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Chapter 1 : My Skin
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Hey guys! A few notes before I begin the first chapter of Gold Dust and they are thus: it must be dedicated to the wonderful Kalina (psychée at tda or Elesphyl here) for kicking me into writing a dramione. Second; the story title, Gold Dust, is very relevant to the plot so bear with me XD it'll all be explained in chapter two. And thirdly, I'm not too fond of this chapter.
But I'd really appreciate reviews! Reviews make the world go round and spur me on to continuing a story P: Love you all. < 3
Beautiful chapter image by the_tofuubeaver at TDA!
Hermione had never felt so morose in her entire life. She stood in the graveyard with her shoulders hunched and her head bowed against the gentle rain, feeling the weight of the world on her back. Her mother was still sobbing wretchedly beside her. The funeral had been over for an hour but the two women couldn’t bring themselves to move, despite the fact that the sky was only getting darker.
This wasn’t right. This wasn’t him. Jacob Granger wasn’t a black marble headstone on a fresh patch of earth, he was a smiling man in his early fifties with brown hair and glasses. He was a dentist, not a grave. Hermione sank to her knees in the damp mud and let out a dry sob.
She had never felt more useless in her life.
“Can’t you… can’t you do something?” Alison wept, kneeling beside her daughter. Neither woman seemed to notice the damn seeping through their clothes as they slouched before the grave. “Isn’t there something your magic can do…?”
Hermione hated it. Throughout her life she had stood proud as the first witch in her family, feeling that magic was the most precious gift she could have been given. Now she found herself wondering what the point of magic was, if it couldn’t bring her father back.
“I wish.” she breathed, hearing the words leave her mouth but not feeling them. “I wish I could, with all my heart. I’d give it all up to bring daddy back.”
Across the graveyard, standing partially concealed behind a vast stone angel, a suited figure watched the two women weep over the newest grave. He hadn’t been at the funeral, despite the fact that Jacob Granger had been a friend and colleague for over seven months, out of respect for the recently deceased’s family.
He looked up at the angel and felt an ironic smirk tug at the corner of his mouth. Jacob had implored him once to watch out for his daughter should anything happen to him. Well something had definitely happened to him, that much was obvious.
The closed casket had ensured that his family didn’t know just how much had happened to him.
Not seeing the figure, Hermione shakily got to her feet and took three deep breaths, her face spattered with cool rain. In order to calm herself down she needed a plan… something to keep her busy and take her mind off the fact that she was never going to smile up at her father again, that he was never going to be present at her wedding or the birth of her first child or -
Letting out a wretched sob, she sank back to the ground. This was not how she expected to be one year out of Hogwarts. While Harry and Ron were abroad training to be Aurors she had decided to take a year off before attending finishing school at her mother’s wish. Then, in February, Alison had confided to Hermione that she thought Jacob was having an affair.
It had been so out of the blue that Hermione hadn’t known what to say. Sure, her father did seem to be a lot more secretive these days, and he was spending more and more time at work, but she had never for a second suspected he was seeing someone else.
Then, two days ago, she had picked up the phone to be informed by a muggle police officer that her father had been in a car accident. He had been killed on impact, swerving to avoid a child on a scooter.
Hermione’s entire life had fallen apart during the duration of that one telephone call. She knew, however, that once Harry and Ron rushed back from wherever they were she would at least have the solace of her two best friends. Alison was slipping further and further away, convinced that her unspoken accusations of adultery had killed her husband, and Hermione needed someone, anyone, to talk to.
She wiped the tears away from her cheeks and gripped her mother by the arms. “Come on mum. Let’s go home.” she said, heaving the woman up. “I’ll make you a cup of tea. Aunt Moira and Uncle Frank should arrive from Belgium this evening, they’ll probably want to visit the… the grave… so you can come back then.”
They struggled to the gates, Alison’s feet didn’t seem to want to leave the graveyard and she stumbled a few times. Her brother, Hermione’s Uncle Lucas, had waited patiently in the car for over an hour as they said their goodbyes to Jacob, and strode forward to bodily haul his sister back to the vehicle when he saw them coming.
Hermione followed, head bowed. Was this how she was to spend the rest of her life? Hunched over in dark clothes, in mourning for the father that she hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye to?
The silly ‘I love you’ that passed between them every morning before he left for work did little to ease her pain. On the day of his death nothing irregular had happened; he had left while she was eating breakfast, kissing her head and calling goodbye on his way out of the flat. Alison had been washing the dishes, humming along to the radio.
“What are you going to spend the day doing?” she had asked her daughter once Jacob had closed the door. “When was the last time you wrote to your friends?”
Hermione had shot her a look. “I write to them every week, mother.” she sighed. “And they write back and most of the time I read bits out to you so you know what they’ve been doing. Honestly, talk about going senile.”
