Hermione's Preface

Banana, Oatmeal. Fat. Fat. Hermione cringes when she thinks of the breakfast that her mother forced her to eat this morning. Now I'll get so fat. She looks in the mirror, to see dozens of inexistent rolls of fat. Do her thighs look like cottage cheese? Her stomach is huge! Is that a double chin growing? Oh God! She needs to get this food out of her, now.

Her feet turn toward her bathroom. Her hand claws open the door. Her knees bend in front of the toilet. Her mouth opens wide. Her finger gets shoved down her throat. 1… 2… Out… Out…Then it comes out, her teeth clamping down on her knuckles seconds before. Tears stream down her eyes, and the gruesome smell of vomit perfumes the air. She wipes off her fingers and her mouth, quickly flushing the toilet afterwards. She doesn't want to see it anymore.

She washes her hands, gargles some water, and casts a few spells to erase the damage. Still, her face is blotchy and her eyes piercing red. She looks in the mirror. Who is this girl that she sees? She can't even recognize herself.

Hermione Granger is a smart witch, a kind witch, a pretty witch, a brave witch, and, even, a popular witch, but she is not a happy witch. Because in Hermione's eyes happiness in one self-means that one has to be perfect, and she is far from perfect.

And that's why she diets. To be a little closer to perfection. It started off innocent enough. She gave up junk food, started counting calories and working out. If she'd known back then that it would turn into an obsession she wouldn't have started. But now she's thankful. She likes having control over her weight. She likes the stability. She likes the order.

As Hermione takes one last look around her room, she catches a peek of the gorgeous sunset kissing the city of London. If it were an ordinary night she would take the time to watch the sun illuminate the city's classic architecture with its magical array of pinks, oranges, blues and purples. But today is anything, but ordinary. In a matter of minutes she will be hugging her muggle parents good-bye for the year and heading off towards platform 9 ¾.

Hermione knows she has one last thing to do before heading off to Hogwarts. She opens up her bottom dresser drawer and pulls out the box that contains the evidence of the only meaningful relationship she has ever had. She suppresses her tears as she opens the lid to see pictures of Ron and her, the bracelet he gave her for her birthday, and the massive amount of letters he had written. Everything that reminds Hermione of Ron is in this box, and it's the hardest thing for her to take out her wand and make it all turn into a pile of ashes. This is her final attempt at closure, her final attempt to heal the whole in her heart, the unresolved loneliness.

Don't cry, her brain yells at her tear ducts, crying is a sign of weakness. But Hermione is weak; tears began to parade down her cheeks like it's the fourth of July. Once they have started she can't stop. Flashbacks to his terribly romantic confession of love and the power of his illuminator, turn her heart to mulch, but became overshadowed by her most recent memory of him.

Ron was blubbering in her arms about Fred, "You wouldn't understand. You don't have siblings."

They were both terribly drunk and had taken to Diagon Alley to try to melt away their sorrows with the company of Harry and Ginny. It was a typical teenage thing to do, but none of them had the opportunity for such an act of deviance before. The last seven years of their lives had been focused on defeating Voldemort to some extent to another. And now they were free, free from you-know-who.

"I know," Hermione said, "But I suppose Harry's like my brother, and I don't know how I could survive if Harry died."

Ron turned to her, a glare in his eyes. "Yeah, it's all about Harry isn't it?"

"What?" Hermione gave him a quizzical look "That's not what I meant Ron?"

"You think I'm stupid?" Ron barked,he definitely had too much to drink. "It's all about Harry… Harry this… Harry that… At my own brothers damn funeral it was all about Harry. And then when I'm trying to just talk, f***ing talk to my girlfriend, you have to bring up Harry."

"Oh Harry," Ron continued, mimicking Hermione's voice, "I know if Harry died, I couldn't survive. At least Harry didn't die. I'm so close to Harry. Harry's my best mate. Harry is so smart. You should ask Harry. What do you think Harry? I love Harry. Harry's so cool- Harry- Harry-Harry- Harry"

"Ron," Hermione tried to prop him up on her shoulders to take him back to the burrow, "I think we better get you home."

Ron sneered, "See you don't even deny it. You love Harry. You love Harry."

