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HUGE thanks to my great friend and beta Marla1 for her amazing help with the chapie :)

Enjoy...




-CHAPTER FIFTEEN-

- So close to losing you -

Harry wasn't sure how all these people –which he could see and recognize as familiar figures- popped out from nowhere. People that he hadn't seen for weeks were now closer and more were showing up through different doors of the house, others were screaming commands at each other, others trying to help Harry by touching him and others trying to take Hermione from his arms. In his blind panic and fear as he felt Hermione keep slipping away from their bond, he didn't let her go, a violent shiver ran through his body as a flash of the Inferies popped in his mind and then he finally let go of his wife as Ron and Luna with Fleur were taking Hermione away from him. He felt Bill and George's hands pulling him on his feet and supporting him by the shoulders and only then Harry felt the pain in its full extend.

'Hermione,' he only murmured as the pain from the Inferies' attack and the boat's shattered pieces against his skin were hurting him.

'She will be ok, Harry, let us help you and you'll get to her.' Someone said and Harry thought it was Bill before his eyes could close and his mind blacked out from the exhaustion and the overwhelming emotions.

Harry's eyes snapped open and he groaned at the harsh light above him, he tried to sit up in the comfortable mattress he was on and soon hands were helping him up. He looked around and with relief that lasted a few moments only, he realized that he was no more in pain and certainly some strength potion was working in his system. Bill, George and Ron were there, waiting for him to wake up.

'Where's Hermione?' Harry asked after the moments of relief and the three Weasleys looked at him with eyes fogged with concern, making his stomach jump in fear. Ron decided to speak.

'Mate, Luna and Fleur took care of her, she's alive… barely but alive, many potions and spells are working on her but not as many as the ladies would want to use since Hermy is too weak to cope with all the power of the potions and spells… and-'

'Where is she?' Harry simply asked as he stood up and fought the light dizziness, he felt all the guilt and all the pain as with horror he realized he could feel Hermione inside the bond just slightly, if he hadn't spent half of his life with her in his head, first as his conscience's voice and then because of the bond, he might couldn't feel her light as a whisper presence at all.

'She's resting in your chamber,' Bill only said and for a moment Harry remembered Lupin's calmness in situations like that, the thought was soon gone as the terror of his wife slipping away hit him at full force. He rushed out of the guestroom they were in and moved in the corridor until he got out of his bedroom, he had passed through this door in so many occasions, tired or injured after missions, angry after the rare times of fighting with Hermione, sleepy after lulling his children, even in tight embraces with Hermione before they could make love or have sex, after those thoughts were gone from his mind, Harry took a deep breath and opened the door.

The sight before his eyes left him speechless. Hermione was on her side of the bed and he had never seen her like that before. Her body was covered with a blanket to her chest, her hands resting limply on her sides, her head was resting on a pillow with her hair spread over it and her face was seemingly calm, the detail that made Harry's heart clench in his chest was the awfully white shade of her skin, she looked like a beautiful, yet sick porcelain doll whose creator had forgotten to paint her lips and cheeks.

Luna was by the bed on a chair, with her back on Harry, she turned around when Harry moved closer with his eyes glued on the form of his wife, the everlasting faint sense of her inside the bond making him feel like crying.

'We did everything we could, Harry, we can wait for her to respond, if she gets stronger, we'll try to use more potions in the morning, we don't know the nature of the potion she drank so we can't risk by giving her too many things, it might be proven fatal.' Luna said and the normal, long-lost dreamy tone killed Harry further inside, he just nodded his head as Luna patted his shoulder and left the room in silence. Harry sat next to his wife on the bed, his eyes never leaving her closed ones.

She was always the strong one, he knew she was the one to stay there, reassure everyone, cry her anxiety out and then move on, he was the one to hold back, to hide his troubles, from everyone except her of course. He was the one who would be angry and thickheaded, he wasn't the kind of person that would cry easily, but right now, at the idea that had became possibility of losing her, Hermione, his wife, his best friend, his companion, the mother of his children, his eyes filled with tears and a sob ripped through his lips.

'You can't do this to me,' Harry whispered as he felt the tears running down his cheeks, for a moment he hesitated but then he took her cold hand in his own, her wedding bands looking even more intense with the platinum ring and the elegant emerald on it against her pale fingers. He hated the cold feel of her skin, she always felt warm, welcoming, comforting, he had felt her hand touching him ever since he was a little boy, when she clang to him for safety, for protection or out of fear, when she would simply hold his hand, when she would threw her arms around him in tight embraces or later on, when they would make love and her hands would make him gasp or moan or whisper her name in pleasure. Cold wasn't a characteristic of Hermione. He rubbed her hand with his own in a try to make her feel like before, like always.

