Harry's travels after the fall of the Dark Lord lead him to something that scholars have sought for ages. But what will be the repercussions of this discovery? Post DH, no crapilogue.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never was, and never will be.
A/N: This came about as a result of an extended email conversation between Vern (aka Herman Tumbleweed) and me. During this exchange, a mild and shy little bunny came my way with an idea. By the time this idea went back and forth a couple of more times, Vern somehow convinced me to give it a try. At that exact moment, one of his vicious plot ‘roos apparated into my family room and er, well, did unspeakable things to that poor little bunny. Be assured that no bunnies or ‘roos were harmed during the writing of this story (as evidenced by the shit-eating grin on the bunny’s face).
This is actually the first fic I ever attempted to write. It was about a year ago and even though I received quite a bit of encouragement from Vern and the members of the HermansTumbledweeds Yahoo! Group, I really didn’t feel like I was ready to attempt this, so it sat in its own dusty corner of my hard drive, forgotten. I ran across it recently and that damned afore-mentioned ‘roo showed back up again, so now I’ve got another damned story going. This one, however, will be taking a back seat to the other two.
Thanks again, as always, to Vern for his excellent suggestions and betaing skills. Make certain to read his stories if you haven’t already.
Hermione sat staring into the brightly flickering campfire in quiet contemplation, occasionally poking at it with a long, crooked stick. “It’s nice out here in the Outback. So peaceful and so quiet. And so much to learn and discover.” She glanced back to the magical tent she and her fellow student were using as a base for their archaeological search into primitive aboriginal magical culture. “Jeremy’s been such a dear, too. He still came on this trip with me even though we broke up last month. It would be so easy... No, I can’t do that to him. It’s not fair to him to use him that way just because I’m lonely. I wish Harry was here. As much as I love Australia, it seems so big and empty without him to share it with. I should have let him come with me to get my parents.” Her musings took her back to when she was finally reunited with her family.
Hermione impatiently waited under a disillusionment charm just outside the café she had discovered that her parents liked to have lunch in. “Damn, I didn’t think this would be so hard,” she dejectedly mused. Once again, she questioned not only her judgment, but her very sanity at what she had done to them just over a year ago. She watched quietly as her parents ordered their lunch and found a small table near the back. “Well, it’s now or never.”
Hermione cancelled the charm, squared her shoulders, and entered the small eatery. As she ordered a light lunch at the counter, the nervous witch cast a silent, wandless Confundus charm on her parents so they’d think that the café was completely full of other patrons. “I am so going to Hell for this,” Hermione fretted to herself, slowly working her way over to her parents’ table, appearing as if she were looking for a seat. After a few moments, she approached them. “May I join you?” she asked. “There don’t seem to be any empty tables.” The young witch snarked at herself, “Real original there, Hermione.”
“Of course, Hermione, please sit,” Frank Granger calmly replied.
“Thank you.” As Hermione took her seat, she looked up suddenly, dropping her tray of food the last few inches to the table in shock. “What?”
“What? You don’t think we’d deny our own daughter a seat at our table, do you?” Jane Granger replied with an evil glint in her eyes. “No matter what she may have done to us,” she added under her breath.
“But… but… how…?”
“I think that our poor little girl has succumbed to whatever happened to us,” Frank smirked.
“She also seems to have forgotten her basic language skills. Well, she’ll have plenty of time to re-learn it before she meets us at home for dinner, tonight,” he added firmly.
Jane grinned at her husband, and then turned to Hermione with a serious expression. “As you seemed to know exactly where we’d be for lunch, I’ll also assume you know where we live?”
Hermione nodded shakily, her mouth still opened wide in astonishment.
Jane reached out with two fingers and gently closed her daughter’s mouth. “We need to get back to the office. We should be home by six, and expect you to join us no later than seven.” She heaved a deep sigh, got up, and stepped around the small table. Jane reached down to her only child and drew her into an embrace. “Hermione,” she started, then hesitated, and pulled back enough to look seriously into Hermione’s still wide eyes. “Don’t misunderstand for a moment that we’re not extremely angry right now, and have been for much longer than you might realize.” Jane’s eyes softened and watered for a moment as she continued, “But also understand that we do still love you and have missed you. That being said, however, you’d better have a damned good explanation ready for us. Tonight!”
