Hello all! Once again I am back with more, only this story has many chapters! Yay!
This story is being betaed by the lovely R J Lupin's Kat, so you all should praise her on for her excellent work! I would never be able to continue without her and you wouldn't be able to read this without her!
And, before I can let you continue, please take into concideration that it takes time for a beta and an author to achieve the completion of a story. I cannot guarantee that you will get updates that are regular for time is not on our side and neither is life. So please, do not get mad if this story isn't updated ever week like I had originally wanted it to and please do not pressure me or my beta to hurry up with this story, (for it will only fuel my rage and make me persist that this story go even slower). In the end, you're only hurting yourself.
And, on another note, please understand that the content in this story will go slow, meaning that Remus and Hermione will not be paired up automatically in the next chapter and in the chapter after that they get married and so forth. That annoys me, so please do not assume that for most of this story is already written. If you know me, I usually pair my couples at the end. Plus, this story will take long for it takes place after the Half Blood Prince.
So, please, enjoy this story for I have poured my heart and soul into seeing that this story is as enjoyable, yet complicated, as possible. :)
Disclaimer - I do not own Harry Potter and Company. Shamefully, if I did, Tonks would be dead, Snape would not be evil,and so on and so forth. However, I did try to make this story something that J. K. Rowling would have written, so prepare for the complicated:)
The end of August always meant something new to Hermione, mostly the new path that life had opened up for her. It was the beginning of school, the beginning of adulthood (where she and her friends just might be taken seriously), and the real beginning of the war with Voldemort.
Even though the death tolls were rising and the disappearances reaching the highest they've ever been in the history of the Wizarding world, there was still hope: now everyone believed that Voldemort had indeed returned.
But as she made her way along Diagon Alley, Hermione could still see the fear etched in the people's eyes, the one place their true feelings were revealed. There were more people shopping around than last year as assurances were made by the Ministry that they were winning the war and had everything under control. But while the shoppers all had mock-smiling faces to convince others there was nothing to worry about, Hermione wondered what would happen if a solitary figure were to not follow the trend. Would it destroy the pattern of fake cheerfulness?
She knew it was not best to be the one to start the turn of frowns, so she smiled along with everyone else. She offered occasional greetings and curtseys to the shopkeepers, making their fear disappear briefly from their eyes before it returned with the haunting feeling that had settled over them. Hermione tried to ignore it. It was if they were sending messages of both reassurance and doubt to one another.
She continued to walk down the shop-lined road, glancing at those establishments that had stayed in business and those boarded up, ignored by almost everyone. As she neared Eeylops Owl Emporium to meet her friends, Hermione began to wonder how she had gotten so good with her fake smiles and her lies. But then, as she looked around at everyone to hear talk of positive things, hadn't everybody else, too?
As she neared the shop, she instantly saw the flaming red hair of her boyfriend. The sight brought a broad grin of happiness to her face, making the people around her stare with wide eyes at her sudden burst of radiance.
While she moved swiftly to her friends, she could see the others gathered in the group with the redhead. There was a much smaller redhead with long hair and an average-sized seventeen year old with jet black hair that stuck up in the oddest places.
As she neared them, the youngest Weasley turned to her with a gloss-lipped, pleasant smile, while the black haired boy gave her a broad smile, his emerald eyes shining. Harry.
"Hermione!" Ginny cried out in happiness before engulfing her in a hug, making the brunette laugh. Hermione returned the hug, and before they could let go, Harry pulled her into another hug, his hands comfortingly patting her back. They separated and Harry stepped aside as the second youngest Weasley, Ronald, pulled her into a hug that showed how much he worried about her and how glad he was to know she was all right.
Harry and Ginny watched with smug faces as they parted just enough to share a chaste kiss before looking into each others eyes. Hermione could see the joy in Ron's, but also something else that didn't quite resemble anything positive, making her smile falter a bit before he hugged her again.
"I missed you," he murmured as Ginny stifled her girly giggles with a petite hand and Harry looked away, biting his lower lip.
"As did I you," she replied in a whisper while running her hand up to his freckle-covered neck and into his flaming hair. While the two held on like it was their last time together, Harry took this as his chance to sneak an inch closer to the girl next to him who occupied most of his thoughts.
While Ginny noticed Harry's less than obvious Gryffindor tactics (which most of the boys she dated used), she politely coughed, causing Ron and Hermione to let go and look away from each other, blushing. Ginny gave Hermione an apologetic face before wheeling around, her red hair whipping, before making her way into the shop. Harry, mesmerized by her actions, watched her before snapping out of his thoughts and following her. Ron then shyly took Hermione's hand and led her into the shop. She followed, wondering just what Ron was feeling other than happiness after their kiss.
The Golden Trio had promised each other that they would continue on with their lives if they were to ever lose one of their group. It had stayed with them and haunted them since they had first made it. Even now it caused chills up Hermione's spine thinking about it, but she had to ignore it as they had entered the newly developed jewelry shop before them.
Of course, they had made other vows to one another, too. The second most important one was to buy each other birthday presents ahead of time so they would never regret it if one of them had died before they were able to turn another year older. It was easier to get their present shopping done and over with.
They entered the store and were met with three large counters of pearly white cushions holding up fabulous and gorgeous pieces of shining jewels and necklaces. Ginny gasped upon seeing a ruby pendent in the shape of a flower that would match her brilliantly flaming red hair. Harry approached it with hesitation before peering over the glass to admire it with his fancy.
