24 June, 2013 - This is a revision and update of Chapter Two. Someone pointed out to me that I didn't make a big enough deal about Hermione killing Ol' Moldy Warts, so I added some stuff. I hope we like the portrayal of Ron. As much as I dislike him for Hermione, I can't bring myself to make him an antagonist - I do like him as a character, I just don't think a match between him and Hermione would be all that realistic. I certainly don't think it would last.
Well, lookie here! Another chapter update, right quick! Just don't expect them all to be like this. That would be unrealistic.
Disclaimer: Not JKR. Or Stephenie Meyer. Nobody here is mine. Well, the vampire from Chapter One was mine, but so far nobody else.
The next days passed in a blur. Hermione could scarcely believe that even with the battle over with, the excitement was not. She found Luna and got her to Madam Pomfrey as she'd promised herself she would, and that amazing woman fixed her friend right up. Then she went to retrieve Professor Snape's body.
When she got to the Shrieking Shack, she was absolutely stunned when, as she was kneeling next to him weeping her eyes out over him, she heard a heartfelt groan. Her eyes snapped open and the shock of seeing him sitting up, clutching one hand to his head and one hand to the wound of his neck, caused her to jerk back and fall flat on her bum.
"You! You're alive! But – but we saw – ! And then – !" The rest came out as unintelligible nonsense.
"Miss Granger," he groaned, and she shut up instantly. "Kindly cease your inane prattle. My head is pounding with the force of a jackhammer."
Distantly she mused that the fact that he knew what a jackhammer was shouldn't have shocked her as much as it did. Finally she managed to pull enough of her scattered wits back together and asked, more quietly, "What do you need, Professor? How can I help you?"
In the end, she had to conjure a stretcher for him, because before he could even answer, he fell back limply, having lost consciousness again. In a panic, she ripped open her beaded bag and summoned bottles of Dittany, Blood-Replenishing Potion, and anesthetic. He was bound to be in a lot of pain. After a moment's thought, she used a gentle Aguamenti to wash off the blood to see how his neck looked, and though it was ravaged, there was no sign of the venom that would have blackened it. He must have taken an anti-venin before the battle started, or at least shortly before reporting to Voldemort.
She poured some of the Dittany over his neck to seal the wounds, and then some of the anesthetic down his throat followed by the blood replenisher. Then she conjured the stretcher and levitated him before her. She avoided the Great Hall, knowing she needed to get him to Madam Pomfrey soonest.
After that, she divided her time between helping to organize the burials for the Light dead and the cremations of the Dark dead and helping Madam Pomfrey in the hospital wing to keep herself busy. She avoided the on-going celebrations as much as she could, knowing that for her, the losses from the war would be too much to allow her to celebrate right now. She didn't think she'd be able to lend the proper facial expressions.
Of course, as much as she tried to avoid the celebrations, they inevitably came back to her, for everyone in the Great Hall had seen how the enormous white wolf that had killed Voldemort had approached Harry, sat down, and then transformed into Hermione Granger. She and Harry both were besieged with questions and demands for interviews from reporters, and she was also inundated with fan mail. Everyone wanted to know how she'd managed to change into such a large wolf and killed Tom Riddle, why the Prophecy had not been fulfilled, how Hermione felt about having been the one to ultimately kill Voldemort, and how Harry felt about his destiny being snatched from him by another. The whole mess gave her an immense headache, and she told Harry exasperatedly one day that she now knew how he felt, and could scarcely imagine how he'd managed to deal with it.
Ron, while he once upon a time would have been jealous of all the attention his friends were getting, was instrumental in helping to fend off the reporters, by turns blocking them so that Harry and Hermione could make an escape and providing outrageously smart-arsed comments to questions the reporters shouted at Harry and Hermione, comments that either left the reporters floundering for something to say or turned their attention to him.
The three of them had actually worked out this particular plan of action fairly early after the battle and after having first seen the attention Harry and Hermione would be receiving. It had been Ron's idea, in a rare display of both brilliance and cunning that reminded them that even the most impulsive and courageous Gryffindor had a bit of a Slytherin side sometimes, however buried deep.
