THIS IS AN EDITED VERSION.
Also, I realized that there was several complaints about these two subjects and thought I'd answer:
1000 word chapters
I know this may seem a small amount. When I said that I was giving you a bare minimum I am holding myself to. Hopefully most of my chapters will go way over this, but none will go under. For instance, this chapter is 3,277 words. Not counting the authors note.
POV change
I apologize to those who hate this. While it will decrease further into the story, at the beginning it will change a lot. I am doing this because I want to give you perspective, and develop the characters more. My favorite stories are the ones where the characters cease to be characters and become people; I am trying to hold myself to that standard. Hopefully this chapter will give you more of an idea what I mean.

Prolouge
Perspectives

Poppy Pomfrey
Sometimes I wish I wasn't a healer. There are some things you never want to see. Death, pain, humiliation. All my life I wanted to heal, to help. I never realized that there are some cases where you can't help.

I became a healer in the middle of war. Everyone was fighting. Families and friends were torn apart, not always by death. You never knew who you would be facing, who you would try to kill. It could be your neighbor or your lover. Those were the worst cases. I was able to mend the broken bones, the torn ligaments, the ruptured nerves. But I could never cure the mental scars, the broken hearts.

There are so many I could never aid. They haunt my dreams at night, weigh down my conscience, be they friend or foe. Grown men, begging for the release of death. Inner Circle Death Eaters who no longer care whether or not the person tending to their wounds is pureblood. It's amazing what pain can do to a person. Everyone changes when they're hurt. Ideals, prejudices- they don't matter when faced with the horrifying reality of death. I've seen people from both sides of the battlefield at their lowest, and there isn't that much of a difference.

I may have seen many at their weakest, but I've witnessed humanity at its strongest as well. Moody lost his leg because he left my ward too early. It was a stupid, idiotic thing to do, but he turned the tide in the Battle of Hogsmead. The entire war could have gone differently if he weren't so hell-bent on saving everyone he can.

He's much like Minerva in that respect. She never lets the Death Eaters hurt anyone if she can help it. She saves as many lives as she can. Sometimes I worry about the cost.

She's a murderer. I saw her after her first kill and she was so cold, so clinical. I feared her in that moment. It was like she had forgotten that her enemies were as human as she was. I've seen her with Severus. She treats him coldly, acting as though she can barely restrain herself from attacking him. Once she called him a bastard to his face.

He might act like it, but Severus is no bastard. He hides himself behind a cold mask. I worry for him. He hides his emotions- even from himself. I wish he wouldn't, yet I fear what would happen if he didn't. He tried to kill himself once, years ago, before he'd perfected his mask. I don't know what happened to cause him to take such a drastic action.

I don't know, but I have my suspicions. Slytherin house seems to be a haven for abused children. Each year, Severus brings at least five to my attention. He seems to have a skill for finding them. He always sits with the child when I question them about their home. They turn to him whenever I ask the more pointed questions. He reassures them and encourages them to continue. They always do. He understands them far better than I ever could. The kind of understanding that only ever comes from experience. He's so gentle with them, so kind. Then he leaves the room and once more slips into his role as the Bastard of Hogwarts.

He's not the only one who changes when out from the public eye. Lucius Malfoy was hurt when dueling with Albus in the Battle of Hogsmead. When I tended to him, he apologized for being such a trouble, thanking me and asking what he could do to repay me. I told him "It's my job, Malfoy. I heal who I can and ease the passing of those I can't. For the most part, I love it. I love helping people. Breaking something is simple. Fixing it is difficult, yet much more rewarding. Yet there are some times I hate my job, when I encounter things that are unfixable, or that we did not have the tools to fix. Too many people have died before me because the potions they needed were not brewed or because we could not afford the ingredients. If you enabled me to stop that, I would be in your debt." He just looked at me.
"Consider it done."

I didn't believe he would do anything, but within a week there was a large, anonymous donation to the Hospital Wing.

Yes, there are times I hate my job, when I feel like I have failed at life. When I couldn't do anything.
But then there are the times when I could help, when I could heal, when I could save lives.
Breaking something is simple. Fixing it is difficult, yet much more rewarding.

Minerva McGonagall
The first year's boats always arrive after the carriages. The older years are in the Hall before I am required to introduce the new students to Hogwarts. I appreciate this, as it allows me to stand guard for both.

Many of my pupils believe that I watch over them in order to stop any pranks, bullying, or smuggling that may go on. This is an incentive, but a minor one. Most of the pranks are merely amusing, incidents to smile at in private. I trust all my colleagues- except maybe Sybil –to keep the harassment at a minimum. The various banned items that are creatively snuck in are a minor annoyance at best –though I did have a laugh at the boy who thought it would be a good idea to hide a Fanged Frisbee up his ass. Poppy had to remove it with a spell usually used when a lonely boy made a mistake while experimenting.

