Disclaimer: I don't anything in Harry Potter. J.K owns all the characters and places.
Author's Note: This will be an AU story and the characters are OC. Some of the dates in the story have also been changed to fit in with the story itself.
Kindly note that within Chapter One, Hermione will make use of a linguistics charm. However, it is not mentioned within the actual chapter.
A/N: Stella (F): Italian for Star and Piccola (F): Italian for Little One
Summary: Hermione takes a break from the wizarding world, five years later she returns with her four-year-old daughter. Lucius Malfoy bumps into Hermione and her daughter whilst in Diagon Alley… A few weeks later and they're going on their first date. Post-Hogwarts & Second War. Will be AU & OC. Some dates have been changed to fit the story.
A Beautiful Dream
The second wizarding war had ended in the early May of 1998, with the Dark Lord Voldemort falling at the hands of one Harry James Potter. The wizarding world of Britain had celebrated their win well into the early morning of the following day. There had been hundreds of Death Eaters who had disappeared, some of them had even handed themselves over in the hopes that there would be leniency in their trials. Some twenty or more Aurors and Aurors in training had been called forward to assist in the capture of the Death Eaters who had run. This of course, included two very eager young wizards and two thirds of the Golden Trio, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley. Both young men had eagerly joined in the search, willing to do what they could to further serve their society.
Hermione had been happy to disappear from the spotlight for a while, having searched out Minerva McGonagall and informing her that she would be heading home for a little while. "Are you going to be sitting for your N.E.W.T's Miss Granger?" Hermione had pondered the idea and had decided that she would need to in order to further herself in the world. "I would like to Professor, perhaps if you could set up an appointment for me to write them near the end of the year?" Minerva smiled and placed a gentle hand upon her shoulder, "I will do so, will you be ready by then?" Hermione gave her a crooked smile, "Of course, Professor, you know I'm always ready." Minerva shared a small laugh with her star pupil and watched as Hermione walked away from the still smouldering grounds of Hogwarts.
Early December 1998,
Minerva McGonagall sat behind her large desk in the circular office of past Headmasters, she'd been appointed Headmistress with Severus Snape's sudden departure from the school a year and a half before. In front of her sat Hermione Granger, top student and brightest witch of her age, "Please Miss Granger do reconsider my offer. You've passed all your N.E.W.T's with the highest marks since Bellatrix Black herself." Hermione placed her teacup back into the saucer and looked up into her mentor's blue eyes, "I really must decline your generous offer Minerva. I must take some time to myself to recuperate from the events of the last year of the war." Hermione could see Minerva's expression slip into one of reluctant acceptance and would not waver from her decision, no matter what.
"If that is what you wish Hermione, then I shall accept. Though please do owl me should you change your mind." Standing up and stepping out from behind her desk, Minerva walked over to Hermione, who had also stood from her seat. "Thank you, Minerva, I will keep that in mind." A quick hug shared between the two and Hermione was on her way. Walking down the spiral staircase, she continued along the long hallway toward the outer staircase that would take her to the centre courtyard just outside of the Entrance Hall. Glancing around, taking in the newly reformed Hogwarts, she smiled sadly to herself. Her mind recalled the sounds of spell fire and screams, even the scent of fire and death invaded her mindscape. Shaking the memories from the forefront of her mind, she realised she'd come to a standstill on the landing of the staircase.
"What a pleasant surprise." Turning at the sound of a rich baritone voice, one she had only ever heard a few times over the years. The first being from a small altercation in Flourish and Blotts years prior. Standing before her, regal as ever, was the Lord of House Malfoy. His silky platinum locks were secured at the nape of his neck with his signature black velvet ribbon. His steely grey eyes were lacking their usual contempt and were instead soft and warm, this of course threw her off momentarily. "A surprise indeed, Lord Malfoy." Keeping her eyes on his she watched as they filled with curiosity before being guarded once again. "If you'll excuse me Lord Malfoy, I must be going." He stepped to the side to allow her to pass him, his eyes roamed her body and she couldn't contain the slight blush that tinged her cheeks a deep scarlet upon seeing his appreciative stare.
