Warnings: Violence, explicit language, death and content of a sexual nature.
Thank you to my beta ShepardMasterMind.
The battle of Hogwarts had been a bloody one. There had been many lost from both sides. It was a tragic waste of life and magic. The only thing that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to sweeten the bitter taste of death was the fact that the light side had prevailed. But they were stupid to think that the death of one person could bring down a whole army of death eaters, a government of corrupted politicians, and the pureblood mania that had swept across the globe.
'Of course the Death of Voldemort wasn't going to change much.' Hermione thought to herself as she stared blankly at the photo of her parents in her lap. Not really looking at it. The two figures in the photo turned blurry as Hermione's mind trailed off into deep thought as it often did. 'How could we be so stupid?' she cursed herself. 'Of course Voldemort had a plan in case he had been killed. He was the greatest dark wizard of all time.'
After the battle of Hogwarts had drawn to its bloody close, Voldemort had died and had turned to ashes. The death eaters fled as they had been instructed. The light side celebrated and then turned their attention to the cost of their victory. The aftermath was no better than the battle. The bodies of loved ones had been found around every corner. The piercing cries of mothers as they clutched their children in their arms. Mournful sobs from hearts being ripped in two. Sometimes silence. The silence was the worst.
After a few days of healing and repairing the damage the war had created they started getting word that muggle-born witches and wizards were still being interrogated by the Ministry of Magic. Wands were being confiscated from those deemed 'unworthy' to practice magic and those who refused were being beaten and sent to Azkaban. The Ministry still being corrupt was the first thing they learned. Then news started to filter through that Voldemort had a replacement. There was a new dark wizard at large but nobody even knew who it was. Next a new headmistress had been instated at Hogwarts by the Minister of Magic. The new headmistress was none other than Narcissa Malfoy. Professor McGonagall, of course, had objected. She went missing two days after that.
Then the attacks started. Ron and his family had been attacked at the burrow again. Ginny had been badly hexed and Molly had been splinched in her frantic efforts to escape with her family. 'At least they escaped and no-one died.' Hermione thought still staring at the blurs that were her obliviated parents. Then Harry had been ambushed while visiting Teddy at Andromeda's house. He managed to escape through the floo network after realising he was strongly outnumbered. She thought that Harry was set up, with Andromeda being Narcissa Malfoys sister. Harry said that she wouldn't have betrayed him. She was a firm believer of his cause. Then Hermione's parents old house had been set on fire as she attempted to gather some of her old things.
Hermione sat on the edge of what was now her bed in the small hut that herself, Harry and Ron were now living in. Well, hiding would be a more appropriate word. They had no idea what had hit them. They were unprepared for what would happen after the battle. To them it was either victory or death. They didn't think that the war would rage on. All they managed to do was create a small hiccup in the Dark Lord's grand regime. Yes, Voldemort was dead but his following was very much alive. The ideas he set in people's minds still being put into action. The purebloods reigned supreme. Lord Voldemort was clever. He had a backup plan. He had someone lined up to take his place. It was kept a complete secret, not even The Orders closest spies had knowledge of it happening. 'Evil genius' Hermione thought but then corrected herself. It was not genius. It was the obvious thing to do and everyone had missed it. It even got passed her brilliant mind. Something so simple. She blamed herself for them being stuck in hiding. She should have seen it coming.
She was now determined to find out who this new Dark Lord was. It was the only thing keeping her sane in this dingy little shack. If anyone was going to figure it out it would be her.
She brought her focus back to the photo sitting loosely in her grip. She missed her parents to no end. They didn't even know she existed. The figures in the photo blurred again this time because of the tears building up in Hermione's eyes. They actually hurt. She lifted her head up to stop them escaping from her eyes. She would not allow herself to be weak. Not now. One final thought of her mother and father standing in front of her, her mother's arms wide open tipped her over the edge. How she longed for them to just take her in their arms and make all of her troubles melt away. She felt one tear fall from her eye, staining the edge of the wooden photo frame, then the next a second later, sliding down her face, under her chin and onto her neck, the warmth of it actually comforting her slightly. She would do it for them. Only if the light side won this twisted war would she be able to see them again and maybe work towards reversing the damage she had inflicted on their minds. The longer she took though, the harder that would be. Discovering the new Dark Lord's identity was the first step.
