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Chapter 7: Chapter 7: Honey, I'm Home!
CHAPTER SEVEN: HONEY, I’M HOME!
Hermione stirred in her stiff hospital bed. She blinked her eyes once, twice and thrice. She wasn’t sure where she was, only that it was very bright. Her head was throbbing from a terrible headache. She tried to remember what had happened, but it only made the pain worse.
She blinked again and looked around. The room reminded her of somewhere familiar but she couldn’t place it. Where was she? She tried to get up, but the pain in her body was so immense that she almost burst out crying.
Suddenly a rush of swirling memories hit her like a tidal wave: Lucius Malfoy’s scowl, drifting in and out of consciousness while someone carried her in their arms, and a compassionate person lovingly holding her hand…
The door to the hospital room opened and a healer came in the room. When she saw Hermione awake, she smiled brightly. “Good morning, Ms. Granger! Hello, I am Katrina Walters, your assigned Healer. How do you feel?”
Hermione shifted in her bed. “I’ve had better days,” she replied.
“I understand. Now, I have just this one last potion to give you which should finish the healing process and should relieve you of your pain.” She handed it to Hermione.
Hermione nodded and tipped the goblet into her mouth, letting the potion fill her senses. It was a bitter, sour taste that burned her throat. She almost gagged, letting an expression of disgust wash over her face.
Katrina laughed when she saw the look on Hermione’s face. “Better then pumpkin juice, eh? Don’t worry; it works wonders. The potion only takes an hour to be complete, so I think we’ll have you back at Hogwarts before the evening meal starts.”
Hermione grinned and reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear, which had become a habit of hers. But, to her horror, she found that she had no hair. She sucked in a deep breath. “W… where is my hair?” she frightfully whispered.
Katrina shifted uncomfortably. “Well, Hermione,” she explained slowly, “We-we had to cut off your hair for the muggle surgery.”
“But you can grow it with magic, right?” Hermione held her breath.
Katrina sighed and said simply, “No, I’m afraid it is too risky.”
Hermione took huge gulps of the stale hospital air, trying desperately to calm her nerves; she was on the verge of tears.
Katrina said, “We also have a wig for you. We tried to make it as close as possible to your hair, but yours was a particularly difficult case…” She slowly pulled out a wig from behind her back. It was a dark brown; darker then Hermione’s hair. It was also much curlier and much bushier, even more than Hermione’s, if that was possible. Lastly, it was short. Hermione supposed it would only reach down to the top of her neck.
She bit he lip to fight the tears. Her hair had not exactly been beautiful, but no one knew that she spent hours brushing it every day, trying to make it go straighter. This wig… was definitely not like her old hair. She hated it.
Hermione sadly thanked Katrina and watched her walk out the door and into the hallway. Five minutes later she drifted into a deep and dreamful sleep.
Ron sped down the Grand Staircase, zooming past students from every house. Harry followed easily behind him, being a little more careful not to run into people. They finally reached the Great Hall and flew into their regular seats at the empty Gryffindor table.
These boys were not in the Great Hall so early to get the first dibs on the daily morning feast, but they were awaiting a letter. And not just any letter. They were waiting for a letter that caused the both of them, especially Ron, to toss and turn in their beds the night before in their eagerness to see it.
Ron, being Ron, just had to eat something to calm his stomach while waiting in anticipation. Harry, however, couldn’t even think of eating. It seemed like hours to the both of them.
After a while Ron looked up and his eyes widened. “Url!” he choked, (his mouth was full of sausage and pancake) “Url!”
Harry looked at him like he just grew three extra heads. “What?”
Ron swallowed his food, almost choking in the process and shouted, “Errol!”
The Weasley’s family owl swooped down not-so-gracefully and headed for the Slytherin table. Before Ron could shout a warning (not that he even would if he could) the bird smacked into Pansy Parkinson’s head, tipping over her goblet and other miscellaneous bowls filled with food.
Pansy screamed and violently swung at Errol, letting off a string of curse words that most students wouldn’t even say aloud at all, let alone scream so shrilly that the entire school, including the teachers, could hear them.
“Stay away, you bloody bird freak! I’m gonna kill you! Yeah, you run away!” Errol frighteningly flew away from her, almost knocking into students for lack of dodging skills.
Professor McGonagall swiftly came down from her seat at the staff table and strode over to Pansy, her lips pursed in a tight line. “Miss Parkinson, you are not permitted to use such foul language in this school. You have detention for five Saturdays. Hopefully that will teach you to use proper language.”
She turned around and headed back to her seat. Pansy made a rude hand gesture behind her back and McGonagall stopped, not turning around. “I think another five Saturdays’ worth of detentions will be sufficient enough for that, Miss Parkinson,” she said calmly. Ron swore she had eyes in the back of her head.
Pansy turned a deep shade of red and plopped down at her seat, telling off her fellow Slytherins, who were smirking and sniggering at her.
The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables burst out in roaring laughter. Ron spit out a mouthful of potatoes and bacon all over Harry, who closed his eyes, took a deep breath and slowly wiped the muck off of his glasses.
“Sorry, Harry,” Ron apologized, still chortling.
Harry rolled his eyes as Errol almost flew over his head, but he caught him just in time and set the owl on the table before him.