Jane pulled the young witch to her feet as Frank came around and joined them in their hug; all three cherishing the moment. As the senior Grangers pulled back, Hermione grabbed them back to her, tears finally overcoming her shock. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” she sobbed over and over as Frank and Jane stroked her hair and rubbed her back, trying to calm her. Finally, their resolve broke, too, as they both added their tears to their wayward daughter’s.
Eventually, the dentists returned to their office, leaving Hermione deep in thought. She finally turned to her now cold and messy lunch and picked at it as she turned her considerable intellect to this latest puzzle. “How could they have remembered? I’m not that bad at memory charms, am I?” Her thoughts continued in that vein for a while as she continued slowly eating. She then began to piece together some of the things that had happened to her since she’d arrived in Australia.
The young brunette had wondered how the Australian Ministry of Magic had known that she’d arrived. She and Harry had been careful to make it not only an entirely Muggle trip, but a very convoluted one in order to avoid the attention of any magical Ministry during her travels. Many were still not terribly happy with all that had happened in the Magical UK the last few years and didn’t want any escaped Death Eaters or sympathizers to sneak into their territories to hide and possibly create future problems for them.
But they had been there shortly after she cleared customs, almost as if they’d been waiting for her. “Wait,” she realized, “maybe they were waiting for me. Could it be that they removed the memory charms? But how would they have known? How could they have known?” Four Aussie Aurors had been waiting as she went to flag down a cab for her trip to the hotel she and Harry had booked. Hermione shook her head with a slight smile as she remembered arguing with Harry when he wanted to arrange a limo for her. “Not a good way to sneak into a country,” she giggled as she lost herself in the memory.
An hour after being approached by the Aurors, Hermione and her luggage were in an office in the Australian Ministry of Magic building, waiting for an interviewer and the British liaison. Suddenly two men entered the room.
“Good morning, Miss Granger,” said a short, grey-haired, rather portly man. “I am Nigel Hawthorne, Liaison between the British and Australian Ministries. This gentleman is John Goodwin, one of their Senior Aurors. Sorry you had to wait so long. We tried to get the Ambassador himself to come along, but with it being a weekend, you see...”
“No worries, Mr Hawthorne,” Hermione interrupted. “I’m more concerned with why I’m even here.”
“So are we, Miss Granger,” John Goodwin entered the conversation. “You are aware that there is a travel restriction for British magical subjects at this time, aren’t you?”
“I understood that the restrictions were for international magical travel to and from Great Britain. I travelled exclusively by Muggle means, other than Apparating to Heathrow. I am a Muggle-born, you know. Muggle means of transport aren’t foreign to me, nor am I opposed to using them. I am, however, still wondering why I’m being detained here. If you would have simply contacted me upon arrival, or even later at my hotel, I would have been more than willing to speak with you. As far as I know, I’ve done nothing to warrant arrest. In fact, as it’s obvious that you were specifically looking for me, I’d like to know why.” The former Gryffindor was getting irritated with this bureaucratic nonsense.
Goodwin and Hawthorne exchanged glances as the British Liaison answered. “Well,” he paused and shot a look at the Auror again, “we received an owl from the British Minister’s office asking us to keep a watch out for you and to inform them if you entered the country in any way. We found it an odd request and thought that we should find out more about the situation before acting.”
“Frankly, we wanted to know if you were a danger to our citizens,” concluded Goodwin. “We felt that if such a request came right after your most recent dark lord’s demise,” he held up one hand as Hermione opened her mouth to object, “there may be such a concern.” Here his serious demeanour softened. “We have not sent any news of your arrival as yet. We couldn’t understand why such an alert was sent out for an Order of Merlin holder to begin with. Frankly, Miss Granger, we hoped you could help us with that issue.”
“May I see the request, please?” Hermione politely asked. Hawthorne silently handed her a single piece of parchment. As she quickly read the letter, her anger became palpable. The signature at the bottom explained everything. “Percy,” she screamed in her head. “Percy Weasley! Percy Fucking Stick-Up-His-Ass Weasley! The Merlin-Be-Damned motherfucking cocksucker! I’m gonna kill the no good son of a fucking…!”
