"No. . . no it was wrong and now . . . now I must fix everything." The speaker was weary, and his clothes were worse for wear. There were creases in his expressions that had not been there a year ago. There was knowledge and visions that he could never have imagined before floating around in his mind.
"When did you realize?"
"After Ron's death." He moved slowly to the other side of the dark room, furnished with only a chair, a small lamp and a sleeping bag on the floor that served as a bed. "After the funeral I sat down and listed them in my mind."
"The horcruxes?" The female he owed so much to in the past years was perched delicately on his solitary chair and looking disappointedly at the dim surroundings her best friend had to live in now. If asked last year if she believed leaving Hogwarts was a wise idea, she would have denied it. She had been frightened, but she refused to allow him to make his journey alone, not after all the years they had spent together.
"What's going on!?"
"To your dormitory! Now!"
"We can't just run!"
"I am headgirl! I said return to your dormitory! Immediately!"
The scene was one of panic and turmoil. There were people screaming and running in different directions. Fear was so thick it had become a scent. The torches kept flickering in and out and the brightness was quickly being overtaken by the dark. It had only been ten minutes but already so many were dead. The resistance was ready.
It had been a normal dinner. Normal of the late, that is. Everyone sat quietly, their heads down towards their plates and their voices silent. No one spoke anymore. It was if they feared that their voices would call the Dark Lord's servants on them from miles away. As if they were in hiding and couldn't dare to breath for fear of being found out.
Suddenly the torches flickered out and the magicked ceiling went blank. The Hall was thrown into darkness. The occupants had no time to react before a jet of green streaked down the length of the room and the torches came back to life, revealing the scene that had begun the resistance.
The headmistress Minerva McGonagall was on her back, splayed across the three steps that led to the raised platform that the teachers sat on during meals. Her eyes were open wide and her face was set with a permanent expression of disbelief.
The students had then begun to scream and run in a panic from the room. A stampede pursued from the Great Hall and erupted into the hallways of the school, where many students met their demise at the hands of cloaked deatheaters awaiting them.
The professors did naught to stem the rampaging. They mostly stood in mute shock and horror, staring at the body of the headmistress, her hand daintily draped across her chest. Her expression. The echo of fear in her eyes.
It was not noted that Severus Snape had not been present at the meal.
It was these happenings that had led to the deaths. Unnecessary deaths?
"We won't let you pass," a quavering voice said from the front of the pack. His hands were clenched tightly in fear at his sides. Slippery with sweat.
"You will have to fight us," a female voice said from behind him, a little stronger.
"You can not make us move," a third voice said from the mass.
"We are going to fight you," the first boy continued. "We aware that we will probably all die. But we're still not going to move. "
The deatheaters before them smiled in anticipation.
"We still have hope that there is good in the world. We still know-"
"Harry Potter," the deatheaters chorused in disgust. "Harry Potter," they cried in disdain. "Harry Potter. Harry Potter. Harry Potter."
"We won't let you pass," he repeated.
"Then we shall begin now," a deatheater before him said, raising his wand. " Avada Kedavra ." The boy fell with a small cry as the spell hit him in the chest.
The 500 students united then in that moment and surged forward with a great battle cry. They were out matched. Out magicked. From the three houses, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor, only 379 of the resistance made it out that night. They took the lives of 7 deatheaters with them. A measly number compared to the youth slain.
But they were not slain for naught. They died victoriously. They died in battle. They did not kill enough of the Dark Lord's followers to worry the Dark Lord, but enough to make their deaths meaningful. Enought to be remembered. Enough to have made a difference.
It was later discovered that months before the Slytherins had opened to dungeons to the deatheaters and had harbored them until the oppurtunity had arisen to capture the school. It had been Severus Snape's hand that Minerva McGonagall had been slain by.
During those dark months when Minerva McGonagall was headmistress, her students thrived on the occasional tidbit of knowledge from the outside world of Harry Potter and his two best friend's journey to discover the horcruxes. One by one the victories amounted.
