“Gin, Ginny! Are you still there?”
Ginny’s head appeared in Hermione’s line of vision once again. Her long red hair was hanging around her face and her eyes were wide. Hermione breathed a sigh of relief and Ginny grinned ruefully, knowing what had happened.
“Yes?” She asked half amused, half apologetic. Hermione beamed, remembering the good news she had to tell her friend.
“Wilem says that he thinks I’ll definitely be right to come to your house on Saturday.” Hermione informed her.
They weren’t talking face to face. Instead Hermione knelt on the floor in Wilem’s study, her head thrust into the emerald flames of the fireplace.
Ginny beamed back.
“Brilliant!” She enthused. “I’ve been getting lonely around here, and I’m glad you’re not doing anything you’re not supposed to. You’re not, right?”
Hermione rolled her eyes. Her knees were getting sore, she didn’t want to spend more time convincing Ginny she’d been fine than she already had.
“I’m positive Gin. He’s been letting me do a lot of things by myself lately. I’m fully recovered, c’mon! Apparently I’m doing much better than other patients he’s known.”
Now it was Ginny’s turn to roll her eyes.
“Yeah, we all know why that is.” She muttered softly, still aware of her friend’s delicate emotions.
Regardless of what Hermione said about being better, Ginny was still a little cautious, the admittedly she was glad it seemed her friend had finally found someone. That she was finally moving on. At least that was what it appeared. Hermione had gotten very good at pretending over the past two years, but for the first time, her happiness seemed real.
Hermione tutted reprovingly at her.
“Now listen here. You know full well there’s nothing between Wilem and I. It’s purely a patient carer relationship.”
Ginny laughed. “Whatever you say ‘Mione.” But upon seeing the woman’s face she changed her reply.
“Alright, alright. There’s nothing, I get it!” She laughed and shook her head, sending her hair into a red frenzy. She started rising to her feet and brushing off her knees.
“See you tomorrow ok?” She asked Hermione, looking down into the flames. “Make sure you’re not late.”
Hermione laughed, said goodbye and pulled her head out of the fire seeing Ginny’s feet disappear around the corner as she did.
Easing her stiff joints she rose to her feet. The blood went rushing back into her legs and her bones cracked. Wincing she straightened up and sighed.
Hermione smiled slightly. She knew that voice; it had become her constant companion these past few weeks. She turned around to see Wilem sitting behind his desk, scanning through a pile of papers. He had not looked up when he spoke, but he knew she was no longer talking to Ginny, even as immersed in his work as he was. His hair kept falling into his eyes, but with a patient hand he brushed it back.
Hermione smiled again. That was Wilem, patient to the core. He had been patient with her and now he had fixed her. She felt better by the day. She owed him the world.
She made her way across to the desk, picking up her coat as she went. She wasn’t weak anymore, she no longer relied on people to support her as she walked or to wait for her while she ate. She wasn’t confined to her room either. Now she could go around wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted.
She had been remitted from the hospital over a week ago. Now all she had to do was make a daily check-up to Wilem’s office, otherwise he’d come after her. But that wasn’t a problem at all to her now was it?
“Yep.” She said her tone bright. “I’m going over to Ginny’s tomorrow at six for dinner. Everything is settled indeed.”
She sat down in the seat opposite to his and laughed lightly. He laughed too and Hermione sighed.
“I really need someone to talk to.”
He looked up from his work and smiled, his light blue eyes were alight with sincerity, again. There was barely a crease on his thirty-one year old face. He smiled at her again, trying to look serious.
“There’s always me?”
Hermione smiled back and placed one of her hands over his.
It was now eleven o’clock on a Saturday evening and both women were sitting on the hearth, facing the fire, staring into its flickering depths and feeling very full.
Hermione closed her eyes and let the fire’s glow warm her eyelids. She couldn’t recall feeling so at ease for such a long time. Even the past few weeks with Wilem had seemed to rush to her. The soft smiles and careful touches. All the hours spent in his study talking and adjusting, and then that feeling. The feeling of realising that life had presented her with something beautiful and she would be crazy not to take it.
Hermione smiled when she heard Ginny draw a breath, readying herself to speak.
“So, you and Wilem, what is there between you, really?”
Hermione smiled wider. She should have guessed this conversation topic would come up.
“Hmm, about twenty miles I’m say.” She replied back, not missing a beat and causing her friend to groan at her answer.
“Seriously Hermione.” She sighed.
“Well, there’s definitely something.” She said slowly, contemplating her answer, not wanting to reveal too much.
