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Chapter 7 : Six Days
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She knew it would be a fighter, because it had that coming to it on both sides.
Hermione walked into her dark house and put her keys in their bowl. It was ten o'clock at night, and she was absolutely ready to go to bed. She'd been avoiding being home, because it induced sleepiness on her, and she hated sleeping these days. Besides, Hermione liked working so hard that she had to go home at ten o'clock at night. It reminded her of the old days. Now, she had fewer cases, but they were harder then the ones she handled back then. As she made her way up to her bedroom, she found her eyes involuntarily closing. Oh, merlin. Not sleeping was going to be harder then she'd initially thought. Plus, it was unbelievably cold. It was surprising, because it was early April, but Hermione couldn't remember the last time she'd been this cold. She immediately knew why, though. She always curled up against Ron at night. This time, he wasn't there. Instead, Hermione was forced to put on two layers of socks, a long sleeved shirt and a Hogwarts sweatshirt of Ron's over her tank top, and her warmest pajama pants. To add to that, she went over to the guest closet and dragged a huge comforter over to the bedroom, which she proceeded to put on her bed. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. She lay there, shivering, and it went on long enough that she was glad to finally succumb to sleep when it came to her.
She was smiling. Her wild black hair stuck out in fifty billion odd and different directions, but she didn't seem to care as she screamed and cackled. Hermione watched as her proud brown eyes flitted over her prisoner's body, looking for other places that she could hurt. And the lethal wand raised again as Bellatrix Lestrange went to curse her.
“CRUCIO!” she bellowed, and Hermione flinched as the curse hit her. A thousand knives poked at her body, and she fought for breath as her head once again hit the floor. A cry of pain, and a wail of fury from Bella as she repeated the same words. “Where. Did. You. Get. That. Sword!”
And the curse hit Hermione over and over again. Everything was black with a tint of gray and red, and her eyes were filled with tears that danced down her face, escaping for good. Kill me. That was all she wanted. To die, and to never feel this pain again. Her parents wouldn't miss her, what did she have to live for?
“HERMIONE! HERMIONE! HERMIONE!”
Ron. Ron was what she had to live for. Because she was in love with him. Because if they had to give up on her, they'd use him instead, and she couldn't let that happen. If she gave up, it would be like giving them permission to hurt the only person she'd ever fallen in love with. The person that mattered the most to her in this whole mess that was her life. So instead of letting go, instead of giving up, instead of bottling her emotions and waiting for herself to explode, Hermione screamed. She let out a loud, earsplitting scream that shook the manor and made Ron yell her name even louder. She let out a bloodcurdling scream that caused Bellatrix to roar in anger and slash at her with the silver knife. And she screamed again and again, for Ron, and for herself, for Harry, and once more for Ron. All for Ron.
And then a strong pair of arms were around her, and he was carrying her bride-style, and as the blackness consumed her, Hermione imagined. She closed her eyes and she imagined that Ron was really carrying her like this because it was their Honeymoon, and they were going over the threshold, and the words he shouted were really him yelling to the rooftops that he had finally married the girl of his dreams, Hermione Jean Granger Weasley. In a few seconds, he was going to let her open her eyes so that she could see the exotic location that he'd brought her to, and then he was going to kiss her and touch her cheek and whisper that he loved her and kiss her again.
It was Ron that ruined it for her. He touched her neck instead of her cheek, to feel her pulse. He let out a sigh of relief and slumped to the ground, laying her down gently in the grass. Her hair fanned out behind her, and she felt the cool substance tickling her cheek. It soothed the burning a little bit. It also made her itchy.
“BILL!” Ron roared. “BILL!”
And he fell into the grass next to her, and she could smell him right near her, and she thought that this might not be the worst way to die. The boy you loved desperately hoping that you would make it, his scent wrapped around you like a blanket.
“Hermione,” Ron whispered. “Hermione, come on. You'll make it. Can you talk?”
But why couldn't he let her die in peace? Didn't he know that the only reason she was still conscious was because he was everywhere around her? Didn't he understand that the pain of everything, the weight of everything, was absolutely too much to bear? One of his hot tears slipped from his face and onto her nose, and Hermione realized that he did understand. He was experiencing something similar to what she was, emotionally, not physically. He was doing the exact same thing she would be doing, had the situation been reversed. So she willed herself to speak, to do as he asked. She said the only thing that she could think of.
