Hermione and Harry had decided to ditch the Welcoming Feast in favour of partaking of the Draught of Peace in the Infirmary. Unfortunately, they were waylaid by a twinkly-eyed ... something. A 'Decider, next of kin to a Dark Lord'? She'd need to ask Tyrael what that meant if they ever ran into him again. Which they probably would seeing how keen Tyrael had seemed to kill the very wizard standing right in front of them.
"Ah Harry and miss Granger, I couldn't help but notice you came in without your friend Mister Weasley and immediately left the Welcoming Feast. Is something wrong?"
Hermione Granger stared right in the eyes of her Headmaster and told him "We didn't see him on the train. I think he must have run away. We're very worried so we're going to the Infirmary for some Draught of Peace."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled at her. "I see. Well, rest assured the staff will be investigating Mr. Weasley's disappearance. Do make sure you don't miss the Feast." and then the Headmaster turned around and let them go to the Infirmary.
They stood there in the corridor with bated breath for a minute just watching to make sure Dumbledore wouldn't be coming back for them.
"Hermione! You lied to Dumbledore!"
"Yes I did, Harry."
"Hermione, you lied to Dumbledore!"
Hermione threw him an impatient look. What was so difficult to understand?
"But he's Headmaster. And Chief Warlock and Supreme something."
Oh that. "An Angel is a Higher Authority, Harry. Of course they outrank a Supreme Mugwump."
That confused Harry a little bit. But then again, he'd never cared that much about authority so whatever worked for Hermione.
"Oh no dearie, Draught of Peace is for deeply traumatic events. Not for everyday worries and excitement but something serious like watching your friend die right in front of you."
"You don't say." Hermione remarked with a sickly voice.
It was on their way back to the Great Hall for the Welcoming Feast with their veins pumping full of the maximum dosage of Calming Draught (and a few extra doses Harry had managed to palm in his pockets because Hermione wouldn't allow them to exceed that same maximum) that Harry finally broke down and started talking about what had happened.
"What are we going to do Hermione? Tyrael killed Ron!"
"Ronald deserved to die Harry. Tyrael said so."
"Are you sure that's how it works?"
"Yes Harry. It's just like overdue library books. People who don't bring back their library books on time get sent to meet a judge and then the judge sentences them to death and then they die."
Harry furrowed his brow in confusion. "I really don't think that's how it works."
Hermione informed him primly "It's how it should work. Every librarian I've talked to said so."
"I- I really don't think that's how it should work either." Harry told her hesitantly.
"Trust me on this Harry. I'm sure of it. That's exactly how it should work."
"I don't want anybody to die, Hermione."
At this Hermione stopped walking and looked at him. "Well some people deserve to die, Harry." she told him kindly.
"I- I'm not so sure about that."
"Well, what about someone who tries to kill you. Quirrel tried to kill you last year!"
He looked away from her.
Hermione was flabbergasted "It was self-defense!" she shouted at him.
Harry just stayed silent but switched to looking down at the floor.
"Oh Harry. You do deserve to live!" She moved to hug him but he stiffened up in her arms. After a full minute of not feeling him relax even a little bit, she grew awkward. Oh right, boys didn't like to hug. She let him go.
They resumed walking back to the Great Hall each lost in their own thoughts.
"Lots of people are going to die, aren't they?" he asked quietly.
"Yes Harry, they deserve to die."
"Umm, how are we going to handle it? I mean, just seeing Ron ..." he trailed off meaningfully.
Hermione stared off into nothingness. "Calming draughts Harry. Lots and lots of calming draughts."
A few days later.
'Lovable jesters, my arse.' Hermione thought.
"Stop being mean. Not everyone likes your jokes!" she told them.
"Au contraire! EVERYBODY loves our jokes! We are the jesters extraordinaire!"
"Oh yeah? Then how about that Hufflepuff girl in third year who ran away crying?"
"That? Pshaw, that was an accident. Totally unintentional."
"Uhuh, then what about Sally-Anne Perks breaking down in sobs? For two weeks!"
"Bah, she loved it! We didn't hear any complaints from her!"
Hermione grew appalled "She withdrew from Hogwarts!"
"Details, details. Besides, how do you know it had anything to do with us? Maybe she flunked her year-end exams."
"She was a First Year! NOBODY flunks first year! I checked!" she screamed at them in fury.
The twins just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.
Now overwhelmed with disgust, Hermione sneered at them "You'll be next!"
At that, the twins turned skeptical gazes at her "We would never withdraw from Hogwarts. It's our home!"
Suddenly abashed, Hermione backpedaled "I didn't mean that."
Now the twins' skeptical gazes turned suspicious "Oh? And just what DID you mean?"
Hermione searched desperately for a way out of the trap she'd pushed herself into. Aha. "I meant only that if you don't give up your bullying ways, someone's going to bully YOU until you run away from Hogwarts too."
The twins adopted offended looks "Us? Bullying? We're pranksters! And we know how to take a joke! And we're the best pranksters in Hogwarts, nobody could hope to outprank us!" but then they grew perplexed "Besides, you said that Sally-Anne Perks just withdrew from Hogwarts, she didn't run away from home like our little brother Ron did."
"Right, I forgot that." she was getting better at lying to monsters. So much better now. It must be all the practice.
"... in pursuit of an irresistible research opportunity abroad."
While everyone save the Slytherins cheered Snape's departure, Harry and Hermione stayed conspicuously silent. Hermione even threw a sympathetic look at the Slytherins. Unexpectedly, this did not go unnoticed. A couple of twin redheaded fourth years sidled up to them on the bench.
"So what's the dirt? It looks to us like you two know more than the staff is telling."
Hermione breathed out a huff. "If you must know, the Slytherins think Professor Snape is dead."
"Really? Where did you hear that?"
"From Draco Malfoy. He told- well he screamed it at us- well at Harry. He screamed about how Harry would pay for his Godfather's death."
"Really?" the twins drawled. "Sounds to us like someone's hunting the Slytherins! Is it just Snape or is it open season on anyone Evil?!" they inquired, intrigued.
"You think someone's hunting Slytherin House?" Hermione was confused.
"We can only hope! After all, Slytherin House is Evil, very Evil!" they declared joyfully!
"Yeah, evil." Hermione told them unconvincingly.
"Very, very Evil!" the twins responded, obliviously happy.
"You don't think it's just a little ambitious to kill Professor Snape? And more than a little cunning to get away with it?"
"Oh hey, you're right! It must be one of the snakes who did away with their Head of House. They're doing a great job hiding it though."
Hermione remembered the Angel who'd strangled Ron to death single-handedly with His arm outstretched right in front of two eye-witnesses. Hermione remembered the Vision she saw, of the Angel striking down the Lord of Angels, his *brother*, all so He could sacrifice Himself. Then she silently shook her head at the twins' stupidity.
Hermione frowned. Did Evil have anything to do with stupidity?
A/N: Before anybody mentions the Weasley clock, what makes you think Molly would tell her widdle babies of Ronnie's death? What makes you think it was her decision not to tell her children of Ron's death? What makes you think she remembers seeing Ron's handle on the clock point to 'Dead'? Dumbledore knows, and what he knows, he tells no one. And it would be oh so convenient for him if others who happen to know "forget". Especially since he can't be blamed if Ronald just ran away.