“It just really isn’t any of your business.” Hermione Granger sighed out. It had been a long night already and she really did not feel like dealing with the over protectiveness of her two best friends. Not that she didn’t appreciate their concerns, in fact she felt quite flattered that they cared for her so much, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t annoying at times.
“Come on, ‘Mione, you were gone for,” Ron paused as he glanced up at the clock on the wall, “Thirteen hours, you left without telling us where you were going and you just expect us to let you come in without telling us something?”
She closed her eyes tightly and pinched the bridge of her nose, “Guys, I’ve disappeared for longer than that before.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Harry replied, “You know that you leaving is dangerous.”
“Was dangerous,” she corrected, “Was, as in past tense. That case was closed over a week ago, Donoholv was apprehended and is now sitting tight in Azkaban. No one is looking for me or sending any threats to my office.”
Harry shook his head and slumped back against his chair, “Why won’t you just tell us where you were?”
“What are you my father?” She asked a bit harshly, her brown eyes flashing angrily, “I do not need, nor am I required to, inform you of my whereabouts. I'm a perfectly capable witch, a perfectly capable adult witch.”
“Are you hiding something?” Ron tilted his head a bit, his blue eyes narrowing.
“Of course I am.” Hermione grinned a bit.
“This isn’t a joke!” Harry spat as he stood up suddenly. He glared at her as he started pacing back and forth in the small living room. “The last time you did all this…this…sneaking around,” he paused mid-step, “You disappeared for six weeks.”
Hermione shook her head, “It’s not like that.”
“Obviously.” He retorted before he sighed heavily as his shoulders slumped, “We just worry about you, okay?”
“I know that, Harry,” She said as she stood up as well and walked across the room to him, her small hand coming to rest on his forearm, “I know you worry, both of you have been worried about me since I was eleven. It’s not news to me.”
“Then why can’t you just tell us?” Ron asked, his tone almost pleading.
Hermione shook her head, “Because something’s aren’t supposed to be told.”
She gave them both a small smile before shrugging with one shoulder and turning to leave the room. It really wasn’t the right time to tell them what she had been doing, even though now, after seeing their worried expressions she wished she wouldn’t have promised herself to keep everyone in the dark. It wasn’t going to hurt anyone if they knew, well, no that wasn’t entirely true. She expected it would hurt for them all to know and then the plan failing.
It was painful for her to keep so many thoughts to herself. She wished she could run right back down the stairs and tell them everything. They were her best friends, her lifelines and yet still…she just couldn’t bear to let them down if she failed.
Hermione sighed as she slumped down on the edge of her bed as she looked up at the wall of photos she had in her room. Her eyes scanning over all the smiling faces of her past -- the three of them at Hogwarts, the Weasleys, her parents, Remus, Sirius and even Crookshanks. That wall was her life and she would be damned to all manners of a hellish afterlife if she turned her back on the people portrayed there.
And that was why she couldn’t say anything. Because, in her research, she had breached a wall. A fine line between life and death. She had known since coming into the wizarding world that the main difference between muggles and magic users was the possibility of the impossible. Hardly anything was concrete in the Wizarding World, everything could be manipulated and changed. They could be dissected and reassembled to bend to the users wants.
That’s exactly what she had been doing. All these late nights, long hours, worked weekends. She was changing what everyone believed to be the finality of spells. Of course the Unforgivables were simply irreversible, but other spells, less aggressive spells could be altered. Her current focus was of two cases.
One, the easier one, was Fred. After being hurt during the Final Battle he had been placed in the intensive care unit at St. Mungos. His body had healed already, after all it had been six years, but his mind was still being held by the spell that was used to push him into the wall. She had finally found the spell that had hit him. Obfirmo praesaepibus. An old spell that kept the victim’s mind locked within itself. There had been no known cure for nearly four centuries, but she had finally cracked it.
Tomorrow she would be going to St.Mungos with the expressed permission from the current Minister of Magic to perform the counter-curse to bring Fred Weasley back. She smiled to herself as she stood from her bed and walked over to the wall. Her brown eyes landing on a picture of the twins and her. They were flanking her like they always did, George whispering in her ear as Fred made funny faces at the camera.
