Dueling With Destiny

Summary: Everyone has a destiny. But for Hermione, that destiny is something she has been fighting her whole life…
Rated: T
Disclaimer: Now really, what a silly thing to think? As if a multi-millionaire (or is it billionaire now?) would be sitting in this little office space.
Author's Note: Yay! Only a little over twelve hours since I updated the last chapter and I'm already done with the next one! Am I good or what?
So tomorrow morning at 3 am I'll be on my way to the Bahamas for about a week. Once I return I promise to update though so don't worry! Until then though… Leave me lots of lovely reviews for me to come home to!

Chapter 6: Heart Stopping News

Summer soon came to a close for all. Ginny boarded the Hogwarts train without any of her brothers for the first time ever. The rest of the Weasley clan began to depart as well, each heading back to work leaving only Harry, Ron, and Hermione for Mrs. Weasley to tend to. They too, however, would be leaving shortly.

Hermione was scheduled to leave for London the next morning to begin her apprenticeship as a healer. She had arranged to rent a quaint little apartment on a side street near St. Mungos. For the weeks before her departure, Hermione poured over her medical books. Ron and Harry groaned and rolled their eyes whenever she told them some bit of information but secretly they grinned at each other, remembering their first year at Hogwarts and a certain pesky, know it all little girl.

The boys were due to leave in a week's time to start studying to become aurors. They had agreed to room together while they trained somewhere deep in the country, safe from any muggles' prying eyes.

The final night before Hermione was to leave was a quiet affair. Mrs. Weasley prepared a hearty meal complete with all of Hermione's favorite dishes. Everyone helped to clean up afterwards while telling fond stories about their time spent at Hogwarts.

Hermione then went to bed, saying that she had to be up early the next morning. The others soon followed, wanting to rest up before the move the following day.

She stood in the center of Professor Dumbledore's old office. Everything was as it was when the old headmaster had run the school. Fawkes sat in his cage busily preening himself completely ignorant that anyone was in the room.

On the desk sat a sneakoscope, whirring about with such ferocity Hermione felt sure it would break at any moment.

"Hello?" She called out, looking around her for any signs of someone else. For a long time there was no answer. Then, a voice spoke.

"Only you control your destiny.."

Hermione spun around, searching for the owner of the voice.

"It can not be controlled by anyone else."

Her eyes landed on it. She stared in surprise. Why, it was the sorting hat! Chanting aloud.

"Two roads diverge. Take the one less traveled. It will make all the difference."

Slowly Hermione began backing away from the hat. Her back pressed up against the wall as she closed her eyes, willing herself to block out the voice.

Eventually the voice stopped and Hermione grew calm. She lifted her head once more, this time her eyes landing on the portraits of the old headmasters, all staring down at her critically. The spoke in unison, their voice rising.

"Are you happy with your destiny, Hermione? Are you?"

A door slammed shut somewhere below, causing Hermione to be jolted back from her dream. Hermione heard the murmuring of voices and the sound of footsteps hurrying about.

Tip toeing to the door of her bedroom, Hermione opened it a crack, peering out into the dark hallway. There was no one in sight but voices floated up from the kitchen below. Hermione strained her ears to listen.

"We must act fast… There is not a moment to lose!"

Hermione jumped as at a small popping noise and spun around to see Ron and Harry behind her. Ron was still only half awake, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and Harry was squinting for lack of his glasses.

"What is it? What's going on?" Ron asked with a yawn.

Hermione quickly shushed the two. They drew nearer, straining to hear what was going on.

"How could this have happened! How could they have gotten in? After all the precautions that were taken last time!"

"Molly, calm down! The Ministry's forces are all arriving at Hogwarts as we speak…"

"The forces won't do any good, Arthur!" Molly snapped. "They didn't last time and they won't this time."

"We're more prepared this time, Molly" another voice said. "There's too much on the line for us not to be."

"Oh Ginny! Oh, my poor darling!"

"Everything will be fine, Molly." The voice said reassuringly.

"Oh, how can you say that, Remus? How can you say that everything will be fine when it won't? Voldemort is taking over Hogwarts! My daughter is in danger! Things are far from fine!" Mrs. Weasley broke in a sob.

The trio glanced at each other in the dark. The last remaining bits of sleep driven from their bodies with the news.

"Come, Molly," Arthur said at last. "Let's go see if we can be of any help."

"There's an emergency area at the Hogsmeade train station," Remus said. "They need help taking care of the injured and making a list of the…"

Mrs. Weasley choked back another sob. After a moment footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs. Hermione quietly shut the door and waited for them to pass before turning to the boys.

"Let's go!" Harry said simply.

Remus paced back and forth across the room as he waited for Molly and Arthur to come back downstairs. His body twitched in anticipation. How he wanted to defeat the Death Eaters. To put an end to the pain they caused once and for all.

Remus' thoughts turned toward Harry suddenly. He wondered how Harry would react to the news.

"If he's anything like James he wouldn't want to sit still and do nothing. He would insist on going off to fight." He muttered to himself.

Suddenly a fear crossed Remus' mind. Memories of the four marauders listening in on conversations they never should have heard came flooding back to him. His stomach twisted when he realized that if Harry was anything like James, he had been listening in from the stairs and already knew about the attack.

Quickly, Remus bounded up the stairs, determined to prove himself wrong. He leapt, taking the stairs two at a time as checked first Hermione's room and then Harry and Ron's.

Remus?" Molly called. "Remus, what are you doing? We have to go!"

Molly rushed over to where Remus stood. She froze however when she saw his face, her heart accelerating even more. Remus leaned against the wall of the landing, his eyes gazing forlornly at the bedroom door across from him.

"What is it?" She asked worriedly.

Remus barely acknowledged her, keeping his eyes firmly upon the door as if willing it open.

"They're gone."