~~The Boyfriend Box~~
~by Realmweaver~


1. The Funeral

Over the course of my life I've had five boyfriends. Each one gave me something special, something for me to remember them by, something that I was never selfless enough to give back to them. So I kept them in a box, one that lies under my bed, all the way in the corner. I ask my husband, Ron Weasley, to give each item back to them after I've passed.

~TBB~

It's ironic, don't you think, that on the saddest of days, it's usually the sunniest? The irony was like a punch in the gut for me; it was an insult to her memory. Why should the day be happy when no one else was, when I wasn't? The sky was laughing at me in the face, and I just wanted to tear it down and chuck it in the rubbish bin.

I pulled on a set of black dress robes, wearing a grey button down, a black tie, and black slacks underneath, my heart feeling as if it weighed a million pounds.

Does it make sense to you that a woman, not even twenty five years old, should die from cancer after winning a bloody war? No, it didn't make sense to me either.

I was checking myself in the mirror, making sure that nothing was out of place, when my sister, Ginny, walked in wearing dark blue dress robes. She wasn't wearing any mascara, or at least not as much as she usually did, or any other makeup, for the matter. I guessed that she didn't want to mess it up while she was crying, which made sense. Having tears streaking down your face looked so much more dignified than smeared make up.

"Are you ready?" Ginny asked, twirling her engagement ring around her finger nervously. The fact that she and Harry were going to get married in a few months still felt weird to me, even though I should have seen it coming years and years ago. Actually, the ceremony was supposed to take place many months before, but that was before… well, before everything else had happened.

"Nearly," I replied, trying to straighten my tie.

"Here, let me do that," she said as I succeeded in screwing it up even further. As she set it straight, I let out a long sigh.

"I can't believe she's gone," Ginny murmured as she patted my chest when she finished.

"Neither can I," I said.

"Do you miss her more than you thought you would, after hearing that she'd…"

"Yes," I said immediately, the memory of the day still sharp in my mind.

~TBB~

We were in a muggle hospital, foul, sharp smells ricocheting off the walls and shooting up my nostrils. There were loads of people milling around, barely looking up from their clipboards as they went, but somehow never bumping into any one.

I was walking down the hall with Harry next to me and Ginny on his other side, avoiding the weird stares that we were getting because of our clothes. Neither of us had bothered to whip off our work robes when we came, rushing here as soon as possible.

The three of us entered her room, where she was sleeping, her skin a pale grey and her eyes ringed with purple. I watched her chest rise and fall, hoping that it would keep rising and falling for a long time.

I should've known better.

The doctor came in, a tall, brown-haired man with glasses and heavy eye brows, and a name tag that read "Dr. Jonathan Lark".

"Sh," Ginny said as he came in. "She's sleeping."

"I'm sorry that you came here so fast; there was no need to, and I'm sure that it caused you an inconvenience," he whispered, his eyes looking incredibly sad. My heart began to pound hard in my chest, threatening to punch a hold in my chest.

"No," I said. "We wanted to hear what you had to say as soon as possible."

Dr. Lark took a deep breath, and I could tell what he was going to say moments before he said it.

"Hermione Granger has three months to live."

~S~

After that she had insisted she go back to our flat, just one more time. She sent me off into the living room for some strange reason while she spent a bit of time in our room. When she came back she refused to tell me what she had been doing, but held a large brown, wooden box in her hand, the size of a small luggage. I never asked what was in it, or how she even picked it up, it looked so heavy.

Harry came in then. "They're about to start," he said hoarsely.

I nodded, and me and Ginny walked out of my room and onto the front lawn.

Hermione had insisted that the funeral be held outside the Burrow. She had joked that it felt like her own home to her, but only with more lawn space.

The decorations looked beautiful, sort of like Bill and Fleur's wedding, only darker and smaller. I walked down the aisle of our little make-shift chapel, counting faces as I passed.

Dean Thomas… Seamus Finnegan… Lavender Brown… the Patil Twins… Neville Longbottom... Luna Lovegood… Viktor Krum… Hagrid, McGonagall, Teddy Lupin… the rest of my family…And there were a few others there, people that Mr. and Mrs. Granger had invited.

