"How long were you all going to sit around waiting?!" Mrs. Weasley raged. It was past ten at night and most eyes were weary from the long day. It was a day for planting some things in the garden, which meant hard work for everyone. Even Ginny's young children got involved, carrying baskets with seeds for the adults. They were asleep upstairs while their mother half-sat, half-laid on the couch.
"You'll have to be more specific, Mum. We're all rather tired here," Ginny sighed, scraping some left over dirt from under her nails.
"I just got an owl from St. Mungo's about Hermione's condition. How long has she been silent?" Mrs. Weasley raged, tossing the letter onto her daughter's chest.
"I didn't want to worry you, dear. It's my fault," Mr. Weasley sighed, weary from his Ministry job. His wife didn't seem to notice his tiredness either as she slammed her foot down onto the floor.
"I will not have you hiding such things from me! She needs to talk! She needs to get better!" Mrs. Weasley screamed.
"These sorts of things don't fix themselves, Mum," George murmured, looking up from a cup of tea. "I should know with all that I've been through."
"We've all been through things, George! It didn't turn any of us to stone!" his mother combatted.
"I didn't sleep, eat, drink, or speak after we got home, Mum. It's normal. Leave it be and let's get ready for bed," George sighed.
"He was my son too! I'm not implying we didn't suffer, but Hermione can overcome this! She has to speak!"
"Give it up, Mum," Ron whispered, heading up the stairs to his room.
Mrs. Weasley ranted for hours until her husband gave her some tranquilizing potion mixed in with her tea. With her calm, the house could rest. Ginny slept in the living room, or tried to. Her eyes were wide open. Whatever happened to Hermione in that house was enough to break her spirit forever. She wanted more answers too, but she was with her siblings: All Hermione needed was time.
One year ago…
Hermione looked around her house like she would a stranger's. Her mother's quilt, kept on the couch when their old furniture was moved as a welcoming present, sat wrinkled in the corner, soaking up excess water from a plant she didn't recognize. Someone took down her father's paintings, all of them rare first editions and all of them ruining in the garden.
Draco snapped his fingers, breaking her thoughts. She approached, bowing slightly.
"Yes, master?" she asked. She then heard the cry of a baby, someone else's baby. But it was hers to care for. She had to obey. She had to obey Draco's orders.
"Keep that damn thing quiet," he hissed, pointing to the master bedroom. Another woman was on her side of the bed, a woman recovering from child birth. Her child lay where Hermione's dresser once sat, crying in a bassinet sent from Draco's mother.
"I thought you'd never come! Make that thing be quiet, will you?" the mother begged. Hermione nodded, moving to the child. Blonde locks covered his face. Was it really her baby? He looked just like his father, so she must be the mother. "You'll have to pick him up or something. He won't silence himself."
Hermione cradled the child. He was too heavy, then he was too light. The darkness called to her, "Want to make sure he doesn't cry again?" Hermione didn't answer. She walked around the rug, one from Lucius to replace Hermione's rug. She saw the uplifted spot. She tripped anyway.
A scream came from the mother while Hermione was comforted by the darkness. She'd silenced the baby forever. He'd never make another sound.
The hospital asked them all to stay away for two weeks. Ginny could no longer go because her bump would be too obvious, and her busy husband never had the time. Only Ron and George could go without causing problems, as Mrs. Weasley had neglected too many tasks and Mr. Weasley couldn't take off any more days from work.
With so much time apart from Hermione, things returned to semi-normal within The Burrow. Mrs. Weasley rarely yelled, and Ginny's kids made her laugh frequently. Before she'd look back at them with sad eyes; the kids often asked their mother what was wrong with her, but Ginny looked at them with the same sad eyes.
Now that they had time away, they could think about their own problems and not Hermione's failed marriage. Ginny took up knitting for her new baby, deciding against using Hermione's things because of the meanings behind them. The journal confirmed that he'd almost forced her to try to become pregnant, and while cries could be heard from the house within the last year or so, Hermione was never pregnant. They had no idea what made the crying noises, but they didn't want to approach the woman. The Ministry probably used a memory charm on her anyhow, meaning she would remember nothing from any of the events.
