In this first Chapter, Hermione makes her way to the Burrow.

Several Snatchers followed her, trying to bring her down, while the Weasleys storm outside their house to come to her rescue.

Rating: T

The End of Hope?

1. The Battle at the Burrow

"Pass, me the bowl, please-

George, STOP APPARATING!" Molly Weasley shouted in a tone she always used to scold one of her twin sons or- and in fact this is a more likely option- both at the same time. Strangely enough, her pressed and nerved tone had something confusingly calming. It gave all of them, the full Weasley Clan (except for Percy, the treacherous Partridge of course) gathered around the dinner table, the illusion as if everything was still all right, just as it always had been. It gave them the illusion of still being safe. No Death Eaters concerned them at that evening, no dawning darkness at the edge of horizon fogged their hopes. They clung to that last bit of piece in the warmth and comfort of being together. Possibly for the last time before the storm would break loose, or even for the last time at all.

Ginny was the first one to hear it, she'd always been the most attentive one in the family, never missing even the quietest sound in the whole house.

"Did your hear that?" she asked while her head flung to the side, into the direction where she had heard the noise coming from. Immediately all chats and funny bickering stopped, tension replaced the typical warm atmosphere of the Weasley family and although no one dared to notice it, everyone drew his wand. Silence covered the dinner table and not even one dared to breathe while they waited for an all clear signal or the final call to fight. One minute passed in that unfamiliar tranquillity, nothing, then another one and they all believed the weight of that deafening silence would break their stressed nerves. They were just about to withdraw their wands when they all heard it.

"STUPEFY!", the shouted curse was followed by a blueish lighting strike and by the disturbing noise of magical force hitting flesh so hard it left more than just bruises. In the glimpse of a second, all of them jumped up and stormed out of the house, their wands ready to fight. Arthur and Molly Weasley pushed themselves past their children, always attempting to keep them away from the action. The darkness of that night had thickened itself with an unusual, almost unnatural fog coming from the little pools around their plot of land. However, although they could hardly see anything, they would have always recognised that voice.

"HERMIONE!" Ron screamed and was about to storm right towards her, his wand drawn to be used, when his father caught him around the waist, desperately trying to hold him back. It took him several minutes to leave his single-focused tunnel vision he always got when anything concerned Hermione and to notice the various other members in this mercilessly real battle waltz.

Five Snatcher, maybe even real Death Eaters (although the difference wouldn't mean they happened to have more or less mercy for any of them), chased Hermione Granger, the bushy haired witch who fought her way towards the Burrow. She ducked and dodged several times, trying to escape the curses her opponents shot at her. In return, she flipped around from time to time disarming, distracting or even wounding her persecutors.

"CONFRINGO!" her usually tender voice shouted as she aimed at the Snatcher closest to her and all of the sudden an explosion took place that hurled him away for an awful lot of miles. However, she had no time to rejoice over her little triumph, because her other followers caught up all too soon to her. Again she turned around, attempting to throw a Freezing Charm back at them, but she had to throw herself on the dirty ground instead in order to prevent to get hit by a Severing Charm.

This was the tipping point of the events. With a furious growl, Ron and his family left the Burrow behind and stormed right into the battle.

Ron was the first one to reach Hermione and he lifted his arm with the wand in his hand just in the right moment to block the next curse from harming her. The force of the curse was blocked, yet he felt the aftermaths of those spoken words of dark magic and staggered a few feet backwards, before attacking again. Hermione beside him barely seemed to notice his arrival, she lurched forward without orientation, yet she lifted her wand and parried every curse shot back at her.

"CRUCIO!", the curse hit Ron straight into his chest and with a broken, eardrum shredding scream he fell to the ground, writhing in a pain he'd never felt before. His whole body felt like it was on fire, every inch of his flesh seemed to be saturated with little flames, each one containing millions of sharp needles, mercilessly penetrating his skin. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't think. His eye apples turned inwards and his world went black. Somewhere in the distance, he heard someone scream in agony and desperation, but his mind was already far too gone to notice that it had been his mother's cry.

Then, from one moment to another, the pain was gone, disappeared as quickly as it had come. Still numb and slightly weak he opened his eyes and was confronted with an image that was determined to burn itself into his very soul. Hermione stood only a few feet away from him, but in that moment she appeared to be a thousand miles away. Her hand swung her wand over her head, almost like a lash and bright grey lightning strikes burst out of the thin, powerful wooden stick. The Snatchers and Death Eaters immediately jumped away from her, actually fearing this Mudblood's magic.

Hermione was covered in blood (and Ron wasn't entirely sure how much of it definitely belonged to her), she had several cuts and bruises and she swayed under the power of the curses and hexes thrown at her- and yet she didn't didn't give in, she didn't give up. And then, he understood. She was protecting him. The very reason she still stood and didn't give up was because she was determined to protect him from any harm. That gave her the strength to hold out.

Ron was torn out of his thoughts when one of the Snatchers lurched forward and directed his wand with a sneaky grimace at Hermione who had her back turned at him. She didn't see him coming.

"AVADA KEDAVRA !", the darkest of all curses echoed through the night and yet missed his final target. She hadn't seen it coming, but she definitely had it heard coming. Hermione dodged as her ears caught the shout and then flipped around to face her last opponent. She aimed her wand at him with a movement as graceful and merciless alike, she looked into his dirty eyes with the clear determination written all over her face.

"AVADA KEDAVRA!" she whispered almost inaudible and Ron watched as the Snatcher froze in his movements, a bewildering expression of shock and fear and pain on his face, before he fell to the ground. Dead. Then, she finally let her wand sink down, swaying in the quiet wind of that night for a few moments, before she finally collapsed and her lifeless body fell to the ground.