The last chapter.
This story became so much more than I had originally envisaged and I hope you have all enjoyed reading it as much as I have loved writing it.
I have fallen even more in love with both Hook and Lucius through it and it has been very very hard to part with either of them. I recommend having the tissues handy when you read this and perhaps taking it in stages. You'll know what I mean when you read. It's not often my writing makes me cry, but this does (with a little nudging from JM Barrie). The quote from Peter Pan is to be found in chapter fourteen, 'The Pirate Ship'.
This chapter contains a scene similar to one I wrote for Discovering Beauty, but I loved it so much that I 'borrowed' it here with some adaptation.
Thank you for all your reviews and support throughout. I hope you enjoy this last chapter, if that is the right word.
Love, LL x
Waking up between Lucius Malfoy and James Hook was not something Hermione Granger could quite fathom.
As she first slid out of sleep in the morning, she daren't open her eyes for fear she had imagined it all. But she could feel two bodies on either side of her, and hear the low steady breathing of two men. Keeping her eyes tightly shut, she allowed herself a small private smile as she thought back to the events of the night. Being their focus, the heart of their attentions, had made her seem like a precious gemstone which they had guarded and polished and gloried in, all theirs.
Both men appeared to be asleep as she turned first to one then the other. Lucius had a hand resting on her shoulder, and James had slung his good arm over her abdomen, pinning her deliciously under its weight. She brought one hand up to stroke over Lucius' fingers and the other to sit atop James' arm.
Her mind replayed specific moments again and she focused on parts of her body, now tender.
Did she feel ashamed? Dirty? Looking down at Lucius' long dark eyelashes, she couldn't regret anything. It had been perfect and it would never be repeated. And she had him.
He stirred and rolled onto his back, opening his eyes slowly as Hermione kissed his shoulder.
Turning his head, he smiled at her. "Hullo."
It took some time before she simply said, "Thank you."
"I don't understand how you could ..."
Lucius' eyes closed again as he smiled. "Don't expect me to make a habit of it. We both wanted to give you all we could. And this was his last chance. I understand his need for you. And I realise he is leaving. But the memory for you will be very real."
Lucius turned to kiss her again before stretching and rising from the bed. "I'll see you downstairs when you're ready."
"Lucius. I won't ... do anything, you know, with him. Not now."
"I know that." He closed the door, leaving her and James alone.
Hermione turned and simply looked at the dark-haired man sleeping remarkably peacefully, his arm still draped over her.
She studied the curl of his moustache, the bend of his nose, trying to remember every detail she could: the exact blackness of his hair, the lines creasing his jaw.
There she stayed for minutes, perhaps half an hour, not moving, just looking at the man asleep.
And then, suddenly, his eyes opened, and she was dazzled yet again.
She smiled softly in surprise. "Good morning, James Hook." It was the last time she would say it.
"Good morning, Hermione Hermione Granger. And how are you today?"
He teased her with the memory of her first introduction to him, but it did little to soothe her. "I think I may have a leak in my soul."
"Do we need to man the pumps?" But she could no longer raise even a weak smile. James brought up a finger to stroke down her cheek. "I am content to go, Hermione. After last night, I am content. You have nourished me and I can now go and live."
She curled around him once again. "When you go back I know you will seek out Pan. But after you've enjoyed one or two confrontations, do you know what I want you to do?"
"I want you to sail away from Neverland for a while. Far away. And I want you to discover the world again."
He tightened his hold on her. "And while I sail, do you know what I shall do?"
"I shall discover an island, far from any others. New and uncharted. A perfect island, not unlike Neverland but untroubled by fairies and mermaids and ... pirates. And I will name it after you."
"My own island?"
"Yes. I shall name it Isla Hermione."
"I like that. I like that very much."
"And when I am feeling at my lowest I will go there, and I will remember you."
"But you must not go there alone."
"No. As you sail you will meet a lady, beautiful and intelligent and adventurous, and you will take her there. And you will show her your island and you will shower her with your most precious rubies and emeralds and you will tell her your stories and let her tell you her stories. And there, under the silver leaves, silver clouds and silver stars, you will worship every inch of her body and make love to her all night and all day, and she to you, and you will cry out together, the only sound apart from the breaking of the waves on the shore. And you will entrance her as you have entranced me."
"And will she stay?"
"Let us hope so. But if she doesn't, you will sail again and at length find someone else to take there."
