It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single witch in possession of a good novel, must be in want of a life.
Such, of course, was the strongly held opinion of a number of the acquaintance of Miss Hermione Granger (Order of Merlin (1st Class); Acting Hecate of the Arachne Squad; Secretary of the Worldwide Congress of Magiwonks, etc.) So very vocal were they that Miss Granger (having no intention of doing without her novels) had recourse to the heavy sigh, to the contemptuous glance, and, when those and their ilk made no impression on one Ronald Weasley and his, to the most hair-raising exploits that the Department of Mysteries had to offer.
The work was intended to get her acquaintance to Shut Up, If You Please. One drawback was that her work would be unbelievable, even if it were not already Unspeakable; the other was that her willingness to say "Please," and "Thank you," and "Just a bit more time, Ron," was fast evaporating.
"But once you settle down, dear," his mother had said, "and the statutes of limitation run out – well!" Mrs. Weasley had beamed, and pressed Hermione's scarred hand. (A Jub-Jub Bird had coughed too close, the summer previous in Patagonia.) "Just think of the stories you'll have to tell your children!"
That remark went a small way toward explaining why Hermione Granger was standing in front of a wiggling, chortling book, one sunny afternoon in June. Just think of the stories. My work. My life, she thought, grinding her teeth, a story. For someone else.
What went unexplained, later, was what happened next.
The protection spells had been cast, Madam Pince was later to report. All the spells had been in place; the wards as strong as they had ever been. The Dicta-Scroll was recording at a rapid clip. Residual magic in the air made the dust motes dance, and reflected silver and glittering in Hermione's eyes. Her hair had crackled with static.
But then Hermione – "Miss Granger, that is to say," Madam Pince sniffled – had frowned, suddenly, and breathed, "Wait –"
And the book had giggled.
The insatiable public of the wizarding world eagerly awaits the results of the inquest – the answer to a puzzling question, which could very well lead to another universally acknowledged truth. Why did Unspeakable Granger disappear? And what, exactly, was so wanting from a paper-and-ink existence, that a good novel should take possession of a single witch?
For Hermione Granger had indeed vanished, that sunny afternoon in June, and if Hogwarts' battered copy of "Pride and Prejudice" knew whither, or wherefore, it sure as hell wasn't telling.