"Enjoy the rest of your day Miss Granger." She smiled softly and turned around, descending the stairs without looking back no matter how much she wished to. Walking across the courtyard toward the long bridge that would take her to the path that led toward Hogsmeade and her apparition point. Upon her arrival at the apparition point, Hermione turned to look back at Hogwarts. The place she called home for eight years of her life, the place she had, had many adventures in. Gazing to where she knew Gryffindor tower stood, she smiled as she remembered her two best friends, both boys had been her worst nightmare in first year but had become her brothers in all but blood the very second they'd saved her life from a mountain troll. Sighing softly to herself, she recalled her last conversation with both boys;
"Really Hermione? You're going to just up and leave?" Harry spoke with a slightly raised voice, pushing his glasses back up his nose as his glare met her calm gaze head on. "Yes, Harry, it's just something I need to do." Ron turned away from the living room window in her parents house and looked at her, his expression blank, "If it's what you wish, then do what you need to 'Mione." Harry's incredulous expression found Ron's resigned one, working his jaw as he fought with his emotions, "Urgh fine! I'll support your decision 'Mione, even if I don't like that you'll be unreachable for however long it takes you to gather yourself." She smiled at him and opened her arms, encouraging them both into a hug. "You two are the most important people in my life right now, it means a lot that you'll accept my decision, regardless of your own emotions." Embracing them both and resting her chin atop a portion of each of their shoulders she sighed heavily, "I will miss you both of course, but I will return."
She shook the memory away and spun into her apparition. Her body disappeared from the border of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts with a soft 'crack'. Upon her arrival at her home in Hampstead, she started packing her suitcases. Having a cup of tea while taking a break from her pack, she looked around the house that she'd grown up in and couldn't help but feel slightly heart sore. Her parents had perished during her time on the run with Harry and Ron, a few Death Eaters having attacked them before the Order could protect them. She still held an underlying hatred toward Corban Yaxley, he'd been the one that had mercilessly tortured her parents to death and was thankful she'd managed to exact her revenge on the battlefield. Shaking herself of the depressing thoughts, she finished her tea and continued packing her books.
New Year's Eve 1998,
Hermione had decided to travel through to Denmark to take a break, she'd apparated a few times before arriving inside the Copenhagen wizarding community. She had then gone to their Ministry of Magic where she'd brought her international wizards licence proving that she would be staying in their country for a while, and had then asked them to finalise on her working permit. After an hour of waiting she was finally rewarded with her working permit, thanking the helpful witch she headed for the exit of the Ministry bumping into a tall wizard along the way. "Oh, I am so sorry, are you alright?" He turned around and smiled, green eyes twinkling, "Yes, I am. Are you?" Blushing at his intense gaze, "I am, yes." He held out his hand palm facing up, "I am Frederik Hillner and you are?" Hermione placed her hand in his, "Hermione Granger." He placed a soft kiss upon her knuckles and smiled.
"A beautiful name for a beautiful woman, a pleasure it is to meet you." Blushing even more at his praise, she tilted her head slightly in shyness. "Do not be shy dear Hermione, it is the truth." Frederik smiled brightly and gave her hand a gentle squeeze, "Thank you Mr Hillner." He tsked and shook his head, "Frederik, please my dear." Hermione pulled her hand from his and readjusted her bag on her shoulder. "Frederik, it was a pleasure to meet you but I must excuse myself, I do have some stuff to attend too." He bowed his head and moved out of the way, "Before you leave, I would be most grateful if you would accompany me to a New Year's Eve celebration at the Nimb Hotel tonight?" Hermione leaned back in slight shock, "I've only just met you Frederik." He chuckled before smiling at her, "I know but having such a beauty on my arm would make me very happy and it's just for tonight unless you wish for anything more."
He watched as she pondered his request and finally, she rewarded him with a nod, "Alright Frederik, I will accompany you if only for a night where I can relax and unwind." He smiled broadly, eyes twinkling even more. "Excellent! I guarantee it will be a night to remember. Where shall I pick you up from?" Hermione pulled her bag forward and dug around for the piece of parchment that had her new address written on it, handing it to him as she spoke. "You can pick me up at the Ansgar Hotel." Frederik nodded and once again smiled, "Then I shall see you at seven pm my dear." Turning away from Hermione, Frederik left. She watched him stride along the marble floors of the Ministry, disappearing behind a wall and she turned to continue on her way. Shaking her head as she stepped onto the cobble stoned street of Nyhavn, wondering why on earth she had accepted a stranger's offer to a New Year's Eve party.
When she got back to her new residence at the Ansgar Hotel, which she would start working in come January. Walking along the small corridor to the room she'd been assigned on the ground floor, she hurried to get inside before anyone spotted her, not wanting to get caught up in conversation. With her back pressed firmly against the door to her room, she let out a sigh, pushing herself upright and heading over to her bathroom for a much-needed bath. Filling the tub with a vanilla scented bubble bath, she began underdressing whilst waiting for the water to reach an acceptable level. When she was satisfied, she slowly got in, sliding back until her back was resting against the edge. The water felt heavenly to her body and soon her eyes were closing as the scent of vanilla filled her senses. After she'd bathed, she got out of the tub and began to dry herself, slowly starting to get ready for the evening with Frederik.
