Author's Notes: This is the final part of The Muggles of Ottery St. Catchpole. It won't make any sense unless you've read the rest. I'm hoping it will be posted at the same time as Part III. III needs to be read before IV.
People I can't thank enough include NightZephyr, my finally-free beta, Ash, although he hasn't seen this part, and the special people who I won't embarrass by naming, but who have reviewed faithfully. Your feedback and encouragement have been precious to me.
I literally can't thank J.K. Rowling, but it's all hers. I've just filled in some blanks.
Errol found Arthur at the Ministry. Molly seldom owled him while he was at work unless heíd done something very wrong so, for a moment, Arthur panicked that heíd forgotten their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. But that had been last month, all eight people heíd enlisted to remind him had done their jobs, and Molly had cried with joy.
Arthur soon realized that Molly hadnít sent Errol at all. The owl bore two letters and Arthur recognized one as being from the Muggle parents of his youngest sonís female friend. Arthur loved how Muggles felt the need to label all their mail not only with its destination, but its origin, apparently in case the carrier-owl got so lost it couldnít even remember where it had started from.
The second letter, Arthur could see once he untied it, was addressed in a girlís careful handwriting to his son, Ron. The first, from the Muggles, was addressed only to him. Molly had already received their permission to let Hermione stay with the Weasleys at The Leaky Cauldron the night before school started. So Arthur grinned eagerly, hoping that this was perhaps a note from Mr. Granger regarding one of the Muggle eccentricities heíd tried to explain to Arthur the year before.
Until Lucius Malfoy had ruined it, the day that Arthur had met the Grangers in Diagon Alley had been his happiest in a long while. George Granger, a curly-haired man with large, white teeth, had been friendly, genial, and informational beyond anything Arthur had hoped upon discovering that one of his children had finally found a Muggle-born best friend. Georgeís wife, a woman in a pant-suit with grey-streaked hair pulled back into a knot, had been more reserved.
Arthur was surprised when he examined the letter more closely and discovered it wasnít from George Granger, but his shy wife. He opened it curiously. He read it, confused, and then he read it again delete period, understanding. He accomplished nothing for the rest of the day.
30 August, 1993
Dear Mr. Weasley,
As you probably know, my husband and I have already written to your wife entrusting our daughter to your care for the night of August thirty-first as well as the following day. But that letter felt incomplete. The night of the thirty-first is not all weíre trusting you with.
Something is happening in your world, and our daughter is increasingly becoming part of it. Sheís had accidents she canít explain, and worries about dangers we canít understand. Itís frightening and frustrating. We donít know what to support and what to forbid. But we hope that you do, with some good reason.
You donít know what that reason is, though. I could tell you didnít recognize me last year, and I thought it was best that way. Iíve never told Hermione about the experiences I had with magic. I didnít want to frighten her. But now Iím frightened for her. I see her going down a path, and I think it must be like the path that Benjamin took. You must remember him. You promised. I know he made us both proud. Some days I am so afraid that sheíll end up just like him. Other days Iím so afraid that she wonít.
Weíve taught our daughter to always stand up for what she believes is right. But we would have liked a few more years to monitor her judgment. We want her to be true to herself, but we also want her safe. And we have no idea what sheís doing in your world. So I am hoping that you might help, that you might ease our consciences and our nerves. We donít think Hermione would do anything without your son, so all we ask, really, is that if you become worried about him, you let us know that we should be concerned as well. If he asks permission to do something unwise, please warn us so we can refuse to let our daughter do the same. Weíre entrusting our daughter to you and your world, and not just for one night. We have very little choice, but we will rest easier knowing she is in the care of a good man.
Catherine Davies Granger