“Miss Granger! Miss Granger!” Hawthorne and Goodwin finally got her attention. As she looked around, she saw signs of anger-induced accidental magic. Hermione took several deep breaths, and as her temper came back under control, her embarrassment grew. Red-faced, she stammered an apology.
The two men shook their heads at each other and grinned. Hawthorne chuckled, “I’m thinking, John, that she has a pretty good idea what’s going on.”
“I don’t know, Nigel, after looking at my office, she may still be a danger to someone. Though I suspect it’s probably not us,” John smirked, then turned to the obviously still upset young woman. “Care to clue us in?”
Hermione closed her eyes for a moment in thought. “By the looks of things, I have spent waaayy too much time with Harry. I knew he was rubbing off on me, but honestly! Must’ve caught his bad habits somehow.” She snickered to herself for a moment at the double entendre, then opened her eyes and turned to the two older men. “First of all, I’d like to again apologize for my loss of control. I’m upset that this has come about as a result of a personal matter and I highly doubt that Kingsley, er, Minister Shacklebolt, is even aware that this was sent.”
“Are you implying that this is a phony request?”
“Certainly not. The request is quite real. It’s just not from the Minister. It’s from the Weasley Family.” She then went into a much abbreviated recounting of her and Harry’s last few weeks in England. “So, apparently, in order to prove his newly restored loyalty to his family, Percy decided to use his position in the Ministry to help his family regain control over us. Oh, damn, I need to contact Harry.”
Goodwin and Hawthorne shared another look. “I don’t know about you, John, but I don’t have anything else for Miss Granger. Personally, I don’t recall that I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting the young lady,” Hawthorne laughed, wiggling his eyebrows. “We can, however, try to help you get in touch with Mr. Potter. We haven’t received anything regarding him, though.”
“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary. As we were both Muggle-raised, we each have mobiles. I’ll just ring him after we’re done here.”
Goodwin rolled his eyes at the older man’s antics. “Well, I do have a couple of other questions. Firstly, do you want to take any action against Mr… um, Weasley, was it?”
The no-longer-so-bushy-haired beauty thought deeply about this. “No, I don’t think so,” she slowly replied. “We just don’t want to have anything to do with them, nor do we wish to start a war. I’ll ask Harry about it, but I doubt he’ll want to start anything like that, either. All we wanted to do was to be left alone.”
“Fair enough. I agree with Nigel. I think that we can forget about this and let you get on with your life. I do have one last question, however. What is your relationship with Wendell and Monica Wilkins?”
Hermione nervously paced in front of her parents’ house, trying to find the Gryffindor courage that she was supposed to have. “Must’ve used it all up fighting Tom,” she considered darkly. She looked at her watch for the umpteenth time. With only two minutes left before her mother’s deadline, Hermione squared her shoulders and walked up the path to the front door as if she was approaching the Veil in the Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries. When she got to the door, she took a deep breath and raised her hand to knock.
The door opened suddenly. “We were wondering how long you were going to stand out here,” Frank chuckled. “And why in God’s name would you even bother to knock?”
“Well,” she faltered, “after everything, I… I wasn’t certain… I guess I was just afraid….”
Frank guided his despondent daughter into the house and pulled her into a strong, fatherly embrace. “No matter what you’ve done,” Frank softly assured the now trembling young witch, “you are still our little girl. Our home, wherever it is,” he pulled back, and lifted Hermione’s face up so he could look into the chocolate brown eyes they shared, “will always be yours. Now that’s quite enough of this. Let’s go see what your mum has burned for us.” He had raised his voice for the last part as they entered the kitchen.
Hermione giggled as a bread roll flew through the air and smacked Frank in the face. Jane came around the table and hugged her daughter. “If your father doesn’t want sleep with the ‘roos tonight, he’ll keep his smart comments to himself. After all, my cooking hasn’t killed him,” she stopped, and glared at her husband. “Yet.”
Late that evening, Hermione stepped out into her parents’ back garden and took a deep breath of the clean night air. “I could get used to living here,” she reflected. “I guess I’m going to have to.” Saddened at that thought, the young witch drew her mobile telephone out of her pocket and dialled a London number. Even though it had just been that morning, it felt like forever since she’d spoken to him.
“Hi, Harry. Did I wake you?”
