All characters belong to JK Rowling
Weep, as if you thought of laughter!
Smile, as tears were coming after!
Marry your pleasures to your woes:
And think life's green well worth its rose!
From – Song (Verse 1)
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Chapter 1 – A Time and a Place for Everything
Hermione Granger felt there were a time and a place for everything. As it said in the Bible, there was a time for rejoicing, and a time to refrain from rejoicing. In a few short days, Bill Weasley would be marrying the woman of his dreams, which proved to serve a painful reminder that even in this time of sorrow – a time when their world was falling apart, there was still a time and a place for everything.
Although Hermione felt guilty shopping for a dress for the wedding when she knew that she had just Oblivated her parents' memories, and had sent them packing to Australia only a week ago, life went on, as it would with or without her. Her earlier thought remained - now was a time for rejoicing and celebrating a continuation of life and love with the wedding of Bill and Fleur. In addition, with the wedding came the need for some normalcy for them all before the uncertainty that was surely to follow.
Keeping in mind that she was shopping for a dress and nothing more, she couldn't resist stopping by the cosmetic counter of the large Muggle Department store, when she saw a display with her mother's favourite perfume. Though Hermione usually only wore Rose water or perfumed lotion, her mother always wore the perfume, 'Beautiful' and seeing the large display with the gorgeous perfume bottles made her feel nostalgic and wistful and it also made her miss her mother something fierce.
Lifting a sample atomizer, Hermione sprayed a touch of the perfume on her wrist, waved her wrist in the air, and then sniffed. It smelled divine.
"Would you like some today?" the sales clerk asked.
Hermione discreetly shook her head no and then said, "No, I love it, but it's too expensive. It reminds me of my mother. She always wears it."
Smiling at the woman, Hermione placed the perfume sample back on the counter and walked further into the store. Stopping shortly beyond the perfume counter, she spied a rack with merino wool scarves. Much of merino wool came from Australia, and this too made her think of her parents. She picked up a multicolored tartan scarf, placed the soft wool to her face and closed her eyes. She would need a warm scarf, wherever Ron, Harry, and she might be headed this fall. Even if she couldn't buy the perfume, she could buy this pretty scarf. At least it was practical.
After purchasing the scarf, she began to peruse the racks of dresses. Hermione kept her guard up, hearing the words of Professor Moody in the recesses of her mind… "Constant vigilance!" In fact, neither Ron nor Lupin thought it was a good idea for Hermione to come by herself shopping today. Lupin warned her that Voldemort would love to weaken Harry by striking at his friends. She already knew that, hence the reason she sent her parents away. Still, she needed this last little time alone. No one understood that, and she wouldn't be able to make them understand, so she wouldn't even try.
Besides, she could take care of herself. She had her wits about her, and her wand, and she was in a large, Muggle department store. She would buy her dress and then go right back to The Burrow, and then in two short days they would rescue Harry from the Dursley's and the wedding would commence a few days after that.
Pulling out a short, lilac dress, Hermione almost scoffed aloud when she saw the price tag. Placing it back on the rack, she fingered a few others when her hand came to rest on a blue dress.
"That one wouldn't look good on you," a man said from behind her.
Hermione jumped, and almost pulled her wand out from the hidden pocket of her jeans. Behind her stood a man, tall, late twenties to early thirties, with long dark hair, worn mostly in braids and dreadlocks. He was handsome in a rogue sort of way, and his manner of dress was haphazard and certainly not usual or the norm. If Hermione had to guess, she would say that he was no ordinary Muggle. This man was a wizard. The only thing she had to figure out was if he was friend, or foe.
"Who are you?" she hissed in almost a whisper.
"A friendly, fashion-forward, stranger, who was content to mind my own business, merely standing a few meters away, watching a pretty girl pick out a pretty dress, but then I had to intervene, you see. I can't have you pick out such a horrid colour, no, no, no, it would never do."
He walked around her slowly. All the hair stood out on the back of her neck as he came closer. Everything about this man spelled out danger. She was certain he must know who she was, yet she didn't know who he was. He didn't seem to be a Death Eater, but if not, then who could he be? As he passed by her shoulder, his body brushed against hers and she shivered involuntarily, cursing inwardly.
