DISCLAIMER: All Harry Potter characters were created by the master J.K. Rowling. I own nothing except the plot. This story contains minor spoilers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince so please DO NOT READ if you have yet to read Book 6.
Summary: Hermione and Ron are married after only a short period of dating before their seventh year at Hogwarts. While she loves him, she can't help but wonder if there is something more out there. That's when Draco Malfoy is forced into hiding under The Order's protection. He is able to show Hermione the passion and depth she lacks in her marriage and wreaks havoc with the Golden Trio. Will be DM/HG.
No Day But Today
Chapter One: Hope Dangles on a String
Hermione awoke with a start and looked slowly around the room. She recognized the posters and pictures placed haphazardly on the desk, but waking up in Ron's room felt foreign to her. In fact, waking up brought along many feelings that were foreign to her. A glance revealed all that she was afraid to see. She was covered only by a sheet as was Ron, whose arm was thrown protectively over Hermione's waist.
The memories flooded back to her as she noticed a glimmer on her hand. One very important finger was now adorned with a simple diamond ring. Ron had asked her to marry him. She was engaged. Engaged after only a month of dating. What was she thinking?
Suddenly, words spoken by Molly Weasley over a year ago became crystal clear to her... "It's all this uncertainty with You-Know-Who coming back, people think they might be dead tomorrow, so they're rushing all sorts of decisions they'd normally take time over."
This was a decision that should have fallen under the "give it time" category. Hermione was panicking. She didn't know many of the things that should have been discussed prior to an engagement. She violently shook Ron awake. He blinked and groaned, but smiled when he saw Hermione.
"Good morning, love." He said sweetly. Hermione was nearly deterred by an urge to kiss him, but instead she took a deep breath and attacked. She had to get the information she needed as quickly as possible or she would simply go mad.
"Do you want kids, Ron?" He sat bolt upright, taking the sheet with him, and temporarily exposing Hermione. He was blushing furiously as he tried to cover her up again.
"What? Geez… I dunno. Yea." Seeing the cross look on Hermione's face caused him to falter. "No? Well I mean someday I think it would be nice. Not NOW obviously…. Oh dear…"
"What about our careers Ron?" Hermione countered. He fumbled for words.
"My parents made it work didn't they?" Hermione's voice was building.
"Well, sure, your FATHER got to work, but your mother had to stay at home. What if I don't want to stay home and raise these kids you want so much?"
"I never said you had to!" He screeched. He could tell he was in hot water, but was struggling to comprehend why.
"Where are we going to live?" Hermione prodded. Ron slumped.
"I hadn't really thought about that yet…" She glowered.
"You haven't thought about where we're going to raise our kids?"
"I thought you didn't want kids!" Ron retorted.
"I never said that!" And with that Hermione broke into violent tears. Ron stared, wild-eyed. He was quite unsure of how to handle this crisis. He didn't understand what had gotten him into this trouble, but he sure as hell didn't want to experience any more 'angry Hermione'. He resolved to uneasily patting her on the back. When that didn't work he pulled her closer and embraced her fully, smoothing her hair out of her face at the same time.
"Hermione, what is all this about?" She sniffled.
"Everything is going too fast. I'm scared. We're getting married and we have no idea what we're doing. And last night… last night we… Ron, we'd never even come close before. It was rushed and it doesn't feel right. It feels as thought we're rushing into so many things. I have always liked to think things over, I have to know all the facts, you know that. But we've gotten into some gray area and it scares me. I just-"
"I'm sorry 'Mione. It's all my fault. Last night I was just so excited that you would actually want to marry me. I pushed you and I shouldn't have and I feel horrible. I've really messed up this time. Bugger, I'm so stupid. Look, I'll just go, and you-"
"Don't be foolish Ron. It takes two to do everything we've done. I don't blame you. From now on, I just want to take things slower. I still love you, you big prat." Ron tried to suppress a grin, but was unsuccessful.
"I love you too." Hermione dried her eyes and tried to smile back. Ron kissed her forehead. Love… She was sure she loved him. But yet, if this was love, why didn't it feel right? Hermione could only hope the love she had for Ron was the kind of love she was promising.
The Weasley's were delighted to hear of Ron and Hermione's engagement. Molly had offered to host the wedding at the Burrow and had agreed to throw a party beforehand as well. All of the couple's friends from Hogwarts were invited. While Hermione was touched by the good intentions of her future mother in law, she was not at all looking forward to a large party. She had always imagined a small, intimate wedding. Plus… she didn't want to tell everyone they were getting married just yet. She had just found out the night before… why did her entire year need to hear about it so soon? Hermione had hoped for a long engagement. She had hoped that a long engagement would make adjusting to married life much easier. She had hoped to leisurely look for a new home for the two of them. She had hoped to graduate from school before being married. There were so many hopes being quickly thrown down the drain.
Only two weeks after Ron's proposal the eve of the wedding was upon them. Harry came by that night. He congratulated his two best friends on their pending nuptials. But there was obviously something bothering him, Hermione could always tell with Harry. She cornered Harry the first chance she got and inquired what was wrong.
"I hadn't counted on this so soon is all." He said, looking slightly ashamed.
"What do you mean, hadn't counted on this?" Harry shook his head and rubbed his temples. He was only 17, but his eyes look tired like those of a man twice his age.
"That maybe came out wrong. I meant that… I knew all along that you two would end up together. I only thought it would be after Voldemort fell. I was counting on all the help I could get to fight him."
"Oh, but Harry! You will still have our help. We would never abandon you. Not now, when we're so close."
"No Hermione. Ron's mind will always be on protecting you now. That's how it should be, your wife should be your first priority… But Voldemort will sense any weakness and attack it. It worries me, and I don't want to jeopardize the mission."
