A/N: The world of Harry Potter belongs to JKRowling I'm just playing in her sand box and make no money from this.
Rating is mature.
Genera: Angst, Romance.
Ships: Harry Potter/Hermione Granger
The song "Stardust" sung by Nat King Cole inspired this story and was taken from the movie "Sleepless in Seattle.
*This is a slightly reworked story to address a concern mentioned in a review.
"And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart."
Harry sat alone in the garden that she so loved, wondering how it all went so wrong. They had been happy here, away from all the ruckus of the wizarding world and the too busy life of London. Here, in the out of the way places that could still be found in Wales, they had spent five glorious years winding down from the turmoil of the war.
"You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone bye."
The song played in his head; it was her song, it was their song. Now it seemed it was only his song and it hurt, but he couldn't get it out of his head.
Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely nights
Dreaming of a song
The melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new
And each kiss an inspiration
But that was long ago
Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Besides a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms
The nightingale tells his fairytale
A paradise where roses bloom
Though I dream in vain
In my heart it will remain
My stardust melody
The memory of love's refrain.
(©Nat King Cole - Stardust)
Flashback five years:
The war had ended and Hermione reached a hand out to Harry as he slowly recovered in the hospital wing at Hogwarts.
"Harry," she whispered softly, unsure if he could hear her.
"Harry," she whispered again, close to his bandaged covered face.
"Mione," he croaked. "Thirsty."
Hermione brought the straw and glass close to his lips and he weakly drank.
Tears sparkled in the corner of her eyes as she thought of how she'd almost lost him.
Curses had been flying around the Great Hall of Hogwarts as the Death Eaters encountered stiff resistance from the students and professors. Harry was locked in a duel to the death with Voldemort and a golden cage of light surrounded them, preventing interference from outside. Harry's lightning fast reflexes were keeping him alive but he was tiring. Voldemort was tiring as well as the curses he sent seemed to miss his arch enemy. One of them would die this day and Harry Potter was determined it would be the most fearsome wizard in centuries.
Hermione, along with Luna and Ginny were engaged in battle with the crazed witch Bellatrix. Luna had managed to land a tickling hex on Bellatrix's wand arm, distracting her just enough that both Hermione and Ginny were able to disarm her. Cackling madly, Bella drew a dagger from her sleeve and threw it. Hermione ducked and shot a blasting curse at her, throwing her back several feet. Ginny was set to finish the fight but Luna beat her to it by sending a piercing hex, which caught her in the throat. Bella gave a gurgling cry and grabbed her throat, but the end came quickly.
Voldemort saw what happened and was also distracted, just long enough for Harry to send a severing curse which ended with Tom's head rolling on the floor, his body pumping blood from his severed neck as he fell, twitching and finally falling still. The body decomposed quickly, since it was mostly a magical construct. Ash was all that remained less than a minute later.
The toll on Harry, however, was not without a price. He collapsed and his body spasmed at the extended exertion he'd just experienced. They'd rushed him to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey had sedated him and healed most of his injuries. He'd taken quite a beating and sported numerous new scars, but he'd survived. He laid in a magically induced sleep for three days, healing and regaining strength as his magical core recharged.
Hermione had never left his side.
A year later they had married and moved to a quiet village in Wales, near Holyhead.
He had nightmares almost every night and would wake up screaming, with Hermione soothing him with soft words and hands. When she'd asked him about the nightmares, he'd reluctantly told her of the battle, but left out that in his dreams, she had been killed and that had frightened him the most.
Hermione knew that he wasn't telling her everything and suspected that it was something so personal that he could not talk about it. It bothered her that her husband kept that from her, as they usually shared everything. They had been close for years before they'd married but now she could almost feel a wall forming between them. She would question him, but he refused to talk about it, angrily denying anything was wrong. But the nightmares continued and even got worse.
They decided to build a garden that would be their special place to relax and recover from the nightmares that had now invaded Hermione as well. Slowly she came to understand what it was that bothered Harry, for now, his nightmares became hers as well. The garden helped and a song that they both loved seemed to fit well with their mood and gradually they settled into a quiet domestic life.
Three years later, after many attempts trying for a child, Hermione was finally pregnant. Joy filled the Potter household but alas, the child was stillborn. Hermione was inconsolable and was bedridden for weeks afterward. A sour mood settled over the household and although the garden helped, another year passed without Hermione becoming pregnant again. She blamed herself, but Harry blamed himself, thinking that his nightmares had somehow interfered with his ability to produce children. The nightmares grew worse and finally Hermione could do no more to relieve his burden. He grew morose and they sunk into a state of lethargy until finally, Hermione left early one morning.