“C’mon, Harry, open it, hurry, hurry!” Ron exclaimed, his eyes wide and staring at the letter tied to the owl’s leg
Harry glared at him over the top of his glasses and then slipped the letter off of Errol’s leg. He opened it and read aloud:
Dear Mr. Ronald Weasley,
We at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries always try to accompany our patients and their family/friends with the utmost care and hospitality. We hope that you and our patient, Hermione Granger, had a comfortable visit at our hospital.
We are very pleased to inform you that Hermione Granger will be arriving at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this evening. She has been recognized under Katrina Walters’ care as “ready to come home”.
All of Ms. Granger’s wounds and injuries have been healed and fully taken care of. We at St. Mungo’s wish her the best of luck for her full recovery. If there are any problems or concerns, please floo here and we will make an appointment to speak with you.
Katrina Walters (Assigned healer for mentioned patient)
“She’s coming home! She’s coming home!” Ron cried.
Harry smirked. “I bet you’re happy about that.”
The tips of Ron’s ears became bright red but he still held his joyful expression and stuffed a English muffin smothered in jam into his mouth, saying, “I wish she was here now,” which really came out as, “Irsheew zeer ow”.
They both waited impatiently all day for the evening to come, although Harry was a little less edgy then Ron, who shouted at Lavender Brown for asking why he was so jumpy.
At his reaction, she immediately burst into tears, clearly still remembering the relationship she had with Ron only one year before. Ron had looked away, guilt etched into his freckled face.
It was clearly going to be a long day for the both of them, especially Ron.
It seemed to a certain Ronald Weasley that he had been waiting forever, even though it had only been a mere three minutes and forty-one seconds (He was keeping track). He, Harry and Ginny were anxiously waiting in the Gryffindor common room for Hermione to come home from St. Mungo’s.
Ron was munching on a giant chicken leg he had stolen from the kitchens. The elves had been happy to serve him, so he was considering taking a second trip that night after Hermione came back.
Harry and Ginny were sitting quietly in a corner of the warm room whispering softly to each other; Ron supposed it was about something important, so he didn’t try to interfere, but sometimes it was very difficult for him not to do so. Harry and Ginny had gotten quite a lot closer in the past few days. Ron was pleased, but he hid it well.
The fire was burning as bright as ever, crackling and licking the sides of the fireplace. Ron was staring into it as he stuffed an entire roll into his mouth. His appetite had gotten three times as large when he turned seventeen.
His hands kept running through his hair, making it even messier than before, while his other hand shoveled more food into his mouth.
When he looked over again at Harry and Ginny, he found them softly kissing in their secluded corner. He choked on his roast beef sandwich. “Hey, get a room,” he snapped, “I’m trying to eat here!”
Harry and Ginny looked over at Ron, apparently irritated, and broke apart, rolling their eyes as they did so.
Ginny replied sweetly, “Who said you were my boss, Ron?”
Harry started creeping toward the staircase, afraid that Ron and Ginny would get into one of their fights. But to his surprise, Ron just huffed and turned around, facing the doorway where Hermione would soon be coming through. Harry let out a relieved breath and made his way towards Ginny and plopped down on the couch beside her.
They waited even longer, and then something gradually happened:
They all herd two sets of footsteps hitting Hogwarts’ hard stone floor. Two suitcases came floating in the air, followed by Professor McGonagall, who was charming them to do so.
It seemed like the person behind McGonagall had hesitated; there was a long wait before the next person came out, and McGonagall turned around, giving an encouraging look to the person.
Hermione stepped out from behind the tall stone wall. She looked almost the same as she usually did, except for her hair; it was shorter, darker, and much curlier. The look on her face also differed from what it had been before. She had sadness, shame, and humiliation in her eyes. Didn’t she know that she was the same person and that her friends would always respect her?
Hermione sighed and gave a small smile. “Honey, I’m home,” she muttered, not looking at any of her friend directly in the face.
For a fraction of a second Ginny’s face showed surprise, but it was quickly replaced with a wide grin. “Hermione! I’m glad your back!” She ran up to Hermione and gave her a big hug.
“Thank you,” Hermione muttered, and she walked up to Harry, also giving him a hug. Ron just bit his lip nervously as he watched. She turned to Ron, looked down, and then awkwardly embraced him. The smell of the wig drifted into Ron’s senses. It had the odor of St. Mungo’s Hospital; it didn’t smell anything like Hermione’s hair at all.
They broke apart. “Hey, Hermione,” Ron muttered.
Hermione replied, “Hey, Ron.”
Behind them Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. “I think we should take your things up to your dormitory, Miss Granger. You need your rest,” she said, not unkindly.
Hermione gave a small smile and nodded. She turned to everybody in the room and gave a little wave of her hand, cleared her throat and said, “Goodnight everyone. Sleep well.”
Her friends all grinned and said their goodnights and there get wells. Hermione thanked them and turned toward Professor McGonagall, who nodded.
Professor McGonagall and Hermione turned and slowly walked up the girls’ dormitory stairs, leaving behind only their footsteps echoing off the walls.
Yes, I know, you hate me after this chapter, right? You wanted Ron and Hermione to… make up? Kiss? Do something!?! Don’t worry, something that is maybe like that might come up soon… notice my word choices of maybe and might, so don’t get your hopes up… ;o)
Anywho, please review!!! Constructive criticism is welcomed!