Alison had flicked soap suds at her and continued with the dishes.
Then, at nine thirty, the telephone rang. When she first answered the phone, before the man had a chance to introduce himself as Chief Constable someone or the other, Hermione had paused to wonder if she had heard his voice before. He sounded oddly familiar…
When he informed her that her father had died, she forgot all about it. Sitting in the back of Uncle Lucas’s Toyota the voice returned to her, repeating the words ‘Miss Granger?’… but it wasn’t as though her mind was taunting her with the memory. Something about the way he spoke her surname sounded so familiar. It was nagging in the back of her skull, too far to recognise, and Hermione found herself to wrapped up in trying to recognise it that she didn’t realise her mother was speaking to her.
“- just isn’t fair.” she was saying, voice tired from an afternoon of crying. She was slouched back in the front passenger seat with her eyes half closed and her head lolling against the door. “Is this God punishing me, Hermione? For doubting that my Jacob… my Jacob… was faithful?”
Hermione leaned forward and touched her mother’s shoulder. “No, mum. It was an accident, and there was nothing anyone could do.” she replied, voice breaking. “It was just an accident. Daddy died to avoid hitting a child.”
“Oh that’s bloody marvellous.” Alison choked, tears rolling freely down her cheeks. “Well I’ve half a mind to find that brat’s parents.”
“They sent flowers, Al.” Lucas murmured, steering the car around a corner. “The kid was out with his nanny at the time, they didn’t see Jacob coming. It was all explained in the card.”
This didn’t seem to console Alison at all. She bent forward and sobbed into her hands - Hermione, who had no words of comfort left to offer, sat back and watched London pass by the car windows. It was a suitably dark day for a funeral, yesterday’s brilliant sun had withheld for them and was currently hiding behind a thick bank of grey clouds.
By the time they arrived at Lucas’s townhouse the rain was hammering heavily on the roof of the car and Alison had cried herself to sleep. Hermione trudged dully up the steps, barely noticing that the maid took her coat and hat.
“An owl ’as ’arrived for you, Miss ’Ermione.” she said, voice slurred by a heavy French accent. “It left a letter for you, in ze bedroom.”
Hermione nodded mutely, thinking that it must be Harry and Ronald’s reply. Hopefully telling her that they were on their way back to England. She left her Uncle and the maid to carry Alison into the living room and jogged up the stairs. Lucas’s home was larger than hers by far and for the first time Hermione was glad they were staying here. Home just wouldn’t feel like home when her father wasn’t there.
The flat was going to be strange and alien to her, she just knew it.
The letter that Ana had referred to was sitting on her bed. It was indeed written in Harry’s untidy scrawl and before she even started to read Hermione felt comforted by it’s familiarity. When her eyes read the word ‘sorry’, however, she felt the comfort slipping away. They were too busy with training to come home for her.
By the end of the apologetic letter she had scrunched the envelope into an angry ball in her fist and felt the tears spring to her eyes again. So her father had died and her two best friends, who not a year ago had fought the worst evil in the wizarding world with her, considered themselves too busy to return home.
She threw the paper to the floor and collapsed onto the bed, sobbing uncontrollably. It wasn’t fair. Nothing was fair.
“Miss ‘Ermione? Would you like some paper to reply?” Ana’s voice came through the closed door in a soothing tone. “I ‘ave some scented paper from Paris, it is-”
“No thankyou, Ana.” Hermione interrupted, hastily wiping away the tears with the back of her sleeve. “I won’t be replying. Is my mother asleep?”
Hermione sniffed and got to her feet, straightening down the black funeral jacket that she hadn’t had time to remove yet. “Good. I’m going out for a while, when my mother wakes up please tell her not to worry. I’ll be back soon.”
She stepped past the maid and strode back down the stairs. Uncle Lucas was in the kitchen cooking something, probably making dinner for them, and didn’t notice her slip out of the front door and onto the wet London street.
Fixing her hat (retrieved from the hall) over her hair, Hermione made her way back to the graveyard. The drive had taken them five minutes and the walk would take twenty, but anything was better than lying in her Uncle’s guest bedroom wishing she could die. Alison would be insufferable company when she awoke and although Ana was sweet, Hermione just wanted to be left alone.
The streets were almost deserted as she strolled through them with her head bent against the rain. Muggle weather channels had predicted a monsoon-like downpour all week, so it was unlikely that she would be disturbed on her silent walk, but Hermione half wished to have hoards of people around her.
At least then she wouldn’t be left alone with her thoughts. It was like walking around with her own personal rain cloud; and Hermione’s wasn’t just raining, it was flashing with lightning and rumbling with distant thunder.
The rain seemed to stop for a moment, although she could still see the droplets landing on the pavement in front of her. Hermione looked up. Someone was holding an umbrella over her head.
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