Chapter 103
A New Life

Author's Note: This chapter is very un-canon to the Harry Potter universe. This was going to be an alternate, unofficial ending at first, until I realized this could set up a possible sequel for the story. I had doubts about this chapter... but then I realized I wanted it... and after I gave a couple of hints a few chapters ago, that solidified it. I hope you enjoy this rather shocking and probably controversial ending.

(Hermione's PoV)

The following morning, Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny walked down the ruined Grand Staircase and into the Entrance Hall. When they walked into the Great Hall, the expected cheers were heard as everyone saw Harry. Though the cheers were only temporary, before they went back to what they were doing. Overnight a number of Healers from St. Mungo's had come to Hogwarts and were helping the injured. The dead lay off to the side, preserved by magic until they would be laid to their final rest. Several people stood along them, still mourning and giving their thanks and memories of the fallen.

"There you are!" Mrs. Weasley's familiar voice said.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and Kingsley Shacklebolt walked over to them. When Mrs. Weasley saw them, she smiled, something she hadn't done since she had seen Fred's body, and walked over to them.

"We thought we would get a bite to eat and help with clean-up," Ron said.

"That is fine, Ron, but unfortunately I must steal a couple people away from you," Mrs. Weasley said, "Harry, Hermione, if I may request your presence for a little while, I need you to come with me and Kingsley.

"Can I go?" Ginny asked, and Ron nodded.

"Yes," Mrs. Weasley said, "You may go or stay here and help with the aftermath of the battle. Either way is fine with me."

"What are we doing?" Ginny asked.

"Kingsley and I are going to Andromeda Tonks' house," Mrs. Weasley said. "We're going to tell Andromeda about Remus and Dora. And I thought Harry would like to meet his godson."

"Why do I need to come with you?" Hermione asked.

"Er – well – I," Mrs. Weasley said, "I think that would be better explained when we get there, okay? The castle's Anti-Disapparation field is down, and we can leave right now."

"I'll go with you, Hermione," Ron said, "I'm not leaving you right now. Besides, I-I don't think I can face anything around here without you."

Hermione nodded and squeezed Ron's hand.

"I want to meet Teddy!" Ginny said, "I am definitely coming along."

Mrs. Weasley smiled.

"I'll stay here and help out, eh?" Mr. Weasley said, "I'll see all of you very soon, I think. Good luck..."

Kingsley and Mrs. Weasley led the four of them into the Great Hall.

"Ron and Hermione," Kingsley said, "If you will, I'll take you along with Side-Along Apparation. Harry and Ginny can go with Molly."

Hermione and Ron took Kingsley's hand. He nodded to Mrs. Weasley, and soon Hermione was experiencing the familiar feeling of Apparation and soon she was standing in front of a two-story farmhouse in the center of a field.
"Come along," Mrs. Weasley said. "Kingsley, I assume you will be the one to tell her about her daughter and son-in-law."

"As the interim Minister of Magic," Kingsley said, "And the leader of the Order of the Phoenix, it is my duty."

"Right, I did hear about your new title," Harry said, "Congratulations."

"Thank you, Harry," Kingsley said, smiling, "Yes. The Wizengamot decided it was time to find one single person to lead everyone after the end of the Second War. And they picked myself."

"A very good choice," Mrs. Weasley said.

Mrs. Weasley and Kingsley led the four of them toward the house. Kingsley waved his wand over the door, and a series of clicking sounds were heard as the door opened. He led them into the house and they were standing in a living room. Hermione heard crying coming from upstairs.

"I hear Teddy!" Ginny said, grinning.

Mrs. Weasley cleared her throat but said nothing.

"Andromeda," Kingsley called out.

Andromeda appeared from the arched doorway across the living room. She was holding a green-haired baby in her arms, but Hermione was not looking at Teddy. Although she had seen Andromeda a couple of times recently, she couldn't help but look at her differently. Andromeda looked a lot like her sister, Bellatrix, and Hermione couldn't help but look away.

"Kingsley?" Andromeda said, "Molly? But where is Dora and Remus?"

Hermione felt tears in her eyes, and she heard Harry inhaling and exhaling quickly near her.

"Wait a minute," Ginny said, "If Teddy is down here. Who is upstairs?"

"Oh, Molly," Andromeda said, "I was going to ask what the children were doing here, but – now I see why."

Hermione couldn't help but notice that Andromeda was looking at her.

"Harry and Ginny wanted to meet Teddy," Mrs. Weasley said, "And – well – erm – Hermione, can you follow me please? Ron, you can come with me too."

