The night woke her in a sweat. Her sheets tangled around her body, snaring her, making her mind think to grab her wand and disarm her attackers. A moment's panic; the tiny bit of time where you believe for your dream to be reality and your nightmare an inescapable fate. It was only the soft wind from her open window and the creak of her small bedroom that snapped the thread connecting two separate things. Her brown eyes slowly opened, flickering around the small room for intruders. To make sure that nothing from her dream had escaped her head and become living in the world.
The moon peered through the sheer curtains. It was her favorite kind of light, the blue light from a bloated moon. Maybe that was what had stirred her nightmare. Fenrir. A scene from her memories floated in the darkness, taking shape in the shadows. He had been bent over a girl. Someone with blond hair. As she shot a Stunning spell towards him, she saw the blood trickling down his lips. Then, she had not allowed herself to recognize his crime. But now she felt the bile rise in her throat and had to run to the small loo. Even as the acidic fluids left and her stomach was empty, her head felt heavy and full.
She hadn't known the girl. But Lavender, she had. Her stomach turned again, her back clenching in disgust with herself as she remembered the moment's hesitation. Fenrir had lunged at Lavender after the spell had missed him. She had thought of when Lavender stole Ron from her, stole the man she loved. Another heave, this time only leaving her with the pain of involuntary muscle movements. For a moment she considered letting him attack her. Letting him do the work in her desperate revenge. But she had repelled him into the marble wall and then Trelawny finished him off with one of her precious crystal balls.
Hermione stood and splashed water over her face. The water droplets slipped down the length of her trembling body, soaking up into her nightclothes. Of all the things that happened, she had only one regret. The moment of hesitation.
She crawled back into her small bed, her damp face darkening the pillow covers. Even the room felt empty, but so full of her doubts and nightmares. It had been the first time she remembered Fenrir. Often it was Bellatrix. From the perfect map in her mind of her body, her fingers traced along the faint scar on her throat. She had been ready to kill her. Only one smooth movement and she would not have been alive.
Her hand then moved to her arm, where the word was. Despite the warnings from the mental health healers at St. Mungo's, she had not gotten her scars healed. She could have easily wiped them away. They were silly little cuts, not even magical. But like the moment of hesitation, they stayed with her. She allowed their company for the rest of her life. They were reminders of what she had fought for. Hermione wouldn't let herself forget anything from that year. It was far too important.
"Mudblood" is what her arm called her. It was meant as a permanent sign of her unworthiness to live in the wizard world. That was the intention when it had been carved into her flesh. "Survivor" is how she read it.