Chapter 1 : Ornaments
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Hermione sighed as the lights blinked of and on the tree before her. It was Christmas and she was alone. Her hands sorted through the ornaments, each one bringing forth a memory. A golden snitch reminded her of Harry; a small dove was Ginny. Her hand clasped tightly the around the knight on a charger as a tear rolled down her cheek in memory of Ron. More ornaments were drawn out of the box, more memories that made her sad. She knew she should have waited to decorate the tree, but it was healing to remember.
All were gone and she was all alone. She gently placed each ornament on the tree, wrapping a festive red and gold garland around it when she was done. It would have to do, she decided. She felt another tear roll down her cheek as she picked up the purple-robed angel to place at the top. It's eyes twinkled so like Albus Dumbledore's. How she missed him, the grandfatherly type Headmaster that had made Hogwarts feel like home for so many. Now home was this small apartment, filled with the ghosts of her past.
The Order had won the Final Battle, but at what a cost, so many lost on both sides. They would have been twenty that year, still so much to live for. She was left to carry on the memories, she was left to remind the World what bigotry could do. This year's tree was a fitting memorial, her hands caressed each remembered friend and her tears slowly dried. There was a gaping spot, and one last ornament still lay in its tissue. She wasn't ready for that one.
She watched through the window, the snow drifted down in lazy flakes covering the trees and sidewalks. A winter wonderland, the Christmas lights from outside twinkling merrily through the light storm. Soon the clocks would chime, and still she was alone; just memories to hold her.
“You forgot one,” A voice said behind her, slipping dark clothed arms tightly around her; resting his chin lightly in her brushy brunette hair. She smiled in happiness, for now she wasn't alone.
“I haven't forgotten it, Severus. I was waiting on you.” She turned in his arms, the tears still shining in her eyes as she gazed upon her lover of the past four years. They had found each other in Diagon Alley one day, and had drifted together and found love. She had had to pursue him, for he had feared their age difference.
His lips lowered to brush hers, and her hands boldly tugged through his hair as they deepened the kiss. The hardness of his body warmed her, as she became breathless with longing.
With reluctance they broke apart, still wrapped together. Severus kissed her temple and reached a hand into the box, pushing aside the tissue paper. Exposed to their sight was a snake and a lion, entwined on a silver and gold ribbon. As one they hung it on the tree, surrounded in the lights and remembered.
From his pocket Snape pulled a silver ferret and hung it just below theirs. “Finally found a fitting one for him. I can't believe that its been ten long years since Harry defeated You-know-who. So much to remember, so much to never forget.”
“It's perfect now,” Hermione said, snuggling closer into his arms. They tightened around her, not letting her forget that she was cherished.
“Merry Christmas, my love.” Severus said, holding her tight, the snow falling gently outside.
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