Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling and associates. No Copy Right Infringement is meant.
"Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect . . ."
- Brooks Atkinson
Hermione's POV – Christmas Eve, 1979
The wind was cold and bitter, but even the harsh weather couldn't have stopped me from sitting on the balcony. Everyone in the house was fast asleep on Christmas Eve, but here I sat. The blanket was wrapped securely around me, doing a fair job of stopping the cold from touching my skin, but not really having any success for helping with the coldness I felt within, hoping to find that piece which had been ripped from my life.
A soft sigh left my lips yet couldn't be heard above the blustering wind. However, it didn't stop me from becoming lost in my mental wanderings.
It is amazing how three months in a new place can feel like such a lifetime. I guess when one lived in War time and had to live each day to the fullest, it was bound to feel like a lifetime. But three months it had been since I had unexpectedly been ripped from Harry's side and brought to this past. Present. Alternate something . . .
I still grappled with being here, my new identity and familial connections, my tough decisions, my unrelenting need to see this war finished and Harry born into a world sans Voldemort. I didn't know if it was even feasible, but it didn't preclude me from trying my hardest.
As my past was swept out from under me and I was thrust into this world, I tried valiantly to never stop. After all my research, I still didn't know how I came to be here; the answers weren't forthcoming. Somehow, the Why and the How didn't seem to matter. I could only make the most of my situation, which is something I always strived for. It didn't matter if that was Hermione Granger, or Hermione Dumbledore. Both were fighters to the end. Mudblood . . . Halfblood.
I didn't cry as much anymore: missing my life, my friends, my identity, my Harry. My pillow was still the recipient of wayward tears, but they became less and less. They were useless in the grand scheme of this outcome.
As my uncle had tried to console me, accomplishments were on my side and they would continue to abound. The element of surprise was still deeply rooted within and I welcomed the advantage.
Even with it, I'd still fight to my last breath in ridding any world of Voldemort. He was nothing but a cowardly tyrant who overplayed his power and scared people into submission. He'd only have to read history books to see such tactics never lasted. Yes, there was much evil in the world and still abounded, but it never triumphed. Eventually, it fell like the ones previous.
I couldn't bring myself to fear the creepy reptile. It would be silly of me to ever underestimate him or not take him seriously, but to truly fear him couldn't be found in me. My worst fears had already played before my very eyes, and anything else paled in comparison.
Harry had been ripped from me, from my presence. What more was there to fear? My entire life had been wrapped up in his. I couldn't explain why it was so, simply that it was. There was no Hermione without her Harry. Yes, she could exist, but it was limited and stunted. She made him her very reason to exist.
I had other interest and goals in my life, but it always came back to that boy. He was my center where everything else fanned out around. And I was okay with that. It didn't matter if we fought or said things that were unfair to the other, I would always choose Harry. Above everything else. It simply was.
Could anyone explain why certain people became someone's world, I didn't know. No matter how much our world progressed and the mysteries of the earth were solved, some things would forever be unexplainable. Unattainable.
I was okay with that. Most of the time.
Regardless of what would come and what I had already lived, I would continue on. There was no other alternative in my view. It would always hurt not having my beloved by my side, in a physical form, but it didn't preclude me from carrying him in my heart and mind. He never strayed far and was my ultimate Modus Operandi for continuing.
And from Harry spanned this entire other network of people. It's funny how it seemed to come back to him. James, Sirius, Dumbledore, Remus, Voldemort (in all his forms), Lily . . . and on and on.
I was still submerged in my beloved friend. I saw him in James's mien, in Lily's eyes and mannerisms, in Sirius's love of anything James.
Being able to spend my holiday with so many connected to Harry was icing on the cake. I couldn't help but smile at thinking about James and Sirius's exploits. They were such a force to be reckoned with.
They grumbled and could barely keep their eyes opened when I had first picked them up. Six in the morning wasn't that early. James and Sirius looked so much like new born kittens at such an early hour that I couldn't help how my heart strings tugged.
The first few days of them staying with me were an adjustment. Abe was used to his space being private and the marauders knew hardly any boundaries. A few snipes and dark grumbles from Aberforth and they were staying out of his way. Well, Sirius really shouldn't have gone in his room; to be fair.
The sad thing was, it didn't stop the boys from finding other outlets of mischief. And I wasn't off limits. I still shivered from thinking about their antic.
"You're not being very hospitable, Hermione," Sirius continued to whine.
I was ready to claw out his eyes. The last hour had passed with his constant complaints and bellyaching. My aggravation reached new levels. I could only imagine how out of control my hair must have looked from my fingers trying to pull it out.
"I want you to play with us and you continue to refuse. We are your guests and therefore demand your attention." I wondered if the book in my hands had indentations of my fingers in the cover.
"He's right, Hermione, you did invite us. It's only fair you give us your undivided attention." Another country heard from. I should have known James would side with his bosom buddy. They were thick as thieves – er . . . marauders.
"Fine!" I relented, unable to stand anymore complaints. They could send Voldemort into retirement with their bleating.
Sirius started bouncing up and down like a two year old being told he was a big boy and James was no better. No matter how much they annoyed me, I still felt happy in seeing their joy. I simply hid it under my aggression.
"I'm only going to watch. I refuse to play Quidditch." I was making my position very clear. And no handsome pouts from Sirius were going to change my mind.
Their shouts of excitement were like a balm to my soul. Sincere laughter was difficult to come by in war time. I cherished each laugh and titter from them.
The occasional whine from Sirius was ignored as my teeth gnashed together. My dentist parents would have had a conniption.
"Come play with me, love," the dirty animagus, known as Sirius, yelled from his position in the air. It was amazing how Sirius could make even an invitation to Quidditch sound filthy. I lifted my head to the sky, picking out his long locks amongst his fellow marauder.
I shook my head no and returned to reading my book. I had only come outside to watch. There was only so much of the boys' whining I could take, and thus I chose to compromise. It wasn't my idea of fun sitting outside, listening (rather than watching) a game I had no interest in. I hoped they appreciated my sacrifice, something I highly doubted.
"You know you want a piece of me, love," he continued to taunt, finally throwing me over my tolerance threshold. I stood up, slammed my book shut (hoping beyond hope that Abe hadn't heard; it was uncanny the things he could hear when it came to his precious books), and looked to the sky.
"I'm not going to participate in your overzealous games, Sirius! I don't like Quidditch, and STOP pestering me about it!" I shrieked, knowing my voice carried up to him. I looked down again, huffed, and started to make my way to the inside of the house. "And don't call me . . ." I went to add but was taken over by my serve shock.
