October had brought an unnatural chill to the air of Hogwarts, the usual cold and dark clouds that hung over the school only allowed the wind to intensify the cold. Making it in some cases almost unbearable for those who decided to venture outside to spend some time by the lake or practice Quidditch. Many lessons usually conducted on the grounds or in the greenhouses were either moved inside or cancelled all together, several of the Quidditch teams had already admitted defeat against the unrelenting conditions deeming that they would rather not practice at all for their first matches than have to spend even more time outside. I had to agree with them, it was becoming particularly nasty out there, I could not even chance a visit to Hagrid's on most days the cold was that bad. Yet despite this it have yet to snow, it only rained every night, pelting down upon the roof of the castle.
When awake I liked to lie there pretending everything was going to be okay, that Harry and Ron were lying somewhere listening to the rain also. Sometimes when I felt so alone and afraid of what would happen to me I liked to pull out the Desire of the Heart potion and open it allowing the fumes to slowly rise, carrying with them Harry, Ron, Mum, Dad and Draco. Tonight was yet another one of those nights that I lay there wishing things were different. Almost five days had passed since Slughorn's party, since Seamus discovered the truth and I told everyone about the hearing. Five days since I came clean about almost every aspect of my life I had been hiding. Yet this did not change anything, it may have lifted the weight upon my shoulders, eased the load slightly, yet it did not take away the problems themselves entirely.
I sat there on my bed looking at the ghostly form of Draco, wishing it was real and that I could tell him, tell him I was sorry. I heard someone walking over towards my bed and I looked up to see Lavender standing in front of me. She sat down on the edge of the bed and looked at the small phial her long blonde hair in a long plait.
"What's that?" She asked.
"It's a potion called Desire of the Heart. It shows us what our deepest desires are. Although you might not be able to see anything in my potion if yours if they're too different." I explained.
"Maybe I would ever see anything." She whispered. "Maybe because it will never happen I'll never be able to see it in one of these potions."
"Why is that?" I asked looking at her, the sadness and fear in her eyes was clear above all else.
"Have you ever wanted something so badly you would be willing to give anything for it, and when I say anything I mean even your life?" She asked. "Because that's how much I want this, and not being able to see it in this potion or ever in the crystal ball during Divination, no matter how much I search, makes me think that maybe it'll never happen. That I'm wasting my time wishing it would all end. This war, all this death, destruction and hate, that it would all just stop. Am I really that stupid to wish for that?"
"Maybe the reason you can't see it is because what I want is to see my friends again, and what you want is something far greater and more amazing than that. What you want is something that would change the lives of everyone in this world for the better. How could you ever see something that great in the fumes of a potion, or in a crystal ball? I doubt either have the capacity to show anything that great. It's not stupid to wish for that either, Lavender. I wish for that every night before I go to sleep, and every morning when I wake up I pray that the new day has brought an end to this war. It's not stupid to want something like that, a world where you can watch your children grown up without fear and hatred. A world where you don't have to be afraid all the time. It's only normal."
"But it seems so impossible. Like it's never going to happen." She replied wrapping her arms around her knees.
"That's why we need to have hope. Hope and love are our greatest weapons in this war. The enemy doesn't have love or hope, all they have is darkness and hate. If we all work together, and believe there is a chance we can beat them - That we might actually even be able to end this war. There are people out there fighting day and night, rain, hail or shine to end this war. One day it'll be us defending those we love and for now it seems like we aren't doing anything, but if we have hope we are building strength. Perhaps that is all we need to end this war. That and Harry." I added on the end smiling.
"Do you really believe Harry is the Chosen One?" She asked softly.
"I don't just believe it, I know so." I replied confidentially. "I've seen enough to know that. He's so determined, and he knows what he's doing. He's going to beat Voldemort. I know it."
"You really think so?" She asked smiling.
"Yes. I really do, he's been my best friend for seven years and every time he does something we all see as brave and heroic, he does it for all the right reasons. He knows what he has to do, what's important and he's not going to let anything stand between him and Voldemort. I know that, because its well, it's in his nature to be that way."
"Thanks Hermione." Lavender whispered standing. "I might actually be able to sleep tonight."
"Haven't been sleeping either?" I asked.
"Not really." She replied almost worriedly. "I keep seeing things that I don't really want to see from the end of last year. All those bodies, I hear the screams of the frightened students every time I close my eyes. It doesn't sound that bad but it just seems bad."
"I know what you mean. It happens to me also." I replied placing the cork in the phial.
"I know, I hear you wake up sometimes. I also hear you mumbling in your sleep. You've seen worse than I have I understand why you would."
