The Sugar Quill
Author: Kit 'n Kip  Story: Sorry to Wake You  Chapter: Default
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Sorry to Wake You

Sorry to Wake You

 

 

            “There, dear, just lie down.  Everything’s all right.”

            Hermione’s 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.

            “He’s fine in his own right.  Now lay back and sleep.  You’re safe now.  Everyone is safe now.”

            She fought 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.

            A hacking 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.

            “Hermione . . .?” 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.

            “Hullo, 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 . . .

            Ron must have noticed the change in expression as her gaze lingered on the welts, and he reached up a hand to touch them.

            “It’s not 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.

            “Well, not 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 . . .”

            Hermione rolled her eyes.  Sure he did.  “Honestly, Ron,” she said.  “Where did you get the welts, then?”

            Ron 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.”

            “Fine, then.  Sorry to wake you.”

            Hermione 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.

            Fifteen 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 last nerve.

            “Ron, could 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 . . .?”

            A muffled “mmph” came in response.  She chose to continue.

            “How . . . how did you get the welts?”

            A pause, 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.

            “The brains wrapped tentacles around me.  Apparently thoughts can leave deeper scars than wands or knives.”

            Hermione 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. 

            “Ron?”

            “Mmhmm?”

            Hermione 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.”

            Ron laughed a little, seemingly satisfied that he had managed to push her buttons yet again.  “Come on, Hermione.  It’s you.”

            “What’s that supposed to mean?”

            “Just that 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.”

            For a 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.

            “Keeper 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.

            “What is it, Hermione?” asked Ron, anxious.

            “Harry!  I can’t believe . . . I’d completely forgotten about Harry.”

            “Oh, that,” said Ron, relaxing back into his bed.  Hermione glared at him.

            “How can you say ‘Oh, that?’  He’s your best friend, Ron, aren’t you concerned?”

            “‘Course I 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.

            “What did 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.

            “What, ‘Mione?  Oh, I was just trying out a nickname.  Do you like it?”

            “No,” she answered shortly.  “It sounds like a name for a girl like Lavender Brown.  I don’t like it at all.” 

            “Oh.   All right.”

            It might 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.

            “I guess, 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.

            “I promise . . . ‘Mione.”

            They sat 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.

            “Hey, Hermione,” came Ron’s voice, shattering her thoughts.

            “Yes, Ron?”

            “The sun’s coming up.”

            She looked 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?

            “‘Mione,” came Ron’s hesitant whisper.  “You . . . er . . . you can see it better here . . . on my bed.”

            The last 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.

            The gold 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.

            “Perfectly 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.

            They lay 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.

            Ron’s scent 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.

            The last 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.

            “Goodnight, Hermione,” it said, “Sorry to wake you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Standard disclaimer applies: in short, nothing belongs to us and no profit is being made.

 

Author’s Notes:  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.  ; )

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