"NOOO," I bellowed over the house, fields, and anything else within a ten kilometer radius. My hand, legs and arms started to flail the higher Sirius climbed into the air.
Without my permission, he had the audacity to pick me up like some Quaffle and fly into the afternoon sky. I could feel my head spin as I lay over his lap half-heartily on a thin bit of wood. The ground continued to get smaller the higher we climbed. The only thing I could see was the ground as Sirius held onto my winter cloak.
"Let's play Pick-Up Hermione," Sirius jested over the whoosh of air that assaulted my ears.
"PUT ME DOWN!" I shrieked, but to no avail. Tears flooded my eyes as I thought of falling of his lap and plummeting to the ground.
It was no use yelling at him. Higher and higher we climbed. Instead of my eyes shutting they were horrifyingly open. They disobeyed my orders to close.
I could feel each shudder which ran through my body and each tear which poured from my eyes. My fear in flying went deep, but I could do it on occasional bases. Having myself picked up like a football and held over Sirius's lap brought my deep fear to the forefront.
The only thing I wanted was for my feet to touch the ground and for my kidnapper to receive the greatest arse whipping of his life.
After what felt like forever, and my screams having torn my throat, Sirius seemed to have realized something was wrong with me. As if the first screams leaving my mouth weren't enough.
James started to yell at his friend, but I couldn't understand his commands. I was too lost in my fright.
I didn't know how long I stayed suspended or how long Sirius held me over his lap, but hours could have passed to my boggled mind. When my feet gently touched the ground, I immediately dropped to my knees and allowed the sick to come up.
Loud groans of disgust could be heard over my retching. They should have been glad it wasn't on them. I would have been justified in my actions.
When the last chunk of sick left my lips, I stopped breathing from my nose and pulled in great amounts of air. My tummy still felt unstable and my body was still shuttering, sweaty from exertion.
Flying to me was a necessary chore, but being handicapped as I was and taken so much by surprise, I was wholly out of my element.
After I calmed down and knew my knees wouldn't give out, I stood on shaky legs. I begged them not to buckle. I had already embarrassed myself enough.
With ragged breaths and wobbly legs I finally turned to the marauders. Sorrow was written on James face. Sirius was more shameful with a bit of disgust.
Oh, he was disgusted with me throwing up. How ironic.
"Hermione," Sirius started. "I-I didn't know you were scared of flying. If so I wouldn't –"
I had enough. Trembling, I raised my hand and cut off his apology. It was my turn.
I gathered all the remaining air in my lungs and started to yell. I felt no remorse, not even for James. He had laughed and joked with Sirius.
"I hate flying!" I screamed; my voice already scratchy from my vigorous and terrifying shrieks.
Sirius and James hurriedly and clumsily stepped back from the tone of my voice. Surprise was clearly written on their identical faces.
I took a shaky step towards them and tried to lash out. I soon lost my balance and landed on the ground. My bum shot in pain. James had lunged for me, but had been too late.
The tears which had fallen earlier started again. I felt wretched, like such a child for crying in front of them for something they saw as fun.
I could fly if needed and even adequately. But being taken by surprise and so swiftly, I hated flying. It wasn't something I avidly sought out. I had a problem with flying a broom that was repelled by gravity. Even magic couldn't take away my common muggle sense and the law of gravity.
When I finally recovered and shook only occasionally, I stood and made my way past them. They both tried to apologize and stop me from returning to the house, but I couldn't face them. I was too angry and mortified. Time and some separation were needed to repair my badly bruised ego and . . . well, bum.
I refused to talk to them for the remainder of the day. Supper was a very quiet affair with only Ariana trying to lighten the somber mood and Abe sending the boys murderous looks.
One could only guess Sirius and James would be sleeping with eyes opened, not to mention the strongest locking charm they knew placed on their door.
When morning broke and breakfast passed in almost the same manner as supper, I knew my anger had all but fizzled. They had suffered enough; the dark circles under their eyes told me as much. But that didn't mean I would make it easy on them. A girl had to keep a prerogative, after all.
With mumbles of apologies, I passed the sorry marauders, knowing eventually they'd follow me. It wasn't until afternoon and what seemed like hundreds of request for forgiveness later I relented.
Sirius's puppy eyes were getting to be too much. James was another story. His sad face had done me in the night previous. It reminded me too much of the man I had seen when I first landed in this "time".
After explaining to them my limits and aversion to flying, things became less tense. And if their punishment was having to cook dinner that night (sans elves help –thank you very much) and a foot rub after, they should count themselves lucky. I could always sic Aberforth after them.
. . .
I still laughed at the crunchy jacket potatoes and overly dry pork chops they served. Abe didn't think it so funny, but a meal had never tasted so good to me. Well, one would know what I meant.
Thinking of such a memory always put me in mind of my time with Harry and Ron. Many things we had shared together: many laughs, arguments, harsh words, tears and endless love tying it all back together.
Our friendship wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was really and wholly filling. It was ours.
Like now, I was filled with images of Harry assaulting me, in the best possible way. No matter how much I tried to withhold, memories from long ago washed over me, and without much fight, I became a participant.
Harry! He never strayed far from my cognizant mind or spirit. Like I had told him long ago on another Christmas Eve, he was within me.
Warm tears flooded my eyes. My cheeks became even colder. I wondered if they froze from the cold weather. I had cast a heating charm, but it had faded long ago.
Even though I wept for his absence, I couldn't also help but to smile. I thought of our conversation from the Christmas before, the closeness we had shared. Our time in the tent that Christmas had been special.
We ate a nice spaghetti dinner while listening to the peaceful sounds around us. Our hands were entwined as his left hand ran through the wild curl that was my hair. His voice broke the silence.
"Have I ever told you how blessed you've made my life, Hermione," he said, pulling me from my comforting thoughts.
I raised my head from his shoulder and looked into his dark green eyes that actually sparkled with relaxation. It was one of those rare moments where he let go of the weight bogging him down, and partook of the peace the time offered. My head fell back onto the couch we shared, smiling at him.
"Perhaps, once or twice, Harry." A grin graced his beautiful, yet battle-worn face. His finger left the depths of my annoying hair and trailed over the outline of my jaw.
"I should have told you everyday we've had together!" The easy smile left my face and was replaced with a little frown.
"There is no need for that, Harry. I see it in your everyday actions. Since when did we ever need words to describe our need of the other?" I was curious about his reply.
