Chapter 2 : Love for thoughts
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Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize belongs to me, all belongs to JKR except my plot and my characters.
Chapter 2: Love for Thoughts
Ron and I walked down to the Great Hall, and stepped over the rubble littered floor. His arm around me was comforting even as we dreaded what we would find. I felt like I was dreaming, which fit in a way, ‘how many times do days like this happen?’ I swayed slightly, and leaned in towards Ron. ‘Maybe he’ll just think I’m getting closer or something, and not think I’m about to…’
He steadied me and asked, “Hermione, are you alright? You look like you’re about to pass out”
My cheeks protested as I tried to smile up at him; I was more tired than I wanted to admit, so I glazed over it and said, “I’m just tired that’s all. We’ll go up to the tower and rest soon; do you realize we haven’t seen anyone for practically a year? I feel like I’ve been alone for ages. It’ll be nice to be there for each other now that this is over.”
I realized I was rambling a little, but I didn’t really care at the moment.
Ron still looked at me and frowned. “Yeah, but I think they would all understand if you're too tired, I don’t want you passing out. I’m pretty tired too, and I don’t think I could hold you up” he said as he gave me a weak, halfhearted smile.
“We’ll only be a minute, we’re practically there already. Unless you’re too tired, then we could go--” I argued.
He started to steer me towards the Hall, “No, you want to go, so I’ll go with you--”
I half-heartedly tried to stop, but my body wasn’t cooperating, “Really Ron, you’re the one who looks-” my face stretched as I yawned, “… Oh, forget it. I’m too tired to argue.”
“That’s a first, and probably the last” he smirked.
Even with bags under his eyes it was irksome. But I loved it.
Once we entered the Great Hall we went over to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. They rushed over to Ron with tears in their eyes, grateful that one of their sons came back and was alright. I stood there awkwardly for a minute and then Mr. and Mrs. Weasley pulled me into their arms.
“Oh dear, we were so worried about you. If anything happened, it would be like losing another child you know,” Mrs. Weasley said, her voice strained and emotional. She gave me her famous hug that squeezed my breath away if I wasn’t careful.
I welcomed it, and returned the gesture as much as I could. She was like a second mother to me, and if I didn’t have my own parents right then, I was grateful I had the Weasleys’. I hugged Mr. Weasley next and caught his look before he hugged me almost as tight as his wife had. He looked like a daughter of his had come home but he couldn’t protect her from the harsh world. I couldn’t be strong anymore; I started crying. I missed my own parents so much that I couldn’t help it. Mr. Weasley continued hugging me and stroking my hair. He made comforting “shh-ing” sounds until I finally stopped.
He sat me down; I think I had swayed again. Because of his kindness I felt able to calm down. I tried taking deep breathes and after a minute I was able to take in my surroundings.
I expected to have to see other people and comfort them, but instead our friends came to Ron and I. Everyone was there: Luna, Neville, Dean, and so many others, too many people. I almost couldn’t name them all. They told us everything we wanted to know. Though, I was so tired I couldn’t take it all in. They told us who had and hadn’t been hurt, and who were off helping elsewhere. In the fog of everyone around us, I heard Luna mention that the castle seemed to be repairing itself. It was intriguing and I vaguely wondered why that wasn’t in Hogwarts: A History, but I was too tired to wonder for too long.
My tired brain understood one thing and for once it wasn’t all the information, but the love.
Next thing I knew, I went from sitting at one of the tables, to lying next to Ron in the most comfortable bed I’d ever been in. But maybe I only thought that because we had been sleeping on cots for the last 9 months...
I squinted from the sun that made its way through the curtains and turned over to look at Ron, who snored loudly.
‘How in the world did I not wake up from that sooner?’ He snored loudly again, turned over and flopped his arm over my side; one of his legs flung over both of mine.
‘I can’t move. He’s snoring in my ear, and I can’t move.’
I giggled, and before I knew it I was laughing loud and hard. I didn’t even bother to keep it down. He wasn’t going to wake up that easily anyway.
“Whossair?” asked a sleepy voice I recognized as Ginny’s.
‘Oops I guess someone did’ I thought, “It’s me, don’t worry.”
“Hermione? Is that you? Wait, where are you?” I heard the rustle of blankets and assumed she was trying to look for me. It must’ve been hard since her brother obscured me from view.
