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Chapter 1 : Dust in the Wind
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A man walked through a group of graves that held the bodies of those who had died during the Final Battle. His eyes skimmed over the gravestones and he felt himself tear up as he read all of their names: Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood… He placed a flower on each of their graves as he thought about how many innocent lives were lost that day.
He pased over the rest and finally sat between two graves, the tears finally flowing freely down his cheeks.
Close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
Hermione Granger walked into the kitchen of the Burrow, having just returned from a meeting with Ginny and Fleur. They had discussed possible names for Fleur’s first child (it had not come as a surprise that Fleur was pregnant for, after all, she and Bill had been married for five months now and they had been eager to start a family) as Fleur had requested the two girls for this project, in hopes that it would end be a "great bonding experience." Although Ginny pretended to gag behind Fleur's back at this comment, she and Hermione agreed to help her. After two hours of brainstorming, Hermione and Ginny, satisfied with their results, left Fleur’s room and headed to the kitchen. Everyone was already eating the start of a delicious dinner.
Hermione sat next to Ron while Harry, who had also just entered, sat across from her. She tried to ignore the constant noise coming from Ron and Luna (they began dating that summer after a short lived romance between Hermione and Ron), who were passionately kissing. The rest of the table was too busy with their own conversations to give notice. Hermione rolled her eyes, obviously displeased that she was stuck next to the couple, and traded looks with Harry. He laughed at the two, and Hermione, although she had no idea why, could only give Harry a weak smile in response as they began to eat.
Hermione, as she had been doing over the past few days, found herself looking up and staring at Harry every so often. It wasn't just that he had turned into quite a handsome young man - there was something else, too, something which she still had yet to figure out. She laughed at herself for becoming so obsessed with this, but stopped laughing as a thought suddenly hit her. She had no idea where it came from, but knew immediately that it had to be true.
Oh my God, Hermione thought to herself. I’m falling in love with him. This cannot be happening. Not with Harry...not with my best friend. It was true. As much as Hermione was fond of Ron, Harry had always been her best friend.
Harry smiled at Hermione and she returned the smile, her heart beating fast. Her stomach seemed to be turning over and over and eating no longer seemed an option.
How could this be happening?
One thing was for sure: she wouldn’t let it affect their friendship as it had affected the one she had with Ron. If it were ruined, her life would be over.
All my dreams, pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Harry stared at Hermione. Why hadn’t he noticed how her brown eyes lit up whenever she was talking about something, giving her face a glowing quality; how she was full of warmth and kindness, and always had a moment to spare to help others; how much she truly cared?
He stared at the back of her head as Hermione spoke with Mrs Weasley (she was strangely avoiding eye contact with Ginny), as if trying to memorize each and every strand of her brown hair.
He was in love with her. There was no doubt about it. He had his suspicions several weeks before when he felt jealous pangs when Ron and Hermione announced they were going out (thank Merlin that had ended), but now he was certain.
But he couldn’t tell her. There was no way that pretty, intelligent, caring Hermione could feel the same way about him, even if she had broken up with Ron.
He noticed that Ginny was staring at him, and he gave her a smile. She smiled back. This didn’t surprise Harry. After all, they had dated a little while ago, and it was obvious she still had feelings for him. Harry sighed.
It seemed as if there might be a chance that she would ask him out, starting up their relationship once more. If this happened, Harry supposed he would say yes. After all, Ginny had agreed long ago not to go with the trio when they went to destroy Voldemort. He had no excuse to say no now. And, although the feelings weren’t as strong as with Hermione, he suppose he could live with Ginny as his girlfriend once more. He certainly liked her enough. Within he knew he woudl be giving Ginny the raw end of the deal, but he couldn't help it. He was so desperately in need of a distraction, and unfortunately Ginny was it.
"What about this?" Hermione asked, rubbing her eyes out of exhaustion. "The-" she paused to yawn, "expelliarmus spell, combined with another's, is extremely powerful. To complete a successful double defense, simply place the two wands in the hand of one of the two performing the spell. Have the other lay their hand on top of the initial caster's hand. This will result in an expelliarmus with three times as much power as an expelliarmus that is cast by one person. However, if the two casters have a strong relationship with one another, the power of the spell can increase by ten fold. Why the power of the spell is normally tripled, and not doubled, is unknown, although historians believe that it the answers lies with a witch who lived in the area now known today as Aberystwyth, Wales, around the seventh century.
"Fine, don't give us any more information!" Hermione yelled irritably at the book, shutting it closed.
"Why don't we forget about the lack of background information around the theory," Harry suggested to Hermione gently, "and try it out?"
Hermione stared at Harry. "You want me to perform it with you?" She felt rather pleased with the idea that Harry trusted her enough.
"Well, no one else is exactly up, are they?" Harry said with a laugh.
