Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 41 of 45

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After ten days sleeping beside her, he had grown used to being woken up by her murmuring his name. So he reached out for her in comfort, but instead of nestling closer to him, she just kept calling his name, each time louder and more annoyed than the last.

"What?" he finally asked with equal annoyance.

"What do you want?" she griped.

"What do YOU want?" he replied in turn without opening his eyes.

"You said my name."

"I didn't say your name."

"Yes, you did. I heard my name."

"I was asleep, Hermione," he maintained, finally opening his eyes and staring across at her.

"Well, you said my name," she insisted.

"Well, maybe you were dreaming," he challenged.

"No, I was already awake and I heard my name sound right in my ear."

"Well, I didn't say it." They stared at each other a moment and Ron tried to figure out how to kindly suggest that perhaps she had heard it in her own head. Then it dawned on him and he shoved her off the pillow urgently.

"Ron!" she shrieked at the forceful way he displaced her. "What are you - "

But then he was holding the Deluminator aloft and the words died in her throat.

She hadn't imagined her name. It had worked.

They both stared at the tiny silver instrument clutched in his hand and struggled silently for words.

"But - it can't - I mean - "

"It worked," Ron laughed. "It actually worked."

"But it couldn't. They don't know I exist and besides it's - " She grabbed his wrist and looked at his watch. " - four in the morning! Why would they say my name at four in the morning?"

"Maybe they're reading Shakespeare," he repeated the same thing he had when he'd first given the Deluminator to her on the steps of her parents house.

"Mum does get up and read sometimes when she can't sleep."

"Go and click it!" he ordered.


"That's what you have to do! You have to click it," he instructed and he was quickly taken back to a lonely night outside his brother's cottage. "Click it." He pressed it into her hand and he could tell from the look in her eye she too was thinking about the night he'd described to her.

The ball of light looked different from the one that had appeared before him. It was smaller and softer somehow, not nearly as bright as the light when he'd heard Hermione's voice. It was almost surreal to observe it happen to someone else, to watch the ball of light fly to the space between her breasts where he put his hand when they went to sleep.

Her eyes were wide, frightened almost, and she looked to Ron for guidance.

"And now it takes you to them," he stated simply with a smile, hardly believing it had worked.

"So we Disapparate?" Hermione asked, still staring down at her chest with wonder.

"Yeah," Ron laughed, but then caught himself. "But wait - no, what about Hugo? We can't just leave him out here in the middle of nowhere."

"We can leave a note."

"Hermione, we can't just leave him," he insisted.

"Let's wake him up and get him then!" She was still staring down her shirt and Ron knew well the feeling surging through her, the urgency she felt. The warm feeling that what she wanted most right now was near and the light inside her would take her to them.

"It's four in the morning," he reminded.


"Let's just give him a couple hours, eh?" Ron tried to reason.

"What am I supposed to just sit here with in me for two hours?" She looked uneasy at the thought. "What are we supposed to do?"

"I don't know." Ron lay back down, wrapping his hands behind his head and she reluctantly followed suit. "I mean...I do know something we can do for two hours," he proposed with a suggestive raise of the eyebrows.

"Two hours?" Hermione laughed. "Right."

"What?" Ron grumbled. "We could do it for two hours." She didn't respond and Ron could tell she looked unconvinced. "You don't think we could do it for two hours?"

"Considering that three separate times still didn't come close to one hour, no," she pointed out.

"Well, that's know, it," Ron defended. "It was just new."

"How many times makes it not new?" There was definitely a smile curving on her face now.

"I don't know, like...four." Ron moved a hand to her stomach then and the grin on her face grew wider.

"How convenient." She just nodded her head. "Still, I think we need to practice just a bit more before we can do it for two hours."

"Practice?" He looked to her and made no attempt to stifle his own smile now.

"Well, that's what those three times were, right? Just practice?"

"Yeah, yeah, they were just practice," Ron murmured in assurance, loving that there was levity now where there had been anger and tears.

"And practice makes perfect," she grinned and kissed him once softly, but when his hands traveled down her body, she quickly stopped him. "But I'm not practicing right now."

