I want to warn you that there will be mentions of torture, actual torture (though not very graphic), a wicked vocabulary and homosexual feelings. How curious, right?... But maybe even more astounding is that the following story is pretty much a cliché (I am not certain actually, you have to decide for yourself, I guess)... With a twist, of course. Yes, sometimes even I like to indulge myself in them. I hope you will enjoy.
With every hex, charm or spell she produced her anger got worse, at times she screamed out whatever she was about to shoot Bellatrix' way. That Bellatrix could hear those names over the clamour of the war that played out around them didn't matter anyway, for the Death Eater danced around everything the younger woman tried to catch her with.
A cackle pierced through the screams and explosions. The older woman cared little about what happened with the others, as long as her prey and she were not hindered. It had been such a long time since one had entertained her so.
The Death Eater licked her lips in anticipation of what spell was next to come. Her eyes never strayed too long from the younger woman; calculating, observing and yearning.
Between her steps, swirls and other fluent movements Bellatrix shot her own offensive magic at random, at times not even directed at her prime interest. Because in contrast to her prey, she was perfectly aware of their surroundings, the older woman would let no one take herself by surprise.
Several times Bellatrix had hit whatever came too close with her scattered curses, no matter if said people were clad in Death Eater robes. No one would interrupt their battle, nor would she allow.. – No, that matters not. She is merely my plaything. Don't make her special, she is born with mud in her veins and becomes less worthy with every breath she takes. At the end of the day she will be dead, by my hand... Something stirred, twisted; Bellatrix grumbled and for the first time she shot a serious and determined produced curse towards the Mudblood. Who, in turn, dodged the green magic with a bit surprise etched in her expression, but which was soon drowned in the old expression of adrenaline, fear and anger.
Hermione, who had seen the difference in Bellatrix' demeanour, became furious, her face was contorted in hatred.
All for this older woman alone. Hermione was not her own anymore, that blasted woman had snuck under her skin, poisoned her, the mark on her arm would remind her forever. Until I no longer take breath, when I leave this world... "NO!" She yelled, more to herself than anyone else. She was at such a loss of control over herself that tears trickled down her smudged cheeks. They mingled themselves with the sweat and mud that already covered her skin.
"No!" she yelled again, "You are nothing but EVIL! I HATE YOU!" Her words were childish, she was aware, but her feelings were chaotic, they made her rational mind crash. Something was wrong, something inside her felt weird; it was as if a transformation took place - one that had begun long before this very day. A metamorphosis within herself that, no matter how hard she would fight against it, would ultimately force her to become a monster; a person who did not even understand herself.
That the Mudblood's words had been childish didn't change that they were heard by the older woman. Who didn't think much of them, she had gotten worse, yet something stung, somewhere, deep, deep inside her. The words were in contrast to the normal wit and intelligence her Muddling showed. Stupid little thing, you can do better.. And with her characteristic sneer she taunted the younger woman, "Don't insult me with your child play of words, Mudblood! No mud filled creature has ever stood this long before me in battle. Now show me what you can!"
"ARG! You arrogant woman!"
Spells shot past Bellatrix as she weaved herself effortlessly between the blue and red colours; while she slowly, and unknowingly to her prey, tried to lessen the space between them. The Death Eater didn't allow herself to get too close, she simply couldn't, her Lord could see them, and he would know with merely one glance. Thus she halted in her process, even though the nausea-like pull in her stomach continued to entice her. My Muddling is only a few meters far... Come nearer, Deary.
Another spell shot her way and Bellatrix twirled away, as she landed she peered through the strands of her ebony mane, they were everywhere because of her pirouette. Her breast heaved as she breathed, her Mudblood did know how to keep her entertained.
For now the older woman kept herself safe behind a strong Shield Charm, while she observed her Muddling. A sneer crept on her lips, as she rolled her eyes at the Mudblood's attempt to run around her shield, to try and give the spells she shot Bellatrix' way an edge, to give them a curve, all in an effort to outmanoeuvre the Death Eater's Protego Duo.
"Are you that determined to affront me, Muddling? You disappoint me, these are such simple tactics," she cackled, but it was stilled quickly as she caught a sudden movement in the corner of her eye. Some imbecile was about to tackle the Mudblood. Bellatrix recognized the flea-bitten mongrel immediately, Fenrir.
