Chapter one- The Beginning

Hermione woke up on September 1st ready to head to Hogwarts for her last year. Harry wasn't returning, he was still mourning a huge loss. Ron hadn't made it through the war. Hermione was starting to feel better, trying to focus on the happy things in life, but Harry wasn't having as much luck as she was. He didn't know how to move from a loss that big. Ron had been a brother to him in every way but one. Hermione felt her heart tug a little thinking about him. Ron had been her first love, even if it was puppy love. Sometimes she would start to write him a letter over the summer, as she always did, but then she remembered he was gone and he wasn't going to come back. It just really hurt.

She shook her head to clear it of those kinds of thoughts. Thinking of Ron wouldn't help her get through one more year of school. She got dressed slowly, since she had woken up with plenty of time to get ready. She wasn't in any hurry. She just wanted this year to be relaxing. Hermione let her mind drift to finding her parents. It hadn't been easy since they moved from the house she put them in, but that was easier than finding out how to put their memories back. It had taken her a month to learn the spell and another month to brew the potion that went along with it. In the end they had received their old memories, but they hadn't embraced her asking if she was alright and telling her how much they loved her. No, they didn't do that at all. They had been cold to her, angry and distant. It took Hermione a few days to drag it out of them. They despised her for using magic on them like that without permission. They said she took away their free will and the more Hermione thought about the more she agreed. So now her parents are angry with her, to what extent, she couldn't be sure. She hoped they would forgive her someday.

Hermione levitated her trunk down the stairs behind her set it down by the bottom of the stairs. Her parents were in the kitchen talking causally until they spotted her at the door.

"I just wanted to tell you I'm leaving." Hermione swore to herself she wouldn't cry no matter what.

Her father said nothing and her mother just stared at her. Hermione shifted her weight onto her other leg and fidgeted with her shirt. Still they said nothing and Hermione felt the tears well up in her eyes, but she blinked them away.

"Mum? Dad?" She asked softly, hopefully. Her dad wouldn't even look at her and they used to be so close.

"I see then. That changes things I guess. I won't be coming back." She said and her mother's eyes softened for just a second and Hermione thought she might say goodbye, but she didn't. Hermione took at step towards her mum but she scooted away from her quickly. The tears did escape then. Her parents were afraid of her!

"I only did it to protect you. You have no idea what they would have done to you." She said shakily. She hadn't ever given the and explanation as to why she took their memories. Her dad looked up at that.

"What are you talking about, Hermione?" He said.

"There was a war in the magical world. He wanted to rid the world of…Mudbloods. I'm a Mudblood, Dad, so they would have come for you. I was…tortured by Death Eaters of the summer. Don't you see I had to protect you? You would have been cursed, raped, tortured anything you can think of it might have happened to you if I hadn't put you somewhere safe." Hermione voice cracked a few times while she was speaking.

"You… were hurt?" Her mother asked doubtfully. Hermione took off her shirt without hesitation, grasping at the moment to show them something that might make them forgive her. The scar from the ministry battle was still red and vivid on her torso. Her dad averted his but Hermione knew that he saw the scar. Her mother however came over to touch it.

"When did you get this?" She asked worriedly. Hermione closed her eyes as she remembered.

"I was fifteen years old when this happened. And I received this a month ago." She showed her mother her left arm and heard her gasp at the sight.

Hermione pulled her shirt back over her head and approached her dad cautiously.

"Daddy?" She asked softly. He shook his head and left the room. Hermione felt a rip in her chest as she watched him go without a goodbye. Her mothers' arms went around her trying to comfort her.

"I'm sorry mum; I just wanted you to be safe." Hermione whispered. She glanced at the clock and rushed out of her mum arms with a swear. She was going to miss the train!

"I'll talk to your father. I love you Hermione. I sorry I doubted you."

Hermione embraced her mother once more before apparating to Kings Cross.

It was full of people who were rushing to get where ever they were going. Hermione made her way to platform 9¾, trying to be discreet. If she pulled it off she never found out because she went through the wall and stepped into the magical side of the train station. Hermione didn't see anyone she knew so she went and found the first empty compartment she could find. She put her robes on right away and sank down into a seat, feeling quite alone. She was alone the whole ride to Hogwarts; no one came to sit with her. She tried to not let it bother her. Ron was dead, Harry was severely depressed and her parents were still afraid of her. Nothing was going the way she wanted it too.

