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The next day was spent readying the river cottage for Hermione's parents, which in Mrs. Weasley's opinion meant cleaning it from top to bottom. No one really seemed to mind the work, and they all set about making sure not a single speck of dust would be found when the Grangers arrived.

This gave Harry plenty of time to sneak away and place the gifts he had purchased for his friends around the lunch table, so when everyone came trudging back to the big house at midday, they arrived to a party of sorts.

"What on earth is all this?" Mr. Weasley asked, seeing the mountain of wrapped gifts on the table.

"Well," Harry started, shying a bit, "I was just thinking, now that we've found Hermione's parents, the war really feels over. I know that we won't ever be able to forget it, and that we still have a long way to go until everything is normal again, but I wanted to do something fun and shut that door behind us for good."

Just then, Kreacher uncovered a great cake he'd been hiding, and everyone cheered.

They opened Harry's presents, all exclaiming that he shouldn't have gotten them anything, but knowing he would never return the items.

"Oh, Hermione... I have your present here." Harry said, retrieving the large box from his study. "But I'm going to have to ask Ron to step out of the room while you open it."

Hermione looked a bit confused, but Harry whispered something in Ron's ear and he leapt up and went out onto the porch.

"What's going on Harry?" Hermione asked, still confused as she took the package he handed her.

Harry smiled. “Just open it!”

Hermione lifted the lid off the large white box, and began to dig through a mountain of tissue paper. She gasped when she finally saw what was shrouded beneath the tissue. “Harry! You can’t, it’s too much!”

“It’s not too much, it’s exactly enough.” Harry grinned. “Besides, there’s no way I was going to risk you not finding the same dress later on.”

Hermione, misty eyed, drew the dress from it’s box and showed it to the others, who ooo’d and ahhh’d appropriately. “Thank you Harry, I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you!”

“Just be happy Hermione,” Harry said, quietly. “That’ll be thanks enough.”

“So can I come back in, or am I banished outside for the rest of the night?” Ron bellowed from the porch.

Ginny scooped up the box and darted up to hide the dress in her room before Ron was allowed back in the kitchen.

With lunch finished, and the gifts put away, the attention of the group shifted to the eminent arrival of Hermione's parents. The Grangers had said they would leave early that morning for Drovers Haven, but their exact arrival time would still be a bit of a surprise.

As the afternoon slipped into early evening Hermione, not wanting to stray too far away, wandered over to the little house and inexplicably found herself chatting to Fleur. While the two had never been close, they slipped into an easy conversation in the sitting room, which Fleur had transfigured into a much fancier space than the rest of the farm.

"Fleur, this looks incredible!" Hermione gushed, "Is this all transfigured?"

"Oui, it is." Fleur smiled, "my mother taught me most of zese tricks, she eez very skilled at household charms."

"I would love it if you would teach me some of them one day." Hermione said, privately thinking that the frills were not her taste, but the charms could probably be modified.

"But of course," Fleur grinned, "after all, ve are to be seesters by marriage, are ve not?"

"I hadn't thought of that!" Hermione said, with a smile. "I've never had any siblings, and now I'll have lots!"

"Vell, you 'ave not had much time to adjust to zee idea, 'ave you?" Fleur pointed out.

"Yes, and until I found my parents, I didn't let myself get excited." Hermione admitted. "I felt like I couldn't move on with my life until they were able to move on with theirs. Of course, now I'm quite worried that they will be furious at me for altering their memories."

"I think zey will understand, you were only trying to protect them after all. It can be hard to explain our world to Muggles I think," Fleur went on, "it is hard to impress on them ze dangers of a world they cannot see."

"Yes, but I still think they'll be cross." Hermione blushed, "and I hate to think what they'll say when they see my leg."

"Hermione, just as I told Bill when he vas hurt by Greyback, your injury shows your bravery." Fleur exclaimed, "It is a testament to all you did to protect others; for people you don't know and vill never meet."

"I'll try to remember that." Hermione said, and blushed again. She had rarely heard the French girl speak so passionately. She felt a bit guilty at the jealousy she had felt towards Fleur when they first met during the Tri-Wizard Tournament, but she was able to see after all this time what the Goblet of Fire had known all along: Fleur was a strong, brave, and capable Witch.

"Hermione, may I tell you a secret?" Fleur whispered, "somezing only Bill knows?"

"Oh, of course. I would never tell anyone!" Hermione agreed.

