A/N: I really have to work on my original fictions and my real job during this summer break, writing journal articles but for now I give you the final chapter of Swatches of Time. Thank you for SereniteRose, angelofdestiny16 and pianomouse for their contributions to the ideas of this story. I really liked SereniteRose's idea of a twist in the previous chapter and I am also very grateful for pianomouse's support not only here but also in my AO3 as well. Also, in case you've noticed, I took the name of Takeshi's family from "Erai Tokoro ni Totsuide Shimatta!" Thank you for everyone who read, reviewed and even placed this story on your favorites or follow lists! Thank you to DoubleDimension for pointing out my mistake!
Hermione Granger had been born to a family who sees learning and reading not as a chore but a pleasure, an exploration of places and people yet unknown. Sometimes, these books and what they hold can be seen as familiar friends and family. This love of knowledge would continue on throughout her life, from the time she was a small child well into her adulthood. Her relationship to a man who shares her love of knowledge and learning helped encouraged these passions.
At the young age of 24, Hermione had just finished her doctorate and was finally accepted as a curator of the local historical museum. It wasn't much, but it was a foot in the door. There were other job offers, but she had realized early on that as much as she likes writing and research, she also likes the environment of historical museums and helping others to understand and feel their history.
She had even seen the sword Sun Quan gave Zhou Yu when he was commissioned to lead the battle of Red Cliff. Somehow, knowing the story behind things and telling this story made Hermione more than just a historian but a storyteller. She is making people see and feel their story and that of their forebears. This, she realized is as important as making archeological discoveries.
She went to schools, telling grade school or even high school students stories about the past. At first, they wouldn't be receptive, given that they see history as boring. But she told her stories in such a captivating way, that she unknowingly led these students to be more interested in history, seeing the people who lived through it as people who are just like them but placed in a different situation. She wrote newspaper columns, journal articles; submitted papers for conferences and presented these papers as a story teller would or as the harshest critics would say, like a local gossip. It didn't change the fact that she tells history in such a way that the average person can understand it. Slowly, Dr. Hermione Granger is becoming one of the local names in Asian history.
She can tell you the religious beliefs of the Sumerians, the works of the Aztecs, the pride of the Inuits, the craftsmanship of the Japanese, what drove the Vikings to seek new lands and even criticism of the established "historical facts". But despite her knowledge and even expertise in many of these topics, the Three Kingdom Period held a personal place in her works and if you hear her speak, it's as if she lived through it.
At the age of 25, her fiancée had finally got her to set a date for their wedding.
She should have never agreed to this. She should have realized just how cunning and manipulative Takeshi could be. Even as he managed to get her into his home court, his territory, which is also known as his parents' sizeable home in the countryside, he managed to do so in such a smooth suave manner that she is tempted to his him. She gave him a smile, but her eyes promised him a world of pain for later.
Her parents had been to Japan before, but had not really been to the countryside where people are more traditional in their ways. The Weasleys had also not been to a home where magic and technology co-existed side by side, albeit on the different sides of the house so that the family's members magic wouldn't affect the electronics. Arthur Weasley was in awe of the Yamamoto's large flat screened TV, even the twins and Ron had been amazed and was coaxed into keeping out of the way by an action film. Takeshi's father, Yamamoto Namio and Hermione's father, James Granger also sat with them.
The gaggle of children from the Weasley clan and the Yamamoto clan ran around playing inside the house while the courtyard is being prepared for the wedding ceremony and the reception itself. Lara Granger looked at Hermione with her eyes misting, as she watched her daughter being dressed up in an elaborate wedding kimono. Ginny was fuming at the side, she was still bitter that Takeshi's mother, Yamamoto Lin managed to make all the decisions in the wedding plans. All Hermione had to do is to show up. Takeshi's sisters-in-law had agreed that Yamamoto Lin can be a force to reckon with. Even though Ginny fumed, she appreciated the kimono she was given for the ceremony. Hermione had taken on a different perspective of things, she had been relieved that she did not have to do anything.
