Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Author's Note: This was a story that plagued my mind while I was writing my other stories. It got to the point where I was unable to completely focus on my in-progress works until it was written. So, I wrote the story. There's a video on Youtube called "Something Worth Living For... | Harry & Hermione" by tennisgirlxoxo. It's a montage of Harmony scenes with various quotes voiced over it while the music, "Untitled 3" by Sigur Ros, plays in the background. It's an emotionally compelling piece with high quality editing. I recommend watching that video before reading this story if you want to get in the mood. Anyway, onward to the story!
All is Well
By Romantic Silence
Hermione stirred from her slumber. Her body felt heavy as lead and her muscles ached as they contracted or relaxed. The room was dark in the early morning light, and Hermione unconsciously sniffed the room as her other senses tried to catch up. She smelled nothing but her own scent and the strange aroma of sterilization from a hospital. As her eyes adjusted, she noticed the white sheets that covered her lower body and the bed that she was on. Her brain reached full functionality in mere seconds, and she immediately recognized where she was. Her droopy eyes immediately shot open as Hermione realized she was in the Hospital Wing.
"Hermione?" A voice called out to her from her left. Her heartbeat quickened as she instantly identified the owner of the soothing baritone that vocalized her name. Hermione slowly turned her neck over to the direction of the voice. Harry Potter was sitting on the chair pulled up to her bed, gripping both his hands gently on one of hers. She saw the relief washed over his face as he smiled at her in pure joy.
"Harry?" Hermione said weakly, unable to believe her eyes. Memories flooded her mind as she remembered the sheer anguish and desperation she felt as her chocolate brown orbs fell upon the still form of her best friend. She couldn't believe her eyes then either. Hermione could not remember what she had done afterward, but she would save that thought for later. For now, she basked in the emotion of seeing Harry before her once again. Ire immediately filled her as she hoarsely yelled out, "Harry James Potter! I cannot believe you would be daft enough to go out to face him alone! When are you going to get it into your head? We're in this together Harry."
The pair looked silently into one another's eyes, their hands gripped together even tighter. He smiled lightly at her as he leaned forward to stroke her back as a reassuring gesture. Her muscles relaxed as she tried to find comfort in his touch, but she couldn't. Hermione felt nothing. There was no warmth despite her desperate need for there to be, but she could not find it. She felt a deep rift forming in her heart as she gazed at Harry deeply. "You could have died Harry." She murmured softly.
Harry looked at her sadly, his solemn gaze never leaving her form. He gently reached out to her, engulfing her in his embrace, and whispered, "I did."
It was the last funeral out of all those that perished and Hermione was already weary from each emotionally impacting ceremony. She eyed the speaker of the event mirthlessly; her arms crossed and her stance guarded. Her eyes tore away from the annoying imbecile that spoke and watched as the casket was lowered into the earth. Hermione bit her bottom lip in annoyance. After all that was said and done. After all the sacrifices that were made for the peace and security of the future. This was what they deserved? A few fancy words by people who hadn't been there at the battle? Bollocks.
"Relax Hermione. Who cares if a few fools from the Ministry decided to talk? Everyone that matters knows what happened and how great the losses were." Harry said next to her, his hand slipping into hers. She felt her tension vanishing, but Hermione still felt the anger and disappointment of what was happening. She couldn't bear it any longer.
"Hermione? You okay?" Ron asked her concerned. Her eyebrows were furrowed together as he wore a morose expression; the childlike glee he once twinkled in his bright, blue eyes was now gone. In front of her stood a man that had come out of the war scarred with the memories that happened and the wounds he had gotten. He was someone that became what others would respect, but for Hermione, she couldn't shake off the memory of his abandonment. The bitterness of his scathing words haunted the walls of her ears whenever she thought back to that day. Forgive him? Yes, she had. But she didn't forget. Perhaps, if all was right, then perhaps she would have forgotten with time. Not anymore.
