Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Author's Note: What can I say? I write what my muse tells me to, and I absolutely love writing stories from Hermione's POV. I still need to rework the outline of my other time-travel fic, so I'm not sure when the next chapter for that would be up. Fortunately, A Moment to Reflect will have a new chapter soon. Anyway, this came to me after reading a Portkey story where Hermione goes back in time. Unfortunately, the story only had 3 Chapters and hadn't been updated in years. So, I decided to write my own. Also, unlike my other stories, the romance would be gradual and I will focus on the close relationship Hermione and Harry shares. Don't worry, there won't be traces of Hermione/Ron.
From the End to the Start
Hermione kept her eyes firmly on malice personified, Bellatrix Lestrange, who gave her a sickeningly sweet smile that reminded Hermione of a certain toad of a woman. Her eyes were brimming with delight and hatred, her gaunt cheeks having a rosy hue, no doubt that this abomination of a woman felt ecstasy in the torment and death of others. Hermione knew firsthand how the vile Death Eater reveled in the pain of whom she thought as lesser. After all, she had the scars to prove it. Her wand was raised, her arm extended forward and her legs planted firmly on the ground; taking on the stance that Harry had taught her years prior.
The thought of Harry brought a wave of despair and anger that nearly consumed her if her focus hadn't been on the battle. Hermione had been the one who had cried out dismally when the Death Eaters arose from the forest and forced Hagrid to drop Harry's lifeless corpse onto the earth. His prone form, devoid of anything that made Harry who he was, became a brutal reminder that she had failed. Bellatrix and Voldemort were not the most wretched things she had ever seen or heard of, she, Hermione Granger, was the most foulest, most repulsive, and cruelest creature that ever existed and given freedom to roam the Earth. Hermione had failed Harry because he with two recent years of memories that portrayed her as a terrible friend.
She had betrayed him. It all began that summer before Sixth Year. She cared more for the results of her O.W.L.s than speaking to Harry about the death of Sirius. How could she have believed that stupid test scores were more important than caring for a friend? Then when Harry told them the prophecy, Hermione knew she feared for Harry's life, but what she feared more was the pain and loneliness that she would suffer if Harry was gone. She was selfish. Hermione began distancing herself from Harry, never trusting him to actually succeed despite what she said to assure him. Then once school began, Hermione acted like a teenage brat. She should have used all that time preparing for the war. She could have looked up spells for Harry to use. She should have…should have…she should have spent more time with Harry. She should have just enjoyed life with Harry.
She should have given Harry something to live for.
Now, Harry was gone. No more of his charming laughter filling up the room at night. No more of his constant annoyance over his untamable hair. No more of his warm smile and worried eyes. Hermione had one true friendship in the world, and she knew she had ruined it with her own greed and selfishness.
"Oooh! Ickle Harrikins is dead filthy Mudblood! He won't be coming to save you now!" Bellatrix taunted cruelly.
Hermione hardly responded to the taunt and cast a silent stunner with a violent wave of her wand. The older witch had far superior combat experience than she had and responded with a shield charm. Bellatrix laughed mockingly as she cast an unknown curse back at Hermione. She dodged, the sickly yellow bolt nearly grazing her. Hermione glared back at Bellatrix, sadness and cool ire impeding her from having the upper hand.
Come on Hermione, keep it together! Hermione chided in her head. She knew she had to grab a hold of herself or else she too would be amongst the fallen. But, the odd part was, Hermione couldn't bring herself to care whether she lived or died. It scared her.
A red bolt of magical energy was fired at Bellatrix's location. The surprise caused the Death Eater to growl in annoyance, but easily dodged it nonetheless. Before long, Luna and Ginny had taken to standing beside her, their determined faces detailing their motives and reason. A wicked smiled adorned Bellatrix's face as she yelled out, "Blood traitors! How nice of you to join us! AVADA KEDAVRA!"
A bright green light was shot from the tip of her wand. Hermione moved to dodge the Unforgivable but her eyes were locked on the frozen form of Ginny. She stood completely still, fright having overcome her. Realization dawned on her that Ginny was the target of the curse and knew that if Ginny didn't move, she would be struck and rendered dead. Hermione knew that she couldn't let Ginny die. She had family who loved and cared for her. Her parents were gone and had no memory of her entire existence. She had to save her.
