Disclaimer: I do not own any canon characters or situations in the Harry Potter Universe; nor am I paid for this. I just play in their world in no small thanks to Rowling's generosity.
Warnings: Story content contains strong language, violence, and graphic sexual scenes. There are a few references to suicide in the beginning chapters, but I tried to keep them as vague as possible.
A/N: This story starts out post-war (Voldie wins) but there will be a time turner involved so be prepared for that. Also, as mentioned in the Warnings, there is mention of suicide (as well as thoughts) included in this story. I have tried to keep it as vague as possible to hopefully keep everyone comfortable, but everyone has a different opinion on subtle, yeah? Just know it is not my intention to upset you.
She awoke gasping for air, her hand covering the pulsing scar that touched her collar bone and disappeared beneath the top of her ragged pajama shirt. Panting, she threw the blankets off her body, the cool air hitting the sweat she had accumulated, causing her to shiver. She ran a hand through her matted hair, slim fingers getting trapped within its confines, as she attempted to regulate her breathing. It took several minutes, but she finally managed. Her body exhausted from whatever she had just witnessed: dream, nightmare, night-terror, whatever worked.
She had been having the same repetitive dream for the past two weeks now, always the same. Blurs of faces, laughter, and warmth. Then it was dark, pain, and the overwhelming stench of putrid death before she was consumed by darkness. She shuddered. She hadn't felt that kind of fear since she was tortured in the Malfoy Manor, bleeding and on the brink of death when her friends had rescued her. She remembered waking up two weeks later, weak and shaking with the after-effects of multiple Cruciatus curses. Lucky her. Once again she shivered.
Climbing out of her makeshift cot, warm toffee colored eyes glanced towards a lone picture frame. It sat on the broken cement window sill, alone in the faint moonbeams that broke through the grime-stained windows. Inside stood three teenagers, smiling and laughing, by a lake she knew quite well. The tallest among them stood on the left with brilliant red hair, his fringe hanging in front of his crystal blue eyes. Her gaze flicked to the far right where a boy with the craziest hair she had ever seen and sharp emerald eyes hidden behind round-framed glasses stood smiling up at her. They each had an arm wrapped around a petite brunette who giggled and shook her head at the boys' antics as they pranced around her. She smiled forlornly down at the young girl portrayed in the moving photograph. It was difficult for her to remember what happiness felt like nowadays. She certainly knew what oppressive misery felt like.
With a heavy sigh breaking through her chapped lips, she let a finger trail over each of the boys' face. "I miss you guys so, so much." She whispered, the familiar burn of tears stinging her eyes. "I wish you were here with me…" a bitter laugh escaped. "Well, maybe not, considering the world has fallen to utter shite. I hope you've both found peace, that you're with your families and our friends…I can only await the day when I am able to join you both again. I'm sure there's no one keeping you out of trouble up there, hmm? Bless your mothers' soul." She smiled as the two boys winked at her. "I had that dream again. To be honest it's buggering the ever loving shite out of me. I have no idea what it means." She sighed and ran a hand down her face, "They feel familiar…like memories of some sort, but different. It's like I'm reliving our past, but not how it really happened. I don't know. I guess everything happens for a reason, yeah?" She paused in thought, lips pursed. "Do you think I'm still here for a reason? I don't see for what. It's not like I was any good to you guys. Smartest Witch of the Age." She snorted, "What bollocks."
She pulled the broken picture frame from where it sat and brought it closer for inspection. "I know I say this every day, and it's not like you can actually respond, but I'm sorry I couldn't have been more help. I would have given my life to save the both of you, you know? At least then you would have each other, yeah? You wouldn't be alone, like me…always alone." Another bitter laugh escaped as she replaced the frame back on the sill. "Yeah…"
Shaking her head she stumbled over to the bathroom and turned the makeshift shower stream on. When she had first found this hideout the bathroom had been so utterly disgusting, bile had burned her throat. Mold, dirt, and rust had caked the floor and walls of the shower, some unknown substance – all she knew was that it had to go – had been clogged in the drain – she was positive whatever it had been had still been moving. The sink that stood adjacent was broken, but the water pipes still worked so she made do. After spending a good four hours using spell after spell she figured it was good enough to prohibit her from infecting herself with some new form of Plague.
