Disclaimer: If I were J.K. Rowling, I would be busy making money off of this.
It was the roar of the waves that brought Hermione Granger back to the moment it happened. The swell of the sea was in front of her, reminding her of her struggles, her pain, and most of all, the man she'd loved and lost.
Hermione lie in bed on a sweltering July morning, the sun beaming in through the crescent-shaped window. She could feel its rays warming her naked body, and smiled to herself.
"I'm glad you're awake," her husband said from in front of her, adjusting his tie in the mirror. "I've made breakfast."
Her eyes followed his to the tray on her nightstand, the aroma of coffee wafting into her nostrils. She looked back over to him, noticing his struggle with knotting his tie properly. She stood, her joints popping as she did so. "Here, let me."
As she finished putting the tie in place, she looked into his light eyes. They were still hungry, although they had been fed merely hours before. A naughty smirk crossed his features, and he pulled her close to him.
"Now, don't go falling in love with someone else while I'm away," he whispered, his minty breath intoxicating her.
"Never," she promised and kissed him earnestly to prove herself. His fingers slipped down her back to her firm bottom before playfully spanking her. "No, darling. Not now. You have to leave for your trip."
He groaned and pulled away, his eyes still hungry, but his smile now sweet and gentle. "I love you." With a pop he was gone, leaving Hermione feeling full.
But now, the only reminder of her husband was his ring. It was the only token the Ministry officials could find after the incident.
Hermione collapsed back into her bed, the smell of a night well spent still lingering in the white sheets. She replayed each caress in her mind, attempting to ignore the sharp pain in her chest as she was reminded that she was about to face a month without seeing her beloved.
She allowed herself one last inhale of her sweet skin, trying to store the scent to memory before bathing. As she stood once more to shower, something caught her eye. On the untouched tray, next to her complete breakfast, was a shiny silver box with a white bow on top.
Hermione opened the box slowly, hypnotized by its contents. There, in the box, was a diamond-encrusted brooch. She gasped as she placed the jeweled accessory into her palm. It's weight surprised her, and she estimated that it had to be about three karats.
"Incredible," she mouthed, breathless as the trinket caught a hint of sunlight and sent beams of lights around the room, creating a dazzling effect. She looked around, noticing a card still lie on the tray.
I know that it is a bit excessive for your tastes, but I couldn't bear the thought of someone else wearing it upon their robes. Hermione, I miss you every moment when I'm not with you, and this little gift symbolizes how determined I am to return to you. When you place it into the sun, light shoots in all directions, similar to how I feel when you are near. I know, I sound completely mad, but I can't find any other way to show you. You have changed me so much in the past three years, and because of you I have found light inside of me where I only saw darkness. I remember when you came to me after the war, and coated me with the warmth I never thought I could ever earn. I don't deserve you, and I am reminded of that daily. I see it in your eyes, the reminder that I allowed you to face the harshest conditions that year, without so much as an apology or warning. Yet, you chose me, and for that I feel as though I could live forever. I love you more than I could ever say.
The letter had become crumpled since the day it was written, smudges replacing words from where tears had fallen and small rips from being nervously fiddled with. It remained in Hermione's pocket, a constant reminder that Draco had loved her unconditionally.
After the war, his father had left him alone at Hogwarts, deeming him a disgrace for never completing the simple task of destroying Harry, Ron, and Hermione when given the opportunity in the Room of Requirement. His mother, Narcissa, objected to leaving Draco by himself, but her obedience to her husband waivered her devotion to her son. So while the Great Hall emptied and the dead were mourned and buried, he remained, transfixed by the notion that he was so easily forgotten. It was then that he allowed himself to cry.
Coincidently, Hermione had returned to the Great Hall in search of her time turner that had been discarded during battle. As she proceeded into the hall, she found Draco Malfoy alone and sobbing. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation, or seeing so many people die, but she could not leave Draco to wallow in his sorrow. She found a coat nearby, and draped it over his shoulders before sitting with him and holding him as he cried.