"He'll be in Neverland when you return. He'll always be there."
"I'm never going to kill him, am I?"
"I don't know, James. That's another story."
"If you were that lady ... would you stay?"
"Yes, my Captain, I would stay. I would stay with you and hold you within me forever." He kissed her head. "But I am not that lady."
James fell silent yet again. His impending departure weighed heavily on them both.
"So ... this magic of yours ... how does it begin?"
She rested on his chest and looked up. "It begins with a very hearty breakfast of sausages and bacon and eggs and tomatoes and mushrooms."
"And black pudding?" he asked optimistically.
"Of course, black pudding!" she declared.
"How very fine indeed. In that case, I think I may manage to get up."
Neither of them spoke as they got ready. Hermione considered going downstairs before him, but couldn't bear the thought of leaving him alone, not so much for her sake but his.
Together, they went down to the kitchen for the last time. Lucius was sitting at the table, clearly waiting for them both.
Hook ate hungrily at first. "If this is to be my last meal, I may as well enjoy it," he declared, but even Lucius could not bring himself to respond with any amusement.
"Well, Malfoy, I thank you for all your hospitality. If one has to be on terra firma for any length of time, this was a rather delightful spot to find oneself in. I am sorry not to be able to repay you in kind. I have considerable riches at my disposal on my ship, but that, as we all know, lies far from here. Still, I hope you feel I have contributed ... something ... during my time in your house."
Lucius silently voiced his agreement with a slight nod.
Hook continued with sardonic amusement, "And, if you should ever find yourself passing by the Neverland I daresay I could find room for you to stay on board ship. I cannot guarantee such spacious surroundings, but after your fill of my food and drink, I can assure you that the cramped quarters will not impinge on the mind quite so much. Still ..." He sniffed in, concentrating on cutting his bacon. "... I doubt somehow that shall come to pass."
Lucius spoke now. "I can't pretend your visit has not been eventful. I think I'll be relegating those sabres to a more inaccessible location."
"With me out of the equation, you could beat any man in a bout, Malfoy. Keep your hand in. I seem to recall suggesting Miss Granger may like to learn to fence. How about it, Hermione?"
"Actually, I used to fence when I was at prep school. I was the girls' regional champion for Under-11 foil."
"Ah ha! You see? Even now she continues to impress me."
Lucius stared at her. "Is there nothing you can't do?"
"My Yorkshire puddings are rubbish," she offered, looking at them both quite seriously for some time before all three started to laugh. It provided a welcome relief from the heavy air of dread which had started to creep in.
Hook had finished and with resolution stood determinedly. "Right. There it is then."
Hermione stayed seated. Lucius pushed his chair back and moved around the table to James. "You know my feelings already about ... the impact of your time here. I will not repeat myself."
"Quite right too. No need, sir."
Lucius held out his hand towards Hook. "Goodbye, James."
James looked down at the strong hand extending towards him, almost surprised to see it. He took it carefully and gripped it firmly. "Goodbye ... Lucius."
And after a brief glance at Hermione, Lucius nodded at James once again and left the room.
Hermione and James stood in silence. The clock in the corner chimed eleven, its clanging resonance almost apologetic.
Hermione walked around the table slowly and came to stand beside him.
"Is it time?" he asked softly.
"Very well. Let us be done with it. I do not wish to delay any longer. What must be must be. And my ship needs its captain."
Hermione reached out her hand as a mother would for a child. James glanced down and slipped his fingers into hers and carefully, each footstep slow but deliberate, she led him from the room.
She didn't let go of his hand all the way up the stairs, clasping it firmly, trying to engrain the feeling of him into her, to impart a physical memory of his touch into hers.
When they reached the library she shut the door quietly behind them. The materials necessary were set out on the same table she had used when drawing him from the book; she had prepared everything the day before.
Only then did James turn to her, his eyebrow rising a little. "Will this involve pain?"
She shook her head. "No more than when you arrived."
"Ah, but then I had the sight of you greeting me to ease any discomforting confusion. Smee's backside does not look quite so good in breeches." She tried to smile but was finding it virtually impossible.
Hermione had a constant dull weight sitting in her stomach, an incessant prickling behind her eyes. Her limbs felt heavy, as if they would refuse to comply with the demands of her mind.
"Come, my girl. What must be done?" James asked smoothly.
