Hermione got up bright and early the next morning. Putting on a pot of coffee, she started making a list of the things she wanted to get in Diagon Alley. It was Saturday, so she knew that Ron would want to go with her, but he was still sleeping.

As she made the list of the things she'd need, she thought about how proud her parents would be to see her now. It was coming up on four years now since they'd been killed. She remembered the day like it was yesterday…

"You are doing so well, Miss Granger. After today we'll stop for the holidays and resume after the new year. Then it will be just a few more months and your training will be complete." Master Smythe smiled at her. "Have you thought about what you'd like to do once your training is complete?"

It hadn't taken Hermione long to reply to him. "I've always dreamed about teaching at Hogwarts. I'd love to – "

Just then a terrier bounded into the room and up to Hermione.

"'Mione, I have to come and see you. I'll be there in ten minutes," the terrier said in Ron's voice.

A sense of foreboding came over Hermione and her heart started pounding. "That's Ron. He's an Auror. Something must have happened. I hope Harry's okay," she explained to Master Smythe. What if another Dark Lord had arisen? It had only been three years since Voldemort's fall and there were still Death Eaters around.

Master Smythe poured her a cup of tea, seeing how shaken up she was. "Why don't you sit down? We can stop for the day, or at least until you know what is going on."

Hermione accepted the cup of tea and sat down, feeling her heart pounding. True to his word, ten minutes later Ron appeared, but he wasn't alone. Harry was with him. They both looked very serious.

Ron walked over to her and gave her an embrace, then took her hand. Harry drew up another chair so that Ron could sit next to her and stood on her other side.

"Hermione, Harry and I were called out on a raid this morning," Ron said quietly. "It was at your parents' practice." He put his arms around her, all professionalism gone. "I'm so sorry, Mione."

Hermione gasped as a sharp pain went through her breast. Her heart was breaking…

A tear ran down her cheek as Hermione remembered the painful memory. She could still remember that pain in her chest. In fact, it still hurt from time to time. She supposed it would never go away. She fished in her pocket for a tissue and wiped away her tear.

"Morning, Mione," Ron said, coming into the kitchen.

"Morning," she said, trying to brighten up. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"

"Only 'cause you weren't beside me," he replied with a grin, coming over to kiss her. "Whatcha doing?"

"Making a shopping list. I wanted to go to Diagon Alley today and get some items for my classroom. I also wanted to owl Master Smythe and let him know about going to work at Hogwarts, since I told him that was my dream. I know he'll be happy for me." Hermione couldn't keep the sadness out of her voice

Ron noticed the tissue on the table and the tear track on her cheek, "Hermione, what's wrong?"

"I was just thinking about how proud my parents would be of me, that's all. It's hard to believe it's been almost 4 years since they died."

Gently running his hand over her cheek, Ron looked at her tenderly. "I know, Mione." He wrapped his arms around her and gave her a hug.

Several minutes later, they broke apart. "There's coffee if you want some. I thought maybe we could get breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron. I'm sure you want to go to Quality Quidditch Supplies. Guess I'd better check our potion supplies too since we may be running short on some things. I know that I'm getting low on the antacid potion so I'll have to brew some more of that."

"Ok. Let me go get dressed and we'll get going,"

Fifteen minutes later Hermione and Ron were in Diagon Alley.

"Do you have your list, love?"

"Yes, let's go get some breakfast. Then I'd like to get some new robes for teaching. That will take the longest."

The Leaky Cauldron wasn't very busy that time of day since it was early, and they were happy to see Neville and Hannah having breakfast there.

"Neville, Hannah! Great to see you!" Hermione said as they went over to their table.

"Good to see you too," Hannah replied. "Do you want to join us?"

"You don't mind?" Ron asked.

"Of course not. I'm waiting for the rush to come in when everyone starts coming shopping for their school supplies." Hannah beckoned to the waitress, who brought Ron and Hermione some menus.

Sitting down, Hermione and Ron looked over their menus and placed their orders. "How are you enjoying teaching at Hogwarts, Neville?"

"I'm loving it. It's hard to believe I'm going into my third year now. How about you? How have you been doing?"

"I'm doing well. You might have to give me some pointers on keeping students in line. It's funny that you mentioned people coming here shopping for school supplies, Hannah, because that's what I am doing here," Hermione said with a grin.

It took Hannah and Neville a moment to realize what she just said.

"You mean – you're teaching at Hogwarts this year, too?" Neville asked.

"Yes, Minerva sent me an owl yesterday and offered me the Transfiguration position. So of course, I said yes!" Hermione grinned broadly.

"I'm so happy for you, Hermione! I always knew that one day you'd be back at Hogwarts!" Neville said. "After all, look at all the help you gave me."

"And Harry and me," Ron chimed in.

Just then their food was brought to their table and the next few minutes were spent eating while Neville told stories about some of the more memorable times he had teaching over his first two years. after a while the Leaky Cauldron started getting fuller and Hermione and Ron decided it was time to go. He waved the waitress over, but Hannah told him not to worry about it.

"You're out friends. We're happy to treat you to a meal."

"Thank you, Hannah. You and Neville must come over to our flat sometime. We live in Hogsmeade. Maybe we can do that before the start of term."

"We'd like that," Neville replied.

Saying their goodbyes and leaving a generous tip for the waitress, Ron and Hermione left the Leaky Cauldron and went into Diagon Alley.

"Why don't you go in Quality Quidditch Supplies while I go get fitted for robes unless you need new dress robes too?"

