Chapter 2 : Awakenings and Promises
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The next thing Hermione knew was the soft feeling of a bed beneath her. She felt like hammered shite though and the taste in her mouth was absolutely revolting. With a soft groan she shifted and opened her eyes to see a mediwitch beaming down at her.
“Hello Miss Granger, nice to see you back.”
“Yes, you were unconscious for a good four hours.” The mediwitch replied, “But not to worry, nothing is wrong with you, you just over exerted yourself during your visit with Mr. Weasley.”
“And…how is...” Hermione swallowed nervously, “...he?”
The brilliant smile that she was awarded was all the answer she needed, however, hearing the answer was just as pleasant, “Wide awake, thanks to you, I don’t know how you did it Miss Granger, but you did the impossible.”
“It obviously wasn’t impossible, anyone could have done it, “Hermione fidgeted as she sat up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. “Has the family been contacted?”
“Well, we were going to inform the family, but he refused us to do such.”
“He wishes to speak with you.” She smiled.
The mediwitch chuckled a bit and shook her head, “I’ll let him answer that question.”
She nodded distractedly, “Am I okay to go to him?”
“Absolutely, you and Mr. Weasley have perfectly clean bills of health, though he will need a few months of therapy to work on his motor functions.” She smiled and stood, “He has been moved to room 128A.”
“A? Private rooms? He is no longer needing the urgent care?”
“Not anymore.” Came the answer before the mediwitch left the room and a shocked Hermione.
Hermione frowned and then, quite suddenly, smiled. It had worked! She knew the chances of it not working were slim, but still, the fact that it worked made her want to cry with relief. Fred was back and healthy, she hadn’t failed. Standing shakily she took a deep breath. Why did he want to see her? Why wouldn’t he want his family to know he was awake? They needed to know. They needed him back too. Ron needed him. George needed him. Hermione sighed as she walked towards his new room. Inwardly skipping joyously at the fact that he was in a recovery room now.
Her brown eyes found his room number and with a tentative knock she opened the door and peaked inside, “Fred?”
“C..come in.” He croaked.
She stepped into the room and looked towards the bed only to smile at him brightly. He was already looking better. He no longer was deathly pale, he was no longer lying down but instead he was propped up against pillows, and most importantly, his eyes were open and his lips were tilted upward into his normal smile.
“Hello, Fred.” She whispered through tears as she stepped up towards the bed.
He smiled and reached out to grab his glass of water and after taking a sip he spoke, “Seems I owe you a great deal.”
“You owe me nothing, nothing at all.” Hermione shook her head.
“You saved me.”
“You weren’t dead, Fred.”
“Close enough.” He took another sip of water and motioned for her to sit on the bed next to him.
Hermione took a deep breath and obeyed, her hand instinctively gripping his, “I'm glad to see you awake.”
“The Healer told me that I was a lost cause.” His voice was soft, laced with fear as he stared at their gripped hands.
“It’s been six years.”
“You still weren’t a lost cause.”
“They gave up…”
“They were misguided and ill informed.” She tried to interrupt, feeling a bit uncomfortable with his attention on her work.
“You didn’t.” He finished.
She looked away from his downturned gaze and sighed, “No, I didn’t.”
“I suppose I should be glad then that you're a Gryffindor at heart? All that stubbornness came in handy.” He grinned and looked up to her, “Smarts...”
Hermione looked back towards him and met his eye, “I just couldn’t give up, Fred. You wouldn’t have given up if you were me.”
“No, no I wouldn’t have, but I'm not nearly as bright as you, Smarts,” He sighed, “Do they know about your research?”
“My…” She blinked, “How did you know?”
“Mediwitches talk. They told me you’ve come for the past five years, every week at least once. I know you, Hermione Granger. That’s studying, and since you are no longer in school – I figured it was now research.” Fred tilted his head, “Am I right?”
“Not research.” She shook her head, “Not really. Well, not for my job. You were part of my personal projects.”
“Ah, well, I’d like to be the first to congratulate you on your success.” He grinned.
“Thank you.” She breathed and looked away as more tears welled in her eyes, “I'm so glad you…” She swallowed, “I'm glad you're back.”
“I'm glad too.” He reached up and gripped her chin, tilting her head back so he could look into her eyes, “Thank you so much for not giving up on me, smarts.”
“It never even crossed my mind to do so, Fred.”
“I know.” His grin turned into a full blown smile, “You're too stubborn.”
“Like you.” She quipped and then smiled back, “Should we call the family?”
“Yes, but first…” He cleared his throat and looked down, “I heard you…you drained yourself?”
“Just for the spell. Not completely. I just had to tap into my root magic, that’s all.” She assured, “But, could we…keep that piece of information to ourselves?”
“People worry about me.” Hermione answered vaguely, she really didn’t want him to know about all that had happened to her since his accident. It was nice to have one person who didn’t look at her with pitying eyes or bore down onto her with overbearing protectiveness.
