Chapter 1 : The Report
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Dear Miss Granger,
Magic Matches Incorporated wishes to thank-you for returning in your personality report so quickly, and we were very pleased when it came in as detailed as it was. The following is a detailed run down on how our services work.
Your personality report has been entered into our system of over one thousand witches and wizards and soon the perfect match will be made by one of our many specialized personality analysts. Your core values, interests and the rest of the information you filled in about yourself will be taken into account in assuring the success of your future relationship with your match. Compatibility is our number one priority.
Once the match has been made an owl will be assigned to the pair of you, at no extra cost of course. The owl will be able to track you, no matter where you are, this so that your letters reach you. This also allows you to keep in contact without revealing information about your whereabouts, or any personal information you wish to remain in confidence. Magic Matches Inc will never disclose any information regarding your match to you, or vice versa, unless otherwise stated on the report we received. It is of your own free will and judgement that you and your match share intimate details about yourselves.
In keeping with the second point, you and your match will use the nicknames you have chosen for yourself on your personality report. It is your choice to reveal your true identity. (If you feel at all pressured by your match to reveal yourself, please report him or her to us at once. Your safety is our responsibility.)
If, for any reason, you do not feel that you and your match are compatible you have the right to owl us and revoke the match at no extra cost to you. If you wish to resubmit your report for another match, please feel free to do so. A record of unsuccessful matches will be kept .
We would like to thank you again for your prompt reply. If you have any questions regarding our services or if you would like the status on our progress of your report please feel free to owl us and we will gladly help you in any way you can.
Founder, Magic Matches Incorporated.
Hermione sat at her quaint kitchen table, mug of tea growing cold in front of her. She was trying to burn holes in the letter she’d received, not ten minutes previous, with her eyes. Hermione Granger had not, and had certainly never even thought about, sending a personality report to the horrid match making company. A small sigh escaped as she touched her wand to the cup to warm it again.
After pushing a couple of stray hairs from her face, Hermione looked up from the letter for the first time since she had received it. The morning light shone in through her kitchen windows and she faintly heard the chirping of a bird off in the distance.
It’s going to be a glorious day, he would have loved this.
She let her mind wander off, a small sad expression on her face, though it did not take Hermione long to return to the letter before her. Of course she knew who had sent it in for her. No one knew her better, and no one else had more guts, than her best friend Ginny.
Hermione tried to stay calm, knowing well enough that Ginny was simply worried for her. She had not been herself since the accident involving Ron; Hermione knew that both she and Ginny missed the old her, the real her. Hermione was slowly growing worried for herself, though she would never admit it. Not out loud at least. Hermione cleared her throat, and head, it had been a while since she allowed the memory of her beloved Ron to enter her mind. She had become very good at suppressing the hurt.
Another sigh escaped the brunette as she reached for her tea and drank greedily, burning her tongue in the process. She grunted and slammed the mug now, spilling the liquid over the piece of parchment. Hermione, being the tidy person she was, cursed to herself as grabbed the tea-towel that sat a foot away from her and slowly mopped up the mess she had made. Hermione, since Ron’s accident, had grown more temperamental and slowly became easier to aggravate; much to the dismay of her close friends and relatives. They knew, though, why she had become this way; all of them shared the pain of losing him.
As calmly as she could, Hermione reached forward to grab a piece of parchment and a muggle pen; she found them to be more efficient than quills. Quickly, not bothering to allow the pen to leave the paper, she scrawled seven simple words.
Get your arse over here now.
She stood, knowing that her words would get the red head over in as much time it took to say “Butter beer”. Hermione grabbed the note and headed for her bedroom where her owl was perched, his head tucked under his wing.
“Sebastian.” Hermione cooed to the mid-sized snowy owl Ron had gotten her only three years previous. “I’ve got a letter for you to deliver.” She finally roused him with soft caresses and the bird shook himself out before presenting her with his leg. She fashioned the note to him, before smiling and patting him on his head. “To Ginny please.” She cooed, offering a small owl treat as she did so. Sebastian happily took it before spreading his wings and soaring out of the bedroom window.
She watched the bird until he was out of view, when he was she turned to her wardrobe; she did not want to be wearing her night clothes when her friend arrived. After picking a pastel green, v-neck sweater, a pair of dark washed blue jeans and simple black flats, she moved back to the kitchen. The clock above the arch told her that it was just past eight; Hermione knew that Ginny would be awake. She always saw Harry off to work, and she had two small boys; James, who was five, and Albus who had just turned two. Hermione grabbed her lukewarm tea and stood looking out of the kitchen window. The rolling hills of the countryside amazed her, and she knew Ron loved them too; that was, after all, the reason they bought the quaint cottage. That and it was only a few kilometres from Ottery St. Catchpole, Ron’s beloved place of residence for the majority of his life.