"I'm leaving Ron." Hermione stated. Her words were resolute, and there was nothing that could be done to change her mind.
Ron frowned, his eyes clouded with confusion and shock, "What? Why? We're family to him. He was my brother! The least we can do is at least stay…in honor of –"
"This whole ceremony is a farce and you know it Ron." She replied harshly. Hermione saw the hurt reflected by his body language caused by her words, but she didn't care. She, herself, was much more in pain with the entire event. She could only stand it so much. She didn't need to listen to the fake words of gratitude that the speaker continuously spouted. Hermione would not sit any longer as they made a mockery of a man she looked up to as one of the bravest people she had ever met.
Before Ron could make a response, Hermione stood up. The speaker stopped his barrage of words to eye the witch warily. Hermione glared at the unknown man and turned away. She marched across the beautiful, red carpet that was laid out between the two groups of chairs and did not turn back. Ron hadn't made a move to stop her, and for that, she was thankful. Hermione was not so dense to realize that the murmuring had begun as soon as she moved adamantly through the pathway. Hermione cared little to what their opinions were. She needed healing, and being there where they stomped upon the honor of his sacrifice was not the place for it.
Hermione apparated into Grimmauld Place, entering the parlor as her façade of strength faded away. She collapsed on the couch of the dark and dreary house and allowed the floodgates to burst. Hermione sobbed into her hands, exhausted by the happenings of the last few weeks.
"Hermione?" Harry's soothing voice rang out.
She looked to her right and there on the other side of the furniture was Harry smiling at her. Hermione stopped her crying and looked at him pitifully. She chuckled to herself as she shook her head. She plastered a wry grin, her previous depressive actions disappearing as if they had never happened and said, "Harry, don't ever leave me." Harry smiled at her sadly and he reached out to her as he placed his hand on her shoulders. He began to move his thumb around in circles like he always did when he tried to reassure her that things would be alright. Once again, Hermione didn't feel the usual warmth that was typically associated with this gesture. She chuckled again, but it held no humor.
Things had finally winded down with the conclusion of the final funeral. For many, it was a time of celebration with the birth of an era filled with peace and hope. However, for those that had fought to bring about this conclusion, it was still a time of healing. Some would recover quicker than others, but there were always those that would forever be haunted by the burning memory of the final battle.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Hermione's ears perked up as she heard the gentle rapping of Grimmauld Place's front door. She frowned for a moment, the visitor having intruded her brief early morning read in the parlor. The knocking continued one more time before Hermione sighed in defeat and got up from the comfortable position she was nestled in. She walked at a brisk stride, composing herself and putting on a welcoming smile on her face to appear neighborly. Hermione opened the door, her eyes widening as she was face to face with George Weasley.
George looked miserable. His eyes were sunken in with horrible black bags underneath, indicating his inability to rest peacefully over the past few weeks. His usual confident, strong structure gave way to a somber hunch, making him appear smaller than he really was. His cheeks were gaunt, and his digits looked boney. He looked nothing like the George of yesteryears where his typical, perpetual, mischievous grin was plastered on his face. Hermione, for the life of her, wouldn't have been able to recognize him if it weren't for the fact that she had just seen him just several days before.
"Hello Hermione." George meekly greeted his voice no longer boisterous and filled with laughter.
Hermione studied him for a second and smiled warmly at him, "Good morning George. Would you like to come in?" George responded with a nod and Hermione maneuvered to let him in.
A pop was heard behind her, and Hermione turned to find Kreacher bowing politely at the new guest. The old house-elf gazed at Hermione expectantly and asked cordially, "Would Mistress Hermione require tea for herself and her guest, Mr. Weasley?"
The witch observed Kreacher thoughtfully for a few moments and assented to the suggestion with a nod, "That would be brilliant Kreacher. George, would you like some scones?"
