Letters in the Summer After the Fall
"While Voldemort's Huns with
their long range guns
Sailed out through the Foggy
-- Folksong in Hogsmeade
I'm in Muggle Heathrow, trying out the Muggle postal system. Are you reading
this? Haha. Course you are!
Heathrow is as busy as Platform 9 ¾! We're about to head out on our Muggle
Studies field trip. This had better be good, or I'm not forgiving Hermione for
dragging me along.
Happy Birthday to you, by the way. Now you're old enough to vote! I hope my
family is treating you well. I'll have a gift for you when I get back.
July 31, Heathrow
I've just read the 'letter' Ron sent to you.
I know, I shouldn't eavesdrop on correspondence, but would you believe that
Ron didn't know how to work an envelope? Or a stamp? So, I had to post the
letter for him, and that's when I discovered how short it was. Really, it was
only a glance, but that's all that I needed to read what he'd written. You know
me and my speed-reading abilities.
I shouldn't be surprised, I guess. When Ron and I shared letters last
summer, he'd write short notes like, "Hi, Hermione! The twins played a
great joke on Percy, and Bill sent us a sarcophagus. Your friend, Ron."
Next day, "Dear Hermione, Sarcophagus has a curse. We're at a hotel until
we can make the mummy leave. Dad's drafting the eviction papers now. Your
This is from memory, by the way. I didn't hear the full terrifying tale
until I got a letter from Ginny.
When Ron admitted that he loved me, his letters didn't change much, save for
changing his valediction "Love, Ron" and the content being such that
I had to hide the letters from my parents.
Well, Ron isn't much of a letter writer. I've got to learn to accept that.
But I love to write, and I'm wondering if you would too. I'm sure the Weasleys
are taking good care of you, but recuperating is often mind-numbingly boring.
Believe me, I know. So, if it helps to spend some time writing back to me, please
do. I'd love to hear from you.
Your owls will get to us, even though we are constrained to using the Muggle
postal system. Some sort of special arrangement has been set up, which should
keep the children from the all-Wizard families in close contact with their
families. It's going to be a strain for some to go all month in the Muggle
world without using magic, and having a week's delay between letters might
prove to be too much. We want to educate ourselves on the Muggle World, not
drive people insane.
Neville is here, he's really excited, as are Lavender, Parvati, Cho and
Ernie. We're just waiting on another two Ravenclaws and three Slytherins.
They'd better hurry up; the plane leaves in another hour.
The next time you hear from me, I'll be in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Wish me luck on my first camp counsellor job. Just address the owl to me, and
it will get here. Please write. I look forward to hearing from you.
Your good friend,
P.S. Happy Birthday! I hope your eighteenth is a happy one. As Ron says,
I'll have a gift for you when I get back.
P.P.S. It won't be a book.
How's this for a letter? Please be patient with me, Hermione, as I've not
written many letters myself. I've never had much cause to. I never even received
any mail until that first letter from Hogwarts slipped through Uncle Vernon's
fingers (and the letter slot. And the door jamb. And the window sill. And the
fireplace grill). Hagrid writes to me, but they're not long notes. I don’t
think he's yet found a quill that he's comfortable writing with. I've made it
my personal mission to find him an extra large one this Christmas. Sirius also
tried to write, but couldn't get much off while he was on the run. And, as you
say, Ron's notes are brief and to the point.
You wrote to me too, Hermione, though not very often. I suppose most of your
letters went to Ron. Besides, it was rare of me to write back, what with being
stuck at the Dursleys. So, it's all a new experience for me, and I'm eager to
know how I'm doing. Is this good, Hermione? Could you tell me?
P.S. I'm enclosing my note to Ron in this letter. Could you be sure he
We're in Muggle Calgary, home of something called 'The Stampede'. Sounds
painful. I'll try to stay out of the way.
Aeroplanes are incredible! They're like broomsticks, only with flight
attendants and pretzels. Nice to have someone else do the flying for you. Dad
would be in heaven!
Managed to get through customs okay, although Neville got a scare. Hermione
cleared things up.
We're settling into our hotel for a couple of days to get used to this
Muggle city before heading to the mountains. I'd go for the reverse, frankly.
There are so many people, here; why not start small and then move up?
It almost makes me want to climb these mountains!
August 2 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
You did just fine! You're almost a natural. You just don't need to refer to
me by name in every paragraph – I know to whom you are speaking. And you need
to write more. What's it like at the Weasleys? How are you doing? How is Ginny
doing? Are you able to spend time with her with no brothers present? Are your
intentions towards the Weasleys' daughter honourable? Remember, I write to
Ginny too, so I'll know when you're out of line.
Seriously, though, how are you? I've been worried about you since you left
St. Mungo's. I wish you were here. I'm enjoying the time alone with Ron
(excepting the half-dozen or so Hogwarts students), but we four (including you
and Ginny) belong together after all that we've faced. We've been through
wilderness in war; you deserve to enjoy it in peace.
So far, the field trip has gone well. We made it through customs at both
ends of the trip -- not without some difficulty, however...
Neville passed through the metal detector without a beep. He went to pick
up his suitcase.
"Excuse me, sir," said the customs official. "Do you mind
if I search your bag?"
Neville blinked and swallowed hard. "Why?"
"Don't worry, sir. It's just a random check. For security
reasons." Already the catches were coming up. The man pulled the suitcase
open and sorted quickly through the clothes. Neville shifted on his feet.
Then the official picked up Neville's wand and frowned at it. "What
Neville looked decidedly guilty. "It's—"
"A conductor's stick," Hermione jumped in. "Neville's a
conductor. He conducts orchestras."
The official frowned at her. "You're saying that this is a
Hermione slapped her forehead. "Baton! Yes, that's the word!"
"Isn't he a little young to be conducting orchestras?"
Neville looked like he was going to faint.
"Oh." The man looked over Neville's wand. "I've never seen
one up close. It's solid. I thought conductor batons were flimsy. You always
see them getting snapped on television."
