The sun peaked out from the tips of the forest, coating the grounds of Hogwarts with warmth, and a sense of hope found its way into everyone’s heart. It was over. The grass was tainted with aftermath from the battle that had not long ago shattered the castle. Bodies were strewn over the lawn and rubble had fallen down the side of Hogwarts and littered the grounds.
Hermione looked around at the fallen heroes that had given their lives to protect the school, their second home, and all of the students. She was exhausted and sore. Blood dripped down her face from a wound on her head that she had no idea she had until the pain filled her. Her robes were ripped in many places, the hems singed from a dragon’s fire. Her eyes were dull and void of most emotion as she looked upon the bodies of her friends and teachers, the silver masks of Death Eaters, and even the bodies of some of the house elves who had so bravely fought for Hogwarts.
It was all over. No longer would they live in fear of Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter had seen to that. In the middle of the battlefied lay his body, his wand a couple feet from his hand, still pointed at the fallen body of Voldemort. He was dead. He would bring no more harm to the innocent. He could no longer torture anyone else.
Harry had given his life to save theirs. She hadn't seen exactly what had happened; she had been too busy fighting Bellatrix Lestrange to notice the green that had enveloped both the Dark Lord and her best friend. They were well past using first year curses. They full well knew the only way to defeat the army that had stood before them laid in the more extreme curses.
Green light flashed before Hermione Granger’s eyes as she remembered the first and only time she had used the killing curse. Bellatrix Lestrange hadn't expected the venom in her voice nor the curse that she cast and fell back, surprise etched in her features.
Walking around the grounds, Hermione looked for wounded students and teachers. She had found Neville Longbottom’s body and had gotten a couple fourth years to levitate it to the Great Hall so that the students could pay their respects. Among the dead were Ginny Weasley who had so bravely fought for her friends and family, Lavender Brown, Susan Bones, Collin Creevey, and surprisingly Blaise Zabini who had stood against his parents to fight for what he believed in.
She kept walking. She needed to find Ron. There had been no sign of him since the middle of the battle. She desperately needed to see his face, to hear his voice. She wanted to embrace him and make sure he was okay. She needed his love at a time like this when the darkness etched so close to her conscience, trying to make her take everything in at once.
As she began to get more frantic at the thought of never seeing him again, she heard it: his voice. The voice that she had come to love so much, the only thing that could bring her out of the personal hell she had subjected herself too.
" 'Mione?" came the cracked voice of Ron Weasley. It was evident that he had emitted a few battle cries during the heat of the moment.
Hermione turned around and looked him in the eyes. His too were empty and fighting to see the good in the moment, trying not to look upon the bodies of the fallen heroes, trying to see the light in their win.
"Ron?" she said meekly. It only took a second before they ran to each other and looked over their bodies to make sure the other was alright.
He grabbed her face between his hands. They were rough from war, and kissed her on the forehead. "I thought I lost you, Hermione," he whispered, his forehead against hers, their noses touching tips and their eyes closed. "I couldn't find you. I was so worried."
"I'm okay, Ron," she replied. "But Harry.." she added, choking on a sob.
Ron wrapped his arms around her and brought her close to his chest. "I know, I saw," he replied shakily. "He's in a better place, Hermione."
"With his parents," she added. "He was always so curious about them."
"We will always remember him. He will always be a part of us, our best friend," Ron whispered in her ear, giving her a small smile.
"Always," she replied, the corners of her mouth twitching.
They stood there together, wrapped in each other’s arms for a little bit longer, watching the sun rise completely. Exhausted and grateful to still be alive, they made their way into the Great Hall. Disaster met their eyes. No longer were the four house tables there; instead, the hall was lined with cots filled with students nursing wounds, the dead laid off to the side, their siblings and friends mourning beside them.
Hermione looked around. No matter the consequence, there was still hope. Hope that the wounded would survive, that the castle would be fixed and life would go on. She decided right there that it was time to really start living her life, to no longer be the bushy bookworm but to live each day like her last. From now on, she would love the life that she had been giving. She would mourn the friends she lost, but forever they would live on in her heart.
Glancing to her left, she looked at the man she loved. His face was dirty from the explosions, and cuts lined his face, but other than that he seemed alright. She looked at the man that she hoped to spend the rest of her life with and realized that this was just the beginning.
"I love you," she said passionatey, glancing back to see the look on his face.
Ron smiled and gave her a peck on the lips. "I love you too, Hermione Granger."
In the presence of death and disaster, they had made the best out of their situation. They had made the worst day of their existence worth it all in their minds. Forever and always they would remember this day as the first time they had ever uttered those three little words to anyone.
I would just like to thank Phoenix_Flames for agreeing to be my Beta for this story! I really appreciate it! You did an amazing job!! :)
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