A/N: The story continues in the next story "Headmistress Moriah the Enigmatic".
Hermione stood at the edge of the lake, her fingers running through a length of black silk ribbon. The waters lapped at her bare feet which bit with cold even in this warm season. She closed her eyes and felt the smoothness of the ribbon against her cheek.
Hermione's back was stiff in the hard wooden chair. The sun overhead had left all those in attendance in a stew of their own sweat and grief. At a time such as this, Hermione should have been following along to the present speaker's eulogy (a Durmstrang professor by the name of Petrovna who had been a fellow member of the Wizengamot). But her mind, despite all good intentions, was fixed elsewhere.
More specifically, fixed upon the bowed head three rows ahead of her. The head had shimmering black hair tied into a ponytail by a black ribbon. The bowed head was resting upon an older woman's shoulder.
The head turned slightly and Daniella and Hermione locked eyes. There was a desperate pleading in the soft eyes of the Ravenclaw but the woman beside her coughed impatiently and her head swiveled back to the front.
Hermione shivered in the cold water. A light breeze picked up and tickled her skin. It refreshed her, stirred her. Through the dappled reflections of light through the trees, small fish could be seen silently darting around her bare thighs.
The crowd moved in waves into the Great Hall, Hermione surrounded by students, parents, professors, members of the Order, and a whole host of important people.
Ron and Harry had gone off to search for the other members of the extensive Weasley family. Harry had turned around to invite her, but the look exchanged between his two best friends, a mix of sorrow and confusion, kept him from pressing her further.
In the swirling mass she felt lost, her throat squeezed tight with agony. For days, the pain emanating from two different sources had channeled into a singular grief.
A flash of familiarity peeked behind a veil in the crowd. Hermione squinted and pushed through the throng to see the two she recognized. Long red hair as fiery as the girl who tucked it now behind her ear was having a determined, intimate conversation with Daniella.
Daniella held her arms tight to her chest, wiping her wet nose as Ginny spoke, nodding along. Ginny brought up a hand to stroke Daniella's arm consolingly but she flinched away. Their eyes followed the older woman Daniella was with, who was speaking with a man only a few feet away. The momentary distraction of who was no doubt Daniella's mother allowed Ginny and the girl to continue their hurried conversation.
An idea formed in Hermione's mind. With a quill from her bag, Hermione raced to the lavatories and entered a stall, composing a note on the program she had received. With a spell she had learned from Ginny in order to pass secret notes, the words vanished save for a small "HG" tucked in the top corner.
Out of the lavatories, Hermione strode back to where she had left Ginny and Daniella, but now Ginny was speaking in hushed tones to Luna Lovegood.
Like months ago, the beautiful Ravenclaw had disappeared.
The lake engulfed Hermione, drinking up her naked torso and pale breasts. Normally, she would have detested, even feared such a brazen act, but the world had somehow changed. Even her skin felt different as it slipped further into the lake.
She dipped under momentarily then rose up, her brown hair shiny and slick against her back.
Tears clouded Hermione's vision as she wedged herself out of the Great Hall. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, she walked along a gravel path through a garden.
A small cluster of people were gathered in the garden, closely surrounding a slump-shouldered figure with a prominent brow. The figure turned around and the hard expression on his face swiftly turned to joy at the sight of Hermione.
In the most polite manner afforded to the large and graceless international Quidditch star, Viktor Krum swept three determined reporters out of the way like a puff of smoke.
Hermione braced herself just in time as Krum wrapped her in a tight bear hug. It comforted her to some extent and she patted him on the back, realizing that he was sobbing into her shoulder in earnest.
Releasing her from his grip, he pointed to a path out towards the lake. Hermione nodded and they walked together (after a rather terrifying look Viktor flicked across any reporters who had the notion of pursuing them).
Taking off the heels that pained her, Hermione walked with Krum to the edge of the lake. After holding back for so long, Hermione told him everything. Viktor said little, nodding along and rubbing her shoulder at the necessary moments.
When Hermione told him of Daniella and her struggles over Ron, she could hear the anxiety in her voice. The fears she had for Daniella's safety and the worry over her friendship with Ron had totally consumed her. The feelings she had for all of these people ached to be defined or given an identity, but Hermione could think of none. What did her intimacy with Daniella or confusing arguments with Ron have to do with a label?
Removing her stockings and bundling them in her bag, Hermione sat next to Krum under the cool
trees. After she had confessed everything to Krum, she was surprised to hear him speak. Much was torturing his mind as well.
He talked about his recent bouts of depression on his world tour with the Bulgarian team. His teammates had pressed him for everything concerning the death of Cedric and the return of Voldemort, but he found himself unable to talk about it. His celebrity had kept him from taking any controversial stands against the ministry and what seemed to him like an obvious internal takeover by the Dark Lord. The past two years had been difficult and it was apparent that Dumbledore's death had shaken him considerably.
For a long time, both sat staring out at the waters. Viktor rested his hand over hers and she allowed him to leave it there.
Hermione floated peacefully on her back. The trees swayed, their rustling leaves sounded like a rolling tide.
In her bag, the secret note remained unread. The words were spilling out, into the lake, becoming immersed and lost.
Whatever Ginny has told you, believe her. I am leaving but I suppose you are as well. What we have shared can never be taken from you. Thank you for a friendship beyond definition.
It started with one kiss on the side of Hermione's neck. Just a single, exploratory kiss.
Needful and silent, their lips brushed each other's face, their cheeks, their eyelids, their lips.
They were quickly undressed. Her black dress hastily removed. Jacket and pants thrown aside. Legs locked around his middle, she was placed tenderly on a bed of grass. A tongue fast at work, though clumsy and surprisingly inexperienced, Hermione's eyes fluttered and her cheeks grew rosy. Past tears that once more filled her eyes, she imagined Daniella pleasuring her instead.
Beautiful, soft, curvy Daniella licking her sex. Daniella with the brown doe eyes gazing up at Hermione as her fingers plied her sweet pussy.
Protection charm in place, Viktor muttered a bashful request for consent. Hermione, in a frenzied fever, nodded her approval. He entered her and her body convulsed at the pleasure.
It felt just as it had when Ginny had used a strap-on dildo to ride her. Hermione enjoyed being penetrated, and the thought of the freckle-kissed breasts of Ginny bouncing above her made Hermione moan in lust.
Krum's shaft sliding in and out of her cunt turned her on. She placed two fingers on her delicate clitoris and closed her eyes. She arched her back as Viktor circled her breast with his tongue.
His pounding came deeper and faster now. She called out for him to keep going as she was about to come.
In a final frenzy of ecstacy, Hermione's orgasm swept through her body. She closed her eyes and her lips let out a wild moan. Krum quickly followed, his body collapsing on top of hers.
Hermione floated naked and alone. The black ribbon Krum had used as a funeral arm band had been presented to her without a word. She gently released it and it floated out of her grasp.
It had been a thoughtful, yet unnecessary gesture, she thought to herself. Krum was just one person. One person as scared and unsure as she was. He would go back to Bulgaria to do what was required of him as surely as she would stay with her friends to do what was required of her.
As the ribbon spiraled and wound its way down into the dark depths of the lake, Hermione felt herself lifted up. She was alone but for the first time in a very long time, this pleased her. Her spirit, which could not be called by name or spoken, had been raised up into the light.