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Of Words and Weeping by TheGoldenKneazle
Chapter 1 : {I DON'T WANT YOU THEN}
 
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Of Words and Weeping

{IT’S NO WONDER NO-ONE CAN STAND HER}

All she wanted was to fit in.

Hermione Granger hadn’t liked her primary school, because nobody there had liked her. They had teased her (BEAVER, BUSH-HEAD, BOMB-HAIR, STUCK-UP-SILLY, KNOW-IT-ALL) and pulled her hair and laughed at her whenever she had put up her hand to answer a question.

Hermione liked to learn, and when books were your only friends, real people shouldn’t matter. But that didn’t mean that she didn’t feel the words as they flew through the air, like arrows and bullets casually fired, and finding their target.

She cried a lot in those days. But with her parents’ help, she always managed to pick herself back up and carry on learning.

Hermione liked to know. So it was only logical that when she suddenly found out that she had a place in a wonderful new world that she had only dreamed of, she wanted to find out as much about it as she could.

Of course, all she had were books. But that was ok. Because books were all she needed – and as her new life began, Hermione Granger resolved that she would never cry again. She wouldn’t let anybody trample over her until she didn’t have anywhere to go any more; she was remaking herself as the all-new Hermione in a new school, a new life, and new relationships.

;.;

Eight weeks. She had gone for eight weeks without her parents and not cried a single tear over home-sickness. She had faced capture and being expelled, she had come face-to-face with a three-headed hound, and though she had been scared and angry, she had not cried.

Even when it turned out that her shiny new life was really not so shiny, and almost as tarnished as her old one, she had not cried. She had accepted the fact that people were people, and being part of this wonderful lifestyle should not mean that children automatically became thoughtful and mature individuals.

She knew she had friends waiting, somewhere within the 39 other students – there had to be somebody she got on with.

But then she heard that Ron Weasley saying it. And she knew that those 39 other students were probably feeling exactly as he did.

And that was when she began to cry, escaping the stuffy corridors of this crumbling castle for some girls’ toilets. And she hated him for making her break that promise.

They weren’t nice toilets. But they were bland, and they were safe, and Hermione felt that even though nobody liked her, at least she could do magic.

;.;

She still wasn’t sure exactly how she’d managed to become friends with the Boy Who Lived and the ginger boy who’d made her cry. She still didn’t really forgive him, except for the fact that he seemed to be eating his words and wasn’t being so horrible any more. But suddenly, things seemed to pick up after that.

Mountain trolls had a funny way of making people into unlikely friends.

{YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE’S FEELINGS, DO YOU?}

This was possibly as far from the truth as you could get. But he had trampled on her last nerve with his horrible accusations.

All year, Hermione had been working harder than she thought she possibly could. She had been traipsing all over the castle for hours at a time in order that she may learn more, and she had been hiding her secret from everyone.

It was a lot of responsibility. And, of course, since she was the girl in their little trio, she had ended up responsible for the boys’ emotional sides (not that they really had them enough to know that she was tired and fed up of always being tired).

She could never talk to the boys about girl stuff – though there wasn’t really much of it she would have said, it might’ve been nice to be hugged and told that it’ll all be ok, hon by someone. Crookshanks was a good substitute for a girl friend, though. He liked to snuggle, and he would come and rub her legs when she collapsed onto the bed each evening, and occasionally when she had been having nightmares, Hermione would wake up to a furry ginger cat(-kneazle hybrid) sitting on her face.

But now, Ron was angry at her. He was shouting that Crookshanks – good, kind Crookshanks who was always there for her, when the boys couldn’t be, even though she was always there for them – had eaten Scabbers. Scabbers, the mangy rat who was forever losing himself and who Ron complained about more than he appreciated.

Of course, Hermione knew that it was the principle of the matter. But that didn’t stop her tears from spilling over when Ron refused to speak to her again, on account of his rat being missing and her having a cat.

