Disclaimer: Not mine.
Hermione's Story: May 1998
It was easy to blend into the shadows at the back of the hall. It was easy to watch the grief that played out in front of her and to pretend that she was not part of it. Hermione looked at the bodies laid out on the tables and wondered if they would ever know who had thrown the killing curses. It really didn't matter, she thought, not in a battle, not in a war.
"Hermione?" Potter lifted the invisibility cloak over his head as he pulled her back further away from the others. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," she whispered. "You need to go. It's Fred, when the wall fell…."
"I know, come with me."
"No, I … I need to … not now." She licked her lips and looked around the hall. "I lost my wand. I think someone Accioed it or maybe it was an Expelliarmus. I don't remember, everything moved too fast."
Harry lifted his hand and called, "Accio Hermione's wand." He waited a few moments before shaking his head, feeling foolish for trying. "I'll try again outside."
"I need it," she said flatly, clutching a set of discarded robes to her chest. "If the Aurors are testing the wands they will want it."
"I don't think they will, at least not for us. They may for the Death Eaters, at least the ones they are not sure of."
Hermione felt her eyes wander across the hall before she found the Malfoys. "Why only them?"
"Hermione? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine I think, just…this is too much. What did you say about the wands?"
"Anyone that wears the mark will be tested and I am sure pulled in for questioning. At least that's what I'd expect them to do." He frowned and turned her face to the side. "You're hurt. Your face is a right mess. You were bleeding. What happened?"
"I fell," she choked. "I don't know … on the stairs perhaps."
"Maybe that's where you lost your wand. You should see Madam Pomfrey, you don't look too good."
"I tried, but she said I was fine and that she was too busy for such little things. There are so many hurt, Harry. So many …and so many dead. It wasn't supposed to be like this."
"Listen, Snape's gone. "
"Gone? You mean he is dead. I know. Remember?"
"I thought so," he said, looking around nervously. "You saw what happened. The Ministry is rounding up the bodies for a mass cremation. I thought…well, he doesn't deserve that, so I wanted to bring him up here, into the hall with the others. Only, he's gone."
"Someone must have already moved him, that or the Aurors got to him first." Hermione lifted her right hand and studied her palm. "I must have fallen harder then I thought. Strange, I don't remember where."
Harry took her hand and looked at the scraped and bleeding palm, then took his wand and passed it over the damaged skin before waving it at her face. "I was never real good at this, but it should do until it calms down and you can get proper treatment. Bloody hell, it looks like you got kicked by a dragon."
"Thanks," she whispered, feeling her eyes fill with tears. "Remus and Tonks… both…"
"Don't," Harry said with a scowl as he turned quickly to the room as a howl of anguish cut the air.
"I don't want to hear this," Hermione sobbed. "My god, how many? How many gone?"
"Thirty six so far, but it has to be more." Harry swallowed hard.
"On both sides?"
"I don't give a fuck how many they lost. They could all be dead for all I care."
"I know." Hermione licked her lips again and looked away from him. "It was harder than I thought it would be. Before we always fought to get away or to… not like this… not to kill and not even knowing who…not like this."
"Yeah, that's why it's called a war," he spat. "I have to go. I told Neville I would help search the castle."
"Search? For what?"
"Bodies, injured. Are you sure you are okay? You seem…are you sure?"
"Yes, I just need to find my wand. Did I tell you I lost it?"
Harry nodded and pulled the cloak over his head again, managing to transverse the hall without anyone stopping him. She saw Neville turn his head, talk as if at the wall, and then leave the room before she slumped to the floor, putting her back to the cold stones and pulling her knees up under her chin.
She was glad that most of the Death Eaters had worn masks. She did not have to think about who had done what or to whom. She had not hesitated before throwing a curse and had responded without thinking, just hurling back hex for hex. It would make it easier to forget, she thought. Easier to forget the who, and only remember the why.
She felt cold as a spasm racked her body. Too cold for this time of year, she thought inanely. Lowering her head until her chin was on her chest she sobbed, covering her ears from the sounds of others doing the same. I need a potion, she thought suddenly, lifting her head and drying her face, beginning to move as the alternative of sitting and thinking was too much.
Seeing Madam Pomfrey working on the students that still lay on the tables, she stood and shakily started out of the room, making a list in her mind of what potions she should collect. Pain, that was a given, and a blood replenisher if the feeling in her chest was any indication of what she could expect to find. She had packed herself the best she could with clean-absorbent bandages, but knew this was more than would be safe to trust to simple healing spells. She added an antibiotic to her mental list as she skirted the room, and finally made it to the hallway then up to the infirmary.