He gave me a sheepish smile before removing his hand. "What's really bothering you, love?"
My hand took in his discarded one. Harry's thumb made invisible circles over the top of my skin where his fingers rested. His eyes sought out mine and just looked there for what felt like an eternal moment.
"I have this fear, Hermione, and it's deeply rooted in my heart." Tears started to gather in his eyes. My heart started to tighten at his evident pain. I found no words to reply, but listened to his explanation.
"One day I'll look around, searching for that person whom as been with me for almost ever: looking for that first person who first hugged me, that first person to touch me out of love, that first person who showed both anger and sadness because of my unhappiness, the first to awaken the saving-people's thing in me." I gave a watery laugh.
"What would I ever do without you, Hermione?" he asked, tears continued to stream down my face.
My eyebrows scrunched up in pain at the thought caused me. I brought his hand to my face, molding it around my wet cheek. I had always been comforted by his touch, and that moment hadn't been any different.
"We've been through so much life together, holding fast to the other in both happy and anguished times. What would I ever do without you?" he asked once more, brushing my cheekbone.
"What you've always done, love," I answered honestly. "You'll get up the next day and fight for what we both know is right and true. I would never profess to say that the 'light side' has all the right answers and everything done is benevolent. But they have the best answer and the most fairness. They fight for people like me, whom are considered Mudbloods and lower class citizens. You fight with your might, Harry, and you kill that scaly bastard, yeah."
We both laughed.
"But more importantly, remember my love and all the faith I have in you. Not a day goes by that I don't think about your potential and everything you have to offer our crumbling world. You're a natural leader, love, regardless if you like it or not. People see in you the hope and the brightness of a distant future. They see your eyes light with a passion and know they've put their trust in the correct wizard. You're truly amazing, Harry! And no amount of denial in that thick head of yours will ever refute that idea."
I removed his hand from my face and pressed my lips to the center of his palm, under where the scar read 'I must not tell lies'.
"Remember my face, Harry, as it smiles upon you. Remember my heart, as it always beat for you. Remember my arms because they will always be encircled around you. Remember my tears, for they will always flow for both your happiness and well being. No matter what ever happens to me, love, I'm always within you, touching that part of you that was made expressly for me. I'll love you till my eternity ends and even after. Are you able to understand that?"
Desperation clogged my voice, making it difficult to speak. I needed him to understand that I would always be there.
The green in his eyes darkened at my words, but didn't dim the brightness. It was as if the light in the tent was given off by the light from him. Like always, I was pulled into him, like a string that extended from his heart to my own, or perhaps it was our souls.
"I'll always remember, Hermione, even an Oblivate Charm could never remove you from me, and I pity the person who even tried. But it would never be the same, yeah."
I agree with him wholeheartedly. It was often said that when a couple was married for a long time they wanted to be the first to go, not wanting to be separated from their spouse for long.
Harry and I weren't married, and we didn't have a romantic love, but that didn't detract from our relationship, only made it stronger. If we ever explored that possibility, I could see us falling in love hard and forever, but we didn't require that connection.
Everything that was ever important and worthy of someone else, Harry already held. I didn't know if it would ever take away from possible future relationships, but it was a risk I was willing to take because with me came Harry. He had been my life since the age of eleven, and it would be difficult and also painful to change that in the future.
"Yeah, Harry, never the same. But you know I love you, right?" His right hand fell from my face and settled over my shoulder. I snuggled into his neck, taking in his familiar and comforting presence.
"Of course I know, Hermione. As I love you."
The wind continued to blow, but that was fine with me. I had Harry to protect me from the elements and the things that threatened to take us from the other.
I would always have him, no matter what, even if I had to sacrifice myself for him in this war. Those were thoughts left for another time. The little twinkling candles we had lit for Christmas continued to glow, throwing off lights and a peacefulness that was much needed and deserved.
"Beautiful night, hmm, messenger." My stomach clinched at the voice.
It wasn't that I didn't want to see him, but I was afraid of seeing his face while I was vulnerable. James still had the ability to remind me so very much of his son, and it hurt my heart.
Before I could answer he walked past my reclining lounge chair and leaned over the railings of the balcony.
"Yeah, James, it's a beautiful night. If not a little cold," I jested, trying to relieve some of the stress within my body.
I hadn't expected anyone to join me, and now I shuttered to think what I looked like. I studied the back of his head, watching as the wind played with his black locks. So very much like his son's.
It became quiet once again, as we both took in our surroundings. There was a peace to the night, even with the weather.
When it started to become uncomfortable, at least for me, I spoke, "Couldn't you sleep?" He continued to look out over the railing and shook his head.
"How'd you know I was out here?" I wondered if he could hear the nerves in my voice. James' presence near me always made me feel like a different person.
"I came down after not falling asleep," he spoke, his back still facing me. The wind carried his strong, yet somewhat sad voice over to me. "I saw the door open and figured someone was out here. If it were your hospitable father, I would have silently turned around and gone back upstairs."
The laughter left my throat, and it felt good. He always seemed to know what I needed. "What brings you out on this enchanting, but cold night?" I shivered at the question.
"Reliving memories of times past, Jamie. Becoming lost in my emotions," I answered honestly, wondering why he still hadn't faced me. "Why can't you look at me?" The question left my lips before I even had the chance to take it back.
I could feel as my cheeks flushed with embarrassment. I hated when I channeled my Ron moments.
James's back rose with a deep breath he took in. His body was still tense, but he stood up, slowly turned around. His silhouette became outlined by the weak light of the moon and low lamp I had turned on. His hand ran through his hair, disheveling it even more than the wind had.
"I just have a lot on my mind, messenger." He finally raised his head and met my gaze.
It was difficult to make out his eyes, but they were dark and filled with something I couldn't read. His mouth was in a little frown and his skin pale.
"Are you missing Lily?" My head tilted to the side as I studied him. His feet crossed, one over the other, his hands rested over his bent thighs. His body spoke calm and collected, but his eyes told a different story.
"Of course I miss her, Hermione."His voice was sharp. "Why would you think otherwise?" My eyes wanted to water at the tone, but I knew he meant nothing by it.
"Sorry," I mumbled, adverting my eyes from him. I didn't want him to feel guilty for my hurt and sensitive feelings, especially in regards to him. I heard the boards creek as he walked closer to me.
"No, Hermione, it's I that should be sorry. You've only showed your concern, and shouldn't be snapped at. When I asked you a question, you replied with an honest statement, no scorn attached."
My head rose at his apology. My heart started a bit. James was closer than assumed. He was bent at the knees and supported himself by hanging onto the arm of my lounge chair.