No, the real reason I watch over them is to ensure they all return, safe and sound. My peers in Beauxbatons and Durmstrang would think this practice absurd. But they haven't lived through two wars, teaching through one of them. They've never experienced the shock, disbelief and gut-wrenching heart-ache when you realize that the missing students aren't skiving- they're dead. They don't know what it's like to lose students to past students. James Potter was going to be my apprentice. He was killed by a man who used to be my boyfriend, once upon a time.

I lost my family to Grindelwald. When a new Dark Lord appeared, I swore I would do my best to ensure no other child was orphaned like I was. I threw myself into protecting everyone I could, in any way I could. I know Poppy was horrified when I first killed. She didn't talk to me for three days.

I couldn't understand what upset her. Sure, I probably could have ended it differently. I might've been able to just stun him, without any more threat to myself. But what then? He might've been thrown into jail, but more likely he'd escape or sweet-talk and bribe his way out of any kind of punishment. He would be free again, no doubt.

If he went free, he could've hurt another person, orphaned another child, raped another girl. I couldn't allow that to happen. I've experienced too much pain in my life to let anyone else suffer as I have.

Yes, I killed him. I do not know if he had any children who will now live without a father. I do not want to know. I do not want more pain on my conscience. I feel guilty enough already.

If it weren't for me, none of this would have happened. With the right words, I could have stopped Tom from going the way he has. He was my boyfriend! He loved me! I loved him! I loved him, yet I abandoned him. He comforted me when my family died, and I turned on him! I knew he was orphaned as well, yet I yelled that he didn't understand. I told him he didn't know what it was like, because his parents weren't necessarily dead. I felt like something inside me had died, and wanted someone to feel the pain I felt.

I lashed out at him. I reminded him how his father abandoned him, screamed that he deserved it. I told him that it was no wonder nobody wanted him, that I understood why the orphanage people hated him. I screamed at him to leave me, that I never wanted to speak him again.

He left me. He never spoke to me again.

Since we left school, I've only seen him once more. He attacked Hogsmead on a weekend, when all the children were visiting. Albus was dueling Bellatrix, Lucius, Rabastan and Rudolphus all at once, so it was left to me to fight Tom. Back then, I didn't know who he was.

He threw the truth in my face. He told me of his true identity, then proceeded to repeat many of the things I said to him all those years ago. That he hated me. That he was sure my parents were happier know they weren't saddled with me any longer. That he wished I was dead. My wand fell from my hand as I stood there with tears streaming down my face. He could have killed me, but he stunned me. He let me live.

I died inside.

Luna Lovegood
This is my first time riding in the school carriages. The others in my year question how we will get up to the castle when there is no way for the carriages to move.
"How are we supposed reach the school when the horses are taking a day off?"
"Don't be silly, Hogwarts doesn't need horses. See, the carriages have started to move!"
"By themselves? Sometimes I wonder whether magic is real, or if I'm hallucinating!"
"Of course it's real, you stupid mudblood. It's obvious their charmed. Sometimes I wonder what the Board was thinking, letting idiots like you into what was once a respectable school! It's obvious you know nothing about our world, you ignorant bint!"

The last comment causes a fury to awaken inside me. I want to slap my horrible cousin. I want to beat him to a bloody pulp! But I can't. I have to stay in the background, be as unthreatening as possible. Who knows what could happen to me if the Malfoys saw me as a danger? I'd suffer a fatal accident, no doubt. I may be related to them, but we're no family. If Grandpa Abraxas had died before the wedding, Lucius would have killed my Mum for marrying Dad. Mum was always Grandpa's favourite child, and Abraxas made sure to leave her a decent sum when he died.

That only made Lucius hate her all the more. He viciously and publicly disowned her. My Mum was such a sweet, thoughtful lady. I have no idea how she could've been siblings with Lucius Malfoy, the foulest, evilest git in the universe!

His son's no better. An arrogant bully. He thinks so much of himself that sometimes I just want to wipe that self-satisfied smirk of his face! But I can't. I must keep to my charade as 'loony' loner Luna, harmless and stupid. Loony Lovegood wouldn't dare so much as touch someone as important as Draco. Luna Lovegood would, but at school I can't be Luna.

Stuff that. His victim has turned bright red and teary. I'm not going to sit back and watch while he makes people cry. Everyone else ignores the scene like the fearful, blind, self-centred sheep that they are. If I cared what the others thought, I'd turn around now and pretend this never happened. But I don't care.

Always be yourself-
Those that matter,
Don't care,
Those that care,
Don't matter.

When I was young, my Mum always told me that whenever I was upset. I had a problem with bullies, but she could always make me feel better. I wish she were here now.

Since she died, I've done my best to follow the poem. I'm not going to let her down now- I'm just going to approach the matter in a more subtle manner than I'd like to. Sometimes I think I should've been in Slytherin instead of my cousin- God knows he doesn't have a cunning bone in his body, but I

This is one of those times. I can't outright punch the little bastard, but there are other ways to humiliate people. I can't be too overt or I'll draw attention to myself. I make sure to paste a dreamy smile to my face before stepping up to him.