My smile was bigger than ever as I said, “I’m next to your brother, he’s sleeping on top of me and I can’t move.” I couldn’t help but giggle more, it had been too long since the last time I laughed and, for some reason, found it slightly easier to do.
“Just shove him, he won’t even notice,” Ginny said sleepily.
I gave a half-hearted shove, “I don’t think I have the strength to… Wait, I have a better idea. Turn around a second.”
Confused, Ginny asked, “Why?”
I smirked, “Well, unless you want to see me snog your brother--”
Frantic, she yelled, “Merlin, no! I need to go to the toilet anyway… just a sec.” I heard her as she rushed away and closed the door.
I looked at Ron and turned towards him the best I could and kissed him when his mouth wasn’t all the way open from snoring. It took a minute to get the right angle, but when I did, my mind blanked except for that wonderful lightheadedness.
He didn’t move at first, so I kissed his face and then he started to move. I went back to his lips again and hoped he responded.
He woke up suddenly, turned over and kissed me properly. He made me breathless. He kissed my face, my neck, and started all over again.
When I pulled away to get some air, I looked up at him drowsily. He gazed down at me with his brilliant blue eyes. The love that shone from them affected me like none of his kisses ever could.
He smiled sweetly and kissed me on the nose, “That was the best way I’ve ever woken up. Usually waking up, period, is horrible, but that was great.”
“How else was I supposed to get up? You were practically sleeping on top of me! Not that I would have wanted to wake you up another way,” I turned to snog him again, but Ginny walked back in the room.
She put her hands on her hips and said, “Hey you, are you done snogging your girlfriend yet to give your only sister a hug?”
Ron shook his head and said “Nope.” He turned back and pretended to kiss me again so Ginny would be annoyed.
"Hey!" She yelled at him, sarcastically.
He turned away from me so he could see her better, "That's what you get for just staring at Harry, after seeing me for the first time in months!" He said, smirking. Then he sat up properly and gave Ginny a hug.
As much as it was nice to see the reunion between them, I couldn't help but get butterflies in my stomach. ‘If he didn’t get upset by Ginny’s “girlfriend” remark then…’
Ron pulled away from Ginny and looked at me seriously, “That is, if Hermione will agree to being my girlfriend,” he looked so nervous, I nearly laughed again.
I rolled my eyes at him, “Do you really think I’d have woken you up that way otherwise? Still, it’s nice of you to ask…”
He looked exasperated, “Just tell me already!”
My face broke into a grin and I yelled, “Of course I will, you prat!”
My face started to hurt I was smiling so wide, “Nice way to talk to your boyfriend! Maybe I’ll just keep this mouth of yours shut,” I wanted to kiss the silly grin off Hermione’s face when I heard a grumpy voice from behind me.
“Will you two be quiet already? I was sleeping!”
‘Oops, Harry’s certainly awake now.’
“Sorry mate” I said, feeling pretty sheepish.
Ginny’s tone was nothing but sarcasm as she said, “Well, besides these two who just seem to want to snog each other’s’ face for breakfast, why don’t me and you call for some actual food, eh, Harry?”
Harry sat up and blearily rubbed his eyes before he grabbed his glasses from the nightstand, “Wait, wasn’t it morning when we fell asleep?” Harry asked.
Even with all the sleep he’d had, he looked beat, but I would be too if I had done everything he had yesterday. Before I thought about that too hard, I shoved those thoughts away.
“Yeah, we all must have slept the entire time” I said as I stretched. My stomach punctuated that message with a growl that said, "hello" to everyone.
“Real subtle, Ronald” said Hermione in that annoyed tone I loved. ‘I’m one lucky guy, even if she is teasing me.’
“Kreacher?” Asked Harry as he yawned again.
A loud pop punctured our silent room and the elf appeared. Since Kreacher’s name was obstructed by the yawn I wondered if it would work properly… Apparently it had.
The elf bowed low, his ears nearly touched the floor, “Yes, Master Harry?”
“Could you get us something for breakfast please?” Out of the corner of my eye I saw Hermione’s grin at Harry’s manners.
