I Don't Remember

Too Much at Once

Hermione

After Harry had left the fire, I laid down to bed. I proceeded to toss and turn for what felt like hours. I simply couldn't sleep.

Finally, I sat up. What could be bothering me? Usually after such a good day like today, I slept soundly, and awoke refreshed from pleasant dreams. Yet, tonight, I felt off.

I sighed. I was sure a long hot bath would do the trick, but after having been a Prefect for two years (with full access to that wondrous room they called a bath), then coming back as a normal student and having to end a day in a 'normal' soak... Well, that was one of the rare things I truly missed. Even the private shower I had in my room didn't begin to compare to the marvelous feeling of soaking in perfumed water, with a myriad of bubbles and jets and foams dancing all around you...

I stepped out of bed and grabbed my cloak, a sly grin on my face. What's the harm in a little rule-breaking? I thought to myself. Just this one time, of course. But a nice, long luxurious bath would be the perfect end to this day... And it's not like I wasn't a prefect before...

Still wearing my pajamas beneath the long black of my cloak, and carryig my wand, of course, I went for the door. Before even opening it, I cast a silencing charm. The spell muffled the creak of the hinges as it moved for me, and the closing behind me. Just to check, I stamped my foot, hard. Not a sound.

Smiling to myself, I started down the hall. There were no portraits here to give me away, but I knew at this hour the castle would literally be asleep. I felt no fear in using Lumos, until I reached the mid point of the first staircase. Here, I let mysef be guided by memory alone.

The moonlight through the many windows was beautiful, and soon I was almost dancing down the hall, giddy with the feelings from the day. So much fun! It was hard to believe it had been with Snape; but these days, not really so hard. Some days he didn't even threaten to disembowel anyone. Some days, becoming more frequent days, I felt like for all he was my teacher, he was also my best friend.

I stopped suddenly, seeing two lantern-like eyes looking at me from down the hall. A soft mew sounded.

"Mrs. Norris?"

She seemed to nod her head in the moonlight, and I saw her begin to turn.

"Wait!" I cried as loud as I dared. Amazingly, she stopped. I froze, disbelieving my luck, then continued. "We're... kind of friends, right?" She tilted her head at me. This cat is very smart. "I mean... I did help Revive you in my second year, when you were Petrified, right? And I'm not staying in the common rooms so... technically this is fine, isn't it?"

She stared at me for a few seconds, then turned around and began to run off.

"Wait!" I called again, this time reaching for my wand. Whispering a few words under my breath, I pointed at the floor, praying it would work. By some miracle it did- a few flies on the floor grew and changed shape until they became fat, hopping fish.

A louder mew, and Mrs. Norris walked up and started munching on the fish, keeping her eyes on me. I didn't know long the charm would work, but I knew my transfiguration was top notch; hopefully long enough.

Finally she trotted off, a fish in her mouth. I waved my wand again and the trout left behind disappeared. Sighing in relief, I continued, almost at the statue.

"She was actually after me, you know."

I turned on my heel, my wand pointed toward the voice. Mark Turner strolled toward me out of the shadows, his hands in front of him defensively. "Whoa, I come in peace!"

I lowered my wand. "Mark Turner?" I almost laughed. "What are you doing here?"

"Same thing you're doing; taking a walk at night. But this is much closer to my room than it is yours."

I half nodded. "Yes, but the Prefect's bathroom is down this way."

He looked confused.

"I wanted to use it. It's really glorious in there."

"Ah. I'm not actually one for baths, no matter how good it is. I'm just going for a stroll..." He walked around me in a half circle, staying on the side away from the windows. "You know, I'm really surprised to see you out here. Aren't you famous for being a goody-two-shoes?"

I scowled. "Taking a walk after hours doesn't mean I'm going to start setting off dung bombs. I had a really good day today, that's all."

"Yeah, I didn't see you in the library like you usually are. What did you do?"

I kept my voice light. "Not that it's particularly your business, but I went to Hogsmeade with a very fine gentleman."

"A 'very fine gentleman' huh? Does this 'gentleman' have a name?"

"He does, but I don't see what concern it is of yours."

He stepped closer, his eyes guarded. "I had asked you myself, you know."

I scoffed. "Yeah, Dennis Creevey told me all about how you and some other guys were 'asking'. I prefer my dates to be more respectful than that."

He chuckled low to himself in a way that made me grip my wand. "Respectful... Yes, you're all about that, aren't you, Miss Granger? Famous Hermione Granger... Saved the world. Helped defeat Voldemort. Used her mind to aid in tracking down of the Horcruxes, as well as breaking into the Ministry of Magic and uncovering the many scandals going on there. Still has to come back to school and do her tests. Pushes everyone away. Thinks she's better than everybody."