Checking the time with a Tempus charm, she saw that there was still two hours to go before Frederik would pick her up. Hermione started with her hair first, knowing that it was the hardest to tame. Working in the serum that would help calm her unruly mane, she worked her now wavy curls into an elegant updo. Looking at herself in the mirror, she checked to make sure that everything was in the correct place. Satisfied with the outcome, she stood from her chair and walked across to her wardrobe, searching through it for something to wear. Finally finding purchase, she pulled the dress off the hanger and brought it to the bed, gently laying it atop the bed spread. Walking to her chest of drawers, she pulled out a matching set of lingerie and headed for the bed again. Dropping her towel, she took hold of her maroon coloured lace thong, after pulling it up her shapely legs she then reached for her matching strapless lace bra and after securing it, she lifted her dress up next.
Slipping the dress over her head, she pulled it into a more comfortable position, making sure the off-shoulder sleeves were resting against her biceps and her bust was covered correctly, she did a small twirl. Happily smiling at her visage in the mirror, Hermione admired the blood red cocktail dress that hugged her body in all the right places, accentuating her hips and bust whilst also keeping her modestly covered. Walking over to her dressing table once more, she opened the small jewellery box, retrieving her white gold chain and single diamond pendant from its confines and securing it around her neck, she then reached for the matching diamond stud earrings. After applying a small amount of makeup to her face and adding a soft pink lipstick to her lips, she slid her black strappy heels onto her feet. Checking the time once more she noted that it was five minutes to seven, collecting her black travelling cloak and clutch purse, she headed for her door. Opening her door just as Frederik's hand raised to knock, she let out a giggle and stepped into the hallway.
"Good evening milady. You look absolutely ravishing." Blushing deeply, Hermione turned her head to face the main entrance to the hotel, "Oh stop it Frederik." Chuckling at her slight embarrassment, Frederik offered her his arm. "You truly do look quite lovely, my dear." Sliding her hand into the crook of his elbow, she gave him an appreciative glance, "Thank you. You look rather dashing yourself." He had a three-piece suit that complimented her dress quite well, he wore black pants, a black waistcoat, a blood red dress shirt and a black suit jacket. "Why thank you Hermione, I see we managed to match quite nicely." She nodded, tightening her hold upon his forearm. He led her from the hotel and turned them onto the curb side where they walked in silence for the first few hundred metres before he struck up a conversation.
"So, tell me, Miss Granger, what brings you to Copenhagen?" Hermione contemplated giving him a half truth or the full truth, unsure if the rest of the wizarding world knew of the lunatic known as Voldemort. "I needed a change in scenery, a bit of rest and recuperation. I've been through a rather stressful few years and decided that perhaps moving somewhere completely new would help me." He turned them down another street before responding, "It must have been really bad if you would move away from family and friends." She hummed in response, not willing to divulge anything further. "Ah, here we are." Looking at the magnificent structure, she felt her eyes widen at the sight of the brightly lit white walls and small onion dome towers. Walking through the large glass doors and into an equally brightly illuminated lobby, she looked around at the sheer magnificence of the hotel.
Frederik led over to the bar, which had many different drawings on the walls, depicting rough sketch bodies with fully drawn out faces, even a few swallows in flight moved around the high ceiling. Ordering her a cocktail and himself a firewhiskey, Frederik turned to face her once again. "Would you care for dinner or prefer to snack on the appetizers?" Hermione noted that everyone gathered in the bar were either sipping on their drinks or picking on the appetizers that floated between them, turning her eyes back to his, "I'm alright with the appetizers." He nodded and once again moved them further into the bar, she took a grilled salmon and lemon skewer from the tray as she passed it, Frederik had also snagged a skewer along the way. "Frederik? Oh, what a surprise." The sound of a nasally voice caught their attention and Hermione turned along with Frederik who seemed to curse under his breath. "Ella, yes, indeed what a surprise."
A pair of brown eyes looked in her direction before turning back to Frederik's annoyed green ones, "Who is this?" Hermione felt her hackles rise at the way in which the witch had waved her hand in her direction. "My date for the evening, Miss Hermione Granger. Hermione, this annoying witch is my ex-girlfriend, Ella Bruun." Hermione felt her lip twitch into a partial sneer before she schooled her features, "A pleasure to meet you." Ella glared at Hermione and sniffed, "I cannot say the same." Turning on her heel and flicking her hair from her shoulder, Ella stormed off. Hermione turned to find Frederik rolling his eyes in exasperation, "I apologise for that, I was not aware that she would be here tonight." Hermione gently lay her hand on his bicep and smiled kindly, "It's quite alright, you've nothing to apologise for." He took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles, "Thank you for understanding."