His eyes were impossibly green and swirled with brown. His color of hazel was dazzling.
"Could you possibly forgive me?" he asked in his best innocent voice which was remarkably good, considering. His eyebrows rose higher and a light smile played on his lips.
"You are so unfair, James." He laughed at my exasperated voice. He always seemed to have the ability to make me forgive him for anything. His body shivered and I could only imagine how cold he must have been.
I removed my wand from under the wool blanket and thought the incantation to the enlargement charm. I didn't think I had the ability for speech as I was captured in his beautiful, smiling face.
The chair, under the direction of my magic, enlarged. I next placed a heating charm over us and the blanket that hung limply in my grasp. James looked at me in a curious way; I wondered what thoughts went through his head.
"Come on, Jamie, and get warm. There is more than room for two." His cheeks turned a little pink. I tried not to follow his example.
An inappropriate giggle escaped my lips. "Your reaction was priceless. It would be wise to keep your thoughts on more chaste things, James," I jested while wagging my finger. He playfully pretended to bite my index finger. I pulled back out of instinct and giggle again.
James's laughter joined my own as he finally stood and stretched before sitting down next to me. He situated himself as we both lay on the lounge chair, our faces to the sky. I threw the blanket, which had been heated by magic, over our bodies. We both tucked the loose ends under us and sighed in gratification as warmth surrounded us completely.
James scooted over closer to me. My stomach flipped as the left side of his body touched mine. I scolded myself for such a reaction, but couldn't stop the small smile that blossomed.
"Thanks, Hermione, for sharing and not being selfish."
I huffed in mock indignation at his statement, trying to hit him gently in the arm. The quick marauder grabbed my hand and put it back under the blanket. When I had expected him to let go, he simply held on. We both returned to silence.
My nerves were going haywire at his closeness and the peace he gave me. He was quite a puzzle, but someone I would still want near. My face that was tinged pink, stared out into the dark sky. The majority of the stars were covered by the clouds, but some peeked out at times. It was a gorgeous night that had the potential to take one's breath away.
I hummed contentedly before starting to talk softly.
"O come with me into this moonlight world.
The trees are large and soft tonight,
With blossoms loaded soft and white,
A cloud of whiteness furling and unfurled.
The houses give their sounds upon the air
In muted tones and secrecies,
Their lights like laughter through the trees.
The evening breathes its vows into our hair.
The evening puts its lips to throat and brow
And swears what it has sworn before
To others and will swear to more.
The evening has its arms around us now."
The poem that I had love as a child came to my mind and out of my mouth. It reminded me of times spent with my parents, basking in the warm summer evenings. My voice had been soft and held a dreamy quality. Harry would have probably laughed at the tone and made some reference to Luna. I couldn't help but smile at the thought.
"That was a beautiful poem, messenger. Where did you ever learn it? I can't recall it being a Wizarding poem." I shook my head and squeezed his hand that still held mine.
"My father used to quote it when we sat under the darkened sky, written by Lloyd Frankenberg. I was always a little bookworm –"
"NO!" James reacted in a surprised voice, interrupting my tale. I lightly hit his arm with my free hand, causing him to only laugh more. The sound was enchanting, and something I heard far too seldom.
"Yes, I was always a bookworm, happy?" I rolled my eyes.
"Endearingly," was his response, pulling my eyes to him. They were warm, filled with a serenity I couldn't describe with words, but still felt.
"My father," I started again, breaking my eyes from him and willing my cheeks not to bloom a red color. "He often quoted things to me, knowing how much I loved to learn and loved to hear pretty words spoken. I was a bit of an odd child."
I couldn't help the joy that filled me with remembering my childhood. It was one that Harry should have always had, especially considering what his teenage and adult life were meant to be.
"There is nothing wrong with being odd, Hermione." I nodded and smiled at his reassurance. "Tonight, when you asked me if I was missing Lily, I had been but not only her. I missed my parents and the security they brought to me. Life is so very different without their love. I never really considered being an orphan, naively thinking they'd always be around. Silly, hmm?"
I turned my head to the side.
"Never silly, James. Eternally sweet." He gave a playful scowl as if I had insulted his manhood.
"Are you always this infuriating?" I said in mock-anger. He leaned over closer to me, making me feel the warm air of his exhales.
"Always, messenger. It is one of the reasons you love me so dearly." His voice was confident as he murmured, and had very good reason to be. I had come to love him dearly.
"You may just be right, you infuriating marauder." He kissed my cheek before leaning back into his own space.
Shivers went through me at the gentle and beautiful gesture. My heart all but twirled out of my chest.
"But as I was saying, I still miss my parents. I think I'll always miss their presence and guidance. I sometimes become despondent when I think of the war too much. We were protected while in school, relatively safe behind the walls of that enchanted castle. The magic there is very old."
He paused sadly.
"Real life came really crashing down when my parents were first visited by Vold-Voldemort and they passed on his offer. I couldn't have been prouder to be their son. Then after a few months, they both passed within three weeks of the other. Their love was unbelievable. Their level of commitment and devotion were unsurpassed by anyone I have ever met. I already knew that when Mum went beyond that Father wasn't far behind. He could never live and endure without his precious Dorea. Their love and bond were eternal." James finished his explanation, his voice had awed quality.
"Merlin, that's tragically beautiful, Jamie." There were no other words to fit the description. My eyes became teary at his adoration for his beloved parents.
"Yes it is, and something I've always aspired for. My parents weren't old in a Wizarding sense, but somewhat old for a muggle. My parents never had the greatest of health and tried for years to have a child. Their love was always sufficient for the other, but they wanted to share that love with a child. They had more than enough to give. There were risks involved for my mother, but she didn't care. She knew she'd pass at some point, so why not try with having a little one. I had her for nineteen glorious years, both her and my father. I could never complain about their passing or be too sad because they gave me so much love and attention during their lives."
"I was also blessed like that, only child and the apple of my parent's eye. When I received my Hogwarts letter my parents were both happy and sad. We finally had an explanation for my odd behavior, but the thought of my leaving them tore at their gut. I could only imagine how hard it is for a parent to let go. Molly Weasley never learned the definition of letting go," I said under my breath, but James heard.
"Is that Fabian's sister, the one with five kids?" I laughed at his scared expression.
I could only imagine having five kids. The thought caused me to shiver. I had spent large amounts of times with the Weasleys, but still became uncomfortable with the boisterous family and the many fights. However, I still loved them.
