This little ficlet was inspired by a discussion on one of the Good Ship threads at SCUSA, about how there are very few R/Hr angstfics that don't involve Hermione secretly being in love with Harry or some permutation thereof. That was a few months ago, but the idea lodged in my skull, and… well, this was the result.

Disclaimer: They all belong to J.K. Rowling. Not that you'd ever have guessed from the fact that this is archived under the "Harry Potter" section of this site…

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That's not her.

That's not her torso, split down the middle. Those aren't her arms and legs; there're too many pieces, and anyway, the hands and feet should be connected to limbs. That's not her face, frozen in terror. That's not her hair; she hardly ever uses the gunk girls like to put in their hair, and anyway, that doesn't look at all like hair potion, more like bl –

So maybe they'll all stop pretending soon. Maybe Ginny'll stop sobbing and Mum'll stop holding me like she thinks I'm going to burst apart and the twins'll stop looking all sad and serious and wrong and everyone'll stop pretending that it's her lying there, because it isn't. They have to stop pretending, because if they don't Harry won't lose that look he has, like he's the one who's been split open but wouldn't admit it for the world or even the chance to see Malfoy turned into a ferret again.

Even though it's not her, because of course she's still being held somewhere and she's still whole and stubborn and bossy and beautiful and ready to tell us off for keeping her waiting so long. Or maybe she's free already; she's clever like that. Maybe she's back in the common room, reading Hogwarts, A History for the billionth time, and when I walk in I'll kiss her even though she hates being kissed in public, just to annoy her. We'll have a blazing row, and Harry will roll his eyes, and everything will be all right again.

And she won't be like the body over there, won't have anything separated that shouldn't be. Her hair won't be matted like that, and she won't be staring upward like the ceiling is the most terrifying thing she ever saw. Because it's not her.

(no reason for her to still be alive, every reason for her to be – )

Not her.

(missing for so long, everybody already thought she was – )