Crookshanks didn’t do it, she knew. Crookshanks wasn’t a pretty cat, or a cute cat, or a perpetually docile cat. But Hermione liked that he was ugly (albeit cute in his own way), and an intelligent cat with violent outbursts. He reminded her of herself, in a strange way.

But it was very hard for a thirteen-year-old to be expected to carry the workload she would have expected for GCSE – no, OWLs, there was not an escape from her magical life – as well as a court case for a giant’s hippogriff, two sulky teenage boys and those two boys’ protection.

The fact that Ron now refused to even acknowledge all of this was the straw the broke the camel’s back.

And Hermione Granger cried, because of the words Ron Weasley uttered, once again.

;.;

He admitted that he was wrong, in the end. That Crookshanks had known better all along, and that Hermione’s cat had never hurt anyone except the traitor who needed to be captured.

He even apologised, eventually. And in their renewed friendship, Hermione pushed down those emotions that were desperate for her to slap Ron in all that he’d put her through (Harry’s broom being stripped down, supporting Hagrid in his case against Lucius Malfoy, putting herself in front of Sirius Black, running away from a werewolf) because she would always come back around to Ron. She just couldn’t force herself away.

{FLINGING YOURSELF AT THE FIRST BLOKE WHO’LL HAVE YOU}

For once, she had felt that maybe she wasn’t so ugly after all. For once, somebody had treated her as a woman, not a sort-of-boy. For once, she had felt appreciated.

He just had to ruin it all, didn’t he?

For a large chunk of the last four months, Ron had been ignoring Harry for something Harry didn’t even do. He had been using her as a post owl to relay petty messages between the two, and refused to speak much to her because she was trying to help Harry.

Harry had been so worried the whole year, because Ron wasn’t speaking to him, and people were talking about him again, and he had been entered into a deadly competition, and help me Hermione. I don’t know what to do.

And she had been there through it all, a rock that they both leant on. She had been struggling to keep them together as they slowly crumbled, and she didn’t mind that much if it kept them both a little more sane.

They couldn’t help being silly boys, after all.

But it was tiring, and it was stressful. And she was tired of playing the go-between, feeling like a second-rate friend because she couldn’t help them and she wasn’t good enough to even be considered as a date when the Yule Ball was announced.

Right from the start, she had been dreading it – because who would actually ask Hermione Granger to a posh ball, where everyone was dancing and laughing and having a good time?

After all, Hermione was just (THAT UGLY GIRL WHO HANGS AROUND WITH POTTER AND WEASEL) and all she ever did was try to help Harry and feel rejected by Ron and read.

But suddenly, Viktor Krum was there, wringing his hands and messing up his words and clutching his own fat book. And through the slightly wrangled mess of words, she thought she was imagining that he actually liked her.

But no. The famous quidditch star, Triwizard Tournament champion, handsome teenager with his own giggling gaggle of fangirls, was actually asking her to the Yule Ball.

Hermione smiled and accepted, and they talked some more, before she went to bed with a light heart.

Maybe this was what life was like for girls who had friends who knew they were girls, who went shopping with their friends for something other than dungbombs, and who knew exactly what to do with a mascara wand.

She loved it, every second of this uplifting feeling; it might have to end, but for now, she could finally feel appreciated, and like an equal.

;.;

She knew he had noticed her, dancing alongside Harry in the champions’ box. She had hoped that maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t over-react because this was what they were meant to do as the host school; make friends, and bring a little fun to the learn-sleep-eat cycle.

But of course not. He had completely degraded her innocent fun, and completely negated her idea that maybe she would be allowed some time off from supporting him and Harry all the time – he had ruined everything.

She had been having fun with Viktor; they had danced, and talked, and laughed. He hadn’t acted in any way ungentlemanly towards her, and he had told her she looked beautiful tonight. They had kissed under the stars when the Great Hall became too hot, and a walk in the gardens was all she had wanted.

And now she cried, in her specially-chosen powder-blue robes, with her carefully-styled hair beginning to straggle, and her meticulously-applied make-up melting on her face.

