Coming to the States was probably the best decision Hermione had made for herself. Her life and plans had slowly begun to crumble around her, and she knew she needed to get out.
It started with a normal day at work. She had been making her up the ladder in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. She started as a clerk, wanting to prove herself to her superiors instead of cashing in on her fame from the war. That was her first mistake.
Hermione found herself working harder and longer than the majority of her coworkers. While it annoyed her, she knew she was working toward something important, so she tried to ignore the unfairness.
After several years of working her way up the chain of command, she was now one of the Assistant Department Heads and was as sure shot for taking over the Department with the retirement of the current head. She didn’t want to brag, because that wasn’t her style, but she knew she deserved the job, and was excited to have all her hard work pay off.
The moment the words “Cormac McLaggen” came out of her boss’s voice as his choice for successor, Hermione’s world came crashing down around her. Sure, she maintained her smile and said her congratulations, but inside she was screaming every curse and hex she knew toward both men.
Hermione stormed home that night in a rage, looking for some sympathy from Ron. The moment she walked into their flat, she knew something was wrong. The place was neat and tidy like normal, but things were missing. Ron’s knick knacks and personal decorations that littered the living room were gone.
She made her way through the rest of the flat noticing that everything of his was gone. Hermione walked into their bedroom, and saw that their closet was half empty. Only her clothes hanging on her side with his being nothing but empty hangers. She stumbled to a seat on their, no her bed and just stared forward at the closet.
It wasn’t until Harry was shaking her while calling her name that she realized she hadn’t moved in several hours. “Mione! Hermione, snap out of it.”
“Harry?” she whispered. “What are you doing here.”
“Oh, Mione. I had to come over once I heard.” Harry crushed her into a hug, and she finally let herself cry into his shoulder.
“How did you hear? What’s even happening? I don’t understand.” She expelled question after question between her sobs. “Why did he leave me again?”
Harry rubbed his hands across her back in a soothing way that she hadn’t felt since before she had lost her parents. “I don’t know, Mione. I just know he asked to be placed in some secret program that shipped out today. I swear I didn’t know until after they shipped out. I would have told you or confronted him.”
“I know Harry, I do. I just, I can’t forgive him this time. He left me again, and I won’t be waiting around for him like last time.”
“Of course. But I’ll be here to help you get through it.”
“No Harry, I don’t think you understand.” She wiped the tears from her face, and moved back out of his arms. “I can’t stay here anymore. It’s not just about Ron, this morning they gave Cormac bleeding McLaggen the Department Head job. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve got an uncle over in America that I’ve been meaning to visit.”
“Wait a second, an uncle in America? Visit? For how long?”
“Yes, he’s my mum’s brother, and the only family I have left. And I don’t know for how long, Harry. Long enough to get my thoughts together and figure out what I want to do with my life now.”
“Well, then I’m coming with you.”
“You can’t be serious, Harry. What about work? What about Ginny? Your life is here Harry.”
“I’m very serious, Mione. I can easily transfer to MACUSA, and besides, it’ll be good training to see how other Auror offices work. Or I can take some time off. Merlin knows I have the money.
“As for Ginny, well I’m not very fond of her at the moment. I stopped by The Burrow before coming over to see if Ron was there, and I found out both Molly and Ginny knew of Ron’s plan and supported him. How can I stay with someone who helped plan my best friend’s unhappiness?”
Hermione grabbed his hands, holding them like a lifeline. “They knew and didn’t say anything?”
“Yes, they thought he needed a chance to spread his wings a bit before settling down. When I asked how they’d feel if I did the same, they just laughed and told me not to be silly, that Ginny was the best I would ever get. Well, you can imagine how I took that. Luckily I hadn’t given Ginny my mum’s ring yet, can you imagine?”
“Oh, Harry. I’m so sorry.”
“I’m just glad I know now before it was too late. So like I said, I’m coming with you, and we’ll figure out our lives together. Let me contact Gringotts to find housing, and we can figure it all out.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you Harry.”
“I feel the same way, Mione. You’re my sister and family sticks together.”
