Chapter 1 : Loved One Lost
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Hermione spun around while grabbing at her wand. Her nerves were raw with worry and frustration of not being able to find her baby. Two bright blue eyes were staring at her under frozen red fringe.
“Ron, you scared me,” she hissed, before falling into his arms.
“Still no luck?”
The question made hot tears run down her icy cheeks searing them. She had spent the entire day outside in the cold driving wind. It had to be the coldest and snowiest Christmas Eve in her memory. Her cloak was caked with ice and snow. Her fingers were so numb and the gloves frozen that she could barely hold onto the picture.
“No one has seen him. I looked everywhere. How could he run away so fast and into a storm like this? He is going to freeze to death.”
Ron wrapped his arms around her. He completely enveloped her in his arms blocking the harsh winter wind. The lack of the bitter wind and his body warmth thawed her; stopping her teeth from chattering.
“Let’s go in and get something warm in us, before we go back out,” he whispered to her.
“We should keep looking, but I am so cold.” Hermione said to her husband. “What brought you back home?”
“I wanted to check back to see if you found him,” he said opening the front door to their little house.
The comforting smells of their home during Christmas washed over them. Vanilla, cinnamon, and pine filled her nostrils and calmed her. The terrible tragedy of losing her baby on a winter’s day like this destroyed the joy of all the decorating and excitement of the season . They should be entertaining her family or Ron’s tonight. She had everything in the cupboards and icebox. Now they sat there unused as they were out looking in the bitter cold for her baby.
She hoped Ron and her could start their own holiday traditions this year. Their tree was trimmed and sitting dark in the living room by the front window. They had hung their stockings on the hearth, out of the way of the opening so people using the Floo wouldn’t knock them down. It was all going along so perfectly, until they started decorating the outside. Why didn’t she make sure the door was closed? They only had their backs turned for a few minutes before her baby took off.
“Here drink this, Hermione.”
Ron handed her a cup of hot chocolate. She wrapped her cold hands around it. The warmth was comforting and seemed to warm more than just her hands.
“Biscuit?” he asked holding up a decorated butter biscuit.
“Thanks,” she said taking the confection from him. A knock at the door jolted her from the comfort of the moment.
“Hey, did you find him?” said Harry as he stepped through the kitchen door. Ginny stepped in behind him. They both were covered in ice and snow. Ginny’s hair had long icicles hanging in it.
“No, we were taking a break to get warm,” said Ron. “Want some hot chocolate and a biscuit?”
Harry walked over to Ron to grab two hot chocolates from him. Ginny came to her and wrapped her arms around her trying to give comfort, even though she was shivering from the cold. Hermione leaned in to her friend. Ginny’s clothes were ice covered, but it still felt good to be hugged by her.
“We will find him, Hermione,” Ginny said.
Harry handed Ginny a cup of hot chocolate. She took it and held it in her hands for several minutes before taking a sip.
“Do we retrace our steps or try a different tactic?” asked Harry.
“Should we knock on doors and see if someone gave him shelter. Certainly someone wouldn’t let him out in the cold so he doesn’t freeze to death,” Hermione said frantically.
“I am sure that if anyone saw him they would take him in Hermione,” said Ron.
All she could do is nod in agreement. Certainly someone would take him in. He was so cute and lovable. But what if no one did?
“We need to go back out, before he freezes to death,” she stated loudly to the other three.
“Hermione, give us a chance to warm up, please,” pleaded Harry.
“He isn’t getting a chance to get warm.”
“He is if someone took him in,” countered Ron with some heat.
“You don’t love him do you? You always have been jealous of him. I can tell, Ronald,” she shouted at her husband.
She didn’t wait for a reply. She stormed off upstairs to his room. She stepped inside and slammed the door behind her. She took in the room from the little bed to his special Christmas decorations. This was going to be such a wonderful Christmas, but now she wasn’t so sure. Standing in his room, she realized that she was being rather overly dramatic about everything. She was sure the Crookshanks would be fine outside in the nasty winter weather. His coat was a thick as anything she had to wear. She should go down and apologize to Ron, Harry, and Ginny. They were only trying to support her and her concern for her cat.
She opened the door to Crook shanks room and heard Ron talking loudly with Harry and Ginny.
“I’m going to Accio that ruddy cat. Accuse me of not caring. I nearly froze my fingers and toes off this afternoon. Eight hours of searching in the freezing cold and she tells me I don’t care for that mangy cat.”
Hermione heard the kitchen door open. She knew that Ron wasn’t joking.
“Ronald Weasley, don’t you dare summon Crookshanks. You might hurt him,” she yelled at the top of her lungs as she ran down the stairs.
“ACCIO CROOKSHANKS!” he screamed.
“NO!” she shouted at her husband as she saw him Summoning her precious Crookshanks.
“Ronald Weasley you….” She stopped talking as she heard glass bulbs hitting the floor of their sitting room smashing in a high pitched tinkling sound. The next sounds were the scrapping and various noises of their Christmas tree being pulled around the corner of the sitting room entrance into the kitchen.
Hermione only had a second to blink and register Crookshanks clinging to the trunk of the tree as it was being pulled towards Ron. The tree collided with her engulfing and dragging her along with it. Everything finally stopped with a crash.
Hermione was wrapped up in the garland and lights on the tree as it laid on her. She was lying on a squirming and cursing Ron. Crookshanks hopped lightly out of the tree and walked away as if it was annoyed having been disturbed. There were ornaments and bits of garland stretched across the kitchen floor. Every time Ron moved to disentangle himself from the tree, more ornaments fell and broke.
Harry and Ginny were in tears laughing on the other side of the kitchen. Hermione was finally able to get the tree off her, and then she was able to get off of her husband. She looked over her carefully placed decorations as they lay scattered over the kitchen and sitting room. The cause of all their problems was nonchalantly cleaning itself on a bare spot of the kitchen floor. She couldn’t help herself.
“Happy Christmas Ron,” she said cheerfully. “We are all together.”
She hugged her husband and didn’t even start a fight with him when he called Crookshanks a “ruddy menace”.
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