It was easy to walk in and take the potions she needed. Much easier than she would have imagined, if she had stopped to think about what she was doing. The potions cupboard stood open and accessible, the staff and other students too busy to pay attention to her. Gathering what she needed, she hurried to the empty History classroom and sat in one to the desks, drinking the potions and waiting for the pain potion to kick it. Once it did, she was able to make it back to her room where she undressed; sucking in air between her teeth as she removed the blood soaked bandages, and sat on the bathroom floor, lowering her head as the room swam around her.
She needed her wand. She had not thought about what would happen when she had ran from the dungeon, leaving it behind, unable to bring herself to push his body away and pick it up. Now she had to do the best she could with what she had.
Fuck, she hissed as a shot of pain tore at her left breast. Grabbing hold of the sink with her right arm, as her left cradled a towel to her chest. She pulled her body up and waited until her breathing became steady before looking at the damage she had sustained.
If she had been faster, more powerful and accurate with her spell, he would not have had time to throw a Sectumsempra at her. She had felt the slice and had heard its razor sharp hiss at it had hit her with a glancing blow. He moved behind her, seeking to leave the dungeons. She remembered turning slowly, throwing her own curse in return, able to shout an Avada Kedavra only to have him dodge the streaming light she had hurled at him. She remembered dropping her wand as she had collapsed, as the pain overwhelmed her, watching her curse go wildly to the left, hitting the other instead, a look of wonder on his face as he clutched his chest and fell slowly onto her wand.
She raised her eyes to the mirror, unable to look at the wound directly and felt her face crumple into tears. It hurt. It hurt so damned bad that even the pain potion took only the edge. She pushed the ripped flesh back to cover the exposed muscle and pressed it closed to help stem the bleeding; fighting not to pass out or to retch up vomit that she could taste in the back of her throat.
Positioning the skin as best she could she looked around, desperate to find something to pad the bandage with. She folded a flannel with one hand and carefully slid it under the hand she had pressed against her wound. She held it together as tightly as she could, and then reached for the bandages. By the time she was done wrapping the bandage around her body to hold the flannel tightly in place, she felt she had run miles and again sat to rest. Laying her head back against the wall, she closed her eyes and tried to think, only to snap her eyes open when she saw his dead body as it had lain in the dungeons and heard the scurry of a robe's fabric as it had sounded fleeing in the dark.
Managing to sit on the side of the tub, she washed the best she could, needing to remove any trace of the blood that had begun to dry and cake on her stomach and thighs. She dressed, and threw on a travelling cloak to hide the bandage that she thought altered her shape. Wincing, she realized it was not just her breast that was affected as she had difficultly moving her left arm as well. Hoping it was from the fall, and not the injury, she headed back to the infirmary for more potions. She now knew she had not taken enough.
"Mione?" Harry squatted down next to her and gently shook her shoulder. "Mione? Wake up. I need to talk to you."
Hermione struggled to sit, rising on her right elbow and rotating to the side she managed to get her back against the wall and sit up groggily. Looking around the Great Hall, she saw most of the bodies were gone and fewer families stood around those remaining.
"What ?" she choked out, trying to keep her voice even.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I had trouble sleeping. I took a dreamless potion."
"Too much by the look of you," Harry frowned. "Listen, have you found your wand?"
"Were you in the dungeons? Hermione? Were you down there yesterday?"
Hermione looked into his eyes, wanting to let the question go unanswered but unable to remember why. "I…I don't know…I can't…no...No I don't think so."
"No? You may want to tell the Aurors to keep an eye out for it. They have the stairs to the dungeons blocked so if that's where you fell it may take a while. They are having trouble with the Lumos…seems the candles were spelled off and they can't even carry one down there without it going out. Every time they try, they go out. It's too dark to inspect until they get a curse breaker in."
"Perhaps that's it," she said weakly, looking around the room.
"I haven't been able to find Ron. He may be in the dungeons but until they can see they can't even look for him and Neville says there are some sixth years caught in the greenhouse…we can't get to them either."
"He may be there. He may have gone into help them," she said nodding. "He should be with his family. Molly will want him with her."
"Hermione?" Harry took hold of her chin and turned her face to his. "What's wrong? You need to see Madam Pomfrey?"
"Is Jamie's father a Death Eater?" She said absently, seeing the first year she had met that morning, sitting by himself, his head on the table as he cried. "No, no mark on his arm and McGonagall said he showed up to help, him and his wife. Anyway, you may have to have to collect your wand from the Ministry when this calms down. I'm sure it'll turn up."
