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Chapter 18

Harry's eyes widened in disbelief. "He's really going to send an army to Hogwarts, to help us?"

Hermione nodded. "Well, technically, it's my army. But yes, we'll leave in the morning. Hopefully, that means that the war will be over soon."

Harry let out a whoop and quickly tackled Hermione into a hug. She returned the hug enthusiastically, a smile on her face. Looking to Ron, she held her hand out to him. He didn't move, only stared at her. Harry frowned, sticking his hand out as well. This time, he couldn't resist. He was pulled into the hug.

The three of them stood there, arms wrapped around each other. They had been through so much, and the end was finally approaching. It was as if the war had been one night, stretching out for ages, but the sun was just about to rise, the faint glow hovering just above the horizon. They had done it…. Together.

Hermione finally broke away, stepping back. "Well, there's a lot to do. Harry, you should message Bill, tell him to contact the Order, just to give them a heads up. The elves foresee a large battle approaching and it would be best that if we're all prepared."

Harry ran his hand through his black hair, ruffling it. "Yes, I think that would be all right. I'll send my patronus, hopefully he'll receive it."

Hermione nodded. "Good. All right, I'm going to go see Hemera, so you three play nice, all right?" She sent each of the boys a look. She didn't want any fighting between the three of them, it was the last thing she needed on her plate.

Waving them goodbye, she turned towards the forest. She was no longer afraid of the dark, as she knew she was more than accomplished to handle herself. Hermione wasn't sure where this bought of confidence came from, but she was grateful. After waking up, she had felt completely transformed. She didn't know if had to do with being bonded with Charlie, or if it was something else.

Something that she desperately needed to talk to Hemera about. "Hemera!" She cried out, hoping her dragon could hear her.

"Calm, little one. I am ahead, waiting for you."

Hermione breathed a sigh of relief as she heard Hemera's voice in her mind. Running forward, she leapt into the clearing. Hemera laid there on the ground, curled up like Crookshanks used too. She threw her arms around Hemera's neck, hugging the dragon tightly. "Oh Hemera," she sobbed into Hemera's neck.

"Shush little one, everything is all right." Hemera said, her body humming. Hermione fell to the ground, looking up to the dragon with hurt all over her face. Hemera growled softly, causing Hermione to scoot closer so she was now leaning up against her.

Hermione closed her eyes, quickly wiping away her tears. "I got my memories back."

Hemera growled. "All of them?"

Hermione nodded, another sob escaping her lips. "How could that have happened? How could he have betrayed me like that?" She whimpered, burying her face in her hands.

Hemera internally sighed. She knew when Hermione discovered the truth about her past, she would be upset. Galbatorix had betrayed her… in the worst way possible.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Hermione asked, regaining control of her voice.

Hemera remained silent.

Hermione sniffled, rubbing her nose. "I know you did it to protect me, but I would have found out sooner or later… and it just hurts Hemera." Hermione took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. When she saw her past… she saw everything. Including her relationship with Galbatorix, which was more than just platonic? They were lovers, in every sense of the word… and he had betrayed her. He had ignored her pleas, and done as he wished, despite the rules and her protests. He had destroyed her home, her family, and then he had taken her life.

Hemera's snout rubbed up against Hermione's cheek, trying to comfort her. Her hand reached up and patted her.

"I'm not mad you know. I just, I feel so overcome with grief. I barely kept it together in front of the others…" she trailed off, taking in another deep breath. Closing her eyes, she counted to ten, breathing in and out, slowly and deeply. "I had no idea it could hurt this much… I had never been in love before, but when I received my memories, all I felt was heartbreak and hurt. How could I hurt from something I barely remembered? I didn't think it was possible. I'm just so confused Hemera," she said, whispering the last part.

"You're strong Hermione. I know you'll be fine. Besides, I can see that Charlie won't betray you. He's your soul mate. I can sense it. With Galbatorix, I didn't feel this way, but with Charlie I do. I want to protect him, just as I protect you. He's a part of you Hermione. And a part of me. I know you're hurting, but stay strong. Let your emotions guide you, helping you to be a good leader, but don't let them control you. Galbatorix was your past, and Charlie is your future. Don't let it slip away."

Hermione sat there quietly taking in Hemera's words. She was right, as always. Galbatorix was her past. And while she was hurting from something she didn't remember, she had a future to look forward to. One that she needed to do everything in her power to secure.

Voldemort needed to be taken down, and it needed to happen soon. Hermione didn't want the wizarding world to suffer the way her people did.

No, this time, she would make a difference.