Careful What You Wish For
Hermione was sobbing on the ground in the rain in front of her former home realizing that her whole life had just imploded. Crying and wailing "Ron, Ron, please, no, Ron, come back… I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Ron! Ron!" She closed her eyes, curled into a ball, lay there, and just sobbed. What was she to do? The life she had considered boring and humdrum had just become a disaster. She was looking for something new & exciting, even someone new, but now she had nothing. She had lost everything. She had lost Ron, her family, her friends, and her home. She had even quit her job.
How could she have trusted Draco like this? How did she not see that he was still the same arrogant, entitled, bigoted, evil person that he was before the war? She had believed the "I'm a changed man now" crap that he had poisoned her with. She had believed him when he said that his actions at Hogwarts were all to "save my family." She now realized it was all hippogriff dung, and she had been completely deceived. How could she even show her face in public now? All of her dreams had just been destroyed by the foul loathsome cockroach that was and is still Draco Malfoy.
All she could do now was sob there in front of her old home. She couldn't find the energy or resolve to get up and at least get out of the rain. Through her tears she thought she could hear someone, and she could almost feel someone's hand on her shoulder. But she couldn't stop sobbing to listen, and she couldn't get her eyes to open.
Again she thought she heard something. "Hermione… Hermione. Hermione, love, you're ok, you're safe" finally broke through her sobs. She could actually feel the hands on her shoulders gently shaking her. "Hermione, I'm here, it's ok, you're safe, it was a nightmare, you're ok, you're safe."
When those words became clear to her, her eyes snapped open and she found Ron looking right at her with concern and love in his eyes. She glanced around quickly and realized she was in their bed, and Ron's hands were gently holding her shoulders. Relief flooded her body as she finally comprehended what had happened.
"Oh Ron, it's you!" Her arms wrapped around his body and she pressed her face into his chest and continued to sob. "Hold me Ron, just hold me. I'm so glad you're here, it was awful, it was awful. Promise me we'll always be together."
"Uh, okay Hermione" Ron replied a bit confused. "I'm not sure where else I would be given it's a Saturday morning, and I know that I will never leave you again." Taking a deep breath he then asked, "That didn't seem to be like the nightmares you used to have, in fact I thought those had stopped years ago. What's going on? Why were you so distraught and at the same time so surprised to see me?"
She had been looking up at him when he asked, but then buried her face into his body again and said, "I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but it was the worst nightmare I've ever had. It was horrible. My whole life had just blown up and everything I ever loved was lost. I'll tell you about it someday, but not now, please, not now. Just let me be here in your arms for a bit and treasure being held by you. I love you Ron and always will."
"Ok" he replied as he settled back down next to her, her head now resting on his right shoulder, his right arm holding her close. "It's 6 in the morning, do you want to try sleeping again?"
Hermione thought for a moment and replied "I'm a bit too keyed up right now to go back to sleep, but it's ok if you want to, I just want to stay here for a while and have you hold me. She settled back into his embrace, relishing the comfort of him.
"Well, as long as you're awake, would you mind talking about something?" he asked her gently, stroking the hair away from her forehead. "I'm sorry I got home so late last night, it took a bit longer than normal for the Cannons to lose, and Harry had something he wanted to chat about afterwards."
Oh no, no, no, no thought Hermione. This is starting to sound like the beginning of her nightmare.
"Uh, alright. I'm ok chatting about whatever it is," she said with a bit of hesitancy in her voice. "What did you two discuss?"
"Well, first thing is I wanted to let you know that Malfoy is back in Azkaban. Harry told me he'd been busted for running a counterfeit potions smuggling ring from that new job he had at the Ministry. Turns out he'd been using the connections he made in the International Trade Office to bring in some real dodgy stuff that had almost killed a dozen people. I tell you, some people thought he had been redeemed and had turned into a good person after being out from under his father. What a load of crap that was. He's still the bigoted arrogant toe-rag he was before the war."
To say Hermione was surprised was an understatement. This was getting too weird.
Ron then stoked her hair some more and continued, "Anyway, Harry asked if I would consider going back to the Aurors. There's a special position he needs me for."
Hermione's eyes popped open wide, she sat up immediately and remembering her dream she shouted "NO! NO! you can't, you can't!" Ron couldn't help but notice the wild look in her eyes and the almost panic in her voice. She wrapped her arms around him again and whimpered, "No, you can't leave me. That's how my nightmare started. You can't go, you can't."
Ron jumped back a bit, obviously surprised at the magnitude of her reaction. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hear me out a bit before saying no. This could possibly involve you as well. Calm down a bit and let me explain. No one's leaving anyone. I think you'll even like this idea."
He shifted them around so they were now both sitting up in their bed and looking at each other. Ron's hands were gently massaging Hermione's arms as she calmed down.
He looked right into her eyes and started. "Ok, so a couple weeks ago, I mentioned to Harry that maybe you and I had fallen into a bit of a rut. The kids were at Hogwarts and our lives and jobs had become a bit boring and routine. That maybe you and I would be up for a bit of something new. I mean that Wheezes is almost running itself and that your law practice hadn't had any really interesting cases for a long time. I hope you're ok with me telling Harry that?"
"Well, I can't say that it's not true" she replied. "I have been feeling stuck and bored and restless lately."
Ron's eyes brightened as he continued "Excellent. That's exactly what I told him. Anyway, last night he said he had an offer for me, an offer for us, really, but that I had to rejoin the Auror Corps. See, Harry and the Heads of all the other European Auror groups want to form an International Auror Group for Europe. They want to call it the IAG. Sort of like Interpol is for the muggles. With so much international stuff going on these days, they all want a group that wouldn't be limited by national boundaries."
"Hmm," Hermione replied, "what would you be doing?"
"Well," Ron said, "They want me to be the Head of the Strategy Division, and they want you to be the Head of the Legal Department. You would need to set up and organize a new group; hire barristers and attorneys and staff; set policy; do research, and work in courts all across Europe."
Hermione didn't know what to think. All those thoughts about being bored and stuck and restless were being blown away by Ron's words. It was almost too good to be true.
But then a hesitant expression crossed Ron's face. "There's one catch," he said reluctantly. "We have to move to Brussels, Belgium. That's where the new IAG Headquarters will be. Would you be ok moving? We don't have to sell this house; we could just get something there and keep this place as somewhere to come back to. What do you think?"
"Oh Ron… This is exactly what my nightmare was about. I wanted something new and exciting, so I took off to pursue that but I left you behind and it was awful. Just awful." She looked him straight in the eyes and said, "I would love to start this new adventure, but only if I can do it with you. Promise me we'll always be together. Promise me."
Ron gathered her in his arms and quietly whispered in her ear, "I love you Hermione, more than life itself. I will never leave you and we'll be together always, no matter what the adventure. You're stuck with me forever, Hermione. Forever."