Chapter 3 : When Was The Last Time You Promised?
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"Please let me go with you! I can help you!"
I could hear my memories ringing in my ears clouding my thoughts. My hands tightened around my body, the memories I fought so hard to repress fighting their way to the surface.
"You can't leave me! I'm you're best friend! Best Friends don't abandon each other!"
"Hermione we have to do this alone, you need to stay at Hogwarts."
"But I don't want to be there without either of you."
I fought back the tears as I made my way to the carriages awaiting us at the end of the platform. There were hushed whispers as I walked past several large groups of younger students, many of whom felt the need to gawk or even point at me. I walked past them with my head hung low, not able to face them directly. Not only was I afraid about what I might accidentally say something to them that I would in the end regret, I found it particularly uncomfortable to be pointed at. I'd never had to endure such treatment before, but I knew all too well that Harry had. I could remember him saying on various occasions that he didn't ask to be treated as he was, nor did he ever ask for it, and I could see why. Perhaps if I knew that they were not talking about me I could deal with it, but knowing that they talked in hushed tones about me behind my back about things I could not control was just too much for me to deal with at this present time.
"I love you too sweetheart…"
I heard my Mum's voice echo in my mind, I froze instantly.
"It's not pleasant is it Granger?" Came a voice from my left.
"Why are you speaking to me again?" I said turning to face Draco.
"Now now." He chided. "No need to be rude."
"What happened to Mudblood?" I said walking straight past him. "I think I preferred that title."
I climbed into an almost full carriage, only to escape him. I did not need his childish behaviour right now. I noticed that I'd climbed onto a carriage with none other than Luna Lovegood who was dreamily talking away to Ginny and Neville.
"Hermione!" Ginny cried standing and throwing her arms around me. "How are you?"
I sniffed and hugged her back, happy that someone knew I needed a hug "Good I guess."
"Have you heard from…" She began to say.
"No." I said quickly.
"Hermione, you're going to have to try to talk to them some day." She said the worry for her older brother clear within her voice.
"Ginny, I just can't. Not yet. Not now. I just… I just can't alright?"
She looked at me nervously. As if I were about to snap in two, but I knew I wasn't and I held my ground as I prepared to ask her again if that was alright by her. She however beat me to it.
"Yeah." She said with a sigh. "It's alright." I could see she didn't have the answers she so desperately craved, she hadn't heard from her brother in almost a month, a worrying prospect in times like these.
"Ginny, you know I'll tell you if I hear anything. I promise. I promise you'll be the first to know." I said to her.
"Really?" She asked me.
"Really." I promised. "I miss them too." I whispered as I hugged her.
"I miss him more than anything, I hate not knowing." She whispered.
I paused considering my words carefully, I knew she was no longer talking about Ron; she was referring to Harry now. I held her in my arms and whispered, "He's going to be alright Ginny, I know he will." With my words she burst into tears, the emotion of the whole event too much even for Ginny, who seemed so strong even when times were troubled. I too could not help but to cry on her shoulder as she began sobbing in my arms. I needed her strength in times like these; I needed the courage of people like Ginny when I knew if Harry failed, all would fall to the darkness that was building out there.
"Ginny?" Neville said standing next to us. I slowly released her from my grasp. "You know everything's going to be okay, as long as you have us nothing's going to hurt you." He too hugged her and she hugged him back.
"Thanks Neville." She said as he released her.
Luna too stood and hugged her, she whispered something in her ear that neither I nor Neville caught but whatever she said had the two laughing wildly again, proving to me that even in dark times there was light.
We all sat down in the carriage as it slowly, pulled away from the station. Neville's gaze flicker constantly between us and the Thestral that no doubt he could see pulling the carriage, I however was not able to see the creature but I knew Luna could having mentioned it on a previous occasion. As the carriage pulled through the gates we were stopped by several Aurrors, each carrying secrecy detectors and other small devices that enabled them to detect concealment and other similar forms of magic. Eventually after an extremely throughout security sweep the Aurrors let us pass. I noticed the Dementors gliding in a terrifyingly graceful manor across the grounds. I could hear the events that haunted my past rising within me.
"Harry it's just an empty archway! Harry please leave it!"
