Disclaimer- I do not own Harry Potter, nor anything or anyone in the series. I merely write with J.K.'s world and characters for the fun of it.
A/N- This is a post Deathly Hallows, SS/HG fic. If you don't like the pairing, you don't need to read.
If you liked the story, I'd love to hear from you in a review. If you don't like it, I'd love to hear your constructive critism. Thanks!!
Hermione Granger sat on a boulder on the shore of a peaceful mountain lake. She had been spending a lot of time lately at her parent's cabin in the mountains of the Southwest of Ireland. A diary was lying face up in her lap as she watched an eagle circle the air above her in search of its next meal. The azure sky littered with cottony clouds was slowly darkening, as the sun made its leisurely descent to hide behind the emerald vegetation on the opposite shore. The sound of a river in the near distance was babbling its joyful song, and Hermione couldn't help but once again be reminded of how much she loved this place. It had been her favorite since she was a child. Its scenery and abundant wildlife and sounds had a way of calming a person's most potent fears and anxieties.
A twig snapped behind her and she turned to see what, or who had interrupted her moment of peace. "Well, hello there. I've been expecting you. You're late," she greeted serenely, as she reached inside her backpack for a carrot. She snapped off an end and tossed it gently to the cautious doe.
She approached slowly, nose to the ground, finding the treat too tempting to resist. Hermione smiled as she carefully, as not to frighten her friend away, snapped another piece of the vegetable and tossed it, a step closer than the last.
The animal's rich chocolate eyes warily studied the human for a moment. Then finally deciding that the girl stood no threat, she approached the next piece of the offered snack.
Hermione stood slowly, and quietly, with a hand outstretched. She took a tentative step forward, and offered the gentle animal the last bit of carrot from her hand.
The doe's ears perked, as she raised her head and once again studied the person in front of her.
Hermione had met the beautiful doe a week after she had arrived, and this is how it had been every day since. The doe would approach her, but not too closely, and as soon as Hermione made any movement toward her, she would dart away. Hermione didn't really expect it to be any different today, but she had hopes, and if the creature ran again today, she would try again tomorrow. She would come to this spot and wait for her new friend, as she had for the past two weeks since, their first encounter.
Seeing that the doe was not yet so comfortable around her, Hermione tossed the last bit and watched as the graceful female ate it gratefully.
Sensing there was no more of the tasty morsel, the doe once again eyed Hermione, licked her muzzle, turned and strutted away with the grace that only her kind possessed.
Hermione smiled. "Progress," she stated quietly, as she returned to her boulder. She picked up her journal and opened it to the page she had been writing in. Slowly she began reading,
My dearest Diary,
It has been far too long since I've last written.
It has been five years to the day since I graduated from Howarts, and I can't believe it. Some days I really miss wandering the halls, and getting caught up in whatever mischievous adventure Harry had going on at the moment.
Speaking of Harry, he was married to Ginny two months ago, (It's about time if you ask me!). They seem very happy and at peace together.
After nearly seven years of serious dating, Ron and I could no longer tolerate each other as a couple, so we mutually decided that we were much better off as friends. That was just before Harry's wedding. Ron hasn't said anything, but I think there is already someone new. I've seen him a few times with her anyway. I've never seen her before, but they look happy. I'm grateful that he's found someone new, but I can't help but feel there is a hole in my heart, whenever I see them together.
I've taken an extended Holiday from work, and I am enjoying the tranquil surroundings here at my parent's cabin near Killarney. I love this place! I've even made a new friend, whom I will dub, Hope. She is a breathtakingly beautiful doe, and we have been meeting each other everyday near the lake for the last two weeks. I so named her because she gives me 'hope' that all is well and that my life will soon take on meaning. Our meetings give me something to look forward to each day.
My mind has been troubled of late, and I can't really put my finger on as to why, but being here helps to ease the incessant worry that something is about to change my life. Whether it be for the better or worse has yet to be seen. I suppose only time will tell.
Hermione sighed as she closed the book that was filled with her deepest thoughts, and took one last look at the breathtaking sunset, that was throwing oranges and pinks across the sky, admiring God's artistic abilities. She stood and bent to retrieve her backpack, so she could begin her short hike back to the cabin.
The walk back was nearly as relaxing as the lake shore. The sides of the trail were littered with wild flowers of almost every imaginable color. She did as she had done many times before and picked a bouquet for the vase on her night-stand. Her first choice was a delicate blue daisy. She put it to her face and inhaled the sweet fragrance before adding others to it. Before she reached her destination, she had a veritable palette of color in her dainty hand.
Once inside the warm shelter, she filled a vase for her flowers and set to work on a fire. She bent to add logs to the grate before striking a match. She insisted on living as a Muggle while in this peaceful other world.
"Ouch!" she exclaimed, as she examined the splinter that was now protruding from her index finger. She pulled it out with her fingernails and sucked at the small droplet of blood that had begun to form.
With her finger still in her mouth, she wandered to her bookshelf and pulled out an old favorite. She then went to the kitchen to get herself a sandwich and a glass of water. She took her book and supper to her favorite recliner and settled in for a good read and another peaceful night, away from all manners of 'need to.'
She awoke the next morning to the gentle sound of rain beating a soothing rhythm against her bedroom window. She stretched lazily, and made her way to an upright postion. She shuffled her feet across the hardwood floor and lifted the window. She leaned out as far as she was able and with arms outstretched, deeply inhaled the clean, earthy scent that only a summer rain storm can bring, letting the cool droplets wash away any remnants of last night's sleep. She felt like shouting for joy at the peace she was feeling for the first time in over a year.
