A/N: This was written for the "Happy Birthday, TycheSong!" challenge at The Maple Bookshelf.
Disclaimer: None of the characters included here-in are my property, they all belong either to Queen J.K. Rowling or the horrible genius that is Steve Moffat and the BBC.
Vanished War Heroine Suspected Dead, Friends and Family Mourn
Rita Skeeter Gets Tell-All Interviews From Those Closest to Hermione Granger
A snort bordering on a scoff sounded from the wild-haired woman as she tossed the newspaper back onto the newsstand.
"Just like the Prophet, I leave on a mission for a few days and they twist it into an awful headline."
He offered her a noncommittal noise in response and she turned back to him with a raised brow.
"What was that?"
"What was what?"
"That noise! We were only gone a few days, right? Today is December 31st?"
Again that noise, he was hesitant to offer anything more, thought this time it was accompanied by a shrug of his broad shoulders. Hermione whirled and snatched up the paper again, her eyes scanning quickly past the headlines until they landed on the date.
"December 31st, 2008?" Her voice rose into a shriek. "It's been a year? How could you? You're taking me back, right now!" She attempted to storm past him, back towards where he could see his beautiful blue box in the distance, but came to a reluctant stop when he gained a firm grip on her arm.
"Hermione, wait-" he attempted to explain, but stopped when the petite brunette brandished her wand in his direction.
"No, Doctor, I will not wait. You promised me, not to mention the Ministry, that our little expedition would only take a few days. And then you return me to London only for it to be discovered that a year has passed and everyone thinks I'm dead. So we are going back to the TARDIS and you are taking me back to where I'm supposed to be and we can all continue as if this never happened."
He winced at the vehemence in her voice and then felt the flicker of irritation as he processed her words.
"Never happened? Never happened, Hermione?" He demanded incredulously. "I don't care if you are only twenty-eight. You have five cats. I saved you from a terribly dull spinsterhood. And you want to pretend it never happened?"
"Twenty-nine," she muttered mutinously, earning a sharp glare from him.
"Don't be ridiculous. You're still twenty-eight, we were only gone a few weeks. You're just twenty-eight a year later."
Her cheeks flushed at her error, a sight he had grown familiar with over their time together. Hermione Granger was not a woman who was accustomed to being wrong, but her reactions really were fantastic when she was. Of course, he had a wealth of information with which to goad her into those pretty blushes and flustered explanations, even the being the brightest woman in her world gave her nothing in the face of the knowledge of a timelord.
She could, however, still be a bit dangerous when her temper flared, as evidenced by the slim stick currently threatening his person.
"Hermione," he started again, hesitating and gently directing her wand away from his chest before admitting, "I can't take you back."
Her entire body visibly tensed and for a moment he was certain he was going to personally experience one of those curses she had told him so much about. He couldn't help but wonder for just a moment how exactly it would affect him, but he was fortunate enough to not have to find out as she wilted instead.
Her voice tiny and more timid than he had ever heard before, she asked, "Can't you, please?"
Any remaining ire he felt vanished at the suddenly lost look in her eyes. "At this point, it would create a paradox. If it could be done, the TARDIS would have taken us there instead of here."
She was silent for a moment; he could almost see the gears turning in her head before she again spoke. "I think I need a drink."
He couldn't help but show his surprise at that, the woman hadn't imbibed a drop in the time he'd known her. But if that was what the lady wanted… He spread his hands wide and remarked, "I believe we've come to the right place, then.
" She look around as if realizing for the first time that they were standing in the middle of Diagon Alley on New Year's Eve and there were parties echoing all around.
"What if someone recognizes me?" She asked dubiously.
He suppressed a chuckle at that, gesturing toward the TARDIS with a pointed look and advising with a broad wink, "Put on something slinky, you'll blend right in."
She opened her mouth as if to protest and then seemed to reconsider, turning without another word and walking away. He gazed after her from a moment, appreciating the sheen of her hair in the torchlight and the gentle sway of her hips before turning his attention back to the world at large.
The sounds of the New Year were echoing off the stone buildings, laughter and music filled the air. These wizards really weren't so different from the rest of the humans, no matter what they may like to think.
A faint trace of Auld Lang Syne reached his ears, bringing a smile to his face. He loved the song, it was eerily reminiscent of the songs of Gallifrey and it always reminded him of coming home. With the smile though, came the twinge of sadness as the memories of his lost home started to crowd in.
He was suddenly jolted from his bitter reverie by a familiar, raspy voice asking, "Doctor? Doctor, are you okay?"
He spun on his heels and his jaw dropped as he took in the sight confronting him. She had apparently taken his advice seriously, he wasn't sure where the TARDIS had come up with her current outfit, but it was suitable to say the least. She wore a black lace sheath that only just teased at her thighs and clung to her curves in all the right places, paired with heels that made her slim legs go on for miles and her hair somewhat tamed into a twist atop her head.
He stuttered for a minute before managing, "Yes, yes, I'd say you'll blend right it."
She offered a broad grin at this affirmation of her success before looping her arm through his and dragging him toward where light and sound was spilling from the nearest pub. They blended with the crush of the crowd seeming just in time, a loud, drunken "TEN!" sounding from the crowd as they entered.
Acting on an impulse he stopped, again grabbing her arm and tugging her about to face him.
Her eyes met his, questioning but sparkling with the infectious atmosphere of the party.
"What?" she mouthed under the roar of the crowd.
Instead of answering, he acted, wrapping one strong arm around her waist and tugging her flush against him.
Her amber eyes widened, her lips parted, and he ducked down, pressing his lips to hers. He barely heard the crowd around them counting down to one as they kissed.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed, don't forget to review!