A/N: Written originally for the third round of Mugglenet Fan-Fiction's Brawl. The challenge was to incorporate six photographs into a story: a bridge with the words 'you are here' written upon it, a cat, a glass of tea, a couple holding hands, two boys on a subway, and a train rushing by.
She stood in the middle of King's Cross. Her arms were wrapped securely around Crookshanks. He meowed loudly, letting her know that she was squeezing him too tight, but she didn't relent her hold. He was the only thing keeping her steady.
It was a very symbolic picture, she mused sardonically to herself. Young woman, standing still at a train station, stuck at a crossroads both literally and with her entire life. How very poetic. How very beautiful.
How very frustrating and confusing and heartrending for the woman in the image.
The war was over. The battle was won. There was no more trouble to be had for the wizarding world. And that was what the trouble was. After being involved with the war for so long, she did not know where she wanted to go with her life now.
Oh, she had always had her many ambitions and goals when younger. But all those ideas seemed much less significant now compared to what she had done previously. None of those ambitions appealed anymore – nothing did. She felt so directionless, so blind.
She knew where she was right now, but did not know where to go from such a point.
A train whistled by, echoing in her ears and ruffling her hair. She made a decision as she watched it fly by: she may not know where she was going, but she was going to go somewhere and stop standing uselessly in the middle of several million possibilities.
She fitted Crookshanks around her shoulders and picked up her bags to go buy a ticket for the next train to – somewhere. Anywhere. This accomplished, she stopped at a concession stand for a cup of tea, and then marched off.
Her train was boarding already. She got on and found a seat across from two little boys. She watched them as they fidgeted, already bored with a trip that had not even begun. Was that to be her as well? She bit her lip as her thoughts whirled.
The train pulled out of the station and started on its way. Faces and landmarks outside the window blurred together.
Warm fingers enclosed around hers. She looked around. She hadn't noticed him sit down, but there was a red-haired man in the seat next to hers. He grinned, and cocked his head at her slightly, a silent question: Where are you going, and why aren't you taking me?
She looked back at him, and as she did so, she realized that not everything had to change just because the war was over. All of her previous ambitions and thoughts about her life didn't have to be shoved away just because they weren't as grand as fighting a battle that would make history. Because maybe in some ways, fighting to have a normal life, having the courage to go on as before, was just as admirable.
Hermione squeezed Ron's hand and leaned against him. Wherever she went, it didn't have to be alone.