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Chapter 9 : Chapter Nine: Slow Realization
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Sometimes, when you step back and look at what is really happening in the present it’s so far off from where you’d thought you would be that it amazes you. Really.
As I stand a few feet from the help desk at St. Mungo’s I have one of those moments where I think “how did I get here?”
Even if someone told me, at fifteen when I was going to the Yule Ball with Viktor, that I would end up married to him, I would have laughed. Even back in our forth year at Hogwarts, I knew who I loved. And I knew that I was using Viktor to make that person jealous. I did like Viktor – just not in the way that I knew I liked Him. It’s always been that way, and I guess it still is.
Except this time, Viktor is not just some date to a dance; he’s my husband. And I want to make this marriage work. Don’t I? I’m too far in to back out now… right? Well, whatever doubts I might have about that I do know, for sure, that I don’t want to hurt Viktor.
But I did hurt Ron. Physically… and probably emotionally, too.
Which is, ultimately, why I’m standing awkwardly in the waiting room of St. Mungo’s behind my husbands back. I feel dirty.
After swinging outside until it was nearly dark, Teddy and I came in and he played on the floor with his toys while I prepared Shepard’s Pie for Viktor for when he got back from practice. Then, after Viktor had left, I waited five minutes, set the oven so that it baked the pie perfectly, packed up Teddy’s stuff, and flooed to Harry and Ginny’s flat.
There, Harry was waiting to take Teddy. Poor Harry. He’s caught again between his two best friends; it must get old. He told me that Ginny was at St. Mungo’s.
So, here I am. At St. Mungo’s.
Why is this so hard? I ask myself. All I have to do is go up and ask the lady at the desk what room Ronald Weasley is in.
Sure, I could commit to going out to search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes in a second, but I couldn’t commit to going to see my ex-boyfriend in a hospital room that I put him in. Most people would find that strange; hell, I find that strange.
But I guess you couldn’t exactly call me normal to begin with, and I have to do this, regardless. I take a deep breath and walk up to the lady, “Ronald Weasley’s room?” I ask.
“What?” the lady looks up.
Damn her for making me say his name again! Doesn’t she know how hard this is? Apparently not. I take a deep breath, “Ronald Weasley’s room, please?” I say, calmly, again.
“And you are?” she asks.
“Hermione Krum,” I tell her.
“Oh, I see, yes, you are on the visitor’s list,” she talks to herself, “he is on the ground floor, as it contains Artifact Accidents. Room 89,” she points to a set of doors to her left.
“Thanks,” I tell her and set off towards the doors.
The first door is room fifty, so I figure I have a while to walk. That’s good because I have no clue what I’m going to say to Him. I don’t think, “Hey, feeling any better since I pushed you into the fire?” was going to go over so well.
I wonder what happened to him, anyway? Was the burn already fixed? I guess not, since he had a room. I hope that it wasn’t too bad. I have to tell him that I’ll pay the bill. Oh, no. That will be hard, how do I get gold out of Viktor and my account without him asking what I need that much for?
All of these thoughts preoccupied me and soon I was walking back room 83. That’s when Ginny walked out of the room ahead of me, “Hermione?” she asked as she walked towards me.
“Hi, Gin,” I say.
“Okay, he’s in that room over there, I’m just going to get something for us to eat,” Ginny tells me.
“No!” I say before I can stop myself, “you can’t leave me alone with him! Look what happened with even Harry there!”
Ginny looks at me sternly, “Hermione, you will not hurt him again. I know you won’t.”
“But, Gin, I –”
“Whatever you say, I know that it was an accident and that you didn’t mean to hurt him at all,” she tells me, “now, go in there and talk to him. Work it out, Hermione.” She says, implying the words she didn’t say. The ‘you know you have to or you’ll never be able to live with yourself’ part.
I nod. She smiles at me and pats me on the shoulder, “Good luck,” she says and walks away.
I walk up to Room 89. Ron is on the other side of this door. Alone.
I can’t do this! What if I have another breakdown and attack him? What if he’s missing his hand? What if he looks terrible and it’s all my fault?
Then the most important and heart-breaking one surfaces. The one that I couldn’t live with if it were true: What if he hates me?
I have to go in some time. As appealing as just standing out here for the rest of eternity sounds, he will probably come out before that and that would just be more awkward. I reach my trembling hand out slowly to touch the smooth silver handle when I hear, “Hello?”