She had wanted this one night to be her night. But he had made it all about him, once again.

And Hermione wondered for just a second that maybe he had other motives… but no, he was Ron, and he was the one who walked out and who hurt her, time and again.

{SHE’S PRETTY KEEN ON KISSING}

Was he deliberately flaunting Lavender in her face? Was it a deliberate antagonisation?

She had always been disdainful of the giggly girl, but now Hermione glared at her classmate with renewed venom.

La-ven-der Br-ohwn. Each syllable tasted liked a particularly acidic Fizzing Whizzbee, or maybe rancid jelly.

Since the beginning of the year, that silly goose of a girl had been batting her eyelashes at Ron – not that the boys noticed because, well, they were boys. They didn’t notice anything unless it had something that could possibly be related to Draco Malfoy, and even then, it was only Harry with his Malfoy obsession.

Hermione had known from the start that Lavender wasn’t going to just give up, but she was jolly well going to make her want to. Lavender was encroaching on her territory, and Hermione was going to ruddy well make her feel as unwanted as she did when Ron sat and stared at Lavender.

First the train. Then the quidditch try-outs. Then the library. Then charms – the list went on and on, as Lavender flung herself into Ron’s path with increasing desperation.

Hermione felt sorry for her, because surely Ron would never give such a pathetic airhead the time of day?

Of course, she hadn’t banked on that little Weasley run-in, which she wasn’t even there for.

;.;

And suddenly she was being ignored by Ron, even though it was just a couple of days before the quidditch match and Ron always needed someone to encourage him that not ALL of Hogwarts cared about the outcome of the match.

She was a little disgusted that Harry didn’t explain to her, as Ginny did, that it was all because Harry and Ron had walked in on Ginny and Dean snogging in the corridor. Ginny wouldn’t explain the details, other than ranting for a while about how Ron should just get it over and done with. And so Hermione forgave Harry a little, because she knew him better than he knew himself, and he was just dealing with the fact that he might actually like Ginny (honestly, it had taken him long enough).

She should have seen it coming: that Ron would feel the need to prove to his little sister that he wasn’t snogging-phobic after all; that the persistent Lav-Lav would manage to throw herself into Ron’s path at the right moment, for once; that Ron would, at some point, find a bimbo to swap saliva with.

It might not even have been so bad if it had been somebody nice, and respectable – although Hermione wasn’t sure if she’d prefer a bimbo she knew to a genuinely lovely person she couldn’t cheerfully hate without feeling like a horrible human being.

She felt rocked to the core, in more pain and confusion than she thought could be possible. She shouldn’t be angry and upset. But she was – why? What had Ron ever done to make his words, his thoughtless actions, so weighty to her?

She didn’t know. All she knew was that for the first week of his new relationship, the tears were refusing to stop flowing. After that, she let herself be reminded of the fact that once upon a time, 11-year-old Hermione had promised that nobody and nothing would make her cry, and that she would cry no more over Lavender and Ron’s snogging arrangements.

Ron would openly boast and moan by turn about his girlfriend, discussing prime kissing spots with an uncomfortable and monosyballic Harry. Hermione found it easier to sit with Ginny and Dean, after the first breakfast where she sat in stony silence.

She ignored the fact that Ronald Weasley’s words were the reasons for every single weeping session.

{HE’S ACTUALLY DEAD}

And her eyes must be lying, because Dumbledore couldn’t just be gone.

All evening, chaos had reigned. Her guard duty had taken a disastrous turn as soon as Professor Snape entered the other end of the corridor; she just hadn’t known it then, because really, he was in the Order. The Order was always right, the few mustered warriors fighting their corner as bravely as they could.

Well, once they realised that Flitwick needed help, and eventually rushed back out to the corridors, only to find – well, the fight had been waiting for them, hadn’t it?

