Hermione sighed as she packed the last of the house's contents. Wiping the sweat from her brow, she took a nostalgic look around the room. If these walls could speak...
"Mom? Are you ready?" Eli asked calmly. Elijah was her eldest son...out of five.
Hermione Granger had needed to get out of England after the war. She found a decent American university and enrolled. She graduated in four years with a Degree in History of Magic. There, she met and fell in love with Derek Graeme Davis. Derek was a Charm Major. He also was one of the two masterminds behind the Technological Revolution in Wizard Society. He was a brilliant, fresh faced millionaire from a prominent bloodline with small town roots and morals. But most importantly, he made her feel like the only woman in the world and that her past was nothing more than a memory.
They married as soon as Hermione graduated and moved to his hometown in Tennessee, living a simple life. Derek worked as a Healer at the small clinic and she taught History at the local public magical academy.
They had their first boy sixteen years ago. Two years later, the twins, Samson and Jonah, were born; they were immediately followed a year later by Daniel and then Jacob brought up the rear five years later. Derek was a magnificent father.
Then tragedy rocked their quiet world. Six years ago, Derek died of a heart attack. He was the picture of health at thirty-six...but his heart was flawed. It left Hermione with five boys and no idea where to turn. The Principal at the school gave her as much time as she needed and she took the year off. Finding her long dormant Gryffindor courage and resilience, she helped the boys face their grief. Then she mourned herself.
Now, six years later, she was proud of her boys and what they were becoming. She became the mother and the father...and it was exhausting.
They were moving to England. Dumbledore needed a History Instructor. She intended to ignore the proposal, but Eli found the letter and told her that it was high time she did something for herself. He assured her that they would go wherever she went...that she had sacrificed enough for them. It was time he and his brothers returned the favor. She hugged him tightly, wondering when he had become a man under her nose. In fact he handled everything. Eli found a large abandoned farm-style manor in the country...coincidentally half a mile from the Burrow. He researched primary schools for Jacob and went ahead of the rest of them to landscape the lawn and renovate the house.
Hermione and the others packed up the house. She sent a reply to the Headmaster, saying that she'd come, but only if she could enroll her four sons and Jacob could live with her when school was in session. Dumbledore personally came to her house in Tennessee to see her and interview her boys.
She had forgotten how much she missed home until he crossed the threshold. She cried into his fatherly embrace. The ancient wizard listened as she told all that had happened. He was impressed with her sons, and her for that matter. With one month until school at Hogwarts, they were actually moving over the Pond.
Hermione hugged Eli, looking up at his face. All but Jacob were taller than her these days. "Of course, I'm ready. You? Are you nervous about LIVING at school?"
He shrugged. "School is school," he replied. "If I can't take it, I can always go cry to my Mommy," he teased.
Hermione chuckled, shrinking the trunk and sliding it into her satchel. They strolled arm-in-arm down the hall and onto the porch where the others were waiting. Samson and Jonah each kissed her cheeks. Daniel hugged her and kissed her forehead. And Jacob, wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his head on her collarbone.
Eli pulled a quill out of his pocket. "Put a finger on. It's a long ride boys," he grinned. "3...2...1!"
Across the Pond in Ottery St. Catchpole, Molly Weasley washed dishes as she chatted with her adopted son. He was the only one who came around anymore. Harry came and used his carpentry skills to renovate and improve the aesthetic qualities of the Burrow. Plus, she felt sorry for the Hero.
Her daughter, Ginevra, was unfaithful to Harry, her husband. Apparently the marriage went south after their third child was born. And if Molly were truly honest, Draco made Ginny ten times happier than Harry.
Harry knew it too. He stepped aside gracefully for his girls' sakes. But he was slowly losing two of them to their stepfather. Molly could tell it hurt her son, but he put on a good show of support.
"Sirius and Remus' baby was born last night," Molly chirped. "The mother is healthy and she didn't back out of the arrangement. They're bringing him home tonight."