She made her way to the carriages and ended up ridding up to the castle with third years. Hermione felt this year was going to be bad, she just had a feeling. When wasn't a year at Hogwarts filled with horrible things? She had never had a peaceful year at Hogwarts. Why should this year be any different? The carriages came to a halt just outside the gates of Hogwarts. All the students were filing in but Hermione held back and pulled up the rear of the line. She didn't see Ginny, Luna, Neville, or even Lavender. Was she really the only one that came back? She was proved wrong when she spotted Draco Malfoy sitting by Theodore Nott at the Slytherin table. She shivered with the remembrance of the last time she had seen him. He had looked down at her with pitting eyes as she writhed with agony. He had just stood there watching her suffer at the hands of his psychotic aunt. A part of Hermione knew that he couldn't have done anything for her. He would have been killed on the spot. A bigger part of Hermione hated him for it. She sat down at the Gryffindor table she spotted Ginny and caught her eye. Ginny looked at Hermione for moment before shaking her head and turning around to face Dead Thomas. Hermione felt a lump form in her throat, hurt by Ginny's rejection. Ginny blamed Hermione for Ron's death. Ron had jumped in front of the killing curse for her. He died to protect her, but that left Hermione feeling guilty for something she had no control over. She didn't have anyone here to talk to and that made her feel really lonely.

The feast was a lot less fun without Ron and Harry. They always turned to her for an explanation when Dumbledore said something they didn't understand. She really missed it. Ron would be stuffing his face as fast as he could and Harry would pick at his plate, because he didn't have a stomach like Ron did. Then Hermione would chastise them for talking so loudly that they were almost screaming.

Hermione made herself pay attention as the students were sorted into their houses. There were only two Gryffindor students, a dozen Ravenclaw students, two Slytherin students and ten Hufflepuff students. It was a very large group of first years. The feast came to a close and Hermione went to her own personal room. Professor McGonagall explained that there wasn't enough bed as it was with the real seventh years and she told Hermione to stay in the room of requirement. It wasn't the ideal place but Hermione didn't mind all that much. She just didn't want to be by herself all the time. Her head of house told her she needed to pick subject become an apprentice. Hermione had a hard time choosing but she ended up picking Potions. There was a lot of money to be made making potions.

The down side of that was her mentor would be Professor Snape. Hermione just hoped he had changed since the war was over and he wasn't a spy any longer. Hermione unpacked her trunk and put everything in its place. The room was huge; equipped with a bathroom and mini library. The room knew her well. She then made her way to the dungeons. Hermione had butterflies in her stomach as she raised her hand to knock on the door.

"Enter." His voice commanded before her hand even touched to door. Hermione pushed the door open and came face to face with her professor. He looked different, younger somehow. His eyes were black, his nose slightly crooked, and he had long stringy black hair, overall he very intimidating and powerful. Hermione could feel the vibration of his magic in the room.

"I assume you want to apprentice Potions? We'll start now." He said curtly. Hermione sighed and followed him into his personal laboratory. Hermione gasped when she saw it. The counters were all stainless steel and everything was organized professionally. It was probably the best laboratory in all of Britain.

"I take it you approve." He said sounding a little amused. Hermione nodded, still gazing at the magnificent room. He even had glass and gold cauldrons! Those were over two hundred galleons a piece.

"Definitely, sir." Hermione answered still in awe.

"We'll be brewing the drought of living death. Do you remember how to make it?" He asked in his teaching voice. Hermione thought about it.

"I remember the ingredients but not the instructions or order they go in." She said, turning to face him. He just nodded at her and started to gather ingredients for the potion. Hermione waited patiently for him to return.

"You have thirty minutes. Start now." He ordered and turned to leave.

"What? I don't remember the instructions, sir."

"I suggest you figure it out then, Miss Granger." He walked out of the laboratory without another word and before she could protest. Hermione looked around and grabbed a cauldron and got to work. The potion was simmering quite correctly twenty minutes later. It smelled absolutely horrible but it was almost done. She was putting the last ingredient in and stirring it counter clockwise when Professor Snape walked in.

"Did you complete the potion?" He asked and Hermione dropped too much toad stool into the potion, startled by his sudden presence. The potion started to boil and exploded right in her face. She was thrown backwards and her head the ground with a crack. The next second Snape was clearing the fire and crouching down next to Hermione. Her face was flushed with mortification. It was her first day and she had already blown something up. She touched the back of her head and it came back red.

"I thought you were more competent than this, Granger!" He snarled hatefully. Hermione felt woozy and his voice faded away as darkness swallowed her whole.

She woke up just a few moments later, with Snape still crouching over her.

"I'm sorry." She whispered and he just sneered down at her. Hermione struggled to sit up, wincing at the pain in her head. It was throbbing.

"Take this." He shoved a potion into her hands and Hermione took it without hesitating, though now she wished she would have at least asked what it was she was taking. Immediately she felt the throbbing recede. She sighed in relief.

"Now, you can go before you ruin anything else. Report back here tomorrow at the same time." He snapped shortly and walked out of the laboratory. Hermione got to her feet with difficulty but when she managed it the walls were spinning and she couldn't feel her legs, though she was standing.

The feeling faded away and she could think clearly again. She had expected this year would hard and lonely but she hadn't expected to be proven right so soon. With a heavy heart she went back to the room of requirement ready to sleep it off and try again tomorrow.

A/N: This is my newest story since I've finally gotten over my writers block. I hope you guys like it, I have a feeling it will be one of my best.