"That's not-"

"Did you ever think about how you appear to the rest of us? Acting all high and mighty, not bothering to try and be friends with everybody but that... Creepy Creevy kid, and the Slithering Snape."

"I'm not going to apologize for my taste in friends." I replied, gritting my teeth. "If I stay to myself, it's because I don't think anyone else would understand how I feel. Given how you just talked to me, I'd say I was right."

"Well, you know what I think?" he asked, with a very unpleasant smile on his face.

"What do you think, Mark?"

"I think that your Silencing Spell is good, too good. I think that you're a bloody show off. And I think that no one is around to stop me from taking you out this time."

He rushed at me. I fired off a curse, the first one I could think of, but I missed. I was too off guard, and he was too ready. The spell hit a near-by suit of armor and ricocheted into the wall, but not before I hit the floor. Mark jumped after me, landing on my lower body with his knees. I bit back a scream, knowing it would do no good, and not wanting to give him the satisfaction. He grabbed my arms.

"I'm told you've survived the Cruciatus Curse by Bellatrix Lestrange." His face twisted into something that I'd once seen on Lucius Malfoy's face. "Let's see what else you can do."

He pulled my arms over my head despite my struggling. I tried to reach up and bite him, but he bent out of reach of my teeth. Grabbing my thin wrists with one hand, he used his freedom to reach for my shirt.

"What exactly is the meaning of this?" Professor McGonagall rushed down the hall, leaning on a cane but with all the speed I had previously seen of her. When she was what was going on, she pulled out her wand.

Mark was ready. He pulled me in front of him, then fired off his spell. It hit her in her bad leg, and I screamed as she fell to the floor. I felt myself being pushed hard, and hit the floor next to her. I turned to see Mark running off down the hall, obviously hoping to escape and this all be forgotten. I tried to get up to start after him, but I felt it was useless. My word would be enough to have him punished for this later, let alone a teacher's. For now, I had to see to the Headmistress.

"McGonagall!"

I reached for her. She raised her hand to me, pain in her face. "I'm fine."

I sounded hysterical. "You're not fine. You need to get to a healer." I felt myself crying. "We have to get you to Madam Pomfrey or something." Inside my head I was screaming, Professor Snape, where are you? Why did this happen? Severus, please, I need you! This is awful, and I can't help her!

"I can't walk Hermione, and you're not in any state to gently levitate me down to the Hospital Wing. You'll have to go get someone and leave me here."

"I can't do that!" I cried. "What if something happens to you while I'm gone?"

"Nothing will happen to me Miss Granger. I still have my wand, I can manage."

I didn't listen to her. I couldn't listen to her. This felt too crazy for me to think. I lifted my Silencing Spell. "Help! Please! Anyone! McGonagall is hurt!"

I heard long stomps in the hall before I'd even finished speaking. Professor Severus Snape, looking very disheveled and with a crazed look in his eyes, came bounding around the corner. He stopped for a brief moment to survey the scene, then continued running towards us. A part of me questioned how he possibly could have heard me and gotten here so fast when the dungeons were far below us, but I didn't care. When he got close, I saw he was in his pajamas; he must have ran as soon as he knew, because he didn't bother changing.

"Severus, please send me to the hospital wing." I heard McGonagall say. "Miss Granger, I want you to go to my office and wait there for Professor Snape."

"Yes Professor." I said, still in shock. Numb, I watched as Snape levitated the Headmistress carefully, then started down the hall. I watched them go, then turned and walked the other way. When I reached the stone gargoyle, I stared.

"Umm..." It didn't move. "I don't know the password... but McGonagall told me to come back here and wait for Professor Snape." It looked back at me and didn't speak. "Please?" I ventured.

A few moments of nothing, then it turned to pass. Once inside, I looked around.

Everything looked about the same, a pot of tea ready to be poured. All the portraits were sleeping, even that of Dumbledore, but I didn't bother trying to wake them. Instead I helped myself to a cup, hoping to take my mind off what had just happened. The tea didn't even make it into the saucer, my hands were shaking so bad. I put it down and reached for my wand, doing better with a controlled spell than my own hands. I spooned sugar into it, stirred, then sipped. I'd finally managed to put the cup down without making the china tinkle when Snape walked in.

I didn't run to him, or even move. I just stood, waiting, as he sat down at the desk. He looked tired; I didn't blame him. Finally, he spoke.

"Professor McGonagall has determined that it is best if she retire for the evening."

I relaxed slightly. "So she's fine?"

He looked at me sharply. "When I say retire, I do mean 'retire'. While the spell given by a 6th year isn't enough to put her out, she already has been facing some... health issues. From tonight on, it would seem I am the new Headmaster of Hogwarts School."

