A/N: The wait is over! I'm sorry it took so long for the update but here it is now. I've run out of pre-written chapters and haven't yet started on the next but with nanowrimo over I should be able to dedicate so more time to this and other WIP's.

Why Does Love Have to Hurt So Much?

Luna was the first of the witches to leave, and although Rabastan hiding spot was good, the observant albeit spacey witch could tell he was there. It unsettled the blonde slightly, but all in all the presence didn't feel threatening, so she decided to let it go. Her Gryffindor friends needed to talk, to clear the air and move forward, and she wasn't needed there for that. She quietly, and without a word to the eavesdropping lord of the manor, strolled down the narrow hallway to her room.

"What did they do to you Gin?" Hermione broke the tense silence left behind when Luna departed.

"Unspeakable things," the redhead replied. Hermione thought she wasn't going to elaborate when Ginny sighed and delved in to the honest explanation. "When I was captured, I had already lost half my family, Harry and you. I was devastated, exhausted and so angry I wanted to kill every one of those fuckers. I fought and fought until I was disarmed and then I kicked and scratched and bit. The deatheaters brought me before him, and I expected to die. I was prepared to die, knowing it wouldn't be quick or painless, but that I would soon be at peace. I didn't die though. I was tortured within an inch of my life but then I was healed and handed a much worse fate. There are no words to describe the realization of what my life was about to become when I was awarded to the Carrow's." Hermione closed her eyes as a rush of guilt and sorrow flooded over her at her friend's ordeal. She remained quiet as the explanation continued.

"I thought maybe it would just be enslavement, some horrible torture, and the likes. It wasn't. Every waking hour, of which there were far too many, was spent parading us around naked, groping, beating and raping us. They forced us to do humiliating things, and when we didn't. Well, let's just say that it was torture in both every physical, emotional and mental way possible. It never stopped. If it wasn't a Crucio or beating, then it was perverted games we were forced to endure in order to get a break from the pain."

"I'm so sorry," Hermione cried.

"It's not your fault. I'm the one who is sorry. I unjustly accused you of living free because I was treated horrendously and you were not treated as horrendously. But you were tortured just as much as I in a different way. What was Azkaban like?" Hermione shuddered at the thought of the iron fortress in the sea.

"It was my own level of hell. A frozen wasteland rather than the fire and brimstone so often referred to, a place so dark you can barely see. It's a wet, bone-chilling and isolating prison. I was in a cramped cell day in and day out, permitted only one shower a week. My cell was maybe five feet by five feet, by five feet high. I couldn't move in the cell without hitting something be it the ceiling or the walls. Days were spent trying to force myself to recite things from books, or days of the week, even my own name to keep myself thinking, and aware. At night, well, the guards often told me I was a good girl to just lie back and think of England. He saved me the indignity of one last rape when he came for me you know. The memory is cloudy, but I'm fairly certain he killed the guy trying to force himself on me."

"Merlin," Ginny whispered. "I didn't know."

"I know. But try to understand, my husband isn't like the others. He is capable of the violence and atrocities for sure, but he doesn't do it just because he can. He actually cares about me, about my happiness," Hermione pleaded with the redhead to be open minded.

"You love him," Ginny blurted out suddenly.

"What? No, I'm not sure I'd call it love. I care for him, want him to be safe and survive, but…"

"No Hermione, you love him. It's obvious, really. I knew from the moment I first saw you again you loved him, you have accepted your role as his wife, this place as your home. And the way you talk about him… Hermione you love him."

"But how? I mean I disagree fundamentally with the principles he believes, hate the people he serves alongside, am disgusted by the things he could do. We are enemies in this war."

"Love is blind, you may be on opposite sides of the battle but you are not and will never be enemies. Love is forgiving and keeps no records he may do vile things, but he comes home and he takes care of you, and you want him to. Love is hope, you may not like who he serves, but you hold on to hope that one day he won't, and love is strong, it leads you in to battle for what is right, and it will fight until it wins."

Hermione was silent in the wake of Ginny's speech until both witches began to giggle.

"Godric, that sounds like you just recited a wedding speech."

