Hermione Granger had regretfully stayed back and gone to finish her schooling at Hogwarts as Head Girl the year after the second Great Wizarding War, without Ron or Harry. She worried about them all the time, and because they weren't there she had a lot of time to do that. Ginny and Luna were always busy, and Neville had graduated. She didn't have any real close friends besides them.
On the brighter side of things, she had a whole bedroom and bathroom to herself. Total privacy. She had finally made it to the top. There was no one there to bug her this year, either. After what had happened in the Astronomy Tower, Draco Malfoy had been killed by You-Know-Who for being unsuccessful in completing a task. Though she felt bad that Draco had been killed for not killing Dumbledore, it was nice to not have him making fun of her all the time.
Even though Hogwarts had been restored to its glory, Hermione didn't feel same walking down it's halls. It didn't seem as cheerful, and all of her classes seemed harder and her life more stressful. Maybe it was from being so alone all the time, maybe it was from the work, she didn't know. She just wished she had her two best friends back.
There was one stress reliever so Hermione wouldn't go mad: The seasonal musicals. Hermione had gained a passion for dancing in them. She was excellent, no doubt; possibly the best dancer in there. Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood had done the same. This gave them some time to talk and be together, which to Hermione was much better than being alone.
Somehow, a rotten girl a year younger than Hermione, named Carla Butterbaum, had gotten the leading role, and always bragged about it to everyone. No one knew why she was chosen; because if her notes weren't flat they were sharp, her voice was always shrill even when she talked, and she couldn't act for her life.
"This trophy from our saviors, from our saviors from the enslaving force of Rome!" Carla attempted to sing
"With feasting and dancing and song, tonight in celebration, we greet the victorious throng, returned to bring salvation!" the girl's chorus sang
"The trumpets of Carthage resound! Hear, Romans, now and tremble! Hark to our step on the ground!" The boys sang their part
"Hear the drums, Hannibal comes!" They sang in unison
"Sad to return to find the land we love threatened once more by Roma's far-reaching grasp!" A boy, Hermione had been told his name was Xavier Piangi, used his chest voice
"Bid welcome to Hannibal's guests, the elephants of Carthage! As guides on our conquering quests, Dido sends Hannibal's friends!" The chorus, including Carla and Xavier sang, and then, thank the heavens, Carla and Xavier stopped. "The trumpeting elephants sound, hear, Romans, now and tremble! Hark to their step on the ground, hear the drums! Hannibal comes!"
As soon as the song ended, Carla went into a full-out hissy fit about her costume and her hat, and started to cry. The dancers took a break to stretch and relax while Carla had a temper tantrum. They happened often, and lasted for a good hour.
"You know," Hermione leaned over to touch her toes when she was sitting in a circle with Ginny and Luna "It's times like these when I sometimes regret auditioning for the ballet."
"I regret it whenever Carla opens her big fat mouth." Ginny re-laced one of her flats "Luna, am I right to say that you got a letter from Neville yesterday and you didn't tell us?"
"Well, you didn't ask." Luna twirled a long, bright strand of hair in her fingers
"Well, we are now!" Hermione leaned in with delight, demanding to hear everything Neville wrote
"Everyone, everyone!" Professor Flitwick tapped his stick against his music stand. "Now, now, now. We are going to practice the aria from Act Three! Resume your places!"
A very nice and smooth measure of music started to play, but was ruined by Carla singing "Think of me, think of me fondly when we've said goOOOOodbye." A chill went down Hermione's spine "Remember me once in a while please promise me yoOOOOOu'll try. When you find that, once again, you long to take your heart back and be free-"
Suddenly, one of the set backgrounds rolled down and on top of Carla, making her cry in pain as she got pinned to the floor. She banged on it, yelling "Ah, ah, ah!" Everyone in the Great Hall screamed and started to pull the set off of her. Once successful, she was taken to the hospital wing, yelling "I'm done with this! You'll never see my face here again!"
"It's him…" Luna stared hypnotically at the nothingness
"Who, Luna?" Hermione asked
"Luna, there are an awful lot of ghosts at Hogwarts, and I doubt that one of them did that. Besides, we would have seen them!" Ginny added
"Not this one." Luna shook her head "He is a new ghost, one from the war. He wanders the grounds at night, sometimes you can see him during the day. He seems to be mischievous and malicious, but not in the way that Peeves is. His intents are harmful."
"Luna, where did you learn this?" Hermione asked concerned
"Oh, I've seen him. Some others have, as well. Whispers, mostly."
