So this is something i found on my computer that i had written back when i was 14 and just getting into the series... So i kinda think of it as my first fic. its the first one im posting, too. enjoy!

Disclaimer: as much as i wish i had been the one to come up with the Harry Potter world, i didnt... that all belongs to JKR.

Rayne


Hermione was curled up under a blanket with her favorite book in her lap on Christmas Eve. She clutched a cup of tea in her hand, welcoming the heat from both the warm beverage and the fire before her. The wind blew outside, unyielding, as the snow storm turned into a blizzard. The clock above the mantle struck eight and began chiming a simple melody.

Two years, she thought suddenly. Two years since he left. She moved her gaze from the clock to the entrancing flames. The clock stopped chiming. The last sound rang through the empty house. Then, there was silence. Everything was still, as if frozen. Everything except for the dancing fire.

Hermione sat back to think about the two long years she had spent alone in this house. It had been horrible for her at first, and she spent most of her time at friends' houses. But over time, she had become used to the empty house and the solitude.

Her husband had left two years ago. He had been sent to do something for the Ministry of Magic. He was always doing something for the Ministry, it seemed. Hermione sighed and closed her eyes, picturing the look on his face the last time she had seen him. He had seemed concerned and almost scared. Hermione snorted softly at the thought of her husband being scared.

I have no idea how long I am going to be gone, love, he had told her. But I promise to you, I will see you again.

He and Harry had been asked to lead the group of Aurors, including Neville, Blaise, and a handful of the Weasley family. Hermione, Ginny, Luna, and a few other women would get together every once in a while and talk about anything and everything. They would often bring letters they had received from their husbands. Within the last year, though, the letters had become more and more scarce until they ceased to come at all.

The clock struck eight thirty, making Hermione step from her thoughts. She shifted a bit on the couch, glancing absently at her book, taking a sip of her tea, and staring once more into the fire.

She missed him terribly. She had worried about him nonstop the last couple months, glancing desperately out of the window every couple of minutes, hoping to see his owl, Cissa, with a letter. She knew that he wouldn't want her to worry about him. Not tonight, anyway. He would want her to enjoy herself during the holidays.

She and her friends had spent almost every holiday since the departure of their husbands with the members of the Weasley family that had not left. Mrs. Weasley was more than happy to take them all in during the holidays. She insisted that they shouldn't hesitate to stay longer if they were ever feeling lonely. Hearing this as often as she did made Hermione miss her husband even more. Even so, she took Mrs. Weasley up on her offer quite often. She preferred waking up in an unfamiliar bed to waking up, alone, in her own home.

She wondered briefly why she had chosen to stay home this Christmas. She had wanted to go and be part of the festivities at the Burrow and had almost agreed when Ginny asked her to come by, but after thinking for a moment, she found herself searching for reasons to stay home. She wasn't sure why, but she felt that it was extremely important that she stay there, tonight of all nights.

The clock rang nine fifteen, and Hermione stood, setting her book and tea on the table. She folded her blanket and paused to watch the fire smolder for a moment more. She then glanced at the small Christmas tree. She had bought it with the intention to decorate it, but the ornaments were still packed away in a box in the attic. She set the blanket on the couch, took her empty cup to the kitchen, and started slowly making her way towards the bedroom.

She sat on the edge of the bed, picking up a picture that was sitting on the nightstand. It was a picture of the two of them together the night he had proposed. They were embracing each other and laughing. He kept kissing the ring on her finger, and Hermione remembered that he had told her he loved her and that he didn't deserve her. She spun the wedding band on her finger and smiled at the memory.

She realized that she looked happy in the picture. She tried to remember what that had felt like. It had been pure bliss. She used to act like a love struck school girl around him. He could leave her speechless, something not even Harry or Ron had ever accomplished. He made her feel like she could fly despite her fears when he did something as simple as hug her.

She changed and climbed under the blankets. As she was reaching over to set her wand on the table, she heard a tapping noise on the window. She lifted her want, whispered "lumos," and rose to go to the window.

Sitting on the sill was a large, black owl. She immediately recognized it as Sirius, Harry's owl. Sirius had a small piece of paper in his beak. Hermione opened the window and the familiar owl came in, ruffling its wings and shaking the snow off its head. He let Hermione take the note, and hooted at her in appreciation. With an affectionate nip to her fingers, the dark bird took off and disappeared into the night sky.

Hermione sat on the edge of the bed, opening the small, folded paper with shaking hands.

I have spent so long dreaming of home.

It said nothing else. Her heart began to race and she thought that maybe, just maybe, it was him. No, she told herself. You haven't heard from him in months, and besides, you'd recognize his handwriting anywhere, right? She tried to convince herself of this, but part of her was still optimistic.

It is him, her mind told her. He had wanted to come home for as long as she had wanted to have him back. Her thoughts trailed to the last time she had been as desperate for things to back to normal as she was now.

It had been nine years since Voldemort's defeat. It felt as though the war had ended ages ago, maybe even in a different lifetime. She still recalled exactly what her two closest friends were like at the time. She vividly remembered the year they had spent searching for Horcruxes and the hours they had spent fighting side by side in the final battle. She had seen Harry in Hagrid's arms and had immediately thought he was dead. She could still hear the screams of pure terror as hearts broke and hope vanished. She had looked at Ginny and had never seen the strong, independent woman seem so lost and defeated. She whispered soothing words to her friend, telling Ginny that it was all going to be okay, even though she knew it was a blatant lie.

