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Chapter 1 : The Realization
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Six months. It was hard to believe it was six months of peaceful, ordinary days since the defeat of Voldermort and the end of the Second War. Well, peaceful and ordinary for everyone else maybe, but Hermione Granger a member of the famed Golden Trio, was still trying to put the pieces of her life back in order.
Harry seemed to be doing alright as he and Ginny moved in together and planned their wedding for next year. She was to be the maid-of-honor for her best girlfriend.
Ron was busy with Quidditch practice as tryouts for the professional teams drew closer with the end of summer. In his last letter he told her that he was staying with Oliver Wood for a couple of weeks to some practice in and get some tips from the former Gryffindor captain turned successful professional.
For Hermione though she seemed to have hit a slump. At least the night terrors hadn’t come last night. They always seemed to go away whenever she brought someone home with her. Her latest choice was still currently snoring beside her. She had met him last night at the bar of the Leaky Cauldron at Diagon Alley. He had been smooth, suave, sophisticated, and completely obvious about what he wanted. Not wanting to spend the night alone with her fears and slightly intoxicated, Hermione had been more than happy to oblige him.
Now, as she looked at him in the sober light of day, she really wished she hadn’t. He was much older than she realized and had a greasy, sleazebag air about him that she found repulsive. Suddenly feeling the need to take a shower, Hermione slipped quickly from the bed and dashed to the bathroom, pausing only long enough to grab a change of clothes. Shutting the door behind her, she locked it and cast a Muffliato charm in case she started screaming or sobbing, whichever was the order of the day. Her neighbors already thought she was strange enough with her half-healed scars and bruises. Most of them were Muggles and had no idea what she had been through.
Hermione turned on the shower and then looked at herself in the mirror. She hardly recognized herself anymore. She had lost some weight while hunting down the Horcruxes and defeating Voldermort with Harry and Ron, but once everything was done and she had moved into her new apartment, she lost even more weight as she suffered from flashbacks and night terrors. Her eyes had dark bags under them and her eyes themselves were a dull, muddy brown instead of the rich, chocolate brown color they used to be. She lost her appetite for food and hardly ate some days.
“I’ve lost my appetite for life,” she said quietly to her reflection as the mirror began to fog over. Hermione sighed and reached for the shower curtain. She involuntarily flinched as she caught sight of the angry, red scar on the inside of her forearm. Here was the main cause for all the turmoil in her life. While she knew her friends had been through a lot during the course of the war, none of them had been tortured under the Cruciatus curse as Bellatix Lestrange carved hateful slurs into their flesh. Even now, she could hear her own screams reverberating in her head. Hermione clenched her eyes shut against the memory and hastily got in the shower.
“I need to get out of here,” she thought aloud, “I need to get out of my head.”
As she let the hot water run over her and washed away the traces of last night Hermione knew there was only one possible place to go. The one place that she had always felt at home and the one place she realized she needed now more than anything. That place was the Burrow.
A/N: Please leave me comments and reviews. They help me figure the story out as I go. I'll try to post more chapters as time (and creatvity) allow. Thanks! NaomiMiller
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