This was written for the Holiday Aesthetic Creation- Writing event, and was inspired by the aesthetic created by SilverTippedTongue. Obviously, I own none of the HP universe, or the music referenced, I just play with it. Hope you enjoy!
"Mele Kalikimaka is a thing to say, on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day," she sang, loudly off-key as she stumbled away from the tiki bar she'd just bought her fourth pina colada from, "That's the island greeting that we send to you, from the land where palm trees sway"
Pausing, she shoved her sunglasses a little further up her nose, squinting at the sun blazing down on cerulean water ahead of her. Sweat was beading up on her forehead and back, but a gentle breeze blew across the beach occasionally, taking away the heat and replacing it with something that felt...Well, she supposed divine was the best way to describe it. And she'd been enjoying such divinity for the last two weeks since she'd decided to get away.
Get away. Not run away, like some had insinuated – she scoffed into her perhaps a bit too strong drink. Definitely planned, and totally-in-control get away. Which had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that her ex had just announced his new fiance. Absolutely not. That thought was punctuated by a forceful slurp through her straw, and she stared accusingly down at the chunk of pineapple caught at the end, blocking the flow of liquid.
"Here we know ...mmm humm hmmm green and bright," she continued, banging the straw on the side of the glass to knock the offending fruit loose, "The sun will shine hummm dmmmm and all the stars by niiiiiiiiight"
A few coils of hair sprung free from her loose braid, fluttering lightly in the current that played against her freshly tanned skin. She smiled, half singing and half humming as she made her way back down to her bungalow on the beach. It was the perfect place to get away and find herself, which was the exact opposite of fleeing and hiding as it had been suggested she might be doing.
Plopping down on the sand in front of her own cabin, she leaned against the sand snowman, complete with santa hat and sunglasses she'd erected a few days prior, continuing to serenade him as she sipped the rest of her cocktail in blissful solitude. The sound of waves lapping lazily at the shore soothed her soul, allowing her to find that centered place she'd been chasing for the last year and a half.
That year and a half since Ron had broken her heart. She'd always known they weren't a good fit, but she'd figured she would be the one to end things. Not that there'd ever been a particularly good REASON to end their relationship. It was, nice. Pleasant. Comfortable. Which was exactly why Ron had ended it after two years, citing that Neville was more excited by his plants than they were with each other. Which, in hindsight, was correct, even if the statement had lead to the red head walking around with petals randomly falling out of his hair for the better part of a month.
Shortly thereafter, he'd started dating Susan Bones, and apparently he'd found that excitement he'd been missing with Hermione. And Hermione had... Well she hadn't locked herself into her house and away from all men, and she'd certainly found excitement in the bed of a few friends and acquaintances, but she hadn't found the whole package yet. That person who made her want to wake up early to spend the whole day with him, or laugh with her entire soul, and then shiver in anticipation of what would happen in the quiet of their bedroom.
At least that's what she was telling herself. And she was sticking to it.
"You know that song's about Hawaii and not Australia, right?" came a voice from behind her, an amused brunette looking down at her. She blinked at him, a bit owlishly, before she cracked a lopsided grin.
"It's the only tropical Christmas song I know," she answered, tilting her head to the side as she took in his form. Tall, lean, muscled in all the right places with tattoos crawling up both arms and across his chest. Scruffy beard adorned his sharp jawline, and long hair tied back in a loose bun framed aqua eyes. He would make a lovely treat to sample, and maybe distract her for the night.
He tsked as he helped himself into sitting next to her, "I think the Beach Boys would have something to say about that"
"But is that really tropical? It's more Christmas with a beachy vibe" she replied primly, pulling her sarong down over the tops of her thighs. He arched an eye at her, giving her a small smirk of his own.
"Fair enough. How about Mambo Santa Mambo?" he answered, and she swayed towards him.
"Latin american sound, not strictly tropical"
"Christmas in the Carribean?"
"What are you, a walking Christmas song archive?" she teased, letting her glasses slip low on her nose so she could catch his eyes with her own. He chuckled then, reaching a hand over.
"Noah" he introduced himself. She placed her glass in the sand, and reached over with her free hand.
"Hermione," she answered. He hummed and nodded, sweeping her with an appraising look.
"What's a lovely girl like you doing here all alone?" he asked, leaning onto one palm. Hermione paused, focusing on the feel of her wand holster against her right thigh, weighing his question. She tentatively let her magic reach out, trying to touch his, but found nothing. He was muggle.