"Why not?"

"Because all I can think about right now is..." She clutched her chest, reminding him of the light resting inside her now. He relented, knowing the feeling coursing through her. When the ball of light had gone into him he'd been able to think about little else but her, how she was, what she'd been doing, how she would react, what she would say. What he would say.

"Why don't you tell me about them, then?" he dared ask.

"Who?" Hermione laughed.

"Your parents," he stated simply. "Tell me about them." It was something he'd wanted to ask for weeks now in Australia, but had been afraid to do. Now they were here, one step from finding them and wanted to know them the way Hugo did. He wanted to know if her mum cooked Sunday roast and her dad took walks along the river.

"What do you want to know about?" She replied stiffly.

"I don't know. You just - " He paused and licked his lips, knowing he was treading on delicate ground. "You never talk about them."

"You don't talk about your parents," she pointed out logically.

"Because you know my parents," he shrugged.

"What do you want to know?" Ron tried to ignore the irritation he suddenly detected in her voice.

"Does your mum like to cook?" He asked innocently.

"I guess," she replied stiffly.

"Look, we don't have to talk about them if you don't want," he backed down, sensing her hesitation. "I just thought…" His voice drifted away and then for a long time neither spoke. They both just lay there and stared up at the canvas, waiting for a bit of light to appear that meant they could awaken Hugo and finish their journey.

"The truth is...ever since I got my letter I feel like there's a part of my life my parents will never know," she admitted finally. "And even if I do, you know, get them back." She clutched her chest and he could see the tears quickly form in her eyes with the realisation that they were close now to doing just that. "I could never tell them about this." Her scarred arm flew upward, the ugly purple letters stood out clearly against her pale skin. "Not any of it." When he took her hand then, he could feel it tighten and grow clammy. He knew she was talking about the stuff he'd brought up last night, all the stuff she said she tried not to think about. "But then...I can't - I don't want to lie to them anymore," she sputtered. "And I don't know what to do." She blew out a shaky breath as she spoke the words. "I never...thought this far ahead." Ron recalled her confession then back in Brisbane about how she'd tried to prepare herself for the possibility that she wouldn't be able to locate them and would be an orphan the rest of her life.

"Well, you don't have to tell them everything." He brushed her hand with his thumb softly, playfully reminding her that some things were best left a secret. "And you don't have to tell them in one day," he continued. It was an awful lot to reveal. They'd shared enough dangerous adventures the last seven years to fill several books. She had every reason to be fearful, but he also knew she could ease them into this new reality. He could see she looked doubtful despite his suggestion. "You can wear longsleeves when you first see them," he suggested, wrapping his fingers around her arm gently.

"I think about it all the time." Her voice sounded small.

"Of course you do," he spoke obligingly.

"No,I mean all the time." The look in her eyes and flush of her cheeks indicated just when she was talking about. "I think that's part of why I don' know…"

"You think about your parents when we have sex?" He couldn't help himself from blanching at the thought.

"Not like…I mean, I just - " she stammered. "I think about what they'd think."

"While I'm inside you?" She looked to his gaping expression then and gave an embarrassed laugh, attempting to wrench her hand away, but he refused to let her break away. "It's no wonder you never relax!" he sputtered teasingly, mostly just because he loved that they could laugh about it, even if her cheeks did turn a furious shade of pink.

"I just feel guilty," she admitted. There was that damned word again.

"Because you're having fun and living your life and….moving on without them?" Ron spoke feelings that were all too familiar.

"And because I broke a promise to my mum."

"How do you mean?"

"I just...I promised my mum - ."

"Oi, this isn't about the bloody condoms, is it? Why don't you just let me effing wear them?"

"Because it's pointless!" she sounded much more agitated than he anticipated about something that seemed so trivial in the grand scheme of things. "It's pointless and redundant! Because I'm a witch and you're a wizard and we - we don't use condoms!"

"Right…" Ron spoke slowly, sensing at last this was about much more than a conversation about contraceptives and breaking a promise to her mum.