First the ring on Dumbledore's hand. Next the Hufflepuff cup. About a month later Slytherin's locket was rooted out and then they accidentally stumbled upon Nagini, Voldemort's pet snake. It was clear that Nagini was more than a normal snake but it took even Hermione a few weeks to realize that Nagini was a horcrux. After reflection one night, reminiscing on their past years at Hogwarts, which they missed dearly, they added Tom Riddle's diary to the list.
That was five horcruxes.
To allow Voldemort to live, a part of his soul had to be residing in his own body, but what was the seventh horcrux? After the discovery of the first five, months passed before Hogwarts had any more word of the three and hope started to slip away from the school. Then they were overthrown.
Word about Hogwarts reached Harry, Ron, and Hermione just before they were about to fight for what they believed was the final horcrux, excluding the one residing with Voldemort. Harry's plan was to destroy the last horcrux and then to take on Voldemort. His plan failed when they were surprised by none other than Voldemort himself, and his best friend was murdered in the fight. Soon after which, Harry killed Voldemort.
"What are you doing?!" Hermione screamed at Ron from the ground. "Run!"
Ron shook his head.
"Go!" She cried, tears pouring down her face. "You must help Harry!" He sadly shook his head again.
The Deatheater standing over her sighed impatiently. "I'm getting bored Mudblood." The voice drawled.
"Please Ron." She pleaded one last time. "I'm not worth it."
"Like Hell." He growled, taking his wand from his cloak and pointing it at the deatheater.
"No!" Hermione screamed as the blonde deatheater turned from her and pointed his wand at Ron's heart. Everything happened so fast that she only had a moment to register that Ron was dead after the cry of Avada Kedavra had stopped echoing in her mind.
The deatheater turned back to her and smiled. "What a pity." He drawled at the sight of her sobbing. "I never did like the weasel." he shrugged and brought his wand up slowly, sighing. "I've wanted to do this for a long time, Granger."
"It's a pity you won't have the chance." A new voice said from behind them. The deatheater turned in surprise and Harry's Avada Kedavra hit him in the chest. He fell to the ground with a thud, his eyes wide in an expression on horror. "I never liked you , Malfoy." He spat.
"Oh Harry!" She cried out to him as he ran to her side. "He- he . .. Oh Merlin Harry!" She cried pointing at the fallen form of their redhead companion.
"I can't look." Harry admitted into Hermione's shoulder. "I can't."
They held each other for a moment, trying to find the strength to finish the last leg of the battle.
"Get up." A cold voice suddenly interrupted their bubble of safety they were trying to build.
They scrambled to their feet and realized they were face to face with the nightmare himself.
"I've waited a long time for this." He hissed his 's's.
"So have I." Harry said grimly.
Their search for this seventh horcrux was halted for three weeks while Hermione and Harry mourned Ron and organized a discreet funeral service, which they were the only ones to attend. It was impossible for it to be done otherwise and they were very far from their home.
Mrs. Weasley -
There is no way to sugar coat anything anymore, and I haven't the strength to do it anyway. You probably already know what I am writing about, and you must know that I am sorry. Know that he was my best mate, my brother, and I loved him very much. His loss is mourned deeply and by many. I'm sorry we couldn't bring his body back to you to bury at home. Know that he died for someone he loved. Hermione will return soon.
It was this path that had led them here, to this moment, sitting in Harry's third world living conditions with the girl he viewed as his sister, and last spark of hope, trying to explain to her why he now had to do what he had to do.
"Listen, Hermione." He said coming to her chair and taking her hands in his. "Promise me that you will not hate me for what I have to do." He begged her. He was beyond any emotion now, but he found that he couldn't go through with it if he knew that she did not understand. "Please, Hermione."
"What are you talking about Harry?" She said, gripping his hands tightly.
"Please, promise me."
"I will not promise anything until you tell me what you are going on about Harry Potter." She said, standing abruptly and pulling him to his feet with her. "You're scaring me Harry." She said and then walked away, dismissing the conversation. "When do we leave?" She said.
"You can't come with me this time." He said. "Don't change the subject."