George was watching the exchange in mild interest before his attention was reverted back to Hermione. He shook his hand dismissively, "Ah, no thanks. I had some breakfast at the Burrow. The tea would be lovely though."
With another pop, Kreacher disappeared to make the arrangements. Hermione led George into the parlor and settled him on the couch while she took the armchair across from him. Kreacher appeared with the calming drink soon thereafter and both George and Hermione helped themselves to a few sips. Throughout the entire time, an awkward but companionable silence blanketed the air.
"I'm surprised. Kreacher calling you Mistress when all he did before was insult you." George commented as he gently blew on his cup to cool the hot drink within.
"Well, you know Harry," Hermione chuckled mirthlessly, "He always makes sure everything is taken care of. Including that."
George nodded solemnly before continuing on the conversation, "I'm sorry for the abrupt visit. Ron has been worried ever since you left the funeral, so I volunteered to see how you were." He smiled at her.
Hermione sighed and returned the pleasant expression before answering, "That's sweet of you George. It's not me that should be worried about though. I'm more concerned for you." Hermione frowned as she looked at the state George was in, "Fred was your twin, your 'better' half as you always say. It's not about if I'm okay, but are you okay?"
"Always perceptive aren't you? You know, I don't think Fred and I ever successfully pranked you." George said grinning.
Hermione clicked her tongue in a reprimanding manner, "No you don't George Weasley. You are not changing the subject! I've had enough experience with Harry and his moods for that to work on me."
George winced for a split-second and sighed. He placed the tea down before he started rubbing his face with his hands, "It's hard Hermione. I don't deny that he's gone, but it hurts. I see him everywhere. Memories of him everywhere I go." His voice grew significantly louder as the sentence progressed before he was at the point that he was nearly yelling, "Sometimes he would talk to me! Like he was there! He would pat me on the shoulder and tell me to buck up! Makes jokes! Everything! But he's not there. I don't sense that connection."
It wasn't long before George began sobbing. Hermione got up from her seat and rushed over to envelop him in a familial embrace, soothingly stroking his back as she did so. "I know George. The pain is unbearable. But you have your family to help you through it. Molly, Arthur, Ron, Bill, Ginny, and even Percy are there for you. You also have your friends that care for you too. Lee and Angelina lost Fred as well, and I lost…"
"He just haunts me Hermione." George desperately muttered, interrupting Hermione. "Every day, I wonder what could have been different, what I could have done to prevent it. There were so many regrets. So many things I wanted to take back or give."
George left half an hour later. Hermione noticed as he walked out of Grimmauld that his back was a little bit straighter, and his eyes weren't as sunken as it had been when he arrived. She concluded that a heavy load had been lifted off his back, and Hermione was thankful that she had at least had done something to help the loveable prankster overcome his grief. George would continue to have his demons, Hermione concluded, but at least he was on the road of recovery.
Emotionally drained, Hermione climbed up the stairs for a quick kip in her room. Standing at the top of the stairway leaning against the banister was Harry staring thoughtfully at something that she couldn't place. As Hermione made her way up the steps, Harry saw her. He grinned at Hermione, "That was nice of you to do. Anybody who gets the 'Hermione treatment' would always wind up better than before."
"George needed someone he could relate to." Hermione stated simply, "Without Fred, he's lost. It's like a part of him is missing. It's the same feeling I have with you Harry."
Chocolate brown met emerald green. Harry leaned forward and kissed Hermione on the temple and made his way downstairs. Hermione longing gaze trailed after him until he disappeared at the bottom level. She let out a breath she didn't know she held and shook her head. At the top of the stairs across from her was a mirror that reflected her own visage. Dark circles were underneath her eyes, and her face seemed almost skeletal. Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed, walking away to her bedroom to rest.
It was an eventful summer more or less for Hermione. A week after George's visit, Hermione left Britain to visit the land down under to track down her parents. It wasn't as difficult as she had expected, the Australian Magical government was more than happy to help the Hermione Granger. What she had done on May 2nd made her a world-renowned witch in every magical community. Her legend was almost as big as Harry's. She didn't completely shun her celebrity status, but Hermione had no plans to live frivolously like Ron wanted to do.
