Hermione woke that morning to the buzzing of her alarm clock with a splitting headache. She sighed and glared at the picture of her and the smiling young man.
She jumped out of bed, which only made her head throb more and yelled at the picture, “Why must you torment me? It isn’t as if I’ve had enough tragedies in my life, and then you go running off and get yourself killed!”
The only response was the continuous smiling of the picture. That smiling annoyed her.
“Stop smiling at me! Look at what you’ve done to me! After you died, I snapped my wand, quit my job, and became a Muggle!” She was now screaming. “And I DO care! I’m a bloody secretary! Do you honestly think that’s what I dreamt of? What I really dreamt of was getting married to you. Which I was, and it was the best time of my life! I dreamt of having five children, living a healthy and prosperous life, and dying peacefully in my sleep! And look at me! I’m single, almost twenty six, and I’ve become even more of a neat freak, mainly because I haven’t got anyone to coax me out of cleaning this whole bloody house with antiseptic!”
At this, Hermione broke down and began to sob. All the while the voice in the back of her head jostled with her. If you’d only get out more, you wouldn’t be such a neat freak, it said. It isn’t his fault. It’s yours. And now, look where your hatred for that poor boy has gotten you. If it weren’t for Tonya, Aaron, Michelle, Natalie, and Shannon, you’d have a pretty downcast life. If you really want to reconcile your feelings for him, then you should better get rid of your wizarding stuff up in the attic.
Hermione sighed and slowly tried to calm herself down. Once that was at least somewhat achieved, she went over to her closet, where she picked a light gray suit and a white blouse for work. She quickly showered, dressed, and made herself breakfast.
Some five minutes later, while Hermione was eating her solitary breakfast, the doorbell rang. She reluctantly got up to go answer it. After looking through the peephole to make sure it was the really postman and no mystery demon, she slowly opened the door.
“May I help you?” She asked the man curtly.
“Yes. I’ve got a strictly confidential letter and package here for a Miss Hermione A. Granger,” the postman replied.
“This is her.”
“I’ll need some ID.” At this, Hermione retrieved and held out her driver’s license.
“All right, If you’ll sign here, ma‘am.” He held out a clipboard and a pen. She swiftly signed it and accepted the package and letter.
“You’re welcome.” And with a flourish, the postman seemed to disappear.
She slowly shut the door, and put the other mail on the table. With hands shaking, and a heart full of dread she opened the letter. She read it aloud in a whisper.
“Dear Miss Granger:
It is to my knowledge that you believe that your fiancé, Harry J. Potter, is dead. That is very much untrue. He is alive and well, and will be coming to your house on the afternoon of Saturday, September 12. He will arrive at about three o’ clock. Please have a room ready for him. He has sent this package and a note, which is enclosed.
Minister of Magic.”
She stared at the letter.
“No,” she whispered. “He’s dead.” And if he isn’t, isn’t he a little behind schedule? she thought. It’s been four years. “I won’t believe that he’s alive. I won’t,” she added aloud. Hermione then reached for the package, which was rather small, and opened it. She pulled out the piece of parchment and sat down with the package next to her.
I know you believe me to be dead, and I know that you’re now living as a Muggle. You snapped your wand, and, if I am correct, disposed of any magical objects within your possession.
“Ha!” She couldn’t believe what a load of crap this was. It was most definitely a cruel joke. But she read on anyhow.
Hermione, you can pretend to be a Muggle, and hide from the wizarding world, but you can’t hide from me. Why? Because. I LOVE YOU. I’m sorry that I allowed you to think I was dead, but Voldemort was after me, and I didn’t want you harmed.
Hermione, I sent you this package as a token of my love. Do you remember the watch you gave me, on Christmas in our seventh year? The one that had, inscribed on the back:
‘Harry- My love to you forever and always.
Well, I’m giving it back to you.
My love to you forever and always,
Harry James Potter
Unbelieving, Hermione bit her lip to hold back the usual flow of tears that came whenever she thought of Harry. Then she went into the kitchen to call work.
“Hello, Granger Dentistry,” pleasant female voice answered. Hermione smiled through the tears that were flowing down her face. The speaker was Tonya, her best friend. She had a little brother and a younger sister living with her in a three-bedroom apartment.
“Hey, Tonya? It’s me, Hermione. Look, I can’t come in to work today.” she said in a shaky voice.
“Oh, hi! Why can’t you come in? Family prob-oh,”-she had just realized the reason of her shaky voice-“Harry, right?”
“Yes.” Hermione replied, voice thick with tears.
“Oh. Okay. Listen, can I come over later to console you over the loss of your dear husband to be four years ago?” Hermione gritted her teeth. Tonya always loved to joke around, and she was pleasant all the time. Sometimes it was just conveniently very annoying.
“Yes, of course. Go ahead. Don’t forget to tell Mum and Dad I won’t be there. Just say it’s love problems. If they ask what kind, just say it’s my business. They know that I like to have my privacy.”
