EPILOGUE: 19 Years After the Second War...
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including that of Harry Potter, which was created by JK Rowling. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: Hermione and Dean reunited. Ginny told Hermione that she would be her child's godmother.+++++EPILOGUE: 19 Years After the Second War...This chapter contains dialogue from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first of September was crisp and golden as an apple. The little family bobbed across the rumbling road toward the great sooty station, the fumes of car exhausts and the breath of pedestrians sparkling like cobwebs in the cold air. A large cage rested upon a laden trolley being pushed by a tall, dark-skinned man; the owl inside hooted indignantly, and the dark-haired girl with the long plait shushed it. "Quiet, Antigone," she said.
"It's okay, Amelia," said a small girl clutching mother's hand. It was clear she was putting on a brave face for her cousin's last trip out on the Express. She looked up at her mother, with whom she shared a bird's nest of brown hair, then at her father, from whom she'd inherited wide, dark eyes. "Antigone doesn't scare me anymore."
Amelia twisted a ringlet of the small girl's hair. "Sure she doesn't." But Antigone didn't make any more noises, so both girls let it go.
Side by side, the family stepped up to the barrier between platforms nine and ten; the mother scooped up the younger and they went straight through.
"Where's Portia?" the girl asked her mother.
"I'm sure she'll be here, Rose," said her mother. "Her, and Steven too."
"There's Mark," said the girl's father. "Amelia, do you want to..."
"Yes," she said quickly, all at once a teenaged girl concerned with the appearance of things.
"All right." Dean let the trolley stop, then drew Amelia into a hug. Amelia, though fully-grown, was only as tall as Dean's wife; she'd inherited her stature from late mother. "Have a wonderful year."
"I will." When Dean let go, Amelia turned to Rose. "You be good, squirt. Don't be too hard on your mum and dad."
"I'm always good!"
"You'd better be. You know Hermione always tells me when you're not."
Rose made a small, startled squeak, but dissolved into giggles when Amelia pulled her away from Hermione and hugged her tight. Then Amelia passed Rose off to her father before hugging Hermione. "Have fun," Hermione said. "Remember, you're doing it for the two of us, too."
"Right. No pressure." Amelia tried to keep her tone light, but it was clear she knew what Hermione was saying: the Second War had kept her uncle and his wife out of Hogwarts for their final year, and she knew how important it was to both of them that she make the most of it. Which she would. Which she always had done. "I'll write!" she said as she pushed the trolley toward the luggage car.
Dean, Hermione, and Rose watched Amelia get onto the train. Hermione caught sight of a tall, red-haired man farther off, and she waved him over. "Hello, Ron," she said, allowing him to kiss her cheek. Dean shook his hand. "Didn't expect to see you here."
"Any excuse to drive in." Ron chuckled, then gave Dean a conspiratorial look. "Hermione didn't believe I could pass a Muggle driving test. She thought I'd have to confound the examiner."
"No, I didn't," said Hermione. "I had complete faith in you." She saw Lavender and Greg Goyle with their son Vincent, and as she stepped away toward them, she heard Ron say something low and quiet to Dean, who laughed. She greeted the Goyles -- Vincent was starting his third year, and had somehow been sorted into Hufflepuff despite his parents' house heritages -- and noticed they were accompanied by three others. "Well, look who it is."
Draco Malfoy was standing behind Greg, his son's hand in his, a dark coat buttoned up to his throat. His hair was receding somewhat, which emphasized the pointed chin. The new boy resembled Draco as much as Vincent resembled Greg. Draco nodded politely. "You remember my wife, Astoria?"
"Of course." She shifted Rose to the other side to take Astoria's hand. "A pleasure to see you again."
"And you." Astoria was quiet, quite reserved, nothing like her younger sister who Hermione vaguely remembered from her Hogwarts days. "Say hello to Dr. Granger, Scorpius."
"Hello yourself." But it was clear Scorpius wasn't much in the mood to talk, seeming overwhelmed from all this, and Hermione let him half-hide behind his father. "I'm sure he'll do well. I imagine he inherited his father's ambition to be the best."
A small smile appeared on Draco's face. "I'd say he did at that."
Astoria led the other Malfoys away. Lavender shrugged; a hint of scarring on her upper chest showed where her collar wasn't buttoned quite all the way up. "He's always like that now. He and Astoria. So aloof, except with each other, and with Scorpius." She seemed to see someone she recognized. "Professor Lupin!"
Lupin, his hair completely gray now, joined them. "It's just Remus, Lavender."
"I don't think I could ever call you that."
"Professor," Greg said, extending his hand. "Good to see you."