He gave the wand a flick. Neville stepped quickly to one side. Behind
him, the metal detector began to flash and blare.
The official looked up at the wide-eyed dark-haired young Muggle woman
who had just stepped through. Security descended upon her.
The official slapped Neville's wand back in the suitcase and closed it as
he was putting his hand to his gun. "Carry on you two. Welcome to
Hermione thrust the suitcase at Neville and the two dashed after the rest
of their group.
...Calgary is beautiful. It's an exciting city, and the mountains are in the
background. I'm looking at them now, and hardly believing that we're supposed
to climb them.
Everybody who signed up for the trip made it out. As I said, Neville is
here, as is Lavender, Parvati, Cho and Ernie. The two Ravenclaws I mentioned
were sixth years Joy Moony and Rowan Laurelwood. The Slytherins include two polite
(if distant) sixth years named Servalan Domi and Travis Blake. The last person
on this trip is Pansy Parkinson.
Yes, Pansy Parkinson. I have trouble picturing any Slytherins attending a
Muggle Studies field trip, much less Pansy, but there you go. And they were
among the first of us to fit in with Muggles. It just goes to show that it's
possible, especially if you find the right kind of Muggles. We ran into a group
of people that I'm told are called Goths and the Slytherins took to them
immediately. It actually took a little prying to get them to leave their new
friends and come to the hotel.
We'll be sticking around Calgary for the next few days, to experience the
Muggle City. Your owls will reach me here at the Regency Hyatt hotel. I look
forward to your next letter!
Poor Neville! But he would be the first one those officers would pick upon.
So, how am I doing?
You probably want more. Letter writing isn't easy. Okay, try this: my cast
is off and my arm is a little stiff and sore. The twins are keeping me to my
physiotherapy schedule with practise rounds of Quidditch (without brooms and
Bludgers). Mrs. Weasley (I can't call her Molly, no matter what she says. I
want to call her 'Mum', but that seems presumptuous to say the least) makes
sure I don't starve. Makes very, very sure. Not that I mind with her fantastic
cooking, but I'm supposed to be bulking up my muscles, not my stomach. Again,
the twins help here.
What's it like at the Weasleys?
Awkward. I just had to say that. Ginny and I... we talk a lot. We spend a
lot of time alone together. Too much time, in fact.
I've noticed that the Weasleys have an alarming tendency to disappear
whenever Ginny and I are in the same room. It's only Mr and Mrs. Weasley, the
twins and Ginny at the Burrow, now, but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley have been going
out for a lot of walks lately, and shopping excursions. The twins too. And
sometimes they even tell me where they're going and how long they're going to
I shouldn't complain that the Weasleys have always been supportive and
encouraging of Ginny and me being together (once they got over the initial
shock, of course), and Ginny and I like a good snog as much as the next couple,
but this 'encouraging' is going a little too far. I almost wish that Ginny's
parents held to the cliché and were staunch defenders of their daughter's
So, in answer to your next question, 'are my intentions towards the
Weasleys' daughter honourable', well, I'd like them to be. But temptation is
being thrust upon my path. Thrust, I tell you! Ask Ginny if you don't believe
How do your parents deal with you and Ron?
The twins are back, and they've brought Dr. Clutterbuck from St. Mungo's
with them. Time for my check-up. The area where my scar used to be has been
poked and prodded so often, a new scar has almost formed in its place.
I'm enjoying this letter writing thing, and I hope that I lived up to your
expectations. Write soon?
Your good friend,
Thanks for your letter, Mate! I hope the family is treating you well, and
keeping tabs on you and Ginny. Behave yourself, friend, or you'll answer to me!
Hotel vending machines are great! The Muggles have non-magical equivalents
for everything! No wonder Dad's so fascinated by them!
Met the group leader. Another two days in Calgary, then it's off to the
mountains. Tomorrow I go shopping. Can't be much different from Diagon Alley,
surely, though what I'm supposed to do with this piece of plastic is anybody's
August 4 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Your letter back to me was wonderful! You really know how to use a quill!
Calgary is a beautiful city, as I've said. Our troupe is really adjusting
well to this Muggle vacation. For the most part. Ron went a little nuts with
his credit card. We're returning most of his stuff. And confiscating his
Ron, for his part, is now thoroughly sick, and has possibly learned his
lesson. Haven't you, Ron?
Excuse me for a second, Ron needs a little comforting.
So, Ginny's parents' permissive attitude has thrown you off balance? I know
how you feel. Except, I get it on two fronts.
Do you know what I found on my bed the week after my parents found out I was
in love with Ron? A book on birth control! If that isn't just the wrong sort of
pressure, I don't know what is. I daren't show it to Ron; he'd faint!
The fact that I'd read it already is beside the point.
I think parents should be a little more prudish when it comes to their
children's relations. It upsets the natural order of things otherwise.
Oh, well. They love me, and I them.
Did I tell you about our group leader? He met us at the airport and took us
to the hotel. We've slowly been getting to know him during our trips through
Calgary. His name's Fenton Gross and he's a tall, kind, sweet looking man with
deep blue eyes and a bright, winsome smile.
Ron, the fool, was jealous from the get go. Like I'd fall for
Harry, if you're even thinking the word 'Lockhart' right now, I'll find out
and hex you!
Anyway, he introduced us to the local brand of Muggle currency, which poor
Neville and the others just couldn't get their heads around. However, when he
gave them a handful and sent them off to buy lunch, they learned quickly.
Especially Neville, who drove a very hard bargain at a nearby bookstore later
that afternoon and came away with an astounding leather-bound copy of Robinson
Crusoe. Nice to see him getting into Muggle literature.
Ron's still having a little trouble, but even he got the hang of it.
We have two more days in Calgary, and then we head over to the mountains.
The last couple of days are to be spent preparing for our trek, including
buying supplies and gear. I'm looking forward to the mountains, but now that I
see them out my window, I must admit that I'm a little nervous. They look so tall!