"Well, what does he look like?" Ginny interrogated
"He looks like a Death Eater that perished in the War. He still wears his mask. Some say he still possesses a wand."
"I don't mean to insult you Luna, but that sounds like a load of rubbish to me." Ginny put her hands on her hips.
"What am I going to do now, Minerva?" Flitwick waddled over to the professor who overlooked each rehearsal. "We've lost our star!"
"Hermione Granger?" McGonagall's voice sounded exactly the same as when she had called out Hermione to get sorted on her first day of school at Hogwarts.
"Yes Professor?" Hermione whipped around
"You've never failed me before, and your voice sounds very delightful. Would you please help me in replacing Carla?"
"Well…I've never sang before…and the performance is in a week. I'd need to learn all the pitches and the lyrics and the lines…"
"Granger, I've heard you singing when I've passed your dormitory. Please, as a favor." She gestured her to the center of the 'stage'. "A little closer, if you please."
Hermione cautiously approached the center, not liking all the eyes and attention on her. She knew that she would mess up terribly and look like a fool, but before she knew it Flitwick had tapped his staff and the music started.
"Think of me, think of me fondly, when we've said goodbye.Remember me once in a while please promise me you'll try. When you find that, once again, you long to take your heart back and be free if you ever find a moment, spare a thought for me." A week had passed before Hermione's eyes, and there she was in front of all of her friends and classmates, singing. "We never said our love was evergreen or as unchanging as the sea but if you can still rememberstop and think of me. Think of all the thingswe've shared and seen don't think about the way things might have been. Think of me, think of me waking, silent and resigned. Imagine me, trying too hard to put you from my mind. Recall those days look back on all those times, think of the things we'll never do there will never be a day, when I won't think of you. Flowers fade, the fruits of summer fade, and they have their seasons, so do we but please promise me, that sometimes you will think of me!" The crowd exploded in cheers and whistles and claps for her, making her smile uncontrollably.
Hermione found herself splashing water on her face in the girl's lavatory on the second floor. She had taken out all of the pins and the beautiful jewels from her hair and ears and laid them on the sinks.
"Ooohawhhhh!" Myrtle flew out from her favorite toilet "Well if it isn't Hermione Granger? The head girl of Gryffindor house, and the savior of the wizarding world? Let's not forget the new star of the school?"
"Myrtle, you don't have to say it like that." She looked at her through the mirror
"Well, it's true, isn't it? You're the star now! In all honesty," Myrtle took her strange tone, that sounded weirdly flirtatious "I must thank you for defending our school. If my bathroom had been destroyed, who knows where I would have been?"
"Oh, well, you're welcome Myrtle." She smiled at the new compliment "Myrtle, how many other ghosts do you know about?"
"Well, there's the house ghosts, and the ones who for no real reason pass through here. Why?"
"There are rumors floating around that there is a ghost of a death eater haunting the school now. Are they true, Myrtle?"
Myrtle, even in her ghostly body, turned a shade pale "I've seen a hooded figure, walking through here. Once, maybe twice. Only at night, when it's too dark for me to see and I'm trying to sleep. I don't know why he's in here, but that's all I know. That and when some of the girls come in here to-well-you know, they talked about it once."
"Thank you, Myrtle. I hope you have a good, uninterrupted night." She nodded towards the ghost
Brava! Brava! Bravissima!
Hermione…a whisper of a melody came from the walls
"Where in the world have you been hiding?" Ginny stepped into the bathroom cautiously. She still felt uneasy about the bathroom after her first year and the diary. "You'll never guess who is in your room!"
"You'll just have to go up there to find out!" Ginny playfully dragged Hermione out and up the stairs to her room.
Hermione excitedly turned the knob, not knowing what to expect, and saw nothing. Her smile faded like snow melting on a window. She looked around frantically but found nothing and no-one. "Ginny, there's no one-" she turned around to complain to Ginny but found only Ron and Harry smiling back at her. "Ah!" She shrieked, throwing her arms around her best friends. "It's so-" she kissed Harry on both cheeks "-good-" she kissed Ron's left cheek "-to-" she kissed his other cheek "-see you!" She kissed him long on his lips, a taste she had long missed and ached for. She had missed that terribly.
"It's great to see you too, darling." Ron returned the favor and kissed her back, toying with her by calling her darling, a name he knew she didn't like to be called.
"Ahem…" Harry cut in, signaling that they had been kissing too long.
