Chapter 12 : Breath of Life
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“Turn it off,” Draco whispered to her, only taking his lips away from hers to speak.
“Good idea,” she agreed. She pulled away from his embrace quite hesitantly and walked over to her coffee table, picked up her cell phone and flipped it open to turn it off when it rang again. Quickly she glanced at the number flashing on her screen and recognizing it immediately has Harry’s and she gave quick thought that he might be physic.
There is no way he could know I am with Draco right now. She thought to herself.
Suddenly she felt his arms wrap around her once more and his breath upon her neck.
“Who is it,” he asked but before she could answer he had already seen the number and Harry’s name above it.
“Oh, him,” he said in a sarcastic tone and he pulled away from her.
“I am sure if it were important he would have left me a message,” she said turning to face him. But as she said it her voice mail tone started chiming away and Draco merely rolled his eyes.
“I don’t plan on checking it,” she said attempting to turn the phone off, but before she could it started screaming its baleful ring again.
“A bit impatient isn’t he,” he said tersely, “Same old Potter, always having to come first.”
“Oh really Draco, come off it he doesn’t even know we are together right now,” she said.
“Well then answer it and see what Potter’s emergency is, he’ll probably just keep calling till you pick it up anyways,” he said his tone now very rude. He flung himself down on her couch and she couldn’t help but adore his face as he pouted.
She flipped her phone open again and answered, “Hello?”
“Hermione,” Harry said, “You have to come to the burrow right away. It is an emergency.”
“What,” she asked shocked, “what kind of emergency.”
“Mione I am not going to tell you over the phone, just get her as soon as possible,” Harry said in a tone so surreal Hermione knew what ever it was had to be serious.
“Harry you’re scaring me,” she said starting to think of all the horrible things that could have happened to one of her friends.
“Just get here,” he said and he hung up on her most abruptly.
Draco read her face when she turned and looked back at him; whatever Harry had called about was serious, very serious indeed. The jealousy in him for Harry stirred but he could tell by Hermione’s eyes that he needed to push it down.
“I’ve got to get over to the burrow right now, Harry said it was important some emergency,” she said with the most worried expression on her face.
Draco was standing now with his hands in his pockets and looking at her intently. He still loathed Harry Potter in many ways, but he knew he was Hermione’s best friend.
“Do you need me to come with you,” he asked supportively.
Hermione allowed a slight smirk appear on her worried face, “Draco, I wish you could but we both know it would be best if you didn’t,” she said.
Her words had stung him. She called him over here, she said she did not want to pretend anymore and yet she did not want to take him along. He understood her reasoning’s but it pained him to think she might be the slightest bit ashamed to let on to others that they were now intimate.
“Well then,” he said coldly, “Have fun with Potter and the Weasley’s.”
“Draco, don’t do this,” she started to plea with him. She took a few steps closer to him putting her cell phone in her back pocket.
“No Hermione! You won’t be able to hide what we have for long,” he said with an angry tone.
“I’m not trying to hide anything at all Draco, but now just doesn’t seem to be suitable. I mean I don’t think we even know what we are at this point and besides,” she paused then started up again, “No, no I am not arguing with you there is an emergency at hand and that must be dealt with first,” she finished sternly.
Hermione jumped at the load rising of his voice.
“Draco really, you’re acting like a spoiled brat,” she said more angrily now.
Draco glared at her and without saying another word walked to her front door, opened it and walked out slamming the door behind him. She heard a loud crack and knew he had gone completely. She wanted to cry but at the same time she was angry with him. Her best friend had an emergency and he was acting like a spoiled little child.
The nerve of him. She thought to herself and with that she disapparated.
Harry and Ginny had apparently heard her apparate outside the burrow and ran out of the front door to meet her. Harry looked anxious and his glasses were lying slightly crooked on his nose. Ginny on the other hand not only looked anxious but it was very obvious she had been crying for some time now. Her face was almost as red has her crimson hair and her face was puffy and tear stained.
“What on earth,” Hermione started but Ginny had cut her off almost immediately.
“Come inside, hurry,” Ginny said wrapping her arm around her friends waist and together her and Harry led her inside the burrow.