Wish me luck!
Your good friend,
Just through another physiotherapy session, and then Bludger-less Quidditch
with the twins. I'm sore all over, but Dr. Clutterbuck assures me that this is
the good kind of sore – a sign that the muscles are repairing themselves after
being dormant so long in the cast.
Otherwise I'm doing fine.
Well, I've been thinking about the war. A lot. I can't help it. The ache in
my arm reminds me, as does the change in my forehead whenever I look in the
mirror. It's hard to believe that it's over, and it feels strange to be back at
a normal life after that year when nothing was normal. Do you get nightmares? I
do. I remember Voldemort breaking bones in my body. I remember the look on
Ginny's face when I opened her cell door. The Weasleys' are remarkably patient
with me waking up screaming.
I shouldn't say more. This isn't an appropriate subject to talk about at the
Weasleys, and it's not an appropriate subject here. I'm sorry I brought it up.
Good luck with the mountains. Please write and tell me how you fare!
Your good friend (who's finally getting the hang of this!),
Our last morning in Calgary. We head to the mountains this afternoon. I'm
afraid Hermione and I had a fight, but it was her fault! I'll tell you what she
made me do when we get home. I'm not sharing this with the post.
Hope you're doing well. Write soon!
August 6 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Ron's finally got a hang of sending mail, I see. I couldn't see his letter
to you because he'd already sealed it and put on correct postage. I guess I
should be proud.
After today, I firmly believe that Muggle Studies should be a compulsory
course from First Year on. I don't know why they make it optional because
nobody shows the remotest interest in attending, and yet it's such a vital
thing to learn.
Think about this a minute: we wizards and witches live in a society that's
supposed to be kept out of sight and mind from the Muggles. We do this for the
Muggles' own protection (although some, like Voldemort, turned this into a massive
superiority complex). So, do we attempt to blend in with this huge civilization
around us? Do we dress in their clothes? Do we try to adapt to their culture
and technology? NO!
This makes NO SENSE! You and I, with Muggle upbringings, understand something
about Muggle life and tradition, but those with wizard upbringings are so
clueless, risking detection from the very society we hope to hide from.
Take Ron (please!). He's the best young man in the world, good with spells,
great with jokes, and he can't even go into a grocery store without turning it
into an adventure. It all started when I asked him to add a box of tampons to
Ron frowned at the waggling wheel of his shopping cart. He didn't have
his father's ability with Muggle machines and, of course, using magic was out
of the question.
"Stupid Muggle Studies field trip," he muttered.
So, he made do, manhandling the cart up and down the aisles. Some of the
Muggle carts were in even worse condition but they managed, and so would he.
He passed the selection of groceries, finding what he needed on his list.
A bag of apples. Check. Granola bars. Check. Peanut butter. Yum! Sterno. Where
was the Sterno?
He remembered Hermione's advice: "don't be afraid to ask the clerks
for directions. That's what they're there for."
He found a clerk and asked, and then followed that clerk to the correct
aisle where not only the Sterno was found, but matches as well. Check and
"I'm getting the hang of this," he muttered. "Now for the
He looked, and looked again. Finally, he spotted an older woman in the
store's colours and approached her.
"Excuse me," he said, after a cough. "Where are your
The woman stood up and stared at Ron in surprise. Then she smiled.
"You're a brave young man!" she said. "Good for you!"
Ron blinked. "Thanks." How did she know?
The woman pointed over the shelves. "Next aisle. Feminine
"Thanks," said Ron, wheeling his cart around. As he rounded the
aisle, he muttered, "Muggle women get protection? I thought they didn't do
Tampons, he discovered, came in boxes of bright, cool colours, and there
was a large selection of types. Super. Regular. Light. What one would she need?
Hermione was comparatively light. But on the other hand, he thought she was
He picked up two boxes and compared the labels. They included diagrams.
Pink slowly rose up Ron's cheeks. It steadily intensified until it was
impossible to tell where his hairline began. Hermione had sent him here to
His head whipped around to see if anybody was looking. Nobody seemed to
be, but they might at any second. The thought filled Ron with dread.
He took several deep breaths, and then tried to stop himself
Just. Be. Calm. Choose a box, put it in the cart, and leave. Now.
Oh, and don't forget to pay for everything.
Darn confusing Muggle currency! It made sense that the polar bear was
worth more than the bird, but why were both worth more than a caribou?
He placed the box in the cart, and then piled the apples, bananas, peanut
butter and Sterno atop it. He left the aisle at the sort of walk you use when
you don't want them to see you run.
He came to the checkout aisles and picked the shortest line he could
find. There would be a line. Everybody seemed to be leaving the store at once.
Shopping carts piled up behind him, enclosing him in his lane. He stuffed his
hands in his pockets and stared around, pretending to be innocent. He glanced
over the tabloid headlines, the rack of chocolate bars, the lit-up aisle
He noticed, for the first time, that there was something different about
his aisle. Under the lit-up number was a sign: "Express Lane. 1-8 items
"Express lane?" he muttered. He looked in his cart and began
counting. Apples. Peanut butter. Bananas, Sterno, matches, buns, sausages,
One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine. Uh, oh.
The last shopper ahead of him was finishing his purchase. Five carts
stood behind him, blocking his way out. He was one over the limit! He was doing
something illegal! What was the punishment for taking one too many groceries
into the express lane? Worst of all, they'd find out about... those!
His face changed from red to white. He had to do something. Cause a
distraction! To heck with 'no magic', do something!
He pointed. "Look! An emu!"
The shoppers around him stared about. In the confusion, he whipped out
his wand and cast a whispered spell. The box of tampons vanished. He snatched
up the invisible box and tossed it with a quick flick, as he would a Quaffle.
He breathed a sigh of relief.
He heard the box smack something across the store. There was a sound of
something giving way and things falling on the floor in an avalanche. People
cried out as they slipped and fell with great squelching thuds. A solitary
orange rolled past the checkout counters.
