A/N: The chapter has been Re-Vamped. Thanks for the wonderful dharkcharlotte for helping me out in the story.

Chapter One - Lost

Hermione had run from her past as soon as it was conceivably possible. Living in Europe only served to keep the horrible memories and pain fresh. Stanford had seemed to be the best option

After the war with Voldemort, she was left alone. Death Eaters had attacked her home a few weeks before the last battle; leaving her without a family. Harry had succeeded in destroying the Dark Lord but not without paying the ultimate price. Not only did she have to deal with Harry's loss, but Ron's as well. The youngest Weasley male had dueled with Lucius Malfoy and lost. Instead of a Trio, there was now only one.

Stanford University had accepted her without question and though busy, life had been peaceful. Since nothing magical had happened since moving to America and starting classes, Hermione resolved to do her best to keep it that way.

Her circle of friends was deliberately small. The first friend she had made was Dawn Summers. The two had been very quiet with each other in the beginning. After a few weeks had passed they became comfortable around each other. Hermione felt as if she were becoming part of the world once again.

During her time at Stanford she found herself becoming attached to two individuals other than Dawn. At first she resisted the attachments. One friend seemed like such a risk and didn't want to lose any more friends. However, the other two individuals kept on pursuing her. In the end, Hermione gave up and started spending time with the crowd. Sam and Jessica together were very persuasive.

She enjoyed their company and the time they shared with her. Unfortunately, that would soon change.

Hermione was always very careful with her belongings and keeping her private things private. But Murphy's Law was ever-present there was always a first time for everything. She had left a picture of her and the boys out. When she got home late in the afternoon, she found Dawn looking at it.

As Hermione entered the room, Dawn asked, "Hey, who are they?" pointing to the framed picture.

"Just some boys I went to school with." She kept her answer short, hoping that the conversation would not go further that what it already had. She should have known that would be impossible as it was Dawn asking the question.

"They're cute, were they ended up doing to school?"

"They didn't finish school." Hermione felt tears starting to form at the back of her eyes.

"Oh. Well, do you still talk to them because; you know we could invite them to a party and have like a double date." The big grin on her face made it obvious what Dawn was thinking about.

"I can't call them." Hermione winced, no longer hopeful that the questions would end.

"You don't talk to them anymore?" Dawn seemed very determined to continue with her interrogation.

Hermione couldn't take it any longer without breaking down. This issue was just too sensitive and private.

"No, I can't because they're dead." 'There she finally said it out loud. Her friends are dead and there is nothing she can do to bring them back to life.'

She slowly walked to her bed and sat down.

"I'm so sorry; I didn't mean to be pushy." Dawn walked over and took a seat next to her. "How long ago was it?"

Hermione hesitated, but answered the question. "It was a few years ago." She turned her face away from Dawn as she answered.

"You know you can always talk to me about anything, I'm your friend and I'm here if you need me".

"Thank you." After a few moments of silence, Hermione said, "I think I'll go out and take a walk."

"Okay." Dawn watched Hermione walk out the door. She knew that there was something more to her friend's story. It was evident in the emotions clouding Hermione's face. She'd seen that look in the mirror and on Buffy's face too many times.

Hermione couldn't do it. She just couldn't share her emotions yet and she needed to get away from the four walls closing in. Even though it was late at night, Hermione found herself headed toward Sam and Jessica's; just pass by and see if they were still awake.

As she approached, Hermione saw Sam climbing out of a black Chevy Impala. She caught his eye as he slammed the door. He waved a greeting as the car sped off; leaving him standing in the middle of the street.

"Hey Hermione! What're you doing out here alone this late?" He called out as she walked toward him.

Hermione shrugged. "Just needed to think. Mind if I go up with you?" she asked as she stopped and peered up into his smiling but tired face.

"Sure come on." He said as he gestured her forward with his bag.

"Thanks, you think Jess is still up?"

"I think she is."

"So where were you?" asking as she pointed at the bags.

"Oh, just a family outing with my brother." He answered quickly as if it was a normal thing he did with his brother.

"I didn't know you had a brother." She stopped and waited for Sam to use his keys and open the door..

He looked a little sheepish. "Yeah, I don't usually hangout with him."

Sam opened the door and let Hermione in first. "Jess?!" He called for her; but neither heard an answer. He heard the sound of the shower running and turned back to her. "She may be taking a shower." He said as he pulled the outer door shut.

Sam walked into the next room and threw his bags to the floor. Right behind him, Hermione leaned on the door frame and watched him fall on the bed face up, his exhaustion evident.

She couldn't help feeling guilty and said, "I'll go if... " but her voice dried up at the expression of horror on Sam's face. A wash of fear swept over her when he shouted. "No! Jessica!"

She followed his gaze and found a nightmare on the ceiling. One of her worst nightmares. Jess was pinned to the ceiling, a bloody gash darkening her stomach. Hermione was frozen at the sight of yet another friend dying. Flames erupted in an instant and Jess was immediately enveloped.

Merlin, they needed to help her! They couldn't just leave Jess to burn! Hermione needed her wand. Reaching for it, she remembered it was in its hidden spot in her dorm room. Someone ran in the room from behind, passing her frozen form to make a grab at Sam. It was a man, slightly shorted then Sam, but a little older. He pulled at Sam despite her friend's protest and yelled, "Come on!" at her as he drug Sam through the door and out of the apartment.

At a run, Hermione followed them out of the building with a feeling of hopelessness. Someone had obviously called the fire department because they could hear the siren's approaching.

The three of them came to a stop beside the vintage muscle car she'd seen earlier.

"Sammy, look at me!" The man that had dragged Sam out was trying to get his attention. Sam seemed to ignore him as he walked around to the back of the car and started rummaging around in the trunk.

Hermione could clearly see the expression on Sam's face. The desire for revenge was clear and it was one she knew well. By the expressions on the men's faces, they knew exactly what they were up against. She followed Sam, knowing by the look on his face what he was going to say.

He closed the trunk and turned to her as she reached him. "Hermione I have to leave..."

She cut his goodbye short. "I'm coming with you."

A/N: What do you guys think? Please comment.