A/N: Welcome reader to my first attempt at a HP fanfiction :) Some of you may have read my Twilight fic, Frozen Dawn and are wondering why the bloody hell they disappeared from FF for the last couple of months. I apologize once again for deleting them, and urge you to glance at my profile for more info.
For new readers, this story isn't even based on my favorite HP pairing, but just sort of popped out of nowhere one night. And once I started writing it it flowed.
A word of caution: though I've written quite a few chapters already, I can't promise how often I'll be able to update this story. But thought I would go ahead and put it out there instead of let it collect dust in my desktop.
So hope you enjoy and we'll see where the road takes us :)
Disclaimer: Because these tend to be annoying though at times amusing to read, I'm starting off and will ONLY say it once: JK ROWLING owns Harry Potter. You know that, she knows that, I know that. Sound good? Alright! Now we can finally begin! lol
the second war
All was silent save the pounding thud of her heartbeat rushing blood to her head, now straining to pull the two Wizards to safety with each crackling 'POP'.
No matter how quickly they apparated, the Death Eater followed.
The strain was pulling at her chest, and she was grasping to hold on to the magic that seemed to drain from her like a bad leak.
They had the locket. They had the Horocrux and the Death Eater knew it.
To give up now would be to give up the months they had already sacrificed to find it.
To give up would mean to give up their lives.
Hermione Granger was not the most powerful witch of her time. She had no innate natural talent like the infamous Harry Potter clinging to her hand now. His magical store was largely untapped, something she had always secretly envied of her best friend. She would give anything to grasp even an iota of Harry's potential.
Because no amount of knowledge and brains could pull them from the fix they found themselves in now.
She was fading, fast…
She screamed when she lost control, unaware of the struggle her friends had keeping up.
They fell to the soft grassy earth so the breath was stolen from her lungs. She struggled to breath, lifted her head against the pain clenching at her brain.
As the hollow shell shock still ringing in her ears began to fade Hermione realized someone was screaming in agony.
Pushing her dark curls from her face she saw Harry's green eyes meet hers…and then saw the crumpled form he was holding down to the earth.
Her limbs loosened, would not be able to hold out much longer. But the sight of Ron bleeding beneath Harry's hands tore something inside of her so violently she found she was screaming too.
Flinging herself to his side she pointed her want to him.
Tears blurred her vision, still she concentrated on the non-verbal spell she had rehearsed so many times before their quest began. She had memorized so many spells, so many words, so many books to make certain they were prepared. She had thought of everything, every logical turn of events, every scenario.
Her own voice taunted her in her head.
Distantly she registered Harry's voice, his shouts. She couldn't focus on his words. It was too much. Too fast! Her other hand was grasping for the metal inside her shirt, unable to wrench it free with her weak hand.
The eerily calm voice that sounded so much like her own reminded her. "Shut up!" She screamed.
Harry had left them and was now attempting to save their lives against the influx of hexes being sent their way.
Hermione struggled to maintain the spell. Why didn't Ron's wounds heal? Why was he still screaming?
Flashes of light, crackle of magical energy cued the eerily calm Hermione still watching on past the emotional, exhausted wreck screamed on the outside.
The Death Eater had caught up with them was wounded, but much older than any of them and in the moment, stronger than any of them except for Harry.
"Hermione! Run!" She ignored Harry's plea as he lashed spell after spell.
Two more black robed figures had followed.
She was screaming while blood began to gush from Ron's lips…lips she had never caressed with her own. She had never known how desperately she longed to do just that until now.
One Death Eater was down, but the others were following.
Ron's periwinkle blue eyes locked with hers for a moment, burning, suddenly coherent yet the message in them was unmistakable.
Hermione choked, "NO!"
Harry's body collided with hers, his hand wrapped round her wrist, he only turned to cast a spell that caused the world to explode in a silvery blue light.
A Patronus charm...
Faster than Hermione had managed, Harry took them through a series of locations once again, a magical trail that only someone as powerful as he was could manage. She was still screaming as the pull of Apparating tore her already numb body.
She was unsure how exactly Harry managed to lose the Death Eaters.
Harry had pulled them deep into the forest, in the wilds Hermione pointed out to him on her map only the night before. It would be a good place to lie low after they found and took the locket…
It was a good hiding place.
The trees shadowed the earth. The forest was peaceful.
