It was the beginning of a new day. The sky was that distinct shade of violet that can only be glimpsed in the slight moments before the sun begins to creep above the horizon. Although it was summer, the air was brisk and pure at this time of day. Hermione's eyes felt strained in that way that can only be felt when one has passed the point of tiredness and surrenders to a sleepless night. Although this dawn had the makings of any other dawn that has come before it, there was a nervous stirring Hermione was feeling inside that made her believe that this morning was unlike any other she had felt before. For there was a palpable stillness all around mirroring the world's resignation to a new and calmer life.
Like many others, Hermione, alongside Harry and Ron, had just finished the last of the affairs associated with the battle of Hogwarts and death of Lord Voldemort, putting an end to nearly a decade of personal strife for the trio. After the final battle, the dead had been rounded and commemorated, the castle rebuilt, and order reestablished. Countless meetings and trials were attended and an endless number of verbal accounts given to aid in the general re-organizing of things. Although this amounted to long and tiring days, it also provided Hermione with distraction during the day and pure exhaustion by night that allowed her to pass her time as methodically as possible.
Now with the end of these tasks, she had been left with nothing to divert her attention from the uneasiness she has been feeling, thus leading to her sleepless wanderings about the Weasley house. Hermione had decided to watch the sunrise by sitting on the bench outside in the yard, the mug of tea and book she had brought with her left untouched next to her. As the sky began to lighten slightly, Hermione put her feet up on the bench and wrapped her arms around her legs, continuing to stare off in the distance and willing her hazy mind to clear up and allow her to comprehend this uneasiness she felt. She wanted to scream but could not muster up the sounds. She wanted to cry but had no tears left to spill. She wanted to rip her hair out, and run away, and scratch at her skin - but found herself lacking the energy to so.
Why am I feeling this way? Why can I not focus on the good? Why is my conscience determined to be miserable at such a time?
Hermione heard stirrings inside the house, footsteps coming down the rickety stairs followed by the door to the yard being opened. Out walked Charlie Weasley - the second oldest son and the Weasley of least acquaintance to Hermione due to his geographical distance from the rest of the family - looking fairly well-rested and prepared to take on the new beginnings. Upon seeing Hermione, a look of concern crept upon his face.
"Hermione, what are you doing out here so early? Have you not slept at all?"
Feeling uncomfortable voicing any concerns to the man she hardly knew, Hermione gave Charlie a weak grin. "Sorry Charlie, I didn't know you would be down so early. I couldn't sleep and didn't want to bother anyone inside so I came out here to try and read for a bit. I'll just get out of your hair." As Hermione gathered her things and began to walk back inside the house, she felt Charlie gently grab onto her wrist.