Summary: Three internal monologues during the summer
post-GOF - whose thoughts are they? (No prizes for guessing!)
I haven't stated whose POV each piece is from,
but I think you will be able to spot the speakers fairly easily...
The title comes from the trio of songs, "Later,
Soon, Now", in the musical "A Little Night Music" by Stephen Sondheim.
This is not a song-fic as such, because I haven't used the themes of the
songs, only the titles. (If you do know the music, though, isn't the cello
music in "Later" amazing?)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to JK Rowling.
"Later, Soon, Now" belongs to Stephen Sondheim. Not me.
Warning: Starts off fairly light-hearted, then
gets dark. Very dark.
* * * * *
I'll have to do some thinking about the future,
Mum's always going on about the future. It's one
of her little spiels she gives us every now and then - particularly during
the summer when she's sorting out our stuff for Hogwarts. The theme goes
- work hard, study for your exams, don't get into any trouble, think about
OK, so the future's getting closer all the time.
I realised that when Fred and George started worrying about what they
were going to do after Hogwarts. I think running a joke shop is probably
the perfect future for them - certainly can't see them working at the
Ministry! They've only got one year left now, so they probably should
be worrying about the future...and so will I...but later.
After all, my future is still three years away.
It's true that Hermione's already panicking about the OWLs, but I can
revise for them next spring, can't I? I'm not going to spend a whole year
swotting and working in the library - like some people I could mention,
because then I wouldn't have time for Quidditch, or hanging out with Harry,
or playing chess, or...anything else.
When I've been alone, though, this summer, I've
found myself wondering what sort of future any of us are going to have
if Voldemort really does come back to power. He means business, that's
obvious after what happened to Harry during the Third Task - and what
happened to Cedric. Dumbledore seems to think that we'll all have to help
in the fight against Voldemort, and my dad's been saying the same thing.
I've heard the stories - I've seen the Dark Mark - I know what it was
like when Voldemort had power before - I know Dumbledore's right and we
should be preparing, organising ourselves, so we'll be ready when he comes
And if - when - we do defeat Voldemort - what happens
then? I do wonder about that. Will all of us make it through to the other
side? Where will I live? What can I do? I'd like to be an Auror, or play
Quidditch - that would be cool, but with my luck I'll end up doing something
much more ordinary. Whatever I'll end up doing, I sometimes imagine myself
when I'm older, and I see myself visiting Fred and George's joke shop,
maybe going to see Charlie in Rumania, hanging out with the dragon guys,
maybe travelling the world, later. I can just imagine Mum complaining
how empty The Burrow is now that we've all left home, and I can imagine
us all coming back for huge family parties at Christmas, or Mum's birthday.
Funny to think that later, most of us will probably be showing up with
kids of our own. I can just picture Mum as a doting grandma...
I do wonder what Harry will do later, when all
this Voldemort stuff is over. He really hates being famous - I hadn't
realised till just lately how much he hates it. Maybe he'll become a recluse,
or go off travelling...I wouldn't mind going with him, if he likes.
I can just picture what Hermione will do later.
She's bound to get to the top of whatever career she wants. She could
write books - or teach - or invent things - or maybe she'll do it all.
When she starts talking about what she plans to do, she gets all fired
up with enthusiasm, and her eyes start shining, and you feel as though
Maybe - maybe I should resolve to get down to some
work. But I've got a whole year - plenty of time to swot up my subjects,
work for OWLs, think of ways of defeating Voldemort. Maybe I should owl
Hermione and tell her about my resolution. She's bound to have good ideas
for everything - from a revision timetable to an anti-Dark Arts spell.
Wonder if Mum would let her come and stay so she can help me. Wonder if
she'd bring those blue dress robes. She looked good in them. I should
really tell her that, she'd probably still like to hear it.
I'll tell her.
* * * * *
There are going to be changes soon. I suppose it's
inevitable that they will come. I'll be sixteen in September, although
it seems like only yesterday that I was packing my trunk for my first
term at Hogwarts.
I've been thinking back, this summer, about the
good times and the bad times.
