Faith

Ron was still coughing up blood. "Damn." He muttered as he threw the tissue in the trash can. He sat on his bed in the hospital Wing. Ginny was reading the Quibbler on Hermione's bed. It had been a week after their confrontation with Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic.

"She hasn't waken up yet?" Luna asked, coming into the hospital wing.

"Nope, that must've been some spell." Ginny said.

Harry cringed as he remembered how Hermione had clinged to his arm; how he would blame himself if she had died. Madam Pomfrey said she would be alright, but she hadn't waken up. If it was an ordinary harming charm, she would've been awake by now. Her face was blank, her eyes were closed and her body was still. Her chest rose and sank as she breathed: the only indication that she was still alive.

"She'll wake up." Ron said angrily.

"Maybe not." Luna said, taking a seat.

"What do you mean?" Ron snarled.

"No need to get nasty." Luna said wispily. "Anything's possible. We all could've died. Do you know the odds of a few teenagers facing Voldemort and living? At least one of us has to die, the statistics are impossible if not."

"Shutup, Luna." Ginny said, closing her magazine. "We're all fine, and Hermione will wake up. That's all there is to it." Her eyes narrowed. "And I wouldn't say anything else about her dying. Ron'll beat the shit of you do."

"Point taken." Luna said.

"Out of the way, children." Madam Pomfrey said. "Over here Headmaster."

"Dumbledore?"

The old man in elegant robes swept in the room, his face looking worried. His tired blue eyes focused on the sleeping Hermione.

"How long has she been asleep?"

"One week."

"I see. What was the curse bestowed on her."

"A common Harming Charm."

"No." Dumbledore said. "A harming charm cannot knock out a person that long." He turned to Harry. "What color was it?"

Harry was taken off guard at the question. What did the color matter? It was just a harming charm, she would wake up, or else Ron would completely go off the edge. He felt his stomach flip as he thought of the possiblities.

"Purple." he answered.

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows and looked down at Hermione. He put his milky white hand on her forehead, as if to feel for a fever.

"She hasn't got a fever, Headmaster. But the slash does scrape across her heart." Madam Pomfrey supplied.

Dumbledore ripped his hand away from Hermione's forehead. He was shocked at this new information.

"Are you sure it was purple?"

"Yes, sir. It was even a bit of fushia." Neville said.

"Then, I'm afraid, it's not a harming charm; but something much greater and destructive."

"What?" Ron asked, standing up.

"It is a good possibillity that Miss Granger has been hit with the Cruciatus Curse."

"That's not possible!" Neville protested. "The Cruciatus Curse is a black beam of light!"

"Not always." Dumbledore replied. "There are two types. There is the curse that engulfs the body, and there is the curse that is directed at one specific part of the body. It must be perfectly performed in order for it to work properly."

"That's not possible! I was hit with that same spell!" Harry said. "And I'm alright!"

"The Curse must be run over the heart before it could work." Dumbledore touched the scar running down the side of Harry's face. "If the spell would have continued, it would've run over your heart."

"No! It's not true!" Ron yelled, covering his ears. "I'm not going to listen! Hermione WILL be alright!"

"I can wake her up, if you like. But, people affected with the curse can remember only one or two people. They will become dependant on those people."

"So she'll only remember her parents?" Ron asked.

"Not necessarily. She will likely remember the last person she saw, or the last person she thought of."

Dumbeldore pulled his wand out of his robes and tapped Hermione's forehead lightly. A blue vapor came out of the tip and Hermione stirred. She sat up slowly and looked around her. Her eyes looked lost, as if she had amnesia. She looked around her, at every person. She lay back down and pulled the covers over her head, as if she had given up.

"Hermione..." Harry said softly.

Hermione pulled the covers off her and gazed up at Harry. She studied him, cocking her head curiously. She closed her eyes for a few seconds and opened them again. She leaned closer to him and stared straight into his eyes. An odd smile formed on her face, as if she was a tiny child, just realizing that the world was a sphere.

"Harry..." She whispered.

"Does she?" Harry backed away. "Remember me?"

"Then she'll remember me!" Neville exclaimed. "Look at me Hermione! Do you remember?"

Hermione looked distantly at Neville. She looked away quickly and started to ring her hands nervously. She closed her eyes, as if she was wishing all of the non-existent memories away from her; away from the world.

