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It was about midday, and what a fine day it was. The sun was shining and flowers blooming. Even the laziest beings had ventured outside and that included Mr. Gripe the neighborhood scrooge. No one could deny it; the day was glorious and everyone should be a part of it. 

However the curtains of Hermione Granger’s bedroom remained drawn. 

Outside the world was alive, but the inside of the house maintained its silence.
Dust had gathered over the furniture and cobwebs clung to the ceiling. Floorboards creaked underfoot and rodents dwelled in peace under the stairs. 

And the curtains remained shut. 

It had been so for many a month now. Yes ever since the death of her lover it had been this way.
She had decayed and matured, to the point of bitterness some said. She had lost her youth and all the care that was ever held in her heart.
Why some said that she had ceased to exist at all.
But they were wrong. 

Only two knew the truth, and one of them was in the upstairs bedroom, lying in a crumpled heap on her bed.
She was tangled in the sheets in a sweaty mess. Her knotted brown hair was plastered to her scalp and across her brown, why it had even lost some of its bushiness.
Whether it was sweat or tears that rolled in beads down her face she did not know. She was in no fit state to conceive such truths anyhow. 

Only a single beam of light penetrated through the thick curtains. The thin shaft shone over her desk and books, the memories of long ago.
The light however did not extend to the furthest corners of the room, there in the dark; the foul creatures of Hermione’s mind were left to fester away. 

Oh yes, she was not well at all. 

Ginny Weasley had recovered faster than anyone had ever thought possible. Why she had even surprised herself. 

It wasn’t that Ron’s death hadn’t affected her, because it had and in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.
He was her brother and she loved him. The Burrow seemed just that little bit larger and colder without Ron in it. God, who was she to deny it? She missed him. Even if half the time they were together he spent it fawning over Hermione and herself over Harry, or moaning and complaining. The other half of the time he was Ron. Ronald Weasley, exactly as his friends knew him, because that other half of the time that was precisely what he was to her. A friend. 

As if Ron’s death hadn’t pained her enough there was that other report, the one that had reached her just days after the funeral, when she had begun to think that maybe she could make it.

Harry Potter had been reported missing.

Ginny had spent at least the next three weeks in her room, speaking to no one, occasionally eating. She spent hours pouring over photos of the two of them wondering where it had all gone wrong. Wondering what she had done that had made him hurt her this way, didn’t he realized what he was putting her through? 

She had wanted to die. 

But she was a Weasley, and knew very well that Weasley’s didn’t die unless they had a very good reason.
Finally, but not without time, she had begun the rebuild her life. She started eating again and even contacted Hermione. 

Hermione Granger, her best living friend, how could she have forgotten that she must’ve been going through the same ordeal? Harry and Ron were like brothers to her, maybe even more in Ron’s case, she didn’t know, but she did know she wanted to help. 

Slowly, but surely, together the two of them began to restore their lives. Hermione was in a worse state than Ginny, and it took all of Ginny’s patience to even get her to leave the house.
At last Ginny managed to drag her out to a bar one night. The air was thick with the scent of cologne and alcohol, the music loud and handsome strangers plentiful. Ginny chatted to all the cute gentlemen she could find, Hermione chatted to none. 

After that night the two of them had stuck to quiet conversation at either Ginny’s or Hermione’s house. They argued sometimes and swore to never see each other again, but when one received a tearstained letter from the other all was forgotten. They needed each other more now that they ever had. 

Everything was going according to plan; right up until Harry Potter was reported dead. 

The wizarding world was in an uproar. How was it that Harry Potter, their savior, their idol, their god, could die? Surely the world must be coming to an end.
No body cared what Hermione Granger or Ginny Weasley could be feeling. All they had was each other. 

Hermione drifted silently through the house. She didn’t know why she even bothered to make an effort, Ginny could see clearly through her façade. It was so much worse than she had ever meant it to get. 

She walked unsteadily into the kitchen and started to scrub the dishes. The stack by the sink was teetering threateningly, but Hermione knew she just had to grit her teeth and do it. While she worked ‘Unchained Melody’ escaped her lips.
The music was soft, cautious and terribly off pitch but she enjoyed it all the same. It was nice to sing, it made her feel happy. She had never admitted that to either Harry or Ron. They would’ve taken the mickey out of her for sure.
A soft chuckle strangled from her mouth, eventually transforming into gasping tearless sobs. Her body shook in agony, but no tears dripped down her cheeks this time. 

It was getting easier. So much easier to reach past the pain.
Her hands formed a cage around her body, holding herself in, pulling back together to careful guise. After a few minutes her breathing steadied and heart rate slowed.
It seemed that the more times it happened the easier it was to recover when it occurred again. In an unsteady motion she rose to her feet. Ginny Weasley was walking down the drive. 

Hermione bolted into the bathroom. The dishes could wait; her personal appearance was of a more pressing urgency. A messy house was acceptable, but she had to at least look like she was taking care of herself or Ginny would have a fit.
She rummaged hysterically through the draws looking for a brush. After a short moment she realized she held a wand in her hand.
In a swift fluid motion her hair lay flat and tidy. Another flick and the dark circles under her eyes were gone. 

She searched madly through a pile of what she hoped were clean clothes on the floor until she found a soft yellow dress and grey cardigan. Better than nothing she shrugged. With a racing heart she pulled it on, smoothing out the creases as she marched towards the door with an outstretched hand. 

It was blasted open before she could touch the knob. 

“Hermione Granger, I’ve been knocking for ages!” Ginny glowered, though the effect was somewhat lost as her face was ashen and eyes wild. 

“Honestly! I though you’d died.” 

Hermione softened and closed the door with a snap leading Ginny into the lounge. 

“What you really mean to say is ‘thank you, I’m glad I’m here’.” I wasn’t a question. 

Ginny still looked furious but nodded nonetheless. Her critical eyes raked over Hermione once before sweeping the room. Her expression was disapproving. 

“There is such a thing as house elves you know?” She half smirked despite the underlying sternness in her message. “And as you’re clearly not doing the housework yourself…” 

But she never got a chance to finish her sentence. 

“Ginny.” Hermione warned. “We’ve had this conversation before. I am not getting a house elf; honestly, did you really think a few demises would change that?” 

Her tone was flawlessly light when she said ‘demises’, but her heart gave a painful throb at the reminder. 

Ginny cringed at Hermione’s words. 

“That’s not-” She started, patting her friend’s leg comfortingly. “I was only trying to-”
Hermione cut across her once more. 

“Gin, it’s all right. I’m fine, really.” Her eyes gave nothing away. She got better at this by the day. 

‘Fake it till you make it Hermione.’ She sighed to herself. ‘Fake it till you make it…’ 

Author's note: Thank you to everyone who reviewed my last chapter. It really made me want to write more. I'm sorry that this chapter isn't long yet took me aggges to post. I promise the next chapter will be juicier! 

Rose :)

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