Crack.

Hermione slowly lifted her foot, her wand firmly clutched in her hand. Her eyebrows were furrowed, her eyes narrowed, and her hair a complete bloody mess.

She bent down, moving the broken rubble to the side. To her right, Harry was levitating a shattered lantern, and to her left, Ron was tying the laces of his tattered right shoe. They stood in the courtyard of Hogwarts, surrounded by masses of people recovering from the battle.

In the rush of moving everything, Hermione had to hop over piles of wreckage and swerve around crowds of people. The courtyard and the Great Hall were in the most horrible condition, and out of their sense of duty and love for their school, the Golden Trio had agreed to stay behind and help fix the destruction, despite them only having just defeated Voldemort and his Death Eaters hours before. The sun was setting, casting an orange light on all the students and staff present, as if each head was surrounded by a glowing, ethereal halo.

She and Ron had insisted for Harry to get some rest, as he'd been the one who had seemingly taken most of the damage, physical or otherwise. He only refused completely, before berating them and joining the effort to save what was left of the school. Hermione's distress was palpable and obvious, but Ron's calm hand on her shoulder and insistence that Harry wouldn't be happy otherwise calmed her down. Ron's hand had left her shoulder tingling, and she shook her head, enchanted and confused, then followed Harry.

From the corner of her eye, Hermione saw Ron standing up, clapping his hands together to rid of the dust. She glanced at his shoe and found that he'd tied it into a clean, neat ribbon. She looked up at him and laughed. Ron grinned, shrugging, before extracting his wand and levitating a heavy rock that was in the way of a few students.

Hermione went back to the task at hand; careful not to hurt her hands, she started clearing the place where she heard the crack.

She vaguely registered Professor McGonagall doing the same thing; searching in the ground, her face worried, and one hand placed on her chest. Her movements were hurried and anxious.

Her little finger brushed something soft, and strangely cold. Carefully, Hermione placed her wand next to her foot. Pushing aside the dust and stones at a more hurried pace, her eyes widened.

On the floor, overshadowed by the dull colour of the stones, a small, delicate golden necklace shone feebly. A slight, barely noticeable crack ran down the middle of an hourglass, steadily pouring out a very thin stream of golden sand.

Barely registering the small item, Hermione picked it up by the chain. As she stood up, the chain suddenly gave in, tearing in the middle. She gasped, and her heart suddenly sped up, as she rebounded and caught the necklace.

She stood up, holding the chain from both ends, the little golden charm innocently swinging back and forth.

She opened her mouth, the question just on the tip of her tongue, when a figure in front of her suddenly stood up, their posture stiff, and their eyes horrified. Professor McGonagall stretched her arm to Hermione, her hand clenched, and she screamed. Professor McGonagall screamed, her eyes bright with tears that suddenly formed.

Hermione felt a tug behind her chest, and a sudden pain in her heart, which started to beat fast, fast, and faster- her ears popped, and she couldn't hear anything, anything¬ł except McGonagall's resounding scream of NO NO NO, and her eyesight suddenly blurred, and her brain swiped clear of any thoughts, until suddenly, she was thrown into a world of bright light, and her chest hurt hurt hurt and it was agony-

She vaguely registered her wand on the floor, next to where her foot was, before everything went black.


A/N: Hello, guys! After a pretty long hiatus, I've returned with a Tomione. This is pretty much my first time writing a full chaptered story, whereas I used to almost exclusively write AU oneshots with this pairing. The story is planned until the very end (this is my first time actually planning something on this scale I'M SO PROUD. MY ENGLISH TEACHER WOULD HAVE BEEN ECSTATIC, considering that whenever I ignored planning, my two page story manages to transform into a twelve-paged epic...) and I have a few chapters already written and revised.

Read and review, if you so please! My cats refuse to acknowledge me after we left them for a four-day holiday in Alexandria. I shall ask you kindly for the attention and support that my cats only give me when I'm eating smoked turkey, and perhaps share my experiences on how I am slowly tumbling into the endless pit that is crazy cat-ladyness. And also that other endless pit where Tom Riddle is a constant and totally unhealthy obsession. Yep.