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The Trick is to Keep Breathing

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Summary: Hermione makes a discovery about herself... And two years later finds herself face to face with someone very familiar.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Multiple Pairings > DramaKarenUFR1533,251073,25815 Aug 0411 Jun 05No

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Title: The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Author: KarenU

E-mail: revivingophelia13@yahoo.com

Category: Harry Potter/BtVS

Pairings: Hermione/Draco, Willow/Oliver Wood, Dawn/Harry, Vi/Fred

Disclaimer: Everything related to Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. All BtVS belongs to Joss.

Distribution: ask first

Rating: PG-13 for now

Spoilers: BtVS-Chosen, though the prologue is early season 7.

HarryPotter-Through the Prisoner of Azkaban. Prologue is set just prior to year Four, and subsequent parts will be set in year Six. I may be using elements from later books, but nothing major, and the story line definitely veered off after year three.

Summary: Hermione makes a discovery about herself... And two years later comes face to face with someone familiar...

Prologue

{ ... She knows the human heart... And how to read the stars... Now everything's about to fall apart... I won't be the one to let you down... Maybe you'll get what you want this time around... I won't be the one to let you down... Maybe you'll get what you want this time around... The trick is to keep breathing... -Garbage, The Trick is to Keep Breathing... }

***August 17***

She sat on the couch, her hands clasped between her knees, her vision blurry, the sound of her breathing ringing in her ears.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

It was simple, really. An involuntary action that anyone could do.

So why was she having to remind herself to do it?

She could hear them in the other room, the hushed tones that were deciding her fate.

Blinking, she felt a tear slide down her cheek, and she struggled to stop trembling, trying to think of how it was that she'd gotten to this point. Just three weeks before, she'd been sending Harry his birthday gift via Muggle post, getting an owl a week later telling her that he'd gotten her gift, he loved it, and the Weasleys had come to rescue him from the Dursleys for his fourteenth birthday, so he was now at the Burrow and very happy about it, thank you very much, and he couldn't wait to see her.

She wished she was at the Burrow. She wished she was anywhere but where she currently was, sitting on her parents' couch, dried blood clinging to a cut above her eye while some man she'd never seen before told her parents all about her destiny.

She didn't want a damned destiny.

She wanted to go back to Hogwarts and start her fourth year with her best friends at her side, she wanted to listen to the Weasley twins' jokes and watch their antics, she wanted to talk to Ginny Weasley and study and learn and... Somehow, she didn't think that was going to happen anymore. Something told her that she wouldn't be going back to Hogwarts this year, and it wasn't just the sinking feeling in her stomach and the whispered voices in the next room that made her feel that way.

She still didn't know what they were. They had found her suddenly, coming upon her as she was walking home from the library, a fine collection of Muggle books that she'd always loved cradled in her arms: The Wizard of Oz, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a new one that she thought she'd try this year, Pride and Prejudice. She could practically hear Ron and Harry making fun of her for spending what was left of their summer reading, but really... What else did she have to do? She'd already collected and read most of the books for the following school year, and truth be told, she'd never had many friends, not in the wizarding world, and not in the Muggle world, either.

Apparently, however, she had more than her share of enemies. She'd had enemies before, of course. Draco Malfoy could certainly be considered an enemy, as could pretty much the entirety of the Slytherin house. Professor Snape was a jerk, but she supposed he wasn't really an enemy. But most of the danger she'd gotten into had been because of her associations with Harry, and not because any person hated her in particular. Even Malfoy... Sure, he said terrible things to her about everything from her hair to her heritage, but he'd never really *hurt* her... Even when she'd slapped him the year before, he'd never really done anything to get her back. He certainly hadn't tried to carve out her insides with a wicked looking knife.

Unwittingly, the image of the knife floated through her mind once more, curved and very, very sharp as the eyeless being held it above her, ready to bring it down... Her panic had overruled her reason and her belief that she would never be able to do magic without a wand, because the knife had flown out of the creature's hand seemingly without reason... Much like the instances when she was a child, before she'd known she was a witch and all those strange things seemed to happen around her. The strange things that had labeled her a freak when she was in the Muggle schools...

And now she was even more of a freak.

She shuddered slightly, knowing that she probably would have died if the man hadn't shown up... The man that was at this moment in the kitchen with her parents. He'd chased the creatures off, beheading at least one of them, then grabbed her by the arm and taken her home. It hadn't crossed her mind at first that him knowing where she lived meant he'd been looking for her, but now she knew he had been, and according to him, those things probably knew where she lived, too, which meant... She had to leave. It wasn't safe here, not for her, and if she stayed here, her parents could get caught in the crossfire...

Blinking rapidly, she tried to keep the tears from falling, but it was useless. Her life had changed irrevocably tonight, much as it had changed just over three years ago when she discovered she was a witch. She'd been ten then, and now she was thirteen, less than a month from her fourteenth birthday, and she knew that instead of spending the day with Ron and Harry and Fred and George and Ginny as she had the year before, she wouldn't be at Hogwarts at all. And for the first time in her life, Hermione Granger wished that she hadn't read so many of the books in the restricted section of the library at Hogwarts, because if she hadn't, she wouldn't know what a Slayer was, she wouldn't know what she now had the potential to become, what she could very well be destined to become...

And she wouldn't know that Slayers rarely ever lived to see twenty-one.
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