Sorry to Wake You
dear, just lie down. Everything’s all
brain was going in and out of focus. She
wasn’t hurt that badly, was she? Experimentally, she twisted to the
right. Okay, ow. Maybe she was
hurt that badly. Instinctively she tried
to sit up, but a cool hand pressing gently on her forehead eased her back down
again. She was so tired, and the bed was
so soft . . .
No, said her head suddenly, Harry.
“Wait . . .
what about Harry?” she slurred.
in his own right. Now lay back and
sleep. You’re safe now. Everyone is safe now.”
hard to stay alert . . . how long had she been awake? It seemed like hours, but it couldn’t have
been more than a few minutes . . . Her
last attempts at remaining fully conscious were thwarted when a nasty liquid
was forced into her mouth. She was
asleep before her head hit the pillow.
Silence. Complete and utter silence pressed in on
Hermione’s ears, pounding against her eardrums and giving her a migraine. It was odd how she found the pounding in her
forehead and the pounding in her ears matched tempo, and, even more odd, that
they matched the soft stepping sounds made by someone pacing the stone floor next
to her. One very conscious effort later
she had opened her right eye and was taking in the blurry surroundings. The white of the walls could have been
nothing but the hospital wing, the bluish light of very early morning glowed
through the window, and a shock of red set above something tall and pale
indicated that the pacing person beside her bed was a Weasley. Beyond that she couldn’t tell.
cough seized her, bringing her up into a sitting position, opening her other
eye and causing her to clutch at her chest.
The pacing sound stopped, but the pounding in her forehead continued the
steady rhythm. A groan escaped her lips
as she stopped coughing and massaged her temples.
. .?” came a voice from beside her bed.
Each sound reverberated inside her head, but at least she could tell it
was Ron. Blinking madly to clear her
vision, she slowly turned her head to face him.
Ron,” she croaked, and found inhaling enough to talk sent sharp pains through
her ribcage. Her eyesight had unclouded
so that she could sufficiently see the details in Ron, who was now standing
still, gazing straight at her with a look she couldn’t discern in the weak
light. His arms were bandaged, however,
and a great line of red welts ran up around his neck and down into the gap in
the front of his pajamas. Oh, she thought with a frown, that looks positively awful! I wonder what happened . . .
have noticed the change in expression as her gaze lingered on the welts, and he
reached up a hand to touch them.
that bad,” he said. “The worst part is I
was completely out of it for a while.
Can’t remember a thing except for what Neville told me.”
That’s strange, thought Hermione
subconsciously, the pounding in my head
has stopped. “What did Neville say?”
she asked quietly as Ron sat down on his bed next to hers.
long after you went out, apparently, I went all mental and started messing with
these brains in another room. Of course,” he added quickly, “I knew what I
was doing the whole time, so there wasn’t any danger . . .”
rolled her eyes. Sure he did. “Honestly, Ron,” she said. “Where did you get the welts, then?”
snorted. “Nice to know you’re well
enough to have your old candor back. But
then, I suppose if you don’t go for too long without being a know-it-all, your
brain will shrink and we wouldn’t want that.”
Not a beat
passed before Hermione shot back, “If you didn’t want to tell me the truth, you
shouldn’t have said anything.”
then. Sorry to wake you.”
huffed and threw herself back down on the bed, flipping over quickly to face
away from Ron. Not a good idea, she
noted, when the throbbing pain came back full force, but she didn’t care. So what if there were little stars dancing in
front of her eyes? She heard springs
creak as Ron plopped back into his bed.
silent minutes passed. The pounding subsided
yet again, but Hermione didn’t dare move.
Ron tossed for about the thirteenth time, the springs in his bed
creaking again, and it hit Hermione’s
you please stop tossing and turning like that?” she asked with false civility,
her teeth clenched. There was a moment
of waiting, then one last plop and the room went silent again. But it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence,
Hermione noted. It was more . . . empty. Suddenly she felt horribly guilty. Stupid
prat, she thought as she spoke.
“Ron . .
“mmph” came in response. She chose to
“How . . .
how did you get the welts?”
then more creaks. For a minute, Hermione
thought he had chosen to shut her out again.
But then came words, spoken in a soft voice most unlike Ron.
wrapped tentacles around me. Apparently
thoughts can leave deeper scars than wands or knives.”
winced mentally. He sounded like he
meant more than the thoughts left from the brain in the Department of
Mysteries. She felt another pang of
guilt. All the times she had thought ill
of Ron and even spoken to him harshly . . .
Could she have scarred him, too?
The last thing she wanted to do was leave that kind of enduring
impression on Ron Weasley.
rolled over to face him. “Have I ever .
. . have you ever . . . have we . . . I . . . never mind.”
Ron sat up
in his bed. “Finish what you were going
to say, Hermione,” he said, the kind of interest in his voice that he always
had when he wanted to get her to say something compromising. It was really quite aggravating, and her
reply was rather abrupt.