From there, a new connection had been formed that neither party had understood. Regardless, their friendship moved slowly, beginning with casual drinks and progressing into formal dinners. During this time, Hermione and Ron had begun a romantic relationship of their own, but it was quickly demolished from the strain of their grievances.
Hermione was crushed, of course. Ron had been the only man she believed she could love. During the summer nights, they shared breathless kisses in the fields among the Burrow, but even still, Hermione was well aware that something had changed in Ron. His aggression had surfaced at the loss of his brother, and he often took his anger out upon walls, chairs, and other random objects that crossed his path during an episode. At first, Hermione tried to understand, and remained beside him to comfort his discontentment until she feared her own safety. On a blustery August night, upon hearing of Hermione's plans to return to Hogwarts, something inside him snapped.
If it weren't for Hermione's successful casting of the Immobulus charm, the entire cabinet of Mrs. Weasley's fine china would have been destroyed.
"Why are you leaving me? Can't you see I'm a mess?" Ron sobbed as he fell to the floor among the broken dishes.
"Ronald, I'm sorry. But I need to go back to school. I feel as though this will be the only way to move on. Maybe going back would be good for you too-"
"Go back? How can I bloody well go back when my last memories of Fred are there? I can't ever go back to that place. There's nothing for me there anymore. Besides, George needs me to help with the shop. And I need you. Please, love, don't leave me. You can go to school later." Ron's pleading eyes almost convinced Hermione.
"No, I can't. I'm sorry. But this is something I need to do. I'm doing this for my future."
Ron sighed heavily. "Then I guess we don't have a future anymore."
It was Draco who comforted her, who joined her at Hogwarts that fall, and who captured her heart. It was inevitable, Hermione supposed. After everything she went through, only Draco truly understood her struggles. Returning to a place where death was so fresh in her mind only forced Hermione to mature further. Rather than spending late nights drinking Firewhisky like many of her classmates, Hermione spent more hours than necessary in the library, reading books about topics that refused to allow her to think about Ron.
One night, while she was nose-deep in Thirty Five Thousand Deadly Flora, she stumbled across an annotated passage. However, it wasn't filled with useful notes. Instead, in the upper right-hand corner was a scribbled heart with the caption "RW Loves HG" inscribed. Instantly, Hermione recognized the messy script, and her heart sank. She then remembered a Herbology assignment from fifth year where Ron was to highlight the health risks of Thorned Bloodseed, a flower whose thorns dug under the skin when immediately touched.
She had chastised Ron for vandalizing school property. Little did she know he was expressing his affection toward her.
That's when Hermione had broken down for the first time after her breakup. Face down in the old book; she was unaware of the boy watching her from afar. Yet, when he touched her shoulder, she knew it was Draco, and allowed herself to cry in his arms.
A year later, they were married, and that was the greatest secret they shared.
But tragedy hit two years, two months, one week, four days, and seventeen minutes later when Hermione was summoned to the Ministry to identify the wedding band of Draco Malfoy. Reportedly, during his trip, a terrible accident had occurred. His wand had miscast a charm and he disappeared forever.
The numbing didn't cease for Hermione. It had been three weeks since the incident when she walked along the beach, feeling the cool sand beneath her feet in the moonlight. While no one had understood her relationship with Draco, she had really learned to love him over the course of three years. Thoughts of Ron completely escaped her, and what was once a painful stab had turned into a soft whisper in her chest. To imagine her life without her partner was unbearable.
She still smelled him when she walked into their flat, and still felt his touch when the sun shone on her skin. Simple things reminded her of him, and it was tearing her apart.
She continued to walk along the silver-lined shore, wishing desperately for those steel eyes to look into hers one more time, and the platinum blonde locks to graze her skin when he kissed her. She only paused for a moment when she heard a cry in the distance.
"Hermione?" She recognized that voice at once, and suddenly all numbing effects of grief were ripped away as a sharp pain returned to her chest.
A/N: If anyone has any complaints, concerns, suggestions, or corrections, don't hesitate to let me know. It's been forever since I've written, but it feels so good to get back in the swing of things!