Harry smiled as Hermione entered the room. His eyes roamed up and down her body hungrily; she wore a skimpy black negligee made of the most silken threads. Harry beckoned her to come closer so he could put his hands on her. She seemed to float on air as she glided to the bedside.
“Harry…touch me Harry…I love you…” she said. Her voice seemed so far away, almost like an echo. Harry obliged, and reached out to pull her onto him.
“What the….” Harry said as his hands passed through Hermione.
“Harry I need you….” She said, her voice sounding farther and farther away. She started to float back, and Harry leaned forward trying to keep her from leaving….
“Oomph!” Harry said as he fell sideways from his bed. His head snapped up as he scanned the room quickly. Righting himself, he fell back against the pillow.
“Only another dream.” He sighed. He looked at the clock and sighed again, it was still too early to get up, but he knew he’d never get back to sleep. Throwing his sheets aside, he pulled on a pair of loose pants and quietly walked down the hallway to the kitchen. Pouring himself a glass of cold water, he walked over to the window and pressed his burning forehead against the cool glass. One single tear escaped his eye and he brushed it away impatiently.
“It’s no use.” Harry told himself. “She’s gone, she’s never coming back.”
It had been 10 years, 10 long years since he had held Hermione in his arms. Most people would think that a decade would numb the pain of losing someone you loved, but few people had experienced a love like Harry and Hermione had. Their life together had been abruptly ended one night, when Hermione had been on her way home from work and had just, disappeared. Harry had spent the next year searching for her, but no avail. Harry finally had to stop his search and admit that she was gone forever, and he also had someone else to care for beside himself as well.
“Dad?” a small voice brought Harry out of his reverie. “What are you doing up?”
Harry turned around to face the reason he was still living a sane life. His and Hermione’s daughter, Caitlyn, stood in the doorway. He smiled fondly at her, she had inherited her mother’s brown bushy hair, but his clear green eyes stared back at him.
“I was thirsty.” He replied, setting the glass in the sink and walking over to his daughter. “Come now, back to bed with you. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
Harry was referring to the fact that he was introducing his daughter to the wizarding world. After Hermione had disappeared, it had been too painful for him to stay where everything reminded him of her. In fact, the only ties that Harry had to that part of his life was a VERY rare occasional owl from Ron. That was why he was so surprised when just a few days before a large brown owl had swooped in while he and Caitlyn were having breakfast. He had instantly recognized it as a Hogwarts owl. Harry had had a hard time deciding whether or not to send her there, and finally made up his mind to let his daughter decide her future. He had sat her down, and being as matter of fact as he could about it, told her about him, told her about her mother. He had watched as she digested all this. Of course, she had known bits and pieces of the wizarding life that she had gathered throughout her years so far, and had accepted her letter to Hogwarts.
Harry tucked his daughter back into her bed and then kissed her on the forehead.
“Back to sleep with you now.” He said softly. She snuggled down into the blankets and closed her eyes. Harry sat there for a few moments just gazing at her, he still marveled at how much she resembled Hermione.
“Dad?” she murmured sleepily. “Will you stay here with me?”
“Of course I will.” Harry reassured his daughter. He stroked her long hair away from her forehead.
“Will you tell me a story?” One green eye peeked out at him. Harry chuckled.
“What do you want to hear?”
“I want to hear a story about you and Mum.” Caitlyn said in a tiny voice.
Harry’s breath caught in his throat for a moment. Caitlyn had only been a year old when Hermione disappeared, but she didn’t too often ask Harry to talk about her. She seemed to know how painful it was for him, and she knew that one day Harry would tell her all about her Mum.
He swallowed the lump that had risen in his throat. “What do you want to hear?”
“How did you and Mum get together?”
Harry smiled to himself. That was one of his fondest memories ever. “Well,” he said in a surprisingly calm voice, “We were in our 5th year at Hogwarts…I had liked her for quite some time, and we decided to sneak down to the kitchens for a late evening snack….” Harry’s voice warmed his words as he told Caitlyn about how her parents had found their feelings for each other. By the time he finished the story, Caitlyn was back asleep, clutching her favorite stuffed dragon. Harry smiled as he saw this, even at age 11 she would not sleep without it. He softly smoothed back her hair and left the room, closing the door lightly behind him. He walked down the hallway to his study, where he snapped the light on and sat down at his desk. Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen he composed a quick note to Ron.
I know this may seem a bit sudden, but due to Caitlyn’s acceptance at Hogwarts, I’ve decided to come back into the wizarding world some. I’m taking her to Diagon Alley later today to shop for what she needs. Any chance you’d be able to meet us there? I want to introduce her to her ‘Uncle’ Ron and I’d really love to see you and Lavender again as well. Let me know as soon as possible.
He folded the note over and brought it to one of the only remnants of the world he still had – Hedwig.
“Hey girl.” Harry said, stroking her still soft feathers with his index finger. She nipped at him a little, and immediately held out her leg. Harry tied the letter on and Hedwig soared out the window, with Harry looking around to make sure none of his Muggle neighbors had witnessed her flight. He looked at his watch and noted it was now 4 am. In just a few hours, he’d be taking his baby girl to start her own life, to get her ready to go to a place where he wouldn’t be able to see her for months at a time. He felt his eyes grow a little misty at the thought of this happening. Sometimes he felt like Caitlyn was the only part of Hermione he had left. Ron would argue with him there, Harry knew.
“Memories, mate.” He would say. “You always have the memories of the two of you together, and that can last you a lifetime.”
Harry recalled Ron being a pain in the ass more often than not, but he had his moments where he was almost philosophical. Harry smiled pensively at his memories now, and felt his eyelids grow heavy once more. Maybe he’d be able to get a little more sleep yet.
Harry was wakened a few hours later by the sound of Hedwig tapping her beak on the glass window. Rubbing his eyes wearily, he tripped his way over to the window and opened it. Hedwig eagerly flew in to her perch and proudly held out her leg, with a length of parchment attached to it.
I can’t believe you’re coming back. Everyone will be so excited! Mum and Dad are coming in today, and Ginny and Seamus will be stopping by as well. They got married just a month ago! A lot of things have changed here, you will see. You are welcome to stay with Caitlyn here at our flat, of course, it will give her a good chance to get to know Blue.’
“Blue?” Harry said quizzically.
‘Before I forget to tell you- Blue is Ron Jr. Lavender wanted to give him a nickname so that we wouldn’t get confused…. so now he’s Blue. We will meet you at the Leaky Cauldron around noon. Can’t wait to see you again Harry, it’s been way too long.
Harry shook his head in disbelief. “Blue?” he asked himself again. Shrugging his shoulders, he went to wake his daughter.