Chapter 2 : Awaking
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The battle’s over. It’s time to awake and count the losses.
Hermione opened her eyes. It was dark and still all round her. Deathly dark, deathly still. She felt a panic rising up in her, but tried to calm herself. Where am I? What happened? Above her she could see the stars and a clear night sky. She discerned that she was lying on her back. Her body felt numb, and she couldn’t move. She wondered if she was paralyzed – she knew of that happening in the Muggle world. Her mind raced to try and recall her last memory.
Her left arm was trapped underneath something but her right arm was free. She began to feel about her, finding dirt, rocks, a bit of grass, and then something cold. Her hand retracted at first, but came back to whatever it was. She tried to feel what it could be. It felt like a hand, and she recoiled again, scared as tears sprung to her eyes. What’s going on? She attempted to move and pull herself out from whatever was on top of her. She pulled and pushed and finally felt herself free, but her legs were still numb. Her foot kicked something wooden. A wand! She reached out and easily grabbed it, and whispered “Lumos.”
What met Hermione’s gaze would forever stay burned into her mind’s eye. Instantly tears drowned her eyes and fell down her face. There were Ron and Harry. She had been trapped underneath their bodies. They can’t be dead, they can’t be dead! She dragged herself over beside Ron’s body and began to shake him. She took his hand in hers, and realized it was his hand she had felt earlier, his so very cold hand.
"Ron? Please, Ron, be alive!” she begged as tears fell from her face and onto his cold and rigid body. She shook him again and kept calling out his name, sobbing and sobbing.
“Ron! Ron, wake up! Ron!!” Hermione wailed, and dared to yell, though afraid that Death Eaters or other enemies might still be lurking around. She pushed and prodded, called his name, yelled for him to wake up, rubbed his chest, kissed his cheek, squeezed his hand, but there was nothing for it. Finally she collapsed onto him, still refusing to accept the truth. He couldn’t be gone.
It was still dark when Hermione opened her eyes again. Perhaps it had been hours. She pulled herself up from Ron’s body, allowing her eyes to travel his full length and attempt to begin to accept that he would never be back for her. No more laughs, no more late night talks, no more stubborn arguments, no more saving him from spiders, no more kissing, no more gentle ‘Ron hugs’ – but Hermione forced her mind to stop this torture. She couldn’t accept it. She had to block it out. She wasn’t ready.
And then her eyes caught something unfamiliar. She lowered her face so very close to his, all the while still expecting, hoping, for him to take a breath and open his eyes. He did not. But there, above his eye, was an odd cut. It was similar to Harry’s famous scar, but smaller and very bright and fresh. She traced her finger along the shape of it, marveling at what it could mean. And then she remembered Harry. There was his body, his lower torso draped across Ron’s, his wand hand outstretched, and his wand resting only inches from his finger tips. Hermione crawled, with what strength she could muster in her legs, to Harry’s side. She knew Ron was gone. Not Harry too. They can’t leave me alone!
“Harry? Harry!” she screamed his name, no longer caring if she was found by a Death Eater and sentenced to the same fate as Ron, and possibly Harry. She started shaking Harry’s body like she had Ron’s. She was holding out hope, for Harry did not seem as rigid and cold as Ron had.
“Harry, you have to be alive. You can’t both leave me here alone. Harry, please!” she begged, crying fresh tears that spilled onto Harry’s shirt beneath her. She took his hand, but it still seemed warm – only slightly warm. There was hope.
“HARRY!” she screamed, willing him with all her might to wake up. She wrapped her arms around his body and sobbed into his chest.
“Harry…” she moaned, as her strength was leaving her. Would she really live through this after all? She hadn’t even checked herself for wounds yet.
“Harry…” she cried. And then she felt something. A movement. It was like feeling a spasm in his body, and she noticed now his rising and falling chest beneath her.
“Harry!!” she screamed, pulling herself up, and staring down into his face. His eyelids fluttered so slowly, and then peering out from his mud and blood caked face, those emerald eyes finally stared at her.
“Harry, you’re alive!” she cried. Hermione’s hands flew to his face, and she bent down and kissed his forehead, then cupped his face in her hands as she kissed his cheeks, first one, and then the other, and then she buried her face in his neck, wrapped her arms around him and sobbed.
“Hermione…” Harry croaked. She pulled away from him and stared down at him through tear filled eyes.
“Hermione…” He spoke her name again, but his voice was filled with agony, and his eyes now reflected the deep anguish within. His breathing was slow and pained and he wasn’t moving, but remained lying flat on his back.
“Harry, I’ve got to get you out of here!” she exclaimed.
“What about Ron?” Harry barely spoke loud enough for her to hear. Her eyes poured out more tears than before and she shook her head, tucking her chin to her chest, avoiding his gaze. Harry’s eyes rolled back and it seemed he’d left her again.
“Harry, no! Don’t you do that! Don’t you leave me here!” Hermione screamed.
“I can’t move,” Harry finally spoke with a quiet and raspy voice.
“We’re going to be okay!” Hermione insisted. Harry stared up at the stars.
“Is he gone?” Harry choked out.
“Yes,” Hermione whispered. She watched him for a few minutes, uncertain what she should do.
“Harry, I’ll go get help for you,” she finally decided, though quite unsure about what exactly to do. Her legs were so stiff and numb, her body felt exhausted, like she could hardly stay awake, and she hadn’t heard voices and seen any signs of life. What were they to do? She felt a hand rest upon her back. It was Harry’s, the only body part he’d yet been able to move.