“I thought- I mean- I love talking to him. It’s nice to talk to someone different-“ She threw an apologetic glance at Ginny. “No offence. You know, I realised the other day that you’re basically the only person I’ve talked to for two years.”
She laughed hollowly and sat up, grabbing the knitted blanket from the couch and wrapping it around her thin body. Addressing herself more than anyone else she spoke softly.
“I don’t know why I didn’t realise I didn’t have to be so alone sooner.”
There was a silence. Not an awkward one, but a companionable one. Neither of the girls really realised how much they had come to rely on and mean to one another until now. Not long after that, the clock struck twelve.
The fire cast eerie flickering shadows around the room and turned their skin to glowing ice and eyes to wild fire.
Once again it was raining outside. It came down against the roof in hard sheets, pounding against the windows and thrumming against the ground.
In the distance thunder rumbled, but the storm was far away, for now.
“You know, when Harry was reported dead, I wanted to kill myself.” Ginny said softly. Hermione looked up.
It was the first name his name had come up in conversation between them for almost two years.
“But it didn’t.” She sounded crazy as she said it. “And now look where I am. I nowhere different to where I was before he, he, died.” She looked away so Hermione wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes.
“I still th-“
But she was cut off by a scraping noise from outside the window. Both women froze. Slowly, Hermione drew her wand out of her back pocket, feeling that long lost rush adrenaline that only a sense of danger could bring on. She held her wand out in front of her, readjusting to the sensation, feeling every bit like she was greeting an old friend. Pre-war Hermione and Post- War Hermione were meeting at last.
Ginny was on her feet too, her wand was held loosely in her hand by her side. She walked vigilantly over to the window and peered out. After a moment of close inspection she laughed.
“It was a branch, I think it was a branch from the oleander bush.” But her voicd shook as she made the confirmation. The two sunk back into their seats, their peaceful night ruined.
Not long after that Hermione left.
The heavy rain against her window made Hermione restless. She slept fitfully, caught between wake and slumber. Half of the time she wasn’t sure which was which. What was the reality and what was the dream.
In the dream there was someone standing over her, a dark shadow watching her sleep. They did not move nor speak. They were as still and as carved as an ice sculpture. Hermione wanted to reach out to them and tell them that everything would be alright, but she knew she couldn’t.
In the reality long shadows and rumbling thunder haunted her. The large empty house wasn’t bright and open as it was in the day. Instead night time phantoms prowled the track from the bedroom to the bathroom and the dark side’s spies were everywhere.
For the seventeenth time that hour Hermione awoke with a shudder. There was still someone watching her, she could feel it. She tried to swallow, but her throat was parched. Eyeing the moving photographs on the wall warily she slipped out of the bed and onto the rug, lain across the polished timber floor.
The ground chilled her feet, but that didn’t bother her so much as her thirst. Grabbing her wand from the bedside table she made her way out into the hallway. Once again she felt that surge or familiarity as she held the wand out before her body, its tip alight and her senses acute.
She remembered tiptoeing like this so many places with Ron and Harry.
The school halls, the forest, graveyards… Shivering and brushing away the memory Hermione walked into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of water.
She was on her second cupful and leaning up against the cabinet when the front door was blasted open.
There was the crash of shattering glass as the cup slipped from her hands and smashed on the floor.
Ginny was there, as clear as day and as pale as the moon. Her hair was a wet, knotted mess tangled around her face and her eyes were wide, clear glass. Her whole body shook as she embraced Hermione.
“Oh thank God, thank god…” She murmured she held Hermione tight and sobbed into her shirt.
Hermione, shaking as well, pried Ginny’s cold hands off her. Her heart raced in her chest and felt like it might burst out. Her breathing was unable to stay even, it came in shallow ragged gasps.
“What is it Ginny?” She asked urgently, her voice cracking.
Ginny stepped away and wrung her hands together. Tears streamed down her face and her skin paled more.
“Oh Hermione, you’ll never guess who just showed up.”
And with those words Harry Potter pulled off the invisibility cloak and stepped across the threshold.
Author’s note- Okay, to some of you, this relationship (Hermione/wilem) might seem really rushed. But to me, it makes sense. I couldn’t think of a way to say it with out saying it straight out, but here’s the deal- Hermione has been out of love for so long. Since Harry and Ron died there hasn’t really been anything good in her life. Now here is this man who kind and gentle and patient and loves her. When Hermione yelled at him the first few weeks it was almost like a test her subconscious had set up. Now that she’s realised he’s perfect, everything is rushing to her in torrents of emotion. She finally feels things and she’s ready to love this man with her heart and soul. Get it? Ha ha, probably not. Sorry for the freakishly long AN. Please review!
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