Hermione sucked in a breath, but drew on her inherent resolve and reached for a small bottle of dark red liquid. "You need to drink this. Nearly all the magic is contained in this potion."
"A potion, eh? I'm rather fond of potions."
"That isn't all. You must hold the book."
"You know ... the book you're in."
He frowned in thought. "Do you know, strangely enough, in all my time here I have not actually read any of it."
"That's probably for the best."
Hermione sighed deeply, barely able to force her words out. "I will incant a spell. And ..."
"And ... poof?" He opened his closed palm rapidly to accompany the sound.
She spun away, despairing at his attempts to lighten the situation. "Please, James. This is horrible."
James placed his hand gently on her shoulders. Turning her around, he held her close in against him. Hermione buried her head in his shoulders and sobbed suddenly and openly, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry ... I should never have brought you here. It wasn't fair. It wasn't right."
"Not right for whom? For me? I would not have missed this for the world. And you have now what you truly want."
She looked up into those eyes again, shaking her head resolutely. "I won't forget you. I won't forget you ever."
Crossing to the table she picked up her copy of Peter Pan and showed the cover to the Pirate Captain, the man whose own image had been staring out at her from the cover for decades. His eyes shone out from it still, as brilliant as they were in person. "You've always been with me. You always will be with me."
Hook perused it with a wry pout. "Ah, look – a fine fellow. Hasn't quite captured me though, has it? I am far more handsome than that, surely?"
She held him again, clasping him against her as if she could soak him in. "Will you be alright? Are you sure you'll be alright?" Her voice was faltering.
"Of course I will be alright, girly. I am, after all ... me." He smirked, pulling back and stroking her cheek with his thumb. Hermione stared into his eyes, unable to tear herself away from the blue. "Is a pirate allowed a final kiss?" he whispered.
Slowly, with a soft smile, James bent his head and touched her lips with his, gently and carefully, not wanting to impose too much. But Hermione needed to remember his taste and opened to him. Under the circumstances, this was not a betrayal of anybody.
James moaned softly and slipped his tongue in, deepening the kiss. It was not a kiss of great passion, but one of the deepest sensuality, remembered forever.
When they finally moved apart she felt his lips brush her forehead in complete devotion; his breath blew warm and gentle over her hair as he at last pulled back with the softest sigh.
"I think I would like to try this potion now."
Hermione blinked back her tears and turned as strongly as she could to the bottle, picking it up, each finger seeming treacherous as it curled around it. Unstoppering it, she held it out slowly and James took it immediately, holding it up to the light. "Hmm. The colour of a rather good Petrus. Very fine."
Looking at her, he gave a sly wink and lifted the bottle to his lips, pouring all of its contents down his throat with no hesitation.
Hermione's stomach lurched and she struggled not to sob again. A fleeting shadow passed across James' face. "Unfortunately, it does not taste like a rather good Petrus."
His dry humour now only prompted her emotions to surge unstoppably. She wondered if she could remain standing.
Only now did he hesitate. She felt him stop himself, saw his Adam's apple rise and fall quickly, saw his eyes casting rapidly around the room. But then, drawing himself to his full height, he turned to her, his mouth rising into the slightest but sweetest smile, and held out his hand for the book. She stared straight at him.
The tears in her eyes were set to brim over. She handed him the hardback volume. He glanced at it curiously.
"What lies inside, I wonder?"
"You don't have to open it. You simply have to hold it," she said gently, her voice catching.
James smirked ruefully and slowly let the pages fall open. He flicked through a little until his eyes settled on one passage. As he read silently, his smirk vanished and his face took on a distant quality of realisation and resignation.
Hermione's tears were by now falling unstoppably.
James looked up at her with such open humanity her heart missed a beat. "Thank you ... Hermione ... for being here for me. For being with me." He gripped the book tight, its pages still open. "Now ... say what you must."
Staring hard into his eyes, she spoke, hardly hearing the words herself. "Mittere corpus ad libri, mittere spiritum ad scriptum, de qua vos revertatur."
All at once, Hermione couldn't bear the passage of time.
"I don't want you to go!" she cried out desperately. "I can't let you go back there alone."
She saw his own eyes bluer than ever before but misted with a bright moisture. "What have I told you, my heart? Do not weep for me. I am the first to say it – I am so very not worthy of the effort."