Inevitably, word got out that Hermione had also saved Severus Snape's life, and so the reporters tried to invade the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts to talk to him as well, many of them having conveniently forgotten that he had taught quite a few of them at one point or another. But if anything could be said of Madam Pomfrey other than that she was an extremely competent healer, it was that she could be a dangerous woman to cross. More than one obstinate reporter had found themselves literally tossed out the Hospital Wing doors after failing to heed her warnings to stay out. There had even been one who had decided to get rather lippy with her after she refused him admittance, and he shortly had to take himself to St. Mungo's due to intense stomach pains that, upon their examination of him, turned out to be his stomach twisting itself into knots and coming undone again. The reporters stayed away after that.
Because of Madam Pomfrey's success in keeping the reporters out, Hermione decided to spend as much time as she could helping in the Hospital Wing. Sometimes Harry accompanied her, though he didn't have much of a gift for healing, so he was relegated to more menial tasks, such as rolling up bandages or recording care information in patient charts.
One of the patients Hermione assisted – partially because he would allow no one to tend him but herself and Madam Pomfrey – was Professor Snape. She endured his griping in good spirit, because he wasn't griping at her. Or rather, she wasn't the cause of his griping, merely the unfortunate soul in whom he chose to confide his many frustrations and irritations with being in the Hospital Wing. As unlikely as it seemed, she was becoming friends with the dour man.
The next days were also filled with funerals and memorials. Trials for the surviving Death Eaters would start after the funerals and memorials were all over. Everyone seemed to want Harry to come to the funerals of their loved ones lost in the battle. He couldn't, of course, as there were far too many, but he attended those of his closest friends, and made do with sending personally hand-written sympathy cards and letters to the families of those whose funerals he could not attend. There was one grand memorial service held on the grounds of Hogwarts near Albus Dumbledore's tomb at the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
It was decided that there would be a memorial structure to commemorate the battle and all those lost in it, and to accommodate the memorial, a number of witches and wizards that worked for a wizarding landscaping company combined magical efforts to shift the trees at the edge of the Forbidden Forest just behind Dumbledore's tomb to clear out a semicircular hollow. In the center of the hollow and directly behind Dumbledore's tomb was erected a tall white obelisk. It was simple in shape, its only ornamentation being a black granite base into which were carved the names of all the dead Order of the Phoenix members, Hogwarts students, and Aurors who had fought against Voldemort and defended Hogwarts in the battle.
Two weeks after the Final Battle, she received a plea for help from Luna. Completely in keeping with her typical quirkiness, instead of an owl to deliver her mail, she used a particularly large and strong magpie. Hermione rather felt she could actually understand the merits of a magpie versus an owl; magpies, jays, and crows were all part of the same family of highly intelligent birds. In fact, if not for the fact that jays were often too small to deliver much mail, Hermione thought she'd use one herself. Instead, she used a raven. She'd gotten the idea from Professor Snape, who had one of his own and had convinced her that ravens were both intelligent enough and fierce enough to be able to scare off many species of owl.
The magpie fluttered into Hermione's window and gave a harsh chuk to catch her attention. She looked up just as Pi's greeting was met with a caw, caw from Hermione's raven Edgar. "Pi?" she asked. "A letter from Luna?" She got up and went over to the magpie, who held out her leg with a much softer chuk.
Hermione removed the letter and opened it, reading with a frown the short note written in a hasty scrawl that was completely unlike Luna. It was a request for Hermione to meet Luna at the earliest possible convenience. If possible, she should Floo Luna immediately upon reading the note.
"Something must be wrong, Pi. Was she upset when she sent you?" Hermione said when she finished reading the note.
The magpie answered with an unhappy, whining mag. So Hermione sent Pi home, promising she would Floo Luna immediately, and then she closed her window, ensuring she would get no more owls for the time being.
She put the letter back down on the table, and stepped over to her fireplace. She reached for the small Floo Powder jar, pulled out a handful and tossed it into the fireplace, calling, "Lovegood Landing!" Then she disappeared in a billow of green flames.
When she stepped back out onto her hearth rug later that afternoon, her head was fairly spinning with what she'd learned, and her heart was heavy with the gravity of Luna's situation. Her friend was pregnant with the child of the vampire that had raped her at the Final Battle.
Heheh. Well, how do we like it? 'S good? Again, I promise, Sam is coming soon, I just don't know exactly when.