Hermione in the black night.
Hermione clutching the fabric to her chest, the ellusive locket underneath.

The windows are fading. All color is fading.
The trees have become fences, the ground below darting and tumbling before her like a blanket. And above, the stars.
She had once sat beneath them, wondering.

He loves me, he loves me not.

And in the same vein,
he loves me always.

Never the same voice, never the same mutterings.
Hermione in the black night,
calculating & undefined against all of that badness. Everywhere, the echo of what she has done.
The noise of crickets. The noise of cars.
And Ron's breathing, rasping & heavy, under the streetlamps.

"You know I would've -- I could've done anything for you --"

Clutching the fabric to her chest, the wand twirling between her fingers -- a fabulous trick,
a wonder. The things a mudblood can do,
under pressure. All the jigsaw pieces sliding into place. Ron's wide eyes are watching her now,
back and forth, rolling into his skull. From where he lies, all he can see is the glint of her hair. Lumos, small as a firefly. All he can see he wishes he didn't.

Hermione in that ebony space. The terrible world she has created. The faces she is betraying. She spits. She is disdainful, horrified at her own power. She can't help it -- can't take it back.

"And here I am, Ronald, I've done it all."

Knowing:
Harry hadn't fought. He hadn't done a thing.
He'd watched her climb over the steps,
sobbing, and he'd witnessed the blood pouring from her wounds. He'd reached to her. He'd loved her just the same, just the same as always -- he didn't even stop to wonder what he was doing. & he hadn't seen the glinting,
that funny glow in her eye. The smell of milk all about her body, and ivy, and something unfamiliar -- cologne, or pomade, or cigars.
The curve of her mouth. The unhappy spots of color on her cheek.

A murderer.

He hadn't seen the wand hidden in her sleeve, or the green slipping out of it.

"Merlin, how I've adored you. Always."

All Ron can see he wishes he didn't.
Clutching at her, grasping her brown curls.
Screaming into her ears. Spitting.
Clawing her eyes. And a kiss -- for an instant -- a kiss before he drops his wand. Bitter, unsatisfying. Biting her lip. Brusing her shoulder.

And now, lying on his back. Staring forever.

Hermione in the black night.
Hermione, clutching the fabric to her chest, the elusive locket underneath.

Loves me always.