Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

After Harry is discharged, a convalescent Ryan gets a visit from a worried Hermione, and a conspiracy is born.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama - Characters: Hermione - Published: 2016-08-07 - 4109 words - Complete



The next morning, after another visit from Cracks and Jamie, Harry left for home, planning to go the Ministry in the afternoon. Not long after that, I was beginning to wonder if St. Mungo's had a library, or maybe a radio, when the door opened again and in came Hermione.

“Hello Ryan!” she said cheerfully.

“Hermione! Hello hello!” I made no effort to hide my delight at seeing her. Grabbing my wand, I pointed it at the straight-backed chair across the room. “Accio chair!” I guided it to a good spot between the beds. As she sat down, I raised the head of the bed some more. “Thanks for coming! It's really good to see you. I'm afraid Harry's not here – just been discharged, he's heading home, I think.”

“Yes, I know,” she replied, “I met him coming in, actually, and we're going to meet Ron for lunch. He looks all right, though, doesn't he? What I'd like to know are you doing?”

“Pretty well, I think – extremely well, really, considering....I am very glad I'm not a Muggle, though.”

Hermione nodded, very seriously. “You'd have probably died. Harry says you're back on your feet now.”

“Yes I am! Still get a few little twinges if I move too fast, but they've given me a potion that's helping a lot. I got a little dizzy the first time I stood up, but that went away quick, and I guess it's not too surprising...”

“No, it isn't” she agreed, and added, “Considering.” She shuddered a little. “It was really, really frightening, Ryan. The explosion, I mean. It was huge.”

“Sorry I missed it. I like fireworks.” Hermione gave me a half-exasperated look. “And even sorrier that it didn't miss me. Thanks to Harry, though, all the people we needed were already on the spot. Cracks Conway, and Jamie, and the Obliviators, you and Ron – and hey, I just remembered, Kingsley said you talked him into appointing you both Aurors! Congratulations!”

She turned a light pink, and grinned. “Thanks. It was the only way, really. Kingsley had to do it, Harry would never have taken us on. Trust me, I know him too well. He's afraid it looks too much like favoritism, or nepotism, or something – especially since neither of us have had the proper training.”

“As if he has! Talk about the thurible calling the cauldron black!”

“Well, yes.” She smiled fondly, with a sort of a wry twist to her lips, and then suddenly looked pensive, and (most unusually for Hermione, both in my limited experience and from everything I'd heard) uncertain. “But – well, actually, Ryan – there's something I'd like to find out – about Harry – and I don't know whether or not I should ask you.”

“Ask me? About Harry?” She's a girl, I told myself. Don't make any assumptions about where this is going. “Well, I don't mind if you do, but I can see your dilemma. I've only known him for a week – well, four days; I was unconscious for three – and I'm not even British.”

“But that's just it. You haven't known him long. You don't have – well, memories, and preconceptions and things. You have a fresh viewpoint. But you have had a chance to talk with him, and work with him, and...”

“I guess you could say I went out with him once.” I didn't think that joke was really such a much, but it caught Hermione right on the funny bone or something, because she burst into laughter. She had so much fun laughing that I had to laugh myself.

“Oh – oh – now I'll have to explain,” she gurgled, “so I might as well just go ahead and ask.”

“Okay.” I was still chuckling too. “Ask anything, it's all right.”

“Ryan, do you have a girl? Somebody? Back home in the States, of course I mean.” I shouldn't have been surprised when she veered off on a completely different tack.

“Ahh – no. Not now. I did have a girlfriend for a couple of years, when I was in school, but in our seventh year she....decided she liked the captain of the Quadpot team better. Big, handsome blond know-it-all, a real asshole. Pardon my French.”

“Oh, I'm sorry.”

“Don't be. It kind of put me in a tailspin, at the time, but I came out of it. I eventually realized he was such a jerk – had an ego the size of Wyoming, always talking about how famous he was going to be – that if she liked that, she wasn't – I mean, I was – was...”

“Well out of it?”

“Nicely phrased.”

