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The battle had been waging for hours. Finally, Harry had defeated the Dark Lord and the remaining deatheaters had either fled or surrendered. All but one that is.

No one had yet noticed the tall, black figure that was standing in the shadows quite close to where Harry Potter was currently leaning over the dead body of Remus Lupin. Everyone but Hermione had left to find Fred’s body, but Hermione who did not know where to turn to since she did not feel as close to any of them as the rest did, had settled on staying close to Harry.

The man was smirking. The stupid kid had even put his wand down, oblivious to the danger that was awaiting him, believing himself to be safe, believing that all deatheaters had given up. Not yet. He would soon feel the consequences of his misjudgment.

The man knew he would not survive this, but so be it. His only aim was to kill the kid who had somehow managed to kill his master. Even though it hurt to think about the possibility that he might be taken out by a mudblood. She was the only one who still walked around with her wand up, cautiously looking around.

Well, as much as he regretted it, he would not have enough time to kill them both. There were other wizards still around, and he could not risk being killed before he had succeeded in fulfilling his ultimate aim, i.e., killing Harry Potter.

 Taking a last deep breath he took a step out of the shadows and cast his spell. In the corner of his eye he noticed that the young witch had noticed him. Two “Avada Kedavra”s were shouted at the exact same time, but he couldn’t be bothered to move, no, he wanted to watch when Harry Potter was sure to fall.

However, he had someone misjudged the direction slightly and the curse did not fully hit Harry but only streaked his side. All the better, the deatheater thought, as his own body was fully hit by the deadly curse coming from the mudblood. There is no way he could survive this, it will only ensure that he will have a longer and therefore more painful death. The deatheater closed his eyes, a broad smile on his face even though he still felt slightly disgusted by the fact that a mudblood had been the one to strike the killing curse.

“Harry”, Hermione shouted agonized. “No, no, Harry!” With a few quick steps she was by his side.

“Hermione”, he responded quietly, his voice nearly breaking. “Listen, there’s nothing you can do. It’s killing me, I know it.” With that he closed his eyes.

“No, no, Harry, you stupid boy, listen to me. I’m not going to let that happen, no, no.” Hermione knelt over Harry’s motionless body, desperation in her eyes, from which tears slowly but surely started to spill.

“It’s ok, really, Hermione. It’s not your fault” Harry mumbled, knowing that his best friend blamed herself for what had happened.

“No, you don’t understand”, Hermione replied, rather hysterically. “Harry, I – I love you, always have and always will. I will not let you die on me.”

Harry was trying to answer, but was too weak already, no words came out of his mouth anymore. “Sh, it’s ok”, Hermione soothed him. “I know you don’t feel the same way for me. I know you love Ginny and she loves you, you two just make such a perfect couple. However, there’s no way I’m going to let you die, no way, do you hear me!”

With that Hermione leaned even closer to him, putting her right hand over his heart and closing her eyes.

A strange sensation occurred in Harry’s body, it was as if he felt her inside, trying to fix his broken ribs, trying to soak out the deadly poison. Strange, he had never thought about any curses as a sort of poison, yet right now it was how it felt.

Neither of them noticed that Ron and Ginny had returned to the Great Hall, both shouting out in shock when they saw the now two motionless bodies.

“Harry, Harry, oh my god, Hermione!”, Ginny shouted, however, neither of them seemed to hear them. Harry since he was already lost to the outside world and Hermione because she was too focused on the healing process.

Hermione continued her path throughout Harry’s body, aware of connections that Harry didn’t even know that existed until now. Harry was trembling, he had never heard of any magic of the kind, how was this supposed to work.

Exactly at the same time Harry was thinking this, Hermione, or her consciousness or whatever it was that was sliding through his body seemed to be hitting a wall.

“Harry”, Hermione cried out in fear. “You have to trust me, do you hear me? You trust me, don’t you?”

Harry was even further shocked when he realized that Hermione had not been crying out loud, but that she had been talking to him in his mind. How? No time for such thoughts!

“Harry!”, Hermione pleaded him. “It’s alright, Hermione, I trust you, I do. I don’t think there’s anyone else whom I could trust as much as my very best friend who has stood by my side all this time.” He had actually done it, he had talked back to her. And he knew that what he had just said was the absolute truth, he had always trusted Hermione with his life, always would.

“Good”, Hermione just said, and he could have sworn that he felt her smile. This was very awkward indeed.

She seemed to continue her path, draining more and more of the ‘poison’ out of his body. Suddenly he realized that he could hear the voices surrounding him again, that is the voices of Ginny and Ron, ad by now of the whole rest of the Weasley family.

“What is she doing”, Ron shouted, looking shocked at the bodies of his very best friend and the girl whom he had loved for so many years.