"Are you cold, Hermione?" his concerned voice pulled me from my thoughts.
"No, Jamie, I'm not cold." I couldn't help but smile at his concern. "But to answer your earlier question, yes, Molly is Fabian's sister and has the grand amount of five kids. Do you know that she is pregnant again?" The laughter escaped my lips at his horrified expression. Six kids in the Wizarding world was quite the stunner. They tended to have smaller families.
"They are extremely fertile." We both laughed. "However there will be one more on the way after Ron, that's the one she is about to have in March, Ron that is."
"Seven . . . Seven kids . . ." his voice was comically high-pitched, his eyes large. I nodded and tried to control my silent snickers. I didn't have a problem with large families, but James's reaction was classic. "Merlin, seven kids."
"You're too much, James. Please promise you won't change." I wiped the tears of mirth from my face. His finger touching my face made me turn in surprise. His features were serious again, giving nothing away, but his intensity.
"Do you mean that, messenger?" All I could do was nod my head at his soft plea.
"Only if you promise to not change, also. This war had been difficult on me in ways I had not anticipated. It's not that I'm scared of what will happen, because I am, but what will happen to those I love." His tone was beautifully reflective as I took in every concern he voiced to me and the winter night.
"I find myself distancing myself from my loved one, trying to protect them from whatever fascination I hold for Voldemort. I find myself doing it unconsciously and hurting those around me that I love the most. I retreat into this dark world where all I can see is blood spilled, the streets filling with crimson liquid."
I shivered. The mental image was vivid.
"It's a dark place, and I don't want to bring anyone near that, yet I find myself confessing them to you. I thought myself prepared for this war, messenger, but in reality, I'm really not. I was extremely pampered and sheltered. I hate to admit such a weakness, but it's true. Graduating, joining the Order and being away from my parents for the first time were so overwhelming; I didn't know how to cope."
"After a while my joking side subsided with each death that was named, with each person I had come to care about was killed. The more darkness and murder that surrounded me, the further I retreated."
"James, that's completely understandable." I now understood where Harry had gotten that quality from.
"You want to protect the ones you love, yet don't know how. You distance yourself, thinking that will protect them, not being associated. I don't know if that works or not, but I can admire your wanting to do something, refusing to sit on the side lines." At his confused look, I smiled. "Muggle expression, James." We both smiled.
"Sirius used to have his dark moments, when we were in school, and I could never understand why. He grew up around dark magic and knew the effects. His parents and grandparents used to go muggle hunting for fun. I should have been smart enough to know that that kind of shit takes a toll on people, no matter the age. I told you I was naïve." My face turned into a frown at his degrading.
"Not naïve, James, just inexperienced. Your parents protected you for as long as possible. That may be right and it may be wrong, but they loved you regardless. It's only reasonable that you would need a period of adjustment. You also learned that when faced with such brutality and evil, you need to retreat for a while into yourself. There has to be a period where you can learn to cope with everything going on and have time to process death. It's natural, Jamie, and nothing to ever be ashamed of.
"You're simply amazing, Hermione." I blushed to the root of my hairs from his compliment. His face showed his respect and appreciation for me. Tears stung my eyes. "How can you understand so easily?" I let out an unstable breath.
"My best friend used to also retreat into himself. He took the blame for everything around him. He tried to hide from those around him, not wanting to taint them. I understood that need, and would give him some time, before becoming an annoying know-it-all and pulling his arse out of the funk."
Thinking of Harry made me both smile and frown. The muscles in my face were almost sore with the competing emotions.
"Perhaps that's the reason I feel so comfortable discussing my problems with you. Not everyone can understand the darkness and not want to run from it." His hand that had become dislodged from under the blanket reached out and ever do gently touched the skin on my cheek.
"Thanks for the support and just listening. I truly appreciate the effort, more than you'll ever realize!" Our eyes caught the other. The moment became all inclusive and sent my tummy into spasms at his touch.
"Not at all," I croaked, and caused him to laugh. He touched my cheek once more, from the brow bone to the bottom of my jaw before pulling away. My flesh felt cold without his touch, but I didn't voice that thought aloud.
A yawn escaped my mouth and I thankfully turned away from his probing gaze that saw straight into me.
"Come, sit back, messenger, and enjoy the night." I gave him a small smile that reached my eyes. Everything about him made me feel special and alive. I also appreciated the out he provided.
My back landed on the lounge chair and I situated myself until I was leaning far enough back to almost be sleeping. Another yawn escaped and I lifted my hand to hide my possibly terrible breath. I smiled at the thought.
"Thanks for the talk, James. It's nice learning about your different facets and what makes you so wonderful. I already admire you so much and I appreciate the chance to get to really know you, on the inside."
I once again reached out my tired hand and searched for his. I felt him place his trustingly within mine. The action warmed my heart.
My eyes drifted and my lids fell over my hazy sight. The wind continued to blow, but with James beside me, and his hand in mine, it was more than warm. I once again felt safe and more than protected. I may not have had my beloved with me in that moment, but I had my new friend that I cared terribly for. And he was no substitute.
James had quickly found his way into my heart and it was a place I welcomed him with opened arms.
The hoot of an owl pierced my ears and lulled me further into my tiredness. Things were well for a time.
"Happy Christmas, Jamie," I mumbled after I felt the weight of his arm over my shoulder. My head found the crevice of his neck and the junction of his shoulder. I sighed from contentment.
"Happy Christmas, messenger," he whispered in my ear. "Happy Christmas."
The wind continued to blow as we both fell asleep on a beautiful Early Christmas morning that was chilled by the weather, but failed to touch us.
Christmas Morning had been just as wonderful as I had imagined. I had awoken with a slight shiver, not really understanding the cause. I usually fell asleep with a roaring fire to warm my room, but it did nothing to give me warmth trough the night. It wasn't until I had felt a breath on my cheek that I remembered the previous night, and the glorious moment we had spent with each other.
"Happy Christmas, sleepy Hermione," James whispered into my ear. The soft speaking wasn't necessary, but the stillness of the morning seemed to call for it. I slowly turned around, trying to control the mega-watt smile that had overtaken me. It had been a while since I had slept innocently next to James and reveled in his comfort. The night had been peaceful and the rest bounteous.
"Morning, early bird," I teased, trying my best to redirect my terrible morning breath. It had reminded me once of Harry making a funny comment about my breath while we travelled in the tent.
"You're scary smart, Hermione, but it's nice to know that even you don't have perfection!" A huge smile was stretched over his mouth in the early morning light. I wasn't really a morning person and bristled at his seemingly rude comment.
