Hermione flinched as another crash sounded from below. Her mother and father were quarreling once again. There was a splintering noise as some glass trinket was no doubt smashed into infinitely small shards. Ignoring the chaos surrounding her, she turned the pages in her potions book. The smell of herbs and roots, absorbed in the pages of the text from the many hours it had lain near her simmering cauldron, wafted into the air. It was a gentle, reassuring reminder that summer was almost over. The thought of returning to the safe haven and solace of Hogwarts consoled her.
"Why don't you just leave, then?" a voice yelled from below.
Pushing the screams and shouts from downstairs out of her mind, she reached for her quill. Dipping it in her ink bottle, she poised her hand over the blank sheaf of parchment, ready to begin her essay on the magical properties of wolfsbane. However, it was no use. Her delicate hand was shaking, splattering ink across the page. Frustrated, she put aside her schoolwork and moved to her dresser, ready to change into her nightclothes.
As she stripped off her sweater, she caught sight of the raw purple bruise on her upper arm. It stood out on the flesh of her slender arm, the violet and scarlet hues contrasting sharply with the faded yellow and greenish abrasions. Gently touching her hand to the painful wound, she winced slightly. Shaking her head, she pulled her nightshirt on.
Lying in the darkness of her bedroom, sweating from the late summer heat, she listened to the continuous cycle of screams, cries, and crashes from below. A door slammed shut roughly, no doubt as one or both of her parents stormed out of the house, destined to stumble in at the first rays of dawn, drunk as a skunk and incoherent.
It hadn't always been like this. The Grangers had once been the very epitome of the perfect family. Her parents' dental practice had been thriving then. They would have dinner together every night, Hermione rambling on about her day at school, her parents humoring her as she babbled on about recess and the other highlights of her day at grammar school.
Then everything had changed. Hermione had gone off to Hogwarts, and the strain on the family's relationship had been blatantly obvious. When she came home on breaks her parents would be uncomfortable as she chatted nonchalantly about such things as Transfiguration, werewolves, and the latest accidents in Potions.
And then there was the miscarriage. Last year her mother had found out she was pregnant, but after only two months she miscarried the baby. She had spiraled into a dark depression, which her husband failed to grasp. He reasoned that there would be other babies, other chances to conceive. Of course this infuriated her mother, which in turn enraged her father, who felt as if he had done no wrong. Hermione couldn't believe he could be so uncompassionate. After all, the baby had been his child as well.
Both parents tended to turn their wrath on Hermione. Her mother made her feel so inadequate and like such a failure. Everything she did was always so wrong. Why couldn't she be like Kathy's daughter, the captain of her school's cheerleading team? Couldn't she do something about her hair? How could she get an A- in Arithmancy? It was just magical nonsense, afterall.
Even worse than the ridicule was the abuse. It had begun last Christmas break, when she had failed to clean the house to her mother's standards. It didn't matter that she was run down because of midterms or that she had the beginning symptoms of the flu, only that she hadn't finished scrubbing the floor. Her mother had dealt her a punch that sent her flying across the room.
After that, the beatings became almost daily occurrences over such trivial things as forgetting to feed the cat or failing to turn off the television. Hermione was having the summer from hell. She would rather be anywhere else in the world then at home – even the Dursleys were starting to sound like a comfy alternative.
Naturally, Hermione was overjoyed when September 1 finally arrived. Her mother dropped her off in the parking lot, hung over and in a crabby mood. However, nothing could dampen her spirits today! She was going back to school! Finally she could relax and concentrate on her schoolwork.
She boarded the Hogwarts' Express, her bruises concealed with makeup, a gash on her wrist covered with a Band-Aid. She carefully lowered herself into a seat next to Ron, grimacing slightly.
"What's the matter, 'Mione?" he asked. "You look different."
"I've been trying out some new makeup," she said. Technically it was the truth. She just omitted the reason as to why she had suddenly decided to wear makeup.
Ron accepted her explanation quickly, as she knew he would, and soon he engrossed in a conversation about quidditch with Harry. She sighed in relief. If Ron and Harry hadn't noticed anything, she was confident that no one else would. Truthfully, she doubted anyone else payed much attention to her. However, for once Hermione Granger was wrong.
Professor Snape surveyed the young girl in front of him. It was the first class of the term, and Miss Granger had appeared slathered in makeup. This was odd, as Miss Granger was the studious type who usually never wore makeup, preferring to concentrate on other matters such as learning. He chided himself for wondering so, and reassured himself that she probably just wanted to look nice for the first day of school. But still, that didn't explain the bruise on her wrist that he glimpsed as she reached for the mandrake root, or the curious limp in her gait as she moved to rinse out her cauldron. However, he shrugged off his doubts. As pained as he was to admit it, Hermione was the brightest student he had ever taught. She was a brilliant girl, and if she was in a bad situation, he was certain she would seek help. Yes, she had most likely just taken a tumble down the stairs or something. That would be it. And so he dismissed the class from their first lesson of the year, but his gaze lingered after Hermione as she limped off down the hall.
By the end of the term, Snape had almost forgotten about the incident on the first day of school. But, as the "Golden Trio" made their way down to the horseless carriages waiting outside the school, the memory came flooding back. Once again, he told himself he was being paranoid, and he let Hermione be as she climbed into a carriage alongside Harry and Ron.
Hermione felt nauseous as she climbed into her mother's beat up old car. She gazed out the window, watching Harry and Ron become specks in the distance as the car zoomed away. The stale smell of the vehicle assaulted her nostrils as she took several calming breaths, watching her friends disappear from view. Little did they know that this was the last time they would ever see her alive.
That night was terrible. Both her mother and her father got horribly drunk and inevitably began to fight. Curse words ran rampant, and many a glass or book was slammed into a wall. As usual, Hermione retreated to her room, and a feeling of relief washed over her when she heard the front door slam shut. However, things did not go as they normally did.
She heard heavy footsteps pounding up the stairs, and her mother threw open the door to her room.
"You!" her mother screamed.
"What?" Hermione asked in confusion.
It was then that she noticed the maniacal glint in the elder woman's eyes.
"This is all your fault! Ever since you went to the freak school my life has been hell!" she screamed.
"Mum!" Hermione gasped, as her mother grabbed her about the neck. "Please!"
She was thrown against the wall, her tiny body falling to the floor with a sickening thud. Her small frame was no match for the assault of kicks and punches. Her mother pulled her to her feet by her hair, throwing her across the room. Hermione's head slammed into the wall, the world going black around her.
That was how the police found her the next morning, in the empty house, lying in a pool of blood in her bedroom. The neighbors had summoned the authorities only too late, and Hermione Granger had become just another victim of abuse.
Several days later, Severus Snape stood alone in the cemetery, gazing at the small concrete angel that served as the marker for the girl's grave. A hot tear glided down his pale face. The usually stoic man's eyes were red from crying, his voice shaky and depressed.
"Why didn't I ask her?" he whispered. "Why did I assume she was alright?"
The question went unanswered and he leaned down, placing a bundle of red roses next to the angel.
"I'm so sorry Hermione. I'm so sorry," he repeated.
With one last sorrowful glance at the granite angel, he apparated away, sobbing.
Author's Note: I decided to rewrite this piece because the old version stuck too strictly to the song, and was more about the song than an actual story. Also, I hope this clears up some of the confusion that went with the old version. I got a couple reviews asking if her parents were abusing her, which was not good as that's sort of a major plot point. I also got a review on another site begging for me to update soon, so I wanted to make clear this was a one-shot. Please drop me a review!
P.S. Much thanks to Kagomebaka91, who left me a review yesterday, which in turn reminded me to post this updated version.