A/N Dedicated to everyone who's had to say goodbye to a friend.
"No! You can't!" Hermione Granger gaped at her parents, ice cold panic settling into her stomach as they both looked calmly back at her.
"We can. We have to Hermione, don't you see?" her father said pleadingly.
Hermione jumped up from her chair and paced in front of the lounge room fireplace. Her heart was pounding loudly in her chest and the blood was rushing in her ears.
Her parents wanted to take her from Hogwarts.
This can't be happening. Hermione thought dully. This is a nightmare, and I'm going to wake up and everything will be fine. My parents are not irrational, my parents are not irrational, my parents-
"You were cursed Hermione," Mrs. Granger said forcefully. "How can you expect us to allow you to go back there?"
My parents are irrational. They mean it. Hermione felt her legs start to wobble and the bile rise in her throat. The thought of leaving Hogwarts was unimaginable. Leaving Harry when he needed her most, leaving Ron when he needed her, too.
She couldn't do it. She wouldn't do it. Hermione turned back to her parents and, raising her chin in defiance, took a deep breath.
"Honey," her father said on a chuckle, "what do you mean, 'no'?"
"I mean just what I said. I am going back to Hogwarts." As her parents looked at Hermione with equally shocked expressions, her resolve began to crumble. She had never defied them before; there had never been a need.
"Mum, Dad, please," she begged. "You have to let me go back, you don't understand!"
"We understand all we need to, Hermione. You could have died. The only reason you're standing here now is because the Death Eater fellow couldn't speak. And still, he did some serious damage. We've discussed it, and decided you're not going back."
"Discussed it have you?" Hermione said disgustedly. "Discussed it between yourselves and didn't think to give me a say in my own life. My own future. I would have to start from scratch at a Muggle school, and I tell you, I'm not. Doing. It."
Hermione dashed up the stairs, ignoring her parents' angry and hurt expressions, and into her bedroom. She was breathing heavily with anger and panic. Finally, exhausted, she heaved herself onto her bed and allowed the tears to come.
She knew she couldn't really stop them; but she could fight for all she was worth before the final decision was made. It was only a week into the summer--there was plenty of time--but not today. Today, Hogwarts' cleverest witch allowed herself to grieve for all she had lost in the last year, and for all that could so easily be taken from her.