Unlike the simplified explanation that she had told Harry and Ron, Hermione hadn't completely modified her parents' memories. More or less, she simply blocked the memories regarding her similarly to locking a safe deposit box. Then, she just changed their names to Wendell and Monica Wilkins and created memories that they wanted to go to Australia. If she had died, then the block would remain and they were free to live out their lives without the knowledge that their daughter was dead. If she survived, it was all in the matter of finding and lifting the block. It was simple; after all, Hermione didn't want to risk using a complex spell.
After the Australian Ministry located them, it was all about arranging a way to meet them. After making an appointment and using magical means in order to ensure that she was the last patient, Hermione simply walked into their practice and went through the procedure. After getting them alone, Hermione flicked her wrist and muttered an incantation, and voila! The Wilkins became the Grangers once again. Fortunately, the homecoming went exactly as expected. It was a teary reunion filled with hugs and kisses. Being with her parents allowed her to resume the façade that she was emotionally fine, and all Hermione wanted at that point was a sense of normalcy. Hermione knew nothing was the same anymore. Everything changed. Still, she wanted to cling onto something familiar to help her get through the pain.
Once September rolled by again, Hermione knew she had to return to Hogwarts. She needed to complete her education after all. However, she no longer held the vigor and the passion for knowledge that she once had. Not even being designated as Head Girl excited her. She knew there was a chasm in her heart that was slowly growing larger within her. So when she arrived at Hogwarts, Hermione threw herself into books, homework, and duties.
It was a crisp December night, and she remained at Hogwarts on Christmas Day. Her parents were saddened that she couldn't go home, as Hermione had told them that as Head Girl, she had the responsibility to stay and look out for the students that were left behind. Of course, she had lied. Whenever she remembered December 25th, Hermione would think back to that night in the graveyard with Harry, pretending to be his bride as they hunched over the tombstones of his parents' grave.
Hermione looked down at the parchment on the table as she continued jotting down the words needed to make an Outstanding essay. She had saved all the holiday homework for this single day in the library. Hermione knew she needed a mindless task for her brain to focus on if she wanted to escape the horrid recollections of the previous year. Right now, she knew that most of her friends were celebrating the momentous holiday over at the Burrow. She was happy for them, and thankful that they continued to extend their invitation for her to join, but she needed time to herself on this day.
"Happy Christmas Hermione!"
Hermione raised her head up, surprise etched on her face as Harry had miraculously appeared in the seat in front of her. She stopped her furious scribbling to focus on the young man in front of her, attempting to resist his infectious smile. Hermione placed her quill down and stared pointedly at his direction, "Happy Christmas Harry." Her tone was harsh and impatient.
Harry remained smiling as he continued to examine her. He eyed the parchments and books strewn about all over the table and laughed internally at how 'Hermione' the scene was, "Hermione, you shouldn't be alone on Christmas."
"But I want to be alone Harry." Hermione insisted.
"Rubbish. Stand up." Harry ordered good naturedly as he motioned for her to stand up. Hermione complied, but held up an eyebrow quizzically. "Play that song we listened to in the tent."
"But Madam Pince –"
"Is probably in the Great Hall at the feast and trusts you not to mess around."
Hermione crossed her arms and harrumphed. A moment later, she took out her wand and with her perfect memory; she cast a spell that played the song. Music filled their one little section in the hall of tomes, slowly encompassing Hermione like a gentle breeze. Like last time, Hermione remained listless, not amused by her best friend's antics. But Harry wasn't as deterred like before. He took her hands and began to sway and move about.