"We've all seen things we wish we never saw, but that's the way it is these days." I whispered. "Good night Lavender."
"Good night Hermione." She replied.
I closed my eyes, falling asleep almost instantly, and for the first night for as long as I could remember I didn't have a single nightmare, in fact I fell into an entirely dreamless sleep. Only to wake up more alive and alert than I had been in a long time. Being Saturday I could just lay there staring at the roof for a few silent moments as though everything was how it used to be. I got up and pulled on jeans, a tee-shirt and a jumper and walked out into the Common Room. Ginny and Neville were no-where in sight, only Seamus was in the Common Room, curled up in an armchair by the fire reading one of the textbooks.
I walked out and down towards the Great Hall, deciding that I was not particularly hungry this morning, despite my rather euphoric feeling something was bugging me, something just didn't seem right. For the first time in weeks I saw them, Harry and Ron. They were standing just in front of me, although the corridor was rather full of students, I was the only person who could see them let alone know to walk around them rather than through them. They looked like they were arguing about something. Ron was gesturing vaguely and pointing at the roof and Harry looked as though he was defending his actions. It was rather strange, usually the pair seemed rather peaceful when I saw them, however not this time, although it was comforting to know that not really much had changed between them.
I walked past them and they slowly followed me along the corridor and onto the school grounds. Where suddenly after a brief silence between the pair they vanished entirely, I knew this was quite strange and made a mental note to look this up before I left for the hearing tomorrow. For some reason I found myself walking to the Quidditch Pitch, which was entirely empty this early in the morning in such weather. I took a seat alone in the bleachers, looking at the place my friends played the sport they loved. It seemed rather odd that I sat here alone, or that I had even bothered coming here, but it seemed kind of homely after seeing them again. I watched as a small grey owl dipped from beneath the clouds and landed next to me a small piece of crumpled up parchment in it's beak addressed to me.
I watched as the owl soared off before even daring to open the letter, noticing Harry's handwriting immediately, I was also careful to check around to ensure that no-one had seen me receiving the letter in the first place. I carefully unfolded it, it was clear it was not an update or a comforting letter as Ron's had been, it was short and carried no greeting or signature. Only a warning.
Who was he to tell me to be careful? I found myself thinking suddenly. He was the one who decided to infiltrate the Ministry in broad daylight; he was the one who had made the headlines for almost three days after their little escapade. He wasn't being particularly careful, why was he telling me to be? But then again he probably knew something I did not, he would have heard and seen things at the Ministry, things that I would not have seen or heard of. Perhaps there was a serious message behind his warning, a serious need for me to be particularly careful this week. It seemed rather strange that Harry and Ron had broken into the Ministry the day I had been scheduled to have my hearing, or perhaps it was just a strange coincidence. But the warning was worrying me the most, what could he had of possibly heard that would make him so worried for my safety that he would dare send a letter to me?
Slowly but surely I rose to my feet, feeling the loneliness building in my chest. I needed to release it. I threw my hands behind me, and arched my back backwards and opened my mouth and screamed. Screamed for the feelings I was experiencing, the problems we were facing and lastly I screamed for Draco, I screamed louder on each turn until finally there was nothing left to scream about, there was nothing left screaming to get free from within me. When I finished I opened my eyes again, my hair flying wildly around my face and sat back down the feelings of hate and fear in my chest gone and replaced by a strange almost content feeling. For once in a long time I was completely unafraid of what lay ahead.
"Feels good to get all that emotion off your chest doesn't it?" A voice asked from my right.
I jumped almost toppling backwards over the seat in front of me. Draco had suddenly appeared on the same seat as me about ten meters to my right.
"Yes it does, now if you'll excuse me I have some corridors to monitor." I said grabbing the letter, leaving him sitting entirely alone in the stadium.
What had his words meant? I asked myself, did he go to the Quidditch Pitch to sit and think? To release all the stress that he felt? There were times when Draco seemed so human and normal it was almost difficult to believe he was once a Death Eater, yet there were times when he could be unnecessarily cruel. He was such a mystery, which I always found myself coming back to in the end. It was not long before I found myself standing in the Dark Arts corridor several minutes later telling a group of third years off for attempting to put up a Portable Swap they must have brought from Fred and George. Luckily for me though they had evidentially not read the instructions and had failed to put the swap up at all. They had not technically done anything wrong yet; so feeling generous I simply gave them a warning and took ten house points from Hufflepuff before continuing on my way, feeling an awful lot better than I had done before I screamed.
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