“Nah, I’m closer to you now than I was this morning. Decided I didn’t like Los Angeles. It’s too damn busy. Beaches are nice though.”
Hermione giggled, “I’ll just bet. Couldn’t handle all of those half-naked girls?”
“Yeah, right,” Harry snorted, “bunch of bloody stuck-up bitches is what they are.”
“So where are you now?”
“Tokyo. Thank Merlin for translation charms.” He paused. “How’d it go? Did you talk to them, yet?”
“That doesn’t sound encouraging, love. Was it as bad as you thought it’d be?”
Hermione sighed before answering, “Actually, in a way it was worse. Harry, they already knew everything. Even before Percy sent that message, they knew.”
“What? When? How could they? Did the charms fail?”
“No, it seems that the ICW is even more paranoid than Moody was. They had sent a warning to all member Ministries warning them to watch for all British immigrants, both Muggle and Magical in an effort to keep the Death Eaters contained. When the ‘Wilkins’ showed up out of the blue, the Australian Ministry had them investigated and they found a latent magical signature on them from the memory charms. My signature. They also found the magically hidden letter I’d left for in case I... I didn’t survive.”
“Shite. I’m sorry, love. How... how’d they take it?”
“Well, in some ways better than I thought, but in some ways worse. They understand why I did it, especially as the Aussies had been keeping them updated about what’s been happening in England. They wish that I would have just told them straight out, though.”
“I guess I can understand that. I suppose that’s the better. What’s the worse?”
“They want me to give up the magical world.”
“They’re happy here and want to stay. The Aussie Ministry even has plans in place so they can resume their real identities at any time without any trouble. They want me to stay here and go to University. ” Harry heard a sniffle across the line. “They want me to cut myself off from everything and everyone in the magical world.” She chuckled sadly. “I guess I shouldn’t have told them about the Weasleys.”
”Guess not. I take it your dad wasn’t too happy about that.”
“No, he wasn’t. We reached a compromise, though. I’m going to see about finishing my magical education here. They even have some magical equivalents to university available. We have an appointment with Nigel Hawthorne, the British Liaison, tomorrow to see about getting my parents’ identities sorted out. We’re going to find out about everything else while we’re there.” Another pause. “Harry, I told them about us.”
“Oh. I guess they weren’t too thrilled about that.”
“No, they weren’t. My mum understood, and is actually grateful for the help you gave me getting me out of there. My dad, on the other hand...”
“Yeah, I can imagine. Do they know you’re talking to me now?”
“Well, I didn’t tell them that I was going to, but Mum probably sussed it. They wanted me to cut all ties with you, too. I flatly refused.”
“Hermione, no! They’re your family! They’re much more important than I am!”
“Harry James Potter! Enough of that! It’s settled. We will stay in touch, but it’ll be awhile before we can see each other again. I need to get them used to the idea that the whole magical world isn’t like it was in England. They, well, mostly my dad, want me to find a nice Muggle boy. I couldn’t do that, Harry, and even if I did, the guy would not only have to accept that I’m a witch, but they’d have to accept that you’re going to be an important part of my life in some way, shape, or form.” Silence came from Harry’s side of the connection. “Harry?”
“I love you, you know. We’ll get through this.”
“I know. I love you, too. It just hurts, you know? I miss you.”
“I miss you, too, sweetheart. It hurts me, too. After everything we’ve already been through, this crap happens. Promise me we’ll stay in touch just as we planned?” Desperation entered her voice. “Please, Harry? Promise me?”
Harry chuckled sadly, “I promise, love. You own way too big a part of my soul; I couldn’t abandon you that way.”
“It’s getting late here; I should probably get to bed.”
“Yeah, probably. I’ll make arrangements for you to have a local number for your mobile in the morning. Maybe that’ll appease your dad as at least you can use it to seduce Muggle boys.” Hermione could hear the half-hearted smirk in his voice.
“Harry James... You don’t have to do that.”
“I want to, Hermione.”
“Thank you, Harry.” A more comfortable silence fell between them again. “I should go. I’ll talk to you again, soon. I promise.”
“I know, love. I love you, sleep well.”