“I expect you're quite right.” She nodded sympathetically, but very definitely.

“Anyway, right after that I started Auror training, and that was hard. And right after that, I got tapped for the F.B.A. – the Federal Bureau of Aurors – and had to move to Washington, and when I got there things, not what I'd expected, what with Slimy Parboil and Nosey Seward and all that. I was trying to keep my head down and figure out what was going on, and living in a strange city...well, I didn't have much of a social life. And then it was May second, and all unbeknownst to me, you people were fighting the Battle of Hogwarts, and Tom Riddle finally bought the farm, and everything changed. Since then, I've been running at top speed, until I got this nice little mini-vacation at St. Mungo's.”

“Yes, I see. And of course, that's just what I wanted to ask you. It's about Ginny.”

“I thought you said it was about Harry.”

“Yes, exactly – well, I guess I'm not being clear, really.” I was so obviously restraining myself from agreeing with her that she shook her head and smiled, a little sadly. “Ryan, this is really private, just between us, is that all right?” I felt my brow furrow, nodded, and she continued, “Have you noticed Harry being...a little odd? Difficult? Under a strain, as it were?”

“Yes,” I said slowly. All thought of jokes and banter was gone. “Yes, I have, sometimes. He's not sleeping as much as he needs, we all saw that, and...he's not sleeping well, I think. He woke me up a couple of times last night, turning over and...muttering things I didn't catch.”

“Oh, dear.”

“Hermione, this has to be really private from my angle, too, okay?”

“Of course, Ryan.”

“When I finally woke up – yesterday afternoon – we had a visit from Jamie and Cracks Conway. That went all right, but after they left, Harry and I...well, we had an argument.” She looked horrified, and I said hastily, “Oh, don't worry! It wasn't anything big, and we patched things up completely. It didn't affect our relationship...our friendship.”

“You're sure?”

“Oh yes. If anything, it – it helped. We laughed a lot after that, too. But in the light of what you've just said....well, anyway, what we argued about was...oh, it sounds silly, but it wasn't...I tried to apologize to Harry because it was an American bomb that blew us up, and he got angry – because he was feeling guilty. He thinks he accidentally set off the explosion...or released it...anyway, he thought it was his fault.”

“But that's – how could it be his fault?” She was completely mystified, until I explained about Harry's use of Wingardium Leviosa. “I see. Well, yes, it – it might have been. Probably was, I expect. Oh!” Her eyes flew wide. “I almost forgot! The main reason I came was to bring you your computer!” She reached into her bag and brought out my computer, shrunk to traveling size, and put it on the bedside table. “I'm sorry, but your keyboard was smashed up pretty thoroughly. Even Reparo didn't work.”

“Fan-tastic! Thank you. Not just for bringing it – with absolutely perfect timing, by the way – but for saving it. Hermione, has anybody ever told you that you're wonderful?”

She blushed a little and said, “Oh, it was just – we were all watching the hatchway, and the computer came sailing up and out, levitating it was easy. I knew it was important, and I'd seen you shrink it often enough, that was no problem. But the keyboard – don't you need that?”

“That doesn't even begin to be a problem. I can always set up a virtual keyboard just like I do with the display, and type away. I usually don't, because a physical keyboard is actually easier to type on. And when I get a chance, there must be hundreds of places in London where I can pick up a new keyboard, any kind will do, once I get through with it.”

“Good, that's all right then.” She looked at her wristwatch. “Oh, dear, I mustn't stay too long. Let's get back to Harry – you said he was feeling guilty. About the explosion.”

“Yeah. He was beating himself up pretty good about it. Tried to make out that he'd screwed everything up, and he actually said at one point that he didn't think he was right for the Head Auror job.”

“What nonsense!”

“Of course! And I got mad and told him so, in my blunt, thumb-fingered American way. It was all just verbal, but I gave him a pretty good dose of what-for.”

“Good for you.” She was in no doubt. “Somebody needed to tell him.”

“Well, you know, I'm thinking that the fact that he would say things like that to me – an American? Who he's only just met? – probably says something pretty good about his level of trust, where I'm concerned.”

