Chapter Ten:

"Loving you is my finest hour, leaving you, the hardest day of my life..." The hardest day of my life by The Corrs

Hermione stirred after long hours of continued sleep; she opened her puffy eyes and groggily searched the room. She licked her parched lips and turned her face to the side, she noticed a familiar red head woman sleeping uncomfortably on the small couch near her bed. She sighed, she remembers everything now; her foolishness, her desperation and selfishness. She lifted her hand and looked at the wound that almost ended her life, "You've completely lost your plot," she mumbled. She moved her other hand to her neck and wrapped her fingers around the pendant, clutching it like it was her life line.

"You're awake."

She moved her gaze to Ginny and saw her glaring at her, "H - hey" she croaked, shame and guilt gnawing painfully at her gut.

Ginny stood up and made her way towards her; she sat on her bedside and pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm glad you're okay but I'm bloody mad - really mad."

"I'm sorry Ginny...I really am..." she whispered as tears started welling in her eyes.

Ginny pulled back, "I know everything, Harry told me" she said. She gently gathered Hermione's hand to her lap, "I know it was hard seeing him sweetheart, but this?" she sighed. "Tell me, what happened?"

She hung her head as her shoulders shook, "We - we're over" she sobbed.

"You broke up years ago...I don't understand" Ginny furrowed her brows in confusion. "Why did you break up in the first place, you really haven't been clear about that."

She wiped the tears that managed to escape her eyes, "I was the one who broke up with him, it was my fault" she sniffed. "I - I left him Gin, I broke us because I was not brave enough to fight for what we have. He kept on telling me that he'll never leave me, but then I never knew where his loyalty really lies. I got scared. The war is looming over our heads and his parents - you know how much he loves them."

"You didn't ask him?"

She shook her head, "I wouldn't make him choose between me and them."

"So you just ended it," Ginny sighed.

"Yes," she replied.

Ginny squeezed her hand, her eyes full of understanding. "What happened to Hogwarts, Hermione?"

She looked away and cleared her throat, "I - I saw him at Hogwarts, I never thought I'd see him there. He was standing in the exact same spot where I broke us" she croaked. "He - he approached me and acted really cordial, it as if we're long time friends who never lost contact, he was so friendly and it made me feel so guilty." She leaned back on her pillow and wiped her cheeks for what feels like the hundredth time, "I couldn't do it, I can't act like there's nothing wrong when we both knew that it was all a lie. I apologized and ran away like the coward I am and then I realized that I dropped my necklace."

Ginny pointed towards her neck, "That necklace?"

"Yeah,"

"That's the one he gave you for Christmas, right?"

She nodded tearfully, "It's the last thing I have of him and I can't lose, I just can't" she admitted.

"Go on, what happened next?" Ginny encouraged.

She turned to her side and curled herself like a fetus, "I received a letter the next day, it was unsigned but I knew it was him because of the owl. I went back to meet him, but he didn't even want to face me. He made me sit facing the Lake while he stood behind me," she paused as he voice broke. She cleared her throat and ignored the tears that kept on leaking from her eyes, "He - he asked me why I still kept the necklace after all these years, but I couldn't answer. Gods Gin, I wanted to tell him how much I'm still desperately in love with him, but I can't hurt him anymore - I refuse to. He looked like he already moved on and he just needed closure, so I kept my mouth shut..."

"Did he tell you that?"

"He didn't need to, I saw it in his face the last time I saw him," she sniffed. "He didn't need me to mess things up for him any longer, so he said."

Ginny threw her a look, "How?"

She felt lower lip wobble, "He - he told me goodbye" she sobbed.

Ginny gasped, "Oh sweetheart!" she cried. She then leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her trembling body, "I'm so sorry..." she whispered.

oOo

Outside the room, Ron and Harry stood side by side; their eyes locked on the two hunched figures slumped on the bed. "I can't stand seeing her like that - she's so wrecked" the latter said dejectedly.

Ron sighed, "She'll be fine mate, she's Hermione - she's strong," he said. He then turned towards his friend, "I still don't get it Harry, why the hell did she do that?" he asked, completely baffled with the situation. "I mean, I knew she and the ferret had something way back then, but they broke things up years ago. Why now? What pushed her to do such thing?"

Harry took off his glasses, "I don't know, maybe she still loves him. We weren't there, Merlin we don't even know why they broke up the first place."

Ron winced, "We haven't been really good friends to her when we found out about - err - their relationship," he walked towards the bench and sat down. "We should've been there Harry, if we did, they maybe we could've helped her move on and this wouldn't have happened."

Harry looked guilty, "I know..." he sighed.

"Who found her?"

"Tonks"

"I'm thrilled that Tonks found her, but what exactly is she doing there?" Ron asked.

"Andromeda wanted to ask Hermione for tea the next day but she's not answering her floo. Tonks volunteered to drop by because she also needed some help in deciphering some Runes for the case she's working on."

