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helping a friend to heal

After an exhausting transfer of nearly two days they arrived at Sydney Airport. When Ron left the plane and looked around the completely unfamiliar surroundings it seemed as if he finally woke up from a long and depressing apathy.


He knew he had been a lousy friend to Hermione and Harry and a lousy son and brother. But he last weeks he couldn’t face any member of his familiy. The pain was too big and the only way he was able to cope with was to suppress any feeling at all. So he stayed in his room and tried to just feel numb.


Actually it was Hermione who had rattled his shell as she announced to go to Australia.


It was then that he realized that he was not the only one who had lost a beloved person and that it was now time to look after other people - especially Hermione.


With the unfamiliar surroundings and the unfamiliar way ahead Ron was now flooded by a million of different emotions and thoughts. But he was not quite ready to deal with all of them.


‚Step by step’ he told himself. ‚And now it’s time to take care of her problems. Anything else you will hve to deal with later.’


He felt a little embarrassed that he hadn’t once in the past weeks asked Hermione how she felt and how she did cope with the passing events.


To be honest, he was afraid.So many things had changed at the battle of Hogwarts that he was not quite sure if their friendship would remain undamaged.


He was alright with Harry, having been able to talk to him the last week and at least explain some of the things that bothered him.


He knew Harry was ok with him, having to deal himself wih a lot of new challenges. But with Hermoine he wa not quite sure.


He would have to make an efford and try to get back in her good books, that’s what he realized on the plane.


Help her finding her parents, even if he didn’t know anything more than she did. And to look for them in Muggle places!


He felt uncomfortable., but at least they could pretend that his sometimes strange behaviour was because he was foreign.


He didn’t understand why, but the moment Hermione had agreed tat Ron could accompangy her – and only Ron – he somehow knew that she needed help, but she would never have asked for it.


They started their search in the small town of Tom Prince in the ouback, apparating outside town they slowly walked to the towncenter.


„You are awfully quiet since we left the UK.“ Ron stated. “Are you mad at me?”


She looked up surprised. „Why should I be mad at you? No, it’s just strange ... and I have a lot of things to think about.“


„Hermoine, I know I have been a lousy friend the last weeks... I mean…..“


„Stop, Ron. Don’t apologize. We both had a lot to deal with. Besides, this here is neither the right place nor the right time. Let’s get a room and something to eat and then we’ll see, ok?”


He just looked at her.


“Sure, Hermoine. I’m actually starving.”


She smiled „Good to know that some things won’t chance.”


“ Hey, I can’t help it.” A small smile appeared on his lips when they went down the road, entering a small hotel bar.


After they got a room, they put their bags upstairs and then went downstairs for the bar. The waitress took their order and then they started to take in the surrounding, realising that everyone in the small restaurant was staring at them.


„Do I have dirt on my nose?“ Ron asked nervously. He didn’t feel very comfortable in Muggle surroundings but to look for the Grangers they thought it was wiser to stay at muggle places.


Trying to ignore the staring pub customers he whispered


„So, where do you want to start?”


“Well, the Wilkinses who live here run a geological expedition and trekking and biking agency down the road. We could pass by to see if they actually are my parents.....”


He sensed that something was wrong. She didn’t give the impression that she really wanted to see if the expedition people were her parents, which in Rons opinion was odd, seeing that she hadn’t seen her parents for over a year.


„Hermione, what’s the matter? Why don’t we just go down the road and check?”


„Ron, I..... I tell you later. Lets go for a walk after dinner, ok? I feel a littel too much in the public interest...“


Ron could see tears forming in her eyes and saw her trying to hold them back, looking panicked at the bar where everyone was still watching them.


He smiled.


„I see. All right. Hey, by the way, what’s trekking and biking?”


*****


After dinner and a short conversation with the lokals - who were quite intrigued about how they got to this remote town without a car - they left the bar to go for a walk.


Ron sighed and then chuckled.


„Boy, I didnt think they would be so nosy. We better make up a better story of how we get to places. Muggles are mental about this stuff.“


They slowly walked outside the village and headed toward a mountain range nearby which was supposed to show a great view of the surrounding. The area was rocky and dusty, but at some places they could see water ponds with some green plants around. The nearby rocks looked smooth and polished by sand and time and had a warm red glow in the evening sun. They looked stable and comforting.


“So, why didn’t you want to go to the trekking place to check?”


“Straight to the point, Ron?”


“Well, sorry, but I think we’re done ‘not talking with each other’. I’m sorry I was so distant back home....”


“Ron, don’t apologize.”


“No, Hermione, I think I owe you. And actually, being this far away
helps a lot to get things straight.”


“Well, not for me, actually.” she wispered.


He took her hand and squeezed it lightly.


This was actually the first physical contact they shared after the battle. And it was ok. There was no need to rush things. This simple gesture felt familiar and it felt good.


