Who can say when the roads meet,
That love might be in your heart?
And who can say when the day sleeps,
If the night keeps all your heart?
Night keeps all your heart.
(Enya - Only Time)
Hermione walked along the pathways solemnly. It wasn't safe to be out there, but it didn't matter to her anymore. The only thing that mattered was that she was a woman who had lost everything. Her two best friends were dead, as was the only man she had ever loved.
It all happened so quickly. Remus was struck by the curse, and Hermione felt herself slipping away. Harry snapped her back to reality as he screamed for her help. He was surrounded by Death Eaters, and in the middle of the circle with him, was Voldemort. Hermione began blasting away at the people surrounding him, praying that she could get there in time and that there was something she could do.
"I'm coming, Harry!"
People had fallen, and still Voldemort and Harry were locked in a horrific battle at the center of it all. Their terrible dance went on for what seemed like hours, while Hermione fought her way to them the entire time. Suddenly, the battlefield grew silent and Hermione noticed that an eerie mist had started to form around them. Voldemort's will wavered; his attention drawn to some point in the distance where Hermione could see shimmering figures moving toward them. This gave Harry the proper time he needed, and for the first, and only, time in his life, Harry took a life.
The Death Eaters were shocked. The voices of more Order members could be heard on the horizon. It would all be over soon.
Lucius Malfoy pulled his hood back. He was standing behind Harry, and he locked eyes with Hermione for one terrifying moment.
"Harry! Behind you!"
He spun, just as the curse hit him in the chest, knocking him to the ground. She had little need to check. Her best friend was dead.
Hermione hesitated, hearing a soft humming sound just around the tree in front of her. Reaching for her wand, she made her way around it carefully and sighed when her eyes met those of the figure behind it.
"Hello, Professor." She put her wand back in her robes, looking at Dumbledore intently. Couldn't he even allow me peace to grieve, she wondered.
"Hello, Miss Granger. I was hoping to see you here."
Hermione walked on, not willing to stand and listen to more of Dumbledore's riddles. She had known him long enough to realize that it was very hard to ever get a straight answer out of the man. She finally stopped in front of three headstones, all standing side by side. Like they had in battle, she mused silently.
Dropping to her knees, Hermione rested a hand on the stone engraved, 'Ronald Weasley' and sighed. "I have so many regrets, Ron. I hate that you're one of them, but you are. If only you hadn't been keeping an eye on me that day. If only you were paying attention. I regret allowing you to always protect me... you were just like a brother."
She heard Dumbledore come up behind her, but she ignored the old man. She was here with a purpose, and she would not be deterred.
She looked at Harry's stone next, the tears starting to build within her. "Harry... I wish that there was something I could have done for you. You were so brave during that last battle, taking on three Death Eaters at once was more than any of us ever could have done. It wasn't just the last battle either, Harry. You were brave your entire life. I only wish that I could have done something more to help you, but I couldn't get there in time. You have to understand..." She stopped, gathering her thoughts. "You did it though. You defeated Voldemort and saved us all. I just wish that you could see the looks on everyone's faces when they talk about you. You're like a god now, Harry."
She turned and glared, standing up. "I don't want to talk to you."
Walking to the third stone, she sat on the ground and rested her head against it. "I miss you, Remus. Every moment of every day, I wish that you were here beside me to ease my pain, but you're gone. I lost everyone in the span of a day, and you aren't here to help me anymore." Her tears flowed freely, but it didn't matter. "I just wish that you would have stayed away. I wouldn't have cared if you were a disgrace to the Order. At least you'd still be with me."
"He wouldn't be."
Hermione turned to Dumbledore in aggravation. "Why must you torment me? I just want to wallow here in self-pity, if you please."
"Remus Lupin would not be with you today, for you would be dead."
"What are you talking about?" she retorted angrily.
He sighed, conjuring a chair and sitting himself beside Harry's grave. "The day before you went with Harry to the last battle, I called Remus to my office. I warned him that to allow you to go out to battle would be allowing you to die, but there was nothing he could do. You would have refused if he had asked you to stay, and he was unwilling to force you."
"Wouldn't that have been a problem... messing around with fate?"
Dumbledore nodded, sighing once more. "I would have allowed it though, if you would have been willing. I did not intend for him to die because of what I told him. He simply wanted to save you."
"So he knew that the spell was coming? He knew that in order for me to live, he would have to die?"
"He knew, but he valued you more than life itself." Dumbledore's expression softened considerably as her tears began to fall. "Fear not. However dark things look now, your journey together is far from over."
Hermione buried her face in her hands. She was not prone to hysterics, but this was simply too much for her to handle. "He's dead, Professor. We have nothing left together. HE'S GONE."
"It's funny how the world works, Miss Granger." Dumbledore stood to walk away. He paused for a moment, looking at Hermione with a kind expression.
"Soon, everything will be clear."
Don't ask why, don't ask how
I still can't explain
Just say good-bye, good-bye for now
Till I see you again
(Celeste Prince - Wherever You Are)
Author's Notes: Just to clear things up before the Afterword. I feel so authorish right now.
Angelic delirium - I had written a chapter where she told Harry and Ron about it, but it didn't fit well with the flow of the story and ended up getting cut. I was definitely hinting to a sequel... read on below to find out the few details I'm releasing. Thanks so much for your constant reviews and support.
Slywolf9 - The whole thing with Ginny blushing was supposed to be explained in the sequence in The End of the World with Hermione and Ginny sharing a train compartment on the trip to Hogwarts, but it didn't flow well with the rest of the scene. Ginny, as it turns out, had a crush on Lupin during the summer they spent at Grimmauld Place before her fourth year. Unfortunately though, I couldn't find a place to fit in in anywhere, so that idea had to go. I think it was mostly a way to get my two favorite female characters into more scenes together though. Thanks for your very enthusiastic comments. Bonus points for saying "Bloody hell" in your reviews. I'm a big fan of that phrase.
When I started writing this fic, I had no idea that it was going to lead to this point. I may have had it mapped out in front of me, but it's surprising to see how much things can change from point A to point B. Initially, Hermione was not going to return to the future, but when I began writing A Promise Kept, I realized that she simply had to.
I realize that many of you probably expected some sort of happy resolution after all the struggles they had faced, but it wasn't to be. However, as Dumbledore said, "Soon, everything will be clear." As I wrote those words, so I plan to stand by them.
A sequel to this is already in the works, and I swear that Hermione and Remus will be united again. As this story was entirely in Hermione's point of view, at this point, I believe that the next will be all from Remus's side of things, so for any of you who were waiting for that, you may just get your wish. Basically, the pair is given another chance at happiness, but neither truly understand the cost at which this opportunity comes. Hopefully I have as much success with the sequel as I seem to have had with this.
I would just like to thank all of my reviewers for their kind words and little bits of wisdom. If not for them, I doubt that I would have managed to put forth seventeen chapters, including the prologue and epilogue, in the span of four days.
I hope you all choose to read the sequel when I begin publishing it. Thank you so much for everything.