With just the tiniest flavour of luck on the tip of her tongue, she had battled and fought her way from one end of the corridor to the end of another, constantly dodging death by mere inches. She had been forced to shut down her mind to ignore her friends, until occasionally a warning signal would sound in her head and she would follow the trail to protect someone with another jinx for the Death Eater they were battling.

She was just seventeen, and yet here she was, in the midst of it all and still, somehow, alive.

Back and forth, it went, until suddenly they were interrupted for a short time by first the Order joining them, and then some of their enemies backing up the stairs, shortly followed by Severus Snape.

The battle was raging just as fiercely as before, however, and if anything the Death Eaters still remaining were fighting harder than ever.

But then, there was a blur of people coming back down the tower. Hermione caught the briefest glimpse of Snape again, and Draco Malfoy – but as the taste of luck was fading, the spells inching ever closer to her, she had to concentrate on her own battle.

And then, he charged through the middle of the battle, screaming something about catching the two of them. Harry was absolutely incensed, wilder than she had ever seen him, and as the Death Eaters melted away with horrifyingly ominous feel to it, she scrambled for the stairs.

;.;

She followed the shouts, the running figures in black as they scattered around, and as they converged out of the great doors and onto the lawn – well, it wouldn’t be a lie to say that she could feel something else in the air.

The cries from the bottom of the highest tower. The fleeing enemies. The fire of a burning house against the sky. They all seemed to throw themselves around her head as she pushed through the crowd, forcing her way through the still bodies.

They let her through with terrifying ease, slipping aside with the devastated faces of the grieving. Who was dead? For a moment, Hermione had a horrendous parade of all her loved ones lying here, broken and bloody, at the bottom of the astronomy tower. But she hadn’t thought for a moment, as she set eyes on him, that it would be Dumbledore.

She couldn’t believe that Voldemort’s worst enemy was lying here like a pathetic rag-doll, splayed across the grass like a perverse joke taken too far.

No. Not Dumbledore. Dumbledore was the undefeatable one, the one they all relied on, the one they all trusted.

She didn’t even realise that Ron was at her elbow, and she was leaning back on him, until he whispered the words of confirmation in her ear.

How could it be?

It suddenly felt like there was nothing left for her anymore.

{I DON’T WANT YOU THEN}

“He will try to take away my pain, and he just might make me smile, but the whole time I’m wishing he was you instead.” She was praying to Ron now; asking, pleading, begging for him to somehow find them.

Never had she felt so vulnerable.

Nobody had been taking their quest well when they had to wear the locket; it was a heavy weight that pulled on your neck and your conscience, teasing out doubts from where they had lain smothered, and pulling paranoia to the front of your mind until all you could think about was hatehatehate.

Hating the way that she had been forced to obliviate her parents, and now had no family to turn to.

Hating the fact that wherever they went and whatever they did, they had to be on constant lookout for danger, and that they weren’t safe, not ever.

Hating the way that all they ever seemed to do was go round and round in circles when it came to the location of the horcruxes, and couldn’t even destroy the one they had.

But mostly, the horcrux made you hate yourself. It slithered inside your mind and questioned your every motive; what were you doing? Why were you here? Nobody wanted you, you were a pain and an unnecessary weight.

Even after the locket was gone from Hermione’s neck, the extracted doubts would swim around her brain. As hard as she tried to ignore them, she couldn’t help discussing their situation with Ron sometimes.

“I just… I thought we’d be a bit closer to finding the next one,” she admitted, her head falling forward into her hands. Ron grunted, and glanced around for Harry before leaning in closer.

“You’d have thought that Dumbledore would’ve given him more secret stuff, wouldn’t you? Seems pretty stupid to send us off on, on some kind of impossible mission,” Ron gave a half-laugh. They both ignored the worry that they were actually right in what they said, and that this joking wouldn’t prove to be a horrible truth that had indeed been extracted by their heightened sense of paranoia.

;.;

The cycle went on and on. The doubts were pulled backwards and forwards in her mind, and she was learning to control them and squash them as far back as she could, just as she was learning to recite the strings of commanding spells as she walked in the same circles every day.

