an - Angsty, much? haha, yeah, I know. But this is how the ending of DH makes me feel - like everything been so left behind, and so wrong, and so sad. And empty. ( Anyone else know the feeling?) But yeah, I'm rather fond of this piece... Your thoughts? Click the purple button and earn a complimentary Hermione.

And a ridiculously huge thanks to CubanSombreroGal, without whom this fic would be ridiculously non-existant. )

Sometimes, usually when Ron, Hugo and Rose had finally all succumbed to sleep or she was alone in the house for one reason or another, she couldn't stop the darkness from overcoming her. And at these times, all the color would drain from her face, making the usual blotches of rouge on her cheeks stand out and her eyes go a melancholy shade of grey.

Usually, when it happened, she would roll over onto her back and stare up at the bedroom ceiling, focusing on Ron's breathing and his arm that was always wrapped protectively around her waist, or she would walk with careful, precise steps to the kitchen window, lean over the sink, stare at the willow that bent over their front step and wait for the feeling to pass.

In that stretch of time while she waited for this horrid, dismal feeling to finally abandon her and go prey on some other poor, unsuspecting soul, however, her thoughts ran unabashed through her head, thoughts that she usually managed to keep quiet and in the back of her mind, since she could never quite manage to banish them.

Most of the time, when she settled into this grey world that she never quite mentioned aloud, she lost track of time. And when she finally blinked and her vision finally cleared, she had no idea what time it was. Occasionally, she would be disrupted in the middle of one of these spells - Ron apparating home early or poor, old Hermes finally back with a letter from Percy - and inevitably the rest of the day would be spent in a sort of half-conscious haze, famously close to tears.

Eventually, the feeling would fade and she could go back to the illusion of normalcy that her entire generation - but those close to Harry in particular - existed in, their poor children so clueless and happy and content and unburdened.

And she hated herself for thinking these things. It felt fake and guilty (and if she was to be honest with herself, everything about her existence anymore was fake, except for her love for her husband, her kids, and her friends, maybe), especially with Fred and Lupin and Tonks dead - she felt horrible for feeling sad about these things, when they were dead and so many others with them, and poor little Teddy orphaned just like most of his generation.

But when it came, it came, and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it; moral objections or not.

She found slight comfort in occasionally walking in on Harry, Ginny, Ron - sometimes even Neville or Luna, or really anyone who had been alive back then - with the same glassy look she was sure she got when it happened to her, the same introspective, pained, depressed look. And she knew they were thinking the same things, and they were suffering through the same thing she was, and that made her feel the slightest bit better.

Of course, she couldn't actually address them about it - that would be, at the very least, unthinkable.

Because then the illusion would break, and that fake smile would slip from Ron's face, and even though she liked the sadness on his face so much better then the fakeness, he had always thought otherwise, and she would do everything not to change this one silly thing for him, because so much had already been changed or ruined for him.

Because then Harry's brow would furrow and he would frown and turn away and settle deep back into thoughts of Sirius and Dumbledore and his parents and days long gone, never to return, and she feared he would never come out of it again.

Because then Ginny would burst into tears, clutching her huge belly with little Lily nestled deep inside, praying to all the Gods she could think of that at least she could be happier then her mama and her daddy and her brothers and all the family friends.

And Luna's pale eyebrow would arch so high it got lost in her crazy mass of white-blonde hair, and her lower, pale, pink lip would tremble as her grey eyes betrayed none of the emotion she was fighting back. She would open her mouth once, twice attempting to say something encouraging and uplifting, but finally, when she realized she couldn't manage that, she would wrap her arms around herself as though she felt a sudden chill and drop her head, defeated.

And then Neville - he was perhaps the worst. He would bite his lip and his brows would fold in on one another, but he'd smile through it all, even as tears pooled in his eyes. And he would be the only one who would speak, and his voice would waver, even as he looked slightly hopeful. "Well; at least the war is over, right? It's all over, now."

And this was why she knew she could never speak of the darkness that was slowly, steadily eating them from the inside out - why none of them would ever speak of it, why everything was so fake.

And Hermione would cry, then, because she knew the war was so far from over. Voldemort was dead, his followers disbanded, but the mark he'd left on the wizarding world could never be removed, and she knew the darkness would never leave.