Chapter Nine:

"It must have been love, but it's over now. It must have been good, but I lost it somehow..." It must have been love by Roxette

Hermione woke up with a splitting headache; she slowly opened her eyes and saw everything was white, "Is this heaven?" she asked herself. Her eyes wandered around the room and frowned; "If this is heaven, then why the hell do I have a bloody headache? Where am I?" she thought. She pushed the blanket down and sat up; she heard footsteps coming her way so she turned her face towards the door, "Harry?" she asked when she saw a familiar figure entering the room.

Harry's eyes widen in shock upon seeing his best friend sitting from the bed. He ran towards her bedside and pulled her into a tight hug, "You bloody witch! A very mean bloody witch! You scared the hell out of me! I thought I was going to lose you..." he said, his voice cracking with emotion. Gently, he planted a chaste kiss on her forehead and clutched her hand tightly, "Don't you ever do that to me again, that was horrible Hermione" he said as he stared into her eyes.

Her eyes widened as memories of yester-night came to the forefront of her mind. Tears started pooling in her eyes as waves of shame and anguish hit her in folds, "Oh god," she croaked as she buried her face into her palms.

He sat down and pulled her frail form into his arms, "Ssssshhhh...It's okay - I've got you," he cooed. Minutes have passed and her sobs started to die down, he pulled a fraction but still kept running his hands on her back, "You saw him?" he asked softly.

She hung her head to avoid his gaze, "Y - yeah," she choked out.

He shifted his hands to her lap and wrapped her hands in his, "What can I do?"

She squeezed his hands as she slowly met his gaze, "Don't leave me?" she pleaded.

He let out a small smile, "I won't, you ought to know that by now - you're stuck with me forever," he joked.

She sniffed and wiped her blotchy cheeks, "T - thank you," she mumbled. She then scooted down and reclined back on her pillows, "I - I don't feel well..." she admitted.

He kept her hand in his, "You should sleep, I'll be here when you wake up - you'll be alright," he said.

She nodded and closed her eyes.

oOo

Harry waited till her breathing turned heavy before he shifted closer. He was about to cover her body with the blanket when he saw tears escaping her closed lids, "Merlin...even when she sleeps..." he grunted as if in actual pain. He wiped it with the pad of his thumb before standing up; he made his way towards the nearest couch and plopped down.

"Did she wake up?" Ginny asked as she closed the door behind her quietly.

He leaned his head back, "Yeah, she literally cried herself to sleep" he sighed.

She threw him a sad look before walking towards Hermione's bed; she leaned forward and brushed the stray curl that's covering her face. "I've already spoken to her Healer and she strongly suggests that we should keep her here for a few days," she said. She then sat down and gathered her hands to her lap, "She also told me that we should keep an eye on her because she's not emotionally stable." She turned to face him, "She could've died Harry. If Tonks hadn't been there on time, she would have bled to death. What on Merlin's name pushed her to take her own life?" she asked tearfully.

He stood up from his perch and made her way towards her; he placed his hand on her shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze. "She saw Malfoy, that's what she told me."

She tilted her face to meet his eyes, "Did she tell you what happened between them?"

"No,"

Her shoulders sagged as she turned to look at her slumbering friend, "I know where he lives, maybe I should pay him a visit and ask him what happened. What do you think?" she asked.

He sat beside her, "At this point, I really don't know what to do" he admitted.

She grabbed his hand and laced their fingers, "I'll see what I can do," she mumbled.

oOo

It was quarter past 10 when Ginny was able to wrap up all of her appointments so that she can leave the hospital. She went home first to take a quick shower and change into more comfortable clothing. She then apparated into Draco's property and instantly noticed that his wards are down, "That's weird," she said as she made her way towards the front door. She knocked a couple of times, tapping her foot impatiently as she waited for the blonde man to appear. Minutes have passed and yet no one came, "This is really odd" she said, trepidation bubbling inside her stomach. She drew her wand out of her pocket as she rounded the cottage. She walked straight to the den and climbed the steps. She was about to head to the door when she noticed a figure slumped on the floor beside the recliner. "Oh my Circe!" she gasped as she made a bee line towards her fallen friend. She hastily crouched down and slipped her hand to his neck, trying to get a pulse. She let out an audible sigh of relief when she felt the strong thump of life on her fingers, "Thank Merlin!" she exclaimed. She sat on her haunches and she surveyed her surroundings, she frowned when her eyes caught sight of the empty bottles lying haphazardly on the floor beside the recliner. "One, two, three, four -" she paused and shifted her eyes back to him. "Four bloody bottles of fire whiskey? Have you gone mental?" she said, aghast. She stood up from her perch and shook her head, "You're in no better shape than her," she said to herself. She vanished the evidence of his late night binge before she walked towards his kitchen; she rummaged through his cupboards and was able to make a decent breakfast. She flicked her wand again to conjure a vial of hangover potion and mixed it with the steaming hot coffee she made. She placed everything on a tray and levitated it behind her as she walked back to the den. With a smile playing on her lips she poked the tip of her wand on Draco's left cheek. When he didn't steer with her prodding, she poked him again until he regained his consciousness. She waited till he's about to open his eyes before zapping him with a swift Scourgify.

"Fuck!" he hissed as he hastily sat up.

She folded her arms on top of her chest, "Good morning to you too," she said gingerly.

