This is my response fourshot to the Seasons Challenge over at HPFC. This entire story is based around Ron/Hermione, as a couple. I'm still waiting for a response on whether I can do the seasons in order, but yet set each in a different year. This is meant to be short, and it isn't really my normal writing style, but I am proud of it!

Winter 1998: Death

It's the first Christmas after the war, and she's crying. She is kneeling beside her bed, the bed in Ginny's bedroom that she came to know so well over summer holidays at the Burrow. She is eighteen years old, and should be out celebrating Christ's birth and embracing the approaching New Year.

But, alas, she has seen friends be tortured, and past companions injured. Fred is gone. Lupin and Tonks have perished. Little and upbeat Colin has died.

For once, the causalities that she always pored over in The Daily Prophet are not occurring to strangers, souls she never encountered. They occurred to figures of her life, some important, some minor. The shock of it has been gnawing at her soul for six months now.

As the fluffy and different snowflakes waft their way to the ground outdoors, the bedroom door opens, and he enters, but not before he tentatively pauses at the doorway. Should he really disturb her? She is weeping, and normally, she would try to hide her tears or stubbornly deny them.

He decides to step forward, and calls out her name as simply as possible. "Hermione?" And yet, the way he says her name is full of love, care, and question. The way he says her name is a way of asking if she will allow him into her soul.

Her eyes rise from the bed sheets, and the two watery pupils seem to light up at the sight of him. She is still in her bed coat, her nose is running, and her bushy brown hair is as flyaway as he's ever seen it. She discards the handkerchief she has been pressing to her splotchy nose, but first dries her tears on the cloth before leaving it on the bed.

She walks up to him, taking in his tomato-red hair against his pale, almost pure white, skin. His face holds a questioning and nearly anxious look, as he awaits her answer. He reminds her of a ghost, merely a figment of light and color.

Her previously pale face now has color flushing into it, and her cheeks are rosy-red. Seeing him after her sob fest was like a hot, roaring fire after a cold afternoon of childish play in the snow, when you build snowmen and jump over puddles.

A smile is playing across her face, and she replies to him, "Yes, Ron?"

He grins, for she has already answered his question by her tone of voice. Her voice was lifted and jovial when she said his name. She has told him that she will allow him into her life and soul, for things just seem warm and bubbly when she is with him.

His ghostly appearance now has life in it, and he no longer resembles the snow outdoors.

For a moment, the coldness of death sheds, and the sun seems to shine as she reaches out and kisses him, just as he wraps his arms around her lovingly.

The winter of death has gone.

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