“Okay. Bye. I’ll be over at about five. Aaron and Michelle will have to fend for themselves. See you later.”
Hermione hung up the phone and went back into the living room to look at Harry’s package. She pulled out a red velvet box, opened it, and gasped at what she saw.
A glittering gold watch, which looked like it was just made. Hermione carefully took it out of the box and turned it over. Yes, there was the inscription.
“My love to you forever and always,” she whispered. “Bah. I give the most famous guy in the wizarding world my love, and look where it’s gotten me.” She put the watch back, then went into her study to check her e-mail.
“Let’s see…. Tonya—a card saying get well soon and a load of spam. Humph!” She quickly got off the Internet and decided to put on some work clothes and clean the attic. As she walked up the stairs, she thought of Harry.
‘I really can’t believe Percy would do that. Honestly! Harry’s dead, not alive!’ She sighed as she opened the door. Stepping into the attic, she looked around. A trunk sat in the corner, covered with a thick layer of dust. Hermione walked over to it slowly and lifted the lid. She carefully lifted out a picture that lay on top. It was a picture of her, Harry, Ron, and Ginny.
“God, I miss you guys so much,” she whispered, holding the picture to her chest. How could she have ever left them? How could she have deserted her friends? How? The more she thought about them, the more she wanted to go back. Back to the wizarding world.
Hermione mentally shook herself. “I’m not going back,” she decided aloud. “I swear it upon this trunk.” She knew she ought to get rid of the trunk, but…. it had too many good memories.
“Oh, Her-my-oh-nee!” A voice yelled from the bottom of the stairs, stressing every syllable of her name. Hermione quickly replaced the picture and locked the trunk, pretending to be dusting. There were loud footsteps.
“Geeze Louise, it’s dusty up here,” Tonya said as her head appeared. “No wonder you keep the door to the attic-Hey, what’s that?” She had just spotted the trunk.
“Just something my mum gave to me a while back,” Hermione replied casually, dusting off the window.
“It looks really old. Is it antique?”
“Nothing special. End of discussion about trunk.” There was a tone of finality in her voice that made Tonya shut up.
“Go get the broom,” Hermione ordered. Tonya went and got it. “Now, sweep the floor.” Tonya swept.
They cleaned the house for the rest of the day.
A week later, the house was sparkling. Literally. Tonya, in preparation of the wonderful return of Hermione’s once thought to be dead fiancé had put up tinsel.
Hermione had always thought her friend was a bit messed up. Now she was sure of it.
“Tonya, what is it with you and tinsel?” she asked from the kitchen, where she was making them a late lunch.
“I dunno, I just like it,” Tonya replied. The doorbell rang.
“Can you get that? I’m a little busy.”
“Yeah, sure.” Tonya went to the door and opened it. Then she could be heard saying, “Sweet Mary, mother of God.”
“Who is it?” Hermione asked.
“It’s….” Tonya gulped. “I think it’s him.”
“Well, show him in; have him sit down,” Hermione replied.
She heard Tonya bring him in and say, “You sit there, and I’ll go get her.”
Tonya appeared in the kitchen doorway. “He’s here. I think.”
“Watch lunch for me, will you?”
Hermione walked into the living room. He was standing, looking at the doll on the mantel, which was dressed in a flowery sundress, white sandals, and sunglasses. The doll’s hair was loose and flowing around its shoulders. He turned upon hearing her approach.
Her throat tightened. It was him. But that nasty little voice in her mind wouldn’t let her accept that everything was okay now that he was here. It might be a trick, it said nastily. This might be someone trying to kill you or rape you, or do who knows what other terrible thing. You’ll want to find out if it really is him before you run and kiss him.
Oddly enough, Hermione agreed with the voice for once.
“You’re going to have to prove to me that you really are Harry,” she said, her voice hard. Harry pulled back his bangs, so that she could see his scar. She laughed. “Anyone can do that.”
Harry walked forward. “Hermione, do you really need proof to know that it’s me? Don’t you know it in your heart?”
She held up a hand. “Don’t come any closer.”
He stopped. “Hermione… please. Listen; it’s me. I’m not dead, I’m here. For you, only you. I love you. You do know that, right?”
Hermione blinked rapidly. She hated to do this to him, but she had to know. “I’ll need more proof than that.”
Harry was quiet for a moment. Then he asked, “Could I see your right hand?” She held it out to him, and he gently traced over the scar across her palm. “Remember the night when I asked you to marry me and we–we declared our undying love for each other over blood? We both slit our palms, and put them together. My blood, your blood, remember?”
She nodded, holding back tears. He held out his right hand, palm up, for her to see. There was the scar. “You and I both know that no one else knows about these scars. Is this proof enough for you?”
She stared at him in shock. And then promptly fainted into his arms.