“Yes, I should think it does.”

“And I should think you've probably found out that it's quite possible to argue with Harry, and not lose his friendship.”

“Yes.” She blushed and grinned at the same time. “Yes, I have, it's true.”

“So I'm not worried about that argument. But Hermione, if Harry finds out I talked to anyone about this, it might...erode that trust. I mean, we've still only known each other a week – four days!”

“Oh...yes...yes, you're right. It's not something we should risk.”

“Check. But listen, I've answered your question. Now let me ask one. You – and Ginny – are really worried about Harry, aren't you?”

“Yes. Quite worried. Especially Ginny, as you might expect. She's the one came to me. She's been hoping he'd – rebound...brighten up...or something like that, now that Voldemort's finally gone for good. And at first, he seemed to be. Doing that, I mean. Oh, of course he was exhausted after the battle – when he finally got to bed he slept for almost twenty hours straight. Some of the DA set up a guard post in the Gryffindor Common Room, to keep people from trying to see him until he woke up. We all understood about that! And there was a lot of...things to do...afterward. Funerals, and...”


“Oh yes. And Remus and Tonks, and...Colin...” She started to cry, and stopped herself. “No, wait, I'll be all right. I'm sorry.” I produced a clean handkerchief with my wand – a little trick I'd learned, one of the few good takeaways from my time with Diane. “Sorry,” she repeated as she dabbed at her eyes, “thanks. Anyway, Harry went back to the Burrow, and Ginny says he was kind of – well, aimless for awhile. Reaction, she thought.”

“Perfectly understandable.”

“Of course. He was just kind of – I don't know, in limbo or something. There were lots of people – not just reporters, lots of ordinary people – who wanted to see him and talk with him and thank him and ask him for things – he just couldn't deal with that, and Arthur and Molly got some people to help and they kept everyone away. Then when Kingsley asked him to help put things to rights in the Auror section, and he finally agreed, he seemed to – straighten up, sort of, and be interested in things again. Ginny was happy about it, because then he had something to do, if you see what I mean.”

“Sure. When I was down in the dumps, keeping busy wasn't easy, but I didn't have a lot of choice, and it turned out to be the best thing for me, looking back.”

“I'm sure it was. And we thought the same about Harry, but...”

Her voice trailed off, and after a bit I prompted her. “But what?”

She took a deep breath, and let it out again. “Oh, Ryan, he's not himself. Not really. Even Ron has noticed. He's...well, he changes. Sometimes he seems all right, but other times he's – distant. Withdrawn. He snaps at people, and then has to apologize. Mrs. Murdle told me he had Jenny nearly in tears one morning, over some stupid little thing, but then he was extremely nice about it later. Must have been terribly awkward for Harry, he hates that sort of thing. I didn't suppose it's anything anyone who didn't really know him would see, but you seem to have noticed something, at any rate.”

“Well, yes...some...but after all that's happened, I didn't think it's that big a deal.”

“Ryan, if you ever tell anyone I told you this, I promise I will hex you into a hairy blob of disgusting green jelly...(I nodded quickly, held my hand up, and then drew an 'X' over my heart with my index finger.)...but I think Harry's been fighting with – with Ginny.”

“With Ginny?” I didn't see that coming at all. “But I've seen them together. I've never seen two people more perfect for each other. And they know it! It's so obvious – even to me, even the first day I met them both. She's Harry's focus – his refuge, his strength...just like he's hers....are you sure about this?”

“Pretty sure. Partly because Ginny hasn't actually said anything about it, and that's just not like her, you see, because we've become such good friends, we tell each other everything. And I'm quite sure she's terribly worried.”

“Okay.” It was my turn to take a great big breath, and let it out slowly. “Hermione, for what it's worth, you've got my 'fresh viewpoint' and my vast experience and great wisdom, such as it is and what there is of it. I'll just sort of lay out what I think, and you tell me if I'm going off the beam. Okay?” She nodded. “For starters, it strikes me that you and I – and Harry – share an experience Wizard kids don't have.”

