Author’s Note: OMG! I can’t believe it! Chapter 20!!! It seems like I was just beginning to write chapter one! Oh, how time flies. Well, I’ll stop talking and continue with the story!…
525,600 Minutes: In Truths That She Learned, or in Times That He Cried-
Hermione slowly opened her eyes. The red and purple sky gave light to the white morning that met her eyes. The sun was burning red and mysterious through the clouds as it began to rise. A thin, white blanket lightly covered the Astronomy Tower and herself. Gaining awareness of her surroundings she realized that her head was resting on something comfortable and warm. The thing began to shift and she realized that it was the reason she had woken up. All to suddenly the being moved and Hermione’s right side met the ground.
She groaned as she slowly lifted herself back up to meet the eyes of Draco Malfoy, a smirk plastered on his pale face.
“Im, ‘onna ‘ill oo fer tha’ un.” Hermione mumbled as she rubbed the sleep and snow out of her eyes. Unexpectedly, Hermione was picked up and she felt her feet touch solid stone ground. Her eyes adjusted and she finally took in her surroundings.
She and Malfoy were still on the Astronomy Tower, the sun was a beat red and was rising through the clouds and into the sky. A new, thin blanket of snow covered the grounds, the castle, and herself. She turned her attention to Malfoy who was, also, complete covered is snow. Except, that is, for his left side and shoulder, where Hermione had recently been lying. Malfoy began to wipe the snow away and Hermione followed suit, turning her attention to the grounds.
She could see Hagrid’s hut in the distance, smoke billowing from the chimney. She could just make out the giant form of Hagrid in front of the hut, watching on as his dog Fang pouncing in and out of the snow. Her gaze turned to the forest. Where she could see a lone Thestral fly out of it’s depths, circle in the air, and then dive back into the forest.
“Wha’ time is it?” Hermione asked through a yawn.
“7:45.” Malfoy simply replied. Hermione groaned. She had intended to sleep to all ends of this day. Malfoy gave a small chuckle.
“You know, Granger. You’re really a sight in the morning.” he said, trying not to laugh. Hermione looked at Malfoy with a I’m-likely-to-kill-you-look-if-you-even-think-about-saying-something-else, which only made Malfoy want to laugh harder.
Her eyes were half closed, and hazy. Her hair was disheveled, and frizzier than usual. Her shoulders were slouched and she could hardly stay on her own two feet. Plus, the freezing weather didn’t help her demeanor either. Her skin was a rosy red, snow covered her, she was sniffling, and shaking slightly.
“Come on,” Malfoy said through a grin. “It’s freezing and breakfast will start soon.”
Hermione gave a slight huff, and followed Malfoy through the door of the tower just as the sun fully lit the new day’s sky.
Hermione stared into the light of the kitchen fire. The mesmerizing, dancing flames that seemed to calm her body. Dinner was going on above her and she was slightly embarrassed to be the only one eating at the Gryffindor table, as she was the only Gryffindor left in the school. So she found herself in the kitchens.
She didn’t mind. She didn’t want to face anyone at the moment, not really. She just felt like being alone. So many things had gone wrong. Her parents were not supposed to have been attacked and her father was not supposed to be dead. How was it that when everything finally seemed to be going right for once, one simple event had to mess it up.
Her brain began to turn as she looked for an answer to her problems. Not wanting to think about anything, Hermione got up and moved to sit on the rug in front of the fire and let the flames hypnotize her. She sat cross legged on the rug and before she knew it she lost control of the her mind. She was learning how to ride a bike….she was opening presents on Christmas…she was eating chocolate’s from a box….she was sitting at the movies…she was blowing out candles on her birthday cake….she was sitting on her father’s knee as he read her a story….
She couldn’t escape it, no matter what she did. The memories kept flashing in front of her mind, and so did her father. Frustrated at having no control over the issue and wanting to forget, for once, Hermione through he butterbeer bottle, that she clutched, across the room.
“You ought to watch where you throw things, someone could loose an eye.” Malfoy said, a little hint of amusement in his voice. His trade mark smirk was plastered on his face.
Hermione turned around and met Malfoy’s gaze with a teary one. Malfoy’s smirk left his face as he made his way to sit next to her in front of the fire. Hermione turned her gaze back to the fire. Malfoy‘s eyes, on the other hand, rested on Hermione.
He could see the flames of the fire dancing in her eyes and her tears that fell down her face. “Talk, Granger.”
“I don’t want to Malfoy.”
“No, I know you don’t. But you need to, and you know it.” Malfoy turned his body so he was no longer facing the fire, but Hermione. Hermione determinedly focused her eyes on the fire.
“Look at me.” Malfoy said, trying to catch her eyes.
“No.” she barely whispered. Without saying anything else, Malfoy lightly took hold of Hermione’s chin with his thumb and pointer finger and turned Hermione’s face towards him.
She wasn’t crying anymore, but streaks of tears could be seen along her cheeks.
“It hurts.” He stated. He may have sounded a bit cruel, and she may not have wanted to talk about it, but he pursued the topic anyways.
“So much.” she whispered before she once again found herself in the arms of Draco Malfoy.