"Oh, yes," Hermione said, her face falling. Harry wondered why, and, for a second, he was going to ask her, but Hermione insisted, "Let's do this now. It's already 1:30 and we need sle-eep!" Hermione stifled another yawn.
Hermione handed Harry her wand and he held it in his right hand along with his own. Hesitantly, Hermione placed her hand on top of his, and immediately felt goose bumps run up her back. Luckily she felt no blush creep up on her cheeks, for which she was extremely grateful.
"Shall we aim for the bookcase?" Harry asked, a wicked look in his eyes.
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed. "Not the bookcase..." Hermione seemed pained at the mere thought of a violent act on such a sacred item.
"If I promise to repair it when we're done then can we?" Harry requested of Hermione.
Hermione paused for a moment, then, looking regretfully at the bookcase, seceded. "All right," she sighed. I'm sorry books, she thought regretfully. But it is for a noble cause.
"On the count of three then," Harry instructed. "One, two, three!"
"Expelliarmus!" the two cried together, and to their disbelief, the bookcase was thrown through the wall, exposing the room to the cool night's air. It landed so far away that neither one of them could make out where it was.
"Wow," Hermione breathed, her hand still on Harry's. "Wow."
"That was amazing," Harry exclaimed, staring at the bookcase.
"Mmhmm," Hermione agreed. "That was much stronger than...than simply tripling the effect," Hermione added quietly, looking up at Harry.
Harry gulped. "I-I guess it's because we have such a close friendship."
"Uh huh," Hermione said, her hand still on Harry's as she moved closer to him. She had no idea what she was doing, only knowing that instinct had taken over and she was no longer in control.
As she leaned towards Harry he bent down. She could see his lips coming towards hers, and her heart began racing. Hermione's hand went up to his face as he came closer and closer, until...
"Harry! Hermione! There you are!" Harry and Hermione quickly stepped back from one another as they faced Ron. Ron stepped into the room, eyeing the two suspiciously.
"What's going on here?" he questioned.
"Nothing," Harry and Hermione replied together.
"Harry, er, just had something in his eye," Hermione said quickly. "That's all."
"Right," said Ron, still uncertain. "Anyway, you should probably get some sleep. It's almost two. Lupin said we'd be going through some extensive training tomorrow...I mean today. What happened to the wall?" he asked, finally taking notice of the giant hole behind Harry and Hermione.
"We were practicing a spell," Hermione said quickly. "Here
– Reparo." The wall and bookcase repaired itself.
"Don't worry about us," said Harry. "We'll be done in a minute. I'll meet you in our room." Ron left the room with one backward glance at Harry and Hermione, and then the two were left alone.
Harry, who hadn't been thinking rationally and panicked, said, "Sorry about that. I honestly have no idea what got into me. You're not offended by what I did, are you?"
Hermione felt her heart drop to her stomach. He didn't want to kiss her. He didn't want her.
"No, no of course not," Hermione said, trying to hide a quivering voice. "Let's get some sleep."
And together they left and headed for separate rooms, both regretting what had just been said.
Two months had passed since Hermione and Harry's almost romantic encounter. Still, Hermione kept her affections a secret, which was hard as Harry was now asking for her to train regularly (instead of the usual once a week) with him
– along with Ron – for the final battle with Voldemort. In addition, Harry often stayed with Hermione after the trainings once Ron had left (which Ron strangely did as soon as possible), and the two discussed different ideas for defense and for finding the last two horcruxes, just like the night when they almost kissed.
Her attempts at hiding her true feelings had so far been successful, but Hermione was about to face another obstacle. She had forgotten that Harry might fall back in love with Ginny Weasley.
Harry, who felt that Hermione would never return his feelings, had turned to Ginny. And, as he had suspected that night at dinner long ago, she was more than happy to have him back.
When Harry told Ron and Hermione the news, he acted more excited than needed, as if to convince Hermione that the kiss two months ago really had been nothing but a mistake. Meanwhile, Hermione fought hard to keep a smile on her face, despite feeling as if her life had fallen apart.
Dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind.
Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do, crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Hermione ran behind Harry, trying to keep up. She felt tears burning at the edge of her eyes, threatening to spill. Death Eaters had already brutally attacked Ron, Ginny, Luna, and the rest of the former DA – who knew if they were all right? The members of the DA had stubbornly insisted on joining the trio and the Order, and had refused to let them leave to fight Voldemort without them, threatening them with hexes. Lupin was nowhere to be found, nor were the other members of the Order. As the Death Eaters had fired their attacks, Harry had pulled Hermione out of harm's way – the green light missed her by an inch.
Now Harry and Hermione were racing towards what seemed to be certain death. They were following Lord Voldemort and Harry, in a rage, was determined to kill him.
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind
“Where are you?” Harry screamed, his eyes on fire. “Where are you? I know you’re here!”