"Not alone. Been visiting my parents, decided to stop out here for the day," she lied easily. He raised an eyebrow, clearly not sold on the story, but accepting of it none-the-less.
"I don't suppose you'd like some company, then?" he asked. Hermione tipped her head to the other side, feeling a bit like a dog regarding a new toy.
"Actually, I would" she decided.
It was late, well after midnight when she'd finally made her way back to the beach house, humming Feliz Navidad as she strolled through the sand. Pausing a few yards from the little shanty, she let her lips curl into a smile as she took in the multi-colored fairy lights adorning it's rundown roof. The bungalow was old, certainly older than she was, though it looked older than it's maintenance. The owner was a wizard who held a few hidden-in-plain-sight properties on the beach and made them available to magical visitors from around the world. She'd fallen in love with the rustic property as soon as she'd seen a picture of it online, and had booked it for a month over the holidays.
Breathing in the salty tang of ocean mixed with the sweet scent of coconut from her sunscreen she closed her eyes and tilted her head up. Letting it out, she looked into the fathomless depths above her, taking in the stars that spilled like scattered diamonds across the night sky. The moon was half full, but the lack of clouds allowed it to light up the night with bright intensity, reflecting sharply off the sand and water below. The sheer number of stars she could see was startling, and took her breath away every night.
Entering into the shack, she praised the gods above for the gift of magic once more. What looked like nothing more than a one room lean-to outside, expanded into a two bedroom, two bathroom home with a full kitchen and living area inside. She'd chosen to sleep on the bed in the open loft above the entrance because of it's glass ceiling, allowing her to gaze up at the heavens while she fell asleep.
She released the sarong from around her hips, and untied her bikini top, tugging on a soft tee shirt before dropping onto the low slung sleigh bed, well worn mattress wrapping around her body as her lids drifted close. She smiled softly as she felt sleep pull at her consciousness, reliving the best moments of her day with Noah. He was kind, and funny, and gorgeous, and he'd been fantastic in the sack after a day of chatting, drinking, eating and flirting. Not as exciting as plants to Neville, perhaps, but falling heavily onto the enjoyable end of the spectrum.
There was the sound of a throat clearing and she shot straight up in bed, wand out and pointed across the room. A dark figure stood, illuminated by moonlight, hands lifted in supplication.
"Who's there?" she hissed, unsure of how long she'd actually been asleep. The throat cleared again, and the figure stepped towards her.
"It's me, Princess"
She blinked, trying to clear the sleep from her eyes and head, wand still raised, "Sirius?"
"That's right," came the cultured drawl she recognized as her best friend's godfather.
"Are you my ghost of Christmas past?" she asked, mind still muzzy from waking too quickly. There was a sharp bark of laughter, and the figure's hands lowered.
"No, love. I'm afraid it's just me in the flesh," he answered, coming closer. She dropped her wand back onto the bed, and blinked, afraid she was imagining things.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, tucking her knees up to her chest. She could see his eyes glittering in the moonlight as he got closer, the silvery illumination glancing off his hair and highlighting his cheekbones and nose. She wrinkled her nose and frowned, "How did you find me?"
He snorted, "It wasn't easy"
She sighed, "Harry?"
"Harry," he confirmed, "He told me where you'd last seen your parents. I made a few educated and a few uneducated guesses from there, and wound up here"
She nodded, and he perched on the edge of her bed, "I really just want to be alone"
There was a long pause, and then a tremulous, "Why?"
She gave a self deprecating laugh, "Why? You should know better than anyone why I want to be alone"
Another hesitation, "Is this about Ron?"
She shook her head, feeling tears gather at the corners of her eyes, "A little"
She watched him reach out, felt his warm hands grab one of hers in his own, thumb rubbing on the back of her hand, "Is this about us?"
She didn't answer, rocking forward and turning her head away from him. He let out a shaky breath, his hands tightening around hers, squeezing her.
"Do you not want me, Hermione?" came the soft question. Her head shot back around, eyebrows lifted towards her roots.
"What?" she exclaimed, and then cursed at his flinch, grasping his hand in her own as he went to pull away, "I mean, yes, I want you Sirius"
He let out a measured breath, tugging on their connected hands, pulling her towards him, "Then why did you leave?"
She let her knees drop down, tumbling into his embrace, pressing her face against his starched shirt that smelled of cologne and whiskey and a little bit like dog, "You said you didn't want me"
"I would never," he swore over her head, and she shook her head against him.