“Hermione?” Harry asked, his eyes suddenly filling with tears.
“Yes, Harry?” she asked, her own eyes never becoming void of tears. She lowered her face next to his.
“Hermione, don’t leave me,” he croaked out hoarsely, as a few tears pushed their way out from his deep, pained eyes, and slid their way down his dirty face, making clear tracks until finally they rolled down from his cheeks, over his ears, and into his hair. Hermione worried, as still he had not stirred from his prostrate position, and she didn’t think she could do anything to help him.
“I won’t, I won’t, Harry. Just don’t you leave me. Stay alive for me,” she begged. Harry nodded slightly, and closed his eyes. Hermione let her body down next to his, holding on to him tightly, as exhaustion swept over her.
“Wait, I see some more!”
“I think I’ve found them, it’s gotta be!”
“Hurry and check!” The voices were coming closer, and getting louder.
“Oh no,” spoke the nearest voice.
“What is it?!” a distant voice seemed to call across the way.
“It’s him. It’s Harry.” Feet were running close by.
“Is he…?” A panting voice asked. Open your eyes. Her eyes slowly fluttered and were welcomed by darkness somewhere lit by soft lights. She blinked and blinked again, her eyes seemingly unaccepting of the surroundings. Where am I?
“Wait! It’s Hermione! She’s alive!” one of the nearby voices called out. Hermione forced herself to move, but felt every muscle groaning.
“Hermione, you’re alive!” Lupin spoke to her. She pushed herself up, nodding ever so slightly. Running up behind him was Arthur Weasley.
“And Ron?” Lupin asked quietly. Hermione tried to shake the confusion as she woke from her exhaustion, but after understanding Lupin’s question, she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. Again her eyes flooded with tears, her chin tucked down to her chest, and she shook her head, ‘no.’ Lupin’s face dropped.
“Harry?” he asked quietly. He seemed afraid to pose this question, or rather, to receive its answer. Hermione’s gaze dropped to Harry, underneath her. He had been alive, he had spoken to her, she remembered. But now he looked asleep.
In the light of the wands around her, she could properly see his face. He had cuts on both sides of his face, blood smeared across his cheeks, chin, nose and forehead from the fresh wounds. There was a deep gash on the opposite side of his forehead from his lighting bolt scar. The cut began just above his eye brow, skipped his eye, and resumed for another inch below his eyelid. Some blood was matted in his hair, and dried on his left ear. His entire face seemed to have a layer of dirt across it, and his neck too, which also sported a nasty cut and dark purple bruise. She didn’t want to think of how she must look…
“Harry?” Hermione spoke. He didn’t move.
“Harry? Harry!” she screamed, shaking his body forcefully. She willed the thought out of her mind. He had to still be alive. She leaned down to his face, tears falling from her eyes, onto his dirty face.
“Harry, wake up,” she begged through tears and gritted teeth. She stroked his cheek with her hand.
“Hermione,” Lupin’s sad voice of resignation began. But he was interrupted as both of them caught movement. Harry’s eyes finally fluttered open.
“Harry, you’re alive!” Lupin seemed quite shocked, and was instantly on his knees next to Hermione.
“I can’t move,” Harry again croaked his complaint.
“Hermione?” a fatherly voice called out. It was Mr. Weasley, who had joined them.
“Ron…” Mr. Weasley whispered, as his eyes fell to his youngest, red headed son.
“Here, I’ve got some potion that’ll help get you moving,” Lupin spoke to Harry, pulling something from his jacket. Hermione wanted to jump up and fall into Arthur Weasley’s arms. He was the saddest Hermione had ever seen him. But she didn’t want to leave Harry’s side. At that very moment, she felt as though she never wanted to leave his side again. She grasped Harry’s hand tighter in her own. Lupin had poured the potion into Harry’s mouth and they waited for it to take effect. Lupin turned to Hermione.
“Hermione, dear, are you all right?” he asked her. She nodded, though really unknowing.
“What’s that?” Lupin questioned slowly, his eyes narrowing as he placed his hand against her face. His thumb rubbed across something on her forehead, and she pulled away, grimacing from pain.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Curious. A scar…” Lupin spoke quietly.
“Like his?” Hermione whispered, pointing to Ron’s body, and the fresh scar upon his forehead. Lupin seemed in shock as he stared from Ron’s face, to Hermione, even to Harry, whose own scar had existed his entire life.
“Hermione, did Harry try to save you two?” Arthur asked from his quiet shock, somehow trying to hold himself together. Hermione tried to travel back through her memories, but was having difficulty.
“My chest,” Harry finally spoke up in the midst of their conversation.
“What, Harry?” Lupin immediately focused his attention upon the boy at his knees.
“It hurts, my chest.” Harry could finally speak to them more coherently. In one quick movement, Lupin ripped Harry’s T-shirt in two, right down the middle, which revealed a fantastic scar on his chest, one that had not previously existed. Truthfully, there were many new scars gained that night. Everyone who survived that night, survived with scars – physical, mental, and emotional.
“Lupin, let’s get them out of here. They can tell us all about it later,” Mr. Weasley finally directed the group. Lupin nodded, stood, and attempted to pull Harry to his feet. Harry staggered, and had difficulty keeping his balance. Hermione and Lupin stood on each side of him, helping as they made their way across a field littered with death and bodies. Arthur Weasley followed beyond them, weeping as he carried the full figure of his youngest red headed son, Ron Weasley.
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