"It does doesn't it? But it doesn't mean I'm not right."

"No it doesn't," Hermione sighed. "I think you may be right."

"I know," Ginny boasted. Suddenly sobering the younger girl looked at her friend. "I'm glad. I'd like to think that in a perfect world you would be in love with my brother and we would be sisters but this world is far from perfect and Ron is gone, and with all that we have suffered, you deserve to find something good."

"I did love Ron, do love him. I always will Gin. And we are sisters rather by blood or by choice," Hermione said crying.

"You should go to him," she replied. "I'll still be here when you get back."

Hermione smiled her gratitude, tears welling in her eyes once more and she rose from the chair. Embracing the witch quickly before sprinting from the room, Hermione left to see her husband, who she loved apparently. Before she reached his doors she decided it may be prudent to record the newfound awakening in her diary. She walked first to her sitting room and accioed the leather bound book and her quill.

Dear Diary,

The morning has been a marvelous development. I have managed to make up with Ginny, to find some common ground with her once more. Her suffering has been immeasurable and underserved and her anger is justified. I listened to what she needed to say, and I was willing to accept blame and resentment if necessary. However, Gin didn't lay blame at my feet this time. She, to my surprise, asked me what I suffered, and she listened when I opened up about Azkaban. By the time we both bared our souls, we understood that neither was left unscathed. We both have scars both physical and mental from this war and after and we are both lost trying to find a way to survive. We finally realized it would be easier to do together than fighting one another.

That isn't even the most remarkable incident, though it is indeed significant. In our reconciliation, it was necessary to discuss my marital status and my feelings for Rabastan. I can't deny that there are feelings there, I care for him, I'm grateful for him. I believe he is by far less evil, if at all evil, then his brother and the rest of them. Ginny pointed out, rather bluntly, that I love him.

It took me off guard, love isn't a feeling I'm acquainted with. I've felt it for those I've cared for certainly, but after all that has happened, the hurt was too much and I shut it off. Rabastan seemingly has been thawing my heart all this time, without me even knowing. It's curious, but when Ginny said the word love, and I paused to think about it I knew it was true. I do love Rabastan.

I don't know if I should, it still feels like a betrayal but I must remind myself that Harry and Ron are gone. If Ginny can give me her blessing knowing we are all trying to find happiness in this dark world, then I need to allow myself to accept it. I'm scared though, loving Ron was safe, easy. Loving Rabastan, I already know it's much more treacherous, and it will be difficult. Passionate relationships usually are.

That said I know that I still want to give it a chance. Why is it that the things that attract the heart are oftentimes the most painful, dangerous and hard? Why does love have to hurt so much?

Hermione closed the diary and tucked it back into its hiding place. Then with the fluttering of a thousand tiny butterflies in the pit of her stomach she rose from the desk and strode from her chambers to her husband's study.

He looked up from the papers he was studying when she opened the door, a worried expression on his handsome features. His eyes roamed her face, body clearly looking for any visible signs of harm or distress, and finding nothing wrong, smiled slowly.

"Ma Cherie, is everything alright?" He asked, rising from his seat and crossing the room towards her. Hermione closed the door and without a moment's hesitation sprang into his arms and pressed her lips to his. Rabastan recovered from the sudden shock and he deepened the kiss immediately.

Breathless, minutes later, Hermione broke the kiss and came up for air. "Everything is fine," She told him a slow blush forming on her cheeks as she smiled slyly.

"I guess so," He remarked. "I wonder what brought all that on though. Not that I'm complaining mind you."

"I've come to the realization that I am in love with you Bas," Hermione stated with a nervous grimace.

"You love me? But…" Rabastan cut off no doubt wondering how.

"The circumstances that led me to this are irrelevant Bas," Hermione insisted. "I love you, I've grown to love you and even though this life isn't what I would have chosen for myself, I am glad to say it is my life."

"You are an amazing witch Hermione Granger."

"I believe it is Lestrange," she corrected.

"Lestrange," he repeated. "Come here witch," he ordered. Hermione beamed as she leaned up and captured his lips again.

"I want you," she whispered to him softly. "Take me to bed husband." Rabastan only too happily obliged.