Ron took a deep breath and kept his mouth tight shut. As he paid for his
purchases and headed for the exit, he allowed himself a smile. Not a bad
escape, even if he said so himself.
"Cleanup on aisle three," buzzed the PA.
As the doors parted, he ground to a halt, his smile disappearing.
Hermione stood before him, her arms folded, tapping her foot.
...It was quite an argument that followed. Ron ranted about being put to such
a hideous task, as if it really was so hideous. I respectfully tried to point
out that he had used magic when he wasn't supposed to, risked detection by
several Muggles, caused a huge mess, and that an emu was a native of Australia,
not Canada, and especially not the foothills of the Rockies. Also, he still had
to get me my tampons. Eventually, I convinced him to go back inside and pick me
up a box. Honestly, he had the air of somebody going off to his execution.
He came out five minutes later, a little surly, but calmer. He seemed quite
surprised that nobody commented on his purchase at all.
Honestly, what is it with you boys?
Your (exasperated) friend,
P.S. I won't even mention the dangers of creating two separate societies
where deception is allowed to ferment into distrust and hatred. We know the
bitter fruits of that policy.
I wish there will come a day when wizards and witches can operate openly.
Muggle technology is catching up with us so that we won't be a threat to them,
and there's great advantage in combining our strengths, I'm sure.
P.P.S. Yes, I do get nightmares.
P.P.P.S I've got to write more about this. I really do. But it's hard,
Harry. For once you have the letter-writer the quill equivalent of tongue-tied.
But I sense that I've got to talk about this. So, Harry, tell me more about
your nightmares, and I'll tell you mine. Okay? If this correspondence isn't an
appropriate place for this discussion, then I don't know what is.
The group leader is calling us to the lobby. We're off to the mountains.
Er... what are tampons, exactly?
Hope to hear from you soon about the mountains!
P.S. Okay, this is not fair. I sense it took a lot out of you to write those
postscripts, so I should reciprocate. As you say, it's hard.
I've been thinking a lot about the war. You know that. It's hard to believe
that Voldemort's dead, and I think a part of me doubts that he is.
I once scared myself senseless looking in the bathroom mirror without my glasses
and mistaking a towel dangling from a hook for him. I was just out of the
shower. I slipped and banged my head against the bathtub. Ginny came running,
followed by the twins.
That was embarrassing. But more alarming was the look on the twin's faces when
I told them why I'd slipped. They didn't laugh. They shuddered. You're not
supposed to shudder! You're supposed to laugh, damn it! Make fun of me! Don't
take this seriously!
I shouldn't say that. Fred still has a picture of Angelina on his bedside
table, you know. I accidentally saw him crying over it. The war has been over
for six months, now. How long will the scars last?
It amazes me how Muggles can look back at wars with fondness as well as
horror. Ginny and I went into town and watched a Muggle movie. Maybe we should
have known better, but we selected Saving Private Ryan. Ouch. Ron's
right: there are Muggle equivalents for everything we do.
But what struck me the most was a couple in the seat behind me. They were
old enough to remember the Muggles' last great war, and they were reminiscing.
Reminiscing! They were talking about rationing, and Winston Churchill's
addresses on the radio, and 'the boys' coming back on leave. We were watching
people getting shot at, and they were talking fondly about sleeping in the
Will we look back at our war with the same fondness as the years go by?
I sometimes dream about the days that you, me and Ron were mired in the
Slough of Despond, trekking slowly through the swamp as part of our sneak
attack on Voldemort's fortress. This isn't a nightmare. Though there was no dry
ground, no warm food, and only the most cramped places to sleep and no room
even for modesty as we swam the last stretch, I look back on those days with a
certain fondness. Perhaps it's because nobody was casting death spells at us,
but I think there was more to it than that.
The surprise attack was the first time I'd really worked hard to fight
Voldemort. I didn't believe I was going to live, much less win, but I wasn't
afraid anymore. Live or die, I was finally doing something. And you and Ron
were with me every step of the way. I'll never forget that.
I don't know what else to say here, but... thank you. We've been through so
much that I can't ever contemplate not thinking about you as a friend. Indeed,
the word 'friend' seems hardly to cover it.
Try not to let your parents' pressure or lack thereof stifle your moments
with Ron. You're a big girl, now, and know how to take care of yourself. And
you've got to cherish these moments together. Looking back on the war, I now
know how lucky we are to be at peace.
I'm going to go and spend a little time alone with Ginny, if you don't mind.
P.P.S: Your very good friend,
August 8 – Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Tampons are... Actually, let's drop the subject of tampons. I'll move it on
the list of things to talk about with Ginny. Although, I will say: the wizardry
equivalent is MUCH better.
We climbed our first mountain in order to reach our lodges at Lake Louise.
I'm told that, technically, we climbed up some foothills, but I don't care.
Judging from the ache in my body, that was a mountain I was on, and I'm
sticking to it. Ron had far less trouble with the slope than I did, and was his
usual smarmy self about it. He's off swimming in some secluded corner of Lake
Louise, and I hope he freezes!
It is a beautiful place, no doubt about that. We can see out over the great
plain that Calgary sits on. The view is astounding. It's hard to believe that
it can get any better, but we're going to go higher in the next couple of days.
Oh, my aching arms!
We were talking about the Muggle equivalents to magic around the campfire
this evening, and noting that the Muggles were catching up. Neville predicted
that the Muggles would be as adept with their technology as we are with our
magic within the next twenty years, and nobody challenged that assertion. I
voiced my own opinion that the separation between the two worlds was foolish
and dangerous, and I was shocked to find most of the group agreeing with me,
including Pansy Parkinson.
She's really impressed me. Barely a week in Canada, and she's already gotten
up a regular correspondence with that Goth boy she met when we first arrived in
Calgary. Fenton Gross was the most conservative of us, warning Pansy not to
reveal her magical background to her correspondent, and questioning whether
Muggles were truly ready to discover a civilization of wizards in their midst.
