Author's Notes: Well, to be perfectly honest, I don't even know why I wrote this, I had the first two paragraphs written for some drabble contest on livejournal, and I found it today, and my fingers just stared typing. This is the result. It's rather dark, even for me, so I'm a little apprehensive about posting it. I hope y'all don't hate it! I didn't have a beta for it, so if there are any spelling or grammar errors I apologize. No flames, please, just constructive criticism. Thank you!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize. Harry Potter and the other characters belong to J.K. Rowling, for she is a genius, and a rich one to boot.
Hermione stared at her reflection in the stained mirror with disgust. Mud splattered her face and the only clean spot on her entire body were the tear tracks lining her cheeks like the rain lined her fogging window. Leaves stuck in her knotted and twisted hair. She was disgustingly dirty, she needed a bath, but it wouldn't help, and she knew it. She could scrub as hard as she wanted, but it wouldn't go away, it would never go away. Stepping into the bath she stripped her grass, blood and mud stained clothes calmly. The scalding hot water pelted into her skin, but the blood wouldn't wash away.
The water turned pink, then clear once more but she could still see it staining her skin, it grew until it covered her whole body, chocking her with fear, making her suffocate. She would never escape that sight, not even in her sleep. She could already see herself waking in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweat and hot tears. She would never rest again, not now that she was alone, without friends or family, though they all remained alive. Once they found his body, as she did, his feet swinging slowly in the air, the gruesome symbol carved into his once pristine chest, thick crimson liquid dripping on the floor, they would leave her. They would turn a deaf ear to her pleas of innocence, their backs would face her coldly, and she would never feel happiness again.
She would be alone forever.
Hermione found herself in front of the mirror again, her pale and wet skin reflecting in the fading sunlight, and was surprised to see clothes hanging limply off her body. When had she dressed? Her mind wandered so deeply into the dark recesses of her mind that she didn't realize her body moving on its own. She couldn't stay here, she had to leave, but she couldn't stop looking at herself, what she had become: a murderer. Or had she? She couldn't remember anymore, lies and reality merged into one in a muddled vortex of half-truths and foreign memories. It was her reflection that was confusing her, sending her thoughts awry, scattering them like dead leaves in the cold autumn wind. She must not look in the mirror, but her eyes would not turn away.
The pain of the shattering glass registered in her body long after the noise of it breaking had vanished into an entombed silence. She stared at her bloodied and damaged hand with detachment, her broken mirror not connecting in her mind with her injuries. Now her image could not tease her anymore, now she could think clearly.
The dark wood door behind her opened slowly, a whisper of heavy cloth followed, the only sound from the entering person. Hermione didn't register another presence in her darkened room, her eyes stared unfocused at her bleeding hand. She turned when she felt a warm hand touched her shoulder, and her eyes instantly welled with tears when she recognized the face staring gently down at her.
He was alive.
Her arms flew around his neck, soft and white, contrasting with his black hair and robes. A joyful sob escaped her throat, scratching and clawing its way out, her throat burning with it. He held her tightly and she never wanted him to let go, but too soon his hold slackened and he held her at arms length.
"What happened?" He whispered, his eyes widening at her bloody hand. "You're hurt."
"You're dead," she answered, her eyes not leaving his face. This wasn't real, was it? It was a trick. Someone had sent him to trick her. She backed away from him quickly, knocking over the chair she stood from, mangled cries erupting from her raw throat. "You're dead!" The phrase tumbled from her lips over and over, a mantra against, or following, she wasn't sure, the madness that overtook her body. Her eyes squeezed shut, willing the apparition away; refusing to open them until the door flew open, crashing against the stone wall behind it.
Harry Potter stood in the small frame of her doorway, surrounded by black-clad Aurors, deep cowls hiding their faces. His lips, set in a firm line, barely allowed the words to escape him, the edges of the statement clipped and harsh, cutting her skin as deeply as though he pierced her with a dagger.
"Hermione Granger, you are under arrest for the murder of Severus Snape. You are to be jailed in Azkaban until the day of your trial at the Ministry of Magic." No sadness reflected in his emerald eyes, only disappointment and disbelief.
"He's not dead," she answered hollowly, her dead voice making him flinch. "He was here." Harry made a move as though to strike her for such outlandish lies, but she did not move and he merely crouched beside her, the boy she knew in school coming through for a brief moment.
"I saw him, Hermione, I helped take his body down from the rafters. All the evidence points to you: the symbol on his chest, the intricate curse, you're the only one in the entire Wizarding world who could possibly do this. I'm sorry." He stood up again, his face stone once more and his grip iron as he pulled her to her feet.
She looked at him as though she had just noticed his presence, and that she hadn't spoken to him a moment ago. Her eyes grew wild and her lips cracked into an insane smile. The laugh that emitted from her body sent chills down his spine, and echoed in his mind for the rest of his life.
The laughter continued as they drug her down the hall, bringing out curious students, like the Pied Piper calling the children to the caves. It reverberated against the cold stone halls, doubling back on itself, increasing the cold fear it drove into the hearts of those who heard it. It didn't stop until one of the Aurors, unable to stand the sound, struck her on the head, the silence that followed almost worse than the sound before it.
Hermione welcomed the silence, the darkness, the absence of life that encased a sleeping person. She never woke up, though her eyes opened and her body moved. Hermione Granger, though her shell sat at trial and stood against a wall rank with death and tears, was dead before the green light of the death curse crashed into her body. She died when he walked away from her the week before, having seen her insanity hovering at the edges, unable to witness the madness that would soon consume her.