And then, standing before her, James started to fade. Still clinging to the book in one hand, he held up his other arm and stared at it. The tip of the hook grew fainter, translucent, until it vanished altogether. And the transparency then started to travel up his arm as the rest of his body grew dimmer. She could now see through him to the bookcases beyond.
He looked fully into her, and all at once James Hook's eyes contained regret and apprehension. He extended his hand, the one still clutching the open book. She wasn't sure if he was reaching out for her or showing it to her. But it was too late. His arm was fading fast.
By now all that was left of him was his magnificent face, still framed by that curling black hair. And then that too began to disappear.
She saw him open his mouth to speak to her. His words were muffled and hollow, as if caught on the wind from a distant hillside.
And then any sound was lost and she could only see his lips moving, but she recognised all too well the shape of the words formed on those lips: three short words. And then those blue eyes, the last of him, grew dimmer. She stared as strongly as she could into them through her incessant tears until the very last.
The book fell to the ground with a thud, and he was gone.
Hermione collapsed to the floor, her body useless, her soul empty. She groped for the book. It was still open to the page at which he'd been staring. Her eyes cast over it rapidly as another sob heaved its way from her. She read aloud:
"Hook trod the deck in thought. O man unfathomable. It was his hour of triumph ... But there was no elation in his gait, which kept pace with the action of his sombre mind. Hook was profoundly dejected ... It was because he was so terribly alone."
She closed the book and clutched it to her, rocking back and forth as time slid away, until she had exhausted her tears.
Hermione lost track of how long she sat there on the floor, but eventually she became aware of footsteps behind her.
"Are you alright?" Lucius' voice was remarkably tender.
And so he knelt down beside her, drew her into his arms, and held her. At first she simply let him do the embracing, but at length she twined herself about him as tightly as she could.
"It went as it should have done. The magic, I mean ... nothing went wrong. It's not really me that I'm upset about ... it's him. He has nobody."
"He did have you. That is worth more, even in a short time, than surrounding himself with false friendship."
She looked up at him. "Why didn't you ever say things like that before?"
"I didn't think they sounded right coming from me."
At last Hermione's mouth curled up with faint tenderness at the corners. "I love you, Lucius."
He swallowed hard and pulled her in against him, denying her the chance to look too long into his dampening eyes.
At length she allowed him to pull her carefully to her feet and lead her to his room, where he suggested she lie down. He started to leave her alone but she caught his hand tightly. "Don't leave me. Lie here beside me. Please."
Lucius lay down on the bed, pressing his long limbs against her length and feeling her nestle into him. He brought his hand over her and stroked slowly and soothingly. They stayed like that for some time as the rain which had pattered down all morning at last stopped its dance on the windowpanes.
"I feel like going out, away from here. I went to Salisbury the other day. I was a bit distracted then. It would be nice to go there with you." Hermione brought his hand to her lips and kissed the tips of his fingers.
"Muggle towns and I don't tend to go well together."
"It's only the fear of the unknown."
"No, it's ..." He sighed, stopping himself. "Alright."
"Don't worry ... I'll hold your hand. And I'll even buy you a new chocolate wand to replace the one you ate." She turned her head to look at him, bestowing him with a delicious smirk, allowing humour to dispel some of the gloom inside.
He cocked his eyebrow. "If you're lucky I might even let you nibble on it."
Hermione turned into him, curling her slender legs around him and kissing him. Her pain was further eased by his taste. He had the most soothing kiss she could imagine. The bubbles of desire inside her started to rise yet again. Tearing her mouth from his, she whispered against his ear, "I would quite like a little nibble before we go out."
"Oh, I think that could be arranged."
And without further ado, he set about arranging it.
They eventually got ready to go out at about four o'clock. Lucius dressed in a suit, unable to dispense with elegant formality completely. He looked as if he was going to a board meeting and prompted Hermione to stifle a giggle when he appeared in the hall.
"I presume you are tittering away over my attire." His cheekbones were tinged pink.
"No, no ..." She exploded with giggles again. "Your ... attire ... is very becoming."
He glanced down and smoothed over the slate grey material. "My tailor assures me this is designed to the highest Muggle specifications. You should be pleased I have something Muggle made. My man at Twilfitt and Tattings sent this off to some establishment on Savile Road."
Hermione couldn't stop laughing. "Savile Row. Your man did a very good job. You look splendid, wonderful. It's just a bit ... formal. At least take your tie off and undo the top buttons." She did so for him before he could protest. "You could get a pair of jeans, you know."