"You also, Greg." He glanced over his shoulder. "Oh, dear. I hope he didn't see me."
"Who?" Rose asked.
"Never you mind," Lupin said. He made a flower appear from his wand, a long purple rose, and handed it to Hermione's daughter. "Here you are."
"Go show your dad," Hermione said, putting Rose down and pushing her gently in the direction of Ron and Dean. Once she was gone: "what's going on, Remus?"
"Teddy's back there," he said, sounding tired but amused. "He thinks I haven't seen him kissing Victoire Weasley."
Hermione laughed out loud at that. Ron and Ginny's niece, the daughter of their oldest brother Bill, had grown up to be tall and blond and willowy, attracting the attention of all the boys -- or so Ginny said, and she would know. Why she'd chosen Teddy Lupin out of all of them was a mystery, but they were happy, and there it was.
The train whistled -- the five-minute warning. Hermione heard her name being called. "I have to go."
"Of course," Remus said. She hugged him, and he hugged her right back. "Take care."
"I will," she promised. "And all of you. Greg, Lavender, see you next Sunday?"
"Count on it," Greg said.
"Have fun at school, Vincent!" she called, but didn't hear his response. She'd caught sight of Ginny and Mark Page; Ginny was quite pregnant again -- due in November, right around what would've been Ron's anniversary had he and Romilda lasted more than a year and a half -- but that didn't stop her and Hermione from falling into each other's arms. Portia, Ginny's oldest, was chatting to Rose about something she'd seen on the telly, and their son Steven -- just turned four -- was fiddling with what appeared to be an old iPhone. "Gin, you're late!"
"I'm late?" She giggled. "Can't get anywhere on time lugging this one around."
"'This one?'" Mark said. His eyes were bright.
"Our child," Ginny said, mock-seriously. She grinned at Hermione. "I was hoping I wouldn't miss you three. Portia's devastated that Rose won't be at Hogwarts to play."
All too soon the whistle came again, and Mark and Ginny collected their children and said quick goodbyes. Hermione picked Rose up and they watched for Amelia. "Why are they all staring?" Rose asked as she looked up and down the train.
"Don't let it worry you," said Ron as he joined them. "It's me. I'm extremely famous."
Rose laughed with the adults, and Ron and Hermione shared a look over the girl's head. Everyone from that era, everyone who'd fought on the side of light, was well-known enough. Then she yelled: "Amelia!"
Amelia Longbottom waved out the window at her family; Rose, Hermione, Dean, and even Ron waved back. Hermione watched the train pull away, smiling and waving with the others until the last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner.
"She'll be all right," Dean said after Ron had bid them farewell. He looked at Hermione, then pulled her and their daughter into his arms, kissing the tops of their heads.
"I know she will." Hermione smiled. Amelia was going to have a perfect time.
The three of them left the platform and Dean hailed the Knight Bus. Tomorrow Hermione would go to her practice, and Dean would return to his shop, and Rose would go to school.
Nineteen years had passed since Hermione had run. Seven had passed since she'd come back. And now, even as her family careened through London on the most insane form of transport she'd ever heard of, she couldn't complain one bit. All was well.+++++THE END+++++Author's Note:
As I mentioned in the Prologue, this story was written some years ago for the Hermione Big Bang. At the time, I intended solely to right some wrongs with the post-DH HP universe -- specifically, the fact that Harry survived and everything was all puppies and rainbows. Because it wouldn't be. PTSD, mistakes being made, lives to live... the DH epilogue made it all seem too neat and clean. Real life... isn't.
I know I planned for the story to revolve around Ron's wedding, but when I started writing it, I made him a lot less sympathetic -- and Hermione too. I didn't plan for Dean to get into Hermione's bed until it started happening, and then once it started, I decided it was worth exploring.
I also wanted to hang lampshades on everything fanfic-related -- loyalty to house after school was out, expected careers, technology in the wizarding world, changes to Hogwarts, etc. I hope I did that successfully.
Lavender Brown marrying Greg Goyle was inspired by Inell's story "Worth the Risk", a Teddy Lupin/Hermione Granger pairing (don't worry, Teddy is 19 in the story, so nothing illegal happens) that I didn't think I'd like at first but turned out pretty good.
One more thing: artists named Inspire and Myst did some art to accompany this story. You can view it here
I do have plans to use Ginny and Mark in a Buffy crossover at some point, although I don't know when that's going to happen -- if I get around to writing it at all. I still have to finish Dreaming 2, Dreaming 3, On 4, Last Chance for Love, and all my original fiction projects that have gotten left by the wayside.
I hope you enjoyed this story. Please do let me know. You know how.Listener
Marietta, GA, USA
November 23, 2012