Let Us Live and Love

B. M. Reed

Story Summary:
After a terrible tragedy, Hermione abandons the Wizarding world and forges a Muggle life. What will she do when, seven years later, Neville manages to find her and begins to warm her heart?

Chapter 01 - Chapter 1


17 November 2005, early morning

I am only vaguely aware of the sound of my heels clicking across the hallway in my apartment building.

It's very early, 6:15 in the morning to be precise, and I have about seven minutes before the bus arrives at the corner. This is my routine five days a week. It's reassuring.

The chill London air hits my face as I step outside. The sun is only just rising over the tops of the buildings. The onslaught of noise that hits my ears doesn't faze me anymore. There are people walking, talking on their mobile phones, drinking coffee, all with a specific destination in mind. Without a care. I glance around to make sure I don't recognize any of their faces. Then I move on, walking toward the bus stop.

The Muggle world is comforting. I have an easy life. I have a stable job. Nobody questions my blood status or expects me to have all the answers, here. The choice I made to leave the Wizarding world and everyone I knew was a difficult one, but necessary.

Yes, I am safer here.

I board the bus and pay my faire. I look for an empty seat and take the closest one, near the middle. Nobody seems to be paying me much attention. I take out my mobile and check my SMS. I am slightly surprised I have a one this early in the morning.

Alice - I trust UR on the way to work. Can't wait 2 C U. Lunch? Our secret. xxxxGiles

I groan inwardly at this. Giles really doesn't know when to quit. I turn him down at least once a week, and this time will be no different. It's not appropriate to be going on lunch dates with my boss, anyway.

My stop. I get out of the bus and walk into the building and ignore the busty girl behind the reception desk. She glowers at me. I want to laugh.

My desk is waiting for me as I left it yesterday. I'm sure I have at least twenty emails to go through and more than enough spreadsheets to lie out, but I can't start without a cup of coffee. It's a Muggle habit I couldn't help but pick up shortly after I switched over. Mostly wizards drank tea, but I needed something stronger than that.

The break room is too bright. I can't stop what happens immediately afterward. It is almost like I am there, again, staring at their dead faces -

My breathing accelerates, and I try to calm myself. It's just a flashback. Calm down. I feel my palms tingle and I instinctively almost grabbed my wand, before I remember it is hidden in my flat, collecting dust -

"Alice? You okay?"

I spin around and see Giles staring at me. I tuck a stray curl that had fallen from my braid and nod.

"Sorry. Guess I'm still half asleep," I reply. "Need my coffee."

Giles smiles and looks a little relieved. I probably look a fright, standing there staring into space like that. I walk over to the coffee machine and begin pouring myself a cup.

"So, did you get my message?" Giles asks me, leaning against the counter. I have to tell myself I can't roll my eyes at my boss, but it's a little hard.

"Giles, I've told you before, I want to respect our work relationship."

He puts on a pouty face, but I don't think it had the affect he was going for.

"Come on. Just one lunch. It doesn't have to be romantic. I just want to get to know you."

I don't trust that for a second. I decide to lie.

"I have a lunch date today already, anyway." I turn to walk back to my desk, but he grabs my arm, probably harder than he intended.

"You never mentioned a boyfriend before."

"Hey, Giles, that hurts." I shake my arm out of his grasp. "I don't have to tell you about my personal life. Please, stop asking me to lunch. It makes me uncomfortable." I leave him gaping after my retreat.

I sigh as I sit down. I take a sip of my coffee and grimace because I forgot to sweeten it in my haste to leave. The bitter taste stays on my tongue long afterward. I shake my head. Maybe after today Giles will leave me alone for awhile. If I still used magic, I would have a hex or two I would love to use on him...

I log into my computer and begin to work. I have a long day ahead of me.


My lunch break finally arrives and I put my coat on hastily so I can leave before Giles can intercept me. He watches me as I leave the office, and I don't say anything. It's better that way.

Muggle men infuriate me. Maybe I'm just biased, but I have a hard time finding much to value in them. They think that their money or looks will get me in their bed...well...they are wrong. I didn't leave the Wizarding world to find love. I came to find peace. It's much safer for everyone for me to be here.