The blasted stray dog had taken a sprint and had jumped to close the last meters between himself and the Mudblood with enormous force; he wanted to knock her down, to make her an easy prey, so he could do whatever he wanted to her unconscious body.
Bellatrix' stomach turned upside-down, her eyes wide in fury and.. horror. For just a moment the Death Eater thought she was too late, that the wolf-shaped figure would have the younger woman clenched between his jaws before she could do anything to stop it. Yet this frozen state of body and mind did not last long enough to grant the Werewolf his wish.
With a curt twist of her left hand the shield demolished, all the while she conjured several curses voicelessly with her wand in her right hand and pushed her magical power outward to force the magic to fly with a swiftness barely visible for a casual onlooker. They shot forward even before the Protego had completely vanished, which caused the remnants to shatter like glass. The red and green colours mingled, separated and twirled around the other as they hurled towards their victim. Who was closing on his own victim as well, his jaws a mere few decimetres away. And one paw-like hand had its nails ready to dig into soft skin; and so it did a second later.
Hermione clenched her jaws, eyes darted to her left as a sharp pain arose on her upper arm. Claws had punctured right through her jacket and cut open not only the fabric but her skin as well. She stifled the scream that wanted to part from her vocal chords. Her eyes found the one of her assaulter, a Werewolf whose force already began to knock her down.
But as she registered the impact on her left she caught red and green coloured magic in the other corner of her eye. Yet before she could truly look and defend herself against the magic she assumed was directed at her, it had blasted the Werewolf far away from her. The process of her knockdown had stopped and she found her balance with a stumble.
A piercing howl of pain and agony accompanied the creature as he fell on the ground with a crash and he writhed uncontrollably. The Mudblood's eyes sought those of her saviour. When they landed on Bellatrix Hermione knew it was not a matter of playing the hero on the Death Eater's part, but rather that Bellatrix thought of the younger woman as her possession, and it was common knowledge that Purebloods were terrible at sharing.
While Hermione thought of this her ears still registered the Werewolf's screams and howls in the background, his wolfish pleads for mercy. And as the Cruciatus Curse slowly worked to its ultimate end Hermione could even hear how bones snapped, the roars and whines that followed brought shudders to her spine, the hairs on her neck stood upright, and she felt sick to the stomach. His tormentor was merciless.
Bellatrix' lips were pulled up, she showed her broken teeth in a snarl to the one she was about to murder, and still she was in a state of constant vigilance, she had made a mistake to believe that her scattered curses had been enough to frighten people and creatures away, but she had learned from her flaw.
The sickening sound of bones being shattered only increased, and so did Fenrir's cries, the magic and his voice both seemed to work to a climax. And the final blow was given by a mere swish of Bellatrix' wand. A last skull-piercing roar, a cracking snap, and then silence.. which was not even noticeable within the sounds of battle, Hermione doubted there was anyone besides Bellatrix and herself who had noticed the cries from the Werewolf. She dared not to take a look at its corpse.
Time didn't matter in battle, to no one, but Hermione was floored as to how fast this all had happened. And she had yet to direct her wand towards the other woman, but so did Bellatrix, who was no longer snarling, instead she looked at Hermione like she had grown two heads in the last dozen seconds.
It was she, Bellatrix, who looked most surprised out of the two of them.
A scream from somewhere ripped Hermione out of her lifeless state and she was reminded of who stood before her; Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort's right hand, a Death Eater, a serial killer, her own torturer, the one who had given her the mark, never to go away, one which reminded her 'of her place in magical society'. With a snarl of her own she spat her anger in hoarse words towards the female Death Eater, "You do not own me, Bellatrix!"
With a faraway voice - for she was at a war with herself; mind, emotion and beliefs - the older woman responded.
"Your words are hollow, they are nothing but wind, and you know that, Muddling of mine." Faraway, yet a serious tone was mingled in her voice, while her eyes looked puzzled as she studied the Mudblood.
The younger woman stood defensively with wand clutched in her right hand, while her left arm hung limply at her side. Blood had soaked a great part of the fabric of her clothes and the red liquid still trickled down her arm, hand and fingers; a small pool had already formed around her feet and her face was drowned of all colour.
