Chapter 5 : Reunited
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Hermione walked into the Slytherin Common Room once again. She knew she looked flustered and red-faced, but she couldn't hide it, she'd always been useless at hiding such things. The bag, filled with the items Harry and her had found, was hanging from her shoulder, and her hands were holding onto the strap as they had nothing else to do. Ron and Ginny had been sat on the Slytherin sofa when she'd entered, but now they'd both leapt to their feet. Hermione instantly noticed the tear streaks that lined Ron's cheeks, Ginny however, had not been crying, she rarely did.
"Where's Harry?" They said in unison.
"He'll be here in a bit, said he'd clean up and be out as soon as possible." Hermione said cleanly, although her voice did quiver slightly. Ron gave a concerned look, he knew something was wrong, although the quiver could have been interpreted as mearly wobble of grief.
"Right, did you find what you two were looking for then?" Ron asked, his eyebrow raised.
"Yeah, I mean yes, we did. It's all in here," Hermione patted her bag, "but Harry said he'd have a look at it later, at the Burrow, where we have the time."
"Right." Ron stated.
"You two can go up to Defence Against the Dark Arts, I'll wait for Harry, if you like?" Ginny smiled, she hadn't noticed the slight tension between her brother and Hermione.
"Yes Ginny, I think that's a good idea," Ron grinned, "Come on then 'Mione."
Hermione took Ron's hand. She had to bite her tongue to stop her mentioning anything to Ginny as she walked past. Firstly, she didn't know what she would say and secondly, she didn't really know everything, it would be best to tell her when she'd sorted it out with Harry.
They walked in silence for a long time, just holding hands. Hermione was starting to get a little nervous, Ron could obviously tell there was something wrong and she hated the tension, she could feel Ron’s palm sweating against hers. Then he broke the silence.
"So, 'Mione, what did you and Harry find?" Ron smiled at her, but behind his almost convincing smile Hermione noticed a little mistrust in his eyes.
"We found a crevice, in the floor. It was Professor Snape's and Harry's mother's crevice. It had loads of their old things in it, Harry said they'd most likely put all their treasured possessions in there, to keep them safe. Although, the logic for that isn't quite there if you ask me, it's more likely that they just put stuff they didn't want others to find in there, things that were extremely private. There was a letter though, addressed to Harry, from his mother. I think that probably holds some of the answers Harry has been looking for all these years." Hermione replied, there was no hint of a quiver this time, after all, what she said now was completely and utterly true.
"That's why then," Ron said, which confused Hermione a little.
"What do you mean?"
"Nothing. Just I was a little suspicious. You looked a little flustered when you came out before, a bit embarrassed, but I know why now."
"Why do you have to be so vague? What is it?" Hermione said, her voice raised slightly, edging on to the side of shouting as panic started to grip hold of her, had Ron guessed?
"Woah! I meant you were flustered because what you found was so big and you were the only one there when Harry found it, so you had to deal with him on your own! Calm down, don't get your wand in a knot!"
"What do you mean, deal with him?" Hermione asked, her voice a little lower as relief washed over but it was still louder than usual.
"You know, when he finds out something like that, he can react well... a little wildly... sometimes?" Ron mumbled, looking at the floor nervously.
"How the hell do you expect him to react Ron?" Hermione said, her voice rising higher once again. She didn’t know why she was standing up for Harry, but she was.
"Don't Hermione, you know what I mean!"
"No, actually I don't," she frowned.
"Oh forget it, you're obviously on his side again," Ron said bluntly.
"Hey, you wait just a minute, I am not on his side. I'm not on anyone's side in fact!"
"Really? That's not what it looks like."
"Yes really. What do you mean that's not what it looks like?" Hermione fired.
"You know what I mean Hermione!"
"No I don't. Why do you expect me to know everything?"
"You know, your always agreeing with him, never me?" Ron frowned.
"When?" Hermione was shouting now, and Ron looked a little worried.
"You know, fourth year, you sided with him, and you stayed with him when I left the tent instead of coming with me?" Ron said, a little flustered.
"That's because I thought that was the right thing to do! I wasn't siding with Harry because I would choose him over you!"
"Wouldn't you?" Ron asked, his tone flat yet questioning.
"Of course not!" Hermione shouted desperately. Her mind was whirring into overdrive, had Ron realised she was hiding something from him? Had he guessed Harry had tried to kiss her? No, he couldn't have. But why was he being so insecure?
"Really?" Ron asked, acting strangely shocked.
"Ron be logical, why the hell would I choose Harry over you?" Hermione grimaced convincingly.