"I am going to 'ave a baby!" Fleur grinned. "I don't want to tell the 'ole family yet until I am further along."

"You mean until you're ready to have Molly put you on permanent bed rest you mean," Hermione laughed, "Oh Fleur, that's wonderful news! I'm so happy for you!"

“Thank you!" Fleur said with another grin. "It is well that Charlie had to return to ze dragon shelter, because if Harry will let us, I'd like to change the spare room into a nursery!”

“Oh I’m sure he would be thrilled!” Hermione grinned. “And this will give Teddy a playmate!”
“That’s true!” Fleur smiled. “You know, when ‘arry was chosen during the Tri-Wizard Tournament I was so upset because I thought it was unfair that he was included. I never would have thought I’d be living in his home.”

“Well we were all a bit at odds with each other that year.” Hermione laughed. “I think the stress of the tournament just compounded all the other nonsense going on at the time. I was so jealous of you, you know… Ron was so infatuated with you that he never even noticed I was a girl.”

“Yes, well that was before I had learned how to fully control my Veela blood.” Fleur admitted. “It gave me a lot of raw power for ze tournament, but I didn’t have much finesse.”

“You know, I never really thought about that.” Hermione said, her curious nature suddenly taking over the conversation. “About how it might be difficult to live with that kind of power. You had changed so much since the we met, I just figured it was the war that had changed you… but it’s really you controlling your Veela power..”

“Oui, it was… it is!” Fleur agreed. “Ze war, it changed me as well, but now that I can contain my Veela blood, it is much easier to get along with people. I feel as though I understood ‘arry in that way. It’s difficult to live with something inside you that wants to control ze way you act.”

“That’s intriguing.” Hermione said, thoughtfully. “Please don’t think me rude, but how do you control it? It’s really fascinating!”

Fleur laughed, “It’s ok ‘ermione, I am not offended. Although I don’t think it is something I can explain… It’s almost as though I keep that part of myself in a box.”

“Really?” Hermione was still curious. “Do you ever draw on that power?”

“Certainly.” Fleur grinned, she closed her eyes and let her Veela side take over. It transformed her before Hermione’s eyes from the girl who had been sitting on the sofa with her hair messily gathered in a bun, wearing her husband’s shirt, into the creature they all met at the Tournament.

“That’s remarkable!” Hermione said, trying to identify the difference. “You haven’t changed at all, and yet you’ve completely changed!”

Fleur laughed, the sound ringing out like bells, and waggled her eyebrows at Hermione, “Bill rather likes when I open up my Veela box.”

The two girls were still laughing when Ron came into the house calling, “Hermione, your parents are… Merci!” He stumbled back a step when he noticed Fleur. Looking at the floor and trying not to stare, he continued, “Your parents just pulled into the main drive.”

Hermione and Fleur laughed again, and Fleur drew back her magic. “Eet is ok Ronald, you cannot ‘elp it!”

Ron blushed and walked over to Hermione to help her up. “Come on, Harry’ll want you to lift the charm.”

They said goodbye to Fleur and started back to the main house. “Did you know she could do that?” Ron asked.

“What, turn on the Veela charm?” Hermione teased.

“Is that what she was doing?” Ron asked.

“Yes, she learned how to control her Veela power, and she was showing me what happens when she lets go of it.” Hermione explained.

“Oh.” Was all Ron said. He was about to ask another question, when Hermione caught her crutch in a rabbit hole and tumbled to the ground. “Mione! Are you ok?”

“Drat.” Hermione spat, scrambling to try and get up. “I shouldn’t try and leave the other crutch behind. I keep falling down.”

“Here, let me help.” Ron said, offering Hermione an arm.

“I can do it myself Ronald!” Hermione cried, pushing him away, unfortunately, this only put her more off balance and she fell back into the dust. She growled in frustration and spun around looking for her crutch, which had fallen just out of reach. “Bloody hell, I’m bloody useless.”

“No, you’re just doing everything the hard way.” Ron pointed out; he crouched down and lifted Hermione up, carrying her to the porch. Hermione didn’t struggle, as Ron was expecting, she just stared at the ground with a look of defeat on her face.

“Mione, it’s ok to ask for help.” Ron pointed out, pushing the door open with his shoulder and bringing Hermione into the kitchen.

“I’ve tried telling her that one too.” Harry called from inside his study. “She didn’t listen to me either!”

