Chapter 1 : When Was The Last Time You Started?
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For some it's the last place they can hide, safe from the torments of the outside world. For some it would be the last time they would ever see their families, the sadness showing deep within their eyes. I watched as younger students clung desperately to their parents, a last solid attempt at remaining with them. The truth is, I knew as I watched that this would be the last time these parents might ever get to hold their children, the desperation in their eyes almost unbearable to watch. I turned away unable to watch the scenes of sadness, the last moments these people might ever have with their children. I fought back my tears as I stumbled onto the train, barely able to concentrate, the memories of my final goodbye with my parents lingering freshly within my mind.
"Mum? Dad?" I whisper.
"Yes Honey?" My Mum calls walking into the lounge, still in her apron, her face and hair covered with flour.
"Yes?" My father calls from the study.
"Can you come here please?" I ask.
I hear the muffled sounds of the chair sliding backwards on the wooden floor and his footsteps as they approach the lounge room. I take a deep breath knowing what must and has to be done in order to ensure that no harm could come to them.
"I love you!" I cry throwing my arms around my Mum, taking her entirely by surprise.
She pats my head reassuringly, "I love you too…" She whispers in a low voice.
A voice so low, I could almost swear she knew of my intentions.
"I love you too sweetheart." My Dad whispers hugging me softly.
I pull away slowly taking in every last moment I have with them, the delicate flowery perfume my Mum always wore, the strong aftershave my Dad always smelt of. I could see worry in their eyes as I pulled my face from the ground to look at them.
"Know that I do this only to protect you and that I will find you when it's safe. I will make things right." I whispered pulling my wand from my back pocket.
They said nothing, as though there was a silent agreement within the room that if no-one spoke all would be fine, I knew that if either of them said a word I would not be able to perform the memory charm. I wouldn't be able to perform the spell if either of them uttered a single word to me, for if they did all the courage I'd been building up all holidays would fail and I would not be able to bring myself to performing the deed.
"Obliverate." I whispered pointing my wand at my Mum first, unable to bear the thought of her seeing what the spell would do to my Dad.
She staggered backwards and fell onto the ground, her eyes closed.
"Obliverate!" I cried, the tears pouring from my eyes as I pointed my wand at my Dad, who alike my Mum staggered backwards and fell to the ground in a heap, eyes closed.
I shut my eyes, a desperate last bid to ease the flow of tears to my eyes. As I opened them I noticed my parents stirring.
"Wendell! Monica! What happened?" I cried playing along with the story I'd created for them.
"What? What's going on? I don't remember being here?" My Dad said.
"Mr. Wilkins if you don't hurry you'll miss your flight!" I cried.
"Who are you? What flight?" He asked me.
"I'm Hermione Jean! You're assistant." I cried, gathering their bags which I'd packed earlier from the side room.
"We have an assistant?" My Mum asked me.
"Yes, and your going to miss your flight to Australia if you don't hurry!" I cried carefully guiding them out of the house.
"Why are we going to Australia?" She asked me.
"Remember Monica?" I asked carefully feeding them vital information.
"No." She replied confused.
"You're moving to Australia! It's been your lifelong passion and you finally get to live it! That medication really must have been strong." I said half heartedly.
I raised a single hand in the air as a passing taxi scooted past, stopping immediately in front of the door of the small house.
"Here are you tickets Mr. and Mrs. Wilkins, I trust you'll enjoy Australia!" I cried placing their luggage in the boot of the taxi and opening the door for them.
They careful climbed inside and as the taxi sped off towards the airport Mum wound the window door and yelled to me: "Thank you Hermione dear!"
I smiled shakily and waved to them and yelled "Enjoy Australia!" as the taxi sped through the masses of cars and buses, away from my view, carrying my now confused by safe parents away from me, perhaps forever…
I pulled open the door to the first compartment which I'd found to be free and pulled the blinds down as quickly as I could. My lip trembling unsteadily, the tears backing up in my eyes. I could not bear to think of that day any longer. Today was my day for a new beginning, a day that I could start over again, free from the nagging tension within my mind that Harry and Ron had decided to go out alone to attempt to destroy Voldemort. As much as I'd tried, I could not convince them to change their minds; I had to finish my education first. And as much as it pained me to say it, I knew deep down that as much as I could not accept it, they were right. I needed to finish learning what I could, because at least I had a future to look forward to when the war is over – according to Ron.