“Growing up in the Muggle world.”

“Well, yes – but I was thinking of having your world turned upside down and inside out when you turn eleven, and discover that magic is real and you can do it!”

“Oh – yes, of course. That was a huge surprise, wasn't it? It took my parents some time to accept it – they're scientifically trained, after all. But once I got over the shock, I thought it was incredibly exciting.”

“It was pretty scary for me, once the implications sunk in. I had to leave home and go to boarding school – most American kids don't, you know. Not at that age, anyway! And I had to pretty much give up all my childhood friends, all the kids I knew at school in town.”

“Yes, that was sad. I had friends...I've just drifted away from them. My life is so different now. But you do know, don't you, that it wasn't like that for Harry? For him, it was like being set free.”

“Yeah, he grew up with relatives who didn't like him very much, didn't he?”

“ an understatement worthy of an Englishman!” She told me more about the Dursleys (Harry's Muggle relatives) than Harry or anybody else had, up to that point – just to mention one thing alone, for most of his childhood, they had made him live in a closet under the stairs! I spent several minutes just being appalled, all the more so when I remembered my Mom and Dad, birthday parties, family trips...I was a lucky kid. So was Hermione.

“Harry's even more amazing than I thought. To come out of that – and be such a decent person...a really good” We looked at each other, in perfect agreement. “He told me, last night, that he doesn't usually make friends very quickly. Was he always like that?”

“In some ways, I suppose. At first – in our first year at Hogwarts, he made some friends right away. Ron, and Neville, and – well, the thing was, of course, he was already famous. 'The Boy Who Lived,' the boy with the scar, the one who had done in Voldemort, and all that.”

“Right. So some kids challenged him, and some tried to suck up to him, and it must have been kind of hard to find friends who just wanted to be friends, if you see what I mean.”

“Yes, that's it exactly.”

“So he had that, and adjusting to the whole Wizard thing, plus school – and on top of everything, Tom Riddle wasn't dead after all. Harry spent the last six years fighting the worst Black Wizard in – living memory, at least – I mean, not that you and Ron didn't fight him, too. And lots of others. From my 'fresh viewpoint' you're all pretty damned amazing! But Harry – Harry was the guy sitting on the bull's-eye. There was that prophecy. He was Riddle's target – his opposite, his num...nim...what's the word I want?”

“Nemesis. Yes. He was.”

“How incredibly unfair. People ought to have a chance to grow up before they have to be somebody's nemesis. That's a stupid thing to say, I guess.”

“It's not stupid. It's true. I think I see your point – Harry's life has been – unique.”

“Yes, unique – and very stressful. Almost all the time.”

“Mmmmm....yes. He could never forget about Voldemort. Oh, we all had our own stressful experiences, right enough, growing up and going to school, but Harry always had more of it. A lot more. Still, he did have good experiences, sometimes. Quidditch, and flying...Hogwarts itself was like a real home to him, he's said so...and he loved being able to visit at the Weasleys'.”

“Yeah, I totally get that. The Burrow is such a cool place – mainly because it's full of Weasleys! But Harry didn't get to stay there very often – when school let out, he had to go back to the Dursleys', didn't he?”

“Yes, he did.”

“What fun.” I shook my head with distaste. “By comparison...well, there is no comparison. I was a lucky kid, Hermione. If I'd had to deal with...even what I know about what Harry had to deal with...I'd be so far round the bend I couldn't look back and see it with a telescope!” She gave a little snort of laughter. “What it comes down to seems pretty obvious to me – unless there's something else really important going on I don't know about, I suppose.” I made it a question, and Hermione thought a moment.

“I don't think so. Oh, there's lots of things you can't know about – details, really – but I think you've at least heard about all the main points, broadly speaking,” she said slowly.

“Okay, then. Harry's life – his stress – got more and more intense, until everything blew up in the Battle of Hogwarts. That was horrible – unbelievable! The price was terrible. His 'real home,' as you said, wrecked, and so many people killed. Good people. People he loved.”