Together the two spoke at length about Hermione's past, her years at Hogwarts and the subsequent death of her parents. Frederik listened, spoke his thoughts and asked his questions, Hermione drank from her fourth glass of champagne and answered each one. By the time the excitement in the bar had begun to rise in volume, Frederik was well past being drunk as was Hermione. Both were moving along with the others as they started counting in the New Year, Hermione followed behind Frederik as he headed for the balcony, stepping into the cool night air and feeling her head become even more fuzzy. "5...4...3...2...1… Happy New Year!" The loud voices shouting in excitement did nothing to drown out the sound of her blood rushing through her ears as Frederik captured her lips in a deep and passionate kiss. Holding onto her waist as she wrapped her arms around his neck, they kissed until air was desperately required.
1st January 1999,
Hermione woke the next morning to sunlight blinding her, groaning and turning her face into the pillow, she realised belatedly that she could only feel silk against her very naked body. Looking around the room in alarm, she found that she was lying in her bed in her room that had been supplied upon her arrival at the Ansgar Hotel. Rubbing her aching head, she tried desperately to recall the previous night's events but found she could not, she could only feel a small ache in her lower body and the throbbing in her head. Stretching her body, she slowly got up and out of the bed, trudging over to her bathroom for a shower. After showering and washing her hair, she looked at herself in the mirror after wiping away the steam from the glass. Tentatively she poked at her lower abdomen and hips, finding them to be okay, when she pressed at her upper thighs, she realised where the slight pain was coming from. Head shooting up in a small panic, she felt her heart drop.
"No." Whispering while trying to remember what had happened but still drawing a blank. Turning away from the mirror, she walked back out to the room. Deciding to push it away and label it as a mistake, she moved around the room to get ready for her first day of her new job. Hermione walked over to her door and quickly exited the room, making sure it was locked behind her before turning to walk down the short passage to the front desk. "Ah, good morning Miss Granger. Are you ready to begin your training?" Hermione smiled at her new manager, Victor Agard. "Good morning, sir. I am indeed." She lifted her notebook and pen and he nodded with a smile and motioned for her to follow him. "We will begin with showing you each of the rooms, then I will take you through details of how each room is to be presented. When we are finished with the rooms, we can break for lunch and I will then take you through the restaurant and meeting rooms." Hermione walked with Victor along the passage to the elevators. Making a few notes as he spoke along the way.
By the time lunch rolled through, Hermione had gone through at least seven pages of her notebook. Having made notes on every minuet detail that Victor had informed her of, from the arrangement of the tea and coffee facility to the layout of the bathroom. Victor had allowed her to settle herself at one of the tables on the balcony while he arranged for their food to be brought out. She had also received her new books for her hospitality course during the morning, which she'd requested be left at the reception, excited that she would begin learning more about the industry that she had just started in. "Miss Granger, how are you liking the training so far?" Victor sat down across from her, pushing a plate of roast vegetables and chicken toward her, along with her cutlery. "It's quite interesting the intricacies that are involved with the room set-up, I am rather excited about this amazing opportunity." He smiled kindly and began cutting into his chicken, Hermione following his lead moments later.
The two sat for a moment to allow for their food to digest before Victor was taking her through the restaurant, showing her the bar and lounge before moving to the smoking section of the restaurant and finally into the kitchens where she met the feisty chef, Roberto Bianchi, an Italian man that shouted at everyone in the kitchen in Italian before he pinched the bridge of his nose as he breathed in deeply and then calmly tells them what to do again but this time in English. Hermione giggled when she saw this and Victor smiled, "Roberto, come over here, let me introduce you to our new front of house manager." Hermione smiled at Roberto when he walked over to them, slapping his hands against his apron covered stomach. "Roberto, this is Hermione, Hermione, Roberto our Head Chef." They shook hands and Roberto smiled, "Such a pleasure to meet a lovely young lady such as yourself." Wiggling his eyebrows before chuckling heartedly, "It's lovely to meet you too. I look forward to working with you all." He nodded before hearing the crashing of a rather large pot. He turned around and immediately began shouting at his staff, telling them to clean the mess. "Shall we?" Victor motioned for her to follow and she smiled. Following him out of the kitchens and back into the restaurant, walking over to the double doors that would lead them to the corridor where all the meeting rooms were situated.
Hermione collapsed onto her bed later that night, utterly exhausted and all she'd done was learn about a portion of the job she would be doing. Smiling to herself, she leaned up onto her elbows and giggled, "First day done, now for the rest of my life." She turned her head to the window that overlooked the small lake and smiled once more.