She will die. If she stays here there will be another imbecile who tries to kill her if her blood loss won't do the trick. But she is mine. That shall not happen. Where shall I bring her, where is she save? Bellatrix mulled over this in her mind, she had realized moments before – as she had battled herself - that she could no longer keep herself under control, Fenrir's attack had made her shatter not only the strong shield but, most of all, her will to pretend. This Muddling is different.. to me. The Death Eater bit her lower lip, and thought about places she could protect with wards without inciting much or any suspicion. Her eyes glistered with mischief as she had found her answer, my old summer cottage.
The younger woman looked about to faint, yet she still stood with eyes that blazed with rebellion and anger. It caused Bellatrix' sneer to, once more, take place upon her lips. Which she turned into a mocking grin as she cooed to the younger woman, "Come here, Muddling. You are mine, I will keep you safe from the rest of the world," she stretched out one arm and beckoned with her index finger.
Hermione was light in her head, but she had still her wand directed at Bellatrix. Her hand trembled because of the effort it took her to keep herself from falling to the ground. The wound on her left arm throbbed and was obviously deep, but with Bellatrix so near she could hardly try to heal herself.
Hermione had listened to Bellatrix' sultry voice, it would have been hard not to, and had opted to keep silent. There was nothing she could say to change what was happening, Bellatrix was the one in control of the situation – and it had taken Hermione to this point for her to realize that the other woman had been pulling the strings all along.
The Death Eater had that same crazed glint in her eyes – the same like that one night – yet there was something that made it entirely different. And it rooted the younger woman to the ground. Or was it her blood loss that caused her muscles to be immobilized?
She watched as the older woman began to prowl towards her. No longer was it only her hand that trembled.
Bellatrix cooed encouraging words with a wicked grin, heavy-lidded eyes trained on her Muddling as she never faltered in her steps. She is so close.. Is that her scent I smell?
The older woman was about to reach for the younger one when her eyes widened and she looked at her own underarm, where her skin had long ago been honoured with his tattoo. Her breath got caught in her throat, this cannot be true...
And then the shrieking whale sounded through the castle. It silenced, it made people and creature alike halt in their movements, it made them forget, for a single moment, what they had been doing – to defend themselves or to kill the others.
But it was the sound that followed that had Hermione's heart hammering. Unbeknownst to herself she lowered her wand until it pointed at the ground instead.
Bellatrix screamed her denials, as she dug her nails into her tattoo. The snake that had adorned the skull twisted while both slowly vanished from Bellatrix pale skin. She had become frantic, while she screamed for her Lord and pleaded for him to return.
She threw her hands to the sky and screamed, it was no longer words she produced, just pure agony. Then the Death Eater stumbled backwards and Hermione felt how something within her was shredded to pieces as she saw how Bellatrix' eyes had become red while tears streamed freely over her cheeks. It was then that the older woman looked at her Muddling again, with eyes filled with fear. She reached forward, her under lip trembled before she tried to voice her plead for the younger woman before her, "Come with me", but no sound came from her throat.
Hermione had no strength left to lift her wand again, not that she had the heart to do it. Never had she imagined this woman could look so forlorn, broken and helpless.
There had come no sound from Bellatrix as she had wanted to say something, but the younger woman had seen and read the words that were formed by her lips. They left the Mudblood with no resolve left to defend herself. Thus she let Bellatrix come nearer and let the older woman reach for herself.. and Hermione felt how fingers ghosted over her cheek, it could barely be called a caress. The gentle brush was gone before those soft fingers had truly touched her skin. The Mudblood opted to open her eyes, she wanted to search for answers in those black pools. Her eyes fluttered open, she blinked as they had to adjust to the light. Her mind had become slurred and her body couldn't handle all that was asked of it anymore, there was too little blood left.
Yet when the sight before her became sharp, the fog in her head disappeared at once.
Bellatrix looked surprised, her puffy red eyes wide and unfocused. Her hands clutched at her chest and gripped the fabric, her knuckles white from the pressure she used. Then there came some focus back in those black pools and the Death Eater looked at her own breast, to see the fading green light.
Hermione witnessed it all, at first too stunned to utter a word, but as Bellatrix began to stumble backwards the younger woman followed with a step of her own. "No," her voice was a breathless whimper, as she gingerly reached for Bellatrix with her right hand. Somewhere in the process her wand had fallen out of her grip.
The older woman on her turn watched, with the little light that was left in her sight, as her Muddling reached for her. She wanted to touch her, to feel her darling Muddling for a last time, and she tried, both her hands trembled as she reached for her, it took all the energy that was left within her body.
