She slammed the door of her apartment and threw her auror badge across the room. It hit the wall and landed on the floor with a clang. She leaned against the door, and slid down to the ground, trying to stop herself from shaking. The stress of her job was getting to a point that she couldn't handle anymore. She was tired of having to prove herself each and every day. But then again, hadn't she been doing that for the last ten years? Hadn't she been doing that since she first set foot in Hogwarts?

She had proved them wrong though. She had graduated first in her class with the highest N.E.W.T. scores ever. She had become an auror despite comments about how all her book knowledge didn't actually mean that she knew how to fight. They said she had no street smarts, no coordination. They said she could never keep up with her male counterparts. They said she wouldn't last a week. Well, she had lasted a week, she had lasted three whole years in fact. And she was good. She was damn good at her job. But no matter how well she did, she never felt like they quite accepted her.

She felt like she had to be perfect, ever single day. There was no room for error. Because she was perfect, the others loved to see her fail. She had advanced faster than others who had started with her and they were jealous of her. She dealt with their comments daily. It was much like school where she was tormented for being a know-it-all.

And then there was the job itself. It was a stressful job. There was constant danger and they always had to be alert. A couple of Aurors snapped pretty early on. Others had found a way to deal with stress, but she was on the verge of breaking. She had felt herself little by little losing control of her magic. She could feel is crackle around her, beyond her ability to reign it in. A dog had startled her during a raid and her magic had snapped. A green light had jumped from her body and killed it. She shuddered at the thought. How much longer would this go on? How much worse would it get? She was putting others at risk. There was no telling when her magic would fire off instinctually without her permission. She was putting everyone around her at risk.

She needed to find a way to relieve the crushing stress. Taking her typical route, she had researched the problem. All sources she had found had told her that there was nothing she could do magically to get her magic back under control. The books stated that in the case of exceptionally powerful wizards and witches, their magic was tied to their mind and their emotions and severe mental or emotional instability could cause them to lose control of the magic. The more powerful the witch or wizard, the harder time they would have controlling their magic.

She hadn't reported her loss of control to the Ministry or the Order. She would be suspended. She couldn't be suspended. Harry needed her. She hadn't told anyone about her problems. She felt so alone, but who could she tell? There were the Order members, of course, and Harry and Ron, but they expected her to be perfect too. They relied on her perfection and she couldn't let them see her like this.

Harry and Ron had gone out drinking with the rest of the guys from their squadron tonight. She, or course, had not been invited. It wasn't that they didn't want her to come, it was just no one thought little-miss-perfect would want to get drunk. The aurors weren't supposed to get drunk in public, even off duty, and they probably thought she would report them.

She could tell the other guys used these nights to get drunk and relax and let go of the stress of the job. That was exactly what she needed. She peeled off her auror uniform. Her black shirt was stiff from dried blood of a woman that she had not been able to save today. After a quick shower, she threw on a black skirt and sweater and started off for Diagon Alley. There was a pub at the far end of the street. It had always seemed a little sketchy to her, but as far as she knew, no one she knew ever went there. That was perfect. She just wanted to get drunk by herself tonight with no one who would recognize her. She just wanted a night off, a night off of being perfect and responsible and smart. A night off from being Hermione Granger.