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"Hermione, are you alright? What are you still doing down here?" A voice said from behind her. She didn't know who it belonged to; she was too tired to think about it.

"I want Harry," she whispered, her voice croaky and weak.

"Right, I'll just wake him up." It was Aengus, he had come down to check if she was still sitting there, he knew she was still there.

Harry didn't speak when he came downstairs, he just walked straight over to Hermione and cradled her. She buried her face in the gap between his arm and chest. Her nose was filled with the scent of safety and warmth, the smell she had become familiar to but which still made her feel protected and secure. This was the first time in a long time that Harry had been comforting Hermione. He was looking after her like he was meant to. "Thank you." She squeaked after the silence had lingered for too long.

"For what?" He whispered, stroking her hair and holding her tightly.

"Being here for me when I needed you."

"I'll always be here for you, Hermione. Even if I seem incapable of making you feel better, I will always try." He tried to stifle a yawn, but he couldn't hide it from Hermione. Her head shot up, putting Harry's feeling in front of hers.

She kissed his cheek before sending him back up to bed. She knew that sleep seemed to hide from him so she didn't want him to lose it when he had found it. "Maybe you should go back up to bed, Curly. Well, there's not much point actually, you only have a couple of hours before everyone gets up."

"Why aren't you asleep then?" She said, turning to face him.

"I don't need sleep."

"Sit down." She ordered. "You need to let it go, Aengus. I know it's hard, and it seems impossible, but it's over. Calum can't hurt Aoife now; she's safe and so are you. Talk to your Dad, tell him the truth, explain to him what you said to me and he'll understand." She looked at the boy who reminded her so much of Harry when he was happier. His black, shiny hair mimicked Harry's. At some point during the war, Harry had transformed into a man; his mind had matured but so had his body; his jawline had become chiselled, and he had bulked out, despite the endless months they spent in the tent, living off whatever food they could find and make. Unlike Harry, Aengus had stubble, something his twin lived without, which made him look older than he actually was. He was tall, like Harry, but something about him made him seem older, maybe it was how he held himself, trying not to let his emotions out and focusing on staying and acting tough. Harry wasn't like that, not as much as he once was, he opened up to Hermione a bit more now, knowing that Hermione would always be by his side.

"I shouldn't have told you; I was doing just fine without your help. I want to continue dealing with things my way. So stop trying to help." He said rather sternly, shocking Hermione somewhat.

"Fine, only if you do the same for me. Whenever I run off, I don't want you to come and find me." She said, hoping that this incentive would change his mind.

"Deal." He said, walking out of the Common Room and into the darkness of the corridor behind the portrait.

Hermione blinked, looking towards the door, only now did she realise just how tired she actually was. She glanced at her watch, having to try hard to get her eyes to focus on the hands and realised that it was five in the morning. She had been sitting here alone for two hours, unsure as to whether she did actually get some sleep in that time. She decided that she would finally go up to her bed and get as much sleep as she could before Aoife woke her up for the Quidditch trials. She stumbled up the stairs, even when she had been trying to help Harry the weeks after the war she had never been this tired. Her body was begging for rest, but her mind was conflicted; conflicted between Harry and Aengus and some much-needed sleep.

*

"Hermione? Are you coming to watch Harry and Ron?" Aoife soft voice broke Hermione's sweet slumber. "It starts in half an hour; I wanted to give you enough time to get ready." Hermione lifted her head off of her pillow, everything that happened the previous night seemed like a blur, she couldn't differentiate what actually happened and her dreams. Her dreams were dominated by the Curran triplets, other figures and Harry. None of it seemed to make sense. Everything was unknown territory to her, an unfamiliar room and people. "You look shattered." Aoife pointed out once Hermione had sat up properly.

"Odd night." She muttered. "Aoife, can I ask you something?" Hermione asked delicately, making sure she didn't upset Aoife.

"Sure, what?"

"What was Bree like?"

Aoife stopped what she was doing, making her bed, and kept her back to Hermione. "How do you know about Bree?" She asked, her voice full of astonishment and amazement that Hermione knew something.

"Aengus told me about her. And Calum." She added quietly.

Aoife pulled down her sleeves, making sure that her flesh was hidden, she turned around, looking rather shaken up at the names from her past being brought back to the present. "What did he say about Calum?" She asked, crossing her arms making her seemed more defensive and secretive.