“I think she’s performing some kind of old magic”, Charlie interrupted the silence that had followed. Have you ever heard of Greta and Theo Kriditch?” All of them nodded, the names rung a bell, even though they could not recall where they had heard them before.

“They are just one of a few examples I could tell you!” Charlie’s sad voiced destroyed the hope the others had been feeling. “Greta, she believed to have found a way to kill someone who was on the edge to death. And so did other wizards and witches to come. They talked about something that they called the unison of mind and the path through the body. By establishing a connection and following the so-called path, they believed to be able to heal the other person.”

“What happened to them?”, Ron eagerly asked, who still hoped for an happy-ending to the story.

“None of them ever succeeded”, Charlie whispered. “In fact, not only the people they tried to save but they themselves died as a result. The magic has been abolished a long time ago, since it was deemed to be only a way of killing two people instead of one. There is no chance, they say, that either of the two people could survive it.”

Everyone stared back at the two bodies lying beneath them. Did that mean they had just lost them both? It could not be. Ron cried desperately out: “But, this is Hermione we’re talking about. Surely, if anyone could ever succeed in these kind of things, it would be her, wouldn’t it?”

Molly just patted her youngest son’s hand, not willing to encourage his hopes, since she herself had none left. None of them really had, but still they sat there, waiting for their hearts to finally stop beating.

“Maybe,  maybe if Hermione realizes that she can’t save him and she let’s go of him, maybe then at least she would survive”, there was still a hint of hope to Ron’s desperate voice.

“Maybe”, Molly quietly replied, not wanting to destroy her son’s hopes.

Harry had listened to all of this rather interested and had therefore not noticed what had been happening in his body. He felt ashamed suddenly, for leaving Hermione alone on this.

“Hermione”, he tried to contact her. “Hermione, can you hear me?”

“I can, Harry, no worries”, she answered, the same confident tone to her voice as ever, however, she sounded weak. Harry feared for her.

In an attempt to block these thoughts out, he tried to address her again. “Hermione, did you hear them? They’re talking about us?”

“Who, Harry? Ah, have the Weasleys come? No, I can’t hear them, Harry, I can’t let my attention slip from what I’m currently doing, not even for a second, or we both will be lost.”

We both. Harry shuddered inwardly. How did he deserve this? He felt so helplessly, not knowing what to do and only being able to let Hermione proceed.

“Listen, you could do me one favor, however.” Hermione smiled at him, as if sensing his discomfort.

“Sure. Whatever you want”, Harry replied eagerly.

“Just – entertain me. You know, this could take another while, and even though I need to completely focus on this, I cannot let it take me over, if you get what I mean. There must still be some part of my mind occupied somewhere else. Or else I’ll lose myself, and you with me.”

“Alright” Harry stumbled, still confused by all he was hearing. “But, what should I talk to you about. You know, I’m not quite sure what would be appropriate in a situation like this.”

Hermione slightly chuckled. “Start with what you just picked up from the others talking, just anything, really.”

So as Hermione seemed to continue the path through his body, Harry recalled everything he had just heard. He hesitated at first as to whether to point out the inevitability of the situation they were in, but thought they deserved to know. “They don’t think we have a chance of making this through. But listen, Hermione, there must be a way for you to go back. Let me die! I don’t want you to die in an attempt to save me. They – the others thought it might be possible if they just tried.”

When Hermione didn’t reply, Harry realized the mistake he had just made. This was the smartest witch of his age, probably the century he was talking to. If Charlie knew about the stories, so did  she.

“You – you knew what was going to happen, didn’t you? You knew and you still tried to save me.” It was not a question, really. He knew the answer anyway.

But why? She said she loved him.

He did not let himself follow this train of thought. He could not have her die. “Listen, Hermione, you know you can save yourself. Just do it, you know, I’ll be fine” he was pleading her now.

“I could never, ever forgive myself if I let you die now” Hermione answered convinced. “No, I’m going through with this and there’s no way you’ll convince me to do otherwise.”

“But – YOU CAN’T SAVE ME!!!” Harry now cried out in fear for her life, not wanting her to sacrifice her life in an attempt to save his.

“You don’t truly believe this”, Hermione stated in a simple matter-of-fact tone.

“Yes, I do”, Harry asserted.

“No, you don’t. I can even prove it to you. Remember, when you trembled in the beginning of this whole thing, not willing to believe there was any chance left, my path was blocked. It’s not blocked now, so you still trust me. And as long as you trust me, I will go on.”

She was right, so damn right, he knew it. As much as he wished for it right now, he trusted her too much, there was no way he could make himself not trust her. What an irony! By trusting her he ultimately doomed her and her life

“But, please, Hermione. You could still go back. I know you could. I don’t want you to do this” honesty showed in his words.