After removing her sweat-soaked pajamas, she stepped under the blistering heat, allowing it to loosen her tense muscles. Carefully, she leaned her forehead against the cool tile and closed her eyes. Her tears mixed with the water as she began to remember the events that followed after the war had been lost. The Order had been defeated nearly two, no three, years ago. She was the last one standing and had warrants out for her capture on every available surface in both wizarding and muggle London. Apparently she was the victim of a psychotic break and if seen, local authorities were to be notified immediately – not unlike how they handled Sirius' infamous escape from Azkaban. Highly dangerous, they said. She sniffed. Indeed. One would think they'd come up with something a bit more original. The tossers.
She didn't know how long she stood under the water for. Her thoughts were lost in the past. Images of Harry, her best friend – her brother, being slain by Voldemort during the Final Battle at their beloved Hogwarts. Ron and his family being publically executed outside the fallen Ministry in a makeshift gallows – Voldemort had thought it a fitting punishment as they so aligned themselves with both the Muggles and Muggleborn. Her Professors being magically pinned into a mock pose of the crucifix on the outer stone walls. McGonagall being the hardest for her to see in such a ravaged state. Remus, Tonks, and their darling son Teddy had been captured four months later by none other than Fenrir Greyback, his Alpha. It was upon the next full moon, that Remus was locked in a room with his two beloveds. Needless to say, Remus took his own life the next morning, but only after Fenrir Greyback was no longer amongst the living. More and more her thoughts began to descend into a downward spiral. Before long, she found herself sitting with her knees pulled up to her chest.
She shook her head, willing the tragic images to disappear, but no matter how hard she tried, they remained to haunt her. Remind her of her failure to protect those she loved. One goddamn horcrux! That's all they had needed! One missed horcrux and the entire world fell to hell. All because she was too stupid to realize the snake-faced bastard would catch onto their schemes and create a new one just before the Final Battle took place. For months after she had searched for the blasted thing. Researched countless volumes – dark, grey, and light – for any spell, charm, or curse that might aid in the search. To no avail. She had failed and because of that her entire life was down the theoretical fucking drain. All of her friends were dead. All of her Professors were dead. Even her parents did not escape notice from the Death Eaters in Australia. She knew she had Snape to thank for that. The bloody traitor. There was no good in that greasy dungeon bat as so many Order members declared. She, like a fool, had always stuck up for the often-times malicious man no matter that he considered her an insufferable know-it-all. No, there was only self-interest in that vile man. If ever she met face to face with him again, she would not hesitate to Sectumsempra his arse to kingdom come.
She groaned as she slammed her head back into the tile. Sighing, she stared up at the ceiling and decided to focus on her reoccurring dream. What the hell did it mean? Why was she having this dream now of all times? She bristled internally at having such a profound lack of knowledge as of late. Gods, there were days she wished Dumbledore was still among the living. He had answers to everything it seemed. How he did was questionable, his methods even more so, but nevertheless he would have been an absolute godsend. Fucking Snape. She really would kill the bastard if she ever saw him again. It was his fault, all of this. He was the reason she didn't have her old Headmaster here to throw theories off of or have a simple, enjoyable cup of tea with to prevent her from going backarsed crazy.
Deciding enough was enough, she retreated from the cooling water and toweled herself off. Stop the pity party. This isn't you talking, it's the bloody survivor's guilt. Pull yourself together!
She grumbled at her internal little pep talk. As if any of that was worth it anymore. Her eyes slowly found the small knife she always kept on the sink counter. Her fingers gently tracing over the smooth, cold metal. There were days she would grip the knife in shaking hands, her sorrow completely taking over to where she wished she could just end it all. To let go. She had no reason not to. It's not like the bastards out there wouldn't take joy in the fact – eventually finding her decaying corpse. It'd be relatively painless if she had the balls to do it. Other days, however, she felt positively repulsed with herself for even entertaining the idea. What would her friends and family think? Nothing positive she was sure. That knife represented weakness. Her weakness. She could not afford to be weak, especially with how things were today. So, no, she refused the thought of ending her own life. She let the blade remain there to remind her that if she was going to die, she was going to bloody well die taking as many Death Eater scum with her as possible.
No, she would not, could not, give up.
Hermione Granger would have her retribution.