It didn’t take them long to get everything figured out. With their names and money combined, they were able to find a nice little cabin hidden back in the woods right on the borderline of Forks and La Push. From what their realtor could tell them, it was sufficiently private, while still being close enough to both cities to be able to get anything they might have needed.
The ministry wasn’t very happy about losing two thirds of The Golden Trio to the Americas, but nothing could entice the two to stay. Even though McLaggen offered all kinds of favors to Hermione, both professionally and personally. She packed her office while trying not to throw up after each indecent suggestion McLaggen gave her.
Finally, after threatening to hex his bollocks off and replace his eyes with them, he got the message and left her to finish packing. With one last look around her office, Hermione closed the door and didn’t look back. She was moving on and she couldn’t wait to start living her life.
They arrived by Portkey in the Seattle Magic district, and with some direction, were able to make it to the Muggle side to buy a car. Unlike their Weasley counterparts, both Harry and Hermione had found it necessary to get their driver’s license right after the war ended. They quickly settled on the Audi A6 for its safety features and because it looks sleek as hell, and Harry at least wanted to look cool while driving.
With the keys to their car in hand, the two began the trek to their new home. Hermione had been in contact with her uncle and they had decided to meet up the next day so she and Harry could get settled. He mentioned that her cousin Bella was living with him, and was going to the local high school.
Bella was a few years younger than Hermione, and the two girls hadn’t seen each other in many years. She was excited to reconnect with both her uncle and cousin, and Harry was just happy to see Hermione smile again.
The next day, Harry and Hermione made their way to her Uncle Charlie’s house with an air of eagerness. She practically skipped up to the door, her hand clenched in Harry’s, and pulling him with her. She knocked quickly and then stepped back to wait for the door to be opened.
Her Uncle Charlie looked exactly like she remembered him: neat, bushy mustache, brown curly hair, and wearing a flannel and jeans, with open arms and a big smile on his face. “Hey kiddo. It’s been way too long.”
Hermione found herself engulfed in a big hug, only barely remembering to let go of Harry’s hand. “Oh Uncle Charlie, I’ve missed you,” she exclaimed into his shoulder. Pulling back slightly, she looked at her uncle. “Let me introduce you to my friend Harry Potter.”
Charlie looked over her curls to stare intently at the younger man. “Friend, you say? And you’re living together?”
“Uncle Charlie, it’s not like that. Harry is my best friend, my brother really. He’s been there for me since we started school, and he was my rock when mum and dad passed away.”
Hermione watched his face open up and become more friendly. “Well, in that case, pleasure to meet you Harry, and thank you for being there for our Hermione.”
“It’s been my pleasure, sir. But to be honest, she’s been there for me just as equally. I’ve never known my parents or the majority of my family, and Hermione is the sister I always wanted.”
“We’re quite the pair,” Hermione laughed.
“I guess so. Well, please come in. Bella’s in the living room with her new boyfriend, Edward,” Charlie rolled his eyes.
The two followed Charlie into the house and could immediately feel someone poking at their occlumency shields. Hermione looked to Harry, who nodded slightly. Hermione doubled up her shields and pushed the intruder out. Harry must have done the same, because immediately, they heard a hiss coming from the man sitting next to her cousin.
“Edward, are you ok?” Bella threw herself over the man in the most ridiculous way.
“Yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me, besides, it looks like your cousin is here.” He pointed toward the group that was now in the living room.
“Big deal, it’s just my cousin, I’m more worried about you.”
Hermione couldn’t believe the words coming out of her cousin’s mouth. She had been so excited to reconnect, and now it seemed that Bella took more after her mother’s crass and rude behavior than her father’s more reserved personality.
She could feel Harry tense at her side; he was in full blown Auror mode with his eyes locked on her cousin’s boyfriend. She followed his line of site, and realized why he was ready to act. She recognized the signs, how could she not after years of working in her department.
His skin was flawless and pale. His eyes were an unnatural shade of black, indicating he hadn’t fed recently. And she bet if she were to touch him, he would be cold. Hermione wasn’t sure how her cousin had gotten mixed up with him, but there was no denying that she was involved with a vampire.
Before Hermione or Harry could act, Charlie was already chastising Bella for her attitude. “Bella, we talked about this. Show your cousin some respect.”
