I can't eradicate what awaits when I awake ... I die in my daydreams.

No Poetic Device - AFI


Help me.

Running - she was running blindly through a dark room. Her breathing, panicked and laboured, was harsh and abrasive in her ears. Where was she? Behind her there came an abrupt laugh, high pitched and maniacal, and with a terrified gasp she whirled around. She struggled to find who or what was there, but she could see nothing. Her eyes strained against the blackness, struggling to pierce the veil, fighting to see what it was that lurked around her, stalked her, waited for her ...

The laugh came again, a crazed cadence falling all around her. She turned quickly, desperately, but to no avail. Frantic now, she began running again, fleeing headlong into the beckoning dark, away from whatever it was that haunted her every step -

Suddenly there was light, bright enough that she had to shield her eyes against the onslaught. She slowed then to a trembling halt. She stood in a large, circular room, nondescript but for the myriad of hooded figures that circled her. There were many of them, far too many for her to fight. She was unable to hold back the small sound of terror that escaped her lips as one of the figures drew apart from the rest and ever so slowly stepped nearer, raising in its hand a wand ...

A voice spoke, cold and distant. She had no time to react, couldn't even if she had wanted to.

"Avada -"

Coherent thought abandoned her. There was nothing left to do but scream.


Hermione sat bolt upright in her bed, her entire form shaking. For a moment she stared blindly around, gasping, until she realized that this room softly lit by a small night light was in fact her own, and that she was safe here. Her breath left her in a shuddering sigh, and she buried her face in her hands. It had been four months since she'd gone with her friends into the Ministry of Magic, four months since she'd confronted more dangers than she'd ever dreamed of and survived ...

Why, then, did she go through this every night?

The scream from her nightmare was lingering still, echoing throughout her mind, and tiredly she switched on her bedside lamp. Her hand went automatically to her wand, lying beside the lamp; she made sure it was always in easy reach. Though she was not permitted to use magic outside of school, it made her feel secure to have her wand always close at hand. She let her gaze wander the room, to take in the trunk sitting near the door which held all the possessions she would take with her to Hogwarts. A smile, fleeting, crossed her features then, at the knowledge that tomorrow she would leave for another year at school, and would be united with all her friends. Perhaps then these accursed dreams would cease ... it had been quite some time since last she'd had an uninterrupted sleep.

Something ripped through the late night stillness then, a sound shrill with fear. Hermione was out of bed in an instant, standing tense with her wand in her hand. That was the scream she'd heard in her dream ... but it hadn't come from her!

More screaming, and Hermione felt something icy run through her veins. It was her mother's voice! Without stopping to think she bolted, wrenching her door open with such force that it slammed against the wall. She was pelting down the hall, past the portraits hanging in ordered display upon the walls to the end where her parents' room was. The door was open, and there was light from within. As she rounded the corner she skidded to a stop with a horrified cry. Her father was standing near the window, backed into a corner, surrounded by two shapes that she instantly recognized, and that recognition filled her with cold dread.


Movement from the side whipped her eyes around to the bed, where her mother was huddled against the headboard. Looming over her mother, cloaked all in black, was someone - a woman - speaking in a voice both hard and crazed. Hermione's appearance had not gone unnoticed, and as she turned to face the door Hermione felt her knees go weak. She knew this woman, knew her very well, for her face was one of the many that haunted her dreams.

Bellatrix Lestrange ...

"Expelliarmus." Bellatrix hissed, and Hermione's wand was ripped from her grasp to fall with a clatter several feet away. A grin twisted Bellatrix's haggard face, and she dipped forward in a mocking bow.

"Ickle Mudblood," She crooned, "have you come to watch your parents die?"

"RUN HERMIONE!" Her father roared, almost unseen for the massive shadows which hovered before him . His voice brought Hermione back to her senses, then she was moving, leaping for her wand. She had to save them, get them out of here -


There was no way to avoid the spell - she went down hard, landing on her back with enough force to knock the wind from her. Unable to move, unable to breathe, she watched through watering eyes as the Dementors closed in around her father, watched as he struggled valiantly, yet futilely, against their hold.

"Give him the Kiss!" Bellatrix shrieked, her attention solely on the Dementors. Hermione's mother, temporarily unnoticed, was reaching carefully, silently, for the drawer in the bedside night table.

"NO!" Hermione screamed, struggling to force her body into to action, to move - yet as she watched, helpless, one of the Dementors lowered its head. Her father gave a strangled cry; she could see then the silver orb of his essence, of his soul, leave his body to be absorbed immediately by the Dementor. As quickly as it had begun it was over, and her father was released, falling to the floor, so limp -

She could move again; sitting up swiftly she extended her hand. "Accio wand!" When it was again in her grasp she scrambled to her feet, almost unable to see for the tears which were streaming unheeded down her face. There was something building within her, filling her with violent, malevolent urges.

Bellatrix, laughing now, turned her attention back to Hermione. The Dementors had focused on her as well, and were gliding closer in eerie silence. Grief stricken, hatred like she had never known coursing through her veins, she took aim and shouted, "EXPECTO PATRONUM!"