Hermoine took a deep breath


„I’m so scared.” She was whispering so quiet he nearly couldn’t hear her.


“Why? What is there to be afraid of now?”


He frowned.


“What if we don’t find them? Or what if it’s them and they will not remenber me? What if I can’t take the memory charm off? I know I took precautions, but still...”


He gently queeezed her hand, letting her know that he listened.


“Or what if they remember me and are so angry with me that they don’t want to see me anymore. Or if they want to stay here in Australia?

The last month I realised that I actually have no one to go to when I will have finished Hogwarts. I mean, Harry has his own place and he has Ginny and us and he is looking after Teddy, so he really has a perspective into the future. And you have your familiy.”


She gave him an ancxious glance. He swallowed but knew what she meant.


“I mean there is no place I can go when I’m not at Hogwarts. No place which is home.”


„Hermoine, you know that you can always come to the Burrow. And you have Harry, Ginny, my family … and me.
But I understand what you are talking about. But there is actually only one way to see what will happen…. Hey,” he nugded her slightly with his shoulder. “we are Gryffindors, aren’t we?”


She smiled weakly.


„Look, I’ll be there for you. I mean, I will come with you to face your parents and I try to help, ok? They must be ok after all, I know their daughter and she is really something.”


He smiled and she chuckeled softly, then they proceeded to walk, still holding hands.


„How much did you tell them about what had happened the last years and about what we were about to do?”


Ron asked, wondering how much she really told them about the wizard war.


„Well, they know that we three went to look for the horcruxes, but I think I explained it more as a good guys – bad guys story or somthing. I mean, they know all about Harry and about your family.
But I made it sound more as a criminal organisation as the real Death Eaters and Voldermort. I thought if I told them exactly what Voldemort and his followers were capable of, they would really freak out. They are not too familiar with the magical world as they don’t know any other wizards except for the two times we were at Diagon Alley. So I think I gave more an impression of a mafia story.”


“Hmmm, I understand,” Ron nodded, adding in an afterthought „What’s mafia?”


Hermoine smiled a patronizing smile. “You know Ron, you really should learn a little bit more about Muggels. Wouldn’t hurt if you want to be an Auror, I suppose.”


“Yeah, I know. But don’t start nagging me now. We’re not at school.”


They sat down after they had climbed the nearest rock.


It was now nearly dark and the village was far enough that the light didn’t disturb the view of the sky. They both looked up at the starry sky, Ron didn’t know any of the star constellations he saw.


„Wow, kind of overwhelming sight.” he said after a while. “Makes you feel kind of small and insignificant.”


„Mmmm“ was all she replied and then they went quiet for quite some time.


“Ron, do you realize that we are on this trip for over two days and we didn’t have an argument yet?”


„Yeah, but we are not quite in our normal condition. Don’t get used to it. I think we will get back to that. After all, we have a reputation to uphold.” He chuckeled


„Ronald, you prat.” she scolded, but he could hear that she was smiling.

They looked quietly at the stars.

„I’m glad that you are here with me.” she wispered after a while

„I’m glad that I’m here, too.“


*****


The Wilkinsons turned out be a nice couple from Liverpool, not Hermoines parents. When they had walked down the road to check Ron tought he had never seen Hermoine that nervous. He promised her to take the first look together, and then they chatted with the couple. They were nice, but Ron could tell that she was disappointed.

Afterwards they went for a walk talking about Harry and how he was coping.

“I actually think it’s a good thing for him that he’s teddy godfather.”

“Why do you think so?”
“I think at some point Harry can relate to him, both being orphans. And I somehow got the impression that he wants to make sure that Teddy will have a better childhood than he did. So I think it’s a way for Harry to become reconciled with his childhood in some way. And he has Ginny to help him.”

“So you reckon they are an item again?”

She looked exasperated.

„Ron, Ginny loves Harry. And the last year Harry really missed her. So of course they will make up.”

Ron sighed deeply.

“Yeah, I know. You can’t stop Ginny when she is on a mission and Harry is just as bad.”

“Ron, they are old enough.”


****

Hermoine lay in bed listening to Ron soft snoring. First she thought it would be awkward to share a room with him. But actually she felt that she could sleep better hearing Rons soft breathing in the other bed.

After they had taken a walk there were no strange feelings. They finally talked and helped each other to recover from all what had happened. They just needed some time.

Ron began to toss und turn starting to mumble in his sleep. Hermoine looked at the other bed. He had tossed the covers away and she saw that his t-shirt was wet and was sticking to his body. His hair was damp and his face was contorted in pain.

„No...No... Hermoine........” he mumbeled and his movements became more frantic.

Hermoine left her bed, sat down next to him and gently touched his arm.

„Ron, ist ok, I’m here. Don’t worry.”

Suddenly his body became rigid and there was despair on his face. Tears ran down at the sides of his face.