“What does it matter how I act toward her? It’s not like she’ll be around for long, and then we won’t see her again for another ten years. Besides, Edward isn’t feeling well, and his comfort is more important to me.”
“Lovely family you’ve got here, Mione,” Harry whispered to her, his eyes still trained on Edward.
“No kidding. I was hoping she was more like my uncle than her mum, but obviously that’s not the case,” she shrugged. “How do you want to handle this? And yes, we know you can hear us, Edward. You’re not the only one who’s special, and you better keep your hands and teeth to yourself.”
They watched him stiffen at her words, and Hermione just barely managed to hide her smirk. “And if you try to break into my mind one more time, it’s going to get very hot in here for you, vampire.” Hermione had barely seen Harry’s lips move but she saw Edward nod slightly.
“Bella, love. I should get home and leave you to your family business,” Edward said interrupting her argument with Charlie.
“Edward, there’s no need for you to leave. I don’t care about anyone else.”
“Now really, Bella. That’s enough. I agree, Edward, you should go on home. Bella, you can see Edward tomorrow.”
“He’s right, Bella,” Edward said while placing a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll see you later. Good evening, Charlie.” He swiftly got up and gave a nod of goodbye to both Hermione and Harry before making his way to the front door.
Bella waited a full ten seconds after Edward left before looking at Harry and Hermione. “Well, as much as I’d love to sit here and chat through this little family reunion, I’ve got homework to do.” She sent a glare toward Hermione before turning and running up the stairs. They heard her door slam and then it was quiet again.
“Well, that’s not exactly what I expected when you said you wanted to reconnect with your family, Mione.”
“I don’t know what’s gotten into her lately,” Charlie said, shaking his head.
“Oh Uncle Charlie, I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I had always hoped she wouldn’t be like Aunt Renee, but she’s almost a complete copy.”
“I don’t want to see it, but I suppose I can’t deny what you’ve said. I’m truly sorry for her attitude.”
“Don’t worry about it, Uncle Charlie. Now, tell me how you’ve been. It’s been so long since I’ve been here. How’s Mr. Black and his kids? I loved playing with Rachel and Rebecca.”
“Slow down kiddo. I forgot how quickly you could fire off questions.”
“Welcome to my world, sir,” Harry chuckled.
Hermione nudged him with her shoulder. “Oh hush, you.”
Charlie couldn’t help but laugh at the pair. “I can see what you mean about being siblings. Your mother and I were very similar growing up. You look just like her, you know?”
“Thanks, Uncle Charlie. It’s nice to know I got a bit of her.”
“I miss her too, but I’m so glad you’re here now. Actually, if you two aren’t busy tomorrow, the boys at the rez are having a bonfire and cookout. Billy invited me and I hadn’t had a chance to tell him you were going to be in town. I know he’d love to see you too.”
Hermione looked over to Harry. “I’m not sure why you’re looking at me like that, you know we have all the time in the world and we’re here to meet your friends and family. I’m at your disposal.”
“Perfect,” Charlie said. “It starts at two tomorrow afternoon at the La Push beach. Let me pull out a map to show you how to get there.” He quickly grabbed the map and pointed out the best route from their house. “It’ll just be me tomorrow. For some reason, Bella won’t go onto the rez anymore. Her and Jake were pretty close for a bit when Edward fell off the face of the Earth, but ever since he came back, Bella refuses to go near Jake. I don’t like it, but there’s not much I can do.”
“Well, it seems like her loss. I’m excited for tomorrow,” she smiled. “Ok, Uncle Charlie. We’ve still got to get groceries and a few other supplies for the house. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
She gave him a hug and then Harry shook his hand before they both left the house. They had a lot to discuss about the vampire and how they were going to handle the situation with her cousin.
Later that night, Hermione knew she had to get out for a while. Quickly turning into her animagus form, she stalked through the forest surrounding the house. She was just as surprised as everyone that her form was a snow white wolf, but she had to admit she loved her wolf. She was a beautiful hunter with a strength Hermione admired and tried to emulate in her daily life.