No longer could she see sharp, thus she blinked, but it helped little. Her breath was short and feverish, her head light, then she inhaled one last deep breath and let it go not long after, as if she sighed just before sleep overtook her. And she was tired, so tired.
A last attempt to feel her skin again, but even if she did she could no longer tell. With a thud her body landed on the ground, dust momentarily twirled through the air around her.
In the end Bellatrix never did touch her Muddling again, for the younger woman had been dragged backwards as she had tried to take another step towards the other woman.
She could have captured the falling body, could have hold her while life slipped out of her. Instead, Hermione was dragged and held meters away from Bellatrix against her will. She had tried to struggle, but with the little strength left in her it had been too hard.
Though the younger woman reached for the Death Eater again. Her eyes never left Bellatrix, in these moments she memorized those black pools. Eyes that had become smoky, they no longer saw. And then a warmth spread over Hermione's left arm, the feeling of flesh that was forced to heal. Her mouth opened, a whimper and broken sobs came out of it. Even now her eyes couldn't waver, she tried to call her name, but something held her name on the tip of her tongue, something felt wrong about it.
She saw how trembling fingers reached for her, it was the slightest movement, fingers which searched one last time. Then the older woman began to fall and the name that had stilled on Hermione's tongue moments ago was now ripped out of her - like her heart - she screamed her name. Bellatrix.
The Mudblood was not aware of how it had happened, but she was finally free and staggered forward, towards Bellatrix. A person Hermione had believed she could never care for.. but maybe she had, all along. With her hands outstretched she fell to the ground and closed the last two meters on all fours.
Once more she reached for her and when she felt the fabric under her fingers she gripped it tightly.
Her body shook as sobs came relentlessly, they cracked her open from within, she had no name for the sadness she felt. Hermione buried her head against Bellatrix stomach, there lingered warmth still and her scent flooded over the younger woman. Both warmth and scent, penetrated Hermione's senses, it made her oblivious to everything around them.
The fabric of Bellatrix' dress became soaked by tears.
At some point she looked up, her eyes hurt and yet the salty liquid still ran down her skin; she searched for something in Bellatrix face. But nothing changed, there appeared no venomous sneer, nor did the older woman blink.. the Death Eater had not tried to fool her. The dead cannot lie.
Again her vocal chords were forced to produce screams filled with agony, with her head in her neck Hermione howled them to the sky. Only when there came no sound from her throat anymore did she bow her head, as if she surrendered, but to who? Hermione questioned her own sanity.
She looked at Bellatrix again, her face had become ash coloured, once mocking eyes stared into oblivion and the warmth had dissipated from her body. The realization caused sobs to reoccur, yet the tears had lessened, there seemed to be little fluid left, still, they unwittingly slipped from the corners of her eyes from time to time.
The younger woman circled her right arm around Bellatrix' waist, her hand supported the lifeless body at the centre of Bellatrix' back. While her left hand was nestled in the ebony mane, at the roots in the crook of her neck. With both hands she tried to bring the Death Eater's body nearer, but she was too weak and thus bowed forward, now her own body had become a shield against the rest of the world as she cradled Bellatrix in her arms.
She pressed the bridge of her nose against her jawline, as she tried to still her sobs and failed to do so. Thus instead Hermione rested her cheek against Bellatrix' cold skinned cheekbone. At least this way her weak sobs were muffled by the ebony mane...
Then suddenly a burning anger nestled in Hermione's chest, her grip on Bellatrix tightened as she screamed the air out of her lungs. She forced her magic outward.
A chilling scream sounded between the walls of what once had been the Great Hall, which was followed by a blast accompanied by distraught noises, vaguely noticeable as two men; but that one to the bone-chilling scream, which continued still, caught Harry's and Ron's attention. For it was Hermione's. And they had been searching for her, they wanted to know she was safe, to have her in their midst again. It was not far from where they stood, Harry and Ron dashed towards the sound and wove themselves through the half-hearted battle that still seemed to go on.
Now that Voldemort had fallen the people and creatures that had fought at his side tried to get away as fast as possible, there were a few who battled to their deaths, but they didn't stand a chance now that their leader had been defeated – and with him their spirits and believe that they could win. It was no longer a battlefield, more some sort of a cat-and-mouse game.
