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Chapter 21: Chapter 21
A few days after the twins leaving Hermione was extremely excited to receive an owl from George. She got it at breakfast on Sunday and ate quickly wanting to read it in private. Lee had also received a letter from the twins and had ripped it open eager to hear from the twins. Angelina had received an owl from Fred and she too had torn the envelope desperate to hear from him. Hermione reached the Common room and sat down to read.
So how’s it going over there? Bet it’s nowhere near as exciting as it was when we were there not that I’m one to brag. I miss you so much, it really feels like it’s been ages since I last saw you. How is everyone there? Are Harry’s nightmares any better? Umbridge isn’t giving you any trouble is she? I can send her something to drive her insane if you need? What’s new with you guys? We’re making great progress with the shop, we’re working on stock at the moment creating enough products to fill the shelves and please demanding customers. This is Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes on a massive scale, we owe you for a lot of our success... Well at least I hope it will be successful once we finally open up the store officially. I wish you could be here, we need some brains to help us out with all the number work but I’ve been using that kalmulator you gave me and it’s quite helpful. Were you planning on coming over for the summer? That would be great that way you could be here for the grand opening of the shop. If you haven’t really thought about it consider this you’re invite though I’m sure you’ll get one from mum anyway. Hope you’re well. Miss you loads,
With love George x
Hermione smiled to herself laughing lightly. He meant calculator obviously but it clearly was a difficult concept to learn the names of muggle devices. She grabbed a piece of parchment, quill and ink and began to write.
We’re all well over here and thanks but don’t worry we can deal with Umbridge for now but standby with that offer because I think we may need it. Harry’s nightmares are getting worse but he’s so stubborn he won’t ask Snape for help now and Dumbledore’s not here to make sure Snape helps him so he’s suffering in silence. I miss you too and not that I’m one to fuel your already enormous ego but yes it’s gotten very boring since you left. Everyone’s okay but Lee’s a bit lost without you I think he almost cried when he saw you guys had written to him! He ripped the envelope apart, he clearly misses you a lot. He’s only got the girls left for company and he seems a bit out of his element with all the girl talk. I can’t imagine how busy you must be but I’m sure you’re coping. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes on a BIGGER scale? I didn’t realise that was possible, you two are legends and the shop hasn’t even opened yet! I wish I was there too but I know that the shop is going to be perfect and you’re success is going to be unbelievable there’s no doubt! Kulmulator? I think you mean calculator. Yes I was planning to stay a few weeks over the summer so I will check with your mum and see closer to the time. I’d love to see the grand opening of the shop but there’s no doubt it will be absolutely packed. How are you? How’s Fred? Your Mum? Your Dad? Take care and it was great to hear from you.
Love and miss you always, Hermione xxx
George smiled as he got the letter later that day. Fred reading over his shoulder was laughing.
“Mate, you were calling it a calculator just fine earlier,” Fred pointed out.
“Yes but speaking and spelling are very different,” George said folding the letter.
“In other words you can’t spell to save your life?” Fred teased.
“Give me a second and I’ll show you a spell,” George threatened playfully as he pulled out his wand.
“I surrender,” Fred joked lifting his arms above his head. They both laughed.
Over the next few weeks Hermione and George exchanged letters frequently. They found it helped them cope with the others absence and they were both always excited to hear from each other.
It was one day sitting in the Common room when thing went really wrong.
Through the connection they had Harry saw that Voldemort had Sirius and was torturing him. Needless to say the second Harry needed help and had something to do Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna were right behind him. This lead to The Battle of The Department of Mysteries.
The next day Hermione awoke in the hospital wing with a start. She sat up too quickly for her frail body causing it to ache but she needed information.
“Harry,” she choked out.
“She’s awake,” she heard a familiar voice exclaim but her foggy mind couldn’t process her thoughts quick enough.
“Hermione,” the voice said softly sitting beside her.
Her eyes focused on the figure beside her, “George!”
“Hermione I’m so sorry...” he started.
“Is everyone okay? Where’s Harry? Ron? Neville? Ginny? Luna? Sirius?” Hermione’s voice was panicked.
“Hermione calm down...” George tried but she wasn’t in a state of mind to listen.