Ron thought for a moment. "I think I'm okay with dress robes for now. The ones you got me when Harry and I graduated from Auror training are still like new. Besides, I want to go to Gringotts. Do you have enough money on you, love?"

"I have my card that's linked to my account, so I'm good." She was glad that Gringotts had adopted a card similar to the Muggle debit cards which removed the need for carrying a lot of heavy coins around.

"Do you want to meet up at the Apothecary in an hour? Will that be enough time for you to be measured and get your robes?"

"I think so." Standing on her tiptoes, she gave him a kiss. "I love you. Be careful."

"You too."

They both knew that there were still a few rogue Death Eaters around and there was always the possibility of danger. The fact that the two of them were well-known in the wizarding community for being friends of Harry Potter and helping take down Voldemort made them prime targets for any sympathizers who might still be lurking about.

Hermione sighed as she watched Ron walk off in the direction of Gringotts. Would she ever be able to stop worrying about whether a Death Eater would sneak up and attack her, whether another Dark Lord would arise? She made her way into Madam Malkins and the bell tinkled merrily over the door.

"Oh, good morning, Miss Granger. How are you today?" Miss Malkin asked warmly.

"Fine, thank you. I have been hired at Hogwarts and I wanted to get some new robes. I'd like some robes for teaching and some robes to wear for the special feasts."

"I'm sure we can arrange that," Madam Malkin said, coming over to her. "Let me just measure you and we'll see what we have available. Do you have a preference on color?" she asked as her tape measure magically measured Hermione.

"Well, I was a Gryffindor. So at least one set of robes in red and gold would be nice. But the Sorting Hat almost put me in Ravenclaw, so blue would also be nice."

"What will you be teaching?"

"Transfiguration. Nothing really messy that I have to worry about getting dirty, like Potions or Herbology."

"Okay. Why don't you look around and see if there are any robes you like and then I'll fit them to your sizes?"

Hermione looked around the shop and found a few that she really liked. Then she found a gorgeous set of robes in emerald green. She smiled as she remembered the set that Professor McGonagall wore on September 1st her first year at Hogwarts and how nice she looked at them. Without a second thought, she chose the emerald green ones, too.

"I think I'm ready," she said, handing the robes to Madam Malkin.

Madam Malkin made the required alterations on the robes and rang her up.

"Thank you very much. Have a great day."

"You too, Miss Granger."

Hermione shrunk her bag down and put it in her pocket. She realized that there was one possible problem with her buying the emerald green robes – what would Ron say? After all, green was the Slytherin color. But if he did say something, she would simply point out about Professor McGonagall wearing them. She'd liked the lavender robes too, but the last thing she wanted was to wear robes that reminded him of his old girlfriend or their fraud of a teacher from their second year.

Diagon Alley was much more crowded now. She smiled as she saw young students with their parents shopping for the coming school year. Was it really 14 years ago that she came to Diagon Alley for the first time with her parents as an almost 12-year-old? The time had gone by so fast. A sense of sadness overcame her and another wave of heartburn reminded her that she was meeting Ron at the Apothecary. A familiar tall, redhaired man came up to her as she approached the shop.

"Hi, love," Ron said, coming up to her and falling in beside her. "Did you get what you needed?"

"Yes, I got some beautiful robes. How about you? Did you do any shopping?"

"Not yet, just went to Gringotts and stopped in Quality Quidditch Supplies to check out the new brooms. Where else do you want to go besides the Apothecary?"

"Well, I should get some new quills and parchment and I should see what's new in Flourish and Blotts. I think we're getting low on Kneazle food and owl treats. So, we should go to the Magical Menagerie, too. Then I think we should head home. This heartburn is getting quite bad and I want to get brewing some more of the potion."

Ron put his arm around her and gave her a hug. "Maybe they have some already brewed in there that you can buy. We can check." He opened up the door for her and watched with concern as she went in.

"Good morning," she said to the shopkeeper. "I was wondering if you have any antacid potion for sale? I can brew my own, but I am running low and I really need some now to hold me over until I can get it brewed."

"Got two vials of it. Have to buy the ingredients if you want more."

"Right, thanks," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. She gathered enough ingredients to brew three months' worth. "Are there any other potions we're low on?" she asked Ron.
Ron thought for a moment. "Maybe burn paste."

"Oh, yes." She gathered up all of the potion ingredients and once they paid they went out the door.

Hermione took a dose of the potion and closed her eyes as she felt a bit of relief from her heartburn.

"Have you thought about seeing a healer?"

Hermione shook her head. "It's just heartburn. I probably have to eat healthier. I really should eat more salads and greens. What we eat is rather rich."

"That's what I like about it!" Ron said with a laugh.

Hermione rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"Speaking of rich food, Mum and Dad are expecting us for dinner tonight. Maybe you can wear one of your new sets of robes."

Good thing I stocked up on the antacid potion, then, Hermione thought. She loved Molly but she wasn't happy unless you ate thirds of everything that she served. Next stop was Flourish and Blotts and then Scrivenshafts. The final stop was The Magical Menagerie.

As soon as they walked into the door, a black cat jumped into Ron's arms, then climbed up to his shoulders and onto his head before settled there.

"Ebony!" the shopkeeper called.

Hermione laughed, looking up at the cat on Ron's head.

"You're in for it now," the shopkeeper said. "Ebony has claimed you as her owner."

"She's what?" Ron asked.

"She's a female kneazle. There have been so many people who have wanted to adopt her. She hasn't wanted to go with any of them."

Hermione laughed. "Well, I guess we have found a mate for Crookshanks. We also need some owl treats and some Kneazle food, please."

It was definitely an interesting day.

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