"Just that he did bad things to both of you. I need to know what Bree was like; he says I'm like her, and I don't want to be a constant reminder for him."

"He told you all about it?" Hermione nodded, leaving Aoife more shocked than before. "I've actually lost him." She said sadly. "He's going to you, a stranger for want of a better word, rather than his sister."

"It's not like that." Hermione pointed out, "he must have been feeling vulnerable. Harry told me about your Mum, and when I asked Aengus about it, he told me what happened last year."

"Just don't lead him on if you want nothing more than friendship. He's found it hard trusting anyone for ages; he must really like you for him to tell him stuff." Aoife said bitterly, she turned back to her bed and began pretending to sort it out.

"Lead him on, why would I do that? I'm with Harry." Hermione reminded her.

"It wouldn't be the first time a girl has chucked everything away for him. You've gained his trust, don't break it again."

Hermione glared at Aoife's back, how dare she assume that Hermione would "chuck" Harry away for Aengus. "Harry is it for me; I'm not going to ruin it by going after your brother."

"I'm sure you don't intend to, but you won't even realise you're doing it." This seemed like a warning to Hermione, but she didn't dwell on it for too long. She got up, changed and began to walk over to the door when Aoife spoke again, "I'm sorry, Hermione. I don't want us to fall out. I was just a bit hurt that Aengus went to you for support and not me. I guess I just need to be thankful he isn't bottling it all up again."

Hermione nodded slowly, unwilling to say anything about the matter just in case it was the wrong thing and it upset or angered Aoife. "Shall we meet the boys then?" She asked cheerily. Aoife smiled and bounced over to her before they both made their way downstairs.

Harry and Ron took a little long than the girls to get ready; they had decided to change into their Quidditch kit and eat breakfast, purely out of sheer laziness; they didn't want to have to change twice. "You took your time." Aoife teased when they finally made an appearance.

"Had to make sure I looked good." Ron joked as he walked up to her. For a split second, it looked like they were going to kiss but Ron quickly re-evaluated the situation and planted his lips on her cheek. "Morning." He whispered so that only Aoife could hear it. Hermione and Harry instantly looked at each other, both with the same glisten in their eyes - it wouldn't be long until Ron and Aoife became official.

"Morning, you." She whispered back

Harry left Ron and Aoife to their secret conversation and walked over to Hermione. "Are you feeling better?" Hermione smiled up at him and stood on her toes to kiss him. He held her firmly and steadily.

"I forgot how good you looked in your Quidditch kit." She winked when she had pulled away from him. She turned around, still close to Harry's body; her hand slipped down so that her fingers had found Harry's. "I'm starving. Let's go to breakfast."

Ron and Aoife looked at the pair of them, both pairs unaware as to what the other had just done. Aoife's eyes fell to Hermione and Harry's conjoined hands. She looked longingly at them, secretly wanting their love. "Sure." She said, leaning slightly closer to Ron.

"Why are you leaning on me?" Ron asked bluntly, completely unaware of the emotions and feelings Aoife was experiencing.

"Sorry," Aoife said sadly, stepping forward.

*

"You do look terrible," Aoife said to Hermione as they sat in the stands of the Quidditch pitch.

"Wow, thanks." Hermione laughed.

"No, I don't mean it like that. Sorry, I intended to say: are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm okay. How is it going with you and Ron?" They were huddled together as it was quite a cold September morning. The boys had stuffed their faces at breakfast, but Hermione didn't seem to have much of an appetite. She noticed that once Harry had something to focus on; in this case, it was Quidditch, he acted more himself.

"Oh, well he wants to take this slow and keep it secret. Obviously, I'm not looking for him to proclaim his love for me but some attention, like you and Harry this morning. He acts completely indifferent to me when other people are around, and he's not much better when we're alone, not that we're on our own often."

"The thing with Ron is he's nott exactly very experienced. He's had crushes before but nothing very serious. Unless you'd call whatever it was with Lavender serious. Just give him time, he's lovely really. He just takes awhile to warm to someone new."

"It's not like that. I think he does trust me, he told me all about Fred and other things, but he just can't seem to take the next step."

