Chapter 36 : Chapter 36
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"Bloody hell Hermione when did you become so popular?" asked Ron as two owls perched in front of her one morning at breakfast one with a single letter the other with two.
"I actually have no idea," Hermione admitted with a small smile as she removed all three letters and began to read.
She read all three letters and laughed as usual she had a letter from George and a letter from Fred but she also had one from Lee. She understood how they were best friends, they were all as mad as each other.
Well...thanks for writing! It was great to hear from you! We're all good here thanks and I'm enjoying lessons though I can hardly say the same for the others. How are you? How's the Quidditch commentating going? George told me you've been really busy because of it and so I'm glad you've been successful!
Take care, Hermione.
After finishing her first letter she checked her watch and decided she had enough time to write the next two.
Thanks for that Fred but seriously good luck with finding an assistant because no offense but you and your twin are both fussy and indecisive! I'm glad Weasley's Wizard Wheezes is still thriving even amongst the destruction and I'm glad you're doing well at keeping yourself safe and out of trouble. Okay whilst I'm dreading having to endure that French accent and the stupid sense of superiority she has you need to cut her some slack and for once I accept her need to be a 'fluff'! It's her big day, every girl dreams of a perfect wedding you have to allow her that! Okay I guess I'm glad George is obsessed with me...? Anyways look after yourself.
With Love, Hermione x
I know, I'd love to be with you again. It kills me being so far away from you...I miss you with all my heart. And yes I know Harry is being hunted by the darkest wizard of all time but my point is he's become very grave again. We can't seem to break him out of it though and he's distancing himself from us...I don't understand. Sorry for dumping my problems on you but I reckon it's these private meetings he's been having with Dumbledore there must be something he's not telling us...I don't know what else it could be. Also Harry almost killing Malfoy is not a laughing matter! He may be an evil, lying, prejudice idiot but if someone's going to kill him I'd rather it wasn't Harry...even I couldn't do it! Don't call Harry the chosen one he positively hates it and he won't back out if it's Voldemort! He has enough pressure on him as it as and I never lecture you...okay I sort of just lectured you but it's your own fault George Weasley! Take care, George.
All my love always, Hermione xxx
The second she finished writing the bell rang and so she sent off the letters and sped off to class.
May came and went and the days flew past even faster leaving them on the last day of June. It felt surreal to Hermione part of her was ecstatic that in a week or so she would be with her parents for a couple of weeks and then with George and the rest of the Weasley's for the rest of summer but part of her was disappointed. She knew that after the next school year she would never return to Hogwarts and then to top it all off part of her was currently filled with a mixture of dread and anxiety. Harry had accompanied Dumbledore on some sort of secret mission that morning and by six o'clock they still hadn't returned.
Hours later chaos rained down on the school. Dumbledore was dead. Death Eaters had penetrated Hogwarts. The war was well and truly upon them.
Days later in early July they held his funeral. All students and teachers who hadn't been removed from school attended as did anyone else who wished to say goodbye to the great Headmaster.
All of the Weasley's (with the exception of Percy) and many other Order members attended the service. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny stood near the front of the crowd waiting for the service to begin. Both Harry and Hermione shook with silent tears and Ron looked at his shoes in an attempt to avoid eye contact which would alert someone to his feelings. Whilst stood there Hermione felt someone lace their fingers through her own semi-numb ones. She looked up to see George, Fred, Molly, Arthur, Charlie, Bill, Fleur, Lupin, Tonks, Moody and several other Order members.
George squeezed her hand softly looking at her with eyes filled with unshed tears and he pulled her into a hug, unable to hold back anymore, the tears poured from Hermione's eyes as she sobbed against his chest.
"I just can't believe this..." she breathed.
"Me neither," George agreed.
The service began filled with tears, stories, memories, speeches, mourning, words of comfort and ended with every single person raising their wand and shooting blue sparks into the sky.
"Come on then we best head back to the Burrow..." Molly sighed as she wiped her eyes. "Oh Hermione dear you are coming to the Burrow two weeks from tomorrow when you get home, aren't you?"
"Yes as long as that's okay with you," Hermione said her voice weak.
"Yes of course dear."
"What about me?" Harry asked tentatively.
"You'll have to go back to you Aunt and Uncles but only for a short while dear. We'll sort something out and have you with us as soon as possible." Harry nodded his silent response.
They all said goodbye. Harry, Hermione, Ginny and Ron were to stay in Hogwarts for the rest of the day and would then return as usual on the Hogwarts express the next morning.
"I'll see you in a couple of weeks then," Hermione said to George who ,alongside his twin, was currently refusing to leave them all.
"Boys it's time to leave," Molly persisted.
"Mum, do you not understand? Death Eaters got into the school and whilst I agree they need time to get themselves together, I also think that they would be a lot safer with us here," Fred said.
"Molly if the twins truly wish to stay I can't see it doing much harm," said McGonagall as she removed her glasses to wipe tears away.