"That was uncalled for, Harry. I've just woken up, can't you save the charm for a little later?" My voice was sarcastic, but Harry just laughed. "What are you laughing about, Harry?" I asked out of annoyance.
His green eyes sparkling with the seldom joy I hardly ever witnessed. The picture made me lose my edge and indulge my best friend.
Harry leaned in close; finally close enough to whisper into my ear, "You have horrid morning breath, love." The words were hardly louder than a dramatic stage-whisper. He kissed my cheek in a rush, backing off before I could swat his bum.
"Harry!" I yelled after the retreating cowardly Gryffindor. I pushed the blankets off of me, giving chase after the laughing boy that held the weight of the Wizarding world on his shoulders.
My heart ached at the moment, but also brought that long-ago smile to my lips. Today was one of joy and happiness. I chose to remember my beloved in that very manner.
"Are you fine, messenger?" James's concerned voice broke through my silent instruction. I turned around and let him witness my private smile.
"Sure thing, Jamie, just living happy moments from the past." A tear slipped from my eye, but it was one of celebration for the friendship that Harry and I shared. My joy and love for him was my Christmas gift to him.
After James helped me up and we both straighten out our stiff muscles, we took in a deep breath of the chilled air.
"Hell of a morning, yeah." His face was pointed up to the sky.
"Yeah, Jamie." I took in one more breath before making my way past the Stag Marauder and over to the door. The house was still silent, and understandable. The crack of dawn was never a desirable time to awaken.
"What say you go and wake everyone up, and I start a big breakfast?" He gave me a smile and nod before he started to take off. "And be sure to make lots of noise around Abe's room. He isn't really a morning person. He'd sooner bite someone's head off than wake-up." I gave an innocent smile to James and watched as his face paled. It was beyond amusing that the boys were somewhat leery of Abe.
"Are you sure I should wake everyone up? Perhaps it would be better if I started breakfast. You've cooked enough for all of us. It is only fair we pull our own weight," he reasoned in a voice that reeked of innocence. He gave me what he thought was a guileless smile.
I pretended to think over the situation before agreeing.
"If you're sure . . ." His face became rosy once again as he moved about the kitchen. And that ladies and gentlemen, I thought to myself, is how one gets their way without feminine wiles.
"Presents!" the loud dog yelled, sending plaster down from the ceiling. We had to cover our ears with our hands to stop ourselves from going deaf. At least he had the good sense to look sheepish. "Are we finally ready to open presents?" Sirius's happiness and excitement were hard to ignore.
He could hardly keep his bum still long enough through breakfast. And that was saying something, considering the boy liked to eat.
His bubbly personality resonated throughout the room and into each person present. Even Abe couldn't quite hide the smile that over took his lips. I wondered if he imagined Ariana with such childlike exuberance.
"Calm down, boy, you'll wake up the neighbors from kilometers away!" Abe barked, trying to save face. It, however, had no effect. We had already spied the smile on his weathered face.
"Come now, father, where is your Christmas spirit?" I teased while we all walked down the hall and into the lounge. He tried to scowl, but failed miserably.
"Yeah, Abe, it's Christmas after all, and you have to pretend to at least like us!" James imputed.
Abe turned his scowl onto him, but James simply patted him on the shoulder. "That face doesn't work on this day. Perhaps tomorrow." We all laughed as Abe pretended to huff. I knew he also enjoyed the full house and excitement of the morning.
"I fear it a losing battle, Aberforth," the headmaster intoned, his eyes sparkling brighter than the fairies that brightened the tree. "Youth is something we shan't conquer again and must learn to cope with. It is best we enjoy the moment than allow them to defeat us," he jested. My uncle winked at his younger brother while humming as we all made our way into the entrance of the lounge.
"Top of the morning, Ariana, darling!" Albus greeted his sister and was rewarded with the same level of enthusiasm.
"Happy Christmas, little darling," Abe greeted in a more sedate tenor, but no less loving. Her shining eyes reached her brother, filling with the love she always held for him. Even her portrait couldn't hide that love.
"Happy Christmas, auntie!" I shouted, causing Abe to bristle at me, but he surreptitiously winked. He loved me regardless. Ariana giggled at the title. She loved to be regarded as such and I loved to indulge her, even her painting. Her joy just made the morning brighter.
James chuckled as he took a seat next to me, and Sirius fell at my feet burrowing between my legs. His shoulder length covered my right knee.
"Morning, puppy," we all heard and couldn't hold in the giggles. Somehow she had picked up my nickname for him. I bent over and watched the man at my feet turn beet red.
Ariana had taken a fancy to him, and let it known with every opportunity. Abe had made sure we spent as much time around her painting as possible. He loved to witness the confident and cocky marauder brought down by a portrait.
"Did you have a good breakfast?" she asked in all her glorious innocence. Her voice touched me. She didn't understand her crush, but knew she became happy with him around. It was a sweet moment that filled our morning with even more joy.
"Yes, puppy, did you have a good breakfast," I teased while batting my eyelashes inanely. Sirius tried to push me back out of his face, but I didn't relent. I loved seeing him shy because of a painting.
"It was wonderful, Ari," he commented in a little voice, but made her smile a mega-watt smile.
"Perhaps you can eat near me next time, and we can talk while you eat. Mum used to call that something like a dite," her inexperience shined through with her comment.
"That's date, darling," Abe corrected in a soft voice. He still couldn't help the laughter that came from his throat. He loved these moments the most, and had been worth his compromise in having the marauders here for the Holidays. Sirius scowled, but we only laughed more at his predicament.
"That's a grand idea, Ariana," James gave his input. "And if Abe agreed, perhaps puppy here can take you to a real restaurant; just you and him."
Goodness, James could be wicked when he wanted. Sirius turned around and slapped his best friend on the leg while Ariana's squeals of happiness filled the air. James grabbed me around the waist, pulling me closer to him, trying to use me for a shield. He was such a gentleman.
"Of course I would approve, darling," my father agreed, making Sirius look both horrified and embarrassed.
"Then perhaps you could double date with that delicious bird I was telling you about, father, you know the one from Hog –"
"HERMIONE!" he tried to reprimand me, but was a lost cause. We had already shared a laugh at his expense. It was only fair.
A glorious morning indeed.
The fire crackled in its grate and filled the room with warmth. The snow fell outside in fat, icy flakes and continued to paint the ground a majestic white. The morning had been wonderful, filled with the amiability and camaraderie of friendship. I had missed these moments since leaving Hogwarts, now cherishing them even more dearly.