"I don't know, maybe because he's braver, he's famous, cleverer perhaps?"
"Don't be stupid Ron!"
"Well, come on, who would choose me over Harry Potter? I'm Ron Weasley!"
"Exactly." Hermione stated, smiling for the first time since their argument began.
"What?" Ron said incredulously.
"You're Ron Weasley."
"Just point out the obvious."
"So people would choose you over Harry Potter because you're Ron Weasley." Hermione grinned.
"Oh, now look who's being vague?" Ron said sarcastically.
"Do I honestly have to spell it out. I choose you over Harry because you're you! I wouldn't care if Harry were the most famous, clever, handsome person on this planet, I'd still choose you because, well, you're Ron!"
"Oh? Still makes no sense but I'll take it as a compliment..." Ron grinned.
"You really are thick sometimes aren't you?"
"Why do you always have to insult my intelligence? Come on, we best get to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, before my Mum and Dad start to worry." Ron winked before leaning in and pecking Hermione on the cheek. Hermione smiled as he did so, although she couldn't repress the feeling of almost overwhelming guilt in her stomach. She couldn't stifle the belief that maybe she would choose Harry over Ron, if it came down to it and she had the choice. It was a horrible thing to think.
Harry reappeared in the Slytherin Common Room. Only Ginny was stood there, Ron and Hermione had evidently already left for the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, Hermione's bag with them. Ginny stretched her hand out to Harry, her bright brown holding the hard blazing look Harry had come to recognise as sadness and grief. Harry took Ginny's hand in his, however as he took it, he couldn't stop the wave of guilt that suddenly washed over him.
"Did you get what you were looking for?" Ginny asked as they began to walk along the deserted dungeon corridor, her voice was slightly more high pitched than usual, which made Harry suddenly unsure of himself, although it could just be because she was emotional.
"Yes, yeah we did, I'll... I'll show them to you when we get to the Burrow... Hermione has them and... Well... You know... Don't want to be late..." Harry tugged her along a little quicker now, not willing himself to look into her eyes in case they gave him away. But Ginny stopped, forcing Harry to a halt, his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes searched his face, Harry's cheeks burned under her gaze, the feeling of guilt close to overwhelming him.
"How are you, Harry? Tell me honestly," Ginny asked, her tone concerned. The question caught Harry off guard.
"I'm fine Ginny, honestly I am."
"No you're not, you say you are but you're not, I know you're trying to hide it because you don't want anyone else to see what you're truly feeling but you can show me. Remember I've lost people too."
"Honestly Ginny, I'm fine." Harry replied, unable to meet Ginny's blazing eyes.
"Okay, I'll tell you what's wrong then, shall I? Seeing as you won't tell me yourself? You feel guilty because you think all the people that died did so for you and you could've prevented it. You feel lost and goal less, the thing you've been striving towards for so long has now finally been done and now you don't know what to do and you feel like you have no-one that understands what you're now going through. You feel lonely because you've lost so many people and you feel sad, it's a sort of sadness than you've never experienced before, it rips at your very soul. That's what's wrong, isn't it?" Ginny pressed. Harry only nodded, tears were welling up in his eyes and beginning to roll down his cheeks as the gravity of Ginny's words struck home and rang true within him.
"Harry, look at me," Ginny said, taking Harry's other hand in hers and squeezing both gently, they now stood opposite other, only inches apart, Harry couldn't prevent himself any longer from looking into Ginny's deep brown eyes, "you're not alone in this, everybody has lost someone, everybody is grieving. Nobody died for you, they died to help defeat Voldemort, you were just a vital part in that whole equation. Everybody needs to get together now and help each other get past it all, if you'd just let me I can help you Harry."
"You're right, everyone does need to help each other, but nobody can help me. Nobody understands what I've been through, not even Ron or Hermione." Harry smiled sadly back.
"Tell me then, so I can understand." Ginny frowned, squeezing Harry's hands tighter.
"No, I've lost just as many people as you Harry, Fred is gone and George is completely lost without him, Tonks is gone and so is Lupin, Colin, all dead. I understand as much as you do what it's like to lose someone you love," Ginny said, her face set in what could only be described as determination.
"I know Ginny, I know and I am so so sorry. I just can't talk to you about it, please try to understand."
"I have tried, but you just lock yourself away from everyone and won't tell anyone apart from maybe Ron or Hermione about what you really feel." Ginny persisted.
"Right, of course, but you still won't tell me though." Ginny let go of Harry's hands and folded her arms across her chest, her lips pursed and her eyes averted. She looked like a stereotypical stroppy teenager. Harry smiled.
