truly bothering her.  He pulled her in close again, this time so that she was sitting on his lap.  He brushed her hair away from her face and kissed the tears away.


    “First of all, of course, you’ll be able to reverse the charm…you’re Hermione Granger, the brightest witch of our age.  Secondly, what if they do really like it in Australia?  It’s not like we can’t go and visit them.  And finally,” he leaned back a bit so that he could look her full in the face and she would know he meant every word, “your parents could never be so angry with you that they would push you away.  Look at how supportive they were when you found out you were a witch.  All they’ve ever wanted is for you to be safe and happy.  They’ll understand why you did what you did after you’ve explained it to them.”


    “Do you really think so?”


    “Of course, I do,” he looked down at the second piece of paper where Hermione had started a list of what needed to be done to retrieve her parents, “so, any idea where they might have gone in Australia?  It’s not exactly a small country.”


    “No, but, I put a tracking charm on them so once we get there, I should be able to find them.”


    “Tracking charm?  That’s not on your list,” he said with a small wave and a chuckle.


    “No, that occurred to me as I was modifying their memories as they slept.”


    “Brilliant…bloody brilliant,” he looked at the clock on the wall.  They were due back at the Burrow for dinner.  They would spend the night there tonight and then begin the journey to Australia in the morning.  They had gotten permission from Kingsley for the long-distance apparition necessary to travel all the way to Australia.  It was too far a distance to simply apparate there.  They would have to apparate in stages, stopping at designated apparition spots along the way.  “We really should head back to the Burrow.  Are you ready?”


    Hermione picked up her lists and put them inside the beaded bag.  She looked around the kitchen and living room, satisfied that everything was where it needed to be.  She walked over to the kitchen sink and splashed some water on her face in an attempt to hide the evidence of her tears.  She looked back at Ron and said, “As ready as I’ll ever be.”


    With that, she waved her wand and the extinguished the lights, Ron winked at her as he took her hand and spun on the spot.  She felt the all too familiar compression as she was squeezed into oblivion, and then before she could even get used to it, she was herself again and standing in the lane leading up to the Burrow.  She smiled as she looked at the ramshackle house that had been the source of so many of her happy times.  She looked up at Ron and squeezed his hand as they walked toward the gate leading to the back garden.  She saw a couple of gnomes look warily up at them as they scurried under the bush and giggled at the seemingly unending job of ridding the garden of them.  Perhaps it was time to just let the poor things live there.  She made a note to research garden gnomes a little more closely once she returned to school.

    ***A/N: Four years ago I began this story as a one shot.  I attempted to turn it into a longer short story, but sadly, life and this particular muse did not cooperate.  After re-reading it, I believe that while it doesn't follow Ron and Hermione on their journey to Australia it doesn't leave the reader hanging.  So I am going to mark this one as complete, because having a WIP lingering over me for so many years has been bothering me.  I do hope you enjoyed this short story.


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