"Am I the only person that she remembers?" Harry asked.

"Apparently so, Harry." Dumbledore answered.

"Why doesn't she remember me?" Neville moaned. "I was there!"

"Relax, Neville. You're not worth remembering." Ron said.

"Ron!" Ginny exclaimed.

"Oh, and you think she'll remember you?" Neville walked very close to Ron. He stood a few inches shorter then Ron, who was the tallest boy in Gryffindor.

"More of a chance then you." Ron sniggered and left the hospital wing.

Hermione kept watching him. Her eyes seemed locked on Ron as he walked away. Her ears only recognized the sound of his clicking shoes down the hall.

The grandfather clock strummed midnight with a mighty bellow. Hermione was still awake, staring into space. Her mind was searching: searching for the memories that weren't there anymore, searching for the thoughts that had blown away with the wind.

"Hullo, Hermione." Ron whispered.

Hermione's head didn't move, just kept staring, as if she hadn't moved.

"Everyone's spreading a rumor that you're crazy now. But I know the truth. Look at me, Hermione." He gently moved Hermione's head towards him.

"I don't care if you don't care if you remember me or not." He said. "But you have to listen to me, you have to listen to this one thing. Do you understand?"

Hermione nodded strangely, which surprised Ron, who didn't really expect a response.

"You are not crazy. You are a beautiful brilliant person. Hermione, your smarter then anyone in this school. Do you hear? Don't EVER let anyone tell you that you're crazy. No one. You are the smartest, prettiest, funniest person I know."

Hermione's gray eyes kept staring at him, taking it all in. Had she been sane, she would have laughed at Ron and said, "I know." But, she wasn't.

"Do you understand?"

Hermione reached out her hand and touched Ron's cheek vaguely. He felt her cold hand on his skin and closed his eyes, as if he was treasuring that moment. She moved her hand up and into his messed up red hair.

"Hermione? What's wrong?" he asked.

"Ron..." She whispered.

"You--" He said in surprise. "You remember?"

She did her strange nod again and looked away.

"I'm not crazy." She whispered.

"You--listened?" Ron scratched his head. "You aren't crazy, I don't know what the others are thinking." He shook his head. "Hermione, I'm so happy you remember!"

As if possesed, Ron put his arms around Hermione. He stayed there for a moment, inhaling the scent of her. She smelled of medicine, but something different. She was wearing the perfume he had bought her for Christmas. He smiled a little. To his surprise, she brought her arms around and put them on his back.

She was hugging him back.

"Hermione," He pulled away. "I'll find a way to show everyone you're not crazy. I'll show them all!"

He smiled at her and kissed her on the forehead. She gazed at him and something strange happened, an awkward little smile came to her moth. Ron smiled even wider and ran out of the Hospital Wing.

"Harry, wake up!" Ron shook Harry in his bed.

"Shutup, Ron. Let me sleep." Harry turned over.

"Harry! Hermione's not crazy!"

"I know, I know, you've been telling anyone who would listen since yesterday, now leave me alone."

"No, really! I went to the Hospital Wing and she REMEMBERED me and then, oh you won't believe it Harry, she talked back to me!"

Harry sat up for a minute and looked at Ron. "Look Ron, I want Hermione to not be crazy as much as you do, but we have to face the facts. The Cruciatus Curse, it completely destroyed her mind."

"You just don't get it, do you? Hermione isn't crazy! If you're her friend, you'd know that."

"Ron...Ok, fine. We'll talk to her in the morning. We'll skip breakfast and 'talk' to Hermione."

"Fine."

Ron got up from Harry's bed and started to walk away.

"Where are you going now?"

"I can't sleep after this. I need to talk to her more." Ron said.

"Whatever." Harry mumbled and went back to sleep.

Ron walked back out of the Gryffindor Common Room, careful not to wake the fat lady in the portrait. She snored loudly as he left. He was about to head back to the hospital wing when he heard Filch's craggy voice.

"Who's there? Who's up at this hour?"

"Shit." Ron whispered.

"Go find him, Mrs. Norris."

Ron heard a cat meow and he looked around in panic. There was a door a few feet away; towards Filch's voice. Feverently he ran into it and shut the door quickly, but quietly. He dared not breathe until he heard Filch pass.