They had both sank to their knees in the muddy earth, as rain fell in frigid drifts overhead. Harry had muffled her screams in his chest. His hands, covered in Ron's blood caressed her back and he whispered nonsensical things to her ear.
"He's dead, Hermione…there wasn't anything we could have done." He stumbled over his words, voice hitching with unshed tears. His voice was calm as the now despised logical voice in her brain.
How could he be calm? How could he say these things! Her screams may have died but she couldn't listen to any more. She pushed away from his warm chest.
Rain streaked their faces, matted Harry's unruly black hair over his head. She stood, stumbled over the mud yet somehow managed to stand on unsteady legs. "NO!" She shouted as thunder cracked the sky. Her wand was shaking in her hand, pointed at Harry. Her hair was plastered to her face, distorting along with the rage in her wide amber eyes. "NO! How could you leave him! Why didn't you take him with us! Ron was splinched! He's not…" Choking on her words, Hermione took another distancing step, betrayal lacing her words.
Hard mask gone, the pain was so clear in Harry's emerald eyes, blurred by the rain on his spectacles. Hermione knew very well Harry had, if anything just saved their lives and the entire Wizarding world as a result. But she couldn't acknowledge that. Because in that same instant Hermione knew what had happened to Ron was her fault.
"Hermione, what are you doing?" Harry asked. He was taking slow cautious steps to her side, eyeing the unsteady shake of her wand and the tremble of her full lip. His green eyes pleaded all the while with her, the same way Ron's had pleaded just before the curse hit him…
Voice breaking when she tried to speak, thunder crackled overhead again, she dug her nails into her palm till she drew blood. "I'm not leaving him!" Fainter, she saw the world begin to shift in and out of focus and blinked past the haze. The rain beating roughly now against her skin kept her awake. "I can't leave him…my fault…" Her eyes rolled even as she tried to Apparate.
She heard the unmistakable, "Stupefy!" from Harry's lips before his arms caught her centimeters from the ground.
Ron's eyes pleaded with her in a sudden moment of lucidity past the loss of blood and his pain. There was forgiveness in his eyes, a need and sorrow, as though he knew what was inevitable. Though not knowing how they could go on, that Hermione was the one who had to do it. She had to be the one to pull Harry through…
Her limbs felt like lead when she woke to the crackling sound of the radio. Blinking past what felt like the worst mental hang over she had ever experienced, her eyes focused on the familiar peak of the tent she had created before they began their journey three months ago.
Three months! They had all been so confident then, desperate and uncertain of what awaited them. Yet certain no matter what happened they could conquer anything because they were together.
Tears filled her eyes the moment the images from her dream came crashing down.
Something was dropped on the floor nearby her cot. The radio, she recognized, now zipping in and out of frequency before settling on soft white noise.
"Hermione?" Harry was at her side with a rush of wind, his lanky frame and bespectacled eyes crashing on the edge of the cot while her hand was wrapped tightly in his own. She saw his emerald eyes, the red that surrounded them and knew he was thinking about Ron.
"Harry…" Her voice cracked, tears spilled down her cheeks. She couldn't erase the image of blood gushing from her the lips of her first love. She couldn't… "Harry? Is he…is Ron dead?"
Jaw clenching tightly his brow furrowed, his fingers tightened as he nodded. "There wasn't enough time. We couldn't have done anything."
Her eyes widened.
If I hadn't lost control…
"Hermione?" Harry asked, closer now, his eyes hardening. "Hermione, listen to me. I can't loose you too, okay? I—I know how you feel right now…he—Ron was my brother. But we have to keep going. Ron would have wanted us to keep going. There are too many people out there who will suffer if we don't get through this Hermione."
Too many people…
How many lives had been lost to the war? How many others would die before the end? The list of those she knew alone was maddening enough. But there were so many others. So many people who had lost their lives and still affected the people she loved.
Like Harry's mum and dad…
Like being doused with a bucket of cold water Hermione's mind cleared past her shock. Logical, inhumanly calm Hermione was taking control once again. Harry was right. They couldn't lie in their grief or they would fall right into the trap Voldomort had waiting for them.
Without Hermione, Harry would be alone, just like he had intended before she and Ron forced themselves into his plans. The Golden Trio had faced Death each time together. That was how they survived.