"I understand your concern Harry. But I guess Ron and I will just have to be more careful than everyone else." Harry looked hesitant. "We've grown used to being more careful. That's the price you pay being your best friend."
"That's the thing 'Mione. All these years it's been different. If anything, we've become more careless."
"I guess we've just got to have faith, haven't we Harry?" He nodded, but inside he knew that faith could only take them so far. And perhaps Hermione did too…
The party started early in the day, but even so it was far less crowded than everyone had anticipated. Many people didn't like leaving their house for unnecessary things. Even apparating wasn't safe these days because you never knew who was waiting for you at your destination.
A few of the no-shows were to be expected, for example, Lavender Brown had not been expected to come considering her past relationship with Ron. But when Neville Longbottom didn't arrive Harry began to worry. He and Arthur Weasley went to check on him. They arrived back in about 20 minutes with grim looks on their faces.
"Apparently, Bellatrix Lestrange came back to finish the job she started many years ago. Both Neville and his grandmother were killed. The bitch even killed Trevor." Hermione began to cry and Ron just looked stunned. "She's number 2 on my list. Voldemort, then her. I won't let her get away with it! Not after all this! Sirius and Neville…" Harry's anger was rising. "She'll pay for this!"
He had created quite a scene with the guests. He was scary when he got like this. Hermione couldn't take anymore staring. She excused herself and ascended the stairs, knocking before entering Ginny's room. The redhead was sitting cross legged on her bed, staring listlessly out the window.
"Hey Ginny. You alright?" She shrugged.
"Can't complain. We're still alive right?" Hermione chuckled.
"Yea, lucky us." She joined Ginny on the bed. They stared out the window, and Hermione wondered how the sky could look so promising when the future was looking bleaker every day. "Ever wonder what the point of fighting this war is?"
"All the time." Ginny replied.
"I mean… how do we know that our side is so much better than Voldemort's? How do we know what is good and what is evil? And what happened to 'question authority'? It's all relative when you really think about it." Ginny nodded.
"And all this thinking will make you crazy. Sometimes I think your heart, and your gut, is smarter than your brain. If you truly believe in something with you heart then it becomes a truth to you."
"What if my heart can't make up it's mind either?" Ginny smirked knowingly.
"Then I guess my brother is in some big trouble."
"I love him. I know I do. But sometimes I wonder… I wonder if I really see myself with him for the rest of my life. We're so young. I don't know if I'm ready to promise that I will feel this same way in 20 years, or 20 days, or even 20 minutes from now. What if this feeling is all in my mind? I just… I don't know where to go from here."
"It's funny… we're in opposing situations."
"How so?" Hermione asked.
"Well… Ron's sure that you're it, while you have some doubts. Me… I've always known that Harry was my 'it'. But I'm the least important thing on his mind now." Hermione sighed, wanting to comfort her friend, but not knowing how.
"Give it time Ginny. Once all this is over, he'll realize how he feels about you." She shrugged.
"What if it is never over? Or what if Harry ends with all this? Nothing is for certain anymore. Time is of the essence… we'll never get this time back."
"That's what I thought too. I thought, no time like the present, right? Look where it landed me- engaged, to be married before the day's end, and doubting every second of it. I think time just plays tricks on us all."
"I just wish things were different." Ginny replied.
"You and I both." And then they got lost in their own thoughts as the seconds ticked by. The rest of the world was living and they wondered why.
Hermione studied her appearance in the mirror. The dress was floor length, with a V-neck and high back. It sparkled when it caught the sunlight streaming in through the open window. She wore a string of pearls that her mother gave her and diamond earrings. She looked exactly how she always pictured herself on her wedding day. Yet… she didn't feel right about it. She was always older in her mind, older, wiser, and ready to face any challenge. The reflection in the mirror showed only a scared little girl playing dress up. She didn't feel as though she was really about to walk down the aisle. The weight of the promise she was about to make hit her square in the stomach and made it difficult for her to breathe. What had she gotten herself into?
The guests had arrived beforehand, and many had been here since the beginning of the party, 3 hours ago. Hermione had not rejoined the party after hearing news of Neville's death. It didn't feel right to be celebrating when so many people were mourning. She would have postponed the wedding, but she knew how Ron would react and she would rather not experience that.
Why did she always care so much about what other people thought? Why did she let other people's feelings dictate her life? She was pondering this question when her father knocked on the open door frame.
"Daddy!" She walked over and hugged her father tightly.
"My beautiful little girl is getting married." He had a shining tear in his eye. "Now sweetie… I want you to make me this one promise."
"What is it Daddy?" She asked apprehensively.
"No matter what, I've always wanted you to be happy. I know that many things are happening in the world, the magnitude of which I'll probably never be able to understand. I want you to promise me that you haven't let these factors influence your decisions. I want you to tell me that this boy makes you happy, and I won't say another word."
Hermione thought about this for a few moments, unsure of whether she could really make this promise. She spoke from the heart and hoped when she spoke that her words were true.
"Ron is my best friend. I love him. And I believe that he will make me happy."
She could see the slight disappointment in her father's eyes. He was not ready to give her away just yet. She was only 17, but there was so much about his daughter that he would never understand. She was slipping away. After a moment, he smiled and offered his arm to Hermione.
"Are you ready?" He asked. Hermione took a deep breath as she descended the stairs.
"Yes. It's time."
And then they stepped into the blinding sunlight of the Weasley's back yard. As they exchanged vows Hermione hoped that she was indeed ready for what was to come.
(A/N): It feels wonderful to be back in the FF world. I've been writing this story for literally a year. I have a lot more than this written, so it's coming, I promise. Thanks for reading, and please review! -DiM