When Hermione arrived back at the Manor she was irate, yet she understood why Ginny had helped her brother out. She was slowly learning that blood was thicker then water and that you can not mix vinegar with wine. She figured Ginny would have automatically left rather then face her wrath but she was duly wrong. As a matter of fact Ginny sat waiting patiently for Hermione to return in the west sitting room. Hermione found it brave of her friend and looked to her staying as a payment of respect to their friendship.
“I can explain,” Ginny said, slowly standing as Hermione entered the room.
“There is nothing to explain, you did what you thought was right. You love Ron, blood is thicker then water. I would never ask you to betray him,” Hermione coldly stated.
Ginny took a step forward.
“I love you both and I can no longer stand to watch the two of you tear one another apart. But I will not interfere if he asks it of me again, once is all I am able to do. What happens here after is between you and Ron, and only you and Ron,” Ginny said with a slight tremble in her voice.
Hermione brushed past her friend and stood in front of the fire place. The flames warmed her and called to her in a hypnotizing way.
“Mione,” Ginny began but Hermione cut her off.
“Gin, I think you should be leaving,” She said without turning to look at her friend. Ginny noticed that for once there seemed to be no emotion in her friends voice, this worried her.
“And when do you plan to leave, Hermione?” Ginny asked in concern.
“I am comfortable here, I am welcomed,” was her only answer.
“You are welcome in more places then just here,” Ginny said warmly and taking a few steps closer to her friend.
Hermione turned and stared hard at Ginny. The flames from the fire place cast a sinister glow on her porcelain face and cast a shadow below each of her eyes, here stare was piercing and it gave Ginny the chills.
“That might be so, but I want to be here,” she paused and stared even harder at her friend, “I lost Ron, my child and my family lay mentally paralyzed in a hospital. The only home I knew as a child was burned to the ground and my flat screams only memories of my former life with Ron. I might be welcome at the burrow yes, but my heart can not step over the threshold.” She finished sternly and Ginny could have sworn she saw flames flicker in her eyes.
“Mione, nothing I can say could ever ease the pain you have had to endure. But you are not alone, we all love you.” Ginny pleaded now with tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I am alone, for you have your family alive and well, you have Harry alive and well. You have all that slipped away from me. So do not tell me I am not alone because I am!” Hermione said raising her voice.
There was a loud thud and suddenly Harry came stumbling out of the massive fireplace. Shocked Hermione and Ginny both jumped back in pure surprise.
“Harry what on earth,” Ginny began but before she could finish he shot her a knowing glare. He must have heard from Ron what the two of them did and surely he was not here to help her collect her things and return home, no instead she knew he had come for Hermione. Ginny never did understand just how close their bond was, she knew Harry loved her and she was his wife but somehow whenever Hermione was around she surely felt like she got the backseat.
“Right then,” Ginny said, “I guess I will be going seeing how I am sure you two have things to discuss, but know I only did what I did because I love both you and my brother.” And with the end of her words she took hold of her suitcase and disapparated.
“Mi,” Harry said as he approached his best friend. She only looked at him with blank eyes. Harry knew that no matter how strong she was deep down inside she was torn into a million pieces. Slowly he approached her, she was showing no signs of emotion or acknowledge of his presence, other then jumping in shock upon his arrival.
“Hermione, it’s just me Harry,” he said still slowly approaching her. She was on the verge of jumping and he knew he had to talk her off the cliff, he could see how lost she was by the emptiness in her eyes. He reached for her hand.
“Mi, come on sweetie. Let it go, let it all just go,” He said taking her hand into his but feeling no response to his touch. She was slipping into a madness Harry was all too familiar with. He loved his wife and he loved Ron but he was furious with both of them for what they had done. She had come here to get away and they had invaded her safe place.
“Come on love,” he said now taking her other hand into his. She only looked at him blankly.
“Mi, I know you are in there. I know you can hear me and I want you to know I love you and I am here and I will leave if you ask it of me, but unless you ask I will stay. I will stay here as long as it takes for you to come back, you are not alone Mi. I would never let you do this alone.” He said holding back tears. She was like his sister, she was always the one who had taken care of him or came to his rescue in various ways. She had always been the strongest when he was the weakest; they had always had one another.
Hermione could see Harry but she could not hear him. His lips were moving but she was lost and was struggling to find her way back. She was tired and wanted only to sleep the rest of her life away. She was weary of intruders who said they cared, she was simply tired. She knew Harry wouldn’t give up and she was grateful but she wasn’t ready to come back just yet and without warning she collapsed.
Harry caught her in his arms, alarm sweeping through his body. Quickly he scooped her up and walked to the foyer where he asked the butler which room was hers.
“Come on love,” Harry said to her as he briskly walked down the long hall to her bedroom.
“Come back,” he whispered into her ear as he pulled her closer to him, “I’m here.”
He laid her gently on her bed and pulled a chair up next to it. He took her right hand into his and squeezed it gently. The butler had followed and asked if he should summon for help, Harry told him no but that he should send for for Draco, maybe he could bring her back to them.
The days passed into nights as Hermione slept. Draco was in the US on another mission and he was under the radar so the message took longer to reach him. Once it had he sent and owl to the Manor and was expected that evening. Harry had put a thirst and hunger spell over Hermione so she would not need to eat or drink therefore her body would not become malnourished. She slept soundly and seemed to be asleep even when she was awake. Harry could only hope that with the arrival of Draco that she would pull out of it.
Ginny and Ron both felt horrible when they had received the news but Harry had denied them both to visit. He had not been home and did not care to leave the manor until Hermione showed signs of getting well. Though Harry knew all to well that a sickness of the heart and mind was much more ailing then that of a common cold. He held constant vigil over his friend, he wished there was more he could do but deep down he knew that the only thing she needed was time.
Hermione loved Harry for staying with her. He even slept on a couch in her room never leaving her unless it was to excuse himself to the restroom. She could always count on him but although she was comforted by his presence she had pulled herself within herself, taking refuge within her body. She could feel Harry’s charisma and that was just enough comfort to keep her from going completely mad. He fought the battle for her on the outside; allowing her to fight the battle that raged within her soul.
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