Kreacher had straightened but bowed low again, “Of course, Master Harry.” He turned to Ginny and bowed, but not quite as low, “Oh, I would also like to be telling Miss Ginny that everyone has a few changes of clothes that Kreacher cleaned and pressed, Miss.”
She smiled and said, “Thank you so much Kreacher, you’ve done great,” Ginny gave him a pat on the head. I expected him to flinch away, but instead he looked rather pleased with himself and with another pop he disappeared.
“I wonder how everyone’s doing. There’re so many people I need to talk to” Harry said as he hung his head.
The mood dropped significantly, my own feelings started to rise dangerously close to the surface. ‘The loud sound Kreacher made snapped him into thinking about it’
“Hey, don’t worry too much about it Harry, we’ll be with you the whole time” Ginny said soothingly; Harry gave her a small kiss for that.
That was something I saw much of. Usually Ginny teased me about one thing or another so I didn’t really think much about her ability to be soothing. I was glad Harry had that in his life; he could use it.
Harry shook his head, clearly depressed, “But Ginny, there’s Andromeda and little Teddy, your parents, and who knows who else…” he started.
In true Weasley fashion, Ginny cut him off before he got too deep into his thoughts, “We’ll get through it together Harry, it won’t be easy, but we’ll do it”
Hermione nodded sadly, “That will have to include finding my parents. I don’t expect everyone to come with me though, don’t worry. Harry, you have to be here for Teddy and Andromeda; Ginny and Ron you'll have to be here for your family…”
Like Ginny, I shoved thoughts of my loss away; instead, I looked at her incredulously and said, “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m going with you,” I gave her a kiss on the head. I tried to stay nonchalant as I continued, “We just need to stay for the service. Dad told me that there’s going to just be one large memorial service that will include everyone who, um, who passed away here at Hogwarts.” I cleared my throat.
I couldn’t continue… When I talked about all of it, it hurt like hell, but it seemed like that bit of information was news to everyone so I was glad I was useful.
Hermione laid her hand on mine and picked up where I left off, “Kingsley said the Ministry is taking care of all the costs because they did such a terrible job preparing for a war. We won’t have to go anywhere for a while, thankfully.”
The room went scarily quiet as we waited for Kreacher with breakfast. All of us were absorbed in our own thoughts… then tension grew thicker.
Then someone knocked on the door and made us all jump.
A familiar blonde head peaked around the corner and into the room, “Here you all are; how are you feeling Hermione? It still looks like you have a few Wrackspurts around your head.”
“I’ll feel better when I’ve eaten, thanks Luna” she said with a grateful smile.
Grateful for the distraction and curious, I asked, “How did you get in anyway?”
“Great greeting Ronald,” said Ginny as she rolled her eyes at me.
“Shut it, I was going to say hi too.”
Luna smiled a tiny bit, “I came in with Neville through the Portrait hole. I didn’t want to sleep in the Ravenclaw tower, this seemed a lot friendlier, there aren’t any bad memories here,” and just like that, she created a familiar, awkward silence that filled the room.
It was the kind only Luna could achieve; I had almost missed it.
Hermione broke the awkward silence quickly, as usual, and asked, “Oh, Luna, is the castle still repairing itself?
“Is the castle still WHAT?” Harry exclaimed, clearly shocked, but happy.
My mouth hung open. I slightly remembered Luna mentioning it before Hermione passed out, but then I was too worried about her to really take too much else in.
“Oh, yes, the castle seems to be doing quite well in most places,” said Luna, as she ignored Harry’s outburst. “Neville has a group going around helping it along, but we’re not entirely sure what’s wrong with the Room of Requirement. Neville can’t figure it out, so I think I’m going to send an Owl to dad to ask if he has any ideas, and to tell him I'm alright of course."
Hermione, Harry and I looked at each other uncomfortably…
"Um, Luna, when was the last time you talked to your father?" Hermione asked slowly.
‘This might not be good. Luna might not even know what happened...’
Luna frowned slightly at her and said, "Not since before I was kidnapped, why?"
Hermione took a breath, and cleared her throat. "You might want to sit down a minute Luna. We're sorry we didn't have time to tell you at Shell Cottage, everything was going so crazy," she said softly.
Luna sat, and her face looked more confused now than I've ever seen it. Come to think of it, she never looked confused, seeing the look on her face was a little unnerving. She always seemed to have her own understanding of things, but that wasn’t the case right now. For once Hermione really did know something Luna didn’t.