I was quiet. "Well... congratulations." I twiddled my fingers. "How... how did she know I was in trouble?"

"It would seem that a curse hit a suit of armor, and then the wall. The Headmistress felt the attack on the castle, and ran to see what was going on. Her report to me stated that she found you laying on the ground with someone on top of you." I looked down. "What happened, Miss Granger?"

I took a deep breath. "I wanted to take a bath in the Prefect's bath... I missed it." My voice sounded hollow as I voiced aloud my foolish mistake. "When I was almost there, Mrs. Norris stopped me. I gave her a fish... Mark stepped out of the shadows, and began to hurl insults. I defended myself and... He tried to assault me. I fired off the spell, which missed, and then... McGonagall came. When he saw he was caught, he flung a spell at her. It hit her leg, and he ran off."

A few minutes of silence. Finally he spoke. "A detailed report. Which Mark was it?"

"Mark Turner." I answered quietly.

"He won't be pleased with being called out in front of everyone to go to the Head of his House. I'll have Filch find him and escort him to Professor Weasley's office, where he will likely be expelled and on the train home before sunset. Hopefully, his parents will be pleased to see their son back before they learn why."

I sat quietly. "What will happen to me, Professor?"

He was silent, looking around at the portraits of the past heads of the school. "I would think you've been punished enough. But I think it's best if we keep our distance from each other."

I was stunned. "Why?"

"I have a feeling when we track down young Mister Turner his parting words will something snide about your being obviously close with me. I feel the best way to protect you from further incidents would be to keep away from you."

"But you're my best friend!" I cried. "I've just... I've just a person try to do... who knows what to me, and then attack Professor McGonagall, and you're telling me that now I have to lose the number one person in this school I can go to? You're Headmaster now, you could protect me, and obviously I'm not going to go out after dark anymore. I just don't see-"

"Stop arguing with me Miss Granger!" He yelled. I sat back in my chair, dismal and wide eyed. "I know you don't see the point of it, but I do. I appreciate what you have gone through, and it terrifies me more than I care to admit. Which is why I am so over protective of you on this. I will keep an eye on you, I promise. I will still be the Potions Master while class is in session, and I can hear you when you call. But I need you to just go back to your room, get some rest, and then try to have a good Easter."

I didn't say anymore. I didn't nod. I rose from my chair, and ran from the room.

LLllLLllLLllLLllLLllLL

Ginny

I fell through the Floo so fast my hair wrapped itself around my neck. I pulled it back into a long ponytail, then ran to Hermione, who was crying next to the bed.

"Hermione? It's me, Ginny. I'm here."

She was sobbing, her robes pulled around her, half done. I noticed she was wearing her pajamas beneath them, but didn't say anything. If Harry had been right, Hermione was very upset, and pointing this out or trying to correct it wouldn't be wise. I leaned down next to her, offering her my shoulder.

"Ginny... Thank you." Hermione said, her voice sounding strange. I'd never seen her cry like this before.

"Harry said you contacted him through the Floo. He said something was really wrong, and said I should head over."

"I'm glad he did." She gasped in big breaths, trying to calm down. "Everything's just... awful."

"It can't be that bad, can it?" I said, trying to soothe her. "I mean, we've both been through some pretty bad stuff."

"This is different than that, though!" Her words sounded so desperate, I almost started crying myself. "This is... Someone tried to..."

I stopped her. "What happened?"

She put her head on her knees and spoke between sniffles. "I just wanted to take a bath in the Prefects' bath..." Her voice was like someone trying to talk themselves out of execution. "Everything was so great today, Ginny. I went out to Hogsmead with Severus," I nodded; Harry had told me about that, "and it was so wonderful. I felt so happy, and I just wanted to end it with a bath. You know how those baths in there are." I patted her shoulder, nodding. "Well... I ended up running into Mark Turner. I'd just bribed Mrs. Norris with a fish; I didn't know it would work, but it did, and then he walked out from behind somewhere. He said Mrs. Norris had been looking for him. We started talking, then he started on saying how I should be going with him, and how I was just a show off, and acted too good for anyone. I didn't care what he said, and told him so. Then he said no one was around to stop him and.."

I hugged her, shaking my head slowly. This was awful, and something she'd never had to face before. None of us had. I blinked, trying not to cry, wanting to be strong for her because she needed it.

"I started struggling," she began again, her voice muffled by my hug. I sat up. "I had a Silencing Spell, so screaming would have done no good; no one outside the barrier could hear me, and even sounds in it were muffled. He was reaching for... me... And then Professor McGonagall came up. A spell I'd fired to stop him had missed and hit the wall, and she felt it as an alarm going off and came to investigate. Then Mark hit her with a spell, and ran off, and then Snape came running up. He took her to the hospital ward, and then met me in the Headmaster's office..."

