Chapter 1 : Before the war
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Hermione clutched at her chest as her heart seemed to give out, tears sprang into her eyes and cascaded down her cheeks. She was immobilized by what she saw, she couldn't move, she could hardly breath. Slowly, the reality of what she was witnessing came crashing into her, her breath came back in short shallow gasps and she turned on her heels, running as fast as she could away form the great hall, away from the pain, away from the hurt, away from Ronald Weasley.
Hermione ran for what seemed like hours but in reality was only minutes. She had no conscious memory of those moments, she didn't know where she was going, but as far as she was concerned, nothing mattered anymore. As her body succumbed to a mixture of exhaustion and despair, Hermione sank to the ground against the nearest wall and cried like she never had before. All the emotion, all the pain that had built up in her since the end of the war came spilling out of her, cascading down her cheeks in a torrent of tears. She stayed like this for hours, the pain slowly ebbing away ever so slightly. Getting up, Hermione found that in her flight she had run to the top of the Astronomy Tower and she walked over to admire the grounds of Hogwarts, illuminated by the almost full moon.
Things had been rough since the end of the war. She had returned to Hogwarts with Harry and Ron to finish their seventh year, and how ever much she thought and had wanted things to be the same, far too much had happened. They had seen too much, seen far too much death, misery and needless pain. They had fought an adults battle and they had grown up far too fast, how could you go back to being a normal teenager, worrying about homework and who's going out with who after all they had been through. No, how ever much Hermione had wanted things to be unchanged, in reality there was no going back to how it used to be. Everyone had been affected in some way by the war and no one could remain unchanged by the unimaginable pain and suffering that the war thrust into everyone's hearts.
The soft sound of footsteps echoing up the staircase brought Hermione out of her reverie, and Ginny soon appeared with an anxious look on her face.
“Oh thank goodness” Ginny said, breathing heavily, “I've been looking all over for you. I saw you running away after you saw Ron and that girl and I started after you, but by the time I reached the doorway, you had gone.”
Hermione blinked back the tears which had started to form once again in her eyes at the mention of Ron's name, and she turned away from Ginny so she couldn't see them. The action was not missed by Ginny and she walked over to Hermione and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“I know my brother can be a really big git at times, I'm really sorry that after all these years he still can't behave like a proper human being” Hermione didn’t say anything and continued to stare out over the grounds. “Hermione” Ginny began timidly, “Please talk to me, you can’t bottle up your feelings”
Hermione turned to Ginny and sighed, “You're right, I want to talk, I just don't quite know yet how I feel or where to begin.”
“Just start where ever Hermione, and the rest will follow”
“Ron and I aren't together and we haven't been for a few weeks. He has every right to see other people and kiss other girls. I guess I just didn't expect him to find someone else so soon. I was quite happy really when he broke things off and I don't want him back, or at least I don't think I do. I think it's more that he has moved on with his life so quickly and all I want to do is go back to the good days where it was Harry, Ron and I, sitting around the common room fire late at night, with me checking over their homework. But I know it can't be that way anymore.”
“When I saw that girl with Ron, all I could think was who is she, I don't even know her name and there she was in the arms of one of my best friends. I wanted it to be a dream, I didn't want her to be the one Ron loved. It just wasn't right because I should be in Ron's arms. But I wasn't, she was instead. And as I looked on, it just felt that she had stolen what could have been my life if the war hadn't happened.”
“So you still want to be with Ron then. You want to be back together?” Ginny questioned as she looked at Hermione who quickly wiped a tear from her cheek.
“No,” Hermione answered, “I don't want to be with Ron. I just like the idea of being with Ron. The war changed both of us and it became apparent fairly quickly that we would be better off as friends than as a couple. It was a mutual decision in the end, and we have been much happier because of it. This is pretty silly I know, but before the war I always dreamed of marrying Ron, but now I realize that that future cannot become a reality. That girl with Ron is now living the life that I dreamed of before the war. My life follows a different path, I just can't decide which path to take.”
“Wow Hermione, you have thought this through a lot” Ginny said with awe. “I wish I was so clued up on my feeling. I may look strong on the outside but I am crying into my pillow every night, just trying to understand everything that has happened and where to go from here. Your path may not be obvious right now, but I know that in time it will show itself and when it does, you'll know in your heart that it's the right one to take.”
Hermione smiled and Ginny returned one of her own. “You always know how to cheer me up, even if its just a little,” Hermione said, reaching over to give Ginny a big hug.
“Hermione” Ginny giggled, “not so hard, your squashing my vital assets.” Both girls laughed as they walked down stairs to return to the dormitory. Ginny was right, Hermione knew exactly how she was feeling regarding Ron and she wasn't upset that he had moved on, it was more that Hermione was upset with herself that she couldn't move on. However much she wished for it, things would never go back to how they were, before the war.
AN: Thanks for reading. I hope that you have enjoyed this first chapter and continue on and read the rest of the story. Please leave a review.
I am currently going through and editing all the chapters to fix spelling/grammar etc and take on board advice from the reviews.