"Luna, we went to see him earlier that day, before we got to Malfoy Manor, and he tried to turn us in to get you back. Don't think that we hate him or anything for it," Hermione reassured her after she saw Luna open her mouth, about to defend him. "He just seemed like he was going a bit crazy not knowing how you were. He wasn't normal. The thing is, when the Death Eaters came to try to get us, they started destroying your house. We're not sure what happened to him, we were just trying to escape."
Luna just looked shocked. Not exactly disbelieving, but closer than she had ever looked to disbelieving anything. I'd never seen her that way before.
With a slightly blank look on her face she got up and said, "Well, I'll just go check on him in person then. Thank you for telling me Hermione. It's alright that you didn't tell me earlier or I would have gone sooner when it wasn't safe."
Hermione looked just as uncomfortable as I must’ve looked, but she called after Luna and said, "Yes, and um, Luna, I'd check with Professor McGonagall about getting there, or maybe Kingsley."
Luna paused at the door, "Oh, that reminds me, Professor McGonagall came by saying that we’ll be having a funeral/ memorial service next Sunday, since doing one today would be a bit of short notice."
Tears started running down her face but she didn’t seem to notice.
She sniffed softly and continued, "This will give them time to contact people, and get everything ready of course."
No, she must’ve noticed she was crying, she absentmindedly wiped some off her face.
Her voice started to crack, but she went on, "I can’t imagine what this week will be like for people telling family someone’s died, it must be horrible."
More tears... I may have the emotional range of a teaspoon sometimes, but I did start to look around for some tissues or something.
She shrugged, "I might help anyway though; it might take some of the burden off the Professors and everyone. I guess I’ll go talk to McGonagall about it while I check about seeing Dad."
She closed her eyes a second which made more tears fall and I still didn’t see any damn tissues.
Belatedly I thought to myself, ‘we are in the Boys dorm, and men don't usually cry right? Why would we need them?’
"I'll see everyone later,” she said, her dreamy smile conflicting with her tear-filled eyes. She looked like she was about to face a nightmare as she turned to leave the room.
"Luna!" Harry called after her; she stopped in the doorway, her back to us. "If you ever need anyone to talk to, you know how to find us.”
She hid her face in her hands and bent forward. Soft sobs finally managed to grab a hold of her. Ginny got up to give her a hug. Hermione got up next, then Harry and finally, so did I. We tried to give her all the support we could in that hug, and even though it was for her, we all needed it. It wasn’t exactly like we really had anything to give, but it felt like we could relax, like we were just there for each other. After a whole year of feeling alone, it was a welcome feeling.
She pulled out of the hug after a minute and said, "Thank you all, you've always been so kind. Hugs seem to be the way to get through to someone when they're hurting, isn't it? I'll keep that in mind when I talk to McGonagall. See you all soon," and with tears still streaming down her face, she gave us a tired and sad smile, and left the room.
Tears streaked Ginny and Hermione's faces, their arms still around the others' while Harry and I looked like we tried our hardest not to let the tears fall. I know I felt like I had a grapefruit sized lump in my throat. We all looked at each other in shock. How Luna could cope through all of that, even when she was going through so much herself. I didn't see her as the same dreamy, crazy girl anymore. In fact, I wasn’t sure what I saw her as anymore, but I was impressed either way.
After she left, our breakfasts appeared; we stopped gaping at each other, the girls wiped their faces on their sleeves, and we dug in for the next hour or so. I had always appreciated food, but after the year we had of eating anything we could find, I would never take it for granted ever again. Food, and Hermione, were a few of my most favorite things, and they were both right next to me.
‘The only thing that would have made the moment perfect is if my family was whole,’ I thought. I swallowed a lump that formed in my throat, along with a piece of sausage, (which made it really hard to do). ‘I guess if this is as good as it gets for now, I’ll take it. I’ll try to deal with the rest later, though I’m not looking forward to it.’
A/N: Another chapter edited 1/17/16, I hope you liked it. Thanks to my beta Bardic Magic and to Treacle Tart for the review, it helped with this edit to bring out more emotion. I always love writing Luna and Ron, and everybody. Who do you love to read or write? Thanks for reading everyone!
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