I think he was being overly pessimistic. It's not like we're without small
minded, fearful individuals, but we beat back those forces. I was born a
Muggle, and I know that most Muggles are, in their temperament, not much
different from your average witch or wizard. Certainly there are people out
there who would react out of fear. We all remember the Salem Witch Trials, but
Muggles have beaten back their own forces of hatred and intolerance.
About the war, yes, I have do nightmares about it. I've told you that
already. I'm reminded of it constantly about it, day to day, from the most
normal things. The flash of my scars when I look in a mirror after a shower. I
shudder at the thought of Ron's reaction when he sees them at last. I shudder
at the memory of when my parents first saw them.
My parents. That's the worst part of all this. They love me as much as they
have before. I don't think the shock of the Wizard war has really hit home to
them. The only parallel that my parents have to draw upon is their parents'
experience. My paternal grandfather bombed Dresden. Both of my grandmothers
lived through the blitz, and I never knew my maternal grandfather, a merchant
marine drowned during a U-boat attack.
I think my parents may have sworn to themselves that they'd never let me
experience what their parents experienced. It's natural for them to want to
protect me, I guess. And the fact that I ended up on the frontlines of a war
that they themselves were involved in only peripherally fills them with a sense
But they didn't fail. Far from it. They've been the most kind and loving
parents that you could ever ask for. They hugged me when I broke down crying
(which, I have to admit, was rather frequently in the month after I came home).
I don't want to see the guilt in their eyes. I just want them to smile and
laugh and be happy for me, and tuck me into bed, just as they used to do,
without a lingering suspicion that they did something wrong by letting me go to
Hogwarts. I'm a witch. The Wizarding world is where I live, and this war was
one I had to fight.
Yes, I remember the Slough of Despond, and with a certain fondness too. The
way we struggled together, ate the cold meals together, really built upon our
sense of camaraderie. Yes, there was no room for modesty, but honestly I didn't
have time to notice, even as we swam that final stretch. You and Ron were both
very mature about it too; not a single joke between you on either shore. I
guess it only makes sense, given what was at stake, and how much we'd been
through together already, but still, I appreciate that.
We are all quite mature, now. We're eighteen, and we've been through a war.
We are officially adults. Ron, especially, for all his cluelessness about being
a Muggle and buying tampons, is the sweetest, most compassionate person I know,
and he hasn't once pushed me farther than I want to go in this relationship. We
still fight, but now with a sense that we know each other's boundaries and
You know what, Harry? You're right: I should just cherish these moments for
Ron as the gifts that they are. You've decided something for me, and again I'm
in your debt.
Your good friend,
Great day today! The sun is shining and the lake is beautiful (though cold).
I was by myself swimming, and Hermione joined me. We... shared things. And we
laughed. And we cried. Then we laughed some more.
It's good to be alive.
Your happy friend,
Ron won't tell me for sure, but is he okay? He sounds quite happy, but
still... There's an edge there, and I don't think I can press the question.
Listen, when you get back, you, Ron, me and Ginny need to spend some time to
ourselves. Perhaps go to a Hogsmeade pub and share butterbeer, and remember the
war. You have no idea how much better I feel from having told you how I feel.
In fact, let's invite the twins, too. Actually, let's make it an annual
event, on the anniversary.
Now I know how Muggle remembrance traditions begin.
Some sense of normality has struck here at the Weasleys. Maybe Fred and
George picked up on some signal from us, but they've taken it into their heads
that they have to protect "young Ginny's" honour. They claim that now
that I'm out of my cast and the physiotherapy is working, my wandering hands
might become a problem. Ginny is suitably affronted, and we've been playing a
game that's part hide-and-go-seek.
I can't tell for certain, but I think Fred and George are quietly allowing
us to win one or two rounds.
One of the sessions, however, was interrupted by Headmistress McGonagall.
Yes, I agree with you: ouch. It was pretty obvious what Ginny and I were
getting up to, but she didn't say a word. That made it all the more
embarrassing – which I think she secretly enjoyed.
However, she came bearing news. I have a job offer. A couple, actually. The
Ministry of Magic is giving me a junior clerk position, entry level, but
McGonagall tells me that they'd probably train me extensively and fast-track my
promotions so I could end up at the assistant deputy minister level within a
couple of years. McGonagall says that Fudge would appreciate the public
relations benefits of employing the Boy Who Toppled Voldemort – which
apparently is my new title.
I wrinkled my nose at that. I find all this publicity distasteful. I'm proud
of what I did in the fight against Voldemort, but what about everybody else?
What about the Aurors who fought; Snape who spied; Charlie who led the dragon
squadron; even you and Ron?
McGonagall could see my distaste and said she understood completely.
However, she noted that the Ministry was a good place for a young wizard to
work, and I would have considerable control over where my career went. It's not
like Fudge would turn down many requests from the Boy Who Toppled Voldemort.
She also noted that the Defence Against Dark Arts teaching post was open at
Hogwarts, again, but we both agreed that the Ministry job would probably be
much safer. Besides: I suggested Snape should finally get the nod. He deserves
I hope this letter finds you well, and coping with the mountain climbing.
And, though I hope you and Ron spend a lot of time making each other happy,
don't forget that you have other students to counsel.
Your good friend,
August 10 – the Rockies, Alberta, Canada
Harry! What are you suggesting? That I'd abrogate my responsibilities all in
the name of a good snog? The nerve!
Besides, Ron and I aren't just snogging. We're looking at the stars. And
Would I lie to you?
Another hard day of mountain climbing. We're now in a cabin about 6000 feet
above sea level. I swear to you, I can feel the air getting thinner with every
step. The other students don’t seem to notice, but I'm sure that they're just
faking their stamina to spite me. Ron especially. If he offers to carry me one
more time, I'm going to wipe the smugness from his face.
There is no doubting that the view is wonderful, and the experience has been
a great education to the non-Muggle wizards. Everyone's coping admirably
without using magic, and we even learned how to make fire.