Hermione wasn’t sure she wanted to know what was going on. Harry and Ginny had both looked like some one had just died yet inside there were party decorations and Mr. Weasly was humming loudly as they entered. Mrs. Weasly was crying and laughing at the same time and Fred and George were talking cheerfully over what looked like butter beer.
“OH HERMIONE,” Mrs. Weasly shouted with excitement as soon as she noticed her arrival. She ran over and scooped Hermione into a tight hug and started crying again.
“Molly,” Hermione tried to say but she was again cut off.
“Oh my sweet girl,” Molly said cupping Hermione’s face in her hands and kissing her cheeks. She pulled her into an embrace again and it wasn’t until Hermione shot Harry a very noticeable what the hell is going on look so that he interrupted.
“Err…Molly,” he said nervously.
“MUM”, Ginny said in a raised tone with her mother, prying her off Hermione.
“Oh yes, right,” Mrs. Weasly said, she kissed Hermione’s hands then disappeared into the kitchen.
“Harry what the hell is going on, you said this was an emergency,” she said looking around the room, “It looks more like merriment.”
“Well it sort of is,” Ginny said with a sudden grin that Hermione knew all to well as her mischievous smirk.
“OH MERLIN YOU’RE PREGNANT ALREADY!” Hermione shouted and embraced Ginny tightly.
Ginny broke free from her tight hug and now her face was flushed rather then tear stained.
“Err, no Hermione,” she said softly and almost sounding slightly embarrassed.
“Well then what is going on,” Hermione questioned her two friends.
Just then Mrs. Weasly had reentered the room carrying a tray full of tea cups and saucers. Behind her was a tray of crumpets and biscuits hovering in quick suit following her to the couch.
“Shall we?” Harry asked as he pointed to the couch, insisting they sit down. Once she had settled herself she started to make a cup of tea. Ginny was sitting to her left and Harry to her right. Why they had chosen to sit on either side of her was beyond her but she figured they had something important to tell her and that was why they had sat in the order they had.
Once she had finished stirring her sugar into her tea, took a sip and placed it back on the saucer on the table Harry took her hands in his. He looked deeply into her brown eyes and Hermione could tell he was searching her for emotion.
“Harry what is it?” she asked with a soft smile.
Harry shifted anxiously and squeezed her hands as he kept staring deep into her eyes.
“Mione, what I am about to confess to you has been one of the hardest things I have had to hold inside for a very long time,” he began with an aching tone in his voice.
“Well if you are about to tell me you are in love with me I pity the harsh beating you will receive from Ginny,” she tried to joke but noticed he had not cracked the slightest sign of a smile. She looked to Ginny who also had an up most serious look of concern on her face.
“Mione, it is so much more serious then that,” he said sadly. Hermione now glanced around the room and noticed that no one was smiling anymore; they all seemed to be starring at her and all with serious expressions on their faces.
“Hermione I want you to know that what I have kept from you I only did it because I had to keep you safe and I love you very much,” he said regrettably.
“Harry,” she said nervously, “Harry you’re starting to scare me.”
So many things that could be considered bad news started to race into her head. She feared first of her parents and their well being but she quickly reassured herself for she had just visited them at St Mungo’s yesterday and they were doing fine.
Harry took a deep breath then very clearly said, “Mione, it’s Ron,” he paused to squeeze her hands tighter and looked even deeper into her russet eyes, “look there is no easy way for me to tell you this so I am just going to say it and hope that you will find it somewhere in your heart to forgive me one day.”
“Harry,” she whispered but again he cut her off. She realized now that Ginny had put one of her arms around her shoulders.
Harry took another deep breath and without looking away from her eyes said finally, “Ron is alive. He has been all this time.”
Harry had tears rolling down his face now and she could feel Ginny crying again as well has hear her. She studied Harry’s face; he had never broken eye contact with her. She knew it wasn’t in him to play such a cruel joke and slowly she took in everyone else’s expressions in the room. Mrs. Weasly was crying and nodding her head to Hermione in complete faith. Mr. Weasly was grinning from ear to ear and the twins also wore serious but smiling faces.