I spotted a man about my age, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. And a woman, a few years younger, her hair tied back in a blond braid, who was leaning on his shoulder with tears down her face. I looked away, not eager to see more people cry over Hermione.

Ginny, Harry, Mr. and Mrs. Granger, and I took up the front row to the right. All of us were going to say a few words about Hermione.

"Dearly beloved…" the priest (who, by the way, also married Hermione and I) began, but I wasn't listening. I knew I should, considering it was my wife's funeral, but I contented myself thinking of other, more important things. Like the moment me met, for instance. I almost forgot that moment for a few years, recollecting it quickly in fourth year after the Yule Ball, when I started feeling something towards her that I could never put into words, not even now.

"Ron," Ginny suddenly hissed at me, poking her elbow into my ribs. "Ron, it's your turn, the Grangers have just stepped down!"

"Oh," I muttered, walking up to the podium to the left of the altar, and pulling out the little scraps of paper scribbled with ideas that I tucked into my robes earlier that morning.

"Sorry," I said as I dropped one and bent down to retrieve it. I shuffled them in my hands, staring out into the crowd that was staring at me with wet eyes, and cleared my throat. Then I tucked away my note cards and decided to just wing it.

"I'll start by saying something that we all know," I began. "Hermione Granger was the smartest witch of our age." Murmurs of agreement rolled through the makeshift chapel.

"She's had it said to her many times, and I'm sure that you've all said it to your friends or family at least once. Along with that, she was bossy, stubborn, smothering, and a right know-it-all every once in a while… but she was brilliant, and that's what she'll be remembered for.

"But I don't want you to remember her as being brilliant; top of the class; a straight O student. Because Hermione was so much more than that." I took a deep breath, and went on. "She was brave, determined, loyal, a quick-thinker, and always had me and Harry's back. She was Ginny's best girl friend, Neville's best tutor, and never let any of us down. She worked as hard as she could and would never settle for less than best.

"The truth is, me and Harry needed Hermione a lot more than she needed us. You could tell. We would have never figured out half the things we did if she weren't with us. We depended on her smarts all the time, for stuff like Transfiguaration homework, or something more important like finding out the Heir of Slytherin. Sorry, Professor," I said, nodding at McGonagall. I got a few nice chuckles from that.

"Out of all the qualities Hermione had, I would never have said smarts were her finest. That's not what made her the best. It was her never-ending loyalty and her ability to stick to something, or someone, forever. She's always stood by her friends, and her work, and that's what made her who she was.

"It's sad thing, losing someone you love," I continued, measuring everyone's expressions carefully as I was planning to wrap it up.

"But it's even worse when that someone was Hermione. I pray for her soul, and ask for you to, as well. Pray for the woman who was so much more than genius."

And I stood down from the podium, hoping that what I had said was good enough. I sat down next to Ginny, and she smiled and squeezed my hand as Harry stood up to give the last speech before refreshments.

~TBB~

There was music playing in the background, as people flitted around the lawn swapping stories and snacks. Hagrid sat in the corner, taking sips of wine and talking to Mr. Weasley in a quiet, somber voice. I stood at one of the refreshment tables as people passed me to give their condolences.

I met with the muggle, brown-haired man that Mr. and Mrs. Granger invited. Turns out he was an old childhood friend of Hermione's. The younger blonde woman was a girl she used to babysit in the summer. It felt weird, meeting people that Hermione had lived with all her life but had never mentioned to us.

Those were all the muggles that came. And they knew about wizards, too, which surprised me. But they had assured me that Hermione had told them with greatest confidence they wouldn't tell anyone else, and they never had.

After that I was by myself for a while, so I just swayed slowly to the music they were playing.

"Hello, Ronald."

I turned around and saw Luna Lovegood staring at me, her eyes a calm and clear shade of blue.

"Hello, Luna. How are you?"

"I don't think it really matters how I feel," she said, surprising me, as usual, with her honest, straight-forward answers. "I'm not the one who lost my spouse." I stared at her, and she looked down, finger a ring. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "Hermione and I never saw eye to eye, but I am going to miss her a lot. And I know how much you and Harry loved her.