'I can feel you inside my head, I can feel your physical pain, I can feel your thoughts and I know you can feel me too, and you know you just can't give up, Hermione Potter! We have two Horcruxes to find, we have three Hallows to take care of!' Harry said stubbornly and he sounded childish even at his own ears as another sob escaped his lips.

'We have three children! Do you hear me? Three, Lilly, Jamie and Jane are waiting for us, they're some rooms away, wanting to see us, and you can't disappoint your children, Hermione. I spent way too many hormonal nights of yours during the pregnancies for you to just let go now,' Harry said and chuckled in his tears as he remembered all the needs of hers, all the food cravings and all the troubles during those nights. Another sob was slipping from his lips as he leaned down and pressed his lips against hers, in a kiss that he hoped with everything he got to be replied by her. All the guilt consuming his heart was killing him, squeezing the organ like a vice grip.

'It's not that I can't live without you...it's just that I don't even want to try.' He whispered as he looked at his wife's unmoving face and another sob was left from his lips before he could cry freely close to her, like she had done many times with him in the past, the long-gone terror he had felt in the Department of Mysteries when they were teenagers now returning stronger than ever. 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry,' he said again and again, he couldn't stop the tears.

'I know you would order me not to go feeling guilty about all this but I have put you through so many things, I have done so many things wrong and you were there to patch things up for me, I should have drank the potion, I should have thought of flying above the darn lake, I should have found another way.' Harry said mostly to himself as with pain he knew, she probably couldn't hear him. 'But you're so stubborn, so stubborn, you just decide to do something and none can change your mind, and I'm weak before your choices. I am letting you do whatever you want because you're my weakness and I can't stop you, you're stronger than me, you're my rock and when you're trembling I'm ready to collapse.' Harry whispered and he was glad he was alone with his wife in their room, he needed his privacy with her, he needed to be just him and her.

Harry was only half-listening. He didn't seem to be able to get rid of the picture of Hermione, lying on the hospital bed as though carved out of stone.

'HERMIONE!' Harry fell to his knees beside her as Neville crawled rapidly towards her from under the desk, his wand held up in front of him. A whine of panic inside his head was preventing him thinking properly: he had one hand on Hermione's shoulder, which was still warm, yet did not dare look at her properly. Don't let her be dead, don't let her be dead, it's my fault if she's dead...

'You have done this way too many times, Hermione; you need to stop doing it!' Harry said stubbornly again as he wiped his tears away with his free hand as he shook his head as to get rid of the memories. 'You're supposed to be the strong one, the right one and I'm supposed to be the stubborn and thickheaded, that was the deal years ago, keep up with it.' Harry said and his voice cracked with emotion as flashes of his life in common with her as a couple rushed in his head. He then remembered the mask that was still in his pocket; he took it out with his free hand and looked at it with disgust and hatred.

He decided to finish this quickly and threw the Mask before his feet as he took the Elder wand from his pocket, for a moment nothing happened but then; black smoke slipped out of the Horcrux and the image of a tomb with Hermione's full name, the dates of her birth and their current year along with the phrase Beloved wife, mother and friend. Was on it, Harry took a deep breath, closed his eyes and with a sharp movement of the Elder wand the Horcrux was no more. After that, new tears filled Harry's eyes as he could only hope to whoever was up there in heaven not to let his worst fear to actually happen.

People started visiting the room from time to time but Harry didn't even move his head to look at who it was every time, someone even brought food on a plate for him but he didn't even look at where the food was left for him, he just hoped they wouldn't bring his children inside the room, the last thing he needed was to be in the position of explaining when they would see their mom like this.

After a long time, someone touched his shoulder and Harry finally tore his eyes from his wife and looked at the standing Ginny Malfoy looking at him. Harry realized that the girl he once had snogged for a few weeks now seemed like a broken wreck. Her eyes were fogged with misery, an emotion Harry knew well, there were black bags beneath her eyes and she looked thinner and paler than ever, but, in spite of his own wife, Draco's wife looked alive.

'I know the feeling, the fear of being left alone,' Ginny started and Harry felt uncomfortable in an instant.