"Hey Hermione I've had a thought!" Harry exclaimed loudly as he burst through Hermione's door and into her small, almost bare room.
They didn't have much these days. Less than they had the last time they were in hiding. Hermione's room was much cosier than Harry's although still dark, cold and dingy. She had managed to save a lot of her old photos before her house eventually burnt down. Someone had cast a very powerful fiendfyre and before long the whole house was engulfed in flames. The three of them were lucky to get out alive. Harry was impressed that Hermione had manged to save so much stuff from the inferno.
She had photos of her family all along her damp windowsill, all of them in sturdy but plain wooden frames. Mold forming on one or two from the condensation that was constantly making the windows of her room wet and foggy. She had a patchwork blanket on the end of her bed which Harry thought was homemade. It was torn in places but most of the detail was still immaculate. She had Floppity the bunny rabbit leaning up against her pillow looking as cheerful as ever. Despite the fact that one of his ears was hanging off, Hermione loved him dearly. Harry knew why. Floppity had been a gift from Hermione's father for her 8th birthday, one of the best days of Hermione's life. Harry had heard the story many times. Then there were three small boxes with 'Hermione' written on them in scruffy handwriting. They didn't look like they had been touched since the fire. A fine layer of ash still coated them.
Hermione looked up and glared at Harry. "Haven't you ever heard of knocking?" she spat.
"You're crying." Harry said as he stood in front of her. He reached out his hand to wipe a tear from her cheek but she quickly batted his hand away and looked at the floor. "What's got you down Mione?" he said as be plonked himself lazily on the bed next to her.
She shook her head and sighed. "I just miss my parents, that's all"
Harry put his arm around her and gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I know it doesn't stop you missing them, but you definitely did the right thing. You know that right? They're safe and that's the important thing." He said as he tucked one of the curls hanging in front of her face behind her ear.
She nodded and more tears fell from her eyes.
Harry had never really seen Hermione upset like this. He desperately wanted to make her happy again. He always admired her for being so strong.
Even though Harry loved his own parents he was kind of grateful not to have known them before they died. It would have been much harder to lose them if he had.
Hermione had grown up with hers and she was the one who had to make the decision to wipe their memories to keep them safe. Harry couldn't imagine how hard that would have been for her. He knew that the summer after Dumbledore's death, the summer Hermione had obviated her parents had been the hardest time of her life. He didn't expect her to cope but she did, magnificently. Now, she was crumpled in his arms, crying like he had never seen before.
He turned around and grabbed Floppity. "You've still got me Mione." Harry said in a quiet, high pitched voice as he shook the bunny in front of Hermione. "You will always have me, and Harry, and Ron, and we will never leave your side" Harry looked at Hermione who was now staring him right in the face. Her one eyebrow slightly lifted. Even though her face was tear stained she had managed a half smile.
"Where are your manners Hermione? Don't just ignore the poor rabbit." He nodded towards Floppity.
She inhaled deeply. "I really appreciate that Floppity." She said as though she was talking to a child.
Harry wiggled the bunny as he spoke in his high pitch still pretending that Floppity was the one talking. "Is there anything any of us can do for you?"
Hermione spoke in a soft but now serious tone. "When we find and kill the foul cockroach who has replaced Voldemort, will you help me find my parents?"
"Of course we will Hermione. I promise." Harry said as he pulled her into a hug. "Speaking of which." He said as he pulled out of the hug, placed his hands on Hermione's shoulders and looked her deep in the eyes. "I think I know who it could be."