Disclaimer: I started this story not owing Harry Potter, and now I sadly finish it without anymore ownership than I had in the beginning….
Author's Note: I would say some stuff…but I think I'll save it for the end…
525,600 Minutes: In Truths That She Learned, or in Times That He Cried-
525,600 minutes. Every minute of every day makes the 525,600th minute of a year. But it is one specific minute, only one, that makes a year worth remembering….
To any bystander the girl stepping off the bus would appear to be a normal, or plain, as some would describe the girl. She was carrying a suitcase, had bushy-brown hair, though, not as bushy as it used to be, and brown eyes. She had matured features that would tell you she was somewhere between the age of seventeen, and eighteen…perhaps even nineteen.
"Here you go, honey" said the girls mother, handing her daughter a small suitcase while tightly clutching her cane.
"Thanks, Mum." Hermione replied sweetly with a smile. Revealing her straight and perfect teeth, seemingly only obtainable by magic.
"You behave yourself, and write as soon as possible!"
"I will, Mum, don't worry. You're sure you'll be alright?"
"Of course I will, I'm sure your aunt will be able to take great care of me."
"I'm sure she will." Hermione said, smiling, giving her mother a hug.
"I'll talk to you soon, dear." Jane Granger said, stepping back onto the bus with the help of Hermione.
Hermione stepped back, onto the curb and watched as the bus disappeared in the blink of an eye.
To anyone else that would have been some sight, a bus just disappearing into thin air. But Hermione simply inhaled deeply and let it out in a sigh as the wind rushed pass her face. The Knight Bus was truly a special bus. Now, I have told you that to anyone Hermione would have appeared to be a plain, normal teenager. But my dear reader she is not. Hermione is very different from you and I, Hermione is a witch and a very bright one at that.
Hermione grabbed her trunk by it's handle, turned on her heel, and headed down the dark alley which she was in front of as the sign THE LEAKY CAULDRON appeared above her head, welcoming her into the tavern.
"Why Ms. Granger! What a surprise!"
"Hello Tom." Hermione said to the in keeper.
"To be honest with you, my dear, I wasn't expecting to see you back in here, not after what happened last year."
Hermione gave a small laugh. "You couldn't pay me to stay away, Tom."
Tom returned the laugh. "Glad to here it. Now, what can I do you for?"
"Well, you see, I just got a job at Flourish and Blotts. I was wondering, if it were at all possible, for me to get a temporary room until I earn enough money to by my own apartment." Hermione said, sheepishly.
"Well, of course you can!"
"Oh really? Thank you so much, Tom."
"Not a problem at all my dear. I'll just find an available room for you."
"Tom? Would it be at all possible for me to stay in room twenty-one?" Hermione asked. Tom looked up from the list he was observing. "Course it is. Here's the key, I'm sure you know where it is."
Hermione gave another small laugh. "Yes, I do believe that I do." Hermione took the key, gave a polite 'thank you' to Tom and headed up three flights of stairs and going to the last room on the right.
Hermione stood in the open door way of room 21 of the Leaky Cauldron. She wanted to step inside, but something was stopping her. Perhaps it was shock, perhaps it was wonder, curiosity, or disbelief. She didn't know. She simply stood dumbfounded in the door way, letting her thoughts wash over her, but not knowing with which one to begin.
It had only been a year. One, single year since she had been sitting in the chair by the window of that very room, looking out into the busy streets of Diagon Alley, wondering what her last year at Hogwarts would be like. Only a year. Never, in her wonderings on that day would she have guessed what the events of the year would bring.
It had all started, she supposed when she ran into Malfoy as she left the Flourish and Blotts. Then it went on to the attack on the Leaky Cauldron, then her five long days at Grimmauld Place, learning what Ryn was up to, the attack on her parents, fighting with Draco then learning of his past, befriending Malfoy, Ryn's disappearances, the dementor attacks, her father's death, Malfoy becoming her boyfriend, Harry and Ron finding out about the relationship, Valentine's Day, Malfoy's hurtful words and their break up, escaping to Godric's Hollow, Ryn's betrayal, Lucius Malfoy, Ryn saving them, those long hours in Godric's Hollow, the final battle, returning to Hogwarts, the end of the year feast, leaving Hogwarts for one last time (with Malfoy at her side), her mother's release form St. Mungo's, and all over the other small events that led to her standing in the door way of the same room in which it all started.
As Hermione unpacked her things, there was a light rap at the door. "Coming!" she called, setting down a rather large pile of books in the corner.
"Oh, hello Tom." Hermione said as she opened the door.
"A letter for you, Hermione." Tom said, smiling and handing her the letter.
"Thank you Tom."
"You're quite welcome, if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask.
Hermione smiled. "I won't, thank you."
"You're welcome." Tom replied before walking back down the hall.
Hermione sat on her bed, and tore open the letter, wishing with all hope that it was what she thought it was. Her heart raced as she read it.