"We have charms that do the same thing and work much better and - and our world is different," she sputtered. "My world will always be different from my parents' and - "

"- and that's just how it is," Ron finished for her and gave a shrug. "You need to stop feeling guilty about it."

"But they'll never forgive me for using magic on them! I know they won't!"

There it was.

There was the root of everything. The words she'd confessed days ago that they'd both conveniently ignored sometime when her knickers had come off.

"You saved their lives." He spoke forcefully and tightened his hand around hers.

"I brainwashed them." She wasn't looking at him.

"You saved their lives. You have to know that."

Her breaths were shallow and hurried and for a moment he worried she was going to come apart like she had on the steps at Highgate Hill. He knew then that's what the collapse had been about. It wasn't simply the fact that she couldn't find her parents. It was the fact that she'd been the one who lost them.

"You saved them." He wondered how many times he'd have to repeat it for her to believe it herself.

"What if they never forgive me?" she creaked.

"You saved them."

His long fingers spread across her back as he felt her take several deep, steadying breaths. It was a funny thing, guilt. The irrational way it could take hold of you, making you confident of things nobody else could believe. She'd dismissed his own guilt last night and torn the bandage off in a fit to prove to him there was nothing to apologise for; that maybe she wasn't okay yet, but she wouldn't let the scars haunt her anymore.

Yet she couldn't let go of the same thing herself. He wondered what symbolic gesture her parents could possibly extend that would deliver the same message. Deep down, he wondered if there wasn't a hint of truth to Hermione's fears. He was certainly the last person to know her parents well enough to predict their actions. For a moment, he thought about asking Hugo what he thought, but then remembered Hugo was just a Muggle.

He was just a Muggle who had heard about dragons and trolls and potions and Quidditch. Yet Hugo hadn't asked a single question to clarify anything. Not any of the ridiculous stuff they'd stupidly let slip fighting yesterday morning and certainly not the mysterious circumstances surrounding two people who had somehow forgotten their own identities and only daughter.

"I think we should tell Hugo," he murmured then in an abrupt change of subject.

"Tell Hugo what?" Hermione frowned.

"Everything," Ron blurted out.

"We can't tell him anything, Ron," Hermione chided.

"Why not?" He wasn't sure why he wanted the young man to know the truth, he only knew he didn't like lying to him.

"Because it's against the law!" she laughed. "There's an International Statute of Secrecy for a reason. You read the Code of Secrecy!" she reminded.

"Yeah, and it was put in place to protect the magical community. Hugo's no threat!"

"He's still a Muggle."

"He's different, Hermione. You know he wouldn't tell a soul."

"You tell him and you Obliviate him." Her firm insistence on following the law reminded Ron of their first year when she'd been so hell bent on abiding by every Hogwarts rule. "We'll probably have to alter his memory anyway when we get to Perth."

"No, we're not!" Ron cried, unsure why the notion made him feel so uneasy, but feeling suddenly protective to Hugo.

"It'll be for his own good," Hermione spoke kindly. "Honestly, people don't need to think he's any stranger."

"We can't Obliviate him," he spoke calmer now. "Hermione, that's not fair."

"I don't know what else to do." The helplessness in her voice reminded Ron of the way it had sounded when she'd collapsed in his arms last summer after performing the charm on her parents. He vividly recalled that moment when she realised she was an orphan as much as Harry was and it was all of her own making. Finally, he could understand at least a small part of her struggle. He felt sick at the mere thought of messing with Hugo's mind and could hardly imagine trying to weigh the options with his own mum and dad.

"You don't think he could be a Squib, do you?" Ron grasped at the only hope they really had. The look on Hermione's face answered his desperate query.

"If he asks questions, we have to do a memory charm," she returned to the issue at hand.

"Okay," Ron relented, knowing better than to argue about magical law with Hermione. "But I'll do it." He wasn't entirely sure how to do such a complex memory charm, one that required rewriting more than just a few minutes of time, but he knew he wanted to save Hermione from having to do the charm again. He recalled the pained expression simply from Confunding the ticket agent in Dijon or the crooked Bulgarian taxi driver. He didn't want to do it, but he didn't want to make her do it either and she'd come first. Ron was starting to realise she'd always come first now.

