To Disappear Through Time
Number 12 Grimmauld Place was mostly unchanged in decor since its days as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, but it was cleaner and the screeching portrait had been removed. Another noticeable change was that it was much quieter. And much more empty.
Hermione sat alone in the study, books surrounding her. You always were my nearest and dearest, weren't you? she thought sadly, surveying them. She was alone; there was no denying it, in the house and in life. Harry and Ginny were somewhere halfway around the world, she wasn't sure where anymore. Their owls had come sparingly at first and eventually stopped altogether.
Harry had practically given her Grimmauld Place, stating that there were just too many bad memories. He and his new wife were traveling, Harry finding that there was more to this world than being The Boy Who Lived, and Ginny living the life of leisure and luxury that she had always wished for.
And she was just here. Her job was mediocre at best. Because she was unwilling to let her name carry her though life, she didn't take a job with the Ministry. Or a magical job at all, actually. She worked at a Muggle bookstore in London, shelving books and ringing up customers and the like. At first it was refreshing to shelve books she hadn't already read and discover new authors, but now it had become grating to do everything without magic and hide her magical side. She just didn't know what she wanted to do anymore. Everything that had been planned for her - marriage to Ron, a job at the Ministry, red-headed children - were not her plans so much as they were plans made for her by others.
And by the time she realized that's not what she wanted, she had gone along with it for so long that it backfired on her in the worst way possible.
A drop of moisture fell to the parchment in front of her and she realized that she had actually let her emotions get the best of her. She wiped it away impatiently and tried to return her attention to her book.
"...Sometimes you cry, Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time...""Tell me about it," she said to herself softly as she read. Partially through the next page, she realized there was a new sound in the house. Footsteps sounded on the floor above her, moving quite confidently and making no move to silence themselves. Immediately the hair on the back of her neck stood up and she drew her wand ready. No one ever came here anymore, neither Harry and Ginny nor any of the Weasleys. And even if they were to come, certainly they'd apparate to the first floor rather than the third. Undecided on whether to search out the intruder or wait for them to come to her, she decided it to wait. No chance that it was a Muggle, for she had left all of the original wards and charms on the house, save for the Fidelius charm.
The unknown person was descending the stairs. She heard the doors to the bedroom being opened one by one. Holding her breath and readying her wand, she waited for the door to the study to open. Moments slipped by as molasses before the door finally creaked open to reveal - - absolutely nothing.
"R-reveal yourself!" she stammered, hating her voice for sounding so weak. There was a pause before the swishing sound of fabric moving and there appeared the head of none other than Sirius Black, looking no different than the last she had seen him, years ago.
"Where is everyone, Hermione?"