"To Harry. You said you didn't want anything serious," she pinched him briefly at his expected rejection of the word, "And that there was no one important in your life"
She felt him freeze above her, and he groaned, "I'm such an idiot"
She hummed in agreement, and he pulled back, looking her in the face more fully.
"I was...I am afraid to tell Harry about us. To tell everyone about us," he replied, honestly. She sucked in a breath, teeth pressing into her lower lip, "I'm afraid what they're going to say about us. About you. I'm afraid they're going to talk you out of being with an old, broken man. And I don't know if I could bear to lose you like I lost the others"
She framed his face with her hands, pulling his head down towards her, allowing her words to wash over his lips, "I don't care what they say, Sirius. I want to be with you"
He hummed in return then, before pressing his mouth to hers, and kissing her in the way that only Sirius Black knew how. Soft, coaxing, before turning demanding and wild, slipping his tongue on the side of hers and drawing out gasps and moans meant only for his ears. She let a little laugh slip by as she envisioned herself a bud opening to the first spring light that was Sirius. He growled in return, pushing her back into the bed, and curling around her, showing her what a fool he'd been.
Morning light streamed into her room, and she woke to an empty bed. She frowned, pulling the sheets up around her naked chest, trying to find evidence that she hadn't just imagined his presence, but there was no proof of his visit save her nudity. She reached down to the floor, grabbing her discarded shirt and slipping it over her head before getting out of bed and padding through the house.
Calling out his name, she checked behind the few closed doors, only to find them as empty as her own room had been. Leaning out the front door, she crossed her arms over her breasts, looking down the beach in both directions, no one to be seen. Sighing she leaned back inside, and shook her head.
Taking a brief shower, she changed into a fitted red tee shirt and white flowing skirt, pulling her hair into a tight braid that she adorned with a hibiscus flower. Grabbing the wreath she'd purchased the day before for her parents, she left her little temporary home and headed to the nearest apparition point.
Landing a few meters away from the church, she shivered from the slight drop in temperature. It wasn't drastically colder than the coast, but the slight dip combined with her mood, allowed a chill to settle into her bones. Trudging down the well kept path, she wound her way around to the large stone that now marked their resting place.
Henry and Jean Granger, dates of birth and dates of death, only months after she'd found them and restored their memories. They'd been living in a small town outside of Brisbane, happily practicing dentistry, talking about how they'd always wanted children but it just never seemed to happen. Their relationship had been strained in what she referred to as the "After war" years when they discovered what she'd done, but she'd always hoped that in time they might be able to work through their trust issues. Unfortunately, a drunk driver and a poorly lit road had removed that from being an option. And now, the only Christmas present she would ever give them would be a wreath, and a lifetime of apologies.
Hermione laid the wildflowers over the top of the granite stone, resting her hand on it's carved edge as she breathed in deeply, "Mum, Dad. Happy Christmas"
Looking up, she turned her head back and forth, taking in the deserted cemetery. Her hand tightened, and she felt the rough stone scrape at her palm, "I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas this year with Nana and PopPop and Aunt Julia. I wish I could be there with you, listening to Dad's bad jokes and watching PopPop smoke his pipe again. I can smell Nana's apple pie, fresh out of the oven," she paused, a faint smile on her lips,"And mum's roast, burnt carrots and all. I can even hear Aunt Julia laughing, so loud the neighbors would complain about it"
She closed her eyes, pressing her free hand to her forehead, willing her tears to stay away,"Sometimes, I just wish I was 5 years old again. I wish we were all together, and we could just hold each other under that giant red and green quilt, reading Christmas stories until midnight. I'm so sorry I didn't stay that little girl you loved so much. I wish I could have been her for you forever"
She swallowed harshly around the lump in her throat, before leaning forward to kiss the marker, "I love you. Till we meet again"
She was decidedly drunker as she returned to the bungalow, and it was much later in the day, having spent most of the late morning and afternoon drinking at a tavern near the cemetery. She's managed to sober up just enough to apparate safely back to the beach, but she was far from dry. She hunched her shoulders, tugging up the edge of her skirt as she trudged through the sand, thoughts back on a the headstone that housed the first half of her life.
"Hermione!" called out a voice, and she picked up her head, smiling weakly as Noah appeared next to her.
"Happy Christmas, Noah," she greeted him, continuing her walk. He smiled back, the expression hesitant on his face.
"Happy Christmas," he replied, "Are you going to visit your parents today?"