Hermione sprinted the small distance between her and Ginny. Once she got close enough, Hermione shoved the petite Weasley from her position. She watched in satisfaction as Ginny tumbled down to the ground and into safety. Hermione turned to face Bellatrix and saw the bright light speeding towards her.
The last thing Hermione thought she heard was Harry's voice calling out to her.
Everything was white, pure white.
Where am I? Hermione wondered. Her eyes roamed the design of the building she was in and noticed the railway tracks not too far away. The arches and columns were abundant as it led to more areas too far for her to see. She realized that she was sitting on a bench, the same color as the rest of the area she was in. She felt like she had been here before. There was a warmth of familiarity that resonated from this strange place. The color and silence that filled the area created a tranquil ambience that left her peaceful rather than fretting with worry.
Her mind finally formulated the pieces of the puzzle she saw and realized where she was in, King's Cross Station? But how? She recollected what she last remembered and the result left her to resign sadly, That's right. Bellatrix cast the Killing Curse and struck me. I'm dead.
Then it finally sunk in. She was dead. Hermione had given her life to protect Ginny. Hopefully, the rest of the side of light was able to triumph over Voldemort. But still, she was no longer alive. The impact of her plight weighed heavily down upon her, but she took comfort in the fact that at least Ginny was alive and that everyone had a chance to finally get rid of the most powerful Dark Lord since Grindelwald. In a testament of her strength, Hermione smiled brightly and held hope in her heart.
"You really are brave as Harry says you were." A kind voice spoke to the right of her.
Hermione turned to the direction of the voice and her eyes widened in shock. A beautiful woman with long red hair that could be described as enchanting and calm, unlike the Weasleys' red hair where one would describe it as 'fiery', stood by the bench gazing at her warmly with the piercing green eyes Hermione came to associate with her best friend.
Lily Potter. Hermione sat there with her mouth agape, unable to utter a single word from her lips, a rare feat considering her character. If there was any doubt that she was dead before, they were all gone now. This woman, a woman who looked no older than her early twenties, had been dead for nearly two decades. And now, it appeared, Hermione was about to have a conversation with her.
"May I sit Hermione, oh, can I call you that?" Lily asked, her cheeks flushed with mild embarrassment.
Hermione fervently nodded her head, "O-of c-course Mrs. Potter!"
Harry's mother let out a lighthearted chuckle and waved her hand dismissively, "None of that. Just call me Lily dear."
The two fell into a companionable silence. Hermione's thoughts were clouded with confusion as to why Lily had come to her. She didn't know what to say, or what to do even. Hermione always viewed the mother of her best friend as a true hero. She had willingly sacrificed her life to save her son, and that was something that so few would have been able to do. Tentatively, she asked, "If I may Lily, why are you here?"
"I came here to thank you, to thank you for always looking after my Harry when I couldn't. He had always been besotted by you, and you were always a loyal friend to him when others left." Lily replied, the sincerity of tone so easily identified with the way she had looked at her with such expressive eyes.
Hermione's shoulders sagged and she easily felt the guilt weighing down on her once again, "No. I hadn't been a good friend to him in two years. I was afraid to lose him, so I pushed him away. Even when we were alone in the tent, I still continued to distance myself from him even though I knew how much he wanted to comfort me. Then, he died. And I knew then how much I failed him." Her body began to tremble as tears began to fall. In grief, she cried, "I don't deserve your thanks Lily. He was my best friend and I just turned him away! He died knowing how terrible of a friend I had become!"
As Hermione sobbed, she felt Lily's arms wrap around her in a warm embrace. She heard Lily gently whisper, "Harry didn't think that. He thought of you the best friend one could possibly have. Harry lived Hermione. The Horcrux within him was destroyed and he was free to end Voldemort's reign forever."
"Harry's alive?" Hermione asked in disbelief.
"Yes. He witnessed you falling to Bellatrix."
Hermione brought her hand to her mouth and gasped, "Oh Harry!"
Lily nodded sadly and sighed heavily, "He was heartbroken. In his rage, he not only defeated Voldemort and Bellatrix, but killed them as well."