She had seen Harry appear from beneath that stupid Invisibility Cloak, and couldn't recall ever being so glad to see him. She remembered wanting to run to him and scold him, but just hugging him instead, glad he was still alive. Maybe they would all live, she had thought. Maybe it would all turn out okay. Maybe everything would go back to normal. She needed everything to go back to normal.

She had been thinking this when it happened.

Flashback

She was watching the struggle between the Dark Lord and the Boy Who Lived. Then, before she knew it, she was surrounded. People were firing curses in every direction. She was having trouble determining who was an Auror and who was a Death Eater and settled with shooting a hex at anybody who seemed to be pointing their wand at her.

Behind her, she vaguely heard someone shouting her name, followed by a different voice muttering the killing curse. She had just enough time to turn and glance at her attacker before a solid object shoved her and forced her to the ground. She watched, dazed, as a bolt of green energy whizzed over her.

"Damn, Granger," a rough voice hissed in her ear. "You're lucky I was here."

Hermione glanced up at the man who had saved her and gasped. His platinum blonde hair was messed up and fell over his forehead at awkward angles. His face was covered in dirt and his robes were tattered. His silver eyes gleamed with determination as he rose to his feet again. He offered his hand to Hermione, helping her up as well.

They stood and began to fight back to back as if it was the most natural thing in the world. It was as though they had trained together their whole lives. They cast their spells simultaneously at anyone within range and warned their counterpart as curses were fired back at them.

Finally, after what felt like ages, it was finished. They were breathing heavily, leaning against each other for support. After a moment, Hermione collapsed. He managed to grab her before she hit the ground. He pulled her into his lap and stroked her hair as she began to sob into his chest.

She didn't know why she was crying, but she couldn't stop. Something about what had just occurred had shaken her to her core. Death seemed so real, she realized. It wasn't something that happened to unfortunate villains in stories; suddenly it was something that could happen to her at anytime, and that scared her.

She curled into the unfamiliar embrace of the blonde man she knew so well and allowed herself to be comforted by him. Something about the way he held her and the things he was whispering to her made her feel protected. She somehow knew he wouldn't allow anything to happen to her.

She felt his body shake and looked up at him. She was startled to see him crying as well. She sat up and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her face in his shoulder. She felt him pull her closer.

"It's all going to be over soon," he muttered, his voice shaking.

"Yeah, I think it'll all be done soon enough," she whispered back. She felt him nod. She felt at ease. For the first time in more than a year, she felt certain about the future.

End flashback

She felt herself slowly falling asleep, but was rudely awoken by another owl tapping on the window.

She opened it and let the tawny owl inside. Neville's owl, Gordric, soared into the room and dropped a piece of parchment onto her bed. He didn't even land before flying out of the window. She heard him hoot as he disappeared into the night again.

She cautiously went to the bed and picked the paper up, holding it between her fingers.

Don't fall asleep just yet, I am nearly there.

She dropped it with the other and picked up her wand, lighting it and walking downstairs. She glanced around the room and paused to look at the clock on the mantle as it chimed eleven.

She sat on the couch, watching as the embers of the fire went out. She pulled the blanket over herself again and gripped her wand, waiting for whoever had decided they were going to show up tonight. Her heart was pounding and she couldn't hold her wand steady.

She closed her eyes and thought back to the time she told Harry who she was marrying. It was just six months after the war. He had told her he wasn't sure if he wanted to congratulate her or check her into an asylum for having finally gone bonkers. The next day, Hermione and Ginny had met for coffee to announce some good news only to find that they both had received the same surprise the night before. Their weddings were only one moth apart. Hermione remembered both days well. She fondly recalled how Ron and Harry both looked in their tuxes and how excited both she and Ginny were about the dresses. George had suggested they should dig up Fred, saying there was no way Fred would want to miss either of his sisters' wedding days. She remembered her honeymoon well, the view of the city she had from her room above Paris.

In the years that followed, unexpected truces turned into friendships. After eight years of a famous rivalry, her husband could finally stand in the same room as Ron without making fun of him and he had even become good friends with the Potters. Pansy Weasley now doted on Ron and Blaise spoiled Harry's son like any uncle would. He had given James a toy broom for his fourth birthday. Hermione loved to watch her godson flying around on it. He reminded her of Harry when she had first met him. Young and carefree.

An owl tapped at a window in the kitchen. Hermione stood and let her in. The unusually large snowy owl blinked up at Hermione, and she gasped. It was Cissa, her husband's owl. Her husband had taken her on the trip. She hooted softly up at Hermione before flying into the sitting room to join her own sleeping owl, Tonks. Cissa had dropped another note into her hand as she flew by.

With shaking fingers, she opened the note.

My dear Hermione, please, open the door. It really is freezing out here, and I, like my owl, would much appreciate sitting by the fire a while.

Hermione gasped again, running to the front door and flinging it open.

There he was, standing in the snow, arms crossed over his chest, white blonde hair blowing in the harsh wind, a wide smile on his face.

"Draco!"


And so there you have it. My first fic. Please Review! Reviewing makes authors everywhere happy!

Rayne