"They don't all wear marks," she said flatly. "Sometimes they just…"
"Mione? Something's wrong…tell me what happened. I know Ron was with you…where is he?" he asked tersely.
"Later, if I remember…later." She bit her lip as her eyes flooded with tears. "I have to think. I have to … I can't …not yet. Harry? I didn't think it would be like this. Not like this. Not with so many dead and … I just need time to think. It's as if every thing is mixed up and I can't remember things or …or make my magic work the way it should. I tried…but…everything was off…I couldn't … my aim…nothing worked the way it normally does."
"Your magic? I thought you said you lost your wand? Listen, Jamie is here by himself. He just heard about his dad and his mum is taking some of the better patients home. If you feel up to it…"
Hermione nodded and refused to let her eyes meet his. "I want Ron."
"I know," he said quietly. "Mione, you need to rest…try to get some more sleep…without those damned potions…then try to get to Madam Pomfrey again. You hit your head, maybe that's it. You…you need something…maybe something to calm you down."
"I thought he would say good bye but everything moved too fast and he only…I saw him, but he … you go on I'll wait here."
"Mione? What to you mean? You know where Ron went?"
"No, not for sure…I …I keep forgetting things. You go on," she sighed loudly. "Let me wake up. It's confusing. I think he was there, but it couldn't have been him. He would have… I don't know, he would have called out to me. He would have… I don't think it was him. Now that I think about it, no, it wasn't. You know Ron. He would be out helping not sitting around here. Maybe he's with Neville, ask him."
"Sure." He stood and looked down at her with a look of puzzlement evident on his face. "If you need anything…"
"I'll let you know," she said smiling weakly. "Go, I need to wake up…it's the potion. Everything is muddled."
She watched him walk away and looked back to where Jamie Curtis sat alone, his head on his arms, sobbing, alone at one of the tables.
She had heard a voice. A voice she could have sworn was calling for help, a young voice, perhaps a cry, she could almost remember. She followed the noise into the dark corridor of the dungeons. It had been dark. Yes, very dark, she remembered, but she had known the way, known every turn and every door and had traversed the hallways with no need of a Lumos.
She licked her lips again, and used her right hand to touch the cheek that had slammed into the wall when she had been grabbed from behind. She looked at the palms of her hands and knew they had been bloodied in her attempts to push and claw herself away from the cold stone, and remembered the husky whispered warning in her ear to 'be good' and to stop fighting.
Now, she looked at Jamie and suddenly did not know if the warning was just that, a warning to be careful, or the more sinister warning of a Death Eater who had caught her alone in the dungeons.
No, she thought, I felt him, I heard him, and I know what he was going to do. Hot tears filled her eyes as she remembered things moving too quickly, being spun around too fast, being pushed to the floor too hard, being told to stay down as she crawled away and struggled to stand up, hearing the curses begin.
She closed her eyes and dragged in a deep breath as she again saw him standing in front of her when she had gotten away and stood to face him. His eyes …not focused on her, not on her she saw now, but something behind her. Someone shouting at her to get down, to move aside.
"No!" She said aloud as her eyes flew open. No, she thought, it was me he was cursing. She felt bile rise up the back of her throat as the memory of dodging the curse, of catching just the edge of the flash, letting the rest of it go beyond her, and then feeling the magic flowing out of her wand, as she had shouted her own Avada Kedavra and spun back to her attacker.
It didn't make sense. She wanted to forget and she wanted to understand. She remembered screaming until her throat was raw with the taste of blood. She remembered craning her neck as something laid on her and held her still, hurting her in a way she could not come to terms with, in a way she refused to accept. She had craned her neck away from her attacker, and searched for him, searched for Ron. Finding his eyes open and unseeing, seeing his hand that still reached in her direction, his wand still held in his hand. Hoping it was the curse the Death Eater had thrown that had stolen his life even as she knew it was her ill cast Avada Kedavra. She shut out the pain she felt, shut off her mind and took herself away from the dungeons, erasing them from her mind as surly as she would have done had she been able to put a memory charm on herself.
She stood slowly and held her left arm across her stomach, cradling it with her right. Walking to the front door, she pushed it open with her hip and started her walk to Hogsmeade. She wanted to go home. She wanted to step onto the Hogwarts Express, go to 9 ¾'s, and have her parents waiting for her. She wanted to leave and be safe, and know that her mum and dad were waiting for her. She wanted to not remember.