Not mine. All characters, settings, timelines et cetera belong to the remarkable J.K. Rowling. I just like to play in her world.
Chapter 1- Build God, Then We'll Talk
December 13th 1999. Approximately one year and seven months since the fall of the dark lord. Nineteen crazy, tiring, whirlwind months filled with funerals, paparazzi, speeches, ceremonies, awards, nightmares and depression. The fervour over the end of the battle had finally died down enough that the golden trio had been free to start pursuing their dreams. They had been told once they defeated Lord Voldemort that they could do anything. However, not even murdering an evil megalomaniac makes things go according to plan.
Hermione Granger sighed and put her mug of tea and bitter thoughts aside to go answer the door. It was rare nowadays she had a night to herself and it seemed that this evening was destined to go no differently. She strode to the door, waved her wand and stood back to allow one drunken Harry Potter to stumble into her quarters. This had, sadly, been a rather common occurrence ever since Ginny Weasley had very publically ended their engagement two months ago. Hermione had thought that he had been getting better.
Very obviously, he was not.
Routine led her to very expertly manoeuvre him into her own vacated chair by the fire, replace the bottle he still clutched with a mug of tea liberally spiked with dreamless sleep and slide a bucket at his feet within seconds. No sooner was he comfortably seated then he burst into tears.
"Draco SODDING Malfoy!" he moaned.
So he had found out. Hermione groaned internally. She had feared this ever since the Prophet had begun speculating on the couple a few weeks ago.
"You can't believe everything the papers say Harry-" she began earnestly only to be cut off by another wail.
"No! Not the press, I saw them! Her giggling with her bloody head on HIS SHOULDER! Holding hands and GIGGLING with BLOODY Draco Malfoy!" He dissolved into tears again, went to take a swig from the fire whisky, seemed surprised at the mug of tea in his hand, and sucked it back all the same.
"After everything I DID! I saved the world! Promised her the- the MOON if she wanted it!"
He began ranting and Hermione tuned him out, pausing only to murmur sympathetic nothings every time Harry paused for a breath or another swallow of the tea. She took the time to reflect on the fact that the life of the Boy who Lived had only gotten more difficult over the years when it had been assured by all people that it would only get better. Had he not suffered enough as a child, left alone by all adults and only told enough to survive the next challenge ahead of him?
It wasn't, Hermione mused, that she blamed Ginny for leaving Harry. While the only Weasley daughter did seemed to have genuine affection for the boy, she loved men too much and was too young to want to be tied just to one. After the war, Harry had prepared to settle down with Ginny almost immediately, and she had balked at the suggestion. So Harry had agreed to take things slowly and they had been engaged at her own suggestion at the one year mark after the war. No one had suspected that Charlie would die four months later and cause Ginevera to take a step back and revaluate her life. She had broken off the engagement- and Harry's heart- soon after, claiming she wasn't ready for that kind of commitment.
Regardless, Hermione and Ginny had remained friends, though she felt that Harry was in more need of her support right now then Ginny. She was sure he would recover eventually, but right now it was just the spark he had needed on top of the survivor's guilt and depression to make him do reckless things.
He had even given up on his one ambition to be an Auror after he had failed the entrance exams on technicality and it was his willingness to just give up and not try again that frustrated Hermione the most. Ever since Miss Weasely had neglected to become Mrs. Potter it was difficult enough for him to muster up the energy to eat breakfast in the morning.
Slowly the potion began to take its affect and with a mumbled "I love you Hermione" Harry's hysterics died out and left him snoring gently in her favourite armchair.
"I love you too, best friend." She replied, and set about levitating him to her guest room.
The house Hermione currently lived in was her parent's way of dealing with the guilt of turning away their daughter while simultaneously telling her to never come back. They had bought her a cozy flat in muggle London that wasn't too far from any apparition points but also fairly far away from them after she had returned them and their memories to their home in England.. They had forgiven their daughter for her rash actions in light of it being what most probably saved their lives, but the knowledge of the power it gave her over them had also made them wary. Pride had given way to fear of their brilliant daughter and other then the occasional strained letter out of a sense of propriety Hermione had next to no contact with her family at all.
That wasn't the only part of her life that hadn't gone exactly as she had planned it either. Between her falling out with Ronald within five weeks of their relationship, her difficulty securing a position as an apprentice under most any master and her own depression following the battle, things weren't nearly as rosy as she would have liked them to be.
Ron himself had, last she heard, hooked up with Luna Lovegood who was currently studying wandlore abroad under the tutelage of Olivander, who had recovered significantly since his torture at Malfoy Manor, but felt his days were numbered nonetheless. Ron was currently studying to be an Auror himself, finally beating Harry at something.
She settled the man she had come to think of as her brother on the bed and frowned at the lines that turned down his mouth even with the dreamless sleep in his system. She tried to remember the last time she had seen Harry's eyes clear, his face smooth and untroubled and came up short. "Oh Harry, what are we going to do?" She murmured, slowly closing the door. She walked downstairs to retrieve her own cold tea and her neglected novel, turning over in her mind just problem. What were they going to do?
AN: Chapter title is a reference to a Panic! At the Disco song. Luna studying to make wands is something I'm sure I read somewhere and I liked it so much I stole it. If anyone knows who it belongs to I would love to give them their props.