"Must've been a dream. Come on, Mrs. Norris."

Ron sighed in relief and looked in the room where he was. He was in the trophy room. He looked around at all the different names. He smiled broadly when he saw his.

"Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter. Special Services to the School." he read aloud.

The plaques were shiny and seemed to wink up at him in their gold finish.

"Hermione..." He whispered faintly.

Turning around he saw something he hadn't seen since first year. A long mirror, with strange writing across the top. He knew what it was at first site. The mirror of Erised. It showed him what he wanted most in the world. Slowly, he walked to it and looked at his reflection. For a few seconds, he could see only himself, but then someone stepped into view.

"Hermione." Ron looked behind him, but all he saw were the trophies.

Hermione smiled at him and carried a book in her arms. She leaned her head on his shoulder and seemed to look at his reflection with him. Harry stepped into view. He stepped between Hermione and him and put an arm around both of them. His reflection smiled and put an arm around of each of them. The three of them laughed started to playfully push each other.

I'd do anything to be that guy, Ron thought. I'd give up every knut I have if I could just be him one more time.

He felt the tears rush into his eyes.

Boys don't cry, He thought angrily.

Hermione and Harry slowly faded away and all that was left was Ron, staring into the mirror.

"Hermione..." Ron reached into the mirror to grab her hand, only to meet cool glass.

"Ron?" Harry came in the room with the Invisibility Cloak around him. "You really need to come to bed."

"Harry, this is the mirror."

"Mirror?" Harry came around and looked at the Mirror that Ron was looking in.

"You know," Ron said. "I'd do anything to be the guy in this mirror." He laughed slightly. "I guess that's the purpose of it, right?"

"Ron, what do you see?"

"I see," He looked into it. Hermione returned and put her arms around him. She smiled at him, showing off her perfect teeth. "I see Hermione. She's happy...and laughing."

"Ron..." Harry said.

"What do you see?" He asked, backing away.

"You know what I always see." Harry said. "I always see my parents." He walked up the mirror. His parents were still there, smiling at him, same as they did in his first year. His father's smile was almost apologetic.

"Harry, I have a great idea!" Ron said.

"What?"

"We should bring Hermione here."

"Ron, I don't think that'd be a good idea."

"Why not?"

"This only shows us what we want. If Hermione sees it, she might think it's the real thing."

"Oh, yeah." Ron said, sounding disappointed.

"It's almost morning. We could go see Hermione now, if you want."

"Ok." Ron said, he sounded a bit distraught. He wanted to feel Hermione's arms around him. He tore his eyes away from the mirror and ran to catch up to Harry.

They were the only ones up. Although it was only five o' clock, the students were allowed to be up and about, but most were not. Ron always kept a few feet ahead of Harry. He walked so fast that Harry had to almost run to keep up.

When did he get such long legs? Harry thought.

"Hermione, we're back!" Ron went straight to Hermione's bed.

"Hello, young man." Hermione's mother said.

Hermione's parents were sitting on Hermione's bed. Dumbledore stood at the foot of it, smiling sadly at the couple.

"Do you remember us? Hermione, baby. You have to!" Hermione's mother took Hermione by the shoulders. "Hermione Granger! My little Hermy!"

Hermione looked lost and hopeless as she looked at the woman who had a hold of her. She lay back down, and turned away from the people.

"Why doesn't she remember me?" Mrs. Granger was in tears. "Mister Dumbledore! Why doesn't she?"

"That, I cannot answer." Dumbledore said solemnly. "Perhaps the person she does remember has the answer." He nodded towards Harry.

"She was holding on to me, on the arm." Harry started, trying not to look Hermione's mother in the eye. "She remembers me, but not the other boy I was with, Neville."

"But, why you and not me?" She moaned. Harry was reminded of Neville whining the previous day.

"I dunno."

"Ron..." Hermione whispered.

"What was that, little one?" Hermione's mother looked towards her daughter.

Ron looked at Hermione and smiled.

"You remember him? The one with red hair?" Hermione's mother asked her.

Ron stood beside Hermione's bed.

"Perhaps, she was thinking of Mister Weasley at the time she was cursed."

Harry's brain did a flip-flop. He felt inside his pocket and felt the piece of paper was still there.