I thought it was a cheat to use a butane lighter, but that was just to
start. Group Leader Gross said that most Muggles came prepared with such
equipment to survive in the wilderness, but when that failed them, they used
materials at hand. Then he showed us how to make fire by rubbing sticks
together – much harder than it looks on television. I found this part to be the
most fascinating, but all the others wanted to look at the lighter some more.
Honestly, Wizards haven't seen a piece of technology that they aren't
After two days trekking up these blasted mountains, we're taking a
well-earned break. We've met up with a group of Canadian wizard and witches who
are coming down the mountain, and we've basically taken over the cabins in this
campground. The no-magic rule still applies, but the temptation to use it has
just been doubled, so I'm going to be very busy being bossy, I'm afraid.
Tonight, we and the Canadians are going to have a champagne and strawberry
In the wilderness.
Hogwarts sure knows how to pamper us.
Everybody's looking forward to it, and I'm sure that we're going to have a
Your good friend,
August 11, 2:15 a.m.
To my dearest, sweet Harry,
I love you! I just had to say it! I've loved you from the moment you and Ron
saved me from the troll! I've loved each and every noble, rulebreaking,
honourable bone in your body! My love for you always!
Hrmn – Herniome – Hermilne – Hermioninny
August 11, the Rockies, Alberta, Canada
The champagne and strawberry social went well, I think. Possibly a little too
well if this headache of mine is any indication. I don't think I drank
that much. Just three glasses of champagne. It tasted very sweet – surely, it
couldn't be as harsh as three butterbeers...
But now that I think of last night, before everything went sort of fuzzy,
things do seem a little strange. Ron was especially charming, for instance,
even as he tried to see how many strawberries he could stuff into his mouth at
once and still say 'fluffy bunny'.
Oh, my god, I was drunk! And I have a nagging sense of having done
something stupid. I see one of my stamps is missing; you didn't get any weird
letters earlier, did you?
I'm getting something for this headache. I hope my parents' old cure works
for me, and fast, or else I'm using my wand, banned magic or no banned magic.
Your (agonized) friend,
I would say that your letter was a little weird. Here it is. See for
I look forward to your response, if you have one.
August 13 -- the Rockies, Alberta, Canada
Oh my God.
Harry, what you must think of me! You're either red to the hairline, or
you're gasping for air between laughter. Either way, I'm thoroughly humiliated!
Oh, how do I make up for this? How do I regain your respect?
How about if I tell you the truth?
Truth is, Harry, I do love you. I meant every word. I've loved your
strength and courage and willingness to stand up to Voldemort. I've loved your
compassion, your vulnerability and even your anger. It has been a great joy to
me to have been your friend. I would follow you to the ends of the earth if you
asked me. I'd lay down my life for you if needed (and during the war, it almost
came to that). There is nothing I wouldn't do for you.
But no, I do not love you the way I love Ron.
Don't look so relieved. I bet you are, you sod!
There's something different about my love for you and my love for Ron that
I'm hard pressed to explain, and I felt this long before Ron and I... went
further in our relationship. There has been a spark between us, catching at me,
making my heart burn, and making my brain whirl and quite possibly lending a
fair amount of energy to our arguments.
Maybe it's cliché, but I've only ever seen you as my brother. Well, much
more than a brother, but something along the brother line. Ron... to be honest,
I didn't know quite what I saw in him as until I was fourteen. The thought
unnerved me until then, and then terrified the wits me for a whole year
afterward. If you will recall, our fifth year at Hogwarts had you acting as
go-between between me and Ron until you shook some sense into both of us by locking
us in that closet in Snape's dungeon.
Have I ever thanked you for that, beyond punching you in the eye, I mean?
So, I love you, and I think you love me, just as you love Ron.
Don't flinch! Friendship is a form of love, after all. And when you're friends
with somebody to the depth that you're friends with Ron, you love him.
So, if now you're at least as embarrassed as I was at the start of this
letter, my work here is done.
Actually, not quite. You asked me once and I didn't answer: is Ron all
right? Well, yes he is. I think.
Right now, we're so close to each other that we're in unfamiliar territory.
It's frightening, though it feels like the most right thing in the world.
I don't think I'd be telling you something you didn't already know if I told
you that recently Ron had a chance to... see my scars. He was swimming alone at
the lake; a secluded part away from prying eyes. I threw caution to the wind
and... surprised him.
You can use your imagination as to how.
Anyway, he laughed, sort of nervously, but was quite happy to play along.
Then he saw the scars. And that's when he started to cry. Cried like a
little baby. I held him and shushed him for a very long time. I won't detail
what followed. That's between Ron and me, but by the end of it, he was laughing.
He's been spending the past few days looking as though he's walking on a
foot of air, and yet at the same time I sense that he's ready to cry at any
moment. He's like china, and I'm afraid of breaking him.
But I mustn't pull away. We both – we all have a lot of healing to do, and
it will go better if we do it together.
Love (for that's what it is),
P.S. Ron's just asked me why my cheeks are so red. In a fit of masochism, I
handed him the letter you just sent back. He's now on the bed doubled over with
laugher. Excuse me a second while I extract revenge.
P.P.S. Well, the revenge didn't go quite as planned, but I feel
I have to ask, are your intensions towards my Hermione honourable?
Hahahaha! I've never seen Hermione so flustered! I'm not going to let her
forget this anytime soon!
P.S. Never mind. Hermione has just persuaded me to forget that she ever sent
that letter. She can be quite persuasive, so I will. For now.
I admit, I am relieved. I do love you, Hermione, I see that now. But
attractive though you are, my feelings towards you have always been of the
Sisterly nature, I mean.
Well, I see you as the sister I never had, which makes me the brother you
never had, and—
Oh, heck, I've messed up this letter. You know what I mean. You've shown me
plenty of affection, but never of the sort Ginny and I get up to. But still,
more than I'd received in my life up to that time, so you'll forgive me a
moment's confusion, won't you?