“I love you, too, Harry. Bye”
As Hermione turned off her phone and turned to re-enter the house, she saw her mother watching quietly. A shared look was all it took for the strain between them to drop and the mother/daughter bond to begin to reassert itself as they drew each other into a hug as Hermione sobbed quietly.
After a few minutes making comforting mother noises, Jane asked softly, “That was Harry, wasn’t it?” The distraught witch nodded as her tears continued to soak into her mother’s shoulder. “He’s that important to you, then?”
Finally pulling way, Hermione locked her tear-filled, red-rimmed eyes with her mum’s. “Mum... Harry has, at various times, been my best friend, my brother, and my lover. My first and only, in fact. I don’t know where he’ll finally fit into my life, but he will always be a big part of it. I could no more give him up than I could you and Daddy. I know it seems like I did that to you, but I did it to protect you, so I wouldn’t have to lose you. I know I risked just that, and it was stupid, but you were potential targets because of my involvement in the war, and the fact that I am a Muggle-born witch. So many Muggle families were completely wiped out because of their magical children and I couldn’t let that happen to you and Daddy, too. I went with Harry for many of the same reasons. And we didn’t even become lovers until much later.”
Understanding finally worked its way through the emotional trauma and confusion the elder Granger woman had experienced for the past year. As her expression softened, she said to her emotional, yet still defiant daughter, “Let’s go inside and have some tea together before bed. You can tell me all about your Harry. Not the hero, but the best friend, the brother, and the lover. If he’s that important to you, I’d like to know more about him. We’ll work on your father later.”
With smiles on their faces, the Granger women went back into the house arm-in-arm, knowing that their relationship, though still fragile, was well on its way to a full recovery.
Harry sat back after setting his phone on the table, feeling sad about what his best friend was going through. “I wonder if it would have been any better if I’d been with her,” he thought. “Nah, probably would have made matters worse. At least I could have been there for her, though.” He sat quietly, remembering how lonely it had been since he put her on the plane.
It hadn’t taken long for him to realize that he needed to leave the UK as well. That decision made, he figured that he’d follow a long-time dream – to randomly travel and experience the world. So, after settling things with Gringotts, who were still rather upset with him, he got both Muggle and Magical passports and started his own “scenic route” trip, finally ending up in New York.
Harry quickly realized that one big city was much like another, so he took the advice of some people he’d met in a tavern in New York’s magical shopping area and headed off to Los Angeles, to spend time relaxing on the beaches as a Muggle. “Women are easy pickings there, they said,” the former seeker recalled the claims of the young wizards in disgust. “Yeah, right. Those idiots either have never been there, or used the Imperius on them.” So, after a couple of days of frustration, he decided to randomly choose his next destination. He enlarged a map of the world he found in his hotel room and threw a conjured dart at it. “I like this method. I think I’ll use it every time I decide to move on. Next stop, Tokyo!”
Over the next two years, the map that he took from that hotel room gained quite a few new holes as he travelled the world. He always remembered to call Hermione and send letters and gifts from the often strange and exotic places he discovered. He even sent her some alpaca wool that he got from a crusty old writer and his girlfriend that had befriended him while he was hitch-hiking through rural North Carolina. He made many new friends and even had a couple of lovers in his travels, but he never forgot the one who truly held his heart.
Little did he know how much his life would change when he finally Portkeyed to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hermione stood and stretched her leg muscles, cramped from sitting on the hard ground for so long, pacing back and forth a bit before resuming her place near the fire, still lost in her reminiscences. She had cried when her parents had said they wanted her to leave the magical world and stay with them in the Muggle world. They enjoyed their new life and wanted her to share it with them. As unwilling as the young genius was to give up who she was, she understood that she had to make up for what she saw as her betrayal of them. They finally reached a compromise. Hermione would stay in Sydney with them and finish her magical education in her parents’ new home.
John Goodwin, after they had all met with Nigel Hawthorne, had started the processes necessary for the Grangers to regain their proper identities and had given them a contact in the Department of Magical Education who was able to solve the educational dilemma. It seemed that there was a magical school just outside of Sydney that offered Master level opportunities – something that was only available in the UK through apprenticeships. Her parents still were hesitant until it was explained that it was a day school, and travel was by a reusable, school-provided Portkey. As they could still see their daughter daily, the dentists reluctantly relented. Hermione’s fame, although she was unhappy about using it, streamlined the process and her various financial rewards (which were being transferred to Gringotts Sydney) were barely touched paying the tuition.