In a few hours, the rain would stop and God would once again show the world what beauties he was capable of creating, with a spectacular rainbow. She pulled on her favorite pair of faded and worn blue jeans that had a hole in the right knee and a pink t-shirt underneath a navy blue, hooded sweatshirt that was two sizes too large for her small frame. She pulled on her socks and a pair of comfortable old hiking boots. She packed a lunch and her carrot offering, along with a canteen of ice cold water. She flung her backpack onto her shoulders and stepped out the front door.
She loved hiking in the rain, something her father had passed on to her, saying, 'Find the perfect place to watch that rainbow and it will make the pot of gold at the end seem no more spectacular than a pot full of regular grey pebbles.' Besides that, everything seemed so much more peaceful when it rained, and she didn't want to miss this opportunity. She would hike until she reached that perfect spot. She had been there many times with her dad, and it wasn't all that far away, only a little over a mile.
By the time she reached her clearing, the rain had slowed to light mist and the sun was trying to break through its cloudy prison. Within moments, it succeeded and the first of its rays were making the damp wildflowers and green grass glisten. She stepped to the edge of the cliff and waited. She wasn't disappointed. Before long, a beautiful double decker rainbow had painted the morning sky. It was the most vibrant rainbow she could ever recall seeing, and she wanted to bottle it and save it for a gloomy day. She pulled her camera out of her pack and snapped a picture. She wanted to always remember how she felt at this very moment, away from the hustle and bustle of life in the city. Away from her nightmares and fears and worries.
She took a deep breath and sighed heavily. She had only one more week in this personal heaven of hers, before she had to return to London and the everyday life that awaited her there. She loved her job, working with the children. But not until now, did she realize just how draining solving all of their problems actually was.
Ron had suggested several years ago, that she take up a job as a counselor. 'That way,' he said, 'You could get paid for all of the brilliant advice you give.'
The idea struck a cord in her, and she immediately set to work, contacting the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, to find out what she needed to do to actually become a youth counselor. Kingsley of course, gave her an immediate apprenticeship, and two years ago she took the place of the previous head counselor, who had decided that she was ready to retire.
Now that the sun was out, the air began to warm quickly. She shucked off her sweatshirt, tied it around her waist and turned around to continue her hike. There was an amazing tiered waterfall not too far from where she now stood. There she would eat her simple lunch, then take a swim in the isolated crystal pool at the bottom of the falls.
She sat at the edge of the pool with her legs dangling in the cool water below, thinking about her life. Since the war against Voldemort had ended, she had been practically named a hero. She didn't really feel she deserved it, for there were many, many others who deserved it more than she. Her thoughts turned suddenly to one, Severus Snape. He had to be the most noble man she had ever met. He had lost a lot in the war when Voldemort named him a traitor, namely his eyesight. He could see vague shapes, but from what she had heard, it was as though he were living in a world of shadows. The worst part is, is that he would allow no one to help him. He kept himself locked away in his dungeon quarters at Hogwarts. Hermione couldn't help but think what a waste it was. His mind, his brilliant mind was wasting away, and there was nothing anyone could do but sit and watch, and wait to see if he would ever recover. It was doubtful, she thought. How could he ever recover if he would not let anyone near him.
Snapping out of her thoughts, she stood, pulled off her clothing and dived, allowing the crystal clear water to engulf her. Her head broke the surface, and she fell into a slow, graceful breast stroke. As she reached the edge of the pool she spotted something moving in the trees ahead of her. 'Brilliant!' she thought bitterly. 'The one time, in the hundreds of times I've been swimming here, that I forgot my bathing suit, is the one time I get company.'
She breathed a sigh of relief when Hope stepped into view. "You frightened me, little one. I didn't expect to see you just yet, let alone see you here. Are you so anxious for your snack?" Hermione smiled as she lifted herself out of the pool and made her way to her pack and her pile of clothes.
She reached into her bag and pulled out the carrot. As always, she broke off a chunk and tossed it to the gentle animal. But instead of taking the food, she bowed to her front knees and laid down, panting heavily. Hermione's brows furrowed as she studied this unusual behavior. She quickly dressed and rushed to her side. Her eyes widened and her hand flew to her mouth as she saw a mass of sticky crimson fur on her left flank.
She rushed to her back pack and pulled out her wand, she may be called crazy by some for not wanting to abandon all of her Muggle habits, but she wasn't stupid. She carried her wand with her at all times, even while here, in this place where it seemed no evil existed. Hermione looked into the eyes of the doe, they held immense fear and pain.
Hermione moved slowly, so she wouldn't startle the injured female and reached a hand to stroke the soft fur of her head.
Hope made no move, sensing that if she wanted to remain alive for another day, she would do best to hold still and let this kind human administer to her.
Hermione pointed her wand at the injured leg and whispered the healing spells. She had never used them on an animal, so she could only hope that it would work the same on her four legged friend as it did on her human ones. She breathed a sigh of relief as the wound spit out the bullet and began closing itself. Hermione conjured a rag and some warm water and soap so that she could clean the blood from her beautiful fur, erasing the scent from her animal predators.
Healed, the doe stood. She held Hermione's gaze for several moments before nudging her arm in thanks. Hermione stroked her head, feeling the velvet softness of her ears. She sent a silent summoning charm to the carrot and smiled as Hope took it from her hand.
Hermione sat staring out the front room window, watching the stars above, reliving the events of the afternoon. Deciding she'd had enough excitement for one day, she put out the lights and climbed into the comfort of bed. She fell into a fitful sleep, and for the first time since she had arrived three weeks ago, the nightmares returned.