But I think that at the back of my mind, I've known that you and Ron were
meant to be together. I remember how he reacted when he learned that you had
been Petrified by the Basilisk. I was upset, but Ron was frantic.
I never thought about that difference until Ginny fell into the hands of
Voldemort. Then, there was a burning at the back of my mind that threatened to
swamp my objectivity. If I look hard enough, I can see hints of that earlier in
my life as well. There was an echo of that feeling when Ginny was taken by Tom
Riddle into the Chamber of Secrets.
But you and Ron are farther along as a couple than Ginny and I. You two know
how to fight, and make up afterward. I'm still working on that.
Ginny tells me that fighting is important to a good relationship. She fights
with her brothers constantly, but always manages to forgive them once the dust
My first fight with Ginny did not go well, and not because of anything that
I did, but because of what I didn't do. I didn't say anything. At the first
sign of discord between me and Ginny, I clammed up. I didn't respond to any of
Ginny's attacks, and that made her madder and madder until she had to stop
herself, and storm out of the room.
I actually thought it was over between us, but then, a little while later,
she came back. Having cooled down, she asked me about my childhood, noting that
I was an only child, and lived all that time in a household where no
give-and-take was allowed. It was Vernon's law and no other. A fight was always
one-sided verbal abuse or worse.
Ginny pointed out that I've never fought before. And I shouldn't think of
fighting as a bad thing. When properly expressed, it is a means of
communication. Ginny and I are different people, with independent desires at
any given moment. It's natural that these should into conflict, and that we
should speak out to communicate each side in the conflict. That's a real fight.
The worst thing I could do is not fight, and let the pressures build up and
up until something gave uncontrollably.
So, Ginny has begun teaching me how to fight. That will take a while to
learn, although I do think that I have the wrestling part of it down pat. I
outweigh Ginny by several pounds, but though she is small, she be fierce.
There's a lot to learn about this strange thing called love, isn't there?
Love (yes, that's what it is),
P.S. Tell Ron that I love him, will you? In fact, give him a kiss for me. A
big, wet sloppy one.
What the bloody hell are you playing at?!
Your (perplexed) friend,
More mountain climbing! I hate to say this, but I'm getting sick of it.
Sick, I tell you! I'm always the last one up the trail, and I know that
everybody thinks I'm the weakest of the bunch, even if I am a counsellor. I
thought I heard one or two of the troupe say something about me 'holding them
I'm not going to let this mountain beat me. I'm not!
The campfires almost make up for the climbing. That, and getting a chance to
know everyone better. This past night, Ron talked more about the war.
Before I go on, let me get this out of the way: yes, we're sharing a cabin.
When I booked the arrangements, it was purely platonic necessity. We have an
uneven number of boys and girls, so there had to be mixed arrangements
somewhere. It seemed a natural fit for me.
But it's given us the chance to talk about the war, and our future. Ron's
great to talk to when in bed.
I guess there's no good way to say that line. But, it's true. We already
knew how to trust each other during the war, so the discussion comes easily,
and we now know more about each other now than we did at the start of the trip.
It is a very comfortable place for us now, and not just about... you know.
He told me about how afraid he was. Him, afraid? I thought I was the only
one. He told me more about how he felt about me, and why he cried when he saw
my scars. This prompted more tears from him, and more comforting, each in turn.
We're getting better at that with practise.
Then we talked about us. Now that this war is over, what about the future?
Well, one answer that's got to be considered is marriage. It is, more often
than not, a natural milestone in a relationship that is as deep as the one Ron
and I share. But now? We're only eighteen, Harry. I know of no Muggle friend or
acquaintance my age who is married. I haven't established my career, or even
decided if I should go into further education. Ron's even less organized than I
am on this.
But, right now, I know that Ron is the person I want to spend the rest of my
life with. So, why not now?
I'm so confused.
And that's not natural for me, you know.
We resolved nothing with our conversation, but it was good to talk about it.
Just talking brought us closer. Who'd have thought that was possible?
So, you have the wrestling aspect of fighting worked out between you and
Ginny, do you? Ron and I are learning about that ourselves, and it's good fun!
We're almost at the top. I'm looking forward to that. But until then, we
have another five hundred vertical feet of climbing to do. I wish I were more
limber. I wish Ron knew massages.
Hermione grunted, clutching crumbling rock, wincing as the scrambling stones
barked her shins. The mountain tilted away from her with the angle of a
staircase. "Keep going," she muttered. "I won't be the last at
the camp again!"
She crabbed sideways along the path and began a methodical ascent.
"Hermione?" Ron's voice. There was a scrabble of legs and rocks
above her on the mountain, but to her left. Hermione huffed.
"Hermione?" Ron's scrabbling stopped. Alarm touched his voice.
"I'm over here!" she shouted.
Ron clambered over, frowning. "Hermione! You're off the trail! The nearest
blazing is twenty yards away!"
Hermione flexed her fingers and gripped the next rock. "I'm fine,
Ron! This way's easier."
"But Mr. Gross said not to stray from the trail," said Ron.
"This part's tricky, he said. You should come back over here."
Imagine, she thought bitterly, Ron being the sensible one. The thought
filled her with anger. "Ron, I'm all right!"
A rock gave way beneath her feet. She fell hard against the mountain. Her
gear clattered on her back.
"Hermione." Ron's voice was unnaturally calm – its tone the
precursor of disaster. "Hermione, come on. Take my hand." He shuffled
closer, reaching out.
She batted his hand away. "I'm fine!" She grabbed the next
rock. It pulled free.
The mountain skidded out from under her, scraping the skin from her hands
and legs. Twigs snapped. Stones rattled. She screamed.
There's been an accident. You've heard how Hermione was having difficulty
climbing these mountains, and you know how stubborn she gets? You remember how
she almost worked herself to death in third year with that time turner?
Well, again, Hermione pushed herself too hard, and she slipped. She fell a
great distance and she's in hospital now.