And now they were just Harry and Hermione. Without Ron they had lost the strength they needed.
Blinking past fresh tears Hermione gripped Harry's hand just as tightly back, the light igniting in her amber eyes and causing Harry's own to soften with relief.
She understood the pleading in Ron's eyes now. He was asking her to fill in the gaps. She had to be strong. "We're going to make it Harry," she said with determination. "We're going to take from him everything he took from us. We won't let them all die in vain. And we'll mourn Ron later…" Her voice softened towards the end, yet Harry seemed to hang onto her words.
He needed this…
The tent was the same as they had left it. Her eyes focused on the locket sitting on the table nearby.
Harry's eyes were far away when she looked back at her best friend. It was a look Hermione was very familiar with because she had seen it reflected in his face often through their years together. She hadn't understood that look before, when Harry began to think about the people that had been taken from him, his parents…Sirius. Now she truly understood that look for the first time. And her heart cracked to pieces knowing it was a part of Harry he would never be able to escape. His life was filled with more misery than any other person she knew.
The Savior of the Wizarding World hardly looked like a hero right now.
Yet Hermione believed in him.
Especially now she secretly was feeling all the knowledge and wisdom and logic she had hoarded were pointless in a war like this. She didn't have the power to fight, had never been much of a dueler, hated D.A.D.A because she couldn't seem to master the focus and power its efficiency required.
She was seventeen years old, eighteen counting the added hours the time turner from third year had given, Hermione Jean Granger. And she would be strong for Harry even if she had to pretend.
A slow smile ghosted his features. "I was thinking about that Christmas we spent at Grimmauld… Sirius and me were pulling prank wars with the twins. I've never laughed more than I did that Christmas. I've never felt more at home than I did there. Sirius was like a different person." His eyes met hers, grin fading. "It's not fair, Hermione, how many have been taken. Not just from me, but everyone. It's not going to stop until he's dead, is it?"
She was silent. White noise still crackled with thunder in the background. The tent felt empty. Biting her lip she watched as he bowed his head and adjusted his glasses. After a long minute of nothing to say, "Do you ever still wonder what things would have been like?"
His head perked up immediately as he offered, "You mean if he'd never…"
"Murdered your parents," Hermione finished.
A transformation took over Harry's face, premature lines faded and his eyes began to shine brighter the more he thought. "I've thought about that every day since I learned the truth. I thought about them while at the Dursley's, even before I knew they had died sacrificing their lives for mine. I've had to rely all my life on what other people told me about them because the memories I have are so few…"
"You could have grown up with Ron and the Weasley's long before Hogwarts," She said with a forced grin.
"Yeah…could have shown Malfoy a thing or two on the broom our first year."
"We'd spend holidays at your parents' home, take turns whenever we didn't want to deal with the noise at the Weasley's."
Harry's smile was genuine. "Sirius would have tried teaching me all his tricks on baiting birds." He imitated the lighthearted suave tone Sirius had used on the occasions he had tried to corrupt Harry's humility.
Hermione shook her head at the thought of Harry's godfather. The man had been infuriating and endearing. They had butted heads more than not. She did not approve of grown men who acted like children, but looking back regretted every harsh word she'd ever said to him.
"Maybe you'd have a brother or sister?" she mused.
Harry's face drew pensive, thoughtful, wistful. "They would have never let me face Voldomort like this. Dad was an Auror. He would have hunted me down with mum at his heels the moment he found out what we were trying to do… Then they would have gone after Voldomort's head."
Hermione hesitated. "I don't think they would have let Voldomort live long enough to challenge you."
Harry nodded and suddenly smiled, their gazes locking and her heart warmed. "They would have loved you."
Hermione smiled softly, while she was aching on the inside.
Harry glanced back at the radio he had dropped, and giving her a squeeze removed his hand to go turn the device off. Setting it down on the table beside the locket, his eyes paused on the horocrux only a second before meeting Hermione's watch. Offering a look he had only every given her, his best friend, "I'd better get back out there. I've been too worried about you to watch for Death Eaters. And I know my protection charms are a patched up mess compared to yours Hermione."
She smiled. "Undoubtedly."
He walked to the tent opening and undid the flap.
He had already turned back expectantly, eyebrows raised and hidden by his messy black hair.
Review: If ye like, or even if ye don't...lol