It was instantaneous. From her wand poured forth her Patronus, a silver otter which charged the Dementors down. Perhaps because it was driven by her anguish and rage so pure, the Patronus struck the Dementors with enough force that they were blown apart. As they dissipated like black fog upon the wind, Bellatrix voiced her displeasure with an angry shriek.

"You dare to think you can stand against me?" She snarled, raising her wand. Hermione backpedalled, mind racing. She knew what was coming ...

"Avada Kedav -"

A shot rang out suddenly, echoing throughout the small confines of the bedroom. Bellatrix never finished the incantation; her face contorted into an expression of horrified disbelief she looked down her body. A dark stain was visible even on the black of her robes, spreading quickly from a hole in her side. With a breathless cry she staggered several steps before crumpling to the floor.

For a moment, there only sound was that of breathing: the hyperventilated gasps of Hermione's mother, the rattling coughs of Bellatrix, and the quick, shaking breaths of Hermione herself. Numbly, she raised her eyes to see her mother kneeling on the bed, a pistol gripped tightly in hands that violently shook. Her mother dropped the gun as if burned, and her gaze moved to the body which lay in the shadowed corner, as if forgotten. Hermione's eyes followed her mother's; she began to crawl, slowly, until she was kneeling beside her father. On his face was an expression of such terror, such pain; Hermione felt suddenly as if she would never breathe again, so powerful was her grief. There was sudden movement beside her, and her mother was there, raining kisses upon her husband's cooling brow, weeping uncontrollably. Hermione watched the scene before her as if she were detached from this place, far away from the sorrow and the rage that had gathered here.

Very suddenly, she realized her mistake, and in a blur of movement she was on her feet and turned around. Bellatrix was standing, laughing even though she clutched the wound in her side with her free hand; blood was clearly visible welling over her fingers and falling to make a garish pool on the floor. Her laughter ceased. "Pathetic little muggles," she sang out, her voice strained and cruel. She smiled then, a terrible gash of teeth against the gaunt paleness of her face, and began to raise her wand ...

Hermione lunged at her, intent on taking her down and ripping her wand away. As quick as she was, Bellatrix was faster; she made a sharp movement with her wand. Hermione changed direction mid step and hurtled instead towards her mother, to push her out of the way -

"Avada Kedavra."

The spell hit Hermione's mother a mere instant before she did. Even as she fell heavily to the floor bearing the weight of her mother, she knew the truth. Still she tried to deny it, frantically freeing herself to see that her mother wasn't dead, that she would still walk and talk. What she found, however, were wide eyes, staring and vacant, which wouldn't focus no matter how hard she shook. She was crying in eerie silence, unwilling to acknowledge what was so very blatant before her.

"Don't cry, Mudblood," Bellatrix said behind her in a voice full of mirth. "You'll be joining them soon enough."

Hermione didn't respond, didn't move. What now was the point? She'd lost it all ...


Rending, searing pain. Hermione fell away from her mother as the curse caused her spine to bow in torment, and her hands clawed frantically at the carpet around her. The last thing she saw before darkness consumed her was her own image, reflected in her mother's lifeless eyes.



They were tugging at her, trying to pull her from this oblivion that was so thankfully devoid of terrible things, saddening things, all the things she'd been so recently faced with. She tried to ignore them, tried to will them to go away, but they were incessant, obstinate. She wanted to drift forever, forget everything, and be alone in her torment. It wasn't to be, however, and the voices roused her to consciousness with a soft gasp.

"Hermione? Hermione!"

That voice - she knew that voice. Her eyes fluttered weakly open to focus on the countenance looming before her; a face young yet lined beyond it's years framed by longish, graying hair. For a moment she panicked - Who was this man? - before she remembered his name. "Lupin," she whispered.

Lupin sighed in relief. "You're okay, Hermione," he said gently. She didn't reply; she'd turned her head, and found herself face to face with her mother's corpse. Everything came rushing back to her in a brutal rush, and the impact of her anguish was too much to bear. With a low, ragged scream she folded in on herself, trying to hide from the reality, from the truth which lay before her. As she wept shamelessly, thoughtlessly, she felt comforting hands on her back, on her hair; another voice joined Lupin's in soft murmurs, and she recognized the tone of Nymphadora Tonks.

Long minutes passed before Hermione quieted, but she did not move from where she lay. She'd closed her eyes tightly so she wouldn't have to see the bodies, wouldn't have to face it all, not yet. Above her, Tonks and Lupin were speaking in low voices, quickly, and Hermione was able to discern why they were here. Dumbledore had sent them to watch over her these past few months, had feared such a thing happening ever since the confrontation in the Ministry of Magic ...

"Hermione, we're going to get you out of here." Lupin whispered. She didn't reply, didn't open her eyes. Hands went beneath her, around her, firm and supportive, and she felt herself being lifted. Cradled now against a warm body, she couldn't help the few tears that seeped from beneath her lids. She was beyond caring about such things. Everything she cared about was dead.

"We'll take care of you." This came from Tonks, her voice soothing, somewhere nearby. There was a muttered incantation, and seconds before she drifted away she knew they'd enchanted her to sleep.