His face wrinkled.
"Don't tell me you don't know what jeans are?"
"Draco turns up in them occasionally," he remarked dismissively.
"They come in all shades and styles. And designer jeans can be very expensive. If you wanted you could spend an awful lot of money on them. That might make you feel better."
"Are you calling me a snob?"
"You, Mr Malfoy? Would I ever?" she teased.
"Yes," he sighed again. "And you'd be right. As usual."
She laughed. "Come on. Your man may have done a good job referring you to a decent Muggle tailor, but you are now my man and I want you to take me out." Hermione planted a kiss full on his lips.
He glanced down with a smirk. "Thank you for ..."
"For ... enlightening me."
"Long may it continue."
He grinned before clasping her hard and apparating them both to Salisbury.
Lucius had not tied his hair back, and although he kept it shorter than in the past, it still drew many curious stares from passers-by. It was not every day the people of Salisbury were treated to the sight of a man with platinum blond shoulder-length hair dressed in a bespoke suit strolling the streets with a woman half his age on his arm.
"I think people are staring at us."
"I think you're right. Do you mind?" she grinned.
"No ... I quite like it."
"I thought you would. They'd stare even more if you cast a Patronus to frolic around the cathedral close," she joked.
"Perhaps I should," he mused, lacking conviction.
"I don't even know what your Patronus is."
"I haven't cast one for ages. I can't remember the last time, in fact. Not since my twenties."
"I'd like to see it." She squeezed his hand.
"I can't possibly do it in the open. The Ministry wouldn't take kindly to that. You know using magic in front of Muggles is illegal."
Hermione turned to him with a wicked grin. "Aah ... but I work for the Ministry and I get special dispensation to use magic whenever necessary. If you were to use my wand ..."
He cocked an eyebrow at her bravado. "My Patronus might not work."
"And the Muggle witnesses?"
She shrugged. "They would have something to tell their grandchildren. Life is terrible enough, Lucius. Why not give them something wonderful for a change?"
He smiled, taking her hand. "Come along then."
Leading her back through the streets they came swiftly to the open space of the cathedral close, a great expanse of green framed by ancient buildings and dominated by the glorious spired wonder of Salisbury cathedral. Lucius stopped in his tracks and looked up at it. "A beautiful thing."
"Hmm. It was built in the early part of the thirteenth century."
"Older than my house. Older than my family."
"It can happen, Lucius," she stated with a hint of sarcastic teasing.
It was growing late. A few people were still emerging from Evensong. They lingered in the close as the light grew dimmer around them. Hermione and Lucius took themselves into a secluded part, tucked away around a corner of the cathedral. She handed her wand over to him.
"What do you think it will be?" he teased.
"I've often wondered ... a big cat of some kind ... a leopard or panther perhaps."
He cocked an eyebrow, raised the wand and proclaimed forcefully, "Expecto patronum!"
Hermione watched entranced as silvery threads poured from the tip of the wood and morphed into a creature which darted off across the expansive green of the close.
It was a fox.
The slight, nimble silvery creature darted and dashed, sniffing around and dancing around the bystanders with mischievous innocence, its long bushy tail trailing sparks and wisps behind it. People simply stopped in their tracks and stared disbelievingly at the enchanting mystical creature prancing around them.
"Not a cat. Sorry to disappoint."
Hermione beamed. "He's beautiful. Completely beautiful. Very elegant. And very clever."
"Sly old fox. A survivor. Always looking for an opportunity. Always managing to sniff his way out of trouble."
She took his hand silently and led him out onto the close as they watched the animal continue to prance around people's heels against the backdrop of the cathedral.
"I always thought of our friend James Hook as being rather fox-like – the form of a refined English gentleman concealing an inherent determination and raw animal passion," Lucius stated, deep in thought.
Hermione smirked. He could have been describing himself. "That's why you two could never quite work out if you adored or detested each other."
Lucius glanced down in query.
He turned away with a wry smirk. The bemused onlookers were commenting and murmuring as the fox continued to dart between them. A little girl aged about seven stood transfixed, staring at the silvery creature as it at last started to fade. She had been looking at the two of them before Lucius had cast his spell and now she came up with the confident insouciant curiosity only children possess. She skipped right up to Lucius.
"You did that, didn't you?"
