The Dark Arts
Harry Potter Hermione Granger
General Angst
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 02/27/2005
Updated: 02/27/2005
Words: 2,303
Chapters: 1
Hits: 527

The Persistence of Memory


Story Summary:
On the 31st of July, Hermione returns to the places which hold memories so dear as she struggles to deal with the death of someone she loved.


Memory: The mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience.


Hermione pushed open the door to the girls' toilets and lit the tip of her wand to counter the darkness. She looked around the room that had once seemed so big to her; but then again, she'd only been twelve years old when she'd encountered the mountain troll that Harry and Ron had saved her from. She could remember that day so many years ago. It was the first day the three youngsters had become friends, each of them bringing something special to a friendship that would endure, even through the most difficult of circumstances: loyalty, intelligence, and a bravery beyond imagination.

Hermione looked around the small room for the first time in many years. She counted the sinks lined up against the wall in a neat little row, then studied the doors of the cubicles opposite. She'd shrunk up against the wall, trying to curl herself up into a little ball so the troll wouldn't spot her, and it made the Hermione of now smile to think that she had once been so little. But nobody stayed little forever, and now she was a grown woman, drawn back to the place which she held so dear in her heart... alongside a certain boy who'd never been allowed to grow into a man.

"Is it - dead?"

"I don't think so," said Harry, "I think it's just been knocked out." He bent down and pulled his wand out of the troll's nose. It was covered in what looked like lumpy grey glue. "Urgh - troll bogies." He wiped it on the troll's trousers.

Hermione made her way back to the door, stopping at the threshold and turning for one last look. She smiled at the thought of troll bogies and Harry hanging off the troll's back for dear life and Ron performing Wingardium Leviosa successfully for the first time.

"Nox." Hermione took a deep breath and stepped out of the room, shutting the door to the toilets - and the memories it possessed.


Another memory, another bathroom, but this time it was much bigger. Moaning Myrtle lived here, and it was here they had brewed the Polyjuice Potion in order to interrogate Draco Malfoy about the identity of Slytherin's heir. Hermione sat down on the cold stone floor of the cubicle in which she'd brewed the potion, crossing her legs underneath her to give herself a bit more room as the images of the ingredients and the cauldron unfurled before her. Although she'd possessed a confident demeanour about her potion-making abilities, Hermione had not been at all sure she could pull it off, making a restricted potion. She had been breaking a thousand school rules and could have faced expulsion, but she'd known they needed to find out who Slytherin's heir was and they'd had no other plan. And she'd almost gotten it right... except for the cat hair, which had left her somewhat furry. Still, it could have been a lot worse, she knew, and they'd been lucky to escape being caught.

"I'm sure I've done everything right," said Hermione, nervously re-reading the splotched page of Moste Potente Potions. "It looks like the book says it should... Once we've drunk it, we'll have exactly one hour before we change back into ourselves."

For one whole hour, Harry had not been Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived. He hadn't had a scar on his forehead, nor messy black hair and round glasses. Hermione wondered if Harry had enjoyed being someone else, even if it had only been for one hour. She wished that she'd thought to ask him.


The Shrieking Shack no longer shrieked, the ghosts of its past long laid to rest and the place demolished years ago. Hermione stood quietly, looking at the site in which it had once stood. It was inside the Shack that Harry had learned the truth about who had betrayed his parents to Voldemort; Ron had learned the truth about his pet rat, Scabbers (and Hermione believed that poor Ron had never really recovered from the shock, as he eyed all rats warily, even to this day); and Hermione had once again waved the banner for her extraordinary intelligence, giving away the secret Remus Lupin had been hiding all year.

"NO!" Hermione screamed, "Harry, don't trust him, he's been helping Black get into the castle, he wants you dead too - he's a werewolf!"

Remus Lupin was now also a long-time friend and fellow member of the Order, and sometimes, when it all became too much for Hermione, she would sit with him and reminiscence about her years at Hogwarts. He was an intuitive listener, knowing when to offer comfort and when to offer solitude. There were very few who truly understood what losing Harry had done to Hermione, how she'd lost a part of her soul, the part of her heart that had somehow belonged to him from the moment they'd met on the train, but Remus Lupin was one of them and so Hermione sought and found comfort in his quiet presence.


Their fourth year at Hogwarts had been a turning point for them, the middle of their education and the year Hermione had become aware that Ron had harboured a schoolboy crush on her. The Triwizard Tournament had been the scariest thing Harry had faced up until then, and Hermione could remember spending countless nights pacing her room, worrying for him. Worrying about him.

Hermione picked up a rock and threw it carefully in front of her, watching as it skimmed across the top of the lake. On a chilly November morning, she'd gone to find Harry, toast in hand, and they'd walked around the lake, talking about how Harry's name had been mysteriously thrown into the goblet and Ron's jealousy over the attention Harry'd gotten from his being chosen as the other Hogwarts champion. Hermione had known as soon as Harry's name had been spat out of the Goblet that he hadn't put it in himself; her acceptance of his claim that he wasn't responsible was something Harry had always been grateful for, and he'd told her that, just before he'd died.

"Well, of course, I knew you hadn't entered yourself," she said, when he'd finished telling her about the scene in the chamber off the Hall. "The look on your face when Dumbledore had read out your name!"