“He had to go into hiding, to the witch and wizard protection program. Myself and the Minister were the only ones who knew, well and Ron but he was told he was not allowed to contact you or any family. I just told the Weasly’s yesterday. They apparently caught the death eater’s that were after Ron and the Minister has allowed him to return,” Harry explained.
Hermione felt her stomach lurch. Harry’s words were distant to her and her world started to spin. This had to be some kind of dream this couldn’t be real.
“Mione,” Harry said, bringing her back to reality by again squeezing her hands.
“You, you watched me mourn him. You held me when they brought the casket through the ministry and you KNEW HE WAS ALIVE THE ENTIRE TIME!” She lashed out at him and yanked her hands away from his.
“NO,” she shouted and stood up, “NO!”
“RON WAS MY LIFE AND YOU LET ME BELIEVE HE WAS DEAD FOR FIVE YEARS,” she bawled furiously at Harry.
She was shaking with anger and nervousness and she felt Ginny put an arm around her again trying to comfort her silently. She pulled away from her friend.
“I don’t believe this. I don’t understand and I don’t believe it,” she cried, “I refuse to believe these lies.”
“Hermione when have I ever lied to you before,” Harry pleaded with her.
“Apparently you have been lying to me for the past five years. Apparently you did not care as I threw myself into despair over his death. APPARENTLY YOU LIED AND WATCHED ME GRIEVE!” She shouted even louder now.
“He kept it from us as well Mione,” Ginny said speaking up in Harry’s defense.
Hermione turned to stare at Ginny now. Her friend was crying and trying desperately to console her but Hermione kept pushing her away.
“Come on Hermione,” Ginny said forcing Hermione into an embrace until she lost control and sobbed violently. Ginny shot Harry an I’ll take it from here look and he took the cue to exit the room, motioning for the others to follow him.
“Gin how did this happen,” Hermione cried into her friends shoulder.
Ginny pushed the hair out of Hermione’s face and rubbed her back gently. There were no explanations that could stop her tears and there was nothing now but the cold hard truth that Ron was alive, alive and well.
“Ron is upstairs,” Ginny whispered into Hermione’s ear as she tried to control her crying.
Without thinking Hermione pushed herself away from Ginny and headed for the stairs. She had to see him, to believe all this was real. She was hurt and she was angry but she had to see him. Before she realized it she was at the top of the stairs where she froze upon hearing a bedroom door creak open.
This is a dream, it just has to be. She thought to herself. She wiped the tears from her face and let out a slight laugh, this just had to be a dream; another dream she was not going to let haunt her. She turned back around and took to the first step on the stairs when she heard a very familiar voice behind her.
Her feet turned to stone and she was unable to move.
She started to tremble and tears were escaping her brown eyes all over again. Her stomach lurched again like it had downstairs and she felt she might be sick at any moment and then she felt a hand upon her shoulder, she shuddered at the touch.
“Hermione, I can’t imagine how hard this is for you. How hard it has been,” the familiar voice said to her, Ron’s voice.
“Hermione,” he paused and she heard him breath in deeply, “Mione please look at me.”
“Ron…” she said under her breath, his naming barely escaping her lips.
With his help she slowly turned too face him, her nightmare only this wasn’t another bad dream. She looked up into his face, his real face. His hair was longer then the last time she had seen him and he looked more roughish in the face. She reached out to touch his chest with her trembling hand. She could feel him breathing, his chest rising and his heart beating; he was very much alive. Tears were falling silently from her eyes and she studied his expression.
Ron could read the anger, hurt and confusion written all over her face; yet at the same time he could sense she was happy he was alive. Her beauty had not wavered in his absence and though her eyes were watery he remembered just how much he had missed her russet eyes. Her hair was also longer but wavy as ever, he loved her wavy hair. It was always untamed it seemed, restless like her spirit.
She started sobbing harder and pulled her hand away from his chest. He went to reach for her but she back away from him.
“Mione,” he whispered her name to her. She shook her head in disbelief and shock, turned on her heal and ran as fast as she could downstairs.
“Hermione,” he called after her. But she ignored him, ran into the living room and right out the front door. Before anyone could catch up to her she disapparated.
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