Harry continued to smile, his brilliant face moving closer to her as he continued with his attempts, urging her to go along. It was with a gentle smile that she finally relented and broke down the walls that she built up to enjoy this one brief moment. She stepped side to side and twirled, moving about playfully as she found herself laughing and grinning at their ridiculous behavior. Then once again, she stared brilliantly into his piercing eyes and their smiles faded. Their pace slowed down, and Hermione rested her chin on his shoulder. "Harry, you're my best friend." She spoke lightly, her speech drifting lazily from her tongue.
And as the song slowly dwindled to its climax, a single tear rolled down Hermione's cheek.
One year, it was exactly one year since that fateful battle. To celebrate the victory over the darkness, the Ministry was holding a ball in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. As much as she wanted to escape it, Hermione was unable to. She played a vital role in the downfall of Voldemort after all; there was no dodging the festivities. Though while she had to attend, Hermione knew she wasn't going to enjoy it. Who would? Once more, the Ministry made a mockery of those that died with this gala. But perhaps, she was the only one feeling that way. The rest were having fun inside while she was left to sulk in the gardens.
Hermione looked up at the cloudless sky. It was a beautiful night, and all the stars were shining brightly down at her. A fresh wind blew from the north, cooling a hot May night. The garden was immaculately maintained as it hosted a wide variety of beautiful flowers that held a wondrous scent. Hermione was thankful that the Great Hall had a sound dampening charm in place as the noises from within died down two feet from the doorway, allowing Hermione to bask in the soothing silence of nature.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the familiar sound of Harry's voice calling out to her. She turned her head slightly as her back was turned on the doorway ten feet away as she sat on the bench overlooking the land. She smiled at him, remaining silent, and turned back to her gaze at her surroundings. From the corner of her eye, she saw Harry sitting next to her on the bench. A companionable silence settled between them as Hermione indulged herself to the tranquility of the night.
Without looking at Harry, she disrupted the quiet evening by asking, "Harry, are you upset at how quickly Ginny moved on to Neville?" She recalled what happened an hour before during one of the slow dances and how intimate Neville and Ginny held one another as they swayed gently to the music. Their foreheads were touching and Hermione saw the strong emotions they held for one another in the loving looks they gave to each other.
"No." Harry replied quickly, "Ginny, as much as she cares for me, never truly loved me. She was in love with the Boy-Who-Lived, even after she had gotten to know me. So I'm not upset. In fact, I'm quite happy she and Neville found each other. They're good for each other. In a way, you kind of see Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in them."
Hermione chuckled, "Really? I never expected that kind of comparison."
Harry smirked, "How about you though? You and Ron never took flight. Didn't you fancy him?"
Hermione expected as much. She never started a relationship with Ron after the final battle. Too much had changed and certain events helped her realize that it wasn't Ron that she loved. Perhaps she was always deluding herself into thinking that they were meant to be together with all the talks about them over the years, but given time to think about it, they never really had the chemistry needed to have a strong and healthy relationship. Besides, she already had feelings for another.
"I thought I did, but I wasn't. Honestly Harry, Ron and I? If we had gotten married, I would have murdered him in a week."
The two of them laughed at the thought. She remembered seeing Ron getting closer to Luna during the summer when she came to visit on some occasions. They were a strange couple to be sure, but Luna was patient with her red-headed best friend. She was willing to wait for Ron to grow up and be the man he was supposed to be. Unlike her, she would have simply forced Ron to be something he may not want to become. That would lead to resentment and would have eventually torn apart whatever relationship they had, platonic or otherwise.
"Harry, have you ever wondered what it would have been like if we were together?" She asked him quietly.
Harry turned to face her and saw the seriousness of her question. He looked contemplative for a moment before he answered, "Of course I have."
"We always made a great team. Just the two of us."
"We had that weird communication thing where I know what you're saying just by looking at you."
"Not to mention, that if we had gotten married, our towels can simply be monogrammed 'HJP'."
"Towels?" Harry snickered, "Really? Hermione Jean Potter? I like the sound of that."