I've had a bunch of doctors tell me how fortunate she is to be alive, and
the records for the farthest anybody has ever fallen and survived. I suppose
these are meant to comfort, but they don't comfort me. I know why Hermione
survived: her own innate magic. It's the only thing that's holding her
together. She's in a coma, now, and unless a Wizard tends to her injuries, the
magic will slowly drain away, and she'll die.
That idiot of a group leader, Gross, has been worse than useless. He's
confiscated our wands, would you believe, until wizards from St. Mungo's arrive
and arrange a transfer – a MUGGLE transfer, to the United Kingdom. Doesn't he
know how long that's going to take? Doesn't he know that Hermione doesn't have
that much time to spare? We have the means to heal Hermione right in our hands,
and he won't let us use it, because she's in a Muggle hospital surrounded by
Muggle doctors, and we can't let them see our Wizardry powers.
It doesn't make sense! After all that she's been through and all that she's
faced, to die of something as simple as a mountaineering accident? It's not
fair. We beat the monster. We were heroes. It shouldn't be possible to die of
bad luck and blood loss!
Get the hell over here and help me. Now.
Dear Mr. Weasley,
By the time you read this, I will be in Alberta, Canada, most likely
committing magic in front of Muggles. Don't try to stop me, although you might
think about bailing me out after Fudge's Aurors arrest me.
Ottery St. Catchpole
Dear Mr. Weasley,
Arthur, I must say that I respect your decision to report the disappearance
of Mr. Harry Potter to this office. All signs point to him Apparating to Canada
yesterday afternoon. I trust the reason this matter was not brought to my
attention sooner was due to you not knowing that Mr. Potter had disappeared
from your own house.
I know how you feel about Mr. Potter, and your own son's interest in this
matter, but I remind you that the law is the law, and we can't go about making
exceptions. We have sent Headmistress McGonagall after Mr. Potter to try to
reason with him, and three Aurors if he doesn't listen. And rest assured that
we will have Ms. Hermione Granger back to St. Mungo's as soon as is possible to
receive the best treatment that is possible. You must content yourself with
I shall see you at work tomorrow, and I expect your diligent support in this
Cornelius Fudge – Minister of Magic
Dear Minister Fudge,
Enclosed you shall find the full report on the use of Magic by former
Hogwarts students within the Muggle hospital near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
I should reiterate in this letter, which I am carbon copying to the Daily
Prophet, that I Apparated to Canada as soon as you ordered that Mr. Harry
Potter and Mr. Ron Weasley be stopped and brought back to England. By the time
that I got there, a lot of spells had already been committed in order to get
Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley through hospital security and to Ms. Granger's room
in the middle of the night.
Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley are both guilty of performing at least three
spells in full view of Muggles. This fact cannot be contradicted. However, Mr.
Gross, the group leader of this field trip, has confessed to me that the fourth
stupefy spell, performed on the last Muggle security guard, was performed by
himself, after he Apparated to the hospital and tried unsuccessfully to
convince Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley to cease and desist.
But I want the record to show that the majority of the magic, which was
responsible for repairing Ms. Granger to full health in full view of Doctors
Smith, Jones and Remmy, was done by myself. Ms. Hermione Granger was a former
student of mine, one whom I am still very fond, as I am of Mr Potter and Mr.
Weasley. Furthermore, their record of distinction through the war grants them,
I believe, considerable leeway in interpreting Wizardry conventions with regard
to interaction with Muggles, especially in matters of life and death.
You certainly didn't expect me to let Ms. Hermione Granger die in her
hospital bed, or whilst in transit to St. Mungo's, did you Minister?
I also believe the fact that there was no lasting harm done, that sufficient
memory charms were placed on the security guards and the three witnessing
doctors, should go a long way towards preventing charges from being laid.
But I have to agree with Ms. Granger (she and I had a chance to talk in St.
Mungo's while she recuperated): the present policy of separating the Muggle and
Wizardry worlds is backward and dangerous, especially when no attempts have
been made to attune Wizards to Muggle ways. As Muggle technology develops, they
will have less to fear from us, and we should not let isolation foster a fear
of them in ourselves.
Enclosed is a petition, organized by myself and Ms. Granger and signed by
the majority of sixth and seventh year students, and their parents, to end the
present separation between Wizard and Muggle worlds. Note that even members of
the Slytherin house have signed this petition: over 75%, in fact. Ms. Pansy
Parkinson has become a strong voice for her house in favour of integration.
I leave this matter in your hands. I expect you will be busy fielding calls
from reporters from the Daily Prophet soon after you receive this
Your loyal servant,
Headmistress, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
November 10 – Oxford, England
I know I'll see you at Hogsmeade tomorrow as we all gather to remember the
war, but I just had to write.
What did you think of Fudge's announcement on WWN? I swear, that man is a
quintessential politician – he knows how to turn policy on a dime when popular
opinion swings against him.
And McGonagall has just paid me a visit. Apparently the Ministry wants to
hire me for their new Department of Wizard/Muggle Integration. I'm considering
the offer. It would be my first real job and the pay is tempting. I'd be in the
same building as you, though a different floor, and we could arrange to meet
for lunch. I'd miss our letters, but I would still enjoy your company.
Best of all, I'd not be too far from the Auror academy where Ron's just been
I think I know Ron well enough to know that he sees this as an opportunity.
The question is, will he have enough courage to suggest looking for our own
apartment, organizing a ceremony or thinking of where to go for the honeymoon?
I've dropped enough hints. And I think he has something up his sleeve,
though I can't be sure. As close as we are, he can hide a secret from me when
he really wants to.
Well, if he doesn't suggest it tomorrow at Hogsmeade, I will. I'll go down
on my knee and propose, right in front of everybody, and turn his face scarlet.
How could he possibly say no?
We could return to the Rockies for our honeymoon.
That settles it. My answer to this job offer is 'yes'. It promises to be an
interesting few years, and I, for one, am looking forward to it. Take care of
yourself, Harry, and Ginny. I'll see you in Hogsmeade!