“Death eaters, Dolohov I-I couldn’t and then I-I...” Hermione broke off and climbed out of bed.
“Hermione dear what are you doing out of bed? You need to rest,” Molly Weasley said her voice heavy with concern.
But Hermione wasn’t listening she walked round looking about the hospital wing. Ginny was sat up talking quietly with Fred. Neville and Luna were talking and Neville was lying down looking weak. Ron was talking with his dad also in a bed looking feeble. Then she saw Harry he was asleep. He had various scars and a pained expression covered his face as his chest rose and fell gently.
“What happened?” she asked George as she sat down in the bed she’d woken in. Everyone looked sad and she didn’t like that.
“Hermione Sirius he- he was killed by- by Bellatrix Lestrange.”
“He was- was k-killed?” she asked in disbelief as she began to cry.
“Hermione I’m so sorry,” George said as he hugged her to his chest.
“A-And w-what h-happened to me?” she asked between sobs.
“Dolohov hit you with a curse. You were out cold for some time,” said Luna as she approached them.
“Oh,” she said with a small voice.
“Bellatrix used the cruciatus curse on Neville briefly, Ron was hit by some sort of charm and ended up severely confused. The confundus charm I expect, Ginny broke her ankle after being hit by a curse. Harry and Voldemort fought but then Dumbledore took over,” Luna explained.
“Voldemort?” Hermione choked more sobs racking her body.
“Hermione you have to understand nobody blames you for anything! None of this was your fault Hermione you’re a genius and that brain of yours is something else but you’re not psychic and you’re a loyal friend so you went. Hermione Voldemort’s power is out of even your control he’s the darkest wizard of all time,” George said quickly knowing exactly what was running through her mind.
“But George I could have stopped Harry going, I tried to tell him that it was a trap. I had a feeling and I could tell- but he wouldn’t listen so I held back but if I- if I’d just kept at it. If I’d stopped him...”
“Hermione stop it, he was adamant he wasn’t going to sit down whilst he thought the only family he had left was about to be killed. He’s so noble he would do anything to protect anyone- he wasn’t listening to you no matter what,” said Ron who had wandered over.
“Hermione I’m so sorry,” George said for about the third time since she’d woken. “If we hadn’t left we would have been there with you all. I would have given my life to protect you all,” he said sincerely.
“George, this was out of our control and you know it. I don’t doubt for a second the risk you’d take to protect those you care for and I’m so grateful for that,” Hermione said moving closer into him.
“We all just got that speech,” Ron said rolling his eyes, “actually I think Fred’s still apologising to Ginny telling her how sorry he is that as her elder brother he couldn’t be there to protect her.”
“We’re emotional,” George shrugged.
“What time is it anyway?” Hermione asked.
“Four in the morning, the school is still asleep,” Luna said.
“I’m going to go see Ginny and Neville,” Hermione said.
She walked round and sat beside Ginny and Fred but before she could start talking Fred hugged her tightly.
“I’m sorry Hermione, I really am so sorry.”
“Fred I’m fine and you have nothing to be sorry for like I said to George this was out of our control.”
“I know, I know.”
“Ginny how are you?” Hermione asked.
“Okay, you? Hermione you wouldn’t wake Neville was carrying you around and when I saw you for a second I thought- I-I thought- thought you were- were...” her voice cracked as she broke into tears. Hermione hugged her.
“Do you have any idea how-how scared I was. I-I thought you were- I thought we’d lost you and I was dying inside. Hermione you know you’re like a sister to me, my worst fear is losing one of you- if one of you were to-to...I don’t think I could handle it. I mean Sirius- I just- I never thought- never imagined one of us- one of us...” Ginny couldn’t continue.
“Hey we’re not going anywhere just yet Ginny,” Hermione promised hugging her tighter. She wasn’t going to lie and say it wasn’t going to happen because after all it was possible and the fear kept her awake at night and on edge through the day.
Hermione wiped her eyes leaving brother and sister to talk and sat beside Neville who smiled to see her.
“Gave me a real scare Hermione,” Neville said softly. “I thought that you...”
“I know,” Hermione whispered and hugged him. “Thank you, I hear you had to carry me around.”