She stepped out into a small clearing with a perfect view of the crescent moon. Hermione turned back into her human form and laid down to look at her surroundings. It had taken her awhile to get comfortable in the woods again after the war ended, but now she relished the calm serenity she found herself in.
Hermione laid there for what felt like hours before she noticed she was being watched. It started as a small tickle down her spine before her war honed senses kicked in. To whomever was observing her, it wouldn’t look like anything changed. But in reality, Hermione was pushing her magic out to feel where they were. She could feel at least five energies surrounding her.
“You might as well come out, I know you’re there.” Hermione quickly went from her prone form to standing in a slight defensive crouch. She sighed when no one came forward. “You’re really going to make this difficult on me, aren’t you? Very well.”
Hermione took a quick step to the left, running into the woods only to be face to face with a giant black wolf. “Oh,” she exhaled. “Aren’t you a beautiful boy?” The wolf was so still, she wasn’t sure how to respond. She looked into his eyes before instinctually lowering them in submission. Her wolf could tell he was an alpha and she could feel her animagus form wanting to come out and play. “Down girl,” she muttered to herself.
“As much fun as this is, I really don’t want to become your dinner, so good luck with your hunting, pretty boy.” She brought her hand up to pet his head before remembering he was a wild animal. Hermione turned on her heel, quickly aparating away and to safety.
“What just happened?”
“Where did she go?”
“Did you just imprint?”
“Who the hell was that?”
“ENOUGH!” Sam yelled, quieting down the voices of his brothers in his head. “I don’t know what just happened, but I intend to find out. See if you can find her trail.”
The other wolves spread out at Sam’s command. Not that they could have ignored the order, but the guys all respected their Alpha, and they knew something big was happening. This was big too, Sam knew. He hadn’t admitted it to the pack, but the moment the small woman looked into his eyes, his life changed. He had found his imprint and only minutes later she had disappeared again.
He had to find her. He had to prove to her that he was worth his time. He had to find a way to let her fall in love with him.
The boys searched most of the night with no luck before Sam finally released them. “Don’t worry Sam, we’ll find her,” Jared, his beta said.
“I hope you’re right,” he sighed. “Get some rest, you know we’ve got the bonfire party at the beach tomorrow.”
“You too, Sam. Try to sleep.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Sam stepped into his house, a small log cabin he had built himself. He had spent quite a bit of time carving the intricate details into the outer face. He modeled the wolf carvings after his pack members. It was a running joke with them that as they gained a new packmate, Sam would painstakingly carve the new member into his house. It was a right of passage they all said.
He laid down in bed, and tried to close his eyes. But whether they were open or closed, all he could see were a pair of whiskey brown eyes with a smattering of freckles flecked along a small button nose. He had to find her.
Hermione and Harry pulled into the parking lot of the La Push beach. She was looking forward to seeing Billy and Jacob Black. Her uncle had told her that the girls had moved away for school, and hadn’t been back for quite a while. “Let’s go, Harry.”
“Merlin, Hermione. You have been a bundle of energy the whole day. I’m ready to hand you over to some other people.”
She stuck her tongue out at him and punched him on the arm. “You know you love me and you’ll never get rid of me.”
“Obviously,” he said in a perfect rendition of Severus Snape.
“Good Godric, no Professor Snape impersonations today, please.”
“As you wish, Miss Granger.”
“Harry James Potter, you stop that this instant.” Hermione jumped out of the car before he could continue teasing her. She saw her uncle speaking with a man in a wheelchair. “Uncle Charlie,” she yelled, running up to them.
“Hey Kiddo,” he replied, giving her a quick hug. “You remember, Bill Black?” He pointed out the man in the wheelchair.
“Mr. Black, so lovely to see you again.” She stooped down to hug him as well.
“Hermione, my have you grown up. You were what, ten or so the last time you were here?”
“About. It was before I started my new school. Mr. Black, this is my friend, Harry Potter. Harry, this is Uncle Charlie’s best friend, Mr. Black.”
“Nice to meet you, son. And please, call me Billy. Mr. Black makes me sound old,” he laughed.
“Nice to meet you, Billy,” Harry said. “This is quite a lovely beach. We don’t have anything like this in London.”