She didn’t cry anymore. It wasn’t for the fact that she wouldn’t, but she couldn’t. She had cried herself out and there were no more tears to be shed. Just the feeling of heavy ache and loss.
After five minutes, Hermione pulled away from Malfoy and looked him in the eye. She had never seen the look in his eye that he had know, and she couldn’t place it. His eyes were as cold as usual, but there wasn’t something behind them. It was warm, almost kind, and definite understanding.
“Thank you.” she said, her voice barely even managing a whisper. Malfoy merely nodded.
Without realizing what she was doing Hermione slowly leaned closer to Malfoy, closing the small gap between them and placed a delicate kiss on his lips.
Sudden realization dawned upon Hermione and she pulled away from the kiss. She quickly stood, and turned to leave, when something caught her sleeve. She turned around to see Malfoy’s hand clutching to her sleeve, staring into her eyes. Slower than Hermione could have imaged he stood, placed a hand on her cheek, and kissed her again.
Three days later brought the night before Christmas Eve and the funeral of Hermione’s father. Hermione sat in between Harry and Ron, Harry clutching her right hand and Ron her left, as Hermione continually shed tears.
Her blurry gaze left the ground before her as she looked around. Family members, some she had known her whole life and some she had never met before, and friends shared in her grief. All silently mourning the loss of a brother, cousin, nephew, and friend. But what made it worse for Hermione was the fact that her mother, wasn’t not allowed to attend the funeral. The Healer’s at St. Mungo’s said she wasn’t well enough to leave. Hermione cried even harder, her own mother wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral of her husband.
A warm, motherly hand clutched Hermione’s shoulder. Without turning around Hermione knew that it was Mrs. Weasley. Hermione turned completely around and gave the red-headed woman a small smile of appreciation. Mrs. Weasley returned it. Just over Mrs. Weasley’s left shoulder Hermione could make out platinum blonde hair in the last seat in the last row. Hermione’s smile became more genuine as she turned back around.
“Really, Mrs. Weasley.” Hermione said at the end of the gathering after the funeral. “I’ll be fine.”
“Hermione, dear, I insist that you come back to the Burrow with us.”
“Mrs. Weasley, I truly appreciate your invitation.” A flash of blonde hair crossed Hermione’s vision from the shadows of the room. “But I’d like to go back to Hogwarts. I’ll be alright. I promise.”
Mrs. Weasley was opened her mouth to reply, but then closed it. Despite the fact that she believed Hermione shouldn’t be alone, she knew that there was no way she was going to sway the strong-willed girls decision. Instead, she gave a warm smile. “Alright. But I want you to write if anything is wrong.” Hermione nodded and gave the woman a hug.
It was Christmas Eve and the sun was setting.
“Mum, this is Draco Malfoy.” Hermione said, motioning towards Malfoy. A large smile filled Mrs. Granger’s face as she looked at her daughters hand entwined with the boy’s next to her. Hermione knew that she had no explaining to do, for she knew that her mother understood, even in the state that she was in.
“We can’t stay long, since visiting hours are almost over with. But I just,” she paused. It was a simple enough task, but how to go about it Hermione didn’t know.
“Give me your hand Mum,” Jane Granger looked at her daughter with a puzzled look for a few seconds before reaching her hand towards Hermione. “Good,” Hermione smiled. “now close your eyes.” Mrs. Granger once again looked at her daughter in a funny way before doing so.
Holding onto her mother’s wrist and making sure that her eyes stayed closed, Hermione dug into her pocket and pulled out a single gold ring. Hermione lightly placed the gold metal into her mother’s hand, and curled her fingers around it. “There. Happy Christmas, Mum.”
Hermione carefully placed her mother’s hand back at her side. Upon feeling her hand coming in contact with the soft blankets, Mrs. Granger opened her eyes. She stared at her closed hand for a moment before uncurling her fingers. Her eyes lingered on the gold piece of metal, and she knew. Despite her physical and mental state, she knew. A single tear escaped her eye as Jane realized that the piece of jewelry in her hand was her late husband’s wedding ring.
Hermione woke on Christmas morning to the sound of silence and the sight of presents at the foot of her bed. She sat up, and stretched her arms, before crawling to the end of the bed. She eye her presents before picking up a square one.
She carefully took of the shimmering blue paper. Underneath the paper lay a flat, square, violet jewelry box. Hermione opened the box with shaky hands, having no idea who it was from. Once the box was fully opened, Hermione gasped.
A silver locket sat nicely on the crème colored pillow. The locket was in the shape of a rose in full bloom. Her shaky hands did they best they could do to not break the locket in two as she opened it. There, staring back at her was the picture taken the past summer of her and her parents, all three smiling brightly and waving. Her smiled and waved back as tears of joy ran down her cheek.
She reluctantly closed the locket and looked at the back and saw that an engraving in the most beautiful of cursives rested there. It read: Our Precious Rose. Once again opened the locket and stared at the picture.
After a few minutes of staring at the picture, Hermione became aware of the a folded piece of paper, taped to the inside of the top of the box. She quickly grabbed at the letter and opened it to reveal a short message.
To our Hermione, our precious rose. Happy Christmas.
Mom and Dad
Author’s Note: There you have it!!! Chapter 20!!! What do you think? Hope you liked it!
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