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Later that afternoon, the group was ready to go into the city to look for a Medical Supply store. Carl was going to come with them to show them around a bit, and Mrs. Weasley was going to stay with Hermione

After a short portkey, they landed in what appeared to be a small store room. Righting themselves, everyone followed Carl out the door, which opened into a bustling open-air market.

“Where are we?” Ron asked, spinning in circles slightly to take it all in.

“Welcome to the Queen Victoria Market!” Carl said, “Well, the Wizarding bit of it, anyhow. Our market operates alongside the muggles. You can appearate in, or use one of the portkey stalls.”

Harry was impressed, this area was quite a bit larger than Diagon Ally, and rather than shops, everything was in stalls.

As they followed Carl, they passed stalls with cauldrons, potions ingredients, tall stacks of books, racks of robes, brooms, even owls.

Near the middle of the market, there was a stall that looked a bit more permanent than the rest, with high carved shelves, and a sturdy wooden counter.

“That’s where most of us get our wands.” Carl said, pointing.

Upon closer inspection, they noticed that the tall shelves did in fact contain hundreds of wand shaped boxes.

“Anyone need anything from the magical side of the market??” Carl asked.

Everyone shook their heads. “Righto, on to the Muggle side then.” Carl said, whistling whilst leading them between the aisles.

“Here we go.” Carl pointed to the side of a large building. “Just lean against the wall, you’ll slide right through.

“Platform nine and three quarters, anyone?” Bill said, leaning against the wall and disappearing onto the other side.

They all followed him through, and noticed that they were now in a section of the markets that seemed to sell meats and cheeses. The Muggles didn’t notice the group that slipped into their midst, because of the organized chaos going on around them.

It all smelled a bit strong, not bad, but certainly not a smell you would want in your home. It had the smell of things cooking, spices, fruit. Sellers were yelling prices back and forth, holding up big fish or cuts of lamb.

“This is very efficient!” Mr Weasley exclaimed, excitedly. “You can get utterly everything done in one trip!”

“Yeah, it works for us. The muggles just think there’s a full car park next to the building. The markets been here since 1878, so a lot of the stalls have been left to family; some of these people have worked here for decades. They remember you too, give good service to keep you coming back.” Carl said.

As though on queue, a large fairly hairy man who was stacking cheese behind the glass in his stall shouted, “Hey Carl! What’s this mob you’ve got with you?”

Carl grinned and stepped up to shake the mans hand over the glass. “Some of Ellie’s rellies from England.”

“Pommies, eh? You mob like cheese?” The man asked.

Ginny stepped up and answered, after everyone tripped over themselves a bit. “Yes sir, especially my brother Ron. He’s never met a cheese he didn’t like!”

“Sir? We’re not that fancy down the market Little Lady, name’s Sam.” Sam put his hand out to shake Ginny’s, and everyone else's in turn.

“Here, have a free sample! You won’t find a better cheese in the whole market!” Sam said proudly, doling out hunks of cheese for all.

Carl accepted a bit of cheese, and then said, “I’ve got to pick up some yellow for Ellie on the way back, save some for me?”

“Sure thing, sure thing!” Sam said, picking up a small wheel of cheese and putting it aside. “This mob with us?” He waggled his eyebrows as though he knew a secret.

Carl laughed, “Yeah, they’re some of ours. Mind you keep them out of trouble if you see them around again!”

“No problem.” Sam said, flicking a wand down his sleeve and doubling the size of everyones cheese. “If you’re ever looking for a way back to the other side, just keep your eyes open for me.”

They thanked Sam, and munched on their cheese as they wove their way through the crowds and back outside. There were still more stalls, these with fruits and veg, plus lots of muggle product of all sorts.

Out near the street, the buzz of the market still carried, and street performers added to the noise.

“Righto, there’s a pharmacist and a medical center in Victoria street.” Carl said, leading the way.

They made their way slowly up the street, first trying the pharmacist, and then moving to the medical center.

After a bit of questioning, and a quick befuddling charm, they had the things they needed.

Ginny had the bright idea of getting Hermione some new books to take back with them as well, so they browsed the shops around the market, and then in the market before they found several books on Australia for her.

Stopping back by Sam’s to pick up more cheese, they slipped back into the wizarding side of the market, and port-keyed back to Drovers Haven.




When they arrived back, Molly had lunch nearly on the table, and Hermione was installed near the end, with a book in one hand. Kreacher was fussing over her, trying to get her to accept a cup of tea.

“No Kreacher, I’m fine, thank you!” Hermione said, turning as they came in the door, “Oh, you’re back! Did you find it?”