Fred studied her features for a moment, he was fairly certain she was being evasive on purpose, but he knew this woman in front of him too well to know when to push and when not to. Besides, other people would talk, “Well then, might as well let the family know.”
Harry couldn’t believe he was standing there. He knew for a fact that he wasn’t the only person in the room in shock. After all, the man in the bed had been in a coma for the past six years. Six years had passed with the same news of this man’s condition. It was incurable. Untreatable. Permanent, but here they were.
There he was. Sitting up, laughing, talking, pranking.
He looked over to Ron and couldn’t help but smile at seeing the happiness on his face. The entire Weasley clan was beside themselves. Molly hadn’t stopped crying since she had gathered the two of them from Grimmauld Place, Percy couldn’t stop sputtering and reaching out to touch Fred as if to make sure he were real, Ginny was smiling from ear to ear and laughing at every little thing that came out of his mouth. Arthur was embracing his wife with a goofy grin on his face and George…George was absolutely ecstatic. His best friend was back. His better half.
He knew that the two missing members of the family were on their way back to London and he assumed that the family would huddle around each other for the next week or so. Harry might be an adopted son, but he knew that this was family time. Much needed family time and he was happy to give it to them. They deserved it.
He couldn’t help but notice, however, that the person to bring about this little miracle was absent. “Hey, where’s Hermione?”
“She went home,” Molly answered, “She said she was tired.”
“Well of course the dear girl is!” Arthur beamed, “She accomplished the impossible today, if it were in my power she could rest for the rest of her life if she needed it.”
“Here here.” George smiled. “I can’t believe she did this.”
“I can.” Ron chuckled, “If anyone could have pulled this off its Hermione.”
“You think that’s why she’s been so busy lately?” Harry questioned.
“Probably.” Ron nodded, “Makes sense.”
“But why wouldn’t she just tell us this is what she was planning?” He wondered aloud.
Fred sighed, “She didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up.”
“What?” Ginny asked, “No one would have…”
“Yes, they would have.” Fred nodded, “Think about it. If she were to have told you all she was trying to find a way to bring me back, to wake me up, what would you have done?”
Molly shook her head slowly, “Pressed her too hard.”
“Expected too much.” Arthur sighed, “She didn’t want to let anyone down if she wouldn’t have been able to figure it out.”
“But she did,” George smiled, “She figured it out.”
“Thank Merlin.” Molly beamed, “She is…”
“Amazing.” Fred whispered.
Harry nodded in agreement as he studied Fred. For some reason, he got the feeling that Fred meant that in a more personal matter than he meant to. He smiled slightly at that, he remembered them all back before the war. How they had all been so close, he knew that Fred and Hermione had begun to see each other in a different light then and he wondered now, if time didn’t change all things.
She really didn’t know why she ducked out of the reunion. It probably would have been beneficial for her own emotions to see the joy on their faces, to see the result of all those years of hard work.
Hard work? She scoffed to herself. She had devoted the last five years of her life to bring Fred back. She needed Fred to be back. He was important to her other devotion. He was the only one who could help her figure out the code she needed to bring back Sirius.
She knew this, she had known it since she fell onto the book that had the clue to the Veil. Of course, at the time, she really didn’t know she needed anyone to figure it out. She assumed she would be able to do it on her own. She had been a fool back then. When she had failed countless times to figure out the exact method to bring Sirius back she had put the entire project aside and dived head first into bring Fred back.
It was a wise move, she told herself, returning full attentions into bringing back the Weasley twin. She had originally only thought to bring him back, and since she needed him to come back so she could help with bringing Sirius back, it was all together beneficial to all.
It had taken her a year to figure out why her will to bring Fred back was so strong. Other than the fact that he was one of her closest friends, he was a brilliant wizard. He was also the only person who she could trust on the matter without fearing that everyone would find out what she had been up to. She couldn’t lie to herself, though, it wasn’t healthy. Though Fred was very important to giving Harry the family he deserved – Hermione was a tad selfish on her reasons for getting Fred back. She simply wanted her Fred back. Her Fred, the one who she had been dating for only two weeks before the Final Battle, the one who had kissed her and called her beautiful. Her Fred.
So she had focused everything on him. Greedily. Choosing to forget about the veil and pushing every part of her free time in finding a way to succeed.
And she had.
Hermione smiled as she sat down at the kitchen table with her take out. It felt good not having two burdens on one’s brain. She looked around and smiled. It felt really good. It also felt good to know that once Fred was ready, they two of them would find a way to give Harry his godfather back. It was all planned out in her head. Fred would recover, they’d work endlessly, then there Sirius would be, back and into Harry’s life with that damnable goofy grin he always gave that lit up the entire room.
“Hermione?” Someone called, effectively bringing her out of her train of thought. She blinked and turned her attention towards the kitchen door, “Harry?”
“Where are you?” He asked loudly.
“In the kitchen!”
Harry walked through the door and sniffed audibly, “Oh please tell me you got two servings.”