“I was just
wondering if I’ve ever said anything that hurt you, that’s all.”
a little, seemingly satisfied that he had managed to push her buttons yet again. “Come on, Hermione. It’s you.”
that supposed to mean?”
you don’t say the nasty stuff – you just keep it inside your head. I’m sure somewhere in there is a little
female Draco Malfoy just waiting to get out.”
moment Hermione didn’t know whether to be indignant or offended, then when
Ron’s face broke out in a grin she realized he was truly attempting to be
funny. So, in response, she picked up
her pillow and chucked it at him. He
caught it deftly and tossed it up in the air.
reflexes,” he said with a laugh.
Hermione smiled and shook her head.
Then a horrid thought struck her and she shot straight up in bed.
it, Hermione?” asked Ron, anxious.
“Harry! I can’t believe . . . I’d completely
forgotten about Harry.”
said Ron, relaxing back into his bed.
Hermione glared at him.
you say ‘Oh, that?’ He’s your best
friend, Ron, aren’t you concerned?”
am. But just a few hours ago, while you
were still out, Madam Pomfrey came in and said he was with Professor
Dumbledore. He’s fine, ‘Mione.” Hermione
relaxed back into her bed as well. It
didn’t hit her for another second that there was something wrong with what Ron
had just said.
you just call me?” she asked. Ron looked
over at her from his position leaning up against the headboard with his hands
clasped behind his head.
‘Mione? Oh, I was just trying out a
nickname. Do you like it?”
answered shortly. “It sounds like a name
for a girl like Lavender Brown. I don’t
like it at all.”
“Oh. All right.”
have been her imagination, but she thought she heard a note of disappointment
in Ron’s last words. Again the guilt
began to build in her stomach, and something made her reconsider.
if it’s only just us, it’s not that big of a deal if you call me –” she gulped
“– ‘Mione. But only when it’s just you and me.” She sent him a threatening look. He smiled.
. . . ‘Mione.”
there together in silence for a long while.
Hermione stared out of the window at the lightening sky, wondering where
Harry and Neville and Ginny and Luna all were right then, and if they were all
right. It had been an incredibly
unbelievable evening. It amazed her that
she and Ron were laying there at that moment with silence all around them, when
just a few hours ago they had been engaged in a battle for their lives. She didn’t even know what happened, or what
had been done to her. She had been hit
with something similar to a stunning spell, she was sure, but it was something
Dark. It had felt like ice going
straight through her chest. She
shivered. This was only the
beginning. There would be so many
battles like this one and worse in the days ahead. And she didn’t even know who
had made it back. Again she shivered,
but this time for a very different reason.
Hermione,” came Ron’s voice, shattering her thoughts.
at the window. So it was. Rays of gold and orange were tinting the sky
above the forest out in the horizon. It
looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, and Hermione suddenly felt
warmth spreading through her arms and down to her toes. She smiled in spite of herself. With sunrises like this, how could you not
expect to see tomorrow?
came Ron’s hesitant whisper. “You . . .
er . . . you can see it better here . . . on my bed.”
three words came out in a rush, and for a moment Hermione wasn’t sure what Ron
had said. When it finally dawned on her,
however, that it was an invitation she was surprised at how . . . unhesitant
she was. They had spent the year growing
closer, and after what they’d been through . . . Hermione was almost sure that Ron’s reason
for saying something was the same reason why she accepted: the terrible feeling of isolation. So Hermione slid her feet carefully out from
under the quilt and tested her weight on them on the floor. They held, and she picked her way across the
floor to Ron’s bed. She sidled under the
covers and scooted over next to Ron, who lay perfectly still, like a rock. A big, warm, squishy rock.
and orange were just as lovely over here as they had been in her bed, she
noticed, but now they were sprayed with delicate pink streaks. She sighed, noting how comfortable and
relaxed she felt next to him. Not a bit
awkward at all.
lovely,” she said, snuggling over close to Ron, who exhaled deeply. He smelled so nice. It was like . . . butterscotch and freshly
cut grass. She had never noticed that
before. Of course, she hadn’t noticed
much all year, what with being a prefect, dealing with Umbridge, dealing with
Harry, and trying not to get killed. For
a moment she wondered why she’d never thought about any of it before.
there for what seemed like a long while, staring out at the sunrise, when Ron
broke the tranquil silence. “Maybe we
should sleep,” he said softly. Hermione
nodded, moving away from him with a little reluctance. She got up and went to her own bed,
scrunching down inside the covers.
lingered with her as she rolled over and closed her eyes. It was comforting, really. In a few hours she would wake up, find out
where her friends were, and start to live in a radically different wizarding
world. But right now all she knew were
the colors of the sunrise and the smell of butterscotch and freshly cut grass.
thing she heard as she drifted off was Ron’s voice, in the soft tone that she
wasn’t quite used to yet, calling out to her.
She wasn’t even sure if she’d imagined it or not.
Hermione,” it said, “Sorry to wake you.”
Standard disclaimer applies: in short, nothing belongs to us and no
profit is being made.
Thanks to Kip (one of the best friends ever), the Great Ozettes
Themselves (being Arabella and Zsenya), Moey, and anyone that has gotten
stepped on during the ascent to success. ; )