Dear Miss Hermione Granger,
We at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries happily inform you that you have been accepted into our Healer training program. You have proved to have exceptional skills in potions making, Transfiguration, and Charms. We await your arrival in the main lobby on September 21 at 9o'clock a.m.
Hoping to see you then,
Head Healer of St. Mungo's
Hermione's face was in a full grin as she finished the letter. She would become a Healer, but granted she had to pass their training course, but that was something she could handle. Hermione made a mental note that she would have to talk to her boss at Flourish and Blotts about her schedule, to fit it around her training time.
Hermione set down the letter and resumed her unpacking. She pulled out a picture of herself, Harry, and Ron standing by the lake at Hogwarts on the last day of school. All three were smiling in the picture, they had never been happier. The next picture she pulled out was of herself and Draco. They were sitting under a tree on one of the last days of school. Both were smiling, well Hermione was, Malfoy had his usual smirk plastered on his face.
Hermione looked at the picture and her smile widened. She was glad that she and Malfoy had gotten back together. If they hadn't, especially after the last battle, Hermione didn't know what she would be like now. Probably unhappy. Ever since last year he had been her backbone for support, and she knew that he always would be.
Hermione sat in the chair by the window hours later. Dinner time was approaching and she was starving, but she had yet to remove herself from the chair. Her eyes were transfixed out the window and it seemed as nothing else in the world existed.
She watched as children and parents walked the streets, buying items for Hogwarts. It felt odd not being out there, among them doing the same thing. She was suddenly saddened. The new Hogwarts year would be starting in a weeks time and she wouldn't be going back. She sighed.
Her sadness was cut short as she saw a figure walk past her window and stop at a booth. Albus Dumbledore absent mindedly looked through the booth before turning around and facing the street. Hermione could have sworn that she saw him look to her window and wink, as if he knew she was there. Hermione blinked, but when she looked back he was gone. Hermione smiled, as the thoughts of Dumbledore's end of term speech washed over her.
"Another year of Hogwarts passed by. And what an eventful year it has been. Over the past seven years extraordinary things have happened each year. And I find that next year things will perhaps be quite calm, due to obvious reasons." as he said this, Dumbledore looked at Harry and gave a wink.
"We have all been through dark times. I am happy to say to you all that these times have come to pass. But I sadly say that they are not the last of dark times, for there will always be the darkness in a time of light. But if we all unite together the dark time will be short lived."
A knock on her door snapped Hermione from her thoughts. With a puzzled look on her face she stood from the chair and made way for the door. There was another knock. "Coming" she said before reaching the door.
She opened the door slightly at first, not knowing who it was, but when she caught sight of slicked back blonde hair, she opened the door wider. A smirk spread over her face.
"Hello. I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm your new neighbor, Draco Malfoy." Malfoy said, in his usual drawl. He pointed to the room across the hall, the same room her had stayed in a year before.
"You're my new neighbor? Well, you won't be for long, as I am moving." Hermione teased.
"Very funny." Malfoy remarked, and before Hermione could reply, he kissed her. "I was just about to get some dinner. Care to join me?"
"I'd be delighted to." together, the young couple walked down the hall, hand in hand.
"When do you start work at Flourish and Blotts?" Malfoy asked as they walked passed the bookstore.
"Tomorrow," Hermione replied happily. "And I start Healer training in a little less than a month." Hermione finished, even more happily.
"Congrats." Malfoy said, kissing her cheek.
"What about you? Did you hear from the Ministry yet?"
Malfoy nodded. "I start my internship next week, in the Ministers office."
"That's wonderful!" Hermione exclaimed and Malfoy nodded again.
"How about we get some food?" Malfoy asked as they passed a small café.
"Why aren't you going to live in the Manor?" Hermione asked, as they sat at a table outside of a small café in Diagon Alley.
Malfoy shrugged. "Perhaps I will in time. But for now….I just need to be away."
Hermione understood. Malfoy had been very uncharacteristic in the days that followed that fateful battle. Even though he had hated his father, he still loved him and felt horrible for not saving him. But it's not like he could have, Hermione had assured him time and time again, the spell Lucius had been hit by was a death spell.
"I've got something for you." Malfoy said, after a silence had filled the air.
"Yes, for you. Who else would I be talking to." he teased.
"Oh I dunno, yourself. You can be quite self centered," Hermione teased back, smirking. Malfoy laughed, and Hermione joined him. "You were saying?" Hermione asked once her laughing subsided.
Malfoy smirked, and dug into his coat, "This is for you." he said pulling out a small, scarlet box.
Hermione gasped as she opened the petite box. Inside sat a ring, one of the most beautiful ones Hermione had ever seen. It consisted of a silver band, with a brilliant ruby rectangle embedded on the top.
"A-a r-r-ring." Hermione stammered out, her eyes as wide as saucers.
"A ring," Malfoy smirked at the look on Hermione's face. "Nothing more, and nothing less."
At those words Hermione's eyes reduced in size and she let out a breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She had thought he was proposing...something she was not ready for. Hermione smiled, and slipped the ring on her finger.
"It's beautiful, thank you." Hermione said, taking his hands in hers.