Hermione was ecstatic to find that her new school challenged her more than Hogwarts ever did, especially as she had to “play catch-up” on many Muggle subjects as the Aussies found them to be of equal importance to her magical courses.
It took some time, but they finally regained the closeness they originally had. Hermione found life in Sydney to be peaceful and much more relaxing than London or at Hogwarts. She had some initial difficulties when she was discovered to be the Hermione Granger, but life eventually settled down when her classmates finally realized just how much she hated her new-found fame. She even managed to have a few relationships (even one with a Muggle) - a couple even becoming lovers - but nothing seemed to work out for long.
She returned to her present thoughts. Jeremy was a great guy, but he always felt he was playing second fiddle to her relationship with Harry. “Maybe he is,” she mused. “Nah, besides, Harry has that girl he met in Nevada. At least, from what he says, she doesn’t have a problem with our friendship.”
Her thoughts wandered back to why she was out here in the first place. She had become interested in the early days of magic use while working towards her Mastery in Arithmancy. As her interest was specifically in Spell-Crafting, the young genius had often wondered how the earliest magical peoples had developed their spells. The Australian Outback was reputed to have traces of some of the earliest magical civilizations known, so it was logical to try and find some records. She and Jeremy, who was studying to be a Magical Archaeologist, had proposed this to their instructors and were given a grant to explore this avenue of research. “I’m glad he didn’t cancel on me. I can’t think of anybody else I’d want to help me with this. Well... Harry, maybe, but he really wouldn’t be much help with this.” The lonely witch giggled for a moment as her thoughts became self-indulgent again, “But the nights would be much more fun...”
The early morning sun brought Harry slowly back to life. He blinked his way to consciousness as he remembered the previous night. Looking down at Talia’s willowy figure cuddled up against him, he carefully stretched his muscles, sore from sleeping on the ground. He did his best not to wake the young lady who was using his chest as a pillow as he needed time to digest everything he had learned.
“Shite,” he thought, “twenty thousand years of history in a single night. At least the Phys. Ed. class was fun.” A silly grin formed on his face for a moment, then gradually faded. “She was right; this is a lot to take in. I really don’t know what to think about all of it. So many preconceptions about magic shot to hell. Magic, hell; how about Life?” He looked back at the sleeping blonde. “I guess I can understand her concern. It’s really hard to reconcile everything she told me last night. The only thing I truly understand is that she said she loves me. I wonder if she realizes she said that. She’s always been so adamant about not being that way about things; always afraid of commitment. I guess I can understand why, now.”
As he was so wrapped up in his thoughts, Harry didn’t notice Talia waking. She simply watched her lover’s various expressions as his thoughts went crazy in an attempt to assimilate all he had learned. “How did I get myself into this?” she wondered. “How could I allow my feelings…? Damn. I still have to tell him the bad part. We… no, I… got so emotional that I couldn’t finish. And he’s gonna want to tell his friend, too. Though if she’s half of what he says about her, she’s probably already on the list.” Talia pondered this for a few moments. “Actually, she sounds rather tasty. I wonder…?”
She was interrupted from her pondering by a groan and stretch from her pillow. The young alien/human hybrid turned her gaze to the shaggy black top of said pillow, who smiled back at her and said, “Good morning, love. Sleep well?”
“Great, until my pillow started moaning and groaning without me,” she replied with an aroused gleam in her eye.
“Damn, you’ve got a one-track mind, don’t you?” Harry chuckled.
“Never. I’m just a bit stiff…”
“I noticed,” she purred.
“… from sleeping on the ground, you randy little fiend!”
“I can’t help it; I’m not completely human…” She caught herself and thought, “Oops! I fucked up now.”
Harry sat straight up for a moment before starting to laugh at Talia’s sudden look of panic. Soon, he was laughing so hard that tears started to flow. Talia watched, concerned for Harry’s mental health. Frightened, she thought, “I broke him. I just know I did.”
As Harry’s laughter began to subside, he pulled her into a tender hug. “And I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
Her fears evaporated in an instant with those words, embrace, and the passionate kiss that followed.