"Ron," Hermione shook her head. She had been aware of Ron's jealousy, but the way he mistrusted her was almost hurtful. "I love you, don't be silly."

"You think you're so smart, and kind running around knowing everything, always doing the right thing," Ron laughed, "But then you go cheat on me with my best mate."

Hermione felt tears roll down her cheeks, "Is that what you really think of me Ron? Is there anything else you want to share with me."

"Yes, there is actually," Ron's words were beginning to slur, "You know how yesterday you asked me if you'd gained weight? Well you have. I don't like it. You're beautiful, but you've gained weight. It's not that I don't love you. But, damn, you did cheat on me. You cheated on me. You cheated on me with my best mate."

"I never cheated on you," Hermione put her hand on Ron's shoulder, "You know I love you."

"Get your hand off of me," Ron looked away, wincing at her touch. Hermione bit her lip, unsure of what to do.

"I didn't cheat on you, "Hermione cried.

"I can't even look at you," Ron said standing up, "I can't even look at you. They're right, you're just a cheating mudblood."

"I can't believe you," Hermione was bewildered, "Do you realize what you've just said?"

"We're over," Ron said coldly, "It's over. Go off and be with Harry."

Hermione stormed off, leaving a drunken Ron to reiterate events in a not-so-accurate way "Hey Harry guess what? Hermione just broke up with me. Yeah, she told me that she actually likes you. I think that one's had a little too much to drink" Hermione couldn't turn back, tears were already in her eyes and her heart ached too badly to see Ron's red-headed face again. Hermione wasn't surprised when nobody wrote during the summer, except to reprimand her behavior. And even then, she couldn't write back though, she couldn't explain.

But she didn't care. It would be the summer of self-improvement and nothing was going to get in the way. She lost 30 pounds; Ron would never be able to call her Fat again.

"Hermione," Her dad's warm and comforting voice bring tears to her eyes as he gives his little girl a hug. "Are you sure you can't stay longer? Can't Hogwarts wait for another day?"

Hermione laughs, unsure of how to respond. She feels like a horrible daughter, leaving her parents after that awful year. She had put them in danger, and abandoned them to fight battles that weren't hers. In return, the very people she risked everything for had decided to ditch her after Ron's drunken rage. Karma. I deserved it.

Sensing her daughter's discomfort, Mrs. Granger intercedes, "We're only kidding dear. We want you to go off and finish you're education." A bittersweet smile flickers across her face before her eyes fall over her daughter's shrinking figure "But, are you sure you don't want dinner before you leave. I can always call Chinese or we could go out to your favorite Italian restaurant or…"

"It's alright mum, really. I don't want to miss the feast." This is guessingly untrue. Hermione is dreading the feast and has plotted over ways to deter eating or avoid it all together. But the lie serves its purpose, because she notices that it is enough for her parents to give off a little sigh in relief. Whatever makes them happy.

"All right then, but make sure to write. We're expecting to see that owl of yours quite a bit."

"Of course," Hermione embraces her parents, "I'll write loads."

"Oh, my baby girl," Her father pulls her into his arms. He still feels guilty over forgetting his daughter, even if it was the by-product of one of her magical spells designed to protect them. "I can't believe this is your last year."

"I'm afraid so," She says. But Hermione notes in her head, that she should already be finished. If Voldemort and his death eaters hadn't have stolen last year from her, she'd be getting a job at the ministry right about now, still close with her old group.

"Yes," Mr. Granger's tears are flooding his voice, "And just think my little girl…"

Hermione laughs, "I love you, dad."

"I love you, too."

Mrs. Granger's lips curl with pride, embracing her perfect daughter in her hands. Never, has a mother been so proud. "Take care of yourself. I know being head girl might be demanding, and studying for N.E.W.T.S may be stressful, but promise me you'll try to relax a little bit after last year."

"I will," She rolls her eyes before catching a glimpse of her watch, biting down on her bottom lip. "I guess it's time."

"Good bye dear," Both parents cry, "We'll miss you."

"I'll miss you too," Hermione looks back at them and takes a deep breath. She promised herself she wouldn't cry, and if there's any chance of fulfilling that promise, she needs to get out of there now. "Bye!" And with a hint of magic she's gone, leaving her parents to another year alone.