Malfoy shrugged. "Just a simple gift for the girl I love."
Hermione's breath caught in her throat. "You love me?" she asked, quietly.
Malfoy gave a small laugh, and smirked. "Yeah, I do."
Hermione smiled, leaned across the table and kissed him. "I love you too." she said, against his lips.
"Now, if you'll excuse me," Malfoy said, after they finished eating. "I'm going to run to the men's room and then we can go, sound good?"
"I'll be waiting." Hermione said, as Malfoy stood from the table, gave her a light kiss on the lips, and made his way inside.Hermione leaned back in her chair and let a breeze wash over her body. Her peace was short lived, however, when her ears picked up a conversation at a near by table.
"…I mean, I don't understand it."
Hermione knew exactly who the women were talking about, and she had a feeling that they didn't know that the subjects sat near by.
"Don't belong together, that's a fact."
"Honestly! A muggle-born and a pureblood! Especially of his status! The thought!"
"Oh I know. And to think, they were enemies when they first met. Then after a few months ago, their relationship just started!"
Malfoy walked out of the restaurant and towards Hermione, "Ready?" he asked.
Hermione nodded. "Hold on." she grabbed Malfoy's hand and walked to the table at which the gossiping ladies sat. Their backs were to them so Hermione tapped one on the shoulder. The ladies turned and looks of horror etched their faces.
"I just wanted to clear up one piece of information you got wrong." Hermione said, sweetly. "It didn't start a few months ago, but a year. Enjoy your meal."
With that being said, Hermione pulled a bemused Malfoy to the streets of Diagon Alley.
"What was that about?"
Hermione stopped walking, and looked at him. "I'll tell you in a year." she said smirking. Before Malfoy could respond, she gave him a full, lasting kiss, never wanting to let go.
And this, my dear reader is where our story ends. You may be wondering, my friend, why I have hardly addressed you throughout the story, and why I am now. And for that question I have a simple answer, I felt no need to. But now that our story has ended I feel the need to tell you one last message.
That message? Love, my dear reader. Love can conquer all. It can lift us from our darkest times, even when our darkest times seemed to be about love. It will prevail. Just like the love of Lily Potter for her son Harry. Her love saved him, and helped him in his win over the darkest, most powerful dark lord of all time.
Love. Hermione and Malfoy's love for one another. Two different people, two different pasts, two different lives, but one simple present. Brought together in the unlikeliest of ways, two enemies. But a love for one another conquered over that line of enemy and made those differences disappear. Love.
A lot can happen in a year, my friend, that can change our lives for ever. So many years to make up one life. But how to measure these years? These lives?….
How do you measure a year in the life?
Measure in love.
Author's Note: Well, there you have it. The last installment of 525,600 Minutes: In Truths That She Learned, or in Times That He Cried. Before I say my final regards, allow me to thank some reviewers.
Melanie-Chan: Wow, really? Thanks so much!
Kiwi-San: No, I don't suppose a story is a story without an ending…otherwise it's just….I dunno…Thanks for the review!
BoarderKC: I do understand that you are being constructive and I thank you for it. Everyone could use some constructive criticism every once in a while. Thank you!
Huey: Draco wasn't trying to tell Hermione he loved her then, it was more of a sorry. He didn't want her going into the battle with the chance of not seeing her again without her knowing that he was sorry. Thank you for the review!
Aduro: Glad to hear the things you said. I'm glad the story was easy to read and flows real well…
BlueEyedAngel636: lol. Wow, five hours, missed dinner, and a headache! Your welcome! Thanks for the review!
Lip-Gloss-Reaplier, PurpeXPrincess, blueskyshymoon08, supafly09, musicalbballgal, tigerlily727, SerenityMelody, DMHG 2GETHER 4EVER, queeney2, iheartfredandgeorge83, the signer, seaweed queen, SLytHeRiNcHiCk101, Chipitatitatita, Hawaiian girl, padfootedmooney, Ice Angel 10: Thank you all so much for your reviews!
!My Final Regards!: Well, I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, and thank you again. You all have been the most amazing reviewers ever! Your all so great and kind, and yet you don't know who I am….which makes your comments even better! You've all been very supportive. These past few weeks have been really hard for me, due to certain things going on in my life, and being able to write for you all and getting your reviews as mad everything so much better!
In regards to a sequel, will it happen? The whole truth…I don't know. Honestly, I don't. It might, it might not.
But I can tell you that I will probably be writing another story in the future (how soon, I don't know). I've had a couple of ideas for a Harry Potter one about the Lucius' past. Why he became who he is and la-di-dah. I would also like to write a Wicked fic. So, hopefully I'll start a fic in one of those two areas.
I now say goodbye, as much as I don't want to. You all are amazing and writing this story as been so much fun! I wish it could go on, but alas all things must come to an end….eek! I'm gonna cry!…lol…thank you all a billion times more!
And rememeber: No Day But Today…
Hoping to hear from you all due to a new story!
Your humble author,
The Lonely Goatherd
"So if you care to find me look to the western sky!"