"Andromeda," Kingsley said, "How about we let Harry hold Teddy and he can get to know him? I have to talk to you for a few minutes."

As Mrs. Weasley led Hermione and Ron up the stairs, Hermione saw knowing tears fall from Andromeda's eyes.

"Mum," Ron said, "What is going on?"

"Everything will be explained in a minute," Mrs. Weasley said.

They arrived in front of a doorway and Mrs. Weasley closed her eyes.

"I have to warn you, Hermione," she said, as she opened her eyes and looked at her, "This is going to be a wee bit of a shock for you."

"O-okay," Hermione said, clueless about what was happening.

Mrs. Weasley smiled and opened the door. She motioned toward the room and Hermione walked inside. Across the room were two baby cribs. In one of the cribs, a baby boy was laying down, and looking up at a mobile spinning around above the crib. Not sure why she was doing it, Hermione walked slowly over to the baby and looked down at him. He had a short tuft of brown hair across his head, almost matching Hermione's, and brown eyes. Hermione's eyes widened and she looked up at Mrs. Weasley.

"Hermione," Mrs. Weasley said, "I'd like to introduce you to Matthew John Granger. Your brother."

"What?" Hermione said, "That's impossible – Mum -"

""Your mother was six-months pregnant," Mrs. Weasley said, "when you were staying at your parents' house this past summer. She was hiding her pregnancy from you. I understand she did not put on much weight, so she was able to hide it. I believe you mentioned it once that you were spending more time with your father than your mother. Is this true?"

"Y-yes," Hermione said.

"It was her way of keeping it from you," Hermione said, "What I am going to tell you now is everything I've heard about in recent months. Your parents were keeping this from you because of the Order. Your parents knew they were being watched for their own protection. Bill had talked to them before you arrived and your mother explained to him her situation. Because Harry was a target of V-Voldemort, you were also a target – and the Order thought it was a good idea that you didn't know about this."

"But if I had known I would have protected them!" Hermione said, tears forming in their eyes.

"You know Elphias Doge was working on sending your parents to a safe-house the night they were murdered," Mrs. Weasley said, "He was too late. You have been told that your mother was in your bedroom at the time of her death, is this correct?"

"Yes," Hermione said, "And my father was headed for the bedroom."

"They had turned your bedroom into a small nursery," Mrs. Weasley said. "Matthew was found safe and unharmed in your closet. A bit hungry and cranky, but safe all the same. Apparently one of Elphias Doge's last acts was putting a spell on your bedroom protecting him... not your mother."

"Oh, Merlin," Hermione said, tears sliding down her face.

"It could not protect your mother, unfortunately," Mrs. Weasley said, "Remus and Dora went to the house that evening and found the nursery and Matthew. Remus and Dora put the room back to normal and found your bed in the guest room so if you returned to the house, you would not know what happened. It was decided between the members of the Order that Andromeda's house was the safest to keep the baby, and she agreed to take care of him. Remus and Dora also found a letter in your bedroom that was probably going to be sent to you to give you an explanation to you about your brother."

Mrs. Weasley walked over to the changing table and kneeled down toward a small bag. Hermione looked down at Matthew then looked at Ron. He had tears in his eyes and was smiling at her. Mrs. Weasley walked back over to Hermione and handed her a letter in the same type of paper she had seen her mother write on numerous times. She sniffled as she read it:

October 31st, 1997

Hermione,

To say that this letter is going to come as a bit of shock to you is an understatement. Your father and I apologize in advance for not telling you sooner and it was only for your safety and ours.

When you were visiting us this summer, I was keeping a deep secret from you and it is the hardest secret I've ever kept from you. I was six months pregnant when you came home to visit us for a week. This pregnancy was less than normal for me, given that I am in my forties but I was very healthy. I also did not put on too many pounds and I was able to hide it from you.

On October 2nd, I gave birth to a healthy little boy: your brother, Matthew John Granger. Right now, he is laying in his crib, and he is very beautiful. I hope you can meet him during Christmas Break. Your father and I turned your bedroom into a nursery, and our guest room will now be your bedroom. I keep saying he looks just like your father, much like you as well, but I think he has a bit of both of us in him. He reminds me of you so much, even if he is a boy. He's cranky at the best of times, but he is very much like you were as a baby.

Please forgive me and your father for not telling you. The morning before you arrived at our house, Bill Weasley came over to the house, and told us that we would be having some security watching us. That was when I revealed to him that I was pregnant. Later in the night he talked to us again, and he told us you were in a bit of danger, but that we shouldn't be too worried. But because of the danger, we were asked not to reveal this pregnancy to you. But I have to send this letter to you. I've been thinking about this ever since Matthew came into this world... and I had to write this. I'm just so happy right now, and I wanted to tell you.