“Watch out, no …. Fred...no Fred ….. oh, merlin, George, I’m so sorry. No Fred....“ he sobbed.

She stroked his face and suddenly he sat up straight, opening his eyes. It took him a few seconds to realise that she was sitting beside his bed.

He tried to wipe the tears with the back of his hand. The painful expression on his face was slowly replaced by a embarrased one.

“Ron it’s ok. It was nightmare.” She hesitated.

“Do you want to talk about it?” She didn’t know if he would push her away. He looked in her eyes, considering her offer.


“Yes, I think it’s time to talk. Just let me wash my face and change my shirt. I feel a little sticky.”

He got to the bathroom and she heard water splashing, then he pulled on a new shirt and sat down on his bed, his back resting against the wall.

He draped the covers over his legs, lifting a corner of his blanket and invited her. She sat next to him, covering herself up. Only their shoulders were touching.

It was dark and silent in the room, the moonlight drawing the outlines of their faces.

„They don’t come that often anymore.” he started in a wisper.

“The nightmares?”

“Yes. After the battle I had them every night. Now they are coming less and less frequently.”

“What do you dream?” she held her breath.

“Actually, it’s always the same dream. First I see Harry drowning in the pond when he tries to get the sword. I look in the water and I see his lifeless face under the surface. Then his face changes to Voldemort’s and then to Bellatrix’. I see her torturing you, I hear you scream and I can’t get to you. I try to open the door but it won’t move.”

He started to shake and his voice was cracked and thick.

Hermoine put her hand on his arm but stayed silent. After a while Ron continued to talk.

“When finally this door opens I see Greyback attacking you. There is so much blood everywhere and Bellatrix laughs. And then there is an explosion and Fred is flying through the air. I try to catch him but he crashes down on the floor and I can’t get him.”

He was shaking heavier now and Hermione could more feel than see that tears were running down his face.

“ Then I see the faces of George and Mum in anguish. It’s more or less the same dream every time.” He finished, breathing hard.

Hermione gently stroke his arms and stayed silent for a while

“They are dead.” She whispered.

“I’m sorry that Fred has died. But you know that this is not your fault, don’t you.”

“Yes, but still. Maybe if we had been faster with the horcruxes or if I hadn’t walk out on you or if....”

“Ron, Fred choose to stand against Voldemort. We all knew that it was dangerous. We all fought on our own will. He knew the risks and was willing to take them. He knew what he did when he contributed to Potterwatch and he knew what could happen at Hogwarts.”

“I know, and I’m sure if he would see me he would pull my leg because I’m pathetic.”

“You’re not pathetic, you love and you care. There’s a difference.”

He smiled and took her hand. “I know. But it is so hard to watch Mum and George suffer, I couldn’t stand seeing it. That’s why I kept in my room so often. I didn’t want to feel all this. It was better to stay numb.”

She stroked the back of his hand with her thumb, not knowing what to reply.

“I feel so ashamed that I ran out on Harry and you. You had to fight Voldemort and I didn’t help you in Godric’s Hollow. I was so self centered and that disgusts me. You could have died, …..you nearly did.”

“But, Ron, so could your family. Harry and I didn’t have family in the wizarding world. So there was no one in danger. You care very much about people, you have a great heart, I think that’s why the horcrux was affectig you more than Harry and me. Harry’s family is dead and mine is here in Australia.”

They were quiet for a while

“You know what matters after all than?”

“What?” his voice was thick.

“You love so deeply that you don’t care what will happen to yourself. You came back to Harry and me. You saved Harry from drowning. You saved me at the Malfoy’s. I wouldn’t have been able to bear the curse if I hadn’t heard your voice. It helped. You faught Voldemort’s spell at Hogwarts when you thought Harry was dead.”

“Well, maybe, still, I...”

“Ron, we all make mistakes. There is no point to pretend that we are perfect. We have flaws. But it’s ok. It’s important to forgive those mistakes, otherwise life turns bitter. I mean Harry broke the taboo and that got us to the Malfoy’s. Tonks left Teddy behind to fight with Remus. I got us to the Lovegood’s. We make mistakes. But good ones as well. Think about what you did to the Cattermoles.”

She felt him relax a little bit.

“Thanks Hermoine, I’m sorry. I’m a real whimp.”

“Don’t you ever say something like that, Ronald Weasley.” She smiled.

“You’re a prat, but not a whimp.” He chuckeld.

After a while he started again.

“You know, it helps to have some distance to the whole events. I can see clearer here than back at home.”

He put his arm around her shoulders. They sat there for a long time, sometimes just musing at stray thoughts, sometimes talking quietly. They were friends helping each other healing.

authors note: please review. I'm not a native speaker / writer and I appreciate any sort of critique, help, especially since this is my first fic ever. Thanks!

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