They hadn’t always gotten along, but after her fifth year and the way they handled Umbridge she just couldn’t bring herself to be so annoyed with the two pranksters. Their friendship blossomed almost overnight and it had remained strong all the way up until that fateful day. When Fred had fallen in battle, George had fallen in life. But she knew that George would be fine soon. She had made sure of that.
She nodded to herself as she moved her gaze to her second case. Her hand came up to trace the picture of Sirius Black. His case was hard, tedious and completely frustrating, but she knew that she was close. She knew for a fact that the Veil did not kill people. In fact, it was more of a time freezing element, made to keep the owner of it submerged in a frozen state until such time as a descendant could breech the codes to reawaken the frozen person.
Hermione sighed and ran her hand through her hair. The only problem with such an easy answer is the answer was nearly impossible to acquire. In order to bring Sirius back she needed a code. A code that would represent not only Sirius’ structural core but the Veil’s inner workings. She had to be able to combine the two ingredients so she could reach in and bring him back to Harry.
Almost like a forgotten password, but this password seemed to change almost every day. Each time she tried it had changed, each time she thought she had figured it out, she hadn’t. This case, nearing its second year in being researched, was going nowhere.
So how in the bloody hell was she supposed to tell Harry where she’d been and what she’d been doing? How could she look into his brilliant green eyes and tell him that she was trying to give him back his Godfather, his Sirius, but not deliver him? Harry expected her to have all the answers, he expected her to be perfect and ingenious, but she wasn’t. Not with this.
Hermione shook her head and turned away from her wall and returned to her bed. She was tired and frustrated. The last thought she had before she fell into a deep dreamless sleep was just how much she needed to give Harry the life he deserved.
Saturday -- 6:17pm
Harry was pacing again. His green eyes flickering up to the clock on the wall almost every minute, his jaw clenched. Hermione had been gone for three days now. Both Ron and him had only received a note every morning informing them that they needn’t worry, that she was working and shed return once her case was done.
What was annoying about that, was the fact that when he asked her boss about her working, he had informed him that Hermione was not at work. She had requested the week off for personal matters. So she had lied.
Lied to him.
“I just don’t see where she could be.” Ron muttered as he sipped on his tumbler full of firewhiskey. “We get notes every morning, it’s her handwriting, we’ve already cross referenced that, she’s been aloof for a long while and now? Now she’s just gone.”
“I hate to say it,” Harry spat, his anger towards her radiating towards new heights. He had been angry with her over the years, but never, never had he seen so much red. “…but she better be either dying or have a cure for cancer.”
“Cancer?” Ron blinked, “Bloody hell Harry did you just say you hope shes dying?”
Harry looked over to Ron and took in his shocked expression and felt his anger dissipate without much hesitation. “I don’t mean it.”
“Just don’t talk like that.” Ron bit out, he was angry at Hermione too, but he didn’t wish her any ill will. Knowing Hermione, she was probably in some library, locked up and just didn’t realize how many days had passed since she had come home.
“It’s just…” But whatever Harry was going to say was cut off by the floo suddenly flaring up in bright emerald flame and a stumbling Mrs. Weasley shooting out from it.
“Oh! Ronnie!” Mrs. Weasley called out as she reached with both hands to grip his arms, “You must come, quickly!”
“Mrs. Weasley?” Harry stepped over to her, his eyes wide with worry, “What happened?”
“Is dad okay?”
“Its Fred!” She cried and pulled Ron with her towards the floo, “She fixed him!”
“What? Fred? What?” Ron sputtered as he tripped over his own feet in the awkward push/pull his mother was dealing him.
“She found the cure, she found it, she brought him back!” Mrs. Weasley sobbed happily, “My little boy is back!”
“Who?” Harry asked right before the two Weasleys stepped into the floo.
“Hermione.” She answered right before they disappeared in a flourish of flames.
Eight Hours Earlier
“I'm ready.” Hermione said as she entered the Minister’s office. She focused on the man behind the desk and held out her findings he had required of her to complete. “Here.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt looked up from his paperwork and furrowed his brow, “Miss Granger…”
Hermione placed the folder on his desk even though he didn’t seem to want it, which annoyed her since he had demanded it of her, “That’s all the paperwork you demanded of me, Mr. Shacklebolt, I assure you everything in there is correct and proven.”