It came to the point where she wasn’t even worried about her own self-hate any more; she was worried about the boys’.

Harry and Ron had never been able to handle emotion, and it was what she was there for, as the lone woman – to help them understand that yes that meant they liked this and no they should not do that.

But Harry was long used to hiding away and dealing with high levels of hate and paranoia. He had been living with it since he had first been dropped off at his aunt and uncle’s house, and certainly his years at Hogwarts hadn’t improved that doubtful position as much as could have been hoped.

Ron, however, was not used to suppressing emotion and annoyance and anger. Brought up amongst six other siblings, the Weasleys had all been forced to exaggerate everything they did in order to gain attention. Subtle emotions and ideas had not been noticed or cared for.

Now, as the stringent doubts tugged at him, Ron didn’t know what to do. His mood had steadily declined, as much as Hermione and Harry tried to halt it. In many ways, it was inevitable.

But then again, she had never thought it would come to this – Ron, standing with his splinched arm still tied in a grubby sling, and furiously demanding an answer from her. Me or him?

It was Ron. It was always Ron. But above them both, it was the lives of the people that they were cut off from.

And she was only trying to stop, stop the small team of survivors from completely self-destructing, but then it was too late, too late, and Ron had stormed out because she had chosen –

Tears were streaming off her face as she stumbled out into the night, feeling feral and like she was out of her own body, trying to keep sight of the dark figure ahead. All of a sudden, he stopped, and growled those words.

I don’t want you then.

And then he had turned, disappearing into the night and leaving only a trail of shattered memories behind him.

;.;

The days turned round. They paced in circles for hours on end, going through the motions. And Hermione struggled to lock the turmoil inside of her.

It felt like her heart and mind had been ripped out – not entirely, not enough to cause a lockdown, but enough to make everything a struggle. She had been left with a mined brain, many hidden facts causing little explosions of hurt when she accessed them by accident. Her heart had been slashed, smashed to pieces and squashed to let in just enough care to keep on going.

And this was love, the feeling of complete abandonment and bewilderment and pain and (where are you, Ron?)

She tried not to cry. She stayed strong only for Harry, and their mission. And she tried to heal, or at least begin to forget he, who had been a part of her life for far too long.

It was the hardest thing she had ever attempted.

{HE’S ALIVE}

Shock and relief and joy and a thousand other emotions exploded through her, shattering right to the tips of her fingers and the bottom of her toes, and she didn’t even know she was crying until her skin began to itch.

It felt like the Witching Hour.

There was nothing left of the sharp and spiky and painfully bright hours she had just fought through. The time and place were devoid of colour, and she was struggling to feel anything beyond exhaustion right now.

There was nothing to do but to sit, and to comfort the grieving, and to sit and comfort at the same time. Hermione was placed between Ginny – whose head was on her shoulder and eyes staring straight ahead, through the metres of stone into times gone by – and Ron, who was an odd sort of still, his head in his hands, and knuckles white from clutching his hair. The bright, carroty orange of it contrasted strangely, but Hermione found that upon searching her heart, she wasn’t able to be of use to anyone. All she could do was watch as bodies were levitated in, and cries echoed round the Great Hall.

A small part of her had registered that Harry was gone, but she was finding it hard to listen to it. Harry was always gone off doing something, something for the greater good.

It wasn’t until she saw Remus’ body lowered down next to his wife’s that she realised what was going on. And in that moment, she felt broken as well as exhausted and grieving. For it was plain to see, for Hermione Granger at least, that he’d only gone and given himself to Voldemort.

Silly Harry. They’d tried to persuade him out of it, they all had, because they had to die anyway! But it was hard, sitting here, to remember why. Why they had fought together, why they had given it all up, why they had wanted to even keep on living.

