A/N: This story contains a very sensitive subject. It deals with depression and different ways people handle it.

1. Alone

The sun shone over the kitchen table as the rest of the house slept. The war was over. Ron had his dream of playing with the Cannons, Harry was training to be an Auror, and Ginny was preparing for her last year at Hogwarts. She wanted to stay with Harry, but her mother was not giving in. Plus, you don't go against Molly Weasley.

But me? What dream did I have? I was always the book, the brains. Learning was my life. Now I have nothing. Not even my family. My parents are somewhere in Australia. The Ministry is trying to find them, but I don't think the memory charm is reversible.

Alone.

Staying at the Burrow had always been fun these past 7 years. But not anymore.

Hermione was alone in a house full of people.

Everyone was busy. George was off at an emotional retreat to help him deal with his twin's death. Ron and Ginny were the last of the Weasley children in the house, but they were too busy for her. Ron and Hermione's relationship didn't last long past the Battle. It was fear and passion and misplaced love that put them together. The longer they were together, the more she realized it felt wrong. Ron was like a brother, it just wasn't right.

Shaking herself, Hermione went into the kitchen and began to make some breakfast. I have to be good for something I guess. She thought, At least no one complains.

The smell of the cooking food woke up the rest of the house and footfalls could be heard overhead. She put her wand to the kettle and set tea bags and instant coffee – a favorite muggle beverage of Mr. Weasley- on the table. She returned to the stove to finish a batch of eggs, bacon, and toast for the oncoming rush.

She pasted the smile on her face and she could face the world. "Wow! That smells great Hermione!"

"Thanks Mr. Weasley" she replied, glancing over her shoulder.

"Call me Arthur, please."

She shrugged. Ever since she started living at the Burrow full time, the two Weasley parents had been trying to get her to call them by their first names. "Sorry I just can't get used to that. Will Mrs. … err… Molly be joining us?" His falling smile was all the answer she needed.

Mrs. Weasley had good and bad days. A good day was a normal day; she handles the death of George and her friends quite well. On a bad day, like today, they were lucky if she got up to use the loo. Hermione set up a tray with eggs, toast, and tea before walking it over to him. She put her hand on his arm in support before turning back to finish the cooking.

Soon after the rest of the house was sitting at the kitchen table stuffing their mouths. She swore up and down that Ron had to have some sort of gills to continue breathing the way he ate. Ginny and Harry ate heartily, but at least with some manners. By time she had finished serving and sat down to eat, everyone else was getting up to get about their day. Sighing heavily Hermione took a couple of bites of food before clearing the table.

"This is not the kind of life I want." She said out loud to no one in particular. A tapping at the window brought her attention to the present. She opened the window for the owl carrying a Daily Prophet and watched him land on the table. She put the payment in the pouch and gave the bird a crust of bread. Suddenly 4 owls come swooping through the window. Hogwarts letters. Why are there four? She thinks to herself. Her heart starts racing as she relieves the owls of their deliveries. She placed all of the letters on the table and fed the delivery owls some leftover toast before they left.

She found the letter with her name across the front and opened it while yelling for the others. She felt her mouth forming a smile, and had a fleeting thought of not remembering the last time she smiled was.

"Wow, why are you so cheery?" Ron asked

"Headmistress of Hogwarts has just sent us letters. They're having an "Eighth Year" class this year so we can finish our studies!"


Dear Ms. Granger

In light of the war, we are aware many students did not get to finish their degrees at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The board and faculty of Hogwarts have decided that students will be allowed to return to the school to complete their years. It is not required, but is an option.

Should you decide, we will announce you as Head Girl. With all that happened last year, we will need a strong headed, fair, intelligent person to take care of that position. To let us know of your decision, simply place your wand on one of the choices below.

Yes, I will beattending

I will be attending, but decline the role of head girl

No, I will not be attending

We look forward to hearing from you

Sincerely,

Headmistress Minerva McGonagall


Hermione smiled wide as she pulled her wand and tapped the first choice. Immediately a head girls badge and another letter appeared.


Dear Ms. Granger

Congratulations on becoming Head Girl for this pivotal year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You will find attached you list of required materials for your new year. Please be sure to report to the Heads compartment on the Hogwarts Express to meet the head boy and instruct the prefects.

Congratulations again and welcome back

Sincerely,

Headmistress Minerva McGonagall


Hermione was pulled from reading over her book list by an angry shout from Ron.

"You're going back?" he said incredulously.

"Look who you're asking?" said Harry laughing, making me smile too.

"Of course I'm going back." She replied. "Why wouldn't I?"

"What about us?" Ron asked. I just looked at him.

"What about you? When was the last time, other than today, that you were in a room with me for more than 5 minutes? I do not mean at mealtimes Ronald"

"We're busy, Hermione. We have training and jobs." She sent a glare at him.

"And I don't do anything of importance do I? This is not what I will be doing for the rest of my life. I have the opportunity to finish my education and I am going to take it. I don't want an honorary certificate. I have worked damn hard for this and I deserve it! I want to receive my diploma from McGonagall. I know you two won't be returning, but I need to do this. I need to do something for me."

"You are so selfish 'Mione" came his retort. Hermione's mouth opened as her eyes began to flood.

"Ronald Weasley, you leave this room at once." Everyone's head snapped to see Molly Weasley standing in the doorway. "How dare you speak to your friend like that! She has been selfless, and a rock to keeping this family steady. Very far from the selfish you claim she is. You ought to be ashamed." The anger faded from her eyes as she looked at Hermione "You know we all love you and will miss you terribly. We want you to live your dream, dear" came Molly's soft voice.

Hermione began sobbing and covered her face. "I…I di..didn't me…mean" she got out between hiccups.

"Shh. Hermione, look at me." Deep brown eyes found dull blue ones. "I know that, I know. I am so thankful and grateful to you for helping our family these past months. You have been my blessing. You have let me heal. Let me heal you. I know you. You are the brightest witch of the age, if not more. We are so proud of you. Go home to Hogwarts." She gave Hermione a large hug as the younger girl began to cry.

She felt a few more pairs of arms around her and looked to see Arthur, Ginny and Harry all embracing her. Ron was red in the face and glared at them before turning on his heel.


A/N: Its taking me some time to get used to the upload format here on , so it will take me some time to completely upload this story. It is complete though, so i hope to get it figured and uploaded soon. Also, please note my chapters tend to be fairly short and i apologize in advance for this :) I've also posted this over at AFF.