Disclaimer:  The world of Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling.  Let us all bow at her feet.

Pieces of Us

Chapter One:  For the Best

New Years Eve.

I'm sitting on the sink with my feet resting on the lid of the toilet, gazing outside through a small window.  The sky is gray and cloudy.  It's going to snow.  Seeing as I am dressed only in my underthings, I should be cold.  But as I let the cold air pierce my body when I open the window, I feel nothing.  For a split second, I think of making a run for it.  But how can you explain a half naked lady running around in the middle of winter?  You see, I left my clothes in the other room when I barricaded myself in the bathroom.  The only other piece of clothing I have with me is my wedding dress.  It's hanging next to the door.  I love it.  It's beautiful.  It's everything I've ever dreamed I'd wear when I got married.

My stomach gives a lurch and I face the open window again to breathe in the fresh air.  Look at that, it's snowing outside.  I take a moment to revel in the quiet waltz of the snowflakes.  It is so peaceful.

The harassers have left the room long ago.  They probably went to get reinforcements.  They really aren't harassers, it's just Ginny, Luna, Mrs. Weasley and my mother begging and pleading with me to come out of the bathroom.  For crying out loud, can't a bride have a moment to herself before she walks down the aisle?  I glance again at my wedding dress.

Oh Merlin, help me.

I fondle the pack of cigarettes in my hand.  I picked it up on the way here, along with two pack of chewing gum.  I've already gone through the gum.  In fact, you could probably trace my steps from the store to the church just by following the wrappers.  I pull out a cigarette and stare at it.  I've never smoked before in my entire life but I'll try anything to calm my nerves right now.  I'm desperate.  I light it and take a drag.  Almost immediately I start coughing.  Ugh!  It's horrible!  How can people stand this?  Maybe I'm doing this wrong?  I try again and still have the same result.

Knock.  Knock.  Knock.

"Hermione, are you alright?" asks a voice from the other side of the door.

"Yes! I'm (cough) fine!  What (cough) do you want, Ron?"

"I just want to talk."

Ah, the reinforcement has arrived.

"I'm alone," he stresses.

I reach for my wand and unlock the door.  He enters the bathroom, eyes the cigarette and gives me a condescending look as he shuts the door behind him.

"You," he begins as he walks over and plucks the cigarette from my fingers, "don't smoke."

He tosses the cigarette out of the window.

"I was thinking of starting today," I say.

He gives me a stern look before his face softens again.

"Why are you doing this, Hermione?"

"I heard it relieves stress."
"No, not this!" he says grabbing the pack out of my hands and tossing it out of the window.  "This!" he exclaims, gesturing to my wedding dress.

"What are you talking about?"
"Are you really going to go through with this?"

"Ronald!"

"I'm serious.  I'm not going to let you go through with this.  You don't love him, Hermione!"

"Excuse me, but I do love him!"

"Okay, fine, you do love him.  But not enough to marry him."

"Who are you to tell me how I feel about someone?"

"I'm your friend, and as your friend, and his, I'm telling you to call this thing off."

"Don't be ridiculous.  This wedding isn't getting called off."

"This wedding was supposed to happen fifteen minutes ago, and the bride has locked herself in the bathroom."
"I just needed some time to think."

I really don't want to be having this conversation right now.

"You're right.  You do need to think.  Think about what you're doing.  Stop this wedding.  It's going to break his heart and yours, but I would rather you do it than spend the rest of your lives miserable."

I don't want to look at him.  Instead my eyes wander until they land on my make up bag.  A small package wrapped in silver is peeking out of it.  I feel a knot in my chest.  This is for the best.  This is what we want.

"Tell him--."  A commotion outside interrupts me.

"Michael!  Where on earth did you find those?  You give them to me right this second!"  A woman yells at her child who is holding, what suspiciously looks like a pack of cigarettes in his hand.  "What have I told you about—Oh!  Aunt Bea!  You're on fire!"

Exclamations run amok as an elderly lady's elegant hat starts to smolder.  A man yanked it off her head, accidentally taking her wig along with it, and proceeded to stamp it on the ground.  Ron and I, who where peering from above through the window, turned to each other and muffled our laughter.

