Title: The Year of the Rose
Time Period: Post-HBP, Sequel to "Charon's Gift"
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue me, I'm way, way poor. Like, "I majored in something I liked and therefore will one day live in a box" poor.
Summary: A chronicle of the year following the events of "Charon's Gift."
Author's Note: Hello, darling ones. Here we go again in my second and hopefully more successful attempt to explore the story that was begun a year and a half ago in "Charon's Gift." After deciding that my first attempt at a sequel, "Path of Thorns," needed to be scrapped, I decided to write a one-shot sequel set on Christmas Eve, precisely one year after the events of "Charon's Gift." However, once I sat down to write it, I realized I couldn't do justice to a year of changes in Hermione and Draco's lives in a single one-shot story. Thus, a rather unconventional form was born. What you are about to read is a chronicle of the highlights of Hermione's next year, going month by month until we reach that Christmas Eve one-shot that I've been stewing over for months. However, before I put too much effort into it, I thought I would post the first few months' events and see if anyone was interested. So, it is WAY important that you review and let me know if you're at all interested in continuing with this, since I'm sure a lot of you have probably moved on to bigger and better things during my ridiculously extended absences. Ok, enough rambling! On to the first installment of "The Year of the Rose."
Wait, one more thing. This is a sequel of "Charon's Gift," which was written post-HBP, and thus exists in a completely AU universe now that Deathly Hallows has appeared. If that doesn't work for you, don't bother, kids.
On the first day of the new year, the Death Eaters murdered two Muggle families in Bristol. Hermione held the fiancee of the of the Muggle-born witch who had been killed in the attack while he cried. Ron tossed his cigarette butt into the ruins of the burning house and watched it turn to ashes before it hit the ground, and he wondered out loud how hot a fire would have to be before it did the same thing to a human body. The flames danced on the lenses of Harry's glasses until Hermione thought his eyes looked as smoldering and inhuman as Voldemort's, and she held the sobbing fiancee tighter.
On the 5th, Hermione read that Frank Longbottom had died in St. Mungo's. She took flowers to his grave, and then took flowers to Neville's, and wondered what had happened to Trevor the toad after his owner been slaughtered trying to save the Creeveys. Then she wondered if she should bring flowers to their graves as well, and decided against it on the logic that if she began visiting every fallen acquaintance of whom she was reminded, there would not be enough flowers in all of Britain to lay upon their graves.
On the 7th, an unaddressed roll of parchment was found at the owl delivery point. The hastily scribbled words inside revealed a plot to incinerate a popular apothecary shop in Hogsmeade that was owned by a wizard and his Muggle wife. Hermione slipped the letter into the pockets of her robe and clutched the rose pendant she wore tightly in one hand, and if anyone noticed, they didn't mention it. That night, the Order successfully stopped the attack, killing three Death Eaters and losing none of their own, although two of the black-robed assailants had escaped. When the masks were pulled off the casualties and none of them had blond hair, Hermione cried.
On the 18th, George Weasley was wounded in a raid on a suspected Death Eater hideout. Fred had Apparated back to Grimmauld Place in hysterics with his unconscious brother in his arms. Hermione managed to stop the excessive bleeding from a hideous curse scar across his abdomen, but he did not wake up. Fred sat by his bedside for three days, refusing food and sleep. When he finally opened his eyes, George's first words were: "Bloody hell, Gred. You look a fright. Do run off and shower before your stench sends me back into a coma." Hermione pretended she didn't notice Fred's tears, and left the room to tell Arthur that the War had shown its first mercy to him, and had not taken another child away from him after all.
On the 25th, the Order lay in wait for sixteen hours outside an unobtrusive London flat in the freezing cold. They had inferred from what they had termed the Christmas Communication that an exchange of great importance (possibly a Horcrux, according to Ron's confident assertions) was to take place that day between Baldasarre Mezzini, a well-known Death Eater, and some unknown correspondent. No one entered or exited the building at all, and they returned to headquarters cold and disillusioned.
On the 31st, Hermione dreamt of snow and kisses. She woke up feeling content, and alone.