"But you just got home, darling! And it's your last summer!" Dad sounded on the brink of tears as he watched her pack up her trunk.
"I know. I wish I could stay longer. But Ron's brother is getting married." Hermione hid her face.
"But surely you can come right home afterwards - you can do this Apparition thing now, so you can pop in for the wedding and then pop back home after. You don't need to go out there a week early."
"Mrs. Weasley needs the help. I promised I'd be out there. And it's Harry's birthday. I don't want to miss that." Please, Dad. Don't make this harder.
"Mum and I were just hoping - since it seems likely that you'll not come home at all next year - that we could have this last summer. I know you live in a different world now, but I miss my girl."
"I miss you, too, but I...it's..." How could she tell them what was going on in that world? "I wanted the same thing, so much. I really don't have a choice."
She found her spellbooks and parchment, and put them in the trunk next to her cauldron and her hat, and then looked around the room. There was so little there now - some Muggle books she'd purchased during previous summers but she knew them by heart, and the world they described didn't seem real to her. The world she sat in now didn't seem real - these Muggles who didn't know there was a war being fought all around them, the light and music that came from the push of a button instead of the wave of a wand, the strange poverty because they only knew other humans. She felt so odd and out of place here, the way she'd never felt at Hogwarts.
"Dear, have you thought about university? We could get you some tutors or something so you can sit your exams. You're so bright, it would be a waste. After you finish your last year, of course."
She was going to take as many NEWTs as anyone else. She was going to apprentice to a law firm and specialize in the rights of magical non-humans, and change the whole wizarding world for the better. Maybe she'd work for the Ministry or teach, or write her own books. She was going to be remembered.
She was never going to see Hogwarts again. And these wonderful people who only wanted the best for her, who only wanted her to be happy and successful and live up to her potential in ways they understood - she didn't know if she would see them again, either.
And she couldn't tell them anything. Not that she was forbidden - they were under a geas not to talk about her world to anyone but witches and wizards, so she could tell them anything - but because how could she tell them that their only daughter was about to spend her life looking for the pieces of a madman's soul?
And had torn her own soul in half as surely as if she'd made a Horcrux of her own.
She packed her trunk with spellbooks and parchment that she would never use again, shrunk her trunk down to pocketsize, kissed her parents and her dreams good-bye and Apparated away.