"Fool." He tells the girl. "You truly think your precious little Potter will save you? He's as useless as Longbottom! He can't hold a wand to save his life. Lockhart was better! At least his spells did something. Potter will never be able to save you. Even if he could, he wouldn't bother. You're nothing. He only uses you. I pity you, clinging so pathetically to the first person to ever show you the least bit of kindness. You are naught but a blind dog, your lead firmly in his hand"

That makes me see red. I want to slap the stupid boy, punch him, then kick him when he's down. I'm about to take a threatening step towards him, but someone's already there.

My cousin is now doubled over on the ground screaming in pain; he's clutching his balls like they're on fire. His victim is standing over him, fists clenched.

"I do not think that Harry will save us. I know it. He is the best wizard I know, better even than Dumbledore, though he would never think so. Didn't you listen to Snape, that first day of class? He told us then that there is more to being a wizard than silly wand-waving. It's true. There are so many things Harry has that you can never hope to gain. Charisma. Determination. Charm. Pizzazz. Friends. You know nothing of these things. You only have money and a tradition of inbreeding. Harry might not be able to defeat the Dark Lord alone. But he will not be alone. I will support him, even if nobody else will. Because Harry is my friend. Not my master. My friend. I do not expect you to understand the concept. It is well known that you are greatly lacking in that department. You have no friends. Associates, maybe. Minions. Look at yourself. Whimpering on the ground like a baby. No-one's trying to help you. You're alone. Abandoned. It is not me who is the pathetic one. It is you."

She spits on the boy. I clap. Several others follow.

Soon I am leading a standing ovation.

I walk with the girl to her carriage. It's a good thing I do, because my cousin finally recovers and sends his thugs after us. I scare them off before they can do more than push the girl around a little. When I turn back to her, she's staring at the Thestrals bottom like she's seen a ghost, muttering under her breath about invisible animals. I smile and tell her it's a Thestral.

She looks spooked. "Aren't Thestrals Dark creatures?" she asks. I frown.

"I do not believe that Thestrals are dark creatures. It is silly to classify them as such simply because you have to have seen death to see them. Death does not taint you with darkness. It merely opens your mind. It lets you see things that would otherwise be invisible. It shows you what reality is like, giving you more knowledge about the world.

What you do with that knowledge is up to you. You can fear it, like Voldemort, allowing that fear to consume you and eventually overpower you. You can avoid it, shutting out the world and becoming narrow-minded, only accepting what fits in with your narrow mind view.

You can accept it, like me. Accept that some things are different. Accept that some things are unexplainable and unreasonable, for what is more illogical than death? Embrace the strange, the unbelievable. Death seemed to be a myth, yet it happened. What other fables may be true? The world opened up to me, to experience, to explore.

Death is not nice. But there is some good in it. After seeing death, you can also see thestrals."

I stop talking as I notice the girl's expression change. "I can't see them. I can't see them. Oh, I do hope that means what I think it does! Of course it does. Silly me. I mean, he can't really be...
Can he? No, of course he can't. He's Harry. But still, everyone says it's impossible to survive...
What am I thinking? If it's impossible, of course he'll do it."

It sounds like she's trying to convince herself.

Hermione Granger
I trot to keep up with the new professor as he strides through the hall. Harry is held tightly to his chest. I struggle to make sense of what's happened, but for once my analytical mind fails me. I know what should have happened- I've read all about Dementors. Harry should be soulless. But he can't be. There's no logic to the thought, just the simple fact that he can't be. It's impossible. He's Harry. He must survive. He always does- with the troll, the stone, the spiders, the basilisk and everything else he's faced. I'm not sure how much of his home life fits into that category. He just can't die. He cannot. He won't. He just won't!

I realize I've long past rational thought, but I don't care. I've fallen back on my core beliefs, and Harry features prominently in them. How could he not? He's Harry. I don't know what I'd do without him. Sure, I survived eleven years, but I only survived them. Harry makes me live. He believes in me. No-one's ever done that before, never thought I could make a true change. They jeered at me for thinking that life should be fair. I know it's not, but it should be. Yet whenever I say that to any of my tormentors, I'm sneered at for thinking it's possible.

I know it's not. It's impossible for life to be fair, because no-one wants it to be so. They all want to be better than everyone else. They want to have power.

Harry doesn't. He doesn't care about power or anything like that. What with his position as the boy-who-lived, he could probably do anything he wanted. He's aware of how much his peers look up to him, even if he's ignorant of how much sway he really holds. I know I shouldn't, but I want to keep him unknowing. I'm scared that, if he knew how many girls want to be his friend, he'd abandon me for another, prettier, smarter, better girl. At the same time, I hate myself for thinking that, because I know he won't. That's what my brains telling me from experience, but I find it hard to believe. Nobody's ever wanted me before, me, Hermione Granger. They would suck up to me for answers and easy homework help. But he likes me, and I can't believe it. I feel like one of those people who spent half their life knowing that the world is flat only to find out that it's truly round.

I've always been told that I was worthless and now this boy comes along and makes me feel special. I want to believe him, I really do, but if it's true why was everyone so mean to me before?

Oh, that's right. It's because life's not fair.

God, I hate those words.