Although she thought shewas prepared, it had still hurt when she'd looked deep into those eyes and seen nothing but dark and sadistic evil in them. Part of her, the hopeful, unrealistic, unlogical part, wanted to reach out and shake him, shake all the Voldemort away so all that would be left was Tom, the vulnerable, humane Tom with his smouldering eyes that used to look at her and only her so that she felt like she was the only girl in the world and the quirky half smile that used to send shivers down her spine and whisper dangerous but thrilling things in her ear.

That wasn't who Voldemort was though. Not now. Voldemort had been through years and years of development to become what was before her. He'd forgotten all about the young witch who had tried to change his destiny – and who had almost succeeded. Voldemort knew nothing of the girl who'd made him want to change once upon a time, who'd made him want to become someone decent, someone good. He knew nothing of the one and only girl he'd loved.

Those eyes were so different to the ones she'd once been fascinated by. Those dark and smothering eyes that used to look at her with so much passion and emotion and humanity…Voldemort eyes were red and glistening and sardonic and cruel…

There was no sign of Tom there anywhere. She wanted to reach out and strip away all the Voldemort, she wanted to find Tom inside of him…but she knew that Voldemort was empty inside and that such a movement would mean an immediate and inevitable death.

Even with Draco fighting beside her, part of her just wanted to see Tom again…

When Harry finally delivered the last blow and Voldemort's pathetic remains lay in front of her, all Hermione could do was stare down at them with a strange fluttering inside of her. Voldemort was still breathing but that would stop soon. The war around them came to a halt and everybody watched Voldemort's final moments of life with a kind of still fascination.

When those red eyes moved to see the children that had brought upon his downfall, they seemed to rest on Hermione. The redness in them seemed to be dimming with death and for just one moment Hermione thought she saw her Tom…his hand reached across to take her own then but in that moment death overtook him before he actually got to touch her.

Joy seemed to burst over the spectators then. Harry was lifted up on to the crowd's shoulders, all proclaiming him as their saviour as, deep down inside, they'd always known they would. Ron caught her and picked her up in a frenzied jubilation, but all Hermione could do was force a stiff laugh.

Draco was the one that helped her escape from the celebrations. "Are you okay?" he asked her quietly, his eyes searching her, trying his very best to understand.

"Yes," she replied. "Yes, of course. I'm just very tired."

She forced a smile.

It was only when Hermione was at home that night in her own bedroom and with her own privacy that she finally wept for the loss that had occurred. Because even though the world was a much brighter and better place without Voldemort in it, she sincerely felt that it was a lot emptier and duller without Tom Marvolo Riddle.

The End