And so it begins. The first installment of the sequel to 'The End.'

Disclaimer: if Harry Potter and affiliates were mine, I would move to New Zealand. As it were, I am still living in not New Zealand.

Relief Next To Me

Hermione Granger was not spontaneous. Every move she made was thought through with meticulous care and logistics. Spontaneity was more Cedric's thing, or Ron and Harry's. Like when Harry wanted to go trudging off to the Ministry to 'rescue Sirius:' Hermione had made sure to check all the possibilities before joining him on his hot-headed journey.

Of course she had been right. Voldemort was planting false images in Harry's mind, and Harry and his hero complex had to drop everything and go.

But don't get her wrong; she completely understood why Harry would not even think twice about diving into an exceedingly dangerous situation to potentially save someone close to him. It's just that Hermione would rather think it all through, come at it from all possible angles, and make sure that it was actually achievable.

The Ministry was no easy task. Hermione pushed herself to the limit trying to keep her friends safe. But after getting hit with Dolohov's spell, she was utterly useless. Not to mention a bloody burden for poor Neville to lug about.

Just thinking about how badly the Ministry Rescue went made Hermione cringe. Spontaneity was Harry's thing. It's Ron's thing. Hell, it's Cedric's thing. It just wasn't hers.

So to Hermione, the fact that she just agreed to accompany Harry on his near impossible task of discovering and destroying all remaining Horcruxes and essentially murdering Voldemort without thinking it out logically and sensibly was beyond her.

"You said to us once before," she told him quietly but firmly, "that there was a time to turn back if we wanted to. We've had time, haven't we?"

Ron nodded solemnly. "We're with you whatever happens."

Harry looked at them, his mouth slightly ajar and his eyes searchingly beseechingly. Hermione knew that look. The 'But I thought I've to do everything alone' look.

"But mate," Ron continued, "you're going to have to come round my mum and dad's house before we do anything else, even Godric's Hollow."

At this, Harry snapped out of his shocked state. "Why?"

"Bill and Fleur's wedding, remember?"

How could they have forgotten. Fleur's display of love for Bill in the Hospital Wing was startling and unexpected; everyone saw her as shallow and self-absorbed.

Yet it seemed to come to Harry as a surprise, for it took him a while to respond.

"Yeah, we shouldn't miss that," he replied, his brow furrowed. His hand clamped tightly around something in his pocket, and a look of relieved determination came upon his face. Hermione smiled softly and reached for his other hand, squeezing firmly.

"We're in this together, Harry," she reminded him, her eyes blazing. Harry nodded, meeting her eyes with a question in his eyes.

"I know…not that you lot would let me forget," he grinned. Hermione knew how much it meant to him that they were still there. Too many had left him.

But he wasn't finished. "Hermione," he started, looking to her. The sun glinted off of his glasses, making Hermione squint.

"Yes?" she replied, raising a hand to shield her face from the glare. Harry chuckled and moved to the left, effectively outsmarting the glinting sunlight. Hermione smiled her thanks and looked to him to finish.

"Well…" he looked down. Hermione noticed he looked a little…guilty. "I mean, we'll be gone for a long time. Weeks, months, years even. And…well you and Ced are pretty serious…"

Hermione's heart dropped. Cedric.

"What are you going to do about Ced?" Harry finished, looking down still. Hermione swallowed and followed Harry's eyes to the fascinating grass they sat upon.

"I…I don't know. I hadn't thought about that. I hadn't thought about anything, actually." She took a deep breath. "But it doesn't mean I'm not coming with you, Harry. I'm not going to abandon ship for a boy." She tried to scoff at the very notion, but it got caught in her throat and ended up sounding like a garbled sob.

"He's not just a boy, Hermione," Ron said softly. Hermione raised her head and met his blue eyes, somewhat startled. She could count the number of times he said something nice about Cedric on one hand. They still weren't very fond of one another.

"Ron, I'm not going to stay behind and let you two get into all sorts of trouble so I can be with a boy." She straightened her spine as she spoke, daring him to contradict her.

"Like I said, Hermione," he replied, "Cedric isn't just a boy to you. He's…everything. I remember the night he came back from the graveyard. Or when you were hit with Dolohov's curse. You didn't see him, Hermione. He was going absolutely spare, thinking you were dead. You can't live without him; that much is obvious. Even without the mental rings, anyone could see how much you depend on each other."

Hermione felt a faint blush creep up her pale cheeks. She knew it was obvious; they were with each other almost every waking minute. It's just that when it was laid out like that, she felt like the typical teenage girl falling in love for the first time.

"Alright. So he's not just a boy. He's the boy. But you two…you two are my best mates. I'll figure out Cedric later," she told them with conviction, though her chest was suddenly aching. "Killing the Darkest wizard of all time is a bit more pressing, wouldn't you agree?"

Harry and Ron stared at her, Harry shaking his head at her stubbornness.

"Yeah, I suppose," Ron allowed, shooting her a small grin. She returned it half-heartedly. Her chest was still aching.

"I guess," Harry sighed. Hermione could tell he still felt guilty for making her choose between Cedric and him. She nudged his knee with her foot.

"Harry," she said, trying to meet his eyes. He stared determinedly at her foot, which was still touching his knee. "Harry," she said, more forcefully. He finally looked up, and his green eyes were pained. "Don't feel so guilty for this. I'm not walking out on you, ever. Bros over hoes," she joked, smiling feebly. Harry tried to fight back a smile to maintain his tortured hero persona, but he failed. His laughter burst forth, shaking his body with its force.

Hermione and Ron joined eagerly, their laughter washing over the bleak grounds like sunlight after a long winter. They laughed until their ribs ached, until tears streamed down their cheeks, until they were hoarse and gasping for breath. They laughed until it felt like they would die, because it was so much easier than facing what lay ahead. They laughed until it felt that if they tried hard enough, they could hold onto this moment forever. Because life had taught them, time and time again, that in a heartbeat, everything you thought you knew could disappear in a flash of green as quickly as it had come.

So? Hit or miss? p.s the subtitle is a Tegan and Sara song.