“Yup.” Ginny said. “It’s going to need to be fitted though. Lunch first?”

“Of course!” Hermione said, strangely cheerful, considering the circumstances.

They all sat down at the table and tucked into lunch, recounting the events of the morning and turning over the cheese to Molly and the books to Hermione.

Hermione gushed over each book, “Brilliant! This is just what I’d needed! I don’t know nearly as much about Australian history as I should!”

After lunch Ron scooped Hermione up and carried her back to her room, with Ginny in their wake carrying the bag with the brace to be fitted.

After a few minutes, Ron appeared back downstairs and went outside to sit on the porch with George and Harry who seemed to be discussing the market as he heard George say, “I’d bet I could make as much out of one of those stalls as in the shop back in Diagon Ally.”

“Sure you could, maybe more as the cost of the stall is probably lower than that of the whole shopfront.” Harry chipped in, nodding to Ron as he sat down.

“What about Wheezes?” Ron asked, pouring himself a cup of tea from the pot on the table between them.

“I think I’m going to let Verity keep overseeing it.” George said. “She’s been doing a brilliant job, and we were planning on expanding and keeping her on as manager anyway. We... I, just hadn’t considered Australia as the next location.”

Ron looked saddened at Georges correction of tenses, but pleased that his brother was talking about the joke shop at all.

“Well you’re welcome here as long as you want mate.” Harry said. “It’d be nice to have the company. Maybe you could even take over the little house after Bill and Fleur move back into Shell Cottage.”

“That sounds brilliant.” George said with a smile. “So what are you going to do with this place anyway?”

Harry smiled too, “Get it working again. I’m going to talk to Carl about getting a manager in here to help start things up. I have no idea what needs to happen, but I want something to do. Something that doesn’t involve Dark Wizards, or the ministry, or even magic really.”

“You’re really gonna stay here mate?” Ron asked.

“Ron, you saw how things were today! I went to the busiest Wizard market in Australia and no one noticed me!” Harry exclaimed, “I couldn’t do that at home before Voldemort, now that he’s gone it’ll just be a hundred times worse.”

The three sat in silence for a few minutes, and then the sounds of Hermione making her way down the stairs interrupted the calm, “Drat! I’m going to fall on my face Ginny! I can’t do this!”

After a moment Ginny responded, “You’re doing brilliantly Hermione! Stairs are hard, and you’re learning to walk all over again. I didn’t expect you to make it out of the room today at all!”

After that there was a crash of Hermione falling down said stairs, and a shriek as she caught Ginny up in her fall.

The boys rushed inside to find the two tangled in a heap at the foot of the stairs, Hermione’s crutches caught between them.

“Are you ok?!” Ron cried, helping Hermione untangle herself, as Harry collected the crutches from the mess and gave Ginny an arm up.

“Nothing bruised but my ego.” Hermione spat, trying to get up.

“Slow down Hermione, remember how I told you to get up?” Ginny said. Taking the crutches from Harry and holding them in position for Hermione, she kept a close eye as Hermione braced herself on her bad leg and her hands, pushing herself up with her good leg.

Hermione reached the crutches and started forward to the couch, where she collapsed with exhaustion. She was mortified that she’d fallen down the stairs, particularly because Ron had been watching.

They’d all gotten injured in the war, but sitting in a heap at the bottom of the stairs unable to get up without help made Hermione feel useless and vulnerable. You survive the whole war only to turn into the damsel in distress at the end, She thought to herself, angrily wiping tears from her eyes before they could spill down her cheeks.

Ron slipped into the seat next to her and put an arm around her shoulders.

“We’re all broken Hermione,” He said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “We just know what’s broken with you. That’s the first step toward recovery.”

Hermione looked down at the brace on her leg, and back up a Ron, “Who’s going to keep you and Harry out of trouble now?!”

Ron broke into a grin, “Hermione! You’d still be nagging Harry and I if you were on your death bed! I think you have nagged Harry on his!”

Hermione tried to interrupt, but Ron kept going, “You are the craziest, know-it-all, bookworm I’ve ever met! That’s why I love you.”

Hermione stared at Ron, speechless, as he shifted off of the couch and helped her stand.

“Mione, you are the smartest, bravest, most beautiful witch I know. And thats how I know that you’ll overcome this and walk down the aisle at your wedding. That is,” Ron said, slipping onto one knee, “if you’ll marry me?”

Hermione clapped her hands over her mouth and stared down at Ron as the tears started all over again. She tried to speak, but the words caught in her throat, so she gave up and just nodded her head yes, her grin saying everything.

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