We should all take a page from Hermione's book. Honestly.

Chapter one takes place entirely on September 17th, 1999, two days before Hermione's 20th birthday. The first portion also takes place on this date.

Dates will be in bold type.

xHx


*~*~*Hermione*~*~*


Throwing the contents of her closet into her old school trunk, Hermione knew she wouldn't be returning to this place, the home she'd grown up in. Samantha's appearance made her realize that, by remaining in the home, she placed her parents in direct danger.

The Burrow would be even worse. She'd be endangering eight other people.

Her choices were scant and by no means were any of them ideal, but she couldn't bring herself to place anyone in danger.

She'd have to go on the run again.

That didn't mean she couldn't stop at the Burrow for her twentieth birthday.

-September 18-

Hermione hugged Ginny, easing into the kitchen of the Burrow. It didn't precisely help matters that she'd left her beaded bag here before returning home.

Molly hugged her next and immediately began fussing over her.

"Have you been eating enough lately?"

"Yes, Mrs. Weasley."

"Have you been sleeping well?"

"As well as can be expected, Mrs. Weasley."

"Is something wrong?"

At the sound of this voice, Hermione looked up, her eyes meeting those of George Weasley, in the stairwell leading to the higher floors. He looked horrible.

"It's nothing to be worried about," Hermione said.

"I would've expected you to spend your birthday at home," George added.

"I planned to. Something came up."

"Well, whatever the reason," Mrs. Weasley said, "we're always glad to have you."


*~*~*Dracula*~*~*


The mirror in his prison was beginning to mist over, as if preparing to let him free.

"It is almost time, Hermione," he said softly, taking a sip from his crystal goblet. "Soon...soon you will belong to me."

It was only a matter of hours now.

He could feel it.


*~*~*Hermione*~*~*


Time was the enemy.

Hermione didn't know when she would be in the most danger. The diary was very vague on that point.

She couldn't even sleep.

-September 19-

Hermione was in the kitchen, drinking a mug of coffee. It wasn't even dawn yet. She hadn't gotten a single moment of sleep.

A violent wind blew open the kitchen door. She leaped up, walking to close it, and spotted a rather tall, black figure on the horizon. She froze where she stood for just a moment before, with a gasp, she ran for the other side of the house. She flung that door wide and started running -

Only to smack into the black-clad chest of a tall, dark-haired man.

"No!" Hermione shouted, shoving away, only to fall on her own butt. "Fuck you!"

"Why even try to run?" he said. His voice, barely accented, was something like velvet.

"Because I have hope!" she screamed, scrambling to her feet and running around the side of the Burrow. She wished she'd put her shoes on before going down for coffee, especially as she dashed over the lawn. Finally, she faulted over the garden wall. The Weasleys had left the protective enchantments around their home after the war, meaning she could not Disapparate from within the property.

She ran another two feet, ensuring she'd be out of range of the wards, and closed her eyes, her central thought being to escape him until daylight.


She opened her eyes to the village of Hogsmeade, where she felt distinctly safe from the vampire who chased her. She couldn't figure out exactly why she felt safe - he was a vampire. He could fly. He would be following her as soon as he knew what she'd done.

It was freezing, despite being summer. Hugging herself tightly, she walked up to the front door of Honeyduke's Sweet Shop, knocking loudly.

Lights turned on, but it wasn't fast enough. The birthmark on her shoulder started to itch.

"Not now," she muttered, looking up at the pre-dawn sky. A large, black shape flew toward her. "No." She banged harder on the door. "Please!"

"Useless."

His voice was right at her ear.

She couldn't say anything.

"Sleep, Hermione," he whispered. "When you wake, you shall be home."

She slumped back against him, sleeping quietly.


I'm trying to avoid the cheese factor here. Sorry it's so short.

Love,

xHx