Hermione’s voice sounded a shade sadder now, but still confident in her way of speaking. “Silly you, Harry. There’s something, you have to come to understand yet. This path they’re talking about, it’s a one-way road. Even if I wanted, there would be no way for me to go back.”

“So, we’re stuck then, right? Either we survive or we won’t, no way to change things, right?” Harry was terrified that she was not able to go back, but at the same time strangely comforted by the fact that she was still there with him, that he was not alone.

“So it seems”, Hermione agreed, even though Harry could not suppress the feeling that she was hiding something from him. But he trusted her, she knew what she was doing.

“So, have you ever thought about what comes after death, ‘Mione?”, Harry asked her softly.

“All the time”, Hermione answered immediately. He had to smile, that was just so like her. Of course she would have to think everything through.

Neither of them noticed Ginny going wild, as they witnessed the small smile that had spread on Harry’s face. “He’s alive”, she shouted. “I – I knew it, come on Harry, you can do this. Come –c ome back to me!” She wanted to grab his hand, but was afraid to be breaking contact between Hermione and Harry and therefore settled back in Bill’s arms who tried to comfort his little sister.

“And you?”, Hermione asked.

“Sometimes, not as often as you though, it seems. You know, I don’t really bother, there’s things you just can’t explain and I often think it’s best not to think about them too much. I can’t really picture what it’s going to be like, being dead.”

“Me neither”, Hermione admitted, and it was evident in her voice that this fact troubled her. “You know, I’ve spent so much time thinking about it, but I’ve never come to a real conclusion. I mean, it’s just so hard, you know. I’ve never been the person who just trusted in things, I always wanted to know why they were the way they were, wanted to have a rational explanation. I never could settle with things I couldn’t find an explanation for. That’s probably one of the reasons I dropped divination in Third Year.

Harry smiled at the memory, oblivious to the fact that he was not only smiling inwardly any more, but that his smile was also visible to the ones surrounding their bodies.

“You know, you’ve been a great friend all this years, ‘Mione. You’ve been the only one who’s never left my side, and now, even on the edge of dying, you still haven’t left me.”

“I would never be able to do that” Hermione said, but she now sounded like she was nearly crying.

“I don’t know how I’ll be ever able to thank you, ‘Mione”, Harry whispered back.

“You don’t need to, Harry. Really!”

“Still. I feel guilty for letting you do all this, risking your own life for me.”

“It’s really nothing, don’t worry about it”, Hermione replied, but her voice sounded very sad when she said so.

“Listen, this is drawing to an end, you’re nearly safe now”, Hermione added, weakness suddenly evident in her voice.

“That’s great, oh, ‘Mione, you actually did it. I knew you could.” Harry wanted to hug his friend, tell her everything he had never dared to, and yet he somehow knew, this wasn’t over yet.

“You know, once we wake up, I’ll crush your bones by giving you a huge hug – right?” Harry tried to joke, but he suddenly wasn’t so sure yet, he still had a feeling that Hermione was hiding something from  him.

“It’s not as simple as that” Hermione said, her voice but a mere whisper. “There’s something, none of them ever understood. Why they always died.”

Well of course there was, and Hermione had been the one to find it out. Hadn’t she?

“You cannot bring someone back who’s that close to the edge of death, actually you weren’t close to the edge, but you had half-ways crossed it. You cannot save someone , not – not without sacrificing your own life for him.”

“No!” Harry whispered. “No! Hermione, no! You can’t be right, there has to be a way.” But deep down he knew that there wasn’t.

“One-way ticket, remember, Harry.” Hermione’s voice was breaking several times when she said this. “Goodbye Harry, I love you now and always will. Make sure you and Ginny will be happy. And tell Ron – tell him I’m sorry. And don’t blame yourself, Harry. I wanted to do this and there was no way you could have stopped me. I loved you, and yet I always knew you couldn’t love me back. Maybe it’s better to die when to live, knowing that the love of your life will never love you back.”

Harry was shaking with tears now, he couldn’t, didn’t know what to say.

“I’m scared, Harry. Scared of what is to come.” Hermione whispered.

“You’ll be alright, I know it”, Harry answered tearfully. “You know, for people like you there must be a heaven.”

Hermione smiled when a last “bye” left her lips. “Goodbye” Harry replied, as he felt her consciousness leaving his body to somewhere else. He suddenly was once again aware to the voices and sobs around him and slowly blinked his eyes open.

“Harry”, Ginny shouted, as he was looking into the face of his love. He turned his head down, to see the face of his best friend whose now lifeless body was crumbled upon him. The person who had risked everything and had sacrificed her own life in order to save him. The person whom he had never dared to tell how he had felt about her. She had died without knowing that he, Harry James Potter had loved her back all the way along.

 

 

 
 
 
 

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