He shifted positions and moved his hand to the place in her chest where the light had gone.

"So your mum and dad…think they'll want to chop my bollocks off when they find out about us?" He hoped the positive way he spoke about finding her parents would lift the heavy mood. She laughed against him and the comfortable maneuvering that took place next as she adjusted her position made his head spin at how much had changed between them in such a short trip. He wondered what they'd have done without Australia.

"They like you," she assured.

"They liked me," Ron clarified dryly.

"They'll still like you." He wasn't sure whether it was the intimate position or the warm light residing in her chest that made her speak so hopefully, but he loved finally hearing it. She hugged him tightly and smiled.

They talked about her parents nearly the entire morning. Ron learned every place they'd ever gone on holiday and where they'd gone to university. He learned about her grandparents and what her mum made for Christmas dinner and the more she talked, the more she seemed to smile. He knew it was probably the first time she'd allowed herself to think about them like this in an entire year.

Hugo seemed to sense the urgency surging through them both and didn't ask questions when they woke him up by rapping loudly on the window of his car at sunrise. Without even changing his clothes, he rubbed his eyes groggily, informed them he'd be stopping for coffee as soon as possible and started up the vehicle. It was nearly two hours until the first opportunity to get Hugo fully caffeinated and while he didn't complain, he didn't seem entirely awake for most of those two hours either.

Hermione's knees bounced up and down in the backseat with nervous anticipation while Hugo informed them it would only be about eight hours to Perth now. She was leafing through the map they'd purchased back in South Australia. The inset of Perth wasn't very large or detailed, but she had her nose pressed to the paper and was studying it like it was her Ancient Runes book. When Ron asked to look he could see the city was, much like Brisbane, positioned on the coast beside a winding river. Hermione was chewing on her lip as she studied each section of the city carefully.

"So we can use the postal code to narrow down what neighborhood they mailed it from and I'd wager they'll try to be as close to the river as possible. No more than a ten minute walk probably." She took her thumb and forefinger and began measuring a search radius. Ron smiled at the sight. She had a plan. Her brain was working. She was back.

When they finally got off the 1,000 mile Eyre Highway and began traveling north instead of west, her excitement became contagious. She was smiling in a manner he usually only saw when they were alone together. The scenery wasn't much different on this stretch of the drive, but the atmosphere inside the Calibra was the most energetic it had been. Trees now dotted the bleak red landscape and they even passed a quaint little town called Coolgardie where they stopped briefly for sandwiches, petrol, and yet more coffee for Hugo.

"I can feel it," she whispered, gripping Ron's sides eagerly while they stood outside the car waiting for the tank to fill. "That we're moving closer. I can feel it inside me."

"Feels good, doesn't it?" He smiled, reminding her that he knew the feeling well. She hugged him fiercely then, clutching onto his sleeve the way she used to when they met on Platform 9 ¾ for a new year at Hogwarts, every part of her quivering with nervous anticipation.

They had pulled ten and twelve hours in the car before, but somehow Ron knew these six remaining hours would be the ones that crawled by the slowest. He stuck his hand out the open window and moved it up and down in undulating waves while the wind whipped through his hair. If he closed his eyes it felt almost like riding on a broom. He missed his broom, he realised. He missed the feeling of a carefree fly on a late summer afternoon.

He'd lost track of the days and wasn't sure if it was even still May. Weeks that felt like months had passed since they'd departed the Burrow. That meant it had been even longer since his brother had died. Ron wondered how so much could happen in just one month.

Hugo didn't reference the heavy conversation from last night about their lost brothers. While he seemed to enjoy the much lighter mood inside the car, the jovial conversation and excitement about reaching Perth, Ron couldn't shake the feeling that he seemed preoccupied somehow.

"So are you going to find a hotel first?" Hugo asked them tentatively. Hermione and Ron exchanged a look that indicated they hadn't really thought that much about it. If they located the Grangers that evening and Hermione reversed the spell, Ron realised he might very well be spending tonight alone in a hotel.

