Light spills into your room through the window, from the street-lamp; it touches your hands and paints them pale. You sit with a book your only company long into the night, knowing that come morning you'll be exhausted but not bringing yourself to care because you know that, come the morning, the only thing you'll have to look forward to are jeering smiles and eyes and jealous hideous voices that say, "Show off, too smart, know-it-all." And you're strong, you really are, but you've gone already your ten years of life without ever having had a friend, and the loneliness swells inside you.
You know that you should be reading something smart and clever, something to do with math or science or history; but the whispers were too loud today, and the pain too deep, and it's fairy tales you've turned to. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. Beautiful and good girls who have worlds woven around them made of magic, who have happy endings. The night deepens; you turn a page.
You've loved fairy tales – your secret passion – always loved the mystery and the suddenness and the endings that have no tears. Somehow the magic that they spill seems right to you, strikes a chord in your heart. You used to believe in magic, when you first read these stories; and you grew up, and you learned to hide your belief. Your parents still smile when they see you with your head in these books, and your father still sometimes comes to your room to read them to you as you drowse. You know they're thinking, "It's proof she's not growing up too fast, proof she won't leave us behind." You know that all it's proof of is your own gullibility, your own childishness; and you'd leave it behind if only you could. But the belief of magic wove its own spell on you and you can't extricate yourself.
The night deepens, and still you read; lost in stories, lost in waking dreams.
And you're reading Rumplestiltskin, spinning straw to gold; and you're reading Snow White, talking mirrors, poisoned apples. And you never let yourself be jarred outside of this world, you never let your mind wander outside of these words – you let yourself get lost, get completely and utterly lost, so you don't have to think – don't have to remember – don't have to – don't have to hear those smarmy whispers, those jagged and bleeding jeers.
The night dims. Dawn shines through its cracks. You don't know when, but somehow tears have tracked across your cheeks and left silver trails. You don't know how, but you've stayed awake all through the night.
And you're half asleep all the time, half lost in dreams. You dream about magic, feel it sparkling like a river down your veins; you dream about spells and enchantments; you dream about living your own fairy tale, and it's the only time you remember smiling. Oh, in your head you're living a fairy tale. In your head, magic lives.
And you're Cinderella with quiet steady hope.
And you're Snow White, choking.
And you're Sleeping Beauty waiting for what feels like a thousand years, waiting for what you'll never name - it has no name; but you know what it is when the owl comes with a letter in its claws, you know what you feel, the magic in your veins sparkling to your eyes. You are Sleeping Beauty.
You are waking up.
A/N: 2nd person perspective, which I'm sure isn't much appreciated. I just enjoy writing in it, that's all; and it suited my purpose for this 'fic, where I wanted a sort of stream-lined lucidity that at the same time was a little delirious; clear but not at the same time if you get my drift. Anyway, I hope you all like my insight into Hermione's character… and that it doesn't strike you as horribly out of character.
Disclaimer: Mentioned characters and settings do not belong to me; all hail J.K. Rowling.