“Harry,” Hermione whispered, scared. “Harry, be careful, please be careful. Don't do any–anything rash.”
Harry gave Hermione a look of pity, but said, “I’ll try.”
“That’s not good enough,” Hermione told him, tears now pouring down her face. She had most likely lost too many people tonight - Ginny, Luna, Ron... She couldn't lose Harry. She wouldn't lose Harry. “Promise me, promise me," Hermione said fiercely, "that you’ll be careful.”
Harry, astounded by Hermione's reaction, nodded his head. “I will,” he told her.
Just as he was about to turn around Voldemort appeared, surrounded by Death Eaters. Unaware to either Harry or Hermione, one had apparated directly behind the pair. He grabbed Hermione quickly, pulling her away from Harry.
It was only when Hermione screamed that Harry realized that she wasn't by his side. He watched in horror as Hermione struggled violently against the Death Eater that was now bringing her to Voldemort.
Harry was paralyzed by this turn of events. Losing Ron, Ginny, and Luna was horrible enough, but not Hermione. Of all people, not Hermione. Images of Hermione falling to he floor in fifth year flooded his brain, and that familiar feeling of panic and helplessnes began to take over.
Once again distracted, the Death Eaters took advantage of Harry and two grabbed him. Harry was in too much shock to react in time.
"Will you kill him now?" one of the Death Eaters laughed viciously, tightening his grip on Harry.
"NO!" Hermione screamed, tears gushing down her face. "NO!"
"Not yet," Voldemort replied. He walked right up to Harry, placing a cold finger under his chin. Harry grit his teeth in an attempt not to scream out from the pain.
"You've caused me so much trouble these past sixteen years, haven't you Harry?" Voldemort sneered. "I think it's time that I return the favor." Voldemort left Harry and approached Hermione.
Harry panicked increased immediately. "Don't touch her!" he cried out, hopelessly struggling against the Death Eaters holding him. "Don't touch her!"
"Oh look," Voldemort smirked. "Potter cares for a mudblood. Just like your father, aren't you, boy?"
Hermione stared into the face of hatred for the first time. She never believed that someone could truly be so evil until now. She prepared herself for the worst. For Harry, she said silently. I can do this.
“Don’t do anything you'll regret, Potter,” Voldemort said, his red eyes glinting maliciously as he raised his wand at Hermione. “One wrong move and this girl will have a long and painful death,” Voldemort finished in a bored tone.
Hermione, determined not to allow Harry to be at a disadvantage, reached for her wand, but the Death Eater snatched it from her and threw the wand way beyond her reach.
Harry looked between Hermione and Voldemort, not knowing what to do.
“Kill him, Harry,” Hermione cried. “You have to, you know you do. I’m not worth this.”
Harry shook his head. “Yes, you are,” he replied quietly.
"Oh look," Voldemort sneered. "Potter does love the mudblood. How much like your father you truly are."
“Kill him!” Hermione screamed at Harry frantically. “You idiot," she exclaimed, tears of frustration running down her face as Harry stood still. "I'm not worth it! I’ll never forgive you!” Harry didn’t move, but Voldemort was slowly advancing on Harry, his wand rising. “Damnit Harry! Kill him or I’ll – ”
Voldemort turned around. "Crucio!" he shouted, cutting Hermione off. Hermione screamed as the Unforgivable Curse hit her. Never had she experienced so much pain – she felt as if her entire body was being pulled apart.
"Hermione!" Harry screamed, trying to reach for his wand to protect her, only to have the Death Eater confiscate it from him.
Voldemort finally ended the curse and nodded at the Death Eater holding her. The Death Eater flung Hermione, who was trying to regain her breath, to the ground.
"Crucio," Voldemort repeated calmly.
Harry watched in horror as Hermione writhed on the floor, screaming. She never deserved this. Not Hermione. It's all my fault.
Voldemort used Crucio on Hermione again and again, building on her pain every time. Finally Voldemort stopped, leaving a bloodied and limp Hermione on the floor.
Harry had no idea how he had managed to escape the Death Eater's grasps, but the next second he was on the ground, holding Hermione's head in his lap.
"Come on, Hermione," he whispered as Voldemort laughed cruelly. Harry ignored him. Nothing seemed to matter now, not even killing Voldemort. The only thing that mattered was that Hermione stay alive. "Say something. Anything."
"Harry," Hermione coughed, grasping weakly at his hand.
Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
Harry breathed a sigh of relief. She hadn't gone insane like the Longbottoms. She would be just fine.
"Harry, I...I feel cold," she whimpered. Harry felt his heart stop as the words hit him. It was then that he realized that the hand he was holding on to so dearly was steadily losing warmth.
"No, Hermione," he cried. "No, don't leave me. I can't lose you. Please..." he begged.