I turn and see a man who must be a healer, “Er…hi,” I say lamely.
“I’m Mr. Weasley’s healer, Healer Vanden,” he reaches his hand out. I take it with the hand I was going to open the door with, “Is now a good time to discuss the results and treatment plans?” he asks.
I blink at him, um, NO. my mind yells.
“Wh-What happened?” I hear myself ask.
“I’m sorry, are you family?” the healer asks.
“No,” I say softly.
“I can only release that information to family,” he sighs, then furrows his eyebrows and stares at me, “Wait, are you Hermione Granger?” he asks.
That wasn’t expected, “I was, now I’m –”
“Mrs. Krum, right, I’m sorry!” he exclaims looking excited, “I just love your husband’s team! He’s such a good flier…”
He goes on and on about how great a flier Viktor is. He acts like it’s a great honor to be married to him. Well, I wanted to say, if you love him that much why don’t you marry him?
Wait. No. That was bad. It is an honor to be married to Viktor. He’s great. And, at least for me, the marriage comes complete with an “ex-boyfriend” and “free guilt!” A package deal!
“Well, I’m just going in to see Ron, then,” I interrupt, “I understand that you can’t tell me anything.”
The doctor looks pained for a second then, “Well, since you two were so close back in the days,” Gee, thanks for reminding me. “I’ll consider you family.” I almost was.
Stop. Bad Hermione.
I didn’t need to think of that now. It would only make me feel worse.
“When Mr. Weasley fell, he broke his arm in three places with the impact,” the healer says, “but that wasn’t the main problem. The main thing was that, since the floo powder hadn’t had time to be completely used up, when his hand landed in the fire the magical abilities of the powder effected his burn.”
I stand there and listen to the healer explain what I had done to Ron in horror. Somehow, his burn was worse that what the healer called “muggle third degree burns” because of the floo powder, and that was why Ron had to stay overnight to make sure that the burn didn’t contract some terrible infection. With every word the doctor said, my heart sunk deeper knowing that I was causing Ron that much physical pain. How could I do that?
“Mrs. Krum?” the healer was saying, “are you okay?” I guess I was in shock or something, but I finally focused and managed to nod my head.
“Would you like me to give you some time to talk to him before I come back?” the healer asked, looking worried.
I think I nodded again because the healer smiled and walked away.
Now I had to face Him. Knowing what I had done to him, knowing what I was doing to my husband behind his back, I had to face Ron. I turned to resume my battle with the door. I have to go in sometime, I repeat to myself. And now, Ron was alone in there. I wondered if anyone told him that I was coming.
I needed to go in before I lost even more of my nerve. I was a Gryffindor for Godric’s sake, where is my courage? I reach out again and grip the cold, smooth handle. I push it down and push open the door.
Now walk in. my mind reminded me. Right. Walk.
I slipped through the door and saw him. It was a private room so he was the only one in there. I stood at the doorway just taking him in. It was paler than normal, but still gorgeous. He was looking out the window on the opposite wall of the door, so he didn’t see me staring at him. His hurt arm was rested on top of the blue quilt that covered the lower half of his body and was wrapped in what looked like many layers of gauze. The tips of his fingers barely stuck out of the wrap and I could see that they were a dark brown and red color that was so different from his normally soft, almost white, freckled skin.
When my eyes scanned over his messy red hair and muscled torso – even though he was lying in a hospital bed – I couldn’t help but think of the good days I had with him. Not that the days with Viktor weren’t good, it’s just… I’ll admit it, the days with Ron stuck out more. I was like comparing a unicorn to a hippogriff. Both were amazing creatures, but the unicorn was obviously more magnificent, mesmerizing, and… beautiful.
I let the door shut quietly behind me. The faint sound was enough for Ron to turn to see what the noise was. When he saw me, his curious expression darkened… but not completely out of anger… at least I hope not.
“Hi,” I said in a very, very small voice. I don’t know if it was even audible.
Ron just glared at me; I stood still and stared back at him.
“Are y–” I stop, “how’s – ” I try again, “is your –” I sigh, “Are you okay?” I manage to spit out.
He lets a few more agonizing seconds pass before he answers, “What do you think?” He gestures to his arm with his eyes.