His eyebrows rose in surprise at being addressed so confidently by anyone, let alone a child. But the girl had an open face with deep, knowing eyes. His resistance immediately evaporated and he knelt to her. "I did."
"It was very pretty. I wish I could do that. But I'd want a cat."
Lucius smiled. "Hermione wanted a cat too. But I like my fox."
"Are you Hermione?" The girl turned to her.
"My cousin's called Hermione. Nobody can ever say it properly. My name's Clara. Who are you?" She fixed her confident eyes once again on the wizard.
"I'm called Lucius." He barely hesitated before telling the Muggle child his name.
"How did you do that with the fox?"
He smiled gently, leaning in to impart his secret in a whisper. "Magic."
Her eyes only widened a little before her fresh young mind accepted it. "I thought so. I saw you with that stick. Was it a wand?"
"That's what some people would call it."
"You must be a magician . Or a wizard. Even better. Don't worry, I won't tell. I know all about the magic circle. Or the wizard circle if you're a wizard, I suppose."
"I'll let you decide," Lucius smiled, pulling himself to his feet and glancing around the close. "You'd better go back to your mother, Clara. Where is she?"
The girl turned and pointed to a woman closing in on them with remarkable speed and determination. She did not look happy.
Clara sighed. "That's her. She'll tell me off for talking to strange people."
"Are we strange people, Clara?"
The little girl looked up at him curiously for a moment, as if trying to work it out. "You have very smart clothes ... but your hair's weird." Clara continued to stare at him in focussed assessment. "But you're a wizard," she mused before nodding, satisfied with her conclusion, "you just about get away with it."
"Clara! Clara! What have I said? You really mustn't go wandering off like that and you never, never to talk to strangers again. You don't know what could happen. How many times do I have to tell you?"
The tight woman closing in on them, whose expression for some reason made Hermione think she'd been chopping onions all day, marched up and grabbed her daughter by the wrist. With an indignant and slightly perplexed look at the unusual but admittedly good-looking man and his young, beautiful companion, she pulled her daughter away, muttering about not talking to weird men with long hair. Clara forced her head round as she was led off, smiling broadly at them both.
Lucius turned to Hermione with a grin. "Charming child."
"She was. And a Muggle at that."
"I should imagine you were a bit like that at that age."
He smirked, looking at the people still pointing and murmuring about the strange translucent fox which had just danced across the lawns. "Now then. Where do you get those chocolate wands?"
Taking his hand again, Hermione led him to the shop.
The trip to Salisbury had been the right thing to do. The incident in the close had brought her even closer to Lucius, revealing a side to him she had never before imagined, and had taken her mind off the agony of earlier. They had eaten out, and when at last they returned home, Hermione was immensely grateful they had. The thought of eating at the Manor without James brought a rush of pain coursing through her again. As she settled into bed that night, keeping Lucius close, she found her mind still consumed with worry about him. But as the strong arms of her lover encircled her into his lavender haze, she allowed herself to slip at last into sleep. Pirate captains were, after all, rather good at looking after themselves.
Time passed, as it must. Hermione returned to work at the Ministry but moved into the Manor permanently soon after James' departure. It would take a while before she felt comfortable disclosing her relationship with Lucius, but when she did, she found her friends, and even his family, remarkably tolerant. Their attitude was hardly generous at first, but as the nature of the whole story emerged, little by little, she found the situation becoming more and more accepted.
Time changed people, after all. And time healed, if you allowed it.
The Manor began to open its doors more, and Lucius and Hermione found themselves hosting many parties and dinners. New life had been breathed not only into the house but into them. Together, the war heroine and ex-Death Eater formed a life which was the envy of many around them, not for their wealth and position, but for their clear happiness and generosity of spirit, never as evident as when they were together.
And what of marriage and children?
As is so often said, that is another story.
And every night, no matter how busy or exhausting their day had been, the two lovers would slide into bed and turn to each other, once again affirming their acceptance and understanding through love-making which remained a revelation to them both in the extraordinary pleasure it brought.
But when she finally turned away from him, just before slipping into that other world, that world where dreams held no corporeal limits or conventions, Hermione would glance down beside the bed. There, tucked just out of sight to all but her, she kept a single tattered old hardback book, a book infused with the faintest aroma of vanilla. And on the cover, staring up at her, never changing, framed by the deepest black curls, glinted eyes of forget-me-not blue.
She did not forget him.