He turned his eyes to the figure looming over him and his jaw instantly turned agape with shock.

She smiled sweetly, "Do you plan on sitting on the floor all day or will you give me hug?"

Her statement seem to spur him on so he clumsily stood up, "It's been a long time Gin, I've missed you!" he said as he pulled her into a bear hug.

"I've missed you too Dray," she replied between chuckles.

He threw her a sheepish look as he took a step back, "Err - sorry about the mess - wait," he turned to look at his surroundings.

"I took care of everything Mr. Malfoy, looks like you had a party last night" she sat down and crossed her legs, "Four bloody bottles? Are you trying to kill your liver or something?" she asked with a disapproving look.

He grinned, "Thank you for cleaning up the place and me, you just saved the Malfoy pride - have to keep up appearances, you know" he joked.

She leaned back on her seat and just stared at him, looking for a crack in his casual facade.

He shifted on his feet, clearly uncomfortable with her scrutiny, "How did you find me?"

"You've done a good job in making yourself scarce, but I have my connections" she replied.

"The Ministry, you mean" he rolled his eyes.

"Whatever" she said petulantly.

He snickered, "I see, nothing has changed - you're still my favorite Weasley" he said fondly.

"I'm the only Weasley you talk to, that's already given."

"Not my fault that your brother is a prat," he shrugged.

"And you're any better?" she challenged.

"I'm a Malfoy, I'm always better" he said smugly.

She lifted her hand and studied her nails, "You're right, nothing has changed. You're still you're old conceited self."

"Hey!"

She chuckled, "You started it," she replied. She then let her hand drop to her lap, "I've really missed you though - you've been gone for quite some time."

The smile on his face vanished, "I know. Life hasn't exactly been easy for me - I'm sorry if I was not able to say goodbye last time."

"Water under the bridge," she waved her hand dismissively.

"Thanks. So...how are you and Potty?"

She turned her hand towards him and wiggled her fingers, "We got married" she replied with a huge grin.

His eyes widen comically, "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you, I always knew you two would end up together" he said sincerely.

"I've sent you a couple of invitations to the wedding, but Hedwig can't find you."

He averted his gaze, "You know I want to be there, I just can't..." he softly said.

She let out a sigh, "I know and I do understand,"

"Thank you," he replied with a small smile. He then walked towards the adjacent recliner and sat down, "My offer still stands, if Potty hurts you, come to me and I'll rip his balls off."

She threw her head back and laughed.

"What? It's true. I don't care if he managed to slay the darkest wizard of our time, you're my best friend, I'd do anything for you."

She can't help but smile at his statement, "Thank you" she said. "But I don't think that's needed, I'm quite handy with my wand. I can send his sorry arse up to oblivion and he wouldn't be the known as the boy-who-lived anymore" she wiggled her brows.

"Good riddance, I say" he joked.

"Hey! That's my husband!" she said. She then pointed towards the tray on top of the table, "By the way, I made you breakfast - you should eat it while it's still hot. The coffee might taste a bit off, I laced it with some hangover potion, your head must be pounding with the amount of whiskey you imbibed last night."

"You're a life saver, thanks" he said as he reached for the steaming cup. He took a large gulp as he relaxed back on his seat, "Doesn't taste bad at all," he said.

"I have 6 brothers, need I say more?"

"Valid point," he replied.

"Yeah," she said as her eyes strayed towards the lake.

oOo

Draco stared at Ginny's face for a moment before letting out a defeated sigh, he knew that she didn't came here for a casual visit and for some reason, it's making him nervous. He adjusted the cup in his hands as he took a deep calming breath, "It's not that I don't appreciate you dropping by, but I do know there's more to this visit - so please, just say it."

She didn't meet his eyes as she stood up from her perch. She walked towards the railing before she looked at him straight in the eye, "Hermione tried to end her life last night" she said bluntly.

He felt all the blood drain from his face as dread held his heart in a vice grip, "W - what are you saying? What do you mean?"

Her knuckles turned white from gripping the railings tightly, "She slit her wrist open - she tried to commit suicide, Dray."

The cup in his hand slipped but he didn't even feel the burn of the hot liquid drenching his trousers, "I - is she..."

She shook her head, "Tonks found her before it was too late. She's in St. Mungos right now."

He braced his elbows on top of his knees and buried his face into his palms, "Fuck"

She made her way back and kneeled right in front of him, "She's okay - she's alive."

He shifted his hands to his hair and started pulling it in anguish, "This is my fault. I should've -"

"No, it's not" she said firmly. She wrapped her hands around his wrists and started tugging it, "It's nobody's fault. She was emotionally unstable and drunk as fuck when she did it. It was a lapse of judgement on her part so don't you dare blame yourself."

He let his hands fall limply between his legs, "How is she?" he choked out.

"She lost a lot of blood but she's fine. She's sleeping a lot but that's already expected - you should visit her."

He shook his head vehemently, "I - I can't do that."

She let out a defeated sigh as she stood up, "You can, you just won't - that's two different things" she said. She plucked her wand from her pocket, "I have to go. I still need to go back to the hospital to relieve Harry. It was nice seeing you again Dray, I guess I'll just see you around then," she spun on her heels and started making her way towards the stairs. "Room 204, second floor - if you ever change your mind" she added before disappearing from his view.

He waited a few beats before burying his face into his palms again, "What have you done?" he croaked.

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