“Yes.” Her lip was trembling, and I hurried on with my thought.

“But you won. He won. And everything changed. All the stuff that's been stressing Harry out has gone, poof! No more Voldemort, no more school, no more Dursleys, no more trying to figure out life as a teenager – no more dating, even! Dating is fun, but it's a lot of time and trouble, too, and a lot of angst and risk, you know, and now – Harry's got Ginny, he doesn't have to deal with that. What he needs now is a chance to get his head straightened around and get used to the fact that his life is, all of a sudden, a lot different.”

“But he's not got that chance. And he isn't going to, it seems to me. He's taken on a whole new load of responsibilities, and he can't just walk away from them.”

“True. Maybe, by this time, he's not really happy unless he has responsibilities.”

Hermione's eye's got wider. “To give – well, structure? Direction? I hadn't thought of that.” She blinked a couple of times. “You may well be right. In fact, I rather think you are. But in a sense, that's just more of the same, isn't it? How can he get the chance to – get used to this different sort of life?”

“The only thing I can think of is also pretty obvious. He needs to take some time off. Take a vacation. Travel – get away. There's nothing like being in a distant place to give you a better perspective on things back home, I've been finding that out. I'd say he needs to get out of Britain – at any rate, go somewhere where nothing is going to remind him of all the stuff he's had to go through. Take some time to – take a fresh look at life, and at himself.”

“Yes, I see what you mean. And I think that's probably a very good idea...but I don't see how he would ever agree to do it.”

“Well, if he had some responsibility, some good reason, that would take him away...”

Hermione looked up suddenly. “Maybe Kingsley could give him an assignment or something, a trip to America on Ministry business!”

“Actually, I think he's going to do just that, at some point. But that's not what I'm talking about. Harry'd still be doing his job, still be dealing with the same things. And I don't think he'd really be very happy about being away from Ginny, would he?”

“No. That would be stressful. And he'd just keep on thinking about – things back home. You're right.” She furrowed her brow and gnawed her lip. “Oh, Ryan, I just don't know.”

“Maybe I do.”


“Give him the inescapable, natural, perfectly accepted responsibility of doing what he'd really like to do...” The idea had come to me, and I looked Hermione in the eyes. “Take his wife on their honeymoon.”

Hermione's mouth dropped open, and her eyes flew wide. “Of course! Yes. That would...”

“For – I don't know, a month. Or more. Someplace far away, and different, and fun, and safe...he and Ginny are going to get married, aren't they?”

“Yes, of course they are.” She suddenly giggled. “You Americans are so direct! Remember when you first met Harry? The first thing you said to him was 'when's the wedding!' I almost died on the spot...and Ginny and I laughed ourselves to tears over it, later on.” Then she looked serious. “But do you remember his answer? He said they 'hadn't set the date yet.'”

“Yeah, that's right. And they still haven't?”


“Is that because he's putting his Ministry responsibilities first?”

“Exactly. Ginny says he told her that they'll get married after he's got the Auror department...'knocked into some sort of reasonable shape,' I think is how she said he put it.”

“Uh-huh. Well, from that fresh, direct, American viewpoint you asked for, he's got it exactly backwards. Trying to put the Auror department together is keeping him from putting himself together. And if he put himself together first, he'd do a hell of a lot better job at the Ministry...wouldn't he?”

“Of course he would. It is obvious, isn't it, when you put it that way. But that leaves us right back where we started, doesn't it?”

“No, not really. We've identified what needs to happen, and figured out the only thing that can make it happen – a wedding. Now, the question is how to make that happen. But I kind of think there's probably only one person who can accomplish that.”



Hermione suddenly shook herself, looked at her watch, and exclaimed “Oh! Look at the time! I've got to go, or they'll be wondering what I've been doing. Oh, Ryan...”

She surprised me again, by standing up, leaning over, and kissing me. “Has anyone ever told you that you're absolutely wonderful?” Then she was running out of the room, waving goodbye over her shoulder.

Brilliant young woman.
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