"Harry, I am a liberated woman. You should be satisfied by taking on my name. Harry James Granger! How does that sound?" Hermione joked laughing.
"Hermione Jean Potter or Harry James Granger? I can't decide, they both just simply roll off the tongue."
The two of them shared in on the laughter between them. Hermione remembered those few occasions where it had just been her and Harry, talking to one another about everything and nothing while being completely at ease with one another. Hermione knew what they had right now was an illusion that belied the turmoil that ached within her. She was weary with the wizarding world. It no longer offered her the spectacular dreams that she once clung to when she was eleven. Everything was now twisted and tainted, and what little innocence that she thought would be left after the war had been extinguished.
Hermione wanted out.
"I'm planning on leaving this. Leaving magic." Hermione boldly stated, but her tone betrayed what she really felt. She was scared, and she wavered between decisions to whether she really wanted to or not.
"You shouldn't run away Hermione. You're the bravest person I know, and the main source of all my strength. All your friends are here. You need to accept that I'm –"
"That's just it Harry!" Hermione shouted, "I can't! I just can't do it anymore. The war took the one thing that mattered to me. How can you handle it Harry? How can you handle all the heartbreak and tragedy that befell you?"
Harry didn't react to Hermione's outburst. Instead, he looked out into the sky and smiled peacefully, "Because all I wanted was for everyone to be happy. Ginny is happy. Ron is happy. Neville is happy. Luna is happy. Even George is happy despite losing Fred. But, most of all, all I wanted was for you, of all people, to be happy. If going through all the misfortune of my life led to that, then that's all that mattered."
Hermione stood up and turned away from him. Her hands clutched her arms as she began shaking uncontrollably as she feebly tried to hold back her emotions. It was a moment later that she turned her body facing him and whispered wistfully, "I want to help you to fulfill your dream of a family. I want us to grow old together. I love you Harry. It was always you I love. Your happiness is my happiness. But…that will never happen now will it?"
Hermione watched as the man she loved stood up and faced her. He gazed at her with a tenderness that only Harry possessed. Gently, he said, "I'm sorry."
And like that, Harry left. Hermione was left alone to her thoughts once more, loneliness and contempt of herself filled her entire vessel. She was a far cry from the passionate soul that had entered the war fully optimistic, the woman she was now was a mere husk of her former being. There were no more tears to be shed; she had done so enough.
It was time to leave.
Hermione graduated from Hogwarts with the highest honors and had the record for scoring the highest in her N.E.W.T. exams in centuries. To everyone in magical society, she would forever be known as the Brightest Witch of the Millennia for her intellectual brilliance and her actions during the Second Wizarding World. Hermione Granger was immortalized in the minds of every wizard and witch out there. Her name was now part of the upper echelons of fame that comprised of Merlin, Albus Dumbledore, and Harry Potter.
However, on the one year anniversary that celebrated the defeat of the Dark Lord Voldemort, Hermione Granger had come to solidify a decision that had been at the forefront of her thoughts since the war ended. As the Hogwarts graduates celebrated becoming alumni to the greatest magical school in Britain, Hermione disappeared amongst the drunken former students at the Three Broomsticks. Her best friend, Ron Weasley, was too busy drinking firewhiskey to notice her absence.
Like a ghost, Hermione had vanished from the wizarding world.
Owls from friends or from potential employers were sent out but always came back with the same letter they were ordered to give. Ron Weasley even went as far as to search Hermione at her own home, but found that the house was sold and empty. For months, the general populace wondered where their heroine had gone, but eventually, life went on and Hermione Granger was no longer their concern. It was only a select few that had cultivated a relationship with the girl that were truly worried, but eventually they gave up just as well.