'Hermione hasn't left me.' He said sternly and immediately saw the pain in Ginny's eyes, the need of giving some hope to someone who had drowned in misery surfaced inside him. 'And neither has Draco done with you,' Harry added and Ginny smiled sadly and nodded her head as she looked at Hermione for a moment.

'I have felt so many things for your wife, Harry, friendship, care, protection, hatred, jealousy and then again sympathy and acceptance. But I never imagined I would feel like she's my sister, I never had one and now I realize that she is my sister.' Ginny said and Harry felt his eyes filling with tears again, Hermione, no matter what was always needed and loved by people who even occasionally, hated her. 'Did you have anything new about Draco?' Ginny asked and Harry sighed, still lost at the sight of his wife.

'This is not the right time, Ginny, really I can't even remember,' he said boldly but honestly, when he looked up at Ginny and saw the new tears he regretted his words. 'There are some things we heard from Bellatrix, maybe, when Hermione is better, we'll see though pensives so we can check out what happened,' Harry said and Ginny nodded, giving hope to both for this situation ending and Hermione getting better.

'OK, I'll let you be alone with her then,' Ginny said and moved away but before she could leave the room Harry called her name, she turned and looked at him.

'I'm sorry for Draco,' Harry said honestly, not knowing how else to ease her pain as they seemed at the same situation.

'I'm sorry for Hermione, really I am.' Ginny said as honestly and left the room, drowned in her own troubles. Before Ginny could close the door Fawkes flew inside the room and Harry looked at the bird as it made a small cycle in the large chamber and then landed on the pillow next to Hermione's head. Harry smiled sadly at the beautiful creature.

'Hey you Fawkes, thanks for before, you helped a lot.' Harry said as the bird looked at him and then at Hermione's sleeping form. Only then Harry's mind worked, Hermione was sick and Fawkes' tears had healing powers. Harry let of Hermione's hand and moved even closer as Fawkes remained on the pillow with his head bowed above Hermione's. Harry placed his fingers against her lips and tagged them slightly open, he had touched those lips many times before, as to stop her from saying something or simply because he loved the texture of her lips but this was the first time he opened her lips as to save her life, it took long enough for him to have their bond silent.

Fawkes' tears were soon formed and running down the bird's face as Harry kept Hermione's lips parted with his heart thudding in anticipation and hope. A few drops slipped inside Hermione's mouth and Harry's breath was caught for a moment. For that moment, nothing happened, the silence in the bond and the room remained before Harry could exhale a huge breath, having all the anxiety and fear and guilt out of his system like a poison would be out as he felt Hermione's loud but fogged because of the pain and exhaustion, thoughts.

He couldn't stop himself from putting his arms around her shoulders and hugging her tightly as she opened her mouth slightly and her eyes flattered opened, he hugged her tightly thanking Fawkes, his luck and everything and everyone.

'Harry…need…breath…' Hermione croaked and Harry chuckled and loosened the hug and looked at her.

'Sorry,' he said with a smile as she opened her eyes and Harry supported her shoulders and head with his arms. She smiled slightly and he chuckled and kissed her lips in need. 'Thank you, thank you for not letting go,' He said as he kept pecking her face and neck as he held her in his arms.

'I have told you… before and I'm…telling you again… the day I'm away from you… will be the day I die.' Hermione said with a weak voice and Harry nodded his head and kissed her once again as he remembered her words in her birthday, of course she would keep her word, she always did.

Harry helped her back on the mattress and conjured some water for her, she sipped a little and Harry smiled as she already looked better, her skin's color returning, after thanking Fawkes once again and the bird moved to its perch, Harry laid next to his wife on his own side of the bed, having his arm around her shoulders as they rested their heads against each other's and closed their eyes, welcoming the much needed sleep after yet another bane that was over.

Now one Horcrux was down and two were to go but Harry right now only cared for Hermione and her safety.

'I love you and don't you ever forget that' Harry whispered, hoping Hermione hadn't dozed off yet.

'I know and I love you too, with all my heart and soul,' Hermione responded after a moment and only then did the couple let themselves escape to dreamland.




YAY finally a small happy ending for the two, i had a long time to give them a break after all the shit lol what u think of it people? i hope you liked it :) i did my best to show the emotions and how much harry has grown up after a decade with hermione and the bond, i want to show that after so long it's natural to them to feel each other's presence in the bond, please tell me what u think

thanks for reading, please review

CP09

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