She paused in her travel, looking at him, "I...I already did"
He wavered a moment, "Oh"
She chewed her lip, unsure of how to respond, choosing to continue on her trek instead of expound.
"Are you going to be alone for the holiday?" he asked, a kind tone to his voice. She looked at him again, noting the sympathetic look on his face, before turning back to her little shack.
A dark figure stood out front, and her heart skipped a beat. It was walking towards them, and she felt a smile start tugging on the edges of her lips, "No. I don't believe I am"
She took off running then, sprinting as fast as she could across the beach. Ten meters from her house she met him, throwing herself into his embrace, pressing her lips to his without reservation. His arms wrapped around her and he pulled her up off the ground, swinging her legs back and forth as her returned her fervor.
Finally placing her back on the ground, he brushed his thumb across her cheek and down her jawline, blue gray eyes sparkling with warmth, "Merry Christmas, Hermione"
"I thought I'd dreamed you," she confessed to him, holding his other hand like a lifeline. He shook his head.
"No. Not a dream," he replied, before he seemed to remember himself. Shaking himself, his lips quirked up, "I had to do something though"
She tilted her head to the side, "Do what?"
He stepped backwards towards the bungalow, "Let me show you"
He tugged her with him, tucking her arm through his elbow, as he lead her behind the little house to a modest garden plot decorated with fairy lights and floating candles. There was a long dining table set for dinner, with seafood of every kind piled on top, and around it every seat was filled with her closest friends. She gasped, tears springing once more to her eyes as she looked up at Sirius.
"You did this?" she asked, and he nodded, "For me?"
The self assured smirk slipped off his face, replaced by the most honest expression she'd ever seen from him, "Princess, for you I would pull down the moon"
She reached up and threaded a hand through his hair, guiding his face down to hers so she could kiss him thoroughly. He responded enthusiastically, arms wrapping around her waist to pull her flush against him. It was only the cheers and jeers of friends that broke them apart, and she blushed as she turned to her adopted family members.
"I can't believe you all came here," she said softly. Harry smiled at her, beckoning her to come join.
"We couldn't let you be alone on Christmas," he answered gently, and she smiled back at him. The rest of the guests murmured their consent, and Hermione wiped the underside of her eyes with her fingers.
"Thank you. You have no idea what this means to me," she answered. Ginny grabbed her hand on her right and squeezed.
"Yes, we do. And don't you ever think you can just run away from us again. You're family, Hermione," she replied. Ron and George nodded behind her as Hermione turned her watery gaze on them. Beyond them sat Susan and Angelina, along with Seamus and Neville and Hannah, and even her newest tentative friend Draco with his fiance Astoria. They'd all come here, for her, and she'd never felt so loved.
From beside her Sirius cleared his throat, lifting his glass, "To our wonderful family at this Christmas. May we never forget those who are the most important, and may we always be open to bringing more into the fold"
After dinner, and drinks, and desert, and more drinks, and everyone had found their way into their own dwellings, Hermione lay naked in bed with Sirius, running her fingers up and down his arm as they tangled together. She could feel him smile against her skin where his head lay on her breast, and she turned her head to look down at him, "What are you so smug about?"
"I just realized why you like this bed so much," he replied. She gave him a questioning look and he pointed straight up, "From here you get a perfect view of sirius"
She was grateful it was dark, and he couldn't see her cheeks flush pink, but he knew anyway and laughed at her. She swatted his back and he sat up abruptly, sheets pooling around his waist. He wandlessly and wordlessly summoned a box to him, his actions becoming shy as he turned it around in his fingers before presenting it to her, "This isn't...It's not what you think it is. Yet. But it's a promise. A promise that someday we'll get there"
Her heart trembled in her chest, and she carefully opened the gift. Nestled in silk bedding was a pendant of black obsidion, topped with a white diamond on a fine silver chain. She lifted it out, allowing it to dangle in the moonlight, breath catching in her throat, "This is...It's beautiful Sirius"
His expression was anxious as he looked at her, "It's a family heirloom. It's a representation of the brightest star in the night sky"
She smiled faintly, murmuring, "The dog star"
His own smile was a little stronger, "Now you can carry me wherever you go"
She clasped the necklace around her neck, before grabbing him and kissing him once more. As he pressed her back down into the bed, she giggled loudly and he pulled back, inquisitive look on his face. She shook her head in return.
"I need to have a conversation with Neville about how much he likes his plants"