Chapter 5 : Shell Cottage Again
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Ron carried Hermione’s limp body through Shell Cottage, whimpering with relief and fear. She was alive, but she was badly injured. Fleur bustled around him, trying to help and bombarding him with questions
‘Ron, where ‘ave you been?! You are covered een blood! What eez wrong with ‘ermione? Where is ‘Arry?’ She asked frantically. Ron didn’t answer; he was too busy staring at Hermione’s pale face.
‘Ron! Ron Weasley!’ Fleur practically shouted at him as he laid Hermione softly on the sofa.
He stared at Hermione, she was covered in cuts from shards of the shattered chandelier, and there was quite a deep cut on her neck from Bellatrix’ knife. She was deathly pale and there were tear streaks cutting through the grime and blood on her face. She had never looked so utterly woebegone. Ron sniffed loudly and brushed his sleeve across his eyes.
Fleur seemed to realise she was not going to get any information out of Ron in such a state and she scurried off.
He watched her for a few moments. She was deathly still, Ron’s mind tricked him for a second into thinking she had actually died. It gave him a hopeless feeling so intense he could hardly contain himself, but then he saw her chest rising and falling and almost laughed with relief.
However another unbearable fear overcame him and his feeling of relief was immediately extinguished. He thought of Neville’s parents. How long had it taken to torture them into insanity? Would Hermione even remember him when she woke up? He attempted to gulp down the lump in his throat and almost choked.
Fleur returned with various bottles and jars in her arms. She handed one to Ron.
‘Zees eez to ‘elp with shock, eet weel make you feel better.’ She said quietly as Ron absent minded-ly took the bottle.
‘Zees eez for you both, for minor cuts.’ She added, indicating a jar of salve in her arms.
Ron nodded mutely, and took a gulp of potion. He instantly felt a lot more relaxed, like he could deal with the situation now.
Fleur had started rubbing the salve onto Hermione’s arms and face, but Ron took it from her and said,
‘I’ll do that.’
Fleur nodded at him, a small smile on her face.
‘I weel check on Mr Ollivander and ze uzzers,’ She said as she stood up. ‘And give zat potion to ‘ermione when she wakes up.’ She indicated the last bottle that she had set down on the floor.
As Fleur left, Ron sat on the edge of the sofa next to the unconscious Hermione and continued applying the cream. The small cuts faded almost to almost nothing after a few seconds, although it seemed to have no effect on the deeper cut on her neck.
As Ron touched her throat, Hermione flinched. Ron jumped with shock; it was the first sign of movement she’d shown. He sat and watched her anxiously for a few seconds, her eyelids began to twitch and she bit her lip. She started to whimper.
The noises she was making almost transported Ron back to the dungeons of Malfoy Manor. She seemed to be sobbing hopelessly in her fitful sleep, and struggling to escape from some none existent captor. It was more than he could stand.
‘Hermione!’ He said firmly. She did not awaken but struggled more frantically.
‘Hermione! Hermione!’ He half shouted, tapping her on the cheek, he needed her to wake up.
Hermione’s eyes flew open wide with fear and she yelped one word.
He used the hand that was on her face to make her look at him. As she met his eyes she let out a loud sob and clutched at him, struggling to sit upright.
Ron leant over her and hugged her tightly, hardly able to contain his own tears. His brain kept repeating one ecstatic thought. She’s ok, she’s ok.
‘I thought I’d never see you again… ‘ whimpered Hermione
‘I know…’ choked Ron, holding her, if possible, tighter.
They remained this way for a while, Hermione crying all over Ron’s shoulder, as Ron tried to surreptitiously wipe away the few tears that escaped his eyes on her wild bushy hair.
After a few minutes Ron remembered the potion and handed it to Hermione. She drank it slowly and seemed to calm down a bit. Ron watched her with concern. When she’d finished she managed to string together a sentence.
‘I heard you calling for me…’
This would have usually embarrassed him, but the situation at this moment was so packed with various emotions already he didn’t suppose there was any room for embarrassment; he looked her in the eye.
‘Well, I heard you screaming…I couldn’t stand it… I tried so hard to get to you, Hermione’
She smiled weakly.
Ron stroked her hair gently, only half aware of what he was doing as he thought about how desperate he had been to help.
‘How did we get out?’ asked Hermione in wonder, ‘And where’s Harry!?’ She added slightly hysterically.
‘He’s fine, he’s…’
He couldn’t bring himself to tell her everything that had happened just yet, she was so upset already.
‘It’s a long story, Hermione; maybe you should get some rest first.’
Hermione nodded, he supposed she didn’t really want to think about it anyway right now.
‘Yes, OK… But Ron?’
‘Don’t leave me.’
‘I won’t. Ever.’
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