Harry always had rushed off to get himself killed, hadn’t he? The philosopher’s stone, the chamber of secrets, saving Sirius from Azkaban, the multiple incidents in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, fighting at the Ministry, his brushed with Draco and Death Eaters just last year, and this year… well, there’d been more than enough Death Eaters and near-death experiences to last anyone several lifetimes.

And just like that, something other than exhaustion flooded through Hermione. All those memories – there would be more. But she didn’t want them without Harry.

Standing up suddenly, opening her mouth to say something, anything –

“Harry Potter is dead.”

The voice that resounded through the Hall was not hers. It was his. And the message just drove a stake into her heart.

;.;

Running. Screaming. Pushing. Shoving.

“HARRY! HARRY!” Hermione was barely aware of her own actions until she slammed to the front of the wall of people and there was only air between her and one of her two best friends.

Nothing mattered. The wall that separated them was more than air now; it just wasn’t traversable.

And the scream that had built up inside of her jammed itself into her throat, preventing any more sound from escaping, and choking her. She was choking on the knowledge of Harry’s death; really, what else was left now?

;.;

They were swarming around, and chaos ensued as the crowd scattered. Just a few moments had passed, but there was a stampede as the people in the Great Hall flew to the sides, because Voldemort was here. He was here, and as the manic light Bellatrix Lestrange’s eyes died for the final time at Molly Weasley’s hand, he was angry.

None of it seemed to matter, and all was chaos. But then, from just a few metres away from her – no, it couldn’t be, she was already trying to accept he was gone, he was gone and not coming back –

Surely it was her imagination that Harry Potter was standing in front of her and the hall, facing Voldemort as though he had never died?

If it hadn’t been for Ron’s voice, she might not have believed it. But there those words were, spoken half-disbelievingly and gruffly, yet at the same time excited and brimming with we knew it all along, Harry!

The numbness that had shut down her brain when Voldemort said those words was suddenly exploded within her, and tears that had been clenched somewhere inside of her burst out and streamed down her cheeks.

Harry was alive.

She didn’t care how, and she didn’t care why – at least, not right now. All she knew was that he was alive and he had a future with her and Ron. And that was all that mattered, as the scream that had jammed itself cut free with more pain and joy than she could have conjured up deliberately.

{I LOVE YOU}

“…and I’ve always loved you, ‘cause you’re the only thing that keeps me sane, Hermione.”

Hermione Granger had wept many times at the words of Ronald Weasley.

She knew she should be used to it by now, but somehow, she still wasn’t. And as he said those three magic words, she was bowled over by the sheer force of them once again.

Only his words could make her cry. Only he had enough power to lift her high enough that she felt she could fly, and knock her so low she felt smashed to pieces.

That was the start and the end of it; because while she cried at weddings, or at funerals, or at somebody else’s words – that wasn’t true weeping. Weeping meant heart-wrenching sobs that made your heart feel cracked in half and lying in pieces at your feet, pain shooting through you while your mind cried out for help.

Now, she remembered the resolve of her eleven-year-old-self; to never cry at somebody’s words. It seemed silly, and immature, and utterly impossible. How many times had she failed in that endeavour?

It didn’t matter. The boy who’d knocked her down so many times had picked her up so many more, and here he was, raising her up again.

She didn’t deserve him – but then, after making her weep so many times, maybe he didn’t deserve her either.

“I love you too, Ronald Weasley. You’re the only person who can make me properly weep, you know.”

“Is that a good thing?”

And she cried as he kissed her, sealing the new and improved part of her better life.

 




A/N: This definitely needs editing! But I wanted to get it up before I went away for the Easter holidays, so I hope you all like it ok :)

“It’s no wonder no-one can stand her” – Page 127, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone [UK edition]

“Harry Potter is dead” – Page 583, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [UK edition]

"He will try to take away my pain, and he just might make me smile, but the whole time I'm wishing he was you instead." From Haunted, by Taylor Swift, and what EverMalfoy gave me for the Taylor Swift Quote Challenge!

Please feedback! It’s my first attempt at Romione, and I’d love to know what you think :D
~TGK

 

 
 




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