Hermione reeled around, trying to not allow her anger to spill over. "I'm not coming with you?! Who do you think you are Harry James Potter?! Do you think that after everything that has happened in the past year that I have to listen to this!? There is no force on this earth that will stop me from coming with you! I started this journey with you and I will finish it with you!"
"Please Hermione!" He cried in anguish, grabbing her hands again. "Please understand." He tried to will the understanding into her but she stood resolute and firm, her mouth clenched in a thin line. He sighed. "I promised Ron I'd take care of you -" Hermione huffed and turned her back on him. "- and even if that wasn't the case I can't allow you to make this final journey with me."
Hermione reeled around. "I fought beside you for six years before Dumbledore's death." She stepped towards him with each statement. "I then followed you away from school, left my family and my friends to save our world." Harry backed away as she threw these things out at him. "I was there for every horcrux. I fought with you when Ron died. I helped you pull his body out of the wreckage. I helped you bury him." She said with gritted teeth, the pain still bright in her mind. "I fought Voldemort by your side. I was there when you killed him-"
"That's it Hermione!" Harry interrupted her. "He's not dead!"
"What do you mean he's not dead!?" She yelled back. "I watched you kill him! We both watched as his followers fell to the ground dead. Everyone but us died on that battlefield, Harry!"
"He's not dead." Harry said quietly.
"What?" Hermione said in an equally quiet and unbelieving voice.
"The prophesy was wrong."
"That's impossible. Dumbledore said-"
"Dumbledore was an old fool! He believed Snape's lies! He was too old to fight back and too foolish to realize it!"
Hermione stood in shock in the aftermath of his statement. "Harry . . . "
"When Voldemort hit me with this spell he unknowingly created his arch nemesis. He unknowingly planted his powers inside of me. He unknowingly set the path to his demise."
"But we've won Harry. We've disposed of his body . . . the last seventh of his soul has nowhere to reside . . . no one to use for his power . . . no vessel-"
"Don't you understand Hermione!?" He cried. "It's me! I am the seventh horcrux! I am the last horcrux!"
"No . . ." Hermione shook her head in disbelief as she backed away from him. "Oh Merlin no. . . "
"That's why you must promise me." He said, the anger flowing out of him as he saw her shocked and pained expression.
"Harry . . ." She said as tears started coming to her eyes and trickling down her cheeks. "Please . . you can't do it . . "
"Please, Hermione." He said in a voice so quiet that it was almost inaudible.
"No. That means . . that means . . ."
"I am the final horcrux. He lives in me. I am the last remaining trace of him. As long as I live . . . he lives on. Inside of me."
"No . . . please Harry." She said, tears beginning to cascade down her face. "Please don't go through with it."
"I have to. Sooner or later he will control my mind. My thoughts will no longer belong to me. My body will no longer do as I bid. I will become him. You must see that. You must understand." He begged, taking her hands, tears coming to his own eyes.
"I know." She admitted. There was silence for a moment and he let go of her hands and began to turn away.
She reached out and grabbed his arm. "I'm going to be there. I'm going to hold your hand when you do it. I won't let you d-die a-alone." She stuttered out.
He pulled her to him in a tight hug. "I can't let you do that Mione. I can't ask you to do that."
"You're not asking." She said back into his neck, her tears leaving a wet trail down his shirt.
He pulled her back and looked sadly at her for moment, then wiped the tears from her face at the same time his began to pour heavily down his cheeks. He pulled her to him again and kissed her forehead gently.
Sobs began to rack her body as he turned and took her hand with one of his and picked his wand up in the other.
He looked once more at her, the tears streaming down his face and leaving a dusty track to his jaw. "I love you Mione."
"I l-love y-you too."
Then closed his eyes tightly.
"Avada Kedavra." He whispered.
The last thing he heard was her sobbing echoing around in his mind. His body slowly sagged to the floor and she dropped to her knees with him and held him as his body grew cold and her tears would no longer come from her eyes.
She didn't know how long she sat there, her head swam and her eyes hurt but one thing kept running through her mind.