Chapter 20 : Lost Brother
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“Good morning Ms. Granger. I’m sure you are wondering where you are, or atleast why you are here.” She said softly. “This is the coma ward of St. Mungo’s. You’ve been here for 2 months and 27 days exactly.” Hermione opened her mouth, but could barely force out a word. “That’s normal dear, some patients that have gone through trauma like you need some time to readjust after waking up.” The nurse conjured a glass of water and handed it to her. “Albus Dumbledore had me hold on to this for you until you woke back up.” She put a letter on Hermione’s lap.
“Thank you.” Hermione croaked holding her throat. The nurse nodded and left the ward.
Hermione drank the water and began feeling better, but she stared at the letter and didn’t touch it. She could barely remember anything before she went into a coma or why she did. There were no bandages on her, but maybe 3 months was long enough to completely heal her. She grabbed the letter and tore it open. The writing was scribbled quickly and familiar to her. The letter read:
I am in the dungeons right now, Harry is beside me, and we’re waiting for the Professors’ orders. I’m writing this letter to you so that if I don’t survive the final battle you understand how I feel. You will never truly know how much I loved you through the years, looking back now I realize how thick I was not leaping at the chance to be with you forever. But you are in love with someone else. No matter how much I loathe Draco Malfoy, I can see the happiness he brings to you. I realized this watching you two in Hogsmeade. How he held you so protectively, it was exactly how I always wanted to be with you. But I apologize for everything I said to hurt you, just seeing you with him drove me mad. And now I accept he’s changed and loves you just as much as I do. Please Hermione, never cry for me if I die, and never let sadness come between you and Draco. You don’t deserve to be alone or sad. I’ve always wanted you to be happy, so be happy for each and every day you live.
p.s. Take care of Ginny will you? Keep her safe for me. And Harry also, tell him how much it means to me that he might have been my brother-in-law. I could never ask more of him than to make my little sister happy. I trust you will tell them.
Hermione felt everything flood back to her and she crumpled the letter as tears burst down her cheeks. The ward doors opened and Harry and Zach walked in and immediately saw her bawling.
“Hermione, are you alright?” Zach asked rushing to her with Harry.
“Where is Ron?” She asked desperately. Their faces fell to sadness and Harry reached for her face.
“It isn’t your fault Hermione, it was his choice to -” She pushed his hand away and continued crying.
“He was killed, those horrible memories are true. The dragons, all of the chaos, so many Death Eaters, and Ron...” She mumbled.
“It all happened, and that’s what the Healers believe pushed you into the coma. Your mind couldn’t handle anymore so you just shut down after the funerals.” Zach told her.
“But I don’t remember any funeral.” She said.
“You might not ever, its part of your mind’s defense against any more trauma.” He said.
“The Healers say that you have a scar like mine now.” Harry told her. “It’s on the back of your left shoulder.” She arched her neck to look and saw a crescent shaped scar.
Hermione was silent for a while going over everything that had happened to her. She tried to remember the funerals, especially Ron’s. She didn’t want the last memory of him to be of his stiff, lifeless features collapsed on the ground in her lap.
“Are Draco and Ginny alright?” She asked breaking the silence.
“Draco is as well as he could be after almost 3 months of worrying about you and not sleeping or eating. He will be much better once he sees you are awake and alright.” Zach told her.
“And Ginny wasn’t in the battle because she was helping to keep the Gryffindors’ safe in the Tower. None of the Weasleys’ are taking Ron’s death well though. They all just get through the day by helping eachother, but they are getting better.” Harry said sadly.
Within a few minutes, the door opened and Draco walked inside. Hermione saw him and smiled. All she wanted to do was jump up and run to him, but her weak body held her to the bed. Instead, Draco ran to her bed and picked her up in a large hug.
“I’ve been so worried about you.” He whispered to her as he was shaking. Harry and Zach left the room so that the two could be alone together after what probably felt like forever being apart.
“Were you hurt in the battle?” Hermione asked pulling away.
“No, just a few scratches, nothing major that put me in the hospital.” He said messing with her hair. “So, do you remember anything?”
“The only thing I don’t remember is all the funerals. Please, tell me everything. What were they like, where, who came, whose funeral I went to, things like that?”
“You wore your mom’s old black dress that you told me didn’t fit her anymore, so you were allowed to have it for yourself. And you brought dozens of flowers to put on every single grave...”
Hundreds of people walked across the cemetery going to different graves. Some had entire families huddled around the tombstone crying. Others had only widows or widowers. A few orphaned children cried as their godparents tried consoling them. Hermione held tighter onto Draco’s hand and the last flower in her other hand.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Draco asked.
“Yes, I have to; it’s the least I can do for him now.” Hermione replied letting go of his hand. She walked over to a grave that was surrounded by the Weasley family, and friends of the dead. They all looked at her with sad eyes and placed a hand on her shoulder as she passed. She knelt over the fresh overturned ground and cried freely. A boy came up beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
“I’m sure he’s happy that you came. But I doubt he would want you to be so sad.”