“Of course I did,” She huffed.
He chuckled and made his way over to the silverware drawer and got a fork, then made his way over to her and sat down, “I do love this stuff.”
“Harry,” She chastised, “This stuff is called ‘Long Tings’ general tso.”
“Right.” He muttered as he stuffed a piece of chicken in his mouth.
Hermione shook her head at him and nibbled a bit as well. She eyed him from the corner of her eye before she asked, “How’s everyone doing?” It was asked slyly, almost as if she didn’t really care for the answer, but she knew she couldn’t full Harry. He could read her like an opened book. No matter how she tried to keep him unable.
“Brilliantly.” He plucked up an eggroll and took a bite, “Happiest I’ve seen them all in a long time, thanks to you.” He grinned as he pointed the eggroll at her. She raised a brow at him and looked to her plate, pushing a piece of chicken around.
“Wasn’t anything, really.” She shrugged.
“Hermione, you gave Fred his life back.” He breathed out slowly, completely thrown off by her nonchalance attitude.
“He wasn’t gone.”
“He was as good as gone.”
“No,” She looked sharply at him, her brown eyes narrowed, “He would have been gone if people believed him to be, we didn’t, so he never was.”
“A lot of people thought him to be,” he whispered guiltily.
“What matters is that not everyone did.”
“Even Molly told us she had lost hope.”
“Not everyone lost it.” She sighed, “I didn’t.”
“No, you didn’t.” He smiled, “So is that what you’ve been busying yourself with?”
Hermione looked down at her plate and nodded, “It’s part of it.”
“What do you mean?” Harry tilted his head, “There’s something else?”
Hermione sighed and shook her head, “Just work. Lots and lots of work. Fred was my own personal obsession.”
“Yes, Harry, obsession.” She looked at him again, “I spent five whole years devoted to getting him back. Five long years of sleepless nights, long work hours, weekends, holidays…all to him.”
“It paid off though?”
“Why do I get the feeling that you're not telling me everything?” He sighed, “It’s not work it is? You're lying to me.”
“It is work.”
“No.” Harry shook his head and set his fork down with a snap. “You're lying to me.”
She shrugged, “Believe what you want, Harry.”
“Merlins, Hermione!” He snapped, “You're absolutely insufferable! You think I'm stupid don’t you? You think I can’t see what is going on? If Fred wasn’t the reason behind your behavior and there is something else then you are lying when you say it’s nothing. I know it’s not work, your boss has said as much, so what the fuck, Hermione? Why are you being so damn elusive all the fucking time?”
She stood up so quickly he didn’t have time to blink before her wand was pointed at the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses up a bit, “I love you Harry Potter, but I will not hesitate to hex you if you talk to me like that again. You have no idea what goes on in my head or what I want in my heart. You have no right to talk in that manner!”
He shrugged, “Go ahead. It doesn’t matter to me whether you do or not. I’d much rather you do that than lie to me. The last time you did this, Hermione, the last time you had a little crusade of your own you were taken away from us. You were snatched up and no one, NO ONE knew where you were or if you were okay and I'm sorry…” He sighed and bowed his head a bit, “I'm sorry if I'm yelling it’s just…look it doesn’t matter okay? I'm sorry…”
“Sorry won’t cut it.” She snapped at him.
“It’s just we worry about you. You work too hard, you're out late and I figured that now that Fred is back…you’d be less likely…”
“Less likely to what? Live my own life?” She asked incredulously.
“I need to live my own life.” She said suddenly. Her wand hand dropping from his face and down to her side, her brown eyes locked on his green. “I know you worry, I know you care…but you're suffocating me.”
“Suffocating you?” He blinked. “Is that how you see it?”
“How do you want me to see it?”
“You used to tell me everything you know.” He accused, his eyes flashing angrily as his jaw tensed, his barely released anger coming back again, “You never used to lie to me. We were always honest.”
“You couldn’t handle what I have to say, Harry, not yet.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Doesn’t matter? Of course it does!” He snapped at her, his hands coming up to grab her upper arms, “You matter! We matter! Our friendship matters! The truth matters! Now tell me why you can’t tell me! I have the right to know!”
Hermione sighed, “What if my one truth, my one hope just blows up? What if I let you down? I can’t do that. I can’t let you be failed by me.”
“Hermione,” He pulled her into a hug, “You could never fail me. You're my best friend. You're the only family that is really mine.”
She closed her eyes tightly to keep the tears at bay, “That’s why it’s important you just trust me, Harry. Please…because you're the only family I have too.” And he really was. With her parents gone, he was it. She didn’t want to think about that. She didn’t want to remember that night. So she shook her head and swallowed the lump forming in her throat, “I just can’t tell you right now.”
Harry sighed into her shoulder and nodded, “One day you will tell me.”
“I promise you, Harry, I will.”
A/N -- I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, lemme know what you think about it :) Have a good one, keep smiling.
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