He sighed as he set his quill down and reached for the folder. He eyed her with annoyance before he opened the folder and began skimming it’s contents while saying, “I understand you are wanting to get this underway, Miss Granger, but I will not allow you to jump into this without a second thought.”
“Just read it.” She snapped.
Looking up at her sharply with an eyebrow raised she sighed, “I'm sorry, its just I am not rushing into this, Kingsley, please…”
“If your findings are not complete and I allow you to waltz into that room and conduct experiments on a very much alive person and you were to blotch it up, I assume I don’t have to tell you the consequences if you should fail.”
“I will not fail,” Hermione bit out and waved her hand towards the folder in his hands, “Just read through it and you will see.”
Thirty minutes later, Kingsley shut the folder slowly, his brow furrowed with concentration as he looked up to her, “The paperwork seems sufficient enough.”
“The paperwork is just a formality. I’ve been ready to take my findings and use them for the last two days.”
“Hermione, do you honestly believe that this will work?” He asked softly, his facial expression one of concern for not only the person for whom the spell would be placed on but for the witch in front of him. He knew she had been busying herself for months if not years in finding a cure and if it should fail, he simply didn’t know how she would take it.
“You know me, Kingsley, when have I ever done anything without being a hundred percent certain?”
With a deep sigh he nodded, “Alright, Ill give you the go ahead…” He raised a hand to silence her before she could begin her little speech of thanks, “..but please, I implore you, if you have any doubts do not hesitate to follow those doubts. He has been waiting for years, a little longer will not hurt.”
Hermione smiled softly at him, “Thank you, but I assure you, this is the right thing to do.”
An hour later saw Hermione standing inside of room 283C in St. Mungos. Her vinewood wand was resting loosely in her hand as she stood at the foot of the bed of one Fred Weasley. She was studying him, her brown gaze flickering over his comatose features.
He had aged, his long red hair most likely down to his shoulders, laid limply upon the pillow. His eyelids were closed and flutterless, his lips set in a firm line. She couldn’t help but frown at the sight of his expression. The hollowness of it haunted her. He was not supposed to look like this. He was one half of the prankster duo. A smile was supposed to rest on his face and it had certainly been too long since it had been so.
She reached out her free hand and placed it on his ankle. She missed this man. She missed everything he stood for, everything he did for those around him. Her hand trailed up his leg as she slowly walked along side of the bed. Her fingers tracing over the lank form of his body before coming to a halt at his chest her eyes falling to rest on her hand above his heart. She could feel the thump of it, the proof that he was still with them all.
“Fred,” she spoke softly, “I know it has taken me entirely too long, but I…”
Hermione sighed and looked up to his face, her hand going to his cheek to caress it, “I promised you Id find a way to bring you back and, well, here I am.”
With a deep breath she brought her wand up to his temple and smiled, “Its time for you to come back to us, Fred, we need you. Are you ready?”
With one last glimpse of his face she closed her eyes and concentrated, her mind focusing on the spell she needed to perform. It was a complicated piece of magic, but she was could do it, she had to do it. It took almost fifteen minutes for her to center all her magic so she could force it out of her and into the spell and when she felt the powerful hum in the base of her spine she steeled herself and spoke: “Subvenite Lok.”
She had known that it would take a lot of her, but she did not expect the pain that shot through her body. It felt like someone had reached inside her, grabbed her spinal cord and ripped it out through her chest. Her eyes snapped open as a strangled gargle came from her and she knew that she was choking on her own blood. Somehow she had bit down on her tongue. With her last bit of strength she willed herself to look down into his face and smiled despite the pain flooding through her as her magic drained and the spell completed.
Laying on the bed, blinking unfocusedly up at her, were the blue eyes of a very much awake, Fred Weasley.
A/N -- Lovelies, first and foremost I want to apologize for the very long long long wait on my other story, I PROMISE you, it will have the next update. It has been a crazy year. I lost my computer, moved, lost my job, moved again and now Im back and settled. So its on...like donkey kong! So --- *clears throat* --- Itll be updated soon, very soon. Just so you know.
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