Hermione shivered in the cold twilight air that wrapped around her like her blankets that couldn't keep her warm. Her skin was in goose bumps, due to cold temperatures, open windows, and skin wet with sweat that has oozed out of her skin during a nightmare that had frightened her half to death.
'I almost wish I HAD died,' she thought bitterly. 'Then I wouldn't be so bloody cold!'
If only she would/could get up to close "that damned open window" . . . but that would be pointless. As much as she tried to lie to herself, she knew deep down that it was not the end-of-September chill that kept her up in the wee hours of the morning, but her horrifying nightmares.
Hermione had received a bunch of nightmares recently, ever since the summer break. They often involved herself, Death Eaters, people she seldom recognized, but there were occasional flickers of remembrance, and deep scarlet pools of blood oozing stickily across the ground, as if trying to spread destruction, hate, traitor-ism, dark power, and almost everything else that had, over several millenniums ago, been released out of Pandora's box.
Hermione shivered again, this time on account of particular horrifying memories of those dreams from hell. She decided to stop kidding herself, she WAS 17, and to just close the damn window. She swung her feet out from under her seemingly safe duvet (a/n: duvet [for those poor soul out there who don't know] = feather filled bed cover...so warm and cozy...) And trudged over to the window. She paused for a glimpse before closing it, mostly because she had always loved nighttime, or at least until she first started receiving her dreadful nightmares.
Hermione gasped as her breath was stolen by the depths of the sky. She was completely lost in the sea of stars that winked at her in greeting. They twinkled in their all-knowing ways, and gave Hermione the hope she so desperately needed The one good thing from Pandora's wretched box: hope. One could do a lot with hope.
'If only I were a star,' sighed Hermione in a half wishing, half jealous way.
The stars did what they could, which was nothing more than twinkle and shine out from their velvety background that threatened to swallow them up. Hermione felt better just knowing that if the stars used hope and continued to fight off the black icky-ness, why shouldn't she?
Hermione surveyed the grounds for as far as she could see, right into the maze of the trees that made up the forest. She was lost as she stared right into the trees; the forest being so thick it was like a wooden wall. She could feel herself getting drowsy as she turned her gaze upon the tallest tree she could find. Suddenly she saw a bright flash of blue, so light that it waw almost white. It lit the whole area around the tree up for less than a split second. Had Hermione blinked at the time of the flash, she would have missed it entirely, as it left no other visible trace that she could see from where she was. It happened so fast that Hermione was not positive it had happened. She puzzled over the flash for a few moments, then decided that it was just her sleepy mind playing tricks on her.
'You're getting paranoid Hermione! It was nothing...was it?'
She finally reached up and closed the window, which had redeemed itself by showing her the stars, so thus it was temporarily "un-damned". Hermione crawled, somewhat reluctantly, into her falsely comforting bed. She felt determined to fight off her bad dreams somehow, even if that meant staying awake after an exhausting day before. She once again thought of the unfairness of herself having nightmares, but then began to feel guilty.
'I shouldn't be so upset with my once-in-a-while nightmares when Harry is a short distance away, and having several nightmares almost every night. He has had too many bad encounters with Voldemort for his own good,' Hermione thought guilty. 'My dreams aren't anywhere as bad as his anyway!' she thought, ½ trying to prove why she should go to sleep. Plus, she had a test the next day, or actually, at this hour, later in the same day.
It wasn't time she thought about Harry, quite the opposite in fact. Hermione had a major crush on him, but was too afraid to admit it out loud; one of the only secrets she kept from Harry and Ron. Why should he like her anyway? He had over half the female population at Hogwarts already fawning over him, for their various reasons. He was smart, athletic, handsome, and famous (for all those REALLY shallow people). There just wasn't much more one could ask for. She on the other hand, was a "know-it all" with dull brown hair (which she had magically straightened, so not ALL hope was lost). Plus she was "positive" that he thought of her only as a friend, and never anything more.
She gave a sigh, rolled over, and couldn't get back to sleep. She began to think of home, and eventually, a while later, remembered a muggle story. It was one where one of the characters wanted something more than anything, and wished upon the north star, and miraculously it came true. Hermione was positive that it would never happen in real life, but you never know. She was, after all, someone who performed magic, who muggles also didn't believe in. Not to mention she believed that it would probably make her feel better.
Hermione once again left her bed, and walked over to the window. She opened it, and searched for the North Star. There! She then thought of her wish as the crisp night air tugged at her face, anxious to hear her wish.
She whispered in a quiet voice:
brightest star I see tonight,
wish I may, wish I might,
fight for Harry's love,
and win the fight!"
'You never know,' she thought, once again closing the window (which was now a dear friend) and climbing back into bed, forgetting entirely about the flash. 'It just might come true.'
Chapter 3: An Early Morning Prowl
The Western Tower