"It's alright, it's alright!  It's out!" claimed the hat rescuer and he bent down to pick up the hat.  "Look, a cigarette."

"Oh, shit!" Ron's and my laughter instantly died as we quickly shut the window.

"Michael!" screamed the mother.  "Just wait until your father hears about this!"

"But I didn't do it mom," protested little Michael.

"Poor kid," Ron said, then we both looked at each other and burst out laughing,

"Go on, you need to get out of here so I can change," I order.

"What are you going to do?"

I eye the silver package again.

"Tell him…I'll see him at the altar."

Ron follows my line of sight.

"Hermione, listen--," he protests.

"Goodbye Ron," I say, shoving him out of the door.

I walk over to my bag and pull out the silver wrapped box.  The tag in front reads:

To:  Hermione

From: Harry

He gave it to me on Christmas.

Flashback

"Oh, Harry!  It's beautiful!"

"I know you're supposed to have something old, something new, uh, you know, all that.  Well I'm sure you have everything already, but I would be honored if you wore this as your something old."

"Something old?"

"Look at the inscription on the back."

"'To my wife Lily.  Love, your husband James.'  Oh, Harry."
"My dad gave it to my mum on their wedding day.  I…uh…I want you to have it."

"Harry, I can't."

"Please.  I can't think of anyone else worthy of this.  Please, promise me you'll wear it?"

"I promise."

End of Flashback

I clasp the necklace behind my neck.  It's a silver heart shaped locket with a red ruby in the middle of it.  Inside is a picture of Harry's parents on their wedding day on one side; a baby picture of Harry on the other.

"It's what we want, right Harry?" I ask myself in the mirror.  "Yes, it's for the best."

"Yes, yes, everything is set.  Start the processional music," the wedding nazi –sorry- coordinator is speaking into her headphones.

Ginny jumps out of her place in line and runs up to me.  She really looks beautiful in her red dress.

"You look absolutely beautiful, Hermione!" she exclaims.  I hug her briefly before we pull apart, holding back our tears.  "Good luck," she says to me.  For a moment, she looked as if she wanted to say more but the nazi, no coordinator, yanks her back in rank.

"You look beautiful, sweetie," my dad says to me.

"Thank you, daddy."

Suddenly, I hear the wedding march play.  Is it time already?  I swallow nervously as the coordinator gives me last minute instructions, but the pounding of my heart is blocking her out.  The doors swing open and a collective sigh is heard.  I could swear in the rehearsal that the aisle was not 100 meters long, and just how many people did we invite?  Oh, god.  ALL EYES ARE ON ME.

"Just keep smiling," my dad mutters to me.

It is a forced smile and I'm pretty sure I look like a deer in headlights.  I see my mom smiling at me, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief.  Ginny and Luna are at the altar smiling encouragingly at me.  On the other side, I see Ron with the other groomsmen.  He's smiling but it clearly isn't reaching his eyes, he actually looks a bit panicky.  Why the hell is he panicky?!  I'm the one getting married!  In fact, I spot Sirius and Remus in the pews, they too are looking a little anxious and worried.  They aren't helping things, so instead I focus on my groom who's smiling lovingly at me.

This is for the best.  This is what we want.

I say this to myself silently over and over.  And suddenly, it hits me just as I meet my groom at the altar.  I quickly look around.  Vaguely, I hear the priest in the background speaking about….something.  With a slight look of panic in my eyes, I catch Ron's.  The expression on his face says "Now do you get it?"

He isn't here!  Harry isn't here!  Oh my god!  Well of course he isn't here, he said he wouldn't be here.  He made it very clear that he would not be here today.  But reality hits me and I begin to panic.

I'm turning to face my groom.  Oh, what do I do?  Why am I thinking about this now, on my wedding day, at the altar?  Focus, focus, the priest is speaking to me.

"…to have and to hold from this day forward?"

From the corner of my eye I see Ron, Sirius and Remus lean forward in anticipation.  I can feel their eyes burning into me.  I look up at my groom.

This is for the best.  This is what we want…right Harry?