And he was sobbing harder in relief, because he thought he wouldn't have to live without her, but Hermione didn't understand how he expected her to get over the wizarding worlds' worst pain used against her to the point that people usually died at. His lips were suddenly pressing against her forehead, and Hermione was nearly angry, because that was the first time that his mouth had touched her in any way and she really hadn't wanted it to be in this circumstance. And it was all her fault, because she'd never told him, and he'd never know. How could she possibly feel after this?
“I love you.”
His voice ripped through the air, softly sending trickles down her spine. Hermione's breaths grew shakier.
“I've loved you forever, and you're going to get through this, because I need you. I couldn't last two days without you. Now more then ever. And I know you can't hear me, but I hope you know that I love you if...”
If you don't make it. Just the weight of the implied meaning of the sentence made Hermione want to collapse in more pain. This conversation, she knew, was never to be mentioned if she made it. And what did it really mean, anyway? It meant that he was caught up in the emotion of the moment and he didn't know what to do except say what he thought might be. He didn't love her the way she loved him.
“No.” Hermione whispered, and she heard Ron's breath catch in his throat.
“Hermione? You heard...?”
“No.” She said again. You don't love me like I love you. You don't. You won't. You never will. You'll never know this pain, and you'll never understand how I feel when I'm around you, and I'll never know even if you do, because it hurts so much, Ron.
She could still see gray and black and red tinges on her eyelids, but she could tell without opening them that Ron was pleading. Ronald Weasley was pleading with her, desperate for her, willing to do anything for her in that moment. She needed him to know. What if she fell asleep and forgot everything? It had been known to happen.
Just those two words made pain explode through her body, and the cut around her throat was starting to sting as his tears fell onto it. Instead of speaking, Hermione tried to move her hand, to catch his with hers. Instead, she let out a gasp of pain and everything went black.
She became conscious of everything else around her a few minutes later. Her nose was pressed into the heavenly aroma that she'd smelled in that amortentia potion, and his tears were falling fast onto her face.
“Ron, let go! Fleur needs to treat her!” Bill cried in exasperation.
No, Ron. Don't.
“NO! I WON'T! I'M NOT LETTING GO, BILL!”
“Let him carry her,” Fleur whispered softly. “Can't you see?”
“See what?” Ron demanded, but Bill simply said,
And then there was a lurch as he started carrying her up the stairs. She let her head roll against him, because that was the only thing she could possibly do at this moment in time. She couldn't move or speak, she could only listen and exist and wish that things were different.
“Set 'er on the bed.” Fleur commanded. “You may want to leave. You may not want to see this.”
No, Ron. Don't.
Ron wordlessly did as she asked, lying Hermione on the bed, then stubbornly taking Hermione's hand. And Fleur was examining her, and there was more pain, and she was crying out because it hurt almost as bad as the curse itself, and all she could concentrate on was how cold she was and how Ron's voice kept on calling her name, over and over again.
Her eyes opened and she saw him looking at her, his beautiful blue eyes curious. He was different. He was somehow older, somehow more fit and better looking, and his hair wasn't long and uncut like it had been during her dream. Slowly, it began to register to Hermione. This happened six years ago. Bellatrix Lestrange was dead by the hand of her mother-in-law. Hermione was married to Ron. She was going to have a baby with him.
“Hi.” Hermione said, and she wrapped her arms around his torso and pushed him back onto the bed so that she could curl up against his body heat.
“Hi.” Ron breathed. “I'm sorry I didn't wake you sooner. I didn't realize you were dreaming badly until I saw you crying. You were unusually still.”
She was barely aware of the fact that his chest was bare as she pressed herself harder against him. All she knew was that her husband was home, he was safe, he was warm, he'd left her for six days and now he was back, and he was always there for her when she needed him the most.
A/N: Good day, friends! It's been a while since I said hello to you, so I figured I'd write something. Things are going good over here. I'm kind of trying to power through this story so that I can start posting Sleepless, so it should be finished pretty quickly. I hope you're enjoying it. This is pretty much as dramatic as it gets! By the way, a few new one-shots coming soon. I wrote an AU crossover where Ron and Hermione get selected to go into the Hunger Games, and I might post it over here if I can, so keep an eye out. Please, please, please, please, please review. ~writergirl8
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