Harry awoke to a cold bed and knew something was wrong. "Hermione?" he called, not hearing an answer. "HERMIONE?" he yelled in panic, finally realizing she was gone. Her clothes and personal items were likewise gone. He looked for a note and found a tear stained scrap of parchment with a brief goodbye The note she left said she need some time alone to think.
"Don't look for me Harry, I'll be back, but I need to do this alone. I love you, but it's too hard right now and my head is all messed up.
He'd searched for her, of course, but to no avail. Even her parents didn't know where she was, although she'd written them a brief note too.
Hermione missed her Harry, and wondered if she had made a mistake leaving him. They'd had five years together and most of them had been wonderful. Oh, the loss of their child had hit both of them very hard, but Hermione had come to accept that. Harry's nightmares were easily forgotten during the day and the garden was glorious and occupied their time as it grew and changed with the seasons. Their song made them smile in happiness, silly as it seemed, since it spoke of a great sadness. Nighttime in particular was their magical time in the garden, as they gazed at the stars and cuddled close.
Now it was all she could think of; that garden and their love as they watched the garden grow and change with the seasons. Their time together had been all too short: the five years had passed in a blink of the eye. How could she ever think of leaving him, but she knew deep in her heart that Harry had been damaged by the war and she could find no surcease from the pain that the war had cost both of them?
Still, the nightmares had slowly eased and she was able to deal with life again. But what of her beloved Harry? Had he finally healed? She knew when she left that she would have to return, but was it too soon or too late now?
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but she knew that it only caused pain. Now, the pain was almost unendurable and after several months apart, she knew she had to return to him.
Harry had tried everything to find Hermione but to no avail. Even post owls couldn't find her and he sunk further into depression. Autumn had passed into winter and the first of the rains of what promised to be a dreary winter had arrived. Odd that he had never minded winter in Wales before, but then Hermione usually found ways to cheer him up. God, he missed her; the nights were the worst. The nightmares had finally stopped, but now the agony of her leaving him was much worse. He had come to understand why she had left; the nightmares and the loss of their child had left both of them vulnerable to bouts of depression. She had to get away and get her life back in order. Now, Harry found himself more depressed than ever. Alone, with nobody to console him, he had even contemplated suicide, but rejected that as unworthy of him. She would have been devastated when she found out, so no, he would live his lonely life waiting for her to return.
The winter was a harsh one this year and snow had piled up much as it would at Hogwarts. He had visited his old school once to see if any of his old friends or teachers had heard anything from Hermione; no they had told him. Neville was teaching Herbology and his wife Luna, had joined him as a teaching assistant. No, they had told him, they hadn't heard from Hermione and the other professors had likewise indicated they hadn't as well.
Christmas time was almost upon him when the weather broke. For a week, the snow covered ground was alight with the sparkling sun glinting off the frozen crust. The air was crisp and cold as he made his way to the garden. He had carefully applied warming charms and wards to their beloved garden and the sight of small snowdrop flowers peeking out at the edge of the wards warmed his heart, She used to wait patiently for the first sign of them, for it was always the promise of a new beginning that she looked forward to. He smiled at the memory and for a moment his heart lifted. He could almost smell her light perfume as he walked in the garden.
That evening, bits of their song played in his head as he stepped out along the cleared path to the garden wall.
Besides a garden wall
When stars are bright
You are in my arms…
As the song continued to play in his mind, a sudden feeling overcame him. She was close and his heart soared. He didn't know how he knew, but the feeling was strong.
"Harry," softly spoken, barely more than a whisper, but he knew. She had returned.
He turned and she was there, smiling uncertainly. Tears brimming in his eyes, he ran to her, engulfing her in his arms, holding her close as he wept in joy.
"Hermione," he breathed, "I've missed you so much. Please forgive me, I can't live without you. I love you more than life itself!"
Her answer was to hold him tight and whisper, "I missed you terribly. There is nothing to forgive, we both needed the break to heal. I love you too, Harry. The garden and the stars are what drew me back to you. And of course, the song. The song just wouldn't let me be. It played in my mind each night, whenever I looked at the stars."
As they held each other, a peace they had not known in years settled over them. They kissed softly, tentatively, at first, remembering their love that had finally reunited them.
Christmas that year was filled with love, as they finally laid to rest the demons that had haunted them for five long years.
Nine months later, their first born arrived; a boy with messy black hair and soft brown eyes.
A year later, Hermione was pregnant again and finally delivered a baby girl with green eyes and messy black hair.
Their third child was well spaced at three years and was all Hermione, with Soft brown hair that would become bushy and chocolate brown eyes.
The garden flourished and all was well. Their Stardust song became a melody of remembrance.