Hermione spent a few days in the infirmary before returning to her normal routine. The Headmistress insisted on stopping by nightly to ensure Hermione wasn't going to make another attempt. Hermione was fine. To the untrained eye, she appeared normal again. She was laughing, but it lacked the usual musical quality. She smiled, but it was fake, lacking the warmth she used to radiate.
Every moment her thoughts weren't on her studies, Hermione was thinking of her suicide, how this time, she would succeed. Her life was meaningless without Harry, Ron, Ginny, and all the others who had died.
One evening, Hermione laid in bed, staring at the ceiling, more specifically, the large thick beam running the length of the room. Could she do it? She stood, conjured a stool, and a rope. She tied a noose in one end, before throwing the other end over the beam. The rope settled around her neck like some horrible necktie, the rough fibers bit into the soft skin of her throat. Hermione closed her eyes and prepared to jump. Suddenly she stopped, opened her eyes and let out the breath she scarcely knew she was holding. She couldn't do it. She slipped the rope from around her neck, stepped down from the stool, and vanished them. She would find another way.
Hermione decided to head up to the Astronomy tower. She ran into no one on her journey. The halls were big and empty. The night was clear and pleasantly cool when she stepped out onto the platform. The Head Girl pulled a piece of parchment from her pocket, along with a quill. On it, she scratched out her final message. The blood quill left the wound open on the back of her hand, which quickly healed. She saw her last words reflected there. Hermione climbed the railing and threw her leg over to the other side. She stood on the thin ledge, hands grasping the cold metal of the rail. The ground was nearly 200 feet below, Hermione knew she had no hope of surviving. She took a deep breath, held it, and released her grip on the railing. She felt her body fall forward, and rather than fear, she felt free. She was flying. She was free. She could be happy.
She didn't feel it as she hit the ground. She was dead instantly. Her body lay at the foot of the tower, battered, a bloody pulp. Her bones were broken and her blood soaked into the soil. Her soul floated above. She looked at what once was her body. A gentle smile lit upon her face, the first real smile in a long time. Hermione was free.
Argus Filch had seen from the corner of his eye some dark shape fall past the window. Then he heard the sound of something hitting the ground. He rushed to the window, looking out, gasped in shock. A student. A student had jumped from the tower. He pulled himself away and ran for the Headmistress.
Minerva sat at her desk in her office, piles of paperwork in front of her. Her quil scratching quickly over some form or another. She looked up as Argus Filch burst in, the heavy oak door striking the wall.
"A student. Astronomy tower. Jumped" He gasped out, struggling to catch his breath after running up five flights of stairs. Minerva was on her feet and rushing down stairs as fast as her feet could carry her. She quickly became frustrated and changed to her cat form to move faster. Praying all the while that she wouldn't find who she thought she would at the base of the tower.
The Headmistress's worst fear was realized as she found the broken body of Hermione Granger in nearly the same place as she had discovered Albus' body, all those months ago. Tears were running down her face as she knelt next to her student. Her help had not been enough. She pulled the girl's body into her arms, ignoring the blood seeping onto her robes. She never noticed the back of Hermione's left hand.
The day of the funeral was bright and warm. The sky was nearly devoid of clouds. Hermione Granger, the greatest student Hogwarts had seen in decades, was buried beneath a tree near the lake. The ceremony was attended by the girls family and friends. The remaining Weasleys were there, looking as though they had lost another child, in a way, they had. Molly and Arthur clung to each other as if their lives depended on their grasp upon the other. Minerva herself had not been able to bear the grief publicly, and had left the others to grieve in privacy.
She wandered aimlessly about the castle, soon finding herself in the Astronomy tower. Standing where she had stood. Minerva folded her hands on the railing. She leaned down and pressed her forehead against them. She opened her eyes. There, on the floor, pinned under an abandoned wand, was a scrap of parchment.
"Only in death, might I be free." The words bit deep into Minerva's heart. So much pain in one so young. The words written in blood. A blood quill. Minerva didn't know how no one had noticed the wound on the back of the girl's hand. The Headmistress leaned agains the wall. Her legs felt weak, they threatened to collapse under her. She slid down the wall until she was sitting, curled against it. The note was clenched tightly in her fist. The tears came fresh again. She curled tightly around herself as she cried. Minerva could only hope Hermione was happy wherever she was now.