“Harry,” Hermione repeated weakly, tears running down her face as the truth hit her. "I can't...I can't feel...feel my legs," she shivered.
“Don’t die on me, Hermione,” Harry pleaded with her, his voice shaking. “Just hang on. I’ll get you to St. Mungo's. You’ll be fine!”
Hermione shook her head weakly. “We'd never escape alive," she coughed as her body began to shake. “Harry, before I die – ”
“You’re not going to die!” Harry insisted, placing a hand on her face. Hermione grabbed it and moved it away slowly with the little strength that she had.
"How touching," Harry heard Voldemort say from what felt like millions of miles away. "He thinks the mudblood won't die."
“I want you to know,” Hermione continued softly so that only Harry could hear her, staring intently in his eyes, “that I love you. I wanted that kiss to happen that night. I lied to you. I-I'm sorry," Hermione's voice trembled.
Harry held Hermione close to him and whispered in her ear, “You weren't the only one who lied. I loved you, too. I still love you.” Hermione smiled weakly at this, but she was struggling for air. "I'm so sorry," he told her, tears welling up in his eyes once more.
"Don't apologize," Hermione said quietly, wincing from the pain. "We-we were both idiots." She began to laugh, but the laugh shortly turned into a fit of coughing.
My life is turning into a soap opera, she thought bitterly. She closed her eyes, feeling tears escape down her face as Harry leaned over and kissed her full on the lips for the first and last time.
Hermione, remembering what Harry had told her Dumbledore had said in their first year when he had found the Mirror of Erised, smiled as Harry ended the kiss and stared at her.
She looked up at him and recited, “‘It doesn’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.’” Growing even weaker, Hermione, with great pain, took Harry's other hand in hers. Harry felt his throat tighten as he held on to her for dear life. He watched in horror as Hermione’s chest slowly stopped moving and her brown eyes, which were still open, became empty of the warmth that had possessed them for eighteen years.
He flung himself onto Hermione’s body, trying to hold on to her, trying to preserve her, trying to keep her from becoming something of the past.
It slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy.
Harry held on to her tightly as reality hit him. She was dead. Hermione Granger, the one person he had ever truly loved, was dead. What he wouldn’t do to turn back time, to tell her he loved her the moment he knew.
"This is all very touching," he heard Voldemort taunt, "but I believe there's one more task at hand."
Harry held Hermione to him as the flash of green light headed towards him.
Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind
Dust in the wind, everything is dust in the wind.
“Here lies Hermione Jane Granger,” the redheaded man read to himself. “September 19, 1979 – May 1, 1997. A loyal young woman who had a great future waiting for her. A beloved daughter and treasured friend. Rest in Peace.” Ron traced the grave with his finger.
He turned to the other grave. "Here lies Harry James Potter. July 31, 1980 - May 1, 1997. A hero for the wizarding world, but above all a loyal friend whose life was cut too short. Rest in Peace."
It was June first, one month exactly after the horrible deaths of his two best friends. Ron learned exactly what had happened that fateful day after the Order captured and Veritaserumed Death Eater that was present at the event.
Although Harry had died that day, he took Voldemort with him. Voldemort didn't realize that he had inadvertently made Harry the seventh horcrux that fateful night sixteen years ago. He also didn't realize that Hermione's love for him had protected Harry once more. Although not nearly as strong as Lily Potter's because she was not related to him by blood, it was enough so that after murdering Harry, the curse bounced back and killed Lord Voldemort.
Still, nothing would ever heal the wounds of losing the two most important people in his life.
Ron raised his wand at the tombstones and changed the engraving at the end to read, "May you rest in peace together, forever and always."
Taking two roses from the bunch of flowers he had brought, Ron lay one next to each grave.
"I miss you," he whispered. "I wish I had been there to say goodbye." He paused for a second and then continued. "You two deserved to grow old together," he said, beginning to choke up. "To watch your brilliant daughter and amazing Quidditch son run in your front yard. You two deserved so much. Not like me. I wasn't worthy of living. I wish I could give up my life for yours."
Ron furiously wiped away the tears that had cascaded down his face and stood up, leaving the graveyard and the two people he had loved more than anyone else in the world.
Oh god. I did what I hate... kill off not only Harry, but Hermione as well. I'm such a hypocrite. I am so sorry! I rewrote this AGAIN and I'm crying- I'm such a sap. *laughs* Anyway... please review. I'd love to know what you think.
Note: Hermione would be almost 18. See JK Rowling's site for more details about Hermione (in FAQ).
I have a question though. Should I end it with Harry's death or continue with the part with Ron? I wasn't sure if it detracted from the ending or not.
Also, I had to rewrite this because of the sixth book (*mutters angrily* ^_-), and then I rewrote it again because I realized it was missing something. Then I rewrote it for a fourth time because I just had to change it.
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