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Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.

Note:This story was written in response to xXLuna_LovegoodXx's challenge. I have found this chapter extremely hard to write as I want to race on to the climax of the story, but I will not allow myself to do that, as I want this story to do the challenge justice. Enough of my rambling, I hope you enjoy this.  Thanks for reading, and please review!

Hermione climbed the stairs slowly, flinching every time the steps groaned beneath her bare feet.  Clutching onto the wooden banister of the winding stairs, she reached the landing that led both straight on and to the left.  She carried on walking straight until she reached the door on the left of the corridor that had been left slightly ajar.  Hermione walked through the doorframe and stopped for a second to take in her surroundings.

Light streamed the periwinkle blue curtains lighting up the room with a winter morning glow.  The floorboards were covered in a thin layer of dust and the walls were infested with dry rot.  Yet through all of the faults the room had – it was quirky, or, at least, it had been once, and that’s exactly what drew Hermione in so.  

She walked towards the four-poster bed where she had spent so many mornings like that lying peacefully in bed, his arm draping over her waist, his gentle breaths tickling her rosy cheeks.  Slowly she lowered herself into a seated position on top of the unnaturally crisp sheets.  Although so many of her memories brought her to this room, it wasn’t the same.  Back then there was no dust on the floor, the glass shone in the morning sunlight and the walls were newly painted without even the slightest hint of rot showing, but the sheets would be wrinkled and warm, and the room would never have felt empty – but now?  No longer did the room hint towards a morning of relaxed laughter and breakfast in bed.  Instead it gave the distinct impression that the person occupying the room had no idea whether to leave the room exactly how it had been – naturally comfortable - or tidied and cleaned so well that there was no evidence of what used to be, therefore, no evidence of the suffering that had engulfed Hermione from the day that everything changed.  So the room remained confused and unnaturally mismatched.

Hermione inhaled, ignoring the feeling of the stagnant and dusty air racing towards her lungs.  She looked up at the moth eaten curtains wondering how on earth they became so evidently neglected.  Their colour was fading, shade by shade.  No doubt they would soon become a dull and grey as the rest of the room – perhaps they would soon blend in, just like she had begun to do.  Blend in, lost within the sea of brighter, more cheerful and extravagant colours.  Had the curtains always looked that way?  Had she always been that way?  She pondered over the matter until she found herself treading dangerous water – she wouldn’t give into the monster of reminiscing that easily.  

She jolted her head away from the window and allowed her eyes to rest on the bedside table.  The pine surface was one of the things she vowed to keep looking spotless, along with the photo frames resting on its well-polished surface.  She picked a silver frame up and rested her hands on her lap, staring down into her past, drinking up every detail as though leaving something out would cause it to erase itself.

She looked so healthy back then, trying to hide from the camera, laughing between her two best friends.  Not so long ago she had been that girl, not too long ago she had been the girl with bushy brown hair matching her always-anxious wide eyes.  Not too long ago had she been squished onto a bench between Ronald Weasley and, of course, Harry Potter trying to avoid this very picture being taken.  Looking into her past this way never seemed to hurt Hermione – perhaps because she couldn’t remember this precise day, but all she knew that memories closer to her heart always seemed to find away of lodging something in her throat.  Or perhaps, Hermione thought, it was not the memories that harmed her so; perhaps it was the mere feeling of leaving the memories where they belonged – in her past.  Her eyes fell back down to the photo and she began taking in everything that she could.

“Hermione!  Just get in the darn photo for Merlin’s sake!”  Ginny laughed, throwing her head back and letting the autumnal breeze blow her fiery hair out behind her.  Why she was laughing, she had no idea, but the sight of her three favourite people in the world rolling around on the ground acting like children was definitely part of it.  “You know, it’s just as well we have moving pictures you know, or none of you would stay in it for more than two seconds.”  Ginny attempted to scold, but how on earth could she even pretend to be angry with her friends when just seeing them laugh melted her heart?

Ginny stood still on the grass and leaves, watching her fiancee, best friend and brother muck around as if there were no problems in the world - a sight like this would have been seldom seen only a couple of years before, perhaps due to the constant danger of being attacked. Things in the wizarding world were far from fixed, but the wounds were healing slowly and the odd feeling of comfort was slowly working it's was into the hearts of those who had mourned over the loss of their loved ones.

“Oh shut up, Gin, and get over here!”  Hermione replied, taking her eyes off of the two men who were threatening to tickle her – big mistake, by the time she had finished speaking, Hermione had been pulled off of the bench and onto the grass next to them.  Ginny rolled her eyes – it was only on rare occasions that she was the adult in the group.  She walked over to the bench where her friends had been sitting originally, laying down the camera at the same time. 

On the other side of the lawn stood a marquee, abandoned and lonesome, surrounded by shrubbery and plants that had begun to turn into golden shades.  The surrounding area was exactly the same, passers by would not think to look twice and the empty garden, that is, until they heard the soft tinkling of laughter ringing from the far side near the trees.

“Get off me, Harry!”  Ginny screamed, her face red and her hair tangled.  She was trying her hardest not to laugh.  Hermione was rolling around on the ground, attempting to escape Ronald Weasley’s hands that seemed to be the cause of her raucous laughter. 

“Ron!”  Hermione gasped – he pulled her into his arms, holding her into his solid chest.  She could feel his heart pounding due to excessive laughter.  A seriousness seemed to replace the laughter as he nuzzled his face into her neck inhaling her scent.  Her heart skipped a beat, and then began working overtime as he planted kisses in her brown locks.

“I love you, you know that right?”  He whispered carefully, trying to make sure Harry and Ginny wouldn’t overhear what they were saying.  Ron cast a look over in their direction and immediately anger bubbled up inside him, only for it to evaporate when, seconds later, he reminded himself that they were allowed to kiss, they were engaged.  He returned his concentration to the woman who lay in his arms.  

“I love you too, Ron,” Hermione replied.  Her heart, still not used to the thrill those words seemed to bring it, fluttered excitedly as a blush found its way onto her cheeks. 

Ron repositioned himself so that he was comfortable enough to kiss her forehead delicately.  A stray curl fell in her eyes, and he took it to be his job to relieve her of its annoying tickle.  As he brushed the strands of hair to the side, he stroked her closed eyelid, noticing the smile creep up onto her perfect lips.

Snapping out of the moment, Ron rolled her body away from his own and jumped to his feet – “Come on, we better get going if we want to escape my mother's wrath."

Hermione snapped her eyes away from the photo, shaking her head. There was no way she could do that to herself, not again.  She rubbed her eyes, trying to rid herself of the memories that would, if she let herself remain in them, open her slowly healing wounds.  

Thanks for reading! :) Please review. (

EDIT: I have written the second chapter, it is just being edited and re-drafted and then I will submit it!)

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