The last hour had been spent with us regaling Hermione of our more notorious pranks.
"Oh, that's so adorable, you, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were able to change the hair color of all the students to red, how very Gryffindor of you!" If I hadn't known better I would have called her tone saccharine.
I looked to Hermione, trying to decipher if she was mocking us or simply praising. Sometimes that witch was difficult to read. I looked over to my marauder counterpart and could also see the confusion written clearly on his face.
"What's the supposed to mean, messenger?" I asked, truly wanting to know her answer. The witch had better not be mocking me or I would have to teach her a valuable lesson.
"Yeah!" Sirius stated his contribution. I wanted to shake my head at him for such a witty retort. "Not to mention your uncle's beard was also red!"
"Simply nothing, boys, I was just praising you on a prank well done," she deadpanned. I was now sure she was having us on, but from looking at Sirius, he thought her to be sincere. The dog had it bad and for some reason that caused me to squirm in my seat, something unpleasant coiling in my stomach.
"She's playing you, puppy," I said in an exasperated voice, while rolling my eyes.
The smile quickly left his face as I called him his detested pet name. Both Ariana and I laughed at his scowl. It reminded me very much of Aberforth's scowl.
"Hey!" he shouted, trying to wake the dead. "What have you ever done which can top that?" I wanted to smirk at his question. Hermione had done more than he would ever realize, but it wasn't my place to tell.
Hermione caught my eye, surreptitiously winked. She was feisty when wanted. I felt a pull at my chest when she winked. I hope she hadn't noticed.
"Well," she drawled, making the word sound longer than it really was, "there was a time I set one of my tutors on fire . . . let me think," she continued while both my best friend and I were slack-jawed. "That might have been around the tender age of twelve. Then there was the time I rode a hippogriff with a wanted criminal at the age of fourteen. Then being attacked by a twelve foot troll wasn't fun, but couldn't really compare to . . ."
"Okay," Sirius finally said, getting the use of his mouth back.
I was still stunned. Hermione seemed to glow in a whole new light and called to my inner marauder. I wondered what it would have been like going to school with such an ambiguous person. She had warned me about her also being a little swot, but I was used to that. Lily cornered the market.
"I get the point, some of the things we may have done paled in comparison to you, Dumbledore. It's no wonder, love," he smirked at Hermione, causing her to blush a little. I disliked it when she had such a reaction to him.
"No wonder what?" she asked, her voice a little higher than normal. I had to stop myself from sneering.
"You're father kept you in hiding for so long. Imagine the things you could have accomplished if released on the unsuspecting Wizarding population." I wanted to slap the dog for such a comment, but reminded myself he didn't know any better.
I looked to Hermione, wanting to gauge her reaction, but she was giving him a simpering smile. My gag reflexes demanded to be heard. She leaned forward, running her little finger over his jaw. The need to break something was becoming stronger.
"One would think that, Sirius," she purred, literally, "but it was to keep me away from little wizards such as you, love." She looked down to his lap before speaking, "and I do mean little."
The laugh broke from my mouth before I even had a chance to control it. I knew Hermione was dangerous. She was a master at manipulation, and I felt myself falling for the witch even more. Damn she was amazing. Any witch that could make Padfoot blush was something to behold.
The red-faced puppy just scowled for a moment before his other side took over. He couldn't begrudge she had pulled the broom out from under him.
"It's okay, puppy," Ariana spoke up innocently, her painted cheeks glowing with happiness. She liked Sirius for some unknown reason. "I still think you are a big wizard." He turned even redder and now Hermione joined me in laughing.
"Thanks, Ari," he mumbled, trying not to look in her direction. She simply beamed, giggling, not really having any idea what truly happened.
Damn the Dumbledore girls were fun to be around. The smile on my face stretched at the thought.
A blessed holiday indeed.
New Years Eve, 1979 – Hermione's POV
The soft music continued to trickle over us as we danced away in the stillness of the overgrown hedges. I didn't know the composer or the musical selection playing, but the gentleness of the swelling tune was peaceful. It felt like a welcomed shelter in a world gone mad in chaos.
My face was hidden in his silky black hair as his folded hands rested tenderly on the small of my back. Slowly we turned, not really paying attention to the steps, but losing ourselves in the swaying.
The moment was intimate, yet somehow renewing me in a strange way. It was almost too surreal, dancing with a man I had known when he was older and all but broken from severe loss in his life: his friends, godson and even freedom.
This version of Sirius, while still battling moments of sullenness, was full of life and love. Yes there was still loss in his life and his family had added to his depressive moments. But he still retained the relationships which kept him grounded and sane.
I couldn't help the guilt which rose in me, being in my best friend's godfather's embrace, but even that paled in comparison to the moment and Sirius' touch.
There was nothing to feel guilty about. I didn't know if I'd ever return to my time. Nothing had come up in the course of my research or any inkling on how to return. I could only live in the moments given to me and make the most of my situation. There was no other recourse or guilt associated. Except leaving Harry.
The soft piano chord started to mellow and our circling footsteps stilling. The blustering wind blew, but hardly touched us.
A countdown broke through our bubble. It was only a matter of seconds before nineteen seventy-nine was shed and left in the pages of history. Never had I thought my presence would make it onto the newly dried pages.
As Sirius counted down unhurriedly, soothingly I renewed to myself the promises I had made to Harry. I would succeed in taking out Voldemort to the best of my ability or perish trying. Many were stepping up to fight him, and I was no different.
"Happy New Years, love," I heard finally whispered hotly in my ear, causing me to shiver despite the cold.
My promises were made and my attention now diverted. Love you, Harry, I heard, the last echoes of my mind calling out to him.
Though there were warming charms placed on the back garden for the night, my shiver was both parts Harry and my dancing companion.
I leaned my head back, shyly peering into his intense grey eyes that spoke volumes I couldn't understand.
"Happy New Years, puppy," I teased, trying to lighten the thick air around us. My attempts fell short as his eyes became almost iridescent.
He leaned forward as in slow motion. The moment was beautiful yet terrifying. I was so unprepared for dealing with someone of Sirius's skill. The only thing I could do was hold on tight to the arms that surrounded me, going along for the ride.
It promised to be exciting and thrilling.
I inhaled sharply at the surprise of being picked up in his arms; my feet dangling near his chins. I knew I was short, but being caught up in his arms made me feel even littler, yet feminine and desired.
"Sirius," I heard myself whispering, for no apparent reason.