~-~-~-~-~-~-

"Harry, can I ask you something?" Hermione asked.

"What?"

"Well, what's it like, I mean how does, you know." She stuttered.

Harry raised his eyebrows.

"Well, to be in love. What's it like?"

"Erm--" Harry was alarmed at the random question. "Why are you asking me?"

"Weren't you in love with Cho?"

"I don't think that was love. Of course, I don't know what love feels like, so it might've been."

"Well, how did you feel when you were with Cho?"

"Angry."

"That's not..." Hermione's voice drifted away. "When you kissed her, what was it like?"

"I don't kiss and tell." Harry smiled slyly.

"Oh, come on, Harry!"

"Well, it felt...wet." He said, laughing.

"Harry! You are possibly the worst advice giver in the world."

"Well, you're the one that usually gives Ron and I advice. What I want to know, why is the master asking me for advice?"

"Because--because you're a boy!"

"Why, yes I am." Harry snickered.

"Harry, you're just like Ron! Now, take me seriously for once."

"Okay."

"He just makes me so mad. But, I really like him, but sometimes I really really hate him. Sometimes I want to kill him. Somtimes i want to kiss him. I hate the way he's always standing up for me. BUt I can't help but feel a bit of pride when he does. Am I making sense?"

"No."

"What doesn't make sense?" She asked angrily.

"The part about liking Ron."

Hermione flushed a bright red. "I never said--"

"You didn't have to." Harry smiled.

"He's just so stubborn!" Hermione moaned.

"But you still fell in love with him."

"Well, sometimes he can be really sweet. I mean, he's always trying to protect me against Malfoy and Viktor and..."

"Hermione, why don't you tell him?"

"Tell him?! Harry, have you lost your mind?" Hermione shrieked.

"No, it's still there. But how's he ever going to know."

"I don't know."

"I'll tell him."

"NO! If you say anything I'll curse you!"

"But Hermione!"

"Oh, Harry! You left your quicknotes on!" Hermione said.

"I don't think it's a bad thing. I could give Ron this conversation one day. That way you don't have to tell him."

"Oh, alright. Just, not when I'm around okay?"

"At dinner then?"

"NO! Harry! That's too soon. Do it when, do it when you think the time is right."

"How will I know?"

"You're his best friend, you'll know when."

"Okay."

"Oh, turn your Quicknotes off! The pen's running out of ink!"

~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

"Harry? What's wrong?" Ron was looking at Harry whose eyes were loking dazed from his memory.

"Oh, nothing, I was just, thinking." Harry said distantly.

"Well, I'm glad they're taking her away today. She really needs Medical Help." Hermione's mother stroked her hair softly.

"What? They can't take her away!" Ron protested.

"Young man, I am aware that my daughter remembers you, but it is not for you to decide what's best for her." Hermione's father spoke up.

"She's not crazy! She's perfectly sane! If you put her in a Nut House, that's what'll make her crazy, don't you see?" Ron shouted at them.

"But Ron, it's a curse--"

"I don't care if it's a damn curse! Hermione's not crazy! She'll tell you! Go on, Hermione! Tell them!"

Hermione looked at him blankly for a minute. She held his wrist with her left hand.

"I'm not crazy..." she whispered.

"See! There you go! She's not crazy! You heard it from her own mouth!" Ron exclaimed.

"Ron, you can teach parrots to talk, but that doesn't mean they know what they're saying." Luna said, walking into the room.

"Are you comparing Hermione to a dumb bird?" Ron challenged.

"You are the touchiest person I've ever met." Luna narrowed her eyes.

Hermione leaned her head against Ron's arm and gazed away from the people, towards the window. The clouds hung ominously in the sky, threatning for rain.

"Mister Dumbledore, I think we'll take our leave." Hermione's father said hastily.

Hermione watched as her parents shuffled out of the room. The two people that everyone expected she remember, she didn't. Instead the two people that everyone thought she would forget she remembered. Hermione looked contented, in a strange sort of way. A blank expression was on her face, but she didn't look like she wanted anything, nor did she look like she had everything she wanted.

"Mister Weasley," Dumbledore said. "Would you escort Miss Granger to the Great Hall?"