"And what of the others?"
"Ginny lived. You saved her life after all. And many of your friends also survived the battle. Everyone was quite shaken with your death, but none more so than Harry."
"What do you mean?"
"Here, in this place," Lily swept her hand across the station, "Time is fleeting. We could sometimes see a glimpse of the future and what it holds."
"But Harry is happy right? I mean, he has the love of his life alive. I'm sure he and Ginny married and he finally got the family he always longed for. I'm sure that he may have been depressed for a while that I was gone, but at least he would get over it with time."
Lily mournfully shook her head, "I wish that was true. But Hermione, you fail to recognize your importance in my son's life. Yes, he did marry Ginny and started a family with her, but your death changed him forever. Though he lives, he doesn't enjoy the life he has."
"But what can I do?" Hermione said quietly, "I'm already dead."
"That's why I'm here. I can't explain much, but it was decided that you were going to be given a second chance."
A shocked expression filtered onto Hermione's face. A myriad of emotions mixed and mashed inside her, making her unable to process. Yes, Hermione was overjoyed that she was able to live once again, but that pleasant feeling gave way to confusion and guilt. She was confused as to why she was given this second chance and felt guilty that she, of all people, did not deserve it. There were a lot of regrets that Hermione had based over the decisions that she had made, but they were petty in the grand scheme of things. She was unimportant to the universe, and that was fine with her. But…
I'm important to Harry.
Her decision was made, and she gazed determinedly at Lily. She spoke, her voice filled with resolve with no doubt evident, "I'll do it."
Lily beamed and hugged the younger girl one more time, "Hermione, don't ever be afraid of pain and hardship. In the end, it could be worth it. Do what is right, not easy."
"I know that now."
Suddenly, the pure white world that she had come to find began to slowly fade into fine mist. Even Lily, with her kind face seemed to slowly dissolve into nothingness until there was nothing left. The bench she sat on soon disappeared which left her standing. She felt fear grip her for a single moment as Hermione knew not what was happening, but an unknown feeling entered her and allowed her to accept what was going on. Before long, even the floors seemed to vanish from beneath her feet and she started to fall. There was nothing of existence but her as she seemed to float in an infinite loop.
Seconds seemed like hours, hours seemed like weeks, and weeks seemed like years. Never in her mortal body had she felt a great expanse of everything and nothing. Hermione tried to ignore those thoughts in favor of reflecting upon all that had happened throughout her years in Hogwarts. She remembered vividly the intimacy that she had with Harry throughout most of their school career. But all that seemed to have been lost completely during Sixth Year. A memory entered her forethought that made her heart ache.
She and Harry were arguing over the stupid book and Harry's suspicions over Malfoy. Hermione recalled having not cared at all for what Harry thought and believed him to be simply mad. Instead of carefully considering what Harry had to say, her mind was filled with ways of attracting Ron and overcoming the pain of pursuing him. Her heart clenched when their argument ceased and the two of them storming off in a fit of anger. She remembered slowly looking behind her to catch a glimpse of Harry stubbornly stomping away with his head held high, but instead, she was treated to the sight of Harry limping away like a wounded animal, his shoulders slumped in pure dejection.
That was when she knew that she and Harry's relationship would never be the same. In her selfishness, Hermione destroyed the truest friendship she could ever hope to have. That was her biggest regret.
Hermione shot up with a jolt. Suddenly, a constricting stinging pain from the center of her chest weaved its way throughout her body. Her body fell back from the ache, her head hitting a soft pillow. The agony continued, making her cry out softly whenever it hurt too badly. She clutched the spot where it originated from and felt the beat of her heart racing. Hermione found it hard to breathe as she had to pant heavily to get the necessary intake of oxygen that her body seemed to crave. She felt hot, but sweat from her pores caused by her episode slowly cooled her off. Finally, the pain subsided, but Hermione winced whenever she tried to move a part of her body.
"H-hermione?" Croaked a familiar voice to the side of her.
Hermione carefully began to examine her surroundings to better understand where she was. It was dark, but the pale moonlight from outside made it bright enough for her to recognize where she lay. Hermione saw the recognizable bed that belonged to the Hogwarts Infirmary along with the curtains above her that closed her off from seeing anything further. She wondered where the voice came from but as she looked down towards her hands, Hermione realized that she had just now felt her firm grip clutch on to another hand that didn't seem to be attached to a body.