"If it makes you feel any better, I believe there's a heaven. And I think that Hermione's there right now, looking down on us and grinning," Luna said, a small smile flitting over her face.

"Thanks, Luna," I said, choking on my words. This was the most reassuring conversation I had had all day, counting the ones with Ginny and my parents.

"I can almost hear her voice…" Luna said. Then she started reciting what seemed to be song lyrics. "Where ever you go, I will be waiting. Whenever you call, I will be there. Whatever it takes, I'll make your darkest days so bright. I'm in your heart tonight."

She smiled again. "I bet she's waiting for you," she said, and turned floated away.

~TBB~

The funeral was over, and all the guests had left. Harry had gone back to Number 12, but Ginny decided to stay with us for a while. I was sitting on the couch, reading a book that I had pulled off the shelf at random.

"Ron."

I looked up, and Ginny was walking towards me, carrying a large wooden box. I recognized it as the box Hermione had lugged out of our room so long ago. Ginny sat on the couch beside me, setting the box between us.

"She asked me to give this to you," she said. "There's a letter on the top, and it's addressed to you."

My eyes widened as I spotted the envelope on the top. I ripped it off the lid and tore it open, recognizing her perfect handwriting.

The Boyfriend Box

Over the course of my life I've had five boyfriends. Each one gave me something special, something for me to remember them by, something which I was never selfless enough to give back to them. So I kept them in a box, one that lies under my bed, all the way in the corner. I ask my husband, Ron Weasley, to give the items back to them after I've passed.

Each parcel inside this box has a number on it. Only by giving the parcel to the person it is addressed to, will the next parcel in the sequence reveal the next name. It must be done in this order. Start from five.

I'll miss you all, and hope that you'll remember me. And I'm sorry for never telling you these stories to you; I hope you'll forgive me.

Good luck, and I love you.

-Hermione.

"Let me see," Ginny said after I finished, taking the piece of parchment from my hands. She scanned it quickly, and must've read it again because it took her so long, and looked up at me.

"How odd," she said. "I can't believe that she's dated anyone other than you or Viktor Krum. That makes for three boyfriends that we never knew about; four if she decided not to include Krum."

I nodded numbly, but wasn't really paying attention.

Five boyfriends, I thought to myself. She's had five boyfriends in her life.

"Can we open the box now?" Ginny asked.

"Why not?" I said, and she lifted the lid.

We both peered inside and found five different sized parcels, all wrapped in plain, tan paper with a number stuck on its side. None of them had names, except for number five: Blake Thornley. Scribbled under the name was an address somewhere in New York City, America.

"Boyfriend number one," Ginny muttered. "So, what now?"

It took me a while to answer. I was still a bit shocked at the revelation that Hermione had dated anyone besides me, much less three other people (not counting Viktor Krum). "I think I should visit this Thornley fellow soon," I finally replied.

"Tomorrow, then. When will we leave?"

"We?" I said. "Who says that you were going to come with me?"

"Well I was Hermione's best friend," she answered, looking indignant. I caught the "was", and felt the back of my eyes begin to tingle.

"I don't think you should come, Gin," I said. "I think this job was just meant for me. I think that's the way Hermione planned it."

"I want to meet these people, too," Ginny argued. "I need to come with you."

"Then what will Harry do? Just sit here and twiddle his thumbs until we get back?" I flung in the Fiancé card at her, hoping she would take it.

Ginny looked thoughtful after that. "Harry can come with us."

Not exactly the answer I was hoping for.

"No, Gin. I'm doing this alone," I insisted. "It's how Hermione wanted it."

"How would you know that?" Ginny said. "Did she entrust you with the box in the first place?"

I didn't know what to say to that; but I definitely wasn't saying she was right.

"Exactly. So I'm going with you, and there's no way you're going to change my mind."


A/N:

The lyrics are from Amber Pacific's song, Gone So Young. I do not own these lyrics, nor am I trying to make money off them. So please don't sue me ^_^