"Hermione," he answered, his gaze never leaving my face. His voice made my name sound like some forbidden object.
And before I could respond, his lips closed over mine as shouts of Happy New Years rang in the background, slowly fading into white noise.
Our kiss was slow, each gliding over the other, taking the opportunity to explore what the other offered. Sirius tasted of his previous drinks that night and the sweet chocolate he had eaten.
His tongue swirled all over my opened mouth, causing me to moan wantonly. My hands wove into his perfect hair, letting each soft strand flow through my fingers like water.
Our taste started to co-mingle, mixing as our mouths partook in the timeless dance. With one more swirl of his tongue on mine, one more lick of my swollen lips, and one more nibble of his perfectly straight teeth on my bottom lip, he pulled back and allowed me to breathe. My head still actually swam with the lust he created in me.
"Incredible," was the only thing I could think to say, while embarrassing myself.
His husky laugh vibrated as his tender lips explored my throat. He had removed my scarf (allowing it to float away on the breeze) and replaced it with flicks of his wet, hot tongue. The man was beyond dangerous and extremely talented. My thighs tightened from simply kissing him.
"As are you, love."
A throat cleared from behind me.
I tried to turn around but was lost in Sirius's mussed hair. My hands had done quite a job. I could feel my feet touch the ground as Sirius lowered me down.
"Happy New Years, Prongs," Sirius said jovially to his friend.
I wanted to hide in Sirius's hair out of shame. I had done nothing wrong, yet I felt as if I had betrayed him in some way. And, of course, he had to be the one to find me in a compromising situation.
Tears prickled the back of my eyes for some inane reason. I hadn't even wanted to come to this party, I thought pitifully.
"Same to you, Padfoot; Happy New Years, mate." Hearing James speak and knowing for a surety that he was truly there made me start to shake. I willed the tears not to come. I had already embarrassed myself enough.
"Why are you shaking, love?" Sirius whispered in my ear. I was still in his arms, facing his chest. "Are you cold?"
I took the reprieve with both hands and nodded. He wrapped his hands more securely around my back and gave me a reassuring hug. "Let's go inside, yeah?" I nodded again and steeled myself before turning around. I had to face him at some point.
"Could you get my scarf, Sirius? It dropped just over there."
He gave me a sheepish look. He had been the one to unravel it from my neck and drop it carelessly.
He walked around the hedge, searching for my lost wrap. It had finally given me the necessary seconds I needed in facing James. I was more than grateful, at the moment, for Sirius's need in wanting to kiss my neck unadorned.
"Happy New Years, Jamie," I whispered into the night.
I finally sought out his gaze, unfortunately seeing everything that had been written there: pain, happiness, regret, a soft joy, and something else that was indefinable. I wondered if he and Lily had shared a passionate kiss before he had come to find us.
"As to you, messenger." His voice soft, it almost felt as it caressed my skin. I, once again, shivered from his closeness. His hazel eyes were a multitude of colors that all churned together to create emotion he felt and allowed me to witness.
I reached out and took his hand in to my own. I couldn't help but want to touch him in that beautiful moment among the garden lights.
His skin was warm as his fingers wrapped around mine. Many things seemed to travel from his flesh into my own, filling me with too many complex emotions. It both excited and frightened.
Everything about James made me want to both smile and cry. He was the epitome of unattainable-attainable. He was unattainable to me in the ways I wanted, yet attainable to me in the ways which always kept him in my life: my dear friend, always and forever.
I loosened my hand from his, but made sure to give it one reassuring squeeze. I didn't want him thinking I was rejecting his friendship once again. I hated misunderstandings between us.
I couldn't help staring at him. In so many ways he had reminded me of Harry, but that time had passed. Yes, father and son resembled each other greatly. But they were each different, and I knew that for a surety. Just as I knew that my confusing feelings for James had morphed into something all but forbidden.
It finally came to the point where I was comfortable with these unfathomable feelings I had for my best friend's father. At first, I refused to even contemplate them, give any credence to their meaning. But they wouldn't be denied for long.
And as I stared into his hazel eyes, they pulled so deeply in my stomach. Every part of my body responded heavily to him. He became as irrevocable to me as Harry. Father and son. New friend and best friend. Special person and beyond beloved friend. They each had a special place within me.
As if one que, I came out of my stupor and we both simultaneously reach for each other. Graciously I fell into James' arms while burying my face in his thick jumper. The silk-wool blend felt comforting on my heated cheek.
The culmination of my feelings for him, the entirety of the war resting on my shoulders, my self-appointed burden in ridding of Voldemort and the beginning of a new year without Harry was enough to buckle my knees.
Without even having to speculate, I knew James would catch me. He came to bear some of my burdens. My confidant.
As the soft music sounded around us and the soft swirl of the winter air threatened to freeze me, I simply let go. I allowed it to pour from my weary body into his. And amiably he accepted. No words or pleas were needed.
I clung to him, not caring for anything but his closeness and his uneven breathes matching my own.
The moment was minutes, but seemed like its own eternal snapshot.
"Welcome to nineteen eighty, messenger," James whispered in my ear. Laughter bubbled so happily from my quavering body. He made things better; quiet.
I pulled back slightly, needing to see his face. A gorgeous smile split his strong lips. He was memorizing. Beyond description. My fingers clung even tighter to his jumper.
"So it would seem, James." We let our mirth overwhelm us. I didn't know when the chance would present itself again, so thus we feasted on our delight.
"Happy new, New Year," I returned. I tenderly kissed his chilled, rosy cheek.
And for that small, infinitesimal moment, it had been happy and new.
I didn't allow anything negative to sully it. Those moments were few and fleeting. They would replay in my mind in the coming years, bringing me quiet pockets of relief.
But for now, I had let it all go. James was all that existed.
Nineteen eighty was welcome to come. Shortly.
Author's Notes: Goodness that was quite an epic chapter for me to write. It was fun, emotional and at times draining. Hope you liked it, even a little.
I can't even begin to describe the intense amount of writer's block I'm experiencing. And thus so grateful I was even to get this much out. I truly am trying to battle through it.
Thank you to those who have poked and prodded me. It has helped to motivate me in pushing mightily to finish, edit and post this chapter! You make me so happy!
I hope everyone had a good Christmas (those who celebrate) and a fabulous, safe New Year. May you all have so much happiness and love rained upon you!
Thanks again, and if you have the time and inclination, please review. I'd love to know your thoughts on this chapter, or anything else relating to the story!
Much love sent your way!
Posted: Sunday, 6 January 2013