"Thank Merlin"

"Yeah,"

oOo

Draco sat in front of his telly but his mind is wondering elsewhere. It has been a few hours since Ginny's unexpected visit and up to this point, he still hasn't decided. He flipped through different channels, but nothing seemed to win his attention. He breathed out loudly and turned the telly off; he stood up and walked towards the loo. He took a quick shower and dressed hastily; he went back into his sitting room and sat down. "I need to see her..." he said to himself. He buried his face in his palms and groaned irritably; "Okay...I would visit her but I wouldn't let her know...it's a good plan." He stood up and summoned himself a jacket; he flicked his wand and apparated himself directly at St. Mungos. He walked past the corridor and proceeded straight to the second floor; "Room 204" he reminded himself. He quietly walked along the halls and began checking each room number. He stopped in his tracks when caught sight of a familiar red-haired woman stepping out into the hall, he took a deep breath before he approached her. "Ginny," he said.

Ginny turned around and saw him standing behind her, "Oh, you came."

He slipped his hands inside his pockets, "You knew I would come," he replied.

"Took you long enough," she rolled her eyes. She shifted closer to the door and pushed it open, "Go in, she's sleeping" she said with an encouraging smile.

"Thanks," he replied. He took another deep breath before stepping inside the room; he fisted his hands inside his pockets, his eyes automatically zeroing on the woman curled on the bed. His heart took a nose dive upon seeing her frail form and his feet seemed to be stuck on the floor.

She placed her hand on his shoulder and gave it a soft squeeze, "She's just asleep, the potions she took knocked her out, but she's alright."

He swallowed thickly to clear the quaffle size lump in his throat, "C - can you give me a minute?" he asked.

She let her hand fall to her side, "Actually, you're just in time. I'm about to head to the Cafeteria to get something to eat - stay as long as you want."

"Thank you," he replied. He pulled his hands out of his pocket and slowly made his way towards her bedside, he didn't dare move a muscle until he heard Ginny leave. After a few minutes of just staring, he sat down on the empty spot beside her sleeping form. He studied her face first before he moved his eyes towards her bandaged wrist, "Why did you do this Mi?" he asked, his eyes heating up with tears. Gently, he placed his hand on top of hers, slipping his fingers between the gaps. "Why did you hurt yourself?" he asked again, knowing full well that she wouldn't be able to answer. "You should move on with your life and be happy, that's the reason why I decided to say goodbye - to give us closure," he wiped the tear that escaped his eye. "We've hurt each other countless times and it's time to stop the pain. You've always deserve better, someone better than me." He took his hand off and placed it on his lap, his whole body was shaking with the intensity of his emotions, but he trudged on. "You have to live your life again and be the Hermione I once knew. I want you to live a long life and fall in love again. I want to see you grow old with the lucky man who will capture your heart and have many kids with him-" he paused when he noticed tears gliding down her cheeks. He gritted his teeth as he wiped her cheeks dry, "I love you so much but I know I have to let you go," his voice broke. He leaned forward and he rested his forehead on hers, "Let go, MI - it's time to let go," he whispered before he placed a chaste kiss on her trembling lips. A stray tear fell from his eye and landed on her cheek, "Be happy love," he whispered. He stood up from his perch and hastily spun on his heels, he gritted his teeth as he pulled the door open. He stormed into the hallway with his head hung low to avoid looking at anyone, "You did the right thing, you just have to live with it," he said to himself.

oOo

Hermione buried her face into her pillow as she let out a gut wrenching sob. She wanted to open her eyes and ask him to stay, but she held her tongue and pretended to be asleep. Deep down she knew that he was right, that they need to let go of all the hurt and move on, but that doesn't mean it hurts less. Hearing his words felt like her heart was being splayed open and being left to bleed, "I - I'm sorry Dray...I'm really sorry" she whimpered.

oOo

"He still loves her" Harry said.

Ginny leaned her head on his shoulder, "He does."

"Then why did he walk away?"

"Because he convinced himself that he's doing the right thing for them - for her."

He rested his head on the wall, "I have to admit, I admire his courage. Not everyone can walk away from the one they love just because they want to do them right," he said.

"That's the reason why I became friends with him in the first place. He maybe a git through and through but when it comes to Hermione, he'd do everything for her - even if it kills him. I'm not going to pretend that I understand his logic, but I do know that this has have been the hardest thing he ever did in his entire life. He loves her so much Harry, I just - I just wish things would have been different for them" she said sadly.

"They have too much history, so I guess it's not that simple" Harry replied. He took off his glass and let out sigh, "Maybe they needed the time apart to find themselves first before they can be happy. Who knows, maybe in the future, they'll find their way back to each other again."

She tilted her face towards him, "Wait, are you telling me that you will be okay with them being together?"

"I may not like the bloody ferret that much but I can see how much he's changed. He's nice to you and Hermione - bloody hell, he's even civil to Ron and I -" he paused and furrowed his brows. "Her love for him changed him for the better and based from what we've witnessed, I doubt that will change any time soon."

She lifted her head and stared into her husband's eyes, "Harry James Potter, you never fail to surprise me" she said with awe.

He cracked a smile and pinched her nose playfully; "I did some growing up too, don't sound too surprised."

She turned her face to side and landed a kiss on his hand, "I love you."

"I love you too."

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