Five years, it had been five years since the battle of Hogwarts. Five years for the students who suffered that day to move on with their lives. To love, to laugh, to marry. Five years since that fateful day that left the brightest witch of their age confined to a bed at St. Mungo's spell damage ward.
It had been 6 months since Hermione had managed a visitor. Even her closest friends had found it too painful to see her wasted frame any longer. Their eyes that had shone with so much hope with every visit had finally been extinguished to a dull pain. A sense of helplessness had descended upon their shoulders. The healers too, it would seem, had developed the same sense of foreboding. Today, however, was a special day. It was a day that always guaranteed a visitor. The soft click of hard heels on the cold stone of the hospital floor caused the attending healer to look up from his charts. He gave the tall figure a soft smile and slowly stood.
"Nothing positive Professor." The healer slightly inclined their head in respect.
The professor slowly exhaled through their nose, "Any new information about her condition?" They spoke as they followed the healer down the dimly lit corridor. It was nearly 1 hour past visiting hours. The floor was eerily silent due to the many charms keeping the tortured cries and imbecilic ramblings confined to the rooms.
"We have actually tried something new that was just recently invented by a past student of yours." The healer said with a sad smile, "Though the results were..." The healer turned his eyes to the cold door handle in his grasp. "Painful." He said simply before opening the door.
"Which student was this?" Came the curious reply.
"Mr. Malfoy." The healer said with his own surprise.
The room was crisp and clean like everything else in the hospital. A small dresser on the far wall held years old get well cards and decaying treats from unwitting do good wishers. An old chair sat adjacent to the bed looking just as unused as the rest. Center of the room sat a white four poster bed that held a frame that could barely be identified any longer.
Time had taken its toll on the occupant. Hermione's long beautiful hair was a deep ashen brown tied tightly in a braid that had grown so long that it actually fell slightly over the side of the bed. Her face held a permanent look of concentration, even in sleep it would appear as if she was concentrating on a complex problem. The lines having had grown gaunt as she lost more and more weight. Her arms rested down at her sides over the cover, her fingers long and almost skeletal; they would twitch from time to time as if turning the pages of a book. Her chest rose and fell slowly. Though one would be hard-pressed to call her a woman, even at her age, the curse's effects having decayed all but the most vital of bodily forms. The periwinkle blue hospital gown looked well oversized against the sheets.
"She's wasting away." There was a sternness and sharp accusation in her tone.
The healer sadly bowed their head, "It's progressed rather quickly these past few months Professor McGonagall. We've tried everything we could think of." He pleaded almost desperately. "There have been other minor things as well." He said rubbing the side of his face, scratching the stubble that had slowly grown during his shift. He bit the corner of his lip a bit before moving to an ornate box on the side table. It was nestled carefully between numerous potions all designed to keep one healthy and nourished. "Every time we've tried to administer her potions we've been unable to relax her body long enough for her to drink." He said softly as he opened the box. Professor McGonagall slowly moved to the head of the bed, watching the girls eyes move under her closed eyelids. "It was a challenge before yes, but there were always lapses of time where it would seem her body would relax...like whatever she was experiencing ended. " He explained softly as he pulled a rather unusual device from the box, "We didn't want to try with without your permission. Given who the creator was...Though we did do a small test...on another..." He turned and showed the professor the unusual device.
It had a slim brass band, with two jewels wrapped around at the ends. Almost like a sideways crown. The stones were a clear white that seemed to shift in the light. "Mr. Malfoy had designed it for his mother who you know has fallen gravely ill." His voice grew softer as he brought it closer for McGonagall's personal inspection, "It's designed to see inside the mind of someone who is unable to speak." He rested the thin brass into the professor's hands. "However, they've been conscious and aware of the connection." He watched with pensive eyes as McGonagall ran her wand gingerly over the brass.
"What were the initial results?" McGonagall handed back the device. The healer couldn't help but take a small breath with pursed lips.
"We now understand...why her eyes are moving...and why she sometimes has seizures..." He chewed his bottom lip just a bit before slowly moving towards Hermione. "I think it's best to see for yourself..." He slowly and gingerly placed the brass band on her forehead, making sure to rest the two stones over her temples.
The stones flared to life instantly, a bright white light shining, "The stones change colors..." He explained softly, "They were supposed to change rather..." He glanced at McGonagall, "We've only seen white." He whispered with the saddest expression before turning and taping one stone with the tip of his wand.
A small light came from the stone like a pulled memory for a pensive, however, instead of dropping the memory into the pensive he pulled it over the band. It exploded silently into a cloud with a chaotic image in the center. The sound that assaulted the room next was deafening by contrast and McGonagall couldn't suppress a wince as she watched the image start to take shape.
"It's the battle..." She said with astonishment.
Explosions and screams perforated the room as the scene shift and molded, however, unlike a pensive memory where one could stand outside of the holder, this one seemed to be in the perspective of its holder. McGonagall was fascinated as she watched what her pupil had experienced that day. The healer looked more and more uncomfortable as he watched, as he was just a little too old to have been there himself, he had seen plenty of the fallen and wounded.
"Does this ever change?" McGonagall asked softly.
"Never...she's constantly reliving that memory...only that day...from the beginning...to its end..."
"What happens when it ends?" McGonagall whispered, her eyes never leaving the memory.
"She screams and seizes...There is a sort of period of blackness...we believe that's when she is fully unconscious...however, I've also taken note of how long these periods of blackness last." He stepped back a little as he went to retrieve his notes from the chart near the end of the bed, "They've grown longer and longer over the past few weeks." He turned to the page with his findings handing over the notes, "We healers believe that her body is finally shutting down." He said with almost a tear in his voice, "That it simply can't handle anymore..."
"We must consult an expert." She said tersely. The healer swallowed softly and retrieved his notes,
"With all due respect Professor...the only expert in this field...died on the battlefield."
McGonagall didn't even reply as she turned on her heal. A sly Slytherin worthy smirk upon her features.
The healer watched her depart with both confusion and sadness. Hermione shifted in the bed, her body arching from the frame as she let out a horse pain-filled scream.