When they reached the place where the scream of their friend had come from both boys stopped dead in their tracks as they saw the scene before them. A small crater had been made in the ground at their feet and about ten meters to the right lay their friend huddled against a body, a body whom both Harry and Ron recognized at once. Left of the crater there lay two men on the ground of which one was clad in healer robes, both were tended to by a House Elf, and one of the men had regained consciousness. Harry walked to the small group and asked what had happened, while he glanced back at Hermione.
Harry had to repeat himself before the man registered his question and with ragged breaths he told about the happenings, his story all but chronologic, "She screamed, yes? Bloody hell... One moment I have the girl safe in my arms, far away from that bloody Lestrange woman, while Thomas heals the gash. Before that I had cursed her, the Death Eater, as dead as dead can be. Next moment I lay here, bleeding like a cow, and with a headache – "
The man rambled on as Harry patted him gingerly on the shoulder and walked back to Ron, whose face was as white as a sheet. Harry didn't know what to do and he doubted that Ron had any idea either.
They stood there by the crater, and listened to Hermione's sobs, her pleads and cries. Harry didn't understand what had caused his best friend to act this way, somewhere inside it angered him, how could she cry for the murderer of Sirius... But then again, he knew her, like no one else; Hermione always had her reasons. He hung his shoulders. His head throbbed and he was tired. He wished this mess could be dealt with by someone else. But more importantly, he wished he could close the distance to his best friend and help her, but somehow he knew that was not a good idea.
His eyes fell to the crater and it dawned on him that it had been Hermione who had created it, the blast, it had been her magic.
Hermione's form stirred and slowly she sat up, seconds ticked by before she threw her head in her neck and wolf-like screams came out of her throat. It was a frightening sight to see his best friend like this. Her voice broke at some point, she had likely never abused her vocal chords like this before.
Then she bowed herself over the older woman again, she was so gentle and yet so desperate.
Before Harry could do anything Ron had begun to take careful steps towards their friend, determination set on his face, while he called her name, time and time again. Gentle at first, willing her to hear his voice and come out of whatever trance she was in, but his voice grew louder as there came no response.
It was not until she suddenly screamed, with her face halfway hidden in ebony manes, that Ron got his response, only not in the way he had anticipated. For he was blasted away by a sudden burst of magic, much like the previous men. The boy flew through the air, but before he hit the ground the House Elf had caught him mid-air with her own magic.
Harry was torn, he didn't know where to go, in the end, he ran towards Ron. But when he saw that he only suffered unconsciousness, he stood again and was about to try and reach for Hermione when a firm hand on his upper arm stilled his movement.
He looked up in another set of emerald eyes, ones that likely could decipher any puzzle given to the woman.
Minerva looked at Harry and waited for him to take a step back, as he complied she took assured steps towards the two women that lay on the ground.
The Professor had taken the liberty to question the two men that still lay on the ground – both had been awake when she had arrived at the scene, thus her questions were soon answered. Afterwards, she had Obliviated them, which was why both were once more unconscious. She had thought about Hermione as she did it, for it was obvious there had happened something devastating, something peculiar. She wanted to minimize the possibility that some disgraceful rumours would be spread. People were not to be trusted.
With a swish of her wand she silenced the space around the younger woman and herself, for she knew this would become a painful moment for Hermione. Painful and very personal. Alas, Minerva could hardly send everyone out of the Great Hall, all she could do was pray that, now that they could not be overheard, it would not draw any more attention than it already had. And since there was still enough chaos around on Hogwart's grounds to keep the current people and creatures occupied, she didn't think it impossible. There were also Harry and Ron to keep any more onlookers away.
When she neared the younger woman Minerva felt how magic crackled through the air, just like the previous times.
She paused, felt how the electricity shuddered, then she took another step. At that moment a slash of magic crashed down upon the Professor, but she shielded herself with her own Primal magic. Which caused the wind in-between the two forces to ripple away. A loud bang filled their bubble and Minerva had to concentrate for a moment to keep her Silencing Charm from faltering.
Taking a deep breath she took another step. And Hermione, unknowingly or not, lashed out at her Professor once more.
This battle between their Primal magic continued on, with every step Minerva neared Hermione's attempts to crush her Professor increased in strength. At some point they were accompanied by hoarse and broken screams, but they were barely audible; all indicated that Hermione had seriously damaged her vocal chords and that her energy began to wane, though the attacks still strengthened.