"I suppose you are right Minerva," Molly sighed. "I'll see you all in a couple of days." She said goodbye before leaving alongside her husband, Bill, Fleur and Charlie.
"I-...bye..." said Harry as he turned from the group and ran to the castle.
"Harry," several of them called after him but sighed knowing he was gone.
"I'll go see if I can find him," Ron said to the group but seemed to change his mind when his eyes fell on Ginny who was still staring after Harry though he had disappeared from sight a little while ago. "Unless you wanted to go, Gin?" he asked blushing very slightly.
"Yeah thanks," she said before she took off at a sprint.
"Do you want me to come?" called Fred in a concerned voice.
Ginny stopped and looked round at him. "No I'll be fine."
"I- um-...common room," Hermione muttered under her breath also running back to seek comfort in the school.
Fred, George and Ron exchanged glances in a very should-we-go-after-her fashion.
"I'll go," George said. "Be careful, watch Ron, Fred."
"What do you mean 'watch me'?" Ron asked clearly affronted.
"Just so we know you're safe," Fred explained.
"You two are worse than Mum," Ron said whilst rolling his eyes.
"See you," George said before also taking off for the castle.
"Hermione?" he asked softly upon entering the Common room. It appeared many had returned to their dormitories but Hermione was sat on the sofa by the fire hugging her knees into her chest and with her head lowered and a group of people sat around her clearly attempting to console her. Dean had an arm around her shoulder, Neville sat on her other side whispering to her, Seamus was crouched in front of her whilst holding her hands and Lavender stood behind the sofa.
"I've got her guys," George told them. "Thanks."
They slowly cleared away each patting her shoulder before disappearing. George sat beside her and pulled her body into his own allowing her to once again bury her head in his chest.
"I know you're devastated about Dumbledore so is everyone. There is no one who can ever be as helpful to us all especially in the current state of the Wizarding world. I know it's completely unbelievable that it was Snape that killed him and I know you’re worried about what next year will be like for you here at Hogwarts but..."
"There is no next year, George," she said shakily through the tears. "I'm not coming back to Hogwarts."
George looked at her with wide eyes not sure how to respond. "You're-...I mean...I don't...why?"
"Dumbledore asked Harry to complete a mission of sorts for him. Ron and I are going with him..." Hermione said wiping the tears away furiously.
"What kind of mission?" George asked.
"I-I can't say. But we'll be gone for a long time I imagine," she told him.
"Let me come with you?" George said and there was a pleading element of his voice.
Hermione smiled weakly at him. "I wish you could George but it's too dangerous..." George cut her off.
"Too dangerous?" he demanded, voice rising. "If it's too dangerous you shouldn't be going either!"
"George I have to..."
"I know. I'm sorry. You're a loyal friend," George said softly already regretting his sudden anger. "I-I just want to protect you is all."
"I know you do and I'm so thankful for that but this is something I have to do. And your family will need you."
"You need me too," he said.
"I do need you George," she agreed.
"Then please, just so I'll be able to know you're safe..."
"George I'm sorry but I..."
"Please Hermione," he begged.
"Do you not want me to come?"
"George it's not like that! It's just..."
"Just what, Hermione? You think I can't handle it? Well...?"
"Your family are going to need you more than ever George," she repeated.
"But what about you, Harry and Ron?"
"We'll have each other. We can look after ourselves I promise..."
"I can help..."
"Yes you can help. You can help your mum, your dad, Charlie, Bill because they're going to need you! Ginny is going to need you! Fred is going to need you!" she screamed at him before her voice softened. "And I will miss you always..."
"You're right..." he sighed."I'll miss you too...It's just one thing after another, isn't it?"
"It is. I'm sorry George."
"I know," he said pulling her closer. "Me too."
"I don't think we'll leave until after summer," Hermione admitted.
"Well we'll have time together then at least," George said and Hermione nodded. He slowly traced circles on the palm of her hand feeling her tremble slightly.
"I remember first stepping foot in this castle," she said. "Never in a million years would I have expected all of this to happen in six short years."
"Tell me about it," George agreed.
Not long after that Ginny and Harry returned followed shortly by Fred and Ron.
"What a year..." Ron said.
"I can't believe he's gone," said Harry.
"I know, he was a great man," Fred said.
"I can't do this without him," Harry said whilst shaking his head.
"Yes we can. We can do it for him," Hermione said.
"Would you stop with the 'we' stuff. You're not coming. I told you both already," Harry said.
"I'd like to see you try and stop us. We're coming mate. You haven't got a choice," Ron said.
Both Fred and Ginny seemed to know what they were talking about and Hermione assumed Ron had told Fred and Harry had told Ginny.
"Whatever," Harry shrugged clearly not in the mood to argue. "Why did you two stay?" he asked the twins.
"Death Eaters got in once who said they wouldn't again?" George answered.
"We can be over-protective," Fred shrugged.
"Very over-protective," Ron corrected.
"I'm sorry. I really thought it was better to be safe than sorry," Fred huffed.
"What did you do?" George asked.
"I searched the toilets before I let him go in," Fred shrugged.
"And stunned Moaning Myrtle, good things she's dead already or she would've been a bit angry," Ron said. Everyone laughed.
"I can't believe I have to go back to the Dursleys..." Harry trailed off.
"We feel for you mate. We'll have you with us soon, don't worry," George said.
Conversation was scarce for the rest of the evening and one by one starting with Harry everyone disappeared to their rooms. Hermione was taking extra care of getting her bag before going up. When the last of the footsteps faded she slumped back onto the sofa allowing her bag to drop to the floor once more. George had noticed Hermione putting off going to bed but had not wanted to disturb her so stopped at the top of the steps and watched her curiously as she hugged her knees into her chest and rocked herself back and forth slowly and began to sob.
George wasn't sure how much more he could take of this in recent times Hermione had been more fragile than ever and it killed him inside. He felt stupid because it was very cliché but when she smiled, he smiled and when she cried, he cried. He couldn't imagine what mission they were going on, how much danger they would face, if she would die before she could return to him, if he would die before she returned. The possibilities were endless and each one felt as though a brick was being added to the already unbearable weight on his chest.
He sat beside her but she didn't look up, stop crying, or speak she just continued to cry into her knees.
"Hermione," George said as he moved her hair out of her face.
"Leave me alone George, please," she begged without moving.
"'Mione..." he began again.
"No George," she begged. "Just go to bed."
George felt his heart sink. Not once had Hermione told him to go away or to leave her alone and he couldn't help the feeling of hurt. "Hermione please just talk to me."
"I'm scared George. Is that what you want to hear? I'm scared. No. Terrified. I want to do all I can to help but what if all I can do isn't enough. What if I die? Or any one of us dies...?"
George faltered. He had once had a similar conversation with Fred. He'd told him not to worry but the war was suddenly much more real and so to say not to worry would be completely stupid.
"Finally found something you have no answer to, haven't I?" Hermione said the slightest trace of a smile on her lips. "Because you worry about it too. And if you can't bring peace of mind to yourself you definitely can't bring it to me," she told him with a knowing look. "Thanks for trying though. Go to bed George, I'm fine."
"You really want me to leave?" he asked in hurt.
"No, I just don't want you to have to sit here and worry about me," she said softly.
"If I go I'll just be worrying about you anyway," he admitted and waited a little while before he continued talking. "Hermione, you know crying won't change or help anything?"
"I know," she nodded and wiped her eyes. "I bet you’re fed up of me crying by now."
"I hate you crying, Hermione, but only because I hate it when you're sad. You being sad makes me sad and I'd do anything to bring back your smile," he said to her.
"Thank you George," she smiled and he pulled her into his side.
“There it is,” he grinned. “That beautiful smile that makes it worth getting up and knowing it could be my last day on Earth. That beautiful smile that makes me grateful just for my feet touching the floor every morning.”
“George,” she mumbled whilst blushing. They were silent for moments as George contemplated words of comfort to offer Hermione knowing that nothing could change the reality of what had happened and what was still happening.
"Worrying can't help you, and I know no matter what we will all worry but it won't change anything, all we can do is pray and hope that by the end of all of this we're still here and together."
Hermione's entire body trembled and she began to cry again. George's eyes widened. He'd expected her to agree with him not burst into tears again.
"Um...Hermione...?" he asked hesitantly.
She laughed. "S-sorry," she said shakily. "Just being silly."
"No you're not Hermione. You have feelings and you have a right to express them...even if you soak my shirt in the process," he said with a small laugh.
She laughed too. "Sorry about that."
"You know I'm not even tired," he sighed.
"Me neither," she agreed.
"Can you tell me something, anything about this mission you're going on?" he asked.
Hermione's eyes closed in thought. "Well we'll be looking for some different items and we'll use them to destroy You-Know-...I mean Voldemort once and for all."
George nodded slowly. "But you'll stick around for the Wedding?" he asked hopefully.
"Wouldn't miss it," Hermione promised.
"Good," he mumbled before his eyelids drooped and everything around him faded.
Hermione sighed. 'Yeah not tired one bit' she thought sarcastically. 'He's making me tired now. He's so warm; he makes me feel so comfortable, so safe...' And with that thought she fell asleep.
So...did you a) Love it b) Hate it c) Like it d) Dislike it e) other! Come on guys it's multiple choice now- I'm pretty sure that's everyone's favourite type of exam question, right? Well it's definitely mine! Please leave a review! I really love to hear from you and the review box at the bottom of the screen likes to feel like he has a purpose! I even named him Steve so come on...review for Steve!
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you liked this chapter and that you're enjoying the story so far! Hope you continue to read and enjoy the story! Jenna :)
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