“Will both of you just sod off.” Hermione snapped. “I know you don’t think it’s a big deal to have to be carried everywhere, but I assure you, it’s humiliating and degrading and… and… ugh!”

“Well, lets just pretend we’re practicing for the wedding then.” Ron grinned, “Isn’t it tradition to carry the bride over the threshold?”

“My parents will be here any second, and my crutch is still out on the lawn.” Hermione groaned.

“No it’s not, it just here.” said George, who had just come into the kitchen. “Although, I must say Hermione, this form of transportation really suits you, plus it gives Ronniekins something to do.”

At that moment, the Grangers car pulled up next to the house, and Hermione’s parents stepped out and looked around. Mr. Weasley was out front and invited them in to the sitting area where Ron quickly deposited Hermione on the sofa, and set her crutch beside her.

As the Grangers settled in, Mrs. Weasley offered them tea as the house elves had been sent to Bill and Fleurs until the Grangers memories could be restored.

“You sure you’re comfortable with this Hermione?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Yes, I’ll… I’ll start with mum.” Hermione all but whispered.

She turned to her mother and pulled her wand out of her sleeve, and with a complicated twist of her wrist she called out “Restituet!”

For a moment nothing happened, the Grangers simply stared at Hermione like she was nuts. Then, Mrs. Granger closed her eyes with a gasp, and gripped the sides of her head in pain. “What’s happening?!”

“You just have a bit of a headache,” Mrs. Weasley explained, “It will pass in a moment.”

“That’s normal.” Bill whispered to Hermione. “You did it perfectly, it’ll take a moment to settle in. Go ahead and do the spell on your dad.”

“Restituet.” Hermione repeated, twisting her wand towards her father.

The Grangers both groaned for another moment, until finally Mrs. Granger looked up and asked “Hermione?”

“Mum!” Hermione cried, and grabbing her crutch, crossed the room as quickly as she could into Mrs. Granger’s arms.

“Mione, what in the world?” Mrs. Granger stammered, still trying to sort out her reality.

At that moment, Mr Granger snapped out of it, “What the bloody hell is going on here?”

“Well, um, dad…” Hermione started, and then failed to begin explaining.

To everyones complete surprise, Ron spoke up and started filling in the blanks. He carefully described how Hermione had modified their memories for their protection, he gave them a very simplified version of the past years events, and the battle, everything leading up to their move to Australia. “So once Hermione remembered that you had thought of starting a farm, we found you quite quickly, and here you are.”

“So there’s no foreman job, and I’ve apparently quick my lucrative dental surgery, and lost a year of my life because my daughter thought she knew what was best” Mr. Granger snapped. He stared furiously back and forth between Hermione and Mrs. Granger, before getting up and stomping out the front door.

“Just let him cool off a bit, Mione.” Mrs. Granger stammered, “This is… a lot to take in.”

“I know.” Hermione said, looking at the floor. “I knew he wouldn’t understand if I tried to explain it last summer.”

“I’m not sure I understand now, sweetie. You… fought a war while we were in Australia?” Mrs. Granger asked, trying to clarify the pieces she had.

The Weasleys had all drifted out of the house to try and give Hermione some privacy. Ron and Harry had moved to the kitchen table, but refused to be out of earshot.

“Yes, well… we were only fighting during the battle. Most of the time we were searching for… the bad guy.” Hermione finished lamely.

“And, you got hurt, in this battle?” Mrs. Granger asked, pointing to Hermione’s crutch.

“Um, n-no. It was before. We got captured, um, and there’s a torture curse, that… caused me to lose the use of my leg.” Hermione explained. “Well, part of my leg. Um, Harry? Could you undo your disillusionment?”

“Oh, sure.” Harry said, crossing over to Hermione, and flicking his wand at her leg, revealing her brace.

“I can’t move most of it.” Hermione explained. “I can’t feel it, the brace gives me the stability to stand. Most of the time.”

“Oh.” Was all Mrs. Granger could come up with. “So, it doesn’t hurt?”

“No, not unless I overdo it.” Hermione explained. “I have a book about it, if you want to read more.”

“Yes, that would probably be very helpful.” Mrs. Granger agreed, suddenly leaning over and hugging Hermione. “I feel so strange, as though no time has passed… but I remember the last year, I felt like something was missing.”

“I just wanted you to be safe, if something happened to me.” Hermione explained again.

“I know, honey… It will take some getting used to though.” Mrs. Granger said, with a sad smile. “Let’s go find your father.

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