"You need to take it for him," Hermione laughed, "he is more or less oblivious to feelings. Take him on a walk around the grounds after and talk to him." She advised.

"You really think that would work?"

"It can't hurt."


The Quidditch finally began. Ron saved almost all of the attempts on goal, and Harry flew around catching all the Snitches. After half an hour, Ginny saw no point in making them continue so said that they made the team and let them leave early.

"That was quick!" Hermione exclaimed.

"We made the team!" Harry told her happily, walking over to her and embracing her. "Thank you for making me try out." Hermione held his head, bringing it down and kissing him, thrilled that he was making steps in the right direction.

"Well done," Aoife said awkwardly to Ron.

"Thanks, want to go for a walk?" He asked. Aoife's eyes went wide; she gawked instantly at Hermione who was looking at her and smiling. She gave her a thumbs up and walked back to the castle with Harry.

"What was all that about?" Harry question as they walked through the front door.

"Love is in the air," Hermione laughed, "Aoife was getting upset because Ron wasn't expressing his feelings. She wants him to be more like you."

"More like me, hey?" He said slyly, "I mean, I am pretty much the perfect boyfriend."

"Don't go too far." She joked, "I can think of some things you can improve on." She laughed and looked cheekily at him. Harry put his arm around her back and on her hip and pulled her close to him.

"Do you want to say that again?" He whispered.

"No, you're perfect." She smiled. They walked back to the Common Room, Harry keeping his arm around Hermione.


"Remember we're meeting Dr Eliot at 1." Hermione reminded Harry.

"How could I forget that?"

"Don't be like that; she's going to help you." Hermione smiled, not truly grasping what it would be like reliving everything all over again.

"You look tired. Why don't you take a nap? I'll wake you up when it's time to go." Harry promised.

"Will you actually? Harry, you can't miss this. It's important you attend."

"I won't. I promise to wake you up so we can go together." Harry smiled. He told her to sleep in his bed as boys couldn't get into the girl's dorms.

Hermione slipped into Harry's bed. The sheets were releasing his smell every time she moved slightly. She snuggled up to the pillow and wrapped herself in the blankets. For whatever reason she slept better in Harry's bed, it made her feel closer to him. She began to slip into a much-needed slumber when someone entered the room. "It can't be time yet, can it?" She croaked.

"What are you talking about?" It wasn't Harry; it was Ron. "Hermione? Why are you sleeping here?"

Hermione lifted her head up and noticed Ron clutching onto Aoife's hand. "Sorry, do you want me to leave?" Her voice had a slight taint of pleading in it as she didn't want to move.

Ron looked from Hermione to his bed to Aoife, his eyes full of annoyance. "No, it's fine. You need some rest." Aoife said, tugging on Ron's arm to get him to turn around and walk away.

"How is this fair? It's my dorm." Hermione heard Ron grumble as they left her in peace.

"Shut up," Aoife ordered.

Hermione's head fell back onto the pillow, and she fell asleep instantly.


"Hermione?" Harry said, stroking her face and hair. "It's nearly time to go. Do you want to sleep some more? I can go on my own." Harry's voice was soft and calming. Hermione was half awake, although she was aware of what was going on, she couldn't take it all in. "I'll leave you to it."

"No! I'm coming with you." She declared, "give me two seconds." So Harry waited for Hermione, nerves of what was going to happen began to usurp his body slowly. He was doing this for Hermione, but for the life of him, he couldn't see how it would help. The problem was reliving the past and bringing it into the present so how would deliberately doing that help? "Right, ready?" She asked, completely awake.

"I guess," he whispered, "do we-" he began to ask when Hermione interrupted him.

"Yes, we do have to go. Come on." She held onto Harry's arm and dragged him to the Hospital Wing. En route, they saw Ron and Aoife who couldn't seem to contain their excitement when they saw that Hermione was no longer in the boy's dormitory.

"Hope today goes well, mate! Just tell her what you're feeling!" Ron called out as they passed each other.

"Just tell her what I'm feeling," Harry repeated under his breath. Hermione chose to ignore this, not wanting to deter him from doing this.