"I dunno. I reckon we'll try to find David and Emily first. What will you do?" Ron had already asked the question numerous times on the trip and knew Hugo's standard answer, but now that they were getting so close he wondered if Hugo had something more concrete than just to find his mates by the beach.

"Check out the city. Look up my mates," he dismissed like always.

"Are you still going to help us look for David and Emily?" Ron inquired, glancing behind to Hermione, who was still clutching her chest. He found himself suddenly wishing they hadn't invited Hugo to take part in what would now be a fairly simple search with the Deluminator assisting them.

"Yeah. Yeah, I will. I just…" Hugo licked his lips and swallowed loudly in a nervous manner Ron had never seen before. The young man was always so relaxed. "It's just I - I have to..there's something I have to tell you." Ron's mind whirled for a moment, imagining what could possibly make the carefree young man suddenly sound so serious. He was a Squib. Ron hoped against hope that that was the news Hugo had to share. He was a Squib. He was a Squib. "And you've got to promise you won't get angry."

"Angry?" Hermione inquired from the backseat then, her attention as piqued as Ron's now.

"I should have told you last night...I should have told you back in Brisbane, but I just...I knew if I told you before that...I knew you wouldn't...if I told you, I knew - "

"Told us what?" Hermione pressed.

"I know their address."

The words seemed to echo throughout the car.

"David and Emily, I have their address in Perth," he clarified like he was afraid they had somehow misheard him and that was the reason for their understated reactions. Had her name not sounded from the Deluminator that morning, Ron knew they would have reacted to the revelation differently, but neither he nor Hermione flinched. "And I know I should have told you back in Brisbane, I know I should have, but I knew you wouldn't come with me then and I - I - " Hugo stammered for an explanation, but couldn't finish. He kept his shameful eyes ahead on the road, unable to even glance over at Ron or catch Hermione's gaze in the mirror.

Ron knew he should be angry. He tried to imagine how he would feel if the Deluminator had not worked that morning and they were facing the prospect of aimlessly wandering the streets of yet another Australian city. But the anger wouldn't come. Hugo had just wanted companionship on this long and lonely drive. And they'd needed this trip, him and Hermione. They'd needed Hugo.

"What is it?" Hermione spoke first to break the silence. "The address?"

"Somerset," he revealed and Ron saw Hermione's eyes light up at the definite way he spoke. "29 Somerset Way. Don't know where that is exactly, but they wrote me with the address soon as they signed the lease."

"Somerset," Hermione repeated. That's where her parents were. They were at 29 Somerset Way, just 120 miles away according to the last road sign.

Hugo's fingers gripped the steering wheel nervously, likely waiting for an explosion of anger toward him for selfishly keeping such a secret, but the light inside Hermione seemed to push aside any lingering resentment.

"Thank you for telling us," she spoke simply.

"So do you want to go to a library or something to find where exactly that is?" Hugo inquired uncomfortably, still seeming surprised by their calm reactions. "No." She clutched her hand to her chest and looked to Ron. "I think I know where it is."

Hugo didn't bother to ask if she'd seen Somerset on the map or perhaps done some research on her own this morning in the tent. He just seemed grateful they weren't angry with him for keeping this secret until the last day.

More cars began to crowd the highway as the day wore on and they grew closer and closer to Perth. The scenes outside the window began to change. There was some relief from the monotony of the last three days. There were buildings and towns and tall trees now, not just the same rugged brush. They were getting closer. The roads became more congested and the traffic grew denser as a blue roadside sign finally welcomed them to the city of Perth.

"Get in the left lane," Hermione commanded softly then. Both Ron and Hugo exchanged confused looks, but when Ron looked to her and saw both hands clasped over her heart, he realised what it meant. She knew. She knew where to take them.

"But the right one takes us into the city," Hugo stated.

"I know, but they're outside the city." She spoke so confidently Hugo didn't bother arguing.

