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Atonement

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This was not how things were supposed to happen. In books, the right side always triumphed. Good defeated evil. Peace and justice for all. This was not how this was meant to end. They were supposed to have won. She was certain of it. She had never known anything else. Sure they had their close shaves in the past; seemingly impossible situations where the great Harry Potter was knocked to his knees and there was no hope of him getting back up. But he always got up. He always fought back.

Three months ago was the first time Hermione Granger ever saw Harry Potter not get up. When Hagrid laid the lifeless body of the Boy Who Lived on the ground in front of the people who had fought so long and hard for him, the stunned silence was loud enough to shatter the remaining windows of the castle. She remembered grabbing onto Ron for support and then she remembered running for her life.

There had been about ten of them to start with, hunted like dogs and one by one they had been picked off. Parvati Patil and her sister Padma were captured by Snatchers and never heard of again. Terry Boot was hit with the killing curse as they fled Liverpool. And Ron…

Hermione shook her head as if to clear it and her surroundings came vividly into focus. Crowded into a small thicket of trees the group of seven was huddled together, silence hanging over them like impending doom. She looked from each shadowed face to the next and felt her stomach clench.

As the last surviving member of the Golden Trio it was she that they all looked to for guidance. She was the one who decided every move they made. She decided when they would depart from their current destinations and when they would arrive at their future ones. She made all the plans.

It was something she was not yet used to. Harry always had the plan. She was responsible for the execution but Harry was the one with the ideas. She was really bad at coming up with ideas. Her eyes closed on the scene in front of her but the image of the group remained in her mind. Luna Lovegood’s eyes glowing in the firelight watching Neville Longbottom stoke the fire, Seamus Finnigan huddled close to Lavender Brown, Owen Cauldwell, still in his Hogwarts uniform, Ginny Weasley’s belly swollen in her lap. How she and Harry found time for any of that Hermione didn’t know. Then again she and Ron had found time enough for that…

Her eyes snapped open again. There was a small cracking sound just to her left and the whipping of her head was mimicked by the others in the circle.

“What is it Hermione?” Ginny asked, her hand moving protectively over her stomach.

Hermione shook her head and the silence enveloped them.

“Nothing I guess.”

As soon as the words left her mouth the fire was snuffed and a scream either from Lavender or Luna, Hermione could not tell, splintered the dark like a beater’s bat.

Panic flooded her limbs and she struggled to get to her feet, reaching blindly into the shadows with one hand, pulling out her wand with the other. They were all shouting now, scuffling and sounds of struggle filled her ears. She felt her hand collide with something solid and then fingers wrapped around the wrist of her free hand while her other was knocked hard. She felt her wrist snap and her wand slipped from her grasp as a strong arm wrapped around her waist and a hand clamped over her mouth and nose.

The last thing Hermione remembers was the feeling of a wand pressed to her temple and the word “Stupefy” growled into her ear.