Ron only then noticed Hermione was wearing her school uniform. She looked up at Harry expectantly, as if she was wanting him to explain everything that was going on.

"Come on, Hermione." Ron said. He gave no thought as to why he was to take Hermione to the Great Hall.

Hermione clung to Ron's arm as if her life depended on it. She could still walk like a normal person, but if Ron's arm slipped, she would've been lost.

Harry walked in front of them. The first thing he saw was a crowd of students waiting for them. He cursed Luna for spreading a stupid rumor that Hermione was insane and was going to be shipped to St. Mungo's for life. The next thing he saw were three men and a woman. They all stood six feet tall, about the same as Ron. The men wore white robes and their muscles bulged underneath them. The woman was no less petite. Her muscles, if possible, were even bigger. She had an malignant grin.

"Look, it's her!" The students hushed as Hermione came into view.

"What's going on?" Ron demanded of Dumbledore, who stood with the three men and woman.

"Miss Granger will have to be taken to St. Mungo's for--"

"No way!" Ron yelled. "She isn't crazy! St. Mungo's is for crazy people. You aren't taking her there! Over my dead body you are!"

The woman approached Ron and looked him square in the eye. She smiled and looked to Hermione, who was only five and half feet.

"Come on darling." She had an Irish Accent. "Come with me."

"Get away from her!" Ron backed up, pushing Hermione with unintentional force.

Unknowingly a man in white pulled Hermione away from Ron. Ron whirled around to face him and was immediatly restrained by Professor Snape. He struggled with all he had to get free. Harry was restrained by Filch when he went to help Ron.

"Let go, you stupid hawk-nosed git!" Ron yelled.

Hermione looked around nervously. Her grey eyes darted from face to face, not finding a familiar one to hold on to. She was lost, she was unguarded. She had no one to touch, no one to feel, no one was real to her.

"Harry!" She yelled, finally.

She started to run towards Harry. A sharp jerk stopped her at once. The woman was restraining her. Hermione kicked and screamed like a truly insane person.

"Harry! Ron!" She screamed.

"Let go of her you stupid transexual woman!" Ron screamed.

Harry almost laughed at Ron's insult.

"I'm afraid this girl needs to come with us."

"She's not crazy!"

"Little boy, are you aware that no person has recovered from the Cruciatus Curse? What makes you think this little girl will even stand a chance?"

"The fact that her brain is bigger then yours!" Ron yelled.

"That's enough disrespect from you!" Snape spat. "You have detention for the rest of the year."

"I don't give a damn, just let me go!" Snape seemed to have trouble holding Ron.

"Let her go!" Harry yelled. Although he wasn't truly sure that Hermione was as Ron said she was, he had faith that she wasn't crazy.

"What the hell is wrong with you gits?!" Ron screamed. "She's perfectly sane!"

Hermione had stopped struggling. Her eyes gained the withdrawn, forlorn look again. She looked away from them all, towards the door. Her lips moved, but no one could hear her over Ron's yelling of insults. She shut her eyes, as if she was trying to block it all out.

"I'm not crazy!" She yelled.

The room went dead silent. Every pair of eyes was on Hermione who was still struggling.

Ron finally broke the silence. "See? What more do you need?"

"You fool!" Snape spat. "You trained her to say that! Don't you know that you're just going to prolong her agony?"

"I didn't ask you, you grease haired worm!" Ron yelled. "Just let her go!"

The woman started to pull Hermione away. She was no longer struggling, but tripping over herself. She gazed at Ron, who was still struggling.

She looks like a little girl, Harry thought. Being led away by her mother.

"HERMIONE!" Ron screamed at the top of his lungs.

Hermione looked back once and gave Ron her odd little smile.

She doesn't deserve it, Ron thought. I'll kill those stupid muscle heads one by one.

Finally, Ron broke free of Snape's grip. He ran out of the giant double doors and into the thunderstorm.

"Hermione!" He screamed.

The Hogwarts Express was already pulling away, bound for St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Ron's heart seemed to wrench at the train. He sank down in the rain, knowing that every attempt he made after this would be impossible. He couldn't bring her back.

"Dammit!" He yelled. The rain beat down on him, so he cried. Hermione was not crazy. He'd prove it to the world. "I'll prove it!" He yelled after the disappearing train. "You watch!"