The next morning, with a rather large yawn and a long sigh, Hermione dragged herself out of her warm bed. She shivered as the cool air washed over her and hurriedly threw her house coat on. Glancing out of the window, she saw that it was snowing again. Big fluffy snowflakes, perfect for making snowmen she thought mournfully. The falling snow was quickly coating the streets and buildings below with a soft blanket and Hermione couldn't help but sigh. Fresh snow made everything look clean, and new, and beautiful in her mind. Normally, fresh snow on Christmas Eve was a good sign that would inspire happiness in Hermione, but this year all it could do was make her smile slightly and remember a few Christmases earlier spent with her best friends in her favorite place.
Of course these thoughts quickly led to thoughts of Harry and Hermione found herself thinking of what he would say if he could see what she was seeing. Harry and Hermione felt the same way about snow. They both loved the way it could make everything seem brighter and happier. The way falling snow always made every landscape look like a Christmas card and the way it immediately put you in the holiday spirit. Ron never understood their fascination with it. He liked to play in it as much as the next person but he thought it was wet, and cold, and that was it.
Hermione tore her gaze away from the window and quietly padded into her kitchen. An owl was waiting for her with the Canadian wizard paper, The Daily Spark, in the middle of her counter. She fished out a knut (Canadian Wizards used the same currency as British Wizards) from the container on her counter and placed it in the owl's pouch. The owl gave a small hoot and flew out of the window she always kept open. Luckily she had been able to find a spell that stopped the cold air as well as unwanted creatures from entering through it. Then she sat down in her usual morning seat at the head of her counter with her paper in hand. Unwilling to make breakfast the muggle way, she pulled her wand out of her pocket and with a few quick jabs she conjured a steaming cup of coffee and a plate of pancakes with butter and syrup.
She ate her breakfast as she read the newspaper. Nothing new had happened in the world and the paper was full of human interest stories and articles about the holiday season. After realizing that there was really nothing of importance in the paper, Hermione neatly folded it up and placed her breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. After another glance at the beautiful day unfolding outside, Hermione decided to go for a run. After all, it's not like I have anything else to do and I havenít run for a few days. She returned to her bedroom and pulled on a pair of jogging pants and a long sleeved shirt. Then she took out her wand and muttered a newly discovered spell that would make her clothing weather proof and warm. I suppose there are lots of benefits to being a witch she thought as she closed her door behind her and locked it with a snap of her fingers.
She set out at a light jog and made her was to the frozen canal a few streets away. It was her favorite place to run. Today there were a few families skating down the ice and she smiled as she passed the children just learning and the older ones chasing each other. This of course reminded her that she had no family with her which made her lonely again. Soon she stopped looking at the canal and turned her attention towards the falling snow and the bright decorations. The snow always seemed to make her feel just a little bit better and when she returned to her flat just over an hour later, Hermione was in much better spirits.
By this time it was just past eleven o'clock and Crookshanks was awake and hungry. He was waiting patiently by his bowl when she walked in and shook the snow out of her hair. A loud meow drew her attention to him and she walked over to fill his bowl with cat food. Then she filled his water bowl with water and scratched behind his ears for him. He gave a loud purr of thanks before turning his attention to his breakfast. Hermione couldn't help but smile. At least I'm not totally alone. Then again, how pathetic is it that at 21, my only company is my ageing cat. Her smile faded as she thought about her solitary existence for what had to be the tenth time that morning. She slowly drank a glass of water and made her way into her bathroom with the thought of a nice warm shower in mind.
As she let the hot water stream down her body, she couldn't help but think about what Harry was doing. Was he possibly thinking about her? She stepped out of the shower and turned her thoughts towards what she was going to wear. After a moments deliberation she decided on a pair of red corduroy pants and a sparkly white long sleeved sweater. Then she returned to her bathroom where for the first time in a long time she brushed and blow-dried her hair by hand. I don't have anything better to do anyway she thought mournfully as she blew her hair into soft waves.
The day dragged on and Hermione found the smallest things reminded her of people, places, and times from her past. She sent her Christmas presents off to their recipients, some by owl some by other means. Then she managed to occupy herself by opening her own presents from her family and friends. Most were predictably books, but she also received a new set of quills from her parents and a new sweater from Ginny. Hermione spent the next little whole skimming the titles of her new volumes. Most had something to do with fighting the dark arts but one or two were about history and a few were about different spells and charms. Imagine that thought Hermione sarcastically as she placed them in her library. Hermione's Christmas and birthday presents always seemed to be the same, either a book or something related to work. At least Ginny occasionally got her something different, but never something that made her say wow.
She let out a long sigh as she put the last of the wrappings into the trash. She felt her stomach ruble and was glad to pass the next hour making herself something to eat, eating it and cleaning up. When she had finished, she looked at the clock on her mantle and let out a small sound of frustration when she saw that it was only quarter after five. All Hermione wanted was for the holidays to be over. In a final desperate attempt to distract herself, she began to read one of her more interesting presents
By the time she had finished, the sky was black and the stars were twinkling in it. She walked over to the window and looked at the city below. She had to admit that Christmas Eve in Ottawa was beautiful. The streets were lined with small, white lights and the houses were decorated with bright colored ones. The city was a mass of twinkling lights and the air seemed to shimmer with excitement. After awhile she tore her eyes away from the view and turned towards her kitchen. After briefly considering making some dinner, she turned back to her couch and the bowl of M&Ms sitting on the table before it. Minutes passed as she looked at her tree and ate the candy.
She was about to go to bed when a soft knocking sound stopped her. Her first thought was that she was imagining it, when she heard another knock, louder this time. Unsure of what to do, Hermione stood frozen. A third knock unfroze her and she sprang towards the door. She hurriedly unlocked it and threw it open. Nothing could have prepared her for what she found standing in her doorway.
(A/N - I just wanted to let everyone know that this is going to be a short story. I hope you all like it. Reviews are appreciated.)