“I know Harry, but I can’t help but cry and blame myself.” She said holding the flower to her chest.
“It’s alright, we all are crying, Ron was a great wizard, and a great friend.” Harry told her.
“And a wonderful son,” Mrs. Weasley wailed next to her husband.
“And a perfect brother who never ratted us out,” The twins said. Hermione sniffed and placed the flower gently over all the others and stood. She suddenly felt her mind go numb along with her entire body. Everything around her felt far away as though she was moving through a tunnel. The tunnel began to close and everything went black as she collapsed to the ground.
“Help! We need help!” Ginny shouted as her older brothers went to pick her up. Draco came sprinting over and pushed through the red heads and stopped in his tracks seeing Hermione sprawled on the ground unconscious.
“That’s when you were brought here. You had gone into a coma because your mind had gone into an overload and couldn’t handle anymore.” Draco said.
“I remember it a little now.” Hermione said sadly. “Can you do something for me Draco?” She asked.
“Of course, what is it?”
“I want to visit his grave. The first time feels like just a bad dream to me. It isn’t real enough, I need to go there myself and know that it happened.”
“I’ll go ask the nurse if you are allowed, and if you are then I’ll be happy to take you.” He said and kissed her forehead before he left the room.
In only a few minutes, Draco was back with a pile of clothes in his hands. He walked over to Hermione’s bed and placed them down.
“The nurse said you were allowed to leave, but that if something happens I’m to bring you right back. Also, a nurse is going to come with us to monitor your condition since the cemetery was the trigger of the coma last time.” He said. “Do you need help changing?”
“No, you can close the curtain; I think I can handle this.” She laughed and pulled the sheets away from her. When the curtain was closed around her bed, she stood and put on a pair of jeans under the hospital gown, and then took the gown off and finished changing.
“Are you decent now?” He asked when she pulled back the curtain.
“Yes, where did you get these clothes from?” She asked.
“Ginny had brought them from your dorm at Hogwarts a few weeks ago. She’s here now with Mrs. Weasley to see Charlie.” Seeing the confusion on her face he explained. “Somehow a few Death Eaters had taken down Fred’s dragon, and Charlie tried to heal the creature, but got badly burned all over his chest and a few other places. The dragon is back in Romania being cared for and Charlie is still here since his leg is still bandaged up.”
“Oh...” Hermione said feeling bad for Mrs. Weasley for how much happened to her sons.
“Ready to go?” He asked. She nodded and he held onto her hand as he apparated away.
There was light overcast and a cool breeze blew across the cemetery. Winter was over, and it was a few days into spring already. Hermione inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. Hundreds of graves had shining medals reflecting in the sun, all of them were for bravery for fighting and dying in the Final Battle against the Dark wizards. A small pop sounded behind them and the nurse showed up watching the couple from a distance.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Draco asked looking at her.
“You’ve already asked me that.” She said with a half smile. She kept a hold on his hand as she walked toward Ron’s grave.
“Hermione, I shouldn’t. Ron didn’t exactly like me.” He said stopping.
“It’s alright, he said that he was happy that I was with you because you make me so happy.” She told him remembering the letter she had left on her nightstand in the hospital.
“If you say so.” He agreed and walked on.
Hermione stood with Draco looking down on the grave stone. There were flowers all around it, some planted, and some wilting and dried out. It was the same as all the other graves honoring the fallen, but it was special to Hermione.
“I don’t know what to say.” Draco suddenly mumbled.
“It’s alright, you don’t have to say anything Draco. I’m just glad you brought me here.” She wasn’t crying, and felt no grief inside her. It was peaceful in the cemetery, and she felt herself at rest with what happened. One of her best friends sacrificed his life for her because of how strong their friendship grew over the seven years they knew eachother. If Ron could make the decision to save her instead of living himself, then she could trust he was at peace with it.
“He must have loved you very much.” Draco told her.
“Yes, as much as you do.” She replied.
“I’m sorry you lost him,” He looked down to her and saw she was upset. “Are you going to miss him?”
“I’ll miss him a lot, and I know that so will everyone else.” She kissed her fingers and bent down pressing them against the stone. “I’m ready to leave.” She told him holding his hand again.
“Do you feel okay?” He asked as they walked away.
“I’m fine, a lot better than I thought I would be.” She said truthfully.
The cemetery was quiet and peaceful. Hermione breathed in the warm air deeply and let it sit inside her for a few seconds. She would miss the people she lost, but she would get over it because they would never be forgotten. The war had taken many friends from her through the past years, and even ripped her parents away. But she still had so many people to live for. Looking over to Draco all she could do was smile. He was the only thing she needed for the rest of her life, and she would be happy. She closed her eyes and exhaled softly.
Author's Note: So this is the last true chapter of Spiraling Guilt. I'll be putting together an epilogue for when the characters are grown and Zach will finally say his peace, but I'm not sure when I'll get to that. Hopefully soon just to close this story out. Leave a review, tell me what you thought!
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