When he appeared again, in front of her, he was holding up a stunning, red dress. "This one would look beautiful on you. A beautiful frock for a beautiful girl."
"Who are you?" she asked again, with more force, pushing aside his raised arm holding the dress.
His other hand came up quickly and grabbed her wrist. He pulled her to him and said, "Where are your manners, Miss Granger? You should tell me your name first." Then he winked at her.
"Apparently you already know my name, you imbecile," she seethed.
He smiled at her, with perfectly straight, white teeth. Being this close to him, she held her breath, expecting him to smell badly, or to be unclean, but he appeared neither. He smelled…good. He smelled like musk, leather, and man. His clothes were different, but clean and tidy. His hair was long, but it too seemed cleaned.
He continued to smile and she continued to frown, even wincing faintly as his fingers dug into the tender flesh of her wrist. Sensing this, he loosened his hold slightly, as amusement continued to cross his handsome face. "My name isn't imbecile, it's Scabior. One 'S' and one 'R', if you're so inclined."
"How quaint, you know how to spell," she mocked, removing her hand from his. "And is this your last name or first name?"
"Yes," he answered vaguely.
She moved away from him, a nagging fear deep in her chest. She shouldn't have come out alone. She was in danger. This man knew who she was. Turning to leave, shame shot through her as she was caught unaware when his arm circled around her waist, gently yet firmly, She swayed slightly, temporarily losing balance. She fell back against him, dropping her small bag with her scarf.
He steadied her, her back against his chest, as he whispered in her ear, "It's not safe for little Mudblood friend's of Harry Potter's to be out by themselves, especially when there's a price tag on their heads. Your head has the highest price there can be, Beautiful. Hmm, just like the perfume you tried on moments ago."
She took a deep breath, pushed away from him, pulling down on his arm in the process, and turned to see amusement on his good-looking face. "What are you saying?" she asked.
In a perfectly conversational tone, he asked, "Did you know that a particular Death Eater by the name of Greyback has a thing for you? He wants you for his own. He'd eat you for dinner and have nothing left for lunch, sweet thing." Suddenly, his eyes narrowed. "That's the trouble, you're used to taking care of everyone else, but not yourself, are you? I wonder, who's there to take care of you, Beautiful?"
"I can take care of myself, and don't you forget it. I don't know who you are, or who you think I am, but leave me alone," she warned, backing away from him, until her hip hit hard against a dress display. She looked around the busy department store. She couldn't Disapparate away from here. She needed to go into the dressing room and leave from there, where no one could see her.
They stared at each other in silence, she wary, he seemingly amused, without a trace of unease, she without a trace of fear. She passed by him, head held high.
He gave her a half grin, leaned into her, and grabbing her wrist again, (the one she sprayed with the perfume) he took a deep sniff. Exhaling slowly he said, "Now that I'll remember." Waiting a heartbeat, her wrist still close to his nose, each breath scanning her skin, making her pulse skip and beat wildly, he asked, "Aren't you even going to tell me goodbye, Beautiful? I don't know when we'll get to see each other again."
She snatched her wrist from his once more and warned, "Really, you have the wrong person. I'm not who you think I am, now leave me alone." Then she scrambled to the dressing room and Disapparated to the Burrow as quickly as she could.
She didn't get a dress, and she forgot her scarf, so overall it was a wasted trip. She also never told a soul what happened that day.
The day before the wedding, a package arrived by Owl to The Burrow with her name on it. She was alone, on the front porch when it arrived wrapped in brown paper, tied with a string, and with a card, stating it was for her. Opening it slowly, unsurely, wondering the entire time, what it could be, and if she should tell Harry or Ron or Lupin, she gasped when she finally saw the contents.
Inside were her scarf, a bottle of the perfume and the red dress.
This won't be a very long story - perhaps 12 chapters, once a week perhaps. I was waiting to finish 'The First Stone' to start it. I know it probably won't be very popular, as most people only want to read 'Dramione' from me, but sometimes I want to try other things, too. Thanks!