"Well, then everything's fine then, after all?" I said. "I mean, Mark's not gonna get away, and Snape's obviously going to be there for you."

She shook her head and sobbed louder. "He's Headmaster now, and he said he doesn't think it's a good idea if I see him anymore."

I gaped. "What? Why not?"

"That's what he said! And I told him he's the best friend I have here, and he just yelled at me some more and told me he'd keep tabs on me but I can't talk to him anymore, and now I've... I've got no idea what I can do..."

"You can try going to my mom about this stuff." I tried.

She shook her head. "Thanks Ginny," she raised her head, sniffing. "but Mrs. Weasley isn't someone I want to go to with things like this. She's more a parent than a friend, and I don't want her to worry more. She wouldn't respond to me the way he did, honestly and openly. She'd fret. I don't want someone to fret... I just..."

She started crying again, silently, but still crying. I hugged her. "It's all right Hermione... It's all right..."

Hours passed. She seemed to calm down for a bit, and then ry again just as hard. She didn't talk much, but every so often she'd mutter something, like she was trying to hold a lot back, and shake a little. Harry had told me about the first few days after Ron had left when they were searching for Horcruxes. I thought this must have been what it was like.

Finally, as the sun was rising, Hermione fell asleep. Wordlessly, I levitated her into bed, flicking off her cloak to hang it for her, and then covered her with my hands, tucking her in. When I made sure she was sleeping, I walked from the room into the main part of the castle.

I paid no attention to anything, making a straight path for the Headmaster's office. When I reached the gargoyle, I didn't speak. I just stared at it. It lasted ten seconds before the path opened for me, and I flung the doors to Snape's new office open wide.

"What is the meaning of this, Miss Weasley?" Snape's voice rung out annoyed as he rose from his seat at the desk.

"Don't even give me that, Snape." I fought to keep from yelling at him. "I have just spend the whole night hugging Hermione after what happened here, and I think you have something to answer for."

He sat back down, his eyes flashing. "As the new Headmaster I will work to put wards in place that let me know when someone underage is out after dark, but I don't think the blame for the incident falls on me."

"Will you stop talking like that?" I raised my arms in the air in frustration, then put them on my hips. "You're sitting there spouting this at me like I have no idea how much you care about her, like you have no idea how much what you said to her hurts her, especially after everything that went on last night. She depends on you, and you pretty much told her she could go ahead and stop that."

"I did no such thing. I care about her well-being, and I felt the best thing for her to be treated like a normal student would be if she didn't have special attention from me anymore."

"Yeah. That would work. Except she has no chance period of being treated like a normal student! Everyone here knows who she is, just like Harry, and their lives are going to be told to everyone forever. I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years she's on a Chocolate Frog card. The only thing this is doing is making it harder for her now."

"Miss Weasley, I don't really appreciate you coming in here and speaking to me like this." his tone sounded dangerous, but I didn't begin to care.

"You wanna know what I don't appreciate? The way you treat the girl you love. The way you're still sitting there, trying to keep up this attitude that because you watched your life go to hell you can't take this second chance everyone's trying to give you. The way you're still acting so stupid and hurting everyone around you, keeping everyone out when we're willing to be there, we're willing to help, and there's no threat. No one's going to end up dead. There's no Dark Lord or hidden threat or black, looming shadow over everything anymore. There's right now. There's a blossoming peace. There's a nineteen year old crying in her room because she feels like her whole world just came crashing down around her. After the best day she'd had in a long time, she got attacked, watched one of her favorite teachers get attacked, and then was told by her main lifeline that she can't see them anymore because 'he's trying to protect her'."

He was staring at me, shooting fireballs at me. My eyes shot them right back. Finally he lowered his eyes. "You know, you get angry just like your mother does."

I didn't relent. "You want me to go get her to try to talk some sense into you?" He didn't respond, but he looked slightly more nervous. I sighed in frustration, and shook my head. "Look, you wanna protect her? Be there for her. She needs that way more than she needs your professional distance." I turned to go, looking back to see him looking at his desk like it wasn't there. "As a favor, I won't tell my mum what happened; she'll hopefully only hear the part about what Mark did when she expels him. But Snape... don't make Hermione cry again."

As I left the castle, I noticed a student with black hair being escorted by Filch at roughly the same time. Smiling vaguely, I walked down outside the grounds to where Harry was waiting as he promised he'd be. He looked at me questioningly. I sighed, and shook my head. He nodded to me, then grabbed me, and Apparated us home.



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