Harry smiled over his mug of coffee. "I know. I'm supposed to go over and cook dinner for them. Tomorrow I have to finish up the wands and order the stuff for the student lounge. Is there anything I can pick up for you?"
"No dear," she smiled, patting his cheek.
Harry shrugged boyishly. "Have your neighbors moved in yet?" He'd endured two months of speculation from the woman.
Molly was watching a sixteen year old boy conduct contractors and Bio-Mages to ready the manor down the road. She introduced herself to the Davis Boy and made him promise to send his mother over as soon as everything was settled in.
"NO! All I know is that these Davises are indeed a magical family and the boy's mother is originally from England. It's just a waiting game now," she sighed, sitting across from him.
Harry laughed. "Careful Molly, you might become the town busy-body."
She batted his hand playfully. "Oh shush you!"
Hermione didn't want to unpack yet. So she called her familiar, an artic wolf named Annie, and decided to go see Molly. Eli told her the woman had pestered him into agreeing to send her over. Hermione tamed her wild, brown curls. She made sure her face was fresh and slid on a light blue sundress. Slipping into her topsiders, she informed the boys she was going and set out.
Six minutes later, she was at the Burrow's uneven walk. She could hear Molly laughing with one of the boys through the kitchen window. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the doorjam.
Molly snickered slightly as she glanced over at the younger woman. "Oh! You must be my new neighbor! Come in! What's your name dear?"
Hermione smirked. "Molly Weasley! I dated your son for two years and was Ginny's best friend at Hogwarts. I'm slightly offended that you've forgotten me so easily," she teased.
Molly held her hand up to her mouth. "Hermione Granger?" she gasped.
"Davis now, actually," she smiled.
Harry was frozen in his chair, staring at the woman his friend had become. She was beautiful. Gorgeous, in fact. Molly pulled the brunette into a bone crushing embrace. Hermione chuckled as she was released. She sighed in content, letting her eyes roam fondly over the the room. They landed on Harry and she smiled.
"Harry! Oh my god!" she exclaimed, wrapping arms around him. Harry grinned as he hugged her close.
"How are you Mione?" he asked calmly.
"Good. You? How are Gin and the girls?" she asked warmly.
"I hear they're well. Gin's married Malfoy. The girls live with them," he said calmly.
Hermione hadn't kept in touch much after Derek passed. "Oh...I'm sorry...I didn't know."
"It's fine Hermione. It started seven years ago. I'm fine. It's fine, really."
She eyed her friend knowingly as she sat between the other two and poured some tea.
"And where's your husband? You didn't mention him. And is Elijah your only child?" Molly asked casually.
Hermione paused in her pouring. "No, Elijah is the oldest of five boys. As for Derek...he died of a heart attack six years ago. He was a good man," she said softly.
Harry's heart ached and soared all in one go. On one hand he never liked seeing her hurt. It had been even more of a weakness than when Ginny cried when they were kids. And on the other...she was the one that got away. "So what's brought you back?"
"I'm teaching History of Magic at Hogwarts," she replied, thankful for Harry's perceptive bail out.
"I run my wand shop out of Hogwarts and during the year I run the Student Life Center. We've started a bookshop, cyber-cafe area, study lounge, and gaming/entertainment room. Right now we're working on a sports complex...Hogwarts has gone slightly modern."
"Cool," Hermione smiled.
"Call the Prophet...Hermione has just used a common teenage euphemism," he teased.
For the next hour, the three conversed leisurely about their children, the last twenty-years, and what they did for fun.
"Molly, I want to have a housewarming party. Do you think we can round up the gang in time for next weekend?"
"Oh yes! I'll contact them and cook!" she exclaimed, standing up and setting off to plan.
Harry was about to say something when his middle daughter rushed in from the floo, sobbing with a satchel on her shoulder. "Daddy," she wept.
Harry rose in concern and wrapped his strong arms around the redhead. "Chris, love, what's the matter?"
Hermione waved at him and slipped out to say goodbye to Molly. Harry nodded to the woman, watching her leave.