A rustle of movement was heard, and she saw Harry removed his father's invisibility cloak and setting it on the chair he stood up from. She couldn't see a clear look of him in the darkness, but Hermione recognized the clear outline of a worried frown settling over his lips.
"Harry? Is that you?" She asked, her voice sounded forced as if she hadn't had water in a while.
"Ssh, don't speak Hermione." Harry softly spoke as he reached over and gently removed a strand of hair from her eyes, "You were hurt. Dolohov hit you with a spell. I-I thought you were g-gone." His voice cracked but he continued, "You were right. It was a trap. I-I should have listened to you, because now, Sirius is gone and, you were almost taken from me too. I'm sorry Hermione, I'm so sorry."
Though her body ached, Hermione removed her hand away from Harry and carefully cupped his cheek. In a hoarse whisper, Hermione said, "It's not your fault."
"Ssh, it's not your fault."
It was then that Harry began to cry. He fell to his knees and wept on bed nearest to her. Hermione gently ran her fingers through his hair, the slow, deliberate movement seemed to comfort him somewhat as his cries gradually calmed down.
Hermione thought back to the meeting with Lily and wondered if it had all been a dream. It had seemed so real yet vague at the same time. But she couldn't deny the two years' worth of memories that occupied her brain. Even if dreams could have been so realistic, surely it was impossible to have dreamt up her Sixth Year and the Horcrux hunt. How could she have known what a Horcrux was if she didn't learn it until a year later? The only logical conclusion she could come up with was that everything she had experienced was real.
Then, from what Harry had said, she was back in her Fifth Year, in the aftermath of their foray into the Department of Mysteries. The wound inflicted upon her by Dolohov was still fresh, hence the mild pain that shot up from her now and then. Fortunately, Madam Pomfrey had managed to do the necessary healing required or else the pain would have been truly worse.
But what was already different was Harry's presence in the Hospital Wing. She remembered having slept for days, her body trying to recover from the damage done to it. When she came to, Harry always visited, but always remained vacant and distant. He had bags under his eyes from lack of sleep and she thought then that he was up all night thinking of Sirius. Was the true reason for Harry's distant behavior and tired face was his guilt and worry over her injury? Hermione knew she and Harry never spoke about what happened to her. Was the reason they talked about it now was because Harry hadn't the chance to close himself off just yet? It was possible. Still, thinking that, it made her feel even guiltier about how she treated him in Sixth Year.
Harry finally composed himself and he stood back up to the position over her bed. Hermione saw the worried glance cast at her and decided to ease his nerves by intertwining her fingers with his. Harry moved closer, this time the moonlight shining on his face. Dark bags were already beginning to form underneath his eyes. Troubled, Hermione said, "Harry, have you been sleeping?"
Harry shook his head, "I-I couldn't. Madam Pomfrey was worried you could have relapsed and I…"
"Say no more." Hermione smiled at him reassuringly, "I will be fine, but you need to promise me you would get some sleep."
Hermione shot him a stern glance, "Madam Pomfrey has already treated me, and I can assure you that I would be fine. You, on the other hand, need rest. I promise you that you can come back later and talk to me. Okay?" She wanted to bring up Sirius, but she felt that it would be too soon and would not help her with what she intended Harry to do.
Harry's eyes narrowed, a sign that he was in thought. Finally, he let out a sigh and nodded, "Alright." Harry took the invisibility cloak from the chair he set it upon and placed it over his body. Before he placed it over his head to make him completely invisible, he turned to Hermione one last time, "Hermione?"
"I'm glad you're back." With that, he placed the cloak over his head and took off. The sound of his fading footsteps was evidence of his departure.
Hermione stared up at the ceiling as Harry's words continued to repeat over and over. She missed this; the closeness that they had created. How easy it was to touch one another when one needed comfort; the casual intimacy that they had that was the envy of others. As she relished in the contentment of what transpired, Hermione slowly drifted off back to sleep.
Before she was completely lost to slumber, Hermione smiled and whispered, "Me too Harry. Me too."