Author's note: This story came from a conversation my girlfriend and I were having one day; are dreams really just images, thoughts, or emotions that pass randomly through your mind while you sleep? Or are they actually an alternate universe that your soul goes to while this universe's body is resting? I know a few of you have probably had a dream or two that felt as if it were too real for comfort... I know I have. So it made me think how would everyone's favourite Gryffindor female (I take a bit of liberty with writing her in this just because I felt she was always a bit too above par to willing spend time with those two gits!) take to this kind of dilemma if it occurred in her own life.
Sleep had never felt so welcomed as Hermione lowers herself into the clean, warm sheets of the guest bed in Professor McGonagall's house.
The hours following the Battle of Hogwarts had been the most taxing in her opinion. Sure, the battle was brutal but the after affects of it all... Once the adrenaline wore off, that was when guilt reared its ugly head. Guilt- a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offence, crime, or wrong; whether real or imagined. She felt that, if it was any heavier she would have been literally crushed under the sheer weight of the thought. Talking to survivors while watching others cart out the dead did not help. What was worse, in her opinion, were the times she had to actually talk to family members of the deceased; she would have happily welcomed a killing curse. Her hatred of life was short lived and happiness was brought to the forefront as she saw a few Ministry officials had made their way over to her to take her away to see the newly appointed Minister. That happiness was fleeting, for the new Minister politely forced her to relive every detail of the battle, including the months prior. It was nearing midnight when Minerva came and took her away from the Minister. With a heartfelt smile, Hermione quickly followed her former professor out into the main hall of the Ministry and into one of the ever ready fireplaces of the floo network. The older woman never said a word the whole time.
When they found themselves in her sitting room, Minerva finally spoke. "Miss Granger, I am sorry I wasn't able to take you away from the Minister sooner. I was detained, as well, by Ministry officials; but as soon as I found out he was questioning you about the whole incident I had to take you away. You have been through too much as it is, and never had a chance to properly mourn your friends' deaths.
Harry and Ron... she remembered how they died shortly after Voldemort's own demise. Harry had died right after he killed Voldemort, not realising how exact the prophesy was. 'Neither shall live, while the other survives.' It didn't take a brilliant mind to realise that in the end they were both destined to die. Ron was killed by Dolohov when he tried to come to Lavender's aide, when Greyback had attacked her. There were a few more from the Order who had died as well during the battle- Molly Weasley was hit with a killing curse from Bellatrix Lestrange, before said Death-Eater Apparated from the main hall; from what was last heard she was still on the loose. Arthur Weasley had also died... not from a spell or anything, the pure exertion of that battle, as well as the loss of so many family members, fatigued him to the point of no return. Anyone else she could not recall, the rest of the battle had became a blur after a while.
As she lay in bed staring up at the ceiling, Hermione realised that she didn't feel the need to mourn her friends; they had brought all of this onto themselves. Sure if Voldemort had his way she would have been as good as dead, her being Muggle-born and all. But ultimately it was because of those two boys all her troubles had started... she never complained about their constant need for attention and when she had to drag them out of yet another fine mess they had brought upon themselves, she would show no sign of irritation. She had a job to do... Dumbledore made it clear that he wanted them protected at all costs, even if it did bore her to tears at times and exerted her patience to the limit. No one besides Dumbledore knew what she was really there for, everyone had assumed she had became best friends with the boys. Wrong! From their first year at Hogwarts until the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione had been on a mission. The deceased Headmaster had informed her on everything that she needed to do- gain the boys trust, help them become better wizards, make sure they never got caught in their shenanigans, help them destroy the Horcruxes, and above all make sure Harry does not die before the time he is supposed to. She had been tired of the whole situation since second year but always put up with it because she knew it was the only way to protect her parents from danger. Voldemort wasn't the only person who had a problem with Muggles, Dumbledore assured her that if she did what was asked her mum and dad would be fine. Hermione guessed that Rita Skeeter didn't know how close she was to unraveling the mystery that was Dumbledore in that biography she had written after he had died.
Now that the danger was over, she had no one but herself to worry about and it suited her just fine. Hermione thinks to herself as she finally succumbs to the gentle pulls of sleep, 'I wonder what would have happened if I never accepted Dumbledore's request to watch over them? What would the outcome have been?'
Having no answer, save for a yawn she half-heartedly tried to stifle, Hermione allows sleep to win out and closes her eyes and mind to the darkness behind her eyelids.