“I’d imagine not. Hermione, Jake’s around her, I’m sure he’ll love seeing you again.” Billy swiveled his chair to look at the boys goofing around by the fire pit. “Jake, come here,” he hollered. “We’ve got someone here to see you.”
Jake ran up to their group and just stared between his dad and Hermione. “Uhh, dad, am I supposed to know who she is?”
Hermione could only laugh. “To be fair, you were pretty young the last time I was here. I’m Hermione Granger, I’m Uncle Charlie’s niece. Nice to meet you, again,” she winked.
“Hermione, oh my god. Wow, yeah, I remember you now. Wow.” Jake looked her up and down. “You grew up well.”
“You did too.” She returned the once over.
“What do they feed you over here?” Harry asked. “You’re built like a brick house, man. I’m Harry by the way, Hermione’s best friend.”
Jake just chuckled. “We’re just lucky and have good genes, I guess. Nice to meet you as well. Come on, I’ll introduce you to the guys.”
They followed Jake back over to the group of guys by the firepit. “Hey guys, come meet Hermione and Harry. She’s Charlie’s niece from England and he’s her best friend. They’re in town visiting Charlie.”
They found themselves surrounded by a group of men, all with similar body shapes. “Good genes, indeed,” Hermione muttered. These men were adonises in their own right. She didn’t think one of them was under six feet tall, and their shoulders and backs were rippling with muscles. Which were on display because not one of them had a shirt on.
Jake started introducing the guys one by one, Hermione trying to remember their names. Some were more friendly than others, but she could see an excitement in one person particularly. She looked into his eyes as Jake introduced him. “This is Sam, he’s the old man of the group.”
Sam stepped forward and quickly grabbed her hand in his. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Hermione.”
She couldn’t quite explain the warmth that was slowly invading her body branching out from their linked hands. She looked down at their hands and then back up to his eyes. Again, she got the feeling of submission and quickly looked down. She couldn’t stop herself from slightly baring the side of her neck.
“Have we met before?” she asked. “I get this feeling that I’ve known you my whole life. But that can’t be true, right?” She looked back up at him.
“I certainly understand the feelings, but no, I don’t think we’ve properly met before today.”
Her hand was still in his, and if she was honest with herself, she didn’t want him to let go.
They were broken out of their trance by Harry loudly clearing his throat. “Hello, Sam, I’m Harry Potter, Hermione’s best friend and brother. I’m guessing we’ll be getting to know one another really well, eh?”
“Oh hush, Harry.” She reluctantly pulled her hand back before giving Harry a quick shove. “Don’t be rude.”
“Says the girl hitting me.”
“Come on, tough girl, let’s get something to eat.” Harry slung an arm around her shoulders and started to pull her toward the food table. They had barely taken a step, when a soft growl stopped them.
Hermione turned back to the group of men. “What was that?”
“Nothing,” Jacob interjected. “Just the wind and waves.”
“Wind and waves? Hmm.” She turned back around. “Come on, Harry. I’m starving.”
The Pack looked between the retreating duo and their tense Alpha. He stood there, body slightly shaking and barely holding onto his temper.
“Sam, you need to calm down,” Jared said. “You look like you’re about to phase.”
“Harry is harmless, Sam. He told me he was her best friend and they act like siblings,” Jake said. He placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “It’s ok.”
Listening to his packmates, Sam tried to regulate his breathing. He knew he wouldn’t be able to explain turning into a giant wolf.
“You have to tell her. It wouldn’t be right not to,” Jared said.
“I know that, but Jesus, I just met the girl,” he exhaled. “She doesn’t know a thing about me, and how do you just say, ‘Hey, I’m Sam. I turn into a big wolf, and you’re my soulmate?’” He looked around at the guys, finally able to breathe steadily again. “I have to do this right. I can’t lose her.”
“So don’t.” Jake shoved his shoulder. “Besides, she looks like a spitfire and she looks like she can handle your moody ass.”
Sam looked back over to the duo. His whole world was standing a few feet away, and for once he felt complete. Jake was right, he would do everything in his power to prove his love. And hopefully, she would decide to stay with him.