Bad times - well, I don't have to think back too
far to shiver at certain memories. The events of last term have put my
other troubles in perspective. No one - especially Harry, who's already
been through so much - should have had to endure the nightmare he did
in that graveyard - with Voldemort - and the Death Eaters - and Cedric
The things I know about what happened to him are
appalling, but I know he still hasn't told me everything - and listening
to the story could never be half so dreadful as experiencing it.
I've woken up, some nights, sweating and thinking
of those long, long minutes after Harry disappeared into the maze. We
waited, and dreaded what might be happening - but the truth was far worse
than our imaginings.
Compared with that day, other bad times don't seem
so bad. My first weeks at Hogwarts when barely anyone spoke to me. The
search for the Philosopher's Stone, seeing Ron knocked unconscious and
Harry going alone to face who-knew-what. My second year when I ended up
Petrified for weeks. None of those things seem very significant now. Not
when I know that much worse things could have happened - and may happen
again - soon.
But the good times at Hogwarts - friendship - learning
- it's been like coming out of a chrysalis, stretching my wings, stretching
my mind. I was a Muggle-born girl who knew so little about the magical
world. Every year I've felt myself growing in power and knowledge. There's
so much I want to do, and soon - in just a few short years - I'll be ready
to go out there and do it. I've grown a lot more confident in myself,
too - I've realised that academic achievement isn't quite everything.
If you had told me back in my first year that during
my time at Hogwarts I was going to fly on a Hippogriff - face death with
The Boy Who Lived - go to a ball with a Bulgarian Quidditch star - turn
into a cat - make friends with an escaped convict - travel in time - I
would have stared, and laughed in disbelief. Yet all those things have
happened to me, and more is bound to happen, soon.
The danger is returning soon. We all know it. We
sense the urgency in the air. If we get through it - when we get through
it - I'm bursting with so many plans. I want to succeed. I want to discover
new things. I want to protect the people I care about.
And - when I'm not planning how to change to world
or fend off the Dark Arts - a part of me still insists on being fifteen-going-on-sixteen
and fretting about whether the person I write about in my diary likes
me in the same way I like him. I think he does, but I'm still waiting
for him to say it, or show it, or just do something about it!
Perhaps he will.
* * * * *
It's coming now. I can feel him getting closer
all the time. Since the moment I left that graveyard, pulling Cedric's
body behind me, I have never completely stepped out of the nightmare of
By day, I push it into the background, but when
I look in the mirror, I can see the shadow lurking at the back of my eyes;
the wariness that never goes away and makes me look older.
At night, the nightmare is unleashed once more,
and I can hear the sounds of that graveyard - the hisses and shrieks of
the Death Eaters, baying for my blood like Voldemort's grotesque hounds.
I can remember exactly how Wormtail screamed as he stared at the spurting
stump of his wrist. And, in the moment before I wake and stare sweating
into the darkness, I always see those red eyes...
Now, I know some of the things Dumbledore did not
want to tell me, back in my first year. He was gentle with me, the eleven-year-old
who had just seen Voldemort on the back of Quirrell's head. He spoke to
me softly about my parents' death - he knew I wasn't ready for the whole
truth - he did not say too much about the full horror that had been Voldemort
and his Death Eaters, though he must have known even then that if Voldemort
regained his strength, I would have to face...all this.
I lie here and wonder how many others will die
before he and I come face to face for the last time. How many will die
unmarked and unaware, like Cedric? How many others will die screaming
in agony? What has he been doing since I left that graveyard? While I
complete holiday essays about Transfiguration, does he occupy himself
thinking of new ways to kill me?
My best comfort and my worst fears centre around
my friends. Without them, I wouldn't be here now, and I am convinced I
will need their help again if Voldemort is ever to be defeated. I know
how lucky I am to have supporters like Ron and Hermione, Hagrid and Dumbledore,
Sirius, Professor Lupin, all the Weasleys...I need them all, but I am
afraid for them too. Even remembering Cedric's death is not as bad as
imagining what might happen if Voldemort tries to hurt me by harming them.
Every day this summer, I have woken up and wondered;
is this the day of reckoning? Has he chosen a date for our next meeting?
When will we be face to face again? It could be today - or tomorrow -
or three weeks from now - or three years from now - I have no way of telling.
So I have to be ready every day.
I have to be ready.
* * * * *