Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ FAMILY CONFIDENCES ( Chapter 12 )
The house was spotless now. The Grangers planned to return to their old house as soon as it could be arranged, but they found themselves repulsed by the slovenly lives they had been leading.
“Will there be a problem travelling back?” asked Mrs Granger. “We came here as the Wilkins. If we went back as Grangers, we’d make a bit of a mess of the system, wouldn’t we?”
Hermione grimaced. “I keep forgetting about what’s needed for the Muggle world,” she said. “I suppose you’d better fly back as the Wilkins and then just go home as Grangers.”
“Is the house all right?” Mrs Granger couldn’t keep a faint note of anxiety out of her voice.
Hermione smiled. “I checked it before I left. It’s fine. They weren’t interested when they knew you weren’t there. There were some footprints in the garden, but that’s all. They did a lot more damage to the Burrow.”
“Just so your father’s roses are all right. I’m looking forward to getting back, but I will miss Australia. At least at this time of year, when it’s warm but not too hot.”
“You aren’t tempted to stay?”
“If we’d come here as Grangers, then perhaps. But I don’t think we’d feel right after coming out here as the Wilkins. The Wilkins weren’t people I identify with, really.”
“They weren’t you.”
“They were a part of us. That’s what made us so miserable, I think. There was so much missing from our lives.”
Mrs Granger picked up a cloth and began to polish the mantelpiece, which was already spotless. Then she turned to Hermione with a puzzled look on her face. “And who are you, dear? You’re very familiar, but I just can’t place you.”
Hermione stared at her mother, and after a moment Mrs Granger’s eyes widened in horror and she flung her arms around her daughter. “Oh, Hermione, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Just for one moment – it was awful, horrible. Oh, tell me I’m not going to forget again!”
Hermione held her mother tightly. “It’s all right, mum. It’s a side effect. It will happen for a while as the memories bed back in. You’ll have momentary lapses but it’s nothing, really. It’s like walking into a room and forgetting why you were in there. It will sort itself out. You did the painful work.”
“I just…oh dear. I think I’ll sit down for a moment. Will you make a cup of tea, dear?”
Hermione brought out the tea and a saucer full of biscuits. They sipped silently for a few minutes.
“I do feel a bit better now. It was just like a bad dream, for a second. Now, dear, tell me about that Ron. Are you together yet? I’ve been listening to you complain about him for years now.”
Suddenly Hermione found herself sobbing uncontrollably. Her mother jumped up and embraced her. “Hermione, darling, what’s wrong? Tell me.”
Hermione shook her head. “It’s not… I don’t know what. I mean, we survived, we won. I am with Ron, and I love him. I’ve always loved him. So why am I crying?”
Mrs Granger patted her daughter’s hand. “Tell me what happened. All of it.”
Hermione talked for three hours, her mother sitting at her feet. Her father came in from the garden, and refilled the tea – then sat on the couch listening.
“…and now it’s all over. I love Ron, and I love all his family. Harry is my best friend in the world. Everyone is doing well. So… why should I be unhappy now? A year ago, when we were being chased by people trying to kill us – I wasn’t unhappy. Really. Not after Ron came back. What is wrong with me?”
Mr Granger leaned forward, the tips of his fingers pressed together. “Hermione – there was something you mentioned. Something I think you didn’t want to describe. When you were captured by that Strange woman…”
“…Lestrange, she did something to you. While Harry and Ron were in the cellar downstairs. You didn’t want to talk about it.”
Hermione held her hand up to her throat, touching the faint scar. “It wasn’t…I mean, Dobby was killed. Peter Pettigrew died. I wasn’t hurt, really…”
Mr Granger leaned forward. “I think you were hurt, dear. I think that you’re feeling vulnerable about it, and angry.”
“Of course I’m angry!” snapped Hermione. “Bellatrix tortured me. She murdered Dobby and Sirius. She tried to kill all of us.”
“It isn’t Beatrice…”
“…Bellatrix that you’re angry with, though, is it? Not really.”
Hermione turned her head away. “He couldn’t do anything. He was terribly upset hearing me suffer. He rescued me when he had the chance. And… it was Harry. Harry made the mistake, said the name. Not Ron.”
“But he didn’t stop it, did he? He wasn’t there when you needed him.”
Hermione began to sob. “I love him, and he, he didn’t do anything wrong. I mean, he did, when he ran off and left us. And I was so angry about that, but I got over it. And he was so understanding and kind when I was recovering… but I can’t help thinking about when she was hurting me, and he couldn’t help.”
Mr Granger reached across and grasped Hermione’s hand. Mrs Granger stroked her hair.
“We’ve known you a long time, little girl. We don’t understand this world you’ve entered into, but we can tell when you’re unsure and worried. We like Ron. We like his family. But you have to trust him, you have to be able to rely on him.”
Hermione turned back to her mother. “Mum? What do you think? About Ron?”
Her mother smiled. “Oh, Hermione! Every time you came home from the holidays, you’d have some story about how annoying Ron was. Then it turned out he’d stood up for you in some way. Spoke back to Professor Snape, or fought a troll, whatever that is. Tried to cast a spell on that horrible Malfoy boy and had it rebound on him. We’ve never had any doubts about Ron, but it doesn’t matter how we feel about him.”
Hermione thought for a moment. “It was… when Bellatrix hurt me – I really thought Ron would do something. And it’s so unfair. He rescued me, and I somehow knew that he would. But I still felt… yes, I was angry with him. I blamed him for letting Bellatrix do that to me. And I couldn’t tell him because it would hurt him so much, and I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
She bit her lip. “I’d suppressed it, I suppose. And then, when I had to watch you both – in such pain, that I’d caused...”
Her parents began to interrupt, and she held up a hand. “I know, I know that there was no good alternative. It had to be done. But watching you suffer like that...”
“Anyway. I can’t tell Ron how I feel. He’s still very fragile. He’s suffered so much more than me. And, and you’ve been… well, gone. So, I’ve been bottling everything up.” She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but at least it feels better to talk to somebody about it.”
Her mother patted her hand. “You can always talk to us, if you can’t say anything to Ron, or his family, or Harry.” She stood up. “We’re very proud of you, you know. All that you’ve done. You take on a lot, and you need to lean on someone sometimes. Now, I think I’d better write to Arthur and Molly.”