I look at the floor, “I’m so sorry,” I say, then make myself look up at him, “I – I – I didn’t mean to hurt you!” I say. I feel the damned tears welling up again. I notice that his face softens. Probably just because I’m crying; he doesn’t know what to do, “Ron,” I cry, “I swear, I don’t want to hurt you. I never want to hur –”
“Stop,” he orders sitting up, his face distant again, “don’t even finish that sentence, Hermione. I don’t want to hear you to lie.”
I stare at him in shock, “You can’t think that I want you hurt.”
He shakes his head with a sad, unbelieving expression, “Honestly, Hermione, stop lying to yourself,” he says then looks back at me, “I know that you didn’t mean to break and burn my arm, okay? There. Now you can go back to your husband, he’s got to be worried as to where his wife is.”
I tighten my expression, “For your information, Viktor doesn’t know I’m here. I came to make sure that you were alright.”
“Like you care,” he mutters.
“Like I care!” I repeat, “Ron, how can you even think that I wouldn’t care if you were hurt!”
“Oh, I don’t know,” he rolls his eyes, “because you’re married to Viktor.”
“Quit bringing him up!” I yell, “this isn’t about him!”
“Then what’s it about?” Ron challenges.
“Us!” I yell at him taking a step forward. Silence surrounds us while we stare at each other, “It’s about me wanting to make sure that you are okay.” I say, much quieter.
“Well, I’m fine,” Ron says stiffly.
“Then I guess we are done here,” I say.
“I guess we are.”
“Bye.” Ron says as I head angrily for the door.
I reach the down and push the handle with more force than necessary. Then I pause. I turn my head, “I don’t want it to be like this.” I whisper just loud enough for him to hear.
His face relaxes, “Me neither.”
I take my hand off the door handle, and walk over and sit in a chair by the hospital bed, “I mean, we should try to get along, right?” I ask.
He nods, “We aren’t in Hogwarts, anymore.”
“And I still don’t think that Harry appreciates being put in the middle,” I smile.
“You get that impression, too?” he jokes and I nod, smiling.
“So,” he says, serious again, “how is this supposed to work, then?”
I look him in those amazing eyes, “I don’t know.”
“I suppose that ‘not fighting’ might be good?” he suggests.
I nod. How had we gotten from yelling at each other to talking civilly in a matter of about a minute?
“But can we not fight given our… situation?” I ask.
“You mean the fact that you are married to… to… him,” Ron says, anger evident on his face.
“If we can’t do it, then maybe we should just avoid each other?” I gulp at the thought. That option would not work out well for me. At all. Because, if I avoided him yet knew he was close, I knew that I would be miserable.
After a few seconds of silence, Ron says, “I think that I can be civil about it.”
I nod, still confused about something, “Can I ask you something?” I say, “You don’t have to answer.”
Ron looks weary, but nods.
“How can you hate him, but still want to talk to me? I mean, I… married him.”
Ron just stares at me for a long moment his face in a expression of obvious concentration, “I guess it’s because you’ve always been my friend.”
I nod, “Well, I’m glad you’re back, then.”
“Me too,” he smiles and opens his arm inviting me to hug him.
Knowing that it was a stupid idea, I lean over the bed and he takes me in one arm. I wrap my arms around his neck.
At his touch, a shiver shoots up my spine. My chin rests on my shoulder and I can feel the faint stubble of a beard against my cheek. His warm body comforts me; I close my eyes as we hold each other.
We break apart and I smile at him through my immense internal pain. Hugging him had made me realize something that I was fighting hard against.
I felt a hole rip through my chest as it fought it’s way into my mind. The truth that I had been convincing myself was false bubbled up and prepared to erupt inside of me like a huge volcano. I had accidentally allowed everything that I didn’t want to know come to light.
I was vaguely aware of Ginny entering the room as I grab my purse off the chair and rush out. I make it to a stall in the ladies room before I sink down against one of the walls.
I can’t stop the realization as it washes over me like a huge, drowning wave: I married the wrong man.
A/N: I updated fast, yeah? I amost didn't want to because i only got 16 reveiws on the last chapter and that made me sad, but the 16 of you deserve an update so HERE IT IS! This chapter has drammmaa and hopefully a bit of humor. haha. Well, please tell me what you think!
Oh, and a special shoutout to quidditch77 who awesomely reviews everyone of my stories. YOU ROCK.
okay, that's all for now folks. Please review because:
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