"Come on, let's go," he grinned at her, pulling at her arm, but she wouldn't budge.
"No, not until you tell me, try and let me understand." Ginny said stubbornly.
"You are just as stubborn as your mother." Harry grimaced as Ginny raised her palm to this, looking like she was about to smack him.
"Well?" She smirked.
"Whatever Ginny, I'll just go whether you decide to follow or not." Harry scowled, turning and walking away, but, after around 10 paces, he stopped and glanced back again. Ginny still stood there, a contemptuos look on her face.
"You are unbelievable! Fine! I'll tell you! Imagine your parents were murdered when you were only one and you never knew them. Imagine that then, at the age of 11, when you thought life was horrific, you suddenly got told you were a wizard and were enrolled for a school you had no idea about but it was a new start and when you got there it felt like you'd suddenly returned home, after years of waiting! Then imagine during the next two years you had to obtain the Philosopher's Stone from the safest place in Hogwarts and face a Basilisk to save your best friend's little sister! Once you've done that, imagine in the third year you meet your Godfather for the first time, but when you do you think he is one of the main reasons your parents are dead, but really he isn't, it was another of your parents' friends! Then imagine in your fourth year you're entered into a Triwizard Tournament that you are underage for and could potentially die in, then at the end of it you watch one of your friends get murdered! In fifth year you then go on an outrageous rescue mission to try and save your Godfather who in fact doesn't need saving and when he comes to your rescue he is murdered and it tears you apart, you suddenly feel like everything is falling down around you and you have no idea what to do but just keep carrying on! In the sixth year you go to a cave on a dangerous mission with your Headmaster but when you return he is murdered by the Professor you have come to despise since the first day you met him! You feel as though you've suddenly lost all sense of security and safety! Once that's happened, in your seventh year you have to go on the run with two friends to complete a mission, feeling guilty every moment of each day because you are putting those friends and their families in horrible danger. Then, when you return to what you know as home, everything is being destroyed and you feel responsible, yet you can't do anything about it because you have a job to do! After you've completed the job you find your least favourite Professor being murdered and you take his memories as he takes his final breath! When you watch these memories in your old Headmaster's pensieve you find that the Professor you despised for so long was protecting you all along, the only reason being because he was and always had been deeply in love with your mum, everything you once knew and believed, blown apart in a matter of minutes! You also learn from the memories that you have to go to your death, you have to go to your death because you have a fragment of soul belonging to the dark wizard that caused it all inside your body! Imagine what it felt like, to stand there and accept that the man who'd killed your parents, who'd almost killed your girlfriend, who'd been the orchestrator for your Godfather's death, who'd been behind the killings of so many of your friends and had been the reason behind your whole entire messed up life, would be able to kill you without you putting up any sort of retaliation, without a fight, I know it would have ripped you apart, because that's what happened to me! But imagine you then came back to life and realised you had the power then to kill that man, imagine the joy you had when you defeated him, the exhiliration, the relief! But really it wasn't a happy occasion at all, far far from it, because you've lost so many people that you loved and cherished along the way and now it's all over you feel completely and hopelessly empty! You feel so unbearably tired! You just want to curl up in a ball and forget everything for a while, you want to be somebody else, someone with parents, with a family that will look after you and tell you everything is fine, a person that's not you! But you can't roll up into a ball because people are looking to you for what to do next, people are looking to you for guidance! Imagine all of that happening to you and imagine what you'd feel like? Now do you feel as though you understand Ginny? Have I made it clear enough?" Harry said loudly. Tears rolled down his cheeks in buckets and his whole body was trembling, his fists clenched and his face pale.
Ginny didn’t reply; all she did was nod. She too was crying, which was extremely rare, and was also somewhat shaking. Harry swallowed nervously, unsure what to do with himself.
"Thank you Harry." Ginny attempted a concerned smile through her tears before she slowly and tentatively stepped towards him. Harry didn't budge, he was still shocked at his outburst. As Ginny reached him she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him to her harder than she'd ever hugged him before. Harry gratefully returned the embarce, holding her tight.
"No Ginny, thank you, you've done what I thought nobody could, you've helped me." Harry sobbed as he nestled his face into her hair. Guilt and betrayal seemed to build up inside him, but he ignored it. Ginny had forced him to say what he needed to say, and now it felt like he was, for the first time, completely and utterly free.
A/N: I'm not too sure on this chapter as nothing really happened but the chapters I have lined up I think will add much more to the story. Thanks for reading and I'll make sure I update soon!
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