Christmas Eve after the final battle, Hermione visits someone from her past.
A Christmas Visit
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Burrow not a creature was stirring not even the ghoul in the attic. I sat alone looking out the window of Ginny's third-story bedroom, watching the first snowfall of the season just start to fall. It was beautiful to watch and would make everyone happy to see it.
Everyone except for me.
It had been over a year since the Final Battle was won. There were many losses on that horrific yet joyful day.
I lost two important men to me that day.
One died, the other, I walked away from.
I always thought once Voldemort was gone my life would become easier, even happier. But it was definitely not happier. I have tried everything I used to do, reading in libraries and bookstores, visiting with the Weasleys. I did a little shopping with Ginny and Mrs. Weasley and I even played a little Quidditch with Ron and his brothers, which I decided to never do again once I fell off my broom and sprained my wrist.
"You shouldn't live your life like this," Ron said, getting ice for my hand.
"I don't know what you mean," I mumbled.
"Don't play dumb," he said, placing the ice on my hand. "The Final Battle was hard on all of us. Grieving was tough but we got through it and we are happy again."
"Except you," he said.
I didn't say anything or look at him. I just watched my hand go numb under the ice.
"He's home for the holidays."
I still wouldn't look at him.
"Go to him," Ron urged.
I shook my head. "I can't."
Ron raised my head. "Why can't you?"
"Because I can't stop thinking about what happened after the battle was over. How can I possibly go to see him without breaking down?"
"Then break down, cry, bawl!"
"Ron," I groaned in annoyance as I slipped out of my seat and made to leave but Ron grabbed me by my elbow and turned me around to face him.
"I don't know how long he will be here and I really think you should take this opportunity to see him before you lose it and if you cry then let him comfort you."
Ron's advice from that morning kept playing over and over in my head. I knew he was right, that could not miss out on this opportunity.
I looked over at Ginny who was turning over in her peaceful sleep. I slipped off the window seat, moved down the stairs, grabbed my jacket and headed out the back door.
The night air was cold but thankfully not ice cold.
I trudged through the towering, dying crops and soon made it to the end. I was startled by a sudden loud crack through out the air causing me to loose my balance and fall into the pound surrounding the crops. The icy water burned my skin and caused my nightgown to stick to me.
I had to keep going. I have to see him.
I was sudden blinded by a wand light.
"Is someone out here?"
I knew that voice. It was his voice.
I raised my hand to guard my eyes from the light.
He sounded confused as he lowered his wand.
I heard the water splash and felt a cloak wrap around me before I was carried out of the water.
"What are you doing out here?"
I tried to answer but my lips were numb.
I soon felt the warmth of his home and he set me down on a cold floor that sent shivers up my spine. I heard a shower run as warm water filled the room with a thick steam.
"I'll find you some clothes while you get cleaned up," said his voice from somewhere within the steam.
I nodded as he shut the door behind him.
I now stood staring out his bedroom window, wearing his Tri-Wizard Tournament third task uniform. I wrapped my arms around myself and breathed in his sweet scent. When I opened my eyes, I saw him enter the room with a tray of hot chocolate. He set the trey down on his bedside table where it was left forgotten.
"It's been too long," he said after a long silence.
"I know," I whispered.
"A year and not one word from you. Do you have any idea how terrified I was or how heartbroken I felt when you vanished?"
I could felt him start to grow angry. "I'm sorry."
"How could you leave just like that?"
I felt a tear run down my cheek. "Because I couldn't face you after what happened, after the battle was over."
I watched the anger vanish on his face. I took a deep, shuddering breath.
The battle was raging, curses flying and people falling. The faceless Death Eater in front of me raised his wand the Killing Curse on his lips and I stood my ground, but then he backed off and disappeared.
I cautiously lowered my wand as looked around of what was left of the Great Hall. Death Eaters let their opponents go free and Apparated away. My fellow witches and wizards looked just as confused as I was.
My boyfriend of three years hurried towards me.
"What's happening?" I asked.
"They're falling back," he said.
He thought about it before his eyes grew wide. "Voldemort must be gone!"
I felt my eyes grow wide as a smile split my face. "Harry won?"
"He must have."
I started to laugh, jumping up and down as we held each other. I couldn't believe after living in fear for seven years, Voldemort was finally gone!
But a sudden feeling of horror caused my moment of celebration to end.
"Where is Harry?"
His happiness vanished as he looked around.
I had to find Harry. Something did not feel right.
I hurried out of the castle, dodging scattered debris. I looked any and everywhere I could think of but I could not find Harry anywhere. The knots in my stomach were growing sickeningly tight.
The Forbidden Forest was the only place left to look. I hurried into it, lower branches were cutting me but I didn't care. I had to find Harry.
I reached a clearing and found two bodies lying motionless on the ground. I hurried over to closest one. He was lying on his side.
"Harry!" I sobbed as I turned him onto his back. He didn't have scratch on him but I could feel him getting weaker as I held his hand.
Harry slowly opened his eyes and smiled when he saw me.
"Did I...?" he asked hoarsely.
I nodded as I cried. "Yeah, you did. He is gone forever."
Harry laughed. "It's finally over." He winced, tightening his hold on my hand.
"You're going to be okay, Harry," I told him but he wasn't fooled.
"It's okay, Hermione," he said in a shuddering breath.
"Please, don't leave me," I begged.
Harry laid his hand on my cheek. "Live a long and happy life with him."
I closed my eyes but did not say a word.
"Stay with me?" he asked.
I nodded, sniffling as I rested my head on chest, listening to his heartbeat become slower and slower, feeling his fingers stroke my hair.
"I stayed with him until his heart stopped, but even then I could not leave him."
I looked up at Cedric and saw a tear run down his cheek before he wiped it away.
"Why didn't you come to me?" he asked.
I sniffled, wiping away my own tears. "Once I lost Harry, I was afraid of losing you, too and my heart can't take that!"
In quick strides he was in front of me, holding my face in his hands.
"You never have to be afraid of losing me, I am not going anywhere."
Cedric bent down and kissed me then rested his forehead on mine.
"I missed you so much."
"I'm sorry," I whispered.
I heard him chuckle. "I love you."
I smiled. "I love you, too."
Cedric suddenly pulled away and threw me my jacket.
"Put it on," he said as he slipped on his own jacket.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
Cedric just smiled as he wrapped his arms around me before Apparating out of his room.
I looked at the entrance we stood in front of.
Godric's Hallow Cemetery.
I glanced up at Cedric and he rested his forehead on mine.
"I know you want to see him."
"Thank you," I whispered.
I took a deep breath before following the familiar path to Potter family plot. Harry's name was engraved between his parents' along with his birth and death dates followed by "Beloved Friend and Hero."
I lowered to the ground and conjured a new wreath of white roses.
"Hi, Harry," I said, my voice breaking slightly as Cedric joined me and gave my hand a supportive squeeze.