Hermione didn't know what to look at first when an emerald stone set in a silver ring sparkled, captivating her. She raced to it like it was the rarest book in the world. She badly wanted to smear her nose into the glass in the hopes of somehow getting to the ring. Ron, as though he was going to be sucked into the bright glows of the gems, cautiously approached it.
"How may I help such a beautiful young woman like you this afternoon?" a man asked her pleasantly. She looked up to see him standing on the other side of the counter, with Ron glaring at him as if communicating for him to back off.
"Oh, I don't know," Hermione replied honestly as she then looked back at the ring. "I guess we're just looking for now."
"That ring there," the man told her as he pointed a yellowed fingernail through the glass, "is not for sale."
"Oh," she said disappointedly. Ron narrowed his eyes at the man, faulting him for not satisfying his girlfriend with the opportunity to own the jewelry she wanted.
"But over here," the man added after noticing Ron's face. He walked to the front counter with Hermione and Ron quickly following. "This fine ring is for sale. It is said to be the ring of an enchanted prince. It's called the Dragon's Eye."
He then pointed to a ring with a glowing radiance to it. It was a bright yellow stone with a deep, black crack running through it. It seemed to have been sealed by magic. Attached to it was a black band that was half hidden by the pearly cushion.
While Hermione gasped at its elegance and beauty, Ron eyed it suspiciously.
"I do hope you make up your minds," the man said smugly, staring at Ron's blue, narrowed eyes before racing off to Harry and Ginny. As Ron intently watched him retreat to much safer waters, Hermione knelt down and ran her finger against the glass by the stone, intrigued that it hadn't been sold already.
"I don't think I should get it for you, Hermione," Ron told her. She looked up at him with wide eyes.
"What ever do you mean?" she asked in a perplexed manner before standing up and turning to him.
"The ring," he replied, crossing his arms over his chest and puffing it out protectively. "I don't think I could buy it for you. It just doesn't seem… y'know… Right."
"I'm afraid I don't understand you," she explained, folding her fingers together and watching him fidget with his own. "If it's too much, we could always look for something else then…"
Just then Ginny and Harry appeared by their sides with joyful faces that disappeared at Hermione's solemn one and Ron's guilty one. Ron watched Harry as he took out his money pouch, filled with more gold than the redhead's. Ginny saw the questionable look appear on her brother's face.
The shopkeeper reappeared across from Hermione and Ron, his smug expression intact before he pointed at the yellow ring again.
"It has a history filled with romance," he informed them while he placed the red flower pendant Ginny had previously admired onto the glass. Ron looked at it skeptically. Hermione peered at the man curiously while he continued. "It is said that whoever possesses the ring will bring great passion to their…" he paused, coughed, then finished, "partner."
At this, Ron blushed and looked at his tattered shoes while Hermione's face lit up. This ring could probably help spark the real passion in her relationship with Ron, for the most physical contact they ever had was of kissing each other in greeting and parting and the occasional hand holding. Even though they hadn't been in a relationship for long, Hermione knew Ron desired more and that she was going at too slow a pace for him and his hormones. Desire itself might have been the emotion Ron was feeling after they had kissed each other earlier.
"It has also been reduced in price recently," the man added pointed to Ron. Ron looked at him with narrowed eyes; Hermione looked up at Ron with pleading eyes. Never had she wanted something so badly. And it wasn't just beneficial to her; it could also help Ron, too.
"How much is it?" Ron asked, giving the shop keeper a triumphant smile as the man's smile fell. It was replaced with relief, startling the redhead.
"It's ten Galleons," the man replied as he darted his eyes from Hermione to Ron. They looked like they had been shocked with a few surprise hexes. "I could reduce it further if you like…"
"N-no! It's fine!" Ron cried, almost pouncing on the man as he took out his pouch and pulled out ten gold coins, lightening his bag weigh considerably. The man, looking like he had been told Voldemort was irrefutably and forever dead, sighed in relief. He dumped the money into a bin before taking out a few sets of keys and opening the lock. He placed his palm onto the glass, causing it to glow red, and opened the sliding glass door. He retrieved the ring and placed it onto the counter while Hermione squealed and hugged Ron happily.
After placing the ring onto her finger, Hermione felt an odd sensation run through her. First was icy cold fury for the man selling this ring so cheap and to her, of all people! There was no way in hell she would be able to take care of it; after all, she was only seventeen and she had more important things to worry about than jewelry! She'd be as bad as Lavender Brown and Parvati Patel! Then she felt contentment with the idea of having something so precious and so old with a romantic history. This might work out, for if she just looked up a book on how to care for jewelry in Hogsmeade, then she'd be happy with knowing she did everything in her power to take care of it. And she was the right girl for the job when it came to books and memorization.
While Harry paid for his more expensive piece for Ginny, who was now admiring the ring on Hermione's finger, Ron wondered why it was so cheap and why the shopkeeper was so relieved to get rid of it. But before he could question the man, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny turned to leave, the girls giggling at their new gifts. So Ron left his questions unasked and followed them with one glance more at the grinning man.
The shopkeeper sighed as soon as they left his shop. He looked to see in the corner of the room the shadow that had haunted him for years, its bright yellow eyes narrowed at him, making him flinch. It was going to have to leave soon. But the shadow stared at him for a moment in pause before quickly moving around the room and leaving. Outside it turned to follow the companionable group, the latter having no idea what they had just done.
There! What do you think of it so far? Please tell me for I'd really like to know how you feel and its absolutely fantastic to establish that connection between authors and readers.
Thanks dearly to Bethany for all of her help! I'm so glad that I have her to discuss fanfiction with:)
And believe me when I tell you that this story is just beginning...smirks evilly