"Et Tu, Brute?"

Disclaimer: The author claims no intellectual property rights of any kind to characters, plot points, or other ideas appearing in this work which originated in the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. The author receives no financial benefit from the use of these ideas and has written this work for personal amusement only.

Author's Note: I am not a particularly talented writer of fiction, and this is no great work of literature. It is merely an exploration of one of many plot points which severely irritated me in the canon. I hope the reader finds something to enjoy, and would appreciate any feedback.

Summary: One-shot. Sometimes the only way to save your friends from themselves is to betray them. No pairings.

Hermione had been in the Headmaster's office when Harry used the Elder Wand to repair his broken original wand, and declared his intentions to return it to Dumbledore's tomb. Furthermore, he had said that he intended to break its power by dying undefeated. Harry may have been her best friend, but Hermione had no illusions about his intellect: he could be frightfully dim at times, and she was convinced this was one of them. She had said nothing at the time, however, and merely followed him as he left the office.

When he went down to the stone tomb by the lake, she followed him; once he had his back to her and the Elder wand in his hand, she drew her own, pointed it at his back, and softly whispered "Expelliarmus".

Harry fell forward and sprawled in an undignified manner over the monument; the wand flew from his hand and landed at Hermione's feet (she knew better than to attempt to catch it). As she picked it up and sparks flew from the tip, signifying her newfound mastery, Harry turned to regard her in shock, hurt and betrayal evident on his face. He said nothing, however, merely staring at her open-mouthed until she spoke. Et tu, Brute? she thought with a grimace.

"Hear me out, Harry," she said quietly. "Please."

His mouth closed, but still he said nothing, so she took a deep breath and continued.

"I had to do it. You announced in front of everybody that you had it and explained exactly how the mastery works. Do you really think word wouldn't spread, or that somebody, somewhere wouldn't come after you? The Elder Wand is an enormous incentive; you may as well have painted a target on your head.

"Not to mention that you want to be an Auror, which means you may be in a lot of fights. Do you want to take the risk of every petty criminal you confront being able to become the master of the Elder Wand?"

Harry looked more thoughtful now, less angry.

"Besides," she went on, "I'm sure you'll practise disarming during Auror training. It would be an absolute disaster if you went into that and let the mastery bounce around. Now only you and I know who has it, and I very much doubt anyone will suspect it of me."

Harry still said nothing, but he nodded slowly.

"I'll return it to the tomb if you insist, but in all honesty, I think it definitely needs to be studied. I'd very much like to figure out how it's possible for there to be such a thing as an unbeatable wand which transfers ownership by being beaten. Not to mention that we don't even know dying undefeated would work; the wand chooses the wizard, after all…

"There's only one more thing. I'm sorry, Harry, but it's safer this way; you know you're no Occlumens. Obliviate."

We can assume that later Hermione realised that there was another unclaimed Deathly Hallow to study, and decided to pronounce "Accio Resurrection Stone". With the Elder Wand in hand, she would be assured of success.