My favorite lunch spot was a locally owned Italian restaurant a few blocks away. The warm atmosphere always melted the chill I felt - from the weather or otherwise. The staff knows me because I am here at least once a week, and I have my own table where I eat in solitude. I usually have a novel to pass the time while I waited on my food, and this time is no different.

I am having trouble concentrating on the words, though. There is a voice in the back of my head that has been nagging me recently, asking how much longer I can really go on with this facade. Is this what my life is truly meant to be? Is this all I am? Sometimes, I really miss everybody. I miss magic. But I ran away from the Wizarding world - away from all of my friends when they desperately needed me most. We thought the war was over. We thought we were safe.

We were wrong.

I automatically turn my mind off as I taught myself to do when I start thinking these thoughts. Every time I relive what happens, it's not pretty. I can't afford to do it in public.

My food arrives - linguine de mare - and I dig in ravenously. The chef truly knows his stuff. I am almost sad when I finish my plate.

I pay my bill, and then I leave.

The blast of cold air that hits my face makes me flinch a little. I don't move from the doorway immediately. I check my mobile for the time to make sure I don't have to run to make it back to work on time.

It takes me a moment to register that there is a man standing before me. I am a little startled at this, because I didn't see him come up and I am usually very careful about peoples' whereabouts around me. I think I might recognize him - and then I become afraid. I do not want to recognize strangers in London. His brown hair is swept back, probably because of the wind. He has green-brown eyes and a crooked nose.


His voice is rough, Northern, and very familiar. I am staring into the face of Neville Longbottom.

I do not reply.

I turn and run away as fast as my feet would carry me.


I don't know why I ran. But I couldn't stop once I started. My breath is coming out in short bursts, I am terrified out of my mind, and I see a bus stopping at the corner and I get on as fast as I possibly could.

I glance at the people on board, convincing myself Neville's face isn't on any of theirs. Paranoia. That's what I feel. I feel it every day, but now it is like a living being trying to eat me alive. I sit down, trying not to look too suspicious. I try to steady my breathing.

I stare out the window. The lines blur and are no longer real things anymore. The people, the buildings, the trash. I close my eyes. How did he find me?

I am hiding in plain sight, as they say, yes. But it's not like I didn't take measures to protect myself. Some of the last magic I ever cast was to forge myself a new name and proof of Muggle education so I could get into uni at 18. I was careful not to overdo it. I am, in every sense of the word, Alice Lupton. Hermione Granger does not exist in the Muggle world anymore. In the Wizarding world, well, it's not my concern what they do with their records. I have been Alice Lupton since I was 18 years old and I will not let this little mishap change that.

I am absolutely certain Neville doesn't know where I live or about my new life. I am too careful. I pay attention to everything. Perhaps he was just taking a stroll through London and saw me. I shake my head in frustration. That sounds stupid even to me. But, if he were following me, why wouldn't he approach me somewhere more secluded? He would know where I live, where I work...

I shake my head again. I try to focus on the cars and people outside the bus. I find that I can't. I can't think too hard about this right now. I have zero contact with the Wizarding world, so even if I wanted to find out what was going on...I can't.

I check my mobile and realize I have a new SMS.

Where R U? Tell UR date U have a staff meeting NOW. xGiles

I curse out loud.


I walk quickly into the board room, a half hour late to the meeting, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.

It's never that easy.

Giles stops talking as soon as he sees me walk in. His eyes narrow and I know I'm in trouble.

"Oi, Alice. Why are you so late?"

I turn my head to toward him, hoping I have an apologetic expression on my face.

"I'm sorry, Giles. I ran into an old friend and I lost track of time. It won't happen again."

My face is coloring at being called out in front of the entire staff. I am angry, and I am having a very hard time keeping my anger in check. It's important for me to keep my anger in check. I tell myself this. I do not want to do raw magic.

Giles resumes the meeting, completely ignoring my input and refusing to ask my advice on some of the spreadsheets. I bite my tongue in effort to not yell out.

It doesn't matter anyway. Soon I will be leaving. I cannot stay now that Neville knows where I am. I would rather run and start somewhere new than face the realities of what I left behind.