Hermione had been concerned about the cost, seeing that the Yamamotos planned to get kimonos, not only for the bride but for the entourage as well. But Takeshi's family had not only pitched in, they had almost paid for the whole wedding, even though Takeshi and Hermione had money saved up for it. Namio told his son to just save it up for their future children, seeing that raising a child in the states is expensive.
She had only wanted a justice of peace to marry them, but Takeshi wanted a "small" ceremony, a magical binding of two souls witnessed by both of their families and a number of their closest friends. He wanted to marry her while the sakura blossoms are in full view and to see her in a beautiful wedding kimono. Despite her practicality, Hermione is still very much a girl, so she allowed her fiancée his sentimentality. Thus, they have agreed to a small ceremony with both Anglican and magical vows.
Takeshi's sister-in-law, Kimiko, placed an ornate comb on her equally ornate styled hair while Yumi, Takeshi's cousin battled a seemingly futile battle against her stubborn frizzy hair. Takeshi's other sister-in-law, Rie, tied her obi. Ginny smiled from the side, as Rie also helped her tie her obi. Kimiko nudged Hermione, "Are you sure about this? Do you know what you're getting into?" She asked. Hermione nodded and smiled. "Yes, and I don't really mind, we live in the US. It's not like they're going to make us come here all the time." Hermione replied smilingly. Kimiko shook her head. "Floo travel is inexpensive." She just replied but stopped talking when Rie shook her head at her. It is no secret that Yamamoto Lin had been trying to get her youngest son, Isojiro and his wife to live with them, but Kimiko enjoys her high rise condominium and her fast life in Odaiba.
Hermione looked out of the second floor window and admired the courtyard as it was prepared for the ceremony. The sakura blossoms were in full bloom, thus the 300 "closest" family and friends of Takeshi will be able to admire the blossoms as they watched Hermione and Takeshi get married. Eitaro was practicing his best man speech somewhere as Isojiro pestered Takeshi about the details.
The cherry blossoms in full bloom lent an almost ethereal feel to the whole ceremony. The traditional Japanese yard of the Yamamotos was accented by the beauty of nature. But for Takeshi all of these, even the stress of the details of planning, fell away as soon as Hermione walked towards him. She refused the traditional Japanese make up and wore very minimal powder on her face and just an almost unnoticeable lipstick on her lips. It was what she wore every day, but today, it wasn't the kimono, nor the ornate hair decorations but the very idea that she would soon be his bride that made her all the more beautiful for him.
The ceremonies, both the Anglican service for the benefit of her parents and the magical vows, went in a blur for Hermione. She remembered the slight sting, when they pricked her finger to join her blood with Takeshi's in the vow, but the only thing that actually mattered to her was that they were (again?) getting married. She admired Takeshi in his traditional attire and realized, not for the first time, just how handsome he looked. She blushed as she realized that Takeshi was also looking at her intently.
The reception went reasonably, if not peacefully, well. Takeshi's Taiwanese relatives didn't like his Japanese relatives and vice versa. Lin's parents had even asked, even though Hermione pretended not to understand, why the bride is wearing a kimono instead of a Chinese dress, they already had two brides wearing a kimono and it's not as if the bride is Japanese. Takeshi's father and Hermione's father were getting along, but Lin and Lara had not had much time to get to know each other yet. Soon everyone went home, except for Hermione and her parents, whom the Yamamotos invited for the night.
They fell asleep after making love. Hermione was tucked in her newlywed husband's arms. But that night she dreamt that she was in Zhuge Liang's arms. Only it wasn't just a dream, it was a memory. It was one of their last moments together, just before he died. He turned Hermione to him and tilted her chin to meet his face. "A lifetime, even two, wouldn't be enough to spend with you. No matter where and when you and I will be born, I will always find you so I can have you back in my arms and my life. There will be no one else but you." He said before kissing and drawing her into his arms.