Hermione tried, tried to take a breath, or smile. She needed to do something, anything, to make it look like two words hadn't just destroyed her world. Two words. That was all it took to shatter any illusions that she was doing alright.
She needed to pull herself together. She had to be the strong one, for everyone, she could not allow herself to be weak. Not now. Not ever.
She looked up at everyone who was sitting around table, her lips trembling but she managed a smile. Then she uttered the two words that made her heart shatter and send the pieces tumbling into the depths of her stomach, "Lucius Malfoy."
~two weeks earlier~
Hermione steeled herself, releasing one small sigh, and knocked on the door to the Burrow. It was exactly two minutes till two, and as usual she was going to be on time. Hermione Granger, was never late.
The door opened, and Hermione found herself being pressed into the healthy bosom of one, Molly Weasley, "Oh, my sweet girl, do come in and don't mind the mess, dear, you know how the boys are."
Without waiting for a reply, Molly manhandled her through the door and into the living room. Where, by some act of god, all the boy were already assembled.
That should have been her first clue, but instead she pasted on a smile and moved in to greet everyone.
"Hey 'Mione," Ron called from the couch besides Harry, as if he didn't know how much she loathed that nickname, and Harry chimed in a second later. Though, he at least had the decency to refer to her by her actual name. She really did hate nicknamed.
"Hello boys." She called back, nodding to Bill, Fleur and Charlie, whom she was rather surprised to see here. As she hadn't seen any of them in the months following the final battle. All three returned her nods, than faded back into the quiet conversation they were having with each other.
Finally, she made her way to the small couch occupied by her three favorite red-heads, the twins and Ginny. Ron had fallen to dead last, after the final battle, where upon her rejecting him he'd turned into a complete and total arse.
"And here we'd thought you'd forgotten us," The twins chimed, identical smirks pulling at their faces, and both shot her a quick wink when they though Ginny wasn't looking.
Ginny corrected that with a swift slap to the back of the head, "Keep your eyes off my best mate, you animals," she growled, before shooting a smile her way, "Now there's plenty of room over here, so make yourself comfortable."
Hermione simply rolled her eyes at the twins antics and seated herself between George and Ginny, because she had no intention of placing herself between the twins. Not unless she wanted to die a slow, torturous death. Even if it was death by laughter.
On second thought, maybe she should have sat next to the twins, she could do with a good laugh. She hadn't had a genuine laugh since sixth year. Or at least, that's what it felt like.
"So, do any of you guys know what's going on?" She asked, letting her gaze wonder between all their faces.
"Nope, not a clue," The twins chorused, "We just know mum wanted us here, and so here we are."
Ginny simply shrugged her shouldered, looking just as confused as Hermione felt.
Just before she was going to ask the others, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley entered the room, Kingsely Shacklebolt at their side. Well, apparently the question was about to answered for her, and from the looks of things, she was going to wish she hadn't asked.
The conversations in the room all quieted as everyone noticed them enter, and the confusion grew on all faces but her own. If their was one thing she'd learned in the past few months, it was how to keep her emotions in check and show the world only what she wanted them to see.