Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 3

Harry had not given up on finding the ones responsible for killing Ron. Whenever he had a moment of free time, five minutes before lunch, ten minutes more of tea time, he'd use everything in his power to obtain more information about the group of criminals. They had seemed an ordinary gang of burglars but knowledge of spells like that could indicate something far worse…

Most of the Death-Eaters had been rounded up and tried, and were now rotting away in Azkaban. But some had escaped… And Death-Eaters were by no means the only threat. Many eerie and vicious secret clubs existed, most were being watched by specially trained Aurors, but some were so secretive that they were only whispered about. No-one could say for sure if they truly existed at all.

Hermione seemed to have given up on justice for Ron. She still missed him dearly and was still grieving but she didn't have Harry's determination to find the ones responsible. She had said that it increased her bitterness and that she didn't want that for her child. It was reasonable enough, yet Harry had been quite disappointed and it had made the subject an awkward one.

He had hoped she would help him track them down. He could have used her brains on a difficult matter such as this… but it was not to be. Luckily others helped him where they could, even Luna who had access to the most obscure, and usually useless, sources. For possible phantom groups such as this one, the craziest sources were often the very best ones…

Hermione had responded to several adverts, though not to the broomstick one. She'd even been on a few dates. All the men had been friendly enough, but none had made her feel more than that. She'd be polite and they'd have a nice evening but that was it. Neither they, nor Hermione followed up on them.

"Perhaps it still is too early," said Ginny soothingly. "Maybe your heart isn't in it yet…."

Hermione had to agree. She wasn't really ready, although she did long for a partner more and more. The nights were lonely and her six year old daughter was lovely and smart but could hardly replace adult conversation.

She bit her lip. "There was this one advert though… it was really nice, but also quite problematic…"

"How so?" Ginny asked.

Hermione took it out of her purse. "Here, read for yourself," she said.

Ginny read it, making approving sounds until the very end…

"What?!" she shrieked. "In this day and age…? I don't believe it…"

"See..?" Hermione said. "It sounds rather good otherwise, but still…"

"You shouldn't respond to this crap, seriously." Ginny stated boldly.

Hermione hesitated. "Yes, but… Oh, I don't know… It does say it isn't really necessary…"

"It's someone who can't make their mind up," Ginny laughed scorning. "You wouldn't want someone like that, right?" she asked with raised eyebrows.

"No, I guess not." Hermione agreed, putting it back into her purse.

"I could throw it away for you," Ginny offered but she declined. Ginny shook her head.

In her, far too quiet, living room, her daughter at her parents, Hermione did reply to the letter. She knew it was stupid, really really stupid, but she wanted to give him a chance to explain. What were his intentions? Why was he so unclear on the matter of blood?

She was going to write just this once. The chances of a unattached healer being interested in a single mother with a six-year old wasn't that great anyway, so there would be no harm done. She just wanted to get to know him a little better… One letter, to request for further explanations, that would be it! No-one would ever find out about it…

She was pleased with her letter. Hermione had presented herself in a good light without omitting anything, apart from names that was. She had talked about her job, her daughter, her full life that could need just one more thing…. a partner . She had been very clear about herself being Muggle born and not being too fond of, very mildly put indeed, pure-blood ideals. Clearly that would not help her letter, but Hermione felt that she had betrayed her ideals enough by responding in the first place!

Hermione had showed interest in his job, his life in general. She was quite nervous for the response, suddenly feeling like a teenager again. Why had she responded in the first place? There had been a war over this! And here she was responding to such an ambiguous person….?

Maybe she was trying to live dangerously…

Had she forgotten what Bellatrix had carved into her arm? She shivered; she knew she'd never forget that moment. But she had encountered her share of friendly Slytherins since then. Some of them were struggling in putting the war and its ideals behind them. One or two had almost become friends, nearly, but not quite. She had to admit that it was mostly herself that had kept the distance. As much as she wanted peace with all, she had trouble letting them come closer. Her past was not forgotten and although she didn't share Harry's zeal for finding Ron's killers—she had lost all hope on that account—Hermione still wondered when she encountered Slytherins what they truly thought and if they could really be trusted.

Perhaps it was him being a healer that had done it. Or the love of broomsticks and potions which was an unusual combination. It should have sparked some recognition in her mind, but it hadn't, and Hermione nervously waited for the healer's reply.

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