So this was it, the end...
The wind was howling – the only thing Hermione heard, fading out the screams of her fallen comrades in her mind.
But now lying in the mud, exhausted, tired, injured, she slowly accepted the idea of giving up. It was comfortably easy doing it after years of fighting and watching her family and friends die.
Her iron will was broken, shattered into tiny little bits.
She was so fed up with fighting. Emptiness had welcomed her, and her brave heart which always burnt so hot for equality, was gelidly frozen and stabbed bitterly in her chest. The fire, it had extinguished. She didn't remember how it felt being happy, Hermione didn't know anymore how it was like laughing and enjoying. It was like if she hadn't done it for ages.
It was the end, she knew it. Deeply in her heart, she knew it.
Nothing inside her reminded Hermione of her former, strong, younger self, no braveness, no volition, neither the sentence her dad had always told her, when she was little: "Giving up is no option, it's only weakness." But she didn't have the power to stand up for her beliefs.
If she could only turn back time, Hermione thought. She would tell her younger self to welcome every day much more as she personally had. Closing her eyes, ignoring the tears running over her face, feeling the mud underneath her body, for her it was hard to swallow. Digging her fingers into the soil-
Hermione wasn't the type of human who wanted to hide any longer. And she hadn't the energy to strive for freedom any more. How could she when no one was left?
In the distance Harry's voice shouted, spelled hexes ... Hermione heard screaming again, painfully. She was exactly aware of how Harry must feel. Hermione nearly felt the same pain, piercing marrow and bone.
Then Greyback whimpered terribly and it took seconds until she watched into Potter's dirty face. He had found her, somewhere deep in the Forbidden Forest. The green eyes were gleaming full of hope and strong-mindedness, the little smile on his lips.
Harry was like a rising phoenix who always knew the solution. Weakness didn't exist in his world as long as he fought for his attitudes.
"Pull yourself together, Hermione! No one said it'll be easy fighting against Voldemort!" Harry's voice chided harshly. For a single moment she had totally forgotten that at least he was in the same precarious plight. The witch bobbed up immediately glaring at her best friend, the last one still alive.
"Oh, I'm totally sorry facing the truth, Harry Potter!" she hissed sardonically, stressing the last two words as if she was disgusted, while scraping the filthy ground. Harry rolled his eyes dramatically as he knew, since the situation got worse, Hermione tended to overact and – more sadden – overreact.
"So they died for nothing? Is it that you want to tell me?" Harry, now sitting down besides Granger, narrowed his deeply green eyes. Eventually they were the last thing reminding Hermione of the quasi undying hope she felt right at the beginning when they searched for the Horcruxes.
"No, but... but – It's over Harry! What should we do now? We just can't turn back times and change history!" She screamed throwing her hands up in the air and let her head landing with a slight thud on the ground again. How frustrating...
The boy who lived raised his eyebrows and as he wanted to add something, she promptly interrupted. "And if we even manage that, how can we be sure, nobody will figure out who we really are? I mean, look at that!" Hermione stroked back her long sleeve showing Harry her ugly, burnt in inscription from Bellatrix Lestrange. Looking away quickly she tried hard not to cry again, while pressing her hand on the mark. Harry couldn't help himself but caressing her wild, dusty hair.
"You know, that I loved to grow up with all of you, even with the prat Draco... He always reminded me of how I never wanted to become." he heard her sobbing voice. Letting out a deep sigh, Harry nodded faintly.
He took her hands and pulled until she stood on her feet. Out of a sudden the earth quacked. Surely, it was a curse. Bellatrix and Greyback were amused, as they found them again they watched them, sneering.
"Do you really think you can win this? Do you really think you can hide?" Lestrange mumbled sweetly.
"There you are!" The cold, high voice riled. Beyond all doubt, this was Voldemort who burnt the muggle-town London hours before, appearing out of thin air, in his black robes with his red flushing eyes. Turning around Harry and Hermione faced the Dark Lord who was smirking darkly.
"Well, as you might not know – you can't hide forever!" he whispered in his high voice viciously, before shooting the Cruciatus curse at them, not knowing that they wouldn't. Hermione tripped back and landed in the mud again, besides Harry simply stepped out of way, raising his wand. The spell hit a withered tree behind the two of them. Her heart was pumping faster than ever as she tightened her grip around her own one.
She felt the link chain with the time turner around her neck – lying cold, heavy and firm against her naked skin - she didn't know why breathing felt so hard. Was it because of the fear, because of the wounds or the metal hanging around her neck?
Facing Lord Voldemort grinning about their desperate faces made it even worse.
"I wish I could say, it was a pleasure, but it wasn't." he sneered confidently enjoying the feeling of victory as his lips formed the words for the worst Unforgivable, Harry spelled resolutely not ready for giving up: "Stupefy!"
Harry also hexed Bellatrix Lestrange before he started running, Hermione back on her feet close behind him reaching for his hand. They didn't know if the curse hit the witch, but they didn't care at all.
"Don't let them escape!" a strict, icy order of the Dark Lord himself.
Hermione recognized the cliff in front of them. Harry just kept running, never minded to stop, she tried to free her hand from his tight grip. She knew they wouldn't survive.
Hermione knew she would die. There were the only possibilities: drowning or the killing curse
And she didn't want to fight for her life anymore. It should be over. It ended anyway. And she was totally broken after all.
The time turner bobbed heavily around her neck, as it felt as if time stood still.
Harry jumped and didn't release her hand. One last look behind her shoulder, hearing her heart pumping in her ears, listening to the angry voice of Voldemort echoing in her head, Hermione watched into his piercing look, while he shouted: "Adava Kedavra!" Then she saw the killing curse rushing to her. "Die, little mud-blood, die!"
The hex hit the time turner which burst into dust. They fell, holding hands all the time, and in the next wink Hermione wasn't able to inhale, not able to see although her eyes were wide open, – or at least she thought they were... Only knowing they were surrounded by blackness. Hermione still felt Harry's warm fingers, and then the witch blacked out.
More surprisingly for the Dark Lord, who was standing there alone at the cliff and watching the sea. Bellatrix and Greyback were looking for them, Voldemort knew it, he had told them to do. But they were nowhere to find; it was as if the earth had swallowed them up, and that was just impossible. So what had happened?