But two weeks pass quickly, and Ron traveled with George to St. Mungo's to visit Hermione. They were immediately sent to a quiet room to talk with her doctors.
"She's made progress, but…she's a broken woman, and I doubt she'll recover from this. There were more lives taken than the one. She barely remembered them after they happened, but now that she's out of the situation, the memories are crippling. We're tempted to erase all of her memories between her graduation and now, but that is very controversial," the doctor explained. Ron sighed, shaking his head weakly.
"I know it's tempting, but that's not the way to do this," he whispered. The doctor nodded.
"She's asked for a music box from her room. It's mahogany and contains her favorite song," the doctor murmured. The Weasley boys nodded; they'd bring it the following morning.
They left the hospital without seeing her. They decided to tell the family nothing. They wanted them to think she was just fine.
One year ago…
Hermione looked up from the guest room as a half-molded bread loaf was thrown inside. It had been four days since she ate, though she'd gotten water through a cracked window. She was hungry, devouring as much of the bread as she could. It tasted funnier than it should, but she didn't care.
The door opened again and Lucius stepped forward, his cane tapping on the floor. His face was dark and menacing. Hermione felt herself shiver as she chewed the molded bread.
"You're pathetic, a worthless human being, a mudblood from the depths of nothingness. You will die slowly and painfully for what you did, and not one bloody person will give a damn," he said in an even voice, a dark undertone making Hermione shivered as she swallowed the huge bite. "You're too stupid to realize what you've done, where you're going. You're pathetic and I'll enjoy watching you die."
He threw down her wand, watching it roll under her bed. He smirked slightly, "You'll never be able to do anything meaningful with it anyhow."
With that he turned on one heel and stepped from the room. Locks were replaced, then menacing laughter came from the front room.
The darkness flickered in and out. Hermione looked to it, smiling softly. It had kept her company despite what it did, what it saw. Now it was calling her again, "He'll be alone soon."
Memories waved past her eyes, memories of the horrid life she'd had as Mrs. Draco Malfoy. She felt her scars, physical and emotional, all at once. She knew the voice was right, the darkness was correct in its choice.
The front door closed. Hermione stood, weakly at first, moving to where her wand rolled. She grabbed it and faced the door.
It flew open with the first spell she used. Draco sat on the couch, smiling slightly as she emerged.
"Maybe we were wrong about you," he grinned.
She hated his smile, his laugh, his everything. She raised her wand.
"What are you doing?" he asked, laughing.
She hated his smile, his laugh, his everything. She said the curse.
He wouldn't smile, laugh, or exist anymore.
Hermione opened the box, smiling slightly. She'd somehow kept her time-turner, a dangerous device. She barely remembered her third-year, when she'd used the device to save the term. She'd knocked out Malfoy during those times. She should've hit him harder, and she eventually did, but she had to do something.
She stood, watching the world reverse around her. The ward she was in was opened five years ago, giving her the perfect place to stop. She was a part of the tour when it opened, giving her the opportunity to fade back into her life, but without all the problems.
The group stepped into the room, minus Hermione Granger. She stopped turning time, joining the group with a smile. She'd worn a dress she brought with her, surprising her doctor. He thought she was recovering, beginning to do better, but really she was putting her plan into place.
As she finished the tour, she felt her "past" fading. She would forget what she'd been through with time, but for now, she had to make sure it would never happen.
"Oi, Hermione!" a voice called. She looked down the street to see Ron Weasley, his hair in an untidy mess. "Want to grab a coffee with me?" he asked. Hermione nodded, following him to their favorite café.
"I didn't expect to see you today. I thought you'd be at The Burrow visiting Charlie," Hermione smiled, happy that she could remember such small details.
"He's helping Ginny with the baby. I got tired of hearing him scream," Ron groaned, leading them to their usual table after their drinks arrived. "I wanted to see you before you went off into the countryside with that study group. I…I wanted to tell you how I feel. I know we've talked about it before and you said you had to think about it, but—"
"Ron, stop," Hermione whispered, taking his hand. "I needed to work through some things, but…if you can accept my career choices, then I don't mind being with you," she smiled. Ron smiled too, sighing heavily.
"I didn't expect that," he panted, breathing heavily. "I think I'd be sick if you weren't here with me."
"Well I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere."