Chapter 40 : Chapter 40
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Weeks past and Ron returned bringing them new hope but when discovered by Snatchers it seemed like game over. Trapped in Malfoy manor there was a fear Hermione had never experienced in her life.
Lying on the floor being tortured by Bellatrix she was distraught and her last regret was never telling George how she felt. She could hear the screams from Harry and Ron but they could not help her. In all honesty she wished they would shut up. She wanted some peace in her last moments as another scream ripped from her throat ever inch of her body exploded in pain. Slowly everything faded around her.
Opening her eyes slowly she wasn't sure what she had expected to see, what did heaven look like? It looked like a beach. A really lovely, sunny beach. But she couldn't be dead. Ron was holding her. Harry was beside her. And possibly Bill and Fleur in the distance. And Dobby- Dobby was dead? So she couldn't be. The thoughts processed slowly and she gave a jolt as she pieced together what was happening.
"D-dobby," she sobbed and looked to Harry for confirmation. He nodded solemnly at her and once more everything was dark.
"I've got her," said Bill taking her from Ron's arms and carrying her inside the house. After a little while he reappeared.
"Where are you going?" Ron asked looking at him as he pulled on a cloak.
"To the Burrow I have to let them know that you're safe," Bill said
"Mum'll already know though, won't she? Probably watching the clock as we speak! We're not exactly in mortal peril anymore she'll no we're safe," Ron tried to tell him.
"Listen Ron I've already told them you left Harry and Hermione and I also told them you went back," Bill said. "They aren't disappointed in you Ron."
Ron frowned. "Go on then," he said and watched as his brother disappeared.
Hermione sat up hours later trembling as the memories of her nightmares faded.
"'ermione you are awake," came the French accent belonging to Fleur.
She nodded weakly and Fleur hurried over to her side. Checking her various scars and bruises and Hermione flinched at her touch.
"Sorry," she whispered gently. There was a deafening crack making Fleur and Hermione jump.
"Where's my wand?" Hermione croaked.
"It's okay 'ermione it's probably Bill," Fleur told her though she drew her own wand and left.
"Is she awake?"
"Can I see her?"
"Can I see her?"
"Well she's very..."
"I'm going in."
Hermione tried desperately to place the voice though all it did was make her head pound. All she knew was something had sparked inside her at the sound, familiar warmth and as the door opened she understood. George.
He gasped loudly at the sight of her, eyes filling with tears.
She gave a hollow laugh. "That bad, huh?"
"I don't care," he whispered crossing the room and sitting beside her on the bed and taking her hand. "All I care about is that you're here and you're safe."
She bit her lip as tears ran down her face. "I've been so worried."
He hugged her gently feeling as though she may break at his touch but she was already broken. Broken and he wanted to fix her. "Me too Hermione. I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault. It's mine. I was so stupid. I didn't protect us properly," she said resentfully.
"I'm sure that's not true," George frowned.
"I can't believe this..."
"I'm so sorry. I wish I could take away your pain and everything which you've been through these past few months. I've been so scared for you. I hate seeing you like this," he told her and his voice cracked. He turned away from her wiping his eyes with his sleeve. "I'm sorry," he muttered.
"Don't be," she said understandingly. "I'm okay George really. It's more emotional distress than physical pain."
"That's not particularly comforting," he admitted once more wiping his eyes. "What happened to you, Hermione? Who did this to you?"
"W-we g-got caught by Snatchers and th-they t-took us to Malfoy manor," she stammered. "We had the sword. Sh-she thought we stole it. She tortured me..."
"Bellatrix," she spat with hatred. "I wish I could've killed her. For Neville and for Sirius."
"I think she liked me," said Hermione darkly looking at the scars that covered her body her eyes lingering on the one reading 'mudblood' which had been carved into her skin. "I was just waiting for it. I was waiting to die. I wanted to die," she stressed the words with a look of true desperation on her face and tears spilled from George’s eyes at her words. "And then I felt something cold on my neck."
George glanced down at where the locket he'd given her was hung around her neck. There were droplets of dried blood on it but it still glowed with the silver and he looked to her waiting for her to continue.
"And I thought of you," Hermione told him. "And I thought of you waiting- waiting for me. And I didn't want to die anymore. Death wasn't an option anymore."
George studied her feeling stupid as he once more wiped his tears with the back of his hand, "If you had...- well you know- I probably would have too."
"I've been thinking about you so much. I listen to Potterwatch and it keeps me going."
"I think about you always," he told her. "And I'm so glad you listen because when I'm talking I'm talking to you, Ron and Harry and it's good to know you hear me."
There was a knock at the door and Fred pushed it open looked at Hermione and closed his eyes slowly before turning to face the wall and resting his head against it.
"Oh Hermione," he breathed against the wall and wiped his face with his hands. "I'm not crying," he choked out.
"He's so crying," George whispered to her.
Hermione smiled. "Fred," she said softly. "Come on, I'm fine." Fred didn't move. "At least turn around."
"Hi," he said facing her again.
"Sit," she told him and he joined them sat on the bed.
"Okay so I've had both of the Weasley twins crying in the space of an hour. It's not that bad," she said looking from them one to the other.
"It's not just you, it's Ron and it's Harry and Ginny and everyone else," Fred explained. "And then you being all fragile and all sort of puts it all into perspective. You know how short life is or could be."
"I'm not fragile," Hermione protested but George gave her a look telling her not to try it. "Ok so I've been through a lot. But I'm still me. I'm still Hermione."
"I'm okay Fred," she said firmly. "I'm not letting this bother me. I'm stronger now."
There was another knock at the door.
"Hermione," Harry said upon entering.
"Harry," she said pulling herself out of bed to greet him.
He hugged her tightly. "I'm sorry. This is all my fault. It's my fault you got tortured and it's my fault Dobby's dead."
"No it's not Harry," Hermione told him. "We need to talk to Griphook, Harry. And Mr. Ollivander."
"Ron and I will. You rest for today," Harry said.
Ron stepped into the room, "hi."
Hermione smiled at him though she could suddenly feel tension in the room. Ron smiled back at her but his eyes flicked to Fred and George before they settled on the floor.
"Ron," George said breaking the silence. "I'm sorry."
"You don't have to be I-" Ron began.
"We were wrong," Fred said.
"No I shouldn't have-"
"You're right we don't understand," George said.
"We're sorry," Fred repeated.
"It's okay," Ron nodded at them.
"Where are Luna and Dean?" Hermione asked.
"They're downstairs," Ron said.
"Can I go see them?"
"You shouldn't really be getting up and about..." George began.
"You can see them if you wish. But we should get you washed up first," said Fleur from the door way.
The idea of a hot shower was very inviting to Hermione. She was caked in a fine layer of dirt and rubble plus the scars needed to be cleaned too.
Hermione nodded slowly. "Thank you."
Fleur smiled. "Everybody out."
"See you in a minute," they called as they left.
After half an hour or so had past Hermione found herself feeling fresh and in clean clothes. Examining her reflection it was easy to see she'd lost a considerable amount of weight causing her to look frail. Her skin had lost its usual complexion and appeared white and ghostly. She now understood what the twins had meant when they'd said she was 'fragile' not only did she feel fragile but she looked fragile.
"Hermione," Dean said standing as she entered the room and going to hug her.
"How are you?" she asked him.
"Who cares. How are you?"
"I care and I'm fine thanks."
"Hermione," Luna said in a usual mystical tone. "You must be tired?"
"No. I feel good," Hermione said hugging her.
"Knock, knock," said George upon entering.
"You could have actually knocked," Hermione told him.
"Wouldn't have been as fun," George shrugged. "You feeling okay? I really think you should be lying down."
"I'm fine," Hermione told him.
"Actually maybe we can get you something to eat," George said thoughtfully.
"George," Hermione groaned.
"Hermione you look like more of a stick than you did before. You need food. Come on," he said dragging her downstairs.
"What do you mean I look like a stick?"
"Hermione you were slim and now you're unhealthily thin," George told her.
"There's not much food about the forests," Hermione muttered.
"Exactly so eat while you have food," George said.
"I'm not really hungry," Hermione said. "I'm feeling a bit sick actually."
George looked at her worriedly.
"No it's not that bad. It's probably just the after affect of the cruciatus curse."
"Yeah probably," George said. "How are your scars?"
"They're a little sore I guess but I should be fine," she said strongly.
"Knock it off Hermione. It's me. Your brave front can come down for now," George told her.
She smiled weakly at him. "Only you would encourage me to let my feelings out at this point."
"It helps," he said. "Go on tell me anything."
"Dying...other people dying...Vol-"
"Hermione," George hissed.
"Oh right sorry," she muttered remember the predicament his name had gotten them into before.
"It's okay. You were saying?"
"I'm afraid of dying. I'm afraid of other people dying and I'm afraid of You-Know-Who not dying," she said quickly.
"Aren't we all...” George sighed.
"I'm weak George..." Hermione bit her lip in hope it would prevent tears.
"When it comes down to it Hermione we all are. We can only ever be as strong as those we have to support us. And I'm no stronger than you. When I'm backed up against a wall with a Death Eater duelling me the only way I'm getting off the wall is if you or any of the others are there," he admitted. "We can be stronger though. Strength is found in friendship and love and everyone and everything special to you. When you need it most your strength comes from memories of good times and bad. Anything that's made you who you are and anything that for you is worth fighting for."
"What about when I can't fight anymore. What about when all my strength has deserted me and I'm going."
"Then you talk to the man upstairs. He'll be the only one who can help you then unless one of us is around which we usually are," George told her seriously. "But why worry about it when you may never actually be in that position. Don't make stress when there's no need for it Hermione. I know you've been through a lot and I'm so sorry but if we're going to make it through this we need to have hope and not dwell on 'what if's."
"Can you write some of this stuff down because I'm really going to need it," she told him.
"You'll be fine," he promised her.
“I can’t imagine anything or anyone being fine anymore,” Hermione admitted.
“There always has to be light at the end of the tunnel, Hermione,” George told her. “It just depends on how long and dark the tunnel is.”
Hermione nodded and sighed as George took her hand in his own as they stepped towards the garden looking out across the hills and beach.
So what did you think? Hope you enjoyed it! Please leave me a review I love to hear your thoughts and you know Steve is always hungry and needs feeding ;)!
Thank you all so much for reading! I really appreciate it! You're the best!
Also want to wish Zyii a very happy birthday and an absolutely magical day!
Thanks again! Jenna :)
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