I shivered as the voices from my past echoed in my mind. Reminding me of events in my past I often forgot happened, when I was too scared or worried to care less about my actions or those of the people around me.
"Ron? Ron? Ron? Please don't be dead, please!"
I could the life slowly draining out of me as the creatures forced every memory into fresh view, I felt shaky on my feet as though a small bump would cause me to fall to the ground. As I stood and slowly got off the carriage I began to shake uncontrollably. It was not cold out, the sun bearing down upon the grounds today had make for a warm evening, but there was an undeniable chill in the air. The sensation I felt was alike that of someone dragging long, thick fingernails down an uneven chalkboard. I looked over Ginny was shaking as well, her face had gone white and expressionless. I immediately forgot the terrible things I was experiencing as I stood at the foot of the stairs leading up towards the castle and ran to help my friend.
"Ginny?" I asked taking her hands.
She did not respond, she continued to stare into space shaking madly.
"Ginny?" Luna asked.
"Luna go and get the first teacher you can find that you trust." I said quickly.
I carefully helped Ginny take a seat on the bottom stairs.
"Hermione…" She whispered, "They're all dead. Riddle made me… The… The… The Chamber."
Neville took her other hand and sat beside her, "Ginny, it's alright. Riddle's gone." He whispered attempting to reassure her. I looked up desperately hoping Luna had found a teacher quickly, as Ginny was only beginning to worsen as she continued to mutter under her breath.
"Where's… Where's Harry?" She asked me. "The Basilisk… it's going to kill someone. I have to stop it. Riddle… The diary… Oh god! The Diary!" She cried, fresh tears pouring from her eyes.
"Hermione!" Luna cried running down the staircase Professor McGonagall in tow.
"Miss. Granger?" She asked, "What ever is the matter?" But it was that moment that she noticed Ginny, seated on the bottom stair, shaking, white as a ghost and muttering now incoherently under her breath.
"Miss. Weasley?" She asked running down to examine her. She turned next to Luna and asked "Miss. Lovegood, please run to the Hospital Wing and alert Madam Pomfrey that Miss. Weasley will be arriving shortly."
Luna took off silently, her extremely long dirty blonde hair sweeping out across her back wildly as she ran up the large flight of stairs once more.
"Miss. Granger? What happened to her?" She asked turning her attention to me.
"The Dementors, they must be affecting her." I replied.
"You can hear things too?" She asked me.
"Yes." I replied shortly, not elaborating on the memories I could hear echoing unpleasantly in my mind.
"Miss. Granger, have you heard from Potter?" She asked me.
"No, I haven't." I replied.
"Please if you do, do not under any circumstances let either of the Carrows know. It is of vital importance, as is you remaining quiet about Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley's absence, we do not need more attention turned to it than already has been." She said, tapping Ginny on the shoulder with her wand.
"Yes Professor." I replied as I watched Ginny drift off into a peaceful sleep.
"Oh and Miss. Granger…" She began as I watched as with a sweeping flick of her wand she lifted the now sleeping form of Ginny onto a stretcher, "Don't cross the Carrows, I need you to promise me." She said, a sense of urgency in her voice.
"I promise." I replied.
As she began to walk up the stairs she turned back, "Congratulations on making Head Girl." She said with a rare smile.
"These Carrows don't sound too pleasant." Neville noted, appearing at my side.
"They aren't apparently." I replied staring up at the dark castle. "But we're going to fight them Neville. We're going to make them regret ever coming to Hogwarts."
"We are?" He asked me.
"Yes, they won't even know what's hit them. Neville, we're going to raise an army."
I promised myself, I was not going to sit back and wait for Harry and Ron to finally make contact. I was going to begin raising an army from within Hogwarts, one that could stand up against the forces that were attempting to destroy us from both within and outside the school. We were not going to sit back and watch our world fall to pieces, I was going to stand and fight, because at least I knew I was making a difference here if not out there. I was going to keep my promise to Ginny and to Professor McGonagall, I was going to tell Ginny when Harry made contact with me, and I was going to watch my back around the Carrows because in the end, these promises are worth everything to the people I made them to, but would be worth less than nothing if I broke them…
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