"Expec—Expecto patronum," said Hermione. Nothing happened.
"It's the only spell she ever has trouble with," Harry told a completely bemused Mrs. Cattermole. "Bit unfortunate, really . . . Come on, Hermione. . . ."
Focus! Come on, you have to focus! Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts!
But for some reason, when she most needed to pull off this spell, when her life literally depended on it, the memories she immediately thought of were the opposite of the ones she needed.
She remembered school before Hogwarts, being pushed off the swings by the other children—she'd never had any friends.
She remembered the loneliness she had felt as a child, wishing for siblings, like friends that were built into your family.
She remembered how she had been different than the other children, and they seemed to sense it too.
She remembered how she learned how to read long before any of the other children, a product of spending so much time alone. She was so proud of it but they all just called her a know-it-all.
She remembered how no matter what she had done, how she had acted, who she had tried to befriend, she had always ended up alone and made fun of.
Then she remembered the day that her letter had come, accompanied by Professor McGonagall, and she had learned that she really was different, a good different.
She remembered the amazing trip she had taken to Diagon Alley to purchase her school things—she had spent her life savings at Flourish and Blotts. Her new books described a real world that all her other books had insisted was fantasy. She felt like she had known all along.
She remembered the moment that Harry and Ron had run like crazed madmen into the girl's bathroom to save her from the troll. She had been astounded they had remembered her, and a bond of friendship, something she had never known before, had formed.
She remembered how when she woke up in the hospital after being petrified she found out that Harry and Ron had figured out her clues just in time to save Ginny and the school. She had been so proud of them.
She remembered how she had fought with Ron all third year, but in the end they had fought together against the man who had betrayed Harry's parents.
She remembered the awful night and days after the end of the Triwizard tournament, when Harry was walking around in a daze and she and Ron felt helpless and hopelessly young. They clung to each other and though things looked dark, the trio was closer than ever.
She remembered how Harry had led them to their first real fight at the Ministry. She had been terrified and had ended up in the hospital afterward, but it had been exhilarating and she finally felt like she was doing her part for real.
She remembered all the drama of sixth year, but when it was over, she, Harry, and Ron had decided to find Horcruxes and end Voldemort forever. Together.
And she remembered the feeling of dancing in Ron's arms at the wedding, and of falling asleep with his hand holding hers. It had been the happiest she had ever felt, a strange feeling when the rest of her world was falling apart around her.
Her world may be falling apart, but she had everything to live for.
So she took a deep breath, knowing Harry was beside her and Ron was waiting on her, and shouted,