Minerva mentally steeled herself while she neared her student, from this close she could clearly see the incomprehension, anger and sadness etched upon Hermione's face. With practised ease she drowned her emotions, Minerva's face a masker, expressionless. But as she crouched down, a scant three meters away, and began to talk to Hermione her voice was gentle, kind even; clear and never faltering, but kind nonetheless.
"Miss Granger, please listen to me." She kept vigilant, she knew one was never truly safe especially in wartime. "Please listen to what I – "
She hadn't been wrong, yet her shield had formed itself barely in time. An incredible amount of pressure came down upon it, but she held it together. Minerva's lips thinned, her eyebrows furrowed. Then the pressure disappeared. Strands of her equally ebony hair flew before her eyes, since her usual bun had loosened and had completely vanished at some point while fighting the enemy before Voldemort's dead. Not that she cared. There was no point in binding it up, no charm could keep it together in battle.
It mattered not to her, for her mind was by the thing at hand, by Hermione. And Minerva observed her body language. She saw how her shoulders had slackened ever so slightly, still her body didn't move. The Professor assumed that Hermione's energy really was waning, the girl must have exhausted her energy to the core. Poppy should examine her as soon as possible, she would be able to ascertain what is best to do for Hermione's condition.
Minerva tried again, "Miss –" the words stuck to her tongue. How could she ever get her student out from this state of mind if she addressed her in a formal manner? It was against her principles, but with a sigh she chastised herself for being so stuck to her own ways – that I didn't think of this sooner. She spoke again, her voice just as gentle as before, "Hermione – " Minerva wavered, as she was not comfortable with this, "I want to share something with you," electricity trickled over her skin, charged and ready to strike any moment. The Professor braced herself as she continued, not missing a beat, "I do not believe it is necessarily of great importance to you, for it is merely my view of the situ – ARG!" The jolt that slammed into her magical barrier had partly slipped past, it turned the skin of her left hand, that she had held up to create the shield, alight.
Damn her intellect, Minerva thought and murmured a spell that kept the magic's effect from spreading. The Professor took a few seconds to collect herself and then she continued, ignoring the burning pain, "You forget that you are human." A pause, before she repeated, voice slightly softer, yet it demanded to be heard "For the love of Merlin, you are human. And so was she. What has happened here, I do not know and nor do I believe I should ever be privy to that, but trust me when I say that you of all students – or people – are one I highly praise and one I would never refuse to assist when you should ask me for help." She took a breath and reached out for her student - who no longer seemed capable to assail her Professor. With her hand lightly on Hermione's back, she tried to return some sliver of warmth to the cold body by rubbing small circles. She whispered the following words, but charmed them to be certain that Hermione would hear her, "Let me help you, please, Hermione." Her Gaelic accent clipped at the words.
Hermione's body moved, slowly she sat up. Her right hand still gripped tightly at Bellatrix' dress, while the other settled lifelessly in her own lap.
Bloodshot eyes looked up into emerald ones. Nothing but forgiveness and tenderness was held in Minerva's eyes, it was Hermione's undoing. A shuddering breath left between lips that trembled. She had thought there were no more tears to be shed, but at the corner of her eyes they pooled once more. Hermione hung her shoulders, her left hand lay with its palm upward, she looked at the blood that had dried upon her skin, cracked like a dried-up masker of mud.
She felt abused, from the inside out; where once had only been anger for Bellatrix, there had also nettled a nameless and empty sadness, but most of all confusion and doubt.
Have I cared for her all this time..? The Mudblood had no answer and she feared she never would. She wrapped her arms around herself and closed her eyes, the younger woman didn't want to see Bellatrix any longer, yet...
Heartfelt sobs escaped like soft whimpers from between her clenched jaws, she wanted no more tears, but as another set of arms wrapped around her she felt how not only she was crying. The young man that held her shared her feelings, he cried for lost ones as well. His well-known scent washed over her; the smell of sweat, blood and dust mingled through his normally earthly odour. With momentarily newfound strength Hermione gripped tightly at Harry's shirt. She never wanted to let him go, she needed his comfort. Maybe he could save whatever was left of the old Hermione... She felt lost in nothing but empty darkness...
Reviews are treasured.
P.S. there is a sequel, it's titled 'When the Dead Linger'.