“Well I certainly wasn’t leaving you. Dead, alive or somewhere in the middle we need to stick together,” Neville said strongly.
Hermione nodded, “are you okay? I mean I heard about what happened...”
“It sounds stupid but I guess it didn’t bother me, the pain it made me feel like I was dying but now I just feel proud when I think about how much of that pain my parents endured but they wouldn’t give in. They were brave, I think about that and it makes it worth it. The pain is worth it if I can make a difference by fighting then I’m going to fight.”
“Neville you say they were brave but you don’t see how brave you are, we all admire your courage Neville. You’re so strong but you don’t see it.”
Dumbledore strode into the room. “Miss Granger I hope you’re well.”
“Better thank you sir,” she replied.
“Mr. Longbottom, how are we?”
“Okay thanks sir.”
“If you’re feeling up to it you’re grandmother is in my office and wishes to speak to you,” Dumbledore told him and Neville cringed.
“Yes that’s fine,” Neville said.
“I shall bring her here, don’t want you injuring yourself trying to get up and about.”
“And Miss. Lovegood you’re father is also here,” Dumbledore informed her.
“Oh yes if you could send him here also?” Luna asked.
“Very well, Mr. Potter sleeps still?”
“Yes well he’s been through enough,” Molly Weasley said. “Hermione dear are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes thanks Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione told her getting up to hug her.
“Molly dear, call me Molly.” But Hermione shook her head she was Mrs. Weasley to her.
Suddenly the doors burst open and a rush of students entered. Lee, Angelina, Alicia, Dean, Seamus, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Colin, Dennis and Nigel rushed in eyes wide as they looked around the room they were lead by McGonagall.
“I couldn’t hold them off Albus,” she panted. “All came charging into my office looking for answers as to where their friends were.”
“What happened?” Lee demanded looking around. “Fred, George? What are you doing here?”
A lot of explaining went on though some of it was lies due to the matter of Sirius who many still believed to be an escaped mental, criminal of Azkaban.
“You-Know-Who...” Seamus said processing the information out loud.
“So now what? He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back and now what?” Terry Boot asked as he Padma and Michael sat beside their fellow Ravenclaw, Luna.
“What do you mean now what? It’s simple isn’t it? There’s going to be another war, isn’t there?” said Dean who looked faint as he sat beside Neville and Hermione.
“Please do not worry for now,” Dumbledore said. “Please feel free to stay with your friends I’ll be back in a moment.”
Angelina, Alicia and Lee ran to Fred and George who hugged them all in turn.
Dumbledore came back later with Luna’s father and Neville’s grandmother.
“Neville you silly child,” she said immediately upon seeing him. “What was going through that daft head of yours? How could you do something so stupid and dangerous? Are you okay? That cruel witch, if you were going to take her on you could have at least done her over after what she did. My poor little grandson, you’re so brave. So brave like you’re parents were.”
Neville had gone slightly red and was smiling but Hermione was smiling wider as she watched the elder witch hug her grandson.
“I’m Hermione one of Neville’s friends it’s nice to meet you,” she said as the woman’s eyes fell on her.
“Yes do look after him please, can’t have anything happening to this one.”
“Actually Neville was the one looking after me, I got hit by a curse early on in the fight and he carried me around the entire time.”
“My Neville a hero, I’m so proud but don’t you dare do anything so stupid without help again.”
Hermione said goodbye and wandered to George sitting beside him with a sigh.
“You’re such a good friend Hermione,” he smiled gesturing to Neville.
“Sometimes all you need is a good friend to pull you through, I learnt that from you”
“I’m so sorry...” George was about to start again when Hermione hugged him.
“Don’t be sorry, you’ll always be my knight in shining armour even when you’re not fighting right beside me.”
“You don’t need a knight you’re a warrior always have been always will be,” George told her.
“I fight because I have friends and family worth fighting for,” Hermione smiled at him.
“Harry’s waking up!” Ginny yelled.
“Go,” he whispered shoving her in her best friends’ direction.
“Hermione,” his voice was hoarse.
“Oh Harry,” she sobbed as she hugged him tightly and he hugged her back starting to cry also.
