Kissed by Death

Learning to Cope


"So, Ronald, what kind of a living do you make?"

I buried my face in my hands. My father had been drilling Ronald about everything he had ever done in his life or that his parents had done in theirs. It was just now that he was starting to question whether Ron could take care of me.

"Enough to support a family, Mr. Granger," he responded democratically.

"How much is 'enough'?" my father asked.

"That is enough!" I responded, standing up at the dinner table.

My mother and father stared at me, dumbfounded.

Ron took my hand gently. "It's all right, 'Mione."

"No, it's not!" I said, pulling my hand away. I could feel my cheeks burning up as my anger began to get the best of me. "From the moment we stepped on that plane yesterday, you have done nothing but insult my husband. You have questioned his character, loyalty, and his ability to provide for me. You have questioned my judgment and character as well, and I am not going to stand for it any longer!"

My father looked shocked and my mother deeply pained.

"I love Ron," I continued. "and nothing you can say or do will ever change that."

The silence in the room was deafening. My father's face slowly fell into a concerned frown, while my mother tried to hide the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

My father sighed. "Hermione, you're right. I'm sorry."

I blinked, feeling the blood rush out of my face.

"The least I can do is act civil," he said softly.

The mood in the room slowly returned to awkward politeness. I could see my mother was shaken by the episode, but I was not at the point where I was ready to apologize for what I had said, for it was all true.

At length, Ron squeezed my hand and whispered in my ear, "We should tell them."

I stared at him, shaking my head. He shrugged his shoulders.

"Is there a problem?" my mother asked.

"No," I responded, still eying my husband.

"Will you excuse us for a moment?" Ron asked, taking me into the other room.

He closed the door quietly, and then turned towards me. "They're your parents, Hermione."

"Do you think they're ready to hear that I'm having a child with you?" I retorted.

"Whether or not they're ready," Ron said, stroking my cheek. "it's unfair to keep it from them. My parents know, most of our friends know—this isn't something that you can just keep a secret."

"All right," I said, realizing that he was right. "but not until we come home tomorrow night."

***

The next day was, to say the least, extremely awkward. All of us tried to ignore our personal feelings and have a fun time enjoying the Roman culture all around us, but in everything we did there was an underlying current of uneasiness. Each time the four of us were alone and not on a tour, this was felt very strongly. I was reconsidering my decision to tell them about the child I was carrying, as their moods did not seem to have improved from the previous night.

After visiting the Coliseum (which was just as wonderful as I had imagined) we went to a local restaurant and enjoyed a silent dinner. I was getting more and more annoyed at Ron for inviting them to come along, and I think he was regretting the decision the more time we spent with them. I could tell, however, that my mother was grateful to be spending time with me, at least, even if she was unhappy about my husband. As always, my father was impossible to read.

"That was delicious," my mother said once she finished eating, breaking the long silence. My father nodded in agreement as he too put his fork down.

When Ron called for the check, my father looked at his watch, yawning. "I'm ready to get in bed," he commented.

"Go on ahead of us," Ron insisted. "We'll catch up to you in a few minutes. The hotel's just a couple of blocks North."

My parents accepted his invitation and rose to leave. About a minute after they left the table the waiter returned, and when Ron and I left we could see my parents only about a block ahead of us—they had obviously been enjoying looking at the scenery as they walked home arm in arm. Watching them from behind, I felt a great sadness that I had been so cold to them. I saw in them the same love that Ron and I have for each other, as well as the great love they each had for me, no matter how disappointed they were with my choices. I felt ready to share my happiness with them, and hope that they would accept it.

Just as these thoughts crossed my head, a cold chill ran down my spine.

I glanced at Ron in horror. "We have to catch up to them."

He had felt it as well, and was already drawing his wand when I spoke these words.

"You go back into the restaurant," he said, urging me in that direction.

I shook my head and pulled out my own wand. "They're my parents."

Knowing there was nothing he could do to stop me, he took my hand and we ran together. Hearing our footsteps, my parents turned around to see us approaching them, wands outstretched.

My father opened his mouth to speak, but at the moment he did so, a dementor swooped out of an alleyway and took him by the shoulders. My mother shrieked in fear, searching for the force that had taken hold of her husband, when she too was flung into the air from the behind.

"EXPECTO PATRONUM!!" Ron and I screamed in unison.

Both dementors immediately dropped my parents and fled from our patronuses. My parents lay breathless on the ground, staring at the ghost-like images of otter and dog chasing away the darkness.

"Mum," I panted as I fell at her side. "are you all right?"

"Wh-what just ha—"

"Not here," Ron said, helping my father to his feet. "We need to get inside."

We quickly returned to the hotel, bolting the door behind us though we knew it would be of no protection. I went to work putting charms on the walls and doors to keep out intruders as Ron explained what dementors were, why my parents couldn't see them, and how we had repelled them.

"So, you're saying that those…things could have killed us?" my mother asked, frightened.

"No," I responded, joining my husband on the couch. "You would still be alive."

"But your soul would be missing," Ron finished.

My father furrowed his brow. "If our souls were missing, wouldn't we be dead?"

"You're bodies would still live," Ron responded.

It was evident that both of them were confused, so I decided to clarify Ron's meaning. "Imagine someone in a coma," I said. "It would be like that, except, you wouldn't wake up."

As I said that, I felt a lump get caught in my throat. I knew that couldn't be true, because Gregory Nelson had woken up. I had to have faith that Ginny would as well.

My parents saw my emotions begin to get the best of me and grew silent. Ron took me in his arms as I let the tears fall, and I felt his own run down my neck.

After a couple of minutes, my father said softly, "Who?"

"My sister," Ron said. "on our wedding day."

My mother gasped at the horror of it, even though I knew she still did not entirely understand.

Suddenly, my father stood and crossed the room to where Ron and I were sitting. Ron stood as well as he approached.

"We are indebted to you," he said. "I would like to take this opportunity to apologize—I judged you without even really knowing you."

He extended his hand, and Ron smiled as he shook it. I couldn't help but smile as well—I hadn't realized how much I had missed my parents.

My mother came over and wrapped Ron in a hug. As she did so, my father sat next to me and took my face in his hands, a grin creeping on his lips.

"I may never understand your world," he whispered. "or why you have made some of the decisions you have, but you will always be my daughter."

My emotions overcame me once more and I threw my arms around him.

"Now," Ron said as my father and I parted. "We have something to tell you."

I beamed and joined my husband standing as my parents took our places on the sofa.

"Mum, Dad," I began, hardly able to control my happiness at that moment. "You're going to be grandparents."

My mother's face lit up and my father's eyes crinkled. I felt a weight lifted off my heart realizing that they did still love me.

And they always would.

***

A/N: Well, what did you think? Did it seem pointless? It kind of was just a little bit, but it's to help give reason to later things in the story and to just add a little side plot as I create this story. Thanks for reading!! Now please, ReViEw!!!

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