When they reached the door to the Hospital Wing, Hermione stopped and stood in front of Harry, "you can do this, I'll be right by your side." Harry looked straight passed her and at the door. Behind that door stood the thing that was holding him back. The fear took over his body once again; he hunched over; making himself small in the process. His belief was that if he was smaller, fewer things could harm him. Hermione watched as he reverted into himself, not knowing whether this would stop him from talking to Dr Eliot. She knew it was a lost cause to try and speak to him about it, whatever she said now would be met and returned by silence. She sighed but continued to open the door. Inside stood two women, a familiar one and an unfamiliar one.

"Here he is, Julie. This is Harry Potter. Harry, this is Dr Julie Eliot." Madam Pomfrey said as they entered her office. The doctor was tall and thin; she was rather elegant looking with a tight dress on. She had a short haircut, it looked all neat and tidy and was a beautiful deep red colour.

"Harry! Darlin'. I am very sorry to hear that you have been having some troubles recently. Let me reassure you; I am exceptionally well trained and experienced in this sort of thing. I work at St. Mungo's and have done for many years now. You wouldn't believe the amount of heads that need sorting." All ready Hermione hated her; it was the way she held herself and the way she seemed to speak down to Harry. The "darlin'" didn't help her cause much either. "And who might you be, darlin'?"

Great, she says it to everyone, Hermione thought to herself, "I am Hermione Granger, Harry's girlfriend." She spoke aloud.

"Aw, isn't that sweet," she said sarcastically, "young love." This reminded Hermione instantly of Rita Skeeter; this sent Julie Eliot right up to the top of her hatred list, it was only a small list, mind, Rita Skeeter, a close contender for the top spot. "Would you mind leaving, darling? Only it would be easier if it was just myself and Harry."

Hermione looked Dr Eliot up and down, a picture of pure disgust etched onto her face, "Harry? What would you prefer?"

"It's not up to Harry, darlin'. It's up to me, and I have said that I want you to leave." She spat, "if you would, darlin'." She added, gesturing to the door.

Hermione glanced at Harry, the sight of a small, lost boy met her. "I'll just be outside." She informed.

"Bye, darlin'," Julie said bitterly. "Right, now that she's gone, we can get started. Tell me what you're feeling, darlin'." Harry looked up at her silently, wishing he had said something which meant Hermione could have stayed with him. He didn't trust Julie one bit, and he wasn't about to tell her what he was feeling. " A bit shy, darlin'? Take your time."

Hermione peered through a gap in the blind but could only see Harry's back. She thought it was futile to try and work out what they were talking about so found a seat to sit down and read until they were finished.

"Darlin', if you don't want to speak with me here, we can always go to St. Mungo's. I can arrange that if you would prefer it?" She sneered down at him, "it's safe there, darlin'. I promise." Harry didn't want to go to St. Mungo's, he didn't need to go there, but he couldn't seem to find his voice. It was as though it had been taken out of him; he was silent but not out of choice. "Poppy!" Julie called to Madam Pomfrey.

"Yes?" She said as she walked into her office.

"I think that Harry would benefit from a couple of weeks in my ward. He is finding it difficult to talk about his trauma, and I believe it is because most of it happened here. Isn't that right, darlin'?"

Harry remained mute, trying his hardest to fight against this proposal. "Well, if you think that is best, I will inform the Headmistress," Madam Pomfrey spoke, Harry tried to get her attention but it was useless, she wasn't looking anywhere in his direction. He had to get to Hermione; she would know something was wrong just by looking at him.

"Darlin', stay here. I'll tell your girlfriend what is happening." Harry screamed but nothing came out, Julie had done something to him. She walked out of the office and locked the door behind her. Hermione looked up from her book when she heard the noise of the key turning.

"What are you doing? Where's Harry?" She asked, slightly panicked.

"Don't worry, darlin'. Harry has decided that he, in order for him to get better, he needs to leave the castle for a while. He needs to be surrounded by people that don't trigger the memories. He has said he wants to go to St. Mungo's for a much-needed break from everything."

Hermione's eyes narrowed, she looked from Julie to the office door, "that doesn't sound at all like Harry. Are you sure that is what he wants?"

"He must be holding back when he's with you, darlin'. He couldn't wait to ask me to get him away from her, away from you."

"Away from me? Really?" Hermione's heart was breaking. She knew that these weren't Harry's words, at least she thought she knew.