“Hermione,” he choked out, “are you okay?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine but how are you?”
“I’m alive,” he said bitterly.
“Harry I’m so sorry...”
“Why didn’t I listen to you Hermione? Look what I’ve done again. Sirius is dead, I could have had you all killed. Is everyone okay?” he asked looking around him.
“Yes Harry we’re fine please just relax.”
“Ron? Ginny? Neville? Luna? Is everyone alright?”
“We’re fine,” voices echoed throughout the hospital wing.
“Good. I’m so sorry, I should never have dragged you all into this. I was stupid, I made a mistake. I just thought-thought we were saving him- I never imagined that going would end up killing him. It’s my fault,” Harry said voice thick with regret.
“It is not your fault and don’t you think like that for a second,” Molly said taking over from Hermione.
The day went on like that, filled with the regret, fear of the future, comfort and mourning. By the end of the day Madame Pomfrey said they were all dismissed and free to leave.
They all said goodbye and Molly told Harry and Hermione they were free to come over the holidays.
“Bye again,” Hermione sighed as she hugged George.
“I’ll see you over the summer, I’ll keep writing to you so you don’t miss me too much but I mean I’m so amazing everyone will miss me,” he joked and Hermione gave him a playful shove.
“Well I see you over the summer, take care.”
“Will do look after yourself and everyone here,” George said as he left alongside his twin, parents, Luna’s dad and Neville’s grandmother.
Hermione, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Neville, Luna and then everyone who had come to visit and stayed with them left the hospital wing shortly after and the Gryffindors broke off from the Ravenclaws and took their seats in the common room all sighing heavily.
Harry stood and left without a word heading for the boys common room, no one would stop him. He’d been through a lot, he needed to clear his head and he needed to mourn but at his own pace.
“Listen you lot I know you want to help but just give him some space, he needs time so don’t crowd him or bother him. Just let him get on with it, he deals with things in his own way so just leave him to it. When he’s ready to talk he will just don’t hound him about it,” Ron said standing on the sofa to get everyone’s attention.
Hermione agreed completely, they didn’t mean to make matters worse but some questions or comments came across as insensitive they didn’t all understand the gravity of the situation.
The night went on and Hermione found she couldn’t sleep, flashes of the small battle playing across the blank screen of her eyelids. It was bad but she could only imagine what Harry was going through. After waiting and waiting for sleep to come she finally got fed up and headed down to the Common room. As she had expected Harry was there he was gripping his wand tightly and a photo album lay open on the chair beside him. He looked sick but not as in he was ill but as in he was sick of life itself.
“Hermione go to bed, I’ll be fine,” he whispered never looking up. He could tell by the shallow breathing who it was it was one of the things she did when scared or nervous.
“I tried but I can’t sleep. Too worried about you and well everything,” she admitted.
“I’m fine honestly. I’m going to see Dumbledore,” he said standing purposefully.
“Harry be careful, stay safe please and then try and sleep when you get back,” Hermione said softly. Dumbledore had always been able to calm Harry, his wise mind always finding ways of bringing him comfort and advice when he most needed it.
“I will Hermione,” he left without another word. Hermione sighed deeply she wasn’t fond of Harry wandering the corridors alone this late especially not now with his current mind frame.
She was lost as to what to do but she couldn’t block the thought of George so she just picked up some parchment, a quill and began writing.
I’m writing this and you only left about 6 hours ago though I will send it some point tomorrow morning as it’s 3am and I’d rather not be about the halls. Anyway I couldn’t sleep, don’t ask me why because really I’m not sure. I guess I’m worried about Harry and well everyone really, it was a wakeup call I suppose. It’s just beginning and the severity of these attacks is just going to escalate. You know me better than most George, you know that I put up a brave front for the sake of others but I’m crumbing. I realised how weak I am and that a book won’t save me sometimes. It’s a scary thought to be honest I’m lucky to be alive really. I miss you so much I could really use some of your expert comfort and advice. George I really don’t know whether I should panic or not because it’s not going to help me but at the end of the day the darkness coming is more than enough to panic about, isn’t it? Anyway I’m sure your response will calm me down because you are probably the only person who’s ever been able to.
Miss and love you always, Hermione xxx