Ron pulled back and wiped his lips clean of lipstick on his sleeve. "Sorry, mate."
"You were AMAZING up there, Hermione!" Harry raved
"Brilliant, is more like it! I didn't even know you sang or acted!" Ron exclaimed
"Neither did I, until Clara Butterbaum had a fit and pulled out of the show. McGonagall made me do it."
"You must do it again, Hermione. You truly were astonishing. Everyone is talking about you!" Harry said
"It's wonderful to see all of you again, but I'm very tired, and I imagine that Ginny really wants to see her boyfriend and her brother?"
"Good point." Ron nodded "Well, I'll send you an owl soon, okay?" He leaned over to kiss her again
"We promise." Harry kissed her on the cheek
"Don't let me down!" Hermione warned before they closed the door behind them.
Hermione took a quick shower and then slipped into her white satin nightgown. She tucked herself into bed and tried her best to sleep, but still couldn't stop thinking about Ron. She wished that he were still there, sleeping beside her. Ron and Hermione hadn't gotten that serious yet, but she liked knowing that he was around her. Right as she closed her eyes and was about to settle down, her eyes popped out as she remembered she left all of her jewelry and accessories in the girl's lavatory.
She knew it was a risk putting on her robe and slithering down the stairs to the bathroom after hours, being head girl and a role model, but those pieces were too important to lose or have stolen. The bathroom at night was unbearably eerie, with not even Myrtle to make her feel a little less uneasy. She must have floated into her toilet or another bathroom to scare someone. There was only one, wide but short window on the very top of the fourth wall, opposite the sinks, serving as the only light. As she grabbed for the accessories and started to run out of the bathroom, the door shut and locked itself.
Hermione felt the hair on the back of her neck rise and her heart rate beat faster than a drum. She dare not turn around to see the cause of any of this, but the room had suddenly become ten degrees colder, and the atmosphere more terrifying. Finally mustering up the courage, she asked "Who's there?" Without turning away from the door
"Look behind you…" the same melodic voice came from earlier that night
Something was hypnotizing her, like she was being controlled by the Imperius curse. She turned around slowly and saw that the sinks had opened to show her the way to the Chamber of Secrets. When Hermione had gone down with Ron, he told her to be very careful, and if she walked ever so slowly and gently, she wouldn't fall and slip down the corridor like it was a slide. When she entered the corridor, she saw a hooded figure hold out his hand to her. She reached out to take the gloved hand, hesitated, and finally took it.
In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came. That voice which calls to me and speaks my name. And do I dream again for now I find; The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind.
"Sing once again with me, our strange duet!" the ghost sang to her "My power over you grows stronger yet. And though you turn from me to glance behind, The Phantom of the Opera is there; inside your mind."
Those who have seen your face, draw back in fear. I am the mask you wear.
"It's me they hear..."
Your spirit and your voice in one combined! My spirit and my voice in one combined!
The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind! The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside your mind!
In all your fantasies, you always knew
that man and mystery . . .
. . . were both in you . ..
"And in this labyrinth, where night is blind, the Phantom of the Opera is there inside your mind. . ."
And in this labyrinth,where night is blind, the Phantom of the Operais here inside my mind. . .
"Sing, my Angel of Music!"
Even with the mask muffling and disguising his voice, he sounded like an angel of the night. His voice floated and wrapped around her, like wind taking a leaf. Something told her that she must do what he said, so she tried to sing for him. "Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aah!" He's there,the Phantom of the Opera . . .
"Sing, my angel!"
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aah!" Hermione went a note higher
"Sing for me!"
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aah!" Hermione did another note
"Sing, my Angel of music!"
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aah!"
"Sing for me!"
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, aah!" Hermione had gone up a whole octave.
She knew now that this ghost was not a ghost at all, but she didn't know what he was. All that she knew was that after that moment, her life would never be the same.
A/N: AHHHHHHHH! Who liked it, eh, eh? I would love it if all of you commented, but before you do, have this in mind: At first I had it where it was during what was supposed to be the Golden Trio's seventh year, leaving Hermione behind, but (since I know who the phantom is) I knew it wouldn't work out, and I wanted there to be a reason for this new ghost on the grounds. I didn't want Hermione to sing until the end because, in all reality, it would be weird, and I only let the Phantom sing the words "Phantom of the Opera" because it would also sound weird if he sang "The Phantom of Hogwarts." And yes, being a crossover, I may or may not make changes to how things happen (or take a few minor things out) so don't bite my head off! And yes, every review counts!