The magical world enjoyed their time of peace. Ron eventually married Luna after he finally managed to propose in a coherent manner. Neville faced his greatest challenge yet and had managed to become engaged to Ginny. George and Angelina found solace in one another since Fred's death and began to enjoy life, naming their first son Fred in honor of his fallen uncle. Meanwhile, Bill and Fleur started a family, but thankfully decided not to become another Molly and Arthur. Speaking of which, the two grandparents typically spend most of their time spoiling their grandchildren rotten while badgering their son, Charlie, to find a girl or pushing Percy to finally tie the knot with that Audrey girl from the Ministry.
Then, after five years, those closest to Hermione received the shock of their lives. They were all cordially invited to attend Hermione Jean Granger's wedding. For the magicals, there was an extra note that it was going to be a muggle ceremony as many that were attending hadn't an ounce of magic in their blood. However, the surprise was that included in the invitation was a picture of the bride and groom. In the photograph was a beautiful, brown-haired woman with silky curls sporting the happiest smile that one can imagine clinging on to an arm wrapped around her chest that belonged to a handsome, bespectacled, raven-haired young man. Of course, everyone immediately accepted the invitation.
A week before the wedding, Hermione hosted a small reunion of her magical attendees. Tears were shed, and emotions ran rampant throughout the afternoon. To escape the commotion, Hermione discreetly exited into the backyard of the house she bought and settled on the hanging bench in the patio. From the house, she could hear the muffled sounds of her guests being as loud as they can be. She grinned wryly as she had forgotten how rambunctious the Weasley clan could be.
The sun was setting over the horizon, giving the carefully crafted garden a golden glow that warmed her senses. Hermione glanced down at the silver band wrapped around her wedding finger, her eyes softening as she stroked the significant piece of metal gently. She recalled the memories that she had created for herself in the last five years since her departure. Hermione felt peace wash over her as she managed to retrieve that spark to live once again.
As Hermione reminisced, she didn't notice the raven-haired man that took a seat next to her. "Wow. Getting married. Who would've thought?"
A bright smile adorned her features as she chortled, "Too right. Who would have thought that 11 year old Hermione Granger, buck-toothed know-it-all, would grow up to get married to a charming and handsome young man that was wealthy and successful yet would give all that away to be beside the woman he loved?"
"Me." Harry said grinning.
"Oh shut up. I recall you were too busy getting in trouble to give that much thought."
"Too right." Harry agreed. "Although, I've always known you were pretty and very fanciable."
The banter soon died as Hermione turned away from the garden to face Harry. A forlorn look crossed her features as she tentatively said, "I miss you Harry."
Harry's eyes widened for a brief moment before settling on watching Hermione with a shy smile, "You never came to visit."
"I'm sorry." Hermione apologized sincerely.
Harry shook his head dismissively and grinned mischievously, "It's alright! Tell me, do you love this Elijah Hawthorne bloke? He's a handsome enough fellow, but a beauty such as yourself does not settle for good looks alone!"
"I met him three years ago while I was attending university. I was walking around London one day and found this small book shop that sold old and rare books. When I walked in, the owner saw me and asked, 'Bloody hell! I hope you're a customer because the only women I get around here are fifty year old nuns!'" Hermione then smirked, "So I walked right up to him, looked at his nametag, and said, 'Language Elijah! You run a respectable book shop, so the least you could do is act the part of a good-bannered book keeper!'"
By then, both friends howled in laughter. Harry wiped a few tears that escaped his eyes and said, "You never change! But, blimey! A book shop owner! Hermione has met her Prince Charming at last."
"Sod off Harry!"
"I'm just taking the mickey. But honestly Hermione, you're evading my question. Do you love him?" The volume of his voice lowered, his concern not really hidden in his tone.
Hermione sighed heavily, "Yes." She broke eye contact and glanced through the window behind them to find her fiancé chatting excitably with Ron, "But, he doesn't have all of my heart."
"But you're happy right?"
"Yes. I really am." Hermione answered genuinely, "Harry, even now, I still love you. There will always be a part of my heart that belongs to you and you alone." Her expression softened and a warm smile graced her countenance, "But, he was there when I needed a friend. With that friendship, we cultivated a relationship built on trust and respect. I told him about you, my feelings for you, magic, and why I left that world. The greatest thing is? He accepted all of it, and he will continue to do so even though he knows that he could never fully understand what being magical means. We're best friends first, and lovers second. He's not you Harry, but he's not worse or better either. You and I had something that I could never have with another person, but the same goes for what he and I have as well."
As Hermione made that confession, a burden that had long since dredged upon her was finally lifted from her shoulders. While she had thought she was free before, Hermione now recognized that the shackles of guilt, regret, and despair that once chained her to a life of melancholy and indecision had been finally removed from her soul. She regarded Harry with curiosity, wondering what his reaction was. She found him crying freely, tears running down his cheeks freely. He tilted his head forward and lightly pressed his lips unto hers. Harry broke away from the kiss and peered at her with infinite love and affection burning passionately in his emerald eyes.
"That's all I ever wanted."
It was a crisp December morning when Hermione walked through the metal gate that led into the cemetery. Snow had fallen the night before, blanketing the earth with a pure white sheet. Up in the heavens, stretches of clouds covered the sun, darkening Godric's Hollow in a melancholic shadow. With each step she took, Hermione grew more hesitant in her mission. Suddenly, a gentle current suddenly pushed from behind, urging her to continue in a welcoming embrace. A tender ambience settled in the air, and that motivated Hermione to continue forward.
She was a solitary figure amongst the cobblestones of graves as she held in her hands lilies of the valley. As she passed row by row of markers, Hermione stopped at the one she was set on finding. Exactly six years prior, she had stood at nearly the same spot with her best friend. She comforted him with her presence as she cradled his body against hers. Now, she was alone, and there was no one there to comfort her. Hermione knelt down and placed the white, drooping flowers at the base of the tombstone. Hermione smiled as she forcibly held herself back from crying, "I'm sorry I never visited until now. I got you something. I think you would like it." She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. Scrawled onto the parchment were words center aligned. Hermione placed it below the bouquet of flowers so it could not be blown away. It read:
Death is Nothing at All
by Henry Scott Holland
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Hermione extended her arm forward as she ran her fingers through the engraved words of the marble stone tablet in front of her. Tears formed at the bottom of her eyes, but had yet to fall. Her fingers felt the cold stone's temperature rising by her mere touch as if to reassure her that all was fine and forgiven. Her thoughts were on the poem she presented and the significance of the flowers she had laid down. Hermione no longer felt the numbing frost of his memory. It thawed and now she remembered all the little things about him that made her happy. His smile as he glanced at her. The warm look he gave when she appeared. The love and affection that were always present in his actions yet never recognized because of her immaturity. He loved her, and she loved him. She looked at his name one final time and whispered, "Good bye."
HARRY JAMES POTTER
JULY 31, 1980 – MAY 2, 1998
HE GAVE UP ALL TO GIVE US EVERYTHING
Final Note: The two biggest inspirations for this story was a one-shot I read not too long ago called "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" by LadySophieKitty and the poem "Death is Nothing at All" by Henry Scott Holland. A big thank you to MariusDarkWolf for being my Beta, be sure to check out some of his works if you're a Harmony fan.
Anyway, I'm an author that feels compelled to share with the readers my thoughts and feelings I have for my written piece. I noticed that there are hardly any Hermione-focused Harmony fanfics out there recently and it disheartened me. The few that I have read made Hermione into a character that I do not like: A Fandom!Lavender or Super!Ginny clone. While I do agree that Hermione is a teenager girl prone to bouts of emotions, she is also a very intelligent and emotionally mature young woman (Half-Blood Prince notwithstanding). This was my attempt to write a Hermione that had been emotionally damaged by the loss of Harry and being involved in the war and being able to move past that. Also, I noticed that I have come to enjoy writing Hermione-centric fanfiction.