Chapter 1 : Midnight Monologue
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I have always wanted to understand why.
As I lie here tonight, knowing that death herself is inches from wrapping her long cold fingers around my neck, I am wondering why. I am wondering why fate chose us to do all this. No matter what the law says, we are children still, and as children we have no idea what we are truly facing. We feel as though we are still eleven years old, stepping into a daunting classroom for the first time – but this time around the dangers are very real. We are terrified, and anguished, and worried all at once.
Silence fills the house, but my thoughts ring inside my mind deafeningly. I turn onto my side to look at my two best friends in the world. Harry and Ron are both fast asleep – I can tell Ron’s dreams are untroubled, but Harry’s twisted expression tells me that he’s suffering more than he likes to let on. I close my eyes and breathe a desperate prayer for safety that only I can utter, for I love both my boys with all my heart, and they are dearer than life to me.
Moonlight is throwing funny shadows around the room, tricking me into seeing things that aren’t really there. Images of Voldemort swooping down on us, as he did recently, haunt my mind. Shaking my head and staring at the spill of stars out the window, I try to remember what my father has always told me about fear. No matter what happens, you can always have faith that I’m holding you, Jeanie, he’s said to me so many times in my life. Whether I was a little girl waking from a nightmare or a confused adolescent that was dealing with things no one should have to face, my daddy was there for me. Tears fill my eyes as I think of how he no longer knows me. I had to do it, in his and Mum’s best interest, but it killed me inside. I know that they are safe, but I’m not certain if they’ll ever know who I am again – or if they’ll ever remember that they even have a daughter. I might never get to give my mummy a hug or have my daddy comfort me when I’m frightened.
My father and I were always close. He had many names for me – Hermione when he was serious, ‘Mione Jean in normal times, and Jeanie when he was being happy and lighthearted. I loved that he called me Jeanie so often, because I never liked the name Hermione. It always felt like it should belong to some batty old woman, not a girl like me. If only they had switched my names around or something. I blink away the tears as I think of how I might never again sit in my daddy’s lap or hear him say ‘’Mione Jean’ comfortingly in my ear.
Harry’s sleep has apparently stopped being fitful, and he has now begun to snore quite loudly. This is a good sign – perhaps now he can truly rest. I gaze at him for some time as his chest rises and falls with each breath that he takes. Every intake of air is precious, for each one keeps him alive for one more moment, and I pray that he will have millions upon millions of breaths before he releases his final one. A strand of jet-black hair falls across the scar that I know has been paining him so. I would give anything to relieve that pain and take it from him. He and Ron are the whole world to me, and have been for nearly seven years of my life.
Ron stirs and I close my eyes, pretending to be asleep. “Hermione,” he whispers almost inaudibly.
He caught me. “Ron,” I say softly, pretending to yawn and just awaken. “What’s up?”
“You don’t fool me, I know you were awake. Are you okay?”
“You’re lying. Something’s bothering you, or you wouldn’t be awake like this.” He looks at me for a moment, shadows on his freckled face. “Tell me,” he says.
I look desperately back at Harry, who is still sleeping. “Ron,” I say. “Are we going to be okay? This is…really scary. I hate waking up and knowing that I could die any moment now.”
He shakes his head. “No way, Hermione. You’re not going to die. We’re all going to be just fine, you’ll see.”
I nod slowly, trying to convince myself that his words are true. The look in his bright blue eyes is trying to comfort me, and all of a sudden I am hit with a rush of guilt for the terrible things I’ve said and done to him the whole time we’ve known each other. “Ron…I’m really, really sorry for the way I’ve always treated you,” I say, tears stinging my eyes again.
He winks at me. “Don’t think of it,” he says. “I’ve done plenty of awful things to you over the years myself, so I’m just as much to blame as you are…probably more so. It really isn’t anything, though – I mean, when you get down to it, we’re friends. We try to be there for each other and protect each other and watch out for each other. We joke, too. That’s important. Sure we pick on each other once in a while, but that’s nothing. You know, Hermione, I’m just trying to make you laugh.”
I laugh nervously, sighing with relief that he doesn’t hold any sort of grudge against me. “We’re good friends, Ron,” I say.
He takes my hand in his and squeezes it. “The best,” he says, and he closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.
“The best,” I repeat.
Every night when I go to sleep, I ask for one more night after this. I want more than anything to survive this, and I want both my boys to be happy. This night, as my fingers are inches from Ron’s, I remember just how dear both of them are to me.
The clock in the corridor chimes midnight, and I find myself missing my father again. He was with me at midnight the night before I left for my first year at Hogwarts. I was crying about how I didn’t want to leave home, and he comforted me and told me that I would be just fine. The next day at King’s Cross station, as I held my ticket in my hand and gave my parents one last hug, my father told me something I will never forget as long as I live and breathe.
Never lose who you are, ‘Mione Jean.
After he said it, he wiped the tears from my cheek with his thumb and kissed the top of my head. To this day I have not forgotten what he said. I know now that I must stay true to myself, for my father and for everyone in the Wizarding world, for they are dependent upon it. The three of us must succeed, and for us to succeed we have to remember who we are and what we stand for.
Since childhood I have wanted to understand why, and now I finally know. I know why the three of us were chosen – it takes a friendship stronger than life and stronger than death to complete the task at hand. We must be united, always. We will stand up and die together if need be, and that is the reason why. The three of us have a love for each other that is far stronger than fear. So we will fight together.
And we will triumph hand in hand.
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