If there was anyone who'd have given anything to be anonymous, to not be known, it was Harry. Hermione wished with all her heart that she could have changed it somehow, found a spell for him to hide behind when it all became too much. The fame had hounded him until the day he'd died, and even now, thirteen years after his death, they still wrote about him. Composed songs about him, told stories about him. Played Quidditch matches for him. He'd been immortalized in death, become an icon of the Wizarding world. But to Hermione, he'd just been Harry.


In their fifth year, pieces began to fall into place. Voldemort had come back. A prophecy, foretold long ago, had been discovered. An Order, formed before their birth, came back together. A loved one, newly found, had been lost forever behind the Veil. Harry had no longer been a child; forced to grow up and face the world in which he belonged like an adult.

Hermione reached out a hand and gently pulled a leaf from the end of the branch; she was standing in the Forbidden Forest, where Hagrid had once led Harry and her to his half-brother, Grawp. Dear Hagrid, Harry's first link to the Wizarding world. His brutal death in seventh year had further chipped away at the heart Harry had so reluctantly given to the chosen few. He'd lost so much in his short life, so many important to him that Hermione truly believed he'd closed him himself off to everyone, even her and Ron, towards the end.

Grawp's hand had shot out of nowhere towards Hermione; Harry seized her and pulled her backwards behind the tree, so that Grawp's fist scraped the trunk but closed on thin air.

She closed her hand around the leaf, holding it tightly in her fist and squeezing until the leaf crumpled in her palm, and then opened her hand up, palm down, and watched as the pieces fell to the ground. If she scrunched up her eyes tightly enough, she could still feel his arms around her.


When Hermione pushed open the heavy double doors of the Potions lab, she was immediately assaulted by the memory of so many things, almost too many for just one room. She'd hated Potions; highly unusual for a girl who would have counted attending classes as one of her favourite activities. Of course, Severus Snape had been the sole reason for her utter dislike of Potions, and by the sixth year she, Ron and Harry had long given up on Professor Snape being anything but unfair.

But when she stepped into the room, looking around slowly, a different memory pushed to the front of her mind. A good memory, of an occasion which had changed her indelibly. That it should have happened while she and Harry were serving detention made her smile, even to this day.

"Harry, have you seen the--" Hermione found herself no longer able to speak, because Harry's lips were in the way. All she could do was feel and try to remember to breathe; when he finally pulled away, he'd accomplished something that no one else had been able to, in six years of schooling - make Hermione Granger speechless.

Their first kiss was not something they'd spoken at great length about, even though Hermione had spent many, many hours analysing it and what it meant to their friendship with each other, and with Ron. But in the end, all her thought on the subject hadn't mattered. Harry had never made a big deal about it. He hadn't treated her any differently that he had before while they were around others, but he had indulged in the occasional kiss when they'd been alone, and Hermione had come to realise that Harry merely saw it as an extension of their friendship, a special way he could show his affection for her. It was just understood that it was there; the promise of something that could have been had they not been Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. They'd had much more important things to worry about, and he'd died before they'd really ever had a chance to explore what might have been. Hermione had been bitter about that for a very long time after his death, but the bitterness was now gone. In its place was gratefulness, that they'd at least acknowledged whatever had been between them.


Before their final year at Hogwarts was over, Harry Potter would lay dead and the Wizarding world would be plunged into a war that the side of light would eventually win... at a very heavy cost. So many lost lives, so many innocent souls taken. No war was fought without casualties, but Hermione had never expected to lose the one person that everyone had, deep down, believed to be invincible.

Harry Potter was not supposed to die, not until he'd lived to be a hundred and fifty and had had a family of his own, to make up for the one he should have grown up with but hadn't. Instead, he'd died at the age of seventeen; his life force had risen up out of his body, a tiny ball of light that had shimmered and sparkled in front of them, and gently floated away, leaving behind his body and two grieving best friends who'd have given anything to be in his place.

Ron and Hermione had buried Harry in a small cemetery in Godric's Hollow; the exact location of his grave was protected by some ancient spells that had taken Hermione many weeks and countless books to find. It was unplottable and untraceable, and only a handful of people knew of its precise location.

She sat down on the small bench that faced his grave, placed the small bunch of flowers on the ground in front of her, and looked at the headstone, reading the words engraved upon it over and over, even though she knew exactly what they said.

"I thought I might find you here," a voice said from behind her. Hermione didn't bother to turn around; she'd known Ron would find her sooner or later.

"I always come here on his birthday, you know that."

"I know. But you always go for a wander around the castle, too, so I went there first." Ron sat next to her on the bench. "It's a lovely night. Look at all the stars."

Hermione looked up at the night sky to find the stars twinkling brightly above her; a shooting star passed over their heads. "It's so beautiful."

"It is."

"He would have been thirty today."

"I know."

"It's not fair."

"It never was."

Hermione turned to Ron, her eyes shimmering with tears. "We have so many good memories, though, don't we?"

Ron smiled and took her hand in his, squeezing it. "We do. We were lucky to have him for seven years." He brought her hand up and kissed it. "He'll always be with us, Hermione. He never left us, not really, because he'll always be here." He reached out and gently placed his hand near her heart.

They sat in silence for a few minutes, their fingers entwined, until Hermione was ready to leave. Eventually they stood, Hermione once more gazing upon the display of light above them, and Ron, still holding her hand, led her home.