Elphias Doge said something about us giving us more protection. He hasn't exactly said what, and that we'll know soon. I'm going to give this letter to him tonight to send to you.

I'm sure you'll love him as much as we do. We love you just the same, even if we have a new baby in the house. See you around Christmas Break.

Love,
Mum, Dad and Matthew John

A tear dripped over the piece of paper as she finished the letter.

"October 31st," Hermione said, "She could have written this right before everything happened."

"Yes," Mrs. Weasley, "The ink was apparently very fresh."

"Oh Merlin," Hermione sniffled.

She dropped the piece of paper and walked back over to the crib. Matthew smiled as he looked up at her.

"I look a bit like my Mum," Hermione said. "He sees her in me."

Hermione sniffled and gently reached into the crib and picked Matthew up. She cuddled him against her and he looked at her.

"H-hi, Matthew," she said, "I'm Hermione. Your big sister."

Matthew smiled and Hermione sniffled again.

"He's my responsibility now," Hermione said, looking up at Ron and Mrs. Weasley, "I'm all he has in the world."

"I know this is a big shock to you, Hermione," Mrs. Weasley said.

"He and I can live in my house," Hermione continued, "Back home in Oxford. Where he was meant to be."

"I will do everything I can to help you," Mrs. Weasley said, "Both Arthur and I will. He's as much a part of our family as you are. In fact, we were going to take him to the Burrow instead of here. Around Christmas, you know. Arthur and I planned on telling you, but we were so busy with Christmas and – and then – well -"

"We left for the camping trip," Hermione said, nodding.

"Dora was helping Andromeda take care of him," Mrs. Weasley said, "so she could prepare for Teddy. And then she stayed here after Teddy was born and she and Andromeda took care of both of them."

"Can he stay here for a couple of days?" Hermione asked, "Until I get everything prepared?"

"I don't think Andromeda would mind watching him for a little while longer," Mrs. Weasley said, "I'll leave the three of you alone. I'm going to go comfort Andromeda."

Hermione nodded. Mrs. Weasley smiled and left the room. Hermione looked down at Matthew then carefully set him back in the crib. She looked at Ron, and he nodded then walked over to her and hugged her. She buried her head in his neck and sobbed for a full minute.

"Wh-why?" Hermione asked, her voice muffled into his skin, "Wh-why didn't they tell me? I would have done everything I could to protect them!"

"They were protecting you," Ron said, "I'm sure they were thinking of you when they died. They were thinking you'd be here for Matthew. Hermione, listen to me."

Hermione sniffled and looked up at him.

"I'm going to do everything I can to help me," Ron said, "Say the words and I'll move in with you and we can take care of him together."

"Of course you can move in with us," Hermione said.

"Good," Ron said, "He'll be like our child, even though he's your brother. We were planning on having kids of our own, weren't we?"

Hermione chuckled and nodded.

"So, we'll wait a few years," Ron said, "Until Matthew is old enough for us to handle having a child of our own. We can get a lot of practice."

Hermione nodded.

"D-do you think he's a wizard?" she asked, "Is there a way of knowing?"

"Mum would have told you if he was a wizard," Ron said. "All wizard's and witches' names are put in the Hogwarts book of names for future students. That is widely known. McGonagall controls it and – well -"

"She would have told Mum," Hermione said, nodding. "He's probably just a Muggle."

Ron smiled.

"You may not be his mother," he said, "But you'll be as good as. Harry has Teddy to look after sometimes, and we have Matthew. "

"They'll grow up together," Hermione said, grinning, "Wow, this is so much to take in."

"Do you want to introduce him to Harry and Ginny?" Ron asked.

Hermione nodded. She released her grip from Ron and cuddled Matthew into her arms. She inhaled and exhaled and they left the room. In the living room, Harry was cuddling Teddy in his arms and making faces. He looked up at Ron and Hermione when they walked back down.

"Come and meet Teddy," Harry said, "He's fantastic and just like his – er – who is that?"

"This is Matthew John," Hermione said, "My brother."

Harry and Ginny's eyes widened.

"Your brother?" Harry asked.

Hermione sat down carefully with Matthew in a chair across from Harry, Ginny and Teddy and explained what Mrs. Weasley had told her and Ron.

"Merlin," Ginny gasped, after Hermione was finished, "So – what happens now?"