Ron thought again about their conversation regarding Hugo that morning. He wondered what they would tell him about all this. Not just how Hermione knew exactly how to locate 29 Somerset Way, but everything that would follow after that. There was still all that they had stupidly blurted out yesterday. Hugo hadn't made so much as a mention of what must have sounded like utter nonsense to him - about trolls and spells and potions and Quidditch. Thankfully, he was too busy driving and paying attention to directions in the foreign city to ask any questions now.

"Keep driving," she commanded softly.

"But we're leaving the city."

"It's this way." They continued down the Sterling Highway past laundromats and Caltex stations that were now familiar sights to Ron. Hermione was still clutching her chest again and sitting on the edge of her seat with her face pressed against the back window. They passed a garden and a cinema and Ron knew she was picturing her parents at all the locations. He wondered how close they were.

"Get off here," Hermione spoke then and Hugo obediently exited the busy highway and found himself at an even busier intersection.

"Where do I go now?" As soon as the light changed Hugo had to decide which way he wanted to go and with roads leading in what felt like six different directions and a line of cars behind them, Ron sensed hesitation wouldn't be welcome.

"Just find somewhere to park." Hermione's voice was practically a whisper. Hugo carefully maneuvered the mint green Calibra down a side road, and once away from the busy intersection they looked at the suburb that had somehow drawn her parents. The tree-lined street was a nice change from the dull landscapes that had surrounded them for days, but it hardly looked like Henley-by-the-Thames. The bungalows and awkward angular buildings that reminded Ron of the bizarre library in Brisbane were about as far from her plain brick home on Stuart Avenue as he could imagine.


"Yes. Someplace here."

Ron offered to go look for a more detailed map. He even jokingly suggested they find a library, but she just tightened her grip around his hand and began marching confidently down the street.

Splitting up was Hugo's idea. He seemed eager to give the two of them time alone. He knew they were her parents, after all, even if Hermione wouldn't say it. Ron could see she hardly even heard Hugo and Ron's agreement to meet back at his Calibra in an hour's time. She was in another world, quivering with anticipation, clinging to Ron's hand so tightly he thought she might break a few bones.

They traveled east first, all the way to the banks of the Swan River and Ron thought about walking the Promenade in Brisbane and the pavement along the Thames and how long ago it all seemed. He tried to recall the details of her house in Henley, the white frame around the door and the black tiled roof, hoping to locate one that resembled it just like her parents had described in their postcard, but it seemed highly unlikely amid the red-roofs and tropical fauna. Ivy climbing the walls of anything here seemed as probable as finding a palm tree in the middle of London.

The sun had descended behind the houses and just as Ron began wondering if they would continue their search in the dark, it happened.

"Here it is! Somerset!" He exclaimed, pointing to the yellow street sign excitedly, but Hermione was stopped in her tracks. Ron couldn't have pulled her away even if he'd wanted, she was so firmly rooted to the ground.

"David, hurry up! You know I like to watch the previews!"

When Ron turned to match the voice, he could see Hermione already gazing around the corner at the sight.

There were her parents.

The people he'd never really paid much attention to before when they picked Hermione up at Platform 9 3/4. It was her mum she got her hair from. He could see that now. It wasn't nearly as wild as Hermione's, but he could see a familiar unwieldiness to it. She was waiting impatiently by the Honda Hugo told them they'd leased and barking at her husband to move quicker.

"We'll still make the previews." He heard her dad grumble and fumble for his keys to lock the quaint brick house. His dark hair was combed and parted to the side in a neat and orderly way that somehow reminded him of Hermione and made him smile.

"Did you put food out for Harold?"

"Emily, it's not even our cat!"

Ron listened to the domestic banter with amusement, but his eyes didn't leave Hermione. She seemed to be paralyzed and for a long time he didn't think she so much as took a breath. When he reached for her he felt her wobble on the spot and suddenly come to as if in a trance.

Her hands flew to her face and she began taking in deep breaths through the mask she'd created with her hands, her eyes still fixed on the sight of her parents there, talking to each other on the other side of the street. He didn't have to say anything. All he did was give her a supportive squeeze like he'd done all week.

They found them.


A Harry Potter Story
by MsBinns

Part 41 of 45

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