Four Months later…
Hermione sat at the front desk, softly caressing her stomach, "Good afternoon, welcome to Ansgar. How may I assist you?" A lovely elderly couple stood before her with matching smiles, "Good afternoon dear, we have a reservation under Wilkinson." Hermione ticked off their names from the book, handing it over to them to sign, "Please could you sign here and I'll just get your key." They took the book and she stood from her chair, moving to where they kept all the keys. When she got back Mrs Wilkinson smiled at her, "Congratulations, how far along are you?" Hermione smiled and lovingly placed her hand on her slightly swollen stomach, "Four months now." The elderly woman smiled, "Such a beautiful thing, the Father must be very proud." Hermione's smile fell and she shook her head, "He's not in the picture." Mrs Wilkinson put her hand to her chest, "I'm sorry dear." Hermione pulled the book back down to the desk and sighed, "It's alright ma'am, I think I may be better off without him." Hermione then handed them their key and watched them both walk over to the elevator.
"Hermione, come, come you must try my new recipe!" Roberto suddenly appeared, covered head to toe in both flour and tomato paste, his cheeks a bright red in his excitement. She stood back up from her chair and called for the receptionist, "Alma, I'm knocking off for the day." The young girl came out from the back room and smiled, "Alright, are you going to take the first shift or second tomorrow?" Hermione stopped just in front of the desk, "I'll take the first shift." Turning around she headed for the restaurant and then the kitchens. Roberto was busy shaking a cloth in his Saucier's face, "You are not using the right consistency!" Hermione cleared her throat and walked over to the large preparation work top, "Robby, what is this amazing new recipe?" He turned and flung the cloth away in his excitement, "Something that I hope Mr Agard will put onto the menu." He hurried around the counter and disappeared; Hermione assumed he was collecting whatever it was he'd created.
A plate was suddenly placed in front of her with a grinning Roberto looking at her. "Feta and Spinach stuffed Jalapeno Ravioli." Hermione's eyes widened and she smiled, "Go on, taste it. Tell me what you think." She tentatively cut into one and placed it into her mouth. Her eyelid gave a twitch when the jalapeno hit her tongue, "This is incredible Robby!" He cried out his joy, jumping off his chair and rushing to her side, wrapping her into a gentle hug. "I'm so happy! I will tell Mr Agard tonight." He was so excited and she couldn't help but smile brightly, "I'll vouch for you, we'll make sure that it's on the menu by next month." His face split into a massive grin and he hugged her again, "Oh stella, you are the best!" Placing a big kiss to her cheek, he turned away and headed for the back of the kitchen, probably to have his usual afternoon cigar.
10 September 1999,
Hermione lay in the hospital bed, exhausted, yet over joyed. Atop her breast lay her tiny baby girl, soft wisps of platinum hair covering her tiny head. "My beautiful, beautiful little girl." Placing a loving kiss onto her baby's head, Hermione turned to look at the nurse who held a clipboard ready to take down the newborns name, "Luciana Alexia Granger." The nurse penned the name onto the official document and headed for the door, leaving Hermione to hold her baby girl while the second nurse began showing her how to breastfeed and what would need to be done thereafter. Hermione listened and took a mental note on everything she'd been shown and told, moving her little Luciana to her breast and encouraging her to latch, "Remember Miss Granger, the first time she latches will hurt but it will become easier thereafter." The nurse wasn't kidding when she said that for not a second later, she was hissing at the small stab of pain.
Lying in the hospital with her baby girl, Hermione thought about how she was without her parents and how Luciana would grow up not knowing her grandparents. Wiping the lone tear that fell from her eye, she turned her gaze onto her sleeping baby and smiled softly. A knock on her door alerted her to a visitor, looking up she found a smiling Roberto in the doorway, "Ah piccola, so beautiful." Hermione smiled at Roberto, "Would you like to hold her?" He nodded and with utter care, he took Luciana into his arms. Cooing and gently tickling her fisted hand, "Hello piccola. I am your uncle Roberto, your Mama's friend." He gently ran his forefinger across the top of her head as he spoke, leaving Hermione to rest and watch. "She's going to grow up into a beautiful young lady, stella." Roberto looked over to Hermione who was smiling at him, eyes shining with unshed tears. "Roberto, I would like to name you as Luciana's godfather, you have been my closest friend since I met you all those months back and I feel that you would make an amazing guardian for her." Roberto looked at Hermione, swiping his knuckle beneath his eye to catch the tear as he nodded, "I would be honoured stella."