CI by shabdabdingdong @TDA.
'That wand's more trouble than it's worth,' said Harry. 'And quite honestly,' he turned away from the painted portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed waiting for him in the Gryffindor Tower, and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a sandwich there, 'I've had enough trouble for a lifetime.'
Harry was tormented by nightmares for the following hours, seeing the faces of all of those who had died for him. A gentle touch on his forehead made him brusquely open his eyes, and he saw Hermione sitting in the side of his bed, Ron standing next to her.
"Harry? Are you okay?" She was obviously worried.
"Yes," he answered a bit too fast. Ron raised his eyebrows at him. "... No. I've been dreaming. About... About Fred and Lupin and Tonks, and I..." His voice faltered.
Both Ron and Hermione's eyes filled with tears, though Ron tried to hide it. Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but Ron got there first.
"Don't you dare, d'you hear me, say it was your fault. Don't even think it. You're the one why we're still here, so don't even think it's your fault," Ron growled. And then, in a very un-Ron manner, he leaned in and gave Harry a brief one-arm hug. To this, Hermione stopped trying to hold her tears back, and blushed furiously as the boys looked at her.
"I'm s-sorry," she stammered. "I just can't stop thinking about them."
"Hermione, that's totally normal. Neither can we. In fact," Ron said in an attempt to lighten her mood, "if you were able not to think about the so soon afterwards, you would only be a selfish..." He was cut off by an enormous crashing noise, as the door to the dormitory banged against the door and an out-of-breath Neville toppled inside.
"Hermione," he managed to sputter between two gasps, "McGonagall sent me. Your mum and dad are here."
"They WHAT?" she shrieked, looking utterly stunned. Ron and Harry were as bewildered as she was. "But how on earth did they...?"
"Dunno," came Neville's answer, "but I think you should come down."
She had never run this fast in her life, nor wished so badly that Apparating inside Hogwarts was possible. Her loose hair was flying behind in a brown streak, and she was oblivious to the surprised cries of "Granger?!" that followed her the whole way down. Just two more flights of stairs...
"Miss Granger?" This stern voice was the only one that managed to stop her wild run. "Yes, professor?" Minerva McGonagall was obviously stifling a smile, allowing Hermione to imagine exactly how crazed she must have looked galloping down the stairs. However, despite her evident amusement, Professor McGonagall looked absolutely dreadful: her spectacles were barely hiding the big black circles under her eyes and, something Hermione could not recall having ever seen, her hair was toppling out of the bun that was precariously perched at the back of her head. "Your parents are waiting in my office, Miss Granger. Now if you'll care to follow me..."
As they went back up the stairs, Hermione realised they were heading towards the Headmaster's office. Noticing her surprise, Professor McGonagall smiled, though it was a very tired one.
"Do not worry, Miss Granger, these are only temporary measures." Hermione turned quite red. "That's not what I meant for you to understand, Professor, I assure you..." But before having a chance to continue apologising, they had arrived in front of the stone statue of a gargoyle, that seemed somewhat perplexed to what it was doing there. However, it was in a better state than the day before, where it had been standing lopsided, looking a little punch-drunk
"Quidditch," McGonagall called to the statue, who slowly moved over, revealing a flight of stone steps. "Come along, Miss Granger."
Two people were present in the office, looking uneasy: a woman with brown hair and eyes, desperately chewing her fingernails, and an equally brown-haired and brown-eyed man, whose hand was resting on his wife's shoulder.
"I thought you may want to see them, and sent Abelforth to find them as soon as possible," McGonagall whispered. "However, you may find their state to be slightly... altered."
Hermione could hardly hide her tears, and was grateful when McGonagall pressed a handkerchief into her hand.
"I modified their memories," she explained after having blown her nose, "before leaving with Harry and Ron, so that Voldemort wouldn't be able to harm them."
McGonagall's eyes widened in surprise.
"Why, Miss Granger, that is extremely difficult magic. And an extremely brave act on your part, I must say. Now, how about lifting the charm?"
Hermione nodded once, pulled out her wand and muttered a few words under her breath.
," she exclaimed, while describing an infinity symbol with her wand. McGonagall nodded approvingly as a silvery blue
substance, neither gas nor liquid
, trickled out and began creeping toward the couple. Fleeting images rose out of this substance: a smiling baby with brown eyes, a little girl shrieking with laughter on a merry-go-round, a hooting owl at the Granger's kitchen window, holding Hermione's letter to Hogwarts. Hermione then re-performed her movement, and slowly pulled the modified memories out of her parent's minds, destroying them one after the other. The woman's eyes suddenly seemed to snap into focus.
"Hermione?" she murmured. Before she had a chance to say anything else, Hermione had thrown herself across the room, and had enveloped her parents into a tearful hug.
A/N: Everything in bold was written by JK Rowling; the characters, places, and plot before this fic are hers as well.
The first paragraph and the description of the gargoyle come from DH36, respectively pages 600 and 598, and the description of the memories seeping out of Hermione's wand are from DH32, page 528. All page references are based on the Bloomsbury 2007 hardback edition.
This is my first attempt at fanfic so please review and tell me if you want me to continue/improve something/stop writing altogether because it's bad. Thanks!