“And your names?”
“Wendell and Monica Wilkins.”
There was no hesitation, not even in her mother’s usually expressive eyes.
Wendell nodded, and repeated the words. “Wendell and Monica Wilkins.”
Her parents no longer.
The cleverest witch of their generation, so her moniker went.
Obliviate was beyond N.E.W.T. level.
And Imperio. Well. That was Unforgivable.
Australia was as far from England as Hermione could figure on. She would have preferred the moon, if it kept them safe.
Known magic didn’t allow for space travel, so she settled.
At least Australia was populated, and she knew the language.
There were advantages.
She watched them at the airport, inconspicuous thanks to the Disillusionment Charm. It wasn’t recommended that one cast it on one’s self.
Hermione had come a long way from the girl who followed the books to the absolute letter.
She was standing in front of the electronic board announcing flight status; she held up her hand and watched in wonder as the spell accounted for the changes to the boarding instructions for the British Airways 7:15 flight to Johannesburg.
Wendell and Monica Wilkins would be on that flight. They were getting in some travelling before settling down in Sydney.
A moving target is, after all, much harder to hit.
“Will they come after us?”
Her voice hadn’t been small or meek like she’d feared. It wasn’t cowardly at all. Nor was it very brave.
It was just assertive.
Hermione she was, to the last.
Alastor Moody’s roving eye had taken her full measure and found her equal to whatever he might throw at her. She could see that, in the way his mouth set.
“Yes. The Weasleys have always been a favorite target of the Death Eaters. But you, Miss Granger, are a special kind of threat to their way of thinking. They will come after you.” He stopped, letting her absorb that, knowing she would not back down.
It was the day she and Ron had decided, without telling Harry just yet, that they would go with him, wherever that meant. It was the day she signed up for the war, for real, not just in the vague way a student can behind the walls of enchanted castles. And this wasn’t the war as her grandfather had fought it or that she watched unfold on television on holidays. It was a covert war, and she was a senior agent of chaos.
Her name was on a list, with her parents’ names and their occupation and their last known location. All their possible associates. Their patients, their employees, their friends from church, her mother’s bridge partner.
“Miss Granger. Are you prepared?”
She gripped her wand.
Heavily disguised, she snuck out of Grimmauld Place twice, and went to a phone booth. Different ones both times, just in case. She never told Ron or Harry.
“Hello, Wilkins residence. Hello? Is someone there? Wendell, it’s one of those callers again.”
It was enough. Hermione placed the phone in the cradle, wiped the whole thing down with a cleaning spell she’d found in a murder mystery Mrs. Weasley had left lying around.
When it was over, she told Ron and Harry she needed a day or two to herself, and she went to Sydney.
They would have come with her if she’d asked. They might have if she hadn’t, because none of them was keen to be alone, or even without the others. She knew that, and she wanted them there at her side.
But she had done this alone, so she would clean it up.
Her mother had taught her to do that.
She had directions from their landlady to the park they were known to frequent. She might have used a locator spell of some kind, true.
But she wanted to use her wand just the one time while she was here.
She was travelling illegally, by magical law, had come on a Muggle airplane across the world. She didn’t declare herself and any spell casting she did could be illegal.
(It was, actually, illegal, she knew because she was Hermione Granger and her light reading for the flight had been the government code of the Australian ministry.)
“Wendell, you always know what to say.”
Monica leaned over to kiss him lightly, and then laid her head on his shoulder.
What he’d said to deserve this sweet affection hardly mattered.
Hermione might have recognized them any way, but she’d seen her mother do that thousands of times over the years.
Choking back tears, she backed away into some bushes, and cast the counter spell from between the branches.
Asked later, the Grangers told friends they’d been on extended holiday, always vague about where exactly.
Hermione had set them toward home, not revealing herself to them, letting them come to terms with whatever holes there were in their memories on their own. She was confident she’d done all the right spells, to change their memories altogether once again.
She didn’t sleep much at night, if she thought about it (and she did, because however clever Hermione Granger was, she was not cruel and unfeeling or without remorse).
But every time her mother would sigh like an infatuated schoolgirl and lay her head on her husband’s shoulder, Hermione would know she had succeeded. She had won.
She rubbed at the “mudblood” scar, now fading. There were beautiful things yet in the world.
She’d done something to save one of them.