Jan. 15th, 2002

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Hermione rocked mechanically in front of the fire. It was nice where she was. Everything was kind of dulled. Some analytical piece of her mind recognized that it wasn't calm or even true shock. She just hurt too much to be able to begin to feel it.

Somewhere behind her someone was puttering around the kitchen. She could hear the sounds of a cauldron being filled with water. Bill came into her field of view and hung it over the fire. He retreated again and she could hear him rustling through things on one of the shelves. When the water boiled, Bill reappeared and took the cauldron off the fire. He took it with him back to the counter and she could hear him pouring the water. There was silence for a bit, and then he poured water again. She heard the sound of a spoon clinking against a cup.

Bill passed into her field of view again and held out a cup of tea. She took it from him and sipped it automatically. Bill left and came back with a second cup and a small stool. He set down the stool just to her right and sat down to sip his own cup of tea.

"I loved him," Hermione said calmly. "I was in love with him," she corrected herself.

Bill took a slow sip of his tea. He rested one hand on her knee.

Hermione gripped her teacup tighter, then, in one violent motion, threw it into the fireplace. It made a satisfying crash.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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