I could not help but feel a deep sadness within my chest, my best friends, for the first time would not be returning to Hogwarts with me, I wondered what it was going to be like. I'd never experienced having neither of them with me for years, it seemed like such a distant and dark time that I did not have either of them by my side to talk to. I wondered who else would not be returning, whose parents had decided against their children making the return to Hogwarts. The train and platform seemed so much more empty than usual, the bright, beaming faces of people I was so used to seeing not present this time.
I glanced down at the shiny Head Girl badge I now wore; I'd received it in the mail days prior to my Parents leaving. I'd chosen not to tell them, perhaps worried that they too had their doubts about me returning to Hogwarts. The severity of the situation of the bleak situation the Wizarding World faced obvious, even to a muggle. Even they could see there was unrest in our world, however they kept my secret, they were aware of the existence of the second world most muggles never even laid eyes on. But even the unaware muggles could see that something was off, the mysterious fogs, the owls, the attacks on the streets, the murders – it doesn't take a genius to figure out that these events were out of place.
I wondered just how much more of this anyone was going to be able to take, slowly the wizarding world was falling victim to Lord Voldemort's reign, the last time I heard from the Order it was to tell me to watch my back, as trouble was beginning to stir at the Ministry, I did not know what this even meant until I saw two small words on the back of a Daily Prophet on the platform – Muggleborn Registry. These words caused something to stir deep within my chest, and I am sure it wasn't a good feeling. I could not help but wonder the reasons behind this new registry. Who was behind it, but I knew sooner or later I was going to have to face the effects of this supposed registry, and I knew they were not going to be pleasant.
I didn't know what was going on out there, the last real contact I'd had with any adult wizards or witches was at Bill and Fleur's wedding, and it had not ended as planned. Harry and Ron had made a quick escape while I forced to retreat back to my parents house. I'd only received parts of the information I desperately desired at the event and it was the last time I'd seen Harry and Ron safe and well. For them that signalled the start of their journey, the start of their last and greatest battle – finding and destroying all remaining Horcruxes. Their start was far more perilous than mine, but in a year's time I would join them, armed with inside information and new ways we could destroy the Horcruxes.
Hogwarts would be undergoing its own new start. It was almost impossible to imagine a Hogwarts without Professor Dumbledore, but now it was a reality. His death had brought about serious changes in security management. The need for new teachers greater than ever with the sudden disappearance of Professor Burbage, and none were too keen to risk taking on the Defence Against The Dark Arts post, with the 'curse' becoming even more of a deterrent for some. Hogwarts was going to be so empty, the once crowded halls emptied of the life they once held. The classrooms dark and dusty. Nothing was going to be the same ever again.
The quiet of the compartment was pleasant, there was still a faint murmuring from the platform and the nearby compartments but it was calming to be near enough to other people without them asking questions or bothering my much needed reflecting time. I pointed my wand at the roof and the small light flickered off, the dark quietness calming my nerves, causing my worries to vanish. This was however extremely short lived as the compartment door slowly slid across, "Empty." I heard someone mutter under their breath as they slid inside.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
He took in a deep breath.
"Sorry didn't mean to startle you." I replied pointing my wand at the light on the ceiling turning on immediately.
"Oh great it's the Mudblood." Draco Malfoy sneered, his long blonde hair almost glowing in the light.
"It's you." I hissed.
"I'm going to sit in here. Don't bother me, there's no other empty carriages." He said his arrogance showing through his words.
"Wouldn't even dream of it." I replied the hatred I felt for what he'd done almost pouring out of me in my words.
As he spread across the entire seat I noticed something on his shirt, a glint of gold in the light. I turned my full attention towards it; it took several moments of gawking at the small shape for me to recognise what it really was. It was a shiny bright Head Boy badge, and to think I was actually looking forward to this post, the only bright light on the dark and bleak horizon. The train rumbled to life and began to glide smoothly from the platform. I sighed; sometimes, no matter how hard you try a new start doesn't always begin as planed.