"Matthew can stay here for a couple of days," Hermione said, "I'll help with the funeral arrangements for the fallen at Hogwarts, and then I'll set up my old room at home for Matthew again."

"Mum will help us with that," Ron said.

"'Us'?" Harry echoed.

"Ron's moving in with me," Hermione said, "He's going to help me take care of Matthew."

"You can take care of babies, Ron?" Harry asked.

"The good thing about having a bunch of relatives," Ron said, "is at periods of time during visits from our extended family, us kids were expected to help with the young ones."

"Auntie Muriel's great grandson was a handful at the best of times," Ginny said, chuckling, "Even if I was just eight when we took care of him for a week. Matthew will be a piece of cake. Ron knows what he's doing, Hermione."

Hermione looked at Ron and nodded. She looked back at Matthew.

"Gives me something to learn about," Hermione said.

"Perfect training for your future kids," Harry said.

Hermione smiled and looked at Teddy. His hair had gone the same color as Matthew's at the sight of him.

"I think Teddy and Matthew are already friends," Ginny said, giggling.

"They've spent the past couple of months together in Teddy's bedroom," Hermione said, "I'm sure their the best of friends."

Hermione heard sniffling coming from the kitchen, and then footsteps as Andromeda, Kingsley and Mrs. Weasley walked into the room.

"Oh, look at you," Andromeda said, trying her best to smile at Hermione, "Matthew is definitely your brother."

"Thank you so much for taking care of him, Mrs. Tonks," Hermione said, "I'm so sorry about Dora and Remus."

Andromeda sniffled and nodded. She looked at Harry, Ginny and Teddy.

"Remus told me he made you Teddy's godfather, Harry," Andromeda said.

"I'll do my best to help you raise him," Harry said.

"We will," Ginny said, "Remus wanted me to be Teddy's godmother. I was the last to see Dora and Remus before they died, Andromeda. They were with each other until the end."

"It is what she wanted," Andromeda said, "I couldn't stop her from going to Hogwarts yesterday. She wanted Remus."

"She trusted that you would look after Teddy if something happened to her," Mrs. Weasley said, "Between Harry, Ginny and you, I'm sure he'll be the best little boy. He'll grow up like his parents."

"It is wonderful to know that love and new life flourishes after the Second War," Kingsley said, "This gives us hope for the wizarding world, I think."

Everyone in the room who could agree did so. Hermione looked at Ron, and he put his arm around her and she kissed him softly. She then looked back down at Matthew, who was asleep in her arms.

Thank you, Mum, Dad. Thank you for giving me something to remember you by. I'll be the best big sister he could ever have, and I'll make sure he knows all about you as he grows up.

As she looked back at Ron, and noticed how he was looking lovingly at Matthew as if he was his own, Hermione couldn't help but smile. This is what they had promised each other... for many months, they had made promises to each other that there would be more for them after the Second War.

A future they could be a part of... and a whole new life to start.

Fin.

I hope you weren't confused about Hermione's mother's pregnancy, and how Matthew came into the world and survived Bellatrix's attack. It shouldn't be too confusing. But I wanted this, so as to give Hermione hope in the future and someone very close to her – not Ron, not Harry, not the Weasleys – but actual family to have with her in her life. Matthew is not a wizard. He's just a Muggle. But he's a big part of the wizarding world thanks to those around him who know and love him.

As I said, I wrote this ending with the thought that I could write a sequel. I'm sure all my readers are hoping for one. I already have a title for it too... if I write it, it will be called "What Next?" Now I just have to figure out a story. If I write it, I can't promise I'll update it as quickly as I did this one. It may take a while to complete... a while to get each new chapter up. So I want to think about it before I even start it.

As many of my readers know, I've written Post-DH stories before and they are quite popular... I still get reviews and comments and alerts regarding my first Post-DH story that was completed years ago!

However, if I write this story, it will probably be much more innocent. The characters living their lives... starting their futures. I'll probably even stick to some of JK Rowling's canon, even though there will be some different changes, what with Hermione's new brother in the story, and her parents not. So, we'll see what I can do.

As for this story, I never expected to have 103 chapters! Not at all! I am shocked... completely shocked.

And for that, I thank you for sticking with this story until the end. Through the twists, changes to the story, heck, even for trying to put up with what is known as "Bratty Ginny"! Thank you... to my reviewers who have given me their feedback on most of my chapters, thank you. You kept me going and I enjoyed reading all your feedback.

For one last time, at least with this story, I hope you enjoyed this chapter and the story!

P.S. While this story is completed, I might put up a few deleted scenes and story-lines I had ideas for during the story but could never fit. We'll see what happens.