"I'm sorry, darlin'. He needs a break from you. You need to let go of him, darlin'. You're keeping him from his future." She could hardly take these words in. Could it really be true that Hermione was causing Harry all of his grief and sadness? It couldn't be true; he always said that Hermione was the one thing that was getting him through things, but did he really mean that? She began to go over everything in her head, trying to work out if the things he said were true or not. If after all this time, the thing that was holding him back was her. Does she really need to let him go? More importantly, could she let him go? "I've got a train coming that leaves at 2. We will be on it, and I would advise that you don't say goodbye to him. I want to try and start treatment right away." All Hermione could do was nod, she tried to argue it in her mind but came to the same conclusion each time - it must be her fault. "I'm sorry, darlin'. Young love rarely lasts." She began to push Hermione towards the door; she wanted to get rid of her quickly so she could leave herself.

Hermione walked, head down, back to the Common Room. She ignored everyone as she went. Ginny tried to ask her about something, but she didn't care about the subject anymore. All she cared about was Harry, and now he had gone. "Hermione, how did it go? Where's Harry?" Ron asked. He was sitting with Aoife on the sofa in front of the fireplace.

"Gone," Hermione replied, her eyes fogging up. All she wanted to do was go to bed and hide from everyone.

"Gone? Gone where?"

"Dr Eliot said he wants to go to St. Mungo's," Hermione said, a lump in a throat.

"Well if that will help, maybe it's the right place for him," Ron argued, he didn't have the reaction Hermione hoped for.

"How can you say that, Ron? He doesn't need to go to St. Mungo's for help. Dr Eliot isn't who she says she is; no doctor would refuse to let me say goodbye to him before he goes."

"You're just upset, Hermione. I'm sure that he'll be back before you know it." Ron sunk back into his seat, Aoife looking more worried than him. She was huddled up to him but pushed off him to stand up.

"Hermione, do you want to talk about it?" She offered friendly. "I know what it feels like."

Ron looked at the two girls for a few seconds before getting up and walking off to his dormitory. "What's wrong with him? Doesn't he care that his best friend is being taken away?"

"Don't mind him, he's just...grumpy," Aoife smirked slightly, "so what exactly did this doctor say to you about Harry?" They were still standing up; Hermione was too agitated to sit down.

"She said that being here and being around me is making Harry worse. She stated that he requested he was admitted to St. Mungo's as he needed to escape." Hermione recalled.

"And she said all that? She didn't let Harry speak?" Aoife asked, pacing the room, trying to work out what was going on.

"No, I didn't see him. He was in the office. She wouldn't let me."

"So how do we know Harry did say that he wanted to go to St. Mungo's? Hermione, don't panic. I have family that work there; I can send a letter to them if you want? My cousin knows everything that goes on in there."

Hermione didn't know what to do, she stood on the spot, swaying. Trying to think about things with a clear head but it was impossible. All her mind went back to was Harry's face when she left the office and the words Dr Eliot said to her. "Something isn't right, Aoife. You have to believe me - Harry wouldn't talk like that. He loves it here; Hogwarts is his home. She can't take him away from here!"

"Hermione, calm down!" Aoife ordered as she put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Maybe Ron's right, maybe you are just emotional, and that's clouding your judgement."

"You have to believe me," Hermione cried, her lip trembling. She knew that she wasn't wrong, Harry didn't want to go to St. Mungo's. "Please."

"Maybe you should go to bed, have a nap. Sleep will clear your head. Harry will be all right." Hermione was losing Aoife's support with each second that went by.

"No! Harry doesn't need to go to St. Mungo's, Julie is going to do something to him there, I know it. We can't trust her! Please help me." She pleaded, tears pouring down her face, each making new tracks as they went.

"There's nothing to help you with, not yet anyway. He'll be fine." Aoife said, sitting back down and opening up her book.

"I thought you told me you knew how it felt! I thought you would understand that we need to help him!"

"Help him do what exactly, Hermione? Stop him from getting the help that you made him get?"

Hermione thought about saying something, arguing her cause a bit more, but she knew there was no point. She knew she had to try and stop Harry going to St. Mungo's on her own.


"Don't you worry, darlin'. We'll be at St. Mungo's before you know it. Then everything will feel like a distant memory. As I always say, why keep the memories that are holding you back? Darlin', you are going to start afresh!" Julie exclaimed as the train made it's way towards London.

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