A squirrel ran into the brunette’s view and she could not help letting her lip twitch upward slightly in a small smile. Nature had always had that affect on her, no matter the mood she was in.
How simple the life must be. I wish I could just run, not a care in the world. Hermione’s eyes glazed over as the simple image of her taking off passed through her mind. A few moments passed her by.
She was not certain when the squirrel disappeared, but her mind let go of the thought when she heard the fireplace in her living room roar with the arrival of her guest. The pattering of little feet sounded. They were running towards her, shouting the nonsense that they tended to. Before Hermione turned, she shook her head and smiled. She never let the children see her while she was not smiling.
“Auntie my-knee!” James called, running toward her, wrapping his arms around her legs. She broke away only so she could turn and crouch to his level. Albus was quick by his heels and soon the two boys had knocked her on her behind, nearly smothering her with hugs. It seemed as if they had not seen her in ages when in reality it had only been a little over a week.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile genuinely, it was hard not to; the children’s happiness was infectious. She had not realized how much she had needed the hug before they arrived. When Ginny entered the room brushing the ash off of her clothing she gave Hermione a small, knowing smile.
“All right boys, let your dear Aunt get up.” Ginny chuckled, allowing them time to give their Aunt a kiss on the cheek each before getting up. “Go play in the garden. But be sure to stay where we can see you.” She called after them. They had taken off after she told them to play. The small red head huffed and sat in the chair Hermione had been in when she read the letter.
“Why did you call me over?” Ginny chewed on her bottom lip, obviously hoping nothing was too terribly wrong. Of course she knew something was bothering her friend, the note gave it all away; it was written haphazardly, and that wasn’t like Hermione. For the thirteen years she had come to grow a friendship with her, Hermione was always tidy. And she always took care to make sure people could actually read her letters.
Hermione grabbed a mug from the cupboard, started the kettle and turned to Ginny. “Magic Matches Incorporated?” Her voice was calm, though her eyes suggested that she was not so happy under the surface. Ginny simply sighed and noticed the letter from the company, still slightly soggy from Hermione’s spill, beside her.
“’Mione, sweetie, I had to do it.”
“You absolutely did not have to do anything of the sort, Ginny.” Hermione’s voice grew hoarse, a sign of upset that Ginny had grown accustomed to within the previous two years.
Ginny stood, moving to her friend. She took hold of her small, shaking hands and looked into her friends honey brown eyes. Concern was flooding Ginny’s face.
“Hermione, look at me.” Her head moved in sync with Hermione’s when she tried to look away. “Harry and I are both worried about you. We think it’s about time, you know, to move on.” Ginny felt the burn of threatening tears in the back of her eyes, she knew that Hermione felt them as well. “It’s been almost two and a half years.” Hermione opened her mouth to retort but Ginny kept on speaking, her voice sounding as if she was scolding one of her boys causing Hermione’s eyebrows to knit together. “You spend all of your time at work, or here at home. When we do finally get to see you, as little as we do, you look much older than you are.” Ginny sighed, looking defeated.
"‘Mione, you are draining yourself. You deserve to be happy; you know that is what he would have wanted for you.”
“I am fine. And, as a matter of fact, I very well know how long it has been, Ginny.” Hermione snapped after Ginny finally stopped talking, and she pulled her hands out of Ginny’s. The brunette found everything her friend said to be absurd; though it was not that far from the truth. Hermione had lost quite a bit of weight and the sparkle that had touched her eyes even throughout the war. Her demeanour had changed from well groomed to slouchy and uncaring. Hermione had stopped living life when Ron lost his, she found herself simply surviving. Hermione had started to acknowledge the truth lately – as much as she would deny it – and it had begun to scare her.
The kettle began to howl and Hermione turned, grabbed the pot and poured the boiling water into the mug whilst throwing a bag of chamomile tea in with it. A few tears fell down her face, and she sniffed after wiping her burning brown eyes on her sleeve. “I was there, remember?” The brunette attempted to stifle a sob, to no avail. After a few more failed attempts she stopped fighting it and everything finally flowed freely from her.
Hermione cried, though somehow she managed to hiccup and the words she had been avoiding since the accident tumbled from her lips. “I-It was m-my f-f-fault.”
The kettle slammed down on the stove element, the tears filled her eyes and spilled out as if she had never cried before. Groans filled the kitchen; somewhere in the back of her mind Hermione was thankful that the redhead had sent the children to play. Hermione felt Ginny’s arms around her then in an instant everything went away. Hermione felt nothing, saw nothing and did not even hear the soothing words coming from her friend. The tears no longer burned her eyes and after a while the hoarse cries hardly phased her throat. Hermione had gone numb. Completely numb.
AN: Hello everyone, hope you enjoyed. Let me know what you think! Don't worry, the whole story isn't depressing, only the first few chapters are. Anyways, yeah. Review away!
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