Here is a sneak peak of my new story, Forward. It is still very much in the planning stage, but I am publishing a sneak peak at the prologue.
The twenty-second of December 1999 saw one Hermione Jean Granger standing the in middle of her back garden amidst the winter snow, head tilted towards the night sky. She didn't know how exactly she had come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea but as she had sat wrapping some of her Christmas gifts that evening she had looked out of the window at the cloudless sky and felt an inexplicable urge to stand in the snow and look up at the stars.
She had always appreciated the beauty of the night sky, even before she had attended Hogwarts. There had always been something that just felt magical about it. As a child her father had taught her about the constellations and their mythology. Hermione may have studied astronomy at school but it never lessened her childlike interest in the stars. She picked out several familiar shapes in the sky, smiling a little sadly as she found Sirius, the Dog Star. Her stargazing the last couple of years had always been tinged with sadness, especially on a night like this. The body in the sky which she had once taken so much pleasure from seeing as a child had been forever tainted in her mind with the connotations she now knew that it held for the world she had entered eight years ago now.
The moon shone full and bright overhead. Hermione wondered how many people would be looking to it with an entirely different attitude tonight. To some in the muggle world it would provoke wonder or simply indifference. To her world it had the potential to instil fear or to beckon with its brutal call, impossible to ignore. She knew that Bill Weasley would be pacing the length of his living room over and over again as he always did on these nights, trying to ignore the restlessness that resulted from the scars on his face. He was one of the more fortunate survivors of such an attack, there were many who were forced to obey the pull of the full moon. They would spend their night (and probably the next few days) in misery and pain.
But the situation was getting better, Hermione reflected as she sipped at her mug of tea, eyes still on the moon. It was a long road and she knew this only too well, but the wizarding world was beginning to come to terms with what the alienation of the different sects of their society could once again result in. The Ministry had to issue the rallying cry for those who felt abandoned from now on, not the Dark Arts. Two wars were enough.
It had been a little over two years since the fall of Voldemort. Two years of trying not only to rebuild but to improve. Hermione had insisted on that when she first got involved in the Regeneration Project. There was no point in simply rebuilding a broken society.
Two years, she thought wearily as she took another sip of her drink to combat the chill in the air. in truth it felt a lot longer than only two years and yet the deaths of their comrades, their friends, were still as close to them as ever before. While the rest of the world had celebrated the end of the war only months earlier Hermione, along with Harry and Ron, had conducted a near silent vigil at the side of the memorial erected outside the front doors of Hogwarts castle. She remembered the silent tears that she had shed as she held both of the boys' hands. They had lost so many: teachers, friends, family.
A wolf howled in the distance, snapping Hermione back to the present. At least in part. For a split second she wondered if the sound was coming from the Shrieking Shack. The crack in her heart deepened slightly as she realised that was impossible, Remus Lupin was among those friends whom they had lost.
He shouldn't have died, she thought, angry tears building in her eyes. None of them should have died.
Harry had talked to her several times about this guilt. He called it 'survivors guilt' but Hermione knew that wasn't what she was feeling, not exactly. She felt guilty for surviving when others had not, certainly, but more than that she felt an almost overwhelming guilt that she had not been able to stop it. 'The brightest witch of her age' she had been called and yet she had been powerless to stop the death and destruction. She had once taken great pride in the title, she thought bitterly, now it seemed like a mockery.
I couldn't save them, she thought, her eyes fixed steadily on the moon, I would have done anything to save them all. Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Fred. I wish they hadn't died, I wish they could have been here to see the millennium.
Taking a deep breath, Hermione listened again for the wolf. But the night was silent. She sighed quietly to herself. No matter how decidedly not festive she felt right now, the wrapping paper awaited.