“Hello, Hermione.” Michael smiles up at her as she sits down. A lock of gray hair is falling across his eyes, and the scar on his chin from that horrible year at Hogwarts never fails to catch her attention.
“How are you, Michael?” She gets comfortable in the chair, wincing as the hard wood presses against a sore spot in her back. If Ron were still alive, she’d have asked him to give her a nice massage. As it is, she’s been dealing on her own with the aches and pains of old age. Maybe she should go to that spa Ginny told her about and get a fit young man to give her a rub down.
“Doing well.” Michael laughs. “Actually, I’m bored out of my mind since retiring. I let my eldest girl take over the firm, and she’s actually threatened to hex me if I show up again because I, quote, fail to understand the proper definition of retirement, unquote. I’m only sixty-six, yet she acts as if I’m knocking at death’s door. My parents didn’t die until they were well over a hundred, so I’ve hopefully got another lifetime ahead of me.” He grimaces suddenly. “Sorry.”
“It’s alright.” Hermione smiles. “Ron’s been gone years now, and he wouldn’t want people apologizing about it. My children haven’t encouraged me to retire, but I assume that’s because they don’t want to deal with entertaining me if I chose to do so.”
“Lisa spoiled our children far too much. They think they can control my life just because I’ve reached a certain age.” Michael scoffs. “Lisa remarries and moves to America leaving me the only one they can fuss over easily.”
Hermione can’t help but laugh. “It’s the cycle, isn’t it? As babies, someone takes care of us. Then we take care of our children only for them to take care of us when we get older.”
“Blimey. Here I am slaving away while my mates share a laugh.” Seamus sits down at the table, placing a fresh pint in front of Michael and a glass of pumpkin juice beside her. “What’s the joke?”
“That we start off life in nappies and end it in nappies,” Michael says, winking at Hermione before taking a sip of his pint.
“Oi! That’s a bloody horrible thought.” Seamus clicks his tongue and wags a finger at Hermione. “It must have been you, young lady. No talk of ending up in nappies.”
“Me?” Hermione snorts, not even bothering to point out that she hasn’t been a young lady in a very long time. “I never mentioned nappies. Talk to your mate about that.”
“Do I need to cut you off, Corner?” Seamus grins, the action making him look younger. “Hermione, this bloke is taking up residence at the Three Broomsticks. I might have to charge him rent soon. Dean keeps telling me to just put him to work, since he’s obviously retired too early.”
“He just needs to find a few new hobbies.” Hermione can’t imagine how bored she’d be if she didn’t have work to keep her occupied. “Knitting is nice and relaxing.”
“You could make me and Dean a couple of scarves and some jumpers to settle your tab,” Seamus suggests, giving Michael a cheeky grin. “Dean’s always cold these days, so a heavy jumper would be smashing.”
“I’m not going to knit your husband jumpers and socks.” Michael rolls his eyes and swats at her hand when she tries to swipe a few of his chips. “Stop encouraging the crazy Irishman with such foolish notions, Granger-Weasley.”
“Who? Me?” She smiles sweetly before nicking his chips when his attention is diverted. Seamus starts talking about other potential hobbies that don’t include sitting at a pub most of the day, the suggestions getting more ludicrous until she and Michael are laughing until tears are in their eyes.